User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 99

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Wikipedia, a wiki

Enough said.

Wikipedia is a wiki. In the preceding sentence, the word Wikipedia is a hyponym of the word wiki, and the word wiki is a hypernym of the word Wikipedia. There are many wikis, but not every wiki is Wikipedia.

Sometimes people confuse the two words and refer to Wikipedia incorrectly as Wiki. Conversely, sometimes people refer to a wiki (in the general sense) as a Wikipedia. A trademark used as its hypernym can become a generic trademark. My Google search for "wikipedia of” reported about 88,000 results, of which I selected the following 10 examples from the top 30.

You might wish to take steps to prevent further confusion between the words Wikipedia and wiki.
Wavelength (talk) 21:55, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I just want to make clear that it was not I who added the image to this talk page.
Wavelength (talk) 06:15, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

WP:NOTWIKI and WP:NOTLEAKS look at this area. Wikipedia realised long ago that the word "wiki" is not a trademark like Coca-Cola.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 22:12, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Is there an essay about the converse problem, where a wiki (or even a website that is not a wiki) is called a Wikipedia?
Wavelength (talk) 00:58, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
It's actually a compliment. We've all used "windex", no? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:09, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Or a kleenex. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:39, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I have used different search engines, different cleaners, and different brands of facial tissue paper. See Generic trademark#Legal concepts (permanent link here).
In the Cricut™ Style Guide at http://www.cricut.com/res/cricut-style-guide.pdf, I found the following information.
  • (under "Definitions")
  • Trademark: Any word, phrase, symbol, logo or other device (or any combination thereof) used by Cricut™ to identify and distinguish Cricut™ products (e.g., Cricut™).
  • (under "Proper Use of Cricut™ Marks")
  • Use marks as adjectives, followed immediately by an appropriate noun.
  • Do not use marks as nouns.
  • Do not use marks as verbs.
  • Do not use marks in the possessive or plural form.
See Category:Trademark law.
Wavelength (talk) 06:10, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Somebody needs to hoover up all the infringements then. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 06:55, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Here are some additional points.

  • In the selection of search results listed in my original post, some involve websites referring to themselves, and some involve websites referring to other websites.
  • I acknowledge that a compliment can be involved, as when another editor said of me: "Well done. Wavelength is now renamed 'The Oblomov of the Passive Voice'." (Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2010 January 26#Weird verb that can't be done but is only done, second last post)
  • In a metaphor, one could say "A is a B" (where B is genericized). In a simile, one could say "A is like B with respect to C" (for example: "Bananas are like lemons with respect to color.") I am aware that both metaphors and similes are widespread in many places (including the Bible), but metaphors tend to be more dependent on context, if misinterpretation is to be avoided. Similes are more precise, but possibly precision makes life dull for some people.
  • Moon type is not a kind of Braille, but they are two different kinds of tactile alphabet.

I prefer to avoid ambiguity, when I can reasonably do so.
Wavelength (talk) 17:20, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

If someone called a product "the Cadillac of maps", would that dilute the trademark? 'Cause I could just about swear I've heard something like that said a few times before. Wnt (talk) 18:29, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
That depends on the reputation of the entity with the genericized trademark. It also depends on the aspect (dimension) with respect to which another entity is being compared. In the case of Cadillac, another entity might be compared to it with respect to price, or with respect to quality. In the case of Wikipedia, another entity might be compared to it with respect to size, or popularity, or perceived quality, or degree of collaboration, or financial cost. Different entities might be compared to Wikipedia with respect to different aspects in different instances. I have also heard of McJobs. ("So-and-so has a McJob.")
Wavelength (talk) 19:13, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I happened to purchase hospitality (i.e. suite) seating for a English football game last year, after lunch, they had some star from 40 years ago and the MC stated, "Now, Wiki's sometimes wrong, but it says about you that ..." If it's that far gone as a nickname, you can stand by the shore, but I assure you, the tide is still coming in.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:21, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Glucojasinogen

I just stumbled onto a curious example for that quality debate. Our article on diabetic neuropathy has had a curious sentence about "glucojasinogen", a term with which I'm unacquainted. I noticed that it's unsourced, but that's alright, we actually use the phrase

"The main risk factor for diabetic neuropathy is hyperglycemia. It is important to note that people with diabetes are more likely to develop symptoms related to peripheral neuropathy as the excess glucose in the blood results in a condition known as glucojasinogen. This condition is affiliated with erectile dysfunction and epigastric tenderness which in turn results in lack of blood flow to the peripheral intrapectine nerves which govern the move-ment of the arms and legs"[1][2]

As you see, it's actually sourced, word for word, to an article, nay, two articles, by two nonoverlapping sets of authors, one in Res Pharm Sci and one in the International Journal of Health Research. Face-wink.svg (These are from Google Scholar [3]; the second has slight differences at the beginning). First from 2010, second from 2008. Here's the original edit (the sole contribution of an IP) from October 2007. [4]

Truly, Wikipedia's greatest long-term challenge on accuracy will be to avoid breathing its own exhaust as it becomes the ubiquitous go-to reference of the world. But we have a choice - we can hoot and holler about Wikipedia with great alarm, or we can all just have a laugh and recognize that everyone - Wikipedia and journal readers alike - needs to do a little critical thinking about what they read, and then, please, edit! ;) Wnt (talk) 19:09, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia has an article "Critical thinking" in Category:Critical thinking.
Wavelength (talk) 19:52, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • All that Gluco-jazz: If some people are only removing the medical term "glucojasinogen" from articles, then that's a huge improvement from when they were removing those whole sections named "Symptoms and treatment" from medical articles, probably because they contained so many big words that cluttered the search for "which pills do I take". I think our medical editors should be given Wikimiracle Cure Awards for fighting the epidemic of anti-bigworditis. Meanwhile, every student in the Arab world knows all about glucojasinogen from scanning the 170,600 entries in the Arabic Wikipedia (article: اعتلال الكلى السكري):
" أهم عامل خطر لمرضى اعتلال الكلى السكري هو فرط سكر الدم. من المهم ان نلاحظ ان مرضى السكري أكثر عرضة لتطور الأعراض المتعلقة باعتلال الأعصاب المحيطية على النحو بزيادة الغلوكوز في الدم في حالة النتائج المعروفة باسم glucojasinogen."
Ever since the Recovery of Aristotle in the Middle Ages, those Arabic writers just will not stop collecting knowledge. Fortunately, we have interwiki links to many of their articles. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:17, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I probably shouldn't have awarded a barnstar for vandalism, but I couldn't help myself. Face-grin.svg Wnt (talk) 13:34, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
  • After two generations of Wikipedia-inspired Chinese Whispers, people will one day look back at these times of ours and date the beginning of the permanent loss of reliable knowledge in the world to the founding of Wikipedia. I am only half joking. --JN466 16:26, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's not like we invented the rumor. And these people might have copied something else. While Wikipedia is more accessible for that use, it is also more accessible if someone wants to take a bot and run every issue of a journal to see if it matches any text added to Wikipedia before the date of publication. This can be done, now, by those administering journals, no permission needed, though it might help if WMF could make some kind of tool available that could accept their journal data in bulk and run the search for them automatically. Wnt (talk) 17:56, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Because the discussion above may be confusing to some readers, let me try to describe what has happened here. There is no such term as "glucojasinogen". It was added to the article in a vandalism edit in 2007, which was not detected at the time. The two "sources" are articles in obscure medical journals that contain introductory material directly plagiarized from Wikipedia. Those "sources" were never actually cited in the article, though. Looie496 (talk) 19:08, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

OK, that seems appropriate. Wnt (talk) 23:41, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I've created Glucojasinogen as a cross-namespace redirect to Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia. __meco (talk) 12:25, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Optional display of information

Wikipedia can have show-or-hide boxes for information of various types: (1a) violent text, (1b) violent images, (2a) horrifying text, (2b) horrifying images, (3a) irreverent text, (3b) irreverent images, (4a) sexual text, (4b) sexual images, (5a) spoiler text, and (5b) spoiler images. The information can be hidden by default when a page is loaded. One challenge is in defining the boundaries of each type of information, in effect, which texts or images are included in each type and which are excluded.
Wavelength (talk) 17:00, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

"Horrifying" text and images in the medical field should be a joy to define. Better get a new namespace for all the endless imponderable debates people will be running instead of working on the articles. Wnt (talk) 17:59, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Warning labels contribute to informed consent by users who accept the content, and to informed rejection by those who do not.
Wavelength (talk) 20:01, 3 March 2012 (UTC) and 00:13, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

¡Una barnstar para ti!

Peace Barnstar Hires.png El barnstar de diplomacia
Thank you for creating Wikipedia Deivismaster (talk) 02:21, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

RfC Regarding Eliminating WP:COI as a Policy

Hi Jimbo,

Because this issue is somewhat related to the paid-editing issues in which you have shown interest, you might be interested in perusing this RfC, in which it is proposed that we "Delete WP:COI/N and WP:COI." Cheers, Ebikeguy (talk) 15:47, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

The discussion shortcut is WP:RFC/COI for those who don't want to hunt for it. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 19:58, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Oops! Not sure how I forgot that. Thanks! Ebikeguy (talk) 15:04, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
That's a wee bit hyperbolic. While I want to draw as many eyes as possible to the discussion as anyone else, I think it a bit disingenuous to highlight the most radical-sounding (and consequently not very supported) proposals, rather than looking at the variety of proposals and inputs that have been offered to date. Jclemens (talk) 07:25, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
My quote was the first sentence of the first "View." It is the first viewpoint most readers will see. It is entirely appropriate to use it as a demonstration of what this RfC is suggesting. Ebikeguy (talk) 15:04, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Regarding Eliminating WP:COI as a Policy is a misnomer. Deleting is but one of the many proposals. If anything, the RfC regards strenthening more than deleting. ```Buster Seven Talk 14:15, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Ebikeguy, perhaps I nitpick, but: The RfC is about a guideline being made into an essay; COI isn't policy. I suggest you edit the title of this section. (And feel free to delete this line after doing so.)--Elvey (talk) 21:04, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Procedures to detect demonstrable untruths

Formerly Procedures to detect verifiable untruths

All joking aside, I am curious about Wikipedia's latest procedures to detect (and remove) verifiable but untrue text, as the problem noted earlier in thread "#Glucojasinogen" about that false medical term. I would say, "Beware medical terms that do not translate into Arabic letters" (!), but there are other terms which Arabic Wikipedia still quotes in Latin letters, which are medically valid terms. As other users have discussed, for many months, "Verifiability and Truth" has already become a goal (and modus operandus) of many current Wikipedians, but perhaps we need to review the status of current guidelines, or essay pages, which help detect misinformation (or clever vandalism), even though it might be traced to journals or other "reliable-looking" sources. Then, at some point, the official policies can be revised to reflect how articles are actually updated. Meanwhile, those procedures would help to show new users why Wikipedia articles are typically much more accurate than many other webpages on the Internet. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:37, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

