This is a rewrite of Talk:Faction to deal with involuntary almost-factions, which are required in order to prevent suppression of dissent.
In Anarchopedia, there is currently 10 existing identifying factions. (Red Faction, Green Faction, Pink Faction, Blue Faction, Gold Faction, Friends of Lulu, The Insane, Elves, Trolls, Orcs, GNUs, Black Bloc) The following proposal deals with making these ten factions Administrative-Political factions of Anarchopedia.
For identifying purposes, each user should be associated with one (preferably only one) faction. However they may have many Tendencies.
A controversial view is that users be assigned into a faction by other users, ideally multiple users from multiple factions, who are unable to comprehend a person's discourse or position without some mediator. For instance someone using Marxist terms a lot will be called a "red" and will remain one by default unless they change it.
In any case once assigned to a faction, in such a system you are not allowed to claim that you have no faction at all. Your only option is to start a new faction or start a new identity.
An alternative to this controversial view is the Tendency which is simply a tendency observed by others or declared by you (equal status, it is not possible to credibly deny a tendency that many others observe in you).
Factions speaking is a very complex problem in group representativeness. If we could solve it ourselves, we would have, and there would be one and only one way of creating factions and having them speak for themselves at Anarchopedia. However, "we" can't, and in many senses "we" don't exist, so the best "we" can do is offer mechanisms to make it easy to "form your own we":
Internally, the factions should internally choose their own power structure, yet each faction should be accociated with one or more visible and persistent users, its spokesfolk'. These are not trusted to make decisions necessarily but to know when the faction has made its decision.
Some factions require at least two so that there can be gender balance or some other kind of representativeness.
A single spokestroll or spokesdude or spokeschyk could be called a leader. Not leader in the sense of telling people what to do and what not to do, but leader in the sense of representative. If there is a way for the faction to disavow their comments "as representative" so much the better: ideally a special account is used to make statements on behalf of the faction, and other statements require a factional vote to ratify them as factional statements - with dissent registered and easy to find.
It should be strongly discouraged for factions to let leaders make public statements on behalf of the faction without any means of ratification vote or recall of the statement. It should be easy to find out if there was any process "behind" a given statement.
The use of tendency might be encouraged within factions to enable there to be sub-factions and challenges for faction leadership, if there is going to be a winner take all situation.
Each faction should also ideally be represented with a symbol, that allows visual recognition. (A simple example is a stylized tree for the greens, or the hammer and sicle for the reds.) To encourage growth, then, competition for credibility (not the same as competition to control things).
Whenever a page is edited by a user, (exept for a minor edit or, of course, delete), the page is associated with the user's faction. (A possible usage of this would be to replace or (preferably) merge the black star with the faction symbol, or simply add the symbols around the points of the star with perhaps some signficance to which place on the star the symbol is in.
Tendency should be involved only insofar as pages that have NO edits at all from the perspective of an opposing tendency, might automatically invite a few users at random of the opposing tendency to edit them. This would help reduce systemic bias.
Secondly, on polls affecting sitewide issues, that allows for the wideness of alternatives, all alternatives should be brought forward within a faction, and then voted upon with a free vote. Factions do not run their own internal votes on sitewide matters! Sitewide contests, were applicable, should also be handled factionwise.
This is the only practical way to set for instance referendum questions, without one group or other being able to take over the wording of it, which is always important.
Tendency would have no formal role in polls but would definitely have some role in advocacy. A tendency of course is an assumed or unconcious kind of advocacy.
Administrative-Political factions is not a tool for reducing overall democracy on the site, but a tool for simplifying management. Additionally, unregistered users are faction-free, and since unregistered users cannot be barred from the site. Anni 07:59, 5 Jan 2005, said that factions should be voluntary, but:
There is a reason to debate whether one is required to join a faction, or merely recomended. As noted above, multiple users agreeing that a given IP number or login is "factional" must be enough to assign it at least an arbiter (if I don't understand or agree with Marxist rhetoric then it must be up to "the reds" to decide if it is legitimate within that type of discourse). The least credible statements then are those coming from a person who is a member of a faction (possibly forced into one or expressing some pre-factional tendency) but who can't get the faction to support the statements they make. So if someone is using Marxist terms just to get credibility but other Marxists don't know what they are talking about, then, that is a strong signal to other people to just ignore that gibbering.
The tendency proposal is milder: Marxist tendency can be declared on a non exclusive basis and need not be causing anyone a problem or confusion to be respected or noted.
A good place for declaring tendencies would be the preferences panel, with "None" being the default, and explanatory links where applicable. This would involve making a new set of special sites, and a new database field most likely.
Factions could be handled the same way with "Undecided" as the default, but perhaps some default being triggered when tendencies mount up to a degree that is statistically so similar to people already in a given faction that it is very unlikely that you would find any other more helpful facilitators.
The most common objection to factions is their resemblances to parties and formal power blocs:
"I don't like this, and I've said it before. I don't like the idea of factions at all, and I believe if they exist, they shouldn't be anarchopedia-sanctioned. If people wanna get totgether and make the, great, but otherwise, why should we force political party structures on an anarchist site? Let people coalesce on their own if they wanna form these things, not have a central force organize them like this.
Furthermore, the idea of representation is antithetical to Anarchism. We believe in delegates, elected to implement specific decisions that have already been made by the collective, for a very short and limited term. Not leaders or representatives, who are elected and then make decisions of their own accord.
