[Wikipedia-l] A proposal for the new software

Jimmy Wales jwales at bomis.com
Thu Oct 18 20:42:54 UTC 2001

Michel Clasquin wrote:
> 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.

Or we could start accumulating "points" first, and impose restrictions
on newcomers later, and only as necessary.

> 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>

Well, I think that transparency is an important goal, but I also think
that don't properly most newcomers won't necessarily have a clue that they
are being restricted.  Most good newcomers have enough sense to know
that they shouldn't just edit the homepage, for example.  It'd be like
going to someone's house for a party and suddenly changing the music
on the stereo.  Most people recognize that it would be a faux pas.

> 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?

Right!  I would say that automatic assignment is best, or anyhow some
kind of "shall issue" rule that says that I won't arbitrarily withhold
membership for those who qualify.  (And my thinkinng on this is that
qualification is really very open -- it's basically open to anyone who
isn't a vandal.)

With automatic assignment, there is a chance that a vandal will jump
through the hoops to get cabalhood and then do something mean.  I
guess that's fine.  If the rules for membership are something like
"must edit at least 25 times, over the course of at least 3 weeks"
then someone must *really* have an axe to grind to get to it.  And
they have to pretend to be normal for 3 weeks. And then when they do
something bad, we yank their privileges immediately, and they have to
start all over.

That might happen, but in the meantime, we'd have protection against
what I think is far more likely -- some punk kid with a perl script
goes through and edits every page on the site one night, thus causing
us a big pain in the neck to fix it.

> 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? 

:-)  I don't know!  Good questions!

My thinking was that all it means to be a member is that you aren't a
jerk.  That's probably a lifelong thing, so expiration might not be
necessary.  Anyhow, what I envision is that the powers granted are
*very small and narrow*, tailored specifically for site defense
against vandals.

> 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?

I suppose a person would have to work "logged in" to get credit.

> The "ManningBartlett" affair was a sad day, though

I missed that one.  I'll go review it now.

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