Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

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Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

David Gerard-2
Yet another PR company busted:

  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/9671471/Finsbury-edited-Alisher-Usmanovs-Wikipedia-page.html
  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/telecoms/article3597035.ece
(you can read the article text in "View source")

The industry response? An apparently unanimous "our bad behaviour is
totally Wikipedia's fault":

  http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1159206/pr-industry-blames-cumbersome-wikipedia-finsbury-editing-issue/

Guys, this really doesn't help your case.


- d.

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Thomas Morton
We won't win a moral argument; they are breaking the social contract of a
website. We regularly defame people.

Tom


On 12 November 2012 13:49, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yet another PR company busted:
>
>
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/9671471/Finsbury-edited-Alisher-Usmanovs-Wikipedia-page.html
>
> http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/telecoms/article3597035.ece
> (you can read the article text in "View source")
>
> The industry response? An apparently unanimous "our bad behaviour is
> totally Wikipedia's fault":
>
>
> http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1159206/pr-industry-blames-cumbersome-wikipedia-finsbury-editing-issue/
>
> Guys, this really doesn't help your case.
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Charles Matthews
On 12 November 2012 13:54, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> We won't win a moral argument; they are breaking the social contract of a
> website. We regularly defame people.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/report-usmanov-pr-firm-tweaked-wikipedia-entry/471315.html
is interesting to read in this context. The moral side of whitewashing
a biography ahead of a stock market flotation is fairly elusive.

Charles

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

David Gerard-2
On 12 November 2012 14:56, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 12 November 2012 13:54, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> We won't win a moral argument; they are breaking the social contract of a
>> website. We regularly defame people.

> http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/report-usmanov-pr-firm-tweaked-wikipedia-entry/471315.html
> is interesting to read in this context. The moral side of whitewashing
> a biography ahead of a stock market flotation is fairly elusive.


Indeed. I urge Thomas to go grab a copy of the Times today. If only
articles this well-written concerning Wikipedia were more likely to be
read by the people on the Internet who would be most interested in
them ...


- d.

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Thomas Morton
You misunderstand.

As I mentioned: we simply have no moral high ground to criticise their
actions. Our controls are shoddy and we defame people all over the place.
They massage biographies etc. to cast things in a better light.

Who is the good guy?

Tom


On 12 November 2012 15:21, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 12 November 2012 14:56, Charles Matthews
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On 12 November 2012 13:54, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> >> We won't win a moral argument; they are breaking the social contract of
> a
> >> website. We regularly defame people.
>
> >
> http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/report-usmanov-pr-firm-tweaked-wikipedia-entry/471315.html
> > is interesting to read in this context. The moral side of whitewashing
> > a biography ahead of a stock market flotation is fairly elusive.
>
>
> Indeed. I urge Thomas to go grab a copy of the Times today. If only
> articles this well-written concerning Wikipedia were more likely to be
> read by the people on the Internet who would be most interested in
> them ...
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
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>
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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Mon, 12 Nov 2012, David Gerard wrote:
> The industry response? An apparently unanimous "our bad behaviour is
> totally Wikipedia's fault":
>
>  http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1159206/pr-industry-blames-cumbersome-wikipedia-finsbury-editing-issue/
>
> Guys, this really doesn't help your case.

Doesn't it?  I've said for a while that paid editing is often similar to BLP
editing.  (And this one seems especially similar since it is indeed about
a living person, not a company.)  If the guy himself had come onto Wikipedia
and done exactly the same thing himself that he hired someone to do, we
might think his edits were bad but we wouldn't be complaining about his
temerity in making them at all.  It's basically a BLP except the guy is making
the edits through an intermediary.  Now, whether this is a justified or
unjustified BLP edit depends on the details, but it sounds like a completely
typical BLP subject complaint, and normally BLP subjects who edit like this
are supposed to be treated with respect.

And wikipedia is just not good at 1) making it easy for people to fix their
own BLPs (or their own company's article) or 2) getting such things fixed at
all.

When they say that Wikipedia's proces for fixing articles is "opaque,
time-consuming and cumbersome", they are *correct*.

