User:Bicycle Wheel/RationalWikiWiki S
- 1 Saloon bar
- 2 Saloon bar putsch
- 3 Samwell Incident
- 4 Sanity Block
- 5 Social dynamics
- 5.1 The Casual user
- 5.2 The Chill-the-fuck-outer
- 5.3 The Jimbo
- 5.4 The Lurker
- 5.5 The Moderator (not to be confused with the elected position)
- 5.6 The Newbie
- 5.7 The Oddball
- 5.8 The Old Guard
- 5.9 The Other
- 5.10 The Outsider
- 5.11 The Statist
- 5.12 The Regulars
- 5.13 The Troll
- 5.14 The Wannabe
- 5.15 The Radical
- 6 Special Discussion Group
- 7 Sysoprevoke
RationalWiki's Saloon bar was founded by Genghis Khant on 10 January, 2009, as "a place for general chit-chat about virtually anything that doesn't (or shouldn't) fit in on the CP:WIGO_talk page or Rationalwiki Main_Page_talk, similar to WP's Village Pump". (Its talk page was subsequently renamed as "The back alley".) The Saloon bar has now effectively replaced WIGO talk page for the role of the wiki's social hub. It is also a general area for discussion, threads often being moved into the bar from other pages, or moved out of the bar into debate pages.
Saloon bar putsch
May 15, 2011 started just like many others. Old ladies went to church. The man down the road mowed the lawn, and RationalWikians polished their goats and walked their jerboas. A rusty-spotted cat sunned itself in the square. But little did these innocents know that this, the fourth anniversary of the Night of the Blunt Knives would bring bloodletting on a scale unheard of in the annals of RW history. Armondikov, in league with the mysterious Nx, removed bureaucrat and sysop rights from everybody.
The Saloon Bar Putsch had its origins in the aftermath of the Trial of Human, a massive dispute which triggered widespread discussion about many fundamental policies of RW. The discussion spread across countless pages and forums, and earned the RationalWikiWiki ranking "HCM Zero," a previously unheard-of level. Immediately precipitating the mass-user-rights removal was an argument over Blue's proposal to have seven bureaucrats who are elected biannually.
After the dust had cleared, and the desysops were complete. Nx raised himself up to be crat, and then passed it on to Pi with the instructions that he were to take over now. Pi then sysoped a few people who were relatively active at the time in order to ensure that a vandal attack could still be thwarted. Pi later passed the lone cratship to Psygremlin and left for sleep, while Psygremlin relatively quickly thrust the power upon Totnesmartin after a joke block. Totnesmartin then held the cratship sysoping only a handful of people, before removing all cratships and then his own under advice from Tmtoulouse. Trent then set about making sure that sysops could make more sysops, but could not demote anyone, to prevent any wheel wars.
However, Eira, being the pedantic bitch she is, proceeded to loudly complain that nothing was solved, and an HCM could totally be forced even after this "fix" of removing all crats. So, she made a sysop out of the well-known troll MarcusCicero, and proceeded to get into a block war with MC, and later Trent using poor innocent RobSmith as a tetherball. All the while complaining that since there was no dispute resolution protocol, they weren't allowed to undo her block. Lo, and it was seen that the database was again torn open, and the Hand of GoatThe Goat Be Praised removed her sysopship for being a totally lame troll. Thus ended the HCM within an HCM, allowing Eira to prove that indeed, she was right, nothing was really fixed yet, and the mob was still in charge.
- Main article: Moderators
After some normalcy had crept back to the wiki, Blue was granted 'cratship by Nx and proceeded to return bureaucrat rights to several dozens of users. This action precipitated the LANCB of Armondikov, and was both sharply criticized and defended. A few days later, Trent stepped in, instituting a new user rights structure after a period of discussion. The new order of the day saw the elimination of bureaucrats and the creation of seven moderator positions, elected biannually.
The Samwell Incident refers to the supposed auctioning of Samwell, a Conservapedia account with sysop powers. Samwell herself did little between joining on 25 September 2007 and leaving again less than a week later.
