Talk:Wikimedia fundraiser highlights webcomic community's frustration with Wikipedia guidelines

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Note: Why is this up for speedy deletion?

I'd just like to mention that while many non-notable webcomics have been deleted, many non-notable "other things" have not been, such as middle-of-nowhere towns or bridges, or railway stations, or individual species of Pokemon. If you want to list only "notable" stuff, fine, but apply such a ruling across the board, not just to webcomics.

Seriously, EVERY SINGLE RAILWAY STATION in Britain has an article. Check it out. Are you prepared to tell me they are ALL notable???

Furthermore, wikipedia has an article on teabagging. TEABAGGING, people. Tell me that's more notable than a webcomic.

The deletion rules in general are broken.Edit

Wikipedia keeps a complete edit history for every article. That includes every mistaken edit, typo, and even outright defacing. Given that, there is absolutely no excuse for any article to ever be deleted - at most it should get a "This subject is not notable, feel free to move this article and re-use this title for something else" tag.

They sure are. In fact wikipedia is ruled by people who do nothing else but troll (yes I said troll) for things they dissagree with. A persons opinion about whether an article should be deleted or not is just that - opinion, it is not fact. And the most pedantic person wins. Normal intelligent people give up arguing with the idiots and leave the site. Wikipedia has become what it set out to defeat - an inaccurate guide.-- 13:49, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

It's Not Just WebcomicsEdit

I've seen articles on Conventions deleted for the same 'lack of notability' just because enough people didn't show up to 'em. WikiFur doesn't have an article here, and quite honestly, it's gotten to the point where if I want the honest truth about something I've read, I have to go to Encyclopedia Dramatica to hear it properly, as opposed to waiting for Wikipedia to decide which sources are worth listening to.

The only thing Wikipedia's left worth reading are the Science Articles. Anything even remotely social or internet-related, and it's a piece of crap. 04:14, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

It's not just notability that's an issue for webcomics. The Ursa Major Awards were deleted with some of the commentary clearly showing animus toward the subject. The awards have a new wikipedia page but how soon until the thing goes through AfD all over again?
You're right though that it's not just webcomics. There was an edit on the page for Victor Perlo that was just plain Orwellian and it stood for months. The justification for the edit was that the truthful things posted (that Perlo was head of the Perlo spy ring, member of the Ware spy ring, and was a communist spy) had been put up by a banned user and so it was just a mass revert to something out of the CPUSA biography of Perlo. The newspeak version even stuffed one of Perlo's wives down the memory hole because she denounced him as a spy in 1944. Now who cares about cold war spies and US marxists? Obviously there are a few people willing to beaver away at the facts until they are more comfortable with what's left. Look at the page, look at the talk, you'll see a link to the relevant diff. I'm not quite sure what the cure is for it though. TMLutas 15:21, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Science is getting hit by the deletionist bug too [1]
I'd call that "technology" (74181 being a bitslice processor) not science ... and I've seen "notability" flamage in other technology areas too. That case is particularly pathetic: article gets written then, same day it's written!, marked for deletion. Sick. It's as if some editors are getting off on the ability to censor and create a little world that's as devoid of specialized/quirky interesting data as those crappy encyclopaedias that populate grade school libraries. -- 09:55, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Not just webcomics: in September/October 2007, a lot of RPGs (role playing games) were hit by Gavin.collins for "notability". Award-winning "Transhuman Space" and its author, David Pulver, for examples. Science fiction personality James Nicoll has had problems too, though I don't remember the details.

I think there's a real tension in that a lot of people value Wikipedia for being able to track current trends and sub-cultures, but often by their very nature the only real source of information about a current sub-culture is someone who's in it. You don't want RIAA people editing articles about their activities, but the only people who know much about 4chan culture will be people who spend time on 4chan. (user Mindstalk on wikipedia, 1:43 EDT 26 Oct 2007)

Online games, too, fall into under this trap. I develop one; it has had an article created and deleted several times (sometimes without any discussion - despite the fact that there are actual "print" magazine articles about it). It's even worse since they aren't defined as being under WEB or SOFTWARE; so notability issues are difficult to define. It always appears to me like deletions are done by people who want to look like they're "doing something important" (and they are sometimes assholes while doing so).

I, too, used to be a heavy donator to Wikipedia but it is difficult for me to open my wallet as long as there are articles about minor dark jedi or pokemon - as subjects notable only within a social niche - but other things are culled simply because the people who make the decisions haven't heard of them and aren't interested in making the articles more robust (which, in many cases, may be the problem: the initial author didn't know enough to make the article strong, but it gets deleted before it can grow).--Jorm 18:23, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia and Webcomics: A HistoryEdit

Having alternately watched, participated in, mediated, and baffled by both sides of the "debate" (half emotionally-charged yelling match, half getting caught up in the latest wiki-philosophy du jour, the same handful of participants each year, and almost zero actual article-writing), here is my recount of how things "went down". It all started November 1, 2004.

First, I need to mention Eric Burns, aka Websnark, also aka Websnark. I'm not sure how to describe him in terms everyone can agree on, except that he is one of the big proponents of webcomics. He also likes Wikipedia, and so he puts forth "A Modest Proposal" in which he basically says, hey, Wikipedia is heavily skewed towards webheads, webcomics are heavily skewed towards webheads, let's put two and two together and get some cross-pollination going on. There are other reasons, put much more eloquently than I can summarize here, so I recommend reading the entire thing. As part of his proposal, Burns states that:

"I think every webcomic with more than 100 strips worth of archives on the web should have an entry in Wikipedia."

(As an aside, much of Burns's original proposal has a lot of elements that would come into play later. Individual articles on minor characters are noted as "silly", plot summaries are de-emphasized, while objectivity is emphasized. Conflict of interest is also addressed; Burns explicitly says someone other than the author has to write the article)

That day, the webcomics project is started. From there is an awful lot of talk page hoo-ha (some of which is buried under redirects) but the bulk of the discussion happens at w:Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Webcomics/Notability and inclusion guidelines. Highlights of the notability page includes:

  • Much discussion of what "100 strips' worth" means
  • Introduction of a time-based criteria
  • Introduction of the infamous Alexa test, set for almost the entirety of the discussion at 100,000, even when it merged into the general web criteria, which suggested a more significant 5,000 for "other" websites (remember, an Alexa 5,000 means the top 5,000 websites, meaning any webcomic in the top 100,000 was eligible under the criteria).

Others eventually work their way into the discussion, but about a year later Burns retracts his proposal and puts up a new one, which leads to (the next day, if I'm not mistaken) Comixpedia, the wiki for webcomics. About a month or so later civility goes out the window. The arguing heats up to the point of an ArbCom, and in so many words "webcomics" storms out of the 'Pedia in a huff.

At some point the webcomics notability guideline gets merged into WP:WEB and, later, completely rewritten, pretty much throwing out all the unwieldy proposals up to that point and looking more like our general notability criteria. Megatokyo reaches FA status; nobody notices. WikiProject Webcomics gets merged into WikiProject Comics; nobody notices.

(END OF HISTORY, comments begins here)

For those curious as to the scope of webcomics on wiki, Category:Webcomics contains a grand total of 1416 mainspace pages (count taken using AWB). I also recommend anyone coming from (for example) Schlock Mercenary read our featured article on Megatokyo for an example of what an ideal Wikipedia article looks like. Nifboy 07:46, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

What I always found funny was that Dragonfiend, one of the main proponents of deleting webcomics, generally ignored the ArbCom ruling, saying that its admonishment to remain civil "didn't apply" to her. An example of her behavior: even after arguing that "Girly" wasn't notable and losing the discussion, she blanked the page on her own, vandalizing it. One of the other big changes that affected many webcomics was the change in notability guidelines, which were designed so that only the top tier webcomics were retained (Dragonfiend, no surprise, was one of the people who wrote said standards). Wiki suffers from the "if it's popular, it must be notable" syndrome. If they treated webcomics as art instead of "Internet phenomenon" (as Dragonfiend and others insist on doing), they might actually have a more accurate picture of what webcomics really are. The main problem is that those who favor allowing in as few webcomics as possible are generally the more stubborn ones who don't go away (example: in one AfD, Dragonfiend pressured an admin into reopening it after he'd closed it with a "no consensus" and then brought in meat puppets to reverse the decision), which has in turn driven away many contributors to the webcomic project. 19:42, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
The incivility cut both ways much of the time. I once broke up a fight between the other two ArbCom participants (Snowspinner and Brenneman); Brenneman retracted most of his comments and apologized, Snowspinner didn't. Certainly very few of the webcomics' participation on-wiki since then has been even remotely civil, since it consists almost entirely of "OMG THEY'RE DELETING X COMIC! SOTP THEM!" And Wikipedians do not take that sort of behaviour well. The only case I've known that actually turned out well was The Whiteboard, which had a phenomenal AfD that was productive, civil, and even had Dragonfiend participating. Nifboy 06:02, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Sadly, while the second nomination in 2009 was a keep, the third was not. This last fortnight, a number of other articles about webcomics were deleted. Everything old is new again. GreenReaper (talk) 01:01, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Conlangs are a frequent targetEdit

Constructed Languages are frequently targeted by Wikipedia's resident rule-lawyers too. An AFD will usually cite "Non-notable, Conlang", or "Wikipedia is not for things someone thought up in school one day", with the frankly insulting connotation that all Conlangs are trivial. The Conlang Community attempted to engage with Wikipedia, creating a conlangs Wikiproject, but the Deletionists took no heed. Kelen, one of the most respected conlangs going, was recently deleted after a debate lasting less than a day, involving only six editors, none of whom know anything about the subject. The admin responsible for closing the debate was contacted and asked to at least restore the deleted article to somebody's user space, but completely ignored the request.

Kelen was relisted and is currently undergoing another discussion. As far as I can tell, almost every specialized community feels that its articles are frequent targets. Part of the problem is that Wikipedia can't write anything about a subject if there aren't any reliable sources. For many of these examples, we don't have reliable sources and so anything written would be original research. JoshuaZ 21:10, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
The guidelines about what sources are reliable are screwed up too. For example, in technology only primary sources are generally reliable, until they've been established for several years. But articles using only primary sources are by definition on track for deletion... which might be right for other areas, but couldn't be more wrong while most technologies are evolving. -- 10:18, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

They get the discussion pages tooEdit

Not only do they delete an article and leave no history record, but when enough people post to the discussion page complaining about the deletion - they delete that too.

Down the memory hole... 15:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Standard practice is to delete talk pages of deleted pages. If someone wants to bring an article back they can either take it to DRV or find additional sources or evidence of notability. JoshuaZ 21:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
This is AFTER deletion. Random people - non-registered users who came to the page looking for information - created a new discussion page asking where the knowledge they were looking for had disapeared to. And when enough people complain - it got deleted too. 17:29, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, recreating talk pages isn't generally a good thing when there isn't any article. The correct thing to do would have been to delete the talk page (again) and to put notes on the relevant pages of the people inquiring explaining what had happened. JoshuaZ 20:09, 27 October 2007 (UTC)


A while ago they deleted the entry for 'Freff', and admittedly obscure Graphic Artist. It makes me wonder though: how many of the deleted webcomics had articles about their authors, that were also deleted?

Also, please define "meat puppet"Edit

Another problem is that when an article is put up for deletion, and anyone puts the word out to those people who would be interested in just such an article, and they arrive in order to vote to save it, they are all labelled "meat puppets" and their votes discounted. - Which implies that the "proper" Wikipedia way to hold a vote is in secret, without letting any people know who are interested in the outcome. -- 19:41, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Thing is, meat puppetry is used by those who want webcomics deleted, too. Dragonfiend, for example, is known for listing AfD's in as many places as she can to attract deletion votes when things turn against her. She's even harassed other users who argued against her by vandalizing comic pages, user pages, and reverting edits they made. 19:43, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Meatpuppetry in this context means random people who aren't Wikipedia community members being called in. Keep in mind that deletion discussions aren't really votes, but discussions and if there aren't any reliable sources, there isn't much we can do about it. JoshuaZ 21:12, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
There is a cure for being labelled a meat puppet. That's to create a wikipedia identity and edit on 2-5 topics that are uncontroversial and don't suffer from problems. I'm currently working on Soviet spies, eastern catholicism, Flying Spaghetti monster, as well as occasional contributions on webcomics. Then when you find out about one of these votes, you don't get called a meat puppet. 00:03, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
This is all well and good until you discover that Wikipedia accounts don't transfer over to Wikinews, the way I did, and have to start from scratch. As far as I can tell, the real cure for being labelled a meat puppet is to damn well know what you're talking about — the more you look like you have genuine expertise, the more likely you won't end up defined as a puppet (unless ala the infamous Checkerboard Nightmare deletion, someone arbritarily decides you need X number of edits for your vote to count.) Jigsaw 03:02, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not going to go into detail here about how the concern over meatpuppets is a legitimate issue to prevent votestacking that does not reflect the Wikipedia community's actual opinion rather than that of otherwise uninvolved people with axes to grind. I further suggest that since the article is now in mainspace all rants or opinions be added to Comments:Wikimedia fundraiser highlights webcomic community's frustration with Wikipedia guidelines. This page is for discussion for improving the article, not our personal opinions. JoshuaZ 03:09, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Interview with a deletionistEdit

T. Campbell interviewed Dragonfiend, a Wiki user heavily involved in deleting most of those 50 comics, here. Might be a good source to refer to. Note that he softballs her with questions and doesn't even bother looking up her past incivilities to other webcomic artists (including Kisai, head of Comic Genesis) and her attempts to discredit Comixpedia just because they were critical of her. 19:58, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

There's also some commentary by Jimbo on the issue, which is perhaps not quite as well informed but is interesting to see just how he responds to it. Nifboy 06:07, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Original reportingEdit

I've added a note about original reporting, since it clearly contains a fair bit. Previous users who have contributed original reporting should note that here. I engaged in some minor original reporting in making the connection in Erfworld. (Full disclosure, I'm a fan of Erfworld and have talked to both Noguchi and Balder about this matter a while back). JoshuaZ 23:45, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Initially started following - as the article says - an email to Howard Tayler. Was blissfully unaware of the issue.
Took this up on the foundation-l mailing list (don't know where there is an online archive WMF doesn't do one for that list). Florence Devouard, the foundation chair discussed an experiment she'd done editing not logged in and being disappointed in the treatment.
That was about the extent of my input, some wiki-aware webcomics people who knew the story better have filled out more of the article and done a fairly good job of it. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:22, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

What are we waiting for?Edit

Is there anything we are waiting for before we publish this? It seems like it is in good enough shape that we can move it to mainspace and slap a review tag on it. JoshuaZ 00:24, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Is this really worthy of an articleEdit

Overcoming the fear of sounding like a deletionist, I'd like to discuss whether this really is worthy of an article. This article serves only to blur the lines between Wikinews and Wikipedia and so encourage those disgruntled with WP to use WN as an outlet for ranting about supposed injustices. I don't want to read about this and I doubt the WN readership does. It also concerns me that Wikinews users are approaching organiations with the intention of paying for advertising for the project. As demonstrated in this case, where the approach has resulted in problems not initially expected. If users have ideas for promoting the project they should discuss this with the foundation who are better placed to negotiate any arrangements with other organistations. Adambro 20:36, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't have a very strong opinion on whether or not this is worth an article. Note that mainstream press has felt that the inclusionism/deletionism matter is a big enough deal to have articles about that matter in at least two cases(IIRC, I don't have the articles off the top of my head) and in other cases to devote large sections of articles about Wikipedia to the matter. And this matter did get to be a large enough issue that multiple interviews were conducted on webcomic themed sites(see sources). We certainly do need to be careful about not devoting too much of our original reporting to Wikimedia related matters, but this at least seems like an ok news article (the earlier Kent Hovind article seemed to be much more problematic in this regard). As to the advertising point, yes that's true and I'd agree with that completely. However, that's not relevant by itself to whether or not this is newsworthy. JoshuaZ 21:24, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Of Course It Is!Edit

If Wikipedia's policies cannot be questioned, how can change ever occur without it being attributed to "mere meat-puppets"? A recent Slashdot article showed how anonymous users were 'just as reliable' as registered ones, and likewise, deleting articles because a user didn't find them 'notable enough' can only be a turnoff to a new user looking to improve wikipedia with their specialized knowledge.
Last I checked, this was a pretty popular 'discussion page' for something that the WN readership supposedly doesn't want to read. Besides, arguing that an article about Wiki Censorship should itself be censored is only going to piss people off further.
As for the advertising issue; yes, it's a little troubling, but it IS how the article started, and it's also why the topic itself is seeing such fervor. 21:52, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Ok, first, there's no need to create new section titles when one is still discussing the same topic as previously. They interfere with formatting and make conversations harder to follow. Similarly, there's no need to add things in bold for emphasis- doing so will likely make people take you less, not more seriously. Now to your various points: Wikipedia policy can be "questioned" - no one is asserting otherwise. The question is whether possible flaws in Wikipedia policy are newsworthy. I'm involved in at least one policy discussion a week, the vast majority of those are not newsworthy by any stretch of the imagination. Furthermore, this isn't an article about "wiki censorship" but an article about a conflict between certain members of the Wikipedia community and certain members of the webcomics community. That certain people call this "censorship" doesn't make it so, and similarly deciding that this isn't newsworthy isn't censorship anymore than it would be censorship for the New York Times to decide not to publish an op-ed about a specific topic. And yes, Wikinews must be careful to not have too many articles on not newsworthy topics otherwise this will degenerate into a group blog and we lose credibility. And if some people get pissed off about that, that's life. JoshuaZ 23:02, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
JoshuaZ makes very good points. Since this article is only going to attract trouble I've listed it for deletion. Adambro 23:13, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
On the off chance that actually getting an account here will make you listen to me more, could one of you PLEASE explain how proposing the deletion of an article questioning Wikipedia's policies about deleting a significant proportion of a genre's work not even THREE DAYS after it was created is anything BUT censorship? Even in the archived discussion about the deletion of this article, the dreaded 'c' word came up again, so I'm hardly the only person to notice this.
I shudder to think what would've happened if somehow you HAD managed to delete it, considering that I left for an event not even four hours ago and people had already made a decision to "Speedy Temp Close" the article by the time I got back. Surely you can't consider it in the 'best interests of the readers' to do that, especially when a good portion of the people following this now know how to make people 'vote with their feet'. Jigsaw 06:51, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Um, as I tried to explain before, it isn't censorship when a news organization decides something isn't newsworthy. It isn't censorship when the New York Times decides not to publish an op-ed for example. JoshuaZ 16:20, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Pravda thanks you for your support.
Or put it another way, once the piece is written and displayed here, the non-transfer to this mainspace you speak of will be interpreted in such a way by inclusionists, the side towards which i find myself leaning

Dragonfied - possible relevancy?Edit

Since Dragonfiend did give an interview on this topic with Broken Frontier some mention of Dragonfiend in the article may be appropriate. Can someone propose neutral language to describe Dragonfiend- something like "A large amount of the criticism has focused on specific editors such as Dragonfiend who gave an interview with Broken Frontier, a webcomic newsite, in response, explaining both Dragonfiend's own positions as well as the attitudes of the Wikipedia community as a whole." Is this ok? JoshuaZ 03:27, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

If you seriously think any single mod can speak for the good of Wikipedia as a whole, then the entire system is so horribly flawed I don't even know where to begin. In that interview, Dragonfiend spoke about his attitudes and his interpretation of Wikipedia policy, and NOT the community as a whole.Jigsaw 06:56, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Please reread what I wrote. Some of what DF mentioned was DF's own opinions. Some was the community attitude. That should be clear to you if read the interview. And future reference, in general Wikipedia "mods" are referred to as "admins". JoshuaZ 15:33, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Of course Deletionist Dragonfiend needs to be written about in this article, but not in your biased wishy washy we love Dragonfiend way. And you shouldn't have deleted all of the parts of this article that were about her. This article needs to include the opinions of the WebComics community, not just be a propaganda machine for Wikipedia. "There are people -- and Dragonfiend is clearly one of them -- who are clearly going through Wikipedia looking for articles that should be weeded out as non-notable. and they're doing it in fields they clearly -- I mean, clearly -- have no interest, experience or knowledge." says Modern Tales editor and Websnark blogger Eric Burns. PartiallyClips and Attitude 3 artist Rob Balder has Dragonfiend's webcomics purge as "a systematic atrocity on a large scale, conducted by a handful of agenda-mongers," because "Wikipedia is run by crazy obsessed shits" such as Dragonfiend and other "category-rapists of webcomics" on their "deletionist jihad." Scottyl 04:13, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

