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Twenty years after Pokémon launched, its impact on Wikipedia remains (wikimedia.org)
225 points by jaybosamiya on Feb 29, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 106 comments



It's worth nothing that the Pokemon Wikipedia, Bulbapedia, is extremely extensive, especially when it comes to obscure game mechanics: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Main_Page

The coolest page IMO is how Pokemon Capture works: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Catch_rate


Which is partly why I kind of mourn the fall of Wikipedia. By having an arbitrarily defined criterion of "meaningful" knowledge is spread across hundreds of wikis rather than being in the singular copyleft originator.

Why couldn't the Pokemon Wikipedia articles be as extensive as the Bulbapedia ones? There is demonstrable demand and interest in maintaining such extensive information as evidenced by the commitment of the contributors to Bulbapedia to keep it so up to date and pristine.

If an article rots where nobody wants to maintain it or cannot write it with sufficient information to justify it's existence that is a very different situation to this. But that is not an arbitrary line of relevance someone pushes upon everyone else. You could just have a minimum length and minimum sources and be done with it.


"Mourn the fall of Wikipedia"? Who is Wikipedia losing to? What was it before that it isn't anymore?

I last spent significant time on WP in 2007, and "deletionism" was very much the mainstream principle of the site back then.

Wikipedia has extensive coverage of Pokemon; it covers Pokemon better than it covers abstract algebra! What it doesn't do is cover every single aspect of Pokemon in its own article.

The reason it does that is because there's a tradeoff in managing an encyclopedia between reliability and expansiveness, and Wikipedia has tacked towards reliability. If you're going to have a reliable encyclopedia, where there's a pretty good chance that any sentence in the site is true, then there's a negative externality to forests of related articles: each one of them is an independent entry point to the site from Google, and each will attract its own edits, and all of those edits need to be policed to make sure they aren't lies.


> If you're going to have a reliable encyclopedia, where there's a pretty good chance that any sentence in the site is true, then there's a negative externality to forests of related articles: each one of them is an independent entry point to the site from Google, and each will attract its own edits, and all of those edits need to be policed to make sure they aren't lies.

If this were a risk that we were correctly balancing against, you'd expect there would be some notable base rate of unreliable articles causing readers problems. But I never have this sort of problem. I'm never frustrated because I found something unreliable on Wikipedia, because I can always be skeptical of uncited information.

Elsewhere you asked for examples of damage done by the deletionists. So let me flip it around on you. What are example articles right now that you think are putting a large burden on the community that should be cut?

(As an aside, note the asymmetry: When too many hard-to-police articles are kept, there's ample examples to discuss. But when too many niche articles are deleted, I can't point to anything. I just say "huh, I guess my local taco stand doesn't have an article". And I can never know if it's because no one was interested to write one or because it wasn't notable enough to make the cut...or because the person who was interested enough to write it new it wouldn't make the cut.)


I don't have a recent example to give you (though I could readily generate one by dumping a list of the last week's AfD debates), but I can give you a point-in-time example very easily: here's my old Wikipedia user page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tqbf

Skip down to "Articles I have tried to delete".

Several of the red-highlighted articles, which are now gone, were articles for which I lost the AfD debate. Incidentally, just getting this small set of articles deleted was a galactic pain in the ass. People really want to have Wikipedia articles about themselves and their companies.

I think you're wrong about the asymmetry, by the way. Just go to the AfD debate logs: you'll get more now-deleted non-notable subjects than you can possibly read in night, or several nights.

I leave you with this thought: it is possible that Wikipedia has more words of coverage for "StankDawg" than it does for the chinese remainder theorem.


So I'm looking at the StankWag article, which was one of the articles you tried to delete, and I'm 100% sure the internet is a better place for it existing. What is the problem? It's well research and meticulously linked (no doubt to defend it against deletionists like yourself). Who is being misled or confused by bad info?

> People really want to have Wikipedia articles about themselves and their companies.

What is so bad about people wanting to have a wikipedia page filled with true facts about themselves?

>I think you're wrong about the asymmetry, by the way. Just go to the AfD debate logs: you'll get more now-deleted non-notable subjects than you can possibly read in night, or several nights.

First, I have no doubt the info is recorded somewhere, but it's not easily accessible. But more importantly, as I hinted, the bigger problem is the articles that were never written because folk know they would be deleted.

> I leave you with this thought: it is possible that Wikipedia has more words of coverage for "StankDawg" than it does for the chinese remainder theorem.

I don't get the connection. People who are prevented from editing StankDawg won't decide to edit the chinese remainder theorem. Likewise, the fact that reality TV is more popular than Shakespeare may be a sad indicator for the world, but the solution isn't to ban reality TV.

