Wikipedia: where mauvaise foi is your passport to empowerment.
Where being a shit is rewarded, but calling a shit a shit is punished.
I am currently LingOL at the notions that an editor with basically zero edits to article space in the past three months could even be considered as an arbitrator (name no names, obv., this isn't a personal attack), which goes to show that attaining power here is all about being politically active and nothing to do with showing value to the project, and the new line of attack at Giano: civility tsars are go! And get this, the offence Giano has committed is to call one of the rudest editors on the site repulsive and a worm. Girls, please! Let's all play nice. I'd wager a tenner that Gerard is delighted to be called names by Giano: practically an award, no?
You're a waste of space, no natural grace, you're so bloody thin, you don't even begin.
To interest me, not even curiosity, it's not animosity, it's just you don't, interest me.
You're an energy void, a black hole to avoid, no style, no heart, you don't even start.
To interest me, not even curiosity, it's not animosity, it's just you don't, interest me.
Still true two years on!
Wikipedia needs reform. It needs a serious effort to rewrite its policy basis. Some policies need to be abandoned or seriously reconsidered, some contradict others. That was okay when there were 40 editors. It isn't now.
We need broader agreement on whether we are broad or narrow. I opt for broad but I understand the narrowists. I think we should adopt pure wiki deletion as a way forward and we should end voting on deletion. Actually, we could end voting altogether. I vote for that ;-)
I'm for reforming the admins. I think we could rotate adminhood among the editors who make certain criteria. This helps the power structure not become entrenched and allows those who become too fond of throwing their weight around to have a chilling out period in which they can concentrate on adding content. Out of these admins should be selected a dozen onthespot arbitrators, for the purpose I'll outline next.
A dual problem is that too many behaviour cases are decided arbitrarily and that too many are not! It's usually plain to see who's being a fuckhead. We don't need to subject some of our number to a mindnumbing three-month-long parade of bullshit to work it out. Often arbitration is just the next step in a dispute that has already had an RfC or two. The onthespot arbitrators can be called on to decide whether a remedial action is needed for RfCs or in disputed cases, in which an admin wants to block someone but the person thinks it's unfair, or their supporters do. (I'm not saying disband the arbcom! I'm saying keep it for matters that really do need arbitration.)
I wouldn't want those remedies to be blocking or banning too often. Let's be creative. If someone is making personal attacks, give them NPA parole. Let them walk the tightrope. Admin decides, no appeal, a day off for making one. (See how rotating admins would aid the wikilawyering that goes on in this kind of case? The people who are making those decisions would change, so it's not "the cabal hates me" is it?) If someone is editwarring, you put them on 1RR. No arguments about what a revert is. Admin decides, no appeal. You are warned and then you are blocked. Let's put an end to the gaming of the system and bullshitting. Let's encourage talking about it. If an editor refuses to talk about it, ban them from editing the page. They can edit talk, that's all. If someone is simply single-issue POV pushing, consider banning them from the issue. The arbcom has done this in the past and I think it's a good remedy. The ban need only be a month long. Anyone who wants to return to the same sterile bullshit after a month's break really does have a problem. There are thousands of pages here!
This stuff should all be public in my belief. No arbitration submissions in private. Not because I don't believe that a commonsense approach to things is a good idea but I think that submissions should be public, not necessarily to allow them to be contested (I would actually disallow that -- arbitration would be greatly improved if the involved parties didn't treat it as a flame war) but to ensure that the process is seen to be fair. Cobbling together decisions with the input of editors with an axe to grind is not a good way to convince people there is not a cabal out to get them.
The process thing is a real problem. It happens because policies in important areas are too loose for a big organisation. Take a hypothetical. An anon vandalises a page. It's probably just a schoolkid who thinks it's cool to write "dick" on a page. The first time you just revert it and say "hey that's not cool" on their talkpage. They do it again. You revert it again and maybe you say "do it again and you get blocked", maybe you don't, you just block them. But the process guys have invented a whole structure of warnings for vandals. Hang on! This is a schoolkid who is writing "dick" on pages. Maybe a potentially valuable contributor in the future, yes, but at this point a problem. I've had a lot of thought about this. I don't think anyone should be purposely put off contributing but I think that if a contributor is put off contributing because we gave him a day to think about whether writing "dick" on a page was a great way to do it, well, tough shit. Taking the admin to task because he didn't bother warning the halfwit three times, or worse, refusing to support a person's bid for adminship because they don't know what template gives what warning, is ridiculous. Make the first block an hour even. That would put off most silly boys and girls, wouldn't it? Automate a note to talk and bob's your uncle.
