User talk:Jimbo Wales

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Congratulations on receiving the Knowledge Award and a cash prize of $1 million! [1] Everymorning talk to me 01:43, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Oh wow! Yes well done @Jimbo Wales:! Very well deserved :)--5 albert square (talk) 01:46, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Congrats! =D - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 01:55, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Nice Job! Hopefully it makes up for all the toxic users on your talk page ;) Winner 42 Talk to me! 02:38, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you all. It's pretty amazing. It's actually split with Sir Tim Berners-Lee so not $1 million to me but still it's impressive.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:46, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Congrats on this. Taking the emotion of the moment, I thought I'll suggest that perhaps you could institute some kind of an award (non-monetary) or recognition for editors from your desk or the Foundation's. Would motivate them too, similar to how we feel good when you get the award. Barnstars are wonderful - and great recognition. But a formal series of recognitions from your/Foundation's side could put some additional verve into our editor lot (or perhaps such a thing already exists and I am not aware of it; or maybe it's not a practical idea, but just had it in my mind for some time, so thought I'll suggest). Congrats again. Wifione Message 14:54, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
What a cordiality and friendly speech from someone who has been told "not to come back" (by Jimbo Wales himself), not long time ago! I admire your ability to forgive, User:Wifione. Btw, you don't work for Mr. Chaudhuri anymore? I mean, you don't manipulate those articles since it was exposed in your editor review and in other places ... --Vejvančický (talk / contribs) 09:35, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Truly amazing to see you honored equally with the great TB-L. Congratulations. To which NGO(s) will you donate the loot? Coming as it does with the imprimatur of a repellant regime, infamous for human rights violations such as slave labor, repression of free speech, judicial discrimination against women, criminalization of rape victims and Muslim women who marry non-Muslims, and judicial penalties that include the execution of homosexuals, pot dealers, and apostates, will you be looking for organizations that combat these human rights abuses? Writegeist (talk) 07:22, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

As an Emirati, and a student at the American University of Sharjah, I am disappointed that Mr Wales did not take the opportunity to speak out against the abuses that Writegeist writes about and which is documented here on Wikipedia and elsewhere. Mr Wales, you had an opportunity to speak out for the people in my country who have experienced true freedom elsewhere (I studied in the United States) and who suffer under a regime that does not value true human rights. The regime splurges billions of dollars on promoting a false image of life in the Emirates to a western audience; you had an opportunity Mr Wales to speak out for all Emiratis, and also those non-nationals who are forced into slave labour and have no rights. I am at risk by posting this very message. This is not how it should be Mr Wales. Instead, it appears you were bought for $500,000. You sold us out Mr Wales. (talk) 12:58, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
IP249, thank you for your courageous post. As this talk page is heavily watchlisted and as, for the time being at least, the co-founder seems to be at a loss for words on this topic (though not on that of so-called "Cultural Marxism"), perhaps some of the watchers will chip in and name human rights organizations for the co-founder to consider as beneficiaries of a gesture of largesse that would be in keeping with his vociferous advocacy of "moral ambitiousness". Writegeist (talk) 19:53, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

All awards are political. And the more money they carry, the more political they are. What did/will the sheikh want in return? Wikipedia just hit the new low. (talk) 22:02, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

@Jimbo Wales: Had you been in your home town the day before you received your $500,000 payment in Dubai, you could have joined the Day of Anger protest outside the UAE embassy to add your voice to those raised against the UAE's egregious human rights violations.

And only yesterday the Emirates Centre for Human Rights tweeted: "The silence of the international community despite the deteriorating conditions of PoC's [Prisoners of Conscience] in the UAE is shameful. Action must be taken."

Do you think the UK office of the ECHR would be a good starting point for you?

My suggestion FWIW is Human Rights Watch. Their online donations page invites tax-deductible gifts to help HRW "investigate and expose human rights abuses, hold human rights abusers accountable for their crimes, and pressure governments, policy-makers, and the international community to take action against abuse"—precisely, I'm sure, the activities you'd want to support with your UAE payment.

For your—and your page watchers'—interest here is HRW's 2013 World Report on the UAE: [3]. And here are their latest (2014) reports on specific UAE human rights abuses: [4], [5], [6], [7]. I hope this helps. Or do you already have a particular beneficiary in mind? Writegeist (talk) 23:47, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

I find this extremely worrying. (And now there's a comment, below, about a genealogy project, on which he "[doesn't] have a strong view"). I would agree about HRW, on whom this encyclopaedia relies extensively. zzz (talk) 10:29, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Indeed it is worrying.
Today is Human Rights Day. What perfect (and ironic) timing. The co-founder has $500,000 burning a hole in his conscience because he took it from a regime that's notorious for human rights abuse. What better day than Human Rights Day for the co-founder to give the tainted loot to Human Rights Watch, thus actually doing something worthwhile with the money, in a meaningful gesture of protest about human rights abuses by the UAE and other vile regimes worldwide—a truly grand gesture that would show some real "moral ambitiousness" and earn some real respect. What say you, Jimbo Wales? Or are you silent because you're waiting for advice from the PR people? Writegeist (talk) 17:32, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Common guys, I'm sure Mr. Wales has accepted the award with one purpose and one purpose only: He's going to donate all of it, to the very last penny to the WMF to be used for spreading a free knowledge, which I'm sure would help to improve human rights around the world. You're going to donate the money to the WMF, aren't you, Mr. Wales? Think about it. If you're to donate the money, you would kill two birds with one stone: First, you stop the critics who're saying that you dishonored yourself by accepting the award from an oppressive regime, and second your donation would help the WMF to stop begging for donations a few days earlier. (talk) 02:02, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I live in hope, but somehow, sadly I don't think that will happen. I hope I'm proved wrong though.--5 albert square (talk) 02:13, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I rarely speak on posts like these, but I am severely disappointed that Jimmy accepted this award without and an immediate, strong, public condemnation of the human rights practices of the UAE. One million is little to pay to gain the publicity generated by being able to attract famous figures for an awards ceremony. The United Arab Emirates have at least 250,000 people working in conditions that amount to slavery. Not slavery thrown around in a Godwin manner, actual slavery. Jimbo: return the award, make a public renunciation of the human rights practices of the UAE, and distribute the money to a worthy charity or other cause. If you keep the money, you are directly benefitting from modern day slavery and from the deaths of many, many people. Kevin Gorman (talk) 04:25, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
@Kevin Gorman - out of interest, when were you last in the UAE? Pedro :  Chat  21:02, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I tend not to go to places whose regimes I strongly disagree with. I don't particularly think you need to go to a country to be familiar with its underbelly - in fact, I rather suspect spending a week at a resort in Dubai would be less informative than the thousands of pages of reading I've done about governance in the Emirates, or the hundred or so pages of academic writing I've done about it. Kevin Gorman (talk) 00:56, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Every penny of the money will be used to combat human rights abuses worldwide with a specific focus on the Middle East and with a specific focus on freedom of speech / access to knowledge issues. Of course.

The specifics of exactly what the best approach is to doing that are not clear to me yet - I had no advance warning of this prize and so did not have any kind of plan in place. While of course I love the Wikimedia Foundation and continue to donate a huge chunk of my time and energy supporting the work of the Foundation, it is not an organization specifically focussed on human rights issues nor specifically focussed on the Middle East, and so I think wouldn't have nearly the impact that I can have in other ways.

The first thing that I did upon returning to London was hire a human rights lawyer full-time to work for me for the next month on these issues. That may turn into a longer term thing, or it may not. As I say, I'm only at the beginning of figuring out the optimal strategic approach.

I have always been extremely outspoken on these issues and will continue to do so. I am thankful for some of the suggestions given in this thread (and less thankful for the nasty false assumptions and snide attitude from some). In particular, I plan to contact and meet with "the UK office of Emirates Centre for Human Rights," an organization that I had never heard of before just now. I'll be happy to get leads on other interesting organizations as well.

Finally, I wanted to specifically call out Mr. Writegeist for obnoxiousness. "are you silent because you are waiting for advice from PR people?" That's a completely uninformed nasty remark that bears no resemblance to the facts, and indicates such a total lack of knowledge of me and my character that I think you should really regret making it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:59, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Mr. Writegeist posted his first comment 2 days ago, and you responded to a number of other comments between then and now. You do have a history of (seemingly) waiting for the archive bot rather than responding to uncomfortable questions.

Next time, maybe just say something along the lines of "I hear you, I agree, but I need another day or two to think. Worth a try. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 23:58, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your gracious and positive response, Jimbo. I imagine that it must be frustrating for you when various people insist that you jump through their hoops, lickety split. Anything that you can do with this money to advance the cause of free expression and human rights in the Middle East will be a good thing. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:56, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Thank you for responding, Jimbo. I can't particularly criticize accepting money from the Emirates and putting it to good use, given that most of my cardiologists work out of a clinic named after Sheikh Zayed. A million put towards fighting human rights abuses won't fix the world but can certainly do good. One possible use I may suggest for a small fraction of it: working on initiatives to improve Wikipedia's coverage of human rights abuses. It's an area we're rather weak in given our systemic biases, and given Wikipedia's prominence in pretty much all search engines, better coverage could result in a significantly more informed public. (I don't mean hiring paid editors, but productive content generating initiatives focused on human rights issues could do a lot of good with 50 or 60k.) Kevin Gorman (talk) 00:56, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Any word on what Berners-Lee is doing with his half of the dough? Neutron (talk) 01:14, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

