Its also the case that even our complex systems are not easy to navigate and that the wiki
system can be very confusing for new users beyond just the complexity of our bureaucracy.
In the example that sparked this conversation, the new editor struggled to understand the
difference between deletion review and requests for undulation. There are good reasons for
both these pages - but even their staunchest defenders would have to concede that these
pages are hardly a model of clarity and design. We could probably help the situation a lot
by putting in some effort to improve the user experience of our bureaucracy and thinking
about how each "wikipedia" page appears to new editors and attempting to make
them simpler to grasp - without changing any of our underlying policies.
On Monday, 5 December 2011 at 23:08, Nathan wrote:
On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 9:20 AM, Charles Matthews
<charles.r.matthews(a)ntlworld.com (mailto:email@example.com)> wrote:
AfD can get it wrong: I suppose that is common ground. "Notability" as a
concept is broken, always has been, always will be (my view, not
necessarily the majority view given the status given to the GNG by some).
In some cases it is really not a big deal whether a topic is included or
not: there obviously is a level at which quite a number of reasonable
people are pretty much indifferent to the outcome. The same people would
not, presumably, be indifferent to the decision not being by "due process".
There is an appeal against AfD's process aspect. Anyone can navigate there.
I think we first need to analyse whether this is a "manual page" problem or
a "complaint procedure" problem. (Actually I'm going to put in a plug for
"How Wikipedia Works" at this point: look in the index under
"deletion review" is on p. 226 and the page tells you what to do. If the
guy really wanted to impress his colleague he could have done that.) If
he'd mailed OTRS and got an unhelpful answer, I really would worry.
Look, the whole point of HWW or any other serious explanation about how we
got this far that people are so bothered about our content is that you have
to admit that: (a) the system does work, and is fit for the main purpose
for which it was set up (contra Tony's view); and (b) it's complicated.
There are no doubt people out there, in millions, who don't realise that
you probably can't have (a) without (b). You surely could have (a) if you
had enough paid staff, a skyscraper full of them (well, maybe 5000
graduates); and if you paid yet more you could give an impression that (b)
didn't apply. The service would not be free at the point of use unless a
large charitable foundation was picking up the bill. The complication in
(b) is to do with decentralisation: multiple processes running in different
places, as the only solution that is known to scale.
I can quite see why people do think Wikipedia "Byzantine", which is the
basic message of what we are talking about. Probably trainee medics curse
the immune system as unreasonably complicated. The metaphor doesn't seem to
me either too defensive or too stretched. I think we should bear in mind
that more and better written "manual pages" would only work better if
people had the basic humility to read instructions, at least in the context
of complex systems they don't understand.
You're making the argument that some complex systems (bureaucracy) are
necessary and intrinsic to the success of the project. I think most
people would agree. People are not challenging the existence of any
bureaucracy; they're saying there is too much, that it's too difficult
for the average person, and that we hallow bureaucracy and its mastery
above more important considerations.
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