<CPOV> The Wikipedia Cult

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at att.net
Thu Jun 3 18:15:01 CEST 2010

Juliana & All,

The topic of "dysfunction" is another one with a long record of
discussion at The Wikipedia Review.  The first thing to know
about dysfunction is that it is relative to a function,
that is, a goal, ideal, objective, purpose, or value.

That brings us to the issue of "espoused values" versus "actual values",
as emphasized, for instance, by systems thinkers like Argyris and Schön.
One of the first questions to ask about a group project like Wikipedia
is whthere the values that are "actually" actualized by it are consistent
with the values that group members are constantly espousing.  When we see
a wide divergence between the two, as most long-term observe in Wikipedia,
we have the task of explaining that difference.  The complex of activities
associated with Wikipedia may be perfectly functional with respect to certain
goals -- the fact that these activities persist in spite of every attempt to
modify them should give us a clue -- the question is, "What are those goals?"

Jon Awbrey

JA = Jon Awbrey
JB = Juliana Brunello

JB: I believe that the word 'cult' works more as a catchy title than a real
>   concept. What I find important in this discussion is that it all points
>   out to a disfunction in the WP community, and this, I believe, is worth
>   analyzing.

JA: Ye Who Would Be C In Thy POV,
>> Wikipedia's cabalism, cultishness, groupthinkitude, whatever you want to
>> call it, is very real, and Vaknin's article describes it quite accurately.
>> I frankly wish we could be discussing the future of knowledge work on the
>> Web, relative to which Wikipedia furnishes a wealth of data about how badly
>> a naive idea can can wrong, but other people keep bringing it up, so those
>> who know are forced to say what they know.
>> This is of course a hoary old topic at The Wikipedia Review.
>> I once began a "meta-thread" in the Meta-Discussion Forum to
>> collect various reflections on the subject.  It appears to be
>> something of a dead horse over there, but here it is, FWIW:
>> http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=17187&view=findpost&p=90830
>> I am slightly incited to resuscitate the jockey if not the horse.


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