XML & Vanity Wikipedia Articles

by Robert Nagle on 8/25/2005

in General

Sophie, an open-source toolkit for creating multimedia books. More information here. Here’s a long PDF description. (All this is the next generation of the tk3 format). This project doesn’t have a lot of mindshare yet, but that could change.

Uche Ogbuji on Python and XML . Dirtsimple says that python is not java

Wikipedia on vanity articles:

As Wikipedia is, or at least aspires to be, an encyclopedia, it strives to contain only material that it is reasonable to believe that others, outside of any given Wiki editor’s regular personal sphere of contacts and associates, might want to know, thus making it qualify as a more “well rounded” type of material. Wikipedia is not, therefore, a forum for advertising or a vanity press. For these purposes, it is probably not even effective: while Wikipedia’s articles on famous topics are heavily trafficked, those on obscure topics are not.

Here’s the problem. Wikipedia can serve as a useful starting point for researchers, and in the arts, there is a need for basic catalog information that is unrelated to a business or fickle webhosting service. The solution of allowing people to create user pages is useful up to a point; at the moment Wikipedia intends for these pages to facilitate active contributors and editors of the site. But actually I would argue there is a need for a public encylopedia where individuals can create a listing, plus a short summary of how to locate canonical works. Wikipedia is losing a valuable opportunity here: let people maintain their user pages, and they can be linked to from a regular article. That way, people can do wikipedia searches in user space as well as encylopedia space. And if the user does do something notable, it will be relatively easy for other people to locate the original user page and reconcile it with an actual entry.

Another more draconian solution is to forbid all artists from self-listing until 5 years after their death or until their 50th birthday. Yes, you’ll miss Britney Spears and Cory Doctorow, but encyclopedias are better suited to describing events in the past than the present.

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