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Some things I'd like to see in Wikipedia

Size: Size of English Wikipedia if it would be printed.Size: Size of English Wikipedia if it would be printed.

The ultimate goal of Wikipedia is to become the sum of all human knowledge - in depth and breadth. I think that most people, after hearing this, either don't take it at face value or don't think about the implications. In this post, I'd like to focus on breadth, and give ideas for some articles about topics pertaining to this place here where I write from which I'd like to see in Wikipedia. But first, what goes in Wikipedia, and what "in breadth" really means?

Wikipedia doesn't have strictly defined criteria for inclusion of articles. However, those unstrictly defined criteria are notability and verifiability. Verifiability is easy: something published in a reliable source is verifiable. Notability is harder: while there are no notable things that are non-verifiable (or to be exact, there are, but we don't know about them so we can't include them anyway), there are verifiable things that are non-notable. So, how do we get what is notable and what is not?

For a certain set of topics to which a lot of Wikipedia articles belong, such as biographies, books or music, there already exist established criteria, listed at Wikipedia:Notability. These criteria are very broad; for example, central criteria for inclusion of biographies is: The person has been a primary subject of multiple non-trivial published works whose source is independent of the person (famous B92 bloggers, before writing about yourself take a good look at Wikipedia:Autobiography as well). A common theme going through all of these criteria is: has the subject received someone's attention? If a person, is it so important that someone bothered to research and write about it? If a book, did anyone who read it bothered to substantially criticise it, even negatively? If a website, did any of its visitors actually went so far to review it and present the review to others? If the answer to such a question is positive, we have our Wikipedia article!

(Note that you can write even about topics which don't fit the criteria, and that even such articles require that first someone decides to list them at dreaded Articles for deletion and then that consensus forms about their deletion; it is also possible, though unlikely, that an article gets deleted even though it technically fits the criteria. Yet another completely separate issue is that of presentation of topics and when should a topic have its separate article; for example, entries about book characters are usually included in the article about the book.)

Now when we have established what the criteria generally are, note that there are no limitations on who, when and where wrote about a topic in order for it to be notable. Optimus Prime, an US firefighter, is equally notable as someone from here who received similar amounts of media coverage. I actually am not sure if that is conscious decision, or if people who made it gave no afterthought about just what mountains of published material exist, but so long as it is there, let's exploit it!

If you'd like to write an article on some of the topics I will suggest, you'll have to create an account first (you don't even need bother with your email); after you do so, just click on the link to the article in this post; then to "edit this page"; type in the article; and finally click on "Save page". It is that easy! So easy actually that most people don't believe me when I explain them how Wikipedia works. Alternatively, you can write an article as a response to this post, and I'll copy/paste it to Wikipedia (if what you write in a response is structured as an encyclopedic article, I will assume that you agree to release it under the conditions of the GNU Free Documentation License). And if your article somehow makes to alredy-mentioned Articles for deletion, I'll help with that too.

One more thing, after reading about Serbian cultural items which I think should have articles, imagine Wikipedia which would include them together with similar minutiae of Zimbabwean or Paraguaian culture. That is whan "in breadth" really means.

So, these are things I'd like to see in Wikipedia:

On Serbian Wikipedia, we sometimes joke about articles like 2006 in history of genetics in New Zealand. While that's certainly an overkill, very detailed and useful encyclopedic articles could be made about a lot of topics limited to a country or a culture. For example, Aleksandar Šušnjar wrote an excellent series of articles on history of computer hardware in the SFRY, a topic with very little English material available. I'd like to see history of photography in Serbia, history of cinematography in Serbia, and why not, history of genetics in Serbia and history of robotics in Serbia (all the way to the Belgrade leg). Similarly, there already exists Beer in Serbia; why not Wine in Serbia as well?

People who don't live in Serbia don't know what fun they're missing when it comes to people who can divine the future (thanks to mr. James Lyon for giving me inspiration for this topic). I have just realised that Bulgarians got there first with Baba Vanga (who, after all, was real). But that shouldn't stop us from writing articles about Deda Miloje, Vidovita Zorka, Kleopatra and of course Vidoviti Milan. Article on the Kremane prophecy, which I always want to write but can't find the time could be an excellent featured article.

An encyclopedia should include articles on fictional people. While fictional characters which appear in a single work can be treated in the article about the work, fictional characters that span multiple works are only fairly treated as independent topics; an example I could think of is Nikoletina Bursac. On a somewhat related topic, an interesting article could be written about chetnik stereotype (there is a number of articles about fictional stereotypes such as mad scientist).

Category:Serbian literature is fairly empty; though a few of the most important works of Serbian literature have articles, it seems that people don't realise that criteria for inclusion of books, are that the book has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial published works whose sources are independent of the book itself, with at least some of these works serving a general audience (sounds familiar?). Well, this would include practically all books written by any of our well-known authors, such as Andric, Nusic, Njegos... It is interesting that Serbian films don't suffer from the same problem, though of course there is always room for more; I'd particulary want to see Zivot i dela besmrtnog vozda Karadjordja.

Lists are a very useful method of navigation on Wikipedia, but they are also useful as article starting points. The list of magazines in Serbia is fairly short; it could be expanded. And how about influential former magazines such as Galaksija, Tajne, or, digging even deeper in time, Zenit or Vardar? The list of Belgrade neighbourhoods and suburbs is quite red, and the list of places in Serbia even more. Then there are Serbian cuisine, list of mountains in Serbia...

Americans write at large about American buskers. We should counter with articles about Zika Obretkovic or Stole Piksi. Wikipedia already has articles about EXIT and Guča; but there is also room for Kobasicijada, Slaninijada, Gusanijada, Grožđebal, Ljubicevo equestrian games, Belgrade Beer Fest... Then, how about Serbian comics? Cat Claw is already there, but classics like Zigomar and Mika Miš must be mentioned, as well as newer ones like Technotise (but no one dare write about The Blots, as the honor of creating the article about that masterpiece I want to keep for myself)! Then there are candies like Smoki or Negro; then Serbian computer games like Capital Punishment or Balkanski Konflikt (if someone has a copy of the latter, I'll pay for it with its weight in blood). Art movements like zenitism...

Wild building (perhaps you could come up with a better translation?). Belgrade phantom. Seal of prince Strojimir. Strojimir. Serbian humour (akin to Russian humour). Utisak nedelje...

I rest my case with Serbian websites. Project Rastko already has its article. But there should also be at least YU Web Top 50, and of course B92 Blog.


• This blog is authored by a group of Wikipedians and members of Wikimedia Serbia with the permission of the Workgroup for Public Relations of the Wikimedia Serbia. However, the text is not an official statement of Wikimedia Serbia, project Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, or any other Wikimedia Chapter or Wikimedia project.

• This text is published under GNU Free Documentation License. You can use this text under the conditions of the GNU Free Documentation License, with a note that its author is Nikola Smolenski.