A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

Gwern Branwen
On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 1:53 PM, stevertigo<[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM, Gwern Branwen<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Email lists have the attention span of ferrets on crack; if we're
>> looking for long-term discussions, MLs are the worst model we could
>> pick, which is another strike against this proposal.
>
> And yet you write to one or more regularly,

I usually only write about transient events which I think will
interest this particular small group of hardcore/oldtimer Wikipedians;
the only other forums I could think of to reach this same group is the
Signpost, and that's a one-way street.

> and while your name itself
> may not be cited, your term "ferrets on crack" will no doubt be reused
> here until the end of wiki-time.

I'm skeptical; 'ferrets on crack' is an old phrase, and I think I've
used it here before without anyone picking up on it. I'd suggest that
we check back in a year or two to see who was right, but there's the
whole memory-hole problem with MLs... Oh the ironing!

>> Ironically, wikis are so far the online medium which have done best at
>> long-term conversations: I routinely see talk page conversations where
>> the gaps between one message and another may be a year or three. This
>> is not something I've ever been able to say of email lists, IRC chat,
>> IM, newsgroups, social sites, web aggregators, most every blog...
>
> Keep in mind that "wiki" is just a format, with all the backend
> required, for editing documents online. It's fast becoming as
> ubiquitous as paper someday will once have been, and thus our entire
> project is sort of stuck with a name that in a few years will have the
> same sense of distinction as 'paperpedia,' or 'pulpedia'.

Generic - like the _Encyclop├ędie_?

> Anyway, back to the point, wikis are great for documents - not
> conversations. There are of course ideas out there now for ways to
> make wiki pages more liquid and perhaps even making its individual
> elements atomic and rankable - such as to be suitable for discussions.
> And there are also ideas about making traditionally non-wiki concepts
> like email more openly editable - waves comes to mind, along with
> other CMSes that integrate wiki. 'Someday all websites will be wiki?'
> - Sure, but when that happens we won't need to to call them wikis
> anymore.
>
> -Stevertigo

Yes, the best way forward is probably to improve talk pages. They've
already proven that they can go the distance; so 'all' that's needed
is to make them more user-friendly and longterm-watchable without
compromising their longevity.

Web forums and Reddit pages are a good example of this: in theory they
should work just as fine as talk pages, since they need not ever
close, and forum threads can be 'stickied' to make them as permanently
prominent as a WP article. Yet, in practice, they don't work so well.
I attribute this to a overly cluttered UI, generally poor search, and
their linear presentation.

I'm actually not too enthused about Google Wave for this purpose.
Watching the demo, the entire thing seems optimized for short waves
with minimal nesting. The history scroll thing is no good for, say,
Talk:Jesus, and the comment boxes are all very small and so discourage
any in-depth discussion.

--
gwern

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

metasj
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 2:36 AM, Gwern Branwen<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yes, the best way forward is probably to improve talk pages. They've
> already proven that they can go the distance; so 'all' that's needed

Well, i think we still have a long way to go before we've successfully
copied that oldest of wiki formats, the Talmud and its ilk -- and that
works for more than talk pages!

> Web forums and Reddit pages are a good example of this: in theory they
> should work just as fine as talk pages, since they need not ever
> close, and forum threads can be 'stickied' to make them as permanently

Have you tried Diigo?  Any thoughts on that sort of interface?

> I'm actually not too enthused about Google Wave for this purpose.
> Watching the demo, the entire thing seems optimized for short waves
> with minimal nesting. The history scroll thing is no good for, say,
> Talk:Jesus, and the comment boxes are all very small and so discourage
> any in-depth discussion.

But this may just be a question of implementing the right interface to
a generic sort of tool.  The spec doesn't say anythinga bout how to
visualize history scrolling or comment boxes.

S

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

stevertigo-2
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 8:18 AM, Charles
Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hmm, it might save time if you sent an email to Jimbo, so you could get
> his straight and insightful "no" to the idea of resolution-l. Or even
> his very direct and trenchany "yes".

Hm. I don't email retired people. Interferes with their fishing.

> Given your announced intentions for it, I think it is reasonable to
> assume that it is ground of your own choosing for a battle with the Sith
> Lords of Arbitration.

Ha. If those "Sith lords" did things more openly, they would be the
beings of light and wisdom people thought they were when we voted for
them.

> So it turns out you don't vote for or against arbs? You are in the
> majority, since turnout hardly reaches 20%. But it rather undercuts your
> premise.

Hm. I did vote in that election IIRC. Could be wrong about that though
- might have been busy with real life. But just like with the current
board election, I don't have to get too involved in any of the
soapboxing to just vote for people I know and respect. The issue then
with Arbcom is that election to that institution means they stop being
the same beings we voted for -  instead becoming this largely insular,
non-responsive and overworked hanging court. Doesn't have to be that
way, IMHO.

> many people were voting for the
> general principle of change rather than specifics of how Arbitration
> could be improved, procedurally or at the level of what type of person
> should be an arb.

