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> My Wikipedia Year
Jonny Cache
post Sat 16th September 2006, 2:14am
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Hello, I'm Jonny Cache. That's right, you all know me, I walk the line. It started as a joke and just gets funnier all the time.

But seriously, folks, I don't really know who any of you are or what you're really about -- for all I know you could be a dozen times more wiked by far than the wikipatricians you criticize, for all I know you could be a yet another wikerwork duckblind that a host of wikiputian myrmidons is hiding behind. Don't worry about convincing me one way or the other right now -- by your harvest the world shall know you, all in good time.

But I can appreciate the apparent fact that you apparently saw this apparent need for a critique of wikipedic reason, or to put it more wikiprecisely, a citizen review board to maintain civilian custody of what is qwikly becoming a wikipolice state. So I consider it my civic duty to the larger society in which we all really live to help you become an effective and respected body of critical reflectors, not only on the clear and present state of wikipedia but on the spate of all pretentious encyclements of human knowledge that we are no doubt likely to see from here and now on.

To be continued ...

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This post has been edited by Jonny Cache: Thu 5th October 2006, 5:35pm
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guy
post Sat 16th September 2006, 6:47am
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Welcome - we look forward to your contributions.
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Somey
post Sat 16th September 2006, 7:12am
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As I recall, you were primarily concerned with the way Wikipedia disrespects experts in various subject areas by giving equal credence to, well, basically anyone who comes along. In other words, the fact that a Ph.D. Nobel Laureate professor of astrophysics can be easily shouted down, serially reverted, and even banned from the site by some teenager whose primary area of expertise is, ooh, let's just say, Pokemon characters, or how best to win at Final Fantasy VII.

This is an exaggeration, really, but nevertheless the question remains whether or not this is a systemic problem (as I would maintain) or a cultural one, in so far as the internet is teeming with teenage Pokemon experts while Ph.D. astrophysicists are, for whatever reason, rather difficult to find.

Ultimately, though, the real problem with Wikipedia is that they don't see this as a problem at all. Their idea of "constructive criticism" is to suggest ways to remove any hindrances to their activities, as well as their growth, and of course this criticism must take place within their own environment where the critic can be dismissed as a "troll" if he or she fails to submit to their "cluestickings," and where that person's arguments can simply be deleted if they prove to be somehow inconvenient.

So we're never really going to be "respected," at least not by them. Nor should we care, really. Wikipedia really is a cult at this point, and while we might conceivably help in some way to deprogram a few genuinely "clueful" people on occasion, the important thing is to just keep watching, interpreting, and explaining what they do, so that the public at large has somewhere to go for an alternative perspective on the whole crazy thing.
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JohnA
post Sat 16th September 2006, 12:10pm
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Welcome to the board, Jon!

I read your "exit interview" and it seemed to peter out. Would you like to rewrite it here in some sort of order? We can promise not to be patronizing (unlike the Wikifools)
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Jonny Cache
post Sat 16th September 2006, 3:00pm
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I will have more to say about the semiotic practices of the WP Mediocracy later on, but I am still in the early phases of my own deprogramming regimen and so I will have to be very careful about my own use of words, especially those that the WikiPrefrontaLobotomysts have taken, er, given some pains to surger to their own WikiPecuLiar ends. So it will help me at first to bracket them off like so -- [[WP:Expert]] -- and that will serve to remind us that the bracken-word has a pragmatics attaching to it that is more or less skew to its common sense meaning among common sense folks, and more than likely becoming more skew as time goes by.

Well, I'm supposed to be R&Ring from my recent exertions in WP, so I'll have to break now and pick it up later.

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Jonny Cache
post Sat 16th September 2006, 4:00pm
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Okay, let me try to finish that thought about [[WP:Expertise]] and ordinary Expertise that Somey incited, as it touches on a critical issue that I've been thinking about a lot lately.

