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Eric: Time for the yearly Wikipedia bitching-out. After all, they've been *so* successful in the past, right?

Girly

From Girly.

I've received a number of e-mails about Josh Lesnick.

Specifically, the removal of Girly from Wikipedia.

Now, we've discussed this before. In fact, it's been a solid year since the last time we had this conversation. And in that year, as near as I can tell, the poisonous culture that's infected Wikipedia seems to have gotten no better.

It comes down to this -- very few people who are cognizant of Webcomics as an artistic form would even think about eliminating Girly. Girly's significance is broad and persistent. Josh Lesnick has been doing this for years. Josh Lesnick is one of those webcartoonists all the other webcartoonists read. He has had tremendous influence over the form. His development of Slipshine rewrote the book on NC-17 webcomics. Wendy was one of the seminal comic strips on the web, and while it's not Lesnick's best work it helped shape all that came. Cutewendy was a time of huge creative growth for Lesnick which itself provided a blueprint to many who came after of how to create and develop a purely joyful gag comic and have it Just. Plain. Work. And now we have Girly -- Lesnick's finest work to date, and a strip that has tremendous critical acclaim and a reading list that as far as I can tell includes put never everyone who is considered a notable webcartoonist by Wikipedia.

But Wikipedia has no mechanism for understanding derived influence.

They have no means of accepting solid expert opinion that says "this person is notable, not because of the breadth of his popularity, but because of the tenor of his popularity." Which is depressing, because that's why we actually need encyclopedias. If someone began to do serious research into, say, expanded canvas. Or into the influences on people like Scott Kurtz (who said on Digital Strips that he was a big fan). Or into the history of Keenspot. Or into the history of artists leaving Keenspot....

Well, they would turn to Wikipedia, figuring that it would be a more up to date and complete reference.

Only it's not. It doesn't come close.

I'll admit -- I use Wikipedia all the time. It's convenient, as a starting point. But I am always -- always -- conscious of the fact that it's only as reliable as the fatigue levels of competent people to refute incompetent but entitled people -- and that sooner or later, the incompetents always win that fight. As evidence, I submit Girly -- a strip no serious student of webcomics would describe as anything less than "notable," which failed the acid test for deletion because serious students of webcomics figured out long ago Wikipedia sucks on toast for this field, and only gets worse.

In the meantime, there's Comixpedia.org -- a comprehensive resource on webcomics that actually doesn't suck because the people involved actually know something about the field they're "editing." Go figure.

Girly, Wendy, Cutewendy, Slipshine, and Josh Lesnick himself all have extensive entries on that.

Gosh, almost like the Webcomics community -- for some value of community -- considers Lesnick notable, or something.

One can only look forward to whatever comes to replace Wikipedia, in hopes that it will succeed where Wikipedia -- a noble experiment with many, many good aspects -- has so clearly failed.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at October 31, 2006 10:55 AM

Comments

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 11:52 AM

I'm going to have to disagree and say that I don't expect Wikipedia to be replaced anytime soon.

Here's why, it's a combination of branded loyalty and it being something of a media sensation. It gets mentioned as a main example of the world being "flat" as according to Thomas Friedman. And its competitors are not as used as wikipedia, so thus the financial success of wikipedia keeps it going.

You have to look no further than eBay to see what I think wikipedia's future will probably be. Is eBay the best of the online auction/market place? Definately not, but it's surviving a lot better than a lot of its competitors. Even such vanguards as Amazon aren't fairing as well as eBay is, and they've had their shot. And think of it when you hear about really weird auctions, such as selling your soul online, where is it happening? eBay.

Just because something is "failed" doesn't mean it will be replaced eventually.

Comment from: ItsWalky [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 11:52 AM

Wait, Girly is off Wikipedia but I'm still there? That's not right.

Comment from: scrubbo [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 11:58 AM

You know what's hilarious?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_the_Box

Inside the Box is on Wikipedia.

Comment from: Cornan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 12:01 PM

Not to be nit-picky, but what does this line mean:

"...reading list that as far as I can tell includes put never everyone who is considered a notable webcartoonist by Wikipedia."

put never everyone? I'm trying to figure out the typo, but it's just not happening.

Aside from that I believe you're exactly right about Wikipedia. Not that it will go away soon, but in its failures to accurately denote the important aspects of emerging culture. Wikipedia is only capable of being a reference for long established information because, barring obviously wide popularity, the entitled editors seem to feel that anything they don't know about can't be important.

Comment from: Stan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 12:13 PM

meh.

Lists of who is important enough to be included always have an arbitrary element. Generally it's a small panel of experts with their own biases of what should count. With wikipedia, it's mainly whoever bothers to spend the time entering/editing. I bet that if you picked a topic that you're familiar with and checked who is listed in a well respected encyclopedia, you'd have a moment of "Wtf! why isn't so-and-so in here?"

Wikipedia is obviously flawed. Is it fatally flawed? Maybe not. Eric admitted that he still uses Wikipedia even though he is aware of its faults - I think this is the predominant behavior of web users. It's handy to get the gist of something and find more links.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 12:15 PM

"Put near everyone" is an idiomatic usage, which means "just about."

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 12:18 PM

Stan --

The problem is, Wikipedia doesn't begin and end with "whoever spends time entering/editing." There have been examples (check the link to the Websnark article I link up above) where experts in the field have gone in, said "look, this is notable. Honestly. Here's how" and had non-experts overrule them -- sometimes smugly.

That is, ultimately, a fatal flaw. Right now, wikipedia serves a need. There will come a day that someone comes up with a model that serves that same need, only better. I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime, let the researcher beware. Wikipedia is a good jumping off point, but not a perfect one, and it is only rarely a good destination.

Comment from: John Troutman [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 12:34 PM

"Wait, Girly is off Wikipedia but I'm still there? That's not right."

Ditto.

Comment from: SuperHappy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 12:37 PM

Me: The problem with your new "THERE MUST BE THIRD-PARTY SOURCES" standards is that people can do notable things without becoming media darlings, and the media's focus on comics is particularly narrow.
Them: It's not our fault you don't get media coverage. We're not here to stand up for the "little guys".
Me: Girly isn't a "little guy". It has well over 15 thousand readers.
Them: (doesn't reply, deletes article)

The people who run Wikipedia aren't any different than 99% of the internet. Trying to discuss anything with them, even in a civil tone, is like trying to argue with a 5-year old who blocks their ears and goes "LA LA LA LA LA" when you attempt to raise any points that they could possibly be wrong about something.

It's only a matter of time before they delete just about everything, and the only webcomic-related articles left on Wikipedia will be Megatokyo, Ctrl-Alt-Del, Penny Arcade, PVP, Scott McCloud, and the same 12 indie critic-lovemonkeys everyone always talks about, who draw for "Flight" or whatever.

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 1:18 PM

These days, the only thing I use Wikipedia for is to read the Discussion pages so I can laugh at insane people. For example, there's this one guy who insists that the Powerpuff Girls aren't heroes (because they're sometimes impolite to adults, I think) and has infested all of the related pages. The Mojo Jojo Discussion Page is a good example of the insanity that makes up the underpinnings of Wikipedia.

Comment from: Stan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 1:25 PM

Eric: "The problem is, Wikipedia doesn't begin and end with "whoever spends time entering/editing." There have been examples (check the link to the Websnark article I link up above) where experts in the field have gone in, said "look, this is notable. Honestly. Here's how" and had non-experts overrule them -- sometimes smugly."

