User:Amarkov/stuff

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A couple subpages, for things too large and/or important to be just given a section:

General satire

BLP


Wikipedia is not important[edit]

Too many people approach Wikipedia as if something being wrong is this horrible travesty, which must be corrected. It's not just the POV pushers; even some perfectly good contributors get that way defending policies.

A family member dying is important. Getting into a good college is important. Getting a serious injury is important. Breaking up with your significant other is important. Many, many, other things are important. An article on Wikipedia being wrong, however, is not important. It is fine to think that the article should be right, and defending that is not a problem. But if, after getting up from your computer and doing something else, you are stressed at all about Wikipedia, it's a problem. When my first RfA failed, was I sad? Yes. Was I whacking myself on the head for how idiotically I acted over Category:Child Wikipedians? Yes. But when I got up from the computer and started reading, I was not thinking about Wikipedia. I was thinking about my book, my schoolwork, the girlfriend I intend to have at some unspecified point in the future. And I'm really much happier for it. Plus I am completely immune to burnout.

This is the source of my longstanding "I will do no more in any Arbcom case ever than make a short statement" policy.


Wikipedia is a volunteer project[edit]

Ever since Larry Sanger's job was eliminated, nobody is paid by the Foundation to edit. There are paid positions for things related to Wikipedia, some of which (such as the Board) are needed to even have something to edit. But, for the most part, Wikipedia is made by us volunteers, who contribute because we like to. Every so often, we get a proposal worded like "People must do X if they want to be able to edit." Now, that's perfectly fine if we don't want people who would do notX. But it's often intended as an encouragement to do X, not so much a prohibition against notX. The problem being, of course, that it is impossible to force volunteers to do anything. Because volunteers can, and will, just leave if they must do something they don't want to.

Corrolary: Wikipedia is about the encyclopedia, but...[edit]

Wikipedia is first and foremost an encyclopedia. If something harms the encyclopedia, then for our purposes, it is bad. I'm sorry if you don't like this, but Wikipedia is not the right place for you then. However, it is very important to remember that the encyclopedia doesn't just spring out of thin air. Users write it, and thus, users must be retained. Now, we are all human, and thus, do not have fanatical devotion to writing articles. We must have incentives to do that. Since we don't get any sort of compensation, the only incentive would be to make editing fun. Thus, stopping things which make editing fun by calling them unencyclopedic is usually very counterproductive.

Discussion is almost always better than not-discussion[edit]

I've been reading up on the Canadian governmental system, and from what I've seen, it really takes into little account the will of the populace. The Prime Minister can usually make all the members of Parliament vote how he wishes, and unilaterally appoints through the Governor General every single member of the Senate and Supreme Court (although the Senate doesn't do much but rubber-stamp, so it isn't a big deal there). And then prominent Canadians look across the border at the US system, where Congress has to approve judicial nominations, and amazingly, defend their system as superior. One even decided a few years ago to praise the fact that the results of votes in Parliament are nearly always predictable from what the party leaders say (it was actually praised as being "more efficient", pointing out where the American system often results in debate which is very heated).

How does this tie in to Wikipedia? Well, once in a while, someone decides to propose a process which cuts out any sort of discussion or community approval, depending instead on a single admin's judgement. Instances of heated debate, which admittedly do result in some bad things, are then amazingly used to say that a system with no discussion is superior. While it is true that doing everything unilaterally prevents people from getting angry over a discussion...

"Consensus" can not mean what it used to[edit]

When Wikipedia was first getting started, consensus could very easily mean everyone in the "core group" of the community decided something together. Thus, it was perfectly reasonable to say "Voting and anything that looks like voting is unquestionably bad", and carry on in discussions that looked nothing like voting. But guess what? Now we have over 1000 admins, and another thousand or so people who are important in some process or another. When you get large enough numbers, you can't do talkpage-style discussions, because they do not scale. They only work well with up to four, and past twenty or so, they are completely impossible. And the twenty people who show up for a particular discussion are not any appreciable fraction of the community that's supposed to decide things. So how do you give the community input?

Well, let's see how it's done. With few exceptions, decisions are made by lots of this:

  • Blah, because moo.

There are four exceptions. One is article disputes that the community as a whole doesn't need to get involved in, meaning other models work fine. Two, some proposals never get this, but they are mostly the ones where it's obvious either way what will happen to the proposal. Three, there's the user RfC system, but that's horribly dysfunctional, doesn't provide an accurate measure of what proportion of the community actually supports something, and can do nothing but create symbolic actions that have no effect. And finally, there is the Arbcom system, but the thing as a while doesn't scale (although it seems to perpetuate itself even though most people know that). Everything else, from FARs to AfDs to RFAs to community bans (face it, they were just as much quickpolls when on ANI), has comments in that pattern, except maybe with numbering instead of bullets. I don't ask for anyone to like that, but people who try to eliminate any type of Quickpolls are ignoring the fact that there is no other solution.

"Duh" is not a valid rationale[edit]

There seems to be this recent trend that discussion not only can, but should be cut short whenever a certain result is obviously right. Now, in some cases, the result is obviously right; for instance, an unsourced negative article on a living person violates WP:BLP, and there is no opportunity for reasonable dispute. But the rationale for the speedy deletion should, in that case, be "violates BLP". Not "duh", not "IAR", and not "obviously bad". If you can not explain why something is obviously bad so that no reasonable person disagrees, then it isn't obviously bad.

Policy is what consensus says it is[edit]

Claiming that BLP applies to cows does not make it so. Nor does claiming that WP:V means all statements must have 5 government sources. Not because there's no way to wikilawyer those things out of the policy, because there is. It's because consensus is against them, so the consensus-driven policy must logically not say them. Claiming that something against consensus is supported by policy is wikilawyering, plain and simple.