I think that the English Wikipedia is already a very hostile
environment, due in no small part to certain gung-ho admins who do not
assume good faith on the part of newbies.
When I first came here, I could've vandalised 40 pages in a row and
somebody would've sent me a nice warning message, welcoming me to
Wikipedia in the process and encouraging me to log in. Not that I did
that, but the environment at that time was such that such a thing
doesn't seem unbelievable.
People were always at least somewhat nice to each other.
But now, if anybody asks any question about an edit, you (meaning
everybody, or at least many people if not most) just tell them "I am
right. Shut up and bugger off." (not exactly; you give them a somewhat
more polite response but give them the impression that you are not
willing to have an academic discussion about it).
It's especially harmful when people say "I'm reverting this." or
changes are unacceptable." or "Leave this page alone.", or other
things that make them sound like a parent scolding their child (and in
many cases, it gets more abusive).
There is too much voting and too little simple attempts to reach a
consensus, nobody is willing to compromise, and in addition to such
helpful-but-harmful utilities as mediators, we now have the ArbCom (in
my view, while they have help weed some bad people out, they have also
caused a lot of trouble, not intentionally though), bureaucrats (a
mean, pompous, or abusive bureaucrat is 10 times worse than a bad
sysop), and worst of all the AMA (in my view, that organisation should
be forcefully disbanded and anybody who tries to start it up again
should be shot - note that I personally have not made use of them, nor
have I had a dispute with anybody that did, but so far as I can tell
they just make things worse for everybody). I think quickpolls were
better. Sure, they were tantamount to mob rule, but that was that and
it was less toxic to the community, at least in my view.
People do not really think about proposals or ideas that they don't
like a whole lot - they just say "no" without thinking about it or
reading further. There are few moderates anymore. Everybody believes
that their POV is NPOV, or else their "NPOV" is at least somewhat POV.
Every case the ArbCom handles, every person to seek an advocate, every
post to a talkpage that isn't nice and polite, all of this contributes
to sending the en.wikipedia community from the purgatory it's in now
to the residence of one Ms Helen A. Hampbaskytt.
Is there anything that can be done to keep the community out of the
paws of vile Ms Hampbaskytt?
I honestly don't know. Maybe we should create a new Wikipedia for a
language called "enGlish" but that's really the same as English, and
ban anybody who is anything but nice and courteous.
On 4/14/05, Jimmy Wales <jwales(a)wikia.com> wrote:
Wikipedia is an increasingly hostile environment. Don't dismiss
alternate venues because the wave is cresting on wikipedia.
For me, the important question is: how do we prevent Wikipedia from
becoming an "increasingly hostile environment".
My own view is that we should trust the ArbCom to rid us more quickly of
poisonous personalities. Of course this is
non-trivial, etc. But we really do put up with an astounding amount of
absurd behavior in the name of openness.
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