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'Twas the Night Before Wikimas

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By Nick Moyes
Nick Moyes published the original version of 'Twas the Night Before Wikimas about three years ago at the Teahouse. The current version has evolved since December 26, 2017 at WP:The Night Before Wikimas.
Saint Jimbo arrives to help a pair of sleepy editors
Reindeer #1 to #3: em Dasher; Images and Actrial
Reindeer #4 to #6:Patrolled; Users and IPs
St. Jimbo: "Happy Editing to all, and to all users a good night!"
Facial composite of man wanted for questioning in connection with digital break-ins on Christmas eve.

'Twas the night before Wikimas, when all through the Teahouse
Not an editor was stirring, not even a mouse.

The references had been inserted by users with care,
In hopes that St. Jimbo[who?] soon would be there.

Most editors were nestled all snug by their beds,
While visions of new articles danced in their heads.
When out from a keyboard there arose such a clatter
I sprang to my screen to see what was the matter.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a question on sources and how to use them well here.

More rapid than eagles these questioners came,
And the hosts from the Teahouse welcomed each one by name.

"Now, em Dasher! Now, Images!
Now, Actrial! Now, Patrolled!
On, Users! On, IPs!
On, Young and on, Old!
To the top of each article, be it long, short or tall,
Now, type away, type away, type away all!"[This quote needs a citation]

As dry words that before an old dictionary fly,
when they meet with a synonym, mount to the sky,[citation needed]
So, onto these articles the edits they flew,
With a sleigh full of facts, and citations, too.

And then in a twinkling, I saw on the page
Our wiki-creator: a man of great age.
As I checked it on Commons and was turning around,
Down my router St. Jimbo came in with a bound.

Over 6 million articles he had flung on his back,
And he looked like most users with the editing knack.
His eyes – how they twinkled! slightly square – but how merry!
Too much editing, folks, had turned his nose red like a cherry![medical citation needed]
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.[citation needed]

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his editing,
And filled bare urls; did sourcing and crediting
And confirming notability with a tap on his nose,
And pressing "Publish changes", back up my modem he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, leaving me to my epistle.[anachronism]
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Editing to all, and to all users a good night!"


With grudging acknowledgement to Clement C. Moore, 1823.


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Yes, I was, and I could never understand the furore, as I explained to SMcCandlish recently. The cultural dichotomies, Smallbones, between the different enthnies and genders of EN1L users make humour a very dangerous exploit on en.Wiki. There are also the people who deliberately analyse every word in the hope of claiming they have been insulted - it can even get you blocked, banned, or even desysoped ;)
That said, we Brits are very good at something most other cultures aren't: laughing at ourselves, especially at our sexual and racial stereotypes, and by those of us (like me) who were brought up in the austerity of the postwar years, and the effects of decolonisation of the British Empire throughout the 50s and 60s. That's why British sitcom is so hugely successful (in Britain) and why the campest of comedians really are gay (mind the gap) and the darkest humourists are not wearing blackface.
Sadly due to the fake modesty of modern political correctness many of the best loved sitcoms would not be made today and a chunk of our best humour - including the likes of Monty Python and Blackadder and ever earlier, Curry and Chips, Love Thy Neighbour, and Rising Damp - is now missing from our culture. Even the famous British music hall and working men's club jokes about 'An Irishman, an Englishman, and a Scotsman' would be disallowed today - in public at least. It used to be written on the back of a matchbox that 'Laughter is the best medicine', but there is hardly any use for matches nowadays and the younger generations that are trailing along behind me will probably succeed in getting all forms of humour made illegal by the middle of the century. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:01, 29 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And my essay in question wasn't about gender anyway, it was about unreasonable demands to do odd grammar/style things for aggrandizement reasons (commercial, religious, egotistical, etc.). I've had to go over this so many times, I put up a FAQ about it at User:SMcCandlish/TG-NB. I was still arguably in the wrong for writing something that was easy to misinterpret as being about gender, and that's the rub here. It's difficult if not impossible (especially in these "cancel culture" times) to write any humor piece that someone somewhere cannot think of a reason to take offense at, whether their interpretation is even correct or not. So, SP writers are risking their wiki-lives when they go there. Maybe risking more than that. The SP humor editor who ran my essay in SP ended up getting harassed offline at work about it, and felt compelled to resign a position at a university. And the harasser was never punished or even admonished for it (should probably have been sitebanned), though is now incidentally topic-banned from the general subject for an overall battlegrounding pattern on gender and sexuality subjects. What it comes down to is this: if you write a humor piece and it offends someone, it will not matter what the intent of it was, it will only matter whether those taking offense and their viewpoint are more popular than you and than the straw man misinterpretation of your viewpoint being advanced by those people. If they and theirs are the more popular, then you will have no recourse at all. ANI, AN, AE, ArbCom, etc. will not do anything to restrain harassment, verbal attacks, editwar hounding, and more against you. So, yeah, I would never try to do a humor piece in SP again. I would rather stab myself in the eyeballs.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:27, 30 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I really hadn't intended to revisit this. The wound is still too raw - and if it's still too raw for me, it must be very painful for others. Still, I think it should be obvious that the following, from Getting serious ... is the best policy for The Signpost
"We pledge that we will never attack or mock any group whose members include those who do not have a choice about their membership in the group. Groups covered by this pledge include, but are not limited to, those based on race, nationality, sex, gender, age, disability, social or economic status, veteran status, body type, or religion.
Is it even possible to write humor that doesn't ever mock these groups? Of course it is!"
Wikipedia is a multiethnic, multiconfessional, multi-gender community and, for the sake of everybody involved, the above policy will minimize conflicts.
I did not blame anybody for starting the confrontation, and it still would not be a good idea to try to do that. But some of the things said here make a lot of sense now. Good humor is really hard, good humor in a multi-multi context is really, really hard. But IMHO it is worth the all trouble when humor succeeds. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:46, 31 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, people can be real sensitive about this type of thing - indeed, @Smallbones and SMcCandlish:, and I would emphasise once again that there is an unhealthy large number of users - including superior elected ones - who deliberately parse every sentence typed on Wikipedia in the hope they can detect and identify something they claim to be insulting and take you to ANI or Arbcom for. In today's climate, wow, how glad I am that I'm no longer an E-in-C of this publication - just far too dangerous! Happy New Year 😋 Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:52, 1 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And just the fact that this is couched in terms of "attack or mock any group whose members include ...", which is emphatically not what my material did, proves my point and Kudpung's. The question isn't really "Is it even possible to write humor that doesn't ever mock these groups?" Rather: "Is it feasible to consistently write humor that cannot ever be bent by anyone to seem to mean something it did not say, then used to attack, character-smear, and even off-site harass the author?" If there's even the faintest whiff of doubt, then one is foolish to decide to be a humor writer for SP.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:18, 1 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or, SMcCandlish, even sharing a totally harmless witticism with a friend on his or her talk page for fear that a non-involved, mean spirited talk page stalker will get the wrong end of the stick and drag you by the scruff of your neck to the meanest of arbitrators (it's happened). Not to mention the non-humourous and harmless friendly use of a user's first name. I once held myself - as a linguist - in check from commenting on Polari in connection with the stereotypical characters Julian and Sandy for fear of reprisals[1]. Doing almost anything on Wikipedia these days other than minding one's own business and editing a safe, non controversial scientific topic is is nearly as hazardous as walking bare foot across red hot ploughshares or running for adminship. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:58, 1 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
BTW, this article and talk thread is the kind of topic that might invite a first-class comment from Iridescent, but perhaps the don't read The Signpost - how wise;) Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:11, 1 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ [The Guardian]



       

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