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The Case of 24

Over at WikiPedia we have an interesting newcomer. He refuses to use a name, prefering his IP number so that he can "challenge GroupThink" (the rest of us Wikipedians simply call him "24"). When he writes encyclopedia articles they are extensive, but he willfully disregards all community standards, conventions and mores. In other words, he cares nothing for GuidePosts, PeerPressure and CommunityExpectations (he even refuses to accept any definition of community other than his own, and according to him, no online community qualifies). His goals are zealously political, and it seems he wants to transform the entire project into something radically different. Various people have suggested banning his IP number, but I think that this is a) a blow against the openness of WikiPedia, and b) ineffective, as he could easily get around this. Could you point me to some material here on MeatBall that deals with this sort of problem? Or even some good old-fashioned advice? --StephenGilbert

24 is very prolific and thus far looks "unbreakable". It'll be very interesting to see how his/her interaction with the project turns out - eventually I'm sure the story will get written into the annals of Wikipedia. --SebPaquet
I hope not, but you're right; he's part of WikiPedia history now. I do encourage people on Meatball, especially those who are also Wikipedians, not to discuss 24 specifically, but rather the problem in general. --StephenGilbert

If he doesn't need or want the social recognition that comes from working on a community project, why does he stay? It's important to be boring. That also means it's important to be patient.

By creating an identity for him and by responding with respect to this identity's writings, you've implicitly pulled him inside your CircleOfEmpathy already, even if to lambaste him. Responding to him rationally is really a bad idea, because it requires that you elevate him to peerhood, which isn't the case. You've given him social recognition.

I haven't read a lot on the case yet, but it's very important to remain patient. Take the view that you'll be here years from now, and he will not. Then the trouble is less severe. DefendAgainstParanoia.

Take constructive steps to limit your liabilities. (It's more effective to limit your liabilities than to fight the threats.) Even if 24 writes highly biased articles, that perhaps isn't a long term problem if his writings are ultimately fixed. Of course, the manner you have attempted to fix them though has given him apparently something of a cause, so he's reverting changes to his text. This is becoming a ConflictCycle?.

It's important to remain unified. Any confusion will allow a dissenter to drive through the middle.

Alternatively, you can immolate his anonymous identity by tracking him down. This is an ultimate step, but always a valid one.

Finally, AssumeGoodFaith. Look for what 24 wants to do and is doing well. If you're going to socially accept him, make sure it's own your terms, not his (as is the case now). Show him how to write clearly in a positive, constructive manner.

Always, though, remember you will be here years after he will have left. Patience. -- SunirShah


Its not so much that 24 writes biased articles as that the articles are hard-to-impossible to understand. That really don't seem to be non- Acronym:NPOV, (outside of the stuff that has been moved to editorial part of wikipedia called http://meta.wikipedia.com) but its hard to tell. 24 has obviously been either talking only to a small group of likeminded people or him or herself and doesn't seem to see that we are neither. The other suggestion is that 24 is a vicious troll. I'm not so sure, 24 seems too elaborate. One of his articles on meta, ironically, suggests we should increase readablity by using easier vocabulary (already happening on http://simple.wikipedia.com)! -- WikiPedia:user:Eean

Examples would be lovely. It's too painful to search through WikiPedia looking for what you already know. -- SunirShah

[example of a crystal-clear 24 article: http://meta.wikipedia.com/wiki.phtml?title=Simple+View+of+Ethics+and+Morals

example of a much more turgid 24 article: http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/political_economy

24 seemed to be more comprehensible when expanding others' stub or existing articles.]

It's likely this person is involved in some activist group in his local area (Hamilton?), which means he is deeply emotionally bound to his ideas. If so, understand that he can never be neutral. But you can perhaps coax him by treating him as an expert for one side of the issue. Place specific questions for him to answer. Ask for details, research, etc. Not as a stalling technique, but sincerely as part of the legitimate search for depth on WikiPedia. After all, he's likely to have quick access to this information. -- SunirShah


I don't really think 24 is a troll either. That requires a social engineering sophistication that he doesn't seem possess, at least that I've seen. -- SunirShah

[ http://meta.wikipedia.com/wiki.phtml?title=24%27s+contributions seems to indicate there was a guiding ethic of some sort behind the work. By the way, 24 was eventually IP-banned by Jimbo Wales who had objected strongly to 24's ideal of governance (debated in several places). 24 seemed to have a philosophy of this too: http://meta.wikipedia.com/wiki.phtml?title=Governing+Operational+distinction ]


It does appear that some writing was censored only because it was written by 24: http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Internet_troll&diff=yes

The text that was removed made the community distinction StephenGilbert refers to above, describing trolls as seeking a "corrective or patronizing or outraged response by those who mistake an online forum for a "community", where people are actually exposed to some danger of [[bodily harm]] by each other's errors. Customs of discourse, or [[etiquette]], that originated in such physical communities, are often applied naively by newcomers who are not used to the extreme range of views that people are often comfortable expressing online, especially anonymously."

