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Eric: On the other hand, my own entry in Wikipedia's pretty darn spiffy. Just for the record.

So, last weekend, a user named Hahnchen began the process of "weeding out" non-notable webcomics over at Wikipedia. He doesn't seem to be a bad person. He just figures... well, that somehow he knows what's notable and what isn't. He's admitted he doesn't know much about webcomics, but he figures it's somehow obvious. I guess. I don't know.

One of the people who got weeded out was Patrick Farley. So... I guess Webcartoonists Choice Award nominations, academic work, being cited and singled out for documentaries, multiple citations as one of the best webcartoonists of last year, articles about him at Comixpedia and the Webcomics Examiner (and, for that matter, here) and the opinions of dozens of webcartoonists and thousands of webcomics fans don't have as much bearing as... well, Hahnchen's snap judgment. I thought Ryan Estrada being purged as "non-notable" highlighted a failure in the model. Patrick Farley being purged as non-notable is downright stupid.

And it highlights the core problem with Wikipedia. In the end, it's not the issue of whether or not Wikipedia can be trusted -- which is what critics have said from the beginning. I think the record shows it's pretty damn solid in that regard. No, the problem with Wikipedia is a bizarre amalgamation of elitism and anti-elitism which will ultimately come down to "whatever editor is more stubborn than all the others."

We saw that with John Byrne, who managed to purge out anything negative from his bio largely because he was stubborn enough to continually revert his entry, over and over again, regardless of questions of point of view. And we see it with monumental disparities between guidelines for inclusion based solely on whether or not a significant number of editors are fans of the work in question or not. Go through the Star Wars, Star Trek, West Wing, DC Comics and Marvel Comics sections, and you will see the most mind numbingly obscure bits of trivia developed. Go to webcomics, and you have criteria based on voodoo and prognostication put forth.

This again highlights the driving need to use the Comixpedia.org Webcomics Encyclopedia instead. It's already vastly more useful to a student of webcomics than Wikipedia, and it's only getting better. What's more, its driving principle is "comprehensive." Wikipedia wanted at one point to be comprehensive. Now they want to be "legitimate," but their practices seem doomed to consigning it to illegitimacy with time. I suspect that more and more esoteric subjects will be "weeded out" (to use Hahnchen's term) by people who don't actually know anything about the subject. (The distrust of authoritative review has been highlighted before. One of the original members of the Wikipedia team, Larry Sanger, has gone on record on this subject:

The root problem: anti-elitism, or lack of respect for expertise. There is a deeper problem--or I, at least, regard it as a problem--which explains both of the above-elaborated problems. Namely, as a community, Wikipedia lacks the habit or tradition of respect for expertise. As a community, far from being elitist (which would, in this context, mean excluding the unwashed masses), it is anti-elitist (which, in this context, means that expertise is not accorded any special respect, and snubs and disrespect of expertise is tolerated). This is one of my failures: a policy that I attempted to institute in Wikipedia's first year, but for which I did not muster adequate support, was the policy of respecting and deferring politely to experts. (Those who were there will, I hope, remember that I tried very hard.)

I need not recount the history of how this nascent policy eventually withered and died. Ultimately, it became very clear that the most active and influential members of the project--beginning with Jimmy Wales, who hired me to start a free encyclopedia project and who now manages Wikipedia and Wikimedia--were decidedly anti-elitist in the above-described sense.

Consequently, nearly everyone with much expertise but little patience will avoid editing Wikipedia, because they will--at least if they are editing articles on articles that are subject to any sort of controversy--be forced to defend their edits on article discussion pages against attacks by nonexperts. This is not perhaps so bad in itself. But if the expert should have the gall to complain to the community about the problem, he or she will be shouted down (at worst) or politely asked to "work with" persons who have proven themselves to be unreasonable (at best).

This lack of respect for expertise explains the first problem, because if the project participants had greater respect for expertise, they would have long since invited a board of academics and researchers to manage a culled version of Wikipedia (one that, I think, would not directly affect the way the main project is run). But because project participants have such a horror of the traditional deference to expertise, this sort of proposal has never been taken very seriously by most Wikipedians leading the project now. And so much the worse for Wikipedia and its reputation.

This lack of respect for expertise and authority also explains the second problem, because again if the project participants had greater respect for expertise, there would necessarily be very little patience for those who deliberately disrupt the project. This is perhaps not obvious, so let me explain. To attact and retain the participation of experts, there would have to be little patience for those who do not understand or agree with Wikipedia's mission, or even for those pretentious mediocrities who are not able to work with others constructively and recognize when there are holes in their knowledge (collectively, probably the most disruptive group of all). A less tolerant attitude toward disruption would make the project more polite, welcoming, and indeed open to the vast majority of intelligent, well-meaning people on the Internet. As it is, there are far fewer genuine experts involved in the project (though there are some, of course) than there could and should be.

It will probably be objected by some that, since I am not 100% committed to the most radical sort of openness, I do not understand why the project that I founded works: it works, I will be told, precisely because it is radically open--even anarchical.

I know, of course, that Wikipedia works because it is radically open. I recognized that as soon as anyone; indeed, it was part of the original plan. But I firmly disagree with the notion that that Wikipedia-fertilizing openness requires disrespect toward expertise. The project can both prize and praise its most knowledgeable contributors, and permit contribution by persons with no credentials whatsoever. That, in fact, was my original conception of the project. It is sad that the project did not go in that direction.

He is, of course, right. The more that true experts on given fields feel like their input is not only disregarded but dismissed in an effort to be egalitarian, the more that said experts will simply stop writing for Wikipedia. In researching the extended criticism page, I went to the Wikipedia entry on Deconstructionism. At the top of the page, there is a note saying the entire page needs a complete rewrite. Going to the talk page shows the reasons this is being done. One of the comments (from an avowed engineer) is as follows:

[The entry on Deconstructionism needs] a concise definition. Even controversial articles like abortion and religion start with such definitions. I seriously doubt that there is anything special about the deconstruction article. If something is truly not-definable, it can't be recognized for study, and thus does not deserve an article. People are recognizing and studying deconstruction and it does merit an article, thus it must have a definition.

