Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

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nitro2k01
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Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by nitro2k01 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:52 am

Quoting this post.
FrankenGraphics wrote:Citing wiki, this seems to be a fairly powerful thing to imitate, even for a portion of a song:
This is one of my pet peeves. A wiki is a type of web application/web site for organizing information in a certain easily editable way. One software package of this type is called MediaWiki, though many other similar software packages exist. MediaWiki is the software which powers, among many others, the web site Wikipedia. The name Wikipedia in turn is a portmanteau of wiki and encyclopedia. Many other sites, such as our own Nesdev wiki and The Cutting Room Floor, are also examples of wikis. The web site Wikia offers hosting of wiki sites for countless special interests and fandoms. You can easily set up a wiki on your own if you have some web space and need a place to dump information. And so on.

Wikipedia is a proper name. Wiki is not. Saying "Citing wiki" when you mean "Citing Wikipedia" is like saying "Citing dictionary" when you mean "Citing The Oxford Dictionary". No, not even "Citing the dictionary". "Citing dictionary" is the analogous phrase here. Sounds silly, doesn't it?

Thank you for your attention, your friendly neighborhood grammar Nazi.

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Re: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by FrankenGraphics » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:08 am

Well, you need to take into account that actual popular use will often differ from its factual origin, and that such use will form its own semantic network through repeated practice in a context. You can't turn back the clock, and you can't standardize folk language.

When saying something like "i read this thing on wiki", wikipedia is always implied, and it is clear that it is an abbreviation of wikipedia exactly because the other hypothetical implication would be grammatically incorrect. There's no actual conflict.
When saying "i read this thing on a wiki [page]", on the other hand, you mean just that.
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Re: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by gauauu » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:19 am

FrankenGraphics wrote: When saying something like "i read this thing on wiki", wikipedia is always implied, and it is clear that it is an abbreviation of wikipedia exactly because the other hypothetical implication would be grammatically incorrect. There's no actual conflict.
Huh. While I agree with your premise about popular usage being what's important, in my circles, this is not a normal popular usage. The only time I've heard this is from completely non-technical people that completely don't understand what they're talking about. (ie the type of people that call Internet Explorer "the internet")

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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by nitro2k01 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:20 am

I would still advocate resisting such changes because it can erase a potential understanding of the etymology of a word. Wiki might become in the public mind nothing more than an abbreviation of Wikipedia, and so the assumption is formed that the concept of wikis is named after Wikipedia, instead of the other way around. It's true that you can't exactly standardize folk language, but everyone has a an opportunity to make a well-reasoned choice about their own use of language, and perhaps even influence others.

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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by FrankenGraphics » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:48 am

I see it all the time on FB and in SMS conversations, and messenger chats. Typically, there's three groups i don't see using it: journalists, people in formal roles, and CS/tech people. Maybe it's less common in english everyday use, i wouldn't know about that.

You might've convinced me to be more mindful of such use on boards like these, but out there, i think it's a lost cause.

<rant>
Actually, i have a few similar pet peeves. Like the use of "propaganda" which essentially just means "a message brought forward/propagated to spread an idea or cause", reading late 19th/early 20th century texts*. But since it has been used in a political context, it's then "a political message brought forward". But again, since it's generally political opponents calling something propaganda, it's "a misleading or outright false message brought forward, and the ones doing it are crooks". Which used as a strategy to delegitimize a claim then becomes analogous with words like "hogwash" and "BS".

When reading old texts using the word, someone not knowing this will think of the modern prejorative value it has gotten, which is so dominant that the word can't be used as originally intended and be expected to be understood.

*It borrows value from an old term in the catholic church; "propaganda fide", or the propagation of faith.
</rant>
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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by dougeff » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:13 am

1.Language is fluid, not static

2.If a word is used, and you understand its meaning, it is being used properly
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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by nitro2k01 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:32 am

dougeff wrote:2.If a word is used, and you understand its meaning, it is being used properly
Is this where you're supposed to post this thing? (s)

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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by tepples » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:57 am

I used to be able to correct people by mentioning Ward Cunningham's WikiWikiWeb, the first wiki, until that wiki was frozen indefinitely in February 2015.
dougeff wrote:If a word is used, and you understand its meaning, it is being used properly
Sometimes the meaning of a word is not only the meaning that the speaker is trying (and often succeeding) to get across but also the trust or lack thereof associated with an uneducated, inexperienced, or prejudiced speaker. For example:
  • "ain't no" means "is not a" but carries the connotation "I'm not speaking carefully based on educated reason. Instead, I'm letting my reactive mind do the talking."
  • The N-word means "person of sub-Saharan African descent" but carries the connotation "...who ought to be a slave because of his skin color."
  • "Wiki" in this context means "Wikipedia" but also "I am not aware of WikiWikiWeb and MeatBallWiki which directly preceded it nor Fandom powered by Wikia which followed it."

