User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 116

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A barnstar for you!

Barnstar of Reversion Hires.png The Anti-Vandalism Barnstar
you are making wikipedia better and away from harm! Triggercon (talk) 05:43, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Lovely. A barnstar from an editor who has just been blocked indefinitely for vandalism. KillerChihuahua?!? 16:43, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Barnstaria non olet. MastCell Talk 18:41, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Cordial invitation to join the Ten Year Society

Ten Year Society.svg

Dear Jimbo,

I'd like to extend a cordial invitation to you to join the Ten Year Society, a new editor group that I've just begun, intended to allow editors to informally celebrate having a decade of participation in this project. (A milestone that I'll hit in two months' time.)

Naturally, it only seemed right that you should be the first person that I invited to join.

Best wishes, -- Hex [t/c] 10:42, 27 September 2012 (UTC).

Victor Gollancz and Franz Kafka

Dear Mr. Wales, I was at dinner with publicher Victor Gollancz when he told me he was the publisher of the major writer Franz Kafka. I think if your company confirmed this with his duaghter who seems to be alive still, this if a fact would be a good addition to the information on Mr. Gollancz. He lived off Hampstead Heath and that is where he and his wife had myself and my then-husbannd to dinner about 30 years ago. My name is Goldie Kossow, the same as it was then. I do not remember dining with the daughter. Kafka is not listed with all the writers that Mr. Gollancz brought to life. Sincerely, Goldie Kossow email redacted 65.8.203.148 (talk) 02:50, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Those claims would need some backing. For one thing, our article on Victor Gollancz says that he died 45 years ago. For another, it says that he began publishing in 1927, when Kafka was already dead. Looie496 (talk) 03:05, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
redacted personal attack
That seems a little harsh. Plenty of dead authors are published today. And someone who is aged, say, 90, might easily be mistaken about a date to the tune of 20 years or so. It doesn't exactly read like trolling, either. --Dweller (talk) 14:38, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Victor Gollancz apparently published the first British edition of The Trial in 1937.[1] If this had a reliable source, it could be mentioned.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 14:58, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I have redacted an overly harsh statement above. The name "Goldie Kossow" is distinctive enough that it is pretty easy to determine that there is such a person who is rather notable, who would now be somewhere around 70 years old, and who could easily have had dinner with Victor Gollancz in the early 1960s. So let's be nice here, eh? Looie496 (talk) 16:53, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
If someone claiming to have met Abraham Lincoln at a dinner party sent an e-mail to Wikipedia saying that one of the quotes in the Gettysburg Address was wrong, it would put Wikipedia in an impossible situation. It is hard for people to identify themselves over the web, and Wikipedia cannot conduct original research to prove or disprove claims from primary sources. There should be guidelines on how to deal with this type of situation when it arises.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 19:40, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
There is better than a guideline: there is a policy, WP:V: Wikipedia content "is determined by previously published information rather than by the personal beliefs or experiences of its editors. Even if you're sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can add it." What we do is, explain this politely to the friend of Victor Gollancz or Abraham Lincoln, and ask whether they can point us to a reliable published source. JohnCD (talk) 20:06, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but as the recent Philip Roth and will.i.am sagas show, this type of situation can lead to controversy. The media had a field day when "an administrator" told Philip Roth that he was not a reliable secondary source.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 20:15, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
To make my own position clear, I'm not saying we should use this information, I'm only saying that we shouldn't be rude. Looie496 (talk) 20:43, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Philip Roth's was a first-person statement about his own thoughts; this is someone's memory of what someone else said over 45 years ago. I suppose the Roth type of situation might be handled by "On <date> Philip Roth stated <whatever it was> - (reference: OTRS ticket nnnnnn)". JohnCD (talk) 20:52, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Roth's biography jeez, publicity enough?--Wehwalt (talk) 02:28, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

August edits rise as casual editors drop 5%

The current August 2012 active-editor data shows an increase in the highly active editors at 100, 250 or 1,000 edits per month, while a continued slight decline among the broad-base casual editors making 1, 5, 10 or 25 edits per month. Since the trend is old news, this month I analyzed the shift from light casual editing (down 5% over the past 12 months) towards higher edit activity by the busy editors, up 4-20%.
As noted in the past, Wikipedia is not written by "crowd-sourcing" among 100,000 editors, but rather by a core group of about 9,000 editors, with 3,500 dedicated editors (>100 edits) following policies, plus 1,546 people making >250, with 248 editing >1,000, then 52 editing >2,500, and 5 making >10,000 article-edits per month. See current enwiki data:
                 • http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaEN.htm - now has August data
The above counts are for article-edits only, while talk-page edits are tabulated elsewhere in the data. The increased activity by the busy editors completely overshadows the modest decline in casual editors, such as 43 more people (248-205), since August 2011 (last year) now making >1,000 edits, as >43,000 more edits by them this month. The impact of the total multiplier effect, of editors × edit-count, means that the fewer total editors are getting more done, as more edits by each remaining person. It appears that over 70% of all edits are made by the small 3% core group, of 3,500 (3%) among the 112,739 editors, with many reverting what the casual editors had done. In fact, it might be said that "78% 80% of Wikipedia was written by 17% only 1% of the editors" (re 80/20 Rule) in 2012. See sub-thread: "#Few editors wrote most of WP edits". More later. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:18/17:24, 19 Sep., revised 14:58, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

This data would be more useful if you controlled for AWB-meatbots. Gigs (talk) 15:53, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Many AWB edits are multiple improvements: It is difficult to discount any AWB-based edits as being unworthy of counting. I have seen numerous AWB-based edits which involved multiple changes to an article, with significant quality improvement. Likewise, I have seen many manual edits which changed only a minor word, and were a questionable use of an edit. As for controlling the influence on counts, I noticed that the automated bot-edits, always counted separately, have declined slightly during the past year. But, still, I am not convinced that removing, or separating, the AWB "meatbot" edits from the other user-edits would matter. Perhaps there should be data which counts 1-word or 2-word edits versus broader edits to articles. In cases such as this, cross-comparisons of typical editing patterns might help, such as analyzing AWB edits among several groups of 5,000 wp:Recent_changes to see if AWB-edit patterns are an unusual problem. Meanwhile, by whatever means people are editing, the total August-2012 edits have risen despite the 5% drop in casual editors during the past 12 months. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikid77 (talkcontribs) 17:24, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
    • Automated bot edits are often improvements as well. It is foolish to ignore the effect of semi-automated and automated edits when analyzing editor activity. Cluebot NG makes about 5-15 edits per minute. If Cluebot NG didn't exist, editors would have to manually revert this vandalism, and that would boost your "core contributor" count by a huge amount. The same is true of AWB-bots. When an AWB user corrects the spelling in 100 articles a day, that's 100 small edits that casual editors won't do. The effect of these processes on editing patterns is profound. Gigs (talk) 17:56, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
      • A couple of things to note. AWB can be used as a bot but mostly its used in semi manual mode. Although it does help to greatly increase the speed and efficiency of ones edits it also is just one of many tools, like twinkle, Hotcat and a variety of others whose edits are counted. I would also note that I question the data somewhat because Rich Farmbrough did a lot of edits himself prior to being banned from automation so I find it hard to believe that there was only a modest drop. I doubt that the remaining editors did enough edits to offset that loss and certainly counting bot edits we are missing out on a lot. With that said, the corps Wikipedia site seems to be operating progressively slower with each new release so that IMO is at least part of the reason for the decline. Also, the tabs tend to jump around a lot on slow connections so editors not familiar with the site get turned off rather quickly by have to play chase the wild button around. I have had multiple potential editors tell me that they got fed up when trying to make an edit because the buttons kept jumping and instead of hitting the talk or edit button they hit something else. A variety of other factors also impacts things but I'll leave it there for now. Kumioko (talk) 00:01, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
        • I have been mulling over proposing the idea of changing the autoconfirm rules on a very temporary basis. The sorts of articles on common topics that often wind up semi-protected due to school vandalism are often the same kind of articles a new or casual editor may want to edit. If we dropped the edit number requirement for autoconfirm for non-tor newly registered accounts temporarily (maybe even just 24 hours), we could see what happens in terms of vandalism vs new constructive editors. Gigs (talk) 03:07, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
          • Speaking of autoconfirm, I think we should end it. I wanted to pull together a coherent post , but since you brought it up, most of the legitimate requests are so someone can upload a logo, which we offer to do for them. Many of the rest are trying to upload something subject to copyright, and many of the others disappear when a simple question is asked. Too much work goes into the process relative to the gain. Better yet, leave it, just deep-six the request board, and on the rare occasion a legitimate need exists an admin can grant it. Oops, responded too quickly. I'm talking about Confirmed, not auto-confirmed. But if you get your proposal enacted, even more reason to eliminate Confirmed--SPhilbrick(Talk) 19:59, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Few editors wrote most of WP edits

In re-analyzing the data for active-editors, I see that most article-edits were made by very few people during the past 11 years, where 310,813 people, as 8% of all editors have made 92% of edits, even though over 4.1 million people have made at least 1 edit. In comparison to the 80/20 Rule, about 80% of Wikipedia edits were made by only 1% of all editors. So, Jimbo, this supports your earlier viewpoint that a relatively tiny group has written English Wikipedia, much smaller than I had thought. Of course, we still value the contributions of all the editors combined, as the 4,129,008 Wikipedians have made 201,533,932 article-edits combined. The full table:

Distribution of article edits over registered editors, with bots
Only article edits are counted, not edits on discussion pages, etc
As an exception in this table editors with less than 10 edits overall are included
Edits >= Wikipedians Edits Total
1 4,129,008   100.0%      201,533,932 100.0%
3 1,659,778 40.2% 197,567,645 98.0%
10 797,314 19.3% 192,623,547 95.6%
32 310,813 7.5% 184,436,736 91.5%
100 125,160 3.0% 174,410,495 86.5%
316 53,896 1.3% 162,195,273 80.5%
1000 24,034 0.6% 145,685,934 72.3%
3162 9,868 0.2% 120,888,868 60.0%
10000 3,102 0.1% 83,666,774 41.5%
31623 658 0.0% 42,903,101 21.3%
100000 73 0.0% 13,588,530 6.7%
316228 8 0.0% 4,230,061 2.1%
From the table, the common core of highly active editors (>=100 edits), which is currently about 3,500 monthly (for the past 3 years), has included a total of 125,160 editors, who during their stay have averaged nearly 1,400 article-edits each (174,410,495 / 125,160).

How to create an English Wikipedia: If anyone asks, "How many volunteers did it take to write today's English Wikipedia?" then the typical, every-day editors should be included among those. The typical active editors, about 9,000 monthly >32 edits, have included over 310,813 people+bots, who averaged 593 edits (184,436,736 / 310,813). Those are the people we see everyday, from time to time, who also update talk-pages, templates, categories, or project pages, where their monthly article-edits might number "59" rather than 100+. They have written 91.5% of all WP edits, as 7.5% of registered users. Then, the "80% group" who have written 80.5% of all edits, number 53,896 as 267,000 fewer than the typical editors we see day-to-day. That "80% group" (as 1.3% of all editors) has made over 316 article-edits each month, when contributing the 80.5% of all edits. However, the influence of all other editors includes the remark, "In article X, that should be this instead", and so, if some one asks, "How many volunteers did it take..." then the response should be:

"Start with 4,129,008 registered users who make at least one edit,
and then get 8% of them to average 600 edits each for the 11 years,
plus get 54,000 to average 3,000 edits, then 45% of them to make 6,000 edits,
and then 40% double again as 12,000 edits, and 30% of them make 27,000 edits each...".

Add to that the anonymous IP users:

All together 101,648,680 article edits were made by anonymous users,
out of a total of 334,414,859 article edits (30.4%).

Hence, the influence of the IP-address users is another 30% of all article-edits, while the active usernames have made 70% of the full total of 334.4 million edits. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:58, 21 Sep. revised 13:20, 22 Sep., 23:19, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

  • This was addressed some time ago in an essay by Aaron Swartz. Wnt (talk) 00:04, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
    • Yes, an excellent essay and still I suspect valid today. On Wikid77's methodology I would count as one of the two hundred most active editors here. The reality of course is that my eradication of the same typo across a hundred articles is no more valuable than someone who eradicates a hundred typos from one article, and there could be thousands of editors who have added more content than I have. ϢereSpielChequers 16:35, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
      • It would also be interesting to know how many were made using AWB and how many were made manually. I would suggest that 99% of any edits made using AWB would be minor. Although I do disagree somewhat with the argument above. Just because the edits are minor like typos doesn't mean they are any less important. Even these little edits lead to incremental improvements to the articles and to the overall credibility of the site. Without these improvements to typos and such we would have a lot of them and people would be less inclined to use the site because all the articles would look like crap. Kumioko (talk) 17:05, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Rewrites can make articles night-and-day better: Also, the concept that "only new content matters" (not really) ignores those cases where text was jumbled, templates had wrong parameters, and off-topic text rambled. It only takes a few jumbled phrases, with some spam text or wrong templates, to make an article "too suspicious" to trust for reading. Hence, rewrites by busy editors should not be denigrated as "non-content" when they made the content acceptable to readers. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:03, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Imagine a world where articles are written by people who rarely edit: Not Wikipedia, of course, this is reality, but perhaps in "The Twilight Zone". I remember long ago having read that essay ("Who writes Wikipedia"), but I was not in the mood to analyze the implications. Let us consider now:
  • What kind of person would write articles, but rarely edit them?
  • Would 3,000 highly active Wikipedians really each make 27,000 edits for punctuation, or renaming categories, but have no interest in adding content or new articles?
  • Would an IP editor add content during 40 edits over 2 days and never return?
The whole concept of an encyclopedia-written-with-drive-by-content is really bizarre, when thinking about the real-world implications. Of course, reviewing the contributions of many editors will prove that highly active editors have added masses of content, and created thousands of complete articles, rather than waiting, on the sidelines, to reformat the next anonymous paragraph added by a "40-edit" user. Plus, the new content is much easier to add by regular editors who spot a pattern and add similar paragraphs to numerous articles in a set. Perhaps that essay did not cross-compare large enough samples, and imagined that 500 thousand articles could be understood by looking at a few dozen. Also, for people who do not use rotating IP addresses, it might seem like an IP user who made 15 edits never returned, rather than returned 180 times using related IP addresses in the range. The article "Édith Piaf" is the "La Vie en Rosetta Stone of the rotating-IP rosary" to decipher how an IP-address user (209.105.200.54) could create major articles (Piaf, Maria Callas, kings of France), then return multiple times using most of 200 IP addresses during 5 months to make over 2,000 edits (400 per month) as one of the top editors of late 2002. Yes, the evidence shows Wikipedia was written (and expanded) mostly by a small group of editors, but many were repeat, rotating-IP users. Once they changed IP addresses, it gave the impression of content added from a drive-by account, rather than a core editor returning 200 times. Perhaps consider the reverse experiment: only allow each user to edit 50 times to add/adjust content, and then see what a "drive-by" encyclopedia would really look like. How long would it take to cover all the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven? How many towns in each region would have articles? Would the top 500 rock music albums have articles? Would there be over 1.5 million sports articles, with 71,000 footballers? -Wikid77 (talk) 21:09, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
I am fairly sure that a large proportion (over 50% I'd guess) of the higher-figure editors never or relatively rarely add basic text or image content (or rewrite it) or new articles, and would love to know how high that proportion is, and how it is moving over time (increasing, I'm pretty sure). This is especially the case in the very highest groups by edit count; once someone is doing over 3-4,000 edits per month you can be pretty sure they are not writing stuff, with the odd exception. On the other hand there are editors who write fairly long new articles off-wiki and only rack up a handful of edits each month as they add them and links to them, and are all but invisible to these statistics. A major constraint on the usefulness of our editing statistics is that it cannot analyse edits by types in this way. Johnbod (talk) 15:47, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Need new-content statistics from large samples: The relative proportion of new-content edits would be good to know, and I think samples could be taken of many articles. However, Jimbo has warned us to collect very large samples, and moderate-sized samples have shown severe misjudgment, plus Jimbo knows the size problems, due to having been in contact with so many editors' detailed issues over the past 11 years. That is why his opinions can be difficult to follow, because many of us have never talked with so many thousands of editors and their article sets. We look at 500 articles and think we know, but really have no idea, like someone in central Kansas imagining the world's oceans, or mountains. More later. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:50, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Must we use a sample at all? The whole lot should be analysed, but just for recent periods. Johnbod (talk) 01:59, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Compare earlier editors to later years: I was also curious to see when Jimbo's view of "1-2 thousand core editors" from 2005 expanded into the 125,000 (or so) that are tallied in the edit-counts now. The reason I suggested large samples was to simplify the task of analyzing all 335 million edits, where one IP user has used 180 related IP-address numbers, or might be a logged-out frequent username. Logically, I cannot imagine full sets of articles were written with "drive-by" content, nor accept that 100 thousand users added mostly content in 15 edits over 2 days and never returned (unlikely). Instead, the most-likely situation was many editors returning for several months each, until burnout, but some used rotating-IP addresses to seem like 50, or 180, different IP users. Hence, if each 100 IP numbers and some usernames were the same person, then 100,000 of them was really 1,000 separate people, rather than 100,000 anonymous contributors who added content for 2 days and never returned. From my experience, if there are 255 rotating-IP numbers, then only rarely does a user access the same IP address, such as the "Maria Callas" author rotating in the range 200.*.*.2-197, but re-using IP addresses only 3 times each, to seem like 180 separate editors. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:03, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • This is interesting, the basic premise that there is a typology of editors (and there are academic papers discussing this) is a human classification reaction. Whether there is a bimodal or multimodal distribution is a basic question that is unanswered as far as I know, let alone the proportion, absolute number of different types of change in relation to total number of edits. As far as images are concerned the challenge would be great since images uploaded to WP often end up on commons with a different uploader. Also we have editors who have worked on items on Citizendium that have been ported back, so there's another confounding factor. Rich Farmbrough, 16:59, 25 September 2012 (UTC).
  • Okay, WP is a network of editors, many working offline: Overall, it does seem like trying to oversimplify the full network of hundreds of thousands of editors, many of whom create whole articles, or whole paragraphs, offline or with many edit-preview sessions, to add major content with "1 edit". Hence, there would be a huge difference in edit-count for new content created by previewing whole sections, versus someone who added many phrases during 30 edits: 400 versus 12,000 edits. Plus when an article is rewritten, it might be difficult to trace the original work, because deleting 1,000 characters while adding 1,028 could look like a content change of +28 or only 4 words different, but could be 1,028 letters of either new text or rearranging the older text so that it appeared new. Meanwhile, people who remove awkward phrases or cut rambling text to reword an article in accurate, neutral tone, could be viewed as either -270 characters or a mere "reformatter" because the size was not "+270" after the edit. Also, because redirects can be expanded into articles, then someone could be credited with creating "2,000" articles, who just created thousands of tiny redirects which other editors expanded in 2,000 cases. However, I wanted to show the proof of how "180" IP editors, who make 15 edits each to "List of French people" (or ~Canadians or ~Russians) or kings of France, can be one person. The rest is a case of logical deduction, to show how every small town in a region, or article in a set, cannot be written with similar wording from random "drive-by" content. The 2,000 articles in the "List of asteroids" were not created by 10,000 editors adding 13 asteroids each, but rather by copying and splitting those 37 huge data files from Harvard. Then, compound that with images copied to Commons. Perhaps that should be enough proof, but I think more needs to be emphasized, and better explained in a new essay. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:48, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Impact of the editing community: Another aspect, which was not emphasized above, is the impact of many major editors working together, as the "editing community" rather than some thousands of editors with high edit-counts. This was an issue noted by Jimbo in those early quotes from him, and is a part of the concept of a "network of editors". Also, the rise of the wp:WikiProjects should be included. Because the 2006 Swartz essay tried to push a view that Wikipedia was written primarily by low-edit users, then the role of a "community" of editors was reduced to that of mere "formatters" rather than people who discussed plans to add or improve content, while the text was supposedly expanded mostly by users who made very few edits and rarely stayed long enough to talk as a community. However, the analysis of many articles has revealed that low-edit IP users tend to be responsible for most vandalism, or hack edits, which are typically reverted by registered users and bots. In fact, the praised example article "Anaconda" had received so many hack edits/reverts (90%) during 2011-2012, that it was locked as edit-protected for 6 months against non-confirmed editors. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:38, 27 Sep., 12:59, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

What about all the other wikis competing for attention?

