Originally published in Wikipedia by User:TheCapn Talk in 2013 and adapted for WWHP by Rome Viharo.
Written by ‘The Capn’.
This little narrative is a work of fiction, designed to amuse (mostly myself) and reference WikiPedia issues I care about in a allegorical light. To those who get easily upset at such things, I’m not talking about you and I do not think there are actually murderous conspiracies diabolically plotting against innocent editors. That gives people too much credit.
Tumbleman: Chump or champ?
I pressed the button on the intercom.
“Sinebot,” I said into the musty microphone, “could you bring me the files on the Tumbleman case?”
“Again? If you say so, boss,” the intercom reluctantly squawked back.
I pushed the Barleybannocks file aside as the door creaked open and Sinebot staggered in carrying an armful of paperwork. She set down the mountainous file on my desk, which groaned in protest. It didn’t like to work that hard. Who did?
The well-worn cover sheet informed me in type that it contained the case files for THE TUMBLEMAN. Scrawled under that was a cheerful note in Sinebot’s handwriting that said LOST CAUSE.
“It’s been years, Cap’n,” she said. “You need to let the case go. He was probably guilty, anyway.”
“Maybe,” I said, “but of what? All anyone remembers now is the charge of sockpuppeting, but that wasn’t even what he was b locked for. He was kicked off for competency or trolling issues, though no one was ever able to prove any intent or abuse. Not to mention he was blocked from speaking in his own defense…”
“Boss, this case has been closed for ages. No one cares anymore, why do you?”
“Because this blocking stinks to high heaven,” I said, “and people do care. They care enough to use this case as a precedent and excuse to bump off anyone who crosses them. How many accounts need to take a dirt nap before I care? We’ve seen attacks on Oh Boy Chicken Again, Lou Sander, Iantresman, Shaynekori, Alfonzo Green and now Barleybannocks. All of them complain that something smells about the Sheldrake page, and all of them get stuffing knocked out of them shortly afterward. The ones throwing them out the window claim these folks are either all incompetent trolls or sockpuppets for Tumbleman. The question of whether that’s actually accurate doesn’t seem to bother anyone. Like I said, it stinks.”
“Ever hear of Occam’s Razor, boss?”
“Yeah,” I said, frowning. “What about it?”
“If you keep turning your head looking for something that’s more complicated than necessary, you’ll cut your own throat.”
“I’m not sure that’s how that saying goes…”
“Well,” Sinebot said, shrugging, “that’s the way it is. There’s nothing you can do but plenty you can lose.”
With that philosophical finale she went back to the reception desk. I didn’t hear her shut my door, but I did hear her words echo in my mind.
“Nothing I can do…” I muttered. My glass miraculously filled itself again, so I shot its contents down to be polite. She was probably right. The wise thing to do would be to shut up, ignore the Sheldrake case and find other work.
I’ve been called many things, but wise isn’t one of them. An hour and eight phone calls later I found myself staring at a desk full of notes. The case was tricky, no doubt about it. The trouble was, Tumbleman hadn’t gone down easy. They’d hit him hard, and the evidence on that first job was shaky as a house of cards. But the problem lay in the fact he’d gotten back up after they told him to stay down. I could blame them for that first hit, but it was hard to argue he hadn’t defied them by coming back again and again.
Philosophy Fellow, Halfman Halfthing, No more scary monsters, each one a different alias he’d adopted after the previous had been blocked. I didn’t see any evidence of him using two at the same time, but there was no denying he didn’t accept his blocking lying down. Part of me respected that moxie. The other part counted the innocent editors who had been blocked with the excuse of possibly being another incarnation of Tumbleman. More innocents had fallen than Tumbleman aliases and I seemed to be the only sap who was bothered by the collateral damage. Well, maybe Tumbleman was, but no one was asking him.
I closed the file and sighed. Sinebot was right, it wasn’t worth getting involved. Tumbleman had brought about his own demise, there was nothing to be done now, even if there should or could’ve been once. I had no horse in this race and too much to lose if the skeptical gang took aim at my little operation. I had my dingy office, my nonexistent clients, my surly receptionist…
My phone jangled on my desk, loud and demanding. Like Pavlov’s dog, the clanging bell elicited an emotional response. I sure as hell wasn’t salivating, though.