On 2/7/06, Guettarda <guettarda(a)gmail.com>
This whole mess has left me feeling bruised and
shocked, and rethinking my
role here. If El C and Carbonite leave we have lost a lot more than can be
counted in them just as individuals. El C, for one, made this place fun,
and if you aren't having fun there is not reason to stick around.
Wheel warring is something that sensible people should not indulge in. On
the other hand, the ability of admins to undo each others' blocks is one of
the things that make adminship "no big deal". Piles of regulations, and
people who live to interpret regulations and find loopholes in regulations
do the project no good. Rather than wheel-warring, clamp down on
inappropriate blocks. Blocking vandals is an easy decision. Blocking
people who say "Get the fuck away from me you fucking psycho" are easy to
block. But the onus needs to be on the first person doing the blocking,
that they get it right, not on the other people involved. We need to look
at people's actions, look at the number of blocks you had overturned and the
number of blocks you overturned...and if you have more than three blocks
overturned in a fortnight, then someone needs to take you aside an talk to
you. If you regularly overturn blocks, then someone needs to talk to you.
We are developing a culture where wheel warring is become acceptable. We
need to change to culture, not by creating new regulations, but by
socialising people away from it.
Page deletion and recreation is another issue. We cannot fetishise process,
and *fD needs serious reform. We need to organise a Wikiproject to reform
*fD. Get people to throw in ideas, and get other people to repackage them.
Do not impose a solution, and make sure that we come up with something so
devoid of ego that no one feels ownership of the idea. The standard
"propose-and-argue" method has too much ego in it - you fight to defend
"your view". We need some people to generate ideas and write them up, other
people to try to put together, and others to harmonise the final ideas. Be
editors, not creators. Or some crap like that.
Despite my efforts to stay on the fringes, I find this whole thing sapping
my energy. I don't know what it does to people at the centre of it all.
Give it a rest, try to preserve your sanity - and try to think about
You are exactly right, but history tells us that process-oriented,
rules-as-ritual, paranoid, vindictive bureaucracies generally win in
the long run. It's an incremental process, but each step is based in
the logic that security (or rather, the illusion of security) is more
important than individual freedoms, that there are enough bad people
and precious things in the world to ruin the happiness of the good.
I'm glad that there's still some culture of questioning rules and
Sadly, I agree. Real original progress comes from people who are
willing to take risks, not from those obsessed with protecting what they
believe they already have. My impression is that those who like this
web of rules are not really interested in solutions. They can't say
outright that they don't want the project infected with new ideas, but
they have other techniques for intimidating the newcomer who may really
have some good ideas. The newcomer doesn't yet know the players; they
have no basis for distinguishing between the new sysop trying to
exercise his new powers and the more mellow experienced user. He has no
idea who can be safely offended.
I believe that sysops should be held to a higher standard, beginning
with the ones who are too quick to impose blocks. There should be no
presumption that the person who imposed a block is prima facie more
correct than the one who undoes that same block. A review of an unblock
should include a review of the block, and if the original block is
determined to be improper, the blocking sysop should be subject to
blocking for the same period of time that he sought to impose on the
user. If he uses the block fairly and competently he will have nothing
to worry about.
I don't always agree with Cunc and Ed Poor, and perhaps they can
sometimes be annoying or outrageous. I have learned to live here with
others whose opinions on a broad but complex variety of issues are
diametrically opposed to mine. I don't think that I have been wrong to
believe that this has been critical to a properly functioning wiki. I
have never needed a tome of rules to teach me that.
I am more willing to pay attention to people like Cunc who speak from
conscience than to those who have nothing better to offer than more
rules. I won't always agree with him, but at least I'll listen ... and
listening is the first step to any solution.