[WikiEN-l] FredBauder"clarifies"onattackkkkkkkkkkk site link policy

William Pietri william at scissor.com
Fri Jul 6 18:53:31 UTC 2007

Fred Bauder wrote:
> I'll never accept linking to personal attacks on Wikipedians. I don't care how futile it is considered to be or how bad such "censorship" is. And it a site makes a regular business of attacking Wikipedians, not criticizing, but attacking, I will oppose linking to the site at all. I can see only good coming out of supporting other editors and only harm coming out of tolerating their humiliation.

I agree with the principle -- we should treasure and support our editors 
-- but I don't think the rest follows in all cases.

For example, I once linked to what could easily be read as an off-wiki 
personal attack on me. That was very helpful, as it made the situation 
clearer to fellow editors, and resulted in me getting the assistance I 
needed. A blanket ban would have made my life as an editor worse, not 

Rather than making the judgment based on the thing linked to, I think 
our judgment should be based on the way we are linking. Linking to a 
personal attack can be done as a personal attack, of course, and that 
should be treated like any other personal attack. But it also can be a 
way to defang the personal attack. It can be a way to show what kooks 
the attackers are. It can shine a light on things that fester in the dark.

Stepping back, links to contentious material can certainly be helpful in 
discussing and building consensus around whatever the new do-not-link 
policy ends up as. After some random clicking around on the sites whose 
names should not be spoken, I still haven't seen anything particularly 
horrific. I'm not saying it isn't there, of course. I'm just saying that 
if some people can see a problem and others can't, they are unlikely to 
ever come to consensus on the severity of the problem, let alone the 


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