I also often found myself looking for articles I knew had been on Wikipedia, but had been deleted.
In December 2013 I had enough of the deletionism. I spent a few hours to set up http://deletionpedia.org/ - to rescue articles from deletion.
It doesn't deal with harassment, but it's a useful resource if you want to find back something that was deleted on Wikipedia.
(The site had been set up before, but the original creator let it slip.)
(yes i cited research and no the topic is not a controversial political one.)
With that, I was like "F you people". I don't think I have added any information since then.
Personally, I've edited plenty of Wikipedia pages and I still occasionally do when I come across one I think I can help with, and I only have an issue around 20% of the time, and usually it's because I'm filling out a topic that's too obscure.
Why isn't Dreg using these funds to cleanup harrasment, data farmers and scammers on 'his' site?
edit: on-topic, I too had edits on WP overturned in the mid-00's. I posted my defense in page notes to no avail and desisted any further attempts.
He attracted the ire of some wackjob when he referenced printed materials. Given his somewhat unique position, he had some stuff digitized and posted, and returned to Wikipedia a few months later to find that almost everything he did was reverted.
I'm glad that people put up with the nonsense and contribute to Wikipedia... but what a shit experience.
Were these published documents, which reviewers could independently obtain and verify?
That doesn't stop some of the people at WP from reverting everything. Which means OP's friend is left to either leave it reverted, or trawl through the various arcane dispute resolution / meta pages, arguing their case, building consensus, to eventually get people saying it should be left in. Or saying it should be left out because those meta pages sometime feel as random as tossing a coin.
Unsurprisingly this optimizes for people who tolerate vast amounts of meta bullshit, and not people who know what they're talking about and know what the good sources are.
But facts ("Here's the catalog number in the New York Public Library, and how to request it via interlibrary loan.") shouldn't require consensus.
Especially for cases like that - if someone has more 'sway' on Wikipedia than you, they can (and will often) just say something like "Thanks for the source - I'll verify and if it says what you think it says, I'll add it in to the article." Then do nothing, ever again. In fact, unreliable citations, or citations that don't actually say what the citer thinks they say, that can be easily checked online are far more acceptable on Wikipedia than citing a book.
Inertia like this leaves useless pages like "Oplomachi" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oplomachi) live way after they should have been merged, as well as leading to the deletion of useful pages/sections/references.
The major articles, which are more likely to get attention, tend to be less dysfunctional than niche interests. That said, there are of course far more articles relating to niche interests than there are major articles.
At that point it was too late... anything he did was on some tickler list and waging wiki-war was not worth the time investment.
Then someone can link form Wikipedia to Wikia.
Wikia isn't just for TV shows and games.
For example, the text editor Vim has a Wikia section: vim.wikia.com
There's just no justification for that. Even if a policy required all references to be available via the internet, the author fulfilled that requirement.
If this was allowed, and Donald Trump is putting up his documents on the internet and referencing them on his wikipedia page would you allow it? It can do a lot of damage and people and organizations do this all the time and every day.
This is the kind of behavior the policy exists to prevent. Its well known that it isn't perfect
Please read - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest
Edit: ... their own unpublished stuff.
http://deletionpedia.org/en/List_of_Issuer_Identification_Nu... that page seems like a decent example though. That seems like a really useful resource if I were looking for that information. I can't figure out why it would have been deleted.
Somebody somewhere is maintaining the official list. If you start a new bank, you can just make up your own Issuer Identification Number and expect to interoperate with the rest of the financial industry. Since someone somewhere has a official list, Wikipedia should publish or link to that official list.
I suppose if the official list is "secret" or unpublished, then the question is trickier. Even in that case, I think the best option would be for Wikipedia to offer an external link to someone compiling or maintaining such a list.
- Not Comprehensive
- Not wholly accurate
- Difficult to keep updated
- Not all sourced/vergiable or unsourced
Which is totally fair, except that would apply to a lot of articles...
This is the protective wall around the Wikipedia editor's kingdom.