When I removed this text, I didn't view doing that as being contrary to the VnT policy. VnT does not require us to include WP:FRINGE sources, and papers that plagiarize Wikipedia, published in journals that don't notice, are undeniably a fringe viewpoint. There is such a tremendous amount of published material about diabetic neuropathy that is respectable and widely known, we have no need to include this very tiny "viewpoint", without technically having to decide whether it is wrong. Wnt (talk) 16:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
The word verifiable means "able to be verified or confirmed", and the word verify means "to substantiate or prove the truth of something" and "to confirm or test the truth or accuracy of something". See also http://www.onelook.com/?w=verifiable&ls=a and http://www.onelook.com/?w=verify&ls=a. An antonym of verifiable is falsifiable. I suggest that the heading of this section (now Procedures to detect verifiable untruths) be changed to Procedures to detect falsifiable untruths.
Wavelength (talk) 17:00, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
If something can be proven to be true, then it is verifiable. If something can be proven to be false, then it is falsifiable. If something can either be shown to be true or be shown to be false (that is, if it is demonstrably true or demonstrably false, in other words, if it is a demonstrable truth or a demonstrable falsehood), then it is truth-testable, because it can be tested with respect to truth-or-falsehood. (The word truth-testable is possibly a neologism.)
Wavelength (talk) 18:22, 2 March 2012 (UTC) and 20:07, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
If something can be attested, then it is attestable. If various sources attest to contradictory versions of a matter (a question, an issue), then all important versions can still be presented in a neutral presentation of views. Various Wikipedians can disagree with respect to which version is correct, but they can still agree to endorse a neutral presentation of views. We can have the policies "Attestability, not necessarily truth" and "Neutral presentation of views", even if we are unable to decide what is true. Even a computer program can follow those two policies.
However, demonstrable truth is certainly preferable to attestability. Our humanness can be either beneficial or detrimental.
Wavelength (talk) 19:00, 2 March 2012 (UTC) and 20:48, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I am revising the heading of this section from "Procedures to detect verifiable untruths" to "Procedures to detect demonstrable untruths", in harmony with WP:TPOC, point 12 (Section headings).
Wavelength (talk) 19:07, 2 March 2012 (UTC) and 23:01, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

original vs. fact-checking research

Wikipedia fact checkers conduct research, following references from tertiary sources to secondary sources to primary sources in order to verify that facts presented by secondary and tertiary sources are backed up by primary sources. Fact checkers prevent circular reporting that uses circular references. While original research is not allowed in Wikipedia articles (see Wikipedia:No original research), fact-checking research should be encouraged. --Wbm1058 (talk) 20:57, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Information checkers do research to ascertain whether information is fact or fiction.
Wavelength (talk) 21:41, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Here is a link to Wikipedia:WikiProject Fact and Reference Check.
Wavelength (talk) 21:44, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Repeated efforts to erase the german Version of Wikipedia:Don't feed the divas

Hi, seems in Germany Staredom in wikipedia is not allowed to exist respectively to be mentionend on the WP metalevel. I assume http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/whowriteswikipedia Aarons Schwartzs essay on Who Writes Wikipedia? clearly states that we have to take into account how to treat our stars and power users. Your feedback for or contra de:Wikipedia:Über den Umgang mit Diven is welcome. Polentario (talk) 20:00, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

This essay by Aaron Swartz is excellent reading, and really emphasizes the importance of "newbies" for Wikipedia. Wnt (talk) 00:29, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
The english version was recently submitted for deletion as well but was kept through an overwhelming consensus. 71.163.243.232 (talk) 03:47, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
The Germans do debate, wether "Don't feed ..." is to be regarded as mandatory policy. Heavens! I tried to rename and rework it in a "how to treat Divas" manner, including the swedish Janteloven. Any support is welcome as said. Polentario (talk) 16:22, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
  • IP users emphasized too much by Swartz: In the who-writes-WP essay by Aaron Swartz, he had made some important points about IP edits, but in the replies to the essay, other editors added several broader insights about the work done by regular usernames. While Swartz emphasized the amount of text added from IP users by 2006 (see: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/whowriteswikipedia), that oversimplified the work of the busy registered usernames, regardless if some usernames were "wp:Divas" or not. The better answer to "Who writes Wikipedia?" should be: "WP is written by the top IP and top registered users" at least as happened by 2006. In the replies to the essay, other editors noted:
         · Would articles be readable without edits by regular usernames?
         · How many IPs are the same person, as rotating IP numbers?
    Perhaps when Jimbo mentioned the "500" top editors (circa 2006), some people imagined only edit-count was considered. However, among the top 1,000 most-active users in 2006, just focus on the 500 who were primarily adding or rewriting content, rather than editing a few words per article. Consider who were the people creating articles from other encyclopedias, or mainstream topics, and then it seems more reasonable: the major WP articles of 2006 were not written by hordes of IP users, while regular usernames "spit-shined" a few words. In fact, it is possible that, for many cases, in pages where anonymous IP users added 90% of the overall text, then much of that additional text was removed to shift the remaining text to form coherent articles. Many IP users added data to articles in 2006, but perhaps the regular usernames rewrote most of that into coherent text. Now, in 2012, there are numerous minor articles to be expanded by IP users. However, the authorship of many new articles can be tracked to a core group of regular registered users, as shown by articles listed under Special:NewPages. Most of those new articles are created as full-format text, as if "sprung full grown from the Head of Zeus" (hence, that is why new articles are good enough to keep, not WP:AfD). Meanwhile, the impact of regular usernames, in copyediting articles to be more readable to users, should be heavily counted as a major part of expanding older Wikpedia articles. Plus, it is important not to imagine, "Wow, 500 super-human users have written WP for 11 years?" (no). Instead, among the group of 3,500 highly active usernames each month during 2011, many hundreds have been writing (or rewriting) most of the articles (but they are not the same hundreds every month for 11 years). Hence, it makes sense that a related number of IP users, repeatedly editing, are also expanding articles, even though the exact IP addresses might by rotating to new IP numbers every day or hour. Yet, it is not easy to predict who will want to be among the top IP and top registered users, so the invitation is made to all, "Wikipedia is You". -Wikid77 (talk) 19:42, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Brilliant Idea Barnstar Hires.png The Brilliant Idea Barnstar
It was a brilliant idea to create Wikipedia in the first place, and I can't believe your brilliant idea hasn't gotten a barnstar! P.S. You don't mind April Fools' jokes (though not in mainspace), do you? ChromaNebula (talk) 23:59, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Actually, WP has had a tradition for years about April Fools jokes in all spaces, including mainspace. See here. Agent 78787 talk contribs 03:28, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

about Mass Culture again

you can quote me on this: articles about films, books, videogames, celebrities and so on generally do have educational and informational value, although some don't of course and might as well be deleted. There is nothing about the statement of the Foundation that was meant to imply anything about that sort of question.. — --Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:49, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

as some administrators of Russian Wikipedia demand full excluding Anime from Russian Wikipedia as "irrelevant", I have to ask: does relevant "films, books" include anime and manga? (Idot (talk) 06:59, 3 March 2012 (UTC))

PS see also http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/RuWiki_History_(Doronina_and_Pinchuk)/English#Fictional_worlds (Idot (talk) 06:59, 3 March 2012 (UTC))

What happened to WYSIWYG?

I've dug up some stuff before my time on WP, and there were plans for a WYSIWYG editor. Are there still active plans for WYSIWYG editors? Thanks, Agent 78787 talk contribs 15:39, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes. See here. --Tango (talk) 16:02, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

On comparing articles now with six years ago

You raise an interesting thought experiment in the thread above. You say

A direct challenge for you. You are claiming something very specific here, and something I think is empirically false. You sare saying that compared to six years ago "our content has gotten so bad" - i.e. that our quality is worse than six years ago. I defy you to come up with a randomized objective test that shows anything remotely close to that. [...] Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:05, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I think this experiment would be useless for the following reason: the best model for a Wikipedia article is my study. Yes. My study tends to get used as a lumber room for all sorts of junk and crap by the rest of my family. OK I am guilty of this too. It piles up over time until it gets so bad and I am so ashamed that I tackle it over a weekend of two, filing stuff, throwing stuff away, pointing the finger of doom at other people in the house and so on. Right now it is in a pretty good state. So if you asked me if my study is tidier than it was six months ago, I would say, definitely yes. But that would not justify the conclusion that my study is continually getting tidier. Far from it. It is already less tidy than it was two weeks ago when I had the purge. In six months time it will be a complete mess. And I put it to you that many Wikipedia articles are just like my study. I follow the article Philosophy closely as a bellwether for the state of philosophy articles generally. Right now it is in a middling state of untidiness. Four years ago it was in a terrible state. Four years before that it was in a better state. The article on Existence is a similar story. From time to time it gets cleaned up, but its whole story is a random walk around mediocrity.

Also, my study is just one room in the house, and other rooms have different patterns of tidiness. My daughter's room is a constant mess, so it would make no sense to ask whether it is more or less tidy than six months ago. Some articles on Wikipedia are like that. E.g. the article Intensional statement. I recently emailed a professor at Syracuse for a second opinion on it. He replied "It is a conceptual mess and should just be off Wikipedia". By contrast, our reception room is regularly cleaned by the cleaner. If you asked whether it is more or less tidy than six months ago, the answer would be 'about the same - pretty tidy'. Many articles on Wikipedia are like that, too. I would say the article Set theory, like many of the mathematics articles, is in reasonably good shape.

So, in reply to your thought experiment, I would say it would not be very useful if my 'rooms' model is true of Wikipedia. A more interesting question would be whether the room model is actually true. Are there certain articles which exhibit a fluctuation around a mediocre mean, like Philosophy and Existence, are there other articles which exhibit very little fluctuation, and are always in a 'good' state, are there yet others which have little fluctuation but which are always 'bad'? And if so, what would explain this? It is my impression that philosophy, economics and literature articles, and humanities articles generally, tend to fluctuate around mediocre or bad. Is that true? How would we test this?

As I start, I am thinking of writing a paper about the Philosophy article itself. This would be a point by point consideration of all the errors in the article as at Feb 17 2012, followed by some speculation about why the errors are there. How did they get there? Who put them in? Why weren't they picked up? That sort of thing.

I hope this is useful. Quisquiliae (talk) 08:27, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

  • That sounds like an interesting essay, because article "Philosophy" is such a major topic, and it would be interesting to consider how to control the contents. I finally realized how article "Search engine" could not be focused on computer search-engine technology, after months of trying, because too many users added rambling text or kept deleting text about documented search-engine techniques. It seemed to be an obvious case of too many editors, as in "too many cooks spoil the broth by changing the recipe" of what the article was about. Meanwhile, I want to focus more on "#Who else compared article quality years ago" (below), to see what other people found. -Wikid77 15:44, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Thought experiments and looking informally at the history of randomly selected articles are really useful, imo. They can help provide useful ideas and impressions to work on within Wikipedia. But true "objective" testing is something else. I posted a terribly long spiel above outlining very briefly a possible strategy for setting up a long-term project with a University which could generate a series of high-quality, independent (ie third-party) randomized comparative studies. Something like that might be just one possible approach that WMF might look at, imo. —MistyMorn (talk) 17:35, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
You can compare general qualitative change patterns among various individual WikiProjects, with each WikiProject having its own pattern. For any selected WikiProject whose most popular pages are shown in a list categorized at Category:Lists of popular pages by WikiProject, you can select articles at random and assess change in quality. Without a random article selector like the one available for selecting a random article from the entire English Wikipedia, you can choose an article at random by choosing a number at random and by associating that number with the rank of an article.
You can choose a three-digit number at random by choosing the last three digits in each telephone number listed in a column of telephone numbers. You can use RANDOM.ORG - True Random Number Service. You can use 100,000 Digits of Pi (Pi). You can use 10000 digits of e (e (mathematical constant)). You can use Digits of Phi (Golden ratio).
Wavelength (talk) 20:23, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Who else compared article quality years ago

Jimbo, I also began running the comparison test, you suggested earlier, to compare with 1, 2 or 5 years ago, for the current quality of 10 Special:Random articles (on the way to checking 100 articles). The quality improvement was amazing. One article, now fairly good, began as the old one-liner sentence in 2004, where we rarely see new articles now of just one line. Another article began with full non-footnoted text, but it had major text deleted, last year, about global warming. It was interesting to see how those articles by 2011 had few spelling errors, and most sources were ref-tag footnotes (formatted like "[1]") as typical. I also noted the off-topic or unsourced text was removed in newer versions of those articles. Hence, the content was "fixed for wp:UNDUE weight" along with expansion and grammar. I am glad you took time to suggest those comparisons, and wonder what some other editors found. -Wikid77 15:44, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Just a quick thought from one of the many here. I've thought about this whole "article quality" thing for a bit now; and one thought comes to mind. I think it's like trying to compare apples to oranges. Why? Simple. Our "standards" are far different (higher) now than they were years ago. We are looking for better referencing, we are stricter on copyvio issues, and we pay more attention to BLP issues than we did years ago. So - since the standards have changed, I find it difficult to equate "quality" in that sense. If you look at what was a WP:FA in 2007, could it pass the test today? Perhaps not - but it did then. That is not a reflection on the author(s), but rather a reflection on our growth as a culture. Just a thought. IMHO. Peace to all. — Ched :  ?  15:57, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
And peace to you. One thing I was wondering is if there is any tracking done of whether article ratings improve as articles are improved and promoted. There could be times when ratings might go down, if the article reflected a popular point of view and more balance was put in, for example, but you would expect most of the time improved ratings.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:04, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
@Ched. Most articles are better than they were in 2004 and 2005, because there was a massive growth in the user base in 2005, from less than 1,000 regular editors to over 3,000, in a spurt at the end of 2005 (from memory) which continued until the peak in 2007. So the best place to compare with now is any article at the end of 2007. The growth in citations happens around then, too. On whether you can equate 'standards' with spelling or even referencing, I don't think so. I have counted about a dozen significant errors in Philosophy, for example, and none of those are spelling mistakes. Some of them are even referenced. Quisquiliae (talk) 16:12, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I think it's like trying to compare apples to oranges. Only inasmuch as a 2012 article may contain information that has wasn't available in, say, 2005 (an issue that would mainly affect certain fast moving topics). The whole point of evaluating quality "objectively" is that you measure criteria which academics would expect from any encyclopaedic article (as distinct from criteria normally used by Wikipedians through the ages...). Having said that, I agree that it might make sense methodologically to remove citations when evaluating articles. —MistyMorn (talk) 17:21, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

How do you feel about articles that reveal the plot of books? Doesn't that take away from the creators?