This sort of thing is pretty much what happens with any amateur/unpaid group that doesn't have a really good person on top. Those who wind up in charge are usually those who have nothing better to do with their life so they have the time to put in, competence is not required - you think Wikipedia is arbitrary and annoying, try dealing with homeowner/condo associations.

I'm not sure that Wikipedia is going away any time soon. It has the advantage of being first and the largest of its type. I could be wrong though as things can change quickly on the internet; google overtook Yahoo seemingly overnight. But the difference is it would take quite a while for a competitor to build up a similar body of entries.

It's something most people use occasionally but it's been a while since I've seen someone reference a wiki article in an argument.

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 1:30 PM

Monty: That Mojo Jojo Discussion Page is scary. I mean.. are they four years old? I'm sure I've heard a very similar conversation between my 4-year-old and his cousin, on long car rides. I mean, c'mon, "QUIT IT!"? Really. sheesh.

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 1:31 PM

Monty: That Mojo Jojo Discussion Page is scary. I mean.. are they four years old? I'm sure I've heard a very similar conversation between my 4-year-old and his cousin, on long car rides. I mean, c'mon, "QUIT IT!"? Really. sheesh.

Comment from: Kelly Martin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 1:44 PM

"the entitled editors seem to feel that anything they don't know about can't be important" - yes, that is exactly the problem Wikipedia has, and is the direct consequence of allowing deletion decisions to be made by something that is somewhere between uninformed democracy and outright mob rule.

Comment from: aegwyn [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 3:26 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and do something drastic here - I'm going to actually defend the editors. People like to complain about Nazi editing, but:

There's a pretty solid policy in place with regards to this sort of thing. Google hits, pageviews, unique users or blog reviews (sorry Eric!) aren't in it.

If there are sites on Wikipedia that are less notable than girly, it doesn't automatically discredit what should be on there. The better question is, "Why hasn't Girly been noticed by the rest of the world yet?"

Personally, I'd prefer people on Wikipedia to be 'nazis' - it's better than the alternative, especially for an 'anything-goes' kind of project like this.

please don't eat me

Comment from: aegwyn [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 3:28 PM

Also, yes, it's true, Wikipedia arguments are hilarious.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 3:36 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and do something drastic here - I'm going to actually defend the editors. People like to complain about Nazi editing, but:

There's a pretty solid policy in place with regards to this sort of thing. Google hits, pageviews, unique users or blog reviews (sorry Eric!) aren't in it.

And what we're discussing is the way that pretty much falls down.

See, I've actually spent some time learning about webcomics. I'm a webcomics critic (God help me). I've done some study. I've gained a measure of knowledge in the subject.

I know Josh Lesnick is notable. I know he's a seminal influence on a large number of webcartoonists. I know he's important to the evolution of the form.

But that doesn't count. My knowledge and expertise doesn't count. Nor does anyone else's. It all comes down to "well, I haven't heard of it, so how important can it be?"

That, in the end, is a deeply flawed model for what is, after all, an encyclopedia -- because the entire point is to be a trail of information that allows someone doing research to learn more depth in a subject. You want the Josh Lesnicks of the world in a resource like that, because they actually are a part of the research puzzle.

Personally, I'd prefer people on Wikipedia to be 'nazis' - it's better than the alternative, especially for an 'anything-goes' kind of project like this.

Why?

Seriously, why?

What does it matter to you if Wikipedia's sixteen times its current size. If bandwidth and storage allow -- and they're dirt cheap right now -- why don't you want as complete a reference as possible?

(And... well, why on Earth would you ever use the word 'Nazi' as something you find to be positive? I think Wikipedia's policies are deeply flawed: I don't, however, think they're genocidal racists.)

Comment from: aegwyn [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 4:17 PM

Yuh, sorry, that was why I used scare quotes. It's just how people tend to label when these discussions come up. I don't think it's any more appropriate than you.

It basically comes down to the scary, overwhelming notion that none of our opinions actually matter. Even if you're a Yale professor with a degree in the subject. Wikipedia is in a wild, dangerous pursuit of a 'truth' independent of what people think.

Like you've pointed out, Girly and all its antecedent comics have extensive articles on comixpedia, which is good. But it's not as if this kind of discussion doesn't come up all the time.

So I would argue, and this is going to be a terribly personal thing, but: what makes you special, Eric Burns? Why should I believe you more than any sucker out there with a keyboard?

(A: I do, because I respect your opinions and think you're pretty damn on the spot most of the time. But it doesn't mean other people should.)

Comment from: Brian H [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 4:24 PM

Preface: I'm sitting behind my school's firewall, which is making searches to find out if what I'm wishing for exists already hard. If it is, I apologize for the sleep-dep rambling.

I wonder what it takes to get books about webcomics published. As far as I know, there's only the T. Campbell and Scott McCloud books out there right now (though there may be more, and perhaps some that can be used as reference here).

It seems to me that one of the main problems-- other than irascibility and stubbornness-- is that there isn't a lot of ammunition that can be directly linked to or cited-- those being the usual complaints I see in the deletion pages.

What I _don't_ think we need is another single-source book, though; those get single philosophies and viewpoints, and don't really expand the information. It sounds like what's really needed is a collection of articles-- and if there is one such, it needs to be regularly linked-- by people with multiple perspectives.

Get multiple authors and co-authors to write about those developmental changes and what they mean for, say, the development of an art form or expression of literature. Have something to cite or link for these articles-- and, hell, even to get more mainstream identification. Didn't Jennifer Breeden get her degree in a program for serial art?

There may be a field of established literature that can be used as a framework to get a webcomics theory collection published, even small-press or strictly online. And I should stress again that multiple, even conflicting viewpoints should be present; I suspect that arguments over WHAT makes something important to development or indicative to it will be more common than whether or not something is worth noticing at all.

Of course, just doing this to deal with people who don't have a clue on wikipedia (for the record, I don't read any webcomics that go far past PG-13, let alone NC-17, and I've heard of Girly, though I doubt anectdotal evidence matters) isn't enough, and, though it pains me, just doing it for the fun of metathink isn't enough.

But I do think that it deserves to be done because webcomics are an artform, and any artform should have multiple-perspective, peer-reviewed (and by peer-reviewed, I don't mean webcomics readers, I mean people with either solid background in theory and critique, yes, I have a bias towards experts, or personal significance in the field) examination in order to better understand it.

Though if there's more than just the single-source out there already, I apologize again for the ramble.

Comment from: Brian H [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 4:25 PM

Er- follow-up note, yes, I'm aware of comixpedia, but I sometimes get the sense that it's viewed as a "mere imitation" or sour grapes, and I'm thinking more along the lines of journal anthologies or critical theory books.

Or I could be just rambling. :P

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 4:26 PM

Sigh... I really shouldn't talk about this subject for two reasons.

One, I don't read Girly. This isn't anything against the comic, or Lesnick in general. It's not my thing, but I can easily see how it would be someone's thing and how it could influence people.

Second, in the last month or so, nearly every reference to me, save a very tiny handful, have been completely rinsed from Wikipedia. Whether this should have been done or not, I'm understandably a bit sensitive about the subject.

But in general, I think Eric's a little kind in his view of Wikipedia. I think it's more than deeply flawed at this point - the psuedo-intelligencia has taken control of the site, and we've pretty much reached the point where the inmates have control of the asylum.

The entrenched Wikipedian core has basically forgotten (or perhaps, they never knew) what the prime reason for an encyclopedia is. The purpose of an encyclopedia is to amass as much knowledge as possible. A wiki expedites this by allowing as many people to contribute as possible. In the end, editing decisions of an encyclopedia should come down to two things - is there enough info on the topic, and is all the info there the truth?

