back to article Wikipedia collapses threatening the very fabric of civilisation

Fount-of-dubious-knowledge Wikipedia has gone down around the world, prompting a Twitter frenzy from people struggling to remember how to open books. The anyone-can-try-to-edit encyclopaedia won't serve a page at all beyond a placeholder "error" message, but an announcement on the Wikimedia Foundation's site stated that …

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  1. AndrueC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I just got pages served without any formatting. Thought it was our dodgy internet connection to be honest :)

    1. Suburban Inmate

      Same here a little while ago, but at least I now know wtf my preggers friend meant by Braxton Hicks. It'll be when Google goes down that the world will be proper shagged. The Almighty might even start the rapture at the google datacentres just to screw with our heads for teh lulz.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It'll be when Google goes down that the world will be proper shagged"

        I know people - and not just one or two - that don't know how to work the address bar of their browser other than to put in Google and then search for the site they want to go to.

        /shakes head

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: "It'll be when Google goes down that the world will be proper shagged"

          I feel your pain. This drives me mad too!

      2. Paul 129
        Devil

        NP

        Google goes down, we'll all just use another search engine. Like all the other mugs, all I've got to do is go to google and type 'search engine' and............ DOH!

  2. DJ Smiley
    Devil

    I'm in the UK.... the sun is shining....

    THE END IS TRULY NIGH!.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I'm in the UK.... the sun is shining....

      ... and we got our first gold in the showjumping for 6 decades!

  3. Richard Cartledge

    I went to the library, it had DVDs, CDs, leaflets about benefits and STDs, banks of PCs and some magazines.

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      They sure have changed a lot since the last time I went to one! Though the hot librarian did use to make my mind wander.

      Paris, STDs, …

    2. Anonymous Coward 101
      Headmaster

      The library is seen as some sort of mystical place that people go to to learn Important Stuff and librarians are there to help people find the books they need to learn the Important Stuff.

      Yet, for as long as I can remember, they have mainly been used by old people to obtain crap books that have pictures of beaten-but-unbowed Victorian lasses on the front cover.

      1. Chris 3

        Really?

        Our local one (East London) has a thriving kids' section, where the whippersnappers queue up to take out Horrid Henry, Harry Potter, The Gruffalo etc.

    3. The Axe

      So you can watch movies but not find any useful knowledge. And the PCs are useless because they connect to Wikipedia.

      You're confusing a lending library with a reference library. They are separate things.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        @The Axe

        The nearest reference library to me is an hours drive away. (And then an hour's drive back.) Most of us are dependent on little town libraries, and we count ourselves lucky if they haven't been shut.

        1. some vaguely opinionated bloke
          Pint

          @Brewster's Angle Grinder

          "The nearest reference library to me is an hours drive away. (And then an hour's drive back.) "

          Have an unsarcastic beer on me.

          I have no idea why that made me laugh as much as it did. Just something about it clarifying that the route and typical traffic conditions are the same in both directions.

          "It's a 45 minute drive before the morning rush hour and only 1/2 hour back when the schools are off or after 9 at night. If I leave the car there, it's closer to 3 hours, unless I take the shortcut across the misty heathland..."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @The Axe: "They are separate things"

        Clearly you don't live in Winchester.

    4. Homer 1 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Buy it on Kindle?

      I fired up my Kindle and discovered I can apparently "buy a subscription to Wikipedia", which seemed a bit laughable considering the Kindle has a built-in Web browser, until I realised it may all be part of a cunning plan...

    5. LaeMing Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Oh...!. Benefits *AND* STDs

      I read 'of' first parse.

      <-- Icon for myself!

    6. A.A.Hamilton
      Paris Hilton

      You can't have one without the other....

      ..."leaflets about benefits and STDs...."

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I went the the library. And had a Pizza Express meal there.

  4. Blofeld's Cat
    Black Helicopters

    Uh ho...

    Has somebody typed "Wikipedia" into Wikipedia?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Blofeld's Cat

      "Has somebody typed "Wikipedia" into Wikipedia?"

      O M G ! ! ! Divide by zero!!!!

    2. Powelly

      Re: Uh ho...

      :-) Reminds me of the Demitri Martin gag:

      "I bought a new dictionary the other day. First thing I did was look up the word 'Dictionary'. It said 'You're an asshole'"

  5. KAMiKZ

    eventually wikipedia will be hosted torrently like, everybody hosts a few hundred articles that probably saves wikipedia a few million a year on servers and it's almost impossible to bring down. The most text pages will guarantee fast loading.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We've already got that

      It's called The Internet. If someone could come up with a decent search engine we wouldn't have to put up with crap like WP.

