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

Sam Korn smoddy at gmail.com
Sat Dec 23 15:17:32 UTC 2006

On 12/23/06, GerardM <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
> In the Netherlands in the second world war, people had to identify
> themselves and always have their "persoonsbewijs" with them. At the end of
> the war this was abolished. The Dutch government imposed itself by requiring
> people to have a number and then to always be able to have some form of
> identity with them. Many people resent this. I resent this. It is said that
> it promotes security while in actual fact it makes government more
> intruisive while it hardly helps .. mind you I have a background in
> security.

With the very greatest respect, Gerard, this is all a long way from
putting a non-secret number after someone's username.  It's not even
as if you couldn't go to a different wiki and use a different number
if you wanted -- you'd only have to make a new account.

> The Wikimedia Foundation allows people to edit anonymously. This means that
> for someone who wants to contribute there is no need to provide any
> credentials. We ask people to create a user because it HELPS to assess if a
> contribution is likely to be vandalism or not.

Well, that's *one* reason...  There are others --

> The current policy will, when the English language Wikipedia insist in
> keeping it, effectively sabotage the Single User Login.

You are again spouting untruths.  1) There is no reason the English
Wikipedia will insist on keeping the policy; 2) there is no reason why
SUL will be sabotaged because almost everyone thinks SUL is a good
thing _including en.wikipedia users*.

The proposal of
> Anthere is a neat proposal because it effectively allows for metrics about a
> user. This information provides much better information than a number and it
> does not have the big cultural problems associated with it that numbers
> have.

Yes, some kind of user metric system would be useful.  Perhaps each
wiki could have a tag that can be applied to a user to designate them
"trusted" and the software could say "this user is trusted on
en.wikibooks, fr.wikiquote, de.wikinews and th.wikipedia".

> The other thing that I have noticed is that in the proposals it is only the
> people from outside the English language Wikipedia who are forced to do
> things.

Is there evidence for this accusation other than your polemics?

Admins who go overboard in their heavy
> handed zeal of fighting vandalism get a blanket excuse because ``they mean
> well``.

As an en.wikipedia Arbitration Committee member (though not for much
longer) I can tell you that this is absolutely not true.

The suggestion of loading fonts is laughed at because it is seen as
> an imposition.

No, it is seen as an *unnecessarily burdensome imposition* to *demand*
of users.  To expect people to read usernames in languages they don't
understand or even pronounce is also an imposition.

> All in all, my conclusion is very much that, yes people say that the policy
> is wrong, but no they do not want to accept that things will change.

Which is, of course, why there is a current discussion on the subject
of en.wikipedia's username policy.

> leads me to conclude that people in the English language Wikipedia see
> themselves as a rule onto themselves and will not really consider the
> arguments of others.

Of course we are.  You've got us at last.

Will you please stop your inflammatory, unpleasant and baseless rhetoric.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list