User talk:Jimbo Wales

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Biographies of politicians created as part of election campaigns[edit]

In the course of working at AfC I quite frequently see attempts to create advertorial biographies of politicians who are busy campaigning for election. Sometimes the article authors are quite blatant about their intentions to use WP as a campaign vehicle while others seem to try to do it "under the radar". Now AfC has the ability to filter out blatantly promotional articles but I presume many such articles may be created directly in mainspace too. So I'm thinking maybe we could institute a prohibition against the creation of new biographies of politicians while they are busy campaigning. Though some of the subjects might already be notable, such as a former large city mayor running for a state or national level office or their notability is for something else prior to their political career, some are first time candidates who would actually only become notable if they were to win the election, except that the media attention generated by the campaign itself sometimes does push them over the GNG threshold. If an prohibition against such article creation for the duration of electioneering is not acceptable to the community, perhaps we could devise a variant of the "COI editor" tag that says something like "This article may have been created in furtherance of the subject's election campaign" which stays on the page until the election is over. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:09, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

I'd go for the flip-side solution (although both options will require policy change) that a candidate running in an election that is considered notable get a page (at least a stub) and, while still requiring that sources meet RS for that area, and BLP, etc, have a tag placed on them that allows deletion discussion after the declaration of official results. After that 'election period', the 'candidate' notability ends and normal rules apply. Some unsuccessful candidates may have pages avoid deletition because they're engaged in the community, state/province etc, while 'winners' may still be deleted. But, for the election period, they should get a pass. Just my two cents... AnonNep (talk) 15:45, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
I would vigorously oppose that, as the Wikipedia would get drawn in to debates on just what candidates would be eligible for this. Many U.S. political races have a dozen or more candidates from the legitimate parties all the way down to be frank...kooks, who run on bizarre one-issue platforms. If we're going to say "no kooks", then we get into drawing an arbitrary "X is worthy and Y is worthy but Z isn't", just like the debate committee gets into with its "you must be above 20% (or whatever) in the opinion polls in order to be included" thing. I'd rather just use the existing notability rules on the books rather than create a new system for the campaign season. Tarc (talk) 16:53, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Democracy can be scary but the way I see it working, the constituency is Federal, state/province/council and local (for which we usually have pages), in English language countries, as represented by EN:WP (we don't have to host an English version of every possible candidate page for non-eng-wikis, or a contentious Puddley-on-Marshes Women's Institute AGM). All candidate pages (if anyone bothers creating them) get a banner with 'no delete' from start to end of polling period as agreed at a constituency level. They meet a 'local' RS level (shire/county newspapers etc without fear of delete because there's no 'Google Books' ref) but only for the voting period). Then the tag goes and they can be ProD'd like any page. As it is, existing notability policy has bias for any 'new' candidate who has a media record nationally - I suggest, given them all equal footing for the election period (which they've agreed to by becoming candidates). AnonNep (talk) 17:42, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
If you're wanting an encyclopedia to be an up-to-the-minute source for elections, then you're really in the wrong business here. Steer people interested in this to Ballotpedia, where even the 5th-tier candidate for sewer commissioner in East Toad Strangle, Nevada gets a page. Tarc (talk) 17:53, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
For US politics, nice aside ... but not for the world of en:WP in many other countries. As I said at the start, I responded to 'stop candidate pages' with an 'allow candidate pages' on en-wiki, by adopting a defined constituency base (which we have, pretty much, page/category wise) with an election period timeframe tag and more localised RS (all of which would need consensus, just like 'No candidate evaaa!!!'). We do have candidate pages for local elections if someone is wealthy enough/media savvy enough, so let's allow at least a time-limited stub for all, with usual rules applying to all (including the winner) at the end. No requirement for 'up-to-the-mintute', it is, what it is. AnonNep (talk) 18:08, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
If a person cannot satisfy the general notability guideline, then they should not have an article. Period. This suggestion that a stub of an article should be allowed to remain in the project in contravention to existing notability policy, even on a limited-time basis) is not something I would ever be in favor of. Tarc (talk) 18:51, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Nice try but no Straw man, dude. I'm not suggesting 'a stub of an article should be allowed to remain in the project in contravention to existing notability policy' but that, given the reported infux of candidate articles during elections they should be allowed, during the election period, suitably templated, with local issues/sources prioritised. At the end of the election period delete as per standard policy - the result makes no difference. AnonNep (talk) 19:09, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
There's no strawman here, I can't help it if you're tripping over your own back-pedalling words. It's very simple; create an article on a candidate; if it passes WP:GNG, WP:NPOL and the like, then it stays. If it doesn't, then it gets deleted or redirected to the article on the race. No grace period, no waiting til the election is over, no special protection. Clear? Tarc (talk) 19:25, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
You're repeating the Straw man. All reasonable qualifications given above. AnonNep (talk) 19:37, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
(ec) I'm pretty sure that's quite incorrect. Any article that passes GNG should be kept, but the bazillion special notability guidelines all set up "alternate criteria" for articles that fail GNG. I assume for example that we would want a candidate to have a page if his opponent has a page, even if only one passes GNG. Personally I think we should trash all the novelty notability guidelines and make a short paragraph in GNG about rounding out a complete set of individuals when most are notable and they are all most notable for the same reason. I realize that the novelty guidelines are frequently abused to claim an article fails even though it passes GNG but every time I've looked the guideline itself hasn't been what's to blame, it's the user misapplying it. But because they're more confusing than useful, we'd be better off without them. Wnt (talk) 19:40, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Something of substance to discuss, finally. There has been confusion for years as to exactly what the purpose and function of the "sub notability guides" actually is. At one time I did think that it was like a safety net that could "save" articles that failed the GNG, but as time has gone on I think they serve more as a complement. A subject still has to meet some form of general notability, the subs just provide a fine-tuned, subject-specific way to get there. Like the infamous WP:PORNBIO that provides passage for a person who wins a noted adult film award; that can get them in, but some reliable source somewhere still has to take note of the person for his/her article to bew truly safe. Tarc (talk) 20:15, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Funnily enough, a similar discussion arose out of WP:NJournals just now. I would put it this way. We are writing en encyclopaedia, and so to write an article on a subject it is necessary to have independent reliable sources. Verifiability tells us we cannot write an article any other way. However, there are a few things we can say without independent sources, although without those sources the article would be little more than an entry in some kind of directory. The supplementary guidelines are there to record decisions about what kind of directories we are willing to tolerate even when the entries are not truly be encyclopaedic. Some of those supplementary guidelines are, in my personal view, far too liberal/lax, and almost all of them seem subject to intense wikilayering even when they are self-proclaimed as supplementary guidelines, as essays or whatever. Perhaps the time has come to review and harmonise some of those supplements? Deltahedron (talk) 20:31, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd love to see most SNGs diluted or deprecated , but it'd be an uphill battle. It was tortuous enough to strip WP:Pornbio of wording that granted an article to anyone thjat was just nominated for an award, or won a group award. Tarc (talk) 23:31, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Campaign bios are an absolutely inevitable part of WP's future. Articles For Deletion actually treats politician biographies more harshly than any other category, I think; simple GNG sometimes doesn't cut it there for low level elected politicians covered in the media for their campaigns and ordinary job activities. That stuff just doesn't "count" towards GNG. High level elected politicians are auto-Kept, as they should be; unelected politicians are either deleted if not part of a major ongoing campaign, or redirected/merged to coverage of that campaign. In short, there are already tools to use to weed out much of the politicized POV campaign dreck... The idea of a new flag for campaign bios isn't a bad one. Maybe something more neutral, like "The subject of this article is currently participating in a political campaign" would be sufficient warning of possible (probable?!?!) content shenanigans. Carrite (talk) 16:29, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
  • @Carrite I like the idea of the "currently campaigning" tag. It would be relevant to new as well as even long established articles of undoubtedly notable politicians which may be prone to shenanigans by supporters or opposers. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 20:30, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

anent this topic: Wikipedia_talk:Biographies_of_living_persons#Categories.2C_lists_and_navigation_templates and Wikipedia:An#RfC for discussions concerning political issues, claims, BLPs and the like during "silly season". Collect (talk) 17:01, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

  • If we can get a small percentage of the $6 billion, then we'll do all the necessary work to make room for such wiki pages, making sure these pages are consistent with all of our policies. Count Iblis (talk) 17:09, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with Carrite that we handle politician biographies quite well at AfD, and have a pretty well established consensus of which biographies we keep, delete or merge. Bios of high ranking elected officials are kept, bios of unelected candidates for high office are redirected to articles about the campaign, which are easier to keep neutral, and bios of small town mayors and council members are usually deleted. By the way, many political biographies get very little disruptive editing. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 20:44, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
At AfC we sometimes get campaign staff moaning at us for declining their advertorials because "it's really important that this article is accepted because my boss is standing for election / because his opponent has an article so he must have one too / because the voters need to know about her...blah blah blah. The standard reply is of course "try again after he's won". My concern is about articles that are not actually deletable - but are abused for campaign purposes by supporters as well as opposers. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 21:44, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
I think that creating a new warning flag as you suggest could be done BOLDly, could it not? Carrite (talk) 22:16, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm toying with a RfC regarding what we do with bio articles that fail both GNG and the narrower NPOL. I was astonished recently to see that one AfD for a general election candidate had resulted in a redirect when, at least in my limited experience of the things at AfD, they are usually deleted. I got nowhere at WP:RFD because of issues of what might be called policy compartmentalism - people dealing with narrow scopes instead of big pictures. To give an extreme example of the problem, in 1996 one constituency in India had over 1000 candidates. That's not a typo. - Sitush (talk) 13:36, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually, it looks like WP:GNG now makes really low-key reference to the subject-specific guidelines; it seems like maybe they are becoming deprecated. I think what we need to phase them out entirely is that in the GNG, we should say that if an article topic is
  • part of a well-defined, objective set of topics (all Indian regional candidates, all British hereditary peers, all asteroids, all Irish soccer teams)
  • in which most of the members pass GNG requirements (the Indian candidates might fail this from what you say)
  • in which there is merit to complete and equitable coverage of the category (to have a complete catalogue of extrasolar planets, to ensure all candidates in a general election are treated equally)
Then we should have an article on it. After that, we should treat the special notability guidelines like the archives of a noticeboard, as past decisions about how to implement specific distinctions. Maybe a new noticeboard should take over to replace their continued development and refinement. Wnt (talk) 15:38, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I think we're just leaving ourselves wide open to some serious BLP problems: politics is a rough-house environment at the best of times but the idea of monitoring thousands of additional, often transient, BLP subjects during an election campaign is pretty scary. There is a conflict between being neutral and being notable, sure, but Wikipedia is not a democracy and we do not have to follow democratic principles. In fact, I'm not convinced that a lot of so-called democracies follow democratic principles: for example, broadcast air-time given to politicians on public service radio and television varies widely. - Sitush (talk) 17:54, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Have in mind that an article of a certain politician, written during the elections, may not always be the result of someone trying to promote the candidate. It can also be written the usual way: someone noticed a topic (that man) with coverage in the press, and which is not included yet in Wikipedia, and so starts an article about him, reporting what do the newspapers say about him. It can also be a page written from the other side of things, a page written by the opposing party that tries to highlight the negative info about the candidate. Cambalachero (talk) 19:26, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

I would strongly oppose any suggestion that candidates should get an article during the duration of their campaign, or should have an article because their opponent has one. GNG is our rule because we are an encyclopedia; we are not VoteSmart or Ballotpedia. To get an article here, a person must have received significant coverage from independent reliable sources - and that is usually interpreted at AfD to mean significant coverage APART from the election they are running in. If they weren't notable before running for office, then running for office doesn't make them notable, and they don't get an article. They can have a redirect to the relevant election. --MelanieN (talk) 18:01, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Some thoughts about MediaViewer, my Statement of Principles, and the community's relationship with the foundation[edit]

One of the key statements that has been made is that the Wikimedia Foundation is in violation of #4 of my well-known Statement of Principles (User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles) so I want to spend a little bit of time specifically discussing that issue.

Here is my original: "4. Any changes to the software must be gradual and reversible. We need to make sure that any changes contribute positively to the community, as ultimately determined by me, in full consultation with the community consensus."

And here is how it is stated today: "4. Any changes to the software must be gradual and reversible. We need to make sure that any changes contribute positively to the community, as ultimately determined by the Wikimedia Foundation, in full consultation with the community consensus."

I must say that I am surprised and pleased to see how well the principle has held up over time and how clearly it still expresses some important ideas.

It is worth noting first and foremost what it does not say. It does not say that software changes must be approved by community vote. It does not say that community consensus is the primary principle for deciding whether some feature should be implemented or not, but rather that changes contribute positively to the community, as decided by the Wikimedia Foundation. And finally it says that the Wikimedia Foundation should make that decision in full consultation with the community consensus.

What should that consultation look like? It should look a fair amount like what we have seen in the past few weeks but without the wheel-warring and drama. Remember that this feature, which can be changed easily, has already been improved to overcome sensible objections and resolve the sorts of issues that are normally caught by live deployments. I look forward to the Foundation's plan to have an incremental rollout process to reduce drama around this sort of improvement.

Here's a view of the future that I think is a disaster for the community: suppose we adopt as a new policy, which has never existed in any formal way, that every community votes (looking for majority levels of support) on every new feature and whether they want to turn it on or off by default. The result is that the software development gets even slower and we fall further behind than where we are today because it becomes impossible for the developers to have a clear view of how it works in all the different environments. The amount of effort that would need to go into addressing every feature variation on each of hundreds of wikis would be exponentially higher as each of them will needed to be identified, monitored, tested and coded.

And here is a view of the future that I think is fantastic for the community: the WMF invests a lot more resources in engineering and product including building a proper consultative process with the community, and introducing incremental roll-outs (to 1% of the editors, then 2%, then 5%, or similar) so that problems can be identified and fixed before we have a huge drama. In this vision we don't have a set of features that are voted on to be turned on and off, we have a dynamic and ongoing healthy conversation about how to improve things.

I have personally been frustrated in the past many times with the disastrous product roll-outs that we've seen (I am not talking about MV, but I'm sure we all remember Flagged Revisions and the Visual Editor). And I want that to change. By hiring Lila, we have committed to making that change and she's investing in building up capacity to get things done in a better way. And we in the community need to support that and call people out on some particularly unhelpful and false attitudes (boiled down to the essence: the WMF is against editors - there are many variants of this claim, all false).

Has the Foundation screwed up? Yeah, sure, lots of times. Has the community screwed up? Yeah, sure, lots of times. Is there a better way? Yes.

What I'm asking people to do is, as I used to say, "relax a notch or two." Let's calm things down for a couple of months. It seems that the Foundation is about to remove (or has just removed) the superprotection of a javascript file in German Wikipedia, and I beg the German Wikipedians to work to reduce tension by not implementing the controversial javascript hack again. And then let's have a real conversation about what improvements need to be made to the MediaViewer and expect that the Foundation will indeed make those improvements.

And then the more important task - let's talk about and help the Foundation design a sane process for community consultation on developing software. And let's not do this in the sense of a political battle or power struggle but rather "Assume Good Faith," and understand that software decisions made by committee or community vote is not a functional process (and indeed, has gotten us to the sorry state we are in today) but that equally, software created by developers who have a poor understanding of our real needs doesn't work either. Let's work on a better way that is both efficient in terms of getting software that works produced and effective in terms of meeting our real needs as editors.

Peace is the first step, so let's chill.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:32, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Peace is the last step, not the first. Let's not forget that there is no singular community, but there is a singular WMF. Eric Corbett 20:42, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I hope that this is not the WMF view because, having seemingly got their "preferred version" and removing the superprotect at de-WP pretty much with the proviso that no-one upsets it, it is easy to imagine the organisation being keen to promote platitudes about peace and chilling. If it is the WMF view then we're in a bigger hole than I thought. And, no, I don't think MV can be separated from the prior "botched" rollouts because it, too, was botched. - Sitush (talk) 20:51, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales: -1! Sorry for bad english: you simple miss the point. If you want us to relax, give use a reason. all what i see is...candy. we don't want to block new software. we do not say, "no, MV never!". We just say, at the moment, MV only for those, who want him. (funny fact: MV is betasoftware (oh yeah, it is!), but it is not listet under beta software in your preferences) If MV gets fixed and gets better functionality, the opinion of the german community can change. but this opinion depends at most of the fact that you (WMF) respect us. (as long as you (WMF) offend us, the don't like you (WMF) and your (WMF) new gadgets)
So. If you want peace with us, respect us. We are not children. we have a will. We are wikipedia. We can decide. Every "chapter" can decide which is best for the "chapter", because you (WMF) guys in SF can decide what ist maybe beste for WMF, but you don't have the view for us locals. And I'm sorry for that. If you had this missing view, many things would be easier.
So, repect us. Don't try to overrule us. If you overrule the people, it may work for a while. But sooner or later (histroy will tell you that) the people will rise up. and if you (WMF) would know german histroy well, you could understand why the germans are so much...pissed about you try to establish a dictatorship. the last dictatorship in germany fell 1989, because "we are the people" (not sure if the translation of "Wir sind das Volk!" is correct).
So please, come down. PLEASE stop offend us. Please, don't try to fight us. "War never changes. It only becomes more bloody and brutal." —Rep. James E. Van Zandt
If you move on with this aggression, wikipedia will lose. Maybe not in the short, but in the long run. War never has winners, only one side wins in war, this is death. And death never picks a side.
So long... Shadak (talk) 09:54, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
This is all very nice and logical, and I'm sure it looks like reality to the WMF, because it perfectly encapsulates the fundamental problem in the relationship between WMF and the Wikipedia community. This attitude takes as a pre-determined assumption that the Wikipedia community is an impediment to software development instead of a partner in developing top-notch mediawiki software. When a community RfC rejects a rollout of a piece of software, why does WMF choose to react by instituting authoritarian user permissions to impose bad software on the community instead of see the RfC as a nicely enumerated bug report on the software? A fundamental precept of the Wikipedia community is that WP:Consensus can change, yet WMF expends absolutely no effort to engage the community - RfCs are not voodoo magic, and WMF developers can start them just as easily as any other editor, and need to start doing this when they think they've managed to meet the concerns of a previous RfC that rejected a piece of software. But this incredibly basic precept of working in Wikipedia is completely ignored by WMF developers, so we have to ask if this is because WMF developers just don't spend any time on Wikipedia, so they don't know how dispute resolution works here, or do they just not care about the community. Either way, it speaks volumes about how WMF views this community, and neither is good. VanIsaacWScont 19:09, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Appreciate and support statement[edit]

  • I want to thank you Mr. Wales for giving us the above statement, and say that I fully support all of the points it clarified.—John Cline (talk) 20:05, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
  • no more power struggle? to be clear: no new superpowers for the staff? really? I can't believe it! thanks =) --Sargoth (talk) 20:39, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't actually have a strong view on the fundamental concept of "superprotect" particularly for site-wide javascript. I do have a view that rolling it out in the midst of an emergency was unfortunate and gave rise to conflict that should better have been avoided. But in general I think that admins who edit site-wide javascript in that way are disrupting Wikipedia to make a point and if that's going to happen, then a natural consequence will be to alter the rights of admins to prevent it. (A good idea might be to spread the ability to edit a superprotected page to admins who have pledged not to use it disruptively.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:58, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
  • And neither should you believe it. Eric Corbett 20:44, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
    Why not, Eric? This is precisely the kind of toxic and unhelpful comment that I am asking the community to call out. The Foundation is keenly interested in improving processes, and Lila in particular has been hired to beef up the engineering and product capabilities of the Foundation. If you want to just piss all over everything with the view that people (me?) are lying, then I have a good idea for you: find another hobby and leave the community to work for positive change.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:55, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I think the word "toxic" is one that you would do well to expunge from your vocabulary, or at least only use when you're referring to actual poisons. I have several good ideas for you as it happens, but I'll do you a favour and spare you the details. Eric Corbett 21:08, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
It is an apt word and I will not shy away from using it. What it means in this context is "killing a conversation". It is inappropriate to immediately reach for suggestions that I am lying or that the WMF is lying. It's toxic and you should stop it. If you have good ideas, then by all means, don't spare me, put down your poison pen and share them.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:23, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
It's an apt word for mushrooms, for me non-native speaker, with a killing flavour. I would not have guessed that another meaning might be "killing a conversation", and I had no idea that kind, generous, forgiving and compassionate people would apply it to "personalities". There must be better words. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:39, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
What's killing the conversation in this context is the situation at de.wp where Superprotect has been lifted but the WMF has made it implicitly clear that any more changes to disable MV, consensus or not, will have consequences. BethNaught (talk) 22:14, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Dear Jimbo, above you wrote: "I think that admins who edit site-wide javascript in that way are disrupting Wikipedia". Wouldn't it have been much easier to warn and - in consequence - de-admin said German admin? For what good has this Superprotect been invented - either as a concept as well as a script? There would have been many more ways to stop a wheel-war, but inventing a new role was the least effective of them, as we have seen for the past few weeks. In my opinion it was neither wise nor effective to invent such a user role. I may be complaining, but facts do stand, and a broad gap has broken into our communities. This is not something the German (and Austrian and Swiss, as we stand as one) section should be blamed for, but it takes two to begin a war, and a wheel-war as well. These are only thoughts of an ordinary German user, but I hope you will consider them. --Altkatholik62 (talk) 23:12, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
@BethNaught: exactly! As I said here. At present the message seems to be that everyone is supposed to chill provided that the developers get their preferred version. The WMF has to realise that it cannot exist without the community. Sure, it will retain its umpteen million articles but unless it locks them down then it will be complete mayhem (as it already is on some of the smaller language-specific versions). And if it does lock them down then it will also be complete mayhem because all the faults/errors/BLP & copyright violations etc will remain and nothing will improve. Stop thinking like Ayn Rand or whoever on LSD and begin living in the real world. A first step would be to make all significant software change opt-outable from Day One and to make them so not merely for the editors but for the viewers. That gives freedom of the individual and limitation of "big government" which, I rather thought, was one of Jimbo's personal philosophical preferences. But maybe I've got that wrong. - Sitush (talk) 00:48, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks for taking the time to write this out, Jimbo. I am reassured to hear things about more incremental rollouts to address bugs early on and investing in better engineering support for building and debugging new software. So far, it seems like a lot of the substantive conversations on Flow over at Mediawiki have been constructive in part because the rollout has been deliberately limited. I think the community generally ought to critically scrutinize new software (and it seems to me that dev teams should value such scrutiny), but I also hope that the scrutiny will be motivated by a desire to help develop a better system rather than a desire to reject it outright and perpetuate an "us vs them" mentality. I, JethroBT drop me a line 00:24, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

A candid question[edit]

  • I have a single question, the same I've been asking from the very beginning without getting an answer. Knowing that giving up (while the product is being developed) implementing MV as the default viewer for everyone would considerably deflate the present tension between WMF and the community, why that step was not taken already? Considering the present situation of conflict it would certainly be more important to deflate the tension than to stick to some obscure operational agenda. If you want to chill, that is certainly a good step to begin with. Alvesgaspar (talk) 20:36, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
    • I am not the decision maker on that, but I can tell you why I think it would be a bad idea: because most of the concerns that people had at the beginning have already been addressed, and the rest are on track, then I don't see how that would do anything other than reinforce the perception that the right way forward is for people to engage in wheel-warring and protests about software features. There is no question (none) that the future involves MV enabled universally and by default, and so the right question is what needs to be fixed about it? I don't think having a religious war about it is the right way forward for the community. As I said in my letter, the real way forward is for the Foundation to invest in processes to make sure that (a) software is developed that we need and (b) it is rolled out in a professional incremental way so that major problems aren't suddenly thrust upon the community without warning. We have to move away from the idea that voting is the right way to decide software issues - voting doesn't lead to good software and it doesn't give rise to consensus - it gives rise to bad and unusable software such as what we put up with every day around here.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:53, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
      (edit conflict) You're setting up a straw man, as the issue has never been about voting for software features. What it's always been about, and is still about, is the the WMF's forced imposition of software that frankly isn't fit for purpose, or even nearly ready to be deployed site wide. Hence the current lack of trust in the WMF developers. With new initiatives such as Flow waiting in the wings, what guarantee do we have that this pattern has changed? That was of course a rhetorical question, to which the answer is "none". Eric Corbett — Preceding undated comment added 21:03, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
The issue is in very large part about voting for software features, which is something that has been happening for years to ill effect. As to "what guarantee" I don't know what you are asking for or what you would like to see? We've changed CEOs and specifically brought someone in with a strong remit to invest more in engineering and product and there are rapid transitions taking place in those processes. A modern and sane incremental rollout process is being developed so that we can avoid the sudden release of "not fit for purpose" software. What I am asking everyone - even you - to do is to put down your swords and join a dialog about how to improve things. Nasty comments that imply people are lying are just absolutely not helpful. And if you aren't here to help, then you shouldn't be here at all.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:13, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
If I'm not here to help what? You seem to have lost track of what this project is nominally about, so let me give you a clue. It's not about software or creating an ever-increasing bureaucracy at the WMF. Or is it? Eric Corbett 21:23, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Again, poison without content. If you aren't here to help build an encyclopedia, then you shouldn't be here at all. And helping to build the encyclopedia includes helping to have a proper and constructive dialog about software development. Simply pissing on everything all the time is not helpful at all. And if you are going to keep doing it, then do it somewhere else.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:26, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
You're simply making yourself look like an idiot. Why don't you do that somewhere else? Eric Corbett 22:00, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I rest my case.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:08, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
What case is that? You've yet to make one. Eric Corbett 22:22, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Content vs ...well, you said it. It is always sad to see someone unable to live up to the principles (or dogma, as it were) they claim to espouse. Hopefully everyone can get more involved in the work of building an encyclopedia of good (not just allegedly good) content. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:43, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Eric, of all people, is here to write an encyclopedia. You are not, @Jimbo Wales:. WMF is not. Many people and organisations are not, which is fine for as long as you let us write. The 'poison' in this episode has been brewed entirely by the WMF, isn't it time to admit that? --Pgallert (talk) 20:52, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
      • Sorry Jimbo, but the only religious dogma I see here is your conviction that the future involves MV enabled universally and by default. From my own experience and the comments I have read from many others, MV is presently a nuisance for the editors, most especially those dealing with images. Unfortunately your own words suggest that the real reason for WMF to keep MV enabled by default is to keep its face. Not a very good start. Alvesgaspar (talk) 21:10, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
        • That's not a religious dogma, it's just a fact. MV is not going away. If it is "presently" a nuisance for editors, then the solution is to fix it, not to have some religious opposition to it for no reason. "Keeping face" is not a factor here at all - what is a factor is that modernizing what happens when you click on an image to provide a better experience for both readers and editors is going to happen. Is. That's, again, not religious dogma but a fact.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:13, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
          • Thus it is not a religious dogma that the future involves MV enabled universally and by default but an exercise of authority. It will be that way because you and WMF say so. That is the only rational conclusion that can be drawn from your words. Sorry to suggest that WMF just wants to save the face. It is much more than that: they want to say in very clear terms who is in charge. Sorry Jimbo, you have failed to convince me that MV cannot be disabled as the deafult viewer while it is not ready, despite the positive effect it would have on the present conflict. Alvesgaspar (talk) 22:58, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
          • I think there is a "problem" here in that the MediaWiki software is really quite usable as it is. I really don't think MediaViewer adds much to the experience (and it seriously gets into my way when I need the meta-information, but that's an aside). So people come up with projects like VE or MV that look good and have a superficially convincing user story, and hence get approved and funded. Then the people involved become invested in the projects, and the projects take on a life of their own. An argument like "we have worked for two years on the feature" or "we have invested a million Euros into the feature" are not really good reasons to deploy a feature in the face of stiff user resistance. In fact, they should be entirely irrelevant. But that's very hard on a project manager tasked with delivering a project, or developers which have done their best to deliver a feature as specified. I don't know a good solution, but smaller, more incremental steps and much better communication between foundation and users would be a step in the right direction. I think your phrasing above is wrong. "Modernizing what happens when you click on an image" is absolutely not a value in itself. "Provid[ing] a better experience for both readers and editors" is. But that judgement is up to the readers and editors. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:08, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
            • MedaiWiki software is not "quite usable as it is". It is a usability nightmare in many ways. I am not aware of anyone at the Foundation or anywhere else who has made an argument like "we have worked for two years" or "we have invested a million Euros". If they have please point it out to me so I can go and explain to them the fallacy of Sunk costs. Modernizing what happens when you click on an image *is* a value for the same reason that following universal standards is a value. Readers and editors (particularly new editors but all editors) have a right to expect that Wikipedia will follow good web design principles and not do weird things for no reason.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:14, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
The German Community is well aware of Erik's Statement:... If you want a WMF that slavishly implements RFCs or votes to disable features upon request, you'll need to petition to replace more than just one person. In fact, you should petition to reduce the staff dramatically, find an administrative ED who has no opinion on what to do, and exclusively focus on platform-level improvements and requests that clearly have community backing. This is not the org we want to be. ... Erik Möller,VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation --Niki.L (talk) 06:13, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I strongly disagree on the usability issue. Of course, the MediaWiki front-end is not particularly sexy, and it's easy to find individual aspects that could be improved. But it is fit for purpose, as can be seen by the fact that Wikipedia is among the top 10 websites of the world. I've seen the statement that "other websites are passing us left and right", but if they do, where are they? Technical snazziness may be sexy, but it does not necessarily contribute to usability. Indeed, many organisations who have set up MediaWiki for internal purposes have not updated it in the last 5 years or so - because it works as it is. Hurdles to Wikipedia participation are not technical, they are social, both within the community (where processes and expectations have risen) and in society at large (where for large groups, participating in an encyclopedia or any collaborative knowledge project is simply outside their scope of experience). Learning Wiki markup is trivial compared to substantially researching any given topic and writing a sourced article. Edit conflicts are annoying, yes, but they nearly exclusively occur in talk pages and, wiki space debate forums, and maybe the reference desk. I can't remember when I last had an edit conflict when working on an article. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:38, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
That you, Jimbo, call flagged revisions a desastrous rollout shows that you are completly blind to the facts. For the Foundation who is obsessed with quantity and has no idea how to keep quality of the content high it may appear so. From the communities point of view it is a different image: on the German wikipedia there was first a consultation (Umfrage), then a test and then the feature got accepted in two polls (Meinungsbild). That is how the process of rolling out software features has to look like. Then the Foundation finally will just present features that actually work and make a step foward. Did you hear any complaints on Echo? Why not? Because it works and helps! Dis the readers feedback tool get accepted in the German Wikipedia? No, because a limited test didn't convice (or better to say it convinced me personally that my initial pro position to the feature was wrong). Your autocratic vision will destroy Wikipedia, not that the software isn't any near facebook-like experiences. --Julius1990 (talk) 22:21, 28 August 2014 (UTC) PS: How many big, long, important articles have you written in comparison to those who tell you that the software is very usabale actually for this task? I really can't take you serious anymore with such kind of statement.
Julius1990, I feel you haven't actually read my statement. So before I address your particular points, I want to ask you to go back and read what I said. I am not calling for an "autocratic vision" but precisely the opposite. I am calling for the Foundation to move away from autocratic software development and rollouts and instead invest real resources in a formal process to engage the community throughout the entire software development process. So my position is exactly the opposite of what you seem to think.
As to the specifics. The rollout of Flagged Revisions in English Wikipedia was a disaster. That it went well in German Wikipedia is not due to the Foundation having a good rollout strategy but because the process put into place in the German Wikipedia by the German Wikipedians was a good one. Here in English, we had a massive fight over a confused poll that different people interpreted in different ways and it ended in Flagged Revisions not being used at all, and ended (unfortunately) in the Foundation throwing up their hands and refusing to invest more resources in improving the feature. I support FR and wish that English Wikipedia would copy what the Germans are doing with it, but that isn't going to happen because the rollout left so much sadness in its wake that I don't see any appetite from the community to seriously revisit the issue.
That the software is usable for technically sophisticated users to write long and important articles is not in question and should not be disturbed. But many aspects of the software could be improved both for experienced and technically sophisticated users AND for new editors and readers. Setting up a false dichotomy that leads you to the conclusion that any change is bad is an error. What we should be asking of the Foundation and what the Foundation is promising are the same thing: serious and deep consultation with the community so that software efforts are properly prioritized to solve the problems that we actually have. We need to move away from the autocratic approach of the past, in which features were developed with insufficient community input, then rolled out to us en masse, followed by riots and votes. That process is wrong. Instead of autocratic top-down approaches, we need serious collaboration.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:26, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh, i have read your text very well. And your denial of democratic ways to decide about software features for the projects is nothing but an autocratic vision. That this is not just a vision but was actually exactly what happend with the use of "superprotect" just underlines it. It happens right now. We have a binding poll result that the Foundation doesn't like. So the Foundation ignores it. Is there anything that could be showing less respect to the editors? The WMF can think matters are now solved. But still it should follow the result of the poll or ask for a new one, where the Foundation can argument for its position, but would have to respect the result.
Beside that i have developed a deep mistrust in the Foundation and in you personally. Just a sidenote here: Who was such a big fan of the image filter (basically a censorship tool) and then makes big speeches against the "right to forget" what is simply deeply related to the european central right of privacy, appears to me schizophrenic but not trustworthy. That you on Wikimania than apparently even referred to the power of the movement, but now on your own matters you don't want to accept those parts of the movement who make the power at all, also doesn't make you appear more trustworthy.
Your argument about how much work it would be and how mcuh it would cost to allow custumarization on the single projects. That just makes me laugh. The WMF has much more money than it actually needs. The Foundation has wasted much money by inability and wrong managing decisions. If good developers are hired, if the communication gets better, if the management sticks to the visions of the movement and doesn't think they are actually the leaders then sure it is possible to custamize in certain ways. Critical points can be shown by arguments, and good arguments convince the majority. But you have the power that's why you don't try to convince. Instead of selling the products to us, you prefer to force them on us. That is not the empowerment for the contributers, it's their discouragement. When you write "serious collebaration" and stuff, i simply can't believe it, because there is a year long history where it always just got worse not better, even now the Foundation is not adressing the problem at its core and doesn't show the respect the people who build up all the content deserve. Have you read anywhere that Erik Möller is sorry that he misused a "Community Advocate" in this whole affair or anything like that. No. And that is the core of the problem. And you put just the usual marketing bla bla. So that it is for me with your statement ... i have a little hope in Lila, because she is the only one who deserves good faith since she didn't screw up big time a lot of times so far. But i have no faith in you personally, in the Board (with the aweful statements of Jan-Bart on Lila's meta disk) and a whole bucnh of the Foundation staff especially in Möller or in Forrester (the way he hanlded the Norwegian call for flagged revisions is a hit with the fist in the contributer's face). --Julius1990 (talk) 12:56, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Well I hope that that wrong decision will be reviewed and fixed. But let's take another look into the reasons why, for some years now, communities and programmers disagree regularly. I don't remember about the who and when of the decision, but it was decided that Wikipedia should have a Facebook-look-alike atmosphere I which each and everyone can contribute. (And that is the source where all this usability shit originates.) That goal is wrong, even with a big WRONG. Wikipedia is not a forum. Wikipedia is not a social media. Wikipedia is the attempt to create an encyclopedia. We don't need contributors which by default are not able anymore to contribute in whole sentences (and I am not talking about people like me, whose English is rather jolty but we're talking about people writing Pidgin in their mother language, whose intellectual capacity is limited to 160 characters including spaces). We talk about users for whom the demandment for the neutral POV and the prohibition of original research are not all Greek. We don't need users, who would comment 'what a lovely place' right through their mobile device into the Capri article right now they're standing on the piazette and even not recognizing wether they are editing the talk page or the article itself. And in my opinion we don't need Flow which introduces just more Facebook feeling and includes whitespace to an extent never seen before. (As a side notice: are there already studys how much more scrolling is needed comparing identical discussions between wikitext and Flow discussions?) The primary purpose of blowing up discussions (in a spatial sense) on news websites is the possibility to show yet more advertising, a function totally unneeded in Wikipedia, so there is no need to create whitespace.
What the communities miss and making them anger is that the developpers concentrate on such for the aim of creating an encyclopedia absolutely unnecessary features instead of fixing old and important bugs (like the ten years old {{bugzilla:367}} on accessibility or the annoying need of inserting &nbsp; between numbers and (SI) units in six year old {{bugzilla:13610}}, mileage of other users certainly varies) or finally creating a practicable and usable referencing system. As I said elsewhere that should IMO be based on Wikidata so that linkfixes would be done there and not in each language version on their own however that should be discussed in the big Wikipediae, perhaps other users have better ideas than me. But so far we are stitched to the extension whose <ref></ref>/<ref name="" />…<references /> syntax seems to originate from DOS 3.21, with the last improvement, when grouping o the references at the end of normal article text was enabled (between <references> … </references>. --Matthiasb (talk) 13:54, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
There were some complaints about Echo but the issue got resolved fairly fast. I think a javascript hack was deployed until the developers conceded the point. It related to the disappearance of the orange box that notified you when you got new talk page messages. The developers, frankly, need to spend more time listening: they may be ace coders but they're often on their own path and it really does not relate to the basics of why Wikipedia exists etc. A good start might be to ditch Möller, who may be one of the greatest coders who has ever lived but clearly has no clue when it comes to liaison. I'm not convinced about the "we've brought Lila in to address the software issues" (paraphrase) argument, either. Sue Gardner seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to address systemic bias issues and that failed, so if Lila's appointment is really about software then I'm not hopeful. Chief Execs are supposed to drive, encourage etc, yes, but if they are so specific in their interests then they are not well-rounded leaders. - Sitush (talk) 00:01, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I think the best solution is to fix the error from the past, our software development worked well as long as it was under community control, its messy since we started with 5 payed programmers under the WMF flag and indeed the cost benefit ratio is hopeless, we are still messing with a visual editor a system that was mass introduced in 2004 on the web. A community volunteer supervisor board on top of mediawiki and all software development from the 10 main Wikipedia's and Commons, they are our main drivers to generate visibility on the web and generate income. The community itself was very well able to do it before and if they get a say in development and funding they will fix it again. Mion (talk) 14:18, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Re: " doesn't lead to good software..." - Perhaps true, but voting has been effective in leading to the withdrawal of really bad software; see: VisualEditor. MediaViewer is a mere skirmish over trivialities compared to the potential impact and possibility of massive conflict represented by Flow. Carrite (talk) 16:43, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
The alternative view of this is that voting often leads to nowhere, because ideas cannot get off the ground, the kinds of discussions we have stifle any kind of meaningful innovation (from anybody, WMF or otherwise), and it effectively teaches a lesson to those who care about trying to make more structural improvements to Wikipedia. And that lesson is: Don't even try to change anything. The default reaction to software changes always seems to overdramatic and framed in terms of a looming catastrophe based on tenuous speculation. I'm frankly kind of tired of hearing this broken record in the community; the attitude needs to be more on making software that works well rather than trying create a battleground where everyone loses. In fairness, I also was unhappy with the rollout of VE and said as much during one of many of RfCs and discussions, but VE is more or less fine now for some kinds editing and it hasn't ruined the project. I, JethroBT drop me a line 19:13, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
You appear to be suggesting that as VE is "more or less fine now for some kinds of edits" as a triumph for the WMF, more than a year after a version that was good for practically nothing was made the default. And we all know that Flow will be just as bad. That's the kind of arrogance that has to change. Eric Corbett 19:22, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
FYI - Although it "works," I doubt even the WMF would call VE a triumph in any sense of the term. That also doesn't mean we're doomed based on everything that follows. I, JethroBT drop me a line 19:32, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@I JethroBT - Let's emphasize Eric's words... "...more than a year after a version that was good for practically nothing was made the default." Tell me in what way having the ability to short-circuit that inept bureaucratically-generated first generation piece of content-mangling garbageware which was made the default by WMF is in some way an impediment to change. If WMF does their job (1) analyzing actual editing needs; (2) building software to meet these actual needs; (3) debugging their software before launching it; (4) launching it in limited way before making it the default on English Wikipedia — then we will have no problems. Excuse me for having zero confidence in San Francisco at this point... Carrite (talk) 16:40, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
@Carrite: They (like Jimbo above) have repeatedly said that rollouts are going to be limited and gradual, and if they've learned their lesson from VE, they shouldn't default it before it's ready. I'd recommend engaging with the dev team over at mw:Talk:Flow to make sure our needs our met (I have been doing so) and that you call attention to bugs that are most relevant to you. I'm just as disappointed with how things went with VE, but I'd rather try to engage with them to make sure this works than completely write them off. The latter will pretty much guarantee further disappointment. I, JethroBT drop me a line 21:39, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Response to your request on my talk page[edit]

