Wikipedia talk:What it thinks it is

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Whew. OK, this is a serious attempt to document what wikipedia thinks it is, and through which zombie-like human automatons it expresses that claim to be.

Talk about an ontology problem... but this gives us a great way to check out all of our various claims about meta:threats, meta:best cases, meta:worst cases, meta:visions and the meta:status quo of wikipedia - which at any one time is represented by all the things we admit that it "is".

.... and what would be the purpose of this page? -- Tarquin 10:53 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)
Hoom, hum, what is the purpose of looking at what one says about oneself? At what others say about one? Reflection, hum, necessary to self-image, perhaps, hum, but perhaps there is no one clear 'purpose' just as Wikipedia has no one clear 'purpose. Let us see what insights this gives. EntmootsOfTrolls
Perhaps policy would change if we decided it should or should not be an example of something, hm, hoom? But the answer then would be to change what we do and are, not what is said. EntmootsOfTrolls

Looks like a place for Twenty-Fo... er, an annonymous user to try out some ideas.

Hmm, what 'ideas'? It seems like a list of everyones' ideas about Wikipedia, hm, and necessary, since we have no clear self-image, it seems, hum.EntmootsOfTrolls

It seems harmless enough; however, I would suggest to the annonymous user that it would be better suited to http://meta.wikipedia.org/ since "What Wikipedia thinks it is" is not limited to the English site.

Hum, the answer is to keep it here but include all links from the French and other sites via cross links. This is happening, hm, see French Wikipedia self-references which contrasts somewhat. Hmm, hm, perhaps we are diverging, yes, no, perhaps, hm? EntmootsOfTrolls

I do wonder who is supposed to be making these claims, however.

Authors of the articles maybe, and trolls, EntmootsOfTrolls
Obviously, everyone who wrote those articles, has made some claim - if the one-liner statements of what they are is wrong, then let's fix them:

Some are simply incorrect (e.g. "Perl code": the software is PHP and SQL based),

Hmm, good point, fix it then! That seems unhasty. This is a long list and must be often fixed, hm, but that will clear up many misconceptions. EntmootsOfTrolls
the Perl claim has been fixed, and now says word for word what the article on Perl itself says - which should be the default in case of disputes. Instead of complaining, why not just fix it SG? It's easier to fix this file than it is to generate it anew, given the mass of work that's involved in just sorting out obvious dross. Order of items could also be better.

while others seem to have little basis in reality (showcase for User:Larrys Text? Larry would probably cry if anyone thought that... :). -- Stephen Gilbert 13:23 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)

If they have little basis in reality, then the article they cite should be corrected, right?

Especially as LarrysText is here to be ruthlessly hacked into article form. If I were him I'd be disappointed that no-one's yet done much work on it. -- Tarquin

Hm, hoom, perhaps that was impossible while LMS was here intimidating 'vandalism' (i.e. improvement) of his articles? Hm, hoom, but then, it pays not to be hasty. EntmootsOfTrolls

Why don't you all just move this to meta.wikipedia.org, where it belongs?

That would be hasty. It does not ALL belong over there only to be ignored. Some of it belongs here, at least the abstract ideas that Wikipedia is an example of, so that we may keep examining what it is and is not, as opposed to what certain people think it is or is not. Clearly it has grown beyond whatever it means to be an encyclopedia, as an encyclopedia is not a cookbook, but this is. Failure to track this in the Wikipedia policy space would be foolish, although admittedly errors must be fixed, and we must collaborate to accurately state what each of those articles actually claims Wikipedia is. Rather than complain, why not consult the articles referenced, fix the claim, and you will see how it changes your view of this project. Encountering others' views of what it is seems essential. EntmootsOfTrolls
Agreed. It belongs here, in some form, although a more rigorous one that passed peer review could go at Wikipedia:What_it_claims_to_be perhaps. That could just be an exact and neutral statement of what Wikipedia articles claim Wikipedia to be - which is what we need for policy work.

The Wikipedia proper (where we are now) is for the creation and building of an encyclopaedia. Anything that helps that cause belongs here.

Knowing what other purposes Wikipedia currently serves, what things it is a good and bad example of, as stated via its own article authoring process, very clearly belongs here. Certainly Wikipedia:What_it_claims_to_be belongs here, and a more elaborated article such as this one (which necessarily requires shortening and reducing the statements of 'what wikipedia is') should also be here, so it's clear what is presently claimed about wikipedia's functions.
According to liars and censors, ONLY, the pretence that Wikipedia is serving only as an encyclopedia "serves that cause". Wiser people recognize that the Wikipedia is serving as many things, and as an example and instance of many things, and that those who wish to keep it an encyclopedia "only" know what those are, so that they can understand that view and perhaps minimize it.
I never said that the Wikipedia was only an e ncyclopaedia. There are many ways of looking at it, as there are at other things - it's also a collection of lines of code, a lot of electrons whizzing about in somebody's computer, a place to be frustrated and so on. But what it explicitly aims to be is an encyclopaedia (hence the "pedia" part of its name). That's not something which is up for debate. --cam

Anything which, among other things, is too biased to be encyclopaedic, is a personal essay, comments on the Wikipedia itself, and so on, belongs on meta.