However, the deletion mania that seems to be sweeping the site of late doesn't care about either of those things. It's all dependant on whether or not enough of the dedicated Wikipedians have heard of something, regardless of truth or importance. Of course, the more insulated they become, the less they hear of and thus the less is judged worthy of the site.

Maybe Wikipedia isn't about to be replaced, but it should be. Whether it's replaced by a Wikipedia that puts more of a premium on knowledge or by a new site that doesn't discriminate based on esoterica, I don't particularly care.

Comment from: Plaid Phantom [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 4:50 PM

put never everyone? I'm trying to figure out the typo, but it's just not happening.

Try "prit near everyone." Which is a moderately common Southern idiom. Means "just about everyone". I think it comes from "pretty near" but I'm really not sure on that.

So, has no one yet gone and just replaced all the webcomic articles with links to Comixpedia yet? Seems to me that would be as good an idea as actually trying to reason with that horde.

Comment from: Arthur Barnhouse [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 5:28 PM

"It basically comes down to the scary, overwhelming notion that none of our opinions actually matter. Even if you're a Yale professor with a degree in the subject."

OK, wait a minute. You're saying that one person's opinion of something is just as valid as another persons, regardless of the amount of time and study either do about the given subject? For example: Lets say I have an english professor with 22 years of study who wrote a doctorial thesis on the effects of the romantic era literature on the modernist writings. He says that Lord Byron had a huge influence on most current post-modern writers, but I say it's not true because I've never heard of Lord Byron. So, we're both right despite the fact that one of us dedicated our lives to the specific area and the other didn't? it's just a wash because I'm ignorant?

"Wikipedia is in a wild, dangerous pursuit of a 'truth' independent of what people think."

Truth regardless of what people think sounds suspiciously like "truth of the lowest common denominator."

"So I would argue, and this is going to be a terribly personal thing, but: what makes you special, Eric Burns? Why should I believe you more than any sucker out there with a keyboard?"

Because he's well versed on the material. You know, an Expert.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 5:50 PM

Personally? I think this is a good thing. For Wikipedia, the web comic community, and the internet in general. I also don't think we need to bother waiting for Wikipedia's replacement to come along, I think it is already here.

How can I say this? Because I think the web comic community handled this exactly the way they should have with the setting up of Comixpedia.

The power and novelty of Wikipedia was that it challenged the idea of "experts" and promoted the idea of decentralized information gathering. It stands to reason then, that the next step is to challenge the idea of single authoritative sources and promote the idea of decentralized information storage.

As long as Wikipedia does not have access to an infinite amount of storage space and an infinite amount of bandwidth (and remember, we're talking about a non-profit here) there are limits to what it can and can not cover. Personally, I don't see the solution to this being demanding that everyone get a share. I see the solution to this being that the groups who feel underrepresented (and honestly, that should be everyone) go out and create their own authoritative source of data.

What I would like to see Wikipedia do, is two things:

1) Acknowledge this limitation and assist in fostering the creation of other sources. They've already begun this process by making WikiMedia (the software that runs Wikipedia) freely available. It isn't hard to set up your own site. I would like to see them take this further though. For instance, I would like to see the creation of a "Further Reading" feature. This would be an object that is appended to the end of any article that belongs to a certain category.

To use web comics as an example. Any article on Wikipedia that is tagged as being part of the web comics category, has a "Further Reading" box appended to the end of it which links to Comixpedia.

You can even put limitations on this new section. Limit it only to sites which follow the Wikipedia approach to information gathering (i.e. everyone can edit) for instance.

I think this would go a long way to promoting this idea and acknowledging Wikipedia's limitations, as well as helping to alleviate them by taking the onus off Wikipedia to have serious depth to its coverage. Which, I think we can all agree, it has failed at.

2) And I acknowledge this is more of a pipe dream them anything else. I would like to see Wikipedia go a step further then what I said above and relinquish their name to the public domain. Change the name of Wikipedia and allow that word to become a descriptor. So you reach a place where you can say that something like Comixpedia is a wikipedia. This, of course, would be the ultimate acknowledgment from the Wikipedia folks of their own limitations and that its time to set this idea free.

Of course, non of the above invalidates Eric's comments or anything like that. I just think its time for the web comics community to wake up and realize that they have created the seeds of the next step in hive mind encyclopedias. Good on them.

Comment from: Merus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 6:06 PM

Goddamn strikes again!

(I'm willing to lay the blame for Wikipedia's endemic problems at the feet of WikiLove. The disrespect for experts stems from experts' total refusal to work towards the other side's point of view when the other side is completely wrong. Wikipedia is loathe to jettison people who are clearly not there to build a goddamn encyclopedia, again because of WikiLove. They are one of the most successful websites in the world, they can probably afford to be a bit more ruthless with the trolls now.)

There's been talk that Citizendium, once it gets off the ground, will succeed where Wikipedia has failed, in that it will specifically mark experts in particular fields and give them special treatment and god knows what they're doing with it because it's been months and still nothing has happened on it. But it sounds like it's going to be pretty awesome.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 6:08 PM

"Personally? I think this is a good thing. For Wikipedia, the web comic community, and the internet in general. I also don't think we need to bother waiting for Wikipedia's replacement to come along, I think it is already here.

How can I say this? Because I think the web comic community handled this exactly the way they should have with the setting up of Comixpedia."

The problem is, that just takes care of one part of the problem. Sure, now we have a reliable wiki for webcomics. But webcomics are hardly the only group that see this kind of action taken against it.

Having individual wikis is nice and all, and certainly a better place for more in-depth articles. However, you should have a clearinghouse where you can get information on tons of stuff. Wikipedia ideally should work this way, but the strident deletists are making sure it isn't.

Comixpedia is good, but it's not going to be the replacement for Wikipedia unless it decides to branch out beyond webcomics and into all areas of knowledge.

Comment from: Kris@WLP [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 6:38 PM

First, at least Wikipedia began by deleting lesser lights such as WLP's own _Peter is the Wolf_ and Fred Arnorssen's _Pawn_ from its articles.

Second, this sort of pruning is specifically why WLP has its own in-house Wiki at http://www.wlpcomics.com/wiki/ .

Third... if y'all will get me about 1,000 or so people to -buy- it, I'll publish a print journal reviewing webcomics or what-have-you. That, at least, will count as a secondary print source suitable for use as a "notability" benchmark. However, it's going to take a regular readership of at least that size to -pay- for printing that magazine, and pretty much nobody who wrote for it would get paid at that level... so probably you'll have to rely on newspapers and _The Comics Journal_ and the like to defend your comics from Wikipedia's "Everything web-based is unimportant" crusaders.

Comment from: Kludge [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 6:59 PM

"As long as Wikipedia does not have access to an infinite amount of storage space..."

Yes, god yes! People forget that Wikipedia is running out of pages. Every time an article on a webcomic is included, an article on 17th century architecture gets deleted.

Seriously, lack of space is the *least* of Wikipedia's problems. Childish and propaganda edits, perhaps ease of searching. But space? A problem that in IT pretty much solves itself with time is hardly even worth considering if you're not programming the operating system for a space probe.

If one thing causes Wikipedia to fail, it will be this bizarre paper-envy that seems to crop up every few months. WP is already better than the Britannica. I've looked at the EB maybe twice in my life, and I use WP every day.

