The Wikipedia thread

I've been around Wikipedia since 2004, and have observed its evolution (like that of RationalWiki) from a slightly left-of-center site run by secular humanists who at least attempted to allow their critics' viewpoints some semblance of fair coverage (even if it was relegated to a small "criticism" section at the bottom of an article), into a much more blatantly and unapologetically SJW-dominated platform that stifles dissent. Events like the Manning naming dispute decision, and the rise of radical feminist administrators like Alison (NSFW), not to mention the decision at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:WikiProject Seduction to "friend zone this project, without even a number close", pretty much told us the writing was on the wall.

What I see now, though, is that even those in charge of Wikipedia don't take the project seriously anymore. The more thoughtful, reasonable, unbiased users have been driven away from the project, so that there's little left but a few aspergic monomanics who mostly toil away unnoticed on obscure topics, while leftist ideologues document every new development in the evolution of rape culture. Meanwhile, trolls who don't seem to actually have any sincere ideological ax to grind are the most actively involved in the day-to-day management of the project. High-ranking Wikipedians even admit that they toy with users for the lulz.

Probably the most honest, straightforward, and succinct guidebook to how Wikipedia actually works is Wikipedia:WikiSpeak. It notes that on Wikipedia, "conflict of interest" refers to "Editing an article on any subject that you actually understand. Uncommon, and sanctionable, expertise."

Adding content to Wikipedia has always has been a frustrating, disappointing experience. It's always been a challenge to make even high-quality content stick. And there have always been dickheads around whose attitudes have made the experience less pleasant. Yet, in recent years, it seems to have gotten worse.

The number of volunteers willing to edit Wikipedia has been declining, so lately there's been increased interest in paid editing. You can apparently make hundreds or thousands of dollars per article writing on behalf of companies, organizations, people, etc. who want you to handle their Wikipedia reputation management. You just write an article, have one of your many on-call meatpuppets post it to Wikipedia for you, and collect your payment. Plus you can have the client sign up to pay you an annual fee for continuing to edit the article on their behalf as needed. The reason the pay is so high is that only a few people are familiar enough with the labyrinthine complexities of Wikipedia rules and culture to be able to successfully navigate the process. (You'll see what I mean below, in the alphabet soup of obscure Wikipedia policies, guidelines, and essays that Wikipedians make reference to in a typical discussion.)

Theoretically, if you're a paid editor, you're supposed to publicly disclose your clients and your connection to them and the articles you edit on their behalf. But that's sort of like accepting a girl's invitation to tell her about your emotional vulnerabilities. It's not going to end well. Just like she'll lose respect, they'll treat you with disrespect too.

A lot of Wikipedia administrators and their friends have made a hobby, or at least an amusing pastime, out of griefing those paid editors who diligently followed the rules by revealing their "conflicts of interest." Some of their trolling techniques are straight out of the SJW playbook. For example, consider this douchebaggery, which I present as a case study.

Paid editor Janweh64 has been reported to the Administrators' Noticeboard for following Wikipedia's exhortations to "be bold" and "ignore all rules" by moving to the mainspace an article draft that pretty much everyone agrees doesn't contain anything objectionable. So the beef people have with him is more procedural than substantive, making Janweh64 arguably in the right since supposedly "Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy". Now that the "point and shriek" stage of the SJW attack is complete, Jytdog seeks to elicit an apology:

Jytdog said:
This path of acting aggressively in order to support your paid editing and then arguing fiercely to defend your aggressiveness is just going to lead to an indefinite block per NOTHERE. None of the volunteers here want to waste time any time at all dealing with this, which is just about you making money. Don't you get that? What little patience people have, you exhaust by doing this. There are some paid editors who disclose what they are doing, and who "get it" and create no drama and they add value to WP. You could have been one of them, perhaps. Not what you are choosing... so be it. . . .

The way out of this particular hole is just to say "Hey, I get it. I am sorry. I will not move my own paid articles to main space anymore, but will appeal through normal channels if I feel an AfC review was unfair. Again, my apologies for creating drama. It is important to me that I remain in good standing with everybody. " Something like that. but mean it, and do it, and don't do stuff that causes people to drag you here.

In response to this, the paid editor actually bends over and gives him the apology:

Janweh64 said:
In light of the new changes/clarification here by Jydog on March 13 to WP:COI, I will not move my own paid articles to main space anymore, but will appeal through normal channels if I feel an AfC review was unfair. My apologies for creating drama, again. It is important to me that I remain in good standing with everybody. I was truly unaware and not informed of these changes to this guideline specifically made after just a mere 20 days from my previous ANI, which was archived unclosed.

