Whilst browsing around for yet more hilarious examples of Wikipedian buffoonery, I found an interesting conversation on the user page of User:JDG
, who I'm sure would be appalled to learn that he's being quoted here. Nevertheless, he claims that Wikipedia stopped being an encyclopedia "about 9 months into its existence" and is more like a "MegaCompendium." Which, in a way, is a far more accurate term, which has the added benefit of being coined specifically for the purpose of describing Wikipedia.
But another thing he suggests is the idea of a "detail level" setting that can be set by users to remove vanity and fancruft pages from search results. Obviously if it might reduce WP's Google rankings it will never happen, but the idea basically is this (hopefully he won't mind if I quote him - "metal clutter" refers to the enormous amount of material on marginal heavy-metal bands):
A Level 1 will screen out eveything that's not strictly encyclopedic, and such a user will never see or get search hits for this metal clutter or clutter in thousands of others categories. A Level 20 will include everything, but only because that user chooses to see it all, no matter how trivial.
Obviously this means qualitatively grading
every article on Wikipedia for "encyclopedicality," a massive undertaking that couldn't help but create all sorts of conflict opportunities, not to mention a whole new kind of punishment for people who cross the admins (as if bans and deletions weren't enough). Nevertheless, it shouldn't be all that hard to implement, technically speaking.
Not sure why I'm bringing this up, actually. It just seemed sort of interesting...