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Christopher Monsanto gives up trying to delete PL articles (wikipedia.org)
173 points by bendmorris on Feb 14, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 131 comments



Trying to delete stories? He nominated them for an open discussion to be decided by an admin. But that doesn't sound nearly as malicious. There are valid criticisms about the AfD process, but most people are blaming Chris as if he just walked by and deleted the articles on his own.

I fear that this issue has become less about fixing broken Wikipedia policies that encourage people like Chris to delete articles, and more about "teaching him a lesson".

The amount of ad hominem attacks in the original story is much higher than anything I'd expect from HN. And, considering HN is self-policed in a lot of ways, I think the issue needs to be pointed out.


The AfD process is problematic, but Christopher was also problematic. He was strictly following the rules, even when it didn't make sense, and continued to do so even after other users were telling him, politely, that he was wrong.

This sort of behavior is not acceptable on Wikipedia (at least, according to everyone who comments on ridiculous AfD stories). As for teaching him a lesson: he was caught live. The harshness of the lesson was proportional to the amount of rage such behavior induce.


Hey, come on. I thought in many cases my nominations DID make sense -- most of the languages I nominated had neighborhood-of-zero information available about them on the web, and some of them were blatant advertising. Alice ML and Nemerle were more borderline than I thought, but a lot of people (less so on this site than on reddit) seem to think that I singlehandedly deleted the articles in question, when I instead just nominated them for deletion. If these languages were as important as one would be lead to believe from this whole fiasco, you'd think that the discussion on the AfDs would be more than strawmans and personal attacks. It appears to me that the biggest (constructive) complaint was of my personal threshold for citations. This is precisely the kind of defense I would have expected to receive in the AfD, but unfortunately, the root of the issue was only brought out after the deletions.

Regardless, I misunderstood Wikipedia policy and I apologize to those I have offended. I honestly didn't think a couple of deletion discussions was so grave, and I ask that those who abhor me so try to imagine what it's like to make a mistake and have it go viral.


One problem is that you kinda touched a "raw nerve" here. This isn't the first time this issue has come up, and a lot of people are very sensitive to it. There's a very strong strand of thought among some people that suggests that Wikipedia should change it's guidelines vis-a-vis software / programming langauges / etc. In fact, there has been an effort - at least once - to get a new guideline accepted. It failed, but my point is that this is a contentious subject that is still being actively debated, and where emotions are already flaring for some. Bring in the constant tension between deletionists and inclusionists, and any sort of concerted effort to start targeting tech related articles for deletion is almost bound to spark a shit-storm of controversy.

I'll allow that you might have been in the right on all of your AfD flags, under some interpretation of WP policies. But I think you were wrong to do what amounts to jabbing a stick into a hornet's nest, and then wonder why you're getting stung. You stuck a %!#@ng stick into a hornet's nest, that's why.


Didn't know. I'm sorry.


I'm curious, why did you choose to delete articles instead of improve them?


a lot of people... seem to think that I singlehandedly deleted the articles in question

In the case of Alice ML, it was just you and SarekOfVulcan (the admin who closed the discussion and deleted the article). Every single vote in the discussion was to keep. I'm not going to attribute false motivations to your actions as I have no idea what your actual motivation was (care to fill us in with something other than "it is consistent with WP policy"?).

As an aside, I agree that deletion was appropriate for a number of the stub articles; they had been stubs for a long time and didn't contain anything beyond "this language exists". Such articles didn't add anything to Wikipedia. Articles on languages like Alice, Nemerle and Joy might need improvement, but probably shouldn't be summarily removed.


You insulted people by saying that something they have invested time in is not "notable". Therefore they insulted you back. This shouldn't be surprising.

If I go and nominate "Ball-peen hammer" for deletion, I'm probably going to get [called] ignorant in the AfD discussion. That doesn't mean that "Ball-peen hammer" should then be deleted.


You insulted people by saying that something they have invested time in is not "notable"

I'm very sorry, but this is what they call "Taking things too personally." You can say that "Faux," my JS framework, is not notable. How is this an insult to me? You can say that I'm not notable. Again, how is this an insult to me?

"Notable" is not a synonym for "worthwhile," it's related to the word "popular." Saying that a language doesn't meet Wikipedia's guidelines is not a statement about the language's fans, users, or authors. It's a statement about a particular test you apply by searching the world's existing information storehouse for mentions of the subject.


That's true, but to someone who isn't steeped in Wikipedia-lore, saying that a language's page should be removed from Wikipedia, for whatever reason, is a statement about the language's fans, users or authors, because why would you remove a topic that's useful for a lot of people?

(Not to have the debate implied by my question here -- but that's the thought process, and I don't think it's unreasonable.)


saying that a language's page should be removed from Wikipedia, for whatever reason, is a statement about the language's fans, users or authors, because why would you remove a topic that's useful for a lot of people?

The notability guidelines, as you can grasp from the name, speak to whether something has been noted, not whether it is useful. Example: My last bike used something called a Hammerschmidt crank. It was a two-speed planetary gear device that behaved like a two chainring front crank, but had all the mechanics inside a drum.

It is very useful, was featured on many OEM bicycles, and people love them. There is no Wikipedia page for it right now, just a mention on the Crankset page.

Is the Hammerchmidt notable? If we do a search, we find reviews, the manufacturer's page, and classified ads for them. It isn't notable yet by Wikipedia's rules. If you think it ought to be notable, your issue is with the rules, not with their application.

Now, I just discussed Hammerschmidt cranks and their notability or lack of same. Nothing I said says anything about their manufacturer, distributors, users, reviewers... The damn things are useful and I admire the people who make them and sell them. But once we grasp that useful != notable, we grasp that a statement about their notability != a statement about their users or inventors.


Notability is not a rule on WP. It's a guideline.


I am not claiming otherwise, I'm just pointing out how people will react if you take such an action, since the grandparent seems rather surprised by it.

The presence of an ad hominem does not make the rest of a comment worthless.


"it's related to the word "popular.""

Well, no, it isn't. Many things are notable that are not "popular", or even common. Leprosy, flesh-eating bacteria, progeria, Jeffrey Dahmer.

There's also a vicious cycle here: the existence of an article on Wikipedia may lead people to not post related articles elsewhere on the web, instead relying on the WP article. That may lead in turn to the article's subject being considered insufficiently notable.


