[WikiEN-l] Deletions, speedy deletions... and retributions...

Frederick Noronha fred at bytesforall.org
Wed Apr 25 19:44:08 UTC 2007

Dear all,

It appears that my persistent questioning of the decisions to delete
pages related to some networks doing significant work, but which might
not be sufficiently visible in cyberspace (or the English-dominated
sections of it) seems to have led someone to decide to delete a page
referring to me at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Noronha !

The grounds given are "borderline notability".  Not that this matters....

It's amusing to see oneself being shifted from being a "notable
Wikipedian" to "borderline notability" over a short period of time.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frederick_Noronha&diff=124590095&oldid=23812169

I would still maintain that those deleting pages need to act with
responsibility. Besides, the success of Wikipedia (as the 11th
most-visited site in the world, according to alexa.com) should not
lead to arrogance or unhelpfulness that discourages those attempting
to get heard in cyberspace (mostly with legitimate entries in the
Wikipedia, but maybe finding it difficult to cope with the
one-size-fits-all criteria that is prescribed, of notability, proper
referencing etc.... ).

In one particular example, a page was sought to be deleted (and links
removed) because of a strange mix of reasons. From arguments that it
had "only" 200+ members in its network, to other points of view that
it lacked sufficient references, or was more suited to an official
website rather than for Wikipedia. If this was so, would it not help
if the page could be improved, rather than deleted. (As one editor
once told me, good naturedly, "If I want to give you a reason to block
your article, I could give you any one of 31 good reasons for it."
Yeah, reasons are easy to come by, once someone's mind is made up.)

Needless to say, I would not bother to make a case for the retention
of a page focussing on me. It would be a relief, in fact, if the page
went off!

Take a look at its history:

The page was started on 19:07, 4 August 2005 by Nichalp. It was
subsequently edited by others.

When I came across it, I realised that my name had initially been
spelt wrong. Besides, there were inaccuracies in my description (there
is a difference, surely, in being " actively involved in the Indian
Free Software Foundation" and writing about it... I am definitely not
"a known (sic) for his articles on Christianity" (admittedly am fairly
curious about happenings there, though I don't subscribe to the
religion I was born in) ... by that time, I had virtually stopped
writing (but subsequently resumed, on another theme) for the
Indo-Asian News Service in New Delhi... In addition, I'm not "founder"
of BytesForAll, as mentioned, but a co-founder.

A number of the websites and blogs mentioned were either outdated or
non-functional, and there were new ones not noticed.

After waiting awhile, I realised nobody would probably make these
corrections, and did so under my own name.... which is actually not
supposed to be the Wikipedia is to work. That was in late Jan-early
Feb 2006 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frederick_Noronha&action=history

So, what's the point I'm making?

* Rather than handle the message, someone here seems to be intent on
shooting the messenger! The speedy deletions of pages of organisations
whose work is widely noticed and is certainly relevant to the Third
World (or the so-called "developing world") is unfair.

* There should be good reason for deletion of any page (this should
not be taken to mean that I'm making even an indirect case for my
page... I have no problem if it's deleted), and those exercising the
decision should preferably be aware of the subject-matter, and its
relevance, even if in niche areas.

* Special care needs to be taken about groups working in non-English
languages and those on the so-called "periphery" (i.e. not in the "big
cities that matter" or the bigger nations that have so many of their
denizens active in cyberspace). Many such groups might not be visible
enough in cyberspace, but that hardly means their work is not

* How will Wikipedia balance its speedy growth in popularity, against
the tendency to flood it with irrelevant posts, and also be fair to
those who deserve to be on it without unnecessary deletions?

* At the end of the day, I believe an "alternate modelled"
encyclopedia also needs to be alternate enough to take a wider view of
our world. Wikipedia need not be -- indeed, should not be --
constrained by the top-down hierarchical restricted vision of
traditional encyclopedias. Or else, it will come to be dismissed as an
initiative that is alternative in its organising structure, but not in
its vision.

Lastly, may I add that I will continue to be a supporter of the
Wikipedia, and seek help for those with a record of adding to this
experiment to continue doing so, rather than getting caught up in
page-deletion battles.


Frederick "FN" Noronha
Goa, India.

FN M: 0091 9822122436 P: +91-832-240-9490 (after 1300IST please)
http://fn.goa-india.org  http://fredericknoronha.wordpress.com
Konkani Wikipedia (under incubation) needs your help!

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