Jimmy Wales should reconsider

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Jimmy Wales should reconsider

fredbaud
Posted on behalf of Daniel Brandt, at his request:

I feel that Jimmy Wales made the wrong decision when he unbanned
me a couple of days ago. I had asked that my article be deleted,
along with the Talk pages, and my User and User_talk pages too.
I am not interested in editing Wikipedia, and never have been,
apart from my desire and need to comment on why I objected to that
article on me, in whole and in part.

I ask that Mr. Wales reconsider. If the article still exists
several weeks from now, I will formally appeal to the Wikimedia
Foundation Board of Trustees. Since Erik is a trustee (at least
until June), he may have a chance to cast his vote on this issue at
that time. If the Board declines to get involved, then this will
introduce an additional level of confusion over the distribution
of power and responsibility within Wikipedia.

Since the structure of Wikipedia has a direct bearing on the
content offered by Wikipedia, this distribution of power has legal
implications. Let me put it bluntly: While it may be true that the
Foundation Board of Trustees does not seek to shape content apart
from its control over moderation privileges through the software
it develops and the servers it owns, it is still true that the
Board has the power to summarily delete content. Failure to do so
is actionable if the content is illegal, assuming that the Board
is made aware of the situation. I don't think anyone seriously
disputes this. If it is a matter of dispute, then this is what
I hope to clarify someday in a court of law.

Erik thinks very highly of Wikipedia's mission, and feels that
the topics it chooses to cover should enjoy sanctuary from outside
interference -- Wikipedia exists in the wonderful world of
cyberspace, where real-world laws don't apply. The only concession
he makes is that the subject's wishes are "one factor": the victim
gets to say some final words before execution.

That is not a realistic point of view. It is especially unrealistic
given the fact that hordes of anonymous editors, many of them
underage, are creating Wikipedia's content, and can change it
at any time.

It was pointed out by another that I'm neither powerful enough
nor rich enough to give Wikipedia any trouble, and therefore it
follows that Wikipedia should ignore me. As pathetic and immoral
as this viewpoint may be, it is the logical extension of Erik's
position. If Erik is wrong, it's the death of Wikipedia in the
short-term. And if Erik is right, it's still the death of
Wikipedia, but now perhaps in the longer-term.

I think Mr. Wales should delete my article, with the understanding
that in this case he is acting for the Board. It would save
everyone a lot of trouble.

-- Daniel Brandt



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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Stan Shebs-2
Fred Bauder wrote:
> Posted on behalf of Daniel Brandt, at his request:
>
> I feel that Jimmy Wales made the wrong decision when he unbanned
> me a couple of days ago. I had asked that my article be deleted,
> along with the Talk pages, and my User and User_talk pages too.
> I am not interested in editing Wikipedia, and never have been,
> apart from my desire and need to comment on why I objected to that
> article on me, in whole and in part.
>  
Appeasement it was, then.

Stan


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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

fredbaud
In reply to this post by fredbaud
I didn't do that quite right, he also quoted a post by Eric:

