Sunday, June 01, 2014

The substance of #Wikipedia

Ting Chen said it well in a recent post on the mailing list: "Don't bother with things that are too complicated, it is the content that counts".

I could not agree more. Writing a Wikipedia article is not something I do. It is not that I am not able to, for me there is too much that is in the way. There is the arcane user interface that I hope will be soon replaced and then there are the vagaries that are the Wikipedia policies and separate from them, their interpretation.
"Nowadays Wikipedia articles (across all major languages) are highly biased in style and in content to academic thesis. How references are used and put, the criteria for references as valid, are almost one-by-one copied by the standards from academic thesis. Content without references are by itself considered as delete candidates. Both of these strongly put up constraints on who can put new content in Wikipedia and what content is considered as viable."
To make matters worse as a result many articles are hard to read. They assume an academic understanding. The prose is often meant to appease the deletionists and are not meant for reading. A half finished article gets deleted, not improved. What made Wikipedia a reality was the ability to contribute, to be bold, to find a cooperative community.

People wrangle with the question what is happening with the community.. If you ask me it is because where we once were bold, we now find caretakers and people insisting on their "academic" ways. For me it is why we do not attract new people, it is why you will not find me edit Wikipedia much.

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