On Wed, 20 Nov 2002, Toby Bartels wrote:
Larry Sanger wrote in part:
They and I suspect others are feeling weariness at
having to deal on the
on the website with a small but tiresomely droning cadre of what can
probably most accurately be described as anarchists. They've basically
taken over Wikipedia-l and drone on and on, engaging in what I think is
really offensive political posturing and forcing old hands to defend
policies long decided. At this point, it probably isn't necessary or
helpful to name names, but the people reading this will be able to guess
who I'm talking about.
That's right, we know that you're talking about us,
so don't think that we're not going to take your insults personally.
"offensive political posturing" my eye!
I care about this project as much as you do,
whether you can believe it or not.
You're trying to *change* the project, Toby.
Jimbo, many of
us have put in many hours on the project, and who have
left, want clearly enforceable standards--I think I'd be speaking for
Julie Hoffman Kemp and Michael Tinkler, who are long gone, as well as Isis
and many others who had less patience than they had.
You have their email addresses, right? Then you don't have to guess.
Probably they'll agree with you, to some extent,
but if you want us to count them as your supporters,
not just your reasons, then ask them.
I am not guessing. I know them; I know they agree with this.
* We will not
tolerate biased content. The neutral point of view is not
open to vote; it's decided. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.
Other than TMC, we irresponsible anarchists agree.
Except that it seems that at least some of you don't want it to be
declared as *set policy*. That was my point, Toby.
* There are
certain other policies as well that basically define us as a
community. We have arrived at them by broad consensus, and they should be
respected. Wikipedians working in good faith should feel empowered to
enforce those policies. They shouldn't have to apologize for doing so!
Apologise in the sense of "I'm sorry"? Certainly not.
Apologise in the sense of justifying the policy? Certainly.
Certainly *not*. We should not *constantly* have to defend long-standing
policies against the objections of new people who happen not to like them.
For example, Lir has no business moving [[Christopher
to [[Cristóbal Colón]] *now*, but it's her business as a Wikipedian
to discuss changing the policy on the list.
It seems to me she's wasting everyone's time. If she had asked "Gee, why
is this the policy?" she might have learned something.
* We will not
stop banning vandals. We should seek out the best ways we
know how to make sure that non-vandals are not lumped in with the vandals,
but please stop talking as if we'll just stop banning them, because it
ain't gonna happen.
Gee, even KQ (the potential loss of whom is
the immediate motivation of this post)
doesn't want to ban anybody himself anymore.
AFAICT, this is because of the practical problems with our methods,
not because of some ideological desire to never ban anybody.
Let him speak for himself.
* We try to
help newcomers who want to contribute but don't quite
understand the body of good habits (and rules) we've built up. But we
should not and *will* not tolerate forever people who are essentially
attempting to undermine the system. See below.
Considering that it's not standard policy *now*
to ban intolerable users that aren't vandals
(except in special cases with Jimmy's involvement),
I think that you ought to stop this pretense
that you're merely trying to preserve our current system.
I'm not *just* trying to preserve the current system, indeed.
* To whatever
extent we are or are not, or should be, a democracy, the
following is also true. We are a benevolent monarchy ruled by a
"constitution" or, anyway, a developing body of common law that is not
open to interpretation, but not vote. This has been the case from the
beginning, and we aren't going to change that.
Wait, you mean that the proposers of *voting* are the *anarchists*?
Do you still think that Erik is an anarchist or some such thing?
Get a clue, man!
Uh, no, Toby, that isn't what I meant.
In addition to
this, it would help a LOT for you to solicit draft
statements of policy regarding clear circumstances in which people can be
banned for being really egregiously difficult. There has to be a
*reasonably* clear line drawn that distinguishes difficult but
on-the-whole useful contributors, on the one hand, from contributors so
egregiously difficult that the project suffers from their continued
presence. The policy should codify, for example, the reasons why we did
ban 24 and Helga, and the reasons why we might ban Lir. Let's have a
discussion about this, bearing in mind that one option that is *not* on
the table is that we might decide *not* to ban people for their trollish
behavior at all. We definitely will, so let's make the policy clearer.
You could start the discussion and make it clear that at some point soon,
we *will* determine a policy.
IOW, let's decide before the discussion that we will change policy,
and only leave the discussion open to *how*.
I support a discussion about policy for banning what you call "trolls"
(not that Helga, much less Lir, is *actually* a troll),
but let's not a priori rule out the views of a sizable group.
Yes, I'm asking Jimbo to take a controversial stand that might offend a
group of anarchists. What amazing gall I have.
mean to put words in your mouth of course.
You just assume that Jimbo will agree with you about everything.
Well, we'll see.
No, I certainly do not, Toby. In fact, I'm very worried that he might
disagree on some point that I personally regard as key.
IMO, Wikipedia is really suffering, and even losing people.
We're losing people and gaining people, and I don't just mean gaining Lir.
If you think that nobody will or should ever leave Wikipedia
(except people that you don't like and so banned, of course),
then you're terribly naïve.
Toby, please--I founded this project and have watched it from the
beginning. I know that people leave all the time. You obviously did not
understand my point in your desire to poke holes in whatever I had to say.
The point is that there are a lot of people who just will not work in an
environment when trolls can wander around and wreak havoc with no public
now sunk to a depth at which the re-statement of the obvious is
the first duty of intelligent men." --George Orwell
Ah, the voice of arrogance. I mean, isn't Larry always *obviously* right?
Anybody that disagrees with him is either an ideologue or an idiot,
and that's how it'll always be.
Boy, have a look in the mirror, dude.
"We have now sunk to a depth at which the re-statement of the obvious is
the first duty of intelligent men." --George Orwell