User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 86

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New Wikipedia for Kids

I have placed a statement here earlier, stating if there such thing as Wikipedia for Kids. I have looked at all of them and I think there should be a new one. None where kid-friendly.Gregory Heffley (talk) 19:15, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Then go to Wikia and make it. Wikipedia is not censored for minors or morals. —Jeremy v^_^v Components:V S M 19:18, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
(ec) What is "kid-friendly")? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 19:21, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
An "encyclopedia for children" has existed in the past - for example my parents procured a set of the Childrens' Britanica (an abridged version of the real thing) when I was young. It wasn't very useful. I'm also wondering what Gregory defines as "kid-friendly". Pedro :  Chat  20:37, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly what I meant.Gregory Heffley (talk) 20:41, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Sorry - I don't understand - what in the above thread is "exactly what you meant" ? Pedro :  Chat  20:44, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
What I meant was the wikis were not reliable and doesn't make sense to kids.Gregory Heffley (talk) 21:32, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd agree that we need to "up" the reliability as best we can on all wikimedia projects. I'd disagree they are not reliable as long as one treats them as they are - a tertiary source - however. In respect of them not making sense to kids - well - that's a problem for the parents or teachers. Pedro :  Chat  21:46, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Is the simple Wikipedia what you're looking for?--Jorm (WMF) (talk) 21:40, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Simple isn't strictly for children though, it could have an article on Jemma Jameson! This guy has a point, there really ought to be a children's edition of wikipedia with a design specially suited to attracting kids. Really articles could be written based on existing articles and simplified to be suitable for kids learning. and they could be set so only parents and teachers can edit them or something. If I was a seven year old kid, seriously 90% of our articles i'd shut off after two paragraphs. We do need a Children's edition for wikipedia, the nearest thing we have is 2008/9 selection for schools. But we need that sort of thing to be an on going project to build the best possible kids encyclopedia. We also need our own Wiki Atlas for making our own maps, OSM is poor quality. A lot of things which seem really important for some reason get overlooked on here.♦ Dr. Blofeld 22:34, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
It's not easy to determine what is "kid-friendly", so I don't think it's possible. What would this "kid-friendly" wikipedia say about death? That it's the end and that you don't really go to heaven? Or... how are children conceived? Bees & butterflies? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 22:40, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Hehe and say that Santa is a real guy living in Lapland LOL. Well the 3-16 age group would probably require several different encyclopedias to cater to different age groups.♦ Dr. Blofeld 22:43, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Then again, there's the issue of whether children can collaboratively work together nicely.Jasper Deng (talk) 22:54, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
As opposed to the issue of whether adults can collaboratively work together nicely, which requires little discussion: We already know that many of them can't.  :) Neutron (talk) 18:43, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
If you feel OSM is "poor quality", what makes you think our own efforts would be any better? OSM is what you get when you create a user-edited mapping tool; why would we re-invent the wheel? Better to work with OSM to improve their quality. As for a Children's Edition of Wikipedia, no one is stopping you from creating one. You might even get some Wikipedia editors to help you with the effort. But the Wikipedia project as a whole is focused on creating a comprehensive encyclopedia, not one suitable for minors. Powers T 00:10, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
See Category:Children's encyclopedias and Category:Online encyclopedias.
Wavelength (talk) 23:06, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Oddly this is the third time I have come across a discussion on this topic recently, and found that nobody seems to be aware of the Wikipedia CD Selection, AKA Wikipedia for schools. No pop culture or porn articles, no gory or sexual images, and you can't vandalize it. I think it would be great if it were actually online. It could be left static, new versions of articles could be imported but it would not be editable by the general public, meaning it would require very little administration. However, so far nobody but me seems to like this idea and I don't have the server space or the technical know-how to do it myself. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:40, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

My main objections to ideas like this is the inherited requirement to define what is suitable for children, and who does that decision. Should it be suitable for American children, or should it be suitable for Swedish children? Should it hide facts that are deemed unsuitable in a moral (i.e. moral panic) sense, or unsuitable in an educational level (i.e. Quantum physic) sense. If it's only reliability that is relevant in the end, then no special Wikipedia for children is required, just make sure the pedia is reliable :) AzaToth 00:19, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I like this idea, Beeblebrox. It doesn't seem like it would be very hard for the Foundation to put this online, since it exists. I think they ought to. Providing an additional online product (which, as we've seen, people seem to want) at low cost would be a good thing, I would think. (BTW and FWIW there is something called "Wikijunior", but that is a subset of Wikibooks and not an encyclopedia. Not sure if it's active, either.) (@AzaToth: "who does that decision" would be people who volunteer to do it, cooperating and using established standards of pedagogy, I guess, and I suppose this is how the CD version that Beeblebrox refers to was made.) Herostratus (talk) 01:20, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, you're the first person who seems to get the concept behind this idea. It is not a censorship issue. Wikipedia undeniably contains material that entirely inappropriate for young children no matter where they live, but I would be the absolute last person to suggest that we should censor this project in any way. It would be a great service to educational institutions for them to have something like WP, but which the kids can't use for other things, such as vandalizing, looking up sexually explicit material, or reading about individual episodes of Family Guy. Articles wouldn't be screened for morals, but rather for actual educational value, which is what they did with the CDs. An article like fisting is not related to any subject they teach in any primary or secondary school I've ever heard of, so it would not make the grade. Neither would Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, for the exact same reason. Since it would not be subject to the space limitations of the CDs we could indeed include any and all educational topics, from alphabet right on up to quantum physics. And the folks who made the CDs already did a lot of the legwork for us. Beeblebrox (talk) 03:28, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Well I agree that "we should [not] censor this project in any way", for the same reason I agree that that "we" shouldn't issue passports or collect tariffs: we don't have any police powers, so we can't censor anything. We can exercise editorial judgement, but that's way different.
OK, sorry about the snark, but's a hobbyhorse of mine. Anyway, after thinking about this some, I'm of two minds about this, for reason of internal politics, too long and complicated to describe here. Herostratus (talk) 18:44, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
OK, So what is the outcome of this?Gregory Heffley (talk) 18:55, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
See MassResistance#"Fistgate" and in particular [1]. There's a lot of bullshit out there but basically as I understand it a student asked about the practice and after another student commented, one of the people (adults) in charge offered a brief explaination to help clear up some misconceptions. While not a part of any curriculum and was outside school, it's clear some people don't see any harm in helping older secondary school students (the workshop was for youths between the ages of 14-21) better understand stuff they've heard of before. Our article may not be the best way to do this and it goes in to more detail then is likely in any such session (although that is true for a lot of our articles) but I think your idea of universal concepts of what's taught and not taught are a little simplistic. I can imagine Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is something that may be analysed as an example if the subject is Japanese culture or anime (or both!) in school. As another example, are you planning to include oral sex? I'm pretty sure this is something that is fairly commonly discussed to some extent in sexual education in schools in some places e.g. [2] but in other places mentioning it is likely unthinkable. Nil Einne (talk) 08:02, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
It is possible for pretty much anything to be brought up in a conversation in a classroom somewhere. I don't think it would be that difficult to come up with objective criteria to determine what is and is not a "general education" article if we were really going to do this. For everything else we already have this project. I'm thinking more of something used by elementary/primary schools, as opposed to high schools or secondary schools. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:11, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
OK, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems there are a couple of options in play here:
  • Putting the Wikipedia CD Selection online. Details beyond that -- what to call it ("Wikipedia for Kids" or whatever), whether to provide a prominent link to to it from Wikipedia, and so forth -- are fairly trivial. Presumably it would be non-editable. Upside: Cheap, easy, good PR, probably not very controversial. Downside: last edited October 2008. I would say this is not a huge problem, but maybe it is. As the years roll by it would become a worse problem, but 90+% of the value of an encyclopedia is stuff that happened before 2008 and won't change. A 20 year old Britannica is very useful and schools, libraries, and homes feature them with no apologies.
  • Some other project, probably using the Wikipedia CD Selection as a starting point. To my mind the only real advantage would be that it could be kept current, but the basic problem here is getting the resources to do the work, getting approval to do the work, and doing the work, which would presumably include dealing with people who think that the problem with the fisting article is that the words are too hard. Speaking just for myself, I would prefer gargling with thumbtacks to getting involved in a project like that. However, there are people who like this stuff, so you never know.
Getting #2 going seems like a tough job, and I don't know what steps one would do to get it rolling. But #1 seems relatively easy. I don't know how one would get it going, but Jimbo does. So....

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────How about it, Jimbo? How about getting the Wikipedia CD Selection online and linked to from the English Wikipedia? Is this something you would be willing to put on the Foundation's plate? Perhaps there are deal-killers here that we're not seeing? Herostratus (talk) 03:19, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

New MediaWiki milestone

Hi, Jimbo and Jimbo page watchers. rev:100000 was just committed to MediaWiki subversion repository. Congratulations to everyone. --Meno25 (talk) 01:06, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

anonymous (street meat)

The page was deleted -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(Street_Meat) -- they came after it big big guns. I wish to go on record that this experience was personal, contentious and has had a stifling effect. Thank you Mig (talk) 14:40, 18 October 2011 (UTC)Mig (talk) 14:48, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

I would not say the "big guns" came after it. Indeed, you had the tremendous benefit of assistance during that discussion from some of our key editors on Films overall - including someone who appears in film. You were provided some great advice on how and when related to this article - indeed, I wish I'd had that same benefit with a couple of articles that I have had deleted :-) You may continue to work on a userspace draft of the article, and when it meets the guidelines under WP:FILM you'll be good to go! (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 15:03, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
The issue is that Miss Chinea is the director and writer of the film in question. As far as I've seen, people where nothing but courteous and professional in their dealings with Miss Chinea. She has been advised a number of times about policies related conflict of interest and notability which she seems to have largely ignored. Instead she chose to continue attempting to promote her film through Wikipedia. The reason she found it personal and contentious was that she chose to take it personally because it was her film. I've seen this happen dozens of times, where someone finds the process difficult because it is judging the impact their own creative effort. Personally I don't think this is a major problem (aside from being a hassle for non single purpose editors), there are many people who see Wikipedia as merely a means to an end. If they don't get their way they feel disillusioned. --Daniel 16:28, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I wonder how we might soften the edges of the process for people, so that they learn from it and become better editors rather than getting disillusioned... at least more often than happens now. (Some people will never be satisfied, of course.)
For example, rather than the article being deleted, perhaps it could have just been moved to her userspace and put there in some useful fashion with links to the deletion discussion and community advice for getting the article published at an appropriate time and with appropriate content. (Bigdom made the offer in a kind and generous fashion, so I'm not criticizing here, just musing out loud about potential improvements to the process.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:55, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
ROFL. Maybe it's because you were so vehemently against any such thing less than two months ago - ya think? You even shut down that same suggestion on your Talk page. You were so insistent the only options were Keep or Delete, no exceptions, no trying to help new editors, no nothing. So deal with it. 75.59.231.22 (talk) 19:52, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I never said any such thing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:20, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Part of the problem is that admins and maintainers get discouraged after a while. I personally have never seen an editor start by editing promotionally and then go on to edit encyclopedically. Sometimes they make promises, but it never happens. It seems to be very difficult to switch from viewing Wikipedia as a means to an end to viewing it as a thing of value in its own right. Looie496 (talk) 17:10, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I've been following both the articles connected to Migdiachinea and I'm working on one of them. I agree that Migdiachinea has repeatedly acted like she is ignoring advice and guidelines. Oddly enough I don't think she is intentionally ignoring people. Mig, as best I can tell you are not understanding a lot of what is being told to you. For example I am not at all sure that any of my own explantions have gotten across to you. The situation baffles me and I don't know how to make it better. Cloveapple (talk) 17:20, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
It appears that Mig is simply not here to build an encyclopedia. She is here to promote herself (whom she deems notable as an up-and-coming filmmaker) and her film (ditto). Since we are obstructing her sole purpose here, she is taking it very personally, and wishes to go on record that we are mean and heartless and will be sorry when she becomes famous. I'm sorry if I seem to be mocking her, but that isn't the way Wikipedia works, and many fine editors have tried to communicate this to her, to no avail. (This is not a gender issue, either; I've seen a very similar situation with the excellent male comix artist Colin Upton, for example.) --Orange Mike | Talk 17:51, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree this is not a gender issue. She has taken it to the Gendergap list though saying that it is. LadyofShalott 20:18, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

WikiFinance - new project suggestion

I have a suggestion for a new Wikipedia. Tentatively call it WikiFinance. I am writing this to you as a finance professional who has spent over 20yrs in the industry, as a person passionate about technology and as a believer in the unfolding era of social collaboration transforming businesses & global economies.

Here is the case for a WikiFinance as a separate new project for WikiPedia:

The Global financial crisis (GFC) has shown that the current financial structure in unsustainable. Some of the key causes of the crisis a) improper credit rating as rating agencies were paid by the companies who sought rating i.e. moral hazard b) inability of select/limited staff of rating agencies to evaluate all the complexities involved in understand macro & micro factors driving risks. c) information arbitrage by investment banks and hedge funds like Goldman Sachs/Paulson (large team of analysts, close access to key information sources, etc) which allows them to make supernormal profits at the cost of small individuals.

Solution: Start WikiFinance as a collaborative effort by millions of people around the world to analyse, comment on and freely distribute intelligent information and analysis on companies and economies to everyone.

Observations: What the GFC has shown is that bloggers like nakedcapitalism.com or creditwritedowns.com have become more popular than traditional sources for informed analysis. There are millions of academicians, press and ordinary individuals who are posting their comments in multiple blogs/websites, but there is no true collaboration as there is no central place where they can collaborate to comment on the same issue.

Imagine if we had a central WikiFinance to analyse companies, take AIG for example. Imagine, Wiki had a WikiFinance page on AIG where every person who has interacted with AIG were allowed to post their comments. We would have go a) thousands of analysts and academia analyzing their financial statements jointly b) hundreds/thousands of people in the financial services industry could have been whistle blowers in pointing out how they were mispricing the options they were writing c) people could have vetted the CDO documents and pointed out all kinds of toxic assets injected into those and d) regulators could have tracked these and stopped them for blowing up the way they did much earlier.

Imagine: If Mr Bloomberg allows corporate financial statements into WikiFinance as a regular feed (anyway information is public) and all the people who deal with the company (suppliers, customers, bankers, analysts, neighbors, etc) are allowed to comment on a company in a central WikiFinance space - we could be reinventing the financial sector on a bottom up basis. Just create individual company pages, feed free data from Edgar/SEC/Bloomberg, allow analysts/academics to analyse the financial statements, allow customers to comment on their user experience, allow suppliers to comment on their experience with each company. We would have achieved full transparency and contributed to fixing the worlds broken financial sector.

The birth of new collaborative, democratic and a more fair financial sector is possible through WikiFinance. The opportunity, technology and need is very clear. The potential contribution to the world is also very clear. Is Wikipedia willing to enable/allow this change to happen?

What do you think? Thanks for reading so far. — Preceding unsigned comment added by NWITP (talkcontribs) 08:26, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

It sounds like what you are proposing is a forum. I am sure there are already many forums on the Internet for the discussion of companies and their financial information. I don't see why those forums cannot achieve what you are looking for. In any event, to my knowledge the Wikimedia Foundation does not operate any "forums" as such (only talk pages and mailing lists to discuss the contents of the projects themselves), and I don't see any reason why they would start now. Neutron (talk) 15:22, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:WikiProject Economics and Wikipedia:WikiProject Finance.
Wavelength (talk) 15:39, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:WikiProject Companies.
Wavelength (talk) 18:16, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
These resources might be of interest.
Wavelength (talk) 18:50, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Richard D. Wolff discusses the economic crisis at Capitalism Hits the Fan: Richard Wolff on the Economic Meltdown.
Wavelength (talk) 19:19, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
NWITP, if you are hoping that the richest people in the world will collaborate for the common good in economic matters, then you might find some of them to be closed-minded and tightfisted.
Wavelength (talk) 07:00, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
The Internet is not only a powerful tool for communication and collaboration, but also a powerful tool for surveillance.
Wavelength (talk) 15:20, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Assistance with a usurp

Hi Jimmy, hope you're well. I'm wondering if you could help me out with something here - I've gone through the usual channels but have been stymied, so thought I might bump it right up the chain for your opinion.