Seems like pretty good reasoning to me. The list is unsourced and Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Plus it's not a notable topic, something I'd also agree with.
Perhaps there ought to be a "wiki facts" website where such material could be published and editors could attempt to ascertain its validity and publish any facts that can be confirmed, even if not with typical encyclopedic quality sources.
I just found it annoying because if you look through Wikipedia's [List of Open Source games](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_open-source_video_game...) is pretty much full of less notable abandonware, and it seems like some people just got a chip on their shoulder for this game's article.
This is in no way encyclopedic and violates several policies and guidelines on lists and external links https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Microsoft_SQL_Ser...
Seems reasonable but I almost wish their could be a tier 2 Wikipedia where people could share this type of a time investment. Maybe that's what the various undeletion sites will wind up doing!
It's amazing how so many people have the same problems with WP and they are never addressed. Comments here are getting tons of up votes due to frustration.
My questions are:
- Does WP leadership really know the extent to which people have stopped editing due to frustration?
- Do they not fix it because they don't want to change, don't know a solution, or are bullied by their own editors?
- Are they aware that WP tends to attract people with this trait and mitigating these effects would make a massive difference?
I feel like the Wikipedia project is one of the better run communities anywhere on the Internet, and that we don't perceive them that way mostly due to the absolutely spectacular scale that they operate at.
Note that I'm not saying they're the most pleasant community in the world to work with. They aren't! But that's because they're doing so much, working with so many people at so many different levels of engagement. Hacker News is a trifling community by comparison, and look how much work goes in to trying to maintain norms and civility here.
I feel like the Wikipedia community has bent over backwards to understand the concerns that completionist interest groups have about logging every possible startup, every open source developer of any note, every open source project, &c. They spend more time discussing their norms and processes about subject inclusion than any other meta-concern.
I do not feel like the tech community meets Wikipedia halfway. Every argument I see in HN threads about "deletionism" seems rooted in the idea that an Internet encyclopedia need not have strict standards for inclusion because the marginal cost of an additional article is zero. But that's simply a false statement; it's based on the false premise that the only cost for Wikipedia for articles is storage space. You can't read the Wikipedia project charter for 5 minutes without realizing that storage is their least important cost.
I think this mischaracterizes WhitneyLand's fear. The worry is not that the individual edits are crucially important, it's that without a welcoming community Wikipedia will eventually run out of editors willing to do keep the site alive. While the content of Wikipedia won't disappear as a result, one fear is that over time the information will become static and eventually outdated. Perhaps this is acceptable, as older encyclopedias can be a snapshot of their time.
A greater worry that some have is that Wikipedia may change from being a relatively unbiased collection of information to cherry-picking and displaying only one side of the facts. I think it's a legitimate fear that some revisions are being refused because they don't match the desired narrative, and that the "rules" are being (selectively) applied as post-hoc justification. While this may not be an overwhelming problem yet, it's possible that a more inclusive community will prevent it from becoming a greater problem in the future.
tptacek, I appreciate your passion, but actually I don't even feel strongly about the deletiionist/completionist issue. I also don't have any pet subjects that I feel are unjustly excluded.
It is about needlessly driving away good contributions in situations where there is no net benefit.
I don't want to generalize too much, but there are people who care more about the letter of the wikipedia process and debate than they do about the net affect on content quality.
Why not let editors build reputation based on customer service to their peers and to occasional contributors? If such a system was designed and motivated well enough, I believe it could be one way to help the situation. I actually journaled a while writing about ideas to discuss, but lost interest because I didn't know anyone who would care.
My experience is similar to yours. If the Wikimedia Foundation really cared about harrassment they would kick out all the deletionists.
I hit random 5 times (it's slow), and got one empty article ('looks like it survived on WP') and four profiles (one company, three meatbags), all of which were only a couple of sentences and even calling them a 'stub article' would be generous. No tears lost over these poor-quality chaff articles.
