Sunday, June 04, 2006

Who Watches the Watchlist?

Here I am again, blogging after 2 AM. The problem with sleeping from 5 AM to 3 PM is that half the day is gone when I get up. Not that I really want to be out of the bedroom on a muggy 100 degree afternoon. That room is air conditioned. Te rest of the house is not, except for my office with its inadequate window unit. It's probably over 80 degrees in here, in the middle of the night.

So I got up and read most of my email, and checked my Wikipedia watchlist. Aha! Somebody added an episode list to the Route 66 entry! Good for them! Problem was, it looked like this:

1. Black November 2. A Lance of Straw 3. The Swan Bed 4. The Man on the Monkey Board 5. The Strengthening Angels 6. Ten Drops of Water 7. Three Sides (aka Three Sides of a Coin) 8. Legacy for Lucia 9. Layout at Glen Canyon 10. The Beryllium Eater 11. A Fury Slinging Flame 12. Sheba 13. The Quick and the Dead 14. Play It Glissando 15. The Clover Throne 16. Fly Away Home (Part One) 17. Fly Away Home (Part Two) 18. Sleep on Four Pillows 19. An Absence of Tears 20. Like a Motherless Child 21. Effigy in Snow 22. Eleven, the Hard Way 23. Most Vanquished, Most Victorious 24. Don't Count Stars 25. The Newborn 26. A Skill for Hunting 27. Trap at Cordova 28. The Opponent 29. Welcome to Amity 30. Incident on a Bridge

Kind of hard to read, ain't it?

So I tried to clean it up. I looked up how to do a numbered list in Wikipedia, only to discover there's apparently no way to get the numbering to continue on the next season's list. During my research about this, I accidentally clicked away from my edit, and had to start over. By that point I'd discovered that it's supposed to be done as a table anyway, not a list. So I researched how to do it as a table. Eventually I adapted a Star Trek episode list into a format more appropriate for Route 66, dumping the Stardate and production numbers, and adding writer credits.

The problem with the table is that it's pretty time-intensive, partly because it calls for adding more information than was on the raw list of titles. I made copies of properly formatted lines, ten at a time, and spent hours pasting in the title, air date and description. Most of the scripts were by the show's creator, Stirling Silliphant, so I left him in there as the default, and changed the episode that were written by someone else. And to do all that, I had to click on individual episode descriptions on another site, one by one. This took a long time on dial-up, but it seemed to be the fastest way to check the writing credit, and which episode was which.

By the time I got Season One finished, it was after 8 PM and I'd eaten nothing all day, not so much as a cracker. So I went out to a salad bar place. My digestive system immediately protested. Oh, well.

After dinner I worked on the other seasons for a bit, this time in Word so I can start and stop as needed. It does seem to save a bit of time, but I had a moment of panic when I finished pasting in all the Third Season airdates, only to discover I'd posted them in where Season Two belongs. I thought I'd overwritten Season Two! I clicked the Undo icon about thirty times, and then discovered that Season Two was intact after all, down where Season Three should be. So I did about thirty Redo commands and moved things to where they should be.

Then I checked my Wikipedia watch list again. Uh-oh! New controversy! The Barbara Bauer entry had the reference and link to James Cordray removed. Cordray, also known as JamesC, is half of husband and wife team behind JC-Hosting, the ISP that shut down Absolute Write after Bauer complained that AW "illegally" posted her already-public email address. The Wikipedia edit was explained on the article's Talk page:

The incident with JC Cordray hosting is in litigation and should not be included until verification is final. MY [3]

I wondered whether that's a sufficient reason to delete text that isn't really factually disputed:

James Cordray, manager of JC Hosting, the ISP which took down prominent writer's community "Absolute Write" after complaints made by Bauer, explains the reason why they did so.

The sentence describes a sequence of events, not cause and effect. The Cordrays don't dispute that Bauer contacted them. They merely claim, incoherently, repeatedly, and with lots of self-contradiction, that JC-Hosting had other issues with Absolute Write, mostly involving bandwidth. Their ongoing row with AW threatens to overtake the twist and turns of the Barbara Bauer story itself, and yes, lawyers are involved. Does this mean Wikipedia shouldn't mention it, or that it just shouldn't mention it in a prejudicial way?

A few minutes ago I did a mouseover on the link attached to the Talk page explanation. It leads to Mark A York, a frequent commenter on writing and political blogs, at least until he gets banned over and over for his persistent rudeness. York was recently "disemvowelled" and then banned from Making Light, along with his sock puppet alter ego. The man clearly has an axe to grind at this point, which makes his edit subject to a little more scrutiny than I might have given it otherwise.

I'm not interested in picking a fight with him or anyone, but from a dispassionate, ridiculously unbiased point of view, is it proper to leave out this part of the story on the basis of litigation? After all, it's not as if there isn't a lot of web chatter on the subject, most of it a lot more committed to one side or the other than this statement of fact. If anything, the attached link should have the related Making Light entry to counter it.

So that is what I did. I put the text back in, and added the Making Light link about the takedown. That's probably too many Making Light citations for this one article, but I guess it will do for now.

We'll see if it's there in the morning.

Jess, I'm not ignoring your Writer's Weekly Question. I just need a little more time to respond to it properly. Short answer: no, I haven't.


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

No comments: