Submissions/Wikipedia and school articles: Building a consensus after years of conflict

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This is a withdrawn submission for Wikimania 2013.

Submission no.
3075
Subject no.
B6
Title of the submission
Wikipedia and school articles: Building a consensus after years of conflict
Type of submission
Presentation
Author of the submission
Christopher Cooper
Country of origin
United Kingdom
Affiliation
Wikimedia UK (the chapter is not directly involved with this submission)
E-mail address
ct-cooper.wikimedia@hotmail.co.uk
Username
CT Cooper
Personal homepage or blog
None yet (I'm working on one!)
Abstract

When Wikipedia was founded as the "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", there were many competing visions on what the completed encyclopedia would look like. Even today there is strong disagreement between those with an "inclusionist" view and those with a "deletionist" view on which topics deserve an article and which don't. Using school articles as a case study, this presentation will review the history of these conflicts, efforts to resolve them, and lessons learned for the wider community. Can such large gulfs in opinions ever be bridged?

Detailed proposal

When Wikipedia was founded as the "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", there were many competing visions on what the completed encyclopedia would look like. The concept of notability was established in an attempt to resolve this, but even today there is strong disagreement between those with an "deletionist" view and those with a "inclusionist" view, on which topics deserve an article and which don't. Furthermore, there is significant variation in how notability is applied across different language Wikipedia projects. School articles have been subject to particularly heated conflicts, both on the English Wikipedia and elsewhere, and so will make an excellent case study for the main goals of this presentation – which are to review the history of notability controversies, efforts to resolve them, and look at the lessons learned for the wider community.

The completed presentation will be roughly structured as follows:

  • Introduction and general history (3 minutes): What is notability and how is it determined and applied? Different projects have very different approaches – such as the contrast between the English and German Wikipedia projects for example. I will briefly review the general history of debate, starting with the English Wikipedia as the first project, but also mentioning others.
  • School articles on the English Wikipedia (5 minutes): I will introduce the specific issue of school article notability on the English Wikipedia, with the main viewpoints and the general history of the conflict covered in full. I will also look at how the "centrist" viewpoint on the issue has changed over time and why this has occurred, including reviewing the status of what I have called the "unhappy compromise".
  • School articles on non-English language Wikipedia projects (8 minutes): I will review the status of school articles on other projects to find out how they have dealt with school articles. Are they more "deletionist", more "inclusionist", both, or neither? Could the successful resolution of the dispute on one project be applied elsewhere?
  • Lessons for the wider movement (8 minutes): To give this presentation a good breadth of interest, I will explicitly discuss how the history and lessons of the school article notability dispute could be applied more generally. The content of this section will be dependent on the conclusions I reach when I have completed my research.
  • Summary (1 minute): Brief summary of the main points I have raised and the conclusions I have reached.

My research for this submission will be a combination of my own work, focused on my home Wikimedia project of the English Wikipedia, and using known contacts to obtain and interpret information related to non-English language Wikipedia projects. I will aim to discuss a minimum of two non-English language Wikipedia projects during the presentation, and more if practical. While I do hold my own viewpoints on the notability debate, my intention is to cover the issue in a neutral fashion.

This topic is suitable both for a presentation and a follow-up question and answer/discussion session, however including both is unrealistic in a 25 minute slot. To resolve this, I will ask that any questions be directed to me online, preferably in a public space to allow a discussion to form. In any case, I hope that the presentation and any resulting discussion will provide inspiration to viewers to help find resolutions to these conflicts and build a consensus.

This proposal is an improved re-submission of the narrowly unsuccessful proposal titled "School articles on Wikipedia: A case study of notability practices across languages" created for the 2012 Wikimania, which I unfortunately could not attend anyway. However, there was significant interest expressed in this submission which is one reason I'm giving it another look.

Track
WikiCulture and Community
Length of presentation/talk
25 minutes
Language of presentation/talk
English
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Yes
Slides or further information (optional)
None yet. Slides will be available some time before the conference.
Special requests
As a member of the Scholarship Committee, I would prefer that the slot for this presentation doesn't clash with any session related to Wikimania scholarships.


Interested attendees

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  1. អមីរ ឯ. អហរោណិ 07:59, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
  2. GastelEtzwane (talk) 16:05, 4 May 2013 (UTC) This is a hot issue, on other language WPs as well.
  3. Amakuha (talk) 19:35, 13 May 2013 (UTC)