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This sounds interesting, but I find it difficult to follow. Perhaps you could give examples? i.e. compare violent with non-violent scenarios, examining the likely causes and the likely outcomes of such behaviors? --Seb

I'm not sure if this is any clearer, but it makes more references to Wikipedia:

Actually, in many ways, I'm advocating a return to the philosophy expressed in Our Replies to Our Critics as opposed to that in The Wikipedia Militia. 'Our Replies' is confident and optimistic, and says things like:

The more people there are to abuse it, the more people there are to ward off the abuse: if all the writers are also editors (see Wikipedia policy), the few malicious elements are hopeless outgunned. As traffic increases, so does the number of people who work on and care about the project. We do not have a static number of "editors" who are responsible for editing everything; the number of people who do editing-type work increases directly in proportion to the number of people working on the encyclopedia.


It's simply false to say that Wikipedia has no standards -- the standards we follow are those followed by each of its contributors, and in some cases, these are very high standards indeed. As we gain more traffic, we will continue to gain more expert help, and as gaps are filled in, the only way remaining for Wikipedia to improve in will be in quality and depth. This, in turn, is likely to attract more experts, who follow their own very high standards.
To make a claim about what standards Wikipedia follows is to make a claim about what present and future Wikipedia contributors follow; to say that such people have no standards is little more than a baseless insult based in ignorance.

whereas Militia says:

Now consider the possibility that we are suddenly invaded with, say, fifty times that amount of traffic. It could be a major disaster. The face of Wikipedia could change overnight, and for the worse. So it would help considerably if we were prepared to help preserve the quality of articles and the positive elements of the Wikipedia ethos.

I support the Replies philosophy (note the very different titles), which is essentially, as long as we 1) each make the contributions we want and 2) support each other (this includes helping new contributors jump in), then we don't have to worry (in an organized sense) about malicious elements or preserving the quality of articles.

The Replies philosophy (or WikipediAhimsa) is supported by the facts laid out in the Replies article: the number of helpful and well-intentioned contributors will always greatly outweigh the number of malicious or poor contributors, unless we do something to actively drive away helpful contributors (by, for example, creating hierarchies, or attacking idiosyncracy or difference of opinion on Wikipedia policy). This was borne out for the beginning of the project, no organization against "vandals" and "dross" was necessary.

I argue that organizing against "vandals" and "dross" begets such problems: violence begets violence. Branding people as vandals and contributions as dross breeds ill-will, conflict, and antagonism.

The nature of organizations formed to combat problems is that they work to find problems, whether or not they exist. When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. The meter maid has a ticket quota, and will overenforce parking policy; the police force who sees its job as to arrest bad people will make unnecessary arrests; the FBI who sees its job as to root out threats to the United States will call too many people threats; the military who sees its job as to fight wars will fight wars, whether or not that was the best course of action.

And because organizations are inherently self-sustaining and resist critical feedback, they generally end up making big mistakes -- police brutality, surveillance and persecution of MLK, etc., Vietnam -- before the criticism catches up with them.

Better to just not make such organizations unless it is scientifically evident that no alternative exists; and then to encourage criticism of the organizations at all times.

From the ahimsa perspective: only because we are imperfect and self-attached can himsa ever be necessary -- as we all strive for perfection and the non-self (and the Jainists state that the best way to achieve that is through self-suffering), we strive to abandon himsa in all things.

A prime example of WikipediAhimsa is What Wikipedia is not, which presents edicts and counter-edicts -- self-criticism at work.

Violent vs. non-violent: my "How to Destroy Wikipedia" vs. "How to Build Wikipedia". (Though I do submit that Destroy was more honest; however, the harm it caused in distressing others unnecessarily and intentionally outweighs that honesty. Best would have been a critical but not vicious article.)

Violent vs. non-violent: deletion vs. editing. If you delete, you should justify your actions fully. If your deletion is questioned, you should respond fully. It is easier to delete than to edit -- that should not justify deletion. Similarly with restoring previous versions. Satya requires information -- imperfect knowledge is better than no knowledge. (Though confusion is also bad. These things all counterweight each other.)

Gandhi discusses ahimsa much more clearly: Gandhi on ahimsa, in response to Lajpat Rai, 1916

War and World Religions An informative, if rather pro-peace, overview of world religions and their positions on war.