Jimmy, re: this message --

Suggesting that I relax is one thing, but requesting that I stop doing something is entirely another. Could you clarify which you are doing here?

Since your request is about the open letter I wrote requesting that WMF reverse a couple of bad decisions, I think it's relevant that numerous people have praised its clarity and its measured nature. It may not be perfect, but I have good reason to disagree with the notion that it isn't "relaxed." I can't know for sure, but I suspect your bias/COI may be influencing how you read it. -Pete (talk) 21:01, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

What I'm saying is that the fight is over. You won. Superprotect has been lifted (or is about to be, I'm not 100% sure) in German Wikipedia. The other question is a deep and fundamental question that needs to be answered with dialogue and discussion. It makes no sense in the long run for us to have a situation where hundreds of wikis each have a completely different configuration based on local voting. That is not a viable process and we already have huge problems to the extent that it has happened. Look at Flagged Revisions as a great example. It's a feature that I love but that English Wikipedia has mostly chosen not to use, and other communities are using it in a variety of configuations some good, some bad. This makes long term support virtually impossible for the Foundation. We need to be pushing hard for reunification of software features across the projects.
So you've wrapped together two very different issues. One of them is now moot. The other is in need of a complex and thoughtful discussion, not a petition.
So yes, I'm asking you to relax but I'm also asking you to declare victory and be done with it. There is no need to continue the petition.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:06, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I invite you to read this update on the talk page of the petition, which I wrote after the announcement from Lila and Erik. In summary, a "superprotect" that is enforced by the lingering question of whether or not the WMF will overreact if an elected administrator should choose not to honor its "request" is in no way preferable to a "superprotect" that is a fully technical feature. This is a point which I thought had gotten through, when @Eloquence: acknowledged the problematic lack of clarity in the original announcement of the decision to overrule the English Wikipedia's RFC -- but perhaps not. -Pete (talk) 21:15, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I have read that and I think it confirms what I'm saying. The first point is moot. The second point, in contrast to your own words, is "about long-term decision-making processes". MV is not going away and an important principle is being established here. As I understand it (and again, I'm not the decision maker) the Foundation's answer to the second demand is "no". And the reason for that is precisely "long-term decision-making processes". What I'm asking you to do is join a conversation and to be a positive influence (as you always are) on that, in the knowledge that the Foundation is massively ramping up investment in the relationship between what the developers are doing and what the community wants and needs. We have to move away from this model of panicky rights battles and mass petitions in a tone of adversary, and move to a position of remembering that we are all there for the same reason: to build something amazing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:20, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Since you see that the answer to the second request is "no," surely you can see how counterproductive it would be for me to declare victory. Even if I believed we had achieved a victory (which I do not), it would be a betrayal to the 700+ people who have signed the letter with both bullet #1 and bullet #2. I have no authority to overrule them. There is no victory as long as the WMF continues to prioritize its own goals over the reasoned objections of huge numbers and an overwhelming ratio of volunteers -- whether that prioritization is expressed through technical means (superprotect) or social means (creating ambiguity around what is a "request" vs. a "demand").
Speaking for myself, I would very much like to see something very similar to the Media Viewer deployed as the default option; and I know this to be true of many (but not all) of the other people who signed the letter. But it must be a mature product first. At present, I have misgivings about the processes the WMF has created and maintains for evaluating the maturity of the product. Permitting local communities to roll back the default state, at present, would be a practical and clear acknowledgment that the present state of the software may not be sufficient, even if WMF is not (yet) capable of fully grasping what is needed. -Pete (talk) 21:37, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
If you would "very much like to see something very similar to the Media Viewer deployed as the default option" then the best way to get there is to understand now that the Foundation is not going to disable it but is investing huge resources in fixing it. (Which, by the way, is not hard because it's pretty damned good already and just needs some tweaks.) The petition has had all the impact it is going to have.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:43, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Edit conflicts (discussed below) are among of the most frustrating things my students have encountered (in addition to experienced editors). I would not be surprised at all if it accounts for a major portion of the people who would like to contribute to Wikipedia, but throw their hands up in frustration after trying for a while.
But if the WMF goes about trying to address edit conflicts in the same way it has approached other recent software improvements, do you feel confident it would avoid drama and discord? That it wouldn't create new problems that are bigger than the one it aims to fix? (Some seem to feel that Flow will do that, though I am not familiar enough with it to have an opinion.) If you're not confident -- what can be done to address that?
I assure you, it's not just a few tweaks to how WMF advertises upcoming changes, and it's not inviting more volunteers to give up their time without pay to do work that others are paid to do. It is vital that the WMF start hiring people whose (deep) expertise lies in operating within complex social systems, to supplement the engineering talent it has pursued. It really should have that capability at or near the top of the organizational chart -- some of the things WMF's executives and board members say are truly astonishing for an organization of WMF's size and importance. And the WMF must be able to predict at least sometimes what actions will lead to massive unrest, and not continue to be taken by surprise.
One thing that would help a great deal is if WMF organizational leaders (several or all of them) could improve their ability to accurately repeat back the arguments made by those opposing their decisions. Understanding a problem is absolutely vital to being able to find a solution to it. It may be that something like nonviolent communication training for execs would be an effective and low-cost first step.
I do look forward to participating in the effort to get Media Viewer ready for release, even though it will involve significant uncompensated time. At this point I think it would be the right thing to do, if and when the conditions are right, and I appreciate your invitation. However, I am not willing to participate while the MV remains enabled by default on sites where a clear decision has been made to disable it. -Pete (talk) 22:08, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
The Foundation under Lila's direction is committed to radically ramping up investment in engineering and product. So yes, I am confident that things in the future will be different from things in the past. If you are not willing to participate in constructive dialog to move that forward because you are climbing the Reichstag dressed like Spiderman over MV, then you will be sorely missed. We are no longer in an era where voting to disable key software features is accepted. We are moving into an era of constructive dialog and debate. I hope you will change your mind and be a part of that future. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:18, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I appreciate your call for relaxation, but I am not sure how you square that with talk about religious wars, or caricatures of climbing the Reichstag. -Pete (talk) 22:24, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
If the products enabled by default would have a minimum quality, for readers and contributors, this debate would be superfluous. Treating everyone with semi-working features because it looks bad from the engineering perspective if a deployment gets significantly delayed due to needs for improvement is somewhat disruptive. Have you ever tried the mobile version of MV with an iPhone 4? Zero information. Not zoom-able. Closing does not work while loading. I think I am going to file 3 bugs right now; which will take me about 30 minutes. So if you claim that the majority likes MV on mobile, which numbers are you referring to?
While I appreciate the engineers' efforts to reach out an look how pages like Flickr, Google+ and Facebook present their images, I miss considerations on whether we want to become Flickr/Facebook/Google+ or on how we are different and how this should be reflected in software. I am aware that there are eye-candy versions of Wikipedia developed by third parties, so we must catch up to not loose readers to them. But some features are simply not ready for production. This has been recently proven for mobile uploading. I consider the amount of time volunteer Lupo spent proving this situation and cleaning up unhelpful mobile uploads to 3 hours per day. Not only did the development team didn't take copyright violations serious (perhaps they should talk to your legal department), their statistics were also wrong and are still inferior to those Lupo provides. bugzilla:62598 for the full story. But again too many words I think, let's just improve! -- Rillke (talk) 02:08, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Dear Rillke: Thanks for bringing up your mobile viewing issues. For the record, I would like to clarify a misunderstanding: the Media Viewer tool is not implemented on mobile platforms at all. Our mobile team has built a much simpler mobile viewing feature, but it doesn’t have any of the code or functionality of the desktop Media Viewer. All it does now is show a license below the image and a ‘Details’ button that links to the file page. This gives users the option to simply preview the image, before going to the more cumbersome file page -- which was never designed for mobile use and is hard to parse on small screens. In any case, these are two completely different projects right now: in coming months, the mobile and multimedia teams plan to integrate these features more closely, based on user feedback. I hope this clarification is helpful. Be well. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 22:45, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, m:Community_Engagement_(Product)/Process_ideas might be a good place for those interested to join that conversation. Deltahedron (talk) 21:27, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. And don't forget - the Foundation is committed to correcting what, in my view, has been a serious underinvestment in engineering and product over the past few years. So don't shy away from process ideas that actually require the Foundation to hire people.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:30, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
The Superprotect is still there. This one superprotected page is un-superprotected now, yes, but members of the "staff" user group still have the right. A user right that wasn't needed in 13 years and a user right that tells the community "you are silly children" and "you can't take care of your things". --Drahreg01 (talk) 21:29, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
While I don't support Superprotect as it is currently implemented (particularly not as a "staff-only" right - that kind of thing just introduces unnecessary divisiveness) I think that the general principle of it is valid: that there is no reason to allow admins to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point by editing the sitewide javascript. I think there can be reasons for technically proficient admins to edit sitewide javascript but it is a major security risk and potential point of conflict and so in general I don't think there is any valid objection to shrinking the group who has that right.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:33, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Admins who don't know a thing about JavaScript (like me) will never edit the sitewide javascript. Admins who do know but don't act resposibly with their right to do so will soon loose their admin-flag. The community will make them loose it. We don't need people with "super power" to manage things that can be managed within the local community. --Drahreg01 (talk) 21:51, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Drahreg01, the drama on English Wikipedia came when an admin who did not understand JavaScript edited the sitewide JavaScript. Even he admits that the code someone produced didn't do what he thought it would do, and that adding that code was an error in judgment. And it's almost impossible to lose the admin-flag on this project, unlike on most other projects. So I quite disagree with your reading of the situation. Risker (talk) 22:39, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
@Risker: and You say, the English Wikipedia would not be able to solve this drama without the Foundation stepping in? Of course people will always make mistakes, and then the mistakes will be solved. Trusting the communities means, it will not be solved everything immediately. Maybe some things have to be talked over, maybe there are different positions, and a compromise must be found. Of course, if the Foundation doesn't have this trust anymore, they can always reign like dictators, force their position without discussion and threaten opposing voices. I accept, that some office actions must be enforced immediately and without discussion. These are legal matters or maybe software changes, that are a direct threat to the future of the Foundation/the projects. And of course the question, if a Mediaviewer is in opt-in- or opt-out-mode is of that kind - or is it not? --Magiers (talk) 08:58, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Magiers, English Wikipedia is notorious for not removing admin bits from people who have shown competency issues; it's one of the most frequently cited issues in the upwardly-spiralling expectations that admin candidates face on enwiki. Right now the only method of removing admin bits is through the Arbitration Comittee, and barring certain very specific admin actions (which normally involves inappropriate use of the block or delete buttons, wheel-warring) it will take them weeks to months to do anything. They did indeed accept a case here, and nothing in their drafts and contemplations indicates that they're even considering "don't make edits to the JavaScript unless you understand JavaScript". In fact, they would have been much more likely to have desysopped an admin who wheel-warred changes to the common.js than those admins who reverted him (which pretty much highlights the difference between Dewiki and Enwiki). At least the enwiki situation didn't escalate to a wheel-war, though. I personally think that is a net positive. Risker (talk) 17:00, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Magiers, I'm responding here to what Risker said above. I am one of the drafting arbitrators on the case she mentions. She is incorrect to say that "nothing in their drafts and contemplations indicates that they're even considering "don't make edits to the JavaScript unless you understand JavaScript".". If Risker had provided a link to the drafts, you would have been able to see for yourself that what she has said is misleading. The draft can be seen here. The draft includes the following:
  • MediaWiki namespace and CSS and JS files:

    The editing of the sitewide CSS and JavaScript files (limited to administrators) has been carried out primarily by MediaWiki developers and administrators familiar with the coding language, or following an edit request and discussion on the talk pages

  • Administrators (care and judgement):

    Administrators are expected to use care and judgement in the use of their tools. This includes the ability of administrators to edit protected pages and pages of a technical nature that can affect the entire site. In such cases, administrators are expected to act with caution, to respect warnings and edit notices, to recognize their personal limitations, and to consult and obtain specialist assistance as needed.

The related findings highlight the admission by the administrator in question that he did not understand the code he inserted, and the conclusions emphasise the fact that he should have initiated a discussion on the common.js talk page instead of hastily implementing the code that he was provided with. I hope this makes clear that we were indeed considering closely the question of technical competence to edit the MediaWiki namespace. Risker, could you please strike that part of what you said? It was only by chance that I read the above (while reading through the rest of this discussion), and it is distressing to see you misrepresent the case to others. Magiers, if you or anyone else wants to know more about the case, please feel free to ask me. Carcharoth (talk) 00:06, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the informations, but I do not want to dig too deep in this arbcom case. But indeed in dewp, we have much more easy procedures for removal of admin-rights. There is a a quick temporarily removal, which can be enforced in 12 hours. Also an admin can be forced to a reelection through the community within 30 days (what happened to the admin, who first enforced the Superprotection in dewp as an employee of the Foundation). To be honest, I see it not as a good situation, when the en-community cannot handle sysop problems by itself and so the stepping in of the Foundation is even embraced. For me the intrusion of the WMF is the highest escalation level, that should be reserved for really important cases. And I don't see a bad hack on a js-page as such a case, because it can easily be repaired by every other sysop. --Magiers (talk) 18:08, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
That is understandable (that you do not want to dig too deep into this arbcom case). I've made my point, which is that to fully understand certain aspects of the case, it is best to go read the case pages or talk to the arbitrators themselves, rather than get information through secondhand accounts that may not be entirely accurate. (I should also mention here that the case is actually in the process of being suspended with the likelihood of closure in 60 days, so while the case was clearly heading towards certain conclusions, a full decision may not in the end be published).

On de-adminning on en-Wikipedia, there are also processes here for quick temporary removal of admin tools (again, this was made clear in the drafts at the arbitration case pages). One of the points being made in the drafts at the en-WP arbcom pages was the same as the one that you made here, that local processes would likely have sufficed to prevent any lasting damage (though some have argued otherwise at the case pages).

The interesting thing here is the differences between the approach the en-WP and de-WP communities took. The ArbComs on the two projects have differences, but to me the really interesting thing was the way that the German Wikipedia was very quick to self-organise and vote in large numbers at a poll once superprotect was created and used. Whether the en-WP community would have done the same if superprotect had been used here, I'm not sure (one argument is that the initial incident here got the message across here to the en-WP community that it was best to wait and discuss, rather than wheel-war as occurred on de-WP).

My rudimentary speculations on other reasons for the differences in the type of response is that en-WP is in some ways too large and diverse to react quickly to things like this (someone made the astute observations that you sometimes need to go through several RfCs on some issues here before enough people become aware of the RfCs to result in widespread participation at the later RfCs). I also suspect that en-WP, compared to other languages, has a relatively larger number of editors for whom English is a second language, who are less confident in participating in discussions and votes here.

The point I'm trying to make here is that there are distinct cultural differences between the various language Wikipedias, and the Community Engagement people have the rather difficult task of enabling people to come together at a Wikimedia-wide level to discuss certain things, while still being aware of and sensitive to those differences. Carcharoth (talk) 22:48, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

To understand that Jimbo and the Foundation staff would need to have actually any insight how the projects work. But they don't have it and they don't even care to get it. --Julius1990 (talk) 22:08, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid that's true. The only solution on the table now is to spend more money and employ more people, rather than fewer and better people. Eric Corbett 22:14, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
That's the thing that gets me: there has been absolutely zero accountability as far as I can tell related to the ongoing series of software debacles. And somehow swelling an already-too-large bureaucracy from 191 to 240 is going to fix things... WMF's first paid employee was Jan. 1, 2005, correct me if I'm wrong. I just don't see any correlation between number of employees and quality of software... Rather than additions of engineers, WMF needs to start doing some replacements, not sparing the very highest levels from scrutiny. Carrite (talk) 17:04, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to mention three facts that people at the Foundation have overlooked:

1. A 1994 article in the IEEE's Computer magazine stated that more than 3 of 4 major system upgrades failed & were abandoned. (If anyone is interested, I could go thru my pile of back issues & provide a proper citation.)