Janweh64 is making the exact statement that Jytdog just suggested he make, while also pointing out in his own defense that Jytdog recently made a change to the rules without notifying him. Jytdog continues the attack, in line with the SJW "Reject and Transform" strategy in which the apology is promptly rejected because it is not the action, but the actor, that is the real target:

Jytdog said:
Janweh your response promises that this particular problem will end, which is a good thing but the rest of what you write there is argumentative and... horrible. The prior ANI thread from only two months ago was also called "Paid editor moving own drafts to mainspace" and in that thread several editors told you the same thing you have been told here.

In other words, every single editor who commented there and here wasted their time. That is what you just communicated. That you are going to treat WP guidelines and policies like "rulebooks" that you will exploit as hard as you can in order to make money here, and you will ignore community feedback.

That is nothing like what I advised you to write. You can let your comment stand or strike it, but you should be aware of how bad for you, your post was.

Finally, Endercase, a user who currently is under remedial "mentorship" and probably will end up getting banned at some point for fraternizing with unpersons and being too much of an outspoken wiki-dissident, chimes in and flips the script:

Endercase said:
@Jytdog: This user is nothing like you appear to portray them in your above statement. "You can let your comment stand or strike it, but you should be aware of how bad for you, your post was." They have declared COI and they are following policy/consensus to the best of their understanding. You have "won" here, I do not understand your apparent hostility nor your apparent failure to AGF. IMO this should have never been brought to AN/I (where it wastes our time) clearly (IMO) just having a discussion on the user's talk page would have sufficed. You are also a good faith editor just trying to protect the encyclopedia from POV pushing paid edits. I agree with your sentiment, just not the methods that have been used and are suggested to be used here. No editor should ever be blamed or even punished for wasting time because they were dragged to AN/I instead the peer doing the dragging is at fault if there is no real problem [wp:broke] that needs to be addressed. Personally I think this AN/I needs closed as all "problems" have been addressed and an agreement has been reached; based on their agreement to this.

Having been called out, Jytdog decides to back away rather than risk overreaching and exposing himself to counterattack. But of course, he doesn't apologize for his own personal attacks (since that would just draw attention to the fact that he arguably broke the civility rules), and he gets in a few final digs before leaving, in accordance with the SJW principle that "They always double down when confronted with their lies":

Jytdog said:
I took the time to speak off-wiki with Janweh earlier in their paid editing career, when they were editing aggressively to try to get their paid edits into WP, and arguing aggressively that it was OK for them to do that. I explained to them then, that paid editing is just barely tolerated by the en-WP community. I explained that if they want to create a sustainable presence here, they should be rigorous in disclosing and submitting for peer review, and always work peacefully and without drama, and of course generate really high quality content with high quality sourcing. I explained that working this way would increase trust and respect for them in the community, and make their life easier (and to be blunt, more productive and more prosperous with regard to their paid editing). Everybody wins that way. And I explained that the lower the quality of their work, and more aggressive they were in trying to get it into WP, the more their work and behavior would be scrutinized, and the slower and harder everything would get for them, etc.. That they lose if they go down that path.

Now this issue of moving their own paid articles to mainspace has arisen again. The first instance was semi-understandable. That this 2nd thread exists at all is hard to understand, as is the slipping back into the fierce arguing to justify marginal behavior. That this 2nd thread ended with with them making a wikilawyering argument half-justifying that this happened again, is bad for them. It is on the path where they lose.

I do agree that this thread should be closed. I still hope that Janweh has the good sense to strike and make a more clueful statement before that happens, but if they choose to let it stand, so be it.

Janweh64 is thus being once again blamed for provoking "drama," and is being extended one last opportunity to engage in some more ritual self-abasement that can later be used against him, in the vein of, "Janweh64 even admitted last time that he was in the wrong, but instead of changing his behavior after being warned twice, now he has made it necessary to open up a third thread. When will we finally say, enough is enough?"

What may eventually happen is that Janweh64 will get fed up and become an undisclosed paid editor (as he should have done from the beginning). His awareness of the inequity is evident in his comment, "you are punishing me for declaring my COI religiously when 1000s of others are right now editing with no declaration." He's beginning to unplug and take the wiki-red pill, as he sees how counterproductive it is to be the nice guy who follows the rules. How long before he tires of seeing the bad boys get that wiki-pussy while he wiki-masturbates?