And summarizing this as "Rob Balder who writes a number of article strongly express his distate and contempt for Wikipedia over his experience with Wikipedia regarding webcomics" is not only grammatically incorrect on about a hundred levels but also understates his case to the point of complete inaccuracy. Scottyl 04:39, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't how see how politely describing his attitude is understating the case. Indeed, if anything, it gives him far more credibility. A comment of the form "Rob Balder compared Wikipedia admins to book burning Nazis" isn't exactly flattering. JoshuaZ 15:33, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Why would we be trying to give different sides different levels of credibility? Why would we be trying to flatter either side? Instead I think we whould write this as balanced and as accurately as possible. If the webcomics community says Wikipedia admins are book burning Nazis, then let's just report that accurately. If Dragonfiend says webcomics need to be tied to the stake and burned alive, then let's just report that accurately. But changing someone's words in a way that gives them far more credibility or is more flattering to them really has no place in honest news reporting. This article is "Wikipedia versus the WebComics" and it needs to accurately report that conflict. —Blackholesun 17:43, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
We shouldn't be trying to do anything of the sort. My point (possibly not well stated) was that Scottyl's claim that we were somehow understating Balder's case or presenting it poorly was inaccurate and that if anything the reverse was occurring. I don't think we should include the details of the flamewar because they simply aren't significant. People making intemperate remarks on internet fora is not generally newsworthy. JoshuaZ 17:48, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
If there is a newsworthy philosophical disagreement between Wikipedia and the webcomics community then we ought to describe it accurately and in a balanced manner. That's just basic journalism. If Wikipedia has an attitude that all webcomics must be destroyed, then we should report that explicitly with supporting source material. If the webcomics community describes this "destroy all webcomics" philosophy as that of book burning Nazis, then we should report that explicitly with supporting source material. But if we soften the stance of either or both side that would be highly misleading to readers, and to do it in a way that flatters or "gives [one] far more credibility" would be journalistically unethical. —Blackholesun 18:05, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Up to a point, that can be easily covered by making it clear that the webcomics community strongly disagreed, if we wish to say there were many flamewars over the matter, that might also be acceptable. But I have trouble seeing intemperate flames are newsworthy. Possibly say something like "Balder compared the deletions to book burnings"? We certainly don't need every single rant that Balder has put in the matter in the article. JoshuaZ 18:11, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Things like "Strongly disagreed" and "there were many flamewars" can be editorializing and misleading. We should strive to be balanced, neutral, and objective. If someone noteworthy (like Balder) says "Webcomics deletion on Wikipedia is like Nazis burning books" then paraphrasing this as "he strongly disagreed" doesn't even begin to describe it. On other hand, paraphrasing it as "there were many flamewars" seems to trivialize his views. The accurate and honest way to do it would be with direct quotations. Something like "Balder reacted to the deletion of webcomics by saying insert some quotes here." Yes, of course I agree that we shouldn't quote everything a single webcomic community member writes, but we do need to accurately express their views. We can probably do that in a single sentence, "He said x y and z". We also ought to use multiple sources. Not only do we need to avoid being vague and misleading about Balder's views but we also shouldn't present his views as being the sole voice. There we run the risk of giving his views either too much prominence (he speaks for the entire webcomics community) or making him look like a lone crackpot (he's the only one in the webcomics community who feels this way). It's always best to have multiple sources on both sides of an issue. —Blackholesun 18:36, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Ok, how about the following, same language as is but add Balder called the deletions a "goddamned crime" and said that the deletionist editors were "the politest bunch of book-burning assholes on the planet. Similar sentiments were expressed by other prominent members of the webcomics community such as Websnark (citation is to already cited thread in articles and websnark citation in Scott's early comment). JoshuaZ 19:05, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I've added some of the Balder quotes as discussed. I didn't put the Burns commentary in yet because I think we need to get in some of Wikipedia's side before we get the webcomics side completely fleshed in otherwise it will look one-sided and unbalanced. I'll see what I can find in those Broken Frontier sources. —Blackholesun 03:52, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Encyclopedia Dramatica: Dragonfiend is a Wikipedophile, purportedly female, who has made a name for "herself" by single handedly leading a purge of all webcomic content on Wikipedia. This has earned her no small amount of notability, prompting one of the heads of Keenspace - Kisai - to refer to her as "a smartass bitch deserving of a spanking" (paraphrased). Dragonfiend hates all other Wiki editors and insists that she alone is the blessed prophet of Wiki founder Jimbo Wales. She also believes herself to have superior knowledge about webcomics despite not having one herself and despite having been called an idiot by pretty much every webcomic creator on the Internet. At one point, she grew so obnoxious that not even the powers that be of Wiki - known for their tolerance towards syncophantic bureaucratic fuckers - bitch slapped her six ways from Sunday and told her to "STFU." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Scottyl (talkcontribs)

Encyclopedia Dramatica is a website full of trolls, which has no reliability and has a running feud with Wikipedi; They would be unreliable even without that feud. I would not take it seriously if I were you. In any event, claims made by ED are not reliable enough to get mention in a Wikinews article. JoshuaZ 15:33, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't know much about Encyclopedia Dramatica or whether it's a website full of trolls or not, but that article looks like it's taken directly from Wikipedia which I assume is a reliable source. See w:User:Dragonfiend: Dragonfiend is a Wikipedophile, purportedly female, who has made a name for "herself" by single handedly leading a purge of all webcomic content on Wikipedia. This has earned her no small amount of notability, prompting one of the heads of Keenspace - Kisai - to refer to her as "a smartass bitch deserving of a spanking" (paraphrased). [2] Dragonfiend hates all other Wiki editors and insists that she alone is the blessed prophet of Wiki founder Jimbo Wales. [3] She also believes herself to have superior knowledge about webcomics despite not having one herself and despite having been called an idiot by pretty much every webcomic creator on the Internet. [4] [5] [6] At one point, she grew so obnoxious that not even the powers that be of Wiki - known for their tolerance towards syncophantic bureaucratic fuckers - bitch slapped her six ways from Sunday and told her to "STFU." [7]Blackholesun 17:51, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
That appears to have been just added by yet another vandal. I reverted the vandalism. I've also taken the liberty of semi-protecting Dragonfiend's user page so as to minimize further incidents of this sort. I will for now assume that none of the vandalism is coming from webcomics proponents who are part of the discussion and attempt to build an article here on Wikinews. JoshuaZ 18:02, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Encyclopedia Dramatica is a parody wiki, useless as a direct source. But they have their own standards of notability, to keep users from putting up pointless, unfunny pages about random people they dislike. The fact that they found Dragonfiend notable enough to keep her article up is notable in itself. 01:46, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

A reminder to all interested parties to stay civilEdit


I have no interest in seeing this page become World Flame War XIX. In spite of whatever open hostility anyone has for anyone else, either here or in the past, I'd much rather see calm, rational discussion take place.

To that end I present to all a kitten, to help calm your mental state. Nifboy 08:16, 28 October 2007 (UTC)


A lot of people have hopped over from Howard's blog, and I suspect this has provoked mention elsewhere in the webcomics community. As well as the above kitten being a reminder to be civil, I'd like to ask people to try and be productive and work towards an article that is professionaly done. We need thinks like links, MessedRocker is one of our users who also happens to be a Wikipedia admin. If you can give the exact name of a deleted web comic along with a link to its site then Messed can look at the deleted versions and associated discussion pages.

