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

Marc Riddell michaeldavid86 at comcast.net
Wed Nov 7 12:22:09 UTC 2007

on 11/6/07 11:54 PM, Delirium at delirium at hackish.org wrote:

> 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
> contributions.
> 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.
I agree with you, Mark. This is like requiring someone to sign a "loyalty"
pledge which is, in practice, meaningless; or forcing anyone in you life who
wants to be a friend to sign a statement saying they will never hurt you.
Once again, we have a cultural issue here. The Community agrees on a set of
rules. To be a part of that Community, you must abide by those rules. If you
don't, find another Community.

Marc Riddell

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