Not all comments on the Wikipedia are "personal" or "biased". Some, like this one, are attempts to simply summarize the various non-personal non-biased claims made about the Wikipedia. If they are "personal" or "biased", then that is either s tated clearly (statements by editors, statements in talk files, more statements hard to classify) or not. But the article itself is just reporting. And that's what we do here.
I never said that all comments on the 'pedia were personal and biased. I s aid that all comments on the Wikipedia not useful to building it as an encyclopaedia should be on meta (or on a user page). And "reporting" is not "what we do here". "What we do here", or at least "what we should be doing here" is "building an encyclopaed ia". Gazing at our collective navel isn't going to help that. --cam

This, as a comment on the Wikipedia, and as something of no use in building it as an encyclopaedia, belongs on meta. I will move it there in a couple of days unless something very dramat ic happens. --Camembert

You have no right, nor any expertise, to claim that you know what is "of use in building it as an encylopedia." Denial of its other functions, e.g. cookbook, idiom dictionary, news, etc., is only of use in enabling a small clique in defining 'what Wikipedia is', in defiance of what it really is, and what standing articles claim it to be. This is pure stupid elitism. If you KNOW that Wikipedia "is an encyclopedia and nothing else", than add that li ne to every single article that makes a claim that you think contradicts that. But censorship to suit your NORMATIVE VISION of what it is, is foolish in the extreme, and can only destroy the entire project with non-reflexivity.
Certainly there is no con tradiction between being an encyclopedia and being a collaborative medium, or between being an encyclopedia and being a CGI script.
I never said there was. What relevence does that have? As for it being a cookbook, a source of news and an idiom dictionary - well, that's your view of it. My view is that encyclopaedias can carry articles about specific recipes if they're big enough, that "news" is just a way of saying "a topical encyclopaedia article", and that an idiom dictionary... well, I don't know what an idiom dictionary is, but encyclopaedia articles can be made on just a single word. By the way, I find your tone quite aggressive. --cam
PLEASE calm down, 142.177.93.34. We've had more than enough controversy over the past few days. I was just going to suggest that this article, although it will be considered strange by some, should actually remain here rather than be transferred to the meta, for the simple reason that also newcomers should at once get some insight into on going discussions (and it usually takes some time until they discover the meta-Wikipedia). --KF 22:40 Feb 8, 2003 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand you KF - you think this article should remain on the Wikipedia proper because it's a good exa mple of an argument? Sorry, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I honestly can't think of any reason to keep it there. How does it help the wikipedia (given that the wikipedia is an encyclopaeida)? --cam

Summary: the Wikipedia is an encylopaedia. Exactly wha t an "encyclopaedia" is is open to debate, but I've yet to see any argument as to why this page helps it be one. Right, enough time wasted here, back to work. --cam



(Moved from User talk:Enchanter)

Hi! I consider what you have done at Wikipedia:What it thinks it is a very rude way of ending an ongoing discussion, which was exactly about where that text should be. Camembert at least announced that he'd remove the article to the meta in a couple of days' time. Why so fast? Why at all? --KF 00:40 Feb 9, 2003 (UTC)
Hi KF. The Wikipedia: articles ar e mainly for information about Wikipedia (the FAQs etc.), while commentary and debates about Wikipedia belong here on Meta. As it was clear that there was some debate about this article, I thought it would be a good idea to move the debate here, particularly as the author in question has a number of other similar contributions here on Meta. w:User:Enchanter

Reply to Camembert (see above): First of all I have to say that I'm surprised that this page is here at Wikipedia again. I also think it's a waste of time to have a lengthy argument on its function and where it should go, and I don't consider it that essential either, so I hope this is going to be my final statement on this matter.

I've recently been talking to a number of people who I introduced to Wikipedia (not as a group, but individually). With a few notable exceptions, their reaction was the usual one (it's never going to work, etc.).

I pointed out Wikipedia:Our Replies to Our Critics and peer review and all that to them but some turned out to be quite stubborn in their criticism. There was a middle-aged academic who, as it turned out, looked at the Persuasion article and changed "most romantic novel" to "most brutal one" to prove her point. I don't think this has been reverted since. Someone else, on being told about Wikipedia Day, said the whole thing sounded like a sect to her, and asked who the big guru behind it all was.

This is why I think newcomers should also be introduced to the doubts, arguments and disagreements older Wikipedians have about the whole project, and I think this page, created by someone I don't know, could do the trick.

