< Forum

The issue

Sometime someone starts an article with almost no content. It's an article about a topic that would belong here, but for instance, the article's title is a famous author's name, but the only content may be "an author".

On the one hand, I want to encourage people to contribute. And for some people, this may be a way to get started. They aren't ready to write much and aren't sure what happens after they click on a red link (one to a page that doesn't exist yet), so they click on one, write a few words and save it. If we're lucky, they think this is fun, and even more fun when they see that someone else can add to their incomplete start. They begin to see how a wiki can work as a community of people putting content together a piece at a time.

On the other hand, it is a risk, because others may see pages like that and think our whole wiki is that incomplete. Or people could get the idea that all they need to do to contribute is to post a word or two and later a whole article "magically" appears.

I tend to think that the risk is minimal, and I'd rather encourage potential contributors. As much as possible, I want to keep contributions that aren't spam, even if they may need help with more content, formatting or grammar. It's hard for some people to get started, and if they see their first edit deleted, I think they may be discouraged.

So, my suggestion is that when it's a page about a book or an article that we would eventually want to have (for instance, another page already has a link to it), and the content is not wrong, just very, very incomplete, we mark it as a stub or maybe even have a special template for "future article" that we plan to fill in later.

By the way, I do not see spam (the same text posted on many sites) or off-topic content in the same way, I think we should delete that promptly.

What do you think?

-- CocoaZen 17:09, January 16, 2011 (UTC)


Of couse, any spam or any off topic articles should be deleted immediately but if anybody posts the beginning of an article about a published work or a real author it should be kept. Ideally, one of us "in the know" should expand the article as quickly as possible. At the very least, we should add the "stub" template to any article that needs it.

Even if somebody creates a nonsense article with an appropriate title for this site, for examle if someone writes "Charlees Dickens is a 45 year old wombat who lives in Brisbane, Australia" we should blank the page and replace the content, even if that's just with the shortest of stubs, instead of deleting the page.

I think it's unlikely that many people will think that they can click on a red link, write a few words and then expect the "wiki fairies" to create the rest of the article "by magic". If any user appears to behave like that then it's time to have a friendly word and encourage him or her to add a little bit more. Mind you, I've created articles at other users' request on other wikis before and expanded plenty of stubs. That's a normal thing to do, isn't it?

So, spammers aren't welcome, vandals aren't welcome (although they sometimes unwittingly force the creation of what end up being good quality articles) but everybody else is. Label articles as "stubs", expand, correct mistakes, rewrite articles completely if they need it but if it ain't spam don't delete.

On a related point, just because a work is a short story doesn't mean it doesn't deserve an article of its own. What about Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart or Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Rip van Winkle? No doubt, there are somje works there's not enough to justify giving them their own articles but don't dismiss an article just because the work it's about is short.--Simon Peter Hughes 09:46, January 17, 2011 (UTC)