Why are pornstars more notable than scientists on Wikipedia?

17 Nov

I’m a BIG Wikipedia fan. It is one of my favorite sites, our 9 year old twins have spent many hours on the site with me, and I have personally spent a lot of time, including Christmas, curating chemistry on Wikipedia. I like what Wikipedia has achieved, have willingly contributed articles, but also enjoy a good laugh at Wikipedia’s expense when appropriate. In the past 24 hours I’ve giggled at the latest XKCD cartoon as well as this blog post about Jimmy Wales.

Despite my affection for Wikipedia this week I am annoyed about what’s going on for me on Wikipedia. I’ve read The Wikipedia Revolution and understand the editorial activities and I’ve had many discussions about how authors of Wikipedia articles have been “beaten up” in a friendly way. I’ve been warned about Conflict of Interest policies and yet, because I think it’s important, have tried to navigate the complexities of contributing articles. At present however my contributions on Wikipedia regarding scientists and projects I know about have all been flagged, either for deletion or for “notability”.

I’ve  written the bulk of these articles: Gerhard Ecker, Sean Ekins and Gary Martin. Some of the flags on the articles include “It may have been edited by a contributor who has a close connection with its subject. Tagged since November 2011.

Gary Martin and Sean Ekins are personal friends so YES, I have close connections with the subject. And I believe I can objectively write a good article about them. Just like I wrote about the village I grew up in…Afonwen. I only spent 12 years of my life there….so have a close connection with that too. I have known Gerhard Ecker for about three years, and know about his work from reading his articles and hearing him speak, and feel its valid to contribute an article as I JUDGE he’s a notable scientist. Gary Martin has almost 300 publications, and an h-index of 27. In the domain of NMR anyone who is doing small molecule structure elucidation is almost certainly using technology he has contributed too. He is notable. Sean Ekins is also notable, in my opinion. And surely Wikipedia is about collective opinions.

I have tried to follow notability guidelines for academics but have clearly failed so encourage anyone reading this post to help clean up the articles. If any of you out there happen to know Gerhard, Gary or Sean DON’T contribute though…you might get flagged as being a contributor who has a close connection. It’s much better to write about people you don’t know. Clearly I understand the possible bias …

If I look at the number of chemists on Wikipedia I find the following list of about 480 chemists. That article is a list of world-famous chemists. There is also a smaller list of Russian Chemists. The end of the list looks like this:

See also

These are likely all NOTABLE chemists as I couldn’t find a single article in the list with a challenge on it…but I confess to not looking at each one one at a time. But that’s what we have for chemists….a list of world-famous chemists, biochemists and Russian chemists.

Many of us have heard about how “open” Wikipedia is including many of the exchanges regarding pornography on Wikipedia. In many cases I have to simply caution “welcome to the internet”. We all know its out there…how could we not. There is material on Wikipedia that is shocking, but at the same time educational. But where I take issue, just for comparison purposes, is that top-notch scientists, in my opinion (and I judge that of many others) can be flagged as not notable, yet pages like those listed below for pornstars can exist without question, without flagging but,  I have to assume, are both encyclopedic and notable.

Similar to the list of chemists a search on pornstars gives a full article here but then these incredibly long lists!

The last one is quite a list! I guess its appropriate to list pornstars by decade but scientists tend to perform better over the longer term and can have 40-50 year careers whereas I don’t even want to imagine that for the other career! I struggle to see why the list of references for Ron Jeremy is any more notable/appropriate than the list of references for Gary Martin.

What’s ridiculous is that there is even an article about pornstar pets. What??? This has more of a place on Wikipedia than some of our worlds most published scientists? Is there something wrong with this picture?

While I may not fully understand what is deemed to be appropriate in terms of notability for a scientist, and I do understand the judgment that I might be too close to the scientists to be objective (but I challenge that!) I definitely challenge the status that ponstars deserve more exposure, pardon the pun, than the worlds chemists.

