Wikipedia Thyself

Let me warn you upfront, this one’s a bit rude.

So I was just being a vain fool late at night and decided to do a Wikipedia search for my name.

Now here’s the thing: a lot of my blog entries have been cited in Wikipedia entries – some under my real name, ‘Demetrius Romeo’, which I was still using when I started blogging, some under the name I’m more commonly known by, ‘Dom Romeo’.

Imagine my surprise when, reading through the list of results to the ‘Demetrius Romeo’ search, having passed entries for Tara Moss and Akmal Saleh that link to this here blog, I got to the 13th item. It’s between entries for the New York City Ballet’s Spring 2009 repertory and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


That’s pretty funny.

But I knew what it was about – when I interviewed Graeme Garden for the first Goodies reunion tour of Australia, he commented about campus life at Cambridge University, where he cut his teeth in student revue, by making a joke about being a member of the Cambridge University National Trust Society. Think about it as an acronym.

There it is in the Wikipedia entry, under the ‘Spoonerisms and acronyms’ heading, in the ‘Linguistic variants and derivatives’ section. The references is footnoted as number 81. The 81st footnote sends you to the Graeme Garden interview on this blog.

But the best thing in this Wikipedia entry is the ‘See Also’ section. It re-directs to another entry, for ‘Scunthorpe Problem’. The ‘Scunthorpe Problem’ is the internet phenomenon of spam filters preventing messages getting through because they include certain innocent words that contain a combination of letters that constitute a banned word. ‘Scunthorpe’, the name of a town in North Lancashire is one such word that causes spam filters to block a message. In fact, in 1996, residents from Scunthorpe could not register email addresses with AOL, because of that special combination of letters contained in the name of their town. Penistone in Yorkshire gave rise to similar problems. So did Lightwater in Surrey, and the Lancastrian town Clitheroe .

But my favourite part of the entry carried the title ‘News articles damaged’. Turns out a news site run by the American Family Association (AFA) automatically censored articles. So a piece on sprinter Tyson Gay defaulted to being about Tyson Homosexual. Other vulgar words would similarly be replaced by safer alternatives. So ‘ass’, for example, would become ‘butt’. Which is fine, until you want to talk about clbuttical music, or a politically motivated killing, better known as a buttbuttination.