Monday, June 05, 2006


Policies from Hell III: WP:AGF

Today's sucker policy of the day is WP:AGF. Spelled out it means "assume good faith" and in practice in means: "Be always as polite to propaganda pushers as possible." If a self-declared Fundamentalist Christian inserts in the article on "Christ" that Jesus was "slaughtered by some blood-thisty jews, who were after his money", you should assume that he has misread the bible and politely ask him to reword to a more "neutral" point of view, rather than asking a so-called Wikipedia administrator, a Wikibrahmin with the power to impose his will on the mere mortal editors, to evict the guy for blatant Anti-Semitism. Now, this is fortunately a fictional example, but there are real Wikiworld examples as well. I take the easiest and most obvious:

You get the picture. It's, of course, not only such blatantly obvious partisans, who edit articles, be sure that the enemies of these persons are not sleeping, either: And thanks to the widespread anonymity of Wikipedia editors, this might not even apparent. Or that fascist will edit the article on fascism and Sugababes fans the "Sugababes". Remember, when was the last time you thought: "Let's build an encyclopedia, that'll be fun"? And then think, when was the last time, you thought, I really like the idea of [put here something you are passionate about], let's write something to make it happen.
Thus the proper Wikipedia policy would be "Assume Some Faith". Which faith you make ask? Well that would be much easier to detect, if the edits could not be made be anonymous users, whose agendas are hidden.
But, dear Wikipedia freak, you will object: "As we allow anyone to edit [Wikipedia], it follows that we assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it. If this weren't true, a project like Wikipedia would be doomed from the beginning." Well, I'm afraid, that's exactly what Wikipedia is: Doomed from the beginning, at least when it comes to its self-declared goal: The creation of an encyclopedia. The idea that contrary too all life experiences Wikipedia would be edited by well-meaning geniuses only makes doomsday all the more ugly: Those with the most resources available at their disposal (and the most zealous crusaders) are and will determine its contents, as long as wolves are guided by rules designed for friendly lemurs.

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