Despite my rants I understand the challenges that will likely show up as comments on this blogpost. I understand that I will be pointed to WP:COI and WP:Notability. I do not get to set the rules, I need to follow them as I am a small part of a very important community of crowdsourced improvement. But, overall, I remain surprised at how there appears to be so much diligence looking at the articles of scientists rather than those of pornstars. I think scientists are generally involved in very notable activities that generally distinguish them from the bulk of the population. I think pornstars are involved in activities that are not particularly notable as the bulk of the population will do them at some point in their life….well, not ALL activities that pornstars do I’m sure…..

I believe we need a change in policy. I believe that scientists deserve more notability than pornstars and that diligence, while appropriate, should be used in a more tempered manner.

There is an alternative solution…




About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database ( Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (, a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service ( and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project ( attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.

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57 Responses to Why are pornstars more notable than scientists on Wikipedia?

  1. Dario

    November 18, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Antony, I cannot but second your feelings that there’s something seriously broken about the use of WP:COI to bash contributors to Wikipedia’s science articles. The irony is that only two days ago I started discussing with other members of the Wikimedia Research Committee a new initiative to facilitate Wikipedia’s academic outreach efforts. I’ll be also part of a session on expert engagement in Wikipedia at Science Online 2012: I think I’ve just found the best possible opening slide for my talk.

  2. tony

    November 18, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Thanks Dario. I want to ensure that it is clear that I am a big Wikipedia fan. My engagement with WP in recent months has been less for a number of reasons, not least that I have had a number of other projects to deliver on but also a rumbling feeling that the project is slightly off-kilter in regards to some of its present policies. I understand WP:COI (and willingly admit I HAVE edited my own article!) and I understand that guidelines are there to be followed but I believe that some more commonsense approach and some acknowledgment of some of the clear mismatches in terms of my observations cited in this article might go a long way to garner increasing engagement from the community ESPECIALLY academic outreach! I am sitting on writing a number of articles about scientists that I have worked with, that I deem are notable, until I understand what is expected (an education piece for me) and there is resolution around some of the present discussions going in.

  3. Sean Ekins

    November 18, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Great point Tony. Are we at the point were scientist pages could be created by simply linking pubmed, google scholar, linked in etc. Which would save us creating scientist pages. If so what is the threshold for notability? Is it citation based h index above 20, 50…because I could imagine that as an automated filter.

    The comparison to minor musicians, Artists, philosophers, authors could also hold. Is anyone that publishes a book more notable than someone that discovers a drug. I do not think there is even a list of all drug discoverers and in my mind they are very notable scientists.

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      There are a number of systems out there that someone should be starting to pull together. There are various efforts out there but none of them are as visible/well-known as Wikipedia in terms of the online encyclopedia reputation. I think there are various thresholds that could be set, various ways to automate filtering etc. But overall I think there a simpler way, for now, is to offer an alternative to Wikipedia. Let people write their own wiki-like articles, have others contribute, and when the article is in “wikipedia” shape in terms of notability, then let someone lift it and put it on WIkipedia. Use CC-BY-SA 3.0 on the platform and in theory all is well. Welcome

  4. Dario

    November 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Whatever the metric people use to establish notability (and Hirsch himself made a rough guess at what a given h-index range means), browsing the links in this post and discovering that a young pornstar’s article survived a deletion discussion just because she was awarded “the 2007 UKAFTA for Best Female Performer In An Anal Scene” [sic] suggests that, if anything, notability guidelines should be a little more inclusive for scientists.