The Soldier of Ahimsa, Nathaniel Altman Not quite as well-written.


My (naive) opinion is that the sum total of wikipedia policy should really be: write good articles. Vandalism isn't yet a great problem, though it seems sensible to have some sort of loose agreement that everybody will chip-in when it does occur. I doubt that anybody is seriously suggesting that "Wikipedia policy should follow the spirit... of violence." It also seems sensible not to take any Japanese analogies too seriously, I couldn't imagine a community that was more different - sodium

Dude, I ain't Japanese, I can tell you that. --SunirShah

Sorry 'Dude' :)

I think WikipediAhimsa gets closer to the ideas in MeatBall:SoftSecurity that are built into UseModWiki (though not this page). The militia is very far away from those ideas, indeed approaching a MeatBall:PoliceForce which is MeatBall:HardSecurity. But it's your choice how you go forward. If it makes you feel any better, my parents are Jains, so definitely Jainism has influenced my violent arguments in favour of soft security. ;) --SunirShah

Sodium: I don't think your opinion is exactly naive...I actually think that's about all the policy Wikipedia needs! ... btw, Jains aren't Japanese! :)

Rather than violence, I think you might agree that people are suggesting that Wikipedia policy should be more MeatBall:HardSecurity than MeatBall:SoftSecurity.

There are many differences between "some sort of loose agreement that everybody will chip-in when vandalism does occur" and The Wikipedia Militia, as it's now presented.

SS: Thanks for pointing those links out -- I'm glad that I'm reinventing the wheel here, because it implies that I'm not completely offbase. What do you mean by not "this" page?

It's funny -- my arguments in favor of soft security reflect a very post-modern influence; namely, I'm influenced by the free software movement, which was influenced by the civil rights movement, which was influenced by Gandhi, who was influenced by the Jains. I only looked up the Jainist concept of ahimsa for the writing of this article. "Soft security" also is rooted in the Enlightenment, and is codified in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. (You might call the Western version "selfish soft security" and the Eastern version "selfless soft security" if you wanted to extend the alliteration.)

Brin's The Transparent Society makes this point very well.

--The Cunctator

I think this page pushes things too far and fails to get it. For instance, "If you delete, you should justify your actions fully. If your deletion is questioned, you should respond fully." This isn't right. In a healthy organization, the members trust each other enough to not demand full explanations. It should be apparent from the diff what was before and what is now, and since we MeatBall:AssumeGoodFaith, we assume the editors are trying their best. If you find something lacking, you should be constructive in your criticism, ala "I don't think you should have deleted Sarah's statement. It was valid, and worth keeping." Or, even better, just fold Sarah's statement directly into the text yourself. This is how the MeatBall:BarnRaising works.

On the other hand, if you choose to take the route of hard security, you already begin by assuming bad faith. This leads to a cycle of mistrust and even more overt and excessive demands of the contributors. The question is, since everyone has the MeatBall:RightToLeave, at what point does this become so ennervating that your best contributors leave, sifting out all but the rottenest apples to take control?

Finally, I don't think you should take free software as your guide. Free software is rife with MeatBall:GodKings. The MeatBall:RightToFork just isn't sufficient enough to support this direct democracy. And I mean real democracy, not that pansy voting BS that everyone associates with democracy. (Remember, MeatBall:VotingIsEvil.) --SunirShah

I don't at all agree that Militia/Guard is following ideas from HardSecurity. Out of the 8 points listed only the 2nd - to temporarily excile people - has been speculatively discussed (but not with much seriousness, and nobody has suggested it should be incorporated in to the guard). The Wikipedia Guard is significantly different from a PoliceForce in that *anybody* can join and they have *no* special powers - this is far from trying to 'impose force from "above"'. In fact the Guard is based on the main idea in SoftSecurity, the AuditTrail. It is enforced through the second idea - ReversibleChange.

Ahimsa seems to make sense:

"neither do injury oneself, get injury done by others, or approve injury done by others"

But I don't think its neccesary to adopt an old philosophy (whatever nationality it is :) ), we should instead attempt to forge a new one. -- sodium

First, I think Wikipedia deserved the increase in spam it got after spamming kuro5hin. Similarly, if it publishes a press release and an influx of people exceeds your ability to absorb them, you also deserve what you get. You can only absorb so many newcomers at a time, so you shouldn't artificially exceed that. That's the beginning of the violence cycle. I recognize it might seem "cool" to be really popular, but Larry would essentially eliminate the social structure that the volunteers have created by flooding it with newbies. Then again, the trade off is a short period of spam against new contributors. Business is business, eh.

