User talk:SB Johnny/Moulton

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Liminal Social Drama is what occurs in a community when there is a Breach of Expectations. This page contains portions of the Liminal Social Drama that erupted on Wikiversity when SB_Johnny departed from established policy to initiate an exercise known as a Parliamentary Bill of Attainder.


I kind of like "collegiality" since it has both an egalitarian sense and an academic sense. It's also not the name of a policy, which might be better as well. --SB_Johnny talk 17:47, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I defy anyone to find so much as an ounce of collegiality in yesterday's sham (and atrociously scripted) Bill of Attainder.

Thomas Jefferson was demonstrating collegial insight when he led the civilized world in abandoning Bill of Attainder, having recognized that it's a corrosive and corrupt tool of government that inevitably sinks any regime that comes to rely on it. Shortly after the Founders outlawed Bill of Attainder in Article I of the US Constitution, the British followed suit, abandoning both Parliamentary Bill of Attainder and Monarchial Bill of Attainder.

It's disturbing to witness you and other misguided officials reintroducing this antiquated relic from the rubbish heap of political history into the current practices of Wikiversity. Is this the kind of unwise practice you wish to teach to impressionable youth of the 21st Century? Can you imagine what would happen to anyone who tried to adopt and employ that hoary and unsustainable practice in the real world of an authentic 21st Century learning organization?

Moulton 13:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Items Not Yet Ready For Prime-Time Scholarly Review on Wikiversity[edit]

As you may know, KillerChihuahau summarily baleeted these essays from the pages of Wikiversity, presumably because she disagrees with the notion of using the donor-funded site to educate 21st Century youth in modern concepts of ethical organizational management. Moulton 14:12, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Abolishing the Wikipedia Bans As a Governance Tool[edit]

The following article originally appeared as an add-on comment in the P2P Foundation's blog. Michael Bauwens, the editor of the site, elevated the comment to a main article in its own right.

The governance model of Wikipedia was so anachronistic that it took me over a year to place it in the timeline of historic governance models adopted at various times in the annals of human history.

The thing that stymied me was the prominence of blocking and banning as the primary tool of governance. I simply couldn’t place that among the recognized tools of governance in any historic context.

And then I happened to take a look at the oldest surviving account of secular law — the Code of Hammurabi of 1760 BC.

Of the 282 laws that Hammurabi of Mesopotamia carved into the stone tablets, take note of the very first one:

1. If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.

Evidently, banning (ostracism) was a common practice in the tribal cultures in the Middle East some 4000 years ago, at the dawn of civilization. Capricious and spurious banning was evidently such a common and egregious abuse of tribal overlords that Hammurabi made it a capital offense to ban someone without proving just cause.

And yet, on Wikipedia, indefinite blocks and bans without due process are a common occurrence. That is to say, the prevailing governance model of Wikipedia corresponds to a pre-Hammurabic tribal ochlocracy that is so anachronistic, it predates the advent of the Rule of Law.

When Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders drafted the US Constitution, one of the provisions they put in Article One was a prohibition against Bills of Attainder. A Bill of Attainder is the technical term in the law for declaring a person to be an outlaw (without respect to having violated any specific law that applies equally to everyone). The Founders excluded Bills of Attainder from the tools of governance because 4000 years of political history had demonstrated that such a toxic practice is corrosive and ridden with corruption, and invariably sinks any government that comes to rely on it.

The irony here is that Wikipedia purports to be the “sum of all knowledge” with an educational mission that reaches out to students, teachers, and scholars around the world. And yet those exercising power in Wikipedia have not yet learned the oldest and most profound lessons in the annals of human history — lessons enshrined in the first written law and in the first article of the US Constitution.

The consequence of adopting such an anachronistic governance model is that Wikipedians are fated to relive and reify the long-forgotten lessons of history. They relive those lessons by reprising the same kind of political dramas that fill the history books since the dawn of civilization.

The anachronistic governance model which Jimbo Wales foolishly and mindlessly introjected into Wikipedia is simply not a sustainable model in this day and age. Summary and capricious banning wasn’t even a sustainable model some 3768 years ago when Hammurabi first singled it out as an unacceptable practice in a civilized culture.

So what to do about it? The answer can be found in the second law of Hammurabi’s Code. As Hammurabi advises, the solution is to tell them to go jump in the lake.

Or as they say in Yiddish, Nem zich a vaneh!

Further comments by readers of the P2P Foundation may be found here. Additional comments by participants of Wikipedia Review may be found here.

Rules, Games, and Dramas[edit]

For thousands of years, monarchs, politicians, and organizational managers have sought to construct the ideal set of rules so as to achieve an orderly, stable, well-regulated system. This notion is subsumed under the popular meme, Law and Order.