I've had a username here on hold for all of the nine years I've been around. It was, in fact, the username I originally registered with, although I didn't use it, deciding instead to go with my real name. These days, it's the name I use everywhere online - I'm detaching from my real name for personal reasons - and I'd like my Wikipedia presence to be no exception to that. So, I requested in the usual place to get switched over. That was a year ago ([3]); but at the time I was informed that somebody had registered on zh.wiki with the same name, so I wouldn't be able to get SUL unless they said it was okay. Over the course of the following year I tried several times to get in touch with them, but unsuccessfully.

I filed an updated request ([4]), asking for an exception to be made because the Chinese user in question has only ever made 112 edits in three years ([5]), none in months, and only ever to zh.wiki. My gut feeling as an admin is that it's extremely unlikely they'll ever need SUL or make cross-language edits. The 'crat I dealt with advised me to make a steward request, so I did ([6]), but was given the brush-off - quite politely, but still so.

Basically I'd like to ask you if, given my long association with the project, I could be trusted enough to have the rules bent a very little for me, and if you could intercede on my behalf.

Many thanks for your time, whatever you decide. Best wishes, — Hex (❝?!❞) 11:11, 20 October 2011 (UTC)


I can answer this for you, he won´t help you. Sorry, but the username is the authors name for the license, and because of that users with a single public contribution can´t be ursuped. That would violate our license.--Müdigkeit (talk) 16:18, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid you've misunderstood completely. I own the username Hex on the English Wikipedia. That's what I'm asking to usurp, not this Chinese user. However he/she has SUL for that username, because SUL didn't exist when I registered the username in November 2002, and that's what I'm asking to be reassigned. — Hex (❝?!❞) 16:50, 20 October 2011 (UTC)


So, you have Hex on one project, and the other Hex - who came after you - has Hex on a dozen projects ... seeing as many of the projects have their own Bureaucrats that would have to act on the request, do you see the potential challenge? (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 16:59, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi there. I don't know about that; I was informed by Xeno at the time of my original request that "Global SUL is owned by Hex (talk · contribs), you'll need to work it out with them and have the global account deleted if they concede the name. Otherwise, you won't be able to unify under the new name." Is that not the case? The other user has not edited any other wikis to my knowledge. — Hex (❝?!❞) 17:05, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I understand the frustration. The challenge is that since the other Hex created their id after SUL came in, they have Hex on every single other project (Global SUL); you just have it on one. You would have an easier time simply asking for a SUL rename of your account to something like Hex, but changing your signature block to say Hex. If you have seen the other massive challenges with Global SUL renames on the the Stewards board, you would understand. It would be a breeze if the other Hex wanted your on this Wikipedia, as they only have to usurp one ... you have to usurp a dozen or more. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 17:14, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it's that bad? According to CentralAuth they're only attached to three wikis beyond their home wiki. One of them is zh.wikibooks which I certainly have no need to usurp; the others are meta and fr.wiki, both with zero edits. That should be pretty straightforward to arrange, right? Thanks for chipping in with info, by the way. — Hex (❝?!❞) 17:20, 20 October 2011 (UTC)


Barnstar

65px The Serbian Barnstar of National Merit
You deserve it!
This WikiAward was given to Jimbo Wales by WhiteWriter speaks on 19:24, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

How exactly does Jimbo deserve the Serbian Barnstar of National Merit, I don't follow, or are we a little starstruck here? ♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:28, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Place of birth in infoboxes for bios

Jimbo, I have a confession to make. I purpously made an incorrect edit (in my view) in place of birth in George Washington article to illustrate a point and I feel bad now. However, the main problem is that I actually did nothing wrong, because incredibly, we dont have a principle written on this! So this creates a situation of having a general consensus among senior editors to use historical accuracy for place of birth, but editors editing against this consensus end up being allowed because people never made an effort to finish the discussion and writte a short note about this at WP:MOSBIO.

To me seems pretty obvious that Lenin was not born neither died in modern day Russia, but was born in Russian Empire and died in Soviet Union. Hitler obviously was not born in modern day Austria but in Austria-Hungary, just as George Washington, the article I vandalised in my view, was obviously not born in the United States but in Colony of Virginia.

However, all this is relative because we don´t have a rule on this, so people can actually use current states for place of birth, even if they didn´t existed at time of birth, something completely illogical. For exemple, how can a person be born in, for exemple, in a country called Eritrea in 1980 if the country only gained independence in 1991?

I just noteced my edit was reverted (thanks God! I couldn´t stand my own crime) with the edit summary of "unsourced". But here is the problem: sourcing a place of birth for well known historical figures is easy, as there are easily available scholarly sources saying precisely the historically accurate place of birth. But what about sportspeople, less known modern artists, etc.? They often use sources which are not specialised in history and geography, and may vary for exemple in using Soviet Union or current-day states for footballers for exemple. It was with sportspeople that this time the problem started. Within the Wikipedia:WikiProject Football‎ there is a general consensus to use historically accurate names of cities and countries at time of birth of a person, and many editors made a huge effort in fighting (what we called) vandalism of numerous IP´s and nationalistically motivated editors to replace former countries by the new ones. This war was specially active in past 3 to 5 years, however nowadays the Yugoslavia´s, Soviet Union´s, Zaire´s, etc. had finally seemed to become accepted and suffer less reverting recetly. However this time a group of Estonian editors had started questioning all agreed and saying that current states are the ones to be used. Now, the problem is that we are basically tighed-up about this, because we lack written principle defending historical accuracy, and because sources may easily say one or onother, depending on their seriousness about that specific issue, as most are not specialised in place of birth. So basically, they remove a precise place of birth of the person when born, and replace it by the current state, and we cannot do nothing about it as we lack principle on this.

I do understand that there were discussions in the past over this issue and nothing was agreed, however seems incredible that the situation continues like this. Many dedicated editors have lost much time around this issue. I also supose that often the past discussions were not successfull because many users were uninformed about them, so now there is a chance at least to finish the discussion. I really beleave we could easily apply the historical accuracy for place of birth, by this meaning to use the city and country that existed at time the person was born, and also, most important excyclopedia´s treat the issue that was as well. If not, we don´t apply what I stand for, but my only wish is to have a principle on this to solve this frequently problematic issue.

I know this sounds like a desperate call for attention, but it is just unbeleavable that we still lack a principle or note on this and the situation has become a bit intolerable. The current discussion is taking place here: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Biographies#Country_of_birth.2C_for_historic_.28and_current.29_bios.2C_part_II. Best regards, FkpCascais (talk) 03:24, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

First, I think it is quite important that we don't feel like we have to write down a rule for every obvious things. We're already much too rule-bound as it is.
Second, of course you are right on the editorial point. It's always wrong for Wikipedia to say that someone was born in a place that didn't even exist when they were born. That's so obvious, I'm not sure why any sort of general rule should be needed. I'll go read the discussion.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:46, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
[Addendum] - I've now read the discussion and I should clarify. I think you are right on the editorial principle but may not be right on some of the factual particulars. And I think this case shows quite clearly why simple rules for obvious things should not be written down. In that entire discussion, I don't really see anyone opposing the principle of historical accuracy (at least in the main) but rather making very complex points about what accuracy demands.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:10, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
I have not been involved in these discussions, but I have now read them also. I think that (as Jimbo recognizes in his Addendum) the situation is a little more complex than some people seem to think it is. The "person" infoboxes that I have seen have an item that says "Born" which tells you the person's birthdate, and though not labeled as such, their "place" of birth. It doesn't say "Here is what the sovereign state in which the person was born was named at the time he or she was born." I think that gives the infobox-writers some flexibility in terms of "place of birth." Using the example that seems to be the hot-button in the discussion, "Estonia" has existed as a region and in some senses a "country" for more than 100 years, although it has only been a sovereign state for a minority of that time. I don't think that necessarily means we can't say a person born in "Estonia" in 1980 (when it was, constitutionally, a constituent republic of the USSR, and in reality, governed by the USSR) was born in "Estonia." Or "Estonia (then part of USSR)." But unless the infobox parameter says "Born in the sovereign state of:", I don't think it's wrong to say the person was born in Estonia. There are examples that are even more complicated; take the city of Prague. It has existed as a "place" for well over 1000 years, and numerous kingdoms, empires, republics and occupying armies have come and gone around it, but it's still there. If something happened there in 1300, do we necessarily have to say it happened in "Bohemia"? Chances are today's reader doesn't know where that is (although they should, of course, click on the link and find out.) If it happened in 1870, do we have to say it happened in the Austro-Hungarian Empire? Maybe we should just say it happened in Prague, or we can go on to explain what country that was in and what country it's in now. (Tough to do all that in an infobox, I realize.) The point is, it is not always obvious what an infobox should say in terms of "place", and there should be room for some flexibility as each particular situation may warrant. Neutron (talk) 23:50, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, I still think this flexibility gives too much space for ambiguity and potential conflict. I undertand that for a description of certain event we may use geographical areas (using possibly modern day terminology), but a place of birth is a minor, but specific, issue in a biography. Now, because of that flexibility, we have broken a long standing consensus that seems to be common to all sports projects, which basically deals with people recently born (recently in comparison with historical biographies). In my view, having a minor note written about this in order to avoid conflicts in such a minor, but problematic edit, would be extremely benefitial. Without it, we risk having different standards for similar articles, and for some nationalistically hot areas, this will be their prefered battleground on WP, something we desperatelly wanted to avoid. FkpCascais (talk) 04:57, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Fundraising

Jimbo, my sons call me Timbo!

Just a couple of thoughts, and you can reach out to me if you want to follow up.

My specialty is pricing, and at its core is the concept of "Managing the Value Exchange". The concept is that your sales force and customers must be forced to acknowledge and pay for value delivery. That's why public radio interrupts programming and does not resume until their goals are met. The truth is we all want everything for free as long as we can get it. Gatting paid starts by saying "no". One option you should consider is taking the site down and asking people for money. If they contribute they get immediate access. If not, they need to wait for two days. There are probably other options, but no time to think of them now.

Good luck,love your service.

75.171.244.204 (talk) 15:12, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Well, if short-term revenue maximization were our goal, I suspect you'd be right that a good way to do it would be to take Wikipedia down and refuse to turn it back on until the target is met. But we'd lose a look of goodwill in the process, and anyway revenue maximization (short term or long term) isn't our goal.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:01, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
I think you'd loose a lot of editors too, Jimbo... If Wikipedia had a 'sales force', or 'customers' this might indeed make sense. It doesn't, it doesn't, and it doesn't. Meanwhile, I think our anon IP should learn another 'specialty' that of 'gatting' his/her spelling right. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:01, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Spelling is irrelevant, but the idea is bad indeed. @75.171: If you go with "You can't read this until you pay", it also means "You can't contribute until you pay", which some of us at least could just as well make "I won't contribute until you pay me". Bad idea. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 02:16, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

image filter

I want to ask you why you think that it would be a good idea.--Müdigkeit (talk) 18:32, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

I will find the feature personally very useful, as I often work in public places and in conservative countries (I am not talking about the United States, but rather more conservative places in the developing world). I think many others will find it useful too. If you don't find it useful, don't use it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:55, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, I find it harmful for Wikipedia. Good arguments against it can be found here; but in german; I don´t have the time to translate them all, so I will pick only three: 1.Which images someone doesn´t want to see/be seen is greatly different.2. People could be advised to use the image filter when using wikipedia.3. Wikipedia should be neutral. Censoring images isn´t neutral, can hide important information, exspecially in articles about medicine or art; which can effect the neutrality of the article.--Müdigkeit (talk) 05:32, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Regarding 2: What's wrong with advising people to use an image filter while reading or editing Wikipedia in a public place in Saudi Arabia? Do you prefer it when people don't read or edit Wikipedia in such circumstances, or do you think we have an obligation to create martyrs of anti-censorship? Hans Adler 06:28, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
I find none of those arguments persuasive nor particularly to the point.
1. While it is true that which images someone doesn't want to see can be greatly different, there is broad agreement and industry standards reflect this. Google, yahoo, and many others have offered this functionality successfully to users for many years without any particular drama or problems. Additionally, we can and should make it customizable by the user for special cases. So, I have answered point one.
2. People could be advised to use it? Yes, those same people could be advised not to visit those pages at all, or advised not to use Wikipedia. Allowing the end user control over what they see will allow greater freedom to the end user, not less. Additionally, the only thing the image filter should do is enable javascript 'hide' functionality, so that with a single click, I can view the images that I have hidden. (Usually this will be after looking around the room to see if the circumstances are appropriate/private.) So I have answered point 2.
3. Allowing the end user control over their experience at Wikipedia is never censorship. I can explain further if you want, but that is my basic answer to point 3.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:57, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia should be encrypted

Why isn't Wikipedia encrypted?Because,there are lots of fake Wikipedia websites on the net.Please look over this issue if you can.I,myself,detected a phishing Wikipedia website claiming it is the original,and encouraging people to log-in on their website.Nearly 45% of Wikipedia accounts are compromised every year for these fake websites.If you can,can you please reply on my talk page?Dipankan001 (talk) 06:27, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

...Wikipedia is free...--Müdigkeit (talk) 11:17, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
You may wish to see Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-10-10/Technology report#Improved https support comes to Wikimedia wikis for current information on accessing Wikipedia using encrypted connections. --Allen3 talk 12:43, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Dipankan001, do you have any evidence for the claim that "nearly 45% of Wikipedia accounts are compromised every year"?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:51, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Dipankan001, I think you are actually referring to sites which mirror our content. These websites aren't "fakes", but rather they re-use our content. This is perfectly normal, and as long as they are respecting the GFDL/CC licensing, completely legal. Resolute 13:34, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
In regards to it being legal, I'd go so far as to say that it is even welcomed and part of Wikipedia's mission, to provide a free encyclopedia to everyone. It never says anything about that encyclopedia being provided on this site alone. Though, if some of these sites are being used to compromise Wikipedian's accounts, that is a problem. Ajraddatz (Talk) 14:03, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

