[Foundation-l] Moderation and this list

Jimmy Wales jwales at wikia.com
Fri Dec 21 16:02:45 UTC 2007

Birgitte SB wrote:
> This all sounds nice, however you are truly judging
> this as reciprocal we have already lost.  While those
> people representing WMF are inherently some of the
> best people on this list, the "reciprocating" group is
> open to anyone.  There will always be bitter,
> mean-spirited people around.  If lack of transparency
> is really due to these things, lets increase the
> moderation to a level where there is enough kindness
> to warrant transparency.  Otherwise everyone will just
> continue to be held hostage by lowest common
> denominator.

I have to say that I agree with Birgitte here.  For me, Foundation-l has 
becoming incresasingly useless as a mailing list because it is so 
frequently dominated by people who seem to be very "bitter and 
mean-spirited" to the point that they are on the attack no matter what 

Open dialog and debate is fine.  Criticism is fine.  But a minority of 
people endlessly beating others up without bothering to stop and "assume 
good faith" just a little bit now and then just makes the list useless.

"The boy who cried wolf" is a classic tale which has some relevancy here.

The Foundation is the most transparent organization that I know of, to 
the point of pathology sometimes.  Ironically, that transparency breeds 
in some an expectation so high, that it is assumed that everything has 
to be discussed openly.  Someone suggested to me the other day that 
internal-l and all private mailing lists should be closed, and all 
business conducted openly on the wiki.  This is beyond nonsense, because 
it would push the Foundation to *less* transparency, not *more*.

I am unsure what we should do about foundation-l.  It has become a 
sewer.  It is difficult to balance our very strong desire for an 
unmoderated forum where people can feel comfortable making strong 
criticisms (nothing wrong with that!) with a forum where trolls are 
exhausting a lot of good people and spreading misinformation due to the 
inability of others to keep up with the sheer volume of malice.


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