Forum:This site is growing fat

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Moving this over here from the saloon. So, growth. How do we keep things so that people are actually willing to contribute ideas without feeling that they'll drown in a shit storm. Also, what's the limit on these changes? It's a pain if someone just decides to rip out the guts and rewire the site on a whim. Personally I think we should take the same approach we do with content. If it's well intentioned but causing problems then we talk about without banging shoes on desks. I'm up for just trusting that the people with the power to make site-wide changes will know when something is serious enough to consult beforehand. --ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 21:38, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

In my mind the answer is talk, talk, talk. Consider a basic example: if an editor thinks an article should be deleted, he/she leaves a note on the talk page instead of unilaterally deleting it. Then, later on a bunch of sysops and 'crats will discuss it and collectively make a decision. That's the mentality we need to have: we are a community, and we should be cooperative. I trust all of the 'crats to use their powers wisely, but if one of them forgets or ignores this policy then they should be (gently) reminded of it (as opposed to the enormous flame wars and HCM that usually happens). That's my two cents. How we promote this policy is another issue, but talking about it is a step in the right direction. Tetronian you're clueless 22:12, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
The issue with "talk talk talk" is that there are so many users now. Discussions like that go into one of two categories: someone brings up an idea and it recieves no attention, or it gets the attention of everyone, who then proceed to pad out the discussion beyond any reasonable point. Bringing together a collective consensus for issues is very difficult with a group of more than three people. Secondly, when do you know that you've talked enough? I've seen some things get discussed, then sorted and fixed just for someone to gripe that it all happened while they were offline for a couple of hours and weren't consulted! Talk talk talk has got us this far, we need something new. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 22:21, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Voting seems to help. I don't mean binding votes, just votes to help guide the discussion so they they are productive.
Here's another thought: Perhaps we should take inspiration from WP. I'm not sure how they do it over there, but it seems to work. Anyone know anything about how it works on their end? Tetronian you're clueless 22:52, 21 December 2009 (UTC)


