Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

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Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Philip Sandifer
I just had dinner with [[Scott McCloud]], and, unsurprisingly, the  
conversation turned to webcomics, and, eventually, to Wikipedia's  
treatment of them. (This was partially spurred by the Kristopher  
Straub debacle, about which I will say only that it demonstrates the  
degree to which the bias is overwhelmingly towards deletion across  
many areas of Wikipedia right now)

McCloud is somebody who knows comics. He quite literally wrote the  
book on them. In the course of the conversation it became clear that  
he was pretty well completely fed up with Wikipedia. And it should be  
noted, this comes from someone who has been on the forefront of  
digital technology debates several times. He makes clear his  
admiration for the concept of Wikipedia. He makes clear his  
admiration for how Wikipedia got started. His problem is with how it  
works now.

The problem he has? Notability. Specifically the arbitrary and  
capricious way in which AfD targets things, questions their  
notability, and uses guidelines that make no sense from the outside.

See also Timothy Noah's recent article on Slate for this - it gives a  
good view of how notability guidelines look to the outside. In this  
case, it's how they look to the subject of the article, but I assure  
you - they look similar to people who are familiar with the subject.  
In short, they appear a Kafka-esque absurdity.

This is a new problem - these are major figures who are sympathetic  
to Wikipedia but fed up with its operation. And I can tell you, the  
tone among people I talk to in that real life thing I maintain is  
pretty similar - great respect for Wikipedia as a concept, reasonable  
respect for Wikipedia as a resource, no respect for Wikipedia as  
something anyone would ever want to edit. The actual editorial  
process of Wikipedia is rightly viewed as a nightmare. Hell, I view  
it as a nightmare at this point - I've given up editing it because  
the rules seem to have been written, at this point, with the  
intention of writing a very bad encyclopedia.

Our efforts to ensure reliability have come at the cost of a great  
deal of respect - and respect from people we should have respect  
from. We are losing smart, well-educated people who are sympathetic  
to Wikipedia's basic principles. That is a disaster.

And it's a disaster that can be laid squarely at the feet of the  
grotesque axis of [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:N]] - two pages that are eating  
Wikipedia alive from the inside out. (And I don't mean this in terms  
of community. I mean that they are systematically being used to turn  
good articles into crap, and have yet to demonstrate their actual use  
in turning bad articles into good ones.)

Best,
Phil Sandifer
[hidden email]

You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a  
boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.

 >


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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

The Cunctator
You're criticizing how Wikipedia is working right now? You must be
insane, or a fool, or a spy.

LONG LIVE WIKIPEDIA!

On 2/24/07, Philip Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I just had dinner with [[Scott McCloud]], and, unsurprisingly, the
> conversation turned to webcomics, and, eventually, to Wikipedia's
> treatment of them. (This was partially spurred by the Kristopher
> Straub debacle, about which I will say only that it demonstrates the
> degree to which the bias is overwhelmingly towards deletion across
> many areas of Wikipedia right now)
>
> McCloud is somebody who knows comics. He quite literally wrote the
> book on them. In the course of the conversation it became clear that
> he was pretty well completely fed up with Wikipedia. And it should be
> noted, this comes from someone who has been on the forefront of
> digital technology debates several times. He makes clear his
> admiration for the concept of Wikipedia. He makes clear his
> admiration for how Wikipedia got started. His problem is with how it
> works now.
>
> The problem he has? Notability. Specifically the arbitrary and
> capricious way in which AfD targets things, questions their
> notability, and uses guidelines that make no sense from the outside.
>
> See also Timothy Noah's recent article on Slate for this - it gives a
> good view of how notability guidelines look to the outside. In this
> case, it's how they look to the subject of the article, but I assure
> you - they look similar to people who are familiar with the subject.
> In short, they appear a Kafka-esque absurdity.
>
> This is a new problem - these are major figures who are sympathetic
> to Wikipedia but fed up with its operation. And I can tell you, the
> tone among people I talk to in that real life thing I maintain is
> pretty similar - great respect for Wikipedia as a concept, reasonable
> respect for Wikipedia as a resource, no respect for Wikipedia as
> something anyone would ever want to edit. The actual editorial
> process of Wikipedia is rightly viewed as a nightmare. Hell, I view
> it as a nightmare at this point - I've given up editing it because
> the rules seem to have been written, at this point, with the
> intention of writing a very bad encyclopedia.
>
> Our efforts to ensure reliability have come at the cost of a great
> deal of respect - and respect from people we should have respect
> from. We are losing smart, well-educated people who are sympathetic
> to Wikipedia's basic principles. That is a disaster.
>
> And it's a disaster that can be laid squarely at the feet of the
> grotesque axis of [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:N]] - two pages that are eating
> Wikipedia alive from the inside out. (And I don't mean this in terms
> of community. I mean that they are systematically being used to turn
> good articles into crap, and have yet to demonstrate their actual use
> in turning bad articles into good ones.)
>
> Best,
> Phil Sandifer
> [hidden email]
>
> You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a
> boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.
>
>  >
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