Sorry for the psychoanalysis, but I'm listening to your tone and reading your wiki page...and I think it just irks you that these people get recognition. But we don't need wikipedia to tell us who and what is important in the world. It's just a source of information.

If I told you that there was magical AI software that now automatically patrolled articles and got rid of wrong info reliably, would you suddenly change your stance on deletionism?


Because they're not true facts! They're bullshit advertisements, exploiting Wikipedia's cachet and, more importantly, their super high position on Google SERPs. These are people abusing one of the most important resources on the entire Internet for fucking spam.


What in the StankWag article is false?


I see that you work in software security. Your list of sufficient criteria for Wikipedia relevance, alongside obvious ones like "been in the news" and "authored a book", also includes ones like "discovered a critical vulnerability (or blazed a trail of minor ones)" and "run security for a Fortune-500 company or government agency".

These are rather specific to your own field of interest, and probably someone unfamiliar with software security would say they aren't notable. Consider that you're doing the same thing in deleting well-written articles by other people, ignoring what makes them notable/relevant/useful because you're not familiar with the subject.


> Why couldn't the Pokemon Wikipedia articles be as extensive as the Bulbapedia ones? There is demonstrable demand and interest in maintaining such extensive information as evidenced by the commitment of the contributors to Bulbapedia to keep it so up to date and pristine.

Cynically, because if all of this popular high-traffic content were on Wikipedia instead of Wikia, it wouldn't deliver ad views.

Jimmy Wales runs both, and the editorial policy just happened to shake out such that his non-profit pushed a ton of high-traffic content onto his for-profit service. Go figure.


Although, in this case, it’s on neither (Bulbapedia isn’t hosted on Wikia).


Why does it need to be that extensive? I think that it might be more useful to keep very specific information walled off from general information. I think finding information would be too noisy otherwise. For instance, if I'm searching for ash on wikipedia I probably want wood or volcanic ash. But if I'm searching for ash on a pokemon wikipedia I want info on the main character.

Getting good search results is definitely a problem that a ton of people have spent time working on. But I don't really think that it is that important of a problem in some cases. Sure, it might be nice if wikipedia could accurately distinguish whether I wanted info on wood ash or Ash the fictional character, but that creates problems. It basically makes implicit assumptions about what I am interested in. And sometimes it can be nice to have less intelligent results.


> I think that it might be more useful to keep very specific information walled off from general information.

That is why wikipedia has a piece of text saying something along the lines of "This page only covers Foo, for any other usage of Foo see: Foo (Disambiguation)".

> For instance, if I'm searching for ash on wikipedia I probably want wood or volcanic ash. But if I'm searching for ash on a pokemon wikipedia I want info on the main character.

One of the things that is nice about using Duckduckgo in conjunction, is that you can use the `!w` bang, and do something like `!w Ash (Name)` and Wikipedia's naming is usually predicable enough to get to the right article first time.


I would expect the contributors of Star Wars wikis, Pokemon wikis, etc, would want self-determined rule- doing best for their particular wikis. Wikipedia, with a broad reach, will have different rules/needs than a very specific/focused wiki.


A lot of people weren't probably editing Wikipedia when it was still young and cool and not a place to get abused for changing anything beside grammar. Let me tell you. Wikipedia is the way it is today because if it weren't, no body would use Wikia. After launching Wikia there has been a concentrated effort from the top to encourage new editors to open their own wikipedia or shove off. By its very mechanic, Wikipedia is now a den of socially unfit.


How can Wikipedia pretend to be the successor to Britannica though, unless they're as snooty and serious as that deadtree encyclopedia?


Yeah, Bulbapedia is an impressive wiki. I mean, usually when you get a fan wiki for a series, it's pretty empty or has a lot of content missing or doesn't get updated all too much, but the people working on this one are managing to cover just about everything you can think of (that relates to the Pokemon series).

But that seems to be a typical trend for the more popular NIWA wikis. Super Mario Wiki and Zelda Wiki are also extremely comprehensive when it comes to coverage of their respective franchises. Perhaps a little too much so in some cases, like the list of implied Mario characters over on Mario Wiki:

http://www.mariowiki.com/List_of_implied_characters


That's a wiki, not Wikipedia. "Wiki" is a type of website/software, and "Wikipedia" is the name of one particular wiki. Wikipedia is a wiki, but only one wiki is Wikipedia.


I just googled on bing that my band-aid is an adhesive bandage.


Language doesn't obey these kinds of arguments. The non-tech world thinks wiki means Wikipedia. You can lament that, but you can't ever turn things back.


> The non-tech world thinks wiki means Wikipedia.

