|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
- 1 The True Knights
- 2 Lost Souls
- 3 The Knights
- 4 Tactics of a Wikiknight
- 5 Norms of Conduct
- 6 Nomadic WikiKnights
- 7 Its About the War, Not What the War is About
- 8 Conversations with a Dragon
- 9 Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
- 10 WIKI-DORMANT
- 11 The Arena
- 12 WP:BLP issue / User:Cincinatis
The True Knights
The Knights of Ancient Time followed a moral, religious and social code of conduct. Their lives were structured by the tenets of Courage, Honor, and Service. Chivalry was the name given to the outward expression of their inner being. The exact meaning of Chivalry changes, depending on the writer, the time period and the region. Therefore a comprehensive definition of Chivalry is elusive. But, in the tradition of the "knight in shining armor", a description of a WikiKnight would include words like valor, glory, morals, justice, Laws, adept at war, civility, tradition, loyalty, elequence, dexterity, love, diplomacy, intelligence, nobility, leadership, considerate, bold, artful, credible (trustworthy/believable). That's a long list of conduct-challenging words.
One of the more troubling aspects of my early days as a member of Wikipedia is discovering "lost souls". As with most "newbies" (I would guess) I'm jumping here and there and everywhere. Reading articles, discovering the lay of the land, creating an exceptable user page, daring to make the occasional edit. And, also, looking for acceptance and maybe a little guidance. The discussion pages are filled with wonderful conversations and more than a little verbosity. Its an advantage to be able to get a feel for an editor and then be able to go to his/her user page and find some more about who they are. But...here's the rub. Often times that editor has given up...examples...
- "I fought the good fight, but enough is enough",
- "...the attacks become too personal, too mean-spirited",
- "...I didnt sign up for this"
- "I was really wasting my time...."
- "It was enormously fun at first, but not anymore"
- "...please make Wikipedia not suck!"
- "......because I was spending more time defending articles than improving them"
- "...the futility of spending time editing at WP"
- "WP said it had no need of me"
- "I dont believe I can successfully contribute content of any value without it being destroyed by the vicisstitudes of WP politics"
- "I understand why so many have left"
- "You have once again bitten a newbie to death"
- "I've packed my bags, and I'm out of here. Good luck "
- "I quit editing Wikipedia for almost a year after dealing with uncivil editors and non-stop obstructionists and on one page the incivility was harsh and Jimmy W was on that talk page and said nothing. Setting an example starts from above.
Perhaps the "newbie" gets involved with an article at a level that they are just not ready for---they are too inexpierienced. Or, they get enbroiled in an editing war with a bureaucratic editor or administrator or a seasoned wily veteran. WikiJargon starts to flow, things get said, threats are made, names are "called", the newbie is discouraged. The Wiki-Experience changes. The Wiki-Experience ends!
Remember Our Early Days
It would probably do us all a WikiWorld of good to remember (each on our own) our individual early days at Wikipedia. How bright-eyed we were. How exciting the place was. OMG...The challenge of your first edit. Probably just a minor edit...punctuation more than likely! But you were hooked. You joined a World-wide phenomenon. As you wandered around the changing landscape of WP, your sense of the enormity and value of the place grew. You got a taste of what a free-flowing, ever-changing, stimulating project it was. And you wanted to be involved. You wanted to be a Wiki-Editor. WE. How much cleaner can it get? It says it all: WE. A Unifying term, a reminder that WE are all in this together. A "Don't Bite the Newbies" kinda thing. Let's leave the edit war behind for a second and remember who WE are. How it was when WE were young and innocent Wiki Editors. How WE felt when WE were chastized for the first time. How WE couldn't believe that our good faith was being challenged...by 5 people...all at the same time and in the same place. How WE felt if, in the midst of conflict, another editor came along and spoke up for us, supported us, befriended us. It was as tho angels had been sent from above. WE were not alone. Also, how WE feel to be a part of something that is endless.
