15 November 2009

Goodbye Wikipedia

Yesterday night, I terminated my account in Wikipedia. It was about time.

I deleted all my user pages, all my user talk pages, blanked all the pages that described my being, and all that. I then made a request to the admins asking to allow me to exercise my right to vanish.

Why did I do this? Well, Wikipedia had its place in my life before. I became a member back in 2005, when I was a first year graduate student. I soon found myself making edits in the aviation and airline realm, fixing articles about airplanes, airlines, airports, and other related articles. I strove for uniformity, and usually found myself up late at night editing articles in my apartment.

A year later, I found myself being reprimanded for a 3RR violation. This happened when I was engaged in an edit war with someone else. It turned out that I was in the right, and my edit was the correct one, but still, I didn't follow the standard procedure, so I was blocked for 24 hours.

Later on, Wikipedia would be therapeutic for me. I would edit articles, and I have access to databases of airline schedules and things like that, so that any new developments in the airline activity would immediately be reflected by my new edit.

But then the dissertation happened. I had taken several Wikipedia vacations before, abstaining from editing for several months at a time. And then most recently, I realized that it doesn't work for me anymore. I wonder why. Did I lose trust in Wikipedia? Probably not, but still, the fact that it is online, the fact that everyone can edit it, the fact that it is not peer-reviewed makes me lose interest. As if editing has become a Sisyphean task for me.

So, as I have said, I bade Wikipedia goodbye. I removed my personal information. I removed my user pages describing who I am and what I am interested in. I don't think that is the place for those information anymore. If people want to know where I have been to, that information is restricted to my friends.

Wikipedia is part of my past. I still have it bookmarked, and yes, I consult it from time to time, but it isn't something that is regularly part of my life anymore.

By the way, check out the new photo series I have been running for a few days now.

(National Archives, from my DC Buildings Series)


  1. I didn't know you were previously active with Wikipedia - my Google searches always lead me to its pages.

    And I didn't know you're into airplane stuff. I like anything airline-related!

  2. TNP,

    Yes, Wikipedia is well-indexed in Google. And yes, I am into aviation. Too much into it, in fact, that whenever I see the NY license plates and see the three-digit letters, I always scan my head whether those refer to any airport around the world. I keep a log of my flights using a site called flightmemory.com, and chances are I know what type of airplane I would be riding if I am heading somewhere.

    I am sure you have quite a lot of flights logged in your belt as well!

  3. This is the problem of Wikipedia... it is the price of success... a lot of people destroyed the content of Wikipedia (vandals) and as such they had to police the content.

    If I write that Linguist-in-Waiting is in fact a Belgian guy... who will check if it is right or wrong... so the original "enthusiasm" is dying.

    I think Wikipedia is one of the greatest info base on the internet and I regularly consult it.

    Sad that a lot of people like you are leaving wikipedia.

  4. I created an account a while ago and tried to contribute, but ended up either blocked, either deleted right away. I got sick of it, especially given that I feel my (very small) contributions were valuable.

    I still like Wikipedia though, especially its unique take on pop culture.

  5. Sidney,

    Yes, I agree. There are talented and knowledgeable people out there who are willing to contribute, and yet there are vandals and trolls that just discourage them. So yeah, I am done with it.


    I have to say I still use Wikipedia. I may have lost my zeal as an editor, but nothing beats Wikipedia as an instant knowledge source.