I'm talking about the opposite case, where somebody thinks "Wikipedia" means "wiki". I don't think I've ever heard anybody describe a wiki as a Wikipedia before. I don't think that's a widespread misunderstanding at all.

Regardless, language does work this way. The value of words is in their meanings. Sometimes those meanings drift, but that doesn't make that kind of drift valuable, and so it's important to resist that drift. If you make the word "wiki" ambiguous, it loses value.


This was a nice read as well: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Missingno.

As I distinctly remember using this glitch on cinnabar island after talking to the old man to duplicate whatever item was 6th in your item inventory list (rare candies for me).


If you're after more info like that, there's actually a Pokemon wiki specifically for stuff like Missingno. Namely, Glitch City Laboratories:

http://glitchcity.info/wiki/index.php/GlitchDex

It's got a page on Bulbapedia itself:

http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Glitch_City_Laborator...

It's pretty incredible how much information these sites have.


I have always wondered how the systems evolved.

Why Karen and her far cousin can't have their own Wikipedia pages?

It's not like it's going to be printed and more Pokemon is less about the chemical elements, so what if half Wikipedia it's about Pokemon? or Star Wars? if the pages are up to the standard there is no reason for not being included.

This reflects how the people related to this topics are just more knowledgeable (about the topic) and willing to cooperate to the Wikipedia than other groups.


Yes, deletionnists are driving people to other venues. Wikia often claims to run the world's biggest wiki once you aggregate all their communities. It's sad that the Wikimedia foundation let the deletionnists destroy so much value in Wikipedia without providing an alternative (like dedicated community wikis).


Yes, for something that was trying to archive "the sum of all human knowledge", I always felt Wikipedia was rather selective about what it'd allow. WP has always been firmly an establishment outlet, only allowing things if they received a substantial number of citations in the mainstream press (and big outlets too, not local outlets).

I personally think there is a way to do a much better Wikipedia. One day I might try it.


"It's sad that the Wikimedia foundation let the deletionnists destroy so much value in Wikipedia without providing an alternative (like dedicated community wikis)."

Why should they, if Wikia does it?


Partly because Wikia is a for-profit, extremely unethical company. They stuff more ads than content on their wikis, force established brands to move to .wikia subdomains, force awful design changes on their users, and they don't hesitate copying content from other wiki bases such as Gamepedia.

(ATA: I was an admin on WoWWiki, one of their largest wiki, when it was sold to Wikia. I kept in touch with Wikia employees since.)


This is why I tend to support wikis hosted elsewhere, or those that move away from Wikia. For example, the Bulbapedia site here is self hosted, and part of a Nintendo Independent Wiki Alliance that encourages people to leave Wikia and join their network to avoid just this sort of thing:

http://www.niwanetwork.org/

They still get the odd email from a delusional Wikia staffer trying to get one of their sites to become a Wikia site, but they immediately turn them down.


Ready for the plot twist? It's also run by Jimmy Wales.


90% of me was sure this was a (humorous) joke. The other 10% fact-checked. Wow, twist indeed.


There have been so many exoduses off of Wikia from mid-sized wikis (let alone big ones like WoW Wiki). I'm one of them -- the Dungeons and Dragons Wiki. Around the time they stuffed that awful new skin onto everyone and told us that if we didn't like it, leave. We left. Deletionists ruined Wikipedia and greed ruined Wikia.

It was once a pretty good wiki farm, and I can't complain about the support. Then the skinpocalypse happened.


I understand this as an argument not to use Wikia, but not as an argument for why there is no other place on the whole wide Internet to host content besides Wikipedia itself.

New wikis are practically the hello-world project for every programming environment that can build a web app, so it's hard for me to understand what's so important about being hosted in Wikipedia, other than to ride on its SEO coat tails.


The simple answer is: why not?

Why shouldn't Wikipedia be the place for all factual, verifiable, minimally notable information in the world, so long as it's properly organized?

Wikipedia is a long long way from that goal, even if we exclude fictional-universe nonsense. Pick nearly any historical subject; dozens of books filled with information translate to a few sparse Wikipedia articles. That's terrible.


Wikipedia is the place for all factual, verifiable, minimally notable information. When stuff gets rejected from WP, it's almost always because it fails one of those three simple tests.

For instance: someone downthread complained that WP was missing coverage of local bands and an interesting BBC documentary. The BBC documentary should be in Wikipedia, and if it isn't, it's probably because whoever wrote the stub article for it wrote it poorly; someone else should re-add it. But the local bands most likely fail both notability and verifiability: if nobody has written about them, (a) chances are they aren't notable, and (b) whatever is notable about them can't be tied to a specific reliable source, which would make a Wikipedia article about the band original research.

