Anti-press/version 1.0, 2004-10-11

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The best way to determine Anarchopedia's Purpose is to gather what is said about that in its articles on more specific topics. That way, anyone who cares about some goal, principle, or understanding, can say there how it affects or should affect Anarchopedia:itself. There are no "special articles" that "only trusted people" can edit. This is exactly how we propose also to evolve Anarchopedia:policy.

Where it becomes clear that there is substantial resistance to some purpose, this can be reflected in what Anarchopedia is not, but only after users in conflict have debated it extensively. In other words, neither purpose nor exclusions from purpose should be decided arbitrarily by any one "editor".

See direct democracy for how issues are resolved if this bottom-up process needs to be accelerated, e.g. when decisions become urgent.

Anarchopedia Itself[edit]

Anarchopedia, itself makes claims about, i.e. what it "is" or "is for":

  • An encyclopedia of
  • encyclopedia
  • An experiment in anarchist management [1]. One of places on the Earth where anarchists can learn how to make anarchy.
  • ...

These claims about itself guide the project. If a claim is made in even one place off to the side, it is important, and should be added to the above. If the claim is wrong, change it in the article it came from, and THEN change it here.

Mention of Anarchopedia, itself in articles requires some standards to ensure:

  • Text need not change when moved elsewhere in the GFDL text corpus. If we refer to this project in the third person, as Anarchopedia, then the text stands up better when moved elsewhere in the GFDL text corpus. This should be a standard everywhere Anarchopedia, itself is mentioned within.
  • Statements about "Anarchopedia is...", or "Anarchopedia does..." can be more easily found, closely examined, and disputed (by Factions or otherwise). This is absolutely necessary to achieve deliberative democracy, and some positive brand management - we would not want strange claims or assertions about its purpose or character to go unexamined, and we would want to support any desirable role or purpose. This is simpler if 'what links here' is a comprehensive list. Accordingly, any mention that affects identity or defines or limits a purpose should be to Anarchopedia:Itself not Anarchopedia, to distinguish from casual mentions that do not make any such claims (e.g. what "Anarchopedia says..." about something that is not itself).
  • It provides a positive counterpoint to what Anarchopedia is not, which is the negation of Anarchopedia:itself. But by definition can't define any progressive or positive mission! It's easier to keep "not" updated if "is and does" are up to date.
  • It reminds people to update the Main Page occasionally and keep up to date with the most effective terminology to describe concepts under discussion.

what Anarchopedia is not may actually be more important to understand for daily operating and governance decisions.

What Anarchopedia is not[edit]

What Anarchopedia is not is the most negative view of Anarchopedia:Itself. For those who consider that things are defined by negation, this list is quite important:

  • Anarchopedia is not authoritarian project.
  • Anarchopedia doesn't have power structure.
    • Anarchopedia doesn't have small group of people which decide what is right and what is wrong.
  • ...


Who We are at Anarchopedia is always changing. People drop in, drop out, get invited in, and sometimes even get (in very nasty cases where those who perform sysop vandalism or other sins elsewhere, then show up here!).

Any statement about who we are thus must be examined by every participant, so they can qualify, edit, object, or change it. should be as careful with use of the word We as it is with mention of Anarchopedia:Itself. Please link any use of the word "we" meaning "we who edit or are assumed to read or use Anarchopedia to this page with the following link:

To minimize any unequal power relationships, please include this text:


to create a link to Anarchopedia:We (this page which explains the significance of such a mention) directly in the text or talk page of any article that you think is saying something about who we are. This makes it easier to track these statements.

It also makes it easy to see what pages link here and therefore, what's being said in "our" name. So that any one of us can change or modify or qualify it, if they, i.e. we, disagree.

It's another way to make sure only consensus is expressed here, and it frees us to be bold in making claims.

A similar protocol applies to all mention of Anarchopedia:Itself and any Anarchopedia:Policy.


intends to be a. Accordingly it will need some policy and perhaps even a sysop power structure to manage itself.

Rather than apply some "absolute-sounding" (even such a seemingly open and anarchically benevolent one as "") to develop any policy, it seems advisable to rely mostly or only on what Anarchopedia, itself, says about its own purpose and mission. Then the items which are very widely shared, or clearly undesirable, can be listed as specific items of standing policy, or, rejected and listed under what Anarchopedia is not.

