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 Post subject: Regarding Wikipedia
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:44 pm 
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I registered just to have someplace to put a response to the rant about notability on the front page here. There doesn't seem to be any other discussion or response to it.

I just wanted to point out that space for hosting thousands and millions of web pages is not free. Wikipedia is a large company, but they do not own any part of the Internet, and increasing their hosting costs by ten or a hundred times for the sake of adding webpages that would make up less than a tenth of a percent of their traffic is a poor business decision. It isn't like Wikipedia has any kind of profit margin on the service it offers. It also isn't like there aren't other, smaller-scale resources to find information like a list of science fiction cons in Virginia. Wikipedia is not, and should not, be obligated to reproduce every true thing on the Internet, just because it's true.

A fair compromise might be to see Wikipedia link to other websites as sources for material which is not notable unless taken as a whole. This introduces other problems, however, about how to standardize such references, and how those sites are maintained. I don't know if it would be plausible to come up with a system like that which could work. But the notability rules on Wikipedia are hard and fast, and completely justified, considering how Wikipedia has to operate. If you want more general coverage, you have the entirety of the Internet to help you with that. Unlike Wikipedia, the Internet really does have infinite capacity for more information, and probably already contains whatever you might be looking for anyway.

In any case, I love the comic. First book seemed like it was a bit funnier, but it's still great, and I'm glad to have found it.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:38 am 
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    As I understand it, though, hosting fees generally come from bandwidth. These days, storage space (which is really the issue here) is, for all intents and purposes, free when talking about something as infinitesimal as a text-only page. If WP is having trouble finding storage space for a list of sci-fi conventions, I will by god pony up the cash to scrounge up a 3.5" floppy and mail it to them; if there are enough cons in the States that you can't fit a text-only list of them, plus whatever Wiki markup they need, on something that small... then why in the name of Dog have I not been to one?

    The only way having these pages would drive up Wikipedia's costs to any noticeable degree is if the pages generated traffic of their own; that is, people reading the pages is what costs bandwidth (and therefore hosting fees). If the pages are getting read, that means someone finds something of interest there. Ergo, mission accomplished.

    EDIT: Also, interesting that I'm still showing as a Tool. I canceled my tool membership like six months ago.

    I should think about renewing it before too long; the quality of the comic has definitely picked up since then.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:30 am 
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    There is no such thing as notability. On mother-loving TVTropes. Which scrapes a living off ads and not donation runs, and has to bear the huge burden of a forum of talk-happy people.

    Storage space costs, but it's so little that it's not the list of cons adding a cent to your expenses. If anything might add a cent to said costs, it's the discussion wars resulting from arguments about notability.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:20 am 
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    As to the storage space argument I know a wikipedia dev, and deleted pages are still stored.

    Quote:
    MediaWiki is a *wiki* and that means "revision control". Stuff that gets "deleted" is merely removed from view; if you recreate the same article it will (depending on configuration) ask if you wish to restore deleted versions, etc.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:54 am 
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    Space is absolutely not the issue here.

    Being an occasional WP editor for years now I went to the page and in all honesty Rob's rant is not really justified. The editor who marked this page for deletion has some good points, especially regarding the notoriety of said con.

    Again, Wikipedia is not yellow pages or and index of all the cons in the US. Now, the page being created, it's content clean and neutral, I suggested to keep it, but should it had been deleted, seriously no information would have been lost...

    Well, at least Rob had me read again the WP:N policy :mrgreen:

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:57 am 
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    slb wrote:
    Space is absolutely not the issue here. {snip}

    Well, at least Rob had me read again the WP:N policy :mrgreen:


    Correct. The issue is not space (as the OP made it seem), but rather notability.

    Or to put it in less than generous terms, one site's misguided encyclopedic pretenses.

    I use wikipedia a lot; it's been my most visited site since it had more than 100000 articles in English. I do not use it as an encyclopedia. I do not use it as a reference for anything that might someday be called serious research. I use it as a vast collection of cleverly indexed data, starting points for more serious digging sometimes, or a simple bag of trivia when I want to look something up but don't want to bother reading too much.

    Fortunately, it's less of a monopole these days in these regards. If I want starting points for serious stuff, planetmath, scholarpedia, Wolfram research etc can scratch that itch. Heck even youtube has some interesting stuff these days. The already-mentioned TVTropes is a fun repository of a vast amount of artistic trivia.

    I suppose part of the problem is that being the large gorilla that it is, Wikipedia has attracted users with expectations and use patterns that are at odds with the results of Wikipedia's policies. Make of that what you will.

    EDIT: or, here's another use-pattern of mine when it comes to Wikipedia. Say I'm looking for some software to do for example image processing. Yep, I go to Wikipedia, looking for the list of open source <>ing software. Presumably, if I went looking for a convention somewheres, I'd go to Wikipedia again. Why? To get the search started. There are lists, comparison articles, links to the original pages, some comments on features or the like ... it's like a search engine, but better.

    Naturally, that having worked once, I expect it to work every time :)

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:27 pm 
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    Actually, Wikipedia's obsession with 'notability' means other wikis are gaining strength. So they are being usurped. You know, about as fast as Flash is for failing at anything but the newest version of Windows. It is just not working to keep sand out of the monopoly machine.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:44 pm 
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    I wrote one article for Wikipedia, about a real thing which fit their article guidelines. It was almost instantly shortened to one sentence. Discussion on the talk page revealed that the editing user felt justified in deleting, or editing to the point of uselessness, anything they personally did not think needed to be on Wikipedia - regardless of the actual content submission guides - and that other editors agreed with them and would enforce this.

