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> Will Beback RFC?
radek
post Mon 27th February 2012, 2:00am
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QUOTE(gomi @ Sun 26th February 2012, 6:39pm) *

QUOTE(Cla68 @ Sun 26th February 2012, 4:29pm) *
The problem with Will, however, was that he often took it too far, using whatever tactic and technique was available to him to win a content dispute.

I think this is more aptly the problem with Wikipedia. Will McWhinney, or whomever he is, was the creation of a system that is fundamentally broken, at least as applied to writing down objective truth in encyclopedic form. It is prone to manipulation by zealots, and in classic Nietzschean form, when fighting those zealots, if you stare into that abyss, the abyss stares back. In the end, Will's soul (or his Wikipedia tactics and techniques, the wiki equivalent of one) was black as soot. He became worse than all the various partisans, zealots, and nutcases he fought.

I am willing to admit that the underlying intentions of Will Beback, Slim Virgin, and numerous others were sometimes or even frequently laudable, but good intentions implemented with vile means are both unsustainable and insupportable. I've said this to Slim and others in so many words.

Wikipedia will generate more Will Bebacks and the like, and indeed is already generating them. They will be used and abused by that broken system until they are spit out or wise up and quit.

I can't quite feel sorry for Will, he seemed like a grade-A prick, but there you have it. I blame wiki-society smile.gif


Well, since we're writing eulogies, I'll comment here. I think Gomi's phrase "I think this is more aptly the problem with Wikipedia. " is key. Unlike some of you others here, I've only had two interactions with Will that I can recall and both of them were positive - one was where there was some obnoxious neo-Nazi trying to put in "there was no gas chambers at Auschwitz" into the article, though in a more subtle manner, and playing the whole civil-POV pushing "let's discuss this, come on, why can't we discuss this? If you don't take me seriously you're engaging in personal attacks -Goodwin's Law!!!!!!! - and violating NPOV by not representing my neo-Nazis views adequately" canard.

Nobody else was standing up to this guy and Will showed up and helped out. The other incident was similar but I won't bother with details. But while I appreciated his presence in those particular instances I was quite aware that on other topics he was a ruthless son of a bitch that did his best to stomp on anyone who disagreed with him. It's a little tragic actually, cuz he seems like someone that if he didn't have the power hunger in him could've probably been a force for good. And the power hunger was very much a product of how Wikipedia is set up. Again, I think Gomi's quite right in bringing up the "if you stare into that abyss, the abyss stares back" phenomenon.

Wikipedia, how she exists right now, doesn't just put that abyss out there in front of you - it MAKES you stare into it long and hard. Grabs you by the back of your neck and makes you gaze. It forces anyone who contributes to it over a significant period of time to engage in hypocrisy and "become like the monsters" at one point or another. So the choice is either to tip toe right on that edge of the abyss or fall over to one side - Will Beback ruthlessness - or the other - get your ass banned by speaking too plainly.

It's about as dysfunctional of a website - which unfortunately matters a lot - as an evil demiurge who wanted to tempt otherwise reasonable people into bad deeds with promises of NPOV, "bringing knowledge to children in Africa" and all the other crap, would design. Of course, there is no malevolent spirit behind the outcome, just plain ol' human stupidity, incompetence and a whole bunch of young aggressive idiots who got nothing better to do with their time.


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Herschelkrustofsky
post Mon 27th February 2012, 3:06am
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When Will first got involved at the LaRouche articles and I was still editing, he fell in with SlimVirgin and Cberlet. I remember a moment when he proposed some sort of reasonable compromise, to achieve "consensus" and it seemed also because he had an impulse toward fairness. SlimVirgin gave him a pretty stern public dressing down, and I think he got the idea that if he wanted to run with the big dogs, he would have to lose the scruples.
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jd turk
post Mon 27th February 2012, 3:23am
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QUOTE(radek @ Sun 26th February 2012, 8:00pm) *

Wikipedia, how she exists right now, doesn't just put that abyss out there in front of you - it MAKES you stare into it long and hard. Grabs you by the back of your neck and makes you gaze. It forces anyone who contributes to it over a significant period of time to engage in hypocrisy and "become like the monsters" at one point or another.


And there you have it. That's a pretty good way to boil it down.
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radek
post Mon 27th February 2012, 3:57am
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Sun 26th February 2012, 9:06pm) *

When Will first got involved at the LaRouche articles and I was still editing, he fell in with SlimVirgin and Cberlet. I remember a moment when he proposed some sort of reasonable compromise, to achieve "consensus" and it seemed also because he had an impulse toward fairness. SlimVirgin gave him a pretty stern public dressing down, and I think he got the idea that if he wanted to run with the big dogs, he would have to lose the scruples.


I've seen this before time and time again.

To switch topic areas, there used to be a lot of fights between Polish and Lithuanian editors. Which, if you know anything about the history of the two countries is weird as hell because that's two countries which were always friendly, helped each other out and shared a lot of common culture. There was a dispute about Vilinius during the interwar period but seriously, if you got two countries next to each other there will be SOME dispute sooner or later. So you'd figure a similar atmosphere would prevail on Wikipedia - general cooperation and collaboration, perhaps punctuated by occasional flare ups of disagreements.

On the other hand, you got Poland and Ukraine. Going back to at least the 16th century it's a history of conflict. True, the conflict was multi sided with Ukrainians caught in between Poland and Russia so some times making alliances of convenience with one or another. But it is more or less historical antagonism. And when Poland was on top (before 19th century, in the interwar period) the government would oppress the Ukrainians. In turn when the Ukrainians had a chance they struck back at the Poles. So you'd figure that the way this would manifest itself on Wikipedia is through constant clashes between Polish and Ukrainian editors.

But the way it played out is totally opposite. There's a sea of bad blood between Lithuanian and Polish editors on Wikipedia. There's actually a good amount of good will between Ukrainian and Polish editors. Why?

Path dependence.

Back in the day, the first Lithuanian editors who showed up on Wikipedia were extremist neo-Nazi fucks and they poisoned the atmosphere - back in 2004 or 2005 or whatever - enough so that that still persists. At the same time, the Ukrainian editors there in the beginning just happened to be reasonable people. So you got what was a "simple problem" turn into an ongoing 6 year battleground and what was a "complicated problem" turn into... well, it hasn't been perfect but it's all been stuff that reasonable people can talk about.

The lesson here is that with Wikipedia stuff that starts out as "slightly bad" very quickly turns into "perennial problem" and at some point it just cannot be solved easily. The mistake would be to think - based on my example above - that the situation is symmetric, that if stuff starts out "slightly good" it becomes an oasis of peace and love and hippie shit. The fact is that the stuff that starts out as "slightly good" might improve over time but that situation is always very unstable. It takes one or two nasty people to flip it to the "slightly bad" situation and after that it pretty much deteriorates exponentially. So for situations which are "slightly good" it's always a constant effort to keep it that way and not have it collapse onto itself.

The same idea can be generalized to Wikipedia articles as a whole. It's easy to fuck up an existing good article - it just takes not enough people paying attention to it. It's hard as hell to fix bad articles. So there is a general tendency for both Wikipedia articles, and Wikipedia atmosphere to depreciate over time, at what is probably an accelerating rate. The whole thing is set up to privilege trolls, idiots, agenda editors (as long as they don't make it too obvious, or edit in areas no one cares about), and sociopathic personalities.

And when you are confronted with these, given that you've managed to stick around long enough not to get your ass banned and you know how the culture works, the temptation to use the unwritten rules of the site to your advantage is quite great. Originally it's mostly just to save yourself some trouble with dealing with annoying assholes. But then that goes to your head and you start seeing yourself as infallible and getting off on winning these battle grounds, no matter the means - and that's where you get folks like Will Beback. I'm sure that back in the ol' days he arrived as a person who really wanted to do good.

Anyway, to finish the story - there was one Lithuanian editor, Lokyz, that I actually liked because he was a smart guy with lots to contribute and when he first showed up he seemed like a reasonable person - he would offer "compromises" discuss things, he knew his shit on a lot of topics, etc. But then he fell in with the crazy guys and gradually lost it. It didn't serve him well in the end - he got blocked, unblocked, topic banned etc. that whole downward spiral - a lot of times because he was egged on by his friends who were just smart enough to leave the scene when the admins got ready to slap out the blocks, but he wasn't. Precisely because deep down he probably was a decent well meaning guy he got totally played by his "friends". Of course once he got crazy, the Polish editors, given that this was a battleground, took advantage of it and filed reports on him and contributed to his sanctions - why should anyone WANT to put up with this stuff?

I was in some ways a part of it - and that's the "staring into the abyss" stuff that Wikipedia makes you do. There's really only two, if you're lucky, three options:

You let the abyss in. You employ the dirty tactics that work so well, all of course in the name of a good cause. You get your way... though Will's be-banning might suggest that's not so much of a viable strategy anymore... though I doubt it - it's an individual that got banned. The structure and the atmosphere is still very much in place.

You reject the abyss. Wikipedia Review or the Purgatory of "banned but want to get unbanned" editors is over that way ---->

You tip toe on the edge and try not to fall over either way. On one side, you always risk the subjective danger that in fact you have already fallen over to the "any means necessary" "ends justify the means" way but of course given how this shit works psychologically, if you HAVE fallen over there's no way you will know yourself. And on the other side you say what you think, try to be honest and straight up and always risk the danger of the idiot admin around the corner banning you (the Malleus, strategy I guess).

Either way the way that Wikipedia works right now is that it both makes crazies out of normal people AND constantly deteriorates in terms of quality and what it's suppose to be.
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Selina
post Mon 27th February 2012, 4:13am
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Yeah, it seems to take people who could've been good people and just turn them into sociopathic manipulators to get what they want because the whole system is designed that way because so many people get away with it... like Herschelkrustofsky and the admins sockpuppeting wars between each other, they're all as bad as each other really just different sides, ugh...

me I just don't want to go anywhere near those kind of lines... So I don't want to get involved in any of the controversial stuff there because it's just irretrievably broken... But then pretty much anything can be turned controversial, like nationalists with an agenda on otherwise innocuous articles sneakily rewriting history. So it's like the only real thing to do is just keep away from Wikipedia, but then it's so important now on Google too. What the hell :/

They need to develop some kind of policy to recognise the fact that they cannot actually tell who is a sockpuppet and who is not, get rid of the ridiculous "AGF" stuff and be realistic and treat everyone like the random anons they are, and trust on content not contributor

I think it's not just a problem with Wikipedia though, it's a problem with the internet, because when you get down to it, it's all the same tactics of astroturfing but unpaid (well, usually, Herschelkrustofsky and some others obviously get paid for it) - and the law and means of detection just hasn't caught up with the technology really, I'm not sure if it can ever be without being overly invasive. *sigh*
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mbz1
post Mon 27th February 2012, 5:02am
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QUOTE(Selina @ Mon 27th February 2012, 4:13am) *


me I just don't want to go anywhere near those kind of lines... So I don't want to get involved in any of the controversial stuff there because it's just irretrievably broken...

The question is why you want to edit anything on wikipedia at all?
If I were asked to describe wikipedia in one word, I would have said "cruel", and if were asked to describe wikipedia in three words, I would have said: "cruel, dirty,insane".

This post has been edited by mbz1: Mon 27th February 2012, 4:34pm
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radek
post Mon 27th February 2012, 5:48am
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QUOTE(Selina @ Sun 26th February 2012, 10:13pm) *

Yeah, it seems to take people who could've been good people and just turn them into sociopathic manipulators to get what they want because the whole system is designed that way because so many people get away with it... like Herschelkrustofsky and the admins sockpuppeting wars between each other, they're all as bad as each other really just different sides, ugh...

me I just don't want to go anywhere near those kind of lines... So I don't want to get involved in any of the controversial stuff there because it's just irretrievably broken... But then pretty much anything can be turned controversial, like nationalists with an agenda on otherwise innocuous articles sneakily rewriting history. So it's like the only real thing to do is just keep away from Wikipedia, but then it's so important now on Google too. What the hell :/

They need to develop some kind of policy to recognise the fact that they cannot actually tell who is a sockpuppet and who is not, get rid of the ridiculous "AGF" stuff and be realistic and treat everyone like the random anons they are, and trust on content not contributor

I think it's not just a problem with Wikipedia though, it's a problem with the internet, because when you get down to it, it's all the same tactics of astroturfing but unpaid (well, usually, Herschelkrustofsky and some others obviously get paid for it) - and the law and means of detection just hasn't caught up with the technology really, I'm not sure if it can ever be without being overly invasive. *sigh*


Is there anyway you could refrain from using the phrase " Herschelkrustofsky" for like... next two weeks at least?

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Selina
post Mon 27th February 2012, 7:01am
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Probably a good idea. But anyway, got anything to say about the rest? I'd be interested, cos I can't see much other solutions really to the big questions about Wikipedia and similar sites, like this even:

Anyone truly determined and manipulative will always have the upper hand, and as more and more serious organisations like political parties and their corporate masters with serious money and manpower (think oDesk (T-H-L-K-D) which is what Facebook's worldwide network of monitoring minions are ran off from, or Amazon Mechanical Turk (T-H-L-K-D), or 50 Cent Party (T-H-L-K-D)) get smart and use the same tactics, Wikipedia and every other website - including Wikipedia Review - that attempts to be impartial is doomed.

Because most people are inclined to trust, WANT to trust even when they don't really have any proof that a name isn't just a copy of someone else (or even bypassing that way by being a group being employed together, the "meatpuppets" idea) - and so naturally the people willing to lie have the upper hand over good people. Taking advantage of how most people start of wanting to believe humanity is naturally good, when there's so many bad people that trusting so much is just a weakness, especially on the internet.

Wikipedia tries "assume good faith" and going after the most obvious ones, but that means they're helpless as lambs to the slaughter to the truly manipulative ones...

Is that the kind of world we want to live in?

I am beginning to think the only way that it could be solved is to hide the idea of internet personalities entirely (there is the idea that you can clearly identify individual people on at least some kind of official registration, not even having to be public information to maintain privacy, but then there comes to the question of how useless it would be in the face of organisations employing multiple people in their propaganda campaigns), to protect people from themselves and force people to judge on the content contributed on the internet, to deny the manipulative people a platform to do so...
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Cedric
post Mon 27th February 2012, 12:32pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Sun 26th February 2012, 11:48pm) *

QUOTE(Selina @ Sun 26th February 2012, 10:13pm) *

Yeah, it seems to take people who could've been good people and just turn them into sociopathic manipulators to get what they want because the whole system is designed that way because so many people get away with it... like Herschelkrustofsky and the admins sockpuppeting wars between each other, they're all as bad as each other really just different sides, ugh...

me I just don't want to go anywhere near those kind of lines... So I don't want to get involved in any of the controversial stuff there because it's just irretrievably broken... But then pretty much anything can be turned controversial, like nationalists with an agenda on otherwise innocuous articles sneakily rewriting history. So it's like the only real thing to do is just keep away from Wikipedia, but then it's so important now on Google too. What the hell :/

They need to develop some kind of policy to recognise the fact that they cannot actually tell who is a sockpuppet and who is not, get rid of the ridiculous "AGF" stuff and be realistic and treat everyone like the random anons they are, and trust on content not contributor

I think it's not just a problem with Wikipedia though, it's a problem with the internet, because when you get down to it, it's all the same tactics of astroturfing but unpaid (well, usually, Herschelkrustofsky and some others obviously get paid for it) - and the law and means of detection just hasn't caught up with the technology really, I'm not sure if it can ever be without being overly invasive. *sigh*


Is there anyway you could refrain from using the phrase " Herschelkrustofsky" for like... next two weeks at least?

+10

Back to something approaching the actual topic, I have to say that your analysis of the dysfunctionality of Wikipedia is right on target. WP is truly a place where the sane go insane, and the insane get even worse. All the more reason for you to cease your wiki-wonking and get the hell out. Your chances of doing anything to save WP from itself are probably no better than -12.0% (if that), and there is really no reason to ride the beast down into the oblivion that it is destined for. Your view of the The Great Wiki Ragnarok™, when it comes, will be much better from the outside anyway.

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radek
post Mon 27th February 2012, 7:42pm
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QUOTE
WP is truly a place where the sane go insane, and the insane get even worse. All the more reason for you to cease your wiki-wonking and get the hell out. Your chances of doing anything to save WP from itself are probably no better than -12.0% (if that), and there is really no reason to ride the beast down into the oblivion that it is destined for. Your view of the The Great Wiki Ragnarok™, when it comes, will be much better from the outside anyway.



You're probably right, but maybe I want to be the guy that turns out the lights, listens to the echoes of his own solitary laughter in Wikipedia's empty hallways and closes the door.
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EricBarbour
post Mon 27th February 2012, 9:49pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Mon 27th February 2012, 11:42am) *

You're probably right, but maybe I want to be the guy that turns out the lights, listens to the echoes of his own solitary laughter in Wikipedia's empty hallways and closes the door.

You won't accomplish that by posting on this bloody forum. Write a book instead.
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jsalsman
post Thu 1st March 2012, 12:57pm
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QUOTE(Selina @ Sun 26th February 2012, 9:13pm) *
I don't want to get involved in any of the controversial stuff there because it's just irretrievably broken...

