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Wikipedia introduces new rules to fight “toxic” behavior

If anything, "toxicity" is the least of Wikipedia's problems.

If you ask Wikipedia what Wikipedia is, it will tell you that it’s “a multilingual online encyclopedia created and maintained as an open collaboration project.”

If you ask the BBC though – Wikipedia is a social media site on the internet run by the Wikimedia Foundation, where “some volunteers” (who probably prefer to think of themselves as Wikipedia editors, rather than “volunteers” to some company) have apparently been behaving badly, prompting the “ruling party,” i.e., the Wikimedia Foundation, to come up with new rules to make them toe its line.

The problem cited here is “toxic behavior” targeting some very distinct issues that are these days being randomly but consistently bandied together in a certain type of media as “women and members of the LGBTQ community” – allegedly complaining in unison of “abuse and harassment from other (Wikipedia) editors.”

And to be clear, this is the kind of “harassment” the report describes: “After one volunteer adds to a page, another volunteer will remove or change that work moments later, forcing the first editor to redo their work and leading to editing battles.”

So – it’s literally just how Wikipedia works, and has always worked. Maybe we should just “cancel” Wikipedia right now if that type of open collaborative project is no longer sustainable in the current climate – instead of coming up with some vague and likely unenforceable rules?

But the Foundation decided to try its luck with the latter option, preparing to implement a code that will allow it to ban access to editors (“volunteers”) who break it, while there will also be “a review process for the decisions if volunteers feel more context is needed.”

The code will come to us in two phases – the first being all about “setting policies for in-person and virtual events,” to be ratified by the Foundation by August 30.

And then, there will be a second phase “outlining enforcement when the rules are broken” which should be approved by the end of the year.

“Wikimedia board of trustees said maintaining civility was a core value,” the BBC writes, citing the Foundation.

That might seem like a puzzling statement, coming from a supervising body of an “encyclopedia” – whose core value by its very nature surely must be to index and present factual information, matter-of-factly and truthfully?

Or alternatively, to finally drop the “encyclopedia” mask and start marketing Wikipedia for what it really is – just another social network that happens to rely on huge amounts of crowdsourced data that is then present as something reliable and unbiased.

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