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BluWiki talk:Goals

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Linkspam

How do these principles exist with our linkspam policy? Chotchki 20:02, 7 December 2005 (EST)

I think this best sums up how the two coexist:

In the United States, all citizens are given the right to free speach. However, this right does not give citizens the right to libelous or slanderous expression. BluWiki has a similar policy. While users are allowed as much freedom as possible to express themselves, this "right" ends in any situation where it distorts or prevents another user's freedom of expression.
Therefore, behavior such as unwarranted editing of other user's pages in a way that distorts the comments of others, or prevents others from expressing themselves, will not be tolerated. This, in particular, includes spamming other's BluWiki pages with links to one’s own website. --Sam Odio 21:20, 7 December 2005 (EST)
I think BluWiki principles are emerging; but I can't see any value in pure anarchy. Fellow puts a link to his site on his own page, fine; he puts that same link on a common area, he's littering. "Your right to wave your fist in the air ends about an inch from my nose." — "Bear" 02:36, 17 January 2006 (EST)
What is the philosophy behind allowing 'anyone' to edit a page? Could we not restrict access to registered BluWiki users? I raise this issue particularly with regard to blocking, IPs for example. It is possible that there are people who work behind proxies. Just because one chap spams, the whole IP could end up getting blocked.. limiting access to a lot of people.. Karthik 03:55, 17 January 2006 (EST)

Draft

Now that we've made a change to the BluWiki motto and the wiki itself has had some time to mature and gel, I think it might be possible to address this question -- What BluWiki Is -- in some more detail. New users should get some orientation by looking at this page, not disorientation.

The key values I see emerging here are:

  • Project Leadership: BluWiki pages consist of a large number of independent projects. Each one is led by a particular editor. In many cases, this leader is the only editor; in others, he or she leads a small group. As a community, we recognize the initial creator of a page (or group of pages) as its project leader. The leader is primarily responsible for page content and has a dominant voice over edits.
This value contrasts with the extreme view held by many common wikis, in which no page has an author, no page is owned, and the group controls all content in a sort of mass democracy, anarchy, or mob rule. Elaborate processes evolve to resolve conflicts over content. On BluWiki, these processes are unnecessary; the greatest weight is always given to a page's author or project leader.
  • Respect and Civility: Notwithstanding the above, our actions still have effects on others within our community. This is less true on individual project pages, though not insignificant; this is more true on common pages (such as this one); and in the case of central pages such as Community Portal and the Blu Plate Diner, community interests are paramount.
Some of us are refugees from WP, where an atmosphere of masked hostility prevails. Here on BluWiki, we work to maintain a civil, pleasant, unstressful community by avoiding contention for its own sake. Thus, we work together to ensure security for our individual goals.

Still in contention:

  • Business Model: Sam seems to be worry-free here; I'm concerned that as traffic increases, so will costs. There are a number of ways to generate revenue for the site as a whole. At the moment, Sam runs it all out of his own pocket.
  • Namespace Policy: We lack a definite policy for namespace use. Unlike more primitive wikis, BluWiki uses the powerful MediaWiki engine originally developed to drive WP. By default, this engine provides 16 distinct namespaces, 8 of which are talk spaces mapped onto the primary 8. Thus, it is possible for there to be a page Foo, a BluWiki:Foo, a User:Foo, and a Template:Foo (among others), each with its corresponding talk page.
Note that the engine treats certain namespaces in special ways. For instance, pages in templatespace are specifically intended for transclusion; pages in categoryspace index pages that are so categorized. Some namespaces are particularly unsuited for general use, such as imagespace.
At the moment, we do not have any clear policy for namespace use; users are generally permitted to create any page in any namespace, for any purpose. I object to this; my advice is to restrict individual projects to userspace. One advantage of this is that it becomes immediately clear who the project leader is for any given page. Projectspace -- pages such as this one, beginning with BluWiki: -- should be restricted to community affairs. Templates should be suitable for general use. Helpspace should consist only of pages that assist users of the site.
Mainspace -- namespace 0 (on WP, articlespace) is particularly desirable. I am a tutor; it is to my business advantage that Tutor should point to me and me alone. It is not clear that this is especially detrimental to the community at large, but it is certainly better for me and worse for any other tutor who happens to join BluWiki. So long as mainspace is "up for grabs", it is tempting to go ahead and pre-empt every possibly valuable page name. This would be a miniature version of the great domain land rush, in which domains such as http://cd.com were gobbled as fast as entepreneurs could imagine them. At one time, there was a steady business in domain name blackmail -- speculators bought up domain names similar to the trade names of established businesses, such as http://mcdonalds.com, and held them for ransom.
In order to avoid possible contention over valuable page names in mainspace and also to provide a revenue stream, I have suggested that mainspace be auctioned. Run your project in your userspace, no charge. You want to run your project in mainspace, you pay a fee.
Sam is not yet interested in this. I suspect he'll warm to the idea as operation costs increase -- but by that time there may be thousands of pages in mainspace, none of whose authors wish to pay for what they've gotten for free already. We need to set policy now and move existing mainspace pages to userspace before the problem gets out of hand.
  • Vandalism Control: Editors who violate our generally-accepted values are defined as vandals; this may or may not coincide with other wikis' definitions, but we still have problems, notably linkspam. At present, those of us with sysop privs have been reverting this vandalism by hand and blocking offending IPs.
I've noted that this problem has escalated on WP to the extent that it has polluted the entire community's culture; some editors gain considerable respect not by contributing anything of value at all, but merely by undoing the bad works of others. There is essentially no bar to vandalism; anyone can edit and the change is immediate; correction happens only after the fact. A considerable fraction of community energy goes into vandalism control and many other issues become tainted with the same tarbrush.
I think it is entirely reasonable to require all editors to create a BluWiki account and log in before editing. While this may not eliminate all vandalism, it will greatly diminish it. It is also possible to modify the MediaWiki engine so as to detect common forms of vandalism (such as excessive external linking) and automatically block them. Another possible approach is to demand a small payment of every editor. Even a single dollar will discourage spammers who depend on free rides for their mischief.

