Wikipedia reviewers censor

I’m very sorry to soil this technical blog with a polemic, but there are things I dislike and I think should be mentioned.

As you know Wikipedia, autodeclared The Free Encyclopedia, offers an impressive amount of informations on an impressive amount of topics.
Everybody can start writing a new topic, expand or correct an existing. There is also a chance to add, for every topic, one or more external links, which users consider relevants for who’s reading.

To avoid an uncontrolled amount of spam Wikipedia not only counts on the occasional readers’ contribute but also on a certain amount of volunteer users, which act as reviewers, sistematically analyzing pages modifications and removing undesired contents.
Since Wikipedia is autodeclared free, meaning that everybody is free to contribute, removing an added content should be accepted just when it represent spam or an evident error.

I, probably not so humbly, consider (which exists and covers modern virtualization since much before the world turned its head on and started to keep interested), the Virtualization Industry Roadmap and the What is Virtualization webcast relevant for every virtualization topic.
So several months ago, like others bloggers and vendors, proceeded to add these 3 entries in many Wikipedia virtualization topics, as External Links. I acted in good faith, thought and still think it’s a good idea.

A week ago two different users, in two different moments, deleted my three entries from everywhere, evaluating mentioned contents as spam.
Users are Wmahan and Discospinster.

I received a message from the last one, while trying to re-add my contents, explaining me that Wikipedia is not a place to post your own website or spam contents but that I was free to add more to the topic.

Now I have two problems, which I exposed as questions:

  • if the reviewers would take just few minutes to analyze links I added as External Links they would agree contents are value-added contents and not spam. Unless they think to have a better judgement capability of 100,000 users / month…
  • in some cases my links have been deleted while others, even identical in name, are still there.
    I’m talking in particular of the link to What is Virtualization: mine has been deleted while the others provided by ZDnet or KernelLinux are still there, for example in the topic Virtualization

Why? I immediately thought is was depending on advertising which is present on this blog, but after a fast check I found both contents saved from censorship have same or even more amount of advertising.
So what is the criteria? Have I the right to ask and receive an answer?

The last reviewer answered me in the following way:

These links were taken off the articles because they weren’t directly related to the subject. Most of the articles were about specific brands of virtualization technology, so the external links were specific as well. However, in the general article Virtual Machine, the link to the blog is relevant.

This answer has 3 problems:

  • doesn’t answer the question why similar contents (in some cases with same name) are still there and mine were removed.
  • What is Virtualization webcast seems to me a content pertinent enough to both the Virtual Machine topic and the Virtualization topic, it’s not available in any
  • the Virtualization Industry Roadmap seems to me pertinent enough with any virtualization topic, including Wikipedia pages talking about virtualization vendors

I asked further explainations but received any.

So the question now is: Wikipedia is really free? Reviewers are really competent on whay they edit?
Nicholas Carr recently expressed a very interesting opinion on this.

At the end of the story is still not present in Wikipedia (I refuse to re-add links until I receive a satisfactory explaination for censorship) and I personally changed my opinion on the project, considering what happend to virtualization topics could happen to every listed topic, influencing users interests in every way but free.

Update: the discussion greatly continued on this post comments, so I suggest you to read them, before further reading.

One or more passionate readers, after reading this post, re-added my links to the Virtualization topic but, once again, the mentioned censors (Wmahan in this case) removed the link:

Your opinion about the site’s relevance would be more credible if it didn’t appear to be self-promotion. Your actions make it difficult to assume you take a netural point of view: you added links to many articles, you added multiple links within a single article, and you didn’t contribute any new information on the subject, as far as I can tell.

If you have a vested interest in the site, it might be better to wait and let someone else add links to it, if they find it relevant.

Also, you said above that the virtualization articles “are incomplete or totally missing.” Any help you can provide in improving the articles is welcome. — Wmahan. 18:11, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Now User:XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX is continuing to add links to without discussion.

Now this thing is going comic:

  • This time I didn’t add links from myself but someone else did for me (even if the submitting IP address is the same this doesn’t mean I’m the submitter…).
    Why if someone else, from my same network, add links pointing to my site I am still not credible?
  • Why I have to add contents to articles in exchange of placing External Links? Others external links provideds did it? What if (and this is exactly the case of Virtualization Industry Roadmap) I believe my contents are valuable and pertinent but cannot fit inside the article itself?

The main point reviewers still have to argue is not why I’m not allowed to post (which is debatable), but why I’ve been removed while others are still there.