Crocker's Rules

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Here's the full text from, in case goes down (as I suspected it had when it hung trying to load for a few minutes just now).

Declaring yourself to be operating by "Crocker's Rules" means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you.  Crocker's Rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind - if you're offended, it's your fault.  Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor.  (Which, in point of fact, they would be.  One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone's afraid to tell you you're wrong, or they think they have to dance around it.)  Two people using Crocker's Rules should be able to communicate all relevant information in the minimum amount of time, without paraphrasing or social formatting.  Obviously, don't declare yourself to be operating by Crocker's Rules unless you have that kind of mental discipline.

Note that Crocker's Rules does not mean you can insult people; it means that other people don't have to worry about whether they are insulting you.  Crocker's Rules are a discipline, not a privilege.  Furthermore, taking advantage of Crocker's Rules does not imply reciprocity.  How could it?  Crocker's Rules are something you do for yourself, to maximize information received - not something you grit your teeth over and do as a favor.

"Crocker's Rules" are named after Lee Daniel Crocker.

It's easy to find examples of Crocker's influence on Wikipedia [1]. This fascinating exchange, very early in wikipedia's history, is about systemic bias [2]. It appears that Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales wished to deny that any such thing could exist! (amazing). Some LOL points:

  • "biodiversity begins in your gut, where it takes 13 species of bacteria to keep you alive. This is not a "pet" subject - rather, you are yourself a "pet" of this subject." - 24
  • "killing trees from tree farms is far less a sin than killing them from rainforest basins. When you understand that, I've broken the cycle of destruction by commodification... if only in your own mind." - LDC
  • [some] "discussions *aren't* fruitful - they are at best a source of fertilizer." - 24
  • "It's also amazing that you say that Wikipedia isn't a community. You certainly are behaving as if you believe it isn't one." - Larry Sanger - isn't he just saying he is personally amazed? He quit Wikipedia soon after.

The whole debate is wonderful to read and it's difficult not to find something to agree with vehemently from every single debate participant. Some of this stuff should be mined to tease apart the issue/position/argument structures and build on them for this wiki project. Also, the Wikipedia project on countering systemic bias which arose seemingly from these early 2002 debates perhaps needs an equivalent for less wrong, as it is a small community that isn't very representative.

The last word does indeed seem to be the last word:

"I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a real definition of "neutral point of view" that isn't just "because we say it is". It seems like there are roving bands of Orwellian truth monitors enforcing a left wing orthodoxy here. The systemic bias I see isn't just in what IS said in wikipedia articles, but what ISN'T said. Minority views are expunged, suppressed from history by militants intent on enforcing their idea of what "neutral" is. Whole pages are voted for deletion by people who want to suppress the information those pages communicate. Deleters don't even give editors time to put together a decent article before they descend en masse to make the editor conform to the left orthodoxy or be depersonated out of wikipedia.

There would be much less strife in wikipedia if different factions were allowed to post their view of what "neutral" is for a given topic, and the reading public was allowed to rate articles. Particularly for topics that are generally in dispute in the world at large, either politically or with regard to other things, the idea of reaching consensus in wikipedia on a topic when there is no consensus in the world at large smacks of elitist arrogance and pretentions to tyranthood. User:Citizenposse"

  • Fascinating. I started editing Wikipedia in about 2005, but didn't seriously edit until 2007, and got very involved, eventually being banned in 2011. I'd done a lot of work toward developing consensus process, etc. My position on "neutral point of view" was that this was not a characteristic of text (for lots of reasons) but was, more usefully, something to be approached by maximizing consensus. I.e., if everyone agreed on a text, without the process being biased (i.e., excluding contrary opinion, ipso facto), we could treat the text as neutral. "Majority rule," in this conception, would be the bare minimum, tolerable only temporarily.
  • Wikipedia has some excellent policies, but the enforcement mechanisms have been very unreliable, and the "administrative cabal" -- Jimbo Wales' original term for it -- became highly conservative toward maintaining its own power. Consensus takes lots of work, it was much easier to ban people with minority views, because they were, allegedly and sometimes actually, "POV-pushers." As if certain administrators were not.
  • However, someone with a POV will be a sensitive POV detector for opposing POV. The administrative cabal, however, became highly intolerant of the discussion it takes to seek consensus. (It didn't help that the policies made for endless inefficiencies. Wikipedia burns out administrators.)
  • I was banned, the last time it mattered, for making a successful request on the meta wiki, where an administrator had raised old issues, long settled, and responding took providing evidence or the request would have been denied. Back on Wikipedia itself, this discussion was cited as being a "wall of text," and I was banned (in spite of general guidelines against using "other-wiki" behavior for Wikipedia sanctions). While this was just my experience, I saw similar happen to many, many users.
  • See, "wiki" means quick. So the number one problem of Wikipedia is that it is a wiki, without setting up safeguards to allow full deliberative process when there is conflict. The problem is not intrinsic to wikis, but it can easily crop up if "quick" is always expected. (I'm also user Abd on Wikipedia. I'd be happy to answer questions on my Talk page here.) --Abd 02:05, 9 November 2012 (UTC)