User:The Cunctator

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In Memoriam, September 11, 2001


Edited Pages - Talk - Negative Talk

"a radical that ploughs up the roots of our social fabric."


Counter Vandalism Unit-en.png This user is a non-member of the
Counter Vandalism Unit, although the anime maid is supercute.
Anarchy symbol neat.png The Cunctator is a proud non-member of the Anarchists for a Past, Present, and Future World of Goodness. See K-Band Communications for more non-information.


Ten Year Society userbox.svg This user has been editing Wikipedia for over ten years.


Before Wikipedia, The Cunctator promoted the spread of the Hamster Dance and challenged unethical policies at DMoz.

The Cunctator created or edited most of the articles that got punted off into the Sep. 11 wiki.

He created the first Wikipedia logo, which riffed on the Nupedia logo design. The design of the "Wikipedia" text below a sphere remains from that logo.

His policy debates with Larry Sanger drove Sanger to distraction and precipitated his exiting the project (see "The Hive" by Marshall Poe).

He was a member-in-protest of the Arbitration Cabal, which came into being through discussion not on Wikipedia, but on the vile mailing list. He lost the seat in the elections of late 2004 most likely due to his being a big slacker.

The recent tendencies toward deletionism and agglomeration are troubling. Are the gigantic image-heavy "we look like Encarta" entries really better for the Wikipedia than more atomic Jargon-file-esque entries? There are some interesting backend search/sort/display technologies that could bridge the divide. For example, the default editing allows people to independently edit sections, instead of the whole page at once. Those sections act in a way as independent wiki-pages that just happen to be hierarchically linked. One can imagine giving these section-wikis more autonomy.


Some modest proposals (which could be tried as experiments) to consider:

  • Turn off Articles for Deletion.
  • Make non-empty edit summaries mandatory for all edits not marked as minor
  • Make admin rights automatic for all regular editors

To be a good Wikipedian, be respectful, overly combative, self-critical, vulnerable, hortatory, ambitious, and analytical.

Above all, to be a good Wikipedian, edit and create entries.

To ensure the health of Wikipedia:

  • Be in Charge and Be Humble
  • Understand Bias
  • Appreciate Idiosyncracy
  • Redesign the Wikipedia Software as a Community
  • Make Big Plans on Wikipedia
  • Avoid Cabals
  • Follow the Spirit of the GFDL
  • Be Respectful but Firm

Bad Ideas


Commentary

The nearly immutable law of government is that while over the short term dangers to the health of society come from individual actors, over the long term the dangers come from the system.

It should be everyone's goal to figure out ways to eliminate potential problems before they can happen.

A good real world example of that is drugs; because it is a criminal act to use illegal drugs, millions of dollars and manhours and lives are spent in combatting drug use (the "war on drugs"). But if the drugs (such as marijuana) are decriminalized, a host of downstream costs to society disappear. There *are* different complications and needs (tobacco is a good example of the potential problems of having drugs be legal to use) but it's a lot easier to deal with drugs as a health issue than a crime issue.

The censorship of offensive, particularly anti-gay content (e.g. fudgepacker, santorum, AIDS Kills Fags Dead etc.) on Wikipedia is deplorable. So is the censorship of "minor" places (e.g. Sunset High School (Portland), etc.).

As of 2006, Wikipedia has definitely become a place where it is frighteningly easy to get kicked out of the club. There's more worry about one's words upsetting other users than whether one does good work or whether people should be getting upset in the first place.

June 2006

Jimmy Wales may argue that the NYT got the situation "exactly backwards", but the reality is that this is a semantic game and in this case the contrarian position the NYT is arguing is, if not ultimately correct, an important one to have. Wikipedia benefits by having outsiders challenging Wikipedia to be and remain open and free. Institutions by their nature are conservative and self-protecting, and their commitment to their claimed ideals must face constant challenge for them to remain true to said ideals.

I would say that neither Wales nor the NYT is really right-- I would argue that Wikipedia, as it grows in size and prominence, is evolving rapidly and in ways that no one person could possibly understand fully. That Wikipedia will always be straddling the uncomfortable divide between reliability and editability, just as it embodies conflicts between universality and topicality, brevity and completeness, accessibility and accuracy, etc. It is neither the golden perfect lovely machine that Wales seems so insistent on portraying nor the decadent failure its critics decry.

I would be happier if we lived in a world where the New York Times was writing articles promoting the promise of Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales was its biggest critic, finding fault where others see none, but I don't get to choose the world I live in.

That said, I found it quite interesting how Larry Sanger is now lost from the official narrative of the creation of Wikipedia. History belongs to the victors, I suppose. Although I became one of his most active critics during his tenure, he does not deserve to become a footnote, or worse, forgotten.

November 2007

How you know Wikipedia has jumped the shark: the great article on w00t has been deleted.

September 2008

How on earth does deleting Transmogrifier improve Wikipedia? Wikipedia has not only jumped the shark, it's nuked the fridge.

January 2009

Ah well, as we come to 2009, it's evident that Wikipedia has entered the end of its lifecycle. Can't say I didn't warn you.

As the Wiki Turns

Check out the brilliant humor of Wikipedia's writers.

Wikipedians who have left: ManningBartlett (returned), Piotr Wozniak, Corvus13, JHK, AndreEngels, Isis, KQ, User:Kat.
Kick-outs: Mathjis, 24, user:H.J., Lir, Clutch

Hi Cunc. For the record, I never actually left. I just refused to log in for several years and edited anonymously. Edit Count should not be a measure of significance. Manning (talk) 16:18, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Numbers

Workshopping

What's getting deleted

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I agree to dual-license my text contributions, unless otherwise stated, under Wikipedia's copyright terms and the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license version 2.5. Please be aware that other contributors might not do the same, so if you want to use my contributions under the Creative Commons terms, please check the CC dual-license and Multi-licensing guides.