Jytdog has been called out before for, interestingly enough, "trying to own the discussion at Talk:Jews." Anyway, what we always see in this kind of situation is that those users who are part of the same clique as the administrators get forgiven for their "mistakes," while others get hammered however abjectly they apologize. Meanwhile, in accordance with the SJW tactic "Isolate and Swarm", users like Endercase who have an inconvenient habit of pointing out the emperor has no clothes get marked for elimination. They're already attempting to build a case to be able to later say, "We tried reasoning with him for a long time, but finally he has exhausted the patience of the community."

It used to be that, despite Wikipedia's flaws, it was still a place where you could have some useful accomplishments as a content creator. I would say that by now, it has more or less completely devolved into a playground for trolls and SJWs, paid for by chumps.

Still, it has a lot of useful infrastructure. So I would say, the best strategy is that (1) if you want to make money as a paid editor, go ahead and take advantage of this "enjoy the decline" situation through undisclosed conflict-of-interest editing; and (2) if you like creating content and have nothing better to do, go ahead and add articles to Wikipedia, but save copies of your content for reposting to Infogalactic, Kings Wiki, or whatever other niche wiki would be appropriate, in the event of deletion. And of course, (3) munch popcorn and enjoy observing the lulzfest that is Wikipedia's kafkaesque online dystopia, if you're sick enough to be into that kind of thing.
 

jps

 
I only speak from outside, but I am old enough to remember the idealistic utopianism of the '90s internet. It was supposed to democratize communication by eliminating censorship in all forms and level the playing field in the arena of ideas. I don't think anyone (at least that I read) predicted it would become dominated by corporations hellbent on censorship as it has.

So here's all the sympathy I can muster for Wikipedia. It was an almost impossible dream. It failed to realize it, but it generated a lot of, as you say, useful infrastructure in the meantime. And MediaWiki probably lives on in part because of it. There are some great spin-offs from disgruntled Wikipedians even though they'll never get to the same level.

Also, setting up ideals and failing to meet them is practically the official pastime of the human race.

And I also believe that nobody and nothing is so useless that they can't serve as a bad example to avoid. Anyone looking to create, design, maintain, improve, or even work within a collaborative group of any kind has a prime example of the destructive impact of endless policies and a situation that has permitted a possessive cabal of emotionally stunted bureaucrats to acquire and maintain such absolute control.

The retention of talented and knowledgeable contributors is something every group should strive for. What is the future of any forum or wiki without them?
 

puckerman

Ostrich
I am worried about this as well. I have donated money to Wikipedia and was happy to do so. My main reason was that I had some confidence in Jimmy Wales and mainly his steadfast refusal to censor the web site. How do I know this? Well, back in the mid 1990's, I knew Jimmy Wales and had some interesting encounters with him.

I first met him in July 1995 at the summer seminar of the Institute for Objectivist Studies (now the Atlas Society). He was a pretty big fish in the community. About 115 people were at the seminar, and he had founded one of the earliest on-line Objectivist forums. It was called the Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy and was an email discussion group hosted on a listserv at Indiana University. He was in grad school there, and I don't know if he finished his PhD or not. I saw him again at the next seminar in 1996, and that was the last time I saw him in person. He still participated in on-line forums for a few years afterward.

Like most Objectivists, he believes he is never wrong. He was actually quite intelligent, which was better than most of the people who attended. He also seemed more open to learning about new things and people, again better than most people there. He had a wide range of interests and realized life is more complicated than most people did.

He was also getting into trading futures and options. He apparently made enough money to last a lifetime and then decided to start Wikipedia in 2001 or so. I suspect he was just as interested in notoriety as he was in money.

I don't suspect he will ever censor the site, which is more than can be said for other sites which have bowed down and kissed the asses of the Chinese autocrats. But I also see other potential problems here. If the site gets taken over by astroturfing, then it won't matter.

In theory, Wikipedia is a fantastic idea. How do we get a Wikipedia that realizes its potential? I don't know.
 

puckerman

Ostrich
jps said:
I only speak from outside, but I am old enough to remember the idealistic utopianism of the '90s internet. It was supposed to democratize communication by eliminating censorship in all forms and level the playing field in the arena of ideas. I don't think anyone (at least that I read) predicted it would become dominated by corporations hellbent on censorship as it has.