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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by FrankenGraphics » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:18 am

and conversely,
"aint no problem" sounds (to my untrained, non-native ears) like a go-getting fixer or easygoer, while
"it is no problem" sounds more like someone in an argument or serious discussion.

If this is right (is it?), it seems the context of talking about a problem guides the message. My nuance radar might be faulty, though. :P

Texting/messaging a pal writing "wiki" instead of "wikipedia" provides another context than saying/writing "wiki" in a "neutral"/clinical environment. In this case, SMS/chat lingo is all about getting things across quickly to keep the interruption from the other things you're doing as short as possible.
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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by Garth » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:10 pm

It's like "I got my mobile fixed" versus "I got my Oldsmobile fixed." One refers to a smartphone (or at least a cell phone of some kind), while the other is a brand of car. Totally different meaning.

I have a few of my own, like people sometimes saying "assembler" (the piece of software that converts assembly-language source code into the machine language the processor understands), when they mean "assembly language."
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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by rainwarrior » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:39 pm

dougeff wrote:1.Language is fluid, not static
2.If a word is used, and you understand its meaning, it is being used properly
In general I try to avoid engaging in pointless arguments about definition, but there is one big exception:

If you are writing didactic text, or reference material, it is worth debating what words mean so that you can choose words that express the ideas accurately and clearly. Ironically, this exception tends to come up a lot when maintaining a wiki. ;)


In conversation, however, you're trying to communicate an idea to one or more people. If they get it, you've succeeded. I think it's generally impolite to point out someone's impure/loose choice of word unless you were actually confused by it (or honestly believe someone else in the conversation is), or in a rarer case if you know they are learning the language and wish to have their mistakes corrected. It's pretty much an identical situation to pointing out someone's spelling mistakes.

Sometimes it's fun to talk about what words mean, though, but that's best done as its own conversation (like this thread), otherwise it's often an impolite digression.

Also, if you'd like to be tactful you can feign confusion: "Which Wiki was it on?" vs. "You should have said Wikipedia."

Usually attempting to understand the idea someone is trying to express results in a healthier conversation than criticizing the way they tried to express it. :P

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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by adam_smasher » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:48 pm

FrankenGraphics wrote:and conversely,
"aint no problem" sounds (to my untrained, non-native ears) like a go-getting fixer or easygoer, while
"it is no problem" sounds more like someone in an argument or serious discussion.

If this is right (is it?), it seems the context of talking about a problem guides the message. My nuance radar might be faulty, though. :P
To me (Urban Canadian English native speaker), "ain't no problem" sounds for-lack-of-a-better-word trashy and uneducated; it immediately makes me think of someone from a rural area, especially the American South - which is awful stereotyping, I know there are plenty of intelligent countryfolk and Southeners and just because someone has an accent from those areas doesn't make them trashy or uneducated! But those sorts of cultural and linguistic biases are deeply encoded into North American culture, sadly.

"isn't a problem" is pretty neutral and what I'd use in all but the most formal of settings; "it's no problem" is slightly more casual - I probably wouldn't use it in writing but is likely what I'd say conversationally. "It is not a problem" sounds almost satirically formal, robotic, and unnatural to me, particularly if spoken without a posh British accent. Weirdly, "it is no problem", despite just being an expansion of "it's no problem", doesn't sound right to me at all, I think because the first half is extremely formal but the latter half is very casual and grammatically "incorrect".

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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by FrankenGraphics » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:55 pm

hah, i even meant "it is not a", but wrote "it is no" without registering the change on the fly... which should be proof of my inadequateness judging the tone.
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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by psycopathicteen » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:36 pm

I'm more bugged by the fact that most Wikipedia citations are fake resources that solely exist to make Wikipedia look more credible than they really are.

It's obvious when each cited article is a word for word copy of each other, and happen to cite Wikipedia as a resource.

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Re: Pet peeve: Abbreviating Wikipedia as wiki

Post by nitro2k01 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:11 am

rainwarrior wrote:I think it's generally impolite to point out someone's impure/loose choice of word unless you were actually confused by it (or honestly believe someone else in the conversation is), or in a rarer case if you know they are learning the language and wish to have their mistakes corrected. It's pretty much an identical situation to pointing out someone's spelling mistakes.
The point was not to criticize FrankenGraphics, but the use of the expression itself. It's not directed at any single person. I only quoted his post as a reference of what inspired me to post the rant. I first thought about making a quick remark in that thread but then decided to break it out to its own thread, as that's likely what tepples would have done anyway, if it had generated any significant amount of discussion there.
psycopathicteen wrote:I'm more bugged by the fact that most Wikipedia citations are fake resources that solely exist to make Wikipedia look more credible than they really are.

It's obvious when each cited article is a word for word copy of each other, and happen to cite Wikipedia as a resource.
Are you describing citogenesis? Does that actually happen?

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