Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

The Emergent Democracy article on Wikipedia has been flagged for deletion. "The article may be deleted if this message remains in place for five days.Prod, concern: WP:NEO and WP:COI This template was added 2007-02-02; five days from then is 2007-02-07." The neutrality is disputed and also is being accused of conflict of interest and neologisms. If you have have an interest in helping keep this article, please contribute to the talk page or help improve the article. I think more citations would help.


that's scary and funny. if sousveilance gets to stay... Emergent Democracy is an established part of my thinking about the net; moreso in that I don't really agree with it, but think it represents the way many people do think about it. Now I notice that 'cyborglog' got removed, and I can't say it hurts much.

This is probably less helpful than I'd ordinarily like to be, but I actually think Wikipedia's goal of "neutrality" is illogical, almost to the point of encouraging cultural bias. You can't really achieve neutrality; that's impossible. The most you can achieve is a kind of centrism by consensus; that is to say, if the majority of Wikipedia users agree that something is "neutral," then what it actually represents is a kind of emergent center point. However, get a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers together, get them to agree upon a "neutral" statement about LSD, and then introduce somebody into the discussion who wants to legalize it -- like the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Kary Mullis, who claims LSD makes you smarter -- and suddenly what was initially a "neutral" statement becomes a hotly contested one. Neutrality is unachievable and I think it's intellectually dishonest to try.

Anyway, I bring this up because on clicking the link, I didn't see anything about the entry being deleted, only a notice that its neutrality was disputed. This post probably belongs in the Wikipedia discussion itself, sorry about that, but I can't post there without logging in.

Luckily, however, I can edit Wikipedia without logging in. So I did. I think the real problem was the writing style, it was a bit like college Marxism, so I tried to bring it down to earth a bit.

look at it now, it was just flagged as "The neutrality of this article is disputed".

That type of deletion is a "proposed deletion". It only works if there are no objections at all for 5 days. Any objection will stop this process. It is used as a way to get obviously bad articles deleted without clogging up the normal system. This is obviously a not a good candidate for that process. If the person still thinks it merits deletion they can go the normal route.

For more info about that process see

I think Buridan removed the proposed deletion. I didn't realize there were two different types of deletion proposals.

Two? There are actually 3, and even more of you count the processes for deleting things like categories, images, or (not for the faint of heart) policy pages. We're nothing if not bureaucratic! :)

I have to say that I lost much of my enthusiasm for wikipedia. Exactly for situation like this. Right now you might be able to save it, but chances are that at some other point someone will flag it for deletion, and all the people who care about the subject will be distracted, and oops, now it's gone. I have seen articles disappear. The fact is that you need an discontinuous attention to create a good article, but a continuous one to avoid people deleting it. And since most of the information is added by external discontinuous people. While few people live, breath, and edit every article running wikipedia. The effect is that if your article is not liked by those people, or of a topic not known outside it will just go.

I just recently came across this article, and your concept of "emergent democracy" for the first time. While I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusions that you arrive at, which seem to necessarily involve a reduction of hierarchy and coalescences of power in the political process, I think that much of what is on the wikipedia article isn't really new. Rather, it is a (frankly inarticulate, and therefore insufficient) concept of what others have talked about in terms of "radical democracy."

Perhaps the movement of emergent democracy would do well taking into consideration the thought of political theory, such as that of Jacques Derrida going to Ernesto Laclau, etc., and, maybe, vice-versa, although I am more hesitant in this respect. Also, you might be interested in the ideas of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their work "Multitude" and "Empire" which at times reminds me of your talk about the "commons."