Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wikipedia aims to be a ready reference for all sorts of knowledge. To this end, trusted people are designated as administrators, to ensure that all additions meet Wikipedia's high standards.

Recently, one such administrator (who reflects the nobility of his pursuit with the dignified handle, "ButSeriouslyFolks") decided that essentially none of the Wikipedia pages on the IEEE, the professional society that is to electrical engineering roughly what the government of the state of Wyoming is to the territory, met these high standards. He couldn't figure out, simply from reading them, that the subjects were "notable." So, he did what anyone would do under the cicrumstances --- he summarily deleted them all. Called to account, he protested:

I never said these things were not notable. I don't know whether they are in fact notable, and it is not necessary for me to have independent knowledge of the subject according to the rules of this project.

The changes were, as it happens, undone. But in keeping with Wikipedia's high standards of decorum, the user who first complained about the deletions was roundly and unanimously sanctioned for his incivility, in calling this attitude "militant ignorance."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone who has the time should put together a blog dedicated to this guy "Butseriouslyfolks" of whom you speak. I had a series of communications with this very same Wikipedia administrator recently and although it was related to a different topic "Butseriouslyfolks"'s tactics in my case were similar to those he inflicted upon you. He hides behind what you call his "dignified handle" (love that!) to lash out at other editors using such things as personal attacks, uncivil language, etc. and then when called to account for his own transgressions he denies that he ever did such things. He is very clever at hiding his own tracks and misusing the Wikipedia system in his own favor. If we could all get together and call him out on his behavior perhaps Wikipedia could see the wisdom in purging this so-called administrator from their system. He does nothing but harm to the Wikpedia community. Thanks for relaying your experience.

10:12 PM  

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