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> Rootology retires
MBisanz
post Wed 15th July 2009, 9:20pm
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QUOTE(Nerd @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:19pm) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 8:30pm) *

Seeing Rootology leave immediately brought to mind User:NoSeptember/Leaving and WP:DIVA.


Funny how several on that list have retired. For real.

And yeah, he blanked his editor review and RFA and fully protected them. The only thing that achieves is DRAMA. No one even cared about either of those pages until he suddenly did that. Pointless.


Well, I care about all old RFAs, but I am weird that way.
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MZMcBride
post Wed 15th July 2009, 9:35pm
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QUOTE(One @ Wed 15th July 2009, 4:17pm) *

Oh yeah, I've been meaning to ask, what is your beef with him? Can someone else explain it to me?

I should start by saying that I've never met Rootology in-person and I imagine that he's a fine person in real life.

Personally, I don't think I have a particular beef with Rootology, but I do take issue with some of his actions and certainly with his recent behavior.

There are a number of issues that I feel strongly about and I've even written essays about some of them. That said, when someone writes something and then links to it (in bright red) in their user signature, it starts to irritate me. The good ideas will stand for themselves and signatures are not a place to make advocacy statements. (Though obviously using user signatures in this way is not isolated to Rootology.) The way in which Rootology writes a project space page and then tries to shove it down the throats of everyone around him is what I find disturbing and annoying. From my perspective at least, it's as though he woke up one day, had the idea that there wasn't enough equality on Wikipedia, and then decided to shout about it as much as possible before becoming distracted by something else.

The same general themes were true of his "Paid editing" and "Wikipedia Committees" crusades. Once again, I don't have a problem with passionate advocacy. But there's a line and he seems to continually cross it. I don't know if it's Defender of the Wiki syndrome, but it certainly shares characteristics of it. This idea that he must step into every "hot" dispute (like paid editing or Wikipedia's governance) and try to own the discussion with a project space page that he whips up.

He has strong views about allowing anonymous user editing (he certainly isn't alone in this regard). I have no problem if people think that IPs shouldn't be able to edit Wikipedia; I don't agree, but I certainly don't hold it against those who do agree. That said, Rootology hijacked his user talk page (which exists for the primary purpose of user-to-user communication) with some JoshuaZ-related nonsense. I use "hijacked" here to mean that he blanked everything else and replaced the contents with his "Public response to repeated e-mail from JoshuaZ to me." To me, that's simply inappropriate and completely overdramatic. Not only did he replace the content of his user talk page, he then semi-protected the page without any particular demonstrable justification. That, combined with his previous stated views about anonymous editing, left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. He eventually moved the content to a subpage and unprotected his user talk page; why it didn't start on a subpage (or simply not be posted at all) is beyond me. I don't think any reasonable person would say that he's not trying to be dramatic by doing all of this.

And then there's the issue of "I'm going on break." Wikibreaks are completely healthy; I have no objection to them at all. What I do object to is anyone who claims to be taking one or about to take one who really isn't. To me, that's simply dishonest and isn't acceptable by any user. For weeks now, Rootology has been threatening to take a break. He put up the banners and then the excuses started. First it was that the A Man In Black case hadn't finished, then it was something else, then it was Yet Another Thing. For lack of a better phrase, "shit or get off the pot." If you look, for example, at this edit from June 15, you can see him clearly stating he's going to take a long break. It simply was not true. Within a week he was "back in the trenches." My mention of NoSeptember's "Leaving" essay was no mistake.

I wish there were a kinder way to put it, but his behavior lately is simply annoying. Others seem to find his behavior and edits insightful or helpful or they empathize with his messages; I don't. As I tried to make clear, it's not a particular beef. I'm sure he's a nice guy in real life, but his editing lately is simply irksome. I really wish he would stick to articles and avoid the project namespace altogether. I wish him all the best, whether or not he chooses to return to Wikipedia. I mean that.