      1. LaeMing Bronze badge
        Meh

        Re: We've already got that

        More, If people properly tagged their HTML, we wouldn't have to...

  6. Flotter

    No sun over here, it's pouring with rain :( Quess I'll have to make up my own facts now

  7. Shane8
    Coat

    Sometimes Wikipedia is inaccurate....i wont believe i thing until i see a south park parody about it!

    Mines the one with the Human cent-iPad in the pocket...

  8. SJRulez
    IT Angle

    Hmm, I wonder how many people misunderstood the suggestions about going to their local library and instead used the computers there to try and get on to wikipedia rather than actually getting a book.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      LMAO

      That sir, is some funny shit

      : )

  9. stucs201

    For sale...

    ...one copy of Encarta. I'll have to hunt for the disc in the boxes in the loft though.

  10. RodB
    WTF?

    Huh?

    Wikipedia works just fine for me wtf?

  11. Moyra J. Bligh
    FAIL

    I will never notice if it is gone - I consider it to be full of useless, ignorant, uniformed, inaccurate garbage.

    All the searches I do now include -wikipedia.

    As far as I'm concerned good riddance to bad rubbish.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      @Moyra J. Bligh:

      "I will never notice if it is gone - I consider it to be full of useless, ignorant, uniformed, inaccurate garbage."

      That description would cover the entire World Wide Web, surely?

      1. Colin Brett
        Coat

        Re: Sean Timarco Baggaley

        "That description would cover the entire World Wide Web, surely?"

        As Slartibartfast said:

        "The trouble with space is that it is so incredibly dull. There's so much of it and so little in it."

        Substitute "space" for "internet" and you've got it!

        Colin

      2. Thorne

        Re: @Moyra J. Bligh:

        "I will never notice if it is gone - I consider it to be full of useless, ignorant, uniformed, inaccurate garbage."

        And so you turned to The Register then? It's all quality here.....

        1. Moyra J. Bligh

          Re: @Moyra J. Bligh:

          Read The Reg mostly for the humor.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like you've never bothered to scroll down far enough to reach the 'references' section of articles.

      1. Sid James
        Thumb Up

        exactly....

        if nothing else it's a good place to start looking for more reliable sources..

      2. Moyra J. Bligh
        FAIL

        I've scrolled down - it's just more ignorant, inacurate useless garbage.

    3. LinkOfHyrule

      It's actually quite good for...

      ...typing in the name of a movie and scrolling down to the subheading named "critical reception" - it loads fester than the other movie review websites, you can be in and out in less than 5 seconds if you just want to quickly know if something on Netflix sucks or not!

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        FAIL

        Re: It's actually quite good for...

        Loads faster not loads fester - duh I FAIL lol Fitting considering the topic of discussion.

        1. Tom 13
          Thumb Up

          Re: Re: It's actually quite good for...

          No, I think you had it right the first time.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, you consider wrong, sir.

      Do you want to borrow a clog to throw in a combine harvester?

      Most of it is correct. As higher percentage than you'll see correct on most fan sites or other free sites. And unlike those, Wiki includes links to sources, which other sites do not.

      You know to check more than one source, and look for primary evidence, don't you? Wiki allows you to do that.

  12. SnowCrash
    Coat

    uniformed garbage.......

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Joke

      As opposed to plain-clothes garbage?

  13. Charles Calthrop
    FAIL

    PLEASE

    can we not have screenshots of random people's twitter status embedded in your stories. I have seen this elsewhere but thought I'd be safe on here. It might help internally to promote your strategy to humanise the channel flow and synergise your content sreams or some other bollocks but I DO NOT CARE WHAT RANDOM PEOPLE ON TWITTER THINK AND IF I DID I"D BE ON TWITTER NOT ON EL REG

    Rip el reg gravestone icon

    1. lurker

      Re: PLEASE

      Damn straight. If we want the brief rantings of random keyboard warriors we already have the comments section here on El Reg, no need to start embedding them into the articles themselves.

  14. Chris King Silver badge

    It's just an outage, people !

    If it was something more permanent, then librarians and teachers all over the world would be dancing round burning effigies of Jimbo Wales and singing "Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's just an outage, people !

      What makes you think teachers are any different to rest of the population, most of which is seemingly too lazy to do "proper" research?

      Is it better to make a half-arsed attempt to learn something, or to dismiss it altogether because you can't be arsed going to the library?

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: It's just an outage, people !

