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Eric: However, the entry for the Queen's Theater in Hornchurch, in England? Is perfectly safe! Because, you know, that's notability in action.

For those of you playing along at home, Wikipedia just put Checkerboard Nightmare up to votes for deletion.

It's official. Wikipedia is officially worthless for webcomics. I can't speak to any of their other subjects, but if you ever hear of someone going to Wikipedia to look up webcomics information, gently redirect them to Comixpedia.org.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at November 20, 2005 6:08 PM

Comments

Comment from: Plaid Phantom posted at November 20, 2005 6:21 PM

I thought Wikipedia was supposed to be an encyclopedia of everything or something. By claiming a strip like CN isn't notable, they are effectively marginalizing webcomics in general.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 20, 2005 6:25 PM

Only they actually can't.

Because seriously, who the fuck cares what Wikipedia thinks?

All they're doing is sending a message to Webcomics fans that Wikipedia is unreliable and fails at the core mission they espouse.

Comment from: Ardaniel posted at November 20, 2005 6:38 PM

Because seriously, who the fuck cares what Wikipedia thinks?

More than that, who the fuck cares what Alexa pagerank a particular site has?

The emphasis on cut-and-dried statistical measures to determine what's a good topic for a encyclopedia is... er, boggling, to say the least. By that measure, the Marshall Islands would never get any space in a real encyclopedia because they simply don't have enough people to be considered notable.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at November 20, 2005 6:39 PM

You have to remember that anybody can put a wiki article up for deletion, it's whether or not it gets deleted that tests the mettle of the wiki. The articles for deletion page itself states that there are plans for reform, but, as we all know, committees take a long time to make a consensus about anything when they are very large.

Comment from: ZorbaTHut posted at November 20, 2005 6:44 PM

Whenever I read something about Wikipedia deleting articles, the only thing I can think about is the Wikipedia entry on Bio-Drones.

Now, X-COM - the series that creature came from - is a very, very notable game. I can't think of many games that more deserve a spot on Wikipedia. But out of the main series, the second one is, by far, the least interesting, and the least good.

And I could even see an article on that particular game, but . . . an article for every single alien species within that game?

Come on, guys. This isn't Gamefaqs. This is Wikipedia. I don't need to know how a Bio-Drone reacts to Shok Bombs.

I can see reasons to argue that Wikipedia shouldn't include everything on the face of the planet - but if we're going to include Bio-Drones and Triscenes, I feel that just about any webcomic with more than a hundred strips and more than a few hundred readers should be included also.

And Checkerboard Nightmare? Sheesh.

IMHO, Wikipedia's great for the things that Wikipedia has articles on. But their article inclusion policy continues to baffle me.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 20, 2005 6:57 PM

Ooh, ooh, can I bitch about Alexa rankings for a bit?

See, Alexa ranks things based on how people with their tracking software spend their time on the Internet. And said tracking software is, make no mistake about it, spyware. Thus, plenty of people don't get tracked depending on the browser they use and how religious they are about cleaning out spyware.

I can say in terms of businesses evaluating a web-based enterprise, they don't trust Alexa at all. The low end of the scale relies on Alexa, but anyone with experience prefers something more significant and less prone to certain kinds of visitors, like Media Metrix.

My own personal example has to do with my own site. We managed to get up a review of Dragon Quest 8 the day it came out. This naturally drove traffic up, and we got a decent amount of retention from those people checking out other reviews on the site. I looked at our numbers - our traffic results have been steadily up this past week. However, according to our Alexa ranking (which we track mostly out of curiosity) has actually been plummeting. But we can tell by our hits and our bandwidth usage that our hits are up. Just our hits among the Alexa-tagged are down.

Alexa - rankings for people who don't care how the actual population goes around on the Internet.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 20, 2005 7:15 PM

MAUHAhaHAHAA!
That's awesome!

I think I'll take a moment and go put MegaTokyo up for deletion...

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at November 20, 2005 7:32 PM

Wow, so many things to find wrong with that call for deletion. Unless I'm wildly mistaken, the CxN book that is linked at Amazon never actually came out, which would certainly explain the low interest. (If you're going to use Amazon sales rankings and comments to prove a point, but don't know what "5 to 6 weeks -- special order" almost always means ... pfffft.)

Google searches are really easy to screw up--how many people call it "Checkerboard Nightmare" every time they mention it? How many of those tens of thousands of "very similar" links really are very similar? (Hint: if a domain mentions it on more than 2 pages, everything > 2 = "very similar".)

But the best has to be "it originally appeared in a forum that does not guarantee it is worth being on Wikipedia, therefore it shouldn't be on Wikipedia". I need a shovel.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 20, 2005 7:36 PM

Done and done!
MegaTokyo is SOOOO dooomed!!!!!111oneoneoen!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Megatokyo

Comment from: Rakishi posted at November 20, 2005 7:44 PM

First of all I understand why the entry was marked for deletion, all that nice stuff about why the strip matters? They weren╠t in the entry.

To someone not deeply in the webcomic community (even if they read webcomics) the strip doesn╠t seem notable, the entry simply says ¤it╠s another webcomicË and other things say ¤without many readers.Ë The VfD posted had a great point in that regard, if the strip is notable for odd reasons make sure the wiki says that otherwise it comes off as simply another webcomic.

As for worthless wiki entries, there is an entry for almost every single alien race in the Star Control games: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_control

Comment from: Rakishi posted at November 20, 2005 7:50 PM

thelemurgod: WTF.

Great, now the webcomic community is going to look like a bunch of spoiled annoying 5 years old trolls. There are good ways of trying to change the attitude of people on wiki, there are bad ways and then there is that.

Comment from: Alex Jeffries posted at November 20, 2005 7:51 PM

Just put every webcomic up for deletion on Wikipedia so people are forced to use Comixpedia. Simple?

Comment from: SeanH posted at November 20, 2005 8:10 PM

First thought: Hey! The Queen's Theatre is a pretty significant theatre!

Second thought: Oh, the one in Hornchurch. right.

Third thought: They have theatres in Hornchurch?

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 20, 2005 8:11 PM

Rakishi: (please see: Satire)

Comment from: RMG posted at November 20, 2005 8:25 PM

It seems like the overwhelming majority of Wikipedians are voting to keep this, so I don't think it's fair to condemn WP as a whole because one random guy has flagged CN for deletion.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 20, 2005 8:26 PM

This is why I exclusively edit at Comixpedia. I even don't edit non-webcomic entries at Wikipedia anymore. I'm just sick of it. I don't know why they seem to think by deleting entries willy nilly they'll improve Wikipedia, so whilever they're at it, I'm outta there.

I recommend everyone stop paying attention to Wikipedia, and pop over to Comixpedia. They've got entries on webcomics that won't have to defend themselves from getting deleted.

Comment from: ranlab posted at November 20, 2005 8:47 PM


Why isn't there a Wiki option that allows anyone to ban anyone from posting in Wikipedia with enough votes and disallows the person who is up for banning to post anything to wiki or submit anything for deletion while they are marked so because they are 'on parole while their validity is being checked' or something?

Seems like it would be the next logical step given wiki's policies and the magnitude of politics and chaos that could ensue from that would be a beautiful paradox.

Machaevellian manipulation and ruthlessness over things like whether the Orginal Series Klingons and the ones from Next Generation onward should be merged or have their own entries or which species of milkweed butterflies should get their own paragraphs and which can be glossed over...

Of course, it would last only 10-15 minutes before everyone has banned everyone else... or the activity manages to fry the server.

I thought Eric's defense and others' were well put. I'm unfamiliar with the Wikitribunal process though. Do the majority of 'keeps' that seem to be getting on there help the Chex entry?

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at November 20, 2005 8:52 PM

(sigh)

(I had several individual things to add, but (sigh) seems to cover them all pretty well.)

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at November 20, 2005 9:00 PM

The problem with this scenario is that Wikipedia works under the assumption that all people interested in a certain topic are actively looking for incidents like this to reverse. In other words, in a perfect system, all webcomic-interested parties WOULD be visiting Wikipedia for webcomics, and a request for deletion like this would be shot down quickly. (As it is now, but it didn't happen until I started to complain about it.)

But since most of us don't think of Wikipedia as a go-to spot for webcomics, we don't go, and thus someone who's never heard of Something Positive could put it up for deletion -- and since everyone else there doesn't really know about S*P, they may also vote to delete. Then it's gone.

So the problem is not that Wikipedia is user-maintained, because any of us can, alone, add content at will. But when it comes to removing content, or determining if an entry is valid or invalid, Wikipedia requires that all knowledgeable parties everywhere convene, lest the handful of Wikipedia-ites become the de facto experts on a given genre. In short, adding content works, but removing it doesn't.

And I was never upset that CxN was up for removal. If it isn't important, it isn't, and there isn't room for every webcomic that has a sliver of a good idea. But the criteria being employed at their webcomics project are miserably inconsistent, and it shouldn't be our job to police an authority when it isn't nearly one. Given the reasoning behind removing Checkerboard Nightmare, 99% of the other webcomics there should be dumped too.

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at November 20, 2005 9:11 PM

First, Alexa's rankings bob up and down more than the cork on a fishing line in a stock pond. Alexa is NOT an accurate measure of traffic or popularity.

That said, I looked up the guy who started this, Dragonfiend, who apparently has made it his mission to ensure that Wikipedia does not become "a link directory." Because, y'know, the world needs LESS information, not more, hm? He posts a long list of Alexa rankings, apparently as his sole justification for culling strips. (He also shows off a list of successful deletions, as if this is something to be proud of.)

I looked up wlpcomics.com 's Alexa rankings: 155,211 for the domain. (Roughly 40% of WLP's total hits are for one comic, Chocolate Milkmaid; Peter is the Wolf has grown to about 20%. The non-webcomic traffic is less than 20% of the pipe.)

Here's a PARTIAL list of webcomic sites with Wikipedia articles with a lower Alexa ranking, according to Dragonfiend: Van von Hunter, Bruno the Bandit, Melonpool, A Modest Destiny, Sabrina Online, Checkerboard Nightmare, Bob the Angry Flower, Superosity, Crap I Drew On My Lunch Break, American Elf, Two Lumps, Polymer City Chronicles, Narbonic, and last but not least in my book, Arthur King of Space and Time. Also included in the "lower Alexa rank than WLP" list are Knights of the Dinner Table and Dork Tower, which are the online versions of print comics.

Do I think WLP deserves a Wikipedia entry? (Or Comixpedia?) If it does, someone else will step forward to write the entry, or interview me for the entry, or something. If someone loves WLP's creations enough to do that, then yes, it deserves the entry, and Alexa be damned. I'm not going to use either encyclopedia for self-promotion... and if Dragonfiend finds a WLP entry and deletes it, calling it self-promotion, I will be UPSET.

(Oh, by the way: Websnark ranks #219,445, and I -know- Websnark has -got- to have more readers than WLP...)

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at November 20, 2005 9:26 PM

I'm so tempted to just make every webcomics article a redirect to Comixpedia right now.

Comment from: iconoclast posted at November 20, 2005 9:41 PM

ok, this "dragonfiend" sounds as if he's on a personal crusade against webcomics. he/she can shove it, as far as i'm considered. (as if my opinion meant anything).

i kinda agree with eric now; look to comixpedia, not wikipedia, for information you want to know about webcomics.

Comment from: Plaid Phantom posted at November 20, 2005 9:42 PM

Honestly, I don't see why that would be such a bad idea, and why the Wikipedians would have so much to complain about.

Comment from: Dan Severn posted at November 20, 2005 9:43 PM

Damn the man. Save the Chexipedia.


I'm sorry. I just had to say that.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at November 20, 2005 9:47 PM

Bah, they could make the whole system a lot easier by getting rid of the deletion process altogether. I mean, a link is better then nothing, is it not?

Vandal articles as exceptions, of course.

Comment from: Montykins posted at November 20, 2005 9:50 PM

Dragonfiend seems to think that "encyclopedic" means "containing information about a small number of things".

Comment from: A Man In Black posted at November 20, 2005 10:14 PM

By all means, direct people to Comixpedia.org.

Wikipedia does not and cannot cover every single object, idea, and person. No project can cover every single object, idea, and person.

Wikipedia documents things that are verifiable (in a very specific sense, meaning that reliable sources verifying the information can be cited). With most webcomics, any claims about the webcomic can only be verified by the webcomic or the author him- or herself, neither of which are reliable sources. (What's to keep someone from uploading an archive and saying they've been around since 2001? And that's just a simple case.)

Wikipedia, ideally, doesn't document things of merely transient interest. Most webcomics are fairly quickly forgotten after they end, and don't have much influence on anyone. Take, for example, Acid Reflux; can anyone seriously claim to have been artistically influenced by Acid Reflux?

Wikipedia isn't a soapbox, advertising board, or a memorial. If a specific webcomic doesn't have any significant influence on anyone but its relatively small fanbase, Wikipedia is not the place to try and increase the size of that fanbase or memorialize the webcomic.

Lastly, I'll bet you can find hundreds, possibly thousands, of articles that don't meet those requirements, because, above all else, Wikipedia doesn't screen its contributions. The only reason those articles are still around is because nobody has gotten around to cleaning them up yet.

Wikipedia does and should cover webcomics insofar as covering webcomics is part of its mission, but if you want a comprehensive webcomics guide, please stop trying to carve out a space for it on this project to build an encyclopedia and instead use Comixpedia.

Comment from: Robin Z posted at November 20, 2005 10:26 PM

A Man in Black makes a good point, but I don't think it's as simple as implied. I think the guidelines for inclusion for webcomics is poorly designed.


Wait, that was simple. Oops.


In any case, we can say with confidence that Dragonfiend should not be nominating webcomics for deletion. In fact, I don't think anyone who hasn't either (a) been successfully involved in the creation of multiple webcomics-related articles or (b) been shown to be a significant figure in the webcomics world should be putting webcomics up for deletion. Otherwise, we'll end up with results like this.