  5. Jeffrey Harris

    November 19, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Dr. Williams,
    I understand your frustration regarding notability, conflict of interest and ease of removal of reference material from Wikipedia and believe the contrast with the pornographic industry humorous. That said: The process flow for Wikipedia assumes that consensus exists until disputed; and gives room for negotiation. This actually (even with the presence of a logical error) gives me hope that the editors of Wikipedia pay more attention to socially meaningful content as opposed to irrelevant trash. Obviously the lists of notable pornographic ‘artists’; exists due to lack of interest or…the guilt one would feel after disputing a reference to ‘Betty Boop’; “appearing in the movie: Bambi Does Yosemite”. So…I could probably submit your biography to the category of notable pornographic contributors and you would remain notable in that category forever.
    The conflict of interest issue is far too subjective in my opinion. I once phoned the Director of a Governor’s Healthcare Performance Organization and volunteered my services but stated I had concerns that people would consider my work to be in conflict due to my prior work in quality measurement. The Director informed me that they had an internal joke: “If you don’t have a conflict of interest; you have a conflict of interest”. Then a person in State Government disparaged me by citing untruthful information: and I did not understand the consequences of misinformation on my business until discovering the commentary one year after the statute of limitations expired.
    I judge that academics can create an elite infrastructure that prohibits challenge from a thoughtful and intelligent individual by disqualifying the person based on their lack of pedigree. So welcome to ‘Animal farm’. Within the context of a single lifetime it does not appear that we are socially evolved enough to break down our silos of governance, funding and knowledge to facilitate increased velocity of change and improvement to society (just look around you).
    Wikipedia seems to have a well thought out design for editing content but appears to be too large of an open loop across a large range of topics. As far as chemistry goes: I know you and Dr. Elkins and would trust each one of you with regard to your field of expertise. That said: I am not qualified to comment on your expertise without a great deal of personal research into your field to derive a conclusion. So my comments would be of little value in the open media. However, on a personal level if someone called me I would most assuredly tell them that I trust you with my life: Which to most of us is a rare quality in human friendship and therefore…Notable.
    So I suggest some chemists’ step up and validate your writing less we lose these wonderful references.
    But of course; our DC beltway is quite ironic wherein our Congress feeds on Conflict of Interest and ‘we the Public’ have our lives defined by the privileged few. No problem we really prefer it that way.
    By the way: None of the aforementioned should ever be acknowledged as reference material since I am by no means: A notable person.
    Crowdsourcing is a social paradigm shift that is at time zero so you and I will contribute but not see a steady state in agreement or behavior in our lifetimes. It is worth the effort though…”don’t you think”?

  6. Cameron Neylon

    November 19, 2011 at 5:44 am

    I left a comment on Daniel’s repost of the OP in response to a comment there:

    • tony

      November 20, 2011 at 8:33 am

      Cameron, Thanks very much for the insighful comments as usual. I encourage people to read what you have posted.

  7. Mike Christie

    November 19, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Wikipedia’s focus mirrors the focus of its contributors, and for the first few years they were mostly male teens and students. It’s not just porn stars: video games, TV episodes, current sports teams, and military topics are disproportionately represented. One effort the Wikimedia Foundation made to redress the balance was the Public Policy Initiative ( which enrolled academic classes in improving public policy articles. It had a very positive effect on article quality.

    Have you considered incorporating Wikipedia into your classwork in this way? If there are any classes on the history of chemistry, for example, there could be an opportunity for students to create biographical articles as part of a class like that.

    • tony

      November 20, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Mike, thanks for the feedback. Just to clarify that I am not an academic in the classic sense of the word…I do not work in academia and am not a Professor of Chemistry. I work for RSC ( However, I was thinking last week about how to get students involved in researching and writing articles but I don’t want to fail them with bad guidance and want to make sure that their articles have a chance of surviving flagging. So, once I figure out what to do on Martin’s article and Ekins’ article to have them retained then I should have enough to move ahead with developing some teaching guidance. I would like to use this experience to help teach on Wikis next year at the BCCE meeting at Penn State. (

  8. Stevan Harnad

    November 20, 2011 at 8:52 am


    Just a small sample of the patently obvious and persistent fallacies in the notion that anonymous global cloud-writing can produce reliable information on anything that’s more than skin-deep (I could go on and on and on):

    (1) A neutral point of view on what is true?

    (2) Expertise is no excuse?

    (3) Expertise is elitism?

    (4) Expertise is bias?

    (5) Write on what you don’t know?

    (6) The longer your track-record of being a dilettante busybody, the more decision power you merit?

    (7) Zipf’s Law trumps the Matthew Effect?

    (8) Notability, not noteworthiness, rules?

    (9) Anonymous gallup polls, not personal answerability, keep people honest and on their toes?

    (10) Crowd-sourcing protects against regression on the mean?

    (11) Pemphigus is on a par with porn?

    The surprise is not when Wikipedia gets things wrong, but when it gets them right.

    (And the only virtue of notability is that it reduces the motivation of most wikipedia busybodies to bother with esoteric scientific and scholarly topics. Trouble is that it just takes one officious dilettante with a long wack-record to cast a contagious shadow of doubt over stuff he doesn’t know, understand or care about.)