Because of Samwell, ASchlafly became more wary of promoting users to sysop (though substantial asskissing can still easily get you promoted). The Samwell Incident significantly worsened the general paranoia over RationalWikian socks on Conservapedia.
A subsequent post on WIGO stated:
*A day that will live in infamy, as "Samwell," whom Andy had generously given blocking privileges, turns out to be a RationalWiki user and blocks nearly all administrators (!). The account was "auctioned off" to the highest bidder in the first RationalWiki fundraising auction. The winning bid -- $10π.
Based on a comment on his talk page it seems Samwell was originally maintained by Cracker. It is not clear who ultimately assumed ownership of the account, however.
The auction provoked Headless Chicken Mode level two or three and led to the departure of Jazzman831. AmesG claims that RationalWiki apologized for the incident, but it is not clear where this apology can be found.
A sanity block is a block administered to ensure that Rationalwikians cool down and remain sane. Ideally it should prevent Headless Chicken Mode. During a sanity block, all users involved in a heated discussion are blocked. Other users who are active at the time may also be blocked, to prevent them being drawn into the argument. Sanity blocks are slightly controversial as they prevent issues being resolved. Editors may not know that a whole group has been blocked. Individuals may feel that they have been singled out. Lesser writers will write in brief, assumptive sentences to try to hammer home their point without actually stating it. Unfortunately, as most RWians are sysops, this isn't as effective as it used to be. In addition, Sanity blocks are simply likely to make one angrier.
This article explores the social dynamics of RationalWiki. It documents the various roles, personalities, and facets of people who participate in RationalWiki.
What you will find here are caricatures, straw men, and psuedoarchetypes. It boils down the varied roles found on RationalWiki to their most basic level. If you're offended, just remember there are hundreds of lists like these across the web and they all typecast and offend people.
You will find that many of these overlap. Most users will fit into any number of these archetypes—sometimes at the same time, sometimes only in particular circumstances.
The Casual user
It is notable that, while the core number RationalWikians has remained fairly stable, the number of casual editors has vastly increased. The strain this puts on the community tends to show: RationalWiki's community-based system is reliant on regular users to function to a greater degree than most online communities. Consequently, RationalWiki has no experience with administrating a community of users with only a casual interest in the site.
These people are named for their catchphrase, which amounts to "chill the fuck out." (The full version is actually "The internet should be for fun. Don't treat it as serious business." But it's hard to put that whole line in a header.) The chill-the-fuck-outer is not a complete archetype in and of itself, though it is an approach shared by many people.
This is a tried-and-true technique that's been around forever. Its purpose is to silence the opposition: "I can lecture you about how your idea sucks, but if you utilize your right to respond, you are a tight-ass."
A hypocrite, this person never says this about efforts concerning Conservapedia (certainly the chill-the-fucker-outer made no appearance when people where discussing whether slamming student's essays was harassment or crossing the line, or disobeys the cp boycotts, or criticizes how serious people are about taking down fundies).
In its worst stage, the chill-the-fuck-outer combines with the statist and argues sincerely to oppose some change... then asks why people are taking it seriously. "Don't take things too seriously. Now excuse me while I continue angrily opposing this idea" they are then bewildered that person gets even more frustrated.
Observe that *actual* moderators never say this because they realize it is counterproductive and never works.
RationalWiki's answer to wikipedia's Jimbo Wales. Only person whose leaving would fundamentally change the community's dynamics.
When they abandon ship, whole flocks of users emerge with bleary-eyed condolences ("Come back"!). They command such enormous amounts of respect that a concerted effort of theirs can rescue an ignored or forgotten idea from the dustbin and put it in the mainstream, and their determined opposition can permanently kill any nascent idea.
How can any one person do this? They aren't alone. Their support/opposition brings with it that of a number of other editors, who rarely disagree with the Jimbo. This is because the Jimbo is also a symbol -- whether he knows it or not -- and represents the current way things are, and those editors like the way things are.
Being a large fish in an otherwise small pond, the Jimob often crushes less respected editors. Their statist allies invariably chalk this up to "acceptable losses" (see below)
Because of the MASSIVE amount of brownie points they built up, other users may feel threatened by that authority hanging over them -- even when that authority is unused. It makes them a natural target for the other.
