On 29 Jul 2007 at 09:05:12 -0400, Steve Summit <scs(a)eskimo.com>
Dan Tobias wrote:
...why has Slim's entire clique always been
so desperate to
suppress all mention of it? This seems to have been a primary motive
of the whole idiotic "attack site link" policy, for instance.
I believe it's because the discussion is held as unseemly and hurtful.
But one has to ask just how long Slim should be enabled by her
friends to take her her "damsel in distress" position, where her
tender, delicate sensibilities are being cruelly assaulted by all
those evil trolls and attackers. She's not a weak, defenseless,
lowly person here... she's one of the most prominent and powerful
editors and administrators on Wikipedia, and has a whole clique
surrounding her that wields a huge degree of power and influence over
the whole site. As such, she's arguably in the sort of position
where one must develop a thick skin about criticism. Critics won't
always be polite, and reasonable, and civil, and fair... especially
when they're doing their criticism over on other sites that play by
different rules from ours. But if you resort to heavyhanded tactics
to try to suppress all mention of the critics and criticisms, you
just surrender the moral high ground and make yourself and your
organization look bad.
A few articles up from the one about Wikipedia and Slim on Slashdot,
there's one about the New Zealand legislature (or parliament, or
whatever the heck they have over there) passing rules banning
journalists from using images of the legislators in session in
contexts that ridicule the legislature. Maybe that country has its
own local versions of John Stewart that like using politicians' own
speeches and the like to make fun of them, and that apparently hurt
somebody's feelings over there. Criticizing the government is fine
in a free country... but can't those critics be *fair* and *civil*
about it? Showing a legislator caught on camera picking his nose, in
order to sneer at him, is just *unfair*, and should be suppressed!
However, these rules are backfiring on them... I hear that Jon
Stewart even did a segment making fun of them for it... since he's in
the U.S., they can't do any more about it than Wikipedia's clique can
do about Slashdot commenters it dislikes.
A few years ago, Singapore's government dealt with critics who
claimed that the government was muzzling criticism via litigation...
by suing the critics for libel! That's the sort of thing that makes
one a laughingstock worldwide. Having the Wikipedia clique gang up
to suppress people who talk about how Wikipedia has a clique that
gangs up on people is right in that vein.
It's ironic that, just a few months ago, I was one of the most rabid
pro-Wikipedia, anti-critic people around. Very ironically, what
started turning things around for me was the fact that I liked to
laugh at the critics and their sites... at one point I frequently
called Wikipedia Review "the WikiWhiners" (something that got me
temporarily banned from that site, where I'd registered an account
for the purpose of responding to the attacks and criticisms they were
making about me). But to criticize the critics, and make fun of
them, it was useful to be able to link to what I was criticizing,
like "See [link]... look at the silly stuff they're saying now!" So
the attack-site link ban was troublesome to me... and when I spoke up
against it, it brought to my attention the seamy underbelly of the
Wikipedia clique and how it stood together in "solidarity" to circle
its wagons against anybody who went against it. That was an eye-
opener, and though I still strongly disagree with most of the
ideology of the "attack sites", I now have much more sympathy for
them than I did before.
== Dan ==
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