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Debating "Deletionism" At Wikipedia 484

Posted by timothy
from the edit-this-story-one-comment-at-a-time dept.
Ian Lamont writes "In a strange turn of events, the Wikipedia entry for Deletionpedia — an online archive of deleted Wikipedia articles — is now being considered for deletion. The entry for Deletionpedia was created shortly after the publication of an Industry Standard article and a discussion on Slashdot this week. Almost immediately, it was nominated for deletion, which has sparked a running debate about the importance of the Wikipedia entry, Deletionpedia, and the sources that reference it. For the time being, you can read the current version of the Deletionpedia entry, while the Wikipedia editors carry on the debate."
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Debating "Deletionism" At Wikipedia

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by freyyr890 (1019088) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:40PM (#25098779) Homepage
    So that's like... meta-deletion?
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omeomi (675045) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:09PM (#25098997) Homepage
      I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There are too many deletion-happy admins at Wikipedia speedy deleting way too many pages that people have put a lot of effort into. And the deletion review process is a crock. The people who regularly check in on deletion review pages are the same people who delete as many pages as they can, so they will almost always vote for a page to stay deleted. Anybody else who speaks up in support of a page will get ignored because they're not one of the group, and if they're not an active Wikipedia member, they'll get labeled a sock-puppet, whether or not there's any evidence whatsoever that they are not a real person. And in my experience, the admins consider online-sources to be non-notable, and print sources to be too difficult to track down, so it's a catch-22. It makes creating pages on Wikipedia far more effort than it's worth.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AtariKee (455870) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:24PM (#25099111)
        Wikipedia has long ceased to be an accurate source of information, and more of an elitist bureaucracy. I had to call out one particular mod on his discussion page and on the Jonathan Ive page, because he considered my changing of the iMac's introduction from 1997 to 1998 "vandalism" (a change I had to make FIVE times), and it was FINALLY changed.

        After that ridiculous incident, I stopped relying on Wikipedia for anything substantive. Its accuracy can not be assured due to the bureaucratic toolboxes that moderate the site.
        • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

          by infonography (566403) on Monday September 22, 2008 @12:11AM (#25100101) Homepage

          The neutrality [slashdot.org] of this section is disputed.

          Please see the discussion on the talk page [slashdot.org].

          Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. [slashdot.org]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BitZtream (692029)

          Wikipedia has long ceased to be an accurate source of information

          ... because at some point it was an accurate source of information ... right ...

          I've learned the best thing to do with Wikipedia is use it to get a general idea about something, and use that to find the facts yourself elsewhere.

        • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

          by philspear (1142299) on Monday September 22, 2008 @12:30AM (#25100177)

          After that ridiculous incident, I stopped relying on Wikipedia for anything substantive. Its accuracy can not be assured due to the bureaucratic toolboxes that moderate the site.

          We really do need that perfectly moderated and unbiased information website which provides you with the complete truth and is never wrong. I hear the Chinese government is working on one, but in the meantime there's this news channel called Fox which is fair and balanced. I mean, that's their catchphrase, so you know it's true!

        • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mqduck (232646) <mqduck AT mqduck DOT net> on Monday September 22, 2008 @01:06AM (#25100347)

          I have to agree with you and the GP poster. Although it would be opposed by most, possibly even including myself, it might do good to have one's record of deletion/non-deletion votes in previous battles be indicated.

          As, as I've already said on Slashdot, I can't understand the thinking of someone who would want to limit the amount available.

          Further, Wikipedia has decided to prefer the bias of Western media over a search for the truth - including from 0those I agree with (eg the President of Cuba) and from those I disagree with (eg the President of Iran).

        • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Daltorak (122403) on Monday September 22, 2008 @01:53AM (#25100563)

          I had to call out one particular mod on his discussion page and on the Jonathan Ive page, because he considered my changing of the iMac's introduction from 1997 to 1998 "vandalism" (a change I had to make FIVE times), and it was FINALLY changed.

          You know... you /say/ that here in a Slashdot comment, and have been rewarded a (5, Insightful) for it, but there's a bit of a fact shortage. The complete history of changes to the Jonathan Ive article [wikipedia.org], as well as the article's talk page [wikipedia.org] (and its history) are publicly viewable to the world, and the events you described did not occur. At no time has the Jonathan Ive article claimed that the iMac was introduced in 1997 -- the fact that it was introduced in 1998 was added to the article in June 2005 and has remained there, uncontested, ever since. I'm not just some random person telling you this, either -- I've been monitoring the article on my watch list for two and a half years, and I would have noticed (and put a stop to) any sort of edit war over this.