SonOfYoungwood
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer
I agree that the deletionists are starting to act a little on the  ridiculous
side, and something needs to be done soon. Wikipedia needs an  injection of
common sense.
 
 
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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

geni
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer
On 2/24/07, Philip Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I just had dinner with [[Scott McCloud]], and, unsurprisingly, the
> conversation turned to webcomics, and, eventually, to Wikipedia's
> treatment of them. (This was partially spurred by the Kristopher
> Straub debacle, about which I will say only that it demonstrates the
> degree to which the bias is overwhelmingly towards deletion across
> many areas of Wikipedia right now)
>

As a general rule attempting to prove anything from an n=1 sample is a
really really bad idea.

If we accept those I can show that people are adding webcomic articles
to wikipedia in order to promote them.

> McCloud is somebody who knows comics. He quite literally wrote the
> book on them. In the course of the conversation it became clear that
> he was pretty well completely fed up with Wikipedia. And it should be
> noted, this comes from someone who has been on the forefront of
> digital technology debates several times. He makes clear his
> admiration for the concept of Wikipedia. He makes clear his
> admiration for how Wikipedia got started. His problem is with how it
> works now.
>

His problem is that wikipedia isn't what he wants it to be. Wikipedia
is the second or third to document things not the first.

> The problem he has? Notability. Specifically the arbitrary and
> capricious way in which AfD targets things, questions their
> notability, and uses guidelines that make no sense from the outside.
>

Treating those outside wikipedia as a single homogeneous group is
illogical. Different groups will have different views about whether or
not certain guidelines make sense. can find plenty of groups that
think including any webcomics at all make us inferior and think that
our inclusion of such non entities as penny arcade.

> See also Timothy Noah's recent article on Slate for this - it gives a
> good view of how notability guidelines look to the outside. In this
> case, it's how they look to the subject of the article, but I assure
> you - they look similar to people who are familiar with the subject.
> In short, they appear a Kafka-esque absurdity.
>

Almost any set of rules can be made to appear that way.

> This is a new problem - these are major figures who are sympathetic
> to Wikipedia but fed up with its operation. And I can tell you, the
> tone among people I talk to in that real life thing I maintain is
> pretty similar - great respect for Wikipedia as a concept, reasonable
> respect for Wikipedia as a resource, no respect for Wikipedia as
> something anyone would ever want to edit. The actual editorial
> process of Wikipedia is rightly viewed as a nightmare. Hell, I view
> it as a nightmare at this point - I've given up editing it because
> the rules seem to have been written, at this point, with the
> intention of writing a very bad encyclopedia.
>

No they are written with the objective of avoiding an extremely bad
encyclopedia.

> Our efforts to ensure reliability have come at the cost of a great
> deal of respect - and respect from people we should have respect
> from. We are losing smart, well-educated people who are sympathetic
> to Wikipedia's basic principles. That is a disaster.
>

You would have to show that we would not have lost respect from them
anyway and that any net change in respect levels is worse than what
would have happened if we had not taken steps to try and ensure
reliability.

> And it's a disaster that can be laid squarely at the feet of the
> grotesque axis of [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:N]] - two pages that are eating
> Wikipedia alive from the inside out. (And I don't mean this in terms
> of community. I mean that they are systematically being used to turn
> good articles into crap,

systematically?

> and have yet to demonstrate their actual use
> in turning bad articles into good ones.)

Various articles with fridge fanatics would be an example.


