Essay:A targeted set of reforms for RationalWiki, May 2011

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Rather than propose an entire new Constitution, which I believe is overkill, I'd like to offer up a few specific reforms for the wiki to consider. I believe that these will do a great deal in making RationalWiki a better place: more enjoyable, for one. I'm not trying to make the wiki more bureaucratic, or repressive, or generally worse than it has been, so let me be clear: these reforms, I believe, will help the wiki and its community. These reforms entail the creation of a user rights policy and a dispute moderation policy, both of which build upon current structure rather than starting anew.

In the sense that this is a radical re-imagining of user rights policy, you should demand to know why such large changes will be a significant improvement over our current system. And it is true that 80% of the time, the current system has served RW well (at least in the three years I've been here). But for that other 20% (PIDOOMA, of course, but this is a rhetorical device), our policies have caused considerable HCM, whingeing, and bickering. HCM tends to hard on the chickens, and as many have pointed out, a user rights restructure in this style may be incredibly ameliorating in that regard.

The changes[edit]

  • The number of bureaucrats will be reduced to seven.
  • Bureaucrats will moderate Chicken Coop disputes and if necessary vote among themselves to determine guilt and/or penalties.
  • Bureaucrats will enforce the Community Standards. If there is a dispute among them, they will vote among themselves to determine proper applicability.
  • Bureaucrats will be elected every six months from the sysop corps, using the same procedure as we have generally used to elect the Loya Jirga.
  • Users must request sysopship and will be awarded it based upon merit as decided by a bureaucrat. If there is a dispute... etc.
  • Sysops also enforce the Community Standards, but must defer to a bureaucrat if there is a conflict between the two.


  • The first seven bureaucrats will be elected from among the current bureaucrat corps.
  • Everyone else will lose their rights.
  • The first bureaucrats will demote about 30 former bureaucrats and sysops to sysop.
  • The Loya Jirga is consigned to wiki-history.