Promoters of online community seem to be accused of "trading on the confusion between real community based on shared risk, and false community based on mere exchange of words and ideas." 24 also seemed to advocate or champion being a troll, and mock his enemies:

"The role of the troll in [[Internet discourse]] is disputed, however, some viewing them as breaking up [[groupthink]], acting as [[devil's advocate]], or providing [[irritainment]] to people who take words way too personally.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." - Anonymous"

This may have been too much for JimboWales?, who banned 24 very shortly afterwards.


Actually, 24 was finally banned when he posted a page naming specific Wikipedians who needed to be beaten and attacked physically wherever they went. That was too much for pretty much everyone. --StephenGilbert

Ouch! --SebPaquet

Hmm. Did that action clear up the "the confusion between real community based on shared risk, and false community based on mere exchange of words and ideas"?

Since it seemed that only 24 felt that there was confusion, you'll have to ask him. -- StephenGilbert

[CategoryCase] [CategoryWikipedia]



142 comes to MeatballWiki

After IP banning 24, Wikipedia experienced another inconsiderate and disruptive author from the 142.177.xxx.xxx range of IP address, the dynamic IP range of Bell Sympatico's servers in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Consequently, this author has now come to be known as 142. Eventually, Wikipedia chose to ban the entire city in order to prevent this person from causing any more trouble. Many suspected that he was indeed the same person as 24, writing in the same style and on the same topics. The person has also issued threats of violence against the members of Wikipedia, and is now threatening "regime change" by the end of 2004.

In February 2003, this person arrived at MeatballWiki to try the same tactics.

Below is the content this author has written collected in one place. It's better to keep disruptions centralized than spread throughout the entire site.

CategoryRealNames


Content moved from SpotTheMartinet?

DeletedPage

Speculative and some personal banter regarding other projects and characters, moved from RiseOfMartinets? to avoid polluting the concept of a Martinet with examples of specific people who may or may not be acting that way sometimes. These comments begin with what SunirShah evidently considers a FairOuting?, or inquiry that is intended to force anon1 to UseRealNames:


However, if you are referring to Wikipedia specifically, as I gather you are (142, is it?), it's perhaps better to be specific. - SunirShah

MetaWikipedia? is a good example of this Rise. Wikipedia itself, less so, as there is less tolerance of ad hominem attack and "outing" and censorship of say talk files there (although there is some). Speaking of outing, think you are referring to a participant in some such debates, but to my knowledge, no one used the term "Martinet" there. - anon1

I think, though, that evidence will determine it wasn't martinets who were the source of your conflict in your case. - SunirShah

You are judging cases whose evidence you haven't reviewed, and which the martinets themselves have made it difficult to review as part of their strategy. You do not "think" at all. You are quacking.

Beyond that, you may confuse the advocate with the client here.- anon1

Already you have started to create a situation here that will no doubt cause you to call me a "martinet" when I eventually have to edit everything you've written. DeclineOfCivility? indeed. - SunirShah

If you believe this, you are simply not ready to understand what the "situation" is. That's not my problem. I have probably said all that needs to be said this year. By 2004 the validity of this will be more self-evident. And there will be new things to say. What was said this year will already be non-controversial. - anon1

This could get pretty boring very quickly. We're pretty easy going here. You might consider joining in on the BarnRaising here. We're not them. I have a feeling we've already had this discussion with you once though. -- SunirShah

No, there is no point discussing anything with an "outer", thanks. When there are consistent sanctions against such behavior, and when editors do not engage in it, there might be a way to bring serious voices into your BarnRaising, e.g. those who suffer genuine oppression in places without FreeSpeech protection. But if I cannot bring them in, and I can't given your attitude, then I have little to say in this forum.

Wikipedia needs regime change. Meatball, well, can be ignored. That's probably the best course. Enjoy your game. If you want it to be more than a game, consider following the rules that AmnestyInternational? puts in place, or those IndyMedia uses. - anon1

(interestingly, SunirShah assumed this was some kind of threat against wikipedia, and asserted his assumption that he had identified this user in a file on meta-wikipedia, thus spreading unproven attributions and impressions there - rumor-mongering?)

"Regime change" for Wikipedia is unnecessary.

That's your story. Go look at the French Wikipedia. It's totally fallen to the RiseOfMartinets?. They rule the place. It is useless as it stands. As long as unilingual anglo Americans put their bizarre views forward as the standard, and ignore the takeover of other language wikis, the governance is just a joke.

Most people who disagree with the project's mission join a different one, or even start their own. I think you'd like Fred Bauder [Internet Encyclopedia]. Read how it differs from Wikipedia [here]. -- StephenGilbert

The use of the term BarnRaising here is insulting to the Amish, Hutterites and Mennonites, who do understand and make the key ontological distinctions you do not, and who understand as you do not the problems with relying on technological communications and HardSecurity. You might note that if you care to dump on others' use of ConceptualMetaphor?, you should take care with your own.

The use of the term BarnRaising here is insulting to the Amish, Hutterites and Mennonites, who do understand and make the key ontological distinctions you do not, and who understand as you do not the problems with relying on technological communications and HardSecurity. You might note that if you care to dump on others' use of ConceptualMetaphor?, you should take care with your own. - anon1

I think you are mistaking MeatballWiki and WikiPedia for places that have FreeSpeech. We don't. If you're a free speech absolutist, you'd be better off an http://infoanarchy.org. Their wiki is more amenable to these kinds of discussions. -- SunirShah

A problem with the Martinet identification is that it is hard to tell those that choose not to make key ethical distinctions, and tose that are simply incapable of it, say due to some stupidity. For instance, nothing said above relies on there being FreeSpeech on the wiki itself - this is a bias of yours reading into what I say based perhaps on prior rationales of what you call 'trolls'.

What I said was, to repeat myself, that those who live in a free speech respecting society often forget that most of the world doesn't, and that "outing" as a practice can get people killed. Therefore people who talk about sensitive political matters and challenge ideological assumptions can often be targetted, as a direct results of the habits of those who grew up in free speech societies. One of those habits being, of course, casual outing.

'these kinds of discussions' is another such Martinet thing. i think you are correct in identifying yourself as a Martinet. That is a step above those who do it, without knowing they do it. But engaging in this Renaissance level politics is not worth my time. If I'm going to do that, it's going to be to defeat those who screw up political forums where more important matters are being discussed, e.g. those that NGOs run to debate policy, etc.. There they are aware of more recent threats than the GodKing, as you apparently are not. - anon1

Mr. Anonymous: While many of your points are interesting and some of them I even agree with, I request that you desist in making insulting comments like indirectly calling SunirShah a liar and a blamer and claiming that he does not "think" at all, but merely quack.

Context of these statements is clear in the above. There is no intent to label the individual person, but how is one to tolerate statements that baldly claim that Mr. Shah knows the author, has some idea of intent, and "thinks" (has an opinion) of matters he hasn't investigated? Certainly there are a number of people who continually clash with Martinets on wikipedia, and if you asked for a list of Martinets there, you'd get a consistent list of names from many participants. SunirShah would *not* be one. But he stated that he might be considered one. When someone says that they "think" something, they are open to being labelled for a lack of intelligence, wisdom, clarity, integrity or whatever. SunirShah should deeply investigate matters before he says what he "thinks" about them. I do. And, I suspect, so do you.

I think if you'll think it over for a minute you'll find that these statements are (blatently) false. This is so obvious that I feel that they don't even deserve a response, but I'll respond anyway in the off-chance that you don't see that. A liar is not merely someone who is incorrect but rather someone who says things that they don't believe (when has Sunir ever done that?).

I just can't believe that SunirShah believes what he says he believes in the above about etiquette. BTW it was not I but someone else who added the 'LOL' statement. Mine was very much more moderate.

As for a blamer, I don't see blaming (just criticism of text). As for not thinking, how in the world do you think he wrote all the great essays that he's contributed to MeatBall over the years?

No one said he couldn't think in general. But reactive and uninvestigated judgement of matters he has not investigated is not thinking. It is quacking. Surely we all do it now and again?

Would you say these things in person to someone whom who have just met? If not, why should it be any different here? If so, I ask you to reflect on if insulting people is making the world a better place. I think it's clear that you want to help MeatBall. If you are altruistic, why are you insulting people?

Certainly I would say such things in person to anyone who has a habit of judging, labelling and claiming absurd things about those whose views can be taken at face value and not used as an excuse for assignment of body to word. In fact, in person, it would be devastating to be confronted with the clear implications of such behavior as that of the Martinets, in general.

Think of a political meeting. People attend and make their views clear. Sometimes those views get heated and people are unable to immediately resolve them. Can one person instantly silence or erase the statements of another without risk to themselves? No. Trying to behave like a Martinet in a town meeting or political hall would get someone punched out and likely intimidated out of town by violence, and rightfully so. People talking politics are talking about the defense of their own bodies. IF this is a community, we are talking that here too.