    My guess is that the only reason any qualified experts even bother to have a go at writing in Wikipedia is Wikipedia’s PageRank notability, which influences students and public opinion as their first (and often only) port of call.

    The only hope is that Open Access to the primary scientific and scholarly literature will remedy that, leaving Wikipedia to rule where it really is the expert: Trivial Pursuit.

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Steven..thanks for the amusing comments. Can only applaud the wit and accuracy 🙂

      There is an option now. Early stages but my belief is that every scientist should be allowed to write their OWN article and let others critique and improve it. Make this a ScientistsDB Wiki. When the articles are “good enough” and valuable to the community then someone can move them to Wikipedia and then reference ScientistsDB. Might not work for the purists but probably still has value. Check out as a proof of concept.

  9. Luchesar V. ILIEV

    November 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Antony, thank you for raising that point. I’m but a very humble newcomer to the field of cheminformatics, but I’m fairly active in the Bulgarian Wikipedia, where heated discussions on the topic have taken place not once or twice. I thought your opinion might be interesting to the community, hence I translated it in Bulgarian (most people know English well enough, but would likely pay more attention that way).

    However, I’d like to ask for your permission to publish it on the local “village pump”. I’ve already spoken with some of my colleagues (who happen to be scientists too), and we might use the case to initiate a change in the academic notability criteria on the Bulgarian Wikipedia.

    • tony

      November 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

      Yes, please do go ahead and post as you see fit. I am very interested in the type of comments and responses that you get. If you could post the link for me I will use something like Google Translate to get a vague understanding of the response. Thank you

  10. Luchesar V. ILIEV

    November 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks, Antony. Here’s the promised link:

    If you find any trouble with Google Translate, please let me know. I have to warn you, though, that such discussions tend to get “hot”, not too rarely degenerating into petty quarrel between different people or groups. I’m afraid that the Wikipedia community is quite a complex beast. 🙂

    On a side note, recently I’m getting quite excited by Wikia. While at first glance it seems mostly geared towards entertainment and leisure topics, there are actually at least a few wikis there on “serious” topics. Of special note is probably the Psychology wiki [], which even has a peer review policy [].

    There’s also a Chemistry wiki [], but the reason I’m so excited are actually wikis like the Star Wars’ one [] and Star Trek’s []. Not because I’m that much of a “wookie” or “trekkie”, but rather because they are really good. And I mean it: the depth of the articles, the structuring, even the presentation can easily rival many articles on Wikipedia.

    Of course, a very substantial part of the explanation is that these articles are written by fans. But there are a lot of “fans” (including science fans 🙂 on Wikipedia too. So here comes, IMHO, another important difference: the communities in Wikia are much more homogeneous and thus able to cooperate much better. They have common interests, are driven by more or less similar motives, and generally tend to “speak the same language”.

    It would probably be too bold to say that Wikia is the future, but I can definitely see in Wikia a potential to grow further, while Wikipedia is, indeed, losing momentum in the recent years. And other people I’ve been talking with seem to have independently come to similar conclusions, if not specifically about Wikia, than in general about the need for smaller-scale wikis, focused on more specific topics of the human knowledge.

    Apologies for the long comment, but I thought it might be helpful to share those thoughts.

    • Luchesar V. ILIEV

      November 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      Sorry about the broken links.

    • Gregory Kohs

      December 10, 2011 at 7:46 am

      Well of course you’re excited about Wikia. That’s Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ whole plan. Lure you in with Wikipedia, then follow any of the 28,000+ links from Wikipedia to his $14-million commercial enterprise, Wikia, and get you hooked somewhere where you’ll be exposed to advertising — 100% of whose profits go back to Wikia. Thank you for all of your hard work “volunteering” for a privately-financed corporation. We’ll be looking for you to volunteer some time “greeting” at Wal-Mart and helping BP to clean up any unfortunate oil spills. I hear the seagull-washing station can feel really rewarding — you’re helping animals!

  11. Jennifer

    November 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve been really disappointed in Wikipedia as a source of anything scientific because I’d noticed things like a preference for porn stars.

