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> The main issue of this election, (for me)
Peter Damian
post Mon 17th November 2008, 10:54am
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The main issue for me is which of the following two positions a candidate takes:

1. Wikipedia is an experiment in social democracy in which all content contributors must be treated in exactly the same way. No one is 'above the law' of civility.

2. Wikipedia is about building an encyclopedia. That comes first. For that reason, not all content contributors are equal.

I have put this bluntly in order to emphasise the contrast. Obviously those who support (1) will argue that strict enforcement of civility is the only way to build an encyclopedia. Those who support (2) claim that good content contributors are rarely uncivil, and that (1) is being used as a stick, and so on. It really comes down to whether when it comes to choosing, one chooses civility over content (1), or content over civility (2).

For (1). Rlevse - ScienceApologist has gone so far as to accuse him of wanting "to create a particular kind of community rather than create a good encyclopedia". Giano has taken particular issue with his appointing Aervanath on a recent RFA, despite the user having little experience of content contribution. And Coren, who takes a particularly hard line when it comes to civility.

For (2). Jehochman, who gave some excellent answers to my questions, and Sir Fozzie (likewise). Also Casliber, Fish and Karate, and (to some extent) Wizardman spring to mind

Agree/disagree? Which of the other candidates falls into which camp?

This post has been edited by Peter Damian: Mon 17th November 2008, 11:39am
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Giggy
post Mon 17th November 2008, 11:29am
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For (2): Casliber, Fish and Karate, and (to some extent) Wizardman spring to mind.

For (1): ... there are many, unfortunately sad.gif
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Kato
post Mon 17th November 2008, 12:01pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 10:54am) *

Agree/disagree? Which of the other candidates falls into which camp?

The whole thing is absurd.

What matters is the CONTENT and how Wikipedia, and "Wikipedians", are dealing with that CONTENT.

The interpersonal stuff - all the bannings and blocks and scraps and hypocrisy - can be an interesting sideshow and can act as a Soap Opera worth watching on occasion, but it is the product of the "dysfunctional social network" and has little to do with the stuff kids bring up on their google searches.

That's why some of Lar's questions were interesting to me. Because they addressed BLP issues, Flagged revisions, and hinted of WPs inevitable failure of "reaching a consensus" to move forward with these serious problems. Another crucial question asked whether people supported editor unaccountability / anonymity, and why? Lar's questions can be used as a survey to ascertain whether long term Wikipedos had learned anything over the past 3 years or so, and whether they are prepared to change, move forward, or at least set an example?

All that blather about those nasty arbcom members, IRC, Giano, and those endless scraps between drama queens,and the feuds over their blocks and bans, is actually getting in the way of WP addressing these core issues. The elections themselves are a farcical irrelevant nonsense; merely shifting deckchairs on The Titanic.
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Peter Damian
post Mon 17th November 2008, 12:12pm
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QUOTE(Kato @ Mon 17th November 2008, 12:01pm) *

All that blather about those nasty arbcom members, IRC, Giano, and those endless scraps between drama queens,and the feuds over their blocks and bans, is actually getting in the way of WP addressing these core issues. The elections themselves are a farcical irrelevant nonsense; merely shifting deckchairs on The Titanic.


Agree the rest, but why are the elections getting in the way? Given that Arbcom is turning into a de facto governing body for Wikipedia, why should elections to that body be a 'farcical irrelevant nonsense'?
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Casliber
post Mon 17th November 2008, 12:23pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 9:54pm) *



For (2). Jehochman, who gave some excellent answers to my questions, and Sir Fozzie (likewise). Also Casliber, Fish and Karate, and (to some extent) Wizardman spring to mind

Agree/disagree? Which of the other candidates falls into which camp?