I like getting into specifics, personally, and I agree with your
apparent view that just changing things up sometimes doesn't quite
have as much validity as implementing specific desired changes. In
fact I foresaw some of these specific issues a couple years ago, and
outlined them at WP:DRREF .

> The Gorbachev reference is therefore to try to get
> away from the idea that US politics is the only valid type of
> comparison. It is also slyly implying that you can end up with Putin, a
> KGB man, whatever the sloganising.

OK. We now know you are a true and capable fan of the politics.

> I happen to think that requests for
> things to be more "open" can be queried: there is plenty of private mail
> that should remain private because it is either (a) about private life
> details that have no bearing on the encyclopedia, but come up because
> voluntary work tends to drag private matters into the workplace,

I agree only in part. In fact, I would propose the rule that any
discussions in private be made redundant and redacted (removing
private details) in a public archive. This ideally could be done quite
orthogonally - public copies are identical to the private ones, albeit
with certain appropriate and collaboratively editable redactions.

> horse-trading and straw polls which are part of the proper work of a
> committee. In fact Arbitration cases generate acres of material showing
> how decisions are made; and in most cases (not all) what appears on the
> wiki is at least a fair record of how a decision was reached.

Ah. "Horse trading" as in I will agree to ban Peter for one year, if
you agree to ban Paul or two?  In the context of Arbitration, the
practice is actually quite a DBAD violation.

Opening things up will have some nice counterbalancing effects toward
that: Any Arbs inclined to be quite "Sith"-like in private will
instead think twice. Which brings up an interesting corrollary - we
know that overworked people sometimes have problems thinking even once
about anything, let alone twice.

Stevertigo wrote :
>> The fact remains that dispute resolution functions need to be more
>> open. If Arbcom and perhaps even Foundation (hm) actually functioned
>> fully in accord with their own stated principles or values, then there
>> would be no issue with concepts like transparency.

> That's it: sentence 1 says this is about glasnsost'. And sentence 2
> appears just to be false, IMX.

Its neither Glasnost, nor Perestroika, nor the Bolivarian or Orange
revolutions, nor the Boston Tea Party. It's just me cracking open the
clam, under the suspicion of a notion that there still be some pearls
inside.

-Stevertigo

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

stevertigo-2
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM, stevertigo<[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 8:18 AM, Charles Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Given your announced intentions for it, I think it is reasonable to
>> assume that it is ground of your own choosing for a battle with the Sith
>> Lords of Arbitration.
>
> Ha. If those "Sith lords" did things more openly, they would be the
> beings of light and wisdom people thought they were when we voted for
> them.

PS: Let's agree to refrain from even using Star Wars analogies again -
its hard to find a more scientifically or morally useless paradigm.
Not to mention it makes already dorkish people feel like they're
twenty-five again.

-Stevertigo

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by stevertigo-2
stevertigo wrote:

>> horse-trading and straw polls which are part of the proper work of a
>> committee. In fact Arbitration cases generate acres of material showing
>> how decisions are made; and in most cases (not all) what appears on the
>> wiki is at least a fair record of how a decision was reached.
>>    
>
> Ah. "Horse trading" as in I will agree to ban Peter for one year, if
> you agree to ban Paul or two?  In the context of Arbitration, the
> practice is actually quite a DBAD violation.
>  
No, you misunderstand. When a case is clearly not going to get closed
with the current set of findings, someone has to initiate a phase of
discussion that ends with a better set of proposed findings,
incorporating modifications that have broader support. Try AGF.

Charles


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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by stevertigo-2
stevertigo wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM, stevertigo<[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 8:18 AM, Charles Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:
>>    
>
>  
>>> Given your announced intentions for it, I think it is reasonable to
>>> assume that it is ground of your own choosing for a battle with the Sith
>>> Lords of Arbitration.
>>>      
>> Ha. If those "Sith lords" did things more openly, they would be the
>> beings of light and wisdom people thought they were when we voted for
>> them.
>>    
>
> PS: Let's agree to refrain from even using Star Wars analogies again -
> its hard to find a more scientifically or morally useless paradigm.
> Not to mention it makes already dorkish people feel like they're
> twenty-five again.
>  
Right, strictly Doris Lessing, C.J. Cherryh and the less pulpy parts of
Jack Vance in future. People will generally not know what we're talking
about, but the high ground will be ours.

Charles


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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

stevertigo-2
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:26 PM, Charles
Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Right, strictly Doris Lessing, C.J. Cherryh and the less pulpy parts of
> Jack Vance in future.

Who?

> People will generally not know what we're talking
> about, but the high ground will be ours.

Hrmph. Well, we can experiment a little. If I drop a concept like
"Karellen," everyone should get the concept immediately. Anyway, at
least we've ruled out LOTR and Lucasflim.

-Stevertigo

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

stevertigo-2
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:34 PM, stevertigo<[hidden email]> wrote:
> If I drop a *concept like "Karellen," everyone should get the *concept immediately.

Sorry - my natural recursive rewriting pattern sometimes produces redundancies.

