[Foundation-l] Moderation (was: Liu Xiaobo)

Ryan Lomonaco wiki.ral315 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 10 20:56:19 UTC 2010

On Sun, Oct 10, 2010 at 1:44 PM, Nathan <nawrich at gmail.com> wrote:

> I agree that Peter's post exaggerates the problem the English
> Wikipedia sometimes has with groupthink and an entrenched,
> self-perpetuating bureaucracy. The comparison is unfair to Liu
> Xiaobo's history and work.
> Still, it's ironic that the first response to his somewhat
> inflammatory remarks was to moderate him (in other words, require the
> approval of an apparatchik before his words can be publicly seen.) I'm
> not Peter's biggest fan... but his recent participation on this list
> has been civil and thoughtful, and maybe a warning that Wikimedians
> are sensitive to unfavorable comparisons would have been sufficient.

The comparison was offensive not because it cast Wikimedia in a bad light,
but because it equated being imprisoned for your comments with being blocked
from a website for your comments.  That cheapens Liu Xiaobo's work.

That said, this was meant as a temporary measure to keep the discussion
civil, and it's done so.  After discussing the matter with Austin, we've
removed him from moderation.

I want to reiterate something I said about a year ago - one of the changes
we decided to make after discussion had gotten so bad that Brion placed the
entire list on emergency moderation:

"When appropriate, we will be using moderation more often, for short periods
of time when we feel doing so will allow cooler heads to prevail.  The idea
behind moderation has never been punitive, but it's often been treated as
such by many, and as a result, we have not used it as often as we could
have.  Going forward, our intent is that being placed on moderation should
not be viewed as a slight, or as a punishment, but as a way to retain
civility within a discussion."

While discussion has been a lot more civil over the last 11 months, and we
haven't needed to do this that often, I think it's a useful tool for letting
discussion cool down.  I hope that people will not see this as punitive, or
as a way to stifle speech -- because that's surely not our intent.


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