>On 4/20/07, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
>> If we take our role as an encyclopedia seriously, then these
>> externalities are irrelevant. I would be deeply concerned about the
>> kind of precedent where a sufficient amount of noise alone guarantees
>> the removal of information. Now it may be Daniel Brandt, tomorrow,
>> some strange religious group nobody has ever heard of, then some
>> litigious video game lawyer .. this is the wrong way to look at the
>> problem and could seriously damage our usefulness. And if you think
>> that you can actually close this issue by deleting Brandt's article,
>> you've apparently not followed the debate after the last speedy
>> deletion attempt.
>>
>> I'm already concerned that we have a thin skin when it comes to legal
>> threats. I want us to develop a legal strategy where we have the
>> confidence to stand up against bullies and kooks, rather than folding
>> as soon as we get a nasty letter. But that also means that we have to
>> take more responsibility to ensure that all our BLP processes are
>> working -- including stable version tagging, and so on.
>>
>> I can understand the notion of an "opt-out" for borderline notability,
>> but I've come to the conclusion that this cannot be implemented in a
>> reasonable fashion. The only thing that I see viable is that the
>> subject's wishes are, by policy, one factor to be taken into account
>> in an AfD. That doesn't mean they necessarily outweigh the interests
>> of the encyclopedia, but that the people debating the issue ought to
>> make a judgment call about it. Then let the chips fall where they may.
>
>I feel that Jimmy Wales made the wrong decision when he unbanned
>me a couple of days ago. I had asked that my article be deleted,
>along with the Talk pages, and my User and User_talk pages too.
>I am not interested in editing Wikipedia, and never have been,
>apart from my desire and need to comment on why I objected to that
>article on me, in whole and in part.
>
>I ask that Mr. Wales reconsider. If the article still exists
>several weeks from now, I will formally appeal to the Wikimedia
>Foundation Board of Trustees. Since Erik is a trustee (at least
>until June), he may have a chance to cast his vote on this issue at
>that time. If the Board declines to get involved, then this will
>introduce an additional level of confusion over the distribution
>of power and responsibility within Wikipedia.
>
>Since the structure of Wikipedia has a direct bearing on the
>content offered by Wikipedia, this distribution of power has legal
>implications. Let me put it bluntly: While it may be true that the
>Foundation Board of Trustees does not seek to shape content apart
>from its control over moderation privileges through the software
>it develops and the servers it owns, it is still true that the
>Board has the power to summarily delete content. Failure to do so
>is actionable if the content is illegal, assuming that the Board
>is made aware of the situation. I don't think anyone seriously
>disputes this. If it is a matter of dispute, then this is what
>I hope to clarify someday in a court of law.
>
>Erik thinks very highly of Wikipedia's mission, and feels that
>the topics it chooses to cover should enjoy sanctuary from outside
>interference -- Wikipedia exists in the wonderful world of
>cyberspace, where real-world laws don't apply. The only concession
>he makes is that the subject's wishes are "one factor": the victim
>gets to say some final words before execution.
>
>That is not a realistic point of view. It is especially unrealistic
>given the fact that hordes of anonymous editors, many of them
>underage, are creating Wikipedia's content, and can change it
>at any time.
>
>It was pointed out by another that I'm neither powerful enough
>nor rich enough to give Wikipedia any trouble, and therefore it
>follows that Wikipedia should ignore me. As pathetic and immoral
>as this viewpoint may be, it is the logical extension of Erik's
>position. If Erik is wrong, it's the death of Wikipedia in the
>short-term. And if Erik is right, it's still the death of
>Wikipedia, but now perhaps in the longer-term.
>
>I think Mr. Wales should delete my article, with the understanding
>that in this case he is acting for the Board. It would save
>everyone a lot of trouble.
>
>-- Daniel Brandt




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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

James Farrar
In reply to this post by fredbaud
On 20/04/07, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think Mr. Wales should delete my article, with the understanding
> that in this case he is acting for the Board. It would save
> everyone a lot of trouble.
>
> -- Daniel Brandt

Actually, it wouldn't. It would set a very dangerous precedent.

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by fredbaud
On 4/20/07, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Failure to do so
> is actionable if the content is illegal, assuming that the Board
> is made aware of the situation.

It would not be wise to discuss legal strategy in public. That said, I
think the idea that Brandt's article is "illegal" is preposterous.
Brandt does not dispute the accuracy of the information in it; his
core argument is that it presents him in a "false light". At the same
time, he acknowledges that the distribution of publications about his
activities results in a natural bias on the kinds of activities which
he was involved in. This makes the entire argument meaningless; there
is no evidence whatsoever of an attempt to deliberately give a false
impression of who Brandt is and what he is doing. If such claims held
any water, virtually any publication about Brandt's work would be
similarly defamatory.

> Erik thinks very highly of Wikipedia's mission, and feels that
> the topics it chooses to cover should enjoy sanctuary from outside
> interference

Not at all. If I actually saw any evidence that Brandt was being
deliberately harmed through his article, I would be much more
concerned about the legal implications. However, as far as I can tell,
all that people have tried to do is write a neutral, well-sourced
biography. That is what Wikipedia is for.

Brandt has to figure out what he wants. If he believes he has a moral
or legal case because of the text of his biography, he has completely
lost touch with reality; this text has been more diligently researched
than probably anything that has ever been written about him in his
life. If he, on the other hand, argues that _any_ Wikipedia article
could _potentially_ contain something negative, he has similarly no
legal case (so could any discussion forum, including the ones he posts
to); however, I would agree that he has a limited _moral_ case.
Wikipedia should do its best to protect the integrity of articles
about living persons. We are not a random web forum and should hold
our articles to a higher standard.