The Jimbo on RW is especially dangerous since they have (a literal) phone line to God. The text-based on-wiki-only relationship of others cannot compete: once you put a voice to the name, it humanizes them and it becomes much harder to tell them no.
For reasons still at large, the Jimbo stopped being nearly as active, and the wiki just moved on. So much for that theory.
By definition we know next to nothing about the lurkers, because once they contribute they cease being true lurkers. But they contribute to the page-view tally, which is a source of great pride for some Wikis we know.
The Moderator (not to be confused with the elected position)
The Moderator is a respected and acknowledged as a calming voice in discussion pages. Many of them are Old Guarders. They included AmesG, Mei, PalMD, and AKjeldsen. Note that all the examples are long gone.
The Newbie has just arrived, or been around for only a couple weeks. The only real factor separating them from the regulars is that they often haven't caught the tone of RW. What edits are acceptable? What subjects do people talk about here? What's the blocking policy? Should they openly boast about vandalising CP or find some subtle way to mention it on WIGO? Can they write articles about their favourite bands?
These are pieces of the gestalt that newbies have yet to pick up—but they will, in time.
The Oddball loves RationalWiki - they just don't completely understand it. And the rest of RationalWiki really doesn't understand the Oddball either. They spend most of their time creating articles and edit wars that have more to do with their own hobbies and opinions than any of RationalWiki's missions. Concepts such as mobocracy are foreign to them; they have their own methods of conflict resolution, which do not involve listening to anybody else's advice. Inevitably they come into conflicts with saner and more established RationalWikians, such as the Jimbo and the Statist.
The Old Guard
The Old Guard has been around forever ever since the early days of RationalWiki 1.0. They're respected and senior members. Their opinion bears much weight on subjects. They differ from the regulars by not editing every two minutes or participating in every conversation, only commenting in a handful of issues that catch their eye. They are keepers of the institutional memory.
The Other is a wannabe-Jimbo, a Jimbo without charisma. They have ego and passive-aggressiveness that equals The Jimbo's, but lack any allies. Often longtime members with fantastical edit rate and widely known accomplishments under their belt, they have but no profound effect on the social dynamic (unlike the Jimbo).
Any Other is different. One was SusanG, an Old Guarder who could easily have competed with the Jimbo himself, if only she had asserted herself more on discussion pages. Another was Jellyfish, having a meteoric edit rate and meteoric prominence, but when push came to shove lacked the brownie points to challenge the Jimbo. RA was crippled by the perception of being too ambitious and has never overcome suspicions of having a personal agenda. All had the power to start sitewide war but not enough to win.
If/when they leave, they are chalked up as "acceptable losses" ("couldn't take the heat", implicitly blaming any problem on them not a community failing or failing of the Jimbo) and the general site dynamic continues unchanged.
The outsider is a person whose loyalty is not to RationalWiki. There are three kinds, all there with apparently external motivations, and who are consequently held at distance by regular RWers.
- The first kind is a Conservapedian who never truly defected and whose first loyalties are to CP and not RW. Depending on what's going on, they are persecuted like HelpJazz in the Fuck You Too Incident; martyred like Iduan as a casualty of ASchlafly; respected like CPAdmin1 as an honest voice; crucified like Newton for being Conservative; or labeled a troll like TK. Lurker was a suspected conservapedian and treated so.
- The second kind is uncommon and rarely comment, being there most to advertise their own site. They are like Lay Scientist, Ameripedia, and Fallen Morgan.
- The third kind is a member there to press an agenda over one issue like Earthland, JimJast, Rembrandt.ryan, Abd, Radical feminist, Astrophilia, and Fall down.
"Everything is fine. There are no problems. New rules are a solution looking for a problem."
Sound familiar? This is the statist. They believe that everything is just fine as it is, and oppose any change in policy that threatens to change... well, anything they like on the site. Often overlaps with the chill-the-fuck-outer.