    That killed any desire to ever contribute to Wikipedia again, either in the form of content or donations. Yes, I realize that is not Wikipedia's fault. Too bad.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 5:09 pm 
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    kerrik wrote:
    I registered just to have someplace to put a response to the rant about notability on the front page here. There doesn't seem to be any other discussion or response to it.


    Hmm, this is kind of old already, but at the time of the original post, I think it was still technically possible to leave a comment on the Rage Rant on the Site news, because I tried to leave a comment several days later (the comment is still "awaiting moderation" and the comments are off now).

    I am of the opinion that if one wants to make available information that doesn't meet Wikipedia's criteria, a good way is to set up your own webpage and make sure the information is available to search engines. Make it a wiki if you like. Problem solved.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 2:12 am 
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    AVVV wrote:
    a good way is to set up your own webpage and make sure the information is available to search engines. Make it a wiki if you like. Problem solved.


    Not really problem solved.

    Did you really just say that because there's search engines, a personal website is just as good as wikipedia?

    For one, that does not allow other people who have relevant information to add it to the same place. It does not guarantee that your personal website will stand out among all the spam and so on and so forth. That's the whole point of ORGANIZING information - to make it accessable, findable, etc.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 2:43 am 
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    ftl wrote:
    AVVV wrote:
    a good way is to set up your own webpage and make sure the information is available to search engines. Make it a wiki if you like. Problem solved.


    Not really problem solved.

    Did you really just say that because there's search engines, a personal website is just as good as wikipedia?


    Not quite what I attempted to say :D, I was just trying to describe something of a workaround. Wikipedia has upsides that a wiki someone sets up on his own doesn't, I guess we'd both agree.

    But if an article gets constantly deleted from Wikipedia, Wikipedia then isn't in practice a good way to make that information available. To solve the problem of making the information available, setting up a webpage somewhere else does work, and making it a wiki allows other people who have relevant information to add it to the same place. And while perhaps not trivial, making sure the information is available to search engines obviously makes sure the search engines can (and in time will) find it.
    Quote:
    That's the whole point of ORGANIZING information - to make it accessable, findable, etc.

    Search engines are built to organize information - to make it accessible, findable etc. ;)

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 4:37 am 
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    :lol: You know what, why not make a billion pages each for its specific purpose and ditch all that "repository of all human knowledge" crap altogether.

    The fact that "workarounds" exist doesn't change the fact that those workarounds seem unnecessarily tedious, given that-

    a) storage (especially of text) is dirt cheap
    b) everyone goes to Wikipedia to look stuff up because
    c) in a Wiki (like Wikipedia, which is the most notorious, see b)) information is organized by humans for humans in a way search engines cannot match.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 3:35 pm 
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    I think it is obvious that the notoriety demand is one of the ways wikipedia emulates paper-encyklopedias (that, being on paper must be more limited).

    Ironic thing is that the original 18th century encyklopedians wanted to record everything, that was the point of the project.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Tue May 31, 2011 1:22 am 
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    mortissimus wrote:
    I think it is obvious that the notoriety demand is one of the ways wikipedia emulates paper-encyklopedias (that, being on paper must be more limited).
    Ironic thing is that the original 18th century encyklopedians wanted to record everything, that was the point of the project.
    Actually not, Wikipedia clearly explain what the notability requirements are, and it has nothing to do with limitation of paper-bound encyclopaedias.

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:38 pm 
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    slb wrote:
    mortissimus wrote:
    I think it is obvious that the notoriety demand is one of the ways wikipedia emulates paper-encyklopedias (that, being on paper must be more limited).
    Ironic thing is that the original 18th century encyklopedians wanted to record everything, that was the point of the project.
    Actually not, Wikipedia clearly explain what the notability requirements are, and it has nothing to do with limitation of paper-bound encyclopaedias.


    You are linking to two articles that state that wikipedia has nothing to do with paper encyklopedias and what the relevant criteria for notability is. I do not see how that shows that the notability requirement has nothing to do with the limitations of paper encyklopedias.

    Assume that the original encyklopedians had not have to limit themselves because of the limits of paper (assume extremely cheap and lightweight paper and extremely cheap printing), and could thus include everything. Without over two centuries of tradition stating that encyklopedias are limited projects, would wikipedia create the notability criteria and thus break with the tradition?

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     Post subject: Re: Regarding Wikipedia
     Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:51 pm 
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    Uhm, there's an admittedly minor flaw in that scenario.

    Apart from printing costs, a paper encyclopaedia needs to be searchable. That's why articles are in alphabetical order and, for books in general, indexes exist. Arguably, an "include everything" policy would have made indexing cumbersome for what was essentially the project of a small team of individuals.

    Wikipedia does not share that limitation, and as I frequently say, one of its best assets are the "List of" or "Comparison of" articles: aggregations of several articles in human-readable, easily-searchable, quick to access details, fashion.

    But the underlying point is valid. The main reason why there's only 100000 articles or whatever in the Encyclopaedia Britannica is so as it can fit in the small confines that is England :P

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