A few final thoughts. As you coyly pointed out, I'm not free of drama myself, but I won't let that stop me from judging. wink.gif I also apologize for the length of this post.

There was one minor point I specifically didn't address. You mentioned a noindexing issue, but I don't know what you're referring to, so I can't comment. I'd be happy to respond if you can throw a link or some context in my direction. I can say, broadly, that using {{NOINDEX}} on a user talk page is like putting a Band-Aid on a cast—all user talk pages on the English Wikipedia are excluded from search engines unless a user explicitly asks for them to be indexed.
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Somey
post Wed 15th July 2009, 10:41pm
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 4:35pm) *
...when someone writes something and then links to it (in bright red) in their user signature, it starts to irritate me.

It's only irritating if you disagree to the screed being linked to, isn't it? Also, "shove it down the throat" would mean leaving messages on people's talk pages demanding that they read whatever-it-is. Linking it from a signature is more like "waving it around in a flag-like fashion." Remember, these are metaphors.

QUOTE
From my perspective at least, it's as though he woke up one day, had the idea that there wasn't enough equality on Wikipedia, and then decided to shout about it as much as possible before becoming distracted by something else.

Definitely your perspective - he's been on about that for a good two or three years, by my reckoning...

QUOTE
The same general themes were true of his "Paid editing" and "Wikipedia Committees" crusades.

Ehh... The "paid editing" thing wasn't a crusade, it was more of an "everyone is fed up with the amount of hypocrisy we've seen on this issue" sort of affair. The business about the committees - that was his proposal to split the ArbCom into three parts, right? It may have been a crusade, but I actually thought it was a reasonable idea. And again, it shows that he's been trying to do something about WP governance issues for at least a year-and-a-half or so.

QUOTE
This idea that he must step into every "hot" dispute (like paid editing or Wikipedia's governance) and try to own the discussion with a project space page that he whips up.

Not fair - he hardly steps into every such dispute, and you could just as easily be pissed because you didn't think of those things yourself, for all we know.

QUOTE
Rootology hijacked his user talk page (which exists for the primary purpose of user-to-user communication) with some JoshuaZ-related nonsense. I use "hijacked" here to mean that he blanked everything else and replaced the contents with his "Public response to repeated e-mail from JoshuaZ to me." To me, that's simply inappropriate and completely overdramatic...

Now, there I would strongly disagree. No amount of drama, fuss, or bother is too much when trying to point out to anyone still "on the fence" that JoshuaZ is a major detriment and danger to, well, pretty much all of Wikiland. If anything, he should have blanked and replaced the Main Page with it.

QUOTE
("Wikibreaks")...What I do object to is anyone who claims to be taking one or about to take one who really isn't. To me, that's simply dishonest and isn't acceptable by any user.

They all do that, though. I'll admit it looks silly, etc., when they keep editing in spite of the notices, but it's so common I don't think anybody (other than you?) even pays attention anymore.

QUOTE
You mentioned a noindexing issue, but I don't know what you're referring to, so I can't comment. I'd be happy to respond if you can throw a link or some context in my direction.

Wasn't that about the fact that __NOINDEX__ doesn't work on articles, because some developer unilaterally decided it shouldn't? Or am I thinking of some other appallingly hypocritical imposed-vaporware thing?
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post Wed 15th July 2009, 10:51pm
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QUOTE(Somey @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:41pm) *

QUOTE
You mentioned a noindexing issue, but I don't know what you're referring to, so I can't comment. I'd be happy to respond if you can throw a link or some context in my direction. I can say, broadly, that using {{NOINDEX}} on a user talk page is like putting a Band-Aid on a cast—all user talk pages on the English Wikipedia are excluded from search engines unless a user explicitly asks for them to be indexed.

Wasn't that about the fact that __NOINDEX__ doesn't work on articles, because some developer unilaterally decided it shouldn't? Or am I thinking of some other appallingly hypocritical imposed-vaporware thing?

