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Wikipedia Is Far From "Finished"

Date/Time Permalink: 11/05/12 12:42:23 pm
Category: Reviews

an incomplete puzzle

There are two stories about Wikipedia recently that gave me a depressed feeling about its future. First: Speculation that Wikipedia is near completion just because the new article creation rate is slowing down. And second, that Wikipedia is trying to stop the steady decline of editors.

Oh, and a quote from that last link:

"In a recent survey of Wikipedia editors, the most popular motivation cited for editing more frequently was having others compliment you on your edits/articles."

Oh, no. No, no, no.

People at Wikipedia: You're a train wreck! People motivated by "having others compliment you on your edits/articles" are just the people you should discourage. It's an encyclopedia, not a showcase for attention whores. That's why you're measuring progress by new pages created, instead of measuring it by quality of existing pages.

The people you should encourage are the people who care about things being CORRECT. People like me. I, too, was once one of those fabled new editors driven away when I tried to correct things - and I'm talking just simple things like correcting grammar or repairing a broken citation. I got sandbagged and reverted and flamed out and blocked and banned, by egotistical showboat attention whores who could not face the fact that they could not research, could not spell, could not adhere to a neutral point of view.

Anybody who doubts the effect of this is welcome to play the...

Wikipedia Drinking Game

Hit 'random' on the Wikipedia sidebar, check the citation source links, and down a shot if you can do this five times in a row without finding a dead link, an uninterpreted link in a different language, or a link which positively, absolutely does not provide the cited fact. Oh, and you reset the counter every time you find a one-sentence stub, too.

You'll be sober all day long!

Here, watch: Tulamben, Reference link #2 dead. Marshall Brickman, Reference link #3 dead. Jozsef Ursz, one-sentence stub, sole Reference link goes to a non-English page. Nerang–Broadbeach Road, one-sentence stub with no citation. Simpang Ampat, Malacca, one-sentence stub, sole reference link dead.

If we're calling this finished, that's a very poor quality standard indeed. It reminds me of software department managers who measure output in lines of code. Oh, OK, I'll just copy-and-paste a wall of comments. There, I'm done!

Wikipedia needs to be taken back from the showboats, and given back to the engineers who are happy to work quietly behind the scenes fixing the broken parts. And we who understand the lifelong grind of maintenance work know that, if you're talking quality, nothing is ever finished.

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