Wiki Philosophy

A brave, brave refactorer may wish to try and get some signal out of the following ThreadMess - but bear in mind that it overlaps with GroupThinkDiscussion and a fair amount of DeletionConsideredHarmful seems to be duplicated in it too. I tried to make a small start of it by removing some of the most outdated noise. Good luck!

Alternatively, if SignalToNoise is too low, then just DeleteThisPageSomeTime.


Do you really want a wiki where every author strives to contribute material that nobody might want to delete? Is that a rule here? -- EricHodges

Yes, that's the original premise of Wiki. It's WhyWikiWorks. It's encoded in Wiki's highest ideal on WikiMasterOriginal. It's the one and only source of signal in this place.

It seems a bit futile tho, with over 20000 (rough guess) people using you will ALWAYS find two differing opinions on the value/relevance of each and every page because you can never get 20000 people to agree unanimously and any one thing i.e. page. So if we all exercised our right to create and delete them all the time then nothing is constant or permanent and therefore every page is unreliable (here today gone tomorrow). Isn't that a major characteristic of wiki, that it is constantly evolving (a bit Borg like really)? -- SusannahWilliams?

But you don't have to like it. If you want a wiki that works differently, there's nothing stopping you from setting up a WikiClone of your own. You could call it BoogerClubWiki and define its focus as the creation of potty humor. I can think of several children who'd be delighted to contribute to such a place, and believe it's a project that's never been attempted in WikiDom before. Actually, it was called LiquidPoop, and was deleted with regularity by one and all.

But it'll never survive here unless you keep it out of RecentChanges. It's like the banana joke on your home page. But repeated about 90 times with no orange. I think that at first people deleted it because they thought it was noise. Now I think most of them are deleting it just to demonstrate their displeasure with you for spamming RecentChanges. At least, that's why I delete booger* when I see it. -- PeterMerel

Oh really - nothing to do with your own potty wiki named after rancid green food, then?

GreenCheese is for whimsy, not potty. But of course Eric is welcome to contribute "serious whimsy" along with the rest of our prize-winning gaggle of self-important fools. So long as he sticks to GC Etiquette, I think he'd be a valuable addition. -- Pete (&st, ed.)

I still don't get the connection between boogers and the potty. Do some folks have boogers coming out of their bottoms? Is this some regional idiom I'm unfamiliar with? -- EricHodges

[As a side note, Eric, I'm undergoing a major refactoring of this page. There are a lot of point/counterpoint items here I'd like to reduce to thesis/antithesis/synthesis. <sigh> It's a never-ending struggle to bring enlightenment to those who don't understand the Tao of Booger. -- MartySchrader]

But it'll never survive here unless you keep it out of RecentChanges.

I haven't been putting it in RecentChanges for days. Someone complained that it "pollutes" that page, so I've been restoring it with MinorEdits. Deleters are putting it in RecentChanges. -- EricHodges

Ah, you've managed to generate a community of antagonists, and now they're dogging you. By keeping the deletions of your page on RecentChanges, they know they increase their number. So the question devolves to a matter of strategic approach. A popular exponent of this skill is SteveIrwin?, who handles deadly animals as if they were kittens. How does he do that?

Heck, it's easy. First, Irwin doesn't try to contend with the animal. Any direct approach to a cobra is not going to work out well for you. And if you want to get close to a tiger you're going to want a tiger-trap. See CalvinAndHobbes #1 for instructions ;-) Irwin approaches animals from directions and with approaches that don't look like the animal's predator or prey.

So an Iraqi who actually thought about how to approach an American soldier without getting shot would bleach their hair blonde and scratch an American flag into the paint on their car. We've talked about this elsewhere on wiki - OnlySayThingsThatCanBeHeard.

Next, Irwin doesn't defend himself. Defensive behavior is literally a red flag to a bull. This is why you must never try to run away from a bear. Bears think running people look very tasty. Deleters think your pages look tasty for the same reasons.

Last, Irwin treats the animal with compassion. If it's hungry, he feeds it. If it's stuck down a well, he pulls it out. He wants the animal to survive, so he thinks about what's good for both himself and it, and acts accordingly.

So the way forward is clear. First, don't get into a deletion war in the first place. If someone deletes a page of yours, you just let 'em. There's lots of other ideas in your noggin - express one of those instead. If the idea that was on your deleted page has merit, someone else will re-express it for you soon enough.

Second, MakeSignalNotNoise and generally be a GoodWikiCitizen. People will give you a lot of latitude then because they'll come to expect you to help their own edits, and return courtesy, and avoid impropriety. Then you won't have to defend your edits; they'll defend you.

Last, contribute stuff that relates to what other people are talking about; you can create pages as dopey as EndOfWiki, VeryGoodSeats, or RulesOfGeelf if you just relate them to your audience.

So BoogerClub? isn't getting deleted because people here don't recognize merit; it's getting deleted because you don't understand SteveIrwin?. Crikey! -- Pete


[Oops! There already was a convention in place that restored pages were to be left alone. Now that convention is not being followed. I agree that this is a people issue, but identifying exactly what the issue is might be problematic. In the mean time, if the WikiVandals would just leave the Booger pages alone, the whole issue would slide into obscurity. It is exactly because they insist on deleting these pages that the conflict continues.

As a side note, to the WikiVandals doing all this deleting: Why just BoogerClub?, et al? Why not go after all content marked OffTopic? That way, we can have a repeat of the BigWikiFireOfDoubleOught and destroy most of the value of this wiki, eh? Wonderful. Why can't you guys just lighten up a little bit? -- MartySchrader]


So most of the value of this wiki exists in off-topic pages?!? I'm flabbergasted.

Why not go after all off-topic material? I actually wouldn't mind if someone did.

Most of that stuff should really be moved somewhere else. Green Cheese, Meatball, Why, etc all provide wikis dedicated to specific types of material. If someone wants to set up a TV/Movie oriented wiki, I'm all for it, and it sounds like there's enough interest in those topics to support a community.

The canonical example of off-topic material that is allowed to stay is StarTrek. The reason given for keeping it is that it is "broadly accepted by the community." I think the truth is that this wiki isn't devoted to software development, as is often claimed, but instead to software development and "geek culture". (I consider myself a geek - no offense intended by that phrase.) StarTrek is a widely acknowledged part of geek culture, so it is actually on-topic.

If that is really the dynamic that is at work, can you say that eating boogers is a widely acknowledged part of geek culture? If not, the Booger* pages are still off-topic even under this broadened definition, and thus fair game for deletion. - Richard Rapp

I can safely say that parody is a part of geek culture, and BoogerClub? is a decent parody of FightClub. So yes BoogerClub? is on topic as much as any other humor page here is. Humor is on Topic. And humor is subjective. Even if you do not like a specific bit of humor, others may, and in this case do. Which is why the giant resistance to it being deleted.

You attribute motivations that do not exist. I didn't delete BoogerClub? because it was or wasn't funny. I deleted it because it was far, far off-topic. What I do think is funny is that during this entire week-long (so far) event I am the only person to provide a clear rationale for why it should stay. -- Richard Rapp


If that is really the dynamic that is at work, can you say that eating boogers is a widely acknowledged part of geek culture? -- Richard Rapp

Could it be that BoogerClub? was the target of so many deletions because there is an unconscious fear that eating boogers is or will become "a widely acknowledged part of geek culture"? The word "geek" originally meant a "carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken." We (geeks) tend to mean a "person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept" while they (non-geeks) tend to mean a "person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy." BoogerEating? might easily be associated with any of those. -- EricHodges

"...such as biting the head off a live chicken."

Or pounding a nail up your nose (ie. a "blockhead" act) or eating glass/lightbulbs. Backoff, junior, if you think you're talking to a newbie on the carnie stuff. :-) -- Richard Rapp

Just quoting the AmericanHeritageDictionary?. -- EricHodges

No offense taken. I did include the smiley.

I'm just somewhat surprised you came up with that definition of "geek". Is that the first definition, or a subsequent one you felt fit the situation better? -- Richard Rapp

Those are the 3 definitions given by the AmericanHeritageDictionary?. The carnie is #2. The techy is #1b. The clod is #1a. -- EricHodges

"Willing to bite the head off a live chicken for the price of a beer" is what I heard as a kid in the Canadian prairies. -- BenTremblay


One thing we should not lose sight of is that the people involved in this are all acting from motives that they think are in the best interest of the Wiki. Each side feels they are "right" and probably are for some value of right. This is a civil war, and peace talks are much better than continued fighting. We want our friends to stop hurting us, not to stop being our friends.


NEWS FLASH!! There is a New! IMPROVED!! Booger Club Deletion War in progress! Film at eleven! [8 Dec 03]

Yes indeed, someone set their user name to my name and deleted BoogerClub? and all references to it earlier today (8 Dec 2003). What is it about boogers that offends some people so? We all have them, don't we? -- EricHodges


Friends don't tune you out by "boogering" your Wiki posts, so who is it you can really call a friend here? I love people; I love Wiki; I love my friends, but that doesn't, without some additional qualifications, make Wiki people my friends.


I am the main person who has been deleting this page. I am not an "automatic process". I am amazed that this has become this big of a deal. Nevertheless, I intend to go right on deleting this page. Here's why: it is commonly claimed that this Wiki is dedicated to discussion of software development, making discussion of movies, tv shows, etc off-topic. That focus is exactly what attracted me to this Wiki, seeking to learn from some of the best minds in the business.

Some of the "best minds in the business" find this type of thing amusing. Some of us have been posting this type of off-topic humor for a long time now. Please respect the WikiMind - when it undeletes something, it tends to stay undeleted, no matter how much effort you put into making it go away.

Yeah, and some anonymous goobers have been insinuating themselves onto lists where they don't belong, also.

Oh, I wasn't implying that I was one. I just have spent quite some time around them, and know their sense of humor is even more juvenile than mine. Though I must say, this is the first time I have been called a peanut.

Well, I hope that experience has taught you a lesson. ;-)


[Moved from BoogerClub?]

As someone else mentioned in the next section, this page is an "inane spoof" of an already off-topic topic. That poster also called this page "offensive", and I agree. So, seeing this doubly-off-topic, offensive page, I decided to delete it. During the course of this brouhaha, several people have agreed with me and seconded the deletion.

I have come to this wiki for over four years now to learn about software development. To glean some bits of wisdom from the likes of WardAndKent, RalphJohnson, RonJeffries, DaveThomas, AlistairCockburn, etc. Where else can you get that kind of insight for free, and in such an amenable, friendly place?

I have been dismayed to see the increase in the numbers of these off-topic pages. I would like to see many of them go, but haven't felt strongly enough about most to do anything about them. I do feel strongly enough about this page.

There is no way anyone can argue that this page is on-topic. The best anyone has offered is "There are other off-topic pages on this wiki. Why pick on this one?" That's a pretty weak (worthless?) argument. No-one says this page actually contributes anything to this wiki, they just argue that it doesn't detract anymore than several other pages.

In my book, such a page is a prime candidate for deletion.

To the person who asked "what happens when they come for my page", below, I can say that that is exactly how I feel. I feel that this wiki is losing its focus, its purpose, by being dragged down by all these off-topic discussions. And now that is metastasizing into off-topic responses to already-off-topic pages.

Stop it.

Don't kill the wiki I come here for.

If you want to set up a humor wiki, do it. Or a movie wiki, or a TV wiki, or whatever. Go do it. Stuff like that has already been done with WhyClublet, and MeatBall, and GreenCheese, so you're in good company. But don't drag this wiki down.

-- RichardRapp?

Richard, I have been here for years, and I think you are dragging this Wiki down by your failure to respect established standards and introducing intolerance. This Wiki has a long history of pages that are off-topic in theory but liked in practice. If you want a Wiki that has nothing but programming, then this wiki is not for you. This one has lots more than that, and has for a long time. That's why you are getting so much resistance. There used to be nothing but patterns, then XP came along, OOP, SmugLispWeenies, and along with them lots of humor and other geek stuff. Which if it was really not desired by the community would have been removed already. A lot of explanation exists as to why StarTrek is here but someone's WalledGarden is not welcome. If Wiki were all programming, we would not have VeryGoodSeats, and I think that would be sad. So please accept that this is not all about programming and that non-programming things really are welcome. -- KenMegill

