[WikiEN-l] Partial solution to rampant deletionism

Jimmy Wales jwales at bomis.com
Fri Nov 7 21:48:39 UTC 2003

Andre Engels wrote:
> > You're making the argument that since someday, some lonely person
> > might have enough freetime to waste typing in thousands and thousands
> > of entries in the manner of a robot, we have to delete any and every
> > article that's too trivial today.
> > 
> > I think that are some missing steps in that deduction, so that the
> > conclusion does not follow from the premises.
> I'll add the missing steps:
> Either these articles are having a positive effect on Wikipedia, and then
> we should allow this hypothetical person or a bot, not ban them. Or these
> articles are having a negative effect on Wikipedia, and then it's good
> thing to delete them.

Notice that you still haven't gotten to the conclusion.

Let me make my point more clear: arguments about what we ought to if
someone really starts to abuse wikipedia with thousands and thousands
of trivial articles do not prove that we ought to delete any and every
article that's too trivial today.

Put another way: if someone wants to write an article about their high
school, we should relax and accomodate them, even if we wish they
wouldn't do it.  And that's true *even if* we should react differently
if someone comes in and starts mass-adding articles on every high
school in the world.

Let me make this more concrete.  Let's say I start writing an article
about my high school, Randolph School, of Huntsville, Alabama.  I
could write a decent 2 page article about it, citing information that
can easily be verified by anyone who visits their website.

Then I think people should relax and accomodate me.  It isn't hurting
anything.  It'd be a good article, I'm a good contributor, and so
cutting me some slack is a very reasonable thing to do.

That's true *even if* we'd react differently to a ton of one-liners
mass-imported saying nothing more than "Randolph School is a private
school in Huntsville, Alabama, US" and "Indian Springs is a private
school in Birmingham, Alabama, US" and on and on and on, ad nauseum.

The argument "what if someone did this particular thing 100,000 times"
is not a valid argument against letting them do it a few times.


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