Consumerium social club
Consumerium social club is just a name for all Consumerium developers, Consumerium end users, Consumerium researchers and Consumerium Governance Organization members who care to socialize in the opinion wiki or talk associated with content wiki.
Unlike on Disinfopedia or Wikipedia this will not be allowed to interfere with sysop decisions and the Consumerium buying signal which affects real helpless living things - things with a real body, the life of real communities, both of which overrule foolish virtual/disposable chat clubs as a priority. However people get attached to such 'social clubs, that's fine, and they should have certain rights to continue their social relationships as a group even if these unequal power relationships are damaging the mission of the forum they met each other in.
Renaming the so-called "community" a social club helps remind people that their concerns or annoyances, say with trolls, are very petty compared with what they are trying to protect by working together, i.e. at Consumerium. If this name is changed it should be to something even more obviously social and with no authoritative integrity, like Consumerium dating service or Consumerium groupthinkers. It should never be called a "Consumerium Community" since it is this exact terminology which seems to trigger the worst sysop behaviour. Suddenly in order to keep themselves in charge they claim to "protect the community" by using tactics that would be only justified by protecting real bodies from real assaults. Annoying a sysop might lose you status in a social club - it does most certainly not imply that you have nothing to contribute to "the mission".
Consider: would you allow someone running a political meeting to literally gag someone, and physically throw them out of the building, using some technology that no one else in the room had, with no particular process or criteria that the rest of the room agreed with completely? If you did, would you expect that conversation in that room would thereafter reflect people's real views or tend towards groupthink just to end the pointless (obviously some things have already been decided) meeting sooner or avoid further exclusion? Yet this is the exact behaviour that almost all sysops apply when they are given power.
The following exhange seems to contrast sysop and troll views of power:
This is also the exact behaviour of most meetings in the real world, there are just different socially accepted forms of enforcement.
- And very different limits and criteria for gaining and losing that power. An unequal power relationship is very dangerous. And typically you do not have several dozen people in a room of several hundred, all of whom are sufficiently bold, armed, and technologically enabled enough to remove dozens of others instantly on a whim, the way that you can in an online forum. So the level of unequal power is VERY DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT, which makes it not "the exact behavior". The kind of fascism that happens online couldn't happen in the real world, which is the point of the example: not just because it would not be tolerated in a meeting where the fate of the person involved, or anyone, was being decided, but because very few would volunteer to do it. SOME meetings in the real world are like this, like a courtroom where a judge might toss someone for contempt of court, and armed bailiffs might support that, but, still, there would not be dozens of masked bailiffs in the room who are never fired for anything they do, and judges who don't really pay much attention... so NO, "most meetings in the real world" do NOT work that way. And who it is "socially accepted" by, is those who remain in the room after the ejection: who may be intimidated against objecting, after seeing what just happened.
The reason the above analogy is not applicable to an online forum such as a wiki is that there is no physical room online, you can't see the people involved, and you have no direct means of communicating with them either.
- All of which makes them more vulnerable in some ways (easy to dispose of the bodies, since the bodies are elsewhere) and less vulnerable in others (potential for anonymity). Once there is outing, everyone is actually more vulnerable, as the sysops will cooperate to keep themselves from being outed, but the users have no such ability to shut anyone up or keep information hidden.
- It is wrong to say "the above analogy is not applicable" if what is being discussed in the room has a serious impact on bodies, that is, the output of the meeting will affect someone's life or health or ability to protect either. If the meeting is like a "town hall" then that's exactly what's being decided - the analogy is not about ordinary meetings of private groups or corporations, it is about public purposes and claims of openness to public input. So there may not be "physical room" online, but there are real bodily and physical types of impacts, and those must be considered, even if they are not quite visible... likewise if you are deciding something that will affect the fate of children, you don't necessarily have to allow children in the room or let them speak, but you have to have some rational way of representing their interests or dangers.
In the real world, any group of two or three people have the power to physically throw someone out of a building, as a result, people are generally more civil, and more apt to follow the established rules. People can directly comminicate, fight, argue, and be asked to leave.
- Quite true: "Democracy is two guys dragging a third kicking and screaming to the gas chamber." However, the "group of two or three people" first of all MUST COOPERATE, as no one of them could do it alone, and ARE TAKING A RISK, as they could get hurt or sued or something if they are doing it for self-interest and not as a fair interpretation of what everyone concerned (not everyone in the room but all stakeholders) want or need done. And you're right that these requirements for cooperation and consideration of civility do result in some more elaborate procedures. None of which seem to exist in any online forum - maybe they're too new to have formal dispute resolution via factions... "globally there is no alternative to multiparty representative democracy" - Les Campbell, the democracy institute. Sysops are not so wise to think of one, if it exists. People may dislike factions/parties but they're necessary.
