<CPOV> Kafka and Orwell join forces on Wikipedia

Dror Kamir dqamir at bezeqint.net
Wed May 18 10:56:28 CEST 2011

To be honest, this event bugs me not because of the isolated case. 
Strange errors happen, and a person of good humor should be amused 
rather than annoyed when s/he runs into such an error. And yet, I feel 
this even represents a general attitude on the English-language 
Wikipedia. An attitude of suspiciousness, sometimes even hostility, to 
people from "outside". Wikipedia has never defined itself as a member 
club, quite the contrary. Using such a filter seems reasonable in close 
member sites, not in an encyclopedia that "anyone can edit" (especially 
its talk pages).

There is a price to openness, and I have a feeling that most veteran 
Wikipedians are not willing to pay this price. Cleaning the mess after a 
demonstration down town is harder than hiding dirty words and other 
improper comments, and yet no one suggests blocking the streets down 
town in order to prevent messy demonstrations - such a step would be 
considered dictatorial, rather than a blessed concern about the 
environment - and here we are talking merely about leaving a comment on 
a virtual page.

Also, the mechanism of filing complaints is very unfriendly. I've been 
following cases of blocks on the English-language WP. A user can be 
blocked based on some kind of suspicion without an appropriate warning 
or a chance to justify her/himself (in several cases, block requests 
seemed to me like an attempt of a certain user to get rid of another 
user whose edits s/he didn't like). When such a sudden block occurs it 
is very hard to understand where to appeal. If you do manage to locate 
the mailing list to which appeal should be addressed, you need to wait 
several days, and usually your request would be rejected on the account 
that the admins should be trusted. A reasonable step, even before 
thinking about sending an appeal, would be to re-register to WP, based 
on the assumption that some error occurred, but then you would 
automatically be considered a "sock-puppeteer".

Dror K

בתאריך 18/05/11 11:31, ציטוט Peter Jacobi:

> I guess I see why this indefinite loop happens. It could have been
> easily avoided by a better definition of the filter.
> Edit filters are heavily used on German Wikipedia, and from time to
> time a controversy erupts about them, but by their very nature of not
> being very visible and hard to understand for non-techies, not much
> comes out of this.
> Note that edit filters not only can prohibit edits, but also can just
> warn the user (he would be able to do the edit when clicking through
> the warning message) or just silently log the edit. The latter is used
> in German Wikipedia to track banned users who use dynamic IP.
> Peter
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