2. There are a number of experienced professionals in software development amongst the Wikipedia volunteers who might be happy to donate a few hours to provide a detailed plan to improve the user interface that would have a good chance of success. Maybe the Foundation should ask their input.

3. When I mentioned this controversy about Wikipedia's appearance at work, a co-worker mentioned a very successful website that has an even more dated interface than Wikipedia, but which is doing very well: Craigslist. AFAIK, Craigslist has no difficulty in attracting new users -- & makes a profit. -- llywrch (talk) 17:43, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

For the record: If you prefer such war metaphors, „the fight“ is not „over“ unless superprotect is abolished altogether from all Wikimedia projects. The Foundation has lost its face and the trust it once had and should therefore think about how to rebuild its reputation.--Aschmidt (talk) 22:18, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't understand the statement that "It makes no sense in the long run for us to have a situation where hundreds of wikis each have a completely different configuration based on local voting." Isn't MediaWiki supposed to be highly customizable, with many features that en.wikipedia doesn't even use? Isn't it supposed to be useful even for sites that have no affiliation with WMF? By having different configuration options WMF simply tests this diversity and customizability. Wnt (talk) 00:48, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
It is this approach which has stalled software progress for many years. It is unwieldy to manage and test hundreds of configurations and for most sites who use MediaWiki, there is no interest in these kinds of customizations. MediaWiki will of course remain highly customizable but there are limits.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:17, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Hundreds of configurations? I'm afraid this is another strawman. To my knowledge we were just talking about configuring MV as opt-in or opt-out... How can this affect the management and progress of software? More and more I become convinced that this staging serves one single purpose: to demonstrate to the communities who is in charge. I am surprised and shocked that Jimbo is on the wrong side. Alvesgaspar (talk) 10:02, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Sinbad the sailor.jpeg
Javascript on Wikipedia
Conceptually, this is a more radical position, yet would actually a more acceptable one, if it is consistently pursued. There is no dispute that MediaWiki changes the software now and then, and while such a large cosmetic change is disturbing, it is within their realm. Our problems start when the developers put in the effort to design the software with a huge range of options for configuration, then come to en.wikipedia and de.wikipedia and say nonetheless we have to use it a particular way, because then they're crossing the line into controlling how we edit the site rather than doing their job of development. This also allows a more gentle way for them to impose their will, because they could say that support for the non-MV version would end at a certain date, giving projects a window of time over which they would still have control whether to adopt it or not.
However, there is one problem with all that theory, which is that the non-MV version is still in use for those of us who routinely keep javascripts disabled. I find that in my web browsing, as a rule, on sites using Javascript any non-interactive content can be accessed fully without Javascript 95% of the time, and they ought to be be done without it 100% of the time. Wikipedia is no exception - the Javascript seems like an Old Man of the Sea that slows and complicates browsing with no visible payoff. The only exception I can think of is the code editor/script errors for Lua and I can't even get those to work on Firefox any more (though they work on IE). I don't see why it should cause any great harm to leave projects the power to shut Javascript features off when the users can and should do so anyway most of the time. Wnt (talk) 14:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Example of bad software[edit]

In this short discussion, I have had multiple "edit conflicts". This requires me to know how to scroll to the bottom, find my text, dig through that and find the words that I wrote, copy them to my buffer, then scroll up, find the place where I wanted to put them, and paste. And save again. In the hopes that no one has edited in the meantime to generate yet another edit conflict. The number of times I have had this experience on any other website? Zero.

This is the kind of thing that needs to be fixed, even though we've lived with it for 13 years. A lot of interesting things have happened with web development and AJAX and all that, and we're creaky and ancient by comparison. If we do not give the Foundation space to develop new concepts then we will cause ourselves infinite grief.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:39, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Has that problem even been looked at by WMF developers? Perhaps they should focus on those types of problems (i.e. what we all agree are problems) than what they deem problems. Go Phightins! 21:45, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, this is one of the many problems that the "Flow" design concept is about. See here for more. One of the things that I'm hopeful about is that significantly increased investment in product and engineering will mean that ideas like this will be made stronger and built sooner and rolled out incrementally so that we don't have too much "shock" due to "not fit for purpose" software being sprung on us.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:49, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
What about in articles? Go Phightins! 21:51, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Very few developers, or even Jimbo himself, ever edit articles, so what happens when editing them is of very little interest. Eric Corbett 21:57, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
A different use case and I think a more difficult problem. Talk pages have a different editing dynamic - people mostly don't edit other people's comments (and the rules for doing so are quite strict). Article pages are intended to allow people to edit other people's words. So improving detection of automatically resolvable edit conflicts in article space is worthwhile but a different problem. I'm not personally sure of the state of the art in this area.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:55, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
There's an extension called Liquid threads already, no need for flow. --Sargoth (talk) 21:54, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
LiquidThreads, while interesting and cool, doesn't solve all the problems that Flow is designed to solve. But in essence I think both are the same thing, and Flow is the more recent and modern approach to the problem.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:57, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Anybody who recently witnessed the impulsive Wil Sinclair blow up his "OffWiki" project by unilaterally imposing LiquidThreads and creating the mother of all messes knows that Liquid threads is neither "interesting" nor "cool." Flow is LiquidThreads in new clothes... Carrite (talk) 17:15, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
There's talk at WT:Flow of rolling it out as a test case to help areas. The community really needs to put a policy together to control the use of Flow (when and where it is used, flow →text conversion and vice versa, personal choice for user talk pages) before the WMF gets too keen and messes something up. For example, archiving needs to be sorted before deploying to any high volume discussion page. BethNaught (talk) 22:10, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe neither in LT nor in Flow. Aside the fact that a lot of discussions take place outside the talk page names room, mainly RfCs and such discussions an implementation of flow will break the English Wikipedias quality mangement system entirely. Just in case the developpers are not aware of it, they should take a look on the bunch of categories Talk:Hurricane Sandy is sorted in and on the bunch of templates the talk page is plastered with, one for every wikiproject the article is affecting. De facto almost every EN Wikipedia article has a talk page with at least one of those templates. Frankly spoken I fear that Flow is just another feature with which Wikipedians will be unhappy with. If I had to decide it I would abandon it and start with working on a Wikidata based referencing system. Footnote management of Word for DOS 5.0 was more user-friendly than the fumbling with <ref>…</ref> and <references/> --Matthiasb (talk) 22:13, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Well I agree, but since the WMF is clearly going to impose Flow on us whether we like it or not, we need to agree on a common policy position. BethNaught (talk) 22:16, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
This is what I'm trying to call people's attention to - this meme is outdated and dead. The Foundation is not going to impose Flow on you whether you like it or not, the Foundation is going to invest hard resources in working with the community to understand the problems with our discussion system in order to fix them the way we like them. "Flow" is the overall name for that effort, but nothing about Flow is finalized and it will become what the community wants it to become. This false concept that it is the WMF versus the community needs to end.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:12, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
And what if the community decided that in the end it didn't want Flow (or its successor)? Is that statement an undertaking that Flow will not be enabled if there is community consensus against it? Given the situation you can't expect me to believe that. BethNaught (talk) 09:18, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
That position can only be bend over and pucker up. Eric Corbett 22:46, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Eric, I have asked you repeatedly to stop posting content-free nasty remarks. If you do it again, I'm going to ask you to stop posting to my talk page completely, and ask everyone to remove your comments the moment they are posted. You are not being helpful, you are simply causing conflict for no reason.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:10, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
At mw:Flow, we read Flow will eventually replace the current Wikipedia talk page system, and at 22:18, 28 August you wrote We are no longer in an era where voting to disable key software features is accepted. So in what sense is it the case the The Foundation is not going to impose Flow on you whether you like it or not? These do not appear to be consistent. Deltahedron (talk) 17:18, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually the problem with editconflicts improved much within the last eight years. Nowadays edit conflicts now only occur in one of the following cases: 1) you're beginning to edit after the last existing edit of the page and another user is adding a new section before yo're saving your edit. 2) Yo're editing at two or more different places within one section and another editor is saving his edit while his edit is somehow between the two places you edited. 3) More than one other editor edited while you were typing your edit.
Eight years ago you already got an EC when two editors edited elsewhere on the same page. A Tip: ever copy your edit in the buffer before hitting the "save" button. (That also ensures that your edit is not lost in the case of a hamster hickup.) --Matthiasb (talk) 21:59, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
textarea, -jkb- (talk) 22:02, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I think Jimbo is absolutely right that we need developers to focus on this sort of uncontroversial core development - things to make the site work better, not differently. I think that eliminating edit conflicts is closely associated with getting a better "diff" comparison --- it's inexcusable that whole paragraphs can be misaligned due to trivial edits, making it impossible to tell if reference data has been removed or numbers changed. (If you can recognize that two edits are separated within a paragraph, it should often be possible to merge them easily, and color coding the changes would work much better) This kind of comparison has been the object of intense development in the genome analysis community, with programs like ClustalW and BLAST: this is pretty much the same task, to create "the right" alignment. Wnt (talk) 00:39, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

", the Foundation is going to invest hard resources in working with the community to understand the problems with our discussion system in order to fix them the way we like them."[edit]

Who decided that there are problems with our existing discussion system? Most if all users I am in contact with are happy with the discussing system as it is, since it is flexible, discussions can easily reorganized, archived, dearchived, deleted, re-edited, formatted, deformatted, reformatted, put in tables, sometimes with images, most of this is going lost with Flow. And, Flow brings so much unneeded whitspace that scrolling that all down will kill most discussions on the way. This is just another project to create disruption between communities and the foundation, and it might be the reason when the relation breaks up. --Matthiasb (talk) 14:08, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Oh, those decisions were made years ago — mw:Flow/Community engagement may be relevant here, as indeed may Wikipedia:Flow/Community engagement. Deltahedron (talk) 17:21, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

A question for Jimbo[edit]

@Jimbo Wales: Through this thread, you have remained insistent that mediaviewer should remain default for all users. Why? It is still being developed and refined. This is exactly what WP:Beta features is for. "If it is "presently" a nuisance for editors, then the solution is to fix it, not to have some religious opposition to it for no reason." So it is being refined, I'll give you that. But no matter what you add to the program in terms of stability, a house with no foundation will fall. Even if it gets better 3 times over, 3 times 0 is still 0. In fact, I'm not even sure the premise of MV is sound. Consider this. You have to click two times at least just to access the file description page. This may sound like something good, but it is not. Looking at the inner workings of Wikipeda helps people understand and learn the processes, and for me personally it encouraged me to join once I discovered it was not anarchy nor someone's personal blog as so many professors insist. Also, who needs the social media links? Do you think anyone would really use it?

So let me pose this question to you. Is your long term goal for Wikipedia better content or better aesthetics? KonveyorBelt 01:22, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

I am not insistent that it "should" remain default. I am simply communicating the message from the Foundation that it will remain default. That's not a question that is open to debate at this time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:07, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@ Jimbo Wales - but will it be open to debate when we elect a new Board, a Board that will be mindful of who elects them? We have 700 people signing Pete's letter, 600+ on the German RfC... you are kidding yourself if you think that is not enough to influence Board elections. Soon we will have a Board that will cut down these engineering projects and leave decision-making to the Communities. 2601:7:1980:BF6:88BC:4C30:81F4:1B11 (talk) 23:24, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
so, the WMF does not show any willingness to compromise with the opinion of a substancial part of their user community. They still want only to enforce their will. They duck and cover and hope the storm will be over soon and they will proceed as usual. After some 9 years of quite massive contribution I am now at the verge to leave wikimedia, because this is absolutely inacceptable for me. Wikimedia until now does not even seek to mediate or compromise but simply to enforce their own opinion because they (at least technical) can. I know you are quite neutral or even positive about the idea some editors want to leave, surely there will others (but this time maybee not). Wikimedia has put the axe at the root which nurishes them, the large number of longtime contributors. If the roots are cut, even a large three will fall, even if it shows some nice collored flowers. - Tx for considering. Andy king50 (talk) 15:09, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales: I'll pose the question again. A simple answer will do. Is your long term goal for Wikipedia better content or better aesthetics? KonveyorBelt 16:24, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Your question presumes that you can only fall into one of these camps. Doesn't that seem somewhat unrealistic? I, JethroBT drop me a line 19:17, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
To be frank Jethro, it can't be anything else, or else the WMF would be doing very different things. KonveyorBelt 02:16, 30 August 2014 (UTC)


Jimbo, on request by an author at German-language Wikipedia, I have translated some of your posts in this section to German and will maybe add some more. The translations are here: de:Wikipedia Diskussion:Diskussionen mit WMF#Statements von Jimbo Wales (deutsche Übersetzung). I see that some of our activists already found your talk page, more are to come. --PM3 (talk) 02:26, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Extremism breeds extremism[edit]

Re: Jimbo's [fairly extremist statement, IMHO]: There is no question (none) that the future involves MV enabled universally and by default, and so the right question is what needs to be fixed about it?. I had my reservations about signing meta:Letter_to_Wikimedia_Foundation:_Superprotect_and_Media_Viewer (which I regard[ed] as rather extremist), but after reading Jimbo's statement it is clear to me that the current situation would not have happened without his behind the scenes approval and support. It is basically a case of the [sole remaining/active, co-]Founder pushing his pet interface over the will the community. So now I signed the petition without reservation (I'm signature number 661!), and I encourage everyone else who cares about avoiding the repetition of such events to sign the petition too. All this other Jimbo talk about peace is really just throwing dust in the eyes of the fools. Jimbo's peace is just pax imperia. JMP EAX (talk) 05:08, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

You are mistaken on every point. I am not behind the MV. I had no role in designing it, promoting it, advocating for it internally. I didn't even know about it until it rolled out. When I tell you that the future involves MV, I am not advocating for it, I am explaining a fact. An uncontroversial one, actually, since I don't think anyone seriously argues that we should not improve the way media is displayed on Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I and many others are suggesting that no software changes should ever be implemented without the express consent of the individual communities that are most in touch with their own needs. 2601:7:1980:BF6:88BC:4C30:81F4:1B11 (talk) 23:27, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Are you seriously suggesting that MV is uncontroversial, even in the light of the RfCs at enwiki, dewiki and commons? I don't know how you got that impression. BethNaught (talk) 09:09, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
The patent absurdity of this whole circus is that it would stop immediately if the WMF would adopt the following simple rule for new extensions: Every local community is entitled to holding a binding vote under their existing rules to decide on whether the new feature will be opt-in or opt-out by default for logged-in editors. This respects the needs and wishes of the contributors, and doesn't affect the readers either way. Heck, if the vote goes for opt-in, the WMF can even chose to implement opt-in default for the existing editors, and switch to opt-out of new accounts (as they will be used to having the feature active while being anonymous). Problem solved. MLauba (Talk) 08:14, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
This is a really core point: the path you are describing is hell. It will not work. It is not possible to improve the software over time if hundreds of wikis have hundreds of different software configurations and requirements. We in the community are always - and quite properly - pressing the Foundation to improve the software we use. We need to press for unification across all languages so that new features can be developed in a coherent and logical fashion. What you propose would be outlandishly expensive to the detriment of achieving anything actually useful for the encyclopedia. The idea that we should be designing software by RfC and then voting on configurations needs to stop now. That process is braindead and broken and will not work.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I think one of the key issues we face is that unlike other extremely popular websites such as eBay, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, the community has sufficient strength to be able to successfully challenge software changes. A few years back, when Facebook added banner images on all pages and made other unilateral usability changes, some people went "waaah this sucks!" as any sufficient proportion of a mature userbase naturally would - but their rants were suppressed as they had no effect. You will get to this stage when a site is sufficiently popular that saying "I don't like this - screw you lot" and voting with your feet to go elsewhere for your encyclopaedia writing isn't effective.
I have no opinion on MediaViewer directly but I know that it will not be to some users' tastes, and a smaller subset of those users have time and motivation to protest vocally, as they believe it will have effect. Perhaps WikiWand is the answer - a third party skin that you can use that has no connection with the WMF or the community. If you don't like it, you are free to ignore it and old school Wikipedia is still available for you. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 09:15, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo, I don't know if I should call you too simple too naive (很傻很天真). Since the image filter referendum drama, it's disappointingly clear that each Wikimedia project is dominated by one kind of mindset so different to the other. Still the problem of MV is its superficiality. Wikipedia (or Wikimedia) is not Facebook, we don't need something that consume extra processing power to achieve something already feasible with the current design (albeit less friendly in WMF's opinion). It's that old "if it's not broken, don't fix it" mantra. Wikia has forced MV for years without opt-out whatsoever (unless you switch back to monobook skin), that still doesn't change my habit of opening the media file in another browser tag just for avoiding MV. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 09:34, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
MV doesn't take any materially higher amount of processing power. And yes, Wikipedia/Wikimedia is not facebook - no one wants it to be. What we do want it to be is better. I am calling for a complete move away from practices of the past, and major investment (as promised by the Foundation) into collaboration with the community rather than willy-nilly release of features that aren't ready for prime time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:41, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually, the animated upscrolling details tab (the [mobile] web 2.0 term for that appears to be a slide panel or slide-out navigation) does spike up the CPU usage in Goolge Chrome. There's also a spike when a new image is loaded, something that doesn't happen with the old viewer. So MV might not use anymore processing power on your servers, but that's not the whole story. JMP EAX (talk) 10:33, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
And where do you think the hip new thing comes from? The answer is not Wikipedia, but see [1][2] JMP EAX (talk) 11:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo Wales@ "the path you are describing is hell. It will not work. It is not possible to improve the software over time if hundreds of wikis have hundreds of different software configurations and requirements." Considering we're talking about a feature that already has an opt-in / opt-out mechanism, this comment of yours strikes me as either a particularly dishonest strawman, or profoundly tech illiterate. To toggle a setting on or off by default for a particular subset of users has absolutely no impact on overall software configurations or requirements, it only diminishes your pool of potential feedback from a group of users - in this specific case, those who voted to opt out by default and don't like the feature in the first place. It really is no big deal on the technical side, poses no additional cost on maintenance since the opt-out feature is already present. It would however do wonders for the WMF's engagement with community. MLauba (Talk) 10:32, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Correct general argument here. Every new feature should have an ON/OFF switch. Every language encyclopedia should have the right to determine whether that switch is ON or OFF by default. If WMF software represents actual improvements, everyone will be toggling on. If the new software represents disimprovements, everyone will be toggling off. If WMF invests multimillions of dollars on software toggled OFF there should be accountability for those effectively wasting donor funds, not those communities making judgment decisions about "better" or "worse." The solution starts with WMF actually doing research about who it's dedicated volunteer core is and what they actually need to make their jobs easier and better. If things just need to be made prettier for readers, do it in the form of skins and help readers to install those. Unfortunately, WMF still doesn't appreciate that on a fundamental level WP has changed: we don't need 100,000 new editors a year making 3 or 6 dubious, unsourced edits each. We need a few hundred new expert content people, and we need more cadres and better tools to ease the burden our quality control people. We need translation software that works to get content ported over from En-WP and De-WP to some of the smaller language projects more effectively. And we need WMF to stop with their "Top 5 Website and We Must Preserve Our Market Share" attitude, which is................ toxic. Carrite (talk) 17:34, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Another journalist who is dead wrong (according to Jimbo/WMF) [3] I'm sure. And another: "The Foundation has a miserable cost/benefit ratio and for years now has spent millions on software development without producing anything that actually works. The feeling is that the whole operation is held together with the goodwill of its volunteers and the more stupid Foundation managers are seriously hacking them off." JMP EAX (talk) 09:26, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Other than the extreme nature of the comment ("without producing ANYTHING" is too strong) why do you think I would disagree with that? This is precisely the point of the new CEO and new direction - to radically improve the software development process. That statement, while too strong, is indeed an accurate depiction of what has gone wrong. I've been frustrated as well about the endless controversies about the rollout of inadequate software not developed with sufficient community consultation and without proper incremental rollout to catch showstopping bugs.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:43, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, that's not all there is to this (i.e. just a series of gaffes). The first journalist elaborates in another piece: [4]: “Wikipedia is described as a "community", but this is a strange sort of community, in which the devoted contributors are ‘taxed’ without being represented. Needless to say, writing and maintaining Wikipedia entries is laborious unpaid work. To devote oneself to contributing to Wikipedia thus requires a huge sacrifice – a significant personal opportunity cost. Yet as with the examples above, everyone profits from your work, except you. If you’ve contributed for years to Wikipedia you must now accept a new political economy: you have permanent lower-caste status, and have simply been working hard for other people to get rich. The list of profiteers from Wikipedia is a long one: from little scrapers to massive search engines to the Foundation’s lucky elite. (Now you can begin to see why Jimmy Wales espouses his medieval views on copyright – weakening property rights means everyone profits from the work except the person who creates it).” Did you get any good press over this Jimbo? Cause I can't find it Google News... Must be "the right to be forgotten" at work or something like that. JMP EAX (talk) 09:47, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't understand what you are asking me. But virtually all of what you quote is simply factually incorrect. There exists no other website where the community's control is greater. The users of Facebook do not elect the majority of the board. The users of Google don't get to collaboratively work with developers with all software open source and publicly distributed to improve Google. " must now accept a new political economy: you have permanent lower-caste status" - that's just sheer unmitigated bullshit. And the idea that I express "medieval views on copyright" is just intellectually dishonest of that author. I express no such views and my views on copyright are quite dully mainstream.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:29, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales: Sheer unmitigated bullshit is your claim that the Wikimedia community elects the majority of the Board. You might not have noticed, but we only elect three out of ten (3/10, 30%) members of the Board of Trustees — the rest are either appointed by the chapters or by the Board themselves. Your lack of knowledge of the composition of the Board is worrying. odder (talk) 13:27, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
So why don't you step back and ask yourself a question about what you've said? Do you think it is really possible that I don't know how the board is composed? I'm focussed right now on the last sentence: "Your lack of knowledge of the composition of the Board is worrying." I'm pretty sure that even when you wrote that, you knew full well that I know completely and exactly how the board is composed. So rather than say "Jimbo, I don't think the chapter representatives count as representing the community" - a mistaken but respectable position to take - you instead made an insinuation that is insulting and ridiculous. Don't do that, is my advice, because it is not a productive way to have a serious conversation.
It is my view that the chapters represent the community as well as the directly elected editors. Certainly all of the chapter representatives to the board have been active Wikimedians. If you want to have a serious discussion about whether they do it well, and what the problems there are with our current setup, then let's have that conversation.
I have also made a commitment that in case it ever came up that my vote would need to side with either the expertise-appointed seats or the community-elected seats to make a decision, I will vote with the community-elected seats.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:56, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Sure, you did. Too bad it was a lie. --Nemo 14:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales: My advice is, in order to have a serious conversation, just don't write stuff that's blatantly false. Even if you count chapter-appointed Board members as representing the community, that's five out of ten — not a majority. You wrote: "The users of Facebook do not elect the majority of the board." — the Wikimedia community doesn't elect the majority of the Board of Trustees, either. And if you know that, why did you mention it at all? odder (talk) 14:45, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