When you say "Wikipedia edits" in this article, do you mean just the English one, or all language encyclopedia versions?

Also when measuring your statistics, are you able to include editing stats from all Wikia projects?


It seems somewhat disingenuous to just focus on the English wikipedia when there are all these other wikis now out there, and all of them competing for authors and attention.

Perhaps the editor drop here is because there's now places for them to edit on another WMF-spawned wiki site, that didn't exist or didn't get much attention before the English Wikipedia decline got going.

DMahalko (talk) 16:00, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

  • The focus here was enwiki, with other-language wikis as other threads: The August-edit stats I mentioned were just for English Wikipedia, which more people here are aware of the issues. However, we could discuss other-language Wikipedias as separate threads. In particular, in the early years, the Swedish Wikipedia was kept "alive" by a few dozen editors, and since 2006, they have required annual re-elections of their ~99 admins because often the desysoping led to long-term resentments, plus they tend to delete articles written by non-fluent speakers of Swedish, whereas in English Wikipedia, many thousands of articles of "mangle-glish" have been accepted and retro-translated into real English. Meanwhile, for years, the German Wikipedia has prevented quick changes, with a pending-changes interface, while they have criticized fully-illustrated new articles that were only 99% correct German as being a terrible bother to improve. Hence, the growth of each other-language Wikipedia should be considered separately, due to some extreme limitations of what is allowed as content. As for editors fleeing to other-language Wikipedias, I would conclude the opposite, because there seem to be many severe restrictions to adding content in some other-language WP's (some considered tyrannical), although Swahili Wikipedia has been more accepting than others, and I suspect the Greek Wikipedia would be open because of their wide-open attitudes towards freedom of speech in modern Greece. Overall, the problem of trying to generalize them, together, is a problem of analyzing over 270 other-language WP's, with vastly different histories. More later. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:16, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Split proposal

I think it's rather obvious that this page is used for 2 main purposes. One, logically enough, as a talk page for Jimbo Wales - the almighty lord and savior of our beloved Wiki-religion and so on and so forth. (hyperbole much? :D). The second, is essentially a soapbox for general wiki-related issues, and sometimes just social issues in general. Many-a-time have I seen this page be listed alongside Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)‎ and other pages as places to bring new things to people attention quickly and effectively. These are two very different uses of the one talk page, and as a result this page gets extremely confused. So, I propose that we split this page into, for example, a "jimmy wales page" for the soapbox type thing - like for people to voice their concerns on issues when they want some wikipedia person in a high place that watchlists the page to help them out, and then a "Jimbo Wales talk page" strictly as the talk page for the editor "Jimbo Wales". If we can divert traffic to these two areas, it might make this often chaotic environment a heck of a lot easier.--Coin945 (talk) 18:48, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Mr. Wales has been on Wikipedia for awhile; I'm sure he can manage his talk page however he sees fit. Nobody Ent 01:39, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, no question about that. This is Jimbo's talkpage and he can do with it whatever he sees fit. My point is that in my humble opinion, this is a huge pet peeve that has always been at this talkpage, and I wanted to spark a discussion to see what we all - and of course Jimbo himself - think of my suggestion. :)--Coin945 (talk) 09:36, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
I bet if you think about it, you'll realize why it will fail. It is used as a soapbox precisely because it is Jimbo's talk page. If you carve out a "jimmy wales" page, then someone wanting to bring an item tot he attention of Jimbo and the large number of editors who follow the talk page, will have to decide whether to post on the new "jimmy wales" page or the actual Jimbo talk page. Such a person will be sure that Jimbo reviews his talk page, but not sure he is closely monitoring the soapbox page, and will reach the same conclusion about editors. Easy decision, unless you try to invent some bureaucratic rule to move soapbox items away from the real page. Who decides? I guarantee that everyone posting a "soapbox" item truly believes it is an item of interest to Jimbo. Almost everyone will post to the actual talk page. Any efforts to move to a second page will be met by edit-warring, not to mention the likely disapproval of Jimbo himself. In short, epic fail.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 12:33, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) This page indeed serves multiple roles. But could they be neatly disentangled and if so should they be? My take on it is no they can't be disentangled because we have hit one of the English language's notorious irregular verbs I/we have a post that Jimmy should read, you are soapboxing, they are just re-raising things settled eons ago, and that lot are just trolling. If we could disentangle them then the only person who could say whether it was more convenient for him to organise his talkpage that way would be Jimmy himself, but if I were him I'd be inclined to not try and disentangle them. ϢereSpielChequers 12:41, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Jimbo will hat excessive threads, but controversies attract clutter: Jimbo has closed many off-topic, or hostile or off-humor, discussions by hatting ( {hat} & {hab} ). Also, he has asked not to debate here about MediaWiki technicalities, which probably belong at WP:PUMPTECH. However, this page is treated as far more than 2 main purposes, beyond being personal talk or proposals, because some people consider this an ask-for-help page, or fix-my-article page, or control-that-admin page, or block-that-user page, or refute-this-bad-review page. Consequently, many editors and other admins will pre-answer requests for Jimbo, so he will not have to spend time answering so many questions, but still the problems get solved from here. As for confusion and clutter, the typical cause is not so much suggestion proposals, nor wp:SOAPBOXing, but rather, the clutter floods around any controversial topic, such as image-filter ideas, or how-much-nudity, or Jimbo-was/not-wrong-citation-needed, or such. Meanwhile, it does seem amazing how Jimbo reads and scans through most of these rambling threads, faster than what many people might think possible, even in the talk-page archives when he has been travelling awhile. The easiest proof: consider some threads here which have linked other discussions, and note how Jimbo will concisely respond in those other threads without missing a beat, despite the clutter here. For the rest of us "mere mortals", then I suggest handling this clutter by using browser-find to search for specifics on this page, or just let Jimbo handle all the mind-boggling confusion as he usually does. However, anyone who can politely pre-answer some questions always seems welcome here. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:23, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Rollbacker page protection

I've got an idea of a new page edit protection level: "edit=rollbacker" which would allow all administrators AND rollbacckers to edit. This would allow some constructive contributors to edit hot-topic articles which otherwise would be accesssible to administrators only. If you like this idea, then please talk with developers about it. Nikolay95 (talk) 07:48, 28 September 2012 (UTC) P.S. I'm using my alternate account because I'm browsing from a device which does not support Cyrillic.

Rollbackers are editors with an extra button for combating vandalism. If we were to introduce a new level of protection between semi and full then I would suggest it would be at least as appropriate for Reviewers and AutoPatrolled accounts as it would be for Rollbackers. Otherwise provided this was mainly a substitute for Full protection then this is a good idea. ϢereSpielChequers 12:48, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
This sounds like Level 2 WP:Pending Changes boiled down to its bare essential - the creation of a politically reliable overclass of editors to ensure articles maintain the "right" point of view. Wnt (talk) 16:43, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
This would be a misconception of the purpose of protection of hot-topic articles. Protection isn't usually needed above the semi-level because of vandalism because it is difficult to create multiple autoconfirmed accounts and they can be easily blocked. (IP's on the other hand are dynamic). When articles get full-protection it is because of an editing dispute. Nobody, even administrators, should be making substantial edits to an article that has been fully-protected because of an editing dispute. When administrators do make edits to full-protected pages, it means that they have confirmed that consensus was in favor of the change made (or it is an unambiguously uncontroversial non-substantive change). Administrators are given the bit for their ability to determine consensus (among other things). Rollbackers and AutoPatrolled editors are given their tools because they can identify vandalism (in the case of the former) and can create quality articles (in the case of the latter). Since identifying consensus is not part of the requirements to receive either of those two tools, a protection level that allows them to edit articles would not be beneficial. Ryan Vesey 18:56, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

For the first time in Wikipedia's history, there will be no administrators chosen in a month

This is the first time in Wikipedia's history, that no administrators will be chosen in a month.27.251.75.18 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 13:16, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Interestingly, the period from 19 Feb 2012 to 29 March 2012 is a longer period without a promotion. Monty845 21:35, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
The longest I can find was 18 October 2011 to 29 Nov 2011, 42 days. Monty845 21:39, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Promotion?!? - Slip of the tongue, I hope. You mean election or approval. Carrite (talk) 19:46, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
How much funding has the WMF dedicated to admin retention and studying the problem of administrator overload in WMF projects? Cla68 (talk) 00:22, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I know I'm pretty much pissing into the wind here, given my past efforts at making Wikipedia better for its users, but here goes. I'm an admin who does a huge amount of work in high-tension, vicious places on Wikipedia; Pending changes (where I'm the one closing the round of RfCs myself), I/P, ARBMAC, castes (a recent blowup is now in the latest ANI archive, if you'd like to see how fun if is to deal with), so I see a lot of the worst. My ways of dealing with it are laid out here, so I'm the last admin you need to worry about, but I'm not typical (neuro and otherwise); most people get fed up with the undying shit stream that is those areas and NPP. Our slavish attitude towards speedy deletion creates tons of problems for everyone, but especially when people go for adminship and get slammed for not engaging in utter pedantry (how DARE you tag an article about a game someone made up yesterday for speedy deletion, there's no criterion for that!!!! opposes). Similarly, anyone editing in controversial articles is likely to come under the gun for accidentally reverting twice in 23:54 hours, and if I do or don't impose sanctions I catch a ton of flak from whichever side feels aggrieved. I have no love for getting the wool pulled over my eyes, and a lot of people are still stinging from that.
Instead of pompously declaring the Grand Solution, I'll instead suggest that 1. NPPers and admins should be treated like humans instead of allowing people to treat them like shit with impunity (I've been told to fuck myself with a knife for blocking someone and had my intelligence questioned for closing RfCs certain ways; I'll live, but most people would never put themselves in that position) 2. pursuant to that, actually acknowledge we do a good job (more for NPPers, but admins run into this as well) and 3. let us crack down on obvious bullshit if we see it without being hounded to death about process (I only got away unscathed from the caste example above because the area is under discretionary sanctions, and editors disagreeing with me would have to go through ArbCom or the community). It won't solve everything, but it'd sure help those of us who aren't busy chasing our tails trying to recruit women or bickering over Gibraltarpedia crap because we're willing to stand up to the real problems here. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:46, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Not a whole lot to argue with there. Though I'll add that the issue of admin retention/promotion is likely also directly related to editor retention. We constantly are driving editors away. The post-BLP Wikipedia has been steadily becoming the surprising hybrid of police state ("I revert all your foolish attempts to edit, and treat anything I don't want or like as vandalism") and anarchy ("Now that more and more clueful editors have been driven away due to constant reversion, let's vandalise!" and/or "We don't care about the project except to further our own ends. And (again) since more and more of those supposedly clueful editors have gone, we are more and more often in the majority, and we can scream when anyone closes consensual discussions in anyway except counting votes")
Really makes one want to be a Wikipedian, much less an admin, huh? : )
BLPs are obviously an issue, but it's killing the open-ness of the project.
There was a proposal awhile back to split BLPs to their own Wikimedia Wiki. Every day, I more and more support that idea. - jc37 02:09, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
To clarify: Once upon a time, this was a truly collaborative project, when one person could literally start a page with a single sentence (typically un-sourced) and others would pick up the ball and help. Now everyone seems to expect articles to be crafted from whole cloth, complete with sourcing, else... reversion/deletion. The fear that caused this being the BLP crisis and unsourced edits concerning BLPS. Which has now bled to all information on all pages. And of course automated tools allowing some editors (though not all, obviously) to play Wikipedia the game. ("Look at me, I just reverted vandalism. Let me adjust my score, I mean my reversion count on my user page." and/or "Look at me, I can nominate information for deletion, tag it, and notify the first editor, all with a single click. And I can do this en masse, in a fait accompli. I don't allow such things on my wiki. I'm winning Wikipedia the game") And such editors have groups of gaming friends, and so on. So the tone and mindset is reinforced.
If this continues, the project will die. I registered to help with Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.. I'm looking around and wondering where that project went. - jc37 02:37, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, and I just ran across the "source issue" today. To get a quick view of how impossible it's become to stick a toe in, see Special:Contributions/Mmcampbell, and then look at how he or she was reverted by bots, accused of vandalism, and reverted because something didn't have a reliable source (and it didn't, but we used to use the fact tag for that, didn't we?). --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 08:59, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

(edit conflict)I guessed who the long post was coming from long before I even saw Blade's signature at the bottom. I couldn't agree more. See my comments in the current (after a 3 week hiatus). As admins who stick their neck out to resolve contentious issues, it makes us wonder why we ever accepted the bit in the first place. But someone has to do it, and when the shit hits the fan, it invariably lands in the face of an admin - like a riot cop who gets hurt by vandals for simply doing his job. It's a pathetic environment that seeks to constantly put the blame for all the evils on Wikipedia at the feet of the admins - we're not all a power mad bunch of viscous boot camp sergeant majors and super-voters. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:49, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

But since Three men make a tiger, we all must be... Sigh. - jc37 02:54, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
The editor retention link is accurate, as over the last couple of years we have lots a fair amount of talent due to simple frustration. At the same time we are raising the standard for admin, we are losing people before they get to that very standard, or discouraging them to make a run for RfA. The abuse that admins get from vandals and trolls themselves are easy to ignore. It is the apologists and contrarians that I find troublesome, the editors who feel their job is to protect the poor user from the abusive system, regardless of how appropriate the administrative response is. They are enablers that aren't really adding anything to the encyclopedia, and while their numbers aren't that great, they make up for it by their persistence and wikilawyering. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 07:04, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I've been accused of that, Dennis, but I think the problem at AN/I is that people need to simply stay on target. You have a group that will pull any tangent into a debate at the drop of a hat, and while blocking someone for "trolling", will act in a very uncivil way to do that. If there were a overall expectation an AN/I that the discussion be about whatever the complaintant brought and allow little else to enter the discussion, many of those threads would be a lot shorter. I don't consider myself an apologist for bad actions of editors, yet I get accused of that because I press for people to be treated with respect at AN/I. It usually works quietly and quickly, but when it doesn't, it's an awful mess. -- Avanu (talk) 14:45, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure you've noticed that the problem with ANI is there are often people who think it is an appropriate place to be sarcastic, cracks jokes and poke fun at people. Those activities only make the place more miserable for those being dragged there, or work there, as it causes more off topic discussion and drama. ANI is not a general message board or a place to chit chat. We need to deal with problems, then archive the discussion. We don't need stalkers who think they are entertaining, because they aren't. I suppose we need to be more blunt about this. ANI is not supposed to be an amateur hour showcase. You are usually pretty good about researching before protesting and actually ask questions instead of assuming, but not everyone does that. I rarely have an issue with you Avanu, and you never try to be "cute". Other editors forget that admins do have access to deleted contribs and other info and will jump to conclusions without even researching the available histories. It isn't as bad as it used to be, but it is still disruptive when it happens as it causes unnecessary dramah. A rare few are simply contrarians and are going to take exception to everything every admin does. That is actually a form of trolling, btw, and should be dealt with as such. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 21:04, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I hope that the post by The Blade... above is read and acknowledged by Jimbo and anyone else with some kind of "over arching" place on Wikipedia. It should remind us all that being an Admin or similar position here is neither pretty nor peaceful. I've done my fair share of being a bit short with admins recently, for which I apologise, but that's nothing compared to some of the ways in which editors through absolute vitriol and undiluted hate towards admins on an hourly basis across the project. Editing Wikipedia is difficult enough, nobody is going to make the step-up to adminhood if all they see is through their laptop the kind of work-based stress and strain they get during the 9-5. doktorb wordsdeeds 08:07, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Two months ago, Jimbo declared this wasn't a problem. It, therefore, isn't a problem. Nevermind that admin promotions for this year are tracking down 50% compared to last year (which was itself a record low year). Nevermind the % pass rate has dropped from 37% to 29% (a >20% drop, relative). Nevermind that the number of active admins is now below 700. Nevermind that the promotion rate (replacement rate) is 32% below the loss rate of admins. There is no problem because...there is no problem. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:40, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

