[WikiEN-l] We need a policy against vote-stacking

Jimmy Wales jwales at wikia.com
Thu May 4 15:51:48 UTC 2006

Ben McIlwain wrote:
> Vote-stacking is wrong, it is harmful to Wikipedia, and it needs to be
> discouraged and stopped.  The simple way to do this is to block users
> who are doing this.  If it's not in the policy now, it should be.

I am with you in spirit, but it seems quite difficult to define "vote
stacking" in a way that won't be the source of endless horrible fights.

I have been thinking lately about some radical solution to AfD woes.
Here are some thoughts.

1. Consensus works when there are a small number of people who have
reputations with each other who are willing to work for compromise and
positive progress.  The importance of social capital in the process
(earning it and spending it) can not be overemphasized.

2. As we get to be a larger community, consensus still works well on
individual articles and areas of interest, because there are
subcommunities in negotiation there who know each other.

3. Certain global processes, though, have turned quite bitter and sour,
likely because it is increasingly hard to have a process of reputation
and social capital when you have tons of people who don't know each other.

4.  The solution to this may well be to attempt to move the "locus of
control" for deletion decisions into subcommunities.


I have an example, based on a nice dinner conversation I had with Sam
Wantman.  Sam knows a lot about bridges, and there is a subcommunity of
people who know each other and work on bridge articles.  Super.  This is
why our stuff on bridges is super excellent.

If a bridge is listed on AfD, the result is of course likely to be a
horrific mess.  People who don't know anything about bridges are likely
to vote based on pre-existing battles going on there between
inclusionists and deletionists.  If someone cares deeply about the
issue, they can campaign for random other friends to come and vote.  The
admins who go through and clean it up will find it very difficult to
figure out what to do, having little idea of the reputations of the
various parties, and therefore have no choice to follow the disastrously
bad rule of "one user account, one vote" ... even though this includes
the votes of trolls, newbies, sockpuppets, meatpuppets, idiots *and*
people who know what they are talking about and should be the ones deciding.

Wouldn't it be better in this case to say, you know what, we actually
have bridge experts, people who know about bridges, and these people
ought to be the ones deciding, not random people on AfD.

So how should this work in practice?

More information about the WikiEN-l mailing list