I've done a lot of work in software development, including developing and rolling out software for web sites. 1 - Allowing multiple configurations of software features exponentially increases the number of combinations that need to be tested and which can go wrong, and you can easily reach a critical mass of variations that the software becomes unsupportable. 2 - Holding a vote on web site software development will put the decision in the hands of a very small subset of the users of a site; typically, the number of people active on a site is very small compared to the ones who just read and use the site's facilities without speaking, and a vote amongst a self-selected few will not represent the views of the majority of users. 3 - The people who do choose to speak on such things typically contain a much higher proportion of naysayers than a site's users in general; just about every web site that makes a change suffers a backlash storm from a minority of its loudest users, while the great majority just get on with it and don't offer any opinion at all, so you need to use other ways to find out what the majority really think (times spent on specific pages, click-throughs via different routes, and all sorts of other metrics). What should you do at Wikipedia? I don't know, that's up to you - but I think the decisions need to be made by those people who actually understand and have experience of developing and rolling out web site software. And that's all I really want to say. Neatsfoot (talk) 10:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Critcally, those people also need to have an understanding of the specialist needs of a wiki community building an encyclopaedia, which is not like other websites really at all. I have to say that such experience sadly appears to be lacking in too many of the WMF staff, including Lila (though she still has time to learn). BethNaught (talk) 10:10, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Every site has its own specific and unique characteristics and needs, but the core concepts I describe are pretty much universal Neatsfoot (talk) 10:15, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
You appear to have missed some details. JMP EAX (talk) 10:46, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't attempting to examine or provide any details at all, just to highlight some pretty much universal characteristics of web site software development and rollout. Neatsfoot (talk) 10:56, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the generic lecture, but with usability the devil's in the details. I guess those 3 gals just had to "work" more on their Facebook iPhone app and they would have figured out by analogy how the new Wikipedia is supposed to work. The same surely applies to many old curmudgeons calling themselves editors. After all, you can see how obsolete Wikipedia's editors are by the fact that they haven't even't heard of slide-out navigation etc. (As the time of this writing.) JMP EAX (talk) 11:21, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Well yes, of course the details are critical for good usability; I don't think anyone is disputing that (certainly not me). Of course you need good community consultation, proper testing, incremental rollout, usability studies, general user feedback etc. All of those things are good software practice; but they do not in anyway contradict anything I said in my opening paragraph and I really don't understand what it is you're arguing against. Neatsfoot (talk) 11:37, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
The decisions should be made by the software developers - not an unexpected advice from a software developer. :o) In the real world, the decisions would be of course made by the customers of the software developers, that cannot afford to loose clients because of unaccepted software and that have not an hostile view on the clients, that raise their voices ("only the lound and the few"). The problem with the WMF is: They have no real customers, so they work in a sort of cloud-cuckoo-land. The money is earned mainly with the work of the refugees in the projects, so there is no direct feedback for bad developments in the WMF, only the feedback of the communities, which can be forced to use the software anyway. So of course, as shown with the superprotect, this is the easy way to make the software development and it would take much good will, to accept and even embrace the complaints instead of talking them away. --Magiers (talk) 12:27, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
No, the decisions should be made by the software development managers (and I also speak as a software developer). Neatsfoot (talk) 12:31, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

As for the "neat" idea of hiding all the details under an icon that is by no means standard (it's not even the "hamburger" one), especially on a non-mobile site; see [5] (referenced from) [6] (itself referenced from) [7]). JMP EAX (talk) 11:55, 29 August 2014 (UTC) @Jimmy Wales just an aside.. interesting that you bring up the idea that chapters might not represent the community. I would definitely think they do not when chapters can marginalize active Wikipedians in their "territories."Thelmadatter (talk) 22:49, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Jimbo's fault[edit]

Just remember, whatever happens, it's your fault: Wikiwand Gives Us The Wikipedia Redesign Jimmy Wales Won't :) Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:47, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Indeed. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:09, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
A big HELL NO. Even more intrusive than MV. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 12:23, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's better than Vector at least. -mattbuck (Talk) 12:34, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I think it's pointless and unhelpful, but you may be interested in mw:Winter. BethNaught (talk) 12:43, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I just downloaded and installed Wikiwand. The spacing between headers is a bit large, but it looks great. Even if WMF just acquired them and instantly upgraded the UI to the WikiWand interface, it would be a huge improvement. CorporateM (Talk) 15:03, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

one shoe must fit all?[edit]

Dear Jimbo,
leaving several current and still pertinent issues aside – most of which lots of colleages and myself too already commented on at Lila’s talk page – just a note regarding a core perception, or, in my view, misperception underlying WMF’s apparent strategy and possibly also your perception and evaluation of it against the actual situation and development we have to face.
I would call WMF's current and still rather aggressively imposed strategy the „one shoe must fit all“ approach. WMF employees evidently prefer terms like „consistency“. This approach will simply, and not only in the long term, not work for critical WMF projects. To see this, however, you would need a much more involved perception of how different projects scale and evolve in different contexts. You will definitely not get such a perception by office talks and conferences among yourselves (Wikimania and other meetings included, as long as their organisational layout effectively results in corroborating only perceptions you already hold instead of including different and especially local viewpoints).
A central problems here is the relation between
a) people who are capable and willing to i) contribute and ii) maintain intended quality content, against
b) people who would much rather pseudo-contribute other stuff (that people from group a would have to filter and throw out again)
Both groups scale, in several contexts, differently, and projects will always need a large enough group (a), a "critical mass", so to say, in order to keep pseudo-contributions from group (b) in check! In contexts like, e.g., the german or the norwegian wikipedias, this has devolved into a misproportion (too many among (b), too less among (a)). This is why we would not be able to anymore maintain quality control without flagged revisions. Thus, by denying communities which evolve into comparable calamities critical functions to cope with the situation (like FR), WMF will simply cripple them. This problem will, naturally, spread and increase. It is getting even worse with overall tendencies to enable everyone to publish every crap no-one needs everywhere. Most WMF projects, especially Wikipedia, are definitely not to be included in those tendencies, which obviously several WMF-employees did not yet even start to realize.
The same holds contrariwise for software developments which put more pressure on what people among (a) do on a daily basis but which facilitate it for people among (b) to pseudo-contribute crap without sufficient means of filtering. A typical example was [8]. This is getting even worse where software developments makes it harder and harder to successfully recruit people for group (a). People have several times explained why they take MV to still fall into this category of problematic software development. However, nothing at the horizon would be as desastrous as implementing Flow among high-volume Wikipedia talk pages. On this, e.g. see these remarks by Martijn and me.
We have now been, in relation to WMF, quite oftentimes in the situation where wo could only in retrospect comment that "we told you so", and we did so often and more, and we did so loud and clear. Given the current outlook, it is to be expected that we will soon be in the same position again and again. This is, of course, only to be expected in the light of WMF hardly, on their own, being capable of realizing needs, demands and respective developments down to the decisive levels of individual communities. At the same time, however, WMF evidently chose to mainly ignore community input - we could name several instances especially since 2010. Given the current situation for MV in en.WP and de.WP and FR in no.WP, we have little hope to see WMF adopt a less misguided outlook. Your reinterpretation of principle 4 also hardly invites a hopeful perspective in this regard.
Nevertheless, many would still take you, and also Lila and a few others of possible influence on these matters, as capable to get a larger and better picture of where we and WMF stand and, more important, should move towards. I hope this view is not also mistaken.
Best regards, Ca$e (talk) 12:03, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi Case, and thank you for your comments. "One size fits all" would be a terrible approach to take. We all know, as you have identified, that smaller communities have different "critical mass" situations and different issues from larger communities. And there is room to accommodate a reasonable degree of local customization based on local circumstances. And I also agree very very strongly with you that simply increasing small ways to contribute (I would not be so harsh as to say 'pseudocontribute') without appropriate tools for the community to maintain quality would be disastrous.
My main point, as is my custom, is to say that all of this has to change and we need to step back and think philosophically about how to do it. We know one way that very much doesn't work: developers working in relative isolation with too little input from the community about needs (and just as often, input that doesn't get to the developers or which they don't listen to because they don't understand the nuances) followed by mass-scale rollout of things that aren't good, followed by cyber-rioting and anger and conflict. We have to move away from that model - any of us can, as you say, "name several instances" in the past.
Instead we need to move towards a collaborative, iterative, incremental rollout process for features designed with real community engagement. One of the issues we have had in the past is that the Foundation has underinvested in that. Yes, there have been developers - many of them quite good. Yes, there have been great community members with an interest in software development and valuable insight into what is needed. And in between? There has been much too little engagement. The two groups do not talk enough but more importantly do not collaborate enough.
Fixing that is going to require more than one approach. One thing it requires is investment by the foundation in a much more comprehensive process of product management and development, designed to seriously engage with people in the community who understand our needs and who can also help build consensus for change. And it requires us in the community to relax a bit and approach the issue with a new look, based on a new CEO and a new philosophy of product development and rollout.
What we can't do is continue down the old path of broken software development followed by votes about what to implement or not on a case by case basis and an expectation that any community can vote to block new features. That's been the only possible hope for the community during a period when software development wasn't working so well. It's the worst thing for the long run though and we need to move away from it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:22, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
<quetsch> Fine analysis, this is exactly what happened with VE and MV: broken software was pushed down the throat of the community, they voted against it, and because of the hard-handedness of the ivory tower in SF, that only reluctantly started to listen to it's customers and bosses (both the community/ies), as they retracted the damage was already done. Of course with such dumb procedure, even projects with probably good chances to become liked by the communities, like a really working VE, or a bugless MV, became tainted by the aggressive implementation. So now a new VE has to be perfect to get accepted by the community, as nobody would expect anything useful coming from "those mindless idiots in SF", who botched it once quite hard. And I hope, the WMF leaves it's ivory tower regarding it's new fetish Flow and listens to the users beforehand, not as usual only "nachdem das Kind in den Brunnen gefallen ist" (after the horse left the stable). --Sänger S.G (talk) 14:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo, do you have any people (or do you plan to get any) who have much experience in software development management? Neatsfoot (talk) 12:35, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, we already do, and yes there will be more. To be clear, though, I do not work at the Wikimedia Foundation and I am not directly involved in hiring. But Lila has extensive product and engineering experience and has made a commitment with support from the board to drastically upgrade our capacities - a move that I think is long since overdue.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:18, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
That's good to hear, thanks Neatsfoot (talk) 13:40, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Can you detail (or has someone detailed) what that commitment and what those capabilities are in detail? I suspect we are very interested to hear this. Wnt (talk) 14:41, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
The problem with Case's view is that of course there is crap on the projects, it being a wiki, but the answer to that is not arcane ancient software - AI could address some of that -- the thing that reduces crap is down to two things 1) most people don't want to introduce crap; and 2) most people do not like to see crap so they fix it. Arcane ancient software does not figure into those motivations. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:37, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Wrong! Most people never should see any of this crap because of 1) they believe WP and even take it for a possibility that crap is present, so they won't fix it, and 2) the group of "new users" the WMF has in mind won't react like described in your 2). Indeed, how many people lift a piece of paper others left on the earth to put it in the litter box? What happens is 3) If there is too much litter on the boardwalk, people take a detour. And, if we're talking of NO:WP, then 4) The people interested in improving WP are already there or have been there and left, whysoever. Very likely they won't come back.
[[Ping|Jimbo Wales}}: Did the foundation ever study why contributors left the community, and to which extent it was a) because of some conflict in the community or b) of some "software improvement" those useres were frustrated of? For example, is there a study, how many new users WP gained just because of the introduction of Vector and how many finished their involvement because of it? How many initally tried it but returned to Monobook? --Matthiasb (talk) 14:45, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
So, your first premise is that most people are idiots or insane (not that that is an entirely unsupportable premise but it's just not conducive to a product that is done by a wiki); and your second premise is you view new users as your enemy (given your first premise, have you considered what you are saying about you?) Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:01, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Given the disaster we saw with mobile image uploads to Commons – nearly 100 percent of mobile uploaded images have been copy vios and/or out of scope (e.g.: selfies in front of monuments) – yes! Most people are idiots or insane. According to what I read some years ago (I am citing from memory, so the original words perhaps differed): If people are too much of a idiot we need to keep them away from Wikipedia. So the premise to make it more easy to edit in Wikipedia might be the wrong way to keep this project running. --Matthiasb (talk) 16:09, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Entitlement and Inertia[edit]

A huge aspect of this whole thing involves editors who have been essentially unpaid workers feeling like they have the same amount of ownership over the site - or more - than others. That, and the fear of change - any sort of change. Speaking from personal experience with the latter, when the Notifications were first announced, I was really dubious but now I love them. Change isn't always something to be feared, but rather embraced. And multiple people trying to choose the best option will fail (Anarchy). You need an authority body to decide what change will happen when. (P.S. Can somebody please create Wikipedia:Getridofit which explains you can simply disable any feature you don't like through Preferences?)

So I just want to point out that Jimbo + co. must be under an unbelievable amount of pressure right now having to discuss some very intense topics with all of us here on his talk page, a boss-employee dynamic that is unprecedented, due to the fact that Jimbo considers himself simply another editor, and some editors have deemed themselves worthy of knowing what's best Wikipedia due to their many years of loyal service. And these are some of the psychological issues occurring in the background. It's worth taking these into account.--Coin945 (talk) 14:33, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Many words of wisdom in what you have said. First, I think there is a very good reason why community members not only DO feel a sense of ownership over the site, but SHOULD feel it. That's well deserved and well earned. Ownership might not even be the best word - parenthood might be closer for many of us. Wikipedia is our baby, our creation, and we want to defend it passionately. So it's natural that change is going to be hard.
The old way, which is now being rejected, involved insufficient consultation to learn what editors and readers need, followed by premature rollout of buggy software *all at once*, causing widespread alarm. This, coupled with the emotional charge that we all fear, and a fair amount (sad to say) of fear-mongering, has led to an awful situation of mistrust. I don't think anyone is seriously arguing that we ought to keep the status quo. Almost everyone gets that we don't want the Foundation to stop developing software, and we do want them to do it in a better way, and that rollouts of software need to be incremental so that testing and feedback - real feedback - is possible.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:31, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I also agree with Coin945. Fact of the matter is, as organizations mature, there needs to be major changes in power structure. The "communities" idea was great in the beginning, but is seriously outmoded. Fact of the matter is that the Foundation will have to take a stronger central role in the decision-making of the projects because they have simply become too large and unweildy for "direct democracy" for lack of a better term. We dont really have that either; what we have are a bunch of petty fiefdoms and chiefdoms who are far too interested in thier little turfs, rather than the big picture. That is human nature. It is the Foundation's responsibility to see the big picture and yes, step on toes when need be because when all is said and done, if Wikipedia/Wikimedia fails/is replaced by something better run and easier to use, all these so called "rights" and feelings of ownership won't mean squat. While Ive certainly have my beefs with the Foundation, I trust them more than any community group Ive dealt with in the past seven years.Thelmadatter (talk) 23:02, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Upcoming revision of MV looks much better[edit]

See mw:Multimedia/Media_Viewer/Improvements.

