[Wikipedia-l] A proposal for the new software

Michel Clasquin clasqm at mweb.co.za
Thu Oct 18 18:36:34 UTC 2001

On Thursday 18 October 2001 21:22, you wrote:
> Let me raise a potentially delicate social issue.  :-)

Hey, Jimmy, you don't have to tell us anything. We understand ... <g>

> I have this idea that there should be in the software some concept of
> "old timer" or "karma points".  This would empower some shadowy
> mysterious elite group of us to do things that might not be possible
> for newbies.  Editing the homepage for example.  

I would include in that the "portal" pages coming directly off the home 
page. If someone vandalises "the Snakehandling Foursquare Gospel Church of 
 Upper Appalachia", chances are few people will have seen it before it 
gets fixed. But you can do subtle damage in "Religion" that could be much 
more long-lasting, not even maliciously, just out of ignorance.

> 1.  Cabal membership is available to anyone who puts in time

How does that affect existing wikipedians? I suggest we all start at 0 - 
it seems the fairest thing to do. The only problem with that one is that 
the "locked" pages will remain static for a week or two.

The alternative would be for you and/or Larry to start a preliminary cabal 
with people you know and trust and let it go on automatically from there. 
If you decide to go this route, maybe not let the rabble know what their 
betters are up to? <g>

Once instituted, will the software automatically assign cabal status or 
will you and/or Larry do this manually? If automatic, what prevents a 
really persistent vandal from suddenly being blessed with cabal 
membership? If manually, how do we stop even the perception that this is 
really the Jimmy Wales Admiration Society?

Also, does cabal membership expire when you go on holiday for a few weeks? 
If so, how long can the "real world" call you away from the wikiworld 
before your cabalicity (cabalaciousness? cabalicality?) expires? 

> 2.  Cabal membership should not give anyone any super powers, just a
>     handful of little things, like locking and unlocking the HomePage,
>     or placing a temporary block on an IP address or UserID.

agreed, but see my comment on (1)

Technically speaking, I work from different machines and different 
browsers, which is why some of my work is attributed to my IP number. 
Would cabal status be recognised in any of these?

> 3.  Newcomers should not have to know or realize that they are
>     restricted in any way from doing things that some old timers can
>     do.  We should always leave things as open as possible, not
>     requiring login, registration, etc.


> 3.  Of course, as owner of the physical machine where Wikipedia is
>     located, I always retain absolute dictatorial power over
>     everything, if necessary.  So if someone gets cabal membership and
>     uses it to vandalize, I could revoke the status unilaterally.

And of course, as the guy who hacked into that machine last night, I ... 
OK just kidding.

>  The "New Age" debate was good and healthy, and never rose to
> the level of vandalism.

The "ManningBartlett" affair was a sad day, though

Michel Clasquin, D Litt et Phil (Unisa)
clasqm at mweb.co.za/unisa.ac.za   http://www.geocities.com/clasqm
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