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My Sandbox for work on the Ethics Project[edit]

I'm working away here to try and collect my thoughts, as well as allow some space for discussion before moving into project space when it feels right (in a week, a month, or whenever!) - please do feel free to create sub-pages, or comment on the discussion page - or edit anything at all except the 1st person stuff :-) thanks for coming and taking a look :-) Privatemusings 03:42, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

My perspective in an IRC nutshell[edit]

being an excerpt from another misspent hour on IRC :-)

<privatemusings> I bang on all the time about the tensions between rules and principles...

<privatemusings> with 'rules' being analogous to wiki policies

<privatemusings> I've seen many people write about how important it is to understand the various policies....

<privatemusings> but I don't think it is at all!

<privatemusings> It's far (far) more important to understand the principles behind them - and I see the 'ethics' project as examining and discussing those tensions, and seeking out 'better practice' where poss.....

<privatemusings> (in fact I'm gonna copy this little rant into my sandbox :-) )


Amongst some friends, we have a shorthand saying 'UDA' - by which we mean 'usual disclaimer applies' (it applies to everything). 'UDA' can be shortened to "I'm an idiot", but here's a slightly longer 'Usual Disclaimer', and some guidelines;

Usual Disclaimer[edit]

I have great faith in wiki editors as a group of people - and sincerely believe that in almost all cases, people act in the best of faith, and do what they think is 'right'. People give and take many different things from their wiki experience, but we're all here as humans, and as volunteers, and as such we deserve respect. The project also deserves respect, and respect does not preclude criticism, though demands courtesy. I enjoy sharing, and intend to share, my ideas and thoughts about a wide range of wiki related stuff, but that's all they are really... words on a screen.. one chap's thoughts - pull up a chair if you'd like to talk about it....


  • I will not publish or forward emails, or private chat logs anywhere, ever.
  • I will not share information submitted in confidence to me with anyone, ever.
  • I will remain open to discussion at all times, and I'm happy to pause any course of action whatsoever pending discussion - just ask.

Embryonic Resources[edit]

CoI / Outing tension[edit]

pseudonymous identities are regularly discussed in some contexts....


I wrote some of these up ages ago and called some of them 'unanswerable questions' - mileage varies on whether or not I'm right ;-)

  • Is it within policy to discuss the real name of a pseudonymous editor?
  • Is policy prescriptive or descriptive?
  • Is Wikimedia doing as much as it should to prevent defamation?

email and ethics[edit]

/me gets all wanna-be Socratic...

  • Should email be private?
  • Does that mean one shouldn't forward it without permission?
  • Is it ethical to forward email to arbcom?

Stuff 'on my radar' as possibly relevant to an 'ethics' project[edit]

  • Discussions of competence - how to assess competence (ie. editor competence, admin competence etc.) ethically and responsibly - including analysis of systemic competencies (eg. Dispute resolution, OTRS etc.)
  • 'Vested Contributors' and 'Outsiders' - inherent dangers therein
  • Authority and the Wiki - the effect (and effectiveness) of blocks, bans, 'power' (trump cards)
  • BLP Issues
  • Moral / Ethical obligations of editors?
  • Moral / Ethical obligations of admin.s?
  • Moral / Ethical obligations of the 'wiki' as a whole (Wikipedia, Wikimedia etc.)
  • Wikipedia as Cult - how effectively do we prevent 'thought crime' etc. from existing?
  • Community Health in the big picture
  • is wiki actually just dead set bad for many?
  • Guidelines for the young re : editing time etc. ?
  • Culture Clashes? - pornography, profanity, etc.
  • Conflation of dissent / disruption - does it happen?
  • Disruption and ethics - do 'rights and wrongs' matter in dealing with disruption?

Pages / resources[edit]