Oh crap! You guessed me! Well, sort of - I guess I think WRT the social experiment that productivity lies on a sort of bell-curve, if you like, with myspace-like overload at one extreme, and complete grey anonymity at the other. I think WP gets it about right (in the areas I muck around in) in terms of a few frilly bits like barnstars, etc, and some lively talk-page banter from time to time which can revive flagging enthusiasm, so I do think about (1) but only insofar as it relates to (2)
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Kato
post Mon 17th November 2008, 12:27pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 12:12pm) *

QUOTE(Kato @ Mon 17th November 2008, 12:01pm) *

All that blather about those nasty arbcom members, IRC, Giano, and those endless scraps between drama queens,and the feuds over their blocks and bans, is actually getting in the way of WP addressing these core issues. The elections themselves are a farcical irrelevant nonsense; merely shifting deckchairs on The Titanic.


Agree the rest, but why are the elections getting in the way? Given that Arbcom is turning into a de facto governing body for Wikipedia, why should elections to that body be a 'farcical irrelevant nonsense'?

See:
  1. Ten Reasons Why The Arbitration Committee Doesn’t Matter
  2. No matter who is elected, or who could be elected, the impact of the Arbitration committee will always be the same.
These elections serve merely as dramatic acts for the Soap Opera addicts. The Committee itself (mis)handles a small number of tedious feuds a year, and spends the rest of its time acting as a lightening rod for disgruntled Wikipedos. As Moulton preaches, and as I have learned myself watching these things, in these environments the focus of all drama ascends to the top. It wouldn't make any difference if a consortium including Nelson Mandela, Judge Judy and King Solomon served on the Committee. The lunatic drama engine that is Wikipedia can not be stopped.
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Peter Damian
post Mon 17th November 2008, 12:52pm
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QUOTE(Kato @ Mon 17th November 2008, 12:27pm) *

See:
  1. Ten Reasons Why The Arbitration Committee Doesn’t Matter
  2. No matter who is elected, or who could be elected, the impact of the Arbitration committee will always be the same.
These elections serve merely as dramatic acts for the Soap Opera addicts. The Committee itself (mis)handles a small number of tedious feuds a year, and spends the rest of its time acting as a lightening rod for disgruntled Wikipedos. As Moulton preaches, and as I have learned myself watching these things, in these environments the focus of all drama ascends to the top. It wouldn't make any difference if a consortium including Nelson Mandela, Judge Judy and King Solomon served on the Committee. The lunatic drama engine that is Wikipedia can not be stopped.


OK, assume the hypothesis that Wikipedia has just been 'nationalised' on the Toxic Asset Relief Plan. You are the government minister tasked with sorting the project out. What are your immediate steps?

[edit] You can do anything you like, from closing it down to firing Jimbo or beheading him and putting his head on a pike in front of Tower of London/Capitol Hill whatever. You can do nothing. But what?

This post has been edited by Peter Damian: Mon 17th November 2008, 12:53pm
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dtobias
post Mon 17th November 2008, 1:05pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 5:54am) *

1. Wikipedia is an experiment in social democracy in which all content contributors must be treated in exactly the same way. No one is 'above the law' of civility.

2. Wikipedia is about building an encyclopedia. That comes first. For that reason, not all content contributors are equal.


Both can be bad if taken to extremes. (1) can lead to the oppressive enforcement of a phony "civility" to suppress criticism and enforce a boring blandness in the name of stopping "drama", ironically often causing drama itself. (2) can lead to unfair double standards where whoever is regarded as "more important" gets a free pass to act like total assholes without sanction, while those who are "less important" get banned at the drop of a pin; and the judgment of importance inevitably becomes a social-networking thing based on who your friends are rather than your actual contribution to the encyclopedia.
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Peter Damian
post Mon 17th November 2008, 1:13pm
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QUOTE(dtobias @ Mon 17th November 2008, 1:05pm) *

(2) can lead to unfair double standards where whoever is regarded as "more important" gets a free pass to act like total assholes without sanction, while those who are "less important" get banned at the drop of a pin


But then the (2) you are talking about is about the 'importance' of the contributor, whereas the (2) I was talking about is the true value of the contributions. These are different.