The lion's share of the cultural background in WP, at least until recently, follows nothing more sinister than the "Eternal Law Of Innocence" (ELOI), and it is, like it says, fairly innocuous so far as it goes. It goes with the territory to dress up in Big People's clothes and pretend to be older and wiser than you really are. Once again, this is a fairly harmless form of transitional pretension in itself -- it's really just a normal part of growing up, anticipating in the medium of play-acting the next stage of life -- and plus it's just plain fun to pretend sometimes, even for Gr'ups.

So far so good, but I'm guessing that some of you have read the rest of the story.

Beware the Morlock, ye innocent children!

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Jonny Cache
post Mon 18th September 2006, 3:30am
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This is one of those days when I start to feel like Wikipedia is just too silly to be worth discussing, and that maybe I'll look back on the time I spent writing this a year from now and wonder why I bothered at all. But a moment's reflection in my present frame of mind still presents me with a few illusions of reasons to make the effort, and so I'll just have to go with my present impulse. I'll get back to the subjects of expertise and my attempts to provide the WP Cabal with some helpful feedback by way of an exit interview another time. But it seems like some self-introductory data might be in order at this point.

I registered as a WP user in December of 2005, under the name that the real world has long been accustomed to call me by. That was, looking back, my first mistake. Enlisting under your real name makes you a permanent 3rd class citizen in WP, subject to all sorts of abasements and special restrictions, not unlike having a number tattooed on your arm. Meanwhile, all the nobles and vassals of this supposedly non-elitist kingdom go riding about the countryside in their white-sheeted fancy dress plume de noms like aristocrats off to a masquerade ball, lashing out in every direction with high horse impunity at the poor dumb Wikipeons who were too simple-minded to concoct the immunity of a disguise for themselves.

I will have to do this in small bits, as it makes me tired just to think on these things.

To be continued ...

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This post has been edited by Jonny Cache: Mon 18th September 2006, 3:32am
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Somey
post Mon 18th September 2006, 4:55am
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QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Sun 17th September 2006, 10:30pm) *
I registered as a WP user in December of 2005, under the name that the real world has long been accustomed to call me by. That was, looking back, my first mistake. Enlisting under your real name makes you a permanent 3rd class citizen in WP, subject to all sorts of abasements and special restrictions, not unlike having a number tattooed on your arm.

I'm glad you brought that up, actually, painful though it may be. I don't actually have an account on Wikipedia, but I really do notice while looking at patterns of edit warring, and revert-warring especially, a certain sense of suspicion and a desire to intimidate directed towards people who use their real names on WP. This of course is putting aside the long-timer admins like David Gerard, Tony Sidaway, and Kelly Martin (though she's only been an admin for a year or so). After all, if you can just ban people...

It seems fairly logical and reasonable (IMO) to assume that the completely anonymous users view the use of real names as a value judgement made against them - as if the real names are saying "I'm a real person and therefore my contributions are real and viable and therefore more valuable/responsible/worthwhile than yours."

At the same time, the people most likely to have good reason to remain anonymous, presumably, are those who are all over the internet in various guises - younger users, mostly, including a few genuine 1337-types. In other words, people who are used to using fake names for everything, if only for their own personal safety, but who are also somewhat less likely to have a high degree of expertise or education in traditionally academic/professional subject areas, i.e., the sciences, economics, politics, philosophy, and so on.

The real problem (again, IMO) is that the older, more educated, "real-name" types just can't keep up with the 1337 kids. Either they don't have the necessary time for it, or they just don't know all the tricks - because they didn't grow up using those tricks in daily life. They don't have networks of anonymous internet buddies (if not outright confederates) from LiveJournal or MySpace or Digg or alt.religion.scientology (well okay, maybe Usenet in general), or anywhere else... They might at first have seen Wikipedia as little more than an encyclopedia project, "right up their alley," but boy were they wrong, huh?