You measure it by counting how often people write about it in certain contexts. That seem to be "related" to popularity to me, but if you don't think so, that's fine, go your own way with my blessing.


To me, popularity implies being seen in a favorable light, whereas "notable" is more like the absolute value of popularity or un-popularity.


It is not an insult to say a work is non-notable.

And, well, ball-peen hammers are quite notable. They probably have quite a few more practicing users than many of the languages this guy nominated. The problem with someone saying, "ball peen hammers aren't notable," is not that the creator of ball peen hammers might feel insulted. The problem is that the statement is incorrect.


Telling people that their work is not notable is not an insult. If someone said that to me, I'd probably give a wry grin, shrug my shoulders and say "Yeah, kinda sucks, huh?" Most work is not notable. It's not defensible to attack someone because they made a factual claim that your work has had negligible impact.


This sort of behavior is not acceptable on Wikipedia

I disagree, that sort of behavior is absolutely par-for-the-course in almost every dealing I've seen with WP's self-selected editor class.


"The harshness of the lesson was proportional to the amount of rage such behavior induce."

Let's consider the logic of that statement by taking a different example. A young child is in a shop and is told by its parent it cannot have some candy. Young child "I want candy! I want candy!". The child becomes enraged, more and more enraged, by the behavior of the parent. Should the child now teach the parent a harsh lesson? Since the parent's behavior has induced a great deal of rage a very harsh lesson seems entirely appropriate.


The two situations are way too different: the relationship between a child and his parents implies that the parents have an authority on him. Deletionists have no authority on the content of Wikipedia. They know the policies and how to make Wikipedia work. Those policies grant them an advantage and if they misuse them, the users have little recourses. This, combined with arrogance, enrage the users.

I do not approve the harshness that we saw tonight, but it is easily understandable.


Sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you were supporting a 'rage is sufficient reason to attack people' position. My counter-example was intended to show clearly that rage can be entirely unreasonable and inappropriate and to disprove a general statement that 'rage is sufficient reason to attack people', which glorifies rage and anger over logic and reason. But we were missing each other's points I think.


Pardon my interjection, but did you really believe you'd encounter a real, rational person who actually believed "rage is sufficient reason to attack people"?

I can't imagine any rational person holding that viewpoint, and so in discussion with a rational person, I'd be very unlikely to argue against it without first verifying that they're actually making that claim.


Yes, you are quite right. I should have done that.


The thing that does annoy me is that he seems to agree that the policies need to be changed, but he followed them anyway. Sure, the policies are what ultimately need to be changed, but we also need to discourage blindly following the rules without thinking critically about them.


He missed this rule: "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ignore_all_rules


only after there was a backlash: he did was felt right, people failed to counter, an admin deleted stuff, people bitched and moaned --> therefore, fine if the system is not yielding the right results let's change it.

Chris seems to be really decent. even if he had a lapse in judgement, he embraces pleasant discussion. i'm embarrassed by the juvenille response: the meanness most of all, but also the unwillingness to see someone else's perspective or view efforts as a collaboration rather than a fight.

if a teammate messes up, you help them, you don't shoot them down.


His user page now has a passive-aggressive self congratulatory quote from a supporter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Christopher_Monsanto

Lesson not learned. He's still seeking self-justification for removing knowledge from the public sphere. It's almost 1984-esque.


> if a teammate messes up, you help them, you don't shoot them down.

If a teammate (WP editor) deliberately sabotages the team (by deleting useful information instead of creating it), what do you do then?


I think you mis-interpreted him. He actually said he believed that all the articles he submitted for deletion were deserving. He did however, say that if people really felt that he was being mis-guided, by following protocol, then, instead of leaving messages on his talk page, he would suggest people work on fixing WP notability guidelines.

When he said "fixing" I don't get the feeling _he_ thinks it's broken but rather is acknowledging other people's take (as evidence) and lead him to believe that there could be room for improvement.

To me this shows that he believes things are ok, but he would agree to any changes if the community thought changes were necessary. That's quite reasonable to me.

That's quite different from the allegation. (That he thought they were wrong but just followed the guidelines anyway. Or have I missed another quote where the allegation is true?


That's why he's actually a good candidate for being an editor. He is probably the personality type I like to call "football referee". Sticks to the rules even if he thinks they are unfair.

I think such people are indeed very necessary for the world to function (or we'd only have corruption and worse) and there's no reason to be annoyed about them.

Or to put it another way: Don't hate the player. Hate the game.

(But: Exceptions do apply.)


That's exactly why he's a horrible candidate for being an editor, actually.

Football referees don't have the flexibility or responsibility to alter the rules of the game. They have one and only one duty: to make their calls in accordance with the rules of football as closely as they can.

Wikipedia does not operate under football rules. The fifth pillar of Wikipedia is "Wikipedia does not have firm rules." Editors should enforce the spirit of the rule, even if the letter says otherwise. This is the diametrical opposite approach of football. Someone with a "football referee" attitude is decidedly inappropriate for the role of Wikipedia editor.


It's worth pointing out that even football referees have a good amount of discretion when making a call. They don't change the rules, but they selectively apply them.


You might be right, but I think your claim is more controversial than you imply. For the most part, I think the league would prefer the rules be applied mechanically. The one exception I can imagine is giving a player a warning about borderline instances of some infraction before calling a penalty.


You can call holding multiple places on the field every single play. If they did that, the game would be ridiculous and nobody would want to watch or play. So they exercise discretion and only apply the penalty when the holding affected the play.


I got the impression that there were two issues at hand:

1) Those who have the power to delete the articles perhaps weren't knowledgeable enough to make a judgement, or for some other reason gave too much weight to his decisions, and the AfD process didn't provide (enough time, a good environment) for reasonable discussion, and so he had more control over the process than he should have. Many seem to believe he was willfully taking advantage of that position.

2) His tone gave the impression that he wasn't taking the situation seriously. I really get the impression that people were upset about his attitude, maybe even more than his actions, but completely failed to articulate that, at least in a civilized and constructive way.

I'm not at all surprised that he was treated as if he was trolling, but I do agree that we should be better than that, and I have that much more respect for those who tried to mediate.


He nominated them for an open discussion to be decided by an admin.

And the open discussion clearly showed a consensus not to delete the articles.