This method would seem to have at least the imperative integrity of direct democracy - it does not rely on any pre-existing or wiki ontology that is imposed or defined by anyone other than the ordinary participant. It gains its authority, if any, from the lack of objection or dispute to any policy, as long as there are no inhibitions against offering such objections.

If successful, this form of policy bootstrap would prove that it is quite possible to function without a GodKing or even a representative democracy]] model, though some sysop power structure/bureaucracy and faction/policy should be probably prepared to help any users in conflict as they work towards developing their progressive fiqh, er, policy.  ;-)

Direct democracy[edit]

While all kinds of things are said by any of us in Anarchopedia:itself about and civics, the actual policy should be set as much as possible by direct democracy. This suggests we mostly decide by Anarchopedia:Referenda.

Seeking consensus[edit]

However, referendum questions don't arise from nowhere, and the language they employ is also not strictly neutral, and requires some buy-in and deliberate consultation and outreach to find consensus. Policy must accept "that it is possible to characterize disputes fairly, so that all the major participants will be able to look at the resulting text, agreeing that their views are presented sympathetically and as completely as possible (within the context of the discussion)." - one of only two assumptions shared with Wikipedia's "Neutral point of view". However, that doesn't make it easy:

This requires some consensus democracy and deliberative democracy and some elements even of representative democracy to make work. In most situations, these forms of democracy are preferable to voting systems:

  • Consensus decision making should apply where a policy is constrained, where Anarchopedia:Advice is offered that needs to draw on everyone's knowledge and experience and instincts, or where we have a lot of time and not many people who care - such as the exact wording of some article that is not part of policy. A consensus democracy may also be preferred within factions to make joint decisions that affect only themselves. See below for some.

Democracy frames disputes[edit]

  • Deliberative democracy should apply to Anarchopedia:Questions such as the Anarchopedia:FAQ, or any other open-ended issue where we don't need to make any one decision fast. Bottom-up accumulation of Anarchopedia:policy and ratification into Anarchopedia:en:what Anarchopedia is not can continue in this way until someone objects to or disputes a point. No factions required yet! Really this is what goes on, on talk pages.
  • Direct democracy can be invoked directly as Anarchopedia:Referenda, in cases where it's generally agreed that the Anarchopedia:Question is clear, and the Anarchopedia:Advice offered about it has all been heard. Some voting system needs to be chosen for this. Please review them.

Factions engage in disputes[edit]

The above should deal with 99% of cases, including overt political debates. The rest is for the other 1%, which include epistemology and ontology problems that just aren't resolvable without some formal dispute resolution:

To avoid generating some elaborate hierarchy like Wikipedia's "Arbitration", however, "we should characterize disputes rather than engage in them." - another assumption we share with Wikipedia's "neutral point of view". We only report disputes. To do so efficiently requires some work:

  • Representative democracy starts to matter when disputes have arisen and are consistently recurring and there are so many people involved that no one has time to thoroughly understand each other in depth and must rely on some intermediaries and filters - this is when the factions really are needed. Three functions that they can or should be called on to perform:
An IP block ideally would be up to a user's own faction to decide - it's not something that should be done to one by an enemy who is not taking your political views into account. It should be your friends saying you've gone too far. If you have no friends, well, you are a faction unto yourself, and if you don't declare or state your agenda, maybe you're Anarchopedia:Enemy?
Before any Anarchopedia:Referenda, each Anarchopedia:Faction should be called on to ratify the wording of the question at hand. Whether or not they have participated in the deliberations beforehand. If they at least have a chance to object that the question is politically slanted or wrongly stated, or that the time of the choice is related to some particular group's agenda, the odds that they will respect the will of the majority afterwards is higher.
Also, each faction may get a certain number of Anarchopedia:Referenda to propose, like one per month, to bring issues that they care about to the fore. A condition of this might be that the issue is very clearly stated so that there is no terminology dispute about what is actually being decided.
When there is a dispute about the accuracy of reporting of a particular group's views or positions, the Anarchopedia:Faction that holds the most similar views should be the one that makes final decisions about the wording, as they are the ones most likely to make the most subtle distinctions that the other factions don't recognize or respect.