Comment from: Imaria [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 7:10 PM

Ah, yes. We've been having fun with this recently for the Wikipedia article on ; we ended up moving to Comixpedia as well. We actually had to fight to even get the last version of the page so we could more easily transfer.

Wikipedia, being online, has an obligation to be not just an online dictionary but a dictionary FOR the online user. The difference lies in the included subject matter; relevance cannot be on the same scale one would use for a paper dictionary.

Comment from: Imaria [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 7:13 PM

Argh... that would be Fortuna Saga. My HTML-fu failed me there.

Comment from: Doublemint [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 8:10 PM

There's an interesting speech on Wikipedia by Jason Scott called "The Great Failure of Wikipedia". It covers the evolution of and, in Scott's opinion, the downfall of Wikipedia's ideal. It has some interesting implications about the control of information.

Comment from: SuperHappy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 8:30 PM

Unfortunately, new wiki sites aren't as easy to set up as you may think. I've tried it myself.
Sure, it's not too hard to install the script and set up all the tables and all that, but Wikimedia is one of the bulkiest programs ever, and a powerful server is needed if you intend to run a large and frequently-visited Wiki. And I hate to say this, but Comixpedia.org tends to go down and malfunction a lot, to the point where I'm hesitant to recommend it as an alternative. Also, like a lot of smaller Wiki sites, people have kinda stopped submitting stuff to it.

Would it be crass to post a link to the Talk page of the guy who put Girly up for deletion? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sandstein

Oh who am I kidding. Nothing I do is EVER crass.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 8:33 PM

"Having individual wikis is nice and all, and certainly a better place for more in-depth articles. However, you should have a clearinghouse where you can get information on tons of stuff. Wikipedia ideally should work this way, but the strident deletists are making sure it isn't.

Comixpedia is good, but it's not going to be the replacement for Wikipedia unless it decides to branch out beyond webcomics and into all areas of knowledge."

First, I don't see Comixpedia covering anything other then web comics, just to clarify. Also, just to clarify, my suggestion is not based solely on Comixpedia. A couple of weeks ago I came across an extremely detailed wiki on Battlestar Galatica, which blows away anything that Wikipedia could even begin to do. So, this is already happening.

Second, I don't see anything replacing Wikipedia. I see Wikipedia providing a "clearinghouse where you can get information on tons of stuff." I see Wikipedia as providing an aggregate of the information available which serves the casual needs of the mainstream of interest. Which is basically what it is doing now. I see other sites though providing an increased level of depth, which is outside Wikipedia's abilities.

The issue is that I do not believe that Wikipedia is capable of providing a great amount of depth to any one subject. It can, and does, provide a great breadth of information on a variety of topics. And it should continue doing just that. It is beyond the scope of Wikipedia though to provide the needed depth. This is what I was getting at with the "Further Reading" section. Go to Wikipedia for breadth, but them move onto a specialist site for depth.

To use Eric's own example, I see Wikipedia as a launching place for information, I see things like Comixpedia as something closer to a destination.

In other words, if all you want to know is a high level 10,000 foot view of the web comics world, then Wikipedia is the place for you to go. It has high level articles on the web comics movement and the major (meaning popular) titles that a casual fan is going to be interested in. If you want to get any kind of granularity though, its a horrible place to go to. And that's not just the web comics world, that's any subject. The most common complaint against Wikipedia is that if you look at any article that you have in depth knowledge of, its horribly inaccurate when it comes to the subtleties of the subject matter.

This isn't strictly an issue of immature editors, this is an issue with the fundamental concepts that drive the project. The pain that is being felt here is not a failure on Wikipedia's part, it is the fact that we've started to bounce off the limitations of the idea. Wikipedia can't go any further. The immature editors are a symptom, they are not the real problem. If you want to move further, you need to create something new.

I see the creation of smaller hive mind encyclopedias as a healthy continuation of the concepts which birthed Wikipedia to begin with. The logical next step, so to speak.

Comment from: Tevorcet [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 8:39 PM

I'm no computer programmer, but I think there might be a way for Wikipedia to be more detailed without clogging up Wikipedia itself. The way it would work is, if you search for Girly, you would arrive at the entry at Comixpedia, but have two search bars on the left, one of which will, if searched, bring you back to Wikipedia, the other keeping you in Comixpedia.

That way, instead of treating Wikipedia into a "homogenous" whole, it is splintered into subgroups of experts in each area, who can act independently of each other. There could be dozens, and eventually hundreds of sub-Wikipedias, all of which can offer a detailed view of their subject while still linking back to the vast repository that is Wikipedia.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 9:02 PM

I have few thoughts on Wikipedia.

Instead, I turn to Google, which makes me feel not as bad about never before having encountered either "put near everyone" or "prit near everyone".

Marked for deletion!

Comment from: Matt Sweeney [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 9:04 PM

"Seriously, lack of space is the *least* of Wikipedia's problems. Childish and propaganda edits, perhaps ease of searching. But space? A problem that in IT pretty much solves itself with time is hardly even worth considering if you're not programming the operating system for a space probe."

I used the term "storage space" as a catch all term referring to hard drive space, CPU usage, RAM, and other potential hardware bottlenecks.

And if you don't think this is an issue, you've got your head in the sand.

We aren't talking about some tiny little web site somewhere and we aren't talking about some major corporation. We are talking about a site that has become part of the cultural backbone of the internet. Whose unique daily visitors dwarf something like Slashdot, and we all know the destructive power of Slashdot on servers. Also we're talking about a site that is being operated by a non-profit. Now, I admit that I have no knowledge what so ever of the finances of WikiMedia (whoops, MediaWiki is the software, WikiMedia is the non-profit), but I do know several people who work in the non-profit sector and the vast majority of them are operating on a shoe string budget. The only obvious revenue stream that WikiMedia has is a tiny little "please donate" link at the top of the screen, which is probably completely ignored by 99% of the people who visit the site.

I can't even imagine what their broadband bills look like. Not to mention the types of load balancing and performance tuning that their sys admins are having to do.

Now, of course this doesn't result in any kind of zero sum game in pages created, as you so eloquently pointed out, but it is an issue. When faced with limited resources, you put your focus on issues which are of the most concern to the greatest number of people. Hence, the deletes that are coming down. Not that I will even try to defend specific deletes, but the concept of the deletions is driven by a very real concern.

Stop to think about it for a minute. If hardware really isn't a concern, if it really is limitless, as you imply. Then why even have the ability to delete pages? There's a redirect function to handle duplicate pages. Why would they even have the ability to whole sale delete entries? Much less go through the trouble of writing up a process for how to go about doing deletions. I can only come up with two possibilities, either your wrong, and space (along with everything else I mentioned above) is a concern, or its just to spite you.

Finally, that last sentence in the above pretty much tells me that you've never worked in the IT department of any organization of considerable size have you? Trust me, one of the major concerns of every decent sys admin, network engineer, and MIS Director; is squeezing out every last drop of performance from the hardware they have, because new hardware only gets bought about 6 months to a year after its needed.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 9:11 PM

"I'm no computer programmer, but I think there might be a way for Wikipedia to be more detailed without clogging up Wikipedia itself. The way it would work is, if you search for Girly, you would arrive at the entry at Comixpedia, but have two search bars on the left, one of which will, if searched, bring you back to Wikipedia, the other keeping you in Comixpedia."

I was actually thinking along similar lines for awhile then I saw a problem that is sure to crop up sooner or later. Two different sites that both have entries on the same subject, which does the user get sent to?