The problem of course, in a project where judgment about content is supposed to be determined by the crowd, is to determine the true value of a contributor.
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wikiwhistle
post Mon 17th November 2008, 1:14pm
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QUOTE(Casliber @ Mon 17th November 2008, 12:23pm) *

QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 9:54pm) *



For (2). Jehochman, who gave some excellent answers to my questions, and Sir Fozzie (likewise). Also Casliber, Fish and Karate, and (to some extent) Wizardman spring to mind

Agree/disagree? Which of the other candidates falls into which camp?


Oh crap! You guessed me! Well, sort of - I guess I think WRT the social experiment that productivity lies on a sort of bell-curve, if you like, with myspace-like overload at one extreme, and complete grey anonymity at the other. I think WP gets it about right (in the areas I muck around in) in terms of a few frilly bits like barnstars, etc, and some lively talk-page banter from time to time which can revive flagging enthusiasm, so I do think about (1) but only insofar as it relates to (2)


Yes! All those will have my vote, though I think some others will too.
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Peter Damian
post Mon 17th November 2008, 1:18pm
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QUOTE(wikiwhistle @ Mon 17th November 2008, 1:14pm) *

Yes! All those will have my vote, though I think some others will too.


Don't hold back.
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Pumpkin Muffins
post Mon 17th November 2008, 1:20pm
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QUOTE
The main issue of this election ...


There isn't one. It's the same old repackaged shit. Wikipedia is a social club, is has no merit based leadership, in some ways it is almost anti-merit based. The people who run the place are the ones who spend all day hanging around on irc. Wikipedia is stagnating. It wouldn't be able to implement a quality/revision/review system if someone wrote the software and handed it to them on a silver platter.

thing is, if Wikipedia had a merit based leadership structure which was focused on quality, Jimbo wouldn't be needed, and he knows it.
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Kato
post Mon 17th November 2008, 1:24pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 12:52pm) *

QUOTE(Kato @ Mon 17th November 2008, 12:27pm) *

See:
  1. Ten Reasons Why The Arbitration Committee Doesn’t Matter
  2. No matter who is elected, or who could be elected, the impact of the Arbitration committee will always be the same.
These elections serve merely as dramatic acts for the Soap Opera addicts. The Committee itself (mis)handles a small number of tedious feuds a year, and spends the rest of its time acting as a lightening rod for disgruntled Wikipedos. As Moulton preaches, and as I have learned myself watching these things, in these environments the focus of all drama ascends to the top. It wouldn't make any difference if a consortium including Nelson Mandela, Judge Judy and King Solomon served on the Committee. The lunatic drama engine that is Wikipedia can not be stopped.


OK, assume the hypothesis that Wikipedia has just been 'nationalised' on the Toxic Asset Relief Plan. You are the government minister tasked with sorting the project out. What are your immediate steps?

[edit] You can do anything you like, from closing it down to firing Jimbo or beheading him and putting his head on a pike in front of Tower of London/Capitol Hill whatever. You can do nothing. But what?

Thank everyone for their hard work compiling a massive body of work. Then very publicly proceed with the following measures. These need to be public because Wikipedia needs to be seen to be setting an example to the rest of the internet. So far, Wikipedia has set a bad example that has caused significant problems to innocent individuals, and WP is having a growing negative effect on our society / civilization that needs to be curtailed.
  1. Implement these measures on Biographies immediately
  2. Begin moving the project towards Larry Sanger's model of verified contributors and far greater accountability. Install some version of flagged revisions.
  3. Plan for the "Professionalization" of all of Wikipedia's content within 3 years. Construct a model based around advertising and large public donations that allows for a significant workforce of paid professionals to handle content.
I realize that the above will spoil a lot of Wikipedos' fun and games, but I'm not interested in that. What matters is the impact WP has on readers, the impact on article subjects, and the impact on wider society.
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Giggy
post Mon 17th November 2008, 1:48pm
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QUOTE(Kato @ Mon 17th November 2008, 11:24pm) *

I realize that the above will spoil a lot of Wikipedo's fun and games, but I'm not interested in that. What matters is the impact WP has on readers, the impact on article subjects, and the impact on wider society.

