For a nice safe NPOV (“Neutral Point of View”) discussion of the issues, see Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia. My experience, which isn’t NPOV at all, is that Deletionists are knuckle-dragging droolers, walking vacant spaces, and as a side-effect generally, well, what’s the word I’m looking for? “Wrong.”
What got me involved was word that the Deletionist undead were shambling in the direction of _why’s entry. Oh, and by the way, apparently it’s somehow uncool that I entered the debate because I heard about it somewhere.
This one is obvious; _why is one of the handful of people who constitute the public face of Ruby. Some of his published code snippets make shivers run up and down my spine. Several of his libraries—most notably, I suppose, Hpricot—are very widely used. He’s written a popular online book. I’ve never met him but would very much like to.
Yes, he’s eccentric. Yes, he conceals his real name. Yes, he would almost certainly be happier if the entry were removed. So what? Wikipedia without that entry would be less accurate, less complete, and less useful.
In this particular case, the arguments from the deletionists are jargon-laden (hint: real experts use language that the people they’re talking to can understand), and either stupid or vacuous. Which is entirely consistent with my experience.
Are the deletionists simply, as it seems, reveling in their own inadequacies? This came up on Twitter last night and Jeff Atwood put it well: “The fatal flaw of deletionism is the mindset of deciding what someone else should find interesting.” Jeepers, what kind of impoverished soul does it take to delight in removing accurate and potentially-useful information from the permanent record based on the subjective and silly notion of “Notability”?
A little thought-experiment is in order: What harm would ensue were Wikipedia to contain an accurate if slightly boring entry on someone who was just an ordinary person and entirely fame-free? Well, Wikipedia’s “encyclopedia-ness” might be impaired... but I thought the purpose of Wikipedia was to serve the Net’s users, not worry about how closely it adheres to the traditional frameworks of the reference publishing industry?
I suggest the deletionist wankers go and cluster around an alternate online reference tome which has articles only about God, Immanuel Kant, and Britney Spears. Notability is not in question, so they should be happy.