BLP gossip

Are these edits appropriate [7] [8] [9] [10]? This editor is removing information sources to reliable sources and claiming "unnecessary gossip". Surely its relevant to mention that somebody was with somebody for 4 years? Would you fail to mention Bennifer in the Ben Affleck and J-Lo articles for instance?I mean the Ben Affleck article mentions relationships he had for just 2 years and says things like "Despite a wedding planned for September 14, the couple broke up in 2004, both blaming the media attention - including an alleged incident in which Affleck partied with Christian Slater and some lap dancers in Vancouver." It is a Good Article and if anything that is far more "gossipy" than the articles he's removing stuff from every day. I think its very relevant to mention long term relationships if covered in multiple reliable sources. Its different if it is a brief fling. Any thoughts because this editor removes information from every actor article even if well-sourced and encyclopedic.♦ Dr. Blofeld 19:27, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Related discussions have been going on for months (see [11] or [12] for recent examples), and there's a strong trend, probably amounting to consensus, that Wikipedia is not a repository for celebrity "dating" histories, and that a greater level of significance other than "reported in the press" is required. No one's trying to write "Bennifer"-class relationships out of Wikipedia. What we object to is treating every "celebrity relationship" as though it was (nearly) as noteworthy as "Bennifer". As WP:IINFO, which is policy, says, "merely being true, or even verifiable, does not automatically make something suitable for inclusion in the encyclopedia"; WP:NOTNEWSPAPER, part of the same policy, says "routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities is not a sufficient basis for inclusion in the encyclopedia."
And many of these dating "histories" are quite dreadfully sourced. The very first article where Dr. Blofeld objects above to my edits, Paula Barbieri is a useful test case. There are four sources cited. The first, supporting a claim that Barbieri dated actor Dolph Lundgren, is from a book about convicted felon Jack Abramoff, states that "Abramoff also claims that Lundgren's girlfriend at the time was not Grace Jones, but model Paula Barbieri, O. J. Simpson's future girlfriend." The book presents this only as an unconfirmed allegation, no better than gossip, and it is exactly the sort of thing that WP:BLP and WP:RS call on us not to present as fact. The second source is a book by Dominick Dunne, and when one tracks down the actual text beyond the GBooks snippet [13], it again proves to be not a statement of fact, but Dunne presenting examples of gossip he's heard about Barbieri. The third source is NNDB, by consensus not reliable enough for BLP use. The fourth source is the worst of all, the gossip column in New York magazine, and it is nothing but anonymous and quite vague innuendo, followed by an on-the-record denial from an attorney for one of those involved. If the actual title of the piece, "When the Homicidal Maniac's Away"[14], had been cited in the reference, its unreliability might have been a shade more evident.
There's no exception in WP:BLP for celebrity sex lives. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 22:02, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
A rumour?? "my girlfriend" according to Dolph? "Celebrity sex lives" are often very important to that particular individual if it is several years. You cannot even begin to have a comprehensive "personal life" section which ignores the main components of their personal life. The Brad Pitt article mentions his early relationships and who he dated. Its also an FA. Its perfectly appropriate.♦ Dr. Blofeld 09:29, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
I have seen this editor decimate such info in articles that I follow too. It seems to be his mission on WP, but he goes to far in my opinion. BollyJeff || talk 20:00, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia, not a TMZ ragsheet. If all you can say about a person's biography is, "she dated X", then she dated Y", then IMO a very poor job is being done with said biography. Tarc (talk) 20:14, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Bennifer, Brangelina, or even Posh and Becks, of course, should be mentioned. In general, non-marital and childless celebrity relationships tend to be firmly in the gossip pages. We must remember that reliable doesn't mean infallible, for example, Fox News is reliable, but we wouldn't use it as a source for party affiliations, and even in reputable sources there can be a lot of gossip and speculation about celebrities in the celebrity pages. Unless relevant to other content (such as Ryan Giggs and his affair with Imogen Thomas) or relevant as a social phenomenon (such as, for example, Brangelina), I'd personally not write about it. Sceptre (talk) 20:29, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
But if the section is named "Personal life" and the person she/he dates for five years and spent a great deal of time with and most most important to their personal life for so long then how is it not appropriate to mention it? Its different if it was a brief fling or one night stand but a long term relationship for several years in my view is appropriate if covered in multiple sources. And the "wikipedia is an encyclopedia" argument is ridiculous given that wikipedia is so many different things on so many different levels and way off being a formal encyclopedia in the traditional sense of the word. We have thousands of pages which violate "we are an encyclopedia not a sports almanac", "we an encyclopedia not a cartoon fansite", "we an encyclopedia not a news source". Could have fooled me. Featured article Katie Holmes says "Holmes dated her Dawson's Creek co-star Joshua Jackson early in the show's run. After the relationship ended peacefully, she told Rolling Stone, "I fell in love, I had my first love, and it was something so incredible and indescribable that I will treasure it always. And that I feel so fortunate because he's now one of my best friends." And how exactly Tarc is this any different, and it passed FAC.♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:55, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
You're misrepresenting me: if it's outside the gossip pages, then it'd be fine under Wikipedia policy (as, for obvious reasons, gossip pages aren't reliable even if it's in an otherwise reputable source), but I would personally not write about the private lifes of people unless it was relevant to content, because I see such coverage, especially in a "personal life" section, as unencyclopedic unless limited. For example, the article Russell T Davies talks a lot about his sexuality (as it's damn important to his career) but only mentions his partner (of at least ten years) twice, the same amount of times it mentions his ex-girlfriend (who appeared in one of his shows). The article about Beyoncé Knowles only mentions her husband Jay-Z where it's relevant to her career.
As to the matter of FAs, you couldn't have picked a worse one to defend your point; the article has two issue boxes, has issues with sourcing, accuracy, and completeness, and was promoted in 2006. It wouldn't pass FA today, and would probably not pass GA. Indeed, looking at several arts BLP FAs, personal life sections tend to be rather quiet and reserved, and some articles (e.g. Mariah Carey) don't even have one despite her being in music solely because she was married to a record label executive. I would personally advise against such sections in FACs, and I think most FA writers would too. Sceptre (talk) 22:25, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

I think Hullaballoo should be commended for convincing so many former contributors to go elsewhere to add actual information to projects. Some of my own experiences with Mr. Wolfowitz' trademark article-stalking and edit-warring can be glimpsed in such edits as [15], [16], and [17]-- in which he repeatedly mass-removed neutral, sourced descriptions of videos, claiming they described the subject's life-- or [18] in which he repeatedly edit-warred out a sourced claim that he simply didn't like (an "adult" performer known for her breasts). Behavior such as this from Wikipedia's most-admired Admins and editors (as opposed to hard-working contributors) convinced me that I had a choice to make: 1) Play the "Wikipedia game" or 2) go somewhere else to work on contributing sourced information-- which was my reason for coming here in the first place. Thank you again for showing me how admired game-players are, and how despised contributors are here, Mr. Wolfowitz. Dekkappai (talk) 23:55, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Hi: you seem to be confused about the purpose of the Biographies of Living People policy: it states that all information about a living person and/or in an article about a living person must adhere to the policies of verifiability, no original research, and neutral point of view. In those cases, I note that the sources in question are most likely not reliable sources, and it is the responsibility of the editor wishing to include information, especially that under the aegis of BLP, to certify that the content does meet all of our content policies. In the context of living people, any edits to remove material that violates policy are not classed as edit warring. Sceptre (talk) 00:48, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Dekkappai, those articles...particularly your versions of them...are quite horrid, actually. If you can't figure out why making claims such as "she has been called indispensable to any discussion of the AV" or "well-known for her large breasts" do not belong in Wikipedia articles, then perhaps the project can benefit by your reduced contributions. I especially like the "Hara reportedly went through a nervous breakdown following 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and decided to retire from show business" that is present in the current revision of Saori Hara. Quality work, that. Tarc (talk) 01:23, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the Dolly Parton article has an entire paragraph devoted to the public perception of her breasts. If it's well-sourced and relevant to her notability / useful for an encyclopedic standard of the subject, or something like that... - Wikidemon (talk) 01:48, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
You're going to have to explain, Tarc, exactly what is wrong with that statement in the Saori Hara article. It's a statement that is referenced and appears to be true and I think her retiring is a fairly important part of her life, why wouldn't we cover it and explain the reason for her retirement? SilverserenC 04:34, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually Tarc, most of that is not my work, but, unlike you, I try to respect and improve on the good-faith work of others, not shit on it. Those examples are meant to show further evidence of Hullaballoo's edit-warring without discussion, such as that which instigated this thread. Thanks, however, for the snide comments typical of thugs like you, and thanks for reminding me why I left. If you don't believe a well-sourced mention of breasts in an article on an "adult" performer is appropriate, then you believe Wikipedia should not cover such topics. So at least have the balls to admit you believe in censorship. I doubt that is a controversial stance here anymore. A quick glance at your "contributions" shows nothing but drama boards. Right, now compare my past 500 edits made after I had completely thrown in the towel at this place. Even though I was blatantly trolling, I doubt they're much worse than your "contributions". Certainly they contributed no less information to the encyclopedia than your talk-page clowning. The potential good of this project has been destroyed by belligerent, self-important jackasses such as the user named at the top of this thread, and yourself who are allowed to drive off real contributors with impunity. Right here you insult the contributions of a longtime editor, author of over 500 articles including GAs and an FA (quick, look them up for deletion!), and Jimbo, who publicly bemoans the loss of contributors, tacitly approves. If Wikipedia aspires to be a source of information, then "editors" who come here merely to bolster their self-worth by shitting on real contributors-- such as Hullaballoo yourself-- are the problem. If it aspires to be a circle-jerk session for holier-than-thou thugs, such as yourself, then it is right on course. Dekkappai (talk) 19:40, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Relevant to a mature understanding of this topic is Kayfabe - a term from the world of professional wrestling, but which applies in a wider context. Individual cases require thoughtful judgment, but one thing we should be clear on: not everything in tabloids is true. A fair amount of it is staged PR fluff. Another portion of it is simply bad reporting that the stars don't complain about because it is harmless. There are often good reasons to take it all with a grain of salt.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:15, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

So what you are saying you would think is unnecessary to mention Bennifer in those articles because the papers may have got it wrong that they actually dated? Is there not a difference between a tabloid reporting a one night stand/brief fling and those who report on a relationship practically every day in every news outlet for five years? ♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:50, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
No, of course I'm not saying we shouldn't mention Bennifer. And I don't see any reason to think the papers got it wrong - they publicly announced their engagement, for example. That's not the same as thinking that we should chronicle every single twist and turn of celebrity romances, and that we should use thoughtful judgment to avoid simply repeating random nonsense trumped up by publicists. There is a difference, as you say, between a tabloid reporting something briefly and things for which there are reliable sources.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:02, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. I would consider a relationship over two years to be considered notable enough for mentioning in an article if it is covered in scores of reliable sources. I feel that it is different to the tabloid story of the day xxx was seen leaving xxxx hotel with xxxx type of thing. I have though seen Hullaballoo delete information about long -term relationships which were widely covered in reliable sources like The Guardian etc and were very well known, it just seems a bit odd to remove anything but a marriage and label it "tabloid drivel". That's what I disagree with. I'll agree that Hullabaloo is right to remove unsourced content of brief flings and that but not relationships which people were in for 4 years and is well documented in multiple reliable sources.♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:24, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Following up on Touré

Following up on your comment at Talk:Touré#Request for respectful delay and the previous discussion on your talk page, has there been any progress on this issue? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:46, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

*ping* I think this request might have gotten lost in the bustle on your talk page. There's been a further request for attention at the article's talk page, and your input would be greatly appreciated. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 13:29, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollectio

Jimbo, I'm bringing to your attention this recent discussion on the MOMK page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Murder_of_Meredith_Kercher#Split_apart_sections_of_the_article_into_Trial_of_Amanda_Knox_and_Raffaele_Sollecito. This section suggested the seperation of the Trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito away from the MOMK article now that they have been acquitted. The discussion went on for a couple of weeks and the final vote was 20-8 in favor of the new article. It would have just pulled out all of the AK,RS trial info out of MOMK. There is no reason that their trial should be any more than a note with a link on the MOMK page. It has nothing to do with her murder and it has everything to do with the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. It is at this point its OWN event that should be seperated from MOMK. I do not understand how an admin can just ignore such a large concensus to have the Trial seperated from MOMK? Why did we even vote? What is the point of having a concensus if it is completely ignored. I do not want Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito to be tied in wikipedia to a murder they had nothing to do with. This was discussed long before the acquittal even happened that if they were acquitted it would be best to make it a new article. The MOMK should concentrate on her murder. I would appreciate your response and hopefully your support in making a new article. Issymo (talk) 23:41, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand what you are asking of me. Who is preventing the creation of a new article separating the trial from the murder article?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Here is the Trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito discussion page: [19] there is also discussion here on MOMK: [20]. It seems just a couple of editors overuled the majority opinion. Issymo (talk) 03:55, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

James I of England

Heated debate

There are several attempts at the article discussion page and elsewhere to change the name of this article. It is, I think, quite unique in that that well-meaning editors in both England and Scotland who are usually very cooperative, have, in this case become quite contentious and unyielding in their views based on their individual countries' viewpoints.

There is no doubt that James VI was King of Scotland for many years before he became also King of England and united the two countries. Yet, the article title remains James I of England with no compromise as to even a "joint title". So far, attempts at compromise by the Scottish and other editors have gone completely unheard. The worst and most distressing thing is that claims and accusations of nationalism have come up against the Scots as well as similar accusations going the other way to the English and it has become ugly. Unless someone who is greatly respected weighs in; I think some good editors may leave Wiki.

One of the most provacative comments I heard was that, since King James had done much work for the English Queen before he took over, that his sympathies" must have been with the English". Can you imagine a medieval Scot being sympathetic to the English over the Scots? It is absurd. I am not criticizing the individual editors as much as showing you where the obvious problem is, i.e., they cannot think "clearly" on this issue.

We need some other English speaking countries, and, I believe "The Big Gun" to weigh in on this. Unfortunately, the evidence, from an American point of view, is not being heard or completely ignored and a discussion is being quickly closed every time it is re-opened.

