The spirit of Tony Hancock lives on

This is too wonderful for words. It turns out that almost all 57,000 articles in the Scots language version of Wikipedia were written, edited or overseen by a single person. Who doesn’t speak Scots.

That’s right, someone doing a bad impression of a Scottish accent and then writing it down phonetically is the chief maintainer of the online encyclopedia’s Scots edition. And although this has been carrying on for the best part of a decade, the world was mostly oblivious to it all – until today, when one Redditor finally had enough of reading terrible Scots and decided to look behind the curtain.

Emphasis mine.

My first thought when I read this was of Tony Hancock and, since everything is on YouTube these days, here is the scene I thought of:

It’s not clear whether the Wikipedian has spent the past near-decade creating thousands of fake posts as some kind of incredible practical joke, or that they honestly felt they were doing a good job. There have been occasional interactions with real Scottish folk taking exception to pages, and the administrator has responded in a dead-pan fashion.

I do hope that this is a joke — for the sake of the Wikipedian in question — because if he really is a latter-day Hancock then this is a screw-up of epic proportions.

13 thoughts on “The spirit of Tony Hancock lives on

    1. I’ve seen elsewhere that Wikipedia now makes it difficult for anyone whose not already established to submit new contributions. I did look at it a while ago and decided not to bother.

      In this case it looks like the Wikipedia collective have left it alone because they simply don’t understand just how bad a mangling of the language the Scots version has managed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Apparently it is. The person who uncovered it noted that it looks like the Wikipedian is question simply copied each article from the English version and then did a find and replace using a Scots dictionary — often getting the words wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. In general, I do think Wikipedia (not the Scots version) can be quite useful, but it isn’t an alternative to actually understanding a subject, and you do need to check the references at the bottom of the article.

      Nothing is perfect and that applies to Wikipedia as much as anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m no big fan of wikipedia to begin with so this doesn’t surprise me. It can be a useful jumping off point for finding some references to look at but I don’t use it. I do use the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy https://h2g2.com/ sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t realised Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was still a thing. I remember it being on the BBC website many years ago, but that was eventually shut down.

      I shall have to go and poke around this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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