[WikiEN-l] Re: Why has everything gone to hell?

Kirill Lokshin kirill.lokshin at gmail.com
Tue Feb 7 14:14:08 UTC 2006

On 2/7/06, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> >Consensus doesn't scale.
> We've recently seen the numbers from Gmaxwell and Kim Bruning that
> show that this is not at all the case with articles - except a couple
> of hundred articles (out of 900k+) which appear to be pathological.
> *Mostly*, people leave articles to others who know about the area, and
> those who know about an area mostly manage to thrash out a consensus.
> The failures of consensus in article editing get a lot of attention
> but they are the *exception*.
> >With policy, this hinders change greatly, but it's unlikely to be a
> >major problem in the near future. With wheel warring or serious edit
> >wars, however, the fact that consensus doesn't scale is wasting a lot of
> >our time here. It takes being hauled in front of the arbcom to get any
> >results.
> Yeah. It's getting policy consensus to scale that's tricky. Continuous
> reference to basic principles - "we're here to write an encyclopedia",
> "NPOV", "don't be a dick", etc - may be a useful touchstone for either
> deriving a lot of the crufted policy from first principles or getting
> rid of it.

Those numbers really don't show as much as one might think, though. 
OF COURSE any individial article will, on average, have only a handful
of editors.  The problem is that Wikipedia is increasingly becoming
large enough to make reinventing the wheel on every individual article
untenable.  Thus, we get attempts to create policy/guidelines/style
guides/whatever centrally and apply them to a (large) group of
articles at the same time, which means consensus needs to form not
among a few editors of an article, but among all active editors in a

This is most obvious in AFD, incidentally; attempts to delete all
schools/Pokemon/roads/etc. get a lot more people involved than have
edited any single one of the articles in question.

Kirill Lokshin

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