I am as well. The first thing that happened (I think) was that spammers overtook Usenet, although I never used Usenet. Then they took over and ruined email.

So here's all the sympathy I can muster for Wikipedia. It was an almost impossible dream. It failed to realize it, but it generated a lot of, as you say, useful infrastructure in the meantime. And MediaWiki probably lives on in part because of it. There are some great spin-offs from disgruntled Wikipedians even though they'll never get to the same level.

The more specialized wikis appear to be doing well. There are wikis for Star Trek, Hunger Games, and other interests. They also have more content contributors. Often Wikipedia takes content directly from them.
 

RIslander

Hummingbird
The non-political articles on Wikipedia such as biology, science, medicine, the War of 1812, etc, are an amazing resource. You can search for anything. I'm reading about the Crusades now. Just stay away from modern politics.
 
puckerman said:
I don't suspect he will ever censor the site, which is more than can be said for other sites which have bowed down and kissed the asses of the Chinese autocrats. But I also see other potential problems here. If the site gets taken over by astroturfing, then it won't matter.

In theory, Wikipedia is a fantastic idea. How do we get a Wikipedia that realizes its potential? I don't know.

Wiikipedia has some censorship, but it's not always obvious because in most cases, the censorship is implemented by misusing (or selectively using) and misinterpreting rules that seem innocent enough on the surface. For example, suppose I write an article that quotes reliable sources who say good stuff about a manosphere website. Another editor might tag the page, "This is spam; delete". Or suppose I write an article that quotes reliable sources who say bad stuff about an SJW website. They might tag it, "This is an attack page; delete".

Once the page is deleted, non-administrators can't easily review the content to see if the deletion was justified. You can bring your objections to the deleting administrator, but a lot of times they'll get a shitty attitude with you and say, "First you created this bad article, and now you want to argue with me on top of it? If you don't like the rules on Wikipedia, you can go somewhere else." Then usually a lot of the administrators' friends will pile on and start making comments about how you need to change your ways if you want to continue editing Wikipedia.

Or, suppose I happen to be a person who writes a lot of Wikipedia articles about the manosphere, without totally trashing the manosphere as a bunch of misogynists. Administrators and other griefers might start looking into my edits and accusing me of breaking various rules. For example, suppose a bunch of my articles have been deleted; they might say, "Hey, we notice a pattern here of you adding inappropriate content."

On the other hand, suppose there's an SJW who's always writing articles about rape culture. Administrators might notice her breaking a lot of rules, but choose to cut her a lot of slack, or just look the other way entirely and pretend they don't notice, unless someone else presents incontrovertible, unambiguous proof. But if you make a habit of calling such matters to administrators' attention, then you too can get marked as a troublemaker, and treated accordingly. WP:BOOMERANG and all that. These days it seems like half the threads at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents (okay, maybe it's not quite half; I currently count 11 mentions in a page of 24 threads) contain proposals of a boomerang outcome against the person who made the complaint.

I have an idea for how Wikipedia's potential can be realized, but it's kinda hard to explain and would be complicated to implement. In the meantime, a stopgap solution is to just have niche wikis at the ready for (1) articles that get deleted from Wikipedia, and (2) articles that will never be within Wikipedia's scope. Infogalactic theoretically has some potential, but the technical side of it needs some work.
 
Wikipedia is flawed due to two of their operating principles. The first is argumentum ad populum, which is argument to the people, and is that, if a large amount of people agree on something, it must be true. This is dismissed as never happening, as the people cannot be wrong; however, as history shows, people can be vastly wrong on a wide scale, and usually end up dying because of it. The crux is at a political controversy. I could write on a national economics page that it makes no sense, at all, to spend any money on the poor of a nation, because they will either die off, or pull themselves out of it, and chances are, your alms would not change either outcome. This would be cold-hearted, but true. A SJW would edit that based on their beliefs, which are not based on an accurate view of reality.

The second flaw is that, apart from the above, the MATERIAL is peer reviewed, but the REVIEWERS are not. I cannot think of any criteria more prone to give shitty results than "all you need to do is express an interest and we'll make you one." Having to prove you have at least basic knowledge of a subject, as well as some proof of intellect and a scientific mind is vital.
 
