Talk:WinCustomize

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Articles for deletion

This article was nominated for deletion on December 24, 2005. The result of the discussion was keep. An archived record of this discussion can be found here.

Other than criticisms, most of the other portions of the article are written by a Stardock employee which may introduce bias. I feel many other Stardock related articles themselves may be biased due to the main author being a Stardock employee himself. It is unusual for an employee of a company to be involved in the writing of Wikipedia articles about their company. konfab user 2:50, 31 August 2005

I wrote the articles, on my own time, because I felt I was one of the best people to do so, having over five years experience with Stardock's products. I'm the majority contributor to the Creatures Wiki and founder and chief admin of WikiFur, both highly successful Wikicities, so I know how to write a good article. They could possibly be biased - although I've made efforts to include "the other side of the story" where there is one, and I notice you didn't actually point any bias out :-) - but most of the stuff I've written is easily verifiable, as I try to to include links to relevant sources with it. Realistically, the people who know the most about Stardock and its products work at, for, or with Stardock, and it would be a shame if we were barred from adding to Wikipedia's storehouse of knowledge because of that fact.
The reason I didn't write about the WinCustomize forums and admins here was not because I felt they reflected badly on WinCustomize (because I don't), but because I didn't really consider them to be notable enough for Wikipedia. I mean, I'm sure the forums are important to people involved in them right now, but ten years from now, or a hundred, who's going to care? :-) Things like Object Desktop are significant in a way that forums rarely are, due to their transitory nature. GreenReaper 15:22, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

The original content was written by someone who was not a Stardock employee at the time of writing. Moreover, it is far less biased than someone who calls themselves "Konfab user" who claims there are "many criticisms" which have no substantiation. It would be like a fan of DesktopX going onto the Konfabulator entry and pointing out the many examples in which Arlo and Ed have criticized DesktopX on their forums. These "criticisms" are completely irrelevant to WinCustomize which is a site where people visit to download skins, themes, icons, and wallpapers. Draginol Sept 1, 2005.

The Criticisms section (like so many Criticisms sections) appears to have been made mostly to bash individuals at the site, by a user (User:Konfab user - talk) who has registered here specificaly for the purpose of doing so. I would prefer to have other people have a look at it first, as I am employed by Stardock and so could be biased, but I will make edits to reduce what I view as a lack of neutrality if others do not. GreenReaper 18:38, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

70.30.219.29 is persistently removing information from this article and from the talk page. GreenReaper 19:04, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Incidentally, I really object to the allegation that I "bash" Konfabulator. Anyone who is remotely familiar with my articles on Konfabulator would know I've been a Konfabulator booster for a very long time. I was one of the most vocal supporters of Konfabulator when Apple announced Dashboard. I also don't "Bash" Apple. I may "Bash" Mac users on occasion because I find their zealotry obnoxious at times. But I have never bashed Konfabulator. I think it's a good product. Draginol. Sept 1, 2005.

Possible resources[edit]

This article was posted on JoeUser.com (a blog site) and syndicated to WinCustomize.com and other sites. It outlines the benefits of both programs. Some users have argued that it is an example of "Konfabulator bashing" though ironically a user unaware of who the author the article is, might conclude that it's an example of DesktopX bashing by a Konfabulator fan. -Brad Wardell

possible examples of different rules for different users, personal attacks by admins on "newbies", ect. can be found here

"Criticisms" debate[edit]

The anonymous user 70.30.219.29 keeps inserting this allegation-filled section: There are many criticisms of the WinCustomize site. One of these critcisms include that the site owner, Brad Wardell, posts articles on the news page bashing Apple, Konfabulator and other competitors. WinCustomize has also been criticized for using a "different rules for different users" policy. A "newbie" cannot get away with flaming, trolling, ect. while a higher ranking long time user can. The site admins are very much criticized, especially Jafo. Jafo is known to hold a "holier than thou" and a "I am right and you are wrong" attitude. He is also said by critics to be a self-porclaimed expert on the English language that corrects everybody's spelling and grammer. Critics claim the "Stardockians" are very egotistical and will band together to attack any voice of dissent and anoint themselves with self-aggrandizing titles such as "Super Elitist."

This is what I object in this (btw, I'm Brad Wardell draginol) 1) "Many criticisms" is subjective. What constitutes "many"?

2) I do not "post articles on news page" bashing Konfabulator. Ever. Not once. I have written BLOG entries that get syndicated into the clearly marked area called Articles that talk about Konfabulator. However, those articles have been universally positive. The authors or Konfabulator have certainly written far far more critical things about Stardock DesktopX on their forum. Should Stardock fans go over to Konfabulator's Wiki entry and start putting "criticism" sections there?

Here is one so-called "bashing" article written over a year ago: http://www.joeuser.com/index.asp?AID=19800

Hardly bashing.

3) Apple is not a "competitor". Moreover, it's a unsubstantiated allegation that borders on libel to assert that I "bash competitors". It is also not supported by the evidence given that WinCustomize.com hosts the content for many programs that could be considered "competitors" to Stardock's software.

