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Why the lucky stiff Wikipedia entry page to be deleted (wikipedia.org)
39 points by raju on June 13, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

No it's not.

Anybody in the world can add an AfD tag to an article and put it up for deletion. Go ahead, try it: you can get DHH or Paul Graham listed right now. But without a clear consensus to delete, the article isn't going anywhere. Moreover, once the article survives an AfD, it is harder to delete in the future.

This article is running 2-1 keep. I've never seen an AfD succeed with half that opposition. All you can do at this point is piss the WP hobbyists off, have the delete discussion devolve into an argument about "voting versus debating", and make the discussion that much harder for the deleting admin to assess.

Sorry, I know it's a slow news day, but this doesn't count.

Thanks for the heads up on how this works. Not knowing wikipedia's process at all, I would have thought that why's entry was about to be deleted as well.

Now we know that it's not as big a deal as it seems.

| Not knowing wikipedia's process at all, I would have thought that why's entry was about to be deleted as well.

From the big note at the top of the page:

"This article is being considered for deletion ... Please share your thoughts on the matter at this article's entry on the Articles for deletion page."

There's nothing there to suggest that it's about to be deleted, and getting more information about the process of article deletion is as easy as following the links posted in the note at the top of the page. Wikipedia tries to be fairly transparent about this sort of thing.

Also, note that this article was considered for deletion about a year and a half ago, and the overall consensus was to keep it. It's probably gonna be sticking around, although it needs some heavy cleaning up.

"This article is being considered for deletion" seems like a strong indicator that it might be deleted to me.

Well the urgency at least makes people want to hunt around for reliable sources.

without a clear consensus to delete, the article isn't going anywhere

This isn't true. A blog I like got deleted from wikipedia a while back (IMAO.US back when it was only Frank J) on the charge of not being notable. There wasn't a consensus to delete. There was a huge argument, then they just deleted him.

WP has a "special" definition of "consensus". It isn't a vote. The way it's supposed to work is, the closing admin reads every bulleted "keep" or "delete" argument, makes a spot decision about whether the arguments are valid, and then keeps unless there's an overwhelming number of "deletes".

WP has a "special" definition of "valid", which is codified in the 8043734897 pages in the WP: namespace that document the valid and invalid arguments. If you care --- and as your attorney in this matter I'm obligated to advise you not to --- you could start by reading WP:ATA.

This is frustrating because if you're not an AfD lawyer, you're left wondering why the closing admin ignored you but paid attention to the "WP:NN"! "WP:RS!" "WP:V!" codes other people used. But that's how the system worked.

In this case, there are keep votes pointing to reliable sourcing in the article. O'Reilly definitely counts. Nobody is going to delete it; it'd wind up in WP:DRV, wasting everyone's time some more.

Isn't Wikipedia fun?

lol :)

In addition, they seemed to have decided that any reason given by a recently-created account could be ignored, without caring if it's valid.

Oh and the real reason it was deleted is that it's a right-wing humor blog and some of the wikipedia people were offended by it's content.

What was the blog?


it still exists, but now it's a group blog and not as good.

if you want to try reading a post, this is a good one:


I'm super liberal, I just wanted to see the AfD for it:


This got deleted because, if you read the "keep" votes, the only arguments were that (a) it had been nominated for several awards, and (b) that it got lots of traffic. Neither are strong arguments.

It definitely didn't help that the blog was conservative and wikilawyers tend either towards shrieky Green Party turboliberalism or, worse, Paulbotism.

Edit: Oh hell, they deleted some of the keep arguments. I think they deleted keep arguments by people with recently created accounts, or which were not formatted properly.

I am absolutely certain of this. For example, my keep argument isn't there. I don't remember what it said, but I do remember that I posted one. Also there used to be significant vertical scrolling.

Not a single comment was removed from that AfD. Not only would that be completely against policy and instantly reverted, but I just checked every edit to it. (Yes, I need a life.) The article was deleted because the subject wasn't considered notable, not because there's some conspiracy against conservative blogs.

It would be exceedingly weird for them to delete comments from AfD discussions, but if they did, they'd still be in the edit history.

See [[Wikipedia:Other stuff exists]]. They think of everything! =)

He looks a bit like Jack Black, does he not?

His achievements are certainly impressive. I would be content to draw half as well and be half as imaginative. Great product and tool creator and has a band? Come on, do not crush us.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

tptacek - Thank you for letting me know how Wikipedia works. I did not realize that, and next time I will be sure to investigate into the issue further prior to posting it.

I saw this link pop-up on my feed, and knowing _why and his contribution to the ruby community, I felt this to be relevant. In hindsight, it now seems like it wasn't that relevant.

To fellow hackers out there, my intention was not to post for the sake of posting. I appreciate the HN community, and find myself frowning occasionally when certain articles get upvoted. I certainly did not intend to pollute the quality of articles that make it HN.

To all, my sincere apologies.

You're not supposed to worry about whether your posts are good. That's why we have the little arrow thingies we click on to score the articles. Stop worrying and keep posting. =)

Actually you are supposed to worry about whether your posts are good... the little arrows just give you feedback about whether they are or not, and discourage you from posting things which aren't.

I'm unclear on why people seem to care so much that there should be a wikipedia article on this annoyingly-named guy who is (at best) borderline notable.

Is it because they've read some of his work and now feel a loyalty towards him?

