This is such a tough policy, as we ARE NOT ALL EQUAL. Administrators and Bureaucrats have different powers than regular users, making them unequal in their
editing maintenance abilities. This is an undeniable fact. The wiki itself is not one person, but a collection of many different people, all of different abilities and with different things to offer. While the edits that a newly registered user makes may be equal to those that an admin makes, we cannot claim that a totally inexperienced user is just as qualified to run something like the clan chat as a user who has been selected by the community.
My interpretation of AEAE has always been the following:
- No user's edits are superior to the edits of another.
- No user has a greater voice in any discussion than another.
Recently, AEAE has been applied to nearly everything. Where in this policy does it mention equality in every regard? To me, this quote pretty much sums up the policy.
|“||An editor's status, popularity, attitude, demeanour, or in-game experience may influence the way we think about them. However, there is no person on this wiki that has more authority than another, no matter what, because all editors are equal.||”|
Ok, so no one has more authority than another. I agree with this point. How does having a crown on your userpage give you more authority? How does having a Hilited name give you more authority? As I see it, it doesn't. The argument people tend to bring up is that it gives the sense of authority. AEAE addresses this however. As the quote says above: "An editor's status, popularity, attitude, demeanour, or in-game experience may influence the way we think about them." User A may choose to see User B as more powerful just because User A has something that User B does not. For instance, an inexperienced user (User A) might see a user (User B) who has their stats posted on their page, and see that User B has 99 fishing. If User A does not, why wouldn't they see User B as superior and more powerful? Should we propose the removal of things like Template:User 99, because some user just might see this as reason that users are not equal to each other? We cannot force users to see everyone as equal, people will believe what they believe.
I'm starting to ramble so I'll end it here. I'm opening this thread so we can hopefully discuss when AEAE should and should not be applied, and what All editors are equal really means. --Aburnett (Talk) 20:55, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - AEAE is intended to stop one group from ruling the wiki. It basically prevents the bureaucrats and sysops from having more influence simply because they are bureaucrats and sysops. I agree with you that things like special powers/highlighted names do not relegate any special distinction, and are not in violation of AEAE. AEAE simply means that in discussions, a comment by bureaucrats does not count three times as much as a comment by an IP, assuming both are properly argued. --LiquidTalk 20:59, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - I'd have to say that the point "No user's edits are superior to another's," can be confusing. I think that an edit involving numerous technical errors (Grammar, spelling) is less superior than a technically correct article. I agree that no user has a greater voice in any discussion than another user. I believe AEAE can be summarized in this: "No user's opinion is better than another user's until it is decided through consensus." After consensus, the obviously better opinion is accepted. However, before consensus, during the discussion, no user may trump another user by being an admin or by any other means than consensus. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Leftiness (talk).
