Democratize or destroy

From Consumerium development wiki R&D Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

To democratize or destroy a large public wiki which has abandoned its mandate for a specific purpose (a "serious encyclopedia" or "moral purchasing power" for instance) is an important decision. It might be possible to destroy such a project by 1. withdrawing participation 2. active propaganda 3. encouraging 'the wrong kind' of advocate to join the project 4. driving off the more talented and genuine contributors by asserting arbitrary criteria that have nothing to do with achieving the project goals, and lying about their work.

It is also possible to destroy it via amplifying a self-interested fork problem or simple bad copy problem. This is particularly easy if a poor software license is chosen.

Microsoft has had great success at marginalizing Linux with a combination of approaches of this nature, and has succeeded in confining Linux to maybe 1% of the desktop market. Their goal of course is not "to democratize", but simply to embrace, engulf, destroy, which is a variant of the same process. A consortium license such as that for Java (with its trademark and test suite certification) is the only thing that has managed to sustain a viable non-Microsoft alternative.

Most large public wikis subject to political dispute and identity dispute will likely be targetted for a democratize or destroy effort at some point - users disgusted with its power structure and those who are lied about due to a lack of accountability in same, will target the public wiki for various forms of attack, and will marginalize all contributors involved, until they change their ways. This will probably not be confined to one wiki. For instance, at Meatball wiki, Sunir Shah has objected that Wikipedia problems tend to spill over to his wiki, and, has even stated that he "has no choice" but to respond to allegations raised about him there. Others have been a bit less insistent, but, in general, they have refused to use real names.

So, would Consumerium likely be the target of a democratize or destroy effort?

And, if so, what would be the motives of such an effort, and what moves in Wiki Management might head it off at the pass?

Some suggestions:

1. Give factions first class status and ensure that factionally defined terms are not controllable by any one faction but only by agreements or even "contracts between" factions. This may make incompatible users who do not agree to any common process, abstract their dispute just enough to get the best from both, and may encourage them to bring in supporters, as opposed to boycott.

2. Treat identity dispute as another factionally defined issue. If two factions do not agree on how identity policy should be handled between them, then, the default is that the view is attributed to the faction itself, and not to any "individual". This reduces the carceral state or Panopticon type of character of wikis where one is forced to use real names.

3. Avoid Wikipedians like the plague. They bring their disease with them wherever they go. They have an inherently violent and abusive approach to dispute resolution, often labelling for instance newcomers contributions as 'vandalism' on day one, and subjecting even longstanding contributors to totally arbitrary 'kangaroo court' type decisions. The odds of being subject to a democratize or destroy ultimatum / attack are probably directly proportional to the number of Wikipedians who become involved in one's wiki. This might be an exception to the "keep issues between wikis separate" - if Sunir Shah can't avoid the lies of Wikipedians, how could anyone else do so?

3a. invite w:User:Mirwin, w:User:Netesq, w:User:Jrincayc, w:User:The_Cunctator, w:User:Mydogategodshat, w:User:Lsolum, w:User:Waveguy, w:User:Anthere, w:User:Kat and others who have been diligent about process, and eloquent about the problems of Wikipedia, to participate, first, and ask them to intervene to create a troll bridge when other Wikipedians, who have absorbed the negative and authoritarian conditioning of its "vile mailing list" (as The Cunctator calls it), make the error of considering Consumerium like Wikipedia.

3b. consider banning all Wikipedians with sysop status or those who advocate reverting edits for non-encyclopedic reasons, period (see talk:democratize_or_destroy for a list) - to work at Consumerium they must give up all input into such decisions, and must revert "troll edits" to prove they are more devoted to the declared goal of the wiki, than each other. Those at Wikipedia who do this spontaneously or otherwise work to make it "a serious encyclopedia" in defiance of sysops should be recruited, of course. So far such users include w:User:Waveguy, w:User:Ann_Kyslowski, w:User:Jrincayc (who protested anti-troll policies and went so far as to restore talk files after sysop vandalism - Jrincayc offered to add any edits one banned user wished to make if he wanted to email then to him). Kyslowski was banned apparently just for restoring a single troll edit, leading to some questions by Waveguy, who was apparently the only person who cares about the encyclopedic quality of the edits.

4. Engage in the "democratize or destroy" and right to fork debates on as many other wikis and meta-wikis as discuss them. Avoid those, and those people who control editorial decisions, on those where such debates are banned or even marginalized.