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[Meta-Wikipedia] is a wiki for matters related to WikiPedia.

Commentary and discussion about the project take place there. It also serves as a kind of storage area for material relevant to point of view, ethics and etiquette, history, project governance, software, or user interface design that people want to keep but is not itself encyclopedic. Various "alternative" theories and convoluted essays are ruthlessly pruned off from the encyclopedia and grafted onto the meta. Many of the essays posted there are collecting dust; they might be more useful on other wikis devoted to different topics. Some are quite insightful. Visit and judge for yourself.

During 2002, Meta was falling out of use for its primary purpose, as most discussion about Wikipedia was taking place on their mailing list, or on the namespace page of the Wikipedia wiki itself. The major activities focused on software improvements, the launch of the Wiktionary, proposing other such projects, and discussing how to recruit a board for the Wikipedia project.

Meta is being cleaned up to act as a multi-lingual hub between all the different language wikipedias - and the wiktionaries. Recently French material has been more prevalent on the meta, and alternate Main Page perspectives on Wikipedia have been proposed.


Discussion about the nature of WikiPedia and WikiPediaPolicy? have been largely banned from the site, and are to only be conducted on the associated mailing list, WikiPediaL? and (though possibly temporarily) at MetaWikiPedia. --AnonymousDonor

The decision to move meta debate from Wikipedia to the MetaWikiPedia was taken with a number of reasons in mind, not least the desire to try out the new PHP wiki. The meta-discussion was a major distraction for those of us trying to get some work done on the Wikipedia itself rather than get sucked into flame-wars regarding nuances of policy etc. If I wanted to get involved in them I would have signed up to somewhere like Kuro5hin or Usenet, but I don't, and nor do most other people who are trying to create a major new form of 'cyclopedia. Just my 2 groats worth. -- SteveCallaway?

The comment about discussion being "largely banned" is misleading; it sounds as if the PowersThatBe? are trying to quell dissension. The problem is that our RecentChanges page was becoming clogged with meta-discussion about WikiPedia, instead of encyclopedia articles. Our project doesn't exist to discuss building an encyclopedia, we exist to actually build one. The former is, of course, part of the process of encyclopedia building, but it was getting very distracting to people trying to work on the articles. Thus, the move, which is most likely only a temporary fix. When we get out new software up and running, the plan seems to be to put such meta-discussion in a separate namespace, with a separate RecentChanges listing. It should also be noted that discussion and debate about our articles continues as it always as, directly on WikiPedia. -- StephenGilbert


It serves for TheCabal? to isolate ideas and arguments that they find displeasing by removing them from WikiPedia proper, starving them of the oxygen of publicity, and ensuring that they are rapidly stillborn. It was created to deal with one specific malcontent - fighting the ForestFire by concentrating it on a separate wiki. The technology problems - destruction of BackLinks, etc - strengthen this use. Ideas and arguments that TheCabal? approve of remain on WikiPedia proper, and attempts to apply the same criteria to such pages as those created by so-called "trolls" forcefully resisted. -- DevilsAdvocate

Not to forget that not all ideas are beautiful--except to their mothers.

"DevilsAdvocate" should DefendAgainstParanoia and AssumeGoodFaith. MetaWikiPedia was not created to deal with trolls or to hide ideas, but to develop essays about Wikipedia. At the time the Meta was created, Wikipedia's RecentChanges was filled with more meta-discussion than encyclopedia edits, and conflicts were arising between the people who wanted to plan and those who simply wanted to work on articles and not involve themselves in meta discussion. Meta-Wikipedia was an attempt to EnlargeSpace. Later, as Wikipedias in languages other than English developed, the need to a space that could be used by all Wikipedians was recognized; it was completely inappropriate to plan the direction and development of the entire multi-lingual project in a space designed for an English encyclopedia. Thus, Meta-Wikipedia evolved into a project-wide, multi-lingual resource.

The criteria to whether text is placed on Meta-Wikipedia or in the "Wikipedia:" namespace on "Wikipedia Proper" (I assume you mean the English Wikipedia) is simple: if it is documentation (FAQs, navigation aids, etc) specific to the English Wikipedia, it goes in the Wikipedia: namespace. Otherwise, Meta-Wikipedia is the place for it. It also should be noted that if the goal is to hide away "undesirable" ideas, there is a much simpler solution: delete them. -- StephenGilbert


Personally, I'd rather have meta discussions on Wikipedia on Meatball than on MetaWikiPedia. The restrictions of writing for all audiences in a timeless manner, and always searching for the pattern that Wikipedia incidents are cases of, are great for "out of the box" thinking and for rising above our petty personality clashes. Still, I wouldn't want to have Meatball invaded by Wikipedians - that would just ruin it. --MartinHarper

Since there are now about a dozen or more Wikipedians finding refuge here on MeatballWiki, there is a social draw to have a lot of discussions about Wikipedia here. However, that means that Meatball becomes a place to carry on arguments about other places from other places to the chagrin and befuddlement of the rest of us who do not read Wikipedia. I think it squeezes out non-Wikipedians because there are too many Wikipedian related flamewars, even going back to NameWithheld? who thought MeatballWiki was an OnlineCommunity Wikipedia and thus did not understand our inability to care about the NeutralPointOfView. Note that even recently we had another person who thought MeatballWiki's purpose was to document and record all of OnlineCommunity history, which it isn't. This is all because MetaWikiPedia is too weak and not respected enough to have these discussions. So, just as WikiOnWiki stays on Wiki, Wikipedia on Wikipedia stays on MetaWikiPedia, and Meatball tries to be the in-between place to balance each of these spaces. To do this in a constructive way, though, we need to invert focus and extend TheCollective over MetaWikiPedia and form relationships there in a proactive and constructive way rather than cut them short as we have been doing. It's better to make friends than to kill enemies as there are more good people than bad. (I think that's a Pattern waiting to be written.) -- SunirShah


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