Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Charles Matthews
On 18 April 2012 15:26, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> >> This directly conflicts with the Wikipedia FAQ/Article subjects (2012)
> page
> >> that specifically
> >> asks public relations professionals to remove vandalism, fix minor
> errors
> >> in spelling,
> >> grammar, usage or facts, provide references for existing content, and
> add
> >> or update facts
> >> with references such as number of employees or event details.
> >But the real-life situation is that someone paid to edit has a boss and/or
> >paymaster. Jimbo knows what he is doing here with sending out a soundbite,
> >rather than citing the page. The boss can understand the soundbite, and is
> >almost certainly not going to bother to understand the page.
>
> Let me get this straight.  You are arguing "It is okay to for Jimbo to tell
> the company something which contradicts policy because it's more likely
> the company will understand the non-policy than the actual policy".
>

The COI guideline is not an official policy. That is the kind of
distinction lost on many people, it seems.

Jimbo is accountable in some rarefied sense for whatever he says. To whom,
it is not quite clear. But, assuming he is speaking in what you could call
his "ambassadorial role", which is one of his hats, his job is to act as
diplomats do. What he says is perfectly fine as a clarification of the
community's position (which is what he states it to be). The
counter-argument runs like this: we showed your guideline to our legal
department, and we are told it doesn't say that. To which the answer is:
show legal documents to your legal department, and you'll get good sense.
Show documents drafted by our community, who aren't lawyers, to your legal
department, and you'll get crud. We know what to make of wikilawyers. If we
make it quite clear to ordinary folk what we really mean, and you go after
weaknesses in the drafting by calling in your hired legal guns who are paid
infinitely more an hour than our volunteers, just to prove we don't know
what we are saying, then you are not respecting us, are you?

So Jimbo says that in a more punchy way.

>
> >Yes indeed. Jimbo neither makes policy nor enforces it, of course.
>
> "Besides, it's their own fault for listening to Jimbo anyway.  They should
> know enough about Wikipedia to understand that he doesn't make policy.  I
> mean, he's just the public face of Wikipedia, why would anyone who needs to
> know about Wikipedia policy listen to him?"
>
> To any normal person, this is simply a case of Wikipedia contradicting
> itself.  The fact that it's not because Jimbo doesn't make policy is a
> piece of Wiki-arcana that the outsider really can't be expected to
> understand.  The fact that we're deliberately trying to get the people to
> listen to Jimbo and ignore the actual policy just makes it worse.
>
> See above. Jimbo can leverage his celebrity status to communicate to
people who only read business magazines and books. The fact is that there
is a published literature on Wikipedia, and people who really have an
interest in the site can read that, not the five-second version.

All policies and guidelines come with a context, you know.

Charles
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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Ken Arromdee
On Wed, 18 Apr 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:
>> Let me get this straight.  You are arguing "It is okay to for Jimbo to tell
>> the company something which contradicts policy because it's more likely
>> the company will understand the non-policy than the actual policy".
> The COI guideline is not an official policy. That is the kind of
> distinction lost on many people, it seems.

It's true that in some technical sense the COI isn't a policy either, but
that's hairsplitting.  If you're going to point to something and say "these
are the rules", it would be the COI guideline, not Jimbo's pronouncements.
People get blocked or banned because of violating COI, and disputes are
settled by pointing to COI.  The one that behaves like a policy and which
Wikipedians are required to treat as a policy is the COI guideline, not
Jimbo's pronouncements.  Having Jimbo tell people something that
contradicts COI and then claiming "sure, Jimbo doesn't make policy, but
COI isn't policy either" is disingenuous.

> The
> counter-argument runs like this: we showed your guideline to our legal
> department, and we are told it doesn't say that. To which the answer is:
> show legal documents to your legal department, and you'll get good sense.
> Show documents drafted by our community, who aren't lawyers, to your legal
> department, and you'll get crud. We know what to make of wikilawyers. If we
> make it quite clear to ordinary folk what we really mean, and you go after
> weaknesses in the drafting by calling in your hired legal guns who are paid
> infinitely more an hour than our volunteers, just to prove we don't know
> what we are saying, then you are not respecting us, are you?