Aah well, at least you recognise why your good idea is not going to become anything more than a good idea.
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Kato
post Mon 17th November 2008, 2:02pm
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QUOTE(Giggy @ Mon 17th November 2008, 1:48pm) *

QUOTE(Kato @ Mon 17th November 2008, 11:24pm) *

I realize that the above will spoil a lot of Wikipedo's fun and games, but I'm not interested in that. What matters is the impact WP has on readers, the impact on article subjects, and the impact on wider society.

Aah well, at least you recognise why your good idea is not going to become anything more than a good idea.

It is no more likely or unlikely than regulations imposed to prevent (other) harmful emissions.
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Sxeptomaniac
post Mon 17th November 2008, 6:25pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 5:13am) *

QUOTE(dtobias @ Mon 17th November 2008, 1:05pm) *

(2) can lead to unfair double standards where whoever is regarded as "more important" gets a free pass to act like total assholes without sanction, while those who are "less important" get banned at the drop of a pin


But then the (2) you are talking about is about the 'importance' of the contributor, whereas the (2) I was talking about is the true value of the contributions. These are different.

The problem of course, in a project where judgment about content is supposed to be determined by the crowd, is to determine the true value of a contributor.

Still, I think there is a valid point that there must be a balance. When editors who "don't play well with others" can get away with nearly anything because they create good content, it's a short term benefit, but a long term detriment to a project. There's a collaborative element to WP that can't be ignored. When editors create a toxic environment, they risk driving off new editors who would also have created good content.
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D.A.F.
post Mon 17th November 2008, 8:06pm
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The main issue of this election should be the election itself and if whatever or not this farce which is the Arbcom should be maintained.

Maybe it is time to recognize that one of the real problem with arbitration is democracy itself.

To win the popularity contest and become an Arb, you must meet those criteria.

1) Be popular. Obviously so that they vote for you, they should know about you.

2) Be cold. If you show any emotions, you're damned.

3) You should be vague, as to not have taken any sides, unless you took side against the not so known individuals of the community.

4) You should not be a very opinioned individual, being an opinioned individual would require opposing and agreeing with things, in the risk of having others in your back.

5) Adhere to 'rules' which the non-adherence would be obvious. Particularly and probably exclusivally those regarding personal attacks and civility.

6) Have popuar friends in the community.

...

The closest thing which exist in the society which comes closest to the arbitration, is the 'Jury' system.

But what makes the arbitration so different than a jury is not much the fact that the Arbitration decisions seems so random, and that for a given case they can take a verry different decision in comparaison to another which was near identical. (this is one of the obvious problems, even a randomnly chosen jury has to consider Juris prudence) No, one of the main problem which is not that obvious is the way it's members are chosen.

In a Jury system, the potential jury members are first randomnly selected from the society, they are not chosen based on a popularity contest. On Wikipedia, the vocals, the opinioned etc., who would initiate debates in the closed door of the jury, are excluded from the system, because they are not the average, and don't pass the popularity contest.

What is so contradictory in this sort of demogracy, is that the democracy does not represent the people quite well. By chosing averages you represent the members which are of the 'average'-type.

But this is just one of the major flaws in this flawed system. And don't expect the things which should be the major issues become the major issues of those 'elections.'

This post has been edited by Xidaf: Mon 17th November 2008, 8:35pm
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KStreetSlave
post Tue 25th November 2008, 9:36am
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You're framing the question completely wrong.

