Sunday, May 25, 2008

Potential superpowers

Not the greatest idea for an article, if you ask me. Potential superpowers--what doesn't have potential? Let's see:

*Macedonia may not look like much today, but it didn't look like much before Alexander the Great either.
*Mongolia: same deal; see Genghis Khan.
*Corsica: not even an independent country, but who cares? Napoleon had bigger ambitions.

Actually the editorial disagreements at that page have more to do with countries that are kind of important such as Brazil. Today the discussion is about Russia. I noticed when a certain edit showed up on my watchlist. An IP editor made the edit note Removed slanderous, hateful comment.

That piqued my curiosity. When I read the talk page itself I noticed several signs of a discussion that was headed downhill. Actually the IP had removed the following:
Russia as a developing country...that's funny. I've lived in the US, and it's not more free or prosperous than Russia. I'd have to say, Russia is more of a role model than the US. India may look up to the US, but China hardly does. Nobody likes the US anymore, because of it's imperialistic, nationalistic, war-mongering, and ruthless foreign policy. Russia has better human rights than America, last I checked, America still has the death penalty, Russia has abolished it in practice. While the Russian people are subjected to the daily doses of propaganda we get over here, Americans get it too. The American media and education institutions are all about teaching kids how great America and how evil countries like Russia, China, and Cuba are. They're not. I've been to all three. If that's not propaganda, I don't know what is. Again, Russian propaganda may say it's a superpower, but it's not. Both countries have propaganda and human rights issues, so let's not try to put one over the other, that's just scaremongering and propaganda. [[User: Saruman20]] ([[User talk: Saruman20|talk]]) 12:53, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Here's one of the challenges that goes hand in hand with an open edit encyclopedia: Wikipedia isn't a discussion forum or a blog--and that post drifts toward that territory. I don't necessarily like what this person is saying, but that's beside the point: when I log into Wikipedia I take it upon myself to log out of politics. Blanking another editor's comment is a serious matter onsite, and only acceptable under specific circumstances.

Although both the post and the thread are problematic for other reasons, I don't specifically see slander or hate speech in that post. So I restored the post with this comment:
No slander in the statement; please discuss rather than remove. If an editor is misusing the talk page as a blog or soapbox then please raise the issue at a noticeboard.
National pride and politics are hot button topics to a lot of people. What experience on Wikipedia has taught me is that, in this type of situation, it can make all the difference if an uninvolved editor steps in and offers a better solution than what the page's participants have been pursuing. The key is to step in early with some mild and friendly solutions before things get too heated.

So I started a follow-up thread.
Please keep the discussion focused on editorial issues that relate directly to this article. If the editors here have difficulty reaching consensus, suggest [[WP:DR|dispute resolution]]. Best wishes.
If past experience is any indication of future performance, this will go one of two ways. Either the editors are reasonable and they'll follow the suggestion to try dispute resolution, or one of them will pick out my Russian username and accuse me of hating the United States.

We'll see how this goes.


Scarian said...

"...don't necessarily like what this person is saying..."

What didn't you like about the users' statement?

Durova said...

Partisan editors often mistake policy-based edits regarding political discussion for more partisanship. So when I restore a blanked post there's a chance I'll get accused of agreeing with its content. I haven't actually stated whether I agree or disagree with it; that's irrelevant to policy-based action.

Steve said...

Do you realize that you linked to the Republic of Macedonia when you were talking about Alexander the Great, when he actually came from the ancient Green Macedonian kingdom? Do you not pay any attention at all to the militant slavic nationalist POV pushers? Shame!