Response to 24

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The best way to deal with trolls in a free Internet environment (like Usenet--or wiki) is to ignore them. Please -- do -- not -- respond -- to -- trolls -- just undo his changes, if necessary. But don't respond. I apologize for not having kept that in mind myself. I could have saved myself a lot of grief had I kept that simple advice in mind. --Larry Sanger

Larry, (if you ever see this) this was silly - how do you know who is a troll if you dont talk to them? The "ignorance approach" is loaded with problems, among them the tendency to treat trolls like vandals instead of turning them into contributors. -Stevertigo 23:38, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Larry, I'm not sure what you mean by "trolls". Presumably these "trolls" are humans, just like you and me. Ignoring them, and deleting everything that they say (regardless of the content) seems a little silly. Surely it is better to judge text by the value of the contribution, not the value of the contributor.

This is a response from Jimbo Wales to 24. "24" is the nickname used for w:user:24.150.61.63; do not confuse him/her/it with 24.28.xxx.xxx who is also active on the site.

I recommend that people stop responding to 24. Reading over the various exchanges, it is quite clear that he is not interested in understanding what others are saying, nor the goals of Wikipedia.
that's clearly untrue - I've responded to a great many specific concerns and have never refused any dialogue with anyone - merely their ideology - it is, rather, the various people attacking me who are not interested in understanding what "others are saying" outside the doors of this project and certain narrow academic subfields - 24
Since he denies that we are a community because of a matter of definition, and he sees horrible motives in the lack of an Amazon rainforest article,
never said that. I said I see horrible bias in the lack of such an article when there are dozens detailing every character that ever appeared in Ayn Rand.
it seems highly unlikely that debating with this individual will result in anything relevant to Wikipedia. I also suggest to 24 that he start his own project that is more in line with his aims. --Stephen Gilbert
it's nice what you believe. however, this project pretends to be interested in a neutral point of view, and what I see here is grossly biased towards people whose world-view comes wholly from physics, mathematics, television and Ayn Rand. And, of course, the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica which is about the ultimate Pro-British-Empire view, by definition. I am not part of a community, nor your clique, but am committed to a political process to make this project better, and am entirely willing to make that process work better. Even people who hate me have participated in it to some degree, e.g. by adding worst cases etc. If you won't, that suggests to me that you are trying to take over this project, and simply wish to avoid negotiation.

I don't think that 24 really understands the NPOV policy. 24 writes: "It remains to be see if people here wish to find the actual median of global human opinion." And also: "There are 6100 million potential readers of the wikipedia, long term, and views shared near-universally by 100-300 million of them just aren't good enough to qualify as neutral point of view, if there is serious dispute about them among the other 5800-6000 million people."

But NPOV is not about finding the 'median' of human opinion, nor about presenting only views that are "shared near-universally" by only Western, technologically advanced, American, or whatever other group he means.

The examples he gives of things that we wouldn't even want to have in the encyclopedia betray his misunderstanding. Selecting just one of them, "hate views of ethnic groups" is certainly something that Wikipedia should have an article on. But the wikipedia should take no position "for" or "against" those views, but should instead present those views in such a way that both proponents and detractors can mutually agree.

Similarly, imagine that 24's hypothetical poll of the entire world shows that most beleive that "9/11 was caused by US foreign policy" -- what should the wikipedia say about that? Well, nothing less than that a poll of the entire world showed that a majority of the world believes that "9/11 was caused by US foreign policy". Hopefully our reporting on this fact would be enhanced by an NPOV discussion of the reasons why many people believe that, an NPOV discussion of what Americans believe, and why, and so on.

His threat to post to indymedia.org to bring an onslaught of progressives is interesting and revealing, as well. Brion Vibber's response was correct: please do, go and bring them in. If lots of them come all at once, there will be a period of chaos while they come to understand our NPOV policies, but after that, those who can tolerate NPOV writing will stick around, and that'll be great. It'll help keep those of us who do not share their viewpoints "in line".

But if his indymedia.org friends want to violate the NPOV, then they will be just as unwelcome as, say, libertarians who come in and want to violate the NPOV. Even such "stupid" followers of Ayn Rand, as your humble host would be held to the fire just as heartily for NPOV violations.