This is a minor gripe, flame my ass if you care to, but I need to say it somewhere. I recently did a quick look through user contributions. A lot of people - and I mean prominent editors, many of them with 'crat status/powers - have less than 5% of their edits to the mainspace. This is a wiki. It is essentially an online archive of articles and a good resource. I have, though I do say so myself, contributed a hell of a lot to it too. I feel really, REALLY fucked off that people who have barely even touched the main focus of the site have just as much say in how it runs and operates as I do. The community has grown, but the people actually doing stuff to the main focus of the site has either stagnated or shrunk. Yes, Trent has mentioned this could be due to the fact that most articles that we could cover have been started, but the reasons (even true and legit ones) behind it aren't really the point of this mini rant. The title of this thread is reasonably apt; the site has grown, but it's all fat rather than muscle. I'm not saying "fuck off" to these people, quite the opposite, I'm happy to have people support the place however they want to. But it just feels wrong for what seems like dozens of people piss and moan about serious aspects of site policy when they've never even looked properly at the serious aspects of the site itself. Many apologies, I will return to my "nice and pleasant" self in the New Year. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 22:32, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I see where you are coming from and admit that "I" am some of this fat you mention. I don't think that my voice/opinion carries any more weight though because I am a 'crat and I don't put myself on equal footing with someone like Trent, Human or even yourself Armondikov. Aceof Spades 22:37, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I am most definitely in the "fat" category too. I haven't made a mainspace edit in several days. But what's the big deal? Some of us (a generalization I am making based on my own pattern of edits) like to comment on TWIGO:CP and at the Saloon and make occasional mainspace articles on things that interest us. Is that sort of user really harmful? Let's face it, one of the most popular things about RW is talking about CP. Though we are an encyclopedia, we are also something of a discussion group. Just because you see the site headed in a particular direction that doesn't everyone else sees it the same way.
Side note: being a lowly sysop, I don't put myself on equal footing with any of the 'crats. Tetronian you're clueless 22:50, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
As a 'crat I don't veiw Tetronian as "under" me. Aceof Spades 22:57, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I mean in terms of making decisions. If we are discussing a site issue, the people who are eventually going to finalize the decision would be people like Human, Nx, Trent, ArmondikoV, etc. And you too Ace. Tetronian you're clueless 23:00, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I disagree, I don't think of myself as a site decision maker. I'll voice an opinion for sure and I do make main space edits (I have a couple of large, on mission pages to my name also) but I don't view myself as any sort of authority. Aceof Spades 23:07, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
(EC) I see your point Armondikov, but it's not a clear cut issue. RW as "an online archive of articles" is only half the story, as it's always been a very sociable wiki with a fairly high chatter-to-work ratio. Ideally a good RW editor should be involved in both constructive article work & discussions (even silly ones). However, the serious article editing can take a lot of time & commitment, whereas Saloon Bar discussions are a lot easier & more convivial. I wouldn't assume that people who don't edit the mainspace much aren't really interested in it. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:58, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Secret Squirrel was always my favourite editor. I almost fell over one day when I found him on WIGO CP talk. - π 23:05, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the Weasel. There's more to RW than contributing to mainspace. --ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 17:39, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I feel kind of bad now, didn't really mean to declare anyone individually - my gripes with RW are mostly emergent in nature so literally can't be blamed on individuals. I'm not saying that some activities are more worthwhile than others and never really meant to suggest that - the crap in the Saloon Bar makes this job bearable! It's just that this site is the top rated search on Google for some relatively obscure terms and is the top, and in some cases the only, reference for them. Maybe this is just a bit of a pipe-dream I seem to share with Trent on the subject and it won't really go anywhere. We sort of have a duty, therefore, to embrace the "serious" content just as jovialy as the dicking about - which is why I'm stunned when I confine Recent Changes to the mainspace only and see less than 40 edits a day. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 22:59, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Wrong. RC gives over 50 edits to mainspace today on default settings. Professor Moriarty 23:02, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
And if you subtract "bot like" activity you probably get much less. But that's out of near enough 500 edits a day. So even adjusting for hair-splitting like that, we're talking 10% of all edits to the mainspace? That's pretty pathetic I think for the amount of traffic the site generates and the amount of time, effort and money Trent and others have ploughed into the site to keep it up and running. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:03, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Armondikov, you seem unaware of our 99/1 rule, which states that for each mainspace edit, an editor must make 99 talk page comments, recipe tweaks, random acts of blockage, etc. So people are actually violating the rule by a factor of ten! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:20, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh, is it 99/1? I thought it was 999/1.
But in all seriousness: Maybe we should try to spark interest in mainspace and work through positive feedback rather than the other way around? I think that in terms of the wiki there is really no such thing as a collective mindset, just individuals. People decide individually what they want to get/put into the wiki, and I personally accept that. To put it another way: MC came here and preached to us about our "duty". He got laughed at because we don't view RW in terms of duty (well, I don't, at least). (And no, I am not comparing anyone, least of all Armondikov, to MC. It's just an example.) That's my take on it. Tetronian you're clueless 03:40, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Some comments removed to a trolling subpage

