Wiki Community/Ethics Discussion


Older discussion can be found by going through the revision history in the Info tab

Is adding a signature to text considered [wiki]unethical editing?

One of the main issues here has to do with the interplay of fact and opinion. Wikipedia doesn't have this problem as often, as it deals mostly in fact, whereas [WWW]c2 deals almost exclusively with opinion. The idea that attributing an edit violates "Wiki Ethics" (which is growing to be a TERRIBLY overused phrase) seems to come mostly from c2, and I think a lot of stuff on c2 is rubbish. There have been tons of specific cases where I've found myself attributing edits here on the DavisWiki: I point you to the case of [WWW]Kenneth Bloom versus ECS188, in which Kabloom dropped a derogatory statement regarding ECS188. It was totally uncool unattributed, but if he thought what he said was true it's probably deserved to stay as a warning to future students of the class.

I think Fact and Opinion can live together as friends, and attributing things that deviate considerably from the baseline is a good way for them to get along. This shouldn't, however, be a rationale for attributing any adjective that looks remotely threatening, or we won't get anywhere at all.

On the issue of Wiki Ethics, I wish everyone would lay off that specific phrase at least. During the election about a million years ago, Mr. Philip himself said to me that he wished there was some simple code for determining what should and shouldn't go on the wiki - but that's just it, there isn't one. There's no wiki bible and we basically have to make this shit up as we go along. Shouting 'ETHICS! ETHICS!' doesn't help as much as you think it does. — TravisGrathwell

I have, in the past, attributed things I thought were too opinionated. However, if pages have more than one viewpoint expressed then there's little need for attribution of these viewpoints: the dual presence makes it clear that it is not an official opinion. You have to consider that rampant attribution might actually cause the opposite of the intended affect: All non-attributed text is given the guise of authority or agreement, which is not the case (and cannot be the case because we've all agreed to disagree). It would be nice if the bulk of the text represented somewhat of a consensus, and this can be achived by including differing points of view (where you can find your view included). I say use your best judgement. —PhilipNeustrom

The Wiki Style Guide says how to handle certain comments - remove the ones that contribute little, and take the information contained within and incorporate them into the body of the page, if possible. It also says avoid "I" and "my" phrases. In the end, however, I am doing one thing - making pages more readable so that people can use the Wiki better. I don't give a damn who wrote it or even if I disagree with it - if I disagree, I'll present a counterpoint - unattributed - but I will also do my best to make the point I disagree with as legible and persuasive as possible. In short, I take the information and opinions on each page and present them in the most clear manner possible. — JabberWokky

Usage of multiple user accounts (also known as clones) should be discouraged. I don't believe there is a legitimate reason for a single entity to have multiple user accounts and especially not for the clone accounts to have their own user pages. However this does not mean that your username has to be your real name. Clone detection is very easy from just the information provided on Recent Changes, and if your a username shows up with a clone, that only has a handful of edits all of which have been disruptive (i.e. deleting user pages, instigating revert wars) the only effect this will have is to have people take you less seriously. Attribution of edits and comments to a username is taking responsibility for those things, and if you can't take responsibility for a comment, and instead attribute it to your clone, then you should think twice about making that comment in the first place. —DavidReid

Integrating Comments

I realize this has been discussed earlier (I read a little bit about it above), but I have an issue. I can understand the integration of comments over time. Sometimes I'll come back and read something and think to myself "that was kind of mean, bad, stupid, etc." But, I think there should be a way of making showing a preference of not integrating a comment into the page? Like, if it has a person's name attributed to it ... and there's some kind of bold lettering or something? I think it's really presumptuous and condescending to think someone wants their comment altered. If it's clearly an opinion with someone's name on it, I don't think it should necessarily be "integrated".

Dude, so JabbberWokky, your solution to using your own freaked out method of integrating comments is to put a stupid sign on every freaking page so that others will claim responsibility for doing it? Seriously man, I find this annoying.


Bits of material found on other pages, particularly pages during heated discussion, that may be worthwhile.

On banning

Banning someone seems to me to be a serious matter, and not something which we should just decide by a simple poll. Poll-taking leads to a dynamic where people start thinking about "Do I want him banned?" rather than something like "Would it be right to ban him?", and also a dynamic where people feel compelled to defend their prior opinions rather than taking in facts and arguments. Some thought and discussion, hopefully leading to something close to consensus, would be good. Also, it seems there are more possibilities here than a simple binary decision. I'm even leery of the discussion happening without face-to-face contact among all interested, though it is possible to do it online well if everyone puts some care into it. A second concern is that some people may have thoughts they want to share without identifying themselves to everyone. —AlexanderWoo (at 1PMish, Sunday Oct. 30)

I think that the wiki community has far too high of a tolerance for malicious/annoying people who just don't get it. I know that we should try to explain to people how this works, but if that fails, people should be banned. Basically: ban more people. —ArlenAbraham

Satirical and Parody Pages

I think it is important that satirical or parody pages have a readlily apparent notice that they are, in fact a work of satire or parody and are not factual. The Jewish Slate page is a case in point. Whereas the majority of wiki readers would recognise the parody/satire (I'm still not quite sure which one it is), many of our readers may not be well versed in other cultures and subtle humor. Imagine a freshman student at UCD fresh from the midwest. The student might very well know nothing of Jewish values and humor. The page could be terribly misinterpreted. If we allow unrestrained satire and parody, what's to stop wiki pages like [WWW]

I think that the Daviswiki should firstly be a source of accurate information. I love parody and satire as much as or more than most, but when we present information that can be construed as fact but in reality is something completely different, we have strayed from the mission. —GrumpyoldGeek

Attack Photos

For what it's worth, I just permanently deleted a photo: it was a drunk college aged guy with his face covered in marker and had been posted on an entry by somebody else, likely to humiliate him (the name is trivial to figure out, I'm leaving it out, but it was a very recent entry). I assume nobody has any issues with a permanent deletion in those cases? (Normally deleted photo are still viewable). Incidentally, it is been nearly a year since the last time hard core porn/shock images were posted, so it seems that we're getting them at a rate of one spate a year. Or maybe the holidays cause some people to get a bit extra gleeful. —Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards

Outing Identity

Somebody posted potentially identifying information about a person who has chosen to remain unknown. I admin reverted it. I checked very briefly with two editors who happened to be online, and decided it was the ethical equivalent of home address: a few people post them, but most people don't. Occasionally somebody posts somebody's home address without asking and it is usually removed by request of the person who lives there. It falls under choice of privacy. I have no idea if the information was even accurate, and given the nature of the situation, I'm being intentionally vague. If there's a community demand for the information, I stored it. I do note, also, that it may have been a veiled threat in terms of "I know who you are". —Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards

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