Old Man Murray Deleted From Wikipedia

By John Walker on March 2nd, 2011 at 10:40 pm.

Or there will be trouble.

When Rock, Paper, Shotgun is asked to name its games writing influences, only a few names come up. They include Amiga Power, Your Sinclair, early Gamer, and perhaps most noticeably, Old Man Murray. The influence that site had on games writing has influenced just about everything else anyone’s enjoyed since. RPS writers lived and breathed OMM at the time. Every time I read the archives I’m reminded how poor a job I’m doing, and what it is I should be striving for. Not to mention that it was written by Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek, who now work at Valve, penning mighty words and ideas for the likes of Left 4 Dead and Portal. And today their entry has been deleted from Wikipedia, on the grounds that it’s “not notable”. We’d like to object.

And we’re not objecting on the grounds that our own site was described by Wikipedia editors as being, “generally trivial, tangential, or otherwise not substantial enough to grant notability.” We’re objecting because one of the finest sources of games writing of all time is being ignored for extremely spurious reasons.

The criteria for an article on a website on Wikipedia are detailed here. The crux is, it has to have been written about elsewhere in a “non-trivial” way. Which gives a lot of room for interpretation.

It demonstrates one of the key flaws in Wikipedia’s criteria for inclusion: the dependence upon secondary sources beyond an object itself. It’s obviously a system that often works – if something is notable, it’ll likely have been mentioned by other sources thought to be notable. The issue starts when something was notable in an online form, but in the past. There aren’t so many contemporary pieces being written about a website that ended in… oh, hang on, I can’t check Wikipedia. I’ll just email one of the site’s writers, the notable writer behind Portal and Portal 2, Erik Wolpaw.

“The last news post is dated 01-31-2002. That sounds about right. Though now that Serious Sam 3 just got announced, it might be time to update again.”

Thanks.

And it’s even harder when the primary purpose of a site is humour. Humour – an extremely serious business – is all too often not taken seriously.

But like so many of the disputes that rear up on the encyclopaedia, this could be a personal matter. The initiative to have the entry deleted was started by user “SchuminWeb“, one Ben Schumin. He’s a fan of the defunct comedy cartoon website, Homestar Runner, which has an entry on Wikipedia that he links to. It is claimed in the discussion page on Wikipedia that Schumin has a long-running dispute with OMM. Chet Faliszek expresses his confusion about the matter here, saying he remembers helping Schumin set up his site back in the day. So what does Schumin have specifically against Old Man Murray? We’ve contacted him to find out. (Edit: Oh, he seems to have deleted my question, which seems a bit rude.)

Edit: While Schumin is declining to give a reason behind his choosing Old Man Murray (and only a week before, Portal Of Evil) for deletion, it’s hard to understand how this didn’t mean the Conflict Of Interest rule didn’t prevent his nominating.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of anger about the decision – a lot of it unsavoury – all over the place.

You can read the deleted Old Man Murray Wikipedia article thanks to the Wayback Machine. Amazingly, references to Old Man Murray, even without a link, have been removed from Erik Wolpaw’s own Wikipedia entry. (It has since been restored. And it seems someone also tried to do the same to Mark Laidlaw’s page.)

For a primer in why we care about OMM, here’s a guide the late Kieron Gillen has put together:

1: The Crate Review System

The shame of many developers,

2. Death Of Adventure Games

The first people to use that puzzle as an example of how the genre was fucking apeshit.

3. Serious Sam: The Interview

The popularisation of Serious Sam.

4. Drakan Week Official Response.

Basically, every internet kid who is snarky is pretending to be pretending to be pretending to be people who were OMM.

5. 5 would be this

Go find your own favourite. Along with AP2, it’s one of the most entertaining and inspiring sources of writing on the internet. Which seems pretty bloody notable to us.

If you’re a developer or games journalist who was inspired by Old Man Murray, or perhaps you threatened to sue them, we’d really love to hear from you. Please email me at john@rockpapershotgun.com with your stories.

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294 Comments »

  1. Novotny says:

    I applaud your efforts here, having noted earlier the activity on twitter.
    Wouldn’t you guys credit Zzap64! as influential too? And Big K was the first place I ever had a letter printed. I am so very old.

    • bascule42 says:

      Let’s not forget Crash.

    • Novotny says:

      Indeed. I think the hairy snappers of RPS are probably too young to have sampled that first wave of games journalism, which danced hand-in-hand with the birth of British bedroom games coding. The Rev Stu would still sing of it, I’m sure. It’s quite beside the point of this little campaign, though.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Controversy? Again?!?! Can’t we all just get along?
      I still have the Crash issue with the spoof Your Sinclair issue in it.
      Now THERE was a flame war before your fancy internets.

      Oh and Lunar Jetman had the funniest line ever which I try to use and nobody else likes:
      ‘It all began when I was born, aged about eight…’

    • Novotny says:

      Oh, I didn’t mean to seem to be flaming. I just think RPS has older relatives than it has mentioned, and in much the same way that they are admirably trying to save the references to OMM, I just like to reference these older publications too, as they meant an awful lot to me at the time. Admittedly though: where do you stop? I’m sure someone could eloquently argue that some of the titles I mentioned owe a lot to earlier still works.

      Anyways: back to Minecraft for me, where I have a lawn to keep people off ;)

  2. Decimae says:

    Ah. The notability fight spreads from programming languages to gaming journalists. I find it to be rather ridiculous; if the article is obviously not made by affiliates of the subject discussed then it’s notable enough for wikipedia.

  3. MikoSquiz says:

    Wikipedia deletionists are the lowest form of life known to man. Pond scum, the lot of them.

  4. shoptroll says:

    I stopped caring about Wikipedia after witnessing moderators wrecking the Overclocked Remixes articles for being “non-notable”. Their review process is absolutely terrible.

    • Foo says:

      I had the same reaction when the article on Q3 mod CPMA was deleted, after hundreds of edits had made it into a damn-near perfect entry. It’s like the wiki equivalent of someone griefing a minecraft construction that you’ve been working on all day, only to find that person is buds with the server admin, and you’re boned.