Comment - All editors are equal, some are just more equal than others. JUST KIDDING! I think all editors are equal. But some have to have special abilities, because some things have to be done, but not all editors can be trusted with doing those things. HaloTalk 21:16, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
- Animal farm ftl. >.< --LiquidTalk 21:19, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
- This is, unfortunatly, completely true. As it is right now, when this forum reaches a conclusion, an admin will read through it and decide which points matter the most. That is not equality, that does mean that the admin in question is more "equal" than the people contributing to this forum, since they get to decide which points are "valid". Additionally, that admin will (most likely) have his or her name highlighted in the article history after making the closing edit, to be identified as a user who has been entrusted with more tools than the average editor. This entire wiki is full of inequality, and that is why this policy needs some changing. Ajraddatz Talk 18:10, April 12, 2010 (UTC)
- Exactly what the spirit is 02:30, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - AEAE gets thrown around a lot more than it should. Common sense should kick in at some point and all the points that Aburnett has raised are correct. AEAE is an important policy, but you cannot make a change to the wiki, such as banning highlighted names, with the sole application of AEAE. The community's voice has to kick in at some point. Andrew talk 21:22, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - In your example involving Users A and B, a person in User A's position won't always think User B is superior because User B has 99 Fishing. Many people don't care if someone has higher stats than them. Of course there are people who would think otherwise, but I think AEAE says that someone with higher stats than you doesn't make his/her opinion more valuable in discussions, and that you don't need to worry about your opinion being disregarded.21:26, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
- I know, that was purposefully a very extreme example, I was just trying to make a point. --Aburnett (Talk) 21:28, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - I'm glad you brought this up. My interpretation of the spirit of AEAE is this. All editors are equal in every way except for the ways decided upon by the community.. In other words, ALL discriminatory (not necessarily in a bad way) actions should, and must, come about from community consensus on the issue. Whether that be automatic clan-chat ranks, automatic rights in IRC channels, or hilited names. Sysop and administrator tools were decided upon by the community (or are more correctly intrisic to a Wikia wiki). Endasil (Talk) @ 21:49, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - I see AEAE as what Oli said.00:01, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Agree - AEAE isn't just being taken too seriously… people are completely misunderstanding the meaning of it. Perhaps it needs a rewrite. User:C Teng/sig 00:12, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Epic Agree - I totally agree about every single point you made, and was considering myself opening discussion on this policy. AEAE is being blown out of proportion. It really only had one point at the start, and really should still have that point. That admin and bureacrat opinions don't outweigh any other users', unless consensus agrees with it. I think we just need to expand on the point that consensus is more important than this in a policy. Sometimes not having select groups (like the Wikifest Committee) will greatly benefit the wiki, and policies being blown out of proportion should not get in the way. Chicken7 >talk 01:27, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Agree/Support - Whatever you want to call it, I agree. Hello71 02:27, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Administrators and Bureaucrats have different powers than regular users, making them unequal in their editing abilities. This is an undeniable fact.. I'd like to deny that, actually. Sysop and bureaucrat are NOT different from an editing ability point of view. Please state how they are. Fully protected and MediaWiki pages? We mostly stay away from fully protected pages and the MediaWiki thing is administration, not editing. That's really just a technical matter, and doesn't affect general editing. Deleting pages? Again, not really editing as once the links to that page have been removed, it's really just a technical matter to delete it. So from an editing standpoint, sysops are no different than registered users. And what bothers me is that things like hilites are mainly used to differentiate a sysop's edits from the edits of other registered users. Endasil (Talk) @ 04:00, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
- Sorry, That was just lack of clarity on my part. I consider editing to be any action (deleting/moving/protecting/blocking) done on the wiki. You are right, all users have equal power in editng pages. I guess better wording would be Administrators and Bureaucrats have different powers than regular users, making them unequal in their maintenance abilities. --Aburnett (Talk) 04:04, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
A little story - When the founders of America started their revolution, they agreed on a basic, self-evident tenet: that all men are created equal. Yet less than 14 years later, they started ratifying a constitution in which a freed man (a former slave) were counted as 3/5ths of a man when determining representation, and slaves were not counted at all. In other words, they immediately saw fit to say that "obviously, this doesn't apply to black men" and it took almost another century and hundreds of thousands of lives to reverse what could have been reversed by them abiding by their own belief in equality. Then it took another century to get rid of the rest of institutional racism. Yet all of this could have been avoided if they had simply fallen back to that tenet and made exceptions only in justified, carefully deliberated cases (such as, to parallel sysops, giving law enforcement officers extra rights and duties).
Now I'm not trying to equate something as trivial as name hilites or anything else with something as critical as the abolishment of slavery. My POINT is that something as fundamental as equality of editors should be as clear and simple a policy as possible, and be fiercely enforced. Institutionally changing it to "well, editors aren't really equal; just their viewpoints and opinions are equal" is opening the door to tons of things that we can't even foresee yet. That's why I maintain the view that, quite simply all editors should be equal in every single way except those ways determined by the community through consensus. Anything less than that is, I believe, in bad spirit.