Any casualties of way things run at the moment are invariably chalked up to acceptable losses. (Literally half the community could abandon ship and they would still say, "fuck them they tried to change the site.")
SusanG, especially over LQT; many of the older regulars in the bitter HCMs of spring 2011, who stuck their heads in the sand and blamed 'noobs' for the whole mess.
The Regulars are established and active members. They are prominent, active, and generate many of the edits.
Trolls cause disruption for fun. The most infamous troll was TK, but the long-lost HeartOfGold might fit into this category as well. Fall down was likely the most obnoxious troll, and MarcusCicero is the most prolific troll.
The Wannabe is a member who desperately wants to be part of the in-crowd, and may even think that they are part of it, but is only just tolerated by the Regulars. The Wannabe's problem is a lack of imagination, and they exhibit symptoms including the unironic and excessive use of internet slang, a childish understanding of other people and situations, and an over-eagerness to report their own petty, unoriginal vandalism on WIGO.
- "Assfly used teh range blockie!
- Assfly thinks that statistics works like this. It actually works like this. He doesn't understand statistics.
- Many women are abused by husbands like teh Assfly. They are good christian wives."
[That's not paraphrasing. That's how he/she talks]
Everyone else, externally: "...That's nice." internally: cringing, wishing he/she would stop
The radical is the one who wants RW to become more... well more. They often rarely edit WIGO:CP and are often involved in trying to get the site to have some coherent rules, creating templates, looking for software upgrades, or horror of horrors deleting articles. This generally gets the Statist upset. Radicals are often forced to LANCB, due to the power of the Statist and the Jimbo.
Special Discussion Group
The Special Discussion Group is a super-secret discussion forum on Conservapedia.
It is the real ruling body of the site and has somewhere between 7 and 12 members. It was briefly opened to public view when TK fell out with the powers that be at Conservapedia. It is no longer open to the public, possibly as a result of legal threats.
It seems that the identities of the editors on RationalWiki 1.0 were first revealed to Conservapedia as a result of investigation by this group. This resulted in the permanent banning by CP of almost all the original cabal members, and the winding up of RW1 itself.
Use of SDG material
It seems that certain members of RW have kept copies of SDG information and use it from time to time. Below there is a copy from RW's famous WIGO page in late November 2008. It is copied rather than referenced for security. It is interesting for two reasons:
- It implies there are some users who are not happy that they cannot use their copies of SDG material. The RW article on the SDG implies that it should not be re-posted. It is not clear how this policy was arrived at as there is not much talk page discussion.
- The post itself may be deleted - an open contravention of stated RW policy (although it would still be in the history).
Copy from WIGO begins:
TK's "Parthian Shot" to Andy...
We used to have it on here, here it is again:
I cannot believe that Andy wrote the above. Things I told him in casual conversation, private things, making points about things that were happening then; he has saved up and trotted out and made them dirty and evil, made me seem dirty, and I guess, to somehow justify his own betrayal, his being an ugly man....an evil and vile human being, bent on making me look bad for what? For 35+ years working in politics? For who I know? Spending hundreds (thousands) of hours helping him? Doing what he himself asked?
I won't embarrass him, for now, for he is quite obviously not himself, by sending on to you his IM's about blocking people, being aggressive with it, then two day later worrying about blocks, only to have him change his mind three days later again! I have previously shared some of these IM's with a few of you, and you know he is not being honest.
I worked with Ed Meese for many years, on many projects. This is something Andy could have easily verified. Mary Matalin and I started out as volunteers, for God's sake! When I was a protégé of Lee Atwater, she was his main aide! And poor Andy....I told him about the Nancy Reagan deal, it was not some assassination attempt, the IM logs clearly show this, but a man thought to have a gun in a crowd, and the Secret Service pushed the two of us down! We were talking about the mean climate today, and I expressed concern about his Mother! Silly, stupid me! To have some compassion and concern for his old Mom, who is about my own Mom's age. What a stupid jerk I was to express simple human compassion to a man bent on doing me harm.