    I feel this is another direct result of the assault on science in the US, where we don’t see science for what it is, but something our culture just doesn’t understand or appreciate. I’m not sure why we don’t appreciate knowledge and understanding our natural world, but something’s got to change, or we’ll succumb to ignorance and disinformation.

    I’m really glad to have read this post. Thanks.

  12. Nate

    November 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I posted a comment to this last week and it was never published. Possibly because it disagreed with the conclusions of the blog post?

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      It would have to be spam for me to reject the comment.,…but I see you noticed you posted it elsewhere…thx

  13. Nate

    November 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Oops. Embarrassed to say it was my mistake – comment was published to I apologise for the unwarranted aspersion.

  14. Andy Mabbett

    November 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    “I do not get to set the rules” – yes, you do .We all do. Any interested party may propose a change to policies like WP:Notability and I’d encourage you to do so in this case, to make clear under what criteria (such as an h-index value) scientists are notable.

    I’m Wikipedia User:Pigsonthewing, so please let me know on my talk page or by email if you need assistance.

  15. Christopher Wood

    December 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    This problem became clear to me 7 years ago when I started contributing to Wikipedia, and since then it’s gotten progressively worse. I wrote a short speil about it on my user page (I’ve added a link to this article in support) – you’ll find it interesting how we ended up with this situation, and how it’s actually against established policy.

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Christopher! I have heard from a number of early Wikipedians about their views of today versus the early history of Wikipedia. Thanks for the link to the discussions. Much appreciated!

  16. TCO

    December 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I must be coming in on the z-axis as I like chemistry and have no problem with people dissing (or liking) Wiki thoughtfully, but I don’t agree with you.

    Science is a big industry now, including academic science. Is every publishing academic notable? How about every reporter for a major newspaper (their bylines are probably more read).

    Instead of pushing these biographies as new pages why don’t you help us turn the elements into Good or Featured Articles. Elements have typical page views of 20,000 to 150,000. I bet your new bios are getting like 200 views per month (and bots a significant fraction of that 200).

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Science is CERTAINLY a big industry. And, in terms of Wikipedia’s guidelines certainly every publishing academic is not notable. Fully agreed. However, I believe that the ones I originally identified WERE notable and now, almost a month later, all articles have been approved so I guess WP editors agree with me. I fully agree that there are articles on Wikipedia for chemistry, for example the elements, where work is of value. It is why I spent so much time on checking the compounds:

  17. memyself

    December 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Dario, I appreciate your writing this. and yes, we should definitely have more information on chemists and scientists in general.

    But to say that they are more important than research is a big judgment call. For example, the porn industry moves far more money than the science of Chemistry, and I am not even including the black market. so, I would argue that from a market perspective porn is far more important than Chemistry.

    not sure whether dismissing porn as something secondary is the right way to go. as a scientist that you are, I would argue that you should look at the world in the way it is rather than the way you would like it to be. So, are humans driven by and toward sex? you bet.

    • Pramod

      December 7, 2011 at 12:20 am

      > For example, the porn industry moves far more money than the science of Chemistry, and I am not even including the black market.

      Do you have a citation for this? It sounds ridiculous.

      I hope you understand that “the money moved by chemistry” includes not just the salaries of some poorly-paid academics teaching students about valence electrons, but all of chemical engineering, metallurgy and certains areas of semiconductor manufacturing to name just a few areas. I suspect if you just look at the revenue of all the detergent and soap manufacturing companies in the world that would eclipse by far the porn industry’s budget.

  18. mindctrl

    December 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    It’s funny that it would surprise anyone that porn stars are more notable than scientists. Instinct people. Good looking people that like to fornicate. Do you have to ask?

    As to the “close connection” issue, it’s pretty absurd that a close connection would be an issue at all… being that close people are generally most knowledgeable about a person or thing. Let’s just have morons write all the articles why don’t we?