Luke Stranahan said:
Wikipedia is flawed due to two of their operating principles. The first is argumentum ad populum, which is argument to the people, and is that, if a large amount of people agree on something, it must be true. This is dismissed as never happening, as the people cannot be wrong; however, as history shows, people can be vastly wrong on a wide scale, and usually end up dying because of it. The crux is at a political controversy. I could write on a national economics page that it makes no sense, at all, to spend any money on the poor of a nation, because they will either die off, or pull themselves out of it, and chances are, your alms would not change either outcome. This would be cold-hearted, but true. A SJW would edit that based on their beliefs, which are not based on an accurate view of reality.

The second flaw is that, apart from the above, the MATERIAL is peer reviewed, but the REVIEWERS are not. I cannot think of any criteria more prone to give shitty results than "all you need to do is express an interest and we'll make you one." Having to prove you have at least basic knowledge of a subject, as well as some proof of intellect and a scientific mind is vital.

There's also a third flawed principle that they use, which is the appeal to motive. They'll accuse an editor of having a certain bias (not just editing the article in a way that makes it have a certain bias, but actually intending to do so), and their discussion will get sidetracked into a debate over whether the editor's behavior really shows strong evidence of his having an agenda he's trying to push.

His motive can't be proven definitively, though; it can only be inferred. And it's irrelevant anyway. An editor with a bias can nonetheless write good articles, and an editor without a bias can nonetheless write bad articles. If an editor keeps making bad edits and can't or won't improve the quality of his work to an acceptable level, then yes, he might eventually need to leave the encyclopedia, but these days they're pretty quick to say, "It's clear you have a bad motive, and therefore this will be your last warning before we tell you to GTFO."
 

AFS

Woodpecker
The fact wikipedia is open to edit for anyone was supposed to be a democratic utopia. The truth is, it means organizations and corporations with the finances and resources can easily influence the articles.

There are people who openly admit working for the DOD editing entries on the Iraq War and 9/11, and removing any information that goes against the official narrative.

Corporations can hire people who know wikipedia to game their pages and crush any smaller competitors.

I attempted multiple times to create a page for my friend's band. The band had released an album that was widely popular on the east coast and in Europe - even reaching top 10 in Finnish radio. They had magazine articles written about them in the biggest metal-music publications at the time.

But - the band had no label, they were independent. Every time I created an entry, it would be immediately deleted. In fact, even when I check wikipedia's logs and history, there isn't even a record of the entry ever having existed or why it was deleted. This is in spite of multiple sources being cited for the band.

Wikipedia is a great source of general knowledge, and I honestly don't how to fix it's flaws. Perhaps removing anonymous accounts and ensuring editors are independent of the subjects they cover would be a good first step.
 

fokker

Ostrich
I know that recently, Mark Dice wrote to Jimmy Wales to have Dice's description on his wikipedia entry changed from "conspiracy theorist" to "media analyst". Wales himself made the edits, sourcing them, but they were reverted.
 

C-Note

Ostrich
Gold Member
From what I understand, the last few years Wikipedia (actually the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs it) has received so many millions of dollars in donations that they're having trouble spending the money. Their staff has increased from about 30 people six years ago to over 100 and most of them apparently just sit around looking busy. They're so flush with money large numbers of their staff now travel around the world to attend obscure conferences and symposiums on free culture, web 2.0, and similar topics.

My point is, I respectfully suggest to anyone here thinking of donating to Wikipedia, that your money would probably be of more benefit elsewhere.
 
AFS said:
I attempted multiple times to create a page for my friend's band. The band had released an album that was widely popular on the east coast and in Europe - even reaching top 10 in Finnish radio. They had magazine articles written about them in the biggest metal-music publications at the time.

There may still be a way to get the article to stick, although since it has already been deleted a few times, it might be harder than it otherwise would be.

There's a balance that has to be struck between establishing notability, and not seeming promotional. So you have to talk about the band's accomplishments, popularity, etc. in a very matter-of-fact way that doesn't seem like you're praising the band.

So for example, you wouldn't say, "The success of this album fueled the band's meteoric rise, culminating in..." You would just say, "In June 2016, album x was released, selling 130,000 copies that year. In March 2017, the band went on a nationwide tour, playing before an audience of 50,000 at ..." You would need to make sure the article clearly establishes how the band meets at least one of the criteria for musicians and ensembles. And you would need to keep an eye on the article to defend it against those who might nominate it for speedy deletion based on a misinterpretation of the rules. To help avoid deletion, you'll want to be sure to beef up that first revision.