Please limit opinion on the issue, there will be a comments page when the article is finally published. What is needed are links and verifiable facts. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:01, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm also a Wikipedia admin and can help with anything specific. Frankly, I think most of the matter is well-sourced such as the interviews with Jimbo, and other items. I'm not sure specific problems on talk pages are actually completely germane or worthy of discussing. The public AfDs (which are linked to) provide enough material as far as I can tell. JoshuaZ 15:26, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Deletion discussion reopenedEdit

I've reopened the discussion on whether this article should be deleted at WN:DR. This is not a speedy deletion, it will go through a transparent process whereby everyone can have their say. Adambro 11:25, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

News = new?Edit

Looking into some of the background of this, I don't seem to be able to find anything recent about this. The sources are all from ages ago. Is the only new point that this article is making that when a Wikinews editor asked to advertise the site on a webcomic website they were turned down because of this long standing issue. If this is the case then I'm not sure how newsworthy this is. Whilst the Wikinews editor might have been surprised by this, it doesn't seem too surprising when this issue is considered and so I'm not sure what it is we are really saying with this article. All it seems to say is that someone who could be seen to be from a particular group (Wikimedia editors) asked someone from another group (the webcomics community) whom the first group had previously upset about advertising and was refused. Newsworthy? Adambro 00:16, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

That's a very good point. You should probably mention that at the deletion discussion. JoshuaZ 00:20, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately for your case, reputable news sites, such as the BBC often run callbacks to earlier stories regarding recent developments in that story. Once good obvious example is Global warming (Im not saying this is anywhere near as important as that, just saying that it is not unusual for them to call back to old stories, and using this as an example. Others involve murder cases for example, i could probably dig up links if anyone wants them, but im a touch busy at the moment). The same is true on television. The recent development is, of course, the advocated boycott of the wikimedia foundation fundraiser, as well as the expansion of the protest from just the deletion of webcomic articles to the deletion of articles for other forms of electronic media, such as MMORPGS like Nexuswar (If you want to go there, you can, i wont mess this up with an ad). --The Grimch 03:12, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, this is systematic with the general degredation of all online sources, even and especially when the thing being sourced is also online. Perhaps a general investigation into online standards and reputation is in order. Jigsaw 19:15, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Who watch the watchmen?Edit

What wikipedia needs is a better way of controlling the administrators. A kind of internal affair.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Howard Tayler sourceEdit

I'm concerned that the Howard Tayler blog is being used a source since the blog is in fact talking about this "investigation" itself. This seems disturbingly Ouroboritic. JoshuaZ 01:45, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

You wanted more recent sources, he happens to be one of the few within the past few days. Surely his older source from February is worthwhile, even if you have concerns about the newer one. Jigsaw 02:07, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Furthermore, since it was 'his' intervention that sparked the current situation (or at least its most recent flare-up), you can hardly say it shouldn't be a resource worth including. Jigsaw 02:11, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

The cover of Howard Tayler's first bookEdit

This story currently has an image captioned "The cover of Howard Tayler's first book, something that ensures the safety of Schlock Mercenary's entry on Wikipedia." Can someone explain how the cover of this book ensures the safety of Schlock Mercenary's entry on Wikipedia? I'm probably mnissing something obvious aren't I, but I'm not getting it. —Blackholesun 04:53, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Pretty close to everyone agrees that a webcomic is notable if it has made it into a non self-published dead tree version. JoshuaZ 12:19, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Offtopic Comment: What's wrong with self-publishing? Last I checked, The Schlock Mercenary Books were as self-published as it gets. (Amazon lists the publisher as "The Tayler Corporation", and I'm pretty sure I don't need to connect the dots too far on that one.) Jigsaw 19:10, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, self-published is seems to be treated ok in this regard if its moderately successful. The asserted problem in regard to notability is that anyone can easily self-publish; the barrier is not substantially higher than that of running a random webpage. And don't blame me, I'm simply explaining the caption of the photo. JoshuaZ 21:17, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
The image and caption don't make any sense at all then. We've got Dragonfiend quoted as saying that notability is "whether a topic has been noted by independent reputable sources" but then we give an example of a self-published book cover ensuring the "safety of Schlock Mercenary's entry on Wikipedia." Self-published is not independent, or is it? Or is she completely wrong on what Wikipedia's notability policy is? —Blackholesun 00:56, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Given my own assessment of Dragonfiend I would say the latter, but since I wasn't here to witness the original purge I'll keep my opinions of her to that. Schlock Mercenary is still notable, Howard Tayler sells thousands of his books (which are of high professional quality - full color, glossy pages, the works), and the books are available through, like I said. I would consider fairly reputable, and Mr. Tayler's publishing accomplishments are still notable. Jigsaw 02:09, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, whether Dragonfiend is correct, empirically speaking the presence of book material has been generally taken to be a sign of sufficient notability for webcomics. Dragonfiend's definition is in fact close to the actual definition contained at the notability guideline but in practice notability is not precisely what is contained there and can run somewhat in either direction (Example- I ran into this recently about a Christian themed edition of Ubuntu where there were separate third party sources but since they didn't say anything much other than "Hey! It's a Chrisian ubuntu" it was decided that inclusion in the general Ubuntu variants list would make more sense). And actually, no Amazon isn't reputable at all in this regard. They stock all sorts of self-published junk and simply uncritically repeat whatever the publisher or author said about the book. In some cases what they do almost amounts to simple slurping. JoshuaZ 02:57, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
The image of the self-published book should probably be replaced with an image of a webcomics book from a publishing company then. —Blackholesun 04:37, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
The only ones with mainstream-published books that immediately spring to mind are PvP and Megatokyo; take your pick as to which one would be more appropriate. I think the Schlock Mercenary book image can stay, but more needs to be written in order to highlight the capriciousness of the notability guidelines if what was suddenly a perfectly good book up to this point in the article can be written off as 'non-notable vanity publishing' just because he went and did it himself. Jigsaw 06:24, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Sluggy Freelance is being published by a mainstream publisher now.
Yes, there are quite a lot of webcomics with print versions that aren't self-published. The Attitude 3 anthology (with Dinosaur Comics, Fetus-X, PartiallyClips, A Lesson is Learned, etc.) is already in the article. There's also the Flight anthologies which have webcartoonists like Vera Brosgol, Derek Kirk Kim, Kazu Kabuishi, etc. Perry Bible Fellowship and Penny Arcade are published by Dark Horse. Gene Yang's American Born Chinese was published by First Second and was a finalist for the National Book Award. American Elf is published by Top Shelf. Diesel Sweeties is syndicated to newspapers through United Features Syndicate. And then there's PvP, Megatokyo and Sluggy mentioned above, and probably a lot more. —Blackholesun 12:38, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I support the publication of the articleEdit

