[Foundation-l] A dangerous precedent

Gianluigi Gamba gigamb at tin.it
Wed Jan 2 19:11:52 UTC 2008

On it.wp we did not use the bots for creating the articles about the
8,000+ municipalities of Italy. Nevertheless, we created some
templates and schemes to be applied for creating a consistent series
of articles, that have been created "manually" by merging the data
from the national statistical agency of Italy.
Bots weren't yet running on it:wp in that time.

We thought the creating stubs for the whole bunch of the Italian
municipalities would have turned out (and it did) into a big incentive
for people to get acquainted with Wikipedia. The artcile about their
municipality would have been a pleasant bait and a nice way to "break
the ice" with Wikipedia.
If those stubs had been bot-generated-stubs their effect would have
been the same.

Once ended with the Italian municipalities, some users learnt how to
use bots, so we relied on bots for creating the articles about the
municipalities of Spain (8,000+) and France (32,000+). And with my
huge satisfaction, few days later a non-Italian speaking user edited
[[Afa (Corsica del sud)]].
AFAIK, no other countries have been handled that way on it:wp. The
articles about the municipalities of Switzerland, Portugal, Slovenia,
Estonia, Germany (yet partial), etc... are "hand-written".

As said before, bot-generated content is not evil "per se". A
well-done and well-conceived  bot-generated stub is like a seed or a
Of course, bot-generated content should remain the very minor part of
a project's global content.


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