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Who will win?
It could be you 100%

Votes: 4

 Announcing a competition!

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Sep 26, 2001
I'd just like to point out right at the outset that I am doing this entirely off my own bat, and that there is no real or implied endorsement by adequacy for this idea. My ISP is - why not DOS them instead of us if you don't like this idea. Basically it's a competition:

The Wiki Wiki Wild West Ayn Rand Creative Writing Competition

read on my readers ....


More diaries by jsm
Am I gay?
... once upon a time in the West (mad man)

This contest is inspired by the fact (thanks, Adequacy reader "Logical Analysis") that "Wikipedia, the breathlessly promoted Everything2 clone is a bit short of material in its literature section.

lost his d**n mind in the west (Loveless)

I'm not talking about the fact that the anime section is longer than the China section, risible though that is. I'm talking about the scandalous lack of material relating to popular author Ayn Rand.

Buffalo soldier, look it's like I told ya

Although Wikipedia is admirable in the succinctness of many of its book summaries ("Sense and Sensibility: Novel by Jane Austen" is a masterpiece), it's not afraid to give a lot of space to truly deserving works. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, for example, merits a section by section summary. ("Hamlet", by comparison, a far less influential and popular work, gets three sentences).

Any damsel that's in distress
Be out of that dress when she meet Jim West

On the other hand, the summary of Atlas Shrugged is distressingly partial. Orwell's 1984 gets a complete summary of the whole plot ("This book focuses on lovers Winston Smith and Julia, and their attempts to evade the [Thought Police]? and the Party""), but the Ayn Rand synopsis ends halfway through Part One!

To any outlaw tryin to draw, thinkin you're bad, any draw on West best with a pen and a pad,

So this is the competition; help to complete the Atlas Shrugged summary, taking advantage of the Wiki mob's "open to all" editing philosophy. You don't have to have read Atlas Shrugged to play -- indeed, I recommend you don't, as it's hellishly hard going (unlike "The Fountainhead", which I rather liked) and in any case, I thought it would be nice to bring some of's free-wheeling, fun-loving spirit to an otherwise desperately dry weblog.

Understand me son, I'm the slickest they is, I'm the quickest as they is, did I say I'm the slickest they is?

Post links to your efforts here. Actually, better post the full text, as I'm guessing that Wikipedia may not take this in the spirit in which it's intended. I'll judge them (hint: extra points will be given for making subtle references to either the Wild West or Old School hip-hop). There will be a good prize. I'm not sure what yet, but if I can persuade Shoeboy to immortalise the winner in one of his reviews, I will. Have fun.

desperado, rough rider
No you don't want nada


China was outpacing the world for centuries? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 05:49:10 AM PST
In science? That's an interesting summary they have of Chinese history prior to communism. It's one sentence, and it's wrong.

Well, then T. Reginald my friend... (3.33 / 3) (#4)
by jwales on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:28:03 AM PST
Well, then T. Reginald my friend, get in there and get to work. Make it better.

You can't be serious (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 03:18:06 PM PST
I can't think of one reason why I would want to dedicate the necessary days or weeks of my time to write a truthful and reasonable complete summary of the nation of China for your web encyclopaedia.

The if-you-don't-like-it-fix-it response is a pretty weak defense against criticism, by the way. It's used by all sorts of free software collectivists to forestall any useful discussion about their work, and I see you have taken a page from their book with great gusto.

Yes, with great great gusto! (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by jwales on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 12:50:48 PM PST
Yes, with great great gusto I say that if you don't like something, please work with us to fix it.

Otherwise, you can sit on the sidelines and wait. The problem will likely be fixed soon enough.

I understand that this may be frustrating to you. If so, then don't look for a free solution. Go buy Britannica, it's a fine work.

I love because (none / 0) (#2)
by Weyland Yutani on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:12:04 AM PST
Expressing reasoned opinion is good.
Provoking a debate is good.
Exposing fuzzy thinking is good.
Laughter is good.
Counterbalancing prevailing opinions is good.
Winding up Linux evangelists is especially good.