One of the places of the discussion is on the James I of England talk pages, but there are other sites, also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_article_review/James_I_of_England/archive2 . Emotions are so high that I fear we will lose some well-meaning European editors if there is not some intervention. As stated and emphasized here, that intervention, in my viewpoint, must be made outside of the two countries involved and by someone commanding great respect. That, of course, would be you. Would you take some of your valuable time and look at this? Thank you either way. Mugginsx (talk) 15:14, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Right, well I live part-time in England and I edit as an ordinary editor in this general area, so I probably don't fit the right mold for someone to intervene in any commanding way. But I can say a few words of calm and hope that is helpful to some extent.
Given that the question of Scottish independence is increasingly in the news, and people may have strong feelings about it, it wouldn't surprise me to see claims of 'nationalism' coming up more often in Wikipedia around topics like this. I hope not, but such is the way of the world.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:20, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you so much for your comment. Unfortunately, I believe this is a unique situation and I cannot find a precedent in the monarchy series of articles. Mugginsx (talk) 19:04, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Would it not be possible to simply name the article James VI of Scotland / James I of England? It won't harm the accessibility of the article as we will have various redirects which will get the reader there just fine. Yes that is contra our "rules", but come on: a foolish consistency is a hobgoblin, and would we rather lose editors???
(Lots of people have used two names, but in most cases there's one main one. One example where this is not true us Sean Combs. Should his article be named "Puff Daddy" or "P. Diddy" or "Diddy"? Apparently there the compromise was to use his birth name. If we followed that precedent here we could name the article "James Stuart" I suppose, and that would be another solution.) Herostratus (talk) 20:16, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
See, therein lies the problem - the "main one" is neither or both (in this case). There is no "main king of any European country" taught in America and other English-speaking countries. While we may love to read about them and learn about them, I assure you I have never heard of any king of either country given preference in any U.S. High School or College that I have attended. I think if lots of people have used two names as you state - that is the answer. I do not believe there can be any resolution of the type that Mr. Wales suggests, i.e., except in this way. Mugginsx (talk) 21:49, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
If there were a compromise name it would surely be James I and VI. But that isn't a good solution, because the same issue would arise for James II and William III (better known as William of Orange), and similar issues would probably start popping up for dozens of other monarchs. There really isn't any viable solution over the long term except to use the most common name. (The case of Mary II illustrates the bizarreness. She happens to be both Mary II of England and Mary II of Scotland, but only because of luck: Mary I of England and Mary I of Scotland were different people.) Looie496 (talk) 15:17, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
(response to Mugginsx) James did not unite England & Scotland. That unification didn't occur until 1707, long after James expired. GoodDay (talk) 15:29, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
This is how he officially styled himself in 1604, according to the article: King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. He was King James VI of Scotland earlier, just as many U.S. Presidents have been Senators previously, and Kings previously Princes, and so forth, but their earlier positions aren't included in the title of their articles. If he had continued to be both James I and James VI until his death, that would be different. According to the article, he did not (although Encyclopaedia Britannica disagrees). Neither did he remain James I of England. He officially promoted himself. He was the first James of this combination of kingdoms (see James I of Aragon, Sicily, Cyprus or England), so he used James I because James VI of Great Britain wouldn't make sense. I don't know why people insist on arguing over these two titles, neither of which is his final, major title which reflects the unification. (All right, I do know and that's the problem.) Except France, of course, but some things never change. The argument should not be England vs. Scotland, but Great Britain v Great Britain, France and Ireland. I refuse to accept this as a legitimate argument (aka heated debate) until Irish and French Wikipedians are also involved. ;-) 75.60.17.153 (talk) 15:43, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
I think we are going far afield in examples given and in anticipating problems which may or may not come up. To answer GoodDay I would say that he did indeed unite Scotland and England because he was ruler over both countries, whether or not they had their own parliaments, etc. Also, the example given on article discussion page was of a medieval dead monarchy.
As to the title, it seems to me that, to the rest of the English speaking world, historical accuracy would be of overriding importance. It is not accurate to given either title alone in this article, since the article incorporates James' total life. James VI of Scotland / James I of England would be correct as to WP:Article title, WP:Article Scope and historically and chronologically accurate. I have not found a guideline against a long title, as long as it is an accurate title. Historical accuracy should, in my opinion, be the key here. He was King of Scotland for many years, (the longest reigning Scottish Monarch), and then he became King of England, also for a significant amount of years. I have written this three times and have other editors agree with this title; but as to those who disagree, they do not address this narrow issue in the Monarchy series i.e., this particular argument for historical accuracy. I would welcome a comment as to that narrow (but most important) issue and if I am incorrect, I would welcome that information as well, but only as to that narrow politically neutral issue if you please. Mugginsx (talk) 16:33, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
May I suggest that James VI of Scotland and James I of England is aesthetically more pleasing to the eye than James VI of Scotland / James I of England?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 08:30, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Gives the impression of being about two people. What about James VI of Scotland, James I of England? Fram (talk) 08:33, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
With respect, I don't think people will get that easily confused. I believe "And" would work fine. Have started another vote. Mugginsx (talk) 09:30, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
James could've styled himself Kermit the Frog, but it wouldn't have made him so. The English & Scottish monarchies were united in 1707, not 1603. James was seperately -Monarch of England, Monarch of Scotland & Monarch of Ireland-. As were Charles I, Charles II, James II-VII, Mary II, William III-II & Anne (up until May 1, 1707). GoodDay (talk) 12:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Quick question: are we going to see a new vote called every week until those in favour of change finally get their way? And doesn't this count as gaming the consensus-building process? ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 13:27, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
This debate is not about anybody getting their own way but rather to strive for historical accuracy. The fact is that James ruled Scotland as James VI from the date of his mother's (albeit constrained) abdication in July 1567 until his death; by contrast he only ruled England (as James I) from 1603 until his demise. Putting James VI before James I is chronologically accurate; it's not an attempt to undermine the kingdom of England nor his important reign as the first Stuart monarch.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 13:37, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I've actually already read your viewpoints on why the name change should occur. In several places. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 14:00, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I have read your opinions too Suriel11981, on the voting page and they don't wash there either. As I said to you, the Kings of England, are to many English speaking countries, no more important than the Presidents of the United States are to you. OK, let me ask you this: Is Harry Truman more important to you than Calvin Coolidge? I didn't think so.
Also, as to another often-used and equally non-credible rationale, used by another editor, his examples of multiple Kingdoms in the title pages do not have anything to do with this title since this was a King of Scotland who, when he became King of England inherited those other titles, Ireland, etc which were already incorporated into the Kingdom of England. Completely different. This is once again a sample of broadening and deflecting the real issue which is that this is one man with two kingdoms.Mugginsx (talk) 15:43, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I didn't come here to continue the naming debate - that should be done on the talkpage. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 16:42, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Restating my points clearly - Like-minded individuals seem intent on reopening the debate until they get their own way and this is, IMNSHO, gaming the consensus-building process by refusing to accept a result that has been achieved time and time again (15 times, no?). This is the THIRD attempt in a MONTH! At this point, what concerns me is not who is right/wrong but the fact that certain editors are repeatedly flogging a dead horse. Quite frankly, it's taking the piss.
The opening statement to Jimbo in this section beggars belief in its claims that evil English editors are repressing Scots and denying the "American viewpoint" (i.e. the opinions of a couple of American editors) and appealing for Jimbo to take a WP:POV and force through a change which consensus has been opposed to time-and-time again! What is this if not a piss-take? ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 16:42, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Nationality doesn't come into it. We're debating what the article's title should be called. Full stop.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 16:46, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
If that's the case then why is the opening statement on this section full of references to it??? ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 16:50, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Suriel1981 You have misinterpreted my statements. Please read what I said. I referred to good faith editors on all sides with a small proportion making nationalists statements. I have nothing but respect for editors of both countries and my record and my statements here and on article pages prove that. I love (especially) the medieval history of England and Scotland. Please do not misinterpretete what I said. All countries have issues and sides of those issues. This is just an article discussion. My apologizes to anyone who thought differently.
My more recent statement was to attempt to give an example to show the "perspective" of history from the citizen of one country to another, i.e., an American to a European, not to diminish anyone's history. If I failed to articulate that meaning, I would also apologize for that as well. Let us not get side tracked on this. I pray that is not anyone's intent.Mugginsx (talk) 17:12, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Have I missed something. Has this issue been RfC'd. If not, why not? It seems like prime RfC material to me, & I think that appealing to Jimbo is rather putting the poor guy on the spot. - Sitush (talk) 23:48, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Can we please get back on topic? There is a democratic process going on. The Founder can speak for himself and, in fact, has done so here and on the article talk page. You may wish to read his words there as well. Mugginsx (talk) 10:40, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

I see someone has made an allegation that Like-minded individuals seem intent on reopening the debate until they get their own way, if I may respond to that allegation I do not consider it accurate or helpful. The reasons put forward for blocking the suggested move include:

  • Those suggesting the move are "Scottish nationalists" and should be ignored.
  • We don't want to see wikipedia representing the modern nomenclature for this monarch.
  • England was his most important kingdom.
  • James I is the most common name known outside of Scotland.

Currently most modern texts refer to him as James VI and I, this was the suggested name but its been frustrated by arguments such as those above. Were we to go with the Scottish nationalist suggestion it would be James VI of Scotland but from the outset a compromise was offered. The fact that this keeps arising is because the article is is being held at a non-neutral name by arguments such as those above. The current title ignores other relevant viewpoints in the English language, is anachronistic and incongruous with modern scholarly references and utterly at odds with an encyclopedia professing to offer a WP:NPOV. I say your comments are unhelpful, because I could point out that "like-minded" individuals seem intent on keeping the article at an anachronistic title that doesn't reflect modern usage. In point of fact, they're an attack on the integrity of those arguing for change, who are genuinely seeking to improve the encyclopedia and it seems an attack designed to justify disregarding an opposing viewpoint. Wee Curry Monster talk 10:45, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Wee Curry Monster has expressed my sentiments exactly. We are here to improve the encyclopedia not accuse other editors of having a nationalist agenda.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 11:17, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo - A COMPROMISE change from above title to James VI and I is now being voted on which incorporates concerns and comments from editors from various countries, more specifically that the title seems more agreeable to the variety of editors, the title is shorter, the title is more verifiable, still historically accurate, chronologically accurate, still incorporates WP:article scope and WP:Title guidelines, WP:Notable, WP:Verifiability and is the most neutral to all English-speaking countries. I am hoping that the editors who have expressed concern in those areas will know that their voice and opinion have been heard in this proposed compromise and that hopefully a final resolution can be given to this very excellent article with a problematic title. It seems, as well, to incorporate one of your stated concerns for "... a solution which is satisfactory to all, or at least which creates the least dissatisfaction...". Comment taken from James I Talk page.Mugginsx (talk) 15:46, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Our motto

I am increasingly uncomfortable with Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, because so many people interpret it as Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone has the right to edit in any way they feel like. The result is that people come here, make edits that serve some goal they have, and then are angry when the edits are rejected. I suggest as an alternative Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that everyone can help write. It carries the same connotations of freedom and openness, but adds a connotation of cooperation in pursuit of a universal goal. Regards, Looie496 (talk) 15:35, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Well, it's been the motto for a very very long time. :) I doubt if it is any worse (or better) today than ever.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:45, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, the fact that a problem has existed for a long time doesn't mean it can't be fixed. Anyway, I'm not expecting anything to happen quickly, just trying to plant a seed. Looie496 (talk) 17:20, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
"Wikipedia, the encyclopedia we write together." — Coren (talk) 19:33, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Beware changing a motto: Perhaps some see: "Wikipedia, the encyclopedia some draft and others copy-edit for years". I formerly thought there should be much more emphasis on collaboration, such as in gaining consensus about contentious articles, or defining coherent sets of articles, but looking at hundreds of typos or grammar errors in articles, now I really see the need for brave loners to quickly edit each article, boldly as WP:BRD, and correct many minor errors and fix some basic source references as fast as possible (perhaps dozens of changes in many articles per day?). Remember: over 80% of articles do not even show conversions of km/miles. Most article images do not set the "alt=" (in [Image:xx.jpg|alt=x]) to say the physical picture description for sight-impaired users. Most town articles have out-dated population counts. Plus, numerous hollow articles need some basic text added, by anyone who knows some details about the subjects. I can understand that there are many articles where POV-pushers try every tactic to slant, or distort, the text, but changing the motto will not stop them. Calling a robbing mugger either a "mugger" or "wealth-challenged would-be saint" is unlikely to alter their actions to attack and steal what they want to take. The WP motto is not what prompts people to distort and slant many articles. Perhaps a more accurate motto would be: "Wikipedia, the encyclopedia anyone can edit to improve dozens of details in each article". -Wikid77 (talk) 23:09, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Planting a seed for a new motto is good. No text will eliminate POV pushers or troublemakers, but I know at least one long term abuser who fully rationalizes his actions based on anyone can edit—why should elitist snobs have some right to remove his contributions when anyone can edit? Johnuniq (talk) 23:23, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Because anyone can edit, of course. →Στc. 03:47, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
In Chinese Wikipedia we have an essay zh:Wikipedia:海納百川,有容乃大 to explain a motto, is just a motto. You guys may consider to create a similar one to clear things out. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 05:06, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Another thought: changing the actual motto would be pretty hard to do. But what is easy to do is change what we write on the front page of English Wikipedia. I have always liked what they say on the front page of German Wikipedia: "Gute Autorinnen und Autoren sind stets willkommen." - Good authors are always welcome. (Literally they speak of both male and female authors which is in a way a nice touch given our desire for greater diversity, but that's actually just a feature of German as a language: there's no useful and modern-sounding way to invite both so easily in English, as "authoress" sounds positively Victorian.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:24, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
The "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" for me has always been a major reason why wikipedia isn't taken seriously by many scholars. "The anyone can edit" part basically immediately advertises and implies the whole encyclopedia as being amateurish and lacking trustworthy information. It also implies that anybody an do anything they like as Looie has said and that they can tamper with any information and for it to be accepted. This is far from the truth. There's nothing wrong with the current model and being open to an extent, just I think the motto is so dated now. I mean, it was created at a time when people hadn't heard of wikipedia or didn't know they could edit. Surely its now common knowledge, at least to the english speaking world? Might be time to consider a change. "Wikipedia, the free collaborative knowledge resource" would be better. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 12:02, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
I like the motto and will not support attempts to change it. It is true, it has always been true, and will continue to be true. If that causes some people to jump to false conclusions, that's a shame, but there are better ways to correct that. It's an important statement about what Wikipedia means to the world - it isn't just a "free collaborative knowledge resource" although it is that. It's actually the encyclopedia that anyone can edit.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:14, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
In principal yes, but it is also an encyclopedia that anybody can edit and be reverted within five seconds and frequently do. People see the motto and think, oh good I can mess with this only to get a shock when they get a warning in a few seconds! And if thousands of pages are locked or semi-locked then it is not true as "anybody" includes ip addresses.. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 13:03, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Term "free encyclopedia" implies limits to editing: In the current motto, it does not say "free tabloid weblog" and I am fairly sure many educated people (and scholars) read "free encyclopedia" and understand the concept of "edit" as being "modify in a careful manner subject to some review". For people who think an encyclopedia is a collection of blog posts, then I do not see how changing the motto would deter wild hacking of the contents. However, there is apparently a lot of frustration about rampants edits to WP, so perhaps some other changes are needed to deter hacking of text. Changing the motto is not the real concern. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:58, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Well in all honesty just changing the motto or front page design isn't going to change the encyclopedia itself. Its content inside it that matters and "scholars" I'm sure would not have to look too far to find flaws. I guess the "anybody can edit" is the reason why the wiki sites have grown so big so it is important I guess. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 11:42, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Ice hockey articles.

New page (MyMaths)

Dear Jimmy Wales,

I am a bit surprised there is not an article on this, as it is quite an important website for young people (students). It's called MyMaths (http://www.mymaths.co.uk), and it's quite a thing for students in the UK. So it's a bit odd Wikipedia has nothing on about it. Tell me what you think about this. Should there be an article or not? 90.206.245.199 (talk) 12:57, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

  • User engaged on his talk page. Herostratus (talk) 14:38, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Deletion review of post-New World Order page

Hi Master Jimbo. In due respect of the Mzoli's jurisprudence I would like to sollicitate your opinion on this Deletion review. I had viewed the original article about six months ago in Taiwan and found it back in a mirror version yesterday. I do not consider it OR and think it could be rescued. Thanks for your time. --GrandPhilliesFan (talk) 10:56, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Now over 20 million all-language articles

UPDATE: We have finally exceeded 20 million articles (counting all other-language Wikipedias). Current live count: 32,920,096 articles (all-languages). The total is equivalent to a full encyclopedia for every day of the year, as 366 encyclopedias of about 22-volume size. The growth was accelerated by an unexpected 37,000 more articles in recent weeks.

To speed-read 20 million articles, non-stop, at 1 article per minute, 24/7 and 365.25 days per year, would require 38 years, assuming 1-minute fluency in all the 282(?) Wikipedia languages. Separately, English WP growth is still on track to reach 4 million articles in June 2012 (+930 per day).

How many printed volumes?  Using the size-data which concluded the average article size as 562 words (in January 2010), the count of printed volumes (all languages) would be 8,189:

  • {{#expr: 20033000*562 / (1375000) + .5 round 0}} = 8189

That equates to 366 sets of 22-volume encyclopedias (plus index), or 40.9 bookracks (each, 10 shelves of 20 volumes). So, year 2011 was the year Wikipedia size exceeded 1 traditional encyclopedia for every day of the year. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:45, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Would love to have some kind of images/illustrations around this.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:52, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
August 2010 version of wikipedia looked like this. (Scroll across to see full shelf) ♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:24, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Perhaps create a diagram of 37 bookcases: Show a library room with 6 bookracks, each as a row with 6 bookcases, where a bookcase contains 10 encyclopedias (1 per shelf). Then have a 37th bookcase with 6 shelves, as 36*10 + 6 = 366 shelves of traditional encyclopedias. Meanwhile, a visual approximation would be 3 repetitions of the diagram for the August-2010 enwiki. Those 3 show a total of 7,938 volumes (97% of the current 8,189 volumes), as shown below:
Size of English Wikipedia in August 2010 (L).svg
Size of English Wikipedia in August 2010 (L).svg
Size of English Wikipedia in August 2010 (L).svg
Wikipedia without illustrations: The above 3 rows of bookcases show the general size of a printed WP containing the 20 million all-language articles, in over 8,189 volumes (282 languages). Those volumes omit the illustrations, so a more accurate library size might be 30%(?) more volumes, or perhaps a 4th row of bookcases if the printed articles included illustrations as medium-sized images (rather than smaller thumbnail images).

