User:Cyrius/The problem with inclusionists

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Warning: This is a personal rant, and all edits to it will be reverted. There's a nice big talk page where you can tell me how big of an idiot I am.

I have a problem with inclusionists.

Actually, that's not true.

With most inclusionists I simply have disagreements. We draw the line in different places, and occasionally argue on VfD about which side a particular article is on. The problem is the radicals. But first, let's establish a few facts. And while we're doing that, I'll expose the horrible horrible secret of deletionism.

Let's take a look at a 24-hourish sample. From 01:15 UTC November 22, 2004 to 01:14 November 23, roughly 575 pages were deleted, not counting some procedural stuff for page moves and images moved to the Commons. In the same time period, about 980 pages were created and have survived. Obviously this is somewhat flawed, because pages created during the given time period may have been deleted after the time period, and there's some VfD-deleted pages that were obviously created well before the period. I think it all cancels out well enough for the purposes of ranting.

The evils of speed[edit]

Five hundred and seventy-five pages deleted. Nine-hundred eighty kept. This deletion of 37% of created articles is obviously the work of rabid deletionists out to destroy people's valuable work! Or not. Nearly all were absolute and utter garbage. Let's take a few examples:

  • 01:14, 23 Nov 2004 Aranel deleted Russian Crown Jewels (content was: 'blah blah blah')
  • 20:20, 22 Nov 2004 Isomorphic deleted Agents of evil (content was: '{{delete}}For example Communists')
  • 20:04, 22 Nov 2004 Deb deleted Nasel circumcision (content was: 'A practice in the ancient countries of New Orleans. Whilst doing this, they cut your nose off, leaving nothing but a bloody stub. Sometimes flies gath...')
  • 13:33, 22 Nov 2004 Ahoerstemeier deleted Lowell Mills (content was: 'test')
  • 01:21, 22 Nov 2004 Meelar deleted Bleed screw (content was: 'bleed screw{{delete}}')

"But Cyrius", you say. "These examples are obvious nonsense that even an inclusionist thinks should be deleted!" Are you with me so far? I hope so, because I'm about to uncover the terrible truth behind deletionism, and I wouldn't want you to miss out on that.

Votes for ruining people's work[edit]

Votes for deletion. VfD. The giant deletionist conspiracy to destroy Wikipedia. In the 24 hour time period taken, 20 articles were deleted due to VfD. Twenty articles deleted (that weren't necessarily obvious junk). Let's review those numbers again.

  • Not deleted articles: 980
  • VfD deleted articles: 20
  • Speedily deleted articles: 575 - 20 = 555

Neglecting the obvious garbage, we have a thousand potentially "real" articles, and twenty were deleted. TWENTY. That's two percent! Two! Either the valiant inclusionists are doing a good job of holding off the deletionist hordes, or much more likely, deletionists don't actually want to delete very many articles. (Gasp!)


Let's look at the two extremes on inclusionism and deletionism. On the one hand, we have the radical inclusionist who thinks that 100% of all new articles should be kept. This extremist believes that not only is VfD harmful, but deletion in and of itself should be prohibited. If you doubt these people exist, read the archives of Wikipedia talk:Votes for deletion or WikiEN-l and you'll see a few.

So radical inclusionists exist. What about radical deletionists? A radical deletionist would advocate keeping 0% of all new (or existing!) articles. This position is obviously insane, as one cannot write an encyclopedia with zero articles. I can't recall even hearing of someone taking this position in jest.

So we're left with three groups. Deletionists, inclusionists, and extreme inclusionists. The deletionists and inclusionists have only slight differences, arguing about whether that 2% above should be 1% or 3% (or thereabouts).

And thus we have the problem.


The radical inclusionists rant and rave in great volume about how there's a grand deletionist conspiracy to destroy people's work on Wikipedia. They throw around the word "deletionist" like it's a dirty word. But there's no insane deletionists on the other side to cancel them out. Thus the regular deletionists look like they're radicals as well, because they represent the furthest extreme that actually exists.

Yes, people sometimes resort to VfD too quickly. Yes, you can even call VfD "unmanageable" or even "broken". But think about why so many things are listed on VfD. The rate of new article creation is enormous. A thousand articles in one day. That two percent were deleted is not a sign of deletionism run rampant. And I really wish people would stop acting like it is.