Friday, October 05, 2007


Click on picture for entire strip.

When Francesco Marciuliano hemmed and hawed and hinted that maybe My Hero, Ted Forth, the unemployed slightly off-kilter husband of Sally Forth, deserved his own Wikipedia page, I took notice. As the web’s leading Ted Forth expert (the key to internet superlatives is a narrow focus on obscure topics) I could not let this challenge go unanswered. I quickly whipped together a few things and got it up and going. Another fan of Francesco Explains It All (and he does it so much better than Clarissa ever did) cleaned up the references and fellow Comics Curmudgeon woodrowfan added a few tidbits as well. And that is what WikiTeamwork is about. Obsessive fans of ridiculous trivia preserving it forever.

This wasn’t Ces’s first go at WikiBegging. Back in his Drink At Work days, he lamented that despite being the star mid-reliever on the Sally Forth team, he did not have a WikiPage. WikiEthics prevent someone from writing their own WikiLoveFest, so Josh Fruhlinger, the Comics Curmudgeon himself, stepped up and got the ball rolling.

So impressed was I with Josh’s sense of public spirit, that I went and created a page for him. Alas, that page is no more. Some WikiCensors came along and determined that Josh, despite having the internet’s preeminent blog covering newspaper comics, was not “notable” enough to merit a few kilobytes of storage on the precious WikiServers. Notability is the stock in trade of who and what merits WikiPresence. If you read the requirements for notability strictly enough I’m not sure Mother Theresa or George Lucas would pass muster. In the blink of an eye, Josh became a WikiNonentity and my hard work vanished.

WikiCommandos are a notorious uptight bunch. They go around slapping threats and admonitions on pages that don’t meet their rigorous WikiStandards. If you look at the WikiPage for Comics Curmudgeon, it is festooned with warnings about lack of references and poor style. It seems nothing is ever quite up to snuff to these high-falutin’ WikiRules.

So that my humble tribute to Ted Forth does not suffer the same fate as Josh, I have replicated the WikiEntry below with revisions to my original post in italics.

Ted Forth

Ted Forth is a character in the syndicated comic strip Sally Forth. Ted is a perpetually forty-year old white collar worker of indeterminate career.[1] Since mid-May of 2007, he has been laid-off and seeking new employment.

Ted's gentle nature and slightly effeminate[2] manners have made him the frequent subject of parody and ridicule, including by the writer of the strip Francesco Marciuliano. Other people find Ted to be a refreshing and realistic portrait of modern fatherhood.[3]

Plot sequences and running gags involving Ted include:
  • He has an obsession with 1980s pop culture trivia.
  • His ten-year-old daughter Hilary does not know what he does for a living. This stems from the fact that Ted's job is never explicitly mentioned, and fans of the strip often debate about it.
  • He becomes highly competitive while coaching girls' softball.
  • He despises his mother-in-law who insults his masculinity.
  • His favorite food is meatloaf.

I've deleted the references section for clarity, but thanks to Scott Nazelrod for getting the right WikiFormat.

I expect I will someday enter a WikiPissing match with some humorless WikiGoon about the notability of poor Ted. And if there is no room for Ted Forth in the WikiVerse, I don’t want to WikiLive there.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Who deserves WikiFame?


Anonymous said...

Face it, there are people who get their rocks off with little power games like this. Sad sorry little people for whom this is the only way they can ever feel important. I first became aware of this when I learned about the deletion of the entry on Evil, Inc., a webcomic by Brad Guigar. It met every single criteria they had established for webcomic notoriety, but some loser decided it wasn't notable and zap.

Given that Josh is now the go-to guy for quotes when anyone writes an article on comics and had an editorial that was printed in several major papers (or was it just the LA Times?), you'd think he met the notability requirements. But some petty little loser who will never achieve anything in his life, will never be known by anyone other than his family and immediate coworkers, and will be forgotten soon after Masky McDeath comes for him can't handle the fact that there are people who can achieve notability without being a movie star or a politician. The only way he can keep from confronting his own failure is to tear down others.

(Actually, Ted might be just the sort to go through and pull Wiki entries. Of course, he'd do it badly. "The Pope? Who cares? Dump him!")

yellojkt said...

