Biting the newbies on Wikipedia

An example:

  1. New user creates article in good faith.
  2. Two minutes later, editor tags it for speedy deletion; article “does not indicate the importance or significance of the subject” (even though it does make a basic claim of notability).
  3. New user responds on talk page, explaining in more detail why the subject is significant by noting newspaper and magazine coverage.
  4. Administrator deletes article without either checking talk page or verifying speedy deletion rationale: “No indication that the article may meet guidelines for inclusion”.
  5. Newspaper publishes yet another piece of journalism that makes Wikipedia seem like a petty and unfriendly place and shows how overzealous deletion makes Wikipedia worse.

14 thoughts on “Biting the newbies on Wikipedia”

  1. I’ve been handling some speedy deletions recently. With each one, I will look at the edit history (see how quickly the article was tagged, and who the article creator was), look at the the talk page, and except for obvious cases, I will take the time to look up the subject on Google to double-check that speedy deletion is the right course of action. If there is any doubt, I will decline the speedy deletion, and then AFD becomes an option where there is more time and more eyes to look at it. In processing csds, with such care and attention, it does take time to go through them. I can only do so much at one time, and can’t dedicate all my wikitime to this task.

    The decision to go forth with speedy deletion or decline it is an important one. Admins with good content building experience would be good at handling admin tasks like this one, but I see a lot of admins not helping out with tasks like speedy deletions. Most admins probably don’t take the time going through the speedy deletion candidates, but instead may rush through them, perhaps with the aid of scripts. The key would be having more admins (including content-oriented admins) helping out. Every bit of help is good.

  2. Argh!!! I’ve been called out.

    When I do deal with deletion tasks, it’s usually at PROD rather than CSD. Sometimes I feel guilty for not doing more. But I just don’t enjoy it very much; even the articles that I save are usually about things that (while notable by our standards) don’t matter that much (from my perspective) compared to the areas I like to work in.

    Maybe we should be judging admin candidates based on how many PRODded articles they’ve saved, or how many AfDs they’ve saved by improving the article. We definitely need admins that are working to save and salvage content as much as prune it.

    Ultimately, though, I don’t think it’s admins that are the problem; it’s the overall culture of deletionism on Wikipedia. Despite lapses, most admins value good content, appreciate the wisdom of not scaring off newbies, and have at least some experience creating it. But we’ve set the standards so that experienced non-admins (or admins) will come along, see an article like “Killian’s Angels”, and think CSD is the appropriate response 2 minutes after it gets created. That’s partly because we know what content is supposed to look like, and it can be hard to accept that mediocre or flawed content can still constitute a positive contribution to the encyclopedia, in comparison to nothing.

  3. Working on PRODs or anything is good. Admin tasks are indeed tedious! Perhaps, the A7 (notability) speedy deletion criteria should be handled differently, placing them in a different category, with some sort of time delay on processing those? or new page patrollers should be encouraged to use PROD more often, instead of speedy deletion in marginal cases. Of course, the obvious vandalism and such should be deleted right away.

  4. Wow, this totally resonates with me. I’m that newbie whose been bitten about 3 times now.

    I’ve had articles about non-profit organizations tagged for speedy deletion because they were said to be “too commercial”. I’ve had my photos deleted even though I have checked the box ‘this is my own work’.

    I have successfully kept the three articles I’ve made, but it’s a pain in the butt to do so. I feel like I have to keep checking on them. Sure enough, an article I wrote a month ago was tagged for deletion this week – before it was ‘too commercial’ now it is ‘not notable’ – who the hell is the elitist snob that gets to judge that the ski-hill where I, and every kid in my county learned to ski, which has been running for 50 years by a non-profit group is ‘not notable’. Maybe all the wikipedia editors grew up skiing in Vail?

    I feel like Wikipedia should be renamed Bully-pedia. And this is the perspective of someone with over 300 edits to over fifteen pages and who has created at least 3 pages. Imagine how a real newbie must feel among the Wiki bullies.

  5. thank you. just had that happen. so that is how history is written! ha ha.I guess they have nothing better to do except tear down the efforts of another. It’s like telling someone with tourettes who can only say ” shut up”.

Comments are closed.