Wikipedia:Leave it to the experienced

Sometimes there are disputes which are difficult to understand without a fairly broad life experience. Although some young editors are unusually empathetic and able to understand nuanced issues with wide-ranging real-world repercussions, and undoubtedly age and maturity do not necessarily go hand in hand, sometimes it's best to "leave it to the grownups."

This is particularly obvious when issues of privacy are involved. There is a tendency on Wikipedia to express "reasonable concern" over privacy actions such as oversighting of edits, redacting of real names and so on. But this is only a "reasonable concern" if one imagines that Wikipedia is some kind of common property with US constitutional rights of free speech and US legal rights of freedom of information.

It isn't.

Wikipedia is an international private project.

Sure, a private project to which many contribute, run in a collegial way, and with a fair commitment to openness and due process, but in the end a private project.

Example: we can ban someone, and they have no recourse to any third party to appeal that ban. This is as it should be. How else could we ever enforce our core policies? Freedom of speech is a constitutional right in the US, neutrality is not constitutionally guaranteed. On Wikipedia these are reversed. This is just one example of the differences between Wikipedia as some people see it, and Wikipedia as it really is.

And the more life experience you have, and the more you have to lose (house, job, children), the more likely you are to recognise how actions online can impact on these things for other people. Publishing the name of a student may cause them some discomfort and distress. Publishing the name of an adult and thus giving resourceful attackers crucial information may contribute to causing them bankruptcy and completely destroy the lives of an entire family.

The bottom line is: if you are not comfortable with privacy-violating edits being removed from view, you are welcome to fork the content and set up your own project. Wikipedia is, in the end, only a website, after all; it's not like the world will end if one revision is oversighted because someone forgot to log in and they're worried about a credible threat of harassment. Nothing is lost to the encyclopaedia (the end product, the goal and the raison d'etre of the whole project), whereas there is a huge potential loss by allowing trolls to drive away those who enforce canonical policy by savagely attacking them outside of Wikipedia.

So sometimes the "grown-ups" will tell you that they are dealing with it, and it's none of your business. Arguing the toss is not going to help.

See also