Telegraph UK on Wikipedia Inclusionism/Deletionism

I usually talk to at least a reporter a week on background concerning Wikipedia’s community and associated shenanigans. Writing a book on the subject will attract that attention.

This week, however, Telegraph UK’s article about inclusionism/deletionism put the Pownce issue up front and center again. I talked to reporter Ian Douglas about a lot of concerns, and he pretty much came out with the right set of facts. But this was perhaps worded too strongly:

Submission of new articles is slowing to a trickle where in previous years it was flood, and the discussion pages are increasingly filled with arguments and cryptic references to policy documents.

Creation of new articles is hardly a trickle, it’s just down from previous highs, so that we are seeing perhaps the latter part of the S-curve of growth. Though we got into the lack of dumps, missing statistics and other tools that might help to diagnose this phenomenon, but that did not make it into the article. My mention is but a single data point in the debate, so it would have been good to have better stats on this.

Andrew Lih was a well-known deletionist until recently when he became embroiled in the row over the entry for Pownce, a messaging and bookmarking website from Kevin Rose, the founder of the popular site Digg.com. The entry for Pownce, which had been written up in Business Week, was deleted as advertising until Lih resurrected it. He wrote about the row on his blog and has become a de facto spokesman for the inclusionists, and says he feels like an old hand.

“The old timers remember the early days when we used to say ‘ignore all rules’ and ‘assume good faith’, but people tend not to emphasise that now. The third or fourth generation of Wikipedians has only heard Jimmy Wales talk about the problems.

“So now, mixed in with the euphoria and positive energy it’s a lot of cutting, fighting, referencing, cutting back while leaving the good stuff in. New priorities are arriving. Newer folks feel like they’re wielding a machete, not planting new trees.

“A lot of the veterans see established articles nominated for deletion. They try not to be arrogant, try to be inclusive, but it’s tedious after six, seven or eight times.”

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