Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The WikBack

Wikipedia has harsh critics. Some of them are not welcome on Wikipedia itself for one reason or another.

Wikipedia ArbCom member Uninvited Company has set up a discussion forum called The WikBack, at his own expense, to provide another place to discuss areas for improvement. (for various reasons, some Wikipedia editors prefer not to participate at Wikipedia Review).

This discussion forum has been a mixed success so far. Some lively discussion has ensued, but there also have been those who say it is not as successful a vehicle for discussion as Wikipedia Review. Others may feel that the posting rules at WikBack may tend to inhibit discussion, pointing to, for example, bans of a week for off topic posting (after warning) as being inhibitory.

Is the existence of WikBack good or bad? Acknowledging that since it is Uninvited Company's forum (he pays the bills) and thus UC has the right to set the rules as he chooses, are they too strict? Too lax? What do you think?

(edit: I spelt the forum name wrong, consistently. Now it's been changed :) )

13 comments:

private musings said...

thought I'd pipe up about this one - being both a reader / supporter of this blog, and one of the people booted for a week from wikback. (more here to shamelessly plug my own dull offerings!)

Folk may be interested to know that I genuinely didn't feel 'warned' in the context - you can make your own mind up - but I'm not sure that my ban was called for (the disquiet you mentioned at wikback was much appreciated....)

My feeling is that UninvitedCompany, whilst clearly working towards creating a positive complement to the mailing list, is not adopting best, or even good practice in some situations. I've been a bit unhappy that posts have been removed mid-thread without any note being left - I would think that best practice would be to leave a note in each case. There are also a few inconsistencies in policy application.

I really do appreciate UC's efforts in maintaining the wikback however, particularly his willingness to allow banned users to engage. Having referred to him as 'marble-free' on his own website I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised to be banned, but I really would welcome more consistent, and fair approach to go with the firmness of the choices made to date....

luke brandt said...

Just a thought...I get the feeling UC's heart is in the right place, if not his head! Maybe the heart is the more significant of the two in the long run

Lar said...

Good comments, both. If UC can be convinced to change the approach in the correct direction, then it doesn't matter if it was bumpy at the start. The way to do that is to give polite feedback, I expect.

Dan said...

He's way too anal in his moderation of the site. In my case, I hadn't even seen the "warning" yet when I posted the message that got me banned for a week, since the thread had scrolled to a new page and I hadn't gotten to the end of it before I replied to an earlier message in it. In any case, a week ban for such a petty thing is way out of line. I'm not sure I want to go back to active participation in that site after my ban expires.

Gregory Kohs said...

All I know is if PrivateMusings, Dan Tobias, and I cease posting there (thanks to our one-week blocks), I believe the WikBack's traffic level will be halved.

I no longer see WikBack as "good" or "bad" -- it is simply irrelevant.

Moulton said...

I was disappointed by UninvitedCompany on three occasions, on three sites (WP, WR, and WB).

I fear there is no hope for reforming Wikipedia, since there is no Truth and Reconciliation Process.

Armed said...

Seeing as how UC's choices on
WB triggered a jack-booted
violent thug to threaten to
cut my fingers off, I
absolutely hate WB's apologist
guts.

Heart in the right place? UC
started with the premise that
disobeying him was worse than
threats of physical violence.
It is no surprise that the
threats escalated because of
him.

Sorry, Lar, but threats of
physical violence are more
than just bumpy, and it does
matter.

UC has shown no remorse. He
has no ethics, no basic sense
of human decency. He's a
threat to non-violent society,
and should, without further
hesitation, be permanently
banned from WP for reckless
endangerment.

Lar said...

Dan: I think "anal" is a bit harsh. I would hope that UC will as time goes on, see the wisdom of a defter touch, let's just leave it at that.

Greg: Well, I'm not sure I agree that it is irrelevant. There is important discussion going on there that goes on no where else, at least not at this time.

Moulton: We will just have to continue to disagree. I remain impressed by what WP has achieved, and hopeful that the issues facing it can be overcome.

Armed: I'm not sure I see the relevance of the points you raise to the points I make. As many have suggested, it may not be effective to constantly raise your situation in discussions about various and sundry matters. The things you say about UC are just not something I'm willing to countenance, I don't at all see him as all the bad things you enumerate. This post was about rather a smaller topic.

Armed said...

You don't see the relevance
of UC making choices that
result in someone else
receiving threat of physical
violence? The way posting
off-topic and disobeying UC
is apparently an offence
punishable not only by
banning, smearing, and
defamation, but also by
threat of loss of body parts?
Your post was an
understatement.

Effective? Well, let's see,
he's a 'respected arbitrator',
and I'm an 'evil WR person who
deserves to have her fingers
cut off', so I suppose nothing
I say will be 'effective'.

You only see what you want to
see. UC is a sadistic control
freak who is happy to allow
people who disobey him to be
threatened with physical
violence, but because he's in
a powerful position, everyone
seems to want to suck up to
him. Disgustingly typical.

Lar said...

Armed: I had wanted to allow all comments to stand but you continue to raise matters (regardless of how important you may feel they are, I am in no way denigrating that) that are irrelevant to the topic of this post. Please stop doing that.

There are other channels for you to address the matters you raise, and if you continue, your comments will be deleted. You have been counseled about this before, elsewhere.

Dan said...

Now you've done it, Lar... you'll be forevermore referred to as "facilitating threats to cut off fingers" because you won't let Armed go on about this on your blog, on or off topic.

Lar said...

Dan: Ahem, that's off topic too. I may have to ban you for a week for that. Heck make it 8 days, whatever UC can do I can do better...

private musings said...

(as you know) Lar - the bar's been raised... Dan will have to get a month and a day.....

(don't worry about the fact that his comment is over a week old - he's exhausted all of our patience long ago.....)

;-)