Rather than discuss the merits of this particular "outing," I think
it would be more productive to discuss ways of encouraging people to
edit under their own names rather than anonymously.
I realize that some people have legitimate reasons for preferring to
remain anonymous. Maybe they live under a repressive government.
Maybe they do some of their editing at work and don't want to get in
trouble with their boss. I don't have any quarrel with *allowing*
people to be anonymous. Most people, however, might as well edit
under their own name, and if Wikipedia could find a way encourage
this, it would cut down on some of the trolling and flame wars.
(People are more likely to be on their best behavior when their own
name and reputation is attached to what they do.)
| Sheldon Rampton
| Research director, Center for Media & Democracy (www.prwatch.org)
| Author of books including:
| Friends In Deed: The Story of US-Nicaragua Sister Cities
| Toxic Sludge Is Good For You
| Mad Cow USA
| Trust Us, We're Experts
| Weapons of Mass Deception
| Banana Republicans
| The Best War Ever
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In thinking about the recent Hasbara Fellowships situation, it reminds
me of previous situations where we've made summary blocks, like the US
Congress IPs. I'm wondering if we could use another tool in our toolbox:
the ability to ban people from articles only, while letting them
contribute normally to article talk and other pages. Here's why:
Wikipedia is becoming a bigger and bigger target for people with strong
points of view. A lot of these are people with conflicts of interest,
and another big segment is those engaged in political battles. Turned
loose on the encyclopedia, they could (and would) substantially harm our
Right now, we have two options to deal with them. One is to trust that
our system is robust enough to keep POVs roughly balanced. The other is
to just ban people outright from participation, temporarily or
permanently. For these strong POV types, I don't see either one of
those as a great solution.
Even when we can distill POV contributions into NPOV articles, POV
pushers are wearying. Blocking them can help, but it gives them an
incentive to pop up elsewhere, leading to sock-puppet hunts and a lot of
admin whack-a-mole. More importantly, it deprives us of their help in
providing references and in spotting POV distortion from others.
Would it be worth creating a new, more limited kind of block, where they
are just forbidden to touch main-space article pages? If they were
complete jerks, we could still use a normal block, of course. But
creating the softer option of semi-protection worked well, and I'm
thinking a softer kind of block would be a similar step forward.
William Pietri <william(a)scissor.com>
> On 7/29/07, Steve Summit <scs(a)eskimo.com> wrote:
> > A single, simple statement on Slim's user or talk page, saying
> > that the rumor is false, would be much better than all this
> > rampant reverting by ElinorD, Jayjg, and Crum375.
You honestly think that if she said it was false, everyone would go away and
leave her alone, and all the trolling and stalking would stop?
If I were in Slim's position, I would make no comment either. You don't
start answering some of the stalkers' questions, knowing that there will be
more later. Remember that they have found various "identities" for her, and
are still looking. Presumably, they'll come up with a few more in the next
year. What is she supposed to do? Make a statement on this occasion, and
keep silence when they actually guess right?
Q. Is it true that your name is Melissa Davenport?
A. No, that's false.
Q. Is it true that your name is Marjorie Simpson?
A. No, that's false.
Q. Is it true that your name is Jennifer Collins?
A. I refuse to say.
What kind of impression would that give?