There are still some things to get right, which the MM team are on, but the big thing (as trailed at Wikimania) looks right -- namely getting the role clear: that this is an alternative way to view content of the WP page, not an alternative to the Commons filepage, so if people want more information give them a very big button to the filepage -- from a Commons perspective, that should help a lot. Jheald (talk) 22:33, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Jimbo, I don't think the chapter representatives count as representing the community[edit]

Quoting direct from Jimbo a few sections above. As a UK wikipedian the UK chapter has zero impact on me, it seems to be an organisation pretty independent of what happens on en.wikipedia. It appears to be an organisation with its own agenda (possibly something to do with GLAM, and maybe organising events I don't go to). I speak from complete ignorance as its made no effort to engage me even though I watch the obvious places like the WP:UKWNB. It seems to be a private fiefdom with its own scandals and a pot of money to burn. Like many UK wikipedians I don't particularly want to engage with it and its politics, I would rather edit the encyclopaedia.

It worries me somewhat that chapters have power on the board especially as chapters are funded by the WMF. This creates a rather cosy relationship chapters influencing policy which keeps chapters in funds. Again its something I know very little about as its all things which happen elsewhere.

The one chapter which has done anything to help me was the German chapter which ran the toolserver. Well it did until the WMF cut their funding, effectively killing a bunch of useful tools. (I wonder it this helped to darken the relationship with de.wikipedia).

I'm not saying the UK chapter or other chapters are a bad thing, I really don't known, its just that it does not speak for me. --Salix alba (talk): 08:18, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree with that completely. BethNaught (talk) 08:32, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Not speaking on behalf of the UK chapter as my only involvement with it has been as a volunteer helping to run Wikimania 2014, but, how would or could the UK chapter make efforts to engage with you? It seems you prefer not to attend events, but a great many people do attend them, and I would argue this does have an impact on the encyclopedic project even if you are not there in person yourself. Many of the the UK chapter's initiatives seem to be concerned with finding (and sometimes training) new editors; I think it's widely acknowledged that this is important for the project. Dismissing it as "something to do with GLAM" doesn't seem appropriate. Arthur goes shopping (talk) 08:35, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
I suppose the UK chapter is somewhat unlucky that unlike the German one it cannot be clearly associated as running a Wikipedia. But besides the "something to do with GLAM" and the kumbayah called Wikimania that a great[er] many other people prefer not to attend, is there anything else? JMP EAX (talk) 22:20, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
My perception, as an editor who has been to a couple of WM get-togethers but hasn't wanted to go to any more than that, is that essentially WM comprises full time Wikipedians, for whom it's either their job or their sole, or at least overriding, interest. A lot of editors (like me) do editing as an occasional interesting hobby. It's voluntary, and it's not a commitment. It can seem like it takes over sometimes, but (I hope) we have other interests as well. The Wikimedia (and other) people sometimes don't seem to recognise the fact that most editors - even established and experienced ones - don't want to commit too much of their time and energies to "the project", but are happy to dip in and out of it as and when we want to. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:14, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Agree with @Salix alba: and @Ghmyrtle:. Especially the toolserver thing. Bloody daft idea killing that was. Profoundly unhelpful. DuncanHill (talk) 11:45, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
I must say, as a UK Wikipedian of 6+ years, and former WMUK trustee, I'd never heard of WP:UKWNB (aka the talk page of WikiProject UK), and wouldn't think it the "obvious" place for anything. It has had precisely 265 views in the last 60 days, and the actual "noticeboard" page has had 13 edits, mostly administrative, since 2012. But now I look I see the most recent post on the more active talk page is by the Chairman of WMUK, publicizing the return of the hugely successful "Wiki Loves Monuments" next month, with others on the page by people I recognise as WMUK regulars, and one by a staff member. I think this shows that the "effort to engage me" has indeed been made, and repeatedly so. Of course not everyone wants to participate IRL, and that's fine. Johnbod (talk) 14:37, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
I think Salix's point was that the WMUK doesn't represent the majority of UK editors, whether or not they participate "IRL". --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 23:34, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
It was that it doesn't represent him, though as he boasts "complete ignorance" of what it does and says, that presumably doesn't mean he necessarily disagrees with any WMUK stances. He doesn't address how editors in his position could get any views they have across. But you are right, IRL activity is by no means necessary for participation in WMUK or any chapter. Johnbod (talk) 00:34, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

@JMP EAX: You wrote "I suppose the UK chapter is somewhat unlucky that unlike the German one it cannot be clearly associated as running a Wikipedia" - well, the German chapter (WMDE) certainly isn't "running a Wikipedia", either. The community of the German-language Wikipedia has always welcomed technical help by the German chapter, or things like the agreement with the German Federal Archives resulting in the donation of many useful images to Commons. As long as the German chapter offers things to the community and doesn't try to make decisions for them, they're welcome. But as soon as the community feels they're being appropriated by WMDE for some project that didn't stem from the community, a very stiff wind indeed may blow into WMDE's face, and there has been an instructional example: Probably you never heard of a project called "ZDFcheck"? Well, in 2013, WMDE proudly announced a cooperation with the German public-service television broadcaster ZDF where Wikipedians were supposed to "fact check" statements of politicians in connection with the German federal election. Problem is, they didn't ask the Wikipedians first. And after ZDF announced "", Phoenix, Wikipedia und Sie checken Aussagen im Wahlkampf" (, Phoenix, Wikipedia and you are checking statements in the election campaign), many, including me, were rather mystified: I beg your pardon, "Wikipedia" is going to check statements for ZDF? Who is "Wikipedia"? Where has ZDF (and their cooperation partner WMDE) got the power to assign their "fact check" work to Wikipedia community members? It was then a widespread sentiment that WMDE was trying to use the community in order to boast about a cooperation with the well-known ZDF, and there was a lot of disaffection - for those reading German: one of the discussions and a survey (not by WMDE - started after the project was announced) where the project was predominantly disapproved of. Well, ZDF continued their "ZDFcheck" in 2014 for the European Parliament election, but this time without Wikimedia Deutschland - who apparently have learned the lesson that it doesn't make the community very happy when you make such announcements of what they're supposedly are going to do. People prefer to decide for themselves what they like to do in Wikipedia, not to speak of external projects. - As a side note, the project was also heralded as pioneering the release of freely licensed content by public-service TV, but the actual amount of free media created in the project is negligible, see the Commons category with its 38 entries... - I don't mean to bash Wikimedia Deutschland. On the contrary, I think they're doing good work most of the time. Many projects are successful. But I think ZDFcheck is a fitting example of how to botch a project and of the results of not involving the community at an early stage. Gestumblindi (talk) 23:58, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Ok, I guess you've proved that the other chapters (besides the UK one) are mostly useless as well. JMP EAX (talk) 00:04, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, that's certainly not what I was trying to say. As mentioned above, there are good projects by WMDE with very tangible results (Toolserver, image donations) and the same can be said of other chapters I'm familiar with (Switzerland's WMCH, Austria's WMAT). What I meant is that they're not "running a Wikipedia" and that the wider community of Wikipedians wouldn't welcome an attempt by chapters at doing so. Gestumblindi (talk) 00:20, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Another question to Jimbo (or to the WMF, not sure)[edit]

As a user of your software, a reader of Wikipedia, and a user of the information that it provides (actually: we provide), I think that the software is a great piece of work. The overall product is functional and looks good.

However, as a user, editor, gnome, bot operator, and administrator, I do run into small (obnoxious) problems every now and then. That results in me hopping over to bugzilla and filing a bug-report. Maybe it is my grandeur that is thinking that solving those problems and inconsistencies I report, or the upgrades I suggest, would make the software better, but your development team (and the volunteers there) do not feel that: those 'requests' get categorically ignored, regularly recategorised with importance low, etc. (and I know that that happens with many of the other requests as well .. so maybe it is not my grandeur). I agree, most are not real bugs, just upgrades and features (nonetheless, treatment for real bugs is the same as for upgrades), but if those requested upgrades (and bugs) are categorically ignored for months, nay, years, then that does not really help with the/my Wikipedia experience.

Instead, we get WikiLove, Visual Editor, Media Viewer and whatever great terms you have for the (non-essential) 'upgrades'. Your development team spends countless hours writing upgrades that, although maybe an improvement to the system, no one of the community asked for. It is just marketing strategy. The resulting upgrades are buggy, incomplete, do not help with the editing experience, are not essential, etc. etc. (I already mentioned the community reported bugs and community suggested upgrades on Bugzilla: even your base software contains bugs, and is not optimal). Nonetheless, WikiLove, Visual Editor and Media Viewer (and many hidden updates to the inner workings) get, excuse my French, shoved down our throats without communication, and without advance notice.

I can see that for Media Viewer that that 'shoving' is particularly important to the WMF. After all, over there, on Commons, you have the biggest repository of free media in the world. That content needs to be seen! And even they (the local Commons community) are reluctant, they are not happy with it. So what do you have to do now? You can not let all those hours of market planning and all those hours of programming by your team go to waste, your only possible response is 'Media Viewer is not going away'. It will be deployed, not giving any choice, ignoring the community.

WMF even goes so far as to put a site-wide banner now, requesting for input on the improvement of the MediaViewer. It is obvious that WMF doesn't care: that MediaViewer is going to be deployed, on their terms, meeting the deadlines that were set for deployment.

As long as that is the state of affairs, I stand by what Pete Forsyth wrote: "We look forward to exploring the best way to improve our software to better reach our strategic goals and better attain our vision. But that exploration is hindered by the current state of affairs, and we need the Wikimedia Foundation to act decisively before it is possible to move forward effectively.".

Can we please shove this thing back into Beta, turned off by default, develop it further in the background, and have interested users turn it on at their own request (I am sure that you can see how many people have it turned on - if that number becomes substantial WMF can initiate RFCs to see whether the default should be taken out of Beta, and/or turned on by default in the preferences). Take out the deadlines that WMF has set on the deployment of the MediaViewer or any other ideas that may be in the pipeline. And have your development team, next to getting the MediaViewer and other similar upgrades that are in the pipeline up to par (as to be determined by the community), work on old requests and bugs that are actually requested by the people who are using your software? Thank you. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:09, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

What the future of the WMF will look like[edit]

More and more like this. Tools that are actually useful to editors go the way of the dodo. Instead we get crap some WMF higher-up concocted after gawking at his Facebook page on an iPhone. JMP EAX (talk) 12:33, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

You are wrong. I don't think you are listening to what everyone is saying. We have a new CEO and a new direction, adding a huge amount of emphasis on collaboration with the community to build software features that are needed. The snarky comment about Facebook on an iPhone is just absolutely pointless.
I am asking you: please join in productive conversation or please go away from my talk page. This is not helpful to you or anyone else.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:16, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Maybe it would help when the Foundation staff would together read The Emperor's New Clothes. And to push away the voices that you don't like to hear, won't solve anything. And furthermore it is no sign of aplomb and character to do so. --Julius1990 (talk) 13:23, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
In general of course I agree and quite famously I'm very tolerant and open of people coming here to express dissent. But spreading falsehoods and snark is not expressing dissent, it's just being nasty with no purpose, and I'm going to call that out. I'm asking him to upgrade his performance here, because just making stuff up to be nasty isn't helping. If he doesn't want to do that, that's fine with me too - but he can do it elsewhere and stop wasting the time of people who are trying to have a productive conversation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:47, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I miss the reflinks tool, but as far as I can tell it was shut down because it was closed source and hence impossible for anyone else to pick up and fix problems with it. If the developer wants to take his bat home, well that's a real shame. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 13:31, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Where might I read a reasonable NPOV discussion of the tool and why it went away?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:47, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Is this an [i]f you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever thing? -mattbuck (Talk) 13:39, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
No. Did you have something substantive to contribute here?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:48, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually my comment was directed at JMPEAX, I failed to indent it correctly. But otherwise, no, not really. -mattbuck (Talk) 13:51, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Closed-source software is the very antithesis of the Wikipedia open model, and Wikipedia should not be hamstrung by individual volunteer coders who won't release their code to be ported to an open-source model. Losing good tools is a pain, but it's a lesser overall pain facing the issue sooner than becoming ever more reliant on such an ultimately unsupportable model. Neatsfoot (talk) 13:52, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Actually, Jimbo, JMP EAX has a fair point. With all the new garbage the foundation is introducing (each new "feature" is worse than the last), this site is going to look more and more like Wikia. It's not a look we want for a serious site. I have no issues with Echo. It's nice and actually useful. VE was terrible at first, and was forced on the community. But then the foundation backed down and actually fixed the issues. The result is half-decent. I've used it a handful of times. Now there's this MediaViewer. Unlike VE, the whole premise is flawed. This isn't an image-sharing site; it's an encyclopedia, so browsing a bunch of context-less (even more so with no descriptions and whatnot) images is distracting. Before MV, if you clicked on an image, you got a larger view and the file information page. Now you just get the larger view. Even worse than the software is the foundation's reaction. Instead of removing it when people complained, they created new powers to keep it in and threatened admins who dissented. The foundation only gets more abusive as their software gets worse.

Even worse, the threat of Flow looms on the horizon. I've seen it in action, and it is truly terrible. It will ruin the entire talk page system that many (including me) undoubtedly find simple and intuitive. There will not be an opt-out either, and I don't doubt that superportect will be used to keep Flow on the site. If Flow arrives, droves of serious encyclopedia builders will fork off or just leave and you won't have an encyclopedia anymore, just a Facebook-like mess.

Wikipedia is largely a 2000s-ish site, and now you want to make it a 2010s-like site. In doing so, you might attract huge groups of social networkers, but serious encyclopedia builders, many of whom are accustomed to websites as they were in the 2000s will be chased off. You may end up with more contributors, but are they really the sort of contributors you want? Like it or not, you've got a community of encyclopedia builders right now. We're the ones who can do heavy-duty research and write up a coherent summary of it. The Facebook people, the Twitter people, the Flickr people, they aren't going to do that. Being social networkers, they'll write social network type content, sending the wiki's credibility into a nosedive. The very opposite of what you're trying to accomplish.

I apologize if this comes across an incoherent rant. If anything is unclear, feel free to ask me. --Jakob (talk) 14:06, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

