Monday, October 17, 2011

Wikipedia, tag clutter, pypy and the dangers of bureaucracy

So, the PyPy article on wikipedia first got tagged with primary sources, then
after not so civil discussion from my side with potentially not notable.
This tags are gonna stay for the time being until someone will go ahead and
laborious work of going and trying to prove that PyPy either is notable or
will try to delete it. As far as I'm concerned the discussion is largely
irrelevant -- PyPy is a fairly notable subject to me personally and it likely
won't change because of the wikipedia article. I did make contributions to
this precise article in the past, mostly trying to be up to date, bumping the
release numbers, correcting links etc.

The reason why the article got tagged is silly -- the grand general notability
guidelines are not cut for open source projects. Indeed, there are no books
written or anything, even though on most python conferences everyone knows
what PyPy is and people are using it quite a bit. For all I know PyPy seems
not notable according to the guidelines written on wikipedia. I would put
it up for deletion myself if I were to follow the rules exactly.

But this is precisely the problem here -- putting rules, which I presume
I called guidelines for a reason, without thinking. For anyone living in
the open source world, it's relatively clear what considers "notability" and
it would be something else than for most wikipedia articles. For some
information, like compiler optimizations, the best source I can find is a
post on Lua mailing list, by Mike Pall. You can't change it - no book published
will change it. This is the original research performed and done somewhere
outside of the academia, yet pushing the boundaries of human knowledge forward.

The solution doesn't seem to be to simply establish rules for Open Source in
general. In my opinion the problem is with people who are not understanding
or refusing to understand and trying to stubbornly adhere to written rules.

What do you think?



  1. There are books with chapters about PyPy, it's probably cited in many more, and there are some papers both by you guys and 3rd-party. Using those might lend more credibility in Wikiland.