User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 134

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The User:Qworty matter

I have cited this statement of yours on Qworty's talk page [1], from January of this year, in proposing an indefinite ban/block of the editor at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#User:Qworty. You therefore may wish to comment. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 16:25, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

On the Internet, nobody knows that you are being sarcastic. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:27, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
As Carrite says, this was good investigative journalism in the real world, that should be used to identify a Wikipedia editor or editors who have been deliberately and systematically misusing Wikipedia. ArbCom proceedings take a while. Can this editor, and possibly his sockpuppets be banned by Jimbo Wales, either indefinitely, or until the ArbCom can decide? Robert McClenon (talk) 16:27, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Ironholds has indeffed for willful BLP violations, which seems reasonable. Carrite (talk) 18:09, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

A more serious concern is that Qworty was confirmed by a checkuser to be using sockpuppets in 2007. That check was initiated by a user who claimed that Qworty (who we now know is Robert Clark Young) was cyberstalking them. None of the accounts were blocked. Members of ArbCom, specifically User:Fred Bauder (although probably others as well) investigated another user's claims of cyberstalking at around the same time. Again, Qworty was not blocked. Jimbo's recent warning to Qworty has been mentioned elsewhere, but Jimbo made a similar warning to Qworty back in 2010. This is not a case of someone being sneaky and flying under the radar, this is a case of someone blatantly using sockpuppets, violating policies, coming to the attention of WP's most powerful and yet being allowed to continue unabated. This is perhaps the most concerning aspect of this case. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:10, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Really? All of the dots were connected now, and yet it's somehow arbcom's fault that they didn't connect the dots (some of which did not exist back then, of course) 6 years ago? --Conti| 21:28, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
The dots were connected 6 years ago. The user who initiated the checkuser request also posted this request for help in which she said "To whom do I report Robert Clark Young for Wikipedia violations? He has archived the talk page on his site so that none of the discussions are visible, re-edited, and deleted sources Under the name "Professor Ron Hill" (a name from our shared undergraduate days) ... Bob has a very personal grudge against me and I do not feel it is right that he is basically able to manipulate whatever article he wants on Wikipedia with the administration doing nothing about it". Elsewhere, she wrote "User Qworty is an editor who was a former boyfriend of mine against whom I have had a previous restraining order. In 2001, he sent me a Trojan horse computer virus. He has, under the name Qworty, repeatedly followed my edits on Wikipedia and maliciously changed them". The checkuser confirmed that Qworty had two other sockpuppets and identified a long list of possible socks. None of the accounts were blocked. All of this was known in 2007. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:53, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's surprisingly easy to judge situations correctly in hindsight, isn't it? I have no idea why the account was not blocked back then, given the positive checkuser results, but if anything, I doubt it would have been an indefinite block. First time socking usually doesn't get you an indef block. And we know now that the accusations you cite were true. But people make accusations of all kinds all the time around here, and it's usually pretty hard or downright impossible to determine the validity of such accusations. It would certainly be nice to have more people that thoroughly investigate every accusation made around here, but I'm sure you know as well as I do that that's downright impossible. Making this somehow arbcom's fault is just silly. --Conti| 22:16, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
There's absolutely nothing silly about it. You have a case where an editor is making the assertion that Qworty is Robert Clark Young, their ex-boyfriend, against whom they claim to have had a restraining order, and that Qworty is editing against policy with that account and with sockpuppets. The editor filed a checkuser request. It was considered credible enough that a checkuser was done and sockpuppets were identified. Even back in 2007, I think it was common practice to block sockpuppet accounts, even if the main account remains unblocked. That was not done. For abusive sockpuppetry like this, an indef block is quite normal. That was not done. At almost the same time, another editor, who happens to be an admin, made similar claims about Qworty and stated they were in contact with members of ArbCom about it. Fred Bauder appears to have done some investigation. It is unlikely that Fred was unaware of the checkuser result and the claims it was based on. I have alerted him to this conversation and suggested that he comment here. I believe that people knew in 2007 that the allegations were credible and very likely to be true and did nothing about Qworty. No hindsight is required. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:31, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Delicious carbuncle. Based on what is being said to have been reported in 2007, there has been a six-year lapse in sanctions. I would suggest that this episode illustrates that Wikipedia does a better job of dealing with "more obvious" problem editors, that is, blatant POV-pushers, uncivil editors and flamers, tendentious editors, and outright vandals, than it does with devious editors. Since editors are required to assume good faith until proven otherwise, devious editing stays under the radar, while it is easy to spot vandalism, and other obviously disruptive editing becomes apparent soon. In this case, the policy of assuming good faith is what allowed bad faith editing to go on for a long time. What I don't understand is how sock puppetry went unchecked. The process did not work, and should have worked at the time. The established Wikipedia processes are not designed to deal with long-term devious editing. They are designed to deal with sock-puppetry, when sock-puppetry is reported (which it was), and it isn't clear why they didn't work in that regard. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:08, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
The foundation is to blame for any libel this man may have perpetrated on this site. It is responsible for any libel that appears on this site. It hosts those pages and negligently allows anonymous editors to say anything they want to about living people, while knowing full well that our processes are (however well-intended) inadequate to prevent this sort of abuse happening. In a just society, it would be liable. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:05, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
While libel and responsibility are complex legal issues, I agree with the basic sentiment that Wikipedia and its editors exist in a curious limbo, where the project is seen as vitally important to society as a whole, and yet the typical checks and balances we require of central social institutions do not exist, or at least do not have the procedural clarity and strength we typically ask of them. This is a deeply important matter and we should all take it to heart and work to come up with more responsible ways of dealing with many kinds of problems that have come up recently. That we can read several people defending anything about the processes by which Qworty was allowed to keep operating on this site only digs the hole deeper. This is serious trouble for Wikipedia's reputation, by no means the first trouble we've encountered lately, and we cannot afford to have more incidents like it--reading some of the UK Parliament "Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions" proceedings , it is now conceivable that governments may start to get involved with this project at a regulatory or statutory level, and we should do whatever we can to put our own house in order to make that as unlikely as it would be unwelcome. Wichitalineman (talk) 02:57, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I know we have a reasonable array of software tools for looking at content. I would humbly suggest that the available toolset for examining editor behavior is not as well developed. Personally, I think that is a problem, and one which is contributory to the problem being discussed here. -- [ UseTheCommandLine ~/talk ] # _ 08:19, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

The difficulty with Qworty's behaviour was that it was expressed over a pattern of edits, rather than in much that was itself sanctionable. There were times when the edits could have resulted in actions, such as when Jimbo placed his warning mentioned above, but generally what happened was that the warning would come from a different editor each time, without connecting the dots. This is something that software has trouble picking up. If someone had the full picture the community could have responded, but building that picture is tricky, and needed someone driven to do it. I'm glad that someone was, and perhaps off-wiki was the only way it could happen. (Which, of course, doesn't speak well of ourselves).
If the community does respond to this, and I hope it does, then I guess what I'd like to see is an effort to ask if our processes are sufficient for identifying difficult problems which aren't encompassed in a single edit. - Bilby (talk) 09:52, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
One of our guidelines may clash with this. If I read it correctly we are not allowed to use contribution histories to 'stalk' other editors. I came across a similar editor recently that is a borderline case so consensus would need to decide if their edits are POV. The edits aren't a violation but seem POV. Even mentioning the editor's name may be a violation. I may be wrong in this and if so let me know a way to bring editors like these to the attention of the community. One article did have other issues that I brought up at a notice board but that is as far I went with it.--Canoe1967 (talk) 11:16, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
That's part of the problem. Where a pattern of edits is the issue, you need to watch the editor carefully to connect the dots. Which creates a risk of harassment - whether real or just perceived. Or, in this case, if you believed that there was a connection between Qworty and Robert Young, you would have had a very hard time drawing it, as it would probably have required outing to make the case. Anyway, I'm not sure if the processes are wrong, or if they weren't used properly, or if the conflicting issues just prevent things from working, or if there are just things we can't do, but I'd like to know how to handle this better. - Bilby (talk) 11:57, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I can see it creating a huge backlog at ANI if we change guidelines to allow contrib checks. Perhaps an IRC reporting method? I have noticed that when an editor is taken to ANI then their contribs are looked into. I don't even know if this is proper use of them. They are taken to ANI for one issue and everyone starts posting diffs that have nothing to do with the issue they were taken to ANI for.--Canoe1967 (talk) 12:13, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I keep a close eye on the contributions of a few editors. I do not believe that I am violating any guideline by doing so, but I don't care if I am. Anyone is welcome to try to get me sanctioned for this. Good luck. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:19, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
There is no plausible suggestion that we do not "allow contrib checks". Policy says "The contribution logs can be used in the dispute resolution process to gather evidence to be presented in requests for comment, mediation, WP:ANI, and arbitration cases". --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:06, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I am probably just reading it differently. I read it as they should only be used in reviews of editors as listed above. If an editor is taken to ANI for POV then do we start listing all the diffs that aren't POV like 3RR, copyvio, or civility, etc? Or should we just take them to ANI for 'general violations' and list them all in the lead of the ANI?
Bilby, did you read my statements just above yours? In 2007, two separate users (one of whom was an admin) complained about Qworty. A checkuser confirmed that Qworty was using sockpuppets and ArbCom members were aware of the allegations of cyberstalking. All of that was sanctionable. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:15, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I did. The problem is that there were a lot of similar events, all treated as separate issues. In each case, he could have been sanctioned, but people seemingly unaware of the previous cases decided to drop it back to a warning instead. My concern here is that the problems were seen in isolation. Once someone has a block log, or has a series of clear escalating warnings on their talk page, we can see the picture, but where the problem is scattered across a few years, with different people raising it each time, it isn't always the case that they recognise that this time something stronger needs to be done. - Bilby (talk) 16:04, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
They may appear to be separate incidents, but perhaps I should have mentioned that they were happening at the same time. I have no doubt at all that the case which sparked the checkuser was mentioned by the admin who discussed their own case with ArbCom members. User:Jpgordon, who ran the checkuser, was on ArbCom at the time. So here are two ArbCom members in 2007, Jpgordon and Fred Buader, with knowledge of alleged cyberstalking and proven sockpuppetry and abusive editing. It would be out of character for anyone associated with ArbCom to give a straight answer about why this resulted no action. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:36, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Careful of jumping to conclusions there. I have no recollection of discussing the case with other ArbCom members, but it would have been entirely within my work at what's now SPI to simply take an open case, get the results being asked for, and pay no further attention to it. I wouldn't have blocked based on the SPI result -- I would have left that to another admin, as was my procedure at the time. I don't know why the checkuser request was closed when it was (before action had been taken on the findings); that situation should have led to an immediate block of the master. Straight enough answer? --jpgordon::==( o ) 19:09, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer. I hope that Fred Bauder has a better recollection of these cases. Perhaps someone could check the ArbCom archives? Or maybe those involved could look through their own emails from that time to refresh their memories? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 12:12, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
The claim of stalking has certainly been used as an attempt to avoid scrutiny. (Fae comes to mind.) But if WP is going to look after its own house rather than rely on people going to Wikipediocracy and/or the press, then this so-called stalking has to become accepted custom and practice here. As it is, not only do we have someone banned for linking a Wikipediocracy blog that names one of the Commons admins who Jimbo regularly clashes with here, but people are even suggesting that saying that Qworty=Young can still be seen as outing here. Indeed if Young had not decided to out himself here under pressure from Salon, multiple users in this thread would be subject to blocking for outing the squirt. For this site to live up to its obligations as the dominant English-language reference source, then we need a radical re-alignment so that our responsibilities towards our readers and the subjects of our articles are put at least on a par with those to our contributors, and active gaming of policy by contributors in order to avoid scrutiny should become a blockable offence.--Peter cohen (talk) 18:51, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Let's fix edit-conflict problems

We know how to fix them, and edit-conflicts in section-based editing are already auto-corrected. So, let's fix more problems, and the more we discuss the issues, then perhaps we can reach consensus on how to merge multiple changes. The rationale is simple: as more people join Wikipedia, then more edit-conflicts are likely, and we need to prepare to reduce them before the crowd arrives. I think we should just start talking about various scenarios, and suggest patterns to auto-fix the edit-conflicts. Some scenarios (numbered as "Sn") to consider:

  • S1: Two replies after same message: I think this might be the most-common fear, and I suggest to insert the 2nd reply after the 1st reply, so the logic would be to insert an edit-conflict reply not exactly after line n, but rather, insert the 2nd reply before old line n+1. In practice, it is often easy to spot the original line n+1 after the message, and hence to auto-correct, then insert reply_2 after that message+reply_1.
  • S2: Two edits change the same line: A simple fix would be to treat a line as two halves, and simply combine changes to each half deleting/adding text, else the latter change overrides the first change. However, I think, with a little analysis, the removal/addition of text could be combined in subtle cases, as perhaps matching 10 characters either before/after the changed text, else use the line contents from the 2nd edit (as replacing that line).
  • S3: Line(s) deleted during 2 edits: When the 1st edit deletes the lines, then changes to those lines in the 2nd edit should be ignored, but conversely, lines deleted by the 2nd edit take precedence and should be removed. As in S1, new text lines (or replies) should be inserted before line n+1, after the deleted lines. To re-sync with the original line count, then deleted lines should perhaps be considered as empty text at those old line numbers, until the page is saved. The software might need to have extra internal line-counters to skip the deleted lines after combining the texts.
  • S4: Numerous lines differ: In cases where perhaps, 50-100 lines differ, then I am wondering if the software should issue a warning, where the text might actually be editing a different page.
  • S5: Changes could be interpreted in 2 ways: In some cases, the software might judge a change as 2 different possibilities of changes, and in such cases, perhaps look-ahead and choose the simplest path which avoids multiple differences after that point. Often the easiest solution is to merely count the number of "unchanged" lines after that point, and the "right" path will have far fewer mismatched lines.

In the initial analysis of edit-conflict problems, it can be easily seen that many talk-pages involve mainly the accumulated additions of multiple replies, as perhaps the easiest type of auto-correction during an edit-conflict. So then, merely retro-insert the 2nd reply, as inserted before line n+1, to appear after the 1st reply. In fact, the auto-correction of talk-pages might use some different (simpler) rules, as compared to the auto-correction of article edit-conflicts. The more we discuss these various issues, then the more we can find a consensus where the 2nd edit should override the first, or perhaps the auto-correction should warn of numerous changes, as if trying to edit after vandalism, or hack edits, which should most-likely be halted, to allow totally reverting the prior edit, not auto-merging of the changes which might conceal the prior hack edits. The auto-correction could be kept simpler, at first, then improved later. For example, by treating long lines of text as "auto-lines" or sub-lines of 50-character segments, then the auto-correction could be treated as simple line-for-line recombinations of changes, even with thousand-character lines, if that were easier to verify. Start with simple ways to auto-correct the text. Anyway, let's fix those many, many simple edit-conflict problems.

Conclusions so far: Most of the talk-page edit-conflicts are very easy to auto-correct, and I see no excuse for having edit-conflicts in busy talk-pages. It indicates a serious failure to correct a very common, easy problem, as perhaps due to fears about more-complex edit-conflicts within articles. So, let's fix them separately, not let fears of complex cases then paralyze the fixes for simple cases. -Wikid77 23:56, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Further considerations about edit-conflicts: Some areas of Wikipedia have numerous edit-conflicts, such as the wp:Help_desk, where I have tried to assist in answering questions several times, but the edit-conflicts seemed to happen in "85%" of all help-replies (although edit-conflicts in 55% might be more accurate). Anyway, it did not take long to realize how answering the questions at the Help_desk involves redo for numerous edit-conflicts. Now it might seem the edit-conflicts merely show, hey, "that question was already answered" so just focus on the next question, but in practice, very many Help_desk questions could have 5 alternate answers, and so edit-conflict does not really stop duplicate answers, it typically rejects alternate solutions to those same questions. In short, the "only good edit-conflict is a vandal being thwarted". As for new articles about a major event, or recent tornado, or shipwreck, then I dread trying to help the editors update those articles, and I feel sorry for their edit-conflict suffering. -Wikid77 04:11, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Further analysis of edit-conflict pages: Fortunately, for years, many people have been logging the actual incidents, of each edit-conflict event, by embedding the "{{ec}}" template (which says: "(edit conflict)") into many of the affected pages. So now, there is ample edit-conflict data to analyze, in WhatLinksHere/Template:ec as "9,918" links (10 thousand pages). A quick breakdown of the first 3,000 edit-conflict pages: 31% article-talk pages, 22% user-talk (like this page), 13% Wikipedia-talk (about policies or guidelines), 5% help-desk, 5% reference-desk, 2% village-pump edit-conflicts, but I will check more edit-conflict pages and refine the counts somewhat. Anyway, 31% (as article-talk conflicts) then means 69% of edit-conflicts were logged in user-talk (this page), policy-talk or other forums. Of course, people cannot mark live articles with "{{ec}}" even if the article main-namespace hid the message "(edit conflict)" then other editors would continually remove the "ec" tags cluttering the text. I think to simulate the actual edit-conflict of article "xx" then check for "Talk:xx" in the WhatLinksHere, because the edit-conflict levels are likely to be similar, where conflicts in talk-pages would tend to reflect conflicts in the related article text. More later. -Wikid77 04:11/10:40, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Current support does Edit-merge but also Edit-clobber: To double-check the current handling of edit-conflict scenarios, I have re-tested as two editors concurrently changing top or bottom of the same page, where edit-conflict does auto-correction to edit-merge different areas of a page. So, the good news is that potential edit-conflicts were properly auto-corrected as edit-merge when the changes were in separate portions of the page, so a prior edit to page-top (infobox format) was then edit-merged with changes to page-bottom, as combining both edits. However, trying to re-edit the page-top (infobox) was reported as "Edit-conflict" until those attempted changes were removed, and then the SAVE was accepted as auto-correction to edit-merge the top/bottom of the 2 conflicting editors. However, when the same username ran 2 edits together for the page, then the 2nd edit (in conflict with infobox changes) caused an implict override, or "edit-clobber" of the first saved edit and removed all prior changes to the infobox, with no warning. So, that is a condition to beware, if a user edits the same page from multiple windows, then a 2nd edit might override the first edit (not warn edit-conflict), so be very careful to re-run a 2nd edit using the current revision. -Wikid77 16:23, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
    • I agree but as long as long as the priority is on fixing things no one cares about like the Login page, forcing the notifications or killing off the Orange Bar of Doom there is little chance at this happening. I find it to be a real pain on active discussions when I have 3 or 4 Edit conflicts in a row and sometimes I just give up and go away until it slows down. Kumioko (talk) 19:34, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
      • If more people keep noting the edit-conflict problems, then the developers could see them as a priority, such as noting "3 or 4 edit-conflicts in a row". -Wikid77 22:22, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I expect that part of what is going on is that the developers don't want to spend much time improving things that will be made obsolete in any case when Flow comes online. One of the central goals for Flow is to complete eliminate edit conflicts on talk pages. Looie496 (talk) 19:58, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
The clear advantage of fixing current edit-conflicts, before installing Flow, is the fixes for article edit-conflicts not just talk-pages only. -Wikid77 22:22, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I admit I just read the link to Flow just now and so am new to the idea of what is being planned. However, based on what I read there I see the following being a rallying call in the future "We aren't Facebook!"; as that was a common compliant with what replaced the orange bar (which I always thought was a shade of yellow personally...). And so is Flow really going to be a solution that the Community can or will accept? We shouldnt put off improvements because a comprehensive solution to ALL is "around the corner". If scientists said they would stop working on the issue of what dark matter and dark energy were because they were SURE that a unified theory of EVERYTHING was around the corner and therefore solve what those issues were anyways, well those scientists would be waiting for a long time twiddling their thumbs. (talk) 20:15, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Old stuff remains years longer as people oppose change: The value of fixing the old talk-pages can be seen by problems in other new-talk products, such as wp:LiquidThreads which is slow, rambling and had lacked the view-history of talk-pages. Hence, many people will likely support fixes to edit-conflicts now. A common complaint about LiquidThreads was inability to reply to multiple comments at once, or search within replies, where users were forced into an "opinion forum" where each message replied tediously to only one post per edit, as laboriously stretching a 5-person discussion into hours of cumbersome chained replies, many of which were likely not read as chained too far from original comments. However, unless people knew how much faster the old talk-pages were, where a single edit can post replies to 7 comments, then the hours of tedium of chaining replies in LiquidThreads was not immediately understood as boredom mired in a lengthy snail trail. A typical 20-line talk-page dialog with 12 replies could ramble across 3 or 4 screens of message-reply boxes. Truly, hours and hours were needed to post all replies, and then re-post to cross-update the replies, chained across a bloated network of multiple separate message boxes. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:22, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Recorded edit-conflicts are 12% worse: over 11,180 logged: In my initial analysis of edit-conflicts, I was lulled into thinking only 9,918 talk-pages had logged edit-conflict events, but the Template:ec redirects to another major name, Template:Edit_conflict, linked into 11,182 pages, as over 1,200 more logged cases of edit-conflict events. I guess we had begun to think edit-conflicts were "unavoidable" (seemed like it), so not many people have been discussing the "11,200" known cases of edit-conflicts, logged to the exact messages during each conflict. -Wikid77 19:46, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
  • 20 more edit-conflicts logged, perhaps over 2% per month: The log of edit-conflict templates already increased by 21 new pages in 2 days, indicating problems in more articles than just the "typical" 21,000 pages already having edit-conflicts. So, the problem continues to widen, and some people log more incidents, even though few people are complaining in major forums any longer. -Wikid77 17:30, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Recent edit-conflict about major tornado article: As evidence of more edit-conflicts in current events, the page Talk:2013_Moore_tornado (Oklahoma, US) has the phrase "(Edit conflict)" posted on 21 May 2013. The phrase does not use the template {ec}, so that woke me to searching the talk-pages for text as "(edit conflict)" rather than just WhatLinksHere to the {ec} template, as tallied below. Wikid77 09:11, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Wikisearching "edit conflict" lists 35,992 tagged pages: So, beyond WhatLinksHere to template {ec}, when also counting people just putting phrase "edit conflict" in discussion pages, then the counts are:  8,662 (24%) article talk-pages; 14,058 (39%) user talk-pages; 8,369 (23%) Wikipedia-project pages; 3,360 (9%) Wikipedia-talk; 1,189 (3%) user pages; 250 (.7%) template-talk; or 330 other pages. Overall, 36,000 pages directly mention edit-conflicts, including 21,200 links to {ec} templates. -Wikid77 09:11, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Fix the problem not the blame for edit-conflicts