By the way, I haven't actually heard of many of the comics whose articles Dragonfiend successfully deleted, so it seems that ey's not causing as much harm as ey might have been. Nevertheless, I stand by my claim above.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at November 20, 2005 10:39 PM

I've heard of almost ALL of the comics he has deleted, but I'm a special case...

Comment from: Foolsfolly posted at November 20, 2005 11:05 PM

By the 'Guidelines for Webcomics Inclusion', as posted on the Wikipedia site, this deletion is completely unfounded (4. Membership in a major webcomics syndicate, and Blank Label is specifically listed).

Comixpedia.org seems like a great alternative, and actually cared for and frequented by people who know the topic - but Wikipedia is still a first site to check for a lot of people. Personally, I'd love to see some sort of middle ground - turn all the webcomics entries on Wikipedia into stubs directing you to the Comixpedia entry maybe, (though there are both policy and programming issues with that, I'm sure), letting the information be sorted by those who know the stuff, while still letting Wikipedia act as a knowledgable source.

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 20, 2005 11:11 PM

A nomination for deletion is not a deletion. This is not a difficult concept, so I'm a bit baffled by the fact that so many people in a blog that has a reputation for an intelligent community of commenters don't get it. I can only conclude that people have already decided that Wikipedia is The Enemy and therefore assume the worst when it comes to any webcomics-related news about it.

To clear things up: anybody can nominate any article for deletion. I could nominate Napoleon. That doesn't mean it would actually get deleted. An article only gets deleted if there is a mjority of votes to delete. That is not the case with CxN: it's pretty clear that the vote is headed towards Keep. There is nothing to complain about here.

Oh, and lemurgod: don't disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. There's a word for that, and the word is "trolling".

Comment from: Dan T. posted at November 20, 2005 11:21 PM

It's not really fair to condemn Wikipedia as a whole for the fact that somebody on the site nominated something for deletion that didn't deserve it. Due to the general open nature of the site, all sorts of people of all sorts of sensibilities do all sorts of things, some of which others might not like. If you go away and refuse to have anything to do with the site, you'll just make sure that your own viewpoint will have less impact on its future policy decisions. Anyway, that particular site is well on the way to overwhelmingly being kept, so there's not really any cause for alarm.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 20, 2005 11:22 PM

If it isn't important, it isn't

But it -is- a fairly "important" webcomic. There's no reason to delete it. The reason I get so angry about this, is I care about Wikipedia. I like it. And I see all these people ruining it.

and there isn't room for every webcomic that has a sliver of a good idea

I disagree. It isn't like Wikipedia is a book that needs to keep it's content size down in order to fit everything. And the best part is, deleting the articles WON'T free up memory. Because a complete copy of the history and articles is kept hidden.

With most webcomics, any claims about the webcomic can only be verified by the webcomic or the author him- or herself, neither of which are reliable sources.

And if that's what people's beef was, I'd cede the point. But it isn't. They're saying it's about notability. Verifiability and notability are two different things. If they mean verifiability, they should say that rather then notability.

And despite what your post suggests, notability isn't a guideline to create an article. It isn't even in any official guidelines for deleting articles. If I read all of the official guidelines, and made a non-notable (but completely verifiable) article, I would rightly expect that my article wouldn't get deleted.

I don't see why people not knowledgeable in area are deleting articles on the area. It would be like me voting to have physics articles deleted.

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at November 20, 2005 11:30 PM

That doesn't mean it would actually get deleted. An article only gets deleted if there is a mjority of votes to delete. That is not the case with CxN: it's pretty clear that the vote is headed towards Keep. There is nothing to complain about here.

But as I said, had no one said anything, Dragonfiend and that other guy might have been seen as the knowledgeable ones. No one is checking each webcomic every day to make sure they don't get deleted by someone who assumes they're unimportant because they personally never heard of them. That's where Wikipedia fails.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 20, 2005 11:34 PM

gwalla -- here's the thing.

There are people -- and Dragonfiend is clearly one of them -- who are clearly going through Wikipedia looking for articles that should be weeded out as non-notable. and they're doing it in fields they clearly -- I mean, clearly -- have no interest, experience or knowledge.

It becomes necessary for people like us to go in and rejustify, over and over and over again, why given articles in fact are notable. We have to say, over and over again, why Alexa's a bad measure for anything, much less notability. And then we have to do it again.

No, a nomination for a deletion isn't a deletion, but to be blunt people who don't know anything about a subject shouldn't be thinking they do. And it shouldn't be up to us to go in and constantly redefend notability to people who seem to base their entire philosophy on "well, I never heard of it."

Wikipedia is a fantastic concept. And I think the next encyclopedia that comes along, takes the lessons that have been learned from Wikipedia's startling successes and rather tragic flaws will make something for the ages.

But at this stage, there is every indication that Wikipedia itself has moved into decline. And as I said, in the area I have expertise... I no longer feel comfortable recommending it. I know all too well how flawed its coverage of the topic is.

And that makes me wonder about all the rest.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 21, 2005 12:12 AM

Its a classic double-edge-sword conundrum. You give equal power to all and you run the risk of the system being contaminated and destroyed by mass ignorance/irrationality. On the other hand, you could have the system in full control of an elite few, but the system may be stiffled by limited viewpoint and fall into impotency.

Fooked if you do, fooked if you don't.

What's the solution?

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 21, 2005 12:16 AM

gwalla: I know nothing about MegaTokyo and, as it has often been demonstrated, that makes me fully qualified to put it up for deletion.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 21, 2005 12:45 AM

gwalla: just to make sure this is explicit, since it's what I'm reading into things, I think your logic in saying "That is not the case with CxN: it's pretty clear that the vote is headed towards Keep. There is nothing to complain about here" makes sense, but has a deep flaw with respect to Mr. Straub having claimed that his personal publicization of the vfd caused a lot of the response that's led to the keeps. ie, your thesis is that this was self-correcting, but there's reason to doubt that, at least it seems, given Mr. Straub and Eric have both publicized it now and that would be likely to lead people to a response. So, in future, will there need to be a snark or an effort by the cartoonist to combat every needless vfd, or will it really be ultimately futile because of correction from within the wikicommunity? That's the question on which the issue turns, I think, and if one believes it won't self-correct, then it's reasonable to feel frustration with the model.

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at November 21, 2005 1:02 AM

We should just take one WikiUser for every webcomic and pit them in a fight to the death against the author of a webcomic, and if the WikiUser wins the webcomic gets deleted, but if the author wins then his comic will be up there for ever and ever.

Because more webcomic-related disputes need to be settled with a fight to the death.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 21, 2005 1:06 AM

So the problem is not that Wikipedia is user-maintained, because any of us can, alone, add content at will. But when it comes to removing content, or determining if an entry is valid or invalid, Wikipedia requires that all knowledgeable parties everywhere convene, lest the handful of Wikipedia-ites become the de facto experts on a given genre. In short, adding content works, but removing it doesn't.

This is exactly rhat happened to me: I took a Wiki-Vacation for a couple of months, and when I came back, I discovered that the Great Webcomics Purge had started in my absence, and articles to which I had contributed in good faith — articles to which I had contributed time and attention that my craptastic health really doesn't give me very much of to spare — had been declared unpersons by a crew of goddamn squatting vandals who had run them through VfD while I wasn't looking.

And you know what? Fuck them. Seriously. I'm not going to declare that I'm never going to make another edit, 'cause that's just a bit too theatrical, and I'm not much for the ultimatums; but I have found that I suddenly have no real desire at all to add to my list of a thousand or so edits. That's a bit of a shock, considering how much I had been itching to get back to work there just a few short weeks ago; but when I think about Wikipedia right now, all I feel is slightly nauseous.

Webcomics were really only a small part of my Wikipedia experience, but this whole sordid shambles of an affair has absolutely spoiled the whole thing for me for now.

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at November 21, 2005 1:20 AM

Fuck 'em.

Comment from: GG posted at November 21, 2005 1:27 AM

I decided several months ago that I find Wikipedia's (for lack of a better phrase) behind-the-scenes squabbling infinitely more interesting than any given article.

Comment from: Sandalphon posted at November 21, 2005 1:38 AM

Wikipedia is a fantastic concept. And I think the next encyclopedia that comes along, takes the lessons that have been learned from Wikipedia's startling successes and rather tragic flaws will make something for the ages.

But at this stage, there is every indication that Wikipedia itself has moved into decline.

Just to clarify, Eric, are you saying that Wikipedia's handling of every has moved into decline, or just its handling of webcomics? If the latter, I agree with you; if the former, not so much. Webcomics is an important subject to you, Weds, and we Snarkoleptics, true, but even before the Great Webcomic Purge such articles accounted for only a tiny fraction of the world knowledge that contributors attempt to capture (not always successfully or peacefully, but they try).

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at November 21, 2005 1:41 AM

(Boy, I love both CxN and Wikipedia. What now?)

ZorbaTHut - Funny how I was looking at the X-COM entry just today and was trying to comprehend how the HWPs were considered notable enough to have their own article, while Ryan Estrada isn't.

Eric - I don't think that Wikipedia is on a decline and beyond repair; there are many ways to deal with this system abuse besides walking off to another wiki. I rarely contribute to Wikipedia so I don't know anything about the bureaucracy on the higher levels, but I find it hard to believe that the clever folks behind the project can't figure out a way to make deletions more visible and better justified. The rules are certainly not cast in stone.

Devil's advocate time!

I can honestly say that, If I reached that article (as it was at 'flag for deletion' time) without knowing anything about CxN, I would have reached the same conclusion: that it is *not* a notable strip (I would not, however, flag it for deletion, for I am not a dick). It is considered good form for Wikipedia articles (and encyclopedic articles in general) to provide the reasons of notability in the first (or second) paragraph of the article, either by parallelizing the subject with other subjects (that are established as notable) or by explaining the its effect/influence/subordination to other subjects.

Now look at the article after the Websnark call-to-arms, and voila! Proper notability explanation. I'd bet you five that no-one would delete the article in this form, because by the time you read the summary, you know about CxN's uniqueness, success and importance. In short, the old version of the article failed to validate its existence, and no visitor has ever bothered to fix it.

(Perhaps a better guide to writing Wikipedia articles is in order; the current one does not seem to mention notability, and many writers don't bother justifying their belief that the subject is important enough to write about.)

One last thing, on that subject: I can't help but suspect that the Great Webcomics purge is a knee-jerk reaction to the disproportionate growth of Wikipedia in the internet-culture direction. The sets of "webcomics readers" and "Wikipedia contributors" overlap to a much greater extent than, say, the latter and "archaeologists" (because as we all know, archaeologists travel round the world and battle Nazis, with no time for community service). Administrators or self-elected "keepers of the Wiki" often picture Wikipedia as a tree that must be informed and balanced in all topics; they dread that their beloved project would simply become a haven for internet memes and silly comics. As long as their view is to keep the knowledge base spherical by trimming (and not by extending its reach to more people), there will be people like Dragonfiend out there, purging away.

Finally, thelemurgod - Please don't do that.

Comment from: Sandalphon posted at November 21, 2005 1:47 AM

The first line of my comment above (after the quote) should read "...Wikipedia's handling of every topic has moved into decline." Sorry.

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at November 21, 2005 2:00 AM

How did this animosity towards webcomics arise? There doesn't seem to be any animosity towards paper comics. Some of the entries they have on various obscure comic characters are very detailed. Is there any movement against those?

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at November 21, 2005 2:10 AM

Tice - I think my explanation is not unreasonable (see last paragraph of my post above)

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at November 21, 2005 2:16 AM

*agrees with Eric and other people who agree with Eric on this subject*

That said, I've always wondered why, if the Wikians are truly desperate for a way to measure "signifigance" numerically, wouldn't they use Google's pagerank instead of Alexa? That's not to say that I think people who know nothing about webcomics should be deciding which ones are important, but if they have to...

Google's system literally scans the internet as a whole, and assigns importance to a site based off of the number of links a site recieves and the importance of those links (I'd try to remember more details, but I've sworn off of math in general when I can avoid it).

For one thing, this system doesn't rely entirely on users too dumb to be bothered by the fact that their browser is carrying around a piece of spyware (I bet porn sites tend to have amazing Alexa ratings). For another, Pagerank is based off of links rather than simple viewership. That may seem less reliable, but it's actually arguable that it's a better indicator of a site's importance. After all, a person can easily browse through a site quickly while looking for something else, but it would need to have a fair degree of "signifigance" to that person to persuade them to put in the effort required to post a link to it.

For webcomics in particular, it seems like this would be the perfect (well, less bad, anyway) system. It's relatively easy for a comic to have a notable influence and the webcomic world even with a relatively small reader base. Moreover, Google ranks are fairly consistent. Most of the Blank Label comics (including CN) have a 6. Keenspoters are almost uniformly ranked at 5, the big stand-alone comics (PvP, Penny Arcade, Megatokyo) are all 7s. Perhaps things would get a bit blurry down in the 3-4 range, but at least looking at Google ranks would inject some small measure of sanity into the deletion process.

Which, by the way, is still a good thing. It's easy to say "everyone should use Comixpedia," but, even in the webcomics world, it's a safe assumption a hell of a lot more people know about Wikipedia. Unless we really do scatter prominent links to Comixpedia articles throughout all of the webcomic-related Wikipedia entries, most people are going to continue to refer to them instead.

Comment from: Sean Duggan posted at November 21, 2005 2:21 AM

*facepalms* You do realize that by posting this entry, you've led to a lot of people signing up for accounts to vote against the VfD, thereby meaning this Dragonfiend fellow will be railing about sock puppets left and right? I thought things were bad enough with the Zillions of Games deletion entry...

Comment from: Comus posted at November 21, 2005 2:28 AM

I really don't understand what all the fuss is about.
Wikipedia is a heap of mindless crap written by, and for, a bunch of braindead monkeys.
Just stop bothering with it, and maybe it'll dry up and blow away when they realise that no one is interested any more.
Just don't whinge on and on about it at every possible opportunity, please.

Comus

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 21, 2005 2:29 AM

Kris:

But as I said, had no one said anything
But people (including yourself) did say something. Why are people getting bent out of shape about an example of the system working?

