Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Oh yeah -- some Wikipedia policy changes were reverted

It might seem odd to some, but the merging of the policies known as Verifiability, No Original Research and Reliable Sources into Attribution -- and Jimbo's reversion of that merge didn't actually register with me. Yes, partly because I had something else on my mind, but mostly because no matter which way this thing goes, it won't affect me, just another Wikipedian, as much as some might think.

The reason is simple: I don't pay that close of attention to how these things shake out. I follow my common sense, the intent of these policies (which isn't going to change in a meaningful way) and my experience for how things have been done on Wikipedia, and that works in most situations. I'd like to say that when it doesn't, assuming good faith towards my fellow Wikipedians fixes the problem -- but too often I lose my temper, so that really isn't my solution. This doesn't mean I'm a passionate advocate of Ignore all rules; the rules and processes are there to make things more predictable. I just try to follow the Latin dictum: Rem tene, uerbe sequentur -- "Hold to the idea, and the actions will follow."

And besides, the rules and policies can be changed with a simple series of keyboard and mouse clicks at any time. I'd rather say that I was not following a policy to the letter because of ignorance -- not because I intentionally decided to "Ignore all rules." People who insist on enforcing policies that closely quickly leave Wikipedia.

Nor do I mean to imply that I ignored that project. I looked in at the beginning, saw that it was in the hands of a capable Wikipedian, Slim Virgin, and decided to focus my attention on something more interesting. Also, I have an admitted interest in the "Original Research" policy, and figured that I'd just encounter something that I didn't like and lose my temper over its -- which would not benefit me or anyone else. And lastly, the exact wording of policies are important only to two classes of people: newbies, who are learning the rules; and troublemakers, who are looking for ways to twist the language around in order to create mischief.

I should hope by now that I know how things work on Wikipedia; if I haven't, then I have more problems than this piece of policy.


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