Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Chilly Welcome To Wikiland

A couple weeks back I wrote up my first Wikipedia page. I did it with awe and trepidation. The last thing I wanted to do was to louse up a most excellent resource. After doing my research, and posting, I sat back, pretty proud of myself. I was part of this community - a community so generous that it's produced 2,563,484 articles. Well, 2,563,485 if you count mine.

Today, I was greeted with the cold shower of reality. Or maybe a virtual ass kicking. I'm not quite sure yet, what the right analogy is.

Yesterday, I posted another article (on the same topic as my first article. By the end of the day, the latest article had been flat out deleted, and the first article had been flagged for it's poor writing.

D'oh! So much for paying such close attention.

Actually, I'm not too surprised that my work wasn't up to snuff - I'm new at this game, so I get that. What surprised me was the remarkably chilly (and I think I'm being kind here) conversations that have ensued as I try to figure out how to resolve these issues.

The fellow who deleted my latest article is mum on the topic of why this is. I suppose it's obvious to him. Would it have cost him so much to take a few minutes to talk through this with me? (He said the book article I wrote up was an advertisement. Yet, there other book articles on Wikipedia that provide similar, if not more, information. Why was mine such a colossal disaster, and theirs are good?)

As for the guy flagged my article, well I give him credit for at least talking with me. Though the dialog was a wee bit snarky. My favorite quote being: "now I suggest again that you back off and leave it to others to decide if he is actually notable. (Just be grateful that I did not send the article to AfD [Article for Deletion]!)."

Real warm, right?

There are some really important take-aways here from this experience:

  • Wikipedia isn't for the faint of heart. You're going to have to get in and plead your case.
  • I was focusing my energy on making sure the articles I wrote had citations and didn't include my point of view (which apparently, I flopped at, but oh well). But, there's a bigger question I should have been addressing: does this article even belong in Wikipedia.

    Yes, I considered this question, but I don't think I thought about it quite enough. Just because I could find a comparable article (for example: another business book, just like the one that you're writing an article about), doesn't mean that it's automatically in. It would have been smarter for me to write up a quick entry and see if the Wiki folks bought into the article at all, rather than worrying about the content first.

This all serves to remind why I so love my blog: around here, I'm King (well, with Shira's permission, of course). Whatever I say, goes. It's a nice feeling. Still, I haven't given up on contributing to Wikipedia yet...

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