Wiki Page About MRT Breakdowns in S’pore is Deleted Coz Wikipedia is Not a Newspaper

Image: Tang Yan Song / shutterstock.com

We all love Wikipedia; without it (and Google), we won’t have survived school.

While your professors might have explicitly said that you should never cite from Wikipedia, there would always be reference links in a Wikipedia article that you can cite from; after all, Wikipedia doesn’t anyhowly come out with information.

Wikipedia also doesn’t anyhowly pick information from the air and publish them with algorithm: it’s managed by volunteers known as Wikipedians. And just so you know, anyone can be a Wikipedian.

There are, however, some people who have special access: for example, an administrator can protect a page from being edited or delete a page. To become one, the person would have to be approved by the community, whereby an online discussion would take place.

Deletion of an Article

In Wikipedia, articles cannot be anyhowly deleted as well. Instead, one can only request an article to be deleted, and an administrator would check if there’s a valid reason for the deletion.

If it isn’t deleted, then it will be open for discussion for seven days, whereby people can discuss on whether the article should be deleted or not.

Yeah, Wikipedia could well be the online face of democracy.

Wikipedia Page on “List of Singapore MRT disruptions”

Lest you’re not aware, these used to be an article on the “List of Singapore MRT disruptions”, and it comprised a rather comprehensive list of breakdowns since 2011.

Image: Wikipedia before 25 January 2018 (Oh yeah, we screenshot it for our other article)

We’ve once written about this page here, and whenever we’re doing research, we would often come back to this page.

Unfortunately, this Page has been removed.

What Happened?

Now, before anything, you’ve got to understand a policy called “Wikipedia is not a newspaper”, which in short is known as WP:NOTNEWS.

Simply put, Wikipedia isn’t a news outlet: people shouldn’t treat Wikipedia as one. After all, if you’d have remembered your encyclopedias, you won’t remember reading news reports in there, right?

We’ve often waited for tomorrow for a meal with our family. But what if tomorrow never comes? Watch this and you'll understand:

So, on 25 January 2018, a Wikipedian requested for the deletion of the page with this argument:

Ridiculous list of every little delay on the citywide train network. Not notable whatsoever. WP:NOTNEWS and WP:LISTCRUFT

WP:LISTCRUFT refers to a list that is deemed to be too trivial and shouldn’t be in Wikipedia (e.g. do you want a list of food your influencer has every day?).

Following that, in seven day, Wikipedians started to discuss on whether to keep or delete the article.

Wikipedians usually argue professionally, and suffice to say this is one that students taking GP in A Level should learn from. You can read about it here.

The number of people requesting for deletion and keeping is about the same, and here are some examples of their argument:

Keep:

  • The topic is notable, as demonstrated by Andrew D., and now that minor delays have been removed it is no longer an indiscriminate list. It can certainly be improved further (for one thing, what little there is on the impact of these disruptions is scattered around the article), but that is no reason to delete it.
  • This is a very useful and noteworthy list to keep track of the performance of MRT system, the backbone of Singapore’s public transport system. Each year, millions of man-hours are lost due to train disruptions. This article serves as a means to measure the impact to businesses and commuters. It also serves to gauge the performance of the government in maintaining an efficient public transport system.

Delete:

  • This definitely falls under WP:NOTNEWS. We’re not seriously considering having an article about individual train delays are we? Articles about plane crashes are one thing, but articles telling us a train was late because someone broke a window? Ridiculous. Imagine doing this for other cities: the one for Melbourne would be megabytes long by the end of the year. Then there’s the fact that this article is subtly, but undeniably, non-neutral. Reading through it I got the distinct impression of a hit piece, especcially against SMRT Trains. This article is a terrible idea.
  • as other have said, this falls under WP:NOTNEWS The number of hits a page gets is irrelevant, topics are supposed to be encyclopedic, not popular

(Oh, yes, it’s an online discussion so grammar doesn’t matter)

And finally, on 1 February 2018, the result was out:

The result was delete. None of the keep votes addressed the concerns that this failed the policy of WP:NOTNEWS, and relied solely on the notability guideline, when notability was used as only one of the rationales for deletion. The weight of the arguments in discussions is typically given to guidelines over policies, and while there can be disagreement as to when NOTNEWS applies, those supporting keeping in this discussion did not explain why this article was not covered by it. Because of that, the strength of the arguments in this case is for deletion.

If all these are too chim for you (I can’t believe I’m saying that Wikipedia is chim), here’s Goody Feed style of explaining the deletion:

  1. The article is clearly like a news report, and Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a newspaper
  2. People who argued to keep it used other premises but didn’t touch on the point that it’s too much like a news report
  3. On 1 February 2018, the Page became this instead:
Image: Wikipedia

Therefore, RIP, “List of Singapore MRT disruptions”. You might be dead for a year, but we’ll always remember you.