Hard News by Russell Brown


An okay sort of day

It can be hard to separate the actual Waitangi Day and the Waitangi Day narrative that the media choose to adopt each year - they can effectively be the same thing - but it does seem that we reached some sort of equilibrium in 2007.

It was as if everyone knew their role: the Prime Minister did her staying away thing, the protestors protested, John Key ferried that girl from McGehan Close around (which, depending on your view, was either a great human gesture or a blatant press opportunity) and a lot of other New Zealanders just sort of did their thing.

I watched Te Kaea on Maori Television last night and even with the language barrier, marvelled at the content (a lot of Maori having various sorts of good time) and the standard of production. It was a good watch.

Meanwhile, Groove in the Park thudded away on the easterly wind from Western Springs and, when I wasn't watching the Black Caps ingeniously contrive to throw away another victory, I worked.

Why was I working? In part because we've had a bit of a Wikipedia situation over the past two days. I created an article for Kiwi Foo Camp, linked from the main Foo Camp article. But minutes after I had created it and added some initial text, it was hit with a "speedy deletion" tag, which under Wikipedia policy is supposed to be reserved for spam, vandalism and "utter rubbish". I followed instructions and added a {{hangon}} tag, which is supposed to halt (or at least delay) the action and explained what I was doing on the discussion page.

But when Juha visited shortly afterwards, the article had already been deleted. He wrote some text, added another {{hangon}} tag - and the article was deleted again, while it was actually being edited. We had a hostile editor, or perhaps more than one. We tried to discuss the issue with the anonymous editor, who accused us of spamming, declared that the main Foo Camp article (the top result for "FooCamp" in Google) was also spam, belittled us and raised a string of fairly ropey justifications for the immediate deletion of our article.

Fortunately, another editor turned up and placed the article in the "Articles for Deletion" process, which meant that it could not be immediately deleted again, and automatically launched a discussion, which our hostile editor hasn't bothered to join. This gave me the chance to actually edit the article, which I think is in quite good shape now, for a two day-old article. An editor I've dealt with before has been quite helpful, but another one has also been hostile and dismissive.

I confess, I'm dumbfounded by this. I'm happy to meet a high standard for article writing, but the hostility has been hard to understand. As things stand, the article seems unlikely to be deleted, but may yet be merged into the main Foo Camp article, even though it's longer and better-sourced and the content doesn't really suit the merge.

I'm trying to manage my way through it, but I'd appreciate advice from readers with Wikipedia experience. You're also, naturally, free to join the discussion, but I'd appreciate it if you were very civil, and if you don't register as an editor purely to join the discussion, because the editors seem to be sensitive about this.

The last thing I wanted was an edit war, but creating the article did oblige me to register, rather than make the occasional edit unregistered as I've done before, and to learn a few more skills. I've updated the 95bFM entry, and I'll add a little more to the Graham Kerr article I improved a little while ago.

The irony is that in my talk at Kiwi Foo, I favourably compared Wikipedia to our official online reference works. Guess we're seeing that nothing is perfect.

Anyway, an excellent post from Nigel Parker about being the Microsoft guy at Foo Camp. It includes video, and there will be video and audio of the ministerial sessions posted to YouTube once it has been cleared with those involved.

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