category at wikianswers. Wikianswers is an offshoot of wikipedia. There
are thousands of subjects in dozens of languages, and you ask a question
and, theoretically, someone will come along and answer you. Itís similar
to a homework hotline, but many of the topics arenít homework-related.
It took me four months to get the Barbie doll questions pared down from
2,000 to a more manageable 900, because the majority of questions asked
the same thing, over and over. I learned WWAAAYYY too much about certain aspects of 21st century popular culture, which I will explain.
The majority of Barbie queries came from girls 5 to 10 years old. These
were NOT the questions that we adult collectors read every day. Their
questions, 99 percent of the time, WERENíT about these subjects:
ponytails/bubblecuts, 800 series, 1600 series, Midge, Francie, Japan, 1966, Steffie, haute couture, mod, Takara/Bandai, feet, NRFB, PayPal, Silkstones, clothing designers, reroots/repaints, reproductions, Kelly, Twilight, collectibles, etc. In fact, with the exception of Twilight and Kelly, I would say the majority of Wikianswers participants have never even heard of any of the subjects I just listed. In other words, out of 2,000 questions, only 1 percent asked about them, which means that 20 questions were about collector topics and 1,880 were about something else.
This is what WAS asked. I never knew until I registered with Wikianswers
that there is a virtual world called barbiegirls.com, which is a cyber
version of what we used to play with actual physical dolls. Anyone can go
to the site and participate, but if you donít have one of two certain
items, you canít get very far. You (that is, your parents) have to either
purchase a barbiegirls mp3 player to use with the site, or you can charge
on a credit card about $6 a month to join and get a VIP membership. Itís through either REAL money or your mp3 players that you can get cheat codes to access VIRTUAL items for your VIRTUAL dolls. In other words, you need cold, hard cash to buy stuff (clothes, furniture, friends, vehicles, houses, etc.) that doesnít really exist except in cyberspace.
Out of the aforementioned 2,000 questions Iíve read in the past four
months, I would say that more half of them (1,000-plus!) asked either how
to become a VIP member without paying money (you canít) or what the cheat codes are. I started merging all the duplicate questions, and it took me a long time.
Way behind in second place, the next most often asked questions concerned the Barbie movies on DVD, another subject that adult collectors pretty much ignore. About the only collectible Barbie topic that came up regarded the values of the Holiday Barbie dolls. Iíve come to realize that this doll is the first, if only, collectible Barbie doll that most little girls will own. There were a few questions about the Millennium dolls, and maybe eight questions at the most about ethnic dolls.
The real eye-opener wasnít the obsession with cheat codes. It was the
grammar and spelling of the questions. Oh, did some of the atrocious
spelling make my brain hurt! My 1960s Catholic nun grade school teachers
must be rolling over in their graves at the horrendous spelling being used
now. You have no idea how many ways you can misspell ďspecial.Ē In comparison, by the time I finished second grade in 1969, I knew how to make plurals, how to match up singular and plural nouns and verbs, when to capitalize and when not to capitalize, and I certainly knew how to spell simple given names such as, oh, for example, ďBarbieĒ! I do realize that people capitalize far less on the Internet nowadays than in real life. And wikianswers is itself partly to blame, because when you ask questions, the only punctuation you can use is the question mark (thatís another story in itself). But that doesnít excuse the poor grammar and spelling. Some of the questions were actually gibberish.
There were occasional joke questions and obnoxious questions that I
suspect were done by bored young men with no social life who still live in
their parentsí basements--questions about sex with Barbie dolls, ways to
destroy them, etc. And there were theoretical questions which weíve all
seen before from social organizations about how bad Barbie dolls are and
how theyíre ruined society. I deleted a lot of these questions, either
because they were unanswerable or obscene or because they are open-ended questions that will never be answered satisfactorily.
Please visit All Dolled Up's vintage Barbie website at: