Wed 4th October 2006, 3:50am
QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Tue 3rd October 2006, 10:01pm)
I tried to start a more nuanced discussion of the communication process involved in this situation under the heading of Transversality : Communication Across Levels Of Experience
, but the Citizendium Forum quickly degenerated into a techie chat room with no real dialogue on core social issues.
Well, this is really the crux of the matter, isn't it? These are fundamentally social
issues, not technological ones, and technological solutions to social issues can only take you so far. (And in many cases, they can make bad situations worse.)
I keep saying this, but Wikipedia is just too big.
Meaningful, working trust relationships simply can't be developed and maintained in a community that large. People like Dave Gerard will say things like, "working with idiots is not optional," and Phil Sandifer will say "in any online community there will be a large percentage who are idiots," and so forth, but the fact is, the clear (if not vast) majority of people are not idiots. They only seem
like idiots to the high-level admins, because they're overwhelmed by the enormity of the project, the immense size of the community, and the bewilderingly arcane terminology and mixed-up conceptual framework of the internal culture.
The only way to save the English Wikipedia from itself is to break it up into smaller communities, presumably based on topic areas. They ought to be able to do that without breaking up the actual content
- in fact it should be a relatively simple technical detail, an additional layer of abstraction, basically. If they can bring themselves to do that, there's a chance that the people involved can get to know each other, build comfortable subcultures, and work together constructively. Sure, some of the subcultures may fail, but better to have that, even from their
perspective, than the self-destructive mess they have now.