No one is checking each webcomic every day to make sure they don't get deleted
Wikipedia has a feature called a "Watchlist". If you've interested in tracking changes in an article, you can put it on your watchlist, and if you check your watchlist you can see which articles you've tagged have been edited recently and see the most recent edit summary. It is not difficult to watch. AfD takes about 5 days, so just checking weekly should catch things. And if several people are watching, you don't even have to check that often█the more people watching, the more likely a problem will be caught.

thelemurgod: And I'm saying you're being childish and disruptive.

siwangmu:

So, in future, will there need to be a snark or an effort by the cartoonist to combat every needless vfd, or will it really be ultimately futile because of correction from within the wikicommunity?
No, not if the people who claim to be interested in how those webcomics are presented in Wikipedia actually took an active interest. Most people who put up articles on individual webcomics seem mainly interested in advertising (hint: if your article uses terms like "crazy hijinx", "lovable", or "awesome", it is an ad, not an encyclopedia article. You have failed. Do over.) and ignore their articles after throwing them up. Half-assed articles do more to marginalize webcomics on Wikipedia than any one deletion.

If you want things to change, you have to change them, and that means being active. Simply saying "the hell with it" accomplishes nothing.

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 21, 2005 2:33 AM

BTW, for those people who are actually interested in improving the deletion process, instead of just griping about being oppressed, might want to take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Deletion_reform

Comment from: Comus posted at November 21, 2005 2:36 AM

That is plain stupid gwalla.

"Wikipedia has a feature called a "Watchlist". If you've interested in tracking changes in an article,..."

The idea that someone has to check on each and every article on a weekly basis to make sure that they don't get deleted is ridiculous.

any one who had written (or been involved in) more that a few articles would eventually spend more time protecting existing articles than the would writing new ones.

I think you need to come up with a better solution than that.

Comment from: lucastds posted at November 21, 2005 2:43 AM

Alexis Christoforides:
Articles shouldn't HAVE to validate the existence of a comic on Wikipedia. I find it ridiculous for an article to say: THIS COMIC WAS IMPORTANT BECAUSE ______Insert reason here______.

That is original research. That is an opinion. That is not an explanation about what the comic is/was about.

For a comic article to have to validate its own existence is like the Wikipedia entry on apples starting in the following manner:

Apples are a fruit most commonly found in the colours red, yellow and green. They are notable not only for their taste, but also because of the fact that they have appeared in many works of literature, thus justifying the existence of this article.

Give me a break.

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at November 21, 2005 2:47 AM

gwalla: It's easy for a hardcore wikipedia user to claim that all problems can be solved by being active, but for the vast majority of the internet population "spend more time on it" is not a reasonable answer. Are you honestly going to claim that anyone who writes any article has a responsibility to check it every few days for the rest of his life if he wants to make sure no one deletes due to a lack of understanding of the subject?

Moreover, unless that person has a reasonable pedestal from which he can alert other people to the deletion, he might wade in on the vfd article immediately and simply be drowned out by people who are wiki-users first and knowledgable about the topic in question second.

Moreover, if he does bring in a bunch of supporters to vouch for him (people who are likely much more interested in the subject than in wikipedia), there's a decent chance they'll be ignored because their almighty edit count is low. Because, you know, the fact that they are interested in their given subject is insignifigant next to the fact that they aren't particularly interested in Wikipedia in general.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 21, 2005 3:11 AM

Why are people getting bent out of shape about an example of the system working?

I don't see every single webcomic being put through an AFD as "the system working." It'd be the same as if every single Wikipedia article went through an AFD. It'd be ridiculous.

[sarcasm]Although perhaps I should start putting dinosaur articles (such as the T-Rex article) through an AFD. Sure it won't get deleted, but that just means the system works.[/sarcasm]

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I think it demonstrates my point well.

No, not if the people who claim to be interested in how those webcomics are presented in Wikipedia actually took an active interest. ost people who put up articles on individual webcomics seem mainly interested in advertising (hint: if your article uses terms like "crazy hijinx", "lovable", or "awesome", it is an ad, not an encyclopedia article. You have failed. Do over.) and ignore their articles after throwing them up.

I have a habit of putting a lot of effort into an article, and then promptly abandoning it. I don't think I should have to put it on my Watchlist and check for AFDs forever just so an article can continue to remain on Wikipedia. Saying that you should, is in my opinion, ridiculous.

BTW, for those people who are actually interested in improving the deletion process, instead of just griping about being oppressed, might want to take a look at

Might want to cool down there (yeah, me included). As for the page, I looked at it. I even offered a comment. But I don't have the time (nor the patience) to work through the Wikipedia beuracracy to implement a rule that says something like "Votes for an article to be deleted can only do so if an article has broken any of the official guidelines and rules of Wikipedia." I tried discussing it in a talk page, and everyone's opinion was "people should be able to delete articles for whatever reason they want" and they're happy with that. I tried to vote against deletion, pointing out the reasons people were offering to delete the article weren't against the rules, and was ignored. I really don't have the patience (or objectivity) to propose a policy and babysit it through the process, and no-one else at Wikipedia seems to care about it. If that's "being the victim" so be it. I don't think I'm the victim though, I think ultimately Wikipedia will be unless a change takes place.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 21, 2005 3:12 AM

Oh, I also forgot to add: I knew an AFD for CxN was coming. When it's easy to predict a notable webcomic getting put up for deletion, is it TRULY a system that is working?

Comment from: nifboy posted at November 21, 2005 3:27 AM

I went from being angry at this conversation to mildly amused. I'm not sure what that means.

The twin subjects of verifiability and notability were brought up. Here's the problem: Most webcomics' notability cannot be verified. That's why the notability guidelines suck: All the lines for notability that get drawn all get drawn in the sand. Alexa just plain sucks (although it gets all comics that have their own domain name), syndication is biased against "indie" comics, and most comics don't get print runs, significant awards, or media coverage. The initial "100 comics" proposal backfired if anything; if "the expert" said a comic like mine deserved an article, then to hell with "the expert."

Here's an example of what I'm talking about; on one VfD, I dug through Google and found a link from Mac Hall, in which Matt Boyd called it "A pioneer in webcomics" three years ago. That was the best, most verifiable and most notable source for saying "Yes, it is above and beyond the rest of the crap that exists in webcomicdom."

The end result [of this lack of sources] is that every webcomic article looks exactly the same, and if J. Random Wikipedian looks at that and wonders what makes it different from every OTHER webcomic with a funny man, a straight (wo)man, a mad scientist, and a cute yet psychotic animal, the only data points for notability they have are what's in the article and their Alexa rank.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 21, 2005 3:37 AM

That's why the notability guidelines suck

They're not guidelines! They're proposed guidelines! Completely different things. Gah X-P

Comment from: Kaychsea posted at November 21, 2005 3:40 AM

Drama Alert, Danger, Danger Will Robinson!!

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Wiki. I honestly try not to be cynical about this, but I keep seeing people throwing their hands up in horror when its their area of interest that gets it's toes stepped on. Each and every subject gets this eventually.
As far as I can see the life cycle of a Wiki-topic goes thus:
A small group of people start adding information about a low interest area, eg Mayan art;
This comes to the attention of others who are interested in the topic and they add more information and crosslinks;
This draws in more people who disagree with the originators of the topic and a war of persistence starts up, last editor wins;
At this stage one of two things happens. Either the people who disagree with the final stance throw their hands in the air, declainm the end of wikidom and bugger off to form their own information enclave or they end up on either sides of a trollbait flamewar that ends up with one side being banned and buggering off to form their own information enclave.
My main problem with the Wiki is that it tends to the current consensus over time. Alternative points of view are, at best, linked to but not stated outright. When that consensus changes, because they do you know, wars break out as the defenders of the Anccient Regime entrench and grab the rifles.
So does the fact that the WP has a dubious attitude to webcomicdom make the rest of it worthless? No, but it does mean that some people who have been ragarding it as gospel might take a slightly more balanced view of it. It also raises the point that if this aspect of the Wiki is that important to any of yus personally then you need to make a stand and defend it, if not then you can't complain if it gets stomped on by people who care more than you do.
All of the above is peronal opinion of course.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at November 21, 2005 3:46 AM

AMIB wrote:


Take, for example, Acid Reflux; can anyone seriously claim to have been artistically influenced by Acid Reflux?

Well, there's this: Orange display frills. Acid Reflux at least unleashed that meme on the world.
And who's to say that Acid Reflux didn't actually inspire one or two people to pick up pencils in the first place?

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at November 21, 2005 4:38 AM

lucastds - You're comparing apples and um, webcomics (Sorry). Apples are automatically 'wikipedia-worthy' because they are part of a scientific listing. On the other hand, there are new webcomics virtually every day. Depending on where you stand on the subject of notability of art and literature, either only the most notable ones should have entries, or any of them whose readers bother.

You obviously don't agree with Wikipedia's notability requirement. I don't either, I believe that any article that is valid and informative should stay, regardless of the obscurity of the subject. But, since the requirement doesn't look like it's going away, I'm simply suggesting that the writer should be responsible for explaining the importance/influence/popularity, instead of a rank number from a mostly irrelevant, inaccurate, unscientific and malware-dependent system.

Comment from: Comus posted at November 21, 2005 5:01 AM

All of this type of discussion, with the ever feebler defenses of Wiki-fiddling on the part of the -fiddlers, the desperate revising and refining of already over-complex, convoluted rules for this and that which all depend - in the end - on everybody being nice, serves only to drive the point home: Wikipedia is a complete waste of time,effort (usually well-meaning and earnest) and band-width.
Put the damned thing down and go and find a newer, more juicy bone to chew on.

Perhaps next time it'll work better.

Comment from: Padre posted at November 21, 2005 5:52 AM

It seems to me that the balkanisation of all reference wikis is inevitable.

I understand why Wikipedia has notabilty requirements - it's to stop the encyclopedia becoming so clogged with crap about people's pet dogs and best friends that it beomes impossible to find anything relevant. (Although I have to say, the situation hasn't rached anything like those proportions yet - for the most part, the problems on wikipedia are not that there is too much useless information, but that there is too little information period, or too much misleading, badly organised or badly written information. So why deletion recieves so much emphasis I'm not sure.)

Wikipdeia has visions (perhaps delusions?) of grandeur - it aims to be authoratative on what is and is not "important"enough to be in an encyclopedia. Trouble is, this works when it's just a bunch of academics discussing stuff, but when your editorial board consists of the entire planet, it seems absurd to expect any consitency on this point.

It's a "your signal is my noise" problem. So it seems sensible that there should simply be wikis for each worldview.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 21, 2005 6:56 AM

It's to stop the encyclopedia becoming so clogged with crap about people's pet dogs and best friends that it beomes impossible to find anything relevant.

Verifiability would achieve that (how can I verify you have a pet dog without going to your house and checking (which would be original research)?) It's also worth noting, Jimbo Wales, the guy who started Wikipedia, is against a notability requirement.

Comment from: Sandalphon posted at November 21, 2005 7:51 AM

Take, for example, Acid Reflux; can anyone seriously claim to have been artistically influenced by Acid Reflux?

How about Ashlee Simpson?

Ba-dump! Thank you, I'm here all week, try the fish.

Comment from: Fangz posted at November 21, 2005 8:01 AM

The balkanisation of wikis may be inevitable, but it is still worth fighting. And hey, wikipedia's been held together this long, so I don't think it is beyond hope quite yet.


But yes, as an established wikipedia editor, this nomination pisses me off. It pisses me off, because there seems to be no rationale behind it. Why would someone hunt around for articles to delete? Why would this someone look for articles with popular communities behind them, knowing that it would turn these people off wikipedia. This stinks of politics. Or some other branch of sociopathic tendencies. People are failing to ask themselves the following question - in what way would the non-existence of this article help wikipedia? In which case would someone type in 'Checkerboard Nightmare' in the Go box, find that no article exists, and be *happy* with wikipedia as a result?


Officially, deletion criteria on wikipedia is that of 'If in doubt, don't delete'. No one actually seems to notice this, and indeed this sets up something of a paradox with respect to the deletion process because the existence of at least one Keep vote surely implies the existence of some doubt. The whole thing really needs a rewrite, because the current system doesn't really work anymore.

Comment from: Tina S. posted at November 21, 2005 8:08 AM

Let me quote from Wikipedia's Overview:

Wikipedia's goal is to create a free, democratic, reliable encyclopedia█actually, the largest encyclopedia in history, in terms of both breadth and depth.

Personally, I believe that if the stated goal of a project is to acquire vast quantities of breadth, than it should have some extremely strict standards for when to exclude information. In my world, 'extremely strict standards' do not include 'any uninformed blockhead can attempt to remove it and woe betide those supporters who don't happen to know said blockhead is attempting same'.

But that's just me.

Comment from: El Zoof posted at November 21, 2005 8:35 AM

I offer this solution. Take all the webcomics, print them out, and throw them on a bonfire. All the ones which are truly *valid*, which truly *mean something*, will obviously be spared, and thus will not only be allowed to remain on wikipedia, comixpedia and centipedia, but eventually preserved in history and put into giant space museums run by psychotic halfwits and their insectoid sidekicks.

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at November 21, 2005 8:48 AM

I've always preferred the "throw the pages down the stairs and see which go furthest" method myself. The space museum is good though.

Comment from: Sandalphon posted at November 21, 2005 9:00 AM

But if a webcomic survives the bonfire, why it's...it's a witch!

Comment from: Abby L. posted at November 21, 2005 10:13 AM

And who's to say that Acid Reflux didn't actually inspire one or two people to pick up pencils in the first place?

Arguably me, since it was the first webcomic I ever read.

Comment from: Tephlon posted at November 21, 2005 10:17 AM

I just don't get it.
Why would *any* article that's not total crap or a piece of blatant selfpromotion be deleted? There is no space restriction I'm aware of.
I'd rather have a complete encyclopedia than an incomplete one.

