QUOTE(carbuncle @ Wed 2nd November 2011, 9:47pm)
QUOTE(timbo @ Wed 2nd November 2011, 5:53pm)
Takeaways are that approximately 60% of all deletions at WP over the past 4 years have been done by Administrators as speedy deletions and that "A7: No indication of importance" is overwhelmingly the most commonly-cited reason for the speedy — indicating that such deletions are of generally encyclopedic material.
Can you please explain how you arrive at that conclusion?
It's explained in the article.
While further study is certainly necessary on this issue, our preliminary findings indicate that the deletion process is heavily frequented by longstanding users, even though one would assume that an article being nominated for deletion would bring in editors who worked on that article to defend it. In analyzing the rationales given for speedy deletions, it is apparent that the vast majority of articles deleted in such a manner are not spam, vandalism, or „patent nonsense,‟ but rather articles which could be considered encyclopedic, but do not fit the project‟s standards. The A7 CSD criteria in particular shows how many articles are deleted not because the topic was explicitly judged to be unimportant, but rather that such importance was simply not indicated. Yet the participation rates in AfDs suggest that new users who likely do not know that they must specify such importance (or the discursive techniques and technical practices required to, say, add citations) are certainly not entering AfD debates to defend the legitimacy of their newly-created articles.
Wikipedia has not enabled email notification of edits to watchlisted pages. (meta has this.) So if you are an occasional user who only checks Wikipedia infrequently, you will never see the AfD, and you may well never notice that your article is gone. And if you do, if you are like the vast majority of users, you will have little idea of how to appeal, and, in an appeal, you will be up against a coterie of highly-experienced editors who know how to manipulate discussions. The system is heavily stacked against newcomers.
What has been happening, long-term, is that Wikipedia has been fouling its nest. It's not particularly visible on-wiki, because these users, those who notice the deletions, most often simply go away believing that Wikipedia is arbitrary, uncaring, inflexible, and often they also think it's hostile and biased, and sometimes they are right. And they tell their friends, on occasion, if "Wikipedia" comes up.
Wikipedia could easily have developed what I called "junkyard space," after the old junkyards that are really recycling centers. The junkyard would be for material that is not considered adequately notable for inclusion in the encyclopedia, but which is legal. Another variant on this that was proposed is WP:PWD
, "Pure Wiki Deletion," i.e., blanking, or replacement with some kind of generic notice page that content may be read in history. All these would have made exclusion from the encyclopedia
, i.e., mainspace, into ordinary editorial decisions, not requiring administrative tools. What would properly be a classification or information organization task, was turned, instead, into a black and white decision (Keep/Delete), a formula for dispute and division.
While, in theory, deletion is reversible, DRV isn't necessarily any better than AfD, it may be even more dominated by the obsessives.
Bottom line, Wikipedia structure was a setup for what happened. There was, indeed, some serious vision involved in the creation of Wikipedia, but it was naive. My view has long been that some relatively simple changes (actually, modest additions to structure) would have preserved the original vision and
addressed the resulting problems, but there is what has elsewhere been called the "Lomax effect," because I was writing about it long before I was involved in Wikipedia.
If the structure of an organization favors a faction, and it is proposed to change the structure to distribute power equitably, the faction will likely oppose it, and, by the terms of the problem, they have excess power. In real examples I've seen, the faction believes that they understand what the organization needs, better than the average member, and they might even be right. But holding on to power in that way (rather than by natural leadership) often ultimately weakens the organization, and tends to burn out the faction, which then blames everyone else for not supporting them adequately.
Most sane people just walk away, so organizations afflicted by this (and that's many) lose organizational intelligence and the dysfunction increases with time, until something upsets the applecart. In businesses, this might be a competitor. Wikipedia is interesting to me, for the long term, because a competitor could with relative ease appropriate all the content (and with some approaches, all the deleted content, too, it's all been released except for that deleted for copyvio.) The difficulty is in start-up, but as Wikipedia itself becomes more and more difficult to approach, for newcomers, someone just might appear to eat their lunch.