Curious about your opinion about articles revealing all the key plot elements of a book and how it ends, such as in The_Hunger_Games#Plot. Are people less likely to buy a book if they know everything about it? Does it not ruin the surprise and thus enjoyment for those that would later read it? Is there any encyclopedic reason to reveal that information instead of a brief overview of what the book is about? Dream Focus 08:57, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

See WP:SPOILER. The consensus from past discussions on this issue is that articles should have plot summaries, and that a disclaimer should not be necessary.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 09:01, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
The spoiler policy was introduced through massive abuse of the rules, including using an automated tool to change 20000 articles contrary to principles about not using it for controversial areas. Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:26, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't know, some people hate to have plots spoiled and some don't mind. I used to refuse to see a movie if I knew the ending. I even tried to avoid watching trailers for that reason--so I think people who really hate spoilers will probably know to avoid reading the plot sections of our articles. Mark Arsten (talk) 16:11, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Formerly (in 2006, as you may recall), WP had "*** SPOILER ***" warnings (now forbidden) in sections where the plot resolutions were revealed (typical in sections named "Summary" or "Plot"). However, the ban on spoiler warnings was naive, because many film/book articles have listed characters described by plot events (such as "became king at the end"), and those should also have posted **SPOILER** tags (now even forbidden in "List of characters"). Meanwhile, the plot-spoiling in many cases has reached the intro line, "This mystery is about 2 mismatched travellers who eventually meet, but one dies on climbing the 3rd mountain, then the other marries someone else anyway". So, you're thinking, How is it that people could spoil the plot in the first sentence? The practice is unfortunate for people who only wanted a vague idea of whether a murder mystery would be fun to read, or the names of actors in the film, not how it ended (and all plot twists) in the first words about it. This whole issue of spoiler-warnings is an area where the quality of book/film articles could be improved to discourage revealing the plot resolutions outside of the "Plot summary" sections. The fantastic benefit about the *SPOILER* warnings (now forbidden) was that they could be put at the very start of an article if the whole article was intentionally written to spoil the plot for all other readers. I, personally, never agreed to ban the spoiler tags, and obviously, they should be reinstated, now that people understand that wp:consensus is about compromise with everyone, rather than rules declared by a majority who responded before the vote was shutdown ruthlessly. So, thank you for asking about this issue, and perhaps Jimbo will have some time to offer advice about how to improve the situation. It is an issue akin to revealing a company's proprietary secrets or an illusionist's techniques, except that the secrets are revealed according to a planned release, rather than not at all. As for writers who want to avoid WP spoiling their stories, it might be necessary to write books in part-1, part-2, part-3 plot installments, because the Internet will not allow secrets to be kept for long. The problem is far beyond the scope of Wikipedia alone. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:39, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article about Agatha Christie's 1952 play The Mousetrap has been the subject of enduring debates and edit wars over this issue. It has even been the subject of a New York Times article.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:16, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
For those readers who care, the information can be in a show-or-hide box, where it is hidden by default.
Wavelength (talk) 17:24, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh no, they kill Old Yeller behind the barn! Oh no Eli is blind! Oh no, Jesus is crucified! (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 17:34, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

If someone looks up an encyclopedia article on a book or film they have not yet read or seen, then that is their problem, really. Same with those who Tivo television shows; if they go looking on popular entertainment websites before they get around to watching what most of the country has already seen, that's their fault. Tarc (talk) 17:43, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

A Wikipedia article is not a review intended for someone to read to decide whether to enjoy a work. It's intended to describe the role the work plays in society, its content, structure and impact - for example, it could serve as a starting place for scholars interested in writing about the work. Spoiler warnings make this very difficult, as suddenly editors have to be conscious at every point in the article of whether they're spoiling or not, and contort the structure of the article to condone it off into labelled sections. In brief: this is Wikipedia, not Wikireviews - the latter role is served pretty well already by IMDB. Dcoetzee 17:48, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
While I feel plot details are an important part of articles and am opposed to spoiler warnings feeling that ultimately people have to take care when reading articles on subjects they don't want to know about, your comment is incredibly country(American?)-centric. Broadcast dates for TV series can vary significantly from country to country. On some occasions, even American series are broadcast elsewhere before being broadcast in the US. Depending on local laws and the availability of the TV series in other media, it may not even been possible for people to legally watch a series without doing something stupid like flying to another country to watch it. So while 'most of the country has already seen' something, it hardly surprising if plenty of people in other countries have not. It's still their responsibility to take care when reading, but it's not just people recording stuff causing problems for themselves as you seemed to imply. Nil Einne (talk) 06:29, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  • What about my original question? Is there any encyclopedic reason to reveal that information instead of a brief overview of what the book is about? It doesn't seem to serve any purpose. That New York Times article has a good example of this problem. Someone hears about a play and wants to know what it is, how long its been around, its reviews, is it worth seeing, etc, but they certainly don't want the mystery ruined by the ending revealed to them. I read news articles about the Hunger Games film based on the book, saw the official Taylor Swift music video for a song she made for the soundtrack, and looked up information to see what it was. I would've rather not have seen the last sentence in the plot section reveal the ending to me. Does ruining the surprise help the article be more encyclopedic? Dream Focus 21:48, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
    Completeness is important to an encyclopedia, DF, and readers' ability to enjoy or not enjoy an outside work is, well, outside our purview. Not our job. Our job is to inform, not to tantalize people into consuming media. To go a bit reductio ad absurdum for a moment, if we're not willing to provide complete information on a book because someone might not know the ending, why would Smallpox not also end coyly before informing the reader that global eradication was successful? The ending of the history section there - the fact that humans "won" the "conflict" with the smallpox virus, is as much a spoiler as the ending of The Mousetrap, and probably nearly as many people read that article while not knowing the fate of the smallpox virus as read the article about The Mousetrap without knowing its famous ending. Why would we be willing to provide complete information for one topic (say, medicine), but not another (say, a super-famous play)? A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 21:59, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
    Hopefully most people can see the difference between a complete historical article and one about a work of fiction that doesn't just give out historical data about it along with critical response and whatnot, but instead goes into great detail about its plot. Mentioning the plot in such detail isn't something that has any educational value at all. Dream Focus 22:15, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
    am I the only editor here who finds it absolutely hilarious that this particular editor is championing a threshold of "any educational value at all." be applied to Wikipedia content? -- The Red Pen of Doom 22:01, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
    If we are going to be concerned with any potential loss in profit from "spoilers" appearing here, then we also need to offset the free "advertising" we give from being linked one of the top trafficked websites. -- The Red Pen of Doom 22:21, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
    Endings, obviously, are an important part of most works - especially those where the ending is surprising. My rule of thumb: might a scholarly article on this topic mention this aspect of it? If so, we should discuss it. Dcoetzee 02:53, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
    "Mentioning the plot in such detail isn't something that has any educational value at all" - be sure to point that out to the students who try to use Wikipedia to study for literature exams. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:47, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
    It's not just students either. I'm sure I'm not the only one who checks out articles and decides they either don't plan to watch/read/whatever the subject or does but doesn't care if they find out about the plot and would find the article woefully incomplete if it doesn't tell them about it. (Or I'm watching something bur decide I don't want to watch to the end and just check out our article.) If you want more detail, the article may not be enough, not the fault of wikipedia, but for a simple overview it should be. To give an example, it would be rather bizzare if Romeo and Juliet doesn't actually describe how they both commit suicide in the end and would clearly fail to inform our readers. In fact, even the discussion mentions it. For something like The Mousetrap mentioned above, or as Dcoetzee mentioned, any surprise ending, the ending itself is usually fairly notable, so failing to mention is a clear failing of wikipedia. (We also get similar complaints with stuff like magic tricks although in that case we often don't have any sourced info on how it's done.) Nil Einne (talk) 06:38, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Why would a scholarly discussion of any work of fiction fail to discuss the climax or ending of that work? Wikipedia is intended to have an educational purpose, not to serve as an advertising medium. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:50, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Being "educational" or not is a very arbitrary or abstract concept particularly in Wikipedia. As long as there's no law preventing we "spoil" the whole plot of the fictional work, whether it damages the work production or its audience or not does not concern us. (I do know that some video game publisher does request video site like Youtube to ban ending spoiler video within a set time-frame. But I suppose it is not law-binding and merely restraints their adv investment to the said site if not complied.) -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 03:30, 3 March 2012 (UTC)


Please make images a privilege not a right.