Part of the entire philosophical debate surrounding Deconstructionism -- something that is core to the study of Deconstructionism -- is its lack of definition. Jacques Derrida himself said that he has spent his life and every essay he ever wrote trying to define Deconstructionism and failing. Now, I'm no fan of Deconstructionism, and I think its very opaque nature makes it specious as a literary critical theory, but I absolutely don't feel Deconstructionism should be eliminated from Wikipedia -- and the assertion that "abortion" and "religion" have definitions, so Deconstructionism must as well, is patently ridiculous. Philosophy isn't so easy to categorize, and Deconstructionism is ninth level philosophy. Someone who doesn't know anything about the field, criticism, analysis, or the interplay of philosophical viewpoints and how they relate to art in the mid to late twentieth century has no more business saying it "must" have a definition than I have saying that a computer "must" have a carburetor because my 1969 automobile and speedboat both do.

(No, I don't have a '69 car or any speedboat at all.)

Now, I just mentioned I went to Wikipedia for that article. This is true. I use Wikipedia right now. I believe in Wikipedia. I think that a dynamic, user-edited encyclopedia isn't only competitive with other models, but will ultimately supplant them. However, I also know that at this point I wouldn't recommend Wikipedia to anyone for any webcomics related article. I have no faith even in the webcomics articles they do think warrant inclusion. I will always direct those folks to the Comixpedia Webcomics Encyclopedia instead. Always.

And I think that's a symptom of the deeper problems that are beginning to surface in Wikipedia. Either it will need to remake itself in such a way that expertise is rewarded and inclusion guidelines be set by what's actually significant to a field instead of flawed indicators set by the uninformed masses (and those inclusion guidelines be relaxed across the board, for that matter. Whether or not something is "notable" does me no good whatsoever if I show up looking for information on it. If I do a search, it's clearly notable to me, isn't it?), or ultimately Wikipedia will simply be an evolutionary step, and either a loose collection of specialist encyclopedic wikis will form surrounding it and ultimately supplanting it, or someone will fork the Wikipedia project, pull all the current data, and set up a competing project that does incorporate both respect for expertise in a field and much broader guidelines for inclusion, and Wikipedia will be left behind.

No bets on which way it'll go, right now. I just know that taking out Patrick Farley (and having someone who doesn't know webcomics going through and deleting things in general) is indicative of a future that's not so rosy for anyone.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at October 24, 2005 5:56 PM

Comments

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at October 24, 2005 6:04 PM

Where is Patric Farley these days anyway? He's been a long time between updates...

Comment from: jjacques posted at October 24, 2005 6:19 PM

My Wikipedia entries are pretty good too, but I had to fight a long battle to keep them from being deleted even though QC is one of the better-known webcomics out there.

I think Wikipedia's like Christianity- a wonderful idea being ruined by a pack of overzealous idiots.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at October 24, 2005 6:38 PM

What's all this about Patrick Farley being weeded out? His Wikipedia page is still there and isn't even marked as a candidate for deletion.

From following the discussion a few days ago, I recall that the entry on his website, e-sheep.com, was a candidate for deletion. The reasoning was that that website was merely a collection of his works, and they don't have separate entries for websites about other artists either. I have to agree with that: Wikipedia should have entries about innovators like Farley, and about the major individual works they have created. That would serve all parties concerned better than entries about delivery vehicles.

I have not seen evidence that user Hahnchen is anywhere near the bogeyman I've seen him painted as in some parts of the webcomics community. I recall from trawling through the materials on Friday or Saturday that he seemed fairly conscientious and willing to admit mistakes and let controversies die down. Unlike some webcartoonists who were marked for weeding out whose websites I visited.

Comment from: Ben G. posted at October 24, 2005 6:49 PM

Wow, the whole List of Webcomics entry is up for deletion now. That's new.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 24, 2005 6:53 PM

On the other hand, my own entry in Wikipedia's pretty darn spiffy. Just for the record.

Mine too. The very day last week that Adrian Ramos made a plaintive newspost asking his readers to update CYS's Wikipedia entry with the backstories revealed during the Beatles song storyline, I'd looked at AKOTAS's entry and it was up-to-date with the new genre arc even unto that day's punchline. Gave me a shot in the arm on a day I needed one.

Comment from: Sam Logan posted at October 24, 2005 6:54 PM

I followed Hahnchen's wiki exploits for a bit after he initiated a vote-for-deletion for Able and Baker. As you mentioned, Eric, he admits that he does not know much about webcomics. From what I can tell, he's relying entirely on Alexa rankings and quick Google serachings -- relying on Google to "prove" a comic's critical notability if it's traffic ranking is worse than 200,000. Very thorough!

But ultimately, the problem is that notability standards aren't consistent across wikipedia. Like you say, Eric, there are articles about some of the most obscure corners of sci fi and print comics around... stuff that only a handful of people will appreciate. But on the other hand, as Hahnchen argues, the standards he is applying to webcomics are actually much more forgiving than those applied to, say, bands and musicians.

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at October 24, 2005 7:08 PM

Yes. The entire treatment of webcomics on Wikipedia is complete fucking crap right now. I am appalled beyond all reason. In fact, the entire treatment of deletion on Wikipedia is complete fucking crap. The process is dominated by people who admit that they have no clue what they are talking about. The deletion pages are heavily frequented by those who prefer deletion. Once a page is deleted, restoring it is incredibly difficult, because people insist on holding to the deletion process, which is increasingly self-evidently broken.

Beyond that, a person like Hahnchen's opinion counts exactly as much as, say, mine - a PhD student, studying comics, and focusing on webcomics more than anyone else I know of in my program.

Anyone who wants to see this utter shit in action should have a look at this debate, in which membership in Dayfree is taken as non-notable, people treat Dayfree's OWN PAGE as not a reliable source, people disregard the Comixpedia list on which Dayfree's importance is established, and people assert that qualified opinions of people don't count specially. It's appalling.