There are ways that you could address this, but they all get very complicated very fast. The easiest way to accomplish this, that I can come up with at least, is the Further Reading idea.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 9:15 PM

"Unfortunately, new wiki sites aren't as easy to set up as you may think. I've tried it myself.
Sure, it's not too hard to install the script and set up all the tables and all that, but Wikimedia is one of the bulkiest programs ever, and a powerful server is needed if you intend to run a large and frequently-visited Wiki. And I hate to say this, but Comixpedia.org tends to go down and malfunction a lot, to the point where I'm hesitant to recommend it as an alternative. Also, like a lot of smaller Wiki sites, people have kinda stopped submitting stuff to it."

Yeah, I was a bit over the top on that claim. My intention wasn't that its drop dead easy and anyone can do it. My point was that it is, theoretically, possible for anyone to do it and it isn't as hard as most people think (assuming that most people see it as impossible).

Comment from: Matt Sweeney [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 9:21 PM

One last note, and then I'm done for the day, swear. (when I got off work early today, I honestly didn't expect to spend the afternoon writing overly long posts on websnark)

Reading back over my posts, I just wanted to point out that I'm not a Wikipedia hater. I spend a great amount of time reading Wikipedia entries (basically when ever I need a break from work during the day) and I enjoy the service that it provides.

That said, I am pragmatic about the limitations of this experiment.

I am also a believer in the underlying ideas and philosophy that drive Wikipedia, which is one of the main reasons that I can't accept this notion that we have to focus purely on Wikipedia and that Wikipedia must solve all these problems on its own. I see it as time to take these ideas to the next conceptual level and move beyond a single site that will answer all of our questions. Esspecially since I think its unfair to ask Wikipedia to do something like that.

OK, that's it. I'm getting the hell out of here now.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 9:24 PM

Instead, I turn to Google, which makes me feel not as bad about never before having encountered either "put near everyone" or "prit near everyone".

You know, I googled "pert near everyone" and got an order of magnitude more results that those other two put together.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 9:30 PM

"I see Wikipedia providing a "clearinghouse where you can get information on tons of stuff." I see Wikipedia as providing an aggregate of the information available which serves the casual needs of the mainstream of interest. Which is basically what it is doing now."

But the problem is that Wikipedia isn't doing those things as things currently stand, and it's getting worse.

Ideally, Wikipedia should be providing that which you describe. However, people are dumping articles left and right, and they're doing it for fallacious reasons (namely, that it isn't signifigant enough in their eyes). To use the current example, I don't read Girly and yet I can tell you why it should be in Wikipedia. Someone like Eric (or to name others who have spoken up, David Willis or John Troutman) could go in more depth on why it should be there, but even I, a guy who just reads a couple dozen webcomics and tangentally creates a little T3h Dr4m4 now and again, can rifle off a couple things about it.

And here's the thing - you know about the problem affecting webcomics. You know where Wikipedia is deficient, and you know where to go to solve the problem. But there's two problems that raise their head in regards to it.

First, not everyone knows where to go. Let's say a random freelancer wanted to write an article on webcomics. Now, they hear about Girly, and think to check out Wikipedia for info, but now there's nothing there. The clearinghouse of info is failing that freelancer, which means that by this action, Wikipedia is becoming a bit more of a failure.

The flip side is how this affects those who do know webcomics. Sit and think for a moment - do you think that these actions are isolated incidents that only affect the webcomics mentioned on Wikipedia? You don't have to know any other genre well to know that this is probably hitting other topics on the site as well (I can tell you, it's hitting video games). Webcomics people know it's failing their topic of choice - how can they trust Wikipedia to adequately cover any other topic?

The feet of clay are cracking, and each deletion is a stone thrown at them. How long until the head of gold falls, and how long can I go on before this metaphor is officially overextended?

Comment from: Ninjacrat [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 10:48 PM

I swear, one day I would love to see a complaint that starts with 'Wikipedia sucks!' and doesn't end with 'An editor disgrees on the significance of one corner of my sub-sub-subculture! I WILL KILL THEIR DOG!!'

I can dream.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 11:00 PM

And one day, I'd like to see a defender of Wikipedia counter my argument that the solution is to add more about what's important rather than take out information that they deem unimportant.

I can dream bigger.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at October 31, 2006 11:44 PM

But without Wikipedia, how would we have found out about the elephant populations rising again?

I swear, one day I would love to see a complaint that starts with 'Wikipedia sucks!' and doesn't end with 'An editor disgrees on the significance of one corner of my sub-sub-subculture! I WILL KILL THEIR DOG!!'

I can dream.

Your dream or rational thought on the web shall come true... once the intertnet is gone and/or most of the people using it have their fingers broken. You just gotta have faith.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 12:03 AM

Here's a legitimate complaint about Wikipedia then, Ninjacrat: the fact that most articles on nerd-based subjects like TV shows and animes are usually far more detailed/overwrought than articles about actual important issues.

Seriously, some days I just like to go to wikipedia and play "compare the article size." How else would I have known that the article on Quake is longer than the article on actual earthquakes?

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 12:10 AM

I swear, one day I would love to see a complaint that starts with 'Wikipedia sucks!' and doesn't end with 'An editor disgrees on the significance of one corner of my sub-sub-subculture! I WILL KILL THEIR DOG!!'

That's about as likely as an argument on the Internet taking place without liberal use of strawman arguments to paint the other side as hysterical lunatics.

Comment from: Plaid Phantom [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 12:16 AM

You know, I googled "pert near everyone" and got an order of magnitude more results that those other two put together.

and I got nearly double yours googling "pritnear everyone". :)

Comment from: Denyer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 12:18 AM

It basically comes down to the scary, overwhelming notion that none of our opinions actually matter. Even if you're a Yale professor with a degree in the subject.

Arse flibble jutting strawberry.

(If you need a translation, I'm sure a passing informed amateur will provide one.)

Comment from: RoboYuji [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 12:37 AM

My complaint with Wikipedia begins and ends with "it sucks".

Comment from: RoboYuji [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 12:47 AM

But more specifically, I don't really understand the idea of taking information OUT of an online information service with practically unlimited potential to hold lots and lots of information. I HATE when I need to look for info on something obscure and get "no results for your search" when I go look. Taking stuff OUT of Wikipedia for "not being notable" makes it LESS useful for my purposes, not MORE. Heck, the whole POINT of looking up information is to find out stuff you didn't know about before!

I guess it just goes to show you that the internet can ruin just about everything.

Comment from: siwangmu [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 3:56 AM

"Why would they even have the ability to whole sale delete entries? Much less go through the trouble of writing up a process for how to go about doing deletions. I can only come up with two possibilities, either your wrong, and space (along with everything else I mentioned above) is a concern, or its just to spite you."
(--Matt Sweeney)

There's actually another option, there. In my (limited) experience with this argument, I've very rarely seen the realistic hardware limitations touted as the motive for deletion practices. What I've seen advanced instead is the idea that certain articles do not belong in wikipedia, and harm it in some way that makes it appropriate to delete them. This is sometimes true, as far as I can see; vanity articles (page on my cat!) do seem, to me, to sort of bring down the whole project a bit. They trivialize the enterprise somehow, and I kinda agree with that, even if no one's going to go to them. The argument for deletion of "non-notable" entries, as I understand it, is that having a page on every minor character from every episode of Star Trek makes Wikipedia seem like a joke and again brings the tenor of the project down.

