Talk:Spherical Cows

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Prose Concept Humour Images Misc Score Summary

edit Reviewer details:

A little bit about the reviewer before we start.

Okay, I'm using this template as I find it easier to give a review on an article using a template like this. It is slightly different to the normal PEE template, but works on similar principles.

About me. I'm PuppyOnTheRadio. I've gotten a few awards for writing and reviewing and done a lot of stuff relating to coding and talk a lot about different things that are of interest to the general uncyc community and blah blah blah. It all means very little in the long run, except to say that I've been here for about 9 months or so, and I have a bit of knowledge on how to write and how to make this site work. One thing that I'm happy with is winning a Top 10 spot for last year with Microsoft Knowledge Base. I've also rewritten two of the most popular uncyc articles, Love and Stereotype, which have both been featured, along with a few other things

I also tend to reference a lot of my own work when doing this sort of thing, which is simply because it's what I know best.

edit Prose and Formatting:

How good does it look and how well does it read? 5


Writing style

There are some definite highlights to the writing style here, but what is letting it down is that it tends to meander from an intelligent, encyclopaedic style down to a street level chat amongst friends. I am a fan of writing in as much of an encyclopaedic style as possible, but that doesn't mean that it is the only way to write.

As an example of a straight encyclopaedic parody, Love works well. It is not over the top intellectual which allows a few one-liners to be thrown in comfortably, but still retains an air of intellectualism that allows it to have a little credence. Going over the top intellectual is Guide to a Postmodernist Art Exhibition, which uses this as the main form of humour. And then you can get to Street Fighter, which is a much more conversational tone, and reads more like a review in a gamer magazine.

Now if we were to mix the three of these together style-wise, it would fall apart. Part of the reasoning why this has happened to you is that you have borrowed heavily from your source material in part. I have no problem with this (given that I do this myself), but it does need to be written in a style that you feel comfortable with.

Now, I've gone through some of my better pieces. I'm now going to draw your attention to Pawn shop. This is one of my earlier pieces I've done here, while I was still trying to come to terms with my own style fitting into Uncyc (and is mostly a rewrite). Where this falls apart to an extent is an inconsistent style. There are other issues with it, and they reflect similarly what the issues are with your piece, so I will come back to it


Don't care yet - it's a work in progress so any issues are forgiven for the moment




One thing that will kill a good bit of writing is poor formatting, and one thing that can make a good piece is good formatting. As an example I'd suggest looking at UnDebate: Is it ever right to restrict freedom of speech? versus Point-Counterpoint. The main source of humour is very similar between the two. (Admittedly P-C was written first, however they were written independently.) Undebate works better for a number of reasons, but the first thing that anyone would say looking at the two of them is Undebate looks better.

The layout here works well, in that it feels like a Wikipedia article. What would accentuate that is to have an infobox at the top right hand corner of the page. This is where I would place your spherical cow image that you have, along with anything else you can think would work. (If you need coding help let me know.)

Overall appearance

One thing that has let you down here is the well running dry. You've started off with a bit of steam, and as you've gone further into it you've run short of ides, and have ended up dropping in one liners, until you get to the mating aspect which is... well... one line.

This is what lets down a lot of articles which have promise. Rather then me leaving with a smile at the end, I feel slightly cheated. This can be fixed by planning and thought. Some of my articles have been written predominantly in one sitting - Undebate is an example of that - but they have come because the idea has been thought over for a long time. And hence we come to concept.

edit Concept

How good an idea is behind the article? 5

Your concept here to me feels disjointed and scattered, and this is what is destroying everything that comes after. So let's focus on what makes a concept work.

First thing you have to find is a topic that has inherent humour value. Now that you have. The idea of spherical cows is wonderful. Keep in mind we are talking about a scientific model here that displays that simplifying things for scientific purposes meant you end up working at cross purposes.