Deletion is broken on Wikipedia. And it's broken in a way that I've been arguing would drive people away for some time. I'm very sorry to see that it's rapidly succeeding at driving people away from one of the topics I'm most passionate about on the site. All I can say is I'm sorry. We fucking suck on this one, and I'm doing everything I can do fix it.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at October 24, 2005 7:15 PM

I don't know why people over at Wikipedia dislike webcomics so much, but this is why I'm using Comixpedia exclusively when it comes to webcomics. I have no desire to have to fight to keep articles from being deleted, especially when the articles are extremely obvious that they should be notable. I'll occassionally port over an edit from comixpedia to an existing article, but that's it.

I'm hoping that eventually they'll stop this rampant deleting of articles, but it doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon.

Comment from: Axonite posted at October 24, 2005 7:51 PM

He's been at it longer than since last weekend - Station V3's entry got Hahnchened about a month ago. Didn't bother me too much, since it had already been copied over to Comixpedia and expanded there. But it did bug me that they seemed to think I wrote the entry myself.

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at October 24, 2005 7:56 PM

Oh, yes. How can we forget the fact that it's totally acceptable to accuse articles of having been written by the creators when there's no evidence whatsoever to prove that.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 24, 2005 8:08 PM

I've been tempted for a while to make a Wikipedia account merely to break things - start voting for deletion for as many articles I can, starting with, say, Ultra Girl, and going out from there, and see how far I can get before people work out that all I seem to do is delete things that probably could have stayed.

I'm sort of concerned by what I've heard termed as the cult of the amateur - that people get so excited about regular Joes doing a job instead of the ivory tower professionals that they fail to understand that there's a world of difference they can't between the amateur and the professional. While it's great that amateurs can get into an industry as never before, and can even turn into professionals themselves, I'd hesitate if that freedom came at the expense of putting the existing professionals out of a job. I'd hate to see Wikipedia flourish if it meant that professional editors, with an eye on the overall encyclopedia, were out of a job because they couldn't compete.

Also, CYS's Comixpedia article is sorely lacking as well. Just saying.

Comment from: gwalla posted at October 24, 2005 8:10 PM

So, Snowspinner, how do you really feel?

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at October 24, 2005 8:14 PM

Merus - Unfortunately, you would get astonishingly far. ASTONISHINGLY far. To date, I don't believe anyone has been banned or discredited for excessive deletionism, and yet they have for inclusionism.

gwalla - Like killing! You?

Comment from: Arachnid posted at October 24, 2005 9:25 PM

What is it about Wikipedia and deleting things? Does it really matter how 'notable' something is? It doesn't make much sense to me that useful articles are being eliminated purely because they're not 'important' enough - if nobody reads them, then what does it matter?

Incidentally, why is Typekey asking me if I want to share my email address every time I log in? I also like the way they ask:

The site you are signing into requests that you provide your email address. Do you wish to share your email?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

[Share Email Address]
So what do I do exactly if I don't want to share my email address?

Comment from: Joe Zabel posted at October 24, 2005 9:35 PM

This really, really sucks!!!

Can anyone confirm that Hahnchen is the one who referred to webcomics as a "pandemic?" I know somebody on the "dump Farley" side used that phrase. I knew that they were trying to drop the entry for Spiders, but I didn't realize they were trying to expurgate Farley completely!

The rationale, as I understand it, for purging Spiders was simply that it hasn't updated recently. But Spiders is one of those great unfinished masterpieces, like Dead Souls. I'm not sure if they'd take the same attitude towards a work that actually was completed, like When I Am King. Hey, it's not updating!

When somebody on the "keep Farley" side mentioned 'Pedia and us, the response, to paraphrase, was "who the hell are they?"

Comment from: Merus posted at October 24, 2005 9:37 PM

Snowspinner - excellent. I was hoping that, if I ever did that, that I'd have to try and get the front page deleted or something in order for people to notice what I was doing.

Arachnid - You can say 'no', but it's a lot easier to set the "Remember me?" setting to "Yes", although that never took until I put in a web address.

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at October 24, 2005 9:58 PM

The pandemic comment was made by Dottoreso.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at October 24, 2005 9:59 PM

I was just ending a Wiki-vacation when I noticed all this stuff going on, and, frankly, it has infuriated me beyond all bounds.

From my point of view, I went away for a couple of months, and when I came back, articles to which I had contributed were gone. These were articles which had been started, edited, and contributed to in good faith and in full accordance with the prevailing policy of the time, and now they were simply gone. I remember researching those articles, and carefully verifying their eligibility myself. I remember going to the forums for those comics after their articles appeared, explaining Wikipedia to their fans, and encouraging them to contribute.

"Come on in! We won't bite."

And now I just can't bring myself to contribute to Wikipedia any more.

It's one thing to have your precious words edited by someone else — everyone on Wikipedia gets used to that soon enough — but it's quite another to have your work disappeared. To have articles which had been there for months suddenly declared to be unpersons by someone while you were away recharging your batteries.

I have, in the past, linked to Wikipedia articles in things I have written; why on earth would I do that any more? Any blog entries or messages I've written which linked to those articles now link to nothing at all. What kind of reference work can survive that kind of problem? It's not like these were vanity cruft articles; those were usually nailed pretty quickly, without any problems (after all, Eric's criteria had the enormous advantage of being easily verifiable and objective; when VanityCruftComic complained about the VfD, it was easy to point to the criteria to head off arguements). How has Wikipedia been improved by the removal of articles which had been there for months?

I know that I should go back there and fight to keep things from deteriorating completely; but, honestly, this has crushed the fight right out of me.

Comment from: prosfilaes posted at October 24, 2005 10:21 PM

What's wrong with Wikipedia having some basic standards on what should be included? It does make a difference, as they may collect vandalism and force additional disambig pages and links that look valid but aren't.

Webcomics don't get held to the standards that some other fields do; the bands have to have two albums from a major label. That would only permit the webcomics that has a couple books out.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 24, 2005 10:41 PM

Okay, the whole webcomics thing sounds less like a case of ignorance and more like a vendetta.

To flip over, I'm going to look at the Wikipedia entry for my site (I'll spare people the extra link). Here's the thing - we did create that entry ourselves, although we allowed people to refine it. Someone probably could argue that it's a vanity entry, although it has been made more impartial and we've established some legitimacy.

So why, given the nature of my site's Wiki entry, are webcomics being targeted?

