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Insert some witty quote here.

„Меньше вики — больше хлеба. Больше вики — меньше хлеба“

Временно ме няма, възползвайте се. Адрес.

This user is currently off the planet. Contact.

П.П. Нямам никакво време да стоя в Уикипедия, а се оказва, че нещо не мога да се отскубна. Лошо...

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia

Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language. Asking whether the community comes before or after this goal is really asking the wrong question: the entire purpose of the community is precisely this goal.

I don't know of any real case where there is a genuine strong tension between these two things, either. That is to say, the central core of the community, the people who are really doing the work, are virtually all quite passionate on this point: that we're creating something of extremely high quality, not just goofing around with a game of online community with no purpose.

The community does not come before our task, the community is organized *around* our task. The difference is simply that decisions ought to always be made not on the grounds of social expediency or popular majority, but in light of the requirements of the job we have set for ourselves.

I do not endorse the view, a view held as far as I know only by a very tiny minority, that Wikipedia is anti-elitist or anti-expert in any way. If anything, we are *extremely* elitist but anti-credentialist. That is, we seek thoughtful intelligent people willing to do the very hard work of getting it right, and we don't accept anything less than that. PhDs are valuable evidence of that, and attracting and retraining academic specialists is a valid goal.

There may be some cases of PhDs who think that no one should edit their expert articles, but there are many many more cases of completely unqualified people who think the same thing. It doesn't matter: if someone can't work in a friendly helpful way in a social context, that's a problem for them and for us, and we'll always have to make some very complex judgments about what to do about it.

I'm 100% committed to a goal of "Britannica or better" quality for Wikipedia, and all of our social rules should revolve around that. Openness is indispensible for us, but it is our *radical* means to our radical *ends*.


It's not about the Crazy Open Wiki Way

Delirium wrote:

> I strongly disagree with that---that may be your goal (and perhaps
> Jimbo's), but a goal of a lot of people here is to create a Free (as in
> Freedom) encyclopedia as the primary end.  The fact that this increases
> its availability is quite nice, but the Freedom aspect is not merely a
> means to the end of increasing availability, but the end itself.

I don't think these two are in tension. What Mav was talking about is how we care about the free _encyclopedia_ (emphasizing quality) more than we care about our crazy open wiki way of making it.

>  For me
> at least, and I suspect at least some number of other people, this is
> the *only* end---to produce a completely Free encyclopedia, which
> everyone is then free to use as they wish, save that they may not
> restrict others' right to do the same with their derived works. 

And what Delirium is talking about is how we care about the _free_ encyclopedia (emphasizing gnu-freedom) more than we care about our crazy open wiki way of making it.

I think everyone in the core community is on board with those two concepts in a major way. And all of us love the wiki ways, but not at the expense of those two goals.

(Although, I should add, I think that mainstream media hysteria notwithstanding, there seems to be no compelling reason to do more than slowly and carefully seek cautious tweaks to our current model in the service of constant improvement.)


Wikipedia is not a democracy

David Gerard wrote:

> Wikipedia is not primarily an experiment in Internet democracy. It's a
> project to write an encyclopedia.

This should be printed out and handed to every single person on the planet. I think I'll start a new nonprofit organzation to do that. Wikimedia will give everyone an encyclopedia. The new organization will give everyone a piece of paper explaining: it's an encyclopedia, not an experiment in democracy.

We *are* a grand social experiment of course. But not _primarily_.

Well said.


Don't vote on everything

Wikipedia operates on discussion-driven consensus, and can therefore be regarded as "not a democracy" since a vote might run counter to these ends. Some therefore advocate avoiding votes wherever possible. In general, only long-running disputes should be the subject of a poll. Even then, participants in the dispute should understand that the poll does not create a consensus. At best, it might reflect how close those involved are to one.

No binding decisions

Wikipedia strives for consensus to build an encyclopedia. Decisions which are made about articles or policies should not be regarded as binding. That does not mean you should ignore a consensual decision; it means that everything in the wiki is subject to change at a later date. Later objections to a decision might represent a change in consensus that may need to be taken in account, regardless of whether that earlier decision was made by a poll or other method. In order to reach the best possible decisions, we hold it important to listen carefully to each other's arguments, and to try to find mutually acceptable solutions in conflicts. Polls are the exception and not the rule, and where they do exist they are not binding.

Consensus vs. other policies

Consensus should not trump NPOV (or any other official policy). A group of editors advocating a viewpoint do not, in theory, overcome the policy expressed in en:Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not concerning advocacy and en:propaganda. However, a group of editors may be able to shut out certain facts and points of view through persistence, numbers, and organization. This group of editors should not agree to an article version that violates NPOV, but on occasion will do so anyway. This is generally agreed to be a bad thing.

The preferred way to deal with this problem is to draw the attention of more editors to the issue by one of the methods of dispute resolution, such as consulting a third party, filing a request for comment (on the article in question), and requesting mediation. Enlarging the pool will prevent consensus being enforced by a small group of willful editors. Those who find that their facts and point of view are being excluded by a large group of editors should at least consider that they may be mistaken.