A really common place you run into trouble with Wikipedia is when your proposed article breaks new facts about its subject. That's not supposed to happen. Wikipedia is a tertiary source; if it makes a claim, that claim needs to be sourced from something else. "Original research" is a confusing term for this, but it makes a lot of sense once you grok it. From the perspective of an encyclopedia, there isn't much difference between someone's random harebrained theory about cold fusion and a discussion of the lineup of some New York hardcore band nobody's ever heard of outside of NYC.


I think you and I have argued about this before, but I've never understood why "verifiable" isn't the end of the criteria. If the accuracy of information is verifiable through the referenced reliable sources, why should anyone care whether that information is "notable" or not?


Wikipedia's definition of "notable" is simply "significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject". There isn't a lot of daylight between "notability" and "verifiability".


Then Wikipedia should get rid of "notability" as a criterion and simply insist on verifiable coverage in reliable sources.


Well, the real point is "Why should they when somebody else can?" Especially since I don't strongly believe that Wikipedia will necessarily be "ad free" in, say, five or ten years. Time rolls on. Wikipedia should be focusing on making the best Wikipedia they can; let other focus on making the best community sites they can. We don't have to bundle everything into one organization.


Wikipedia is copyleft, and has a preemptive immuninty to ads. Is wikia?


Most Wikia sites seem to use some form of Creative Commons licensing: http://www.wikia.com/Licensing

I think fans contribute to Wikia more out of convenience and inertia.


I'm curious, what article was deleted that you can cite as an example of destruction of knowledge?

edit: it's a serious question! Instead of down voting, just tell me. Or even downvote, but at least tell me.


A couple of local (or internet-local) bands. One BBC documentary about a particular subculture that I was interested in at the time. One (fairly obscure, but involving some minor technical firsts) video game.

All pop-cultural ephemera perhaps, but the sort of thing that qualifies as knowledge in my book.


Deletionpedia is no longer kept up but I used to enjoy browsing it to see what was deleted .

http://deletionpedia.dbatley.com/w/index.php


Some observations from looking through these:

* Huge amounts of various fictional universe lore, similar to the article

* quite a few bands

* some percentage of articles exists again, with better content


The discussion over deleting "Boomerang Engineer" is kind of funny. "totally improbable specialization. Throw it away (and hope it doesn't return):"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletio...


It's the main subject of the article. There are currently 721 pokemons, but less than 40 of them have an article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Pok%C3%A9mon_director...

Also note that I didn't say destruction of knowledge, but destruction of value(data), which is a very different thing. I don't need to care about pokemons, or star trek episodes to understand that some people might be interested in documenting and organizing those. Maybe Wikipedia isn't the place. It doesn't mean the Wikimedia foundation could not provide an open solution.


Try Wikidata.

Now Wikidata is cool.

https://m.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Main_Page


And the full lists have info about all of them, just grouped in batches of 50. I don't think the pokemons are a good example of "lost content".


Could you be very specific about what value in Wikipedia has been destroyed by deletionism? You're making an expansive claim: "so much" value it triggered a flight from the project. You should be able to cite specific articles to back it up.

Fortunately for you, there are detailed archives of most of the debates over deleted articles on Wikipedia.

Could you dredge up some examples?


The first thing I remembered was the deletion nomination spree that took down a bunch of programming language articles a couple years back (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2215168). It took quite a bit of internet backlash for this to get noticed and reversed - something that probably wouldn't happen for lesser known articles. I can't cite any other examples off the top of my head, but I know I've run into dead bookmarks once in a while for obscure Linux/OSS related articles on Wikipedia. Though I guess it's debatable if those lost articles really had any worth.


"Why Karen and her far cousin can't have their own Wikipedia pages?"

They absolutely can, and it would not negatively impact anyone, anywhere. It would also be (essentially) zero cost.

The reason that they do not have their own pages (and the same reason that you or I will almost certainly fail in making a new wikipedia page, regardless of quality or correctness) is that for a small, sad, lame subset of wikipedia users, page creation confers (perceived) status[1] and these little hitlers will spend more time and energy than you can possibly muster to protect and enhance that status.

It is the promise of wikipedia, betrayed and shit all over.

[1] I shit you not. Yes, I know it's inconceivable.


Why haven't we seen a successful wikipedia fork yet that doesn't have this hijacking by deletionists problem?


[Network effect.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect)

Also due to this Wikipedia is build into a lot of things, like google search, or iOS Siri.


My experience has been that the only people with the desire to put effort into an alternative are mainly interesting in making sure there are so many flash ads on every single page that it can crash your browser.


