Writing a Wikipedia article is painful. Not exactly the best way to start, I know, but hear me out. First of all, it’s all so arbitrary. What qualifies for more than a “stub”?Who decides what a good reference is or is not?Are the mods time traveling Nazis?These are questions that must be answered!
My task was to either create a new article or at least expand on an existing stub. Sounds easy, right?Yeah, not so much. To start off with, everything has already been written. A million+ articles is more knowledge than anyone place should have! If you can think it, it has been done. I promise you that. Fortunately for me, I found a very small stub on a man that I actually knew a little something about. Did you catch the word “little”?I hope so, because that’s all I could muster. Sure, I expanded it to more than just a cursory paragraph. I added sections and links and what I believe are “real” references, but damn…
Now here’s the real kicker: should I put up a large article that would easily qualify as a doctorate thesis, any yahoo could come along and edit it. Not only that, but, one of the moderators or editors could come along and scrap the whole thing on little more than a whim. Sure, there is a process in place to make your case as to why it should not be deleted, but even then it can be arbitrary.
Don’t get me wrong though. I believe that the processes in place are most likely very important. When you want your body of work to be taken seriously, you can’t allow just anything to be thrown up. I get that. What I am saying is that there is no possible way they have experts on every single subject, person, place, or thing! No way! Think about it. Such a thing would be ridiculously impossible to do. Even major universities can’t do it. Do you think the University of Texas has an expert on rodeo clowns?Well, a major Texas university might, but I promise you most in this country don’t!
Let’s talk about their so-called markup language. Listen, you can’t take everything everyone ever knew about word processing and HTML (you know, hypertext MARKUP language) and just throw it out the window. I really do understand that some changes are probably necessary due to the way links and references are handled, but asking me to forget everything is just ridiculous. Why would I put some crazy dashes to make a level 2 header?Why not just let me use the far more sensible
?I guess that would make too much sense!
I do want to make it clear that I greatly value Wikipedia. I have even donated to help keep it alive. They do a lot of good and help keep the world informed. That can be nothing but good. However, that does not mean that I am cut out for writing for them. Maybe I have difficulty with staying neutral. If it’s not fairly obvious, I have a pretty high opinion of my own opinion. My points need to be made as far as I am concerned! Well, Wikipedia doesn’t want my opinion and that’s okay. I understand the fact that my type of writing is not for them and vice-versa. I did what I was supposed to do though and I hope it’s good enough. Now I just have to hope I have this pecha kucha thing figured out…