Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A sad day as a Wikipedia author

Last night marked a sad first in my time as a Wikipedia author - it was the first time I was seriously insulted by a fellow Wikipedian as being an "arrogant wanker". Not counting those vandals calling me foul words after being disturbed in their fun back when I was more active monitoring the current edits, I nearly made it to the 9th anniversary at Wikipedia without any disagreement with other editors escalating on this level. Keeping away from controversial articles and staying in the small niche of Thailand topics helped this obviously, but still it is a bad experience to be called names while doing my best. It all started when I stumbled upon a newly created article on the subdistrict Wiang of Mueang Phayao district. The article basically read as following
Wiang (Thai: ?) is a small town and tambon (subdistrict) of Mueang Phayao District, in Phayao Province, Thailand.[1] In 2005 it had a total population of 10,701 people. [See here]
Only other things were the huge infobox showing the same information once again, and a link to ThaiTambon.com - but not the page on that specific subdistrict. Not only does this article contain less information than the district article - the Thai spelling wasn't copied, neither the number of villages (0) and most significantly the fact that the subdistrict is completely within the town Phayao. And this points to the even bigger problem - there is nothing like a small town "Wiang" anywhere in Thailand, especially not within the albeit still small town of Phayao. And to complete the impression of a mindless copy-and-paste, the bottom of the article showed the boilerplate of being a "This Mae Hong Son Province location article is a stub." If it were just a single article of this kind, I would as usual go ahead and fix it, but this author has a strong horror vacui and believes every small geographical instance has to have a Wikipedia article, even if it contains nothing but the obvious - the first version on Bangkok Noi Museum is a real gem: "Bangkok Noi Museum is a museum in Bangkok, Thailand." And thus he had not only created one Tambon article, but covered most of the districts of Phayao in this time. To copy-and-paste such a stub is a matter of less then 5 minutes, but even with my big collection of data it takes me at least 30 minutes to convert it into something I could call a good starting point for an article. Granted, by now both the Bangkok Noi Museum article and Wiang subdistrict have been enlarged by him, but they still only contain information collected from secondary sources, and are still on a topic which is not much worth to be covered in the English Wikipedia at all - there are only a few Tambon articles at the Thai Wikipedia, which has lots of edits in other topics. So I went ahead and tried to explain why I think these stubs are not a good idea, why they are at best incomplete and much more often completely wrong, trying to explain the problems with several different administrative units sharing the same name and partially the same area (subdistrict, municipality and TAO, and then the Muban with the Tambon name), but instead of taking them as a well-meant guide to create better article, he apparently understood them as being a lecture, culminating in the above mentioned insults. Now this of course also annoyed me a lot, but instead of loosing my manners as well, I now simply ignore him and his contributions, even it is difficult to know that there is such bad stuff only one click away from the well-kept Amphoe articles. Maybe I should start with giving the Tambon of Surat Thani good articles to prevent them to be covered by such non-articles. It is only reassuring that probably almost nobody will ever see these bad article either, none of the districts made it into the top 500 in the Thai topics access statistics, so they won't hurt Wikipedia's image as a reliable source much either.


Pawyigh Lee said...

Diogenes made a virture of it.

Ian said...

Sorry to hear you are had this problem. Fools are annoying. Please keep up your good work.