If Brandt wants to sincerely work with us to achieve that -- fixing
any remaining flaws in his biography, and working with us to identify
strategies to keep it, and other similar articles, sane -- then he
should say so. He should stop his obsessive-compulsive crusade against
Wikipedia, including his ridiculous attempts to unmask individual
users, and recognize that he is dealing with a group of people who
mean him no harm. He could have worked with this group of people a
long time ago. But apparently having some enemy to rail against is
more satisfying.
--
Peace & Love,
Erik

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

"An old, rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open,
free and exciting is waking up." -- Ming the Mechanic

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

fredbaud
In reply to this post by fredbaud

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Erik Moeller [mailto:[hidden email]]
>Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 12:34 PM
>To: 'English Wikipedia'
>Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Jimmy Wales should reconsider

>Wikipedia should do its best to protect the integrity of articles
>about living persons. We are not a random web forum and should hold
>our articles to a higher standard.
>
>If Brandt wants to sincerely work with us to achieve that -- fixing
>any remaining flaws in his biography, and working with us to identify
>strategies to keep it, and other similar articles, sane -- then he
>should say so. [excised]  and recognize that he is dealing with a group of people who
>mean him no harm. [Excised]
>--
>Peace & Love,
>Erik

Amen

Fred



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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Sarah-128
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
On 4/20/07, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
> If Brandt wants to sincerely work with us to achieve that -- fixing
> any remaining flaws in his biography, and working with us to identify
> strategies to keep it, and other similar articles, sane -- then he
> should say so. He should stop his obsessive-compulsive crusade against
> Wikipedia, including his ridiculous attempts to unmask individual
> users, and recognize that he is dealing with a group of people who
> mean him no harm. He could have worked with this group of people a
> long time ago. But apparently having some enemy to rail against is
> more satisfying.

Would it be an accceptable compromise to revert the article to the
version Brandt declared himself happy with in October 2005,
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Daniel_Brandt&oldid=25614242
update it a little, add some citations, then protect it for a longish
period until feelings have died down? If Brandt reciprocates by
refraining from commenting elsewhere on Wikpedia issues, the
excitement over his bio will diminish and most reasonable people will
be too bored to start the issue up again when it's unprotected.

Part of the problem with the bio is that it has been unstable -- 2446
edits by 718 unique editors, including 271 IP addresses, which is a
lot for a borderline notable page. That is the core of Brandt's
objection, namely that there are too many anonymous editors involved
in writing it, so that he has to keep on checking it, and he feels
this is a burden. The flaw in his position is that Brandt himself
caused this situation by stirring up people's interest. If he would
stop doing that once the page was protected, the issue would die down,
and he'd be left with a brief, factual entry that would do him no harm
at all.

Sarah

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Erik Moeller-4
On 4/20/07, Slim Virgin <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Would it be an accceptable compromise to revert the article to the
> version Brandt declared himself happy with in October 2005,
> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Daniel_Brandt&oldid=25614242
> update it a little, add some citations, then protect it for a longish
> period until feelings have died down?

Evidently a lot of editors have invested a lot of time since then.
Brandt should make a list of complaints he has about the current
version. And again, I think he should be permitted to post these
complaints to the talk page of the article (not necessarily to edit
anything else). OTRS is an easy way to contact us, but it doesn't
become part of the public record in the same way talk pages do.

> Part of the problem with the bio is that it has been unstable -- 2446
> edits by 718 unique editors, including 271 IP addresses,

It's been semi-protected for a while, no? IMHO it can stay that way
until we can set it to "show last reviewed version".


--
Peace & Love,
Erik

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

"An old, rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open,
free and exciting is waking up." -- Ming the Mechanic

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Sarah-128
On 4/20/07, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 4/20/07, Slim Virgin <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Would it be an accceptable compromise to revert the article to the
> > version Brandt declared himself happy with in October 2005,
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Daniel_Brandt&oldid=25614242
> > update it a little, add some citations, then protect it for a longish
> > period until feelings have died down?
>
> Evidently a lot of editors have invested a lot of time since then.
> Brandt should make a list of complaints he has about the current
> version. And again, I think he should be permitted to post these
> complaints to the talk page of the article (not necessarily to edit
> anything else). OTRS is an easy way to contact us, but it doesn't
> become part of the public record in the same way talk pages do.
>
> > Part of the problem with the bio is that it has been unstable -- 2446
> > edits by 718 unique editors, including 271 IP addresses,
>
> It's been semi-protected for a while, no? IMHO it can stay that way
> until we can set it to "show last reviewed version".
>
Semi-protection only means people must have had an account for four
days before they can edit it. Brandt's issue (he says) is that he
doesn't want to have to keep checking his Wikpedia entry to see
whether anything's been added that he needs to deal with. Asking him
to draw up a list of complaints misses the point that he doesn't want
to have to do this every day, every week, every month, every year. If
we could agree on a stable version, then protect it until the heat has
gone out of the situation, we'd be meeting him halfway between
deletion and the current situation. Being reasonable has to involve
compromises on both sides.