Only thing I can think of is that he was concerned that user talk pages might not be automatically noindexed in the future. Not a crazy fear either--it's been proposed before repeatedly by xeno & friends. I tend to noindex my pages whenever I remember.

I guess I might have found Rootology annoying if I were an open editing fundamentalist.
As it is, I'm not and I'll miss him.

This post has been edited by One: Wed 15th July 2009, 10:58pm
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Milton Roe
post Wed 15th July 2009, 10:52pm
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 2:35pm) *

[And then there's the issue of "I'm going on break." Wikibreaks are completely healthy; I have no objection to them at all. What I do object to is anyone who claims to be taking one or about to take one who really isn't. To me, that's simply dishonest and isn't acceptable by any user. For weeks now, Rootology has been threatening to take a break. He put up the banners and then the excuses started. First it was that the A Man In Black case hadn't finished, then it was something else, then it was Yet Another Thing. For lack of a better phrase, "shit or get off the pot." If you look, for example, at this edit from June 15, you can see him clearly stating he's going to take a long break. It simply was not true. Within a week he was "back in the trenches." My mention of NoSeptember's "Leaving" essay was no mistake.


It's rather silly to call "simply not true" or even worse, "dishonest" when somebody makes unrealistic plans about the future and then fails to carry them out. Even if it's repeated. How many people do you know who've told others that they plan to do something by tomorrow, or next week, and fail repleatedly to meet their own self-imposed deadline? "Self-imposed" being a key issue, here. You're not Rootology's boss, and I fail to see why you think you should be able to hold him accountable like he was a self-excusing employee of yours. If he announces publicly a self-imposed deadline which he doesn't meet, this gives you, the reader, no entitlement at all. Except maybe the right to say you've seen such language before you'll believe it when you see it. But that's all. "Lying" is not a part of this.

Now, is Rootology's problem poor time-management, or addictive behavior? Dunno. Doesn't matter. Either way it's his problem, not yours. Since, again, he is a volunteer who does not work for you. Does not even volunteer for you.

If you know what I'm sayin'. hrmph.gif
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post Wed 15th July 2009, 11:07pm
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Root has a lot of ideas and energy. Most of these ideas, if allowed to prosper, would save Wikipedia a heap of stress.

Root is also in quite a unique position in that he has seen Wikipedia from several different angles. From insider to outside critic. He was important in providing a critic's perspective to a lot of goings on while on WP.
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Shalom
post Wed 15th July 2009, 11:17pm
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QUOTE(Nerd @ Wed 15th July 2009, 5:19pm) *

And yeah, he blanked his editor review and RFA and fully protected them. The only thing that achieves is DRAMA. No one even cared about either of those pages until he suddenly did that. Pointless.

I did the same thing and didn't generate a lot of DRAMA because I just can't call much attention to my words even when I try. It's possible that he got the idea to blank his RFA and editor review from me (we had a correspondence off-wiki) but he could have thought of it himself. Honestly nobody cares. As to the hypocrisy of retiring then returning, I've done it several times, and recently started yet another new account (known to some folks here), but never did I say that I was leaving for good and never coming back.

I did say that once on my blog, that I would return once Jimbo and two other users left Wikipedia, but that was in March 2008, and I recanted it a week later, if I recall correctly. Since then I've buried wiki-related blog posts in an area only I can view, and I do not care to view them.

I also did occasionally put "wikibreak" template on my userpage when I was just leaving for the 25 hour Shabbat, but at that time I was so addicted that 25 hours amounted to a significant break. A lot depends on your existing popularity. If you know people are watching you, putting up frequent wikibreak or retirement templates, and flouting them, is mildly disruptive. If you suspect people don't give a darn what you're doing, then it's no harm no foul; but you may eventually come to realize that nobody gives a darn what you're doing, so it's not worth doing.
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MZMcBride
post Thu 16th July 2009, 1:41am
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QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Wed 15th July 2009, 6:52pm) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 2:35pm) *

