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Y Combinator Article Nominated for Deletion by Wikipedia Administrators (wikipedia.org)
45 points by ciscoriordan on Aug 27, 2008 | hide | past | favorite | 79 comments

Rather than just complaining about Wikipedia, I've contested the deletion by removing the prod tag and added some sources from major publications. Please help add references from reliable sources (blogs dont count) or help copyedit the article.

Here's a good search for finding reliable sources: http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=%22y+combinator%22+so...

reliable sources (blogs don't count)

Aren't there reliable blogs?

They're good for adding more information but bad for establishing notability (as per Wiki policy) because their reliability is contentious.

So yes, there are reliable blogs, but a post from Scoble and no mainstream media hits won't save an article from the deletionists.

I don't get Wikipedia at times. How is this article notable?


(I have use the wikipedia random page as my homepage)

But no commonly accepted way to validate their reliability

As if newspapers and books are reliable. I'd trust a comment at this website about YC by a YC applicant over a Business Week article.

Rather than just complaining about Wikipedia, I would love to see 2 smart guys in a garage create a competitor.

It's trivially easy for two smart guys in a garage to create a competitor.

It's difficult to persuade hundreds of thousands of people outside said garage to write the actual content.

I think most people would understand "create a competitor" to entail more than the strawman of mere implementation you seem to be taking it to mean.

The point is that the main problem can't be solved at the two-guys-in-a-garage level.

Two guys in a garage can create a wiki. Two guys in a garage with a million dollar PR budget can create a wiki and get it widely publicised. Two guys in a garage with a fifty million dollar budget can hire a bunch of writers to get the content kickstarted. But ultimately, the problem of persuading thousands of people to contribute to a brand new service is not a problem that anyone knows how to solve -- it either takes off or it doesn't.

The two guys have an advantage - lots of former editors are sick of Wikipedia, and non-deletionists have nowhere to go. I don't see any reason why two guys in a garage couldn't succeed.

Well. It's a problem requiring a creative solution. It's certainly hard. I don't know how to do it, but I wouldn't say it's impossible or all up to fate.

Fork it.

1) what does "competitor" translate to, for non-profits?

2) why write new source if your goal is just to launch another wiki?

That's the wrong direction: more selective.

The right direction: Wikipedia with a constitutional bias against deletionism. Only false, illegal, or privacy-violating information should be deleted. Everything true should be welcomed.

Sweet! You should start one of those.

I look forward to creating the article "List of random numbers generated by hugh's random number generator on September 18, 2008".

That would be a useless article, but it would be harmless, assuming a sane policy that doesn't allow for terabyte-long articles that strain server resources. Nobody would link to it and nobody would read it, even if your really posted it - which you wouldn't, because you have better things to do.

I look forward to watching it turn into the 4chan wiki.

At some point, an excessive contributor would have to sponsor their own material. It's a business model!

Maybe, although they need to work on the UI. But good start.

It was created years ago and it's called the world wide web.

True, but it was created by one guy and one NeXT cube in a particle accelerator ;-) Talk about odd partnerships.

Definitely. Wikipedia collectively has a lot of experience with holding off editing attempts by swarms of irritated people, and that's strongly influenced their editing standards. To my understanding, content posted without sources is useless at best, trolling at worst.

Before everyone goes nuts, please consider the following: - Wikipedia allows for a civil debate on deletion matters. That's why the talk page is there. - Back up your arguments with logic and facts instead of floods of "YOU ARE WRONG" - that will get you nowhere. - Don't flame anyone for their opinions. - Most of all, let's defend the notability of Ycombinator. As a tech entrepreneur and professional blogger, I believe that A) YCombinator is very notable for not only who it invests in, but it's unique style and that B) People benefit from that information. So I will argue with logic, facts, and courtesy. I hope you all do the same as well.

How about instead of running in blazing with integrity, already prepared to disagree with someone we "please expand or rewrite the article to establish its notability." and bring it to Wikipedia standards?

That's a given. The article isn't up to wikipedia standards at the moment.

From the Wikipedia Notability Guidlines page:

If it is likely that independent sources could be found for a topic, deletion due to lack of notability is inappropriate unless active effort has been made to find these sources. For articles of unclear notability, deletion should be a last resort.

