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Against The presumption of non-notability for Internet related, computing, and services businesses[edit]

In User:Ihcoyc/The presumption of non-notability for Internet related, computing, and services businesses User:Ihcoyc wrote:

"I am unlikely to conduct news searches looking for evidence of notability for them. If they are notable, the original contributor needs to make a clear case in the version already up for discussion."

The above is densely packed with errors.

  1. It is antiquated and luddite-ish, given the existence of one-click news searches provided by templates {{findsources}} and its kin, and web browser Toolbox addons such as Wikipedia:WikiProject User scripts/Scripts/Search links.
  2. It violates WP:Do not bite the newcomers, by placing an undue burden upon them, and is therefore a violation of WP:Five Pillars which emphasizes collaboration and the mutual goal of building an encyclopedia.
  3. It's wrong: any contributor can "make a clear case", not just the original contributor.
  4. It's wrong: "the version already up for discussion" - any contributor can make changes to address any policy-supported claim of fault at any time. Articles are not frozen in time, and furthermore, there is no WP:DEADLINE.
  5. It's wrong: WP:PRESERVE policy says to try to fix problems if possible. This implies doing nothing if repair is possible but you don't want to do it. It most assuredly does not imply AfD, merely because you don't want to fix sourcing problems. And by the way the heirarchy is: ARBCOM decision, pillar, policy, guideline, essay, discussion consensus.
  6. It's wrong: even the WP:BURDEN material deletion guideline reiterates WP:PRESERVE: "It has always been good practice to make reasonable efforts to find sources yourself that support such material, and cite them."
  7. Worse, to refuse to look is the same as to refuse to consider, which is tightly bound in the meaning of prejudice (literally, to pre-judge without evidence). This renders your declaration of "Presumption, not Prejudice" a falsehood.
  8. Worse, if you are a lawyer, you should know that to refuse to examine evidence (which may refute your preferred position) can weaken your case, because when others inevitably examine that evidence for you, you will be unprepared to defend against their assertions of it.
  9. Worse, to refuse to look based on your presumption of non-notability actually adds up to a presumption of bad faith on the part of the originating author, which goes against the WP:Five Pillars, which calls for an assumption of good faith (see WP:AGF).
  10. Worse, even hypothetically, to claim to refuse to look publicly, while secretly looking, but not revealing found evidence to other Wikipedia editors, would be directly acting in bad faith, preventing other editors from improving articles, by improving notability of their subjects. Wikipedia is not a trial court, not a WP:Battleground, not a middle-school playground, nor a place for secrets. Such behavior on the part of lawyers or cops at trial is treated harshly by jurists and jurors, and just as harshly here. So don't even think about doing that.
  11. Here at Wikipedia, to refuse is itself anathema to the WP:Five Pillars in that it serves to rationalize refusing to verify sources, refusing to believe sources, refusing to discuss and a vast number of radical, antisocial unjustifiable positions, as elucidated in arguments to avoid and elsewhere. It stands directly in the way of creating an encyclopedia, and it bluntly smacks of WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT.

My main point here is this: it's easier (and quicker) to help, than to whine or argue about helping.

  • Obduracy lowers the level of discourse, and degrades the sense of "we're all in this together, making an encyclopedia." It's stupidly, unjustifiably demoralizing to others. Going to AfD, after making no substantive attempts to improve an article, and not canvassing for editing help, and not discussing in Talk, and not tagging, for an article which only lacks reliable sources, is an insultingly anti-WP-way thing to do. IMHO it is abusively inappropriate escalation. I don't care one whit what Jimbo says about boldly deleting articles which only lack sources: it was wrong when he wrote it, it's wrong today, he should retract it and erase it from history, and I'll tell him that to his face.
  • Obduracy isn't helping. Failing to help, or ask others to help is at first understandable, then silly, then annoying. Did you even know that there are thousands of Wikipedians out there, with awfully fast computers, on awfully fat Internet pipes, who type awfully fast, who are absolutely prolific whizzes at sourcing and rehabilitating deficient articles in a flash? All they need is the slightest of reasons from an interested editor to jump in and freaking help. You didn't know that? Why not? What is your reasoning for failing to ask?
  • Obduracy avoids personal responsibility. "He didn't cite a source!" Well, neither did you. Did you? Example: If I find an article with no sources, I add one. Then I tag it {{refimprove}}. Total keystrokes, maybe 100, assuming copy/pasting of url/title/author/date/publisher. If I find a little copyvio, I add "quotes" and the citation for it, add a polite warning to the posting user's page, job done, no huge COPYVIO tag needed. How hard is that? You knew there would be typing, right?
  • Obduracy flies in the face of the advisory text you read, right there on the page, when you signed up. If you signed up a user account on Wikipedia, you agreed to observe and respect the Five Pillars, and to the notion of collaboratively building an encyclopedia. Building. BUILDING. You are certainly not required to help, but that's what an awfully large number of other editors are here to do.
  • Obduracy breeds obduracy. The famous literary character Bartleby the Scrivener said, "I prefer not to." Do you want people not to help you with articles? It's simple: just don't help them. Brings me back to, "why are you here? If you wish not to help with articles, simply don't. There is an essay about that, too: it's WP:DISENGAGE.