I think we should abolish the factions and let people form them as they see fit, as the site grows, not build them for them. As for the edits thing, I don't think it's necessary once factions do appear, people can just put a template on their user pages that links them to the faction, and people can tell their bias like that.--Che y Marijuana 17:38, 5 Jan 2005 (CST)"
While naming factions in advance by anticipation has huge user interface design advantages, it is perhaps unreasonable to anticipate "party" names.
Accordingly the tendency proposal is very mild and a good starting point for factions, without the exclusivity and power structure assumptions.
The tendency proposal is not forcing a "party structure" on anyone. Anyone who is, or wants to be, some kind of "pure" anarchist, can merely fly the No-Faction banner unless and until tendencies of communication moun up to the degree that no one else can communicate with them without some mediators. The term leader should be avoided in favour of representative or front figure or "spokestroll" (there is hardly status in the word troll). The voice of the party so to speak, which might be diffuse. Also, the leader does not need to be a permanent figure, but could be a role account.
Secondly, not all users on the sites are in fact anarchists. (If I were to lable myself, I would be Pink or Green, go figure.) Some are interested in the dictionary part, some are interested merely in helping the site grow. Of course, all nonanarchists could move of and found a "Democrapedia", a testing ground for Democratic developement, but is there really a need? I think that Anarchopedia could easily, and should be the most colorful dictionary on the net.
There are many advocates of democratic wiki governance at Wikipedia, (the most prominent right now being probably English Wikipedia Users David Vasquez, and perhaps Adam Carr and Xed) even if they are currently drowned out by technologically-empowered "sysops". Even more interesting, web services like DoWire.org are now paying a lot of attention to the GFDL corpus and its evolution.
While factions are not hardset, and there is no demands or requirements for entering them in the proposal at Talk:Faction, they should also not be used for collective punishment, because this goes against the very concept of Anarchopedia. It is to avoid and prevent such punishment that they are required.
The dictionary itself is not tied to Anarchy, it's users and content is. As the non-anarchic part of it grows, so should the choise of identities for the users. An anarchic dictionary might end up being a trollish one, with such words as patroll and controll and anarchize defined.
Direct democracy is fine when the issue is well-defined, though, it almost always takes a lot of work by factions to clarify the "sides", and get people to care, or decide what their real values are. Subjecting complex issues to a vote without some deliberative democracy and some factional struggle to clarify issues and points of difference, almost always results in a very bad outcome based only on emotional reaction. There's also the issue of when to hold a vote, what degree of quorum should apply - for more serious decisions one would require more than simple majority, up to and including consensus decision making methods.
Factions and so on
The problem of defining who Anarchopedia:en:we are remains difficult:
"The question is: Who can say what is sanctioned on Anarchopedia? Me? Or some other contributor? I don't think so. I don't think even that anyone or any group on Anarchopedia can say what is sanctioned here. Because sanction is not anarchism.
I don't expect that we would be in the situation where we count faction votes: Greens said "yes", Blues said "no", Gnus said "yes"... It is not anarchism, too.
But, if someone likes to talk only with Pinks, let (s)he talk only with them."
"If someone want to make communication at Anarchopedia through factions, let (s)he try. If someone other doesn't want to talk in that way, (s)he can ignore that. Also, (s)he can make some other proposal for the way how to communicate at Anarchopedia. And it should be on the main page, too."
- Talk:Tendency is not really a competing proposal but yes sure put it up alongside Talk:Faction
"I would like not to build Anarchopedia with liberals, fascists or Stalinists. Also, I don't think that liberals, fascists and Stalinists want to build anarchist encyclopedia :) But criticism of anarchism is also welcome. Of course, bullshit like "Somalia is the example of anarchism" is welcome only in section "bullshits". (Or, if we want to be "civilized" in the section "some lies about anarchism" or something like that.)"
- Well there are several answers to that kind of claim and they may differ per faction.
"But, emotional anarchist speech is not welcome, too; i.e., if someone wants to write about Franco or George Bush, (s)he should not write something like "this asshole, Gorge Bush" or even "Franco is guilty for the beginning of the WWII" or any other nonsense. (Look at the North America article at eng: as an example of emotional speech which should be removed.)"
- You can't objectively remove it without some way to consult all the various widely held factions to see if there is any merit to the view.
"And, the most important thing: I think that Anarchopedia should be encyclopedia of their contributors. I would like that it would be an anarchist encyclopedia, encyclopedia for anarchist and the place where anarchist should test how to make anarchy. (Also, I want to be a part of such Anarchopedia, not some other.) But, if Anarchopedia becomes main stream liberal encyclopedia or "anarcho"-capitalist encyclopedia, or ... -- it would be a defeat of anarchist community (as well as me as a part of that community), not a defeat of Anarchopedia."
- Accordingly you need ways to ensure that minority views are not drowned out - factions help this a lot by ensuring they have first class status and that few things are brought down to a vote of individuals, instead they may be a vote of factions, and more diverse groups with many factions will win over more unified groups with only one...
"But, I think that Anarchopedia would not be a defeat of anarchist community. Friends from FAU took deu: and take a care about it :) I hope we would have similar communities on eng:, fra:, spa:, etc. --Milos Rancic 19:40, 8 Jan 2005 (CST)"
- The experiment is worth doing.
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