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Old Man Murray Wikipedia Controversy Continues 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the start-to-crate dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As discussed previously on slashdot, the Old Man Murray article was deleted from Wikipedia. After much controversy, the article has been restored. However, the debate to delete the article continues, with both deletionists and Old Man Murray fans swarming to the article."
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Old Man Murray Wikipedia Controversy Continues

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  • Uh, debate is where? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rurik (113882) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:08PM (#35472344)

    Where does the debate continue? There was no link in the summary pointing to any ongoing debate. Just the previous Slashdot story and the main wikipedia article. There have been no edits to the OMM talk page for a week.

    Shoddy, shoddy, shoddy submission.

    Maybe they're referring to the SignPost article that has a handful of comments from a few days ago?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2011-03-07/Deletion_controversy [wikipedia.org]

    • by Gudeldar (705128) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:49PM (#35472708)
      I don't think a deletion nomination would get very far now anyway. The butthurt resulting from the original deletion actually spurred people to make it a well sourced article. The original article just looked like a vanity page.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by bunratty (545641)
        It looks like the deletion policy makes sense, if it's what's needed to get editors to add reliable third-party sources. I don't really see a controversy, just editors who are learning how Wikipedia works. Either add reliable, third party sources to the article or the article gets deleted.
        • by retchdog (1319261)

          the wrinkle is that the deletion controversy is what inspired some of those third-party sources to be written. in fact, one of them was amusingly titled "The Remarkable Notability of Old Man Murray."

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bunratty (545641)
            That's not a wrinkle. That's an added bonus. The threat of deletion because of too few reliable sources leads to more reliable sources in the article, and everyone wins, because now we have a well-sourced article. Would this have happened if there had been no threat of deletion? It looks to me like Wikipedia's guidelines work.
            • by retchdog (1319261)

              i mostly agree with this, but in your original post you suggested that editors could learn from this example and add third-party sources which, in this case, they couldn't have... it's also arguable that they aren't really third-party sources at all; they are more like second-party sources since they are essentially being commissioned by wikipedia itself...

            • by owlnation (858981) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @03:18PM (#35473418)

              The threat of deletion because of too few reliable sources leads to more reliable sources in the article, and everyone wins, because now we have a well-sourced article. Would this have happened if there had been no threat of deletion? It looks to me like Wikipedia's guidelines work.

              2+2 does not equal 5. Sure, fascism produces some great art, and economic benefits. Do you want to live under a fascist regime?

              There are other ways of getting good results, there are other ways of getting good sourced articles. There are much better ways than behaving like power-crazed spoiled children. There are much better ways than driving any decent intelligent person away from wikipedia for good.

              But no, the jackbooted scum that are the current wikiadmins are intent on driving away the very people who could actually make wikipedia into the resource it should be, but currently is very far from being.

              Until such time as the crooked Jimbo and his clique are finally kicked out of wikipedia, there will be no truth, no justice and no trust on that site.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Sunday March 13, 2011 @03:28PM (#35473500) Journal

              The problem is the one pushing for deletion, which had also deleted other articles about anyone connected to OMM, was a big fat tie dyed loser that OMM had seriously ragged that was using his mod status as a way to "get even".

              He is a perfect example of why many refuse to have anything to do with Wikipedia, because it lets big fat douches that brag about being giant pricks (look up his Twitter feed, it is pretty much "I'm better than all of you so suck it down bitches") do whatever they want and the other (most likely big fat pricks) admins will circle the wagons and call anyone who points out the douchey behavior a "meatpuppet" and refuse to listen to anyone that "isn't in the club".

              I'd say the fact that they have their own terms like meatpuppets and the fact this big fat tie dyed douche is still a mod after all his asshattery (which was pointed out in his own words from his tweets and blogs) just shows what a broken fucked up mess Wikipedia has become. While the original idea was a good one, they have made sure actual experts and anyone else who has something to do other than jerk off to Wikipedia all day will have to run a gauntlet of skanky losers who have claimed the Wiki as "their domain".

              Where Wikipedia once worked on crowdsourcing and allowing experts in a field a chance to help fill in the gaps now it is just a haven for trolls and losers with no life outside Wikipedia. Hell look at the deletionist troll's own article history you'll find he's writing articles about places like the Memphis Mall which haven't existed in years and frankly nobody cared about in the first place while saying anyone who caused him butthurt isn't notable. If he isn't a classic assburgers troll on a powertrip I don't know who is.

              • You know, anybody can run mediawiki.

              • by tepples (727027)

                a gauntlet of skanky losers who have claimed the Wiki as "their domain".

                Then they may be in violation of WP:OWN.