The interesting thing about the NPOV is that all reasonable people can understand why we have the policy and adhere to it. I suppose that if a large group of people descended on us, people who steadfastly reject the NPOV *itself* for some reason, insisting that instead of working hard to reach unanimity on articles, wikipedia should be like Usenet, with endless shouting and reversals back-and-forth and back-and-forth of articles from one point of view to another until someone gets too exhausted to continue... if that happened, then we'd have a serious problem.

But I don't think that such people exist in large numbers. Even people who I might personally regard as religious fanatics of one stripe or another generally _can_ agree to a neutral presentation of the issues.

Having said all of this, I think there is more to say about [[systemic bias in wikipedia]].

Is there a systemic bias due to the types of people initially attracted to the project? Quite possibly, but I don't think that this has been demonstrated convincingly. To be sure, the wikipedia is _uneven_, as the w:Amazon rainforest (24: is this here yet?) example shows. But unevenness and incompleteness is not bias, otherwise wikipedia will be "biased" until every possible sentence in every possible language has been entered.

How is Wikipedia biased? There are many articles that take into account what large numbers of people believe, even if no one here believes those things. We have some good articles on Islam, even though -- to my knowledge, at least -- they were not written by followers of Islam.

But other articles (or perhaps even the Islam articles!) may inadvertantly leave out important points of view unknown to the author. To the extent that this is true, then Wikipedia is _not_ NPOV, even when we think it is, because of our current ignorance. But this is always true of every publication by every author -- we cannot write about that which we know too little. At least with Wikipedia, our _model_ is fertile for change in the right direction.

--Jimbo

p.s. I think it would have been better had Axel not redirected your 'viral license' article, and had instead edited it. But you've made something of a spectacle of yourself with all these accusations!

I appreciate that, but it's inevitable, as there is an ideological clique here, that belives they ARE somehow NPOV, whereas I agree with you that "Wikipedia is _not_ NPOV, even when we think it is, because of our current ignorance. "
therefore, maybe you can review what's in governance and see if that is a good way to assess what "we" think, and three billionth user to see if those are the right questions to ask about the user (100th, 1 millionth, or otherwise).
when you *HAVE* some process for that, you may become a community of sorts.

24 responds - I believe there is value to some of these confrontations if they generate insight into meta issues - and I am doing my best to ensure that what has been learned in these confrontations has been recorded somehow - in "talk" at least. This whole flap about assuming w:particle physics as a universal w:foundation ontology (which is a narrow base on which w:cosmology rests as far as I am concerned) is quite a common one in cross-cultural projects. It's expected, and so is the "closing ranks" of all those who don't see any problem in the words "w:Standard Model" necessarily referring only to w:particle physics. I have made that point over and over again, and won't bother to critique w:Karl Popper, w:dualism or w:reductionism in the meta. I won't convince LDC, Axel Boldt, Olof, who have apparently chosen to defend these habits to the death.

What I have to say about this is said in the future of wikipedia and my major questions are in value system and three billionth user.

And no, I don't believe that the "X said Y about Z" convention is enough. vocabulary, certainty, appropriation of point of view, all play major roles in determining how that three billionth user sees all this.

I'm asking you to get specific. Ideally we'd be pouring our w:collective intelligence into listing threats, worst cases, best cases and visions and then compiling them, using the same terms as those, into a status quo view that would tell us where the contributors think we stand.

Is that unreasonable? What percentage of time should go into this versus the writing or editing of articles? We can pre-empt conflict at least by showing that these issues exist, so that vast flood of new indymedia writers doesn't totally break the structure, ignore the standards, and frustrate the existing contributors. What I've written is very very mild compared to what some of them believe!

Which only means that it will be rectified even faster. Your thinly veiled threats of a trickle of indymedia writers doesn't impress anyone here, so you may as well cut that out. AxelBoldt
a foundation of good articles that try to deal honestly with the genuine debates in the real world, not *only* the nonsense academics spout at each other outside of the practice of the subject in reality (e.g. w:ontology), will absorb even extreme opinions as annotations and etc..
I'm not talking about a trickle. I'm talking about the 50,000 people who joined ICANN to elect Andy Mueller-Maguhn and Karl Auerbach in 2000. And the hundreds of thousands more who read and contribute to indymedia itself. Have fun resisting, if when the tidal wave hits. Now, I'm talking to you and I'm capable of understanding every word and responding to it, which is more than most of them will do. I'm trying to help you establish a sense of what your so-called "community" actually believes in terms of visions, best cases and threats, and I appreciate that to some people I myself am one of their worst cases. Fine. So what? You still need to assess what you as a clique believe, if only to organize your resistance to people like me. I'm helping you do that by announcing this point of view, clarifying it as one of many in articles that are far too narrow (economics articles with no mention of Marx? ontology articles with no mention of theology? Come on Axel... this is nowhere near neutral now)
I just told you that your threats are laughable, and all you can think of is repeat them. Oh, and of course your tiresome ad about your "governance". It's worse than a TV commercial. Do you like TV commercials? I don't. AxelBoldt