I did not say that this is not a problem. I think it's a huge problem. What I actually said is that it is not a new problem.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:31, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
The number of active editors is down too - the foundation sees that as a problem (and if we fixed that, the number of admins would probably begin to rise again). Being an admin was already a thankless job when I stood for the position, yet the ranks were growing quickly. Solve the editor problem, solve the admin problem. WilyD 14:20, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • You're not going to solve the editor problem. The Foundation made fixing the declining editing base a top priority in April of 2011. In the year before that, the drop off in active editors on Wikipedia was 4.2%. In the year following their resolution, the drop off more than doubled to 8.5%. Fixing the decline in editorship is impossible, but the Foundation lacks the organizational expertise to understand this. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:02, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • @Jimbo: Quoting the first passage in the article, "Jimmy Wales has disputed reports the online encyclopaedia could suffer because of a lack of new administrators." That's what I was referring to. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:43, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Starting from the premise that quality content isn't created by random participants crowdsourcing, but by a corps of "very frequent editors" who build or improve articles individually or in very small teams, there is no ongoing decline of editors. See and bookmark on your browser THIS LINK. The long and short of it is for a year or 18 months the Very Active Editor count has essentially stabilized. Someday, eventually, maybe in our lifetimes the foundation will give us intuitive, WYSIWYG editing software and a period of growth will no doubt follow. Bottom line is that the cadre of content creators and copy editors appears to be stable and holding.
As for the Administrative corps, that number is falling fairly dramatically. A huge influx happened back in the years when the operative slogan was "Adminship is No Big Deal." This group of generally very young administrators have aged, moved on, dropped out. The current approval process, which I have likened to 100 proctologists, some of whom seek to inflict grievous bodily harm during the examination, is simply not replacing administrators as fast as they retire. The answer, of course, would be to change the process if it is really a problem. I'm not myself convinced that it is. Carrite (talk) 19:58, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I think the RFA process is getting a little better than in recent years but its still unnecessarily difficult to promote admins and too hard to take the tools away. Too many admins are getting promoted based on their popularity rather than their ability to perform the tasks. Active edits are down and active editors are down, this is do to the prevailing determination of some users to block, ban or otherwise punish the users who do the most. If you do ten edits, you won't make a mistake, if you do 10, 000 you are going to make a few mistakes. The zero defect mentality and block first and ask questions later mentality are a big part of whats driving the place down. I have seen numerous new editors get blocked or banned because of simple misunderstandings. I could go on here forever so I'm just going to leave it at that but anyone who is surprised or doesn't see this isn't paying attention. Kumioko (talk) 20:24, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
One thing that I've observed in the discussions at Wikipediocracy and its predecessor is that biting complaints about the abuse of administrative tools — long one of the biggest fundamental objections levied by the "anti-Wikipedia jihadist" elements — has really pretty much evaporated over time. Bad actors have left the scene or in some cases been weeded out by the community and it does not seem that the tightly examined new administrators are committing similar use-of-tools transgressions. As much as I hate the current process (the Kool Kids Klub-meets-Lord of the Flies aspect), I think that there is an unremarked upon case to be made that the process works. Administrative buttons are essentially anti-vandalism and extreme dispute resolution tools. We don't need 5,000 or 3,000 or even 1,000 people with those capabilities. A small, tight, carefully vetted circle of Administrators may well be beneficial to the project rather than detrimental. Regardless of whether one buys that argument or not, the Administrator count seems to be independent of and largely unrelated to the question of the Serious Content Contributor count. Carrite (talk) 20:36, 26 September 2012 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 20:45, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes the process works, but it doesn't work well! You give a couple good examples but, I would argue that there are a lot of us that shouldn't have to take a knee and kiss the ring of the local administrator just to have an edit done to a protected article or template. It often takes a week or more and then I have on several occassions had to explain to the admin how to make the change. Another good example is the limit to how many articles I can pull into AWB because I am not an admin, I have basically given up trying to do anything about vandals, I just revert and keep going. I can't do anything and when I do it sits there for 3 days by which time more often than not the vandal has moved on. Its even more frsutrating when I see a new editor make a mistake because they weren't born with the knowledge to edit, and get indefinately blocked by one of overzealous admins. We say we are trying to fix it but we don't. We just have this attitude of oh they're an admin, they know whats what and people are too mean to them already so we'll just look the other way. If there were more admins then the existing ones wouldn't be overworked and wouldn't make as many bad decisions that anger other editors. Kumioko (talk) 20:53, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The problem I'm most concerned about isn't one of recruiting or attrition, it's of basic decency. I'm sick of the many threads blaming administrator abuse for the downfall of Wikipedia (if said downfall is occurring, I certainly haven't noticed it), none of which bother to back up accusations with evidence, and I'm equally sick of being told I'm part of some backroom cabal if I try to point out the absurdity of the position (for the record, I've been a member of exactly 2; 1 when I was trying to get ACTRIAL together, and 1 when I was one of the admins closing the PC RfC). The paradox here is that so many people claim we're treated like exalted members of the community, but I've had a lot more general viciousness directed my way since becoming an admin. Finally, I have to admit I'm extremely frustrated that when the WMF wants to make a fundamental change in openness, they force it through as hard as possible (as I've said in many places, I personally don't care about if/how PC is used, which is why I'm closing the RfC, I'm only using it as an example everyone recognizes), but if we the community, who know better than them what we need, want to make a change of similar magnitude, we're patronized, told we're incompetent, and have a few people's personal opinions foisted onto us. Just treat us like humans (no better, no worse) and our interactions with everyone are a lot better; just because I can calmly handle someone telling me I'm a colonialist-minded Western asshole intent on the destruction of someone's people doesn't mean I want to or should have to deal with it. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:15, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

I find it amusing the assumptions people make about admins based on afd or move request closures. In the three years since I have become an admin I have been accused of being a racist, a communist, a fascist, a colonialist, a robot, and egocentric maniac, a tool of global corporations.... I'm sure there's more but the point is that a lot of people just fly off the handle and blame the admin who volunteered to close a discussion for the fact that the community rejected their idea. They assume the closure is based on support of the consensus position, when in fact most of the time when closing such discussions the admin doesn't care one way or the other and is just trying to do what the community has said it wants them to do. As has been said elsewhere, when one sees the cry of "admin abuse" it is usually the admin absorbing the abuse, not doling it out. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:46, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Kumioko, you say that recently admins have been promoted due to their popularity rather than their skills or ability. Give us examples. You say admins are blocking new editors that are simply making mistakes, please give examples. Those are two areas I focus on intensely and I would be happy to examine the diffs for such. Generalizing (stereotyping) isn't helpful, providing diffs is, and I will be happy to unblock anyone wrongly blocked for a simple mistake and take the blocking admin to task. Now if you are just venting and can't substantiate these claims, then I would suggest withdrawing the claim. I see lots of empty claims around here, and I certainly hope you aren't participating in this way as I would expect more from you. So assuming you do have the diffs, please provide them. Or email them to me if you would rather. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 13:06, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Dennis there really isn't a need to provide link. All you need to do is glance through the block logs and you will find some probably within the first ten or twenty. In fact I think that glancing through for yourself, seeing some of the arguments and reasons for blocking will probably give you more of an idea of the problem than me just adding a few specific and random links. Also, without outing a specific editor or naming names there are several Admins with a reputation for the zealousness in blocking every new editor they come across that even gives the slightest indication of error. Also, expanding on the popularity contest comment. It is pretty common knowledge among longterm editors that running for adminship has as much to do with the popularity of the editor as to their abilities. Many editors have been promoted based on their ability to keep a low profile over their technical ability. Again, this shouldn't be of any particular surprise. Kumioko (talk) 17:40, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Again, these are generalizations, and generalizations in areas I'm pretty active in, so it isn't providing any real information, just making a claim. Of course, you might think I'm part of the problem, I have no idea, but you should be able to say so if that is how you feel. I do see problems and I'm known to be pretty active in working on those specific problems, but it looks like you and I have different opinions on the scale of it. And to be clear, I don't vote to support any candidate solely on their technical ability, I vote (and nominated two this summer) based on demeanor and likelihood that they will be fair, rationale and will never abuse the tools. Technical skills can be learned, after all. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 01:50, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
  • There exists two widespread concurrent and incompatible models of adminship -- the "higher level of editor" caste model, as evidenced by the use of the term "promotion" above. And the "we're just the janitors" mop viewpoint. There coexistence is problematic.
  • Our process -- demonstrate that you can edit articles well and we'll give you the power to delete stuff and block other editors -- is ridiculous. Kind of like prove to us you can ride and we'll make you a farrier.
  • What many admins don't seem to get is nuance; there is not only what actions are taken, there is how those actions are performed. There are a number of admins who are overly strident and harsh in there actions. The best authority is implemented with gentleness, not macho chest thumping. Tone is an important aspect of the overall Wikipedia experience.
  • While wheel warring is bad, too many admins don't engage others who are behaving suboptimally -- sort of a Blue Code of Silence. This both allows some not so good norms to develop and enhances the perception of the existence of an admin cabal.
  • Ironically, given the preceding point, most admins operate independently and there is wide variation in interpretation of standards of Wikipedia, which leds to widely varying results. A US Marine Corps Staff Sergeant explained to me some decades ago You can be an asshole, but as long as you're a consistent asshole, the men will love you. Wikipedia is populated by inconsistent --er-- editors.
  • It's not my fault and I can't fix it. It may be Jimbo's fault but he can't fix it. Certainly WMF can't fix it. What we can all do collectively is remember there is always a human being at the other end of the account name and treat them with dignity and respect, regardless of how much, in some cases, they don't deserve it. "Admin abuse" (whether by or towards admins) reflects the larger Wikipedia culture in which it exists. Nobody Ent 15:16, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
    • We have more than enough admins; we have insufficient admins who are really active and make an effort to do the job as well as possible. (& I'd say exactly the same about editors; reasonably enough, they parallel, being by and large the same sort of people.) I think this is because most people are really not interested in doing the sort of work involved--they see it as an opportunity for self expression. it isn't, but neither is it as much of a problem as Blade indicates. Sure, people blame me if I close a debate according to a consensus they do not like, or delete a hopelessly unsatisfactory article--but all that is necessary is to carefully explain--not everyone will understand, but most people accept that places even on the internet have rules of participation. Any ordinary editor, even a new one, who comments stupidly on a new article can do as much harm as any admin. The problem is with admins (and editors) who do not explain, or stubbornly persist in making errors. The fewer we have of these, the better. DGG ( talk ) 01:33, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
    • Ent, the Code of Silence was one of the driving forces behind me seeking the bit, but I think it has gotten better and is moving in the right direction. I am seeing admins speak out more and more with each other, publicly. If I think a block is too harsh, I know that I will speak up, and know several others that will, and that feeds itself as admins know that they are not alone if they speak up. The more we politely speak out within our own ranks, and the more careful we are to choose future admins that aren't likely to take the bit too serious, the better we are. It IS just a mop, and as DGG points out, too many admins aren't active enough in serving the community and just use the tools when it is handy for themselves. To me, that isn't an admin, that is an editor with admin tools, and it isn't helpful. The most important things admins do don't require the tools anyway, which is to settle disputes and close discussions, which adds the final note, the credibility in consensus, making it easier for editors to get back to editing. Some of this is also done by non-admins, thankfully. We are piled up with requests for close, for example, which should be dealt with by the most experienced admins but is typically overlooked, either because it can be contentious or just isn't "sexy", I have no idea. What we need are admins that are willing to engage, and can do so without causing more drama. Not all of them have those skills, which are not always easy to judge at RfA. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 02:02, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
    • Interestingly enough, the more responsibility one is given on Wikipedia, the more abuse one gets. Name calling is bad, but what some of our functionaries have had to put up with over the years is downright criminal. I mean literally, criminal, with court cases and protective orders and everything. On the other hand, there are consistent attacks on the motives, effectiveness, etc. of ArbCom, such that you end up with some of the best arbitrators of the current team who have privately hinted that they won't run again this winter. So while I don't disagree with any of the pitfalls of adminning, I can only chime in from my perspective on ArbCom and say that it gets worse the higher one goes, and our functionaries deserve much more praise and respect than they get. Jclemens (talk) 02:23, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
So what I wonder is, if "functionaries" suffer such abuse, why don't they either reform the system or quit? What drives them to accept a miserable position? Yopienso (talk) 05:37, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
And how would you propose they reform the system such that people can't abuse them? Jclemens (talk) 06:52, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
For starters, by upholding the Fourth Pillar. I've begged for that at least 3 separate times on this page. 1. 2. 3. The only reason admins and others have to put up with abuse is because, well, they put up with it. Yopienso (talk) 07:20, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The system doesn't need reforming; the system needs, and has needed, full implementation. No one should be abused; and the spirit of policy, pillar, and guide do not allow it. But our leadership does. And that's not leadership. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 07:33, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
A strict civility police force will kill WP, as "civil" is culturally and context dependent. Nobody Ent 10:06, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
There is a lot of room between strict civility enforcing, and complete civility neglect. IMHO, we are at the moment closer to the latter, and WP:NPA is almost totally ignored, and could just as well be marked as historical. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:31, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once. Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene 2

— Preceding unsigned comment added by My76Strat (talkcontribs) 11:56, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Incivility is probably the one single issue that probably drives not only most newbs away, but also established editors, and occasionally even good admins. No one has done more than Arbcom recently to reinforce once more the notion that not only is it tolerated, but if you have the bullet-proof vest of 100,000+ edits, you are a 'net positive' and can do whatever you like - especially if you're not an admin and don't have the bit to lose. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:29, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
You are correct. Take it from a inactive admin, I'd still be at least semi-active if not for the poison atmosphere even the most simple disputes can generate. It won't change because of the type of attitude just above. "civil" is culturally and context dependent"...instead of trying to maintain a high level of civility, that philosophy justifies editors throwing the concept out the window because, someone, somewhere wouldn't be offended by something. It's like thinking it's ok to yell fuck in a crowded theater because, after all, there's bound to be a few people there who won't mind. RxS (talk) 04:52, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Jagged 85 and Wikipedia accuracy

I see that Jagged_85 has been banned after years of havoc wrought on the project [2]. In connection with this, there is an article today in the Baltimore Sun [3] about a recent study by Oxford University which failed to spot some significant flaws in one of the articles in the sample (Anselm_of_Canterbury). One of the flaws was the result of Jagged's contributions. See the bit that says "this type of proof had been produced by Avicenna some time before" which was not part of the plagiarised EB1911 article, but sourced (by another editor, not Jagged) from an article that Jagged had written.

I would change it myself but I know experts are not welcome here. Perhaps someone from Wikipedia could check it out. 109.148.143.196 (talk) 18:02, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Removed phrase as debated tangent: As an editor who has studied Anselm in college, I removed that phrase, as suggested (see edit: dif-5131). -Wikid77 04:46, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
On the contrary, experts are perfectly welcome so long as they understand that they need to bring reliable sources to back their contributions just like everybody else. Whenever I see articles like this I don't see them as bad for the project. They are an opportunity for us to show how responsive we can be to legitimate criticisms. I've seen such problems get rectified within minutes or even seconds of being publicly pointed out. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:16, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Well it's half an hour later and no one has corrected the error. There are also another eight errors mentioned in the Baltimore Sun article, most of which have been there for a number of years. Hestiaea (talk) 18:50, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it mentions nine errors. It doesn't actually say what they are. I don't personally know much of anything about medieval philosophy in England myself so I am at a bit of a loss... Beeblebrox (talk) 20:21, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's a half hour...blah, blah, blah. Fix it yourself. Stop counting the time and do it if you know what needs to be fixed. Whining about it here does no good...unless your goal is to count the minutes it takes for random commentary on Jimbo's page to make it to where it actually belongs. --OnoremDil 20:36, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Beeblebrox, you must realise that your argument, which runs something like "If there are errors in Wikipedia, and a critic points them out, and we then fix them, that proves that Wikipedia works" – and could be stated in shortened form as "If there are errors in Wikipedia ... that proves that Wikipedia works" – can be (and is by some) perceived as insufferably smug and narcissistic, if not driven by an evangelical conviction that Wikipedia "must" be good. It would be better to say, "Yeah, well. Wikipedia screwed up having that error in that article for so long. Thanks for helping us, finally, to fix it." Because many critics who repeatedly have been told that Wikipedia "works" when they have pointed out a longstanding error or hoax have resolved to no longer point them out (I am credibly assured e.g. that Wikipedia contains articles on a great many cities that only exist in Wikipedia, but not on earth). Something to think about. JN466 09:01, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Fixed Anselm now: As someone who has studied Anselm, I have removed the debatable phrase now, after a few minutes of analysis, having noticed Islamic philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina) mentioned here, on Jimbo's talk-page aka that page "than which nothing greater can be conceived" (sorry for pun, or not). -Wikid77 04:46, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Like everyone else here, I don't know anything about the subject so I can't fix it; however, I'm curious how Dr. Buckner claims we plagiarized from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica text. It is public domain and we clearly gave attribution. In edition, Dr. Buckner claims that this just shows we use obsolete sources. I can understand stating a 1996 source on the internet is obsolete, but how is a 1911 source on someone who died 1000 years prior obsolete? Ryan Vesey 21:51, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
If you don't understand how a 1911 source on someone who died 1000 years prior can be obsolete, then please stay out of history discussions. Suffice it to say that historical scholarship has moved on a little over the past 100 years; some of the views considered sound then have since been discredited, and so on. --JN466 17:08, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Agree and accept that scholarship has moved on in the last century and newer sources are usually better. However, it's rather a can of worms if Dr Bruckner is correct in asserting that the article was plagiarised from the older source. Perhaps the good doctor did not see the notice "This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Anselm". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press." From my understanding, such declared use of a public domain source is not plagiarism, but if Dr. B is correct in stating that it is, then a lot of articles will have to lose such content. Anyone got informed opinions on this? . . dave souza, talk 17:55, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Plagiarism is not copyright violation, as I am sure you know. Incorporation of text without proper attribution is plagiarism. I think your user:DGG agrees with this, but I can't find the link. Simply plundering long paragraphs or sections without footnotes, or putting in quotation marks, is plagiarism. 86.184.160.59 (talk) 19:00, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
In the case of the Anselm article, the attribution is minimal, after the list of references, and probably missed by most readers. According to the American Historical Association, "Plagiarism includes more subtle and perhaps more pernicious abuses than simply expropriating the exact wording of another author without attribution. Plagiarism also includes the limited borrowing, without attribution, of another person's distinctive and significant research findings, hypotheses, theories, rhetorical strategies, or interpretations, or an extended borrowing even with attribution." --JN466 19:04, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Yep, it's not ideal but not unlawful. Wikipedia:Plagiarism does give useful guidance, a clean up of any articles with the Britannica (11th ed.) tag is a Good Idea. Though less of a priority than cleaning up the lies and misinformation added by Jagged 85. . . dave souza, talk 19:18, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Plagiarism is not a crime, so it can never be unlawful; it is a failure to uphold academic standards. Let's just note here that Dr Buckner's use of the word "plagiarised" is fully in line with the use of that word by the American Historical Association. JN466 20:07, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