The whole politics behind it is annoying (but can be entertaining)

As for selfpromotion... I don't think it's always bad if someone creates their own article for i.e. their own webcomic. As long as they don't hoard it afterwards (allowing for changes) and as long as it's not "Read this comic now OMG LOL"
A can have a good entry written by the author of the comic.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 21, 2005 10:50 AM

I wouldn't necessarily urge all webcomic creators to put all their time into maintaining Comixpedia.org. Truth told, I'm a lot more likely to get use of Wikipedia, because if we were to draw a Venn diagram, my audience and the wikipedia crowd share a lot more ground than my audience and the "webcomics community" crowd.

Which doesn't mean they won't eventually decide to put the Help Desk entry up for deletion.

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at November 21, 2005 11:33 AM

So, just for fun, I went down through some of the categories on Wikipedia, with the goal of finding the most useless page I could imagine.

As it turned out, I found this.

(Be sure to note the lone subcategory, which I can tell you contains exactly 1 entry.)

I can only hope the clowning world won't be angry with me if some deletion-troll sees this link and descends upon their defenseless enclave.

Comment from: lar posted at November 21, 2005 11:34 AM

OK, I just voted keep on this particular one. There's a lot of commentary here already so I hope this doesn't get lost in the shuffle... See this reference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Dragonfiend#Your_general_suck-itude

One of Dragonfiend's allies is basically saying "don't despair if this VFD fails... we can try again"

That says several things to me...

1) The process may be flawed. Or at least some of the users are. Those that want to write off trying to make WP better have ammo for that view, I guess.

But more importantly (to me anyway since I haven't written off WP betterification)

2) Keep an eye out on this article, it may come up again and if no one notices it, "things go cleanly"

Just some info... I think trolling, or getting heated, or doing other calls to prove a point, would be counterproductive. Hope it helps.

Perhaps it is the inevitable fate of information references, like any other sort of community (see Shirky) to balkanise...

For the record I'm not a fan of CxN, never read it, but I think it's significant enough to warrant an article which is why I voted keep.

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 21, 2005 2:29 PM

Tice:

How did this animosity towards webcomics arise? There doesn't seem to be any animosity towards paper comics. Some of the entries they have on various obscure comic characters are very detailed. Is there any movement against those?
No, because there are enough editors with an interest in those topics that they are pretty safe. There is no conspiracy against webcomics on Wikipedia, just some problem users and a whole lot of "supporter" apathy.

lucastds:

Articles shouldn't HAVE to validate the existence of a comic on Wikipedia. I find it ridiculous for an article to say: THIS COMIC WAS IMPORTANT BECAUSE ______Insert reason here______.

That is original research.Of course an article should establish the importance of its subject. If it doesn't establish the importance of its subject, then it contains no important information about its subject, and is therefore useless.

Of course it shouldn't start out "This is important because..." like some grade school history report, but any reader who comes across it should be able to tell why the subject matters from reading the intro paragraph. Any article that doesn't get across the single most important piece of information about its subject, which is "why anyone should care", fails as an encyclopedia article.

John Lynch:

I don't see every single webcomic being put through an AFD as "the system working."
I don't see every single webcomic being put through AFD. I've seen some. Some is not all.

I have a habit of putting a lot of effort into an article, and then promptly abandoning it.
If you assumed that you could just drop an article on Wikipedia and nothing would ever happen to it, then that's your mistake. I mean, it's explicitly a system where nearly anyone can edit anything. People make changes, and not all of them are going to be improvments. Even ignoring deletion for the moment, a vandal might deface the page, or a spammer might fill it full of ads and links for "herbal viagra". Or somebody may simply make an edit they think is an "improvement" that makes a hash of grammar and spelling. The fewer people paying attention, the more likely an article will eventually go south (true in most cases, although controversial topics can be exceptions).
They're not guidelines! They're proposed guidelines! Completely different things. Gah X-P
So, is anybody going to bother to make them actual guidelines? Saying "Don't delete anything until we've figured out how to tell if a webcomic is important" isn't going to be very effective.

cthulhu-maccabi:

It's easy for a hardcore wikipedia user to claim that all problems can be solved by being active, but for the vast majority of the internet population "spend more time on it" is not a reasonable answer.
For the vast majority of the internet population, this isn't even an issue.

Are you honestly going to claim that anyone who writes any article has a responsibility to check it every few days for the rest of his life if he wants to make sure no one deletes due to a lack of understanding of the subject?
Not unless he can't get anyone else interested in the article. And if he can't, the article's utility is dubious anyway.

Comment from: GG posted at November 21, 2005 2:53 PM

As I read these comments and browse the discussion pages on Wikipedia, I can't help but feeling Malphas would be proud.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 21, 2005 2:56 PM

See, for me this very debate underscores my core thesis.

Wikipedia, as it currently stands, doesn't address the need for appropriate reference materials for the webcomics community.

Should it? I dunno. I once thought it should, because it seemed tailor made for it. However, everything that's being suggested as techniques and practices to make Wikipedia more workable for webcomics -- diligence on existing articles, campaigning for changes to the deletion policy, continuing energy being put into the defense of articles marked for deletion by uninterested parties -- seems like an utter waste of energy that could better be put to actually working on a reference tool that does meet the needs of the webcomics community. In the end, Wikipedia will be glad to be rid of we contentious people and we will be vastly better served without having to reinvent the justification for the wheel -- much less the wheel itself -- every week or two on another front.

It certainly doesn't seem to be wise to invest emotionally in Wikipedia at this point, for all the reasons Ray mentioned above -- having tons of your hard work deleted out of hand while you were away would be heartbreaking for any writer.

Comixpedia.org is shaping up into exactly the tool we would want it to be. As a result, I'm going to direct webcomics-interested folks over there.

In the end, it's Wikipedia that's going to suffer because of this, not webcomics. The more people who have knowledge and expertise who never even begin working on Wikipedia, the poorer Wikipedia will be because of it.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 21, 2005 2:56 PM

See, for me this very debate underscores my core thesis.

Wikipedia, as it currently stands, doesn't address the need for appropriate reference materials for the webcomics community.

Should it? I dunno. I once thought it should, because it seemed tailor made for it. However, everything that's being suggested as techniques and practices to make Wikipedia more workable for webcomics -- diligence on existing articles, campaigning for changes to the deletion policy, continuing energy being put into the defense of articles marked for deletion by uninterested parties -- seems like an utter waste of energy that could better be put to actually working on a reference tool that does meet the needs of the webcomics community. In the end, Wikipedia will be glad to be rid of we contentious people and we will be vastly better served without having to reinvent the justification for the wheel -- much less the wheel itself -- every week or two on another front.

It certainly doesn't seem to be wise to invest emotionally in Wikipedia at this point, for all the reasons Ray mentioned above -- having tons of your hard work deleted out of hand while you were away would be heartbreaking for any writer.

Comixpedia.org is shaping up into exactly the tool we would want it to be. As a result, I'm going to direct webcomics-interested folks over there.

In the end, it's Wikipedia that's going to suffer because of this, not webcomics. The more people who have knowledge and expertise who never even begin working on Wikipedia, the poorer Wikipedia will be because of it.

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at November 21, 2005 3:33 PM

Come on, gwalla.

Not unless he can't get anyone else interested in the article. And if he can't, the article's utility is dubious anyway.

Is it too far to say that we should also remove little-used words from the dictionary? When's the last time you saw the word "indehiscent?" Let's get rid of it.

I don't understand why in order to be interested in a topic, the interested party has to trawl the definition regularly to make sure no one disinterested is moving to eliminate it.

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at November 21, 2005 4:20 PM

Personally, I think we should just ditch the whole user-editable encyclopedia thing and apply user-editable technology to better, more rewarding venues, like my home banking site. The area that talks about "your balances" is particularly begging for some real-time end-user editing, and I'd sure like to be able to do something about it.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at November 21, 2005 4:24 PM

I can only hope the clowning world won't be angry with me if some deletion-troll sees this link and descends upon their defenseless enclave.

All I care to notice there is that "Marcel Marceau" is filed under B.

("Hello. I am being very reasonable. Watch me link to all the rules. Why are you so angry? Please stop, Dave. Dave. Dave. Stop, Dave.")

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at November 21, 2005 4:38 PM

("Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true...")

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 21, 2005 4:57 PM

Also, I think this underscores a very important point. Now, we can say that the webcomics community has been rather vigorous and (maybe?) successful in defending their places on Wikipedia. However, it seems to me that WP is probably seeing assaults like this on multiple categories. And it seems to me that just because the webcomics community has been vigorous in defense doesn't mean that all categories have been defended like that.

So it seems to me, some people want to arbitrarily remove pertinent information from a would-be reference site in one area. And it seems quite likely that this is not an incident isolated to that one area. How can I trust a reference source where pertinent information is removed at a whim? It seems silly to say, but this isn't just a fight over Checkerboard Nightmare and its place in the record. It's a fight for the very purpose of Wikipedia.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 21, 2005 5:27 PM

I think it has been made abundantly clear that they are not wanting to be bothered with the likes of us. Nor do they care for such things as critical input, logical arguments, or the involvement of experienced individuals in this aspect of their project. Instead of bitching, moaning, begging and pleading -- trying to make a case they don't want to hear, or trying to flatter our way into their confidence, the webcomic community should just let it be -- stop wasting our energies.

I would agree on the "fuck 'em" statements made already.

They don't want us, and we don't need them.

VIVA LA COMIXPEDIA!

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at November 21, 2005 5:40 PM

I keep getting thrown out of this discussion when "they" come up. Who are "they"? I have a solid opinion about a handful of Wikipedia editors, but I know next to nothing about all the rest of them, or whether they care about this, or whose side they're on, or whether most of them even *know* about any of this.

Seriously, if there's some sort of power clique of editors, or they have a specific page where they do all their scheming, fine. But without having seen it, I react weirdly to "they".

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 21, 2005 5:43 PM

I find a very interesting paradox here: I've been surfing over at the afd and related pages, and it is abundantly clear that the wikipedians involved resent the "contaminating" influence of the webcomics people, while the webcomics people resent the interference of the wikipedians by putting up the page for deletion/supporting it.

The wikipedians in the discussion show no respect at all for the idea of expertise or the relevance of a general consensus in the webcomics community.

At the exact same time, they dismiss the interferences of the webcomics people... for lacking expertise in wikipedia. Constant linking to policies, adding specified contribution information... honestly, if a bunch of people with only a few edits are commenting here, is it perhaps because it's an issue of interest to members of a field who are now responding to provide appropriate support in making a judgement call in that field?

Doesn't that, you know, make perfect sense?

This is clearly not an example of the system working, or someone would be saying "Hey, you guys are probably right about it being notable, please make sure the article reflects that but certainly don't delete."

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 21, 2005 5:54 PM

Also, I can't comment on this too much because I don't understand how everything at wiki works, but if anyone else is as confused as I was about the appearing/disappearing "syndicate membership" guidelines (within the set of proposed guidelines), they were added way back when whenever, and they were made invisible by user Aaron Brenneman on November 9th--they were marked with some sort of tag that makes it a comment in the script of the page--they are still visible there if you click "edit this page," so technically they are on the site twice. The description fo the edit is "Commented out items without current consensus." On November 21st, Snowspinner added a syndicate membership guideline back into the text (so, yes, the script of the page now contains it twice, although with minor differences and one being invisible).

I find it thoroughly dishonest that in current discussion on the issue, it has been repeatedly claimed that the syndicate requirement "was just added," as that's a pretty damned simplified version of events. Also, it seems clear that the wikipedians want the process to work smoothly and resent interference by those of us who don't know how things work and aren't familiar with the debates that have been held, but there remains the plain fact that Chex belongs there, and if it were left to the wikipedia experts deciding initially, it doesn't look like it would've been. Which is a problem.

gwalla, it does make sense to try and reform the deletion process if this bugs me/us so much, but... shouldn't I be able to more or less trust wikipedia? Shouldn't I trust that there will be information on Japanese history there whether I have submitted and maintained it or not? I have to say, I had great faith in and love for wikipedia, but my own observations of the system over the history of Eric talking about it and the discussions we've had make me doubt. And that makes me sad.

Comment from: theliel posted at November 21, 2005 6:07 PM

actually, interestingly enough one of the creaters of wiki (who has since left) predicted just this sort of thing. it was sort of his point that the paridigm had become borked and was, well, in need of serious repair.

but i might have seen the interview linked from websnark, it's getting hard to remember.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 21, 2005 6:36 PM

I don't see every single webcomic being put through AFD. I've seen some. Some is not all.

Give it time.

If you assumed that you could just drop an article on Wikipedia and nothing would ever happen to it, then that's your mistake. I mean, it's explicitly a system where nearly anyone can edit anything.

Oh no. I have no problem with every word I put into an article being editted out. In fact, one of the times I tend to abandon articles is when other users have begun editting it regularly. I work towards the betterment of articles by looking for abandoned ones. Once they're no longer abandoned and are being worked on regularly, I can move on, safe in the knowledge that it will be improved. However editting it and deleting it are two completely different things. And deleting it for reasons not in the official guidelines is not something I should expect to happen.

So, is anybody going to bother to make them actual guidelines?

People are working towards doing just that. However people who disagree with having them become guidelines are trying to stop it from becoming a guideline. Should I tell those people they're efforts are being wasted, because it notability will be used for justification to delete an article no matter what?

Comment from: BassetKing posted at November 21, 2005 7:22 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dragonfiend

Apparently, someone's been playing with the user name editor...

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 21, 2005 7:22 PM

It's all like politics.
But more political.
And inane.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 21, 2005 7:27 PM

"Apparently, someone's been playing with the user name editor..."

Troll, or not. That is pretty amusing. XD

Comment from: Dan T. posted at November 21, 2005 8:02 PM

Those of you that talk of Wikipedia editors like they're all of one mind, and do their "thing" in lockstep, are clearly mistaken; it's a diverse group of people, which, like any other group, includes everybody from the reasonable to the ridiculous, and the knowledgeable to the ignorant. Tarring them all by the same brush makes no sense.

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at November 21, 2005 8:07 PM

I notice the discussion is being closed, so maybe there will be a verdict soon.

The other interesting thing someone pointed out there was apparently how a dearth of Websnark coverage was being used as evidence to delete, and when Eric himself chimed in to Keep, his vote was disqualified due to a low edit count.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 21, 2005 8:23 PM

Eric himself chimed in to Keep, his vote was disqualified due to a low edit count.