[And then there's the issue of "I'm going on break." Wikibreaks are completely healthy; I have no objection to them at all. What I do object to is anyone who claims to be taking one or about to take one who really isn't. To me, that's simply dishonest and isn't acceptable by any user. For weeks now, Rootology has been threatening to take a break. He put up the banners and then the excuses started. First it was that the A Man In Black case hadn't finished, then it was something else, then it was Yet Another Thing. For lack of a better phrase, "shit or get off the pot." If you look, for example, at this edit from June 15, you can see him clearly stating he's going to take a long break. It simply was not true. Within a week he was "back in the trenches." My mention of NoSeptember's "Leaving" essay was no mistake.


It's rather silly to call "simply not true" or even worse, "dishonest" when somebody makes unrealistic plans about the future and then fails to carry them out. Even if it's repeated. How many people do you know who've told others that they plan to do something by tomorrow, or next week, and fail repleatedly to meet their own self-imposed deadline? "Self-imposed" being a key issue, here. You're not Rootology's boss, and I fail to see why you think you should be able to hold him accountable like he was a self-excusing employee of yours. If he announces publicly a self-imposed deadline which he doesn't meet, this gives you, the reader, no entitlement at all. Except maybe the right to say you've seen such language before you'll believe it when you see it. But that's all. "Lying" is not a part of this.

Now, is Rootology's problem poor time-management, or addictive behavior? Dunno. Doesn't matter. Either way it's his problem, not yours. Since, again, he is a volunteer who does not work for you. Does not even volunteer for you.

If you know what I'm sayin'. hrmph.gif

I never meant to suggest that he worked for me. It certainly wasn't my intention and if I did, I apologize.

That said, the "I'm a volunteer" line isn't applicable here. He's free to edit every minute or twice a year. I don't care what he spends his time on. I do care if he consistently posts about how he's got "one foot out the door" when he really doesn't. I do care if he disrupts his user talk page to shout about... whatever he's angry about at that particular moment.

I'm not asking for him to banned or blocked or punished. I just want him to stop the antics. His behavior annoys me, as I said. It's not a huge deal, but if it seems like I have a beef (again, I don't), that's the backstory. Agree or disagree, it makes little difference to me. smile.gif

QUOTE(One @ Wed 15th July 2009, 6:51pm) *

I guess I might have found Rootology annoying if I were an open editing fundamentalist.

This line made me laugh a bit. You signed up for Wikipedia. I'm not sure you should expect much else. wink.gif
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post Thu 16th July 2009, 2:49am
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Thu 16th July 2009, 1:41am) *

QUOTE(One @ Wed 15th July 2009, 6:51pm) *

I guess I might have found Rootology annoying if I were an open editing fundamentalist.

This line made me laugh a bit. You signed up for Wikipedia. I'm not sure you should expect much else. wink.gif

MZMcBride, most people (in the United States, anyway) believe in God. In some sense these people believe that God has a plan for the world, or even a plan for each one of us. Some argue that this belief is foolish, reckless, or wishful, but I tend to disagree. The majority of believers are benign and even beneficent. When they see living people hurt, they don't just praise God and repeat their mantras. Most believers will remove someone from a harmful situation and accept effective medical care. Only fundamentalists deny blood transfusions and immunizations in favor of "God's plan."

I believe in collaborative editing (and I probably have for longer than you). Wikipedia is an amazing project, and I do believe that its content tends to improve with collaborative attention. But when I see a person defamed and vandalized, my belief in the almighty Wiki takes the back seat. Our first priority should be to stop the bleeding. The Wiki's plan can work without one BLP, and it can even work without giving unaccountable users the opportunity to mar BLPs, templates, or even Rootology's talk page.
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LaraLove
post Thu 16th July 2009, 3:15am
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QUOTE(One @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:49pm) *

<snip>

The Wiki's plan can work without one BLP, and it can even work without giving unaccountable users the opportunity to mar BLPs, templates, or even Rootology's talk page.