Yes, a Wikipedia page is not on a physical resource like paper, so it does not have the resource costs that old-school encyclopedia's have. But I have always felt that argument to be besides the point. There still is a limited resource at play, and that is time and effort for editors. I can see how including as much as possible by that rationale could lead to something that is not manageable.

I am not certain that is true, but it seems reasonable that it could be true. That is the point to argue against, not the one about physical media.


It's also a question of maintanance. What does it matter, if you have articles on every little thing but 3/4 of them are outdated?

People critizize Wikipedia based on the concept already quite a bit. If you can't maintain article quality for all articles to a reasonable level, it ends up hurting the project.


That argument falls down when one can point to a very well-maintained wiki hosted elsewhere. If the Star Trek wiki is well-maintained where it is, then it seems reasonable to assume that if were wholly incorporated within Wikipedia, it would be just as well maintained there.


I sometimes visit such wikis, and my feeling is they often wouldn't fit in Wikipedia. It's mainly an issue of perspective. Take, for example, these two entries on the same fictional character: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Aerith_Gainsborough, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerith_Gainsborough

The one from the Final Fantasy Wiki is from the perspective of a Final Fantasy fan, and is generally for a Final Fantasy fan. That is, it's explaining how Aerith relates to the rest of Final Fantasy. Some of it flirts with being in-fiction.

The Wikipedia article is more about how Aerith the fictional character relates to the real world. My point is that the people who want to maintain the versions that are more in-fiction may not also want to maintain versions that are more focused to how this fictional thing relates to the real world.


This is a very good point.


That argument works well with the Star Trek wiki as example. I don't think it goes as well with the Minecraft wiki.

Fan wikis like this are targeted at people that already have a fairly good understanding of what the article is about. This allows them to ignore certain aspects and assume a lot of things are already known.

In case of Wikipedia you have to assume much less prior knowledge and you have to start at the very beginning with each article. If you're already in the know, this gets boring very quickly.

This means that there is always going to be a space for separate wikis that cover specialized topics in detail for a different audience.


There is something to be said for different communities with differing standards or technical tools, and some separation from Wikipedia might be a good idea. Wikipedia has different projects for different topics, but in the end many decisions and guidelines apply globally.

Also for legal reasons, many fan wikis by necessity include a lot of detail about and data from copyrighted franchises that wikipedia might not want to touch (Screencaps, audio snippets, ...).

It would be nice if there were a set of reliable hosts and a standard for inter-wiki linking there, though. Prominently direct readers to reliable pokemon/Fallout/StarTrek wikis for details.


Then have a system that shows every article together with a measurement of quality. Number of references, actuality, estimated bias.

Then people can switch between the different tiers they want to search in. Give me everything but potentially crap too, or just give me the hand selected meticulously crafted wonder articles that the deletionists crave.


That could easily be more work, and this argument posits that the quantity of work is the problem.


All the metrics I gave could be completely automated.

What is the problem then? There are certainly no technical limitations on storing an arbitrary amount of articles.


People would argue over the fairness and accuracy of the metrics, resulting in changes and various kinds of work; the system itself would require development and maintenance. It is not a zero-cost solution.


Compared to the effort of compiling an all encompassing encyclopaedia it's negligible.

Especially compared to the price of scaring away a ton of contributors and contributions.

Why does it have to be a zero cost solution anyways? It's probably that mindset that keeps wikipedia on its crappy centralised php codebase that requires it to beg for money ever other week.


We're at an impasse, as I disagree the effort is negligible. (I think that it could be an enormous time-sink arguing over the relative scores of articles, as well as coming up and changing the criteria used to come up with those scores.) But neither of us have any data, so we can't make any progress down that line of discussion.

To your last question, the argument I don't see much discussion around is that editor time and effort is a limited resource; deleting articles is a way to manage that resource. So any solution that addresses this argument must not incur a large amount of editor time and effort.


I also think a fundamental difference in our reasoning is that I assume a system where each article is edited only by those with an interest in it. Thus all effort and payoffs scale along the same variable. In which articles don't affect each other when it comes to resource expenditure, since the people working on them wouldn't work on anything else.

While it seems that you envision a system that is much closer to classical a encyclopaedia with dedicated editors, where each editor handles arbitrary articles unrelated to the personal investment that he or she has in it. Thus potentially swamping those professional editors with irrelevant articles.

Am I correct?


No, I'm assuming the current model of Wikipedia, which is inbetween. In the current Wikipedia model it is not okay for some other pages to not meet standards, even if it's all localized in one subject. That concerns Wikipedia as a whole, and not just that zone. That necessarily means that those from outside of that area of expertise will be involved.


