Talk:University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt

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Someone anonymous recently changed this: "most teams have members who are not even students anymore, or never were affiliated with the University to begin with." to this: "many claim members who are not students any more, but return as alumni specifically to particiapte."

I'm not sure why this person was under the impression that only students and alumni ever participate, but I know that it's true that people who are unaffiliated with the University do participate. By "unaffiliated" I mean are neither students, former students, alumni, staff, or faculty. There were at least four people on FIST and one on Vegans this year whose only affiliation with the University were through acquaintance/relation to some U of C student. I guess the edit gets across effectively the same point, but I just want to say that there certainly ARE people who do scav who aren't students/alumni/staff.

Actually, I was just trying to get the passage to sound better. DirectorStratton 07:41, July 28, 2005 (UTC)

The article currently has a couple of sentences about the Mike Royko items of years past. The way it's worded leaves me with an understanding of those items that I'm not sure is correct. I'm researching those items right now. When I get the history of those items figured out, I'll come back and edit that bit to make it more clear. Cmcfaul August 5, 2005

It's nice to see you on Wikipedia, Herr McLazy. This article got a lot of POV edits last May I've been slowly untangling. DirectorStratton 22:28, August 5, 2005 (UTC)
I did the Royko edits, so let me provide some background. I was on the Shorey House team for the three years I was at the school (1989-91), and captained it in '91 (if memory serves). The lists each year had a "Mike Royko" item, and, one year, it was a pair of sweat socks. I believe it was Cassie who told me that Royko was always out of town during the ScavHunt. DegreeAbsolute 11:28, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

I edited the section on "Teams" to remove bias from the description of F.I.S.T. It was basically a love letter that exagerrated their wins and ignored other independant teams.

  • Exagerrated? Check your figures buck-o. Ignored? Look again and notice that a "rise in smaller teams based around affinity rather than housing" was explicitly mentioned. Or quit bitching and write some agit-prop of your own. -05
  • There's no agit-prop on Wikipedia. -- SCZenz 20:32, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

May 30 Cleanup[edit]

I've made some changes--cleaning up language, removing misleading links to Max Palevsky (they suggest the man is involved in the event) and removing unverified claims. I think this article can probably be refined further still. Doctofunk 17:03, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm of the opinion that everything here that can't be cited from a reliable source should should be removed, and that some effort should be put into this. There are some things here that are inaccurate oversimplifications (the one that make me most sad are the ones about my team), and sources would help with that. However, I don't think it's appropriate for me to edit this article, because of my personal involvement in ScavHunt and the likelihood that my edits would be seen as partisan mudslinging. (See concerns about agit-prop above.) Interestingly, the names of the teams may often be citable from Chicago Maroon articles. -- SCZenz 21:43, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
This is where I get confused a little by wikipedia policy. As an example, the results for 2006 are unverifiable--they don't appear on the official site, nor has the maroon written anything about them. And yet, I'm confident they're accurate 100% accurate, so what's the harm in leaving them there? (If this isn't the right place to ask this question, feel free to direct me there.) Insofar as you see inaccuracy or contestable content, feel free to point it out/change it. But I'm confused as to why the response to inaccuracy is to remove everything that can't be directly verified. Not that I have a problem with doing that. I just don't see that it's necessarily the best course of action for this article right now. But I am pretty new to this. Doctofunk 21:20, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, in practice this article tends not to be held to the full-bore Wikipedia standards, because it tends to fly under the radar and any hoax is likely to be corrected. But in principle Wikipedia an encyclopedia and therefore a secondary source; thus everything in the entire thing is supposed to be verifiable from other sources. If there weren't any primary sources, how could anyone tell that a few people didn't just make ScavHunt up? -- SCZenz 19:59, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
I removed the team names because I thought they were irrelevant, not unverifiable. Doctofunk 21:20, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Re: The 2006 results. I totalled the scores myself--am I a reliable source? Anyway, maybe the Keeper of the Scrolls should just make sure to keep the website results up to date. I'm sure the 2006 results will be appearing there soon. Size J Battery 19:48, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Hilariously enough, if you post the results yourself, you don't count as a reliable source according to Wikipedia rules. If it goes up on the official website first, then it can be cited and is kosher. This applies even to scientists who do research; they can only cite their own journal results like anyone else could. See Wikipedia:Original research. I admit it is funny in this case. -- SCZenz 19:54, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Aug 7 Cleanup[edit]