But if "w:Standard Model" of wikipedia equals w:particle physics by tautology in the minds of one clique, this is already quite over. The wiki will be useful only to w:Eliezer Yudkowsky and no one else - and given that, his "Friendly AI" project will be very very unfriendly for its ignorance of w:ecology, w:civil society, and everything else that's alive and thriving. While being "Friendly" to particle physicists, it will chew up every other resource on Earth to build more particle accelerators. It will happily accept funding dollars from w:Amazon rainforest destruction or w:Great Ape w:genocide - because it won't know about them. Or, at best, it will know so little about them compared to w:particle physics that it will have to assume that non-physics w:foundation ontology composed of disposable crap like bodies, ecologies, and morality just don't matter. To most Americans, b.t.w., "standard model" means a car.

Which has its own well-documented ecological and social devastation impact...

This is the most serious problem wiki could have - and if you resist even the simplest and least controversial attempts to lay down a cross-cultural base of phrases in the titling scheme, and let clowns like LDC become your "chief editor", that's a house of cards.

The clashing views, by the thousands, will pour in and wipe out the useless structure built on that fragile and narrow base. I'm trying to build a broad base that can accomodate some quite odd but ancient and often useful ideas - but that's being resisted. If w:cosmology is something defined only by physicists, well... that has nothing to do with the three billionth user's most likely and vital concerns. And thus nothing to do with w:civil society, or human survival. It is just another means to distract us from w:primate extinction - our own, as we are amused to death by games played with expensive toys: weapons, particle accelerators, and perhaps universities themselves.


24, we're trying to create a free encyclopedia to the best of our ability and we can never reach perfect NPOV, but we try.

if you can visualize what perfect NPOV is like in practice, I hope you can write that vision down clearly as one of the visions
that is what I tried to do in Natural point of view, which is referenced in one of the visions I wrote. 24

Sure, it may have western biases since we're using English, but that's the fault of the language, not the encyclopedia. According to the Almanac World Book of Facts, only about 500 million people can even speak English, so thinking of the 3 billionth user is pretty proposterous unless you're thinking of about some 30 years down the road (and who knows... by then Chinese could easily be the "international language"). With that said, I

that's entirely reasonable, and if you want to edit three billionth user to make it entirely in Chinese, that's an entirely legitimate comment. Or, if you like, to lay out based on the Book of Facts and some assumptions about who gets to the net when (is that number there?), exactly when we hit these different communities. 24

wonder what your proportion of time is spent working on articles and that spent talking about articles.

about five to one, walk to talk. As [[Nicholas Negroponte says "we all need to pay more attention to politics". Realistically, though, if people don't share a w:cosmology or even a w:foundation ontology, let alone a vague understanding of how those impact the w:dictionary, there's going to be conflict. Time is saved, service maximized, by focusing on just that, and working out governance, truce, etc., means. For instance Axel added a little two-liner to worst cases which is probably an attempt to characterize what he thinks I'm doing, which is fair, as I did the same to characterize what I think he's doing... that is already useful cooperation.
in the long run, it's probably the only way to go, for the most obnoxious or controversial people (e.g. me) to focus on meta concerns and set up systems for others to criticize the hell out of me. As w:Larry Flynt used to say, "If I'm safe, you know you're safe, because I'm the worst." My hero.

