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1) To demonstrate that the community of editors at WikiPedia has run over TheTippingPoint, and that the consequences are serious for the future of the project; failing that, to demonstrate the contrary.

2) To craft a solution to the community problem I believe I see, and generate interest in crafting that solution.

3) Failing that, to discuss ways of salvaging the project in the years ahead, after the community itself has lost the ability to maintain it

4) To exchange ideas about community formation, structure, and governance. How closely can Utopia be achieved in the face of real constraints? To what extent does technology inherently empower the weak -- level the playing field?

5) To peddle [BarnstarTeeshirt]s.



I have little to say about myself today, but if you wish to contact me, you may do so at:


SPAM to the above will not be welcomed, but neither will it inconvenience me; I have heavy-duty protection. If you want to be sure your message gets through to me, put "Meatball", "Wiki", or both in the Subject header. Thank You! -- XiongChangnian

Xiong, welcome to this wiki. Where from the People's Republic of China do you come from? -- HelmutLeitner

Welcome! -- SunirShah

Sorry for the possibly offensive reference. To me, it's a neutral and humorous term. Be that as it may, Thank You anyway for the welcome.

Ahhh... if it's not rude to say so, you might be best to look at WikiPedia:User:Xiong for general information. Not only is the information there more comprehensive than anything I would say here, you can easily hop to other pages that tell a lot about me and my activities.

In brief, I'm a newcomer to Wikipedia and the overall wiki community, who has already gotten embroiled in a war with a stubborn user -- one I believe a real menace, who has annoyed many Wikipedians before me. I would not like to be thought of in this way alone, but sadly, this has been the bulk of my activity -- fending off this stalker's attacks (and, yes, counter-attacking). I'm not here on Meatball to spread this ForestFire or gather support.

I am very interested in the social structure of online communities and extremely concerned about the condition of the Wikipedian Community specifically. I feel Wikipedia is due for a second round of BarnRaising, if you will -- or perhaps a new name needs to be coined for the unprecedented reorganiziation of a community which has grown so very large and unwieldy. SoftSecurity has just about failed; resort to authority, castle-building, factionalism, rule-writing, wars of all intensities and scopes, and blatant actions to subvert or manipulate policy are rife -- it is starting to look like a game of Nomic or Mao.

If RealWorld history is a teacher, then the next big move will come when a small, well-organized group moves to take control; their actions will be legitimized and accepted by the community as they act decisively to suppress trolls, vandals, and edit wars; they will then consolidate their power and eliminate all opposition to their oligarchic rule. This will lead to community implosion as stricter standards apply to membership; the atmosphere will become closed in fact, however much lip service is paid to old ideals; and eventually the project will stall, with GroupThink in the fore, and only minor, non-controversial additions made to content. Thus, Wikipedia's growth will assume the shape of a LogisticsCurve?.

If Jimbo, the Wikipedia GodKing, dislikes this turn of events, he will have no recourse except to the BigButton. Many users will not return after such a destructive reset, and leave to fork the project. Some might think that a GoodThing, but I feel there is something to preserve.

So, I'm assembling a caucus to discuss the pressing, long-term need: a community Charter or constitution, some sort of foundation document that positively asserts itself as the root document for all other rules and policies. Like the American BillOfRights?, it must exclude many types of rules from possibility. Like many nations' constitutions, it must prescribe a form of self-rule, with some checks and balances against undue concentration of power. Like a corporation's charter, it must define the community's overall goals and defend them to the last.

I have many ideas, naturally, but I am not foolhardy enough to think I can or should scrape together a gang of my own to try to push them through. I just think I see a political need, and am cognizant of the appropriate political tool: GetARoom. I ask caucus members to think of me not as the leader, but as the guy who finds a room, gets the door open, turns on the lights, and sets out the chairs.

The last thing I want to do is stand in the door and be a gatekeeper. I have set up what I think is a commonsense rule: Email me, or some other caucus member, if you want to join. Once in the caucus, register on that wiki and add your name to the list of members. There are already one or two members who appear to be violating this rule, and I see no reason to interfere with them. Philosophically, I go more by what I think is the Meatball membership paradigm -- anon edits are okay, but registered users trump mere visitors. As I see it, registering on the charter caucus wiki with one's Wikipedia handle *is* using one's real name.

