[WikiEN-l] Fred Bauder"clarifies"on attack site link policy

The Cunctator cunctator at gmail.com
Tue Jul 3 14:14:08 UTC 2007

Our job is not to kill off parasitic sites; it's to build a
comprehensive and accurate encyclopedia.

On 7/3/07, Fred Bauder <fredbaud at waterwiki.info> wrote:
> Your essay presumes that a parasitic site feeding off us does not suffer lack of oxygen if we don't link to them. I suppose if a tick got on you, you would just let it suck and suck, get bigger and bigger and have a litter of little ticks.
> I bet you get rid of that tick in real life.
> Fred
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Steve Summit [mailto:scs at eskimo.com]
> >Sent: Monday, July 2, 2007 07:25 PM
> >To: wikien-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> >Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Fred Bauder "clarifies" on attack site link policy
> >
> >Fred Bauder wrote:
> >> I shudder to contemplate what Mr. Goodman wants for Wikipedia.
> >> If a pack of dogs fall on someone after he and his ilk are in control,
> >> I guess we will simply be obligated to stand by and do nothing.
> >
> >Fred, with all due respect, this sounds uncomfortably close to
> >the fallacious arguments that keep being made in support of the
> >failed BADSITES policy.
> >
> >1. "Site X has been doing unspeakably horrible things to Wikipedia
> > editors, so obviously we need to ban hyperlinks to Site X."
> >
> >2. "If you disagree with this ban, I guess you condone those
> > unspeakable things."
> >
> >#1 is fallacious because it is not obvious that banning links is
> >an appropriate or effective remedy. #2 is fallacious on its face.
> >
> >I get the impression -- and I'm sorry if this analysis offends
> >anyone -- that the primary motivation behind blanket link bans
> >goes something like this:
> >
> >Site X (Encyclopedia Dramatica, Wikipedia Review, Wikitruth,
> >whoever) has done something unspeakably horrible. Unfortunately,
> >what they've done is not actually illegal or anything. Also,
> >there's absolutely nothing we can do to stop them, because
> >they're not a site that's under our control. But we *must* do
> >something, we must punish them somehow, we can't stand idly by
> >and do nothing, because silence = assent, and we have to show the
> >aggrieved Wikipedia editors that we care, that we're absolutely
> >*not* going to let Site X get away with this.
> >
> >So we apply the only sanction we can, which is: ban links to
> >those nasty, nasty folks. "And if you don't stop being nasty,
> >we'll... ban links to you some more!"
> >
> >But there are several problems here: banning links to them is no
> >"punishment" at all. It doesn't hurt them, it doesn't stop them,
> >it doesn't make their information any less accessible. All it
> >does is makes some of us feel a little better.
> >
> >And it also exacts a significant price, because making blanket
> >bans against all links to a certain site, for any reason, is a
> >draconian, censorious rule without precedent in the five pillars
> >or anywhere else in Wikipedia policy (that I know of).
> >
> >Unthinking blanket bans do hurt the project. They shouldn't be
> >necessary, if the activities they ban are already proscribed
> >by existing, less-draconian policies (i.e. WP:NPA, minus the
> >controversial "attack site" wording). They make it difficult or
> >impossible for people to make reasonable exceptions. And they
> >(the bans, that is) are just about guaranteed to end up being
> >bandied about in unintended, abusive ways.
> >
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