December 16, 2011

Lynch Mobbing for entertainment

Filed under: Uncategorized — carrite @ 7:24 pm

Friday morning, 9:45 am, posted in the evening.

This is being written from work since my free half hour in the morning was diverted by an emergency situation on Wikipedia. The Administrators’ Noticeboard/Incidents (ANI), well known by careful observers as the main “drama board” on WP, was in full-on Lynchmob Mode over the alleged copyright transgressions of a contributor this morning.

Copyright Investigations (CCI) had opened a case against Richard A. Norton a month ago. That the investigation happened at all was more or less the result of the initiative of his personal enemies, in my opinion, as these things usually are. Since he’s a prolific contributor with tens of thousands of edits, a few carefully selected “bad” edits in the form of close paraphrases of copyrighted sources, were parlayed into a massive investigative case.

Scores of hours of time of volunteer time was poured into taking a close look at his entire editing history, and the small violations gradually mounted into a little heap.

Norton had been banned from starting new articles for 30 days during the investigation. When that time elapsed, he immediately began starting new pages again, including the restoration of one close paraphrase/copyright violation.

And, on cue, his enemies have tried to make that one restoration — of material he didn’t originally write, no less! — into a “permanent ban” case against him at ANI. The reasonable voices advising a temporary extension of the article creation ban (the main CCI investigators) were in real danger of being drowned out by the drama hounds who enjoy pulling the wings off grasshoppers for entertainment.

Wikipedia, backstage, is a lot like Lord of the Flies sometimes.

So the blog piece I had in mind got put on hold.


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