-Stevertigo

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

stevertigo-2
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:36 PM, stevertigo<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Sorry - my natural recursive rewriting pattern sometimes produces redundancies.

Er, I should say "recursive rewriting without re-reading pattern" actually. :-)

-Stevertigo

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

David Gerard-2
As far as I can tell, this is the state of consensus on the idea of a
resolution-l:

* one strong proponent (Stevertigo)
* a couple of mild supporters (Fred Bauder, W. Johnson)
* nobody else cares much
* several people have suggested it would need consensus on the wiki to
be a happener - no info on state of opinion on the wiki
* no list created yet (mostly because of the tiny support)
* SV alleges procedural suppression of the idea

Anything I've missed?


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

stevertigo-2
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM, David Gerard<[hidden email]> wrote:

> As far as I can tell, this is the state of consensus on the idea of a
> resolution-l:
> * one strong proponent (Stevertigo)
> * a couple of mild supporters (Fred Bauder, W. Johnson)
> * nobody else cares much
> * several people have suggested it would need consensus on the wiki to
> be a happener - no info on state of opinion on the wiki
> * no list created yet (mostly because of the tiny support)
> * SV alleges procedural suppression of the idea
> Anything I've missed?

Very nice, but a couple amendments are required:
* I am not a "strong proponent" - I am the proposer. Naturally I
consider the idea to be valid, or I would not have proposed it. And if
there is anything "strong" about my proposal, its in the fact that my
arguments are fairly sound, and my responses to the various criticisms
have been somewhat straightforward and satisfactory.
* IIRC George and SJ and maybe a couple others - notably Thomas - have
also expressed *some degree of support - as always with their own
ideas and points. And if he wasn't altogether retired, Jimbo would
probably also support it too.
* "Nobody else cares much" is perhaps accurate, perhaps not. Only the
supporters and opponents count - not the abstentions - and IMHO I've
been fairly successful at defeating the opposition's arguments anyway
- too often by simply pointing out the lack of any substantial
argument to speak of. If Lincoln destroys Douglas in debate, we
generally get a concession speech, but we don't generally expect or
get total conversion or support. Consider Planck's axiom about how
changes in scientific thinking happen not so much through changing
minds, but more through through scientist's eventual deceasing.
* The "no list yet" issue is largely in Cary's court, for the simple
reason that he is the person apparently in charge. Of course if a
person in charge of something is not actually doing what his
underlings tell him to do, then standard bureaucratic procedure
usually requires that they be promoted to higher office so they can do
less damage.
*  I allege no procedural suppression, for the simple reason that I
have no access to the private lists or emails. I do however allege
that if I did have access to those private channels, I could defeat
most of whatever privately made criticisms just as easily as I have
the open ones.

-Stevertigo

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

David Gerard-2
2009/7/31 stevertigo <[hidden email]>:

> * "Nobody else cares much" is perhaps accurate, perhaps not. Only the
> supporters and opponents count - not the abstentions - and IMHO I've
> been fairly successful at defeating the opposition's arguments anyway
> - too often by simply pointing out the lack of any substantial
> argument to speak of. If Lincoln destroys Douglas in debate, we
> generally get a concession speech, but we don't generally expect or
> get total conversion or support. Consider Planck's axiom about how
> changes in scientific thinking happen not so much through changing
> minds, but more through through scientist's eventual deceasing.


"Nobody's actively trying to kill the idea!" works okay in wiki
editing (where bad edits are reversible), but probably isn't enough to
bother with an unconvincing structural change. Until anyone else cares
enough to actually push it hard, it won't be a happener.


> * The "no list yet" issue is largely in Cary's court, for the simple
> reason that he is the person apparently in charge. Of course if a


The reason it hasn't happened yet is that nobody else is pushing it
but you. There is no groundswell of support. Cary not doing something
just because you really really want it is, I would suggest, absolutely
appropriate.

So, what was wrong with getting consensus for it on the wiki? Given
it's expressly meant to affect the wiki.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal - a recap of resolution-l

stevertigo-2
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 3:27 PM, David Gerard<[hidden email]> wrote:

> "Nobody's actively trying to kill the idea!" works okay in wiki
> editing (where bad edits are reversible), but probably isn't enough to
> bother with an unconvincing structural change. Until anyone else cares
> enough to actually push it hard, it won't be a happener.

"[Various esoteric pseudo-axioms]" - huh? "Anyone?" "Push it hard?"
David, its not the force, its the motion.

> The reason it hasn't happened yet is that nobody else is pushing it
> but you. There is no groundswell of support. Cary not doing something
> just because you really really want it is, I would suggest, absolutely
> appropriate.

Please don't lose your graceful tone, David. I was simply amending the
list you put together with some details. I made no statements about
why things were or were not happening.

> So, what was wrong with getting consensus for it on the wiki? Given
> it's expressly meant to affect the wiki.

I can try doing that a little, I guess. But what was wrong with
sorting some of it out here?

-Stevertigo

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