Systematically attacking a well-intentioned, if hopelessly naive, web project is bad.

I appreciate your view (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by jsm on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:41:08 AM PST
... which is why I have to reiterate that this is a private jsm project, not endorsed or even supported by There's no real harm done in any case; it might even give them a laugh as they delete it.

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

Well... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by jwales on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 10:34:44 AM PST
If the attacks are merely criticisms and critiques, then there's really no problem with it at all. The people working on the project are an extremely diverse (politically and philosophically anyway) group which seeks to bring in and fairly treat as many viewpoints as possible.

Hopelessly naive? O.k. I can live with that.

On the other hand, this article appears to advocate something that I'm quite sure even the author wouldn't advocate for real: vandalism.

If your feeling is that the entry for Atlas Shrugged is unbalanced and not properly encyclopedic, the right response isn't to simply go in there and vandalize it, but to work thoughtfully to make it better.

The goal is to write the articles in such a way that all parties -- even those who may vehemently disagree on the subject matter -- can agree on the fairness of the article.

Criticisms about the lack of depth in one area or another are simply silly. The only thing that controls what gets written about is the interests of the contributors. If you feel that some area is desperately lacking, well, you're probably right! We only have around 10,000 articles compared to Britannica's 66,000, and almost none of ours are as good.

But in 5 years time, let's see where we end up. In the meantime, I hope that sincere people who may be skeptical about the viability of the project will not attempt to prove their point by initiating vandalism. That'd be a real shame.

No Shame Here. (5.00 / 2) (#6)
by Electric Angst on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 11:07:57 AM PST
Criticisms about the lack of depth in one area or another are simply silly. The only thing that controls what gets written about is the interests of the contributors.

Uhm, this doesn't make much sense. You're right in saying that it is easy to see the bias inherent in that site community by these kinds of inbalances. You're wrong saying that we have no right to critisize.,p>For example, with the clearly strong objectivist bias on that site, one would find it difficult to trust anything the site has to say about politics, sociology, or economics. Just as if the site had a strong, clear Fundamentalist Protestant bias, than one would have a hard time trusting that site's information on various religions, evolution, and several other subjects. (Not to mention that those with other viewpoints would be less inclined to submit articles on those subjects that disagree with the popular viewpoint just to see their hard work done away with by a majority that doesn't agree with them.)

This kind of bias should be exposed, and then the members of the site can decide of they wish to be rid of it and make the site the unbiased source of information that it currently claims to be, or they should accept it and label themselves an Objectivist site. The current situation is disingenuous, and now the site is facing people who want to expose this duplicity. Either the site can do it themselves, or the nature of the 'net will lead up to someone doing it for them...

In the dark times, will there still be singing?
Yes, there will be singing. There will be singing about the dark times. -- Bertolt Brecht

That simply isn't true! (none / 0) (#14)
by jwales on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 12:43:40 PM PST
Stop Do not spread this false information!

There is no strong Objectivist bias to the site! The original article was wrong about that.

Is there a big section about Altas Shrugged? Yes, someone wrote it (not me) because they were interested it.

But that's pretty much it. I think there's a page on Ayn Rand, and a page on Objectivist philosophy.

There is a much more comprehensive treatment of Critical Theory with pages on Structuralism, Postmodernism, Cultural Imperalism, and so forth.

Of all the hundreds of contributors to the project, and of the 100 or so active contributors, I think that 2 or possibly 3 would consider themselves Objectivists. As is common on the Internet generally, many of the contributors have loosely libertarian leanings.

The reason I think it's silly to criticize the lack of depth in one area or another is that this is a very young project with a long long long way to go. Interpreting our lack of a decent article on China, for example, as a form of bias is only true in a very limited sense -- no one on the project has yet become interested enough to write a good article there.

Rather than complain and make claims about bias that are simply untrue, it's better to contribute.

