On 5/16/06, Fred Bauder <fredbaud(a)ctelco.net> wrote:
We need to define some operational tests, for example,
results in wheel wars or is associated with sustained edit warring,
it can be said to be divisive.
Just like knowing intentions, trying to determine "who started it" is
very difficult and tends to lead to unfair results: any parent knows
that. Not only does it require a lot of subjective judgment (which
will always be somewhat prejudiced against new editors), it also
assigns the blame for consequences that may not have been predictable
at the time an action was taken (and that may not even follow when a
similar action is taken in a different context).
The more broadly interpretable policies you have, the more accusations
of cabalism and unfair treatment you will get. Just like the little
brother complains that the older brother always gets away with
starting trouble, some users will complain that certain users get away
with "being divisive". And sometimes they will be right.
We have policies that are relatively straightforward to interpret on
matters like wheel warring, edit warring, and personal attacks. I
strongly caution against trying to determine who is being divisive and
why in addition to punishing those who violate these policies.
Instead, I can see a need for a well-defined guideline against
permanent factions (as supported by categories, userboxes, membership
listings etc.) of people who share strong convictions on a particular
issue. Such factions of belief tend to polarize people and undermine
overarching ideals such as neutrality and community.
Associations by topic are helpful. Associations by the _stance_ on a
particular topic are unnecessary. Stating the stance is one thing,
creating identifiable factions through categories, member pages and
userboxes is another. We can discourage or forbid this in favor of
associations by _interest_:
Republican => interested in politics
anti-Scientologist => interested in Scientology
deletionist=> interested in AfD
nymphomaniac => interested in contraception
This would not stop prejudices, but it would at least encourage
mingling among people who may not think exactly the same way as you do
-- and eliminate one of the tools used for vote stacking. It ties
naturally into our existing WikiProject model, and could even be
extended by topical IRC channels as is done on de.wikipedia.org
This would be a simple policy that leaves little room for
interpretation. That makes it, in my opinion, preferable to trying to
nail down what is and isn't "divisive", both in general terms and on a
case by case basis.