A number of people in the MMOG blogosphere talked about the deletion of MUD articles in Wikipedia this past week, after folks like Richard Bartle and Raph Koster voiced their complaints on their respective soap boxes. We quite agree with the two of them that deleting these kinds of articles, despite arguments about citation, do nothing but deplete the public record of a huge part of online gaming history. Since much of the online source material for these articles vanished due to people’s web sites going down over time, Wikipedia’s record of certain events is arguably the last record outside of what’s currently been talked about by Bartle, Koster, and other bloggers.
What we don’t get is why Wikipedia bothers deleting these kinds of article anyway. If the articles in question contain a banner alluding to questions of citation, isn’t that enough to voice concern over an article’s contents? One of the reasons we love Wikipedia is that it could effectively contain articles on everything, making mini-wikis about other topics unnecessary. We understand that, perhaps, highly detailed information on certain topics can be relegated to dedicated wikis outside of Wikipedia, but for articles about, say, certain historical MUDs, why not leave the information in the largest encyclopedia archive on the internet? And, if the argument is to be made that these types of articles should not be in Wikipedia, then propose where else these articles should be housed such that people can easily get to them in one consolidated space.