Friday, November 25, 2016

Short Post: Link to Full Story on Wikiconference San Diego

Because it would mean very little if we posted it here, our account of what happened on October 8th has been posted on Storify. The link is here: How to Get Thrown Out of a Wikipedia Conference in Three Easy Steps.

We will have more posts forthcoming.

***

Jury-rigged add-on:


All the video footage shot at WikiConJob Nord Amerika. If you have a YT account on are a Vimeo-nik or on Ru.Tube or that Brazilian Green Frog YouTube knockoff or the mainland Chinese YouTube knockoff, please mirror this video. The WMF or any of the goofballs shown will try to yank this down when they find out it exists.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Yet more Reddit: The_Donald Subreddit in the Aftermath of the Election

I didn't want to talk about /r/The_Donald again, but reality made that an inevitability - their candidate won, and from the looks of it, that subreddit is not disbanding, though it might start falling apart when Donald John Trump's crazier campaign promises prove to be utterly impossible.

The Cabal

What I have found endlessly interesting with that subforum was the huge number of moderators, right now they have forty-nine people, the same amount they had in the summer, but many of the names have changed. Here it is today:


And here it was in early October:

And in June:


As I said last time, it is damn easy to buy Reddit accounts, to use Tor to have multiple accounts, and other tricks we don't know. I think they are changing mods constantly after the October jcm267/tehDonald bloodbath to somehow keep the Reddit admins from knowing who is really in charge, because the "head moderator" keeps shifting; richmoms was allegedly in charge at one point, then that changed. Then "she" was dropped and then picked up again. To be truthful, it doesn't matter; if corporate Reddit were to remove the head moderator, the mass would sprout a new one. And of course, that person would be yet another renamed "curated" sockpuppet.

TehDonald

 Jcm267 had been a Digg user before Reddit came along, then changed sites. The subreddit /r/NoLibsWatch thinks that he was also nolibs, who had somewhere north of forty sockpuppet accounts. Until a raft of background drama of some sort forced him off Reddit, jcm267 became TehDonald, the chief of /r/The_Donald. Vice's Motherboard website has an article, How r/the_donald Became a melting Pot of Frustration and Hate, where they actually interview jcm267. Pastebin has the email interview, which looks like this:

What were you envisioning when you started the subreddit?

I was handed the subreddit when the creator of it decided to delete his account. This was within days maybe weeks of the announcement. This individual liked me for my anti-Bernie Sanders posts. We didn't have the best name for a Trump subreddit so I actually figured it would just be a nice place for a small group of supporters to have fun triggering anti-Trump people and, frankly, laughing with Trump at the same time.

>When did the_donald take off, in your mind? When did you know it was resonating with people?

It really took off when the primary season  was about to get under way. You can see by looking at our subreddit's statistics both at /r/the_donald/about/traffic and at redditmetrics.com The subreddits with the best names (/r/Trump, /r/DonaldTrump, etc) were either run by non-supporters or just plainly not managed very well.

People saw that we handled brigades from trolls really well. The current top mod, /u/lil-z, was brought in to help when we were being brigaded by /r/politics.
Left wing trolls have been getting banned really quickly for the longest time, going back to 2015. There was a /r/politics thread from a time we were being brigaded early on where a lot of people shared screenshots of their ban messages from me. The community really apprecited that I was banning these people with messages like "morons aren't allowed to post here".

We were basically the best game in town, despite not having one of the best names for a Trump subreddit.

/pol/ found us and has given us a tremendous amount of energy and some fantastic content. The people from /pol/ who can behave, which is probably most of them, stay. The people who don't behave usually wind up getting banned for rule 3.  

Yeah, the algorithm change had an effect on our traffic and number of new subscribers. I really don't blame reddit for doing that, though. We were taking up 2/3 of the top 25 of /r/all and it looked like this was a "new normal" and not just a quick bounce from the Orlando event.

>Would you say that the subreddit is *just* about Trump and his candidacy or has it become a mishmash of all of these different groups and their cultures, etc.?

It is a mishmash that was only made possible by the candidacy of Donald Trump for President of the United States. There is a kind of energy behind Trump as a candidate that has not been seen from the right since probably Reagan. Trump's not Reagan, of course. He drags the party towards the middle while Reagan pulled it to the right, and immigration and trade (the issues that Trump is winning on) are issues where Reagan/Bush ultimately proved to be harmful. Reagan was a great president but like any person he was not perfect.

>As I mentioned, the subreddit was much less ... militant in the early days. Why was that, and do you ever long for those days?

I don't think we're all that militant. We have rules but those are needed to keep left wing SJWs, concern trolls, and 1488ers out of the subreddit. In the early days it was just a sub for a small number of people. Now it's a large community. I was involved in /r/Romney which was a failure back in 2012 because it tried to be too serious. I also created /r/Conspiratard. That subreddit became popular because it was "fun" and not a serious place. Most of us didn't like a lot of the people that /r/conspiratard attracted and put in a lot of rules that effectively killed the subreddit, inevitably pushing the insufferable SJW posters to the point where they formed their own community. When Cis pushed for stuff like using the sticky to push shitposts to the front page I was able to buy into it because I've seen first hand that easily digestible content and a fun culture do well on reddit. "Serious" does not. The way that /r/the_donald is run simply works.  

