Talk:Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge

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This page discusses some of the jokes in, and rationale behind, the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge. Since this page may contain some spoilers, and assumes that you've already read the article, this is your chance to go and catch up on it first.

Firstly, let me apologise for its length! In fact, I can't beg off here by saying that I didn't intend it to be that long and that it just grew organically since it didn't. I intended to write a long entry, compared to the current ones, and that's what I did. I think that there's a delicate tension between requiring too much reading to be done from the other players and underdefinition of the world, but consider: when a new player wants to come in after five rounds, will they be expected to read the entire wiki? I should hope not. Instead, we should probably dedicate a set of resources to explaining the basics of the world, and have a few showcase entries that show the kind of thing that we're looking for (much like Agony uncle and Andelphracian Lights did for the first turn). I've spoken to Morbus about maintaining a Ghyll entry as the first staging post for any new players, but he thinks that the Encyclopedants' Reports ought to serve that purpose. I think that's fine until we end up with fifty or so Encyclopedants' Reports to read...

Anyway, Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge. Note that even though it's a long entry, it's maintained to a great extent my belief that we should be as conservative in possible in creating Ghyll. For a start, since it incorporated and wove together quite a lot of the current entries and phantom, it was easy for me to pick between them for the three required citations. I chose Alarius for the existing citation since that's where The Bureau was first defined. I chose Supetupheraraphes and Council for Quezlarian Research because they're featured quite heavily in the article.

The part about Alarius was originally intended to be about Arariax, for d8uv's sake, but since I also wanted to record the oldest known reference to Andelphracian Lights, it turned out that it was not a good idea and that I had to use someone else to have written the poem. I decided to have Alarius to be Arariax's son to maintain that link for d8uv, and it also served as a nice link back to the inception of The Bureau on the wiki: it says that The Bureau are quite enamoured with Alarius's views, so it's a good idea to talk about him somewhat.

There are quite a few in-jokes hidden in the article, of course, the most obvious of which is that encoded poem. What you mightn't realise, however, is that it serves a dual purpose, and should give some persistent obsessives hours of fun (it certainly took me a while to create).

One of the other jokes has to be explained for the benefit of those Ghyll players that aren't also Swhackers. #swhack is an IRC channel on the irc.freenode.net network where many of the players hang out, and it hosts a "bot" written by Paul Mutton that is a combination of an Eliza bot and a markov chain generator. You can Google for those terms if you like, but the main point is that it's an automated client that responds to you in pseudo-intelligent terms. For the "Monty Thabot" interview, I decided to interview Monty, and as usual he didn't disappoint me. Here's the actual interview, unedited:

[02:06] <sbp> Mr. Thabot, we've heard that work is being taken up to improve some of the facilities of the innermost ring, at the expense of the eigth revision of the Encyclopaedia of Lost Lore which we understand will be coming out next spring. Could you possibly comment on the state of the facilities, and the rationale for diverting funds to its improvement?
[02:06] <Monty> You're not really talking about me... are you ?
[02:07] <sbp> Pardon, sir? I can assure you that no nefariousness on your behalf, or the bahlf of any of your collegues, is implied by that question.
[02:07] <Monty> Perhaps in your fantasies we can assure each other.
[02:08] <sbp> Er... quite. Moving on then, what features do you have planned for the Encyclopaedia of Lost Lore? Will the new much-rumoured section on Anaximancy be making an appearance?
[02:08] <Monty> Why do you ask ?
[02:09] <sbp> Our readers would be most interested to know--we recently covered Anaximancy in an article.
[02:09] <Monty> Do you feel strongly about discussing such things ?
[02:09] <sbp> No sir--it's not an article whose production I was involved in. So you decline to comment on its possible appearance?
[02:09] <Monty> fearsome bouncy Microsoft!
[02:10] <sbp> sir?
[02:10] <Monty> That is interesting. Please continue.
[02:10] <sbp> hehe
[02:10] <Monty> Tell me more about that.
[02:10] <sbp> thanks Monty, you've been great
[02:10] <Monty> onomastics's bullshit baby mice was foreskin's short movements...

The "Perhaps in your fantasies we can assure each other." was just genius on Monty's behalf.

The poem took rather a long time, and was semi-randomly inspired by various things. One of the main factual points was for it to introduce Ghyll's two moons, and also to note that Alarius wasn't always just a travelling crackpot. The Aelfants part is quite nice too: it reinforces the fact that Aelfants may or may not exist by overpleading the case that he "certainly" heard them, though he didn't know how many, and hey, it was all a rather dreamy situation anyway. The burnflies spitting joke was probably the earliest part of the poem, which is why it's slightly out of character for it (and hopefully all the more amusing because of that). The early reference is also to a couple of Swhack jokes, one of which Morbus will hopefully get, so that's all intertwined and did evolve organically.

The part about Andelphracia was slightly out of frustration over the AuroAnthropology comment stream, which horridly ignored the "Despite the fact that your peers are self-important, narrow-minded dunderheads, they are honest scholars. No matter how strained their interpretations are, their facts are accurate as historical research can make them. So if you cite an entry, you have to treat its factual content as true!" maxim on the Main Page. Whilst new interpretations are fine, I think that trying to write out an entire character on the basis of speculation is going too far, and so I decided to reply in the canon with one of "the most incontrovertible of all Ghyll studies".

Cakehole--the name for the inner courtyard (and Doofball pitch) of the Cake building--is british slang for mouth, and if you Google for "shut your cakehole", you'll come up with a few examples of its use. Even the word Doofball is an in-joke...

  • "Piehole" a la americain (a bit archaic, though). --John Cowan 11:55, 12 Sep 2004

The dates are faily random, but note that the petition was filed on April Fool's day (do they have it in Ghyll?). All of the presidents' names are taken from elsewhere on the wiki, and I think they're consistent with what's currently there, though I hope you'll all check the entire article for consistency.

So I think I've done quite well for not creating new things: Oooite, Quezloos, and Doofball are probably the main things. Admittedly an entire currency is quite a large invention, but it was too good an opportunity not to take!

Is there anywhere a listing of the current oddities and objects and whatnots which are housed within the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge? If there is not, might I suggest a section be added to the main page of the article so that things which are listed as being housed here can be added by the scholar who discovers this fact? --Trousle Undrhil 02:18, 5 Jun 2005 (EDT)

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