Sun 30th January 2011, 6:56pm
QUOTE(Doc glasgow @ Sun 30th January 2011, 10:26am)
Actually, arguing about what is "encyclopedic" or not is pointless.
The argument only works by saying "this isn't the type of thing that appears in other encyclopedias". But Wikipedia is actually sui generis
. All other encyclopedias have space limitations of some nature, and therefore require to make decisions over importance and reject some material as too trivial. Wikipedia does not have to make that choice.
In theory all material that's verifiable and neutral could be included. In practice the only limitation there ought to be (although most Wikipedians deny it) is what the community and its processes have a hope of maintaining. However, given damage done by a list like this if badly maintained is negligible (unlike a BLP) there's no particular reason to exclude it.
The receipts in your pocket fall foul of verifiability, and the telephone directory falls foul of maintainability - encyclopedic doesn't come into it.
We'd be better using the term "Wikipedic" rather than "encyclopaedic". While Wikipedia shares an encyclopedia's goal of neutral description of organised verifiable facts, beyond that, any comparison is worthless.
Absolutely. Being a completely new kind of thing, an encyclopedia without space limitations, makes Wikipedia a new thing
that has no perfect comparisons in the real world. "Quantity has a quality all its own" as Napoleon notes. A collection of encyclopedias without bound can look like all the encyclopedias in your paper library, including Encyclopedia of Woodworking
, and The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
. (Do a Google search on "Encyclopedia", and you'll find more than one subject that has been fought over by inclusionists and deletionists in WP, and yet it's already out there in paper. Consider: New Encyclopedia of Paper Folding Designs
. We had problems with toilet paper role end folding and this is something seen in every hotel in the world. What about an encyclopedia of artistic origami designs which are far less notable. And yet, here is it is in print, from Amazon, as a coffee table book.
And if you go to "online," you get the damndest things--- like The On-line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences
. which is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of sequences of integers generated by various mathematical algorithms, like the number of trees with n unlabled nodes (1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 23, 47, 106, 235, 551, 1301...). That sequences has its own page, as you see by hitting "search" on the main page, as an example. An it's heavily cited in journals of combinatorics.
As are thousands of others.
How The Encyclopedia of Associations
, a comprehensive source
of detailed information on over 162,000 nonprofit membership organizations worldwide.
In spite of WP:NOTALMANAC it is clear that WP is already a fine almanac and much more, and there's nothing in the world standing in the way of WP:going all the way and including every single type of information you find in an almanac. That includes tide table and ephemera.
Which brings us to the idea of "maintenence." Sorry, Doc, but I have to disagree with you, there. The worst maintainability problen on WP has to do with vandalism, and so long as the site refuses to do anything about THAT, it's pointless to complain about inability to keep up with changes in valid information that need to be made as a result of natural changes in truth over time, like the state of the snowfall in New York City, but also the current weather in Weedpatch, California. The badness of WP giving access to a Bronx Telephone Directory of 2011 is not the fact that many numbers will have changed by 2012: that goes without saying. The badness is in allowing WP to become an indistriminate big brother that helps the web keep track of individuals over time. We probably can't stop that, but there's no point in encouraging sites that help it, either, and we all know that telephone numbers get published by phone companies to get ad revenue, and that you need to pay to be UNLISTED. Of all the outrages that are Wikipedia, they all have their genesis in people not being able to request ommission from phone-books and databases for free, simply because databases (unlike WP) make ad money on how many entries the have.
Any bit of data is a bit of history as soon as you commit it to media. The census of 1880 is not worth erasing simply because none of it is true NOW. Nor the Bronx telephone directory of 1920, which has its own interests and charms. Wikipedia simply needs somewhat better mechanisms to keep track of the last time a bit of information was "updated," is all. So long as the telephone directory of 2000 doesn't CLAIM to be the telephone directory of 2011, what's the problem? WP long ago passed the point of not bothering with information that is changable at any moment (WP:NOTNEWS is another total joke), so that
horse is LOOOOONG out of the barn. Arguing about it now is silly. We need to get back on track with the badness of invasion of personal privacy, and let the rest of the stuff go back to its position of being an issue of updating "news." And that's not just some celebrity's new "romance" but also new CODATA values for the "constants" of nature. One type of info changes more slowly than the other, but there's really no bright line.
The bright line, if there is one, is in the badness of "maintennence" of personal info, in BLP. If we can't maintain information about weather in Weedpatch, no damage is done.