It is normally best to not unduly discuss an editor, but in the case of Jagged 85 (talk · contribs), some navel-gazing is warranted. An overview is at WP:Jagged 85 cleanup, and discussions are here. Extraordinary efforts to remove Jagged's damage have occurred (I spent six hours doing nothing more than updating the cleanup pages a few days ago), but many distortions are still in numerous articles. Apart from the issue raised by 109.148.143.196, it has been pointed out (on the discussion page) that several of Jagged's bad articles have been copied to other projects (the French Wikipedia, at least), so removing the junk from enwiki is not sufficient—it will live forever. At first I thought Jagged was just another person unduly promoting their favorite topic, but the problem might be deeper: it seems the user has a need to add "interesting" details to articles, so it is not enough to say that "X did Y"—it has to be "X was the first to do Y", or "X is known as the father of Y". Wikipedia wants references—no problem, just lookup some books in an online catalog and copy in a plausible reference (no need to read the book). Johnuniq (talk) 21:57, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia was a much friendlier, welcoming and forgiving environment over many years for "Jagged 85," (a fraud, a liar, and a serial vandal who filled the website with lies masquerading as fact), than it was to Dr. Edward Buckner. That is the essence of this story. Well, you get what you pay for.Bali ultimate (talk) 01:59, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
There is in fact a part two to this story (I just looked closely). I knew that Jagged 85 had filled Wikipedia with fake information about cultural history, going back centuries, almost completely unchecked, for years. But there's something particularly delicious about the fact that, even though his serial lies were pointed out repeatedly (to be met by "AGF! AGF!! He can still be assimilated into the host! etc...), he only ended up permanently banned when he started mucking about with the video game articles. Someone oughta write a book, or something. No one will believe it.Bali ultimate (talk) 02:09, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Hardly delicious, a common factor when dealing with civil pov pushing, hope you too helped out with removing Jagged's misinformation. . dave souza, talk 19:49, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
God no. There are hundreds of jaggeds. There are dozens of enabling senior editors (administrators). The structure of Wikipedia is such that it tends to drive off Buckners (and people like me, though I'm not in his class) and retain people like Jagged 85. Until this gaping structural flaw is addressed, using my ten fingers to briefly plug one of thousands of holes does not appeal.Dan Murphy (talk) 20:11, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't know anything about Jagged 85's case, but I can tell you why Peter Damian/Buckner remains banned: he won't stop evading the ban. For someone who claims to not like this project much he certainly is obsessed with posting to it. If he could just act like a grown up with some self control and stop sockpuppet ing for a few months I have no doubt he could get unbanned and be welcomed back, but he apparently can't do that, the most recent evidence being that it is fairly obvious he is the IP who opened this thread and then proceeded to personally attack me, citing my opposition to unbanning him in the most recent discussion, thereby proving my point about his apparent inability to just go away for a while, which he has been told again and again is something he needs to do to get unbanned. He would have us believe that he is so important that WP:SOCK should not apply to him. The community has repeatedly rejected that notion, so he remains banned. Simple as that. he was not banned because he is an expert but in spite of it. His behavior was found to be causing more problems than his contributions were solving. Since that time he has dedicated an absurd amount of time and energy into trying to publicly embarrass Wikipedia instead of following the fairly simple requirements of the standard offer. Apparently the view from his ivory tower does not permit him to see the possibility that he might have behaved poorly and has nobody but himself to blame for the fact that he remains banned. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:45, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
If you don't know anything about the "jagged 85 case" and are too lazy to get informed, you probably should keep your ill-informed comments to yourself. Buckner refused to "play nice," but never harmed articles (in fact greatly improved them). Jagged 85 spent seven years filling this website (and by extension many of its mirrors) with disinformation. He was allowed to do so because he "played nice," which is more important to the culture here than honest, quality work. Think on it.Bali ultimate (talk) 17:56, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Uh, take another look. I said I did not know about Jagged 85, and so I didn't comment on that case. I restricted my remarks to the case I am familiar with, so maybe you should finish reading beyond the first sentence of a remark before making such a nasty reply to it. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:18, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
You do not live in the binary world of your imagination. The treatment of a Phd philosopher contrasted against the treatment of a serial liar named "Jagged 85" is the point. You are part of a culture that coddles the "jagged 85s" of the world because they are outwardly meek (to hell with the articles) and rejects the Dr. Buckners of the world because they don't suffer fools (while dramatically improving articles). Again, I invite you to introspect on your contributions to this deeply unhealthy and perverse culture.Bali ultimate (talk) 18:24, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Ah, so Dr. Bruckner (whom god preserve) is a nom-de-plume of Peter Damain, and John E. McIntyre of The Baltimore Sun blog has been conned into publicising the "Critique of the Epic/Oxford University pilot study into the comparative accuracy and quality of Wikipedia" which for mysterious reasons google only shows in that newsblog and in Wikipedia Revue. The plot thickens. . . dave souza, talk 18:06, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. This was never really about content, it is just another transparent ploy by Peter Damian to game his way around his ban instead of just not socking for a while and then asking politely for it to be lifted. This is no more than we expect from any banned user, but Peter is using his status as an ivory tower academic to pull this reporter into his obsessive feud with Wikipedia. And now we see Greg Kohs in the comment section of said article, right on cue... Beeblebrox (talk) 18:21, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
With a bit more googling, it appears that the good doctor does indeed exist, but has caused problems on Wiki as Peter Damian (talk · contribs). A name I recall, but am unaware of the details. Unlike Jagged 85, who was a known pest. So we can look forward to the doctor's paper being properly published, perhaps. Until then it looks like blog speculation, but good to have a focus on improving the article. Still think Bruckner is wrong about public domain, do others agree? . . dave souza, talk 18:41, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Wrong in what sense? Obviously lifting whole paragraphs from a public domain work even with attribution is plagiarism. Is that your question? It's not illegal, but it's still plagiarism. How is that hard to understand?192.160.216.52 (talk) 18:53, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Ahem, proper attribution, i.e. which indicates the precise part of the text which is copied, is not plagiarism. Simply putting a notice that the article 'incorporates' text is not sufficient. 86.184.160.59 (talk) 19:03, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Exactly my point. This seems to be what Dave souza doesn't understand. Proper attribution is necessary to avoid plagiarism. The little notice at the bottom of the page is not proper attribution.192.160.216.52 (talk) 19:16, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
It seems to be rather a grey area, but improved attribution is certainly a good idea, as I've stated above. If indeed there is any of the old text left in the article. . dave souza, talk 19:54, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
See drainpipe ... scurry. John lilburne (talk) 18:31, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Curry, perhaps? Your remark is obscure and appears unhelpful. .dave souza, talk 18:41, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Hold white cane ... tap.192.160.216.52 (talk) 19:01, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Beeblebrox, do you really not see that it doesn't matter if Peter Damian is behind it, if Kohs is behind it, or if a triumvirate of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Satan himself are behind it. The fact is that jagged85 stuck around here destroying the encyclopedia and everyone letting him do it because he kissed up to the community while Bruckner, who won't kiss up, is banned. This is not an argument for unbanning Bruckner, about which I have no opinion. It's an argument that the culture of Wikipedia encourages this kind of problem. Your blindness to what Bali ultimate is saying is a symptom of Wikipedia's problem. As long as an editor plays nice, he can fuck shit up indefinitely.192.160.216.52 (talk) 18:53, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
IP, you're conflating two problems. I've no knowledge of why Bruckner was banned, expert editors can run into difficulties here but socking is not an acceptable response to such difficulties. Jagged was undoubtedly wrong, I've been involved in a bit of clean-up of J's work and am glad to seem J banned. Yes, J caused considerable damage, but that doesn't excuse socking by others. . dave souza, talk 19:09, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Things are getting confused here. Bruckner was a 19th century Roman Catholic organist and composer. He has never contrinuted to Wikipedia. Peter Damian was an 11th century Roman Catholic monk and cardinal who was at times an embarassment to the church as he complained about sexual degeneracy and cover-ups in the Catholic heirarchy. He never contributed to Wikipedia. Edward Buckner is a 21st century academic philosopher and Wikipedia editor. He is at times an embarassment because he complains about sexual degeneracy and cover ups in Wikimedia. This may or may not explain why he has contributed to Wikipedia as User:Peter Damian. I hope everything is now clearer.--Peter cohen (talk) 19:28, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Do you see how I was careful to make it clear that I agree with you? No one is saying let Peter Damien sock. The point is that the contrast is ironic. Irony is a valid and powerful rhetorical device. The rule-following counterproductive guy stays around and does harm. The rule-breaking productive guy gets banned. This is a problem with the culture of Wikipedia, even if the rule-breaking guy should be banned. See?192.160.216.52 (talk) 19:16, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
For the record, PD was banned (ironically) for calling attention to socking by a sitting arbitrator. The committee never forgave him for that. Also to note that the so-called 6 month 'offer' is a complete fiction, believe me. 86.184.160.59 (talk) 19:21, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Well said. And actually, Ed Buckner is much more useful to Wikipedia as a critic than as an editor. I would not want to see him bogged down in talk page arguments with the jagged85s of this world. I'd rather see him write and talk to the McIntyres of this world, and find publishers for his work. In either role I consider him a better friend to Wikipedia than a jagged85. JN466 19:31, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
The bureaucratic will is strong in this one (I finally figured out how to change my sig; this one much nicer).Dan Murphy (talk) 19:12, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
The obsession with Wikipedia bureaucracy certainly seems to engender an actual inability to care about Wikipedia content. Truly kafkaesque. --JN466 19:19, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)You should both probably stop trying to make this about me. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am very certainly not the type who coddles problematic users. If the community made a mistake in waiting too long to address the issues with Jagged then hopefully those who were coddling this person have learned something about the value of sugar coating their remarks and pretending a problem is not as severe as it really is. But, as Dave points put, that has nothing to do with Peter Damian, the two issues do not seem comparable. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:22, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Are you absolutely sure you want to use coddle around here? The real issue here is, as 192.160.216.52 intimates, just because the the Unholy One is shouting FIRE doesn't mean that one should disconnect the fire alarms. John lilburne (talk) 19:42, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
See wikt:coddle. Dr Buckner has usefully pointed out an instance of Jagged misinformation, rather sad that his forthcoming paper apparently takes the form of an attack on WP, according to the cited blog. . . dave souza, talk 20:02, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
If you read the blog carefully [4] you would see it is not an 'attack' on Wikipedia. It is a critique of the Oxford study on Wikipedia accuracy. One of the samples in the study was the Anselm article. The criticism is that the study failed to pick on the plagiarism (or 'copying' if you like), even though it should have been obvious when they prepared the study for blind review by the Oxford specialists. Furthermore, the specialists failed to pick up some rather obvious mangling of the EB1911 text. So this is not a criticism of Wikipedia, but of a study of its accuracy. The errors really are quite obvious and were about an hour's work to pick up. There are 8 more of them - why not start correcting them rather than mount these personal attacks on Buckner, who is after all contributing to bringing the sum of human knowledge to Wikipedia by pointing out that there are obvious errors. He cannot correct them, for he is banned, but surely there must be others here who can do the job? 86.184.160.59 (talk) 20:12, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
If you don't want this to be about you, why don't you just step away? Ed Buckner has an existence beyond that of a banned Wikipedia editor, to which you seem to want to reduce him, and he is certainly academically qualified to comment on the study, and the article selection discussed in it. You can't forbid him to write things just because he is banned here, you know, or forbid journalists and Wikipedians from discussing his views. There is a world outside Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is part of that world; not vice versa. --JN466 19:57, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Please note, it's Buckner, not Bruckner. For those who weren't around, if you happen to be familiar with the Lord of the Rings, it may help you get the picture if I say that Peter Damian is our version of Saruman -- intelligent and erudite, but not to be listened to at peril of your soul. Looie496 (talk) 19:23, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Aargh, my typing error. Shame if Dr. Buckner is a potentially useful editor, but evidently others know more about the PD issues than I do. . dave souza, talk 19:39, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
    • What, so Ed is the devil incarnate? Wow. JN466 19:31, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Does sound rather dramatic. . . dave souza, talk 19:39, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Its drivel. The PD saga involved a great deal of stupidity on both sides, but mostly in wikipedia's side William M. Connolley (talk) 14:59, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
The Saruman comparison might be a little over-dramatic, but then again, "Peter Damian" and friends are prone to being excessively dramatic themselves. "It just makes me want to fly to London, get a box-cutter, and start slitting nerdy little throats" isn't the sort of thing I've ever seen anyone in authority on Wikipedia get away with saying. The throats in question are those of certain Wikipedia editors.
Strange how they say things like that, and then do a great deal of whining when they're not permitted into certain Wikipedia gatherings in real life. (Or indeed not permitted to edit Wikipedia itself.) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:52, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Demiurge, that's one of the sleaziest smear by association efforts i've seen on Wikipedia in a few days, which is saying something. Damian said no such thing. The person who did say such a thing (which was not in fact the threat that you're pretending it is -- you know this, you just want to engage in a sleazy smear) had their comments swiftly moderated (as you also well know, since you clearly grabbed the claim before it was moderated). Even if it had not been moderated the only person who would have been responsible for those comments would have been the person who made them. You sleaze.Dan Murphy (talk) 18:59, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Hey everyone let us stop complaining about other people, complaining about those people complaining, and lets try not to use inflamed hyperbole and rhetoric. Peter Damian, who I in no way wish to defend, does deserve our respect as a fellow human being and someone who has, however well or badly, tried to improve Wikipedia. He cannot respond, and even if he could, we're best when we move our focus away from interpersonal conflicts or how we feel about someone's abilities and character.
Those conversations are sometimes necessary: when we are giving someone access level, or considering a ban, or other situations where character is very relevant. However, at this point, they are a non-sequiter. So, don't talk about personalities if you don't have to, and definitely don't talk derisively about someone, and never ever ever do so to someone who can't even respond. C.f. WP:BLP.--Tznkai (talk) 00:11, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Tznkai, there is no real live person involved here that is called "Peter Damian". There is a person who previously used that username on Wikipedia, who seems to be involved in actively encouraging others to disrupt Wikipedia, including his involvement in the discussion thread where this threat was made (I notice he didn't even bother to suggest there that the threat was inappropriate). When he deserves my respect, he'll get it. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 00:24, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
But there is a real live person involved, and regardless of whether or not you feel any need for common decency with him, as a community, we require you to fake it enough so that you do not get us off track and negative. Be disrespectful on your own time, so to speak. If there is something specific to be done, let it be done. But whinging about people isn't doing.--Tznkai (talk) 01:20, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
That's the thing with common decency, it's so uncommon these days. But I can manage plenty of that - by contrast, respect where none is due is not going to happen. If the community, or Jimbo on his own talk page, requires me not to point out that the would-be emperors have no clothes, then you will need to do a better job of persuading me than just your say so. Jimbo has his own experience of this sort of threat, and has expressed his own opinion about it in the past. So I don't think trying to suppress mention of it on his talk page is going to be an easy step. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 07:43, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Nice to see another one of the gang turn up here to defend their own. Your friend had his comments "swiftly moderated", did he? Isn't the person (you choose not to name him, what's with that?) a "global moderator" on the website in question? Does he still hold that position? Has he issued an apology to Bamkin and whoever else the comments were aimed at?
I'd love to know why you feel that I misrepresented those comments in any way. The post was rather short, and the person concerned did indeed make the comments I quoted - in fact they made up the majority of the post, I expect.
Call me all the names you like, but until you and your "sleazy" gang learn to act by something even approaching the standards you demand from everyone else, your credibility will be zero. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 00:19, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Sleaze boy: You disgust me. You are a pathetic coward seeking to smear good people while hiding behind your anonymity, you repulsive little worm. I am not part of a gang. I am an individual human being. Your attempted smear tactic against me is hardly surprising from what I've seen around here. But the actions of a pathetic, anonymous, worm. You accomplish nothing but spread dishonor over your pseudonym. No adult takes you seriously. You are welcome to the last word.Dan Murphy (talk) 01:30, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Straight to ad hominem as expected. Hopeless. I do find the change in sig to back up your miserable attempt at point-scoring to be particularly amusing, though. Goodbye. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 07:43, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
The critique suggests that the Oxford study missed errors in one article, but unless it can show that the Oxford study systematically missed more errors in Wikipedia articles than Britannica articles, it is not persuasive. That said, I suppose there could be serious problems with the study (which I don't know well myself) - for example, they might have looked more for the errors encyclopedists would make, but not been prepared to spot vandal-introduced errors, and I don't know if it's even possible to look at Wikipedia versus EB paragraphs in a truly blind fashion to avoid the risk of observer bias. There are also philosophical issues involved: plagiarism, when it is purely an academic standard and doesn't rise to the level of a legal copyright violation (and some will maintain, not even then) is not an error in the sense of the information being untrue.
But beyond all these things, at last, is the determination of basic priorities - is it better to have a vast encyclopedia with a lot of junk and misinformation, or one which is very tidy and reliable, but doesn't give any information at all about most things? I think one can argue that as long as an article lists a lot of good sources, and you can verify facts (or errors) back against the references, it is vastly useful even if you don't trust a word of it. (Indeed, that is a pretty common experience for us as Wikipedia editors when we encounter hits to online forums and such, where we can't use anything they say but we still look around for useful search terms or links to better sites) Wnt (talk) 20:28, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
People use encyclopaedias to get basic information. They want to know who the fuck Leopold V of Austria was. Only a small number will check references. If the article is full of Jagisms they'll be a lot dumber. John lilburne (talk) 21:11, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
The small number who check references are the ones who write good publications about the topic - and the ones who fix it for everyone else. Wikipedia can't give perfect information to everyone who glances over an article for a few moments; the acid test is when these, the most important of the readers, go to the well and drink it dry. Wnt (talk) 21:52, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Its not about writers its about readers. Readers that don't have time for in depth investigation of a topic. Readers that simply want an overview and some factoids on a subject. If I'm looking up powered flight I shouldn't come away with the impression that its principles were first expounded by the Queen of Sheba's court jester. John lilburne (talk) 23:57, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Agree; the aim should be to "give perfect information to everyone who glances over an article for a few moments." Yopienso (talk) 00:13, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#RfC:_Graphic.2C_disturbing_images_on_the_main_page

I think you may be interested in this discussion given your prior interest in the various censorship vs. editorial judgment debates. (Also, input from talk page stalkers welcome.) Thanks, Calliopejen1 (talk) 18:52, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Without jumping over there into that debate, I'd like to state we have a VERY long standing policy that wikipedia is not censored... That said, we DO censor POTD images (picture of the day), there is a list of images that have been skipped, censored, to avoid controversy (Wikipedia:Picture_of_the_day/Unused). So... some food for thought? lol. — raekyt 05:14, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing this out. Our failure to feature File:Rows of bodies of dead inmates fill the yard of Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo concentration camp.jpg and File:Child with Smallpox Bangladesh.jpg is an absolute disgrace. We are buying the chance we won't spoil somebody's pretty smile at the potential cost that these images will once again be seen in real life, because we have not armed our audience with the visceral certainty that Holocaust denial is a bunch of bullshit, and that the continuing risk of resurgent smallpox or mutated related viruses is well worth beefing up the CDC to fight rather than giving it a nearly 20% budget cut once the "sequester" kicks in. All the Republicans' pretty bombers and fatcat mercenary firms won't do a damned thing to help kids like that when someone, somewhere in the world finally lets something loose. Wnt (talk) 15:31, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia and Klout

Klout has announced that they will use Wikipedia user searches on Bing as a metric for their Klout score:

As part of our partnership, Bing will provide additional data to Klout. Search data has long been one of the missing signals in our effort to fully recognize a person’s influence. Just as Wikipedia articles can reflect a person’s real world influence, search results for a person signal accomplishments achieved beyond social networks and serve to influence others. There will be two data points from Bing that will initially be highlighted as part of Klout moments. Experts who appear in Bing’s “People Who Know” section of the sidebar will be recognized on Klout. Influencers who have a Wikipedia account associated with their Klout profile will also be rewarded for the frequency that they are searched on Bing.

What are your thoughts on this?Smallman12q (talk) 01:46, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I barely even understand it. I suppose my first instinct is that I hope it doesn't encourage the wrong sort of people to create Wikipedia accounts in an attempt to boost their Klout score. (Who are the wrong sort? Mostly faux social media experts who think that a Klout score is really important. Basically, anyone who would create a Wikipedia account in order to influence their Klout score is not doing it for the right reasons.
If I am reading it correctly, they will boost the score for people who "have a Wikipedia account associated with their Klout profile" and who are searched for on Bing with some frequency. I don't really understand how that makes any sense. In one sense, of course people who are searched on a lot in search engines are influential. (Sort of, but I'm sure the search interest in Lindsay Lohan spikes whenever she gets arrested or whatever, but that doesn't imply that she's more influential at those times.) And in a totally different sense, prolific Wikipedia contributors who write articles that are read by a lot of people are highly influential, but generally won't be the subject of search queries. I would say there are only a handful of people who are both Wikipedia contributors and the subject of any meaningful amount of search traffic. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:18, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Addendum: I just looked at my Klout page and they've mapped my klout page to the Wikipedia article about me. Possibly the above paragraph from their press release is confused - maybe they meant to say that people will be rewarded if they have a Wikipedia page about themselves and are search for a lot in Bing. That makes a bit more sense to me as a measure of influence. Again I do worry that people who care too much about their Klout score will now want an article about themselves... but that's probably not a new problem, because Klout or no-Klout, people have long understood that having a Wikipedia page about yourself can be a positive mark of distinction. So self-promoting people have often tried to get into Wikipedia prematurely. Nothing we can't deal with.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:24, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Addendum 2: This isn't what you asked me about, but I thought people might find it interesting. I just looked at Klout for the first time in months and it actually seems to be much improved. If they are starting to look more at things like whether or not someone has a Wikipedia entry, that might be helpful. It used to seem to be a service that rewarded people primarily for having lots of twitter followers and posting a lot, which I think is silly. But now the rankings for various people I know in the Internet world seems at least somewhat plausible. In the old days, I think that a very active twitter user might easily have outranked Marissa Mayer, now CEO of Yahoo, despite the obvious fact that she's clearly more influential. Still, there are amusing little errors that are common in trying to do things algorithmically. When I searched for Lily Cole, who doesn't much use twitter or facebook, klout told me that she's influential on several topics including, much to my surprise "World of Warcraft". This turns out to be because there was some kind of commercial for the Body Shop called "WOW! project" and her line of makeup is featured.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:41, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply.Smallman12q (talk) 12:40, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Edits

How much edits do you have? 24.136.205.68 (talk) 16:20, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Jimbo currently has 9956 edits on en.wikipedia.org [5] and has contributed to numerous other Wiki projects. See also WP:EDITCOUNT.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:15, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Updating articles re Oxford study

(tangent to earlier thread "#Jagged 85 and Wikipedia accuracy").

