G'day The Mangoe,
On 5/31/07, Mark Gallagher
You read that, and assumed you'd scored a
king-hit on SlimVirgin. The
problem there is not that you need to apologise to Sarah (though you
do); it's that ... *you read that and assumed you'd scored a king-hit on
Well, you seem to have concluded that you have scored a "king-hit" on
me. But (as seems to be the routine irony) you have committed the same
sin that I did: you've jumped to a conclusion based on your
preconceptions. If you had followed the thread on WR about the
incident, you would have seen that the WR-ites didn't think that SV
wrote the smoking gun passage.
I never said that the WR-ites thought SV wrote the "smoking gun"
passage. I said that *you did*. Is it fair to say that you did,
indeed, believe that SV was responsible for the offending passage?
Which leads us to the three backstories here. One is
"Assume Good Faith" is a dead letter in this controversy, paid lip
service only when suspicions are voiced against oneself. It's
particularly noticeable in the constant claims that so-and-so relative
newbie "knows too much not to be a socpuppet." I've gone back and
looked at DennyColt's first edits, and at mine. They aren't that
radically different. This business of looking at edit patterns is
simply too much of a witch hunt, and rather too much like thorwing
them in the river to see if they float.
I don't intend to comment on DennyColt's suitability as a sockpuppet
candidate, nor yours, but I do agree that simply examining someone's
edit patterns is a subjective test, and often not a particularly useful one.
The second is that it is obviously OK to make personal
people who aren't editors, and therefore seems to have become OK to
attack editors who show any sympathy for those attacked. That's in
line with the recent line in BLP that Wikipedia has no moral
obligation to the subjects of its biographies, but it's repugnant and
"No personal attacks" does not exist because it's morally wrong to make
personal attacks (it may be, or it may not be). We have a policy
against personal attacks because we recognise that allowing them on-wiki
leads to a poisonous editing environment.
If I call you a dickhead on-wiki, I'm violating "No personal attacks".
If I say on the mailing list that people who enthuse about WR are
suspect, because WR is terrible for so many reasons, then I may or may
not be making a personal attack --- but I'm not violating any Wikipedia
policy. It's not hypocritical to adjust your norms depending on your
environment, any more than it is to fart while alone even if you'd never
dream of doing it in front of the Queen.
The third is the big one: the politics. Many, many
people look upon
Wikipedia as an object example of "The Tyranny of Structurelessness"
(or "Lord of the Flies", if you prefer the monosyllabic version), and
in my opinion, they're right. I started by editing in some very
I understand both references, but I appreciate the effort you've made to
ensure I don't miss the point. Thank you.
And I do agree with you about the Tyranny of Structurelessness; all it
means is that the powers-that-be are hidden from view, unknown, perhaps
even to themselves. And nobody is accountable. This is a constant risk
on Wikipedia, and there are parts of the project that have already
And no, I don't tend to wade into controversial articles, either.
Jayjg's "rape victim" line was
posturing. Nobody is being raped, and
the only stalking I have seen evidence of in the present is the mass
banning of a long list of accused sockpuppets. These days, I hardly
That, and your own checking through to see who SlimVirgin is, and
informing her of that fact ... were you surprised to find that this
My understanding is that Jayjg's "rape victim" analogy was made in reply
to a comment that anyone who is outed online deserves it, because she
should have been more careful about leaving "breadcrumbs" out there. In
that context, it's quite apt. It's simply taking a disgusting comment,
and making it clear to all involved just why it is disgusting.
If he's spread out to start comparing outing to rape, then, sure, start
complaining about his hyperbole. Otherwise, well, try not to make any
"she deserved it really"-type comments and it shouldn't affect you. So
far I haven't noticed you saying anything of the sort.
Nor would I argue for a mass amnesty for the WR-ites--
heck, there's a
couple I wish the WR admins would ban from their own site. The thing
is, the political need to assign me to a faction has overwhelmed the
facts, just as it occaisionally does for Dan Tobias, who is from time
to time lumped with the WR-ites in utter disregard for his
near-contempt for them.
I don't recall saying that individual WR-ites are scum because they
contribute to WR. In the very post you reply to here, I said that some
individual WR-ites are quite reasonable. I listed three, because I only
know of three, but I concede there may be more.
I mentioned those offences WR have committed, those I know about. I
mentioned the unwillingness of even the reasonable WR-ites to agree that
these offences were Bad Things. I didn't categorise you, I simply
created a category. If you choose to place yourself inside it, that's
I don't know who you are, Mr. Gallagher, but if
you are really a
student in Canberra, I was participating in on-line discussion about
the time you were *born*. You are hardly the first person to call me
Well, being a student in Canberra doesn't necessarily make me a
youngster. It doesn't matter, though, since, as you have undoubtedly
discovered by now, I am spoofing my email account, and am really a
blue-rinsed grandmother living out her days in a council flat in Essex.
I remember walking ten miles uphill through the snow to revert Kibo
vandalism with punch cards ...
 Many of my classmates, if I had classmates, are/would be in their
fifties and sixties. It's almost inspiring.
"'Yes, sir,' said Jeeves in a low, cold voice, as if he had been bitten
in the leg by a personal friend."
- P G Wodehouse, /Carry On, Jeeves/