            • by vux984 (928602)

              What is the pragmatic difference between writing original research directly in Wikipedia, or writing the same original research into a blog article or separate domain specific wiki, and then sourcing it on Wikipedia?

              It seems wikipedia shares something in common with C: "Any problem can be solved with a layer of indirection."

            • by naasking (94116)

              You don't threaten to delete an article when it requires improvement, you mark the article as requiring improvement. They have tags for exactly these purposes. Wikipedia has gone a little deletion-crazy recently, probably out of some misguided desire to become more "respectable".

        • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday March 13, 2011 @02:50PM (#35473200) Homepage

          It looks like the deletion policy makes sense, if it's what's needed to get editors to add reliable third-party sources.

          No it doesn't, as that is pretty much a classic case of the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org]. The energy and effort wasted in those deletion debates could have been spend far better and the fallout of those deletions is rather horrible, as you always lose some authors in the process.

          • by bunratty (545641)

            I agree that editors could simply add the references to reliable sources in the first place, but what if they won't unless the article or material in it may be deleted? It's not the broken window fallacy at all. It's just repercussions from not following the rules, which leads to the rules being followed.

            If you don't pay your water bill on time, the water company shuts off your water. That leads to you paying your water bill and your water gets turned back on. It's not that evil water fascists that are cont

            • by grumbel (592662)

              I agree that editors could simply add the references to reliable sources in the first place, but what if they won't unless the article or material in it may be deleted?

              The point is: The deletionist contributes nothing of value. He is like the thieve that breaks into your house. Sure, he might force you secure your home, thus resulting in a safer home, but that doesn't stop it wrong being a fucking annoying waste of time. Back in the day when Wikipedia was awesome you'd simply stick a "citation missing" or whatever template on top of the article and call it a day. Deletions should be reserved for things where there is good reason to assume that the content is fraud, fake,

              • by bunratty (545641)
                Material in Wikipedia needs to be sourced. Material for which no source can be found should be deleted, because there is no way to verify the information.
                • by Pathwalker (103) *

                  Material for which no source can be found should be validated the same way you would verify any other data. A minute or two of searching can usually locate sources. The reader can update the page to include the source, or delete the offending statement if no verification appears to exist.

                  This is the constructive way to handle the issue. To blindly delete without attempting to validate is simply vandalism.

                  • There's the people who hate Wikipedia because it's full of errors, biases, fancruft and badly disguised advertisments, making it unusable. So Wikipedia admins delete anything that is improperly sourced, biased or irrelevant. Then come the people who hate Wikipedia for deleting information, stating that everything can be fixed. So the admins wait, leaving unsourced, crappy material in the encyclopedia. Repeat ad absurdum.
              • by tepples (727027)

                Deletions should be reserved for things where there is good reason to assume that the content is fraud, fake, copyright infringement or spam

                "Fake" may be part of it. After the Seigenthaler incident, information about a living person is assumed fake unless clearly verifiable. "Spam" may also be part of it. An article about a subject attracts readers to click on the article's external links.

    • by digitig (1056110)
      Click "Discussion" at the top of the main Wikipedia article.
  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:10PM (#35472354) Homepage

    Why is there even a debate? If the article is generating such a controversy, then OBVIOUSLY it's notable enough to stay there? Where the hell is common sense when you need it?

    • by DeVilla (4563) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:33PM (#35472558)

      Here. [wikipedia.org] Note that it has material that may be challenged or removed as it does not cite any references or sources.

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moryath (553296) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:33PM (#35472566)

      Welcome to Wikipedia - common sense means nothing, and they actually have to have ESSAYS on what constitutes "Wikilawyering", "Gaming the system", and pretty much every tactic that is adopted by asshole "admins" and their followers but forbidden to everyone else (even if you're trying to counter their own bad-faith scumbaggery).

      Remember - you can learn a lot from what former admins write [livejournal.com] regarding how Wikipedia really works [blogspot.com].

      • "common sense means nothing"

        That phrase means nothing in this context. "Of course everyone knows how to build an open collaborative encyclopedia. Anyone who disagrees with me is a fool." I don't mean to say that everyone's opinion shouldn't matter. There should be no "caste" system and I understand Wikipedia has a problem with that.

        But it's a fallacy to assume there exists some universal "common sense" for a task that's never before been attempted.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        Yeah, asshole admins basically drove me away from contributing to Wikipedia. Not like I was a major contributor, but I'd put some time in.

        Getting into a spat with an admin who was automatically reverting any changes made to 'his' article was enough to make me quit trying. His admin buddies backed him up on it, when all I was trying to do was add ISBN numbers to the biography section, and his second-long revert times meant he wasn't even reading what he was reverting.