It should be noted that pages like VeryGoodSeats was tolerated because it was written by PeterMerel, and it was related to ExtremeProgramming, and the PersonalRelationships that formed the site. -- SunirShah

[Concur. One of the great things about this Wiki is the way it mimics the human mind in how it draws inference and corollary among seemingly unrelated topics. Now we have a handful of people (who liken themselves to WikiGnomes but act more like WikiVandals) running around labeling pages not directly related to software development as off-topic. Add to that the even smaller group who seem to be dedicated to eradicating all "off-topic" material from this Wiki and you have a tinderbox for a WikiMindWipe.

Please, folks - how about a little patience? If we just stop deleting everything in sight, the whole issue will subside into the normal noise level. On the other hand, if all so-called "off-topic" material is removed from this Wiki, it will become a very dry and dull place. I for one will have few reasons to visit and even fewer to contribute. (No great loss, I realize.) Please just wait a while and let the whole matter settle down of its own accord. -- MartySchrader]

(Text has been rearranged to try to deal with thread-mode issues. Does everyone understand that what follows is a response to KenMegill's comments?)

As I mentioned, I've been coming here for years, also. I'm well aware that some off-topic material is tolerated. But I'm dismayed at how much of it there is now, and just how far off-topic it is.

I am also familiar with the history of on-topic discussion here, enough to know that when the XP discussions were new and in full swing, people were complaining about how XP was taking over wiki, how you couldn't have a discussion of non-XP stuff without someone popping up and saying "That's wrong. XP doesn't do it that way," etc. I also know that many people threatened to leave wiki because of how the new material was overwhelming the stuff these people had previously come here for. I believe that several actually did leave.

If on-topic material can consternate people by its sheer volume, causing some to leave, don't you suppose off-topic material has the same or even greater potential? Is there a point at which people will give up on this wiki because it is drowning in triviality?

I do not want a wiki solely devoted to programming. I do want a wiki in which it is considered acceptable to delete off-topic material. I believe the "don't delete anything" crowd is misguided. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Some stuff deserves to stay, other stuff deserves to be deleted. We're exploring the issue of which is which right now. I see that as a valuable process for the community, and so I don't feel that I'm "dragging this wiki down". -- Richard Rapp

Richard, off-topic material is deleted all the time. We all support that. WikiGnomes are good. The thing is that no-one cares about the material that is deleted and stays that way. People care about BoogerClub?, and so it is wrong to delete that specific off-topic page. Nobody is saying you can't delete off-topic material, people are saying that you can't delete off-topic material that someone cares enough about to rescue. That is a long existing standard and you are breaking it.

WikiGnomes delete unwanted OffTopic pages. WikiVandals delete OffTopic pages wanted by some members of the community. Big difference.

Your point of view is valid, and I am somewhat swayed by it. There does need to be a point at which the deletion stops.

What I find unconvincing is that "People care about BoogerClub?". When this first started, EricHodges wrote BoogerClub?, and I deleted it. Then he restored it. We went back and forth roughly 30 times before others started getting involved. At that point people started complaining about pollution of RecentChanges, complaining about violation of deletion norms, complaining about posting of off-topic material, etc. It morphed into a debate about larger issues. But at the start, it was a simple disagreement between two posters.

Let's imagine this in very pure terms. Imagine that someone creates a page that the entire community agrees is off-topic. Someone deletes it, then the original author restores it. Does that really mean that the page should stay? That one author gets to override the whole community?

I don't think it should work that way. This case has shown that one person, or even a small group, can't force a page to stay deleted. Why should one person be able to force it to stay created?

Because creation is inherently more difficult and more valuable than destruction. It is preferable that a bunch of marginally valuable pages be allowed to stay, even if only for a few months, than deletion of something with value (to someone) by an over-achieving WikiGnome.

Now, obviously, any real-world case won't be as clear-cut as this imaginary one. But where is the dividing line? Do you think there should be one? How much of the community has to agree with the deletion/restoration for the page to stay/go? -- Richard Rapp

If only we had some kind of voting mechanism!

