Wikipedia: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

thumb3879/1/2015: And I’m out!  Well, I figured it was too good to be true.  It looked really good while it lasted – in fact, so good I added it to my site here: http://minermusic.com/wiki-gregg_miner.htm

It wasn’t my content (that I know of), but possibly something to do with those who set up my page or later did minor edits?  Again, no idea what all this means!

Faithful readers know well my feelings regarding Wikipedia.  And OK, I agree that it’s not all bad.  As you know, my negativity initially stemmed from its “harp guitar” entry which has been totally out of control since its inception.

Volunteers are constantly futzing with the Wikipedia HG entry, with no improvement that I can see.  In addition, many modern musicians’ names seem to be continually popping up on the Wiki Notable Players list (now changed to read “Harp guitar players”) or “External links,” only to be eventually removed.  It’s a hilarious cycle of Who’s Who in non-encyclopedic self-promotion of the month.  Hey, may as well milk it while you can, you guys!

I once noticed that someone had added me to the list.  Not surprisingly, I was later deleted (by persons unknown, as any conniver with an agenda can edit the page and everyone, even the bulk of the “Wiki-police,” hides behind anonymity).

I could care less about being represented there, but it gave me an idea for a potential secret weapon, now realized.

First was to see if I could be “sourced” – and on Wikipedia’s own site for good measure (in an attempt to “beat them at their own game”).  Legitimate?  I couldn’t say.  But everyone seems to have Wiki pages these days, so using several for ideas (including “John Doan” and “Muriel Anderson”), I put together a rough for a “Gregg Miner” entry for a Wiki-savvy professional writer colleague to create.  I had first cleaned up and updated what reasonably valid credits and accomplishments I could on my three web sites, along with locating some third-party references on the web and in print.

My friend did a good job, though it remained more of a bullet list than an encyclopedia entry, in my opinion.  In any event, it went through the review cycle and was quickly rejected.  The main reason given was that many of my sources naturally pointed back to my own site, which contains the referenced information or “evidence” (no differently than, say, John Doan’s Recognition coming from his own “Reviews” page).  But beyond that, the crux was…well, it turns out I wasn’t “notable.” (I know! My own Wikipedia rant backfired on me!)

So I moved up some of my “shopping list” of references, pointing them out after figuring out how to respond through the Wikipedia system to the volunteer Wiki-editor who had drawn my short straw.  It was all Greek to him (as I suppose my career must be to many), so he sent it on to a super-Wikigeek editor for advice, who promptly confirmed in indecipherable encyclopedic nerd-speak that I am not now, nor will ever technically be, notable.  I am only “notable in the vernacular sense,” or, to paraphrase, I suck.

Ironically, I couldn’t really complain, because these guys were just using the same strict rules that I’ve been wishing someone would apply to that “harp guitar” entry all along!

So I’m off to lick my wounds and put this all out of my mind – there’s no way I’ll ever get this through, even if I had the time and wherewithal to fight the inanity.

Some weeks later, I get an out-of-the-blue email from a helpful Wikigeek who apparently looks for such rejected content.  They offered to polish it up and shepherd it through, as they were a “Wikipedian with high privileges.”  I only need pay once published (if, I figured).  Well, in for a penny, in for pound – I ‘m game.

After a short period for them to “do online research and rewrite your content in to make it Wiki acceptable to get it approved and published,” it was ready for my review.

Interestingly, the new, promised “encyclopedic tone” wasn’t a better rewrite (the bulleted lists are exactly the same), it was simply a removal of about half the content.  This included the redundant, External Links at the end (“promotional content”).  They also deleted the entire Recognition section (Scholarship and Reviews), retaining just one reference link.  Some on this list I thought were much more noteworthy than what now remains, so I incorporated them within my Harpguitars.net Testimonials page, a chronicle that means much more to me than any Wikipedia entry could.  Curiously, they also took out my entire “Musical Background and Activities” which essentially duplicated the timeline that (for those curious) appears on the right side of my musical biography page (the “serious” one).

Still, I’m not complaining as they did get it posted!  It’s even had a couple minor additional tweaks by different Wikipedians, so obviously passes muster.  I’m not too concerned with others attempting to “edit it,” as it should be protected from libel and slander since I’m a “Category: Living people” (for now). I still don’t know if I’m “notable” (the page doesn’t contain the word), but it is a pretty impressive “bucket list.”  And I didn’t even have to wait until retirement to have completed it!

I have no idea what the roles, authority or relationships of those above individuals are; the inner workings of Wikipedia remain an utter mystery to me.  And this experience didn’t exactly help increase my trust in the site’s content (and not just because of the obvious comparison to Groucho’s classic line“I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member”…)!

P.S: Weird…someone seems to have put my name back on that “harp guitar” entry Players list…and if you click on it, hey, this guy’s legit?

  1. Joe Morgan Says:

    Well, you sound as excited as Navin Johnson (Steve Martin’s character in “The Jerk”) was when he found his name in the phone book for the first time. It’s about time they recognized what we have known all along, that you are, indeed, “notable”. For the sake of accuracy, I hope they included your full name, including your title. You might need to send them a copy of the documentation as proof. Also hope you were able to include that “conceited piece of trash, trying to control the harp guitar market” quote (I’m still shaking my head over that one) in there somewhere. If not, it would still make an interesting quote for your testimonials page. Might look good on a business card…. Or, not. No matter. Anyway, congrats on the Wikipedia entry!

    Joe

  2. John Bushouse Says:

    I think you fall into into the category of “someone who is well-known by the people who know who he is.”

  3. Thomas Nielsen Says:

    To get a rather good picture of how solid citations work in Wikipedia, see this…

    https://xkcd.com/978/

    (and slightly more serisouly; Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments should make for a rather solid citation)

Leave a Comment


Harpguitars.net
Home

The Harp Guitar Foundation            The Harp Guitar Gathering®

History          Players         Music         Luthiers         Iconography         Articles 

 Forum                 About                Links                Site Map                Search               Contact

All Site Contents Copyright © Gregg Miner, 2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright and Fair Use of material and use of images: See Copyright and Fair Use policy.