[WikiEN-l] deletionism in popular culture

Charles Matthews charles.r.matthews at ntlworld.com
Fri Oct 2 19:10:29 UTC 2009

David Goodman wrote:
> The deletion of improvable articles
> because the small number of participants at AfD  who are interested
> and willing to rescue them is one of the reasons for people losing the
> interest in Wikipedia. 
Counterfactually, suppose you had a team of "universal" researchers you 
could assign to work on articles. What relative weight would you give to 
various types of work? Out of these, (a) filling in popular redlinks, 
(b) working over topic lists from other reference works, (c) 
fact-checking and referencing long-standing articles on the site that 
really are not shaping up, (d) researching for articles where the 
initial submission was clearly under-researched, which seem to you most 
important factors in developing the site as a whole? Which, for example, 
are going to do most to cure systemic bias? Which are going to help our 
reputation in the academic world? Which are going to do most for general 
reliability? And which (your point) could have the most impact on the 

I kind of feel most thoughtful people long-term on the site have voted 
with their feet on these issues. It would be surprising, of course, if 
self-assignment of tasks also corresponded to any particular person's 
view of the correct allocation of priorities. (Only one of the 20 items 
culled from AfD has any historical content, the foolish [[shield-mate]], 
only one takes us outside the Anglosphere to the 90% of the world's 
population who don't think in English, and so on. You may well be right 
that something could be salvaged in some cases by good research. Which 
is why I'd like to see the "cost" of diverting people onto such work as 
part of the assessment.)


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