    • by sjames (1099) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:34PM (#35472580) Homepage

      Because the deletionists won't be happy until Wikipedia consists of nothing but an article on itself and vanity articles extolling the many virtues of the deletionists?

      • by Sique (173459)

        The idea to only have those articles in Wikipedia someone actually cares for (e.g. maintaining it and incorporate new facts and sources), and of those editors so many, that there is actually a peer review of the articles in question has something for it, don't you think?

        • by sjames (1099)

          Once an article is complete, there's really nothing you can do to it except make it less clear or less factual.

          Everyone who reads is a peer to review it, isn't that a central part of the whole philosophy? Perhaps they found it to be good enough. If you disagree, by all means fix it.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The idea to only have those articles in Wikipedia someone actually cares for (e.g. maintaining it and incorporate new facts and sources), and of those editors so many, that there is actually a peer review of the articles in question has something for it, don't you think?

          I'm a little shaky on this whole 'internet' thing but last I checked there were a lot of us using it. There's lots of articles on Wikipedia that don't need frequent updating and even if they're out of date they're better than nothing.

      • by Bieeanda (961632)
        You forgot the interminable list of Wikipedia references in anime.
      • by Tom (822)

        You forgot the porn star and manga character articles. They have to be there. After all, especially for the porn stars, there is a plethora of sources available. Of course, to ensure the quality of the article, said sources need to be reviewed...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:35PM (#35472586)

      Common sense isn't as common as the name would imply, so the deletionists deleted it.

      • There is no better way to get lots of attention than for somebody to try to suppress you!
        Think Wikileaks for example.

    • by hduff (570443)

      Note that the submission states "An anonymous reader writes . . .".

      So it's all BS and a mistake for Slashdot to run it.

    • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @01:52PM (#35472748) Journal

      Clearly, we're running out of internets, and need to delete stuff to keep the drive clear for more "important" information.

      • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Informative)

        by hedwards (940851) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @02:29PM (#35473046)

        The theoretical reason for deleting articles is that if they're not notable, there's likely to be inaccuracies due to nobody looking at the page on a regular basis. And even if it was accurate when it went up things change.

        The main problem is that nobody can really decide what is and isn't notable, and it frequently comes down to politics. However now that there's been this scandal, Old Man Murray should be considered notable. If for no other reason than demonstrating Wikipedia editorial douche baggery.

    • by Improv (2467)

      Nope. Someone might decide that their ordinary family, street, or manhole cover deserves an article and some bunch of clueless inclusionists would show up to protect it out of principle.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      Degree of controversy has nothing to do with notability. Having a lot of people outside Wikipedia come and claim something shouldn't be deleted happens all the time for things that aren't at all notable (one common class of examples are bands that have nothing more than a myspace page and try to get lots of their friends to go and shout rude things at the Wikipedians.) The ability to send large numbers of people to scream at Wikipedia is not a good argument for notability. Old Man Murray turned out to be no
      • by Nemyst (1383049)

        I'm sorry but I disagree. I have never heard of XYZ band getting a few dozen friends to whine about their page deletion. Thousands of people have now heard about Old Man Murray getting its page deleted. I personally didn't know the site, but now I do. You could argue the site is even more notable than it was before.

        If you want to be technical, the very fact the news has made the headlines created dozens of back links from sites like /. or RPS. That alone would be enough for notability, thus controversy brin

  • ... who led the charge to take down OMM from Wikipedia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g6eUC2_-RA&feature=player_embedded [youtube.com]. Yes, he talks about fire drills for a full fourteen minutes.
    • I looked into his web rantings when the OMM issue first came up. That is one seriously disturbed person. Who in the hell is THAT passionate about fire drills? He talks about it on "The Schumin Web' alot.
    • by wmbetts (1306001)

      Thank you. Now I know what's wrong with Wikipedia.

  • And I was figuring it'd be the last place we heard about it. Slow news day? Or... month? Since it was restored a while ago. It's certainly notable, and the moderator that wants it gone is just on a power trip. So, yeah. Whateva.
  • And by swarm, you mean all 3 of you.
  • And then the cocksuckers have the balls to ask for money after pulling shit like this.

    Wikipedia is not getting one fucking donation from me until they get rid of these deletion happy mutherfuckers.

