Yes, the civility message is garbled.
1) the qualities one needs to get anything done in Wikipedia are generally,
tenacity and bullheadedness. Drawing enough attention to the issue and
breaking through the natural apathy and inertia of the wider community is
also essential (and that, frankly, often involved strategic drama-stirring
and a willingness to battle vested-interests).
2) whether one engages in (1) above or not, if you involve yourself in
attempting to change things it is likely to be a very emotional experience.
You will need to care passionately about your issue (or you'll give up) and
then deal with the frustration caused by the fact that changing anything is
almost impossible. Strategic or not, that's liable to make many of us
irritable and angry in the long-run.
3) When you are dealing with an issue that matters, and having to battle all
the way, nice, well-meaning, people picking you up on minor points of
civility are likely to have an effect utterly reverse of their intention -
they are likely to illustrate how Wikipedians pick up on internal etiquette
and ignore the issue. More frustration and anger.
Of course, the reverse argument is that being nice, civil and persuasive is
actually a more effective way of getting things changed. Unfortunately, I am
not at all convinced that is true. And the experience of trying it, and
finding it doesn't work, is likely to lead to more frustration and
short-temperedness (rinse and repeat).
What we need are structures that allow calm debate and effective
communication to work efficiently. A structure that rests of punishing
incivility will simply lead to more bureaucracy and gaming and will be used
as a partisan weapon. It is entirely the wrong response.
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Carcharoth
Sent: 01 February 2011 16:24
To: English Wikipedia
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Wikipedia Leadership (was NY Times article on gender
gap in Wikipedia contributors} - repost
On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 4:07 PM, wiki <doc.wikipedia(a)ntlworld.com> wrote:
A leader(ship) would find it easier
to say "thank you, you're right, we should do this, but please could you
tone it down a bit".
I thought that is what (some) arbitrators *did* say to you! Maybe the
message got garbled in the transmission.
But that is the problem. Even if ArbCom says something like that,
there is no guarantee that people will listen, or that sometimes
subtle points will come across in the rather civil language
arbitrators have to use. After all, if the people involved in disputes
were the listening sort, there would be less disputes.
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