We're not talking about some genuinely arcane thing like the definition of
some term using a zillion clauses.  We're talking about a case where
(regardless of any internal Wikipedia hierarchy which says that guidelines
aren't true policies) the policy says "you can do it" and Jimbo says "you
can't".  It doesn't take a legal department or even Wikilawyering to see the
contradiction in that.

>> To any normal person, this is simply a case of Wikipedia contradicting
>> itself.  The fact that it's not because Jimbo doesn't make policy is a
>> piece of Wiki-arcana that the outsider really can't be expected to
>> understand.  The fact that we're deliberately trying to get the people to
>> listen to Jimbo and ignore the actual policy just makes it worse.
> See above. Jimbo can leverage his celebrity status to communicate to
> people who only read business magazines and books. The fact is that there
> is a published literature on Wikipedia, and people who really have an
> interest in the site can read that, not the five-second version.

So we have someone who does read it and says "wait a minute, that's a
contradiction".

And I've been somewhat familiar with Wikipedia policies for a long time and
I *still* can't figure this out, so it's not true that anyone with an
interest can figure it out.  The best I can come up with is "ignore Jimbo",
but that is clearly not what you think the answer is.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Charles Matthews
On 18 April 2012 19:20, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> We're not talking about some genuinely arcane thing like the definition of
> some term using a zillion clauses.  We're talking about a case where
> (regardless of any internal Wikipedia hierarchy which says that guidelines
> aren't true policies) the policy says "you can do it" and Jimbo says "you
> can't".  It doesn't take a legal department or even Wikilawyering to see
> the
> contradiction in that.


Sorry, this is exactly the point. The conversation where we explain very
patiently to someone what our definition of COI is and is not; and the
response is "you're telling me that if I sail close to the wind on NPOV but
don't quite go over the line, then whatever my potential conflict of
interest is, then I'm not breaking your rules". That conversation is
exactly why the whole business is arcane _to people who think they are paid
to sail close to the wind and get away with it_. E.g. people with good
legal advisers who are smart enough to listen to the advice and understand
the fine print.

That kind of thinking is toxic to relationships. That kind of thinking
causes the "tragedy of the commons". We do not want people exploiting
Wikipedia in that way.

>
>
>  To any normal person, this is simply a case of Wikipedia contradicting
>>> itself.  The fact that it's not because Jimbo doesn't make policy is a
>>> piece of Wiki-arcana that the outsider really can't be expected to
>>> understand.  The fact that we're deliberately trying to get the people to
>>> listen to Jimbo and ignore the actual policy just makes it worse.
>>>
>> See above. Jimbo can leverage his celebrity status to communicate to
>> people who only read business magazines and books. The fact is that there
>> is a published literature on Wikipedia, and people who really have an
>> interest in the site can read that, not the five-second version.
>>
>
> So we have someone who does read it and says "wait a minute, that's a
> contradiction".
>
> And I've been somewhat familiar with Wikipedia policies for a long time and
> I *still* can't figure this out, so it's not true that anyone with an
> interest can figure it out.


You said it.


> The best I can come up with is "ignore Jimbo",
> but that is clearly not what you think the answer is.
>
>
> No, it isn't. Wikipedia isn't a ruleset.

Charles
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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
On 04/18/12 7:26 AM, Ken Arromdee wrote:

>
> "Besides, it's their own fault for listening to Jimbo anyway.  They should
> know enough about Wikipedia to understand that he doesn't make policy.  I
> mean, he's just the public face of Wikipedia, why would anyone who needs to
> know about Wikipedia policy listen to him?"
>
> To any normal person, this is simply a case of Wikipedia contradicting
> itself.  The fact that it's not because Jimbo doesn't make policy is a
> piece of Wiki-arcana that the outsider really can't be expected to
> understand.  The fact that we're deliberately trying to get the people to
> listen to Jimbo and ignore the actual policy just makes it worse.
>

Notwithstanding scientific developments, there are still people who
prefer to believe in God.

Ray

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Wed, 18 Apr 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:
> Sorry, this is exactly the point. The conversation where we explain very
> patiently to someone what our definition of COI is and is not; and the
> response is "you're telling me that if I sail close to the wind on NPOV but
> don't quite go over the line, then whatever my potential conflict of
> interest is, then I'm not breaking your rules". That conversation is
> exactly why the whole business is arcane _to people who think they are paid
> to sail close to the wind and get away with it_. E.g. people with good
> legal advisers who are smart enough to listen to the advice and understand
> the fine print.

