"Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

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"Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Charles Matthews
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/12/wikipedia-deletionist-inclusionist

Much familiar argument from threads here. Some of the usual suspects
commenting, and everyone putting in their two cents. Somewhere in the
middle is a debate struggling to get out: is the volume of reversions
indicative of good gatekeeping (poor edits to popular and well-developed
articles have little chance of sticking), or bad gatekeeping
(established editors assert ownership)? Stats from 2007 and 2009 show a
step-change of some sort, as we know, but don't really prove that there
is a current trend (we could be going sideways).

Charles


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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Andrew Turvey
----- "Charles Matthews" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> From: "Charles Matthews" <[hidden email]>

> is the volume of reversions
> indicative of good gatekeeping (poor edits to popular and well-developed
> articles have little chance of sticking), or bad gatekeeping
> (established editors assert ownership)? Stats from 2007 and 2009 show a
> step-change of some sort, as we know ...

I personally have seen a considerable change in reversions since I started editing in ~2006 - driven by automated reversions. When I started editing I would often see vandalism on my watchlist which I would go and revert. I haven't done that for ages, because it's rarely there by the time I get to it!

On that basis I would suggest - good gatekeeping!

Andrew
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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
The 'limit' that's being reached is the article count; so reverts
aren't the question.

The real question is whether the AFD process is working correctly,
particularly for new articles, now that the low-hanging fruit is gone.

I've personally seen several of my referenced articles that in all
honesty didn't violate a single policy get AFDd; one was 'merged' in
40 minutes of the review starting by the admin who also voted in the
review, and then he unilaterally decided the results of review was
something that not even he voted for!?!

That marks a new low point for the AFD process I think;

(FWIW it got overturned at DRV, but then deleted anyway, but not for
violating policy that I could point you to...)

Right now the AFD process never looks for potential in articles and
never looks at violations of policy, it's simply a popularity contest
for articles; articles that haven't been created yet are inevitably
less popular topics, so are even more likely to get deleted out of
hand.

That's not the way it's supposed to work, but that's the way it does work. ;-)

--
-Ian Woollard

"All the world's a stage... but you'll grow out of it eventually."

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Sage Ross
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 4:58 AM, Charles
Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:

> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/12/wikipedia-deletionist-inclusionist
>
> Much familiar argument from threads here. Some of the usual suspects
> commenting, and everyone putting in their two cents. Somewhere in the
> middle is a debate struggling to get out: is the volume of reversions
> indicative of good gatekeeping (poor edits to popular and well-developed
> articles have little chance of sticking), or bad gatekeeping
> (established editors assert ownership)? Stats from 2007 and 2009 show a
> step-change of some sort, as we know, but don't really prove that there
> is a current trend (we could be going sideways).
>
> Charles

Regarding the familiar arguments related to this... should the
Signpost be a venue for discussing thing stuff?  See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Newsroom/Suggestions#.22Wikipedia_enters_a_new_chapter.22

-Sage

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Charles Matthews
Sage Ross wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 4:58 AM, Charles
> Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/12/wikipedia-deletionist-inclusionist
>>
>> Much familiar argument from threads here. Some of the usual suspects
>> commenting, and everyone putting in their two cents. Somewhere in the
>> middle is a debate struggling to get out: is the volume of reversions
>> indicative of good gatekeeping (poor edits to popular and well-developed
>> articles have little chance of sticking), or bad gatekeeping
>> (established editors assert ownership)? Stats from 2007 and 2009 show a
>> step-change of some sort, as we know, but don't really prove that there
>> is a current trend (we could be going sideways).
>>
>> Charles
>>    
>
> Regarding the familiar arguments related to this... should the
> Signpost be a venue for discussing thing stuff?  See:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Newsroom/Suggestions#.22Wikipedia_enters_a_new_chapter.22
>  
I think you're right to suspect that this would be hard to cover
_properly_ in the Signpost's usual and gratefully concise style. Just
picking out the different strands of "deletionism" looks like several
pages of philosophy tutorial to me. Stats are interesting, but stats on
reversions without a proper indication of their distribution (are they
largely in the top 1000 articles by readers?) seem fairly inconclusive.

Charles


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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Michael Pruden
In reply to this post by Ian Woollard
There is a similar discussion at the en.wiki Village pump on this, and I think it runs parallel to this discussion.

I tend to think that the bigger problems with AFD is the lack of participation on many of them; if you disagree, then look at the bottom of each page of any given day's AFD and observe all the relisted (some twice) discussions that have zero, perhaps one other comment.

