Monday, May 12, 2008

On creating a Wikipedia page for Not Possible IRL

1:05pm Update: Please feel FREE to edit the Wikipedia page and make it better. Seriously, signing up to edit on Wikipedia takes a minute, not more. Add, add, add. Delete, delete, delete! This is as much yours as it is mine.

10:30am Update: Dear artists, architects, coders, Machinimators, fashion designers... anyone who creates content in virtual worlds that would not be possible IRL: Please email me the links to any technical journals and websites (NOT BLOGS) that point to and "legitimize" your work, as soon as you possibly can. Have any technical papers been published that describe your work? Please send me all the details, too. The clock is ticking. My email address is:

I need help, or at least your opinion, please. I'm not completely new to creating articles on Wikipedia, since I've prepared a few for my Real Life clients in the past. I had been thinking that it was time to create one for Not Possible IRL and NPIRL lately, but a conversation that I had today with Jay Newt of Brooklyn is Watching really put a firecracker on it. As I am already working on documentation about the Garden of NPIRL Delights, I figured, "What could be easier?"

I did realize that it was going to be difficult to find Wikipedia references to NPIRL and that I would have to edit some entries in other Wikipedia articles to include a reference to our group and the NPIRL concept... but I hadn't counted on my article being marked for deletion within minutes of my hitting "save this." It's still there for five days at which time they may delete it unless I can somehow convince them that Not Possible IRL is notable and is not about advertising.

I was nowhere near finished, as I still planned to flesh out my mentions about Gazira Babeli and DanCoyote Antonelli and Molotov Alva, and add many more artists and architects, etc. In fact, I don't think I will ever be finished, at the rate you all are producing such astonishing work. I do understand how someone who is not involved with virtual worlds might look at my entry and think it a vanity item, though.

I will dispute this, but do you think I was wrong to post this?

Please don't spam them, even if you think my work/words are legitimate. That would not do. But if you are Wikipedia savvy, and know the ropes, feel free to hop in and have your say, either way. And why aren't more of you on Wikipedia, anyway? Come on folks, it's time to get "official."


Anonymous said...

Have you thought about creating (duplicating) pages at the Second Life wiki? (

Kris Schomaker said...

Hi Bettina, congratulations on taking NPIRL to the mainstream. I think that is soo important to get our art noticed. Thats why I am writing my Masters Thesis on SL Art. I would definitely consider posting on the SL wikipedia, but also maybe compare what you are doing here with other artists from the physical world. Check out Char Davies, Jeffrey Shaw, Victoria Vesna. And other 'new media' artists. Virtual worlds offer the new generation of artists much more freedom and opportunities for experimentation. It would be a shame if Wikipedia was soo stuck up that it deleted your post. Have a great day, and good luck. I will try to think of other ideas to help ya out.
Gracie Kendal

Buridan said...

I think the only thing that you need to do is provide more verifiable sources that establish notability. Other than that, I think this is a fine addition.

Bettina Tizzy said...

Thanks for the great feedback and ideas, Otenth, Gracie and Buridan.

I hadn't thought about adding it to the SL Wiki, Otenth, and I could. Right now I am much more interested in pushing this out and into the mainstream as Gracie pointed out.

My goal is to give our content creators street cred, and reaching as many people as possible with the Not Possible IRL concept..

We need more Wikipedia editors! If you look at the SL page on Wikipedia - which is a bit messy, and hey, how do you describe and define SL on one page, anyway? - it is already marked as too long and there are suggestions that it should be fragmented.

As I pointed out in my submission to Wikipedia, this is about more than SL. It is also about other virtual worlds.

I agree that more needs to be added to my submission. I need help! ANYONE can be an editor of Wikipedia. Signing up takes about 1 minute. Care to join me? You could help me edit this page and create more about art in SL! *smiles* ;-)

Bettina Tizzy said...

Buridan, thanks so much for hopping in and commenting on Wikipedia. That makes a world of difference.

alphaauer said...

The same exact thing happened to me when I tried to post an entry! As soon as I hit the "save" button I was flagged!

And I really don't get this: What kind of a sad sack sits there in front of the wikipedia page and waits to pounce like that? I mean they must have turned it into a life's mission... Get a LIFE o ye Wikipedia watchdogs out there? First Life? Second Life? Any old Life????

Seifert Surface said...

Getting some references to articles from more mainstream publications might well help. Maybe one of Hamlet's posts?

Are there any mentions yet on sites that are not specifically about Second Life?