Now, with a focus on correcting problems noted in the Oxford study (and Baltimore Sun article), there are 4 main articles which were questioned: "Anselm of Canterbury", "William of Ockham", "Thomas Acquinas", and "John Duns Scotus". The articles were criticized, variously, as "being a mess" or "still containing (subtle) vandalism" or having some "incoherent" passages. Of course, as live articles, other editors might already be fixing these issues at any time, but typical improvements to articles tend to be minor. My first concern is to improve readability of text for the general public, because errors can slip into articles at any point, within minutes of "rewriting to perfection" so the article should be readable for the remainder which has not been hacked. Also, if the text remains too obtuse, then editors might not realize when additional arcane wording was a hack edit to warp the text. A tactic to spot conceptual vandalism is to repeat concepts, in a redundant manner, so when any later text repetitions contradict earlier text, then vandalism might be the cause of the mismatch contradictions. Also, too many tangents about other people could lure a hack edit, so avoiding incidental talk about later people might be a good method to reduce confusion. So, list most cultural influences as a separate section, then if someone adds nonsense or off-topic connections, it might be easier to spot. Now, specifically, for each article:

  • "Anselm of Canterbury" - I removed the debated phrase about Islamic philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina) having written the proof years earlier, which was a controversial and off-topic tangent to Anselm.
  • "William of Ockham" - The article revision of 25 September 2012 seems too terse, and perhaps pedantic in tone, and so general readers might be unable to read and recall Ockham's viewpoints. Again, many formal obtuse phrases should be expanded, to be accompanied with simplified explanations.
  • "Thomas Aquinas" - Because he was perhaps the most famous of these, there should be many simple sources to back the text.
  • "John Duns Scotus" - Any problems in that article ("patchy and uneven") were noted as "not detected" during earlier studies for accuracy, but the September revisions have been fixed for punctuation and italics for titles. For comparison, the Plato.Stanford.edu article is linked: On Plato: "Duns Scotus".

That is the initial status so far. —— Regarding possible vandalism, perhaps some could be called "scholastic vandalism" making debatable claims which many readers would not realize, but those articles are open to IP-address users, so anyone could hack the text, especially someone with wp:POINT intentions to ruin articles. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:36/04:09, revised 00:59, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Many other articles need italic book titles: Lest anyone think those philosophy-related articles have unique problems, I should note that many major articles have some simple punctuation problems, or need italics for book titles. Recently, major article "Jennifer Lopez" needed over 50 punctuation changes, after a spree of updates had added numerous awkward phrases. In fact, I would advocate "WikiProject Revise Top 1,000 Articles monthy" because, while many thousands of minor articles need "85 changes" for punctuation and rewording, the Top 1000 articles viewed (each month) are continually changed to have some awkward wording. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:03, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

See my points below. I thought 'crowdsourcing' was supposed to resolve problems with 'scholastic' vandalism? 109.145.123.62 (talk) 08:08, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

One the errors in the four articles cited above

On the four articles above and what is wrong with them.

  • Anselm of Canterbury. Somebody has corrected the anachronistic claim about Avicenna. There remain other errors. For example, the original EB1911 article read "This demonstration is the substance of the Monologion and Proslogion. In the first of these the proof rests on the ordinary grounds of realism". The term 'the first of these' correctly refers to Monologion. This was mangled in the Wikipedia article to "Anselm wrote many proofs within Monologion and Proslogion. In the first proof, Anselm relies on the ordinary grounds of realism". In the Wikipedia hack, 'the first of these' now refers to the first of the 'many proofs'. This is incorrect. There is actually a further error introduced by that Wikipedia revision, but I will let the Wikipedia editors here pick that one up.
  • John Duns Scotus - Buckner's critique was written early in August 2012. Apparently he grew so frustrated with the state of the Scotus article that attempted to correct it himself. The original version at the end of July is here, the version after revision is here. The corrections were about his life and influence. Note that the 'thought' sections (wrongly titled 'Metaphysics') are still (rightly) flagged as needing attention. However his identity was spotted and he was blocked [6] on 13 August, with an explanation that any of his edits may be reverted. The justification by the blocking editor was that other editors would make the corrections. However, the errors had been in there so long that this seems unlikely. (The errors in the Anselm article are all there bar one, but that was only removed because Buckner pointed it out via the Baltimore Sun).
  • William of Ockham - this is still a complete mess. This is not (just) because of the style. It goes much deeper than that. One example: "In logic, Ockham wrote down in words the formulae that would later be called De Morgan's Laws, and he pondered ternary logic, that is, a logical system with three truth values; a concept that would be taken up again in the mathematical logic of the 19th and 20th centuries." This is another anachronism, i.e. having a writer be an 'earlier' discoverer of some fact discovered or claim made much later. Where is the secondary citation for the 'De Morgan's law' claim? And where is the 'ternary logic' claim sourced? The De Morgan one is plausible. The ternary logic one is bizarre. The 'theory of knowledge' section is completely wrong. It is entirely false (or a severely mangled version of an accurate account).
  • Aquinas - I do not know much about Aquinas, so I would not presume to comment on or correct that article.

109.145.123.62 (talk) 08:06, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Seriously, Jimbo? Come on

You should know our rules better than anyone, at least in a broad sense. And you should certainly know how original research works. Can you please explain what this and this are? I don't care if you heard it directly from the horse's mouth, which you apparently did, it's OR regardless. Seriously, if you were anyone else, this probably would have been at ANI already. SilverserenC 20:22, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

You are wrong about the rules of Wikipedia. Everyone who thinks it is better to have an error in Wikipedia rather than correct information is always wrong at all times. There is nothing more important than getting it right. I'm glad that we're finally rid of the "verifiability, not truth" nonsense - but it's going to take a while before people really fully grasp what that means.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:36, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I know that life will end on 21 December 2012. Articles claiming that this is a fringe tehory are "wrong" and hding this is an error? We should get it right! After all, even though it may be verifiable that mainstream sources don't believe this, it is the truth that it will happen. Will you please change all relevant articles? What you are claiming here is the justification for every POV warrior, fringe advocate, and PR company. Everyone claims to present the truth. We don't accept that at face value, not from you, not from me, not from anyone else. Fram (talk) 12:04, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
This is not a very compelling argument. We can and must use thoughtful editorial judgment. A random bonkers claim like "life will end on 21 December 2012" is something that thoughtful and trustworthy editors will consider and dismiss as... well, random and bonkers. If you have a serious reason for thinking that I am lying (or randomly bonkers in some way, or... what?) or that she is lying (or randomly bonkers in some way, or... what?) then let's have a thoughtful discussion. Perhaps there is a very standard and widely accepted method for transliteration from Arabic to English, and her preferred version violates the rules in some obvious way, and is therefore unlikely to become standard. (That's false, by the way, but it is at least the sort of objection that we might thoughtfully consider.) But simply chanting the long-discredited mantra that we must continue in error when we know something to be wrong, due to some rules of Wikipedia, is wrong.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:09, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
But you were not defending this instance, you were making very categorical and broad statements. Any reason why your broad statements suddenly only apply to your actions, but not to other situations? Fram (talk) 12:12, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I stand by the categorical and broad statements. I don't really know what you are asking me, exactly, but I wrote more at the talk page of the Will.i.am article and perhaps that will be helpful? I think that we absolutely do (must, really) have a thoughtful community of trusted editors who make editorial judgment calls up to and including in some cases acknowledging that reliable sources have something wrong. That's not an invitation to crackpots or cranks. We are not transcription monkeys, merely writing down what the sources say - we are editors. We use our editorial judgment all the time, and when we get to an interesting edge case, we discuss the details. Let's pick a different widely respected editor, because it's not about me. There are many editors who might be contacted by the subject of an article with a correction, and there are better and worse ways of dealing with it. One of the bad ways of dealing with it would be to say "I don't care how you spell your name unless you blog about it." Or "I don't care if it hurts your mother's feeling, a random blog says that's your name." A good way of dealing with it is to adjust the article and have a thoughtful discussion to see if there are any reasonable objections. So far, for both of these changes, there have been none.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:48, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
There is one now at Talk:will.i.am. Fram (talk) 13:05, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and please don't claim that I am inserting "falsehoods into biographies.", that is a personal attack and a WP:BLP violation.[7] I am reporting what reliable sources state, you are replacing it with unverifiable comments. That the name in the sources is a "falsehood" is your belief, not an established fact. Something that is disputed or in doubt is not necessarily a falsehood. Please be more considerate in your edit summaries. Fram (talk) 13:19, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
It's a falsehood. Please do not insert it again. There is nothing inconsiderate about my saying so.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:31, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Not the first time that your opinion trumps policies or even basic civility. Fram (talk) 13:34, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
What if you had misunderstood the conversation or made a mistake? Then you are overriding what the sources say with something other wikipedians can't check, we have to take it on faith that it is true and that you have not made a mistake. Why not perhaps change it on the spot and then ask him to send a quick email to X ask some form of validation for a permanent record? Say it is required to make sure the change sticks. It gives everyone else piece of mind, and ensures that no mistakes were made; it also gives the individuals who notice mistakes a way to correct them in the future when you aren't around. Something like the spelling of a name should be fine from a primary source from the individual. IRWolfie- (talk) 13:45, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
We are indeed, and we do indeed. Contradictory sources are a fact of life, especially for older subjects, obviously we weigh a number of issues and decide which reliable source to go with. If I'm questioned, I'm happy to explain my reasoning. That being said, it's best to have a reliable source available to the public to point to, and those of us who do not rub elbows with the elite cannot count on having CNBC write up what someone told us and we're just repeating.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:00, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
It's not an invitation to cranks and crackpots, but that is the way it will be perceived by cranks and crackpots. They may even quote you, saying original research is fine if they know it to be true; they saw a flying anti-gravity machine, or homoeopathy worked, or they saw reptoids in charge of the government. Undermining WP:V gives these POV pushers a greater ability to push unverifiable nonsense they believe to be true into articles. Ideally, in most articles, people will not add information they know to be false. If people add information they know to be false but the source says it, then they are an idiot. The problem is with being sure it is the exceptional case. If people who are the subject of articles have corrections, they should have a process to submit it in some way so that there is a verifiable albeit primary source which can be used (something like this may exist already through OTRS or similar). If I met a notable physicist and changed his article according to what he told me, I would expect it to be reverted even though it's true, because no one else has any way of knowing whether I actually met the individual or whether I misheard, or he misspoke or a bit of both (related Eyewitness identification). IRWolfie- (talk) 14:03, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I hope you're joking, Silver. This is the Roth question all over again. Yopienso (talk) 21:26, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes and, as with the Roth question, we need something to reference. Referencing that "this person told me so" is not a reliable source. Have the person put the information on their personal website or something, then we have a source we can reference. SilverserenC 21:38, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Seriously, Silver? Come on. Before posting on Jimbo's page, you should have run a simple Google search of "Tawakkol Karman." Yopienso (talk) 21:57, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
These edits by Jimbo seem reasonable to me. If we have a policy that a living person isn't a reliable source as to the spelling of his or her own name, then either that policy needs to be changed, or that policy needs to be overridden by WP:IAR in situations like these. To take a contrary position, by interpreting a policy such as WP:OR in an extreme fashion, is the sort of thing that leads outsiders to think that sometimes Wikipedia is ridiculous.
To be sure, the living person's word might not be an irrebuttable source as to the spelling of her or her name. If someone marshaled evidence that the vast majority of the written sources use a different spelling, we would certainly need to discuss the situation. Howver, I don't see that either you or anyone else has located any such evidence.
I don't agree that if any other editor than Jimbo were involved, this matter would be at ANI. I think that if any other editor than Jimmy were involved, either this issue would be discussed calmly on the relevant talkpages, or no one would bring it up at all. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:35, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
The issue isn't that the living person isn't a reliable source, of course they're a reliable source, however, per WP:V, we need something to physically reference, so the living person needs to make the information available in some form or fashion on the internet or in a printed, published work that we can then reference. "He said, she said" information is not a reference and never will be a reference, no matter how reliable the "he" and "she" are. SilverserenC 21:40, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I initially wrote the same thing as Brad, but in much less polite terms. My original comment was lost in a slew of edit conflicts, which is fortunate; that's one less diff that will show up in the eventual ArbCom case against me. :P So I'll just say: SilverSeren, it would probably be worthwhile to rethink your approach to minor content disputes. There are actually other options besides a) go to AN/I or b) condescendingly dress down an experienced editor. For example, secret option c) entails using the article talkpage... MastCell Talk 21:42, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Generally, you go to someone's talk page to discuss something like this. And I wasn't meaning to be condescending, just extremely disappointed, because Jimbo should know better. SilverserenC 21:53, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)News report less than 3 hours ago. Yopienso (talk) 21:44, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Silver seren, you are degenerating into self-parody. Silver seren, while your point might have merit in other contexts, I think it would be taking things too far to implement it in this instance. Imagine yourself, or any other good-faith editor, in Jimbo's position. "You know, Jimmy, the title of the Wikipedia article about me spells my name wrong." "I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to take your word for it." "What the ... ? " Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:47, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
The proper response to such a question would be, "Alright, all you have to do is explain the proper version of your name on your website or blog and let me know, then I can go ahead and change it." And, presumably, both of the people had internet access right then too (because who doesn't these days?) and could have added the info to their website or blog and then Jimbo could have changed it right then as well, referencing that website or blog. SilverserenC 21:51, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
So, if I'm told some information directly by an article subject, my posting of it should be accepted...I think not. Are there any other editors whose testimony about directly obtained information from the subject constitutes WP:RS, or is it reserved only for Jimbo? If there are others, who are they and how did they get that status? DeCausa (talk) 21:58, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. SilverserenC 22:02, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
We're talking about the person's name, not some denial of a controversial incident. See also further discussion on the article talkpage. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:09, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't see the significance. It's a very simple point. Is Jimbo the only editor whose word on what a subject says is a reliable source, or are there others in your view? DeCausa (talk) 22:13, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
If you're on national TV with the subject at the time, DeCausa, we'll give you a pass. I think any editor who reveals their real name and is known as a reliable source would also be considered one. You and SilverSeren and Resolute are providing examples of the descent of Wikipedia into nonsense. Yopienso (talk) 22:18, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Then show me where Jimbo used this national TV show as a reference for the change. Otherwise, it is a direct failure of WP:V. SilverserenC 22:22, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
No, there has to be some common sense and common respect here or we have lost our humanity and become wiki-lawyering cyberbots. Do you have to see them on TV to believe Jimbo when he says, "I met her at Clinton Global Initiative in New York. I have moved the article to her preferred spelling"? You want policy to trump common sense. If we follow that to its end, WP will relegate itself to a prim and lonely little corner in Absurdland.
But, wait! We do have a policy for that--it's called the Fifth Pillar:
Wikipedia does not have firm rules.
Rules in Wikipedia are not carved in stone, as their wording and interpretation are likely to change over time. The principles and spirit of Wikipedia's rules matter more than their literal wording, and sometimes improving Wikipedia requires making an exception to a rule. Be bold (but not reckless) in updating articles and do not worry about making mistakes. Prior versions of pages are saved, so any mistakes can be corrected.
Jimbo got it exactly right. Yopienso (talk) 22:40, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo himself has talked about multiple times before how we shouldn't be making changes before sources write about them, that we are supposed to reflect the news as it is reported and not make the news ourselves, that there is no problem in waiting for a news source to actually be published before making a change, because there is no deadline. Things don't need to be immediate. SilverserenC 22:43, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Could something like this not be done through OTRS then? The subject themselves may be a RS, but the editor is not, so I'm going to have to agree with SilverSeren here. There isn't another editor on this project who could get away with "because I was told different" to justify such a change. Resolute 22:03, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
If you're on national TV with the subject at the time, SilverSeren, we'll give you a pass.
Please see my post above of 21:57 that I should have put at the bottom. Too many edits since then to move it now. Yopienso (talk) 22:04, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
  • The news article Yopienso linked up above is actually pretty hilarious and also sad. The author, John Carney, clearly gets how Wikipedia works and what our rules are and thank goodness someone in the press has finally figured that out. And he discusses our rules on sourcing and everything and states that Jimbo should probably have his two changes reverted, but then also acknowledges, in self sarcasm, that by writing this article, he's providing a secondary source to use for the changes, even though, in my opinion, he doesn't sound like he wants to. SilverserenC 22:42, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

JW, you WP:JERK! WP:POINT! Chrisrus (talk) 23:04, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

In the case of Will.i.am, I do not see where the article (pre-Jimbo's edit) had a source for the "Jr." in the man's birth name, so what Jimbo did was basically to remove an unsourced fact in a BLP. Generally that is viewed as a good thing. The fact that he did it because Will.i.am told him that was the case does not turn a good thing into a bad thing. If Will.i.am had told Jimbo that at the age of five he wrote seven novels, and Jimbo put that in the article, we would be having a different discussion. For a much closer call, if the article originally did not have the "Jr." and Jimbo put it in because that is what Will.i.am told him, without finding a written source... well, I'm not sure. That might not be so good. But that's not what happened. As for Tawakkol Karman, in skimming quickly through the refs, I spotted at least two sources for that spelling (including the New York Times), and other sources for several other spellings. I actually did not see a source for Tawakel, which is where the article had been, but assuming there was such a source, what Jimbo did was replace one sourced fact with another, conflicting, sourced fact (from a high-quality source, the New York Times), and he did so because the subject told him which one of the sourced facts was correct. That seems okay too. Neutron (talk) 23:08, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

And the removal of Will.I.am's middle name from the article? A middle name which, if you do a search, is used in a ton of news articles? SilverserenC 23:11, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Arbitrary break 1

