But I'm not liking the sound of:
> She did that even though it is widely known that paid editing is frowned upon by many in the editing communit
Yeah, it's "frowned upon" for _anyone_ to do paid editing, clearly. But "frowned upon" is not usually a good reason to fire someone.
If it's not already clearly against clearly stated policies for WMF employees to do paid editing, WMF is hopefully making it so pretty quickly. Next time (which is definitely a 'when' rather than an 'if', I'm afriad), it should say "They did that even though paid editing is a clear violation of WMF conflict of interest policies," not "it is frowned upon." Time to get real.
At least in at will or semi at will employment situations, it is not necessary for the employee handbook to be as exhaustive as a penal code.
There's nothing written anywhere that says that I am forbidden from telling one of our customers to die in a fire, but doing so is certainly frowned upon and would get me fired. I don't see any need for all such implicit rules to be codified.
There's two things I just don't understand. First, how can anyone be so stupid and as a high-ranking member of Wikipedia accept money to pass of advertisement as copy? Second, what's with the culture of the Wikimedia Foundation? How come that they can hire someone with questionable ethical standards? They have continuous problems with the staff they hire, but then, from the outside, the place doesn't look like something that someone with a choice would like to be employed at.
The point of it is that people should always be thinking about Wikipedia's mission and vision. Rule-systems are always leaky, and on Wikipedia people should never use the excuse, "Well, what I did wasn't against the rules."
It seems to me that this lady was merely following the rule that you cited. In some countries, if she now files for unfair dismissal, I think Wikimedia might lose.
Do you really mean to imply vast swathes of the WMF's tiny staff (most of which don't edit, let alone write good articles) are engaged in a paid-editing cabal? Or have I misunderstood?
From the Affiliations section:
Ada Initiative – Advisor
American Alliance of Museums – Member
Archives of American Art – Wikipedian in Residence
Museum Computer Network – Member
Open Knowledge Foundation – OpenGLAM Coordinator
Smithsonian Institution Archives – Wikipedian in Residence
Wikimedia Foundation – Community Fellow
World Digital Library at the Library of Congress –
Wikipedian in Residence
Her life and advocacy sound fulfilling and good hearted, but nothing seems to meet the (admittedly inconsistent) standard of inclusion of living persons in WP.
> given there were almost twice as many "keep" comments as "deletes" I am closing this discussion as a weak consensus to keep
Nothing like quantity over quality when assessing these things.
I say good riddance. We don't need paid shills in the WMF and we certainly don't need them writing and reviewing articles. There are enough issues, as is, with idiotic editors/reviewers and "policy" that those users have pushed as de jure.
You do not need to classify the speaker. Your arguments are stronger if you do not classify the speaker. Classifying the speaker leads one to interpret an argument through one's preconception of that class of speaker, weakening one's listening and interpretation skills.
And, classifying a speaker aloud often leads your audience to classify you in an opposing class. Use "white knight" and many will classify you as a "bro". Use "homophobe" and get classified as gay or a militant feminist. Use "gay" and get classified as a homophobe. That leads to your audience interpreting your argument through their preconceptions of your classification.
In other words, classifying the speaker endangers your critical thinking, endangers your chances of being understood, and has no upsides.
The reason is simple: Like all ad hominems it's a way of opting out of engaging with a speaker and their arguments. Rather than saying "Well, you're wrong because of X, Y, and Z" you say "you're just white knighting", and suddenly there's no need to list out any arguments.
Even beyond that, the entire logic framework behind the term is itself toxic; it's rests on the unspoken assumption that arguments are only as valid as the intentions behind them. I know nothing about the WMF's HR policies, nor do I have an opinion on whether Stierch should or should not have been fired. But if I say "she should not have been fired because other employees in the same situation have not been in the past, and this creates a double standard" (which as far as I know is not actually true; this is a hypothetical), it doesn't matter if I'm saying it because I like Steich as a friend, or I want to sleep with her, or I behave like that towards all women, or I got into a fistfight with someone from the WMF in a bar once and have a grudge against the whole group; either my assertion is right or it's wrong. A facile accusation that I'm only saying that because I want to sleep with her (which is what the "white knighting" term means in this context) could be true, and it just wouldn't matter.
