Deletion Discussion

DeletionDiscussion is creating way too much noise. I think that it's important but we don't need to add twenty new items on RecentChanges every time we want to talk about it. I'm starting with what was on WikiBadge because it took me until I got there to decide I wanted to do this. -- PhilGoodwin

...That mainly happens when the author of a WikiBadge is solving a problem that they don't actually have. There are a couple of WikiBadges hanging out there that have only been used a few times. Maybe the problem they solve doesn't come up much, or maybe it isn't really a problem. The only way to really find out is to hang around and watch. It's not worth getting upset about.

And it's not worth getting upset about their deletion right? One of the firm views of the WikiReductionists is that LESS IS MORE in all areas of WikiOnWiki. We're having a protracted meta-discussion right now which is boring and tome-consuming (FreudianTypo). What we're saying is that once consensus is reached almost all of the debate should be deleted and the conclusions stated for newcomers in a very, very consise way. -- RichardDrake

So you think the debate is boring but that the conclusions are very valuable. Is that right? Where do you stand on dissenting opinions?

Unless Ward intervenes I accept we have to have the debate and every opinion that wants to be heard should be heard. I'm offended that you even ask about this. The valuable thing about arriving at a conclusion though (and this is maybe where we differ) is that everyone agrees to be bound by the "final decision" (I don't know how without Ward's intervention but I'm praying about it!) and we then reduce the WikiOnWiki pages. Because what I am arguing is that Wiki should not have a lot of dissenting opinions expressed on its agreed cultural norms, once they are agreed. This is indeed a key to my viewpoint. -- rd

Some people value the discussions. Of those people different people value different parts of the disucssions. Why should we prevent those people from viewing the discussions. In order to convince me that deletion is valuable you will have to convice me of the importance of preventing people from reading the material in question. Otherwise moving the material in question to a place where it can be read or ignored based on its own merit is nearly equivelent to deleting it. -- PhilGoodwin

So we seem to disagree on what should happen after "consensus". And about how much RefactorFasterDeleteMore should be part of the new consensus. Fair enough.

WikiReductionists is for me a relative term with a limited lifespan. But there is a view, sincerely held by maybe only a few, that we must reduce the amount of redundancy and sloppy or obsolete conversational text on Wiki. Four European guys decided to act on it, starting with KeithBraithwaite's example. I'm genuinely sorry for any pain caused but let's see now on what we can agree. -- RichardDrake

What's so great about reducing the size of Wiki? I've seen lot's of pages that I thought were too big. RecentChanges seems too big to me, but that's really a different issue (which this discussion is only making worse I'm afraid). I've also seen pages that really need to be re-organized. But I don't see deletion as a valuable goal in and of itself.

Whoa Nellie! Who's saying it is? It's just one more tool for managing this great pulsating blob we call Wiki. one that some people think should be used more. Phil, I really get the feeling that we're arguing at cross-purposes here.

I'm sure that there is some stuff on Wiki that we'd be better off without, but I'm also sure that none of us is possessed of enough psychic ability that we can delete just the unneeded stuff without also getting some valuable stuff in the process. That's why I created DeleteAndArchive and RefactorAndArchive -- so that those of us who wanted to really mess around with certain pages could do so with a safety net. I've tried to understand why you guys want to get rid of that net, but I'm sorry to say that I've only come up with motives that are more sinister than what my experience with you would otherwise indicate.

Sinister? Then we are really failing to communicate. There is no sinister intent. Notice that there's been no pages deleted today (GMT)? Speaking for myself (KB) I just want us to revel in the full power of this wonderful medium. There's a risk that we'll get it wrong. I don't care. There's a risk that valuable material will be lost. I don't care. There's a risk that people will get a bit pissed off. I don't care. Lets take this fabulous thing that Ward has given us and, yes, damnit, turn the knobs up to 10 and see what we get!-- KeithBraithwaite

I honestly can't understand why anyone would want to prevent people from being able to repair a damaged page -- unless they wanted to damage the page themselves.

We just don't see it as damage.

The one thing I've run into that has made at least some sense is the idea that everyone will think that they will have to archive before refactoring, they'll think that's too hard and they won't do anything at all. I just don't think that's what will happen. I think that people will see it as a suggestion -- just as they see everything else on Wiki as a suggestion. Some people will try it, some people won't. Some people will make big bad edits and get flamed for not being more careful. Some people will be so careful that they don't cause any harm and it won't matter. Everyone will be different, that's Wiki. Deleting differences won't make them disappear -- it will just push them elsewhere. -- PhilGoodwin

We just don't see it as damage.

Okay, that's fine -- but some people do. That's why I was talking about respect earlier. This is a public place. Turning all the knobs up to ten will lead to a TragedyOfTheCommons. Take a moment and look at MetaBaby. If it's in a state that's anything like what I saw last time I was there you find tons of pages of drivel and lots of complaints about deleted material. As far as I could tell what interesting content there once may have been has long since been deleted. They've got their dials turned up to ten over there. Over here there's a lot of stuff that folks actually care about. I can't really stop you from turning all the dials up to ten. But I can and will tell you that I'd rather that you do it elsewhere -- or better yet, much better in fact -- get really good at it and only do it when it's appropriate. That would be really cool. -- PhilGoodwin P.S. If it really pisses someone off there's a good chance that it wasn't appropriate.