There are default factions created by software: sysops and the Anarchopedia:Vandals they seek out and block IP of. Ideally this is all they do. Sysops should be people trusted by all non-vandal factions to decide what vandalism is, and they should lose that power if any faction disputes their judgement at all. Very few of these people are really needed:

Maybe just one Lowest Troll, implying that (those generally unconcerned with offending anyone, and perhaps somewhat eccentric) are the ones who must decide who they will, and won't, consider a troll not a vandal.


When there are more Anarchopedia:Recruits with personal experience in to share, we should discuss the above. Ideally we'd involve at least two, maybe three, members of each of the Greens, Golds, Reds, Elves, etc. These are just names for sample factions that might get involved in the above eventually. They can change later.

See direct democracy, grassroots democracy, anticipatory democracy, participatory democracy and voting systems for more background on how to organize policy democratically.

External Links[edit]


In this moment all (registered) users on are sysops and bureaucrats. In the sense of and, sysop is maintainer, not authority.

Ideas about organization of Anarchopedia[edit]


Infrastructure owner's trust is the only reason most sysop power structures have any power at all. Whoever "owns the computers and the domain name" chooses personal friends to exercise arbitrary power over everyone else.

On Anarchopedia:itself, we hope that the infrastructure owners will be committed to keeping Anarchopedia:policy and even who [[Anarchopedia:en:we}we]] are open to constant challenge and edit. The New Troll point of view and Lowest Troll ideologies suggest that outsiders must have more power than insiders. So maybe you get powers until you abuse them, but then lose them VERY quickly and find it almost impossible to get them back, since, new volunteers will be getting them first? or something like that.

On most wikis, the term "sysops" is equivalent to power structure. This is because the sysops manage (control) the wiki. On Anarchopedia, the sysops should be limited to Anarchopedia:Cleaning duties, such as defending against Anarchopedia:Vandalism. Hence, on Anarchopedia, it is hoped that sysops will not be a power structure. This will require eternal vigilance and permanent revolution on behalf of the user base, and if a power structure begins to emerge, the users will take their content and move elsewhere. Of course, the ideal would be to have no sysops, but this would leave Anarchopedia open to vandalism. in general must agree that control of servers or domain names isn't that important, and it's very different to answer questions about developers and net admins than it is to answer questions about web admins like the sysops. Control on servers or domains is almost worthless if the GFDL corpus or some other free documentation license lets a new web service be set up easily, and googling for certain keywords lets you easily find it.

By contrast, insidious abuse of sysop powers (sysop vandalism) is much worse, because it prevents the actual GFDL corpus from being corrected, and may not even be noticed for a long time. Even sysop vigilantism is not as bad as that vandalism, since social exclusion of some faction can just cause it to go somewhere else: as with Wikipedia factions, many of which left early to do something else. So controls on sysop vandalism are highest priority, as with all other vandalism - the only reason to need any kind of sysop.

Your perspective?[edit]

Come and add your perspective into sysops page at Anarchopedia.

Point of view[edit]

Point of view, often abbreviated POV, is a subjective stance or perspective on a given topic.

Linguistic view[edit]

In, it is the 'position', in some sense, of the 'subject' of a sentence. For instance, to say "the dog is green" is to say that someone has observed something, identified it as "the dog," whichever dog that is, and compared it to the memory of the spectrum "green", and decided it is close enough to "the same" to use the word "is" to describe the relationship. All of these decisions are part of the point of view. Usually point of view is described as:

  • First person, i.e. "Seeing that the dog is green, I decide to wash it."
  • Second person, i.e. "You say the dog is green? Can I believe that?"
  • Third person, i.e. "Joey and Tom agreed that the dog is green."

A neutral point of view involves trying to assign all statements to a third person authority, i.e. "A says B about C." The tries to employ this point of view. But it does not solve all problems. It requires one to appeal often to credentialism and perhaps professionalism, e.g. "Professor A said, on the record, B about the scientific view of C". Without a vast array of agreements that constitute a systemic bias of its own, there is no real way to adhere to this 'neutral' view, and many simply disregard it. The Meta- often debates the problems arising from this strategy.

Natural point of view, as in the idea of natural law, is often the result of choosing a particular science, e.g. particle physics or ecology, or even economics as expressed in biology ("food chains" etc.) and deciding that all of reality can be evaluated from it. Buddhism and Taoism idealize the approach to such a point of view, but admit it is hard or impossible to achieve, and definitely impossible to reliably communicate to a human being. Accordingly claiming this point of view can be a power grab, e.g. the many claims to have found a Biological Basis of Morality.