The only harassment I've seen on Wikipedia is from Little Napoleon long-term admins who grind contributors down with petty bureaucracy.
There's a summary here, but it rather understates the whole thing - read the above link first if you have time: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/wikipedia-editor-says-sites...
That's... wow. I assumed it was something about the subject of the article getting involved in harassment, but it doesn't seem to be.
I'm glad that the author got some help.
The editors on Wikipedia wield a large amount of power in shaping the site.
When they go and make arbitrary decisions about the content on the site, and users start calling out the editors for bias and bogus decisions, well now all of a sudden the crooked editor can just cry "harassment and cyberbullying!" and go a long way to shutting down rational criticism.
This is becoming a standard way of dealing with anyone who disagrees with you online. Reddit has been ruined by it.
Someone sent you a PM? Harassment. Comment you don't agree with? Harassment. Someone not sustaining your narrative? Harassment.
When you take a lot of flak, you know you're over the target...
A couple of editors did come to my defence. I got the impression there was a lot of internal conflict about this sort of thing.
Edit to add the following:
The article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecobee
Deletion discussion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletio...
"If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list... If a topic does not meet these criteria but still has some verifiable facts, it might be useful to discuss it within another article."
However, from my experience in CAD, Wikipedia's notability and importance ratings are strongly skewed towards open-source and against commercial systems.
No disrespect meant to the FreeCAD folks, but that is definitely back-to-front! The article on Solidworks lists 165,000 companies using the product as of 2013. How is that low-importance?
The skew tends to be even worse against enterprise class systems.
That's one explanation of the facts but it's not the only one. Any new user is likely to start out by contributing on topics close to them - places they've worked, technologies they've worked with, etc.
If employees aren't allowed to make articles on their employers then that's that. But treating a new account differently than an old one is just assuming bad faith.
Mediawiki is supposed to also be a communicative platform on these problems, but it really fails its goal there with its talk pages, when these problems really stem from a lack of centralized community and being able to easily talk about and resolve these issues. Typically, you'l get referenced to IRC or another talk page, where your issue will not be resolved and will probably take forever to be responded to.
Overall, I've ditched working with Mediawiki or anything wikimedia. They don't show caring to actually invest in open platforms and software that others can use, they're just interested in making their own projects popular. Some of the core devs are actually really good at what they do, the problem is that the framework now needs a big revamp for it to be usable outside of the wikipedia environment properly, something wikimedia will not invest in.
If they want to show good faith in freedom of information, they would make their software into components and allow other projects to use them, especially the actual wiki markup processor. This would allow people to integrate wiki functionality into fundamentally better frameworks to maintain, like Drupal 8, or design their own frameworks that internally use the packages maintained in mediawiki.
To wit: Wikipedia not at all concerned about storage space, but they are concerned very much about the amount of time they'll need to spend policing articles to make sure that things that wind up preferentially at the top of Google search result pages aren't full of advertising spam, lies, and cruft. Every article they add increases that burden. A reasonable line to draw in the sand is "we're only going to allow articles that make a clear statement of why their topic is notable, and for which an ordinary, disinterested editor could verify all the facts by following cited sources."
I feel that this really should not be the worry of Wikipedia.
You mean apart from Wikipedia and Mediawiki?
Wikipedia is also not that 'open'. What you edit has to fit specific guidelines, and of course get past the moderators to be approved. It also misses the point of freedom of information, because there's tons of info out there that people want to put out, but doesn't fit the scheme of Wikipedia.
The Wikimedia visions is: "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.", and thats what I'm criticizing Wikimedia and its projects for not upholding.
If you want truly open communication, go to 4chan. It's a cesspool, which is fine for people that like that, but it's much further away from being 'information for everyone'. Claiming that WP isn't open because they want a basic level of quality is just grinding an axe - WP has informed a far greater number of humans to a far higher level of quality than all the ^chans put together.