@Jimbo Wales: "I have always been extremely outspoken on these issues." Please point me to instances of your extreme outspokenness on the issue at hand: human rights abuses by the UAE. Going by DuckDuckGo hits (not necessarily the best indicator), you have spoken about universal accessibility to knowledge as a human right, and also about the undesirability of "censoring links to legally published news articles and Wikipedia entries" because "history is a human right," etc. By contrast the history of your extreme outspokenness on human rights abuses by the regime that gave you $500,000 eludes DuckDuckGo. If you or one of your page watchers uses Google, I trust any relevant links will be added to this thread.
In reply to the question in my previous comments you said it showed a lack of knowledge of your character. If you want I can give a thoughtful response with specific examples of your known behaviour (behaviour helps us know character). My personal preference is to sidestep the matter of your character and focus on the larger issue.
Do you, in fact, unequivocally deplore and condemn the human rights abuses by the United Arab Emirates, from whose government you have accepted a payment of $500,000? Writegeist (talk) 03:15, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
You should go read WP:DICK. You are very unlikely to find specific cases of me speaking about the situation in Kyrgystan, Belarus, or any of a very large number of states who violate the right of freedom of speech and other human rights. I am not a one-man Amnesty International. I have always been outspoken on these issues and you should find it very easy to find out my position and to find specific examples of me speaking out against censorship in particular, which is the main issue that I find the world eager to hear my views on. (I could speak out against, for example, female genital mutilation - but no reporter has ever asked me about that issue and unless I had a specific reason to devote my life to it I don't think I could be very effective. And there are, of course, dozens of specific issues that I must leave to others.)
Of course I unequivocally deplore and condemn human rights abuses in every place in the world, including the United Arab Emirates.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:25, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Many people aren't so concerned that their highfalutin human rights are being violated when they face the more immediate risks of starvation, lack of clean drinking water, disease, sexual violence and/or war. Lots of things to worry about and where to begin? If you donated the $500,000 to support polio eradication or clean drinking water in the third world, I wouldn't fault you. Once basic needs are met, people have more opportunity to participate in civic life and demand their human rights. There's no need to aggravate the person who gave you the award by showing him up. Jehochman Talk 22:40, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
There are definite problems in the Gulf states that can be addressed, such as issues surrounding exploitation of labor. If he doesn't want to give it to the Coretheapple Penguin Relief Fund or keep it, he can give it to an organization fighting labor abuses there involving South Asian workers, for instance. Plenty of good causes, if he is so inclined and wants to specifically deal with the Gulf. Coretheapple (talk) 22:49, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Jimmy, did you do any research into the UK office of Emirates Centre for Human Rights yet? It's generally good to do some googling before setting up a meeting. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 11:11, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I only heard about the organization's existence 48 hours ago. I have neither googled them nor contacted them. As you should know by now, I'm a very deliberate and thorough person and so I will be very careful to do my due diligence before working with anyone. As I have said, I now have someone on my personal staff working full-time on these issues and we will be investigating slowly and carefully - to have maximum effectiveness - who to work with and what to do. Up above Cullen wisely wrote: "I imagine that it must be frustrating for you when various people insist that you jump through their hoops, lickety split". Of course it is frustrating (though more disappointing than frustrating) but not so frustrating that it will cause me to change my ways and react in some silly knee jerk fashion.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:25, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
FFS Jimmy, all you would have needed to do was to read the Wikipedia articles to know that accepting this award would be complicated, to say the least. As far as what I should know about you being careful, thorough, and doing due diligence... good gravy man, do you recall our interactions and correspondence in the past? It's all water under the bridge between you and me as far as I'm concerned, but it's your tendency to jump before looking that's getting you into trouble here, and the consequences in this case are a bit more important than whether or not Wikiversity overcomes a problem. Please, please just say no next time you're offered a reward like this. When someone in your position says "no!" loudly, firmly, and with an explanation why, it could actually make a difference. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 23:02, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
It does not seem the least bit complicated to me, and I've made exactly the right choice. Now there is going to be $500,000 fighting against human rights abuses that would have sat in their pockets. Excellent. I'm sure you want it to be difficult and scandalous but of course it isn't in the least.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:13, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Not the least bit complicated? Aside from slave labour and murderous oppression, this regime relies heavily on tourism, in other words on maintaining a certain respectable image. I honestly fail to see how it could be any more complicated. SBJ is correct: saying "no" could have actually made a difference. 500k means nothing: I am sure that they were absolutely delighted [8]. zzz (talk) 12:27, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, but let's be fair to the guy (I mean, he only founded the goddamn website we're using and all that). I've already gone through the mechanics of refusing and pointed out that if he had turned it down it would have been a silent gesture, which he could have turned into a noisy gesture by issuing a statement. But it seems to me that such a route would have had drawbacks too. Whereas taking the money and carefully using it for a proper purpose, such as specific NGOs dealing with labor abuses in the Gulf states, would do serious good. I disagree with you. Half a million is a lot of money for the kinds of programs that would benefit people persecuted in the Gulf states. Now if he uses it to buy a yacht, as I would do in such a situation, it's a different story entirely. Coretheapple (talk) 21:04, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I'd support a whip-round (in principle), to pay for a yacht for the founder of this website. But half a million would only buy a very small yacht. And, I have zero faith in the vast majority of NGOs. zzz (talk) 00:05, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Congratulations to founder of the great free-acess website! --Ochilov (talk) 18:11, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes indeed. If there are no strings attached to the award, I don't understand the problem. Yes he could have thrown the money back in their faces and issued a press release. But it's a million bucks. It can do some good. I am no fan of that regime but I would take that money in a minute if it was offered to me, and rest assured that I would bank it and not give it away. By the way, had he decided to refuse the money they would simply have given it to somebody else. Then, to make a fuss, he'd have had to issue a statement saying "they offered me the money and I refused it," which would have been attacked as grandstanding. So let's be fair, people. Coretheapple (talk) 22:46, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I think you need to understand that there are people who always attack what I do no matter what I do. SB Johnny is one of them. There's no possibility of winning so I just have to laugh off the nonsense and do the right thing regardless of the carping.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:13, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Well that's unfair... am I the enemy of the week or something? I defend you when it's fairly obvious to me that you're trying to do the right thing, though generally not on your talk page. I think you're trying to do the right thing here too, but apparently you're too far into defensive mode to catch my drift.

Hiring an assistant or intern with a background in ethics and international politics would be a good way to spend some of the money, because when you get pulled in for a photo op like this you do damage that's hard to undo. I know you mean well, Jimmy, but you've been snookered twice now by authoritarian regimes. Since researching that sort of thing isn't your specialty, perhaps you'd be willing to hire some help on that front. The volunteers of Wikipedia would feel better, no doubt, and would be a big win for you, us, and the world at large. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 23:59, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Greetings to new user Ochilov, and how lovely that in the space of less than a week you and the co-founder have become friends (according to your user page).
@Jimbo Wales: Having asked for evidence of extreme outspokenness on human rights abuse by a financial benefactor, namely the government of the United Arab Emirates, it's interesting and revealing to receive a response prefaced with "Go read WP:DICK". Particularly when it's from someone who wrote "...if an essay on 'Don't be a dick' is being used by people in a dickish way, something has gone wrong." If someone would care to write WP:ASSHOLE (yay! Gender neutral!) I'll bear it in mind as a suggestion for appropriate recipients in future.
Be that as it may, you nevertheless confirm the findings I noted in my comments: your past public utterances on human rights have indeed addressed general principles of free speech and access to information, but not human rights abuses in the Middle East in general or the United Arab Emirates in particular. I commend the clear statement you have now made in unequivocal condemnation of the UAE's human rights record, and note that you will devote at least some of the money they gave you to the cause of combatting their violations and abuses. Your clarification comes as very welcome news, not least in light of past connection to the Kazakh dictatorship, described by Human Rights Watch as implementing "a growing crackdown" on free speech, which came under scrutiny by the media [9] at the time.
SB Johnny makes an excellent point about the ECHR. But even if you decide the questions raised by the Torygraph and others—about religio-political connections and ultimate objectives—render the organization ineligible for your financial support, the people there may be able to provide information that helps to educate you more deeply about the UAE's human rights abuses. Thank you for an interesting and productive discussion. Herewith bowing out of this thread :) Writegeist (talk) 00:57, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
"Past connection to the Kazakh dictatorship" - total and utter and complete bullshit. I have no past connection of any kind to the Kazakh dictatorship.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:13, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

What I'm going to announce right now is unknown to anybody except a few people who looked at my slides before I put them up. I'm announcing today an annual award – probably annual, if I remember next year – and, ah, the title of the award is 'Global Wikipedian of the Year'. [applause] Given by me personally and my opinion, and later of course like everything that started out 'me personally and my opinion' will find a process in the future to have this be community organised. And this year, the winner is Rauan of Kazakh Wikipedia. So Rauan, if you can come down. Maybe it's too hard to come down – maybe he'll just stay there! So – I've been following the story of Kazakh Wikipedia, er, since, er Ting went to Kazakhstan, and he came back and he reported on something amazing that was happening there. And I started to get in touch with them, and I also I've been getting in touch with the government there. I've been talking to the Prime Minister there. [ …] I'm going in December and I'm going to give the award in the presence of the Prime Minister to Rauan, pending scheduling. Prime ministers are always hard to nail down, but they've agreed to the meeting, er, and I think that if we think about the things that they're doing, think about the things that I've talked about, I think that if we really try hard on this, instead of having sad puppies and sad kittens, we'll have happy puppies and kittens.