Overall, I think the above picture conveys the idea of an overwhelming number of printed volumes, if the 20 million all-language articles were kept in library bookcases. Of course, the use of illustrations, animations, video files, and audio sound clips is not shown in the above picture. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:44, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Taking the average for size is a too optimistic. Try using mode. My guess is it will be lower. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 15:46, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Expect more volumes if showing infoboxes/navboxes: If a typical article is much smaller than 562 words, then that is great because the imagined volumes (shown above) are omitting infoboxes, navboxes and tables which appear in over a million articles (infoboxes on 997,000 pages). I think we are about right for the size of stubs in the 65,000+ footballer articles, where the footballer-infobox makes the article appear to be about ~50 lines of 12-words-per-line (600 words total); see "Doug Bergqvist" in Category:Swedish footballers. Remember the book volumes are showing the area of a printed article (as a block of text with 562 words), so stubs with infoboxes cover that amount of printed area. Plus, remember that every WP article displays 2 extra bottom lines: for Categories, and "This page was last modified on 9 October 2011 at 23:12." (as lines 49/50 of 48-line articles). That time-stamp is great for knowing if an article has not been updated, yet, for major recent events. I could only wish that printed encyclopedias time-stamped when each article was last edited in the year's volume set. However, all those size concerns are interesting: a real printed Wikipedia would be, at least, 20% larger (another row of bookcases) for article pages to have menus in the margins: imagine a "printed book" with side buttons for "Help" or "Recent changes" to see which 500 articles are being updated for current events, or a "Search" button to hunt articles containing a copy/paste word from the current printed page. I am concluding that a real "printed Wikipedia" would be at least 5 rows of bookcases for articles with illustrations and wider "button" margins to hold "click-notes" which state other topics to look-up or other-language pages to show. It really isn't a printed "Wikipedia" if the reader cannot see the other languages which article "Tokyo" has available. So, consider having 5 large rows of bookcases for that printed, illustrated WP which lists other-language versions at each article page. -Wikid77 (talk) 06:48, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

BBC Culture Show

I have just watched your short, but illuminating interview. I wished my windows had been rattled by the thrust of Saturn V rockets when I was a boy :-) Graham Colm (talk) 18:31, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Sorry to Bother You

Hello, there, Mr. Wales, and I'm sorry to bother you, as I know you're a very busy man. One of the smaller articles in Wikipedia is one that I've hand-raised myself, much like the subject of the article, Kayavak, a beluga whale at Shedd Aquarium.. User:Qwyrxian suggests that 70% of the article needs to be rewritten, and that it may have to be significantly cut. I know you probably won't fret over such a small article. But please, look at it yourself, and tell me how it can be improved, if you may. Thank you, Mr. Wales, and good day. --Belugaboycup of tea? 12:58, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

I will leave space for Jimbo to answer, above, but recently he has been very busy. Meanwhile, some of us other editors have added notes and sources (from the Chicago Tribune) into article "Kayavak" as examples for updating the sourced text. It is an interesting article because the multi-year sources cover the whale's life from birth to age 12 now, and have described reactions to other whales at the Oceanarium. Similar articles (such as a page about "Horse communications") provide indepth information that is difficult to find, combined, on the Internet at large. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:34, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
I didn't notice this until now. My concern with that article, like every other one that I encounter, is that it not contain unsourced information; particular, that it not contain unsourced POV information. You indicated to me on my talk that you know of more sources, and if you add them then there is no problem. Also, note that I could have just gone in and immediately removed everything that wasn't verified; I chose not to, as it seemed like it could be saved, and that regular editors (such as yourself, Belugaboy) would be able to do that far better than I could. I'm happy that other editors have since added sources and improved the article. Qwyrxian (talk) 09:18, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Donations.

Hello, these donation ads are getting tiring. Please out of respect to your members, consider removing these ads. These volunteers do enough work by writing these articles, then you ask them to write code for you like the coding event that was just held, you ask them for storytelling services. Please pay these people, rather than continuing to ask them of this. I know not all of the blame should be upon you as it should also respectively be upon the WMF, but you are the owner. Regardless, thank you for your service for the largest encyclopedia on the net. As it regards, 66.116.153.66 (talk) 21:06, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

We look forward to your pending membership :-) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 21:07, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not the owner. :) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:47, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Recent activity at Verifiability policy page and talk

FUD tactics or admins know best?

Fail in iw

hey, why you can see the Danish wiki when an article is good in English wiki, but in English wiki can not see if the Danish article is lovende articæe. Is there a reason why they? sorry my bad English. --80.161.143.239 (talk) 15:53, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

A great idea that can't be missed!!!

Dear Mr Wales,

I was wondering if you would like to include WikiBates into part of the Wiki organisation. WikiBates is a debating part of the Wiki organisation, where once or twice a month you come up with a topic and allow to teams to battle it out to win that certain argument.

I believe this is a great idea and I have 2 people to back me up so far.

yours Sincerely, MYGAMEUPLAY (talk) 12:16, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

We already have that as part of Wikipedia and it happens a lot more then once or twice a month. Just check out WP:ANI or the talk page of any contentious article :) --Ron Ritzman (talk) 13:23, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the smile - even if what you say is probably sadly true. ;-) ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 20:29, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Don't you mean "accurate"? :) --Ron Ritzman (talk) 17:42, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
No, he means "verifiable". We don't deal in truth here on Wikipedia.--v/r - TP 18:13, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Is there a title for someone who is a master of WikiBates? David in DC (talk) 23:28, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

WHACK :) --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:23, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Happy Halloween!

Caramel Peanut Candy Apples 2592px.jpg
Sp33dyphil has given you some caramel and a candy apple! Caramel and candy-coated apples are fun Halloween treats, and promote WikiLove on Halloween. Hopefully these have made your Halloween (and the proceeding days) much sweeter. Happy Halloween!


If Trick-or-treaters come your way, add {{subst:Halloween apples}} to their talkpage with a spoooooky message!

Candyapple.jpg

Treat or I'll tear this site down! Mwahahaha! :D --Sp33dyphil ©© 05:45, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Dutch WP pushed total to 20 million articles

I notice the Dutch Wikipedia had a massive upload of articles, from 768,520 on 20 October 2011 (to over 850,281 now), quickly adding over 80,000 articles (perhaps 7,400 new pages per day, while enwiki gained 930/day). That is why the total of 20 million all-language articles was reached early. As more clever people, in various areas, continue to improve automated processes, the coverage of Wikipedia is growing in astounding ways. This really gives hope to machine-translated basic articles (for some languages), based on clever translation software. We know it has been theoretically possible, for years, and computer experts are coming to WP to help in many ways. The Dutch nlwiki was one of the first to use town-population tables to quickly update thousands of articles, for current population counts, and now enwiki is beginning to use similar tables: all German and Austrian towns automatically show current counts. Perhaps within a few years, almost all major town articles will automatically retrieve current-population counts, and enwiki will have relatively few town articles with out-dated populations. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:37, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Found the culprit, Joopwikibot. If we used automation in an effective way with human editing on here to generate content we'd likely have 20 million articles in English in just a few years. Something which can put a foreign wikipedia article into english instantly with little proof reading perhaps. Perfect translation systems are the key I think, but ones like German have a long way to go yet. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 22:24, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

  • I was thinking just to translate the intro paragraphs, and then perhaps the first section with option to delete if the translation is too convoluted. This is my rationale: an intro section typically contains simple sentences, and the old Google Translate (2004) could correctly translate simple German text including the declination of nouns (der die das die; den die das die; dem der dem den; des der des der). If we found a translator that could handle simple sentences (and also translate the "minor" word that Google Translate omits, you know, that minor word called the "verb of the sentence"), then a bot could translate the start of many German (or other) articles, where a human inspector would just spot check the occasional article for a sane intro section. This is the logic behind Statistical Process Control (SPC): there can be a zillion units produced, but only spot-check a sample of the results and look for the range of variation in the samples. According to the SPC theory, if the range of variation is within statistical limits, then there is little likelihood of goofed-up stub translations. Not all stubs need to be proofread, just a sample, checked for variation, then the implication is that a zillion stubs are of high enough quality (at the approved level of variation). The quality of each stub would directly depend on the quality of each other-language article, which for German WP is very high. -Wikid77 05:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

That's about one article for every 20 Dutch citizens. So, with 7 billion people on Earth, we should have 350 million articles. Count Iblis (talk) 22:50, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

14,000 stubs on beetlesDr. Blofeld 23:02, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Beetles? Pshaw! Here's another idea. If you're looking for subjects which could potentially benefit from mass-creating a lot of stubs (which of course would need to contain SOME useful information) I suggest setting something up to create a stub for every single number. You could start with the natural numbers (I suggest that the minimal information included in each stub is of the form "n is a natural number between n-1 and n+1". Since there is, I think, a lot of these natural numbers, you'd probably want whatever bot you got doing this running continuously since I suspect it will take a very long time to cover all them natural numbers. You could also get started on the rational numbers (say, the ones between 0 and 1, first... or wait, maybe just the ones between 0 and 1/2 to keep it manageable... or .... 0 and 1/4?). At some point, if you're feeling crazy you could try to get a stub on every real number out there...
All of this is fine and dandy but if we go that route then at some point, in the interest of basic honesty and accuracy, we should probably start listing on the main page what percentage of our 3,785,261 ... "articles" are bot/semi-bot generated one or two sentence stubs.  Volunteer Marek  23:24, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
And oh yeah, you gonna need a another bot, running parallel, that creates a disambig page for each of these numbers as in "n can be 1) number 2) year", though I don't think that will be an issue with some of them rationals and reals. Just imagine:
Welcome to Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
an uncountably infinite number of articles in English

 Volunteer Marek  23:28, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Volunteer Marek, you may not be aware that while every populated place, named stream & lake are by policy notable, not every number is notable. Have a look at Wikipedia:Notability (geography), Wikipedia:Notability (numbers) and WP:1729 -- the last being a fascinating essay that has been around for years, yet I never knew existed before tonight. -- llywrch (talk) 06:13, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Llywrch, essays and guidelines are not policy, there is no ironclad notability for every stream, runoff, and estuary on the planet. If you cannot say something about a geographic region beyond its coordinates, then it shouldn't be an article. I'd rather see the project approach article milestones with quality, not simple, bot-generated quantity. Tarc (talk) 14:12, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
You're right, Tarc; my mistake. However in comparing the notability of named goegraphic places to numbers, all we have are essays & guidelines. There is support for asserting that all named geographic places are significant (or at least the burden of proof rests on showing that it is not notable), while there is no support -- even amongst the mathematics people -- for asserting all numbers are notable. (The WP:1729 essay, if adopted as a policy, would create a fairly high barrier to inclusion.) Volunteer Marek is confusing apples & oranges with his examples, & not helping his argument. -- llywrch (talk) 17:46, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Sigh. You're missing the point. I was suggesting a way to get "Wikipedia has xxxxxxxxxx kazilllion articles" up on the main page header, of course tongue-in-cheek (numbers, oranges, beetles, doesn't matter). The point is that if mass bot-creation of small stubs becomes widespread (to a certain extent it already has), we cannot with a straight face go on claiming that we have "3,785,927" (or whatever) "articles" when we actually don't. Not in any meaningful sense of the word "article" anyway. Volunteer Marek  18:26, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Never been a fan of bots creating articles. Isn't this meant to be the sum of human achievement? Lugnuts (talk) 08:09, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
14,000 bot drilled articles all with the same generic two lines though to me look awful. If a bot could be programmed to create meaty stubs/start class fair enough but those Dutch stubs in my view are horrid. And we shouldn't be boasting abuot 20 million articles when we probably have fewer than 50,000 articles combined of real quality either. Yes, its an impressive figure but not really indicative of what is actually in each article and their level of comprehensiveness/quality. Some articles are worth tens of times more in value than others.. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 09:07, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
So why are we disagreeing here? Here I agree with everything you say above. Volunteer Marek  18:26, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
To sound a more enthusiastic note, they may be only 1% as useful as a real article, but they're not useless. They answer the question: "What is an acalymma suturale anyway?" Click on nl:Acalymma suturale, and at least you know, "oh, it's a beetle." (If you can read Dutch, that is, or use Google translate.) On EN, search for "acalymma suturale", and you get nothing. I'd argue even one line that says it's a beetle is considerably more useful than nothing. And even 1% of 14,000 is pretty good. --GRuban (talk) 13:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
A referenced stub is never useless. But if somebody wants to read a nicely written article on a beetle they may be a while trying to find one! Of course we would ideally have full length articles on them all too..♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:09, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Keith Raniere and NXIVM

Look at the disconnect between what the citations say and what the article says. Look at the RS collection on TALK:Keith Raniere. If it weren't for negative press, he wouldn't have any. I cannot write the articles for whatever reason and want to resign completely from editing it, although I'd like to continue to maintain and improve the library of RS's on his discussion page. How do I recruit someone to do it right? I've tried everything. This is important! You want us to "get it right" with BLPs, and no one trusts me to do so, but if not me, who? Can't you ask someone to write it? With your pull, you could ask someone to author the articles properly and you might actually have success, unlike me. Chrisrus (talk) 07:03, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

I recommend you ask at WP:BLPN - lots of good biographers hang out there and can surely help. I agree with others who say that you shouldn't edit the article - you've self-identified as a "hater" and people who hate people usually have a hard time writing a good biography of them.
I won't get involved in editing the article myself. While I don't have anything at all to do with Keith Raniere or NVXIUM, Sara Bronfman is a friend, and this is a difficult article due to the levels of bad press around it. Best if I not get involved.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:30, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I did ask there, and did get a little help, thank you. But what we need is someone to really do it right, and that means first getting familiar with the WP:RSs, as you know, and then following all the rules and guidelines and to write a proper article. We'll see what happens; let's keep our fingers crossed!
What you say about "haters" goes for "fans" as well, of course, and although you'd think that my personal feelings might cause that to happen, it also might not, and you'll see I have done nothing but good work there. As you say, the press is pretty much all bad, so it's the fans who need to make stuff up and distort and misrepresent in this case, I just honestly collect citations and try to get neutral people to read them and get advice from WP:BLP experts to decide for me what in them to include and how to do it. Having said that however, I don't want to write or edit it anyway, and almost none of either article has any text written by me. Well maybe just a little. They know where I live and I've seen the NYP video John Tighe (I'm not outing him, he outed himself on his blog) posted there before I deleted it on the grounds that the Post is a tabloid and I'm a good Wikipedian who follows the rules no matter my personal feelings.
Next; no way, really? She's a friend of yours? Is she a Wikipedia supporter? If she's really a friend in the sense of a person you care about, you might want to learn all about them and see if you can help her. Once you're familiar with the WP:RSs on TALK:Keith Raniere and any others you can find (please add them to that project if you can find them), I'm sure you'll want to help anyone you care about to stay or get away from them. Unless there're knowable truths out there about them that people like me who are simply familiar with the available RSes can't know, it seems like she's in some big trouble but doesn't know it and needs some help of some kind from a friend. Chrisrus (talk) 05:30, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your kind thoughts for her. I'm sure you can respect that I won't comment publicly on her personal business that has nothing to do with me. :) She's not a (major) donor to Wikipedia (she might donate some, I don't know), if that's what you mean - our friendship is personal and has nothing to do with that. She's a super nice and very bubbly and happy person. Having said all that, I think we should have a really good Wikipedia entry on Keith Raniere and his organization, which means neutral and carefully written. It's just that I shouldn't be directly involved.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:39, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Understood. And I'm glad you and I agree about "I think....written", and though I understand that neither of us will be doing it, I think if you follow up at WP:BLPN where I have followed your advice and also ask around for someone to get that done, you with your clout will have better success than me it getting that done by someone else. Or you might just ask around if you can think of anyone you trust to do a good job and "get it right"; that's important and as you say this is a difficult case. Also, if you can think of any other strategy I could use to recruit neutral authors/editors to lead there, please do let me know. Or anything else you can think of to get it done right. Chrisrus (talk) 17:28, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Admin Abuse

The first part of this was posted in Jan 2011. There are two additional sections, one from Nov 2010, one from Mar 2011, and a closing. Sorry about the formatting, (losing Bold and Paragraphs):

Should Wm5200 be blocked? Here is some background, edited for length and with some words bold for emphasis. Please check the originals for accuracy.

Posted under Talk: Death of Adolf Hitler--random questions--

Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.172.55.115 (talk) 01:08, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

99.172.55.115 A.K.A.Exwheelman5200 (talk) 20:12, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

"Verifiability and truth"

This may provide an interesting case study on why I think "verifiability, not truth" is a poisonous formulation. Here we had a fairly unimportant claim in an article that Justine Thornton attended Nottingham High School for Girls. The claim was not backed up by the source, but actually sources do exist to back it up. By normal standards, this would be considered legitimate to enter into Wikipedia.

But as it turns out, it isn't true. (She told me it isn't true.) There are no sources that I can find of her publicly denying it - it's a silly small error typical of tabloid newspapers, so I doubt if she ever made a big deal out of it.

