Civility poll results

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Civility poll results

George William Herbert
SilkTork has started closing down and summarizing the poll results.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Civility/Poll

I am still reviewing the statistics and sum total comments, but some
takeaways I already have -

0. It's a problem.
1. We're not enforcing consistently at all, and that's hurting us.
2. We're BITEing new users.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Civility poll results

Marc Riddell
on 8/11/09 4:13 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:

> SilkTork has started closing down and summarizing the poll results.
>
> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Civility/Poll
>
> I am still reviewing the statistics and sum total comments, but some
> takeaways I already have -
>
> 0. It's a problem.
> 1. We're not enforcing consistently at all, and that's hurting us.
> 2. We're BITEing new users.
>
Is anyone really surprised at this? On this very List people are constantly
bragging about how wonderful Wikipedia is; focusing exclusively on how big
it is. Yet completely ignoring how screwed up the culture is. It's like a
company's media people pushing how good their product is, and how big their
company is, and completely avoiding how poorly their workers are treated -
while those in the executive suite are focused on trying to persuade people
to invest money in them. Arrogance without wisdom is hubris. This is a
formula for disaster.

Marc Riddell


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Re: Civility poll results

Thomas Dalton
2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:

> on 8/11/09 4:13 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:
>
>> SilkTork has started closing down and summarizing the poll results.
>>
>> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Civility/Poll
>>
>> I am still reviewing the statistics and sum total comments, but some
>> takeaways I already have -
>>
>> 0. It's a problem.
>> 1. We're not enforcing consistently at all, and that's hurting us.
>> 2. We're BITEing new users.
>>
> Is anyone really surprised at this? On this very List people are constantly
> bragging about how wonderful Wikipedia is; focusing exclusively on how big
> it is. Yet completely ignoring how screwed up the culture is. It's like a
> company's media people pushing how good their product is, and how big their
> company is, and completely avoiding how poorly their workers are treated -
> while those in the executive suite are focused on trying to persuade people
> to invest money in them. Arrogance without wisdom is hubris. This is a
> formula for disaster.

Wikipedia is a project and a community but, above all, it is an
encyclopaedia. It is an encyclopaedia that a lot of people find very
useful. Our system is working. There is certainly room for
improvement, but I don't see this disaster you speak of.

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Re: Civility poll results

Steve Summit
Thomas Dalton wrote:

> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
> > on 8/11/09 4:13 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:
>>> 0. It's a problem.
>>> 1. We're not enforcing consistently at all, and that's hurting us.
>>> 2. We're BITEing new users.
>>>
>> Is anyone really surprised at this? On this very List people are constantly
>> bragging about how wonderful Wikipedia is; focusing exclusively on how big
>> it is. Yet completely ignoring how screwed up the culture is...
>
> Wikipedia is a project and a community but, above all, it is an
> encyclopaedia. It is an encyclopaedia that a lot of people find very
> useful. Our system is working. There is certainly room for
> improvement, but I don't see this disaster you speak of.

And this sort of attitude is precisely why there *is* a problem.
(Sorry, Thomas, but you've managed to espouse the prevailing
attitude marvelously succinctly.)

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Re: Civility poll results

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton


> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
>> on 8/11/09 4:13 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:
>>
>>> SilkTork has started closing down and summarizing the poll results.
>>>
>>> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Civility/Poll
>>>
>>> I am still reviewing the statistics and sum total comments, but some
>>> takeaways I already have -
>>>
>>> 0. It's a problem.
>>> 1. We're not enforcing consistently at all, and that's hurting us.
>>> 2. We're BITEing new users.
>>>
>> Is anyone really surprised at this? On this very List people are constantly
>> bragging about how wonderful Wikipedia is; focusing exclusively on how big
>> it is. Yet completely ignoring how screwed up the culture is. It's like a
>> company's media people pushing how good their product is, and how big their
>> company is, and completely avoiding how poorly their workers are treated -
>> while those in the executive suite are focused on trying to persuade people
>> to invest money in them. Arrogance without wisdom is hubris. This is a
>> formula for disaster.