- To "be asked to leave" happens all the time. And ignoring it happens all the time. For instance if Consumerium were publishing false information about some product, and violating its own license, and someone pointing that out were asked to leave, a good stakeholder who cared about Consumerium would not want them to OBEY, but FIGHT. So enabling that dissent really is what matters, and it's a prime reason to (a) have an independent board not involved in the daily decisions (b) have a Consumerium Governance Organization that follows some due process, not an echo chamber and (c) require two or three sysops to agree on something that excludes someone, and make it relatively easy to undo (d) not let anyone have any post for as long as they want (e) allow those who object to bad processes to have a way to run for the job of fixing them all:
- No one can run for a GodKing's job, so it's necessary to discredit him. If the job is politically important enough, like running an Empire, it might become necessary to do worse. Queen Rania of Jordan said it best "If he fails badly, all that a President loses is an election. If a King fails, he loses his life." So it is dangerous to the power-holder to take too much power - another good reason to distribute power with methods like disapproval voting or factional competition to "legislate" compromise solutions.
Online it is a much more metaphysical experience, we are all imagining a place, this wiki, and we can push information into it with the power of our thought assisted by some technology. People are more apt to be disagreeable and rude because it is easier to do so and there is less consequence.
- That's ONE SOCIAL reason "because". Trolls would say: people are PERCEIVED AS disagreeable and rude because they are working in an inherently less rich medium, and, one where power struggles and power structure are slanted so heavily against them that they have to make a LOT of noise just to be heard amidst the din - after all, lots of people who could never be bothered to go to a live meeting on an issue will write whole essays about it online. So there's way more noise, and serious people who care have less power to get the point across. And are easier to ignore, making it a more competitive environment to debate in. In these circumstances, everyone becomes "disagreeable and rude"...
- And what is "information"? It's someone's map of how to make future decisions. Those maps differ, and tough and tragic choices must be made by any collective about how to reconcile them to achieve the groups' collective mission. To dismiss all this as mere "rudeness" is simply called stupidity. It might even be the definition of stupidity.
- Ask yourself this: can a sysop be a vandal? If not there's no such thing as sysop vandalism - "the police are always right" - and no need for "judges" or a separate political hierarchy. In the real world, cops, politicians and judges are all chosen by different methods, and there's a strong due process. When there is no such process, people get killed in the debates:
- Anonymous trolls who were disagreeable with each other, and rude to King George III, eventually wrote a constitution and founded the United States - while fighting these trolls, the King and his sysops were of course at all times simply perceiving them as disagreeable, wrong, rude and evil. Were they?
- Same story for any revolution. Nelson Mandela was a troll. Gandhi too.
If people behaved in the real world how trolls behave online, they would be gagged and thrown out.
- And those who did this gagging and throwing-out would be killed. Power is resisted, and new power forms to resist it: that too is part of revolutions. Eventually a power balance is reached and a new etiquette that makes sense. It is this potential for physically violent feedback that keeps authority honest. And some would say, ONLY that.
- But on the face of it, this statement is also stupidity, as there is no way to "behave online". Behaving is physical, it is not about words. You would have to see body gestures and some indication of physical commitment to words to see "how trolls behave", and it is simply wrong to make the assertion you do.
- There is no such thing as "online behaviour" for the same reason that there is no such thing as "virtual community" - it is thoughts meeting, or words, not bodies. Molecules are not bits. Period. It is only valid to compare what goes on in net media to what goes on in the real world, when there is some clear impact of the net debate on the real world. And there very often is. Certainly in Consumerium it's very clear that the Consumerium buying signal is intended to have some impact on the real world and real bodies.
This is not to say the current sysop system is not without it's flaws, it simply remains to develop a better system.
- The solution to bad systems is not always "to develop a better system." That is the prejudice of a certain type of personality, to believe that.
- Sometimes the answer is to simply "better people in the same system", i.e. more active competition for power, and making it easier to lose power.
- Sometimes the answer is to realize that irreconcilable differences and incommensurable values clashes exist, and, make sure that any issue is heard out by genuinely uninterested parties without any agenda of their own to push, and no stake in any particular person being believed. But that too is "system".
- Another answer is to destroy or continually resist "the system" and expect a constant tension to keep power balances in flux, so they at least change a bit once in a while, and there is room for creative maneuver between the factions. Neal Stephenson is a champion of this approach. He is probably right about it.
See m:Internet Authority Disease, m:power structure and m:Wikipedia sociology for more on this problem and how it plays out on Wikipedia.
- Disinfopedia is actually a much worse example of a social club taking over a wiki that supposedly has a mission, which it executes rather badly - due in great part to its failing to acknowledge that different POVs will and must exist on the issues they debate. But their editorial work is generally not bad, and, they'll probably evolve, as they kick out sysops who are bad editors.
- Metaweb being run by a bunch of Neal Stephenson fans will likely do a good job on the technology, and, maybe, understand power structure better.
Reference: m:Association_of_Wikipedians details how users can ally to counter sysop power structure and other formal structure. Perhaps as one way to achieve m:regime change and counter the oppressive "community".