      While I wouldn't verbatim quote stuff from wiki without verifying some of the references, the difference problem with a library is that it only carries the reference material somebody has pre-selected, may or may not be able to order other books from associate libraries, which may or may not arrive in a sensible time frame. Neither approach is perfect, but at least with the wiki references, it gives you a list of places to begin looking for more information.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last time I went into my local library they nearly had as many computers as they had books*... I can't help but think the library had as much trouble finding information as the rest of us when the Interwiki went down.

    * - Ok, that's a lie but the entire basement was filled with PCs, compared to just four the last time I visited.

  16. Mr Temporary Handle
    Black Helicopters

    Our resident conspiracy nut had just suggested that this is the first stage of the US government's operation to destroy Jimbo's power base because of his support for a 'copyright criminal' :)

    1. Tom 13
      Black Helicopters

      He's got the wrong conspiracy

      Jimbo's not a threat, but he is a decent testing ground. This is the dry run before they take down the other troublesome wiki.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Single points of failure

    I guess if you wanted to take over the world, you'd just have to turn off GPS, Wikipedia and Barclaycard/Visa.

    Or maybe just the internet would do it.

    That's a pretty scary thought, especially as Daleks can levitate up stairs these days.

  18. John Lilburne Silver badge

    Did they get told by Google to black out again?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19104494

  19. Ben Tullis
    Happy

    This is why I carry...

    ...my Wikireader. http://thewikireader.com/

    It'll be really handy when that zombie apocalypse comes.

  20. IHateWearingATie
    Thumb Up

    Wikipedia isn't that bad...

    ...yes there are mistakes, but for comprehensive and almost entirely correct descriptions of basic science its pretty good. It's easy for those in the know to notice and correct mistakes regarding the standard model etc. I've also found it good for some of the basic facts and dates in UK history, and as other commentards have said, the reference section at the bottom of articles tends to be very good.

    All this doesn't change the fact that Jimmy Wales comes across as a giant douche though (hah - another south park reference sneaked in there...)

    1. lurker

      Re: Wikipedia isn't that bad...

      "Not that bad?" Personally I think it's the best website on the internet, and probably the single biggest repository of easily accessible human knowledge on the earth. Sure there might be more words in the library of congress or the reading rooms of the London library, but until that all gets digitised and made available copyright free (not going to happen) I'll stick to using Wikipedia and checking references rather than physically visiting London or Washington.

      Seems like it's fashionable to bash Wikipedia. For some reason people seem to think it makes them look clever to knock a magnificent and completely altruistic co-operative human endeavour which has probably made more information and knowledge publicly available to a wide audience than anything in history since Gutenberg decided that a machine to quickly produce books would be a good idea.

      1. Colin Brett

        Re: Wikipedia isn't that bad...

        "For some reason people seem to think it makes them look clever to knock a magnificent and completely altruistic co-operative human endeavour which has probably made more information and knowledge publicly available to a wide audience than anything in history since Gutenberg decided that a machine to quickly produce books would be a good idea."

        Not quite right there. Yes, it has made information widely available but knowledge comes from how well the reader applies that information.

        Otherwise, I agree with what you said, and other commenters' points about checking the references section. Who knows? You might be able to find contradictory information and use that to balance the Wikipedia article to produce your own conclusions.

        Colin

  21. John H Woods Silver badge
    Flame

    People talk about the inaccuracy of Wpedia...

    ... as if print media was 100% accurate. I challenge those who have claimed above that Wpedia is effectively worthless to provide a link to a Wpage on an uncontroversial subject that really is downright wrong. I have a lot of problems with Wpedia - the douchebaggery of Wales, the egotistic posturing of admins, etc but it really isn't bad enough to consider it to be mainly, or even significantly, "rubbish".

    When my kids' teachers complain that Wpedia isn't always right I agree - but it is *good* to teach them not to rely on any single 'authority'. Check your sources, and apply critical thinking. Even when reading El Reg.

    1. Dick Pountain

      Re: People talk about the inaccuracy of Wpedia...

      Especially when reading El Reg about climate change or Wikipedia. It's good on Paris Hilton though.

    2. Euchrid

      Re: People talk about the inaccuracy of Wpedia...

      “I challenge those who have claimed above that Wpedia is effectively worthless to provide a link to a Wpage on an uncontroversial subject that really is downright wrong.”

      I certainly don’t claim that it is effectively worthless, but there are plenty of examples where duff information sits along perfectly good information. For example, when Norman Wisdom died, some news stories stated that, along with other songs he had written, he co-wrote ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ – all perfectly bunk but they had taken it from Wikipedia. Now, arguably that’s a bit of an extreme example as someone was being mischievous, but I think it it’s illustrates the point.