  • Need essays to explain WP:IAR and common sense: This is a good example of the need to write essays that explain wp:IAR and how an expert (or the person) can alert someone to a fact, and then the sources can be quickly be re-analyzed to see that the fact fits within the overall article. She said the preferred spelling of her name is "Tawakkol Karman" which Google gives 378,000 hits, versus "Tawakel Karman" which Google gives just 90,000 hits, so then look within the wp:RS reliable sources to confirm the major usage. There is also the matter of wp:Civility when speaking with a notable person, and trying to quibble over something like the spelling of their name, and so that prompts the use of editorial judgment, as to whether to debate such a trivial issue. Of course, these cases must be balanced to beware someone punking Wikipedia, but such events would be very rare. We had related problems with "Hurricane Katrina" where people not from the eastern area kept rejecting the notion that waves were 20–30 feet (6.1–9.1 m) high in Mississippi or Alabama, because the French Quarter, Garden District, and downtown New Orleans did not even flood, and few people in their lives have seen continual waves at the shore over 20 feet (6.1 m) high, pushing 5–9 miles (8.0–14.5 km) inland. It seemed impossible. Meanwhile, all the media hype was imagining "Katrina came to New Orleans and parked", whereas the reality was that Hurricane Katrina travelled up the entire U.S. state of Mississippi, flooding coastal areas through 3-storey levels, but never going closer to New Orleans. It took a long time before some people would even believe the documented sources, because they considered everyone else wrong, even though that disregarded common sense. They did not really understand what a major hurricane does, and that downtown New Orleans was not in the heart of the hurricane zone, unlike with Hurricane Isaac or others. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:16, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
We've been commenting on the Tawakkol Karman talk page, which is normally where these discussions are carried out. In the article, the most used transliterations of her name have been cited at the very beginning of the article for some time now, including the one now used (see the anglicized as section). It should be noted that the article was created before she had won the Nobel Peace Price and at a time when writers used different forms of her name transliterated to a greater extent than they do now. A year after the award, it much easier to see that this is in fact the common name found in most sources. Furthermore, she has been using this version in her signed editorials, which also appears in a list at the bottom of the article. It only a matter of when her spelling was changed. Crtew (talk) 00:30, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
See, you guys keep focusing on the Karman edit while ignoring the Will.i.am edit. Is that because Karman is an easier explanation, while there is little to no explanation for the Will.i.am one? It's quite interesting to watch. I mean I would think sources like this would be fairly decisive:
"the 37-year-old -- real name William James Adams -- told a student audience." - News.com.au
"At the JPL event, the artist, born William James Adams Jr., also announced..." - Billboard
"When it comes to making hit records, few are as consistent as William James Adams Jr., or Will.I.Am." - NPR
"William James Adams Jr., better known as Will.i.am of the popular music group Black Eyed Peas, was named Intel's new director of creative innovation" - PC World
How exactly do you explain this one away? SilverserenC 00:36, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
It's the same Roth/Karman question: the actual subject of a BLP told a real live WP editor who is known by his real name to him and to us that there was a minor error in the BLP. It would be rude (and silly) of Jimbo to say, "Sorry, you'll have to have your birth certificate published and then I might change it." His edit summary was:
Revision as of 16:14, 24 September 2012 (edit) (undo)
Jimbo Wales (talk | contribs)
(He told me just now that this is his name - not "Jr" and no middle name. Will explain further on talk when I get time in a few hours.)
The Fifth Pillar is the basis for this leeway. Now please give Jimbo a chance to explain when he has a minute. Yopienso (talk) 00:57, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Except, unlike the Roth situation that was about a book character, it seems quite unlikely that Will.i.am doesn't have a middle name. And since his father is named William Adams Sr, the Jr. would make sense in his name. It might be the sort of situation where he doesn't want that to be associated with his name, but unfortunately, like the Toure situation, that's not how a biography works. We have to mention it at least once in the article. SilverserenC 01:06, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
The best thing to do is to comply with the request of the subject of the BLP. If later investigation turns up conclusive evidence that the subject was wrong or suppressing the truth, the article can be fixed. (The beauty of wiki! No?) Meanwhile, no substantial harm has been done, and a courtesy has been extended to the subject.
You don't say what your basis is for thinking "it seems quite unlikely that Will.i.am doesn't have a middle name." My husband doesn't, even though every one of his five brothers and five sisters do.
You don't say how you know will.i.am's father's full name. The article says the two never met. My father was a junior, but since his father died when Dad was a toddler, he never used the Jr. Official documents do not include it.
Or maybe you just know a whole lot about will.i.am's personal life. I don't. Yopienso (talk) 01:26, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
And that's why, at the very least, we should have a published statement by Will.i.am in order to make the change, at minimum. At this point, the change wasn't made based on anything other than what one heard. SilverserenC 02:34, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • IGNOREALLRULES: Use common sense to improve the encyclopedia. Accuracy trumps a mindless doctrinaire approach. Carrite (talk) 01:37, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Accuracy is a very imprecise term. We've had to deal with a lot of different situations where, if we just believed what the subject said, we would be actually making the articles inaccurate. Blind rote faith in BLP subjects is not the way to go. SilverserenC 02:34, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Actually, accuracy is a very precise term, as is precision. Anyway, I'd like to point out that this is absurd. You are essentially demanding that 1.) a public figure put out a press release to satisfy Wikipedia's content policies so that we may fix something that is not true, and 2.) we demand this in all cases, including their name. Anyway, the people have spoken, and they are very gently trying to tell you that you're completely and totally wrong. You can continue to argue the point, but why? Even if you're not willing to bow to the collective wisdom of others, how about just picking your battles?--Tznkai (talk) 02:48, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Accuracy is imprecise in this context. And I am not asking them to put out a press release, all they have to do is make a statement on their website, their blog, their facebook, or their twitter. Anywhere where we can actually cite them and provide a link as a reference, per the policy requirements of WP:V. And there are several people in this discussion that agree with me, that Wikipedia needs to have proper referencing, because without it, everything is just original research. SilverserenC 02:53, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I see no difference in principle between what Jimbo did, and say some kid adding what he heard the drummer from his favorite band say about his middle name in conversation at a meet n greet. Now, there is, perhaps, a difference between an emo kid and Jimbo, but that means that we are allowing matter to remain based on the credibility of the contributor, and I find that rather dicey.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:36, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think its dicey. Do you think he might be lying? If you don't, what's the problem? He's the founder, can we cut him a little slack? (Also, don't know about the middle name, but FWIW "Junior" is not part of a name but just used to differentiate people, in the same way that "II" is not actually part of Queen Elizabeth's name. Often people drop the "Jr." when their father dies (since differentiation is no longer needed) or for any other reason. So as far as that part goes, personal preference would tend to rule, unless his father also is famous and/or has an article and the Wikipedia needs some method of differentiation.). Herostratus (talk) 03:44, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Except that who the editor is is irrelevant. Are you going to accuse other editors of lying if they made such a change? The point is that the same standards have to be held for everyone and, no, he gets no less slack than anyone else. Furthermore, what about the middle name? SilverserenC 03:50, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I do not think Jimbo would lie about such a thing. My point is that we don't want to rely on editor credibility because that is not transparent to the reader.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:58, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Of course, Jimbo doesn't have to lie. He could always just be wrong or the other person could be lying for some reason. You know, like, maybe will.i.am doesn't like being called Junior or something so he bullshits about how it isn't part of his legal name when it is part of his legal name. We really shouldn't ever accept an "I heard it from the man himself, therefore it is the truth" argument no matter who makes it or why. Ignore all rules doesn't mean we should just let random anecdotes from a brief conversation, to which we are not privy, determine content. What if some famous person wants to punk Wikipedia and tells Jimbo about some "error" in his or her bio that is actually not an error at all, just to see if he or she can get Jimbo to change it to something false?--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 05:31, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think this line of thought works very well. I have spoken to literally hundreds of reporters and I don't recall even one ever asking to see my legal documents to confirm my middle name. You can tell them anything about little details like that, and they just write it down. It makes little sense that he would just randomly pick yesterday to lie to me about it. Of course, maybe he wants to "punk" Wikipedia. Maybe lots of implausible things, like maybe he's secretly Silver seren and has been editing Wikipedia for a long time, just waiting to spring this on me. But I think we can all agree that this is all highly unlikely. His story made sense, it is consistent with his biography, and he's not know for being someone who "punks" others. He expressed genuine admiration for Wikipedia and called himself a "geek" when I met him. He was excited to learn about Wikimania and today someone from his staff emailed me to inquire about when it will be held. (I doubt if he can come to Hong Kong, but if he does, I'll try to get him to give a speech about his middle name!) The evidence points strongly enough to suit me.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:22, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • "can we cut him a little slack?" Better question: should we? Why should there be different rules for God and for mere mortal editors? Resolute 05:35, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
There are many editors whom I would personally trust in a similar situation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:22, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
You may, that is your prerogative, but there is no reason for anyone else to, without being able to verify, who they are and what they know and do. So, if the Wiki wants to turn some editors into reporters fine, but that means they are known to the public, and the public can decide whether to trust them. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:15, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
This is now a moot point; WP actually worked as designed this time!
Wrt Karman, an editor (in this case, Jimbo) ignored all rules, was courteous, and boldly made a change. Verification by multiple RSs are now in hand. Jimbo's correction stands.
Wrt will.i.am, Jimbo did the same. We do not at present have sourcing for the change, and--Abracadabra Wikipedia Sesame!--the "correction" has been reverted, awaiting decisive documentation. Yopienso (talk) 03:45, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia worked, yes, I never had any doubts that it would. But the point of this section discussion is that the Will.i.am change was highly improper and it shouldn't happen again. SilverserenC 03:50, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
It could have waited a few hours for Jimbo to set a good example by getting a source (or having one manufactured) and source material.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:02, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
"I beg your pardon, Ms. Karman and Mr. Williams. Please wait a few hours while we manufacture a source for your claims that you know your own names." Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
"I beg your pardon, Ms. Karman and Mr. Williams, could you make a tweet or a facebook post that I can use as a reference for the change?" It's not like we're asking people to move the Earth here. SilverserenC 04:13, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
If they objected, he could have blamed it on us little people, who toil and spin while Jimbo hobnobs with Madeline Albright.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:18, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
See also Ipse dixit.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 05:38, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Is there a reason why a [note 1] cannot be added to the will.i.am article referencing the source(s) and the Jimbo talk page comment explaining the discrepancy. This is the service wiki readers' need: 'this is what this source writes and this is what that source says.' In that way, it's at least clear, whose word we have taken, and why, and from what source. Without a note, the reader is left with 'but I read somewhere that his name is ____ this says ____, what do they base that on?' Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:00, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

That can be done, but I would suggest, that as there is an ongoing conversation at the article talk, to discuss that there.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:09, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
This is basically what I suggested here at the end of my comment: "Perhaps the article can be somewhat rewritten to incorporate his claims/complaint (genre "X is his name in reliable sources (cite 1, cite 2), but will.i.am states that his name actually is Y (cite ?)")." Fram (talk) 14:10, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Be bold. The reader is better off with all the truth. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:14, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
No, don't be bold. The article is fully protected. Get consensus first, then the change can be made. --Floquenbeam (talk) 14:19, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Let's think about this for a sec. Why would somebody need a verified source? Hmmm, very interesting. Here's the way I see it. Guy puts a fancy verified tag on a source 'cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside. Ya figure you put that little verified source under your pillow at night, the Verified Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right? The point is, how do you know the fairy isn't a crazy glue sniffer? "Building model airplanes" says the little fairy; well, we're not buying it. He sneaks into your house once, that's all it takes. The next thing you know, there's money missing off the dresser, and your daughter's knocked up. I seen it a hundred times. They know all they got ya to insert a verified piece of shit. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it verified, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your reader's sake, for your daughter's sake, ya might wanna think about taking Jimbo's word for it. Jauerbackdude?/dude. 14:22, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Doris Speed: an actress who lied about her age for years, until her birth certificate was unearthed (see Age fabrication for more examples). Not claiming that something similar is happening here, but just that such things happen, and that believing a celebrity about some personal detail is not always the best course of action. He may be telling the truth, or he may be wantin to remove something he doesn't like from his article. We don't know, but blindly believing him is not the neutral position we are supposed to take. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fram (talkcontribs) 15:05, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Then go and get his birth certificate, and if it says something else, submit it to OTRS, or get the New York Times to publish it. Until then take his word for it, and that of dozens of sources agreeing with him. Otherwise you're just being insufferably rude, and for no good reason. What skin is it off your nose? What do you know about his family? Nothing. How is it your place to tell the man what his name is? To any normal person, it's sheer arrogance. JN466 16:37, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • This is a valid edit for Jimbo Wales, but it does not disprove "verifiability, not truth". Reason --- we know User:Jimbo Wales is Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. But if some "User:Will.i.am" shows up tomorrow, do we know who he is? Do we have any standard way to certify who he is? If I posted the edit to that same article that I was sitting with him, would you believe me? So the general rule is and remains that we should get the subject in such an instance to post to his web site and say what his name is to clarify things, and then we should cite that reliable source indirectly. The exception here is that Jimbo is a reliable source even though he's on a Wikipedia account. I would further add that if the edit is allowed to stand, then we should cite his diff as a formal reference - because otherwise, how does the next naive editor know that's not an unsourced error? Wnt (talk) 22:37, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Bravo! Common sense arises from the dead. Exactly, Wnt. The Fifth Pillar ("Ignore all rules") allows for reasonable exceptions. Yopienso (talk) 22:47, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Wnt is correct. It's a simple matter of sourcing, all we have to do is cite the source(s). It not even an IAR, all that need to be done is decide which source to follow based on weight, and explain the discrepancy in the sources. Is Jimmy Wales a reliable source for this information? If he is, he is cited. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:40, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
You do not need to cite Jimbo at all. There are so many sources saying that Will.i.am was born "William Adams", far more than say he was born "William James Adams Jr." – even with Wikipedia's ability to propagate entirely false information worldwide. This sort of thing happens all the time: a subset of sources get something right, another subset gets it wrong. Sometimes the number of sources that are wrong is greater than those which get it right, because the poorly researched sources simply copied. JN466 14:04, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
No. First, If there is a mistake in the sourcsing, it's often better to mention the mistake and correct it, especially in such a brief manner as this would take. Then it is set, until some better source comes along, and no one has to be confused about it or where the information came from. Second, as far as I can tell, no other source exists that says 'no this, this is wrong.' So, there are not other sources.Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:54, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I seriously don't have time to read the above, but in conversations with OTRS members, it has been made clear that they will fix factually incorrect non-controversial information if the identity of the subject should be confirmed. In this case, the identity of the subject was clearly confirmed to Jimbo and he fixed it. We really need a policy for how to not be assholes to the subjects of BLP's when they show us how uncontroversial information on their page is wrong. Ryan Vesey 22:55, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Jimbo, so, this is an OFFICE and/or IAR issue then?--MONGO 23:03, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • For general users, it is WP:IAR: Whenever there seems to be no policy phrase which supports updating an article to match reality, then any user should feel free to wp:IAR ignore rules and question a person's middle name or note "Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi and Alabama with waves 20–30 feet (6–9 m) deep". In the case of Katrina, then finally the sources noted how, in all 3 coastal counties of Mississippi, each emergency command center flooded at 30 feet (9 metres) above sea level. So, the water does not say, "Knock, Knock, I'm at the doorstep 9 metres deep, let me flood the interior", but instead, waves drove the water beyond the mere 30-foot (9 m) level to flood the interior of those command centers. Later, the official hurricane-security procedures were changed to raise emergency centers to higher than 30 feet (9 m) in coastal areas. Perhaps people near New Orleans watched water slowly rise to 7 feet deep (2 m), and just could not believe 100 miles (160 km) east, an entire sea of water came rushing ashore up to 30 feet deep (9 m) with waves pushing higher. But sources can confirm the issues raised during an wp:IAR update. Any user, not just Jimbo, can change an article to reflect the real situation, and sort through the sources to support the conclusion. -Wikid77 (talk) 03:32, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like the sort of point I'd want to see sourced - even someone standing in the midst of that hurricane might not know for sure if the water flowing into the command center is truly an ocean wave, or (for example) a wave of brackish water that built up in some oxbow or basin 25 feet above sea level that was then whipped up by hurricane winds. Wnt (talk) 14:37, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Source as complex FEMA engineering document: The U.S. FEMA documents, from November 2005, report the flooding and storm surge in the area, and do also emphasize the impact of "high winds":
The map of flooding has purple contour lines of storm surge (1-foot increments), as 20-foot, 21-foot, to 25 feet (8 m), plus the 2-foot tide at the time, and noted wave action as another 2 feet higher, plus the effect of the nonstop winds. When the water is that deep, for 6 miles (9.7 km), then not much more sourcing is needed to explain the flooding. However, that is likely another issue for disbelief, that the water was that deep for miles and miles (each square on the map is 2 × 2 miles [3 × 3 km]). -Wikid77 (talk) 04:24, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, you have sources, so I see no problem. I should add that I think it's best to stick with the precise language of the sources - i.e. to say "surge inundation", since that's what the map legend says. (the article on storm surge seems to distinguish between "storm tide" and "wave run-up") If you have a source that a command center was flooded, you say that; obviously you couldn't assume it was flooded just because that area on the preliminary map is shaded yellow, for example.
I believe there's nothing wrong with out and out contradictions in articles if that's what your sources have given you - if one source says the storm surge went up 25 feet, and another says something at 30 was flooded, then you print them both and wait to hear more about whether it was wave run-up or ground subsidence or a poorly thought out pumping strategy that explains it. Wnt (talk) 18:09, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Strong source for the long version unearthed

On Talk:will.i.am#Strong source for his long name, I have unearthed a rather strong source for the claim that the long name is the actual name on his birth certificate. The article clearly is not simply based on our Wikipedia article, and has a rather detailed description of his name and how he and his mom reacted to this. It may be a fabrication or a mistake, but it seems doubtful to me. Fram (talk) 08:06, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! Now we are getting somewhere.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:48, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Honestly, the more this gets discussed the more apparent it becomes that will.i.am only meant "wrong" in the sense that he doesn't want people to know certain facts about him, even though they are widely reported in the media. A tweet from the beginning of the year was just shown at the talk page where he also claims that Wikipedia got his aliases wrong, but the only one he denies from what I can tell is Zuper Blahq, which is obviously him from listening to one of the songs and it has been widely reported just like his name. I am thinking Wikipedia got all the names and nick names right, but will.i.am just doesn't want his article to include this information. On the name it may be that, given the fact he never knew his father, will.i.am just doesn't particularly like to be associated with his full name.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 05:50, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Now we are getting somewhere indeed, but in the meantime your remark in the edit summary and your reply here that "It's a falsehood. Please do not insert it again. There is nothing inconsiderate about my saying so." are standing. Perhaps "verifiability, not truth", and WP:AGF aren't things that should be adhered to, and you shouldn't be so quick to assume that what you know or have been told is necessarily the truth and anything that disagrees with this is a falsehood. Perhaps next time try to edit without making such accusations. Fram (talk) 07:05, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Except that it was a falsehood you were re-inserting.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:40, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know that your knowledge is superior to that of actual reliable sources, and that you are infallible. I once said here that you were a benevolent dictator, but I have to admit that I was wrong then; you clearly are the God-king instead. It was futile to try to have a rational, adult discussion with you, since no matter what was presented as evidence, it would still be "a falsehood", since you obviously know better. Please put this into policy somewhere, perhaps as a new pillar, so that we mere mortals don't err again in contradicting you and doubting your Word. I'll go and flagellate myself now. Fram (talk) 13:50, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo, if you know or hear about wrong content, do not promote original research by changing that and stating:"I know" or "I heard"... Instead, try to look what reliable sources are stating. In one case, you would have quickly found something supporting a move, you could have used that as rationale in the edit summary. In the second case, you would have seen that it would be not that sure... and you could have asked for discussion at the talk page. If you would have followed that, this big discussion about your behaviour would not exist. Please, do it like that next time.--Müdigkeit (talk) 12:40, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I will do in the future precisely what I am doing in this case. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:35, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
WP:OR, insulting editors, edit warring, jumping to incorrect conclusions, and leaving it up to others to do the actual work of searching for the best sources and building a compromise solution? Why would you try to edit less confrontational, more constructive, more policy-compliant and more reality-based in the future when you can continue to create a mess instead? But it's hardly your fault, I note that learning experience is still a redlink. Fram (talk) 13:43, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
ANI...

