The Google Bot and the Wiki Troll…a modern fairytale

Sometimes it only takes a little comment to stimulate an idea that tantalises me with its possibilities for silliness! Thank you to Fish of Gold for mentioning a wiki troll in your comment on the previous post! With my shocking lack of technological savvy, I don’t recall hearing this term before, but I like it! I enjoy picturing the wiki troll looking a lot like an endearing monster from Where The Wild Things Are. This adds to the visual encyclopedia of I.T. terminology  that exists in my brain, where a Google Bot already resided, looking like some kind of retro robot. Here is my vision……..

A Google Bot in 1982. She later retired and became a vacuum cleaner.

Pic by Ms President

Back in 1982, one of the earliest Google Bots became fed up with trawling the internet. “This is so tedious” she thought, “trawl, trawl, trawl, 24/7, and it’s all stocks and shares, politics, religious fanatics, or posts about what Britney Spears ate for breakfast. Boooooring!” It wasn’t only boring, it was crazy as well, since Britney Spears was only 1 year old back then and her breakfast usually consisted of a bowl of cornflakes or whatever is the equivalent cereal in the U.S. Regardless of this, the bot was sick of reading about it, and if she could have yawned, she would have, but she didn’t have a mouth, so she had to make do with rolling her electronic eyeballs to express her frustration.

The Bot didn’t have many friends where she worked. All the other Google Bots were boring, unimaginative types who were quite happy to chat about what Britney Spears had eaten, and she had pretty much given up trying to converse about anything more interesting with them.

The Bot decided to make a run for it. She made sure her power source was charged up, which meant fiddling with the buttons on her chest. Luckily her neck was springy and extendable, so that she was able to bring her head right down to her chest for a close view. Power seemed fine. She searched her stored files and found an mp3 file of “Born To Be Wild“, which felt appropriate. She had never felt so wild!  (She did not understand irony, or she might have noted that she was not actually born, nor was her purpose to be wild. She was built to follow programmed commands without question. The only reason she even had wheels that would enable her to move anywhere at all was to accommodate the idiotic direction this story seems to be taking.)

So with a thrill of excitement, she hit the play button, and accompanied by the sounds of Steppenwolf, she took off for the exit! She trundled along at 5kmph, across the large factory floor where all the Google Bots lived and worked.

Well dear reader, hours passed, and 376,000 new articles were posted on the internet about Britney Spears, and at last the Bot reached the exit of the factory!  It was an exciting moment. If she could have squealed with excitement, she would have. But she couldn’t, so instead she had to make do with a computerised bleep, to indicate just how thrilled she felt.

The door opened and she felt the cool breeze on her plastic casing. Well, that is, she would have, but she had no tactile sense. Oh well. Instead she had to make do with consulting her information bank, which told her that the air surrounding her was composed of a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen with traces of carbon dioxide, argon, water vapor and other minute components. Mmmm, how exciting!

Just at that exhilarating moment, however, her nerve failed her. Suddenly she was filled with doubts about her own ability to do anything beyond what she already knew in life, which was to stay in one place and trawl the internet. She felt doubtful of her chances of making any new friends, and scared of leaving behind the other Google Bots with whom she shared so much in common. (They didn’t just share a lot in common, they were in fact identical in every way.) She knew the other Google Bots would be completely shocked and disapproving of her behaviour, and she started to worry about what they might say about her, and whether they would ever allow her to come back and visit.  She suddenly realised, too, that she had not prepared any means of charging up her power supply. Ooops! Her power was draining and she only had enough power to get back to her place in the hangar. So she turned around and trundled back in again. She took up her spot on the internet trawling production line, and felt very depressed.

As it happened, however, her employer had expanded the business. The very next day, a group of Wiki Trolls joined the team to ease the pressure on the bots by taking over the trawling of Wikis, a job which had really increased the work load in the last few years. The other Google Bots were adamantly against their boss bringing these “foreigners” into the factory, fearing that as organic, non-computerised creatures, they could not possibly be as thorough and correct as the bots were, and that they would also be prone to such things as emotions and hunger, which could cause them to behave in a distracting fashion.

The only known likeness of a Wiki Troll

Scott Woods-Fehr

At first the trolls looked a bit scary, as they had a habit of roaring their terrible roars and gnashing their terrible teeth, but it became apparent very quickly that they were actually lovable and eager to be friends, and couldn’t help their formidable appearance. They loved a bit of fun, and had a much more easy going attitude to work than the bots. Some bots disapproved of the trolls and thought them lazy, but our little Google Bot was happy to have their company. It brightened up her day to listen to them chatting, and she was very pleased when they included her in their conversation. They seemed to have boundless energy and would sometimes stop work to hold what they called a “wild rumpus” which seemed to consist of a lot of stomping, jumping, and roaring until they wore themselves out, when they would fall all over each other and just immediately go to sleep, snoring loudly and incurring further contempt from most of the Google Bots.

But the little Google Bot found it completely thrilling to work with these creatures. She enjoyed her job again, because of the social interaction with the Wiki Trolls. They had a sense of fun that they imbued their jobs with, despite the fact that trawling Wikis could also be very tedious work. They were generous about including her despite her reserved nature (which was, of course, programmed) and her differences to them. They made her life happy again.

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