Notability, again

Two months ago, I posted about the concept of Notability on Wikipedia and discussions about reforming that guideline. I concluded: “It’s heartening to see that Wikipedia is not so resistant to change that it cannot deal with its scaling problems, though it remains to be seen how effective the response will be.” I’m sorely disappointed in how that turned out: essentially, inertia prevails

Historian and intrepid educational technologist Mills Kelly has a great post with yet another outside view expressing bafflement over the insanity that is notability. (Of the articles written by students in his Western Civ class, only one was deleted as non-notable, though several were merged or redirected, and even the deleted one was primarily a case of unverifiable original research.) Mills discusses a Jimmy Wales interview by Bruce Cole, chairman of the NEH, in the most recent issue of Humanities, which sounds interesting but is not yet available online (damn you, old-fashioned physical publishing!)

Everyone has their own idea of what the “the problem with Wikipedia” is (the canonical answer is found here). The most common “problem with Wikipedia” is that anyone can edit, but most Wikipedians regard this as a feature, not a bug. David A. Russell has a nice old post (which came up on my radar because of real bugs in the open wiki blog planet aggregator) on the general increase in convoluted processes and meta-content in Wikipedia; “process wonkery” is common villain for Wikipedians who can still remember when things were much simpler (well before I started editing).

To me, notability is the only issue that seems like a potentially project-breaking problem (aside from legal issues). It’s the only thing I could imagine a sizable portion of the community forking over (though things are far from that point right now).

UPDATE: Bruce Cole’s interview of Jimmy Wales is now online.

2 thoughts on “Notability, again”

  1. Sorry about the bugs in the open wiki blog planet aggregator – the python script that does the updating of the planet has started sprouting weird errors for the last 2 nights. Then in the mornings I clear out the cache, and restart it, but Joseph Reagle’s and David A. Russell’s feeds previously didn’t include date fields, so all their old posts got treated like like new posts, so they ended up at the top of the planet. I’ve updated their feeds we use now so that they no longer do this, and have refreshed the planet, so (fingers crossed) it shouldn’t happen again.

    — All the best, Nick.

  2. People already have forked over “notability.” Comixpedia was formed because of direct and aggressive attacks on comics articles on AFD.

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