And about process. No one should ever be saying "I agree that the article shouldn't be here but you didn't follow the correct procedure."
Oh another thing. A personal attack happens when someone feels attacked. If you've made a person feel attacked, you've probably broken this core policy. Don't bicker over whether what you just did actually was an attack. Just be nice. Say sorry, move on. Apologising for hurt caused, even if unintended is not a bad thing! If you've hurt someone in the course of writing an encyclopaedia article, you should be contrite. It's supposed to be fun. The same thought goes to "pissing on [people's] playgrounds". If you need telling why that's a bad way to approach other contributors and to make an encyclopaedia, you're the problem, not the solution.
"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
Lord of the fiddlers
Wikipedia: This time, Piggy's armed.
NPOV should apply also the despised.
How can it ever be a good idea to allow the police to make the laws as they need them?
You're wasting your time flaming Grace Note
If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: "He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned" Epictetus
Wikipedia is about commitment, not consensus. An editor can write the truth but if they do not stay to defend that truth, sometimes at their peril in the community, it can be removed or defaced by another.
If a group of editors works together to display that commitment, they can influence the content of any given article so that it remains incorrect in perpetuity. They simply need to be motivated to do so.
These groups already exist. Unfortunately, they are populated with editors with no sense of their own ridiculousness, who will pompously demand "reputable sources" and use for their sources partisans who did not see what they report and have no more credibility than anyone else would or groups that are unabashedly POV, and who will argue one thing on one page and another on another, so long as what they argue in each place fits their POV. Because the editors involved have an agenda, they do not care that they are inconsistent or use double standards. They only care that their POV predominates. (Yes, I assume good faith. I assume that their motivations are not dishonest but that they feel they are defending a POV that requires it, just as many of us do our own POVs.) Anyone who works on articles on the Middle East, on Christianity-related subjects, on political figures who have been in any way controversial, or indeed on any subject that invokes factions will know that this is true. Some articles seesaw between POVs, some have a queasy balance (and are usually utterly unreadable because of it) but in others, a POV is overrepresented, so that its presentation is far from neutral.
Wikipedia is not a particularly important work in the world, whatever some of its more pompous and self-important users like to think. If it were, companies would hire people to manipulate its articles and political groupings would do the same. It's clearly possible, as I've described. The rules will need to be changed when Stormfront realise how few Nazis it would take to rewrite articles and solidify the rewrite (of course, Stormfront are dumb enough to try to rewrite Jew and not more minor articles that are less easy to rally support for).
Of course, Wikipedia has many other problems, which most of the establishment sort of hopes will just go away. It tends to ignore the real issues and focuses on minor bullshit such as trolls and vandals, which are simply day-to-day annoyances rather than lasting deficiencies, and attract far too much attention.
I believe it could have been great though. I think Jimbo's vision was great but I feel sad that even he doesn't believe in it enough. He would have done better to stand aside than to be the rather muddleheaded tyrant that he has become.
On the issue of schools
Although it remains my belief that a great encyclopaedia would include all schools, I gave up voting to include them all. Those who want to make a slightly bigger, slightly worse Britannica will probably win in the end because Wikipedia will always be a magnet for those who have a greater sense of their own importance than is strictly merited, and those guys just will never get the idea that an encyclopaedia need not be particularly restrictive to be good, because it would deflate that sense.
Of course, that does mean that the dream of a tremendous edifice of learning -- a wild dream to begin with, given the burdens of POV pushing, a bureaucracy that feeds itself (never, surely, part of the wiki concept -- I can't see how it's particularly constructive to spend hours, days and weeks burning witches -- why not just empower overseers to kick out whoever they disapprove of, which with the broad interpretation of blocking policy some use is already becoming the case, and not bother with the kangaroo courts? Just let the deletionists rid us of whatever irks them rather than pretend that we don't like trolling while having a page that invites it to the max) and outright fuckwittedry that it has to shoulder -- is sacrificed to the smallminded, limited vision of people who are labouring under a rather antiquated notion of what's important (peculiarly, many Wikipedians strive to make it a modernist masterpiece, like Britannica or OED in their realms, rather than understand the great attraction and promise of it as a postmodernist wonder -- still, I suppose that many are "scientists" and few "artists" and the former are very much stuck in the modernist idiom).