It's just that I don't really agree. Sometimes I want to google a catchphrase from an ancient commercial; the other day my sister and I were abruptly curious about the origin, if any specific one is known, for the phrase "Fall down go boom," or at least if there are famous utterings of it which might explain its sticking in our heads ( we were unsuccessful). I used wikipedia to find out the story behind those "In Communist Russia, object verbs subject" jokes, which had been bugging me forever. These are the things that, frankly, I don't know how I'd ever do without wikipedia, and I don't give two shits whether someone thinks the communist russia joke is non-notable. So I guess you can see where I come down on that issue, but the central point was: there's a third deletion reason, with a branch I respect and one that I really don't so much.

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 4:42 AM

Maybe the thing that will replace Wikipedia will actually be something like ComixPedia. And MedicPedia and ComputerPedia and a whole bunch of centrally searchable, centrally administrated wikis but distinct in the manner of reputation management and handling of expertise.

Comment from: Kludge [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 5:05 AM

"Now, of course this doesn't result in any kind of zero sum game in pages created, as you so eloquently pointed out, but it is an issue."

The beautiful thing about an erudite use of the english language is that it makes it difficult for the listener to discover whether he has been insulted or complimented. I'm still undecided about the above sentence.

Anyhoo, my argument wasn't that I don't believe in IT administrators scurrying around doing things. I'm sure WP's network bill is pretty large, and I'm sure that there are people worrying about it. But I bet they're not the same people marking comics for deletion.

If the problem really is one of limited physical resources (disk space and bandwidth), then WP has other, simpler options in solving them. It can beg for more money - and I think it would probably get it. Corporate sponsors would be willing to step forward, I've no doubt.

Now I don't know whether the money problem is serious, but I'm willing to bet almost no-one else does either, so I think the question of resource limitation should probably be set aside in this argument. But I definitely don't think that reducing the utility of Wikipedia can help solve a resource issue in any useful way.

Comment from: prosfilaes [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 7:36 AM

Part of the issue with space is the fact that all the blank space is room for vandals to play with, and rarely gets improved or checked. Wikipedia has a number of articles that are poorly written promotional, or worse, attack, pieces. Keeping them around doesn't help Wikipedia's image a bit and tends to spread disinformation rather than information. The article on John Seigenthaler Sr. almost got Wikipedia sued and got it a lot of bad press in the mass media.

What amazes me is this sense of entitlement. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Encyclopedias are generally the nonfiction contents of an academic library compressed down to a scant 30 volumes. Even given that Wikipedia is much larger than a normal encyclopedia, why is it such a big issue that an article about a webcomic that no one has ever published on absolutely must be in Wikipedia?

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 8:32 AM

But that's just it. The definition of published is going through a quantum evolution phase just now.

Comment from: Stan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 9:50 AM

One last thing. Getting an expert opinion isn’t as easy as it sounds. Who identifies them? Even experts can vary greatly in opinion. Even a field as small as webcomics has several loosely defined cliques with limited communication between them. Depending on which clique you pull your expert from, you are going to get quite different answers on which comics merit coverage.

This issue isn’t insurmountable, but it would require a fair amount of overhead for a small company trying to simultaneously far more topics than a standard encyclopedia.

Comment from: prosfilaes [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 10:27 AM

The definition of published is going through a quantum evolution phase just now, I guess. (No offense, but the phrase "quantum evolution phase" makes my skin crawl. There's nothing evolutionary about quantum events.) Wikipedia hasn't ignored this; it does use web sources. But trying to push the limits threatens to permit gratitious use of bad sources, and will hurt Wikipedia's image in the eyes of people who trust paper sources.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 10:36 AM

"...why is it such a big issue that an article about a webcomic that no one has ever published on absolutely must be in Wikipedia?"

Because it's about removing information from an encyclopedia that has no reasonable space considerations.

The only reason why you have to edit down a physical encyclopedia beyond factual information is space limitations. If those are removed, then anything which is fact can be justified in the encyclopedia.

I think Wikipedia puts too much stock in bowing to the wishes of those who trust physical sources and not enough stock in the actual truth of any given matter. And when you can't trust an encyclopedia's dedication to truth and information, then you can't trust that encyclopedia.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 10:47 AM

No offense, but the phrase "quantum evolution phase" makes my skin crawl. There's nothing evolutionary about quantum events.

I stand corrected. Though I trust the concept I intended was communicated nevertheless. Perhaps, "a quantum event in its evolution"?

Comment from: cencithomas [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 10:49 AM

"Arse flibble jutting strawberry.
(If you need a translation, I'm sure a passing informed amateur will provide one.)"

Google turned up zero results.

Non-notable. DELETED! [/strong bad]

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 11:31 AM

I would have spelled it "purt near everyone," since that's how it sounds when pronounced by my fellow Texans (as in "you sure are purty (Pretty)" - it could have a different sound when spoken by a Louisianan or a Georgian, of course). It's just part of the lexicon down here, fitting in nicely with "yonder" (a measure of distance which could mean anything from 5 feet to 500 miles), and "y'all."

Then of course, there are the things I wish I could delete from said lexicon, such as the lamentable practice of so many to pronounce "coupon" as Q-pon. Or the almost unmentionable "nucular." Whereas "y'all" is multipurpose and friendly, "nucular" instead of "nuclear" just makes us sound .. well, dumber than a box of rocks, as my Gran says.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 12:34 PM

Cenci, I think (but don't quote me) that's supposed to mean "your results may vary." But I'm crazy, so feel free to believe I'm making it up.

Also, Lark, "nucular" probably wouldn't have such a negative stigma if not for the most famous person to pronounce the word in such a way.

Finally, an observation: isn't it odd that this snark doesn't link to Girly at all? It links to all of Lesnick's other work (at least, that which I know of). I was thinking of giving Girly another shot, and the lack of link seems odd.

And yes, I know I can Google it up in two seconds. The lack of link is still odd.

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 1:06 PM

I don't know about nationally, but "nucular" has been a pet peeve of mine for most of my life.

As for a link to Girly, you could just click the picture. It goes to go-girly.com, or the link near the top which says "From Girly."

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 1:21 PM

"nucular" probably wouldn't have such a negative stigma if not for the most famous person to pronounce the word in such a way.

Are you thinking of Eisenhower, Carter, Clinton, or Bush?

I'm as big a snob as anyone, but I don't have a problem with "nucular"; I think it's a perfectly acceptable regional pronunciation.

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 1:23 PM

(There's a pretty good overview of "nucular" at, um, Wikipedia. Note that I'm linking to it mostly because it agrees with my preconceived opinions, not because I'm holding it up as an infallible authority.

Comment from: Tevorcet [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 1:28 PM

I'm still just spinning ideas here, but what if, in addition to splitting Wikipedia into smaller domains, one could only be an editor of one domain? That way, anyone can be an expert, but only in one area. If you hate webcomics, or at least think them unnotable, you wouldn't join that sub-Wiki, and would thus be unable to delete or violently prune them.

There are, of course, many ways to get around such limitations, but when each sub-Wiki is defended by the people most fanatically sure that their Wiki is relevant, and who only edit in their Wiki, deletion would become increasingly difficult.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 1:53 PM

Wait, was that there the whole time?

Yes, it has been over a year since I last updated my eyeglasses prescription. Why do you ask?

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 1:58 PM

If you hate webcomics, or at least think them unnotable, you wouldn't join that sub-Wiki, and would thus be unable to delete or violently prune them.

You'd think so, but there are people whose primary interaction with Wikipedia is to find things they feel are non-notable and propose them for deletion. Back when this came up with Checkerboard Nightmare, there was a guy whose mission in life seemed to be "find non-notable webcomics and get them deleted", even though he personally didn't appear to know much about webcomics themselves. It would only take a couple of people like that to jump into a subdomain to cripple it.

