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

Delirium delirium at hackish.org
Wed Nov 7 04:54:18 UTC 2007

Erik Moeller 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:

I really dislike forced speech, and would leave the project if rather 
than "sign" some statement other than one I freely made myself, if it 
extended beyond minimally necessary things like agreeing to license my 

It's one thing to lay down a set of rules that everyone has to follow, 
and quite another to make everyone stand up at the front of the class 
like schoolchildren and recite a Pledge of Allegiance to Wikipedia and 
the Principles We Hold Dear, which I won't do. People edit Wikipedia for 
a variety of philosophical reasons, and I disagree strongly with 
attempts to enforce cultural conformity, especially since they wouldn't 
have the intended effect anyway---most people who "sign" will just click 
through without reading, or "sign" even if they disagree since they 
don't have a choice besides leaving. Even if I agreed with the 
principles I wouldn't participate in such a degrading and offensive 
exercise by "signing" them.


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