In short, the term "white knight" is employed, almost without fail, in an attempt to bully and shut debate down; as the crudest of ad hominems. And it needs to die.
(Edit: For the record, I truly have no opinion on Stierch or the WMF in this case, and I haven't even bothered to look at the comments being discussed. This is nothing to do with this specific case.)
If most people in a particular population are men and a random set of people come to a woman's defense, she's mostly being defended by men. Don't read too much into it.
edit: I can't reply to you, redthrowaway, so I'll just say that I wonder what the evidence is that these guys defending Ms. Stierch deserve the term "white knight" if it's not a knee-jerk reaction to any man defending a woman. I haven't seen any evidence of "expectation of a sleazy reward" so I question the application of the term. edit2: we probably agree on this particular point. I see that you take exception to the overall rejection of the term, on the grounds that it's possible to apply it correctly. I tend to agree with tptacek that it tends to be overused and incorrectly used, and really wouldn't be unhappy if it just disappeared along with the term "butthurt." :)
Again, it's not a criticism of, or term describing, men who defend women. It's a criticism of a particular kind of man who defends women in a particular way with an expectation of a sleazy reward.
That's not to say the term isn't abused; it is. I'm not arguing with tptacek's assertion that use of the term tends to lower quality of discourse, but rather with the implied assertion that the term itself is invalid or in some way offensive. As I said in my original comment, it fairly specifically describes a particular phenomenon, and if it didn't exist some other term would be invented to take its place.
Strangely enough, the sort of person who says this will also happily engage in gutter-level homophobic abuse when they find out that I really have no interest in sleeping with women, feminist or otherwise.
God forbid that I could have opinions formed from reasoned evaluation of evidence.
It's used to disarm and unmask someone's defense by asserting that they are
a certain kind of guy with certain views of women
who acts in a particularly bizarre fashion towards
them [...] who defend[s] and act[s] nice towards
women in the vague belief it will get them laid,
if indirectly, through being the type of man they
believe women will have sex with [...] who
usually tries being too nice for a couple of
years, gets frustrated, then gets into the PUA
It's kind of like the words "hipster" and "emo": their use as derogations are far more prevalent than their use to describe the particular subcultures they was originally intended for, yet if you didn't have those terms you'd still need something else to fill the void.
Nope. A large majority of when I see the term "white-knighting" the gender of the person being defended is male or unknown.
I'm not sure there needs to be a term to describe quite that frame of reference. If the guys involved are creepily harassing the woman (even through 'kindness'), than the term for that is harassment.
Otherwise, I don't think a special term is needed to describe when you (especially male 'you's) believe a woman is only being defended because of sex appeal, so what. Why does there 'definitely' need to be a term to describe that?
"Harassment" describes a very broad group of behaviours. It's fine as a descriptor for that class of behaviour, but that doesn't mean specific terms to describe specific behaviours shouldn't exist. That's like saying you shouldn't use the term "knock" to describe premature ignition when "engine trouble" also describes it.
That said, you're correct in saying that the use of the term tends to be sexist and dismissive towards women. I don't have a solution for that.
There are cultural institutions (museums, galleries etc.) who have a public interest in making the world aware of, say, science or art history or whatnot. Their mission lines up neatly with Wikipedia's mission. If the Louvre or the Computer History Museum were to pay someone to improve Wikipedia's coverage of the topics their museums cover, I'm not sure how that would be a problem.
Or indeed, imagine this hypothetical: Bill Gates chucks twenty million dollars into a fund to pay some select group of Wikipedians a not-much-above-cost-of-living salary to generally improve Wikipedia's coverage of, say, medicine, science and humanities topics.