on 8/11/09 6:25 PM, Thomas Dalton at [hidden email] wrote:
>
> Wikipedia is a project and a community but, above all, it is an
> encyclopaedia. It is an encyclopaedia that a lot of people find very
> useful. Our system is working. There is certainly room for
> improvement, but I don't see this disaster you speak of.
>
Thank you, Thomas, you just made my point. This is exactly the type of focus
and denial I was speaking of.

Marc Riddell


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Re: Civility poll results

Andrew Gray-3
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell
2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:

> Is anyone really surprised at this? On this very List people are constantly
> bragging about how wonderful Wikipedia is; focusing exclusively on how big
> it is. Yet completely ignoring how screwed up the culture is. It's like a

I'm really not seeing the same level of unalloyed positivity you are.

Speaking for myself, I've said on several occasions over the past two
or three years, both here and elsewhere, that our culture has
significant systemic problems. When discussing this, I never felt I
was alone in this opinion; it's widely held amongst a sizeable
fraction of my "contemporaries", people who've been involved for a few
years and had the opportunity to see the cultural shifts.

This cultural dysfunctionality is a real problem; it has been a real
problem as long as I can remember; and it's getting worse.

As you say, the people who deny it exists aren't helping anyone deal
with it. But, conversely, assuming that no-one beyond a few lone
voices know or care about it doesn't help us deal with it either.

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: Civility poll results

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell
2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
> Thank you, Thomas, you just made my point. This is exactly the type of focus
> and denial I was speaking of.

I'm not denying we have a problem with civility. I got desysopped for
a civility block the community and ArbCom objected to. What I'm
denying is that this problem is going to lead it disaster. There is
absolutely no evidence of that.

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Re: Civility poll results

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Andrew Gray-3

> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
>
>> Is anyone really surprised at this? On this very List people are constantly
>> bragging about how wonderful Wikipedia is; focusing exclusively on how big
>> it is. Yet completely ignoring how screwed up the culture is. It's like a
>
on 8/11/09 6:50 PM, Andrew Gray at [hidden email] wrote:

> I'm really not seeing the same level of unalloyed positivity you are.
>
> Speaking for myself, I've said on several occasions over the past two
> or three years, both here and elsewhere, that our culture has
> significant systemic problems. When discussing this, I never felt I
> was alone in this opinion; it's widely held amongst a sizeable
> fraction of my "contemporaries", people who've been involved for a few
> years and had the opportunity to see the cultural shifts.
>
> This cultural dysfunctionality is a real problem; it has been a real
> problem as long as I can remember; and it's getting worse.
>
> As you say, the people who deny it exists aren't helping anyone deal
> with it. But, conversely, assuming that no-one beyond a few lone
> voices know or care about it doesn't help us deal with it either.

I hear you, Andrew. But the "few lone voices" are the only ones I ever hear;
the others are the ones with the megaphones handed to them by the executive
suite. Present a positive picture; that's how donations are raised. Cynical,
perhaps. But, sadly, true.

Marc


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Re: Civility poll results

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:
> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
>> Thank you, Thomas, you just made my point. This is exactly the type of focus
>> and denial I was speaking of.
>
> I'm not denying we have a problem with civility. I got desysopped for
> a civility block the community and ArbCom objected to. What I'm
> denying is that this problem is going to lead it disaster. There is
> absolutely no evidence of that.


I think there is a significant structural risk in the community
steadily getting less welcome to new blood.

