... a banned user might not want the fact that
he or she is banned to show up ...
They should have thought about that before
doing something blockworthy, then, shouldn't they?
Merely contributing to a wiki is considered blockworthy in the minds of
Merely contributing an alternative point of view - the whole point of a
wiki - is blockworthy in some admin's minds!
Unbelievable, but true.
I hunger for the implementation of "innocent until proven guilty to a
body of impartial parties" on our wikis. An admin involved in an
argument should NEVER be permitted to ban their correspondent. They
should BOTH be subject to the impartial public review of a higher
authority. Admins tend to use banning to resolve an argument they don't
know how to win any other way. I suggest that NO argument should be
considered win or loose, as much as anyone weighing in should be able to
have their contribution respected, and read by anyone interested,
without an admin censoring and banning what's uncomfortable for them
Retire the admin instead - they are unsuited for a job of community
maintainer if they think any member of the community is expendable!
I think the point is that on the wikis, there is no constitutional
democracy with separation of powers (police versus judges versus
lawmakers) ... yet. So, merely contributing ANYTHING to a wiki, not
just an alternative viewpoint, even to the discussion/talk pages, might
be considered by an admin as blockworthy.
Until the wiki owner's themselves implement some sort of democratic
self-government structure with separation of powers, any wiki is subject
to hijacking by any single admin carrying an agenda, and all other
contributors be damned!
And this is not just dealing with a rogue, personally whimsical admin.
We are also dealing with subtle or blatant co-opting of our wiki's
administration by commercial, political, and religious interests.
Intentional subterfuge and sabotage by covert admins. The wikis are now
seen by powerful bodies out there as potent vehicles for their own
propaganda distribution. All this is happening now, and we are not
monitoring it. Banning permits these people to gain power and quash
other viewpoints from the public access the wiki was built for in the
So, I propose that there be NO BANNING except for:
... and even these be subject to review by more than one person,
including public review.
I propose that there NEVER be permanent banning! Why not permanent?
(a) Because spammers and vandals never hang around a name or IP address
very long, and maintaining such a ban would be useless overhead for any
(b) Releasing a ban after while permits anyone on that same name or IP
to try again later as a non-spammer, non-vandal, as the case may well
be, with either someone else inheriting the name or IP, or anyone
recovering from a misunderstanding, and getting the chance to try and
participate in the community without spamming or vandalizing.
(c) It reduces the power of admins, and therefor reduces the draw to
become an admin just to gain superior power over other contributors in
Being an admin is a COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICE, not a boss, not a louder
voice, not to "cleanse" the community of alternative breadth and depth.
Banning, especially permanent banning, is a power that draws people
seeking power. A wiki is supposed to be diametrically opposed such
power mongering as is exhibited in blogs, talk shows, and so on. Once
an admin is permitted to ban, the wiki heads towards bloggism. We WANT
alternative viewpoints, don't we?
Disagreements, even heated and lengthy, are not the problem; they are
the purpose of a wiki. Right? When should anyone back down and stop
proffering their viewpoint? Think of fighting apartheid - how long
should we all have struggled before giving up and giving in? When
should you give up offering your experience, your point of view, and
your preferences? The point is that someone with an alternative
viewpoint should not be limited to one post of that viewpoint any more
than someone with a traditional viewpoint is limited to one go-round of
Disagreements and off-topic posts aren't article material anyway, so
they can be moved to discussion/talk pages and user pages. Not deleted.
No one should be banned for such public explorations.
I see no value in deleting or banning anyone who is not a spammer or
I see no value in permanent bans of any kind.
But, I see no way yet for wiki contributors to prevent admins from
banning anyone on a whim, regardless.
So, it's up to the owner of the wiki to remove admins who disrespect
their own community by trying to quash contributions from members with
whom they disagree. The tone of a wiki is set by the owner, and if the
owner permits admins who are destructive of the community, then it's up
to the community to plead for a change, or go elsewhere. Sadly, many
community members agree with such "cleansing" of other community
members, or do not know or understand such community destruction is
going on. The internet is messy. If we have a feeling of ownership and
pride in our contribution to any other person's wiki, it may make us
feel bad when our contribution is deleted and we are banned, but we
probably should be prepared to loose our entire investment in time and
energy when an abusive admin deletes our work and bans us.
Wikis are just tools, and in the hands of anyone with a hunger for power
over others, those tools become an extension of that person's hunger for
power over others.
What can we do to make the next generation of wikis transparent and
properly self-governed by a constitutional democracy with separation of
- Peter Blaise