A non-hypothetical example: a friend of mine ran a contest on Wikipedia to improve articles about video games. Whoever improved the most articles in a particular period of time would get a few new games sent to their Steam account. That's paid editing, albeit for PC games rather than money. The motivation of the guy who ran it? He likes video games.
We have paid open source software development models: bug bounties, crowdfunding etc. That's not anathema to producing software.
With clear conflict of interest statements and an editorial checking process for paid editors, there's a way to do it without it being sleazy or shilling.
One can surely be a paid shill, but that's just a good reason to look at whether the edits are any good. If someone is willing to fund non-shill editing that is actually good, then I'd say please do so, just like I encourage Red Hat funding paid open-source contributions. There are many situations where it is a win-win, when the interests of Wikipedia and the funder align (much like the interests of Red Hat and Linux often aligning).
For example, to take even a commercial example, I recently noticed that the Greek wine industry is currently very poorly covered on the English Wikipedia (even many of the basic grape varieties don't have good articles about them, let alone any decent history of the industry itself). This is bad for the English Wikipedia (which has a geographical gap) and conceivably it's even bad for the Greek wine industry (which has less information on its produce available to the internet-reading public). If some winemakers' organization was willing to fund a Wikipedian to go sit in a library for a few weeks and improve the articles on Greek grapes, wine legislation, producers, etc., I think that would be excellent for Wikipedia. It's work that needs to get done eventually anyway, whether someone funds it or not, so a funder appearing would just provide resources to make it happen sooner rather than later.
Of course, if instead of funding a researcher who sits in a library and writes articles, they wanted to hire a promotional agent who writes fluffy PR copy, then that kind of paid editing should be frowned on and removed. But then it should be frowned on and removed even if it weren't paid: if it were just a patriotic Greek puffing up his local wine for no pay because he loves it, that's bad editing too. So to me it's the nature of the editing that matters: is it encyclopedic, scholarly, referenced, or is it fluffy promotional stuff? Whether it's paid or not doesn't matter to me, because both paid and non-paid work can fall in either category.
Interestingly, this is much less controversial on some non-English Wikipedias. On the Swedish Wikipedia, paid editors are welcomed and encouraged, as long as they disclose their sources of funding and are careful about conflicts of interest. The focus is mostly just on "onboarding" them, to ensure they understand what is appropriate for a Wikipedia article and what isn't. One heuristic is that paid editors generally shouldn't remove information from an article, and shouldn't engage in attempts to "own" a page (such as watching it over months and trying to control its direction). But just showing up and writing new material that was previously missing seems generally appreciated, as long as it's suitably referenced and not PR copy.
Apparently Stierch was exposed because she was advertising the pay-for-article service on her oDesk profile.
Even casual Wikipedia fans are aware of how good the community is at sniffing out subterfuge...in what bizarre reality can a foundation member exist in as to not think this would be exposed, nevermind being seen as unethical?
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:PAY#Paid_editing
Paid editing by someone with authority over Wikipedia, that is where I think people are going to draw the line.
The timing could be coincidental. Or not.
You can't really call yourself a reliable friend of 'free speech' if your only concern is government censorship. Other forms of power and retaliation also suppress valuable speech.
Right, like covert, paid shilling, which is what is at issue here. If Coca-Cola got to write its own page, Wikipedia would be a lot less useful.
But is muzzling the entity and its spokespeople the truth-and-utility-maximizing response? It's suppressing information from the discussion, of which free speech advocates can be rightly suspicious.
Lots of paid work, even by people with an interest in the outcome, is useful. Until Wikipedia, all encyclopedias had mostly-paid authors. Almost all of the reliable sources Wikipedia uses have paid authors, often with a stronger-than-"NPOV" perspective.
If Coke wants to donate to Wikimedia foundation, or submit content to impartial editors, more power to them.