Best wishes, --KF 10:42 Feb 9, 2003 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying that, KF. The thing I do agree with you about, absolutely, is that this isn't worth arguing over too much (in fact, I'm rather embarassed to see my above comments, added when the article was on meta, and when I was in a rather bad mood, back here on the Wikipedia proper). I certainly don't have a problem with pages on the wikipedia pointing to this page (if it's appropriate to do so, of course), but I think the page itself should certainly be on meta, for the reasons I gave above. I'm not trying to hide users' doubts about the project from newcomers, but I do think they should be given in the right place. Anyway, as you say, it's not worth wasting too much verbiage over. Back to the encyclopaedia (or whatever it is). --Camembert


A compiled list is by definition an archive. But the content has to be built first before any archive to be done. If you move all the content to an archive, where is the place where you actually *edit* the stuff ?

  • Not the archive...an archive should be stable, represent a situation at a given time...ideally, the archive should be not editable
  • not the article itself to your opinion since you immediately move any content added (when you don't just forget it) to a new archive...

so where do people edit an article if the article must remain a static envelop, nearly a redirect ????

What you are doing is anti-wiki....I put back the content

You can edit the stuff on meta. Go to meta, and click "Edit this page". There's no need to have this page on wikipedia in order to edit it. Like wikipedia, meta can be edited by anyone, with or without an account. Martin

That is not the point. This page is only here to reflect views of english editors of wikipedia, not of english editors of MetaPedia:What it thinks it is. This page is only a mirror. But a mirror needs a Narcisse, just as Wikipedia:What it thinks it is needs editors to report what they think Wikipedia is. Right ?

So, it has nothing to do on meta. If you think Wikipedia is just what is said in Wikipedia:About, then by all means, leave this page quiet. But if you think that Wikipedia is also an invasion of the idiots, and wish to state it somewhere, just put it here, on Wikipedia. (147.etc)

Commentary and debates about Wikipedia belong on Meta. This page is commentary. Therefore it belongs on Meta. A number of respected wikipedians take the same position. Therefore I shall move it. Martin

Oh, do let's have a vote block...

what does defines a vote block ??? (147.etc)
yes ? (147.etc)
I don't understand your question. Martin
Hummmm...the page is currently where it should be, on en. 'You' are the one asking for its removal, that means 'you' are the one trying to make things change. So...what is the block vote, and where does it apply ? (147.etc)
The "vote block" is the bulleted list below, briefly summarising the position of various people on the issue. It's a tool I find helpful in judging consensus. Martin
My apologies, 147 - a poor choice of font on my part. Martin

apologies accepted MyRedDice (147.etc)


I might be wrong MyRedDice, but I think your move is inappropriate. You claimed above a block vote would be a tool to reach consensus. In short, you clearly indicated your wish to reach a consensus. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe a consensus is a situation where all people concerned come to agree that the decision taken is fair, and respectful of all points of view.

In this case, I don't believe *any* consensus has been reached. Your moving that page to meta is just an unilateral decision, giving happiness to one side, and totally rejecting the other point of view. If all parties can't accept the decision has being fair, it is not consensus, thus contrary to the wiki way.

Other points that might be important, and that I must hint at, since you insisted in writing the number of edits of each party.

Isnot Wikipedia accepting edits from all users, be they anonymous or loggued in ? If it is, should not an anonymous voice should also have weight in decision making ? I don't think you are giving credit to an anonymous voice. If so, why don't you support making Wikipedia editable only by loggued in users ?

I think that article might be interesting for editors indeed; but also to readers who wish to know more about that project, how it was build, which principles it relies on...After all, what is an encyclopedia made for ? Just for people who wish to write ? Are maybe also a little bit for readers ? Then, how do you judge what readers want to read if you don't considered what they think and what they want ? Do only "writers" opinion count, and do you think the final consumer might also be interested in stating what he wants to read or not to read ?
I think very unfortunate you reject opinions of readers, by stating they made only xx articles. You don't even mention they exist in other places, they might be editors on other wikis. But if they come here, and edit a couple of article, that they understand english enough to read it. Even if non-english speaking. So that's up to you to orient your choice in making an encyclopedia only for english people, or for all readers of english in the world. Someone might be good enough to read, but not good enough to write. Judging his opinion on his capacity to write, rather than to read, is a gross misconception of what the goal of an encyclopedia is.

So, let me propose another option. Or go read the consensus article please. (147.etc)

(off-topic) Anonymous (or near-anonymous) users, almost by definition, share the combined reputation of every anonymous user I have ever encountered, because they could, by definition, be any one of them. Two years ago, that reputation would be comparatively neutral. Unfortunately I have had some highly negative experiences with anonymous (or near-anonymous) users in recent times. I have also had experience with multiple near-anonymous people who turned out to be the same person. This is obviously unfair to those anonymous users who are nice people who do not deserve to share in the reputation of anonymous users in general. If you are such a person, you can solve this unfairness by ceasing to be anonymous.
(on-topic) Your last edit of the page is a little more acceptable to me than the previous one. I'm going to make a few tweaks to it though - see what you think... Martin 17:45 Mar 15, 2003 (UTC)

We have pages of pages of pages redirecting, finally to Wikipedia:What it thinks it is. You can't redirect a redirect. -- Zoe

I fixed the two double-redirects. All good? :) Martin 22:51 15 Jun 2003 (UTC)