> I know, because I've invested a lot of time into trying to make it so educators and communities could start their own wiki's
And yet MediaWiki is sprayed in wikis all over the internet. I've set it up as well. Yes, learning the full markup isn't trivial, but the basic stuff is. And I'm not sure how it's "not open" simply because it has a learning curve. Does this mean Vim is not open? Emacs? Apache? OpenBSD? The Vim GUI sucks, because it's outside it's expected environment of a terminal - does that also mean it's "not open"?
If you want an example of open software that is designed specifically 'for the punters', look at Gnome 3... where you're pretty locked down and can't do much (cue complaints then about 'freedom'), but there's no learning curve. LibreOffice is made for general consumption and still gets complaints about being difficult to use from the punters - and even then, if you want to use the more advanced features, there's a learning curve.
Complex software has a learning curve, and hiding that learning curve is really difficult. Apple 'solved' this by simply removing functionality and configurability (again, cue complaints about losing freedom). If Apple made a wiki, you wouldn't even have the choice of adding that maths plugin. Hell, you probably wouldn't even be able to skin it.
> it is meant to be in an environment of sysadmins
It's a heavyweight engine that you're wanting to put lots of heavyweight stuff on. That's what they're designing for, and it has some warts, but it works. It's daft to complain that the engine primarily written by a non-profit for one of the top 5 websites isn't written as a one-click install feather-light application.
Basically you're holding WP to an impossible standard and complaining that they don't measure up.
Its not about open communications, its the fact that information has to fit the criteria Wikipedia deems necessary, and that does not fit a lot of information out there. For example, a group of proffessionals in building design want to create an educational site on how to get started digitally, what software, the theories and factors in play when creating a building, fueled by their real-life experience and education over time. That is not something you can put on Wikipedia. You can put some of the theory, but ultimately experience is lost in translation or deleted due to no sources.
>Claiming that WP isn't open because they want a basic level of quality is just grinding an axe
Its not open in anywhere near what their vision states. Its open for sourced information and whatever various mods will allow. Which, is fine if thats how they want it to be, but to claim its an open platform for information is false.
>WP has informed a far greater number of humans to a far higher level of quality than all the ^chans put together.
I am not advocating that Wikipedia just be an open book to write whatever you want, but that its platform does not support much outside of sourced info, which is a category of information, not the sum of all information, and leaves out a lot of other information that doesn't fit its guidelines.
>Yes, learning the full markup isn't trivial, but the basic stuff is. And I'm not sure how it's "not open" simply because it has a learning curve.
Making a wiki has very little to do with the basic markup, and a lot more to do with designing templates and organizing how your data is formatted and presented, and that is what mediawiki fails to do in a manner that is accessible. Difficulty does reduce accessibility, which infact does reduce its openness. If it were simpler and well documented, searchable, then there would be a lot more writers. A lot of the problems can be solved by having a markup language that also acts like a programming language, being able to work with variables and inputs and do transforms on them, much like an actual templating language.
The learning curve of Libreoffice or other programs of that nature is a false equivalence. Adding a graph in Libreoffice takes a few clicks of the dropdowns, maybe a few tries of adding in info. Adding in a graph into mediawiki requires you to find an extension, install that, learn its syntax, and god forbid you add it into a template dynamically, learn how to get data variables from wiki markup. It is significantly more work and understanding of tech.
>Complex software has a learning curve, and hiding that learning curve is really difficult.
Yes, it is, but it is possible, if the software were designed for being used outside of the wikipedia environment more, similiar to frameworks like Drupal 8 or Wordpress are, it would be much more maintainable and learnable. Understand that wikitext is just a small small part of a mediawiki environment, and even thats enough to bar entry for many people.
>It's a heavyweight engine that you're wanting to put lots of heavyweight stuff on. That's what they're designing for, and it has some warts, but it works.
Its an old engine that is very integrated into itself with a lot of tech debt that hasn't been paid back. They are designing for that, not for creating a framework that best suits accessible, editable, presentable information.
>It's daft to complain that the engine primarily written by a non-profit for one of the top 5 websites isn't written as a one-click install feather-light application.