I mean right now I could be writing or editing articles, but I'm here responding to your critiques. If you really want a

I very much appreciate that. In fact, I hope you can work with me to lay out some files to anticipate five hundred millionth user (who still spekas English) and one billionth user (who doesn't speak it very well, but is already using the Internet) 24

more neutral wikipedia, you could try the Esperanto wikipedia... --Chuck Smith

Eventually I'm sure I will, but when I watch TV I see people speaking English in need of a little more general knowledge, not people speaking Esperanto.  ;-) The articles here, hopefully, over a long period of time, will become standard and non-controversial enough that people cite from them on TV and don't question their neutrality. Maybe that's the definition of "neutral"? Both sides on w:CNN Crossfire cite from you and accept the source...? 24

Goodness gracious, 24, is it really that difficult? If there's actually something that's actually called the "Standard Model" in a field other

I knew of about six once, but two of them were the same... 24

than particle physics that needs writing up, we separate the page into "Standard Model (particle physics)" and "Standard Model (foo)" and set up "Standard Model" as a disambiguating page. --Brion VIBBER

I agree, that works fine. The problem is that it isn't done from day one, giving the impression that "Standard Model (particle physics)" is somehow more important than "standard model (automobile)" - the most widely spread meaning, or "Standard Model (DOM)" as certain extreme geeks might expect. But that just wasn't the point.
My point is that this, that the "Standard Model (particle physics)" is one of many w:foundation ontology or w:cosmology options, ways to look at the known universe. We should be careful about usurpation of terms which are extremely standard, e.g. would you not also want me to be extremely careful about "Green", "Peace", and "Greenpeace"? Three radically different things, and seemingly politically charged even to allow them to be abbreviated or used with or without capital letters.
If there were no article "Green" or "Peace", I'd love for you to put in an article about your concept of "green" or "Green" or "peace" or "Peace". Then, when somebody else came in with other concepts related to these terms, they would add the other concepts, dividing them up into separate pages if necessary. I really honestly think that would be great, the embodiment of what we're trying to do on wikipedia. So I think you can see that I don't share your concern, here. Brion VIBBER
I understand the naming convention, and I understand the flaws in the user interface software that shove capital letters everywhere (which is not done in any dictionary and should not be done in any encyclopedia or any GUI),
24, you never made a response about the questions raised in w:Talk:7-Eleven about case issues. Brion VIBBER
if I wasn't under constant attack by ideologists who believe that they have no ideology, I'd have much more time for that. I doubt I'll get to it at this point, unfortunately. There is absolutely no point in setting new conventions or fixing software for people who keep reverting any mention of governance of this project so that no one can even ask anyone else for their views of its future in an organized way. This project will die without some attention to governance, and until I'm sure it's going to live I don't see why I should contribute to its structure. This crap talk about "being a community" while acting like a bunch of infallible cliques, doesn't appeal, and people removing Swedish Bank Prize in Economics winners' opinions from economics pages, is just beyond belief. This place is full of Randroids or something.
and I am not asking for anything other than recognition that the foundation beliefs of all people speaking the English language to any degree (or forced to do so to use the Internet)
Wikipedia is multilingual, and hopefully the wikis in other languages will continue to grow, where they exist, and begin, where they do not yet. Our three billionth user might not even be using the English wiki. Brion VIBBER
possibly not. But there will still be a hundred-millionth, a two-hundred millionth, etc. I'd happily go with the consensus as to where we should set the mark. But insisting that only this 1000 or so people here define a neutral point of view, given the self-selection and early bias of the project, is outrageous, we have to admit that we just aren't neutral and need a model of our Nth reader to guide what we write, what level of vocabulary we use, etc.
represent "just as legitimate" ways of looking at the world than anything that could come out of any w:particle accelerator.
Catholics who follow Pope John Paul II, for instance, or Buddhists, are much more likely to see an ethically structured or founded universe, where choices about what particles decide to be seen or not may have more to do with what level of insight the universe (or "God", which 80% of people speaking English believe in to some degree) decides to let us have. A hard core of materialist atheists may well compose 95% of the w:wikipedians, but if they make no attempt to comprehend the world-view of even the w:one millionth user then this project will be rewriting forever and ever and ever - and driving away the exact people who we would like to come here and get into things.
none of this would have arisen at all if not for LDC limiting w:meme to his personal understanding of Dawkin's unscientific model, or Axel refusing to accept most notable 20th century philosophers of mathematics as having made any kind of contribution to the field -
stop lying. The claim that w:Paul Erdos was a philosopher of mathematics is ridiculous on its face and cannot be supported by any reputable source. AxelBoldt
and what about Turing, Wittgenstein, Russell, Whitehead? Come on. That's one name out of a dozen you cut out. Play fair. Erdos totally ignored and denied any view of math other than a universal world view. He committed hsi body to it totally. If you think someone who commits his entire life to something, thinking only about that thing, and doing only that thing, is not expressing a philosophy by example, you don't really believe in a philosophy of any kind yourself. Shall I call him a *preacher* of mathematics? Or a *theologian*?
replacing that article with something so abstract as to be pointless. To both of their credit, they are trying, and aren't engaged in mindless censorship, but are reflecting (honestly) a limited view of the world. Fair enough. LDC's Extropian views or Axel's Neo-Platonist views or my Green views don't affect our articles beyond reason. We all include and exclude certain things, but if we don't cut out text wholesale (as I *never* have), we're forced to encounter those views.
I was willing to work within custom for a while. But when I am forced to justify, with some 'source', the idea that a community is originally (and could or should still be considered), people sharing w:risk of w:bodily harm, as I was by April, the bias is beyond clear - it is becoming endemic. This is not personal - probably 80% of Western world academics will share these biases of theirs - but so what?
any reasonably honest attempt to assess the beliefs, vocabulary, and attitudes of even the one millionth user, rather than trying to see wikipedia as strictly "an end in itself" or science as the only world-view, will satisfy me. I'm trying. See meta home and if you see nothing about governance there, try governance or best cases.
anarchy is work. If we want a system that lets anyone do anything anytime we are going to be working a lot harder than if we have some shared visions.
Godspeed, 24

