Forum:What is the RuneScape Wiki?

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This thread was archived on 26 June 2010 by Tienjt0.

I've come to realize over time that many of our policies are ambiguous in both context and definition, therefore, today I will be asking: What exactly are we?

We are not a democracy. So why do we hold community discussions? If voting is not applicable, yet consensus is reached through Support or Oppose, how is that any different from regular voting/polling? If we are not a democracy, then why bother making all editors equal. Are we a republic? I have come under the assumption that we are more a republic than anything else, we "elect" representatives, AKA administrators and bureaucrats, who are deemed worthy by past actions and contributions. There is no one monarch or ruler of the Wiki, disregarding our beloved "creator", Merovingian.

Consensus is said as not being a majority vote, but why is it then that all discussions with many Supports and little Opposes are always passed? If we were to vote Yes's or No's or tallying, wouldn't the results be the same? Semantics can be abused heavily here, as supporting or oppose has little difference with Yes and No, what thoughts we put into our statements count the most. After all, consensus is reached through the discretions of an administrator. So, would that not make us an oligarchy? Or even a dictatorship, as administrators and bureaucrats can do whichever they like if they conform to policies such as IAR, or BB, in behalf of the good of the community. But then, it all comes down to how we decide what's good for the community, which boils to consensus.

Which leads me to my next point..."A vote may help to organise discussion around specific proposals, but this can sometimes breed conflict and division. One problem with a yes-or-no vote on a proposal is that there may be a consensus for a middle option." - RuneScape:Consensus#What_consensus_is_not...

I'm not exactly sure of what this is meaning here, as Neutral is pretty much the same as the middle option aforementioned. Also, discussions almost always breed conflict and division, that is basically the point of discussing something. If we are not a democracy, why bother discussing issues for the benefit of the community?

Can someone please explain what the RSW is, in terms of political ideologies? Fruit.Smoothie 23:45, April 21, 2010 (UTC)


the rs wiki is a wiki, duh --Iiii I I I 23:45, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

u are a noob i am eating to eat u Fruit.Smoothie 23:48, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - We are sort of a democracy. Except instead of votes, it goes off the general feeling and how much weight the points bear that are brought up with both sides. I don't know that there is an official name for that. HaloTalk 23:50, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Social democracy? Liberal democracy? Direct democracy? Representative democracy? etc, etc... Fruit.Smoothie 23:53, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
A democracy where someone decides which votes count, AKA corrupt democracy. That wasn't an insult or me flaming, that is the truth. Admins get to decide who's votes count the most. Ajraddatz Talk 23:55, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
Someone has to do it, and it is always a neutral admin. HaloTalk 23:57, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
You say neutral admin, but really, a lot of people on the wiki are friends with other people. That can bias their judgement. I would also like to point out that this goes completely against the whole "being an admin isn't a big deal" thing, as well as RS:AEAE, as well as the thing about administrators being the same as other users, but with a few extra tools. Once again, I'm not flaming, I'm pointing out these things from a /very/ neutral point of view. Ajraddatz Talk 00:02, April 22, 2010 (UTC)

An Oligarchy trying to present itself as a democracy that isn't a democracy? ʞooɔ 23:54, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Correct. Ajraddatz Talk 23:55, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
Can you think of something better? HaloTalk 00:00, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
Can you really call 40 active sysops and 3 or 4 B'crats "ruled by the few"? Thats a significant percentage of our active editors.--Degenret01 00:03, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
Not really. Also, I say "correct", because that's what it is. I didn't say that RS was one. Ajraddatz Talk 00:04, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
Well, that has a problem. It doesn't distinguish real editors from those whom edit their user page. If that number only showed those whom have made at least 10 mainspace edits, I would bet a Steel platebody the numbers would be quite different :P--Degenret01 00:08, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
That may be, however the same group of people are the ones consistently voting (as not all sysops/b'crats are active at once) , making it equivalent to being "ruled by the few" - however unintentional it may be. -- --KgnomesTalk 00:06, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
@Degen, I haz a page for that too ^.^ - You can see that the admins/crats still represent a small percentage. Ajraddatz Talk 00:11, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
Okay, 1 steel pl8 coming up. And I am quite shocked. Why do I never see these names in recent changes? Oh well.--Degenret01 00:20, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
Haha, don't worry about the steel platebody. RS Wiki is Wikia's most active wiki, and has thousands of edits per day. It is very easy to miss stuff, especially if people are only making about 10 edits over the period of one month. Ajraddatz Talk 00:49, April 22, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - It is whatever is most convenient at the time for whatever needs to be done. If there are a few naysayers we switch to democracy to ignore them, if the issue is long and complicated we switch to a democracy, if everyone agrees we are a consensus based decision maker, if there is heated debate we never make compromises etc. I have never been a fan of it. This was brought up in the past [1] and we reformed our consensus system however it didn't do much for our identity. Cap and goggles.pngTEbuddy 00:07, April 22, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Here's how i see it as a "democracy"... "1x+2y+3z=?" Where x is regular editors, y is well known editors, and z is admins/sysops. If you oppose that part gets a -1, support +1. If the outcome is positive then its a go-ahead, if its negative then its a no-go. Even if every editor is equal this still happens..... just my thought on the democracy Full Slayer Helmet! Evil1888 Talk A's L Dragon Platebody! 00:10, April 22, 2010 (UTC)

That is democracy, not consensus. And it's not even a true democracy, and it's a breach of RS:AEAE. HaloTalk 00:11, April 22, 2010 (UTC)