And I hate slippery slope arguments, but let me leave you with this quote: "threats to civil liberties only ever come a few dollars at a time." In other words, when we're talking about something as fundamental as a policy of equality, the triviality must not matter. Otherwise, it doesn't take long for those little inequalities to add up to an entire Wiki full of discriminatory activities. Endasil (Talk) @ 04:40, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
- I hate to be "that history kid", but that's not the reasoning behind the Three-fifths compromise. The Three-fifths compromise was created in response to proportional representation, or representation based on population. Northern states did not want to be out-represented by southern states, when white southerners would treat slaves like dirt but then claim that they should be considered equal to whites in terms of determining population. The Three-fifths compromise was an attempt to lessen an unfair southern influence, not demean African Americans. In short, that example does not apply to this discussion. There's no need to equate this to real-word, historical examples. What we need to do is look at how this should be applied within this community, and figure out when it needs enforcement. You say that the equality of all editors is paramount, and I agree. Nothing that has been implemented on this wiki makes one user's edits lesser than another. Hilited names, crowns, or the ability to delete pages do not change the fact that each and every editor has the same say in a discussion, and has the same force with their edits. --Aburnett (Talk) 18:49, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
- Hah, was bound to get some of that wrong I suppose, not being American. But the point is the same. It wasn't to equate the two at all. It is that if you truly believe in something as fundamental as equality, it should be the hardest thing you can do to institutionally break it. Otherwise you really don't believe in it. If they truly believed what they said about equality, the abolition of slavery should have been a condition of joining the Union. Nothing that has been implemented on this wiki makes one user's edits lesser than another. Right out of the gate in that statement you change AEAE from "all editors are equal" to "all edits are equal", and that is in my opinion against the spirit of AEAE. Editors are more than the edits they make, and they should be treated equally in every way (except those ways we agree on by consensus), not just in their edits. Endasil (Talk) @ 19:08, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
This is a wiki. It is managed by tons of users who edit it everyday. The only reason that people have higher rights than others is because they have been recognized for their edits and thy deserved it. They also keep order here. There shouldn't be any fighting about this...we all are just editors. -20px Chasingu 10px 05:29, April 11, 2010 (UTC)
Rewrite?It seems as though some users support the idea of a rewrite of AEAE. Discuss. 02:30, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
- I agree it could be re-written, but I don't know what to change. The policy as it stands currently doesn't really say anything wrong, people just seem to me misinterpreting/distorting it. --Aburnett (Talk) 03:03, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Support - What Oli said. Change the name, then re-write it to follow the new title. User:Lil diriz 77/Signatures 03:06, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Oppose - I think that this is one policy which is quite well written. I have seen quite a bit of looking up to the admins and 'crats at "greaters". However, I see most of these admins to be my friends, who have always treated me as an equal both on the wiki and during in-game activities. I also oppose the removal of certain items, such as Template:User 99. If a player works to get a 99 skill, they should be able to show it on their userpage. Any more rules against these sorts of things would be putting another limit on what users can do. I have also seen instances where certain admins/forum admins voted in rfr's/rfa's, and when they opposed/supported, people automatically disregarded the other non-admin votes in favour of the "more influential" admins. I have seen people even go as far as to say that those consesus's are doomed because of the 1-2 admins that opposed.--Cheers,03:13, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
- It seems your misreading my argument. I was using those as examples of why AEAE is being overextended, and things like that should not be removed. --Aburnett (Talk) 03:16, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
- Does he mean consensus was ignored because of 1 or 2 sysop votes? Or that people followed the sysop vote?--Degenret01 03:18, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - A complete rewrite or name change is not altogether necessary. It seems to me that the problems stem from the misinterpretation of the policy, so perhaps another section should be added to the policy detailing some popular misconceptions of AEAE being violated. C.ChiamTalk 03:21, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - A clarification of exactly what it does and does not cover would be a good idea. I completely agree with you, saying that crowns or hilites violates AEAE is ridiculous. I suppose that one might next say that C Teng's signature (and I hope you don't mind me using you as an example, C Teng) violates AEAE because it shows a Party hat, which symbolises power and social status. I'm a regular user and I approve this message.Comment - If we are going to be re-writing AEAE, please make sure that we can discuss "committees" or such, such as the proposed in Forum:Wikifest Routine?. Regardless of the outcome on committees, we should address something about them in AEAE.
