Edit policy

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Issue

The current method of amending these fundamental pages only after approval by and discussion on the starting list could be improved.

Background

It has been proposed that the wiki be less restrictive of edits to the Main Page and Basic principles. Specifically, that the policy of requiring approval prior to making edits on these pages be modified.

User StalkingTime argued that :

  1. these are important pages that can benefit from "vigorous debate" and "crowdsourced refinement"
  2. "Better to deal with a few lousy edits than lose a good contributor"
  3. "it tends toward a sort of mediocre, apathetic complacency"

To which Ed Pastore replied:

  1. "People who visit our project often only view the main page, and the impression they get from there may be all they get. If it is off-kilter for half a day, that's a bunch of people that see something which does not represent the project."
  2. "As for the Basic Principles... it just seems reasonable that our fundamental principles should not be particularly malleable, otherwise we lose our integrity."
  3. "That said... note that the pages in question are not protected by other than policy."

Proposals

Proposal 1: the current system be unchanged

While this project shares a lot of similarities with the wiki philosophy, it is a consensus governance group, not an open content group. In other words, we are more slow to act than a group of wiki editors. The difference is that something like Wikipedia is descriptive. it is easy to change an article and know that you are making it better. But if one person changes the Main Page, their vision is not necessarily the vision of the rest of the group.

Proposal 2: open edits, users volunteer to monitor pages

Details

We could have a set of users responsible for monitoring important pages -- to act like an editorial board or maintenance crew.

Specifically, for each major (non-typo-correcting) edit the users will:

  • review the edit contents
  • determine whether the edit changes the fundamental policies / values of the organization
  • if so: revert edit, post instead to discussion & notify mailing list. Perhaps give feedback to the user.
  • if not: mark edit as patrolled so other editors don't have to and we improve as an organization.

Requirements

  • use of Mediawiki's Patrolled edits capability or establishing some mechanism for notifying users of changes to pages (email notification of changes to watchlist?).

Pros:

  • Fewer barriers to editing the wiki & growth of wiki
  • this would enable users to edit the contents freely, but trigger an alert for major disruptions
  • this would allow more users to get involved in the wiki development and maintenance

Proposal 3: open edits, new mailing list monitors pages

Details

We could have set up a new mailing list to monitor edits to the wiki. The mailing list could be alerted to all edits to fundamental pages.

There would be no required response to edits, only that the mailing list be alerted & potentially discuss a response.

Requirements

  • The creation of a new mailing list

Pros:

  • Fewer barriers to editing the wiki & growth of wiki
  • Users can join or leave the mailing list at any time, depending on their preference / schedule
  • Wiki-related discussions could be kept separate from the start-up list & only reach the start-up list when necessary