Isn't that THE BEST! First an article isn't "notable" because of, say, its Alexa ranking isn't high enough. And then people who vote to keep it are systematically disregarded because their edit count isn't high enough (their opinion is non-notable, apparantly.)

So basically, if you want to be taken seriously in your voting to keep a webcomic, you might want to beef up your edit count by working on the List of Abkhazian political parties.

Poor attempts to quantify value.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 21, 2005 8:32 PM

And since when is 29 considered an insufficient edit count, anyway? I've never seen a VfD vote discarded with that many edits before — usually it's only the "user's first edits" that get tossed.

Keeee-rist.

Comment from: Kirath posted at November 21, 2005 9:02 PM

Looking now, the page has been archived, and the results was no consensus - default to Keep. 19 Keep, 5 Delete, 1 merge(Counted as Keep)

That settles that one, but as I followed the discussion here and at Wikipedia, I became more and more convinced that Wikipedia is simply not the place for webcomics. When I want webcomic info I will be heading over to Comixpedia, instead.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at November 21, 2005 9:26 PM

I get why they discount votes by folks who have almost no edits, and aren't providing any strong evidence.

But apparently, as long as you've got a lot of edits, "keep per above" or "delete per original" is a dandy vote, no matter what you may actually know about the subject.

Comment from: RMG posted at November 21, 2005 9:33 PM

What the fuck? They discounted my vote? I wasn't aware that voting on Wikipedia was a right only conferred to those with massive Wikipedia penises.


Ugh.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 21, 2005 9:45 PM

They discounted mine too. Apparently several articles and edits aren't sufficient.

Of course, I also actually know something about webcomics and significance, so my status automatically declines.

Comment from: Montykins posted at November 21, 2005 9:57 PM

a dearth of Websnark coverage was being used as evidence to delete

You hear that, Eric? If you don't snark a comic, it could die. Now that's pressure!

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 21, 2005 10:04 PM

Wow... I went through and looked at the now-archived discussion, and while I did stare with shock and horror at all the discounted votes, which make no sense to me at all, I have to say... there were some really quite wonderful responses further down by people saying "look, we're wikipedians, and this was dumb, and antagonizing people is stupid."

Kinda makes me like humans.

Comment from: thelemurgod posted at November 21, 2005 10:14 PM

Once you get over the extreme-nausea, the discussion makes for some amusing reading.

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 21, 2005 10:40 PM

I keep getting thrown out of this discussion when "they" come up. Who are "they"? I have a solid opinion about a handful of Wikipedia editors, but I know next to nothing about all the rest of them, or whether they care about this, or whose side they're on, or whether most of them even *know* about any of this.
EGGS ZACKLY.

Wikipedia is no more responsible for Dragonfiend's dumb ass than Websnark is for mine.

Comment from: kirabug posted at November 21, 2005 11:15 PM

You hear that, Eric? If you don't snark a comic, it could die. Now that's pressure!

Except that it won't, because at least 90% of the Internet isn't using Wikipedia in the first place. And rarely for webcomics when they are using Wikipedia. Seriously.

A Wikipedia article isn't what makes a comic worth reading. Comixpedia doesn't make it good. Links from Websnark doesn't improve the characterization (though one could argue that a cartoonist reading Websnark might). Readability, effective characterization, etc. etc. all make good comics. And as long as people are making good comics, people are reading good comics, and people are pointing them out to their friends, what lands in Wikipedia isn't going to matter a hill of beans.

And conversely, if someone wants to learn more about a comic, they're going to start with that comic's website and forums, and then maybe wander to the journalism/blogosphere on the subject (wikipedia, comixpedia, etc.).

I'm not saying we shouldn't care -- if someone's going to be writing articles about comics they should be balanced and accurate, and if someone put the time into creating/editing a balanced and accurate article it's stupid to delete that article from an infinite "book", but really, I'm pretty sure Wikipedia isn't where the readers (or prospective readers) are going to start looking.

Now if somehow comics were getting blocked/deleted from google image searches, that might be something I'd worry about.... at least that regularly draws eyeballs to sites.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 22, 2005 12:45 AM

Apparently several articles and edits aren't sufficient.
Like I said, I really am confused about that.

Gwalla? John? Snowspinner? Do any of you ever remember seeing someone with as many edits as Eric have their vote tossed for presumed sockpuppetry before? That's fucking insane.

I mean, Eric had even fewer edits when he cast a vote to delete the Gossamer Commons entry, and they counted that one without complaint. :-)

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 22, 2005 1:01 AM

I'm pretty sure Wikipedia isn't where the readers (or prospective readers) are going to start looking.

For what it's worth, I found at least one comic — actually, one set of comics — on my daily trawl because of Wikipedia: When the entry for Station V3 first appeared on the "List of Webcomics" page, I went to the web site to verify that it met at least the alternate guidelines for inclusion, like I did with all new webcomic articles.

I think I then went to the comic's forum, to see if anyone there had questions about Wikipedia, and to encourage the readers to contribute to the article (I don't remember for sure, but that's what I usually did for each new webcomic article that met the criteria). I probably also made at least a few minor edits to the article at the time.

At least, I think I did. I can't tell for sure, you see, because Station V3 is one of the web comics which got pushed through VfD while my back was turned, and now the article, and any work I may have done on it, is gone.

Comment from: Comus posted at November 22, 2005 2:23 AM

Please note: for the duration of this comment "they" means "people who are editors/very regular contributors/other wikipedia related things".
"we" and "you" means the rest of us.

I think that the solution is quite simple really:

If you're a wikipedian, and like it, then that's nice. carry on, well done, have a biscuit/cookie/chocolate/whatever, keep up the good work. If you're not a wikipedian, and don't want to be, then just don't bother with it.

I think that someone in this thread has already said that this problem is not just related to web-comics (or probably is not just related to web-comics). There are almost certainly other areas which are being targetted in exactly the same way, and for the same reasons. This means, then, that nothing in wikipedia can be trusted. If they just delete articles about a subject because they themselves don't know anything about that subject, it makes for a pretty poor encyclopedia.
We already knew that any given article may, at any given point in time, contain lies or rubbish or spam or omit important points, etc. If we add to this the tendency to delete articles for no better reason than "someone thinks it's not 'notable'" then it renders the whole exercise pointless.

I like the idea of wikipedia in principle, but I think that it has discovered for itself why print encyclopedias have editorial boards who must approve all changes/inclusions/omissions.

Comus

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at November 22, 2005 2:27 AM

The early entries often consisted of long, thought-provoking essays with no comments. This entry is a tiny little blurb followed by lots of thought-provoking comments.

You've come a long way, Eric. I salute you.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 22, 2005 2:35 AM

I'm pretty sure Wikipedia isn't where the readers (or prospective readers) are going to start looking.

No, but it can be a great source of more information for fans of the webcomic. For example Melonpool has a link to it's comixpedia article which (while poorly written at the moment, although anyone can go fix it) has plenty of information that isn't on the Melonpool website at the moment. That's where the usefulness of a wikipedia/comixpedia article can show itself. A LOT of the information in the Comixpedia isn't available at the Melonpool website.

Gwalla? John? Snowspinner? Do any of you ever remember seeing someone with as many edits as Eric have their vote tossed for presumed sockpuppetry before? That's fucking insane.

Possibly. My own vote was tossed out (and I've got a few more edits then Eric ;) Not that I'm comparing sizes or anything), so once I find out why, I'll be able to answer the question (I'm assuming my vote wasn't tossed out because of sock-puppetry, but instead for some other reason).

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 22, 2005 3:41 AM

My own vote was tossed out (and I've got a few more edits then Eric ;) Not that I'm comparing sizes or anything), so once I find out why, I'll be able to answer the question (I'm assuming my vote wasn't tossed out because of sock-puppetry, but instead for some other reason).

Good God. You're right. You're closing on 250 edits now. I hadn't noticed that little addition to the farce. So, then, aside from tossing your vote and Eric's vote, the admin tossed RMG's "keep" vote, evidently because "User has 78 edits, 76 marked as "minor" — which is just as big a WTF? moment as the toss of your vote and of Eric's; tossed out the votes of Meeowth (15 edits) and Nowheresville (39); and also discounted the votes of Sdalmonte and Catnik, who have 35 and 21 edits each, despite being active for only about a month — in other words, they seem to be precisely the sort of folks Wikipedia needs to stay healthy.

It's like someone let Diebold count the votes or something.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at November 22, 2005 7:13 AM

Hey, my account stretches back to February 2004, didn't that count for anything?

It makes me wish I never got into the habit of not logging in, I'm lazy that way. Suppose I should have gone to all the computers I've edited on and made their IPs cosigners of my vote?

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 22, 2005 8:15 AM

I just took a look at the history of the WikiProject:Webcomics page: It was created by snowspinner just over a year ago; the third person to contribute to it was Eric; and the sixth person, for what it's worth, was me.

So I can totally see why our opinions on this wouldn't matter at all, right?

FWIW, gwalla was the 19th person to chip in on that page, starting back in February; Dragonfiend didn't show up until late July, a couple of weeks after I had gone on Wiki-Vacation. Tellingly, his second contribution to the page was to start a list of comics which "may need a vote for deletion." From that point until August, the majority of his "contributions" involved the VfD list, although he didn't actually do anything with the page from August until getting into a tiff with snowspinner there a couple of weeks ago.

Comment from: Comus posted at November 22, 2005 10:01 AM

Ray:


Who, really, gives a flying fuck?

Stop wasting your time wiki-fiddling until they* get their stupid elitist, head-up-arsehole act together

Comus

*See my previous post. :-D

Comment from: nifboy posted at November 22, 2005 10:57 AM

I feel the need to point out three things:

1) The closing admin isn't a participant in the discussion. He sees User:Eric Burns the same way he sees every other user, and his stated job is to look for concensus (over 100 AfD discussions get closed every day).

2) The following scenario happens at least once a week: User posts article about a very small website or forum. Article gets put up for deletion by a user who watches the new pages roll in and checks them to make sure they're not crap. Website or forum posts on its front page "Zomg! our article is put up for deletion! Vote "Keep" on it plzkthxbye!" Users with tiny amounts of edits swarm VfD in an attempt to keep the article. Their votes are discounted (because their votes are self-interested), the article is deleted and Wiki moves on.

3) The only difference between the CxN discussion and scenario #2 is that the wiki regulars who looked at the AfD read the discussion and agreed with Eric.

Comment from: Cnoocy posted at November 22, 2005 10:59 AM

As an occasional user of Wikipedia (who actually had my first article deleted for non-notability) I'd like to present a case for Dragonfiend's side of the issue.

You see, wikipedia is rightfully huge. But it's not (currently) a web directory. Which brings up the blurry line between a web directory and an encyclopedia that covers web sites. There is a page where the inclusion standards for websites in general is being debated, and it already gives webcomics a huge break. Do webcomics deserve special treatment? Or should Wikipedia cover details of more websites? These are questions that are at the root of this discussion. And it points out why the Hornchurch Queen's Theatre is in there. If you want to know more about the theatre from a non-biased perspective, then you can't just visit if you happen to be in Canberra. Whereas for Checkerboard Nightmare, you can.
I personally think that inclusion is good, though a true inclusionist approach might require a better key mechanism than the plain ASCII title in use now. But I can certainly see the point of those who are concerned about Wikipedia being eaten by the enormity that is the Web.

Comment from: Michael Danger posted at November 22, 2005 11:39 AM

This is a strange conflict in my eyes. In a previous post that Eric made on this subject, he talked about the "populist vs. elitist" conflict amongst the wiki ranks (i.e. a conflict between those editors with inclusionary attitudes towards content, and those with exclusionary attitudes). That seems a fair way to characterize many of the conflicts within the community, but with respect to the controversy of deleting webcomics articles, it seems like the conflict is much more "insider vs. outsider" where the insiders are editors of Wikipedia and the outsiders are, well...everyone else.

I for one find absolutely ridiculous the notion that voices of non-editors or infrequent editors ought to be discounted. It seems to me that the question people should be asking when trying to determine the value of an article is "will a reasonable number of people find this useful and interesting?"

But what must be kept in mind is that the people who use wikipedia as a resource and those who dedicate vast portions of their time to editing it are not one and the same group. On the contrary, I would venture to guess that the latter group comprises a tiny fraction of the former.

Unfortunately, some editors get so swept up in the notion of what they think ought to be "important" that they stop listening to very people whose interest actually defines importance - the readers and their various communities.

On a more conceptual level, it's a classic conflict of general versus particular importance: these editors feel free to write off the desires of the webcomics community on the basis that they are a fringe interest group that has no real concept of their enterprise as a whole, while we maintain that they are so wrapped up in their overarching vision of how things ought to be that, because of the forest, they can't see the trees.

Comment from: Michael Danger posted at November 22, 2005 11:41 AM

As to who is right...we are, of course!

Comment from: Kusand posted at November 22, 2005 12:12 PM

Just to throw in my two cents as a Websnark lurker who isn't quite as into webcomics:

I've read Checkerboard Nightmare and usually enjoyed it. I don't even really agree with deleting from Wikipedia all that often. But I read the Nov. 15 entry (which was the one that was put up for deletion) and to be honest, I didn't see anything in the article that made it worthy of being kept, either. It was two paragraphs that indicated the comic was self-aware, followed by a listing of characters and an extremely long list of "Chex's schemes to date." It gives no indication that Checkerboard Nightmare is in any way an important or influential comic, nor any reason why it would be something someone looked up on Wikipedia in the first place.

In short, I think the guy perhaps should have requested a more informative article or nominated it for cleanup to become informative; but I can't see what was so fantastic about the article at the time that it simply must be kept. At the very least, the deletion nomination got some of you to come in and clean up the article a bit.