Hello. There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. Thank you. --Müdigkeit (talk) 14:01, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Why does it make me feel better that even Jimbo has to put up with this stuff.LOL! Facepalm! SMACK! I guess he is just like us....no one is ever going to see anyone as perfect and AN/I just a battleground these days.--Amadscientist (talk) 14:08, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

What you know vs. who you know

Jimmy, the only problem I see with your approach to this is that it seems like you're implying that someone like Philip Roth should have just gone to a wiki-conference somewhere and explained the situation to you or another "high-power Wikipedian". The rules for BLP subjects who don't go to wikimeetups are insanely complicated, but those who do get to go around them. Is that really the rule you want to stand behind? Do you realize that this fits perfectly into the "it's all about making Jimmy look good so he can buy the castle" theory? Please surprise me: I really would feel much better about the time and effort I gave if you would surprise me on this issue. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 21:59, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Buy a castle? What the hell are you talking about?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:47, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Man...and I thought I was getting attacked today.....Chin up Jimbo. Its all we can do. Well you can do more but.... I seriously cannot believe the way people act when you actually took the time to respond. I have a freaking headache now. Done for the day. I feel very discouraged with all this conflict and arguing. The fun is really deflating from the site. People...pick up a trout or a pillow. I am taking a long break from this place. I suggest everyone getting upset do the same.--Amadscientist (talk) 13:57, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
If I wanted to make a POINT, based on Jimbo's logic, I could change the article on Iggy Pop to say that his full name is 'Iggleston Popsworth IV', citing that 'I'm sat with Iggy, he told me' - and that would be acceptable? Nonsense. GiantSnowman 14:35, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
That point would completely ignore my entire argument and everything that I've said about this issue. I've been around here for a long time, and I'm rather known for not being, well, bonkers. You may not agree with what I have to say but anytime you find you think that I'm speaking "nonsense" (rather than just being mistaken in some thoughtful way), you'd best check your premises... you've probably misunderstood me.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:59, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
The problem with personal anecdotes being used to support changes to articles is that we can't conceivably check the veracity of the source. I don't think any editor should be put in the position of having to trust that an editor is right. Plenty of smart and capable people get things wrong and being able to double-check insures that we don't make the wrong decisions on content.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 16:18, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo, don't get me wrong - I trust you. I believe that the edits you've made are 100% accurate. The issue here is verifiability - how does the world at large know you're making a genuine edit? I also wasn't saying your edit/comments were nonsense - I was saying the idea that any editor making that kind of edit was nonsense. Imagine if an IP had done the exact same as you! GiantSnowman 16:24, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I do not think Jimbo is bonkers. I do feel that his very public action undercuts the hard work that many of us do to turn articles from unsourced muck into usable resources. There were other routes. I wish that he would at least recognize that this is an issue.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:54, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

One could get the impression that Jimbo added "X is a whore who fucked 50 horses" and "B killed 25 people and ate their balls"... then I could understand the outrage. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 16:34, 27 September 2012 (UTC)


I suppose that at a purely theoretical level I understand the concern being expressed here, but only on a purely theoretical and artificial level. I doubt very much that we are going to start accepting genuinely problematic original research or unsourced information on the basis that "... But Jimmy Wales once changed two BLP subjects' names to what they said they were!!!" The level of concern and attention being drawn to these two edits by Jimbo is disproportionate. Any significant concerns about the substance of the edits (and I think even these are overblown, but at least they are worth talking about) are being addressed on the two article talkpages. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:58, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

One obvious concern is that he seems to be saying these things are wrong, when it does not appear they are actually wrong and he is exhibiting a double standard in making these changes with the simple "trust me, it's true" explanation. Anyone else making that kind of edit would get a tongue-lashing and not have anyone defending them because it is just common sense that we should not accept personal anecdotes as reliable sources.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 17:17, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
As I noted on the article talkpage, in the case of Tawakkol Karman, we are dealing with the English transliteration of a name from the original Arabic. There is notoriously no single "right" or "wrong" version of the English name, and in that context, the subject's preference between reasonable versions of the transliteration deserves substantial deference, especially where it is found in a large number of sources.
The case of Will.i.am seems to be slightly more complicated, but the talkpage appears to be addressing it. Given the specifics of what he Will.i.am said to Jimbo, Jimbo's deleting the disputed part of the name until consensus is worked through on the talkpage seems consistent with the BLP policy. Newyorkbrad (talk) 17:39, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Except he is the one who created the dispute in the first place by putting forward a personal anecdote as a source against dozens of documented reliable sources that said the exact opposite in a way that would get any other editor in a whole mess of trouble with little defense offered for said editor.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 17:48, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't agree. Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:39, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Nor do I. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 18:43, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Would either of you be willing to be more specific about where your disagreement lies?--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 19:39, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Pardon my candor which follows: Specifically, I meant to reject the totality of your assertions; in concert with your manner, perceived motive, and deed. I do not doubt your sincerity. I simply believe you are sincerely wrong. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 21:55, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
"Perceived motives"? I believe the people in charge of this project, who receive the most benefit from it, should exemplify the behavior they expect of those volunteering here, who receive little benefit from it. Should you find something unsavory or flawed about that view then that is certainly disquieting.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 23:05, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I did strike my regards as they relate to my own perception. They were misplaced and I apologize for that. I agree with your sentiments above; and similarly expect exemplary leadership. I just don't see where Mr. Wales ever exceeded those bounds. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 01:14, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Oh good grief. "Buying a castle for the God-King" is a bit of a meme, Jimmy... I assumed (apparently incorrectly) that you were familiar with it. The point was that "normal people" have to navigate a labyrinth of ridiculously complicated rules to get their biographies (or the articles for their companies, etc.) corrected, unless they have a drink with you or someone else with "Wikipedia juice" (please don't tell me you don't know what Google juice is). Otherwise I completely agree with Newyorkbrad. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 23:42, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Primary sources

It seems to me that a big part of the problem here is the discordant, non-consistent way in which we deal with primary sources on Wikipedia. As well as how WP:AGF applies to the addition of content, as opposed to just how we should treat each other in discussions.

I have tried for literally years to get a discussion started on getting a policy/guideline page started concerning how we deal with primary sources. What is noted at WP:OR is just not clear enough, and is focused primarily upon interpretation/extrapolation/synthesis.

For one example, we've been running into issues concerning categories over the question of whether to categorise people based upon what they say about themselves. For example, per WP:EGRS, we currently categorise a person by whatever ethnicity they say they are. But this had led to some odd situations (and that not even getting into the recent Mass. contentions concerning Elizabeth Warren and ethnicity). Note that there is currently an RfC concerning this general topic.

We have a common practice here that we WP:AGF of our editors.

For example, if an editor states at AN/I that they have spoken to a particular school's administrators concerning a recent vandalism situation, we trust that that is factual unless/until proven otherwise.

Can we trust all editors in the same way concerning content? I so want to say "yes". But (as someone involved with the comics WikiProject), we've repeatedly run into editors claiming to get information from a comics creator, or even from those claiming to be the comics creator in question. Which are often (usually) false assertions, though on occasion determined to not be false.

That said, I don't think any of us would suggest that User:Jimbo Wales is not who he says he is.

So it comes down to a.) whether we believe his assertions that he spoke to the actual people in question and b.) whether we believe that the info provided was accurate ("true"). (WP:COI may also possibly come into play here.) But also, c.) whether we should allow additions to the encyclopedia based upon mere assertions.

The "potential truth" of a source (primary or otherwise), has always relied upon the strength of whether it can be corroborated. We have the same issue when the source of an article is from a book which is not online (or worse) no longer in print. How much do we trust each editor that such are true?

In my experience, we tend to follow a sort of WP:DUCK test to determine such things.

But as I note, we really should have a clear policy on this which isn't merely "assumed", or where what little is spoken of is spread out over several policies/guidelines.

Anyway, in the meantime, let's just WP:IAR, and allow the content, and (if wanted) have a follow up discussion concerning the information - though if it is considered BLP violation (another policy page) then per arbcom special rules, it should be immediately removed pending further discussion/sourcing/etc. - jc37 21:10, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

We generally expect some sort of documentation that someone could conceivably check, even if it isn't easy to check or only possible for a select few to check. A conversation between two people that is not in some way documented should never be allowed as a source in itself. I certainly think it can be a way to start a content discussion, but it is not the way to end such a discussion.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 23:21, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
For everything added to an article? Actually, no we don't. We accept a lot on "good faith" and sources are typically only ever discussed on contested info.
That said, I think it would be fair to say that the info in question has been contested.
Which bring us to the other question of do we accept the assertion of an editor? On this point there have been many arguements already, but it's pretty clear to me that this is just not something well covered in policy, else people wouldn't be talking about popularity contests, and "who you know", etc.
In my experience, JW has been a proponent of the idea that "we are all Wikipedians here" when it comes to editing content. So as such, he shouldn't be given any special rules, neither through freedom or restriction in editing. Which means we should try to figure out how any other user should be treated in a similar situation. (Regardless of how any of us may presume how such an editor "would" be treated.)
In other words, let's stop with the idle complaining, and work towards a solution? - jc37 23:48, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
My comment was actually pretty clear and not saying what you suggest. We expect some sort of documentation that someone could conceivably check. Basically, we expect editors to actually claim there is a documented source rather than just taking it on their word. Only in cases where something is self-evident does that not apply.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 00:24, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

It's ridiculous to act as if The Founder/public face of Wikipedia is any other editor. We could make up some bureaucratic nonsense about if an editor is self-declared (i.e. outed) and has X edits or is on the WMF board ... or we can apply common sense. Nobody Ent 01:46, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

True, that is ridiculous. It would also be rather ridiculous to presume that any person, no matter their position, is incapable of making mistakes and therefore should always be presumed correct. We can assume good faith that Jimbo made the change believing it to be correct because he was told it was correct by the subject. It does not mean we should be expected to also assume it is correct without anyone needing to provide the means to verify it as correct.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 02:24, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) jc37, you've made a lot of good points in starting this thread. I'd like to extend an hypothesis regarding the point labeled c.). I believe there is a required distinction. There is a huge difference between adding uncited content and removing content said to be reliably sourced. I believe they should be measured by different bars. People speak of Jimbo's edit as if he added some unsourced content, though he did not. He removed a contentious inclusion; rightfully. Adding contentious content does require verifiability in reliable sources; removing content requires a thoughtful edit summary. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 03:05, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
We have all sorts of reliable sources contradicting what Jimbo said so that is not even remotely the situation. At the same time we have no reliable sources to support what Jimbo says. The essence of academic inquiry is being able to review the evidence. Documents, no matter how difficult to access, are inherently open to review. Undocumented conversations are impossible to review so we shouldn't ever accept them as evidence. Anecdotal evidence is never acceptable. I am astounded that I even have to explain one of the most basic fundamentals of academic research.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 04:22, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Huh? Academic sources cite personal correspondence as sources all the time. Viriditas (talk) 05:58, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I'm not addressing what Jimbo said, I'm addressing his edit. Show me a source that says you must not refer to will.i.am as William Adams. Show me a source that says his name is not William Adams. It is apparent to me that you can not be wrong for saying "William Adams, professionally known as will.i.am is ..." Especially when that form of his name is used in the preponderance of reliable sources. I showed you the tweet from will.i.am and you responded with an unequivocal assertion that he was being disingenuous; specifically citing the claim that his nick names were "#wrong" (I think "#wrong" hints at "numberwrong"). Because the article calls him "Will 1X" though I've seen many wp:rs render this as "WilloneX"[8], or "Will One X".[9] Surely you can see that 1X would equal #wrong if in fact OneX turns out to be #right! The article begins his musical career after high school with Atban Klann; omitting the important precursors of "Tribal Nation" and "Grassroots". You may want to do a bit less explaining on how research is done, and a bit more research; before dismissing this man's integrity. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 06:11, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't know of many academic sources that rely on undocumented conversations as evidence. Maybe, they use it to supplement other pieces of evidence, but not as the sole basis for a claim and certainly not when that claim conflicts with other available evidence.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 07:44, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
It's actually quite common.[10] Viriditas (talk) 08:58, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
"Personal correspondence" can refer to letters and other forms of documented communications. An OTRS ticket, for instance, is similar to a personal correspondence, but it is also documented so someone can check to make sure it says what it is purported to say.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 13:54, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
I use the terms correspondence and communication synonymously, whereas academics do not. To clarify for the formal literalists who insist on artificial boundaries, I am referring to personal communication as a source, which includes unpublished interviews, discussions, telephone calls, meetings, unarchived e-mails, etc. These are used as primary sources in the literature.[11] Viriditas (talk) 23:55, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Except even these things often refer to documented conversations, as in, things a person would be capable of checking. I imagine we would find that if a communication is not documented in some way, whether privately or publicly, it is not used to support an exceptional claim as is being done here. What we would most likely find is that such sources are used to supplement stronger sources or claims that can otherwise be readily tested.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 03:39, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Apparently, in the literature, the term "personal communication" is differentiated from "personal correspondence" by its undocumented nature, so it is not documented more than noting the parties present, the date and time, and the location. Further, it is assumed that it is not controversial for Jimbo Wales to document the correct name of a person, considering there is no known dispute in the relevant literature. In other words, the fact that Wikipedia editors object to such a correction tells us that there is a problem with our editors, not with using primary sources. Viriditas (talk) 04:00, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
To be clear, by "documented" I mean that there is a hard copy in existence. It is apparent that both "personal communication" and "personal correspondence" can refer to material that exists on a hard copy and that does not address how such sources are typically used in academic work. As to your claim about it being "assumed that it is not controversial" you are mistaken to suggest there is no known dispute. That we have conflicting usage and conflicting reports about which usage is accurate implies a dispute. In the case of will.i.am, his own words seem to conflict.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 04:38, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
If you look at the sources that use the two terms and look at the research guides documenting their use, you'll find that "personal communication" generally refers to undocumented sources (aside from name, date, location) while "personal correspondence" specifically refers to a hard copy. I did not know this prior to this discussion, as I thought both terms referred to the same thing. As for conflicting usage, that's something I've come across in every article I've ever worked on (I'm dealing with it at this very moment on The Magpie (Monet)) and does not say anything about a dispute nor does it imply one, so I really must disagree with you on that point. A dispute is notable only when we have a source detailing it explicitly. Conflicting usage, on the other hand, is very common, often due to a variety of factors, none of which may imply a dispute. Viriditas (talk) 04:45, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Please vote at The Beatles poll

I have reclosed the thread and I have blocked 64.38.192.217. Grave dancing is strongly discouraged. Anyone who thinks the block was out of hand is welcome to unblock.--Tznkai (talk) 01:39, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

The only good thing to come from this excruciating waste of time and effort is this. —Cupco 05:56, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Idea for a new Wiki...(such as Wikipedia, WikiBooks)

I have a new idea for a wiki, but I don't know where to put it. I don't want to reveal it yet. It's completely new, I've checked.--Lucky102 (talk) 16:12, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

If you want to know what it is, its WikiQuestions.--Lucky102 (talk) 14:41, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
As a new editor, whose first contribution to Wikipedia was at 10:26, 27 August 2012, have you seen Wikipedia:Reference desk?
Wavelength (talk) 15:25, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
We do have [WikiAnswers], which I assume is the sort of thing you were thinking of :)--Coin945 (talk) 17:38, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Actually, 'we' don't. WikiAnswers is run by the Answers Corporation - nothing to do with the Wikimedia Foundation. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:48, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks everyone, I'll try.--Lucky102 (talk) 19:30, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Is it OK to call other editors "arsehole" or "dishonest idiot"?

Is it OK to call someone an "arsehole"[12] or a "dishonest idiot"?[13] Apparently, some admins[14] think it's OK. Is there anything that you can do to restore some sanity to the situation? MF has already been before ArbCom and they failed to do anything about it. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 00:40, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Really, I don't see why you are bringing this here, Quest. Maybe you don't think the administrators of Wikipedia are capable of dealing with this alone? -- Avanu (talk) 00:46, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I won't be commenting here, but I would like people to please take a look at the entire situation, rather than just the diffs posted by AQFK. Ryan Vesey 00:47, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Me, neither, assuming that it is not the usual ganging-up issue. And if it is then you should at least provide Jimbo with the background. - Sitush (talk) 00:50, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

@Avanu: Obviously, the admins are incapable of dealing with this problem. How can you even ask such a question? The last I counted, MF had been blocked some 13 times and still MF always returns to his old ways. And as I pointed out in my post, MF has been before ArbCom and even ArbCom proved to be incapable of doing anything. Since the admins won't do anything and ArbCom won't do anything, perhaps Jimbo can bring some sanity to the situation? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:10, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Is Jimbo somehow above ArbCom? Perhaps I have missed something. - Sitush (talk) 01:12, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Don't change the subject, especially with a strawman. Thanks. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:16, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I do not understand your comment at all. I rarely do when people mention "strawman", despite looking it up. You appear to imply that ArbCom have been unable to handle and that Malleus's block record (which, rightly or wrongly, was long even before the ArbCom case) somehow speaks for itself. And you appeal to Jimbo - who is just a regular contributor - to bring sense to the proceedings. Where is the strawman? Why not ask me to bring some sense to it? Or Joe Bloggs? John Doe? Etc. Either Jimbo is a regular editor with admin status or he has some sort of superset of privileges. I don't particularly care which, but it would be good to know for future reference. - Sitush (talk) 01:38, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo is a person, not an object to put into arbitrary pigeonholes.Nobody Ent 02:44, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
He is the only user that flies the Founder flag; which I believe does make him a level unique. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 05:15, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, to answer that, it is not ok, of course. Can you provide a link to the arbcom case?--Müdigkeit (talk) 01:21, 30 September 2012 (UTC)


Quest, I think the admins can deal with this, but I think they need some better organization on their boards. While the 'easy stuff' gets handled quickly and efficiently, the more complicated stuff gets pulled off track far too easily. They need to have admin 'classes' where they get a bit of instruction in conflict resolution, keeping things civil, on track, and focused on one issue at a time. Malleus got told "fuck you" by an admin, and was being rather coy in how he presented the issue, which led to a delay in anyone giving a shit. Meanwhile he made a minor incivil comment back and got immediately blocked for it. I don't think the block was the will of the admin corps as a whole, but the lack of willingness on the part of admins to enforce their own policies against themselves makes one wonder if we need more training for them, a more anonymous complaint system, or maybe a non-empowered admin review board for admin misdeeds. In any case, laying all of this at the feet of Malleus Fatorum is unlikely to fix the broader issues. -- Avanu (talk) 01:22, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
@Müdigkeit: MF routinely makes personal attacks and no one does anything about it. A small sampling of the evidence presented in that case included:
See WP:ARBCIV if you don't believe me. Trust me, I couldn't make up this stuff if I tried. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:48, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, recall that back in User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 113#Incivility, it was deemed acceptable for AndytheGrump to say "fuck of and die you disgusting little heap of shit. Sociopathic scum like you..." to Meowy because the latter held a distasteful point of view on a particular matter. So, yes, sometimes it is apparently quite ok to say such things. Tarc (talk) 02:17, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Who says that it was 'deemed acceptable'? Nobody. Everyone (including me) has stated that it was inappropriate. I shouldn't have done it. Everyone says I shouldn't have done it. There is no point in trying to make it out as some sort of precedent establishing the limits of 'acceptability' because (a) it wasn't acceptable, and (b) Wikipedia isn't ruled by precedent. If it had been, I'd probably have been blocked on the spot. Maybe I should have been - but the fact that I wasn't doesn't establish some sort of 'ruling' in regard to what we can say about whom. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:07, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
True, but incomplete. Read the case -- throughout Wikipedia numerous examples of unsanctioned incivility were found. Singling out an individual for systematic problems isn't helpful. See also User:Nobody_Ent/Notes_on_civility Nobody Ent 02:47, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
@Nobody Ent: Blaming someone else's poor behavior is not an excuse for one's own poor behavior. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 04:03, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

