Posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008 by David Chen
How much work goes into a standard Wikipedia entry? The world may never know. But one thing’s for sure: Wikipedian’s have a thorough grasp of the finer details. The Talk page for the Wikipedia’s entry on Wall-E pulls back the curtain on their editorial process, and man is it ugly. In particular, this section (via Reddit) shows the controversy behind a phrase in the entry stating that “Wall-A units resemble giant Wall-E units”:
An editor has been removing “that resemble giant WALL-E units” from the description of WALL-A on the basis that WALL-E was based on WALL-A. We don’t actually know that, it’s not stated in the movie and appears to be an assumption, and therefore original research. The definition of “resemble” is “to be similar to somebody or something in appearance or behaviour” and this is true for both WALL-A and WALL-E. WALL-E resembles WALL-A nd WALL-A resembles WALL-E.
What follows is an in-depth discussion as to whether or not this argument is valid. Another Wikipedian chimes in:
As you said, WALL-A resembles WALL-E just as much as WALL-E resembles WALL-A. The point is that the WALL-A definition specifically says that WALL-A’s resemble giant WALL-E units. You have no proof this statement is more valid than one that says “WALL-E resembles tiny WALL-A units”. It’s a disambiguous statement either way, and since we do not know the history of which product came first, we have no way of making a definitive case of one over the other. As none of the other robot descriptions in that section discuss anything about how those robots look, it’s also inconsistent with info in that section anyway. (my edit summary was meant to imply that there was ambiguity, not that there was a supporting argument)
And so on and so on and so on. For anyone interested in the work and thought that goes into the Wall-E entry, it’s worth at least a brief read.
Some of you may be wondering, “What the hell are Wall-A robots anyway?” Wall-A stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter AXIOM-Class. These were the gigantic devices that were compacting Axiom garbage before sending it off into space. For your benefit, I’ve included a few screencaps from Wall-E so that you can decide if it’s fair to say they “resemble giant Wall-E units.”
It’s been said that there’s two things in the world which you don’t want to see being created: Laws and sausages. To this list, I vote we add Wikipedia entries as well (But I’m still grateful for all the entries guys! Seriously).