Multiple point of view is the compromise, but necessitates what is called (often disdainfully) "politics as usual": the division of participants into factions if only to agree on vocabulary and etiquette and at least some simple view of ethics and morals, if not the Formal method for evaluating and quantifying ethicality and morality of human actions|formal method for evaluating and quantifying ethicality and morality of human actions long sought in vain by philosophers and theologians.

In addition to these 'spatial' variations, there are also 'temporal' or 'tense' variations in point of view. In English there is a past tense ("saw the dog"), present tense ("see the dog"), future perfect ("will see the dog") and future imperfect ("might see the dog", "could see the dog", "may see the dog"). In French there are separate tenses for backfilling facts incidental to the action (e.g. Bush administration claims to care about finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq) and for actually advancing the action (e.g. Bush administration desire to discover any new dangerous technology they think may be more advanced than their own). In Japanese there is sensitivity to the status of the speaker and listener. These differences in linguistic tense imply a point of view, susceptibility or immunity to certain propaganda techniques, e.g. one might expect the Japanese to fall more often for credentialism or at least not challenge views presented with credentials, while one might expect the French not to accept, e.g. the "logic of war" when presented as obvious rationalization for an already-made decision.

Alfred Korcybski in his General Semantics theory pointed out that the verb "to be" hides a great many divergences in point of view, and that the terms becomes, remains and equals were far more exact and placed one more exactly in a temporal frame. One was less likely to make easy-to-abuse claims for-all-time, i.e. a dogma.

Literary view[edit]

In literature, the point of view, or viewpoint (see perspective for the more general and visual sense of this term), expresses the related experience of the narrator - not that of the author. Authors expressly cannot, in fiction, insert or inject their own voice, as this challenges the suspension of disbelief. Texts encourage the reader to identify with the narrator, not with the author.

Literary narration can occur from the first-person, second-person or third-person point of view. In a novel, first-person commonly appears: I saw ... We did.... In self-help or business writing, the second person (addressing "you") predominates: you must..., thou shalt.... In an encyclopedia or textbook narrators often work in the third-person (that happened..., the king died.... For additional vagueness, imprecision and detachment, some writers employ the passive voice (it is said that the president was compelled to be heard....

The ability to use viewpoint effectively provides one measure of someone's writing ability. The writing markschemes used for National Curriculum assessments in England reflect this: they encourage the awarding of marks for the use of viewpoint as part of a wider judgement regarding the composition and effect of the text.

Usage in wikis[edit]

When the abbreviation "POV" is used in wiki rhetoric when talking about an article, it usually means that the article has perceived bias. That is, the author has inserted what is overtly their own view, rather than citing authorities or evidence as a neutral point of view would advise. This however is itself a subjective determination, and the serious problems that arise when it is enforced by a small clique have become obvious on and other. Among other things, there is no consistent standard of evidence required of popular vs. unpopular views.

The other conceptions of point of view above are also sometimes mentioned, along with culture biases such as the UKPOV or USPOV or EPOV, implying a UK-centric, US-centric, or English-speaking-world-centric view, respectively.

For recommendations on avoiding a personal point of view when editing pages, see how to edit pages. For recommendations on avoiding political or other biases, see political dispute, terminology dispute, identity dispute.



"I'll find a day to massacre them all, and raze their faction and their family..." - William Shakespeare, in Titus Andronicus

One good user-land definition of a faction is "those who disagree violently with others, but only non-violently with each other."

In wiki management, a faction is a mandatory clique to deal with alleged and collective identity problems that can't otherwise be sorted out without serious privacy problems, e.g. authorizing outing. The Wikipedia Red Faction is the most obvious declared public example.

A faction system may extend an interwiki link standard but deals with assertions of common cause or common identity among many users who are not necessarily declaring themselves as allied, and not sharing one IP number or login, or who may avoid logins entirely, e.g. troll organizations.

Factions already exist as a group of users sharing a single account or using anonymous proxy services to reuse IP numbers and appear to be just one persistent or something. This can actually work better for some things than any permission-based model, but it gives an edge to those who have figured out how to do it reliably. It also makes it hard for any limits to be put on such activity.