I am adding this edit-conflict topic, as a separate thread, to vent any ill-feelings about not fixing the trivial edit-conflict problems, as easily possible, all those many, many years ago. It can be very easy to get hopping mad, once truly realizing how very easy the talk-page edit-conflicts could have been auto-corrected. However, as the adage states, "Fix the problem not the blame" because we could spend more years finger-pointing who to blame for the misery, or trying to rationalize why the edit-conflict problems were "deliberately left unfixed" (or so it seems), for years and years, as thousands of editors (at least "9,918") were suffering the humiliation of recopying or retyping entries, like busywork for some antiquated school official demanding to complete the form as hand-written, in triplicate (no machine copies). Surely, numerous clever people had seen the edit-conflicts over the years, and then concluded this "Version 1.0" software would be updated soon, but later rolled their eyes and left. However, I will let others express whatever justifiable anger, below, but meanwhile, we should re-focus on emphasizing the time is now, the time has come, the angry mob is at the gates, and we need to fix the simple edit-conflicts soon. Yet I would like to hear other horror stories about past edit-conflict nightmares, such as most edit-conflicts in a row, or what people did after the umpteenth edit-conflict pushed them to the brink, and I think people's pain needs to be acknowledged, but if this thread gets out-of-control, then feel free to hat whatever parts of the discussion. Also, as a point of overall perspective, the editor community also shares the blame in not helping to resolve the scenario of 2 adjacent replies, where we need consensus to resolve the edit-conflict by deciding a 2nd reply should be appended after the 1st reply. -Wikid77 (talk) 04:11/16:23, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Trying to get wider opinions from community: I have been posting more messages, to get a wider sample of various opinions, including more technical insight into, perhaps, earlier attempts to auto-correct more edit-conflicts, and trace the history of the current edit-merge capabilities. I found one message from 2004, noting that partial edits to separate portions of a page were being successfully auto-merged, if several lines separated the conflicting edits to the same page. -Wikid77 19:46, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Perhaps people have lost hope of fixing edit-conflicts: There is a old term in psychology, about losing interest, known as "psychic numbing" (recently added article), and that is why some opinion polls can fail to measure the extent of problems in computer systems, while objective measurements might better reflect the priority of impacts. Another measurement problem, with judging user interests, is the "silent majority" of thousands of users who rarely post to talk-pages (or surveys), but often edit articles, categories, or (navbox) templates. Who knows what they think? So, again, collecting objective data, even from silent users, is an important part. -Wikid77 17:30, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Why do you always post this stuff here?Moxy (talk) 20:23, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that Wikid77 knows that Jimbo appreciates him doing so. Which would seem a good a reason as any to post something(s) on someone's talk page. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:38, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
I guess i should have been more clear - why copy and paste the same thing here that is posted at other locations - why not just a link to the original post where the conversations are taking place over the copy and pasting?Moxy (talk) 20:53, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Post here as other talk-pages have other readers or scope: The reason is because Jimbo's talk-page tends to reach a cross-section of numerous users, who might provide answers not posted elsewhere, not to mention Jimbo has this page as a central place to post his long-term opinions about the topics, and get feedback. In many cases, issues discussed here will get resolved in ways (or speeds) not directly found at Village-pump discussions, such as some concerns related to Commons images. For example, I initially viewed the edit-conflict problems as a technology issue, not aware that choosing the order to post 2 replies, at the same line number, is also somewhat of a wp:VPP policy issue than just wp:PUMPTECH, and so I might start posting there, for the policy aspects of deciding edit-conflicts between 2 users, based on a cross-section of replies seen here. In general, the click-through rate is very low for wikilinks, which is a major reason to limit navboxes to perhaps 100 wikilinks, because navspam from navboxes tends to double the mid-range article sizes, with wikilinks almost never used. Hence, merely cross-linking to another forum tends to funnel the cross-section of users into a narrow set, who are clicking links to leave this page, while depriving the broader set of users the opportunity to voice opinions for Jimbo and others here. For those multiple reasons, it can be beneficial for users to repeat some sentences here, also found in other discussions, although most of the text posted here tends to be unique. However, several people have asked why to post messages here, so perhaps we need an essay to explain for general users. -Wikid77 09:11, 23 May 2013 (UTC)


Hello, Jimbo Wales. Please check your email – you've got mail!
It may take a few minutes from the time the email is sent for it to show up in your inbox. You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{You've got mail}} or {{YGM}} template.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Suri 100 (talkcontribs) 05:39, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Question about article title

Do you have any opinion about having an article renamed as The Murder of Abedi Kasongo. --Rasta lørenskog (talk) 11:54, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

The objection to doing this seems to be based on a famous quote by Groucho Marx, namely "Military justice is to justice what military music is to music." Also, WP:BLPCRIME applies here.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:39, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Ginseng Coffee

Hey Jimbo, can you help fix and expand the page? There could be more information to be added, and i can't find an image for that at the moment. Kord Kakurios (talk) 22:41, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Kord Kakurios, it's nice to seeing you participating in areas other than discussions of pedophilia, but perhaps you could make more of an effort on that article before asking Jimbo to fix it for you? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:40, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
(Removed part of DC's reply which gave a rather dubious impression of the OP without contributing anything to this section. It may not have been DCs intention, but better safe than sorry.) Fram (talk) 14:48, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I've restored it. I have probably participated in more discussions of pedophilia and child protection issues here than Kord Kakurios, so any dubious impression would reflect equally on me. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:53, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll let others decide. I don't think it is in any way appropriate to include such association where it has no added value and can reflect badly on the OP, but perhaps I'm the only one who feels this way. Fram (talk) 15:05, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, they probably didn't realize that they would be drawing attention to themselves by posting on Jimbo's talk page. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:48, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Fram. Your comment added nothing the discussion (such as it was) and it is quite difficult to view it as anything other than trolling and harassment. Resolute 03:14, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Developments from political players in Norway

In 2011 Norway's cabinet erased its debt to an African country that had two Norwegian soldiers (with valid Army identification cards in their possession) on death row—convicted of spying and murder. Are there any references in regards to their repatriation to Scandinavia about a week before the 2013 elections in September? (If the timing is wrong, the applicable Scandinavian government can be seen as having an inept foreign service, or being too soft on Norwegian convicted criminals/spies/murderers.)

Also the upcoming election might indirectly bring a new article to wikipedia. The reason is that a former leader of School Student Union of Norway, and a later victim of 22/7 (Norway's 9/11) is the subject of a book by a Norwegian political player (of the left-wing) and author. With Håvard Vederhus' name in the news, some of my countrymen might think that he is an international significant person, and therefore write an article about him. (I am guessing that his notability might be close to that of a student president at the largest high schools in the U.S. Except that I am guessing that he never has been directly elected to anything, by thousands of students. Maybe his notability can be compared to the following, except that they don't even have a language link to Norwegian: publicist Bjørn Wegge, winner of Toronto-based beaty pageant Saiyma Haroon, special adviser (without notable references) Gry Tina Tinde and circus worker Yellow Pagee Veronica Ljosnes.) How can one ascertain lacking notability for any or all the above? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rasta lørenskog (talkcontribs) 11:58, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

WP:SOAPBOX. Your first paragraph is pure speculation and political commentary, your second paragraph is is pre-emptively poisoning the well, again on a political subject. These are your very first and only edits to the English Wikipedia, making one wonder why you are actually here. Is there actually a reason that new Norwegian editors are coming to this page so regularly? We've had User:Whatthatspells, first edit (April 2013) here, then User:One Direction of norw, only edits (15 April) here; User:Normash made some other edits besides coming to this page, and has since been blocked as a sockpuppet of a blocked user (similar to User:Barnstar candidate school, first edits here, soon after blocked as a sock). Fram (talk) 08:34, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
How many edits would one need before you approve? You're talking about well-poisoning, while I am indirectly questioning if there are notable reasons to translate an article from Norwegian about Håvard Vederhus. And I have pointed out that we probably should not be blinded by the fact that a book (about him) was written by a known political player. (The author was interviewed for 10 minutes on the TV2 Nyhetskanalen, and I was waiting for a clear reason to be explained about why the subject was notable. I was suprised to see that the author brought a guest to the TV show, that might help explain the notability of the Norwegian victim. The guest was the mother of the subject! I am sure that books will be sold, but not to me since I still don't know why he is notable, except that an author/political player wrote a book (3 months before the national elections)—and the subject has an article on Norwegian wikipedia. --Rasta lørenskog (talk) 09:38, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
More than zero at least... "Hey, I've never edited this site before, but I would like to warn you that someone may someday create an article about someone who isn't notable in my opinion (and, coincidentally, was a politician). Oh, and I also would like to mention that the politicians from a country you know next to nothing about may perhaps do something in a few months time". Your motives in posting here are at least dubious and seem to be motivated by a political agenda instead of a genuine interest in improving Wikipedia. Fram (talk) 09:54, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
We know something about that country—thru the articles about its publicists, beauty pageant winners, circus workers and special advisors. What we don't know is your opinion about the notability of the deceased student politician. --Rasta lørenskog (talk) 10:06, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I am really not going to spend my time discussing the notability of someone who hasn't got an article here with someone who thinks that we shouldn't have such an article here. It would be elevating pointlessness to a new height. Fram (talk) 10:31, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Sju hav started. Fram (talk) 11:34, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

I have nominated for deletion the articles about the publicist, the circus worker, the special adviser, the beaty queen and the related pageant for married, wealthy people with modelling experience. If anyone can tell me what are the criteria about inclusion of student politicians, than we might have an idea how to help with an article about Håvard Vederhus. If he was appointed for, but not elected by thousands of students, then he probably is not notable. --Rasta lørenskog (talk) 10:46, 24 May 2013 (UTC)


"For those of us who love Wikipedia, the ramifications of the Qworty saga are not comforting". That sums it up for me. More thoughts soon.

I would have banned him outright years ago. So would many others. That we did not, points to serious deficiencies in our systems.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:34, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

This can't be the sum total of your response to this issue. Please weigh in Jimmy. InconvenientCritic (talk) 23:23, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
What about "the system" stopped you? Why didn't you?Dan Murphy (talk) 20:40, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
In past cases, he did: Often, when Jimbo has used his admin rights to block users or delete nonsense files, then several people have launched endless complaints, tirades, diatribes, potty tantrums (etc.) to flood message boards with numerous insults (even on other websites) to almost shutdown meaningful work. Meanwhile, you might think other admins would instantly come to block the haters, issue warnings, or redact insults, but no, its like no one left will help in a visible way, as if they, too, would become likewise hounded, as part of an imagined "Jimbo conspiracy" of tyranny to suppress anyone who is badmouthing "questioning" or insulting "correcting" the horrible intelligent, experienced, accomplished, and generous people in the world who "do not have consensus" to oppose the ideas of the uninformed. In fact, some admins move quietly to help (very quietly), but when Jimbo walks away from insults and ridicule seen as weak, he is probably providing the strongest leadership to avoid the hate-mongering that would lash back against his admin actions. In earlier years, Jimbo was directly involved, writing articles, inspiring massive fundraising, and setting major priorities to keep Wikipedia from total failure, and then people had the gall to refer to him as "Co-founder of Wikipedia" (just too funny). Extremely intelligent people can see how Jimbo has won amazing victories against what could have been extended petty battles with bad karma to waste his time, which he used instead to spread positive news worldwide, and hence, thousands of people see Jimbo and Wikipedia for those big, worldwide accomplishments, rather than trivial mudslinging fights. It might take a while to understand the social dynamics of those actions, but I hope I have offered some insight into the process. -Wikid77 10:40, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
jpgordon's comment above suggests that, for whatever reason, procedures that were (and are) normally followed, were not followed in one instance. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:48, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this in greater detail, Jimbo. Even more so, I look forward to substantive actions. I was exceptionally disturbed by Qworty's intemperate and crude talk page rants and revenge editing a few weeks back, and if anything, more disturbed at the willingness of several other editors to defend and protect this gross misbehavior. Hand wringing is not enough, and disruptive editors must be identified and have their editing privileges removed if they are unwilling or unable to comply with our policies, with a special emphasis on BLP. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 21:49, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
The "fight the Man!" instinct around here is strong. No matter whom is banned, there is a vocal group of people who will argue against it. If action is taken by ArbCom, they will be accused of star chamber-type justice--with side accusations of favoritism, capriciousness, or ideological motivation to boot. Qworty's problematic behavior was brought to Arbcom's attention six years ago... yet here we are, only now having given him the boot. Jclemens (talk) 22:32, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
The last time Jimbo acted to ban an editor with a conflict of interest, ArbCom overturned his action with extreme prejudice (see Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/TimidGuy ban appeal). That context may explain how "the system" constrains him from acting. MastCell Talk 22:50, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo honestly has two choices—create stronger institutions on Wikipedia such as an elected assembly, content review boards, and professionalization of the admin force (with an admin review subcommittee of ArbCom hiring, sanctioning, or dismissing admins), rather than handing the encyclopedia over to the mercy of corrupt, self-serving cabals; alternatively, he can reassume the role of a god-king. I would prefer the former. Wer900talk 23:06, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
That would be because Jimbo's ban was wrong on a number of different levels, MastCell. You'll note divisions in the committee over whether and how Will Beback was to be sanctioned for his behavior in the matter, but there was not a single dissenting voice among the committee of the time who said that Jimbo's ban was correct. Jclemens (talk) 23:40, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Your argument appears to be that the whole committee agreed ergo Arbcom was correct and Jimbo was wrong. Considering the pressures to conformity that would exist I think that argument has little value, IRWolfie- (talk) 10:59, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Jclemens, I'm not arguing that Jimbo's ban was "right" or "wrong". I'm just saying that the last time Jimbo intervened to address a conflict of interest, he was very publicly reversed by ArbCom. In that light, it's not surprising that he feels constrained from acting in these cases. MastCell Talk 22:14, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough, MastCell. The problem with your statement is the assumption that a conflict of interest actually existed. In fact, the evidence as I saw it said that 1) icky invasion of privacy was needed to draw that conclusion, 2) Even if we assumed everything that was inferred to be true was, in fact, true, nothing done would rise to the level of a policy violation, and 3) the evidence was tenuous, out of date, connected via suppositions, and thoroughly insufficient grounds on which to base a banning. So in that sense, no, I never saw the TG appeal case as being about actual COI, because COI was never established. Jclemens (talk) 04:22, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Sorry to continue this tangent here but: a conflict of interest definitely exists with regard to the TM advocate in question. The assertion of paid advocacy was disproved. Whether that advocate and several others in the subject-area are editing tendentiously is yet to be determined. Proving problematical but civil tendentiousness is hugely difficult and time-consuming, but where it exists polite, relentless tendentiousness - paid or not - is one of the biggest threats to the reliability of our medical content.
Editors who attempt to counter civil tendentious editing with uncivil bullying and gaming do us a disservice; they obscure the real problem while attracting sympathetic support for the tendentious editor/s. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 08:58, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
This is an excellent example of why Jimmy is obviously not keen to get involved. What we had was a group of editors who had disclosed who they worked for, and then proceeded to remove the best quality evidence many times as it disagreed with their personal or organizations position [2], [3], [4], [5]. And then goes on to misrepresent the source [6] One was banned for this COI by Jimmy. And was subsequently unbanned by arbcom. I still do not think Jimmy agrees with arbcom's position. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 11:35, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
This thread is supposed to be about Qworty. But somehow the conversation has been spun to perpetuate a false narrative [7] intended to vilify some undefined group of editors that the editors here are in a content dispute with. Editors misusing sources? Well if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black. Just look at these diffs where Doc James removes positive content, backed by numerous MEDRS compliant sources and reviews-- three times-- on March 23, 2013. [8][9][10] James then replaced the more positive content with a statement that negates all TM research: Independent systematic reviews have not found health benefits for TM beyond relaxation and health education. There have been 350 peer reviewed studies on Transcendental Meditation and numerous systematic research reviews including a recent positive review by the American Heart Association just this month, but Doc James wants to marginalize all this. Even if it means repeatedly deleting sourced content and circumventing discussion on the TM talk page.-- KeithbobTalk 13:39, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I started looking into this before I fell ill recently. I'll get back to it now. If sources are being systematically misrepresented in this topic area, if weak sources are being pushed to trump strong sources, by either side, it has to stop. Analysing this kind of thing is arduous and very difficult to summarise clearly so that non-expert uninvolved editors can make sense of it. But we should try. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:05, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

I do hope you feel better soon, and when you do, I for one would welcome and support input on any articles you feel need outside eyes. (olive (talk) 19:03, 23 May 2013 (UTC))

  • Mr. Wales contacted Qworty at his talk page on two occasions (both times in regards to severe BLP violations): in 2010 and in 2013. So, Mr. Wales, could you please explain what serious deficiencies in your systems have prevented you personally from banning Qworty ? Thanks. (talk) 01:49, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I think one big problem here is that enforcement efforts are weighted too much towards finding and fixing things that don't really hurt the encyclopedia, while things that really do hurt the encyclopedia are completely ignored. Think about all the time spent reverting vandalism and warning and blocking "vandals". This run-of-the-mill vandalism doesn't hurt the encyclopedia, because it's quite easy to find and undo (sure, maybe the occasional non-editor will, very briefly, see bad content in an article, but it would never be so bad that they'd write an article in the New York Times about it). One big side effect of this emphasis on vandalism is that new users editing in good faith are inadvertently painted as vandals and removed from the project before they can really contribute anything. Meanwhile, it's pretty easy for people who know how the system works to make insidious edits that can cause a lot of damage. It's a lot more difficult to spot these sorts of problems, but if there were a way of encouraging people to spend their time and energy finding these problems instead of looking for run-of-the-mill vandalism, I think it would be of much benefit to the project. Cheers, JYolkowski // talk 18:14, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I think that the statement about finding and fixing things that don't really hurt the encyclopedia is absurd. How can anyone say that vandalism does not hurt the encyclopedia? It certainly does hurt the encyclopedia. It is just easy to identify and correct. Perhaps User:JYolkowski is really saying what I said, which is that our processes do very well at identifying blatant short-term harm, such as vandalism, obvious POV pushing, and edit-warring, but that we do not have an effective process for identifying long-term devious editing. I disagree with any suggestion that we shouldn't put our current effort into fixing run-of-the-mill vandalism. I agree with the comment that too many experienced editors fail to assume good faith on the part of clueless editors and revert them as vandalism, thus biting the newbies rather than reverting them as good faith edits that are not good edits. Does User:JYolkowski have a suggestion for what process changes are needed to deal with insidious edits? Robert McClenon (talk) 23:44, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, although we do not have an effective process for identifying and correcting long-term devious edits, if User:Qworty was using sockpuppets, which we do a reasonably good job of detecting, it is hard to understand why he was not banned as a puppeteer. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:44, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