2011 Wikimani closing ceremony. John lilburne (talk) 13:19, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for posting that, but I'm not sure what the point is. I have met with, and will in the future meet with, leaders and bureaucrats and politicians from many countries with terrible records on human rights, in order to encourage, educate, and pressure them to change. I trust that your transcription is correct and so I must correct one error in what I said. I have never spoken to the Prime Minister there, but I was in communication with the Prime Minister's office. (In the next little bit, I got it right when I say "they've agreed to the meeting" - meaning his office.) That meeting never happened because, ultimately, when I met with a representative of his in Davos, a discussion of the necessary conditions for the meeting would have made it impossible for them to agree. I was ultimately told that if I want to come and visit Ruaun (which I still plan to do) they would allow the visa, but would not allow for any press coverage, etc.
People love to pull this bonkers Telegraph story up because of the wild insinuation that I in some way compromised my principles (perhaps by taking money? perhaps by Tony Blair doing things that I wouldn't, and... I know him... so... whatever) in the case of Kazakhstan. But the simple truth is that I have had no "connection" with the Kazakh dictatorship except one of lobbying them for change.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:02, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh the point is, and perhaps I'm being a bit picky here, that "I have no past connection of any kind to the Kazakh dictatorship" is not quite the same as "I have never spoken to the Prime Minister there". John lilburne (talk) 07:43, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that's being picky. Those are two different statements. Both are true. The original poster was trying to insinuate that I have had some kind of improper dealings or connection to them, which is frankly ridiculous. I haven't ever and I never will. What I have done, and which I will continue to do, is seek to use my influence as best I can to encourage positive change. That's sometimes going to mean meeting with people to tell them what I think.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:19, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

I always find it kind of weird that people think they have some sort of moral right to tell other people how to spend their money. NE Ent 10:48, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Calling a documented fact "bullshit" doesn't fool anyone except the foolish. As to the issue you raise of impropriety in dealing/connecting with the Kazakh dictatorship—e.g. paying a Kazakh government worker to copy state-controlled "encyclopedic" information to Wikipedia—I note you take the position that such actions are not improper; that you take them as someone who seeks to use his influence to encourage positive change; and that you tell people what you think. By the way have you, as a self-declared free speech activist (vide Twitter) whose dealings and connection with the Kazakhstan government are entirely proper, made any specific public statements telling people what you think about Kazakhstan's dictatorial control of information, suppression of free speech, and violation of dissidents' human rights? Writegeist (talk) 19:44, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Credit where it's due. (Christian Science Monitor reporter Dan Murphy responded elsewhere with: "The following facts had been established before he wrote the above: That Wikibilim is funded largely by the Kazakh government's sovereign wealth fund, that it says "paid editing" is conducted at the Kazakh Wikipedia with this money, that at least 40,000 of the Kazakh Wikipedia's articles were lifted directly from the government's own Kazakh National Encyclopedia, and that the government's National Academy of Sciences has been conducting "content and quality review" of the Kazakh Wikipedia's contents. He also doesn't seem to understand the idea that involvement with such governments, even when made with the best of intentions, can be in turn used by those governments to polish their own images.") Have you made any similar statement about Kazakhstan outside of Wikipedia? Writegeist (talk) 20:31, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I know little about this, but one of these days you ought to go on the board of a nonprofit, a type of organization that by definition begs people for money, and see what happens when the Government of Crumbumistan offers you $1 million. I think you'll find that it's tempting to say the least. If you're worried about paid editing perhaps you should join me in urging Jimbo to end it. Coretheapple (talk) 22:31, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Message from

This was posted on my talk page, since I was the admin who semi-protected this one. I'm just passing it along; I skimmed it to make sure it wasn't obviously abusive, but beyond that I offer no opinion.

Dear Mr. Wales,

I am a graduate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, and have a BA in Mass Communications (i.e. journalism). Your acceptance of the $500,000 in Dubai is the subject of discussion among Emiratis who are not in agreeance with the current state of affairs in the UAE as it relates to human rights and freedom of speech.

The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award which came with the $500,000 prize is named after Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the "ruler" of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE. From the positions he holds in the UAE, he is partly responsible for the current state of human rights in my country. I see that posters above are bringing to your attention the abysmal human rights record in this country. They, and you, are likely well versed in the state of labor rights in the UAE. They have not, however, brought up the situation in the UAE on freedom of speech, and therefore the ability of those in the UAE to freely disseminate knowledge, and this goes to the core in showing how absurd the award is.

Mr. Wales, please consider the following cases:

  1. In 2012, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation was forced to close its office in Abu Dhabi. Their mission is the promotion of “promotion of freedom and liberty, peace, and justice”. The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs also had its Dubai office closed by the authorities. No legitimate reason was given for the closure. See:
  2. In 2012, Assistant Professor of Communication Matt J. Duffy had his contract at Zayed University cancelled and he was deported from the country. Mr. Duffy helped to found a campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and attempted to teach students journalistic ethics and standards. Mr. Duffy wrote about this at Mr. Duffy also offers reasons for the termination of his employment and deportation at
  3. In 2014, Yasin Kakande was fired from The National and deported from the country for writing the autobiographical book The Ambitious Struggle: An African Journalist's Journey of Hope and Identity in a Land of Migrants ( Mr. Wales, please take the time to read this book, which is banned in the UAE (

There is another case you may not be familiar with. The UAE 94 is a group of 94 lawyers, judges, human rights activists and others, who have spoken out in favour of democracy in my country. The dissidents are members of Al Islah, a non-violent political group, and do have an affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. I do not agree with the politics of this group, I am myself an atheist (a capital offense in my country). However, I do agree with their non-violent stance, and I do believe in their rights to call for democracy in this country. This group has been subjected to arbitrary detention, torture and trials which have been deemed to be unfair by the international community ( On March 17, Osama Najjar was arrested ( because he spoke out on Twitter ( about these abuses. One week prior to your visit to the UAE, Osama was imprisoned for 3 years and fined 500,000 dirhams for speaking out. (,47327.html)

There is no freedom in the UAE Mr. Wales.

I appreciate greatly that you have committed yourself to ensuring that the $500,000 which was awarded to you in the name of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will go toward advancing human rights in the Arab world. I also appreciate that you have committed part of your cause to include open data access, but sincerely Mr. Wales, what good is pushing for open data in this region, when the region is not open in terms of freedom of the press and human rights. There are many groups which are fighting for basic human rights in the UAE and some of them, as noted above, do have some links to some unsavoury groups. My suggestion to you Mr. Wales is to make contact with Mr. Duffy and Mr. Kakande and ask for their advice and guidance.

I do have one simple request for you Mr. Wales. When you donate the $500,000 please do so openly by putting out press releases on these donations. There is no stronger message that you can send to the regime in my country, and others in Arab world, than publicly declaring that you stand with the people who do not enjoy basic human rights. This will send a strong message to governments that they can not place a price on human rights and for the silence of the West.

We, the people, of the United Arab Emirates, thank you Mr. Wales for your commitment to helping us gain basic human rights and we trust the organisations you will donate the $500,000 to will put the money to good use.

Thank you for your time. (talk) 04:19, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 16:15, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. I don't think I said anything about open data in this context, and I completely agree with you that it is a much less pressing issue than freedom of speech. I can assure you that everything I do in this regard will be as public and noisy as I can make it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:53, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

"After criticism, Jimmy Wales pledges $500k prize to charity" (headline)

"I can assure you that everything I do in this regard will be as public and noisy as I can make it." J. Wales, 14 December

Bravo. Someone has already made a start on that for you:

"Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales has pledged that the half a million dollars he was awarded earlier this month by the United Arab Emirates will go to charity. The move comes on the heels of intense pressure from Wikipedians themselves . . . " etc. [10] Writegeist (talk) 16:49, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

I've written to them to correct the core error in the story - the false claim that this was done in response to pressure from Wikipedians. I started the process from the moment I was told about the prize, including hiring someone full-time to work on the question of how to best accomplish my goals.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:23, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
The report's claim that your pledge came "on the heels of intense pressure from Wikipedians themselves" is not a "core error" as you claim—it's a core fact. Proof is self-evident in the content of the Congratulations thread on this page.
As an aide memoire: your receipt of the money was reported (I think) on December 7. On December 8 you commented here, "It's pretty amazing. It's actually shared with Sir Tim Berners-Lee so not $1 million to me but still it's impressive." Pressure for comment about donating the money began with my post on December 8. Pressure on you continued on December 9 when an Emirati commented on your failure to speak out against UAE human rights abuses and said it appeared the regime had bought you for $500,000. There was further pressure from myself and another user on the same date, and pressure continued on December 10. It was not until December 11 that you finally responded, and the response was your pledge. Do you have a different reading of the timeline? Writegeist (talk) 12:12, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
To arrive at your conclusion, you must rely on the silly assumption that nothing can occur without it being reported on this page. Deli nk (talk) 13:05, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Precisely. To be 100% clear: I started my consideration of what to do with the money from the moment I learned of it and before the prize was even announced I was already talking to the human rights lawyer about what the options would be. When I got back to London I hired her full-time. None of that had anything to do with any pressure from anyone.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:31, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I find the inability of some to AGF of your actions and the things you say to be one of the most discouraging things about Wikipedia.--MONGO 17:31, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I have to agree with MONGO above.
Also, as a bit of a plug for in-house matters, although technically it might well be very difficult to do, I wonder if maybe some of the money might be given to the foundation for the purposes of maybe paying for putting some valuable and useful PD sources, like local history journals and reference sources which over time fall into the PD, on the web or on commons or whatever. Considering that every year more sources become PD, and the era that is now gradually becoming PD is among the greatest periods of production of literature of all time, there is a lot of valuable and potentially useful information that could be made more broadly available. So, maybe, as an example, a donation to the Missouri History Museum to pay for putting images of PD works on Commons and/or the broader net might be one option. Or, maybe, a donation to the Columbus, Ohio, public library, which so far as I can tell has the broadest collection of local history journals in the US. Just an idea, anyway. John Carter (talk) 17:42, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Deli NL and MONGO above, and generally with John Carter. The digitization of PD material does seem like something WP could help pay for (btw -selfpromotion - see my unpaid work at Commons:Category:Postcard collections of the Presbyterian Historical Society)
Nevertheless, the suggestions for where Jimbo might spend his money seem to be quite far from the MidEast issues that it seems he wants to address. I too like suggesting to other people where they might spend their money, but usually avoid it because it never seems to work! To get some help in that matter you might more effectively ask for contributions from the chapters (e.g. WikiDC or WikiNYC), and I guess there are other places to make suggestions directly with the foundation. Perhaps there should be a central place for requests for big projects, such as PD digitization. I've always wanted to suggest that WP help fund the recording of PD music, but refrained because it is such a big potential project, and frankly I haven't expected many people to agree with me (but who knows?). Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:15, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Fact: The cofounder made his pledge after criticism here. The article's assertion is demonstrably accurate.
Fact: The pledge came "on the heels of intense pressure from Wikipedians themselves." The article's assertion is demonstrably accurate.
Fact: "Wales made his intentions for the prize money public after pressure from Wikipedians who expressed dismay that Wales, famous for his public exhortations against autocratic governments, appeared to have taken money from one that is notorious for its human rights abuses."  The article's assertion is demonstrably accurate.
Fact: "Following the [award ceremony], Wikipedians took to Wales's user page on the online encyclopedia to criticize him for seemingly failing to issue an "immediate, strong, public condemnation of human rights practices in the UAE." The article's assertion is demonstrably accurate.
Following Wales's email, an addendum to the article notes that he says he "privately planned to use the UAE money to further human rights causes before receiving any criticism from Wikipedians."
The DD's comments section is now graced by Jonathan Hochman dismissing as "trolls" the Wikipedians whose criticisms and pressure drew the pledge from the cofounder in response. This is of course Wikipedia user Jehochman, an administrator here who dismisses human rights such as freedom of speech as "highfalutin", i.e. pretentious: "Many people aren't so concerned that their highfalutin human rights are being violated when they face the more immediate risks of starvation, lack of clean drinking water, disease, sexual violence and/or war." Writegeist (talk) 18:40, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Irrespective of what came before, your comments certainly resemble trolling now. —David Levy 19:16, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Just because one event followed another one does not mean the first caused the second. The headline makes an arguably technically correct statement about the sequence of events (assuming you interpret it to literally mean that the announcement of the pledge came after the criticism), but strongly implies that the second event was caused by the first, which is wildly misleading. 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 19:17, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
You missed:
Fact: Some people are so busy assuming that Jimbo is evil that they lose sight of the obvious, that accusing Jimbo of lying about having someone already identified and in post before the award was even announced is ridiculous, tendentious and unworthy, just like most of what is written about Jimbo by people who obsessively use the term co-founder. Guy (Help!) 19:27, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
@ Levy: No. The comments set the record straight. @ Guy: (1) Use of "cofounder" ditto. (2) " . . . accusing Jimbo of lying about having someone already identified and in post before the award was even announced . . . " is a sentence that does not make sense to me. Are you accusing me of accusing the cofounder of lying? Writegeist (talk) 19:44, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, I think we can safely take the Daily Dot off the reliable sources list. Seems like it's a mouthpiece for idiots. Congrats on the prize. And no, a single malcontent or two is not pressure. Personally, after that article, I'd use the money to buy the Daily Dot and then use the magazine to promote human rights and start by firing a few reporters. My new Daily Dot would start off with an article about Pakistan's latest tragedy involving education, not how UAE's awards for improving the world are wrong. --DHeyward (talk) 02:03, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Or as it's now called..the daily dump I am not going to be forgiven for that comment am i... LorHo ho ho 02:13, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