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Your point about the close connection is actually one of the issues that I am concerned about. It’s the fact that it’s a person I believe. Would the inventor of a synthesis be able to write an article on WP about that synthesis or not? I have friends who are experts in their field whose edits are quickly removed for articles they are definitely experts in. Should I write articles about things I don’t know much about? Nah…

  19. harry tuttle

    December 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    so now famous chemists are going to start porn careers just to get a wikipedia entry by the back door. However by who’s back door we won’t know until the release of the official dvd: “Bonding Energy”

    however physicists will soon respond with a special 3D edition of “Young’s Double Slit”…

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Harry…now that’s funny! And yours is the most referenced quote that people talk about 🙂

  20. pm

    December 7, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I am just speculating here, but i think that the editors/readers who check on scientific articles might be of a different kind than those who check on pornographic ones. The scientific type might expect more (and sometimes admittedly over-the-top) rigor in the article (in terms of citations, references etc)

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      I would hope that is true! But that is not necessarily the best reason to critique articles about scientists and leave those about adult film stars untouched (that’s rather an oxymoron though….an untouched porn star?”

  21. Anon

    December 7, 2011 at 6:45 am

  22. Alex

    December 7, 2011 at 8:04 am


    Your links for pornographic actors (at least) are not given correctly.

    They are given relative, like “/wiki/Category:Pornographic_film_actors” and so the browser considers the domain to be your own (

    • tony

      December 7, 2011 at 8:29 am

      Links were broken…all fixed now

  23. Pytamy

    December 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Wikipedia is the mirror of the Internet society

  24. Finn Årup Nielsen

    December 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Researchers tend not to be visible outside academic circles, so their articles can be supported by reliable third-party publications. Take where there are only two links in the references apart from references to his own papers and homepage. If you take as an example there are seven links as well as database links. Using Google News may help to boost the notability of a researcher. For Sean Ekins there is quite a number news stories. For Dr. Gerhard Ecker there is a few.

    COI-editing is a slippery slope and should be avoided.

  25. Michael Douma

    December 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Good article and discussion. I agree with most of the comments.

    On a practical level, on the Sean Ekins page, and some others… I suggest you make some edits. It’s important to accept (Wikipedia editors are unable to comprehend the scientific peer review process). In particular, I suggest you take some time and remove most of the Ekins citations. Replace them comments in review articles by other authors, or comments in the introduction of other papers. Wikipedia is pathologically committed to secondary and tertiary sources. If Ekins work is directly taught in any courses or textbooks, and you did not mention it, do so. — This should help immunize you from some ignorant Wikipedian with a complex having a power trip.

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks for the good guidance. Much appreciated…I have added it to my list for the next few days.

  26. Sean ekins

    December 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Great comments. Had a thought. If a scientist decided on a career change to say this other far “more notable industry” it would almost certainly increase their notability. With all the downsizing will we see more scientists becoming more notable? Perhaps I should care more about this. I worry that wiki is losing a way for scientists to find potential Collaborators. This is one use of having pages for scientists e.g I need an expert in x field. Wiki could help. Instead it shoots itself in the foot. It could take a bite of that other great book “who’s who”!!!

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Good thinking Sean….plays directly into the concept of a Scientists Database 🙂 There is no reason that a Scientist couldn’t write their own article either!

  27. Sean Ekins

    December 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    So Tony, you may become more notable by questioning notability on wiki than for all your numerous important and notable scientific contributions. There is something wrong about that. I humbly suggest that itself is more troubling than pornstars being more notable than scientists.

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      I can’t argue against wanting more recognition for some of the scientific work I have done over the years! But sometimes one is more recognized for being a provocateur than being a scientist. We know how that worked out for some of our comments on data quality!

  28. Gregory Kohs

    December 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Tony, my apologies, but you get little sympathy from me. Your continued participation in Wikipedia makes you as much a part of the problem you describe as any of the other Wikipediots. The entire system is flawed and corrupt. It’s like you’re in 1940 Germany, a civil engineer for the highway system, saying that while you are trying your best to make the German autobahn the best road transportation system in the world, there’s something bugging you about the sounds you sometimes hear over by that relocation center near Dachau.

    Oh, and you didn’t capitalize Pornstar Pets. It’s a proper noun.

    • tony

      January 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Gregory…thanks for the comments. No sympathy expected so none wasted on me! Yours are the most negative comments I have received and calling the system flawed and corrupt are definitely at an extreme. Comparing it to Nazi camps certainly is harsh but I understand the analogy you were attempting to draw. Thanks for the correction on the capitalization…


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