Deletionpedia is where deleted wikipedia articles may live forever

Originally published at: Deletionpedia is where deleted wikipedia articles may live forever | Boing Boing


Local bands are the first thing to come to mind. Wikipedia deletes stuff like this all the time for not being “notable”, but honestly, I’d love to see someone who kept old flyers post a detailed list of which bands were playing Rosa’s or Muddy River Smokehouse in June of 1990.

Some of these guys later went on to the Dropkick Murphys, Pretty Reckless, Queers… won Grammys… worked on platinum selling albums…


Deletionpedia, my life story.


I have some sympathy for wikipedia editors who are constantly bombarded with requests to approve new articles from people who think each of their friends should have a wikipedia page. But the “notability” criteria are ridiculously inconsistent. So much so that wikipedia explicitly rules out arguments of the form “my entry on X must be notable because there’s already an entry on comparable topic Y”.

I like inclusionism as an alternative - let every obscure page continue to exist, and let users decide which pages they want to read.


Let’s see… Someone will carefully scan their old flyers. Other people will build up articles based on those. Later on, a bot will come along, tag all the scans of the flyers as having unclear copyright. Only the person who uploaded the scans will get that notification, and maybe they’ve moved on, or don’t have the time to argue the case for them in the ever-changing copyright settings. Another bot will delete the scans, suddenly (to everyone else) gutting the articles. The final sweep as the articles are tagged for lacking sources and deleted will finish off any enthusiasm for contributing to Wikipedia for many.

Somewhere along the line, someone will say “Wikipedia is not a [old flyer collection]”.


Every time some newspaper does a story about Wikipedia’s attempt to get more people to edit it, I wish the reporter would call out deletionism as a major cause.

I’m happy to see Gwern doing it, at least.

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Wikipedia: Please contribute content!
Users: Here’s some content!
Wikipedia: Not that.

Unlike in the old days, you can’t even create new articles anymore. You have to propose them and someone in Wikipedia’s powerful landed gentry class has to approve them. That whole process can take literally months, and there’s no ordered queue.

Between the deletionist mindset, the elitism of a few busybody users, and the huge barriers in place to creating new content it really discourages contributions.

Some 15-20 years ago I created a fuckton of content. Mostly on obscure topics like Japanese and Korean musical acts, Japanese and Korean music video games, species of plants, and other things like that which interested me. I probably created some 100 new articles during a period of a few months. Today, I would estimate 3-4 of those articles still exist because of the arbitrary notability bar.

I don’t bother creating new content for Wikipedia anymore, and I don’t do any edits either unless it’s something really simple. It’s not worth my time or the ensuing frustration fighting for something’s legitimacy only for some “speedy delete” to wipe away my efforts.


It’s easier to understand the deletionist point of view if you remember that many deletionists are also anti-vandalism patrollers. Imagine you wake up every day trying to keep nonsense and misinformation from creeping into the encyclopedia, and first thing in the morning there 1000 new articles without citations. First of all, your workload just increased. Second of all, if those articles don’t have clear citations, how do you know that they aren’t /already/ misinformation?

I lean inclusionist personally, but it’s not like there’s no case for limiting the size of the wiki. If we want the information to be accurate it can only grow in proportion to the capacity of the patrollers to keep it accurate.


There are published things that I am credited on on Wikipedia, my name listed with a dead/no wikipedia
entry non-link. Despite this, I am certain that if a page were created for me it would be deleted as not notable. Probably appropriately

I remember all sorts of people getting upset when Wikipedia articles on webcomics started getting wiped out left and right. That was a long time ago.

I also remember the whole series of subpages spawned under Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense.


I mean I can understand when they delete nonsensical or untrue articles, but articles for lesser known things have definitively a place in Wikipedia.

This ^.

The daily output on the internets is greater than the Library of Congress. The library of Congress has 3105 employees according to the Wiki page. If Wikipedia had that staff, things would be different. If I were King, Wikipedia and Snopes would have state funding. I am not King last time I looked, so what’s to be done?

I go to Wikipedia for basic information on a topic, and to get my bearings. I can then search elsewhere with a vague idea of what may be fact, and build on that. There is a good case for having a well-edited core that we can trust.

Just having a well-edited core excludes every topic where their reviewers have no skills. Here’s a 20-year old article about a Korean stage act. Do we include it? Does anyone know whether this is real, or not? Nobody? Fine, then we’ll sit on it. Understandable, I guess.

Maybe we need Greater Wikipedia - the core articles, and all the other articles under much slacker editing rules. The main authors vet edits for their own sections, a bit like the early days. Each section has some rating for how actively they are maintained. This would not run completely without intervention, as they must weed out partisan editors, and vandals.

It’s a dull job. Maybe AI can help.

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AI is helping! For example:

In addition to ambitious machine-learning things there are also lots of software tools that help the anti-vandals work more efficiently and effectively. Of course, if a patroller has tools that allow them to revert 1000 edits a day, each one of those reversions will appear even more arbitrary and impersonal to the editor who got reverted :frowning:

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It probably already exists in one form or another, but there needs to be a massive comparable to Wikipedia that is less “we want to be an encyclopedia” and more “someone glued all of geocities together and called it The Geocyclopedia” i.e. a shitty encyclopedia with everything in it. No deletions due to lack of notability, poor formatting, lack of citations. Just everything, all the data, in a pile of dead leaves and raccoons.

The age of the personal blog is over. Personal websites have gotten back to being niche. Wikis have mostly been consolidated onto a few platforms. Forums usage is down. Usenet discussion seems to be a ghost of its former self. Google search is really shitty these days. Social media and the mighty algorithm will obfuscate and lock a lot of information being generated. So much random information with niche critical use is going disappear even faster than it was ~10-15 years ago.

Edit: Haha! Someone already thought of the term, and started a Geocyclopedia… on of all places.

It’s been a few years since I looked this.

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