Outback Zack and the Wikipedia War Zone – Updated

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Confused by the title? If you aren’t, don’t worry, you will be.

Everybody knows Wayne. I love a good fight. Hell, I love a bad fight too. I love ANY sort of fight.

So What Does This Have To Do With The Title?

I decided that I should add a reference to the Trademark issues to Zack Heart’s Wikipedia entry. It was relevant to who he was claiming to be, and I was still quite annoyed at his legal beagle for leaving the message on the blog.

So I added a controversy section to his page, with a short explanation of what had happened, with a link to the original article. I wrote very carefully in third person, after all I was one of the people involved.

Wikipedia has a concept called Conflict of Interest which I was aware of, and which I had worked around in the past. If you are writing on a subject where you have an interest, you should attempt to distance yourself from the subject, and if you cannot do this, you should not write on the subject.

Shortly after I added the Controversy section, the person who was doing all the editing on the Zack Heart paged deleted it.

I had expected this to happen. The person editing the page was obviously new to Wikipedia and didn’t know the rules. Most people don’t know all the rules on Wikipedia. I’ll happily admit that I don’t know all of them, and I don’t know where all of them are kept. When I run into something that doesn’t look right, I run a search, and if that doesn’t work, I ask around among the people who I know who spend more time on Wikipedia than I do.

Since a search didn’t bring up an answer, I asked for some guidance on what to do. The first set of links I was given were for someone who was being abusive. I didn’t think that this was the case, so I went back and explained the situation in more detail, and the second time I got what I needed, which was an administrator to sort things out.

Which helped to a point, however we ended up getting stuck on one issue, and the editor who had done all the work on the Zack Heart page to that point was unfortunately not online during the time we were trying to work things out. The administrator suggested that we go to an outside arbitrator. Since we were in total disagreement on the one issue, I ended up agreeing to arbitration.

This may have been a mistake.

The arbitrator ended up deciding against my viewpoint totally. I wasn’t happy about this, but I had decided that I was going to go with whatever the arbitrator ruled. What totally shocked me was that the arbitrator tagged the page with Article For Deletion.

The Article for Deletion process is a method of removing articles which do not meet the criteria for being listed in Wikipedia. An online debate is held, and a consensus is reached. Hopefully.

I was upset by the page being listed. I had wanted the Trademark issues listed on the page. I hadn’t wanted the page removed. I have nothing personally against Zack Heart, though annoyed with his lawyer. Much to the surprise to most of the people involved, I immediately declared that I was neutral, that I would not take sides in the AfD.

A day later, Krystic1, the editor who had done all the work on Zack Heart’s page logged back on, and well, freaked. I got all the blame. Being totally unfamiliar with Wikipedia and AfD he left his response in the wrong place, so I made a link to the right place for him, and explained that I wasn’t the person who had put the page up for deletion. I also explained what he could do if the page did get deleted, from an experience I’d had earlier with a page I’d had to write three times, before it finally survived.

I think he was rather shocked to find out that I was on his side in this, and more than willing to give advice.

Which didn’t stop the page from getting deleted. The consensus was that Zack Heart just isn’t notable (click here to see the complete AfD).

Which raises an issue. How exactly does Wikipedia decide what is notable? Does the process work? Does it matter? Does anyone actually use Wikipedia?

Update

I was asked to mention exactly how much work Krystic1, the editor responsible for the Zack Heart page had done on it. Rather than just take my word for it, why not take a look at an example of his work:

Zack Heart Wikipedia Page
Zack Heart Wikipedia Page

Obviously you can’t see this on Wikipedia, since the Article for Deletion went through. I did however keep a screen cap. I may have some disagreements with Krystic1, but there is no doubt at all that he had done a damned fine job on the page.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Monday July 18, 2011

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