No, that's wrong. Look at the MediaWiki user base - mostly at Wikipedia. These people do group management very very badly and freezing their bad ideas about it into code will make it worse. For years they have very serious governance problems, there are always big troll fights and "regime change" debates and flame wars, and "pogroms" and "witchhunts" and "purges". Comments on "what's really wrong" get censored by a group that doesn't want to hear it.
- They just believe the plurality of contributors will keep the project alive well.
- There is lots of evidence against. Their belief is an ideology called neutral point of view which is ultimately assuming of market power relations (who has military power, has money, has ownership, has control). Serious people don't believe in it, unless they are fascists. Most experts would believe in a power struggle to define terms, and in factionally defined terms that permit factions to take positions that let them resolve identity disputes for themselves. The basis of this theory is conceptual metaphor. Visit that for the details.
- the groups they have being:
- The hierarchy which puts GodKing > Developer > Sysop > User > Anonymous > Trolls is the problem. It is a simple noxious "virtual community", i.e. a private domain where decisions are made by "owners" and technocrats who work for "owners". This is an entirely inappropriate power model for Consumerium. It would inevitably lead to corruption and control by owners and promoters of products, starting with technological products. For these reasons it would be wise to use other wiki code.
Further re: Wikipedia's problems and large public wiki issues it relates to:
They just don't know what they're doing, and on MeatballWiki and such you can find people complaining about how stupid the Wikipedia people are about how to do real world group management. They're always the worst example, e.g. of GodKing or just being a libel pit where anyone can lie about anyone else without any consequences. They'll collapse the day some guy with lawyers notices what they have allowed to be said about him. Like go look at the Page History of the article on Mel Gibson!!! And Mel sues, for real... he even sues CHURCHES...
People who organize their own favourite project so stupidly can't be trusted to figure out what "requirements" exist for serious social software! This is a very good reason to get away from MediaWiki and not to trust the people working on it. They are just not politically mature or even legally responsible. A project like Consumerium which is even more of a target can't possibly rely on software created by people who have such a poor idea of group support.
- It's a fresh thing that we have started this discussion on Wiki management with a phrase like "No that's wrong", which is addmitedly my fault cause I copied this from MediaWiki modifications where this discussion clearly didn't belong. Anyways put the stuff in a correctly named article and please don't start I hate MediaWiki developers and Wikipedia
- How about One hundred good reasons not to work with MediaWiki or Wikipedians ? A few of them can probably be saved, if they learn a totally different attitude to governance. It helps that this project, unlike those, has a value system to which contributors can hold each other accountable. Wikipedians have always refused to discuss that due to the ideology that says it doesn't matter, that value systems somehow come from their mailing list or are always struggling for control - they don't even always acknowledge the m:factions that exist in these struggles and have become more important. It's like King Louis XVI of France failing to notice that there was a "left" and "right" developing around him in the Assembly in Revolutionary France... all the more reason to be ready for factions to develop here and become significant in glossary debates, i.e. the factionally-defined terms.
At the time of writing this this talk page has more page views then the actual page which makes sense. Now it's about time we just figure out some rules and guidelines to manage the wikis and then we can work the trivial details out and get on with this. Juxo 15:57, 20 Dec 2003 (EET)
- Here's some starters
- 0. Be forgiving with individuals, and ruthless with cliques or cults or cultures - allow anyone to contribute, and encourage statements of what is wrong with other *groups* or *projects*, but keep it off the personal level:
- 1. while one can criticize the whole operating ideal and governance system of another large public wiki, one should avoid naming people involved or engaging in any "outing" or attempts to identify groups that may have origins or interests on other wikis - not only is there enough to do to recognize real world interest groups, but most conflicts between users are due to the particular conditions or cliques on another wiki and need not be repeated "here". So no "precedent" from another wiki should ever be invoked.