WE care about moral issues, nobility, decency, happiness, goodness—--the issues that matter in the real world, but which can only be addressed, in their purity, in fiction....Orson Scott Card
So my idea is to save the day, to save the person that joined but is now dissillusioned, to be a cohort when a cohort is needed, a friend when it seems all have turned away. To give advice without judgement. To show up at a revert war and defend the indefensible. Of course, I am not referring merely to any edit war (etc) where the #'s are out of proportion. The situations that need a cohort, seem to me, to be obvious...like pornography. "I know it when I see it"
Code of Chivalry
- Sir Thomas Malory describes the Knights' code of chivalry as:
- To never do outrage nor murder
- Always to flee treason
- To by no means be cruel but to give mercy unto him who asks for mercy
- To always do ladies, gentlewomen and widows succor
- To never force ladies, gentlewomen or widows
- Not to take up battles in wrongful quarrels for love or worldly goods
- Sir Thomas Malory describes the Knights' code of chivalry as:
Is your Wiki-Journey really over? Are you going to let the naysayers win? What if your Wiki-experience had taken a slightly different course? Maybe what you need is a new direction, a new sandbox to play in (so to speak), a new set of priorities. I can't prove it but I KNOW that if a person merely changes their mind, they change their experience. WikiKnights are there to help forlourn editors change their minds. Most Wiki-editors start with high hopes, high purpose, high regards for others. Each Wiki-life is different. But, for some, sadly, the roads travelled have led to the same place—discontented and disheartened.
- Wikipedia's design flaw is the same as any open free society. It can not always control the actions of its citizens/members. Vandals, grafitti, trolls, loud mouthed oafs, over-zealous "trigger happy" editors and administrators—all negative, childish choices. V-G-LMO/OZEA All enemies of Wiki-Wonderful.
- Vandalism, graffitti, "broken windows" (V,G and BW)---all have a negative effect on "the neighborhood." Residents, workers, and visitors are all effected. The neighborhood is castigated and branded, much as Wikipedia is experiencing right now. Creditability is challenged. The Wikiknights effort is not to get the vandals. Others have taken up that mantle. There is a lot of technological support in that direction. Wikiknights is focussed toward the "Lost Souls" that become discouraged and "move out of the neighborhood". The analogy to a neighborhood is accurate. If we are not vigilant the cancers of V,G OZE/A AND BW will bring about the downfall of the society we call Wikipedia.
The time spent in an edit war is wasted time, for the most part. It is time that is lost. The value of an editor that gives up cannot be measured. Good Faith Editing (GFE) should not be a rare commodity.
Tactics of a Wikiknight
For obvious reasons, the tactics that are available to a Wikiknight are not available to the general public nor to the huddled masses. There despersal would defeat the purpose of secrecy and provide opposing SIC/CC editors with a blueprint for encroachment and destruction. The tactics have been honed to a sharp edge, much like a surgeon's scalpel. However, they are under audit and are currently being updated (many haven't been used since The First Crusade.) As you can clearly see in the image above, work on the tunics continues. The trusted steeds necessary for quick response are rested and "chomping at the bit" for action. The call has gone out to the Winds of Wikipedia for Noble Knights. A response has been accepted. Training begins forthwith. Change is in the air! Can you feel it?
Norms of Conduct
- Humble, most times.
- Colorful and vigorous in language and War.
- A person of artistic persuation
- A hero
- A gentleman
- A saint
- A protector of the poor (newbies-NWB, giffees-GFE)
- A herald to the vanquished (the "I quit"ters)
- A brother to other knights in mutual courttesy
- A persuer of the infidels (dragons)
- A standard, a model
- A restorer of editorial order
- A champion of Justice
- In control of his
- Desire to ridicule
- from...The Story of Civilization Part IV, The Age of Faith, pgs-572-578
Pledged to honor and service, seeking adventure and fame rather than comfort and security...WILL DURANT
The thing about the knights of old was- they kept moving- they didnt look back. They had their sites on one goal; to keep editors, especially new editors, editing. Kind of like the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Did you ever hear of The Masked Man going back into town and asking, "So...! How's it going? Do you need any help digging that well?." The knight did not care. He had his sites on the next situation that needed his help. "Knights in shining armor", "Here they come to save the day". Mighty Mouse
Its About the War, Not What the War is About
- Editors should leave "politics" at the door before entering.
- Stay off topic: Very Important!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Support the editor, not the editors position. This is a cornerstone concept. If followed, it should keep the WikiKnights out of harms way,at least for awhile
- Don’t get pulled into the topical discussion
- Stay above the fray
- ....The reason Wikiknights arrive at a talk page is because a dissagreement has started and an editing war is imminent
- Or...a war has started and someone (it doesnt matter who or what side) has called us to intervene.
- IMPORTANT: Our Purpose must be clear to us BUT NOT necessarily the general WikiPublic. The editor may come and get us and expect us to take sides, preferrably his, but thats not what we do. Our hidden purpose, our secret agenda, is to be a 'cohort' to the GFE. It is not to figure out who is right or wrong. It is not to be a part of Consensus building. Its not to get drawn into the discussion EXCEPT FOR the fact that we will do a read of the History to see if the GFE's original point has been obscurred and he is now in a dog fight over some vague sublety that is far removed from his intended Idea or edit or addition.