The process, even if followed, is broken. This debacle is a joke.

Chris should have edited the articles, or ignored them, instead he flagged them for deletion. He positively asserted that they did not belong in wikipedia. None of the respondents to the AfD agreed with him. Yet they were deleted. Semantically, flagging them as AfD was the same as deleting them since that was the outcome in every case.

I agree that he doesn't deserve the entirety of the blame, the horrendously broken editorial process of Wikipedia does. It's so bad that it's virtually impossible to become a new contributor to wikipedia in any meaningful way without become immediately embroiled in WP's editorial shenanigans.


Excuse me, but the thing that proved him to be an idiot in my eyes is not his blind adherence to the rules (which can be discussed), but that, even after all this discussion he is soo sure of himself, i.e. "I think that ALL articles I nominated for deletion fail to meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline."

"The best way to know you have a mind is to change it"!


Sorry if the title seems sensationalist, but by nominating articles for AfD, he was, effectively, trying to get them deleted. He clearly stated his view that they didn't meet the notability guidelines and should be deleted.


"Here's a challenge, then, for the internet: instead of spamming my Wikipedia talk page (which I don't really care about), why don't you work on fixing WP's notability guideline for programming languages?"

Amen to that. Others have said it many times before and it is still true: Wikipedia's notability guidelines would benefit from being fixed. It's rather annoying to note that what this guy was doing was within the letter of the law but yet seemed so wrong. There is no way that the likes of Factor or Clean should be deleted from Wikipedia so the question becomes how can the guidelines be changed so that they don't allow it to happen.


The most important rule of all:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ignore_all_rules

i.e., if something seems to fit in with the "letter of the law" but has no real benefit and lots of reasons not to do it, don't do it!


Sadly the mostly widely mis-used rule :) IAR is for daily usage, no real application in this case (because unfortunately the wider community will probably agree with deletions)


There's been some progress on fixing them over the past few years, mostly in terms of making them more specific to different areas. For example, there's now things like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability_(academics... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability_(music).

Factor is an interesting case. I tried to improve that article at one point by adding references, but I was unable to find any. As far as I can tell, it's almost never actually mentioned in the programming language community: not mentioned in a single book, even books about Forth-like languages, has no articles about it (in workshops, conferences, or anything), and its website has been mentioned in passing in four papers according to Google Scholar (the papers provide no real info on it besides mentioning in passing that it exists). It appears to have some level of notability among PLs aficionados, but if you were trying to discern that by reading the PLs literature, you wouldn't know it.

Clean is quite easy to find references for, though, so not sure how someone could've argued about that one in good faith.

It is something of a problem for things that are "known" in an area but don't have many references, because I do think Wikipedia's insistence on third-party sources is a good idea: an article based entirely on a few sources written by the subject and associates of the subject isn't great, like an article about a band that only cites the band's website, MySpace, and a few mentions on people's blogs. But how do you distinguish that case from the well-known-but-has-few-good-references case, and then how do you write an article about the latter? Here's a music example that might be analogous to some of these programming languages, a record label that's well-known in the postindustrial sphere, but has no good sources as far as I can find: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Europa_Cafe. How should one improve the article, and what should the information in it be referenced to?

The long-term solutions here are to improve the literature: someone needs to write a more recent book or survey article on emerging programming languages, and someone else needs to write a book on 1980s/90s independent postindustrial record labels. Then Wikipedia can just cite those books. Until then, since Wikipedia works best when it's a summary of the existing literature, it runs into trouble when the existing literature itself is deficient.


The answer is: changing stated Wikipedia policy is a painful, politicized process. Editing articles is annoying, and deleting articles is annoying and political, but trying to change deletion policy is the exact kind of direct frontal attack that gets you maximum political resistance and minimum effective gain.


  If anyone thought what I was doing was wrong, they could have just sent me a friendly message and I would have politely discussed the issue.
I guess he missed all the subtle indicators people left all over the place saying "Christopher, we are upset".


No, my understanding was that a small, but vocal, special interest group was upset for nominating their favorite programming language. The vast majority of angry people seemed unable to come up with a rational reason for saving the article. The vast majority of calm people seemed to agree with the deletions, and agreed with me for labeling the others as a small-but-vocal-minority. If you felt you were doing something right and no one who thought you were wrong had a convincing case (as convincing as "nazi dickwad deletionist we're gonna e-mail your professor" is), wouldn't you try to push through the intimidation? It wasn't until the wider reddit and HN communities caught on that I understood that it wasn't an annoyed minority, yet I would have caught on earlier if someone had actually tried to reason with me (and maybe brought up the citation argument).

I regret that I am unable to reply to each comment individually, HN's software stops me from making too many posts.


Your understanding is wrong. It is this attitude of yours, that of ascribing fictional motives to those who criticized you, and the failure to comprehend the impact of your actions, that had a role to play in precipitating the outrage in the first place. I am no fan or user of any of the language that you helped delete. But that does not mean I would be ok with those deletions. See my other comments for an elaboration. I know enough that important knowledge also exists as folklore and it is important to preserve them on Wikipedia, precisely because they are not represented adequately elsewhere.

You are clearly disingenuous. You complained about: if only people had told you that you were doing wrong. People did, and you came up with snarks and smileys and gratuitously appointed yourself the position of a judge that decides which citations had impact and which did not. And when it went out of hand, you played the victim and you changed your excuse to 'if only _more_ people did, more reasonably etc. etc'.

``I only recommended a deletion, did not delete it myself``, is another exhibition of dis ingenuousness and irresponsibility. Same for the shuttling between, "I am sorry" and, ``I was right in every case``. (Things between `` `` aren't actual quotes)

I believe you are an adult, everybody expects adults to possess some degree of understanding of what is being told to them and act and apply rules with ownership and responsibility. What is specifically galling is that when push came to a shove you took up the excuse that notably rules are broken. But, earlier, had no problems argumentatively enforcing them blindly. No one had a gun to your head to do whatever you went about doing, you went about doing it anyway and then hid behind a straw-man.

Nobody has the time an energy to, as you indicate, to reason with someone at length. Especially when the other person is being unreasonably pedantic and obnoxious. Most people have a real job and more important things to do.

Edit: @runjake your point well taken and upped.


A wise man once said "Do not feed the troll."