That's why people "go nuts." Whoever nominated this for deletion was either lazy and stupid or just looking for some drama.

Since we're refraining from flaming the wiki wackos on wikipedia let's do it here instead: Get a frigging grip on reality. That page is not that bad. It is useful information. Deleting should be reserved for obvious spam or completely irrelevent or wrong information. But that's fine. The wikieaucracy is gradually destroying wikipedia paving the way for something better to take its place.

There's something seriously wrong when the article about Disqus is deleted for not having reliable sources, and a search on Google News for "Disqus" shows articles from the Washington Post, CNET News, Mashable, and VentureBeat, all on the first page.

Were those sources actually linked from the Disqus article?

No, the old article was pretty weak, just a couple of lines and a link to the TechCrunch launch post.

I don't mind Wikipedia's standards, but I wish they were more evenly applied. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of companies that are less notable than YC that will never be deleted. Instead it is those that are somehow controversial and questionably notable that will be flagged for deletion.

YC isn't "Not Notable" they're saying the article doesn't have the sufficient supporting evidence of its notability. (Which it doesn't)

This is an easy fix.

It is kind of annoying that an admin prodded a page that has mainstream print pubs on the first page of news.google.com results.

It looks like said mainstream print pubs weren't referenced in the deleted version, though. (Several are now.)

Wikipedia generally doesn't use http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/ as a primary source.

No, WP doesn't use Google as a primary source. Neither did I. The first page of Google results includes sources in mainstream print publications, many of which have YC as their actual subject.

If you have a concern about sourcing, there's the "refimprove" tag. An uncontested "prod" deletes the article. It is bad form to prod things you didn't even take the time to look up. If you want evidence to that affect, try slapping an AfD on the article and see how long it takes to speedy out.

Then, let me know you did, so when your RfA comes up, I can cite the AfD. RfA's have failed over silly stuff like this.

(Incidentally, sorry if that came across as more hostile than intended. Rereading it, it was more curt than I realized.)

Ironic that they'll remove actual people and companies, yet they retain 100s of pages covering the Star Trek universe:


It's true that people tend to be more aggressive about deleting pages about people and companies than they are about deleting random Star Trek crap, but it kinda makes sense. Most of the truly rubbish pages which show up on wikipedia are random schmoes creating their own wikipedia pages to promote themselves, their businesses, their bands or their blogs, so the notability criteria for people, businesses, bands and blogs are pretty firmly enforced. At least there's only a finite supply of random Star Trek crap to be incorporated.

Ironic, perhaps, but not at all surprising. Wikipedia is a portrait of wikipedians.

I also don't see what the big deal is. Having a Wikipedia article does not all of a sudden validate the Y Combinator idea, and having it deleted certainly does not invalidate the work they've done.

To put it in perspective, ignition partners, one of the largest north western venture capital funds, does not have a wikipedia page.

Take a look at the articles on VC firms on sand hill:


Only KPCB has an informative, encyclopedic entry - the rest I would argue don't even need to have articles.

Not to mention YC isn't a big VC firm, it's seed-only.

This again?

Read the comments here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=216723.

YC has a huge amount of media coverage. There is no way it is going to be deleted. The sole standard for an article remaining in Wikipedia is Notability, which is determined entirely by the presence of reliable independent sources.

Anybody can nominate an article for deletion at any time. You could nominate [[Bill Gates]] right now. It would appear, briefly, in the AfD debate log, until someone speedy-kept it. This will get speedied too. Move along, nothing to see here.

A Wikipedia competitor is one of the things pg would love to fund so....

why are there only 16 yc companies listed?

For a while Wikipedia had such a complete list that we ourselves used to refer to it. Then some wikipedian decided to "improve" the list by deleting most of them. Since then it has always been a more or less random subset of YC funded cos.

I guess there should be a separate page listing all YC funded companies (if you can have pages listing all characters in tv series, why not companies funded by YC?).

why not companies funded by YC?

Because the standard of 'notability' is bogus when applied to something of the supposed scope of wikipedia. It's impossible to apply it with any reasonable consistency, and it always boils down to a few biased opinions, which is why the topic of notability deletions is so sensitive.