Comment from: J.A.K posted at November 22, 2005 12:15 PM

The other way it fails to fit that pattern, nifboy, is that, it wasn't noticed by someone in the "new articles" section: It's over a year old, created on the 11th of November 2004. It was put up by one of a group ofusers who've decided to purge wikipedia of some of the webcomics they think shouldn't be there. (They have used the word purge, the guy who put CxN up for deletion had on his front page "list of webcomics deleted so far", including reinstated ones, and no non-webcomic related material other than a two-sentence introduction there.

Comment from: Michael Danger posted at November 22, 2005 12:53 PM

Re nifbof:

I don't buy the argument that the opinions of people who are legitimately interested in the subject matter ought ot be discounted because their opinions are "self-interested." This is only a tenable proposition only if one takes the specious step of claiming that all interest in anything is "self-interest" since all interest is by definition interest in something you, yourself are interested in.

This is ridiculous enough in itself, but the even worse effect is that the only people whose opions *are* counted are those who aren't interested in the subject matter and hence usually know nothing about it - the deletion request in question being and excellent case in point.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 22, 2005 12:59 PM

Hey, come to think of it, this is an argument the webcomics community has with itself on a semi-regular basis!

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 22, 2005 1:02 PM

Dude -- it's like, ironic and shit.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 22, 2005 1:21 PM

I do see at this point why webcomics are considered a subset of websites *in terms of information access*--the point made about how that was different from dropping by the Hornchurch theater is a valid one.

HOWEVER, webcomics have a HUGE qualitative difference that makes it highly inappropriate, to me, to categorize them merely as a subset of websites.
Webcomics are artistic works. To me, this makes them way, way, way, way more qualified, in general, for inclusion in a reference work.

That said, I want to voice agreement with (a) whoever said the article probably should've just been noted for needing cleanup, (b) the person who said the set of users who reference wikipedia frequently and the contributors are not the same set (and the corresponding reliability issue), and most especially (c) that defining this case as identical to the members of some forum flooding wikipedia to save its entry in terms of self-interest is patently ridiculous.

Comment from: Axonite posted at November 22, 2005 1:29 PM

Ray:

You did make some edits (thanks!) to the (now deleted) Station V3 entry on Wikipedia. Your work isn't completely gone, since it was copied over to Comixpedia before it was deleted. It should be much safer there, where the comic's Alexa rank isn't an issue. :)

(Alexa doesn't even have a rank for it now, while traffic has gone up - I guess now I have more readers who don't like spyware)

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 22, 2005 2:22 PM

Aha! In fact, looking at the article now, even without its edit history stretching back across the Transwiki gap, I can see something I remember writing: "The art for the strip is deceptively simple, with character representations verging on the iconic. The story format is gag-a-day humor with an evolving continuity."

I remember having to stop for a moment to think about how best to explain the art style: At the very first glance, the art looked crude and primitive, like another one of the myriad Keenspace strips drawn by someone who doesn't really hyave a clue about what they're drawing. It was only after a moment that I realized — and checked a few other strips to make sure — that the art was doing exactly what it needed to do, with an admirable economy of line.

The key is that bad artists — or ones who are still working towards being good artists, at least — tend to have lines which are, shall we say, unpredictable. Characters simply don't look the same from one panel to another, from one strip to the next (which is the other reason so many artists make heavy use of templates, of course). But after looking more closely at Station V3, I could tell that, basically, every line you drew was exactly where you wanted it to be — you had simply made an artistic choice not to clutter things up with a lot of fine details. So, recalling some of Scott McCloud's examples from Understanding Comics, I settled on "deceptively simple" and "verging on the iconic."

It's kind of amusing to note that I've just spent all those words revisiting two short sentences; but I figured it could serve as another small window into the type of care and effort which was subsequently vandalized into oblivion by The Purge. Also, I get all giddy and excited these days when I remember anything successfully, much less the specific thought processes behind a couple of sentences I wrote six or eight months ago.

Comment from: Cnoocy posted at November 22, 2005 3:04 PM

Siwangmu:
Webcomics are certainly works of art, but that doesn't in itself completely answer the argument that they get a break in terms of notability. Compare the notability guidelines for music. The kind of general notoriety expected of a band would not be a no-brainer even for Penny Arcade, though I think it would ultimately pass the criteria.

Comment from: buggeroff posted at November 22, 2005 4:12 PM

I just thought I'd give my view since I was the closing admin on that particular case. I normally discount votes with lower edits just as a precaustionary measures though I always try to take into account the diversity of edits so that people who only vote on deletion listings are more likely to be discounted. I also try to determine whether the person is sheep voting (voting due to forum posts or blog posts asking them to vote a certain way) since if the person is only voting because someone asked them to vote a certain way then I will take that into account when tallying the votes. Also of course IP votes are normally the first to be discounted since they're generally not allowed, though comments by IP's are of course encourged. If anyone has any more questions about this feel free to drop a note on my talk page and I will most likely reply there.




-Jtkiefer, Wikipedia Administrator




(posted using bugmenot username/password since I am too lazy to create an account)

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 22, 2005 5:03 PM

Frankly, then, both your fundamental approach and your specific execution of it in this case are fatally flawed.

Jon Lynch has been editing articles on Wikipedia for ages, and his vote statement referenced Wiki guidelines and policies, rather then Websnark, in making its points: to call him a sheep is even more insulting than calling him a sockpuppet.

Eric was not only a source being cited as an authority by the participants in the ongoing VfD discussion, but he was the person who made the forum post that alerted some of those voters — to use your somewhat insulting metaphor, he wasn't a sheep, he was the shepherd. To toss his vote is to treat Wikipedia like Fight Club ("The first rule of VfD is 'Don't talk about VfD'").

And then there's Lar, whose vote was stricken by you because... well, who really knows? It was indistinguishable from any of a great number of other votes which you didn't strike, it bore no indication of being prompted by (or even mentioning) Websnark, and it was by a user with a reasonable number (and "spread") of prior edits. What evidence did you have that Lar was a sheep?

I know that being an administrator is a fairly thankless task (which is one reason why I never bothered to become one, I suppose), but frankly, you botched everything except the final result about the closing of this particular vote (and even that part took you two tries to get right). Not as badly as Dragonfiend screwed up by nominating Checkerboard Nightmare in the first place, but then, that's not saying much.

Comment from: jeffwik posted at November 22, 2005 5:38 PM

I also try to determine whether the person is sheep voting (voting due to forum posts or blog posts asking them to vote a certain way) since if the person is only voting because someone asked them to vote a certain way then I will take that into account when tallying the votes.

Why? Why should that be taken into account?

I say this seriously. I can understand why if, say, you're running a Coke v. Pepsi poll among rose fanciers and Coke gets wind of it and sends an email to everyone on its Cokefans mailing list to visit www.rosefanciers.org/colapoll/ and cast a vote, why in a situation like that such votes should be discounted: they would not make for a represenative sample of rose fanciers.

However that doesn't seem to jibe with Wikipedia's stated goals. The desire here is to determine whether the article is worthy of inclusion. If a substantial number of people -- not necessarily dedicated Wikipedians, but rather people part of the large pool of Wikipedia visitors like me, who refer to the site regularly without making edits -- deem it a worthwhile topic, then regardless of how many other people think it is unimportant, it should be kept.

I have zero interest in or knowledge of, say, Polybius, but if a proposal to delete his entry raised a tremendous hue and cry from the Historians of Antiquity Enthusiast Society, I would listen to them when they said he was significant.

Comment from: J.A.K posted at November 22, 2005 5:47 PM

Probably should be posting this on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jtkiefer

Here

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at November 22, 2005 5:50 PM

I have zero interest in or knowledge of, say, Polybius, but if a proposal to delete his entry raised a tremendous hue and cry from the Historians of Antiquity Enthusiast Society, I would listen to them when they said he was significant.

So we have come to the underpinning of Wikipedia: only those ignorant about a given entry are allowed to decide its fate.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at November 22, 2005 5:55 PM

In a perfect world, wikipedia readers would determine what articles they consider worthy of their reading. However, one thing wikipedia readers don't do is make accounts and amass edits. They're here to read, dangit.

Comment from: jeffwik posted at November 22, 2005 5:59 PM

Probably should be posting this on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jtkiefer

Here

Ah, but then he'd use kate's tool and see that it was my only edit, and therefore discount everything I had to say.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 22, 2005 6:30 PM

-Jtkiefer, Wikipedia Administrator

(posted using bugmenot username/password since I am too lazy to create an account)

User's only edit.

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at November 22, 2005 6:42 PM

"The key is that bad artists █ or ones who are still working towards being good artists, at least █ tend to have lines which are, shall we say, unpredictable. Characters simply don't look the same from one panel to another, from one strip to the next (which is the other reason so many artists make heavy use of templates, of course)."

I hear you, Ray. I hear you. I've done a few comics (none of which I have put online, unfortunately), and it bugged me to no end that I couldn't draw my own characters properly. Lesson one of all things in life: It's harder than it looks.

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at November 22, 2005 6:52 PM

Getting back to the main subject, the solution for this is, quite simply, multiple wikis. Many wikis exist, and they are being put to good use. Want some in-depth info on evolution? Consult the EvoWiki! Want to share some obscure information on quantum mechanics with the world? Put it on the Qwiki! Want something else that doesn't exist on the web yet? Ditch the 'pedia and make your own wiki!

The only wiki I've ever edited is the THEMWiki, a humorous little reference for an Arizona based anime-scifi club that I'm fond of (check out my personal page).

Wikipedia?
Wikipedia?
We don't NEED no stinkin' Wikipedia!

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 22, 2005 7:05 PM

Users with tiny amounts of edits swarm VfD in an attempt to keep the article. Their votes are discounted (because their votes are self-interested)

Or apparently users with big edit counts who don't vote the way the closing admin wants.

where the insiders are editors of Wikipedia and the outsiders are, well...everyone else.

Don't forget long time and frequent editors who happen to read webcomics as well. In fact, anyone whose knowldgable about webcomics should automatically get their vote discounted. That'll make a good encyclopedia. Especially if we take this concept and apply it to all areas of the wiki. (Oooh. Just saw Kris made the same comment I did).

It gives no indication that Checkerboard Nightmare is in any way an important or influential comic, nor any reason why it would be something someone looked up on Wikipedia in the first place.

IMO it isn't the role of an article to explain it's notability. It can do so, but it shouldn't be deleted for not doing so. Articles at Wikipedia are in a state of change, it might not be that good at the moment, but it won't get better if you delete it.

In short, I think the guy perhaps should have requested a more informative article or nominated it for cleanup to become informative; but I can't see what was so fantastic about the article at the time that it simply must be kept.

Yes, that would have been better. But an article at a particular time doesn't need to be fantastic to be kept (unless I'm remembering the official guidelines wrong). It needs to have the ability to become fantastic to be kept.

but that doesn't in itself completely answer the argument that they get a break in terms of notability.

I believe notability should never be used as a reason to delete, so therefore every article should get a break. Why do I believe this? Because notability isn't a requirement in the official wikipedia guidelines. If it was, I'd accept it, I wouldn't be happy, but I'd accept it.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 22, 2005 7:08 PM

While I'm heartened as always, make sure you spare your actual vitriol for me, not other folks. Because those? Are the rules.

Comment from: Montykins posted at November 22, 2005 7:13 PM

Hey, speaking of Wikis and Webcomics, how about Penny Arcade's Epic Legends Of The Hierarchs: The Elemenstor Saga project? Personally, I find the opportunity to make fun of various types of fandom and geekery impossible to resist. Especially since so many of the jokes I put in were from my own life. At last, all that time spent in alt.tv.tiny-toons has a purpose!

Comment from: Robin Z posted at November 22, 2005 7:22 PM

Regarding the suggestion to go elsewhere: I have ten bookmarks in my Firefox toolbar. One of those is Wikipedia – when I want to look up information on a subject (say, the Milgram experiment) quickly, that's where I usually go.

Now, I could make myself a whole directory of reference Wikis in my bookmarks, and I might, but I still want to have one generally reliable one that I can go to. The reason why the flaws of Wikipedia demonstrated here bother me is that, until now, Wikipedia was my choice for reliable-quick-reference. And if it isn't,...

Comment from: theSaj posted at November 22, 2005 7:30 PM

Wikipedia's Great Failure:

"Welcome to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit."

Wikipedia had the potential to become a well-spring of information, a vault of knowledge. I have lost faith in Wikipedia ever seeing that dream.

(and how funny that I just went there and the servers were momentarily down)

See, I believe Wikipedia will become a "decent" online "encyclopedia" but it will never go beyond being a good open source version of "Encyclopedia Britanica". It will not grow to encompasse assets that such a paper bound volume never would.

I am a friend of an author of a web comic who's entry was deleted some time ago. Even though it met all the stated criteria by Wiki at that time. As a fan of said comic, I have been surpised by the people I've encountered reading it. (For instance my own father and co-workers who I sent strips to I discover a year later still read it.) I was even more surprised when I saw a strip posted on LJ by someone I did not know.

This comic had been running for a few years now with an active community and reader base. And was put up for deletion shortly after discovery by the author that the Wiki had been created. It wasn't a very detailed Wiki but it had much more information than most of the others I clicked on upon my discovery. I even spent time updating it, at which point it was no longer sparse. Figuring a lack of detail was the only real claim against the comic. It had been in online publication for a few years, had a fair following, and was regularly updated. Wiki deleted it the entry, spear-headed by one Wikipedian who had not even bothered to read any of the comics. Just deemed it "not noteworthy".

I came away quite turned off to the concept of Wikipedia. If I could spend a few hours updating an article and have all work erased on another's whim and a failure of Wikipedia to adhere to it's own stated requirements (as stated in the web comic section). Then what is there to keep my efforts in entry safe and not devalue my time?

Frankly, I think Wikipedia should either be much less ready to delete, or chuck the whole "web comic" thing as a whole. And just simply put a small foot note.

**********

"Web comics first arose in the late 90's with the popularization of the Internet. Some of the first widely recognized comics were blah blah blah."

See Comics

**********

And I have made edits (not a great ton but a few here and there), though I am always rather disinclined because I forget to login for most of the edits.

And work done in certain areas was needlessly discarded...