A. People burn out, we need new recruits on an average roughly 18
month cycle just to maintain a participation level.
B. The more insular and inwards looking we become the less likely we
are to see structural problems, both internal and external.
C. We are (still) missing diversity of coverage due to a focus of our
userbase in certain demographics.  I found a few days ago that one of
the most commonly found light mechanical / structural construction
materials used in modern first world construction had no article
(strut channel / unistrut).  I keep tripping over this sort of stuff
every time I turn around.  3 million articles minus epsilon is not
done by any means.
D. And a narrow standard worldview in some respects is not good for
community consensus building, if we want the encyclopedia to be
representative of the world around us that we're writing about.

The "Well, it's getting worse, but it's always been getting worse"
misses the point - we're useful and relevant because we meet certain
criteria for our user base.  This sort of stuff strikes out at our
usefulness and relevance to our userbase, not just internal problems.
If people see us as an insular, crazy bunch of encyclopedia nuts
rather than as a genuine open movement that's important to them and
society writ large, we lose everything.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Civility poll results

Phil Nash-2
George Herbert wrote:

>> On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Thomas
>> Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
>>>> Thank you, Thomas, you just made my point. This is exactly the
>>>> type of focus and denial I was speaking of.
>>>
>>> I'm not denying we have a problem with civility. I got desysopped
>>> for a civility block the community and ArbCom objected to. What I'm
>>> denying is that this problem is going to lead it disaster. There is
>>> absolutely no evidence of that.
>>
>>
>> I think there is a significant structural risk in the community
>> steadily getting less welcome to new blood.
>>
>> A. People burn out, we need new recruits on an average roughly 18
>> month cycle just to maintain a participation level.
>> B. The more insular and inwards looking we become the less likely we
>> are to see structural problems, both internal and external.
>> C. We are (still) missing diversity of coverage due to a focus of our
>> userbase in certain demographics.  I found a few days ago that one of
>> the most commonly found light mechanical / structural construction
>> materials used in modern first world construction had no article
>> (strut channel / unistrut).  I keep tripping over this sort of stuff
>> every time I turn around.  3 million articles minus epsilon is not
>> done by any means.
>> D. And a narrow standard worldview in some respects is not good for
>> community consensus building, if we want the encyclopedia to be
>> representative of the world around us that we're writing about.
>>
>> The "Well, it's getting worse, but it's always been getting worse"
>> misses the point - we're useful and relevant because we meet certain
>> criteria for our user base.  This sort of stuff strikes out at our
>> usefulness and relevance to our userbase, not just internal problems.
>> If people see us as an insular, crazy bunch of encyclopedia nuts
>> rather than as a genuine open movement that's important to them and
>> society writ large, we lose everything.

I agree with the last point, but I see it as new editors coming along with
enthusiasm only to find that we already have the article they wanted to
create- so their only option is to seek to improve it according to their
perspective, which may not be consonant with the embedded culture. Whereas
they will see omissions and room for improvement, sometimes I think there is
an element of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Sure, they need to get used
to issues such as [[WP:V]], [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:UNDUE]], and this is most
obvious, in my experience, in "popular culture" articles, which are
fast-moving and are seen by these editors as needing to report *everything*.
The answer to that is, as [[Tony Blair]] said, "Education, education, and
education"- but the cultural gap may be too great for existing editors to
want to spend time explaining what may be relevant and what may not. That,
perhaps, is why new editors who don't get it are discarded, however great
the effort we may make to point them at [[WP:5P|principles]].



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Re: Civility poll results

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
2009/8/12 George Herbert <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
>>> Thank you, Thomas, you just made my point. This is exactly the type of focus
>>> and denial I was speaking of.
>>
>> I'm not denying we have a problem with civility. I got desysopped for
>> a civility block the community and ArbCom objected to. What I'm
>> denying is that this problem is going to lead it disaster. There is
>> absolutely no evidence of that.
>
>
> I think there is a significant structural risk in the community
> steadily getting less welcome to new blood.

I agree, but is there evidence that we are losing a significant number
of new users due to incivility? Numbers of new editors have dropped
recently, but that is to be expected as we pick more and more of the
low hanging fruit. I don't see how a poll can determine whether our
civility problems are having a large impact, only a survey of people
that leave after a short time can do that.

