On 7/27/06, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I have not proposed an expert based solution. This is
a role which
practically any established Wikipedian would be qualified for.
Then I misunderstood your proposal. What would this role be advertised
as? Wouldn't candidates who are experts in copyright law be favored
for it, naturally? If not, wouldn't there be a great risk that the
exceptions made by a single person or small group are actually in
violation of the law?
It's not clear that the facts support your
position. Perhaps on
dewiki? Experimentation on Enwiki has demonstrated that the majority
of the participants in at least some of our voting process do not read
evidence presented preceding or included in the debate (measured by
placing external links in intros and in individual votes). Instead it
would appear that many voters make their decision based on initial
impression and a passing glance at the standing votes.
I have not seen many votes or polls where the vote was conducted
according to a defined process, where the arguments have to be fully
and carefully summarized long before any voting begins. Rather, in
most cases, it seems to be a mixed process of voting and arguing,
where arguments often have a hard time reaching visibility, and early
voters ignore later arguments -- making the results difficult to
It seems more sensible to split the process into first arguing and
then, if no consensus can be found, voting. Then you also avoid the
headcount on processes like AfD and instead have it as a pure
discussion, with a vote only when necessary.
Take a look at the polls and surveys in
where, at best, you will find a brief intro summarizing the _issue_,
but hardly ever a summary of the arguments for and against each
position. Most of these polls are started in moments of frustration,
with little planning and inconsistent prerequisites.
While it may be true that acceptable results can be
good votes, where the participants consist of informed parties, it is
not clear if such votes ever actually happen on enwiki.
That seems to be a matter of defining policy in such a way that only
good (i.e. well-organized) votes are allowed to go through. The
de.wiki Meinungsbilder do indeed seem to be more well thought-out in
Take this example:
It's about whether unpublished movies should have articles. Note the
extensive background information provided, the clearly defined voting
criteria, the rules on (re)moving votes, and the summaries of each
proposal. It still has room for improvement, but is pretty close to
what I'm thinking of. This kind of process can be followed both on a
small and a large scale -- depending on the complexity of the problem.
I'm not sure if you're aware of [[Dunbar's
Dunbar's number is the exact reason I propose voting and
summarizing/refactoring as a last resort in large scale
decision-making. Note that both arguments and votes can be anonymized.
I believe that without the control feedback of a
group our users are too unwilling to engage in the mixture of
compromise and consideration which are required to have a 'good vote'
and instead their behavior appears to be determined more by a desire
to assert their authority (by fighting against something rather than
working with it).
That's why trying to work out a mutually agreeable solution in a
social group should always precede a vote. When the group gets too
large and factions form, a vote may be the best way to find
acquiescence to a particular solution.