Wikimedia does not claim the Mediawiki is made for WP and shouldn't be used outside of it. I claim that, but thats not how it should be.
An application being 'heavy' has nothing to do with its maintainability or usability to the end user. Arguably, Wordpress is much heavier, yet has a built-in auto updater, plugins and theme installer, and is quite easy to setup.
>Basically you're holding WP to an impossible standard and complaining that they don't measure up.
I'm holding /Wikimedia/ to the standard they've set for themselves, with expectations much lower than that, and still it doesn't hold up, because they are not actually doing what their vision is, they're just making their own product where information has to fit their guidelines. You can argue that Wikimedia is a non-profit, or the software is complex, or whatever you'd like, but the reality is that there is a significant amount of information that will never be passed into the internet space because good platforms for it don't exist yet.
Lets just make some very rough estimates. Sweden with a population of 10 million creates an average of 36 500 new companies per year. Let say than 5% reach at some point 50 employees, which would result in 180 Wikipedia articles per million population per year. There is 7.4 billion people in the world, so that is 180 * 1000 * 7.4 * 16, which would be a bit over 21 million Wikipedia articles that only covers new 50-person and bigger companies (not including companies created before 2001).
The people who accused you of "single purpose account" were of course in the fault since they should have assumed good-faith, but I can't generally disagree with the notion that a 50-person startup might need more than employees to be notable enough for a encyclopedia.
Company listings are actually often really useful on wikipedia, there can be some outside info that is far better than what the company itself has and if there are suspect things about the company wikipedia can link to them as well.
Wikipedia at one point deleted the article on Atlasssian because 'it wasn't notable'.
Unlike so many minor characters in Star Wars...
Usefulness of non-notible articles is often discussed in Wikipedia. One side generally argue that any article that is useful should be included. The idea that notability is the criteria and not usefulness is an interesting discussion, and part of the deletionism versus inclusionism controversy.
I hate this argument. Wikipedia is not some storage bound book shipped out to people. There should be no limit on articles as long as the content is verifiable by contributors.
You might say, "but the disambiguation page will get big." well, that's a technical problem that can be fixed. I can search for something on Google and find it easily even though it contains far more than Wikipedia.
I'd estimate the typical page on Wikipedia has 0-1 people actively looking after it. And some of these articles are extremely popular (but noncontroversial) people/places/things. Wikipedia is full of articles which are "done" but still suck.
So you cannot look at a volunteer project and determine the storage costs are negligible, no problem, because that's very obviously not the main challenge.
But these costs do not scale on a per-page basis; rather, they scale based on the number of trolls. I don't think the number of pages meaningfully changes the amount of effort "trolls" put into "trolling"; meanwhile, automated tools like watchlists allow you to keep an eye on an unlimited number of pages.
It should be much easier to automate anti-"trolling" tools on fringe pages which get very few edits - e.g. automatically adding newly-created or rarely-edited pages to a watchlist.
Finally, it doesn't look like wikipedia has a great editor retention policy if the problem was really combating trolls; There seems to have been an assumption of bad faith on the count of GP - if he is really a "PR shill", then no skin off their back - if they're paid to do it, they'll keep trying, becoming a "troll". However, if he was to be a legitimate editor, blaming them from starting in their own topic of interest(even if it was self-promotion) doesn't seem like a good way to retain them as a long-term editor.
Low-level trolling has almost zero cost on wikipedia, you don't even need an account. Especially for articles that are largely politically uncontroversial and "done". So they probably catch most of the vandals, and use their process to stop maybe the top 20% of political kooks. But when some random adds dubious information to a long-tail article, it can hang around for years.
I would rather have a bunch of articles that are locked rather than deleted by some moderator that thinks they are defending the glory of worthy human knowledge.
If they're talking about IP bans on viewing Wikipedia here, this is a terrible idea. If some troll gets banned on a college campus that will result in the inadvertent ban of thousands of other connected to the same network. This line strikes me as naive.
