[Foundation-l] Do we need a Code of Participation?

geni geniice at gmail.com
Mon Nov 5 12:05:43 UTC 2007

On 05/11/2007, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> I've been thinking a bit about the whole issue of civility, and other
> expectations that we may have from our editors.
> While Wikimedia has a stronger tradition of civility than most online
> communities, we still often fall short -- and perhaps part of the
> reason is that we never ask our users to explicitly "opt into" the
> core cultural principles of Wikimedia. Rather, we expect that they
> will "soak them up" simply by being exposed to them in practice.
> There are a few reasons why I think an explicit opt-in to a small
> number of core principles would be a good idea:

UK schools tried that at one point. Didn't work.

> * It means the user has to make an explicit choice. This may make them
> more likely to think about those principles, to internalize them, or
> to recall them later.

Um no. As far as the user is concerned they have the choice to edit or
not to edit. Your fancy principles page is largely an irrelevance.

> * It makes it clear that, "Ignore all rules" or not, there are
> non-negotiable principles upon which the project is founded.

Generally by the time people have 50 odd copyright warnings on their
talk page they are either banned or get the hint.

> * It establishes more firmly the idea of "being a Wikimedian" -- it
> contributes to a shared identity, across all projects.

Given the language barriers that is largely meaningless. De is not en
nor will it ever be.

> If we do this, it would, in my view, be wise to ask any existing user
> to also confirm their agreement with these principles upon their next
> login.
> Here's a (very rough) example text:
> - - -
> I agree that, as a member of this community, I shall
> * treat others with respect and kindness, and assume good faith in
> their actions;
> * participate in service to the mission of this project:
> [one-line summary of project's mission, e.g. "to create a freely
> licensed encyclopedia"]
> * disclose any conflicts of interest, and recuse myself from editing
> where they could impair my judgment.
> - - -
> Obviously this would still need a lot of editing. Whichever bullet
> points would be considered most important, I believe the total number
> should be limited to 3 to 5.
> Thoughts?

Either it is unenforceable in which case it is more meaningless feel
good rubbish and we shouldn't be wasting the photos used to transmit
it or it is enforceable and you give the project to the rule lawyers.


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