"in the current Wikipedia model it is not okay for some other pages to not meet standards"

Why not? I mean if you mark everything as not up to standard in the beginning and gradually make them as "proper" articles, what's wrong with having crap next to gold?


> Why Karen and her far cousin can't have their own Wikipedia pages?

Well, if Karen is a bit character, it may be hard to find information about Karen that's up to the standards of Wikipedia sources. If there are only one or two sentences available to reference in any sources, it doesn't make for much of an article, and it might be more practical from an information-organization standpoint to have a mention of Karen combined into a page about the series in general. Most minor Pokémon seem to share pages, for instance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pok%C3%A9mon_(52%E2%80...


>it may be hard to find information about Karen that's up to the standards of Wikipedia sources

that's a fair reason but I suspect your second point is more relevant

>and it might be more practical from an information-organization standpoint to have a mention of Karen combined into a page about the series in general

quoting report

"The world probably doesn’t need zillions of explanatory articles about the Japanese video game franchise Pokémon."

why? if people are willing to devote their time to the task I don't see a reason why their work shouldn't be preserved.

On the other side I do also understand the reason behind it

"keep a standard"

but for the same reason you can't get technical on technical topics and we have the simple English entries.

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen

Maybe just as we have the simple entries we should also have anime and sci-fi.


>> "The world probably doesn’t need zillions of explanatory articles about the Japanese video game franchise Pokémon."

> why? if people are willing to devote their time to the task I don't see a reason why their work shouldn't be preserved.

These sentiments don't need to be at odds with each other. Instead of zillions of (very small) explanatory articles of a half-paragraph each, we can have a few dozen (large) ones with the same informational content and much less overhead in how they're organized and maintained, especially when they all share the same information sources, while big names like Pikachu with unique significance can get their own articles.


I'm not sure I actually agree with your sentiment here. The way I see it, having a bunch of small articles is both more useful for people who want to find specific information, as well as relatively easy to maintain. (though organizing it might be harder, that much could be true) For example, since everyone seems to want to talk about a character named Karen, if I were a casual user (I am) that just wants to find out who this Karen character is, I would find it so much easier to find a "Karen (Pokemon)" page on Wikipedia than finding a huge article about characters and needing to go through and find the specific one I want to know about. It would even be easier to edit, as then I could go find that specific page, and deal with the (relatively) small amount of text/code instead of fighting through many paragraphs for a single small edit. I feel like it's a similar principle to code, where you want to deal with smaller code files rather than a single, ten thousand line file.

Of course, that's just my opinion, take it for what it is :)


At least the Pokemon I tried have redirects set up, jumping to the appropriate part of the longer page. What I'd like to see if they consistently linked to more specific, outside wikis for further information (maybe that's common already, don't have an overview)


It exists for things like TV series characters, and those "summary" pages are fighting the same uphill battle against deletionists


Yeah, I believe the point you're missing is that topics like Karen also get deleted from the large topic pages. If the have their own topic, they are deleted, if they're included in a larger summary page, they are edited out. Deletionists are excluding the information from Wikipedia, not merely allowing for reformat.


I guess they just don't want to be seen as competing with all the other wikis for specific franchises. Bulbapedia exists for Pokemon stuff, Mario Wiki for Mario stuff, Wookiepedia for Star Wars, Memory Alpha for Star Trek...

They want to be seen as a place for knowledge about a variety of topics, not one that's heavily focused on a single subject.


Wikipedia and the Pokémon wars predate these wikis. Note that many of these are hosted with Wikia (originally named Wikicities), which was Jimmy Wales's next venture after founding Wikipedia (he's moved on to The People's Operator). Wikicities was launched sometime 2005ish, but Pokémon articles and no-name garage bands were already a hot issue at the time.

(goodness, has it been 11 years?)


thats a great point, look at the Karen page on bulbapedia: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Karen, there are lists of pokemons she uses on every game she appears, their movesets, quotes from her, artwork, appearences on the manga and trivia.

I personally lean toward inclusionism but I don't really think any of this information fits wikipedia.


If someone is not publicly notable, why should they have their own Wikipedia page? And if all 7 billion of us get our own page, that's going to create a shitload of name collisions. There's only one entity called Dexter Jettster, but there are a hell of a lot of John Smiths out there. Likewise, despite my own surname being pretty rare and my first name being somewhat unpopular, there are still (at least) four of us in my country alone.

If someone isn't publicly notable, then you have the above issue of name collision causing chaff, plus not having public sources to describe them appropriately (if they did, they'd be publicly notable).

Perhaps turn your question on it's head: Why not make the Pokemon wiki a general wiki? If 'pages are free' and you're not forced to look at the content, why shouldn't specialist wikis all work as general wikis? So what if Pokemon wiki is half about the Premier League and knitting, as the Pokemon information is still there?