Comment from: John Lynch posted at October 24, 2005 10:49 PM

Nothing's wrong with standards. It's when those standards ignore the community that it's talking about that it becomes ridiculous. Dayfree Press and other webcomic collectives of a similar caliber are the webcomic version of major labels in the music community.

Deleting Able and Baker is the same as deleting every single MUD on Wikipedia because none of those muds are linked to from the New York times or haven't been published by a major publishing company like Sony or Squaresoft. When it gets to that level it means that wikipedia becomes useless for anyone wanting to find out about webcomics (or MUDs) in any amount of detail, and the result would be only a bare handful of webcomic related articles.

By the way, deletion of non-notable articles isn't official Wikipedia policy. It's just done.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at October 24, 2005 10:58 PM

It's about time we got rid of other non-notable junk comics like MegaTokyo and Penny Arcade. Nobody cares about them and their articles are taking up valuable room in the Wiki that could otherwise be used to expand our list of prominent Wookies in SW fan fiction.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 24, 2005 11:14 PM

I personally have a problem with the attitude that publication is an acceptable criteria for notability. Notability is hard to pin down using an objective scale, because you're measuring influence, and as we've seen it falls down completely in some fields. Being published is hardly a good criteria for notability, either - for instance, vanity press.

Comment from: Philip Taron posted at October 24, 2005 11:35 PM

But...

But...

The WP article on Patrick Farley is still there. I just added a list of all his works about a week ago.

So is the entry on The Spiders, one of his works; so is the entry on Electric Sheep Comix. All of these sustained AfD status.

Seems to me there is much confusion in this thread between an proposed deletion and an actual one. Anyone -- Hahnchen seems to like to do so more than most, but anyone -- can put that big bad marker up on an article. It doesn't mean the article is gone, or that it's fated to go.

The other thing that seems to be causing confusion are the proposed standards in the Webcomic WikiProject on Wikipedia. They're just proposed. Don't like them? Reword them to your liking. There's a host of good reasons in this thread for why the most prominently placed proposal is lacking--but without voices critising the proposal, it'll become more and more accepted.

That'd be a shame.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 24, 2005 11:43 PM

I followed Hahnchen's wiki exploits for a bit after he initiated a vote-for-deletion for Able and Baker. As you mentioned, Eric, he admits that he does not know much about webcomics. From what I can tell, he's relying entirely on Alexa rankings and quick Google serachings -- relying on Google to "prove" a comic's critical notability if it's traffic ranking is worse than 200,000. Very thorough!

But ultimately, the problem is that notability standards aren't consistent across wikipedia. Like you say, Eric, there are articles about some of the most obscure corners of sci fi and print comics around... stuff that only a handful of people will appreciate. But on the other hand, as Hahnchen argues, the standards he is applying to webcomics are actually much more forgiving than those applied to, say, bands and musicians.

The problem is, he's not even using Alexa. He simply doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time.

My comic has a great Alexa rating and was deleted anyways.

Now, I will admit that I'm the first one to say my comic isn't notable. But it does have a good Alexa ranking. And there seems to be ZERO consistency about how these things are deleted or not. And that, really, is the problem.

Comment from: Joshua posted at October 24, 2005 11:50 PM

I wonder what would happen if contributors to a rival (specialized) user-edited encyclopedia started voting for deletion of any content in Wikipedia that covered the same ground as their own. Would they succeed in carving that domain out of Wikipedia?

Comment from: John Lynch posted at October 24, 2005 11:51 PM

Philip Taron said "It doesn't mean the article is gone, or that it's fated to go."

But it's ridiculous that just about every single webcomic entry is going to have to sustain a AFD.

Comment from: gwalla posted at October 24, 2005 11:51 PM

Joe: No, Farley's article is safe. Eric's post is less than accurate, as Reinder pointed out.

The problem with Eric's proposed guidelines is that they're so lax that nobody on VfD (or whatever it's called these days) takes them seriously.

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at October 24, 2005 11:58 PM

I don't think even Eric backs his proposed guidelines at this point. (Though I still basically do)

But to argue that a strip on Dayfree Press isn't notable, or that Comixpedia isn't a reliable source on webcomics is the height of ignorance. And it's highly distressing that this ignorance is being allowed to prevail in deletion debates.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 25, 2005 12:06 AM

My original thoughts on my proposed guidelines went from the idea that Wikipedia wanted to include things as a default, but needed a method to block truly unworthy entries.

It turned out I was wrong. By the time that had become clear, I lost most interest in working with Wikipedia in general. By the end of it, I also realized my definition of an "unworthy entry" had changed pretty heavily as well.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at October 25, 2005 12:10 AM

Every time I read one of these posts about Wikipedia, I feel really really weird that MY webcomic of all things got put up for deletion a couple months back and actually SURVIVED.

Oh yeah, thanks got out to Ray Radlein for the "minor grammar tweak"! Ha ha, yeah, I did just check the history for my entry . . .

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at October 25, 2005 12:14 AM

Of course, mine stayed up because it met your proposed guidelines actually. So maybe they just haven't gotten to it again (though it's in the B's).

Eh, it got copied over to the webcomics one anyway.

Comment from: Philip Taron posted at October 25, 2005 12:17 AM

It's ridiculous that just about every single webcomic entry is going to have to sustain a AFD.

Yes. There's a similar problem with blogs, popular or not, and virtually all other forms of web content. My approach is to vote keep most times, and hopefully give good reasons why, even if those reasons are directly challenging the rule that the page was proposed for deletion under. Alexa is not reason enough to delete, etc.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at October 25, 2005 12:30 AM

Alexa isn't always the most reliable tool for webtraffic to begin with. The majority of my site traffic comes from browsers that aren't Internet Explorer -- if they were counted as well, I expect my ranking would be a lower than it currently is...

Comment from: John Lynch posted at October 25, 2005 1:09 AM

RoboYuji wrote "Every time I read one of these posts about Wikipedia, I feel really really weird that MY webcomic of all things got put up for deletion a couple months back and actually SURVIVED."