Even such an abstract thing as wikipedia may have impacts on bodies - there are recipes there, there are lists of biological agents and maybe enough biology or chemistry or computer science to make weapons. Imagine a Martinet or GodKing deciding on his or her own ideas of politeness, what would be included and what not. It's the wrong criteria. Public safety would have to come first. Imagine a fugu (blowfish) recipe in the wikipedia. Anyone taking it out or adding warnings that were deleted by martinets because they considered them 'unfair' or 'biased' or something, would be drastically increasing the risk to readers.

Also, I assume you aren't willing to do this (and it's not required), but it would make things easier for everyone if you would be willing to divulge your real name and start posting under a user handle. That would build some needed trust.

No, it would make the difficult work of actually pointing out the bodily-harm implications of the insane belief in "virtual community" or "online community" harder. For the sake of all those that do that, the most credible such players will have to stay anonymous.

If you continue to insult us personally, we will probably respond the same as if we were having a conference in person and someone walked in, didn't introduce themselves by name, and started calling some other participants liars who don't think. -- BayleShanks

As you wish. If the form matters more than content, who cares? This is the wrong place then to seriously discuss the relationship between body, word, self, community and technology. Surely such a forum would have to encourage tough open expression - and surely it would be as easy to say difficult things as it would be in any New England town meeting, and as hardto kick someone out for saying them.


Content from FairOuting?

Fair Outing is a process for "outing" (involuntarily revealing) the real name or bio-metric identifiers of a person presumed to be consistently using an AnonymousIdentity.

Some say no such process can exist and are in favor of absolute anonymity.

Others say that to UseRealNames is the fairest means of outing: effectively each statement is outed and attached to the body of an individual as soon as it is made.

Some say that such a process must at least exist to track down creators of weapons of mass destruction, e.g. as part of the U.S. project, "War on Terrorism". Some would also allow more questionable social purposes, e.g. the similar American "War on Drugs", to justify some "outing" procedures.

CategoryIdentity


This has nothing do with FairProcess. -- SunirShah

B/c FairProcess is about a fair method for setting up the rules; it is one level of meta higher than the question of "is this rule fair?" -- BayleShanks

Shanks more correct but Shah is all wet here (not surprising, as he engages in casual outing and prefers all UseRealNames). Without knowing what rules of "outing" and standing of anonymous or pseudonymous entities apply, there can be no FairProcess - thus fair outing is itself one meta step higher. As example, consider the status of anonymous witnesses in court procedures, or intelligence in diplomacy. Without some means of outing the sources, there can be no fair process applied at all.


There has been a motion for page deletion:

Why this page should not be deleted:

Why this page should be deleted:


This isn't a good faith attempt to barn raise a collective discussion of this topic. While the concept indeed does merit discussion, the author has prevented a discussion from forming by immediately turning this into a severe personality conflict, a flame war. Personally, judging from his writings here and on Wikipedia, I do not trust this person to be capable of interacting in good faith, to barn raise, which is the fundamental that we at Meatball centre our collaboration. Currently the author is building a bullwark from which to launch a many fingered, wormed invasion of the site. He has already tested the waters and signalled his intent by altering the MeatballMission. It's an effective technique to spread a flame war over many pages on a wiki, thereby making it much harder to confront. I think it's important that we now reduce this person's interaction to the site to, if not zero, to the narrowest range possible so we can deal with him succinctly without having to extricate the flamewar from existing content on the site, possibly destroying those pages in the process.

In our past dealings with FairOuting?, as this author calls it, you might have noticed that it's only been necessary when the individuals were taking specific and violent issue with the UseRealNames policy. That they would put so much effort in changing the policy meant that they really did want to join in the work here, which is a positive point that shouldn't be ignored. However, universally, these people failed to understand that the most important thing here is the community, not the ideas. Even if this page weren't shallow, it wouldn't matter much if it destroys our collective sentiment. I wouldn't see much point in running a site that was all flame wars, and I doubt you would see much point in contributing to one. BarnRaising is our founding motto here, a concept that encompasses only partly the work and mostly the community. -- SunirShah


This isn't a good faith attempt to barn raise a collective discussion of this topic. - SunirShah

How would you know? Assertion that BarnRaising is an insulting and inappropriate metaphore - see SpotTheMartinet?.

While the concept indeed does merit discussion, the author has prevented a discussion from forming by immediately turning this into a severe personality conflict, a flame war. - SunirShah

No, SunirShah, *you* did that by making various claims that had to be moved to SpotTheMartinet? to keep you from polluting a valid debate at RiseOfMartinets? with your accusations and assumptions.

