Monday, March 07, 2011

Wikipedia: Deletionists Delete Article About Deletionists

A little over a year ago, the well-known comic book, etc. writer Peter David published a column in Comic Buyer's Guide magazine discussing the nonsensical recent deletion of the Wikipedia article on actor Kristian Ayre. As a result, the wikipedia entry on Ayre was restored. A scan of the Peter David article itself (which is not otherwise online, Comic Buyer's Guide is primarily a print-only publication) was also uploaded to wikipedia with the express consent of Mr. David.

This was apparently fine for a year, until last month someone decided wikipedia didn't really have appropriate permission to hold a scan of the article, and ultimately deleted it despite being informed that the author clearly had authorized its use. Oh the irony.

Now Mr. David has joined the deletion review discussion. If every such discussion on wikipedia wasn't so damn wordy, it would be hilarious.

A quote from Mr. David:
This is Peter David, the author of the piece in question, speaking. Since I post infrequently, I don't have the hang of the various codes and such required, so I apologize in advance if there are elements to this post that are missing, but the content should be clear nonetheless. While I appreciate irony as much as anyone, I feel compelled to point out that I could not have been more explicit in giving broad and total freedom to distribute the article in question as much as humanly possible. For individuals here, now, to try and seize on some aspect of Wikipedia bylaws in order to delete an article critical of Deletionists seems remarkably self-serving and--as the Church Lady would say--conveeeeenient.

Useful links

Ultimately, this episode illustrates a scenario not uncommon with any large organization, especially one with with a bunch of engineers, where technicalities in rules get elevated in importance far above their purpose and substance. While this doesn't seem like a bad thing in theory (we don't want people justifying murder on a whim), it can sometime lead to disastrous results when common sense is ignored. Here, the world will not end, I suppose, but the drama was unnecessary.

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