Fri 12th May 2006, 8:31am
It is just that the situation over there is so volatile. As I keep saying, I was expecting an experience more like a library than like a saloon. But I have not pets do talk about, I do not watch cartoons (or any TV for that matter) and I do not want to block anybody. However, I do choose difficult articles. I choose articles that might make a difference in real life. Articles whose implementation at Wikipedia might be rather more complete than anything else so easily available. Artilces that might take on a life of their own. I am very happy that biographies such as Sam Sloan are over there, because I think that help people to see him in a new light. As a whole person who has lived a long and interesting life. Wikipedia organizes that information into someting compact and coherent. In that sense, it is orignal material. No original research, but a compate and coherent document that would otherwise not get written. His own web site can take days to get through and sort out.
I do not think that this is exactly what Jimbo had in mind when he started Wikipedia, but that is what I want Wikipedia® to be. It is all these kooky activists and had-beens and others kinds of marginally notable folks for which they will have no biographer writing an ISBN-bearing book about them. Such a book would be a very short-run vanity publication anyway. People who were somewhat famous for a while and then faded away. I really can only focus on certain kinds of Americana and Afrah Shafquat and not much else.
And I do not want to fight about it with teenagers who do not really care about recent history. And I especially do not want to deal with people who cannot comply with a delay, like 24 hours, before they revert something new. I deeply resented how easy it was for Nunh-huh to revert 200 of my versions on a very difficult artilce in a few seconds. That was just too easy for him to do.
Even the David Irving article. He does not seem like a very likable guy, but if you get his lead section "right" (or "good" or whatever), then you can see him for what he is. Kind of sad, but he will get out of jail in a few years. It is not the end of the world for him. He will get out and slowly fade into obscurity (probably). Once you get to know the guy, you tend not to get so very excited about him, but he is still worthy of a read as long as the article does not get to lengthy. That is exactly what Wikipedia® was supposed to do. Not quite the sum of human knowledge. Not better than Britannica. Different. In a good way.
I added a video for this guy:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_S._Touretzky
He has a Wikipedia account and edited his own article a year ago, but that hardly matters. I added a video with him being interviewed. You see how much depth that adds to the article? That is what I thought Wikipedia® was supposed to be about. The article is fine, but the video adds a lot of information about the real person. For some, I expect that he is a lot less imposing in person. He is kind of picky. He is, not to put him down, wimpy, even though his mind is formidable. That is the real person. It is pretty close to being as if you met him face-to-face.
The MediaWiki software imposes a lot of limitations on what is possible to get The Community to a point where it is stable. Right now, it is still much like the Wild West or some cartoon. There may be nothing that they can do about trolls and abrupt admin actions like what Cyde did the other day to Avillia. But a few signals to the effect of "let's get down to business" and stop these crazy indef blocks of established users. It is so easy for one young man to tell anohter: "I will hate you forever", but that should not translate into the cartoon "blowing away" of that person. If Wikipedia were seen more as a "business" (perhaps at the cost of some of that youthful idealism), then maybe some of these explosive emotions would cause some of the extremists on both ends of the spectrum to go somewhere else. Hard to say, really, but worth a try, if even for a week or so with that one little ugly mark, right at the top of the Main Page.
I feel that Bradford Patrick is going to do a lot more good for WikiMedia. His hands are clean of past, petty fights and missteps. He is a visionary of a different sort. He "gets it" as far as Jimbo's vision is concerned but he brings a new influx of integrity and maturity to the process. I am hoping that it percolates down to a small change in culture over at Wikipedia® so that I might go back there and feel not quite so ostracized. Not quite so out-of-place among all these teenagers and twenty-somethings. Not quite so vulnerable to being indefinitely blocked by somebody half my age without the slightlest warning. Not threatened by people like David Gerard to have my work divorced from my past accounts just because of that man's personal emotions, no matter how popular he might be among the ladies in his life.
Wikipedia® might help to make Wikipedia not suck.