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Wil Sinclair

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offwiki.org is now on.

A few weeks ago, I got very real with some Wikipediocrats on my talk page:

Now I’m asking you, why don’t you stop whining for once and show people you can actually do better? On-wiki or off-, Obi-Wan certainly isn’t the first to question your self-righteous assertions on how to build an online encyclopedia better than Wikipedia. I, for one, have been wondering for a while now.

Let me be the first to point out that Obi-Wan gave them more credit than I have in the quote above. I’m not paraphrasing Obi-Wan, as much as using the assertion that the doxxing and negativity mask the insight of their ideas as a jumping point for a ridiculously inflammatory stunt designed to taunt any dedicated Wikipediocrat within sight.


I’m talking Evel-Knievel ridiculous.evel


But my little stunt didn’t come off as planned. First off, not enough Wikipediocrats got annoyed. Secondly, and more relevantly, the challenge backfired; it began to taunt me. Every comment I proofread would be read back to me in a high-pitched, nasally voice coming from somewhere in the back of my head. With unbearable hypocrisy I implied that no Wikipediocrat had ever done anything to improve Wikipedia while I somehow had. It’s plain to see how wrong I am. Many Wikipediocrats work tirelessly- and, in most cases, thanklessly- to improve Wikipedia with insightful criticism. In fact, when Wikipedia misses abuses in its own system, Wikipediocracy picks up the slack. To bring it all back home, the Wikipediocrats have done a lot to improve Wikipedia, and they have done it so well that there isn’t much more I can do on this front; the Wikipediocrats have cornered the Wikipedia criticism market.


Meanwhile, other problems were nagging me. For example, I had compiled this excellent list of solutions  from a thread on Wikipediocracy and added them to my talk page so that Wikipedians of all stripes could comment on them. There were some great discussions, yet the many of the same people who made the suggestions in the first place were- rightly or wrongly- blocked or banned from Wikipedia. Also, a lot of the suggestions dealt with governance issues and simply couldn’t be tried on-wiki in the current wikipolitical atmosphere.


Most of you probably see where this is going, but I needed it all spelled out for me. There is a vast dialectical no man’s land that neither Wikipedia nor Wikipediocracy can fill. In fact, they have created it through mutual hostilities. This is what I can contribute! A neutral zone in Wiki War II. It clearly needs to be demilitarized. Sharp tongues should be checked at the door. And it needed to be a safe place: no bullying,  doxxing, talking shit, or ganging up on other members. If you have the impression that I’m just talking about Wikipediocracy here, guess again. I’d say if they do a lot more of it per capita, at least they do it openly.


Short story long, I needed to start a wiki. So I did:




Any body can participate on offwiki.org as long as they follow a few simple rules. It’s an experiment in wiki governance. It welcomes content that has been created with alternative methods to Wikipedia’s, but it isn’t a fork, and it doesn’t aspire to be a Wikipedia alternative. It’s just a place to talk about stuff and try out some of it. If you’d like to join the party, we’re (right now that’s the royal we) holding a constitutional convention to define a fair and just system of governance to add to a Constitution. We call these people “flounders”. Are you interested in being a flounder, too?


Hope to see all of you there.





Filed under: Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Wikipediocracy Tagged: Wikipedia, Wikipediocracy

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More Stories By Wil Sinclair

Wil Sinclair works on technologies that facilitate and encourage cloud adoption in the PHP community. His Simple Cloud API enables “cloud native” applications that can be deployed on all major clouds. He brings 10 years of experience in the software industry at companies from the smallest of startups to large multinationals such as Oracle and Amazon. Most recently he served as project lead on the leading PHP framework: Zend Framework.