Yeah, I quit editing after that. And this is why such an attitude will be the death of Wikipedia as anything more than an online "Brittanica". Because, unless it's merely a fact based entry Wikipedia can't handle it. It does not have the ability to become the desired "knowledge pool"....just merely to become the alternative to a book encyclopedia.

Comment from: Padre posted at November 22, 2005 7:53 PM

A thought occurs.

1) It is a relatively straightforward thing to keep track of the number of impressions a particular page receives, in a manner which is sufficiently reliable to ensure that it gives a reasonable indication to the number of people who have read/used that page.

2) If a lot of people are reading a page about something, it is notable - that is to say, there is sufficient interest in the topic for people to want to read encyclopedic articles about it.

3) Given 1 and 2, the best way to determine what should be in wikipedia and what shouldn't would be to simply track pages by number of unique visitors.

4) you could then either have some threshold (page must have x number of visits within y amount of time or it will be auto-placed a s candidate for deletion) or (better) you could simply sort search and disambiguation results this way (so that searches for George Bush may bring up lots of pages, but the one on George w. Bush would be the most popular and hence first in the list).

Wikipedia exalts the power and wisdom of people working in groups. This seems to be a direct application of that principle, and will lead ot an encyclopedia populated with articles that people wanted to find in an encyclopedia.

Isn't that the best test for inclusion there could ever be?

Comment from: Kusand posted at November 22, 2005 8:05 PM

This is a long freaking post. Bear in mind I'm being a little contrarian and playing the devil's advocate here to a certain extent.

"IMO it isn't the role of an article to explain it's notability. It can do so, but it shouldn't be deleted for not doing so. Articles at Wikipedia are in a state of change, it might not be that good at the moment, but it won't get better if you delete it."

Granted, but this was an article in existence for just over a year. In that time it provided virtually no information. Whether you think it should prove notability or not, this was a sparsely written article that didn't seem to do anything. Which leads to your second quote and my second point.


"Yes, that would have been better. But an article at a particular time doesn't need to be fantastic to be kept (unless I'm remembering the official guidelines wrong). It needs to have the ability to become fantastic to be kept."

Actually, I could argue that Checkerboard Nightmare as it stood (and to a certain extent still does) was in violation of the 'What Wikipedia is Not' rule that 'Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.' For the most part, the page could be seen (mostly due to the incredibly cluttered hare-brained scheme list) as a collection of random information about Checkerboard Nightmare. A small character list, a huge scheme list, and a paragraph mentioning that it's metahumor. I think the case could be made that the page constituted an FAQ or a vanity page for the comic, both of which are not allowed per the rules.


This is getting longer than I thought it would be.


One last point to make - this article is still pretty hollow. I know you guys write a lot - why not beef it up and improve it? I searched Comixpedia and didn't find the Checkerboard Nightmare article at all. And if you look at (brace yourself) "Hollaback Girl" on Wikipedia, there is a pretty large section explaining the composition and meaning of the song and describing critical reaction to it. It's actually a useful, interesting entry, despite the fact I don't care about the song. Checkerboard's entry does nothing to be readable, and it shows. Again, while I don't think "non-notability" is a good criteria for deletion, I think the Nov. 15 rendition was still a pretty shabby article that did nothing to be an encyclopedic entry on the comic and did a lot to be a pretty uninformative article.

Further point: the cast list for main cast simply stripped the info off Checkerboard's cast page and plugged it in. This also is considered bad wiki form, from what I know.

In summary - argue whether or not notability is a good reason to delete something all you want, but Checkerboard Nightmare's article as of Nov. 15 was pretty crummy and bordering on violating a whole handful of miscellanous Wiki rules.

Comment from: Montykins posted at November 22, 2005 8:21 PM

Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.

See, that's the basic problem. Because that's what an encyclopedia is: "A comprehensive reference work containing articles on a wide range of subjects". At this point, it seems like Wikipedia is more interested in pruning itself back through deleting articles than in expanding itself out to become the Ultimate Reference Work On All Subjects.

Which is why Eric's suggestion (at the top of the page, which we're allegedly commenting on) makes sense: Wikipedia has shown an institutional disinterest in maintaining reference materials on webcomics. And it doesn't really matter if that disinterest is due to one person or a great number; in reality, people who want to keep the webcomic material on Wikipedia have to fight to do it. So why bother, considering that Comixpedia.org does want to be a webcomics encyclopedia?

Comment from: buggeroff posted at November 22, 2005 8:38 PM

Ah, but then he'd use kate's tool and see that it was my only edit, and therefore discount everything I had to say.

hah, look around and you'll find that I'm probably the most tolerant person you'll ever find in wikipedia when it comes to what comments I deal with on my userpage, take a look at the notice on the top of my page, unless it's a blatant personal attack or something equally bad I will normally leave it on my page and add it to the archives when it reaches that point, and if it's worthwhile I'll normally even respond either on my talk page or on the commentor's talk page.

-Jtkiefer

Comment from: buggeroff posted at November 22, 2005 8:39 PM

oh yeah, user's 2nd edit :)

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 22, 2005 8:42 PM


One last point to make - this article is still pretty hollow. I know you guys write a lot - why not beef it up and improve it?

I'm taking time off from Wikipedia until the zealous deletion of articles is dealt with. I might fix up the Comixpedia article, but personally I don't know if I know enough about CxN to edit it into a better article. I'm reading the archives, but I tend to concentrate on story webcomics, so I don't actually know enough about the gag-a-day articles to turn it into a good one of those.

In summary - argue whether or not notability is a good reason to delete something all you want, but Checkerboard Nightmare's article as of Nov. 15 was pretty crummy and bordering on violating a whole handful of miscellanous Wiki rules.

But from what I saw, none of those rules were invoked as reasons to delete, so when discussing this AFD, isn't really that important. Although I do agree that the article is fairly bad.

Comment from: Ninjacrat posted at November 22, 2005 8:54 PM

What the fuck... what the FUCK?



This thread is hideous.



It's sort of like seeing a few friends, people you normally respect and admire, wandering around drunk. But when you try to suggest that they go lie down before they make a fool of themselves, they bellow "I'mmmmm shnottt drunggggh!" at you and throw up on your shoes.



...the fuck went wrong here?

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 22, 2005 8:55 PM

Regarding the comparison of webcomics and musical groups: are we saying that you must be as famous as a rock star for your webcomic to matter, or are we saying that you should be a rock star of webcomicking? Because those are very different. And if we only include the webcomics as famous as rock stars, our coverage of this artistic medium is utter crap. I know many might respond to this with the aforementioned "Fuck wikipedia and go to comixpedia," and I'll admit it makes some sense, but I'm another of the "wiki is one of the links under my address bar" people, and it... makes me sad to think of it as avoidably losing potential.

Also, how can the somewhat-sensible-seeming "we can't have every garage band ever" principle of notability ever be reconciled with the true purpose of an encyclopedia, which is to give me basic information about something which is inherently obscure enough (to me) that I need to go look it up on an encyclopedia? I mean, honestly! An encyclopedia is pretty much at its most useful when it discusses the otherwise non-notable!

I do think that articles addressing why the thing is notable is an idea with merit; that way, for instance, if someone wandered across this discussion and, lacking our background, wondered why we were all so incensed and astounded that someone would mark it as non-notable, they'd have a handy resource to check for the answer! Which is all talking-in-circles-y because of all the back and forth it's safe it's not it would be it wouldn't be go to comixpedia instead complication here, but hopefully a point came through, there.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 22, 2005 8:58 PM

very, very interesting point I would like to add, as I'm looking through the music guidelines: among the conditions listed (meeting any one of which recommends the musical entity in question for keeping under this official guideline) is the following:

"Has been prominently featured in any major music media."

Funny how when I (admittedly shallowly) perused the history of the webcomics proposal discussion (because I don't have two weeks to make a thorough examination of the history), it seemed to be considered totally ridiculous that such a condition ever be implemented for webcomics.

Comment from: lar posted at November 22, 2005 9:02 PM

From Dragonfiend's talk page:

[quote]
"Your continued personal attacks both here in wikipedia as well as on your blog are innapropriate. Please see the policies of Wikiquette, no personal attacks, and civility. AfDs are for discussing articles and whether they ought to be deleted, not for discussing your personal feelings about other editors. It is best to leave personal notes on talk pages, and best to avoid personal attacks altogether. Dragonfiend 16:13, 22 November 2005 (UTC)"
[/quote]
[br]
Er, did I miss something here? I didn't see any personal attacks by Eric anywhere I checked. (calling someone on something they are doing that is wrong or divisive or misguided is not, itself, a personal attack!) I might have missed some though.
[br]

Although I DID see a lot of strikeouts by the AfD admin in the actual AfD, which sure felt like personal attacks to me. Striking out someones words is nothing short of a slur if you ask me. Not that anyone did or is likely to.

(sorry for the crappy formatting, I can't find the FAQ on how to format posts!)

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 22, 2005 9:19 PM

Kusand: Any pointers (or reference articles on webcomics) you could point out? I've gone and editted it the best I can, but it really just resulted in rewording it. So have a look and any feedback you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 22, 2005 9:25 PM

Funny how when I (admittedly shallowly) perused the history of the webcomics proposal discussion (because I don't have two weeks to make a thorough examination of the history), it seemed to be considered totally ridiculous that such a condition ever be implemented for webcomics.

Because webcomics haven't gained much "official" coverage. If such a criteria were to be implemented, Inverloch would have an article on it while 8-Bit Theatre wouldn't. You don't think that ridiculous?

Comment from: Glaser posted at November 22, 2005 9:32 PM

It strikes me that as Wikipedia's usefulness seems to be transferring over to more specialized wikis maintained by people with more knowledge of the subject matter that perhaps Wikipedia would become more useful as a linking method to these specialized wikis.

That's an undeveloped thought, but it just came to my head and I figured I'd stick it out there.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 22, 2005 9:41 PM

Time to expose my semi-appaling ignorance and ask for clarification before I find out whether I think it's ridiculous. I have not heard of Inverloch and have of course heard of 8-Bit, so it would seem that I probably agree with you that that's all backwards, but I can't be sure. So Inverloch has been covered in what we would consider the "major webcomics media" but 8-Bit has not?
Wouldn't 8-Bit, however, be likely to qualify on some other criterion anyway? I mean, it really strikes me as "a rock star of webcomicking," to steal my above phrase, in terms of people knowing about it and history and such, so it seems like that would be a clear in on some count even if it were not convered by "major media."

My point is that music media coverage of music is considered legitimate, but webcomic media (something which at this point seems to me to actually exist) coverage is not. If you knew that's what I meant, then please don't think I'm arguing by repeating myself, I just want to make sure you know what I mean and I know what you mean.

If you know what I mean.

Comment from: BassetKing posted at November 22, 2005 9:59 PM

" Are you posting on User:Eric Burns blog to help him and his meat-puppet friends see my side of the issue? If you're not, then I think you've made your affiliation pretty clear. Dragonfiend 08:16, 22 November 2005 (UTC)"

Hey, hey, hey now. I think someone needs to refresh their knowledge of "Wikiquette, no personal attacks, and civility."

But that's just one little hound's opinion.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 22, 2005 10:04 PM

Hey hey hey.

Hey.

That stops now.

He gets to say stuff like that on his own wiki.talk. It's his wiki.talk.

You get to say stuff back to him there, if you like.

You don't get to knock him around here.

Talk the issue, not the poster.

Comment from: lar posted at November 22, 2005 10:16 PM

"She"

I think anyway.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at November 22, 2005 10:29 PM

If you don't mind me making the analogy, imagine a government where everybody in the country is allowed to vote and comment on the issues, but only the votes by the politicians count because they are the ones that make up the issues. Sure, anyone can become a politician in this hypothetical country, but if you don't start actively making up issues for the other polit... I mean everybody to vote on, then your vote might discounted anyway since your new to being a politician.

Comment from: ysen posted at November 22, 2005 10:49 PM

i can appreciate wikipedia not wanting to be an indescriminate collection of information (which would eliminate people putting up articles about their dog) but if you've deigned to include a subject (which webcomics as a whole obviously is) then as an encyclopedia it is wikipedias duty to make the coverage of the subject as comprehensive as possible, which means essentially that there should be an article for every webcomic that ever existed regardless of the percieved worth in an artistic of influential sense because if in 20 years time someone was to do a research paper on webcomics wikipedia would by nessessity be only one source of reference (assuming this researcher took the task at hand very seriously or research requirements were extremely anal) which essentally means wikipedia isn't really an encyclopedia at all.

it's not our place, now, to decide how or what a potential future researcher is going to study. in the case of checkerboard nightmare our future researcher may want to study simply webcomics, perhaps kris himself (in 20 years he may be president, who knows in which case people would be interested in past endeavours) or maybe the use or robots in different forms of artistic expression (hey in 20 years robots may be as common as cars and there will probably be individuals interested in their history in fiction and fact) in which case chex is relevent.

this obviously doesn't speak of any given articles quality, usefulness or informitiveness which seems to be the real sticky wicket in this.

Comment from: Eric the .5b posted at November 22, 2005 11:26 PM

As argued, could it really be vandalism to go around applying these "notability" standards to every page in Wikipedia - nominating every book described that wasn't a bestseller/reviewed in the NYT Review of Books, etc?

By these people's standards, I'd assume not, but my liking for the wiki philosophy says such merry deletion would be wrong, just like this.

The wikipedians' real problem is the simultaneous hype of "it's the encyclopedia edited by everybody" while having an in-group mentality where the rubber hits the road.

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at November 23, 2005 2:08 AM

Are you people listening to me? I put in post saying that the solution of alternate wikis - in other words, the Comixpedia solution - was a tried-and-true method that had worked before and ought to be put to greater use, and no one listened! Everyone just keeps railing on the 'pedia! Haven't we got better things to do?

Comment from: sqbr posted at November 23, 2005 3:03 AM

I'm not going to give an opinion becuase that always gets me into trouble. Though I have a feeling that this sort of conflict is enevitable with any large well known wiki. Not to say we shouldn't try to fix it :)

However I do have an example from personal experience which illustrates why "sheep" are excluded, though the way things are done might not be the best solution.