Bettina Tizzy said...

Sorry to hear that Alpha! When did you attempt to do this?

Seifert, that's just it. Wikipedia considers all blogs to be "vanity" items...and New World Notes is a blog. You have only to look at its URL:

As soon as I am able - bandwidth is an issue this week - I will do my best to secure the help of our own and RL-legit NPIRLers, such as Larry Pixel, Adam Ramona, Domenico Quaranta, Jay Newt, and of course, everyone involved with Ars Virtua. It's a drag to have to get on our high horses, but I think that this is the sort of thing that will galvanize EVERYONE who cares about art and architecture, etc. in SL to DO something about it. And... btw, I have to add an entry about your work on that Wikipedia page, Seifert.

Bettina Tizzy said...

AND, I need to add a comment about your work, Alpha... and all the folks at Synthetic University, too.

Alpha Auer said...

Ummm... Actually the entry I attempted to make concerned a highly legit, highly RL research group which has made significant scientific publications concerning hybrid research between computer science and art&design and is based in the computer graphics lab of my university. I referenced all of the publications we had, some in citation indexed journals no less - really there was nothing that anyone could have gotten nit-picky about.

So, I do not think that SL or blogs are the issue at all. They flag any new entry as a form of sport... Just to have done it. The speed in which it happens is already an indicator: There is NO WAY that they would be able to investigate the legitimacy of your entry in the amount of time that it takes them to flag you

Seifert Surface said...

If I were designing a heavily used wiki, with thousands of entries being added all the time, I might well have it flag new entries for deletion completely automatically.

Or if not automatically by the code, it makes a lot of sense for the community to flag everything that comes in.

Jopsy said...

I totally agree with Seifert... however it may be possible that some keywords may have triggered the flagging as well, particularly in the paragraph that includes: "provide an unprecedented", "unfettered new freedoms.", "body can be" ... it does sound a wee bit promotional instead of referential/informational. =)

To some page-review drone with no (virtual) life, the paragraph could read like a viral marketing attempt endorsing Second Life. Who knows. =)

Bryan said...

This is going to sound harsh, but I've been working on WikiPedia pages for several years now and here's what's going on.

The problem here is you adding the entry yourself. Even the best article can be nuked by a WikiCop if the page was built by the same person who the content is about.

Creating a page about your own site is considered self-promotion and is grounds for speedy deletion. You're lucky you were only tagged for regular deletion. What you need right now is people other than you defending your entry and making edits to the page to fill it out. It's those people other than you that need to be adding the information documenting notability.

You're best bet is to keep doing what you're doing right now and drum up help and don't do any more personal edits to the page. Don't create a second account to do the work either because in cases of deletions someone might be monitoring IP traffic for shill accounts. If you can get through this crisis, you've got a good chance of getting the page to stay. If it does get deleted, other WikiCops may delete it in the future out of hand just because it already lost out to a CfD.

I hope this helps, and I'll do what I can to spread the word myself.

Bryan said... more thought. After reading the article again, it is very promotional of Second Life and virtual worlds and doesn't really cover the notability of NPIRL.

What's needed here is information about NPIRL, what it has done that is significant and historical. Remember, the notion is that this is an encyclopedic document about the subject of the page.

I'm going to tackle the page with a huge edit to try and turn this around. I'll explain on the talk page of the article...

Bettina Tizzy said...

Bryan, thank you for helping with this, and yes, I do see your point about my submitting the page rather than someone else doing it.

My goal is not to promote myself but the group, the content creators, and the movement. I wish the clock wasn't ticking so loud and fast on this, but I will do what I can to salvage the page. Will leave you a more extensive response on the talk page.

FCSundae said...

So, I'm probably opening myself up to a lot of unpleasantness here, but I thought I owed it to you and your community to come over. Maybe I should be posting on your Wikipedia talk page instead, but I guess my instinct is to respond to criticism where I see it.

I'm the one who nominated your article for deletion, which was, as you mentioned, within minutes of its creation. I noticed it while on the "Recent changes" page of Wikipedia, a page I often go to to look for vandalism. We can argue about who does or doesn't have a life later :).

As some other commenters have pointed out, your article as originally created raised a few flags. You were the author and the creator of the group. Almost all your references were blogs, and the ones that weren't were just about art in SL and not NPIRL. The article made no claim of "notability," which is a standard requirement for Wikipedia articles. I did a quick google search for "NPIRL," and just found blogs, which Wikipedia doesn't consider reliable sources.

