Inclusionists vs deletionists. Week 9 Wikipedia

The readings this week outline a split amongst Wikipedians, between exclusionists and inclusionists. In 500-750 words, explain which side of the debate you are aligned with and why. Again, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. A well-formulated answer incorporates course material but offers more than a summation. We want to know what you’re thinking and how you’re thinking about the material. If you need a refresher on blog responses, please see ‘Blog Responses’ in the main menu.

These two philosophies challenge how we read and understand the information that we collect. Some people want the simplest answer with standards that block out information that is not considered important. Others want the facts that we might not have learned yet and has fewer restrictions on the information provided. Deletionists (or exclusionists) and inclusionists are the two philosophies that Carr provides in his article. Both have different understanding of Wikipedia and how its used. “To the inclusionists, Wikipedia is in essence a wiki. It’s an example of an entirely new form for collecting knowledge, a form unbound by the practices of the past. To the deletionists, Wikipedia is in essence an encyclopedia. It’s an example of an established form for collecting knowledge (albeit with a new production and distribution model), with traditions that deserve respect” (Carr, N., 2011, p.198). Deletionists believe in traditional aspects of collecting information, while inclusionists is a new way of collecting information.

Either side could be right based on how you argue this. For me though, the side that I believe in the most is the inclusionists. Rather than focus on Wikipedia to how they collect information, my focus will be on a broader scope and how I collect information in general. The reason is Wikipedia has become a part of my life in how I understand articles, what the stories are, what the outcomes were. The way I research is to have all the information I need that is related to what I am looking for. For example, I love sports, particularly what my favourite team does during the time they are not playing. Whenever I hear stories of a player on my favourite team getting traded or released, I have to search up all the stories that are related to it. I have to know all the information about it even though they may or may not be true, because it’s a different perspective I never thought about. Although with Wikipedia when you search on a particular story or person and only provides you one perspective, it does make you want to look at different perspectives via Google. It is just my way of thinking about stories that go on everyday in my life.

We must remember that Wikipedia is on the Internet, which provides a tonne of information for us to view and collect. When I was younger, I did have encyclopedia books that I would look at and software versions of merrian-webster on my dad’s desktop computer. The difference between a print encyclopedia to an online version might just be that they are on different mediums. People can argue that Wikipedia is a form of deletionist philosophy because the people who control it might censor out information that might not included in your search. To me, the medium itself influences on how I collect information today.

As a person growing up with encycopedias in my home and now being able to search on the web, another difference is how they are structured. Wikipedia seems more loosely based, while encyclopedia like the print ones are very structured, which is why I felt that Wikipedia is more inclusionist.

“Notability is not inherited” (Levinson, P., 2013, p. 68). Although both take on this particular stance that if the information is verifiable, that is should be considered part of the article, with the increased usage of the Internet and information being created and circulated, my stance of these two philosophies is for inclusionist.

Carr, Nicholas. “ Questioning Wikipedia .” Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader. Ed. Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2011. P.198
Levinson, Paul. “Chapter 5: Wikipedia.” New New Media. 2nd ed. Toronto: Penguin Academics, 2013. P. 68


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