If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather than
to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting too
close to a line.

If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the speed
limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
He's just making up his own rules.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

David Gerard-2
On 18 April 2012 23:29, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather than
> to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting too
> close to a line.
> If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the speed
> limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
> He's just making up his own rules.


Ken, what's your practical solution to the problems on each side, and
how will it work out well?


- d.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Ken Arromdee
On Wed, 18 Apr 2012, David Gerard wrote:
>> If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather than
>> to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting too
>> close to a line.
>> If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the speed
>> limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
>> He's just making up his own rules.
> Ken, what's your practical solution to the problems on each side, and
> how will it work out well?

I don't know, but whatever it is, it should be consistent.  Having the policy
say one thing and Jimbo say something completely different is stupid as
well as increasing Wikipedia's reputation for incomprehensible rules.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

metasj
I think you can share any or all of the following rules of thumb, in order:

"make proposed changes to talk pages.
 ask other editors to help you update an article.
 avoid editing articles about you/your organization directly,
 unless you are fixing vandalism or typos, updating stats, or adding sources.
"

SJ

On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 1:59 AM, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, 18 Apr 2012, David Gerard wrote:
>>>
>>> If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather
>>> than
>>> to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting
>>> too
>>> close to a line.
>>> If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the
>>> speed
>>> limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
>>> He's just making up his own rules.
>>
>> Ken, what's your practical solution to the problems on each side, and
>> how will it work out well?
>
>
> I don't know, but whatever it is, it should be consistent.  Having the
> policy
> say one thing and Jimbo say something completely different is stupid as
> well as increasing Wikipedia's reputation for incomprehensible rules.
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l



--
Samuel Klein          identi.ca:sj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
On 18 April 2012 23:29, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, 18 Apr 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:
>
>> Sorry, this is exactly the point. The conversation where we explain very
>> patiently to someone what our definition of COI is and is not; and the
>> response is "you're telling me that if I sail close to the wind on NPOV
>> but
>> don't quite go over the line, then whatever my potential conflict of
>> interest is, then I'm not breaking your rules". That conversation is
>> exactly why the whole business is arcane _to people who think they are
>> paid
>> to sail close to the wind and get away with it_. E.g. people with good
>> legal advisers who are smart enough to listen to the advice and understand
>> the fine print.
>>
>
> If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather than
> to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting too
> close to a line.
>
> If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the
> speed
> limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
> He's just making up his own rules.
>
> Or he may have noticed that you are off your face or otherwise not fit to
drive, and is applying common sense. Good metaphor.

But you do seem hung up on "rules". Without the required understanding that
there are indeed sub-sub-clauses, such as the requirement to "edit for the
enemy" that is written into WP:NPOV, that are implicit in WP:COI, and
without the idea that WP is a purposeful activity and has aims that should
be appreciated (which is there in black-and-white in WP:COI), there is no
way some people can do what we want.

Continuation of conversation:

"Look, we're all impressed with Wikipedia. But you seem to be saying that
to edit I have to put your project ahead of my day job; and so I think you
guys are just a bit crazed."

"Right both times."

"And you're now telling me I have to flack for the opponents of the guy I
am paid by, and put their criticisms into due form in the the way that,
frankly, they are too dumb to do, using the skills I have but against the
brief I have been given."

"Yup, that's what it says on the page about neutrality."

"Well ... where I come from ... words fail me ..."