And it's always a hoot to read the latest quotes from Kelly, Tony Dave et al about how "our purpose here is to build an encyclopedia, and any other reason for being here amounts to trolling," when their roots in anti-Scientology are so well-known. I'm not exactly keen on Scientology either, in fact I'm perfectly happy letting them bash away at it all they like, but really, come clean, people! It's not like Tom Cruise's career is in an upswing right about now, is it?
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Jonny Cache
post Mon 18th September 2006, 5:38am
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Here I'm mostly concerned with the systematic hypocrisy and misrepresentation that I find on WP Policy pages, the cynicism and mistrust that it inevitably engenders in the hapless member of the WP populace, any persistent comment on which will just as inevitably bring that member to being excised from that populace. The gang of administrators that I've come to recognize as the "Activist Subcabal Of The Administrative Cabal" (ASOTAC) exploits its anonymity in precisely the same way that the KKK aveils itself of its notorious white sheets -- it serves to em-bolden what is evidently a type of personality too insecure in the firmness of its dicta to face its victim like a mensch.

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This post has been edited by Jonny Cache: Sun 1st October 2006, 12:01am
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Jonny Cache
post Mon 18th September 2006, 12:48pm
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One of the things that we'll have to do on the way to becoming a more effective and respected critic of Wikipedia is pass from the stage of anecdotal chat to documenting our observations with verifiable data. This, of course, gets harder to do all the time as the WP Adminions get more and more deliberate and systematic in their deletion of history data. The truly fanatical POV-pushers that have come to dominate the ASOTAC and their chief hangers-on, the "Wannabe Administrator Cabal" (WAC), are not content to quash criticism and quell dissent among the boarders of their jurisdictum -- they have to destroy the evidence that any such [[WP:Disruption]] ever existed. So it has already become necessary to start keeping our own books, before the WP Administrafers and WP Backrollers have a chance to rewrite their history.

On a personal note of that tune, here is some Bio Data on the unsecret identity of yours truly, from my home page at Textop Wiki:

FORUM Image Bio Data

I used to keep this and other wholly unoffensive information on my WP user and talk pages, before they were hashhashinated by a member of that fast-growing crowd, the "Duly Sanctioned Administrative Vandal" (DSAV), who naturally referred to my attempts to restore the information as [[WP:Vandalism]], yet another word that is quickly losing any trace of its former meaning. So maybe there is something to the observation that WP True Believers have come to despise any trace of Real World connection among their congregation. Yet another symptom of Cult Psychology, now that you mention it.

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This post has been edited by Jonny Cache: Mon 18th September 2006, 3:00pm
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poopooball
post Mon 18th September 2006, 1:59pm
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it could more to the point be that the real name editors just happen to be some of the worst administrators the project has. although with tonys not-officially-forced wikibreak we might finally be seeing the shift the project needs. maybe kmart and cyde can be next.
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Jonny Cache
post Mon 18th September 2006, 2:52pm
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Ha! In such a Big Junkyard, I'm sure that there's more than enough Junkyard Chihuahuas for all of us to have our own personal heel-nippers. I'll get around to naming some of my pet pseudo-names later, but I think it's important right now that we start building a more exhaustive database for tracking the increasingly flagrant mis-conduct of these Power-Breeds-Corruption breeds of WP Power Mongrels. That is, before the dogmatics in question eat the data altogether.

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Herschelkrustofsky
post Mon 18th September 2006, 2:59pm
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QUOTE(Somey @ Sun 17th September 2006, 9:55pm) *

I really do notice while looking at patterns of edit warring, and revert-warring especially, a certain sense of suspicion and a desire to intimidate directed towards people who use their real names on WP. This of course is putting aside the long-timer admins like David Gerard, Tony Sidaway, and Kelly Martin (though she's only been an admin for a year or so).


And, at the risk of being indelicate, we now know that that's not her given name. She sort of took role-playing to the next level.
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guy
post Mon 18th September 2006, 4:15pm
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QUOTE(poopooball @ Mon 18th September 2006, 2:59pm) *

it could more to the point be that the real name editors just happen to be some of the worst administrators the project has.

Who did you have in mind: Charles Matthews? Jmabel (Joe Mabel)? Jfdwolff? JzG (who clearly gives his name on his talk page)? It is often a mistake to generalise too much.
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Somey
post Mon 18th September 2006, 4:46pm
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Well now, let's not forget that this point is being made in regard to "ordinary" (i.e., non-admin) editors. And nobody is saying it's impossible even now for someone using his/her real name to become an admin - that someone just has to avoid articles and subject areas where there's a lot of reverting and edit-warring going on, while still somehow getting noticed by other users, in particular the ones who vote in RfA's. But that's easy - they do that by simply voting themselves, and nearly always "For," in every RfA that comes up, until it's their "turn."