Comment from: Tephlon [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 2:36 PM

Am I the only one that thinks that if WikiPedia had a space issue, it would easily be fixed by deleting the Talk pages (Or limiting them), and keeping fewer History pages?

Often the size of the discussions dwarf the actual articles.

As for deletion, I agree with 32 footsteps that for an encyclopedia with no size limit deletion doesn't seem logical.

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 3:08 PM

keeping fewer History pages

Hmmmm. You know, if someone edits out extraneous information, that actually takes up more hard drive space for Wikipedia than if they'd left it alone.

Comment from: kamagurka [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 4:02 PM

I will never understand why they delete anything at all. If someone felt something was important enough to write an article about it, someone will, at some point, want to look it up. It's not like they have page numbers to worry about.

Comment from: John Lynch [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 8:33 PM

why is it such a big issue that an article about a webcomic that no one has ever published on absolutely must be in Wikipedia?

Because it makes Wikipedia completely useless when it comes to webcomics. As shown by this example, it won't even allow articles on notable webcomics.

People who have a problem with that, are people who want to improve Wikipedia. How do you improve an encyclopedia? Well one way is not deleting all references to notable webcomics.

Comment from: nifboy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 1, 2006 11:00 PM

This is simply the nature of the beast. There has been a massive push to make sure Wikipedia's content is cited, because of things like political and commercial astroturfing, on top of hoax articles that last well over four months (one subject of which then went on CNN and co to decry whatever credibility Wikipedia had left). So if, when pressed, you can't come up with a good source for your article, out it goes. In part because Jimbo said so, and in part because the "unwashed masses" agreed.

Comment from: Matterhorn [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 2, 2006 10:44 AM

So what you're saying nifboy is that in order for an article to remain in Wikipedi, its content has to have been produced by a trusted source "or expert" of that field... for instance one Eric Burns? If these experts are required to produce quality, non-sueable material, then why in the seven hells aren't thier opinions being tapped to find out whats inportant in an area?

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 2, 2006 12:08 PM

But, nifboy, I don't think that point is really relevant in this case.

An article about someone - a biography, for instance, as in your example - should certainly be able to reference factual material.

An article about a comic, however - well, the comic itself provides the reference material. It's not about lawsuits or citations, in this case.

This is not a situation wherein the facts are of concern; this is the editors making a value judgement. The two issues do not correspond.

Comment from: nifboy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 2, 2006 12:14 PM

Nope. Whoever produces the article itself is irrelevant. It's just that there have to be sources backing up what the article says, so an inquisitive editor can verify the claims herein. I tend to liken it to an English Composition class's research paper. The lump sum of all sources must be of sufficient depth and width to cover the entire article.

By example, the article on Megatokyo attained "Featured Article" status back in September. And it stresses the thing Wikipedia likes to stress: The real world.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 2, 2006 2:28 PM

But the article on style which you link starts off stating that notability is the more important, most important criterion. When our argument is on the definition of the primary criterion, your point on a secondary criterion seems off the subject.

Comment from: webrunner [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 2, 2006 5:29 PM

There is a way to protest unfair deletions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Deletion_review
Perhaps someone should request one (Just the fact that a good number of the delete votes were irrelevant or incorrect should be enough to start.

Comment from: J Ryan Beattie [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 2, 2006 6:13 PM

I don't have much to add to the main, other than to say that I agree with Eric's original premise.

However, I believe I can help Siwangmu.

To the best of my knowledge, "fall down go boom" comes from the first Tweety Bird cartoon "A Tale of Two Kitties." The line was, if memory serves, "Poor puddy tat, he fall down go BOOM!"

Comment from: nifboy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 2, 2006 9:23 PM

"But the article on style which you link starts off stating that notability is the more important, most important criterion."

Establishing notability means talking about the real world. That is pretty much the extent that WP:FICT (notability of fiction) talks about works themselves; it then busies itself talking the more frequently controversial minor character articles, plot summaries, et cetera. I felt the style guideline was fuller explanation of what is expected of a relevant article, and of why secondary sources are necessary even for fictional works.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 3, 2006 1:13 AM

I find it really fucking funny the myriad number of excuses that are used to delete something that the editor in question just doesn't like. I also find it funny knowing that if a task force were assembled on wikipedia to delete all articles about, say, anime or Star Trek, most editors would be screaming bloody murder.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 3, 2006 1:14 AM

Oh yes and of course the common, classic Wikipedia practice of "let's hold a vote for deletion except the votes of everybody I don't agree with don't count so I win by default."

Comment from: Glaser [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 3, 2006 6:53 AM

Bottom line: If I'm going to look things up about Star Trek, I'm going to check Memory Alpha. If I'm going to look things up about webcomics, I'm going to check Comixpedia. I only use Wikipedia on subjects no one's interested enough to make a specialized wiki in - nineteenth-century Russian history, for instance. Frankly, in the future, I see there being a specialized wiki for every subject, which will work because the ratio of experts:idiots is much, much higher. Wikipedia, I think, is already obsolete. It's just that nobody's noticed yet.

Comment from: webrunner [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 3, 2006 9:48 AM

Since nobody seemed to notice the first time I'm going to point this out again.

If information is either ignored or is not brought up in a deletion review that needed to be (say, why it's notable, and that it's existed for a while before being published, etc), Wikipedia HAS A PROCESS for BRINGING ARTICLES BACK.

But it's NOT GOING TO WORK unless people actually -KNOW THE PROCESS EXISTS-.

Comment from: TasteMyHouse [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 3, 2006 6:59 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_to_eleven lol, internet.

Also, that argument on the powerpuff girls talk page was obviously trolling.

Comment from: TasteMyHouse [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 3, 2006 7:02 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_to_eleven lol, internet.

Also, that argument on the powerpuff girls talk page was obviously trolling.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 5, 2006 7:13 AM

If information is either ignored or is not brought up in a deletion review that needed to be (say, why it's notable, and that it's existed for a while before being published, etc), Wikipedia HAS A PROCESS for BRINGING ARTICLES BACK.

When such information is consistently ignored during the deletion process as described here not for the first time, what leads you to expect there to be any confidence that it wouldn't be ignored during an appeal process?

Comment from: SuperHappy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 5, 2006 9:37 AM

Have you been following the Deletion review discussion? It's actually been quite gripping! After it looked like it was just going to be the same shit all over again, common sense broke out. Sensible editors got involved and they finally decided to have an actual discussion on this, instead of regurgitating the rules and throwing around WP:V, WP:DERR, and WP:COCKS over and over.
Also, I just now found out that Jerkcity was also nominated for deletion. Jerkcity. Jesus.

Comment from: Honi Soit [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 5, 2006 2:03 PM

From what I can tell, the "expert opinions are meaningless" rule seems to have been created because experts can have crackpot ideas. For all that Mr. Burns thinks Harold Bloom is insane, Bloom is about as "expert" in his chosen field as it's possible to be. Because that doesn't matter in WikiLand, Bloom doesn't have the option of deleting all the Harry Potter pages just because that book is not what he would call notable fiction. Surely that's a good thing? (You could just say that expert opinion can be used as a criteria for including something, but not for excluding it. This might solve the problem, but it's painfully arbitrary. And it doesn't even touch on the problem of deciding who counts as an expert.)

