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I am going to ask Ward to remove MeatballWiki from WikiWiki's sister sites. That site is now collecting and encouraging some terrible behaviour. LimitTemptation. I do not want Meatball to be wasting its time in the 'wrong neighbourhood.' It's too tiresome to be wikidom's social workers. Objections? -- SunirShah

Sunir, I hope you give your thoughts more time before action. There has been a special relationship between the two sites from what I understand. If RK is your only source of trouble for now please just ignore him and do not respond.

However if this site is starting to attract a lot of spammers, disruptive behavior from new participants then maybe a different course of action (e.g. user registration) may be more suitable.

I think overall, it is still a mutually beneficial relationship between the two sites. Can you wait till the WikiSym before making a decision? Thanks for considering alternatives. -- DavidLiu

We could either go for user registration or do what we always do: change our relationships to neighbouring projects. Cull bad relationships and cultivate new, better ones (cf. UsAndThem). Why do we want to help WikiWikiWeb? It is not interested in helping itself. RK is only one example. Years have gone by, and things have gotten worse, not better. I want to focus on building beautiful things, not putting out fire after fire. Meatball can only plug other people's dams with our fingers for so long. We only have so many fingers, and so much energy to waste distracting ourselves with other people's problems for nothing in return. BarnRaising is a two-way street. If there is no leadership to fix the structural integrity of the dam, the dam will burst regardless of our efforts. I don't want to be standing there with my finger in some hole when it happens. Right now, that is exactly where we are, and this is why we are being flooded. -- SunirShah

"It's too tiresome to be wikidom's social workers." Compare to MeatballMission: "Meatball does not strive to represent all wikis, just that in the process of exploring online community theory, we frequently study them and write about them. From that, we often form relationships with those involved in wikidom; and as we said above, Meatball is nothing but personal relationships." and conversely "...we support other OnlineCommunities; we are beneath them, but behind them. We study other online communities to learn from their mistakes and successes. We explain solutions clearly. We provide assistance to those who need it. In turn, we gain support by being valued." --anon.

Sure, we. Wikidom's problems have crossed the line into my personal life. And then I get blamed for causing the problem. Am I being valued? No. I want out of this bum deal. It's social worker burn out. I just want to focus on my own priorities now, which is using the network to build positive, constructive knowledge building and decision-making cultures. After over eight years, I shouldn't need to defend myself nor my contribution to wikidom and WikiWikiWeb proper. If people don't believe me nor care, and they insist on dragging me back to face yet another sociopath, I don't feel much need to maintain a personal relationship with them. Getting involved with RA was a mistake, for instance.

But I'm not alone either. Many people here are burnt out with dealing with the undealable. Scott, Cliff, Stephen, myself, just to name a few. We're not here to save the world. We can only do what we can do. I think the point is that we cannot provide assistance to WikiWikiWeb since they (i.e. Ward) do not want it. We can only be dragged into yet another turf war between one faction and another on WikiWikiWeb. This only raises the rancour of the other faction. I know enough about management to know these turf wars are both structural and socially impossible to reconcile without obvious leadership. The solution is Ward's to deny, and sobeit. -- SunirShah

No objections, but I'm sure that removing MeatballWiki from the sister site list alone will not solve the problem. One you could also use a codeword that is only passed to those that ask and those we trust. In case of problems, just change the codeword and let it spread. -- HelmutLeitner

I've been considering this for a while. Here is my reasoning. You're right, the best and only strategy (*) is the change our business, so our BusinessAsUsual is energizing rather than ennervating. The TwinPages from WikiWikiWeb exist to drive traffic from there to here. Since WikiWikiWeb has ceased to have a FairProcess for positive, constructive collaboration, its problems are chiefly social problems that cannot be resolved. The business it is generating, therefore, is all negative reaction to the lack of FairProcess--ennervating. We can address each reaction, counterreaction, or inaction on a case-by-case basis, but with no one interested in resolving the underlying structural problem there, we are those people stuck with our fingers in a dam slowly bursting. One other is to build a co-alition here of people interested in petitioning the issue with Ward, just as we did with Wikipedia when we attempted to influence decisions there. Another option is to get back involved with WikiWikiWeb in order to fix it. The latter two options violate LimitTemptation and should only be considered carefully. With Wikipedia, it led to a rash of trolls, culminating in me in a LegalThreat. With WikiWikiWeb, it has also led to a rash of trolls, culminating with me once again in a (more serious) legal action.

(*) Tactically, there are many options. Your InviteOnly? suggestion is something I've been meaning to transfer from a memo pad to MeatballWiki for over a year. It's a good temporary (or permanent) breakwater. Another option is an AccessFee. Another is a HiddenCommunity?. Another is to change our image from being a 'wiki' to being a professional association that is exceptionally boring to amateurs who don't understand what we are doing. -- SunirShah

I think overall, it is still a mutually beneficial relationship between the two sites.

I'm afraid I don't see the benefits for either side, David. The in-fighting on Wiki drains our energy, and what we offer sounds like pointless pointification to the factions there. This has been building for a while; the recent nastiness with a particular individual is just the final push. Well, ok, it was more of a kick to the head, but you get the idea. -- StephenGilbert

"Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class—whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy." -- BookShelved:ChildrenOfDune (1976)

Just wondering (slightly of topic, sorry about that). Is this part of the normal evolution of an (online) community? I have noticed before that communities usually start from anarchy to form a more or less consensus based command and control system. Slowly over time, people discover that command and control is boring. With the development of specialists: leaders, politicians and representatives, much of the generalists are removed from the pool of resources. In the end coming to a consensus or even a majority becomes imposible. This is all depending all on technological/financial factors as well, so some steps can and will be skipped. In the end the solution is to entrust command and control upon one or a few BenevolentDictators?.