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Re: Civility poll results

George William Herbert
On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 4:36 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/8/12 George Herbert <[hidden email]>:
>> On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
>>>> Thank you, Thomas, you just made my point. This is exactly the type of focus
>>>> and denial I was speaking of.
>>>
>>> I'm not denying we have a problem with civility. I got desysopped for
>>> a civility block the community and ArbCom objected to. What I'm
>>> denying is that this problem is going to lead it disaster. There is
>>> absolutely no evidence of that.
>>
>>
>> I think there is a significant structural risk in the community
>> steadily getting less welcome to new blood.
>
> I agree, but is there evidence that we are losing a significant number
> of new users due to incivility? Numbers of new editors have dropped
> recently, but that is to be expected as we pick more and more of the
> low hanging fruit. I don't see how a poll can determine whether our
> civility problems are having a large impact, only a survey of people
> that leave after a short time can do that.

The poll can tell us that a lot of people, enough that it's probably
statistically significant as a sample (albeit self selected), are
concerned about the component issues.

You're right - a real "proper" survey would survey new users, and then
users who came and then left.  But finding the latter seems hrad.

I think it's unlikely we can put the effort required in to do a proper
statistical survey of the newly departed userbase, and suggest that we
assume that more experienced people's impressions are roughly
accurate.  That is subject to challenge or someone actually doing the
recently departed userbase survey and getting most appropriate info on
the table.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Civility poll results

Fayssal F.
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
The same community that is getting more and more uncivil is the same
community that banned WP:ESP in an uncivil manner!

Fayssal F.


Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 00:36:57 +0100

> From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Civility poll results
> To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>
> Message-ID:
>        <[hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> 2009/8/12 George Herbert <[hidden email]>:
> > On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
> >>> Thank you, Thomas, you just made my point. This is exactly the type of
> focus
> >>> and denial I was speaking of.
> >>
> >> I'm not denying we have a problem with civility. I got desysopped for
> >> a civility block the community and ArbCom objected to. What I'm
> >> denying is that this problem is going to lead it disaster. There is
> >> absolutely no evidence of that.
> >
> >
> > I think there is a significant structural risk in the community
> > steadily getting less welcome to new blood.
>
> I agree, but is there evidence that we are losing a significant number
> of new users due to incivility? Numbers of new editors have dropped
> recently, but that is to be expected as we pick more and more of the
> low hanging fruit. I don't see how a poll can determine whether our
> civility problems are having a large impact, only a survey of people
> that leave after a short time can do that.
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
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> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
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>
>
> End of WikiEN-l Digest, Vol 73, Issue 46
> ****************************************
>
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Re: Civility poll results

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
2009/8/12 George Herbert <[hidden email]>:
> The poll can tell us that a lot of people, enough that it's probably
> statistically significant as a sample (albeit self selected), are
> concerned about the component issues.

Lots of people are concerned about the health effects of telephone
masts, the connection between MMR vaccines and autism, the dangers of
leaving electric fans on overnight, etc., etc.. That doesn't mean any
of them are actually serious problems.

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Re: Civility poll results

FT2
I'm openly in support of a strong civility ethos - but it can't be a gamed
one where some can and others can't. A community like this can't have some
who can do stuff with impunity and others who'll get blocked for the same
stuff. A good ethos matters; a policy is just words in comparison.

The aim of a civility ethos/policy (if it can be said to have an aim) is
roughly this:

   - When people speak rudely, others tend to get defensive, feel attacked,
   and often over-react. Others get dragged in to the incipient drama to
   "defend" rather than to "resolve". It encourages "heat" and not "light" to
   do so.
   - Most users wish to contribute content. They see disputes as undesirable
   and an obstruction to that. When a dispute arises, it can poison the
   atmosphere or discourage or de-motivate others as a result.
   - People are realistic, they know there will be disagreement, often
   strongly. But seeing people behave like children and speaking in a rude
   offensive manner, may be demotivating. Especially, being spoken to that way
   can be.
   - Politeness - as an affirmative choice - tends to hold the emotional
   temperature down. It helps disputes to be resolved calmer if people are not
   uptight and heated. It may not stop users misbehaving (eg civil edit
   warring) but a general policy of disallowing disrespectful speech will
   almost always have some positive effect.