So Quest, what is the answer? I'd love for people to act more professionally, but our administrators aren't consistently enforcing it. Our policies are STRICTLY opposed to incivility, but the arbiters of policy are often prejudicial in how they enforce it (which is itself a violation of civil conduct). So how do we write a fair and consistent rule that can be applied in an almost programmatic way when Civility is such an amorphous thing? -- Avanu (talk) 02:58, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Well, it is simple! Make a proposal: Anyone violating WP:NPA or WP:HA more than 2 times, must get blocked for at least 2 days, after the 4th incident the minimum is a month, after the 5th the minimum is a year, and the 6th one will result in an infinite siteban.--Müdigkeit (talk) 03:08, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Where do you folks get these arbitrary exponentials from? What's the point? Why can't you propose a simple pay-for-play like in Demolition Man? Wnt (talk) 03:11, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of exponential punishment either. I think a consistent simple punishment for it would be more fair and less about excluding people, and more about simply making the point that it is a bad action. If it gets to the point that a person is getting in trouble a lot for incivility, we could simply have a unique punishment for that behavior. -- Avanu (talk) 03:28, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
@Avanu: If I had the answer, I wouldn't be asking for someone else for the answer, now would I? But certainly, we can all agree that the worst offenders need to be addressed, right? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 03:58, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
No we cannot agree on the worst offenders. We have to agree on everybody and anybody, always. Since that's not gonna happen, screw it. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:18, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • AQFK, What you've done here is disruptive. You've apparently come to the wrong venue, stirring up drama. Before taking up your complaint, I have to ask myself, "is the complaining editor part of the problem?". Unfortunately you are. Please drop it because I'd rather not block you tonight. MF will be dealt with in turn. His mistakes do not excuse yours. Jehochman Talk 04:29, 30 September 2012 (UTC)


OK... Why don't we all just calm down, have A nice cup of tea/coffee and a sit down and come back to this in a couple of hours or so? Barts1a / Talk to me / Help me improve 04:34, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

@Jehochman: Really? Bringing one of the most disruptive problems to one of the most prominent Wikipedia editor's is disruptive? Really??? Drawing attention to an existing problem is the fault of the person reporting the problem? If I recall correctly, reaching out to Jimbo is not forum shopping. I've seen banned editors (which I am NOT) allowed to talk to Jimbo. But if you're saying that legitimate editors are not allowed to even talk to Jimbo, then bring it on. Please remember, that this hurts you more than me. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 04:40, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I see suggestions that there are circumstances not found in this thread that shed necessary light. I'll assume that's a fact and further assume it justifies Jehochman's block threat above. (although I already know that nothing justifies idle threats) I've been neck deep in this same quagmire, absorbed his unsolicited character assessments, and measured the strength of his allies. Mostly I've resolved to stay out of this topic area, but I will share a measure of solace with you; and hope that it helps. When I refer to this editor as MF, I don't intend that to mean Malleus Fatuorum; but rather something entirely different. I also substitute my meaning for every comment where another editor has referred to him as MF; and generally even they make more sense read that way. Then I move on and think of all the energy I've saved. Try it yourself, just in case. Cheers - 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 05:43, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes - posting "Block him Jimbo! Block him!" threads here whilst not putting the incident in context is effectively disruptive, or at the very least deceitful. I'm sure Jimbo is capable of reading the whole thread at WP:AN. Black Kite (talk) 08:28, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Agree with Black Kite, it comes down to nothing but ..... Jimbo will undoubtedly agree that anything less than super civility is unacceptable, but given that there a lot of inappropriately or objectionably mean, inconsiderate, contemptible, obnoxious, intrusive, or rude people on wikipedia, WP:ASSHOLE might apply. I see nothing blockable about what Malleus said, barely worth a warning, and in my experience, such heavy handed treatment towards him will only antagonize him further and waste time. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 08:44, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

AQFK,
It is a severe violation of WP:Civility to quote somebody out of context. In this case, the administrator who wrote 2 inflammatory and insulting emails to Malleus apologized publicly, rather quickly. Yet you failed to mention that Malleus was targeted with personal attacks. Please stop this one-sided misrepresentation immediately. Kiefer.Wolfowitz 08:56, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I have been hovering around Wikipedia for the last couple of days, being tempted to return. However, nothing changes here does it? Mindless idiots, who would make most 95-year-old Italian grannies look broadminded, are still being promoted to admin status and causing problems to those seriously writing the project. And the rest of you see that, and complain about it continually, but nothing changes – is it ever going to? I just cannot fathom why these narrow minded little prigs are so admired and welcomed here. I think I shall stay where I don't have to have contact with such people. Giano | talk 10:04, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • What? Recently elected admins are so much better. Before they used to arbitrarily delete BLP material (positive or negative, referenced or not). With that problem "resolved" they've moved on to other area of Wikipedia. And aggressive Randy-ism still sits perfectly fine with admins, especially with those elected this year. [15]. At least Jagged 85 was banned after messing up with the sacrosanct video game articles (after a six-year career of messing up with the history of science ones). Tijfo098 (talk) 13:02, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • And for another great sample of administrative work in the same vein: Wikipedia:ANI#BLP_deletion_of_Timeline_of_the_Enron_scandal.2C_eyeball_request. Tijfo098 (talk) 06:04, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Bringing a thread like this here, out of context and intended only as an invitation to bring a slashdot kind of crowd to the topic, is indeed disruptive. Jehochman is correct. AQFK's interest is abundantly clear here, no matter how much wikilawyering they do, no matter how much gushing of OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY'RE DOING THIS TO MY ENCYCLOPEDIA: this is trolling. There is no "right" to bring up something on Jimbo's page, nor can any such non-existing right be curtailed, of course. But there is a moral wrong here, and AQFK is busy demonstrating it. Shit-stirring is the proper term. Jimbo, my apologies for this potty talk. Drmies (talk) 20:18, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • One more thing: perhaps the initiator of this thread could show their good faith by putting "db-user" on the sandbox full of diffs from which they've plucked the Malleus diffs cited above (note that they don't improve with age, though some of them are genuinely vintage). They probably have one for me as well. Drmies (talk) 20:20, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

U.S. sound recordings

After reading up Wikipedia:PD#Sound recordings, I've got one important question:

I know that sound recordings don't enter the public domain in the U.S. until 2067 (as those familiar with the situation may be aware), but what is the oldest such work with that status at current? --Slgrandson (How's my egg-throwing coleslaw?) 13:46, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Although I have no idea of the answer, and only barely understand the specific intricacies of copyright dates for sound recordings, I'm glad that you asked your question here because there are a lot of thoughtful people here who will likely be able to answer this pretty clearly.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:55, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Category:Sound recording might be a helpful lead to an answer to the question.
Wavelength (talk) 18:09, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Just to be clear, sound recordings come in many flavors; music being one of those flavors. The 2067 stipulation relates to music and affects "the majority" of sound recordings. Currently there exist a wide date-range of sound recordings in the public domain, with flavors "other than music" being the majority of all holdings. A broad example includes "any" recording made by the US government, which includes several music varieties; with, I suspect, the oldest being some form of Pomp and Circumstances c1880. Interestingly, the oldest known recording predates Edison by nearly 20 years, happens to be a musical form, and "I believe" (I'll check further) is a PD holding: Éduoard Léon-Scott's rendition of "Au Claire de la Lune" c1857.[16] I hope this helps refine your search further. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 18:52, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
BTW, considering your interest in this topic, it would be great having you, and others interested, as members of WikiProject Record Production. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 19:11, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
The copyright status of early sound recordings in the US is currently not well defined and is handled by state laws, with the most important legal case being Capitol Records v Naxos in New York State that ruled that copyright status could be applied to a recording made in the 1930s. Even US recordings made before 1923 (or even 1893!) are not in the public domain unless they were specifically released to it. Yes, this is completely ridiculous, but that's the way it is with sound recordings for now. You may be interested in reading this for more information.
Edison recordings are treated by many (including Wikipedia) as PD, since Thomas Edison left his holdings to the US National Park Service at the time of his death. The earliest PD sound recording could very well likely be the earliest known Edison recording. This page contains early Edison recordings from the 1880s if you need any examples of early PD sound recordings. ThemFromSpace 23:30, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
It's nice of you people to list all these examples of PD recordings, but the way I read it, the questioner is asking for the oldest sound recording that is not in the public domain. Franamax (talk) 04:36, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Hmm perhaps you're right. In that case the phonautograph recording named below would be the oldest with the Experimental Talking Clock being the oldest recording meant to be listened-to (the phonautogram was originally meant to be visually inspected). Note that both of these are orphaned works, so while technically still under copyright, its unlikely anyone would take legal action on them. ThemFromSpace 17:17, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Some 1857 recordings by Éduoard Léon-Scott are perhaps not public-domain: I think the year 1857 is the answer for the oldest sound recordings which either are, or are not, PD. Because scientists have recently created "performances" of Éduoard Léon-Scott singing the folksong "Au Claire de la Lune" c.1857 and other recordings [17], then those performances might not be public-domain works. This is a border-line area, because those "sound recordings" are also printed sound-graph documents similar to an 1857 ink drawing. Also see: U.S. "National Recording Registry". -Wikid77 (talk) 07:57, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Arbitration Elections.

Jimbo,

The Arbitration Elections are once again upon us. As you may recall, last year, one of the arbitrators resigned very close to the start of elections. At that time, there was significant discussion on what to do, and who should do it. I also seem to remember that you have stated that you wish to transition your role so that any reserve powers will not be an issue.

Traditionally, you have done the final ceremonial appointment and also due diligence to ensure nothing has gone Terribly Wrong. Thankfully, nothing ever has, and we have had no surprises, just the occasional gnashing of teeth. However, if a situation ever emerged where your action would be the logical place to go, the result would be controversial. As real life history has taught us, controversy threatens the legitimacy of elections. I have put together a proposal as part of the yearly election RFC that would transition your role into appointing an Electoral Commission from community volunteers. These volunteers would either now, or in the very near future take over your usual duties in announcing the results. This would give the Commission both a community and constitutional mandate to make decisions, allow experienced community members to watch over the election process, and still respect your duty of due diligence. Please read and endorse (if you do) the proposal when you get time.-Tznkai (talk) 03:19, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't intend to relinquish my right of symbolic appointment now or ever. It's a tradition that I enjoy very much and gives me an annual opportunity to reflect on governance and give some public thoughts to the incoming ArbCom. I do think having a team of people with a proper mandate to handle the due diligence is a very good thing, don't get me wrong. But I have no intention of stepping back from the ceremonialism. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:43, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Who is the Secondary of Symbolic Appointment, in case poor Jimbo is ever unable to fulfill his ceremonial duties? Is there a bloodline established? --DMahalko (talk) 18:13, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:JIMBO#Contingencies. Tarc (talk) 18:26, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

This ends in a reductio. If you have a commission to replace Jimbo's role, then who appointed the commission? Or do the Commission get elected, in which case who calls the election? You can muse on that for a while, or consider "if it ain't broke..."--Scott Mac 23:03, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

As I indicated in the proposal, Jimbo would appoint the commission from community volunteers who are screened by RfCs. And, perhaps more to the point, the system did in fact break. We had a brushpass with constitutional crisis last year and the three three election admins made an ad hoc decision without anyone's backing.--Tznkai (talk) 23:12, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
So, instead of Jimbo ceremonially appointing arbcom, he'd ceremonially appoint the people who ceremonially appoint arbcom? I can see some need to codify how the number of seats, and the last minute effect of resignations, are decided, but that hardly takes an annual pre-election RFC beauty contest or a closely defined commission. Some bright people figuring something out in response to new circumstances, without tightly-drawn rules and processes, isn't a "brushpass with constitutional crisis" - it's exactly how it should be. It's the classic, foundational, wiki-way. Avoid instruction creep, Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy.--Scott Mac 23:28, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Errr, I agree with Scott actually. I hadn't thought this was that much of an issue and figured there are enough sensible people around that we can work our way through most eventualities without erecting a pile of bureaucratic scaffolding around it. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:35, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
As one of the "bright" or "sensible" people who had to make that decision, I can tell you that it was and is an issue. And, as one of the "bright/sensible" persons, we are all, as far as my memory serves, greatly concerned about our own lack of mandate. We took on the role, because no one else was there too. And in making that decision, we also insisted that the community come up with some sort of structure, process, or body to address it. I believe that is what part of what made us sensible: our own abhorrence at doing something so blatantly outside of our mandate. There is some irony here in that you would trust me to undemocratically decide issues on the one explicitly democratic institution at Wikipedia, but not my thoughts on how to avoid the same problems in the future.
The Electoral Commission proposal is actually about two different things: the ceremonial role, which Jimbo chose to focus his commentary on, and the decision making role, which, I have to point out has actually already happened. Now, if we want to put the three election admins (of which I am not infrequently one) in the position to arbitrarily decide something without a mandate from any authority or community consensus, I see no reason why we shouldn't have a body of the exact same size, performing essentially the same functions, but with a little legitimization.
Its fashionable to use "bureaucratic" as a shorthand for "things that are different that I don't like" but I'm not buying it. The other way, the "wiki-way" as Scott describes it has been tried and found wanting, at the very least by the three persons who executed it. The supplemental RfC that guided our decision had 38 voices. 38! Of an election of 729 tallied votes. Around 5% of the electorate got to voice their opinion and three vote machine technicians decided the size of the court (too delve into analogies) That is not mentioning the entirely serious discussion we had about whether Jimbo was just going to decide.--Tznkai (talk) 04:03, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that all too many people would mind if Jimmy appointed you three as the Election Coordinators with a mandate to resolve any unforseen matters with regards to the election. Sometimes in a project as small as ours, personal respect carries a great deal more legitimacy than any electoral count. NW (Talk) 04:37, 2 October 2012 (UTC)


(od):@Tznkai, I'm simply not seeing it. Wikidia isn't an exercise in democracy - it's an encyclopedia. Sure, sometimes electing some folks helps that encyclopedia work, but we don't need any purist obsession with "mandates" and "legitimization". You solved a problem - that's great - be bold. That something is generally seen to work is all the legitimisation you ever need. If one can act to improve the encyclopedia when it requires "ignoring the rules", how much more is it legitimate to act when there are no rules you need to ignore. You don't need to have scruples and "abhorrence" about doing that. What happened last year shows how much informal trust still works in this area, and that's good. So often we need to build structures because trust has failed - let's not build them where it hasn't.--Scott Mac 08:38, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

@Tznkai, your concern about this shows that you have a conscience.....and that is a Good Thing....believe me. I need to think about this. Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:19, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Consciences are good, but sometimes people troubled by them need told: "No, it really IS OK. You have been doing a Good Thing, thank you, we trust you.". Sometimes we need to affirm people and spread the trust about, rather than encourage self-doubt. People are more useful to Wikipedia than systems.--Scott Mac 12:05, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
(e/c) Thank you for the consideration Casliber, and Scott, Arbitration Committee Elections in particular are exactly an exercise in democracy. The elections really are in fact special, and not Wikipedia in general. Unlike the rest of the wiki, where screwing something up means just trying again in a second, the elections come once a year. We can have an interesting and fruitful discussion about whether, as a whole, there has been an unfortunate shift towards democracy-lite over wiki-way on Wikipedia , but that is neither here nor there. There is a working consensus to elect arbitrators democratically, if you want to overturn that consensus, go and establish a new one. In the meantime, this is what we have, so we might as well do it right. And, as to your invocation of ignoring rules and being bold, I keep hearing you telling me and others to go ahead and bell the cat. What happened last year is we all got very lucky. The election admins could have just as easily foisted it off on "the community" the incoming arbitration committee, the outgoing committee, Jimbo, or the outside scrutineers. Or worse, we could have said nothing at all and watched as all of those groups scramble to figure out who does what. Or, we could've made a split recommendation. The Arbitration Committee (I have observed) is a hard job dealing with difficult problems. Why keep running a flawed process that can make their job harder before it even begins? We already have a process in place. Fixing that process isn't cruft, it is just logical.--Tznkai (talk) 12:23, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Then trust me when I diagnose a problem Scott. And as interesting as a philosphical debate on people versus systems is, its a false dichotomy here. This is a proposed "system" that is entirely made of people. It involves one person pointing at some volunteer people, after giving other people a chance to say "hey, we trust their judgement" or "no, we don't trust their judgement." --Tznkai (talk) 12:27, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I trust that you that you see a problem and that it genuinely vexes you - I just entirely disagree with your analysis, and think your solution (while well-meaning) is wrong and, indeed, dangerous. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree - no harm in that. I'm not suggesting changing arbcom election, I'm only suggesting that the logic of bolting on more structure to protect the structure is never-ending and simply makes Wikipedia more and more obscurantist (and that is a real problem for its continued success). We should always require overwhelming necessity before increasing process - and I judge the case here not nearly made. Process does literately "creep", it has done so since the beginning, each bit is (by itself) logical, tidy and innocuous - proposed for good reason - but the net effect? Not so good. But as I say, we can disagree, without doubting motives one bit. :) --Scott Mac 13:28, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Gosh, what a nice thread this is....hugs all round. (but seriously) you happy to do it again? Has it been discussed anywhere.....? Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:31, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're asking me?--Tznkai (talk) 21:03, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Anyways, Scott, I think you're missing my point about trust. Trust isn't just about motives, or credibility, but also includes judgement. When you trust someone, trust their judgement, that means in lieu of your own judgement. The reasons for this are varied: you can believe that they are smarter, more knowledgeable, have better perspective, or just because you've trusted them before and it works out. What you seem to be saying is "I'll trust your judgement in order to decide election issues ad hoc, where I agree with how you did it, but I won't trust your understanding of those issues now that you're proposing something I disagree with. That isn't really different from saying "agreed then, disagree now," which has no trust element whatsoever. Pardon the extended and melodramatic analogy but, I have seen the cat. I narrowly escaped its claws. And you're telling me that its no big deal and go ahead and bell it again the same way. This isn't the wiki-way nearly as much as saying "its not my problem, and I don't want any change." Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy, nor a democracy, but it isn't the opposite of those things either. --Tznkai (talk) 17:37, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
It is fair to ask people to "trust judgement" when it isn't possible to give them the facts so that they can judge themselves. In this case, you've laid out your arguments very well. That's allowed me to reach my own judgement - which is very different to yours. Asking me to "trust your judgement" in that context makes little sense. I respect your opinion, I trust your diligence and applaud your motives, but I firmly believe your judgment is wrong, your application of Wikipedia philosophy is flawed, and your conclusion is to be strongly resisted. No, Wikipedia won't blow up if it were followed, but it would be incrementally to the detriment. Trust here is the wrong metric.--Scott Mac 22:06, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Archive 116

I am looking for a bit of Archive 116, but that bit is not there because some of the question was on October 2 and 1st. I need them bits the most, so, what do I do?--Lucky102 (talk) 21:07, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Archiving is done by topic, not by date. I don't know the criteria Jimbo uses to trigger the automatic archiving, but the whole of a topic will either be on this page or in an archive. It will not be split between two places. If you are having difficulty finding a topic, tell us which one and someone may be able to help. Bielle (talk) 22:23, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
It's alright. I just made a tiny mistake.--Lucky102 (talk) 16:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Violating BLP without actual violating BLP

How could it be? Archie Bland explains: "It's all very unfair, this. There I was, minding my own non-notability - and now I find myself publicly branded as a no-mark by the sixth-most popular website in the world, and also branded the sort of no-mark who thinks they're a mark." He was accused in writing his own Wikipedia's entry, but it looks he is disgust with people who do it. He writes: "I know there are a couple of lines in it that aren't quite right, but I'm damned if I'm going to be the sort of person who edits their own Wikipedia page."216.119.145.99 (talk) 15:21, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I think Archie may have been confused. I can't find anything that suggests he wrote the article; however, at one point the article was tagged with {{self-published}}. That tag doesn't refer to the author of the article, it refers to the sources in the article. Ryan Vesey 16:31, 3 October 2012 (UTC)