Now I am not super computer savvy but I'm under the impression, which I obtained many years ago, that hosting images costs vastly more than hosting simple text. So when I see something like this, as a donator, I get quite upset. Images don't need to be something that every single article needs. Even a strict or corporatist notability requirement doesn't seem to deter hundreds of relatively unknown bands from making pages full of images. Their only claim to legitimacy seems to be having a few lines about them in different language wikis which I assumed they google translated or being indie/vegan - which to me is a rabid cultish sub-culture that is detrimental to the project as a whole(both inclusion and deletion). I see this as a big problem and my suggestion is to make images a privilege especially for those "15 minutes of fame" articles. Privileges to post an image should either be thru a paid service or certain amount of acclaim. I see mindless deletion of articles as stupid as mindless inclusion of images to this encyclopedia.24.4.67.101 (talk) 09:05, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Christ almighty... Just looked at The Mountain Goats and noticed that a band of marginal notability has its own template listing FORTY NINE child articles. That, IMO, is more of a cause for concern than the amount of images. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 09:26, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Things have moved on since the days of dial-up Internet access and people expect some images in articles. The question of notability for The Mountain Goats is a separate one (I'd never heard of them, but with over 3 million articles this is unsurprising).--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:08, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I think what 24.4.67.101 is driving at is that some individuals/organisations may use the Commons and then Wikipedia as venues to distribute images for their own self-promotion - instead of putting up an album on Facebook, they put it on here where it can be seen by (potentially) far more people. We may be at the point now where a Wikipedia article is worth more to a band than a write-up in a major magazine. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 11:44, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
The sources in The Mountain Goats are not strong, and many articles about pop groups have been deleted for this reason. On the issue of excessive data use, a few images are not a problem, but Wikipedia has never been heavily involved in hosting videos because they are much more bandwidth intensive.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:52, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Pitchfork search results for Mountain Goats This is actually a great little group. Quirky, narrative-type songwriting, I've enjoyed these guys for years. The Interior (Talk) 15:15, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I hadn't heard of them either, tbh – too busy listening to Grandaddy, who've just reformed! :D For a few shows, at least... Nortonius (talk) 15:20, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Glad to hear it, Sophtware Slump was a great album. The Interior (Talk) 15:28, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand your concern about the images. There are only three in that article, that doesn't seem excessive to me. The notability issues are significant, though - take the article on one of their recent albums, The Life of the World to Come (album). According to that article, it peaked at number 110 in the album charts and the article makes no other assertions of notability. How is that a notable album? I suspect speedy deletion is the correct way to deal with most of the articles about this band. --Tango (talk) 16:01, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Notability is in terms of substantial, third-party coverage (in this case Spin and Pitchfork), not Billboard stats. Please let us not use Billboard stats to determine our music coverage! The Interior (Talk) 16:16, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Those are just reviews. They review pretty much every album released. That doesn't constitute substantial coverage. High positions in the charts or winning major awards are the main ways an album could be notable enough for its own article. If you want to establish notability based on news coverage, you would need much more than just reviews in online music magazines. --Tango (talk) 17:07, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Spin and Pitchfork review pretty much every album released? That's news to me. [5] is an interview, not a review. The Mountain Goats have played live on national television three times, and six of their songs have been used in two fairly popular television series. They are so far beyond garage band status that this whole section should be archived. 71.212.231.71 (talk) 02:12, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
An awful lot of bands play live on national television and an awful lot of music gets used in television shows. This group may themselves be somewhat notable but that doesn't mean that they warrant FORTY NINE articles! This band exemplifies a wider problem with music articles - the editors who create them seem to think it's acceptable to churn out as many pages as possible, regardless of propriety or quality. The result is that instead of having a single good, informative article there are twenty (or 49) lousy articles that serve no purpose whatsoever except existing (and appearing on "my creations" sections of userpages). ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 02:53, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with Tango on the images. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the use of images in that article. The ridiculous number of articles dedicated to the band is another issue though. If the band itself is notable (I wouldn't know), then most articles could probably be merged into a discography child. Resolute 16:30, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Your impression is many years out of date. Images cost more than text, yes, but they're still cheap. At a guess, I'd say that the three images on that page cost Wikipedia at most a dollar per quarter-million pageviews. --Carnildo (talk) 10:49, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
As an aside, I'll note that the three images on the page total 36 kB (14.3 kB, 9.1 kB, and 12.6 kB), whereas the HTML for the article is more than twice that, clocking in at 82 kB. If we dropped all the images, we'd only be shaving about 30% off the downloaded file size. Most images displayed in our articles are reduced-size and reduced-resolution thumbnails. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 23:18, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Adding images and having them in articles is a privilege. However, downloading all of them in one huge file dump is a fundamental human right. Has Wikimedia Foundation ever fixed whatever problem it is that's been preventing the media downloads from happening for several years? - Wikidemon (talk) 05:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand why uploading images should be restricted to some people. The Commons is the free media repository, where any 'freely licenced' content can be uploaded. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 06:44, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
There are technical barriers to producing image dumps which I have been investigating. Suffice to say, images are a lot bigger than the text of Wikipedia, and producing complete subsets through the standard image download interface is extremely time-consuming. If I get my dumps done, I will put them up on my seedbox to give an example of how it might be done. Dcoetzee 03:39, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Is Jimbo listening?

I haven't seen his name here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.11.71.124 (talk) 04:39, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

You haven't looked closely enough - he does respond here occasionally, and I suspect he reads a lot that he doesn't bother to respond to. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:48, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Every user in Wikimedia has their own freedom to decide if they want to respond to the messages in their talk page. And this is no exception for Jimbo. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 05:06, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
...even when he's been asked directly to respond, regarding issues about which he has expressed concern, so it seems! Nortonius (talk) 10:56, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo is not dead, but he has been quiet in the last few days. If he were dead, his article would have been updated by now:)--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:03, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
"Shout more loudly, for he is a god; either he is conversing, or he has stepped aside, or he is in a journey, or perhaps he sleepeth, and must be awakened." Sorry, couldn't resist.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:15, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
What is it they say in the movies? Something like "it's quiet, too quiet – the natives are restless!" ;op Nortonius (talk) 11:18, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I actually was on vacation last week and did not look at this page much. I do try to read everything here, and I do try to respond to direct inquiries. Often, though, I find that inquiries are well-answered by others and then in those cases I may choose not to respond. It has happened that people have gotten upset about that, thinking that I was ignoring or evading their question, when I was just thinking, oh, the question has already been answered. I try to avoid that but it sometimes happens. In any event, I'm back from vacation now, and should be here on this page quite a bit this week.
[Addendum]: Nortonius, I followed your link but I'm unclear what your question is exactly. I recommend that you start a new discussion here with a precise title, and a precise question, including direct links to any background reading I should be aware of, and avoiding or explaining acronyms as much as possible. You mention, for example, an "NPP Proposal" and discuss policy around IRC, but I'm unsure what you are asking specifically.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:32, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Ah yes, holidays! I'd forgotten about those. ;o) Did I miss an "out of office" message or something? Sorry if I did. I wasn't so much "upset" as deflated, especially when the thread in question went to archive; I'm still low on steam for all sorts of reasons, however, but thanks for the suggestions, I'll try to work something up if need be.

For now though, a specific question is, would you be inclined to comment at Wikipedia talk:IRC/wikipedia-en-help? Discussion there concerns a perceived need for the live IRC channel "en-help" to be explicitly controlled by the WP community, as opposed to the group who run it, vs. a view that "it ain't broke so don't fix it" (though I don't mean that to be a demeaning characterisation); it was started by Chzz (talk · contribs), who has withdrawn from WP until en-help's relationship with WP is clearly defined, with the WP community in control (that's how I understand it: look at his current talk page). An issue here is that "en-help" is effectively advertised from within WP, for example in numerous, heavily-used "help" templates, even though it seems not to be part of, or controlled from within, WP. Discussion has pretty much ground to a halt, with strong emotions being expressed, and I'm hopeful that a clear contribution from you might give it direction.

The quickest way for me to explain what I mean by "NPP proposal" is to point you to the lead article in this September 2011 edition of The Signpost, which refers to "a heated altercation between English Wikipedia community members and MediaWiki sysadmins". It seems to me that all of these issues are related, indicating a worrying disjuncture between the skills and experience of the voluntary WP community, who are contributing freely to a free encyclopedia, and have their own, empirical understanding of "what really makes WP tick", and the perhaps inevitably more business-minded plans of the WMF; and, I'd like to hear your views on that.

Short of me starting out on a whole new explanation, could I ask you to have another look at the original thread on your talk page (its final form is here, though it sounds like you already found it)? It did grow rather long, but it includes lots of diffs and other links which I would only repeat if I started again here – but feel free to ask for further clarification…? If I can't supply it, I'm sure there are people who can.

I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I were to say that we're talking here about some fundamental issues for the future of WP, as it has to do with satisfaction among WP editors new and old, and new article creation; and, apart from anything else, I imagine that you'll know plenty more about what's gone on and what's being planned than I can, so I'd appreciate your input. Especially since, as far as I am aware, no-one from WMF was inclined to contribute on your talk page in your absence. Thanks for your time. Nortonius (talk) 16:06, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Ok. On the IRC issue, I can say this: I strongly support that all the IRC channels should be firmly under general community control, and I'm happy to take whatever action I can to ensure that this is the case. I also think that the current status quo is not particularly broken, though I could be persuaded otherwise. That latter opinion of mine seems to me to be mostly irrelevant, it isn't up to me to decide lots of micromanagement details about IRC. I think it is within my remit to defend, strongly and using whatever influence I have up to and including contacting the Foundation and Freenode, to ensure that the community has an appropriate voice.
On the NPP issue, wellllll, it's very complicated. I think it unwise for us to continue with a process which has provably failed more than once: software design by committee. That does not mean that the community should not request features and have input, obviously! But in the case of Flagged Revisions, we ended up with a failed-ish design (still supported by a strong majority of the community) and find ourselves in a worse position now largely because we designed the feature by committee and it ended up a horrid Frankenstein's monster. I will study the link to that that you just gave me and see if I have any more useful thoughts!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 04:16, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Jimbo, much appreciated! :o) Understood about the relevance of your opinions, micromanagement surely is up to those directly involved; understood too about "software by committee", except, as I understand it, the essence of the NPP proposal was a very simple one. I see that Okeyes (WMF) (talk · contribs) has described talk of this as "rehash[ing] old issues", and I mean to respond to that, but I believe the "issue" itself remains pertinent: why else would WMF be developing Wikipedia:New Page Triage? Otherwise, to me, it's all complicated, I've just tried to explain my concerns as best I can, diplomatically, and in hope of getting some movement in the specific areas which I indicated. In the meantime, I look forward to reading of any more useful thoughts you may have. Nortonius (talk) 13:47, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
There seems to be a mismatch, Jimbo, between your position (above, "I strongly support that all the IRC channels should be firmly under general community control, and I'm happy to take whatever action I can to ensure that this is the case. … I think it is within my remit to defend, strongly and using whatever influence I have up to and including contacting the Foundation and Freenode, to ensure that the community has an appropriate voice") and a present situation within WMF described here by Okeyes (WMF) (talk · contribs), where "[the] idea of on-wiki help is currently in its infancy (it's being worked on by one of our researchers in his pseudo-spare time)". Do you think that's the kind of thing you could take up directly with WMF? The project mentioned in passing by Okeyes (WMF), if it's towards a live "on-wiki help", sounds like it just might be an ideal solution to the perceived issues surrounding en-help on IRC – but it's only being worked one by one researcher, in their pseudo-spare time?! That doesn't sound good; nor, if I understand you correctly, is this low priority the kind of thing you want to see…? But I don't want to put words into your mouth! Thoughts?
In the meantime, while I understand that the NPP proposal wouldn't have solved all issues relating to new articles by new editors, I'm told that implementing the NPP proposal would've involved approximately one line of code; whereas WMF is currently engaged in developing completely new software (WP:NPT) in an attempt to approach similar issues from a different angle. Seems odd use of resources to me, anyhow, and I've been engaging Okeyes (WMF) on the situation on that project's talk page, here... Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 15:15, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Product vendors leave defects so new products seem better: There is an obvious psychological advantage to the tactic of avoiding small fixes/patches of defects, in old products, so a new product (with builtin fixes) will seem that much better than the old. Perhaps consider that tactic as a form of "planned obsolescence" (or "post-planned"), so that returning to the old product would lose those builtin fixes and provide more incentive to struggle forward trying to adapt to the new/complicated product version. If this pattern of "delayed fixes" can be prolonged and dragged out for years, then the need for "new and improved" products can be sustained, by always leaving some bugs or feature gaps in each newer line of products. In software development, the staff could use such a plan to always seem to be the "major fixit heroes" for the users, even though just avoiding the major defects and bugs would be a less-dramatic, humble approach. Unfortunately, the amount of mental energy needed to delay bugfixes often drains the resources which could be made for truly valuable new features, such as partial-page edit-protection (where the lede or top infobox in an article could be locked against changes but other sections free to edit). -Wikid77 14:28, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
This just highlights IMO one aspect and reason that editors seem to be fleeing Wikipedia at an unprecedented pace. In the last month we've list more than a dozen experienced and dedicated editors including Bishonen, Chzz, Kumioko (that's over half a million edits between them) and a pile of others. All for slightly different reasons but at the core of it are issues of incivility, equal treatment of editors and a return to the old days when people generally assumed good faith and hadn't yet been mentality of "if I haven't seen them here before then they must be a vandal of some kind" or "I must protect my articles". 71.163.243.232 (talk) 23:30, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I will agree that if the first thing a new editor encounters is a full-fledged attack from a Wikipedian well conversant with acronyms and who considers the topic protected and theirs, you will not keep that editor long. I am uncertain what the answer is, if such editor has protective friends, especially admins who think WP:INVOLVED is for the peons.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:02, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately it happens all the time here. Even to experienced editors. I have seen several conversation recently regarding entrenched editors running off editors as well as a couple new editors giving up in frustration. There was also a conversation recently from an IP that said they were considering editing but there's just too much drama and incivility and they don't want to get involved in that. I gave up on my username myself and only edit occasionally via IP. I honestly don't know how to turn things around at this point but if things don't change, before long, I fear we are going to read about Wikipedia in the history books. 71.163.243.232 (talk) 12:18, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Jimbo always listens to me. It's why he's such an awesome guy. The most interesting man in the world (talk) 02:28, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I would appriciate your input on this AFD

I may of tagged it to soon but I felt an AFD was warranted here is the article. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_products_endorsed_by_Jennifer_Lopez. Thanks TucsonDavidU.S.A. 07:03, 5 March 2012 (UTC),

Never mind don't want to seem like I'm trying to swing the vote on it. TucsonDavidU.S.A. 07:25, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Just because you mention it here doesn't mean we're going to agree with you; in any case, a single strike isn't going to deter us. Wnt (talk) 17:29, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
  • WP reflects the world's attention span: Compare an article to cover JLo driving a Fiat 500 automobile onstage at the American Music Awards of 2011 to an article about a guy who played cricket in 1874. Hey, "All I know is just what I read in the papers". -Wikid77 14:53, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Useful rivendale bikes articles

Rrecent southwest durham blog — Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.80.226.88 (talk) 08:43, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

How can I find this out?

