Strike-through textNovember, 2007 - Giving up for good. While I don't get much time to contribute these days anyway, the direction that the project has taken in recent months is no longer in line with my own opinions on how it should proceed, and seems to me to be getting well away from its original goals. The non-creative wiki security guards have taken over the place and it's no longer any fun to work on this, which was always the only point, really. Huge screeds of useful, informative and entertaining contributions are being erased wholesale in the misguided attempt to improve Wikipedia's "credibility". To whom? Why? Well, it's achieving the opposite in many cases. Whatever happened to the idea that WP wasn't paper? Bloody ridiculous. 220.127.116.11 02:38, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
27th June, 2006 - I've decided to take a wikibreak. I just don't have as much time on my hands all of a sudden - hmmm, wonder why? I'll still keep an eye on my watchlist but not as much as I have done. Graham 13:15, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
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(generated by Kate's tool on Jan 17, 2006.)
From time to time I've come across some real howlers in articles (and on talk pages). Usually they are just ignored or deleted, or perhaps removed to WP:BJAODN... but some gems just get lost forever, so I thought I'd start a collection. I've left out the attributions to protect the guilty. Here's a few to get started...
- Most people have trouble finding a penis on their body or a vagina on their body - from Talk:Masturbation.
- ...Macs are indeed superior in the following ways, supported by testing and benchmarks: pixels are nearly invisible so graphics are better and look smoother... - removed from Apple Computer - gotta love those invisible pixels!
- The band [Sweetbox] had a huge impact on the the music world... from Jade Villalon. Hmm, must have missed that 'huge impact'. Perhaps I blinked...
Some observations about Wikipedia
Note: the remarks here are my personal opinions and are general in nature. They are not aimed at any specific individuals, and should not be construed as such. If you feel these remarks are referring to you, somehow, I'll just remind you of the saying: "if the cap fits, wear it". '
While the enormous growth and success of Wikipedia is something to be welcomed, it has its downsides. I don't claim to have "been in at the beginning" or anything like that, but already it seems to me that the character of the site has changed since I first came here and is still changing. On the positive side, the overall professionalism of the site is excellent and as bigger server iron has been thrown at it, some of the trying technical difficulties appear to be behind us. The other great thing about WP is that it is useful. There are still glaring omissions, but on the whole it is remarkable just how broad the coverage is becoming.
The biggest negative change I think I've seen is that the "karma" of contributors is dropping as the community becomes so large that it ceases to be a community. It's much like a big city compared to a small village - in a village it's possible to know everyone, so on the whole it pays to be polite and mutually respectful. In a city, people feel anonymous and invisible and there is little incentive to respect the random people you pass in the street. I see the same thing happening here - disputes are getting uglier and more short-fused, and there seems to be much less debate about articles than there used to be - just the same old spats you get in every other internet forum or newsgroup. Now I don't claim to be squeaky-clean on this myself - I am not one to suffer fools gladly and as the number of contributors rises, the number of fools rises with it in proportion. As a result it seems to me that the number of disputes I am getting into is increasing - so much so that it is adversely affecting my attitude towards the project. Assuming I'm not the only one, this gives me cause for concern about the future for Wikipedia. Will the serious contributors get so fed up with the babble of monkeys that they give up and leave it to the monkeys?
I have always felt that anonymous contributors should not be allowed to edit, and still believe that, even more strongly. It would, at a stroke, create a simple separation between contributors and readers of the site. I realise that the point of a wiki is to avoid that distinction, but I think that the content we have built up is too precious, and has moved beyond the original experiment too much, to allow that lack of distinction to remain. However, I also realise I'm probably a minority voice in the wilderness on this one.
The other issue I have is that if you are intending to contribute to WP, you are putting yourself in the position of a published writer. A writer needs to know how to use the basic tools at his disposal - so spelling, grammar and a reasonable ability to construct sentences and make a logical flow are essential. (Would you attempt to build a table without knowing how to use a saw, hammer and plane adequately?) Also essential is the ability to recognise what is worth adding to an encyclopedia article and what is not. So much of what I've seen here is not even trivia, it's mindless minutiae. I've diverted a lot of energy into dealing with this sort of thing lately - while basic spelling and grammar errors are little more than an eye-rolling inconvenience, reverting persistent idiots who insist that their pet piece of sur-trivia are vital to an article can become very time-consuming, not to mention occasionally stressful. It's always a risk that when commenting on these sort of things that people will take it upon themselves to examine that writer's own words, so they can triumphantly brandish the accusation of "hypocrite!" at them. Well, so do if you wish, I make no claim that my own standards of writing or grammar or choice of subject matter is of the highest possible standard - but I think it's good enough, and as I'm as much a user of Wikipedia as a contributor, I feel I know what I want it to give me. The term "encyclopedic" is bandied around a lot here, and of course it's very hard to define - but it's an important thing. I wish people would spend a little more time honestly working out what makes a worthwhile entry than simply stuffing factoids into articles. All it does is to raise the hackles of those more sober editors and diverts their energy away from working on something more interesting or important. This workload is increasing so much lately that I'm seriously having to consider leaving Wikipedia alone - the only thing that is stopping me is the thought that if everyone does this, the monkeys will have the place to themselves, and the whole thing will be over in a matter of months.