By Mila and friends
Recently, an experienced and prominent Wikipedian, who goes by the user name Demiurge1000, was banned by the Wikimedia Foundation Legal team from ever again working on Wikipedia or any of its related sites. Philippe Beaudette, Director of Community Advocacy for the Wikimedia Foundation, provides a good perspective on how big of a deal such global bans are: “the number of times that the WMF has moved to ban someone from our community like this can probably be counted on one hand.” And he’s right: for more than a decade since Wikipedia was created, there have as far as we know only been four such bans.
The WMF has been very tight-lipped on the reason for the ban, but there are a few bits and pieces that could be used to figure out what was
…continue reading Guilty?
By Peter Damian
The so-called Precautionary Principle is a fundamental tenet of risk management. The Principle says that if the impact of an event is suitably high, then the default position, the burden of proof, is on those who wish to show the risk of the event is suitably low. A well-known example: there is some uncertainty about whether there will be a catastrophic result of global warming. Global warming is a fact – CO2 emission is causing the planet to heat up. But we don’t know how much it is going to heat up, given the wide range of future predicted temperatures. However, the impact of it heating up, at the upper bound of current estimates, is clearly catastrophic. Therefore take suitable precautions.
Adults and children
Earlier, I posted about a problem Wikipedia editor who we called ‘Dennis’. That’s not his real name. Nor is his
…continue reading ASSUME BAD FAITH
By Peter Damian
Retaliatory treatment of whistleblowers nearly always attracts public interest. The recent sacking of a Ryanair pilot, for “gross misconduct” after speaking out on a TV documentary about safety fears, was widely covered in the press. Stories about the climate of fear surrounding the exposure of child predators in the BBC and in the Roman Catholic church have been extensively covered in the mainstream media. The plight of Mike McQueary, who was made a scapegoat after his allegations of child sexual abuse at Penn State University, made headlines across the United States. Whistleblowing is big news. And rightly so – if people are afraid to expose evil, evil will flourish.
Yet there has been no press coverage about the punishment last week of a whistleblower in the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. Last week, a long-serving editor who we will call “Keith”, who had made hundreds of contributions to articles about set theory, mathematics and
…continue reading Wikipedia punishes child safety whistleblower