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1830: Railways & Robber Barons» Forums » General

Subject: Zelot Deletes All 18XX Articles from Wikipedia rss

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Mike Overhaus
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Some nut ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Userak21[/url]) deleted all the 18XX game articles from Wikipedia and replaced them with a single listing page. What's going on?
 
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Ola Mikael Hansson
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That's a real shame - I often used the wikipedia articles for an 18xx game as a starting point to learn more about the history behind it - several of the articles used to contain links to the articles about the relevant railway companies and such.

Wikipedia's policy sadly often seems to be to remove anything that is remotely obscure or niche... thus eliminating its own usefulness.
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There's an explanation (of sorts) on the talk page for the "Board and table games"? project*, but the rational is thin (or at least unthinking).

There's been a trend on Wikipedia lately to delete things that aren't "encyclopedic" in a very narrow sense of the term. Basically (and perhaps not surprisingly) Wikipedia attracts rule-followers and from their perspective they're doing good work. But some of Wikipedia's current policies, especially when mechanically enforced, are undermining its usefulness as a source of information. Everybody looses, I think.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Board_and_table_games#Deep_Thought_Games.2C_LLC
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Matt Shepherd
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I doubt it was a "zealot," as Wikipedia does have a deletion policy and haphazard deletions aren't possible. At worst, it may have been put through as a "speedy delete," probably as "fancruft" or similar.

This page explains why and how things get deleted, and how to find out why and who deleted it.

Actually, if you'd just gone to the talk page for the list, you would have found a link to here, where it the issue discussed at some length.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia rewards those who choose to spend time working on it and improving it. I can't say I wholeheartedly approve of the wholesale deletion of all the 18xx articles, but the conversation was held, people were invited to participate in it, and a consensus was reached.

I DO contribute to Wikipedia from time to time, and I understand how a lot of volunteers work their butts off trying to make it a reliable source of information against a constant tide of vandals and fanboys. Categorizing them as "zealots" and "nuts" is unfair, immature and demonstrates that you have no understanding of how Wikipedia works.

There are some fairly solid reasons for articles to be included, among them are notability and verifiability. Note that saying "X article exists, therefore Y article should exist as well" does not constitute a good reason to have an article.

If you're deeply wounded by this, you can always contact the initiator through their user page and attempt to make them see the error of their ways.

Demonstrate verifiability and notability and you'll get your entry back. But it's up to you to do that work, not the volunteers who are just trying to keep the encyclopedia tidy.

If you can't take the time to understand how Wikipedia operates, don't use Wikipedia. It's profoundly irritating to see people that don't contribute to that community sound off about it as though the work of thousands of volunteer editors exists only to serve their every whim.

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Mike Overhaus
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Wow, whatever it is, I hope it passes! Get well soon.
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Robert Chang
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First of all, nothing's been deleted. It's just been redirected.

Second, there's a very easy way to get these articles restored, and that is to find and cite 2 or more incidents of non-trivial coverage from third-party reliable sources (that is to say sources that would have editing and fact checking), like a magazine, newspaper, trade journal or anything like that. Blogs, podcasts and the like generally don't work because anybody can just throw them up and they generally don't have much oversight.

Right now, that material doesn't seem to exist, so the people of that Wikiproject have acted to protect that material by consolodating it into one article. Otherwise, the individual entries probably would be deleted. It's far better that people familiar with the subject handle it than it going before the general community at Articles for Deletion, where they would likely be treated much rougher.

-Robert
 
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Richard Young
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Yup, I second that sentiment. Our hobby is obscure enough in general and the railroading niche within it even more so.

Besides, Wikipedia would be among the last places I would go for serious research in any event much as one viewed the hard copy encyclopedias of old. The system of refereeing and quality control is embryonic and unreliable, thus is best left as a repository of very general information.

Hobby specific sites would be a much better source and I hope the information is transferable without serious loss or degradation.

edit: having reviewed the page where this issue was "discussed" I'm even more convinced that it matters very little what they decide to do with anything they "control." Kind of reminds me of the decision the UVIC Student's Union executive recently made barring the Canadian Military from participating in an upcoming "job fair" to be held on campus. One of the executives, when questioned on their decision, offered that since not all the students gave a lot of thought to such issues, it was their "responsibility to do their thinking for them." Public "whinging" had them reconsider and widen the issue to the general student population. Apples and Oranges? You decide...
 
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John Tamplin
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Actually, if you look at that and related discussion you will see that Counter Magazine and Train Gamer were dismissed as not reliable sources. Short of something like Games Magazine, it seems unlikely that we will find any reference they consider to be a reliable source.
 
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Robert Chang
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jtamplin wrote:
Actually, if you look at that and related discussion you will see that Counter Magazine and Train Gamer were dismissed as not reliable sources. Short of something like Games Magazine, it seems unlikely that we will find any reference they consider to be a reliable source.


Where are you looking? Counter should be perfectly accetable. I don't know anything about Train Gamer. It may or may not be a reliable source.
 
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J C Lawrence
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tornspace wrote:
Anything worth keeping is worth keeping someplace more secure than Wiki. Nothing there is ever permanent.


Good wikis support content versioning. Nothing is permanent, but everything's history is permanent.
 
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John Tamplin
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Robert Chang wrote:
jtamplin wrote:
Actually, if you look at that and related discussion you will see that Counter Magazine and Train Gamer were dismissed as not reliable sources. Short of something like Games Magazine, it seems unlikely that we will find any reference they consider to be a reliable source.


Where are you looking? Counter should be perfectly accetable. I don't know anything about Train Gamer. It may or may not be a reliable source.


How about the first two comments in that section:
Wikipedia Article wrote:
None of them seem to have any sign of any verifiable sources, but I don't want to do a mass prod in case I'm missing something. All the articles seem to have been created by User:JTamplin, while Deep Thought were founded by John Tamplin... Cheers --Pak21 07:29, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm a moderate fan of the 18XX family of games, which are notable as a group based on the original publisher's mainstream distribution and the awards earned, but I'm not sure whether Deep Thought Games has received enough independent coverage to meet Wikipedia policy. Certainly Mr. Tamplin needs to work with us to overcome WP:COI concerns. The one magazine cited in the references is a specialist publication; while it's probably useful for details, I don't think it meets reliable sources policy, and the fan websites certainly don't. Can more coverage be found from sources like the biggest gaming mags (such as Games Magazine) or from mainstream news? Barno 15:42, 2 October 2007 (UTC)


Train Gamer magazine was similarly diss'd in one of the other discussions.
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User Barno on Wikipedia (emphasis added) wrote:
Same for the online gamer forums; even BGG doesn't provide enough for notability.

Ouch.
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John Tamplin
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clearclaw wrote:
Good wikis support content versioning. Nothing is permanent, but everything's history is permanent.


Yes, it is straightforward to write a program to scrape the original content of the pages to put somewhere else. The question is where else to put it and how much work needs to be done to munge the material into a suitable format.
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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jtamplin wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Good wikis support content versioning. Nothing is permanent, but everything's history is permanent.


Yes, it is straightforward to write a program to scrape the original content of the pages to put somewhere else. The question is where else to put it and how much work needs to be done to munge the material into a suitable format.


It's probably desirable to maintain the existing links as interwiki links, in the initial conversion. While the backlinks would be lost (though maybe a wiki could do backlink generation based on outgoing interwiki links), at least it wouldn't be necessary to recreate the company articles and so forth in order to link to them.
 
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