4) The criticisms are, IMO, trite overall. We're talking about a website in which people go to download skins, themes, icons, and wallpapers. For these kinds of "criticisms" to taken such a central part on the Wiki entry gives them too much importance. If WinCustomize were primarily a forum or article based site, such criticisms could be entertained.

5) "Site admins are very much criticized". By whom? This is subjective. Who defines "Very much"?

6) "Jafo is known to hold holier-than-thou" Known by whom? Subjective again and a personal attack as well with no substantiation and irrelevant to the overall context of WinCustomize.com - a skin site.

7) Who are "Stardockians" Who are "critics"? The anonymous poster? And again, what are we really talking about here? Someone got their feelings hurt on the forum section of a skin site and is taking their anger out on Wiki? "Egotystical" is again basically a flame and subjective.

8) There is no such title as "super-elitist". Like nearly every site on the net with forums, WinCustomize has various access levels. On WinCustomize those levels include the titles Citizen, Apprentice, and Journeyman. There is also Wizop. Users can choose amongst an assortment of titles from a defined list but none of them are "super elitist" or of that nature. And to add my own bit of editorial, WinCustomize's forums are amongst the more gentle on the net.

I would assert that these 8 items constitute reasonable objections to the proposed change that the anonymous user wishes to put on. I don't even think a criticism section that deals with forum activity on a site in which 99.99% of users (by page views) are in the theme/icon galleries even belongs. At best, it would be a minor link called "Forum criticisms" or something. Draginol Sept 2, 2005.

I'm okay with the current version as of 5:32 September 2005. Any other objections after that tweak? (Konfab user 05:42, 2 September 2005 (UTC))

I made a couple of tweaks to it, outlining that we're referring to the forums on WinCustomize.com (nearly all activity on the site is in the skin galleries). But otherwise I thought it was okay. -draginol

It appears that Brad Wardell has changed his mind on the consensus reached back in fall. He has written an article on WinCustomize news critical of Wikipedia bringing up this wiki article about WinCustomize as an example of what he sees wrong with Wikipedia: http://www.wincustomize.com/Articles.aspx?AID=94325&c=1

With his recent news article, Wardell has encouraged Stardock fanboys to come to Wikipedia to censor/vandalize the WinCustomize article. I don't know if it was intention to do so. (Konfab user 21:31, 10 December 2005 (UTC))

Probably. His multi-point "rebuttal" above ("What constitutes 'many'?," "Who are 'critics'?") sounds too much like Bill Clinton's attempt to rebut the Monica Lewinski allegations. In other words, he can't rebut the anon user's accusations any better than the anon user could substantiate his/her claims. As a former WinCustomize subscriber, my experiences are closer to those purported by the anon user than they are to Wardell's version.
My chief complaint with the article as it stands is that it reads like a marketing piece for Stardock. It's still not neutral. A neutral article should contain some real analysis. The "Forum Criticisms" section reads like hearsay; it's not analysis. The fact is that WinCustomize -- for all its benefit to the skinning community -- is a Stardock house organ, and it has an agenda to push the use of Stardock products at the exclusion of all others. The vast majority of articles posted on the site are about Stardock products exclusively; although they are dressed as introductions or overviews to segments of the skinning universe, they are nearly always limited to the ways in which Stardock's commercial products benefit those segments, rarely mentioning competitors' products. The only discussion of this bias is on the blogs and websites of individual users and constitutes rants rather than legitimate reasonable criticism. Wardells' argument that WinCustomize shows no bias because it hosts content for other products is thin. When content is hosted for all products but only Stardock products are described in the large flashy front page articles, there is bias.
Is there anything wrong with a house organ furthering the goals of its parent organization? No. Does WinCustomize have an anti-Apple bias? I haven't experienced that, but it's telling that Stardock does not support the Mac OSs while some of their commercial competitors do. Are the admins elitist and do they attack those who disagree with them? Wardell walked away from Wikipedia's effort to diplomatically handle the possibility of dissent with his article, and then he proceeded to write another article attacking Wikipedia. I think that can be considered evidence in favor of the anon user's allegation. konfab's suggestion that a Stardock employee may be too biased to write an unbiased article about Stardock and its products is legitimate. The fact that Wardell sees himself as unbiased simply because he's "writing on his own time" (sic) and despite his very deep involvement with many aspects of Stardock, its websites and products, suggests that he's oblivious to his own bias or is simply dishonest regarding his purposes in writing the article. Canonblack 14:46, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, I'd do some more editing, but:
  • I'm involved with Stardock myself, and
  • I don't really know about the forums - always preferred the newsgroups :-)
I agree that the "criticisms" section (like most criticism sections) is more the expression of discontent from a few random people than anything particularly verifiable. But what to do about it? As much as I love Wikipedia, does the fact that it remains not suggest that Brad has actually got a point in his article? The fact is, an anonymous user did write a section to trash the WinCustomize admins and administrators that they didn't like. It was edited, but it still reperesents the view of a minority (disgruntled WinCustomize forum users) of a minority (forum users on WinCustomize) as if it were a significant factor in the site's operations, and not something that happens in every large forum. Is that not a valid topic of discussion, especially given the fact that he was commenting on a CNN article at the time? GreenReaper 21:08, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

