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This is the article that I posted some time after my first two articles on the new wiki,TheHoverpope/ATaleOfTwoWikis andTheHoverpope/WikiPrescription. I originally wasn't going to post it here, as unlike the first one, it really only concerned the new wiki rather than wikis in general and the nature of fan-built communities. But, it's not on the official site anymore, so here it is.
One More Round
So, I was looking over my wiki page today. I have to do this every so often, because I have such a large page, ith so many things on it. You know, every so often I'll make a typo, or misdirect something, and one of my pages will get that nasty burgundy colour that indicates a dead link. You know, it happens. No big deal. Now, I just happened to notice that two of my pages were missing – Wiki Prescription, and A Tale of Two Wikis. Now, this isn't surprising. Categories have been moved, things have been shifted – it's entirely possible that those pages were given an Essays: category tag, or some such, and my particular page wasn't redirecting. That would be logical, make perfect sense. So I went looking. I went hunting around a little bit; investigation, and all that. I had my deerstalker cap, my pipe, my incredulous sidekick, everything I needed for some good detective work. And when I found the deletion logs, well, guess what I found?
16:10, 22 October 2006 ExaltedWiki deleted "A Tale of Two Wikis" (Seems intent upon attacking the company, in clear violation of our web site use terms.)
16:16, 22 October 2006 ExaltedWiki deleted "Wiki prescription" (another long article whose purpose seems to be publicly attacking the company rather than privately addressing these issues with the company)
Note of course that I have put these in chronological order, but other than that they are just copy and paste.
Well, shucks. I didn't expect that. I really didn't think that anyone over at corporate HQ was reading the wiki, actually. I'd really got not much of a sign of that. So I guess it's a start. Hey, HQ, what do you think of my Zurahta work? I really liked it. Constructive criticism, maybe? No? I guess you aren't big on that.
But, if you are reading it, here's what I have a little bit of an issue with. First of all, the Tale of Two Wikis.
-Remarks that serve no substantial purpose other than to antagonize another person
-Soliciting or advertising
-Posts which are illegal, or that endorse, encourage or enable the commission of illegal acts (such as posting information about constructing bombs or stealing copyrighted media)
-Posting personal information without the express permission of the subject
-Posting false information. Opinions are welcome but lies about facts are libelous
-Posts that contain sexually explicit language
-Posts that are designed to cause some technical problem for the system
-Posts that seem specifically designed just to test the limits of what is not offensive and seem to serve no other purpose
-Any other post that shall, at the sole discretion of White Wolf employees, be deemed offensive
-Posting links to locations which violate any of the use terms
-These use terms do not apply equally to White Wolf employees. It is our server. White Wolf employees are policed in-house by their own managers.
Well, I'm having a little bit of a struggle figuring out where my particular article falls into that category. I mean, I am pretty new at this; I've never been much of a troll or a griefer or anything like that, so I've never really run against a term of use document before. First time for everything, I suppose. I guess my document (which is still available on the old wiki at http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/wiki.pl?TheHoverpope/ATaleOfTwoWikis if you're curious and don't remember) I don't see anything bigoted, or false, or sexist; and there certainly wasn't any effort to simplemindedly test the efforts of what's offensive; so the worst I can say I did was that I was in “clear violation of our web site use terms” by being opposed to “the sole discretion of White Wolf employees”. I guess I should have seen that coming, eh? I also didn't think that was an attack on the company, although I wouldn't have hesitated if I thought it was – if there's one thing that Werewolf and Mage have taught me, it's that corporations aren't always right, and it's OK to call them on it. But the most aggressive, attacking thing I can find in that article was that I said that White Wolf, by failing to say what was off limits, made it tricky to post there. Ironic, eh? What's even more ironic is that most of that article was about everything that White Wolf did right, notably the parts about not censoring us. You know, like everyone said they would before this got started.
What's more interesting, in my opinion, is the second article's removal notice. It faults me for not complaining privately, and for more attacks – funny, I hadn't thought polite discussion was an attack. Well, maybe that has something to do with the fact that the previous article, full of helpful, constructive criticism, had gone apparently completely unremarked. Another reason would be – and maybe this hearkens back to my comments about the nature of wikis and corporations – to the fact that these weren't private concerns. These were issues under discussion by the entire wiki community, by everyone involved. They weren't private, they weren't personal, and they weren't the sort of thing that anyone could mistake for a personal attack. Everyone on the wiki had a stake in what I wrote, and was free to comment on it as they wished – and people took those opportunities, in what was possible the most encouraging moment for the entire wiki project. Plus, the company didn't seem to have much contact with us, on the wiki. And, I'd like to note, that I still haven't attacked the company. I've still said nothing but nice things. I don't blame White Wolf for how this little mess has fulfilled all of the warnings I got of heavy-handed corporatic censorship, and I don't blame them for deleting work without letting the author know; I am very magnanimous. I blame some overzealous moderator, who saw polite, concluded discussion of the very real, community agreed upon merits and flaws of a system, and decided that the only appropriate choice was to obliterate it with the unquestionable hand of the MODERATRON. Look, maybe I was wrong about the idea of a wiki, and maybe that could be remedied by renaming the Nexus chat the Paragon chat (that's a little Exalted joke about oppression and free speech and propaganda, you'll get it if you read the wiki). But I think that White Wolf doesn't hate their contributors and fans, I think that White Wolf is a responsible company that likes creativity, and I think that White Wolf, in making the wiki produced an excellent outreach program, with only a few little easily fixed quibbles. I think this could all be cleared up by an apology from a moderator for their silly little mistake. I'm sure when I repost those articles (thank god for google caches!) they'll stay up. And we'll all be happy, and I'll stay on the wiki, and it won't lose someone who has stuck by it and defended every problem and kept contributing (as mentioned, my user page is very, very long) day in and day out.