I was clearing out my gmail and got a kind note from Wikipedia from JoshuaZ and I was compelled to write something to explain why I would be declining his invitation to return to the debate.

I was a huge fan an promoter of Wikipedia and now I hate it with a vengence so its time to leave.
The last straw was the recent
deletion debate for a small school called Finger Lakes and the associated Deletion Review. The hatred and blame heaped by editors and adminstrators alike was more than I could take. More and more my time was caught up in AfDs and reading Admin discussions or some Request for Arbration.

I am a teacher and mentor to alot of other teachers and I really can no longer recommend Wikipedia as a place teachers should bring student to get caught in a buzz saw of ”’guidelines”’ and debates. So I need to spend my time elsewhere.

I believe this issue of ”’notability”’ will eventually rip Wikipedia apart. As much as people articluate issues of quality and verifiability I can’t help but feel that notability standard is being built as a weapon. It is stated as the single (and only reason) to delete content regardless of the validity of the content. I offer as examples the following quote from recent debates:

  • Elementary schools are not inherently notable
  • An article can be well-written and verifiable and yet be about something utterly unnoteworthy.
  • Size and verifiability are not at issue. Notability os (is?).
    Notability is a subjective media driven, popularity contest. Heavily weighted toward American popular content.

    If the DRV debate isn’t enough evidence, the recent coverage of Wikipedia in some of the content I follow is more examples of the farce that we are becoming. During the Edtech talk podcast they discussed the Deletion of Stephen Downes article who is a fairly respected member of the Educational Technology community and a fellow of the National Research Council but apparently was consider un-notable by some. The specific comment what what are they worried about – running out of paper? followed by laughter.

    The recent issue of Rob Levin making my friend Kaliya’s Blog which also questioned the notability standard. The deletion debate on Rob’s article which apparently was of a significant level of discussion that even Jimbo Wales weighed in with the comment that even he didn’t understand the debate.

    My goal in creating articles was to create content that would draw editors. The barriers to entry are large and intimidating. I was stunned recently to find their was no article on Punch Dickins a flying hero of mine. I created a stub that I wasn’t overly happy with but User:Bzuk to the rescue with more content. This is what advances the dialog. Was my first article bad enough to get AfDed – probably. Is a small school notable – probably not, but that is not its job. If editors of articles are forced to spend time seeing if someone famous at lunch somewhere to prove a city park deserves an article we are chasing the wrong kind of information.

    As with all things, I believe the imperative in AfD should be at first do no harm, regardless of all the rules is the content creating real demonstrable harm. If not – live and let live.

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