40% of Wikipedia is under threat from deletionists


Everyone talking about “Wikipedia” here so far appears to have assumed the English language Wikipedia by default, which is one of many international projects that have evolved different cultures, rules and processes. But hey, don’t let such minor details bother you when you are on a roll ranting about structural racism.


Be that as it may, your response wasn’t exactly demonstrating a welcoming attitude, or patience towards those who have a different perspective. Those are both necessary if you want to grow a community.


The content of BoingBoing is in English. The group of writers are predominately native English speakers. English Wikipedia makes up the majority of page views and is by itself nearly half of all content for all language Wikipedias. It’s not crazy to assume people substitute Wikipedia when they mean English Wikipedia.

You do however bring up a good point that other language Wikipedias do things different with a different (not necessarily better or worse) culture and process. There’s a lot to learn there.


interesting. What was the topic? Did you show your sources?


I’ve just read through the entire history of the Methyl Jasmonate article from when it began in 2004 through the most recent edit in 2016. This is the only thing that I could find that remotely resembles what you said happened:


notice the part that says “rv 2 edits. if you read the sentence, it doesn’t actually make sense. I therefore have severe doubts about the reference added by the same editor” ?

That reason was always there. Did you not see it?

(hmm, the link doesn’t seem to be quite working the way it should. It’s from 5 November 2007 to 6 November 2007.)

Also, “we should just take all the content and start a new fresh organization which will be better”: you are more than welcome to do so. All of Wikipedia’s content is free to re-use however you see fit, and that includes forking the content. You can even use MediaWiki if you want.

Are you going to regulate the content?


because you need some specific value for what “notability” means, or else you have chlidren submitting “BLOMFORBLE IS A WORD THAT BILLY ROBINSON MADE UP. IT IS THE SMELL OF ERASERS. EVERYONE IN SCHOOL KNOWS THAT IT IS THE SMELL OF ERASERS”.

I have a cat. I can prove that I have a cat. I can get you photos of her as a kitten, I can get you her vaccination certificates, I can write pages and pages about how adorable she is, I can tell you about how she went missing last year for fifteen days, and about how she likes to hide under the kitchen sink, and about how she’s susceptible to bladder crystals.

This is all true. And she’s notable to me. When you read through Wikipedia, do you want to learn about my cat?


No but if I read an article last week and come back to it this week to find a reference I was interested in following up on, I’d rather not find out it was deleted because of some editor’s use of WP Notable as their weapon of choice in their hobby horse mission to rid the world of information on a topic they look down on.


I have had so many fights with Wikipedia editors over articles to do with Africa. Please see the war that broke out over the journal Ufahamu; look at the talk page. When I mentioned that I thought that the editing of the article was a textbook example of racism in Wikipedia, the editor PMd me and said he would ban me for life if I ever used the word “racist” again.I managed to shove the article through by documenting the hell out of it, but they still said they would delete it because this historic journal wasn’t notable. I understand that editors deal with a lot of idiots and people who don’t know what they are doing, and that’s frustrating for them, but some of them have gotten into this reactive posture of y’all are always wrong and stupid and I’m the gatekeeper. I’m so struck that on these “marginal” issues, they don’t try to help you, they just delete everything. That’s a gatekeeper, not an editor.


Everyone had blind spots, and bring concerned about racism and sexism doen’t preclude anyone from having them themselves - and I’m a strong believer that, when pointed out, the reasonable thing to do is consider them and do the necessary internal work to fix the faulty assumptions and thought processes, so thank you for the update.

For myself, it hadn’t occurred to me that the international versions weren’t part of the overarching ‘Wikipedia project’ and structure. I consider myself informed and corrected – The added cultural aspects gives me more to consider wrt my discussion with @eraserbones - so, that’s great - I don’t expect them to have experience of anything other than their home version, of course.


I just want to make sure whoever looks at this conversation and goes on duty to reinstate a stub/article for Chickenhead, that it’s one of the standout tracks on Gold Teeth Thief, DJ /rupture’s seminal mixtape, from 2001.
Do links to other Wikipedia articles help substantiate an article’s raison d’être?


