User:Gdr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Bots[edit]

How the perfect article should look[edit]

See /Perfect. For example, [1].

See also[edit]

The "see also" section is rarely useful. It often contains:

  • links that are duplicates of links that appear in the article itself;
  • links whose relevance to the topic is not clear;
  • overly general links (the utterly useless "see also: History" is extremely common [2])

I think it's much better to work links into the article in contexts which explains their relevance.

Headings[edit]

Articles of fewer than a thousand words usually work better without headings. Headings make things easier to find, but in narrative articles such as descriptions of historical events they break up the flow and waste space. Wikipedia isn't a newspaper so there's no need to draw in the reader with subheadings. Headings impose a schema on the article and so restrict your choice of how to organize the material.

Especially bad in this way are "standard" headings like "Early life" in a biography which usually add nothing of value to the article; see [3] for a biography that has six headings and needs none. Even worse is the article that has all the "standard" headings but no content, for example [4] has six headings but no content at all. This might be justifiable as one step on the way to a good article, but for an article that will never be more than a few hundred words it is positively harmful because it restricts future contributors.

Compare The Man Who Was Thursday with headings [5] and without [6]. The version with headings has decent content, but the content is completely overwhelmed by the headings and tables, and diluted by the rigid following of the "standard" scheme.

An unusual fault is to put all the content in the headings! [7]

Reliance on Google[edit]

The hoax article Battle of Blenau shows why it's dangerous to rely on Google. A Google search for "blenau" in August 2004 found 50 hits, all apparently confirming the information in the article. However, all the "hits" were mirrors of Wikipedia and hence copies of the hoax itself. This fooled at least one Wikipedian [8]. The web is simply not yet a good source for information on obscure historical events. In August 2004 a Google search for a real event, the "Battle of Bléneau", only found one hit in English [9].

A more sophisticated hoaxer, who took the trouble to refer to real people, and who didn't exaggerate the importance of their fictional event, could keep Wikipedians in doubt for a lot longer.