Votes for deletion

Deletion process gets noticed by media

Recent media coverage has explored the workings of Wikipedia a little more closely, as the Votes for deletion process has garnered some attention. Meanwhile, the problem of repeated nominations has cropped up again, prompted by a debate over a series of articles on the sensitive subject of religious persecution.

Deletion in the press

On ZDNet Thursday, blogger Dan Farber wrote a piece about, a "non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the basic rights of attention owners." The newly founded organization has a skeletal website with a few slogans, and has gotten a little exposure from the blogs of its creators. It also had a Wikipedia article that, in spite of the sparse information available, at least managed to paraphrase the group's mission so as not to be an obvious copyright infringement.

Farber observed that the article had been nominated for deletion and commented, "It's a good example of self-regulation on the Web." By Saturday, the article had been deleted with unanimous support from those commenting.

A New York Times story Friday about the relative standing of cats and dogs on the internet also strayed into the deletion process. It noted that Wikipedia had an article about Dog poop girl, an internet furor over a Korean woman who declined to clean up her dog's mess on the subway, along with a corresponding vote to delete the article (since closed, the article was kept).

How many rounds?

One group of articles being considered for deletion recently has been a set dealing with religious persecution, specifically persecution by various religious groups rather than articles about the victim groups. The debate, which started with a dispute over an article on "Persecution of non-Muslims", soon spawned articles on persecution by Muslims, Jews, and Christians, with a vote on whether or not to delete each. These votes were closed by administrator Sjakkalle last Thursday.

All of the articles were kept, although the vote regarding Religious persecution by Jews was extremely close by the standards used on Votes for deletion, at 66% in favor of deleting the article (a two-thirds vote is generally considered the minimum that could qualify). Still, several people agreed that Sjakkalle had acted correctly in determining that there was not a consensus to delete the article.

The day after the previous votes were closed, -Ril- decided to resubmit Historical persecution by Muslims (the articles have all been renamed "Historical persecution by..."). -Ril- declined to explain why the article was being renominated for deletion, and after nearly all those commenting indicated it should be kept, the deletion vote was closed early.

After the recent GNAA fiasco (see archived story), the deletion policy has been updated to mention that "repeated attempts to have an article deleted may even be considered disruptive." In the meantime, -Ril- was briefly blocked over another deletion renomination and his renomination deleted, for Authentic Matthew, but this was quickly reversed.

Competitive deletion

Also appearing on Votes for deletion last week was an article related to Wikipedia's competition; specifically, a book written about the Encyclopædia Britannica. The book, The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs, is about Jacobs' experience in reading the complete Britannica from beginning to end. For some reason the article had been deleted without going through the regular deletion process, so NoPuzzleStranger complained about this using Votes for undeletion.

The undeletion process provides that the article should be submitted to Votes for deletion if it is restored, so this was done even though nobody has indicated they support deletion. Rather, keeping the article or possibly merging it with Jacobs' article appear to be the preferred options.

Interestingly enough, the book appears to have inspired blogger Andy Ratto to attempt the feat again. Ratto frequently notes Britannica's use of obscure vocabulary, and in order to understand these references he has occasionally turned to Wikipedia as a source. Of course, if he tried to read Wikipedia in its entirety, then he might really have accomplished something! ;)

Also this week: Editor's noteFeaturesProfanityVfDT.R.O.L.L.

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Aren't articles being added to Wikipedia at a rate far greater than anyone's ability to read them all? I read at 300 WPM, and Senator William Proxmire claimed to be able to speed read at over 1,000 WPM (or was it 25,000 WPM?). What's the current rate of words per minute being added to Wikipedia? And when did it exceed 300 WPM or 25,000 WPM? Uncle Ed 13:59, August 4, 2005 (UTC)


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