what is a squib?

Yesterday was Day Two of the same blog, a double one. It took a while to do, looking up all those words.  So, back to the blog/essay question.

You may have noticed that when you look up something in Wikipedia you often get a message that the information is only a squib  and that they would welcome more from you. So what is a squib?

squib   noun  1 a small firework that burns with a hissing sound before exploding.  2 a short piece of satirical writing.• N. America, a short news item or filler in a newspaper.  3 informal a small, slight, or weak person, especially a child  .4  verb  American  Football kick (the ball) a comparatively short distance on a kick-off; execute (a kick) in this way. we decided to squib the kick.  2 [ no obj. ] archaic utter, write, or publish a satirical or sarcastic attack. it is a sport now to taunt and squib and deride at other men's virtues.• [ with obj. ] lampoon: the mendicant parson, whom I am so fond of squibbing.  ORIGIN early 16th cent. (in sense 1 of the noun ): of unknown origin; perhaps imitative of a small explosion. The verb was first recorded in  sense 2 of the verb, late 16th century.

Well, you know. Wikipedia isn't always accurate and that's why you should double check before you rely on its accuracy.  My knowledge of squib was gleaned from my brother; he loved fireworks and he called the little strings of them squibs. That's the first definition, you will note, and probably the most common.  As for a short piece of satirical writing, I don't think that's what Wikipedia is saying. They are thinking short and filler, not satirical.  Thus is a new meaning born. 

A squib is extra (accurate?) information for Wikipedia. Just be careful.

Be careful using some information too much, without double checking.  I used a report from Australia in one of my books. Well, you never know how much you are read until you make a mistake and then you find out. I had an e-mail via my publisher that I had made an egregious error and the writer demanded an apology and a reprint.  Apologies are easy and I was not only apologetic but ashamed of my own carelessness.  Reprints are hard, and dependent on the publisher and sales. All we/I  could do was promise a correction when the book went into a second edition.  (Don't hold your breath.)

Ah, the joys of writing!  Little glitches never occur to you when you start writing.  Tomorrow I'll tell you about Russell Meade, and if he's still alive, I hope he reads this.