15 votes

Suggestion: ~wikipedia

There's one HN custom I really adore, and it's the random, interesting wikipedia articles that are posted and sometimes upvoted to the front page. cf: https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=wikipedia.org

This curated discovery of some obscure facets of humanity. Picking random articles from that list, for example, on the game Nomic; the Pineapple Express term in meteorology; or the British plan to build an aircraft carrier out of pykrete, which in case you didn't know is a mixture of paper and ice.

I was planning to try to help kickstart this here by posting articles with a special tag but I'd actually like to get people's thoughts on this, and if it's something others are interested in, suggest adding a ~wikipedia tildes to encourage this here more officially.

18 comments

  1. [3]
    Whom Link
    How about trying a thread in somewhere like ~misc instead for cool / weird wikipedia finds? I love that stuff too (Cool Freaks' Wikipedia Club is wonderful), but we have the tools to get something...

    How about trying a thread in somewhere like ~misc instead for cool / weird wikipedia finds? I love that stuff too (Cool Freaks' Wikipedia Club is wonderful), but we have the tools to get something going without needing a whole new group out of nowhere. I know I'd be bumping that thread for quite a while...

    11 votes
    1. Adys Link Parent
      Yep, that was my plan, posting in ~misc with a wikipedia tag. But I wanted to raise the issue and get a meta discussion going on it as well.

      Yep, that was my plan, posting in ~misc with a wikipedia tag. But I wanted to raise the issue and get a meta discussion going on it as well.

      6 votes
    2. Octofox Link Parent
      Yeah that sounds like a good idea. Doesn't make a lot of sense to make a new group for something that isn't being actively posted anywhere else yet

      Yeah that sounds like a good idea. Doesn't make a lot of sense to make a new group for something that isn't being actively posted anywhere else yet

      2 votes
  2. [2]
    teaearlgraycold Link
    Seems far too narrow to justify a top-level group. We don't get enough posts in our groups as is.

    Seems far too narrow to justify a top-level group. We don't get enough posts in our groups as is.

    9 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      I was going to say it seems too broad to fit into a top-level group! haha A group based on posting Wikipedia articles would encompass everything from ~science to ~humanities, including ~books,...

      I was going to say it seems too broad to fit into a top-level group! haha

      A group based on posting Wikipedia articles would encompass everything from ~science to ~humanities, including ~books, ~food, ~movies, and ~sports (to name just a few).

      5 votes
  3. patience_limited Link
    There's also been a certain amount of discussion about what constitutes a "low-effort" post. I've certainly been responsible for occasional posts of bald links - no introductory comment, not even...

    There's also been a certain amount of discussion about what constitutes a "low-effort" post.

    I've certainly been responsible for occasional posts of bald links - no introductory comment, not even "here's this cool thing I found, gotta run, bye!". Generally, it seems any bald link posts generate little discussion, but do gather some votes.

    We've gone back and forth about having sufficiently descriptive post titles, even if they require modifying the original; whether or not an introductory comment is required, what's of sufficiently high quality to be worthwhile...

    Right now, I can't see a reason to disallow well-chosen Wikipedia entries, which are usually informative, occasionally quite novel, sometimes controversial, and may provoke worthwhile discussion. I'd personally prefer to see an introductory comment, where the poster justifies or explains why they found it interesting enough to share.

    What we might need, in general, is the ability to filter posts made with no introductory comment. This doesn't ban what some Tilders would deem "low-effort" material, nor does it require a separate topic silo, e.g. for single-link YouTube or Wikipedia posts. That allows continued participation for people who don't have regular blocks of time to write and curate material, but also allows people to filter if they don't care to scrutinize esoteric material or initiate discussions without a lede.

    7 votes
  4. [12]
    Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link
    There were a couple of recent attempts to post bald links to Wikipedia articles. It didn't end well. The first attempt was a good-faith post linking to a scientific article, but with no context or...

    There were a couple of recent attempts to post bald links to Wikipedia articles. It didn't end well.

    The first attempt was a good-faith post linking to a scientific article, but with no context or discussion. The poster was emulating that same HackerNews custom you're referring to. The second attempt was nothing more than a bad-faith shitpost mocking the first attempt.

    Both posts were removed by Deimos - the second one for shit-stirring, and the first one for reasons which I explained here. I was the person who brought these posts to Deimos' attention, and he agreed with my explanation for why bald links to Wikipedia aren't appropriate for Tildes.

    3 votes
    1. [11]
      Adys Link Parent
      I mean I don't really see a discussion on this, just that it was removed. I just posted about FE-Schrift for example; what context should be given there that isn't in the article itself? I...

      I mean I don't really see a discussion on this, just that it was removed. I just posted about FE-Schrift for example; what context should be given there that isn't in the article itself?