Which compounds the problem even further. No offence RoboYuji, but I'd hardly call your webcomic notable (although I will be having a look at it later to put on my toRead list :D). And if I had to decide which is more notable between 8 1/2 by Eleven and RoboYuji's webcomic(s), I'd choose 8 1/2 by Eleven. And yet, that one was deleted while 8 1/2 by Eleven survived.

This is another reason why I prefer Comixpedia over Wikipedia. Anything that's a webcomic stays on Comixpedia, while on Wikipedia they've currently got some arbitrary criteria that doesn't really make much sense.

Comment from: prosfilaes posted at October 25, 2005 1:12 AM

Every place that uses publication specifically excludes vanity press publications. Publication also has the advantage that published materials won't disappear from existance just because one person decides to delete a webpage; in the long run, an artform only found via website is rather ephemeral and hence not-notable.

It's easy to take shots at SW trivia in Wikipedia, but it's not fan fiction. It's a universe that most people in the Western world are at least passingly familar with, and even the ever-mocked novels have readerships that would dwarf any but the largest webcomics.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 25, 2005 1:14 AM

Actually John, it's the other way around. 8 1/2 by Eleven was deleted and RoboYuji survived.

Just a correction. I'm pretty sure you meant it that way and simply typed it wrong, considering the context.

No edit button!!

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at October 25, 2005 1:20 AM

Ha ha, no offense taken, although I'll mention that I've never ever heard of 8 1/2 by Eleven before.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at October 25, 2005 2:30 AM

The problem with Eric's proposed guidelines is that they're so lax that nobody on VfD (or whatever it's called these days) takes them seriously.

That's odd, given that no comic which met Eric's criteria ever failed a VfD vote while I was around. Seems to me that implies that plenty of people took them seriously up until a couple of months ago.

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at October 25, 2005 2:47 AM

If they ever mark Megatokyo for deletion, we will know they have gone mad with power.

Comment from: False Prophet posted at October 25, 2005 3:18 AM

We librarians are of two minds about Wikipedia. I consider it a microcosm of the Internet itself. On the one hand, anyone can write an article and post it in Wikipedia. On the other hand, it's clear not everyone /should/. Wikipedia is generally good for quick and basic facts, but you'd never use it as a reference in your masters thesis.

Comment from: nifboy posted at October 25, 2005 3:23 AM

Ray: Funny, my experience has always been the opposite: Except in a handful of cases where the "webcomics community" (meaning all of about three, maybe four people) swooped in to save an article, if it didn't meet Alexa requirements it was gone. Yuji's comic only got kept because it was a 2-2 vote ("No consensus" officially, keeps the article by default). 8 1/2 by Eleven was 2 delete, 2 abstain and 1 DQ'ed keep (the user's only edits are on VfD = no ethos).

Really, the problem with VfD is that many times folks vote based on the information in the article, and if the article doesn't do a good job distinguishing one webcomic from another, off it goes. I think the VfD on Triangle and Robert illustrates the problem nicely.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at October 25, 2005 4:21 AM

lucas said "Actually John, it's the other way around. 8 1/2 by Eleven was deleted and RoboYuji survived....No edit button!!"

Yeah that's what I meant. Darn the lack of an edit feature.

RoboYuji said "although I'll mention that I've never ever heard of 8 1/2 by Eleven before."

That's another problem with notability and the webcomics community. For many the webcomics community is Userfriendly or Penny Arcade and their forums. And that's it. For others it's Keenspot and Comic Genesis, while for others it's a whole slew of websites that are read a lot in a mad dash.

Except for the odd huge success like Userfriendly, 8-Bit Theatre, Penny-Arcade and Megatokyo, webcomics are likely to be considered notable in one circle, while not even heard of in another.

Comment from: Daerv posted at October 25, 2005 4:43 AM

I'm really not sure what's up with all the deletions. Clearly these articles are significant to someone or they wouldn't be there in the first place? What do they think is going to happen?

I honestly don't think anyone on Wikipedia has the right to delete anything else while an article on smegma still exists... An article with photos...

Please don't ask how I ended up seeing that. Red Dwarf, smeg, randomness... Pain.

Comment from: Comus posted at October 25, 2005 6:05 AM

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/24/wikipedia_letters/


pretty much says it all about wikipedia I think.

I tried it as well but it's like pissing against the wind.

Comment from: David Morgan-Mar posted at October 25, 2005 8:18 AM

Frankly I'm surprised the article on Irregular Webcomic! hasn't been deleted yet. I don't consider myself up anywhere near the big leagues. So I'm glad for the existence of Comixpedia.

But yeah, the anti-deletion fight is tiresome. It's not just webcomics though. I'm a fairly big contributor to Wikipedia, mostly in sport-related topics. There seems to be people with a vendetta against those too. I think there's deletionists crusading across all topics - you just notice the ones you spend time with.

Comment from: GiannaM posted at October 25, 2005 9:24 AM

What I don't understand is why anyone would want an entry for their webcomic on Wikipedia. Self-promotion? People are going to look for a webcomic in Google, or if they don't know it, find it linked on a forum or a webcomics list. They're not going to search wiki for it. Expecting wikipedia to have an entry for every webcomic doesn't make much sense to me, it's like expecting it to have an entry for every book ever written.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 25, 2005 9:48 AM

Gianna -- the truest vision of a reference work like Wikipedia (and its truest potential, far beyond that of paper encyclopedias) is that you can actually suggest that there be an entry for every book ever written. The limits are speed of the database, bandwidth consumed and storage space on the hard drives -- and text doesn't take up much space.

Now, that's not Wikipedia's mission or mandate. But when someone takes up the tools and learns the lesson of Wikipedia and makes the next generation encyclopedia, I'm willing to bet that's going to be part of the ultimate mission statement.

Of course, there needs to be an order of magnitude better search engine for it, but frankly I expect Google to provide that.

Hell, I consider it even odds that Google will announce "Google Fact," based on the Wikipedia content, but with incentives for expert review and editorial content. It's the kind of thing Google lets others break ground on, figure a better way to do it, and then show up and dominate.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 25, 2005 9:49 AM

Well, I don't know if the webcomics people find this true, but my site gets a sizeable number of referrals from Wikipedia (I think the number is around 12%). If a webcomic gets similar (or better) referral numbers than my site does, then that alone would be a good reason to fight to keep it.

