I refer to Wikipedia in my blog posts but I usually refrain from blogging about Wikipedia and those who contribute to it. I'll make an exception here for a moment, in a moment.
First off: The whip-wielding lady in the latex suit who has been prominent on the sidebar has gone. She's gone because I felt that there was a certain type of traffic being attracted to this site by her presence. I have several traffic meters on this blog. The Feejit ones are visible, the others aren't. Feejit, although quite good, seems to miss a proportion of the traffic detected by other systems. For some reason, Google sites, of all things, seem to occasionally fail to register on Feejit. A lot of people seem to be finding their way here by way of Google images - a lot more than Feejit shows. I have a feeling they're not coming to look at the gladiators, Daleks, plastic soldiers, etc. Maybe I'm wrong. If they keep coming, great.
So why did I put her there if I felt uncomfortable with it? Here's where Wikipedia comes in. A couple of months ago some friends got into Wikipedia editing and I helped them with some intermittent advice and let them copy my formats from my user pages. I didn't discover until a few days had passed that they were doing some indiscreet things. One wanted to explore her interest in a certain type of sexuality... she created a name and user page that drew a block. After a further false start and some negotiating I persuaded her to take a lower profile on the site and give up the attention-drawing approach. Another friend wanted to be rather cheeky about certain matters involving ethnicity and also left a raunchy coded message on my talk page. Not only that, she wanted to do a project on a rather dangerous topic that you wouldn't want tracked back to you in real life. I also persuaded her to go for a "silent running" approach. I promised, in the course of our discussions, to give both of them some kudos on my blog to pay them off for going quietly. Well, I wasn't going to blog about bondage sex, but I kept my word by finding a comparatively tame picture for the sidebar. After a while, it just didn't look right to me or fit the general tone of what I wanted to say. I also noticed those visits from Google.images that might be on her account. My friend has kindly consented to the lady's departure. As for the other part of the deal, it involved taking time to bash certain rights-abusing governments and that's fine by me; that's what we're here for.
All this happened after an episode in which a couple of other people did some edits to a Wikipedia article and one of them left some messages on talk pages (including mine) that had the same effect as a stick down a bull-ant nest. It drew a wide-ranging block that affected several public sites which I and my friends like to edit from. I was able to defuse that situation and talk the party concerned into dropping it, but only after some unpleasant disputation with another Wikipedian.
Some of the Wikipedia crew believe that I created all of the user ID's involved as some kind of role-play and that the four entities are my "sockpuppets" as the Wikislang goes. I've heard of people creating imaginary friends, but never imaginary obstacles to their own plans. Their appearance and the affects thereof were just a coincidence with a project I was advancing. Also, the occasions when you need peace and focus are when the gods decide to vex you. Everybody knows that the best way to provoke rain and hail or dust-storms or the arrival of flocks of enthusiastically-defaecating birds is to hang out a large quantity of laundry that you've busted a gut to clean. So it was in this case. They broke the surface for their own reasons; they submerged and went away because I asked them nicely. As to what I was up to - you can read about that in the next post.