I don't see any major issues with this article. Just because an issue is controversial does not mean it can't be written about. It seems like a lot of the questions raised more center around hindering the publication or problems with the idea of publishing it. Yet, this is documented, it has been raised as an issue in the Webcomic community, and it's a well-written piece. I say move forward with publishing it. Rome will not fall, and I have seen lesser article published without incident. --David Shankbone 18:17, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

  •   Support - I, too, support the publication. As long as the article refrains from advocacy and taking sides in the debate on Wikipedia (with which I am not very familar). It seems newsworthy to discuss how Wikipedia decides what to include. --SVTCobra 21:16, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Original Reporting- we need to be clear about thisEdit

Ok, what was going on on the mailing list is at least original reporting since someone went through that conclusion from reading the foundation mailing list. At minimum, we need to note that. I'd also strongly prefer that whoever that was went through and added as sources whatever the relevant posts are from the archive. JoshuaZ 21:32, 29 October 2007 (UTC)


--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 23:12, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Is this really representative of the "webcomics community"?Edit

I brought this issue up during the deletion discussion and I still haven't seen a really satisfactory explanation. There appear to be at least one prominent webcomic where the author had no involvement in this whatsoever, and indeed as far as I can tell didn't even know that this dispute existed. That webcomic, xkcd, had had multiple Wikipedia themed comics since this dustup started and Randal Munroe, the author has edited Wikipedia and given no indication that he was aware of any issue whatsoever. See for example this recent xkcd comic and see Munroe's contributions to Wikipedia. I'm concerned that what we are describing is not the webcomics community but merely a vocal element, focusing on certain classes of science fiction and fantasy. JoshuaZ 01:00, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I was just looking at the title of this and wondering the same thing. I'm not sure how else to phrase it, though. But beside xkcd, a lot of prominent webcomics have wikipedia links like Diesel Sweeties, Achewood, Fetus-X, and PvP. That's probably a sign that there are plenty of webcomics that aren't in the "Wikipedia is all book-burning assholes" camp. Again, I'm not sure of a better way to phrase this, but implying that the entire webcomic community is of a single mind seems to be pretty innacurate. So what do we say? "Wikimedia fundraiser highlights some webcomic artists' frustration with Wikipedia guidelines"? —Blackholesun 01:29, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
That sounds better and if no one objects I'll move it to that or something similar. I'd suggest replacing "some" with "prominent" to make it clear we're talking about people like Balder and Tayler. (all the moves are getting annoying because each move requires fixing yet more doubled redirects). However, I wasn't aware of those other prominent webcomics doing that. I suspect that if I were aware of that I would probably have favored deletion in the recent discussion and that might have lead to different results. Whenthis is a subset of the webcomics community of unclear size it makes it much harder to see this as newsworthy. JoshuaZ 01:40, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Keep the title as is. Seriously? Trying to talk about the "Webcomic Community" is akin to talking about the "Hacker Community" or the "Online Art Community" — In other words, it's like herding cats. There are at least 1,000 different webcomics of any true importance or viable readership, and of them, maybe 3-500 actually take the time out to care about Wikipedia and whether they have an article or not. So assuming that my numbers have any accuracy at all, that's anywhere from 5-10% of webcomic followings that were impacted, which may not be a lot but it's still statistically significant to say "The Webcomics Community", same as you might talk about 'College Students' or people from a certain town. It shouldn't take every single person who posts or reads a webcomic to agree about this article in order to say "The webcomics community is pissed". Trying to segment it any further trivializes the issue.
This flare-up only started on Howard Tayler's site a few days ago, and it just hit the front page of Wikinews within the last five hours. Most comics haven't even run through a complete update cycle yet, so it's entirely possible the people you're talking about are not fully aware of this yet and even if they are, they may not update their pages to reflect this until later in the week.
And as for xkcd, the guy posts a comic about geekiness. Wikipedia is associated with geekiness, social software, web 2.0 and all that good stuff. Of course he's going to make reference to Wikipedia often. He's no more representative of the community than I am, and his stance alone shouldn't be relevant to whether we refer to "the webcomics community" or merely a fraction of it.
And really, even if xkcd or any other webcomic creators agreed with the article's statements, you could still theoretically segmentalize it down to the "Geek Webcomics Community", or maybe the "Gamer Webcomics Community" if Penny Arcade chimed in, or the "Furry Webcomics Community" if Kevin and Kell spoke up, and it would have the same effects of trivialization despite the more notable comics raising objections. Just call it the Webcomics Community and be done with it. Jigsaw 02:02, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Um, nothing you've said seems to argue against making clear that this is a segment of the community. And even if your herding cats comment is correct (I suspect it would be) this article needs to be readable by someone who isn't familiar with the topic and thus needs to make clear in the title at minimum and probably the body as well as this isn't the entire community. In fact, if it is this small a fraction of the community (I'd be curious where your numbers came from incidentally) I'm almost tempted to see that as a reason to renominate for deletion. But at minimum we cannot give an erroneous impression to people unfamiliar with the issue. JoshuaZ 02:50, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
As far as numbers go: The Belfry Webcomics Index lists over 4,500 comics in its database, and of those, just under 500 are "Reader's Faves", which means they (at minimum) have a fanbase of about 20 users registered with the site. So if we look at just the Reader's Faves list, then we can assume that 10% of those comics were affected by this event. That's not to say only people that read that 10% will be the ones that care, just that we know it was at least 10%. If we go further and say mebbe only half of those had a large enough fanbase to have had articles on Wikipedia at some point, then it's 20% of those affected, which is more than enough to rationally assume it's more than just a segment of the community, no more than you might argue that George W. Bush was only elected by a segment of the population. Furthermore, my numbers only apply to the webcomics affected, not the fans who also may express outrage or even conscientious objectors, like Howard Tayler, whose comics were not affected but still feel some outrage. I'm not saying it's not a segment, I'm just saying that calling it only a segment is being pedantic and trivializing the issue. Jigsaw 03:41, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and one further interesting note, there was actually early on have a minor issue with Munroe about Wikipedia and he seems to have handled that matter much more politely than almost any of the comics people concerned here did. So in fact this may be really due to nothing more than every community having a few flamewarriors with short tempers. JoshuaZ 03:00, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Was there a point to that comment besides potentially insulting an entire side of the debate? Jigsaw 03:41, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I fail to see how observing that someone has a short temper is an insult. The point was a comment about how newsworthy this is or is not; since any group will have some less than diplomatic individuals, it makes it harder to see how this is that worth talking about. JoshuaZ 15:13, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
It is representative of a "segment of the webcomics community" some of whom seem to be unhappy with Wikipedia. No one can write an article that represents all. Don't ask the impossible. --SVTCobra 03:27, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Hopefully, the article doesn't represent the view that all webcomics feel the same. An article about politics, ought not say that all Democrats support H. Clinton. However, it would not be false to say that Democrats support H. Clinton. I hope you see the difference. --SVTCobra 03:35, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, exactly, we can parse the title until it is this big clumsy super specific thing, or we can rely on people to know that Wikinews is not telling them that the Webcomic Borg is moving forward with its discontent. That's pretty obvious. It's like when they say in headlines, "Democrats upset with Hillary Clinton's stance on war" they don't mean every single Democrat they mean that there is a subsection of Democrats who don't like it. It's pretty common in titles and ultra-specificity is discouraged because it's awkward and verbose. Let's not pick off so many leaves that we strip the tree of its meaning. The title is fine, and nobody reading it is thinking that it's a unified thought. --David Shankbone 05:23, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