    • megalomania says:

      @Foo
      It was deleted in 2006 and recreated in 2007… time to move on?

    • Foo says:

      Haven’t bothered making a significant edit since that time. That article really tied the room together, man.

    • 12kill4 says:

      +1 for Foo

    • Psychochild says:

      Same thing happened with DKP (Dragon Kill Points for people who didn’t play EQ/WoW). Useful concept for MMO designers, even thought it was “not notable” enough for Wikipedia. We defeated a deletion attempt twice, only for it to succeed the third time under a rushed deletion vote.

      Yes, it was eventually put back into Wikipedia. But, like Foo, it taught me a lesson: any effort you put into an article can be wiped out if some asshat thinks that article isn’t worthy. I’ll spend my time doing something more useful, thanks.

    • noethis says:

      Oh, hey there Foo!

      -wviperw

  5. geldonyetich says:

    I was first awoken to Wikipedia’s odd habits of deleting things as “not notable” when they removed the entry on BYOND, the free-to-use platform behind Space Station 13 and a web portal populated by thousands. It was then that I decided Wikipedia probably doesn’t deserve a donation from me, ever.

  6. Torgen says:

    Wow, OMM defined “gonzo journalism” for online entertainment (meaning GOOD writing with attitude, not nerdrage that tries to pass itself off as “edgy”.)

    It would be interesting to list how many memes OMM started. The “crate system” of reviews probably would top the list.

  7. Cugel says:

    Isn’t the whole basic concept of Wikipedia, the thing that sets it apart from regular, centralised encyclopedias, that you can have articles on pretty much anything?

    I concur with the vitriol displayed above towards the deletionists (nice phrase by the way), may their blight be swept from the Earth.

    • shoptroll says:

      At some point Wikipedia decided it needed to be taken seriously and shoved its collective head up its own arse and started promoting people as curators for policing the content. It’s been on a downward spiral ever since.

    • megalomania says:

      Not true shoptroll. Wikipedia is, and always has been, self-policing with regard to content. There are no curators. The admins’ job is merely to use powers (deletion, protection, etc.) which it would be silly to give to everyone when there is a consensus amongst editors to do so.

    • Nathan says:

      Whilst that would ideally be true, and quite removed from any aspect of this story, it quite definitely is not true that the opinions of, say, some random anonymous contributor would be given equal weight with those of a long-standing admin.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Despite the fact the admin might be entirely ignorant in the subject matter at hand.

      This is a big part of why Wikipedia isn’t what it could’ve been. People with power often shouldn’t have said power.

    • Archonsod says:

      No, the main difference between Wikipedia and a normal encyclopaedia is Wikipedia is the encyclopaedia anyone can edit while say Brittania is the encyclopaedia only highly qualified, professional researchers can edit.

    • JFS says:

      And that’s why Wikipedia has collectively been known to suck arse since the dawning of mankind.

  8. KaL_YoshiKa says:

    Hey just a thought,

    All the computers in Postal 2 feature a screen capture of Old Man Murray as the image on the monitors. Given that Postal 2 is notorious and notable – wouldn’t the website being featured prominently through out in itself be notable?

    But yeah, what the hell – Old Man Murray is often cited by most reviewers everywhere as one of their more important influences.

  9. Lambchops says:

    Ah, good old yester year game journalism (I am aware that calling 10 years ago yester year is pushing it a bit). I feel inclined to mention Digitiser at this point. If only because Digi would probably want to rub the fact it still has a Wiki article in Old Man Murray’s face.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitiser

    Anyway, boo to Wiki page deletion. The joy of wikipedia is surely that it contains a ludicrous amount of frivolous info that nonetheless is important to somebody.

    • rivalin says:

      Ah Digitiser! What better example of an obscure yet at the same time incredibly notable publication is there. Yet if an uninformed editor from Oklahoma (no offence to Oklahoma, just picking it as a far away place) they’d probably think it was the most irrelevant subject of an article ever, I mean, Teletext, what even is that?

      Compound that with the frankly staggering an completely unprofessional behaviour of, I would say the majority of the sort of people who become administrators on wikipedia, and you can see how we end up with preposterous situations like this where an utterly biased admin can abuse his power and still be supported unquestioningly by other admins.

  10. Hoaxfish says:

    I follow about 4 or 5 “popular” sites, which wikipedia deems “non-notable”. Most of the editors of wikipedia are non-notable… and the ones that are, are apparently completely power-mad.

    They’re a bit like Apple…it’s a weird technology cult

    Then again, didn’t Jimbo Wales delete his ex-girlfriend’s article after he decided she was non-notable (of course, she had one in the first place because he found her notable).

  11. Kirrus says:

    I have twice defended a computer-security article on there from deletion, and delitionists is a nice way of talking about the cliques there. People who have no clue about the subject matter at all argue for the articles deletion, and with a tech-specific article, it’s almost impossible to defend. I think we got lucky both times, with an admin who had half a clue.

    I wish you luck with this, but truly, don’t hold your breath :(

  12. Phydaux says:

    We’ve contacted him to find out.

    John’s question on SchuminWeb’s talk page was very polite, the response from SchuminWeb is “Not dignifying this with a response”. He deleted John’s comment from his talk page.
    This kind of person does not deserve the right to administrate Wikipedia.

  13. shoptroll says:

    So I looked at the edit history on Wolpaw’s page. The link to the OMM entry was removed over a week before the actual OMM entry was pulled. Pretty clear the editor had no intention of letting the OMM entry survive no matter what else happened.

    However, I noticed on his talk page…

    “If I made an action that you disagree with: If you are writing to comment on an action that you disagree with, first just fix it, and then tell me what you fixed and why you fixed it. This permission also includes reverting administrative actions that I have made. I won’t wheel war with you if you revert an administrative action. Just make sure you tell me that you did”

    IMHO, someone with wikipedia access should restore the OMM article

    • Nathan says:

      No. Whilst this user nominated the article for deletion and started the conversation, it would have been another administrator (in this case, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Lifebaka ), independent of Schumin, who would have read through the arguments presented in the discussion and thereby made the decision whether or not to delete the page.