If you accept the "verifiability, not truth" formulation, you are likely to think that unless we find a source debunking the claim, then merely knowing with some confidence that it is false is not good enough. I don't agree. I think that truth matters too much to be silly about it. Yes, verifiability is a good thing. It is not the only thing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:15, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

That's not what "V not T" means. When editors see that a given citation is wrong, it fails the threshold of WP:RS and that's the end of it. Verifiability means sources cited in article text can be checked by readers (and editors). It's not a licence to knowingly (bad faith) or otherwise (mistaken) dump wrong factoids into an article. Gwen Gale (talk) 14:22, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
It may not be what it is supposed to mean, but that's literally what it says. And we have plenty of evidence of people misunderstanding the phrase - people say things like "Wikipedia doesn't care about the truth" - they are wrong, and this phrase is wrong. It's just false to say that the standard for inclusion in Wikipedia is "verifiability, not truth".
Here's an interesting case of the, to me, transparent abuse of the concept of "RS" to mean simply "my ideology - what I want to be true because it's popular." It's this sort of thing that, imho, gives Wikipedia a bad name. Certainly, speaking for myself, I feel I have better things to do with my life than get into edit wars over this sort of thing. So, sorry, it turns me into a fool in exile. I'll blog rather than edit: http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/11/05/anatomy-of-a-wikipedia-delusion/#more-4036. thanks for looking and considering.
Notice too, the circularity in what you are saying. If the source says something that we know to be false, then that source fails WP:RS. But that's just another way of saying that the truth trumps a source in some cases. We seek verifiability and truth.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:31, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Reliable sources trump unreliable sources. Published secondary sources, even those which are taken as mostly reliable, are awash in mistakes and en.WP content echoes this, as does any tertiary source, sometimes in ways akin to Mercury in fish. We do what we can. The pith comes down to verifiability, not someone's OR notion of truth. 14:38, 31 October 2011 (UTC)Gwen Gale (talk)
While I agree with the general thrust of what you are saying, I think that's what makes this particular example interesting. Are you saying that we should reinsert the falsehood into Wikipedia? Or are you agreeing with me that a big part of "we do what we can" is editorial judgment about the actual facts of reality?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:47, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
You forget that the policy is here to help us when editing is not a no-brainer issue, like whether to rely on a tabloid's statement on a minor detail or not. In those cases if there is a consensus that the source is likely to be wrong it doesn't matter if they base that on OR or not. Policy is here exactly to help us take decisions when there is disagreement about what is true. In those cases it is imperative that all editors recognize that they can not simply make statements about what is true in their own experience but have to back those up with evidence. Editors arguing in favor of the change keep using banal situations like this but they ignore the effects that the change is going to have on the really controversial areas of wikipedia. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:51, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not ignoring anything of the sort, actually. I think this change will be helpful both in these kinds of situations (in which it is made glaringly obvious that the current wording is wrong) and in more controversial situations (which are the ones that tempt people to use a made up rule that's actually not true). In all situations, the phase 'verifiability, not truth' is not as good as proposed alternatives.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:14, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
What is that "made up rule that's not true" exactly? And can you be more explicit about how it will beneficial in those controversial situations, to be rid of the not truth criterion.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:21, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
It is not true to say that Wikipedia's standards are "verifiability, not truth" - no one is actually (as far as I know) defending the claim that it is. Read through the proposed formulation at the RfC - it's much clearer and will help new editors understand policy correctly from the start.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:27, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I have read the proposal, thank you. I guess you can't be more explicit about how you think this policy change will help me argue against those who would use their own Original Research to override statements by published experts.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:30, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Because it is clearer and states our actual policy more accurately, it will help new editors to become better editors more quickly. It is uncompromising. It does lack the false thrill of a zinger that shocks people though it isn't true - and I think that's a good thing. Provoking people with nonsense doesn't make them better editors, it makes them dig in their heels.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:43, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The purpose of WP:V is to define what may be included in an article, it is not to define what must remain in an article. If you find yourself in an argument with an editor wishing to delete statements by published experts because they disagree with them, then it is the WP:NPOV policy that is designed to deal with that, not WP:V. (Also note that "verifiability not truth" is often used to argue for the retention of poorly researched newspaper material; so if you want to strengthen the position of published experts, "verifiability, not truth" is not necessarily a help.) --JN466 17:05, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Just to play devil's advocate, how do we know that she was telling you the truth? Maybe she has some motive to have correct information removed from Wikipedia? How do we know that you are telling the truth? If someone else removed well-sourced information from an article while claiming "She told me it isn't true", should we allow that edit to stand? Peacock (talk) 14:25, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
We can and should exercise editorial judgment. We should take into account all the facts of reality at our disposal in a strong effort to present the truth always. Upon request I can go into a lot more detail about this point.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:31, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Can you explain how that statement does not create conflicts with WP:OR and WP:SYNTH?·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:34, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Editorial judgment is precisely about thoughtfully balancing various factors. We are not transcription monkeys. In this example case, what I'm telling you is that I engaged in original research. I found out that the source is wrong. I trust, for good reasons, what I was told on this issue more than I trust the Daily Mail on this issue. Nothing can remove the need for thoughtful judgment, and a particularly bad way to try to do so is to have a phrase that suggests strongly to many people that having a source is more important than what is actually true.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:38, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
It sounds like me that you are saying that personal, but unverifiable, knowledge of what is true trumps the policies about OR and Synth? I do not see how you can hope to build an encyclopedia that anyone can edit on that principle. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:43, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
"It sounds.... that you are saying" - I didn't say that, nor anything like it. Editorial judgment can properly take into account the full context, all the known facts, not just published sources. In general, yes, verifiability in reliable sources is absolutely critical. But elevating that to a religion which rejects truth is a huge mistake.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:49, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I said "it sounds" because you did not answer my question clearly about the relation between "truth" and the policies of OR and SYNTH. And you explicitly say that you believe that the information uncovered by your own original research should be accepted by other editors as a valid argument in the case you mention. I think that in the case you give I would probably accept that since it is a piece of trivial and irrelevant information. I deal however on a daily basis with editors who claim to know the truth about how the world works on the topics of Cults, Race and Intelligence, extremist politics, terrorism, climate change, genocide, and much more of that sort, and who claim that their view of "truth" trumps the published sources in the area. How am I going to explain to them that their views of "the truth" cannot dictate what to include or exclude in the articles, and that it cannot override the published opinions of trained professionals on those isues? ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:20, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I think I did answer your question clearly. Editorial judgment is a complex matter about which we have written many volumes over the years. What I recommend in the kind of cases you are talking about is that you send editors to the improved WP:V that is being proposed. This version, which removes the confusing and false formulation of "verifiability, not truth" and explains the real situation accurately and clearly, will be quite beneficial in helping new editors to become better editors. Saying something transparently absurd and obviously false to them is only likely to encourage them further in bad behavior. For example, by encouraging people to think that Wikipedia doesn't care about the truth, you encourage them to engage in further battleground behavior.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:30, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
If the mistake is so widely published that it's hard to overcome with published sources, as to BLPs like this, that's what WP:OTRS and WP:Office are for. Gwen Gale (talk) 14:41, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
No, this is not an OTRS or OFFICE issue at all! This is an example (they are all around us!) of a minor error in Wikipedia that we know is wrong, even though there are sources for it. We can and should use editorial judgment to decide what to do.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:44, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
It is indeed, if she cares about it enough to get in touch with OTRS or Office. Otherwise, any editor can in good faith go to an article talk page and put forth why they think the sourcing on something is wrong. Gwen Gale (talk) 14:48, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I still haven't seen a single example of an editor knowingly insisting on adding material to an article based on the fact that it's verifiable. Nor have I seen any evidence that it happens so often, it requires a change of this magnitude. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 14:28, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Recent contributions (10-27—28) to Alec Baldwin, maybe? It was a case of I-have-one-ref-that-says-what-I-want-so-all-the-rest-of-the-refs-must-be-wrong.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 14:32, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
SarekOfVulcan: I asked for an example where an editor knowingly insisted on including incorrect information. I took a look at that article and the talk page, and that doesn't appear to be the case. When sources disagree, off the top of my head, we have at least 3 ways to handle it:
  1. Judge the quality of the sources and use the highest quality ones (as SandyGeorgia suggests in that talk).
  2. Use our own editorial discretion and decide which source to use.
  3. When sources disagree, document the disagreement.
I don't see how changing the policy would have helped in that discussion. If this is the type of problem that this change is trying to address, I suggest a better solution is that you discuss the issues in plain English. That "snorfle" comment was not helpful and seems to have confused the other editor. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 15:50, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Here's your example: not one where an editor "knowingly insisted on including", rather one where the editor "knowingly" did not remove information after it was pointed out it was most likely false and unsupported by more reliable sources-- it provides an example of including false info via attribution, because it's verifiable even if dubious:
  • Article: Female genital manipulation
  • Text: Momoh writes that around 10 percent of subjects die immediately from haemorrhage and hypovolemic shock. (Source: Momoh 2005, p. 7.)
  • The over attribution in that article as a means of including dubious facts (a laysource opinion) was pointed out on the article's FAC (and it's talk page), also that this data is not supported by any peer-reviewed medical sources I can find (and there are numerous very good sources on this topic), it is attributed to a laysource (book, not a peer-reviewed medical journal secondary review) from someone who is an FGM advocate, Comfort Momoh, it is unsourced in the book written by her, and it is improbable (if 10% of women are dying from this, why isn't that reported in the numerous reliable peer-reviewed secondary sourced medical articles?). Attributing text to an advocate, when the duck test tells us the data is likely wrong, the data isn't found in reliable medical sources, and is likely there to promote outrage, is an example of the misuse of "verifiability, not truth" via attribution in an article mostly authored by SlimVirgin. FGM may be awful, but we can let the medical facts speak for themselves without resorting to sensationalist data promoted by advocates against the practice. If this data is true, why do none of the medical reliable sources I could access include it? And why is it still in the article after this was pointed out? I'd like to see a WP:MEDRS source that backs this laysource advocate's claim, and there are plenty of those to be found. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:41, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
@SandyGeorgia: You'll have to help me here. The only reference to Momoh at Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/Female genital mutilation/archive1 seems to be about medical terminology. On the talk page,[26] I see a brief reference of the 10% figure and no one arguing. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 09:41, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, JN; another more reliable source that makes it even more apparent that the advocate is winging it with the 10%, but at least we're not completely misleading our readers now. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:22, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
It is not a change of any magnitude. It's the removal of a false statement that a majority of people have voted to remove, for the main reason that it is misleading and wrong.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:32, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
en.WP isn't a democracy that works by majority vote, it works mostly through consensus. Gwen Gale (talk) 14:36, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree. I'll just note the folly though of the recent view that changing policy pages requires massive degrees of support. This enshrines old bad practices and privileges the past over the future. What is really important is that people understand that voting is never formal in Wikipedia, and things can and should change without getting 80% support for every change. That radically conservative attitude conflicts with WP:BOLD and WP:IAR. Saying that we don't work by majority vote is valid - but so is saying that we don't work by supermajority vote. We work by assuming good faith, open dialogue and debate, and compromise. In a case where a small faction is not engaged in good faith debate and the majority of the community is against them, it's not right to ram something down the minority's throat - but it is also not right to allow them to prevail indefinitely against opposition. Something has to give.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:42, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I dare say it will (whatever you or I think the outcome should helpfully be). Gwen Gale (talk) 14:52, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Edit conflict: I wonder if a better word, or the word we are actually referring to is not truth but accuracy. Wikipedia's articles must be accurate per the topic/subject of the article. Truth might better be defined as subjective and refers to what each believes to be an ultimate. One of the problems on Wikipedia is that some editors believe that despite evidence that something is inaccurate, if a source which passes some of the RS threshold, for example, the publication test-reputable publisher- or reputable newspaper, then that information can be used on Wikipedia. Gwen your definition of RS seems more complete to me than what I've seen in multiple situations, but honestly I know its not adhered to on some articles. Seems we have three words to contend with. Verifiable, accuracy, and multiple meanings per individuals of what the word truth means and what "truth", the universal truth, is. On the Verifiability policy, when we use truth I think we are referring to what editors believe to be accurate although they may use the word truth. We use the word truth in common speech every day to mean accurate, but on Wikipedia we may ultimately have to clearly delineate the three words- truth, accuracy, and verifiable.(olive (talk) 14:55, 31 October 2011 (UTC))
Bingo card - 02.jpg --Ron Ritzman (talk) 15:59, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Accuracy is the right word we should be using here. Let me give you an example when I encountered a situation in which another editor insisted on retaining the false information that Ardoyne was located in West Belfast, just because a British Government report stated this. A quick peek, however at any ordinance map will plainly show that Ardoyne is located in North Belfast. To have retained such blatant geographical inaccuracy would have seriously undermined the credibility of Wikipedia.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 15:07, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
And what do we do when the map is wrong and the source is right? Or when it requires specialized knowledge to understand the map, that the authors of the source have but the editors using it as a basis for their arguments lack?·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:23, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't really understand the question. The answer to "how do we deal with conflicting sources" is complex, but rejecting truth as a standard doesn't help at all. The best answer is that we hold a discussion in good faith, and make a thoughtful editorial judgment. What would be really wrong in this source/map example would be to say: "We are going to use the source, not the map, because Wikipedia doesn't care about truth but about sources." What would be really correct in this example would be to say "We have to carefully assess the evidence, including contradictory information and claims, and come to a thoughtful solution."--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:35, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Just as it happens, there are official local government areas of Belfast (as with many other UK cities). It also so happens that Ardoyne falls (though only just) into North Belfast under those divisions. But you can't tell that from an OS map. --FormerIP (talk) 15:31, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Another view of the current system:

WP:V requires only that an outsider be able to 'verify' that the source says what the editor using it says it says. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether a source is correct in any way, only that a person reading the source will find it says the same thing as what the editor using the reference claims.

The issue is thus not whether "truth" is involved at all (I seem to recall that Wikipedia is founded on the premise that absolute truths are rare), but whether the mere existence of a verifiable source is any longer sufficient for a claim in a Wikipedia article when the claim itself is disputed. Frequently one or more editors will aver that one view is clearly fringe, and thus the other view (his) must be given greater weight, and the "fringe" view should be elided or nearly elided entirely. One obvious solution would be to have a set of absolutely neutral editors who would vet any contested claims. A less obvious one would be for Wikipedia to decide once and for all that opinions, allegations, surmises, accusations and the like do not belong in any encyclopedia which seeks to present facts to its readers. Cheers. Collect (talk) 15:32, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

That's a separate issue, I think, Collect. It's important, in the first instance, to distinguish opinion and fact. The issue of sources being "wrong plain and simple" only really arises in the latter case. --FormerIP (talk) 15:35, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
If the situation were to arise where a Belfast map did not suffice to convince a person that Ardoyne was in fact located in North Belfast, the sheer number of books and newspaper articles dealing with the Troubles would quickly remove any shadow of a doubt as to its true location, government report notwithstanding. Due to it being an interface area, Ardoyne saw more than its fair share of violence throughout the 30 years history of the Northern Ireland conflict. As a result, it attracted a considerable amount of media coverage.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 15:47, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I think that the underlying problem in the example here is a reliance on poor sources. I don't know how many more examples we need before we realize that using the Daily Mail as a source for biographical articles - or for anything, really - is a poor idea. The tabloid doesn't have what I would consider a "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" - rather the opposite - and so discerning editors should reject on grounds of existing sourcing guidelines.