Yeah I don't know - they removed RescueTime and some others. It seems pretty incomplete to have some but not others. I don't know what criteria they're using to decide which should be listed.

Well, they should be using the criteria set out in WP:COMPANY -- I don't think they're quite there yet. Some notable companies are unlisted, and some not-yet-notable companies are.

Not every company is notable, and certainly not companies at the two-guys-and-no-revenue stage (compare to your local dry cleaner, who is probably actually profitable).

I can understand not wanting to have an ARTICLE on each YC companies... But it seems that any page that is primarily about a VC firm would benefit from an up to date listing of investments (and status of those companies).

This list would provide a better understanding of YC. Given that there is no SEO juice with links from Wikipedia and given that being on the list resulted in 2-10 vists per day for RescueTime (when we were on it), I see lots of benefit (in term of being accurate/complete), no harm, and no real significant benefit to the companies lists.

The articles for prominent VC firms don't have a complete list of their investments. There's 20-something listed for Kleiner Perkins, 30-something for Sequoia, and only 3 for DFJ.

Why not include a complete list though, so long as it can be maintained?

If the information is public I don't see any good reason why it must be a subset.

I think that is what the VC company's site could be used for.

I don't. Lists are easily maintained on a wiki with a large number of users, which you wouldn't get with a VC company site. Given that the wikipedia article is about a notable company, and the list of funded companies is one of the most important facts about that notable company, it should be included in its entirety. There is almost nothing to be gained by having a partial list.

I would think that either you'd include a list that is as complete as possible, or not include it at all. Doing a partial list because you don't WANT it complete is just warped.

By that logic, ANY entities site could be used for ANY information on Wikipedia. The point is that it's valuable and useful information that isn't readily available (most VCs keep incomplete lists, probably to marginalize the failures). The lists would enhance the knowledge of the reader, which SHOULD be the goal of Wikipedia.

The article is about YCombinator, so I'd expect to find all of their known investments listed, 'notable' or otherwise.

Does traffic play into this at all? Something tells me more people go to that page than to the long tail majority of wikipedia pages.

It's the Internet! Why delete any articles, ever!? It's not like Wikipedia is running out of database space or something. It's dumb to have a subjective "notability" standard at all in a world of practically infinite scale.

It's called signal to noise. All content is not good content and serves to make the good content hard to find. Deletion is necessary.

You are aware that Alexa Rank is both a) virtually useless and b) easily fixed, yes?

It's things like this that make me lose faith in Wikipedia.

This method of deletion (prod) is sometimes used as a way to force people/fans to improve the article. To contest the deletion all one has to do is remove the tag, and hopefully improve the article before it is sent to a full deletion discussion.

It's not even an AfD, just a prod? I just removed the tag. Now it has to go to AfD to be deleted.

I already moved the tag, this article links to a specific revision of the article, not the actual article

Rats! You win. You even beat me to undoing the damage I caused.

I don't know. When you read the definition of what is notable, you can argue someone has a point. Useful? yes, Interesting? of course, Popular? definitely. But you have to dig deeper to decide if YC is notable.

After some thought, I think it is. One can say YC is just another VC firm, so why should that be notable. But the unique way in which they are investing and developing companies is notable.

The fact that several imitators of YC have since popped-up seems to me to make the original notable.

I'd agree completely. Y-combinator is the leading example of a company that is shaking up the the way technology investing is being done.

People who believe in the YC model and people who challenge alike all follow its progress closely as it is the flag-bearer of a new wave of investment.

This is why just about every major tech/business publication and many newspapers have written about YC.

The reality is that YC is now starting to get to the point where it is challenging some parts of the industry. This is why every Techcrunch article that mentions YC or a YC company is filled with the obligatory comments.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” –Gandhi

The page is actually pretty crappy, IMO.

Well that was a rather quick resolution to the problem.

The one-time problem of this specific article being nominated for deletion has been resolved, but the larger issue of the Wikipedia bureaucracy preventing good content from being created and viewed is certainly still around.

... and the article is still pretty bad! apparently these comment threads don't inspire much action ;-)

One answer to their knack for deleting valid content is to simply NEVER donate to them, encourage every single person you know to do the same, and let wikipedia know you are doing this and why.

This is what I have done.

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