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The Duck Test

By Hersch

Duck What is the point of having The Encylopedia That Not Just Anyone Can Edit? Well, to make money, of course, somewhere down the line. But for the Wikipedians who toil day in and day out, with no hope of remuneration, there is another kind of reward: the satisfaction of knowing that one’s personal set of prejudices, or what is known at Wikipedia as one’s Point of View (POV), has become the dominant one on a given set of articles. Once an editor has ascended high enough in the pecking order, becoming one of Wikipedia’s leading peckers, he or she may hope to have his or her prejudices incorporated into the “House POV,” where they will be enshrined informally in Wikipedia Policy and protected against all outsiders.

How does one define the “House POV”? Well, it’s like porn. As U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart famously said, hard-core pornography is hard to define, “but I know it when I see it.” But how does one defend it against interlopers? Initially it was not easy, but as Wikipedia has evolved and matured over the years, the means of defense have been perfected in the “Duck Test.”

Because Wikipedians edit using pseudonymous screen names and therefore have no legal responsibility for what they write, sockpuppetry becomes an issue. Does Wikipedia oppose the practice of sockpuppetry? That depends, as usual, on who is doing it. Plus, it is difficult to detect, and difficult to prove. In fact, because of the way Wikipedia is structured, it is difficult to prove that any given editor is not a sock. But don’t take my word for it:

Do not make an unblock request that includes

…continue reading The Duck Test