Netmouse is a professional Human Factors Engineer and former web designer who has been active on the web since 1994 and on wikipedia since 2006. A science fiction fan and one-time history major, Netmouse mostly contributes to and edits articles that are related to science fiction and publishing, science, or biography.
Netmouse is the facilitator of the Reader Conversion Task Force.
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Theories about why readers are discouraged from editing
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- wikipedia editors are full of ego, not facts
- people are frustrated with debates and reversals
- too many people report their own pages are wrong, and that they have been unable to correct inaccuracies because they are not accepted as an authority about themselves
- subject matter experts cannot define authoritative sources that are not traditional media
- first-time editors are discouraged by having their articles suggested for speedy deletion when they've only just started them
- massive articles of uncited trivia are let stand while small articles that include links to sources are marked "needs citations" and/or nominated for deletion
- the policy against original research discourages people from bringing information to wikipedia that is not already found in web-accessible references.
- Notability is a cultural value judgment. Some subcultures are welcomed on wikipedia and considered notable while others are not. It feels arbitrary and unwelcoming. People do not want to invest time in an article only to have it deleted because a group of people who are unlike them and may not know anything about the subject don't appreciate it.
- There is no way for editors to confirm that a block of text is both verified and important and thus indicate they think that content should *stay* in the article apart from monitoring and guarding the content to protect it from later vandalism.
- wikipedia is confusing
- people do not find what they expect when they follow links
- discussion pages have no natural format to them
- conventions are non-obvious
- wikipedia is ugly
- difficult to incorporate images
- images and other features are all rectilinear
- cannot control colors (e.g. in profile sidebar)
- cannot control position of index
- if index is large, it dramatically breaks up article
- meta-tags about things like citations needed go at the top of the article and are ugly - they make the whole site look constantly under construction or in conflict
- wikipedia is not socially interactive (unless people are in conflict)
- contributions to a project do not result in positive feedback from anyone.
On deletion policy and process
There is not way to notify the interested/expert community that an article has been nominated for deletion. Supposedly there's a culture of letting the person who created the page know with a comment on their User;Talk page, but this practice is not enforced.
- Should notifications be automated?
- when an AFD is started, perhaps should all the editors who have touched the page be informed and invited to improve the page and/or comment on the AFD?
- or all editors who are "watching" the page? (watching may or not be a notification system, depending on user's preferences. I would argue that an article someone is watching being deleted would be of more importance to them than just editorial changes.
- there is no way to send a broadcast message, is there? even to people's talk pages? You have to individually go to each page and insert something...
- Once a page has been deleted, is there any way to request it be undeleted so the work can be recovered? Should there be?
- once a page is deleted there is also no way to access the history of that page, and know who are the interested editors should someone try to create it again and someone try to delete it again (as is happening right now with Wapsi Square).
On destroying other people's work interior to a standing article
Editors get positive points for making positive contributions, but the points system is not widely known about and doesn't really matter to people who are not serious about getting into the system.
There are no flags up that highlight habitual behavior of deletion. Admins have to notice such behavior on their own. then activity has to be rolled back on a page by page basis. If other edits have been made in the meantime, that's a difficult process, and repair is perhaps unlikely to happen.
Possibly we should have a page that focuses attention on recent changes that involved deleting (including overwriting, meaning the total number of characters went up, but the text is completely different) large amounts of material. --this highlighting system should be able to recognize when a series of edits in the same day accomplished this, so it cannot be "gamed" by making a series of smaller edits.
- Is there any way to register a complaint about admin behavior? Should there be?
- there is an optional process for an editor to invite review of their editing. Should there be a formal editor review process?
- does wikipedia have any process for asking people who are deleting their user accounts why they are doing so?