Given that MeatBall is a community with a very clear goal I don't think this will not create much problem, except maybe limit its access to new members. In general I don't know how well this will work out in other communities. -- Gideon FormerContributor?

I think we should pull as a WikiWikiWeb sister site. People that want what Meatball has to offer will make it here, eventually. I have advocated for RadicalInclusiveness and recently in my own life have had to deal with situations recently that make me reconsider what that means. I see Sunir obviously distressed, and this is a huge concern for me. Is Sunir all of MeatballWiki? Certainly not, but he is a driving force. I would like to see this action happen quickly. I would also like to discuss how to help support each other. Also, I am convinced by the above examples that any movement to "help" WikiWikiWeb will not be useful. -- Best, MarkDilley

I agree, helping requires two. Needing help is not enough, they must want it. The community as a whole, or the founders of a community, or the original users -- all possibly legitimate representatives -- could ask for help. In this case, the community in question is disorganized, the founder unwilling, and the original users gone. A few people looking for help are not enough. Cut the ties. -- AlexSchroeder

No objections from me, either. Individuals from WikiWiki who are would like to join the Meatball community don't need an official relationship between the two sites to do so. I wish Wiki all the best, but I don't think there's anything else we can do for it. -- StephenGilbert

We at WikiWiki are doing fine. We wish you all no ill will, obviously--but the crisis of a few months ago has passed; and things are (mostly) back to normal. A few long-timers have left, but c2 is still c2 for the most part. It's a free net, folks should VoteWithTheirFeet?. At any rate, Ward is (I think) a knowledgeable enough administrator that he knows what he's doing. It may be different than what happens here at meatball, but that's OK--the site still functions, and still an interesting place. If suggestions from the good folks here went unheeded, please take no offense.

However... I'm not sure I would characterize a certain pair of irascable individuals as "WikiWikiWeb problems". While both of them undoubtedly came to meatball via c2; and one of them still posts on c2 (the other is banned on both sites); it's a big wide net out there. Were c2 to not exist, or have different editorial policies; it is unlikely that meatball would never have been troubled by either of them.

Whether the SisterSite link is kept or broken, good luck!


I have to disagree with this idea. To be honest, Sunir, I think you're overreacting somewhat. Compared to WardsWiki this place is an oasis of civility and calm. There are less people here and a number of useful tools to prevent misbehavior. Across the bridge, there are hundreds/thousands(?) of people editing and virtually no tools. As has been mentioned above, yes, a couple of Wiki's problem individuals came here, but they were very easy to get a handle on. I really doubt that many more will arrive because Meatball does meet that criterion of "boringness" you've mentioned. I wonder how many people - not problem users - would arrive here at all after that.

Many pages at Wiki refer to pages here via the sistering mechanism, and if you cut the link you reduce the information content of Wiki (because links are information, of course) at a stroke. There's no way that Wiki gnomes can find them all to fix them straight away; hell, we don't even have an InterMap over there.

It's all the more cruel because Meatball never provided sister links back, either. This is something I don't understand, because when at one point I almost had a SisterSite running myself Ward asked me to provide links back to Wiki. I know it can be done for UseMod, because I did it.

-- EarleMartin

Far as I've seen, SisterSites is solely an outward mechanism, from c2 to other wikis, while other wikis have always used InterWiki. Personally I'd like to see both supported -- SisterSites are a nice way to provide a distribution mechanism for the disjunction of pages (pages that exist on one wiki and not another), as well as a "facet" mechanism for those pages in common. InterWiki links however, let one explicitly refer to a larger WikiWikiWeb, not just one wiki. It's like union mounts and symbolic links, respectively. Think Ward will support InterMap for those wikis that prefer them though? Let's not hold our breath. --ChuckAdams

It's not "cruel" that we never used a SisterSite mechanism. We simply prefer our InterMap system of linking to other wikis, and through this we link to Wiki profusely. "Cruel" would be setting up SisterSites with other wikis and ignoring c2, and we would never do that. For that matter, do any of the SisterSites have SisterSites set up in return? I'm pretty sure that WhyClublet, GreenCheese and ReformSociety? do not. -- StephenGilbert


In my third e-mail, in response to, "[People from c2 view Meatball as part of c2.] It seems like the easiest way to answer that challenge is to break the sister sites connection that artificially builds a relationship between the two sites. We'd rather build relationships organically and personally. That way we have control over whom we invite. Meatballers are unanimous on this issue." I feel the last sentence was too harsh.

Ward wrote back, "Please remind them occasionally of the multiple debts Meatball owes wiki."

I'll let you interpret that your own way. I personally feel, as one of the largest contributors and builders of c2, taken for granted and underappreciated. Friends don't count debts. -- SunirShah

I presume the "third e-mail" refer to recent emails to / from Ward regarding this subject?

Please remind them occasionally of the multiple debts Meatball owes wiki.

I don't think anyone has forgotten what the c2 community has done for Meatball. But I'm not sure why our "debts" obligate us to remain a SisterSite if the Meatball community would like to end that particular arrangement. It's not meant to be hostile or unfriendly; it's simply that don't want to continue a sister site attachment. -- StephenGilbert


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