Edit: before down-arrowing me, you may want to examine the situation. It's pretty apparent this guy has an agenda.


Everyone who comments on an AfD "judges" something. It was my opinion that there were not enough citations, and I was open to the views of others. When others do not give their views, or when their views are so clouded by their rage that they cannot effectively argue their point, then yes, I become the sole person who is judging.

I don't ever remember saying that the notability rules were broken. However, if others think that they are, I can respect their opinions. Likewise, I don't think I slithered out when push came to shove. Actually, when push came to shove, I continued what I was doing with the understanding that the naysayers were a special interest group with an agenda (wasn't this my previous post...?) However, I did say I would stop and spent a good deal of time apologizing here when it was clear that my understanding was false. How is this not taking responsibility for my actions?

Yes, people told me that I was wrong. But at the risk of repeating myself, they did not give me any reason to believe that they were aligned with the goals of Wikipedia, and others more experienced with Wikipedia assured me that they were not in fact aligned with said goals. I was willing to cooperate with anyone who took any effort to communicate with me: for instance, the first message I received on my talk page was asking why I put a notability tag on his article. He said it was notable, and provided a reference. I thanked him and removed the tag.

I don't know why you are so sure that I am acting in bad faith. If my intent was to troll Wikipedia, I wouldn't have used my real name.


You were interfering with the results and efforts of others. Surely, it isn't hard to understand that such interference is one of the few things guaranteed to antagonize people. Insisting that they should hold a coherent argument, after your provocation, is very unfair. Most people understand these things intuitively, so I would only point out your own blindness in certain aspects of social relations.

There have been many criticisms being leveled at your actions, but most of them—some correct, some incorrect—aren't important. Nor do your responses so far reveal any deep reflection of all that has transpired. The important point that people have been trying to articulate is this: Even though you were faced with mixed signals, rather than proceed with caution and try to understand the situation more fully (e.g., by engaging in discussion and building rapport), instead you plowed ahead with your own little project that would alter a common, shared space.

Wisdom and being right are different. It is wise to tread lightly. We will all learn, or re-learn, these things, at some juncture. Meanwhile, best wishes and happy Valentine's.

Sincerely,

A fellow grad student at Princeton

P.S. So, is it awesome working for an advisor who is a fan of Civ?


I'm honestly curious as to your motivation; what made you think that nominating Alice ML and Nemerle for deletion would make the world a better place? Do you think those articles existing made it harder to find other more useful content? Do you think they were unreasonable attempts by fans of the languages to use Wikipedia for self-promotion? Regardless of the letter of the policy, what made you think this was a good thing to do?


> I regret that I am unable to reply to each comment individually, HN's software stops me from making too many posts.

At least you're getting voted up, which should help. It's an anti-spam measure... also, try clicking on the 'link' of something you want to reply to. If there's too much back and forth in a thread, it'll hide the 'reply' button in an attempt to slow down conversation, but obviously this is a bit of a special case.


For what it's worth, the stuff that passes for discussion on the AfD pages makes me wonder if something like the Scholarpedia model for articles is the better way of doing things.


Much of the stuff that passes for discussion on some of the more contentious pages makes me wonder about the whole process. See Talk:Danah_Boyd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Danah_Boyd) for one of the cases that made me realize that the editor process is broken.


The first public victory of inclusionism over deletionism. Perhaps it is not too late for Wikipedia. If only similar mobs could mete out rough internet justice to the top ten most notorious deletionists, casual contributors may once again walk the hallways of Wikipedia.

[only partially tongue-in-cheek here...]


Deletionism is the reason Wikipedia has only a moderate shortage of editors curating content, rather than an utterly insoluble maintenance nightmare. If this farce means the inclusionists are winning, it's the beginning of the end for Wikipedia. They will get what they seem to want—a mirror of the entire web hosted at wikipedia.org, with just as much outdated, useless, and actively misleading crap.


Rather than a "moderate shortage of editors curating content," the Wikimedia Foundation says that the decline in the number of active administrators is "continuing in an unsustainable fashion."

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Story_of_Wikimedia_Editor...

It would be interesting to look at administrators' self-reported reasons for burning out, and it is definitely interesting to look at competing models for building online encyclopedias, but you may be right that an explicitly more inclusionist policy (which allows even more content that cannot be reliably sourced and that may be simply made up by fanboys) would hasten the decline of active Wikipedia administrators and editors in general. On the whole, I have an inclusionist orientation, and still do, but after seeing many more Wikipedia articles from the inside (as a wikipedian) than I once had, I can't say that I disagree with the majority of article deletion decisions that are actually made by current Wikipedia community processes.


I can say definitively that I know of at least a dozen people who would otherwise be active contributors to wikipedia if they hadn't had dozens of hours of their work deleted repeatedly.

Not edited or improved, deleted.


What kind of sources did they cite in their contributions?

(I agree with you, assuming those articles were sourced, that it is appalling to delete sourced content. But that has happened to me. Point-of-view pushing is a huge problem on Wikipedia. Coming with sources, in my observation, saves articles from being deleted entirely, but having good sources doesn't save a paragraph from being deleted entirely in an article devoted to pushing a point of view.)


I guess that's part of the debate isn't it? Most things don't actually have a tremendous number of academic sources. If I'm fantastically interested in contributing an article about say, a well known jazz band that doesn't have a page on wikipedia, I may be terribly limited in what secondary resources I can call upon.

Jazz bands don't get a terrible amount of coverage in main stream media, they don't become top-40 acts, they don't get academic papers written about them in the ACM, etc. But they may be hugely influential, have tens of thousands of listeners, and may have other qualifications for why they should have a page. But if they don't meet <arbitrary person>'s requirement for notability they may flag it AfD and then it ends up working it's way through Wikipedia's impressively broken editing process where it'll probably end up deleted despite any discussion to the contrary.

Importantly, my hypothetical jazz band may only be well known in Jazz circles, having never pierced more mainstream circles. But just like a singular academic paper that no lay person has heard about, but been cited hundreds of times, this band may have influenced hundreds of other, highly visible bands.

I'm picking Jazz here, but it could be any other fairly insular sub-culture, say Blue Grass, or Model Train collectors. It's not up to me, as somebody not interested in their sub-culture to decide if it's notable. That only tests whether or not something has percolated up to "common knowledge". If that's the test for inclusion, then we don't really need Wikipedia anyway do we? Everybody already knows what's in it!