Personally, judging from his writings here and on Wikipedia, I do not trust this person to be capable of interacting in good faith, to barn raise, which is the fundamental that we at Meatball centre our collaboration. - SunirShah

The false we is a primary weapon of the Martinet. You might ask what is the difference between being capable and being willing to put up with a constant stream of unproven allegations from what amounts to a GodKing?

Currently the author is building a bullwark from which to launch a many fingered, wormed invasion of the site. He has already tested the waters and signalled his intent by altering the MeatballMission. It's an effective technique to spread a flame war over many pages on a wiki, thereby making it much harder to confront.

That is what *you* are doing. It was *me* who put your flame war starting with your attempt at outing, at SpotTheMartinet? - thus opening the possibility that one might call me just that. By contrast you censor a simple addition to the MeatballMission that you really should let others read before censoring it.

I think it's important that we now reduce this person's interaction to the site to, if not zero, to the narrowest range possible so we can deal with him succinctly without having to extricate the flamewar from existing content on the site, possibly destroying those pages in the process.

And I think it's important to vote SunirShah out of office as editor and appoint me. Oops. Silly me. There's no process at all, no standards of proof, no central means of establishing a set of claims even.

In our past dealings with FairOuting?, as this author calls it, you might have noticed that it's only been necessary when the individuals were taking specific and violent issue with the UseRealNames policy. That they would put so much effort in changing the policy meant that they really did want to join in the work here, which is a positive point that shouldn't be ignored.

This is your first actual point. Thank you for finally thinking.

However, universally, these people failed to understand that the most important thing here is the community, not the ideas.

I am certain that some of these people believed that ThereIsNoSuchThingAsVirtualCommunity? - which you of course would fail to understand, and take as an insult to your own persons.

Even if this page weren't shallow, it wouldn't matter much if it destroys our collective sentiment. I wouldn't see much point in running a site that was all flame wars, and I doubt you would see much point in contributing to one. BarnRaising is our founding motto here, a concept that encompasses only partly the work and mostly the community. -- SunirShah

It is a false concept. A real BarnRaising is done by real world people (a point for your UseRealNames convention) but they do not judge members of a community based on what they are reputed to have done elsewhere - they judge them on what they actually do in the community. Beyond that, they are contributing to something that will help protect life, and make it easier, not creating or "improving" something that amounts to a weapon to be used against low-tech peasants.

Now, I suppose, you will accuse me of being BillJoy?, since only he could hold such 'idiosyncratic' views. - anon1


Content from RiseOfMartinets?

A Rise of Martinets (Dictionary:Martinet) is the phenomena of visible figures using etiquette as an excuse to trump ethics. Pettiness and small points of order are permitted to justify DuckSpeaking and mask deep GroupThink, e.g. a comment containing facts and pointing out lies or misleading statements is deleted due to a claim that it is somehow "rude". Vital information fails to reach responsible community leaders. Etiquette itself loses its ethical ground. Shallow SelfClaims? overcome and swamp deep ones.

Usually a consequence of a DeclineOfCivility? that permits the Martinets to rise and make themselves, often, a de facto PoliceForce. If the Martinets achieve formal power, i.e. to IP ban or censor talk pages in a wiki, this will usually accelerate the decline.


Sure, but etiquette is the embodiment of ethics in a practical framework for normal interactions. - SunirShah

LOL! what a crock! etiquette exists for the sole purpose of not offending others. Ethics is about doing the right thing. I can imagine all sorts of scenarios where the right thing is certain to offend. - anon2

Well, a more mainstream theory is that etiquette is a form of minimal negative ethics, i.e. exceptions to an ethical framework that make it acceptable to humans who otherwise would not be able to apply it fully, "situations where ethics doesn't count", e.g. where lies are acceptable, or a number of standard hypocrisies. Judith Martin is very clear about this: etiquette is hypocrisy. I would say that it is the limits of ethics, and does not embody it except insofar as it protects bodies by what it discourages the investigation of. The Martinets, then, are those who break all ethical rules by extending etiquette to beyond its breaking point, to the point where it is actually enforcing an 'unethic' - a set of excuses to risk and harm bodies for ideological purposes. - anon1

Robert's Rules of Order, for instance, is a set of etiquette to manage ethically the problem of orderly debate, which otherwise would not allow parties to fairly engage each other. Marquis of Queensbury's Rules are another set of etiquette that embody ethics. The deep GroupThink you allude to are called community values are are hardly masked as they are clear to everyone who belongs to that society. - SunirShah

No, there are no "community values". Communities are compromises of values created to achieve bodily protections. The community shares no values other than protecting its own bodies. I do accept Queensbury as a rigorous etiquette, as they clearly do protect bodies for long term use by the community, but I do not accept Robert's as anything but a shallow set of excuses for censorship. There are many better alternatives to Robert's Rules. - anon1

