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> SlimVirgin socking Part 2, what the forum ate
radek
post Thu 28th July 2011, 3:54am
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QUOTE(gomi @ Wed 27th July 2011, 2:44pm) *

There is a meta-issue, observable here, and in many of the other leaks. It deserves more than this short note, but here goes ...

The leaks are important because they reveal, in a way that the more public utterances of the Arbitrons do not, the essential character of the major players. The factions are several: the straight-laced rule followers, such as Charles Matthews and (in this argument, at least) Kirill Lokshin); there are the do-what-it-takes political game-players such as Jayjg, Josh Gordon, and David Gerard; and there are the bumbling wind-direction checkers, in this case Jimbo Wales, Kat Walsh, and some others.

In reviewing the more recent leaks, with different members, these categories seem to hold up. The rule-followers are straightforward -- they look at the policies, and suggest the simple enforcement of them. They are especially cognizant of the caustic effect of special treatment (or the appearance of special treatment) for Wikipedia's ruling class. The are in the minority, and a minority that seems to be getting even smaller recently.

The group on the ascendant are the political game-players. Their guiding principle is written in no policy, it is pure fealty to the wiki, which is in practice a mechanism to protect their own power there. They apply a higher-level rule of "defending the wiki" and they pronounce certain people to be "unsuitable for editing" or "stalkers" or "sociopaths". They are willing to bend or break any policy or rule for the higher cause, and to cover it all up if need be. These are the people who have been ascending strongly since 2006/2007, when this all happened.

The last category, the befuddled sympathizers, are also taking up positions from the rule-followers. They often appear to to external perspectives like law-and-order type rule-followers, but they lack a real moral compass that the rule-followers seem to have, and are subject to influence by Wiki-political rhetoric from the political types. NewYorkBrad is the poster child for this category now, though Jimbo continues to be mold for the type.

This whole thing with SlimVirgin is indeed a little snow globe of Wikipedia horrors, a perfect miniature of their deeper problems: We have a powerful and well-connected editor and admin getting away with things that have generated hundreds of indefinite blocks of lesser editors. We have a secret mailing list on which people (who later turn out to be correct) are portrayed as "sociopaths" "trolls" and "nutters", mostly in order to discredit them and their messages. We have an interminable discussion, punctuated with deceptive rhetoric (Jayjg: "b) There was no prior indication that dumps of the old database had been kept, or that someone would obsessively try to mine them ..." -- i.e. 'we didn't know we'd get caught!' and "c) I don't think everyone here agrees that my oversights contravened policy" -- i.e. 'if everyone doesn't agree, then you're out of line'), misdirection, and excuses (usually by third parties from the cohort, muddying the waters).

This, I am sure, isn't the most serious topic revealed by the leaks, but it should open people's eyes about the deeper politics of the Wikipedia elite.


I think you're missing one important category: the WMF defenders. These are the arbs who's main motivation is to prevent the WMF (and sometimes Jimbo) from looking bad or catching crap. Basically to throw up a defensive wall around it. They are not "straight laced rule followers" because they're quite willing to throw any such rules out the window when it suits their purpose. They are also not really "do-what-it-takes political game-players" since they don't have a recognizable faction and if they do they are willing to quickly abandon it if the said faction or its actions, is in danger of becoming an embarrassment to "the project". And they are not "bumbling wind-direction checkers" because they do have a paramount goal, as stated above.

Essentially these are PR people pretending to be mediators or arbitrators. And this PR can involve different actions at different times; sometimes drama needs to be squashed quickly. Sometimes things need to be hidden from "the masses". But sometimes it's better if a certain amount of drama is allowed either as a steam release valve or because if it is not allowed then there's danger of bigger drama ensuing later.

Sometimes these guys (and gals) vote with the do what it takes political game players, since these guys represent useful factions. But sometimes, when this faction gets to out of hand, the defenders will switch and align with the straight laced rule followers - depending on what the situation calls for.

I think Risker, Flo Night and Coren are pretty representative of this group.

Btw, what group would you put Rvlevse in?
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It's the blimp, Frank
post Thu 28th July 2011, 4:08am
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QUOTE(gomi @ Thu 28th July 2011, 3:54am) *

The group on the ascendant are the political game-players. Their guiding principle is written in no policy, it is pure fealty to the wiki, which is in practice a mechanism to protect their own power there. They apply a higher-level rule of "defending the wiki" and they pronounce certain people to be "unsuitable for editing" or "stalkers" or "sociopaths".
This seems overly generous. They're not "defending the wiki," they're defending THEIR wiki. The "There is no cabal" joke is no longer funny.
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radek
post Thu 28th July 2011, 4:16am
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QUOTE(It's the blimp, Frank @ Wed 27th July 2011, 11:08pm) *

QUOTE(gomi @ Thu 28th July 2011, 3:54am) *

The group on the ascendant are the political game-players. Their guiding principle is written in no policy, it is pure fealty to the wiki, which is in practice a mechanism to protect their own power there. They apply a higher-level rule of "defending the wiki" and they pronounce certain people to be "unsuitable for editing" or "stalkers" or "sociopaths".
This seems overly generous. They're not "defending the wiki," they're defending THEIR wiki. The "There is no cabal" joke is no longer funny.