Deletionism is also one of the major reasons that I only contribute to the Hackety Hack and Shoes articles on Wikipedia, and nothing else. (oh, and I fear the day when I have to try to prove Hackety Hack 'notable.' I'm pretty sure that it isn't by the letter of the law.)

They'd have more help if they didn't go around deleting things.


Same here. I'd be a lot more active in editing Wikipedia if it weren't for the f@#!#ng deletionists. But as long as those pikers are running around deleting stuff left and right, I feel very little motivation to get involved on a regular basis.


With the current model there needs to be some line because editors are a finite resource and people do occasionally deface articles etc. I would suggest having Wikipedia’s deleted articles end up on another website (using the same backend) which is then ignored by the editorial community to avoid annoying people.

PS: There are already plenty of other wiki's with different focus. There is little need for ex: naruto.wikia.com content on en.wikipedia.com.


The notability guidelines don't address this at all. If the article about AliceML got defaced, the people who obviously care about it would fix it.

And if nobody cares about the article, why does it matter if it's been defaced? And why not delete it once it's been defaced, rather than pre-emptively?


AliceML is an edge case where arguments can be made on both sides (I would have kept it). However the rule is more setup to avoid people adding their family tree and favorite recopies to Wikipedia etc resulting in 10 billion articles and no way to manage them. Overall I think it's a fairly loose standard ex:(Random article) gave me

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bookpeople_(distributor)
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nash_(basketball)
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lars_Holme_Larsen
I can see keeping the first and possibly the second, but why not delete the third?

PS: A different option might be to build a custom AI to validate things, but for now balancing Notable around the size of the community seems reasonable.


I see this as a UI problem, not a 'real' problem.


Heh, I see it as more of an organizational issue, but I suggested a UI solution. Wikipedia is a moderated wiki that seems un-moderated to most users. The Notability rules bother people, but they are really part of a larger tradeoff and scrapping them is risky.


One of the powerful features of wikipedia vs. topic specific wikis is the ability to spend literally hours bouncing around seemingly disconnected subjects, learning something new at each new node. You can start at Naruto and end up at African tribal weapons in a sequence of incredibly smooth segues that can consume literally hours of time. Almost everybody who does this describes the experience as "pleasant" or "amazing" and all come away having learned something.

A walled off wiki simply doesn't allow this type of holistic discovery. And in many cases, the boundaries between subjects can seem rather arbitrary and fuzzy. Where does Naruto end and Feudal Japan start?


If the issue is with maintenance and proper curation of content then that is what should be discussed.

I'd far prefer in the case that an article is not well maintained that it be flagged for deletion in X months due to absence of proper care. If there is a strong community presence the article can be resurrected and recovered and Wikipedia ultimately improved and only otherwise the article deleted.

I've seen deletionism creep into articles that were very well written, very well cited and overall a great source of information. I hope you are either generalizing or I'm misunderstanding your point as otherwise this does anything but justify deletionism.


>I've seen deletionism creep into articles that were very well written, very well cited and overall a great source of information.

These characteristics are not the measure used for inclusion. Which is absolutely right IMO - one could create a well written article, well cited and be the best source on what hair products some actor uses but it wouldn't make that information more notable.

I think that maintaining as high a quality as possible is important for Wikipedia. Like someone said, making Wikipedia a mirror of the web is not beneficial.

Someone here could probably do all right by making a mirror of all pages being deleted though¹.

---

¹ all ready done it seems http://deletionpedia.dbatley.com/w/index.php?title=Main_Page.


I've seen deletionism creep into articles that were very well written, very well cited and overall a great source of information.

I'd like you to let us know what specific examples you have seen, if you would please.


This victory will only last until the page is updated :)


As a fan and user(!) of Factor, I agree that it fails the notability test on Wikipedia. I can't find any mention of the language, beyond that by the author, which might convince a 3rd person that it is more notable than my own pet PL projects. But this might be true of many implementations of well-defined languages like Smalltalk, Scheme, or C. Take a look at the big list of Scheme implementations[1]. How many of them are "notable"? Is Ikarus or Chicken notable? Many PL papers describe some minor tweak in a homegrown toy language. Are all those languages notable?

I think Factor deserves to have a Wikipedia page (it still does), but I don't know by what general criteria I'm including it. It has a complete, robust implementation and is still actively developed, which is more than could be said of 90% of PLs out there. But how do we codify that into a notability test?

[1] http://community.schemewiki.org/?scheme-faq-standards#implem...


The damage is already done. "I'm sorry (but I was still right!)" is the kind of apology I would expect to hear from a child. If you're sorry, then make it right and undo the harm that you did. Otherwise, just shut-up, you're not sincere.


He didn't say he was sorry. He just said he will stop.


Exactly my point. He's sorry that he got called out, nothing more.


He didn't get called out. He got harassed excessively. People with no interest in a language they've never heard of suddenly began venting irrational rage at a guy for suggesting that a language article might not be notable.

The solution to a wiki page being marked AfD is to improve the article with useful citations or discuss why the current citations are enough to verify the article.

It's not to stalk both online and offline the person who suggested a discussion should be had on the notability of a topic.


So? Isn't the most important thing that he's stopping?


The important thing would be restoring the articles. As far as I can see, that isn't happening (yet).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_(programming_language) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemerle

I might just be seeing a cached version, though.

edit: grr, I cannot reply to you, but yes, that was my point exactly: he could request a deletion review.


Chris is just another Wikipedian though. He has the same ability to undo the changes as you do.


He's not "just another Wikipedian", he's the particular Wikipedian that made this mess. So he has a particular responsibility to clean it up.


Ahem... Let me rephrase my above comment. Anything Chris can do, you can do. Perhaps rather than complaining about who "should" clean it up, you can actually do it yourself?


I repeat myself, but: "The damage is already done."


You're not interested in an apology... You don't care that he stopped.

What exactly do you want from him then?


I am interested in an apology. He has not given one, despite this so called "reversal".

A sincere apology would involve 1) apologizing/admitting wrong-doing and 2) undoing the damage. I could certainly settle for only the second.


Re your 2: it's not really up to Monsanto to restore the deleted articles. It's not his call, and if it went through Afd once, to recreate the articles would be to see them get redeleted.


