DAVID G. SIMPSON

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DAVID SIMPSON'S NANOPEDIA

These are articles I would normally have contributed to Wikipedia, but lately conditions at Wikipedia have become intolerable. I now publish new Wikipedia-like articles here instead.

* indicates an article I originally wrote for Wikipedia that has since been deleted. I've reproduced the article here, where it can't be deleted.

Wikipedia Errors

At one time I used to correct errors on Wikipedia when I found them, but now I just leave the errors in place. I've found that if I attempt to correct errors nowadays, the edits are immediately reverted, followed by infantile threats of “I'll have you blocked!”, “I'll have you banned!” and so forth. Instead, I'll list here just a few of the errors I've found in Wikipedia.


The Case Against Wikipedia

This is an excerpt from James McKay's blog, from his article “Are Deletionists Harming Wikipedia?” (Feb. 2, 2010).
The problem is that there is a massive disconnect between Wikipedia’s users—casual visitors who often don't even bother to create an account—and its overlords—the regular, active Wikipedians with edit counts in the thousands or even tens of thousands and an encyclopaedic knowledge and understanding of its policies. It is at its most striking in the whole inclusionist versus deletionist debate. And the deletionists are alienating a lot of would-be Wikipedians.

It turns out that this is one of the biggest criticisms levelled at Wikipedia by occasional editors. People come onto the site knowing nothing of Wikpedia’s policies, but plenty about some—possibly very niche—subject. They make half a dozen or so edits, then return a week later to find that their article has been deleted with no apparent explanation. Or perhaps it will be flagged with a deletion debate, crammed full of arcane and cabalistic abbreviations such as WP:NFT, WP:NOTE, WP:V, WP:WAX, WP:SOAP, WP:IAR, and so on, all pointing to Wikipedia’s byzantine and convoluted policies, guidelines and procedures. What kind of impression does this leave the casual editor? That Wikipedia is a hideout for a bunch of antisocial, bureaucratic teenage control freaks—a kind of online equivalent to the kids on the beach who kick the sandcastle you’ve just spent three hours building into your face. And since first impressions count the most, they will go off, never contribute anything else, and rant on blogs and forums about how insular and out of touch with Real Life these Wikipedians are.

Why is this harming Wikipedia? Because these are the people who contribute the overwhelming majority of substantive, meaningful content to the site.

And from Nicole Hamilton, quoted in the Wall Street Journal:

The problem of the so-called “deletionists” is totally out of control on Wikipedia. These are, so far as I can tell, completely self-appointed topic police who go from one article to another deleting pretty much anything they don't like. Now, certainly, if they were making these decisions in topics where they actually had some particular domain expertise or knowledge, I'd say, fine. But that doesn't appear to be what's going on. To me, it just looks like a plain ol' power trip for idiots who know basically nothing about anything except Wikipedia's rules, which, also as pointed out in the article, are getting to be about as labyrinthine as the IRS code. Bottom line, Wikipedia is falling over of its own weight.

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Page last updated: June 8, 2014.