I love the controversial disputes, especially when there's a lot of corporate PR behind them which gets exposed or backfires. The total amount of mudslinging strikes me as comparable to about the same level of acrimony you encounter in a typical city council or state legislature race. All these people talking about falling into the abyss should try running for partisan office.

QUOTE
I am beginning to think the only way that it could be solved is to hide the idea of internet personalities entirely ... to ... force people to judge on the content contributed on the internet, to deny the manipulative people a platform to do so.

Absolutely. No-account editing would work great, with the actual IP addresses visible only to admins strictly for breaking up edit wars. Judge text by its content, not by its author's personality! Has it been tried somewhere yet?
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lilburne
post Thu 1st March 2012, 1:58pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Mon 27th February 2012, 3:57am) *

On the other hand, you got Poland and Ukraine. Going back to at least the 16th century it's a history of conflict. True, the conflict was multi sided with Ukrainians caught in between Poland and Russia so some times making alliances of convenience with one or another. But it is more or less historical antagonism. And when Poland was on top (before 19th century, in the interwar period) the government would oppress the Ukrainians. In turn when the Ukrainians had a chance they struck back at the Poles. So you'd figure that the way this would manifest itself on Wikipedia is through constant clashes between Polish and Ukrainian editors.



It will be generational. 20 years ago I worked in a place where a lot of the employees were displaced people from WW2. Polish, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainian. A large Italian ex POW population that never returned, and a German (Herman) with this incredible Edinburgh accent, cos that is where he was held when he got shot down and where he learnt English. The Eastern Europeans you probably didn't want to question too hard about how they managed to get to England after the war, and what they were doing before hand. Most were anti-semetic and one could push those buttons on them very easily.

This one day I'd gone across to the section that Herman was running on some Union business, and he was in the office with Piotr who he'd worked with for some 30 years. Piotr was reading a book and I asked what's it was? Herman says Oh you won't understand that its Polish. There was an explosion "POLE? POLE? POLE? I'm not the FUCKING POLE! UKRAINIAN! NOT THE FUCKING BASTARD POLE! UKRAINIAN! UKRAINIAN!"

It was one of the most violent outburst I've ever witnessed. Herman spent the next month apologizing.

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mbz1
post Fri 2nd March 2012, 7:40pm
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Isn't this strange how wikipedia's wheel of fortune turns sometimes.
Here's what Will said about Lar 2 years ago
QUOTE
Specifically, I am concerned about his non-neutral interactions with users and with his extensive involvement with the banned users who hang out at Wikipediareview.


And now Lar is gone, and Will is banned himself, and hopefully has realized that "banned users" are people too. smile.gif and in some cases much better people than sickos who voted to ban them.

This post has been edited by mbz1: Sat 3rd March 2012, 3:24am
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lilburne
post Fri 2nd March 2012, 7:47pm
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QUOTE(mbz1 @ Fri 2nd March 2012, 7:40pm) *

And now Lar is gone, and Will is banned himself, and hopefully has realized that "banned users" are people too. smile.gif



What I find perverted is this usage of 'user' when they apply to themselves. The users are those using the site to gain information, not the bozos that are on ANI and the other drama boards.
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Fri 2nd March 2012, 9:34pm
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QUOTE(lilburne @ Fri 2nd March 2012, 11:47am) *

What I find perverted is this usage of 'user' when they apply to themselves. The users are those using the site to gain information, not the bozos that are on ANI and the other drama boards.
For the insiders, the term "users" refers to fellow MMORPG players. It is similar to the way that drug addicts are called "users."
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post Fri 2nd March 2012, 11:19pm
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QUOTE(Selina @ Fri 2nd March 2012, 2:23pm) *

Classic Denial (psychology) (T-H-L-K-D)... When you run a sockpuppet army ... you're just as bad as any of those admins that abuse authority to POV push ... Made a copy in case this gets dumped into a non-public forum and discussion needs to be taken elsewhere since it seems WR no longer is a safe place for discussio - since it's ok to comment on cabals only so long as they aren't part of the cabal that's grown here.


[Mod note: Selina, this topic is "Will Beback RFC". Either comment on that topic or create a new one to contain your comments on Hersch. Hijacking thread after thread to pursue a topic is not acceptable here. Further off-topic posts will be moved, protests notwithstanding.]

[Also, comment from The Joy linking to comments between Selina and SlimVirgin split to its own thread here.]

[All off-topic posts moved.]
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