A letter sent to the Campus Recreation department about the user CampusRec


Dear Mr. Davis:

I write to you as a member of the DavisWiki community and not under any pretense of authority. I have some questions regarding contributions to the DavisWiki website made in the name of Campus Recreation. Since Paul Dorn refuses to answer my questions and apparently regards my actions on the wiki as an part of an (imaginary) vendetta against him personally and student affairs generally, I now come to you.

In April of 2009, Mr. Dorn and I spoke on the phone about an unrelated issue. At the time, I asked him about the CampusRec account. He told me that his (multiple) student interns use it to edit DavisWiki as part of their job and that this was sanctioned by the department. I told him at the time that organizations using a single account for multiple people was problematic and controversial in our community. Multiple people using the same account provides no accountability. Also, we want people to contribute as individual members of our community, not as representatives of some group. The very name of the account, CampusRec, implies that it speaks for the department. My conversation with Mr. Dorn and the lack of a disclaimer to the contrary cements this conclusion.

In recent days, the account has done things like edit a page on the comic strip, My Broskies (http://daviswiki.org/My_Broskies). Coming from an account editing in the name of Campus Recreation, this can only be seen as an endorsement. One or more users of the account opened up a new account (known in our jargon as "sockpuppet" account) to flame an outspoken critic of non-academic student fees and spending (Mr. Dorn CC'd you his reply in this matter). This transparent attempt to disassociate the flaming with the CampusRec account was quickly demolished and the connection noted. Contrary to what Mr. Dorn asserted, the abusive messages in question were not permissible, as per PPM 310-23a V.D.2. (Reproduced in Appendix A)

Mr. Dorn is now trying to remove information about Campus Recreation's apparent endorsement of the comic strip. He is also trying to remove mention of flaming by someone apparently acting as a representative of your department. He has not, to date, replied to my request that he either reaffirm his previous stance that the CampusRec account is sanctioned or deny that it currently represents your department. The answer to this question determines if the information Mr. Dorn is trying to remove should stay or not.

I now ask you, does the CampusRec account ( contributions here: http://daviswiki.org/Users/CampusRec?action=userinfo, sockpuppet contributions here: http://daviswiki.org/Users/TheWarrior?action=userinfo ) represent a sanctioned contribution (as per PPM 310-23a V.D.6 [Reproduced in Appendix B]) to the DavisWiki community on behalf of Campus Recreation?

On a concluding note, I personally welcome the contributions of student interns to the wiki. Information quickly grows stale on DavisWiki and it's important to keep information up to date while simultaneously preserving information about how things operated in the past. I note that whether or not these contributions are done on the university clock, the university's imprimatur is unnecessary and often proves problematic in circumstances where contributions reflect poorly on the university, such as in the instant case.

Yours very truly,

William Lewis, BS '09 DavisWiki community member

Appendix A. PPM 310-23a V.D.2.

Unlawful activities. Users shall not use electronic communications resources for unlawful activities or activities that violate University policy(1), including fraudulent, libelous, slanderous, harassing, threatening, or other communications.

(1) The communications in question unquestionably violate the principles of community.

Appendix B. PPM 310-23a V.D.6.

Implying University endorsement. Users shall not imply University endorsement of products or services of a non-University entity from a University electronic communications resource without approval. Users shall not give the impression that the user is representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of the University unless authorized to do so. To avoid this, the user may use a disclaimer such as "The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the University of California."