[WikiEN-l] More editing of user pages, please (was Arbcom has completely lost its mind)

Kat Walsh mindspillage at gmail.com
Thu Feb 9 15:07:15 UTC 2006

On 2/9/06, MacGyverMagic/Mgm <macgyvermagic at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/9/06, Michael Snow <wikipedia at earthlink.net> wrote:
> >
> > Matt Brown wrote:
> >
> > >You don't have a userpage in order to exercise any "right" to free
> > >speech, but because it helps the project; it aids communication and
> > >makes people happy.  You never did have the right to say anything you
> > >pleased there; disruptiveness has always been unacceptable.
> >
> > It seems to me that many of our recent social problems could be reduced
> > by changing the culture that actively discourages editing other people's
> > user pages. Remember, they are on a wiki, and subject to the same GFDL
> > and "merciless editing" as anything else. Instead of having the uproars
> > incited by deletions and blocking, just edit away. You don't have to be
> > an administrator to help out, either.
> >
> > And yes, I think it follows from this that there are circumstances under
> > which someone could appropriately be blocked for violating the
> > three-revert rule in their own user space. I would defer to individual
> > preferences on almost all matters, but disruptive use of user pages
> > should be treated like disruptive editing anywhere else.
> It makes people happy for a reason. It gives them their own little corner on
> the site which is "theirs". If anyone was able to edit my userspace, it
> would no doubt kill the formatting I like so much, and who is to say the
> links I need to work effectively will remain?
> If editing of userpages wasn't discouraged, who says we wouldn't get more
> disputes (which are now confined to other  pages). If there's things clearly
> unacceptable for userpages like rants, attacks, and certain disruptive
> things, we should simply state those outright and take action against those
> who break those rules.

I agree with Matt and especially with Michael.

I don't think setting down hard guidelines as to what is and is not
acceptable is sufficient; it invites ruleslawyering. I don't advocate
disruptive editing of user pages, such as changing the text someone
has written to make it untrue, and I don't think anyone else is
either. But the current culture is such that many people think no one
else should be allowed to touch your user page, even if you have on it
material which is disruptive, offensive, or otherwise generally not
acceptable to the rest of the community.

User pages don't belong to the user, they belong to the project. It's
been generally beneficial to let people have a fair bit of leeway with
this, as Matt said: it aids communication and makes people happy. But
ultimately, if you want unrestricted free speech, this isn't the
place; it belongs on your own personal website. If you want to be part
of this project, you are expected to follow community standards, and
if you don't like them, to try to change them rather than act against

Rants, polemics, attacks, these don't aid communication; they pit
people against each other. Shiny little boxes claiming that some
particular political figure is an idiot, that some religious
philosophy is stupid, that some sexual orientation is immoral, that
some nation shouldn't exist, that some other user is a menace to the
project -- all of which I have seen in the past few weeks -- start an
argument that no one else can respond to, because it's on your user
page that no one can touch.

*Most* people have pages that are completely fine. I like seeing what
people choose to say about themselves and their work, and how they
choose to say it. I think we should continue to have user pages, and
continue to give people a fair bit of leeway with what they choose to
say on them. Removing someone's toolbox links, breaking their
formatting, putting attacks or POV or untruths or even some minor but
unnecessary change that the user doesn't like on someone's user page
should be simply reverted. In most cases what the user prefers should
be what stands. But when you're informed that the content of your page
is not acceptable, you should be expected to change it or to let
others do so, and yes, to run afoul of site policy if you continue to


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mindspillage | (G)AIM:LucidWaking
"To enjoy freedom, we must control ourselves." - Viriginia Woolf

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