          So, AtariKee, my question to you is this: Are you intentionally lying for the sake of discrediting something you don't like, or are you merely confused about what you were doing on Wikipedia?

          Also, there are no "mods" on Wikipedia. There are Administrators, but they don't moderate content except in very unusual circumstances -- that's everybody's collective responsibility.

          • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 22, 2008 @02:35AM (#25100739)
            Garbage.

            Article history and talk page history are oddly prone to being reset. Particularly by petty admins. Or, let's be honest, moderators.

            >Also, there are no "mods" on Wikipedia. There are Administrators, but they don't moderate content except in very unusual circumstances
            Read it. Then think about what you just wrote. You know, there is a reason why GP got a +5 and you rate at most a +3.

        • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday September 22, 2008 @08:23AM (#25102923)
          Hell, I changed the capitalization of a word in the article regarding the Bill of Rights, (People to people), and it was marked as vandalism. Turned me off to editing on Wikipedia right off the bat.

          I probably wouldn't have minded it that much if I hadn't used a photograph of the actual document and the transcript from the National Archives as the reference. When something can get marked as vandalism, and you are tidying up an entry and using the freaking original in the Archives as a source... just pissed me off.
          • by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@@@zhrodague...net> on Monday September 22, 2008 @10:36AM (#25105033) Homepage Journal
            There were a bunch of entries I tried to add to Wikipedia. I went to repost the links to one of my projects (WiFiMaps.com [wifimaps.com]) in the wardriving section, only to be deleted within seconds by some spam nazi. I tried to add an article about my grandfather (one of Duke Ellington's road managers), only to be deleted. Spelling corrections, link adjustments, and other edits quietly deleted, and my account being flagged as spam -- I've had accounts longer than some of these admins. They freaking deleted the article on spam nazis multiple times!

            I am unable to contribute to Wikipedia because of this. Great idea, great resource, but it is no longer the Encyclopedia that Anyone can edit. I maybe have time and energy to do spelling corrections, fix links -- stuff like that. I don't' have the time and energy to fight some admin for weeks to have a link go to a (more appropriate) article, or add something that should already be up there. I don't bother anymore.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:25PM (#25099121)

        Though I generally agree, I feel that the notability guidelines are broken for other reasons.

        Consider, for instance, a Wikipedia article on basically any random public high school. As long as there is a website, you can make a reasonable (and arguably useful) article, with lots of information regarding classes offered, policies, etc. A public high school is usually going to be the only school in the town, maybe one of a few. The result of this is that the town newspaper is going to mention it. Most towns have newspapers, and as long as it's not *too* rural of a town, the newspaper will be online. That basically meets the criteria (it's mentioned in a printed source, which everyone has access to, and facts included are verifiable).

        Is some random high school notable? I'd say not. Now, one can make the other argument that it doesn't matter, because the point is to be a useful source of information. I'd agree with that -- the information is of limited use, but it's going to be useful to the population of that town, which, if only numbering in the couple of thousand, is still substantial. However, it's certainly not "notable".

        • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @10:02PM (#25099357)

          Notable to you no. Notable to someone who lives in the town, yes. Wikipedia isn't to be judged by how it relates to your own small world. If it is irrelevant to you then leave well alone, rather than trying to force others to conform to your own standards.

          If the size of Wikipedia reduces it usefulness to you then the problem is that the search engine you are using is broken. Don't fix a broken search engine by slashing and burning the target of the search until it fits within the engine's limitations. Fix the search algorithm instead.

          • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Monday September 22, 2008 @01:38AM (#25100487) Journal

            I think he agrees with you, in that the notability guidelines are next to useless. If a perfectly useful and valid in all other respects page can be made, who cares if it is notable at all? One could argue that anything meeting the requirements for a source is notable, as the source proves someone somewhere finds it a topic worthy of being notable.

          • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Tom (822) on Monday September 22, 2008 @11:57AM (#25106497) Homepage Journal

            Exactly.

            A lot of deletion discussions are a bunch of unemployed americans with nothing better to do discussing whether or not some monument, palace or person in some country they wouldn't find on a map, is "notable" or not.

            And that's mostly because most of the adults don't chime in on a topic they know absolutely nothing about, so the whole "delete" supporters who essentially say "never heard of it, not notable" just in slightly veiled words, are the only voice speaking up.

