[Foundation-l] Throwing some data onto the flamefest fire (was: English Wikipedia ethnocentric policy affects other communities)

Kat Walsh mindspillage at gmail.com
Sat Dec 23 08:22:50 UTC 2006

On 12/22/06, Aphaia <aphaia at gmail.com> wrote:
> I regret to post my previous mail. You English Wikipedians shall be
> cursed of disclimination.
> I have told to the Japanese community you lifted up that fool
> ethnocentric and discliminative policy. I would like to add some
> editors hadn't believed Engilsh Wikipedia did enforce so a
> discliminative policy. You made me a liar. Well, it is not a big deal,
> but still the fact remains you are racists.

Aphaia, I am very sorry that you feel this way. But I do not think
this post is very fair.

Here are a few things I see, on the whole thread.

1. No one is interested in blocking anyone because of beliefs about ethnicity.

It is a problem for administrators on any wiki to handle usernames
they cannot read or type. Reasonable people can disagree about whether
the problem justifies enwiki's current ways of dealing with it. And
reasonable people *do* disagree, which is why this thread has gone on
for so long and why there is so much argument about it. But it is not
about racism.

2. It is currently very difficult for users on any wiki, not just
English, to interact with users who do not have a username in the
script of that wiki's language.

If you cannot read or type someone's username, it is hard to talk to
them, hard to tell people apart, hard to search for their
contributions, and many other things. In addition to the trouble
talking to real users, vandals know that it is difficult, and because
of this, they like to use this extra difficulty to cause trouble. And
I don't expect users on wikis where the language is not in Latin
script to be able to read a Latin script name, either.

3. Whether or not the policy is right, it doesn't excuse being rude to anybody.

If anyone has been blocked with an uncivil message, or has not been
asked politely about changing their username, that administrator is
acting badly. But that is a fault of the person, not of the policy,
and that should stop no matter what else happens.

4. Everyone would like a good solution to this.

If there were currently a solution that allowed editors to keep their
preferred names on every wiki, but allowed the users of every wiki to
interact with them without too much difficulty, everyone would be
happy. No one here wants to make others upset for no reason.

5. Solving this is difficult, and currently there is no fix that makes
everyone entirely happy.

There are many attempts to deal with it that make people unhappy, and
just about every different attempted fix or work-around makes a
*different* group of people unhappy.

6. Making the argument personal is not helping anyone get the
solutions they want.

There are a lot of people who are coming at this problem in good
faith, even if not everyone agrees with what they are doing. There are
a lot of people who have decided not to participate in this thread
because they do not want to be attacked or flamed. And we lose the
input of people who do want to help, but who either now feel like they
are not wanted or who do not want to get into an argument in the first

7. Taking arguments personally is only going to make you miserable.

No one is participating here just because they want to make anyone
else feel bad or look foolish. It's not a personal argument, and if
you feel like it is personal then perhaps it is time to step back and
take a break, go outside and relax and then come back. (If everyone
did that, there would not be so many messages to read, either.)


I would love a solution that makes everyone happy. I think there are
possibilities for solutions that will make it easier for everyone to
be happy. But we do not have them yet, and so it is still a real
problem with many different sides to it.

I am sorry that you feel that you are being made to look like a fool,
or that you believe this is being done to be hurtful. But it is not
fair to make remarks such as this, or such as have been made by many
others at many other points in the thread, when everyone here is
coming at the problem in good faith. Even if you disagree with them.

Effe iets anders posted earlier asking everyone to step back and not
take things personally, to recognize that reasonable people who do not
mean harm can disagree. I agree, and I have written at more length
than he has, but wanted to say more completely what I saw. I do not
see anyone here who has the intention of harming anyone, and I think
the thread would be much better and more productive if we could all
assume this to be true.


Wikimedia needs you: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising
* *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *  * *
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mindspillage | (G)AIM:Mindspillage
mindspillage or mind|wandering on irc.freenode.net | email for phone

More information about the foundation-l mailing list