I realize that in writing this, I'm agreeing on some points with Tony Sidaway, Kelly Martin, and several other "cabal" types on the Bureaucrats' noticeboard who are interested in "reforming" the RfA process by essentially getting rid of it, probably in favor of unilateral appointments, and still without any effective means of admin recall (as is currently the case). It's the recall that's really needed, of course... The RfA process is flawed, but you could say that about almost any form of democracy, consensus-based or otherwise. It's still better than dictatorship, IMO.

But hey, just because they're corrupt, it doesn't mean they're incapable of noticing obvious problems! smile.gif
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Jonny Cache
post Mon 18th September 2006, 5:00pm
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Speaking at Random for the Time Being, let me apologize in advance for the fact that I'm not really all that interested, at least for the purposes of this Forum, in discussing matters of RW politics, RW religion, and RW sex, and so I'm afrayed that this meta*narrative of mine will have to be rather inexcusably boring compared to what I emmensely enjoy reading on the other plancks and skids of this Tabula Rara.

For my part, I'll be mostly concerned with the issues of "Factual Reporting And Responsible Scholarship" (FRARS). If anybody reads that acronym in a sexist vein, just let me know and I'll get to work on a suitable debreviation for SORORS, too.

In regard to FRARS, then, I am further concerned with the deleterious impact that a number of recent and radical alterations to major WP:Policies & Guidelines is bound to have on the already low state of quality control in Wikipedia, especially with respect to several whole classes of fundamentally important articles.

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This post has been edited by Jonny Cache: Tue 19th September 2006, 2:22pm
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Jonny Cache
post Mon 18th September 2006, 6:37pm
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Speaking at Random Fora While Yet -- as I pinball my way anabatically up, catabolically down, and periphrasticallly around the Synchronoplastic Infundibulum of my so-called life, snatching out those shreds and threads that traverse the tragectories of the Wikimpedimental Cherry Bureaucracy -- where was I? -- oh yes, here:

Let's get a few things strait right up front. There are many things that Wikipedia Is Not, and here's the beginnings of a List of Nots that I have personally learned to heed:
  • Wikipedia is not a Wiki.
  • Wikipedia is not an Encyclopedia.
  • Wikipedia is not in the least bit Non-Elitist.
  • Wikipedia is not compliant with the principles of No Original Research.
  • Wikipedia is not compliant with the principles of Neutral Point Of View.
  • Wikipedia is not compliant with the principles of Verifiability.
  • Wikipedia is not compliant with the principles of Reliable Sources.
  • Wikipedia is not compliant with the basic norms of Civility.
  • Wikipedia is not compliant with the basic ideals of Community.
  • Wikipedia is not compliant with the basic notions of Critical Thinking.
Another thing we need to get strait is this basic fact:
  • There are people who care about Facts and Reasons, and there are people who do not.
  • There is no such critter as a person who cares about Facts and Reasons in article space but does not care about Facts and Reasons in policy space.
  • Any person or pseudo-person who tries to tell you that he or she cares about Facts and Reasons in article space but does not care about Facts and Reasons in policy space is doing one of the following three things:
    1. Trying to deceive you.
    2. Trying to deceive himself or herself.
    3. All of the above.
I realize that all of these statements are pretty much no-brainers for people who have spent a little bit of time in the Fictional Universe known as Wikipedia, but some folks may be surprised to find out how many no-brainers fail to be obvious to people who have spent a bit too much time in that Internet Fantasy game.

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Jonny Cache
post Mon 18th September 2006, 8:48pm
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Getting down to specifics, I find myself thinking of last things first. Some of the policy and pseudo-policy pages where I spent my last days as a "Wikpedian In Good Standing" (WIGS) were on the WP:NOR page, with a reluctant but forced sidetrip to the WP:VAIN page, plus some pro bono no cher work at WP:LAWYER. I won't say that my efforts in these particular Kangaroo Courts were the beginning of the end for me, as it's clear that the beginning of the end is always the first time that you cross a ganglion of the ASOTAC, no matter how nubie yubie at the time.

