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Articles > The Gundam Crusader

Chris
http://www.mahq.net/rants/editorials/crusader.htm

These days, there aren't as many English Gundam resource sites as there used to be a few years ago. One site frequently used by fans these days is Wikipedia, "The Free Encyclopedia" that anyone can edit. You can find literally anything on Wikipedia - including loads of detailed Gundam articles. Now, because anyone can edit an article, you sometimes get entries that feature unverified and inaccurate information. One example I often use is the so-called "ZGMF-901S Fortune Gundam." According to the entry that was once listed on Wikipedia, the Fortune Gundam was meant to be piloted by Gilbert Durandal at the end of Gundam SEED DESTINY. It was to be armed with a GENESIS-like gamma ray cannon named Zykon Craft. This goofy machine was nothing but an unsubstantiated rumor that an over-eager fan decided to add to Wikipedia's DESTINY article.

What's the point of mentioning that example? I want to establish that although Wikipedia's entries on Gundam can be prone to errors, it doesn't mean that they're useless. However, a "Wikipedian" named Brian G. Crawford disagrees. Right now, Crawford is in the middle of a one-man crusade to delete approximately 100 Gundam articles. Why would he want to do that? Is he a Gundam fan? I'll let him explain in his own words, from the discussion to delete the articles on the Cosmic Era's two wars: "Fictional wars from a Japanese cartoon that involves battles between huge anthropomorphic robots resembling samurai wearing different colors of car fenders."

Wow, I've never seen such a spot-on description of Gundam in my many years as a fan. It's obvious that Crawford knows more about Gundam than me or anyone else. In fact, he knows quite a bit about a wide variety of subjects. Examining his user page shows that he's targeted articles in several subjects for deletion: Socialism and gold, web comics, the Mesopotamian god Marduk and of course, Gundam. Funny thing is, I don't really see him contributing anything to Wikipedia because he's so busy nominating things for deletion. Of course, I'm not a high-level Wikipedia user, so I could be wrong on that point.

You might wonder what his reason is for singling out Gundam articles. Again, Crawford's own words: "This is obviously fancruft, highly specific material about a fictional world." If you're asking yourself what "fancruft" means, here's Wikipedia's definition: "Fancruft is a term sometimes used in Wikipedia to imply that a selection of content is of importance only to a small population of enthusiastic fans of the subject in question."

Now, aside from the fact that I don't care for elitist terms like fancruft, I don't think it applies to Gundam. A science fiction franchise that's been around for nearly 30 years and appeals to people worldwide certainly does not equate to a "small population of enthusiastic fans." Also, there's plenty of material on Wikipedia that would qualify as fancruft. For example, their entry for Star Trek's NCC-1701-D USS Enterprise. Wow, that's pretty detailed - I didn't know the Enterprise-D could hold 95,000 tons of cargo. And to drive the point home, have a look at the entry for Star Wars' Star Destroyer. Who knew there were so many classes of Star Destroyers? This is fancruft if ever there was any, but no one, including Crawford, is targeting these articles for deletion. If someone did, I imagine there'd be a fierce battle to keep them.

Admittedly, Gundam is nowhere near as popular in the U.S. as Star Wars or Star Trek. However, Crawford's methods in requesting the deletion of Gundam articles are disingenuous, offensive and in poor taste. If I wanted to delete Star Wars articles and described the franchise as "fictional war where a farmer, ghosts, a green midget and an angry space bear try to save the galaxy from evil dorks in plastic white armor," I'd certainly be flamed. I'd also be creating a bias with users who aren't familiar with the subject. If I heard someone talking about "samurai robots with car fenders" I would think it's garbage too. But Gundam isn't even remotely like that description. I'm sure the debate will continue for a long time about whether or not Wikipedia should have detailed articles on fictional worlds. Personally, the outcome of that debate doesn't matter to me. However, if Gundam articles or any other "fancruft" articles are to be deleted, it should be handled by people knowledgeable on the subject, not one man on a crusade to delete things at his whim for his own reasons.




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