--
geni

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Philip Sandifer-2


On Feb 24, 2007, at 7:48 PM, geni wrote:

>
> As a general rule attempting to prove anything from an n=1 sample is a
> really really bad idea.
>
Geni, with all due respect, stop being dense and actually listen to  
people. Your continual attitude of putting your fingers in your ears  
and reducing all opposition to pithily described straw men is  
insulting and counterproductive. I did not say that the Straub  
incident proves that our deletion is flawed. I said it's a  
demonstration of the flaws. There's a difference, and you know it.

> If we accept those I can show that people are adding webcomic articles
> to wikipedia in order to promote them.
>

I don't deny that such articles exist. Never have - it would be  
stupid to. But I've always thought that articles are better judged on  
their own merits than by speculating about the motives for their  
creation. If the article is unduly self-promoting it should be fixed  
(deletion being one means of fixing it.) But that can be evaluated  
(and is best evaluated) through means other than trying to guess the  
motives of authors.

> His problem is that wikipedia isn't what he wants it to be. Wikipedia
> is the second or third to document things not the first.
>

No. His problem is that Wikipedia is documenting things  
inconsistently, arbitrarily, and in a manner that is not meaningfully  
predictable not only to an outsider but to one of the most respected  
figures in the field. If Scott McCloud cannot figure out the rhyme or  
reason to what is and isn't a notable comic (webcomic or print) on  
Wikipedia, odds are the rhyme or reason is shit.

> Treating those outside wikipedia as a single homogeneous group is
> illogical. Different groups will have different views about whether or
> not certain guidelines make sense. can find plenty of groups that
> think including any webcomics at all make us inferior and think that
> our inclusion of such non entities as penny arcade.
>

You're misunderstanding. I'm not using sense in terms of "is a good  
idea." I mean it in terms of "is actually recognizable as an idea as  
opposed to a set of arbitrary rules." I'm not saying that McCloud's  
objection is that our notability guidelines are unreasonable. I'm  
saying that his objection is that they're nonsensical.
>

> No they are written with the objective of avoiding an extremely bad
> encyclopedia.

Strange. Because we were doing a fine job of writing a good  
encyclopedia before we had them, so I'm not exactly sure what we  
accomplished there.
>

> You would have to show that we would not have lost respect from them
> anyway and that any net change in respect levels is worse than what
> would have happened if we had not taken steps to try and ensure
> reliability.
>
No. I have to show that Wikipedia has a problem in the eyes of people  
who are disposed to be sympathetic to it. This isn't a double blind  
study to establish beyond a scientific doubt that Wikipedia has a  
problem. Such studies don't exist, and if they're a prerequisite for  
change then change is impossible. Which, admittedly, seems like the  
situation you want most of the time.
>

> systematically?
>
Yes.
>
> Various articles with fridge fanatics would be an example.

I must be remembering the two years I spent editing Wikipedia before  
[[WP:N]] and [[WP:RS]] were codified wrong, because I'm pretty sure  
we were capable of dealing with such groups before we had them.

-Phil


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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

William Pietri
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer
Thanks for taking the time to write that; it was very interesting. One
question, in hopes that I can better understand your perspective, and
feel free to point me at the archives if you've covered this before.

Philip Sandifer wrote:
> The problem he has? Notability. Specifically the arbitrary and  
> capricious way in which AfD targets things, questions their  
> notability, and uses guidelines that make no sense from the outside.
>  


Suppose we create a scale that runs from -10 to 10. At 10 are things we
obviously have to have in the encyclopedia, like [[Oxygen]] or
[[France]]. At -10 we have things like [[The 237th raindrop that just
hit the puddle outside my bathroom window]]. Let's further suppose that
0 is the current point where something is just as likely to be kept as not.

If I understand rightly, you're saying that around zero, we're
unpredictable. We might keep a -2 one time and delete a 2 other times,
yes? And that although on a long time-scale that may work out adequately
for our readers, for those who peek inside the process see that area of
the scale as messy and chaotic, and judge us by that?

If so, how far up and down the scale do your concerns go?

> See also Timothy Noah's recent article on Slate for this - it gives a  
> good view of how notability guidelines look to the outside. In this  
> case, it's how they look to the subject of the article, but I assure  
> you - they look similar to people who are familiar with the subject.  
> In short, they appear a Kafka-esque absurdity.

