[WikiEN-l] Cruft

Peter Ansell ansell.peter at gmail.com
Tue May 2 22:48:14 UTC 2006

On 5/3/06, Philip Welch <wikipedia at philwelch.net> wrote:
> On May 2, 2006, at 3:32 PM, Steve Bennett wrote:
> >> According to Wikipedia, "In hacker jargon, cruft refers to extraneous
> >> or low-quality things in general, or software code in particular."
> >> Most of the content labeled "cruft" in AFD disputes is indeed
> >> extraneous and low-quality. I don't see how calling something
> >> "extraneous and low-quality" is in any way less insulting than
> >> calling it "cruft". In fact, "extraneous and low-quality" is even
> >> more devastating to a newbie than a technical term they may not fully
> >> understand and only pick up the meaning via context.
> >
> > I'm not a fan of inflicting hacker jargon on newbies. Why not just
> > tell them in plain English that we have plenty of Pokemon articles,
> > and we don't need any more random lists, but we'd love them to
> > categorise some of the hundreds of articles in need of it.
> We're not hunting down newbies and forcing them to participate in
> deletion discussions. Deletion discussions take place within the
> Wikipedia community, and like any community we have our jargon.
> If someone wants to join that community, they have to learn the
> jargon. Even the most welcoming communities work this way.

Not everyone thinks of Wikipedia as a "Hacker-type" community. I feel
that it should be relevant to anyone. AfD is no exception to this.
Especially as this is where newbies get their first taste of wikipedia
bureaucracy. We should be especially careful not to bite the newbies
in this or any other encounter they may have.

> >> Is it offensive to call it "cruft"? No [more] offensive than
> >> vouching for
> >> its deletion. I guess we should abolish deletion for the same reason
> >> saying "cruft" should be a thoughtcrime.
> >
> > Yes, it's offensive. The term does matter, as a term carries
> > connotations that a simple act does not.
> Again, what connotations does "cruft" carry other than something
> being low-quality or otherwise worthy of deletion?
> This is the same reasoning behind not using "janitor" or "secretary"
> as job titles. I'd rather not participate in this sort of
> euphemization*.
> *A portmanteau of "euphemism" and "euthanization", defined by me as
> "putting meaning to death by means of euphemisms".

If the meaning of the word cruft is simply used by people on AfD,
whether nominators or others, because they lack respect for newbies,
then it possibly has become a euphemism for something entirely
different. And the new meaning would not be either civil, or nice. I
am not advocating that AfD's stop, just that nominators particularly,
and others, clearly state in plain english what the reason is, and
what the person could do instead, as was said before.

Peter Ansell

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