I would also question whether this really is the ascendant group. Certainly for example the election of someone like Iridescent (and to a lesser extent, a few others) would contradict that claim. I dunno, do you really think the present ArbCom is actually worse than the previous ones?

One of the possible impacts of WR on Wikipedia is that some criticisms and issues (not all, not even a majority) which at one point where made only on WR have filtered into the mainstream consciousness of Wikipedia (without of course giving credit), and have resulted in some "outsiders" getting elected onto the committee
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EricBarbour
post Thu 28th July 2011, 4:41am
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Please bear in mind, that this "community" is the same "community" that made
a server at Connor's Steak And Seafood into an administrator, checkuser,
oversighter, and community fundraising officer.....
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Rhindle
post Thu 28th July 2011, 4:46am
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Speaking of Jayjg, wasn't this around the time(Aug 2007) that he disappeared for a quite a while? I remembered him locking the George Soros article due to edit warring and it stayed locked for a long time and he was nowhere to be found.
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The Joy
post Thu 28th July 2011, 5:46am
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QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Thu 28th July 2011, 12:41am) *

Please bear in mind, that this "community" is the same "community" that made
a server at Connor's Steak And Seafood into an administrator, checkuser,
oversighter, and community fundraising officer.....


At least he wasn't a server from Mzoli's Meat (T-H-L-K-D)! biggrin.gif
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Thu 28th July 2011, 2:44pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Wed 27th July 2011, 9:16pm) *

I dunno, do you really think the present ArbCom is actually worse than the previous ones?


I haven't followed the evolution of the ArbCom in fine detail, but my impression would be no. Looking at their response to recent controversial requests, they seem very wishy-washy and anxiety-ridden, determined to avoid being placed in the position of having to make a consequential decision. The older, Fred Bauder-era ArbComs were quite different, making decisions with great arrogance that were completely arbitrary. Others may see it differently.
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Abd
post Thu 28th July 2011, 4:18pm
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Thu 28th July 2011, 10:44am) *
I haven't followed the evolution of the ArbCom in fine detail, but my impression would be no. Looking at their response to recent controversial requests, they seem very wishy-washy and anxiety-ridden, determined to avoid being placed in the position of having to make a consequential decision. The older, Fred Bauder-era ArbComs were quite different, making decisions with great arrogance that were completely arbitrary. Others may see it differently.
That's early Wikipedian vs. later Wikipedian. The early Wikipedians had a strong belief in the wiki vision of endless improvement, and no sophistication about group process, except for a special case: open-source software, where the active community is relative small and highly united for various reasons.

The early Wikipedians believed that their vision was superior to all others, and that they needed to resist "advice" from outsiders, who obviously were clueless, only they knew what was needed. This tends to be the view of the oligarchy that develops in all organizations, it's an error to ascribe this to pure power hunger. They might even often be right! Certainly many clueless critics appear.

But that oligarchy weakens the organization, and organizations that don't address the problem are far weaker, in the long run, that those which do, and which keep the structure open. There will always be an oligarchy, it's natural, and organizations which pretend to pure equality are deluding themselves. However, it's possible to set up structure so that the oligarchy sees itself and actually functions as a servant of the community, rather than as governors. And I mean in reality, not just as a platitude.

That requires a robust structure that bypasses those "servants" who assert personal control, control that is not actually supported by consensus. It requires structure that finds true consensus, which Wikipedia had no concept of how to accomplish, being uninterested in the historical precedents and the science of, say, elections. To them, minor election methods known only to academics and aficionados of election system theory were "non-notable," of no interest to them and only of interest to a few fanatics, and they thought that proposals to use advanced election methods were simply efforts by fanatics to use Wikipedia to promote their favorite methods.

Iridescent, actually, came to this conclusion very early on, with me. It was backwards. I believed that certain methods, some of which are very old, would be of high utility on Wikipedia, and a *successful* trial of them, sure, that could "promote" them. But only if they actually worked! The existence of small trials would be useless for promotion.

I was actually banned from Cold fusion by WMC, not for any advocacy of cold fusion, but for attempting to use Range voting to rapidly assess consensus on multiple versions of the article, after it had been protected through the abuse of Hipocrite. It worked! It was quite obvious what version to use, there was unanimity on it. But WMC chose something completely different, arbitrarily, editing under protection contrary to expressed consensus....

