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When in Rome...

Wikipedia is wonderful and infuriating in about equal measures. My contributions are infrequent and only on subjects that I know something about. I've got over the constant checking stage, I'm not a member of any Wikiprojects and don't collect Wiki-badges. What one writes is ephemeral, subject to edits both informed and profoundly ignorant, vandalised routinely both by schoolboys with nothing better to do, and by earnest types with a misplaced sense of what is appropriate. Even so I'd recommend contributing to Wikipedia if you have the time and inclination: it is often the first source to come up on Google searches and unless you're J K Rowling, what you write here is probably going to have far more influence than anything you could possibly write elsewhere.

Annoying mobile site[edit]

The Wikipedia mobile site is presumably intended for tiny phone screens, which I suppose some people still have. But why would anyone want the abridged, folded-up, non-editable version on a large-screen touchphone, let alone on an iPad? It's the same sort of annoying product development that causes bitter tears of frustration across the board, from iTunes to Microsoft Office, for anyone forced to re-learn what already worked perfectly well. My theory is that Wikipedia have hit upon a wheeze that lets them cut down on mindless vandalism, since the mobile site makes you log in before you can edit anything. And vandals needless to say do their idle-thumbs trawling for vandalistic opportunities on their smartphones, not sitting at an ancient Dell desktop in the school library. That would explain why the complaints on talk pages are simply ignored by the boffins at WPHQ. Believe it or not there is no straightforward way to set your device to always access the desktop version. The encyclopaedia that anyone can edit? Yes, but...

  • Postscript: Maybe something changed since I wrote this. On my iPhone there is a pencil symbol at the top of an article that does allow you to edit (without logging in). And on my iPad the pencil is at the top of each section. It still defaults to the mobile version though.


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