Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Death of All the Romance - Wikipedia and Webcomics


Dear Friends,

I come here to speak of you of the death of romance, that elusive dream. That wide-eyed idealism which brings us awake with the fire of passion. The romance of democracy.

A portal of overwhelming information, a bastion of freedom of information, a testament to the manner in which ants can build a kingdom- that is Wikipedia. And it is broken.

A corrupt kingdom for a corrupt king. Wikipedia may be my favourite information source, but the fact that it is prone to deletion fads on particular topics (such as webcomics and, quite frankly, anything web-related), contains a mass of people who constantly bias "neutral point of view" and allows administrators who appear to have nothing in the way of qualification to exert such power over pages is frankly awful. The bureaucracy is comparable with that of the US of A, that other bastion of "democracy".

What is the point of claiming that your information source is the most comprehensive one in the English language when you allow people to delete notable topics willy-nilly? Especially since deletion pages are filled with people who will argue deletion based on "alexa page rank". Does anyone here remember Alexa? I recall that Alexa was nothing more than a sneaky weasel of a spyware that lurked on my system for all of a day. I cannot recall anyone who actually uses this nasty piece of software- apart from people too stupid to delete it. Yes, that's right, they are basing their statistics on stupid users and what they don't read.

Then there is the circumcision page which is full of non-medical Americans who are biased in favour of male circumcision shouting down anyone who argues otherwise- circumcision being a practice which is almost universally condemned by paediatricians and paediatric surgeons.

The list goes on.

The surprise of course is that Wikipedia works at all. But it does. And the truth is, that it works best when left to its own devices and people are free to create and edit topics freely- with intervention by experts in the field when there are disputes. Not biased super-admins but experts.

If Wikipedia, which arguably has become reputable leader of information by fiat, continues on this course, it will not be able to keep its position as such. The current policies are suited well to small projects, not sprawling encyclopedias.

As I recall, the glorious Roman empire fell into decay and ruin more than once during its reign. What shall Wikipedia do? Shall it fall into decay or shall it evolve with the times and with its new role? Will we be starry-eyed about this lover in 10 years from now, or will we have moved onto the new best thing?

I shall avenge the death of all the romance.



If you have seen an example of abuse of the NPOV and "non-notable" rules on wikipedia, please publicise it and post it on your blogs. The more this is exposed, the more likely it is that reform may take place...