Wikipedia at war with Web comic strips

One measure of Wikipedia's enormous importance is that nary a day passes without someone publicly complaining about it.

Today it's the authors of Web comic strips that have seen Wikipedia entries about their creations deleted from the site like so much comment spam; excised for the singularly Wikipedian sin of non-notability. Some are describing it as a sort of comic cleansing.

You can read the particulars in this Wikinews article and the reaction here of one aggrieved funnyman who has gone so far as to suggest that people no longer contribute dollars to Wikipedia. Readers over at Slashdot are in high dudgeon over the matter.

From Wikinews:

Much of the criticism has been focused on Wikipedia editor Dragonfiend, who has described notability as "whether a topic has been noted by independent reputable sources". She has said that "If we include every article that anyone wants to write, then the encyclopedia becomes useless because nobody can find the actual needle of worthwhile information on a topic hidden in that hay stack of trivia." She has said Wikipedia should only have articles on webcomics like Penny Arcade, Get Your War On, Fetus-X, and Achewood.

This deletion of numerous webcomic articles has not sat well with some in the webcomic community. Modern Tales editor and Websnark blogger Eric Burns has written that "There are people - and Dragonfiend is clearly one of them - who are clearly going through Wikipedia looking for articles that should be weeded out as non-notable. and they're doing it in fields they clearly - I mean, clearly - have no interest, experience or knowledge."

And from Howard Tayler, who creates Schlock Mercenary:

Several people have suggested that those of us with complaints should offer solutions, rather than just whining. I AM offering a solution. It goes like this: Don't send Wikimedia Foundation your money until they change the system. Wikipedia should be writer-friendly, encouraging improvement to articles, constructively criticizing them where appropriate, and erring on the side of inclusion. "Speedy Delete" is none of these things, and cannot be allowed as a tool to fix weak articles.

Tayler also makes the point that the quick hook has been applied to other groups in addition to comic strip authors.

And the Wikipedia Web comic purge has not been universal, of course. The Web strip xkcd's page has managed to survive, and not merely for the fact that my having written about it conveys to any topic a measure of notability that is accepted in finer encyclopedias everywhere.

Despite my unabashed admiration and constant use of Wikipedia, I have written a fair number of critical posts about the encyclopedia and its management. Positive ones, too. Its organizers have an unenviable task in balancing the competing interests or relevance and inclusion.

I tend to side with the comic authors here; if they have enough of a following to have a page updated regularly, well, creating content and having a following on the 'Net is notable, says this content creator.

No, I don't have a page.

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