Picture - Found this on wikipedia (wikipedia:Consensus decision-making) this almost never happens Full Slayer Helmet! Evil1888 Talk A's L Dragon Platebody! 00:24, April 22, 2010 (UTC)

You are suggesting this almost never happens on Wikipedia? Yeah, I'd have to agree with you on that. Still, this isn't Wikipedia.
This is a good flowchart and something that does reflect a typical "wiki" consensus process that is appropriate to follow, but it does miss a couple of key elements. In order to reach a consensus it implies that there is some desire to reach consensus and that those factions who are involved in the decision making process are also willing to compromise a bit to come up with that consensus. For the major flame fests that we have had on this wiki, I have seen some hardcore entrenched attitudes that show no bending at all and are not really interested in reaching any sort of consensus of any kind.
I don't know quite how to cope with that sort of problem, and there is no sort of quantifying how much people are willing to compromise or why it is necessary. I do think it would be useful if there was more compromise on some key policies on this wiki, or at least understanding of what the "other side of the argument" has to offer or why there exist opposition to some policy change... or a desire to change policy. This is where the consensus process is breaking down, and instead all it seems to take to keep policy from being modified or even tweaked on a minor level is to have a couple of vocal individuals simply be jerks and refuse to budge at all.
A huge problem that also shows up are those who try to raise the ante and do things like "if this becomes policy, I'll quit" or worse try to invoke various laws and insist that legal action of some sort is going to happen. Generally this is far from helpful other than to note that it is a sensitive issue, but again it doesn't achieve consensus.
One thing that used to happen frequently on Wikipedia (and is fortunately less common there now, to the point of not happening at all) is an appeal to authority and having somebody like Jimbo Wales coming into the fray, making an "executive decision" simply because a decision has to be made. IMHO these sort of executive decision were usually horrible and usually caused more problems than they were worth. I'm glad that there isn't a "founder" or "chief editor" who has this kind of benevolent dictator authority on the Runescape Wiki. There certainly were times that perhaps it was nice that a decision was finally made on Wikipedia so the community could move on, but it did create other problems.
I wish I had an easy solution in terms of how to resolve some of these very persistent problems on this wiki. There certainly are some issues which have been festering for some time and are not really being resolved, or worse that policies are being tweaked without even attempting to go through a consensus building process... simply by having somebody boldly edit the policy page. Yes, I can name instances of that happening too. --Robert Horning 12:12, April 22, 2010 (UTC)
ok first, thats a article on consensus, not how wikipedia works... sheesh. second, DEAR GOD you type a lot! third, i agree with the last paragraph. Full Slayer Helmet! Evil1888 Talk A's L Dragon Platebody! 22:32, April 22, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - "but why is it then that all discussions with many Supports and little Opposes are always passed? " - Because consensus is about having good arguments, and if there is a good supportive argument, many people will support. Simple as that. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 17:02, April 27, 2010 (UTC)

But it isn't, see Steler's RfA. Ajraddatz Talk 18:14, April 28, 2010 (UTC)
What exactly is wrong with it? Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 20:05, April 29, 2010 (UTC)
A whole bunch of valid neutral/oppose points, and while there was a majority, he was still sysoped. My point is that administrators and bureaucrats are not equal to other users, in that they do get to decide which points carry more weight than others. I'm not criticizing, I'm just saying. Ajraddatz Talk 03:33, May 2, 2010 (UTC)
I think the neutral 'crat who closes a discussion is smart enough to consider the pros and cons of the proposal. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 21:36, May 3, 2010 (UTC)
That is (once again) not my point. What I am saying is that they do get to decide which points are worth more than others. That isn't equal. Enough said on the matter; I'm not criticizing, I'm just saying. Ajraddatz Talk 02:03, May 4, 2010 (UTC)
Because we trust them to do that neutrally and well. What exactly do you mean by "once again"? Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 20:59, May 4, 2010 (UTC)
You have (once again) completely missed the point. I am not criticizing the system, I'm not even asking why it is. I know why it is. I am pointing out the obvious, and saying that all users are not equal. The truth is that they do get to decided which points count more than others. That is all. No reply needed. Ajraddatz Talk 21:52, May 4, 2010 (UTC)
And you haven't answered my question yet. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 19:49, May 7, 2010 (UTC)
Yes I have; see the second comment. Ajraddatz Talk 19:52, May 7, 2010 (UTC)
I don't see it. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 21:39, May 7, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I'd actually like to change my view. I believe we are a republic. The differences in between democracies and republics are that democracies are based off votes solely, where as republics are based off of the general feeling, without actually counting votes. You could argue that we are an oligarchy, but I would have to disagree. While I may not like what choices our sysops make sometimes, they are generally the right choices, and the process of concensus generally allows time for people to bring up points that could seriously ruin something if not done correctly, or way to modify something to improve it. And we kind of have RS:AEAE as a right to protect us from sysops becoming corrupt. In a sense we do have people watching the least in my view. HaloTalk 22:07, May 4, 2010 (UTC)

It would be a republic if the sysops (nominated and voted in by the people) had sole voting power in decisions. That's not what happens on the Wiki and is the opposite of what we're trying to be on the Wiki. Endasil (Talk) @  21:42, May 7, 2010 (UTC)

{{Rfc}} Ajraddatz Talk 19:38, May 27, 2010 (UTC)

Request for closure - Discussion has pretty much died, topic has been exhausted. HaloTalk 08:31, June 25, 2010 (UTC)

Closed - No further discussion.  Tien  20:40, June 26, 2010 (UTC)