            "Notability" is a broken concept, because you can not falsify it. You can not prove that something is not notable. You can only prove that it is notable by citing evidence. But absence of evidence isn't proof of non-notability. Just because nobody who happened to stumble upon the AfD page in that particular week lives in Peru doesn't mean that the topic in question isn't on TV in Peru regularily, for example.

      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:44PM (#25099243) Journal

        I believe that there is a reason why what you say is more important than you know. Wikipedia gives a rough uniformity to the presentation of information. Using that and a few software tools, it's possible to glean more information than simply what was put into the wiki page. Deleting information too briskly will lead to a diminution of the value of both the wiki page information, reference veracity of the site, and the value of any information based on combinatorial information.

        Using an example offered by someone else, if it is known that there are 123,000 high schools in the USA, and 75% of them are listed on Wikipedia. You can draw some reasonably credible information about high schools in the USA from scanning the wiki pages. Yes, Google indexes the Internet/www but the trouble is that information on the Internet is hardly presented in conformal manner. That is one of the benefits of Wikipedia, or could be.

        There are lots of ideas about how to best organize the information on the Internet, but all of the require voluntary compliance by the authors of the information. That is the one very cool thing about Wikipedia. Perhaps, someone will suggest a semantic web version of how to publish pages of information on the Internet so that the combined reality of such pages IS a living encyclopedia. Using something like the single sign-on and security schemes, it is possible for vetted reviewers to rate each such site so that when you view it in your browser, those ratings are available for you to see. If the information on the site you are viewing is only rated 2 out of 10, then you know whether it is trustworthy information and whether you need to seek corroboration.

        This deletion thing is sad in the respect of what it means, of what will not happen. Wikipedia is a good thing as an idea. It is even more valuable as a information repository or data warehouse. At least it could be... sigh

      • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @10:05PM (#25099367) Homepage Journal

        There seems to be a group of folks who like to "purify" a community website, and to be honest I don't even know what makes these kind of folks tick.

        I tend to be an inclusionist/separatist in my attitude toward wiki projects and content. By this I mean that content ought to be given time to develop, even if it seems crazy and off the wall. By being a separatist, I think the mergist viewpoint is full of logical errors and that most calls to merge two articles together are mainly a variant of deletionists who think that such petty articles about obscure topics need to go... but with the "good vibes" that somehow the topic will be covered in some huge all-encompassing article.

        There are some things that do need to go on occasion, but I've also seen some of the most creative applications of Wiki technology get developed when somebody pushes the edge of a project and develops something way out of bounds. Indeed some of these extreme projects have become out right independent Wikimedia projects of their own, including things like Wikibooks, Wikinews, and even Wiktionary that all had their origins on Wikipedia until some deletionist decided to kick them off.

        This phenomena unfortunately isn't even limited to Wikipedia and the WMF sister projects either, but is widespread in nearly any wiki project I've been involved with. Indeed, I've found that the relatively flat peer-editing model of Wikipedia tends to keep the worst of these issues in check as opposed to much worse sorts of community editing models like the Open Directory Project.

      • by Rutefoot (1338385) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @10:07PM (#25099387)
        A couple years ago a wiki page was created about a friend of mine who ran a website, in addition to a wiki page about the website itself. It appeared to have been made by some fan who never made themselves known.

        It wasn't long of course before these deletion-happy admins nominated it for speedy deletion. The decision was proving to be unanimous. And, I for one didn't blame them. A wiki page for an administrator of a website seemed rather silly.

        My friend agreed. He didn't feel that he really should be on the site and decided to go to the deletion page and weigh in on the issue. He told the wiki admins who he was and that he wanted the page deleted thinking this would solidify the consensus that had for the most part already been reached. I think the quote was something along the lines of "I don't want to be on your gay-ass site, so I'd appreciate it if you just hurried up and deleted it before I leave you all with a fist-sized, mushroom-shaped bruise on all of your faces."

        Not surprisingly, all of the admins had a change of heart and all decided they wanted to keep the page.
        • by ymgve (457563) on Monday September 22, 2008 @12:56AM (#25100313) Homepage


          "A couple years ago a wiki page was created about a friend of mine who ran a website, in addition to a wiki page about the website itself. It appeared to have been made by some fan who never made themselves known.