If you compare Wikipedia to the real world, then Wikipedia is like a country without a parliament and government, where the judicial system has to deal with everything. This leads to the judicial system being focussed due to public sentiment on high profile political matters and allows for smart criminals to exploit the situation and get away with their crimes by keeping a low profile. Count Iblis (talk) 13:00, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

I thought we were an anarcho-syndicalist commune...--ukexpat (talk) 16:25, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
See:Userboxes@WikiSpeak -- Hillbillyholiday talk 23:19, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
"You're fooling yourself! We're living in a dictatorship! A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes..."" Carrite (talk) 17:48, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Vote for the Socialist Editors Party to change things for the better. Count Iblis (talk) 18:03, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
There you go, bringing class into it again.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:04, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
That's what it's all about!!! Carrite (talk) 01:42, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
And let's not forget that in order to seize the malevolent despot crown Jimbo first had to get rid of his brother Prince Larry. Any one for a republic? MOMENTO 07:26, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
As far as I am aware Sanger left of his own accord, IRWolfie- (talk) 12:44, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
It was tongue in cheek as per the Month Python comments above but Jimbo still claims "I founded Wikipedia on January 15, 2001" on his user page whereas the Wikipedia article says "Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger". MOMENTO 21:25, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
  • It is not clear to me why some people seem proud of the outcome that some minor writer was publicly disgraced for making some short-lived and pretty minor changes in spin to the article about a rival. We need to fix things like this, not make spectacles out of them. Wnt (talk) 17:52, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but if you think the changes he made were "minor" then you need to seriously consult a dictionary.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:12, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
  • As I've now commented at Talk:Robert Clark Young, it appears that this guy is not protected by any of Wikipedia's former policies on BLP, sourcing, etc. Now the lead of his article is that he was banned by Wikipedia. You have the power and you can do absolutely whatever you want with it, simple as that. Wnt (talk) 18:16, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • And as has been explained to you, you don't understand our sourcing policies nor the BLP policy. No policies are violated. Stop kicking the dead horse. Your persistence is IDHT behavior and just plain irritating, especially since you provide no evidence. All the BLP protections are in place. Properly sourced criticism is allowed. -- Brangifer (talk) 20:55, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think I painted any surface there more than once, but I shall indeed give up on the Qworty article, not because I don't have a point according to the policies I've heard brandished around here many a time before, but because ultimately I'm not a great fan of BLP or deletionism and so if I'm going to bang my head against a wall in vain I'd rather bang my head against a deletionist wall. Specifically, in the Qworty discussion we have the precedent, apparently agreed to by the people who looked in from BLPN, that news sources (even a three column series against an obscure writer by some guy in Salon) are automatically secondary sources. So would somebody explain to me why the hell Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/2013_Mother's_Day_Parade_shooting was just allowed to happen? See User:Cardamon/2013_Mother's_Day_Parade_shooting for a userspace copy - it cites oh, CBS, New York Times, Fox, The Nation, and a bunch of Louisiana news. Yet my assertion that these were secondary sources was roundly rebuked as an argument so inanely stupid that it didn't even count; the debate was closed as "This decision was based on more than numbers; the keep opinions, as I read them, failed to show how this incident rose above typical street violence." Mind you, nineteen people getting shot in broad daylight on the streets of New Orleans, the mayor and city council turning out to protest, these are just run of the mill, nothing special, "routine news reporting", but some guy screwing with some Wikipedia articles, well that is just clearly notable and I ought to be threatened in less and less uncertain terms for even disagreeing with the idea. Is there some theory, some remedial Wiki textbook for idiots that I can look up to try to understand why it is that one out of a bazillion Wikipedia bans is so much more important, why one guy in Salon the only reliable secondary source I should respect? Because quite frankly, I don't think there are any standards. I think there's just a mob, and whoever turns out carries the day. Wnt (talk) 22:39, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Jimbo, about a week ago you started this very topic and stated: "More thoughts soon." I am eager to learn your thoughts on the subject, and also I am eager to learn what is "soon" in Jimbo's interpretation? Thanks. (talk) 16:29, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Estimating the silent majority

For years, discussions have mentioned the "silent majority" of editors who do not participate in policy discussions, or reply to editor opinion polls. However, I have been analyzing the "majority of active editors who are silent each month" as editors who do not edit the talk-pages but edit only the content pages instead. In the new essay "wp:English WP silent majority" (wp:SMAJOR or wp:SILENTM), I have compared editor-activity levels to show how 74% of editors do not edit any talk-pages during a month, and even more editors are "relatively silent" as posting only a few messages while editing more than double the number of content pages. This essay is just the start of analyzing the counts, and I have a redirect titled as "wp:Silent majority". -Wikid77 (talk) 19:25, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Need to base decisions on data or polls of 1,001 opinions: Because the silent majority is so large, at 74%, and a consensus discussion might have only 30-70 participants to decide an issue (for "all Wikipedians"), then extra information is needed. Instead, some objective data should be used as evidence to back a proposal, or else run a survey to gather a collection of 1,001 user opinions (perhaps over a 6-month period), also factoring the creation date of each username in the survey. We have seen some cases of 50-user consensus that failed to represent a wider, or worldwide, view of the issues. And, yes, they insisted that was "consensus" regardless of how many disagreed. -Wikid77 13:41, 24 May, 16:11, 25 May 2013 (UTC)


The article on the present mayor of TO is a mess right now. It has been brought up at BLPN. A bold admin may wish to lock it until the dust settles and possibly do some revdel. This article is a fine example of how the projects are becoming yellow journals. I don't feel we should be just another 'tabloid' but if consensus agrees then I assume we have no choice.--Canoe1967 (talk) 14:45, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

The consensus around the policy that we are not a tabloid overrides any local consensus of POV pushing editors. (Note: I haven't looked at this particular article, so I know nothing of the particular state it is in - I'm just making a broader philosophical point.) It's always important to remember, too, that consensus is not "majority vote of whoever happens to show up" - people who are not here to build an encyclopedia, but to pursue some other agenda, should be shown the door and given no weight in discussions. Wikipedia is not a democracy.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:36, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the prompt an concise response. I have noticed yellow journalism happening in many articles and we may be due for [WP:Project Indigo] to counter them. Since I may have your attention there are other issues that you may have an interest in at Help_talk:Contents#Images and the RfC at Wikipedia talk:Non-free content. These both concern images in articles which I try to focus on to avoid other drama. I have also started which seems to have some good support. I don't presume to expect your input on any of these other issues but you may wish to follow them as they progress.--Canoe1967 (talk) 16:32, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Has become new thread "WP:BLPCRIME issue". -Wikid77 16:11, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Schools at summer break/vacations

As might be obvious, many schools have begun summer breaks, or vacations, where students and their relatives are distracted from watching WP articles during the slowdown period. This reduces the "safety in numbers" which would typically offset fringe writing, where normally, thousands of editors would revert the hack edits; however, the slowdown also means fewer users will have time to read the POV-propaganda of fringe writing, and admins should have more time to intervene, with fewer admin requests from the reduced crowd. Current pageviews confirm a one-week drop in readership for many topics, especially academic topics during the first weeks of break. Perhaps the best tactic is to prioritize fixes depending on severity, but also any notifications to the remaining editors, to be more alert, can heighten the "watch period" until the vacationers have time to assist. Even in the worst cases, the results can be used to gauge the "wiki-social dynamics" during this period, for future recommended actions. As might be expected, more edits might be fun-related, rather than so much patrolling. In general, the more editors, the more moderate the text remains, while others expand reports of current events and research results. -Wikid77 02:27, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, winter approaches. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 07:39, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
So, will more people be distracted outside before the weather gets too cold? -Wikid77 13:03, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Only in a few countries in the Southern Hemisphere, such as New Zealand, Argentina, and Chile, does it actually become cold in the winter, and only one of them is a country in which English is the main written language. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:08, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
That's just what the government wants you to think. Open your eyes man - Australia is just a sound stage in Nevada! -mattbuck (Talk) 12:40, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, where they faked the NASA Apollo Lunar Lander flights, as well as pretending the Space Shuttles landed from Earth orbit, but were clever to change their accents depending on the script. -Wikid77 13:03, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
On the Internet, no one knows that you are being sarcastic. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:08, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Notice of upcoming wikibreak

See the notice, up above.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:58, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Hope you're going somewhere nice! Prioryman (talk) 10:59, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
London! I'm not going to be on vacation, I'm going to be working on some new ideas. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:58, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Have fun Jimbo! ZappaOMati 19:52, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, if you're in London, you'll definitely need to pop in for a drink with the local Wikipedians, unless you're trying to get away from Wikipedia completely for those three weeks. :-) Prioryman (talk) 21:41, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
But why to close this page? Sometimes (most of the times) you are not responding comments and questions addressed to you anyway. (talk) 14:27, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
On those occasions, other people do. But on this occasion, new ideas take priority. Which sounds great to me! --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:08, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

World not ready to fix edit-conflicts

Tangent from:  "/Archive_134#Let's fix edit-conflict problems".

I know we should avoid talking about other non-WMF wikis here, but when checking the Internet for ideas about how other websites were fixing edit-conflicts (not), I found, instead, that in 2013, "wiki = edit-conflict" (from MediaWiki), where numerous other wiki websites still have the bothersome edit-conflicts, with various help-pages to remind users what to do. So, if WP fixed the edit-conflicts, such as to auto-insert reply#2 after reply#1, then the rest of the world would not be prepared. Some, perhaps many, users think, "Edit-conflict is a type of collaboration which warns of busy activity" and if the edit-conflicts were fixed, then there might need to be a high-level note:

  • Activity/hour: 12 editors, 25 edits

Yet, by having the software display a simple "Activity/hour" note, then people would realize when a page became "busy" without looking for "edit-conflict" as a reminder. However, the wiki world is not ready, and seems to have MediaWiki software trouble accepting auto-merged results (within 2 minutes), from what I have been reading in other wiki websites about their edit-conflict operations. I think we should just talk about how a wiki-edit screen should have looked, if designed by experienced computer professionals. In fact, if there were some "wiki-screen design competitions" then perhaps numerous new ideas would inspire some really important changes. Anyway, I designed a potential screen, below, under: "#How a wiki-edit screen should look". -Wikid77 (talk) 07:57/13:41, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Reducing focus to fix some edit-conflicts not all: There are too many people complaining about edit-conflicts, such as in lists of AfD debates get edit-conflict when entries added/removed, and so the simple edit-conflict cases need to be fixed, yet leave complex cases as edit-conflict warning. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:11, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Estimating full extent of edit-conflict problems: When I have mentioned edit-conflicts, in various discussions, then people have noted even more problems then I had thought existed, such as current bugs where edit-conflicts should have occurred to stop an edit, but a software bug overwrote the page to drop the 1st editor's messages (sometimes in a different portion), when adding the 2nd editor's text. So improving the edit-conflict software, to handle more simple cases, also means fixing the edit-conflict bugs from early 2013. -Wikid77 13:03, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Potential edit-conflict bugs where quick edits overwrite prior: For several months, various editors have shown evidence where quick edits have seemed to erase the prior editor's changes (can be in multiple paragraphs) when adding the next quick update (can also be in multiple paragraphs), or 2 editors both click "new-section" and SAVE within 2 minutes of each other (1st new section is removed by 2nd). -Wikid77 20:01, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Compare storage accuracy to banking software: Just to give some perspective about the impact of edit-conflicts, imagine going to a bank ATM, to withdraw cash, and getting "access conflict" when a debit transaction was processed after inserting a bank-account card, then retrying and getting another "access conflict" as the account was updated to post several debit transactions from earlier purchases, and later learn that some purchases were invalidated because those vendors got bank "access conflicts" when they submitted debit receipts, and so the whole process was derailed as several vendors received access-conflict rejections when processing purchases. That really indicates the severity of edit-conflict lockups in storage of WP pages. It is the type of problem that would get people fired in handling bank-account records. -Wikid77 20:53, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

How a wiki-edit screen should look

I have been thinking to redesign the wiki-edit screen, after realizing how some users think "edit-conflict" is a valuable collaboration warning (!), alerting them to expect other edits, rather than a nuisance which cripples the rapid merging of multiple additions and updates. The basic concept behind the new wiki-screen is to assist collaboration, by showing data about prior edits (live in edit-preview), and put buttons where easy to reach, which has been very easy to improve:

Editing My article
    [Show_preview]  [Show_changes]                      Activity/hour: 12 editors, 25 edits
   |                                                                                                                      |        
   |                                                                                                                      |   
   |                                                                                                                      |   
       By clicking "Save_page" you agree to...
       [Save_page]  [Show_preview]  [Show_changes]  Cancel | Editing help
   Buffer: [4x80]   Page size: 23456b    Lines: 567    Wikilinks: 345
   Prior edits: 03:45, 23 May 2013 - 03:36, 23 May 2013 - 20:15, 22 May 2013 - 09:07, 3 April 2013

At the top of the screen, there are the crucial buttons, repeated: [Show_preview] [Show_changes], where they are quick to click without requiring the clutter of the legal disclaimer, as long as "SAVE" is not up there, but only below after the legal wording.
At screen bottom, the option "Buffer: [7x80]" would reset the edit-buffer to that number of lines/columns (on any edit-preview). The data for "Page size:" and "Wikilinks" counter would confirm how large the page had become, as interesting to notice when a page is growing with quick additions by multiple editors, as size increases fast at each next edit.

By including the note of "Activity/hour" and the bottom links to the recent prior edits, then the user can determine the level of collaboration activity, and frequency of edits, without needing "edit-conflict" as a clue when many people were editing the same page. Eventually, after some weeks, or months, many people would begin to know what activity levels could indicate troublesome rampant edits, as shown by Activity/hour.
All data fields on the screen could be quickly available, during each cycle of edit-preview, when current templates are formatted into the preview page, and recent revisions would be checked. Plus rapid changes to the list of "Prior edits" would indicate how fast other revisions have been saved, and allow instant clicks to each, when an editor becomes worried that numerous other revisions might derail further edits. No longer would editors rely on "edit-conflict" as a kluge reminder of frequent other edits, and the numerous edits would be auto-merged, based on precise rules of FIFO (first-in, first-out) ordering, as users beware how the prior editor's reply (or added/deleted text) will be processed first, in order. In general, the wiki-edit screen should have been designed to gauge the level of collaboration, and instantly adapt to the presence of new revisions and editors, rather than using primitive manual treatment of edit-conflictitis to indicate a sick software system. I regret that other computer scientists did not properly redesign the screen years ago. However, if WP held a screen-design competition, then perhaps significant changes could be made within a few months, by giving people some new ideas about screen design. Once people are aware about shifting buttons to the top, or linking other revisions at bottom, then better designs will follow. The WMF developers are very capable and could implement new screens quickly. -Wikid77 (talk) 07:57, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Some afterthoughts: When a page is modified by section-based editing, then the data values for "Page size" and "Lines" should probably contain 2 numbers, for both the section size versus the whole-page size, as then the growth of the overall page can be summarized by the numbers, while also indicating the size values for the current section being edited. The main point is to start thinking about major redesigns of the wiki-edit screen, and that could inspire others to suggest better screens as well. -Wikid77 (talk) 04:44/16:11, 25 May, 13:03, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
    Looks good to me. -mattbuck (Talk) 12:44, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
We need to think more about status data to be displayed during each cycle of edit-preview, whether for "Show preview" or "Show changes". I am thinking the count of talk-page revisions should be shown, to indicate levels of the related talk-page activity. -Wikid77 20:01, 27 May, 20:53, 28 May 2013 (UTC)


Might you kindly examine the edits at Rob Ford (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) and discussions about whether an allegation that a video exists which purportedly shows that living person committing a crime is something which ought to be in the BLP (also discussed twice at WP:BLP/N and at WP:AN)? I think you might also note the extensive and slightly argumentative tone of the article and its extensive coverage of allegations of substance abuse by that person as well. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:35, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Rob Ford article fully-protected 2 days: I see admin User:Dennis_Brown has set full protection (until 14:32, 27 May). The recent pageviews are: 10,300 to 13,800 per day, which puts the page in the Top 250 or Top 125 most-viewed pages. -Wikid77 16:11, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
It isn't just that article. Teresa King is another I just came across. Although there may be a majority of editors that want yellow journalism here they still are against general consensus as Mr. Wales states above. There are far too many other articles like this as well. I think many editors just walk away and let the others win. If we had a WP:Project:Indigo then that may help draw attention and support to enact the general consensus. The BLPN seems to be failing now because the same discussions just carry on there until many just walk away.--Canoe1967 (talk) 18:43, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
I saw this issue at Jerry Jennings when he was running for this current term as mayor of Albany, New York. An editor decided to put every single instance of "scandal" or rumor that happened in the city, whether or not the newspaper that editor was using as a source mentioned the mayor (and in one instance the newspaper article specifically stated the mayor could not have been involved) and then the editor suddenly stopped after the Democratic Party primary in the city (Democrats outnumber Republicans 10-1, the primary serves as the defacto election, I assume after that election the said editor decided it was not worth continuing). The response of the Wikipedia community when I asked whether that editor's single-minded editing was allowed or not was that if an editor wanted to be involved in only adding information of negative content about a BLP that was ok, because he/she would be counter-weighted by editors only wanting to add positive information and therefore NPOV would some how arise. So I see a mindset problem in Wikipedia that allows this type of yellow journalism simply because no one wants to be told "you cant edit the way you want".Camelbinky (talk) 01:42, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
And that sort of attitude you refer to: "things will balance out" is, as you know, fatuous -- the examples of political silly season (i.e. remotely able to affect an election in the wishes of the editors) are almost invariably won by the persistent addition of negative allegations and anecdotes and issues which are only issues to the side opposing the person. When one dares to reject an edit, it gets readded with a "find a source which says this never happened" sort of argument. What Wikipedia sorely needs is an aegis for a group of onlookers who have no political axes to grind by adding negative information to have a stronger force to prevent BLP violations than the current view "WP:BLP has no authority over us" editors who seem to rule on the article talk pages. And we also need admins to actually say that any reasonable invocation of WP:BLP in removal of contentious content is allowed as a valid reason. Collect (talk) 18:20, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
I largely agree with this, but I think the best "aegises" are numbers and clarity. Simply put, we don't have enough people watching BLPN and countless other dispute resolution boards to weigh in with neutral opinions, nor do we have a way of making it likely (and clear) that people drawn in are neutral, which brings me back to proposals I've made before to devise a way of cold-calling a demonstrably random list of editors to participate as "jury members" for helping with disputes. I don't trust that a few people with special authority and status will really be neutral, because getting that status requires making compromises as with any run for political office. Wnt (talk) 16:38, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Reconsider to schedule monitors/watchers who contact admins: I guess we are back to the debate of having people who volunteer as "monitors" (especially for BLPs and elections), who gain reputation to work with admin contacts at crisis moments. Another issue is seasonal slow-down, where the "crowd" is on break/vacation and less able to outnumber the troublemakers (see below: "#Schools at summer break/vacations"). However, if monitors were alerted to seasonal slowdown periods, they could be on watch during vacations, etc. -Wikid77 02:27, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

To show how others seem to regard the seriousness of this issue:

[11] by your reasoning, no Wikipedia article could mention any allegations against people until they were ultimately convicted or died

which I regard as "snark" unworthy of any Wikipeida editor who actually considers WP:BLP to have any value at all. In fact, I am disgusted by such an attitude, and feel that it shows the depths to which some editors go in "debating" issues. Cheers. Collect (talk) 19:03, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Notable claims should go in subarticles to reduce wp:Grandstanding: Because Google (and readers) give prominence to BLP articles, then any notable claims not proven by the sources could be mentioned in subarticles which would not have such high "billing" for readership access. Thereby, reading the main article would then have little mention of those issues, but a subarticle would document the notable claims (of lasting duration) as a fringe topic, plus notable impacts of those claims. The example I gave was the imagined article "Sexual escapades and Teresa of Kolkata" which might document how 87 reliable witnesses claimed Mother Teresa was seen working in a brothel in Kolkata (Calcutta), when perhaps other reliable witnesses would state she was instead ministering to people at the brothel, and one woman had dressed like her to impersonate as being a "working girl" at the brothel which led to false claims. By that method, the main BLP article would not mention the fringe topic of the brothel, to avoid wp:Grandstanding of the topic, and the search-engines would down-rank the title "Sexual escapades and Teresa of Kolkata" and yet people who specifically searched WP for the claim would find a fringe subarticle with the sourced information. So, Wikipedia would present the information in limited venue, to reduce wp:UNDUE weight, yet also cover a notable event if given long-term coverage in wp:RS sources. Hence, people reading mainstream "Mother Teresa" would not see the subarticle, and thereby hoaxes or "crowd scandals" could not use Wikipedia to bolster publicity when the main article was kept immune, as giving zero mention of the publicity stunts. If the main article were locked down, then editors could still expand the fringe subarticle, perhaps also as move/rename-protected to prevent people hijacking the title for wp:wikibombing (SEO). The tactic is for Wikipedia to cover the 3-ring circus of events, but not enter the rings to become a circus act manipulated by others. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:39, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
That has to be a spectacularly wrong-headed proposal, if ever I've seen one. It would guarantee excessive coverage of minor 'controversies', make NPOV more or less impossible to maintain, and fail to achieve its stated purpose. Google doesn't give prominence to articles because they are BLPs, it does so because they are searched for - which might very well put the 'controversy' article ahead of the main one. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:47, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
It might seem to be a "wrong-headed proposal" but it has been shown to be the right way to head off problems. The content and pageview data proves it. In practice, the use of Google Search tends to rank a person's BLP article, written with mainstream NPOV balance, ahead of fringe controversies, so that is why the subarticle tactic allows space to properly refute documented "official" allegations, such as police matters, whereas proven less-debated topics can outrank the bio-pages. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:16, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
In fact, the "subbarticle" ploy is often used to make "delete proof" attack articles during silly season. What is needed is to rigorously enforce the letter and spirtit of WP:BLP Whether we like a person or hate them should make zero difference in how we treat them. And saying "but all the violations now are in subarticles" is a grotesque mockery of the foundations of Wikipedia. We have quite enough horrid mockeries of policy already on Wikipedia - enshrining a whole new class should have elicited slightly grumpier words from Andy, as I am trying to control my own here. Collect (talk) 21:36, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
If the debatable subarticles steer rumors away from mainstream BLP and Talk:BLPs, then that tactic, overall, reduces the wp:Grandstanding which is typically funneled into the major articles, where it reaches the widest propaganda audience. I am explaining how to really defuse the power of rumors, and name slurs, by avoiding lookalike-nude-scandal-bribery topics in a mainstream article and the related talk-page, because: they are somewhere else open to editing and talk, but refuted in a narrow venue, where the rumor does not get "top billing". Perhaps a major part of this has been understated with how each subarticle would be named, in vague terms, rather than "Senator X disgusting sexual torture bribery with Member of Parliament Y". Once the tactics are better understood, then the efficacy of defusing rumors and hack edits can be better seen. -Wikid77 16:16, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Absolute proof that this should be in the BLP - the Daily Mail is using it! [12]. OTOH, this may not convince everyone ... Collect (talk) 00:55, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Why do none of these objections apply to Robert Clark Young, who is now identified in the lede as being most notable for being banned from Wikipedia based on one guy's articles in Salon? I want some balance and consistency here - let's not keelhaul subjects based on small flaps and personal annoyance, and let's not totally exclude all mention of stories widely described in major media! We should trust to a critical reader to put suitably small weight on videotape nobody has seen, provided we describe the incident moderately and consistently with how the more reputable news sources approach it. Wnt (talk) 14:31, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Most allegations should not be mentioned in main BLP articles: The coverage can be kept limited, within reason, to the scope of subarticles which directly refute the documented allegations, with documented rebuttals, all of which people could justify as reliable enough for the main BLP bio-pages, where the main problem is that the allegations (by police arrest and judicial prosecution) far outweigh the alibi and acquittal sources (which respond like "oops"). Otherwise, people want to add text about the arrest and trial, and the suffering of the victims, and the damage to the suspect's family, freedom, and public career, which has clearly a preponderance of sources, versus the tiny few pages which refute the allegations and clarify the final verdict as "oops, really, really, oops". To me the implication is clear: as soon as someone becomes mainstream accused, then they should get the NPOV-neutral bio-page with all the balanced background reported about their life-long life, as stated in the page under their public "name" printed in Wikipedia because that bland part is the "proven" BLP data about that person. Meanwhile, all the preponderance of imagined "guilt by repeated allegation" should be limited into a neutral-named page, "Nation of X versus John Doe Y" where even the title does not directly wp:Grandstand because it does not state the presumed allegations in the same breath with their names. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:16, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Regarding requiring editors to edit under (or at any rate disclose) their real identities.

I'm spinning this off from the User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 134#Qworty thread above, because it's peripheral but kind of interesting. (Interesting philosphically; it'll probably never actually happen here, although a fork could do it.) The text below is copied from that thread. (I think that by also copying in the signatures that I'm conforming to the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license; if some more knowledgeable person knows otherwise, this section should be deleted.) Herostratus (talk) 15:13, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

We have policies and institutions to handle these sort of situations, insufficient and flawed though they may be. Jimmy Wales has enough on his plate not to be expected to run around as judge, jury, and executioner. Moreover, none of us should WANT a system in which one individual has such power. The failure to stop Qworty from malicious editing is a failure of all of us. And this failure was exacerbated by Wikipedia's unhealthy worship of editing secrecy and its failure to install mechanisms to halt the ability of one person to start and use multiple accounts. Along the latter line, one good idea I heard recently was that WMF should unilaterally begin including IP addresses in the signature of each post at WP. This would serve as a red flag on multiple accounts being used in close proximity to one another by a single editor. In the long run, Wikipedia needs real name registration and sign-in-to-edit mechanisms to further limit the use of multiple accounts and to make sure that content can be attributed to a real life individual — which would incidentally slice vandalism massively. Carrite (talk) (Tim Davenport, Corvallis, OR, USA) 06:00, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
That is certainly one step in the right direction. However, I think a broader issue is that the rules have been created by editors for editors and they therefore receive more consideration than either the readers of our articles, who want balanced and accurate information, or the subjects of our articles, who do not want to be libeled or to be represented unfairly. Consideration for Qworty in his capacity as an editor ahs meant that our readers and the people he hates were ill-served. Of course, now he has been declared a non-person, he will himself be receiving the same loving care which his enemies did from him. Commons is particularly extreme in looking at ways to ban those who expose multiple copyright breaches by members of the in-crowd and in banning the whistleblowers, but the whole span of Wikimedia projects need a whistleblowers' charter that protects those who seek to protect stakeholders outwith the editor/admin core. --Peter cohen (talk) 15:30, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
(ec) I do (want a system where one individual has such power). Essentially 100% of other successful organizations that produce reference works have such a person. They are called Editor-in-Chief. Having one here would not impinge on the community aspects of creating content and deciding most issues. Jimbo decided not to have one, so for better or worse we don't and won't. Instead he have a rather nebulous and very vexing and labor-intensive system. We have to make it work as best we can I guess. We need to accept that situations like this will likely arise, again and probably forever. It doesn't mean the Wikipedia as a whole doesn't work, though.
Requiring editors to use or link to their real identities would mean the immediate exit of me and many editors like me. I have standing in the community, vulnerabilities, dependents, and so on. I can't get into a real-life pissing match with someone who lives in his mom's basement and has nothing to lose. Phone calls to my employer and so forth are not part of any deal I want to be a part of. Requiring editor identification would basically allow the participation of two groups: the truly strong (who have resources to engage lawyers and PR men, tenure or independent means or other secure income or position, many friends, a secure pubic reputation, and whatnot) and the truly weak (who have little to lose, no reputation to tarnish, no assets to seize, no job of any importance to lose, and whatnot). Many many everyday people like me would go, and that at once. Whether that'd be worth I don't know. I don't think so. Herostratus (talk) 15:42, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I wonder what a pubic reputation might be... Pgallert (talk) 21:45, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
By "public reputation" I mean a reputation with at least some segment of the general public, rather than just with one's friends, neighbors, colleagues, and so forth. A whispering campaign, or letters to his hometown paper, or calls to his employer, or emails to his neighbors, or anonymous threats to his relatives and yadda yadda, by some small collection of random mooks, is not going to much bother say Paul Krugman. They would me. Herostratus (talk) 01:49, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
No offense intended, but if I had to choose between you editing and Paul Krugman editing, I'd choose Krugman (-: On a more serious note, I think that there might be advantages to going half-way here, by providing some advantages to editors who do choose to expose their real-world identities while not requiring it. I haven't thought through what appropriate advantages would be, though, I'm just throwing that out. Besides, there are a lot of editors who do expose their identities today, yet, excluding people very high up in the project, I can't think of anyone who has been targeted in Real Life by another editor, so I don't see that possibility as a major problem. Cheers, JYolkowski // talk 18:14, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
It most certainly happens and is a real threat. I'll give you an example from about three or four years ago. There's one particular article – I won't name it – whose subject is rabidly hostile towards Wikipedia and doesn't believe it should be allowed to have an article about him. Unfortunately he has a number of online followers who take their cue from him. He told them to come to Wikipedia and vandalise his article as much as possible. Naturally, editors and admins stepped in to prevent that, block sockpuppet accounts and so on. He retaliated by targeting those editors and admins personally - mobilising his followers to find out who they were and who their employers were, so that he could call them up and threaten them and their employers, with the obvious aim of making them lose their jobs. I believe he did actually do this in several cases. There are other incidents I'm aware of, as well. Death threats aren't unknown, particularly where hardline nationalists are concerned. In one case I know of, an admin was tracked down and phoned at home by a Turkish ultranationalist who was offended by edits on a Turkey-related article. Considering that Turkish ultranationalist groups have been responsible for hundreds of murders of critics and academics who have offended them (see Grey Wolves), not surprisingly the admin was quite perturbed by this incident. People have certainly been targeted for harassment in the past, and unfortunately that's probably inevitable given Wikipedia's prominence as a source of information. In many parts of the world, Wikipedians may face not only the threat of harassment but of being persecuted by the state or subjected to physical violence. That threat isn't necessarily confined to the usual Third World hellholes, either - it only takes one extreme or unhinged person, and there are plenty of those in every society. Prioryman (talk) 00:32, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
  • In general Internet harassment is becoming more and more prevalent. A few kids committed suicide because they were harassed on the Internet, and in particular on Facebook, but I do not know any other site, but Wikipedia, where human beings are being harassed by the community of anonymous users. Of course, as you once said there's no such thing as the Wikipedia community, and you are right there isn't, but there's a bunch of anonymous users, most of whom add little or no content to Wikipedia, and who call themselves "the Wikipedia community". Most of them are bullies, others are simply clueless users, yet the Wikimedia Foundations finds nothing wrong with allowing those users to govern Wikipedia to harass human beings. It is sick and scary. I understand everybody who'd rather would not have his/her BLP on Wikipedia. I would not have liked to have my BLP on Wikipedia either. (talk) 02:36, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes of course its a problem. I only have the one life and have enough problems already. Anyway, whether it's a problem or not doesn't matter: I think it's a problem and so would most prudent and savvy people, I think, and that's what matters. Yes of course I'd trade myself for Paul Krugman, but Krugman's not on offer and anyway there are a lot more bohunks like me available than there are Krugmans. I'm not saying that identity shouldn't be required. I don't know that. I do know that a very large number of editors and potential editors would become immediately unavailable if it was, so let it be understood that there would be a hugely massive cost. Maybe the benefit would be even more hugely massive. It would have to be. Herostratus (talk) 01:47, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, you're quite right that the cost would be massive. Not only the directly resulting loss of existing editors (which I agree would be very substantial) but the accompanying controversy and the bad feeling it would engender, which would of course drive away even more editors. I would go as far as saying that it would probably destroy the Wikipedia editing community. (I can't help wondering if that is part of the reason why the Wikipediocracy people – some of the most extreme of whom hide behind their own pseudonyms while avidly outing others – are pushing it.) Moreover, verifying identities would have a huge logistical cost. There's nothing to stop people registering under fake names. The only way around that that I can see would be to require people to submit ID documents like a driving licence or passport, but that would have massive implications of its own for privacy and availability – like voter ID, what do you do for people who don't have those kinds of documents? – and who would store and process all of that data? On the English Wikipedia alone there are over 6,000 new user registrations a month and about 14,000-15,000 across all languages; that's up to 500 a day. The logistics of having to verify the ID of each and every one of those would be huge and, I guarantee, very expensive. The cost would be completely disproportionate to any benefit we would accrue. Prioryman (talk) 07:27, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
As a side comment, I have not looked into Wikipediocracy, but would like to have the pro and con points of view on it. My understanding is that the con viewpoint is that it is a sub-community of cowardly bullies who hide behind anonymity while threatening to out or actually outing those whom they dislike. Is that correct? Also, is there a pro viewpoint? Robert McClenon (talk) 23:54, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course, that only looks at the time investment of a new system on one side of the equation. There would be, theoretically, tens of thousands of fewer instances of vandalism which might well be an even more gargantuan time sink than the investment in verification. Moreover, I'm quite sure the number of registrations would fall if real live registration and verification were followed — both dubiously-motivated editors and sock farmers would be deterred from the process. Serious-minded people would not be halted. Carrite (talk) 16:13, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
In my opinion, the benefit in prevention of vandalism would be mostly obtained by eliminating editing from IP addresses. Pseudonymous vandalism is easily dealt with by blocking the vandals. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:54, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Only allowing confirmed identities to edit here would make the involvement of Krugmans far more likely, and allow the actual banning of problem editors (as opposed to just forcing them to change their usernames. How many people here think "Qworty" isn't editing now, as we speak?) It would detox the atmosphere here overnight. Concerns about personal security are real, as they are for all writers and journalists. But our present solution - allowing anyone to edit anonymously - is, in my opinion, hobbling this project, harming our subjects and short-changing our readers.
Regarding the difficulty of confirming identity, those with personal credit cards could identify fairly easily, possibly automatically. Those with real-name email addresses on university, large company, government department etc. websites, should also be able to register without much trouble. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 09:32, 23 May 2013 (UTC) Added 10:59, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
There is a site called Citizendium (site) which is similar to Wikipedia, except that it requires editors to use their real names, and experts (like Krugman) have more weight than non-experts. Their statistics are as un-encouraging as possible. Yesterday, there were a total of 21 edits to the mainspace. -- Ypnypn (talk) 15:49, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
No one, I think, is suggesting we introduce argument from authority as a policy. I don't think anyone is suggesting any kind of content policy change. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 16:46, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I think most any article I have edited on a volunteer basis on a person, organization or product, I would not want them knowing my personal identity to the extent that if I had to disclose it, I would choose not to edit at all.
What I could see is your real name and any company affiliations being part of the registration process, but not having the information made public. It could be used in a way to reduce socks and add a prominent edit-notice if you attempt to edit an article on yourself or your company. Another option would be having the information only available to admins for use in sockpuppet investigations. CorporateM (Talk) 16:19, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I can't actually see any justification - apart from the already-mentioned fear of reprisals that all writers and journalists must live with - for maintaining a cloak of secrecy over who edits the content here. You've said how it might affect your editing, but can you tell me why? You're a paid editor, is that right? If so, is that influencing your stance on open editing? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 16:46, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
There are Wikipedia editors who have been harassed to the point of people contacting their employers due to a dispute over an article here. Forcing IRL identities into the open would basically give the trolls and harassers open access to anyone they want to grief, with significant real-world consequences. I don't edit in any of the notable high-tension areas so my personal risk of conflict isn't high, but any policy that tried to publicly tie my edits to my IRL identity would result in my immediate and permanent retirement. Even using IRL identification in private to verify accounts is unlikely to produce any result but that which Prioryman argues above. But then, this entire concept is the typical and oft-trumpted knee-jerk reaction to someone being banned for being a problematic editor. Systems that create barriers to access and paralysis to the community would please those bent on destroying Wikipedia, but would do nobody else any good. Resolute 17:14, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
First, journalists - particularly those working for accredited media organisations - have training to deal with the threat of reprisals. They also have corporate legal and security departments to draw on. We don't. Anyone editing Wikipedia does so entirely at their own risk with little or no backup from the WMF. The threat of retaliation is non-trivial. Admins are at particular risk as they have to take actions - blocks, CU runs against sockpuppets, etc - which can provoke anger. No admin should ever be in a position where they're reluctant to block someone because they fear that they'll become a target and be put at risk as a result.
Second, requiring editors to have their real identities verified has huge logistical implications, as I've indicated above. It would require substantial manpower to manage and require a level of secure infrastructure - that Wikimedia simply doesn't have - to store the masses of private information that would be collected. This costs money, large amounts of it, and raises regulatory and legal problems that would be non-trivial to resolve.
Third, it would completely invalidate Wikipedia's basic ethos of being "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit". It's the same issue as the current push by the American Republicans for voter ID - it excludes anyone without the right kind of ID. Credit cards were mentioned above. Well, that means that anyone without a credit card (i.e. most of the world's population) would be excluded.
Fourth, it would quite plainly destroy the Wikipedia editing community. It would make a lot of, probably most, editors very unhappy and would certainly drive away a large number - especially admins who have the most to lose. The number of new user registrations would also be slashed. The more onerous a sign-up process is, the fewer people will use it. We have problems with editor retention as it is - this would be suicidal for Wikipedia.
Fifth and finally, it would be completely disproportionate to the problem it's supposed to solve. The vast majority of vandalism is dealt with quickly. Qworty slipped through the gaps because he was relatively subtle and nobody connected the dots for a long time. Even without anonymity, he could have hidden his identity by submitting fake ID. Unfortunately we may well have to accept that the occasional Qworty is the price we pay for having an open encyclopedia in the first place. - — Preceding unsigned comment added by Prioryman (talkcontribs) 17:36, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Have to say, on this issue I agree with Prioryman. -- Hillbillyholiday talk 18:01, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
There are 100s of millions of people adding stuff to FB each day. Mostly they have a real ID, millions of them argue and fight over crap. What I don't see are reports of 1000s of people's employers being phoned up because of a FB argument. John lilburne (talk) 18:34, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Also agree with Prioryman. Newsstories about politicians and other people being attacked or fired for what they write on social media are not uncommon. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 18:45, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
That is mostly because they've been involved in stupid racist, sexist, or homophobic rants, or have been generally obnoxious above and beyond the call of douchebaggery, and in the process brought their employers, or party into disrepute. Are these the type of editors you want here? John lilburne (talk) 18:55, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
That is where aggressors on social media have been called to account. I'm not concerned with the aggressors here but with the victims. You can be sure that for every case of someone being brought to book for being abusive, there will be many more cases where harassment has taken place without it ever being reported. That doesn't make it any less distressing for the victim. And note that people are still willing to engage in abusive conduct on Facebook even though their identities are out in the open. Prioryman (talk) 20:39, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Yet every day a million people get into stupid rows on FB with each other and they do not have people phoning up their work or school. John lilburne (talk) 20:45, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I have several comments. In summary, I think that requiring editors to disclose their real names is a genuinely terrible idea. I would suggest that this thread be closed (squelched) by Jimbo Wales, but, barring that, it is still a genuinely terrible idea. If this idea is to be pursued further, can we take it to the village pump? The reason that I think it is a terrible idea is not because of harassment. (I am editing under my real name.) It is terrible for three reasons. First, as mentioned, there would be a serious overhead burden on Wikipedia or Wikimedia Foundation that would require administrative personnel and an infrastructure, not currently budgeted. Second, because we have always permitted pseudonymous editing, it would be an extreme and traumatic break from our past. Third, the cost would be greater than is justified by the Qworty incident. Sometimes an article requires blowing it up and starting over. This idea would amount to blowing up the encyclopedic community and starting over. Who really thinks that the Wikipedia community should be blown up and started over? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robert McClenon (talkcontribs) 21:30, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, that's an easy question - the Wikipediocracy mob, for whom the prospect of blowing up the Wikipedia community brings on orgasms. It's no coincidence that they're the ones promoting this idea. Prioryman (talk) 21:41, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
the Wikipediocracy mob, for whom the prospect of blowing up the Wikipedia community brings on orgasms - please, seriously, can you cut that out? I understand you're upset but there's a grown-up serious, issue here and it should be discussed seriously without those kinds of random outbursts and tantrums. (And I actually sort of agree with you on this).Volunteer Marek 22:10, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, you've got to wonder why Wikipediocracy users like Carrite seem to be pushing so hard for this. Prioryman (talk) 22:23, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
To answer Wikipediocracy reader Prioryman: I am dedicated to this issue because I am convinced that the decision to allow anonymity was Wikipedia's Original Sin. A myriad of problems, exemplified most recently by the Qworty case but including as well the inordinate amount of time and energy spent on counter-vandalism efforts, the chronic problems with sock-puppetry and other abuse of multiple accounts, and the really pathetic inability of the community to create a mechanism for the identification and control of COI editing all flow from this unfortunate original decision. The Alice in Wonderland world of secret editors making poorly supervised edits is downright bizarre to normal folks who rely upon WP as an information source. At some point the demand for accountability will exceed the demand for secrecy. Until then, what those of us here at WP that believe in scrutiny can do is make our voices heard and urge others to step out of the shadow world and into the sunlight. —Tim Davenport, Corvallis, OR (USA) /// Carrite (talk) 22:48, 23 May 2013 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 23:08, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I haven't yet seen the argument that the damage done by users such as Qworty has been greater than the damage that would be done by the combination of losing a large number of users who prefer to edit pseudonymously and the non-trivial economic cost of a verification mechanism. It is true that we should have dealt with Qworty sooner, not because of long-term devious editing, but because of sock puppets. I do favor stronger restrictions than we currently have on editing from IP addresses, but those also have nothing to do with the Qworty problem. Without sarcasm, does anyone actually think that the Wikipedia community should be blown up and started over as a smaller, less welcoming community? Robert McClenon (talk) 23:14, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia's Original Sin was not anonymity, but banning of users. We should have accepted, from the beginning, that for an editor to be indef-blocked and have to start over from scratch was the absolute maximum penalty possible. This would imply (as we should) that every established account has positive value, not negative value, and people can start clean at any time. Vandals who use IP accounts should have been stymied by sharp-eyed editors and, as necessary, bots that recognize patterns of abuse. Effects of sock puppetry should have been opposed by giving greater weight to long-established editors, including formal processes of recognition that would involve tangible increases in status for purposes of voting. The attempt to identify and track and do opposition research on editors is indeed the poisonous fruit of a forbidden and worthless sort of knowledge, that "knowledge" being our judgmental prejudice. Wnt (talk) 19:40, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
John, people posting crap to Facebook do so only to their immediate social circles. More often than not, this means friends and family, and very often people with similar lines of thinking. You can't seriously believe this is comparable to an open website where anyone can see, comment and grief one for a comment or edit on Wikipedia. You're pretty much comparing apples to spaceships. Resolute 22:56, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Really? Well whilst some areas of FB are indeed insular, the creationists are all over the evolutionary groups, the Democrats are all over the Republican groups, the anti-guns are in the face of the pro-guns, etc, etc. John lilburne (talk) 23:16, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
And teenage girls get harrassed into committing suicide. Resolute 23:54, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
you forgot to add "by an anon". John lilburne (talk) 00:16, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
  • If Wikipedia will require the editors to reveal their identity it will be the end of Wikipedia. Think for yourself: Why Wikipedia has succeeded and Citizendium has not? Citizendium is missing dramas because their editors edit under their real names and are unlikely to engage in bullying and harassment. Wikipedia on the other hand lives and breaths dramas. Citizendium probably has no AN/I, no ArbCom, no arbitration enforcements. Editors on both projects do not get payed, but Wikipedians get compensated with the psychic pleasures of bullying. So to sum: anonymity = bullying; bullying = fun. It is sad of course, but I am afraid it's true. (talk) 01:33, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, you're right about this being a haven for bullies, on both sides of the blue line. And it's true that the majority of vocal editors like it like this, otherwise it would have been fixed long ago. This repels real scholars and experts, that are sorely needed in many topic areas here, such as medicine. So this puerile trolls vs. heroes whack-a-mole, perpetuated by anonymous editing which prevents us from banning anybody really, is retarding the project. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:59, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Bingo!!! Carrite (talk) 03:13, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Anthonyhcole, Wikipedians do no like experts, they like reliable sources. Do not believe me? Okay, here are a few examples:
“A citation from a reliable secondary source trumps any academic qualification.”
“Wikipedia is a tertiary source that reflects reliable secondary sources--since when do we want our tertiary project edited by academicians with direct access to primary sources?”
“Most human beings are not academics, so it follows this is not an academic encyclopedia.”
"It can be a struggle and undoubtedly off-putting to academics used to their authority carrying weight, but here authority must be based on verifiable sources clearly and fairly presented. The success of this project comes, in my opinion, from it being a forum open to all and not a hierarchy of academic rankings."
"One may be an expert in one's field, but not an expert in collaborative, volunteer development of an open encyclopedia using wiki software."
Real experts are driven off the project, and besides why an expert would want to spend his time on writing an article knowing that his work could and probably will be destroyed by a bunch of nobodies who rely on reliable sources and on using wiki software, and who prefer speaking Wikipedian to speaking English? (talk) 04:09, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I like experts, as do most editors at Wikipedia:Wikiproject Medicine; not because we can take their word (trust me I'm an expert) but because they can find and understand reliable secondary sources in their field. Frankly, while Pain management is the top Google result for "pain management", I think it is the duty of the International Association for the Study of Pain to be heavily involved in curating our pain content. Those comments you cite are mostly agreeing, with me and every reasonable person since at least Aristotle, that argument from authority has no place in rational discourse. Experts have to work within our epistemological model, and I'm as pissed off as anyone by those who try to throw their degrees about. I, and most Wikipedians, welcome experts here because when they work within our model, they get the job done. At least in medicine, there is still a great deal of work to do.
I agree with you that the mutability of our content is a disincentive (but good medical content here is remarkably stable), and being trolled and bullied by anonymous cowards isn't the only thing driving experts away, but it is a factor. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 06:04, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
You missed other differences between the two sites, 76.126. Wikipedia has an editing community, Citizendium does not. Consequently, we have more articles of good quality than Citizendium has articles, period. What if you tried to crowdsource an encyclopedia, and nobody showed up? Resolute 03:19, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Resolute, Wikipedia has no editing community. Wikipedia has a few hundred bullies who hardly add any content to Wikipedia and who call themselves "the Wikipedia community" and Wikipedia has the silent majority (editors) who add content but hardly take a part in discussions. Of course there are some users who are in between. (talk) 04:19, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Ironically, several of these bullies are the ones most in favour of proposals such as these. And for the record, the community I was referring to are the content editors or those truly dedicated to maintenance tasks. I don't really count the drama queens on all sides. Resolute 04:42, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

