[Wikipedia-l] How-tos

Jeroen Heijmans j.heijmans at stud.tue.nl
Wed Aug 28 16:03:13 UTC 2002

I have one issue which I raised earlier and today on several talk pages 
that I would like to mention on the list as well.

My first objection was at [[Common phrases in different languages]]:

"It's this entire page against [[Wikipedia is not a dictionary]]? If we 
shouldn't be adding English language dictionary entries, why would we be 
adding  _foreign_ language dictionary entries? While mildy interesting, 
it's hardly encyclopedia material as far as I'm concerned. I think 
putting a link on each website about a language to webpages containing 
"X for beginners" would be more than useful. Otherwise we may as well 
put other tutorials and lessons in here as well..."

Stephen Gilbert next pointed me at the following page, [[How-tos]]. I 
found that page rather scary, as I discovered Wikipedia has articles 
like [[How to avoid cramps while swimming]] and [[How to make starch 
from frosted potatoes]]. AstroNomer then mentioned that there is also a 
[[Wikipedia Cookbook]] and a [[Wikipedia Cocktail Guide]]. 

These pages seem to violate [[What Wikipedia is not]] number four, in my 
opinion. Also, most of these articles can never be NPOV. [[How to cook 
pasta]] could be hotly debated by other cooks that have a slightly 
different method of cooking (even more so for the somewhat more 
complicated forms of cooking).

I think some "procedural knowledge" (as it's called on [[How-tos]]) 
could be in Wikipedia, but it should be carefully selected. Otherwise we 
could get [[How to avoid cramps just after swimming in a hot swimming 
pool when eating an ice cream]] and [[How to make starch from defrosted 
potatoes that have been refrosted three times]]...

I'd say we clean up this collection of pages a bit, or adjust our [[What 
Wikipedia is not list]]. I personally hope the former happens, otherwise 
you may see an article called [[How to write a really useless article 
for Wikipedia]] appearing on the Recent Changes page soon...


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