[Wikipedia-l] Minority/majority question

Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales jwales at wikia.com
Sun Aug 1 02:07:53 UTC 2004

I will have to think some more before I can offer anything that might
hopefully be constructive, but for now I will just compliment both
Gutza and Danutz for bringing the issue to us with thoughtful
explanations and reasons.  I personally think that this is the most
important thing: to work together with reason and love to find a
solution that is satisfactory to everyone.

It occurs to me just now that in many cases, what we ought to have is
something in the software similar to a "hard link" versus a "soft
link" in Unix.  Let me explain.

Right now, we have the concept of a "redirect".  The redirect is like
a soft link in Unix, i.e. the redirected term is "inferior" in some
sense to the "real" name.  Without making any formal comment on
whether I think the decision is right or not, the redirect of "Eskimo"
to "Inuit" is a reasonable example -- "Eskimo" is not the preferred
term, so it is redirected to "Inuit".

But another way of going about this would be to have a way in the
software to form a special bond between two terms so that the two are
existentially equal from the point of view of end users of the
website.  Rather than being a redirect from a less preferred to a more
preferred term, the two would be totally equal and linked.

This does not solve the problem of what words to use in the body of
the article, so perhaps it would be pointless.  But it would resolve
the issue of people feeling that the redirect itself is a commentary
on the validity of one use.  (Sometimes we _are_ commenting on the
validity of one use, and that's fine in some cases.  For example, we
might redirect the common name of some species into the scientific
name, to promote general consistency of our naming conventions for

But really, as I started out saying, I don't think I have anything
really brilliant to offer in terms of solving the problem, except my
usual guidance that thoughtfulness, caring, reason, love, and respect
are the way forward.


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