The thing about a policy is, it needs wide and level enforcement. How many
of the current concerns, I wonder, would be addressed, if admins were
actively expected to enact a high level of good conduct? If there were norms
like "do not intervene in a dispute between others except to help settle it
according to communal norms and support good quality resolution"?

While some poor conduct is unavoidable, a lot would be improved if more
users considered themselves responsible for avoiding "heating" speech in
favor of "lighting" speech. Especially, a double standard for admins (or
arbs, or established content writers) is not okay - users have the right to
expect more, not less, from such trusted users.

FT2





On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 12:54 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/8/12 George Herbert <[hidden email]>:
> > The poll can tell us that a lot of people, enough that it's probably
> > statistically significant as a sample (albeit self selected), are
> > concerned about the component issues.
>
> Lots of people are concerned about the health effects of telephone
> masts, the connection between MMR vaccines and autism, the dangers of
> leaving electric fans on overnight, etc., etc.. That doesn't mean any
> of them are actually serious problems.
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
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> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
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Re: Civility poll results

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
on 8/11/09 7:15 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:

>
> I think there is a significant structural risk in the community
> steadily getting less welcome to new blood.
>
> A. People burn out, we need new recruits on an average roughly 18
> month cycle just to maintain a participation level.
> B. The more insular and inwards looking we become the less likely we
> are to see structural problems, both internal and external.
> C. We are (still) missing diversity of coverage due to a focus of our
> userbase in certain demographics.  I found a few days ago that one of
> the most commonly found light mechanical / structural construction
> materials used in modern first world construction had no article
> (strut channel / unistrut).  I keep tripping over this sort of stuff
> every time I turn around.  3 million articles minus epsilon is not
> done by any means.
> D. And a narrow standard worldview in some respects is not good for
> community consensus building, if we want the encyclopedia to be
> representative of the world around us that we're writing about.
>
> The "Well, it's getting worse, but it's always been getting worse"
> misses the point - we're useful and relevant because we meet certain
> criteria for our user base.  This sort of stuff strikes out at our
> usefulness and relevance to our userbase, not just internal problems.
> If people see us as an insular, crazy bunch of encyclopedia nuts
> rather than as a genuine open movement that's important to them and
> society writ large, we lose everything.
>

Well said, George! The problem is that the executive suite will sit up there
and watch us ruminate and commiserate and, as they see it, "get it out of
our systems" as they have many times in the past when this subject has been
brought up, then return their attentions to what they think is important.
The bottom line here is: what can we passengers do about it when we aren't
the ones driving?

Marc


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Re: Civility poll results

Carcharoth
On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 1:19 AM, Marc Riddell<[hidden email]> wrote:

