Earlier this month, somebody created a Wikipedia web page for Barbenheimer, the web phenomenon impressed by the simultaneous launch of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, two extremely anticipated films with rave opinions which can be anticipated to herald hundreds of thousands on the field workplace this summer time. The creation of the Wikipedia web page was adopted by weeks of debate about how the web page must be organized, the place it ought to dwell, what photos must be included, if Barbie’s full title wanted to be part of it, and if all of this could simply be deleted.
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For these of you who’ve been residing below a rock, Barbenheimer is an internet meme referencing the truth that the Barbie film and Oppenheimer had been launched in theaters on the identical day, July 21. Whereas it has definitely picked up steam in the previous couple of weeks, the precise origins of the meme date again to April 2022, when WB Discovery introduced that the then-upcoming Barbie movie could be launched on July 21, 2023. Web customers rapidly observed that was the identical launch date for Oppenheimer and shortly started making jokes about seeing the 2 films on the identical day. From there, fan artwork, customized t-shirts, and poster mash-ups had been created and unfold throughout social media. Even actors concerned with the movies have acknowledged Barbenheimer.
So, a popular culture phenomenon of Barbenheimer proportions definitely warrants a Wikipedia web page. I imply, it’s not just like the creation of this web page would result in an internet conflict, proper?
The Barbenheimer Wikipedia web page results in an internet conflict
On July 1, Wikipedia person Freoh created a redirect for Barbenheimer. Anybody who searched Wikipedia for the web phenomenon could be “redirected” to the Oppenheimer movie article. A couple of minutes later, Freoh modified their thoughts and redirected customers to the Barbie film web page as a substitute. In line with Freoh, the explanation for the change was that it appeared like “the Barbie film folks have embraced it extra.”
A couple of hours later, Wikipedia person Manasbose obtained concerned. This person didn’t assume the meme must be a redirect. As an alternative, they thought it deserved its very personal Wikipedia web page. So that they rapidly created one and began to increase on it. As identified by the Twitter account, Depths of Wikipedia, the primary hours of the Barbenheimer web page had been wild. In its infancy, the web page urged that “Oppenbarbie” was a typical different title for the meme. For the following few hours, it was largely simply Manasbose and another customers modifying and increasing the web page.
Then extra customers obtained concerned. On July 10, person Shmoovyshlasagna eliminated the alt title Oppenbarbie and added a remark that “no one cool” says that. “That shit scrapes my entire mouth,” stated Shmoovyshlasagna. “Barbenheimer rolls easily. Give it some thought.”
At this level, the web page was rising quick, with plenty of edits being made, sections being modified, complete components of it being deleted, after which all of it modified once more by dozens of customers. Some wished Pikmin four thrown into the combination, because it additionally was set to launch on July 21. Some wished higher, much less ugly photos of Barbie. And a few wished all of it gone.
The tried assassination of Barbenheimer
On July 11, person InfiniteNexus nominated the Barbenheimer web page for deletion. They defined that they weren’t positive why this text was created, suggesting this was simply one of many dozens of viral memes that pop up yearly. They believed that the web page didn’t have to exist and as a substitute, a brief part concerning the phenomenon may very well be included within the articles concerning the movies Barbie and Oppenheimer
“It’s unlikely that this matter will obtain vital, sustained protection,” stated InfiniteNexus. “And even when it does, it’s too early to inform at this stage, when neither movie has even been launched.”
When an article on Wikipedia is nominated for deletion, different customers weigh in on the matter and vote for what they assume ought to occur subsequent. Many occasions, these conversations aren’t too intense or prolonged. That is some actually behind-the-scenes, deep-in-the-bowels of Wikipedia shit that most individuals who use the location by no means interact with or take into consideration.
However that wasn’t the case this time. As an alternative, the request for deletion web page for Barbenheimer exploded.
Some editors cited the 20-12 months Check, an previous Wikipedia customary that means solely issues that will probably be remembered or understood in 20 years ought to obtain articles. They believed this on-line meme didn’t cross the take a look at and that in a number of years, no one would care concerning the Barbenheimer phenomenon.
Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of Wikipedia editors concerned disagreed and commenced voting en masse to maintain the web page alive. Many cited that Barbenheimer had grown past a easy web meme and was truly affecting ticket gross sales, was being talked about by Hollywood stars, and was being reported on by respected shops like Selection, IGN, and so on. Others additionally identified that there was an excessive amount of data within the article to easily dump all of it into the Barbie and Oppenheimer film pages. And sooner or later, the Barbenheimer web page may even present helpful data and context for researchers seeking to higher perceive the entire phenomenon.
After 5 days, almost 100 completely different editors voted and solely about 20 urged the web page be deleted or merged into the primary movies’ articles. As compared, most deletion debates solely get a dozen or so votes and sometimes finish within the web page being killed. However not this time. On July 16, after 1000’s of phrases had been written throughout a number of sections of Wikipedia’s usually unseen bureaucratic channels, Barbenheimer was allowed to dwell.
The continued conflict over Barbie and Oppenheimer’s meme web page
Although the conflict over the web page’s existence was settled, folks weren’t performed combating.
A fast peek at Barbeheimer’s speak web page (a extra behind-the-scenes discussion board the place editors talk about modifications and tweaks) reveals varied debates concerning the article.
For instance, there was numerous controversy over together with Barbie’s full title within the caption beneath the web page’s prime picture. This finally advanced into folks suggesting the caption also needs to embody Oppenheimer’s full title and nickname, Oppie, too. One other debate occurred over which picture of Barbie ought to even be used within the article.
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Issues have lastly calmed down over on the Barbenheimer Wikipedia web page after weeks of arguments. Many of the current edits are minor, fixing typos, including new hyperlinks, or rearranging sentences.
Nonetheless, the conflict is probably going not over—a number of the editors concerned with the web page’s deletion nomination urged they could return to the talk in a number of months, assuming no one will care by then.
However I do know the web. I do know Wikipedia editors. Somebody will nonetheless care. And no one goes to surrender an inch on this digital battlefield, even when it means combating for months or years over a web page a couple of foolish meme.