When indeed martinets hold power, it does degrade the purpose of etiquette, which in fact degrades people's ability to deal with each other. If you look over time, it's not difficult to see that martinets cannot hold significant power now that society is comfortable with liberalism. It's an old joke that senior citizens decry the continued decay in community values, not their reification. - SunirShah

Martinets regularly hold power in the so-called "online communities" admittedly because they are less mature, and have accepted many means of HardSecurity that empower Martinets by definition. Speeding the evolution of such services (they are not communities) implies making Martinets subject to some kind of due process wherein they do not get to decide the RulesOfEvidence? nor the StandardOfProof? or who bears the BurdenOfProof?. - anon1

It's not really important to concern ourselves with martinets. We have other names here for those who are malfeasant with their power, like GodKings, and we work to understand ways to prevent their catastrophic destruction of the community, such as the power the RightToLeave has on a volunteer organization, liberalism, or even the digital concept of the RightToFork. - SunirShah

No the Martinets are a different class - they are not the little tin god Sysops who just confuse ontological and operational distinctions. They are not the GodKings? who believe that there is no alternative to just trusting their judgement. Martinets honestly believe they are applying the etiquette legitimately! They often convince others of that, it's even a preoccupation. But if you look at the details, they are liars, blamer, and inventors of evidence, and concealers of evidence, and make mountains out of molehills linguistically, and none of this is characteristic of a little tin god sysop, or what you call a GodKing. I am proposing a third and different class of critter. - anon1

The RightToFork has serious problems. But that's not for discussion in context of Martinets.


More discussion moved to SpotTheMartinet? - just for length and because it invoked examples that were rather controversial or speculative, and got personal.


Content from SelfClaims?

Self Claims are claims an entity makes about itself. They are ontologically distinct from those other entities make about it, or those that it makes about other entities. Without this distinction one cannot tell ordinary reference from self-reference--nor easily determine how the entity forms its SelfImage.

Self-Reference is usually considered the key to self-image and self awareness and ultimately any form of individual, group or CollectiveIntelligence. Without it, there can only be GroupThink - the unexamined adherence to a prior list of SelfClaims? made by interest groups, without a capacity to evolve these, or obsolete those claims that prevent the entity from achieving its destiny.

Self-reference can at time be an annoyance or a distraction, but it is necessary in order to combat GroupThink. If no examination of SelfClaims? is allowed, discourse about current policies can devolve into DuckSpeak?.

Those self claims made very early in, or before, the entity's formation, are usually reflected in its FoundingAssumptions?, e.g. in a state constitution, a city charter, or a party ethic, which explicitly state such assumptions, and are usually key to the self-image.

Sometimes self-claims are primarily or wholly negative, e.g. WikiPedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not, which serves as a charter for that project. In this case they serve as an excuse for various kinds of eloision, censorship, and perhaps ultimately a DeclineOfCivility? as the original self-claims are obsoleted by events or evolution.

The study of GroupThink has shown repeatedly that the self claims of a group are best challenged anonymously, but with some means of limited accountability, e.g. known selection of the critic from a trusted group, or online, the availability of IP address information which provides some insight or traceability in case of genuine abuses. Accordingly this page should be an exception to the requirement to UseRealNames. If you disagree, of course, you may delete it. But that in itself indicates a strong risk of forming, or losing defense against, a GroupThink.

CategoryCommunityIdentity?


I've spent several hours reading the above text trying to understand it for something other than a libertarian troll. I recognize that I may be missing something, so at least I will be charitable unlike the above author. Can someone else distill any meaningful or sensical statements from the above? He isn't even stating his definitions correctly, such as for GroupThink, let alone characterizing well understood values and strategies. I gather that he opposes BarnRaising from his fear of TheCollective's desire to form a consensus, and I don't think he's being very amenable to the very real task of BarnRaising MeatballWiki itself. It even feels like a PhonyFlood of disinformation and misarguments in preparation for an attack on UseRealNames. I think that has made the essay particularly illogical, as he is mixing an individual's sense of self with TheCollective's sense of self, requiring on one hand the individual to stand up and be counted and yet on the other hand remain anonymous, which is the problem in the first place as we all melt into TheCollective. As I said, I spent several hours trying to understand this. Later... even after discovering the Wikipedia connection, I still have no idea what's going on. -- SunirShah

