Libel pit

    From Consumerium development wiki R&D Wiki

    A libel pit is a public forum, such as a large public wiki, where lies and errors are propagated by various effects (including an echo chamber) all of which can be traced to a lack of integrity in governance.

    This is the single most important issue in Consumerium Governance - since almost any negative statement about any product or company can be represented as libellous and interfering with one's business or diluting the trademark.

    A naive legal view of the large public wiki is that it's open-ness protects it. However, any exception to that open-ness drastically increases liabilities:

    Legally, if one group of people is permitted to make or repeat statements that are inaccurate, about another person or group, and that person or group is in any way prevented or restricted or limited in responding or correcting what is said, the owner/operator of the service becomes legally liable as a publisher.

    This effect has been predicted as one of the ways that Wikipedia will be destroyed. Those who seek to democratize or destroy it, for instance, might simply refer false statements made about individuals or groups, to those individuals or groups, and invite their strongest legal action against the project as a whole. Various lies about, among others, Mel Gibson (who has sued even *churches* for lying about him), Craig Hubley (who is accused/crediting with having authored a rather vast literature by various parties, but this in an "article" which contains obvious factual errors), and Islamic political movements (who various authors have claimed all advocate violent attacks on all Jews and Christians by definition) have been famously argued about there, and the question of legal liability for such statements, or consequences of the individuals or groups being informed of what is said about them on Wikipedia.*

    This will be an important precedent for Consumerium Governance Organization to watch. In many ways the destruction of Wikipedia will yield various lessons that will be important to avoid in Consumerium's very much more important project.

    Watch and learn! say the trolls.

    • In the most famous echo chamber example, w:User:RickK, a racist, made the allegation that referring w:User:RK's actual name and address (which he had voluntarily revealed) to Islamic groups he was defaming, specifically, the most democratic ones that work within political movements, was a "death threat". This was an obvious racist lie, and one that many people noticed, see [w:User:EntmootsOfTrolls/ban the discussion with the exact quotes], however, it was a convenient excuse for Wales and his cult of personality to attack someone who had spoken up loudly against biases in the Wikipedia against Muslims (and, interestingly, "queers" and feminists) and its strong pro-American bias in the terms it uses. Subsequently entire IP ranges where numerous parties had edited articles inherently hostile to the Bush administration, e.g. w:Bush family conspiracy theory were blocked, contrary to longstanding policy not to do so - this was apparently carried out by w:User:Tim_Starling who also lied about the reasons for doing so.

    Legally, since the parties who are being libelled as having uttered so-called "death threats" are specifically the only people who cannot respond to repetitions of those threats, allegations about their identity, or motives of their opponents, Wales is publishing the "anti-" statements without acting as a common carrier for the "pro-" statements. He is tolerating reverts of edits that even so much as *agree* with the analysis above. Therefore, he is publishing libel, as his approved editors are exercising their editorial control.