    • Josh04 says:

      Although, lifebaka was apparently unable to read the references given – assume he made his mind up on the testimony of others that they were unsuitable?

      “I’ll re-evaluate it later this evening (EST). I am not currently on a network that lets me view most of the sources, unfortunately. Expect four to five hours delay before my next response.”

  14. Robin says:

    I remember first getting into OMM (probably via Portal of Evil, Voodoo Extreme and/or Seanbaby – there really wasn’t a lot of internet back then) circa 2000-2001. People writing rude funny things about games and making other-than-bitterly-defensive critiques about their absurdities were mindblowing novelties.

    The amount of noteworthy computer games, things that existed offline from around 1987-1997, and cultural reference points and communities that have emerged online in the past decade (“Urrngh forum cruft!”- a fat idiot with an imaginary internet sherriff’s badge) that aren’t represented on Wikipedia is terrifyingly stupid.

  15. DaFishes says:

    This is typical on Wikipedia. It’s basically a testicle waving contest to get any content to stick.

  16. Masem says:

    As an admin on WP and knee deep in notability issues, I believe this was a gross mistake (at worst, the article should have been merged to Chet’s article).

    I am going to do my best to rectify the situation. This doesn’t mean I can’t simply undelete and go “tada”, but I will be working on gaining consensus to reverse it.

    That said, if you have any sources that point to the industry’s take on OMM , please let me know. The more the better.

  17. Devilturnip says:

    Article deletion for notability never made since to me. The biggest advantage an online encyclopedia has over its book-based equivalent is that there is no space limitation. Notability guidelines seem to be hellbent on emulating that limitation, for ineffable reasons. The reasoning simply cannot be effed.

    I think my video tomorrow will be about this. I can’t overstress how important Old Man Murray was and still is to me.

    • megalomania says:

      The reasoning for notability isn’t to do with space, it’s to do with sourcing. Wikipedia has space for an article on my Auntie Margaret. Maybe only a few people will read it, but why not have it, right? But to extract information about my Auntie Margaret from a community of anonymous or pseudonymous editors that we can have any sort of confidence is true, we have to insist that it cites other reliable sources. Problem is, nobody has ever published any reliable sources on my Auntie Margaret. There’s a minimum threshold of published, external sources of information about a topic that needs to exist for there to be the possibility of writing a viable article about that topic. That threshold is the notability threshold.

    • CMaster says:

      @Megalomania
      That’s not true. I’ve seen plenty of stuff which can be referenced and sources (and often is) trimmed right down or deleted on the grounds that it isn’t notable enough.
      Notability and verifiability are different issues and indeed, different WP policies.

    • Devilturnip says:

      @megalomania
      It’s clear your fighting for your home team here, so there’s not much point in arguing with you. Old Man Murray is not your auntie. If the notability guidelines allow such an important part of game journalism history to be removed, then nothing in game journalism should be notable. Wikipedia notability policies destroy useful content, and further degrade the site’s reputation.

    • megalomania says:

      @CMaster
      I’d like to see an example of that.

      @Devilturnip
      I don’t think OMM is non-notable, and I’m not claiming that AfDs always pan out the way they should. I was merely contending the implication that the notability guidelines don’t serve a purpose.

      Fighting for my home team? I guess… I edit articles on the obscurities of eastern European prehistoric archaeology when I have the time, and I think that’s a worthwhile endeavour. I’m arguing for the position I agree with, why would I do otherwise? If you want to pretend instead that I have some vested interest and use that as an excuse not to engage with my arguments then I can’t stop you. But for the record I’m not a particular seasoned editor and definitely not an admin. Or much of a deletionist as it goes.

    • CMaster says:

      @Megalomania
      It would be hard, as said articles that I know have been deleted and their AFD’s probably also long gone. Equally, just reading the policies should make it clear that sources alone aren’t enough. Notability is another criteria (somewhat necessarily woolly) that articles must meet as well as being verifiable. Also, wikipedia policies on what counts as a suitable source often mean that minutiae of one field can remain, while much more significant elements of others get removed.

    • megalomania says:

      AfDs are never deleted. You can find them linked from the page of the deleted article, or search for them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Archived_deletion_discussions

      I’m not claiming verifiability and notability aren’t separate policies, I’m saying one leads to the other. Sources, which are required for verifiability, are the only way you can establish notability.

    • DrGonzo says:

      And they are saying decent referencing does not equal notability. It’s a simple argument, and you don’t seem to be acknowledging it.

      I can’t see how someone could defend such a policy. Notability is completely subjective.

    • jmzero says:

      @Megalomania

      I suppose you could perhaps say that the policies are sane, and this is just an unfortunate happening… but surely you have to agree that what actually happened here is ridiculous? A guy with an axe to grind got a page deleted because he didn’t like it – and he managed to do so even with the scrutiny of people who should be preventing this kind of crap.

      And shouldn’t the presence of a lot of “meatpuppets” in a discussion thread at least hint that there might be something to be reviewed? The ridiculous deletion candidates people bring up (my cat, some church barbeque) are unlikely to get that kind of support or interest (and if they do maybe there’s something to them).

      And pretending that this process would have went the same for someone who didn’t have an established WP editing history is ridiculous. Stupid. Sure he didn’t use his magic admin powers, but that’s hardly the only weight he has, hardly the only way he’s different from, say, me.

      I could demonstrate this by trying to get half the pages on his “favorite list” deleted – but if I did that people would complain that there’s a conflict of interest (because I think he’s a douche, and because I’m sure someone’s already trying). And when I do it, suddenly it wouldn’t matter that nobody cares about some local politician, and it wouldn’t matter that the only thing supporting a page on some stupid society is links to that society’s web pages. There’s no way this deletion would have happened without someone with a history behind it – arguments be damned.

