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Evilpedia

Posted on Monday 25th June 2007 at 00:00
Today I write to you from the comfort of my bed, where I am currently sitting, propped up with pillows and with my laptop firmly placed on my lap. In recent times this has become my favourite place from which to blog; ever since I got the wireless network up and running.

It may therefore surprise you to learn that last Sunday, at the time that I had planned to be sat here writing to you, I was instead over at my desk, on the main computer with my eyes firmly glued to a website, where I remained for over 4 hours.

The website in question was Wikipedia.

For those of you who haven't yet heard of it, Wikipedia has recently been heralded in the media as one of the great success stories of Web 2.0. It is essentially a user generated encyclopaedia, and, owing to the vast number of users who contribute to it, you can use the site to find an article on almost anything there is to know.

Although there are some questions over its reliability as a research tool, owing to the lack of an editorial process, it has generally been accepted as a more than adequate resource for the casual user, and consequently ranks very highly in Google searches for the topics it covers.

But, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a dark side to Wikipedia. A side that no one talks about. A side that hasn't been given even one inch of newspaper column coverage. A side so incredibly evil that some would argue it is reason enough to remove it from the internet altogether!

And what is this dark side you may ask? Put simply; Wikipedia is more addictive than all the mind altering substances in the greater London area put together! That's right. All over the country, people are opening up their browsers, wishing to relieve a slight curiosity and completely unaware of what is lurking round the corner, waiting to suck them in.

In my case, I'd just been watching a short article on the Beeb about London Underground Tube stations that have been closed down over the years and are just sitting there, gathering dust in the darkness as trains pass by, never ever stopping. This had caught my interest rather and I decided to postpone my blogging activities for that day just long enough that I might explore the subject in more detail on Wiki.

This was at around half past 12 on a Sunday afternoon. The next thing I remember is looking up and finding that it was nearly 5 o clock. Somehow I'd spent my entire afternoon going from page to page, trying to learn everything I could on the subjects that interested me, but simply finding yet more intriguing topics on every page I looked at.

This is sadly not an isolated incident. In fact it happens every time I venture anywhere near the site. Just last night I read a story on the BBC about changes to licensing restrictions on the sorts of animals that can be used in the making of kilts in Scotland. There was some brief mention of lynxes, and I was surprised as I didn't think they lived in Scotland, so I had a little look on Evilpedia.

Somehow I got from Lynxes to Leopards, Leopards to Panthers, Panthers to Big Cats, Big Cats to Cats and Cats to The Cat from Red Dwarf, and before I knew it I had gone from a brief look into an endangered wild cat to reading all about the various continuity errors between the different seasons of one of my favourite Sit-Coms ever.

I honestly don't know how it happened, only that that's an evening of my life I'll never get back.

Beware my friends! Curiosity is a dangerous thing on the internet. In fact curiosity killed the cat, whether it be the wild lynx or a character played by Danny John-Jules I really couldn't say.

Perhaps I should look that one up...

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