    "Verifiability, not truth" means that we're relying on the fact-checking of reliable sources, rather than doing our own fact-checking. That approach only works if editors are committed to using sources that actually perform decent fact-checking. Personally, I'd rather see the language disappear, because it's surplanted "ignore all rules" as the most frequently misunderstood and most harmfully misapplied policy snippet on the site. "Verifiability, not truth" has the appeal of a pithy soundbite, but also the dangers - it grossly oversimplifies a complex issue, and provides ammunition for careless editing. MastCell Talk 16:48, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

    • While I don't disagree with you about the Daily Mail, in this case there is another source, namely this book, or so I am told. This book presumably got the false information from the Daily Mail.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:07, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) (to MastCell) In a perfect world, I'd agree. I'm going through "fact checking" issues on a few other articles right now. Alas, I must confess that "fact checking" is turning into "here's my facts, I found someplace that agrees, I'm removing what you found" and over a half dozen edit wars. Something of the nature you describe would require an editorial staff that was trusted to not be biased or use "facts" to push one POV at the exclusion of others. Sadly, we are neither in a perfect world, nor have such a staff. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 17:09, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
    • One example where editors insisted on including incompetently researched and factually plain wrong – demonstrably wrong – material in Wikipedia, based on "verifiability, not truth", and in complete disregard for BLP policy, was the Sam Blacketer controversy. Editors knew it was wrong and still argued for its inclusion. It's exemplary of the pernicious effect a misunderstood slogan like "verifiability, not truth" can have. --JN466 17:16, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
      • A-ha! That's the exact issue I raised on the talkpage, but I couldn't remember what the details were. Thanks, JN.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:37, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
        • You're welcome. :) --JN466 06:17, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
For those who aren't admins and can't review the talk page history, here's a choice quote: "Unless reliable sources publish that side of the argument, it's original research, no matter how correct it is (I agree the Register, Mail, and Independent have reported wrong, but one of Wikipedia's core principles is verifiability not truth)." A pretty much perfect example of what's wrong with the phrase.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:27, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
  • True, but isn't that where weighing sources and ensuring balance, due weight, including all non-fringe POVs, and ensuring lack of bias come in to play? Like I said in an earlier conversation, most of the policies and guidelines here can't stand alone - they interoperate. Simply applying those items I noted above would have resolved the issue, regardless of the sources people wanted to use. "V not T" isn't so much the issue - it's not applying all of the other policies and guidelines when using it that becomes the issue. Best, Rob ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 17:52, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo: That example was from two years ago. It took me just a few seconds to find this one.[27] "Verifiability, not truth" is one of our best tools in addressing the unwarranted promotion of fringe theories, and these types of discussions go on daily all across Wikipedia. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 17:42, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Another good example can be found at Talk:Abbey Road. Here we have a situation where there is a pretty strong consensus of the editors that the BBC got it wrong, but there is still hand wringing because the proof, which is pretty compelling, is published on someone's personal website rather than in a newspaper. Verifiability, not truth, is cited as a reason to keep an error in Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:59, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
No source is reliable if its information is incorrect or out of date. And no source should be excluded without consideration of what was reported, how significantly it was reported, and who by. Here it’s reasonable to consider the informal talk-page comment of Jimmy Wales more reliable than information reported in the Daily Mail. In another situation I corrected information about actor Rupert Hill after reading the Sunday Mercury article “Corrie star Rupert Hill corrects internet lies about Solihull upbringing” (and by ‘internet lies’ the article really meant ‘Wikipedia lies’). Sometimes newspapers are good sources, sometimes not. Without looking at all aspects of the information reported it’s impossible to judge. Bottom line - good editorial practice does not seek blanket exclusions for any kind of relevant information, from any kind of source (not even for fringe subjects). Encyclopedic information should aim to report verifiable information and the reliability of sources should be judged by relevancy as well as publisher reputation. When stupidity has clearly prevailed, revert to the last bastion of common sense: WP:Ignore all rules. -- Zac Δ talk! 17:52, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The policy clearly uses the word threshold which is the critical context for" verifiability not truth" and should protect it from being misused, but consistently that word is ignored. I agree 100% the phrase has been misused and I've been at the misused end of that stick. The problem is not a few words its how editors use those words. Those same editors probably misuse other policies as well. The editors manipulating policy to their own agendas aren't innocent victims of misunderstanding a few words. Some of the editors standing off against each other on this issue are some of the most respected and possibly neutral editors on Wikipedia which convinces me the issue here is much larger than a few words, and as I said above one issue is language and how it is understood and interpreted.(olive (talk) 18:05, 31 October 2011 (UTC))
Likewise, if the source listed in a citation is wrong, it's not reliable for that citation. This doesn't clash with V not T. Gwen Gale (talk) 20:23, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that the current lead sentence says, "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true." As written, that means you simply cannot argue that a source is wrong, according to Wikipedia policy, because Wikipedia simply doesn't care whether you think it's wrong or not. That's too restrictive, and the proposal is a good stab at fixing it. --JN466 01:10, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

@Jimbo: This changes the very first sentence of a Wikipedia pillar, the very first thing people see when they're asked to read WP:V in content disputes. You might think that this is not a change of any magnitude, but clearly other editors see it differently. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 03:24, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

An example of V,not T in action

Here's an example of an editor claiming personal knowledge: Talk:Ryan_McDonald#Requested_move. How could we know this was not someone playing a surreal joke? We couldn't. So we didn't agree to the move. Were we wrong not to allow the move? I don't think so. VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 04:49, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't think you were wrong at all. I would have done the same -- you applied editorial judgment, in exactly the way that the proposal suggests. --JN466 05:00, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo's case is just the same, except that it's Jimbo. 99.99% of editors do not have his standing, or public reputation on the line if they make things up. We need VNT to deal with this.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 05:13, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I've advised the editor that he should get Ryan or his agent to e-mail OTRS. (The editor may well have been right by the way; note spelling on amazon). We don't need "verifiability, not truth" to handle such matters ("verifiability" is quite enough), nor do we need to give editors the message that we are not interested in having erroneous information on our pages corrected. At any rate what happened here is exactly what the proposed wording says should happen: a discussion on the talk page. A source should not be declared unreliable for a specific fact without good reason – and that usually involves more reputable sources giving a fuller account of the relevant facts. Cheers, --JN:466 05:58, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Wow - good find on Amazon. (Mind you, the other DVDs with him on Amazon spell it the usual way). Is OTRS the usual way to go for subjects with BLP accuracy issues that can't be cleared up by sources?

On the other point, my neutrality on the proposal (which keeps verifiability, not truth) is down to the phrasing which I do not like. I can see the argument for not having the very first sentence as "verifiability, not truth", and think moving into the first section is a nice idea. But the proposal does not do what it's supposed to do. We don't show we care about accuracy by de-emphasising the ban on unsourceable content; we show it by explaining how we achieve accuracy on an open wiki - through the interaction of RS, V and NOR (and so how V fits in). I also do not like the way that "verifiability, not truth" is not the title and sole focus of the first section. A lot of editors find recourse to "verifiability, not truth" helpful. That first section is fuzzy and unclear, and is worse than what we have now. (I suggested all this in the discussions, but it didn't gain traction.) VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 07:19, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

There are a bunch of pages advising BLP subjects on how to deal with errors in their biographies. I just dropped links to them on the talk page of a quite notable actor, who found himself reverted by Cluebot when he added to his biography that he is, in fact, married (see Wikipedia:BLPN#Ralph_Brown) and not single, as our article said. They are
Coming back to WT:V, I don't think we are de-emphasising the ban on unsourceable content. The proposal does say, in the lead sentence, "The initial threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source." Isn't that clear enough? And it prevents that apparent denigration of truth, which makes it look like we have to keep erroneous material (as per Sam Blacketer), and enables people to wikilawyer ad nauseam to keep a falsity in an article. I agree that more could probably be said on achieving accuracy. The RS/N noticeboard should be mentioned, as should the role of OTRS, and probably a bunch of other things besides. But adding RS/N could be done as part of normal editing of the policy after the RfC, and with other aspects like OTRS I am not sure that WP:V is necessarily the best place for that. Cheers, --JN466 06:30, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Removing "not truth" from the lede, and not giving it its own titled section instead, for me has the effect of de-emphasising a major issue with problematic AGF editing. But I suppose we just see the matter differently. I think what would be helpful (another one of my suggestions that didn't get taken up amongst the walls of text) is a short section with "what to do if you think there is an inaccuracy" pointing people to RS and RSN, OTRS, NOR and so on. Certainly during the discussions some people did seem to want WP:V to be doing the work of the rejected policy merge WP:Attribution. We need to explain better how the policies knit together.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 09:06, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimmy, you've got the scenario entirely wrong. I get that you wan't to fix an error... but you can't, at least, not without breaking other things much worse. Let's think through this a little bit, shall we?
1) Wikipedia can never be more accurate than the sources it uses. That's why we prefer WP:RS, which tend to be right more often than not. If they aren't... then Wikipedia falls where they fall, and stands where they stand. It's very likely to be no big deal if a wrong statement hasn't been corrected... but even if it WERE corrected, we wouldn't ever report only the correct fact: we'd report that source A said "1", while sources B, C, and D said "2", because we represent conflicting viewpoints in proportion to how RS'es cover them.
2) Anything that a person knows to be true but is unpublished is WP:OR, because we can't read minds. In a large collaborative environment--or even a small one--we rely on the fact that things exist elsewhere and can be looked up by anyone with the resources and inclination to do so. In your scenario, I'd have to ask the principal herself to obtain that knowledge, which is inappropriate. But that leads me to my third and final point:
3) Correcting BLP errors is straightforward. Since any person is always considered an expert on their own life, such a BLP mistake can be fixed by the subject simply putting a correction on their own website. It doesn't have to be as elaborate as this to count under WP:SELFPUB.
It's impossible to come up with a general rule other than "Because I said so" that allows for your personal knowledge to be a legitimate basis to correct an error. Wikipedia is not responsible for correcting errors beyond the scope of what our RS'es have themselves corrected; that way lies madness. Jclemens (talk) 06:18, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Obviously, I don't agree with you. That way lies wisdom, not madness.  :-) Madness comes when we insist that the rules of Wikipedia demand that Wikipedia report falsehoods. But let me be clear on whether or not I understand you - you think we should claim that Justine Thornton attended Nottingham School for Girls? Even though it's false?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:20, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, you're unusual on Wikipedia as a named, public person with the clearest vested interest of all in not adding poor content to Wikipedia. What would you recommend should happen when an IP editor makes a similar, apparently baseless claim about an acquaintance's education history?VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 18:28, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
(EC) Hard cases make bad law. No, we shouldn't insist that Wikipedia report falsehoods, if we know something to be false we shouldn't write it, but only per Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, because we can't codify it into a policy. You have to realize that you are pretty unique in our regard, you basically are OTRS - if you state you've spoken to Justine Thornton and she said X, we'll believe you. But imagine if someone else, say an anonymous editor who joined last week and has 10 edits were saying what you just did, that several widely published newspapers and a book all got it wrong, so we shouldn't write that in our articles. Should we be taking that person's word for it? What if they have 1000 edits? 100,000 edits? What if they're a Bureaucrat, a member of Arbcom, and a real life Professor of Theology? At what point does a Wikipedia editor's say so mean more than a reliable source? Should we be voting on whether it is true? Should we be doing it if it feels true or untrue to us? Surely not. That way lies not madness, but truthiness. --GRuban (talk) 18:36, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Per VK and GRuban, mostly, with nuances: No, we don't need to include a falsehood--that particular tidbit seems quite trivial, actually, and if it were disputed, it might be better not to include it at all rather than describing the conflict among sources as I posited originally. However, I believe we need reliable sources--in which I explicitly include BLP subjects' own pronouncements regarding their lives--in order to combat errors by other reliable sources. In this case, under our existing sourcing rules, you yourself could be considered an "expert" on that particular fact, on the basis of your standing and familiarity with the subject... But that solution doesn't scale well. How does a regular user go about correcting a falsehood published by at least one reliable source and neither retracted, corrected, or repudiated by that same source or any other reliable source? There is no justification at all for including the correct (unpublished) information, when the false information is all that has been published in an RS. Jclemens (talk) 19:07, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
@VsevolodKrolikov: No one in that short discussion makes any reference to "Verifiability, not truth" so I'm not sure how this example applies to this discussion. Nor am I sure how changing the policy would have made any difference. But even assuming that it does apply and changing the policy would have made a difference, that discussion seems to be about whether the letter "d" should be in upper case or lower case. I don't think we should risk turning Wikipedia upside down over whether a letter should be in upper or lower case. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 10:35, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
@Quest - I cited that case as a parallel one to Jimbo's at the top of this section. No one cited the policy like that, but it's clear that was the principle operating. I think you've misunderstood the point I was trying to make. I'm arguing that we shouldn't get rid of "verifiability, not truth". I think the outcome was fine - although if I'd known about OTRS, I would have suggested that to the editor. The current proposal is effectively a re-wording, not a substantive change, but it's not a rewording I can support.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 11:05, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Interesting that the word "threshold" isn't brought up once in this entire section. 'Cause that's the key, and that's what it says. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 15:36, 1 November 2011 (UTC) One can also say that in these examples Jimbo himself is a reliable source that the editors trust more than the sources. So, it is a matter of trust. And construed this way, this is something that happens quite frequently on Wikipedia. If some newspapers reports something about science, but they get it wrong, then usually the editors on that topic on Wikipedia are expert enough to see this and not include what the newspaer writes in the article. Of course, other policies can be invoked, such as WP:NOTNEWS, but what often really matters in such cases is the judgement by the editors that the news report is wrong. Also, if there is some discussion about this on the talk page, then less knowlegable editors will typically listen to what others have to say, even if that means overruling what reliable sources say. Of course, such explanations are ultimately based on knowledge that exists in the scientific literature, but that's often not readily accessible to the less knowledgable editors. So, it then again boils down to the fact that the editors trust each other. You can't always give direct citations to verify something, because being able to read and understand the literature can require several years of study. An attempt at verification on the talk page via citations to the literature would degenerate into a university level course and thus be the mother of all WP:Synths. Count Iblis (talk) 16:12, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

This is a non-problem. Justine Thornton's school is correctly stated in This Is Nottingham, a reliable source. As is true in most of these cases, the truth is out there, if perhaps not in the first source an editor finds. The usual rules are sufficient: someone points out the mistake, an appropriate RS is found, the article is corrected. If something is a widespread misconception, that can be stated along with how and where it originated, if known. An example would be the actresses who lied about their year of birth. We report the range, and who (actress, registrar) claims what. Otherwise we have endless edit wars, all based on RS. The point is to inform readers of the facts, and sometimes that includes false facts which we report as false facts. 76.192.41.66 (talk) 14:57, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Break

Another set of examples of the damage VNT is doing can be found at List of unusual deaths. There are several highly suspect reports of unusual deaths, that border on the ridiculous or even the physically impossible. These reports were picked up by news services world wide, reprinted nearly verbatim as a "weird news" piece with pretty much no investigation by any of the journalists. c.f. Vladimir Likhonos, Jenny Mitchell (though more recent reports have debunked the ludicrous hair peroxide explosion theory). I have pleaded with the regulars on that page to exclude news items that are likely myths or that border on physical impossibility, but "verifiability, not truth" seems to trump editorial discretion in their eyes. Gigs (talk) 15:28, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