But Ted would make sure every Transformer had his own entry. I have some more beefs with the WikiNazguls that didn't fit with the theme of this post. I'll rant some more in a newer post.

Anonymous said...

Don't all the Transformers have their own entries? (I wouldn't really know or care, since I'm just barely too old for them.) Actually, that brings up a whole new topic about how pointless geeky things have huge entries and important real things have really short entries, say Optimus Prime vs. the prime rate. There is a term for that, but it escapes me at the moment.

yellojkt said...

They do. In excruciating obsessive detail. I like the whole meta-idea that Ted DESERVES a WikiEntry in all it's silly detail. That is why I link things like "matloaf" and "softball". I fear my sense of irony is too subtle for that to register.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, Meatloaf is great!

Sara said...

Hello, Michele sent me! Very interesting post, even though it is not something that I've ever thought about. But, it was a good read...

Elizabeth said...

I thought the words you linked up were hilarious!

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

I never realized Wikipedia was so heavily scrutinized. I always thought that any high school kid could drop an entry in there and create gospel reference so I never really trusted it.

But now that I know the WikiPolice are on the job, I can confidently claim all my WikiReferences as facts!

*yes, sarcasm intended*

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Sally Forth is one of my favorite strips...

Unknown said...

I've missed the boodle. I've been so busy that I just can't seem to find the time to stop by. I look at my Achenblog bookmark longingly.

Anonymous said...

Sara, we miss you too! Come back - we promise not to make you stay long (heh heh).


2fs said...

What irritates me about WikiCops is that they're ruining the operating principles of the site. The reason Wikipedia is generally accurate (and yes, it is: exceptions include controversial issues and bands beloved by sixteen-year-old boys) is that geeks are strongly offended by bad information - and, they're also the folks most likely to read the articles on Obscure Topic X. That is, the readers of a given topic tend to know a lot about it - so that, over time, good info will drive out bad.

The WikiCops defeat all that, by arbitrarily removing certain articles and essentially creating an irreconcilable knowledge gap: you can't correct bad information if that bad information is simply *nothing*.

I guess I understand why they don't want pages on, I don't know, the guy who used to live three blocks from me who'd spend every afternoon leaning on his car looking out at the street. Then again, unless they're running short of server space, why the hell not? The joy of the web is that you *can* find ridiculously obscure info. I'm always annoyed if I look up something and there is no Wikipedia entry on it.

Which brings up another problem: once you know about the WikiCops, you're less likely to go and create an entry on Obscure Topic X...because you figure it'll just get deleted anyway.

Why should *anyone* be allowed to delete an article - unless it's libelous (in which case, modify it)?

Anonymous said...

Knowing nothing about the issue, I think I should desist from commenting on that. But I did find your post entertaining!

Glad Michele sent me here way today!

Catherine said...

You've got me thiking, now. I don't think I'm ready to offer an opinion, but I did enjoy the comic strip. Michele sent me.
(Maybe Michele should have a Wiki entry)

Anonymous said...

The thing that can help prevent too much tinkering by the small-minded is that Wikipedia will automatically lock an article for further review by higher-ups if there's too much doing and undoing of an item over a specific period of time.

So, it is worth your while to re-load an article and then make sure it's on your watchlist so that you can see whether something happens to it.

Also, some of the warning banners aren't always removed in a timely fashion. I took one of them down and changed the introductory sentence to obviate the missing citation.

Anonymous said...

I ended up here because I was looking up Ted Forth on Wikipedia, and found the last entry on the running gags section to be a reference to some other strip that clearly had no connection to the actual Sally Forth strip.

But, for reasons unknown, any time I try to make a change to a wiki-page, I am smacked down and my changes reverted.

I'm just here to let you know, if you still love Ted, someone has 'jacked your page. Maybe the orignal writer correcting and revising might mean more than an unknown. Here's hoping.

yellojkt said...

That last trivia item uses as its source a Medium Large parody of Sally Forth. Since the writer of Medium Large is also the writer for Sally Forth, it's a bit of an in-joke and definitely not canonical.

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