This is really not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Charles
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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Andreas Kolbe-2
On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 8:17 AM, Charles Matthews <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 18 April 2012 23:29, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > On Wed, 18 Apr 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:
> >
> >> Sorry, this is exactly the point. The conversation where we explain very
> >> patiently to someone what our definition of COI is and is not; and the
> >> response is "you're telling me that if I sail close to the wind on NPOV
> >> but
> >> don't quite go over the line, then whatever my potential conflict of
> >> interest is, then I'm not breaking your rules". That conversation is
> >> exactly why the whole business is arcane _to people who think they are
> >> paid
> >> to sail close to the wind and get away with it_. E.g. people with good
> >> legal advisers who are smart enough to listen to the advice and
> understand
> >> the fine print.
> >>
> >
> > If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather
> than
> > to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting
> too
> > close to a line.
> >
> > If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the
> > speed
> > limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
> > He's just making up his own rules.
> >
> > Or he may have noticed that you are off your face or otherwise not fit to
> drive, and is applying common sense. Good metaphor.
>
> But you do seem hung up on "rules". Without the required understanding that
> there are indeed sub-sub-clauses, such as the requirement to "edit for the
> enemy" that is written into WP:NPOV, that are implicit in WP:COI, and
> without the idea that WP is a purposeful activity and has aims that should
> be appreciated (which is there in black-and-white in WP:COI), there is no
> way some people can do what we want.
>
> Continuation of conversation:
>
> "Look, we're all impressed with Wikipedia. But you seem to be saying that
> to edit I have to put your project ahead of my day job; and so I think you
> guys are just a bit crazed."
>
> "Right both times."
>
> "And you're now telling me I have to flack for the opponents of the guy I
> am paid by, and put their criticisms into due form in the the way that,
> frankly, they are too dumb to do, using the skills I have but against the
> brief I have been given."
>
> "Yup, that's what it says on the page about neutrality."
>
> "Well ... where I come from ... words fail me ..."
>
> This is really not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.



Well, in reality the discussion may be more like this:

"Oy, Wikipedia is beating up on my client. What User:Geteven has written
here is totally unfair. Can you believe, he goes on for 500 words about
that product recall we had three years ago? The entire article on our
company is only 600 words long."

"It is sourced. Don't delete negative material."

"You do realise that there have been over 5,000 newspaper articles on our
company in the last 10 years, and only three of them mention that product
recall?"

"I don't know about this. [Thinks: That dude has a conflict of interest. He
may be lying. PR people are paid to lie. He is probably lying.] Don't
delete sourced negative material. We cannot allow you to censor the
article."

"But why do you enable people to portray us in the worst light? It's
totally unfair. We think this was written by a disgruntled employee,
Gareth, whom we fired last year. He was involved with that issue."

"You have just outed one of our contributors. Wikipedia takes outing very
seriously. Your comment has been oversighted, and you have been blocked for
one week. You may appeal your block on your talk page."

"Please unblock me. Why have I been punished when it is User:Geteven who is
abusing Wikipedia?"

"We will only unblock you only when you show us that you realise what you
did was very, very wrong. You clearly don't. Instead you continue to
pretend it is everybody else's fault. Unblock denied."

Etc.

Not the beginning of a beautiful relationship either.

For those interested, there is an ongoing court case involving a scenario
somewhat similar to this:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2012/04/whats-the-difference-between-stating-facts-or-opinion-online-wikipedia-contributor-faces-defamation-.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LawLibrarianBlog+%28Law+Librarian+Blog%29

Andreas
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Re: The counterattack of the PR companies

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 18 April 2012 12:48, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> PR people who edited Wikipedia get crucified. Counterattack: reduce
> trust in Wikipedia.
> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417113527.htm
> Paper: http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/PRJournal/


On the CREWE Facebook page, Andrew Lih from WIkipedia has asked Dr
diStaso to correct her claims. His request:

‘Thanks, but doesn’t that mean the correct conclusion should be: “60%
of respondents who identified an article about their client found at
least one error”? That’s very different than: “60% of Wikipedia
articles about PR clients had factual errors” even more different
than: “60% of Wikipedia articles had factual errors” Doesn’t this
warrant a significant correction?’

Dr diStaso has, instead, reinforced the wrong impression in quotes
given to ABC News today:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/04/wikipedia-survey-shows-60-percent-of-entries-have-errors-and-public-relations-people-cant-correct-them/

I've asked her as well to please take the opportunity to urgently
correct the impression her work is giving. I'm sure there will be no
problem with this.


- d.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe-2
On 4/19/12, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> "You do realise that there have been over 5,000 newspaper articles on our
> company in the last 10 years, and only three of them mention that product
> recall?"

