User:Ningauble/Wikiquote in the news

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This is an occasional series of observations about Wikiquote from the press and other publications of interest. These were also cross-posted, or first posted, at the Village Pump, and are listed in reverse chronological order here.

Comments on recent posts are welcome.

Wikiquote in the news (5)[edit]

Whatever it means

Commentator Charlie Jane Anders ("How to Fake Being An Expert in Any Major Media Character, In 7 Easy Steps", io9, 6 February 2012) offers this advice: "Step 6. Memorize a few key phrases: You don't need to know what they mean — you just need to be able to spout them on cue, when someone brings up the character. [...] Wikiquote is your friend."

— Just between friends, you don't even need to worry about whether they mean anything.
Call of duty

Mark Steyn ("Who's Obama sneering at?", The Orange County Register, 16 March 2012 updated 19 March 2012) had some fun with Barak Obama's 15 March 2012 speech at Prince George's Community College, in which the president poked fun at some historical shortsighted perspectives, noting that "the entire passage sounded as if it was plucked straight from one of those 'Top Twenty Useful Quotes for Forward-Looking Inspirational Speakers' websites. And whaddayaknow? Rutherford B. Hayes, the TV flash in the pan, the horse is here to stay – they're all at the Wikiquote page on 'Incorrect Predictions.' Fancy that!"

— If our president (or his speechwriter) needs us, we are proud to serve.
What he said

Urban legend researcher Brian Cronin ("Did 'Bull Durham' misquote Walt Whitman on baseball?", Los Angeles Times, 28 March 2012) thanks Wikiquote for pointing out a dubious quote, quotes our attribution note in full, and offers his opinion on the origin of the paraphrase.

— Thanks Brian. The Walt Whitman article has been updated accordingly.

~ Reported by Ningauble (talk) 18:39, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Wikiquote in the news (4)[edit]

Wikiquote has its uses

Dave Coffey of The Massachusetts Daily Collegian ("Wasting time on the Web", 31 October 2011) recommends Wikiquote as an entertaining option for students who are facing a deadline and need a "weapon of mass procrastination."

— I'm too busy to comment on this just now.
...And its misuses

Jenn Morrill of the Salt Lake City Independent Examiner ("Ron Paul's real fight begins", 15 December 2011) cites Wikiquote to debunk a misattribution to Mahatma Ghandi that is reportedly popular among Ron Paul supporters. She reports that according to Wikiquote he said something close, but not the exact words attributed to him. However, the Wikiquote article does not attribute the "something close" to Gandhi either: it cites a speech by trade unionist Nicholas Klein.

— If one is not inclined to check the cited source, why bother reading what the citation itself says?

~ Reported by Ningauble 18:10, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikiquote in the News (3)[edit]

More about us (ain't Google great?):

Avoid being misquoted

Marv Rockford and Steve Gray, writing for the Denver Business Journal ("To get the facts right, you’ve got to give the right facts," 28 January 2011), use examples from Wikiquote's List of misquotations to encourage interviewees to stay on-message with precise, understandable quotes and to avoid unprepared, rambling remarks. According to them, "if you don’t say it in the first place, you can’t be quoted."
If only that were true – some quotes On Misquotation suggest otherwise.

Surely you jest

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports ("That's what she said: UW researchers develop joke-telling computer program," 3 June 2011) that a couple of researchers at University of Washington used Wikiquote as a source of raw material for teaching computers to recognize double entendre jokes. Seriously, it seems that computers have a hard time understanding humor.
Could this lead to deeper intercourse with our artificial partners?

Waxing lyrical

Philadelphia Inquirer interviewer Jonathan Takiff ("Vivid pop poet Conor Oberst moves beyond the despair of youth," 10 June 2011) opened an interview of Conor Oberst by observing, "in prepping for our talk, I came upon an excellent selection of your lyrics at Wikiquote and was struck anew how well the stuff holds up as poetry." Oberst disagreed, "I don't necessarily think the words would stand up without the melody." Asked, "when writing, how much are you thinking about serving the audience that [...] seems to hang on your every word?" Oberst replied, "The biggest disservice you can do to someone who's interested in your art is to pander or cater to them and their ideas of what your music is."
This editor is left pondering the relationship between art for art's sake and cruft for fan's sake.

