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.
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.
- Another option is to persuade Ward to OpenSource his wiki code, allowing the programmers among us to experiment with other security methods. This seems promising to me, considering Ward's current job as an OpenSource community evangelist.
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.
To up the ante, I will pose the following question to all:
- Who authorizes the content written by them to be migrated to another site?
- Who denies this authorization?
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.
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?
First, To set the matters straight there is no vitriol in 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
? 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
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
- When I refer to "security", I refer to Wikipedia's ability to keep banned users out; not to Wikipedia's editorial practices (which are, by necessary, different from those of C2). Like C2, Wikipedia does not require login to edit (though it provides login mechanisms and encourages that they be used; certain actions, like page creation and movement, require being logged in). Other useful details:
- Wikipedia now (or soon will) support proxies using XFF (see http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/XFF_project); this will solve (hopefully) the AmericaOnline problem. (AOL users have contantly changing IP addresses; XFF will make it easy for sites to distinguish one AOLuser from another.)
- Wikipedia has a fined-grained blocking mechanism, which works on both user accounts and IP addresses
- Wikipedia agressively blocks open proxies
- Wikipedia is not tolerant of certain forms of conduct (blatant vandalism, abusive behavior, excessive edit-warring, legal threats, SPAM, etc.) Offenders get a few warnings then are blocked.
- Wikipedia has quite a few bots which look for and automatically revert obvious types of vandalism. While not foolproof, they are quite effective.
- Full versioning--DoubleDelete and other tricks which are effective on C2 simply don't work on most modern wiki software.
(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)
- The ironic thing... is that most of the complaints about Wikipedia's bureaucracy (especially on forums like Wikipedia Review) come from the RichardKuliszs and RobertAbitbol?s of the world (RK used to edit there at one time but hasn't for years; I've never seen RA there). Wikipedia, being a popular forum, attracts loons and nutbars by the dozen, seeking to promote fringe theories or racist ideologies with the impratur of an encyclopedia. Many of these have been booted off for engaging in the very sort of behavior (tendentious POV-pushing) which undermines Wikipedia's claims to be authoritative; and quite a few now host (or participate in) anti-Wikipedia sites. Some complaints do come from academics--BertrandMeyer recently had a nasty run-in there, though it should be said he gave as good as he got (see BertrandMeyerAndWikipedia). At any rate, any large organization will have factions; Wikipedia has tens of thousands of active users. And in actuality, Wikipedia's bureacuracy is rather flat for an organization of that size. I've had little difficulty with the bureaucracy; but then again I don't make an ass of myself there. :) People far brighter than Steven Colbert have picked on Wikipedia, and yet it survives.
- However, the mention of Wikipedia is not to promote its editorial model or its correctness; but to reinforce the point that a large-scale Wiki can successfully defend itself against highly-disruptive users. I've added one other point to the list above. Occasionally, Wikipedia will make technical changes to deal with threats--banning anonymous page-moves to deal with the "Willy On Wheels" vandal, banning anonymous page creation after the Siegenthaler incident. But a two-bit twerp such as anon would provide little trouble at all for Wikipedia's defenses. (Some of his edits--like dash-reformatting--would simply be ignored or reverted; but others--like arbitrarily changing American spellings to British, or vice versa, or impersonating other users, would quickly get him warned and blocked).
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
- We may have to disagree on this subject; though again, my point is that users like "anon" aren't problems there. (Wikipedia is, OTOH, full of would-be RKs, seeking to use it as a forum to advance dubious theories).
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:
- This wiki started with well-regarded InvitedAuthors writing high-quality DocumentMode pages.
- Even when dissenting comments were made, the pages were returned to DocumentMode, with alternate points of view folded into the document and discussed with balance.
- Vandals and the occasional WikiPuppy were dealt with by the fact that the large majority knew how wiki worked. The majority knew that high-quality DocumentMode pages were the aim, vandalism and inappropriate "enthusiasms" were summarily deleted or edited away.
- More recently some pathologically persistent "contributors" have shown that having a majority of community members simply isn't enough. After a while they simply leave and get on with the rest of their lives.
- Several "issues" have now driven away many previously highly-regarded authors
- Not all - there are some left
- Most contributors now indulge in heated back-n-forth threads, without ever creating DocumentMode pages
- As a result most currently edited pages are difficult to read, unpleasant, and unenlightening.
- This attracts still more ThreadMode and less DocumentMode, accelerating the decline
- Some of us don't believe in DocumentMode format for many topics. This does not however, mean we are against organization. It's just that DocumentMode's form of organization is ill-suited for many topics.
- Even technical pages on this wiki now contain little more than heated and repeated statements of unsupported claims, interspersed with calling other people idiots.
- Anybody is welcome to create a parallel topic page which consolidates repeated arguments and removes the name-calling. The problem is that we are too lazy. I'm guilty myself, so I am not chewing you out. My point is that it is fixable and you and I are both capable of fixing it if we put in the elbow grease. Maybe if people saw a pilot project that did it well, they'd be motivated and have a working model of how. I'd suggest randomly picking one ThreadMess a month for people to collectively rework. WikiZens would informally "sign up", and disputes are settled by vote.
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
and again AprilZeroEight