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Re: Wikipedia decision making (was Re: [ox-en] Re: Business opportuities based on Free Software)

hi Christian,

However, when changing their processes, the Wikipedia community strives for
(reasonable) consensus (as described here: ), and not, as you seem to
think, for majority. "Straw polls"
[] _are_ used in the
pedia community for example for deciding on new admins and for deciding
whether articles should be deleted, but they work more for exchange of
arguments (votes have to be based on argument or they will be ignored) than
just for reaching a simple 50% majority vote.

thx for your thoughts and informative links. ill take a look at the sources. the consensus policy is quite interesting.

there are certainly many things one can object and this is of course essential to get a different and objective perspective on things. in that sense....

Online communities such as Wikipedia would not work by simple majority
voting because of problems such as "sock puppets" (additional accounts
created by the same user) or edits just for the sake of being able to vote.

about the "sock puppets", one could also discuss that membership duration is an important criteria (in addition to the amount of edits).

Also, occasional contributors not (yet) allowed to vote would feel left out.

about occasional contributors, Per said he didnt care for instance. of course, some might feel so, but i dont think that those people who contribute only once in a while would go so far and really take steps to be heard. on the positive side, one can also argue that it would give the active contributors even more incentive to invest their time and knowledge into wikipedia because they get some kind of reward for it (the right to participate in the decision making process)

Also, consensus instead of democracy reduces the risk of forks -- it
wouldn't be great to adding ads after a 60% majority decision and then
having many of the 40% who are against ads going away to start their own
ad-free Wikipedia clone (and of course that is exactly what would happen).

regarding the fork, i agree that this is counterproductive. you mention a 60/40 ratio as a - possible - scenario. but who knows unless people have been asked? perhaps its 80 (against) and 20 (for) or the other way around. such a poll could be very informal but it should be open and honest (what the money can be used for; its benefits and disadvantages). just to get an idea what active contributors think on the advertising and what 300 million can do for wikipedia or someone else (perhaps not pet stores). of course, one could also do a (small scale) test phase of say one or two years. hardly likely that there would be a fork in such time limited circumstances.

after that testing one could re-assess and see what people think and whether it has had a noticeable impact on the growth/usage rate. while some might be turned away, there is money available to promote wikipedia. sounds like a business? well, money is necessary and thus far its the people who contribute are asked to donate as well. why not even asking them what they think about an alternative funding model? this decision is taken over their heads.
Contact: projekt

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