How can I find out how many categories there are in Commons? How can I find out how many categories there are in English Wikipedia?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:28, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

commons:Commons:Database reports/Page count by namespace / Wikipedia:Database reports/Page count by namespace - Kingpin13 (talk) 12:31, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
(ec)There are now 850,875 categories on the English Wikipedia, including all the uncreated but populated categories (there are many thousands of those) (my count, no database reporrt that lists this apparently). Without the uncreated ones, there are now 824,783 categories on the English Wikipedia[6]. My search for it at least led me to discover that we have many, many cats waiting to be created, and many, many cats in articles waiting to be corrected to an existing one. Yet another thing on my to do list...
Further: there are apparently 1,904,529 categories on Commons[7]. Fram (talk) 12:43, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
How many top level or second level categories? After all "naked children" ought to be enough for most purposes without adding up "naked child standing up", "naked child stitting down", "naked child running", "naked child with legs apart", "naked child being molested (old drawing of)". John lilburne (talk) 13:35, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Putting aside the pejorative nature of this for a moment, "naked children" would clearly not be a top level category either. Wnt (talk) 17:30, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I do wish you would stop impugning comments by shoving your own interpretation into them. There was nothing pejorative in the list I gave above. I could equally have exampled "Objects used as sex aids": 'Carrot used as masturbation device', 'Cucumber used as masturbation device', 'Corgette used as masturbation device', 'leek used as masturbation device', "nokia mobile phone used as masturbation device', 'iphone used as masturbation device', 'android phone used as masturbation device', 'toothbrush used as masturbation device', ... 'gerbil used as masturbation device' John lilburne (talk) 19:00, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
While I suspect I agree with whatever point it is that you are trying to make, the point is lost in the rhetorical flourish. Can you give real examples instead of made-up ones?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 04:08, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
In general the absolute number of categories is uninteresting other than to say "Oh wow we have N categories". As an OOP of some 25 years one always looks to deal with the most general classifications, one is always more interested in is the higher level categories than in the concrete classes. For example if I am looking for Diptera then whether or not there are 240,000 subcategories classifying all the various species isn't interesting other than as a simple numbers game. Similarly if I'm looking for Insects and wish to exclude all Diptera then I don't really care what subcategory or even what other categories an item is in it suffices that one of the parent categories is Diptera. So even if it is a dung fly predating on some other insect that Diptera is a parent of some category is sufficient to eith include or exclude. The categories simply allow me to navigate down to a specific type of image from the more general. And dare I say it if I'm looking for "forefinger" I don't usually want the items on the first page to be those images that in the past have been used as trolling images and as such are in the category "restricted images". John lilburne (talk) 13:17, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Top-level rank is somewhat subjective: As noted, the stratifying of categories is not "perfect" and a top-level category could be a category-page which contains no category links in the internal text. However, a redlinked category name has no "internal text" so would have no category links inside and appear to be a top-level category, rather than a sub-category name which was never described with a category-page. Perhaps a typical ratio could be calculated, such as "4% of many categories are top-level" by running statistical samples and counting how many of those were truly intended (redlinks and all) as top-level category names. Beware there seem to be many "categoryholics" who can put 9 items into 27 subcategories, as there is no physical limit to stereotyping or categorizing items into a billion invented categories. -Wikid77 (talk) 15:32, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
English Wikipedia has Wikipedia:WikiProject Categories, whose members are especially qualified to answer questions about categories in English Wikipedia.
Wavelength (talk) 17:08, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
User:MZMcBride has or can create a report that shows the uncreated but populated categories. This would probably be a good bot task too IMO. Rich Farmbrough was doing this but I don't know if he still is or not. I also think that there are too many categories with few articles in them. I would recommend that we avoid categories with less than 5 articles. There are a lot of categories with zero or 1 in them that have been created also that can probably be cleaned up. Some are needed such as WikiProject Maintenance categories but there are a lot that have zoos by city or buildings byt city or county, that I think are not needed. 138.162.8.58 (talk) 13:49, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I hope you mean that the creation of the report would be a good bot task; the creation of the cats needs to be done manually or semi-manually, as many uncreated but populated cats are due to misspellings or indeed need to be upped to an existing parent category. On the other hand, many very small categories are part of a series of cats (e.g. a topic by country), and then you will nearly always get a mix of larger with very small categories, which isn't a bad thing. Fram (talk) 13:52, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Good points, I do think that some of the cats can be created automatically but until the report is created and reviewed its hard to tell if that would be a good solution so you have a good point there. On the removal of underutilized categories. I agree that in some cases that cats are useful, especially if its just a matter of the cat not being utilized. If its something like Zoos by state and then city though, for example, I don't think there is value personally, in most cases for creating a city level category when there will almost never be more than 1 or 2. In cases like this a state level (thats fifty categories right there) is sufficient. Again, just my opinion though based on something I also saw recently. I think we are starting to veer a little off topic though. Sorry I just realized it sounded very much like I was the IP above but I wanted to clarify that I also noticed the Zoo thing recently and concur it seems silly. I'm new so you'll have to fogive the lack of ettiquette and protocal. ShmuckatellieJoe (talk) 15:07, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Welcome! You shouldn't mind the protocol too much: as long as you are civil and have some patience in case of disagreements, you usually won't run into trouble here (i.e. on Wikipedia, not specifically this page). I generally agree with your points, but e.g. a category "Zoos in Luxemburg" is not so easy to move to a higher level as is "Zoos in Sacramento, Ca." (fictional example, haven't checked if either exists). This makes it harder to create general rules for this (and gives some unfair "advantage" to small countries, but that can't always be helped either). Fram (talk) 15:42, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks and althuogh I have seen a lot of discussions and evidence that would seem contrary to Wikipedia being friendly I am trying to keep my head down and and avoiding conflict. I sort of agree. For example Zoos in Washington DC only has 1 article but it would be hard to move it a level up. Zoos in Minnesota though for example is a bit of a different story for me. I see your point though. ShmuckatellieJoe (talk) 16:08, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
You are right that many corners of Wikipedia aren't really friendly, but in general, if you remain if not friendly then at least civil, and if you are willing to listen to advice, then even if some nastiness comes your way, most people will see that you aren't the problem or cause of it, and will try to protect you from it. It doesn't always work this way, and friendly, hard working, well meaning editors do get chased of by more unscrupulous ones, but this should be the exception, not the general rule around here. Of course, the more controversial the topic, the more heated the tempers often get... Fram (talk) 16:18, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Yay database reports! --MZMcBride (talk) 05:11, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Cluster search proposal

Is there any chance we can have a developer look at Niabot's cluster search proposal, please? JN466 00:15, 7 March 2012 (UTC)


You might want to see this

Sir, I thought you might want to see this. It popped up on the India Mailing list. Pure Fiction. Do let me know what you think. -_Rsrikanth05 (talk) 05:34, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

This is really a very sad story. Although I joined in 2011, I used Wikipedia for over 7 years. Dipankan says.. ("Edit count do not matter") 05:55, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, my main editing started around the time, he left. He was a guru to us, an inspiration. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 06:07, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunate, to say the least.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:43, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
This issue should be properly investigated/clarified. What do you think about this and this off-wiki comment? (Please, note the on-wiki diffs). --Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 11:04, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Paid-editing raises many suspicions: Suspicions are justified, when considering the long-standing tradition of (credentialed) judges as recusing themselves in cases involving a conflict of interest (COI). If court judges, who are professionally trained in objectivity and rules of evidence, feel compelled to avoid conflict-of-interest decisions, imagine the difficulty faced by any paid editor to be truly objective in writing about topics which might not even get articles (by anyone else) for years, if the paid editor did not POV-push the topic into view as a set of articles. It is sad for someone to try to ignore those problems of reality and wp:wikifinagle multiple accounts to pretend they are not paid editors. Maybe there should be some process to rehabilitate editors from ethical pitfalls, so that they do not imagine a criminal mentality, violating every rule, as being the only solution (it is not). Remember, even some former wiki-vandals have repented and become active anti-vandalism editors on English Wikipedia. Perhaps the moral of this story should be: "Get a regular job". -Wikid77 (talk) 16:09, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Let's talk about this particular case. I asked User:Tinucherian (who commented on this before) on his talk. Among other things he wrote: "Nobody wants to fight this case. The alleged institution (Indian_Institute_of_Planning_and_Management) has an infamous history of suing individuals for insane amounts, that too at the courts in the remotest parts of the nation." What does that mean to us? Should we fear the IIPM and let them do what they want? ... I don't want to accuse anyone of anything, but I don't like this story and the diffs provided. Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 17:37, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I was pointed to these posts by Vejvančický. Quite a read, whatever has been written. With respect to Nichalp or paid editing, it'll be good to have some investigation, if not for anything else but to weed out CoI editing (both positive and negative) from our project. As far as the institutional page mentioned above goes, I can't make out the clear issue. I haven't noticed anyone in the noted thread ever contributing to the article. I remember once when I left a comment on the talk page of the article, I didn't get a response for almost a year. The wait is almost similar even now. Rather than worry about alleged issues, it'll be good to have constructive editors contributing and making the said article a good article than argue in back-channels. As for the other issues, I'll surely welcome and forward any assistance required and also appreciate punitive action against attempted outing. Tinu Cherian (mentioned above) is a respected editor, so his views should matter. I noticed that he recently claimed on Twitter that he had been served a legal notice from the above mentioned institution because he apparently posted a screenshot claiming the head of the institution was a fraud. Then he entered into a Twitter slanging match with an expatriate girl-student of the institution, who apparently told him that after his comments against her, she'll approach Arbcom at Wikipedia to complain about him. Then some bloggers questioned Tinu Cherian why he was targeting the institution as they found it suspicious - to which he (I think) posted an elongated justification on the net. Then suddenly he did a volte face and said that perhaps the legal notice that he received was not from the institution. I'm not sure about the exact sequence of events but this is what I could gather. Rsrikanth05 who started this thread, was also recently pulled up for canvassing on Twitter during a respected editor's RfA in which he was the nominator (the RFA thankfully passed, without getting affected by Rsrikanth05's canvassing as Rsrikanth05 accepted the said canvassing and apologized appropriately). One of the editors that he had canvassed to on Twitter was Tinu Cherian. And the editor whose RfA Rsrikanth05 nominated was User:MikeLynch (a self-disclosed alias for an Indian name), who has for example 400 plus edits to an article like R.V. College of Engineering. Moving further, I think that this discussion can be taken up by Arbcom if they feel it's appropriate (although I doubt that they would), than continue in disparate threads. I would have really appreciated if the concerned editors like Tinu Cherian etc above had informed me in advance (like at least Vejvančický did the moment he found the thread) than continue discussions on their own for so long through off wiki channels. It would have led to an earlier resolution of this issue. Please feel free to contact me on my talk page for any support or assistance that you may feel is required of/from me. Kind regards. Wifione Message 05:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

MY sole intention of bringing this up here was to highlight the mud slinging done against a respected, reputed syspo, WifiOne. I do not understand why mine and Tinu Cherian's twitter accounts keep getting dragged in. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 09:40, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I am not against anybody here or anywhere. Please don't raise finger against each other. Let the arbcom do the justification. Hope the matter resolves soon, peace out :-) -- ɑηsuмaη ʈ ᶏ ɭ Ϟ 07:43, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

How many articles will Wikipedia have in the future?