The subjectivity of a 'discontented minority' is hardly the issue here, or rather, it is part of a wider issue that those partisan to Stardock seem unable or unwilling to address - that the very article itself with its excess of product linking is little more than marketing spam for the Stardock/Wincustomize site. As such Wardell et al are either being naive in their own assumed contention of 'neutrality' or wilfully disingenuous. Deletion of this article would therefore seem appropriate. Confuchsia 23:13, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Umm . . . product linking? Do you mean the internal links, which go to related Wikipedia pages? There are only three external links, and they are all to WinCustomize-related material. GreenReaper 05:21, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
I mean product linking Greenreaper. As has already been noted the article as it stands now reads little more than as a product placement for Stardock and accordingly lacks notability because it lacks neutrality - the prerequisite of any wikipedia entry. As others have also observed it has a commercial imperative, no matter that it may also inform - that is the function of advertising afterall. Your own position as one of their employees hardly lends weight to your own defence - no matter, as you naively claim, that you may be doing it in your 'own time'. You are, like your articles inherently biased. To deny the position of a 'discontented minority' from the Forum Criticisms on the basis of their own lack of neutrality would seem somewhat flawed if not hypocritical, no? Confuchsia 08:40, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
The entire website is about the use of skinning products, most of which happen to be made by Stardock. Some of them are specifically marketed under the WinCustomize brand. I find it hard to understand why Wikipedia's own articles about those products should not be linked in the WinCustomize article. Are they somehow not relevant to the site when the site is about them?
You seem to be defining neutral as "not linking to information about programs made by Stardock", which I believe is inconsistent with the goal of giving appropriate links to other Wikipedia articles. GreenReaper 21:04, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Delete this article. Marketing does not belong on Wikipedia. Many of the Stardock related articles need to be either fixed or removed as well. Konfab user 06:01, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

I think a small paragraph about WinCustomize in the Stardock article would be most appropriate. --Konfab user 06:41, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Marketing does not belong on Wikipedia . . . but "articles about companies and products are fine if they are written in an objective and unbiased style." Why not fix the articles rather than seek to remove them? That way information is not lost. GreenReaper 05:21, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Because it is the very nature of those articles that undermines the neutrality of this article. Whilst Wincustomize as a noteworthy topic in itself is not at issue here, the need to individually itemize, link and provide separate pages for Stardock products - what is their criterior for notability? what do they contribute other than advertising for Stardock? - is what imparts the article with its marketing bias. A simple link to Wincustomize/Stardock should suffice. Confuchsia 22:03, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Are you talking about the WinCustomize products section? That is there because there are products that are sold directly via WinCustomize and branded as WinCustomize products (see here). Again, note that the links are all to internal Wikipedia pages about the programs, not to external Stardock-controlled websites. Would you really prefer that people had to go to a Stardock site to find out about them, where the only input is from Stardock employees? :-)
Ultimately, when the entire site is dedicated to skinning progams, it seems silly not to link to Wikipedia's own articles about the programs. I think it would be perfectly appropriate for articles like Rainlendar, SysMetrix and Winamp to be linked as well there as examples of the other non-Stardock programs WinCustomize provides skins for. Unfortunately the first two don't have particularly good articles. If you think Stardock programs should not be given undue prominence, why not spend some time contributing to these articles and link them in as well when rewriting the article? GreenReaper 21:04, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I have modified the page to try to take the editorial and commercialism out of it. In my view, if WinCustomize deserves its own Wiki entry (and given its popularity I think it's safe to say it does) then the Stardock stuff that has nothing to do with the site needed to go. Furthermore, while I am sure some people will object to me removing the intricate details of WinCustomize internal politics, as an encyclopedia entry, it's not appropriate and far too subjective.

The entry should stick with facts. Both sides of the various arguments had far too much subjective opinion in there to be a proper encyclopedia entry. Statements such as "More worrying" (more worrying to whom?) are not facts, they're editorial. On the other side, justification for what Stardock does is subjective as well and has no place.

I will say that I'm astonished at Konfab User's suggestion that the site didn't belong in Wikipedia. One would wonder what his reaction would be if people tried to get rid of the Konfabulator entry on Wiki and instead make it part of the Yahoo page? After all, Konfabular has a lot fewer users than WinCustomize and in fact, it's not called Konfabulator, it's Yahoo Widget Engine. Given that individual episodes of Babylon5 can be found on Wikipedia, the suggestion that WinCustomize, the largest and most popular site for downloading themes, wallpapers, icons, skins, etc. not deserving its own entry reeks of bias. Draginol 4:04, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

These new edits are a major step forward. Not only are attempts to neutralize the criticisms section made, but there are attempts to neutralize the article as a whole. I see nothing wrong with the article as it is now. Can we all agree on this version of the article as the consensus? Konfab user 08:05, 1 February 2006 (UTC)