Or is it because the revelation that "the third most important person in the Ruby community" isn't really all that important when viewed from outside said "community" might give them an unwanted perspective on their own sense of their own importance?

There are a lot of people that really aren't all that important when viewed from outside the communities in which they really are important.

I'm sorry that you're annoyed by his alias, and that you feel that Ruby users are self-important fools. I hope you can either get past those feelings or come up with a better argument.

Well, there actually is a WP guideline about this phenomenon: WP:LOCALFAME. The long/short of it is: you're notable if a reliable source (not a blog) has written about you. It's pretty much exactly that simple.

That sounds like a pretty loose criterion. I know plenty of non-notable people who have had, say, articles written about them in the newspaper.

In any case, looking at the sources at the bottom of this page, this guy doesn't even seem to satisfy this criterion.

Yes. It is loose. It does get annoying. I've put many articles up for deletion and failed because of scraps of evidence --- press releases reprinted in news feeds, for instance.

So, if you want to take your issue with _why and litigate it in the AfD, go ahead and do it. You'll lose, though.

Hey, I'm not arguing either way. I said he's borderline notable, and I'm not that interested in arguing which side of the border he's on. I'm just trying to understand why some people seem to care so much that this guy should be listed on wikipedia.

(I certainly wouldn't imply that "Ruby users are self-important fools", because I've used Ruby myself in the past. But I'm sure only a small minority of Ruby users particularly give a damn about this guy anyway.)

The programming language Ruby is notable enough to have a Wikipedia article about it. The two most important people in the Ruby community also have Wikipedia articles. So why not _why? He's contributed just as much to the community as the two other guys.

This is what is brilliant about Wikipedia. Cartoon characters from children's shows are extensively detailed (e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pok%C3%A9mon ), but pages about semi-notable figures in the web development community are debated for deletion.

Jigglypuff is more notable than why the lucky stiff? Yeah, OK, if you're a comic book guy nerd.

Millions of people all over the world have heard of Jigglypuff. I personally have bashed jigglypuff's oversized head in with a large mallet many times in Super Smash Bros. Jigglypuff is no doubt an important cultural touchstone for the generation who were nine years old in 2002 (or whenever Pokemon was popular, I forget).

On the other hand, I've never heard of this "why the lucky stiff" guy (I only clicked on this article because I couldn't parse the headline), although I have to admit I've heard of his "(poignant) guide to Ruby" second-hand from a friend who was complaining how annoying its writing style was. Having read his biography, I'd have to say his achievements, which seem to be limited to writing an online manual, a couple of libraries and speaking at a couple of conferences, don't seem to be all that notable.

Perhaps I'd feel differently if the wikipedia article were listed under his real name instead of his self-important handle. As it is, it kinda looks like he wrote most of this himself. I don't bother to edit wikipedia but if I did I think I'd vote for deletion.

Way to just make shit up there. Wikipedia has full edit histories. You might avail yourself of them, or of the article discussion page, where _why himself formally requested the article be deleted. But hey, if it makes you feel better to say "he wrote most of it himself", don't let reality stop you.

Wow, getting emotionally involved? Your tone really isn't at all appropriate for this forum.

I said "it looks like he wrote it himself", not that he actually did (I know, I read the talk page). From the content it's indistinguishable from a vanity page (the most identifiable feature of a vanity page being that it works hard to inflate minor achievements like speaking at conferences) but I understand he has quite a number of fans so it's quite possible they wrote it.

He also wrote http://tryruby.hobix.com (an interactive Ruby tutorial, with an Ajax interactive ruby shell, give it a try) and unholy (a WIP Ruby to Python bytecode compiler) , and is in fact known and respected (John Resig and Tim Bray voted "keep" on the AfD page at Wikipedia) as much for his achievements and his skills than for being inspirational and for his ability to think (way) out of the box, which are impossible to quantify.

You have to read him for some time to understand. He's the only code artist that I know.

I tried tryruby, and I have to admit it was pretty goddamn neat.

Of course creating something goddamn neat still doesn't mean that you deserve a wikipedia article, but ultimately making previously-skeptical people say "Wow, that was pretty goddamn neat" is a more worthwhile achievement than being listed in wikipedia.

If you're looking for a more valid reason than one of _why's toys try http://poignantguide.net/ or http://hacketyhack.net/ the book/comic he wrote or his full featured attempt to make it easier for kids to learn to code. Both projects are fairly significant.

Only people that are into hardcore programming content know about _why. That basically means nobody in the big scheme of things.

That said, I don't program Ruby but I know about _why... so that means he should have a Wikipedia page IMHO ;)

the same can be said about PG or DHH. My parents certainly don't know/care about either.

Very true. So let's keep _why's page :)

Take it easy on Jigglypuff.

If you don't know who the _stiff_ is, you probably run around well outside Ruby circles. Hit up hackety.org and spend enough time to go through some of his archives.

_stiff_ is a uniquely creative guy. Instead of copying-and-pasting source code, you'll often find him sketching it out on paper with doodles.

He's a tough guy to define. Maybe it's best not to. Maybe that's why we don't know his real name. He is a hero though to many of us.

I'm not sure I understand why this is relevant?

Agreed. Why are we voting this stuff up?

"We" aren't. 30-odd people so far have promoted it, and the remaining majority has no practical way to counter those votes.

Upvote everything else?

Uh, no, that's Jack Black.

This is one of the worst top articles I've seen yet on news.yc.

Thanks guys

You missed a lot of much worser ones. Lucky you.

The horror!


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