>Though you've always banned outright racism, r/the_donald skirts the line in pretty much every post.

"Skirts the line in pretty much every post"? That's ridiculous.

>Are you comfortable with what the subreddit has become?

It sounds like a loaded question especially considering your "skirts the line" comment. It seems like you want to portray the_donald in a certain way and then get my reaction to it in order to make me look bad. /r/the_donald is a "safe space" for those who support Trump. This is a community that promotes the candidacy of a great candidate. No candidate is perfect but Trump is the best choice we have for 2016. We need immigration reform that does not grant amnesty to illegals and puts and end to end illegal immigration once and for all. We need to end the abuse of H1B and H2B visas by employers. We need to look into renegotiating or pulling out of every free trade deal, especially those that were signed with developing nations. The establishment from BOTH parties have fucked over the American people on immigration and trade, these issues unite people from all over the political spectrum. These issues are why Trump won the GOP nomination and why he will win in the general against Crooked Hillary Clinton, who is probably the worst possible candidate for the Democrats to put up against Trump. She represents everything that is wrong with politics in America today.

>Do you consider the_donald to be a place for free speech? Why or why not?

No, it never has been a "free speech" subreddit. We have rules that are necessary for preserving our culture. "Free speech" applies to governments, not subreddits. This isn't /pol/, this is a place that is intended to reach a wider and more mainstream audience.

>In your mind, who is a poster at r/the_donald i.e. is there an archetype?

It's hard to say that there is an archetype. Again, big tent. It's pretty safe to say that nearly all of us agree on trade and immigration. We are pretty much all against multiculturalism. The rest is as you put earlier a "mishmash" of people from all over the political spectrum. We even have a lot of active posters who are from foreign countries! What unites us is a love for America
.
 Having actually dealt with jcm267 online, that interview makes my skin crawl.

No Exit

If they hang around on that subreddit as November slips into December slips into late January, the "centipedes" will discover what it is like to be in a campaign victory party that cannot stop, like
Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel, but online. After a certain point the trolling and idiot racism will no longer seem "daring" and "an exercise of our first amendment rights" or whatever low-rent excuses they are willing to make to cover for their shitty behavior. So they will go off to "/r/MAGA-PREZ" or whatever they will call the sequel to The_Donald and it will all fade away because Trump the Reality will never match  Trump the Possibility. I encourage all my readers to screen shot as much of that cruddy subreddit as they can before time and "good taste" wipes it off the internet. Nobody involved should get out of it unscathed.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Evolution of the Wikipedia "Halloween" article

It's one of those Monday Halloweens so there will be a long party weekend, why not look at the lumpy Halloween article on Wikipedia.

A Short, Lumpy Collection

Revision as of 13:40, 11 October 2001

A holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.

Evolved from a Druid harvest holiday, a Roman festival known as Pomona Day and the Christian "Day of the Dead".

On October 31st after crops were harvested Druids in Britain would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin. When the morning of November 1 arrived, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits. A 3 day festival called Samhain (pronounced "sow-en") followed.
The Romans invaded Britain in the 1st century and brought with them the festival known as Pomona Day, named for the goddess of fruits and gardens. It was celebrated around the 1st of November.

In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. Later, Gregory III changed the date to November 1.

October 31st became known as All Hallow Even, eventually All Hallow's Eve, Hallowe'en, and then - Halloween.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have evolved from the 9th-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes" - square pieces of bread with currants. Beggars would promise to say prayers on behalf of dead relatives helping the soul's passage to heaven.

Irish emigrants from the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-46 brought with them the holiday of Halloween to the United States.

Some Christian groups consider Halloween a Pagan holiday and refer to it as "The most evil day of the year".
Halloween is associated with trick-or-treating, ghost stories, pumpkins, jack o'lanterns, witches, black cats, costumes, and parties. Children often dress up in costumes and knock on neighborhood doors saying, "Trick or Treat".

The holiday of Samhain is celebrated by Neopagans .
 - originally written by Trimalchio

 After a lot of changes, by 2003 it looked like this:

Revision as of 01:55, 8 July 2003


This article is about the holiday. For the Halloween movies, see Halloween (movie).

Halloween or Halloweve is a holiday celebrated in much of the Western world on the night of October 31, the night before All Saints Day (Nov. 1). Originating in Ireland, and brought to the United States by Irish emigrants in the 19th century. It is now associated with ghosts, trick-or-treating, candy corn, ghost stories, pumpkins, jack o'lanterns, witches, black cats, costumes, parties and banshees . Children often dress up in costumes and knock on neighborhood doors saying, "Trick or Treat" and receiving candy, originally in return for a joke, a song, or some other trick.

