[WikiEN-l] deletionism in popular culture

David Goodman dgoodmanny at gmail.com
Fri Oct 2 20:42:39 UTC 2009

In reality, we have actual editors, with their own interests, and it
is very difficult to get  them to work on anything but what they want
to work on, especially for things that need a serious referencing
effort beyond the googles.  Most of them do have access to a library
with at least some books and some commercial databases, but it's
proven almost impossible to persuade them to use anything beyond arm's
reach--or to even use what material their local library has put within
arms reach to its community.

Many of the topics not presently included are very important--I came
here primarily to work on some of them, before I got diverted to
immediate rescues--and now just defending articles long enough to let
people rescue them. If prospective deletors did follow WP:BEFORE, we
could free up the half-dozen or so people who now mainly do fixes on
articles that should have been improved, rather than nominated for
deletion, but this is many fewer people than are needed

The only effective way to get these topics worked on is to attract
users who want to work on them. Some of the other language Wikipedias
seem to have been more successful in this regard. Perhaps they have a
friendlier attitude towards article writers and a more mature
environment, or perhaps article writers in those communities are more
willing to write in a way that does not display ownership and arouse
hostility from other editors.

Discouraging the people who want to work on popular culture will just
discourage those who might develop into editors on other topics also.

David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.

On Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 4:09 PM, Charles Matthews
<charles.r.matthews at ntlworld.com> wrote:
> Gwern Branwen wrote:
>  >Charles Matthews wrote
>>> 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?
>> I realize it isn't one of your options, but if I really had such a
>> crack team? I'd dispatch them to AfD.
> Oh, but it was meant to be a sub-option of "(d) researching for articles
> where the initial submission was clearly under-researched". Because the
> discussion is meant to be about rescuable articles. And if the topic is
> just nonsense, you can't rescue it with refs. It seems clearly wrong to
> wait for the AfD nomination before upgrading, so this is the broad form
> of class of articles that we are thinking about here.
>> All the other areas are ones where effort would be repaid with no
>> multipliers. In a way, if an article hasn't been created on an old
>> topic yet (your red links, your topic lists), then that alone shows it
>> isn't important. Likewise, if a longstanding article needs work, then
>> doesn't its longstandingness show that it isn't apparently all *that*
>> awful because someone would've fixed it up if it was so bad and they
>> cared about it?
> Tell me this isn't true. No, really, encyclopedias do not consist of
> "important" topics only. And in fact being comprehensive is our
> strongest suit anyway. (And don't tell me there are no important
> geographical articles we're missing, because that is definitely false.)
> The article that gets of the order of a few thousand hits a year may not
> look like much to a traffic snob. The point I would like to make is that
> 50,000 of those make up a huge total number of hits.
>> Worse is Better. Nobody will think better of Wikipedia if some old
>> article gets a dozen references and some tags removed. But the editors
>> of an article *will* remember it if an angel swooped in and saved
>> their article and laid the groundwork for improvements.
> Depends on your priorities. It being all about editors and not at all
> about readers is not what I believe, certainly.
> Charles
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