Who knows what you are 'discovering', but it is actually you who are mixing the individual's and collective's sense of self, the latter being drastically more dependent on self-claims. You do not appear to be making the key OntologicalDistinction? between anonymity of opinion, and anonymity of bodies holding opinions. If you knew someone with MultiplePersonalityDisorder? this might become clearer to you. I urge you to spend more time on it, and revisit the assumptions behind the request to UseRealNames. For one thing, in what sense is a name "real" other than bodily consequences, i.e. facing bodily intimidation or violence due to one's opinion, receiving funds useful to buy food and shelter as a result of holding a job "in one's real name" due to credentials achieved "under one's real name". There are different ideas of "real" at work here. But, that's all that should be said now, for reasons explained below:

A group charter or definition which espouses any limits on social behavior will be taken as a personal affront by those who have bought into their own hype and believe themselves superior to the common intellectual rabble. -- JerryMuelver

I'd like to encourage the author to work with the other people here at Meatball, rather than attempt to enlighten us. After only a day, you have created a Wiki:WalledGarden of pages that no one else is able to contribute to because of what seems to be linguistic revisionism combined with snap judgements. Despite my old comments on CaseOfaWikipediaTroll, I really don't think you're a troll anymore, nor do I believe you are attempting to create a PhonyFlood. However, you are establishing a pattern of coming into online communities (I realize you don't like that word in this context; feel free to think "group" if you like), judging them based on a shallow first impression, and starting to work away on your own agenda without regard for the goals and etiquette of the site. I've also noticed that you tend to grab hold of other people's ideas and run with them in a different direction, not taking into account what the originators were attempting (the Wikipedia board and History of Wikipedia spring to mind). All in all, I think you could be a valuable contributor to various wikis (including WikiPedia), but your ability to work with others is hampered by an over-developed fear of GroupThink, your unilaterial reshaping of language, and a distrubing tendency to apply insulting judgements on people who are not responding in the way you would like. -- StephenGilbert

The above is by "24"? The wanderer returns! egad ....

There are good answers to all of the above. I wish I could discuss them. However, as there is no sanction against "outers" who insist on attaching bodies to ideas, and seemingly no end to the willingness to ascribe motives or personal criticism or other forms of ad hominem argument to what should be a neutral form of criticism, there's no real way to contribute to this wiki much. If you are going to play at amateur psychiatry, then, there is no point discussing anything with you. As for anyone suffering an over-developed fear of GroupThink, well, tell that to those who are presently being tortured due to the groupthink that it works.

Physician, heal thyself! After reading a single comment from me you felt qualified to post [this lengthy assessment] of my character, motives, intellectual understanding and ultimate purpose in life. I can only base my opinion of you on your history of posting; I'm not under the foolish impression that I have anywhere near a complete picture of you as a person, but you have an ample history to show how you work with others in an online collaborative environment. You can dish out criticism, but become defensive when others offer it to you, even when they are not meaning to attack. Given that:

a) my attempts to communicate have been consistantly rejected, both here and at Wikipedia since your return,
b) you insist others constantly reevaluate their stances while you seem to reject any and all suggestions that you do the same, and
c) it seems that the only way to communicating with you is by agreeing with you or engaging in harsh conflict...

... I can only come back to my original conclusion: attempts at dialogue and collaboration with you are, unfortunately, futile. I bear no personal ill-will toward you, but I refuse to be drawn into these endless quarrels. -- StephenGilbert

And yet you do "contribute" to this wiki, such as modifying our MeatballMission. I'm not sure what to make of you. Well, whatever. I'll be here longer than you will. If you aren't happy here, why bother? We're not going to change. It's a big Internet. Go find an environment that appreciates your individuality, and let us suffer from our own faults. -- SunirShah

Just adding points of clarity. If you investigate those, you will discover that this has nothing to do with anyone's "individuality", but in fact reflects a view of life that is standard anywhere outside the English-speaking world. And, sure, you are entitled to run this any way you want, and to refuse to open the door to consider that the "OnlineCommunityThesis?" might simply be wrong, or is an ideology designed to attract funds.

When you make policy statements that open the door to this, ban outing, and are ready to consider political threats of a somewhat more recent nature than the GodKing (which went out in about 2000 BC except in Rome, China and Japan, and perhaps today in the USA and UK), then there may be some point in engagement. But if you think SelfReference? is only about SelfClaims?, or that any GroupEntity can be a community, well, we can only clash, and you can only become what I charitably characterize as a "Martinet" in shrill defense of indefensible ideological constructs. Of which "OnlineCommunity" is only the most obviously wrong, "Freedom", "Dignity", "EmpoweringPeopleByTechnology?" and "Individualism" being the next ones to look at carefully for their implications.

One suffers both due to learning, and due to lack of learning. Certainly if what I say is "individual" or "idiosyncratic" then you would suffer more from learning from me. But if what I say is the future, well then, you will suffer more from not learning it.

