[WikiEN-l] Arbcom has completely lost its mind

BJörn Lindqvist bjourne at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 14:20:28 UTC 2006

> > 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.
> >
> > There's nothing particularly new about that proposed finding.
> A common example is that while you have a right to freedom of speech, you
> don't have the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded cinema.

I fail to see the similarity. Someone shouting "Fire!" in a crowded
cinema is likely to cause lots of panic and angst as hundreds of movie
goers all try to reach the fire exists. In the rush some might be
injured or even die due to suffocation or being trampled to death.
Peoples valuables might be looted and for sure, they will all have
their movie experience destroyed.

I still fail to see how writing pedophile on your user page has
anything in common with shouting "Fire!" in a crowded cinema.

> If something on a userpage cause disruption and offence, then it should be
> removed. After all we are a community, and sometimes small individual

What you are saying is that the word pedophile causes disruption and
offence. If that is true then this email thread must have almost
disrupted Wikipedia to death since it contains so many instances of
pedophile. I'd say that words by themselves neither cause disruption
nor offence. It is people that willfully participates in the act of
being offended or disrupted. You can't remove your responsibility for
your own thoughts and place it on some word.

> freedoms get sacrificed for the common good. This is going to apply to any
> community above a certain size, and I would find it hard to imagine any
> community similar to this one where putting an "I am a paedophile" poster up
> on your front door is not going to provoke righteous outrage from a fairly
> large proportion of the community.

Where I live, any of the following posters would "provoke righteous
outrage from a fairly large proportion of the community: "I'm a
pedophile", "I'm a Nazi", "I'm a socialist", "I'm a racist", "I'm a
communist", "I'm a Jew", "I'm a Muslim", "I'm a American", "I'm a
gay", "I'm hating you", "I'm liking your daughter", "I'm doing it with
your mum", "I'm better than you".... etc.. etc... etc...

But the awesome thing is that, despite the "righteous outrage" any of
those posters up my front door would "provoke," I'm still 100% free to
put them there. The law protects my right to put almost any poster I
want on my front door. Wikipedia works like that too. You might say
that the right to call yourself whatever you want is not necessary for
building an encyclopedia. I think you are wrong because an atmosphere
of free speech is necessary when trying to collect and organise all
the available information in the world.

> If the community, through the ArbCom, decides that a line has to be drawn,
> then we should accept it. We can discuss the precise location of the line,
> but I still think it needs to be drawn.

I agree. But I don't agree that the location of that line should be
more limiting than what US law permits.

mvh Björn

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