Governing Operational distinction

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Crystal wordprocessing.png This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Classes of Governing Operational distinction proposed, to date, as existing in the Wikipedia project:

  • ignore - read the title, but don't read the article, because of title
  • read - read or skim the article, but don't make any comment or change
  • talk - add some comment in talk, whether or not you've read the article
  • edit - boldly alter the article content and purpose
  • page redirect - a name is redirect to be "equal to" another name
  • page rename - a page is renamed
  • page revert - a page is reverted
  • page lock - a page is locked
  • IP ban - an IP number is banned
  • The mailing list is reviewed.
  • The mailing list is joined.
  • The mailing list is notified that an editor appears irresponsible in editing and should be watched closely.
  • The owner, Mr. Jimbo Wales, is notified (typically via the mailing list) that an alleged irresponsible editor is noncooperative and/or offensive in response to consensus building efforts from other established editors.
  • New site/software features and procedures are proposed for discussion.
  • Existing procedures and features are discussed for evaluation and possible modification.

Since these events either happen, or do not happen, on a yes/no dualistic binary basis, a single distinction (whether to do it or not) applies to each. Regardless of any Governing Ontological distinction which is assumed or claimed to apply, the Operational distinction makes a real event occur, e.g. you may ignore the article "because a troll wrote it". However, first you must determine who is a troll, else you cannot apply this distinction to take an action!

Any system of wiki governance must discover what these distinctions are, by examining the best cases and worst cases of their actual use in practice. When disputes arise regarding these distinctions, which affect naming conventions, assumptions regarding control and authorship, and other fundamentals, each discussed as a Governing Ontological distinction, it is ultimately resolved by reference to one or more Governing Operational. Accordingly, while one may ignore the Ontological, one may not ignore the Operational, as these are the actual regulatory actions enforced by fiat, e.g. sysop status, Militia approval, w:monarchy, or whatever.