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Thomas Morton
The difference is one of intent. I dispute the claim that we often defame
people - an innocent mistake in an article is not defamation. Even if we're
a little careless to allow such mistakes, that still isn't defamation (I
think the legal threshold in most jurisdictions is recklessness).
On Nov 12, 2012 3:26 PM, "Thomas Morton" <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> You misunderstand.
>
> As I mentioned: we simply have no moral high ground to criticise their
> actions. Our controls are shoddy and we defame people all over the place.
> They massage biographies etc. to cast things in a better light.
>
> Who is the good guy?
>
> Tom
>
>
> On 12 November 2012 15:21, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > On 12 November 2012 14:56, Charles Matthews
> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > > On 12 November 2012 13:54, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]
> >
> > wrote:
> >
> > >> We won't win a moral argument; they are breaking the social contract
> of
> > a
> > >> website. We regularly defame people.
> >
> > >
> >
> http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/report-usmanov-pr-firm-tweaked-wikipedia-entry/471315.html
> > > is interesting to read in this context. The moral side of whitewashing
> > > a biography ahead of a stock market flotation is fairly elusive.
> >
> >
> > Indeed. I urge Thomas to go grab a copy of the Times today. If only
> > articles this well-written concerning Wikipedia were more likely to be
> > read by the people on the Internet who would be most interested in
> > them ...
> >
> >
> > - d.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > 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: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Thomas Morton
Well, OK, I will agree *legal* ambiguity exists of whether it is
officially defamation or not.

However that ambiguity doesn't affect the content in articles :)

Tom




On 12 November 2012 15:29, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The difference is one of intent. I dispute the claim that we often defame
> people - an innocent mistake in an article is not defamation. Even if we're
> a little careless to allow such mistakes, that still isn't defamation (I
> think the legal threshold in most jurisdictions is recklessness).
> On Nov 12, 2012 3:26 PM, "Thomas Morton" <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > You misunderstand.
> >
> > As I mentioned: we simply have no moral high ground to criticise their
> > actions. Our controls are shoddy and we defame people all over the place.
> > They massage biographies etc. to cast things in a better light.
> >
> > Who is the good guy?
> >
> > Tom
> >
> >
> > On 12 November 2012 15:21, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > On 12 November 2012 14:56, Charles Matthews
> > > <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > > > On 12 November 2012 13:54, Thomas Morton <
> [hidden email]
> > >
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > >> We won't win a moral argument; they are breaking the social contract
> > of
> > > a
> > > >> website. We regularly defame people.
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/report-usmanov-pr-firm-tweaked-wikipedia-entry/471315.html
> > > > is interesting to read in this context. The moral side of
> whitewashing
> > > > a biography ahead of a stock market flotation is fairly elusive.
> > >
> > >
> > > Indeed. I urge Thomas to go grab a copy of the Times today. If only
> > > articles this well-written concerning Wikipedia were more likely to be
> > > read by the people on the Internet who would be most interested in
> > > them ...
> > >
> > >
> > > - d.
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > WikiEN-l mailing list
> > > [hidden email]
> > > To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > WikiEN-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
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> >
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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
It certainly happens.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/in-a-web-of-lies-the-newspaper-must-live.premium-1.469273

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard&oldid=522638898#Muna_AbuSulayman

The rest depends on how you define "often". How "often" is okay?

Andreas



On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 3:29 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> The difference is one of intent. I dispute the claim that we often defame
> people - an innocent mistake in an article is not defamation. Even if we're
> a little careless to allow such mistakes, that still isn't defamation (I
> think the legal threshold in most jurisdictions is recklessness).
> On Nov 12, 2012 3:26 PM, "Thomas Morton" <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > You misunderstand.
> >
> > As I mentioned: we simply have no moral high ground to criticise their
> > actions. Our controls are shoddy and we defame people all over the place.
> > They massage biographies etc. to cast things in a better light.
> >
> > Who is the good guy?
> >
> > Tom
> >
> >
> > On 12 November 2012 15:21, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > On 12 November 2012 14:56, Charles Matthews
> > > <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > > > On 12 November 2012 13:54, Thomas Morton <
> [hidden email]
> > >
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > >> We won't win a moral argument; they are breaking the social contract
> > of
> > > a
> > > >> website. We regularly defame people.
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/report-usmanov-pr-firm-tweaked-wikipedia-entry/471315.html
> > > > is interesting to read in this context. The moral side of
> whitewashing
> > > > a biography ahead of a stock market flotation is fairly elusive.
> > >
> > >
> > > Indeed. I urge Thomas to go grab a copy of the Times today. If only
> > > articles this well-written concerning Wikipedia were more likely to be
> > > read by the people on the Internet who would be most interested in
> > > them ...
> > >
> > >
> > > - d.
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > 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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> > To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
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> >
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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Thomas Morton
On 12 November 2012 15:26, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> You misunderstand.
>
> As I mentioned: we simply have no moral high ground to criticise their
> actions. Our controls are shoddy and we defame people all over the place.
> They massage biographies etc. to cast things in a better light.
>
> Who is the good guy?

