Wikipedia Battle Log: Neologisms, Minorities and US Centric Views

On: February 6, 2007
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About Twan Eikelenboom
One of the first Masters of Media to crawl upon this blog (2006/2007)! Still following (and at times contributing) to this great project. Working at Dutch sectorinstitute for e-culture Virtueel Platform. Special interest in stories resulting from new media product use (think: sat nav gone wrong) and independent gaming. Also blogging at http://newmw.wordpress.com

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Bomb (yes taken from Wikipedia, no not a neologism)In a couple of the previous posts on MoM we announced that we were adding the term ‘Shocklog’ to the English Wikipedia. Why? Well, the term is used often in the field of Media Studies and genre specific blogs need to have a name. But since last week our entry has been removed (again). Wikipedia doesn’t allow neologisms and because shock + log = neologism, there will be no shocklog entry on Wikipedia. So why did it get deleted?

Just a couple to give you a perspective:

* Merge with Blog, as a “Shocklog” is a type of blog. Flakeloaf 04:10, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
* Delete Lacks sources demonstration sufficient use to satisfy WP:NEO. Sources consist of a couple of foreign-language blogs and an on-line Master’s thesis. Need published sources complying with WP:RS –Shirahadasha 04:52, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
* Very Strong Delete One of the “sources” cited puts the nail in the coffin on this one! From “Masters of Media:”[1] “To our surprise the term shocklog, a wellknown term in the Netherlands, was nowhere to be found on the rest of the World Wide Web. We wanted that to change, so we -The Masters of Media- coined the term on a new English Wikipedia entry.” So, they invented it and posted it on Wikipedia in order to coin a new term.zadignose 18:17, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
* Delete: still a neologism in English, and acknowledged by the authors to be “nowhere to be found on the rest of the World Wide Web”. — The Anome 11:13, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

So when is a new term actually a new term according to Wikipedia? When the word is used in a certain part of the universe and the other part of the universe doesn’t know this English term yet, what are we in for then? Global battle of the wiki’s? And who controls the meaning of the English vocabulary when it is the language of many people in these days. When this neologism of Shocklog is used as an English term in the Netherlands, doesn’t that make it valid? There were some voices against the deletion and I have to mention that I don’t know how many of these originate from my fellow MoM bloggers, but to give you an idea:

* Not Delete The entry is based on two published sources; two MA thesis’ which were published by the University of Amsterdam. Just to clear up the confusion with regards to the Masters of Media blog post, they -MofM- did NOT make up this term, they only created an entry in Wikipedia about it! “With ‘coining a term to the world” they mean introducing published material via wikipedia to a larger public. The MA thesis’ and the videofiles date earlier than the MofM post (and wiki-entry) does. ・The preceding unsigned comment was added by 83.160.180.211 (talk) 10:48, 22 January 2007 (UTC).
* Not Delete This article is well resourced and only being targeted because of US-centric editing. As a regular reader of Wikipedia (yes, I know, our opinions are not as important as those of OCD-disorder-driven editors) I am interested in terms which may not be used in the US but are used elsewhere. In this case, it only takes a bit of Google research (search “shocklog blog”) to see this term has a meaning and is in use. Is Wikipedia an American or global project? ・The preceding unsigned comment was added by 150.182.149.137 (talk) 19:33, 22 January 2007 (UTC).
* Not Delete Wholehearted agreement. I, too, am a regular reader and believe that neologisms such as these are essential parts of the Wikipedia. ・The preceding unsigned comment was added by LordFoom (talk ・ contribs) 07:34, 23 January 2007 (UTC).
* keep this is a good objective article meeting WP:WEB. But these are a special type of blog, and they are special enough, albeit in a negative way, to be appropriate for an article. The analogy is Shock site, which goes into considerably more detail than is thought appropriate on this article. The article served its purpose–I never knew about them until I read the WP article–and I would say the same here. The statement that “shocklog, a wellknown term in the Netherlands, was nowhere to be found on the rest of the World Wide Web. We wanted that to change, so we -The Masters of Media- coined the term on a new English Wikipedia entry.” says the exact opposite of their having invented it. They took a term used in one country and began using it in another. They did not coin the word. If it were in wide use in the Netherlands but not here, it would still deserve an entry in the en WP.DGG 23:11, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

So there is a minority supporting the term in the Wikipedia crowd. The voice of the many however decided against the term. Is this a hint that these English terms should just go to their own country’s Wikipedia? Ie: We put the term only on the Dutch Wikipedia? Questions, questions and more questions. But this shows us the fragile side of Wikipedia, the encyclopedea of the masses. Not of the minorities.

18 Responses to “Wikipedia Battle Log: Neologisms, Minorities and US Centric Views”
  • February 6, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Definitely interesting case. Depending on which side of the fence you’re on, this is either the wisdom of crowds at work or mob rule. But I think it is more complex – there’s the whole ‘bureaucracy’ of policies and guidelines behind the process of deletion – what Galloway calls protocols – which is also subject to change. (Protocol always includes its own resistance, etc, etc.)
    By engaging in this debate or others like it on Wikipedia, one is ‘making’ Wikipedia what it is (the arguments against the article were about what Wikipedia isn’t), even if that doesn’t yield an immediate result. this shouldn’t be taken as a ‘romantic’ view, it is simply the case. The minority view can assemble, crowds grow. The question is what to do..
    Sorry, I’ve become a Wikipedia apologist :)

  • February 6, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    only the first ‘not delete’ discussion post comes from MofM (it is mine). The others come from outside Holland. You can check with http://cqcounter.com/whois/?query=uva.nl

  • February 7, 2007 at 1:02 am

    So first the protocol has to change, in order for content to be able to change? That is interesting, but what if there is no willing majority to change the protocol that keeps minorities intact?
    It does keep me wondering about what truth actually is, what is a fact according to wikiprotocol?