Customs

There are several traditional games associated with Halloween parties. The most common is bobbing for apples, in which a tub or a large basin is filled with water in which apples float. The participants must remove an apple from the basin using only their mouths. Naturally everyone gets wet. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings. These must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity which inevitably leads to a very sticky face.Another game, Púicíní (pronounced "pook-eeny"), a form of "Blindfold", is played in Ireland. A blindfolded person was seated in front of a table on which are placed several saucers.The saucers are shuffled and the seated person then choses one by touch. The contents of the saucer determine the the person's life for the following year.A saucer containing earth means someone known to the player will die during the next year. A saucer containing water foretells travel, a coin means new wealth and a bean means poverty etc.
A Halloween custom which has survived unscathed to this day in Ireland is the baking, or, more often nowadays, the purchase of a barm brack (Ir. "báirín breac"). This is a light fruit cake into which a plain ring is placed before baking. It is said that whoever finds this ring will find his or her true love over the following year.

History

Although modern Halloween is a secular holiday, it evolved from several pagan holidays.
Its earliest roots are found in the Druidic holiday of death which took place each year on October 31 and was held in honour of Samhain, Lord of the Dead. After the crops were harvested, Druids in Ireland and Britain would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin. When the morning of November 1 arrived, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires were believed to keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits, as it was considered a time of year when the veils were thin between worlds. A three-day festival called Samhain (pronounced "sow-inn") followed. In Ireland it was believed to be the night on which the invisible "gates" between this world and the Other World were opened and free movement between both worlds was possible. In the Other World lived the immortal "Shee", the female members of whom were called Banshees.
Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. Villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames. (the word bonfire is thought to derive from these "bone fires.") With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit their hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together.

Like most Celtic festivals, it was celebrated on a number of levels. Materially speaking it was the time of gathering in of food for the long winter months ahead, bringing people and their livestock in to their winter quarters. To be alone and missing at this dangerous time was to expose yourself and your spirit to the perils of imminent winter. In present times the importance of this part of the festival has diminished for most people. From the point of view of a tribal people for whom a bad season meant facing a long winter of famine in which many would not survive to the spring, it was paramount.

This was the most evil time of the year. It was a Druidical belief that on the eve of this festival Samhain, lord of death, called together the wicked spirits that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals. During the night the great shield of Skathach was lowered, allowing the barriers between the worlds to fade and the forces of evil to invade the realms of order, the material world conjoining with the world of the dead. At this time ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds roamed amongst the living. The dead could return to the places where they had lived and food and entertainment were provided to exorcize them. If food and shelter were not provided, these spirits would cast spells and cause havoc towards those failing to fulfill their requests.

It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes. The pagan observances influenced the Christian festival of All Hallows Eve.

On the level of cosmic event, the rising of Pleiades, the winter stars, heralds the supremacy of night over day, the dark half ruled by the realms of the moon.

In the three days preceding the Samhain month the Sun God, Lugh, maimed at Lughnassadh, dies by the hand of his Tanist (his other self), the Lord of Misrule. Lugh traverses the boundaries of the worlds on the first day of Samhain. His Tanist is a miser and though he shines brightly in the winter skies he gives no warmth and does not temper the breath of the Crone, Cailleach Bheare, the north wind. In this may be discerned the ageless battle between the light and dark and the cyclic nature of life and the seasons.
In parts of western Brittany Samhain is still heralded by the baking of kornigou. Kornigou are cakes baked in the shape of antlers to commemorate the god of winter shedding his "cuckold" horns as he returns to his kingdom in the Otherworld.

After the Romans colonised much of Britain, elements of the Roman festival known as Pomona Day were also introduced. Pomona Day was held on November 1, and is named for Pomona, a Roman Goddess of fruits and gardens.

When Christianity eventually reached Ireland in 432 and Britain, conversion began among the local people, including Christianization of the old traditions. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. Later, Pope Gregory III changed the date to November 1. October 31 became known as All Hallows Even, eventually All Hallows Eve, Hallowe'en (still used as the standard spelling in Ireland), and then Halloween in the US. Obsevance of Halloween faded in Britain from the 17th cetury onwards, being replaced by the commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot on November 5. It is only in the last decade that it has become popular in Britain again, although in an entirely Americanised version. It did, however, survive unscathed in Ireland. Nowadays in Ireland, the last Monday of October is a public holiday. All schools close for the following week for mid-term, commonly called the Hallowe'en Break. As a result Ireland is the only country where children never have school on Halloween and are therefore free to celebrate it in the ancient and time-honoured fashion.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have evolved from the 9th century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes" - square pieces of bread with currants. Beggars would promise to say prayers on behalf of dead relatives helping the soul's passage to heaven.

Irish emigrants from the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1846 brought with them the holiday of Halloween to the United States.

Religious Viewpoints

Some fundamentalist Christian groups consider Halloween a Pagan holiday because of these early Pagan origins, and refer to it as "The most evil day of the year", refusing to allow their children to participate. Among these groups it is believed to still have Satanic influences, as are many other Pagan practices. Other Christians continue to connect this holiday with All Saints Day.

Neopagans also do not practice Halloween, but for different reasons. Instead of rejecting it because of its Pagan origins, they rather embrace the earlier Pagan practice and celebrate a version of the older Celtic festival of Samhain.