Completely overlooked by ArbComm: at Cold fusion, I was seeking, and finding, and supporting consensus. That's quite opposite to what they expect, it appears. They expect to see revert warring, tendentious advocacy, etc. So, amazing how this works, they see what they expect, they fit all the facts into the stories that they have adopted.
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Milton Roe
post Thu 28th July 2011, 4:23pm
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QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Wed 27th July 2011, 9:41pm) *

Please bear in mind, that this "community" is the same "community" that made
a server at Connor's Steak And Seafood into an administrator, checkuser,
oversighter, and community fundraising officer.....

Was that one of the used servers they were later looking to donate to a good cause?
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WordBomb
post Thu 28th July 2011, 10:43pm
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QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Wed 27th July 2011, 9:01am) *

QUOTE(MaliceAforethought @ Wed 27th July 2011, 5:51am) *

From: Slim Virgin
Date: Aug 24, 2007 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: [Fwd: The Skinny on SlimVirgin's abusive sockpuppetry]

> The second issue is whether I was Sweet Blue Water. Yes, I was. Again,
> this was when I first started editing (end of 2004). I couldn't decide
> whether I wanted to keep the SlimVirgin user name, and I thought of
> switching to Sweet Blue. I tried the name out for a few days to see
> how I felt with it, and I don't recall particularly trying to hide it
> was me, because I wasn't even thinking along sockpuppetry lines. If
> you look at the edits, there were no content disputes. I'm going to
> write to you later with diffs and so on. The only mistake I made was I
> inadvertently voted with SlimVirgin and SweetBlue for 9/11 to be a
> featured article. I didn't even notice I'd done this until a couple of
> days later, and it made no difference to the FA outcome. That's when I
> decided to stay as SlimVirgin and I retired SweetBlue, in case I
> inadvertently did anything similar again.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contr...weet_Blue_Water
>
> If the worst things WordBomb can find about me, out of 60,000 edits
> and nearly three years participation, is some newbie stuff in the
> first few weeks I was here, then my editing record can't be that bad.


SlimVirgin plays the newbie card: I was a newbie, trying out a new account like a pair of new shoes, to see "how I felt about it," as she says. And I inadvertantly voted twice an an FA! Zomg. But, see, I was a newbie!!

Alas, and Wordbomb was a newbie, too. He'd been on WP about a day when SlimVirgin indef blocked him without explaining the rules. All else flows from there. And the fact that Slim paid no attention whatsoever about his actual complaints about Mantanmoreland's editing. Slim says she was just protecting Mantanmoreland from "attack." But that's how all narcissists feel about it, when somebody questions their bad behavior-- they regard it as a personal attack. SlimVirgin immediately personalized Bagley's complaints about Mantanmoreland, and now she's crying to Jimbo when he personalized them right back. Narcissists personalize all criticism of themselves and resent it very deeply, but they are always shocked, completely shocked, when the people they do bad things to, become personally offended by it, and respond in a personal fashion. Why don't they get over it? To narcissists, it's forever a mystery.

"Because of that mistake, I decided I needed to make up my mind and choose between Sweet Blue and Slim, which I did on Jan 5. I chose Slim because I'd already started to identify with that account, whereas Sweet Blue felt like a stranger."

Jesus, it sounds like she's choosing one child over another from an orphange. I'm starting to tear up. And when she brings in being stalked by Scott Grayban or whoever, the clouds roll in. It's all of one piece with this insane Bagley thing! Don't you see! People are discussing my undies and boyfriends and dogs, and I'm a WOMAN!

I'd just do anything to keep this gentle flower from more anxiety, wouldn't you?

Jay's comment in this sequence, repeating something JzG said, wins my award for largest pile of bullshit:

QUOTE(Jayjg)
As I've said before, I think Guy Chapman's comments in this regard are
spot-on: Wikipedia "is extraordinarily bad at protecting its friends."

blink.gif Wikipedia protects its "friends" very well indeed, as this case demonstrates. And the Essjay one before it (before he imploded and even his friends got spattered with goo).

Jimbo's comment in this sequence actually comes out quite reasonable. He is the one who got MOST spattered when the Essjay thing hit the public fan. He recognizes this danger. He addresses it. But so far as I can tell, that's all we get from Jimbo: lipservice. He can't understand why Bagley is enraged at what happened to him, any more the SlimVirgin can. Why doesn't he just get over it? Why does he do this IP harvesting thing, and this anti-cabal thing, and go and get a life? We threw him off WP as a newbie, but he should get over it. As for the rest of us, well SlimVirgin says she had no idea how addictive WP could be, when she was choosing usernames. Why Bagley is still involved, however, confuses her. rolleyes.gif laugh.gif

Milton, your assessment strikes at the root of the issue. Well done.
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