I think people are discouraged from participating in AFD discussions or even sounding off what they think the best actions should be taken for two reasons. First, there are those who are afraid to participate in AFDs for the fear of being pigeonholed or labeled (i.e. as an inclusionist or a deletionist when they are actually in the middle). Second, there are those users who are discouraged or perhaps disgusted over the level of wikilawyering and incivility that permeates especially in the more contentious discussions.

I partially fall into both camps myself. When I first came on over a year ago, I took a lot of advice from the Help pages (as the article indicates, taking it in by 'osmosis'). [[Help:Contents]] mentioned "deleting pages", which I kind of took as some sort of a Wiki-responsibility to participate in AFD discussions, or at the very least, chime in. And that's what I did for about the first six months or so in which I have been active. However, that has slowed down greatly since then for the reasons that I have explained above.

Not to say that I don't regret not having participated in AFD discussions frequently. In fact, it was through AFD where I have learned about everything policy and guideline-wise that I know now, how to interact with other users as well as what to do and what not to do in a general sense (not just in AFD discussions but in any WP discussion).

With that said, I don't think the pros or cons of AFD are going to necessarily effect article volume. There are always going to be new topics out there, which will perpetually facilitate new articles. Looking at the big picture with regards to the current information that exists on Wikipedia, it ultimately becomes an exercise on "how" to organize said information as opposed to squeezing every last bit, every last letter, into everything (not that you don't see the latter, as that happens very often, as well).

Speedy deletion is going to happen, PROD is going to happen, AFD is going to happen. The rest, as Ian puts it, depends on the integrity and open-mindedness of the editors out there to make sure they're running with the intention of the encyclopedia's net benefit in mind.

-MuZemike

--- On Thu, 8/13/09, Ian Woollard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> From: Ian Woollard <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian
> To: [hidden email], "English Wikipedia" <[hidden email]>
> Date: Thursday, August 13, 2009, 11:08 AM
> The 'limit' that's being reached is
> the article count; so reverts
> aren't the question.
>
> The real question is whether the AFD process is working
> correctly,
> particularly for new articles, now that the low-hanging
> fruit is gone.
>
> I've personally seen several of my referenced articles that
> in all
> honesty didn't violate a single policy get AFDd; one was
> 'merged' in
> 40 minutes of the review starting by the admin who also
> voted in the
> review, and then he unilaterally decided the results of
> review was
> something that not even he voted for!?!
>
> That marks a new low point for the AFD process I think;
>
> (FWIW it got overturned at DRV, but then deleted anyway,
> but not for
> violating policy that I could point you to...)
>
> Right now the AFD process never looks for potential in
> articles and
> never looks at violations of policy, it's simply a
> popularity contest
> for articles; articles that haven't been created yet are
> inevitably
> less popular topics, so are even more likely to get deleted
> out of
> hand.
>
> That's not the way it's supposed to work, but that's the
> way it does work. ;-)
>
> --
> -Ian Woollard
>
> "All the world's a stage... but you'll grow out of it
> eventually."
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>


     

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Luna-4
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
Maybe we should stop reverting vandalism. It would improve our statistics,
after all.

-Luna
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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guard ian

Keegan Paul
Ha, okay, one of those rare lols where I actually laughed out loud.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre
Luna wrote:

Maybe we should stop reverting vandalism. It would improve our statistics,

after all.



-Luna

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Steve Bennett-8
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 6:58 PM, Charles
Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/12/wikipedia-deletionist-inclusionist


"Meanwhile, for those who did not invest vast amounts of time in
editing, the experience was very different. "For editors that make
between two and nine edits a month, the percentage of their edits
being reverted had gone from 5% in 2004 all the way up to about 15% by
October 2008. And the 'onesies' – people who only make one edit a
month – their edits are now being reverted at a 25% rate," Chi
explains."


My sense is that the reason for this is that the experienced editors
are now more certain of what is a good edit and what is a bad one.
Back in the day, any edits were welcome. You could write a sentence on
[[George W Bush]] and it would be an improvement on the void before
it. But now, most random edits are going to be to articles that are
quite polished, and don't need random edits. They need thought out
edits that conform to policies.

Summary: With the encyclopaedia being bigger and more complete, it's
less likely that a "onesie"'s edit is worth keeping.

The 1% reversion rate for experienced editors was also interesting. I
doubt my edits get reverted at anything like that high a rate.

Steve

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - TechnologyGuardian

Jay Litwyn-2
In reply to this post by Michael Pruden
"Michael Pruden" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...
...pigeonholed (i.e. as an inclusionist or a deletionist when they are
actually in the middle).