I've come to treat Wikipedia as the source to investigate to get leads. But once I get info from Wikipedia, I always corroborate before using said facts. I know that mistakes/lies are often corrected fairly quickly, but I don't want to catch them at a bad time and rely on it.

Honestly, I'm still suspecting a combination of a vendetta for some reason and people getting giddy with power. After all, Wikipedia is a potent referral device and if you alter something with power, you have a level of power yourself.

Comment from: Kludge posted at October 25, 2005 10:07 AM

I was just about to say "what, is Wikipedia running out of webpages or something?", but Mr. Burns just beat me to it.

I can't see any reason why any entry should really be deleted - and, in a sense, are any? Remember that an essential part of a Wiki is the version control system. If you write an article you're particularly proud of, but which gets drowned in revisions, simply link to your revision. Anyone following your link will get the text you wrote, and if they do want to see the latest version there's a link on the page for that. (I'm not sure how Wikipedia handles deleted pages, but I'm guessing you might be able to do something similar).

The space restrictions on Wikipedia aren't really even the physical things that Eric mentioned: Databases get faster, bandwidth gets greater, disk drives get more capacious. It costs a bit of money, but that's not really here nor there - we'd all understand if someone said "no more articles, we can't afford it".

As far as I can see, having billions upon billions of articles only causes two problems, and they both really come down to user time.

First: finding the correct article. There's already quite a good search on Wikipedia, and there are disambiguation pages. If people could categorize the articles slightly (just enough for it to show up more regularly on the search page), we'd probably be set.

Second: bad articles. If an article is inaccurate or biased (and let's be honest: bias is only really bad because it tends to introduce inaccuracies), it can waste the user's time. If they believe it, they waste time doing the wrong thing or arguing a point wrongly. If they don't believe it, they've still wasted time reading the article. NPOV covers this already.

Wikipedia is a reference book, not a novel. Reference coverage does not need to have any relation to real-world "coverage" - if that were the case for all forms of media, 20% of the heroes of Hollywood blockbusters would be Chinese peasants. So it seems to me that there would be no harm in Wikipedia having an article about a webcomic that only one person ever reads - as long as it's clearly marked so that no-one else wastes their time reading it, and as long as the search engine shows it up as "Newtonian Gravity vs. Predator: Webcomic" so that people looking for stories about falling apples don't go to it by accident.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 25, 2005 10:13 AM

I'm actually thinking it's more general than that - I think it might be dissatisfaction with 'Web 2.0' in general. I think people are sick of others selling amateur hour technologies like blogging and wikis and so forth as the next big thing, and they've sort of given them a chance and they've failed to deliver on their promises. (For instance, papers still exist, and while they do have off-shoot blogs for opinion pieces blogs have hardly been the end of traditional, edited media.)

Wikipedia's been around for a few years now, and yet the amount of respect it's earned is not equal to its quality, stability or completeness. Wikipedia's been overhyped, essentially, and the backlash, here on Websnark and in other places, is what happens when people realise.

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 25, 2005 10:23 AM

Okay, so apparently, I'm a sheep, led off to see the smegma article, which took forever to load, as always with Wikipedia (this is in fact why I don't use it, it's faster to go somewhere else for me, pages take too long to load!).

Wow. Who'da thought I'd be sitting here, and suddenly, boy-bits on my screen! And, uhm. EW, smegma. EW. Boys oughta, y'know, wash. yeah.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at October 25, 2005 11:06 AM

I can't see any reason why any entry should really be deleted - and, in a sense, are any? Remember that an essential part of a Wiki is the version control system. If you write an article you're particularly proud of, but which gets drowned in revisions, simply link to your revision. Anyone following your link will get the text you wrote, and if they do want to see the latest version there's a link on the page for that. (I'm not sure how Wikipedia handles deleted pages, but I'm guessing you might be able to do something similar)

If there's a way of linking to, or even finding, the text of deleted articles (Google cache or Wayback Machine aside), I have been unable to find it; that's part of what makes this so completely disheartening. Everything you did for that article, however significant or minor it was, is gone (I've been meaning to go through the 1000 or so edits in my history to verify that they, too, have vanished, like I think they have).

It's not someone changing, or disagreeing, or even vandalizing your efforts: It's someone saying that your efforts don't matter.

You know how tiring it can be when you find yourself on Revert War Troll Patrol, monitoring (along with one or two other ad hoc volunteers) some particular article which is being repeatedly defaced or POV'd? Now imagine how tiring it would be to have to constantly monitor dozens of articles to make sure that no one VfD's them without you knowing about it. Who wants to spend their time on Wikipedia doing that?

Once upon a time, of course, it was easy: I simply monitored the "List of Webcomics" page and the "Articles we need" part of the Wikiproject: Webcomics page. When a new comic listing appeared on either, I followed the link, checked out the article, and spent a half hour to an hour or so verifying that it met Eric's alternate criteria. If not, I would drop a VfD on it myself, along with an explanation of why it failed to measure up (favorite example: a comic which consisted of four single panel "issues," at least one of which was a splash/title page). The ones that fell short were almost never borderline cases at all.

If the new article was for a comic which met the criteria, I would usually make one of two minor tweaks to it and then go to the comic's forum to see if its fans wanted or needed someone to explain Wikipedia to them, and to invite them to participate. Sometimes, these new articles would get VfD'd by someone else; in that case, I would go to the discussion and explain why I thought the comic should stay or go.

Like I said before, during the time I was around (up until, say, June or July), no comic meeting the Alternate Criteria ever failed a VfD (at least, no comic of which I was aware; it is possible, of course, that a web comic otherwise meeting the criteria had an article created and VfD'd without me ever knowing about it because it was never listed on either the "List of Webcomics" page or the "Articles We Need" listing). Similarly, no comic which I submitted to VfD ever survived (in fact, I don't think that I've ever wound up on the wrong end of a VfD discussion in which I participated).

And now, all of a sudden, months after the fact, those articles are getting tossed out.

All that time I spent reading and tweaking and editing and verifying the archives and monitoring and updating the lists? Unimportant, evidently. A silly waste.