> on 8/11/09 7:15 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:
>
>>
>> I think there is a significant structural risk in the community
>> steadily getting less welcome to new blood.
>>
>> A. People burn out, we need new recruits on an average roughly 18
>> month cycle just to maintain a participation level.
>> B. The more insular and inwards looking we become the less likely we
>> are to see structural problems, both internal and external.
>> C. We are (still) missing diversity of coverage due to a focus of our
>> userbase in certain demographics.  I found a few days ago that one of
>> the most commonly found light mechanical / structural construction
>> materials used in modern first world construction had no article
>> (strut channel / unistrut).  I keep tripping over this sort of stuff
>> every time I turn around.  3 million articles minus epsilon is not
>> done by any means.
>> D. And a narrow standard worldview in some respects is not good for
>> community consensus building, if we want the encyclopedia to be
>> representative of the world around us that we're writing about.
>>
>> The "Well, it's getting worse, but it's always been getting worse"
>> misses the point - we're useful and relevant because we meet certain
>> criteria for our user base.  This sort of stuff strikes out at our
>> usefulness and relevance to our userbase, not just internal problems.
>> If people see us as an insular, crazy bunch of encyclopedia nuts
>> rather than as a genuine open movement that's important to them and
>> society writ large, we lose everything.
>>
>
> Well said, George! The problem is that the executive suite will sit up there
> and watch us ruminate and commiserate and, as they see it, "get it out of
> our systems" as they have many times in the past when this subject has been
> brought up, then return their attentions to what they think is important.
> The bottom line here is: what can we passengers do about it when we aren't
> the ones driving?

What? This is Wikipedia. The passengers *are* driving!

Carcharoth

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Re: Civility poll results

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by FT2
On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 1:18 AM, FT2<[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm openly in support of a strong civility ethos - but it can't be a gamed
> one where some can and others can't. A community like this can't have some
> who can do stuff with impunity and others who'll get blocked for the same
> stuff. A good ethos matters; a policy is just words in comparison.
>
> The aim of a civility ethos/policy (if it can be said to have an aim) is
> roughly this:
>
>   - When people speak rudely, others tend to get defensive, feel attacked,
>   and often over-react. Others get dragged in to the incipient drama to
>   "defend" rather than to "resolve". It encourages "heat" and not "light" to
>   do so.
>   - Most users wish to contribute content. They see disputes as undesirable
>   and an obstruction to that. When a dispute arises, it can poison the
>   atmosphere or discourage or de-motivate others as a result.
>   - People are realistic, they know there will be disagreement, often
>   strongly. But seeing people behave like children and speaking in a rude
>   offensive manner, may be demotivating. Especially, being spoken to that way
>   can be.
>   - Politeness - as an affirmative choice - tends to hold the emotional
>   temperature down. It helps disputes to be resolved calmer if people are not
>   uptight and heated. It may not stop users misbehaving (eg civil edit
>   warring) but a general policy of disallowing disrespectful speech will
>   almost always have some positive effect.
>
>
> The thing about a policy is, it needs wide and level enforcement. How many
> of the current concerns, I wonder, would be addressed, if admins were
> actively expected to enact a high level of good conduct? If there were norms
> like "do not intervene in a dispute between others except to help settle it
> according to communal norms and support good quality resolution"?
>
> While some poor conduct is unavoidable, a lot would be improved if more
> users considered themselves responsible for avoiding "heating" speech in
> favor of "lighting" speech. Especially, a double standard for admins (or
> arbs, or established content writers) is not okay - users have the right to
> expect more, not less, from such trusted users.

Maybe a tad too much jargon there?

It is also human nature that everyone, at one time or another, feels
the need to speak frankly and forcefully. If that is met by hurt cries
of "you are being incivil", that is a detriment to open discourse.

Carcharoth

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Re: Civility poll results

Emily Monroe
> It is also human nature that everyone, at one time or another, feels  
> the need to speak frankly and forcefully. If that is met by hurt  
> cries of "you are being incivil", that is a detriment to open  
> discourse.

Well, then there's the issue of differing cultures and  
neuroatypicalities (such as people on the autistic spectrum), where  
some people actually don't know how to be polite in some environments.  
How do we deal with somebody from a different country? What about  
somebody who we suspect has, or claims to have, a neurological  
disability that affects how xy interact with others?* These are  
questions we must ask ourselves.