But why would he apologize? He sees himself as following the letter of the law, and points out that if this is an issue, change the law.

Honestly this sounds like 2 things - A cry of help from Wikipedia stating they need concerted outside help/force to fix something they can see is broken/can be improved

A lawyer saying that its not his fault the rules are what they are.


Even after this "reversal", I'm not sure he understands why people were angry about his AfDs.


Judging from his comments, I'd wager this wouldn't have blown up if it weren't for his attitude toward the whole situation. His use of smileys coupled with his tone leaves the impression of condescension, obliviousness, or apathy toward the people he'd upset.


If he'll remember this situation next time he starts clicking buttons, I don't care about his understanding.


Right... notability guidelines are broken, but he doesn't mind following it to the letter.


Notability is broken, since it is usually subjective and wielded mercilessly as an axe by the Wikipedia mafia to cull material which they deem as not notable. Inclusive? Haha, don't make me laugh.


There is, however, nothing stopping articles deemed as not notable by consensus at Wikipedia from being included in other references.


What I think is funny: this guy seems to point to a problem with the internet and Wikipedia. But the actual problem is that he is not a programmer (obviously) so he has a skewed view of what is notable when it comes to programming language. In other words, he has no clue what he is talking about.

He then blames 'the internet' for calling him out. That is the problem with the internet: this newbie comes into the scene and has no idea why his actions are annoying and detrimental. He says he's looking for 'policies' but he's just a newbie.

Hopefully in 5-10 years these dramas will end when we all collectively grow up a bit and stop with the ignorant drama queen games.

Good to see that some aren't letting him rest until he acknowledges that he was deleting articles he had no business deleting. Ignorant editor is no excuse.


Pruning knowledge is a dangerous process.


Regarding this as pruning knowledge is rather exaggerated. First wikipedia deletions are not deletions, they are just hidden from most users but can be viewed or restored. Second this is not primary knowledge it is a very short and incomplete summary of the primary sources.


I didn't realize that deletion is not permanent.

In what manner is the content hidden? Will it show up in search engine results? Will an anonymous user like myself see the content?


Check it out for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alice_programming_...

> A page with this title has previously been deleted. If you are creating a new page with different content, please continue. If you are recreating a page similar to the previously deleted page, or are unsure, please first contact the deleting administrator using the information provided below.


Minor correction here: the "Alice programming language" page was deleted, only to be moved to "Alice (programming language)". The one you want is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alice_(programming...


Nice catch -- it still illustrates what a deleted page looks like though.


chris blanked his talk page on wikipedia. here's the content he removed: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Christop...


>Since the internet seems to care more about keeping these articles than I care about deleting them, I'll stop.

That's how these things work Chris.

"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." -John Gilmore 1993


Has this page been changed since it was posted? Perhaps I'm missing it, but I don't see anything that indicates that he's giving up.


I couldn't see the change on the mobile edition of Wikipedia. It's there on the full version.


It's showing as the current version for me, but here's the permalink: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Christopher_M...


He very correctly points out that people should simply fix the Wikipedia rules then. In an open system, once you start ignoring the rules, everybody will want their exceptions and you end up in chaos. Anyone remember the Wikipedia from ten years ago? Today, it aims to have a good standard regarding its content, that is only possible with rules. So just update the rules and everything is fine. More importantly, it will still be fine ten years from now, when nobody remembers this incident anymore.


>He very correctly points out that people should simply fix the Wikipedia rules then.

Everyone is responsible for their own action. You should not follow rules that are bad, you should ignore them or try to change them yourself. "Just doing my job" is not a legitimate excuse and if I had the power I would punish that defense more severely than any other because it's the most dangerous.


Stack Exchange process for deleting content > Wikipedia process for deleting content.

Having nominations be anonymous until a consensus is reached stops this kind of issue arising. Sometimes complete transparency isn't the best policy.


Not unexpected, but whenever something like this happens, to me the real tragedy is the level of animosity and vitriol shown by the "victims".


Power imbalances tend to produce that emotional response. Popular revolt follows, especial when food prices go up. Wait, scratch that last bit.


In this case I think it's more down to the fact that a "fan community" exists. The exact same response happens when a band gets proposed for deletion and someone posts about it on the band's mailing list. You get 100 posts about how this is in fact The Most Important Band In Genre In The Past Ten Years and Wikipedia's administrators must be knuckle-dragging cultureless slobs if they don't recognize that. Then semi-organized mobs try to find who proposed the article for deletion and harass him, etc.

When I saw a bunch of these posts at the top of HN, I was actually expecting a better discussion, but it seems PLs fans are pretty similar to music fans when it comes to someone touching the stuff they like!

And in the other direction, you get much better discussions when there isn't a fandom involved. Most deletion debates of science and math articles end up pretty civil, with a reasonable debate about whether to merge the information somewhere, whether better sources can be found to improve the article instead of deleting it, etc. At worst, you get the one guy who wrote a vanity article about his research lab posting under multiple accounts to try to save it, but usually no mobs.


If there is a band out there with an active online community numbering in the hundreds (which means their offline following is a few orders of magnitude greater), I don't see why they shouldn't have a wikipedia page.


If there are good sources to write an article from, sure. But if there aren't any sources besides the band's website, their MySpace, and a few fans' blog posts, what goes in the article? The usual result is that fans just write a bunch of stuff about the band they like, which doesn't make for the best article. I don't personally care that much, but I don't think the world is greatly harmed by not having those articles, either; for that kind of stuff, there are always fansites and fan wikis, so they don't have to go on Wikipedia.


Just basic information, which is better than nothing.

If you enquire about the bank in wikipedia you'll get something like

"Awesome Band is a neo-dark-fusion-hip-hop jazz Slovenian band formed in 2002. They have produced one album called and are currently active."

Answers the question "what is Awesome Band?" which is the role of wikipedia, isn't it?


>Answers the question "what is Awesome Band?" which is the role of wikipedia, isn't it?

No, it's not. Wikipedia is a knowledge repository not _the_ knowledge repository. It's not there to hold every little bit of trivia, if you want to find "what is Awesome Band" then use a search engine. Wikipedia is there to house notable instances and information that has wider application than mere trivia.

Unless Awesome Band started a new genre, influenced well known bands, is a well known band (eg number 1 tracks, headlining particularly large events, etc.) or is known for something else then it's probably enough to mention them as a footnote as a band that played at Event X or possibly as a notable example of a genre or whatever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About#Wikipedia_conte...


