Time Again For Wiki Mutiny

Mateys, to invoke a bit of pirate lore, it be time to call a ForecastleCouncil.

Lots of vitriol has been directed at the stewards (StewardsResignation), and at the various vandals plaguing this site. I, too, am one who has been scarce here recently; largely due to the persistent issues.

When RobertAbitbol? was plaguing us all, and C2 seemed powerless to deal with it, it was asked whether it was TimeForWikiMutiny?.

The stewards, and the code word, were implemented as a responde to the Abitbol affair. Perhaps the predecessor to this page was a contributing factor--it seemed to get the attention of WardCunningham.

Now, this community is again at a crossroads; this time due to a vandal whose name is unknown, and who is not effectively dealt with by the current security model.

While many users have blamed the stewards for the situation (and in particular, for a lack of transparency in their operation); as Tom pointed out--it really isn't fair.

Many wikis can effectively deal with this. Wikipedia attracts far more abusive pests than does C2, but is far more effective in dealing with them swiftly and efficiently. The current operator of this site, for whatever reason, is reluctant to upgrade the current insecure software--which he wrote but appears unwilling or unable to maintain.

Maybe the secondary finger of blame needes to be pointed at Ward (the primary finger must always point to the vandals themselves).

Maybe it's time to demand that stronger technical measures be undertaken, and if Ward is unwilling or unable (due to other commitments), it's time to consider again WikiMutiny?. Maybe it's time for this community (meaning the users) to move and find a better home. One with more reasonable security, in particular. (If nothing else, we could move every page to TheAdjunct, and move the junk that presently sits there to a new wiki, TheAdjunctOfTheAdjunct?). Or, barring that, to disband the community altogether--to KillTheHostage, only this time the "hostage" is the site rather than a disputed page. There are many other fine fora on the Internet for discussing programming these days.
Page Migration

To up the ante, I will pose the following question to all: and Ward has been a most gracious host, and we owe him thanks and not scorn. That said; we don't owe him--or anyone--perpetual residence on his server. I'd prefer to stay here and stay running. But not under the present conditions.

-- ScottJohnson
The question as originally asked on this page is whether we should move them to another host where they can once again flourish and grow.

Ward has specifically stated that he does not want content moved wholesale from here to somewhere else. I would prefer to respect that. The question therefore becomes whether we can emulate that original success, perhaps transcluding the better pages from here and having some sort of annotation mechanism, and provide a framework that assists the better contributors in keeping the quality high. Others have noted that WikiPedia's model has its problems, and so do most others. Several suggestions have been made, all VaporWare. -- anonymous
You can take my content. I tend to accept that anything posted to wiki is difficult to claim posession of anyways - and I have used wikis with far more modern, complete feature-sets than this... although for much less intellectual discussion. WikiWikiWeb has the distinction of being the first wiki, and unfortunately it still feels like the first wiki. -- MartinZarate

I consent for my contribution here to be copied wholesale to any other wiki. The only caveat is that if the wiki is not open (it requires passwords, approvals, has exclusion mechanism and so on), texts copied wholesale should be left anonymous. -- CostinCozianu

When I've contributed, I've contributed under the assumption that anyone could use the material for any purpose (provided that it would be legal in and of itself). If someone wants to take what I've done and move it elsewhere, I'm fine with that. -- MartinShobe?
Three Issues

First, To set the matters straight there is no vitriol in StewardsResignation. StewardsResignation should be a step forward -- if there are no stewards there will be no stewards mechanism.

Second, Anybody can work, has worked or knows of another implementation, would be willing to work on a peer to peer ditributed wiki along the ideas of FolkMemory, FailSafeWiki? I plan to work on a prototype as soon as time allows.

Third, Scott is right there has to be a new beginning. I'm only concerned that not any software or any approach will do. Wikipedia's approach is an abysmal failure that I would have none of it, while other approaches - like TreeOfLife are successful but too closed to be wiki-like.
The Wikipedia Approach

Wikipedia's approach is an abysmal failure... -

That's rather a strong statement. Would you care to elaborate? (I tend to see WikiPedia as state-of-the-art.)

WikiPedia's community may at times sustain pages which AnonymousCoward knows to be untrue. (Calling the Iraqi Civil War by its media name, "The Iraqi Insurgency", comes to mind.) That's because WikiPedia's charter is to announce the status-quo, never to host original research. So the security model for a pro-research site must be completely different. -- PhlIp

-- ScottJohnson (four tilde's doesn't work here... )

Wikipedia now is largely driven by a heavy (and heavy handed) bureaucracy of admins. On top of that there are internal factions and conflicts. The way one puts it "Wikipedia today has more layers of bureaucracy than the average Fortune 500 company and more factions than the Italian parliament". Enough said. References are readily available on the internet.

That's from a political point of view. Quality-wise its failure to atract and maintain experts and expertise leads to a preponderence of mediocre content and WoodenLanguage. Given Wikipedia's declared target "repository of all human knowledge" the current state of affair makes its bombastic goal a rather amusing joke. No wonder even Steve Colbert picked on it (BrokenLink, video removed) -- Costin (Sorry, Costin, the link was still there. Yanked 16 Aug 10 -- MartySchrader)

-- ScottJohnson
Creating Content

But the whole point of a wiki is not to manage security , but to create quality content. It failed and its quality totally sucks to a large degree (at least for my standards of quality). The reasons for which Wikipedia failed (and will be a continuous failure as its content gradually evolves towards mediocrity) I attribute to its very organizational structure that you seem to praise so much. -- Costin

Hmph. The only technical solution I see to this is the replacement of the C2 Wiki with some mechanism that requires participants to provide some secure hosting service of their own for their contributions, then somehow dynamically link to that. This way the Wiki page is never deleted or shrunken, only expanded. Great fix, eh? The vandals would have a field day adding content, but then the Wiki management could always block particular authors from "contributing" at all. Oh, well. Never a good solution when you need one. -- MartySchrader

Coming to this discussion late, here are a few observations: The conclusion seems to be that it's the loss of culture - the shared knowledge of how things should be - that's driving the decline. People used to know how things worked, and why that was a good thing, and they worked to keep things that way. More recent newcomers don't know and don't understand how things used to work. The attitude seems to be that this is a wiki, and they can say and do what they like. They don't seem to believe that they have a responsibility to work hard and help create "documentation" style pages.

And other authors who do understand this can no longer fix things. The newcomers refuse to accept that there was once a culture, and it made things better. It's now a free-for-all, and TheSeptemberThatNeverEnded has come to WardsWiki. It's not that these people have nothing to contribute, it's that they don't actually understand the cultural elements that once made this wiki InsanelyGreat. The hacker mentality of having no regard for reputation works against us here. Wiki is not dead, the sky is not falling, but without some sort of techological enforcement and embodiment of that original culture, we will never see again the high-quality, every page worth reading, technological gold mine we once had.
Son of WardsWiki

Does anyone have any concrete, clearly analysed, implementable ideas for SonOfWardsWiki??

First we need to do brainstorming. Example: ParagraphWiki.
Discussion about WikiAsAnAlifeExperiment moved there.
OctoberZeroSix and again AprilZeroEight
See: WikiOnWiki, EverythingTwo


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