On the Ontolog Forum, I recently conversed with and traded email with a scientist by the name of Jon Awbrey. I decided to look up his name on Google to see what other articles he might have available on the subjects of Computational Intelligence and Ontology/Semantics. I found this link:
For those of you who do not know Jon, he is a respected member of Ontology circles and has been very active in several groups. He has a long history of useful contributions in a remarkably contentious domain of knowledge. Jon has made numerous contributions to Wikipedia including a lot of information about Charles Peirce. I read Wikipedia's Ban Policy which is well worded and written with seemingly good intent. Wikipedia also seems to be fairly transparent (albeit somewhat cryptic) in their rationale for the ban and publishes the conversations. What I really don't understand is how the politics work.
Sadly, this is not the only incident. Last year my friend Sim Simeonov built an entry for "Social Commerce" which was a challenge because an Internet Explorer crash lost his information (who saw that coming?). Sim's thoughts on Social Commerce are fantastic and worthy of reading by anyone attempting to understand Web 2.0. Sadly, the Wikipedia page was deleted. Sim writes:
"Update: Well, despite the fact that to my knowledge at least 5-6 people contributed to the page and the content was starting to look pretty good, we weren’t able to defeat the Wikipedia bots–they auto-deleted the page, probably due to lack of references. Hard to have references to a new concept… It didn’t help that during that period I had to do a lot of travel and so had limited time to contribute. How about this–put some content in comments to this post and then I’ll try again early next year."
It appears that bots were not the only ones to delete his page. Mailer Diablo, a known Wikipedia editor, apparently deleted the Wikipedia Social Commerce page as described here:
14:52, 13 December 2006 Mailer diablo (Talk | contribs) deleted "Social commerce" (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Social commerce)
It is interesting to note that the German page for Social Commerce still exists.
I don't know who Mailer Diablo is but other users have had issues with him including a non-profit organization trying to keep the Wikipedia entry for "Camp Mendocino". Mailer Diablo deleted the page and wouldn't even give the courtesy of replying to the email asking for clarification. The contributor also offered to change the article to meet guidelines. The conversation is public here:
Please undelete "Camp Mendocino"
I didn't get an answer to this, so I will try again.
You can also find this in your archives:
If possible, I would like to see the article "Camp Mendocino" undeleted.
Excerpt from deletion notice:
22:22, 15 January 2007 Mailer diablo (Talk | contribs) deleted "Camp Mendocino"
(Proposed deletion expiring after 5 days, 9/1/2007)
I'm not sure why it was deleted. Camp Mendocino belongs to a non profit organization, is very traditional, and has existed since the 1930s. If the article requires changes, please let me know.
Thank you in advance.
Another good friend of mine, Dick Hardt, had to struggle to save his Wikipedia page. One of the concerns was around "notability" however as user Lori P writes to Wikipedia:
"Not sure why "notability" would be a concern. Dick passes your "google test", with over 160,000 references to him.)".
I too have had run-ins with Wikipedia. Matt MacKenzie and I have derived an Architectural Patterns metamodel from the gang of fours work and updated it to speak to business users as well as to add more details for developers. It comes up #1 in Google for the search term "Architectural Patterns Metamodel" as evidence of its popular use. When listed on the Patterns page (one simple line noting it's existence so people needing a template could download and use it), it was quickly deleted by someone from Wikipedia. I complained and suggested they at least read it. The editor who deleted the line item had no clue as to the contents or usefulness of the template to those who architect, design and develop software.
In all fairness, it is obviously a hard job to try and keep Wikipedia as a source of fact despite the fact there are valid, opposing opinions. Surely someone who doesn't know Dick or care might think he is not worthy but anyone using Perl considers him an icon. Those who live at Camp Mendocino might have trouble reconciling the fact Wikipedia does not think they exist with their reality. This unfortunately happens at the expense of knowledge for the rest of us.
Wikipedia editors do need to be *very* careful. I am very concerned over the apparent trend to censor information based on the decision of a few individuals. I favor a wider approach and a community that can keep itself in check. I am concerned that the people making these decisions do not have the necessary level of intellect to make the judgment calls on the items they are editing too. Who will contradict Sim's theories on Social Commerce?
We all need to be a bit more vigilant and run to the aid of those who need our help to maintain their Wikipedia pages.
Thoughts? Anyone else think Wikipedia is being hijacked?