6:43 AM

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Wikipedia and the sin of pride

Mister Nizz

I read an interesting post WikiEN-L list yesterday. WikiEN-L is the discussion list for WIKIPEDIA, the great online encyclopedia of note. The post was from Parker Peters, one of the administrative editors working entirely as a volunteer. Administrative Editors, apparently, manage the much larger pool of subject expert volunteers and subject their work to peer review. The post can be read in entirety here:

"Quitting WikiPedia and Wanted you to know why"

On one level, this reads like a parting shot at some individuals (and God knows, I've had my share of those). However, the author makes some interesting accusations of systemic abuse by the managing editors of Wikipedia. I don't want to quote him ad infinitum but the most cogent piece from the article is here:

I'm out. As long as the cult of adminship reigns here, wikipedia's not
going to improve. New articles may come and edits might be made eventually,
but the state of wikipedia, our accuracy, our reliability, WILL fail as long
as admins are allowed to champion abusive users or be abusive themselves and
simply get away with it time and again, rubber stamped by secret evidence
and higher-ups who are more interested in their own power than making a
better encyclopedia.

The response (from an another editor):

Being banned for speaking out? I know of no cases. The claim was most
frequently heard from the hydra commonly tagged "Enviroknnot", but he
was banned for being a pathological fuckwit and for assuming no-one
could possibly work out it was him every time just by looking at the
way he always came back making the same edits to the same bunch of

Wow, that makes the HMGS Issues and Answers list look cordial. I followed the thread with interest, particularly this response farther down: http://mail.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2006-October/054996.html

The whole thing is an interesting window into the world of Wikipedia. I'd heard that some of the editors on Wiki had a real bad case of holier than-thou from elsewhere (and the response about Enviroknnot does come to mind), but didn't know it was this widespread (allegedly). In any event, it's worth a read.