For those wondering, the article is here:

http://www.slate.com/id/2160222/


Thanks,

William

--
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_Pietri

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer
on 2/24/07 5:16 PM, Philip Sandifer at [hidden email] wrote:

> I just had dinner with [[Scott McCloud]], ŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠ
>
> Best,
> Phil Sandifer

Phil,

Thank you for this entire post. It is educational on many fronts. It needs
to be taken by all at Wikipedia as a heads up - a wakeup call. If it is
treated lightly, trivialized, or worse, ignored - the denial within the
Community is deeper and more profound than I thought.

Marc Riddell


--
If you're restricted to what is - you are cut off from - - what could be.


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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by William Pietri


On Feb 24, 2007, at 8:52 PM, William Pietri wrote:

>
>
> Suppose we create a scale that runs from -10 to 10. At 10 are  
> things we
> obviously have to have in the encyclopedia, like [[Oxygen]] or
> [[France]]. At -10 we have things like [[The 237th raindrop that just
> hit the puddle outside my bathroom window]]. Let's further suppose  
> that
> 0 is the current point where something is just as likely to be kept  
> as not.
>
> If I understand rightly, you're saying that around zero, we're
> unpredictable. We might keep a -2 one time and delete a 2 other times,
> yes? And that although on a long time-scale that may work out  
> adequately
> for our readers, for those who peek inside the process see that  
> area of
> the scale as messy and chaotic, and judge us by that?
>
> If so, how far up and down the scale do your concerns go?
>

It's tough to say, mostly because I have trouble conceiving of  
notability as a linear thing. But I'd say -2/2 is a good bet, and we  
can peak out around -4/4. I'll also note, that gap has been  
expanding, and if you go all the way out to where notability tagging  
is happening you get solidly out to the -4/4, -5/5 range. ([[Timothy  
Noah]] and [[Oni Press]] being two recent egregious examples of bad  
notability tagging.) Obviously notability tagging is a less  
destructive practice than deletion, but it does still fall into the  
larger problem of making our criteria look byzantine and impenetrable  
- in fact, possibly even moreso, as a notability tag stays visible  
for longer than five days.

-Phil
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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Sage Ross
In reply to this post by William Pietri
> Philip Sandifer wrote:
> > The problem he has? Notability. Specifically the arbitrary and
> > capricious way in which AfD targets things, questions their
> > notability, and uses guidelines that make no sense from the outside.

One of the big things that rankles me is the large swaths of content
that are in clear violation of WP:N and the more specific guidelines,
but that are de facto acceptable.

Television episodes are the clearest examples I know of.  We have a
guideline for fiction notability and there's been a centralized
discussion that more or less follows WP:N:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Centralized_discussion/Television_episodes

But this is blatantly disregarded for many series.  See, for example,
all the articles linked from here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Battlestar_Galactica_%28re-imagined_series%29_episodes

For most episodes, there is nothing to establish notability.  For this
particular series, there is a moderate amount of information available
about production through podcasts and blogs by the creators, but that
stuff isn't in the episode articles for the most part.

Standard practice has diverged considerably from the official line,
and I agree with Phil that we need to amend WP:N in particular to be
more accommodating of content where the subject can at least be
verified to exist (e.g., webcomics, Battlestar Galactica episodes,
marginally notable real people).

I developed this line of argument a little further in a recent blog post:
http://ragesossscholar.blogspot.com/2007/02/wikipedia-original-research-and-popular.html

-Sage

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

geni
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
On 2/25/07, Phil Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:
> No. His problem is that Wikipedia is documenting things
> inconsistently, arbitrarily, and in a manner that is not meaningfully
> predictable not only to an outsider but to one of the most respected
> figures in the field. If Scott McCloud cannot figure out the rhyme or
> reason to what is and isn't a notable comic (webcomic or print) on
> Wikipedia, odds are the rhyme or reason is shit.

Scott McCloud appears to be an expert on comics. Not data sorting.

> You're misunderstanding. I'm not using sense in terms of "is a good
> idea." I mean it in terms of "is actually recognizable as an idea as
> opposed to a set of arbitrary rules."
> I'm not saying that McCloud's
> objection is that our notability guidelines are unreasonable. I'm
> saying that his objection is that they're nonsensical.


WP:RS is pretty solid

There are a few conditions where it breaks down but is otherwise pretty solid.

Wikipedia:Notability has a solid base in the:
has been the subject of at least one substantial or multiple,
non-trivial published works from sources that are reliable and
independent of the subject and of each other.


