Wikimobocracy

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Wikimobocracy is a system of wiki governance in which decisions are not made by a god-king or by an orderly wikidemocratic system, but rather by (sometimes unruly) mobs who possess power to ignore the rule of law (sometimes by expansive powers of interpretation) and make decisions on an ad-hoc basis. Certain Wikipedia processes, such as WP:ANI, seem to resemble lynch mobs in some cases, with jeering crowds assembling (often for their own entertainment) and causing a great deal of confusion and emotional drama by the often sarcastic and insulting comments they hurl. The more processes become dominated by people acting on personal feelings and a desire to rush to judgment, rather than by coolheaded argumentation patiently analyzing the applicable logic and facts, the more the processes resemble a mobocracy.

Part of the reason for establishing arbitration committees was to rescue users, especially in emotionally-charged situations, from hasty, ill-advised decisions by the mob. However, this has arguably come at the cost of entrenching a new de facto oligarchy whose electoral process is engaged in by only a few hundred users out of many thousands. One could argue that in any case, the elected rulers will tend to represent the prejudices of their electorate, so the republican system does not actually do much to solve the problem of mob rule.