I never metadiscussion I didn't like.

Censorship on FunWiki

This issue has re-emerged because certain nodes on the Wiki have been censored (most notably the EricDitweiler page). In my opinion, MattBrubeck has a clear and obvious right to censor FunWiki, since it's stored either on his Turing account or his personal computer, and he is the one who could be be held responsible for its contents. I don't think anyone else has a right to censor FunWiki, with one exception: if Matt puts forth a clear policy on material that is not allowed, then anyone should be able to remove that material (with an appropriate notice to the author).

I won't place myself in a priveleged position here. I waive any control I might have over FunWiki, along with any associated responsibility. I'm just another user here. -- MattBrubeck

I'd like to ask the person who has been censoring the Wiki to come forward and announce who they are. I would also appreciate if Matt would come forward and give us some kind of guidelines for censorship, if there is going to be any, or if he would just prefer to deal with incidents as they occur.

Everyone is free to write anything here, but everyone else is free to delete it. That's how this place works, and it will stay that way. Appropriate use is a decision for each user. It's nice if editors take responsibility for controversial changes, but no one will to force you to do so. Especially not me. I trust everyone here to use their own judgement. -- MattBrubeck

Hopefully the diff and Edit Copy features in the new Wiki software will help ease concerns about irresponsible editing.

On the other hand, while the new features make it possible to save material that has been irresponsibly removed, they also make it impossible to censor your own material. I know that when I get tired of material that I have written, I don't want it "out of the way" where people won't see it unless they hit diff, I want it scrubbed from existence. It annoys the hell out of me that people can still get to things I've written that I don't want read any more. I got around that last time by using a dialup connection and changing my work from multiple IPs, effectively letting me edit the "copy from previous author," but now I lose any rights to things I've written as soon as I put them here. That improves the wiki as a discussion forum, but basically destroys its value as a place to showcase writing/art/etc. -- Lucas Baker

Yeah, I think I'll look at the software and try to reduce the number of past revisions it archives and also improve the "author diff" discrimination, so that that you can get rid of an old version of a page you edited by saving over it enough times. I never had the self-censorship issue, but I do have some simple usability issues with the fancier archiving. -- MattBrubeck

P.S. With the new software it's relatively easy for me to delete pages completely, and I will do so on request (just write a note to me on a page you want deleted). I may also open this ability up to everyone, if I think we can reasonably prevent abuse. -MB


More On Censorship

I beleive the censorship on the EricDitweiler node was perfectly acceptable, because it may have caused harm to someone who had nothing to do with the Wiki at all. The node specifically named an untenured (I believe) professor who may or may not have given a less-than-complimentary nickname to the assistant Dean of Faculty. This could certainly have unwanted effects on this professor's career.

Really, the whole EricDitweiler node reminded me a lot of DeanMichelle on West-Dorm-L. Some people got in a bit of shit for saying less-than-complimentary things about our former DORL, and giving her less-than-complimentary nicknames. That's why west-chat happened. Sure, Eric might never see the WikiWikiWeb, but that doesn't mean that someone won't tell him about it. (Note: I do not actually know the whole story on this...this was what I understand happened...if I'm wrong, let me know...)

Although I do not promote censorship in general, in this case I think that it was...maybe not justified...but something like that. This was information that could cause not just offense (which I'm fine with, you can offend whoever you want), but could lead to the termination of a wonderful teacher and person's professorship.

I would fully support putting back up all the information you want to about Eric, as long as the information discussed earlier here is left out.

-- IanSchempp

Point taken about the issue of the nickname; people should clearly avoid saying things on the Wiki which might get people who know nothing about it in trouble. I think that student comments should be free. As far as I know, I don't think students can be punished for saying uncomplimentary things about the faculty or administration, within reason (earnest death threats would be an exception). --CurtisVinson

FunWiki coming of age

Okay, so who out there thinks that this is going to last? I asked a couple people what they thought would happen with Wiki, and they both replied that they thought it would die. They said that EastDorm would continue to use it as it is being used and it would soon fill with a lot of meaningless little links that nobody cares about...

This makes me think that maybe East doesn't quite understand how Wiki works. It's not just a place where anybody can add stuff that they want to add. Wiki is a place that allows us to change what is on here. It gives us the opportunity to make it what we want to make it. So we can change it if we want to, simply go through and change whatever you don't like about it...

