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Armchair GM

Mike SteffanosThursday, March 9, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Yesterday I wrote about a site called ArmchairGM. Dan, who covers the Mets for that site asked me to check out an article he wrote on the Mets possibly signing Clemens. ArmChairGM is one of those community based projects, and anyone can edit something somebody else writes. I felt there is no accountability in this type of endeavor. Dan wrote me back and made the following points:

Thank you for the link yesterday. I noticed your claim that anyone who writes for us lacks accountability, because you don't have to log in to edit; and that the site in general lacks merit because anyone can edit/remove content. I'd like to clarify these points. I'm going to address them in reverse order for reasons soon to be clear. First, the only people who can delete articles entirely are site administrators, and even when that happens, another admin can restore it. A log of all deletions and restorations are publicly viewable at http://www.armchairgm.com/mwiki/index.php?title=Special:Log. Anyone -- admin or not, logged in or not -- may edit an article. That includes "blanking" the article, which means to erase all the content, leaving a blank page. But that doesn't mean the stuff really goes away. At the bottom of every page, you'll see a link called "Page history." That link shows all the prior versions of the page and the user or IP who made the edit. It also allows you to easily restore the page by clicking the old link and re-saving. Finally, you can compare versions using the radio buttons, to see what each user did. If anything, our site is *more* transparent than the blogs out there. If for example on your blog, you were to change a sentence in an article, the only way readers would know is if you disclosed that fact. On our site, it is recorded and publicly (and easily) viewable. Finally, on accountability. It is indeed true that you do not need to log in to edit, but that does not mean the editors identity is hidden. If you go to the "Page history" link, you will see that any change made by a non-logged-in user is labeled with that user's IP. I hope this clarifies and eases your concerns.

I did question the accountability, but didn't say the site lacks merit. I said I think with due respect I'll pass on the concept. The following disclaimer is on the site:

Please note that all contributions to ArmchairGM may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then don't submit it here.

Did I say the site was without merit? No. Do I think the site is without merit? Again, no. Dan a point to make in his article about Clemens that I didn't agree with, but did respect. By the way, Dan's article is here if you want to check it out.

Dan, for the public record -- your site certainly has merit. That editing policy spells chaos in my opinion, and it's not for me, but I would encourage any of my readers to check it out and decide for themselves.

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