NZ Bloggers vs Wikipedia

A little disclaimer first. My total edits in this area are here , I have no access to deleted articles or other stuff the general public can't see.

Over the weekend there was a local version of Foo Camp called Baa Camp (There seems to be confusion as to the exact name) held north of Auckland. Various journalists, technical types and even a couple of government ministers attended. From all accounts much fun was had by all and interesting stuff took place.

The problem began however when local bloggers/journalists Russell Brown and Juha Saarinen decided to create a Wikipedia article about it.

The problem is that there are hundreds of conferences around the world every day ( like this ) and the majority of these do not justify a Wikipedia entry. So the Wikipedia editors are used to removing details about conferences that are non-notable.

One of the big things in Wikipedia is ( from Wikipedia:Notability ) :

A topic is notable if it has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial published works from sources that are reliable and independent of the subject itself and each other.

This bit is usually the minimum threshold that all articles must meet. So while the average Homeless guy is unknown this guy has a documentary and many articles about him.

So the Baa Camp people created an article which was quickly removed as spam ( sorry I don't have a copy) probably because it lacked links, external references and contained phrases like "The meeting marks a historical turning point for a country that is still focused on primary industries" ( see this old version ) .

Juha and Russell reacted with a little bit of shock that their article had been removed ( See blog posts here , and talk page here) and recreated the article a few times until it got a slower and more formal Articles for deletion nomination.

Things seem to have calmed down a little but it is interesting to watch Russell, Juha and friends run around of the Blogs and Wikipedia acting offended that they are being painted as spammers and subject to "needlessly hostile editing".

What they need to understand is that Wikipedia is there to create an Encyclopedia and articles that fall outside that criteria are not wanted. They created an article that looked a lot like spam, was for a not "obviously important" event, didn't contain external references (blogs don't count) and is in an area that commonly gets other non-notable articles.

It is very obvious from their posts that they have never edited Wikipedia before and have thus taken some of the processes as personal attacks against them. This is not the case. They just needed to take a little while (which they appear to have now) to calm down and work with everybody.

On a related note, if you live in or near Auckland there is a Meetup for Wikipedians taking place on Saturday the 10th in Mt Eden. See Wikipedia:Meetup/Auckland 2 for details.


Posted 2007-02-06