That's when you follow the "it was reported by x that...." convention. If nothing else, you make the presumably RS look less than RS. Which, if true, is a good thing. Strike a blow for serious journalism. 76.192.41.66 (talk) 15:49, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect, that's not sufficient at all. Not even close. If dozens or hundreds of otherwise reliable sources pick up on something that is known clearly by us to be physically impossible, we can't just report blindly "It was reported by x that..." - that's just irresponsible. If we must report it at all (and there is often a case for just removing it entirely) we must also include a clear explanation for why the physically impossible thing is impossible, if we know that to be the case.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
If I may be so bold, I thought I would re-post a suggestion I made in the talk page on this issue. I'm re-posting it because it speaks directly to the issues that Jimbo outlines in his concerns: "I think that truth matters", " people say things like "Wikipedia doesn't care about the truth"" - Jimbo is speaking to the virtues of truth. Truth is a social virtue, not something that is in itself a permanent fact of reality. Truth in Wikipedia logically abides by the fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates. Much of this debate hinges on misunderstanding behind the philosophy of truth and peoples conceptions of what that means. Two quotes from Gould in "Deconstructing the "Science Wars" by Reconstructing an Old Mold"[28] where he had a lot to say about truth. It is a scientific perspective, but valid in the context of truth in a more general sense:
  • "Bacon should therefore become the primary spokesperson for a nondichotomized concept of science as a quintessential human activity, inevitably emerging from the guts of our mental habits and social practices, and inexorably intertwined with foibles of human nature and contingencies of human history, not apart, but embedded—yet still operating to advance our genuine understanding of an external world and therefore to foster our access to "natural truth" under any meaningful definition of such a concept."
  • "In a striking metaphor, Bacon closes his discussion of idols by describing our scientific quest as an interplay of mental foibles and outside facts, not an objective march to truth—a marriage of our mental propensities with nature's realities, a union to be consummated for human betterment: "We presume that we have prepared and adorned the bridechamber of the Mind and of the Universe. Now may the vote of the marriage-song be, that from this conjunction, human aids, and a race of inventions may be procreated, as may in some part vanquish and subdue man's miseries and necessities.""
The sentence should provide a service, an apt function for resolving disputes when editors come to look up verifiable resources and to give guidance beyond a persons intrinsic knowledge or perception of truth. In this context I think a re-write of the lead sentence in question could solve this dispute. Rigidly holding onto one of two choices is an absurd way to go about this debate. There is a whole world of options to consider. I offer the following:
The misunderstanding that many people have about truth, especially in context of science that many believe to contain the "gold standard" of discerning fact from fiction, is that science is not a venture that seeks out certainty. This myth goes back to Francis Bacon and the model of objectivity in science - the objective truth. However, as Gould notes in "Deconstructing the Science Wars", even Bacon - the father of "pure scientific objectivity" (a myth), wrote extensively on the idols as impediments of bias that are entrenched in the human venture and psychology on its voyage of discovery for "natural truth". This is what Jimbo and the rest of us are after - the pursuit of truth and we are using the Wikipedia forum to achieve this. The key is that the source must be reliable. How do we know if it reliable or not? Well, like the example that Jimbo gives at the lead of this discussion - there is a continued pursuit of truth and he pursued the matter to see if the source was reliable.Thompsma (talk) 19:14, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I think the example about Justine Thornton having attended Nottingham High School for Girls (or not) says much more about WP:SELFPUBLISH than about the "verifiability, not truth" slogan. The narrow requirements to use information from a self-publication, such as a blog entry, or even a Wikipedia user page or Wikipedia article talk page, creates a barrier to the removal of false information. Especially for the removal of false information, where the self-publisher is merely reporting an interview or correspondence with an unquestionable expert, it should suffice for the self-publisher's identity to be reliably established, and a reputation for writing honestly. I see no need for Jimbo to be a journalist or have published articles in reliable sources concerning Justine Thornton or Nottingham High School for Girls in order for his statements about his interview of Justine Thornton to be considered reliable. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:51, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree Jc3s5h, but it also relates to WP:IRS and WP:SOURCES. Do those "news" articles count as a reliable source? In the pursuit of truth we have reason to question their reliability. Both WP:IRS and WP:SOURCES discuss means to further scrutinize the source material: "Each source must be carefully weighed to judge whether it is reliable for the statement being made and is the best such source for that context. In general, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication." That is the nature of research and we can do no better.Thompsma (talk) 00:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I see no need for Jimbo to be a journalist or have published articles in reliable sources concerning Justine Thornton or Nottingham High School for Girls in order for his statements about his interview of Justine Thornton to be considered reliable.
No offense to Jimbo, but if an editor simply asserted that they had met a subject who told them that something was wrong in a bio I would not change the article on that basis alone. That would be original research which is specifically prohibited by a core content policy. As Wikipedia editors and readers, we have no general way of determining what is true except items of our own personal experience and we're forbidden from using our own knowledge as a source. All we have are verifiable, reliable sources.   Will Beback  talk  01:41, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
If there is good verification that a person who is widely regarded as honest has an account where self-published statements can be made, and the honest person relates an interview with an article subject, it really isn't original research for a Wikipedia editor to use the interview. But WP:SELFPUBLISH says the interview can't be used unless the honest person is either a journalist or has previously published in reliable sources in the relevant subject area. So what Wikipedia policies are calling "original research" really isn't "original research" but something else entirely. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:14, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It's worse than you think. Since Justine Thornton is living, we can't even use the interview if the honest person is a journalist or has previously published. WP:SPS "Never use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer." --GRuban (talk) 16:02, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure I follow your point. 99.9999% of Wikipedia editors are people of unknown honesty. Of course, we assume that everyone is honest, but we haven't built this encyclopedia on the assumption that unverifiable statements by editors, no matter how honest, are sufficient sources for articles.
If I count the number of houses on Pine St. and report it on Wikipedia, that's original research. If I use my telescope to count the rings of Saturn, that's original research. If I talk to a notable subject and report her answers, that's original research. My reporting could be entirely honest, but that's not sufficient. Any information which I obtain myself which is not found in published sources is original research.   Will Beback  talk  09:17, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not talking about 99.9999% of Wikipedia editors. I'm talking about statements that appear in readily accessible self-publications, where the statement can be reliably attributed to a particular author, and the author has a widespread public reputation for honesty. Such a person is a reliable source for matters that require no special skills, such as counting houses or reporting the contents of an interview. The special qualifications contained in WP:SELFPUBLISH are overkill for simple statements of this sort. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:21, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
OK, I think I understand your point better now. There is undoubtedly a problem with the strictness of WP:SPS. The project omits vast quantities of worthwhile information because the only available sources, while ostensibly accurate and reliable, are self published and do not meet the stringent SPS standards. Probably every editor is surprised at some point that they can't use a source which seems perfectly acceptable.
But the current policy has the distinct benefit of drawing a clear, easily enforceable standard. I don't see how we'd ever be able to determine who has "a widespread public reputation for honesty". The only people whom I routinely see called "honest" are politicians, during campaigns. (Reputations for dishonesty are easier to establish.)
The boundaries and wording of WP:SPS, and its relation to WP:NOR, are important topics. However this Nottingham High School for Girls issue is a bit of an anomaly. (It's also typical: school alumni lists are rarely sourced and receive frequent, unexplained editing.)   Will Beback  talk  12:41, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Obviously there is going to be different grades of reliability in the world. I personally wouldn't have accepted the tabloid news articles in this example as factual or reliable. Perhaps tentative at best. If someone thinks or claims the information to be false and it is an important enough issue for them, it is up to them to do the investigative work to find the reference material that could assist with their alternate claim. For example, Jimbo or anyone else could follow through and write a letter to the editor requesting that they follow through on their claim. Other library or historical records could be called upon to see if this claim is true. I'm certain that a newspaper article mush exist showing Justine Thornton attending another high school. Was she into sports, pageantry, or the chess club? The evidence must be out there and this would require little beyond a visit to the local library to look in the historical archives. People are too reliant on the internet and I don't think a thorough enough of a search has been done. Procedures could be put into place where claims in these kinds of tabloid news articles are put on a scale of reliability and treated accordingly. If the New York Times publishes an article of this sort we would probably expect a higher standard. This does not mean that we accept it as certain fact, but it certainly lends credibility to the claim. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." A page could be created to rank the reliability of various journalism outlets. If I read a science article in these same newspapers - there is no way I would accept it in an article. I would grill it, scrutinize, question, and demand further evidence. This seems well in line with the current framework, but more work needs to be done. We cannot achieve the impossible, some things are going to be inaccurate and this is to be expected in this kind of grand venture.Thompsma (talk) 18:45, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't usually come to this page too often, but happened to stop by today. I find this particular discussion to be very interesting. I admit, I haven't read through the whole thing, but plan to when I can find some spare time. This has always been one of my biggest contentions with Wikipedia. Although I think V-not-T is at the nexus of the problem, this is also coupled with a vague notion of what verifiability actually means. Redefining this term causes a chain-reaction, where other words must also be redefined to fit together within the context of Wikipedia. What should be straight-forward becomes rather confusing to the new-comer, until you begin to translate the subtle differences in the language used here.

I think Thompsma bring up some very good points, from what I've read so far. Defining truth has long been discussed. What does it really mean to be verifiable? Books like Scientific method discuss these topics at length. How much of what we know to be "reality" can truely be verified. Ultimately, something verifiable should be able to be observed with one's own senses. For example, if someone comes here to learn about tempering steel, they will likely want to verify, with their own eyes, that our information has given accurate results. (Which they won't, until I go through and correct the tempering article.) On the flip-side, how much of our reality can never be verified, because they are ideas or conclusions. As the afore-mentioned book says, science consists of collecting facts, applying ideas to facts, testing them against more facts, and redefining ideas to fit the facts as closely as possible.

Journalism, or, rather, journalistic style, really is not much different. Reporting the truth first consists of having a clear definition of what the so-called "truth" is. Does it consist of absolutes, does it consist of variables, or perhaps a combination of factors? I've written more about it on my talk page, but I try to stay away from forums like this. I just thought I'd leave a little comment here, because this struggle is nothing new. There are plenty of sources out there describing how other reliable sources achieve that status. My main advice would be to research, research, research, analyze and compare sources. I've never found it to be as simple as saying one type is always better than another, (ie:books over newspapers), but every bit of avaiable information should be cross-checked, compared, and scutinized, because reliability is a relative thing, (ie: an article on interior decorating may benefit more from a magazine on style rather than a book on carpentry.) Anyhow, that's just my two cents. Zaereth (talk) 21:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability, truth, and the dimension of people X time

Science is considered one of the highlights of human intellect and often considered one of the most reliable resources on natural truth. Science avoids the idol of certainty and establishing truth, by falsifying and contemplating probabilities, likelihoods and calculating theory. How does it achieve this and what relation does this have to Wikipedia? Science, like Wikipedia, is a collective enterprise, it is its own beast governed by its social contract that itself evolves, steady and punctuated over time.

The dimension of time X people is what seems to be missing in this debate on truth and verifiability. We have billions of people on this planet that can freely come to edit and fact check every article from now until the foreseeable future. I've often wondered what Wikipedia could look like in a thousand years. What news organization has that kind of power? We can do better than the "tabloid" news style articles and can compete against professional encyclopedia's. Why? We have time and people on our side. This is a human enterprise and people over time in pursuit of truth building on the good will of humanity to share our knowledge is a worthy investment. It is an amazing testament to what we can accomplish through so called "free-labour". Truth is a worthy pursuit and this engine called Wikipedia powered by people and time are up for the challenge.Thompsma (talk) 01:40, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Draft essay

I side with amending "v not t", but I think the issue here may be more about a lack of clarity as to the issue of excluding material that is wrong. I don't think things are actually unclear if you apply common sense, but it also seems clear that you can't assume people will always do that.

To that end, I've done a little essay. I don't mind if editors think this is not the right approach and its only a draft, which I will agree reads a little officiously and spoonfeedy (but maybe that's what's called for). --FormerIP (talk) 18:47, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

I've left you a note on that essay's talk page. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 19:14, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

No consensus

  • Treating all "no consensus" situations equally is illogical, IMO. Factors like the number of participants, whether it is an addition or a removal proposal and other factors should be considered. Sometimes it is a choice between two or more alternatives; suppose a RFC that says "the article currently mention that x is red but some editors think x is blue" end up with 51% for the blue claim. It is silly to keep the red claim just because it was in the article before the RFC. At least, a no consensus in this situation should result a compromise or even the removal of both claims. Sole Soul (talk) 20:18, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Well Mr. Wales, can't say I've enjoyed it, but at least it was free. Good luck with your encyclopedia... DS Belgium (talk) 22:09, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

OTRS policy or common practice there?

Every so often, WP:OTRS gets complaints that Wikipedia is "distorting" the truth on this or the other, and the appropriate reply is that we represent "verifiability, not truth". I feel that our claim that we verify facts, but don't claim to present any one "truth" is a core value and should remain in focus. It's an essential reminder both for editors and readers. Asav | Talk 00:23, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

As the OTRS stuff seems to all take place behind closed doors, could you please comment if the above is an accurate representation of how stuff works there? (The above was written by an OTRS member, it seems.) Thanks, ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 01:48, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

@OTRSer – And would it be any different if the response given out were, rather than "v not t", to say the Wikipedia policy is "objective verifiability, not subjective truth".  Most of the complaint seems to be the simple, plain reading, interpretation of "v not t", which would imply that truth was irrelevant; but really, the statement is more about the recognition that truth is often about interpretation and opinion, whereas verifiability is concrete and confirmable by anyone. — Who R you? Talk 16:27, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm have access the OTRS queues and mailing lists, and I have hardly ever seen this happen. What we actually do is request that those emailing us provide us with further reliable sources, if the material contradicts a source in the article. If the article is largely unsourced, I and likely many others see nothing wrong with vastly rewriting the page. NW (Talk) 01:47, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Here's a good example

Quick summary - the husband of the subject objects that the article said she was fired when she resigned. There is one source that says this, and he says that it was a light hearted interview that simply got the facts wrong. Cue 3 months of battling, and an experienced editor coming out with crap like "The subject may state on the talk page what they believe is the "truth", but that cannot be accepted as reliable source for the article. Sources must be independently published. I restate, we aim for verifiability, not truth." In the end, some people with some sense turned up and managed to argue against it. However, that was 3 months of pointless battling for the subject's husband that simply shouldn't have happened. (I should point out that there were other things at play in the whole situation which have recently been uncovered but they are not particularly relevant to the WP:V discussion). Polequant (talk) 11:13, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I see that one of the people who was arguing for including that gave up saying "Fair enough, it seems the consensus is against me on this issue." Still, four year later he was blocked for "Violations of the Biographies of living persons policy: A record of BLP problems that literally goes back years." ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 13:21, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Polequant, you forgot to mention that there was also more and better quality RS that said she resigned, and most importantly, the main protagonist was a subsequently disagraced journalist working under a pseudonym (ie he claimed a different real life name) who had argued with Odone, and was banned indefinitely for a whole series of BLP violations of a nature that reached a national newspaper - see Johann_Hari#Wikipedia_editing for our own brief account. "Verifiability, not truth" still applied in this case. It wasn't Edward Lucas' testimony that counted, it was the better RS. The non-Hari "experienced editor" was also showing a loose grip on policy, by saying things like "If an unorthodox view about a science matter has been published by a peer-reviewed journal, then mention of that view cannot be excluded from a relevant article; WP:NPOV makes this clear." which it doesn't, and I presume it didn't then. The one good thing about this new proposal is that it makes it clearer that verifiability is not a sufficient condition for inclusion. The policy needs a statement about how to handle possible inaccuracies, directing people to the policies that deal with them, such as WP:RS. WP:V does not deal with accuracy directly. WP:RS does.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 13:52, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Even with the other sources there were still arguments like "I think it is sufficient to say that at the time Odone left the Catholic Herald, several contemporary news sources reported that she had resigned, but this was contradicted in a later article which reported that she had been fired." I don't think anyone here will disagree that this user was wrong in policy, both existing and under the proposed wording change. The point is that someone was taking the "Verifiability not Truth" slogan and misusing it (either intentionally or not). If the wording is changed, hopefully that sort of thing will either not happen or be easier to call people out on.
Anyway, I was only intending to show an example of where "V not T" has been misused, as that had been asked for further up. There are bigger lessons to learn from the Hari mess as well of course. Polequant (talk) 14:31, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Great example. That Johann Hari was the one pushing the "V not T" line makes it all the better as an example, really.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:31, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
How on Earth does it make it a better example because the editor was clearly acting in bad faith? Bad faith editors pushing a nasty edit will quote all kinds of policy; it doesn't invalidate those policies. The situation was not resolved by Edward Lucas' assertions of what was true, it was resolved by other editors looking at the preponderance of RS. That Hari could cause these problems is a governance issue - why were there not more eyes on this at an earlier date?VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 16:06, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that "verifiability, not truth" is a powerful tool that is easily abused. Most of the time it is abused in relatively harmless ways, when defending mainstream positions against fringers. That alone wouldn't be sufficient reason to get rid of it. But it can be just as powerful in the hands of an editor who is pushing some false claims into Wikipedia. Hans Adler 20:53, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I had supported the proposal, until I remembered a time I made an ass of myself fighting to include information that was easy to find in multiple reliable sources and yet turned out to be completely wrong. I'm headed to the RfC to change my !vote David in DC (talk) 15:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Ironically as I explained in the discussion there, the reason you are now opposing is one of the reasons some (many?) of us support the change. As Hans Adler says, there needs to be a balance and I don't think there is much hope for going even further away from verifiability towards the 'truth' as I believe you want, as even in the current RFC a significant concern is we are going to far in support of the 'truth' and against verifiability. Nil Einne (talk) 09:14, 5 November 2011 (UTC)