Please Dont Delete My Name

When I make contributions to a wiki page, other than trivial ones, I append a link to my home page, so that I acknowledge my input, and other people can contact me if they wish. I have just come across a page where someone else has deleted my name, thus removing the action I took to own the statement. I don't understand why, just please don't do it.

-- JohnFletcher

The wiki way holds that ThreadModeConsideredHarmful. In other words, PleaseDontDeleteMyName is not the community norm around here.

I think there should be something between DocumentMode and ThreadMode: probably a document with very short contributor tags?

Many people put a list of contributors at the end of pages. (SignedDocumentMode) This may encourage others to add their name and make their contribution anonymous rather than stimulating ThreadMode.

Contrast with OurWordsNotMine and OurWordsNotYours

This is interesting. One of my reasons for adding my name to pages is that, as an academic person, I take responsibility for my opinions. I will acknowledge that for straight information this is not so necessary, but sometimes information is wrong or changes with time, or someone wants to come back or follow up.

I have been a member of the wiki community for 5 years (see my home page), so I have seen some changes, of which the biggest was the coming of the ability to delete pages. The reason I am still here is because I have gained a lot of useful things from being here. I am also attempting to contribute in my turn by adding information or cross-references to other points. The person who took my name off a page which contained a small amount of information also removed a cross-reference because (presumably) they thought it important to remove it. That was an exercise in judgment.

My judgment is that wiki is enriched by cross-references so that people can follow threads and find information in ways which are different for each of us. I am not bothered whether that is in thread mode or not.

-- JohnFletcher

I guess I see wiki as being fundamentally different from academia in that sense ... Whenever you attach a name to an opinion, you run the risk of bringing past grudges, politics, and ego into an exchange of ideas. Of course, you get many things out of that attribution, one of them being responsibility, as you point out, John. It seems to me that by and large this wiki has made the decision that it would rather err on the side of anonymity than attribution.

And if you're going to attach importance to your own attributions, it might not be wise to do it in a forum where you have so little control. This wiki has next to no security to protect you in this sense. If I decided I hated you, John, it would be trivial for me to go around deleting everything you said, or even distorting it to misrepresent you.

Personally, I have lots of writing that I care about retaining complete control of. I put them on my webpage, and sometimes, when I'm lucky, I get them published. -- FrancisHwang

I agree with Francis and others who think that wiki content belongs to "everyone". Cross-references among ideas do indeed enrich wiki, but cross-references among people do not. I generally sign my contributions, but that's only for a sort of "initial responsibility" and also to let people use their knowledge of me to help interpret anything unclear. If nobody objects or disagrees with what I've written, then my contributions become part of wiki and are open to refactoring and change. I prefer that people remove my name. -- KrisJohnson

It may be that the way wiki works is changing as it grows, and that I need to change and let go of things. I see that it was started very much for programming patterns and now is a resource for many other things as well. I am always reluctant to throw things away, and see, therefore, a value in what could be termed WikiArchaeology - digging back to see how things evolved on wiki. Now I think that real archaeology has to destroy the evidence as it digs down, so refactoring may have a place in that process, provided it doesn't remove all evidence of how we reached where we are now.

There is a pattern, I think valued on wiki, in the way computer languages have evolved, and the significant events in that process, which requires a sense of the value of the past if it is not to be lost. Maybe wiki is not the eventual place for that history to be written, but it is one place where a deposit is laid down day by day, just as sediment falls to the bottom of a lake and fills it up.

This page is an example of that deposition, and perhaps needs to be put in a ThreadMode reservation where examples of discussion between people are preserved. That is a judgment for the future. -- JohnFletcher

History and Wiki have a strange relationship. Refactoring into DocumentMode, as you note, often involves destroying the record of who-said-what-in-relation-to-what. Historians always end up filtering and distilling themselves, making value judgements about what's remarkable enough to retain. Say somebody refactors this page in the future. Will they consider it a historically interesting fact that in 2002 JohnFletcher, FrancisHwang, KrisJohnson, and perhaps others had some sort of discussion? Or will they distill all our contributions down to the simplest form and sweep our signatures away? Hard to say.

To mangle Santayana: Those who prefer to summarize the past are doomed to Wiki. -- francis

This site is more about the organization of experience than the preservation of history. That doesn't mean we wouldn't welcome pointers to pages of merit on other servers. -- WardCunningham

If the goal is collaborative authoring, then the goal is best met when the authors involved are most satisfied with the collaborative outcome. Part of collaboration is expressing among us our preferences so they can be considered, respected and sometimes honored. A rule set can help, but individual cases have to sort themselves out. In a scenario where one author signs his contribution, followed by another author removing the signature, the collaborative intent is still incomplete. Would the second author remove the signature if he understood its value to the first? I think that angle has been slipped here in favor of the more abstract rules discussion. -- WaldenMathews

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