[p2p-research] the wikipedia decline

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Thu Nov 26 04:51:20 CET 2009

Paul D. Fernhout wrote:
> Just for a personal example, yesterday, out of nostalgia in the context 
> of the current student occupations of buildings, I went to look up an 
> old science fiction society at Princeton University that now seems not 
> to be around anymore. Google showed me there was a Wikipedia page on it, 
> I went there, because I've been wondering what happened to the group who 
> brought James P. Hogan to campus where I met him, and imagine my 
> disappointment to see the page had been deleted:
>   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity,_Ltd
> """
> This page has been deleted. The deletion and move log for the page are 
> provided below for reference.
>     * 08:34, 15 January 2009 Redvers (talk | contribs) deleted 
> "Infinity, Ltd" ‎ (A7: No indication that the article may meet 
> guidelines for inclusion)
> """
> The science fiction society I belonged to at SUNY Stony Brook is still 
> going strong though, with lots of content on the web, and even a 
> Wikipedia article on it:
>   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_Fiction_Forum
> Just pointing out an inconsistency. I hope this does not get the other 
> article deleted too. :-(

I had mentioned separately a slashdot article from today on Wikipedia and 
the WSJ article, and here is a comment by someone than is very insightful 
about this issue:
"When 'deletionists' destroy the work people are putting in, it's not 
surprising when the people who have put that work into Wikipedia leave the 
site. There's only a finite amount of things that can be written about and 
as Wikipedia progresses, the articles that are created must become more and 
more obscure. But with those kinds of articles effectively banned from 
Wikipedia, the only editors it needs around are those that upkeep the 
existing articles."

That idea explains a lot -- both why that web page on "Infinity, Ltd." got 
added (people are still stigmergically building at the edges), and also why 
it got deleted (almost anything left to add now is less and less of general 

So, wikipedia's notability policy:
essentially suggests that Wikipedia may not be able to grow much anymore? 
With over three million articles, it may just be hard to come up with 
anything that is really "notable" to enough people that has not been added. 
And, if the result of trying to put something new up is to just see it is 
deleted as not "notable", that is a real turnoff.

Anyway, that comment cleared up some more of the dynamics for me.

--Paul Fernhout

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