> This reflects how the people related to this topics are just more knowledgeable (about the topic) and willing to cooperate to the Wikipedia than other groups.

Wikipedia is a general interest encyclopaedia, others are niche interest encyclopaedias. A general interest encyclopaedia is usually better off with smaller, easy-to-digest articles, leaving detailed treatises to the specialists. In a general wiki, having [minor] characters grouped together makes a lot more sense, whereas in a specialist wiki, the separate-page-per-character model is better.

I also think that many Wikipedia detractors simply assume that Every Wiki That Is Not Wikipedia does not have rabid editors. Likewise, there are plenty of wikis out there that don't even allow public edits.


> if the pages are up to the standard there is no reason for not being included.

Pages are not free, they come with a maintenance cost. If everything (or even a significant percentage of everything) was allowed most of it would grow to be low quality. Which would make it less useful, which would make less people use/improve it, which leads to death spiral.

We already have a something with "everything" it's called the Internet. Wikipedia is (and should be) a limited subset of that.

I do think their notability requirements are maybe too high and vague. But, I don't have a better alternative.


It is user generated content, so I don't see a clear relation between the number of articles and "low quality".

Furthermore, as I understand it what you write goes against the Wikimedia vision: "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."

Also, you don't "browse" wikipedia, you go there seeking specific knowledge. If that knowledge is not there, you move on.


I create an article on "bob", my pet cat. It says "bob" is a domesticated feline owned by Norman. Because I'm lazy I never update it when "bob" gets run over. Because it is such obscure topic, no one else updates it either. No one thinks to link it to accident report (one that killed poor bob). Non one ever expands on the life of "bob". No one updates it with link to cat species page, or the Norman page, or pets page.

That is very, very "low quality". It becomes wrong over time and never had much info to begin with.

That is obviously extreme end of spectrum. But the same issues occur for many, many topics for long ways along spectrum away from obscurity.

Wikipedia works causer there is a critical mass of people willing to create, expand, keep up to date any given topic. Topics need to be "notable" enough to reach that critical mass or else they rot. And rot reduces the value of entire thing.

I "browse" wikipedia, both the random link some else mentioned and by following links. Some, when they find knowledge is not there, try to add it.


Wikipedia GA, A, and FA articles aren't typically just contributed by a single user. They're a team effort, built up by barely-coordinated teams of strangers. The point of the project is to build a system that generates "A" articles based solely on volunteer effort.


> Also, you don't "browse" wikipedia

The Wikipedia homepage, the 'random article' link on the sidebar, and the XKCD strip (https://xkcd.com/214/) all directly oppose this notion.


The regular internet doesn't have the ease of entry and uniform data structure.

Hosting articles costs nothing from a technical standpoint. It also costs nothing if if they are irrelevant, because nobody will care to work on them.

The only possible downside could be readers that are unaware of the bad quality of some articles, but this could easily be solved by introducing a quality metric for articles.


> This reflects how the people related to this topics are just more knowledgeable (about the topic) and willing to cooperate to the Wikipedia than other groups.

Since there are large groups of people that can't regularly access Wikipedia or have limited resources to edit it for other reasons I'd say that this isn't necessarily a valid conclusion.

I lean slightly towards the deletionist's point of view. Bias on Wikipedia is often only considered within the scope of individual articles -- that articles may use a biased set of sources or are written in a way that represents a non-neutral POV -- but I think that the selection of articles itself has a similar ability to represent a biased view, perhaps some form of publication bias.

What is included and excluded in Wikipedia unfortunately is highly representative of the views and opinions of its most active and opinionated editors. There is no policy on what should be included or not that is clear enough to prevent editor wars.


Why not solve that problem by having a indicator on every article on estimated quality and bias?


If it's up to standard, any article is welcome. The trouble is readers and new editors don't know these standards and since they see articles on every common topic, assume that Wikipedia is all-encompassing. Wikipedia relies on the concept of "notability", (whether something warrants an article) which in turn is informed by the presence of "reliable sources" for the purpose of "verifiability". These are the main reasons why Karen can't have a Wikipedia article: there is not enough written about her in published sources to write a verifiable article. You might ask how come it can't all just be based on the Pokemon universe and information in the episodes? That's a valid question. However, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia which needs to include real-world information such as what critics think of something, publication details, themes, etcetera... You can't have that without reliable sources and relying on fiction alone would lead to "original research". (Things in quotes are official Wikipedia policies which you can read by typing the "WP:" prefix and the term in the search box)

As for how the system evolved, it started getting more strict as Wikipedia got more popular and was scrutinized. The Seigenthaler incident[0] in particular led to a restriction on new editors creating articles. No system can grow unchecked in my opinion; it was only natural that as Wikipedia grew more prominent, it became less inclusive.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Seigenthaler_biograp...