  • February 7, 2007 at 2:02 am

    in my overly simple opinion, we’ve committed a “victimless crime”. I.e. even if neologisms are unworthy of mentioning, who cares? It’s not like we are hogging precious Wikipedia diskspace. There may be some souls on this planet for whom our entry may prove useful – and for those who think it’s rubbish, well, they don’t HAVE to read it.

    Basically I don’t see any reason why people would campaign against the entry other than anal retentive rulefollowing and/or spite.

  • February 7, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    @Twan I actually think protocols are there to keep the whole intact, i.e. working together, discussing, participating – the use of the term minority here suggests that it will always be the same ‘class’ that is discriminated against, even though it would be perfectly okay for us to organize more support for the article and republish it.
    Ultimately, though, I’m realizing you’re right about the US (and UK?) centrism of en.wikipedia – there are definitely biases on the site.
    About what is ‘truth’ or knowledge on wikipedia, i think it is important to think of how reflexive the wiki format is – there’s a ‘certainty of uncertainty’ about knowledge embedded in software that allows continuous editing, ‘reverts’, additions, deletions, etc.

    @ peppie – I would think what you call ‘anal retentive’ behavior is probably the only reason Wikipedia’s thousands of authors have managed to produce an intelligible body of work.

  • February 8, 2007 at 1:29 am

    There’s a difference between anal retentive scrutiny of facts etc (which is sweet) and anal retentive rule following (which is annoying). I am assuming there is some kind of rule against writing pages about neologisms, but I don’t see the logic behind it. So what if it’s a buzzword? If it’s a buzzword, then people are bound to hear it at some point, and a few may want to look it up only to find there’s no entry. That’s no service!

    There is a point to be made to add the shock log term to the general entry on blogs and/or shock sites – but in my opinion, that takes away from the amount of attention or the freedom to expand on the term; if a term gets its own page, then people can work on better defining it, researching it, giving examples and so on rather than that it remains a minor paragraph in a very large entry about a related subject.

    And again I ask – who suffers from an extra page with a definition of a term that has been used before by various people? How is it polluting the ether? Are we breaching academical codes of integrity? I’m trying to figure out the motives of the people who liked to see the entry axed and I have a tough time thinking of constructive/’noble’ ones.

  • February 8, 2007 at 1:51 am

    perhaps a good idea (and a big mistake from our part not having done this earlier) is to add the term to the dutch wikipedia first…. If we are claiming that the word is commonly used in the netherlands, then why hasn’t it been denotated in wikipedia.nl?

  • February 8, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    By the way, nothing really gets deleted on the Web :)
    see http://www.answers.com/topic/shocklog

  • February 11, 2007 at 1:44 am

    The Web will prevail! The message beats the medium! Or is the medium the cause of the message?

  • February 13, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    […] First, a lesson about Wikipedia: not everything goes, truly. No, really! Look at what Masters of Media has to say: In a couple of the previous posts on MoM we announced that we were adding the term ‘Shocklog’ to the English Wikipedia. Why? Well, the term is used often in the field of Media Studies and genre specific blogs need to have a name. But since last week our entry has been removed (again). Wikipedia doesn’t allow neologisms and because shock + log = neologism, there will be no shocklog entry on Wikipedia. […]

  • March 30, 2007 at 12:59 am

    […] and again until it is good, with the help of user opinions. This really reminded me of the already infamous Wikipedia wars, which is more about events, persons, etc. while Google Earth is about space and meaning. As […]

  • March 30, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    […] and again until it is good, with the help of user opinions. This really reminded me of the already infamous Wikipedia wars, which are more about events, persons, etc. while Google Earth is about space and meaning. As […]

  • April 16, 2007 at 1:27 am

    […] and again until it is good, with the help of user opinions. This really reminded me of the already infamous Wikipedia wars, which are more about events, persons, etc. while Google Earth is about space and meaning. As […]

  • October 7, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    […] possible to rethink this production as both a local and global operation. General assumptions about Wikipedia’s ‘U.S.-centrism’ should be tested empirically, and alongside article content researchers should make use of location […]

  • October 7, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    […] possible to rethink this production as both a local and global operation. General assumptions about Wikipedia’s ‘U.S.-centrism’ should be tested empirically, and alongside article content researchers should make use of location […]

  • December 24, 2007 at 11:48 am

    […]the only reason Wikipedia’s thousands of authors have managed to produce an intelligible body of work.[…]
    Thanks for this interesting discussion about wikiprotocols. For a non-profit organization in the Netherlands, a team of seven
    volunteers is creating a free Online Learning Environment about Law. We are experimenting with a combination of MediaWiki and Blog, to provide an environment where people can add their own information and find new information from other users. We have had strange entries (and even sometimes false information) that we had to remove… cqcounter.com and answers.com can be helpfull for us as well. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

  • July 20, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    […] those who don’t read Dutch but are interested, is really as peripheral as the term shocklog would imply and as notable as the ‘death threat’ article claims. It’s a mix of permanent […]

  • July 31, 2008 at 9:19 am

    very good information

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