For proper functioning, wikipedia needs a diversity of editors - this is why we have so many different wiki-fauna. Different editors have different interests - some haunt ANI and AFD, some deal with categories, some love hatnotes, some love templates, some (thankfully) actually write articles, some just drive around fixing hyphenation issues - but you *need* all of these fauna to make the wiki work. As such, I don't see why we can't have a hybrid model?

  • For the bulk of editors, they would probably prefer pseudonymous names. Their edits would, as a matter of course, be subject to higher levels of scrutiny and patrolling
  • Some editors, like they do today, can edit under their real name, but this provides no advantage, unless,
  • some editors, if they choose, can choose to confirm their identity with WMF via credit or other mechanism. This is similar to Amazon's real name badge which some reviewers can get.

Now, by default,

  • Any article-space edits by real name users will be immediately visible to everyone - unless they are put on probation
  • Any article-space edits by pseudonymous users will be viewable by any logged in users, but will be subject to review/patrolling before they become visible to non-logged in users
  • Real name editors will automatically be granted patrolling rights. If they misuse these rights, they will be put on probation, meaning they are now subject to the same rules as pseudonymous editors.
  • Pseudonymous editors, after a breaking in period, can apply for patrolling rights, and a panel of editors will review their most recent edits to ensure they are able to be trusted.
  • Pseudonymous editors, after demonstrating competency and good faith and x000 significant article-space edits, can be granted the same rights as real name users, to have their edits show up immediately without being patrolled
  • If there is a pattern of one pseudo patrolling/approving the edits of another pseudo, this could a potential (off-wiki) collaboration, so such articles would be highlighted and other patrollers would be notified to take a look at those edits.
  • Additional restrictions will be placed on edits to BLPs - though I'm not sure what the best path here is

Just a rough framework, what do you think? --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 04:37, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

It doesn't matter how you define a barrier to entry, it remains a barrier and will have a net-negative consequence. This would be exacerbated by creating castes of editors with the majority viewed as being part of the lowest caste. It would also, as I noted above, result in my own immediate retirement from the project. So you're down one content contributor, at the very least, with no appreciable benefit. Resolute 04:42, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
The caste thing is an interesting point - I added an idea above that the pseudonymous editors would be able to apply for auto-patrolled-edit-status after making x thousand edits. But I'm confused as how you see it as a barrier to entry? The only difference to your life would be that all of your edits would be patrolled before being visible to the public. What is so bad about that? isn't there a discussion to do this anyway? it's not a barrier to entry in any case.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 05:13, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
One thing you're missing is that as soon as you go down the road of requiring some sort of verification, voluntary or otherwise, you need the systems and (employed) manpower to manage it - and that, as I said above, is costly. Your suggestion also wouldn't have done anything to deal with Qworty. The vast majority of vandalism is non-subtle and is already picked up quickly and reverted. Your suggestion wouldn't change that but would merely put a thicket of extra restrictions on legitimate editors. Prioryman (talk) 07:18, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
The PC2 discussion is similar, but the key difference is that pending changes would be apllied tactically and in response to a need to protect an article. What you are proposing is to apply the same indiscriminantly against nearly every user on Wikipedia. That is slightly insulting, and since this entire discussion is a knee-jerk reaction to the Qworty incident, stands only to disenfranchise thousands of editors for the misbehaviour of one, leaving their contributions subject to the whims of the protected elite. All of this acts as a disincentive to edit or to join this community or remain a part of it. And, as Prioryman notes, would not be likely to prevent what Qworty did. Resolute 13:54, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
We're just talking here, and I'm not trying to insult anyone. I agree with Prioryman there would be costs for verification, but I'm not convinced they would be that high, especially if only a set of people decide to go for real name. Also, my suggestion *could* have prevented the Qworty mess, as other editors would have had to confirm his contributions before they became visible. As to resolute's point, I don't think a "patroller" status would be a protected elite - as I said above, any pseudonymous editor could get patroller status, if they prove their worth. I don't think that would be too much to ask - to have some sort of drivers license before your edits are visible to the whole world. As it is now, I can log in with an IP, having never edited here, put a subtle lie into a biography, and it may remain there for years. We have to strike a balance here. If we implemented this, we could immediately add many thousands of people to the patroller's rank, and we could also for example make it so contributions to pages with more than X watchers don't need any patrolling, assuming that the watchers themselves will patrol.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 14:56, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Your views on how this would prevent a Qworty incident are idealistic, but impractical in the real world. Ask yourself what a reviewer is going to check. They will check only that the edit is not obvious vandalism or an obvious BLP violation. There are far too many ways to bypass this. Lay low until you have enough edits to get elite status. Use fake offline sources that appear to justify the edit (or even real sources that slightly misrepresent the truth). No reviewer is going to question those edits. Hell, they could even give their real name because it should be obvious that the reviers will never gain access to the database matching real names to online IDs due to privacy laws, therefore they won't be able to cross reference that a person is editing their own article. The system is too easily bypassed by people dedicated to sneaky vandalism. Resolute 17:12, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
It would be better than nothing. For example, when he noted that X died of alcoholism, this should have been caught, but there was no patrol and no watchers. We could even increase the number of needed patrols based on the # of watchers - more watchers = less patrols needed. For barely watched articles, perhaps 2 or 3 patrols would be required. Now, could Qworty get elite status? Yes - but that would require some dedication, so we'd at list trim the ranks of potential defamers, and once he's caught, he loses all that time he put in to get that status. Also per real-name, I wasn't thinking that real name would be anonymous - if you give your real name, it is also your user name. Otherwise, pseudo is pseudo. Finally, our CURRENT system is easily bypassed by people dedicated to sneaky vandalism - so if this makes it better, even if it doesn't eliminate vandalism, why not? I also suggested extra protections for BLPs, though I'm not sure what those might be - but some more scrutiny somehow (perhaps require more patrols as a matter of course on BLPs?) --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 18:25, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Would it be better than nothing? Now you are proposing that multiple people take the time to review what would be millions of individual edits. You should ask RC patrollers how much fun it is. Then ask them to dramatically increase their workload. Then consider the ill will such a plan would foster within the editing community and the damage that would be caused by that. How much productive editing time is lost through all of this? How many editors would be lost? Your heart is in the right place, and I don't want you to view my objections to the idea as a criticism of you, but I quite emphatically believe that this proposal is worse than nothing. Resolute 23:05, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

More comments on requiring name disclosure

The proposal to require editors to edit under, or at least disclose, their true names is supposedly in response to the User:Qworty incident, who had a long undetected history of devious editing. However, it goes beyond what Andrew Leonard says in the article that resulted in this proposal being re-raised. (I understand that it has been around from time to time for a long time.) Leonard wrote: "Wikipedia is one of the jewels in the Internet’s crown, an amazing collective achievement, a mighty stab at realizing an awesome dream: a constantly updated repository for all human knowledge." As Leonard points out, Wikipedia is flawed. I would ask: Is it flawed because it is the collective work of hundreds of thousands of flawed human beings, or is it flawed because, as User:Carrite writes: "[T]he decision to allow anonymity was Wikipedia's Original Sin"? I don't see that a reasonable argument can be made that Wikipedia would be better if, for the past twelve years, all users had been required to disclose their identities. It would have fewer flawed articles, but it would also have fewer articles. Perhaps Carrite disagrees with Leonard's characterization of Wikipedia as one of the crown jewels of the Internet, and thinks, as do some other people, that Wikipedia is a plague. The conclusion that the Qworty incident should be used to require identity disclosure goes beyond what Leonard has written. It is a proposal to blow up Wikipedia and start it over. Is that really what the proponents of this idea want? Robert McClenon (talk) 15:04, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

No, it's a proposal to reform WP going forward — and its realization is a long way off. Blowing up WP and starting over would mean, quite literally, blowing up WP and starting over. Establishing a rule that real name registration and sign-in is required to edit would mean an elimination of anonymity, not an elimination of WP. People would have a choice to either participate or not under those revised terms of use. Carrite (talk) 16:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

The proponents of mandatory disclosure have not addressed the cost issue. It would not be sufficient to require that editors state their names and addresses on their user pages, because they could lie. In fact, mere disclosure on user pages would increase the likelihood of the currently rare (and forbidden) practice of providing a false identity, which can be very harmful to the person whose identity is stolen. It would require a credit-card-based system of identity verification, which would exclude editors who do not have credit cards. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:04, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

No it doesn't need credit cards. Most people are wedded to their social network identity simply have them either create an account via Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. All one needs to check is that the account wasn't created recently, that they have a number of contacts, and that it is actively being used. It won't stop the dedicated bad actor, but it will discourage most. The account doesn't even have to be made public one can maintain pseudo-anonymimty. The discouragement against bad actors is mainly the understanding that they may be held liable for their actions, and can't hide behind multi-user IPs. John lilburne (talk) 15:38, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
What you are suggesting appears to be a different and less extreme idea than what I think Carrite is advocating. You say that you would permit pseudo-anonymity. I don't think that Carrite would permit that. Maybe I have misread either your post or Carrite's. I would simply prevent unregistered users from editing in article space. Registered users are already accountable on Wiki for their actions because they can be blocked. If they try to evade the block, they and their sockpuppets can be indeffed and banned. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:49, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
As for attempting to block or ban anonymous editors, we all know how well that works, eh? I don't care if the name showing on the screen is a pseudonym, but there does need to be some linkage mechanism for real life identity. See, for example, the way that I've handled it on my user page vs. the signature which follows this period. Carrite (talk) 16:32, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Reference has been made to teenage suicides resulting from cyberbullying on social media. That is irrelevant, because both the bullies and the victims were using their real names. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:04, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

For the sake of proper context, I made that reference in response to the argument that editing via real identity would not be problematic because people post to Facebook under their real names without the kind of dire consequences mentioned. I pointed out that real consequences do follow. Resolute 17:20, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

If anyone actually thinks that Wikipedia is so deeply flawed due to pseudonymity that it should be blown up and started over, then I have a question and a suggestion. Does Wikipedia's Creative Commons copyleft permit all of Wikipedia article space to be copied to another server farm? If, as I understand, it does, then why don't those who think that pseudonymity is Wikipedia's Original Sin create a clone of Wikipedia, and begin editing it by publicly identified editors only? After one or two years, it will be an interesting exercise to see which encyclopedia has evolved more. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:04, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Don't confuse the chimeras and stick-men of some drama-fans with reality. Nobody thinks "Wikipedia is so deeply flawed due to pseudonymity that it should be blown up and started over." I will note, however, that your suggestion that critics of the Cult of Anonymity should fork WP as some sort of test of ideas is rather akin to the "if you're critical of the government, get out" sort of mentality that was prominent in the USA during the Vietnam era. No thank you, I am a Wikipedian, I'm not going anywhere — I look forward to the day when it is the sock puppeteers and anonymously cloaked POV and COI editors have to make the decision about whether to mend their ways or leave due to the reforms the WP community or WMF have enacted. Carrite (talk) 16:38, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
First, I disagree with the statement that allowing pseudonymity was the Original Sin of Wikipedia. The Original Sin of Wikipedia is the fact that human beings are flawed. Take your interpretation of Original Sin, but it is either 5763 years old or one million years old. Second, at this point, enforcing public attribution of identity would not blow up Wikipedia, but it would WP:TNT blow up the Wikipedia community and start it over. If you think that would be worth the trauma, and the cost, you are entitled to your opinion both in the United States and on Wikipedia. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:42, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Five or ten years down the road or whenever it is that this idea obtains critical mass either among the WP community or in the halls of WMF, I presume that something approaching majority support for the idea of ending anonymous editing will have emerged. At that point, the move would be much less traumatic than what you make it out to be. Certainly it would amount to a purge of those unwilling to make the change. Whether this price is worth the beneficent outcome is the big question and on this we differ. It is a matter of cost-benefit analysis... You are simply exaggerating the actual price of the change, in my opinion, and underestimating the value of the switch. Best, —Tim /// Carrite (talk) 21:44, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Why not let Watson be the sole editor of Wikipedia? He could update the entire Wikipedia in a matter of seconds while rigorously sticking to our rules for sourcing etc. Count Iblis (talk) 16:43, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

On the Internet, nobody knows that you are being sarcastic. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:42, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, perhaps IBM should allow Watson to become an editor here, it would be interesting to see how that would work out. Count Iblis (talk) 18:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
  • It seems like nobody checks assertions around here, however absurd. Any idiot can type fired Facebook into a search engine and see that there have been a few cases of people suffering harassment on the basis of having their names known. I think a large portion of Facebook entries are indeed resumes and ads, and the site's primary purpose is some kind of evaluation. Even when it appears to document social interactions, the purpose of these postings is more for people to try to show potential employers that they are popular and have a potential network out of fear that not participating will make it look like they don't have a life. The site is not merely occasionally prostituted; it is fundamentally corrupt in purpose from beginning to end, so dedicated to people trying to market themselves from its first appearance as a college student "Hot Or Not" site. Wikipedia's purpose was utterly alien to this - to document fact on an honest basis. Wnt (talk) 17:45, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Are you replying to User:John lilburne's suggestion that Wikipedia accounts can be tied to other on-line presences such as Facebook? If so, I agree that tying accounts to Facebook is a bad idea. If that is not what you are replying to, I don't understand. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:53, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course people get fired for saying stupid things on facebook, and some even get fired for saying no so dumb stuff on facebook too. But last count there were approx 1 billion facebook accounts, and 100s of millions of messages posted there each day, at that rate you'd think that they'd be someone fired every day, but their not. There always have been a bunch of arsehole employers who if it weren't for facebook would be firing people for other bullshit reasons. But hey if you want to come onto WP and engage in sneaking in racist, misogynist, or homophobic bullshit, into the articles or get caught being an arsehole in some other way well tough. John lilburne (talk) 19:22, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Random Facebook comments aren't nearly as influential as editing a page on Wikipedia. The former is going to be ignored by the vast majority of people, and is not likely to pop up when people look for a subject, but Wikipedia is read by the majority of people who use the Internet and is often the first thing people get when the search for something.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 01:22, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

There is really no point in even discussing this idea because abolishing anonimity would simply kill the entire project. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 21:08, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

