Wikipedia fanatics are almost universally regarded as creepy, pedantic weirdos whose insatiable lust for secondary sources is matched only by their desire to reference said sources in a neutral point of view (NPOV). That’s more or less correct.
At the same time, I have to have sympathy for Wikipedia editors, as they are essentially charged with enforcing a set of increasingly detailed and hard-to-follow rules on ignorant but otherwise well-intentioned people. In that sense, you could say the average Wikipedia editor is like Jom on steroids (coincidentally, Jom is actually on steroids).
The worlds of the obsessive Wikipedia editor and the average user clashed again a few months back, when a seemingly random submission to the article for Warren G’s classic G-Funk hit ‘Regulate‘ snowballed and brought dozens of independent contributors together in a quest to provide the most accurate and detailed synopsis of the song.
‘Regulate’ is essentially a synopsis of a night in LA when Warren G (the G stands for Griffin – a good, strong Irish name) is held-up by some gangsters and Nate Dogg comes to his rescue, unloading a friendly round or two in the assailants’ chests while he does. It’s a charming tune and one that translates particularly well to prose (if only for the multitude of trivial details laced among the carnage of the narrative).
The “project” went on for almost a month, with considerable improvements made to the original synopsis, before an editor noticed the high volume of edits and attempted to shut the party down. A debate raged from that point between hip hop fans and super-editors, and the inevitable result was that those with the most time to waste (the editors) won out.
Not only is the synopsis itself genuinely funny, but the furore that erupted in the edits and discussion sections highlighted an important and oft-debated contradiction in Wikipedia’s process. Wikipedia is an community-sourced encyclopedia that exists entirely online, yet its own standards seem to be completely dependent on commercial media and remarkably inflexible when dealing with online phenomena like the ‘Regulate’ article.
In this instance, the synopsis was finally deleted because it was considered “original research,” on the basis that no such analysis has appeared in the traditional media. A community project, involving numerous individuals extrapolating details from the quite specific lyrics and the even more explicit video, was deemed to violate this standard even though it’s clear to any fan of rap that it led to a perfectly accurate summary.
More to the point, almost every major movie and many lesser ones contain unsourced biographies – the question that needs to be asked is what can’t a song be held to the same standard?
One person went so far as to remove the plot summary from the Pulp Fiction article, and those of several other films, forcing the devotees of those articles to bring them up to Wikipedia standards with proper references. A little petty, perhaps, and barely productive, but an understandable expression of frustration at Wikipedia’s occasional buzz-killing tendencies.
The preserved synopsis can be read in Wikipedia’s archives here, or just scroll down for the full version.
On a cool, clear night (typical to Southern California) Warren G.. travels through his neighborhood, searching for women with whom he might initiate sexual intercourse. He has chosen to engage in this pursuit alone.
Nate Dogg, having just arrived in Long Beach, seeks Warren. On his way to find Warren, Nate passes a car full of women who are excited to see him. Regardless, he insists to the women that there is no cause for excitement.
Warren makes a left turn at 21st Street and Lewis Ave, where he sees a group of young men enjoying a game of dice together. He parks his car and greets them. He is excited to find people to play with, but to his chagrin, he discovers they intend to relieve him of his material possessions. Once the hopeful robbers reveal their firearms, Warren realizes he is in a less than favorable predicament.
Meanwhile, Nate passes the women, as they are low on his list of priorities. His primary concern is locating Warren. After curtly casting away the strumpets (whose interest in Nate was such that they crashed their automobile), he serendipitously stumbles upon his friend, Warren G, being held up by the young miscreants.
Warren, unaware that Nate is surreptitiously observing the scene unfold, is in disbelief that he’s being robbed. The perpetrators have taken jewelry and a name brand designer watch from Warren, who is so incredulous that he asks what else the robbers intend to steal. This is most likely a rhetorical question.
Observing these unfortunate proceedings, Nate realizes that he may have to use his firearm to deliver his friend from harm.
The tension crescendos as the robbers point their guns to Warren’s head. Warren senses the gravity of his situation. He cannot believe the events unfolding could happen in his own neighborhood. As he imagines himself in a fantastical escape, he catches a glimpse of his friend, Nate.
Nate has seventeen cartridges to expend (sixteen residing in the pistol’s magazine, with a solitary round placed in the chamber and ready to be fired) on the group of robbers, and he uses many of them. Afterward, he generously shares the credit for neutralizing the situation with Warren, though it is clear that Nate did all of the difficult work. Putting congratulations aside, Nate quickly reminds himself that he has committed multiple homicides to save Warren before letting his friend know that there are females nearby if he wishes to fornicate with them.
Warren recalls that it was the promise of copulation that coaxed him away from his previous activities, and is thankful that Nate knows a way to satisfy these urges.
Nate quickly finds the women who earlier crashed their car on Nate’s account. He remarks to one that he is fond of her physical appeal. The woman, impressed by Nate’s singing ability, asks that he and Warren allow her and her friends to share transportation. Soon, both friends are driving with automobiles full of women to the East Side Motel, presumably to consummate their flirtation in an orgy.
The third verse is more expository, with Warren and Nate explaining their G Funk musical style. Nate displays his bravado by claiming that individuals with equivalent knowledge could not even attempt to approach his level of lyrical mastery. He also notes that if any third party smokes as he does, they would find themselves in a state of intoxication daily (from Nate’s other works, it can be inferred that the substance referenced is marijuana). Nate concludes his delineation of the night by issuing a vague threat to “busters,” suggesting that he and Warren will further “regulate” any potential incidents in the future (presumably by engaging their enemies with small arms fire).