          It wasn't long of course before these deletion-happy admins nominated it for speedy deletion. The decision was proving to be unanimous. And, I for one didn't blame them. A wiki page for an administrator of a website seemed rather silly.

          My friend agreed. He didn't feel that he really should be on the site and decided to go to the deletion page and weigh in on the issue. He told the wiki admins who he was and that he wanted the page deleted thinking this would solidify the consensus that had for the most part already been reached. I think the quote was something along the lines of "I don't want to be on your gay-ass site, so I'd appreciate it if you just hurried up and deleted it before I leave you all with a fist-sized, mushroom-shaped bruise on all of your faces."

          Not surprisingly, all of the admins had a change of heart and all decided they wanted to keep the page."

          [citation needed]

      • When "Articles for Deletion" discussions work the way they should be, editors delete, admins only implement the will of the people. The major exceptions are borderline cases and cases when there is very little discussion.

        I'm not saying things always work the way they should, just that when Wikipedians follow their own rules, the admin that does the deleting rarely gets to be a party to the decision.

        Sure, there is that grey area between "delete" and "no consensus" and the occasional discussion where the "!v

  • by DirtySouthAfrican (984664) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:42PM (#25098787) Homepage
    The politically correct term is "Intelligent Unpublishing".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by owlnation (858981)

      The politically correct term is "Intelligent Unpublishing".

      I don't think the word "intelligent" means what you think it means. It is the last word that could ever be applied to the actions (or reactions, in fact) of wikipedia's admins.

      Book burning by any other name.

  • Easy. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chairboy (88841) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:43PM (#25098795) Homepage

    Is the website notable? Has the mainstream media reported on it? Does it meet the requirements listed in WP:WEB, the guideline for website notability?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability_(web) [wikipedia.org]

    This should be all anyone needs to know to !vote on the issue. There is no 'special pass' for things that have been on Slashdot, or are about Wikipedia.

    • Easy...to game (Score:5, Interesting)

      by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:46PM (#25098821) Homepage Journal
      So you're saying that all you have to do is pass some 'notability' threshold, or buy the necessary media coverage (don't bore me with claims of journalistic integrity), and you're done?
      Great. We all know what kind of site Wikipedia has evolved into, we just haven't settled on the price.
      • Re:Easy...to game (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:48PM (#25098839)

        Don't even have to buy it. From doing a Google News search, it looks to me like the controversy over deleting the Deletionpedia entry is going to make it notable even if it didn't start out that way.

        • Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ubernostrum (219442) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:01PM (#25098927) Homepage

          Wikipedia's notability guideline (note it's not actually an official policy) has all sorts of loopholes built in to it to allow a clique of editors to kill something they don't like. In this case, they would argue that Deletionpedia was not really notable in and of itself, but was only notable because of some notable incident which might be worthy of having a separate article (but that article would likely never be written, or would itself be deleted on some other grounds).

          • Re:Nope. (Score:4, Funny)

            by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:19PM (#25099075) Homepage Journal
            The question is: can Wikipedia become a sufficiently elitist snob-club to give Brittanica a chance for a comeback?
            • Re:Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by lysergic.acid (845423) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @10:26PM (#25099511) Homepage

              i actually find all this scorn for Wikipedia and its mods/admins quite amusing.

              there are lots of accusations of personal biases, clique-mentality, elitism, and other very human traits. but i wonder if those making these complaints ever bothered to ask themselves whether these problems are endemic to the Wikipedia community or if they're problems which are inherent with any editorial process and that it's only because of Wikipedia's community-driven nature that these problems of objectivity are actually exposed and open to public scrutiny & debate.

              i guess with any kind of progressive movement there will be rearguard reactions to oppose it. however, in this case i think that the complaints being leveled are actually quite valid. it's just that Wikipedia is being unfairly singled out simply because of its open/collaborative nature.

              if you only have 20-30 person conventional editorial staff these problems would be a non-issue simply because the people who disagree with the company's official editorial opinion would simply be fired or probably just would not have been hired in the first place. all of the editorial politics are handled behind closed doors and any issues would be solved by a simple executive decision from the chief editor.

              but once you involve the public in the editorial process then you're opening it to infinitely many viewpoints and a greater diversity of opinions. this invites open discussion and eliminates the risk of corporate politics influencing editorial decisions. but the same virtues that make Wikipedia a great alternative to the largely consolidated mainstream media also give rise to controversy as its open nature is more likely to draw public criticism.

              the more people that take part in a debate, the more disagreements will arise, and the harder it will be to satisfy everyone involved. but i don't see this as a flaw with collaborative publishing. it reveals an often missed (or concealed) dimension to print publishing, particularly that of reference works.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Splab (574204)

                There is a huge difference between editing some online thing like Wikipedia in your spare time and paying for the roof over your head and food on your table with your job editing lexica.

