QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Wed 12th August 2009, 10:23am)
The "struggle" between "inclusionists" and "deletionists" is irrelevant to the more serious struggle between all the pitched camps of ideologues in Wikipedia. Both "inclusionist" and "deletionist" are reasonable philosophical attitudes that one can take toward the activity of editing an encyclopedia. However, the ideologues are neither, because they're in favor of including content that favors their personal agendas, and in favor of deleting content that opposes that agenda.
Sadly, the author of this article fails to recognize that Wikipedia's use as a ideological battleground is the perhaps the single largest problem Wikipedia faces, nor does he recognize that the protected status that the elite enjoy tends to further this problem as many of the elites are actively engaged in ideologically-driven editing. And it's the infighting between these groups that is creating the friction and the exclusiveness, not the dispute over inclusionism and deletionism.
Hear, hear. It's long since time that we ditched NPOV and started treating WP like any library, since it's as big as one. And we let kids loose in libraries, even if they want to snigger at the medical books. We might lock up the porn section of a university library, or even omit it (zOMG) but kids can find that elsewhere on the net, just as they can BLP and your social security number.
As an aside, how big is the print part of mainspace WP, minus the edit history? I wish somebody would tell me directly, if it's known. But you have to figure out how to subtract the photos, which have to take many times the info/storage space content of the print.
The three million articles have a long tail of stubs (as you will see using special:random) but about 10% of them (at a guess, from using this feature), say 300,000 articles, are more than 10 K. Minus photos may I guess that WP is at least 6 GB. You could put it all on a thumb drive, and if you want to serve the disadvantaged kid in the out-of-the-way place, perhaps you should JUST THAT (of course, you'd need minimally flagged/checked versions of each article). Thumb drives are getting cheap and so are readers-- the web 2.0 smart cell phone isn't the only model to knowledge, it's just the latest one.
6 MB = 3 million text pages = roughly 100,000 volumes. Perhaps half that, or twice that. Most kids in most of the world cannot get access to a library that large, except occasionally.
But the net is no better. When I was last in micronesia I kept asking about net access, and the answer was always the same: it was on main islands at school sites, and that was it. There were not villiages where every household had a computer and the net. Throughout South America, most net access is at internet cafes, and it's expensive (barely affordable even for tourists-- we're talking 50 cents US a minute, minimum.). The locals use it rarely, and they don't have it at home, at all (though they may have computers of a generation or so back). In Belize the whole country is victimized by a semi-private Beli-Tel system which keeps phone prices high and ignorance, too. Wikipedia isn't coming to the population that way, soon. But if you remember that most kids don't need to edit till they get enough money to do so, then you will remember that computers are much more widespread. With a cheap CD-ROM or even cheap 8 GB flashdrive (not quite here yet, but coming in a year or two; that's about the expensive high end now), you can have WP.
Once we have a flagged and stable version, if WMF is really intereted in doing something for the third world, they'll distribute something non-interactive like this. Don't hold your breath.