Office of Advocate missing
Your example of physicsforums seems to agree with the main point: specialization. You can get powerful stuff when you have specialized experts. In a wide ranging common sense database there are no experts on everything, and so you need a specialized constabulary and judiciary to keep order. This is particularly true when deletions are the main source of frustration and emigration. The rules need to be applied fairly and consistently, so that the rest of the public citizen editors can harmonize communally and enjoy each other's contributions without fear.
Well, I can largely go with that. Minor res... well, make that "substantial reservations...
- Practically every article is a specialist article. (Same for threads. eg in physics forum I have contributed to threads in the biology sub-forum, as well as threads in other sub-forums, and never the twain did meet (weeeellll... haaardly ever...)). One of the strengths of WP is that specialists can write semi-literate articles that can be tidied up by literate non-specialists in the relevant disciplines, and be corrected and updated by the semi-literates in turn. (Not all specialists are semi-literate of course; it would be an ambitious English major who would fiddle with anything written by say, Medawar or the best of Dawkins! In other disciplines, I might mention say, Tyndall, Wells, Julian Huxley, Faraday... never mind -- let's just say that knowledgeable people can be good writers but some of them are not, but can be helped out in the WP environment.)
- The mere fact that it can take specialists for meta-tasks like policing, means that they are likely not to be specialists in the content of the primary material being policed. This makes it very important that access to ombudsmen (specialists of course, if possible) should be at once easy, reasonable and obvious.
- Bottom line is that "reasonability" is most important, far more so than consistency and perceptions of fairness. The latter can be patched up in due course if people are reasonable; the converse is less often true.
Well anyway, I reckon we are largely on the same wavelength.
An interesting slip of the tongue ("In a wide ranging common sense database"), which is quite revealing. Very many users would not know what an encyclopedia was even if they were hit over the head with it, but are working on a database (something else entirely). Also, the "common sense" has little enough to do with an encyclopedia: "common sense" is often a synonym for "misapprehension".
But, yes, an Advocate might be a good idea, in theory. In practice I expect any Advocate to be inundated with the querulous and naive, while any genuine issues may well be very labour-intensive. - Brya 05:56, 8 May 2011 (UTC)