Charles Darwin Discussion

Originally on CharlesDarwin:

EditHint: PleaseMoveThisToTheAdjunct

Disagree. Of interest to programmers via EvolutionaryAlgorithms and the like.

You mean programmers who don't know who Charles Darwin is and can't use Google or Wikipedia?

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 EditHint: Delete off-topic
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 EditHint: PleaseMoveThisToTheAdjunct
I did not initiate deletion but I am rather content that from time to time somebody picks up the risky/delicate/unrewarding task of gardening wiki. Today it was an anonymous WikiGnome with a 198.something IP, he/she got rid of a few contentless pages and suggested this we can do without as well. So what about this page ? I understand, Tom, that you do not want it gone. But then rather than protest its disappearance I would suggest that you should add some kind of useful content to it, and then it would no longer be candidate for deletion.

Oh, wait, isn't such content available already at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin? It seems to me the obvious solution to such dilemmas is to ask Ward to make a NearLink syntax for WikiPedia and that would solve such issues without further ado. Because let's face it: C2 community cannot compete with WikiPedia on encyclopedic, NeutralPointOfView topics (and IMHO it would be foolish to even try), and on the other hand keeping contentless pages is not very appealing either. -- CostinCozianu

Tom, your concern above is misplaced. The issue is not that this page is OffTopic. It is that it didn't contain any content. The original EditHint was made in error: I for one would not approve of moving it to TheAdjunct, as it would contribute nothing. We are all quite aware that Darwin can be found on WikiPedia; a pointer is, perversely, pointless. The correct course of action for this page is to either add content to it or remove it. -- EarleMartin

I'd bet that PromptingStatement originally referred to a non-existent SmalltalkCompiler page, and that it's arguing in favor of dangling wiki links as prompting statements, not (literally or essentially) contentless pages. On TipsFromWardCunningham there is some inconclusive discussion of the merits of also creating an empty page. -- DanMuller

Maybe. And what are the implications of just ignoring all the pages that have no value?

Fewer delete-storms? Treat the symptom instead of the disease? Value added on this page? Sorry, I don't see iterating the contents of a category and a bunch of meta-discussion as having any value. If someone has some real content, or even just something with potential that could lead to real content, to be added, let them do so. Until then, the page is OnTopicButNotNeeded.

"Biology, Evolutionary Biology, and the Life Sciences are surely OnTopic." Really? I thought this wiki was about programming. And genetic algorithms really have nothing to do with Charles Darwin. <sigh> I suppose I really should give up gnoming and not care. <sigh> In which case, I should really give up coming to this wiki. Oh well, for most of the eight years or so, it was really useful.

Tom, are you saying that every business problem domain for which software is written is now OnTopic? Is this now the Wiki That Ate The Universe and the rest of the web irrelevant? Should we fill it with pages on chemistry, accounting, banking, telemarketing, and every other business? Or are you saying that only business problem domains which interest you, or employ you, are OnTopic.

And, are you saying that a photo, a link to WikiPedia, and a link to a page of quotes constitutes "value and relevance" for programmers? Or that the historical figure of Charles Darwin is important for programming in the domain of Evolutionary Biology and Life Sciences? Should we fill this wiki with famous chemists, accountants, and bankers? I guess we'd better create a page on JohnPierpontMorgan.

On the other hand, I would strongly dislike if some WikiGnome is encouraged to give up gnoming for the sake of some areas where no useful content whatsoever was ever created on wiki, nor was it manifest that we have within the community people with competence and insight and willingness to share. From time to time C2 wiki mimicked some kind of competence even in QuantumMechanics, but the sooner we give up such pretentions the better we are. If there's a trade-off between the good will of anonymous WikiGnomes and the delusions of competence of some contributors, I am on the side of gnoming. On the other hand, I can't exclude the theoretical possibility that a bunch of biology geeks would make the C2 their virtual abode, in which case, certainly such would be OnTopic.But I wouldn't hold my breath until that happens. -- CostinCozianu