You have a basic, fundamental misunderstanding of what wikipedia is then.

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing. - Jimmy Wales

http://interviews.slashdot.org/story/04/07/28/1351230/Wikipe...


That's clearly not what is being done if you either assess the linked content guidelines or look at Wikipedia itself.

One can either contest that this is simply a soundbite for the press or look at the definition of "knowledge" being used if one cares to square the apparent contradictions.

Why would Wikipedia even attempt to record all information about everything, who wants to know what I had for breakfast or what image is on my son's pyjamas; I contend that everyone that really needs that information already has it.


Why would Wikipedia even attempt to record all information about everything, who wants to know what I had for breakfast or what image is on my son's pyjamas; I contend that everyone that really needs that information already has it.

Who knows? I needed information on Alice ML today, but alas that was not to be. You are not the personal arbitrator of what I need to know any more than Chris Monsanto is of what languages are notable!

For at least the first half of it's life, wikipedia grew at an astonishing rate precisely because it wasn't being moderated by pedantic self-appointed editors. The rise of the editor class in wikipedia may have irreperably broken it as a compendium of knowledge. Imagine, people who know nothing about a subject telling you weather that subject is important to you!

Ridiculous? That's the current state of affairs. One could argue there is even a growing movement of people, like minded with yourself, that it should simply be reduced until it contains no more information than any other run-of-the-mill encyclopedia.

I have news for you, we have plenty of free, scope-limited, hand curated encyclopedias.

Here's what I came up with in 30 seconds. Go entertain yourself with these if you think having articles on obscure, but important topics is simply too much for you to handle.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/ http://www.britannica.com/ http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/ http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Main_Page

The point of Wikipedia is to go far beyond these approaches by crowdsourcing the content. So that people can add what they personally know about obscure subjects. If I happen to be an expert in Korean clam harvesting operations, should I be able to write an article on that? Who the hell cares if you don't personally take an interest in it.

You're right if your response is "well we don't want to just copy what's on the web!" An encyclopedia is supposed to provided a summary of a subject, a launching off point, a confirmation of a subject's existence. It should provide exhaustive breadth. In wikipedia's case, it was even able to provide a bit of depth through external citations, and through hyperlinking to other parts of itself. But the number of subjects should be virtually unlimited. Wikipedia should provide the long-tail. As a pedagogic device, limiting what I'm allowed to look up limits what I can learn about.

To your example, it might be of fantastic importance to me to know what are popular breakfast foods in your country or what kinds of logos kids are wearing these days. A page about Breakfast practices or marketing to children then would be fantastically important to me, but maybe not to you.


For at least the first half of it's life, wikipedia grew at an astonishing rate precisely because it wasn't being moderated by pedantic self-appointed editors.

This is simply factually not true. If anything, Wikipedia is considerably looser on inclusion standards now than it was a few years ago. Most of the people with more traditional views of inclusion standards left around the time that Larry Sanger forked to form Citizendium, plus a few waves after that. It's also gotten much more permissive than it used to be when it comes to things like covering famous internet memes (which used to be deleted on sight).


>Who knows? I needed information on Alice ML today, but alas that was not to be.

Are you seriously telling me you sat down with an internet browser and couldn't find any information about that specific programming language? It's far less notable than I assumed in which case (it took <30s to find http://scidok.sulb.uni-saarland.de/volltexte/2007/1262/ which suggests to me you're lying).

>Imagine, people who know nothing about a subject telling you weather that subject is important to you!

That's not what is happening - Wikipedia uses a democratic process to determine if something is considered notable by the community. We/They say nothing about whether something is important to you. If something is considered not to be sufficiently notable for Wikipedia that doesn't mean you can't write about it, blog about it, even create your own wiki about it.

>If I happen to be an expert in Korean clam harvesting operations, should I be able to write an article on that? Who the hell cares if you don't personally take an interest in it.

Of course, I'd be interested in that, I'm also interested in obscure programming languages too.

However, if Korean clam harvesting is no different to Japanese clam harvesting, which is more-or-less the same as Chinese clam harvesting, then they should be noted on a general article about clam harvesting you don't need a separate article for each country (given the imaginary constraints I've set) nor do you need a different article on each company that does clam harvesting, each location, each person working in each location, ...

>To your example, it might be of fantastic importance to me to know what are popular breakfast foods in your country or what kinds of logos kids are wearing these days. A page about Breakfast practices or marketing to children then would be fantastically important to me, but maybe not to you.

And there you have it, AFAICT you just argued for my point-of-view.

The point is that it is largely irrelevant what I had for breakfast, what the design on my son's pyjamas are but a general page about breakfast is apposite, a general page about use of cartoons in merchandising is apposite.

Similarly it's not important to list every programming language and variant ever. If it's important to you then you'll find the information in a relevant place that gives fine esoteric information about this specific field.


Are you seriously telling me you sat down with an internet browser and couldn't find any information about that specific programming language? It's far less notable than I assumed in which case (it took <30s to find http://scidok.sulb.uni-saarland.de/volltexte/2007/1262/ which suggests to me you're lying).

good, then let's just get rid of Wikipedia altogether. Since I can just get whatever information I need by googling there's really not a point to the site anyways. Is that your argument? At this point I'm 50% thinking that you're just trolling.

That's not what is happening - Wikipedia uses a democratic process to determine if something is considered notable by the community. We/They say nothing about whether something is important to you. If something is considered not to be sufficiently notable for Wikipedia that doesn't mean you can't write about it, blog about it, even create your own wiki about it.

That is exactly what happened in this case. One person flagged, one person deleted. The community voted consistently against the deletion. Check the AfD discussions yourself if you don't believe me. There was not a single vote agreeing the the AfD flag. You can carry on all you want about how WP has various procedures and policies and what not, but that is not what happens de facto with shocking regularity.

However, if Korean clam harvesting is no different to Japanese clam harvesting, which is more-or-less the same as Chinese clam harvesting, then they should be noted on a general article about clam harvesting you don't need a separate article for each country (given the imaginary constraints I've set) nor do you need a different article on each company that does clam harvesting, each location, each person working in each location, ...

