In a letter to wikipedia-l, I injudiciously used the word 'cabal' and made reference to a 'shadowy mysterious elite'. This was a very poor choice of words on my part. I thought that many or most people would understand it for what it was -- the notion of a non-existent cabal, allegedly controlling things, when in fact there is not one, would be well understood.
Let me be clear. In wikipedia, there should be no elites. All legitimate participants, no matter how much they may disagree on political, philosophical, or other issues, should always be able to edit pages in the same fashion as they can now. Only behavior that truely and clearly rises to the level of vandalism should be fought with extremely cautious uses of software security measures.
The "cabal" as I envision it (and as is clear from the letter where I unfortunately first used the term) is not a "cabal" at all. It consists of everyone who participates, with membership completely open and automatically and transparently so. Newcomers should not feel or notice any serious restrictions at all, so that we preserve the wide open feel of the community.
I think that in practice, there will always been a shifting group of 100-200 people who are active in the community, and these people will be "the cabal that is not a cabal". There is nothing special about these people, other than that they are here, they are working and editing, and their consensus will of course naturally rule the day.
I hope this eliminates any fear that I am planning now or in the future to create some group of special elites.
I want to stress again: I regret ever using the word 'cabal', and that I am and will remain in the future forever opposed to any form of hierarchy or elitism, while at the same time remaining open to the idea that some minimalistic security measures will be necessary to permit the active participants to defend the community from vandals.