Over the few years of its existence, the Wikipedian community has seen great things. We have accomplished amazing feats and left the world in awe. Among the outstanding qualities of Wikipedia is its fairness. Articles are deleted after first being voted, anyone can talk, speak any language, start their own Wikipedia, propose a vote, say something stupid, etc. etc. Users are encouraged to be bold about editing pages, and to not worry about the damage caused. The globe is amazed by the fact that, despite Wikipedia having millions of articles and being bigger than any other encyclopedia and available in more languages than any other encyclopedia in the world and, especially notable, Wikipedia is more neutral than any other encyclopedia. This is because any and every individual (or group of individuals) with an internet connection is invited to contribute to Wikipedia. The project is famous for its principal supporting philosophy that states that although no one person knows everything, everyone knows something. Adding six billion somethings together gives birth to a miracle, gives birth to Wikipedia.
As a tool for the members of the Wikipedian community to better stay in touch and communicate ideas, solve problems, hold conferences etc., freenode provides it with a free IRC channel unlimited by advertising, charge, or heavy restrictions and this has proved to be especially vital in times of server failures. Wikipedians are informed by the error page, among other places throughout the Wikimedia Foundation's pages, that despite the failures of the local Wikimedia technology, they can access an IRC network that will connect them to other Wikipedians. This fallback link is given in times of failure to all Wikipedians, that is, of all languages. Indeed, the Spanish-speaking Wikipedians, as well as those of Dutch, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, the list is virtually endless- all receive a link to this chatroom when the foundation's hardware functions improperly. Being directly related to Wikipedia, established for Wikipedia, referred to by Wikipedia, and operated by Wikipedians, internet surfers expect Wikipedian standards, they expect to be treated fairly, patiently, and respectfully; they expect justice.
In order to best take advantage of the channels provided by freenode, it would be best to establish a set of rules, to be agreed upon by consensus of the community, that would ensure fair treatment toward the users and that would give the channel operators the power to defend this treatment from users who are simply unwilling to comply with the to-be-established norms. A document should be provided that will inform users, including channel operators, of their limits. Currently, depending on who you ask, the only rule for the room is "don't be a jerk.", or to phrase it less offensively, "use your common sense to avoid being kicked". This is insufficient because many people have a different idea of what is a jerk, and what is perfectly normal, people's common sense tends to be considerably distinct. To accommodate and address these lacks, it is proposed that the community join together and agree upon a basic set of rules.
An example of some of the guidelines might be as such:
- The general channel #wikipedia is created to deal with all general topics related to Wikipedia, as well as for chatting about anything off-topic. #wikipedia, being the central channel for Wikipedia, has no set language, users may communicate using any language they wish.
- For specific talk about wikipedia in a specific language, the channels #wikipedia-en, #wikipedia-fr, #wikipedia-es and so on exist. They are designed for talk in only that language when at all possible. Once again, talk may be on or off topic.
- Channel operators are to enforce a soon to be established code of conduct for the #wikipedia channel. They are not to abuse their powers for personal likes. A channel operator, though he may be offended from time to time, must remember that he has been entrusted a position to serve her/his community, not himself.