After considering SCZenz's comments and further exploring wikipedia policy, I've made some changes to this article, mostly by removing content. I support the existence of this article but agree with SCZenz that it should contain only information that is verifiable, notable and not biased oversimplifications. I've deleted the following concepts after finding myself unable to rewrite them in a suitable way:

  • Reference to Mike Royko
  • Team size/affiliations
  • Historical trend towards fewer, larger teams
  • Historical trend towards more obscure items that require greater interpretation
  • Road-trip destinations
  • Detail about specific teams and their strategies
  • Some specific items in the notable items section

Doctofunk 17:58, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Expansion of article?[edit]

I like the effect of the cleanup as clearing out some of the noise and reducing the subjectivity of the article. However, I now think that the article is so austere that it does not meaninglyfully convey enough information on the Hunt. This could be amended by either increasing the length of the article (eg. if there's going to be a subsection on judges, it's only fair and reasonable to have a subsection on teams) or by creating subsidiary articles. Since my entry on Hot Side Hot was almost preemptively merged (I think it lasted all of eight hours), perhaps the former is the way to go.

Perhaps by expanding the article with an emphasis on citation we can avoid the tendency to compare teams or describe "historical trends." On the other hand, many teams have a colorful history and their evolution has actively influenced the development of the Hunt, and details such as road-trip destinations are both notable and relevant. Scavhunt is a big enough deal that it deserves more than a one-pagedown treatment on Wikipedia.

(As a side note, both the judges and many teams *are*, in definition and practice, as secret as many of the entries on the List of Collegiate Secret Societies, and meet all valid criteria as much as do, say, the Skull and Bones.)

BlueSkiesFalling 11:30, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

As much as Scav Hunt consumes my life when I am in the Greater Chicago Area, remember that it is mostly confined to the U of C. If the article is expanded, I think it would mostly involve additional press attention the hunt has received. Questionable additions might include more background information about the documentary, other notable items, and something like maps of road trips or something.
However, we used to have information about the teams — how they evolved, what kind of teams there are, etc. — and it wasn't very informative, and would occasionally devolve into name calling. Better information about participants might be things like describing the dedication of the hardcore scav hunter. Information about the judges, on the other hand, mostly comes from the Bylaws.
As to your Hot Side Hot article, I apologize if the merge was harsh, but Hot Side Hot is certainly not notable enough to warrant its own Wikipedia article. They are most certainly not a secret society in the same way that Skull and Bones are. Their methods are essentially transparent, the only real secrecy is the list before it comes out. The only real similarity is that membership is invitation-only, though I'm sure the judges will be flattered to know that someone out there puts them on the same level as the Skull and Bones (after all, each Judge's secret dream is to have something in common with George Bush and John Kerry). Illuminatedwax 13:51, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I was a judge in 1998, and I've never heard of Hot Side Hot. So this must be something new? Could you put in a date this terminology came into use? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:52, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I meant to mention: I think for Scav Hunt to get the kind of online treatment you (and I) think it deserves, I think the real solution would be to have a separate web page or a neutral ScavWiki or something. I don't think the kind of detailed information you are talking about will ever grace the Wikipedia page unless Scav Hunt someday becomes more important than lightsaber combat. Illuminatedwax 14:00, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
My main objection to the merge was that it happened immediately and without discussion. Anyone, I think, ought to have the opportunity to make their case, and preempting that discussion was more aggrivating to me than the fact that it was done. That said, I don't mind the elimination of the article per se, and I thought the integration of its content into this article was effective.
I should disclose my bias as a former judge (which involves much more than compiling and maintaining the secrecy of the list), but I also think that information on teams is desirable, and I think my argument has been a little misrepresented here. The argument isn't that these entities are equal in influence or legacy to Skull and Bones, but simply that they are as secret, and therefore worthy to be included on a list of "secret societies." Quite simply, it's a "list of collegiate secret societies," and where that term is defined by membership selection, ritual, history, leadership structure, and relationship to the university and the world at large, I think one could make a relatively robust case for judges, and perhaps for some teams. But if we are going to continue that discussion we ought to do so on that page.
My main point on expanding the article is that it is not worth omitting something informative on that grounds that it may or may not devolve into name calling -- were that the case, it's easy enough to edit out what is irrelevant. Likewise, if information in a longer article in the past was irrelevant, that shouldn't prevent us from adding new and relevant information today.
Such relevant information could include a straightforward list of where roadtrips have gone, the relationship of situational/performance and acquired items, a paragraph each on de facto institutions like the party on the quads and Scav Olympics, and basic and streamlined information on teams that have participated in recent years. In addition to the press coverage you mentioned. But I'm only mentioning these as a few possibilities.
I do like the suggestion of a ScavWiki, but I also think that the world's largest Scavhunt is worthy of a bit more on the real deal. This article could safely be doubled in size without being frivolous or annoying.
BlueSkiesFalling 14:11, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Norman the Mormon[edit]

