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Rise of Martinets

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martinet n. 1. a rigid military discipline; 2. one who demands absolute adherence to forms and rules. More specific synonyms include: absolutist, oligarch, oppressor, tycoon, tyrant, usurper. All of these may be considered variants of the martinet.

Rise of Martinets is a wiki management failure: the phenomena of visible figures using etiquette as an excuse to trump ethics. Pettiness and small points of order are permitted to justify duckspeaking and mask deep groupthink, e.g. a comment containing facts and pointing out lies or misleading statements is deleted due to a claim that it is somehow "rude". Vital information fails to reach responsible community leaders. Etiquette itself loses its ethical ground. Shallow self-claims overcome and swamp deep ones.

Usually a consequence of a decline of civility that permits the Martinets to rise and make themselves, often, a de facto police force. If the Martinets achieve formal power, i.e. to IP ban or censor talk pages in a wiki, this will usually accelerate the decline. Speeding the evolution of such services (they are not communities) implies making Martinets subject to some kind of due process wherein they do not get to decide the rules of evidence nor the standard of proof or who bears the burden of proof.

Martinets are a different class from the little tin god sysops who just confuse ontological and operational distinctions. They are not the GodKings who believe that there is no alternative to just trusting their judgement. Martinets honestly believe they are applying the etiquette legitimately! They often convince others of that, it's even a preoccupation. But if you look at the details, they are liars, blamer, and inventors of evidence, and concealers of evidence, and make mountains out of molehills linguistically, and none of this is characteristic of a little tin god sysop, or a GodKing.