I do agree with you that the nature of the internet makes blocking people from free (non-paid) sites inherently difficult though.
The second is to limiting the scope of a IP ban so that it only effects specific user-agent strings, trying to only effecting the intended user.
The third suggestion is to create a cookie when a new account is created that "counts" the number of times a new account is created on a single machine.
If there is a sudden spike in vandalism I believe they just require you to log in with an account usually.
Some of that is certainly warranted. When political topics are the target of massive edit wars as each side seeks to enshrine their particular truth in the public record, you need rules and enforcers and arbitrators. But it can get extraordinarily toxic.
Consider using an alternative such as:
I'm curious, their thing seems to be reject "published sources" in favour of "reliable truth". How does it expect to define what is "reliable truth" then, if not through citing reputable sources?
Also it all feels pretty silly with all the 'galactic' titles, at least Wikipedia has an air of professionalism, despite the rampant bureaucracy.
There will be a lot of discussion about the symptoms here, but the cause is straightforward: Wikis are built through conflict, and much of that conflict involves harassment, doxxing etc. Ask anyone who has tried to edit any major page.
The real solutions to harassment are counterintuitive: Enforce full anonymity, take measures to stop people and gangs "owning " pages, stop using a system that lets any user at any level veto other user's edits, have a proper editorial workflow, and many more. But none of these will never happen, so the harassment will continue.
It should also be noted that the Wikimedia Foundation just raised millions of dollars in its latest fundraising drive, and has millions more in the bank, so it really doesn't need the money.
Wikipedia has tainted the well. Places like Meatball wiki were really good for a long time.
Of those surveyed, 38% said they had experienced harassment. I understand that bit.
Then, those who had been harassed or witnessed harassment were asked to identify the type of harassment. Of these, one of the least common types is "hacking", with an average of 2.69 times.
I don't understand what that is saying. Each person who was harassed was hacked 2.69 times on average??! How can that be possible?
There's room for improvement but not a half a million dollars worth of room for improvement. I suppose people will donate to what's important to them, though.
I could easily see them spending half a million trying various things and not solving the problem. Or, more hopefully, they'll come up with some good ideas that will work elsewhere too.
To what, things you care more about? You could make the same argument about anything. It would be one thing if you were critiquing the administrators of Wikipedia deciding to allocate resources to this - since they are answerable to a variety of stakeholders - but when you critique someone for choosing to donate to alleviate a specific problem then I fail to see how that's any of your business.
I can't believe they think half a million dollars is enough.
Wikipedia is pretty toxic, even now after years of concerted effort to de-toxify it.
I predict someone's going to launch this expensive thing; there are going to be about 750,000 words written about it across different wiki meta pages; some policies are going to be changed (with yet more meta discussion); and then the money is going to run out.
I mean, just look at "Mexican–American War" versus "Mexican-American War" -- that was 20,000 words just on that meta page. (There are easily 500,000 words, some at Arbcom, about - vs – on wikipedia).
Agreed, but Wikimedia's own report (linked above) contradicts this hypothesis. fnovd suggests 2016 is different, but no survey was conducted so it's difficult to say.
Wikimedia's resources are quite a bit lower.
Maybe we really just can't have nice things.
I've tried to edit Everipedia which bills itself as an alternative to Wikipedia like other alts like rationalwiki etc and although they have a long way to go to get their software and UX up to par, their premise is pretty cool. They want to have a live updating branch of wikipedia always on their site in real time to edit and fork by their own community. I'd say the best alternatives so far are Everipedia, RationalWiki (if you can call this an alternative), and smaller projects that are niche like Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. There should be more legitimate ones in my opinion though.
But, sure. The admins are obnoxious sometimes. I agree with you.
Worst site ever.
Is Wikipedia losing editors - Yes, because it's 99% done. The work is not there.
Do people not like the fact what they think is important gets rejected - Yes
Do they blame that on harassment - ?
I really think this is solving a problem that doesn't exist.
Wikipedia is winding down not ramping up.