[WikiEN-l] Most immature war ever? Are we embarrassed yet?

Delirium delirium at hackish.org
Tue Feb 7 21:23:23 UTC 2006

Sean Barrett wrote:

>Both the Board and the Arbitration Committee have endorsed the
>fact that Jimbo has the powers of a GodKing and occasionally will use
>them.  And the consensus of the community seems to me to be a vehement
Note that this is conditional---Jimbo has powers that he is trusted to 
use rarely and wisely.  If, for example, he blanked Wikipedia and 
replaced it with furry porn, probably people would not agree that was a 
legitimate use of his powers, whether legal or not.  In between is a 
very large gray area, from "of course that's ok", to "that might to be 
ok", to "ehh...".

My main objection is to equating Jimbo's legal authority over the 
Wikimedia Foundation with his role as benevolent dictator.  The latter 
derives essentially from the fact that he acts, well, benevolently.  
People support that so long as it remains benevolent.

I don't claim to speak on behalf of the commuity; I'm just pointing out 
that his powers derive in essence from the consent of the community, and 
are not somehow separate from that.  He'll continue to be able to herd 
Wikipedia so long as the vast majority of its users agree that he's 
doing a good job; that's quite separate from his titular position as 
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Wikimedia Foundation.

So, if I'm wrong in criticizing his use of powers in this matter, it's 
because the community agrees that his intervention was a good idea, not 
because he somehow has freedom to do whatever he wants without discussion.


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