I partly agree and partly disagree. Abolishing pseudonymity would kill the entire project. I think that a few of the proponents of requiring identity verification have exactly that agenda, although for any given proponent, we must assume good faith. I think that abolishing true anonymity, that is, eliminating IP address editing, would improve the project. The proponents of abolishing pseudonymity have proposed an extreme change and have failed to make their case that its long-term benefits would outweigh the short-term gain. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I disagree with the statement that it is not even worth discussing the idea. Some proponents argue, against strong evidence, that it would be beneficial. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Rather than abolish anonymity, why not simply add identified as a user group and define the benefit of being a member. I'm definitely not for requiring a person to edit using their real name and this relates to a very recent example where my email was hacked from a facebook user who was offended because my name matched his deceased father, he thought it was a bad joke, and he happened to have hacking skills, apparently. --My76Strat (talk) 22:09, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
It would kill it for you and others who insist on anonymity. It wouldn't kill Wikipedia though. It would change it for the better; open it up to ordinary people who are presently repelled by the toxic culture fostered by anonymity. It may be a shame to lose your input here, I don't know, but that would be a small price to pay to wrest this project from the grip of a small self-selected clique of obsessive paranoid misfits and bitter sociopaths that foster the present ethos of unaccountability and unconcern for our subjects and readers. We may lose half of the regulars here if we insisted on open editing, but I'd be very happy to lose most (but not all) of them. This project exists despite not because of most of them. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 22:25, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I think your agenda ("obsessive paranoid misfits and bitter sociopaths", seriously? Isn't that a better description of Wikipediocracy?) is clear - your promotion of this evidently has more to do with getting rid of editors you don't like than preventing vandalism. Nothing you've suggested would have stopped Qworty's subtle vandalism, so let's not pretend it has anything to do with Qworty. Prioryman (talk) 22:30, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't know about that. If we'd known he was Young, known about his personal history with many of his targets, I hope we would have put a stop to it a lot sooner. The "we" I'm referring to, though, is the hypothetical we, an open community of recognisable, accountable real persons, not the current community of anonymous cowards that currently control this site. I agree, a large portion of the latter community would have tolerated him, and seen nothing wrong with his behaviour. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 22:38, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Frankly, that's WP:BOLLOCKS. I don't know of anyone who would have tolerated his behaviour. Vandalism is vandalism, and vandalism in the cause of real-world disputes is worse. It's disheartening that you write off your fellow editors as "anonymous cowards". There's a lot of people doing a lot of really good work here, many if not most of them anonymously, and they deserve better than that. Prioryman (talk) 22:42, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
But this community tolerated, and many sections of it encouraged, his equally-unacceptable anonymous behaviour: his derision, insults and bullying of our subjects and other editors for years. No healthy community would do that. Anonymous editing enables it. Do you think he's not editing now, as we speak? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 22:52, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I have no idea and nor do you. But not being anonymous isn't any barrier to someone being derisive, insulting or bullying. Facebook proves that daily. If someone is behaving like that, they need to be dealt with appropriately. That's true for whether someone is anonymous or not. Prioryman (talk) 22:58, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
The culture here is toxic. Anonymity enables bullies, paid advocates, POV-pushers to live here permanently and bully, advocate and push, but far more importantly, !vote, and shout down any reform that might exclude them or reign them in. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 23:11, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Anonymity would do absolutely nothing to stop that kind of behaviour. You seem to think that nobody is going to do that if their identities are known. Facebook is the biggest counter-example you could possibly want. Heck, this very talk page provides counter-examples. Jayen466 has made his identity public, but he didn't have any hesitation about relentlessly harassing Jimbo to the point that the latter banned him from here (not a step that Jimbo takes very often in my experience). Carrite has likewise declared his identity but has harassed me here on this page and elsewhere with false claims and bullshit conspiracy theories. You seem to be operating under the assumption that being publicly exposed as a vandal or a dick is going to deter people. The sad fact is that some people aren't at all worried about coming across as vandals or dicks, and may even be proud of it. The real issue is behaviour, not anonymity. Prioryman (talk) 23:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
The difference is that it would be much more difficult for Jayen466 and Carrite to create alternative accounts to do that which you find objectionable. Young used his multiple accounts to advance his agendas, a little bit with one account, a little bit with another account, and a little bit more with yet another account, so all the negative stuff and all the puffery didn't come from a single source. John lilburne (talk) 08:34, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
So nice to hear your voice, Prioryman, even if it is the same old song. I have harassed no one, least of all the chief cheerleader for the Gibraltarpedia-PR-mainpage spamming debacle, who has still not answered legitimate questions about that unseemly episode of Wikipedia history. Ending anonymous editing is all about developing greater transparency. Of course, I do realize the irony of my saying that to you. Carrite (talk) 18:11, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
It would have cut down on the 20+ alternative accounts he had to work with. John lilburne (talk) 22:41, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Sure, but it hardly matters if vandalism is carried out from one account or twenty. It's still vandalism. If the aim is to stop vandalism, this proposal simply isn't responsive to that issue. Prioryman (talk) 22:43, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course it would cut down vandalism - most of which is done on the spur of the moment by IP editors. Anyway, this is about much more than vandalism. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 23:19, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't referring to cutting down vandalism; I was referring to stopping vandalism. Qworty didn't need 20 accounts to vandalise - he could have done just as well with one. Vandalism is actually pretty trivial to resolve when it's obvious. Subtle vandalism is inherently hard to stop whoever does it, anonymous or otherwise. If someone wants to add false claims using bogus sources to an article, the odds are that they won't be reverted unless someone with a knowledge of that particular subject spots it and realises the falsity. That's true whether or not they are anonymous. The problem you're identifying here isn't one of anonymity at all, it's an inherent problem with allowing open editing. It can't be fixed without fundamentally changing Wikipedia's foundational ethos of allowing anyone to edit. Prioryman (talk) 23:47, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Presently we have no choice but to allow anyone to edit. Qworty's probably on a quiet backwater now, labelling some author an alcoholic or templating a good-faith newbie. In a few weeks when the heat's died down he'll be dragging them to ANI spouting streams of acronyms at them and threatening them with being getting them blocked. There are tools in this world. We are a honeypot to them. We can't ostracise them (a freedom every rational volunteer community allows itself) and their presence here creates the perpetual battleground.
Classic vandalism would be vastly reduced simply by insisting editors register. Sly, pernicious vandalism would be more manageable if we insisted on linking an account to a real identity - it would allow us to actually block the vandal. I understand wnt's point that identity theft and false IDs will be a problem. No system is perfect.
I think you've been treated poorly by some Wikipediocracy editors both here and there. There's nothing we can do about that there. And, at the moment, there's nothing we can do about that here, either. The behavioural norms here are so low, so puerile, that the instances I've seen where you've been treated very shabbily are barely noticeable against the constant toxic noise here. Personally, I'm offended by your "bollocks" above. It's very normal here, though. A part of the reason for that norm is, every time we ban a tool, they just change names and keep on being rude. In an environment where rude tools can't be ostracised, you have to live with the norms that unsocialised misfits enjoy. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 08:34, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry if you're offended by my "bollocks" - it's just a robust Britishism and not meant to be insulting. I agree that "classic vandalism" would be reduced by forcing all editors to register (i.e. no more IP editing) but it would only be a marginal improvement - it's trivial to register a throwaway account, as Qworty demonstrated. If you then forced all editors to verify, it would reduce problem further, but would raise a host of other logistical and security problems, to say nothing of driving huge numbers of existing editors away. The problem you refer to of "an environment where rude tools can't be ostracised" isn't an issue of anonymity, it's about the enforcement of community standards. That is what's broken. If you can suggest a way by which community standards can be enforced in a better way than the dysfunctional AN/I or the discredited ArbCom, I'm all ears. Prioryman (talk) 09:12, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
The community standards are what you see on display. That differs from the rules as written. The community's actual standards allow for the way you're treated here, the way Qworty and his enablers treat people here, the way many admins treat editors here, the way Jimbo's treated here. When it comes time to write rules - be civil, don't insult, defame, lie, etc. - it's impossible for the tools to argue against these dicta, so they get written into the rules. But the sociopaths just go ahead and break them and the autistics wring their hands about how it's impossible to judge civil behaviour.
We need to be able to ban bullies, defamers, cheats, insulters - really ban them. Purge them like an off Tandoori. Permanently. Like any functional society does. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 10:07, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
You can stop some people from having 20 accounts, sure ... provided you have some way to verify their papers, that is. Who are you going to pay to do that? Otherwise we'll have more vandals pretending to be other named people, and the people whose names are used in prolonged banning discussions might feel defamed also. Even then, papers are no guarantee - in the U.S., immigration policy is more or less controlled by Mexican cartels, who have the de facto right to issue either forged or improperly issued official identity papers to whoever they wish, get them into the country, set them up with low-paying or illegal jobs, and have this periodically recognized as the basis for formal citizenship. I suppose we could cut out the middlemen and formally turn over control to them of who gets how many accounts on Wikipedia, or the overall administration of the site (I suppose Wikipediocracy would at least approve of their enforcement practices). (Before you accuse me of being facetious, is this any less improbable than the thesis of this discussion?) Wnt (talk) 06:59, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Not at all onerous. Most edits apparently are OK, maybe not completely up to standard but not defamatory, and not harassing. People are wedded to their online persona probably more so than their real names. They spend hours massaging their online ID whether its on facebook, google+, twitter, or some other site that they are active on, they are devastated if they lose their FB account, or twitter account etc. Most will come to WP having already established such an ID. Make them register with an active social network ID, they can even have an anon-WP-id if they want. The signup ID doesn't have to be immediately checked, one might only do so if they are reported for vandalism. Or if the edits give some cause for concern. Have the check part of a CU investigation. For egregious behaviour have a sanction that the social network id may be revealed. IF WP is considered a valuable resource then also establish understandings with Google, facebook, etc that for egregious behaviour on WP said users may be banned from the SN site too. Make defaming, harassing, and subverting content have real consequences. John lilburne (talk) 10:47, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Provided a person has different usernames for their accounts with those three companies, that gives them three socks to start; plus they can always start more accounts. Unless you intend to restrict certain privileges to people who have logged 10,000 edits on Facebook (!), you have accomplished nothing at all with that except to throw those companies some business. Wnt (talk) 18:12, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
I know you have a short attention span, but just above here I did say that the account should be active. IE it should have contacts, and they should be interacting. Faking that is for the dedicated, most aren't. Now I know you like all the i's and t's crossed and dotted and 100% certainly in everything, but you know an 80% catch is pretty damn good. John lilburne (talk) 21:17, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
What, you can't have an active account on Twitter and an active account on Google+ under a different name? Or two, or five if you want? I assume Wikipedia's sock puppeteers have as much patience and skill at setting up multiple identities on those sites as they do on our own, and so, they are much better at it than you or I would be, but heck, even we could do it. Meanwhile, you're proposing, what, to suspend somebody's account whenever they don't post stuff to Facebook? Heck, you might as well go whole hog, hand that company total control of Wikipedia, let them ban every editor but their employees, delete every article, then offer limited access to the revision history under strict confidentiality terms to entrepreneurs who want to reuse the content, suing all the others for Creative Commons violations. If saying screw >50% of the contributors is a step in the right direction, then surely saying screw all the contributors who aren't major stockholders in Facebook is an even better step. Actually, I have an eerie feeling I might really be describing Wikipedia's future history. In any case I ought to get an honorary Wikipediocracy membership for suggesting such a salutary program. Wnt (talk) 04:39, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
The world and its dog knows that. I have 6 twitter accounts, 3 facebook accounts, 4 yahoo/flickr accounts. The thing is that only 1 twitter account has any regular updates, only 1 facebook account does, and only 1 yahoo account does. The others are mostly used to test things out. People don't have the time to create convincing second or third social network activity. Someone that has gone to the trouble of creating convincing accounts is a serious sociopath, or State player, no system is going to weed those out, what is proposed is to weed out the other 80%. John lilburne (talk) 06:39, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
So that gives you the right to start three Wikipedia accounts under your proposal. Unless, that is, you're planning to mandate that editors must sign contracts with Twitter and Facebook and Yahoo and keep all three regularly updated and not be thrown off of any of these oligarchic corporate overseers for the duration of their time on Wikipedia. Wnt (talk) 13:16, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
The march of history is against you. People fled from USENET because of anonymous trolling. All the discussion forums are now in walled gardens where the groups can ban the trouble makers. All the computer stuff has moved to stackoverflow and similar. Online comment pages and forums are requiring social network ids to create accounts. About the only place that matters is here and the regular editor numbers is falling whilst the number of pages that require watching increases, and if you look at the comments being made elsewhere people are increasingly saying that they don't participate here because of the Qworty like critters. This place WILL abandon anonimity the only question is when and whether it will be too late. John lilburne (talk) 08:46, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
No, it really won't. Editor retention and admin recruitment are two of Wikipedia's most serious long-term problems. Abolishing anonymity would make both of them dramatically worse. They're much bigger and more pressing problems than anything to do with anonymity. Prioryman (talk) 09:12, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Over on flickr at the moment there are 10,000s of posts complaining about the layout changes and T&C changes. 1000s saying they are leaving. Same as they did when flickr added the content flagging and allowed pornography, same as they did when they internationalized and cut the Germans off from porn. But they won't, they never do, they never did in the past they won't do this time either. People don't leave a site because of T&C changes they leave because the environment is better elsewhere. John lilburne (talk) 10:01, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Usenet got wrecked when it was infected by Google Groups. Google accounts are not anonymous so it is in fact the reduction of anonimity that ruined Usenet - exactly the opposite of your thesis. More user friendly alternatives to Usenet also played a large role in it's decline, Web forums are much easier to use and allow access and content control. Internet culture has simply moved on - WEB 2.0 is all about social interaction - the Facebook generation simply have a different culture than the "old timers" of the Usenet generation, how many people under 40 even know what Gopher was? BTW There are many parts of Usenet that still function well - as long as access through a real Usenet server, not Google Groups. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 09:27, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Google groups is NOT usenet. I posted there a couple of weeks back via my NNTP posting host. I've never had a Google Groups account and never want one. The usenet groups I posted in had the many of same people moaning about the same trolls as before. Nothing to do with Google Groups at all, though one of the trolls there is probably still using a few of his anonymous GG accounts to give 5 stars to his posts and 1 star to everyone else. GG in the early 2000 didn't destroy usenet any more than AOL destroyed it in September 1993. The troll groups still function much as they ever did, anyone that wants a more refined discussion goes elsewhere. John lilburne (talk) 09:54, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
For all that Usenet is lambasted, I don't remember ever hearing about somebody killing herself over a Usenet post. Those are mostly pureblood trolls, saying things for the pure joy of the shock and offense rather than as part of some ... agenda. What we have are half-orcs who rant on about somebody's PG-rated bondage snaps in front of British Parliament (under their real name, mind). It comes down to power and ultimately money. People trying to write the truth about a topic to share it with the world don't have to give their names. People angling for a job, some kind of political office, some status as a writer on Wikipedia issues etc. need to get their ID cards stamped. Wnt (talk) 04:48, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Most of the difficult to deal with conflicts on Wikipedia that have required ArbCom intervention are conflcits between vested editors who are de-facto not anonymous. If you have been active for a long time here, it doesn't matter you are editor Pseudonym or John Doe from New York as your CV here is your list of contributions. What drives the long term conflicts here (that usually after ArbCom intervention are often not really solved, we usually end up imposing some regime involving discretionary sanctions) is actually the personalization of editing disputes. The climate change case is a good example. The initial dispute on these pages was caused by the sceptics who wanted to have more input in the article about the sceptical talking points they read about in the media. This is something you can in princile resolve by having more discussions. However, because we have experts like e.g. William who will strongly argue against the position of the climate sceptics, William himself was seen as the problem. I.e. instead of having to argue the fundamental pouints relavant to the topic, one could just aim to get rid of William from the topic area.

This suggests that if you were to abolish user accounts and only allow IP editing, you would actually improve the efectiveness of discussions aimed at resolving passionate editing disputes. In the case of the climate change articles, because we could all see that William was the expert who explained things that we couldn't have explained better, we would tend to let him do more of the work than in similar situations in other articles. But you then also have William's style of interacting with sceptics which could be less than ideal, dominating on the talk pages. If William could only edit as an IP, other editors with more or less the same POV would edit more, which would keep the discussons more focussed on the actual topic.

Now, obviously, if you could only edit as an IP, there are then other problems that will arise like making it easier to use socks. One can deal with that by having to sign up for an account, but such that your account name will not be visible. You will be assigned a random number as your username which will be reset, say, every week. If the same editor where to misbehave then after a few weeks Admins can see that editors have complained about the same editor while the complaining editors could not know that it was in fact the same editor. So, you have a much more reliable way of separating problem behavior from personal feuds where other editors will support different sides. Count Iblis (talk) 12:58, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

The idea that only being able to edit as an IP address would improve the situation is an error, as follows. Some IP addresses are static, and some are dynamic. Users who use a cable provider typically have static IP addresses, and therefore have an editing history. Users who use DSL from a telephone company typically have dynamic IP addresses. Requiring users to use an IP address would mean that DSL users would not have a consistent editing history. Requiring users to use an IP address would disconnect DSL users from their editing history. If Count Iblis actually is suggesting that all users should have registered accounts and should be assigned random pseudonyms, then he and I can agree to disagree. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:09, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
I think that is a different issue, which needs to be addressed differently. Where I work most discussion happen in a public (wewll company wide) forum, we have a number of forceful characters and some oppositional blocs in certain areas. Discussions can be of a forceful nature, the threads can at times become bear pits, and few prisoners are taken. That is all well and good amongst the experienced. But occasionally a new recruit will stumble into an old battle ground. The rottweilers and velociraptors start to gather and circle. At which point an email will be sent out by a director warning against pack hunting and to back off. Seems to work for us. John lilburne (talk) 13:44, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

I am very strongly opposed to ending pseudonymity, mainly for these reasons (and corollaries):

  • Without onerous requirements for disclosure of personal information, attempts to end pseudonymity will not in fact end pseudonymity. Verifying someone's identity is quite hard and requires a great deal of resources; ask Bruce Schneier. If someone can defraud a state government with what is effectively a few photocopied documents, what makes anyone think that WP or WMF will be able to do so effectively?
(And then you have a giant cache of identity data being held by WP or the foundation, making it a tempting target for hacking/theft)
  • Taking a nod from disputes in medicine right now (ghostwriting of papers, falsification and massaging of data) ending pseudonymity will not stop abusive practices. People are happy to do all of these things while using their real names.
  • I agree with other commenters that this would kill the project. A low barrier to entry is the only way WP has gotten so big and the only way it can be effectively maintained as far as I can tell.

Flagged revisions, as I understand other WPs have implemented, would go a long way towards addressing many of the problems discussed here, I think.