Note that these values are not completely independent. Requiring editors to log in supports accountability, enhancing respect for the community as a whole and making it easier to determine who created a page and therefore has primary control over it. Selling or auctioning mainspace avoids conflicts over valuable page names, maintaining group harmony; it also supports server operations. Keeping BluWiki profitable makes it much more likely that it will stay running, that it will be adequately maintained, and that Sam has an incentive to do so; thus, a business model also protects our individual projects.

I suggest that we need both to draft a more current statement of What BluWiki Is and to resolve these policy issues to our mutual satisfaction. — "Bear" 03:57, 17 January 2006 (EST)

Questionable Content

At some point, I believe we will have to set some content standards. I'm fairly hostile to any attempt by any government to silence even the most offensive forms of expression, but that does not mean that I permit the neighborhood kids to spray paint anything they like on my garage door. Government censorship is evil; private community and publication standards are reasonable and wise.

I'm not all-knowing. I'm not so arrogant that I would insist on every item in the following list to be banned; but I would like the community as a whole (and our Chef particularly) to consider what we will and will not permit. — "Bear" 05:32, 23 January 2006 (EST)

Potentially undesirable content

Porno
Sexually explicit content may raise legal issues, especially when it veers into pedophilia and bestiality. It is very difficult to draw a line that includes a great deal of sexually explicit content while excluding all that may expose our community to legal hazards. Another concern is that even perfectly legal porno may create an undesirable public image that reflects poorly on all of us. A completely different objection is that porno attracts often overwhelming quantities of traffic, increasing server costs without contributing anything of value to the community.
Hate/Bias
There is a rather large category of content which consists of hateful attacks on groups of people. These groups are often in the minority; but attacks on women (who are in the majority) fall into the same category. These attacks are usually based on perceived or actual differences in gender, race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or native language. Key is that biased attacks are directed against characteristics over which the individual has little or no control, usually determined at birth or during early childhood. Attacks on political parties or social classes may fall outside of this definition. Hate/bias attacks may be forbidden by law; in any case they tend to escalate and draw opponents from the attacked group who, in turn, launch their own biased attacks. Since (unlike political debate) all such conflict is essentially unresolvable and foolish, no benefit can obtain; while the war creates an unpleasant atmosphere for the community as a whole.
Crime
We are not policemen; nor are we lawyers. However, it is not to our mutual benefit to entertain obviously criminal activity. This extends to the gray area of instruction in crime. We expressly do not take responsibility for ensuring that all community members obey the law -- but we should be ready to remove content that clearly serves a criminal object.
Copyvio
Our position on copyright violations must be that we lack the resources or expertise to identify them. Each member of the community is solely responsible for the content he posts or uploads. However, upon notice from any copyright holder, we must remove any copyrighted content. Members should consistently be made aware that all content contributed to BluWiki must be either original or freely licensed.
Rudeness
Overemphasis on form may mask a truly hostile atmosphere; we should not insist on perfunctory courtesy. However, politeness is the fabric that holds a community together in the face of internal and external threats. When we disagree with one another, sometimes passionately, a civil voice is incumbent on every one of us. We should not tolerate consistently hostile people.
Subversion
Here on BluWiki, much moreso than in other communities, we endorse individualism and encourage personal projects. However, we all depend on the community as a whole in order for those individual goals to flourish. Actions that subvert community structures or interfere with server operation must be forbidden. Be aware that many a tyrant has resorted to labeling opposition as a crime against the state. Only truly subversive content or actions can ever be subject to sanction, never criticism.

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