[Foundation-l] Request for your input: biographies of living people

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Tue Mar 3 09:16:31 UTC 2009

2009/3/3 Michael Snow <wikipedia at verizon.net>:

> I've made this observation before, but I think it bears repeating. At
> least on the English Wikipedia, a frequent practice is to start a
> section called "Criticism and controversy" or some variation thereof.
> This indicates to me an utter failure to write an actual biographical
> article. If we can't figure out how to integrate something into the
> overall picture of someone's life, then we're definitely failing to
> provide the context to actually understand the controversy, probably
> giving it distorted emphasis, and possibly lacking the material to treat
> the person as the subject of an independent article. Quite often, of
> course, the back-and-forth in that section ends up overwhelming any
> other content instead.

If bad writing were curable by guidelines and policies, English
Wikipedia would be brilliant prose from end to end. It isn't - there's
a discernible "Wikipedia style" which is flat, grey and neutralised.
Useful for spotting plagiarism of it. Good writers are thin on the
ground - most editors are more skilled at researching and referencing,
and can write a decipherable sentence.

- d.

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