[Foundation-l] A dangerous precedent

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Sun Dec 30 17:40:55 UTC 2007

When Wikipedia is measured by its numbers and the only numbers are the
number of articles it is a poor project indeed. This is a fact that all
Wikipedians know. It is equally well known that the projects with the
highest numbers of editors tend to have the highest standards of quality.
Volapük has some bright people that want to put their language on the map.
And in this battle of "mine is bigger then yours" they have offended some by
being bigger. Offend, because the sensibilities of perceived quality and
numbers do not go together in the traditional way. Offend because they are a
Wikipedia as well.

When you state "bad faith", whose faith is it you are talking about? You
believe that Wikipedia is in a certain way and to some extend it is. Now
that you find that it can be different, you have to accept that we do not
have a "global arbitration committee". This is not the first time that there
has been a need for such a body. So far we have been happy to state that
each community is a rule to themselves within certain core values. So far we
have been happy to ignore what happens in the fringes. But this time the
audacity of a constructed language and the technology of the Internet is
found offensive.

When people state that the German, the English Wikipedia are not constructed
by bots, I have only to point to the many bots that are active and the great
work that they do. They do make a difference and, that is good. When we want
to restrict how bots are used, when we want to restrict the autonomy of
communities we have to stop being insular. It is of no less bad faith when
people, projects are vilified when there is nothing that binds the projects
in the different languages together. When there is little or no
consideration of how to do Wiktionaries, Wikipedias in a way that makes
sense for all the Wiktionaries, Wikipedias there is no basis that you can

When you consider what makes sense for a Wikipedia, you will agree that
three groups of subjects get you the most traffic; sex, sport and news. All
the cities of Italy, France or the United States are just dead information.
It is there for those who want it on the vo.wikipedia but it will not get
them traffic. This whole stupid affair gets them traffic. It is just sad
that it has to be stuff like
prevents the
vo.wikipedia from doing anything useful.

I do say that all the vandals on the vo.wikipedia need to be blocked on all
Wikimedia Foundation projects for a week at least because they show bad
faith and they should know better. In the mean time, lets get something
positive out of this and stop thinking in terms of "mine is bigger then
yours" and look for better metrics like traffic, quality of the localisation
for a language. Let us come up with ways in which we can do better for the
underresourced languages.


On Dec 30, 2007 6:01 PM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:

> The problem is not bot-generated articles. The problem is that one
> user on the Volapuk Wikipedia, by his own admission, deliberately
> created tens of thousands of articles by bot purely to raise Volapuk's
> listing on the front page of www.wikipedia.org. He was not doing this
> to write a useful Wikipedia in any way, but (again by his own
> admission) to publicise the Volapuk constructed language.
> He acted in bad faith; the question is then how to deal with this act
> of bad faith and not allow it to be rewarded.
> - d.
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