I never been the least bit involved with the inner workings of wikipedia. However, a mailing list I was on had a general call to save a wiki page and I had a look at the VfD. There was an awful lot of people with more loyalty than sense vocally arguing for it to be kept with no apperance of having even read the rules it was supposed to have broken (which it had)

Given that VfDs can be won by 14 votes, I can certainly see people making truly dreadful pages and trying to use their 20 rabid followers to stop it ever getting deleted.

Note that this is clearly not the case for CxN, I'm just talking in general since some people seemed to be arguing that all votes should be counted equally. I may have misunderstood. Anyone reads this as "Eric is an irrational CxN fan who knows nothing about wikipedia and his opinion counts for nothing" gets an anti cookie.

Comment from: Kusand posted at November 23, 2005 9:01 AM

John: I guess my main advice would be to look at major media wiki entries like Calvin and Hobbes or even Penny Arcade and see what they're doing. The strip ran for five years - I figure the entry could be spruced up with a lot of information, particularly if its a significant webcomic.

Ideas:
1) What is the plot and setting? Has it ever grown beyond "Chex wants readers?" Is it a static universe, or does the setting change as Chex desires? Is it set in the future or an alternate reality? Also an interesting idea is to add a link to the CxN where each character was introduced on the character sheet.

2) Is there anything significant to this strip artistically? Does Straub advance any particular aspect that hasn't been done before?

I just think new headings could be added, if possible - Plot/Setting, Style/Influences, Links to Critical Review. I think the addition of awards and the appearances in other strips section is a good step.

I still don't think the characters/plot lists are great, but that seems to be pandemic to webcomic entries. Keep em, if for no other reason than to pad useful material. However, some things still are unclear in the article: for example, the statement is made that "the strip has gained both significant fame, as a new measurement of webcomics and of satire, and infamy - as a work laden with numerous references to other webcomics. As such, it has been considred by many to be a milestone in the evolvement of webcomics." Who considers it a milestone? What did they say about it? Has Straub ever gone on record as to why he went with metahumor as a basis for an entire comic?

More thoughts - the ending of the entry's main text states the original idea of the comic was to be a mouthpiece for Straub's satire. The beginning just says it is a self-aware webcomic about a guy looking for more readership. Why not work the angle and discuss how the parody is in fact Straub's take on the world, if that's the case?

I think it's a lot of things like that. I guess if we want we can take this to the Checkerboard talk page, or you could email me. Even though I think criticism can be goofy, I never mind being a critic. :) Unless anyone else has anything to add or comments to make on what I'm saying to John.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 23, 2005 10:33 AM

Thanks for the feedback Kusand. Most of it wasn't applicable (it seems you read the Wikipedia article not the Comixpedia one I linked to ;)). From what I've read, no, CxN never does grow beyond Chex wants readers. Although the other questions can be answered in it.

As for artistically, not to my knowledge. The only thing "notable" about CxN (as far as I know, and I'm not really that knowledgable about it) is that it got popular. It was both part of Keenspot and BLC. I don't think Kris has added any particular element to webcomics on a whole that was previously lacking.

I'll have a look at the pages you mentioned as well. Thanks again :)

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 23, 2005 11:25 AM

John -- I actually think Chex is notable, in that I feel it was influential.

Straub's technique of adopting the artistic style of his satirical targets (and doing a damn good job of it) had the dual effect of drawing attention from the fanbases in question and accentuating the satire. As a result, webcartoonists in particular read the strip, and I think it had influence on how other webcartoonists approached (in particular) metahumor as a result. (In both directions -- some folks who didn't have a solid grasp of metahumor gleaned insight into how it works, and other folks who probably shouldn't have indulged in metahumor anyway elected not to because they didn't want to seem like a Checkerboard Nightmare ripoff.)

I'm actually pretty tempted to edit the article and talk about the strip's significance, at this point. Though at the same time, I'm more tempted to do so on Comixpedia. On the gripping hand, thanks to the power of the Open Documentation License, I could do both!

Comment from: Kusand posted at November 23, 2005 11:52 AM

John, I read the Comixpedia article, but it appeared to be a carbon copy of the Nov. 15 version of Wiki's article that I was critiquing previously. So it's sort of still applicable. :)

Comment from: TRS-80 posted at November 23, 2005 1:30 PM

Hilariously, Kernel Panic takes this on in similar satirical style, with the exception of adopting the drawing style, although wikipedia doesn't have one.

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at November 23, 2005 3:50 PM

1) What is the plot and setting? Has it ever grown beyond "Chex wants readers?" Is it a static universe, or does the setting change as Chex desires? Is it set in the future or an alternate reality? Also an interesting idea is to add a link to the CxN where each character was introduced on the character sheet.

Chex had some control over his own universe, but only when it enabled me to explore some area. And he himself specifically did not grow; that was kind of the point. He never learned anything.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 23, 2005 6:39 PM

I'm actually pretty tempted to edit the article and talk about the strip's significance, at this point. Though at the same time, I'm more tempted to do so on Comixpedia. On the gripping hand, thanks to the power of the Open Documentation License, I could do both!

Well I certainly encourage you to ;) You know what you're talking about, so your a pretty good person to go and edit it.

Comment from: David Gerard posted at November 24, 2005 4:16 PM

Wikipedia isn't a homogeneous entity. You may be interested to know that the perpetrators of this particular stroke of genius have just been dragged up before the arbitration committee for their fine work in general. Dunno how it'll come out. Article deletion on Wikipedia is broken in several important ways, but this might actually get some action on the matter.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 24, 2005 5:42 PM

Wikipedia isn't a homogeneous entity.

This is easy for me to forget. I appreciate the reminder.

Is there any way to follow the arbitration committee's progress, or are these closed door sessions?

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 24, 2005 9:37 PM

I believe you can keep track of it here. Although to be honest, I do wonder at what good it will do. Personally I don't think the problem is specific members, but instead the Wikipedia process of deletion on a whole.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 25, 2005 4:55 AM

Personally I don't think the problem is specific members, but instead the Wikipedia process of deletion on a whole.

Well, I'd say it's both: The deletion process has a security flaw, in effect, and those individuals are exploiting it. Both of those bad things needed to be the case for this to become a problem.

Given that, while I was there, the process of vetting new entries went, as a rule, very smoothly, it seems to me that the appropriate filter for inappropriate articles is at the time of their creation. Lots of people investigate new pages to see if they are cruft, and Eric's Alternate Guidelines worked very nicely as a filter for that — partially because they involved a simple, easy-to-explain metric which didn't involve passing any kind of value judgement on the merits of the comic or its audience. With Eric's guideleines, saying "this comic does not meet the criteria" was a lot more like saying "sorry, but you must be at least this tall to go on the ride" than it was like saying "this comic is worthless, and, by extension, its fans are deluded, and whoever thought it was worth creating an article for is a fool."

If the only change from then to now had been a gradual tightening of the standards for new entries, I don't think that there would have been anywhere near as much of a ruckus; the problem &mdashl the horrible, festering gaping wound of a problem — was with the deletions (or, to be more accurate, attempted deletions) of numerous articles which had been legitimately created under the common consensus of the time.

Frankly, I think that a one sentence fix would work to plug the hole on the VfD policy here: "Articles which have existed on Wikipedia for a while should tend to be given the benefit of the doubt in the VfD process, unless it can be shown that their presence was generally unknown to the relevant communities."

Obviously, there's still a lot of room for interpretation in those words; but then, that's true of most Wiki-Policies.

In this specific case, the fact that these articles had been prominently linked on the WP:Webcomics and "List of webcomics" pages would be prima facie evidence that they were not "stealth" articles; on the other hand, if someone found an otherwise crufty-seeming webcomic article which wasn't on those pages, it might be more reasonable to consider deleting it.

In other words, evidence of prior reasonable oversight should be weighed very heavily in the favor of an article being proposed for VfD.

I dunno. I think that's a fairly easy way around the biggest part of the problem, not just for webcomics, but for any other specialized subset of articles on Wikipedia. If you can tell that it had been poked at and checked out in the past by the same people who have worked on other, similar articles which are known to be good, that should count as a de facto vetting for suitability.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 25, 2005 4:54 PM

That's well-thought out, and logical. And.. of course, highly unlikely given that this is the Internets, where silly people.. well, happen.

Comment from: Ghastly posted at November 26, 2005 3:37 AM

Well I'm probably coming into this thread a wee bit too late to be noticed but what the hell. Let me throw in my two cents.

Wikipedia, Wikipedia. Where do I start, Wikipedia. I think part of the problem is Wikipedia seems to believe it has far more legitimacy than it actually does. It isn't a real encyclopedia and it's not because it's "on the internet", it's because it simply doesn't have qualified writers and researchers contributing to it. I know more than one professor at Mac who will rain unholy woe upon any essay that presents "Wikipedia" in the bibliography. At best Wikipedia could be considered a "Folk Encyclopedia" or an almanac of sorts but is not and never will be a legitimate encyclopedia. Some of these Wikians seem to believe that by being more discriminating and deleting as much "non-notable" information as possible it will grant then legitimacy. It won't. Delete as many articles as you want and Wikipedia will still never be anything but a folk encyclopedia. If you want legitimacy you'll have to do what real encyclopedias do, hire knowledgeable experts, editors, writers and researchers to create and maintain the entries.

Now, just because Wikipedia is only a folk encyclopedia that doesn't mean they should just allow any piece of crap on it. There are some things that need deleting in order to keep the site useful. There are not too many people out there interested in my Aunt Milly's Shih'Tzu "Mister Tinkies". I can't imagine anyone other than my Aunt Milly being served by an article on her Shih'Tzu.

On the other hand if an article is created for a subject and various people contributed, added, modified, enhanced, and edited that article that indicates it's clearly of some importance to some people and should probably be kept. As was said previously in this thread, the criteria for deletion should not be "is this subject worthy enough for inclusion in Wikipedia" but instead "is Wikipedia improved by the deletion of this subject".

Another problem is people whose contribution to Wikipedia revolves around hunting for things to delete need to be flagged and investigated. Any dickhead with an axe to grind either against a subject or even against Wikipedia itself can simply go through and start submitting entries for deletion.

The other problem with the deletion process is the article is automatically put on the defencive. It seems it has to prove why it should be kept where as those who want to delete it don't have to prove why it should be deleted. They only have to say "not notable" or "not worthy of an entry". I think in order to put forth an argument of "not notable" or "not worthy of an entry" the person proposing the deletion should have to provide proof that they are a knowledgable expert in the field and are thus qualified to determine what is and is not worthy. Google, Alexa, word of mouth from friends are not reliable evidence against the notability of an entry in a given field of study. It's downright laughable that someone who admits to having little or no knowledge of webcomics can be considered a reliable judge to measure the notability of something webcomics related.

The deletion process should probably go more along the lines of "This is who I am, these are my credentials. These are my contributions to this field of study and this is why in my knowledgable opinion this article should deemed worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia".

For the most part some of these deletion whores seem to come off as the nerdy kid with the Napoleon complex who was pantsed infront of the girl's volleyball team in highschool and is now compensating it by exercising his power to delete things on some online folk encyclopedia. Whoo-pee.

As for the whole folk encyclopedia thing. It's pretty neat and I wouldn't count Wikipedia out yet. It has its uses. The best thing is there are a number of copycat folk encyclopedias out there that basically copy all the articles on Wikipedia and then DON'T delete them. If Wikipedia continues it's vain and futile quest for legitimacy through it's policy of rampant deletion then it'll eventually have less and less information available on it and one of these other, less discriminatory folk encyclopedias will rise to take its place.

However, as with 99.9% of Internet content Wikipedia and all its kin could be wiped off the face of the net tommorrow and the world will continue to get along just fine without it.

To be honest, I don't think one massive Wikipedia will ever be able to do the job that smaller, more dedicated Wikilike things run by a group of knowledgable experts in their fields can do (such as the one on Comixpedia). Perhaps Wikipedia's eventual role will simply be a portal to more knowledgable mini encyclopedias.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 26, 2005 2:24 PM

I'm not entirely sold on the notion that Wikipedia — or some future reference work of similar nature — can't ever become more than a "folk encyclopedia." I strongly suspect that we are standing at the dawn of a new Golden Age of the Amateur, where more and more people begin to do significant work in and around the edges of fields in which they have no real formal credentials — at which point the automatic presumption of incompetence that currently attends such efforts will be severely lessened.

I liken it to the status quo in England from, say, the Stuart period to the Victorian era (heck, in ways, you could trace this all the way back to the notion of the "Renaissance Man"), where major scientific advances were as likely to come from vicars and lawyers as from actual scientists. Now, obviously, in part this was because science was much less specialized at the time; but just as obviously, there existed a presumption that a well-rounded individual would naturally have multiple, divergent interests aside from whatever they did "for a living." I see that sort of approach returning in a democratized form (rather than only being true of the "leisured classes") in the near future (assuming that the current all-out assault on the existence of the middle class is reversed, of course). If so, I wouldn't bet against a Wikipedia-like project attaining the same stature as "conventional" encyclopedias currently enjoy.

On the other hand, one thing that a work which aims to be taken seriously as a reference work cannot do is arbitrarily purge itself of useful and accurate bits of knowledge. Why would anyone outside the work ever permalink to an article that might not be there in the future?

If people want Wikipedia to be taken seriously, the thing to do is to work to improve the articles which are already there, rather than working to delete the perceived marginalia.

Until I created it myself nine months ago, Wikipedia had no article on Patricia Schroeder, the longest-serving congresswoman in the history of the House of Representatives, first woman on the House Armed Service Committee, and the person who coined the phrase "teflon President" to describe Ronald Reagan. I think it's safe to say that that sort of gaping hole was much more destructive to Wikipedia's reputation than the fact that back then it did have articles about Station V3 and Our Home Planet (to list just two of the victims of the Great Purge).

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 26, 2005 3:33 PM

I strongly suspect that we are standing at the dawn of a new Golden Age of the Amateur

Fred Gallagher has a rant on this subject which I found very inspiring. It's directed more to the paying consumer than to the creator, but it's the same principle being addressed.

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