Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Virtue and Democracy

One of the things that I worry about with democracy is that unless it has a lot of other stuff going on to shape it, it tends to enable/encourage people to be the worst that they can be. From giving people equal votes, people can easily feel that that means they're equally qualified to an opinion, and that their opinions are equally worth listening to as others who put a lot of time and effort into understanding things. In theory, if people are humble and if they are culturally discouraged from voting on issues they don't understand, the negative effects of this can be minimised. If democracy is further accompanied with heavy debating, and those debates have substance, things can work reasonably smoothly. Democracies that are not like this are failures, both discouraging people from seeking wisdom and ignoring those that do. The role of Universities in combating populism in a democratic society is critical. Further evolution/improvement of society cannot properly occur until democracy is either abandoned or it is tied to a cultural programme that eliminates populism and stresses, by tradition or rule, prominence of educational qualifications on issues.

This weekend:

  • There was Rocky Horror. It was reasonably good, all things considered. I had a good time, and had an even better time afterwards, although as that evening went on, my memories grow increasingly murky (I become very sleepy as it approached 6am). I didn't wake up with a goat (or another person) in my bed, so all's probably good.
  • There was a chainmail party. We watched Invader Zim (yawn) and IT Crowd (yay).
  • Arbcom elections started. As I suspected would happen, an area where I made a strong push, based on an interpretation of a directive from the foundation, made me deeply unpopular with a bunch of people. A number of people are unhappy because they think our encyclopedia needs articles about cookie brands, and my deletion of such articles was apparently like stomping poodles. There's more to the story than that, but the details are pretty uninteresting. There are times that I'm disappointed with the community, but I've never had much faith in large groups of people, and our community's been in bad shape for awhile. It doesn't bother me that I won't be placed on ArbCom much (unless Jimbo decides to appoint me anyhow, which I doubt he'd do) - it's an ugly job that sucks people dry. It does sting a little to be so throughly rejected though (although it helps that a decent subset of the voters against arn't people that I particularly mind not liking me)
  • I apologised to Kelly Martin for being incivil to her a few weeks back. We had a conversation, and it eventually became heated enough that I snapped at her. It's extraordinarily rare that I've done this (in real life or online), and it may be the first time I ever did it on Wikipedia. Oops.
  • I moved from an earlier strong position that I had on a certain issue relating to gender and terms to a fairly neutral position, on further consideration on the matter.
  • I continue to worry about continuing culture shift on Wikipedia, and if the project is likely to survive and maintain its goals. There are a number of very bright people who "get it" in high positions on the project, but they're unwilling to lead the community, either in terms of providing direction or slapping people whose bad ideas are hurting the project. People allergic to such things are almost as bad as people who have the wrong character for leadership but seek it.
  • I had a nice, quiet day inside (sunday)
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