However, the current WikiCriteria for WikiInclusion are pretty messed up too. The gold standard of notability is mention in a mainstream news outlet like the New York Times. But if something gets published in the mainstream media, it's because some editor somewhere thought "people will pay to read about this." Which means that information can only be included in wikipedia if it has market value: if someone, somewhere has made a buck off of it. Capitalism is good in a lot of ways, but most people would agree that it's a poor way of judging the value of art or pop culture. Certain subcultures that don't lend themselves to moneymaking - webcomics being one of them - would be left out almost completely. Besides, it seems contrary to Wikipedia's whole mission - isn't it supposed to be an open source hippie-commie lovefest, with free information and patchouli for all?

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 5, 2006 4:09 PM

The gold standard of notability is mention in a mainstream news outlet like the New York Times.

Do you mean, "is [a] mention"?

But if something gets published in the mainstream media, it's because some editor somewhere thought "people will pay to read about this." Which means that information can only be included in wikipedia if it has market value: if someone, somewhere has made a buck off of it. Capitalism is good in a lot of ways, but most people would agree that it's a poor way of judging the value of art or pop culture. Certain subcultures that don't lend themselves to moneymaking - webcomics being one of them - would be left out almost completely. Besides, it seems contrary to Wikipedia's whole mission - isn't it supposed to be an open source hippie-commie lovefest, with free information and patchouli for all?

Nicely succintly put. I love Eric's words, but if he'da said this a year ago he coulda saved himself several thousand of'em.

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 6, 2006 12:51 PM

I love Eric's words, but if he'da said this a year ago he coulda saved himself several thousand of'em.

But where's the fun in that?

I agree, however: the notion of assigning notability and "value" to art tends to make me nervous. Next, they'll be wanting to cut art, music, and dance programs at public schools on account of how they're not "essentials."

Comment from: TheNintenGenius [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 6, 2006 10:18 PM

What do you mean they'll be wanting to cut art, music, and dance programs at public schools? This has already happened in many respects and arguments concerning it have been going on for years.

Comment from: RoboYuji [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 7, 2006 2:17 PM

I think that was sarcasm.

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 7, 2006 4:59 PM

I think that was sarcasm.

Yep. Sorry, I keep looking for a "dripping with sarcasm" tag, but haven't found one yet.

Y'see, to me, the arts are essentials, and I'd wager they are to everybody else who reads the 'snark, too. But there are always those who just don't get it, eh?

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 8, 2006 10:30 PM

I think it's one of those things where you catch it if you know the person well - we just sometimes forget that we don't all know each other that well.

Though with that said, I guess I do know Lark that well, because I caught the sarcasm.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 9, 2006 9:03 AM

Every time I observe that there's been a Wikipedia article about my webcomic since just before the purges started and speculated that mine must be assumed "notable" because it's about King Arthur, I've been afraid I'll be mistaken for boasting (which is why I haven't mentioned it till now in this set of comments). Well, I've just been informed on my message board by the party primarily responsible for that Wikipedia article that a nomination for deletion has been posted on it. If I was boasting before, then now I've been brought down a peg.

Comment from: gwalla [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 11, 2006 1:34 AM

Nifguy is correct. Wikipedia is much more strict about requiring references and citations these days. Part of it is because a lot of stupid stuff used to slip by and it got them into trouble. Part is because regular editors are tired of the project being derided as "Jimbo's Big Bag of Trivia". The latter is also why a lot of articles have been moved to compatible, more narrowly-focused wikis.

BTW, wasn't part of the point of the Comixpedia wiki that there wouldn't be a reason to bitch about Wikipedia's webcomics policy anymore? (Personally, I've always found it a little irritating. The old webcomics guidelines were way more permissive than the guidelines for websites in general—webcomics were thrown a bone, but all anybody did was whine about being oppressed.)

Comment from: Merus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 12, 2006 6:59 AM

Last year, when Chex got deleted for non-notability, and then was recreated at the protest of basically the entire webcomics community, I went in anonymously (like I want to join Wikipedia and give those bastards a name to go with my freewheeling edits with no regard for process or bureaucracy!) and said, 'right, these cocks want notability? I'll give them notability!' and wrote an entirely new first paragraph that said why Checkerboard Nightmare is important.

It seems to have been taken out (although it's still on the CxN About page, hurrah!), but honestly I think that is the way to go: go to all the webcomics that they're voting for deletion, exclaim, 'right, these cocks want notability? I'll give them notability!' and then make a new first paragraph saying what the comic is and why it is notable.

Then again, I think the problem is that we all know who Josh Lesnick is, but we don't really have a lot of people going, well, Girly, if you're not reading Girly you're wrong and strange. There's not really a lot of credible sources in webcomics - we would, for instance, have to prove that Fleen is notable to use it as a backup. Even though it is.

Comment from: Gianna [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 28, 2006 9:21 AM

My own comic, The Noob, has just recently been tagged for deletion. This is the current discussion page about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/The_noob
However, it fails their notability criteria because it hasn't been mentioned on any mainstream media - only on Comixpedia and in the WCCA nominations. So far, oh well, I didn't really mind - if they want to delete it so be it.
What ROYALLY PISSED ME OFF, though, was when one of the editors voted for deletion stating that "Wikipedia is not a directory and the WCCA and Comixpedia are trivial". What?!?
I checked this gentleman's articles and I found one that he created about a comic whose claim to notability was a review on the Daily Oklahoman. Just that. WAIT. So we are told that when it comes to webcomics, Comixpedia and the WCCA are trivial COMPARED TO THE DAILY OKLAHOMAN? WTF?!? Maybe we should just advise new webcomic authors to get reviewed by Sheep! magazine or Good Housekeeping, and forget what other webcomic authors and critics may ever think or say about them - so that they will one day fulfill the Wiki criteria for notoriety.
I really don't care on a personal level if they delete the wikipedia entry, which accounts for maybe 0.001 of the 20k uniques I have a day. I care for the fact that these people advocate deletion under these supposedly objective and fair WP:THIS-AND-THAT when actually they are just voting and being dismissive against stuff that they didn't post themselves. If it's one of their entries, then The Daily Oklahoman is enough to be a permanent claim to fame for any webcomic. Webcomic criticism by actual experts and participants of the field? Fie, it's trivial.
This is ridiculous and insulting.

Comment from: Improv [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at November 28, 2006 12:35 PM

Hello,
I thought I'd leave my perspectives on this issue, as a long-term Wikipedia administrator. Some of the criticisms left as comments here are valid, some are not, and some are based on misunderstandings.

Encyclopedia are not intended to gather as much information about everything in the world as possible. Whoever said that was incorrect - they typically try to gather academic information that will stand the test of time (will it still be interesting in 50 years to anyone but a very small audience?). Things that are tied very strongly to a particular community tend not to be included in encyclopedia for that reason. This is partly why webcomics are not exhaustively covered there. We also tend to have problems with people who really want, for vanity reasons, to have their name included in the encyclopedia, and so they'll do any small thing and then have a friend of theirs write an article on it. I'm not saying that all these webcomics match that description, but we need to do our best to tell the difference. Sometimes we make mistakes on that front, and sometimes things are only meaningful to a very narrow crowd and they shouldn't be on Wikipedia. Nothing personal is meant.

There is also a space/bandwidth issue - the more we let our scope drift from the really notable, the more bandwidth and space we use -- the servers are really expensive and we operate on a shoestring budget (supported by donations). People who say there's essentially unlimited space don't know what they're talking about.

I've been involved with this stuff for several years on the site - if anyone has specific questions for me, drop me a mail at pgunn@dachte.org -- at the very least I can explain why things work they way they do, even if I can't help you get what you want.

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