What vandalism are you speaking of on Root's talk page?

Don't get me wrong, now. I couldn't give a shit if his page is protected, but your argument here is flawed. It was preemptive protection.
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post Thu 16th July 2009, 3:17am
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QUOTE(A Horse With No Name @ Wed 15th July 2009, 7:45pm) *

I second that. And thank goodness it was some dull idiot who did nothing. It would have been awful to lose an intense in-your-face neurotic clown of the Guy Chapman/Uncle G/Tanthalas39/Durova/WMC school of fools. Hell, we can afford to lose 20 Rootologys -- but if we lose Uncle G, it will be a tragedy.


On May 7, 10 days before JzG was admonished by arbcom, he deleted all his user pages. He hasn't been seen since, save for one edit to NYB's talk page on May 8.
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MZMcBride
post Thu 16th July 2009, 3:41am
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QUOTE(One @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:49pm) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Thu 16th July 2009, 1:41am) *

QUOTE(One @ Wed 15th July 2009, 6:51pm) *

I guess I might have found Rootology annoying if I were an open editing fundamentalist.

This line made me laugh a bit. You signed up for Wikipedia. I'm not sure you should expect much else. wink.gif

MZMcBride, most people (in the United States, anyway) believe in God. In some sense these people believe that God has a plan for the world, or even a plan for each one of us. Some argue that this belief is foolish, reckless, or wishful, but I tend to disagree. The majority of believers are benign and even beneficent. When they see living people hurt, they don't just praise God and repeat their mantras. Most believers will remove someone from a harmful situation and accept effective medical care. Only fundamentalists deny blood transfusions and immunizations in favor of "God's plan."

I believe in collaborative editing (and I probably have for longer than you). Wikipedia is an amazing project, and I do believe that its content tends to improve with collaborative attention. But when I see a person defamed and vandalized, my belief in the almighty Wiki takes the back seat. Our first priority should be to stop the bleeding. The Wiki's plan can work without one BLP, and it can even work without giving unaccountable users the opportunity to mar BLPs, templates, or even Rootology's talk page.

For what it's worth, even a radical like me wants to see FlaggedRevisions at least trialed.

I think that semi-protection is poorly written software that should be deprecated as soon as possible. I'd much rather see something like Flagged protection implemented. It's a much smarter solution than a blanket and arbitrary ban on anonymous users or users with less than ten edits and four days since registration.

As I've said to you previously, I think a part of Wikipedia's success has come from the idea of open editing. If there are reasons to protect a page (libel, very high visibility, etc.), the pages definitely should be protected. But going around protecting pages willy-nilly is a bad idea and it goes against Wikipedia's core principles.

You're an Arbitrator, which gives you a bit of clout and leverage with the community. Why not try to implement stronger notability guidelines, with a special focus on porn stars and criminals? Trying to ban all anonymous editing is just a waste of time. Regardless of what you or I think, it will never happen. But raising the notability threshold, that's something that's reasonably doable.
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MZMcBride
post Thu 16th July 2009, 3:54am
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QUOTE(Somey @ Wed 15th July 2009, 6:41pm) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 4:35pm) *

You mentioned a noindexing issue, but I don't know what you're referring to, so I can't comment. I'd be happy to respond if you can throw a link or some context in my direction.

Wasn't that about the fact that __NOINDEX__ doesn't work on articles, because some developer unilaterally decided it shouldn't? Or am I thinking of some other appallingly hypocritical imposed-vaporware thing?

Having Barack Obama no longer appear in search engine esults because a vandal added __NOINDEX__ to some obscure template isn't a particularly good thing. If the subject of an article isn't notable, delete his or her biography. If there are persistent problems with an article, protect it or block the disrupters. Sweeping it under the mat is a silly solution.
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Somey
post Thu 16th July 2009, 4:08am
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:54pm) *
Having Barack Obama no longer appear in search engine esults because a vandal added __NOINDEX__ to some obscure template isn't a particularly good thing.