Sarah

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Christiano Moreschi
In reply to this post by fredbaud
Brandt's right on one thing. Unblocking him was a complete waste of time. We
either delete his bio or we don't. His state of blockedness is entirely
irrelevant to that decision. This whole business has been handled with
neither clarity nor unity of purpose, and has merely generated a whole load
of mostly irrelevant discussion. We should block him, delete the bio, and
move on. Eventually the fuss from those who don't like the deletion will die
off.

The problem with reverting/protecting back to one version Brandt liked a
while ago is that we don't know he'll like it now, and he hasn't told us
what he doesn't like about the current version. Gah, what a depressing mess.
Kill the article, please!

Moreschi

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Sarah-128
> Semi-protection only means people must have had an account for four
> days before they can edit it. Brandt's issue (he says) is that he
> doesn't want to have to keep checking his Wikpedia entry to see
> whether anything's been added that he needs to deal with. Asking him
> to draw up a list of complaints misses the point that he doesn't want
> to have to do this every day, every week, every month, every year. If
> we could agree on a stable version, then protect it until the heat has
> gone out of the situation, we'd be meeting him halfway between
> deletion and the current situation. Being reasonable has to involve
> compromises on both sides.

One of Wikipedia's greatest strengths is its timeliness. Protecting
articles just so the subject doesn't feel the need to constantly
monitor them is a bad precedent to set.

Frankly, it would probably be best if he just stopped posturing and
sued the foundation. Then we could get a court to say once and for all
that the article is legal, and that would (I hope) be the end of it.

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Sarah-128
On 4/20/07, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> One of Wikipedia's greatest strengths is its timeliness. Protecting
> articles just so the subject doesn't feel the need to constantly
> monitor them is a bad precedent to set.

I've always felt this was Brandt's strongest argument. Let's face it,
it's kind of odd that we assume the right to expose a living person to
the whims of anyone of any age anywhere in the world, people who don't
have to use their real names, don't have to understand the policies,
don't even have to be able to spell. It's a lot to ask of that person
that they should simply acquiesce and dutifully check their bios every
day for the rest of their lives, in case some 10-year-old, or a
malicious enemy, has added insults or libel that thousands of people
might read before it's fixed, and which Google may continue to
distribute anyway.

If that person doesn't get invited for a job interview because the
human resources officer didn't like the sound of "John Doe became
known locally in 1987 for having slept with three of his neighbors'
wives on the same day," when she checked him out on Wikipedia minutes
before the vandalism was reverted, well, he'll have to establish that
was the reason he didn't get an interview; then he'll have to find the
money to sue the Foundation; then he'll have to convince a court that
the Foundation is a publisher; and, perhaps most awkwardly, he'll have
to hope no evidence emerges that he really did sleep with three
neighbors' wives on the same day, even though it had no bearing
whatsoever on the job he ended up not getting because someone added it
to Wikipedia.

All in all, we ask a lot.

Sarah

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Erik Moeller-4
On 4/20/07, Slim Virgin <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I've always felt this was Brandt's strongest argument. Let's face it,
> it's kind of odd that we assume the right to expose a living person to
> the whims of anyone of any age anywhere in the world, people who don't
> have to use their real names, don't have to understand the policies,
> don't even have to be able to spell.

We don't, Sarah. In fact, we do our best to protect people from
malicious additions -- more so than any user-generated content website
I know. Could we do more? Yes, certainly. But not by locking down
things. I do not agree with a full-prot. of Brandt's or any other
article. But a permanent semi-protection in this case is certainly
appropriate, and we should take it from there.
--
Peace & Love,
Erik

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

"An old, rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open,
free and exciting is waking up." -- Ming the Mechanic

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Blu Aardvark
This is somewhat of a contradictory statement. If you are truly doing
your "best" to protect people from malicious statements, how can one
possibly do "more"?