No such thing as bad press?

In case you missed it, here's a link to the recent piece about Wikipedia published by Slate. Rationalobserver (talk) 00:08, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Quite clear that this fellow doesn't know anything about Marxism, "cultural" or otherwise. I'm not going to comment on his other points, but the fact that he is simultaneously defending the manipulation of Wikipedia by right-wing anti-feminist activists and criticising so-called Wikipedian "anti-feminists" is absolutely absurd in every way. RGloucester 00:17, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
How dare he suggest there are problems on both sides of a dispute.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 00:28, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
There is no dispute. The "Cultural Marxism" article is being used to legitimate the "offensive" theory he mentions, and has no basis in reliable sources. RGloucester 00:32, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
He's probably wrong about the 'Cultural Marxism' thing(definitely IMO), but he does point out some problems that we have. We can't be right all of the time, and no harm admitting when you're not. Really, without anon IPs and red-link accounts, Wikipedia would be greatly diminished. I think many long-time editors and 'vandal fighters'(including me) forget that sometimes. In any case, ce la vie. Dave Dial (talk) 00:55, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
If anything, Auerbach missed the obvious problem of an involved non-admin and self-proclaimed Marxist deciding it was just fine to be the one to personally decide the outcome of a divisive discussion about Cultural Marxism. *tips hat* Gloucester.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 01:10, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
There is no problem. I did not "personally" do anything. Consensus was clear amongst those who had an argument. I defended the encylopaedia from the hordes when no one else would, in line with our policies, and based in reliable sources &c. If you like inventing "schools of thought" out of thin air, please find something else to do than edit Wikipedia. I like the phrase "self-proclaimed Marxist". What do you, TDA, proclaim yourself to be? A self-proclaimed "Devil's Advocate", perhaps? RGloucester 01:14, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
A consensus reached by a group of related people pushing the same ideas without outside intervention is worthless. Stop trying to defend that disgusting subversion of Wikipedia's procedures. Akesgeroth (talk) 01:42, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Stop trying to defend the disgusting corruption of the encylopaedia through misinformation that has no basis in any sources anywhere, and never shall do. RGloucester 01:43, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
No basis in any sources anywhere? I go to that page and see 23 references as well as 10 links in the "further reading" section, linking to academics. Oh, but maybe I should have entered the prior discussion on the article when there was a controversy about it if I care about this so much, right? The problem here is that I don't care. I don't have an opinion on it one way or another. I didn't notice anything until someone brought it up to me and when I looked I saw what had been done. And you know what I saw? I saw a well-written, well-sourced article had been deleted and replaced by a "conspiracy theory" article by a committee which claimed neutrality based on what exactly? Either way, you can keep shrieking and clawing at your hair, it doesn't matter; the rest of the world sees what is happening to Wikipedia and that article is proof of it. More will be written and Wikipedia will lose the little legitimacy it had amongst the public as a knowledge base. Akesgeroth (talk) 01:51, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • "Well-sourced"? Where? Where are there any "sources" that posit the existence of a school of thought that spans the entire 20th century and contains people that never met each other, and never defined their theories as belonging to a school of "Cultural Marxism"? There are none. There never were, and there still are not any. A few books have been cited as using the phrase "cultural Marxism", but none of them support the existence of a school of thought called "Cultural Marxism".
As an example, which I and others have refuted numerous times, people like to cite the Dworkin book called "Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain: History, the New Left, and the Origins of Cultural Studies" as supporting the existence of a school called "Cultural Marxism". However, the book does not do this, indicative of the fact those citing it have not read it. First of all, Dworkin, writing in 1997, says "My account is the first intellectual history to study British cultural Marxism conceived as a coherent intellectual discipline" (pg. 3). From the start of the book, Dworkin makes clear that the argument that there has been this long-running school of thought called "cultural Marxism" is totally false. He says that he invented the term in this context. His book's purpose is to establish it, long after the theorists were dead, and after the conspiracy theory had already come to light.7
What's more, he specifically says that the Frankfurt School and Gramsci, two people that all these IPs and SPAs claim are part of a school of "Cultural Marxism", are explicitly not part of his "cultural Marxism". In fact, he says he proposes the term "cultural Marxism" as an alternative the more mainstream phrase "cultural studies" for an exclusively British movement that began in the 1960s, with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham. This is a fringe usage. No one other than Dworkin has proposed this usage, and mainstream academia calls it "cultural studies", which we have an article on. He admits that it doesn't exist outside of his work, and that he is creating term for his own sake to reframe the traditional academic viewpoints on the Birmingham school. He explicitly excludes those who IPs and SPAs say are part of "cultural Marxism". Regardless, his view is not accepted in academia. You will not find any other books referencing this definition. It is exclusively his, and WP:FRINGE. This is just one example of the manipulation occurring here.
Another example is a 2004 essay by Douglas Kellner, called "Cultural Studies and Cultural Marxism", which these SPAs and IPs like to use. These two works are the main sources for the IP and SPA arguments. It was written long after the conspiracy theory had emerged. It is not a peer-reviewed journal article. It was never published anywhere. It is a personal essay of 15 pages long, that only exists on the internet because he has released it personally for free. None of the sources it cites propose the existence of a school of thought called "Cultural Marxism". In fact, Kellner himself does not use "cultural Marxism" to posit the existence of a school of thought, but instead uses it in the purely descriptive sense of meaning "applications of Marxism to culture", which is not a definition that can be used as the basis for an encylopaedia article.
Citation of sources, and WP:V, do not mean that one can just throw a bunch of links in an article and say that it is "well-sourced". WP:V means that the sources must support the text, and that the sources must be reliable, and not WP:FRINGE. None of the sources in the article, especially these two favourites of the IP and SPA crowd, support the idea of a school of thought called "Cultural Marxism". Zero. If people can't read the sources, that's their fault. WP:V is a policy, and to adhere to it, the sources must support the text. All of them have been debunked repeatedly by me, and other editors. RGloucester 02:36, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
It seems to me that this is encyclopedic as a pejorative right wing meme. I suspect that the way forward involves treating it as such. Carrite (talk) 02:46, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't really like the word "meme", as it sounds too queer to the ear. Regardless, the fact remains that this term is only notable as a right-wing neologism. It is not notable in any other way, and no sources support it as such. I find it insulting that this "journalist", or whatever he calls himself, could not be bothered to do an ounce of research on the subject before making such absurd claims. RGloucester 02:50, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
The word "neologism" works. It is a notable neologism, I think, used as a slogan of attack and rallying cry. There is no such thing as cultural Marxism, of course — it's a fabrication from whole cloth in that regard. Really an attempt to turn the phenomenon of political correctness into an "—ism" with all the political baggage that accompanies use of the word "Marxism." Carrite (talk) 07:17, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Actually now that I think about it, maybe that is the merge-and-redirect that makes best sense: political correctness. Carrite (talk) 07:22, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
My fear of you doing that is that it will legitimate the conspiracy. "Political correctness" is a mainstream term. Conflating the conspiracy that posits the Frankfurt School initiated "political correctness" with mainstream use of the term is a recipe for disaster. RGloucester 15:09, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
We don't use "Other Stuff" arguments at AfD, but this isn't AfD, so I will. In my view Cultural Marxism is very similar to Zionist Occupation Government. It is notable as a right wing neologism or meme. Just as there is no such thing as a Zionist Occupation Government, there is no such thing as Cultural Marxism. But that doesn't mean that the terms are non-notable in WP terms or non-encyclopedic. Carrite (talk) 03:35, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree that it is notable as a conspiracy theory or neologism. However, to remain neutral, we need to frame it as such. As you might've noticed, many people here have been trying to pass off "Cultural Marxism" as a legitimate school of thought, as a way to maintain the article as a vehicle for pushing the conspiracy. It can only truly be dealt with in an article that frames it as a conspiracy, otherwise we'll end up with the same problem we have here now. We don't need multiple articles on this fringe conspiracy theory. RGloucester 04:32, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
That's what I don't understand about that discussion on the talk page - it seemed to miss the point. "Cultural Marxism" obviously exists as a notable thing (neologism, meme, pejorative term or whatever) and it covers the same ground as the conspiracy article. The only question in my mind is what that merged article should be called per WP:COMMONNAME. That's what the debate should really be about. From what I can see "Cultural Marxism" better fitd COMMONNAME and should be the title of the merged article.DeCausa (talk) 08:14, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── That's actually a decent point. As I look at political correctness there is already the start of a discussion of so-called Cultural Marxism there. That would seem a good merge-and-redirect target. If one is really intent on lumping it with a piece on a "conspiracy theory" (which I personally really don't see), then if there is a merge-and-redirect there the piece is probably written backwards, with so-called "Cultural Marxism" the common name and most likely search term. Carrite (talk) 12:32, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

