Cabal Venues

Of course it should be noted as there is no cabal, finding a cabal to join should never happen, and cabal venues don’t exist. Or something. There is no cabal. No cabal. Promise.

However, remembering there is no cabal, you might still want to join a cabal. This could be for a variety of reasons, but there is one important proviso. Never join a cabal to try and gain power or do harm, it will end badly for you. You would think this go without saying, but “the cabal” has a strange mystery about it that attracts the wrong people on occasion.

Once you have decided that you actually think joining a cabal would be cool, you need to find one. This is actually very easy. Listed now are the main cabals and how to join them.

Being part of a cabal allows you to interact more with Wikipedia, but will take more of your time. It’s good for being more productive, and can be useful for any process on Wikipedia where you actually need other people to collaborate, examples being the “good article” approval process, becoming an administrator, or adversarial editing of controversial topics without being banned. Obviously like all collaboration, it’s a two way enterprise, everyone benefits from.

In short, the cabal is good for you if you are good for the cabal.

The Wikipedia Cabal

The most obvious cabal which everyone on Wikipedia is technically part of, if you have at any point described yourself as a “Wikipedian” then chances are that you are part of this mega-cabal. Common activities of being in this cabal involve building up friends and enemies and participating in meta discussion.

After a time you may sign you name to a Wikiproject and become more partisan, but the level of involvement in Wikipedia meta activity is unique to every contributor.

To become truly meta, consider heading over to the meta-wiki at meta.wikimedia.org. The denizens of meta-wiki are definitely not a cabal, that would be suspicious.

The Meetup Cabal

This cabal requires existing in “real life”, Russian bots and vampires need not apply for entry. Since Wikipedians allegedly have no friends or social skills, the existence of this cabal is somewhat of a mystery. But fear not, there is no cabal. Promise.

Meetups are organised on a regular basis in most populated western areas, with varying degrees of availability and attendance. Every year the Wikimedia Foundation has a big meetup called Wikimania in a holiday destination like South Africa in the middle of a drought, or Sweden. Yes, Sweden.

A subset of this is the so-called Outreach movement, which is nowadays closely associated with the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) and WiR (women in red) projects. Essentially, it involves holding an event called an “editathon” where random people show up and create stub articles on a bunch of things and probably never edit again. But you hope they do, because that is the point of the exercise. A lot of students and academics get involved in this.

Details of meetups are generally found on meta-wiki, sometimes on Wikipedia itself, occasionally elsewhere. If there isn’t a meetup near you then you still may be able to organize one, dependent on whether anyone else is interested, or if you have academic affiliations which could allow you to setup an editathon.

The IRC Cabal

One of the best known off-wiki cabals, IRC is an ancient communication protocol which is still used for some reason. IRC is divided into numerous chatrooms, most of which are semi-open. However the IRC room reserved for en-wiki administrators is the supposedly the best cabal on IRC.

IRC is the oldest “cabal”

Wikipedia IRC is somewhat controversial due to it’s involvement in petty dramas, conspiracies, and other undesirable activities. Obviously since these things came to light everyone stopped using IRC for anything even remotely iffy and there is now no cabal. Also there never was a cabal in the first place.

The Wikipedia IRC can be found on freenode and the most active channel is #wikipedia-en although there are over a hundred overall channels. Find out more here.

The Discord Cabal

The newest cabal, which does not exist, is based on Discord, a chat application which is marketed for gamers, but ended up being used a lot by the far-right, because that happens sometimes.

The Wikimedia Community discord server is actually free of nazis, because it has moderation, comprised of various Wikipedia administrators and Stewards.

The join the Discord, use this invite link: https://discord.gg/e8xxGMP

The Email Cabal

Since the beginning of Wikipedia, email has been an integral part of private communication between editors. Any editor can add an email address to their account, and then email any other editor which also has added an email address to their account. Obviously there is no way this could be considered tool for forming a cabal.

This is only the start of it, since numerous public and restricted mailing lists exist related to Wikipedia and various groups connected to it. Mailing lists related to Arbcom are known to be especially favored by high level cabalists, while public mailing lists are favored places for pontification about the absolute state of Wikimedia Foundation governance.

For a reasonably complete list of mailing lists, click here.

The Staff Cabal

Centered around Wikimedia Foundation staff, this cabal doesn’t really do much except for getting involved in issues related to Trust & Safety and the Technical department.

The overlap between paid staff and trusted volunteers can be seen in some of the other venues, but also in specialist spaces such as Phabricator and MediaWiki.org.

Obviously this cabal doesn’t exist either.

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