Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sobel Wiki: Incidental expenses

Right now, I'm the driving force behind the Sobel Wiki. My fellow For All Nails contributor David Mix Barrington has done a lot of work, especially in creating the FAN archive, and a few other Sobel fans have appeared from time to time to help out, but it's mainly been me. As a result, I'm the one who gets to decide which article should be featured each week.

How do I decide? One way is to open my battered copy of For Want of a Nail to a random page and create an article from something there, and that article often becomes the week's featured article. For example, last month I opened the book to pages 116-117, which tells of Miguel Huddleston's second run for President of the United States of Mexico in 1839. That led me to turn the article on Huddleston from a stub to a comprehensive article, and it became the featured article. Last week, I opened the book to pages 356-357, which talks about changing public opinion about the Global War in the Confederation of North America, and Governor-General Bruce Hogg's decision to provide covert military aid to the British. The result was an expansion of the article on the Global War, which then became the featured article.

Well, yesterday morning, I opened up the book to pages 308-309, which discusses the debate on slavery in the U.S.M. that followed the Chapultepec Incident of 4 January 1916, and includes a lengthy excerpt from a scholar named Theodore Holmes on the state of race relations in the country. This time, the result was an article on Victoriano Consalus, the Mexican president who created Holmes' commission, and wound up rejecting its findings.

I've found that having a featured article every week acts as a spur. I see all the dead links in the article that cry out to be turned into articles of their own, and I can't resist doing so. The Global War featured article gave rise to several subsidiary articles on South Pacific islands that were fought over by the Mexicans and the Japanese, and on terramobiles, the Sobel Timeline's version of the tank. I can already hear cries from several dead links in the Consalus article . . .

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