Sunday, April 30, 2006
Policies from Hell I - WP:NLT
The semi-official policies that have evolved over time in Wikipedia through the collective brainstorming of mainly geeks with no particular expertise in decision-making theory, information sciences, or sociology of knowledge show at times of mind-boggling disrespect for life outside Wikipedia.
One of the more egregious policies is WP:NLT, which posits that you are not allowed to make any legal threats on Wikipedia, inter alia, because such threats would be "uncivil". Yap, that's right, Hobbes -- no, not you, Hobbes, although I'm sure you'd agree with the former Hobbes and me -- all that effort you and your successors put into the idea of rule of law, was totally futile: Civility is not the idea that there is a body of somewhat democratically legislated laws should govern conflicts between humans or their sock puppets, but it's the natural state of Wikilove -- a touchy-feely label for what could be conscisely described as Wikicabal -- which should govern the discourse on Wikipedia (and beyond).
Let me get this straight: If user anonymous_dork_127 writes on Wikipedia about you that you forged your University diploma and raped your niece at age thirteen, you should not tell him, that you might sue him for defamation. Or, if White_Pride_666 (a fictional user name, at least so I hope) gives name and address of a prominent civil rights activists mentioning that "that scum would welcome guests with rifles," you should not tell him that you might sue him for harrassement. Instead, you should probably ask them politely to rephrase their statements, so that they adhere to the rhetorics of "neutral point of view."
In fact, I am doing an unfair polemic here: What Wikipedia really advises you to do is not to appeal to a court of law, but bring it "to the attention of an administrator," a Leviathan, err, a person, well, let's more realistically call him an admin sock puppet, whose legal training usually consists of the successful completion of the Wikicabal game.