But I should be able to create a page if any of those things are interesting or notable enough, if there's enough information on it. Korean clam harvesting may be special and unique in the world. It may have hundreds of thousands of adherents, it may have it's own culture, equipment, techniques etc. It may appear prominently in Korean culture, movies, newspapers or other media. In fact, there could be an entire musical genre of clam harvester music.

But you think "woah, wait a minute, I can't handle all this information" and so it gets shoved into a sidenote on a two page summary of "clam digging", and none of that information ends up compiled and summarized in an article like it deserves to be because some overzealous ignoramus decided to flag it as an AfD and the community who could discuss its importance generally doesn't speak English and even if they did and could vote to keep the article, would probably just get ignored by the editors anyways -- just like in this case.

Similarly it's not important to list every programming language and variant ever. If it's important to you then you'll find the information in a relevant place that gives fine esoteric information about this specific field.

I personally think that listing top-40 pop stars is esoteric information about a specific field I could care less about. But since lots of people seem to like it, we end up with countless pages to that dreck. These languages actually are important to computer science in the same way Fra Angelico is important to Renaissance art. Is Fra Angelico considered a notable master of painting in the same way well known artists are. No. But it's important to have his information summarized and presented, with notes regarding his influence and hist works.

Similarly, Alice ML is the Fra Angelico of the functional programming world. To remove a page about Alice ML is exactly the same as marking Fra Angelico's page AfD because you don't personally know about his notability and then a similarly ignorant editor agrees and BAM! it's gone for all time.


>Since I can just get whatever information I need by googling there's really not a point to the site anyways. Is that your argument?

Absolutely not, and you clearly know it. That's like me saying your argument is that we should get rid of the rest of the internet because one can post lolcats to Wikipedia as notable examples of, er, lolcats.

>But you think "woah, wait a minute, I can't handle all this information" and so it gets shoved into a sidenote on a two page summary of "clam digging"

No I don't. But you're getting sidetracked by the fabricated analogy and forgetting that the removed articles don't have the [fictional] notability of the subject of your story and would have been very unlikely to have been removed if they had and would have certainly been reinstated.

>To remove a page about Alice ML is exactly the same as marking Fra Angelico's page AfD because you don't personally know about his notability

Let's try this as a first approximation on notability. The internet is probably the main repository of CS info - 120 Google Scholar articles mention "'Alice ML'" (appear to be some false positives). Arguably art history is better represented in works that are yet to be fully integrated online - 17000 Google Scholar articles mention "Fra Angelico".

How about books as a further approximation. 33 book results for "'Alice ML' programming" (18 are obvious false positives too). "'fra angelico' ~painting" (I don't think it's ambiguous without the addition of "~painting" but for equivalence ...) gives 133000 book results.

Popularity and plurality don't dictate notability of course. Notability in this case is a function of the appearance of notability to the authors and editors too, hence pop-stars, etc..

-

On the subject of the AfD (articles for deletion). I've looked now at the one for Alice ML, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion...

The oppositions are clearly poor. Most of them are based on the false assumption that Alice (software) is what is at question. A couple mention notability based on being in a book and the proposer convincingly counters these IMO. Vorov2 is the only dissenting voice that appears to know what they are talking about and gives a reasonable argument. Again, it seems clear that the proposer was most knowledgable about the subject, knew the relevant reference works (so had researched) and knew the WP policy well. SarekOfVulcan makes the deletion.

So in summary, one flagged, another gave good opposition, yet another deleted.

In many ways the fact that there was no other decent opposition to this deletion leads me to believe that it was the correct course of action. Note that Alice ML is still present in Wikipedia in a priori relevant places (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:WhatLinksH...).


I'm now 100% convinced that you are just trolling. No reasonable person could come to the conclusion that you just came to without ignoring nearly all of the evidence because it doesn't fit some arbitrary criteria that you've decided to use to make sure your contrarian view is right -- in precisely the way Monsanto did in ignoring the evidence thrown up in opposition to him.

The opposition is strong, they cite references to the language (a few cite references to the software, true), but all are summarily ignored because, just like you, Monsanto decided they don't fit into whatever arbitrary set of requirements you woke up and decided to use today.

And, as of today, it turns out you were wrong anyways since the page has been reinstated.


>And, as of today, it turns out you were wrong anyways since the page has been reinstated.

If you read what I wrote you'll note that I argued that if a sufficient argument for notability was pressed that this would be a reason for inclusion.

So, by your account that I am wrong I'd have to assume that the article was reinstated without presentation of evidence of notability or logical argument for such?


I can see how the two are similar. However, the scale of the band page problem is, I'm guessing, at least 2 orders of magnitude worse, if not more, than the programming language clutter.


Yeah, there's definitely a difference in scale and possible harm done. Unlike some minor cruft in other parts of science, they don't seem to attract much kookery either, so "fringe PLs" versus "fringe physics" is at worst clutter, not full of actively misleading nonsense.

I'd have to try to look at archives to be sure, but I think fringe-physics is actually one of the reasons some of the science-related policies are written as they are. The answer to, "how do we keep this crap off Wikipedia?" was to have some sort of policy about the existence of peer-reviewed sources. (The peer-reviewed part is necessary, because a lot of fringe physics has papers up on arXiv.)


I wonder how many people got up in arms when they saw the "Monsanto" and thought a patent-hoarding Satan was running around Wikipedia erasing programming language articles.

This wasn't really a valuable comment, but I couldn't help it.



that is the outermost danger of tomorrow - the youngs today are made believe in the rule of rule. They will be cutting each other's fingers (of course after due process presided over by the millenium judge) for pressing a button on their own hardware they aren't licensed to press by the EULA or for not using real name on Facebook/Quora.


Thank you, Chris. You did the right thing.


This problem is hardy unique to this instance alone, or even to wikipedia alone. This is a question faced by All publications, that of target audience and market. Obviously on a tech forum like HN we're more likely to be interested in langs like factor. But imagine a journalist looking through langs to report on computer sci or a teenager looking for something new to study... It would be a waste of time.

Problem with wikipedia is that it does not have a target audience defined clearly enough to answer these questions easily. And as with many sites, except for the specific use case it was designrped for, it's not useful. For eacmple could a student learn any calculus from the calculus page?

We should stop trying force wikipedia to be the ideal resource for everything, as it's clearly impossible. There are better mediums for that.




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