~ Reported by Ningauble 17:24, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Thanks for the updates! Are you going to add that last quote to Conor Oberst's page? BD2412 T 20:38, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
    My pleasure. It did not occur to me to add it to the article because I was just chatting from a wiki-omphaloskeptic perspective. Do you think this primary source interview has quotability? ~ Ningauble 15:02, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
    I can readily see it being quoted. It just struck me like that. BD2412 T 15:44, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikiquote in literature (2)[edit]

More samples of what people are saying about us:

Rank irrelevance

Colin P. Williams, in Explorations in Quantum Computing (Springer, 2010), p. 210, notes the low relevance rankings assigned to some Wikiquote pages by a search engine when looking for "quantum computing." (e.g., Richard Feynman: 2.2%, God: 0.9%) His observation that "Wikiquote has it about right" would be flattering if its relevance were not exactly zero: it is not Wikiquote that assigns these rankings.

Fountain of wisdom

In a review of the film Sucker Punch (National Post, 24 March 2011), columnist Chris Knight remarks about a character called Wise Man: "Well, not that wise; he gets all his best lines from Wikiquote." Well, for what it's worth, we are glad to be of service.

~ Reported by ~ Ningauble 14:13, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Wikiquote in the news (2)[edit]

More gleanings not so hot off the press:

More reliable than...

The Telegraph (Macon, GA) reports in "Political Notebook: End of Macon committees?" (7 August 2010) that U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall repeated a quote attributed to Ben Franklin that he found written on "a pile of trash or boxes". Staff writers Phillip Ramati and Mike Stucka cite Wikiquote to debunk the misattribution, pondering "Is that site reliable? Well, maybe a bit more than New York street art." At least the congressman was responsible enough to cite his source.

What it means

The Herald (government of Zimbabwe), in "Zimbabwe: Nobel Laureates - Controversies, Omissions" (30 October 2010) quotes a bit from E. M. Forster's Howards End, and attributes an explanation of Forster's words to Wikiquote, saying "According to Wikiquote, this means...." Actually, the "explanation" is just part of the next quote in Wikiquote's article. Perhaps opinion writer Tendai Hildegarde Manzvanzvike does not draw a sharp distinction between quotation and commentary.

~ Reported by Ningauble 21:59, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Wikiquote in the news[edit]

Salon.com columnist Andrew Leonard cited Wikiquote as an authority in debunking a misattribution to Alexis de Tocqueville, and quoted the misattribution note written by contributors Kalki and KHirsh in full ("How the World Works," 12 August 2010). Un-coincidentally, the very next day an IP vandal blanked it from the Misattributed section, and was reverted a few hours later. Such is the price of our fame. ~ Ningauble 21:09, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Cool, man. Thanks for pointing it out. —KHirsch 04:33, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikiquote in literature[edit]

John Wenzel, entertainment writer for The Denver Post, had this to say in his 2009 book, Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny, p. 316:

"Comedy nerds [...] follow comedians around like bands, devouring their every release and obsessively seeking out new material, mentally tattooing catchphrases on their gray matter until their vocabulary resembles a Wikiquote page."

I wonder what he meant by that. Is it a good thing? ~ Ningauble 21:11, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

  • I think he meant that the comedy nerd's vocabulary will consist of the repetoire of quotes from his favored comedian. BD2412 T 20:48, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, and in that sense an Elizabethan drama nerd's vocabulary also resembles a Wikiquote page. I thought it was interesting to use Wikiquote as a point of reference for characterizing nerdy obsession. If the shoe fits.... ~ Ningauble 15:39, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

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