The Great Wikipedia Webcomics Purge of 2007

delete-wikipedia.pngKristofer Straub made a point. Specifically, that those who want to delete all mention of webcomics from Wikipedia for being non-notable seem to get much more leeway than those feeling that a so-called encyclopedia should endeavor to describe all facets of life. Reasons for deletion? Who needs reasons?

Straub set out to get the entry about his own comic deleted, and succeeded. In order to do so, he started the deletion process for Starslip Crisis and created several sockpuppet accounts to support the delete. The sockpuppets used shaky logic to support the delete — Wikipedia barely wants to know if a deletion is Right, only if it is Supported. The account that he used to start the deletion process was new. It had not been involved in any editing before, just as one would expect of the account of someone with personal reasons to get an entry deleted.

Interestingly enough, somebody had created a sockpuppet to vote keep; this was discovered by Wikipedians, and the puppeteer’s votes were not counted. But apparently no one discovered that ten of the delete votes came from sockpuppets too.

It would appear that the Deletionist faction is gaining importance at Wikipedia. If the rules that the Deletionists live by were followed to the very end, shouldn’t the Wikipedia entry about Wikipedia be deleted too?

Edit: via Reinder, by the way.

9 Comments on The Great Wikipedia Webcomics Purge of 2007

  1. Great last line!

    I’ve already written about vanity/notability.
    http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/?p=83399148

  2. I think I might have read about the wikidumper.blogspot.com site here, but it is fascinating to read that blog and see what is on the verge of being deleted. Some if it is crap, like useless lists, but some of it is stuff that people are going to be search on, and what’s the point of an Internet encylopedia other than to provide reliable information about subjects that people are going to be out looking for.

    For example, they deleted the article about a specific 9/11 conspiracy theory. I’d never heard of the particular conspiracy theory, but Wikipedia had a nice article summarizing it and it’s not like the info was obscure or hard to verify. If someone had asked me about this particular conspiracy theory, the Wikipedia article would have been a very good starting point to understand what this particular theory was contending and also to understand why it was wrong.

    But now it’s gone, though the conspiracy theory itself lives on.

  3. Garson O'Toole // February 16, 2007 at 6:31 pm //

    One response by individuals that feel aggrieved by “deletionists” is to create another repository of information or to supplement an existing repository. Comixpedia.org describes itself as a “Webcomics Encyclopedia”. The website says “We started in September 2005 and we now have 2,050 articles.” It also says “This is a community-edited site devoted to complete coverage of all things webcomic-related. You can help!” I just found it via a Google search so I do not know much about it.

  4. Inclusionists already started such another repository, even way back in 2001. It’s called Wikipedia.

  5. Jimmy Wales is one of the primary founders of Wikipedia. In 2004 he started a for-profit organization that is now called Wikia. The company hosts a variety of wikis on specialized topics. For example, there is a Star Wars wiki called Wookieepedia and there is a Muppet wiki. Jimmy Wales apparently believes that much of the material in these specialized wikis will not be included in the Wikipedia because he believes Wikia will be “much larger”. Below are some excerpted notes taken during a lecture by Wales in Evan Korth’s Computer’s and Society course at NYU:

    Wheras Wikipedia is nonprofit and does educational and reference type works, the first major initiative at Wikia his for profit company is to do everything else – create a library which is much larger. World Wikia for example is a travel site and Jimmy compared how the information you might find in Wikipedia would be different from what you would find in a travel guide on New York. The Muppet Wikia has several thousand articles on muppets vs. Wikipedia which has 200-300 on the topic.

    Of course this does not mean that Wales is correct.

  6. One response to people aggravated by deletionists is not to make the problem worse. You can walk into a library and do all sorts of nasty things to the encyclopedias there, and likely no one would notice for a long time; why aren’t people pointing out this problem by doing it? Why is it acceptable to vandalise Wikipedia, and not the library encyclopedias?

  7. David, you’ve completely lost me here.

  8. The nasty things you could do to a library encyclopedia primarily consist of deleting content from it. Who’s doing that to Wikipedia?

  9. This article is about deleting content from Wikipedia. Also, you can make a lot of editing changes to a library encyclopedia, just not as subtly.

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