- Where the edit warring is due to one party being goaded, either by an editor with a long history of the same or by bored wikieditors keen to involve themselves in drama, it may be worth the effort to get to the root of the problem.
- Once the Wikiknight determines who is who (GFE, DrGN, DrGNasses, etc.) he can handle the situation with the cornerstones of Good Faith, Civility and Community
- The Wikiknights mission is to befriend the editor, not search for the truth. The truth is elusive.
- We do not want to become worker bee's for WikiQueenBee|Jimbo. We need to set this up with as little maintenance as necessary. It should run it self somehow. Im not sure how but that is an important objective. In fact it is critical to the long range success of Wikiknights. What kills other projects is the management of them; it becomes tedious, burdensome. )
- The world is unfortunately not ideal; We are all far from perfect and as a result discussions get sidetracked, people misstep, emotions flare and misconceptions are not addressed - you misstepped when you brought in your allegations that were without relevance to the current discussion, in doing so you excited Owain into making a misstep of his own and drew Sean into being a party to a situation which I frankly would rather have had not happened.
- The GFE is held in contempt, as a rival not a rank and file mermber of the club (WP). He is treated with petulance. He is deluged with techno-babble and caught off guard with misdirection.
Conversations with a Dragon
- Note: Using the Question format lessons the amount of challenge that the Dragon perceives. While there is a benefit in engaing him and taking his mind and energy off the "newbie" there is little sense in angering him. Afterall, he can breathe fire!!
- Note: There seems to be a surge in conflict but does it meet the needs of today's WikikPedia? Across the vast consciousness of Cyberspace are Internet conversations. Aggression is the watchword. But here, at WikiPedia, it threatens Civility, good faith positions, the community.
- The "newbie" is still finding out who they are and what they are going to do here. Whats the sense of killing their eagerness?
- I know that you are "fighting" for the best interest of WP. But your opponent is a novice; unaware of the landmines and pitfalls around each corner. Cut him some slack. Mentor him rather than mutilate him.
- "Can you see a way where you could abandon your convictions, only for a moment, in the name of opportunistic conciliation and a spirit of good fellowship?" Maybe that is the more important lesson for this young editor?
- Sometimes our propensity to reject empathy and compromise gets in the way of who WE really are. Administrators are designed to monitor and to lead.
- Empower them or subjagate them.
- Two choices when confronted by a neophyte: be kind or be cruel. Will you carry them on your back for the start of their journey or will you bare your teeth and send them running back to where they came from, never to be seen again?
- Isn't it better when we engage our neighbors and use the talk pages as our points of contact rather than only receptacles for complaints?
- There seems to be contempt for the "new fish" in the community tank. Almost seems like there is a sense of urgency to break the "newbie" while it is still just a pup. Take your foot off his throat so he can breathe. What harm can he really do?
- Lets rally around something other than an enemy. Lets rally around the new editors freshness and willingness to Be Bold. Isn't that what we asked him to do?
- This "newbie" hasn't been hardened to the WP editing process. New editors respond poorly to the Pain of Loss. To him losing his article/entry/edit and all the hard work envolved is monumental and crushing. It's his "baby" and people are harming it.
- Please realize. The newbie dug a hole...you filled it in...but you havent just filled in the hole...you questioned whether or not the hole should have ever even existed. You cancelled his work (and him) out. His defensiveness should be understandable.
Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
- A good place to nap and refresh, give the tunic a rinse in the stream, feed the steed, shine the armor/armour, leave a note, etc.
- Dormancy can be a survival technique
A well-informed landscaper will plant many varied grass seeds in the same plot-each for different conditions. Some seeds lay dormant, waiting for their opportunity in the sun. Others thrive everywhere. No matter what conditions are, the lawn looks great. Dormancy can be a survival trait.
Fight for Peace
Peace is a state of balance and understanding in yourself and between others, where respect is gained by the acceptance of differences, tolerance persists, conflicts are resolved through dialog, peoples rights are respected and their voices are heard, and everyone is at their highest point of serenity without social tension.
- Let us not allow WikiPedia to become an increasingly discordant society. Take away that deadly ploy (hubris), refuse the charlatans that combustible fuel (superiority), and their game is a bust.
Knight in Shining Armor
...the model of this tradition....traits "such as loyalty, courtesy, munificence...are found in eminent degree among the Arabs."....the "cradle of chivalry".... "Piety, courtesy, prowess in war, the gift of eloquence, the art of poetry, skill on horseback, dexterity with sword, lance, and bow" was expected of the elite Moorish knight....
Change the drift from fighting a War to preserving Peace
- Create a highly skilled and calculated plan to confuse the Dragon.