Strelnikov wrote:Just to get the "Rational"Wiki idiots out of everybody's hair, I wish there was a "Fringeapedia" on all fringe topics; a place where you could have NPOV articles on Cold Fusion, the Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, Fortean stuff, etc. - all the weird theories and encounters and whatnot under one roof with all the articles locked so that knobs like Tim Farley can't screw it up. The skeptics have "Rational"Wiki, the believers/researchers have "Fringapedia" and nobody fights because it's all intellectually segregated*.
That place was Wikiversity. It has an overall neutrality policy, but expression of opinion was allowed. The way we handled it was that an overall educational resource, in top-level mainspace, would be neutral, and rigorously so, more neutral than even Wikipedia articles -- because it doesn't need to be complete. It can be a bare outline. Then there could be forks, subpages, which could be essays, with named authors. I actually did this with some topics that had been highly controversial on Wikipedia.
I had created a resource that was really a placeholder for a dictionary of terms used by this controversial organization. An editor showed up who was widely known as a debunker, with high conflict on Wikipedia. He started to add incendiary material, from highly biased sources. Instead of revert warring with him, I forked the resource, giving him his own attributed subpage to put whatever he wanted, a second subpage where my original work was moved, and a third subpage for neutral material if someone wanted to work on that. (Like the top-level page, that third subpage would require full neutrality by consensus.) He was flabbergasted. Later, when there were difficulties on another wiki, he trusted my advice and a serious situation was resolved.
This neutrality of Wikiversity, which allowed "filling out" human knowledge well beyond what would be possible or appropriate for Wikipedia, was, to me, a stunning possibility. In theory, Wikiversity was a place where any topic could be discussed, far more similar to a university than to an encyclopedia. There were "fringe physics" articles that were tagged as such. When there were deletion requests for these, they were kept, because one could learn by cleaning them up, by identifying the actual errors, or clarifying what was fringe and what was not. Wikiversity was only partly for classroom resources, it was also for "learning by doing," which became a critical part of the mission.
All that was trashed by the recent intervention on Wikiversity and the decision of the bureaucrat Mu301 (Michael Umbricht) to prohibit fringe science topics on Wikiversity without prior authorization by a review board that did not exist, never had existed, as a total and undiscussed deviation from a decade of tradition. Prior authorization for a wiki page? Who thought that up?
This was the way that Mike pandered to the few users from Wikipedia who had been canvassed by AP socks (i.e., either Oliver D or Darryl L. Smith). He was fairly clear that he was doing it to avoid disruption from Wikipedians, by killing what they would disrupt about. Brilliant, eh? Stop rape by exiling all the women. Stop fringe POV pushing by not allowing any pages on fringe topics. Wikiversity had, before this, completely avoided the issue, and, as a result, the Request for deletion page was inactive for months on end. Revert warring was extremely rare. And people were learning. I certainly did!
Wikipedians had been invited many times to contribute. Sister wiki templates were placed -- and, certainly with cold fusion, promptly removed from the Wikipedia article. (The same thing happened with the parapsychology resource. Participation was invited, and if anyone thought the resource was not neutral, it could have been easily fixed.) No. The Debunking faction wanted to totally kill it. They actually hate Wikipedia neutrality policy, it cramps their style.