Now, I do agree that Wikipedia's policies have improved in regards to
living persons, but that is insufficient to protect people from
malicious additions. Any Joe Shmoe can add anything, and although anyone
can undo it as well, it still leaves the risk that someone would fail to
undo it. And this has happened in the past on several occasions that
were quite embarrassing to Wikipedia and the Foundation.

A permanent semi-protection might keep much of the anon vandalism away,
but all one has to do is create a sockpuppet account or six and
vandalize it after 4 days have passed. And this offers even greater
anonymity (and consequently, less accountability) than being an
"anonymous" user, or IP. True, run-of-the-mill vandals don't plan ahead
like this, but it's those that *do* that Wikipedia needs to be worried
about. Your anonymous school user who replaces a page with "PENIS" isn't
a threat to the project, by and large. Your truly anonymous
semi-established user who sneaks in defamatory statements and false
citations, however...

Erik Moeller wrote:
> In fact, we do our best to protect people from
> malicious additions -- more so than any user-generated content website
> I know. Could we do more? Yes, certainly. But not by locking down
> things. I do not agree with a full-prot. of Brandt's or any other
> article. But a permanent semi-protection in this case is certainly
> appropriate, and we should take it from there.
>  

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Tony Sidaway
In reply to this post by Christiano Moreschi
On 4/20/07, Christiano Moreschi <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Brandt's right on one thing. Unblocking him was a complete waste of time.

I don't think so.  This has started a dialog of sorts between the
community and Daniel Brandt, in which the side issues have been
drowned out, for the most part, by honest attempts to address
legitimate issues.  This is more progress than we could have asked for
just a week ago.

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Seth Finkelstein
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
> Slim Virgin
> Let's face it, it's kind of odd that we assume the right to expose a
> living person to the whims of anyone of any age anywhere in the world,
> people who don't have to use their real names, don't have to
> understand the policies, don't even have to be able to spell. It's a
> lot to ask of that person that they should simply acquiesce and
> dutifully check their bios every day for the rest of their lives, in
> case some 10-year-old, or a malicious enemy, has added insults or
> libel that thousands of people might read before it's fixed, and which
> Google may continue to distribute anyway.

        At the risk of being tedious and repetitive, I strongly
endorse the above view:

http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1882027,00.html

        A Wikipedia biography page is an attractive nuisance and a
weapon of asymmetric warfare.

        I wish it weren't so, but that's how it works.

--
Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  http://sethf.com/
Infothought blog - http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/
Interview: http://sethf.com/essays/major/greplaw-interview.php

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Tony Sidaway
On 4/21/07, Seth Finkelstein <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > Slim Virgin
> > Let's face it, it's kind of odd that we assume the right to expose a
> > living person to the whims of anyone of any age anywhere in the world,
> > people who don't have to use their real names, don't have to
> > understand the policies, don't even have to be able to spell. It's a
> > lot to ask of that person that they should simply acquiesce and
> > dutifully check their bios every day for the rest of their lives, in
> > case some 10-year-old, or a malicious enemy, has added insults or
> > libel that thousands of people might read before it's fixed, and which
> > Google may continue to distribute anyway.
>
>         At the risk of being tedious and repetitive, I strongly
> endorse the above view:
>
> http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1882027,00.html
>
>         A Wikipedia biography page is an attractive nuisance and a
> weapon of asymmetric warfare.
>
>         I wish it weren't so, but that's how it works.

It doesn't have to.  One of my first acts on Wikipedia, before I was
an administrator and long before I knew much about policy, was to
improve and eventually help to get rid of the biography article of a
minor Usenet personage placed here by revenge trolls.

In those pre-Seigenthaler days there was no "Biography of living
persons" policy and we hadn't really got to grips as a community with
the damage we could cause to reputations.  Now we're much better
organized and more aware.  There is more work to do, but attitudes
have changed radically over the past couple of years, and I've no
doubt that this trend will continue.

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by Seth Finkelstein
Seth Finkelstein wrote:

>> Slim Virgin
>> Let's face it, it's kind of odd that we assume the right to expose a
>> living person to the whims of anyone of any age anywhere in the world,
>> people who don't have to use their real names, don't have to
>> understand the policies, don't even have to be able to spell. It's a
>> lot to ask of that person that they should simply acquiesce and
>> dutifully check their bios every day for the rest of their lives, in
>> case some 10-year-old, or a malicious enemy, has added insults or
>> libel that thousands of people might read before it's fixed, and which
>> Google may continue to distribute anyway.
>
> At the risk of being tedious and repetitive, I strongly
> endorse the above view:
>
> http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1882027,00.html
>
> A Wikipedia biography page is an attractive nuisance and a
> weapon of asymmetric warfare.
>
>         I wish it weren't so, but that's how it works.
>

I consider our current attitude to the biographies of living persons to
be positively immoral. We know people are being adversely affected,
libeled and harassed. We know people are having to check their articles
daily because of the danger of malicious attacks. And yet we hide behind
the belief that we are legally untouchable and we refuse to take any
real steps to reduce the harm, on the basis that 'it isn't how we do
things', it might upset our users, or it might inadvertently take out a
precious article on a webcomic as collateral. Well, the collateral to
real people, in the real world, is now unacceptable.

