Don’t do more

Sue Gardner

Sue Gardner

Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, recently blogged about Wikimedia as “a sort of social movement“. Gardner asked why it is that Wikimedians don’t do more to encourage internal solidarity and support kindness, understanding, generosity and a sense of common purpose. Interesting question.

What sort of social movement is Wikimedia? If you read the Wikimedia Foundation’s statements on Mission, Values, Vision and Bylaws you find no description of Wikimedia as a social movement. If you search the Foundation’s website you can find this quote from Wikimedia Foundation Trustee, Matt Halprin: “The Wikimedia Foundation is a critical player in the growing social movement toward greater transparency and openness.”

Gardner wrote, “Our goal is to make information easily available for people everywhere around the world – free of commercialism, free of charge, free of bias.” If you read the Wikimedia Foundation’s statements on Mission, Values, Vision and Bylaws you find no description of Wikimedia bias. If you search the Wikimedia Foundation’s website you can find this quote from Doron Weber, Director of the Sloan Foundation’s Program for Universal Access to Recorded Knowledge about Wikipedia: “…Wikipedia represents a quantum leap in collecting human knowledge from diverse sources, organizing it without commercial or other bias…..”

How does the Wikimedia Foundation measure up for transparency and what about bias in Wikipedia? Wikipedia allows anonymous editors to publish biased information about living people. For example, on March 8, 2006, an anonymous Wikipedia editor created a Wikipedia biography article about a university professor. That anonymous Wikipedia editor violated Wikipedia’s rules that are designed to keep Wikipedia free of biased biographies of living people. When a colleague of the university professor sought to correct the biased Wikipedia biography, he was blocked from editing Wikipedia and his user page was defaced and locked. Rather than follow Wikipedia policy and correct the biased biography, a gang of Wikipedians attacked and harassed the person who tried to correct the bias.

The gang of policy-violating Wikipedians, not content to simply block their fellow Wikipedian who had tried to keep Wikipedia free of bias, stalked him to his personal blog and subjected him to vile online harassment. The gang of policy-violating Wikipedians also followed Moulton to Wikiversity and harassed him there, with the stated objective of getting Moulton banned from participation at Wikiversity. The gang of policy-violating Wikipedians was successful by gaming Wikimedia Foundation Board member Jimbo Wales into violating Wikiversity policy and imposing an infinite duration block on Moulton, a block imposed against consensus and with no public discussion of the block. The decision to impose this policy-violating  block on Moulton was made by a few Wikipedians acting in secret. So much for the “transparency and openness” of the Wikimedia Foundation. Moulton, who only tried to help Wikimedia, is still subjected to continuing harassment by Wikimedia functionaries. Why are a few “special” Wikipedians and anonymous editors still allowed to force their personal biases on the world by using Wikipedia as their publishing platform? What is the ethical nature of an organization that allows anonymous editors to publish false claims about living people? Why are honest Wikimedians like Moulton harassed and driven away when they try to remove bias from Wikimedia? Should anyone take Sue Gardner seriously when she talks about the Wikimedia Foundation having a goal of being free from bias? (related blog post)

In 2010, a Wikiversity community member created a learning project aimed at finding an ethical means to improve Wikimedia projects. The Ethical Breaching Experiments learning project was deleted by Jimbo Wales, without community discussion, in violation of Wikiversity policy and against community consensus. The creator of the learning project was blocked from editing by Jimbo Wales, in violation of Wikiversity policy. In an effort to impose his misguided disruption of Wikiversity on the community, Jimbo Wales threatened Wikiversity with closure. Sue Gardner threw her support behind the misguided actions of Jimbo Wales.

Sue Gardner asked why it is that Wikimedians don’t do more to encourage internal solidarity and support kindness, understanding, generosity and a sense of common purpose. Yes, Sue, why don’t you? Why did you support Jimbo Wales in his misguided disruption of Wikiversity?

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11 Responses to “Don’t do more”

  1. Eme Says:

    that is unfortunate. maybe you should blog about my banning. lol rofl. :)

  2. John Schmidt Says:

    Take a look at this part of the community review.

  3. eme Says:

    it seems unlikely that

    “Should Wikiversity Custodians who have been subjected to emergency desysop procedures, when no emergency existed, be immediately given back their Custodianship?”

    will ever have answer of “yes” by those who could reinstate the tools.

    it also seems unlikely that i will ever be unbanned. i can’t even edit my talk page or anything.

    having http://wikademia.org being removed from the spam black list would have to happen before i would accept being unbanned or tools back.

    oh well. hope things are well with you and the SENS has success sooner than later. :)

    ps. have you taken a look or edited at http://encyc.org/?

  4. Eme Says:

    I think it is intentionally left open for interpretation.

    It is like saying, here is what I value, but ultimately if needed or desired I can go against my values.

    It is sort of like what Jimbo Wales says… but so far, I’ve not seen Emp/Auggie to go too much against what he purports to be his values, unlike….

    lol :)

    and by that last ellipse, I mean Jimbo Wales, if that wasn’t clear. hehehehe

    but perhaps, Jimbo Wales can be seen as adhering to what he values, if you look at it right.

  5. Eme Says:

    all imho of course. mostly

  6. Jon Awbrey Says:

    Here’s a couple of related posts at The Wikipedia Review:

    If it was WP.gov instead of WP.org keeping open files on us, we’d all be in the streets till we brought it crashing down

    Open Invitation to Closed Minds

    • John Schmidt Says:

      I’ve never really understood Wikipedia Review. It seems to be one of the websites that attracts people who keep “open files” about wikimedians who try to hide their identities. Or is Wikipedia Review a place that condemns such things? Are there any paid WMF folks who participate at W-R?

  7. Jon Awbrey Says:

    As far as I can tel, the membership at The Wikipedia Review is a pretty fair sample of people who are exposed to Wikipedia in one way or another and find that they have things to say about it that cannot be said within the confines of Wikipedia itself — that naturally includes a higher proportion of negative criticism than one can find expressed within those confines — plus a pretty fair sample of people who think it’s worth responding to those criticisms.

  8. Growing Pains « Collaborative Learning Says:

    […] an earlier blog post, we explored the role of Sue Gardner in giving support to Jimbo Wales in his misguided disruption […]

  9. Your failure to understand basic policies seems to be a violation of policy « Collaborative Learning Says:

    […] at wiki communities. The disruptive effect of Jimbo’s misguided use of his stewards tools was discussed previously. However, misguided stewards like Jimbo frequently make decisions in secret and implement them […]

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