[WikiEN-l] To: Jimmy Wales - Admin-driven death of Wikipedia
Karl A. Krueger
karl at simons-rock.edu
Wed May 31 08:11:36 UTC 2006
On Tue, May 30, 2006 at 04:56:46PM -0600, Fred Bauder wrote:
> It will be a lot easier for a community to build an encyclopedia.
Hmm. It seems that "community" has a lot of costly overhead that gets
in the way of getting things done. Two of those sources of overhead
feed off of one another:
* People who want to be in charge, just for the sake of being in
* People who want to attack the people in charge, just for the sake
of attacking the people in charge.
Many people seem to think that Wikipedia has only _one_ of these two
types. For instance, people who complain about "rogue admins" are
complaining about the appearance of the first type; people who complain
about "trolls" are complaining about the second. The fact is that we
have _both_ problems: people who want to *be* Authority for no good
reason, and people who want to *smash* Authority for no good reason.
The worse problem is that these two feed on each other.
* As pain-causing authority actions increase, more people become
disgruntled and think it would be a more satisfying use of their
time to be trolls and vandals, or to stalk people and post their
home addresses on Wikipedia Review.
* As pain-causing anti-authority actions increase, more people become
Concerned Citizens and think it would be a more satisfying use of
their time to create more rules and more procedures, to lock the
whole project down tighter and tighter, to drag everyone in front of
a tribunal to have their sins beaten out of them.
People can easily become convinced that the purpose of their being here
is to Fight Crime, or to Fight The Man, rather than to contribute.
It's like Gang Violence and Police Brutality ... or domestic terrorism
and domestic fascism. The worse the "Bad Guys" get, the worse the "Good
Guys" can become, in order to be Tough On Badness. And the worse the
"Good Guys" get, the more defensible the "Bad Guy" position looks to the
disaffected and the pissed-off.
I'm not saying that the Bad Guys are good -- they aren't. They're bad.
Vandalism, trolling, stalking, and disruption _suck_.
But the Good Guys can _also_ become bad, in their attempt to eliminate
Badness. Instruction creep, paranoia, admin touchiness, newbie-biting,
itchy trigger fingers on the "block" button, and the escalation of
content disputes into allegations of wrongdoing, _also_ suck.
It is possible to make people's lives miserable, and to drive them off
the project, with trolling. It is also possible to make people's lives
miserable, and to drive them off the project, with newbie-biting and
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