I don't know if it's been discussed before (probably has), but do you think it will ever get to a billion articles? Can we maintain enough editors to maintain a billion articles? Richard-of-Earth (talk) 08:07, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

The English language Wikipedia currently has around 3.86 million articles, and a billion is generally taken to be 1000 million, so there is quite a gap.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:10, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't personally think that we will ever get to a billion but I think that 100 million is probably possible. I heard recently that if you include all articles from all pedia's its something like 25 million now. When you consider that China and India have a billion people each and have been around a lot longer (thousands of years of culture each) and that the English Wikipedia seems to currently be mostly US related info, I think there is a good chance to get a lot more articles if we start gaining momentum in some of these other countries. Thats just my opinion though and I have only been editing for a week. On the second half of the question, unless things change, we can barely maintain the ones we have with the current number of editors. ShmuckatellieJoe (talk) 14:55, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Here's how to get to a billion. 4 million per language times 250 languages.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:23, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer and everyone's elses as well. It makes for good reading. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 20:45, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Histogram of projected growth in English Wikipedia, as new-article count per month each year.
  • Long-term deletions seem to offset new articles: The logistical limit seems to be about 10-15 million articles per language. The most-likely scenario for Wikipedia growth will reach a period of "steady state" activity, where the net total of new articles created every day will be offset by deletions (or mergers) of older articles. See essay: "WP:Modelling Wikipedia extended growth". Currently, the growth of new articles has slowed from over 1,800 per day (in 2006), to less than 900 added each day in 2011. Meanwhile, long-term analysis of older articles finds topics which should be merged such as when "427 Pokemon articles" became a few dozen articles, or 9,087 soap-opera characters would get merged into a few lists of "minor characters" for each TV show. The logistical delay of deleting older articles, of marginal notability, leads to a long-term trend of eventually deleting many older articles to offset the growth in new articles. The long-term result would be a steady-state effect of almost zero growth, most likely an actual fluctuation of up/down periods, where sometimes more net articles would be deleted (merged) per day, then other times, more articles would be added each day, as a net total per day. Couple that activity with "re-creation wars" of numerous articles re-added each day when additional sources justified "individual notability" for the re-added articles. However, many of us might not live to see that era of steady-state Wikipedia growth, perhaps after year 2045. Again, the reason the growth would appear to halt would be caused by the backlog in cleanup delay for deleting or merging hundreds of the marginal articles per day, years after they had been created. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:00, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
If deletions/mergers are the likely fates of many existing articles then isn't it time-wasting to continue creating/expanding/improving new articles? It's the gungho deletionists which cause many editors to quit the project in frustration more than anything else.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 17:05, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately the same fate seems to be applicable to User accounts as well. Not counting vandals, we seem to be losing active contributors at a rate faster than we can replace them with new ones. I'm not talking about the accounts that do one or 2 edits and leave but the ones that stay and participate actively. Those are what we need to keep this place running. I think there are a multitude of reasons for this but civility is certainly among them as is the decreasing number of articles to be created. Additionally, it seems that some of our well intentioned policies sometimes gets in the way of common sense. For example if a user gets disgruntled and leaves and then creates another account to edit, then that account gets blocked as a sockpuppet or whatever (eventhough they are contributing positively) then that seems counter productive. This just happened a couple times recently and seemed a little strange to me. I don't think that any one thing is the magic button that will fix these things but there are several that need to be adjusted or redefined at the same time. ShmuckatellieJoe (talk) 17:22, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • To avoid deletionists perhaps update mostly the major articles, where "Plato's Republic" needs extra text to clarify concepts for younger readers, or "Aswan High Dam" needs conversions for feet/metres or water-flow rates, or "Transistors" could explain why they changed the world, or "Fermat's Last Theorem" needs an explanation of why it took so many years to find a proof, etc. Think about explaining the major topics, with 6 W's (who, what, when, where, why and how) to new readers of English (or translate to a favorite 2nd language), then Wikipedia will seem magnificent for many years. Fighting over wp:Notability of new topics, to be deleted, is a way to be demoralized every day. Thanks for fighting, but rotate back behind the front lines for a while, into the Cathedral of Knowledge. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:33/20:04, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I am a deletionist. The delete votes I have cast recently, and AfDs I have started recently, are based on a strong belief that Wiki has too many articles which are simply not notable enough to be here. Wiki is not a repository for all random pieces of information to be stored. Wiki is not here for every niche interest to be covered in absolute trivial detail. We should focus on what we do well and do it better - be it local cuisine or important battles or parliamentary constituencies - and be far stricter in taking out what we shouldn't store at all - lists of perfumes advertised by J-Lo, would you believe. Deletionists are here to keep a check on the excess of trivia. doktorb wordsdeeds 17:39, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I read on here recently and tend to agree that, notibility is subjective and should not, in itself, be the sole criteria to delete an article. I also think that your statement is a pretty obvious POV, which is ok, but also is an example of an extreme that IMO should probably be avoided in Wikipedia. BTW, I mean no offense by that, I only mean that we should not be deleting every article just because we individually don't think its notable. ShmuckatellieJoe (talk) 17:45, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
What "we do well" is to create - and reward - lots of new articles on trivia. (I'm as guilty as most other people - I do it because it's fun.) What we do very poorly is to improve the content of important articles. The difficulty is in translating the effort that people put into "their own" new articles into collaborative effort on major improvements to important, well trafficked, articles - and that seems almost impossible to achieve. Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:03, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  • The world defines notability: In many cases, wp:Notability is determined by the world's attention span for a topic. So, if the world obsessed that, somehow, JLo's focus on perfumes had revolutionized some aspect of commerce, then that list of perfumes might generate a whole article about JLo's impact on commerce. For example, Cabbage Patch Dolls and the annual "trendy gift" for U.S. Christmas presents. Also compare the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill to the initial Macondo blowout oil-rig explosion that killed more people than most campus shootings: 2 separate events, because the underwater oil gusher could not be easily stopped after the initial explosion. That is why Whitney Houston's rendition of song "I Will Always Love You" is notable as being the top-selling recording by a female artist, even though the song was just one part in a list of Dolly Parton's songwriting efforts. -Wikid77 20:04, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thats true, my only point was that, for instance, some might consider Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office to lack notability while others would feel the same about a multitude of other topics such as International football (soccer) players, Medal of Honor recipients, Pornstars, Flute players, High schools, etc. My opinion is that we should allow some flexibility in the notability criteria if sufficient references are available and perhaps based on some other criteria such as article activity, the amount of hits the article has (if that can even be determined), etc.. I do agree that there are limits to this argument and that not every conceivable topic (such as the average military veteran, police officer, Youtube videos of some kid dressed up as Darth Vader or singing horribly some song they like, etc.) has an article though. ShmuckatellieJoe (talk) 20:37, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
See User:Emijrp/All human knowledge.—Wavelength (talk) 17:45, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I first started editing at Wikipedia almost four years ago. What struck me then was the plethora of articles on cartoon characters, porn stars, various sexual acts, songs, relatively unknown entertainers and talk show presenters; yet missing articles on notable historical people, places, events, etc. IMO, this is one of Wikipedia's weaknesses. There are plenty of Wiki-Projects. The respective members need to work together to determine which particular articles should be expanded, improved, or indeed created. Some red links have been on articles for years.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 07:21, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I think reaching 1billion articles [notable ones] is no big deal. We need to concentrate on Quality, not Quantity. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 09:45, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I started editing about four or five years ago too, and I have to admit that I never looked for the "articles on cartoon characters, porn stars, various sexual acts, songs, relatively unknown entertainers and talk show presenters" So, I have not taken any notice of them; perhaps, the sum of all human knowledge is what the user makes of it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:08, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Reply to Jeanne. I am just an IP editor (I was about to create an account but then I saw the Kumioko/WikiProject United States situation and decided against it) but I partially agree with you. Unfortunately, a lot of WikiProjects are no better than an inactive shell and efforts by editors to revive them, most recently Kumioko, are frequently met with strong opposition, article ownership and folks with their own agendas. This seems to happen over and over from what I have seen and read and when this is seen by others, although they might sign up to a project as a participant, don't want to get involved in the drama and constant bickering. IMO this is one of the prime reasons (of course not the only one) that WikiProjects frequently fail and go inactive because the members of the project are not allowed to decide things like what articles they want to add to the project, what priorities are, scope of the project , etc. So just because there are a lot of projects, few are truly active enough to really do much. Just my opinion but with rare exception (such as Biography and Military History) this trend seems to be repeated over and over. 138.162.8.58 (talk) 14:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Opposition to customized album tracklists: Another issue is with allowing customized tables. An example was when trying to provide a template to display customized album tracklists, for special display in WP:Featured articles or for large-font WP:Accessibility concerns. That custom template even allowed "addtotal=yes" to show the total run time of all songs together. Unfortunately, a WikiProject decided the proposed template threatened their "standard" Template:Track_list, so the WP:TfD resulted in a move-deletion of the custom template to become yet another unused sandbox version, "Template:Track_listing/sandbox6". The custom format (with "titlewidth=120px" and "addtotal=Total:") looked as follows:
Album of Songs   
No. Title Length
1. "Song 1"   3:04
2. "Song 2"   3:05
3. "Song 3"   3:10
Total: 9:19
The optional total is automatically added, as a sanity-check, to indicate all song times are listed. For sight-impaired readers (per wp:Access), that custom tracklist table would fit a narrowed window, with much larger font ("TextSize larger"). Internally, the custom template used a radical new table design of pixel-sized columns, and so the same features could not be simply "added" into the old standard template having percentage-sized columns, without making a similar radical, internal design change, which could impact thousands of existing music articles. I had thought the custom template would have been allowed for limited use, then check how many articles actually needed such custom features. However, the custom template was viewed as an ominous "fork" of the standard track-list template, and that could not be allowed, so it was move-deleted, and no tracklists adjust for sight-impaired readers with narrow screen windows. Anyway, the opposition to custom album tracklists is just another issue of coordination problems with WikiProjects or other groups of users. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:50, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Three million articles - two and a half million of them completely irrelevant to the projects educational claim - for a glimpse of the future ... J Wilkes - Is a facebook user from Gillingham that has 312 friends, they are a health worker and they are a regular twitter poster about their work and their family. A video they posted on utube of their dog eating cigarettes has been viewed thousands of times - the celebrated cricketer M Glassen said he laughed and laughed when he saw it. [1][2] Youreallycan 05:52, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
That facebook stuff almost sounds like quotes added to article "Jennifer Lopez" during the last year. I've been too busy to remove it yet, perhaps other editors will scan over the article. -Wikid77 20:54, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
I find myself typing redlinks all the time. Most recently, I noticed we have no article on the Mickey Mouse wristwatch. Our coverage of plant and animal species is still more miss than hit, and the same is true for chemical compounds and minerals. One of several problems is that certain people like to remove redlinks from articles so we don't even realize what's missing. Wnt (talk) 01:32, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
I thought there were 32,000 major chemicals, but how many should WP list? There are numerous sources for "Mickey Mouse watch" to justify a separate article. About animal species, I see WP has listed the rare "fountain darter" fish since 2005. -Wikid77 20:54, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Resolved: Most of the requested changes were made on 7/8 March 2012, to note "Tony Blair Faith Foundation US" and malaria/film projects, plus 4 sources. The article was also copyedited, with over 450 changes. Often requests must be made 3 or 4 times as reminders. -Wikid77 12:11, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