      Do you honestly, really doubt that?

  18. rocketman71 says:

    That Schumin guy is pathethic. Just read his reasoning.

    You can’t?. Oh, sorry, I meant his lack of reasoning other than “delete, delete, DELETE!”.

    • Kaira- says:

      Oh, you think you have a source of some sort? I’m sorry, it’s irrelevant. What, it’s Gabe Newell? Nevermind, irrelevant. RockPaperShotgun? Irrelevant. Anything? Irrelevant, biased, WP:COI, WP:GoChockeOnAMillionDicks.

  19. Robert says:

    Wikipedia is ruled by a clique of supermoderators. Those so-called super-users are defined by amount of edits, not the quality of it.

    Ever since the the clique started to claim control, and argue against onetime (or a handful of) contributors, it went into a downward spiral. The strength of wikipedia should be the fact that you can have experts in a certain field contributing to mondial knowledge.

    “We’re talking about a page that’s effectively been dead for ten years here..”(from a discussion on Schumin’s page)

    Because James Joyce doesn’t update his webpage anymore means he is non-notable?

    • megalomania says:

      How do you decide who’s an expert? The core of Wikipedia is that anyone can edit, and “anyone” includes a lot of very very crazy people. The only feasible way of ensuring its content remains halfway usable is insisting that it can be no more than a summary of other published reliable sources. That’s why articles which become the primary source on a topic are inappropriate.

    • Starky says:

      This is the internet though, a shifting mass, things which were vastly important in their day vanish utterly, things that discussed them vanish and eventually all you have left is the Wiki entry and a half dozen dead links.

      It’s the entire sodding reason efforts like the Archive.org exist because people began to realize that swaths of vastly important (socially, historically, culturally) stuff was literally vanishing from existence.

      Hell I see Wiki itself imploding anyway in a few years unless it vastly improves it’s act.

      The problem with Wikipedia is that people who are entirely ignorant of the subject, the relevance it did have are looking at those articles, doing a half-arsed google search for information and then deciding they should be deleted.

      It is the reason experts don’t bother with Wikipedia any more.
      I remember reading an article/blog (i forget which and can’t find the damn thing – again the internet is a black hole) about a Engineering PhD. with multiple papers in respected journals and publications, working on cutting edge advancements in robotics and control systems getting “corrected” on Wikipedia.

      Literally he was correcting things and then having his edits reverted by college level (or below) users using 30-40 year old source material as evidence. Old no longer correct evidence which college still teaches students, because with engineering you learn the old “close enough” (easy) methods – such as Newtonian physics, even if we know them to be not strictly correct.

      Needless to say he gave up trying.

      There have been dozens of examples of this over the years – I remember a call a few years ago for Wiki to start giving preferred treatment to accredited and verifiable experts, but they refused. Wanting to leave it “Open”.

      Instead they decided to recruit an army of idiots to administrate their site – because for every decent knowledgeable admin on wiki there are 10 self-important know it alls, who’ll wade into subjects they are utterly ignorant about and make choices based upon ignorance.

      There is a reason almost every single University, College, or education facility of any worth tells it’s students to avoid Wikipedia like it is the plague.
      The only think Wikipedia is useful for is a quick and dirty overview and maybe if you are lucky some links to some REAL sources.

      The more subjective the subject (the more it leans on expert knowledge) the worse Wikipedia gets – some of it’s historical articles are chronically incorrect and pretty damned revisionist – especially in favour of America.

    • CMaster says:

      @ Starky

      At university level, any encyclopaedia would be considered an unacceptable reference.
      Wiki’s actually one of the better ones out there, helped by being free. Its use is to get an overview of a subject quickly, not to be taken at its word or used as a source for anything. Again, true of all encyclopaedias.

    • Starky says:

      Of course you couldn’t cite a encyclopedia, but I’m not taking abut using it as a source itself.

      As I’ve said with factual subjects wiki is pretty damned good, but it’s strength was always having information on things that and subjects you could find no where else, the obscure and the niche.

      Obviously there is a limit, people starting pages about their cat and such – but Wikipedia has many, many times taken it’s notability guidelines WAY too far (most notably in cases like this where clearly subject matter ignorant admin wade in and stamp down), destroying (hyperbole sure, but what would be an internet rant without some hyperbole? Meat without gravy) its greatest strength.

      Then again, maybe I am bitter because I’ve had plenty of articles I wrote deleted for lack of notoriety (though 90% of my work is still up and readable today, and I’ve not touched wiki in almost 3 years as a contributor/editor).

    • Robert says:

      “How do you decide who’s an expert? The core of Wikipedia is that anyone can edit, and “anyone” includes a lot of very very crazy people. The only feasible way of ensuring its content remains halfway usable is insisting that it can be no more than a summary of other published reliable sources. That’s why articles which become the primary source on a topic are inappropriate.”

      The problem is that ‘other published reliable sources” became a subject of discussion, even aside the whole notability issue. By raising the opinions of some over those of others it is no longer really true that “The core of Wikipedia is that anyone can edit”

  20. Muzman says:

    OMM, in their never ending rage at mainstream gaming tendencies (which Yahtzee has kinda taken over railing against) were also one of the first places to seek out and promote indie gaming. And this was before all the good development platforms existed and they were even harder to make.

    Notability Nazis are tedious though. Wikipedia used to be much more fun.

    • CMaster says:

      Honestly, Yahtzee is shit at railing against mainstream gaming trends. Sure, he whinges, but he plays stuff with so little variety, dislikes anything that goes against his idea of what a genre “should” be and actually goes out and tries games with new ideas basically never. Occasionally you’ll see him do a column with “maybe somebody should try it like this” when it’s been tried like that several times before.

      He’s entertaining, sure (although the misogyny and homophobia were going a bit too far of late) but he’s not at all well informed about games, and is as much stuck in his own rut about games as the developers he rails against.

