> From: "Jeff Raymond" <jeff.raymond(a)internationalhouseofbacon.com>
> When the mainstream media consistently uses blogs as reliable
> information for their stories, there's absolutely no reason why we can't
> do the same thing.
It's a question of the "web of trust." My belief is that part of a journalist's skill involves knowing what sources to trust (and in obtaining reliable information from not-fully-reliable sources through various means, such as cross-checking with other not-fully-reliable sources). My belief is also that a journalist measures a blog posting, or anything else, against a large body of background that _he_ has, that _I_ don't have, that _he_ can use to judge the credibility of the source.
Just because the New York Times' source for _a_ story is _a_ blog doesn't mean that _any_ blog has the same reliability as The New York Times.
It's like saying that a "when mainstream surgeons consistently use scalpels as reliable tools for cutting into living flesh, there's no reason why we can't do the same thing."
Of course, if one believes that the existence of bad journalist and bad surgeons implies that journalists and surgeons don't genuinely possess any special skills, then it would follow that anyone can use a blog (or a scalpel) just as safely as a journalist (or a surgeon).
It was Dilbert's pointy-haired boss reasoned that "anything I don't understand must be easy..."
zero 0000 wrote
> I agree 101%. Deletionism seems to be a sort of mental disease.
More radical incivility.
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This article said that "She is the sister of [[Powderfinger]] frontman
and solo artist, [[Bernard Fanning]]."
She asked me about this on television. I danced around it as best I
could, but basically it was not fun. :(
Fortunately, this bit of incorrect information was not negative. But it
made it hard for me to make a positive image for us.
I edited out the bad bit, but I left in the previous line:
"Ellen Fanning is married and has two young sons."
There is no source. Is it even true? Well, I asked her, and it is
true. But there is no source.
I hope the horse I am beating is still alive: we have to be absolutely
ruthless about removing "I think I heard it somewhere"
pseudo-information from Wikipedia, and especially from biographies.
People who are fighting the good fight here are sometimes threatened
with a trip to ArbCom. They need our support, though.
>I hope the horse I am beating is still alive: we have to be absolutely
>ruthless about removing "I think I heard it somewhere"
>pseudo-information from Wikipedia, and especially from biographies.
>People who are fighting the good fight here are sometimes threatened
>with a trip to ArbCom. They need our support, though.
It needs to be clear up and down the line that the arbitration committee will support people who remove unsourced information, as long as they are nice about it. But these things should never come to us, people who resist removal of unsourced information should be clued in long before it comes to that.
Many of the proposals to "fix" Wikipedia of late have seemed to take
as a premise that what we've done is wrong. I, personally, disagree.
I think we've got a pretty good encyclopedia. It needs work, but it's
good enough to go public with, which, thank God, since we went public
with it. Sensible users can use it well.
But if we really do want to speed up its improvement (which I can
take or leave, but everyone else seems desperate to take it)...
Why don't we lock new article creation in the main namespace entirely
for three months? Or six months? Demand that people fix existing
Anything that's absolutely vital that comes into being in those
months will still be possible to write about in a few months, so
there's no real rush. And a lot of the crap that we create by reflex
will not get created and be pleasantly forgotten about. (Brian
Peppers, anyone?) And we could easily make the red page text read
something like "On XX/XX/XXXX suspended new article creation until XX/
XX/XXXX in order to better work on existing articles. If this is an
important topic that has developed since we made this decision, you
can probably find information on it by looking at existing articles
on related topics."
We've suggested doing it for a day here and there. The heck with
that. Let's do it for a long period of time so that the culture of
fixing what we have becomes entrenched.
Or, I mean, we could decide that everything we've worked on this far
is actually crap and create drastic proposals for how we could start
That article sucks royally. More eyes, please.
The major problem is that the "controversy" (which I have largely
removed now) is reported only in one local tabloid, with a single
reprint cited. It does indeed look as if we are being used to promote
I have asked on Talk for reliable secondary sources for the
significance of the allegations. A Wall Street Journal profile would
My Factiva subscription gives precisely zero hits on McMahan outside
of the campaign by the Broward New Times. Not one.
