[Foundation-l] [WikiEN-l] English Wikipedia ethnocentric policy affects other communities

George Herbert george.herbert at gmail.com
Thu Dec 21 19:48:48 UTC 2006

On 12/21/06, Birgitte SB <birgitte_sb at yahoo.com> wrote:

> en.WP's username policy is incompatible with SUL.
> This is a problem.  We have heard from brion that the
> implementation of SUL is not negotiable.  We have
> heard from several en.WP editors that they are not
> willing to give up the non-Latin username blocks
> without further development work to mitigate the
> issue.

That's not my position at all; my position is that SUL being implimented
tomorrow would either break a key en.WP vandal fighting tool, or result en
en.WP doing highly unfriendly things to editors whos native account is in a
non-latin script in another WP project, or possibly both.  The consequences
for en.WP and the project as a whole would be terrible.

That is not "Don't do SUL".  That is not "en.WP reserves the right to
continue banning non-Latin names forever".  That is "I don't think we're
ready for it and I don't think we've thought it all through yet".

I personally like the idea of SUL.  But I have not seen anywhere near the
degree of due dilligence applied on any side to thinking about the side
effects with regard to this en.WP policy, so far.

Any disambiguator, be it the existing anti-name-spoof detector work, a
numeric output (in either latin or localized for other WPs...) of the
user_ID would be an adequate solution in my opinion based on what I

That is not the only possible solution.  It's a solution that I hope is
adequate and comprehensive, which would require some development.  But I
don't have any reason to believe that it's the only globally acceptable one.

  Considering that the brion (the developer) is
> not negotiating, I find the arguments about exactly
> which technical developments en.WP would demand in
> order for a policy change strange.
> This appears to be heading to a showdown.  I think
> *that* is the worse than blocking ru.WP admins and
> non-latin vandals going to town at en.WP together.  I
> would like to hear from anyone who does not strongly
> disagree with one of the two polar positions that have
> restated many times.
> Are there any en.WP editors who believe blocking users
> on sight based on their font is not a useful enough
> process to be worth breaking SUL for other editors?
> Is there anyone outside of en.WP who believes that SUL
> is not a useful enough process to be worth creating
> bad blood between wikis?
> Birgitte SB

The conflict here is being exaggerated.  There is only one reason for there
to be a "showdown" here - if SUL is right around the corner and we haven't
had time to think through the implications for the en.WP policy and come to
agreement on how to deal with those.

If SUL is right around the corner, with all due respect to its importance to
the project as a whole and its importance in development, can it be held off
long enough to discuss appropriately and develop a reasonable global

Letting an artificial schedule drive us into a large inter-project conflict
seems insane.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at gmail.com

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