Reality Check

A forum for discussion of the front-page news posts on the Wongery.

Reality Check

Postby Clé » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:47 am

Well, it seems like there's a lot going down today. A scientific paper has been published detailing how to quantify the number of extraterrestrial visitors the Earth receives. Hulu just announced some intriguing new shows. Vimeo released a new service geared toward part of what makes the Internet great. Computational "answer engine" WolframAlpha introduced a brand new way to get answers to your questions. Funny or Die announced it's working to bring some of everyone's favorite shows to the big screen. Google unveiled its exciting new Google Nose feature, as well as its Google Maps treasure mode and a revolutionary look for Gmail. Even the White House transmitted a special message.

...Okay, obviously none of that is real. (Except maybe the White House announcement.) Of course, today is April Fools' Day, and many websites traditionally use the day for jokes of various sorts.

And I can't say that the Grandmaster Wongers might not have been tempted to pull something here, too. Were it not for one important detail.

That being that no one is visiting the site. So we'd be pulling an April Fools' joke that no one but us would see. That seems kind of pointless.

In fact, considering that got us thinking that this whole thing, really, is kind of pointless. We've been working on the Wongery for several years. It's been public for more than three months. And in all that time, as far as we can tell, no one has visited the site but us.

Well, us and spammers. Seriously, I'm not sure how spammers managed to find the site so quickly when apparently no one else has, but we're clearing out more than a dozen spam posts from the forums a day. Mostly in the Off Topic forum, so I guess we've got to give the spammers credit for recognizing the inappurtenance of their contributions, but the Off Topic forum isn't really meant for posts that are that off topic. (The vast majority of the spam posts seem to be about assorted celebrity sex tapes, distantly followed for some reason by Louis Vuitton handbags. Oh, and now there are posts about buying cheap cigarettes of various brands, too. That's new.) Fortunately, phpBB is apparently very good at flagging suspicious topics, so all the spam topics get marked as "awaiting approval", and all we've had to do is go through the queue every few days, make sure there are no legitimate posts there that were accidentally flagged (there never are), and then disapprove them all. We probably ought to go ahead and ban the spammers, too, while we're at it. I mean, I don't know that it would really do any good—there'd always be more, or the same one returning under different names (I'm not at all sure that some or all of the spammers may not really be the same ones under different names already—, but it couldn't hurt, and there's no good reason not to.

(I've dreaded the day spammers discover the Public Wongery... I'm actually (pleasantly) surprised they haven't yet. Probably has something to do with the login method going through phpBB, so whatever automated systems they usually use to spam wikis don't quite work, I guess.)

Anyway, it may seem unsurprising that no one's found the site. I mean, we haven't advertised it anywhere, or mentioned it to anyone, so there's no reason anyone should know about it. I guess we were thinking that maybe someone might accidentally happen across it in a web search or something... I mean, sure, most search engine algorithms prioritize sites that are, you know, actually linked to by other sites, so the Wongery would be buried way down in the search results for most terms, but there are some unique or nearly unique terms for which the Wongery comes up on the first page. Though, of course, because these are unique or nearly unique terms, nobody really would have any reason to search for them.

So, yeah, you could say that before giving up on the site we should at least try publicizing it. Thing is, though, that's not the half of it. The thing is, in a way it's almost kind of good we haven't been getting visitors, because the site is not at all in a state we'd really call presentable. We'd hoped to eventually have thousands of articles on the Central Wongery. We've been writing articles for it for years and have barely a few hundred. We said we'd try for an article a day, and haven't always managed an article a week. We promised to catch up on the badly behind schedule Worlds of the Week, but we've just fallen further behind than ever. Heck, it's been a month and a half since our last front-page post! And the top of the front page has borne the promise "Title graphic coming soon" since the site launched last December. I think "soon" has long passed by now.

So I think it's time to face facts. As much as we liked the idea of the Wongery, and as much as we wanted to make it happen... it just wasn't realistic. We don't have the means, the time, or the abilities to do what we wanted to do. And though it pains us to throw away several years of work... it doesn't make sense to keep putting time into something that it's more obvious with every passing day is just never going to come together. We bit off way more than we could chew with the Wongery, and it's long past time to acknowledge that, cut our losses, and move on.

Well, I won't say we're completely throwing all the work away. The things we've come up with for the Wongery... maybe we can still use them later, in some other form. But the Wongery as it stands, this website... yeah, I think it's safe to say it's through. Like Robert Burns said, the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley... and, in retrospect, it's patent now that our plans for the Wongery were never well laid to begin with.

I'm not saying the Wongery is going to disappear right away, of course. I've already paid for the domain registration through December, so I guess it's going to be around till then. But it's going to be around just as a dead site, a static abortion just lingering till its expiration. It's a sad end to some ambitious plans, but I guess some things are just not meant to be.

Don't worry about us. We all have other plans. We have other projects we'll try, eventually. The Wongery may be dead, but you'll hear from us again, someday. Though in the context of some project of somewhat more realistic scope. So, as I'm sure somebody said at some time though I can't find a specific attribution, don't think of this as a good-bye. Think of it as a see you later.

Of course, since nobody visits this site, I'm not sure who we're writing this post for anyway...
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