[Wikimedia-l] crazy deletionists!

Delirium delirium at hackish.org
Tue Jul 3 15:09:41 UTC 2012

On 7/3/12 3:56 PM, Thomas Morton wrote:
>> It is hard to say where the line goes.  I agree that _just_ because
>> something is reliably sourced, does not make it worthy for an entire
>> Wikipedia article.  But _what_ does make it worthy of Wikipedia's
>> attention?
> This is the crux of the problem. Our notability guidelines don't help
> define a line between what should be included and what shouldn't. Many many
> many things can be written about that would pass GNG. As Hammersoft points
> out, if we take this article as notable then there are several other JB on
> XYZ articles that could be written,
> Question is; do we need that level of detail.
> Decisions over levels of detail are haphazard and varying across all of
> Wikipedia, to the extent that no one can answer this question.
I think that's true, but I think that's because it's a *relatively* 
small problem overall, as a proportion of deletion discussions and 
controversy, so there just hasn't been a lot of need to undertake the 
nearly-impossible task of specifying what level of detail we should 
cover, and in which areas.

The biggest angst producer in my view is actually the opposite case: 
something that seems like it "should" be covered, since it's notable, 
but for which the extant sources are really lacking, making it 
hard/impossible to write a well-sourced article. People get very angry 
when something they view as clearly notable (a programming language, 
say) is deleted due to lack of 3rd-party sources. I think the root 
problem here is a feeling that sources "should" or even "must" track 
notability, so given that something is clearly important (at least in a 
community), the lack of sources we consider acceptable is unexpected. 
Imo the problem is just that the literature sometimes lags and sometimes 
has blind spots; journalists, sociologists, historians, etc. don't cover 
everything important in full detail, instantly. I wrote a bit about that 
last year:

In the other direction, the vast majority of things we really shouldn't 
cover I think are axed by the same verifiability guideline, without need 
to declare them un-notable, since they don't have good sources on them.  
This strange case of well-sourced, but perhaps too detailed for 
Wikipedia, is I think a much smaller issue. In addition, it seems to 
only produce any sort of controversy in certain areas of pop culture: 
details about celebrities, too-in-depth plot summarization by 
tv/film/novel fans, too blow-by-blow summary of a musician's every doing 
(also by fans), etc. In many areas there really is no controversy about 
going every bit as deep as we can find sources for, within some level of 
common sense that does not seem to often be exceeded. Are there multiple 
good sources for one particular piece of pottery found in a Minoan site? 
Well, let's have an article on that pottery piece, then, even if we end 
up with 500 such articles. Perhaps that seems less problematic to people 
because: 1) the sources really are *very* good in that case, not merely 
"ok" sources like newspaper articles; and 2) Wikipedia here isn't doing 
anything too groundbreaking, but just annexing the kind of content that 
subject-specialist encyclopedias would traditionally cover.


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