The BARC RfC proved that the cabal runs Wikipedia, not the community.

Editors, Admins and Bureaucrats Oh my!
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The BARC RfC proved that the cabal runs Wikipedia, not the community.

Post by Abd » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:50 pm

I had never seen this before I saw mention on Wikipediocracy, looking for something completely different, which did not provide a link, and I looked for but did not find it. But then JuiceBeetle posted a link on the Wiki TreeHouse Discord Server (invitation) and here it is in all its glory: Wikipedia:Administrators/RfC for BARC - a community desysopping proces

So what does "consensus" mean in Wikipedia? I have many comments to make based on what is on that page. For a start:

Creating a task for a body of users who don't want it. Brilliant! See the analysis by category of user. (Which I've never seen done before. Don't like what is being shown? Create an analysis that makes it look bad!) Yet it is clear that the community wanted something and also clear that the bureaucrats did not want it. Not a surprise. Bureaucrats are administrators! (It would actually make sense to prohibit that! But Wikipedia structure was not designed to make sense, when it comes to what actually works in organizations or governments.

However, really, only four 'crats voted in the RfC, 1 supported and 3 opposed. Administrators were close to even, and 3 Arbs commented, 2:1 opposed. RfCs only attract a very small percentage of the community, and that is part of the structural problem. But even with 'crats, there were 33. Wikipedia decision-making process has always been broken, as long as I've been aware of it. It sorta works in some contexts, and miserably fails in others.

The close was accepted, apparently. The closer was not an admin. However, closing an RfC like that without creating an alternative path that would address the concerns mentioned was unskillful and was any process created, for example, the creation of a committee to study the proposal and find a better formulation?

In general a major failure of wikipedia process is the lack of systems for formulating questions, and for closing debate before actually voting. Instead there is a proposal, no requirement for a second, and voting begins immediately, which is something that every normal organization, with informed participants, that meets in person, rejected long ago.

Then, if seconded, amendments may be proposed and there will be a discussion of the amendment. No discussion stops until there is a 2/3 vote that the assembly is ready to vote! So if something can be made better, the assembly will make it so -- by majority vote after a 2/3 vote (called "cloture" or "previous question") So then, after a successful motion to close, there is actual voting. Nothing before that is a vote, except for votes on amendments.

It is incredibly naive, causes a vast waste of time, all so that a decision can be made more quickly ("wiki"). Core, though, to functional deliberative process is defined membership and, as well quorum rules, etc. It is possible to have a very small quorum if it is still large enough to be a decent sample of the community.

Originally Wikipedia was started as a membership organization, and it had members, who actually paid dues, if I'm correct. And that was shut down without approval by the members, again AFAIK. But they did not seriously object, not enough to actually accomplish a change. This RfC, though, is the most obvious example I have seen of the process riding roughshod over the actual community of editors. Not to mention the community of readers and supporters of the project.

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