Wikipedia:Don't enlist the masses

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Wikipedians should not use emotive rhetoric to call up a mob of other editors to outnumber and overwhelm their oppoent.

Enlisting the masses refers to calling large crowds of passers-by and casual readers into your editing conflict for the sole purpose of outnumbering your opponent. The crowds in this case usually lack the information and/or context required to make an informed decision about the conflict.


With enough persuasive rhetoric, one can turn the crowds against one's opponent. This is usually to outnumber the opponent, or to overwhelm him or her with the sheer force of his or her opponents. It may also be a form of ostracism.


Persuasive rhetoric is usually used to turn the crowds against the opponent. Straw man arguments that sound blatantly ridiculous may be set up, and emotive words may be used to set the tone. It only takes a few (usually new users or anonymous IPs, as more experienced users normally shy away from this type of conflict) to start the ball rolling, and before long there may be a full-fledged LynchMob going on. In nearly all cases, accurate, unbiased information about the conflict is rarely presented, and any accurate information that is presented to the public may be presented in such a way as to downplay its significance or to deliberately use it against the opponent (e.g. impulsive messages posted in the heat of battle may be exaggerated to the level of "personal attacks").

Enlisting the masses essentially consists of presenting enough information to the uninformed masses to turn them against the opponent, no matter how unjustified or uninformed their decision is.

Why not?[edit]

Enlisting the masses involves dragging people into a conflict using biased and/or inaccurate information. This misleads people and uses them as tools against the opponent.

It also stops the issue from getting a fair trial. When all around the battleground the frenzied masses are stomping and brandishing signs, how is the debate going to be fair? Just because you have outnumbered your opponent does not mean that you have defeated him, and enlisting the masses is a deliberate attempt to portray victory by sheer numbers. This defeats the purpose of a healthy conflict in the first place.

In summary: Win your argument with logic. Calling uninformed fellow editors in simply for the safety in numbers does not make you a winner.