QUOTE(Cock-up-over-conspiracy @ Fri 14th May 2010, 7:20pm)
Continuing on in the great WR tradition of futile discussions on simple, straightforward, obvious improvements to the Wikipedia in the face of absolute idiocy ... I was thinking about Australia's voting system in comparison to the Wikipedian practise of "community consensus". A "consensus" that might only be created by a single admin, a handful of opinionates, or the usual cabal.
Democracy in most cultures is a bit of a flaccid failure because, to be frank, too many people cannot be bothered and it is rigged ... but a few brave attempts have been made through out history to change that.
In Australia, voting is now compulsory for every Australian citizen aged 18 years or older. If one does not vote and do not have a valid and sufficient reason for failing to vote, a penalty is imposed.
Considering this latest debacle about porn on the Pee-dia, I was thinking about the WMF's will to find out what the whole community thought about this rather than use "the community" to promote its own agenda. Polling would be a simple way of doing that.
So ... fail again ... no one can be bothered ... no one knows where to find it ... no one knows it is going on.
But the Wikipedia is in a unique position to polls its members. Each time they log on, they log on. At log on point, they could easily be polled as per any internet questionnaire or survey. It does not need to even be intrusively done.
Important issues ... whatever they might be deemed to be ... no vote, no edit. Simple. Fixed. It does not need to be a "vote", it could just be a survey of opinion.
My feeling is that it is an utterly futile suggestion. They don't want to know what people think. How many people of a similar nature they have, I don't know. Given the anonymity and scale, I am pretty sure they cannot know who they have on board and what they really think.
Have or are any efforts made to find out?
I don't think Wikipedia needs more "democracy." The community at large is more irresponsible and less accountable than any single sub-component. Some of these might give them a run for their money but they are still worse than the WMF board, Gardner and staff, Mr. Wales, ArbCom, the admin corps, even Godwin and his EFF friends (maybe a close second there.) There is a number of reasons for this. Moderate users are quickly bored or driven off, leaving only the fanatic and addicted. Their demographics tend more toward immaturity or pathology than any of the component sub-groups. Inside their group they have a rigid orthodoxy of with little dissent of diversity of thought, irrespective of the preoccupation with "free speech." Looked at from outside the group they are amorphous, often anonymous and almost never held to any accountability for their actions, not just in terms of their IRL identities but even in terms of their reputation as psuedonyms. This all adds up to an entitled, self absorbed group with little concern for anyone outside their group.
Giving them a greater franchise is unlikely to bring about any real reform, at least as seen from the larger society. My answer is the imposition of normal controls found in non-profits everywhere else overseen by a board of directors broadened to represent many of the stakeholders found outside the community.