The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13
Greg Linch § Matching cuts / 2014-09-16 18:18:15
Inque § Matching cuts / 2014-09-05 13:27:23
Gavin Craig § Matching cuts / 2014-08-31 16:33:56
Adam § Matching cuts / 2014-08-28 07:44:59
Tim Maly § Sooo / 2014-08-27 01:35:19

I dunno… seems a little "wiki"
 / 

This story about NYC’s Murray’s Cheese Shop‘s Cheese 101 program is pretty good, but I took note of one phrase in particular:

We sampled six cheeses, drank wine and champagne, and learned that cheese was invented in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C., when travelers carrying milk around in the sun in dried-out sheep stomachs noticed that it had begun to curdle and become delicious (this story sounded suspiciously Wiki to me, and indeed here it is, given as one possible explanation).

“This story sounded suspiciously wiki.” The obvious colloquial analogue would be “the story seemed fishy.” But note the distinction. A “fishy” story, like a “fish story,” is a farfetched story that is probably a lie or exaggeration that in some way redounds to the teller’s benefit. A “wiki” story, on the other hand, is a story, perhaps farfetched, that is probably backed up by no authority other than a Wikipedia article, or perhaps just a random web site. The only advantage it yields to the user is that one appears knowledgeable while having done only the absolute minimum amount of research.

While a fishy story is pseudo-reportage, a wiki story is usually either pseudo-scientific or pseudo-historical. Otherwise, wiki-ness is characterized by unverifiable details, back-of-the-envelope calculations, and/or conclusions that seem wildly incomensurate with the so-called facts presented.

This story about an extinct race of genius-level hominids turns out to be decidedly wiki.

Have folks heard this phrase in the wild? Is it unfair to Wikipedia, or to those who use it as a research source? Do we already have a better word to describe this phenomenon? (And: this phenomenon is all too real, and deserves a name, doesn’t it?)

13 comments