If we got rid of anonymity on Wikipedia, I think we would still have a problem with meatpuppets editing on behalf of others without disclosing their conflicts of interest. So, for example, Microsoft might hire a consultant to handle its Wikipedia reputation management, and then that consultant would hire some random people no one ever heard of to edit the articles about Microsoft. Those with deep pockets would have the privilege of doing this while, say, a dissident from within Microsoft's ranks would be afraid to edit the article about Microsoft lest he get fired. He would need to find a friend to edit on his behalf, and hope that no one would be able to connect the dots and figure out who was behind it.

C-Note said:
From what I understand, the last few years Wikipedia (actually the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs it) has received so many millions of dollars in donations that they're having trouble spending the money. Their staff has increased from about 30 people six years ago to over 100 and most of them apparently just sit around looking busy. They're so flush with money large numbers of their staff now travel around the world to attend obscure conferences and symposiums on free culture, web 2.0, and similar topics.

This is true. It should've been set up as a for-profit company from the beginning, so that they would have had an incentive to trim some of that fat. Although they claim the nonprofit status helps them avoid bias, they still have to pay attention to which side their bread is buttered on. A lot of their funding has come from Google, and it just happens that a lot of their board members also have ties to Google. What a coincidence.

The Wikimedia board appoints the executive director, who theoretically leaves day-to-day management of Wikipedia to the community, but still helps set the tone for the organization by, for example, blogging about various issues. Wikimedia staff also decide when to hand down a SanFranBan (i.e. Wikimedia-imposed global ban), which overrides the will of the community. An example was Russavia, who brought to light a Wikimedia Foundation staffer's undisclosed conflict of interest with regard to some paid edits and commissioned a Pricasso painting of Wikimedia founder Jimbo Wales.

Oh, I hadn't noticed that Wikimedia is also funded by the Rothschild Foundation; that's interesting. Nice to see that wealthy individuals are choosing to give back in such an altruistic way, without expecting anything in return. I don't see George Soros on the list of donors, but Wikimedia did mention receiving a $5 million anonymous donation. Hmm. Hard to say for sure who it might have been, but I'm guessing it wasn't the Koch brothers.
 

Mikan

Robin
Wikipedia Talk pages are some of the funniest pages on the entire internet if you can find the right ones. The multi year edit war over the spelling of Yogurt/Yoghurt being a good example.

In general, anything over 150 years old, or a boring topic that no one really has a dog in the fight for, its fine. Anything with even a tiny but enthusiastic opposition to the accepted definition and it decays quickly.

It's a good starting point for researching an issue. It is also one of the best places for a dry synopsis of emergent events. And Koreans trying to re-write history.
 
Mikan said:
Wikipedia Talk pages are some of the funniest pages on the entire internet if you can find the right ones. The multi year edit war over the spelling of Yogurt/Yoghurt being a good example.

Another one I stumbled across recently was the Kermit the Frog debate.

By the way, Endercase, the wiki-dissident mentioned in my original post, has indeed been blocked. I could do a blow-by-blow analysis of where the administrators erred in their interpretation of Wikipedia's rules, but that would be "wikilawyering," I guess. Actually, they're the ones who wikilawyer by citing the rules in a misleading way.
 

jps

 
Perhaps there's another lesson in WP as well: that of "consensus."

On the one hand, abuse of a concept doesn't negate its validity within its own domain. So consensus can be a great goal.

But when a concept like consensus becomes abused as it has on WP, it becomes a simple case study in hypocrisy as the powerful parties say, "Well, WE had consensus when we made this call" or "YOU didn't try to get consensus before making this change." (And then, they can accuse you of canvassing if you actually try to get input from others!)

But I wonder what the RVF, for example, would look like if we had to achieve "consensus" on religion, politics, economics, various models of game, etc. Well, I could speculate.
 
jps said:
Perhaps there's another lesson in WP as well: that of "consensus."

On the one hand, abuse of a concept doesn't negate its validity within its own domain. So consensus can be a great goal.

But when a concept like consensus becomes abused as it has on WP, it becomes a simple case study in hypocrisy as the powerful parties say, "Well, WE had consensus when we made this call" or "YOU didn't try to get consensus before making this change." (And then, they can accuse you of canvassing if you actually try to get input from others!)

But I wonder what the RVF, for example, would look like if we had to achieve "consensus" on religion, politics, economics, various models of game, etc. Well, I could speculate.