Another alternative I find reasonable is to de-weight the policy on outing, so that it is superseded by the policy on CoI. Even if this is done it would be possible for a while at least to do what Qworty has done, because the norms about pseudonymity are so strong. But over time, if we say that it is more important for the project to be, at minimum, aware of substantial conflicts of interest than it is for editors to be pseudonymous, then we at least wouldnt have the absurdity of not being able to link to Salon for the article on Qworty. -- [ UseTheCommandLine ~/talk ] # _ 21:19, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Biographies of Living People seem to be where some of the most egregious revenge editing and character assassination/puffery occurs. Why not require a real live name and identity to edit articles of real live people (BLP)? We have other policies that are limited to BLPs, why not that one? First Light (talk) 01:53, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
I understand the sentiment. Consider, though, that there are entire software suites dedicated to managing and "grooming" identities on e.g. facebook and twitter, and there's no indication to me that this would be any different if we attempted to restrict account creation here. you can buy followers on twitter by the thousand. I think there is the distinct possibility even that the illusion that such-and-such is a person's "real name" might even cause people to be more deferential or allow more obvious abusive edits to stand.
And what would the enforcement mechanism be? You ban someone with a particular name and source account. How many other people have that same name? How do we sort out whether someone has simply registered a different source account or is actually a different person?
It seems to me that it would fall back on admins and CUs to do the work of teasing out who is a sockpuppet and who is not, checking for IPs and proxies and the like. Which is exactly the mechanism we have in place now.
I think it reasonable to put more restrictions on BLP edits, but doing so in the wrong way has the potential to not just not solve the issue of abusive and revenge editing, but to make it worse.
I mentioned Schneier in my above post. He may have writings that are more relevant to this particular scenario, but I just picked one out of a hat basically. He's talking about national ID cards, but I think it is germane:
"The goal is here is to know someone's intentions, and their identity has very little to do with that."
I guess the core of my argument is a belief that the best evidence that someone will not revenge edit or push nonsense or vandalize articles isn't that someones "real name" is attached to it. The best evidence of that is someone's history of good faith participation in the community we have here. And we build, foster, and expand that by being inclusive and understanding, not by putting up barriers to that participation.
And just to reiterate, I agree that these problems need to be dealt with, but I think the idea that simply attaching someone's "real" name will handle it is seductive and wrong-headed. -- [ UseTheCommandLine ~/talk ] # _ 03:01, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
I completely agree with UseTheCommandLine. Faking a "real life" identity is not difficult, and costly to administer. People who are mean are so whether they are anon or not, and identifying your real identity has real life implications outside of WP. I stopped editing for quite awhile because of the horrendous environment, and that's from anon editors and those who provided their real names. I also witnessed offline and external WP harassment because the trolls knew the real life id of those they trolled. It's not a fun place to be. Additionally, as mentioned above, many people have the same name, and without a government id, which can be falsified, their is no way to really know if it is a real person, or the right real person. I see several points above about our current methods that prevent vandalism that would not change by a "real life id". One last point, most who insist on the "real life id" still keep signing with their pseudonym. If you're not worried about other people's id's being available, why haven't you changed your signature to your real name? Possibly because you feel safer knowing no one knows who you really are? Honestly, I do, but I also know it wouldn't take much to block me if I did something stupid, or to link me to a sockpuppet with a little research. This does not keep me from vandalizing pages, my ethics do, and knowing someone's "real name" does not change their ethics. «»Who?¿? 05:34, 26 May 2013 (UTC)


Apologies for top-posting, but this is of much interest to me. This topic has come up many times in other contexts, and I'm not surprised to see it in Wikipedia. That said, let's assume we want to enforce legal (as opposed to "real") names. Here are some challenges that will come up:

  • Good editors leaving: both TechCrunch and Disqus did studies on this in the last few years. TechCrunch forced Facebook comments, and found so many people stopped commenting that after a year they reverted their change. Disqus did a study on over 60 million comments and found that users with pseudonyms make more and better comments. So a move like this might invite fewer and lower quality edits.
  • Privacy violations: while names create a kind of accountability, they force contexts together that people may want separate. For example, let's say you are a schoolteacher and you make edits in a sex related page. What would happen if your school discovered this and fired you for it?
  • Creating unwanted political attention: let's say that you have family in a country with an oppressive government and make edits that government does not like. In response, that government tracks down and tortures your family. This is a battle people are already fighting because of the Google Plus "real names" policy.
  • Backwards compatibility: do current editors get grandfathered in? If not, will they get an option to either change all their edits to use their legal name, or remove their edits? If so, how do you handle complaints between a "verified" user and a grandfathered user? It seems like at the very least, this would lead to bureaucracy.
  • Sensitive data: if Wikipedia requires legal names, I assume that new editors would be required to submit government issued ID. How would data privacy issues be handled? Would data be encrypted? How long would it be retained? What if someone hacked Wikipedia and got all those documents? What happens if a government subpoenas Wikipedia for the data? What happens if someone gets a name change, do they have to submit new documentation? Will their account's lifetime be tied to the ID (if the ID expires, does their account also expire)? And finally, what happens if someone creates a Wikipedia account with a fake ID?

Those are just a few of the issues I can immediately forsee with forcing a legal names requirement. There are many, many more that the creative people posting here can reference. Disclaimer: while I do not edit Wikipedia very much, I help run an organization called Nym Rights, which focuses specifically on internet anonymity issues.Aestetix (talk) 11:25, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Nicely said, and pretty much sums it up for me. «»Who?¿? 00:52, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
The stats on the Disqus infographic certainly ring truish for here: our anonymous (IP) editors seem to be responsible for a disproportionate amount of the crap. And I haven't noticed, in general terms, the "real name" editors adding more good to the project than the pseudonymous editors.
Can the lessons from TechCrunch be applied here? Our problem behaviour is a little deeper than TechCrunch's. At TechCrunch the problematical behaviour was limited, by the nature of the site, to the comments following articles. Here, problematical editors spread their magic over the articles themselves, and have significant influence over the workplace atmosphere, and the policy, and so the very nature of the site.
From that video conversation you linked to, and the above discussion, it's starting to seem to me that there are degrees of identity: anonymous (in our case, random IPs), pseudonymous (logged-in users with a local reputation), online identities (pseudonyms that exist across a number of sites), and legal names. (There are possibly more.)
From some of your, Prioryman's, CommandLine's and others points, it's now apparent to me that we certainly can't expect editors to use their legal name. But can we expect editors to confidentially link their Facebook/Google identity, or a higher level of trusted identity to their pseudonym? I realise this solution would require the highest level of data security conceivable.
Or might we consider two classes of user: (1) those with the right to engage in policy debates or edit policy pages, and edit sensitive classes of article such as BLPs - who are linked confidentially to a specified degree of identity - and (2) anonymous editors? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:52, 28 May 2013 (UTC) Clarified 07:14, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Linking Facebook or Google still involves giving private corporations, not merely a huge commercial sponsorship, but literal control over the site. Why them and not Fark, Reddit, Encyclopedia Dramatica? You can't allow them all or else any one person can access dozens of accounts, but if you link only one master-corporation, they own Wikipedia.
  • Using NIST identities has two problems: first, it is a proposed scheme in the U.S. specifically, which we don't yet know the extent of adoption of; and second, it is a creepy government system closely tied to CISPA/SOPA - in other words, to politics that Wikipedia has taken an outspoken position against. Some of these problems could be avoided by using an OpenPGP web of trust.
  • However, the bottom line is that identifying users opens the doors to abuse. Your proposal to set up two classes is just the beginning of the mischief. I assume that some of the Wikipediocracy people are so gung-ho to propose editor ID not just because if they can get word by some back channel they can dox people even more freely than they do now, but because they can say that, for example, since Wikipedia knows who is under 18, they can ban them from reading articles about sexual topics and half a dozen other things. The net effect that tends toward is that Wikipedia is no longer a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but a secret encyclopedia available to those who pass muster with the right identifying authorities, which they can edit according to some committee's prejudiced evaluation of their worth. It is anathema, pure and simple.
  • Besides the philosophically appalling nature of such changes, there is also the fact that they simply will not work. Robert Young was exactly the kind of person who, looking at his ID, any decent personnel committee would have welcomed with open arms as a writing expert, qualified to make delicate decisions about BLP articles. A scheme with different classes of people would have so entrenched his power, and made it so dangerous to oppose him, that he might well have continued from a position of unassailable tyranny -- in the highly unlikely scenario that nobody worse beat him to it, that is. Wikipedia's original success was an exercise of applied Daoism - action without action, writing without writers, achieving editorial control by surrendering editorial control. The more you control, the less control you will have. Wnt (talk) 05:50, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll leave the other points for others with a better grasp of these things than me, but regarding the last, the point of identified editors is not that identification will guarantee they won't be a tool, but that, depending on the firmness of the required identification, once they demonstrate sub-par competency or character we can actually expel them. As opposed just making them change their name and keep on going. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 07:05, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Wow! So many fantastic comments and responses! The Wikipedia community seems to have a way higher IQ level than many other communities. :)
That said, I can address a few of the points brought up, and offer clarification:
  • With regards to "many kinds of names", I'll refer you to my friend Kaliya's "Identity Spectrum", which covers a bunch of types of names, and asks the reader to question what "verified" means.
  • My own opinion is that if you include metadata as an element of identity, there's no such thing as anonymity. For example, if people make edits using Wikipedia without logging in, it collects their IP address. Virgil Griffith explored this years ago with WikiScanner, which I'm sure many of you have seen. If you narrow "identity" to simply be a name, well, it's been established in many fora that a name is a bad way to identity someone (how many John Smiths are in America?).
  • I'm super glad that you guys looked into the NSTIC proposals. My view on that organization (I am a voting member) is that it's a fantastic discussion, although there are issues with it-- for example, how much do we want to let the US government regulate who can be an identity provider? Probably beyond the scope of this discussion, but well worth it for personal research.
The fundamental question here seems to be: how much are nyms related to personal behavior? That is, if someone is going to be a douchebag, is it because they are using a nym (or a mask, some might offer), or because they are already a douchebag? My personal opinion is that it's far more the latter, and forcing people to use a certain kind of name will only encourage people to leave, as we saw with TechCrunch. As I've said in other fora, we had bullies before we had cyber-bullies, I think it's a human issue, not a tech issue. Aestetix (talk) 07:25, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
But functional endeavours have always constrained or expelled their bullies and cheats. (Imagine a building site where the cheats were allowed to carry on mixing up bad aggregate.) Without identity, we can't do that, and are condemned to a fairly high level of dysfunction, on all aspects of this project - social, policy and article content. At least at TechCrunch they can control who writes the articles and who influences policy. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 11:37, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Right, so that generally boils down to what's referred to in the identity community as "attribution." The question is, for a given community, what is an acceptable standard for attribution, leaving enough freedom that people have the incentive to contribute, and enough accountability that the "bad guys" can be handled. The balance between incentive and accountability varies between communities, and it seems to me that forcing legal names, aside from the issues I pointed out, tips that balance in a way in which people might not be comfortable.
I admit I'm still reading up on this particular incident, but it seems like this has happened with Wikipedia before (like the Essjay fiasco) and in the end things have been ok? And as far as article content goes, while the TechCrunch example only applies to comments, what about incidents like the Jayson Blair or Judith Miller dramas, in which stories that were written in the New York Times had issues, and the people were using their legal names to write them?
My point is that people are going to do malicious things regardless of what name is attached to their action, so are there ways to make someone accountable, keeping that in mind? Again, I don't know Wikipedia policy super well, but I imagine there are provisions for things like: someone making edits without being logged in, someone making edits with a new account, someone either getting their edits reverted or reverting someone else's edits, and so on.
I would add that I think that, rather than saying someone has a real identity and fake identities, it might be more useful to say that they have identities within given contexts. So, for example, there is a user named Anthonyhcole I'm talking to on Wikipedia, and for all I know the name on your ID (assuming you have one) could be Sarah Jones. However, the fact that Sarah Jones might be your legal name in no way changes your relationship with Wikipedia (unless you want it to). The one exception is if you use Wikipedia to commit a crime, although I don't think that's within scope of what we're discussing here. Aestetix (talk) 14:14, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, there's libel. The New York Times can sack Judith and Jason. We're publishing something more influential (on a gross scale) and in my opinion more important than the New York Times and if I get caught lying, plagiarising or libeling here, Wikipedia may expel Anthonyhcole, but Sarah will be back at work tomorrow under another name, plagiarising, defaming, insulting, gaming and rewriting science, medicine and history. Like this. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 15:13, 28 May 2013 (UTC) Added example 17:30, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that's a real consideration, because it's not like someone can't subpoena Wikipedia for the IP, subpoena the ISP for the IP, and get the data. More to the point, even a libel proceeding against a named person at least should need to do just as much if it wants to prove that the named person actually was to blame. Wnt (talk) 16:04, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
To clarify, I'm not addressing the catching and suing of the defamer, I'm simply making the point that, if we insist on hard identification before you can edit a living person's biography, and you do make a habit of defaming people, we can actually block you or make it very inconvenient for you to continue. Whether you get sued or not, that's something else. This discussion is about being able to actually - not in make-believe - block bad hands. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 17:03, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Now I should add, that of course in the real world, from the company's point of view, there would be an advantage to knowing everyone's names - namely, if they want to go after any one of a hundred editors with a not valid libel suit (SLAPP) then knowing all the names gives them a chance to sort through all the editors, see which one looks ugly in a picture, lives in a jurisdiction with weak protections against libel lawsuits to shut people up, has some embarrassing personal history, etc., so that they can single him out and victimize him, sort of like a professional version of Wikipediocracy. That is real, and I should admit, I don't know if it is really what certain people here would be most interested in participating in. Wnt (talk) 16:08, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

RfA is a horrible and broken process

Jimbo, getting on for what is probably a couple of years ago, you made the above statement, and busy as you are, it's probably not one you have forgotten. All subsequent efforts and initiatives to bring about change have floundered in spite of 100s, perhaps 1,000 of hours of community time spent since on researching for and discussing solutions. What, if anything, do you/can you or the Foundation intend to follow up on your statement with now? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:11, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Kudpung completely. I understand the WMF views the RFA process as a community problem and wants the community to deal with it. At this point though it should be obvious to all that we are incapable of solving it. Countless proposals have failed, countless hours and attempts have been made and we are no closer to solving it than we were with the first proposal. Everyone agrees its a bad process, most agree that there are several ways to fix it. The community needs WMF intervention in order to fix the process. Please, please quite kicking the can down the road or pushing it off on the community. We have tried and failed. Its time for the WMF to step up and do what needs to be done to reform this process. Spend some time on the problems that need to be fixed and quite wasting time on non problems like changing the login page and facebook facelift no on cares about and most don't want. Kumioko (talk) 16:08, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Jimmy has talked about having some ideas for RFA and was going to propose them, late last year I believe. The same with the transfer of some of his bits and authority on January 8th. I would assume he faces the same problems we have as a community. The problems are like a balloon, if you squeeze it in one place, it bulges in another. Dennis Brown - - © - @ - Join WER 12:41, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Its easy to talk about it. No one has seen any attempts to fix it though. We're spending time and effort creating unnecessary and not particularly useful changes to low value things. We should be using some of that effort to fix some of these more significant problems. Kumioko (talk) 16:40, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Nothing is going to change on this, or any other issue currently plaguing Wikipedia. That would actually require accountability and responsibility to be assigned to the users here, and God knows that won't happen. SapiensIngentis 01:48, 29 May 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by SapiensIngentis (talkcontribs) 01:44, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
RFA is what it is. It's not changing significantly any time soon. I think there are many of us who think it is a "horrible and broken process," but getting that changed to something better is problematic. I'm actually not sure that it really needs to be changed at this point — those needing the tool kit can submit to the horrible and broken process and escape unscathed just fine if they've been sufficiently bland and vanilla in their opinions and behavior. The number of opinionated bigmouths like me or you know who and the other guy who actually need or desire the tool kit is very small. So it's a minor issue in the big scheme of things, to my way of thinking. But it is beyond doubt that the process is obnoxious. Carrite (talk) 03:11, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

() Unbundle, Unbundle, Unbundle, UNBUNDLE! Problem solved. Thank me. Hooah! --Kindest regards, (talk) 15:51, 29 May 2013 (UTC).

  • I'm all for unbundling some of the tools, but if you think that unbundling alone is the answer, then you don't understand the question. Dennis Brown / / © / @ / Join WER 18:20, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
    • Your right there, unbundling would be a huge benefit but it isn't the only solution to the problem. Kumioko (talk) 18:33, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
@Dennis: Sure I understand the question, and unbundling alone is not the complete answer, but it is the primary answer. Oversimplified answer: Have requests for permissions for (most) everything except delete/undelete and block/unblock. Have 2nd tier adminship for delete/undelete (+everything except block/unblock). Have current RfA for full adminship as it currently is (this is the one that allows block/unblock and everything else). But this is not the place for proposals that have already been shot down and picked apart, so I was making the unbundle statement tongue in cheek. Rgrds. (Dynamic IP, will change when I log off.) -- (talk) 19:22, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Your attention is drawn to a Commons category


I came across the above category earlier today. I should say that I don't think, on a cursory look, it or its subcategories contains anything which openly violates the WMF's rules against child pornography. That said, I find the mere existence of this category and its subcats rather uncomfortable, and it seems to me like it's just another IWF incident waiting to happen. I'd be interested to know whether Jimbo and others think it's appropriate.

(Before someone asks why I didn't bring this up on Commons first: because we all know they'd just ignore the issue and do nothing about it, that's why.) Robofish (talk) 00:59, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Why do we allow this to go on? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:20, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the better question might be, "Why does the Foundation allow this to go on?" Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 01:23, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls.." -- Hillbillyholiday talk 01:25, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
So Commons is essentially 4chan with diagrams, then? Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 01:41, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Hometrainer? -- Hillbillyholiday talk 02:07, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Uh, well, Commons is not censored and stuff and there might be a possible educational use for animated gifs of dudes with boners on exercycles or exhibitionists swinging their junk. Like ummm, uh, okay, never mind. Well Commons is not censored, did I mention that? Carrite (talk) 03:53, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, no one needs to know anything about the human body because it's filthy and sinful. Definitely not those doctors. Don't you know they're all perverts who get into the medical profession just so they can have an excuse to look at naked people? Also the gender-exclusivity of your examples is telling. I guess we don't need to spend any time discussing images of naked adult females, since we all know females are inferior and unthreatening. But man, those penises, some kid might see a picture containing one and go rapemurderkill a bunch of people. -- (talk) 19:51, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
I would like to say that sexuality is not the same as nudity, but that if you have a problem with a Commons category, the place to discuss it is on Commons. -mattbuck (Talk) 10:22, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Robofish, what do you suggest should be done? Delete the pictures? Rename the category? Anything at all? What are you actually hoping to achieve? What exactly is "the issue" that Commons would ignore, in your opinion? If you want to propose e.g. a kind of "pending changes" for all pictures added to each and every nude and/or sexuality cat on Commons, that would perhaps be a very good and positive idea. If you only want to spread some FUD or draw attention to a potential problem per WP:BEANS, then threads like this only serve to cause and increase drama. And if you actually want to ban all pictures of e.g. nude children from Commons, then say so. But as it stands, this thread serves no recognisable positive purpose. Note that pictures of "nude children" can be among the winners at the World Press Photo awards and be featured on the front page of newspapers, as happened with this one this year. Fram (talk) 07:42, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Well "Nude children by position" ought to be given a bit more thought. The main problem as I see it is that these images divide into old stuff from ethnocentric publications pre WW2, Out Of Copyright paintings, homoerotica from the 19th and early 20th century, and modern images of African and Asian kids. None of it is like your press photo, what is happening is that the category is being built with images of children that are non-white. Perhaps its to offset the 1000 all white penises. John lilburne (talk) 08:53, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Nude children by position doesn't seem to exist. You mean "by posture?" I don't see the division you present there (I don't note obvious homo-erotic pictures in those cats, and the old ones are both European and ethnographic; the few recent ones seem to be mostly "white" kids, not so much African and Asian ones), but I may well have missed something. I haven't checked whether the penis images are indeed mostly white, I'll gladly take your word for it :-). Fram (talk) 10:48, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

commons:Category:Nude_animals Count Iblis (talk) 12:18, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

The fact that there are images of nude children on Commons really should not surprise or concern anyone. The more relevant concern is how those images are used here and on other language Wikipedias. There's nothing inherently wrong with File:Kids skinny dipping in India.jpg and it might work well to illustrate Skinny dipping, but why is it currently used in Boy, Public nudity, and Issues in social nudity? For that matter, why does Skinny dipping need 10 images to illustrate a concept that can be defined in two words (nude swimming)? The lede image for Skinny dipping is currently an image of a girl of about 10 years old. Why is the infobox image of actress Shirley Mills an image of her at age 12 revealing her breasts during an infamous skinny dipping scene from Child Bride? Even when the images held by Commons have a plausible educational purpose, they are all too often misused here by editors with their own agendas. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 12:19, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

This is a new low for you. Six of the pictures in Skinny dipping are from an "in the arts" gallery section, which admittedly should be expanded with dozens of kb of text describing in professional artsy-fartsy terms what the motif of swimming naked meant to artists in the 19th century, etc., but those paintings by Zom and de Blaas especially, and also the others, are not just gorgeous in the physical sense but also in the artistic and we should be proud that we display them to readers. Of the others, two demonstrate the bulkiness of old-time bathing gear, one is an innocent image of a young girl who is almost entirely underwater, and one is a gratuitous illustration of ... what the article is about. There's nothing wrong with how Wikipedia has chosen them. Wnt (talk) 14:21, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Wnt, you are doing an excellent job of reinforcing my point. You think it is reasonable to have a gallery of art images illustrating such a common sense concept as nude swimming. It is not. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:04, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
And it is not... why? Should we write the WP:OMGNUDEHUMANBODIES policy? --Cyclopiatalk 17:09, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
For the same reason that we discourage sections that list every time something appeared on the Simpsons or The Family Guy or etc. The fact that people appear in art and photographs swimming naked is trivial in this context. As for WP:OMGNUDEHUMANBODIES, you feel free to do what you want - I have no problem with naked human bodies. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:44, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
You are correct that both this and the denigration of "fancruft" have in common that an editor makes a value judgment about collecting "too much content" about a topic based on what it is, according to the notion that some topics just aren't worth covering. Of course, what is fancruft and what is featured content depends, like all Wikipedia policy decisions, almost entirely on the strength of the PR team behind the move - as I pointed out recently, we have a feature article, best of our content, about some WWE wrestling match in 2003, because two industry magazines are "the best secondary sources in the field" giving comprehensive coverage of the event; meanwhile, 19 people getting shot in broad daylight in New Orleans is too common and trivial a thing to mention, just a sort of fancruft favored by editors like me who stupidly think negroes are notable. It is much like the American legal system in that regard, where there are oh so many policies, but the bottom line is that the poor go to jail from the day they are accused and the rich get off entirely. Now in this case, fortunately, we have a decent-sized lobby of editors who like these paintings... I just wish somehow that the core issue, that we ought to illustrate the topic we choose to write about, would be of more importance. It is no stranger to pull out a set of paintings of people skinny dipping to illustrate that than to pull out paintings of people waving claymore swords to illustrate an article about that. Wnt (talk) 15:37, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I totally agree. Who would think it reasonable to have a gallery of images illustrating a concept that can be defined in four words ("bound nucleons and electrons")? -- (talk) 19:51, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the concept of "skinny dipping" and the concept of "the atom" are equivalent and should be treated the same way. Well spotted. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:44, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm glad we agree, since it seems rather obvious that Wikipedia shouldn't limit its discussion of a topic because some person has a personal dislike of that topic. -- (talk) 03:32, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Where do you see that situation occurring in this discussion? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:07, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

