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Wikipedia's language nerds hit the front page

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By Phoebe

Beatles debate on the front page

John F. Kennedy International Airport, 7 February 1964: The the? Beatles arrive to rapture
This week saw a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal (the largest newspaper in the U.S. by circulation) on editorial debates in Wikipedia. The story focused on the title-naming dispute surrounding the Beatles article, and specifically the RfC on whether the "the" in the band's name should be capitalized or not.

This isn't the first time The Beatles (or is it "the" Beatles?) has shown up in the press: a 2009 Telegraph story named it as the number-two read article on Wikipedia, behind the eponymous (and often accidentally reached) wiki.

As of this writing, there were 45 comments on the Wall Street Journal story, many of them debating the capitalization point itself, while others raised the question of whether consensus on Wikipedia was a viable decision-making model. The most recommended comment opined "They argue so loud because the stakes are so low...."

The results of the RfC will be announced next week.

Conflicts of interest

Since the last installment of In the media, a few stories reported on the controversy surrounding GibraltarpediA (see the Signpost's 24 September detailed report and the followup on 1 October). The Telegraph ran a story on 2 October, following the publication of two more CNET stories by Violet Blue, who first wrote about the story.

In brief

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Full credit: Tony1 added the headline. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 20:39, 16 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]

anyone with half a brain knows what that question means — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:07, 17 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Not sure I'm happy with the word "nerds". I think most people that have been on Wikipedia for some time will have found themselves in a somewhat lengthy debate over a seemingly minor issue. I know some people embrace their nerdiness, but I wonder whether many Wikipedians will feel rather insulted by the word. I do. A bit. --bodnotbod (talk) 12:44, 17 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    Neither do I like being incorporated into the nerd category. I'm decidedly a linguist, but absolutely not a nerd. Fylbecatulous talk 15:23, 17 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    I have over time come to the conclusion that it's only the context that matters. The word "nerd" usually indicates a self-selected specialty or a degree of obsessiveness: word those as "expertise" and "passion" and suddenly the connotations are positive. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 21:48, 17 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • It must have been a very slow news day on Wall Street. One gets used to Wikipedians obsessing over little things like this; but the WSJ, at least under its former ownership, was usually able to find weightier matters to fill its front page. ~ Ningauble (talk) 12:09, 18 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]


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