I spent most of my days asleep, in a vague blurry mental fog, in varying degrees of pain, or some combination thereof. Time and concentration are my most precious and carefully-rationed posessions; to have them summarily discarded by someone else after the fact is, quite simply, crushing.

Comment from: Kludge posted at October 25, 2005 11:51 AM

If there's a way of linking to, or even finding, the text of deleted articles (Google cache or Wayback Machine aside), I have been unable to find it; that's part of what makes this so completely disheartening. Everything you did for that article, however significant or minor it was, is gone (I've been meaning to go through the 1000 or so edits in my history to verify that they, too, have vanished, like I think they have).

I dug a little and unearthed this: Wikipedia Undeletion Policy Page, which seems to imply that you can see who deleted your article and when it was deleted by searching the delete log - and if you are an administrator you can also see the contents of deleted articles.

...so that might help. (Of course, if you're that into Wikipedia you probably already know this and have struck out, but in case you didn't...)

Comment from: Kludge posted at October 25, 2005 11:52 AM

Oh, dammit - no links in posts.

The Wikipedia undeletion URL is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Undeletion_policy

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at October 25, 2005 11:58 AM

Well said, Daerv. If smegma has a right to exist on Wikipedia, almost anything else does.

Comment from: Steve Hogan posted at October 25, 2005 1:29 PM

I'm kind of torn. There is abuse of Wikipedia by cartoonists and wanna be cartoonists. There was a classic example over at the Comics Journal message board where it was pointed out that a guy with relatively little professional credits had an inflated and exhaustive entry on the wiki. (One that seemed quite probably self penned.) Having listings for every webcomic would be a little like having entries for every single bar band.

That said, I think the standards that "Hahnchen" put forth were clumsy and wrongheaded. Basing everything around Alexa traffic and updates means that strips like LEISURE TOWN, PUP, and COPPER wouldn't make the cut. In a medium where daily hits is often valued over lasting artistic legacy, this is not a good thing.

Comment from: miyaa posted at October 25, 2005 3:53 PM

I'd like to know if this just a problem with webcomic Wikipedia entries, or is this a problem system-wide? I mean are there problems with, say, Wikipedia entries about geographical facts about the country of Monaco being deleted?

Too be honest, I'm not going to be worried if Wikipedia is going to delete a bunch of webcomic entries. I'd be more worried if they start to arbitarily delete, say, entries about human anatomy.

Comment from: gwalla posted at October 25, 2005 4:23 PM

Kludge: Wikipedia isn't like other wikis. If an article is deleted by an admin (rather than simply blanked), the page history is no longer visible to regular users. The information isn't gone█an admin can come along and undelete the article (but they're only supposed to if the deletion was out-of-process or otherwise against policy) and restore everything█but for anyone without admin priviledges it isn't available.

Comment from: prosfilaes posted at October 25, 2005 5:19 PM

If smegma has a right to exist on Wikipedia, almost anything else does? I would expect smegma to be in a normal encyclopedia; it is an eternal part of the human condition. Whereas some of these webcomics have the audience of at best a very minor novel. I find Wikipedia already a little large to be easily handable, especially from the viewpoint of a vandal-stomper.

Comment from: Daerv posted at October 25, 2005 5:47 PM

I'm struggling with the concept of smegma having an audience. Maybe we should just forget I ever mentioned it.

My personal opinion is that Wikipedia should stop trying to be a proper encyclopedia. It has the potential to be so much more. Hell it already is. The sheer volume of information on comic book characters (for which I am eternally grateful) shows that.

The web comics being removed probably have a bigger readership than certain comics for which wikipedia has incredible detail (on even the most minor of characters). Regardless of whether it's true or not Wikipedia just comes across as very elitist in terms of the material they will and won't accept.

It won't stop me loving it though. So many hours can be spent bored at work reading the histories of various comic book universes.

Comment from: Kludge posted at October 25, 2005 6:48 PM

Gwalla: This is all true, but Ray does at least have two options if he's genuinely lost text that he wants back:

1) Become an admin (which doesn't look too difficult for someone like him).
2) Befriend an admin (which should be even easier).

...although if I was running Wikipedia I'd allow linking to deleted articles - they'd have big banners saying that they were deleted (and why), but I don't see any real reason...

- well, okay: porn -

..few real reasons for hiding deleted articles with these caveats.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 25, 2005 9:37 PM

Okay, given what I read here, I wisely waited until I got home from work to look at the article on smegma...

To be fair about it, that is a medical term. Maybe not one we want to deal with, but certainly one nonetheless. As such, it does belong on Wikipedia and I don't think it's fair to compare that to webcomics.

Whether or not it needed the pictures is another question entirely, though. I think I could have figured it out without an illustration.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 25, 2005 10:08 PM

I just went to have a look at the deconstructionism article. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of support for a definition of deconstructionism, for much the same reasons Eric has suggested - it's pretty much impossible to define deconstructionism on its own terms.

But that's only a quick look, and I sort of wanted to interrupt the no-doubt riveting conversation on smegma.

Comment from: Denyer posted at October 25, 2005 10:11 PM

Blank images and render links to text URLs in 'deleted' articles? That would counter that problem, perhaps.

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at October 26, 2005 12:05 AM

Last August 5, Reuters reported that Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales was considering freezing edit access to certain entries. "There may soon be so-called stable contents. In this case, we'd freeze the pages whose quality is undisputed."

If implemented, this policy may not end the Wiki War on Webcomics, as that subject probably isn't a high priority for most researchers (rightly or wrongly!). However, it may at least ensure that when a fifth grade student is looking up information on, say, aspartame, she won't be faced with something like "Aspartame was invented by Israel, the Vatican and the CIA in secret experiments on African Americans."

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 12:26 AM

Unless she's looking in the Uncyclopedia, of course, but then one would hope that no-one was using that as a source other than for giggles.

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at October 26, 2005 12:45 AM

The Reuters report was 100% inaccurate, and was based on a complete misunderstanding of Jimbo's words, I'm afraid.

