On 01/10/06, charles.r.matthews(a)ntlworld.com
"David Mestel" wrote
> I don't think that "implied
discretion" is a good idea long-term -
> it's better to codify it in policy so that everything is consistent
> and in the open. Apart from anything else, it's kind of inadvertantly
> biting the newbies when stuff happens for reasons which aren't
You are in fact completely wrong and dangerously wrong.
Humans are not robots. The more rules, the harder it is for people to
follow them. So they won't.
Human judgement is flawed, imperfect and subject to bias and abuse. So
some people attempt to write reliable procedures for all actions and
eliminate grey areas, in the interests of fairness and efficiency. But
the rules are not complete, coherent or consistent, and precedent
isn't binding in any case. (Really - check [[Wikipedia:Consensus can
change]]. You'd be a fool to ignore it, but it's not at all binding.)
That Wikipedia is inconsistent, and permits things it does not
condone, is a feature. Take care not to try to turn Wikipedia into
something which, if it was, would never have become interesting enough
for you to have heard about it in the first place. (See also [[The
Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs]].)
In Wonkish, 'discretion' stands for certain
grey and disreputable areas of policy, where what should happen is not yet properly
regulated. In Arbish, however, and I speak here as an Arb with the publicly stated aim of
keeping admins' discretion something meaningful, you have always to look behind
applications of policy to see intention, and the application to the mission statement we
have of writing the encyclopedia.
In other words, discretion in Arbish is read as saying that pro-active admins are the
first, second and probably third lines of defence of the project. It is much better to
have them out there doing their best, and taking away the mop-and-bucket from a very few,
than doing up the constraints ever tighter, because it is felt that this pre-empts misuse
of admin powers.
I think I'll be quoting that as a voice from on high.