Dialog:Eventualism vs. immediatism
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How eventualist do we want to be? Is something better than nothing, because it creates an invitation for others to add content or improve the article? Basically, how bad does an article need to be before it becomes worse than no article?
What I'm getting at it is, Suppose you are an expert on the w and x aspects of z. Let's say, the Iraq War strategy and 2012 sex scandal involving General Petraeus. You create an article on General Petraeus and mention hardly anything but the Iraq War strategy and 2012 sex scandal because you don't know a lot about General Petraeus other than those two aspects. But what you do know, you include in detail, because your intent is to give as much of your knowledge to the wiki as possible.
Well, now the General Petraeus article is pretty unbalanced. I suppose that you could've created two articles, Iraq War strategy of General Petraeus and 2012 David Petraeus sex scandal, but you still need that main article on General Petraeus to wikilink to. Is it better to just leave it unwritten until you're in a position to write a balanced article? What if you also know a certain random fact about General Petraeus, e.g. that he served as Commanding General of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, which is unrelated to either the Iraq strategy or the sex scandal? Until you create the main article, there is nowhere to put that fact.
Is the perfect sometimes the enemy of the good (or at any rate, the temporarily mediocre)? If you wait until you're ready to write a balanced article, it delays writing the unbalanced article that you are prepared to write. What people delay, sometimes they never get around to, because they forget or get distracted. Wikis thrive on people succumbing to the impulse to edit immediately, and then later succumbing to the urge to improve what they started. An article might start out pretty bad but become pretty good through gradual improvements over, say, a month.
One could hold back the article and edit it on one's own computer until it's ready to post, but then it's not a collaborative effort. And again, it might get forgotten on one's hard drive. I say, err on the side of putting out there what you have when you have it. People don't hold wikis to the same high standards as other websites because they realize the nature of the workflow. Nathan Larson (talk) 07:30, 18 November 2012 (MSK)
- All good questions that may be answered sometime in the next century. :)
- Realistically, we can't give every article the proper 'balance', even if we could measure it. What we are left with is to maintain an even tone and write well about what we know and what we can find out. If I were to create an article about Petraeus, I'd create a solid introduction (x-star general, born in ..., decorated for ..., noted for .... Played ... role in the Iraqi War of .... Became Director of CIA in ..., left in ... because of a scandal ....). It should be as neutral as possible. Then add sections about e.g. Iraq strategy or the sex scandal. That he served at a certain location may belong to the intro, or into a separate biographic part, or can be left out depending on how important it is overall.
- So I guess the advice would be to separate the more "neutral" content from the more topical parts. I did a similar thing with the Suicide article.
- Also, the larger and more "unbalanced" article we have, the better it is to add different content - so if you write a lot about General Petraeus, it would be cool (and should be also quite easy, since you have all the resources at hand), to add at least a general biographic section. And if you feel that an article really desires more, you can ask for help, or perhaps announce on the Talk page of a given page that you will add more over time. You don't have to make things perfect, but should expend at least some reasonable effort. Pestergaines (talk) 14:20, 20 November 2012 (MSK)
- Fair enough. After my experiences dealing with Wikipedia's extreme strictures, perhaps I went too far in the other direction by becoming overly slack and casual in my approach. It seems that our wiki culture is evolving nicely, with pretty well-balanced values and norms and in many cases, win-win solutions to the various problems we've encountered, the recently added namespaces being a prime example. Nathan Larson (talk) 16:26, 20 November 2012 (MSK)