Yeah, a voting mechanism sounds like a good idea, but I don't think it will work. Strictly voluntary ones, like the one down below on this page, have the drawback that they can easily be manipulated. Someone down there mentioned that he would never trust this vote.

Wait a minute ... what is delete / restore if not "some kind of voting mechanism"?! Google consensus and I'm sure you'll come up with umpteen variations on "breaking consensus" in all its ugly humanity. If someone had deleted a booger page (I was certainly tempted to) and no-one had restored it ... isn't that a vote and a decision? And if someone restored it, isn't that some elemental form of voting? If someone had restored a page and someone else had deleted it, I surely would have exercised my preferential option for "not disagree by deletion" and restored it, if I could. There's a sort of compulsive hegemony of numerical supremacy I find profoundly disturbing. -- BenTremblay

And if we actually implemented software to enforce a rule like "If X people vote to keep it, it stays" then we run up against the problem that people will say that any value of X is arbitrary. Actually, this being a place for programming discussion, someone would probably mention the ZeroOneInfinity rule, and thus argue that one is the only valid value, leaving us exactly where we are now. -- Richard Rapp


You know, there is a deep bit of irony in this "war".

People have asked for the war to end because the deletions/restorations are "polluting" RecentChanges. They have appealed for us to MakeSignalNotNoise. But that is exactly what I was trying to do when I first deleted the BoogerClub? page.

If people are/were annoyed because this one page kept coming and going, think of how annoyed others of us are at the much larger volume of off-topic junk. I may be espousing a minority view, that wiki is facing a rising tide of inanity that diminishes the value of this community, but I believe its a valid opinion, and I feel it is one that is not being taken seriously.

-- Richard Rapp

MySignalIsYourNoise. I respect your desire to protect this wiki. I take your opinion seriously. I don't share it. I don't see wiki being damaged by BoogerClub? or the discussion about it. Interesting non-BoogerClub? material continues to be generated. The fact that so many people have contributed to BoogerClub? related pages shows someone must be getting pleasure from participating. If they weren't they would ignore it. No one is being coerced or enticed to contribute. -- EricHodges

I, too, see nothing wrong with the discussion surrounding BoogerClub? and the "deletion war". I really feel that today (4/18/2003) was a very good day, possibly a turning point in this episode; much thoughtful material was generated relating to the deletion facility, and the norms surrounding it. I wouldn't want wiki to be dominated by such WikiOnWiki talk, but there's obviously an unsettled issue in play here, so I think the discussion is productive.

I also don't think the wiki has been harmed by BoogerClub? per se, I just think that there is a rising tide of inane/off-topic material that gets in the way of the stuff that people really come here for.

I've been visiting this wiki for around 4 years. In that time, I've seen several pages that made me chuckle, one or two that made me guffaw, none that made me belly laugh. I acknowledge that humor is subjective, but I find it difficult to believe that people are coming to this wiki for its humor. IMHO, The Onion, for one, has this wiki beat hands down.

I find it easy to believe that people come to this wiki to discuss software with some of the best minds in the business. Will that discussion sometimes spill over into off-topic areas? You bet. Any creative community thrives on doses of entropy/chaos/disorder. But I believe those doses should be small. I think it is easy to fall into total chaos. Just look at slashdot and usenet for examples. For that reason, I'm uncomfortable with the "if anybody restores a page, it stays" rule.

I increasingly believe there is no simple, direct solution. There are those on both sides of the issue that see things as an either/or proposition. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle, and thus hard to define, and I despair that a community such as ours can handle such ambiguity.

-- Richard Rapp


The running delete/restore battle has reinforced one of my WikiGnome rules: DeleteOnceRestoreOnce. Delete any page only once; if it's really not worth keeping, someone else will delete it if it's restored. Conversely, restore any page only once, although I'm willing to make exceptions for ReallyValuablePages.

If these tenets were widely followed, the BoogerClubDeletionWar? might have ended much sooner.


Perhaps both sides should back off a little. Deleters: Obviously someone cares very much about BoogerClub?, so maybe it should be left alone. Writers: Wiki isn't a good place to put something you don't want to get deleted. OffTopic pages in particular are frequently deleted by various WikiGnomes. -- ChristianTaubman


I agree. There was an attempt to try to talk made by starting this page up. The deleters started deleting it as well. They have recently threatened to start using scripts to get their way. Force as opposed to talk, might makes right. Not a very nice attitude. And will suck once both side start that up. No, somebody idly posited the notion of using a script in GotBoogered?. No threats were made.