- Note: the above "rules" would apply to sysops who actually have the banning power. Individuals or trolls can of course set their own conditions for participating, which may from time to time include ultimatums of various kinds. An example of lies that could be told about this position, are that we are somehow hypocritical for asking sysops not to make such judgements, but to reserve the right for trolls to make them.
- 1a. Sunir Shah complains that Wikipedia's messes often/usually spill over into his MeatBall wiki. He tries to ignore it as a bad example, but, he can't, as Wikipedia is the single most obvious source of bad governance examples (and, to be fair, some good examples in things like dealing with multilingual names and factoring). This is important as you have already got some Wikipedians here who have participating in various conflicts there. You would be well advised to look into these conflicts, but also, not to assume that your decisions about them must be the same as those on Wikipedia. This is a mistake that Disinfopedia began to make early, and it has led to more serious mistakes - that project is now run by three editors, two of whom have no particular qualification, there is a votes for deletion page which they ignore and delete whatever they want, etc. It's run very badly.
- 2. if two users come into such a serious conflict that one proposes to "Ban" the other, then, the correct solution is a sort of "credibility duel" where the claims of each can be compared, and the contributions of each can be compared - anonymous users may be at a disadvantage as they dont seek to claim authorship, but, that's fair, as credibility of an anonymous IP is something easily disposed unlike the credibility of a real full name. Pseudonyms should not have any special status, only if your "Real name" is involved, should you get any benefit of the doubt for outside work or writing (on other wikis, or etc., it's not like trolls could not copy someone's user name and use it elsewhere). The really important thing is 2a. proposing to ban someone else carry a risk or cost to oneself 2b. once proposed, either the person proposing or the person proposed MUST GO - if you want them both to stick around, you have to work to build w:Wikipedia:troll_bridge troll bridges early, etc. This will help to get management involved early not late, if you actually care about the outputs. Which is not the same as Wikipedia, where seemingly no one cares about the outputs (credibility as an "encyclopedia" goes down every time someone reverts a good edit for personality reasons or to "punish" someone).
- 3. Establish clearly that there are *no* criteria for reverts or deletions other than "does not move us towards a robust and well grounded project that will eventually implement moral purchasing power". Be ready to ditch any person who has other goals, like personality issues with other users, or the creation of a "community" of friends, etc..
- 4. Stop working with the dysfunctional m: Wikipedia "meta community". You want this to work, focus on the work, and don't listen to them, or the "Meatball" people either - who say out loud that they care about the "community" and not about the results that they achieve. Both are an extremely poor source of policy thought. There are individuals who sound good in both forums, but are totally wrong. Invite effective individuals over one at a time, like w:User:Jrincayc, w:User:Anthere, w:User:Kat, w:User:The_Cunctator, w:User:Mirwin (who saw the whole fate of the project very early and wisely withdrew, and is now part of advogato which applies a guild model), w:User:Louis_Kyu_Won_Ryu, and perhaps w:User:MyRedDice if he gives up the errors of trying to implement GodKing decisions he personally has doubts about. Obedience leads one to error.
- 5. If you want to work on criteria, try another project run by people who care about their output and actual service to users, like Metaweb, which is run by highly qualified software engineers working to a model provided by a very highly regarded social fiction author (Neal Stephenson). If you have to debate policy issues with someone, debate it there, with people with some brain power. They also seem to have an interest in a wikitext standard and will almost certainly, given their background, come up with much better software in the long run than this mediawiki "stuff" which should be ditched A.S.A.P. - before it collapses completely. At this point even tikiwiki is superior...
- 6. Think about going multi-lingual early. This is about the only strength of mediawiki, that it has proven robust in a many-language project, and that tends also to fix many governance problems, as people who find the culture that develops in one language to be vile, retreat to another. So far anyone who has been "banned" at Wikipedia for instance has managed to contribute in at least one language, without even using proxies. In time the conspiracies created in other languages will achieve "regime change" there, putting off the "democratize or destroy" decision for a while. Ideally their next GodKing would not even understand English. ;-)