Sunday, June 18, 2006

Doing the Right Thing - If I Can Figure Out What That Is (Pt. 1)

It's late again, and I've put off writing this to research it some more. Shame on me. So I'm going to give a few highlights, and leave the actual post for another time.

As I've mentioned a number of times recently, I'm involved in a disagreement over on Wikipedia. I'm not going to write up what it's all about again tonight. I'll just give you a few links:

The Barbara Bauer article on Wikipedia, which Bauer herself tried to change into a 100% pro-Bauer puff piece, twice tonight (and once before that I know of). But that's not the problem.

The Talk page for the Barbara Bauer article, chronicling a dispute over whether it's fair to an ISP to link that ISP's own explanation of why they shut down a web site.

The Wikipedia article on Disemvoweling, a technique moderators of some large blogs and forums use to deal with disruptive and rude people. The people who misbehave end up with posted comments that look like this:

tk flng lp


Strtgclly, f y wr ntrstd n hlpng crt gndr blnc, rthr thn slf-jstfyngly lmntng th lck f t, y shld hv ttndd tch. Mks sns, n? t lds n t sspct ths s bt "my prty ws mr fbls thn yr prty" rthr thn nythng sbstntv.

The basic problem on the Disemvowelment article, for those of you who don't want to wade through the Talk page (and who could blame you?) is that someone whose comments on Making Light were disemvoweled thinks that he was treated unfairly. He wants the article to say that disemvowelment prevents further discourse by the person, is humiliating, is applied too quickly and in response to polite disagreement, and "leads to banning" of that individual. All of this is based on a highly distorted view of his own case. Sorry, but that's not what happened - and it's certainly not the norm.

Me on a Making Light open thread, explaining the problem a little and asking for info

Mediation Cabal Case: Disemvoweling
, a page for the dispute mediation I called for.

This one person keeps changing the article to match his opinion, and doesn't give evidence for some of his erroneous "facts." Someone else keeps changing it back, incorporating anything the guy (Mark) has done that isn't too false or distorted, and rewriting as needed. In this way, ironically, the article has been getting better. Yet the "edit war" continues.

This may sound kind of dry, but believe me, it's high drama, at least in the modern sense. I think Mark honestly believes he's fighting off a conspiracy to canonize Teresa Nielsen Hayden of Making Light, who he thinks was unfair to him. (She wasn't.) I've never been cast as a villain before, as far as I know, but Mark now thinks I'm out to get him as well. I'm not. Strangely enough, I'm kind of fond of him, and don't think he's 100% wrong in what he's trying to do - only 90%. But he frustrates the heck out of me. I want to explain and negotiate, help him to see that he need not be so adversarial, that it actually gets in his way for him to assume that everyone is an enemy. He even brought up Us vs. Them, I think as a description of the way he's being treated. Well, you guys know how I feel on that subject! But Mark doesn't.

Ah, but the application! If there is no Them, only Us, what does that imply, if anything, about the way I should behave toward Mark? If I hate no one, and have no enemies, then what are my obligations toward Mark?

Do your reading, and I'll try to answer these questions over the next day or two. Good night!


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Paul said...

In a Wiki environment, there is no possible resolution to these issues. Just as a discussion debating the existence of God is a huge waste of time, there can be no convincing the other side of the error of their viewpoint.

julie said...

Isn't drama fun? Not.

julie said...

Popped over here to see if you'd posted a new entry (yeah, I'm up late again as well) and noticed something odd:

"If there is no Them, only Us, what does that imply..."

Then just a few inches down:

"No, They're Themselves"

It means something. Something deep. But I'm too tired to contemplate it.

Anonymous said...

Mrk . Yrk is a disruptive, unpleasant, and narcissistic poster. Making Light is not the first venue that's kicked him out. It's not the second or third, either.

What you have to understand is that (1.) since Mrk . Yrk has opinions, we're all obliged to listen to them and find them interesting; (2.) anything less is simple injustice; and (3.) he's never wrong. If Wikipedia doesn't have a mechanism for removing intransigent posters, this could turn into a long fight.


fdtate said...

Occasionally, whilst perusing Wikipedia, I've been tempted to do some editing on an entry or two. I never have, and reading about this hassle makes me glad about it.