[Foundation-l] Encouraging participation

Noein pronoein at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 17:14:21 UTC 2010

Hash: SHA1

On 20/06/2010 23:23, Keegan Peterzell wrote:
> If you're never read it, you'd probably enjoy this article from the Journal
> of American History penned by the late, great Dr. Roy Rosenzweig from June
> 2006:
> <http://chnm.gmu.edu/essays-on-history-new-media/essays/?essayid=42>

Lot of useful information, thank you. I'd like to pinpoint a few
arguments from it:

Among other things, the "no original research" policy limiting expert
implication... I was always bothered by Wikipedia being a repository of
traditional knowledge but not novel, challenging, trying ideas. Why not
add a tab for each article, called "hypothesis" where original research
is tolerated, though all the other wp rules still apply? People who
don't want speculation or dubious content would read the main tab,
people who want to know possible interpretations and hypothesis would
also read the secondary tab.

Also, it seems that experts and academicians don't like being challenged
by profanes. (I think they need to learn to be)

"The Internet would now grind to a halt without such free and
open-source resources as the operating system Linux, the Web server
software Apache, the database MySql, and the programming language php."
If someone can backup this affirmation with studies and sources, I would
be grateful. I think there is a direct link between free software and
free knowledge and culture. The transformation of solutions and ideas
into proprietary goods with monetary value is a dead end, I think, and
the major obstacle to progress and freedom. But it's extremely difficult
to prove or disprove this theory because of the magnitude and complexity
of its scope.
However, it is essential to try to understand what is happening and what
may happen with knowledge, both with the traditional systems and the
"free" ones like wp. If we manage to have a clear idea and model of it,
we can build better our philosophy, explain it better, and possibly
achieve a bigger consensus.

Back on the subject of encouraging participation, a general consideration:
Practical solutions are immediate and efficient, but usually lead to
unwanted deviations from the principles. So one should always ask
himself or herself, "what are the consequences of this practical
solution? How strong is the change of perspective it introduces?
Is this change desirable, mergeable with our main goals, or at least
reversible? Or will we corrupt our direction for too long (or forever)
if we implement this working approach?

This questioning is notable with the recent questions of attracting more
users, of censorship and of attracting experts.
Should we retain our policies and stall our development or should we
introduce change to keep growing?
My point is to judge the impact of the change comparing it to our
long-term direction. We cannot trade a short-term benefit for a
long-term goal (expressed in our policies) if the modifications cannot
be changed later.
If we cede to censorship, can we regain our loss of independance? If we
invite frivolous minds, can we educate them? If we give privileges to
experts, can we teach them to rescind them later?

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