Wikipedia decision making
Today, it was announced that Wikipedia is restricting article creation to registered users only. Many might choose to argue one position or the other on this issue. I happen to not feel strongly either way. However, I find the process by which it was decided to be questionable.
A week after being contacted by John Seigenthaler Sr. about an inaccurate article, Jimmy Wales (the founder of Wikipedia) made the change to an official built-in policy of Wikipedia. He logged on to the Wikipedia chat to discuss the change, but it is clear that this was not required prior to making his decision.
a multi-lingual Web-based free-content encyclopedia. It is written collaboratively by volunteers, allowing articles to be changed by anyone with an internet connection and added by anyone with a Wikipedia member account.
Because of its very nature, it is clear that Wikipedia should not be considered to be owned or controlled by one man alone. Yet this is exactly how some high-level decisions are made.
Of course, this situation would be different if elections were held for every position. Currently, only two of the five members of the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation (the parent organization of Wikipedia) are elected. Jimmy Wales is on the board, but also has additional arbitrary powers over the direction of Wikipedia.
A rudimentary search turned up no substantial results with discussion about the decision making processes and leadership of Wikipedia. This discussion must take place. If it does not take place now, the possibility exists that our community will devolve into something which few of us find acceptable.
Essentially, what is needed is an official handing over of the community to the community. The new structure should also be decided upon by the community. Wikipedia should not continue to run with arbitrary processes governing its decision making. Jimmy Wales may be a “benevolent dictator”, but we cannot rely on his or his successors’ benevolence indefinitely.
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