I wasn't aware of said "deep competence" but if there is such thing, it was a well kept secret indeed. Now that I can think more clearly, if a bunch of neuro-surgeons would make C2 their vritual abode, neuro-surgery would also be OnTopic. And a bunch of DataMining geeks wouldn't hurt either, we'd have great DataMining content that really is OnTopic. And by further hypothesizing, C2 could become the greatest repository of knowledge ever known to mankind. At little aparent cost. We just need to create some stubs and let them float around -- what's the harm, after all ? It could even be done automatically, and the script can even add to every such page the first 10 links returned by google. That would open up a world of possibilities. Anybody has a copy of the AboutAtheism? page ? I might have chased away untold numbers of great philosophers. I wasn't thinking right when I resisted it and might have incited other WikiGnomes to undue violence towards seemingly benign crap but with great potential. Look, Tom, you can day dream all you want, and then find scapegoats for Wiki not being what you're dreaming of. But the truth of the matter is that if somebody has great content to create on the topic of evolutionary biology, QuantumMechanics, Dalai Lama or the migration of butterflies in North America and wants to do it on C2 wiki, I don't think anybody would oppose. I don't recall any case of great intellectual value contributions being chased away because it was OffTopic. NoContent? and amateurish rants, we have plenty of them. Judging by the latest statistics, I would estimate in the tens of thousands. And where you and I differ profoundly is in judging the costs of those. From your perspective they're not apparent, from my perspective, they're bloody obvious. -- CostinCozianu

Hmm, I find you claims extremely hard to believe, Tom. To begin with, CharlesDarwin is clearly a DeleteNoContent if ever was one. With this much energy wasted in defending a NoContent? page you could have tried to add some content to the page. As for no case of a contribution of great intellectual value being chased away from wiki because of topicality issue: you can take my word for it. I would have witnessed it if it happened, others would have witnessed it, your claim that there would be no evidence simply cannot stand.

You manifestly resent other people's "prejudices" vis-a-vis OffTopic (and it's not clear for me if even SensitiveOffTopic is enough off topic for you) but I don't know if you consider other people's sentiments vis-a-vis your (and others) illusions of collective grandeur and competence for this wiki community. I, for one, will never ignore SensitiveOffTopic and will defend as much as I can, any WikiGnome engaged in gardening activity vis-a-vis DeleteNoContent and DeleteOffTopic. Yes, you can say that I have prejudices, I am very prejudiced against non-values and BS littering up this site. If you find a garden littered with trash the most reasonable attitude is to pick up the trash, if it's run by weeds you weed them out. Ignorance maybe workable for you, but for me and probably for other contributors as well that would be the decisive factor to drive us out. As a matter of fact (not hypothetical) we have a documented case of somebody leaving because of this. Why would any serious contributor want to participate in a place that cannot keep a modicum of IntellectualHygiene?? -- CostinCozianu


But to try to draw this discussion to a close. I have a very reasonable proposal ( or at least I think so) that could gather consensus. So we have to balance 2 forces: So while a reference like Charles Darwin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin) are exceedingly inelegant, I think the final solution is for Ward to provide a special link syntax for WikiPedia (I would presume making WikiPedia a SisterSite is more difficult because of incompatible page name syntax and other issues) such as is the case with ISBN: links to Amazon. In the same time, asking Ward for a modification to C2 syntax just because I think it would be a good idea may not cut the muster, maybe I am wrong, after all.

Therefore, a transitional proposal is to have a CategoryWikipediaLink, for pages that C2 contributors think should link to wikipedia, and then create a page just with the link and CategoryWikipediaLink to mark this situation. If over a period of time we gather enough such pages, that would be a compelling argument for Ward to provide a special link syntax. Because CharlesDarwin was subject to controversy, I'm not going to delete the content from CharlesDarwin, I'll experiment with FrancisBacon. What do others think ? --CostinCozianu

Ah, I see. So you propose that during this transition period, pages like CharlesDarwin and FrancisBacon include a link to wikipedia. You suggest a new category, "CategoryWikipediaLink". Fair enough. So the differences between your very reasonable proposal and what we have now are:

Costin - in other words, you want an InterMap. -- EarleMartin

Well, I know I want an InterWikiMap. But that's more work for Ward. -- IanOsgood

Yes, that's the idea. I think InterWikiMap is one of the great wiki features missing from C2 (in my opinion, much better than SisterSite). And the other idea is to encourage wiki contributors to decline their competence in favor of WikiPedia where it might be the case. I mean pages like CharlesDarwin, IsaacNewton, and many others are better left for WikiPedia. So without bothering Ward just yet, we could use CategoryWikipediaLink to mark such pages, and when there'll be a considerable number of such pages identified, Ward will have a strong motivation to add a regex for WikiPedia. --CostinCozianu
Related: DeleteMetadiscussion
CategoryDiscussion

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