The Zargonic Effect


Thursday’s post reminds TOTD of it’s little run-in with the wikipolice.  Not everything remains on the web once it’s posted.  Thursday reported on something pulled by those who’d created it, our encounter demonstrates that Wikipedia isn’t the free for all that everything thinks it is.

We’ve used the ‘Zargonic effect’ in a project we’ve worked on for pre-entry students.  (You can read about the project here: ).

You’ve probably seen the Zargonic effect in other places – ipod advertising used silhouettes of figures a lot, Southampton Solent University used it when they became a university.  It’s not uncommon in advertising.  TOTD thought it might be helpful to create a Wikipedia article on the subject for those who were interested and went to some trouble to reference BBC documentaries which mentioned it, the researcher who coined the term, examples (such as those given above).

But just three weeks later one of the Wikipedia editors saw fit to remove the article on the grounds that it was a ‘neologism’ (that was the one word reason given – no further discussion until we probed into why it had been pulled) and therefore not worthy of an entry.

Unsettling though this was, it did show that you can’t just write ‘anything’ without someone taking notice.

Anyway, use the expression and perhaps one day it will be ‘allowed’; ignore this and it can die the death that the editor obviously thought it deserved.  Of course, arguably the article itself has now become a kind of zargonic effect of it’s own with it’s absence like a silhouette in the midst of four conference presentations TOTD has delivered this summer!


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7 Responses to “The Zargonic Effect”

  1. Jonathan Maher Says:

    Hello. A great many thanks for this post. Would you however please confirm the spelling be it “Zargonic” or “Zygonic”. I am using this for a degree project and would so very much appreciate any feedback regarding this matter.

    I very much look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

    With very best regards.

    Jonathan Maher

    • reden Says:

      Definitely ‘zargonic’. See for example:
      and other references if that helps. TOTD listened very carefully a couple of times to the BBC documentary where it was mentioned to be sure of the word.

    • reden Says:

      If you email with your address we can send you the original article as it appeared on Wikipedia for three weeks or so and the commentary received when the deletion was queried if that’s useful. It’s possible the discussion is still there in the Wikipedia archives somewhere but we’ve not looked recently.

  2. reden Says:

    BTW, we would of course be very interested in anything you might write on the subject – so please keep us posted!

  3. tc Says:

    Just heard Jimmy Wales in a conference and was able to ask about the above – his response was that it’s a sad story! But he wants to hear the details.

  4. Thing of the Day extra: Robin Wight « Thing of the Day Says:

    […] Nearly a year ago to the day (2nd October), Thing of the Day posted an entry about the Zargonic Effect and an article we’d tried to write for Wikipedia: […]

  5. 1000 addenda « Thing of the Day Says:

    […] and keen as ever not to let it be forgotten: The Zargonic Effect […]

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