Now I’m a big defender of Wikipedia – I think it’s a wonderful resource and a wonderful phenomena… one of the best examples of user-generated content, citizen journalism and the wisdom of the masses out there on the Web – so it is with some reluctance and trepidation I criticise its policies which, by the main, seem to be reasonable.
You can see some of that debate in the archived discussion page.
I won’t go into what I think about the movie here… my concern is with Wikipedia’s policies.
Now I agree that many of the supporters of keeping the entry were more concerned about keeping the content rather than whether or not the article conformed to Wikipedia guidelines. They saw the removal of the article as censorship of the movie’s content. But that wasn’t really the issue here – the real issue was whether or not it conformed to Wikipedia guidelines on notability.
In the end the editors decided that the entry failed to meet the criteria. To be fair to editors they did do the right thing by following the guidelines (albeit a strict interpretation – some have disputed that there is room for flexibility).
The problem is that the guidelines for notability state that the subject of an entry must be mentioned in the mainstream media before it is deemed notable. Despite being discussed vigorously on blogs, forums and in chat rooms, and despite getting millions of hits on Google (it’s also been Dugg several times) , apparently a movie has to be receive “full length reviews by two or more nationally known critics” to become notable!
Does anyone else see the contradiction here? The irony even? Wikipedia – the poster child of user-generated content, citizen journalism and the wisdom of the masses says that extensive reference to a topic on blogs, forums, chat rooms and wikis does not constitute notability.
If that is true… then what the policy is saying is that Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source!
Despite what you may think of the content of the movie itself, Zeitgeist the Movie has become a phenomenon. Surely this in itself means it warrants an entry in Wikipedia?
I’m no expert on Wikipedia policy, nor have I followed the debate too closely, but there is something deeply disturbing to me about this situation, and I think that the editors really need to take another look at that particular policy.