I drove away CP's best editors? Who would those "best editors" be? Liberals like AmesG? And who drove them away, really? Karajou, do you think I was blocking people with no justification? If so, you never mentioned it to me. Do any of you not realize I have unblocked (with Andy's permission) more blocked users, returned more editors who attempted to contribute, than any of you? I am proud of actually receiving many emails from the small amount of long-time current editors we have left, thanking me for being reasonable, and helping broker compromises with other editors and Sysops, of making it bearable to stick around. These are both conservatives and more moderate editors, and now very worried that they are next. And they will be.
And to cap it all off, Andy is so sick, misinformed, or really evil, he makes the bald faced lie that I have had little productivity? Does he really lack the ability to actually look at my contributions? And if he says that about me, which of you is next? Does Andy have the personal integrity to admit to you all he asked me to keep communication between all of us open and flowing? And now he brands me as "constantly demanding attention from some of us"? Who would those people be? Ed Poor? He called me often! TerryH? I have talked to you, you never once, plain spoken man you are, asked me not to call you. I think I have four times? Who among you complained to Andy I was demanding your attention needlessly? Who among you would be so deceitful as to say one thing to Andy, another to me?
How can anyone be so twisted, so mean, to someone who has given him absolute loyalty? How can any of you allow him to do so? Andy emailed me and asked that I apologize for calling him a vulgar name (now it seems as if he reacted so because I had hit the nail on the hammer!), so we could put this behind us, and get things "back on track". That I did. A few hours later, he sent the above to several of you, ignored my sincere apology, and never responded. I tried him on IM, he was talking to others, and ignored my message.
If Andy is indeed a Christian person, he will apologize and right his wrongs. If not, he faces a higher judgment than I or any of you can give, and deserves our compassion and prayers. At least he will know now that four of you, unbeknownst to the others, sent me a copy of his inaccurate and mean charges against me, that he, like a vile Liberal, circulated in secret, behind my back....a private Star Chamber. How proud he must be!I want each and every one of you to know Andy has managed to do something few have in my public life; Hurt me deeply. He has actually made me realize I am a stupid and silly old man to have trusted him, invested my time in his project, believing him to be a good person. I do not know what I have ever done to deserve this massive disrespect, this slander, this smear and malice. Vandalize Conservapedia? Betray his confidences? No. All I was is trusting of him, and committed to his project. Shame on me! Shame on all of you for allowing this... shame on, and my personal disgust to, those of you who suggested to the others I would join up with RatWiki.
There were other letters, but I don't know where they are.-18.104.22.168 16:01, 18 November 2008 (EST)
- Ugh, this is going to be one of these senseless TK Drama Weeks again, isn't it? --Sid 16:10, 18 November 2008 (EST)
- Hopefully not. Doesn't this fall under the aegis of SDG material anyways? I'm tempted to delete it, or delete it later.-caius (ninja) 16:11, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Copy from WIGO ends.
Sysoprevoke is a special, readily abused user rights group created by Nx and Trent to enforce a user's promotion out of the sysop group. A user in the sysoprevoke group has none of the powers associated with being a sysop, but does not have any restrictions on their editing, nor do they leave red exclamation marks in Recent Changes. Users in the group are not supposed to be demoted without
moderator tech intervention. The current moderator page states that a community vote must occur for sysoprevoke, though blue interprets it as implicit in any vote for promotion. Despite this verbiage, it is used arbitrarily.
The first victim of sysoprevoke was Ace McWicked by AD, in unclear circumstances that Ace would later protest as unfair. Later, Nx placed Ace and B♭maj7 in sysoprevoke in a brxbrx-related dramafest - both were reprieved shortly thereafter. The first user to be 'properly' put in sysoprevoke was SuspectedReplicant, as part of a community vote-sanctioned penalty that expired some weeks before anyone remembered to take him out (he now uses his Rpeh account anyway).
Ace McWicked was put into sysoprevoke without a community vote in late October 2012 by tech Tyrannis, responding to Ace's promotion of the other moderators. There was then a vote on Ty's action, and the vast majority (including Ace) saw no cause to sanction the tech. Ace was removed from sysoprevoke after stepping down as a moderator.