Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The end of Erik Möller (and of the mailing lists?)

I don't read danny wool's blog anymore. But nobody else is talking about an incredibly troubling image and some correspondingly troubling writing posted by wikimedia foundation bigwig Erik Möller.

By nobody, I mean nobody. Moller is one of the most powerful people in the foundation (or was, until this happened), but there's been no mention of this whatsoever on the very busy mailing lists -- total, deafening silence. Impossible silence, actually.

Say it with me: "When you censor discussion forums, people stop using them." This is not China; there are other outlets. (In this case, traffic flows to Danny Wool, which is probably not what the list moderator intended.)

(Update: apparently the Foundation list is not being moderated. Color me surprised.)

This whole episode makes me sick at heart about many things, including the foundation's ability to choose good leadership. I think I'm going to take a short wikivacation.

16 comments:

GerardM said...

Hoi,
With so many make believe dramas in the past, it is likely that the majority of people consider sources like the valley wag and Mr Wool with contempt.

It is easy to say that mailing lists are censored.. I think that it is more likely that people just do not care / do not consider it worth much consideration.
Thanks,
GerardM

Brion said...

Just a quick note -- foundation-l is *not moderated* at this time.

Currently just one list member is marked for automatic moderation holds based on past behavior (and no, it's not Danny).

List-wide moderation is only switched on occasionally during highly contentious threads as a speed bump to give everyone a chance to contribute thoughtfully, and this is publicly announced when it happens.

(If we had a better automatic speed bump system, we wouldn't even use this limited moderation.)

llywrch said...

I think Gerard is being disingenuous here. All one needs to do is look at the comments to the two posts on Danny's blog to see that there are people who care about the issue. Perhaps they aren't the majority of Wiki[p|m]edians; but the people subscribed or reading the mailing lists aren't either.

One point that this incident exemplifies, yet no one has bothered to make, is that surprises like this -- Moeller's alleged pedaphilliac tendencies -- is due to the distributed nature of the Internet & Wikipedia especially: we think we know each other better than we actually do.

If that statement is too abstract (I admit that I have a bad habit of thinking too much in the abstract), think of it this way. Let's say you've been an active participant on Wikipedia for a few years. Over that time, you've gained familiarity with a number of other participants, & come to trust some because you have studied their work & maybe exchanged messages with them: you believe you know them. However, do you know them as well as if you had met with them one night each week for the same amount of time? Or worked with them for as long? Or had gone to school together as long?

Although it is clear if one is presented with the problem this way that the answer is no, on Wikipedia we confuse these quantities (& qualities) of knowing & often make the mistake of believing we know someone online better than we actually do. We've had several examples of this mistake prior to this one, & I fear that more await discovery.

The solution? To quote a line from one of my favorite tv shows, "Let's be careful out there, people." Or to put it in Wikipedia-speak, Ignore all rules does not mean we can be careless in our actions.

Geoff

Anonymous said...

@Brion - are you aware of the concept of a 'chilling effect'? The spectre of moderation - since censorship of politically inconvenient discourse (e.g. Wikimania Egypt critics) has taken place in the past - can be just as effective a form of censorship as its actual use.

--Random832

Jon Awbrey said...

You mean no one else but The Chopped Liver Review, Dontchew?

Brion said...

@Random832 -- perhaps you didn't see the thousands upon thousands of scathingly critical emails about Wikimania in Egypt that I did on foundation-l. :) If that's a chilling effect, it'd take a full-blown ice age to do what's claimed.

Arvind Narayanan said...
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Ben Yates said...
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Anonymous said...
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Dan said...

It's a bit odd (and perhaps ironic) that the comments to a post dealing with alleged mailing list censorship contain three consecutive deleted comments. What is the blog administrator censoring here?

Anonymous said...

The problem here is that Wikipedia management are promoting pedophilia on Wikipedia. If the Board and Staff at the Wikipedia foundation are cool with that, maybe it's time to talk to the funders who might not be so understanding.

I too am taking a break from Wikipedia, and I'm going from being a semi-frequent editor of obscure transportation entries to being the guy who shows up at the PTA meetings and urges parents and teachers to block Wikipedia.

Wikipedia management has let pedophiles and pornographers take over the site in the name of free speech. Sorry, I can't support that. I've got kids. And I don't want them anywhere near a company that supports the promotion of pedophilia.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

So, as of late, is there no official statement concerning the situation by the leadership? Or are they hoping that this will all blow over on its own?

That might not be so likely considering the "pedophilia scare" that is spreading across the country, especially after all those recent incidents between teachers and students.

Ben Yates said...

Let's get our terminology right. Incidents between teachers and teenage students are unethical and probably harmful to the teenagers, but are not pedophilia (and not morally similar to it) and are not what eric seems to have been defending.

blamlam7 said...

i really enjoy

thank you

دردشة | شات | منتديات | منتدى | شات حبيبي | دردشة حبيبي | منتديات حبيبي | منتدى حبيبي | حبيبي

blamlam7 said...

i really enjoy

thank you

دردشة | شات | منتديات | منتدى | شات حبيبي | دردشة حبيبي | منتديات حبيبي | منتدى حبيبي | حبيبي