Thank you. I figure you’d be in the position to see (I keep wanting to say ‘feel’) those macro effects, so I guess that isn’t baked into the general culture…

I see that the effect is certainly the same, and can see multiple reasons why folks could be hostile to new volunteers (Hell I know people (including me) who had those issues with the Scout Association!).

[If nothing else, just like the de facto ‘rule one’ for most organisations is self preservation, most people also want to self-preserve, including their status, position (and territory) within a structure. Plus the whole ‘internet jerk’ thing. Plus…]

Lots to think on. Thank you for the considered response.


The 4 sentences make sense to anyone with scientific training. They could be rewritten to make them clearer, but they should not be deleted. Is there a way in Wikipedia to check the scientific credentials (or lack of them) of people who edit science pages?


An encyclopedia without gatekeepers is just a message board. If you are discontent with the racial or gender balance in Wikipedia, you have three options:

  • encourage people of color and women to participate, and support them
  • fork and tell people to join your project instead; however, there have been various forks for ideological reasons, and none of them have gone very far.
  • just rant on about how racist Wikipedia is, which will discourage people to participate and just amplify the problem, without providing an alternative.


Just saw this on Motherboard about research on using AI to help classify harassment among editors at Wikipedia. I guess eventually Skynet will fix it for us by killing asshole editors. :smirk:


I’ve just started on wikipedia and created multiple articles. My latest had a variety of sources including television and newspapers along with others. The page had been deleted before and I wanted to bring it back. So I sourced everything and made sure it was good. It was immediately ripped for being “trivial” for sticking only to factual and verifiable information. Then the newspaper sources were discredited because “it was only a blurb”. I asked multiple times on why the television sources weren’t good, but 5 different people managed to ignore that part and all of them were involved in the last discussion of the deletion of the webpage. And one of the requirements that was met for the article was declined due to a newly created technicality that is nowhere to be found on the site.

The site is done. You are not going to be able to put any new articles of interest on the site and the site is going to look like it does now - virtually unchanged since the mid-2000’s. Nothing except the same stuff as always will always be on there and the site is going to end up like a lot of sites have ended up this year - not neutral, but just for one side.

The admins have way too much power. They all know each other and whoever has the most power wins. Majority decisions do not win. They can ban you, they can ban you from your own talk page, they can accuse you of sockpuppetry to ban you, they can set your page up for speedy deletion, they can mark it for deletion and they can just ban you and then get the page deleted due to getting you banned.

After what I experienced, I believe you could make the justification that any article on the website is not notable and available to be deleted.

A new wikipedia needs to be created because this site is too deep in crap to be pulled out.


Ahhh, you see there are certain people making lists of “opposing” scientists, and certain “reliable sources” that write about these lists.
Therefore these lists are “notable”.
Therefore Wikipedia must make its own list with its own whomped-up criteria (including the self-referential “have their own Wikipedia article” requirement). I’m not sure about the logic of this step, but it is the consensus of “editors”.

Since no-one seems to be making lists of supporters, there is no such list in Wikipedia.

You might also ask, since the IPCC is a consensus document, there should be a similar number of scientists who think the IPCC underestimates the issues, so why isn’t there a list of these? If you read the article you will see that the criteria have been carefully contrived to include only one side. In Wikipediaspeak this is called “NEUTRAL and UNBIASED”.


(Also, I apologise for the incoherent mess that is "Is there the idea over there that site then that " I could try to blame autocorrect, but I really should have spotted it. Glad that your mind reading was working okay).


If I were defending information, that would be one thing, but I was trying to prevent the introduction of misinformation. Like… conspiracy theory stuff. My sanity was more important than debating the conspiracy hole of circular references.


Bad example: This is the Internet, include enough photos and the answer will be 'YES!!!'Also: ‘Awww!’ And ‘KITAN!’ and…
(sorry :wink:)


White male gatekeepers have even more options.