Ravishankar <ravidre...@gmail.com> [2014-05-20 21:24:56 +0530]:
> None of the community members and FDC knew about the popular existence of
> the user name The Solipsist and that is the reason HPN highlighted that it
> is a new account in Meta.

There are multiple new accounts on Meta that participated in the

Yet, mine was the only one of which HPN asked whether it was created
solely for these discussions.

> Or, you could have at least declared your professional affiliation when HPN
> asked.

HPN did not ask for my professional affiliation.  He asked me if my "ID
been created for just this discussion?"

> And when you differ with the
> community's view point, FDC could have judged its merit keeping in mind
> your professional affiliation.

Please don't reduce a heterogeneous community into a homogeneous one
which has a single view point for me to differ from.  I responded to
specific people's comments, agreeing and disagreeing with them; I did
not differ from "the community's view point".

> I request you to link both user accounts now and let us leave it to the FDC
> to decide if anything could be considered lobbying.

Could you please point to:

 a) any intervention made by me where I have supported the CIS proposal:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/The-solipsist ; and

 b) the rule that prohibits "lobbying" in the sense that you're using
the word.

Thank you.

> I see that many are complaining about the noise, personal attacks and
> trolling in this list and elsewhere.

Yes, a hostile environment created by a small minority is not good for
the larger community.

> I hope that the fact Wikipedia itself is collaboratively written
> irrespective of all such issues can be appreciated.

No, I do not appreciate the hostility on Wikipedia.  The truth is there
are many people who are driven away from Wikipedia's hostile environment:

From a blog post by Sue Gardner:
> 4) Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they are conflict-averse and don’t 
> like Wikipedia’s sometimes-fighty culture.
> There is lots of evidence to suggest this is true.
> “My research into the gender dynamics of online discussion forums found that 
> men tend to be more adversarial, and to tolerate contentious debate, more 
> than women,” said Susan Herring to a reporter from Discovery News. “Women, in 
> contrast, tend to be more polite and supportive, as well as less assertive … 
> and (they) tend to be turned off by contentiousness, and may avoid online 
> environments that they perceive as contentious.” [7]
> This assertion is supported by women themselves — both those who don’t edit 
> Wikipedia, and those who do:
> “[E]ven the idea of going on to Wikipedia and trying to edit stuff and 
> getting into fights with dudes makes me too weary to even think about it. I 
> spend enough of my life dealing with pompous men who didn’t get the memo that 
> their penises don’t automatically make them smarter or more mature than any 
> random woman.” [8]
> “Wikipedia can be a fighty place, no doubt. To stick around there can require 
> you to be willing to do the virtual equivalent of stomping on someone’s foot 
> when they get in your face, which a lot of women, myself included, find 
> difficult.” [9]
> From a commenter on Feministing: “I agree that Wikipedia can seem hostile and 
> cliquish. Quite simply, I am sensitive and the internet is not generally kind 
> to sensitive people. I am not thick-skinned enough for Wikipedia.” [10]
> “From the inside,” writes Justine Cassell, professor and director of the 
> Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, 
> “Wikipedia may feel like a fight to get one’s voice heard. One gets a sense 
> of this insider view from looking at the “talk page” of many articles, which 
> rather than seeming like collaborations around the construction of knowledge, 
> are full of descriptions of “edit-warring” — where successive editors try to 
> cancel each others’ contributions out — and bitter, contentious arguments 
> about the accuracy of conflicting points of view. Flickr users don’t remove 
> each others’ photos. Youtube videos inspire passionate debate, but one’s 
> contributions are not erased. Despite Wikipedia’s stated principle of the 
> need to maintain a neutral point of view, the reality is that it is not 
> enough to “know something” about friendship bracelets or “Sex and the City.” 
> To have one’s words listened to on Wikipedia, often one must h
ave to debate, defend, and insist that one’s point of view is the only valid 
one.” [11]
> “I think [the gender gap] has to do with many Wikipedia editors being 
> bullies. Women tend to take their marbles and go home instead of putting a 
> lot of effort into something where they get slapped around. I work on 
> biographies of obscure women writers, rather under the radar stuff… 
> contribute to more prominent articles makes one paranoid, anyone can come 
> along and undo your work and leave nasty messages and you get very little 
> oversight.” [12]
> “I used to contribute to Wikipedia, but finally quit because I grew tired of 
> the “king of the mountain” attitude they have. You work your tail off on an 
> entry for several YEARS only to have some pimply faced college kid knock it 
> off by putting all manner of crazy stuff on there such as need for “reliable” 
> sources when if they’d taken a moment to actually look at the reference 
> they’d see they were perfectly reliable! I’m done with Wikipedia. It’s not 
> only sexist but agist as well.” [13]

[7] Source: Cristen Conger, Discovery News, Is There a Gender Gap Online
[8] Source: From a discussion at Pandagon titled Chronicling the Abuses
[9] Source: From a discussion at Metafilter titled Wikipedia, Snips &
Snails, Sugar & Spice?
[10] Source: Commenter, Feministing, Quick Hit: Only 13% of Wikipedia
Contributors Are Women
[11] Source: Justine Cassell, New York Times, Editing Wars Behind the Scenes
[12] Source: A commenter named Joyce at the NPR blog, commenting on the
Eyder Peralta post Facing Serious Gender Gap, Wikipedia Vows To Add More
Women Contributors
[13] Source: A commenter named Sabrina at the NPR blog, commenting on
the Eyder Peralta post Facing Serious Gender Gap, Wikipedia Vows To Add
More Women Contributors

Research presented in Wikimania 2013 by Netha Hussain, Jadine Lannon,
and others on the gender gap in the Indian Wikipedia provides further
evidence in this regard.

> So let us focus on the real issues instead of viewing the community with
> the following attitude.

One person maketh not the community and the community cannot be reduced
to one person.  Please do not expand the objections I took to one
instance of one person's engagement as applying to the whole community.

I do also believe that one should not feed the trolls nor engage with
trollish behaviour (the latter can be exhibited even by people who
aren't trolls per se).

I agree with you: let us focus on the real issues.

Pranesh Prakash
Access to Knowledge Fellow, Information Society Project, Yale Law School
M: +1 520 314 7147 | W: http://yaleisp.org
Policy Director, Centre for Internet and Society
T: +91 80 40926283 | W: http://cis-india.org
PGP ID: 0x1D5C5F07 | Twitter: https://twitter.com/pranesh_prakash

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