                Also; Wikipedia admins carry quite a lot of power, usually changing the history of a country was reserved to the ruling elite - now it can be accomplished by a disgruntled admin.

              • Re:Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Eskarel (565631) on Monday September 22, 2008 @01:31AM (#25100455)
                There is an aspect of humanity to Wikipedia's problems.

                It's also true that that sort of thing is present in all editorial processes.

                My biggest complaint with Wikipedia(aside from the fact that there seems to be no official method of discouraging the worst of this behavior) is really that there seems to be a core group of Wikipedians who have a vision for what they think Wikipedia ought to be, and that this vision is completely at odds with what people actually use Wikipedia for.

                Wikipedia is never going to be an on-line version of Britannica. This is mostly because the world doesn't need an on-line version of Britannica, and that if it did, Britannica would be perfectly capable of doing it themselves.

                What the world needs is a place where you can look up all the stuff that doesn't get into encyclopaedia's. A lot of this stuff is trivial and non-notable, and of course there's some issues with reliability and truth, but that's what the citation system is for.

                Wikipedia can be that place where you can find out all the alternate points of view, look at what they use as citations(if anything) and judge them. It can do this because realistically it doesn't cost them anything to host information no one looks at and any information people are interested in is fundamentally notable by the very definition of the word.

                Wikipedia can, and should, host pages on pretty much everything that can't be proven false. Anything that also can't be proven true, should be marked as such, but there is no harm, and possible a lot of good in it being there.

                Certainly some things ought to be deleted, or at least sidelined, but that should mostly be about crap writing as opposed to something not being important. If someone sends something in which is totally unreadable, and no one is sufficiently interested in updating it, by all means delete it, but if someone puts together a well written, well thought out article about something that you think doesn't matter, let it lie.

        • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:27PM (#25099135) Homepage

          Don't even have to buy it. From doing a Google News search, it looks to me like the controversy over deleting the Deletionpedia entry is going to make it notable even if it didn't start out that way.

          In fact, the fact that the controversy over deleting the deletionpedia page is itself notable makes me very tempted to write a Wikipedia article "Deletionpedia Deletion Controversy"...

          On the other hand, I guess that might be pushing it a little too far, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by at_slashdot (674436)

        I guess if you can buy the necessary media coverage you are notable enough, seems OK to me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Yep. Money is pretty much the only metric upon which most agree.
          Are we allowed to chuckle at the drift away from Wikipedia's original, relatively anarchist philosophy?
          • Re:Easy...to game (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Hal_Porter (817932) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:29PM (#25099865)

            Are we allowed to chuckle at the drift away from Wikipedia's original, relatively anarchist philosophy?

            I've always found anarchists to be a bit naive about the way the world works. Historically the state of anarchy in countries has been the excuse some 'strong leader' needed to take over, or have turned into mob rule or domination by an abusive oligarchy.

            If you look at the founders of the US, the reason for all the rules and checks and balances was to try to stop this happening. They, quite rightly, knew that 'mere democracy' was a dangerous thing.

    • speed deleting (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:04PM (#25098959) Homepage Journal

      One problem I feel is that a page should have considerable time of protection. As you can see, the buzz of deletionpedia is still growing, so it is actively becoming notable. If articles that were correct could have 30 days to build their cases that would at least be some improvement.

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:43PM (#25098797) Journal
    To keep it in check. Maybe two or three.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DanielLC (1346013)

      Do you mean like forks like Wikinfo [wikinfo.org], or unrelated, but similar, sites like Everything2 [everything2.com], h2g2 [bbc.co.uk] and Knol [google.com]?

    • by owlnation (858981) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:16PM (#25099049)
      Wikipedia has competition. The problem is pagerank. Google calculates pagerank on the basis of the site, not individual pages. Wikipedia has a ridiculously overinflated page rank -- especially when you consider many individual entries are total crap.

      In most cases there are better quality pages available, however the Wikipedia page will be in the top 10 of search results, no matter how good or bad it is.