That might seem like a good point, but really, articles shouldn't be
constructed from surveys of newspaper articles. I know they are, in
practice, but they really shouldn't be. What is needed is something
beyond that, some indication that someone with the right credentials
has sat down and sorted through things and come to some sort of
independent conclusion. Some newspaper journalists do this, but not
many do.

Carcharoth

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Sarah-128
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 1:17 AM, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Continuation of conversation:
>
> "Look, we're all impressed with Wikipedia. But you seem to be saying that
> to edit I have to put your project ahead of my day job; and so I think you
> guys are just a bit crazed."
>
> "Right both times."
>
> "And you're now telling me I have to flack for the opponents of the guy I
> am paid by, and put their criticisms into due form in the the way that,
> frankly, they are too dumb to do, using the skills I have but against the
> brief I have been given."
>
> "Yup, that's what it says on the page about neutrality."
>
> "Well ... where I come from ... words fail me ..."
>
> This is really not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
>
That's exactly why people with a strong COI -- such a strong one that
it's their day job to present only one side of a position -- should
stay away from articles related to that topic.

Sarah

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe-2
On 19 April 2012 12:31, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 8:17 AM, Charles Matthews <
> [hidden email]> wrote:

>> Continuation of conversation:
>> "Look, we're all impressed with Wikipedia. But you seem to be saying that
>> to edit I have to put your project ahead of my day job; and so I think you
>> guys are just a bit crazed."

> Well, in reality the discussion may be more like this:


No, Charles has rendered the conversations I've had on the subject
pretty accurately (if skeletally).


- d.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On 4/19/12, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > "You do realise that there have been over 5,000 newspaper articles on our
> > company in the last 10 years, and only three of them mention that product
> > recall?"
>
> That might seem like a good point, but really, articles shouldn't be
> constructed from surveys of newspaper articles. I know they are, in
> practice, but they really shouldn't be. What is needed is something
> beyond that, some indication that someone with the right credentials
> has sat down and sorted through things and come to some sort of
> independent conclusion. Some newspaper journalists do this, but not
> many do.



Indeed, but there needs to be some measure of due weight, and for many
companies, newspaper articles and primary sources are all there is.

Andreas
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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 1:41 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 19 April 2012 12:31, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 8:17 AM, Charles Matthews <
> > [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> >> Continuation of conversation:
> >> "Look, we're all impressed with Wikipedia. But you seem to be saying
> that
> >> to edit I have to put your project ahead of my day job; and so I think
> you
> >> guys are just a bit crazed."
>
> > Well, in reality the discussion may be more like this:
>
>
> No, Charles has rendered the conversations I've had on the subject
> pretty accurately (if skeletally).



I'm sure both scenarios occur. I don't know what the solution is.

As Sarah says, telling PR people whose day job it is to just present one
side of the story to go right ahead isn't the solution. But we cannot close
our eyes to the fact that there are editors who for whatever reason
similarly have made it their job to only present one side of the story;
that PR people may have a legitimate grievance when they come to Wikipedia;
and that the restrictions we are applying to them are not applying to the
anonymous editors on the "other side", for whom we prescribe "assume good
faith", the right to edit anonymously, protection from having their motives
questioned, and so forth.

Usually we let activists of every couleur fight things out for years, until
they come to a bloody end in arbitration. (Traditional Wikipedia wisdom is
of course that having people with opposite POVs collaborate leads to
neutral articles, which works nowhere near as well as Wikipedia would like
to pretend.) Yet in this scenario, we are turning the PR person with the
obvious COI into a pariah, while shielding the anonymous activist editor
whose COI is less easy to pin down, but indistinguishable in terms of
editing result.

As long as there is activist editing, Wikipedia cannot claim any moral high
ground vs. the PR man, because we know that many people -- including the
Anders Breiviks and Johann Haris of this world -- contribute to Wikipedia
precisely for the reason of propagating their world view.

Andreas
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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Thu, 19 Apr 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:

>> If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather than
>> to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting too
>> close to a line.
>>
>> If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the
>> speed
>> limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
>> He's just making up his own rules.
> Or he may have noticed that you are off your face or otherwise not fit to
> drive, and is applying common sense. Good metaphor.

If I'm not fit to drive, he can tell me "you're not fit to drive."  Claiming
that it's because it has anything to do with getting close to the line is a
lie.