We greedily insist on retaining as many articles as we can when we
evidently cannot properly monitor them. That is immoral. We should not
be hosting articles on people that we cannot reasonably service.

When a dreadful article is pointed out - it is kept on the basis that it
can be fixed - even if it isn't actually fixed. And even if we fix it,
we know we cannot sort all of them. Yet we allow the bios to keep being
created. Even when people are hurt, we have no means to say it will not
happen again next month.

Daniel Brandt is a bad case study, because he merits no sympathy, and
his wiki-notoriety means that his article is well maintained. But,
beyond that, he's profoundly correct.

I'm now frankly disgusted. Quantity has triumphed quality at every
juncture and this callous community is more bothered with its in-house
rules, and myopic power games. We demand our rights, we patriotically
denounce 'appeasement' as if we were some little state within a state.
Well actually there's a real world out there - and people like Brandt
(only nicer) don't want editing rights in our little happy utopia - they
want our face out of their lives.

Wikipedia has a tremendous power for good - but I'm fast reaching the
point where I think the human costs are just too high.

No, I don't have the panacea, but we need to start by saying 1) the
status quo is NOT an option 2) radical solutions must be contemplated -
up to and including deleting all biographies of living people who are
not in Britannica. No, I don't think that's necessary, but only if we
start there and work down to see if anything less drastic will make a
significant difference, might we have a hope of getting there.

Yes, I know ethics are POV. But amorality isn't attractive either.

"Attractive nuisance" - not so attractive I fear.



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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

George William Herbert
On 4/20/07, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I consider our current attitude to the biographies of living persons to
> be positively immoral. We know people are being adversely affected,
> libeled and harassed. We know people are having to check their articles
> daily because of the danger of malicious attacks. And yet we hide behind
> the belief that we are legally untouchable and we refuse to take any
> real steps to reduce the harm, on the basis that 'it isn't how we do
> things', it might upset our users, or it might inadvertently take out a
> precious article on a webcomic as collateral. Well, the collateral to
> real people, in the real world, is now unacceptable.

I strongly disagree that we refuse to take any real steps to reduce
the harm.  There are a lot of good people who watch for bio article
changes.  We have additional steps and procedure and policy clearly
defined for detection and handling of bio article problems.

We are an encyclopedia, and an open source content project.  Our
objective, as a project, is to create and host content.  That includes
biographies of people who are alive.

Any open source project, content or code or whatever, is subject to or
at risk of attacks.  This is a fact of life.

After all the intensive efforts to set and maintain and enforce BLP
policies, no outsider can reasonably claim we aren't trying.

No insider is going to claim we're succeeding perfectly, either.

We can't be perfect.  To attain our project's goals, we have to
balance technology, people's time, and policies.  Lacking "approved
version" code, we're doing a pretty good approximation of optimally
given what our project stands for and the resource constraints.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Jimmy Wales should reconsider

Doc glasgow
George Herbert wrote:>
> Any open source project, content or code or whatever, is subject to or
> at risk of attacks.  This is a fact of life.

Ah, so tough on the people who are being adversely affected, libeled and
attacked? We tell them that it is a risk we (sorry, they?) have to run.
A fact of life 9for them)?

>
> After all the intensive efforts to set and maintain and enforce BLP
> policies, no outsider can reasonably claim we aren't trying.

Sorry, but that's crap. Our 'solutions' are utterly unrealistic.

>
> No insider is going to claim we're succeeding perfectly, either.
>
> We can't be perfect.  To attain our project's goals, we have to
> balance technology, people's time, and policies.  Lacking "approved
> version" code, we're doing a pretty good approximation of optimally
> given what our project stands for and the resource constraints.
>
Do we also have to balance the harm done to bystanders? Or does
collateral damage not feature in the accounting analysis?

Doc

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