Still, I can see how my actions seemed (and may have been) hasty. You had only just created the article, and were planning to expand it, so while it may have been rough in its original form that didn't mean it was going to stay that way. I did do a google search, and I skimmed the references, but I could have done a lot more: Left a message on your talk page, noted on the article that it needed references and cleanup, tried to fix it myself.

I don't recklessly delete, and while I will admit that I enjoy reverting heinous vandalism (the "JOSH IS GAYYY" type stuff that gets added almost every minute to Wikipedia) I didn't nominate your article just for the power trip. I nominated the article for deletion because it looked to me like a vanity creation of an article on a non-notable group. As bryan noted, that's often enough to get an article speedy deleted with no discussion. But I couldn't tell for sure, so I thought a nomination would allow everyone to discuss the issues and figure out what should be done here. And to some extent, that's exactly what's happened, but it's also led to understandable distress and bad feelings that probably could have been avoided.

It's too early to tell (for me at least) whether this article will turn out to be appropriate for Wikipedia. It certainly has gotten a lot better since I nominated it, which you could see as a sign that I either helped your article greatly or that I'm an idiot for nominating it in the first place — I'm sure I'm not qualified to say which :).

Those of you who thought I had no life before have surely been validated after reading this extremely long response to people already inclined to hate me. I guess mainly what I wanted to say is: Wikipedia isn't out to get you, and neither am I.

You're welcome to leave comments on my Wikipedia talk page.

Bettina Tizzy said...

FCSundae: Know that your note totally cracked me, and that I appreciate your sincerity and the depth of your explanation.

Everyone in virtual worlds has been accused of not having a life by someone who didn't understand, so you are in excellent company.

I never meant to cause so much trouble. If you read through this blog, Wikipedia is the external source I most often link to. We wouldn’t be trying so darn hard to establish a presence on Wikipedia if it weren’t such an indispensible resource, so consider yourself partially to blame for making it the magnet that it is.

That said, I’m in a pickle. Is there any way to extend the five day “fix it or you’re out” dictum? I picked the worst week ever to go stirring up trouble. Also, if blogs are not acceptable references, then I will probably fail to produce enough evidence, since even the largest print news outlets in virtual worlds are blogs.

JSBarrett said...

NPIRL is however affiliated with Rezzable, which is a real life company, which has been noted by sites like

Furthermore, some NPIRL members have worked for notable or not so notable companies within Second Life for real life companies and real life Directors that was aired on television, or created a viral ad campaign for a RL company etc. I am sure if many of the members in NPIRL think back to projects they have worked for and whom, we could come up with a fairly notable list.

FCSundae said...

Man, RSS feeds are great.

Anyway, in response to your question: First of all, you should probably ask someone else because I'm actually a relatively new user and I don't want to steer you wrong. I know from experience that if there's a landslide one side or the other it'll get closed early, but that doesn't look like it'll happen in this case. (NPIRL fans, please don't take that as a suggestion to spam the deletion nom — votes like that are obvious and quickly discounted and just put the closing admin in a bad mood. Anyway, if some established Wikipedia editors are against you and are giving solid reasons why, it's not a landslide.) But mainly what you should know is that getting your article deleted here is not the end of its Wikipedia life. You can get it restored to your userspace, where you can work on it until it's perfect before recreating it in the Wikipedia mainspace. Admittedly, as someone pointed out already, a previously deleted article tends to have a target on its back, so it would have to be pretty solid and you might have to defend it for a while.

I also don't want to mislead you on the blogs thing. If they're your main source, that is a problem, because from Wikipedia's point of view anyone could post anything on a blog, which could be true, or not. Are any of the blogs or bloggers notable in their own right? Some are, and that might help. But again, I am far from an expert here, so what I really advise you to do is read Wikipedia's policies on notability and reliable sources, and see if you can find a way to meet the guidelines.

Good luck!

Bryan said...

Bettina, and everyone else for that matter... I think the best thing to do right now is not worry so much about the "blog" issue as that can is a defendable position in some circumstances.

The best thing to do as I've mentioned already, first and foremost, is to locate any articles about the group or Bettina (in relation to the group) that make some observation about the relevance or notability of the group and get those references into the references area of the article...

If you're at a loss for where to put your reference, most journalistic comments can be added to the set of references I've already begun building. Worst case, add it to the Talk page and I'm sure someone will find a way to work it into the article.

Remember, defending an AfD/CfD is like having a kid. There's never a good time for it to happen :P