Nobody has asserted a rule closing the caucus to non-Wikipedians. If anyone reads this who is a Meatball member, but not a Wikipedian, email me like anyone else. I think I would urge you to register on Wikipedia with the same handle as on the caucus, but you needn't do anything there -- or in either place, for that matter. It might be a very GoodThing to have a voice or three in caucus from outside the community, especially from the respected Meatball.

I'm not Chinese. -- XiongChangnian

Thank you, that was already clear from your language. Note that from our experience your work and intentions will have no effect if you do not stand behind this with your real identity. -- HelmutLeitner

I take your point and, believe me, I read UseRealNames before making an account here. I'm a writer, and both online and in print, I am invariably known as Xiong Changnian. You can question my reasons for writing under a pen name, but that's what I've been doing for years. I'm hardly famous, but to the extent that anyone outside of close friends, family, and cow orkers even knows who I am, I am always Xiong. I feel it would be deceptive to present myself under any other guise, in any online or literary context.

Besides, it is my real name, or at least a form of it. I am known in China, quite legally, as 熊长年 -- it's on my passport, I have a bank account in that name, I've signed contracts and many lesser documents that way -- both by hand and by chop. My pen name is the pinyin form of these correctly-written characters.

All that said, I've no wish to fight. If the community feels it is being toyed with, just let me know where to go to become AnonymousCoward?. -- XiongChangnian

A WikiPedia constitution sounds like a great idea to me. I've heard that large groups, especially, benefit from formalized decision-making procedures (although personally I would like to see lightweight, semi-formalized procedures for midsize online groups, too) -- BayleShanks

Xiong, I am confused (What do your co-workers call you?), but personally cool with your name. By the way, cf. ConstitutionalCrisis. -- SunirShah

Thank you for your understanding (and the link). You might be interested to know that UseRealNames would not make much sense to a Chinese; Chinese culture assumes that each person has several names in his life, and none of them are particularly real; the only real identity is the matrix of one's relationships to others.

Chinese culture is intensely context-sensitive; Chinese are utterly unable to answer even simple questions without a supplied context. On meeting, Chinese do not ask "What's your name?" -- unless in the context of showing off their American language skills. Instead, they ask "Where are you?" meaning "What is your danwei?" or "unit", your primary group. (Primary outside your family, that is.) A student's danwei is his school; a worker's danwei is his company; a farmer's danwei is his village or production team. The danwei is all-important, providing cradle-to-grave care for each member, and assumes responsibility for all his actions. It is probable that my failure to join such a paternalistic unit was the primary cause of my being asked to exercise my RightToLeave.

To answer you directly, it depends on context. Americans in America, in both social and business face-to-face contexts, generally call me "Bear". Online workers call me "Xiong". American-speaking Chinese, especially in China, and especially in a business context, call me "Mr. Bear" or "Mr. Xiong". Chinese speaking Chinese generally do not address anyone by name, in any context; they almost always refer to others and address them by their relationship. Thus, if a student addresses me as a teacher, he will call me laoshi (LAOW-SHR), "Old One", or "Teacher". One who aspires to be my friend may call me pengyou (PUNG-YO); "Friend". Names only emerge in formal contexts; unless my American-ness is being promoted (for example in school advertising), my name will be written by Chinese as 熊长年 -- of course. --XiongChangnian

The seeds of a WikiPedia constitution may already exist within the organization.

It is, after all, a Foundation and has a Board of Directors. Both of these imply that there are defined duties, obligations and expectations regarding the governance of the organization.

I do not know a lot about the organizational workings of WikiPedia, but I am not at all adverse to spending a bit of time studying this since it should also help me clarify the initial thinking that went into VotingSystemCollaboration and extend the RightToVote page.

-- HansWobbe

This may or may not be of interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump_%28miscellaneous%29#Comparative_contributions_to_the_Encyclopedia_and_to_supernumerary_namespaces

Welcome to the MeatBall, Xiong. -- LouisKyuWonRyu?

I can't find that section; no doubt it's been archived. Will you please find a current link to it? --XiongChangnian

Hello - are you near Detroit these days? Best, MarkDilley

How did MoTown? get into this? Sorry, but San Jose is a long way from Detroit. As it happens, though, I spent part of my childhood an easy stroll from the Vernor's plant on Woodward. --XiongChangnian

What happened to the RealBarnStar?? -- SunirShah

It's back in the box -- somewhere. --XiongChangnian

Welcome Xiong in the Meatball danwei. What about collaborating to develop and practising new OpenBusiness models in the Wiki community and beyond? Without embracing the ideas of WikiNomics we will see more and more GhostTowns. -- FridemarPache



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