Rules are also used to define games. Most games (think of Chess, Checkers, or Go) have very few rules which are easy to learn, easy to remember, and easy to abide by.

Given a set of rules which define a game, there is a branch of applied mathematics called Game Theory which studies the optimal strategy for playing any given game.

Some years ago, there was a movie called Colossus: The Forbin Project that revolved around a computer simulation game called Global Thermonuclear War. That cinematic parable, drawn from a key insight in Game Theory, was followed by a similar thriller called War Games.

For the past decade, one of the most popular franchises on American television has been NBC's Law and Order. The endless syndicated reruns can be watched almost any night on the TNT Cable Channel, where the advertising slogan is "We Know Drama."

The point of all this, of course, is to note that rule-driven systems are not inherently orderly, stable, and predictable. Rather they are the recipe for games and dramas. Mathematicians have known for over a century that rule-driven systems are mathematically chaotic. Within the broad scope of Chaos Theory, the branches subsuming Game Theory and Drama Theory are probably of most interest to the general public, who lap up games and dramas along with copious amounts of beer and popcorn.

Now mathematicians will tell you that it's also possible to design orderly, stable, predictable, and well-behaved systems, if that's what you really want. But the solution is not to be found in any set of rules. Rather, if one wants a highly functional system that operates gracefully and with minimum of suspenseful drama, one must evolve beyond mere rules and embrace the subtle mathematics of functions.

This is not likely to happen in my lifetime. At least not among Homo Schleppians, most of whom are hopelessly math-impaired.

If I were running Wikipedia, I'd go with a set of rules that intentionally maximized the dramaturgy. It's clear that Wikipedians crave heart-pounding, knuckle-biting psychodrama, and they might as well admit that and design their system to become the premier site for live-action post-modern scandal-ridden theater of the absurd.

Barsoom Tork 14:12, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Comments inappropriately deleted from Wikiversity discussion[edit]

KillerChihuahua, please feel free to create a learning set of pages expressing your points of view. Deleting other people's points of view is a poor way of creating learning resources. This is Wikiversity, not Wikipedia. WAS 4.250 10:30, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I heartily endorse the above advice of WAS 4.250. KC's uncollegiate practice of summarily deleting valid scholarship is an unacceptable practice in an authentic learning community. Time and again we have urged her to craft her own alternative theses, and then to defend them with evidence, analysis, and reasoning, per the protocols of scholarly ethics. —Moulton 10:41, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Due to recent issues regarding Moulton it doesn't seem wise to remove those pages yet, until a decision is made on the Community Review - if the Verizon, M.I.T. and other internet/security providers does become involved they may want to view these pages, I suggest you wait for the time being. Dark Obsidian@en.Meta-Wiki 10:51, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

  • In fact, all the pages deleted by Jimbo, Darklama, Mike Umbricht, Mike Ingram, et al, should be restored so that impartial professionals may review them, per Dark Obsidian's wise and urgent suggestion. To my mind, the more public eyes on the case, the better for everyone. —Moulton 11:00, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Of course KC has an interest because she's among the subjects of the investigation. You (JWS) also have an interest as one of the authors. Having an interest doesn't necessarily entail a conflict of interest. She has just as much right to share her views as you do. --SB_Johnny talk 14:52, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Moulton, WAS 4.250, and JWSchmidt continually prompted KC to submit her version of events and support them with evidence, analysis, and reasoning, per the protocols of Policy on Scholarly Ethics. Instead, she consistently edited, redacted, or deleted the signed contributions of other scholars. In the Scientific Method, it is customary to examine multiple alternative theses, hypotheses, or models and then to undertake to falsify each of them with evidence, analsysis, and scientific reasoning. I hypothesize that the reason KC declined to submit her own independent alternative version was because she knew (or feared) that Moulton or JWSchmidt would trivially falsify it, just as they demolished her specious, vacuous, and trivially falsifiable reasons for the original indef block of Moulton. And I hypothesize that the reason she redacted the analyses of Moulton and JWSchmidt was because she could not properly falsify them by means of scientific methods of peer review. In short, KC appears to be woefully unfamiliar with the protocols of the scientific method when it comes to crafting or examining alternative hypotheses or theories. —Barsoom Tork 16:00, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Kangaroo Court[edit]

This isn't a court, it's a discussion of options to be taken by a community that's rapidly shrinking and seriously needs to move on. It is completely inappropriate for you to accuse the people participating in this discussion of acting in bad faith.

You've already made it clear that you don't like the process. Point taken, so please respect people's right share their views, and to have their views taken seriously. --SB_Johnny talk 21:07, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

  • It's a sham Parliamentary Bill of Attainder, Johnny. And you should be ashamed of yourself for convening such an outrage to 21st Century education. —Montana Muse 21:47, 29 January 2009 (UTC)