Monday, June 18, 2007


Just another thing, that happens far too often

When I read Annalee Newitz's post "Wikipedia Activism", where she states that"another entry [was] recently deleted for not being notable enough -- that of Sonia Greene", my first response was to be angry at my fellow Wikipedians. I immediately assumed that another group of well-meaning knuckleheads nominated, debated and deleted a perfectly legitimite article. Something that happens far too often, and always ends up making Wikipedia look foolish.

So I decided to poke into matters -- only to be baffled by the fact that I could not find any record of a debate for the article's deletion. I looked a little further into the history of the article, and discovered that the article had been deleted not for being about a subject that failed the notability criteria, but because it was a copyright violation: it had been copied from another website, without either attribution or obvious permission. Another thing that happens far too often, and while it doesn't make Wikipedia look foolish it's obviously not a good thing.

So Newitz has basically misunderstood (or misrepresented) just what happened on Wikipedia. No one claimed that Sonia Greene was not notable enough to warrant an article about her: someone had merely removed material that had been stolen from another author. I'd think that someone who makes her living from writing would know what a copyright infringement is, but I guess that doesn't make for a good enough reason for writing another criticism about Wikipedia. Just another thing that happens far too often, and while it doesn't make Wikipedia look foolish, it does make someone look foolish.

I would have posted this in the comments to her post, but that would require that I create an account on Alternet first. Since I have this perfectly functional blog here, which I haven't posted to enough times in the last few weeks, this often-repeated story, with the usual plot twists, appears here.


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