[WikiEN-l] Oh shit, Slashdot is an attack site!

Daniel R. Tobias dan at tobias.name
Sun Jul 29 19:42:41 UTC 2007

On 29 Jul 2007 at 09:05:12 -0400, Steve Summit <scs at eskimo.com> 

> Dan Tobias wrote:
> > ...why has Slim's entire clique always been so desperate to 
> > suppress all mention of it?  This seems to have been a primary motive 
> > of the whole idiotic "attack site link" policy, for instance.
> I believe it's because the discussion is held as unseemly and hurtful.

But one has to ask just how long Slim should be enabled by her 
friends to take her her "damsel in distress" position, where her 
tender, delicate sensibilities are being cruelly assaulted by all 
those evil trolls and attackers.  She's not a weak, defenseless, 
lowly person here... she's one of the most prominent and powerful 
editors and administrators on Wikipedia, and has a whole clique 
surrounding her that wields a huge degree of power and influence over 
the whole site.  As such, she's arguably in the sort of position 
where one must develop a thick skin about criticism.  Critics won't 
always be polite, and reasonable, and civil, and fair... especially 
when they're doing their criticism over on other sites that play by 
different rules from ours.  But if you resort to heavyhanded tactics 
to try to suppress all mention of the critics and criticisms, you 
just surrender the moral high ground and make yourself and your 
organization look bad.

A few articles up from the one about Wikipedia and Slim on Slashdot, 
there's one about the New Zealand legislature (or parliament, or 
whatever the heck they have over there) passing rules banning 
journalists from using images of the legislators in session in 
contexts that ridicule the legislature.  Maybe that country has its 
own local versions of John Stewart that like using politicians' own 
speeches and the like to make fun of them, and that apparently hurt 
somebody's feelings over there.  Criticizing the government is fine 
in a free country... but can't those critics be *fair* and *civil* 
about it?  Showing a legislator caught on camera picking his nose, in 
order to sneer at him, is just *unfair*, and should be suppressed!  
However, these rules are backfiring on them... I hear that Jon 
Stewart even did a segment making fun of them for it... since he's in 
the U.S., they can't do any more about it than Wikipedia's clique can 
do about Slashdot commenters it dislikes.

A few years ago, Singapore's government dealt with critics who 
claimed that the government was muzzling criticism via litigation... 
by suing the critics for libel!  That's the sort of thing that makes 
one a laughingstock worldwide.  Having the Wikipedia clique gang up 
to suppress people who talk about how Wikipedia has a clique that 
gangs up on people is right in that vein.

It's ironic that, just a few months ago, I was one of the most rabid 
pro-Wikipedia, anti-critic people around.  Very ironically, what 
started turning things around for me was the fact that I liked to 
laugh at the critics and their sites... at one point I frequently 
called Wikipedia Review "the WikiWhiners" (something that got me 
temporarily banned from that site, where I'd registered an account 
for the purpose of responding to the attacks and criticisms they were 
making about me).  But to criticize the critics, and make fun of 
them, it was useful to be able to link to what I was criticizing, 
like "See [link]... look at the silly stuff they're saying now!"  So 
the attack-site link ban was troublesome to me... and when I spoke up 
against it, it brought to my attention the seamy underbelly of the 
Wikipedia clique and how it stood together in "solidarity" to circle 
its wagons against anybody who went against it.  That was an eye-
opener, and though I still strongly disagree with most of the 
ideology of the "attack sites", I now have much more sympathy for 
them than I did before.

== Dan ==
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