I just posted to the talk page of the article with some edit requests from someone at the organization. The edits seem to be reasonable and the person who contacted me seems very interested in doing the right thing, and so I hope some kind people will help them.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:43, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure the community will; however as I have noted on the talk page of the article, their hopes or desires for content are utterly irrelevant. Editorial consensus of what is or is not valuable in the article is what counts. Pedro :  Chat  20:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, you could probably have expressed that a bit more politely :S --Errant (chat!) 10:44, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Agree. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree, and would like us to discuss it further, but without reference to Pedro and this particular remark, since it's pretty minor. What I'm interested in is thinking about how to encourage a reduction in the "chip on the shoulder" hostility towards people who are trying to do the right thing. We want people to be transparent, open, and honest with us. We want to encourage people to engage in a good faith dialog with us. We want people with COI to generally avoid editing articles directly, but to ask for changes to be made. But unless we are kind and welcoming, and thank them for opening the dialog, they may just feel, "Good grief, I could have just created a throwaway account and made the changes myself, and no one would have noticed, and I wouldn't be subjected to this abuse."--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:42, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
From a practical standpoint, starting at the talk-page is the most-logical tactic. Step 1: Request change at the talk-page. Step 2: If not changed, post a reminder at WP:Helpdesk. Step 3: If still no progress, tag article "{{copyedit|date=March 2012}}" for WP:GOCE editors, or some other tag handled by an active group. In general, a notice posted at WP:Helpdesk would get the fastest response, as a polite response, due to the welcoming attitude there. People have even noted, "...tried every other place, but finally found WP:Helpdesk" as being where they get results. -Wikid77 09:58, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
The TBFF seems to resemble the United Religions Initiative (URI) in not distinguishing between true (God-made) religion and false (human-made) religion. If the TBFF does assert that distinction, or if the URI does, or if both do, then it might be possible to clarify that in one or both of the corresponding articles.
(Here are two rhetorical questions: If there is no God, and if all religion is human-made, then how does religion differ from philosophy? If there is a God, and if there is one true God-made religion, then how does it differ from other religions?—http://mlbible.com/ephesians/4-5.htm; http://mlbible.com/1_thessalonians/2-13.htm)
Wavelength (talk) 17:24, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
While that's interesting personal speculation on your part, I see nothing in what you've said that leads to anything encyclopedic to add or remove from the article.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:07, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Consider topics mentioned in 2 major sources: An easy rule-of-thumb is to check what the WP:RS sources have noted. In the case of TBFF, the film-awards project (named "Faith Shorts") was covered by both The Guardian and IMDb News, so that was quick reason to add the film project into the article. Whether something remains in the article depends on other people also thinking that sourced text is justified. However, for some criminal trials in Italy, even if something was mentioned in the headline title of 20 sources, many people refused to allow it in the lede text of an article, even though WP:LEDE specifically requires controversies to be summarized in the lede. That is why other editors have concluded, "Rules are not enough, there must be a means of enforcement". I have suggested a system of demerits/merits, where if an intense editor keeps deleting major controversies from the lede, then just keep subtracting demerit points from their username until they drop below an automatic edit-block level. There is no need to keep debating the rules with them for days/weeks, just allow them to WP:IAR (if needed) until the total demerits auto-blocks their username. For users who seek forgiveness, then award them positive merit points for major requested edits, such as for adding 5 major sources to unsourced articles listed in a references-backlog category. Once all demerits are cleared then editing more will not build a "fortress to defend bad behavior" but instead, like other editors, the demerits remain at zero level for continuous helpful edits. The demerits/merits might seem too much like an academy, but compare that to "edicts from on high" warning people that their attitudes can "only end badly" for them. When some editors seem to be WP:GAMING the demerits, then still discuss extreme cases at WP:ANI, such as tag-teams splitting demerit sanctions to avoid a block. To track demerits easily, just record them in edit-summary lines of User_talk:xx to be counted among, perhaps, the prior 200 history lines; then the removal of demerits, after many helpful edits, might just be a 1-line "Cleared demerits to 0" once extensive work had been completed. Such a system works well in a student academy, allows for occasional WP:IAR (or not knowing some rules), and helps energetic users focus their energies in positive, requested edits rather than "axing text to get attention". Many of the most frantic editors have not left Wikipedia in 5 years, and something should be done to channel their activities. -Wikid77 22:15, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Strategic watchlist

I have prepared a list of items which I recommend for inclusion in every Wikipedian’s watchlist, so that everyone can follow important discussions and avoid disappointment. I might just as well have titled this section “Essential watchlist” or “Watchlist essentials” or “Watchlist recommendations”. To this list can be added entries from Wikipedia:Database reports/Most-watched users. Someone recently expressed disappointment at not being notified of SOPA and the blackout discussion, but I was informed because I had this talk page on my watchlist. I have not started a page called Wikipedia:Strategic watchlist, because consensus for its contents might be difficult to achieve.

Even if an editor seldom or never visits a particular page on that list, there might be an occasional opportunity for that editor to be helped or to help another editor because of a particular discussion. As always, section headings that are both brief and informative help an editor to decide whether to visit the discussion from his or her watchlist. If I see a section heading “Question” or “Arbitrary break” on my watchlist, I am usually not much motivated to click to find out whether the discussion is of much interest to me.
Wavelength (talk) 21:37, 6 March 2012 (UTC) and 22:52, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Wow, that's a big list.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:17, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Way, way too big. Things like Wikipedia:Wiki Guides are even historical pages. And why would I want to have e.g. Wikipedia:Keyboard shortcuts on my watchlist? I may need that page occasionally (I never did so far, but anyway), but the chance that it will then be changed in the last three days (and thus visible on my watchlist) is minimal. So having it on my watchlist will not help me "being helped". Could it be of use for me to help someone else? Doubtful, since I don't even use them myself.
The same comments apply to many of these pages and to most of our editors. On the other hand, while you include some essays, some more obvious pages are missing, including Wikipedia:Five pillars, Wikipedia:Be bold, Wikipedia:Notability, Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not and so on. I see no real value in trying to create such a list as part of the watchlist, it is more useful as part of a welcome template or something similar. Fram (talk) 14:34, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that there are a lot of good things to have on here like most of the Village pumps but I don't think the brand new editors need Village pump technical, Database reports, some of the Main page subpage and the like. I do agree that having a basic starter list would be very helpful to new users though so I agree with the suggestion in concept just not the final list. I think we should narrow it to less than 20 pages, maybe even 10. 138.162.8.58 (talk) 14:48, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, Fram, for your constructive criticism. After reading it, I have added those five pages to my watchlist. I previously omitted them, probably because I assumed that they were quite stable and not subject to much discussion. Incidentally, a list of watchlist recommendations is different from a list of page reading recommendations.
Wavelength (talk) 17:18, 7 March 2012 (UTC) and 19:43, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Is there a way to have multiple watchlists, in the header that is shown at the top of every page? I don't consider that stuff part of editing the encyclopedia project, so it would be more useful to sort it into a separate community watchlist'..
My watchlists: Articles - Community
DMahalko (talk) 17:19, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Make it possible to have several watchlists (permanent link here).
Wavelength (talk) 17:31, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Deletion

[[8]] Kittybrewster 10:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

This would never have been an issue if Caroline Spelman had not applied for a court injunction .[9] There are no legal issues here, but it clearly fails BLP1E.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 10:37, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, good call. Looks like the discussion is going the right way.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:12, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Who owns Wikipedia?

The question has finally been answered in a reliable source:

Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, who owns Wikipedia, said the site would welcome any MPs who chose to become editors.

The Telegraph, 9 March 2012

Editors, please make your way to the article Wikipedia, and REMEMBER: verifiability, not truth. (Sorry, Jimbo, the article didn't mention you at all.) Happy editing! --JN466 09:56, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

To be honest, I believe it rather implies that it is Wikimedia UK who "owns" Wikipedia.--Gilderien Talk|Contribs 10:03, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Not in properly written British English, where it would have to be "...Wikimedia UK, which owns..." or "...Wikimedia UK, who own...". FormerIP (talk) 00:02, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
We've already contacted the journalists concerned at both the Indy and TBIJ to get a correction. Should be fixed by this afternoon. The Cavalry (Message me) 10:05, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Updated at the Independent - just waiting on the Telegraph now. The Cavalry (Message me) 12:00, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Let's all start sending Jon bills for our time editing his Wikipedia. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 10:09, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
  • How odd to complain on Jimbo's personal user talk page rather than contacting the CEO of WM-UK directly, perhaps the aim was to maximize dramah rather than correct a mistaken journalist. If anyone wants to talk to Jon, his details are at wmuk:Contact us and you will find him very approachable. Thanks -- (talk) 10:16, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I didn't take it so much as a complaint as bemusement. I'm always very happy to see journalists screw up after having talked to someone other than me, so people in the community can be more forgiving when journalists screw up after having talked to me. Jon and I were once in a meeting together and I jokingly referred to him as my boss, just as a one-off bit of humor in the conversation, but not I think this joke should be institutionalized. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:27, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I once referred to my supervisor as my boss...that's another joke that shouldn't be institutionalized, because we all know that my wife is my boss (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 10:33, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Commons talk page

Hi Jimbo, as I seem to have just missed your monthly check-in on Commons (judging by edits :) ) I'm flagging a new post (from me) on your Commons talk page. cheers, Rd232 talk 23:22, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


Conflict of Interest RfC

Jimbo, I was just moved to say the following on the COI RfC:

"Let me put it this way to the people who oppose this: you are advocating for harassment. There is no other legitimate use of COI than to instruct people about NPOV. I recently noticed that an admin was banned for such harassment, and probably some of you should be too if you are advocating so strongly for the harassment protocol which is COI." [10]

I hope you will drop by and give us your opinion, and perhaps generate some attention for this... it seems as if people do not know how badly COI is abused. BeCritical 02:13, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Others had differing opinions as to being called "harassers" if we didn't agree. It seems as tho some people don't get that COI needs to be a policy. ```Buster Seven Talk 04:13, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
I have an innocent question. Wikipedia exhibits a lot of care and respect for the reputations of BLPs, where their Wikipedia article can have a financial impact on the subject. Why don't we have similar protections for companies? If the same care and respect was taken for the reputations of companies, not only would it stem the trend towards progressively more negative company articles, paid editing would be reduced simply because there is less of a need for it. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 01:11, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Sort of like corporate personhood? SilverserenC 01:24, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, not quite. Both are situations where Wikipedia has a financial impact on the subject and where Wikipedia can be easily weaponized to attack the subject, but the point isn't to define a company as a person or to construe BLP policy to apply to companies. Just that some effort needs to be made to eliminate the motive for paid editing by protecting the neutrality of the articles in the first place. Stricter policies about taking greater care to not frivolously damage the reputation of companies without good cause would go a long way. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 16:24, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

The problem being that "frivolous damage" means different things to Wikipedians vs. the companies themselves. If we document a major lawsuit being brought against a company, that could be considered by the company to be damaging in, and of, itself. There's never going to be a time when paid editing disappears completely (barring Wikipedia going dark), but some more strict enforcement of WP:V and WP:UNDUE might help dissuade COI edits. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 11:38, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

losing new editors to Ridiculously Speedy Deletions

As an editor since 2009 I would like to make this observation as to one of the reasons we might be losing new editors. Not the only reason by any means but one.

