On the evening of Sunday March 26th, 2006, Lile, (the webmaster of Art.Net) was working on Art.Net when a friend came to visit. He was a knowledgeable wikipedian and while Lile worked, he pulled out his laptop, connected with Art.Net's open wireless access point (known as an Open AP) which connects to the Internet. He talked about Wikipedia.Org and how Art.Net should be listed on the site as we have been around since almost the beginning of the WWWeb.
So while Lile worked on Art.Net, he created an article for Art.Net there (on en.wikipedia.org), describing what the website was all about.
In just after 35 minutes of adding and editing the article, the article was tagged for speedy deletion by someone from Switzerland! This person claimed that the site was not notable enough to be listed in Wikipedia.Org.
From that moment on, we had to start defending our right to be listed there! It was exciting yet abit nerve racking to have to defend Art.Net but this is not new to myself or the other artists on our site. Freedom of expression is not always given freely and we have faught hard to enable Freedom of Speech to continue to be present on the Internet.
Needless to say, Lile started helping her friend to defend the article, providing more information about Art.Net and how the site works and what it has done for artists. When her friend finally had to go, he said, not to worry... Art.Net would be fine and would not be deleted from the wikipedia.org site.
Somehow the Speedy Delete got removed from the Art.Net article on wikipedia.org. Then almost imediately it got tagged for a slow delete which would give people time to discuss weither or not the Art.Net site was notable enough to be apart of the wikipedia.org site.
So Lile continued to work on the article and began to learn alot about wikipedia and the community there. During the night, she racked her brains on how she could help save the article from deletion. She emailed many friends and comrades who have all faught hard for freedom of speech on the Internet and who tried to keep censorship at bay there. And many responded by checking out the wikipedia.org's article on Art.Net. Some joined in on the voting and supported Art.Net with a "keep" or "strong keep" vote.
While every vote counts, the tides turned when a wonderful artist came to our rescue. John Perry Barlow (an artist and former lyricist for the Grateful Dead), had received Lile's call for help in the wee-hours of the morning of March 30th, 2006 and shortly thereafter voted a "Strong Keep" for Art.Net's article. He understood how important this was for all artists! Once his vote was cast, there was a comment that this person had to be a member of the wikipedia.org community to vote. Then there was a note that cast some doubt as to if it was really John who voted but if it was indeed the person who he claimed to be, then this vote carried alot of weight in their community because John was a notable person listed in wikipedia.org. John imediately responded by creating a user account on wikipedia.org and qualified his vote. :)
After John Perry Barlow's vote for a "strong keep" for Art.Net's article, there were no more votes cast for "delete". Many more were cast for "keep" and because of this, the article for Art.Net was saved! Ever vote counted and it was 3 to delete virses 17 to keep!
On April 3, the article was removed from the deletion list by someone from the United Kingdom and Art.Net is now a permanant article on en.Wikipedia.org (which is the English version of the site). Now we just need to get added to all the other language sites there as Art.Net is an international artists' collective and website!
It was so important to win this fight because if lost, it would be so much harder to be added again. It's like if you take a matter/case to the courts and if you loose, you can appeal but alas, chances are that the courts will uphold the first ruling instead of ruling in your favor. What has happend in the past really does matter! And if the Art.Net article on Wikipedia.Org gets tagged for deletion again, the previous vote will help support a "keep".
And it is so appropriate that an artist helped turn the tides by standing up and saying that he believed that Art.Net was indeed a notable site!
As for myself (lile), I feel that the whole issue came up because the folks on wikipedia just did not know or understand what Art.Net is... a site that has notablilty for many many reasons, but mostly for being a site supporting artists and the arts on the Internet and World Wide Web since almost the beginning of the WWWeb's existance. It is a site that deserves to be known and shared.
An ongoing discussion continues on Wikipedia.Org concerning the Art.Net article there. I encurage all who care to come join in on the debate.
This will not be the last battle fought for the freedom to share though it is a good one, well faught and won in peace.
Founder/Webmaster and Artist of Art.Net (Art on the Net)
lile @ art.net