However working out if a certain article passes or fails this every
time is hard. This in common cases people use shortcuts (just as
chemists don't use MO theory to work out roughly what an organic
chemical will look like) as long as people understand that these are
approximations and what the underlying assumptions are that should be
possible to deal with.

Of course none of this matters as long as people continue to use AFD
for campaigning.

> Strange. Because we were doing a fine job of writing a good
> encyclopedia before we had them, so I'm not exactly sure what we
> accomplished there.

Things change. Before we had them they tended to exist as de-facto
standards in any case. And frankly once you take off the rose tinted
specs the quality was not that high.

No amount of policy can ensure really good articles but they can
reduce the amount of total dross.

> No. I have to show that Wikipedia has a problem in the eyes of people
> who are disposed to be sympathetic to it.

Claim they are.

> This isn't a double blind
> study to establish beyond a scientific doubt that Wikipedia has a
> problem. Such studies don't exist, and if they're a prerequisite for
> change then change is impossible. Which, admittedly, seems like the
> situation you want most of the time.

Pretty much. Nine times out of ten doing nothing is a surprisingly
good solution.

It's easy to find tales of woe and then say that this requires total
change right now. Much harder to do a proper examination of the
situation which would allow you to have some idea what the correct
changes are.


> I must be remembering the two years I spent editing Wikipedia before
> [[WP:N]] and [[WP:RS]] were codified wrong, because I'm pretty sure
> we were capable of dealing with such groups before we had them.


We didn't have the 9/11 twoothers. We did rather badly with the aether
people. In the early days of wikipedia we were rather tech heavy and
other than certain audiophiles most tech people tend to be fairly
sceptical. That isn't the case any more.

--
geni

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Mark
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer
Philip Sandifer wrote:

>See also Timothy Noah's recent article on Slate for this - it gives a  
>good view of how notability guidelines look to the outside. In this  
>case, it's how they look to the subject of the article, but I assure  
>you - they look similar to people who are familiar with the subject.  
>In short, they appear a Kafka-esque absurdity.
>  
>
I'd have to say this is how it looks to many academics as well.  Even
biographies of extremely famous researchers are routinely hauled into
AfD with piles of ignorant "d, nn" votes.  There's a reason we almost
never have an article on a Nobel Prize winner before he or she actually
wins a Nobel Prize---because any researcher whose fame is even a bit
short of "won a Nobel Prize" is deleted as non-notable.

-Mark


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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

William Pietri
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
Phil Sandifer wrote:
> It's tough to say, mostly because I have trouble conceiving of  
> notability as a linear thing.

Yeah. That's probably because it isn't. :-)

> But I'd say -2/2 is a good bet, and we  
> can peak out around -4/4. I'll also note, that gap has been  
> expanding, and if you go all the way out to where notability tagging  
> is happening you get solidly out to the -4/4, -5/5 range. ([[Timothy  
> Noah]] and [[Oni Press]] being two recent egregious examples of bad  
> notability tagging.) Obviously notability tagging is a less  
> destructive practice than deletion, but it does still fall into the  
> larger problem of making our criteria look byzantine and impenetrable  
> - in fact, possibly even moreso, as a notability tag stays visible  
> for longer than five days.

Yep. That's a hard one. The tagger in question looks curious to me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/REtwW

That tag was his third edit, made an entire eight minutes after joining.
That's pretty unusual for an actual newbie, but I don't see anything
that makes me think malice is involved.


Setting aside the painful topic of notability, is this a sign that we
could use a different division between what restaurants call "front of
house" and "back of house"? I'm looking at the various maintenance
templates:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Wikipedia_maintenance_templates

Some are important warnings that really belong at the top of pages,
either because they are about unreliable content or because it's only
fair to let people know that an article might be axed.

Putting them all at the top of an article made sense early on, when the
ratio of editors to readers was higher. But at some point, wouldn't we
want to hide more of the plumbing where the average reader never sees it
unless the go looking?

William

--
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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

geni
In reply to this post by Sage Ross
On 2/25/07, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Standard practice has diverged considerably from the official line,
> and I agree with Phil that we need to amend WP:N in particular to be
> more accommodating of content where the subject can at least be
> verified to exist (e.g., webcomics, Battlestar Galactica episodes,
> marginally notable real people).

I can confirm that 30 million chemical elements exist.

Given that old enough census data is published with can confirm rather
a lot of people exist as well. Confirming somthing exists doesn't mean
much.