I assumed that when they referred to an LDS "temple", they meant a chapel, as non-LDS individuals are not allowed inside LDS temples but are in LDS chapels. Based on that assumption, I changed it; if that is incorrect, it should be changed back. Eran of Arcadia 18:40, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

I got the impression they were in the parking lot, but chapel is much more plausible. We should have a cite for these items anyway. As a Mormon, I love this story, but all claims not tied to reliable sources should be removed, and school papers don't count. Cool Hand Luke 19:00, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
The only cite that I can offer is that I was the scav hunt judge who wrote that item in the first place and who judged that item, and the team that introduced Norman to me told me the story. But I don't think Wikipedia has a citation format for "I was there". Spikebrennan 20:22, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
The school newspaper doesn't count as a reliable newssource??? Any Maroon reporter would be insulted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 23 February 2008 (UTC)


I'm trying to get a link added for my team, GASH. Yes, I have an obvious conflict of interest in that my team needs to recruit people. However, I think that it would be appropriate to include external links to those teams with webpages. To my knowledge, this is The F.I.S.T. ( and GASH ( Can we get these links added? I'm trying to follow Wikipedia's policy on external links and not to have a bot remove them. Yes, The FIST's website is a wiki page. GASH's is an auto redirect to our blog. However, given that Scav is played by teams, it makes sense to at least keep a listing of teams (the Judges do it) and to include links to said teams provided they exist. Buws (talk) 09:06, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately I don't think links to team websites would be appropriate. External links are for web resources that provide relevant encyclopedic information that would inappropriate for whatever reason to include in the article (detail inappropriate for an introduction to the topic, etc.). Remember, Wikipedia is not a directory of links. — DroEsperanto (talk) 17:34, 31 December 2009 (UTC)


This article has needed a rewrite for a loooong time. While I have an admitted COI (I'm an emeritus judge for the hunt), I promise I'll try to revamp it from an NPOV. Please call me out on any POV I introduce and we can talk about it at length, as both scavvies and wikipedians are wont to do. My main focus will be on reflecting what the hunt is actually like, and also what the format is, the history, etc, all better sourced from the NUMEROUS reputable news sources that Scav has been written up in.--Shibbolethink ( ) 15:11, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Will do, and thanks so much! I feel like at some point I tried to improve the article but I had a hard time finding good sources on the subject. Feel free to share them on the talk page even if you haven't found a way to integrate them into the content of the article yet. — DroEsperanto (talk) 16:18, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Def! here are all the refs I'm going to try and incorporate: some of these:

I would propose the removal of the sub-section Scavvenfeast. It does not appear to be mentioned in any secondary materials and is minor relative to the overall hunt. Dingomate (talk) 09:04, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

True, I wish it were mentioned more by WP:RSes. MAYBE ONE DAY. But yeah, if we can't find WP:RSes for it, then let's delete the subheading.--Shibbolethink ( ) 13:20, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

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