From KeithBraithwaite's page (but there no longer)

Then let us cast away this notion that deletion is a wonderful thing. Wiki pages die by being ignored. All forms of violence can be considered to be communication. Deleted pages cannot rise again. Perhaps some rare pages deserve that but the vast majority do not. - pg

Phil, please, get a grip! There are, at the time of writing, 8523 pages on Wiki. No-one is suggesting that any more than a handful of pages need to go.

But that handful includes pages that I happen to like. Why is it that you guys get to decide what should happen to them over my objection? That's not how Wiki usually works. It's specifically designed to allow edits including deletion to be backed out. Why is it so important to override that?

??!! Where...I'm speechless...where did I say that I wanted to disable the backing out of edits? During last weeks deletions we used EditCopy to back out deletion, we put up coments encouraging use of it for that purpose. You have restored pages I deleted. I haven't deleted them again.

Richard has been arguing that they should still be deleted. I'm not thrilled with the idea of deleting whole pages but I can live with some amount of it because it tends to correct itself. It's the idea that some pages (some the ones I wrote for instance) must be deleted and never restored that I object to. It doesn't sound to me like you and Richard are in agreement on this issue.

In the past few days there have been pages deleted that no-one has chosen to ressurect: that fact speaks for itself. There just are pages Wiki can do without. That wiki can even do without polluting the WikiIceberg, to return one day scattered across some god-awful morrain of junk. (to mix an icey metaphor, when I'd rather be mixing an icey martini)

How do you know what "pollution" is? How is anyone harmed by there being pages on Wiki that nobody knows or cares about? I know, I care, I'm "harmed" if you wan't to put it that way. I don't claim to be infallible. If you delete something I like I'll put it back, if I'm around to notice. If not, well, too bad for me. And vice verca.

Why seek these pages out and put them on RecentChanges by editing them? These pages came our way by RecentChanges, which is not the most important mode of entry to Wiki, IMHO.

What is this awful thing that will happen if we don't delete pages? I just don't get it. -- PhilGoodwin

What is this awful thing that will happen if we delete pages? I just don't get it.--KeithBraithwaite

The (deleted) pages won't be (as) available to the people who might care about them, and they'll show up in RecentChanges. The fact that they show up in RecentChanges means more noise on RecentChanges and makes it more likely that the pages will be resurrected, sans previous concluded conversation, and hashed out all over again. - pg

I talked to another first time Wiki browser today who quite unsolicited said he was confused by the "instructions" for Wiki being so long and inconclusive. I'd do (almost) anything to end this situation, if I knew how!

It's confusing. That's all there is to it. It's not fixed. It's not universal. It's all based on your opinion of what the best way to do things is. Newcomers ought to hang out and see how things are done just like they have to do in any new place. Want to learn how to drive in New York City? Don't take your new car there! Take a cab for a while and see how things work, then if you still want to drive there you'll have some idea how to do it. -- PhilGoodwin

I think that Keith's much shorter versions of the instruction pages would be much better for the newcomer. Plus massive deletion of the WikiOnWiki ThreadMode recently generated, once we agree.

In all honesty I'm not sure how radical I would be on deletion in the rest of Wiki - not yet. Keith is almost certainly more radical than me on this (but he's also my brudder in the WikiReductionists so don't use that to criticise him right?). But please hear our plea for radical measures to be applied to WikiOnWiki, for the good of almost everyone on Wiki in the future. -- RichardDrake

Keiths versions were all basically "don't do this" and he could have said that without deleting the rest of the stuff. I think that it would be fine to make things easier for newcomers. I think that we can address that without having to delete new ideas. I think the navel-gazing tends to take care of itself. By which I mean that it will go away by itself, without deletion, if you'll just stop messing with it. -- PhilGoodwin

You can hardly have a collaborative hypermedium without the collaboration. I certainly don't see this schism as being productive. There is no focus any more. Without focus, focus inevitably turns upon itself and tears itself apart. Either this place is a professional technical forum or some romantic self-aggrandizing media experiment. It can be both, but all meaninful media require content. Otherwise, it's just art for artists. Bleh. Boring.

By the way, you can't function in a collaboration with the dials up to ten without self-reflection and adapting to both positive and negative reinforcement. Otherwise, the system quickly explodes in all directions. Clearly people are aggravated by this extreme behaviour. A good sign that it should stop and take a more measured approach.

What are the StandUpMeetings for anyway?

I was hoping that we could go back to talking about the edges of this industry and how to solve complex problems. Clearly, the most complex problem currently under discussion is how to recover from trivial communications problems. I thought those just got sorted out as they needed to. Hmm, YouArentGonnaNeedIt.

