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Proposal talk:End of the Power games/en

From Strategic Planning

The end of the meatball:WikiLifeCycle: MeatBall:GatedCommunity. Nemo 23:52, 19 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Please don't

This would be the end of the free encyclopedia. How should we recruit new editors if they were not allowed to alter pages until they are established users? Or if every typo correction needed a vote or the help of an established user? That is exactly how many users start here: By correcting a typo or adding some small information and finding that their improvement is visible at once, all over the world. --Anypodetos 12:26, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

whats a power game???????????

is it where everyone has over 9000 power lvl and tries to kill each other using kai mai kai mai haaaaa?


This suggestion seems to violate one of most basic founding principals, in that it is supposed to be a free encyclopedia that ANYONE can edit. 01:15, 28 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Well, no, that is an advertising slogan, not a principle. The basic assumption is that an edit is justified (only) if it is furthering the aim of the project, that is to make knowledge available. A lot of the edits that ANYONE can do are disallowed and warrant quick reversion. - Brya 14:09, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply
I disagree (with Brya). The principle that "anyone can edit" is essential to combat the bias and ownership issues of veteran editors and provides an invaluable source of fact checking. It is an essential feature of Wikipedia. ---- CharlesGillingham 22:33, 2 July 2010 (UTC)Reply


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:09, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

They will find it more difficult to correct mistakes in Wikipedia, if those mistakes are being protected by veteran editors. They will also find it more difficult to introduce mistakes. ---- CharlesGillingham 22:37, 2 July 2010 (UTC)Reply

Limit time spent per day/week/month?

Those who are involved in a 'power-game' are those who spend a crap-load of time on wp. why not just limit everyone's time so as to hobble 'the cabal'?

interesting thought.... 12:53, 3 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
I like this idea. The problem is veteran editors, not first time editors. ---- CharlesGillingham 22:40, 2 July 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • I formerly believed in limiting each user's time; however, I learned that other users of a similar mindset will often fill the void when one user leaves. Those others happen to share the same intense viewpoint, and not as WP:sockpuppets, but rather one IP address in Germany and another in New York, posting within one hour of each other. The power-games must be defused by limiting and spreading the powers, and by insisting an article clearly describe multiple viewpoints, rather than, "Let's discuss if the 2nd viewpoint should be allowed, in the article, and form a consensus" (or other power-game). It should be a SEVERE policy violation to censor sourced text about alternate mainstream viewpoints. No more claiming "POV" and deleting whole sections of sourced text, as happens all the time on English Wikipedia, despite the prohibition of axing text protected by WP:NOTCENSORED. Because it is 200x times easier to delete sourced text rather than write it, the block for a "POV-delete" should be 200x times longer, so self-righteous deletions of whole sections would result in, rather than a 1-day block, a 6.7-month block (or similar). That would even the power-game, somewhat.

    However, limiting the edit-time for all users does not seem effective. The Conservapedia blocks all edits overnight (even on Sundays), allowing normal people to sleep, but examine articles there, and still find a lack of information. The real power-games are caused by groups of users, backed by friendly admins, hounding minority opinions and blocking or topic-banning them when they resist the majority. Admins should not be allowed to block a user who insists on having other sourced opinions stated in an article. Wikipedia policies and guidelines should be elaborated, by defining specific directives (as corollaries), too precise to re-interpret: "Directive C28a: Delete a section of sourced text without consensus and get blocked 7 days". The cabal is not pre-organized, but rather an instinctive "feeding frenzy" which arises when a group of users begins to see the minority successfully hounded, and instinctively joins in kicking them when they are down. Wikipedia did not invent the term "Tyranny of the majority" and people automatically act in that manner when power-games allow them. Remove their power to POV-delete sections fearing no punishment, and there will be more inclusion of alternate sourced opinions in articles. -Wikid77 23:32, 30 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

I agree with the critical commentator above

I don't see how appointed authoritarian page-tators could ever be a step forward. Some points to consider when proposing the use of "neutrality" to temper undesirably hot debates:

  • The determination of what is "neutral" in the larger public usually is simply a thermometer of popular opinion - popular opinion and the facts rarely even share third cousins.
  • On wikipedia, The line drawn as what is a "neutral presentation" too often depends on which viewpoint has the most or the most fanatical or the most senior supporters, or on precedent set by the previous editors of the article. None of these have anything to do with facts.
  • The act of standing with what is considered "neutral" is still a position chosen. Ideas are a perpetually and hotly contested ground. Facts may be great, but any expression of any selection of facts comes bundled with an interpretation of them (not to mention communication problems) - like, which facts do you put on the article page? How do you display them? These are why fights sometimes need to happen, even if they can spiral out of control.