  21. megalomania says:

    Well I guess I’m going to be the guy defending Wikipedia here. The notability policies are absolutely crucial. Yes they sometimes misfire. Yes there are lots of overzealous deletionists. But you simply would not believe the flood of completely trivial and downright false information that gets added to Wikipedia every day. Strict adherence to notability and sourcing is, with no exaggeration, the only thing that stops it becoming completely useless as a serious encyclopaedia. Some topics are harder to source properly than others – websites being top of the list – but if the topic is truly notable and you have a bit of perseverance then it will get through. I simply cannot stand people who make one attempt at editing and then go off in a huff denouncing the entire project.

    That last part is not necessarily directed at you, John, I obviously don’t know how much experience you have with Wikipedia, I can just see where the comment thread is going. Instead of bitching about the Wikipedia cabal let’s be productive. This post constitutes reliable external coverage which very well might be enough to get the article recreated and improved so it isn’t deleted again.

    • Legionary says:

      Sorry, but this is just silly but I disagree with you. Wikipedia is not a print encyclopaedia. It does not need to remove pages; it does not become more difficult to find information if the number of articles increases. Each page is separate. Having an article about OMM does not make it harder to find an article about nuclear fission.

      Edit: sorry, I am in a bad mood and shouldn’t have posted in such a dismissive tone.

    • Nathan says:

      You don’t think Wikipedia needs ever remove pages?

      Whilst deletionism can and does go to far, inclusionism is also the path of madness. I’m quite sure that I exist and there are some primary citable sources out there providing evidence of this, but were Wikipedia to suddenly have a page for every provable person, every building and every school fete on the planet, it would become entirely unusable.
      Surely noone can doubt that the dozens of these articles created each day need to be deleted from non-notability, despite the freedoms afforded by an electronic format? The question then just becomes one of where you the line is drawn between notable and non-notable content – at the moment, it’s defined in such a way that various classes of articles are possibly at a disadvantage because they aren’t frequently discussed by contemporary sources that are available online, and Old Man Murray is clearly, for the moment, on the wrong side of this line.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I admit, when they’ve dismissed Wired, Kotaku and PC Gamer as reasonable sources – and people like Gabe Newell, I have to wonder what they would accept.
      KG

    • megalomania says:

      @KG
      To be fair to the admin who reviewed that monstrous AfD and decided to delete, those sources weren’t actually in the article, and the few constructive comments in which they were offered were swamped by unhelpful harangues and personal insults from a horde of newly-registered meatpuppets.

    • ShawnClapper says:

      Wouldn’t this just make it so over time historical items become less notable as they fade into obscurity, although during their time they may have been very notable. How do you keep historical entries on a site that constantly deletes things after the public looses interest?

    • Muzman says:

      Some notability policy is crucial. The ones people wave around here are completely ridiculous and effectively undermine the entire project. Ten years after his death, wikipedia would have deleted jesus since no notable writing would have existed (and when writing does show up wouldn’t it be nice to have a contemporary record as well to compare it to? Oh, only if it’s ‘notable’).
      It’s a completely ball/gonad-less appeal to mainstream authority. Wikipedia ceded its ability to have any authority of its own to the “established” media. A media which of course cared little about the ‘net ten years ago. This sort of thing will damage wikipedia’s strength as a source as surely as any slew of badly written pokemon pages.

      At the time everyone knew about OMM in the PC scene. Every update was passed around the thousands of gaming sites that sprang up and died in the dot com boom. That period was real, but deserves no record because no external record exists to confirm it. Boneheaded doesn’t even begin to describe it.

      Think about this: there’s an entry on wikipedia for Small Wonder, a TV show notable only for being shit. It’s only there because it exists. That is the basic reason it passes muster. It existed. That bricks and mortar journal of record TV Week probably wrote about it too (at the behest of the people who made it). Hurray for the vitality and definitiveness of wikipedia.
      See, it isn’t that people can’t say “it’s the policy!” It’s that the policy is an ass.

    • safetydank says:

      I AM NOT A MEAT PUPPET. I AM A HUMAN BEING!

    • Urthman says:

      megalomania, I agree. I think my posting history demonstrates pretty conclusively that I am the biggest Old Man Murray fanboy on this site. But this is a non-issue.

      As long as the actual Old Man Murray website is still on the internet, worrying about whether there is a Wikipedia article about Old Man Murray is pointless. Who needs a Wikipedia article about OMM when you can just link to the real thing? For instance, here are the top 10 OMM articles that John forgot to link to:

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/56.html
      The problem with making a dark and disturbing version of Alice in Wonderland is that it’s pretty dark and disturbing to begin with, which gives it little training wheels that help cultural firebrands ride it into geniusdom once every eighteen months or so.

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/726.html
      (Trespasser Hype Review) “You hear people say, ‘We create worlds,’ states Rich Flier. “Well, we’re really creating one.”
      “Get ready to stack crates…” Chet

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/news/news6.html
      (scroll down to Acting!) Likewise, story lovers should just accept the fact that non-interactive media such as books, television, movies, and, in case all of those somehow disappear, plays, have stories and dialogue pretty much covered. Games are something else altogether…Note to super-smart adventure gamers who never fail to mention that they’re too smart to for TV but will gladly spend two hundred excruciating hours wringing any itty-bitty bit of plot out of Jane Jensen’s latest crappy opus: Watch some television, they put stories on there now.

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/news/news3.html
      (scroll to I Like Girls) First of all, God forbid someone uses sex to sell a product. Unless of course that product is Salon itself, which advertises as one of its subscription services
      Premium-only galleries of erotic art and photography in Salon Sex. Maybe Au’s real problem is that E3 hasn’t thought up a decent leftist euphemism for porn that won’t taint the thrill of blood rushing to his penis by making him feel as if he’s experiencing the unsophisticated boner of the common man.

      (then scroll to Black and White) “If it’s your job to pan this week’s Army Men game, and the only bad thing you can think to say about it is that it’s racist, you’re simply convincing me that it just might be the greatest game ever. Which means you’re not doing your job.”