    Who the fuck cares if an article is notable to you, that the same bullshit, can't fucking call it reasoning because it isn't, that fuckers in Texass used to keep Ã"scar Romero out of their history books Kinda surprised Wikipedia hasn't cited the Texas State Board of Education and removed him from there as w

  • So when do we create a Wikipedia article about the OMM deletion controversy? I can't wait to see the THAT article's deletion controversy!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13, 2011 @02:51PM (#35473206)

    I am a former Wikipedian who stopped making substantial edits in 2006. I have seen so many articles that are covered by relable sources but are still deleted by deletionists. Just like how the idea of Linux on the desktop was destroyed by warring KDE/Gnome factions which further split up into Plasma/Classic and Shell/Spatial/Unity and Xfree86/Xorg/Wayland factions. Wikipedia deletionists destroyed the original goal of "imagine free access to the sum of all human knowlege, thats what we are doing" motto. Now Jimbo just facespamms every few months BEGGING for your money that could go to legimate educational institutions while letting deletionists and thug admins eliminate good faith editors.

    Wikipedia needs to be blacklisted and replaced by an inclusionist project that bans deletionists and promotes legitmate edits. The closest is probably Wikia but it is advertising and has COI with Jimbo.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Linux failed on the desktop because of bitchfights between gnome and KDE fans? If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you. See? It even has a penguin spraypainted on the side.
  • as a connoisseur of fine irony.

    Before the Wikipedia brouhaha, Old Man Murray probably didn't meet Wikipedia's notability standards, which require citable external sources of information on a topic. Then the act of deleting the article caused such sources to spring into existence, thus making Old Man Murray notable if one follows the guidelines literally.

    The reasonable intent of the citation rule is that a thing should not be considered just notable because some Wikipedia contributors *claim* it is. Yet, s

    • as a connoisseur of fine irony.

      Before the Wikipedia brouhaha, Old Man Murray probably didn't meet Wikipedia's notability standards

      Wikipedia is full of articles that don't meet "notability" standards. The real issue is "is there someone out there in a position of power who gets a bug up his ass and decides that this particular entry is not notable". It has been well documented that Wikipedia is controlled by a handful of OCD control freaks.

  • Evades me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hydrofix (1253498)

    The point of this Slashdot submission just totally evades me. Apparently someone nominated the article for deletion with perfectly sound reasoning in January. No proponents responded (meaning: nobody cared for the article), so it was deleted accordingly. Wikipedia does not accept something being articleworthy just because you know the organization / website / whatever – you have to provide evidence that this phenomena is real and notable – otherwise Wikipedia would be just full of all sorts of h

  • Deletionists steal knowledge from the public.

  • by osu-neko (2604) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @04:45PM (#35474148)

    If Wikipedia and its current admins had been around in 1890, they'd have deleted the entry for Vincent Van Gogh.

    Encyclopedias have to restrict themselves due to their medium. They would love to be repositories of all knowledge if they could, but that's just not possible, it would take too much paper. Wikipedia has the potential to become what traditional encyclopedias can only aspire to be -- but they've decided instead to imitate as if it were a virtue what encyclopedias do out of unfortunate necessity. They've basically decided to self-limit themselves to make sure they don't transcend the limitations of their paper relatives, and for some reason consider themselves better off for making sure they are no better.

    Studying history, it's often frustrating to go over what people wrote centuries before, because they often fail to note precisely what you're most interested in finding out. History shows people are extremely poor at determining what's actually worth noting at the time. The best service that could ever be provided to the future would be to try as hard as possible to note as much as possible. The catch, of course, is to keep from drowning the information in noise, but the answer to that is organization and search tools, not limiting the data. No one is going to miss the information they're looking for because a page for Old Man Murray is on the site, and if there ever were so many similar entries that this was at all a danger, an index page of "notable" writers would clear up the problem lickety-split.

    They should be working on how to organize information to make sure whatever the current generation finds most notable is most easy to find, not on limiting information to what history tells us will inevitably be a large number of very poor decisions on what's actually worth recording.

    • If Wikipedia and its current admins had been around in 1890, they'd have deleted the entry for Vincent Van Gogh.

      And in 1890 - they'd have been right to do so. In 1890 Vincent Van Gogh was pretty much a minor figure, well known - but in a small circle. At the time of his death, he was one of dozens and dozens of such figures which might someday become interesting and influential.

      His fame and influence didn't really begin to grow until almost twenty years after his death. The dozens and dozens of o

      • editors time is not [cheap] [...] Given the number of pages that I regularly see that have tags months and years old indicating that they need sources, formatting, etc... I'd say Wikipedia is in the midst of an unrecognized crisis in this regard.

        Your argument assumes that editor time can be freely shifted from one article to another. If I'm very interested in anime and manga (and nothing else), I'm not going to start editing articles about voting theory or cladistics and the tree of life, or whatever---I don't have the interest, and/or I don't have the knowledge. A similar argument has been applied to free software contributors: people do what they're going to do, and you can't boss volunteers around.

