02 March 2017 I Couldn’t Edit A Single Word on Wikipedia
I had a great idea.
Based on an old blog post, I intended to remove all unnecessary uses of the word “that” from Wikipedia.
I created an account called removesthat and got started. Using the random page feature I spent an hour finding dozens of inappropriate uses of “that” and deleted them.
He was dismayed to discover that his granddaughter did not know what coal was.
He was dismayed to discover his granddaughter did not know what coal was.
It makes the writing more concise and saves five bytes of bandwidth on every page load.
Once I’d done a few thousand I was going to write up the stunt and see if it could get some traction in PR. It was going to be a fun side project to kick off the year.
But less than an hour after my first edits, they were reverted:
I attempted to point out Mean as custard‘s arbitrary decision making and the irony of indiscriminately reverting all changes, but ultimately I ended up dealing with a troll. And you shouldn’t feed trolls. (Interestingly the Washington Post has covered this user before!)
I guess not every idea is a good one. All I got out of it was this crappy blog post!