      I definitely think it's a custom worth emulating. It's kind of the XKCD "Ten Thousand" custom. As long as the articles are interesting, there's a lot to learn. HN gets quite a few of those posts, but they get curated pretty reliably through voting.

      Anyway, in practical terms, I don't much see the difference between posting say a Wikipedia article about FE-Schrift without context, from posting a blog article about FE-Schrift without context.

      6 votes
      1. [10]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        There was no discussion, as such. I notified Deimos about that post (as well as the follow-up shitpost), and he removed it. Then the poster asked why Wikipedia links weren't appropriate, so I gave...

        I mean I don't really see a discussion on this, just that it was removed.

        There was no discussion, as such. I notified Deimos about that post (as well as the follow-up shitpost), and he removed it. Then the poster asked why Wikipedia links weren't appropriate, so I gave my point of view. Privately, Deimos thanked me for explaining it. I don't know if he had any direct contact with the poster whose post he removed.

        There wasn't an in-thread debate about it, if that's what you mean.

        On that note, I should point out that the Wikipedia post was up for about 8-10 hours before it was removed. You'll notice that the only discussion it prompted was about the suitability of this type of post. Despite 7 people voting on the post, noone had anything to say about it.

        There was a bit of discussion in the follow-up shitpost, but that was mostly about whether jokes like that are acceptable, rather than whether Wikipedia links are acceptable.

        I just posted about FE-Schrift for example;

        You asked whether bald Wikipedia links were acceptable and, in the few hours your question has been up (in the middle of the night for the Americas, where most of our users, including the site creator, are from), you've had, at best, a mixed response. Based on the three responses you've had so far, you did not get much support for this idea. Why did you proceed with this before the discussion had finished, or some decision had been made?

        what context should be given there that isn't in the article itself?

        I've just realised I didn't link directly to my explanatory comment in the removed thread - here is the direct link. That's my reasons for why bald Wikipedia links aren't appropriate for Tildes, which Deimos thanked me for writing.

        As for context... why did you link to an article about a font? What's the point? How does it prompt the high-quality discussion that Tildes is here for? It's just a page explaining a font. What do you want to discuss about that font? Why is it interesting to you or to us?

        It's kind of the XKCD "Ten Thousand" custom.

        I'm all in favour of learning and teaching. I recommend Reddit's /r/TodayILearned for posts like that.

        I don't much see the difference between posting say a Wikipedia article about FE-Schrift without context, from posting a blog article about FE-Schrift without context.

        A blog article would usually present the blogger's opinion or point of view about the topic of the blog; blogs are generally opinion pieces. That gives people a hook to latch on to. They can agree or disagree with the opinion presented in the blog.

        Here, you've just presented a bunch of facts. That's nice, but... what am I going to discuss? It would help if you provided some sort of hook for people to latch on to. What interested you about this font? What would you like us to discuss about this font?

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Adys Link Parent
          I completely agree with @DanBC, you can't judge the quality of that mechanic based on 8-10 hours of data on tildes where discussion spans over several days. 7 votes is also nothing. The 90-9-1...

          I completely agree with @DanBC, you can't judge the quality of that mechanic based on 8-10 hours of data on tildes where discussion spans over several days. 7 votes is also nothing. The 90-9-1 rule suggests that for seven votes, you'll be lucky to have one comment at all.

          The datapoints I'm going off of are a very successful custom on a like-minded site and I think Tildes would benefit from it. I would indeed find it sad if it doesn't happen just because you specifically lack imagination.

          As for context... why did you link to an article about a font? What's the point?

          Well, all the context is in the article. I know you're from ANZ but most europeans will immediately recognize the font as the "license plate" font. The wikipedia article talks about its design: Why it was invented, what choices were made, why they were made. The requirement that letters cannot be manually altered to look like a different one, in order to prevent forgery, is very unique for a font.

          This is why I specifically like that one page. But it's just one page, one more data point, one more thing you can learn. I agree that this is much like /r/TodayILearned; in fact, that subreddit very often links to wikipedia articles. I've so far not heard good arguments as to why something similar cannot be on Tildes.

          Why did you proceed with this before the discussion had finished

          I was certainly not asking for permission to make a post. I wanted to discuss the custom, and see if people would be interested by it.

          6 votes
          1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            Oh. In that case, I'll give you the same answer that other people have received in this context: don't ask, just do. Post it and see if they come. I've seen that response a few times here. If...

            I was certainly not asking for permission to make a post.

            Oh. In that case, I'll give you the same answer that other people have received in this context: don't ask, just do. Post it and see if they come. I've seen that response a few times here.

            If you're not asking permission, if you were going to do it regardless, then just do it.

        2. [7]
          DanBC (edited ) Link Parent
          You can talk about popular misconceptions of the thing, some of which may be present in the Wikipedia article. You can talk about your personal experience with the thing, either from work or a...