      It's Google that needs competition. That will stop monopolies in a number of areas -- not just Wikipedia.
      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:28PM (#25099151)
        What I think the poster meant was for there to be a site like Wikipedia that was A) A Wiki and B) Had information about all kinds of things, while still being C) Somewhat serious. And there really isn't any other place. Granted, there are a lot of good Wikis for various things, just about every major game has one, and I use LyricWiki (whenever it isn't down) to check for lyrics. But there isn't one good place to get all kinds of information that is freely editable except for Wikipedia. Also, compared to most other sites Wikipedia is fast to load and doesn't have all the ads.
        • by Merusdraconis (730732) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:07PM (#25099747) Homepage

          I had high hopes for Citizendium, but wikis thrive on drive-by editing, and I don't think Citizendium allows that. It sure hasn't gotten anywhere much in the year it's been running, and it's woefully incomplete.

          • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday September 22, 2008 @01:15AM (#25100395)
            Your mention of Citizendium made me curious so I stopped by and checked out a few articles. I came across this one for 'Dinosaurs':

            Dinosaurs were a widely distributed and diverse group of large reptiles that were once quite dominant on Earth. Many believe that they were wiped out by a meteor's collision with the planet around 65 million years ago, while others believe they are simply the name given by modern science to dragons, whose co-existence with human beings is attested to by the Bible[1]."

            The sole reference is to "Answers in Genesis", a creation "science" organization. Wow. Just... wow, that's just sad.

      • by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:34PM (#25099901) Homepage

        Wikipedia has competition. The problem is pagerank. Google calculates pagerank on the basis of the site, not individual pages. Wikipedia has a ridiculously overinflated page rank -- especially when you consider many individual entries are total crap.
         
        In most cases there are better quality pages available, however the Wikipedia page will be in the top 10 of search results, no matter how good or bad it is.

        Amen.
         
        I've said it before and I'll say it again - you couldn't design a site to spam Google better than Wikipedia. Lots of offsite links, rapid updates, constant changes, and highly internally linked via keywords.
         
        Even if, according to Google itself, the page isn't linked to from offsite - it still receives a high PageRank score.

  • Paradox! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JackassJedi (1263412) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:46PM (#25098819)
    But what if an article should ever be deleted from Deletionpedia?

    I sense the LHC is becoming redundant here!
  • by syousef (465911) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:47PM (#25098833) Journal

    I really love Wikipedia and I sure hope I'm wrong, but I think we've seen Wikipedia at it's peek. As with many ventures that become successful they move from innovation to stability and with that become widely popular which creates new pressures and brings in other interests, and then in turn leads to the degradation of the service as people squabble about how things should be done. I've seen this with special interest groups and clubs of all kinds. It can be particularly difficult to counter. An organisation either survives these things and becomes stronger for the learning the members have done, or else it succumbs to the storm of shite and fades into insignificance.

    • entropy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:53PM (#25099301) Homepage

      I agree with you 100% that Wikipedia has peaked. The quality of most articles is dropping over time, because anybody halfway sane doesn't want to pore autistically over a watchlist of cherished articles to make sure they don't succumb to entropy.

      On the other hand, that doesn't mean that every dispute on WP is pointless, or that either side could be right on every issue. One bogus argument that's always posed by people who don't want their articles deleted is that it's not a paper encyclopedia, so there's no reason to keep the whole thing under a certain page count. Well, suppose Fred creates an article on his high school band, Fredsband, which only actually consisted of himself and his golden retriever. Every single time a user searches for "golden retriever," one of the hits is going to be the article on Fredsband. Also, when you have an article that's non-notable, it tends not to be linked to any other articles, and you get these little disjoint subsets of WP that are unhealthy. They can become havens for crackpots, or honeypots for spam links.

    • by wiredlogic (135348) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @10:40PM (#25099607)

      In fact, the English Wikipedia does appear to be just past it's growth peak [wikipedia.org] right now.

  • by Morgaine (4316) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:51PM (#25098859)

    Shortly thereafter, the Industry Standard again turned its attention to Deletionpedia, reporting that deletion of the article in Wikipedia about Deletionpedia was itself under discussion, suggesting that the article was not being considered for deletion based on "insignificance of the site" but rather "due to perceived criticism of Wikipedia itself."

    If the highlighted phrase is true, then it indicates that the high priests at Wikipedia are totally beyond control and beyond the pale.

    There is no more important function in a community encyclopedia than self-criticism. It is part of its foundation, a self-referential examination of its integrity and transparency.

