[Wikipedia-l] September 11 articles

Jimmy Wales jwales at bomis.com
Tue Aug 27 16:54:16 UTC 2002

The Cunctator wrote:
> Similarly, with the casualties (and I'm working on correcting the
> missing persons/ casualties list--it's pretty inaccurate, but oddly,
> about the only one available on the Net), just because the current
> entries aren't full now doesn't mean they shouldn't be in the
> Wikipedia. There is tons of biographical information about nearly
> every one of the victims available; which should be added to
> Wikipedia.

Because we have no space constraints, I tend to agree with this.

However, I also am sympathetic with the point of view that almost all
of these are useless.  I mean no disrespect of the dead when I say
that millions of people die every year, and a reference work which
attempted a biography on all of them would be pretty useless.

For lots and lots of people, we enter the world, have an important
impact on our family and a few close friends, but we are of absolutely
no personal interest to the rest of the planet.

However, I think this points to a possible difference between
wikipedia and a future "centrally edited" encyclopedia like Nupedia or
like a vote-based version of wikipedia, intended for distribution in
other media.  If I paid to have paper books in my house, I would not
want them to be bull of biographies of 9/11 victims who I never even
heard of.

But if it's in the wikipedia then it's mostly harmless.

One possible exception, but at this early date in the life of
wikipedia, it doesn't really matter.  If a 9/11 victim is named
"Thomas Jefferson", and if lots of other random people are named
"Thomas Jefferson" then the search results will need to be prioritized
so that searchers can easily find the Jefferson they are looking for.


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