The Wiki software is available freely to anyone. If you dislike what this group is doing, set up your own.

I don't necessarily dislike it, nor like it. "this group" changes often anyway. What I dislike is the w:groupthink which constantly justifies its own ignorance, which is relatively typical of any group based on academia. I could certainly set up my own and supercede this project at some future point, if it can't adapt to the constraints of the larger world that it lives in. But that is not up to me to decide. Since this project is here, and these people are here, and I don't have any reason to believe they are bad people to work with, here I am, and I am making it better, if only by covering controversial topics that the existing "community" doesn't dare cover, e.g. politics, religion, basic fiat issues in economics, because it would clearly break them up into "tribes". That scares them, but to me, it is useful, the beginning of governance. Along the way, some who seek to keep it a clique will be offended. This will either be fatal to the project, or not, it will either break them up, or not. But I am being cast in the role of Satan here - being told that somehow I am the only one who sees the NPOV policy as descriptive of a process, not a full prescription (Which it clearly is not).

Telling us that we aren't a meaningful community because we don't fit your geographical/danger definition isn't going to get you anywhere.

if I wanted to "get anywhere", I'd get up off my ass, and go for a walk. What's your point?

Do I magically become part of a North London community while I'm visiting friends there? Or am I still American/New Yorker/etc.?

you are a member of that community to the degree you share its risk of bodily harm. You will certainly feel like an Israeli if you are at a Jerusalem cafe when a suicide bomber happens by, and certainly like a Palestinian when an Israeli tank shell hits your house. Beyond that, it's nothing but talk, hm?

The goal of this project isn't to assess the beliefs, vocabulary, or attitudes of a hypothetical millionth user? it's to create an encyclopedia. 166.84.202.xxx

you will create nothing but junk not worth reading without *SOME* concept of your audience, and what service your article is supposed to do for them, aside from demonstrating your own cleverness. You must at least choose to cover a certain range of topics, and omit others.

Actually 24, I think the above is a bit of a fallacy from not participating enough in wiki(s) before. Each of the individual up to the millionth user has the chance to "wikify" the content that they are interested in. So each individual can choose individually. This now appears to me to be a smaller project team than it originally appeared so you may be misunderstanding what is required for success at this point.

I just don't believe your assertion that offering "the chance to "wikify"" overcomes the social barriers. Look, I just tested this thesis over the past few weeks - I showed up with a rather wide range of carefully-researched material that was needed here, although some of it assumed terms of art or levels of prior understanding or lack of desire to impose personal ideology. A couple of pieces were not neutrally written. However, the process over the past few weeks shows that some highly reactive people apply some simplistic tests to what they read, i.e. "they don't like it", or "it isn't on google" by quite that name, and this requires a rather incredible uphill struggle even just to correct obvious things. Advantage: good articles at the end. Disadvantage: many people will not bother to fight Axel, or Larry, or LDC.