What can destroy this is that an in-joke, even one as widely recognised in the scientific community as this, loses value when it's not recognisable by your audience. So what can we do with this?

There are a few directions you can go. The first is explain what your topic is about. One example of this is Six Hats, which I know most of the people reading it would have no idea what it is about, let alone know about an extremely minor controversy about it. So all this had to be explained, but explained in a humorous way. Another example of this is Andy Richter, which if you read this with no idea of who this guy is - as I did when I first read it - it actually has enough factual information in it to show you who he actually is.

The other possibility is to try the opposite approach, and to write as though you have absolutely no idea what is going on. This is the approach used behind Stereotype, where the entire concept of stereotyping is incorrectly defined - but done in enough detail and in an encyclopaedic manner.

Now you have definite aspects of the latter here. This is what I would focus on. I would use wikipedia:cattle as a source on how this should be laid out and a general guide as to what you talk about. After all you are talking about a completely new species - the fun is in the detail.

The other thing to think about is that an article is made up of three parts. The beginning, the middle, and the end. In Uncyc, this could be considered your opening, your build-up, and your punchline.

A friend of mine who is a stand-up comic explained it as referring back to the joke. The example he gave is one of his contemporaries used to tell a joke, based on a real life event, that went along the lines like this:-

I was at MacDonalds the other day and I needed to go to the crapper. While I was there, sitting there doing my business, I heard this strange rustling noise in the next cubicle. I couldn't work out what it was so I had a peek, and there was this guy, pants around his ankles, also doing his stuff while unwrapping a burger and eating it!

Now this got a laugh, but it stopped there. My friend suggested that he should expand on it, as it was good, but it needed something else. So added to the end of it was:-

So I'm down there, peeking under the cubicle wall, staring at this guy eating his burger, hardly about to believe my eyes, and then he sees me. Our gazes are locked, and I realise that while he was the freak eating a burger on the shitter, I was the weird bloke peeking under the toilet wall at him. We kept looking at each other and I realised that I'd have to do something to get out of it gracefully. So I said, as calmly as I could "Did you get any fries with that?"

He called it keeping the joke rolling. My way of thinking is to take it to the furthest logical conclusion.

Take the article UnNews:'Zombies' have free speech rights too, US court rules. This is a good article, and funny too. But it could be extended further, as was discussed on User talk:MrN9000#Court Rules on Zombie unhuman Rights. What we did in discussion at least is take a piece of absurdity, and then extend it, and then extend it further. This article could easily be made into something twice as long - staying funny the entire way - simply by keeping it rolling.

edit Humour

How funny is it? Why is it funny? How can it be funnier? 3

Don't stress about the scores, by the way. They mean nothing except as a rough guide as to what you need to work on and where you need to work. Humour comes from concept, rather than the concept coming from the humour. This means as you tighten the concept you'll improve the humour.

The only thing I would suggest here is that your humour gets lost amongst the meandering tone and concept. Focus on concept, and the tone will come from there, and the humour along with it.

edit Images

How are the images? Are they relevant, with good quality and formatting? 4

Good image, but it doesn't work to make an entire article alone. My general guideline is one image per each time you have to hit page down. I have heard other editors say You can't have too many images, but I think that's bollocks. I've looked up two images that were floating in my mind when I was trying to think of classic cow images, and then googled something close to that for you.



Someone who has the time to potatochop these for you (try Uncyclopedia:RadicalX's Corner) would be able to make these spherical, along with any images of actual cows that you might want to add in there.

edit Miscellaneous

The article's overall quality - that indefinable something. 6

Okay, I've give a higher score here then anywhere else as this reflects, in my mind, the promise that is behind it. There is a kernel of something really good here, and with a bit of TLC it could be fantastic.

I've already talked too much. Anything else you need though, come to my talk page.

edit Final score

Final Score

edit Summary

An overall summation of the article.


This was a PEE review by                               Puppy's talk page00:40, June 5, 2009 22:49, 3/03/2010
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