Not true!

Do we know for a fact that __NOINDEX__ in a template affects any page on which the template appears? If so, then it's a rather misguided, if not poor, implementation - it should only affect pages on which it appears in the actual WikiML for the page.

QUOTE
If the subject of an article isn't notable, delete his or her biography.

If only they would... unhappy.gif
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LaraLove
post Thu 16th July 2009, 4:19am
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QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 16th July 2009, 12:08am) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:54pm) *

If the subject of an article isn't notable, delete his or her biography.

If only they would... unhappy.gif
So true.
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everyking
post Thu 16th July 2009, 4:50am
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QUOTE(LaraLove @ Thu 16th July 2009, 5:19am) *

QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 16th July 2009, 12:08am) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:54pm) *

If the subject of an article isn't notable, delete his or her biography.

If only they would... unhappy.gif
So true.


It's one of those statements that everyone can agree on but really means nothing at all. Nobody wants to keep biographies about people they believe to be non-notable.
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post Thu 16th July 2009, 4:56am
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QUOTE(everyking @ Wed 15th July 2009, 11:50pm) *
It's one of those statements that everyone can agree on but really means nothing at all. Nobody wants to keep biographies about people they believe to be non-notable.

Except the person(s) who wrote the article, the person(s) who are fans of the subject of the article, the person(s) who hate the subject of the article, the person(s) who went to the trouble of finding (or stealing) a photo to illustrate the article, and of course, User:JoshuaZ.

Have you been drinking, EK? I thought you were a tea-totaler. hmmm.gif
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post Thu 16th July 2009, 5:18am
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QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 16th July 2009, 1:56am) *

QUOTE(everyking @ Wed 15th July 2009, 11:50pm) *
It's one of those statements that everyone can agree on but really means nothing at all. Nobody wants to keep biographies about people they believe to be non-notable.

Except the person(s) who wrote the article, the person(s) who are fans of the subject of the article, the person(s) who hate the subject of the article, the person(s) who went to the trouble of finding (or stealing) a photo to illustrate the article, and of course, User:JoshuaZ.

Have you been drinking, EK? I thought you were a tea-totaler. hmmm.gif
I think the key word in Everyking's post was "they believe to be". All of the people you list above presumably believe that the subject is notable.
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MZMcBride
post Thu 16th July 2009, 5:35am
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QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 16th July 2009, 12:08am) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Wed 15th July 2009, 10:54pm) *
Having Barack Obama no longer appear in search engine esults because a vandal added __NOINDEX__ to some obscure template isn't a particularly good thing.

Not true!

Do we know for a fact that __NOINDEX__ in a template affects any page on which the template appears? If so, then it's a rather misguided, if not poor, implementation - it should only affect pages on which it appears in the actual WikiML for the page.

Definitely sure. In fact, the {{NOINDEX}} template is just a wrapper for __NOINDEX__. It's easy to track template usage; magic words like __NOINDEX__ have no tracking mechanism built-in. A user could add it anywhere in any article directly and it's very unlikely anybody would notice.

But the lack of tracking is only part of the issue. The other issue is the underlying principle. The theory is that if content is in a content namespace (as defined in the configuration files), it shouldn't be able to be de-indexed using __NOINDEX__ by any user. It's a view I agree with. Unless we force users to deal with the content, they'll simply slap __NOINDEX__ on it and it will be available via mirrors, the API, and direct searches of Wikipedia's database. If the content is bad, it needs to be properly resolved.
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sbrown
post Thu 16th July 2009, 6:58am
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Thu 16th July 2009, 6:35am) *

Unless we force users to deal with the content, they'll simply slap __NOINDEX__ on it and it will be available via mirrors, the API, and direct searches of Wikipedia's database. If the content is bad, it needs to be properly resolved.

Many mirrors are rarely if ever updated. One bad content gets in them its stuck. And thats one of the great problems we have.

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