See also Day of the Dead
- article saved from "blanking" by Jtdirl. The blanker was an IP address, 152.163.253.5 .

By 2005 the article looks  like this:


Revision as of 21:25, 22 October 2005

For other uses, see Halloween (disambiguation).
Halloween is an observance celebrated on the night of October 31, usually by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting candy. It is celebrated in much of the Western world, though most commonly in the United States, the British Isles, Canada and sometimes in Australia and New Zealand. Irish, Scots and other immigrants brought older versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th century. Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.
The term "Halloween" derives from Hallowe'en, an old contraction, still retained in Scotland and some parts of Canada, of "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the day before All Saints day (observed by some Christians, including Roman Catholics), which used to be called "All Hallows," derived from All Hallowed Souls. In Ireland, the name was Hallow Eve and this name is still used by some older people. Halloween was formerly also sometimes called All Saints' Eve. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries (along with Christmas and Easter, two other traditional northern European pagan holidays) and given a Christian reinterpretation. In Mexico, All Saint's Day, following Halloween, is the Day of the Dead.
Halloween is also called Pooky Night in some parts of Ireland, presumably named after the púca, a mischievous spirit.
In the United Kingdom in particular, the pagan Celts celebrated the Day of the Dead on Halloween. The spirits supposedly rose from the dead and, in order to attract them, food was left on the doors. To scare off the evil spirits, the Celts wore masks. When the Romans invaded Britain, they embellished the tradition with their own, which is the celebration of the harvest and honoring the dead. These traditions were then passed on to the United States.
Halloween is sometimes associated with the occult. Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the "liminal" times of the year when the spirit world can make contact with the natural world and when magic is most potent (see, for example, Catalan mythology about witches).
Anoka, Minnesota, USA, the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World," celebrates with a large civic parade.
==Symbols==
Jack-o'-lanterns may be carved with a funny face.
Halloween-Pumpkin
Halloween's theme is spooky or scary things particularly involving death, magic, or mythical monsters. Commonly-associated Halloween characters include ghosts, ghouls, witches, bats, black cats, owls, goblins, zombies, skeletons and demons, as well as certain fictional figures like Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. Homes are often decorated with these symbols around Halloween.
Black and orange are the traditional colors of Halloween. In modern Halloween images and products, purple, green, and red are also prominent.
Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins and scarecrows, are also reflected in symbols of Halloween.
The jack-o'-lantern, a carved vegetable lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols. In Britain and Ireland, a turnip was and sometimes still is used, but immigrants to America quickly adopted the pumpkin because it is much larger and easier to carve. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their home's doorstep after dark. The practice was originally intended to frighten away evil spirits or monsters. kkk

Contents

Trick-or-treating

The main event of Halloween is trick-or-treating, also known as guising in Scotland, in which children dress up in costume disguises and go door-to-door in their neighborhood, ringing each doorbell and yelling "trick or treat!" The occupants of the house (who might themselves dress in a scary costume) will then hand out small candies, miniature chocolate bars or other treats. Homes sometimes use sound effects and fog machines to help set a spooky mood. Other house decoration themes (that are less scary) are used to entertain younger visitors. Children can often accumulate many treats on Halloween night, filling up entire pillow cases or shopping bags.
In Scotland, children or guisers are likely to recite "The sky is blue, the grass is green, may we have our Halloween" instead of "trick or treat!", they will then have to impress the members of the houses they visit with a song, trick, joke or dance in order to earn their treats.
In parts of Canada, children are more likely to say "Halloween apples" instead of "trick or treat." This probably originated when the toffee apple was a popular type of candy. However, there are some children today who say "Halloween apples" instead of "Trick or treat" because sometimes if the latter was said, the person at the door would take it as a question (i.e trick or treat?) and ask them to perform a trick instead of giving them a treat.
Tricks play less of a role in modern Halloween, though the night before Halloween is often marked by pranks such as soaping windows, egging houses or stringing toilet paper through trees. Before indoor plumbing was so widespread, tipping over or displacing outhouses was a popular form of trick.
Typical Halloween costumes have traditionally been monsters such as vampires, ghosts, witches, and devils. The stereotypical Halloween costume is a sheet with eyeholes cut in it as a ghost costume. In 19th-century Scotland and Ireland the reason for wearing such fearsome (and non-fearsome) costumes was the belief that since the spirits that were abroad that night were essentially intent on doing harm, the best way to avoid this was to fool the spirits into believing that you were one of them. In recent years, it has become common for costumes to be based on themes other than traditional horror, such as dressing up as a character from a TV show or movie, or choosing a recognizable face from the public sphere, such as a politician (in 2004, for example, George W. Bush and John F. Kerry were both popular costumes in America). In 2001, after the September 11 attacks, for example, costumes of firefighters, police officers, and United States military personnel became popular among children. In 2004, an estimated 2.15 million children in the United States were expected to dress up as Spider Man, the year's most popular costume. [1]
"'Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" has become a common sight during Halloween in America, Canada, and Mexico. Started by UNICEF in 1950, the program involves the distribution of small boxes by schools to trick-or-treaters, in which they can solicit small change donations from the houses they visit. It is estimated that children have collected more than $119 million for UNICEF since its inception.
BIGresearch conducted a survey for the National Retail Federation in the US and found that 53.3% of consumers planned to buy a costume for Halloween 2005, spending $38.11 on average (up 10 dollars from last year). An estimate of $3.3 billion was made for the holiday spending.
A child usually "grows out of" trick-or-treating by his or her teenage years. Teenagers and adults instead often celebrate Halloween with costume parties, staying home to give out candy, scaring people half to death, or other social get-togethers.