No, because that frames it as legitimate. If you want to call it the "Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory" fine, but you can't just call it "Cultural Marxism". Regardless, I still favour calling the "Frankfurt School conspiracy theory", because that's how reliable sources on the subject describe it. You cannot compromise our neutrality. We must use a WP:NDESC title, not give credence to this conspiracy.. This is exactly what has happened since the start of the article's existence. Unless you frame it in line with RS and neutrally, people are going to try and pass it off as a legitimate Marxist school of thought. It isn't, and so it cannot be framed as such. RS do not frame it like that. It must be clear from the outset what it is. Otherwise, you'll have the same problems over and over again. Read the works by Lind et al. You'll see that the origins of this term lie in the conspiracy theory. It is as light as day. RGloucester 14:41, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
But, you see, labeling it as a "conspiracy theory" makes for an inherently POV title. Again, back to Zionist Occupation Government. That's a correct and parallel handling, I think. The title is neutral but the content is very clear about what the right wing meme is and how it came about. It doesn't "legitimize" fascist ideology to list it as such; and doing the same won't legitimize the comparable paranoid creation from whole cloth, "Cultural Marxism." Carrite (talk) 16:34, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
It does not compromise WP:NPOV to label something a conspiracy theory if it supported by the vast majority of reliable sources, which it is (per WP:FRINGE). In the case of "Zionist Occupation Government", there is no chance for confusion with any potentially legitimate idea. However, in the case of "Cultural Marxism", people are trying to weasel around the reality of the situation, which is that reliable sources call this the "Frankfurt School conspiracy theory", and that there is no real school of thought called "Cultural Marxism". Essentially, naming this article "Cultural Marxism" is equivalent to naming 9/11 conspiracy theories as Cause of 9/11. If it isn't framed correctly, the result is that we'll continue to have the same problems that have been had since the first day of this article's existence. Read the old talk page entries. I'm open to other potential suggestions for a title, but just-plain "Cultural Marxism" simply isn't acceptable. RGloucester 16:55, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Sure it is acceptable — it's just an article title and a common search term... The content is what matters... Carrite (talk) 05:56, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  • The journalist who wrote this article is unethical. He didn't attempt to contact the people (Eric Corbett, Sitush)[11] or organizations (ArbCom) [12] that he wrote negatively about. This is a violation of journalistic ethics: "Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing." [13] I hope Jimmy will write a letter to Slate setting forth these facts. Jehochman Talk 15:14, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
True but he makes valid points about process, fairness, consistency and the invulnerability of administrators. I think that we ignore such criticism at our peril. Coretheapple (talk) 15:34, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
If the article were an opinion piece, he would be welcome to publish his opinions, but it seems to be labelled as news reporting. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Jehochman Talk 15:38, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

It's near impossible to verify who's male & female on Wikipedia. Therefore, the story has shaky ground. GoodDay (talk) 15:35, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes, a lot of female editors don't disclose because it's not relevant or because they want to avoid cyberstalkers who target women. We've had a few of those over the years. Jehochman Talk 15:38, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
IMHO, all editors are gender-neutral. I've often felt that Wikipedia should've requested (upon its creation) that editors not self-identify as a gender. GoodDay (talk) 15:42, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
No one should identify as anything, lest one be called a "self-proclaimed xxxx" and assaulted for it. RGloucester 15:47, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I didn't "assault" you, dude. All I did was cite that as one of several reasons for why you should not have closed a contentious merge discussion.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 00:14, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
That's not a valid reason at all, anymore than it is valid for me to say that you should not close any discussions because you're a self-proclaimed "devil's advocate" who will skew consensus toward fringe viewpoints. RGloucester 00:31, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

When an article says Wikipedia is good, its all cheering and dancing. But when someone criticizes Wikipedia, its obviously an unethical, evil, corrupted journalist. I have to agree with a few points made, if not all. Wikipedia is horribly bureaucratic, and there are many things to work on, IMO. I also understand his frustration, since his own time here was pretty unpleasant. Its one thing to get third party accounts of something, is a whole other thing to be inside the roiling underbelly of Wikipedia. Wikipedia isn't perfect, and it never will be. Nothing is perfect. However objectively viewing outsider criticism and accepting the fact that Wikipedia/Wikimedia aren't perfect, are the first steps to improvement. I don't know how to say this nicely, but the perfect image Wikipedia has must be shattered. --DSA510 Pls No Bully 15:54, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

The unethical thing is when a journalist passes off an opinion piece as news. I think there is some validity to his criticisms, but his reporting is not up to journalistic standards. You don't write bad things about people without attempting to contact them and get their side of the story. Jehochman Talk 15:57, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I think that questioning the ethics of the reporter is not a productive exercise. Yes, he should have reached out to the people mentioned (especially Jimbo and others mentioned by name). But he makes some really good points. Attacking the messenger is always a bad idea. Coretheapple (talk) 16:51, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Too bad the messenger was shot before he wrote this. --DSA510 Pls No Bully 16:59, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by that. I'm not familiar with the Marxism article he refers to, but I think his general observations are constructive. To my knowledge he is not a "professional critic" of Wikipedia like the Register writer referred to in a separate discussion. Coretheapple (talk) 17:55, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • The article is great and basically accurate in its critique. Whether he got details on the gender composition or cultural marxism (which is not the same as the frankfurt school conspiracy theory, but rather a negative epithet used to describe certain positions within a culture wars context) is irrelevant. If we dont accept vaid critiques and start trying to do something about them then we are truly doomed.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:02, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
People that do no fact-checking have no right to issue critiques. His idea of a "well-sourced" article is one where none of the sources provided support its existence. The very version he linked to had only one source in the lead, attached to the sentence "Cultural Marxism refers to a school or offshoot of Marxism that conceives of culture as central to the legitimation of oppression, in addition to the economic factors that Karl Marx emphasized". This book, "Western Marxism", by Merquior, does not mention the term "Cultural Marxism" even once. It is a book about Western Marxism, which we have an article on. This fellow is on a soapbox. He has no credibility. Some of the things he mentions, we already know. We don't need to be told them again by someone who cannot even bother to verify what he writes. RGloucester 17:09, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
The very version he linked to had only one source in the lead Per WP:LEADCITE: "The presence of citations in the introduction is neither required in every article nor prohibited in any article." Rationalobserver (talk) 17:28, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
While you are of course entitled to your own opinion as is everyone else User:RGloucester, I am not sure what you mean by "we" or how accurate some of those assertions are really. Despite the issues with the article, I am fairly sure a number of users still read it with interest - and even if some of those concerns were "already known" previously, those users subsequent to reading the article have a greater desire that efforts are made to try to address those now-publicised concerns. Personally, I don't think the project benefits merely from dismissing a valid concern or criticism due to the form in which it was raised, in public as it so happens. Ncmvocalist (talk) 17:33, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
It isn't "required", but in this case it is necessary, considering that there is no evidence of this "school of thought" existing anywhere. No sources in the article, lead or otherwise, support the text. One cannot make a contentious claim like "Cultural Marxism is a school or offshoot of Marxism that conceives of culture as central to the legitimation of oppression, in addition to the economic factors that Karl Marx emphasized" without a source to back it up. The "evidence" that was cited is not evidence at all, as it does not even mention the phrase "Cultural Marxism". This is the Wikipedia article he calls "adequate and fairly neutral". It is too bad that the Frankfurt School are not alive today, for they'd leap on this very article as indicative of the capitalist use of the culture industry to conceal reality behind the veil of the screen. RGloucester 17:41, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
See the Fallacy of composition. This piece obviously has some problems, but many of the individual points ring pretty true to me. Rationalobserver (talk) 17:47, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
So what? Does one want to base how we should build this encylopaedia on the views of a fellow who believes that articles with no citations to support their text are "adequate and fairly neutral"? These "individual points" are widely acknowledged, and discussed here on a nearly daily basis. It is quite clear that this fellow is not a reliable source, as his ability to fact-check is nil. He should not be used as a source for any argument made here. There are many better articles on this subject, not written by such demagogues as this. RGloucester 17:52, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
You seem pretty upset about that Marxism thing or whatever. Is that going to be your only argument or what? I also enjoy the hilarious double standard here. When an article is used, which doesn't attack Wikipedia, it is not scrutinized. Further if its from a supposed "RS". Just on merit of past accuracy, and not "attacking" Wikipedia, do sources get cited. Journalism today, as a majority, is incompetent and lazy. "The hacker known as 4chan" or "password app". Ring any bells? That wasn't Fox with their stupid exploring van. Thats CNN. Majy sources for recent events are poorly sourced. I think Wikipedia is to blame. Citogenisis is rampant, since many "journalists" are lazy and incompetent. Keller here, has seen first-hand the idiotic bureaucracy that goes on behind scenes at Wikipedia. He's more qualified than most to talk about Wikipedia. --DSA510 Pls No Bully 18:13, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't give a damn about articles attacking or not attacking Wikipedia. I really don't give a damn about whether Wikipedia is attacked or isn't attacked by media pundits. I never claimed to care about those things, and specifically said I would not comment on the rest of article. I'm not a demagogue, nor am I an activist of any kind. I don't read any of this tripe American journalism, and I suspect that most people in the world don't either. The only reason I'm criticising this article is because it has a blatant error, and personally attacks my character. It ignores the off-Wikipedia canvassing, it ignores the fact that this "Cultural Marxism" article was neither neutral, adequate, nor sourced. That's rubbish. As no fact-checking went into this piece, one can only presume that the author has no problem with making stuff up out of thin air. Therefore, it is nonsense. RGloucester 18:34, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If your issue is with the author then you should take it up with him via e-mail. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 19:01, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Why should I waste my time speaking to a two-bob demagogue? My only concern is that people here should not use his words as the basis for a thoughtful critique of Wikipedia. Such a critique and associated dialogue must happen, but they must be based in fact, not in advocacy and in the illusionary influence of media pundits. RGloucester 19:07, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Time is certainly being wasted for no good reason. Hadnt you left the wikipedia a couple of days a go when your COI closure was reverted?User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:12, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I never "left" Wikipedia, nor do I have a "conflict of interest" of any kind. RGloucester 20:38, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Getting back to the Slate "article". It's just this week's "The sky is falling on Wikipedia" excuse to consume readers' bandwidth.--ukexpat (talk) 20:14, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Other than "the sky is falling" angle, it's actually one of the better written mainstream news articles about Wikipedia. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:00, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Who's the admin mentioned in this piece? I don't recognize his name. Obviously, do not answer this question if it outs him. (I'm assuming that he's open about his identity.) A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:05, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