But if you don't want to contribute -- and there are of course many valid reasons why you might choose not to do so -- then do the next best thing and wait. I'm sure an article on the subject you're interested in will appear soon enough -- we're generating about 2000 new articles a month. (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 12:54:33 PM PST

Atlas Shrugged, Part 1, Chapter 8, Section 1: [[/Section171|Previous]] [[/Section191|Next]]

Plot Summary

[[/Dagny Taggart|Dagny Taggart]] is getting really pissed off at [[/Hank Rearden|Rearden]]. As she slides on her cowboy boots and loads her six-shooter, she ponders what she can do to get back at that dirty bastard for lying to her. No one has ever refused her womanly charms... except for that one time when she ran out of amphetamines and started getting fat she had to pay one of the railroad workers to satisfy her [[Bisexuality|womanly needs]].

Dagny stands staring out the window of her New York apartment, coughing and wheezing while puffing her cigarette. The [[Marxism|Marxists]], the damn Marxists, she thinks. They hunted her down in Russia and now they were after her again in the United States. But she is strong. She can defeat them.

She considers her options. She thinks: I could go down to the Saloon and hire some [[Indian|Injuns]] to go rough Rearden up. He would see things a bit differently after his jaw is broken and his beautiful face is permanently scarred. Yes, an excellent plan indeed. She saddles up her horse and heads off towards the saloon.

Meanwhile, at the [[IWW|Union Looters Local 120 Headquarters]], Rearden's wife [[Lillian_Todaro|Lillian]] talks a hairy man named [[Karl_Marx|Karl]].

"I need more poison, I'm concerned that he may be realizing what I'm doing to him," she says.

The man frowns and says "Damned capitalists! I'll order up another batch from the Politburo. After he swallows this he'll never disobey us again!"

Lillian swoons and falls into Karl's arms. He smiles and brushes her hair back from her face. "I love you, Lillian." he says. She opens her eyes and whispers, "Have you seen the hammer and sickle tattoo on my thigh?"


Dagny's apartment in New York and the Union Headquarters in Philadelphia.

Vandalism (none / 0) (#16)
by jwales on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 12:56:23 PM PST
Nice, very nice.

All I can really do is repeat my earlier request. You can criticize the project here, you can even criticize the project from within the project, or you can simply roll up your sleeves and make a positive impact on the project.

But vandalism is really just not appreciated.

you LIKED The Fountainhead? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by alprazolam on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 02:23:25 PM PST
Please tell me you stopped reading when they got to the trial.

so help me I did (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by jsm on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 12:57:21 AM PST
I'm going to be reviewing "The Fountainhead" on adequacy at some point in the near future. I agree that it gets a bit emetic toward the end (my favourite is the bit where Roark whines on about the bad thing about social housing being its effect on the middle classes and nobody notices that it's completely inconsistent with the whole rest of the philosophy of the book -- presumably Murray Rothbard had been round for tea). But I don't think one can seriously argue (as a lot of lefties who've only seen the film do) that it's a wholly bad book. It's well-paced, it's got a lot of plot, and the characterisation is interesting, even if the two characters in it ("Baddie" and "Goodie") are given six different names.

Atlas Shrugged is a whole different kettle of fish. It's appalling.

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

first half is interesting (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by alprazolam on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 07:48:10 AM PST
but the end of the book is horrible and the plot and characters are completely abandoned in order for Rand to transform into Roark and preach to her readers for 100 pages. I agree it's not wholly bad, but that almost makes it worse. I was somewhat excited about it at the beginning, the first few chapters were really interesting, but I think it's a tragedy that it's all abandoned just so she can make sure to pound into our heads the importance of individualism.

And I've tried twice to read Atlas Shrugged and never made it past the third or fourth time she asks "Who is John Galt?" Is there any redeeming quality of the book?

basically no (5.00 / 2) (#13)
by jsm on Thu Sep 27th, 2001 at 07:55:22 AM PST
except that "Dagny Tabbert" sounds like it might be slang for something quite rude, and you hardly need to read the book for that

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

Bah (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 07:56:00 PM PST
I just went on a rant about wonks on, and well, the paper I work for keeps running stories by wonks in their editorial section, all written by wonks from the Ayn Rand Institute. They're all the same, blah blah blah.<P>

--regeya, who's far too lazy to log in.


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