I've never been much of a man for words, I usually like to stay behind the scenes to do my dirty work (categorization, spelling, and the like). Sure, I've written a few articles for the site (probably not the greatest), but I do like to keep the mission in mind, at least the parts I agree with, including all sorts of woo. So please do not make me out to be someone who doesn't care about the mission of the site, as not all of us are as well versed and sometimes get nervous about what we write. I've seen on some mainspace article talk pages some very mean-spirited comments about the grammar posted almost immediately after a page is posted, and how is this supposed to make an editor feel about creating new articles? Constant ridicule from some more prominent editors leaves only those prominent editors to create these articles. That's why a lot of editors stick with WIGO talk pages and the saloon bar IMO. Aboriginal Noise Oh, what a lovely tea party! 04:58, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
MC got laughed at and fed because he was a dick about it. No one really stood up to the actual content of the messages, they all just went "TROLL TROLL TROLL!!" and went crazy over it. The guy had some decent points if he wasn't a total asshat about it, he just offended some sensibilities because he was happy to name names about who else was acting like a douche and why (I'd say that MC was my sock and an attempt and getting some drama-whore attention, but alas, no it wasn't). The mean spirited edits on talk that Aboriginal Noise are another of my pet hates, I'm not going to name and shame about that. I can recall one small stub where the comment was basically "I tried to clean it up, but it's all crap. This user is a moron." And then there's countless cases of "you're a sysop, now fuck off you cunt" and then suddenly it's the new user's fault for not getting one of the more lame-assed in-jokes on the entire wiki even though they've only made five edits to WIGO:CP's talk page. MC brought these points up and people accused him of trolling (yes, he did, of course, troll because he never really did anything constructive with his "criticsm" and didn't exactly present it well). The entire point of being "rational" - as people here should aspire to - is that you can take such criticisms and deal with them, proving that they're not valid or using it to realise you may be wrong, accepting it and changing accordingly. If the wiki as an entity just accuses its critics of trolling and then stubbornly refuses to change itself, then it's just as bad as the supposed "morons" of Conservapedia and ASK and World Net Daily that it loves to laugh at because it's so much better. So I think as a collective we need to raise our game a little, or we are no better than the twats we love to deride on a daily basis. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 01:12, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
These things are best dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If somebody is being a dick, or treating other editors like shit, then call them out on it. The problem with MC-style sweeping criticisms of attitudes across the whole wiki is that they just piss off everybody while offering no specific suggestion for improvement. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:43, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Some more comments removed to a trolling subpage

It's beginning to look a lot like CensorMas... :) ħumanUser talk:Human 22:29, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

ArmondikoV has a sort of point.[edit]

ArmondikoV has a sort of point as there is a lot of stuff going on which has nothing whatsoever to do with the mission. But it's really always been like that. The site really belongs to the users, and the users take it where the majority of them will. I will confess that it doesn't seem to going particularly quickly in the direction of the mission statements at the moment though.

For some people laughing at CP is the main focus, but I can't remember the last time I read a CP WIGO. For others, lounging around in the bar, getting drunk and chatting seems to be the main focus. And for a few furthering the articles is a main focus.

Are some of these activities more desirable than others? I suppose it depends on your view of the site. Personally I'd like to see more stuff on articles but others will have different ideas. While I'm on that point I very much doubt that we've got anywhere near covering all the possible antiscience, pseudoscience and magical thinking which is out there on the web.

As to whether more productive or on-mission editors should have a greater say, that's a tough one. Perhaps. Or perhaps people who contribute more money should have a greater say. Or perhaps people who have been around longest. You could make a divisive case for all of these - so it's probably best to leave it alone. On votes: I'd go for votes for anything contentious and leave the votes up for 48 hours with a note on the intercom and take a simple majority. But I'd only count votes from editors who have never been banned for trolling and who have been around for more than two months.

Sorry for the stream-of-consciousness post.--BobBring back the hat! 19:11, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

More productive editors do have more say (unofficially). What we have is "authority though excellence." People like Human, Nx, etc., are more respected and their opinions are more valued. As to "Are some of these activities more desirable than others?" No, I don't think so. RW is what we make it. Tetronian you're clueless 19:26, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
This is true. I'm what he might term as a "fat crat", and I'm not listened to at all regarding site policy. not really smart enough to contribute the way intelligent folks like Pi, Human, Tmtolouse and so forth, so 'crat or no 'crat, I'm not what you'd call a big wheel. --Kels (talk) 19:35, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
See my comments in the section above Kels. I am in agreement. Aceof Spades 19:40, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
You did step in earlier to get a vote going to resolve Santahatlogogate. That was a pretty decent contribution. --ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 19:38, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Dunno 'bout anyone else but I get a kick out of starting something likethis & getting some considered feedback from people. bIt increases my knowledge at least. Who knows but that something similar couldn't end up leading to a mainspace article. I am eating Toast& honeychat 23:22, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Voting; is it possible?[edit]