If you're talking about Dariusz Jemielniak, dropping the name into Wikipedia's search box shows him as User:PunditMogism (talk) 16:47, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the piece is definitely negative, quite likely painting an overly grim picture. Yet, I think the author points to something that may be a real problem every now and then. A Quest For Knowledge do you disagree with anything quoted from me there? Pundit|utter 14:21, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Slate: "... Because there’s no way to enforce administrator disinterest (administrators almost never lose their privileges), administrator actions generally stand, whether fair or not. The problem is that in the absence of a central judicial authority [emphasis user:Hodgdon's], law without equality under that law gets you the drawbacks (bureaucracy, legalisms) without the benefits (fairness, disinterest). The administrators are supposed to show restraint and exercise powers that reflect the “consensus” resulting from discussion among interested parties, but since “consensus” is very loosely defined, administrators have a pretty wide berth. In practice, administrators tend to protect those they know and those with whom they agree while disciplining unfamiliar editors and ideological opponents. ..."--Hodgdon's secret garden (talk) 21:43, 12 December 2014 (UTC)Hodgdon's secret garden (talk) 19:16, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
That's fair comment, especially the "administrators almost never lose their privileges" part. If you guys don't want criticism like this, fix it. Shooting the messenger is a formula for stagnation. This is Slate, not some dumb-ass techie publication like The Register. Coretheapple (talk) 01:29, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

That said, the general gist of the article is true. Howlers of cases like Sexology, Chelsea Manning, and now Gender Gap Task Force have turned the Arbitration Committee from a trusted way to solve disputes into a star chamber for the Wikipedia Establishment™; banning Carol but not Eric was a massive finger to the idea that AC could be a neutral arbiter, as was not admonishing the bigots on the Chelsea Manning talk page, or not banning James Cantor during Sexology. The complete cowardice of the Foundation to tackle discrimination head-on, instead punting it to the community to solve (like that will ever happen), is part of this problem. Like I said on Talk:2014 Isla Vista killings:

Between here, Gamergate controversy, and discussions about the Gender Gap Task Force, a serious argument can be made that there is a significant contingent of Wikipedia editors who are, to put it bluntly, misogynists of a serious degree. Both this article and the Gamergate article are riddled with the same kinds of editors (and sometimes the same editors) who want to push a minority viewpoint into this article despite the crushing majority of sources, even partisanly conservative sources, to the opposite. I mean, fuck, when the Raping Dickwolves guys at Penny Arcade think that Gamergate is basically a cover for harassment… time was when Wikipedia functionaries didn't take too kindly to misogyny.

I stand by those words still, and I think that Jimbo and the rest of the Foundation has to go back and seriously think about how the community is making women, and also LGBT people, incredibly uncomfortable to participate. Sceptre (talk) 23:14, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

The problem is that at least three vocal women editors on here feel everything is all set and that the Wikimedia foundation is making a big deal out of nothing. When approached with it the "You don't speak for all women" defense was used. Well I can say the same for those who claim everything is fine, do you know this as fact? - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 02:56, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
There are diverse opinions on this matter. I don't think "fact" can come into it, as there is simply no way to verify something so subjective. The firebrands on both "sides" of this dispute are the people we should all listen to the least. The most important opinions are found within the heads of those that do not speak. RGloucester 03:34, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

In summary: Auberbach "discovered" what had previously been published over a year ago:

"The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage."
— Tim Simonite, Technology Review [14]

with the misconception some editors are treated poorly because they've identified as female. No, we're not sexist, we treat everyone that way -- as documented in the four year old Cynic's Guide to Wikipedia (WP:CGTW) which admits it's a rehash of the eight year old observations on Wikipedia behavior (WP:OWB); see especially number twenty three.

Expending time complaining here (or offsite) isn't useful. Many situations have an applicable WP:THIS or WP:THAT; if something's wrong, it's probably not being followed, or common sense and one of the pillars apply. Every article has a talk page, every editor, including the administrators, has a talk page. If you think something's wrong on Wikipedia somewhere, please go make an effort to fix it. NE Ent 11:04, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Speaking of which, Mr Wales, now that the allotted time has passed, who have you appointed to close the "discussion" on the fate of the "Cultural Marxism" article? We don't want a frozen conflict, presumably. RGloucester 03:52, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
If the Cultural Marxism page gets deleted it proves the article in the OP is correct. True communists believe in abolishing money, Marx believed in eliminating money. Cultural Marxists are not Marxist because they don't advocate eliminating money, they believe in multiculturalism. Hence, Cultural Marxism is a neologism. Raquel Baranow (talk) 02:34, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Where is your source that says "Cultural Marxists" believe in "multiculturalism"? What kind of WP:OR is this? Where is your source for the existence of people who identify as "Cultural Marxists"? RGloucester 03:19, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
One of the things I find hardest to understand about Wikipedia "behind the scenes" is what would motivate an editor to make 21 comments in a thread about a content dispute, in a location other than the article's talk page, or any venue where the dispute might actually be resolved. It is and will remain a mystery to me, when there is so much actual productive work to be done here. When will this end? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I already said, I refuse I comment on that page any longer. I'm not entering a den of lions. As it seems Mr Wales decided to play "kingmaker" in this dispute, this is the appropriate place to discuss the extended discussion's closure, which is all I was asking for. RGloucester 03:41, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Make that 22. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:43, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Some battles are worth fighting. RGloucester 03:47, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
This is just one crappy article among 4,670,879 articles here. Aren't you at all concerned that your fascination with this one trivial article makes you look a bit obsessed to uninvolved observers? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:08, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Why should I care what anyone thinks about me? I'm not that kind of person. Think whatever you like. As far as I'm concerned, if an article is positing what is essentially a hoax, it should be eliminated. I happened to come across it one day, by accident, and I realised how serious a breach of Wikipedia's integrity it was. There is no reason tolerate rubbish, nor manipulation of sources, nor off-Wikipedia advocacy campaigns. Can you think of a reason why these should be tolerated? RGloucester 04:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Continue your one man Crusade, then. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:45, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Lions? Hardly. Hyenas is more like it. – Herzen (talk) 03:57, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Crisis? What Crisis?

The October 2014 editing numbers are now posted at the usual place. The all-important count of Very Active Editors (>100 edits in the month) at English-WP remains stable at 3006 — up by 100 from the September count and up by 30 from October a year ago. New articles per day remains healthy at 887. It's real easy to get all worked up from the constant chattering of "Crisis, Terror, Horror, Doom" particularly if we spend too much time on the drama pages (including this one) or the drama mailing lists or the drama off-wiki criticism site. In reality: calm down and carry on, the ship is not sinking. Carrite (talk) 18:13, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

