How Wikipedia can become a no-asshole-zone



I was registered to attend the WikiConference USA in Tribeca, but just 18 hours before the conference began, I received an e-mail from an attorney associated with the Wikimedia movement, telling me that not permitted to attend this conference that was advertised as “open to all” and even welcomed the “skeptical”. Many Wikipedians have been asking the conference organizers to provide details on why my registration (which had been made about 4 months in advance) had been revoked, but thus far none have been willing to reply. The new executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation (Lila Tretikov) has a live-in partner named Wil Sinclair. Sinclair has started a petition that he’s asking Wikipedians to sign, regarding this strange attendance policy. Thus far, 23 people have added their endorsement.

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So I see someone finally gets it. If you want more people to edit Wikipedia, stop crucifying them for trying to edit the site. I make a good living from people who have tried to edit the site on their own, only to get chewed up and ridiculed for their contributions. The WMF has been told time and time again the reason for the decline in editors, but it always seems to fall on def ears.

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I just read the article about you being barred from the conference. I am wondering if you are surprised by it as I wasn’t. This is just another issue to add to the long list of reasons why the WMF is too big and needs substantial changes. Wikipedia itself is in need of a massive transformation if they ever want to start building back their editor base while retaining the small mass that they are slowly choking out.

Nice car, fellas. You chaps always ride around in that thing together?

some google digging later

Oh wow. Turns out Dear Mr. Kohs is a Director at Comcast.

In the spirit of #ResetTheNet (h/t @doctorow), in light of the concerns about netflix/comcast (h/t @xeni) and verizon/netflix (h/t @beschizza) and net neutrality in general (again, cory)…

…I would submit that Mr. Kohs’ open display of his personal animus toward a non-profit website is a sufficient display of conflict of interest to be newsworthy. He can’t be trusted to not throttle wikipedia.

Here’s a cap to prevent the memory holing.

after some final twitter digging

PS- Stay classy, Greg!


Who are you going to believe Greggy Kohs or the lying internet!?


Oh lawd…


So, you set up a beautiful recap of a really important discussion on creating welcoming environments for learning, and asshole-free zones (with applications far beyond Wikimedia), and who shows up to play?

Thoughts on the keynote topic? I work with volunteers, in a community environment, and my takeaway from this article is the emphasis on hospitality, not exclusion. I may even make an asshole-free zone sign.


The basic rules of hacker school are brilliant.

  • no faking surprise
  • no well-actually minutua to undermine someone who’s on a roll
  • no backseat driving

These are contemporary distillations of the elemental building blocks of non-cooperative behavior. They are catchy, sticky, and well-defined which makes them very easy to teach other people. “Dan did you just feign surprise?” and “sorry, I just did a well-actually” very quickly become part of one’s lexicon. I’ve taught them to 2 bosses now, and didn’t even have to point them at the website for them to get it.

(yes, the rules also include no sexism/racism etc, but stating so isn’t particularly unique. From what I read though, the way that hacker school acts to enact equality is determined and commendable. (for example, the selection process noted in the keynote)).

Funny thing to me, is they are a Y-combinator gig. I sure wish their sense of social justice and ethics would rub off on the leadership of their sibling companies - looking at you reddit, airbnb, and dropbox.


Sumana’s keynote was excellent, in fact so excellent that I wrote about it in a profile of her. Hearing those rules at the beginning of the conference influenced my behaviour and outlook for the next 3 days there.


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