On the grounds that two hypothetical wrongs don't make a hypothetical
right, there need not be an answer to your question. On the grounds
that someone who claims to be able to fix your house or car and then
charges yo u money despite being incompetent is traditionally called a
"cowboy", the idea that WP's procedures _in cases that are not
removing defamation_ can be called "cumbersome" by PR pros rebounds on
them.

The right answer is in terms of the hourly rate PR pros can ask for.
If they need to be trained to operate properly on WP, that is what
should happen. The bar for people's reputations should be set at least
as high as for plumbing.

Note, in other words, that the "defence" of the PR editing here is
entirely deflection.

Charles

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Thomas Morton
Note, in other words, that the "defence" of the PR editing here is
> entirely deflection
>

To an extent.

It also represents frustration along the lines of: "whenever one of us does
a bad thing we get lambasted in the news, but when they do a bad thing it
gets no traction or notice"

I don't *necessarily *blame them for taking advantage of the scrutiny of PR
and trying to make it about the problems Wikipedia has as well.


Tom
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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM, Charles Matthews <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 12 November 2012 15:26, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > You misunderstand.
> >
> > As I mentioned: we simply have no moral high ground to criticise their
> > actions. Our controls are shoddy and we defame people all over the place.
> > They massage biographies etc. to cast things in a better light.
> >
> > Who is the good guy?
>
> On the grounds that two hypothetical wrongs don't make a hypothetical
> right, there need not be an answer to your question.



I thought Tom's question "Who is the good guy" was entirely rhetorical, and
precisely intended to make the point that there *wasn't* a good guy.


On the grounds
> that someone who claims to be able to fix your house or car and then
> charges yo u money despite being incompetent is traditionally called a
> "cowboy", the idea that WP's procedures _in cases that are not
> removing defamation_ can be called "cumbersome" by PR pros rebounds on
> them.
>


It occurs to me that biographies can be malicious without being defamatory.
It would be wise to check what exactly went on in the biography before
passing judgment.

Andreas



> The right answer is in terms of the hourly rate PR pros can ask for.
> If they need to be trained to operate properly on WP, that is what
> should happen. The bar for people's reputations should be set at least
> as high as for plumbing.
>
> Note, in other words, that the "defence" of the PR editing here is
> entirely deflection.
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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Charles Matthews
On 12 November 2012 15:46, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It occurs to me that biographies can be malicious without being defamatory.
> It would be wise to check what exactly went on in the biography before
> passing judgment.

Actually, I agree. Treating each instance of a general problem as a
"case study" is better. But our discussions do not always favour that
approach.

Charles

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Morton
On 12 November 2012 15:45, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Note, in other words, that the "defence" of the PR editing here is
>> entirely deflection

> To an extent.
> It also represents frustration along the lines of: "whenever one of us does
> a bad thing we get lambasted in the news, but when they do a bad thing it
> gets no traction or notice"


Note that PR Week seems to have avoided asking for comment from CIPR,
who put out a statement on the matter with WMUK joining in:

http://newsroom.cipr.co.uk/cipr-responds-to-reports-of-rlm-finsbury-editing-wikipedia-pages-for-alisher-usmanov/

So at least it's not actually unanimous.


- d.

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Steve Summit
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
Ken Arromdee wrote:
> When they say that Wikipedia's proces for fixing articles is
> "opaque, time-consuming and cumbersome", they are *correct*.

Well, yeah, but.  Right (sorta) conclusion, wrong reason.

It can always be improved, but I don't think our "process" for
fixing articles is *that* bad.  And, in any case, it wasn't at
all so cumbersome that it kept Finsbury from whitewashing the
article!

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Charles Matthews
On 12 November 2012 16:30, Steve Summit <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Ken Arromdee wrote:
>> When they say that Wikipedia's proces for fixing articles is
>> "opaque, time-consuming and cumbersome", they are *correct*.
>
> Well, yeah, but.  Right (sorta) conclusion, wrong reason.
>
> It can always be improved, but I don't think our "process" for
> fixing articles is *that* bad.  And, in any case, it wasn't at
> all so cumbersome that it kept Finsbury from whitewashing the
> article!

The real point, surely, is whether the word "needlessly" can be
shoehorned in front of "cumbersome".

Charles

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

David Goodman-2
There is a  fundamental difference between our inefficient and
sometimes unsuccessful attempts to do things right, and their
deliberate attempts to do things wrong.

And there is also a difference, though a smaller one, between an
individual's misguided attempt to fix what he perceives as injustice
towards themselves, and a commercial concern's deliberate attempt to
violate or evade  for money what they must know are our rules . Nobody
can perceive whitewashing as proper, though they may think it
something they can get away with.

