Thursday, December 07, 2006

Truth Shall Be Thy Light

As of December 3rd, the Wikipedia article about Fayetteville-Manlius High School had four large banners across the top, proclaiming its inadequacy. Two of these notices were worded as follows:

Some information in this article or section has not been verified and may not be reliable. Please check for any inaccuracies, and modify and cite sources as needed.


This article or section needs copy editing for proper spelling, grammar, usage, tone, style, and voice.

I misquoted from Star Trek!At that point, I had written about half of the article myself. Although (as you know, Batman) I am typo-prone, I'm pretty sure it contained no misspellings, or errors in grammar or usage. As for the reliability of information, all but two of the facts in the article came from the school district's web site and related pages for the district's foundation and alumni. These sites (albeit not every relevant page therein) were also cited in the article. But they weren't "inline citations" - that is, they weren't numbered footnotes. They were either links next to the relevant text or listed in the reference section at the bottom. Because there wasn't a tiny number sitting at the end of every fact, somebody, who wasn't even logged in as a registered Wikipedia editor, decided there were no citations to support those statements. Au contraire!

I would have thought the banners were a sort of vandal edit, were it not for the fact that the person who added them also looked up who the first Hall of Distrinction alumni were and added the info. Besides, the ISP was listed as being in Kansas or someplace like that. If someone were to deliberately mess up the F-M H.S. article, one would expect that person to be from Central New York. After all, who else would even care?

So I ranted for a bit, in a couple different places. Then tonight I removed three of the four deprecating banners, and added nine inline citations to six source pages. Now I can stop being aggravated about it, until next time.

Right: my high school yearbook. It's evidence, but not a "reliable source", probably, that the yearbook name is Oakleaves and the school colors are green and white.

Ironically, the two facts that I didn't manage to source were someone's claim that F-M students tend to be financially well-off white kids (true in my day, but definitely not the image the school district is trying to project in 2006) and the source of the melody for the school song. It's sung to the tune of Aura Lee. The first verse and chorus are as follows:

Guarded by the old oak tree
Symbol of our goal.
Steadfast as our pride in thee
Its strength will write our scroll.

Truth shall be thy light.
Pledge we now our loyalty
To colors Green and White!

If you don't know what Aura Lee sounds like, you'll probably know it better as the melody of the Elvis song Love Me Tender.

Anyway, I say that's ironic because of that "truth" reference. I had to write the scroll myself, thank-you-very-much, and the truth apparently didn't shine brightly enough on the first pass. So here I am, helping it along, showing my loyalty to colors green and white, and that terrible, stupid school song I've hated and made fun of for over thirty years.

Technorati Tags: , ,

No comments: