Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

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Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Elthir on Mon May 19, 2014 1:43 pm

Currently according to Wikipedia:

Glorfindel was portrayed to be the only one to have killed a "new generation balrog" single handed after the "less powerful balrog"[citation needed] slain by Ecthelion (although that Balrog, Gothmog, was the Lord of Balrogs and High Captain of Angband).

Anyone get that? I don't get it.

In The Return of the Shadow, Christopher Tolkien states that some time after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, his father "gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel" in the book, and decided that it was a "somewhat random use" of a name from The Silmarillion that would probably have been changed, had it been noticed sooner.

As I say in my long thread on Glorfindel, Tolkien would only say that at the time the name 'escaped reconsideration' which in my opinion doesn't necessarily mean 'probably' would have been changed at the time... so, if so, why not just quote Tolkien on it and leave any interpretation up to the Wiki-reader?

After being re-embodied, previously dead Elves stayed in Valinor. Tolkien decided that each Elf's name should be unique, and therefore the two Glorfindels should be one and the same.

That's a misleading simplification* about what Tolkien actually said about Elvish names.

Okay, but say I edit this page -- erm, once I understand better what the first statement here is referencing -- it can be simply edited back by the original writer, no? And so maybe I put in a quote to help support my version, isn't that good? But if so, is there a rule about quoting? I see some quotes.

I dunno. The pedantic fake scholar in me wants to 'correct' certain wiki-stuff, but given that it may not hold for more than even an hour, I'm not sure, and so far I haven't edited a single wiki-thing anywhere.

Plus, doesn't every editor think he or she is 'correct'? I mean, I contend that I can prove this statement* for example, but I've been reading the web long enough to know that what I think is solid enough 'proof' is not so, or not necessarily so, to the 'next guy'.

So, should I continue to ignore Glorfindel of Wikien? What say the forumshirers about wiki-participation? I still intend to leave it all alone, and add caution about the source in threads, but what is the case for participating?


Last edited by Elthir on Mon May 19, 2014 1:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Elthir on Mon May 19, 2014 1:47 pm

Hmm, after reading the first quote three more times, I think I get what the writer is trying to say.

I won't say what I think yet though.
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by halfwise on Mon May 19, 2014 1:55 pm

I don't get it, I think you should make changes with references, then it may stick.

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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon May 19, 2014 2:00 pm

Yup go for it Elthir.
They should be privileged to have an award wining Lore Master correcting their erroneous entries  Nod 

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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Elthir on Mon May 19, 2014 2:11 pm

All I can think of is that [the meaning is intended to be]...

... Glorfindel is attested as slaying a Balrog in an updated context -- that is, in a later context, externally speaking, as the early Balrogs of The Book of Lost Tales [and 1920s and 1930s] were seemingly more easy to kill than the Balrogs as Tolkien imagined them in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s [and even possibly the 1940s after the Balrog scene in Moria was written several times].

But if so, I think that's rather a complex issue to try to describe in a couple of sentences, and we know Ecthelion was still to kill his Balrog in an early 1950s context at least [if not later, but I would have to research that], thus after the Moria scene, where Gandalf battles the Balrog, was finished.

Or something else?

LOL, thanks Petty... but somehow I doubt the original writer will feel that way, for example  Very Happy 
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Eldorion on Mon May 19, 2014 5:13 pm

Wikipedia has a rule against "original research", so any reference needs to be backed up with citations to the books or reputable third-party web sources.  Unfortunately, controversial topics (which Glorfindel probably counts as, within the realm of Tolkien lore) have often been fought over for some time, resulting in angry, highly political bands of Wiki partisans who guard certain pages and will pounce to undo any edits that they disagree with.  Because Wikipedia follows a "truth from consensus" model, the majority view is usually the one that ends up represented on any given page, even if it is demonstrably false.  When edit wars get out of hand, the page will often be locked from editing by new or unregistered members.

You can check the "Talk" page for any given article to see if there is a record of previous argument over this topic. If you decide to edit the page, you can leave a description of your intentions and arguments on the talk page, though if it's been debated before people might just undo your edits to preserve the "consensus".
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by bungobaggins on Mon May 19, 2014 5:17 pm

Oh, man. People who edit Wikipedia, I appreciate what you do. I just don't think I'd want to hang out with any of them. Razz

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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Eldorion on Mon May 19, 2014 5:26 pm

Seriously. I tried to get into it a couple years ago but it's a crazy world over there. Wikipedia has acknowledged they have a problem with scaring off newbies for a long time, but they don't seem to have made much progress at fixing the situation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Editor_Retention
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by bungobaggins on Mon May 19, 2014 5:29 pm

Don't get into it Eldo. We don't want to lose you to the world of internet-know-it-alls. No

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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Eldorion on Mon May 19, 2014 5:33 pm

Aww, I'm touched by your concern, bungo. I love you {{{And surprised that someone doesn't already consider me a know-it-all. Razz}}}
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Elthir on Mon May 19, 2014 5:40 pm

Thanks for the input Eldo. I'm going to continue to stay away, for various reasons.

Any thoughts on that first statement too?

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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Eldorion on Mon May 19, 2014 6:54 pm

The first comment really baffled me. Clearly someone was aware that Tolkien's conception of Balrogs changed, including the number of them being reduced from thousands to about seven. My best guess is that someone wanted to come up with a singular continuity for The Fall of Gondolin and The Lord of the Rings and just made some wild assumptions. It's also possible that the sentence was edited by multiple people and thus lost any semblance of sense that way.
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by halfwise on Mon May 19, 2014 6:57 pm

I've seen one other wiki article go through an intermediate stage of foolishness and finally settle on clarity. I'd say check back in a few months and see if things have settled into something less jumbled.

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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Eldorion on Mon May 19, 2014 7:01 pm

Looking through the page's edit history, the phrase "new generation Balrog" was first added to the article on 29 December 2011 in subsection "The Lord of the Rings".

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Glorfindel&oldid=468342630

Glorfindel was portrayed to be the only one too have killed a 'new generation balrog' single handed after the 'less powerful balrog's slain by Ecthelion. He was known throughout poems and great ballards throughout all the Elven Kingdoms as 'The Balrog Slayer'.

On 25 January 2013, this paragraph (unchanged for over a year) was edited to the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Glorfindel&oldid=534896658

In early writings, Glorfindel was known through poems and great ballards throughout all the Elven Kingdoms as 'The Balrog Slayer'. Glorfindel was portrayed to be the only one to have killed a 'new generation balrog' single handed after the 'less powerful balrog's slain by Ecthelion (although that Balrog, Gothmog, was the Lord of Balrogs and High Captain of Angband).

The next day, on 26 January, this passage was moved from the "Origins" section, where it been since first added to the article, to the section "The Lord of the Rings", where it was added to the end of an existing paragraph about Glorfindel and the Balrog that had also been present for some time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Glorfindel&oldid=534911415

From the beginning, Glorfindel appears as a noble lord, known as one of King Turgon's chief lieutenants. In the original Fall of Gondolin, he is called the chief of the House of the Golden Flower. After fighting in the city's defence, Glorfindel escapes together with Tuor, Idril, Eärendil and many others. The survivors pass through the Encircling Mountains above Gondolin. However, they are ambushed by enemies, including a Balrog demon. Glorfindel duels and kills the Balrog, but is himself killed. His body is buried under a mound of stones, set there by the great eagle Thorondor, who lifted him up from the abyss. The Fall of Gondolin relates that "Glorfindel and the Balrog" became an Elven proverb to describe great skill and courage in battle.[1] In early writings, Glorfindel was known through poems and great ballards throughout all the Elven Kingdoms as 'The Balrog Slayer'. Glorfindel was portrayed to be the only one to have killed a 'new generation balrog' single handed after the 'less powerful balrog's slain by Ecthelion (although that Balrog, Gothmog, was the Lord of Balrogs and High Captain of Angband).

This is the same passage that is included in the article today, although the two "[citation needed]" tags were added in another edit less than half an hour later (still on 26 January).

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Glorfindel&oldid=534914118

So it seems like the nonsensicality has been present since 2011, though in 2013 someone realized that it was off and tried to make it not quite so egregious, but only went halfway.
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Re: Glorfindel of Wikien [really about wiki editing]

Post by Elthir on Wed May 21, 2014 12:50 pm

LOL ('intermediate stage of foolishness'). And thanks Eldo.

I couldn't find any real discussion/argument about any Glorfindel issues, but perhaps I'm not looking in the right links.

Anyway I notice that there are plenty of sources referrred to in the way of footnotes, but I think there should be more actual citations within the article itself, as this can help avoid the interpretation of the editor silently seeping in when there are various interpretations of a given something.

Hammond and Scull are, in my opinion, masters as being descriptive without letting interpretation seep in. With Wikipedia, I often feel like the editors are reading other second hand 'conclusions' instead of looking at the source texts they footnote...

... somehow.
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