Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? It’s what happens when a moron, taken to task on his skills at not being a moron, vastly overestimates just how much of a moron he isn’t. Wikipedia articles are Dunning-Kruger digitized. Someone writes an encyclopedia page, then thinks they’re an expert because they wrote an encyclopedia page. But lack of oversight makes this as effective as claiming to be an astronaut after writing about urinating in space; like zero-G pee, the reality is far more complicated. And when multiple random strangers try it together, things get awful for everyone.
#6. Final Fantasy‘s Aerith Vs. Aeris
Final Fantasy has a wider following and more coherent apocalypses than most doomsday cults. (Though with 15 “final” fantasies so far, the series is about as good at keeping its promises). One of the most famous characters by far is Aerith Gainsborough, adorable virtual shish kebab of the PlayStation One.
It looks like she should just pop
Final fanatics have put more effort into tracing her name’s history than most royal families. There have been faces on currencies with less documentation. It’s neatly summarized on the regular Wikipedia page:
Why this looks perfectly sane
Seems simple, right? Actual name, earlier version of the name, and not a single mention of tentacle porn. For most of you, the difference between “Aeris” and “Aerith” is so tiny that you’re sort of upset I even mentioned it. But that line is the tip of 18,000 words of vicious online bullshit. Not debate, not discussion — just a flaming screaming match with people posting entire new subsections just to call everyone else involved an idiot.
Someone here has definitely lost their mind, yes.
These chucklefucks got more upset than a Klingon with a lisp trying to voice-deactivate a ship’s self-destruct. They argued for longer than most players even remembered playing the game. They argued the validity of Japanese translations with all the linguistic skill and respect of sex tourists.
Yes, that last one DID redefine the Hebrew until it ended in “s” instead of “th.”
It’s a way for the worst kind of nerds to claim they’re “better” fans than everyone else. Like many infinite internet arguments, it’s driven by the delusion that there can be objective truth about fictional values. The real answer is laughably simple: It’s a made-up thing, and even the people making it up didn’t give a shit. But those points hurt when you’ve replaced your personality with PlayStation discs. Which I guess is why armies of alleged adults who encountered FF VII when they were eight years old have decided that pixelated fart in the wind has made up their entire identity. And they’ve found nothing better to do in their lives since.
#5. Cloverfield‘s Monster
Language changes with time. There are three approaches to this:
Descriptivist: Words mean what we say they mean.
Prescriptivist: Words mean what older people who are now dead said they meant ages ago.
Dickdicktivist: Words mean what we all think they mean, but I must stop everything to “correct” people when everyone already knows what they meant.
Dickdictivists say, “Actually, it was Frankenstein’s monster. Frankenstein was the scientist. Which of course I know, because I saw I, Frankenstein in 3D. Twice.” And this Dickdivism is compounded in a situation wherein we don’t have a whole catalog of shitty movies from which to take our guidance, like with Cloverfield.
Wikipedia editors became their own Frankenstein and monster combined, hacking together an all-new abomination out of all the worst bits of people who used to have lives, when they tried to name the monster in Cloverfield — a monster that producers just didn’t bother officially naming.
This sent Wikipedia editors into an existential meltdown. They wanted to make a page about the creature, but didn’t know what to call it. Or rather, some knew exactly what to call it and that everyone else was A LYING SHITHEEL HERETIC.
The thrust and parry of intellectual debate.
For months, they waged most pointless war imaginable. They didn’t know the movie wouldn’t name it back then. As far as they knew, the real answer was only weeks away, and they STILL stayed up at night capslock SCREAMING at each other over Cloverfield (Monster), Monster (Cloverfield), Clusterfuck (Motown), Clamshucker Mumblenuts, (Crowded Bus) Mobstopper, and so on. They even invoked the invasion of Iraq to bolster their arguments about naming a fictional special effect.
“This nightmarish slaughter will help in my argument about a fake monster name!”
Which shows that editing Wikipedia is worse for your sense of perspective than M.C. Escher-designed beer goggles.
#4. Silent Hill‘s Obsession With Forced Hospitalization
The Silent Hill series includes some of the greatest horror games ever made, but even in the best ones, the plot is totally fucked up. They have explanations like “a child thought your apartment was his mother and grew up to become a murderous dimension-wizard,” and I swear there are no words missing from that summary.
“Who ordered the Roswell Extra Crispy?”
It gets creepy to start nitpicking plots like these. Which is how the Silent Hill Wikipedia discussions ended up sounding like Hell’s quarterly ISO-666 report on the proper bureaucratic synergistic labeling protocols for the seventh circle. They’re the most demented discussions about exact wording you’ve ever seen. There was a full-on feud over whether the word “forced” should be before the word “hospitalization” as it related to a demonic murder-child possessed by an evil god who happened to be in the burn ward. And no, there is no situation on this or any parallel nightmare-dimension Earth where that argument is a good thing. The result looks like it was drafted by Hell’s attorney as a punishment for lawyers. This is just a tiny part of the terrifying text barrage:
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND against reading all that, and probably should have said that earlier
But this wasn’t just a grammar torturer. This shit got personal. User “Yomiel” had chosen this Silent Hill to die on — specifically, the bit about how Alessa had been forcibly imprisoned in a nightmare terror hospital, not merely imprisoned. He was worse for that force and how it applied to an obsession with women and people being burned without dying than Anakin Skywalker. Get it? Force? Burning? Yeah, you get it.
I have never cared this much about my own pets
This is the sort of substory that the original Silent Hill writers would read and go “Wow, that is screwed up”, before going back to programming people slam-dunking decapitated dog heads.