Merjists are both, and they do not need to participate in any AfD
discussion, because the articles they redirect do not actually get deleted.
IOW, any user can undo a merj, because both articles exist: Seeing the
history for the deleted articles is only a matter of either writing or
finding ?redirect=no. So, in a way, they are also neither, because deleted
material should appear at the redirection destination, so I guess they are
net inclusionists. This is of course only applicable to notable articles
that are longstanding synonyms or close cousins. I think it is also possible
to be a pre-emptive, deletionistic merjist and prevent new articles from
being created when their content already exists, elsewhere, under a synonym.
I tried doing some of that in [[recent changes#requested articles]], and I
was chastized for some of it -- did not hit the best mark, I suppose.
_______
http://ecn.ab.ca/~brewhaha/WP_CRYSTAL.HTM written from the merjist POV.




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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - TechnologyGuardian

Jay Litwyn-2
In reply to this post by Luna-4
"Luna" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...
> Maybe we should stop reverting vandalism.
> It would improve our statistics, after all.

What? And let it out that wikipedians hav WebCams on celebrity sex life?




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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Steve Bennett-8
Steve Bennett wrote:
> The 1% reversion rate for experienced editors was also interesting. I
> doubt my edits get reverted at anything like that high a rate.
>  
Yes, the mean here might tell less than the median. (I.e. you'd expect
to see very different figures for controversial and non-controversial
articles, and lumping all articles and frequent editors together and
averaging isn't going to be that helpful.)

As http://asc-parc.blogspot.com/ admits, they (the PARC people) have
basically done a press release on a conference paper that won't be
produced until WikiSym in October. This would account for the rather
sensationalised tone of it all.

Charles


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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Steve Bennett-8
2009/8/17 Steve Bennett <[hidden email]>:

> Summary: With the encyclopaedia being bigger and more complete, it's
> less likely that a "onesie"'s edit is worth keeping.
> The 1% reversion rate for experienced editors was also interesting. I
> doubt my edits get reverted at anything like that high a rate.


It can be problematic. I frequently edit as an IP when I'm at another
machine and can't be bothered logging in. The unexplained reversion
rate is *much* higher than when I edit logged-in, even though the
edits are exactly the same sort of thing.

(Usual culprit: overenthusiastic use of Twinkle. When you say "that
was me, what was the purpose of this reversion?" the usual response is
blustering and "HOW CAN I KEEP UP WITH THE EDITS IF I HAVE TO THINK
ABOUT THEM" or similar. I know that's nothing like all Twinkle users,
but a lot of this does noticeably come from Twinkle users.)

I urge any editor who's been around a while to try editing as an IP,
and see what the reversion rate is. Then ask the reverter what their
reasoning was for each reversion. They should be able to justify it,
after all, even with a "sorry, slipped up." Which is fine too, just
please show evidence of thought.


- d.

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Steve Bennett-8
On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 3:04 AM, David Gerard<[hidden email]> wrote:
> It can be problematic. I frequently edit as an IP when I'm at another
> machine and can't be bothered logging in. The unexplained reversion
> rate is *much* higher than when I edit logged-in, even though the
> edits are exactly the same sort of thing.

Ah, yes. This was an obvious test I should have thought of.

One of my pet hates: when an IP changes a figure in in infobox or
somewhere in article, with no comment, and no source. I've heard
reports of people doing this as sport, just to be annoying, but in my
experience, they're often right. But it leaves you in a real quandary,
if you can't verify it either way.

Steve

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Ian Woollard
On 19/08/2009, Steve Bennett <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 3:04 AM, David Gerard<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> It can be problematic. I frequently edit as an IP when I'm at another
>> machine and can't be bothered logging in. The unexplained reversion
>> rate is *much* higher than when I edit logged-in, even though the
>> edits are exactly the same sort of thing.
>
> Ah, yes. This was an obvious test I should have thought of.
>
> One of my pet hates: when an IP changes a figure in in infobox or
> somewhere in article, with no comment, and no source. I've heard
> reports of people doing this as sport, just to be annoying, but in my
> experience, they're often right. But it leaves you in a real quandary,
> if you can't verify it either way.

I normally revert those, unless you can verify it it's just an
unreferenced change. You can leave a message on their talk page though
asking for a ref. Same goes for logged-ins.

> Steve

--
-Ian Woollard

"All the world's a stage... but you'll grow out of it eventually."

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Bod Notbod
On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 6:55 AM, Ian Woollard<[hidden email]> wrote:

>> One of my pet hates: when an IP changes a figure in in infobox or
>> somewhere in article, with no comment, and no source. I've heard
>> reports of people doing this as sport, just to be annoying, but in my
>> experience, they're often right. But it leaves you in a real quandary,
>> if you can't verify it either way.
>
> I normally revert those, unless you can verify it it's just an
> unreferenced change. You can leave a message on their talk page though
> asking for a ref. Same goes for logged-ins.