(sarcasm on) Hi, is it here that we have to bring the torchs and pitchforks to defend a quintessentally American obsession against nudity and the peculiar conflating of children nudity with sexuality? Since we're here, I'd like to bring attention on a hideous, monstrous pornographic film called My Neighbor Totoro, that shows a scene with two naked underage girls in the same baththub of a naked man -their father! What's in the mind of these Japanese? And they let children see that! I hope this filth will be banned soon from American cinemas! (sarcasm off) --Cyclopiatalk 14:35, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

In the context of Commons, being worried about images of nude children has nothing to do with Americans opposing nudity in general, but with the specific nature of Commons being used as a porn library with flimsy excuses. Having a nude children category on Commons which is treated how nude images on Commons are typically treated has bad implications. Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:48, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for proving my point by collapsing nudity and porn in the same bucket. --Cyclopiatalk 17:06, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I* am not combining nudity and porn. I am pointing out that people who upload and use such images do, and that we need to take this into account. Ken Arromdee (talk) 18:02, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
This one is particularly amusing it has all the elements to make one think these idiots are a testicle short of a meat and two veg dinner. What next "Madonnas with their tits out"? John lilburne (talk) 17:03, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
This is as close as we'll get, I suspect. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:15, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
You guys are unfamiliar with Christian iconography, aren't you? --Cyclopiatalk 18:57, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
it was a popular theme in medieval stained glass. Not only featuring Mary and jesus but also the nativity of other saints. John lilburne (talk) 22:02, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes indeed, apparently, in the MDNA Tour "dancers dressed in burgundy monk outfits rang bells and marched across a church-like setting, complete with stained-glass windows". Martinevans123 (talk) 22:31, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
To the OP's original question, I fail to understand why we should be concerned if images in that category might lead to another "IWF incident". The fact that some external group overreacted in an idiotic fashion in the past, and the possibility that another group might do the same in the future, should have no bearing on what images Commons hosts or how they are categorized. Resolute 22:19, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Context is key. This very famous picture from the Vietnam War (not on Commons, by the way) shows a naked child. It would quite legitimately be categorised in a "Nude children" category. The pseudo-controversy being whipped up here is an even more dishonest attack on the Commons than usual because it so gratuitously ignores the contexts of the images and it's so obviously trying to whip up a moral panic. Frankly it's all very tiresome. Prioryman (talk) 22:36, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
My favourite picture of a nude child: File:Карвак - Портрет царевны Елизаветы Петровны.jpg, depicting this identifiable person. Fram (talk) 07:57, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Well duh on the context! However, I doubt that Nick Ut has that tagged up on Getty, Corbis or Magnum as "Nude child". The commons category also contains images where the presence of a child in the image is incidental and de minimus (far in the background and mostly obscured). Typical wikipedia categorisation stupidity. John lilburne (talk) 08:42, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Ken, who needs excuses anymore? It seems like some commons admins are perfectly OK with commons becoming a porn site. I actually agree with many of the counterpoints being raised here, but I have a different take on it. If we draw no line in the sand, then we do risk losing perfectly legitimate images of medical and historical significance, because the porn extremists kept lumping the basement porn of editor's penises in with the legitimate images. Gigs (talk) 16:10, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Commons has 17 million files, and I doubt very much that it's percentage of "porn" matches that of the wider internet. The only people who actually think Commons is a "porn site" are those who are unable to see the forest for the trees. Resolute 17:25, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
More like too many pictures of wood for a site that isn't about forests. Gigs (talk) 17:55, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Sure, but that doesn't justify the hyperbole. Resolute 18:01, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't justify dozens of pics of my Giant Redwood, either. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:05, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
No, but if the foundation is not concerned about how much disk space the files occupy, I fail to see why it is such a big deal. I've suggested in the past putting a moratorium on the upload of image types we have an exceedingly high number of examples of, but even if that never goes through, this just isn't something worth getting upset about. Resolute 23:13, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I think you know that's a straw man. I was reading about congenital moles the other day and wound up searching for "birth defect". Oh hey, another gratuitous editor's cock. Now, given, my search was for a medical topic where nudity might be expected. It's not about being offended by nudity, it's being offended by the pollution of the encyclopedia by people who seem obsessed with showing the world their cock. Gigs (talk) 20:46, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
PS- The rest of the user's contributions seem to support my prior assertion. Gigs (talk) 20:49, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Some more NSFW search results from Wikicommons

Oh my, let me grab my fainting couch. Is there something we're supposed to discern from you dumping a bunch of links on Jimbo's talk page, Hillbillyholiday81, or were you just in the mood to enliven our day a little? -- (talk) 03:28, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Bit of both.. -- Hillbillyholiday talk 03:43, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Wikipediocracy member? Check. Blatant trolling? Check. Are we done here? Prioryman (talk) 09:41, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
This message brought to you by Ad Hominem Incorporated. Carrite (talk) 02:41, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Ad hominem allegations are not unreasonable when Wikipediocracy members routinely and absolutely ignore WP's admittedly hopeless policy against canvassing to get their own way - whether it is nominating banned founder Gregory Kohs for a T-shirt giveaway at Wikipedia:Merchandise giveaways/Nominations, or lining up to vote against Fae's RfA at Commons, or promoting Wikipediocracy with an RfC and opposing its deletion, including fluffing up the Robert Young attack article that contributes greatly to documenting their notability - or this ongoing crusade against Commons - we see them consistently mobilizing their battle forces in one conflict after another. Unless and until the other people on Wikipedia learn to mobilize politically in the same way and to get out the vote to fight these "wp:battles" with equal fervor, we do need to recognize the effect of this political inequality on our discussions. Wnt (talk) 03:52, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
"Ad hominem attacks made on Wikipedia against participants at an external website are just fine if made against members of the monolithic anti-Wikipedia conspiracy," is that what you are saying? I don't want to put words in your mouth. Now the specifics of your post: (1) Wikipediocracy doesn't canvass. They discuss and people who read the board (including you and yours, no doubt) respond as they feel appropriate, if they feel it is appropriate. There is no barrier to anyone of any set of values reading and reacting, and I will bet you five dollars, five pounds, or five euros that the number of pro-WP participants and lurkers (myself included) exceeds the number of anti-WP participants and lurkers. (2) WPO participants didn't "line up to vote against Fae at Commons." I would say that the biggest enemies of the project hoped he would be added to the motley crew of Commons Administrators, some of whom are characterized by the proprietor of this talk page as "among the weakest admins that we have in all the projects" and "a core part of the problem." (3) Ditto there is difference of opinion among active participants at the Wikipediocracy message board as to whether it was better to defend or delete the Wikipediocracy article on WP. (4) "Constantly mobilizing their battle forces" is a somewhat paranoid formulation which assumes a command-and-control structure and monolithic views. This is far from reality. (5) "Unless and until the other people on Wikipedia learn to mobilize politically in the same way" ignores the fact that there is already a small Anti-Wikipediocracy caucus which is every bit as fanatical and disruptive as the small subset of uncompromising Anti-Wikipedians at Wikipediocracy. Much like the confrontation of Cold War era, it seems as though there is a symbiotic relationship between the extremists of both camps. You argue for more people to join in a battleground mentality. I argue that this is contrary to the goals and acceptable methods of this project. A dose of realism would help, in my opinion. Carrite (talk) 17:03, 29 May 2013 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 17:11, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
To be clear, I was offering a choice. Either one accepts that marshalling forces for political battle in various politically-oriented user groups is a legitimate tactic for everyone, and accepts the obligation to respond in kind, or one allows the dismissal of such crusades based on ad hominem concerns, however unusual that may be in the normal practice of political discussion (where the former has long been taken for granted). So long as the status quo on Wikipedia continues to some extent to deny the former, the latter is a valid response. Wnt (talk) 17:25, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Wnt, I'm used to you talking nonsense, but I sometimes worry that others might actually believe some of the misinformation you write. I suggest that people take a look at Fæ's recent unsuccessful Commons RfA and take note of the neutral and oppose votes. Half a dozen Commons admins opposed Fæ's admin bid. Do you really think Wikipediocracy had any hand in that, Wnt? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:51, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Blatant trolling, but I'll bite. Yes, there are NSFW results in searches in Commons. So what? --Cyclopiatalk 09:52, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

They don't stay on commons, they spew out across all manner of search queries on wikipedia. Soon whatever image you search for, no matter how innocuous the search term, Commons will ensure that what you get is someone masturbating as the top image. Now normally that sort of thing would be called 'trolling'. John lilburne (talk) 10:04, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Wikipediocracy member? Check. Wild exaggeration? Check. Are we done here? Prioryman (talk) 10:05, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
This message brought to you by Ad Hominem Incorporated. Carrite (talk) 03:17, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
A useful demonstration of inappropriate Commons Cats? Check. Are Commons Cats applied in a rigorously hierarchial manner, so as to avoid inappropriate search results? Where's "safe search" mode"? No check. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:17, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Why inappropriate? They all contain the search term -that's what "appropriate" means in the context of text database search. They're all germane search results. What you mean is that you personally do not like what pops out in these results, for some unfathomable reason. But if I do a search, I expect to see whatever is in the database for that search, not only things that some culture deems to be "appropriate". I don't need nannies. --Cyclopiatalk 10:38, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
To be fair, I think there's a germane issue about whether sexualised images should be returned in generic search results. Having some kind of "safe mode" as the default, as Google Images does, would probably be a good idea. Incidentally, this particular issue has nothing to do with "innappropriate [sic] Commons Cats", it's purely a matter of which images are returned by which keywords. Prioryman (talk) 10:41, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you P! As an illustration even with safe search off a Google image search for "Prince Albert" does not return penis images. The words in the category names do play a significant part in what is returned though. Also I dispute that the "appropriate" images are being returned, the majority of search for images of Queen Victoria's husband are NOT enquiring after dick jewellery. John lilburne (talk) 10:50, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Google has bad problems. Their "safe search" has always excluded good content [13] but now they have become extremely aggressive with it. [14] The short term result is that people have been gradually moving over to Bing. I should also note the broader problem that it seems very common nowadays for Google to return results that don't actually contain the terms you're looking for, they only return 1000 common results minus duplicates no matter how many matches actually exist, etc. Unfortunately, it appears that they are rapidly headed the way of MTV, where actually doing the thing they're for has become passe. I think we definitely need new start-ups to approach the searching problem from scratch, seriously, using bittorrent-like scalable-fractal techniques to fully and accurately map the web. Wnt (talk) 15:56, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
(ec)Perhaps "unexpected" or "less efficent" was more what I meant. Yes, "unfathomable" seems quite apposite. And it's perfectly ok for children to see exactly the same images that we adults do, yes? There's no need for Commons to check who's doing the searching? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:46, 28 May 2013 (UTC) p.s. I meant "inappropriate application of Commons Cats" not "innappropriate [sic] Commons Cats", as in the "splatter-gun approach" - the "Human" Cat might get overused?
And it's perfectly ok for children to see exactly the same images that we adults do, yes? - Actually, yes. Most human cultures have no problem with children and adult nudity and the like. It's just our Western quirk to think we have to obsessively censor the world for kids. --Cyclopiatalk 11:43, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
And oh, you're free to disagree. That's what parents are for: keep an eye on their kids. --Cyclopiatalk 11:58, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Ah, that's what parents are for! I had assumed they were too busy editing Wikipedo. I'm not very bothered about nudity. In fact I think that's a very healthy thing for kids to be aware of. I guess I'm less happy about sordid acts of sexual perversion, mutilated genitals, video clips of masturbation, that sort of thing. But I think it's more the annoyance factor - when I'm searching for images of antique hardwood furniture, I don't really want to have to look at some unknown senior editor's prized gentials. Even if they are tastefully varnished. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:02, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
"furniture" => spanking and bondage. Should I mention "Pearl Necklace" or "Human male"? Oddly if you search for any of these terms in French on the French wikipedia, you don't get this nonsense. It is a special gift of Commons to the English wikipedia. John lilburne (talk) 10:40, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, quite. No problem with "Furniture" being used as a sub-cat of "Spanking." But - at the same level? really? My point exactly (ouch!)Martinevans123 (talk) 10:52, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo, what steps should be taken (if any)? -- Hillbillyholiday talk 04:32, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

I should note that writing personal image hiding scripts doesn't seem to be that difficult - I just scribbled up a crude example that actually works to hide the portrayals of Muhammad in Muhammad [15], and I know next to no Javascript. With some more sophistication, more or less as I described at User:Wnt/Personal image blocking, it would be possible for people to block an assortment of images, though admittedly I don't yet know how many my very crude program could handle without bogging. Question is: why am I, the least interested in image blocking and the least skilled at Javascript, breaking new ground here? Wnt (talk) 05:33, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't know a single command of Java script, but from what I can tell, the "minimal JS skill" you offer to write a personal filter can only block files that are already known to be objectionable to the user with exact file name. Reader demands a filter that hides unpredicted images. Besides, Wikipedia's goal is to offer a free encyclopedia to all human beings. "Free" also includes the freedom to refuse certain content. Having unpredictably objectionable media files shown on reader's screen against that very goal. If one wants to be a Wikipedia editor, you ask them to learn some Wiki markups and/or template syntax. But there is no justification to require our readers to learn Java script to achieve that purpose if Wikipedia is meant to be a "free encyclopedia". You're not adding the burden to the readers because it looks easy to you. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 02:26, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
The idea is transclusion and copying. One user may only know of ten images he objects to, but another transcludes the files of ten users he trusts, and so forth, until all the objected images of a certain group of people are covered. There is absolutely no way - no matter how you do it - that you can block images without deciding what images to block. The web of transclusion makes it explicit how people decide to trust one another's priorities. Even on the Muhammad images - which probably one person can "list" in no time just by looking at a few articles and Commons categories - there will obviously be disagreement because some believers of the religion probably think images of Muhammad as a flame are OK, maybe with a veil etc. But there should be a way to make trust collaborative.
The question of Java vs. plaintext is a bit difficult. I think the blacklists should be pages ending .js in userspace to avoid them being messed with by vandals. The contents might either be plaintext - which a script will have to read in and interpret somehow - and admittedly I have a lot to learn about opening Wikipedia pages to read the contents in Javascript. Or they can be JSONP format, which is minimally marked up in a recognizable and easily explained way. Either way, it is desirable to use the transclusion facility so that most users of the system just put a {{User:So-and-so/Censored.js}} in their file, an ImportScript in their common.js file, and they're done. A few users would hunt out dozens of other users to transclude, and there should be a way to aggregate and remove duplicates from such lists when assembled and served on further. And then some would identify individual images as they encounter them - ideally, by pressing a Javascript-added block button that would appear in one corner of each uncensored image. Of course, I can't say enough how little I know about Javascript, and it seems intentionally hostile to many desired applications, but even I managed to make a simple script that right now, today, a Muslim reader could copy to his common.js if he wants to be able to edit the Muhammad article without having to stare at Muhammad images. Wnt (talk) 03:30, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Historians appalled by WP

A non- free image for Suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons was recently deleted through consensus and her birth date has been removed from the article as well. Since we don't know the author, the image will not be public domain until 2133. If no one stores a copy of images such as this for 120 years will historians look back on WP and wonder why we didn't keep accurate historical records? We could upload a few of these images to commons an put them in Category:Undelete in 2133. I am just worried we are repeating history by destroying records that historians may find useful millennia from now. We don't know the colour of Abraham Lincoln's eyes possibly because of similar data destruction. Thoughts?--Canoe1967 (talk) 20:06, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

So you want us to deliberately violate copyright on the grounds that it would be useful in future? There is more chance that Jimbo Wales will sprout wings and fly to Mars. FWIW, Lincoln had gray eyes. (talk) 20:12, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Do you really believe that Commons will still be around in 2133? Eric Corbett 20:14, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Good thing there is to archive everything regardless of copyright status. --B (talk) 20:17, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
I heard Jimbo was going on vacation this month but I didn't know it was Mars. Tell him to say Hi to Marvin and Jon Carter for me. Kumioko (talk) 20:18, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it is likely that Commons will be around in its current form in 2014, let alone 2133, but who knows which rumours to believe anymore? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:09, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
If anything we need MORE photos of penises -- Hillbillyholiday talk 22:41, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
You don't need to see a picture of a girl who committed suicide to understand what an article on the girl's suicide is about. This is about as insipid and ridiculous as the hyper-inclusionism gets; if they had their way, we'd have a criteria #11 at WP:NFCC reading "I like to look at pictures when I read". Tarc (talk) 22:30, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, I have to admit you're right there (I mean, #11, not the other stuff). The whole purpose of Wikipedia is to satisfy and provoke curiosity, and curiosity begins as an instinctive sensual impulse we share with very simple creatures. Wnt (talk) 23:29, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
You've written some mealy-mouthed crap here lately, but this one takes the prize. There are supposed to be quite stringent rules here regarding the use of non-free material, but there's a lot of "I just wanna use it cause I like it" bullshit floating around lately. Claiming that the project needs to see a picture of a dead girl in said dead girl's article is just...almost too dumb to warrant a response. Tarc (talk) 23:36, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

FWIW - specifically does remove copyrighted material on request:

The Internet Archive respects the intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights of others. The Internet Archive may, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, remove certain content or disable access to content that appears to infringe the copyright or other intellectual property rights of others. If you believe that your copyright has been violated by material available through the Internet Archive, please provide the Internet Archive Copyright Agent with the following information: (list)

IOW, as they do not wilfully violate copyright, then we ought not either. Collect (talk) 22:36, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Neither Wikipedia nor the commons were set up as an archiving body - this simply isn't within their stated remit. And for what its worth, the last thing that historians would need is an archive of images frequently mislabelled, stripped of any context, and categorised according to the bizarre 'system' used at commons... AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:44, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Ancient garbage dumps were not set up as archives either but they seem to be a gold mine today.--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:55, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
I wish you luck dealing with the local authorities when you explain that you're operating a landfill on your front lawn purely in the interests of posterity. Choess (talk) 00:17, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Let's discuss Commons on Commons

See here for what is going wrong Count Iblis (talk) 00:44, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

No one cares about your pointy and hopefully soon-to-be-deleted joke of an essay. There is no discussion to be had on Commons, it is the proverbial "wretched hive of scum and villainy. Tarc (talk) 01:33, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Without some drastic adult intervention and supervision, Commons is a lost cause. Cla68 (talk) 01:39, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Now on its tenth year of being a lost cause. You should devise some disparaging song so Commons supporters can adopt it as an anthem... Wnt (talk) 03:19, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Lyrics: "...stuck a feather in his ____ and called it 'Commons-roni', then took a photo, and uploaded it to Commons" but I am having trouble getting the lyrics to fit the music! (just kidding). -Wikid77 04:44, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo is free to disinvite anyone from this talk page or bar certain topics, though I doubt he would bar all discussion of a project such as Commons here since it is the most trafficked of his talk pages.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 02:00, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Potential to auto-offline Commons data: One possibility might be to merely check the links from existing articles, and then remove access to any Commons images which are not linked to any external pages. Then, one by one, people could talk with admins (and teams of volunteer assistants) to restore access to images, depending on proof of public-domain license, age of child, or other release issues. The tactic is to use actual linking as evidence of potential copyright-review verification, versus thousands of non-linked images which might be copyvio cases. Meanwhile, questionable images could be uploaded to each separate wikipedia, under applicable non-free restrictions. Also, some Bots could be run at the same time to allow access to images/media which pass the later rules for copyvio concerns. A major part of the copyvio problem has been to auto-Commonize images copied from enwiki which might not have been properly tagged as "non-free fair-use" for the limited use on English Wikipedia, but were mass-transferred to Commons, without re-checking the status. A key aspect of the copyvio problems is how widely the copyvio images have been distributed. -Wikid77 (talk) 04:44, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi, Jimbo!

I'm demonstrating the power of MediaWiki to one of my friends. (talk) 16:32, 30 May 2013 (UTC)