And we also need to realize that the more we stop improper efforts,
the more people trying to make them will complain. Avoiding complaints
is not our measure of success; avoiding justified complaints is.



On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 12 November 2012 16:30, Steve Summit <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Ken Arromdee wrote:
>>> When they say that Wikipedia's proces for fixing articles is
>>> "opaque, time-consuming and cumbersome", they are *correct*.
>>
>> Well, yeah, but.  Right (sorta) conclusion, wrong reason.
>>
>> It can always be improved, but I don't think our "process" for
>> fixing articles is *that* bad.  And, in any case, it wasn't at
>> all so cumbersome that it kept Finsbury from whitewashing the
>> article!
>
> The real point, surely, is whether the word "needlessly" can be
> shoehorned in front of "cumbersome".
>
> Charles
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
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--
David Goodman

DGG at the enWP
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DGG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Andreas Kolbe-2
On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM, David Goodman <[hidden email]> wrote:

> There is a  fundamental difference between our inefficient and
> sometimes unsuccessful attempts to do things right, and their
> deliberate attempts to do things wrong.
>


Yes, but we must not forget that PR people are not the only people who use
Wikipedia to do things wrong. By operating the completely open system we
do, we enable *anyone* to do wrong, be they PR or staff working for a
company, or a company's detractors.

The community is responsible for managing Wikipedia. And whether Wikipedia
is easy or difficult to abuse is the community's responsibility.

Andreas



> And there is also a difference, though a smaller one, between an
> individual's misguided attempt to fix what he perceives as injustice
> towards themselves, and a commercial concern's deliberate attempt to
> violate or evade  for money what they must know are our rules . Nobody
> can perceive whitewashing as proper, though they may think it
> something they can get away with.
>
> And we also need to realize that the more we stop improper efforts,
> the more people trying to make them will complain. Avoiding complaints
> is not our measure of success; avoiding justified complaints is.
>
>
>
> On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM, Charles Matthews
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On 12 November 2012 16:30, Steve Summit <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> Ken Arromdee wrote:
> >>> When they say that Wikipedia's proces for fixing articles is
> >>> "opaque, time-consuming and cumbersome", they are *correct*.
> >>
> >> Well, yeah, but.  Right (sorta) conclusion, wrong reason.
> >>
> >> It can always be improved, but I don't think our "process" for
> >> fixing articles is *that* bad.  And, in any case, it wasn't at
> >> all so cumbersome that it kept Finsbury from whitewashing the
> >> article!
> >
> > The real point, surely, is whether the word "needlessly" can be
> > shoehorned in front of "cumbersome".
> >
> > Charles
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > WikiEN-l mailing list
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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

David Gerard-2
On 16 November 2012 14:38, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yes, but we must not forget that PR people are not the only people who use
> Wikipedia to do things wrong. By operating the completely open system we
> do, we enable *anyone* to do wrong, be they PR or staff working for a
> company, or a company's detractors.
> The community is responsible for managing Wikipedia. And whether Wikipedia
> is easy or difficult to abuse is the community's responsibility.


This still has nothing to do with the actual point of the thread. You
are knowingly derailing the thread to push your personal hobby horses.
Again.


- d.

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Re: Yet another PR company busted ... apparently it's all our fault

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe-2
On 16 November 2012 14:38, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM, David Goodman <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> There is a  fundamental difference between our inefficient and
>> sometimes unsuccessful attempts to do things right, and their
>> deliberate attempts to do things wrong.

> Yes, but we must not forget that PR people are not the only people who use
> Wikipedia to do things wrong. By operating the completely open system we
> do, we enable *anyone* to do wrong, be they PR or staff working for a
> company, or a company's detractors.
>
> The community is responsible for managing Wikipedia. And whether Wikipedia
> is easy or difficult to abuse is the community's responsibility.

I suppose this line of argument might be of some interest to someone
looking for a dissertation topic in moral philosophy (as has been
noted, it is off-topic). What happens to the notion of "agency"
online?

Still, I can't accept that it makes sense of some putative connection
inherent in wiki technology, collective responsibility, and mere
participation as an editor. Talking about the "community" as a way of
avoiding talking about the intentions of the actors here is a neat
trick. I think the meaning of "wrong" is being slurred here. I
certainly don't think one should talk about enabling when editing is
always a conditional permission rather than any kind of right, and the
permission is given for a definite reason. And so on. The usual
approach would surely be to look first at who is hosting the site when
you seek to assign responsibility.

Charles

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