I see a lot of these patrolling recent changes in Huggle. I look at
the user's other contribs and provided I can find just one in the same
day where he's blanked the page and written "SUCK MY ASS!!!" I'll
revert the numeric change and put "rv numerical change by bad faith
editor but editors may wish to double-check" as an edit summary.

Another warning sign is a number of numeric changes, without any other
sort of edit, in completely unrelated types of articles. I wouldn't
necessarily rv on that basis but I probably would if they've had any
sort of warning that day.

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Carcharoth
On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 5:48 PM, Bod Notbod<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 6:55 AM, Ian Woollard<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>> One of my pet hates: when an IP changes a figure in in infobox or
>>> somewhere in article, with no comment, and no source. I've heard
>>> reports of people doing this as sport, just to be annoying, but in my
>>> experience, they're often right. But it leaves you in a real quandary,
>>> if you can't verify it either way.
>>
>> I normally revert those, unless you can verify it it's just an
>> unreferenced change. You can leave a message on their talk page though
>> asking for a ref. Same goes for logged-ins.
>
> I see a lot of these patrolling recent changes in Huggle. I look at
> the user's other contribs and provided I can find just one in the same
> day where he's blanked the page and written "SUCK MY ASS!!!" I'll
> revert the numeric change and put "rv numerical change by bad faith
> editor but editors may wish to double-check" as an edit summary.

What you need to check here is that the editor in question isn't
reverting vandalism by someone else. In other words, you need to check
back further through the edit history to make sure you are reverting
to the last clean version. I've seen cases of HUGGLE and TWINKLE users
reverting a vandalised page to a still-vandalised state, and no-one
else checking, and such vandalised pages (now with the "legitimacy" of
a revert from an "approved" user) staying in that state for months.

> Another warning sign is a number of numeric changes, without any other
> sort of edit, in completely unrelated types of articles. I wouldn't
> necessarily rv on that basis but I probably would if they've had any
> sort of warning that day.

Same comment as above. Reverting should never be done without checking
what you are reverting TO.

Carcharoth

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Steve Summit
Carcharoth wrote:
> ...I've seen cases of HUGGLE and TWINKLE users reverting a
> vandalised page to a still-vandalised state, and no-one else checking,
> and such vandalised pages (now with the "legitimacy" of a revert
> from an "approved" user) staying in that state for months.

Indeed.  And I've seen canny vandals instigate a deliberate chain
of contradictory vandalism (perhaps involving sockpuppets) with
the apparent intent of goading well-meaning but careless
vandalism patrollers into doing precisely this.  (It's an
annoyingly effective technique.)

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Re: "Wikipedia approaches its limits" - Technology Guardian

Bod Notbod
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 6:41 PM, Carcharoth<[hidden email]> wrote:

>> I see a lot of these patrolling recent changes in Huggle. I look at
>> the user's other contribs and provided I can find just one in the same
>> day where he's blanked the page and written "SUCK MY ASS!!!" I'll
>> revert the numeric change and put "rv numerical change by bad faith
>> editor but editors may wish to double-check" as an edit summary.
>
> What you need to check here is that the editor in question isn't
> reverting vandalism by someone else. In other words, you need to check
> back further through the edit history to make sure you are reverting
> to the last clean version.

I do check what I'm reverting back to. The "editor in question" as I
say, is the "SUCK MY ASS!!!" guy usually. If I go back through the
article history I often see that there's a revert war, but usually the
vandal leaves no edit summary and the person reverting in good faith
does. So that's easy enough to spot. In short I tend to flick through
both the editor's contribs AND the article history and get a rounded
picture.

Steve Summit:

>Indeed.  And I've seen canny vandals instigate a deliberate chain
>of contradictory vandalism (perhaps involving sockpuppets) with
>the apparent intent of goading well-meaning but careless
>vandalism patrollers into doing precisely this.  (It's an
>annoyingly effective technique.)

Well, I confess that would probably fool me. Although would I be
correct in saying that in these cases it would either be a case where;
the first sock guise is an anon-IP and the other sock a named user; OR
both are named users? Which is to say it would HARDLY EVER be the case
that the two guises of the sockpuppet are editing using different
anon-IP numbers?

If that's the case, virtually everything that reaches the top of
Huggle's To Do list is anonymous-IPs... I hardly ever see an edit by a
named user. So provided I'm correct to say that two different anon-IP
addresses editing in (usually quick) succession are not going to be
one man and his sock, I shouldn't be falling into that pit.

I hope I've made that clear to follow. I have tried.

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