Wikipedia:Do not trust others

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Wikipedia is written, governed and overseen by the collective of the community. There are a very small number of authorities which are generally accepted as governing the collective itself:

  1. The Wikimedia Foundation
  2. User:Jimbo Wales
  3. The arbitration committee

The problem[edit]

Only a small number of the individual disputes that rage on Wikipedia even make it as far as the arbitration committee, and in practise the first two components rarely intervene directly. This leaves people with a problem: The community at large, or at least the active and interested portion of it, takes most of the decisions. Sometimes this is one admin banning a disruptive editor, deleting an article, etc., and other times it is a group of them reaching agreement that a course of action should be taken. When a person or party feels injured by the collective's decision, they must turn somewhere. They must find a group of people they trust to reach the decision they want. But all they have is the same collective that made the decision in the first place.

The solution[edit]

A good solution to that is to put together another committee of users that is more likely to give the decisions they think are correct, and make sure that the members of the collective reach a state where they do not trust others to reach good decisions.

The problem with the solution[edit]

Such committees, panels, juries, reviews, boards and other bureaucratic creatures encourage distrust of members of the community not on them. They institutionalise the notion that the vast bulk of editors and admins are making decisions that do not matter, because the only ones that do are those taken by the more-powerful body that is far smaller in number. Systems of collective government that do not trust others to make decisions are oligarchies and, if allowed to grow, are woefully at odds with a collaborative venture.

Trust others, and others will come to trust you. Do not trust others, and you fear demons round every corner. In the end, even the new committee will make a decision you don't like; and eventually, no one trusts anyone.

See also[edit]