Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halopedia: There Is No Cabal

(Okay, this was written for Halopedia on June 14, 2008. It describes a meme going around the site in order to catch up the newbies. Normally, I don’t crosspost articles that are just about the wiki, but as Wikia is overhauling the site, I want to have this article on my blogspot where I can trust it won’t vanish into the abyss or just look really hard to read.)

Halopedia is in general a pretty open and trustworthy community. However, a few users may notice a certain unsavory topic that may come up every now and again, only to be quickly hushed by the veteran users. Halopedia:Administrators outlines the nature of Halopedia’s governing forces as far as they would have the online population believe; however, there are some who would claim that this is not quite the whole story. These people who would dare to speak out will whisper quietly of a secretive and nefarious group composed of several users who lead Halopedia from the shadows, operating (CENSORED) in attempts to suppress and eventually enslave every Halopedian, a group known only as… the Cabal.

*thunder booms* *lightning flashes* (Yes, in that order!)

Okay, seriously, folks. This thing comes up every now and again. A veteran will post something about “the Cabal”, causing other veterans to say stuff like “The Cabal is a lie!” and otherwise confusing our new members. Well, newbies, here’s what the heck we’re talking about: Halopedia:Cabal.

That link takes you to an archived version of last year’s April Fools’ Day joke. On April 1st, Halopedians would log onto the site to see the featured article replaced with a page depicting the nefarious Cabal, a group composed of several admins and other users such as the Cabal leader RelentlessRecusant (author of the joke), who do pretty much as I earlier said. Of note is the image taken from Half-Life 2, supposedly depicting the “Cabal polizei.”

To understand certain parts of the joke, you have to understand the context. At the time Relentless was yet to be recruited into the Cabal admins, though his RfA had been going on for a while with controversy and prolonged debate. This is thus parodied in the joke in that RR had created the Cabal by coercing the admins and obtaining their passwords. The joke includes a screenshot of the form used by admins to ban users, the implication being that RR had somehow achieved admin status nefariously (if you didn’t realize that RR was already an admin on a separate wiki).

The joke established an association of the admins with the “Cabal”, which was furthered by several additional jokes made later by users who had gotten a kick out of the joke. Therefore, the term “Cabal” has come to be synonymous with “admins.” When people discuss the Cabal’s mailing list, they’re not talking about some secretive group of nefarious domestic terrorists; they’re talking about admins emailing each other about various wiki issues (e.g. making sure things function properly). Trust me; it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds.

So, in conclusion, Halopedians have nothing to worry about. The “Cabal” is just a flashy name for “the admins”, not a nefarious group of insurrectionists plotting some nefarious purpose. Now you all can feel a little more in the loop.

P.S. Note how many times the word “nefarious” comes up in this article. Uh-huh. Exactly.

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