You can have countdown timers, can't you? It's just a thought, but a vote template that counts down from 48 hours. Then when it runs out, we can say "look, people had their chance, that's it". But it would require someone to talk the responsibilty of taking action when it runs out and is decided. Previously I think the general mulling about and not getting things done is because people weren't confident that it was the consensus and something had to be done (or it's the bystander effect, I know I've felt it every now and then).

But this doesn't solve the issue of what needs voting. Do we need to vote every time Nx gives the CSS file a tweak or Trent installs something new on the server? No. Do we need a formal vote to delete articles? No. Do we vote on changing the site's policy from mobocracy to town hall democracy... well, yes, but how do you vote in a mobocracy? How can you have a vote in a system where brute intimidation by a minority can viably overthrow a majority opinion because the majority haven't had time to organise (as we saw with Christmaslogogate recently)? Scarlet A.pnggnostic 22:51, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Brief answer: No. We have a rich tradition of sockpuppetry here and we don't use checkuser, therefore there's no way to enforce "one troll, one vote". More to the point, it's the arguments people make that matter more than an absolute up/down vote that usually builds what might be called consensus. Also, I think, referring to the details question, that changing the site logo does require discussion aforehand. If an image that appears on every single page of the wiki can be changed arbitrarily, what can't be? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:25, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
As I touched on above, voting is useful because it encourages and prompts discussion, not because it is an effective tool to decide things directly. As we saw with the "Christmaslogogate", it eventually came down to the discussion and consensus. Although the unilateral stuff beforehand is regrettable, once we got organized we were able to come to a conclusion. Tetronian you're clueless 03:33, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Ironically (did I use that word correctly?) the "conclusion" was opposite to the "vote". ħumanUser talk:Human 04:08, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
That is ironic but it actually proves the point I was making. Oh shit, Danth's Law! Tetronian you're clueless 04:11, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Proposals of elaborate voting procedures seem to crop up every time we have this kind of discussion. I find it rather baffling, as it's not clear quite what problem this is supposed to resolve. Voting is OK for when it's needed, but shouldn't be excessively formalised or promoted. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:20, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
The problem is - and we shall have this point rammed home many times before New Year, I'm sure - that the site now has too many people who will want to weigh in on a subject. If we keep going as things are, then the machine will just grind to a halt. So we either need to elect or appoint people to make decisions, figure out a more effective way of voting and representation or just plough on as it is and hope for the best. Thousands upon thousands of forums and websites make changes without discussing things at length with end users first, what is happening here is very much an exception to what normally happens and works fine elsewhere. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:55, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
But our "end users" are now sysops, thanks to RA's program of being confused by red exclamation points. Also, you spelled "plow" wrong. Die, heretic! ħumanUser talk:Human 04:36, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm never going to live that down, am I? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 09:54, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
I would point out that if we "elect or appoint people to make decisions" that would probably imply a vote. It would also imply that we would need to clearly specify the authority and responsibility of these persons - which rather implies a series of votes. We would also need to decide things like term of office. Somewhat ironically, I foresee much Rationalwiki debate and voting in the future of this idea.--BobBring back the hat! 18:10, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
It would be a massive change if we did do that, so yes, there will be much debate, voting, whining etc. etc. etc. etc. Or we can switch to an Ankh-Morpork style tyrrany. I imagine Trent or Nx would like to have a shot at being Lord Vetinari! Scarlet A.pnggnostic 23:22, 27 December 2009 (UTC)