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at October 26, 2005 12:48 AM

Ah yes, the Uncyclopedia. Right now their admins are enjoying a "Forest Fire Week," in which they get to delete pages without going through their usual "Votes for Deletion" process. Probably a good idea in their case, since for every genuinely funny article (and there are many), there's an awful lot of sophomoric nonsense or worse. See Uncyclopedia:How_To_Be_Funny_And_Not_Just_Stupid, which I find a useful guide for writing humour in general.

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at October 26, 2005 12:51 AM

The Reuters report was 100% inaccurate, and was based on a complete misunderstanding of Jimbo's words, I'm afraid.

Wow! A news service report being inaccurate? Who woulda thunk it?

Seriously, though, what was it that Wales actually did say? The interview cited in that article was in German, which I read only at a dumbkopf level.

Comment from: SeanH posted at October 26, 2005 4:02 AM

I think that my only contribution to this conversation is going to be to tell you that it's Dummkopf. :P

Comment from: GD posted at October 26, 2005 5:05 AM

I'm glad to see this is getting wider coverage. I really haven't anything to add that hasn't already been said by others, but it should be noted that this little episode HAS been going on for longer than a week.

What seems to be the prevailing attitude at Wikipedia currently is that webcomics in general aren't notable enough for encyclopedia entries. Certainly the big names are represented, but when an editor comes across a comic they don't recognize, the immediate response seems to be DELETE. That's frightening when one considers that the same bullheadedness is probably being applied to entries OTHER than webcomics, as well.

Comment from: elvedril posted at October 26, 2005 7:42 AM

I think that the inclusion of "Gelatinous cube" in wikipedia is a little better as an example (than smegma) of things that are suprisingly "more relevant," to the standard encyclopedia reader, than a fair number of webcomics... I mean the only people who are really going to think of looking up the cube already have a good description in their Monstrous Manual...

Thank you to Irregular Webcomics for the link to that article.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at October 26, 2005 9:55 AM

As the last non-D&D player on earth outside of, I suppose, Fundamentalist circles, I had never heard of Gelatinous Cube, but I'm an instant fan. Gelatinous Cube rocks! I want to make a webcomic about its epic adventures.

And when I do, Wikipedia will have no choice but to have an article about it.

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 26, 2005 10:21 AM

I guess you can say I played D&D once. I mean, literally, once. Worst GM ever, I later learned, and a really sucky play team... but regardless, it put me off the game. yep.

But I'd heard of gelatinous cube. See, there was this game called Questron, for the Commodore 64. Man, I loved that game. I keep wishing someone would develop it so it could be played on my PC, like Broderbund did with Lode Runner (woohoo!). Crappy graphics and all, the original Questron had the best finale sequence I've ever seen, bar none. Thing lasts for 20 minutes! No splash screen with "you win!" or simple montage of credits/screenshots for these guys, oh no.

Sorry. Old memories of first PC and beloved games make me teary. Oooh, and Below The Root. And the other Wyndham classics.. man. I miss that. /sigh!

Comment from: elvedril posted at October 26, 2005 11:40 AM

Well there's already a Gelatinous cube article to be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatinous_cube in fact there is a whole category called "Dungeons & Dragons ceatures". Now I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, I'm just confused by how they judge relevancy...

Oh and Reinder Dijkhuis, better hold off on that webcomic... It might actually make them delete the gelatinous cube article as being in a webcomic may make it no longer relevant.

Comment from: Kludge posted at October 26, 2005 11:45 AM


It's already too late:

http://www.angryflower.com/everyb.gif

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 26, 2005 12:14 PM

Another creature that's in Wikipedia from AD&D? The Owlbear.

The Owlbear.

Frankly, I'll never take any notability criteria seriously ever again.

Comment from: Kail Panille posted at October 26, 2005 12:43 PM

Oh, come on. The Owlbear is hideously important! It's an owl! And a bear! And a walking, growling, perpertually enraged living moral about the dangers of mixing two totally unrelated species for no apparent reason! Insane wizards and geneticists beware! Listen to the owlbear's tortured screams, and you might hear the underlying cries: "I am a thing that should not be! Why must I exist?"

Before it bites your head off.

On the other hand, they don't have any treasure, so to hell with them.

Back to wikipedia, though, I've got to say that I'm disappointed in the owlbear article, which is sorely lacking the many and varied notable facts about this tremendously important magical beast. Maybe I'll edit it later.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at October 26, 2005 12:52 PM

Damn! All the good ideas are already taken.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at October 26, 2005 4:19 PM

From that page on the Uncyclopedia, which I have now been introduced to and will probably spend much time on:

This page is considered an ignorable policy on Uncyclopedia.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow, unless they don't want to, in which case they are free to ignore it. Please make use of the standing on one knee position to propose to this policy.

Can I propose to that last sentence? Cuz damn, that's funny. Also, you can't tell, but the "standing on one knee position" was a link.

Comment from: arscott posted at October 26, 2005 6:00 PM

For those still paying attention: It looks like this post has gotten a ball rolling

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Webcomics/Notability_and_inclusion_guidelines

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 6:05 PM

Before anyone knocks the owlbear, I'd like to point out that the term is an incredibly useful one for describing someone. Even if they've never touched D&D in their lives, they get what you mean immediately.

And yes, I knew someone we nicknamed "the Owlbear". He taught me how to play bridge.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 7:03 PM

Highly descriptive, the owlbear.

What the webcomics notability guidelines seem to fail to take into acount is that Ryan Estrada and Patrick Farley still don't qualify as notable, as their individual webcomics aren't as notable as their general body of work or specific accomplishments, and there's no scheme for determining if a webcomics creator is notable except through their comics.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 7:07 PM

Consider this an edit: I meant as of now. I baggs someone will be along shortly to plug any holes, as clearly someone in the Webcomics Wikiproject is reading this blog and can think of some holes. I can see the 'influential, but not a huge amount of content' loophole, and I'm sure there are some others.

Comment from: gwalla posted at October 26, 2005 10:44 PM

The newer proposal probably needs some more work, but it's light years beyond either of the ones that were there before.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 26, 2005 11:09 PM

i agree. the new proposal ain't so bad except in a few areas.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at October 31, 2005 10:27 AM

More fun with gelatinous creatures: The snot
http://runningwithpencils.com/flakypastry/comic.php?strip_id=24

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