And the analogy doesn't work with drunkenness because there's no conscious
action you can do if you're drunk that will make you fit to drive.  The
analogy would require that he thinks I'm unfit to drive because I never
learned how to drive, but he ignores that I passed the driving test.

> But you do seem hung up on "rules". Without the required understanding that
> there are indeed sub-sub-clauses, such as the requirement to "edit for the
> enemy" that is written into WP:NPOV, that are implicit in WP:COI, and
> without the idea that WP is a purposeful activity and has aims that should
> be appreciated (which is there in black-and-white in WP:COI), there is no
> way some people can do what we want.

Rules can cause trouble, but they have one benefit: at least ideally, it's
clear when you have or haven't violated them.  (Many Wikipedia rules are not
ideal, but that's a discussion for another day.)  It's a lot harder to
inject personal prejudice to the issue when the rule spells out what you're
allowed to do.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Thomas Morton
On 19 April 2012 15:22, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, 19 Apr 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:
>
>> If someone tells you to drive at 5 miles under the speed limit rather than
>>> to drive at the speed limit, he may be trying to keep you from getting
>>> too
>>> close to a line.
>>>
>>> If someone tells you *not to drive at all* rather than to drive at the
>>> speed
>>> limit, that no longer has anything to do with "getting close to a line".
>>> He's just making up his own rules.
>>>
>> Or he may have noticed that you are off your face or otherwise not fit to
>> drive, and is applying common sense. Good metaphor.
>>
>
> If I'm not fit to drive, he can tell me "you're not fit to drive."
>  Claiming
> that it's because it has anything to do with getting close to the line is a
> lie.
>
> And the analogy doesn't work with drunkenness because there's no conscious
> action you can do if you're drunk that will make you fit to drive.  The
> analogy would require that he thinks I'm unfit to drive because I never
> learned how to drive, but he ignores that I passed the driving test.


In fact this analogy could work in the context of learner drivers; for whom
advising caution as they start out is a good thing! :)

Same applies to any newbie Wikipedian.

Tom
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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe-2
On Thu, 19 Apr 2012, Andreas Kolbe wrote:
> As Sarah says, telling PR people whose day job it is to just present one
> side of the story to go right ahead isn't the solution. But we cannot close
> our eyes to the fact that there are editors who for whatever reason
> similarly have made it their job to only present one side of the story;
> that PR people may have a legitimate grievance when they come to Wikipedia;
> and that the restrictions we are applying to them are not applying to the
> anonymous editors on the "other side", for whom we prescribe "assume good
> faith", the right to edit anonymously, protection from having their motives
> questioned, and so forth.

It's exactly the same problem as BLPs, except for companies.  If someone
tries to edit their own BLP, they're told they have a conflict of interest.
Due weight problems?  The article's been vandalized for years?  Tough luck,
deal with it, we have our own procedures for dealing with vandalism.  We're
sure they'll work out someday.

If anything, it's worse for companies.  Nobody tells BLP subjects that because
they have a COI, they can't even remove incorrect statements about themselves.

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Re: Fwd: The counterattack of the PR companies

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
On 19 April 2012 15:22, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Rules can cause trouble, but they have one benefit: at least ideally, it's
> clear when you have or haven't violated them.  (Many Wikipedia rules are
> not
> ideal, but that's a discussion for another day.)  It's a lot harder to
> inject personal prejudice to the issue when the rule spells out what you're
> allowed to do.
>
>
> I was thinking about this graphically, with an x-axis measuring
involvement in, commitment to, or  responsibility for Wikipedia. The y-axis
representing the value attached to detailed policies, in enWP's sense, as a
definition of what the site is or should be. I'm pretty sure that in a
notional plot the spread of views would go north-west to south-east. Jimbo
is somewhere asymptotically off to the right, for sure. I'm quite sure that
when x goes negative you get people whose view is that policy should be
drafted in entirely legalistic terms. Those people, who do not have WP's
best interests at heart, are always arguing for a disconnect between the
letter and spirit of policy, because they have no interest at all in the
spirit.

There are probably some outliers: why wouldn't there be, in a diverse
community? But roughly speaking most editors who could get near the ArbCom
are interested in making the site work a bit better, rather than pacifying
the ghost of Jeremy Bentham.

Charles
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