There has been a major battle going on at WP:NOR for the last month or so, with a concerted and vicious attempt by some gung-ho POV-groupies among the ASOTAC to demolish a long-standing consensus policy that formed one of the last bastions that even pretends to guard the quality of WP article sourcing. Here are the recent histories:I'll be back with the play-by-play and the color commentary later today or maybe tomorrow.

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Jonny Cache
post Tue 19th September 2006, 1:13am
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The Wikiputsch, still in progress, at WP:NOR was initiated on three separate fronts beginning on 15 Aug 2006.

First, Kim Bruning attempted to delete the "Non-Negotiability" clause attaching to WP:NOR. This is the clause that gives this policy the teeth that it needs to trump any pretended consensus -- have you ever seen anything but a pretended consensus in Wikipedia? -- on the part of a small band of editors.This attempt was eventually beaten back -- but of course, only until such time as all of the defenders against the coup can be banned on account of this or that trumped up offense.

Next, a charge led by Slrubenstein was waged on behalf of disallowing the use of primary sources in articles:Quickly bringing up the rear on this second front were the usual suspects of FeloniousMonk, KillerChihuahua, and SlimVirgin.

At the outset of this campaign, those crusading for a radical change in WP:NOR asserted one false statement after another, all to the effect that what they were proposing had been the established policy all along. When challenged to source their claims, they simply abused the questioners for not being in the know and made vague references to folklore that was apparently known only to soi-disant old hands and golden oldies. When data was brought forward that contradicted these claims, they began a campaign of divide and conquer, splitting the talk page into multiple subpages, stealthily deleting many of the objections, and hiding the extent of the dispute in "archives" that somehow somebody just keeps "forgetting" to archive.

By way of providing a single example out of many, consider the following sequence of edits, where SlimVirgin twice deleted -- with no edit line in one case and with the edit line falsely marked "minor" in the other -- data that established a lower bound on just how long the previous policy had gone unchanged:
  1. Data Regarding Longstanding Consenus
  2. First Improper Deletion by SlimVirgin
  3. Restore Data on Longstanding Consensus
  4. Second Improper Deletion by SlimVirgin
After a month of one conscientious objector after another coming forward to bear the brunt of their personal attacks, along with threats of being labelled "disruptive" for the simple act of criticising this force-fed change of policy, they simply refuse to accept the fact that any reporter or scholar with a respect for the quality of facts in any article would be duty-bound to make these same objections to their proposed changes.

A third front was opened up by Duncharris, linking the section on "Expert Editors" to one of the minefields of insults that are used to discriminate against editors who use their real names, namely, WP:VANITY. That monkey business began here:This section was eventually retitled "Citing Oneself" and the link label was deceptively renamed to "guidelines on conflict of interest".

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This post has been edited by Jonny Cache: Wed 20th September 2006, 1:28pm
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Jonny Cache
post Tue 19th September 2006, 12:24pm
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Update on the WP:NOR front

Now that the Wikiputian QueenBees have banned, blocked, brutalized into submission, or otherwise bound and gagged with their tiny ropes and Wikipointy stakes any editors who dared to oppose their Wikiputsch with respect to the Big Three P&G's -- no relation to Proctor & Gamble -- Kim Bruning has been given a free hand to undermine the Non-Negotiability clause with the following gem of a stratagem, all designed to subvert the Wiki of Laws into becoming more of what it was probably meant to be from the Get-Go, a totalitarian oligarchy, a Wiki to Power, for glorifying the egos and slush-fundations of the auto-elect few:You may wonder at the Wikipersistence of this ASOTAC and its WAC jobbers, but you have to realize that these busybodies have nothing else to do with their time, as they certainly don't waste it working on articles in anything but a drive-by hit-&-run slash-&-burn salt-th'-ground way.

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