define Deletionism/Inclusionism using references outside WikimediaEdit

This line seems to be based on a biased definition:

Deletionism refers to the Wikipedia ideology that favours relatively rigorous standards for maintaining access to articles, as opposed to inclusionism which favors keeping and amending problematic articles.

Should probably be rewritten. Something like:

Wikimedia defines deletionism as the Wikipedia ideology that favours relatively rigorous standards for maintaining access to articles, as opposed to inclusionism which favors keeping and amending problematic articles. Nick Carr and others define deletionism as attempting to create quality by deleting articles in an attempt to make wikipedia a serious encyclopedia dealing with selected significant subjects, while inclusionism attempts to create a truly open encyclopedia where anyone can edit. Even recent articles such as the Oct. 11, 2007 one in the discuss the definitions, pointing out that "deletionists say that an encyclopedia is not a dumping ground for facts; standards of notability have to be upheld or their pages will fill with trivia. Inclusionists reply that Wikipedia's great advantage is that it has no space limit and that an entry of interest to just a few people is justified."


Mbarkerwiki 05:11, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

So change it. You have an account, right? ;) Just try not to break the flow of the article when you do it, please. Jigsaw 05:26, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't think the deletionist/inclusionist thing is all that important. I'm not sure that any of the people mentioned actually identify themselves as following either philosophy. It might be worth a sentence to say that Balder made a comic saying deletionists are naughtymancers, but I definately don't think we need an entire paragraph on this with three different sources. Especially when we only have once source from wikipedia, and only two quoted sources from webcomics. —Blackholesun 05:27, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Brian suggested that those of us who may not be as familiar with the syntax or other features put our comments here. Incidentally, the sources are a blog (because I don't have a copy of the book where Nick Carr discusses deletionism) and a news site. Neither of them is a webcomic.Mbarkerwiki 09:37, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Deletionism is by no means "favours relatively rigorous standards for maintaining access to articles", access to what if its been deleted?... have you looked at AFD lately. 70% of the nominators are all the same people... over and over and over. If an article survives AFD, they just renominate it. Its become a game. AFD needs to be renamed Articles for Discussion, so then the nominator would be forced to actually TRY to improve the articles with broader assistance from the community. Limiting nominations from any 1 person would also help, but as it stands, there are Articles being nominated less than a week after creation, no attempt to be fixed by the nominator, nothing said on the Talk page, no guidance for the creator of the article, nothing! Only the 'Article Rescue Squad' rushing in to try to save it before the clock runs out.

Howard Tayler interviewEdit

Howard has given a brief interview about some changes within the LLC he is part of - Blank Label Comics. You can find it here. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:15, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

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