Conformity and evolution

April 10, 2008

A small war has broken out in the Wikipedia involving the pages on Wales and Scotland. If you want to track it back look on the talk page and edit history here. Now the debate has been about several issues with political overlays. One question is the map – do we show Wales as a part of England, or as some of us argue as a part of Europe? Another has been about changing some of the colours on the map, and the frame of the fact box. One of the people who puts a lot of effort in the page, an all round good guy under the name of Drachenfyre wanted more red. Now you would think that this was a minor issue, but it is creating debate with the self-appointed thought police who want all country sites on the Wikipedia to look the same on the grounds that it is more professional.

This seems to miss the point. I can agree that radical change is a bad idea, but minor variations in colour, shape and mapping conventions are part of creating an evolutionary system. Without mutation there is no evolution. I find it paradoxical to find the sort of tyranny you would expect from a sick stigma consultant being imposed in what is meant to be an emergent process of meaning. Shows how the old models shine through, give people something and the first thing some people want to do is make it neat and tidy. A whole bunch of people who have shown no interest in the article, who have not put the effort in are now pontificating about standards. Imitating that against which they rebel – like the pigs in Animal Farm.

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