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Responses to How to Build Wikipedia
Be in Charge and Be Humble - Understand Bias - Appreciate Idiosyncracy - Redesign the Wikipedia Software as a Community - Make Big Plans on Wikipedia - Avoid Cabals - Follow the Spirit of the GFDL - Be Respectful but Firm

Be Respectful but Firm

Some combativeness and dissent helps societies thrive. Many have believed that the preservation of the right to dissent with utter vehemence, even violence, is critical to the legitimacy and health of the state.

Politeness too is a worthy goal. But if calls for politeness come from an all-powerful cabal, which can kick you out, delete your work, etc., well, you can determine what to call that. Fortunately, that cabal doesn't exist on Wikipedia.


"Some combativeness and dissent helps societies thrive," yes, but Wikipedia is not a society except in a metaphorical sense. What is it, then? An online encyclopedia project in which the results of our individual minds come together to create something far greater than anything any one of us could produce. In that context, respect and politeness are not merely "worthy goals," they are essential to our staying productive and from stemming mutual alienation. See Wikipetiquette.

--Larry Sanger

"Except in a metaphorical sense"? What other sense is there, really? When you have a project that involves people working together, you have a society. It's irresponsible to ignore the societal ramifications of a project. And I don't think you are. It just seems you're leery of calling the Wikipedia society a society. --TheCunctator

People talking to each other via the Internet doesn't strike me as a society in the full-bodied sense that anarchism really cares about. That's all--just a relatively unimportant philosophical point. --LMS
Oh, no, it's a vital and foundational philosophical point. This *can't* be a society or community for those reasons. Quite the opposite - it can only be a sort of market. See m:The Wikipedia Community where I agree with you completely and absolutely here. What I find funny is, on April 8 2002, Larry, you chew me out for perceiving that it is *NOT* a community. - 24

Do you think we can come up with a common language to properly discuss the social dynamics of the Wikipedia project? Or perhaps we need a good entry on "society" which makes clear what the differences and commonalities between a full-bodied society and the Wikipedian society are. --TheCunctator

Maybe we could. --LMS

Ah, throwing the ball back into my court. Hm. I propose "Wikipedian society". --TheCunctator
I propose "m:Governing Ontological distinction" - i.e. what we see, not what we do. For what we do, there are "m:Governing Operational distinction"s

See also : Wikipedia commentary



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