There’s a fracas over at Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation Office banned Fram, an experienced and highly-respected administrator; this was unprecedented. After review, Floquenbeam — another prominent administrator, lifted the ban as an act of civil disobedience. Floquenbeam was banned. More of this ensued, and the carnage continues.
Ward Cunningham’s Wiki Way lies at the heart of this conflict, though I doubt many people see that. The core question in this mess is a conflict of two views.
- Rank in modern Wikipedia is extraordinarily difficult to attain. It requires years of diligent editing, the public demonstration of conspicuous tact, and thousands of hours of volunteer time. The most senior and highly-respected editors in this radically egalitarian project view themselves as the equal of anyone else involved.
- The Wikimedia Foundation views itself as a charity that provides opportunities for volunteers to have fun and do good. But they’re volunteers; the Foundation is inclined to think that everyone on the payroll outranks any volunteer.
To high-ranking volunteers, the radical egalitarianism of The Wiki Way is the project’s core idea. To the Office, it’s a footnote to prehistory and they’ve got a business to run.