Sunday, September 27, 2009

MakerBot and Deletionism

I had never heard of desktop manufacturing before I began reading the on-line drafts of Kevin Carson’s bracing Organization Theory. But when I read Kevin’s discussion of the concept, I was floored—and very excited.

MakerBot is a new (at least to me) addition to the industry. And for anyone interested in a decentralized manufacturing model, its arrival on the scene ought to be of some interest for its own sake.

But I want to use its appearance as an occasion for a rant on another topic.

A few minutes ago, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales posted a Facebook status update alerting people to MakerBot’s existence. He wrote that he was surprised by the absence of a Wikipedia article about the company, which struck him (surely rightly) as doing exciting things.

I decided to look on Wikipedia for an article on MakerBot. Not surprisingly, someone who’s Wales’s friend on Facebook (or, perhaps, if his status updates also appear on Twitter, one of his Twitter follower) created a stub regarding the company in short order—no one would have had time to respond by writing a full-length article. And, equally unsurprisingly, someone flagged this micro-article for immediate deletion.

I’m a passionate inclusionist: I just don’t see who loses if an article someone wants incorporated in Wikipedia stays (as long, of course, as its not shown to be factually in error and uncorrectable). I hope this one does.


Gregory Kohs said...

Maybe the Wikipedia culture wouldn't have become so infected, had Jimmy Wales not behaved as an arrogant snob when the firm MyWikiBiz came along. You can read about MyWikiBiz on Wikipedia:

And you can also read Jimmy Wales' eventual (too late) apology for how he treated MyWikiBiz:

Jimmy Wales set the tone for "stamping out" business-related articles, so much so, that at one time (I kid you not) there was a Wales sycophant calling for the deletion of a Fortune 1000 company -- the second-largest coal-mining operation in North America -- because it was "only" the second largest.

Wikipedia is a disaster zone.

Kevin Carson said...

I've never understood the fanatical deletionist myself. Surely a petty authoritarian mentality.

When I was in grade school, there seemed to be someone in every class who went around saying "Teacher says to to this. Teacher wants us to do it that way. Ahhhhm.... I'm telling Teacher!"

You wouldn't expect someone like that to gravitate to Wikipedia, but apparently they do.

t said...

Gregory Kohs,
Can you be a little more specific about what company you are talking about?

Gary Chartier said...

My specific focus was on MakerBot--see the link to the company's site.