<CPOV> The Wikipedia Cult / Focal Problem / Banning

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at att.net
Sun Jul 18 17:25:27 CEST 2010


I've been meaning to get back to this exploration of focal problems
in Wikipediatrics, but a couple of ongoing family crises have been
keeping my wits scattered all over the map ...

The perception that Wikipedism is far more cult-like in its basic character
than anything advertised as a knowledge-oriented enterprise ought to be has
of course arisen on many occasions, but here is a reminder of the occasion
that we came in with this time around:

Re: http://p10.alfaservers.com/pipermail/cpov_listcultures.org/2010-June/000185.html

AS = Alan Shapiro
JA = Jon Awbrey

AS: Well, that's a very intelligent and balanced statement (except for
     the first three words, which are themselves a binary opposition,
     you're taking the position that there is absolutely no truth
     in what I am saying?).  I applaud this statement. It is much
     more reasonable than most of the assertions in the recent
     avalanche of declarations coming on this listserv.  ...

JA: Being a Peircean pragmatic thinker, by virtue or maybe by dint of
     long-continuing auto-inculcation, I can't help coloring outside
     the lines of dyadic thinking for very long, so let me let that
     business pass.

JA: One of the lessons that my teachers pounded into my head over many long
     years of alio-inculcation was that education and inquiry have as much
     to do with process as product, as much to do with conduct as content.

JA: Wikipedia, just to take up the current example, begins to look like
     a very different proposition when we start to examine the reality
     of practice that prevails in its orbit.

JA: Maybe it would help to focus, one by one, on particular practices
     that distinguish Wikipedia Culture from other systems that we know?

JA: One practice that is very symptomatic of cults, dogmatic organizations,
     faith-oriented groups, religions, sects, whatever you want to call them,
     is the practice of banning, shunning, or excommunicating onetime members
     of the group, members who were once considered "good faith" participants.

That brings us to the focal problem of Banning, Shunning, Excommunicating ...

If you look at the amount of time that Wikipedists devote to filtering out inputs
from "taboo" or "unclean" sources, you can't help but admit that the practices of
banning, blocking, censoring, excommunicating, shunning, and generally plugging
their fingers in their ears is one of the most significant features, or bugs,
of Wikipedism as a social system.

The question is -- What's that all about?

Jon Awbrey


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