I think it's too early to make any predictions.

Well, contrary to expectations FunWiki has retained a decent level of activity since it began. While it still has a problem with information becoming obsolete between school years, most of that will be corrected at the beginning of the fall semester. There will still be dead sections, of course, but hopefully they will be small.

Old wiki pages tend toward an "iceberg" phenomenon: forward links to them disappear or are buried several layers into the wiki; they become seldom-visited and don't interfere with browsing the active "tip" of the forum. Pages that are visited often are kept up-to-date by their readers. The WikiWikiWeb is fairly self-maintaining. Maintenance follows readership, and all is well.

Update from the future (2019): FunWiki is still alive ... somewhat. FrOsh aren't told about FunWiki until after VentCleaning?, and I know that my year the FrOsh found it fascinating and spent about a week browsing through it. Looking through random links in here I get the sense that earlier classes used this like a sort of social media and as a way to communicate with each other. For us, the Wiki is mainly an archive of East's past, though we do add to the already established pages when its appropriate. I don't know how many people from 2001 will be reading this but I still felt like this page should be updated! - BerlinPaez, class of 22

Should RecentChanges display ip addresses as it does currently, or be totally anonymous?

Reasons for anonymity:

Reasons for displaying addresses:

The following regarding RecentChanges is no longer true under UseModWiki.

What I'm not sure about is the fact that you can edit RecentChanges so it's not clear when a page was last edited or by whom. So how anonymous or not is the WikiWikiWeb really?

Anyone who wants anonymity can get it easily enough. Total anonymity is not the default. And it's notable that when someone edits RecentChanges, there's no way to hide the fact that RecentChanges itself was edited.



Do we really need a link that defines what an EarthQuake is? Do we care about the different prices of DelTaco tacos and TacoBell? tacos? Or what goes into a CaesarSalad? I think that there could be some very constructive discussions on this site (like the ones in the originial WikiWikiWeb) and that we aren't nearly approaching our potential out there. So, I hope that the next time you feel like creating something new in this world, that you think for a minute and decide to really make it worthwhile.

Do we care about the different prices between DelTaco tacos and TacoBell? tacos? I'd have to say yes. CaesarSalad? I can't defend that. And will not attempt to. It's a fine line. Use your own judgement.

Creating silly WikiNames is not a really bad thing, and it's not surprising that it happened a lot in the first several days. The important thing is that we realize there are other, more valuable ways to use the Wiki. It was bad when users were just creating new pages. As long as real content is being added also (and it is), we will do fine.

HowToUseWiki has some tips for adding pages. Read them and refine them.


Useless fluff sucks. If you don't have anything to say, don't make a new page. For example, I might think that JigglyPuff? definitely deserves her own page on FunWiki, but I can leave the question mark there, rather than click on it and write something inane...

Why do you delete students-l after reading the subject line? Because most of it's something you don't care about. When do you unsubscribe from Schmack? When it's too pointless and boring. When will FunWiki stop getting read? When there are too many one-liner pages to dig through in order to read anything cool. This is a really great idea, and let's keep the content worthwhile... (On a side note, somebody fixed the formatting on the StinkingDogInn page. Isn't it cool how anyone can MakeItEvenBetter?)

This from the creator of the ItrGames node? :-) :-) :-)

I was young and foolish then. (And in retrospect, it was rather obvious that an ItrGames node would eventually exist. It has always been in the spirit of the games to lave actual details and description out, and make everything as vague and mysterious as possible.)

You feel old and foolish now? :-)

Ouch... saw that one coming.

A very pleasing HonorCode discussion has materialized out of thin air. That page would now be a prime example of the right time to put a Wiki page into document mode.

It's progressing gradually. The first step was reordering the threaded contributions. This was done quietly while the discussion took place. Now some of the threads are being refactored into document mode. Some authors are also refactoring this OpenForum page into a more readable form.

Some of the pages on FunWiki lend themselves much better to thread-mode contributions, such as the HonorCode page and this OpenForum page. There is no good way to turn contrasting opinions into a cohesive document. At best it is very hard work and still loses the original feeling of the threaded conversation.

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Last edited September 13, 2019 9:15 (diff)