Why not have a multi tier system in which articles are marked with their validity?

The internet will probably replace "published sources" becoming the place where "original research" is done. If wikipedia hold on to this outdated standard of correctness it will fall into oblivion with the rest of paper media.

Wikipedia could have become the next publishing platform, with cryptographically signed articles/papers, and cryptographically signed peer review.

I would rather trust a wikipedia article that has been signed by a thousand watchful eyes, than a scientific article that has been looked at by a couple researchers and publishers.


This is actually one of the first concepts enshrined in Wikipedia in the early days, "Wikipedia is not paper". There is a whole page discussing what WP is not which describes this idea. Like all things in an anarchist project, this set of bylaws was the product of a long discussion over decades by the editing community. Read more here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:What_Wi...


Karen and her far cousin can have a Wikipedia page, if:

1. there are reliable secondary sources to cite for any claim the article makes, and

2. the page fits in with other coverage of the same subject.

Both factors are problematic for Karen (or were), but (2) is the bigger problem, because Wikipedia already has well-groomed (GA-status) coverage of Pokemon, and that coverage already includes Karen. You can't come in an reorganize Pokemon coverage on WP without getting buy-in from the people who built up and maintained the GA articles that already exist.


The headline makes it sound like Pokemon is newer than Wikipedia, but Wikipedia is only 15 vs Pokemon's 20...


As a proud deletionist (philosophically, not actively), I feel I need to respond to a bunch of the comments here.

This claim that any fact, no matter how obscure and how specific, should be on Wikipedia is maddening. Have you heard of the Library of Babel? If you index everything, eventually you will have no knowledge at all, just madness.

And as for the claims that subsections or whatever will solve this problem, in practice the way they do this is through other wikis. I don't see any reason why the list of Ivysaur's attacks should be on Wikipedia. Just because it's knowledge doesn't make it useful.

And in response to the question "what's the harm?", there's always a cost to having data. If Wikipedia editors have to manage the Pokemon community, have to prevent links to obscure Pokemon concepts from polluting the Abraham Lincoln article, that's time they can't do something else.


Hadoop could have been a good Pokémon name



Wasn't as bad as I thought it was, since I got all the questions right. Then again, I know a decent amount about Pokemon and enough about big data that I could say 'well, this doesn't sound like a Pokemon I've heard of, it must be big data'.


That was wonderful. I did awful.


Hoopa was released as a Gen VI Pokemon: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Hoopa_(Pok%C3%A9mon)


I've struggled for a long time with the deletionism/completionism divide. I was initially strongly completionist for the reasons many others have said: this could be the repository of all human knowledge, no matter how trivial, and why would we give up that dream? To save on hard disk space?

But my viewpoint these days is that Wikipedia's size has the same kind of problems that code size does. More code isn't bad in itself. After all, if that code doesn't interact with your code, you can just ignore it. Something like a zillion-line OO project with tightly defined interfaces gives you that property.

However, there is an inevitable maintenance burden that comes with the size of your project. If you want to change code conventions, or update some library that is used throughout the codebase, or even just try to keep the project to a certain standard, those actions are all difficult in proportion to the number of lines of code.

In Wikipedia's case, they don't even have access to the same kinds of push-around-huge-mountains-of-code tools that developers can use to manage this problem. They have tools, sure, but a fundamental part of Wikipedia's model is that it is unstructured (or at best semi-structured) data, just one big text field, and so any automated transforms are necessarily limited.

So Wikipedia makes up for its fuzzy data model by just throwing people at the problem. For it to be the sum of all human knowledge means it needs proportionally many editors to maintain that knowledge. If there ever could be enough editors to do that, and if there could be a structure that would allow them to organise themselves, I'm not sure Wikipedia is it.

The problem is that Wikipedia can't regulate the number of volunteer editors in the project. If the encyclopedia gets too big for the editors to manage, large chunks of it will just atrophy and there'll be nothing they can do about it. Worse still, editors will leave because they are unable to handle the burden which only makes the problem worse.

So I'm not sure that completionism is actually feasible, at least not with the structure as it is now. I still dream of that repository of all knowledge, no matter how trivial, but I just don't know how we get there.


Poké API is coming up to 54 million API calls - pokeapi.co

People still love Pokemon it seems



What is the (argued) benefit is to excluding information? “Often what is not said is more important than what is said.” is vague and unsatisfying.


And yet Nimlang had to fight for over a year to get a page that could survive the deletionistas.




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