The problems with Flow that people don't seem to have caught on to yet are the various ways in which the WMF has unilaterally decided that the discussion dynamic of Wikipedia must change. For example, no custom sigs, maximum level 3 indent, no refactoring of problematic edits (except, I think, by admins)... They fail to appreciate the roles these things play here which are not applicable to other, trendy, venues. BethNaught (talk) 14:12, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
BethNaught: What role do those play? Customizable sigs? So what? Indents, sure its a somewhat opaque way of indicating what you're responding to, and there are and could be less opaque ways (see eg this comment); refractoring is mostly discouraged, yes it's helpful sometimes but the practices of refractoring are often controversial, so it's not like it's a system that could not do with change. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:24, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
The point is that it is not for the WMF to decide how we conduct our discussions. I haven't seen any appetite from the community for a prohibition on any of these things yet the WMF has decided there must be one. As for indenting: yes, you can ping a person to reply to them, but a third party can more easily follow one thread, as it were, when the comments in it are grouped and indented together. I don't understand how you think that's opaque. BethNaught (talk) 14:28, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't think there's a massive problem with a Flow-style talk system per se, what everyone is concerned about is that it'll be implemented in the same incompetent way as VE - i.e. with half the functionality of the existing system missing and swimming in critical bugs. I would hope that the development team will learn from that particular shambles, and indeed it does look from the extended timescales on the Flow page that they are at least trying to ensure that the full functionality is covered. We shall see, however. Black Kite (talk) 14:32, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
The thing that I'm trying to say is that things have changed decisively under Lila and going forward the process of interaction between editors and product/engineering at the Foundation is something that is going to be invested in in a major way. Flow is very very far from being implemented and so now is the time to work with the Foundation (and for the Foundation to work with us) to make sure that by the time it is (incrementally, carefully) released it is quite clearly an improvement in very place where it is used. With regard to the particulars mentioned: "no custom sigs, maximum level 3 indent, no refactoring of problematic edits (except, I think, by admins)". I think that all of those things are bad ideas. "No custom sigs" is probably the least interesting but unless there is some evidence that they are causing harm, I see no reason for them to go away. Maximum level 3 indent - I'd like to see and understand what justification there could be for that because threaded conversations just about everywhere end up indented more than that. And finally "no refactoring of problematic edits (except, I think, by admins)" is just a bad idea for a lot of very deep wiki reasons. If the Foundation *invests resources* in talking to users (as opposed to the developers being mostly on their own) then all of this should be apparent and the right things done many months before rollout. We no longer have to go down the unhealthy and suicidal path of software not fit for purpose being rolled out en masse. That's the good news in all this.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:42, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, I posted on WT:Flow about those three issues (sorry for the name drop, but your words were apt). I'm still skeptical, but since there's still time we might as well test out how receptive the WMF is becoming to community input. The only problem is that since Flow was conceived before this change in direction, it still suffers from issues as a result of the old model, and it reflects badly on the new model. I think that was also the case with MediaViewer. I hope to soon see the results of Lila's efforts. BethNaught (talk) 22:02, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
What the hell am I saying? I still don't want Flow, but since the WMF will implement it anyway call my attempt at goodwill damage control. BethNaught (talk) 22:08, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
It would help if those pages were actually updated so the community knew what is going on. BethNaught (talk) 14:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Beth your 14:28 comment is odd. You seem to be saying the WMF is forcing us to conduct this discussion right here right now in this way. No one is forcing you to do anything, and they won't be forcing you in the future. As for third party's following a discussion, they are suppose to be focusing on the content of the comment, not on who said what. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:41, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Is there truth to these design goals by WMF? Because all they had to do was ask! I myself have suggested on multiple occasions that admins/other advanced permission holders should be required to sign their posts with their plain username, to make it easier for newcomers to understand what's going on. And we could have a talk page MOS that says don't indent more than N levels, though three would be excessively small. And we almost do ban refactoring of comments by non-admins -- we could have an edit tag (like references removed, a tag I love in article space) to indicate when someone else's comment has been refactored in a discussion. None of these things require intensive micro-management of every aspect of the talk page format by developers with all the perhaps-unintended consequences that creates. In particular, Flow's main failure is an unthinking notion to bring the most recently edited comments to the top. That will tend to inflame all attention on the bitterest arguments, while consigning any difficult request to an unnumbered, inaccessible "archive" (we've all seen the effect of "infinite scrolling" in action on these 'web 2.0' sites; they love to play games like 'click here for the next 20' to make it absolutely, positively clear that they are not going to let you see old unread comments without prohibitive amounts of effort, just in order to make the people who aren't trying to do their own PR and keep a crowd increasing the hits on their comments will realize that they are unwanted and hopefully go away).
If any serious heavy-duty WMF person comes to the community here, starts an RFC, tells us "these things turn off new users or interfere with the popularity of the site", I think they have a good chance of getting some or all of changes like that passed. Legitimately. Wnt (talk) 14:53, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
No, they would have to cite reliable sources, off course. (Off course their own studies are not reliable but are original research.) However that all misses the point: IMO new users are be turned off from using talk pages by the excessive use of portal and wikiproject templates in every article which hinders users to use talk pages. Actually most talk takes place on portal and wikiproject talk pages and this is good so because of there is the action. Nothing is more turning users off using talk pages like talk pages on which noone answers for months or years since noone is watching those pages. Discussions should take place at portals and wikiprojects where the experts are present. Again this is a misconception originating in the lack of knowledge how the Wikipedia works resp. how Wikipedians work together.
And again that is an attempt to make decisions which are part of the editing process which does not belong in the hand of the foundation but in the hands of the specific community only. Besides: There is absolutely no way the foundation has to enforce the communities to use Flow. Eventually much more discussions will be done on non-talk-space pages, like deletion pages or many Wikiproject pages. Every dollar spent into flow is a dollar thrown out of the window. --Matthiasb (talk) 15:04, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually, Flow can be enabled in any namespace and the foundation intends to roll it out eventually to the village pumps etc... BethNaught (talk) 15:08, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Having questions unanswered for months may turn people off, but, it probably helps make up for it when someone eventually does act on the suggestion. With a Feature Article a good editor should go through every archive all the way back to the first and make sure that every issue is given a fair consideration. And with pings (an example of a really good new feature) we can now conveniently let those editors know that we've done so. Wnt (talk) 15:14, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh did not know that it makes sense to ping editors who edited once or twice ten years ago. @BethNaught: It will be very impressive to see main space articles in Flow style ;-) --Matthiasb (talk) 16:23, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Ten years ago, maybe not. But two years ago, even five years ago... more plausible. Imagine an editor came on and edited for a little while, making comments about this and that article, then left. And he comes back to find notifications that people have answered his questions and implemented his suggestions. That could be the difference between keeping and losing that editor. But if he never logs back in... we still have improved the article anyway. Wnt (talk) 20:18, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@Wnt: Fair enough. However, featured artiles only make for a minute fraction of all articles. Literally millions of articles cannot reasonably be patrolled by thousends of authors.-----<)kmk(>--- (talk) 16:32, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Alan, what I meant is that once Flow is implemented, we will be forced, technically, to conform to those new rules which I mentioned. No, we're not force to discuss, but if we do, they mean to make us do so in a certain way. Is that more clear? BethNaught (talk) 15:06, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Right, so we are forced in your view to do it this way now, so as far as that is concerned, there will be no change. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:15, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't think I ever said that we are currently made to do those three things. Please correct me if I am wrong and I will clarify my posts. BethNaught (talk) 15:17, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
You are saying that the software forces us to do things -- so, whatever force there is is present now. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:23, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
So: right now, Flow is only in use in test cases. The three rules I mentioned are in Flow now, yes; but since Flow is not the current primary talk system, we are not forced to do those things. When the WMF makes Flow the default system, it will thereby enforce those rules, and we will be made to do those things. This will change the dynamic of discussions in a way we have not asked for. As of now, since Flow is not widely rolled out, we are not forced to do those things routinely, at least not on enwiki. BethNaught (talk) 15:30, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Again, so? We are, according to your view forced to do other things, right now, whether you or I asked for it or not. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
If you're talking about limitations of wikitext talk pages, I apologise, I did not realise you were trying to bring up that topic. To be utterly clear, I was expressing my opposition to the WMF's actions to force unwanted changes upon us. BethNaught (talk) 15:41, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

I think this is now the third time I've brought this up in the last couple months. Why is the WMF pouring resources into software changes that are fraught with controversy and not doing anything to ensure the continued functionality and stability of this popular tool? It may be closed source but that doesn't mean the WMF can't code another tool to replicate its features. --NeilN talk to me 16:03, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

One previous discussion. --NeilN talk to me 16:09, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Reflinks is a very cool tool, and it's unfortunate that this escalated over a ToU issue (but we do need to remain firm on the free software policy for Labs). We are actually working on a web service (that can be used by VisualEditor and wikitext editors) which extracts full citation metadata from arbitrary URLs, using Zotero's library of scrapers. It's already in Labs and usable with a VE userscript, see mw:Citoid and my common.js if you want to play with the current version.--Erik Moeller (WMF) (talk) 17:04, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
What does this mean for the 95% of us who won't be using VE for the foreseeable future? Reflinks is broken now. Does WMF have a target date when a replacement will be available for non-VE users? --NeilN talk to me 17:14, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Erik, We are actually working on a web service (that can be used by VisualEditor and wikitext editors) which extracts full citation metadata from arbitrary URLs, using Zotero's library of scrapers. is good news. Put this together with a better referencing system (I talked about elsewhere on this page) and store those data on Wikidata so that those data can be maintained centrally (e.g.: changed URLs) and you would create something the communities would appreciate. Off course you'll have to try harder and make it work when it starts and not after several dozens of bugs are filed ;-) --Matthiasb (talk) 17:22, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@NeilN: In case you didn't get the message: wikitext is obsolete and not supported by the WMF. JMP EAX (talk) 17:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Put your snark aside, please. I'm trying to get a concrete answer here. --NeilN talk to me 18:09, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
It seems that Wikidata is "insufficient" [9]. Deltahedron (talk) 19:35, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
@Deltahedron: Wikidata is insufficient. Whatever you think you can do with or store at Wikidata... you can't. Not unless they think of it themselves and decide to allow it to happen. You know the software is still designed so you can't display a "property" (one of the very restricted list of specific bits of data you're allowed to keep about a page there) except on the specific Wikipedia page they've authorized to hold it? Try "" - that was in the documentation all along (meta:Wikidata/Notes/Inclusion syntax) and still won't work. I came up with a method to do it in Lua so they took features out of Lua so you couldn't do it anymore. I decided some time back the best thing to do with it is try to forget Wikidata exists, period, and I wouldn't work on anything that uses it. Wnt (talk) 20:29, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I see, thanks -- I've never tried to use it myself. Interesting to find WMF staff agreeing with that assessment, though. Deltahedron (talk) 20:34, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

@WMF: I see the dev of Citoid, Marielle Volz (User:Mvolz), is listed as an intern over here. Since she appears to be the only person in charge of this, it kinda suggests the importance the WMF attaches to this project. I'm curious if she's getting paid anything for Citoid. I guess I could go and ask her, but I'll try to crowdsource the answer on this page. JMP EAX (talk) 17:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Hi JMP, Marielle is an intern in the Outreach Program for Women. These interns are indeed paid a stipend by sponsoring organizations (in this case, us); payment is administered by the GNOME Foundation. Citoid will become a production service supported by the Services Engineering group, led by Gabriel Wicke.--Erik Moeller (WMF) (talk) 17:51, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I raised the question before [10] (but apparently didn't ask nicely enough [11], [12] to get an answer). What arrangements are in place to ensure long-term large-scale access to the various bibliographic databases? It seems to me that it might be possible to cross-license with a data provider, for example, by allowing them to place on their index pages something like "This item is referred to by XX Wikipedia articles" with link. What data sources are WMF talking to -- surely it can't be left to an intern to make formal agreements between WMF and a commercial provider. Does WMF want suggestions for more, or for specialist data sources? Would WMF like those of us with potential connections to providers to assist? The technical issues are being discussed at mw:Talk:VisualEditor/Design/Reference Dialog where there are currently a number of unanswered questions and suggestions. Deltahedron (talk) 18:25, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

In my mind is a slightly diffrenet approach than in the proposal the idea that every source is an item (like they exist on Wikidata) with a set of propertys like URL, title, author, co-authors, publisher, more or less the crap covered in Template:Citation. I don't expect that references itself should be directly part of Wikidata (while parts of it, like the correlation of ISBN and book titles, authors, publisher and the like might!) but Wikidata wold be the infrastructure used. There should be a button "insert reference" and if I enter f.ex. an URL the system should show any information already stored so that it is not necessary yet to copypaste title, author(s), publisher, date and so on but still one should have the possibility to change or amend the data already stored. The point on the I would be that internetpages would be archived (like by Webcite) and (since copyright certainly won't allow it) to keep public a special group of users (similar to OTRS) could verify content of pages which are not online anymore. (Note that the tag noarchive acts reactively; it removes even pages from the Internet Archive archived years before, so Internet Archive is not 100 percent reliable!) --Matthiasb (talk) 22:42, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge[edit]

You are on the clock! See here. We know you have been challenged, but no video has been produced. You have now been rechallenged.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 23:38, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Of course, but it should be noted that Jimbo is usually pretty busy...but if he can do it, I'd love to see our ol' Jimbo get doused with ice water for a good cause! Tutelary (talk) 01:11, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
The rules are you have 24 hours to respond, but I am not sure if the weekend time counts the same. Maybe he should have 72 hours to respond (and if he is in the United States this weekend he could have an extra 24 additional hours because we have a long weekend for Labor Day). However, he was first challenged 4 days ago according to his twitter feed.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 02:06, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo has no valid excuse, he was notified ten days ago by me to get prepared see here. Count Iblis (talk) 02:57, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Precisely why do the ALS folks need orders of magnitudes more cash than they have ever had before, just because of a fad, or to use the newer new lingo, a "viral meme"? How will ALS researchers productively spend vastly more cash than they've ever before imagined? Perhaps brand new BMWs for everyone, and frequent "medical" conferences at the world's most luxurious resorts? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:40, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
@Cullen328: Can you imagine that anyone would accept this comment of yours in a bad light? Anyone? Here's hoping you never need to reap the benefits of scientific research... Fylbecatulous talk 17:16, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Fylbecatulous, I have withdrawn part of my remark, as I now see that my cynicism was excessive. I happen to be the father of a wonderful young man disabled for life by a very rare genetic condition that receives little attention by medical researchers. I have donated a lot of my money to medical research steadily for many years, and am personally skeptical of fads. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:40, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
For those watching here, Mr. Wales has claimed to have posted a private video on Facebook. Unable to varify. How about a screenshot or two from his Facebook friends. Hit my talk.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 06:54, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I did it but decided not to be all that public about it. For me the wonderful thing about the whole thing is that it seems to be genuinely grassroots and has spread through families and friends networks as much as through famous people. (Although of course a few famous people really got it rolling - but famous people taking part in a publicity stunt isn't all that interesting, as compared to a viral spread of a fun and socially benevolent concept.) I was nominated by private people and named private friends/family. And decided to just share it with friends on Facebook. Also, because once Patrick Stewart won the Internet with his version, there was little hope of doing something particularly clever to top that, I just did it straight so the video isn't actually all tha t thrilling. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:09, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Unable to varify.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 19:05, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
No need to verify as we can take his word for it. Chillum 19:09, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
It can be verified indirectly, the persons Jimbo challenged will challenge other people etc., some of them may go public. You can then verify the existence of the missing links. Count Iblis (talk) 19:14, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Too right. I hear he's challenged Phil Spector, Axl Rose and David Bowie. Maybe they'll do a three-some?! Martinevans123 (talk) 19:31, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo said he "named private friends/family". I don't think he is related to Spector, Rose and Bowie (although he may be private friends with them).--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 02:55, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Too late, Jimbo, Susan Sarandon beat you to it: [13] And Shaun White has nominated Axl (allegedly). But there's still Phil?? Martinevans123 (talk) 17:36, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Regarding User:Cullen328's point. Our Wikipedia article on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis says it effects 30,000 Americans. It would take copious amounts of funding to make a substantial difference in their lives. Meanwhile, Starvation effects 842 million people and a very small amount of money can make a big difference in their suffering. Other causes have a much better cost-to-suffering reduction ratio and the fad may lead to an inflated sense of importance compared to other causes of suffering. However, I do not think there is necessarily competition between causes; rather the people donating money to ALS are the ones that would otherwise be spending it on their BMW, not a different cause. CorporateM (Talk) 14:40, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

The challenge has been useful in raising awareness of cuts to basic biomedical research. [14][15] A few million dollars are not going to put it back on track. But maybe the publicity involved can make people ask again why we can't raise the needed billions to really get everyone who has the skill to do research researching, but have spent trillions on our White Man's Burden of bringing civilization to the Middle East, a.k.a. paying to precision-bomb hundreds of thousands of civilians to death, paying to rebuild the infrastructure, paying to arm them, so that our new friends can turn against us or run away and leave it all to ISIS so we can go back, ally with Assad or Iran or Hezbollah or whoever this time, rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, believe it or not, "leaving it to private enterprise", a.k.a. taxing the sick to pay patent royalties to fund (mostly) pharmaceutical marketing and a few last-step refinements to claim patent ownership over the public-funded discoveries, is not a satisfactory way to fund biomedical research. Wnt (talk) 15:51, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
The bar has been raised "A 29-year old man from Stjørdal, central Norway, raised the bar for ice bucket challengers everywhere when he had 7,000 litres of freezing water poured over him from his cement mixer truck on Saturday." Count Iblis (talk) 01:02, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Reflinks needs to be fixed or replaced right now![edit]

Not next month, not next week, not even on Monday - fix it now. The failure of Reflinks is by a very large margin the single most important and urgent issue facing WP right now. All the discussion about Flow, VE, etc is mere waffle about stuff that is coming up someday - the lack of Reflinks is breaking the 'pedia right now. The only thing that could possibly be worse is if a deathstar suddenly arrives and blasts the entire server farm away. If you have to throw some money at it, do it. If it takes a lot of money, so what, the WMF isn't exactly poor. If you need to buy the rights to the "non free" software or code or whatever it is - just do it. If you need to take legal action, do it. If you need to wake people somewhere where it's 2 am, so be it. Whatever it takes, just Get It Done! Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 08:01, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

It's about 2am in California right now, if that's relevant. I don't think I have ever used Reflinks. Arthur goes shopping (talk) 08:13, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Hmm.. I did not knew "Reflinks" is that much important. Even I did not use it ever. Anupmehra -Let's talk! 09:19, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
That you have not used it is your loss. The tool is important. It solves, at a stroke, WP:LINKROT. Fiddle Faddle 09:22, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, just order people to to it Roger - you're sure to be successful with that approach! Neatsfoot (talk) 09:56, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Sort of like superprotection from the bottom up, eh? That kind of successful approach? Viriditas (talk) 10:09, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
You have a point there - ordering things to be done is a poor approach, whoever does it. Neatsfoot (talk) 10:51, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
One would hope that Jimbo does have at least some influence... Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 11:09, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Works fine in the army. JMP EAX (talk) 11:01, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
A better example of a non sequitur might be hard to find. Neatsfoot (talk) 11:44, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Dispenser's tools are down again for the background. One of User:Dispenser's tool used the non-free pngout program[16] and that clearly against the Labs Terms of use. So while he keeps the non-free code on Labs he will remain blocked. There ball seems to rest in Dispenser's court at the moment. He could remove the dependancy on pngout, or more drastically just drop the warez finding tool. Reflinks itself does not seem to depend on the non-free program. More drastic solutions would involve forking the reflinks code.--Salix alba (talk): 10:06, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Again, I have to ask, why do we have tools we don't want (media viewer, visual editors) but still can't get the tools we need? Viriditas (talk) 10:10, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Because they are not the desired Bling-Thing to brag about, but some dull, useful stuff. The WMF doesn't care about usefulness, but about flippant surfaces. --Sänger S.G (talk) 10:15, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, the first thing they need to do is update the main page design. It's like traveling in a time machine back to the past every time I visit it. It's 2014 going on 2015, the web has moved on. Viriditas (talk) 10:22, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
The appearance of the main page is not the business of the foundation, it is a question of how and which content is presented and therefor a question which is handled by the communities, and most language version communities have different approaches how to present the content on its main page. You might start a discussion but I don't think that a significant number of users is unhappy with the appearance of the main page (or, if they are, they not necessarily have a better idea). --Matthiasb (talk) 11:45, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
The appearance of the main page should be their business, as it presents the face of the site, a face which has aged well past its due date. The "better idea" is giving it a refresh based on current web design going into 2015. Virtually every major website has done this within the last several years -- except Wikipedia. Viriditas (talk) 12:01, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Forgive me if I misunderstand, but it sounds to me like you're saying that in things where you personally disagree with the community then the foundation should take charge, but in things where you personally disagree with the foundation then the community should take charge? So, basically, everything should be done your way? I'm sure that can't be what you mean, and I'd be happy to hear why I'm wrong in my interpretation. Neatsfoot (talk) 12:24, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Considering that you created your account only to construct and tear down straw men, you won't be hearing anything from me in response to you in the future. Viriditas (talk) 12:36, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Considering that you have no idea why I chose to register an account here, I'll forgive your presumption and will ignore your personal attack on me - and if you thought I was attacking or misrepresenting you then I apologise and would welcome an explanation of what you actually mean. But you really do appear to be simultaneously presenting two opposing views - that the Community should be in charge and that the Foundation should be in charge. And you can surely understand why that is confusing, can't you? Neatsfoot (talk) 12:57, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Again, all you do is construct straw men and knock them down. You're the self-appointed distractor-in-chief. And if you weren't so caught up in your narrow, binary thinking, you would clearly see that the community and the foundation are both in charge, not either or. There's nothing confusing about it at all. Reality isn't black and white. Please don't address any more comments to me as I won't be reading them. You're not here to address problems or provide solutions, only to attack the messenger. Viriditas (talk) 13:03, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
I've not intended to attack you in the slightest (yet you appear to attack me quite openly), so I can only apologise if it seems that way. I'm merely asking for further explanation of your ideas (which do seem to me to be somewhat contradictory). Are you saying that the Foundation should be in charge of the front page, but that the Community should be in charge of software development and rollout? Or some combination of the two? If the latter, how do we decide - do we just follow your personal assertion as to what "we" think is right? Neatsfoot (talk) 13:14, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
And again, who is this "we" of which you speak, Viriditas? You said earlier that you'll settle for "I" as a definition - so why should the foundation and the community do what you want? Neatsfoot (talk) 12:12, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Another distraction. Viriditas (talk) 12:36, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
@Viriditas: Compare for example EN with fr:Main Page or de:Main Page or als:Main Page or maybe take some Wikinews main pages in consideration, like en:n:Main Page vs. de:n:Main page vs. fr:n:Main Page and tell me, how the appearance of the main page should be business of the foundation if the main page must fulfill a bunch of different needs of different communities? They reflect also different cultures. An unified main page is not possible, each of them has to be unique. --Matthiasb (talk) 12:22, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, we see things completely differently and there's nowhere in the middle we're going to meet. Internet brands use universal, unified interfaces regardless of culture, and the trend is towards unity and transparency, not towards fragmentation. Viriditas (talk) 12:36, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Concerning "Another distraction": It's not a distraction at all - you keep claiming to speak for "we", so it seems perfectly reasonable to me to ask who this "we" is and under what authority you speak on their behalf - or do you really not think those are reasonable questions? Neatsfoot (talk) 13:02, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
There's no reasonable questions from you here. All you do is distract and deflect. This is PR 101. Viriditas (talk) 13:06, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, when you claim to speak on behalf of "we" I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask who "we" is and upon what authority you speak on "we"'s behalf? And I really don't understand why you're getting so defensive when I ask you to clarify what you mean Neatsfoot (talk) 13:20, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Tend to agree, Roger (Dodger67), an extremely useful tool. One is now left wondering whether to - 1. manually add refs; 2. add raw links in the hope it's fixed soon or 3. not bother. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:29, 30 August 2014 (UTC) (p.s. 4. sign a petition.)