      There have been times that I’ve read something that was stated as a fact or as the accepted belief, when it wasn’t. This isn’t to say such claims were far-fetched (usually, they were far from it) but it’s not accurate to claim something as a stone cold fact when there isn’t sufficient proof and if I didn’t have specialist knowledge, it would have seemed reasonable enough to me. On occasion, I have made contact and revisions have been made, but I feel it’s spitting in the wind.

      Also, even when there’s a cited source, you can’t take it as read (no pun intended) that it’s a good one. For instance, I looked up the entry for Charlie Dimmock (I wanted to check something quickly about women on television, okay) it said:

      “Dimmock, who is well-endowed, became known for going braless in all weathers.[3]”

      Fair enough one might think, and the source is “Chris Roberts (2006). Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme. Thorndike Press. ISBN 0-7862-8517-6”, a frothy book about the meaning behind nursery rhymes - even with a mention of Dimmock, it seems a bit of an odd choice… Still, the version history for the Wikipedia indicates that the matter about her wearing a bra was looked into.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: People talk about the inaccuracy of Wpedia...

        Sorry Euchrid, I may not have been clear. I don't think Dimmock's norks or even Wisdom's compositions are really 'encyclopedic' content.

        As well as 'uncontroversial' I should have said 'important'. For instance, what mineral is usually refined to get elemental arsenic? What is VxWorks, or for that matter, what is a Real Time O/S? What is the median of an exponential distribution? How do you calculate an exponentially weighted moving average? How much does MSL Curiosity weigh a) on earth b) on mars?

        I'm am sure that the accuracy of the Wpedia articles that cover stuff that you would never see in a regular encyclopedia are frequently inaccurate. You should thank your lucky stars that anyone has even tried to gather this information for you. But what I'm talking about are Wpedia pages that cover stuff you would see in a regular encyclopedia. These, in general, tend to be fairly bloody reliable.

  22. EddieD

    Inaccuracy and all that..

    One of the profs at the department I work at once said "Wikipedia is not as inaccurate as all the people who say it is inaccurate are" - which I think is a fair comment.

    In the areas I have reasonable knowledge, I've yet to find wikipedia knowing less than me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Inaccuracy and all that..

      "Wikipedia is not as inaccurate as all the people who say it is inaccurate are"

      Did this professor major in linguistics and logic?

      1. EddieD

        Re: Inaccuracy and all that..

        Linguistics :)

        And them that make the rules can break them...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It just means that

    instead of looking at information made up by random people and hosted on an easily searchable well formatted site, we will have to rely on the poorly formatted and difficult to search sites instead.

  24. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Sun? Shining?

    Arrrghhh. It burns. Take it away!

    Where's the 'utterly terrified' icon when you need it?

  25. Daniel B.

    Ah, so that was it

    That explains the "Guru Meditation" I got this morning while searching some stuff in Wikipedia.

  26. Sokolik

    the children!

    won't *somebody please* think of the children?!?

    1. cordwainer 1
      Alien

      Re: the Klingon children!

      Won't somebody think of the Klingon children?

      Where but Wikipedia can we quickly gain a grasp of their culture and language? I don't notice Britannica providing this vital information. Isolationists, all of 'em.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wikipedia the font-of-dubious-knowledge

    Wikipedia , pr fluff and self-published propaganda masquerading as knowledge .. eg:

    "Consumer versions of Windows were originally designed for ease-of-use on a single-user PC without a network connection, and did not have security features built in from the outset. However, Windows NT and its successors are designed for security (including on a network) and multi-user PCs, but were not initially designed with Internet security in mind as much, since, when it was first developed in the early 1990s, Internet use was less prevalent" link

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heaven help us

    If people use Wiki to replace a library, we are all in serious trouble.

  29. Crisp Silver badge
    Boffin

    Wikipedia

    It's no substitute for actually knowing stuff.

  30. Jand4l
    Trollface

    Who needs facts anyway

    "Facts are just opinions and opinions can be wrong!" -- Veronica, Better off Ted.

  31. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    breaking out

    I first read one of the tweets as "facts are breaking out." before I looked again and saw it said "fights".

    I don't spend a lot of time on Wikipedia, but find that it can be handy now and then.

  32. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Holmes

    My alternative

    Encarta 98

    /me wipes dust off pops in PC

    /pc Sorry your version of Windows is not new enough to run Encarta

    O_O NOOOO!

  33. Britt Johnston
    Angel

    freedom from data mining

    Seems that someone dug up the road and hit a cable in Florida...

    Interesting that Amazon and Wikipedia went on the same day though. Is that Fate or Murphy dropping a hint?

    Perhaps, once a year, we should establish a net-free Sunday?

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