Emily

PS *These questions are rhetorical. You can answer them, but I don't  
expect anyone too.
On Aug 11, 2009, at 7:37 PM, Carcharoth wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 1:18 AM, FT2<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I'm openly in support of a strong civility ethos - but it can't be  
>> a gamed
>> one where some can and others can't. A community like this can't  
>> have some
>> who can do stuff with impunity and others who'll get blocked for  
>> the same
>> stuff. A good ethos matters; a policy is just words in comparison.
>>
>> The aim of a civility ethos/policy (if it can be said to have an  
>> aim) is
>> roughly this:
>>
>>   - When people speak rudely, others tend to get defensive, feel  
>> attacked,
>>   and often over-react. Others get dragged in to the incipient  
>> drama to
>>   "defend" rather than to "resolve". It encourages "heat" and not  
>> "light" to
>>   do so.
>>   - Most users wish to contribute content. They see disputes as  
>> undesirable
>>   and an obstruction to that. When a dispute arises, it can poison  
>> the
>>   atmosphere or discourage or de-motivate others as a result.
>>   - People are realistic, they know there will be disagreement, often
>>   strongly. But seeing people behave like children and speaking in  
>> a rude
>>   offensive manner, may be demotivating. Especially, being spoken  
>> to that way
>>   can be.
>>   - Politeness - as an affirmative choice - tends to hold the  
>> emotional
>>   temperature down. It helps disputes to be resolved calmer if  
>> people are not
>>   uptight and heated. It may not stop users misbehaving (eg civil  
>> edit
>>   warring) but a general policy of disallowing disrespectful speech  
>> will
>>   almost always have some positive effect.
>>
>>
>> The thing about a policy is, it needs wide and level enforcement.  
>> How many
>> of the current concerns, I wonder, would be addressed, if admins were
>> actively expected to enact a high level of good conduct? If there  
>> were norms
>> like "do not intervene in a dispute between others except to help  
>> settle it
>> according to communal norms and support good quality resolution"?
>>
>> While some poor conduct is unavoidable, a lot would be improved if  
>> more
>> users considered themselves responsible for avoiding "heating"  
>> speech in
>> favor of "lighting" speech. Especially, a double standard for  
>> admins (or
>> arbs, or established content writers) is not okay - users have the  
>> right to
>> expect more, not less, from such trusted users.
>
> Maybe a tad too much jargon there?
>
> It is also human nature that everyone, at one time or another, feels
> the need to speak frankly and forcefully. If that is met by hurt cries
> of "you are being incivil", that is a detriment to open discourse.
>
> Carcharoth
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l

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Re: Civility poll results

Emily Monroe
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
> Wikipedia is a project and a community but, above all, it is an  
> encyclopaedia. It is an encyclopaedia that a lot of people find very  
> useful. Our system is working. There is certainly room for  
> improvement, but I don't see this disaster you speak of.

It's not a disaster, unless we neglect the problem and let it become a  
disaster.

Emily
On Aug 11, 2009, at 5:25 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:

> 2009/8/11 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
>> on 8/11/09 4:13 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:
>>
>>> SilkTork has started closing down and summarizing the poll results.
>>>
>>> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Civility/Poll
>>>
>>> I am still reviewing the statistics and sum total comments, but some
>>> takeaways I already have -
>>>
>>> 0. It's a problem.
>>> 1. We're not enforcing consistently at all, and that's hurting us.
>>> 2. We're BITEing new users.
>>>
>> Is anyone really surprised at this? On this very List people are  
>> constantly
>> bragging about how wonderful Wikipedia is; focusing exclusively on  
>> how big
>> it is. Yet completely ignoring how screwed up the culture is. It's  
>> like a
>> company's media people pushing how good their product is, and how  
>> big their
>> company is, and completely avoiding how poorly their workers are  
>> treated -
>> while those in the executive suite are focused on trying to  
>> persuade people
>> to invest money in them. Arrogance without wisdom is hubris. This  
>> is a
>> formula for disaster.
>
> Wikipedia is a project and a community but, above all, it is an
> encyclopaedia. It is an encyclopaedia that a lot of people find very
> useful. Our system is working. There is certainly room for
> improvement, but I don't see this disaster you speak of.
>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l


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