"Wikipedia is an experiment in social democracy in which all content contributors must be treated in exactly the same way. No one is 'above the law' of civility."

Does not equate to "Civility over Content".

It means that civility is a restriction on contribution. If you cannot contribute civilly, you should not be contributing.

It's no different than in a print encyclopedia. If you had a researcher and editor that was being a complete dick to his colleagues, you'd fire his ass, no matter how good he is at writing.
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Lar
post Tue 25th November 2008, 1:13pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Mon 17th November 2008, 8:13am) *

QUOTE(dtobias @ Mon 17th November 2008, 1:05pm) *

(2) can lead to unfair double standards where whoever is regarded as "more important" gets a free pass to act like total assholes without sanction, while those who are "less important" get banned at the drop of a pin


But then the (2) you are talking about is about the 'importance' of the contributor, whereas the (2) I was talking about is the true value of the contributions. These are different.

The problem of course, in a project where judgment about content is supposed to be determined by the crowd, is to determine the true value of a contributor.

And how exactly do you do that? I can rattle off shedfuls of metrics which all have some flaw or another....

- barnstars (do I actually have to explain why that one's bad???)
- Number of DYKs
- Number of GAs
- Number of FAs
- What "your project" thinks of you...
- Number of words of text contributed
- Number of different articles touched
- Articlespace edit count
... and so on

Even in academia, with peer reviewed journals, determining the real intrinsic worth of someone is rather hard... someone who pounds out lots of ho hum papers may not be quite as much worth as someone who writes just a few, but very profound ones.

So it sounds good, and heck, I even agree with you, except... who bells the cat?

Don't think I make light of you, this is an important problem. It's just not easy. That said, I think that since Wikipedia is for the readers, the readers are the ultimate metric. Studies (some of which have been done, and there's even automation for some of this but the URLS escape me) that evaluate how long text remains around after you write it (or how unmodified it is) and how many people see it might be a guide... but even that might be gameable
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Obesity
post Tue 25th November 2008, 1:36pm
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No one disagrees that it would be nice if Wikipedia if were as harmless to the populace as Citizendium.

Has anyone ever tried to read Citizendium? It's... shall we say... not very good. A quick browse through the contribution of its "experts" reveals a serious lack of time and motivation on the part of all but a tiny handful of them.

My blog doesn't harm a soul, but that's mostly because it's boring and no one ever reads it.

Why does anyone write anything (not just WP articles)?

Take away motivation to edit (fun, lulz, fame, profit) and you take away the encyclopedia--that's exactly why Nupedia failed, as I understand it. When Kato is made in charge, and he kicks all the kids out of the clubhouse, he'll realize that the adults don't want to play either. His idea to bring in advertisers/give the good editors $$$$$ idea is intriguing, but I guarantee you it would lead to corruption very different from the sort to which we wikipediots have become accustomed. Can you imagine entrusting Jimbo and David Gerard with deciding who gets to be a "professional" paid editor? Ugh. Maybe they would let us put it to a vote--RfA style.

It's obvious to me that Wikipedia's ginormous army of eager volunteers and the corresponding social networking/shiny toy-like appeal is its biggest strength as well as its curse.

Wikipedia will never work unless it makes itself an equally fun and welcoming place for experts as it already is for unqualified morons. I would focus on drastically improving the experience for the former while wishing you sardonic good luck in expelling the latter.

I suggest that people like Kato should forget about reforming Wikipedia and focus on aiding in its obliteration. Maybe engineer a DoS attack or get a bunch of admin accounts or something. I believe that, from your perspective, the very constitution of the project itself is irredeemably rotten, and I don't altogether disagree with your position.

Turning Wikipedia into something like a bigger, online version of Encarta or some shit is an admirable goal, but you're never going to cram WP's bulging, embarrassing, occasionally delightful excesses into such a dreary mold. It just don't fit.

This post has been edited by Obesity: Tue 25th November 2008, 1:39pm
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