Wiki Mind Wipe

The process of systematically erasing a large amount of contribution to the WikiWiki forum. The act is considered vandalism unless the erased contributions are one's own.

The concept was coined during its first occurrence around the Summer of 1999 (WikiMindWipeDiscussion).

Wiki restoration from EditCopy or http://c2.com/wiki/history may at times reduce its impact.


If you don't like WikiMindWipes, one way to avoid them is to avoid making someone so upset that they'd contemplate one.

Doesn't that lead to stifling one's opinions based on fear of reprisal, the opposite of the trust Wiki is based on?

On the contrary. Trying hard never to offend someone is a wikizen's duty to the community and to Jah. We should all try to pander to the community and Clorox our beliefs until we achieve uniformity - then we can prevent anyone from hurting us when they get upset.

But seriously, let's not forget politeness and its contribution to WhyWikiWorks.

Why must life be seen by so many people to be a function of absolute extremes? It is possible to routinely avoid offense without compromising one's standards. If someone takes offense at a statement offered in a calm and rational manner, that is hardly worth worrying about. If we routinely speak in a confrontational and disrespectful fashion, we can do better.

In either case, I take delight in expending 0 effort vandalizing something. -- VincentLowe

If I might add in a bit of variety here... there might be a case for mind wipes being fairly good for the community as a whole. The causes may be less than ideal, and although painful at first, the new growth that accompanies it can be quite worthwhile...

Mind wipes don't seem to have been necessary for Wiki to continuously grow in the past, and I don't see how they should help growth in the future. After all, who says what will come after a mind wipe will be better than what was there before? JoelSpolsky has something about always wanting to rewrite a (software) system, and why you shouldn't, which seems applicable here... (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html) -- FalkBruegmann

Maybe WikiMindWipe can be considered WikiSpringCleaning? If the bulk of Wiki just keeps accumulating, maybe occasionally it's good for someone to go clear out some cobwebs, some hardened crud? Especially in ThreadMode pages. I think of CartersCompass: "I know I'm on the right track when, by deleting something, I'm adding functionality." -- JohnDouglasPorter


I don't think so. In another life I dealt with vandals of a more physical kind; you would be surprised to know how infrequently they had higher motives. There is a great deal of difference between the careful but robust pruning of the loving gardener and the wanton destruction of a work of art. I cannot necessarily think that the latter re-energizes the creative spirit of a new generation of artists. Wanton destruction diminishes society; that's why society tries to protect itself against it. The dilemma is that sometimes the protection is equally destructive. - johnH [http://www.hulbert.net/].

There should be a HappyMedium? between total destruction and planned pruning. That's what we're learning from ForestFires in national parks -- PhilJones

That's funny; I thought "WikiMindWipe" might be what happens if you spend too much time WikiWalking, I mean like twenty-four hours at a stretch, your mind might be wiped, so... -- EdwardKiser

"I agree"

Maybe that's "WikiWipeMind?."


Technically, all the texts contributed are here under a mutual agreement between every contributor and WardCunningham. So to put it simply: if I or anyone else decide to withdraw our contributions here, this is a matter of private business. -- CostinCozianu

And if I wish to show what somebody else wrote in the past by posting the same text again, that's no different in principle from giving a url in the InternetArchive to see the same information. -- Anon
May 2006: The latest victim of anonymous abuse is Colin Wright, a long time contributor who has chosen to wipe his contributions and attributions when leaving. Perhaps it is time to reconsider anonymous editing?
See also: WikiMindWipeDiscussion, WikiSuicide, WikiStroke, PerpetualNow (as an aside), WikiMindWipeRealityCheck, ViolentRefactoring
CategoryWikiProgress CategoryWikiHistory

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