  • It's also worth noting that the count of active wikipedians is also broadly stable over the past year (marginally up compared to a year ago). As a Briton, I would rather put it as Keep Calm and Carry On. Thanks for making me aware of these tables Carrite. BethNaught (talk) 19:21, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
While I certainly agree that things are there is no crisis, I don't think we (we in the community, we at the foundation) should be complacent about mere stability. The goal has never been to increase editorship as a goal in and of itself - but it is important that we remember the values of welcoming newcomers, welcoming diversity, and being a warm and kind place - a haven from the kinds of toxic places too often found on the Internet. If we get all those things right, then not only will the editor numbers take care of themselves, but also the editor quality and diversity question will take care of itself.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:50, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Random editors will continue to contribute random content of interest to themselves (obviously much of it COI). Moving forward it's not gonna be warmness and welcome mats that get WP where it needs to go, it's gonna be recruitment of experts and making sure that serious content people have the tools they need to work on esoteric topics. Kudos to Jake Ocaasi and the library project for big steps forward in the latter regard. Carrite (talk) 05:42, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it's possible to recruit experts without warmness and welcome mats. If we want good contributors, we need make sure that when they are newbies they are supported and made to feel welcome. The myth of "good contributors are naturally cantankerous" is just false and it's a shame that some in the community think that it's worthwhile putting up with nasty people if they make good contributions - what they miss is how many good contributors we lose when the culture is not healthy, especially for newbies.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:07, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Dunno, I've bumped into more than a couple academics back in the day that qualified as "cantankerous." Certainly a significant number of content people are. We need to create a climate where they are left the hell alone to work. There are many, many places where this already exists — My "Rule No. 1" asserts "The more important the topic of a Wikipedia article, the higher the probability of conflict over content," and that implies that the more arcane the topic, the lower the probability of conflict over content. There are whole vast swaths of history and biography that can be tackled painlessly, whether or not the drama pages are going ballistic with this or that sensational mini-crisis of the day. Indeed, I would argue that drama and conflict at Wikipedia is an illusion, that outside of a limited number of hotbutton topics populated by warriors (GamerGate FTL) the reality of WP editing is more or less unremarkable, silent, and civil — with the real problem being the overuse of semi-automated warning templates dumped on newbies rather than personal messages and a confusing (not to say dysfunctional) photo rights system. I would argue that there really is no "crisis of Wikipedia" outside the creations of our own paranoid imagination, fueled by the inevitable reality that drama is fun and writing articles on arcane topics or policing vandalism or correcting grammar etc. can be boring. Carrite (talk) 15:39, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I've spent my entire professional life around academics, and they are no more "cantankerous" in aggregate than are tech-industry workers, retail workers, airline pilots, college students, or (for that matter) the unemployed. The biggest bar to recruiting serious academics is the Randy-from-Boise problem. When you see academics acting cantankerously on Wikipedia, chances are that they've just discovered that despite devoting their work lives to acquiring in-depth knowledge and understanding of a subject, they can be obstructed and even overruled by people who are actively ignorant of the subject and whose only qualification is access to the Internet. It only takes one or two such experiences for the average academic to conclude that his or her time is not well-spent here.

It follows that the key to attracting serious people has nothing to do with civility or its lack, but rather with developing a process to ensure that sane, knowledgeable people can triumph over pathological obsessives and other Randys. Wikipedia has never had such a process, nor even considered developing one. The result is that we hemorrhage sane, knowledgeable editors while we attract and retain Randys. MastCell Talk 18:28, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Cute speech, Jimbo, but your egalitarian ethos is hard to believe when your site is highlighting "Fuck" as the main page greeting during the Christmas season. Of course, we all know Wikimedia only cares to a certain extent about "welcoming newcomers, welcoming diversity, and being a warm and kind place." Good luck with that fundraiser, champ. Townlake (talk) 05:51, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, I had no idea what you were referencing but now I see it. I'm rolling my eyes about it. I agree with you that it's a ridiculous thing to have on the front page of the site, and that it's a good example of tone deafness in some parts of the community. I must say, though, that I really very much doubt it will have any impact on the fundraiser, nor that it will get any press attention. It's a juvenile thing to have there but it isn't actually all that exciting - it's a notable book about freedom of speech.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:07, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. We are closer to agreement on this than I would have guessed. (Though we disagree about how occasional nonsense like this impacts Wikimedia's ability to grow.) Townlake (talk) 06:14, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for responding, Jimbo. Indeed, a link to the discussion was posted here contemporaneously (as I noted in the collapsed thread).
The question of whether WP:NOTCENSORED is relevant to such situations is not a new one. For better or worse, consensus to date has not aligned with your view on the matter.
Another argument is that the concept of omitting material from the main page on the basis that it offends some people (while including all sorts of material that's equally or more objectionable within certain cultures, simply because we regard them as "minorities" of our readership) is inconsistent with our fundamental pursuit of neutrality.
However, I'm not here to persuade you of this. I ask only that you consider whether an outcome with which you strongly disagree reflects the absence of maturity and thoughtfulness among the discussion's participants. In my view, no matter how misguided some of us might be, we (by which I mean the request's supporters and opponents alike) dedicated a great deal of thought, with Wikipedia's best interests in mind. Even if this was the worst decision in the site's history, it doesn't stem from frivolity or haste. —David Levy 15:58, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Why is active editors "All Important"? Total edits are going down; and this chart shows "the rest of Wikipedia" -- folks not in the top 10,0000 -- has contributed the large majority of edits (67%)? NE Ent 11:13, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't want to speak for Carrite who used those words, but in the recent past the departure of some of Wikipedia's top editors was seen as a sure sign of significant problems within the community - a sign of dysfuction, admin abuse, growing bureaucracy, etc. Deli nk (talk) 15:25, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Random content comes in, such content will always come in. There is an underlying volunteer community that filters and curates these contributions: weeding out the significant number of vandalistic or utterly unhelpful edits or utterly unsuitable topics which end up being speedied or prodded or among the 100 or so articles running through AfD every day (don't think for a second that 67% of edits means 67% of content). Articles need to be tagged, style at least minimally standardized, wikilinks developed, and so on and so forth. With 887 new articles a day, there is no worry whatsoever than the intake valve is clogged — it is not. The issue and question is whether the underlying volunteer community is atrophying, opening up the gates for vandalism and content abuse. That's a raw count of core people, with the Very Active Editor count being the best metric available. This is a count that has been made since day one, and is thus an easily trackable series. It is our pulse. Carrite (talk) 16:03, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
The metric we really should be looking at is the "crapflood influx"/experienced editor ratio. And my gut tells me that number isn't getting any better. Gigs (talk) 17:34, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree. Sometimes when I'm in need of a distraction I sign on to STiki and do some vandal fighting. What I find is that even when there is no vandalism there is simply rubbish by the ton. Coretheapple (talk) 18:07, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
This goes to the point that the total number of edits or the number of people bringing in random material really isn't what we need to worry about: it is the count of Wikipedian cadres. There's a huge difference between the people that understand and regularly contribute to the project and the here today-gone tomorrow folks that chip in a short article about something that directly concerns them. Obviously the "random contributors" include among them the Wikipedians of tomorrow and are not to be scorned — but that count is not indicative of much with respect to En-WP's general health. WMF has no clue even who the core volunteers are and I don't think they really want to know for legal reasons. Still, it would be nice if the Very Active Editor count each month were accompanied by a list of names of those accounts who met the 100 edit criteria. Then it would be relatively easy for the community to database itself to get a better handle on demographics, editor needs, and dispersion of core volunteers across various tasks. It would be nice if JW could help make that happen... Carrite (talk) 20:25, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Tags are abominations that turn sucky articles in a sucky articles with tags. Paraphrasing Yoda, Edit, or edit not, there is no "tag." Here's some unsourced articles tagged eight years ago -- if Wikipedia is so healthy, why is that? Secondly, I hear these claims about core groups of Wikipedia editors all the time with no analysis or evidence to back them up, as opposed to Aaron Schwartz's seminal Who writes Wikipedia?. Show me something other than assertion and opinion. NE Ent 03:30, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
You're preaching to the choir on tags. There's not much concrete evidence about anything on Wikipedia because WMF has been criminally apathetic with their surveying and analysis of the volunteer base. All we have are very rough metrics and impressionistic observation. Like I say — note well, Jimmy — if WMF starts kicking out lists of names of very active editors every month, databasing and analysis becomes possible and it won't even cost WMF any precious pennies for programmers... Carrite (talk) 04:58, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
The list would be no more invasive and could look something like THIS — except a monthly list of the "Top 5000 Wikipedians by total edits." Who knows, it might have the unintended effect of spurring more editing activity so that people could "make the list." It is very difficult to database and analyze the core community without regular monthly lists of this sort. WMF has the capability... Carrite (talk) 15:03, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
And while we're setting this up, if the monthly list included a field for "Percentage of Edits to Article Space" (which should be simple to generate), it would be even more helpful for databasing the core community. Carrite (talk) 15:13, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Re your point above on active contributors: one thing we need to consider is that today's passer-bye is tomorrow's active contributor. The person contributing crap to his high school page, or even the casual vandal, might get serious about Wikipedia in months or years to come. People stop by and then lose interest. Developing a headstrong bureaucracy and the other stuff mentioned in the Slate piece can tend to drive newcomers away. Coretheapple (talk) 16:10, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with the following observation percolating from the Gender Gap Task Force: that crash editing events do not create lasting WP volunteers. I also observe firsthand that college class editing assignments do not create lasting WP volunteers. It logically follows that the people who DO become lasting volunteers self-join and self-identify — they are a certain minor percentage of the "random contributors" mentioned above. Therefore, the whole daily classes of newcomers are themselves in need of analysis and development — the wheat has to be found amongst the chaff, if you will. This is an entirely different task than identifying the active volunteer cadres of today. Actually, once we know the general characteristics that make for a lasting WP contributor (by identifying and surveying), it should help us to spot the promising new contributors pushing their first efforts through the article intake valve... Everything revolves around a need to database regulars and to seriously and scientifically analyze newcomers. Carrite (talk) 03:15, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I take it you would be supportive of the Foundation investing in that kind of analysis (both in terms of tools for the community to use but also professional help to design and execute the research needed)?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:34, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Definitely. A significant part of WMF's 2014-2015 plan [15] (see page 20) is editor growth. I'm convinced that Wikipedia is now so large, {{NUMBEROFACTIVEUSERS}} 133,327, {{NUMBEROFARTICLES}} 4,672,109, it's beyond simple individual human observation to really grasp the big picture. Professional data mining would benefit both WMF's prioritization of resource and the English Wikipedia volunteers discussion of how to improve the project. A key but difficult part of that data analysis would be identifying how and where knowledge insertion occurs, as opposed to important but ancillary efforts that improve readability. There's insufficient information in our standard metrics (e.g. edit counts, number of bytes changed) to ascertain the answer to that question. NE Ent 10:20, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

