This just in: the Wikipedia joke is now officially not funny any more.

Places where the joke (or versions of it) have appeared include a veritable Who's Who of print and web journalism: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, BBC News, Fox News, ABC News, Christian Science Monitor, Penny Arcade, XKCD, The Colbert Report, China Daily, The South China Morning Post, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and, of course, here on Everything 2. And those are just the places where this writer has personally seen the joke.

It was never a particularly good joke. It was derivative. It generally could not be told without a good deal of explication (never a good sign). And it is now past time it was sent to its reward. There is no "Joke Heaven" (although there is a "Joke Hell"); the Wikipedia joke simply inhabits "Joke Limbo".

You know the joke, even if you've never heard it. Yes, it's that joke:

The conversation gnaws at a bone of contention: were crossbows banned specifically because they rendered the plate armor of the Pope's Switzers useless, or did the banning actually presage modern "horror weapon" conventions?
"Switzer": Well, I happened to be scanning the "crossbow" entry on Wikipedia earlier today, and I feel it has something quite relevant to add here.
"Geneva": Oh yes, and what's that?
"Switzer": Wikipedia said, and I quote "LOLZ! SUCK IT UP LUSERS I KILD A DEER WITH MY CROSSBOW IT WAS A 16 POINTER! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! WIKIPEDIA SUX MY BAALS!" I personally feel that's quite an accurate summary.
The conversation resumes, possibly after some coughing and a few polite chuckles, and quite probably an attempt to explain the joke

There you have it. Of course the details of the rendering of the joke can be quite different, and in many cases crossbows will not be mentioned at all. Often, the Vicar of Christ is left out as well.

But it's always the same joke.

And now it's an ex-joke.

As you were.

P.S. Of course, the joke continues to be told. The latest high-profile tellings of the joke that this author personally witnessed were: on March 18, 2008 on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (still not funny, Conan); and on July 8, 2008 at the usually-brilliant web comic XKCD (http://xkcd.com/446/).

UPDATE: Wow! This is now the most hated thing I've ever written! Woot! Amusingly, I'll never know if it's because you don't get it, because you get it and don't think it's "funny" (Ahem. It's not supposed to be. It's a bad joke...), or because it mentions The One Word You Can't Say On E2, or, and this is a real long shot, because you think the Wikipedia Joke is hilarious and you can't believe I've maligned such a classic funny. And I won't know these things because not one of you has left a single comment! Feel the love in the room!

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