Submissions/The Wikipedia Church of the Holy Sepulchre - when "be bold" does not work

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This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission
The Wikipedia Church of the Holy Sepulchre - when "be bold" does not work
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Dirk Franke
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wiki means fast, and "be bold" was a founding stone of early wiki culture. Not anymore. Wiki veterans weep when thinking about boldness and what has become of it. Whoever has tried to change a rule in a bigger project, or an important article, knows that to change anything remotely important takes ages at best, leads to tears, strife, and arguments.

In the early years of Wikipedia this problem could be solved by waiting your opponent out. Be patient. One day he would find a new hobby, and the conflict could be resolved. Not anymore. People who stayed for several years on Wikipedia will likely stay for several more years, and when they go, their followers will already be there. Even waiting is not an option anymore.

Wikipedia is like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The holiest place of Christendom, marred by factional strife, and for centuries on the brink of collapse. A place where even small attempts of boldness - like sweeping a floor - can lead to violent clashes; a place where a useless ladder stands around for centuries, because removing it, would diminish the entitlement of a religious community. What began as a charismatic movement to built a church on the most holy place of Christendom, has become a quagmire of stagnation. The reasons are easy to explain: No working process of conflict resolution. No trust in the ability of the churches governing system to resolve conflicts on a fair basis.

Being bold is a wonderful attitude to get things done at all. It is a perfect attitude to build on an empty space. But "be bold" is also a total mess when the space is ready. When the space is already filled, boldness becomes mess. It is too unpredictable, too random, too conflict ridden.

To avoid becoming the Wikipedia Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Wikipedia needs clear procedures for conflict resolution, and binding decisions. To avoid stagnation we need bureaucracy. Be bureaucratic.

  • WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
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Slides or further information (optional)
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  1. Pgallert (talk) 17:20, 10 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. --Poupou l'quourouce (talk) 20:40, 13 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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  4. ORLY? :) Saper (talk) 22:07, 18 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. DerHexer (talk) 17:29, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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  7. CT Cooper · talk 19:51, 22 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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