So, are you staying or going? -- SunirShah

I said it before, but it looks like it could appropriately be said again, so I will -- A group charter or definition which espouses any limits on social behavior will be taken as a personal affront by those who have bought into their own hype and believe themselves superior to the common intellectual rabble. -- JerryMuelver


Content from DuckSpeak?

Duck-Speaking refers to DuckSpeak?, a term defined by GeorgeOrwell? in his novel NineteenEightyFour?. Duckspeaking is the repetition and invocation of prior formulas, e.g. UseRealNames, as an excuse for activity (censorship for instance) which actually violates prior norms or SelfClaims?.

Rather than revisiting the SelfClaims? and current SelfImage to determine if they need revision, the duckspeaker simply deletes or engages in QuackOver?, which drowns the truth in more repeated copies of the formula.


Hello anonymous newcomer who I know the identity of but I'll pretend I don't. ;) You seem to be creating a Wiki:WalledGarden of ShallowPages. I suspect that you intend to expand on this stuff, and I hope you'll try to work it into the rest of the wiki.

As for your example of UseRealNames, I must say I haven't seen it used in the manner you describe. On the contrary, most people who come to Meatball and take issue with UseRealNames have not examined, or do not counter, the arguments for it More importantly, they are unable to provide a reason for using a pseudonym. -- StephenGilbert


Content from SelfImage

A Self Image is the view an entity takes of itself. Depending on the nature of the entity, this may be of many different characters. For instance, an entity defined wholly in or by text transactions, e.g. a wiki, or a BodyOfJurisprudence?, will have a self-image composed wholly of written SelfClaims?.

Nations, organizations, families, and persons can have self-images in this very general sense. For persons self-image is often tied to BodyImage?. For families, to Family Values or other shared MoralCore? beliefs. In organizations of cells or beings related by some means other than biological relatedness, the idea of a self-image is controversial, as it has no self-perception and no real biological reason to evolve one. Such an entity should be called a GroupEntity denoting its lack of biological shared interest.

One way for a GroupEntity to evolve a self-image is to start with SelfClaims? that are undisputed within that group. For instance a religious group may make a statement that "we are all Muslims" or that "we all wish to help the poor living nearby". Statements that define a certain scope of "we" are very important. If there is a disciplined way to ensure that the word "we" is not used when there is a chance to imply wider agreement or commitment than really exists, then "we" itself can reflect the self-image.

Perhaps the best known means of creating such a self image is the authoring of a charter or constitution, which contain the many or few FoundingAssumptions? by which power or interest groups come together to commit to some common defense of land or community. In fact the word "nation" seems to have no clear meaning other than that of "a group of people who has done great things in the past, and continues to choose to do so." A positive self-image is implied in this definition.

But, any GroupEntity that has a self-image but no genetic or bodily identity, can cease to exist without an obvious or measurable way in which to determine it has ceased to exist. Use of "we" can be one way to determine if a GroupEntity still exists - if people act as if they agree, it's fair to say they do agree.

Dissolution of a GroupEntity can be messy, and can lead to such events as CivilWar? or ClassWar?. The USSR devolved in the 1990s with some degree of both. It had lost much of its self-image as a Vanguard Of Revolution or Peoples Democratic Republic in previous decades. The USA may be going through a similar devolution now as self-image ideas like RuleOfConstitutionalLaw?, Fortress America, Champion Of Freedom and Protector Of Democracy are challenged, and as new anti-privacy are passed.


I disagree that the USA is ceasing to exist as a group entity. Perhaps its nature is changing, though. -- BayleShanks

I define "nation" as something like: "a country which is also a culture". -- BayleShanks


Content from GroupEntity

A group-entity is any entity composed of multiple beings with no inherent biological identity, e.g. one body, one germline, one genome. Individuals, families, and species may not be group-entities, although anything beyond a single sexually reproducing being may well be called one. It is a very abstract term and is an alternative to such terms as OnlineCommunity that does not imply any common behaviors or traits between physical human or other animal communities, and organizational behaviors.

This term is from anarchist discourse and may be controversial to some. See http://wikipedia.org/wiki/group-entity for a fuller explanation of the term, its origins, and some examples.


Content from MeatballMission

Also, we're open to the idea that there might be no such thing as an online community, or that the culture of online services might be inherently pathological. So even to say this is a community might itself be controversial to some of us - some just call it abstractly a GroupEntity - is that too nerdy?

No, but it's a bit wordy. I guess we're open to discussing the negation of the concept or the benefits of online communities (although most of us tend to disagree with those conclusions), but that's kind of an esoteric detail that doesn't need to be included in MeatballMission, which should be pretty general (and, lest I repeat myself, concise for newcomers!!!). -- BayleShanks

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