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/46.html
      (Rune Review) Here’s a depressing rundown of the levels you’ll death-march through: Nali village, cave, cave, cave, cave, dark castle, lava cave, lava dungeon, lava waterfall, lava sewer, cave, dungeon, sewer, Nali village, dungeon, cave, sewer, cave, Nali cave, tall cave with the ceiling removed, cave, dungeon, cave. I think I forgot a sewer in the middle there.

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/51.html
      (Rune Review Rebuttal in which the rave reviews from other game sites change OMM’s mind)
      This next review is from a German site…All I know is that they gave Rune the special award pictured below. I believe it is their coveted 85 Award, which is metric for 100. I’ll say this about Germany’s rating system: It scares me that the Germans have no word for gameplay.

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/news/news5.html
      (scroll down to Advice for Gamers) Women have a way of sarcastically calling you “Hero of Might and Magic” that not only strips the words of all their mighty magical heroism but actually makes the phrase surprisingly emasculating.

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/news/news11.html
      (scroll to “Make Fun Of The Newest Daikatana Screenshot Week”) If it was my job to get people excited about Daikatana by releasing screenshots, and I released that screenshot, I’d lose my job.

      http://www.oldmanmurray.com/news/news4.html
      (scroll to Giants, As It Refers To Lips) The fact that Giants espouses a dangerous ideology that Jonah Falcon finds morally repugnant ultimately only costs it one half of one star. In other words, if Borislav Herak’s Bosnian Rape Camp Superchamp is stable and lets you save anywhere, there’s still a good chance Jonah might give it a 4.5.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @ Megalomania

      If you’re trying to convince people that wikipedia hasn’t become the plaything for an elitist clique of suited trolls, then chucking around terms like ‘meatpuppets’ is somewhat detrimental to your case.

  22. Starky says:

    Wiki is a joke – at least when it was open, and crazy and wild in the starting days it was a joke that we all could enjoy – with entries on wonderful and obscure things.

    you could spend hours on Wiki just following links and learning the most random of things – it had the same effect that reading TV tropes did – you’d go for one article and 3 hours later and on your 50th article you’d finally stop.

    Then it tried to get all serious, tried to claim it could compete with the printed encyclopedias (you know those ones written and sourced by experts in the field, peer reviewed and expertly edited)… started getting all edit and delete happy, and it now basically sucks balls.

    The only thing it is useful for is looing up pages on 100% factual subjects – mathematics, physics and such, well documented things that cannot be disputed.

    On anything even partly subjective (history, the arts, literature, media) it is a steaming pile of…

    Wiki is a joke, and the joke isn’t funny any more.

    • Thants says:

      I await your link to a better online encyclopedia.

    • mwoody says:

      I await your link to a better print encyclopedia, for that matter.

    • Starky says:

      There is no better online encyclopedia – but just because Wikipedia is the only one doesn’t make it good.

      It could have been, and I was a very enthusiastic user and editor back in the day with hundreds of subject creations and thousands upon thousands of edits – most of which are still there today.

      Still I became increasingly frustrated with it seeing day upon day correct and factual information been edited away in favour of old and incorrect information.

      It’s a bit better these days in Science and technology, though I’d argue that is almost utterly thanks to the vast increase in online publication of scientific papers (thus easily citable, and by citable I mean googleable sources).

    • Cradok says:

      Eeh, Wookiepedia is even further up itself that Wikipedia. No sense of fun or joy about anything, despite the fact that it’s based on, let’s be fair here, kitsch space opera.

      No, the best wiki on the web is http://www.tfwiki.net. Fully aware of just how silly its subject matter is, yet a scarily concise compilation of everything and anything that has ever had ‘Transformers’ on it.

    • CMaster says:

      Is Britannica any better? I have to say that while I liked Britannica when I last used it, that was 10 years ago or so on DVD. Certainly it seemed to have a lot less breadth and no more depth than wiki.

      I do feel that wikipedia’s mathematics articles fail somewhat. I’m a trained scientist with a fair bit of mathematical talent – and I don’t have a clue what most maths articles on wiki are banging on about – even when it’s a subject I already have some inkling about.

    • Josh04 says:

      As a Maths student, I can say that most wikipedia articles on maths topics are from my point of view – which is not perhaps the most helpful point of view for understanding what it means, or what use it is to you as a scientist :P

    • Starky says:

      Brit is better as a general primer and leaping off point. I’ll agree it is no deeper, and doesn’t nave near as much information per subject.
      But what it does have is much, much clearer read on most subjects – as you mention yourself wikipedia, even for people knowledgeable on the subject can be horridly written at times.

      Oft-times I find myself looking over articles (like you especially pages on maths, and electronics) and scratching my head at WTF it means. Even when I KNOW what it means.

      It isn’t that it is is wrong, but that it is so poorly presented – a quick and obvious example (to anyone who’s done any Electronics theory) would be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm%27s_law
      A quick scan and I don’t see anything that really pops out as flat out wrong, no blatant misinformation… but it is pretty damn poor.

      I really think wiki needs to rethink its layout designs – the first half of the article should be filled with simple concepts a basic explanation maybe 1-2 simple working examples then some history.
      The more advanced aspects should be last.
      There is also a LOT of useless information contained within the article that only serves to confuse the subject, which could easily be cut down, and links used instead.

    • megalomania says:

      @Starky
      You know, there’s an edit button…

    • Starky says:

      I know well, as I’ve mentioned here I have over 100 articles (mostly in audio/electrical and electronics), and thousands of edits under my belt, but I flat out quit 2 and a bit years ago – a combination of real life and realizing that editing wiki was like trying to ski uphill.
      That and it was a bit of an addiction… almost as bad as smoking.
      Wiki is too much of a sprawling beast to try and wrangle, which is both good and bad in many ways.

      I think a main problem is actually a limitation with the wiki software – and what you can do with it. It needs serious updating to allow for more palatable formatting.

    • Bret says:

      Ski?

      It’s worse than that.

      But you know what the man says. Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill.

