Rocknerd is my occasionally moribund musical webzine. It was founded in Melbourne in 2001 by Ben Butler and me, at rocknerd.org . Rocknerd v1 ran on SquishDot, which had a charming habit of occasionally eating its own database and having to be restored from backups. Rocknerd v2 started in 2003 running on Slash, which is a management nightmare but still not as bad as Squish. Ben left and got a real job and I moved to London.
Rocknerd sputtered to a standstill around mid-2007, and the domain stopped working in mid-2008 (though it seems to be working again, just occasionally points to the goddamn moon or something). I then started the third incarnation of the site, running on WordPress, which appears to be a slightly less shit piece of software. I’m looking around for extensions to make it more interesting and participatory.
I have the database dump from Rocknerd v2, and will attempt to restore it to v3 one day when I really hate myself. Articles should be easy, preserving comment threads will be a bastard and a half.
FritzpollBot was recently approved to create stub articles on English Wikipedia for most or all of the documented villages and towns in the world. (Example.)
In 2003, Rambot created placename articles for every census location in the United States. We were therefore able to claim complete coverage (per that “encyclo-” prefix) of one country. FritzpollBot aims to complete this coverage for the entire world.
I think this bot-assisted programme of article creation is a Good Thing for topics where we do in fact have the data. It’ll certainly help alleviate our systemic bias. The issues I can see are editorial — the Rambot articles are data in prose form that these days we’d do with a parameterised template, etc. — but Fritzpoll is quite aware of these and the planned programme includes considerable human review and the active involvement of country WikiProjects. Good.
(May I note that people whose objections are that this will artificially inflate the article count or make Special:Random annoying appear to have forgotten that we’re here to write an encyclopedia.)
The question that springs to mind is: what else can we get complete data on for bot-assisted article creation? Every state-level or higher politician in every country ever? What else?
Update: Fritzpoll is proceeding with all due caution, and the bot will be doing nothing but preparing lists as yet. See evolving FAQ.