          That's nice, but... what am I going to discuss?

          You can talk about popular misconceptions of the thing, some of which may be present in the Wikipedia article. You can talk about your personal experience with the thing, either from work or a hobby. You can talk about the problems this thing causes in your life, again whether at work or to your personal life. You can talk about what people used to believe before this thing existed. You can talk about the pioneers who created this thing, or the under-recognised people who were also involved. You can talk about a thousand and one things. Frankly, your lack of imagination in conversation starting feels like a poor reason to want links to be removed.

          in the few hours your question has been up

          Currently Tildes threads span days, even weeks, not hours.

          If we're removing bald wikipedia links we should also be removing bald links to Youtube videos of songs, where the amount of possible discussion is far more limited. And we know it's limited because we've run the experiment - the links exist on Tildes and there aren't many comments on any of them.

          3 votes
          1. [6]
            Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            But I'm not the one who posted the Wikipedia link. If the person posting the link can't think of things to discuss... why is it up to me to come up with them? I'm not the one who read an article...

            Frankly, your lack of imagination in conversation starting feels like a poor reason to want links to be removed.

            But I'm not the one who posted the Wikipedia link. If the person posting the link can't think of things to discuss... why is it up to me to come up with them? I'm not the one who read an article about a font and thought, "This will make great fodder for discussion at Tildes!"

            in the few hours your question has been up.

            Currently Tildes threads span days, even weeks, not hours

            My point was that @Adys seems to have jumped the gun. They asked whether people wanted bald Wikipedia links posted here - and then went ahead and posted one before those "days, even weeks" had elapsed on the question: before people had even been able to see the question, let alone answer it.

            1. [3]
              Adys Link Parent
              This article about North Macedonia was posted, by yourself, 56 hours ago. It has received 10 votes and, despite those 10 votes, has generated no discussion. Should this be removed? To be clear: My...

              But I'm not the one who posted the Wikipedia link. If the person posting the link can't think of things to discuss... why is it up to me to come up with them?

              This article about North Macedonia was posted, by yourself, 56 hours ago. It has received 10 votes and, despite those 10 votes, has generated no discussion. Should this be removed?

              To be clear: My opinion is no, it shouldn't be removed. In fact I only read that article today. But by the standards you're claiming here, this should have been removed two days ago. Why is it ok that a news article generate no discussion, but not ok if an encyclopedic article about a Planck star doesn't?

              I fully understand tildes' rules about what is/isn't ok are always going to be subjective. But after getting a feel for the community here, I feel pretty strongly that this custom both fits pretty well here, and would be a net positive (add some interesting content, with potential to generate great discussion, and hopefully teach readers something new).

              Most of the current groups are either centered on discussion or on news. I think bringing here something that purely teaches something new (and leaves the floor open to discussing its implications) is a good addition.

              6 votes
              1. [2]
                Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link Parent
                All this started because I thought I would help you out by showing you that Deimos has removed a similar post to yours in the past, and why he did so. Now I realise that I've allowed myself to get...

                All this started because I thought I would help you out by showing you that Deimos has removed a similar post to yours in the past, and why he did so.

                Now I realise that I've allowed myself to get dragged into a debate which is pointless: I'm not the person you need to convince, nor am I the person who can convince you. There is only one person whose opinion matters here, and it's not me, so I'm going to bow out now.

                Sorry to have wasted your time.

                1 vote
                1. Adys Link Parent
                  Alright, my apologies for the misunderstanding.

                  Alright, my apologies for the misunderstanding.

                  2 votes
            2. [2]
              Adys Link Parent
              Nowhere in my post am I asking that; how do you get this impression? I'm asking whether it's interesting enough for people here to bring in the entire custom and outspokenly encourage it (for...

              They asked whether people wanted bald Wikipedia links posted here

              Nowhere in my post am I asking that; how do you get this impression? I'm asking whether it's interesting enough for people here to bring in the entire custom and outspokenly encourage it (for example, by way of a dedicated group for it).

              I was actually posting the FE-Schrift article, paused before posting it in order to write this meta-post to gather feedback, then posted it a few minutes after. This was definitely not meant as a "hey can I post this?", but rather, "hey, would people be interested in encouraging this?"

              3 votes
              1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                Here's how I got that impression: You literally asked if posting Wikipedia articles here is "something others are interested in".

                They asked whether people wanted bald Wikipedia links posted here

                Nowhere in my post am I asking that; how do you get this impression?

                Here's how I got that impression:

                There's one HN custom I really adore, and it's the random, interesting wikipedia articles that are posted

                I'd actually like to get people's thoughts on this, and if it's something others are interested in

                You literally asked if posting Wikipedia articles here is "something others are interested in".

                2 votes