Support - I like Endasil's quote: "all editors should be equal in every single way except those ways determined by the community through consensus." Leftiness 16:26, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Neutral/Idea - I like the idea of changing it to "All editors are equally important" or even "Everyone's opinion matters" to better depict the purpose of the policy. Adding a new section about what it is not may also help. As for a total rewrite, that sound a little extreme. User:Stelercus/Signature 18:43, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Comment - I agree that a complete rewrite would be excessive. I think what the policy really needs is clarification, with something like this.
|“||Although no user is superior in their ability to edit the wiki or contribute to discussions, some editors may be granted additional tools, such as Sysop, Bureaucrat, or Checkuser. Users granted these rights may also be given special features that allow for easy identification amongst typical users. Although these tools do allow certain users to perform different functions from the typical editor, they are not superior to any other editor on the wiki.||”|
Honestly though, I don't know if that's the way I want to phrase it. We need something that distinguishes what is equality and what isn't. That's just something I threw together, if someone has a better idea please add it so we can comment. --Aburnett (Talk) 18:58, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Honestly, I want to know why people are trying to put unnecessary limits on this policy. All it will do is weaken it. The policy should be seven words long to keep it simple: "all editors are equal in every way." Then start with the exceptions. I don't understand why people don't see how a very simple rule like this can still be given exceptions by consensus. A draft that shows how easy it is is at User:Endasil/AEAE.
Comment - Under "all editors should be equal in every single way except those ways determined by the community through consensus," all editors would, of course, be equally important. The benefit of saying that all editors are equal except through consensus is that any differences will have to be justified and consensus, of course, will have to be achieved. The detriment of saying "Not all editors are equal, but all editors are equally important," is that editors will have an easier time making decisions such as highlighted user names for admins. I understand that I am asking for a reform of AEAE from focussing on "weight" in a discussion to everything. This is meant to prevent controversial action. Again, I assert that the purpose of this version is to ensure that any differences between users are justified and have consensus in order to prevent controversy. Leftiness 20:02, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
Support Agree on re-write/amendment per all17:57, April 12, 2010 (UTC)
Amendment on misconseptions and the spirit of AEAEAbove a few editors mentioned an amendment might be the way to go instead of a rewrite. Discuss. 23:11, April 10, 2010 (UTC)
I don't know where to add this commentary in this discussion, but I think it needs to be put in somewhere:
An interesting thing about working with an on-line community is the issue of prestige, and I'll argue that a "prestigious" user tends to have more "authority" to act than somebody lacking such prestige. This is an elusive quality and hard to really note where it comes from, but it is a combination of tenure (how long somebody has been editing the community) and participation (how much has that person done within the community). It is by far and away harder to revert or remove an edit from a user with considerable prestige. It is true on this wiki, and I'd argue it is even more so on Wikipedia. Certainly the edit from a brand-new user who has never done any editing on the wiki at all is generally viewed as potentially harmful, although some editors also gain a sort of negative karma where nearly everything they do is also strongly suspect. This is even one way that vandalism is detected and removed.
One interesting thing that also happens, generally, is that those who stick around and do the "dirty work" like creating and maintaining templates, reverting vandalism, and really putting effort into cleaning up the wiki will tend to become admins and bureaucrats. If you are screaming loud enough on the discussion areas, people will eventually listen to you. More important, if the name keeps coming up again and again in one discussion after another, you tend to at least get familiar with the tone and attitude of that person over time.
AEAE is more of a reminder that those who have earned this prestige really should be humbled and that we really need new blood in this project too, where those who have earned this sort of prestige to make things happen should be perhaps toned down a little bit and allow new contributors the chance to join the ranks of the olde tymers and veterans as peers rather than always as a 2nd class citizen. It is an ideal we should be striving for, not necessarily an official pronouncement of what is the actual situation which exists on the wiki. Any amendment or modification of this policy should still try to push for a higher ideal in terms of trying to act as a check on this prestige issue and to try and temper those who might try to abuse the position of trust they have earned due to their previous contributions. In this regard, I hope that others will continue to remind me that all editors really should be equal with each other and that my edits really are just one of many voices on this wiki. --Robert Horning 10:20, April 14, 2010 (UTC)
Proposed Reform of AEAE
As agreed by supporters and opposers, some users have special powers, and some users' names are highlighted. There may be other cases of inequality. However, as quoted from the original proposal:
- "AEAE is intended to stop one group from ruling the wiki. It basically prevents the bureaucrats and sysops from having more influence simply because they are bureaucrats and sysops. AEAE simply means that in discussions, a comment by bureaucrats does not count three times as much as a comment by an IP, assuming both are properly argued." I hope you don't mind me using your words, Liquid.
I support this belief. However, as attested by countless arguments, some users have a different opinion of what AEAE means. Some users consider having a different opinion to be "blowing it out of proportion." However, I don't think that it's being blown out of proportion. I think it's being misunderstood.
The policy states "All users are equal." Since this is apparently untrue, the policy needs reform. I believe that it should be reformed into this:
- "All editors are equal in every way except those ways determined by the community through consensus," after which exceptions determined by consensus may be listed.
Hear me out. This does not mean that we de-sysop all of our admins and give everybody administrative powers.
In the highlighted names argument, it was argued that having highlighted names violated AEAE. Arguments ensued. The benefit of adding "except as determined by consensus" is that no unnecessary misunderstanding needs to take place. If a user brings up an issue with AEAE, the policy will clearly support or oppose him, thereby ending discussion about the meaning of AEAE. The only possible dispute will be to propose an exception to AEAE. This streamlined system will be more efficient than a massive discussion because it will be focused on exception or rejection from the beginning.
Please don't misunderstand my position in this section. I am not trying to force my opinion in any matter with a reform in policy. My purpose here is to remove misunderstanding and focus discussion. Known consensus such as having highlighted names and having admin powers would be included in the exceptions to "equal in every way." There is a rough draft of such a reform at User:Endasil/AEAE. Please don't take Endasil's opinions into this part of the discussion, either. Leftiness 22:18, April 13, 2010 (UTC)
- I'm not sure I'm allowed to edit, since I think I represent my opinions, but I just wanted to say I support this wording since:
- It prevents users from making site-wide changes that will one day become controversial without first seeking approval from the community. Thus, less heated arguments later on down the road.
- It fulfills the spirit of the rule. Can anybody suggest why users shouldn't be equal in every way by default?
- As Leftiness says, it streamlines things since we can all agree that some additions break AEAE, and then just concentrate on whether we agree that the proposal is worth adding an exception to the rule. Endasil (Talk) @ 22:39, April 13, 2010 (UTC)
Delurk and Support - I've followed all of this with interest when I've popped in to see how the site is doing. As you can see from my sig, I do have an admin crown in there. Is it because I'm showing off power due to being power hungry? No. If that were the case, I would have gone for 'crat when that was up. To be honest, I can't even remember why I put the crown in there in the first place, probably just copying some else. So yes, I do very much agree that anyone with admin/'crat powers has no more authority than anyone else, but they shouldn't be chastised just because they mention that they are an admin/'crat. Hurston (T # C) 10:46, April 14, 2010 (UTC)