Uncyclopedia's transition from an academic oddity to the corporate board room marks a shifting into second gear for the alleged comedy website. Uncyclopedia follows in the path of dominant operating systems MS-DOS and Unix, chat-room purveyor AOL, and content provider Yahoo!! in using corporate money and executive experience to achieve more widespread adoption.
In 2005, Uncyclopedia was lost. The product of a classroom "chalk talk" by Professor Willard H. "Jimbo" Wales was to be a uniquely American concept, a showcase of free-wheeling Yankee ingenuity. Instead, through the openness of the Internet, it had become a completely multi-national effort, with exactly the spotty record of the typical multi-national military force, especially when the Rules of Engagement keep the troops from firing.
The site had already ceded its original goal, to be an authoritative encyclopedia "that anyone can edit" to Johnny-come-lately copycat Wikipedia. Grasping for the niche of avant-garde comedy, it found its grip on this wasn't tight enough either, as comedy gave way to petty infighting and hastily-written junk from anonymous authors, then toward pathetic slurs of the world's races and religions, and attacks on its most eminent statesmen, while dissenters simultaneously busied themselves weaving Nazis, grues, and Chuck Norris into articles regardless of relevance.
edit The transaction
Late 2006 was a pleasant period of national economic weakness nestled between two deep recessions. Professor Wales was already suffering from incipient dementia, but still hoped to attain the stature of Hugh Hefner, enjoying his declining years in a smoking jacket amid comely assistants, each carrying two fire extinguishers, surely, as they all rode the wave of a worldwide media craze. Thus Wales sold all but a 20% stake in Uncyclopedia to Wikia, a server farm and shadow corporation in Wikia City, California, for a song.
The corpse of Oscar Wilde was exhumed and installed as CEO in the final quarter of the year, and a palm-reader named Sophia handled the books. But Wilde's corpse found management too physically taxing. He was convinced to stay on, but actual managerial decisions were shifted to corporate stooges at Wikia.
The website's engineering talent was offered relocation expenses to move to California, provided they were comfortable with the significantly lower pay-scales there, and several key employees assented.
edit Uncyclopedia transformed
At its new home, Uncyclopedia conceded to market realities and repurposed itself to be a serious treatment of Wikipedia, which had become a madcap comedy site that was running rings around Uncyclopedia. However, due to economic and mental constraints, the site regressed to in-jokes and tedious lists. Survivors of an executive-suite battle at Wikia accelerated this trend, to better "position" the site against shock-humor rival Encyclopedia Dramatica, as well as a site named for a vegetable that we do not utter. These efforts have preserved Uncyclopedia's unique niche on the outer rim of the ringpiece we call the Internet.
Recruitment languished due to the site's disinterest in learning names or even IP addresses of alleged contributors. The site has pursued ever-younger writers in much the same way as other successful enterprises, such as Circuit City and RadioShack, concluded that knowledgeable employees are an unnecessary cost. Junior editors correct other junior editors, and the only constant is the absence of reference to either a dictionary or a newspaper. The Personnel Department was disbanded, as there is scant evidence the newcomers are even persons.
The transaction had no covenant with which to enforce quality content, as the principals preferred idle wheeling and dealing, and this became evident in the articles that came to be featured, an event generally triggered when the two remaining voters nod at one another.
In 2008, frenzied unproductivity went in a bizarre new direction, as the personnel fixated on assigning categories to all the site's content, much as Ford Motor Company has found that fiddling with nameplates is a productive alternative to actual engineering improvements. However, whereas Ford manages to sell cars to buyers other than employees, Uncyclopedia writers in recent years have written few articles about anything other than Uncyclopedia and other writers. Latter-day bards ridicule the overuse of memes by asking: What would Oscar [Wilde] do?--unaware of their own irony. In fact, we know what he would do, and it has nothing to do with writing articles. Uncyclopedia is now "all sizzle and no sausage," in stark contrast to Wilde's original goal.
edit Current career paths
New talent flocks to Uncyclopedia for two main reasons:
- As an outlet for their humour, which girls do not seem to care for; and
- From the unfounded belief that there are girls on Uncyclopedia.
Once engaged by the site, the usual career path is management. Joining the governing Cabal is done by compiling a record of small successes. The only facet of this in the employee's own control is to fail to use the
Preview button so as to pad one's Edit Count, and to always be in the middle of drama while never seeming to take either side. It is not for nothing that America's last six Presidents are all former Cabal members.
Senior editors can still recall the site's early days, with the short-lived push to write articles that were actually funny. As time went on and membership grew, this was subordinated to the greater goal of pwnage, achieved through tiresome voting, hypothetical awards, and eventually even military rank. A comparable push to eliminate drama was equally short-lived, and management now seeks only to facilitate it, make it occur on a "Forum," and occasionally feature it.
Internet sociologist Arianna Huff once referenced the digestive system when she opined, "Once you’re in the Cabal, the only way forward is to get ready to swim in crap"--that is, submit selected questions to a vote, structured to ensure that you win it, change other people's votes "for consistency," and be ready at the first sign of failure to lock pages against further "drama."
edit The project's "future"
“YOUR ALL TO STUPID!!!”
Uncyclopedia, Inc. has expanded to over 29,000 articles, all taking up server space like metric wrenches in a workshop, and providing the appeal to vandals that they generally do not deliver to readers.
Site administration has expressed an interest in more "experimental" articles, such as those involving pornography, overt racism, or MS Paint. Stephen Hawking famously commented in 2007 about the "editing community," saying, "They are hardly a community, though some day they might become a planetary food source."
Lately, actual editing has all but ceased, replaced with petty struggles for dominance, starting discussions on minutiae, and all-night banter on the related IRC channel. Users try to say nothing in especially clever ways as though they had just emerged from a midnight screening of Meet the Fockers.
Occasionally a supervisor will try to focus the staff, with a weak echo of an erstwhile gruff voice, to "go write a funny article." However, like Roger Clemens in his heyday, the editors just readjust their headphones, turn up the volume, and jog away.
- ↑ This article began as a revision to the existing article Uncyclopedia.
- ↑ Reportedly, Let Me Entertain You.