The WikiGnomes do great work. 99% of what they delete no-one cares about and stays gone. The 1% when people do care they have always left the pages that turned out to be desired. Until now. It seems that some WikiGnomes are turning into WikiVandals.

Deletion of stale unused pages is to be applauded, but that's no excuse for going willy-nilly deleting even junk like BoogerClub? if somebody cares about it. Let the kiddies play.

FixBrokenWindows is an excuse to delete such pages. You don't need another "excuse." You do need an excuse to write such stupid pages.

The issue was a difference of opinion about if the window is broken. We all agree that stupid pages should be deleted, but we disagree on what is stupid.


Oookay, I, PhlIp, will reveal my name, as a deleter (but not a member of the first several deleters), and someone who considers the page borderline vandalism. (Richard Rapp (67.97.207.110) was another deleter.) I'm not curious what the names of the page's author and alleged restorers are, but I am curious if they are going to reveal themselves. Yet another deleter is Pete. EricHodges originated BoogerClub?. I used to eat a lot of beefboogers, so I'm not offended by the word.

The BoogerClub? restorer(s) remind me of taggers. Vandalism in the form of mildly annoying graphics bordering on amusing, every time someone cleans up the tagger's graffiti or puts in anti-graffiti measures, they come back and tag again, as if to say "Hah, you can't get rid of me." -- StevenNewton

Interesting point of view. The Deleters remind me of the Taliban, who wanted to destroy that which did not fit their image of Islam. Buddha statues were against Islam and were destroyed, BoogerClub? is against Wiki and must be deleted. Neither the statues or Booger Club are a threat to anyone. I have been here for years and never have I seen people persist in deleting something that others cared about preserving before. It's not nice. Be nice, let it stay. It's not like anyone is hurt by it. I started to restore the BoogerClub? to say "It is not your right to get rid of this when others wish it to stay. You are not the arbiter of what stays here and what does not, and I oppose your attempt to appoint yourself to that position." (I didn't write Booger club. I wouldn't miss it. But I support whoever cares enough to keep putting it back, as I hope someday someone will stand up for me.) -- KenMegill

The difference is that the deleters don't mind if the page exists, just not on this wiki. Taliban would pursue the issue until the whole world was in their image. I vote to move BoogerClub? onto its own wiki, or as part of Eric's wiki home page, where I don't think anyone would mind it residing. There was a heated debate over the SociologyWiki pages and what should be done with those. I think the best solution was and is to move them to their own wiki. Ward's wiki cannot and should not be everything to everyone. There is a vision for this wiki, as set out by Ward on various pages such as InformalHistoryOfProgrammingIdeas. We should respect that or start our own wikis if we disagree with that vision. Thankfully, Ward's vision includes limited amount of OffTopic pages, but I believe it excludes juvenile or offensive pages, which I think is where BoogerClub? falls. If you want juvenile, go to UseNet or some other place. There's plenty of juvenile sites on the web. This wiki isn't and shouldn't be one of them. That said, I wouldn't mind (and I don't think others would either) if the BoogerClub? content were moved to Eric's wiki name page.

Who are you to define what is juvenile? Some might argue that the arbitrary deletion of other people's content is juvenile. Obviously, the Wiki community allows for that, but I thought there were also rules of civility with respect to these high intellectual exchanges, and characterizing someone's posting as juvenile does not fit any Wiki code of conduct of which I am aware. One person's juvenile is entertainment for others.

Concur. All of this is well and good, but the original discussion was about violating the Good Wikizen Seal Of Approval by deleting an active thread. Then, don't forget, somebody started deleting this page, which is the discussion on the merits of this deletion. Since enough time has gone by and we have talked it around, it now appears that the convention of leaving a page in place after restoration is being upheld. Fine. Once even more time has elapsed the BoogerClub? page can be moved to wherever and no-one will mind. This page will probably be reduced to a handful of comments that are moved to another page remembering how awful the consequences are to Bad Behavior´┐Ż on Wiki.