Lately, Wikipedia is starting to resemble a relationship where there are a bunch of arguments over nothing. Typically, they're not even debating what content should go in articles anymore. They're debating people's motives and whether fine points of protocol were observed. There was a big hullabaloo recently about Andrevan's unblocking a user without communicating with the blocking admin first.

As usual, Jytdog got involved, saying, "Holy cow that is awful on just about every level. Instigated in secret, no discussion with MER-C apparently, and done without even reviewing the extensive community discussions about the paid enterprise and Ricessa's role in it, nor the specific rationale for this block This is cowboy adminning of the worst kind. You have put your foot in it Andrevan, and I suggest you self-revert and back away from your defense, pronto."

The wiki way, though, is for another admin to simply reblock the user and tell Andrevan, "Please don't do that again." At that point, they can have a discussion if need be. It's the BOLD, revert, discuss cycle. Asking him to revert himself is a SJW technique; it's like when SJWs ask a politician to denounce himself, when they are perfectly capable of denouncing him on their own.

Another problem, though, is that a wiki-republic like Wikipedia only works when there's transparency. It's supposed to be a fishbowl type of environment where everyone can hold everyone accountable. But lately, more and more evidence is being hidden from view, and the admins say, "Just trust us when we tell you that the evidence against this user is damning."

For example, MjolnirPants writes, with regard to a banned user, that "a quick look at their talk page shows that a good number of their contributions were not productive. In fact, the first edit to their talk page was a notification that they'd created an attack page." Yeah, but anyone can slap a notification like that on someone's user talk page. It doesn't mean that the article actually was an attack page; it just means someone interpreted it that way. The notice doesn't even reveal the title of the article.

The irony is, the cliques that run Wikipedia are not transparent in what they do, but they criticize paid editors for not being transparent. At the same time, the ongoing Vipul affair, which already has directly or indirectly resulted in many users getting kicked off (in many cases, for criticizing the admins' handling of the situation, or for criticizing the admins' blocking of users who criticized the admins' handling of the situation), demonstrates why being upfront with the community is often not in one's best interests.

By the way, speaking of SJW projection, MZMcBride wrote, with regard to the user formerly known as ^demon, "I'm particularly tickled by the comment by עוד מישהו, in which he makes up a policy that established editors here 'have a user name which can be typed on the standard English-language keyboard' and then proceeds to sign in Hebrew." They'll pick on someone who actually makes valuable contributions to the project, like ^demon, over something petty, and allow all these people who contribute little or nothing to run the show.
 

Handsome Creepy Eel

Owl
Gold Member
Wikipedia is absolutely laughable and is dominated by fanatical leftist spergs. Just today I was reading the talk page for an article about one of the members of the Rothschild family and there was a flock of autistic "editors" rejecting an article detailing the ties between the Rothschild and Rockefeller families during the last 100 years because it was "fake news" and "gossip from an unverified source".

The catch?

The article source was... New York Times.

:laugh:
 
I think the only reform that can save Wikipedia, is if they scrap their nonprofit wiki-democratic republicanism, and switch to a for-profit hierarchical model, like the kind practiced by successful corporations.

Wikipedia's reasoning is circular. How do rules get enacted? By user consensus. I.e., voting. The users vote on what rules they think are best for the encyclopedia. At least, that's what it looks like is happening on policy and guideline talk pages.

What about debates about banning particular users, or deleting particular articles? Theoretically, those get decided according to rules, without regard to consensus in those particular ban or deletion debates.

But wait, is that really how it works? Or is it the other way around? Are policies descriptive, rather than prescriptive, and therefore consensus in a ban or deletion debate is what shapes the rules? But in that case, why do rules get cited in ban and deletion debates?

Is there really only one rule, i.e. "Ignore all rules"? In that case, who enforces the rule? Sysops, right? Who makes sure that sysops do what they're supposed to? Arbitrators, right? In a lot of cases, arbitrators tell the community that their input isn't welcome, because they're going to consider the matter behind closed doors, so to speak.

Who makes sure that arbitrators do what they're supposed to? The voters! Aha, so at the final stage, it really is a true republic. Yet how can the voters hold the arbitrators accountable, without knowing what goes on secretly? Also, hardly anyone votes in ArbCom elections. And only those who aren't banned are eligible to vote. The same goes for community decisions; only those who aren't banned get to weigh in.

Wikimedia has the same problems as the ArbCom; they too make decisions behind closed doors, and therefore can't be held accountable by the voters. Why exactly should we trust them; why not turn WMF into a for-profit entity, and let market forces hold them accountable?
 
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