[Foundation-l] Discussion duration and the SOPA shutdown

Mono monomium at gmail.com
Thu Jan 19 02:30:24 UTC 2012

I do agree that this kind of action must be severely limited. We cannot go
on like this; we've used up our shutdown for about five years. The shutdown
makes waves, but its effect will diminish with overuse. This is the kind of
thing we should not repeat for a long while.

On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM, George Herbert <george.herbert at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 3:39 PM, FT2 <ft2.wiki at gmail.com> wrote:
> > It's worth pointing out the discussion was open from 15 December to 16
> > January before any close.
> No, there was informal discussion going back into December.  "The
> discussion" - the concrete, date-attached specific policy and
> implementation proposals and so forth - was about 3 days worth.
> People talking about it and bandying informal ideas around for a month
> doesn't make it a formal consensus discussion.
> That having happened is why anyone reasonable here should be starting
> from the point that the sense of the community was correctly
> identified through all this, which I don't dispute.  But bare sense of
> the community is mob rule.  Wikipedia is not a majority-rules, snap
> decisions mob, despite occasional resemblance thereof.  It is not well
> served when community leaders treat it as such, or the Foundation acts
> in a manner to encourage that behavior.
> That way lies even more madness and despair, and a break with a lot of
> currently very carefully (if badly) balanced precedent and informal
> process.
> I don't believe the decision was *wrong* - But a poorly made decision
> that's right can set a behavioral and decisionmaking precedent that is
> in its own way far worse than having made a wrong decision.
> There are a whole raft of nuanced issues that were bulldozed in all of
> this, ranging from the wisdom of WMF / Wikipedia taking political
> stands organizationally, to lack of sufficient consideration for the
> invisible third leg of the stool (the readers / userbase), to rapidity
> of decisionmaking, to aspects of the community majority bullying those
> who for some reason opposed the change.
> Again - the decision wasn't *wrong*.  I certainly oppose SOPA,
> understand why other organizations blacked out and WMF and the
> community sought to do so here.  SOPA is wrong on more political,
> policy, and technical levels than I can conveniently count in one
> email.
> But it can be wrong, and WMF could potentially be wrong to engage in
> the advocacy action.  It can be wrong, and the community can damage
> itself significantly in making snap decisions on objecting to SOPA.
> It can be wrong enough, apparently, to convince its opponents that
> opposing it is enough to justify bulldozing the usual Wikipedia
> community process.
> If people wanted this badly to do it, the actual solid RFC should have
> been going in late December or first week of January.  Eventually,
> procrastinating precludes reasonable responsible action.  It does not
> appear to have prevented effective or community supported action, in
> the end, but the reasonableness and responsibleness of the process is
> the issue.
> --
> -george william herbert
> george.herbert at gmail.com
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