[Wikipedia-l] How-tos

lcrocker at nupedia.com lcrocker at nupedia.com
Wed Aug 28 17:13:28 UTC 2002

> My first objection was at
> [[Common phrases in different languages]]
> "It's this entire page against [[Wikipedia is not a dictionary]]?

I totally fail to see your point here.  It's not a dictionary
entry at all--it's an article that gives the flavor of a group
of languages.  I think it's a great article, and exactly the
kind of thing that should be in Wikipedia.  I think most paper
encyclopedias have articles like this as well.  It's nothing at
all like a dictionary entry.

> 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. 

Sorry, I don't see any resemblance there either.  The guideline
you mention is "wikipedia is not a usage guide.", and these
articles have nothing at all to do with language usage.

Besides which, I think you're taking "what Wikipedia is not"
far too seriously and literally.  Just because we don't want
Wikipedia to /become/ a dictionary, or a usage guide, or any
number of other things, that doesn't mean it can't /contain/
the occasional article that looks like those things, when that's
appropriate.  When it's appropriate is a matter of judgment.

> Also, most of these (how-to) articles can never be NPOV.

Firstly that's clearly not true (it's just as easy to attribute
opinions on a how-to page as anywhere else), and secondly such
articles are /expected/ to contain opinions or even outright
moral exhortation, as Larry himself wrote.  That's an important
function of how-tos.

Again, use some judgment instead of blindly following rules.
Are they good articles?  Are they interesting, well written?  Do
they provide useful information?

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