Wed 6th June 2007, 3:28pm
Just to get things slightly back on track here...
QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Tue 5th June 2007, 11:00pm)
Attn: Tony Sidaway
Take a number,
and sit down.
Presumably what Jon is saying here is that there are a whole buncha' Grima Wormtongues on WP, or rather Grima wannabes. But I think what makes Tony unique is his history with the high mucky-mucks. He's never going to be satisfied with being an outsider, but not being an admin anymore has its advantages too - he doesn't have to take the blame for when things go wrong to anywhere near the extent that he would have before.
Anyway, this thread supposedly started with a link to a WikiEN-L posting suggesting that WP had reached a "tipping point" at which no one voice could realy make a difference in the way things are run. The title further suggested that we're seeing a rise in "veteran militancy," with four contributing factors:
1. AN/I - Too busy
2. User counts - Higher than ever and still rising
3. Admin counts - Also still rising
4. Knee-jerk over-reactions - Admins having to adjust to the idea that personal control of WP by long-term leadership may no longer be possible, and lashing out when they become frustrated about it
Presumably points 2 and 3 are "givens," and point 1 is the logical extension of points 2 and 3. The real issue is whether or not the knee-jerk overreactions are primarily due to overpopulation of the site, or something else...
Personally, I think it's more than just overpopulation. This is what I like to call "maintenance-phase politics" - as the number of new-article topics decreases, and the opportunities for less-established users to take personal ownership of significant content areas evaporates (due to more established users having already taken them), you get more and more people wanting to participate in rule-making, or what Dave Gerard likes to call "process wonkery." This is where the AGF and "Don't bite the n00bs" rules start to rankle on the leadership - they desperately want these people to go away, but they won't, and they can't make them go away without risking censure from the overall community. Nevertheless, they're getting pissed off more often than ever before, and that's only going to get worse too.
Meanwhile, Wikipedia is still as addictive as ever, but the new element of territorial conflict only makes the site more damaging to afflicted individuals.
The political complexity of WP's internal workings is already beyond what most people can possibly grasp, and that's going to increase too, believe it or not. There will be lots of defections, both among the establishment and among the newer arrivals, but ultimately I don't think they'll have a choice - they'll have to break up WP into smaller administrative units, with some sort of more sophisticated interwiki linking scheme. They should have done that 2-3 years ago, of course, and actually might have, if it weren't for the fact that the place is run mostly by control freaks.