There is another problem with what you propose. Check out the talk
pages of articles releated to [[Watchmen]] (or the trivia secetion on
a lot of our lower quality articles). These fans likely know a lot
about the subject but the conflicting interptritiations. The sexuality
section on [[Rorschach (comics)]] can be a fine source of black humor.


--
geni

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

William Pietri
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> On 2/25/07, Phil Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> No. His problem is that Wikipedia is documenting things
>> inconsistently, arbitrarily, and in a manner that is not meaningfully
>> predictable not only to an outsider but to one of the most respected
>> figures in the field. If Scott McCloud cannot figure out the rhyme or
>> reason to what is and isn't a notable comic (webcomic or print) on
>> Wikipedia, odds are the rhyme or reason is shit.
>>    
>
> Scott McCloud appears to be an expert on comics. Not data sorting.
>  

Are you suggesting that it's ok that an expert in a topic, especially
one who is known for his technological savvy and ability to write for
the general public, can't understand our notability guidelines for his
field?

That puzzles me, as I'd think that if Scott McCloud can't understand our
comic guidelines, there's no hope that your average comic fan will be
able to get them. And unless we're restricting AfD and article creation
to information architects and people with Master of Library Science
degrees (which I'm assuming is what you mean by experts in data
sorting), that seems like a big minus to me.

William


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William Pietri <[hidden email]>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_Pietri

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by geni


On Feb 24, 2007, at 9:37 PM, geni wrote:

>
> There is another problem with what you propose. Check out the talk
> pages of articles releated to [[Watchmen]] (or the trivia secetion on
> a lot of our lower quality articles). These fans likely know a lot
> about the subject but the conflicting interptritiations. The sexuality
> section on [[Rorschach (comics)]] can be a fine source of black humor.

Here's the problem: what fixes that breaks [[Jacques Derrida]]. What  
fixes [[Jacques Derrida]] breaks [[Rorschach (comics)]].

Solution: Stop trying to implement a fix that applies to both articles?

-Phil
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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

geni
In reply to this post by Mark
On 2/25/07, Delirium <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I'd have to say this is how it looks to many academics as well.  Even
> biographies of extremely famous researchers are routinely hauled into
> AfD with piles of ignorant "d, nn" votes.  There's a reason we almost
> never have an article on a Nobel Prize winner before he or she actually
> wins a Nobel Prize---because any researcher whose fame is even a bit
> short of "won a Nobel Prize" is deleted as non-notable.
>
> -Mark


[[Wikipedia:Notability (academics)]]

Seems fairly well fleshed out.

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geni

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by William Pietri


On Feb 24, 2007, at 9:35 PM, William Pietri wrote:

>
> Putting them all at the top of an article made sense early on, when  
> the
> ratio of editors to readers was higher. But at some point, wouldn't we
> want to hide more of the plumbing where the average reader never  
> sees it
> unless the go looking?

Yes - absolutely. But on the other hand, we should take a long, hard  
look at the plumbing - I'm unconvinced that it would pass health  
inspections, to continue your restaurant metaphor.

-Phil
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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by geni


On Feb 24, 2007, at 9:40 PM, geni wrote:

> Wikipedia:Notability (academics)]]

If we didn't have a notability guideline on porn stars, this would be  
our worst one. It's ridiculously selective, and fails the sniff test  
in the humanities. It should be a slam dunk that anybody who has  
published in PMLA or Critical Inquiry should, at the very least, have  
an article outlining that work. Absolute dead-on common sense, and if  
this were true it would immediately boost the quality of articles in  
this area astronomically. If I didn't suspect that it would get  
ripped out by a mob of deletionists, I'd work my way through the last  
decade of Critical Inquiry putting in summaries of the work published  
in it. But I won't, because I'm not willing to invest that kind of  
time in order to have someone tag it for deletion.

-Phil

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by geni


On Feb 24, 2007, at 9:25 PM, geni wrote:

>
> Scott McCloud appears to be an expert on comics. Not data sorting.
>

A+ for snippyness, D for actual content there. What makes you believe  
that our notability guidelines appear coherent and consistent to the  
outside? Particularly in light of, in the last week, three separate  
instances of people showing inconsistencies in three very different  
approaches (Straub, McCloud, and Noah).
> WP:RS is pretty solid
> There are a few conditions where it breaks down but is otherwise  
> pretty solid.
>

No. It's not. It never has been, it never will be, it never can be.  
Reliable sourcing is fundamentally a more complex issue than a black  
and white guideline could ever portray. This page is not flawed in  
any particular manifestation - it is flawed at the most fundamental  
level imaginable - it's a policy page trying to perform an impossible  
task.