    • JWilkinson says:

      @Megalomaniac

      “You know, there’s an edit button…”

      Yeah, but why would anyone want to edit the encyclopedia – or put in any real effort when doing so – if their changes could be reverted or deleted? It’s fun to feel like you’re contributing to the great sum of human knowledge. Considerably less fun to see a lot of work get deleted because of a trigger-happy admin, whether that’s immediately or – in the case of the OMM article – several years on.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Several reference to Wikipedia vs Brittanica and no one linked to this yet?

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438900a.html

    • Zyrxil says:

      @Starky
      You know, there’s an edit button…

      Are you not getting the point? Of course people edit and contribute to articles, but it’s easier to destroy than to create, and Wikipedia admins are seemingly got their “good editor” reputations by deleting deleting and deleting some more instead of doing making ‘real’ contributions. Whatever good they may have done by providing order is massively outweighed by the fact that they have made the entirely completely toxic and actively hostile to new editors.

      The fact that “Wikilawyering” is a term speaks volumes on how badly the rules created to support Wikipedia have turned on it. And even though Wikilawyering is supposedly frowned upon, the very act of bringing in one of the length WP rule articles is equivalent to intimidating someone with legalese without providing them with supporting council in the form of their own Wikilawyer. The Deletionists spend their time familiarizing themselves with rules so they can get rid of whatever they want; real contributors spend their time either actually contributing or working at their day job, so they invariably lose a rules fight.

      The point again? People contribute, they get deleted after a while, they stop contributing. Inevitably all that will be left is 90% deletionists correcting each other over the letter of the law, instead of maintaining the spirit of the project.

  23. CMaster says:

    Wikipedia’s been going this way for a long while.
    You ever heard someone saying “Ha, Wikipedia? I can’t take seriously a site that has details on the history of Superman.” Well a few years ago, Wikipedia took that to heart. The trend started to delete as many articles about minor but interesting content, and trim the detail from huge numbers of other articles as well. It doesn’t help that the best way to become and admin is to support deletions of articles and that’s all a lot of admins ever do.

    I still find the site useful, and it’s scientific coverage has improved a lot over the past 3-4 years. I just hate the general attitude amongst the “higher ups” and this constant need to prune information that isn’t “serious enough”.

    • Starky says:

      I find the quality of Wikipedia’s scientific coverage though is simply a direct result of a lot of scientific papers, publications and journals going online.
      Especially from some of the larger universities.

      Basically it is easy for even the laziest and ignorant of people to quickly google and check now – which means it is easier for knowledgeable wiki editors to battle the tide of half-knowledgeable editors.

      A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially when it comes to wikipedia editors.

  24. Legionary says:

    Wikipedia is broken. Its community leadership is self-perpetuating; it has gradually refined into an atmosphere hostile to would-be editors. It’s useful for many things, but it is absolutely dire on any cultural phenomenon as the deletionists have free reign to delete as they please.

  25. leeder krenon says:

    Just stick with the YS influences. Good enough for me.

  26. Overlai says:

    As someone who hangs with Erik during Valve playtests and was hugely inspired by OMM this is a travesty.

  27. mod the world says:

    Heh, i guess the wikipage about RPS is also going to be deleted soon. Not enough references for this unnotable blog.

  28. Fillem says:

    Their E3 write-ups were hilarious and scary. There seemed to be a whole other world there, filled with obscure booths and games.

    I miss them, I do.
    One of the few gaming sites I read regularly back in the day.

  29. mrjackspade says:

    Ridiculous. Schuminn is a douchebag, and the editing process appears to be dominated by a bunch of arrogant, pedantic, ‘holier-than-thou’, cliquey admin-monkeys.

    While Wikipedia is great for mainstream topics, it’s sad when the smaller articles and records are fiddled and destroyed by small people with big grudges.

  30. Worm says:

    YOU’RE ALL STEALING MY OUTRAGE! GIVE IT BACK! I WANT MY EXCLUSIVE OUTRAGE BACK.

  31. Electric Dragon says:

    Here is a link to a very recent mention in the Metro newspaper:

    “Much as Old Man Murray used to count the seconds until a crate would appear in a game…”

  32. rei says:

    bluesnews.com fell victim to this as well. After more than 15 years I think if any gaming site is considered “notable”, Blue’s would have to be as well.

  33. Andy`` says:

    Angry people (people who are angry by nature, or people who have become angry over time due to influence) shouldn’t be website administrators, or should take a break now and then. Something I found out once. When their comments seem to show anger and they have to go around “proving things” that really need serious discussion, then you know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Ron_Ritzman#And_this_is_why_one_.21vote_is_still_a_valid_AFD

    Why isn’t the precedent to call for a rewrite first and delete later/investigate why the rewrite (after the first deletion) didn’t happen/allow people familiar with the subject to do the defining research as to whether a subject is notable or not if its missing information and thus marked for deletion.

    And after the first deletion (marked by Schumin, deleted by another admin), when someone offered to rewrite it, it was reopened by the deleting admin and apparently they were given SEVEN HOURS to make the necessary changes before it was marked for deletion again by Schumin.

    Seven hours, which in my timezone (that of Britainland) is 23:04 to 06:02. Do they expect everybody to be awake/American all the time?

    Something is seriously wrong with their system.

    And there’s a half-life/seven hour war reference in there somewhere

  34. JP says:

    Quick examples of things that have wikipedia pages:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombocom
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magikarp (extensive!)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTF_%28album%29

    No OMM love though huh?

  35. Devilturnip says:

    They are clearly not following their own guidelines. According to Wikipedia:Notability:

    For articles of unclear notability, deletion should be a last resort.

    At the very least, notability is unclear. And deletion was clearly not the last resort in this case.

  36. mwoody says:

    Homestar Runner is defunct?

