Saturday, February 19, 2011

Snydecast & Wikipedia

The Ken P.D. Snydecast has had a unique relationship with the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

The bulk of the issue is discussed in this YouTube clip:

Here, courtesy of Deletionpedia is Plumey's page.

Also on Deletionpedia is the Snydecast page.

Recently a blog post, penned by Colter, was posted at this site. With his permission, I have reposted it below:

The Ken P. D. Snydecast episode 56.

In 2008 a podcast called the Ken P. D. Snydecast was given a page on Wikipedia. Within a day that page was recommended for speedy deletion by a mathematician at UC Irvine for relevance issues. Why was a mathematician allowed to decide what was relevant in the realm of pop culture? He does not appear to be qualified to make such value judgments but if he is not who is and, more importantly, in an age of vast digital space why do such judgments need to be made at all?

Allow me to back up a bit and give a little information on the Ken P. D. Snydecast. The Ken P. D. Snydecast is a show hosted by Ken Plume and Dana Snyder. Any Aqua Teen Hunger Force fan may recognize the latter as the voice of Master Shake. Mr. Plume has many accomplishments of his own including co-authoring a children’s book titled There’s a Zombie in my Treehouse and working with director Kevin Smith on his podcast network. He also runs a site called where the Snydecast as the show is more commonly known appears weekly. The content of the show features witty banter on various topics focusing mostly on pop culture of the past.

Given the pedigree of the hosts and the fact that it exists at all why would such a show not be included in Wikipedia? In the episode linked above Mr. Plume makes the point that in the past encyclopedias were edited by experts for length because they needed to be printed in physical volumes but that in the case of Wikipedia that size restriction does not exist so there is no need to trim down the information. This is a valid point. If something has even the tiniest societal impact why not include it in a digital collection? Why should someone, who is a non-expert in an area, be allowed to make judgments as to what is relevant in it? This seems to be the opposite of what we should be doing. If anything we should be preserving more information that the majority of people think is irrelevant than deleting data that clearly is. As nice as Wikipedia is for looking up certain information, it takes a step in the wrong direction with its speedy deletion policy and need for relevancy. Why the rush? Why speedy deletion? If they really feel the need to keep irrelevant things off their site they should have a review process as opposed to speedy deletion. I am sure there is a review process for certain types of information removal so why not use it in this case as well?

I would like to make a little side note here to point out that the UC Irvine professor who recommended the page for speedy deletion has his own Wikipedia page. I do not intend to go back on my previous statement that we should be preserving more by saying that his page should not be saved because it should, but I will say that if I were editing an encyclopedia for print the show with thousands of listeners would get a space over the university professor.

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