On 5 December 2011 09:52, Ray Saintonge <saintonge(a)telus.net> wrote:
On 12/04/11 1:10 PM, Will Beback wrote:
noticed that a lot of critics of Wikipedia began by trying to
some non-notable cause only to be rebuffed.
Do we get anywhere when we approach a problem with such an attitude of
I don't know. Will's comment seems to be empirically accurate. It's an ad
hominem argument (as yours is); and ad hominem is sometimes a fallacy. We
do tend to hear in the blogosphere about the cases where someone is vested
in some way in having Wikipedia cover something; we tend to hear on this
list about the principle of the thing. Either way, I prefer analyses that
start from premises that are the mission's own.
Instead of trying to figure out why this happens so
often, this response
merely seeks to justify the status quo. Whether somebody is notable
depends entirely on one's Point of View, yet the entire premise of the
argument is the subject's notability. How is the subject any less
notable than [[Cy Vorhees]]?
AfD can get it wrong: I suppose that is common ground. "Notability" as
concept is broken, always has been, always will be (my view, not
necessarily the majority view given the status given to the GNG by some).
In some cases it is really not a big deal whether a topic is included or
not: there obviously is a level at which quite a number of reasonable
people are pretty much indifferent to the outcome. The same people would
not, presumably, be indifferent to the decision not being by "due process".
There is an appeal against AfD's process aspect. Anyone can navigate there.
I think we first need to analyse whether this is a "manual page" problem or
a "complaint procedure" problem. (Actually I'm going to put in a plug for
"How Wikipedia Works" at this point: look in the index under
"deletion review" is on p. 226 and the page tells you what to do. If the
guy really wanted to impress his colleague he could have done that.) If
he'd mailed OTRS and got an unhelpful answer, I really would worry.
Look, the whole point of HWW or any other serious explanation about how we
got this far that people are so bothered about our content is that you have
to admit that: (a) the system does work, and is fit for the main purpose
for which it was set up (contra Tony's view); and (b) it's complicated.
There are no doubt people out there, in millions, who don't realise that
you probably can't have (a) without (b). You surely could have (a) if you
had enough paid staff, a skyscraper full of them (well, maybe 5000
graduates); and if you paid yet more you could give an impression that (b)
didn't apply. The service would not be free at the point of use unless a
large charitable foundation was picking up the bill. The complication in
(b) is to do with decentralisation: multiple processes running in different
places, as the only solution that is known to scale.
I can quite see why people do think Wikipedia "Byzantine", which is the
basic message of what we are talking about. Probably trainee medics curse
the immune system as unreasonably complicated. The metaphor doesn't seem to
me either too defensive or too stretched. I think we should bear in mind
that more and better written "manual pages" would only work better if
people had the basic humility to read instructions, at least in the context
of complex systems they don't understand.