Also consider that newbies always bring new expectations that conflict with the existing social structure. This can be bad, but only if those expectations can't be listened to and addressed. It's not valid to be xenophobic, after all. But it's not going to help you if you have to debase the newbies by lumping them together as some sort of collective "force of nature" instead of interacting with them individually.

Second, I don't think it's necessary to declare something as patently absurd and hostile towards newcomers as a militia, even it is voluntary and is facetious. When we protected ZWiki after it was Slashdotted, we just put a notice on MeatballWiki's RecentChanges as a call to action. I think it's just the wrong attitude. Don't create cliques. The entire wiki is voluntary (*); it's not fair to think the militia is more voluntary than normal contributors. -- SunirShah

(*) Except Larry for at least forty hours of the week, of course. ;)

Er... I understand that not everyone liked the K5 articles, but I hardly think they can be called "spam", since the K5 community voted them both to the front page. To the best of my knowledge, Wikipedia didn't mobilize a voting bloc to push them through deceptively. I call everything spam. See as another recent example. Don't get too worked up over it. --ss

I'm not worked up about it at all. But I do encourage you to be more discriminating in your use of the term. --Stephen Gilbert

As for the "militia", I'm starting to partially agree with you. It really doesn't serve any purpose to have a listing of members; a notice of an influx of traffic on Recent Changes and over the mailing list would suffice. And I can see how it would seem offensive to newcommers. So, I'm off to visit The Wikipedia Militia to register my developing opinion... --Stephen Gilbert


Being a deletionist, in my humble opinion, does not really violate the principle of ahimsa. While the essay does not attempt to give a scholarly account of the subject, as it stands, it's slightly misleading. When deleting text you should be aware of who contributed and be considerate. However, you should also equally consider the users of the encyclopedia, accordingly deleting information that is unsupported by references may be appropriate. In conclusion, ahimsa is about considering others, but does not equate to wiki inclusionism. 18:11, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Philippians 4:2,3[edit]

It doesn't say anything particularly obviously connected with the "virtues of the excellent wife":

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Is there some other passage the writer was thinking of? 15:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Can someone please delete this article. I wont even go into why I want it deleted 00:59, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Please move to the correct namespace[edit]

Someone should move this out of the main namespace. It is currently linked from the WP:UNDO page, but the link is dead when transcluded off of this project. 20:04, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

"even if you approve of the results" is confusing[edit]

This is confusing; I don't think this means it's okay to approve the results after the injury's been done, but syntax of sentence suggests that meaning as a possibility. I think it means "even if you think the results would be nice, don't condone the act of injury to achieve those results." Right? Could use edit for clarity? --moved from article page 2008-05-23T14:21:51 (Talk) (9,993 bytes) (→Adherence to ahimsa: prettier formatting, & make second-person voice consistent :))

I think "oneself" is to not limiting the meaning to "yourself". It may mean anyone. You may do ahimsa by injuring the others. --Ans 11:28, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

depending how you look at it[edit]

one man's violence is another man's peace.

and, wikipedian are not equal each other.

Comes across as Jain propaganda[edit]

This article comes across as Jain propaganda, regardless of whether that is the intention. As such it is potentially offensive to many among the vast majority of Wikipedians who are not Jains, and may often have no wish to be told that they have to behave like Jains in order to be good Wikipedians. And it arguably also violates NPOV by failing to adopt a neutral attitude towards Jainism. It is also unclear why it is so full of untranslated Indian (Sanskrit?) words. For instance, 'Satya' seems to mean 'truth' or 'speaking the truth' (as we are told 'asatya' means uttering falsehood), so why can't it simply be written as 'truth' or 'speaking the truth', which is plain English that we can all understand? Tlhslobus (talk) 06:41, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

The history of this article[edit]

This article was created by an early editor called User:The Cunctator way, way back in Nov or Dec of 2001. It is possibly notable for being the first ever attempt to create a "Wikipedia philosophy". It fizzled out pretty much instantly however. It might be worth noting its age on the main article, lest people think this is an active proposal. Manning (talk) 07:18, 29 April 2013 (UTC)