  37. James G says:

    I recall when Within a Deep Forest was up for deletion on account of non-notability there was a call for print references. I added a complete reference to a PC Gamer article, which was dismissed by one twit of an administrator as ‘made up.’ No you utter cock, it wasn’t and the full issue and page number made it possible to check. If you can’t be arsed, or are confounded by limitations of geography (the issue was still on the shelf) then don’t accuse me of lying you self important eedjit. The article was deleted, and only reappeared much later as part of Nifflas entry (which would have been a sensible solution the first time.)

  38. Cradok says:

    Wikipedia started to go downhill for me when someone decided that ‘Trivia’ was an anathema, and I’ve seen many articles scrubbed because they didn’t meet some random admin’s idea of ‘notable’. I don’t think that we need pages for, as examples, every Pokémon or every episode of Star Trek, but there’s nothing wrong with having even a ‘stub’ on something if that’s all that’s needed.

  39. UW says:

    This is really odd. I read a lot of online articles on various subjects and have found myself linked to OMM literally dozens of times. I can’t imagine that it would even be possible to have any interest in games and read about them in any sort of depth and NOT come across the site, or at least references to it.

    That said – the article could have been better written and sourced. Perhaps the thing to do here would be to take the collective initiative and create a new, more informed and well-sourced article and submit it to Wikipedia. It is open, after all.

  40. patricij says:

    Reminds me of the naked selling WP scandal…and I think the last financial crisis showed the proponents of naked selling are big fat greedy liars.. Same shit, different day all over again, abuse of power is too sweet to pass on for many, I guess

  41. Blake says:

    You know whats funny? RockPaperShotgun is considered a reliable source in Wikipedia. You just wrote an article all about Old Man Murray. Thus, he is now one step closer to being notable for an article. I guess you can give yourself a pat on the back.

  42. kwyjibo says:

    This is not a first for Wikipedia, the deletion of “important” topics has been brought up before in the MUD space. Read these pieces, one from Raph Koster, the other featuring Richard Bartle.

    http://www.raphkoster.com/2009/01/05/losing-mud-history/
    http://www.next-gen.biz/features/can-games-survive-history%E2%80%AD

    But I find it hard to blame Wikipedia. Why should Wikipedia give a shit about these things if others don’t? They look to academia, they look to the press, and they see that no one of worth has ever written, recorded or archived them in any sort of way. They look at us not giving a shit.

    Not giving a shit, that is, until the thing is deleted, and we get luminaries telling us why we should have. Maybe you should step up to the plate a bit earlier next time. And get the thing published in something other than your twitter feed.

    • Starky says:

      That is true of almost anything though – especially online, where things exist in their own bubble. There are hundreds of thousands of important things on the net and in real life that media and/or publications never gave a crap about.

      Still the point is that in it’s day OOM -was- important was linked, and “published” in important sources – but like much of the net those sources have gone.
      this is simply because it is how the internet works, you don’t write about things on the internet, or publish things on the internet – you LINK to things on the internet…

      Just look at the Sunday papers here on RPS, could those be used as a source for articles or subjects that were maybe in some what important in their internet 5 minutes? What about if the links were printed in the a guardian gaming supplement?

      Of course the problem with OOM is that it was never hugely notable (as in famous) but it was HUGELY influential on a good number of people who became very important in the gaming industry. It was also very, very influential to PC gaming as a whole, in ways no one at the time could really understand or fathom (thus write about).

  43. JackShandy says:

    Everyone, it’s Old Man Murray quote time!

    “In a perfect world, we’d all lie blind and motionless in stacked coffins filled with pudding. It would be dark and warm and nobody would have to compete with anybody and also the government would pay for the pudding.”

  44. Frank says:

    Games need their own wiki…but Giant Bomb already has one, with categories like
    * Games
    * Franchises
    * Characters
    * Platforms
    * People
    * Companies
    * Objects
    * Concepts
    * Locations
    * Accessories
    So **PC games** need their own wiki. Get on that RPS.

  45. Walsh says:

    How about if you search fucking wikipedia for Old Man Murray, it’s mentioned in a dozen other articles. How’s that for fucking notable.

    Fucking wikipedia.

  46. Daedalus207 says:

    The last time I was involved in a discussion involving inappropriate Wikipedia deletionism, someone pointed out that Wikipedia has a disturbingly long “List of catgirls,” which is apparently more notable than I would have expected.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_catgirls

  47. oceanclub says:

    I long ago gave up on editing Wikpedia; for a normal person, with a job, wife, hobbies and a cat, you simply cannot win when you get into an edit-war with a single-minded zealot who focuses on one bugbear with a laser-like mind and is willing to spend hours in their encrusted underwear opposing you.

    P.

    • Starky says:

      Ditto – though replace wife and cat with girlfriend (though she’s starting to drop hints… about the M word…) and dog in my case.

    • oceanclub says:

      Having Googled the chap in question, he unfortunately does entirely fit my stereotype of the above person. You can smell the Cheetos from here.

      P.

    • Starky says:

      Can I have a mountain dew?

      I wanna cast a spell…

      I bet he was the kind of kid who would play D&D and then stop the game half way through to argue the finer points of one of the obscure rules.

      [Edit] Oh god I went to his website, he wasn’t just that kind of kid, he still IS that kind of kid.

      He’s the kind of guy that goes to Games Workshop to play Warhammer fantasy in the store and argues with the 12 year olds and the staff over the rules.

      [Note: there was a time long ago when I was that 12 year old kid getting argued at - which was probably a good thing given that I quit warhammer a few years later and unknowingly saved myself thousands of pounds in later life.]

  48. shoptroll says:

    Here’s a search on Slashdot for Old Man Murray: http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=Old+Man+Murray

    About 4 articles linking to OMM’s stuff, 4 articles referencing them and 1 more which seems like an anomaly (or it was name dropped in the comments I guess)

  49. DJ Phantoon says:

    Beethoven has been dead for centuries! He is no longer relevant oh wait.

    I think the only system as poor at peer review as this is Blizzard’s GM system.

  50. muted says:

    god, this brings back some memories… I remember when gamespot sent them review PCs to review games on…

    but really, who goes around deleting content? this guy must have a bone to pick

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