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Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection' 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-regular-protection,-but-super dept.
metasonix writes: As if the problems brought up during the recent 2014 Wikimania conference weren't enough, now Wikipedia is having an outright battle between its editor and administrator communities, especially on the German-language Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation, currently flush with cash from its donors, keeps trying to force flawed new software systems onto the editor community, who has repeatedly responded by disabling the software. This time, however, Foundation Deputy Director Erik Moeller had the bright idea to create a new level of page protection to prevent the new software from being disabled. "Superprotection" has resulted in an outright revolt on the German Wikipedia. There has been subsequent coverage in the German press, and people have issued demands that Moeller, one of Wikipedia's oldest insiders, be removed from his job. One English Wikipedia insider started a change.org petition demanding the removal of superprotection."
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Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

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  • This sounds familiar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by istartedi (132515) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @06:38PM (#47724515) Journal

    The Wikimedia Foundation, currently flush with cash from its donors, keeps trying to force flawed new software systems onto the editor community, who has repeatedly responded by disabling the software.

    Dice. Beta. Enough said.

  • Agile can fuck off. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by __Paul__ (1570) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @06:43PM (#47724547) Homepage

    FTFA: a little pain was just part of the “Agile” way of doing things

    Agile is now infecting the open-source world? Fuck it, I'm out. It's bad enough having to put up with all the "agile" bullshit at work, from their utterly pointless daily stand-up meetings to their fucking little cards on the wall everywhere (managers of the world: WE USE ELECTRONIC TRACKING SYSTEMS NOW). Add to that the unbearable Friday "retrospective" meetings (yeah, the last fucking thing I want to do on a Friday is sit in another pointless meeting talking about our problems) and then the Monday three hour meetings where we waste time voting on how long it should take other people to do their job instead of just fucking doing it.

    Agile has killed any enjoyment there was in the IT field. If people are trying to pollute the open-source world with it, they can fuck off.

  • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:22PM (#47725173)

    I quickly found out that the notability idiots over at Wikipedia have repeatedly chosen to target it for elimination.

    Yeah, this kind of stuff has been around a long time. I was somewhat active in the early days of Wikipedia, especially 2004-06 or so, and there would be these sorts of arguments all the time.

    Back then, you'd have editors asserting that entire major academic subdisciplines didn't exist and try to go on a deletion spree. Thankfully, someone would eventually come along and be like, "Uh, I can cite a couple dozen journals that publish hundreds of pages on this stuff every year."

    I've never understood the deletionist argument. It's one of many, many reasons I stopped trying to edit Wikipedia a long time ago. Somehow the world is a better place if we have a page on everyone's favorite episode of some obscure television show, but dare to include some other thing and it's "not notable." Notability is fundamentally broken on Wikipedia (as are a bunch of other things).

    But think about it -- Wikipedia is a self-selecting bureaucratic community. The only people who stick around long are people used to arguing about nonsense policies, and thus it becomes self-reinforcing. Things like X aren't "notable" because the policy says they aren't notable, and the policy is arbitrated and modified by people like us, so... well, why not just say, "We don't want X here."

    Of course, it's not that simple -- and I don't think most Wikipedia editors are actually trying to censor anything. But lots of important stuff can get caught in this weird feedback loop that "obviously it isn't notable" because, well nothing else like it is notable, because, well, our policies exclude those things, because, well, we designed the policies, because, well, people like us will always tend to write policies like that, but, well, we have to follow the policies.

    The thing I've never quite understood is why deleted pages aren't archived. That tells you right away that the deletionist folks are obviously up to no good. Everything else is always archived on Wikipedia, and there are talk page debates that go on and on and on (if you want nerdy flame-worthy entertainment for an entire afternoon, someday go and read the talk page archive for "centrifugal force").

    But for some reason we can't archive deleted pages. Why the heck not? Are we afraid that someone might come along again and argue that it shouldn't be deleted? Well, everybody else on Wikipedia argues continuously about sections of articles that have been reworded or links that were added or deleted or whatever -- and these arguments happen repeatedly. But for some reason, deletion is more-or-less final. There doesn't ever seem to be the idea that, "Hey, maybe we don't actually have enough qualified editors to FIND the notable stuff about this topic, and maybe we shouldn't permanently delete everything in case it turns out to have some good information, so people don't have to start over again and write the whole thing up again."

    It's all weird. It's a weird place. And deletion policies are probably the most ridiculous thing they have.

  • WikiWand (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Andreas Kolbe (2591067) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:25PM (#47725769)
    What's become clear here [wikimedia.org] (see also following section) is that the Wikimedia Foundation is afraid it will lose readers to sites like WikiWand [wikiwand.com] that offer Wikipedia content as a pure consumable with a much more aesthetically pleasing interface. The moment Wikipedia page views go down, the Alexa rank will go down and donations will go down, as fewer people will see the fundraising banners. The problem is that the Foundation's own efforts to create a more pleasing interface have been unsuccessful; they have the money, but simply seem to lack the talent and experience. Partly they are also hampered by the underlying coding chaos of Wikipedia – underneath the Wikipedia text, there are thousands of ad-hoc templates created in a very inconsistent manner by volunteers over the years. This is the main reason the VisualEditor failed.

    This story was also covered by The Register [theregister.co.uk].
  • by edremy (36408) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:09PM (#47726009) Journal

    I'll give Slashdot some credit, it has actually managed to avoid crap like that comparatively well. Maybe it's the liberal use of anonymous posting here, or the more limited moderation system. Regardless, Slashdot is a clean and friendly place to have open discussion, at least compared to Hacker News, reddit, Wikipedia and Stack Overflow.

    I find this comment amusing, since every time I mention Microsoft in any form of positive light I'm downmodded. I mentioned the MS Surface the other day and commented that it was proving a very nice tool for developing online learning materials. Downmodded instantly as "Troll"

    Slashdot has serious groupthink issues and always has.

  • Its pretty easy to figure out why the page was deleted:
    "Lacks reliable independent secondary sources to establish notability as required by WP:GNG. Every source is WP:PRIMARY. Every one of them. Googling turned up posts to online discussion forums but nothing useful. Additionally, I note that the decision to delete at the previous AfD was unanimous for the same reasons. Msnicki (talk) 22:37, 23 August 2013 (UTC)"

    Wikipedia is for documenting information found somewhere else authoritative... if the Wikipedia article *is* the authority, it gets deleted. Its very simple.

  • by BetterThanCaesar (625636) on Friday August 22, 2014 @05:10AM (#47727187)

    Notability is important for preventing a potentially slippery slope towards Wikipedia being expected to have an article on every shop, every street, every apartment complex, every popular teacher, and every creative work ever appreciated by more than 10 people.

    What is wrong with that?

    Sources. There are no secondary, independent sources about every shop, street, apartment complex, popular teacher, creative work, or the fact that there is a pencil lying on my desk right now. No matter how true it is, it is not verifiable in any reasonable sense of the word.

    This is what people don't understand when they complain that things are deleted from Wikipedia. If Wikipedia's ambition is to create a credible encyclopaedia of all human knowledge, then it cannot be filled with speculation and half-truths. Even primary sources are suspect. I could easily create a blog or web site that claims something, then create a Wikipedia article that uses my web page as the main source. THAT is the slippery slope that is so often talked about.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright

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