I've been calling for analysis and surveying of the core volunteer community for a long, long time. I recently heard from a former WMF employee that their sense was that WMF had no plans whatsoever to get serious about such things. So: let's just NOT throw money at it, let's NOT wait for SF, let's take this on as volunteers... I'm not sure what happened to Wikid77, I haven't seen him around much lately, but this is right down main street for something he could help do. i'm totally into this project myself. Recently on the Gendergap-l list Fae showed me something cranking out a percentage of female v. male voters in the recently completed (and finally counted) Arbcom election. I'm positive that if not he, at least someone or several someones from GGTF can be persuaded into joining the task of compilation and analysis of core volunteers. It all starts with a very simple dump that needs to happen every single month without fall: a list of the Top 5,000 (better: Top 10,000) Wikipedians by total edits for each month — with a count of total edits in the month and preferably with a simple percentage of their edits to mainspace as an additional field. Once these lists exist, they can be compiled and the nature of their changes seen over time. A whole new set of metrics will emerge and we will know WHOM to survey further. So, no, I'm not for WMF spending a ton of money on new paid staff to do this analysis at this point — just get one person to crank out the simple list and make it part of their job every month. It should be very simple, very fast, and thus virtually cost-free to WMF, with big benefits to follow. Carrite (talk) 14:13, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
In the off chance that something actually comes of this, message to the WMF person constructing the first list: it is very important to include not only registered editors but IP editors in the list of contributors. The model for this, once again, is Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits. If the dump were alphabetically sortable for each field it would be enormously helpful. Here's how I would build the DB for each month.
Here is the rationale for the above (1) To answer the question of percentage of core editors who are non-registered, need to include IPs. (2) First registration date will allow identification of newcomers. (3) Sysop ID will allow identification of potential future administrators. (4) Total edits in month is metric to determine who constitutes the core editing group for a given month. (5) Percentage of edits to mainspace will allow identification of writers and copyeditors, who may well have different needs than technical workers, etc. (6) Total edits in last year will provide an addition means of finding new or newly active core volunteers. (7) Career edits combined with registration date will signal durability. Carrite (talk) 17:37, 17 December 2014 (UTC)


Just curious. Has anyone ever gone to kickstarter asking for money to be used by individuals in developing content at one of the WMF entities? John Carter (talk) 19:19, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

@John Carter: Yes, I did a GoFundMe (basically Kickstarter, right?) a couple of months ago to buy books to develop gynecological cancer content on WIkipedia. It was very successful - I was able to buy several books! Yay books! Keilana|Parlez ici 19:32, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Crowdfunding (and its talk page) and the discussion on User:TonyTheTiger's proposal [16]. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:39, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Wikimedia France is using the similar French site KissKissBankBank to raise funds for a specialized project to photograph dozens of French cheeses and improve their articles.[17] Seems they've surpassed their funding goal, which means only one thing: more cheese. Risker (talk) 19:42, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Images of video game systems.©Geni (talk) 16:00, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Question Time

I noted from Question Time last week (the episode with Brand/Farage) that you will be appearing on the show on January 8th from Watford. May I ask why you think you were invited to be on, and explain whether you think you would be a good person to discuss British political or topical issues? I'll certainly be watching. Rcsprinter123 (utter) @ 20:26, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

I've been on before actually[18]. I have lived in London for several years and spend a lot of time talking to members of the House of Commons and House of Lords about various things (ranging from campaigning against mass surveillance and censorship to giving advice on various questions of eGovernment. I'm a fairly frequent commenter on political matters in the UK and abroad. (You can hear an interview that I did with Speaker John Bercow for the Today Program, airing on Boxing Day morning [19].) Through my wife, I've married into the UK political social world so I know a lot of MPs and Lords from both Labour and Tory parties. So yes, I think I'm a pretty good person to discuss British political or topical issues. Probably less entertaining that Russell Brand but likely slightly more coherent. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:23, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
"Slightly more coherent than Russell Brand" a very worthy aspiration, I'm sure. If you are careful not to mention "disgusting poofters", "Chinky birds" or shooting people from Chigwell, you might even get offered a job at Lidl. Martinevans123 (talk) 14:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC) p.s. your last appearance was refreshingly free of political clap-trap.
I saw this too, similarly suprised but looking forward to it! It's hard to imagine they'll be Wikipedia-specific discussion but possibly some debate on net neutrality? Good luck! benmoore 11:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
If you see our beloved Sir Elton Bog, do say hello. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:45, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Wonderful! I will probably watch this show in the 8th of January. --Ochilov (talk) 13:27, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Merry Christmas!

KonveyorBelt 18:50, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Can you ask Larry Page or Sergey Brin to send us a list of words found in Google Books by frequency?

Dear Jimbo: I have been trying for several years to get the Google Books people to fulfill a request that would contain a very large amount of data, but would be fairly simple to carry out from a programming standpoint. I want a list of all words in all languages found in Google Books. This would be very useful for Wiktionary, where we are trying to build a dictionary with just such a parameter. Our criteria for inclusion (for English Wiktionary, at least) requires that a word be used in at least three unrelated publications over the course of more than a year to merit inclusion. We frequently turn to Google Books to see if publications exist to support inclusion of challenged words, but it is unwieldy to use it to determine what words we should have, but are missing. I have contacted Google Books people very nicely a few times to see if they could provide such a list, and was told it could not be done. I think that it can be done, if the request is made high enough up the chain, so I'm asking you to go all the way up it. Cheers! bd2412 T 22:36, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

If you actually communicate with the Google honchos, please let them know that legions of Wikipedia editors truly miss the robust Google News Archive function that they disabled a couple of years ago. It was supposed to be replaced with "something better" but that hasn't happened. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 23:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Cullen328 (and others): Although I don't know where Google publicly links to it, [20] seems to work pretty closely to the old Google News Archive when it was available, as far as I remember. I, JethroBT drop me a line 08:45, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I have understood exactly what you want but couldn't you use the downloadable 1-gram files (available for the different language corpora)?
To quote :
"File format: Each of the files below is compressed tab-separated data. In Version 2 each line has the following format:
ngram TAB year TAB match_count TAB volume_count NEWLINE
As an example, here are the 3,000,000th and 3,000,001st lines from the a file of the English 1-grams (googlebooks-eng-all-1gram-20120701-a.gz):
circumvallate 1978 335 91
circumvallate 1979 261 91
The first line tells us that in 1978, the word "circumvallate" (which means "surround with a rampart or other fortification", in case you were wondering) occurred 335 times overall, in 91 distinct books of our sample."
--Boson (talk) 00:36, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Frankly, I'm not sure I understand what this Google 1gram collection is, or how to read it. I downloaded a few of the files, and they seem to reflect snippets of content, but I can't discern a pattern. I'll ask my fellow Wiktionary editors if these are useful, but I am looking for something much simpler - a list of all words, and an indication of how many books each can be found in. bd2412 T 02:02, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
N-gram Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 23:16, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, I'm not sure if Larry and Sergey are the right contact points, and anyway I know Eric better. The main thing is that I could make inquiries on a variety of topics all at once, mainly asking who exactly we should be talking to on various things. And to not be too disorganized and willy-nilly, I'd want to talk to the WMF to make sure I'm not bumbling around like a bull in a china shop. But in principle, yes, I'm happy to carry messages from the community to Google.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:15, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Such data would have to be treated with care because there will be lots of nonce and nonsense words, misprints and faulty scans in the entire corpus. For example, I try making up some words and soon find that "bizzle" has some currency. Urban dictionary has it as "any word beginning with b" because it seems that rappers use it as a lazy way of forcing a rhyme. It's not in the OED though. Anyway, while testing this with Google's Ngram Viewer, I notice that there's a huge spike in the occurrence of "jimbo" in the 1820s. It's not clear what's causing this because the only corresponding work I can find is The history of Hindostan: translated from the Persian which mentions the "mountains of Jimbo". Should we add Jimbo to our list of mountains on this evidence ...?

I agree that such data has to be analyzed carefully but it certainly still seems quite potentially useful. Even for things like comon mispellings.(see what I did there? ;-)) knowing that they appear quite often will help us make redirects and so on. I don't know of any automated way to do analysis like that, but in terms of giving editors a useful starting point of things to work on, based in data, it seems interesting. What are the 1000 most popular 'words' that don't appear in Wiktionary? Ahhh, now that's interesting and it sounds fun (to me anyway) to work through them and research what they are.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:11, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
We actually do include entries on particularly common misspellings - we just define them as misspellings. We include slang terms like fo shizzle and oddities like "pleeease" (an emphatic form of "please"), and we usually have a good laugh when the brick-and-mortar dictionaries announce their "new words" - for which we tend to have had entries for years. If we had a list of the 1000 most popular missing words, I would bet that we would work through them in a few weeks. The million most popular missing words, now that would be a challenge!
However, since Wikimedia is not in the business of digitizing books (though maybe we should be), we must rely on Google for this data, and must surpass the barriers Google has erected against automated parsing of its data. bd2412 T 14:46, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Are you bored?

Here's a big topic that needs to be written: Hispanics and Latinos in California. Carrite (talk) 19:48, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

I have to say, I can understand why it'd be daunting to take on something like that. Writing a decent article on a high-importance topic can be a very drawn-out process, as I've found out. Something like that would be perfect for a multi-editor collaboration, or else it would take one individual months or years to tackle it... The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 22:08, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I think I've seen a few reference books relating to ethnic groups in general and ethnic groups in the US in particular which might be useful in this regard. Maybe. John Carter (talk) 22:18, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
A stub? Amazing. Coretheapple (talk) 22:23, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
We do have a good article on Californios, though. I wish I could understand what "Hispanics and Latinos" are, but that's another story. RGloucester 22:33, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
@Core. Yeah, I was shocked when I found the piece to drop in a reading link. Carrite (talk) 00:53, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Actually I see that RGloucester has a point. Isn't Californio duplicative? Coretheapple (talk) 01:31, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
To a point, but it only offers in-depth coverage of the topic until the annexation, and says virtually nothing about California today. Furthermore, it does not address the many other sources of the Hispanic population from across South and Central America. bd2412 T 01:39, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
"Californio" only refers to the original peninsular Spanish population that was present in California prior to the annexation of California by the United States, and their descendants. Yes, it does need more information on the present status of those people. They do make-up an important component of the Californian population. However, if one is talking about present day immigrants to California, that's quite a different topic. The idea of an article on "Hispanics and Latinos" in California is problematic for a variety of reasons, as it would involve conflating the Californios with these newcomers. RGloucester 01:53, 18 December 2014 (UTC)