"The (deleted) pages won't be (as) available to the people who might care about them, and they'll show up in RecentChanges. The fact that they show up in RecentChanges means more noise on RecentChanges and makes it more likely that the pages will be resurrected, sans previous concluded conversation, and hashed out all over again. - pg"

What I would like is for people to notice a "deleted" page in RecentChanges and have a natural bias towards keeping the reduced version, because of general agreement that Wiki needs more reduction at the moment - the WikiFire principle. Even where that hurts because it's our stuff that's being "burnt". What would have been really interesting to see, if you had decided to not restore for a whole week say, Phil (and maybe instead chosen to have a lot of the current debate by email with us), was what other people, who had no emotional interest as author, would have made of the situation after Friday. Although I've got over it I was really very disappointed that you didn't let the experiment continue for a while Phil, given that you had an effective archive to fall back on anyway. I think quite an opportunity to learn about another way to do Wiki, and reduce the current WikiOnWiki noise, was lost here. -- rd

I thought, and continue to think that the experiment was wrong. I felt obliged to correct what I saw to clearly be vandalism. I'd put out a fire too, even if there were curious onlookers who'd be interested in it's results. - pg

In this particular case I think the right thing to do is to put the reduced version on top, and state that you'll remove the bottom version in a week. This gives people a chance to compare the two versions. -- CliffordAdams

Some of the WikiReductionists are upset because of objections to "turning the knobs to 10". They have a point--in some senses Wiki is an experiment in radical freedom. The objectors also have a point, however, that Wiki has become something like a community with some restrictions. Wiki has never run by consensus, but it has usually discouraged major changes without at least discussing those changes.

The WikiReductionists have been offered several important concessions recently. They can move ThreadMode to the bottom of pages, below a double-line. (Only the wording is in question.) They can even make unannounced radical refactorings and/or deletions, if they archive the material. Wiki users have always been able to do these things--what is important is that certain forms are now considered OK. I might object to a particular DeleteAndArchive edit, but I won't protest that a person shouldn't have deleted-and-archived.

There isn't going to be a consensus on complete freedom of deletion, unless several people leave the community. I am willing to go fairly far to compromise, in some cases far beyond what I'm comfortable with, but I am not (yet?) willing to give complete pre-approval to any unilateral non-archived edits.

I suggest that the reductionists take the ideas that can be agreed on, and actually start implementing their plans. The smaller disagreements that remain could be discussed several weeks later, possibly by email or on a separate wiki. Maybe I'll even agree with the reductionists next time. --CliffordAdams

I would like to add something to this discussion. I am a software designer. Whenever I design anything I make a number of alternative designs and then merge the best bits of all of them into a new design that I take forward to completion.

I always keep the alternative designs along with my notes on why they were rejected. This allows anyone viewing my designs to see where the trade-offs and dead-ends are. When considering alterations to these designs they are not condemned to repeating all of my original designs only to find that they are useless.

What I am trying to say is that the way a decision is reached is useful information, and not just to historians. Therefore, I believe that you should never reduce a page to its conclusions.

It may be acceptable to add a link to an ArgumentSummary? of FinalConclusions? page, but the latter of the two causes difficulty in collaborative work when nobody has the authority to make a final decision. -- BryanDollery

I have to back Bryan up on this. (Mentioned somewhere else, but too lazy and tired right now to find it.) When I do a design I end up with a TheRoadNotTraveled file that contains the scribblings and false starts that most anybody might try. The presense of the file helps to avoid my stupidity repeated by others. Why would we not do the same thing here? I thought this was going to be a shared learning experience. I learn just as much by what doesn't work as I do by what does. If I can learn from your failed experiments then I am really coming out ahead. Please don't blow all this away. -- MartySchrader

The debate is partly about the form in which the alternative designs are presented. The actual historical conversation is usually full of ego, false steps and poor writing; it is not edifying for new readers. New readers would be better served by a concise, elegant exposition, perhaps presented as a dialog between abstract opposing DramaticIdentitys.

[I sure do like this approach. -- MartySchrader, maybe others? A vote box, anyone?]

As deleting text is a special case of changing text, what about ChangeAndPersistenceReconciledInPublic for a another approach. -- FridemarPache

I, with others, DO NOT SEE that mere non-absolute repetition, where there is any shred of value, should cause text to go unredeemibly AWAY. And, if this threat (and possible abuse of its potentiating mechanisms) were to go away, then much of the less-valuable WikiOnWiki material would recede also. Are some people just religiously offended that material they dislike exists still in the whole universe (though if it is pretty thoroughly not liked, will it not recede into the mist?).

I further think that more and better ToppingBottoming? mechanisms should be designed at all levels. Also possible that at some point in extreme cases things unloved might have to accept versioning of their WikiWord s .

I think for all except patently offensive material and other patently worthless material, the fooferaw should just RECEDE INTO THE MIST. Plus, there should be more and better sifting mechanisms, for the sake of newbies and of all of us, to make the good stuff easiest to find ( more on "top" ).

-- r d flowers

CategoryDiscussion CategoryDelete

EditText of this page (last edited October 23, 2006) or FindPage with title or text search