Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wikipedia update

Several weeks ago, I reported on Asexual Wikipedia fights between the Spongebob-adders and the Spongebob-deleters. Since then, the situation has escalated. (I sort of wonder if my blog had some impact on the matter.)

In mid Febuary, one of the Spongebob-adders struck again, and, as usual, one of the Spongebob deleters quickly retaliated, this time, escalating the fight by adding note on the edit page (visible to editors, but not on the page itself.)

!--DO NOT ADD SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!!! THIS PAGE IS DEVOTED TO THE ORIENTATION AND NOT ASEXUAL REPRODUCTION--

Not to be beaten, the Spongebob-adder changed "Famous Asexuals" to "Notable Asexuals" and created a subsection for "Fictional characters and persons," in which to add Spongebob. So far, he has been permitted to stay.

This incident highlights the ignorance of many Spongebob-delters: There is a very good reason not to include Spongebob (He's a cartoon character!) but the Spongebob-delter, rather than citing this, cited the completely wrong justification for spongebob-deleting: Spongebob is asexuals in the sense that he reproduces by himself. (Um...what?)

I have a confession to make: I once engaged in a bit of Spongebob adding myself, just as a bit of fun. There is a note to editors of "Famous/Notable Asexuals":

!--DO NOT ADD ANYONE UNDER THIS SECTION UNLESS A RELIABLE SOURCE IS GIVEN, OTHERWISE IT WILL BE DELETED--

I had a source, so I added Spongebob, curious how long he would survive in the asexuality article. About one minute according the the article's history, when some ignorant spongebob-deleter came along, justifying the reversion of my edits by saying, "Mr. Squarepants is male, I think." WTF? Did that guy even read the article before making that change? I guess I was hoping that at least he would get deleted for a good reason. Since then, I have given up that fight altogether. Now, I am merely a commentator.

There was a recent wikipedia fight, however, that I did get involved in. The opening of the article has been a casualty. A Wikipedia-editing member of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (formerly the Clark Institute of Psychiatry) decided to screw the article. (It's about asexuality; didn't he realize it's not into that?) He changed the opening to
Asexuality is the lack of any sexual orientation, according to researchers.[1][2][3] There are asexual individuals, however, who have claimed that asexuality is itself a sexual orientation.[4]
. He gave three sources, so I had to out-cite him. One of his sources is a paper that's not yet published, but he seems to be on the editorial board to the journal it's in press for. One of the articles simply didn't say what he said it said, and the third did say what he says is said, but that author took a different perspective in a subsequent paper. Changes were made; emails were sent. If anyone wants to clean up the introduction, feel free to do so.

5 comments:

yellowxshades said...

I am a huge Spongebob freak and in interviews, the creator has been asked if Spongebob was gay and he has said that he was asexual. But I guess that could be taken for both meanings of the word.

pretzelboy said...

I've seen the interviews quoted, and I guess that I had only read 'asexual' as not interested in sex. (I think there was something about not being straight or gay in the context.)

But if we see Spongebob reproducing by himself, I suppose we'll have to interpret it as the other kind of of asexuality.

Isaac said...

I've compared the Wikipedia articles in the languages I can read and I prefer the French one. In it, the criticism against asexuality is in a section, not at the beginning. There is no list of notable asexual. In my opinion, this list should exist as standalone article. I think research about asexuality is well organized, in my opinion. I can't understand this discussion about the notable asexuals. Is there a list of notable homosexuals? If one needs a clear statement of asexuality in modern terms, it will be unavoidably time-biased.

Spanish and other Romance languages follow the same outline, and the criticism is in the first section, but not in the beginning. They also have a whole section about variability among asexuals, not a single paragraph. Spanish article has a several-pen beginning full of myths and misconceptions, which is bad for a reader who only read this. If the reader continues, the text article becomes more and more ace-friendly. Do asexohaters focus on the beginning?

pretzelboy said...

I haven't ever really looked at any of the Wikipedia article is languages other than English. Like many Americans, I never learned any Romance languages. The only non-English language I read with even intermediate ability is Korean, and they don't have a Wikipedia article on asexuality. It is listed as a sexual orientation, but no one has written the article yet. And words regarding sexuality and sexual orientation don't make it into the vocab lists in class. If I felt really motivated, I could spend a lot of time reading about sexuality and, with a dictionary, acquire the necessary vocab, and write the article myself, but I haven't felt that motivated yet. And even then, my lack of fluency would show pretty clearly.

As for whether asexohater prefer the beginning, I don't have any idea. I do know that if you add citations to your claims, it can have the effect that they are less likely to be changed. The guy who changed the opening of the article made a number of significant changes, some of them were legitimate. Some I wasn't thrilled with, but I couldn't object to.

The English article has several asexuals who have been active in keeping it maintained, but we have had problems with information on diversity among asexuals. We don't have any credible, citable sources that we can use, so if people come along and add the "Citation???" thingy, someone else can come along later and delete it, which is what happened in the English one.

Kelsey said...

I had no idea there was so much controversy surrounding Spongebob! Do actual sea sponges asexually reproduce? I can't really picture them sexually reproducing...

okay. ew. I just skimmed wikipedia (or actually just the article on sponges) and apparently they can do both. And now I have a mental image of sponges having sex that I really wish wasn't there.