I would encourage you to participate at meta and here in a new fashion to get a feel for what I mean. Try wandering around and adding a meaningful paragraph or link or fact to some incomplete or obviously draft articles for a while and get a feel for what it might turn into if tens, hundreds, and then thousands of interested users and editors have contributed a tidbit.

I've done that for a good many. The outcome? panic, assertions that everything written is somehow suspect or agenda'd, etc.. I know how this common policy writing/editing process works, I am damn good at it. For things far more important than these articles.

This will keep you a little more clear of religious wars with existing wikipediasts who view themselves as article "owners" despite some draft policy against this tendency. As a fellow newcomer and revolutionist I would like to see you pace yourself and stick around for a long time. As

well, that's reassuring. I agree the "owners" are engaged in ideological combat, but you know, that's not bad, as long as they admit what that is. For instance April, Axel Boldt, LDC, and Larry Sanger all admit what they believe quite openly and their biases can be dealt with. They are all less problematic than people who simply say "this is wrong" when it isn't... when the four mentioned do this, it's easy to tell why they might believe so, and deal with it. Axel in particular is worth engaging in a conversation with - whereas I've yet to see a note from Larry that isn't patronizing, abusive, an attempt at "outing", or whatever. LDC was ok in the start but got less so as time went on, clearly pushing an authority position - "what you say has no value because we know who you are" etc - and his highest ambition, being an "Extropian", is to throw his own body in the garbage and convince us that the LDC-robot left over should be accorded his full human and property rights. Well that is damn funny but it isn't a human being worthy of respect. If all I did was clear people like these latter two off, I might be doing the project a big favor. They don't seem to have the ethics or theory of value that they pretend to enforce. And my method for dealing with hypocrisy is beyond unpleasant, so I'd rather Larry follow his own advice and ignore. LDC at least said that he "would not allow pages to become useless" - so he knows they must be useful to *someone*... that's a start.

much as I toss the term fork around, I have a realistic view and some knowledge of the actual resources required to create such a thing and it is not trivial.

agreed. Also, there is no reason to believe that they can't learn from this or a general revolution... think, if this project can essentially be taken over by political means from the inside, and forced to commit to some serious governance that isn't imposing values, that says much good for the project and people.24

Let us at least learn from the local success, failures, mistakes and awewsome innovation before we go to the drudgery of creating a derived site for some alternate purpose or ideology.

well, I don't see how the wikipedia can be considered an end in itself, unlike Axel, and I don't see how giving reasonably smart (high school level English) people a solid general reference on problems they hear about and face every day, could be considered an "alternate purpose". Also I don't see how continuing to breath and drink clean water and eat and not be killed by robots claiming to "be" LDC (in Larry's strange w:ontology they probably "are" him) can considered an "ideology". 24

An example might be a simplified version appropriate to self study via the internet in 3rd world/4rth world nations where English is a 2nd language. This would help create the 3 Billionth user. user:mirwin

Exactly the point. But then what does *this* wikipedia do? Help Yudkowsky's "Friendly AI" to bootstrap itself into Larry-and-LDC-like body ignorance? Experiments on humans because they believe in Descartes' Other, and "the screams of pain of animals are no more than the chiming of a clock?" Hmm. Then what? Seems to me that if we have to fork this project, then this one becomes a biohazard - because it *isn't* serving such users... Also, if you can't get the best contributors to write to such a useful level, aren't you enabling a massive "Singularity" type technology upswing among the native English speakers, long term, which they use to kill everyone else? I'm not as sanguine about the use of knowledge as others. I view it as mostly destructive and alienating - and would point to the personalities of such as Larry and LDC as examples. These guys went wrong in the vat somewhere. Yeesh. 24

... and the World witnesses breathlessly the birth of a new party! What will its name be? "Wikipedia Forkers for Amway"? "Postmodern Space Travellers"? "Green Catholics with a Business Proposal"? Or maybe simply "Embodied Synergy"? AxelBoldt

not bad. But I'd settle for just creating a simple w:Green Party that could follow the w:Four Pillars of the Green Party to build a simple w:consensus process to replace all this silly ideological fencing around faux rationality. Mainstream science, especially w:ecology, could be the basis for initial statements, and then objections to the scientific view could be accomodated via that process, rather than via the clamor that seems standard here today.