They aren't going to fix it and they don't care what editors want. Read everything you can from "Neatsfoot", the self-appointed distractor-in-chief. Viriditas (talk) 12:36, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Sounds familiar. Um, already read enough, thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:47, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Reflinks was already not on labs, because it wasn't Open Source. What was shut down is a blind redirect to a third party website where it did run because doing so without the appropriate disclaimer that a user following those links would be disclosing their IP and browser information to unspecified third parties is also against the Terms of Use (in effect, giving whoever owned the server the ability to perform "poor man's checkusers" on anyone using Reflinks).

    As to what the Foundation is doing about it; we don't have the resources to simply rewrite every bit of proprietary software that happens to be in use by users of projects. This is part of why we made Open Source a non-negotiable requirement of Labs: to ensure nobody can take a tool hostage from the community in the future (or that tools are lost because their maintainer lost interest and abandoned them). Now, for Reflinks specifically, we do have a work-in-progress webservice that could form a solid basis for a new tool, Citoid, and Erik has already called for volunteers to help make a usable interface for it[17] and we'll be glad to give them any support and help they need. — MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 13:13, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Isn't Citoid going to be reliant on people using VE? If so, that looks like a hostage situation. - Sitush (talk) 13:28, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
    • No, VE uses Citoid for its reference function, but Citoid itself is just a webservice providing an API to gather reference metadata. A tool can use it without going anywhere near VE (though it will have the positive side effect that any such tool would then have access to the same metadata VE does so references can even be made consistent). — MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 13:33, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the information, and I fully support your position on not allowing non-open software on the new labs servers (especially not software that appears to be so staggeringly inefficient with disk space as Reflinks). Neatsfoot (talk) 13:31, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, go ahead, "poor-mans-check-user" away, as far as I'm concerned. Can that "work-in-progress webservice" do my links for me? One day there, next day gone. Helpful explanation for people who use it? None. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:32, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
    • You remain, always, welcome to go to Dispenser's website. — MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 13:46, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
      • Via a handy link from the reflinks page? Gee, thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:52, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
        • Sure. It appears, all you have to do is make the link with the proper disclaimer. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:59, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
          • Meanwhile I found a very easy to use external site that constructs properly formatted book references in a variety of formats including {{cite book}}, if you feed it an ISBN - -- Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:27, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
            • Now that is useful. Many thanks, Roger! (And, dare I say it, about 10 times faster than reflinks used to be?) Martinevans123 (talk) 14:43, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
It might be a good idea to make sure that data providers will be happy to serve up their data on a large scale and in the long term before building too much on access to these resources. Deltahedron (talk) 16:09, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
    • I suppose if I adopted a privacy policy similar to WMF's it would be unrecognized because it not subservient to the foundation? In any case I'm not collecting IP address (access.log is also turned off). The real concern is actually somebody at the foundation leaking or going rouge with the actual checkuser information. We've already had to reset password once because of a labs fuck ups.

      The $20 million in the bank suggests otherwise. I was willing to rewrite the tools in exchange for storage space for improving Reflinks. However, its become clear the foundation does not value the community and is simply looking to maximize donations. In fact they seem to hold the dysfunctional Mozilla Cooperation (Does anyone see $300 million/year of development from them? Also selling bits in the right-click menu and start screen) as a model to be emulated. — Dispenser 16:17, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

  • @MPelletier (WMF): We don't need a "work in progress webservice", we need a fully functioning replacement, and the quality of our wiki depends on it. The deadline is now. KonveyorBelt 15:39, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
MPelletier (WMF) wrote "we don't have the resources to simply rewrite every bit of proprietary software that happens to be in use by users of projects" — no, I don't suppose you do, and since nobody asked you to do that, it doesn't really matter. What the community and WMF need is a means whereby the things they want and need to build the encyclopaedia and the other projects, can be captured, discussed, prioritised and resourced. Do you have the resources to achieve that? Deltahedron (talk) 16:28, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
For a limited number of such things, of course. In the cases where we won't be able to do those things ourselves, we can at the very least make resources and help available so that volunteers can do so (as is the case, for instance, for literally hundreds of community-provided tools).

That Dispenser has chosen to keep the source to his tools private despite being well aware of the harm that their loss would inflict on its many users is, of course, regrettable; but it's not like we can force him to hand them over. In the meantime, others below have pointed out alternatives and we'd be glad to help anyone trying to replace the tool in any way we can. The best venue for coordinating this would be the Labs mailing list; where not only the Labs admins are but also the vast majority of community developers who could help. — MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 19:26, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for that pointer, which will be of use to Labs developers. My question was more general, since of course not everything that readers, writers and editor want or need is based on a Labs tool. So I'll repeat my question in the more general context. I'll note that a multiplicity of venues is ultimately confusing and counter-productive: users can be expected neither to know nor care how the work is organised between WMF, Labs and other projects. What they need is a one-stop shop for their requests, comments and engagement. Where would they go for that? Deltahedron (talk) 19:32, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
@MPelletier (WMF): Here's a suggestion: Put paid staff on a replacement for Reflinks and "call for volunteers" to work on Flow. Pretty sure the community would agree with this priority. --NeilN talk to me 22:39, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
👍 Like. JMP EAX (talk) 23:55, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
As for "poor man's checkuser", checkusers me 25 times a day. Until the WMF is actually going to provide all the common citation tools an editors needs so there won't be any reliance on any external software, that's always going to be the case. JMP EAX (talk) 01:39, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid I do not set the Engineering department's priorities; and I'm pretty sure that Flow already has quite some bit of volunteer involvement. — MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 04:25, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Reflinks is a disaster anyway. People need to use citation templates. I hate having to go back and fill out references with citation templates after someone's used Reflinks. Reflinks only encourages lazy behaviour. If there was a script that would fill out citation templates automatically (not manually like ProveIt), that'd be a useful tool. Reflinks is not. RGloucester 02:59, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Incremental improvements. The output produced by Reflinks is significantly better than the bare URLs new editors frequently insert. And there's no way we should be discouraging new editors from providing any kind of reference format. --NeilN talk to me 04:52, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
    • That's the Tool I want to build, but Wikimedia refuses to allocate resources for. And I've jumped over every hurtle they put up. Its become obvious they are pursuing an "appification" strategy and disregarding the community that made them. — Dispenser 05:01, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
      • That's the danger of all businesses and bureaucracies. They evolve and reproduce into totally new organisms, often times with no relationship to their core values or the people who built them and made them successful. The history of business is littered with examples. The very often alienate their customers and employees in the process. Look at the current versions of Sears, McDonald's, and Wal-Mart as only three examples. They bear little resemblance to what they once were. And of course there's Microsoft, which is probably the best example of a company that alienates everyone, from their employees to their customers. What Wikipedia is doing is part of an evolutionary business practice that has taken on a life of its own. Just look at the United States government. I'm no teahadist, but if you could bring back the signers and the framers (the so-called "Founding Fathers"), they wouldn't recognize the country they helped form. When you're so far removed from the ideals and values that made you great, it's time to reevaluate and reconnect. Viriditas (talk) 05:34, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure they'd be surprised by the lack of slaves to serve them their tea, biscuits and sponge. RGloucester 05:37, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
It's a matter of degree. Several experts have made the oft-repeated argument that feudal serfs of old had more rights and freedom than modern low wage labourers, which forms the backbone of many economies. Viriditas (talk) 05:44, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
As a Marxist, I can sympathise with those arguments. Alienation of labour is the critical destructor of the soul of the worker, and is the scourge of post-industrial society. RGloucester 05:55, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of -isms or -ologies, but I like this quote from Hélder Câmara: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." Viriditas (talk) 11:08, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
As a Marxist myself, I am here reminded of his inspiring words: "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made." Martinevans123 (talk) 11:19, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Read more at Just spotted this thread, and wanted to let you know that Vada can do this, while also performing various other fixes at the same time. Please see User:Mdann52/vada for instructions how to set it up to provide reflinks-like abilities! --Mdann52talk to me! 15:21, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

guess what this does
Besides the fact that it is marked as alpha-quality software, does this framework have a user interface for this alleged URL/ref function? Or am I suppose to program one myself to use it? (And I don't mean an API for programmers.) The documentation doesn't have single screenshot for the supposed citation/URL formatting, so I would guess the answer is that it's not for directly usable by run-of-the-mill editors but only by programers. The sole screenshot on its page looks even more miffing than the MV, by the way. I'm sure it has its logic (which appears to include the word p3nis). JMP EAX (talk) 10:30, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't mean to be critical, but this tool is simply not ready. Besides having a poor interface, it actually breaks some things. In a test, it removed http: from several URLs in web citation templates and changed the case of a word in URL. The tool may have a lot of potential, but it still needs work.- MrX 16:53, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMP EAX, MrX: Sorry guys, user interface is not my forte. (Any JS/CSS people want to help?) Also important to point out that Vada is a framework, and that Mdann52's instructions provide a shortcut to installing my cleaner app. The screenshot there is quite old, but will look familiar to many an editor, because it demonstrates the anti vandal app, with an interface similar to Huggle. The removal of http: is actually a feature, not a bug. The modification of the URL is a bug, but not from the reflinks part; rather the spellchecker has not had context built into it yet. It was a work in progress, but I can remove the spellchecker and anything else buggy, if people want to use it. 930913 {{ping}} 22:50, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Please add links to other ways on WP:Citing sources[edit]

Can those of you who know of other ways than reflinks, list and describe them in the Citation templates and tools section. Thanks. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:35, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

I add them manually with ProveIt. It works quite well, and makes certain that we have nice filled out references, not just little bare machine-made nonsense. RGloucester 05:57, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Except it does nothing for bare URLs. Try running it over Nielsen Norman Group for example. All "Prove It" manages to prove is how useless it is by saying "Unknown format" for every link. JMP EAX (talk) 10:19, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
All one has to do is take the URL, put it in one's browser, copy-past the title, URL, and various other information into ProveIt, and then one has filled a reference properly. It makes using citation templates easy. RGloucester 15:01, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I've used both extensively. Reflinks is an excellent tool for adding refs quickly. ProveIt is good, but a little clunky. For example, it adds quotes marks around ref names that don't need them; the interface doesn't always match the standard templates; there's a scroll bar; it can't be detached, etc.- MrX 15:41, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Is it possible to safely CC-license software?[edit]

Given that Reflinks is being discontinued over copyright (free-licensing) issues, it's worth asking whether it is possible under current law to have what we want without putting the developer at risk. Specifically, I just looked up the new alternative "Vada" being discussed above, and find that User:A930913/vada/diffview.js starts up with this long custom licensing claim in the comments. The requirements aren't exceptionally onerous, but, they are not CC-licensing, and so sooner or later someone will have some flavor of "Discussion" and perhaps we are wasting our time thinking about it. So I have to ask: if you write up a free software program and CC-license it to Wikipedia, is it automatic that anybody in the world who ever finds some variant on the program that has been changed by someone else can sue you because you didn't demand that the person modifying it include a disclaimer with a WHOLE BUNCH OF SHOUTING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. (For that matter, does it not count if the text is in lower case?) I mean, either this is all a bunch of bull that we should take action to educate the people of the world to know that it is bull, or else it is a very real form of censorship that is actively preventing us from generating better editing utilities, in which case we need to mobilize against it and take what action is necessary to stop it.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about setting up a mirror/sandbox on my page so I can mess with the utility. If I neglect copying that stuff, what will happen? Wnt (talk) 15:09, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Should have pinged @Mdann52:, @A930913:. Wnt (talk) 16:43, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
@Wnt: By putting the code onto Wikipedia, you release it under the terms of CC-BY-SA-3.0/GDFL, therefore you have to follow those licensing terms. The user that created the content can specify additional terms, but if they are incompatible with the dual licensing used by Wikipedia, you don't actually have to comply by them. --Mdann52talk to me! 17:44, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

@Wnt: You can remove/replace the side-by-side diffview with the WikEdDiff plugin. I should probably do this too, but some prefer side-by-side to inline diffs. 930913 {{ping}} 22:50, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Citoid client[edit]

I've just hacked together a non-VE client to the Citoid server which hopefully does a similar job to reflink. Just add importScript('User:Salix alba/Citoid.js'); to your Special:MyPage/skin.js. It uses mw:citoid service and borrows heavily from the VE interface User:Mvolz/veCiteFromURL. It works by adding a toolbox link, click on this and you get a dialog popup where you can enter a url, submit it to the server and get a citation template as a result. See User:Salix alba/Citoid for details.

Its very much an pre-alpha release, virtually untested but worked for the first two urls I tried. Very much open source, people are encouraged to clone adapt to their own needs.--Salix alba (talk): 16:41, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Thank you Salix alba. If you ever need any help of support from Engineering, or run into bug with Citoid, we'll be glad to help. — MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 22:21, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
(Also, once you feel this is ready for prime time, this seems to me to be an ideal candidate to be made into a gadget). — MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 22:55, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
@Salix alba: Just to jump in here, I want to echo Marc-André's support but caution that the labs-hosted test install of citoid has (amongst other things) no special API keys for some of the services we're using, so it's really not ready for wider use yet. Mvolz and I are working on it! Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 22:58, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Request to stop action vs conclusions of the main scientist of USA[edit]

Hello Jimbo! Several of users from English Wikipedia does not wish respect scientific conclusions of the president Barack Obama. As president, he has the access to a large number of information, who is related to the state issues (almost unlimited access). Obama is Professor of constitutional law, not only (a lawyer on the highest level and president in the same time). He knows and understand the situation around the gun violence in the US very good (he is super expert). Obama also has the Nobel Peace Prize. When he says something important, this must be respected in relevant articles. Gun laws even (science and law in the same time). And he is the president of the US (he is main person in the US). Even respected users of English Wikipedia can be members of the National Rifle Association (trouble, when they make roll back). Nobody knows that such admins can be member of the NRA for the good of the NRA. Because Wikipedia - is not domain of the NRA, I ask ban actions of any user, which acts vs Obama and dead children (everyday in the US - rivers of blood, because noble Obama can not find needed support in the Congress). Stop them, please (Wikipedia not for the NRA). Wikipedia for facts and for the good of people. Note: I am not sock (earlier was the discussion: but without scientific substantiation). And I am not provocateur (Russia and the USA are almost enemies temporarily, at the present time). I respect position of Obama in the other context - he wishes stop death in the US. If something looks as propaganda here (need use common sense: help for the US president, find attention of the US society to stop mass shootings of children, as may sooner). These facts in the same time (which are related to the science position of the US president). A large number of independent sources gives almost the same info about the NRA and about mass murders without gun control: the NRA does not wish stop murders). What means ban rollbacks of users (they not must support the NRA, rollbacks vs relevant information must be stoped). Thank you! - (talk) 12:25, 30 August 2014 (UTC).

Let's hope that despite time served in Britain Jimbo knows better. :) We have so few rights so sparingly applied, it's amazing that the corporate news can find one or the other to blame for every heinous crime, no matter what it is. But truly there is little political variation on the matter: in every country of the world it is legal for the wealthy and powerful to fire 50-caliber machine guns and set off explosives to make reality TV about themselves, and in every country of the world the poor and homeless can be thrown in jail for having a knife or mace to defend themselves. Even the NRA markets to the wealthy white suburban gun nut at the sporting goods store, and couldn't care less about whether folks in the ghetto can defend themselves from gangs on the street corners. Wnt (talk) 14:17, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
What about the other way round - gangs in the ghetto defending themselves from folks on the street corners? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 16:14, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, many gangs did start out from the need for self-defense in neighborhoods that receive little service from police with more important customers. Many of them went on to become infamous criminals themselves; I don't know how many actually drove out the crooks, put their guns in the attic and fell out of view. Wnt (talk) 17:26, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
... "despite time served in Britain"?! Ah, so we have a use after all. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:40, 30 August 2014 (UTC)


Howdy Jimbo. Just wanted to thank you for Wikipedia :) GoodDay (talk) 16:27, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

A Werldwayd proposal: Ice Bucket Challenge Video Contest[edit]

This post is regarding our Ice Bucket Challenge page. I find the specific choice of the videos of certain individuals very promotional to the individuals performing the Ice Bucket Challenge. As a neutral medium, we should avoid such preferential treatment. Wikipedia can illustrate the "Ice Bucket Challenge" best by displaying a completely unknown non-famous individual's 30-second video footage. The individual would identify himself/herself by first name only on the video and then nominate three other equally non-famous individuals (again only first name basis). Of course details of full name and contact would be included by sender, but such detail or location would not be used on the page. Note: This is just a suggestion by one single Wikipedia editor (User:werldwayd) on his personal initiative and presently does not have a go-ahead from Wikipedia / Wikimedia. The original post appeared on the talk page of the article itself. A copy of this is being posted on Jimmy Wales talk page for speeding up the process of approval and conditions.

With a Wikipedia directly commissioned contest, hopefully with immediate effect, of course the terms would include a Commons-compatible license for using the winning footage on our page. This will create great momentum for Wikipedia / Wikimedia's direct involvement and commitment in aid of a great cause. It is also a great incentive for our readers to be more involved in Wikipedia.werldwayd (talk) 16:50, 31 August 2014 (UTC) werldwayd (talk) 00:31, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

University of Washington: Editing beyond articles[edit]

I received this in my notifications and thought it might interest you. [18]--Mark Miller (talk) 19:35, 31 August 2014 (UTC)