[Foundation-l] Please delete mo. wikipedia

M. Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Wed Oct 13 00:36:46 UTC 2010

2010/10/12 Gutza <gutza at moongate.ro>:
>  Mark,
> You are a veteran in Wikipedia matters -- you have been involved in this
> project for several years under nickname "Node ue". You have fought in
> the Moldovan language article on en.wp for years, and you have
> single-handedly created and defended the entire mo.wiki project, from
> interface to content. As such, I am amazed by the number of
> inconsistencies in your reply:

This is a mischaracterization. I am a "veteran in Wikipedia matters",
I suppose, having been around since about 2001, but I have not edited
that article in 4 years or so, and I have barely touched
Moldova-related topics on-wiki (perhaps a total of 5 edits over the
course of the last few years). After having read your message, I can't
help but feel maligned for things I may have said a long time ago and
which I have mostly since forgotten. As a human being, my views have
changed and developed since then. I hope we can continue to respect
each other as thinking individuals.

>   1. Your wording is inflammatory ("rule-by-mob"), and your point
>      gratuitously infers an ulterior motive on my part; as far as I can
>      tell, there is no reason for such implications.

"Rule-by-mob" has been used by many people, including great thinkers
far wiser than I could ever hope to be, to refer to one of the great
flaws in the democratic process. An absolute democracy is never ideal
because the rights of minorities can easily be voted away by the
majority. That is why, in most politically-stable democracies with any
measure of ethnic diversity, there are multiple safeguards to ensure
that the rights of minorities or people who for whatever reason do not
have as loud of a political voice are not trampled. In this case, the
population of Romania is much larger than that of Moldova, and smaller
still is that of Transnistria. In addition, Moldova (excluding
Transnistria) does not enjoy the same level of internet connectivity
as does Romania, and Transnistria does not enjoy anywhere near the
same level of internet connectivity as either.

>   2. Wikipedia is governed by consensus, wherein the quality of your
>      argument weighs much more than the number of people who hold the
>      same point of view; as such, the rule-by-mob and any similar
>      arguments are moot.

This is not a local Wikipedia, this is a foundation matter. What you
are proposing is to make a decision that will affect a community
without ensuring their equal representation in such a discussion. If,
theoretically, the Romanian Wikipedia's continued existence were up
for discussion, would you feel safe going into a room of all people
who are already biased against your cause and asking them to vote on
it, knowing you were outnumbered? Our community is supposed to
function by consensus and compromise, not simple majority-rules votes,
but things are often reduced to that.

>   3. Several "interested parties" (such as myself) have been watching
>      this discussion on foundation-l for some time; as long as they had
>      nothing to comment, they kept to themselves -- this is in line
>      with Wikipedia policies regarding tacit consensus. Moving this
>      entire conversation to a private medium equals hiding the
>      decision-making process from the very interested parties it was
>      intended for. You might have not been aware of such silent parties
>      before my message here, but you were replying to the very message
>      which revealed their existence.

The idea was proposed by Milos, not myself; my own comment is that it
seems better than a free-for-all on Meta, not that it is the best
possible idea and that we should use that. I, for one, am always in
favor of greater transparency and accountability. So we are faced with
two proposals: one that allows trampling of a numerical minority by a
much larger group, and another that creates an environment of no
transparency or accountability. Neither is a really good solution in
my view, I'd like to find something better.

>   4. All of this is public, so far. As such, any "private" medium this
>      conversation could be moved to will be "invaded" by Romanian and
>      Russian "mobs". But there's a significant difference: where silent
>      parties were silent, now they would now have to voice their
>      presence in the new, "private" medium.
> Having said the above, please tell me how exactly you see this private
> decision-making process, from a technical point of view: which medium do
> you propose? Who would centralize all messages? When would we know we
> reached consensus, and who would decide that? How would that be proven
> to the outside world?

Again, this was not my proposal. You can refer these questions to
Milos. I don't like the idea of a free-for-all
vote/discussion/whatever on Meta that will surely be little more than
a repeat of what happened 4 years ago, but I also don't like the idea
of a secret cabal with unknown members making secret decisions in a
secret forum, only to be divulged to the community after the fact.


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