        To some extent, people care about Wikipedia in general; to that extent, you can transfer editor work hours between articles. I think the policy that maximizes use of both flexible and non-flexible volunteer labor is to direct the flexible labor to where the marginal return is greatest, given a fixed and unalterable supply of non-flexible labor. Concretely: use a bug tracker or ticket system and auto-fill it with "Most visited [citation needed]", "Oftenest viewed [flag:foobar]". That way, flexible volunteer labor can be directed to where that's useful, and the seldom-viewed stuff can coexist and be crap, and no one will care because no one reads it anyways, and in that way everyone gets to have their cake and eat it too.

    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      Yeah, when you're living in a time period, everything is basically just like background: it's taken for granted. And not considered notable.

      But it's highly notable for people from, say the future, looking backward. How did people in Rome, Greece, Egypt, etc. do daily stuff like wash their hands? Or did they even? Cut their food, etc.? And not just nobles, but ordinary people.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday March 14, 2011 @06:07AM (#35477528)

      I mean I understand that you want to delete things that are false, or that infringe copyright, or are illegal, or things like that. Right, no problem. But why delete things just because they aren't notable? As you said, it isn't as though we are going to run out of bits. Also it isn't as though it clutters things up, since you access information via search and thus skip over shit you don't care about. Thus there's no reason not to include everything, no matter how trivial and "un-notable"

      What's more, the standard is clearly stupid since there is some extremely un-notable shit in there. The amount of articles on fictions characters from literature, including some pretty obscure ones from anime and shit is legion. This is not notable under any standard I can think about but there you go, large articles with lots of information. Doesn't bother me in the slightest, in fact I like it because if someone mentions then and I go "What the fuck is that?" I can find out.

      Well if you are going to allow trivial shit like that, then I'd say all bets are off. Let pretty much anything that is true and sourced on there. Fuck notability.

      People wanting to delete over notability are just worthless whiners who would rather bitch than contribute. They are saying "I don't find this interesting so I want it to go away," which is crap. I see the same shit on forums. Someone will start a new thread on a topic related to an existing thread and someone else will say "I don't see why this needs a new thread." My reply is "You know we don't pay by the thread, right?"

      The reason they are saying it isn't because they are actually concerned, but because they want to try and shut down discussion on a topic they don't care about or don't like. It is just stupid.

      • by Tom (822)

        Doesn't bother me in the slightest, in fact I like it because if someone mentions then and I go "What the fuck is that?" I can find out.

        I've argued that extensively on Wikipedia years ago - to deafening silence as the only answer.

        Notability should - if you insist on having it at all, which I think is dumb - be an inverse qualifier. The less well-known something is, the more likely it is that people will want to look it up. Sure you look up Ronald Reagan occasionally, because you need his birthdate or whatever. But when you look up, say, the Darfur governeur from 50 years ago, that's when you want an encyclopedia because it's unlikely you ca

  • I rarely get involved in deletion debates these days. The problem is the whole concept of "notability" is definitely screwed up. Notability on Wikipedia is supposed to be objectively decided, but that runs contrary to establishing notability in the first place. To some an article on a certain topic might be important, but other people it might be something that should be deleted.

    Normally this is where editorial supervision would come into play. For better or for worse, this is how it works in professiona
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Make a web page with a bunch of links to other sites on it. Given enough time all those links will die.

    Wikipedia requires that you link to other content on the web for an article to be "notable."

    Given enough time, all the links on the wikipedia page will die away. Therefore nearly all content on wikipedia will go away, unless it is general information from established historical sites.

    Wikipedia should never delete anything just because the old links went away. In fact, they should work with internet arc

  • I've given $50 to Wikipedia two years in a row. I won't do that anymore. Holy fucking shit, look, the site's been taken over by five year olds with overly developed vocabularies. Sorry kids, if you want money go ask your parents.

  • by Tom (822) on Monday March 14, 2011 @05:49AM (#35477454) Homepage Journal

    The sheer fact that it's deletion and the controversy are plastered all over should be indication that the magazine is, indeed, "notable".

    What are your chances that your average porn star or manga character, many of whom have their won Wikipedia pages, could create even half as much of an uproar?

    The problem with the deletionists is that they've gone far beyond reason. The time and energy consumed and the frustration (on all sides) created by this discussion alone is much, much more damaging to Wikipedia than leaving an article that maybe doesn't deserve it there. When your defense of a principle causes so much damage to the larger whole that your principle is claiming to protect, then something is wrong.

    And, btw., we have a word for people who don't see that. It's "fanatics".

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