Games and other activities

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween parties. The most common is bobbing for apples, in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water; the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple from the basin. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity which inevitably leads to a very sticky face.
Some games traditionally played at Halloween are forms of divination. In Puicíní (pronounced "pook-eeny"), a game played in Ireland, a blindfolded person is seated in front of a table on which are placed several saucers. The saucers are shuffled and the seated person then chooses one by touch. The contents of the saucer determine the person's life for the following year. A saucer containing earth means someone known to the player will die during the next year, a saucer containing water foretells travel, a coin means new wealth, a bean means poverty, etc. In 19th-century Ireland, young women placed slugs in saucers sprinkled with flour. The wriggling of the slugs and the patterns subsequently left behind on the saucers were believed to portray the faces of the women's future spouses.
In North America, unmarried women were frequently told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. However, if they were destined to die before they married, a skull would appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late nineteenth century.
The telling of ghost stories and viewing of horror films are common fixtures of Halloween parties. Television specials with a Halloween theme, usually aimed at children, are commonly aired on or before the holiday.

Foods

File:Candy apples.jpg
Candy apples
Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (also known as toffee apples) are a common treat at Halloween. They are made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, and sometimes then rolling them in nuts. At one time candy apples were a common treat given to children, but this practice rapidly waned after widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples that they would pass out to children. The vast majority of the reported cases turned out to be hoaxes, and the few that were real caused only minor injuries, but many parents were under the assumption that the practice was common. At the peak of this hysteria, some hospitals were offering to x-ray children's Halloween haul at no cost in order to look for such items.
A Halloween custom which has survived unchanged to this day in Ireland is the baking (or more often nowadays the purchase) of a barmbrack (Irish "báirín breac"). This is a light fruit cake into which a plain ring is placed before baking. It is said that whoever finds this ring will find his or her true love during the following year.
Other foods associated with the holiday:

Cultural history

Celtic observation of Samhain

In the Druidic religion of the ancient Celts, the new year began with the winter season of Samhain on November 1. Just as shorter days signified the start of the new year, sundown also meant the start of a new day; therefore the harvest festival began every year on the night of October 31. Druids in the British Isles would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops. And as they danced around the fires, the season of the sun would pass and the season of Samhain would begin.
When the morning of November 1 arrived, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take it home to start a new cooking fire. These fires were intended to keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits such as "Sidhe" (pronounced "shee," most notable of which are the beán sidhe or banshees), because at this time of year it was believed that the invisible "gates" between this world and the spirit world were opened and free movement between both worlds was possible.
Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. Villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames; the word "bonfire" is thought to derive from these "bone fires." With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit their hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Hundreds of fires are still lit each year in Ireland on Halloween night.
Neopagans still celebrate the sabbat of Samhain on Halloween, as well as also taking part in secular Halloween activities.

Norse Elven Blót

In the old Norse religion and its modern revival Ásatrú, the day now known as Halloween was a blót which involved sacrifices to the elves and the blessing of food.
A poem from around 1020, the Austrfaravísur ('Eastern-journey verses') of Sigvatr Þorðarson, mentions that, as a Christian, he was refused board in a heathen household, in Sweden, because an álfablót ("elves' sacrifice") was being conducted there. However, we have no further reliable information as to what an álfablót involved, but like other blóts it probably included the offering of foods, and later Scandinavian folklore retained a tradition of sacrificing treats to the elves. From the time of year (close to the autumnal equinox) and the elves' association with fertility and the ancestors, we might assume that it had to do with the ancestor cult and the life force of the family.

Halloween customs

Observance of Halloween faded in the South of England from the 17th century onwards, being replaced by the commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot on November 5. However it remained popular in Scotland, Ireland and the North of England. It is only in the last decade that it again became popular in the South of England, but as an entirely Americanized version.
The custom survives most accurately in Ireland, where the last Monday of October is a public holiday. All schools close for the following week for mid-term, commonly called the Halloween Break. As a result Ireland is the only country where children never have school on Halloween and are therefore free to celebrate it in the ancient and time-honored fashion.
The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have evolved from the European custom called souling, similar to the wassailing customs associated with Yule. On November 2, All Souls' Day, beggars would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes" - square pieces of bread with currants. Christians would promise to say prayers on behalf of dead relatives helping the soul's passage to heaven. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits at the Samhain. See Puck (mythology).
In Celtic parts of western Brittany, Samhain is still heralded by the baking of kornigou. Kornigou are cakes baked in the shape of antlers to commemorate the god of winter shedding his "cuckold" horns as he returns to his kingdom in the Otherworld.