> Wikipedia:Notability has a solid base in the:
> has been the subject of at least one substantial or multiple,
> non-trivial published works from sources that are reliable and
> independent of the subject and of each other.
>

Yes. We took our notability guidelines, which used to be a vague  
sense of "if things like it survive VfD, it probably will too" and  
yoked them to our sourcing guidelines. This isn't so much throwing  
the baby out with the bathwater as drowning the baby in the bathwater.
>
> However working out if a certain article passes or fails this every
> time is hard. This in common cases people use shortcuts (just as
> chemists don't use MO theory to work out roughly what an organic
> chemical will look like) as long as people understand that these are
> approximations and what the underlying assumptions are that should be
> possible to deal with.
>

I don't think this describes the problem. It's not that we have rules  
that make sense but follow them badly. It's that we have rules that  
don't really make sense and that we follow them pretty well.
>

> Things change. Before we had them they tended to exist as de-facto
> standards in any case. And frankly once you take off the rose tinted
> specs the quality was not that high.
>
The quality still isn't that high. But I don't think it's gone up  
much since Siegenthaler. I think it's stuck in a situation where it  
can't actually improve. Which might explain why 1.0 has stalled.
> No amount of policy can ensure really good articles but they can
> reduce the amount of total dross.
>

No. Policy does not reduce dross. Good editors reduce dross. Policy  
reduces good editors.
>> No. I have to show that Wikipedia has a problem in the eyes of people
>> who are disposed to be sympathetic to it.
>
> Claim they are.
>

[[WP:AGF]]
>> This isn't a double blind
>> study to establish beyond a scientific doubt that Wikipedia has a
>> problem. Such studies don't exist, and if they're a prerequisite for
>> change then change is impossible. Which, admittedly, seems like the
>> situation you want most of the time.
>
> Pretty much. Nine times out of ten doing nothing is a surprisingly
> good solution.
>

And 10% of the time Rome burns. That's a high enough error rate to  
deserve more care than the pithy dismissals you've perfected.

> It's easy to find tales of woe and then say that this requires total
> change right now. Much harder to do a proper examination of the
> situation which would allow you to have some idea what the correct
> changes are.
>

Aside from an admittedly polemical call to nuke RS I've not demanded  
total change right now. In fact, total change right now is what got  
us into this mess. (Oh no, we got panned in USA Today. We'd better  
overhaul the system!) If anything, my position is more conservative  
than yours.
>

> We didn't have the 9/11 twoothers. We did rather badly with the aether
> people. In the early days of wikipedia we were rather tech heavy and
> other than certain audiophiles most tech people tend to be fairly
> sceptical. That isn't the case any more.

And I'm wearing rose-coloured glasses? I remember when I could be  
advancing two or three arbcom cases against POV pushing lunatics at  
once. And those were just the ones I knew about, which, we ought  
remember, was almost certainly a minority as I've only looked at  
around .5% of the articles on Wikipedia in my life. We've always had  
dreadful POV problems. And we've always dealt with them the same way  
- by going "OK, you're nuts" and blocking the person.

-Phil

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Re: Scott McCloud on Wikipedia

WikipedianKiba@gmail.com
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
As evidence that the webcomic community is fed up with this.

http://comixpedia.org

Basically a webcomic encyclopedia. Started in response to
en.wikipedia.orgabritary deletions.

I think the problem is experts/lack of experts. Experts probably know the
subject area and can probably make better judgement calls than the layman.
But we got mostly layman who don't know much about webcomics saying delete,
non-notable.

On 2/24/07, Phil Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
>
> On Feb 24, 2007, at 9:35 PM, William Pietri wrote:
>
> >
> > Putting them all at the top of an article made sense early on, when
> > the
> > ratio of editors to readers was higher. But at some point, wouldn't we
> > want to hide more of the plumbing where the average reader never
> > sees it
> > unless the go looking?
>
> Yes - absolutely. But on the other hand, we should take a long, hard
> look at the plumbing - I'm unconvinced that it would pass health
> inspections, to continue your restaurant metaphor.
>
> -Phil
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
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>
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