So, there may be user groups that are answerable only to each other and not to the management, which only manages the conflicts between factions, rather like it also tries to stay out of conflicts between users and just play referee:

A faction competes with other factions, and has a tendency to view some things the same way - it may formally cooperate or list some values or principles. It has its own view of the glossary. Any funded trolls advancing a view implies there must be a faction with that view - maybe not one that Anarchopedia:itself can see.

Often it is assigned a colour on the political spectrum.

Two factions are currently directly supported by the wiki software itself, those being developers and sysops. These have, as a consequence of the software itself, powers to label and identify others as vandals (those who damage or delete pages or insert erroneous assertions). There are also (who annoy other users but may be doing so for legitimate political or social reasons, i.e. not simple vandals). It is rather hotly contested whether there is any one faction of trolls, whether trolls cooperate in factions already, etc..

Ordinary governance and wiki management also leads directly to certain factions coming into existence by default. Anarchopedia:we (including at least those who contribute to accepted Anarchopedia:policy which stands), Anarchopedia:Enemy (including at least those doing vandalism such as ad hominem delete) and (engaged in controversial actions and leading to discussion of their activities, and perhaps intentions) exist whether we care to admit they exist or not. We also have some obligation to anticipate Friendly English Wikipedia Users who might become a faction or advocacy group helping coordinate with what "we" do.

One way or another, like it or not, there is reference to these collective entities in all, and so there should be some formal support for creating arbitrary factions that actually represent the complexity of the social and political situation around the GFDL text corpus and the many and user role differences involved. Factions would require some accountability, slowing down decisions on factionally defined terms like picket terms (like "pro-choice" and "baby murder" which you will never hear from "the other side"), and other political virtues and peacemaking tactics. Though it might just be one more thing to fight about.

Three models of dealing with this have been proposed, and one attempted:

  • A GodKing who simply serves as the court of last resort, "master of truth and justice" (Michel Foucault's term for the role of the Western academic), and is probably trusted by, or is, "the owner of" a GFDL corpus access provider. This is used at. It has had some success in getting a lot of text contributed. It seems to be less successful in getting rid of systemic bias or removing irreponsible sysops. Also, few GodKings speak every natural language! Some suggest that a GodKing doing nothing is one of the best models, called lazy tyranny, and that it is inaction rather than action that has led to the success of Wikipedia so far.
  • A faction system modeled on representative democracy as carried out in all democracies, where an edit stands or falls based on the willingness of some substantial faction of like-minded users to support it. These compete with other factions in a power structure to contain the more bureaucratic and police-like sysop power structure. This seems to have potential to simplify debate on extremely contentious issues in the same way that parties do so in countries.
This is the proposal that probably most suits Anarchopedia:itself.
  • A phyle system similar to that described by Neal Stephenson in his book The Diamond Age. As Metaweb is overtly an implementation of the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer from that same book, it seems entirely likely and useful that it would attempt to implement this variation of the faction. A phyle differs from a faction in various ways but mostly that it is defines an etiquette of its own and discourages informal interaction with those of other phyles, and typically takes revenge in extralegal ways if it is seriously offended (unlike a faction which is expected to work through some common bureaucratic or electoral process). See Metaweb:phyle for more details on this.
Because it implies Neal Stephenson's model, Metaweb will likely move in this direction, and attempt to model Stephenson's phyles as factions instead of letting them develop directly from politics as usual.


Are there other options? If there is no formal faction recognition, what is the check on the power of Anarchopedia:sysops? Does failure to support factions imply that there must be a GodKing?

Reflexive design[edit]

Reflexive design is the use of information from within the project, to design the project. In a totally reflexive design, no information or person has special status from outside the project, but is all evaluated by the same criteria both inside and outside the project. Elements of such a process here:

Consensus decision making is quite important in any reflexive design project. Sysop vigilantism and sysop vandalism are quite destructive to it, as they represent power grabs using powers from outside the dialogues.

The "vile mailing list" is evidence that does not use reflexive design, but a clique or priestly hierarchy enabled over others to foist decisions on them. A reflexive project would rely only on comments within Wikipedia or at least Meta-Wikipedia, and would allow no sysop vandalism in those media for design relevant decisions – which sadly is authorized and encouraged now.