Introducing: A Wiki Debut

On: September 30, 2010
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About Laurent Hubeek
Laurent Hubeek is currently participating in the UvA New Media Master’s program. He has also spent time studying at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where he received a Master’s degree in information sciences. Before making the switch to the UvA, Laurent worked at Accenture, a large multi national IT consulting company, and participated in a variety of projects focusing on HR systems automation. Activities ranged from functional design and requirements elicitation to offshore team coordination and system configuration. Having left behind the world of business IT, Laurent is now exploring his interests in Web culture, social media phenomenon, the security and privacy aspects of IT use, cloud computing and (online) gaming and its design principles. Having an appreciation for old media (and old curiosities in general), he is also developing his skills as a writer on Masters of Media, Xi and his own blog.


My entry is now listed as AfD: Articles for Deletion. This is going well!In order to gain some more insight in the inner workings of Wikipedia,  I’ve created a new entry about the book Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women by Ricky Jay. A highly recommended history book about some of the worlds most amazing circus and sideshow entertainers and… Well, just read the entry.

Let’s see how long it lasts before the tireless falcons of Wikipedia swoop down on my entry. Keep an eye on this post for updates!

Edit1: Hmm, received a “Proposed for Deletion” notification straight away. Apparently, some wiki bot with a distinct lack of insight into what constitutes entertainment value and cultural heritage labelled this book as “lacking notability.” Naturally, I removed the label from my entry and sent a message back extolling the virtues of this book. Does it pay to argue with a bot? Who knows. Lets hope its human overlords prove receptive.

Edit2: I now seem to have the attention of Fæ, a mighty botsmaster and somewhat of a cruel mistress. Fæ added the following:

“Searching Google News, Google Books and generally there appears to be little chance that the criteria for notability will be addressed in the near future.”

My entry is now listed as AfD: Articles for Deletion. This is going well!

Edit3: I’ve caught the attention of another wiki admin called Racklever. Unfortunately, my article is now listed as an orphan. This makes me sad. It seems my entry will have to live out the last days of its short life in isolation, clinging desperately to that one thread that is its link to the author’s page.

Also, more importantly, I just discovered this discussion page. There seems to be some discussion going on amongst the guardians of Wikipedia. Apparently Google Books does give some good hits and the book was named a notable book of the year. My entry may yet live!

Final Edit: My entry is saved! Deliberation amongst the Wikipedia admins has yielded enough support to maintain the page. I’ve added some more details and references and proudly removed the “Articles for Deletion” tag. Unfortunately, Wikipedia seems to be having some server issues so I can’t save my update. I’ll keep trying, though.

It’s interesting to gain some insight into the inner workings of Wikipedia like this. My first reaction to this entire deletion discussion led me to think that all the admins were a bunch of hard liners who enjoy exercising their power over the lowly newbies. Also, claiming that a book is not notable enough because you can’t find much information on it using Google seems short sighted and a nice starting point for an entire discussion on what constitutes notability and how to measure the relevance of a work. It’s also a sure fire way to ensure the book remains under represented on the Web. A classic Catch-22. Obviously this book isn’t Shakespeare, but is it fair to expect a heavy Web presence of a book that was published before the Web existed as viable platform?

All in all, I’m happy with how things turned out. I gained some insight into the activities of a wiki admin and was pleasantly surprised by the discussion that took place. To be fair, I knew this book was fairly obscure and that was exactly why I thought it deserved its own entry. Knowledge of its existence should be spread. For my next entry I’ll be taking suggestions. Anybody know any other obscure books about peculiar topics that might trigger some admins?

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