Yes, I think the proposal has a point: I do like articles that present in a short-and-sweet way the arguments of many prominent, controversial or rising viewpoints/agents within a field of study. However, the devil is in the details, and it is questionable whether one person can fairly represent many people with strongly opposing views. The purpose of neutrality alone calls for tough but productive arguments, and not the hand of a Benevolent Dictator.

won't work

how are you going to find these above-reproach editors?

the "admins", even the arbitrators, are already proven edit-warriors. see the jayjg, an arbitrator on english wiki, israel goof-up email -- asking others to pile on in a pro-israeli bias via email.

There's no such thing as a neutral editor

The belief in "neutrality" is mistaken. Everyone has prejudices. Even the most renowned and enlightened scientists will reject ideas out of hand when they are peer reviewing papers, which later turn out to be the truth.

The only way to preserve neutrality in an article is for people with different, unabashed biases to agree to work together so that each can present his facts and make his case (citing like-minded sources) - rather than each reverting the other and confusing the other's arguments.

Use tactics to defuse power-games

Beyond the notion of restricting articles to long-term "trusted editors" there need to be many more tactics also put into effect.

  • Require admins to issue several formal warnings before blocking users (rather than the nebulous retort "your actions could end badly"). Reduce an admin's power which capriciously blocks other users.
  • Change to a demerit/merit system, where people accused of policy violations receive demerits, but can earn "merits" to reduce the total count of demerits, giving incentive to act better, rather than vandalize and rebel when they see "the end is near". Note how some former vandals have become valuable writers, even fixers, of articles.
  • Reword or remove guideline WP:Canvass to no longer consider talk about new articles as being nefarious "canvassing" which allows any admin to claim people discussing new articles are "disruptive" and violating WP rules.
  • Introduce new special talk-subpages named "/Biases" to describe problems in article sources which even long-term editors might not realize are systemic bias about a complex topic. Even long-term users can be deceived by complex issues in articles, which only numerous editors could eventually find or decipher in the sources. Everyone must be allowed to warn of biases which slant a topic.

Although the concept of proven "unbiased editors" seems a noble cause, there are many factors which distort a person's view of "reliable sources" and objective "truth". Hence, it isn't just a problem of objectivity, but also of "systemic bias" which causes even the most-seasoned editor to be deceived. As Einstein suggested, "Education is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18" and Wikipedia needs to have, for complex articles, a talk-subpage "/Biases" which describes potential biases in the article and its sources.

A notorious example, of systemic bias, is in the Amanda Knox case, where early accusations of a "Satanic ritual" murder and "sex-game orgy" were masked by closed sessions of court hearings, mostly described in Italian. Even experts could be deceived, until someone finally reported the blood-drawn "Celtic horse" on the wall was actually a smeared hand-print, not a horse diagram (there was nothing Satanic there), and the so-called "sex-game" seems to have been a faked sexual assault where clothing was deliberately placed (to seem like a rape), but CSI analysts concluded her roommate was fully clothed when stabbed, and no sex items, books, potions, alcohol or drugs were found in the room. Regardless, many news reports continued to obsess about the Satanic or sex-game, and it would take numerous people, not just senior Wikipedians, to translate the Italian reports and realize how, in Italy, court cases move so slow that corrupt officials can be on trial for falsifying evidence, while still free for years, to falsify or slant evidence in other cases. Naturally, everyone was biased to believe if corrupt Italian officials had slanted prior evidence, they would be quickly removed from court, but that is not the case, in the multi-year re-trials allowed in Italy. On Wikipedia, a "/Biases" talk-subpage could describe how, in Italy, officials are allowed to prosecute cases for years when accused of misconduct. Beware that "Rules of Evidence" are more lax in Italy than in the UK, Canada or U.S. That is an example of systemic bias in Italian trials: the evidence is not as carefully screened as might be assumed, so articles cannot just parrot Italian accusations as if made by other courts which drop cases for lack of evidence. A talk-subpage "/Biases" would note, in Italy, much evidence is discovered during trials, rather than before. In the U.S., an accusation in court means some evidence existed, but not so in Italy, where evidence is discovered during trial.

Anyway, various other tactics should be used to defuse edit-wars and disputes by trying to foster better behavior (more "carrots" as merits and less "sticks" as limited demerits). Also, there needs to be a systematic approach to finding and resolving the root-causes of conflicts, such as listing the "/Biases" which cause people to disagree because the sources are slanted in ways few have realized. Many people fervently believe the sources, unaware how the facts are slanted before reaching an article. -Wikid77 22:21, 30 June 2010 (UTC)Reply