"Punkie Night"

"Punkie Night" is observed on the last Thursday in October in the village of Hinton St. George in the county of Somerset in England. On this night, children carry lanterns made from hollowed-out mangel-wurzels (a kind of beet; in modern days, pumpkins are used) with faces carved into them. They bring these around the village, collecting money and singing the punkie song. Punkie is derived from pumpkin or punk, meaning tinder.
Though the custom is only attested over the last century, and the mangel-wurzel itself was introduced into English agriculture in the late 18th century, "Punkie Night" appears to be much older even than the fable that now accounts for it. The story goes that the wives of Hinton St. George went looking for their wayward husbands at the fair held nearby at Chiselborough, the last Thursday in October, but first hollowed out mangel wurzels in order to make lanterns to light their way. The drunken husbands saw the eerie lights, thought they were "goolies" (the restless spirits of children who had died before they were baptized), and fled in terror. Children carry the punkies now. The event has spread since about 1960 to the neighboring village of Chiselborough.
Sources: on-line report from the Western Gazette and a National Geographic radio segment. Chiselborough Fair is memorialized by Fair Place in the village. The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) reported that there was "a fair for horses and cattle on the last Thursday in October."

"Mischief Night"

The night before Halloween, known in some areas as "Mischief Night", "Mizzie Night", "Gate Night", "Cabbage Night", "Goosie Night (Goosy,Goosey)" or "Devil's Night," is often associated with pranks or destructive activities performed by adolescents. Some of the acts range from minor vandalism to theft, or even arson. Many youths involved in mischief night would be considered too old for traditional trick-or-treating. The most common wrong-doing is toilet papering or "T.P.ing", in which people's houses, lawns, and trees are covered in toilet paper streamers.
Perhaps the most elaborate example of a Mischief Night prank was Orson Welles' radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds, originally aired on October 30, 1938. Welles' broadcast, which purported to be a live newscast detailing the invasion of the United States by Martians, was accepted as real by many listeners and created a public panic in some areas of the country.
A dialect survey begun in 1999 by Harvard University indicates that there are a number of terms for this particular day of the year, but that the vast majority (70.38%) have no special word for it.

Religious viewpoints

The majority of Christians ascribe no doctrinal significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular entity devoted to celebrating imaginary spooks and handing out candy. The secular celebration of Halloween may loom larger in contemporary imagination than does All Saints' Day.
The mingling of Christian and pagan traditions in the development of Halloween, and its real or assumed preoccupation with evil and the supernatural, have left many modern Christians uncertain of how they should react towards the holiday. Some fundamentalist and evangelical along with many Eastern Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Jewish believers consider Halloween a pagan or Satanic holiday, and refuse to allow their children to participate. In some areas, complaints from fundamentalist Christians that the schools were endorsing a pagan religion have led the schools to stop distributing UNICEF boxes at Halloween.
Other Christians, however, continue to connect the holiday with All Saints Day. Some modern Christian churches commonly offer a "fall festival" or harvest-themed alternative to Halloween celebrations. Still other Christians hold the view that the holiday is not Satanic in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children: being taught about death and mortality actually being a valuable life lesson.
Ironically, considering that most fundamentalist sects are Protestant in nature, many Protestant denominations celebrate October 31 as Reformation Day, which commemorates the October 31, 1517 posting of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses. Many mainline churches and religious schools, particularly Lutheran ones, meld the two holidays without worrying about "Satanic influences."

See also

External links

Further reading

  • Diane C. Arkins, Halloween: Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear, Pelican Publishing Company (2000). 96 pages. ISBN 1565547128
  • Diane C. Arkins, Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration Of Fun, Food, And Frolics From Halloweens Past, Pelican Publishing Company (2004). 112 pages. ISBN 158980113X
  • Phyllis Galembo, Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerade, Harry N. Abrams (2002). 128 pages. ISBN 0810932911
  • Jean Markale, The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year (translation of Halloween, histoire et traditions), Inner Traditions (2001). 160 pages. ISBN 0892819006
  • Lisa Morton, The Halloween Encyclopedia, McFarland & Company (2003). 240 pages. ISBN 078641524X
  • Nicholas Rogers, Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, Oxford University Press (2002). 198 pages. ISBN 0195146913
  • Jack Santino (ed.), Halloween and Other Festivals of Death and Life, University of Tennessee Press (1994). 280 pages. ISBN 0870498134
Actual photographs have now shown up!

A Product of Endless Gnoming

It goes without saying that this article on a simple one-night folk holiday has become a ridiculous epic unto itself, full of deletes, rev-deletes, good edits buried by crap only to be uncovered again - in fact it is being worked on right now, after Halloween itself has ended. I looked and found no names I recognized, so this appears to be a fetish of the sorts of people who look like they just walked out of a Siouxie Sioux video, the people for whom Halloween is the Grand Day of the Year. Doesn't really matter, the gnoming will go on until Wikipedia collapses and the page is turned into a file on a thumb-drive sold to the Third World for "education" purposes.




Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stuff That has Nothing to Do With Wikipedia: More Chris Chappell!

We were looking around the back room of our blog, and this came up:


The people, they really like Chris Chappell! The trick is, there really isn't much more to say about Chris Chappell and New Tang Dynasty TV - except now he has a page over at The Epoch Times, the Falun Gong (aka Falun Dafa) newspaper! His intro blurb:

As the surgeon of cutting satire, Chris Chappell's responsibilities are many. Among the ones that can be freely and legally posted on the Internet involve hosting China Uncensored—a comedy show uncovering the good, the bad, and the hilarious about modern China. Chris is quite famous and important, I assure you. I also can promise I am not him, writing a bio in the third person. Definitely not.

Truly, the Comedy Central-era Stephen Colbert knock-off act of Chris Chappell shall never end, sayeth the Comedy Gods over at New Tang Dynasty TV.

                                   He looks like he is begging his girlfriend for sex in this photo.*

I am sure the Chris Chappell fans want me to link some of his videos; I will give them this:


That was the one where Chappell complains about Google's moronic "create advertiser-friendly content" request/demand on paid YouTubers, and how he is moving to Patreon (a system I am certain will collapse with the next "market correction").

I could be more snarky, but this is really not my game - I'm not Chinese (gasp!), I don't speak a Chinese language, no Chinese girlfriend. So I will let the artist Wang Shui-bo have the final word.



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* Photo taken from The Epoch Times website; we steal from the source

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pictures from Wikiconference San Diego

Enough of reading, here are some "tricky pix" taken by yours truly at Wikiconference San Diego the first weekend of this month.

Here is James Alexander of the WMF in the middle of lecturing me why I can't attend the conference. The woman in grey in the far background probably alerted Alexander that I had arrived using the tablet she had for check-in work. Alexander kept asking who I really was, claiming that the name I had given was fake, and that I would be refunded. I went into the San Diego Public Library anyway....

Only to be followed around by two women in red shirts who kept demanding that I go downstairs (so security could kick me out). It did not matter that I said I was a journalist (which I am, as was the fake name I used); they did not care. My mere presence in a public library which they were using less than 20 percent of was somehow intolerable to them, even though I spoke to only one Wikipedian who wasn't conference staff. The blonde Redshirt is "Sydney", the brunette I don't know, the woman is allegedly Fluffernutter. Yes, the man is Kirill Lokshin, organizer of the event and quietly furious I was "fucking things up" somehow. Photo taken on the roof of the library, 9th floor.

Same floor, seen from the other side, me seated. I know I kept switching floors to avoid the Redshirts. Does anybody know who these three people are?

This photo was from the same position; the black blob on the bottom is my backpack. Anybody know who all those people at the table are? Does the woman on the right with the red bag ring any bells? How about the woman with the ballcap in the back left? Some of the people on that floor were just civilian normies; I don't expect everyone to be a Wikipedian.

This was earlier than the last two photos, taken inside the Wangenheim Room on top of the library. The guy on the mobile phone is another of the Redshirts, possibly a junior Redshirt (the sort that died quick on Star Trek). The group at the table on the far left might be important, as might be the guy in the chair dead center.

Here are some more denizens of the 9th floor, shot from the Wangenheim Room (they now call it a "collection"). Anybody look familiar?

 Awful photo of the reading room on the 8th floor; thought I could catch some Wikipedians lounging around. Taken through window on 9th floor. Lots of windows in the new SD library; every speaking room had a window at the door.

Another out-of-sequence photo; Robert Fernandez (Gamaliel) on the far left. Lokshin talking to brunette Redshirt. Yes, that is the same male Redshirt. They were watching and waiting for me to do something stupid, meanwhile I was doing what I came there to do (i.e. just take photos).

Now the shit has finally hit the fan; at this point I am being escorted out of a public library by cult members. Notice how Lokshin attempts the Scientology "bull baiting" stare, while James Alexander looks like he wants to eat my camera. Sydney is on the farthest left. Note Kirill's ORGANIZER tag.

Last photo; Sydney gets flashed in the face. Alexander truly furious now. While walking out to the street I ran across William "Monty" Burns, said something deliberately theatrical and confusing and shook his hand. Now my hand has fallen off. Sweet Jesus, he is a very short man.

The final fucking insult; for the temerity of showing up as another person because my cover has been blown thanks to that stukatch tarantino, I have been globally banned from the Wiki-world, even though I was never an editor, administrator, WMF employee, or associate of a Wikipedian before I joined Wikipediocracy. Total outsider, and banned for trying to collect photos for Mr. Barbour, who would use them for his book. Now the gloves are off and the beatdowns will be double.

Finally, the street guy who spoke up for me while James Alexander tried to get me to say my name.

 Notice in the background that the two Redshirts were being briefed on what to do about me by Lady in Grey. Street guy's name is Paul Rollins; he's on Facebook, ladies!


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62,345: The number of hits Wikipedia Sucks! has gotten since the beginning. Thanks to all readers across the globe!



