Thursday, December 13, 2007

Open letter to Webcomics community

Here's a copy of a letter I submitted to Howard Tayler's blog about the dispute that has severely strained the relations between the Webcomics and Wikipedia communities. Hopefully he sees the letter and redistributes it to whomever it may be necessary, to solve this situation. Comments are welcome, as usual.

Hi, folks. I'm just your random Wikipedia admin who is trying to help out in stuff, and I don't know where to post my comment, so I'll just post it here, in the last thread with the "Wikiwatch" tag.

One thing that has been repeated ad nauseam is that mods have a tendency to be delete-happy. Ironically enough, reading some of the threads in several pages, many users who are mentioned are not Wikipedia administrators. While this seems like a petty complaint, I'd rather not get a bad rap I don't deserve... ;) But in all seriousness, if you want to find out who is an admin or not, just plug in their username in Special:Listusers (

However, whining about whether someone is an admin or not is not the point of my comment. Watching the Webcomics mess from the perspective of someone who has the delete bit, one thing that I can say is that if there were a way to demonstrably say that a comic is notable, then there would be much less of a mess in this situation. However, as far as I can look, there is no external guidance that allows us to determine why a particular Webcomic is popular or not. So, the only thing we can do is fall into our default guideline, Now, we all agree that the guideline is definitely not ideal, but consider things from our perspective. We have to deal with mountains of crap every day, so how do we discern that which is crap from the non-crap? While we can all agree that a crappy garage band from some random kid somewhere is not notable, what constitutes notability in Webcomics?

In other words, I'd like to ask the Webcomic community for something. If there were a way for you to police your own content, the decision-making of administrators might be much less of a non-issue. However, I'm not asking about doing that in Wikipedia, as doing that would just result in Yet Another Wikipedia Notability System (WP:YAWNS). :P Instead, I consider a much more constructive step for both Wikipedia and Webcomics to be for the comic community to create a site showcasing good webcomics, documenting awards, etc. Not only that would give Wikipedia a litmus test and a secondary source (which is the crux of the whole issue), it would also have its own value within the Webcomics community by creating an information depot of sorts.

I personally believe that is the best way to satisfy everyone's concerns. However, the impetus for such a move has to come from the Webcomics community; it cannot come from Wikipedia. Since I really have no idea how it would be better to distribute that proposal to your community, or even if doing this here would be even seen, I'll leave the details to you, Howard, to figure that out. In either case, I'd really like for all of you to consider this seriously, not only for the benefit to Wikipedia, but more importantly, for the benefit to all of you.

Hopefully the unnecessary dispute between both of our communities can be solved via dialog and innovative solutions. It has dragged on far too long.


English Wikipedia administrator