    I am really hoping that that line from TFA is false, and that the discussion about deleting the Deletionpedia page from Wikipedia is unambiguously declared invalid by WP editors.

  • Delete it (Score:5, Funny)

    by russotto (537200) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:53PM (#25098877) Journal
    It needs to be deleted, just to ensure that it ends up in Deletionpedia.
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:53PM (#25098883)
    Wikipedia editors have also started deleted popular open source projects which don't have book or magazine articles by anyone aside from projects maintainers or contributors. This does not surprise me that they would be also be deleting other things that show their deletion records as well especially when they are going completely overboard with their deletions.
  • by Afecks (899057) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:07PM (#25098981)
    Just redirect it to here [wikipedia.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:11PM (#25099007)

    Make an Includopedia and a Deletepedia. That way everyone is happy.

  • by Kethinov (636034) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:12PM (#25099021) Homepage Journal

    The debate is over. The result of the discussion was keep. See talk page [wikipedia.org].

  • by lazy_nihilist (1220868) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:32PM (#25099175)
    We apologise again for the fault in the deletion. Those articles mentioning the deletion of the articles that have just been deleted, have been deleted.
  • by danaris (525051) <danaris AT mac DOT com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:33PM (#25099177) Homepage

    One thing I noticed in the AfD comments that seems like a pretty good idea was to have any Wikipedia articles that get deleted be instead transwikied to Deletionpedia.

    Naturally, that's not as good as not deleting them from Wikipedia in the first place...but it seems to me that at least it solves the problem of the work being lost entirely when the AfD finishes and the article is sent into the aether.

    Dan Aris

  • by pfunes (98907) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:46PM (#25099259)

    The whole debate is caused - IMHO - by having a bad versioning system as the Wikipedia's backend. Deleting and undeleting whole articles should be as transparent and open as deleting and undeleting paragraphs within an article. The history feature provides such transparency. Currently, instead, deleted articles are zapped: inaccesible, unreadable, unrecoverable. Allowing history access (and an option in "advanced search") for deleted articles would make this issue a lot simpler.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:55PM (#25099313)
    There was once a time that Wikipedia was thought up. The professors laughed at the idea, looking down from their leather chairs and fancy bookcases and said that nothing would be accomplished. That nothing would be accurate, that the wisdom of crowds would never produce an encyclopedia. And thus, Wikipedia was born. Built as a modern day Library of Alexandria, it had mottoes of be bold and to ignore all rules. And for a while it thrived, it took the professors by surprise, it became a haven for knowledge, a temple for facts. It grew quickly and spread into almost every written language. And then, the changes started to happen. The moderators who had so loudly proclaimed to ignore all rules had started to become much like the professors that had previously laughed at their attempts. What had started to destroy censorship now was slowly increasing its spread. Moderators turned on users and banned them for the most silly of reasons, users tried to correct errors and were banned for vandalism. And soon it became impossible to tell who were the editors of Wikipedia or who were the bureaucrats running the print encyclopedias.

    I will end this post with a quote from George Orwell's Animal Farm

    Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Your grandiosity aside, professors laughed at wikipedia because of credibility issues citing random sources.

      And they are quite right.

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @10:10PM (#25099401)
        Because we all know that all the "primary" sites your teachers always want you to go to never ever have misleading information and are always cited. Honestly, there are a lot of articles, particularly about technology, that Wikipedia is the best source for. Now, I'm not sure if I would write a 100 page book about American History based on Wikipedia, but a paper about most software Wikipedia is going to give you the most information short of talking to the actual developer (because most of the time the project's site is no good and man pages only tell you the flags you can use)
  • Mike Wooten (Score:4, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @09:58PM (#25099335) Homepage
    By coincidence, I happened to just now look up Wikipedia's entry on Mike Wooten [wikipedia.org], the trooper of Palin's Troopergate, to find out the cause of the divorce.

    It's marked for deletion!

  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:23PM (#25099837) Homepage

    Just registered deletionism.com, and then on second thought realize that deletionist.com was likely the far more valuable one...

    "Deletionist" sounds like a new 21st century occupation, involving one or more of the following:

    * Spam filtering and deletion
    * Extranous information removal (ie. the wikipedia sections being discussed)
    * Sanatizing information stores
    * On-line reputation management

    Regardless, IMHO, "Deletionist" is highly brandable - intiutive name for a website offering deletion related services. Welcome thoughts.

