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Wikipediocracy’s List of Demands

Every time I witness the almost reflexive reaction of some Wikipedians when the word “Wikipediocracy” comes up in polite conversation, I’m left in disbelief. To some, we might as well be talking about a full-fledged terrorist organization. I checked; they’re not. Despite all the doxxing, shit talking, personal attacks, and scandalizing they do over there, the guys and gals on Wikipediocracy are pretty fucking smart, and they spend much more time than a lot of Wikipedians might realize actually talking about ways to improve Wikipedia. In fact, some of the worst perps (Vigilant, I’m looking at you) provide some of the most productive comments if asked (Vigilant, I’m still looking at you). Early on in my Wikipediocracy days, I created a new thread and asked a very simple question: What would you do if you were emperor of Wikipedia for a day?

That thread was several pages long by the time I left. Initially, I promised to send the list to Lila after I had collated and cleaned it up a bit. Alas, it was a promise I felt I could no longer keep around the 857th time someone told me how freaked out everyone was that I might be providing some special channel to Lila. Sorry, Wikipediocrats, my eardrums just couldn’t take it anymore. What these concerned Wikipedians haven’t realized is that Lila doesn’t pay attention to me all that often. In fact, she never bothered to read anything I put online until she started getting briefed on every comma I would post to Wikipediocracy by WMF staff. So, who knows? Maybe she’ll get briefed on this list, too.

As you go through these solutions, please keep in mind that I do not necessarily support solutions on this list; they are suggestions from one or more Wikipediocrats that I have collected, hoping that more Wikipedians will see what Wikipediocracy is all about when they are in the zone constructive-criticism-wise.

Policy

  • Comprehensive Child Protection Policy across all projects that doesn’t rely on volunteer triage
  • Comprehensive Harassment Policy across all projects that doesn’t rely on volunteer triage
  • Strict Acceptable Content Policy for Commons
  • Policy-streamlining task force, whose mission is to eliminate redundancy, bloat, size, and quantity of policy, including, but not limited to policyish essays such as “WP:DUCK.” “WP:ROPE,” “WP:DICK,” “WP:DIVA,” “WP:DENSE,” etc. to create one Standard Guidelines document.

Content

  • Article accuracy above all else
  • Article quality, including pertinence, clarity, concision, comprehensiveness, and style, along with appropriate success metrics
  • Call out articles on a company or organization that have been edited by principals, employees, or agents of that organization that may constitute a Conflict Of Interest
  • Acknowledge the amount of adult material on Wikimedia projects and comply with all applicable laws and rulings for the jurisdictions under which it is collected and distributed
  • Establish a workflow to ensure that content problems do not languish indefinitely.
  • Address article ownership by the WikiProjects
  • Redesign the main page with more relevant content and a more engaging design
  • Require prepublication review of all article content submissions by at least one other editor
  • Articles that attain Featured Article and Good Article status should be vetted by experts and kept in a “stable” state with a badge or banner calling it out, backport critical updates if necessary, creating a reference version alongside an unstable, possibly more up-to-date version
  • Quality control initiatives in cooperation with academic institutions
  • Eliminate systemic bias for developed nations and dedicate more effort, funds, and awareness for developing nations
  • Consider new sister projects of Wikipedia that are appropriate for children and/or optimized for accuracy
  • Establish editorial boards with the authority to resolve content-related disputes
  • Opt-in, or even opt-out, search filter on Commons for potentially offensive or age-inappropriate material
  • Guaranteed reliability and quality of medical articles as a public safety measure, along with a prominent disclaimer
  • Basic pre-publication review

Governance

  • Annual or biennial election of all advanced permissions, including but not limited to admin, project admin, bureaucrat, checkuser, and steward
  • Admin tools more easily granted and taken away
  • Eliminate “founder” status
  • Allow for content editors of a given category to petition for independent administration
  • Whistleblower complaints process with anonymity protection for the whistleblower and no intervention by admins
  • Amnesty for all blocked editors, except for those blocked threatening violence or raising child-protection concerns
  • Make checkuser logs publicly searchable by target, checkuser, and mandatory policy-backed rationale
  • Every block automatically forwarded for appeal via random selection any three admins, who are to review the evidence at hand, including violated policy, diffs, and an explanation for the block with no interference from the blocking admin

BLP

  • Opt-out BLP Policy for people of marginal notability
  • End anonymous editing on and add pending changes to certain sensitive articles like BLPs and commercial enterprises

Chapters

  • Stop wasting donors’ money in grants to the chapters
  • Define the purpose of chapters, establish reasonable governance to facilitate that purpose, and limit each chapter activities to that purpose

WMF

  • Biennial election of WMF Board of Trustees
  • Discontinue the Wikipedian-in-Residence program
  • WMF employees hired with arbitration experience to replace AN/ANI/ARBCOM and other drama boards, who can also police the admins
  • Raise average pay for employees at Wikimedia HQ to SF Bay averages or above to attract top-notch talent
  • Programs of outreach to active editors who are not active in governance to make them aware of decisions they can help decide in community-wide votes
  • Programs to build trust with the larger community
  • Hire staff at the WMF who have credentials and experience in information science, knowledge management, machine-based text recognition and content recognition
  • Review priorities of all current and future engineering projects in collaboration with the community, along with potential features going forward
  • Be honest about financial status during fundraising

Alternatively, Fork It

  • A Wikipedia 2.0 fork administered by an international academic umbrella organisation that gradually takes on real editorial responsibility for the content

Again, I do not necessarily support all of these solutions.

More accurately, these are less demands than suggestions. Good suggestions on the whole, as far as I’m concerned. And I hope that after you’ve seen the brighter side of Wikipediocracy- and you’re one of the 3 Wikipedians who isn’t already lurking if not posting there- to take a closer look at the site.

That said, there is a threatening aspect to these solutions. It’s no secret that Wikipediocracy can inflict great harm on the project. Of the last 100 controversies, I think that Wikipediocracy and/or Wikipedia Review have been responsible for researching and publicizing about 100 of them. So, I’d say it’s less of a threat than a statement of the obvious: if Wikipedia doesn’t start addressing its biggest issues with some solutions like those above, the folks at Wikipediocracy will continue to publicize Wikipedia face plants that result from continually punting on them. Ultimately, we should address these issues because it’s the right thing to do. But if we can’t motivate ourselves to address them any other way, we should remember that Wikipediocracy has given us all fair warning with many precedents of what will happen if their demands are not met.

,Wil


Filed under: Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Wikipediocracy Tagged: Terrorism, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Wikipediocracy

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More Stories By Wil Sinclair

Wil Sinclair works on technologies that facilitate and encourage cloud adoption in the PHP community. His Simple Cloud API enables “cloud native” applications that can be deployed on all major clouds. He brings 10 years of experience in the software industry at companies from the smallest of startups to large multinationals such as Oracle and Amazon. Most recently he served as project lead on the leading PHP framework: Zend Framework.

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