Saturday, December 16, 2006

Listen All-a Y'all it's a SABOTAGE!

This just in: Somebody is "sabotaging" the English Literature job search wiki.

You'd think that I'm making this up, because why (really) would anybody bother? Is there some sort of pleasure to be derived in freaking out a bunch of already freaked out grad students and assistant professors?

Apparently, yes. But what's hilarious to me as I watch the escalating hysteria about the "sabotaged" wiki, is that nobody seems to think that anybody is putting misinformation on the thing. They basically trust that the wiki is the voice of Truth. The saboteur is in fact just being accused of deleting updated information. But why would a saboteur stop with deletion? Wouldn't it be more fun to tell people that interviews have been scheduled when they've not been scheduled, etc., so as to dash people's hopes, make them leave town and never check their messages, etc.? I mean, if I were a saboteur, this is what I'd do (and, let me state for the record that I am definitively NOT the vandal responsible for all of the chaos, nor would I do such a thing, but I'm not above thinking about it).

Now, my mom's been suspicious of this wiki all along, claiming that she thinks people would just tell lies on it. I thought she was being a bit paranoid, but now I'm thinking, hey, maybe my paranoid mom is on to something.

I suppose the point here is that it is clear to me that the wiki is just a way for people to focus their anxieties - whether for good or for ill. It really doesn't aid in one's own search at all, and I'd pretty much given up on the thing as being worth a damn anyway, because it doesn't really make the process transparent - rather, it creates an illusion of transparency, which I think is more dangerous than just acknowledging that it's not a transparent process.

I'd say more, but I'm drinking the echinacea tea and am feeling a bit cloudy. That said, am feeling better than yesterday, which is what happens when you sleep for about 16 hours over the course of a 24 hour period.


itinerarium said...

One, you get special bonus points for the BBoys reference. Two, my first thought upon hearing (from you) of this wiki was how much fun it would be to traumatise various and sundry job seekers by editing the wiki and adding "offer received" to the top job in my field, at some improbably early date. Ah, the prankster possibilities. This is what happens to wikis - wikipedia had to lock the article on "banana", for chrissakes, because of frequent vandalism. Oh well, missed opportunity, now too late to enjoy properly.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no idea what this English wiki thing is (I don't know if my field has an equivalent) but it definitely sounds like something open to fake info...

Rhonda said...

I've been watching the wiki, and I noticed the "sabotage" early on (because one of my own postings kept getting deleted). It seems less like true sabotage and more like one user who keeps saving earlier versions of the page--to which I say, hey, one of our competitors is not too swift! More points for the rest of us!

Robert said...

I wanted to get a t-shirt printed up that reads: "Wiki Saboteurs Should be Shot!"

I'm not really angry as i don't read the wiki - i'm just more annoyed by those who would go through and mind f*ck people.