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Addendum to BADSITES: SWATjester

Dan Rosenthal - my notes call him "a determined buttlicker and troll" - is both SWATjester and Drosenthal, and one of the Wikipedia wargamers, though he is barely on Wikipedia today, and barely talked about by the Old Hands still in Jimboland.

Who he is, Why you should care

SWATjester (Rosenthal capitalizes it "Swatjester") first made an appearance on Wikipedia in January, 2006 as a "registered editor" (his words), in that halcyon period just before the Fall. Before that he had been editing as an IP in late December of 2005 (his admission), though I would not be surprised if he was IP'ing even further back. Should not be confused with the former Clinton White House official Dan K. Rosenthal; this Rosenthal is a Iraq War II veteran, claims to have worked for the State Department, being both an attorney and a game developer. Supposedly he now works for the game company Machine Zone, yet he isn't listed on the "about us" page. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Back in 2006-7, SWATjester edited in a random way a number of articles on military items, numerous political figures, and gaming (of course.) Somewhere along the way he created the SierraSix sockpuppet which was created for him to abandon the SWATjester account if he needed to, but it sits unused. Also shelved but online is Rosenthal's 2007 blog May It Please the Court, which you can only now get to by Wayback Machine; the blog talked about "wiki-law" because Rosenthal wound up working for the WMF as a legal intern from May to September. Before that he went through two Requests for adminship; the first in April of 2006 (failed), the second in February the next year, which was successful. While also pushing for BADSITES to be a thing, he was also in a fight with sci-fi author Teresa Nielsen Hayden and blogger Kathryn Cramer; SWATjester was arguing with Hayden over facts in science-fiction articles. He was dickish enough to try to delete a link to T.N. Hayden's blog within the Teresa Hayden BLP (!) claiming the blog was an "attack site" in August 2007. There are endless complaints on the now-dead Wikipedia Review concerning Rosenthal, and he wasn't loved on Wikipedia either - he tangled with Eleemosynary over a stupid Snakes on a Plane rumor in March 2006; Muriness complained about his heavy-handedness in June 2007. I have five other AN/I complaints: Bstone complained about him in May 2008 (complaint closed by Tiptoeity); Fosnez has a struck-through complaint in October 2007 (that one got real nasty); some stupidity by SWATjester concerning the article on the University High School of Los Angeles; fighting between Rosenthal and the_undertow with LaraLove (aka Jennavecia; Lara Taylor) backing up the_undertow over white power allegations (probably true); and Jeeny, claiming that SWATjester was "trolling and threatening" them in November 2007. The careful reader will notice how many of these complainants later left Wikipedia entirely. Wikipedia Review had this from Greg Kohs, this from Eric Barbour, some shooting talk found by Kohs*.

".....Like a deflating balloon....."

 The decline of SWATjester to a bare-minimum admin just one hair away from being desysopped was slow and painful. There was the stupid argument between Rosenthal and Seth Finklestein in December 2007 over a blog post written by SWATjester; the entire thing has been scrubbed from the Internet, all that is left is this sentence from a Wikipedia Review blog post: "We at the Review recognized this type of thing immediately. It’s called an attempt to quash any criticism. “Swatjester” denounced Seth’s “ethics” in a blog post called “Wikipedia Haters“, before declaring The Guardian newspaper a tabloid and dismissing it as an unreliable source. Seth blew raspberries back, probably the wisest course of action available." That same month SWATjester ran for Arbcom, and got his rotten head kicked in for his troubles. In February 2008 Guettarda (Ian Ramjohn) blocked Dan Rosenthal for twelve hours; SWATjester was feuding with SqueakBox (Richard Weiss). For some bizarro reason LaraLove removed the block.

The rest of the unspooling was pretty unspectacular: in June 2008 the_undertow (aka Law) tried to write a BLP on Dan K. Rosenthal, and that knuckle-knob Ryulong confused the two Rosenthals and tried to delete the article. The year 2009 rolls around, SWATjester runs for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. And they kicked him to the curb AGAIN! After that point it seemed that Rosenthal started to give up; April 2011 was when he cut back on editing, then he came back in 2012 to do some vandalism patrolling, then he cut back in the summer of 2013. For the last three years he has become the Wikipedia equivalent of a "hump" (Baltimore, Maryland slang for an older cop who is coasting to retirement); he could quit, but then all that work would be for nothing, so he hangs on. Pointlessly.

And the Moral of the Story is.....

Besides "don't do Wikipedia", the lesson is that the Wikipedian subculture has developed to a point where the "dirty jobs" types are considered too goonish for actual power within the machine. Kelly Martin wrote the following about Dan Rosenthal: "Swatjester is a gung-ho fascist with an over-inflated opinion of his own competence. He has even less capacity for finesse or subtlety than I do, and would be even more of a disaster as an arbitrator than he has been as an admin and OTRS volunteer [i.e., the "Volunteer Response Team" - S.] ."  She's completely on target, and it's sad that an online "super-encyclopedia" has to use a guy like SWATjester as an enforcer.

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* Let it never be said that I'm unfair to sources who loathe me. Also the term "SWATjester" is spelled with the "special weapons and tactics" acronym in caps, so I'm keeping it like that here.