You wrote (paraphrasing):

"Wikipedia is (only or mostly) for the general public."

It is categorically not only for the general public; this claim cannot be used as a rationale for exclusion of content, or a prejudice against certain content, or a presumption of non-notability of particular kinds of content. It is not among WP:Arguments to avoid, but it damn well should be.

  1. If a visitor can read about Atom, then read about Relativity, then read about building Ion engines, and become excited about entering a career as an applied physicist, then a visitor can just as justifiably read about Computers, then Server (computing), then Remote network monitoring, then AJAX RNM Services and get excited about a career in providing business-to-business services helping businesses anticipate and survive network outages. WP:Wikipedia is not censored.
  2. Wikipedia is built with prose, sources, links, categories, and lists. These last three provide the literal connections, the relations, between topics for all articles. These are navigation tools which connect (done properly) all the acquirable knowledge at Wikipedia. A rising tide (of relations between articles) lifts all boats. These links variously provide the path from the general to the specific, from the simple to the complicated, and even from the well-known to the obscure. After an article is written, presumably with notability established, the connection that article has to all other related articles via its links, categories and lists of which it is a member, cement its place in the notability matrix. Does this mean Dave's B2B is as notable as The Moon? Yes. Exactly the same: the subject is discussed in verifiable reliable sources over time. Notability is not relative. In my opinion, it is narrowly defined, and is absolute. Wikipedia does not itself decree notability: sources do. There are provisos to this, of course, but WP:GNG still applies.
  3. Notability isn't revocable. You can't predict if one of those companies will "disappear", therefore you shouldn't preemptively nominate an article for deletion because you're afraid it might. Even after they're gone, what they did was notable, per sources.
  4. Even businesses you've never heard of are notable, as long as there is a chain of verifiable, reliable sources discussing them, over time, even if you never could hear of them in your lifetime, nor any of your family or friends, in their lifetimes. Succinctly: Wikipedia is not about you, your memory, your reading speed, or your interests.
  5. The general field of an article (IT vs clothmaking vs nuclear physics) provides no inherent sieve to determine which is "better" or "worse" to form the basis of an article: only sources are such sieves, and the quality thereof. Reliable sources are those with editorial policies and fact-checking - it matters not the topic: who said what? when was it said? why? who was affected? etc. RS include peer-reviewed scientific and academic publications of course.
  6. I disagree with Jimbo Wales' hasty, thoughtless decree (and mantra of deletionists) that Wikipedia isn't about everything. That should never have been written, and all evidence of it ever having been written should be erased in shame. Wikipedia is indeed about everything that is reliably, verifiably sourced. Full stop. If there is no practical limit on the space available for the world's knowledge, why should there be any other limit placed arbitrarily upon it? Over time, policies have developed to protect against libel, slander, fraud, etc - those are not in the scope of this discussion. In scope: presumption of non-notability of any class of knowledge.
  7. Obscure things, and obscurity itself is notable, if sourced. Wikipedia is not an arbiter of Truth, only a documentor of Verifiability. If a fact is obscure, but is verifiable in reliable sources over time, it cannot be excluded on the grounds of "you never heard of it." Common sense dictates that the more obscure, the more reliable sources, of course.

In sum, though I have addressed only two sentences in the essay, the whole essay relies upon them heavily for its arguments. These chair legs are weak; knocked out, the whole chair collapses.

--Lexein (talk) 22:41, 13 October 2010 (UTC)