Saturday, November 18, 2017

Dipping my toe into Wikipedia

Here's the beginning of the E. L. Moore Wikipedia article [19 Nov 2017 update: link removed]. There's not much there yet, but now that I've studied the getting started material and setup an account, hopefully things will move along a little faster. One thing I've learned in the process is that it's important to make sure there are suitable references for the statements I'm making so that the article passes review and doesn't get rejected. Well, there's a big winter storm on the way today, so I've got go and do some things before it arrives.
[19 Nov 2017 update: Looks like the article is going to be removed from wikipedia because I stupidly posted the initial drafts here, so now I'm violating my own copyright. It might be resolvable; however, it looks like I'd need a legal degree to make sense of things. There's a steep learning curve to Wikipedia, and I think I'm going to stop at this level - the summit isn't worth it.]
[21 Nov 2017 update: Still no word from anyone at wikipedia about how to resolve this. I'll need to slog through their legal material and see if I can figure it out. After a little web search it appears my woes aren't unique to me; for example, according to this Time article, "The problem, most researchers and Wikipedia stewards seem to agree, is that the core community of Wikipedians are too hostile to newcomers, scaring them off with intractable guidelines and a general defensiveness." I now have a better understanding why articles like those on John Allen and Frank Ellison are so basic and lacking in references even though there are plenty of reputable ones out there - more so than for E. L. Moore. Ok, rant, off :-) Back to normal programming.]
[21 Nov 2017 update #2: I sent wikipedia the email they requested so I can continue. I haven't heard back from a person yet - seems unlikely that I will - but I'll see what they do with the permission email.]
[22 Nov 2017 update: I'll have to retract my grumblings! I was contacted by someone from wikipedia who was quite cordial and gave me some advice about what to do. I did it and now we'll see if the draft-in-progress gets reinstated. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.]
[23 Nov 2017 update: As of dawn, I'm still locked out of the draft. We'll see if anything changes today.]
[23 Nov 2017 update #2: Around mid-afternoon the draft wikipedia article was unlocked and I can get back to putting it together - hopefully I'll be able to resume this weekend! I wish to thank the wikipedia staff for resolving this - and on US Thanksgiving too! - and readers who encouraged me to press on. I hope this is just a minor speed-bump and it's clear sailing for here on.]
[25 Nov 2017 update: I've been doing some updates to the draft article. It's still go aways to go before it's done. I have an immodest goal of trying to raise the bar on articles related to model railroading that appear in wikipedia. Not that the ones there are bad, just that compared to ones for say many tv shows, they could be improved.]


  1. Thank you for your dedication. I see that their entries for John Allen and John Armstrong are "highly questionable" by wikipedia because they didn't have the correct "encyclopedic tone". If they want to know that it's correct, they should just ask for confirmations by those that read it. Since it was written by model railroaders FOR model railroaders, no one's gonna complain unless it's blatantly wrong. I now see why yours was so "in depth". Art (and crafts) are so subjective, anyone writing about their favorite model railroader is likely to be very appreciative about their work.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. After making this start, it strikes me there's a lot to learn about how to format things for wikipedia - right now I'm reading through the material on how to upload a picture (for the bio) and how to make sure it doesn't get rejected on legal reasons - and that may dissuade potential contributions. There's probably a 'Dummies' guide to wikipedia contributions out there and I need to find it :-)

  2. for whatever the hassle, please follow through. all the things you've discovered justifiably need to be documented in a place which future generations of modelers can access. double "please".

    1. I'll try and give it another shot once I've cooled off. I found their instructions tough to get through, and several of them didn't work for me, and I was not amused that after that slogging that the post got rejected for something I clearly overlooked, and while the post had barely been 24 hours in draft - I hadn't even submitted it for their review process - even though it was in draft I was locked out! I sympathize with their legal concerns, but their methods seem too extreme for what they need to accomplish. I guess they have some bot that trolls their material and kicks out stuff that smells bad. I'm thinking that instead of going through their licensing hoops for the text I've posted here, I'll start from scratch at their site so their bot can't tell me I've stolen from myself and give me the boot :-)