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May 15th, 2008
10:06 pm
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What happens when you stir lots of sugar into hot water, add a string, and let the mixture sit? Rock candy.

What happens when you stir lots of fans into the Internet, add a wiki, and let the mixture sit? This.

As any chemist can tell you, crystallization takes place when you have a supersaturated solution and a nucleus on which to build. This works for dissolved solids. It also works for knowledge.

Wikipedia dismissively calls these sorts of articles fancruft, building from the geek slang term "cruft": accumulated unpleasant detritus. Of course, Wikipedia's not out to haphazardly catalog knowledge, they're out to build a respectable reference. Collecting trivia is the Internet's job.

The Internet shines at it. And, frankly, this is a good thing.

These sorts of compilations are never going to be in fashion. There are a million lists out there of every Pokémon ever named*, and most will end up being both useless and boring to the vast majority of humanity. (Boring being the cardinal sin. Don't tell me web surfers have ever cared about utility.)

But sometimes -- like with the complete list of ACME products in classic Warner Bros. cartoons -- you just have to sit back and marvel: Here is a pristine, flawless piece of crystallized Internet.

Enjoy the taste.

* I use this example purely for its value as a stereotype. If the particular example is distracting you, just substitute your own; one geek's passion is another geek's snarkbait.

Current Location: ~spiral
Current Music: Don Henley, "New York Minute"

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

(Deleted comment)
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Date:May 19th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
I love TVTropes. I have a Google toolbar on my monitor that's constantly telling me what just updated there. I have lost so much time...
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Date:May 16th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)

One thing I wish Wikipedia would do is not just nominate articles for deletion, but suggest another wiki the offending article would be more at home on. Like that rampage of deleting articles on webcomics that some Wikipedia editor went on a few years ago. Couldn't he have just flagged them with some sort of note saying "This would be more appropriate for Comixpedia", or indeed taken the trouble himself to move the articles over there, or link to them if they already existed?
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Date:May 17th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
I soooo neeed the ACME Female Roadrunner Costume!

... Don't ask why ...
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Date:May 17th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC)
Shouldn't it be "Internet-crystallized trivia"?
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Date:May 17th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, good, I'm not the only one who obsessively browses Wookeepedia.
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