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Responses to How to Build Wikipedia

Table of contents

Be in Charge and Be Humble

Understand Bias

Totally Redesign the Wikipedia Software, and Implement it as a Community

Or, Act Like Perl

Make Big Plans on Wikipedia

Avoid Cabals

Be Respectful but Firm



This is a wonderful opinion piece, and very constructive! I salute you for it!


I think this piece is basically making the same points as The_Cunctator/How_to_destroy_Wikipedia, but is much more constructive. I wish you had writen this one originally. --Stephen Gilbert
Of course, I think that both essays are constructive, in different ways. They are both saying the same things, in different ways. The reason that I wrote "How to Destroy" first is because I feel that dangerous, bad things need to be marked as such, without softpedaling. I think doing so is "constructive", a vague word if I've ever heard one. "Constructive" really means "putting together the constituent parts of (something) in their proper place and order". Its vague apposition to "destructive" is a modern usage. When you praise this as "constructive", you're implying that the other is "destructive". But I can't say I'm surprised, as the essays were deliberately titled to emphasize the irony of the concept of "constructive criticism", which usually just means "saying things in a nice way".

Talking about problems is always more difficult than talking about positive things. But talking about problems, and calling them such, is not necessarily destructive.

Stephen: I hope you understand why I wrote Destroy first. For one, I personally couldn't have written Build without having first explicitly defined what I consider to be the most dangerous problems in Wikipedia. --TheCunctator

Yep, I do. As I said before, my problem is with the whole tone of the destroy piece: accusatory, hostile and somewhat paranoid. That's what I think is destructive, and completely unnecessary when pointing out problems. --Stephen Gilbert

It's admittedly accusatory, hostile, and somewhat paranoid. Even if you disagree with the reasons I gave for striking that tone, you should at least recognize that I did explain it. The ranting may be misplaced, but it's reasoned. I admitted that writing this may have negative consequences, but I wanted to be able to be honest about my feelings, opinions, and concerns. --TheCunctator


Here is another list of ways of how to build Wikipedia:

  1. Make people feel welcome. Praise good work, and don't be too hard on bad work.
  2. Encourage highly-qualified people particularly. Generally speaking, defer to them on issues on which they're experts. It is important that Wikipedia cater to the highest common denominator.
  3. Strongly support neutral point of view. This is the main way we have of ensuring that we can all work together smoothly--despite being from various countries, and with various political, philosophical, and religious views.
  4. As a corollary, don't try to control other people. Respect the fact that they disagree with you and can do so for intelligent reasons.
  5. Help me, if I ask your help! I can't do everything, y'know. This will free me up to do other stuff that will help make Wikipedia even better.
  6. Help get links from everywhere. One simple way to do this is simply to update the Friends of Wikipedia page, but there are many other good ways to do this. In the time it takes you to write one good article, you might write something about Wikipedia, or ask for a link, that will lead to five or ten new people writing good articles. Generally, see building Wikipedia membership.
  7. Write articles on popular topics. See [1] (http://50.lycos.com/) as well as requested articles and the most basic encyclopedia article topics. --LMS

See also : Wikipedia commentary



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