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content over community

The principle of content over community applies to any situation where there is a conflict of interest between developing a corpus that is useful to more people, versus one that serves the purposes of only a few - a "virtual community" with "community standards".

in press


For instance, when working as journalists, reporters or citizens have an obligation to the community of readers, not the community of reporters or editors, and certainly not to any crony of those party leaders they happen to support as individuals.

Journalists accept a duty to tell the truth regardless of which "community" it pleases or what power it challenges.

To fire journalists who are too friendly to their subjects is a journalist best practice.

in wikis


A large public wiki that stresses content over community limits cooperation among users that agree, deliberately, in order to ensure each point of view is expressed. For instance they ban troll polls, a form of social exclusion in which unpopular users are silenced "for the benefit of the community."

Rather, such venues used mediation, deliberative democracy and conventions like the 3RR and strict naming conventions to ensure no clique creates its own defensible view of events secure from criticism.

This is a wiki best practice.

in politics


Politics itself can be seen largely as a process of creating law: decision making about violence and the commons that transcends the use of any one community of users in any one generation.

On a long list of influential political philosophers one will not find any that argue that a community should have infinite power to modify its own rules without any requirement to address who benefits or who this will vary from ethical traditions known to work in the past. While certain political personality types do favour autocratic rule, and insist on all power to the leader, most require that a judiciary function and/or a constitution be applied to all leadership.

Accordingly a civic best practice called rule of law is normally thought to apply, and this requires at least a degree of belief in content over community.

relationships between


Sabina Romlin's paper Mediawiki and the public sphere explicitly addresses the relationships between political, journalistic, and teaching and learning, coming to the conclusion that mediawiki-based services are optimally balanced among present technologies.