    Ron

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:24PM (#25099845)

    What really gets me about wikipedia is stuff like I Am Rich [wikipedia.org]. Nominated for deletion, the consensus wound up being to keep it. Not to redirect it but to keep it. Then, the nominator, having failed in his attempt to delete it, merges it, despite consensus to the contrary, into App Store [wikipedia.org]. Later, another user comes along and deletes it, saying it's "not important [wikipedia.org]".

    But wait - it gets better! The same guy nominates Heavy Metal (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) [wikipedia.org] for deletion and fails in his attempt. So what does he do? Merges every episode, save that one, into List of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episodes [wikipedia.org]. You see - this user knows he couldn't get consensus by an AfD so he engages in backroom deals to gain support.

    Of course, none of this tops Torchic [wikipedia.org]. A front page featured article with 20 paragraphs and 46 citations now reduced to redirecting to a list of pokemon, with 2-3 paragraphs (depending on whether or not a one sentence paragraph counts) and no citations. Amazing stuff.

  • by Carbon016 (1129067) on Monday September 22, 2008 @02:56AM (#25100825)

    10 WHY IS WIKIPEDIA SO INACCURATE
    20 "Well, let me just delete all the unsourced material to leave it with a balanced summ-"
    30 NO STOP DELETING STUFF KEEP IT IN I CANT BELIEVE YOU EVIL DELETIONISTS WANT TO DESTROY ALL MY HARD WORK
    40 GOTO 10

    I was an editor there for a while until I just couldn't deal with the constant rehashing of "these are the rules/guidelines, they are displayed prominently on all relevant pages" on every single AfD, as well as the stupid drama and the infinite patience the community had with clear vandals ("*USER* IS A FAGGOT NIGGER" = "Please do not make test edits outside of the sandbox"). Users whine about having their 5 page manuscript on their cat's behaviors deleted as a ten second destruction of all their hard work but show total disregard for the infinitely more people patrolling New Pages, AfD, PROD, etc's time being wasted. This is mostly because the system has been built up to have multiple levels of redundant band-aid processes. For example, there are three ways to delete an article:

    If it meets certain criteria that apply to a lot of unsuitable pages, you can "speedy delete" it - since you're not supposed to tag anything if it doesn't clearly meet those criteria, deleting the tag itself is an act of vandalism, you're supposed to copy paste a {{hangon}} template and then justify your reasoning on the talk page. This never works: editors misapply the tag repeatedly, users don't bother to read the template or don't have enough time to write out anything detailed because the article will be deleted quickly.

    Then you've got PROD, which is speedy-lite: you tag it, give a short justification, and if the thing isn't "challenged" by the article's creator or anyone else by removing it, it's deleted after a set period. If it is, you're supposed to always take it to AfD, but many people will just give up because nominating something for AfD is a 15 step process which involves collecting rare plants and taking them to seven pillars, then casting a spell and defeating a goblin in hand to hand combat. People don't browse the PROD queue, so the only people that end up taking off the tag are...surprise! The original creator of the article! PROD is essentially just a series of bets that the original creator won't delete the tag and take it to AfD before the time expires, and the admin isn't tired enough from deleting crap all day that they'll agree with the justification.

    And then there's Articles for Deletion, which consists halfway of stuff that should be handled through either of the two above processes (if they worked properly), short vanity articles that end up having one or two "delete" comments and then are closed, or spiral into large debates in which each editor's opinion is supposed to not be a "vote", but if the closing admin rejects a pure tally, always seem to agree with toward the most simplified, spoon-fed argument. As mentioned above, nominating one is a rather tiring and complex set of edits which involves making three separate template changes on three separate pages, putting in a arbitrary "category" that is never useful to anyone, and writing a hopefully detailed summary of why it should go poof at the same time. This is "Web 2.0", right? Why can't I click a box or a dropdown? Is this a modified "security through obscurity" thing where deletionism is purposefully put through so many different steps that nominating a sequence of articles (never try to nominate more than once at a time, the syntax is a nightmare) is discouraged with the time-wasting complexity of it?

    Plenty of this relies on templates and user-mediated process that would be made completely moot overnight if the MediaWiki developers got off their asses and started working on and implementing features that go beyond "flagged revisions" such as tagging articles for deletion via a tab and dropdown menu, then putting "speedy" articles in a queue where one or two other editors give it a check to make sure it's properly tagged and the article goes poof (without an administrator needin

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