Are wiki pages owned by their creators?

One point that seems to have gotten lost in the discussion is the motives of the restorers of BoogerClub?. There's lots of discussion of why the page was deleted: it was OffTopic, it was unfunny, it was the equivalent of graffiti, etc. On the other side, I've only seen two reasons why people restored the page: History will never be able to vindicate this position, but I suspect that the pronoun "someone" in point one is correct. I don't believe anyone beside the page's original author has stepped forward to claim responsibility for restoring the page because he or she liked it. Until some folks started restoring the page on principle, it had only one restorer: its creator. (If I'm wrong, please correct me.)

I'm correcting you. I, KenMegill, restored it a dozen or so times. I recall others did as well. There was a section of the community that did not like what was perceived as an attempt to unilaterally alter community standards and practices. The war was not about BoogerClub? in my mind, it was about the refusal to follow well established standards. A number of people wrote about that. I am gather that people still don't understand that the community accepts that people have different opinions about what should be here, and that removal of things people care enough about to restore is considered wrong. And I do think it's funny. Not super funny but I did think it was amusing the first time I read it.

Ken, did you restore the page because it was valuable or to show your disapproval of the deletions? If the latter, as your comment "the war was not about BoogerClub?" indicates, the point above still stands. What I'm trying to determine is whether the number of people who deleted the page because of its lack of value (several) outnumbered the people who restored it for its value (its author). The answer seems to be a resounding yes.

(presumably Ken): I find funny to be valuable, so its value did affect my restoration. I would not have restored a page that I thought had negative value. I delete things myself sometimes.

What is most troubling about this is the underlying assumption that a page's creator is somehow more privileged than the rest of the wiki community to determine the page's fate. That's not TheWikiWay. Each page created here is a GiftToTheCommunity?; others are free to modify it, add to it, improve it, refactor it, or even delete it, all without approval from the page's creator. That's the trade-off you make when using a wiki: your contribution gets a wide audience, but you give up exclusive control over that contribution.

BoogerClub? stood outside that tradition. Its author was unable to accept the page's deletion by several different people, and unflaggingly restored it. The page soon lost its sense of GiftToTheCommunity?, and became one person's exhibit piece, which one is allowed to look at but not to touch.

That's why the dogged restoration of BoogerClub? set a bad example. If people aren't free to improve wiki, then SignalToNoise decreases. Wiki becomes less useful, less interesting, less the delight that it is.

Ah, but who gets to decide Signal vs Noise? The WikiMind. This sets no example that hasn't been set before. If people wait until it stops being an issue and then refactor to some place else, yes, perhaps it would be an improvement. Until then, Wiki doesn't believe it is. It's not your decision. Deal.

People are free to improve the wiki, by adding pages and deleting them. If it is the same page added and deleted, then there is obviously a need for a page like this one. You can't say that only deleting pages improves the wiki, or we might end up in a bare, empty room. And remember, it may be better to refactor than delete. That is why we should not be UsingSignatures, so our contributions may be edited.

The refual of the people deleting BoogerClub? and many other to accept that they are not the arbiters of what is and is not good for wiki remains an issue. I think BoogerClub? makes Wiki more interesting and more delightful. You don't. Okay, we do not have to agree. And Wiki has standards by which that type of disagreement is resolved. The problem came when one side decided their being "right" was cause to stop following accepted practices. Tolerance is good, try it. MySignalIsYourNoise.

Note: the original author of this section deleted the page exactly once, on the first day it was created, then watched with dismay as the war began.


Alternatives to deletion/restoration wars

If you have material that you think darling, but find that people KillYourDarlings, then move it where it should be: your HomePage. Home is where you're given free reign to flights of fancy, with little fear of deletion.

I make a point not to restore my own stuff. If someone besides the author puts it back (as I believe was the case here), then it's just another ActOfWiki?.

Some WikiZens take this practice to the extreme: DeleteOnceRestoreOnce.

You think DeleteOnceRestoreOnce extreme?! How uhhhhh not-moderate of you. -- BenTremblay


WikiEthic
CategoryWikiProgress, CategoryWiki

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