The Signpost

From the editor

Some long-overdue retractions

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The Signpost apologizes for giving Grug of Blue Rock Clan (right side of contemporary illustration) an undeserved platform for his "hot light from stick bad" disinformation

As the Signpost has moved from publishing every month to every two weeks every three weeks every two and a half weeks or so more frequently, we've hit our share of snips and snags, including a couple weeks ago, when a rather brashly opinionated technology report spurred about a hundred kilobytes of discussion, a big-ass thread at administrators' noticeboard slash incidents, and a currently-open request for comment linked to from WP:CENT.

In light of this most recent debacle, I've been going through old Signpost archives in order to find some editorial guidance. What I've found is grim: it turns out this is far from the only time we've made a questionable call on a hot-button issue. In fact, there we have run a great number of ill-advised pieces over the years. But under new editorship, we too have the chance to turn a new leaf. So I'd like to take a few minutes and apologize for some of the times we've gotten it wrong over the years.

Starting from the beginning.[1]

Basically everything in this piece was a bad call, starting out with blatant personal attacks: "MAN OF TALL TREE TRIBE BRING HOT LIGHT FROM STICK AND SHOW BLUE ROCK CLAN HOW TO MAKE. BUT PROBLEM. MAN OF TALL TREE TRIBE HATE SUN GOD AND WANT TO STEAL HOT LIGHT FROM HIM. SHOULD BE INDEFFED." This just goes to show how much of a Wild West environment Wikipedia was back in the day; Grug was later community-banned, and removed from his seat on the board of Wikimedia Afro-Eurasia, after it was revealed that he had been sockpuppeting for years to discredit hot light from stick.
This is a very early Nuntium ac notas, and it shows. It doesn't hold up to modern standards at The Signpost at all: for example, there were non-free images all over the place.
To be fair, at that time the political climate was a little different, and the WMF's endowment was being managed by the Camerarius Domini Papae. Still, the article was inexcusably and unduly biased against GGalilei (who even caught a siteban while defending himself in the comments).
It turns out these concerns may have been reasonable after all.
There was also a lot of stuff in there about him having tiny hands, which has aged poorly.
Hegginbottom noted that "aviation experts have said that the alleged heavier-than-air 'flying machine' is in fact a 'glorified kite' and, moreover, its development raises ethical questions." To be fair, they didn't have pics.
Falsman, a former editor-in-chief of The Signpost and member of the Arbitration Committee during the HUAC trials, did indeed lead The Signpost to numerous accolades. However, some of his policies have failed to stand the test of time:
Luckily, those dark days are over, and the English Wikipedia no longer has to deal with any accusations of people being jacked around on account of their political leanings.
Well, I guess maybe this is true, from certain perspectives. However, many of Glockenspiel's claims were objectionable, e.g. "That's a teletype. Congratulations, techbros, you literally invented a teletype."
Since this was published on April 3, the idea of doing an April Fools' Day bit makes no sense. Frankly, the whole idea was kind of stupid, especially when we have gotten hauled to AN/I over Fools' bits before, and this one was very closely skirting the line to begin with (referring, as it did, to ongoing dispute resolution processes involving The Signpost). The decision to eschew the {{humor}} template was simply asking for trouble, as was the unfunny extended meta-reference at the end. Moreover, that JPxG guy was a jackass.


  1. ^ Note that the stories and information posted in this article are artistic works of fiction and falsehood. Only a fool would take anything written here as fact.
  2. ^ While this is a funny post, and it is often claimed to be an actual headline in a French newspaper (the Moniteur) in 1815 during Napoleon's return from exile, it is likely apocryphal; its only source is an 1841 retrospective by Alexandre Dumas. No actual such headlines as he described exist during that time!
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