For transparency, the moderated user "countpointercount" has the
following message for subscribers to the mailing list:
'Your "moderators" are now claiming that any reporting of abusive
administrators is a "personal attack." This is obvious coverup
This is in response to my rejection of two emails, both of which I
considered to contain personal attacks because they called various
administrators 'abusive' etc. What are the thoughts of subscribers to
the list on this? What would the appropriate course of action have
This is a message I wrote in another mailing list. I'm forwarding it
to enwiki-l at Jimbo's suggestion.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kelly Martin <kelly.lynn.martin(a)gmail.com>
Date: Mar 30, 2007 11:15 AM
Subject: Re: [Otrs-en-l] [SPAM] info-en vs info-fr
To: English OTRS discussion list <otrs-en-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
(Comments from another contributor redacted; the discussion was
related to how inclusionist tendencies tend to lead to large numbers
of unmaintained articles.)
This was the gist of my recent blogpost on maintainability as the
proper criterion for inclusion. I freely admit to being an
inclusionist -- I would love to see proper articles on all rysorts of
random topics of even marginal interest -- but I temper that with the
understanding that having unmaintainable articles harms the
encyclopedia as a whole, and the recognition that the Wikipedia
community is not currently capable of maintaining even the articles it
has, let alone all the articles it could possibly have.
My attitude on such people is that the content should be sequestered
in a nonpublic place and reviewed upon notice that the individual in
question has died. If we never receive notice, then that's probably
because the person was not interesting enough in life to justify an
article anyway. Yes, we might sequester an article for decades under
this policy, but I'm an eventualist as well.
However, don't mistake my eventualism for being support for the idea
that we should leave crap articles sitting out there in public view
(which is a point of view commonly attributed to eventualists). I am
firmly opposed to leaving low-quality articles on the public wiki when
doing so will bring disrepute onto the subjects of those articles or
bring harm to Wikipedia as a project. I am therefore very much in
favor of deletion of any article for which there is no established,
committed process for maintenance.
The problem with this is that there is no established, committed
process for maintaining ANY article on Wikipedia. All article
maintenance on Wikipedia, and in fact virtually all process on
Wikipedia, is haphazard. We are just starting to get comprehensive
vandalism management using centralized tools, or so I am told. We
still have no mechanisms for coordinating even so much as article
categorization or article sourcing, both of which are crucial aspects
of article maintenance.
The infrastructure to maintain over a million and a half articles has
never existed on Wikipedia. Until it does, every new article is
another paper cut, bleeding us a bit more each day.
As I see it, the following absolutely must be done:
* All articles must be categorized. A bot can be used to generate
lists of uncategorized articles, and the articles found in this way
presented to volunteer categorizers using a workflow approach.
Articles not categorized within a reasonable time (say, seven days for
new articles, and three months for existing articles) will be deleted.
My understanding is that there are bots that are capable of making
"good guesses" at categorization, so this may be less painful than it
* A mapping of categories onto Subject Working Groups needs to be
established. Each Subject Working Group is responsible for the
maintenance of all articles which are categorized within categories
assigned to that SWG. (If an article is within the scope of multiple
SWGs, an arbitration process, with both automated and deliberative
components, will determine which SWG will be primarily responsible for
* Editors, most of whose edits are made to articles categorized within
a specific SWG, will be identified and asked to form a SWG (or
formalize an existing informal one).
* SWGs will have the responsibility to ensure that all articles within
their ambit are properly sourced, cleaned up, etc.
* Any article which remains unsourced for one month will be deleted.
A bot will detect unsourced articles and notify the responsible SWG of
the article and the need to source it.
This is all entirely orthogonal to vandalism management.
There are already a lot of SWGs on Wikipedia, with varying degrees of
organization; many WikiProjects qualify as such. However, both the
automation and the sense of group responsibility is not currently
present, and needs to be cultivated. We need these people to feel
personally responsible for the quality of all of the articles in their
This is a response to the scaling problem. The English Wikipedia's
community has grown too large to function organically the way it used
to three years ago. It is my belief that breaking it up into multiple
subject-oriented communities will help to combat the scaling problem:
the members of the SWG will all know one another and are far more
likely to remain collegial and productive with one another. A SWG
that gets too large can be subdivided further, which means this
provides an ongoing solution to the scaling problem, not just a
Please feel free to refine this idea or just tell me it's a load of hooey.