I created this article not one half hour ago. Thomas Weston (Merchant Adventurer entrepreneur) and a look at the timestamps will show that within FIFTEEN MINUTES I got a notice of a speedy deletion and an advisement by User talk:Dengero to use Sandbox first which is NOT in the Guideline Wikipedia:Your first article which CLEARLY STATES: In the search box near the top right of a page, type the title of the new article, then click Go. If the Search page reports "You may create the page" followed by the article name in red, then you can click the red article name to start editing the article. This is ridiculous by any standards. Mugginsx (talk) 15:33, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Excessive deletions have been pushed since 2006, so at least we have the WP:Article_incubator now. Just be prepared for the 3-step ordeal: {{Speedy}}, WP:PROD and WP:AfD. I know it seems too severe, but consider the numerous junk pages also being deleted, and you can see why the frantic deletions have been pushed. -Wikid77 21:30, 10 March 2012 (UTC)


I am about to give some advice to the relatively new editor who placed the tag, which should explain things to him at least . Naturally, about 80% of the time , the article could in fact never be developed, but that does not excuse losing the 20% of articles which are either in the process of being written, or can be improved with help -- and risk losing the editors, who, whether or not their first article is good, can, with proper treatment, go on to become helpful editors. DGG ( talk ) 16:42, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
This is, of course, only one of several reasons why we are losing not only new users but expereinced ones as well as deterring people from becoming users at all. It really just boils down to civility...or a lack of it. In the past 2 months alone I have witnessed several new editors give up and leave, several experienced editors leave the site (including at least 3 from the top 20 most active list), at least 2 IP's state that they were considering creating accounts but decided not to for different reasons, mostly a perceived lack of civility and community acceptance. The problems with civility are spiralling out of control. 71.163.243.232 (talk) 17:05, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
A few months ago, I created a bunch of new articles, each was a stub, but they gave the essential information on each topic. I was part of various projects to rid Wikipedia of redlinks, and had various pages on my watchlist to access these pages, including Wikipedia:Requested articles/Social sciences for eg. My view was that as Wikipedia was a collaborative community, I could perhaps treat it like a bit of a production line, and I would do my bit and do it well - create new articles that should have obviously been created ages ago but none got around to it, create a basic article, and provide many sources for other editors. Needless to say I was met with sooo much backlash. I can't count the number of articles which were nominated for speedy deletion a few hours into their creation. Articles included: Betograve, Bimoment, Cultural probe, Driving etiquette, Intellectual Darwinism, Turn in one's grave, and What's done is done. [There were a few misses in there as well, but on the whole, my articles were worthy of being encyclopedia-ised]. What started out as a simple request to turn speedy deletes into AFD's to get the wider communities opinions [the consensus almost always being keep at AFD], turned into mild frustration, and eventually turned into me giving a plea on my userpage - which then turned into a bit of an argument as other users took my comments as being offensive or something.... My basic issue was that I thought that AFD's were about us deciding if the debated article has potential for being an encyclopedic article, REGARDLESS of it's current situation. Others did not see it my way, and found my edits to be....... how should i say it....... disruptive. There no room on Wikipedia for a first draft anymore... everything has to be perfect as soon as it's on the main space. That's why we're driving everyone away. The spirit of Wikipedia is gone. The community coming together to work of this monster project has become this bureaucratic condescending elite, which is very confronting for newbies. Also, people on Wikipedia tend to have a "do it yourself" attitude. On the whole, people are not willing to help others out with articles. Because there are just so many out there, the view is like: well if you're not going to make it perfect now, your article is never going to be touched again so its gonna stay like that - an unfinished flawed piece forever. For now, as I have just started my first year of uni, I have stopped creating new articles, but I may start to do it again. It would be nice to know that I, and many others do not have to worry about their articles on notable topics being mauled to pieces before even been given a chance. [In the AFD for Driving etiquette, user Peterkingiron said: "I regard the practice of some admins deleting articles no sooner than the first stub has been created as reprehensible...I had this done to me some years ago."] --Coin945 (talk) 18:24, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Addendum: Yes, there were other factors as well such as a few spelling mistakes, maybe forgetting to add a few to categories, stuff like that too.... but again, that doesn't mean that the concept of the article doesn't have any merit....--Coin945 (talk) 18:27, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
I want to address one aspect of speedy deletion, which is copyright violation. I have some familiarity with how Harvard handles cases of student plagiarism and I think it has some significant relevance to this issue. Like Wikipedia, Harvard takes plagiarism very seriously - students who are convicted by an administrative board can be required to withdraw from college for a year, during which time they can't live in Cambridge and have to get a real job (not at their parent's company). If they are readmitted, any letter of recommendation that a Harvard instructor sends out for the student will have to mention that this student was convicted of plagiarism. But at the same time, Harvard also realizes that even its very, very bright students aren't necessarily going to come into the school understanding the nuances of sourcing. This is especially true of international students (particularly from Asian countries) where the mores and standards related to plagiarism are very different. So every Harvard freshmen has to take an expository writing course that spends considerable time dealing with plagiarism and proper sourcing, and Harvard has developed a number of resources, such as the Harvard Guide to Using Sources[11]. The point here, is that even if Harvard doesn't tolerate plagiarism, they also realize that they need to give students the tools to understand how to do the right thing. This is where Wikipedia fails. We pretty much assume that editors are either coming in knowing how to source appropriately or that they are going to pick up these skills on their own. There are some essays, like Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing that are helpful, but there's also a ton of policy that is very dense and doesn't really approach the subject from the standpoint of guiding editors to becoming better writers in this regard. For instance, a discussion of public domain isn't really relevant if a user is plagiarizing because we would only accept public domain material if it conforms to the general style and tone of Wikipedia - if its promotional, putting it in the public domain doesn't make it useful to us. What's really needed here is something along the lines of what Harvard's writing program offers: an opportunity for an editor who has run afoul of the copyright policies to work, either individually or in a class, with a more experienced editor who can help answer some questions about what sources are best, how to effectively summarize and describe sources, how to cite sources, etc. If there's an opportunity to say, look we can't accept your first contribution, but would you be willing to participate in a course that can help you develop the skills that you need to become a good editor, than we can convert copyright violators into good contributors. This doesn't really apply to people who are just looking to promote themselves or their company, but my sense is that there are definitely editors, particularly outside the West, who have a genuine desire to expand the encyclopedia but who don't have the skills they need - and our current methods really aren't doing anything other than making these users learn by trial and error.GabrielF (talk) 18:50, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
I see that User:Dengero suggested the original poster develop the article as a draft more before putting it in mainspace. More time before acting would be good, but more to the point, why don't people move such articles to the creator's userspace with an explanatory note, rather than posting speedy deletion requests that have to be acted on by administrators for the purpose of hiding the revision history from view? Deletion is unnecessary and counterproductive when an article is merely unfinished. Wnt (talk) 19:24, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely. One has to wonder why so many (including Jimmy Wales) are so opposed to doing that. They generally throw up a strawman argument that if one does that for articles with clear potential, one has to do that for all articles. Very odd. All I see is a sadistic enjoyment of deleting an article for which they (usually correctly) assume the creator has no backup. They do the same thing when they claim to "merge" articles, but actually delete the article and all its history. It's more about being territorial and discouraging competition than trying to improve the encyclopedia. Until that's recognized, Wikipedia will continue to see this sort of vandalism (and vandalism it is) continue. 99.50.185.13 (talk) 19:46, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Come to think of it, it resembles nothing so much as someone kicking over a child's sand castle at the beach, just to laugh at the kid crying over all his wasted effort. Except here we're treated to Admins sanctimoniously lecturing the kid, as if it were all his fault, while they pretend to bemoan the lack of newcomers and "civility". 99.50.185.13 (talk) 22:57, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I certainly wouldn't of tagged for deletion clearly needed work however the advice of creating articles in userspace or not saving but previewing until ready would be good advice. It wasn't ready yet. Would moving things not cause more trouble in some cases. New page patrol is being replaced with WP:New Page Triage which hopefully will solve some of the problems. Although there has to be realisation that there is work on both parts to be done articles that clearly aren't ready and missing essential things shouldn't be created maybe there needs to be a greater explanation of how to create an article when you try to especially the first time and guidance on what to do if it isn't.Edinburgh Wanderer 19:35, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Article wizard.—Wavelength (talk) 20:27, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Im well aware of the Article Wizard but clearly by the rate of articles an NPP which are in a terrible state a lot of new users don't use it or read the text that would prompt them to use it. You cant have it both ways NPP does a lot of good work catching non coherent articles personal attacks and copyright infringement articles as well as clearly non notable articles so its no surprise that some articles may be inappropriately tagged for CSD like this one but hopefully a an admin would look at it and see that before deleting. But at the same time people need to see it from both sides users shouldn't be creating articles that are in bad shape like that there needs to be an improvement from both sides. New page triage will help from the NPP side but what can be done about user creating articles that lets face it are awful and then making a big enough noise about how bad the new page patrollers are. Good faith needs to be on both sides.Edinburgh Wanderer 23:45, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
In no way do I want to excuse people who are creating a mess doing NPP, but a bit of perspective from our side of things may help. It takes a lot of effort to properly patrol pages, and one can get exceedingly tired of malformed stubs saying "Malhoo is town in Pakistan (insert puffery here)" or "Mr. X was a settler" with no other context. No, those shouldn't be speedily deleted, but it's extremely trying to continuously clean up after people. To paraphrase from a great book, there is nothing more painful than the sight of someone who can't write an article insisting on doing so anyways. With the two articles I created from scratch, Noh Poe and Inau, I made sure they were completely set before they went live (Noh Poe I started cold, Inau I worked on in my userspace for a while) so I wouldn't burden NPPers. Again, I don't like when things like what Mugginsx described above happen, but I think it would really help if people's responses were more like DGG's above and less "those horrible baby-mutilating deletionist New Page Patrollers!!!!". Just as newbies are humans, so we NPPers are as well. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 23:26, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
The solution I think is to strongly steer all new articles through the Articles for creation process. If the WMF won't let us technically disable direct creation of articles by new users (WP:ACTRIAL), they should at least let us put a big scary notice when editing a new page that "You should not be creating a new page this way! Your article will probably be deleted if you do! You should go here instead." All policies and help pages like Wikipedia:Your first article should refer to AfC, not to direct creation. Dcoetzee 00:43, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Would only work if more people helped out at AfC. It'll become NPP v2 otherwise. sonia♫ 01:17, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
What Sonia says. Yes, it's much less stressful to review at AfC, knowing that it isn't live (although I guess that's part of the appeal of NPP) and any mistakes can be easily rectified, but it's also slightly harder to learn and do properly (*grins* not that NPP is easy to do properly...): manually patrolling a page can be as easy as clicking the link at the bottom; reviewing an AfC submission requires a pretty good knowledge of template parameters and the relevant decline reasons. Much less glamorous, hence the difference in number of editors willing to one versus the other. Nolelover Talk·Contribs 02:19, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
There are at least three differences with AfC: 1. you can afford to leave some articles unreviewed for a period of weeks to months, and it does no damage to the encyclopedia, only frustrates a single user. Because of that there ought to be far less of a sense of urgency. 2. Articles that aren't ready for submission can be freely ignored - whereas NPP is prone to premature review of incomplete works. 3. articles don't get deleted at AfC, only rejected (except for copyvio), so there's a lot less "bite" even in the worst case where it's understaffed and reviews are done too quickly. In short, I think even if AfC faced overwhelming load, it'd still be far better than NPP. Dcoetzee 06:37, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Nudge

Thank you for your concern and help about the state of those articles. The situation has improved very slightly as a result. Please do clearly make it known that you would like some appropriate work on them as there still are several serious problems. Perhaps at an appropriate adminstrator's noticeboard you could recruit an appropriate trusted person to "get it right". Chrisrus (talk) 14:57, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Hablas Espanol? Por favor compare el continido de el articulo http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/NXIVM en la Wikipedia Espanol con el contenido del los WP:RSes que esta usando. Also note the article about him there, and the same disconnect with it's WP:RSes.
These are big powerful people and I'm just some guy who spends way too much time on Wikipedia and lives just down the road a bit from him so I'll not be editing these, but it might be very important that these articles be WP:good because shudder to think what problems that could avoid for innocent people.
There some new videos in my local paper, why not watch a couple? http://www.timesunion.com/search/?action=search&searchindex=property&query=nxivm&sort=date&channel=home&period=%2A&subaction=put&facet=itemtype&value=video&caption=Video&keepFacet=1
I'm not asking for any direct involvement from you. But in your position can easily WP:LEAD with just a simple plea at the appropriate forum, the BLP project or some such for good Wikipedians with a certain kind of background to work on those articles here in English and in Spanish, or just tell someone it's what you want. Please. Chrisrus (talk) 23:00, 14 March 2012 (UTC)


Possible unofficial wikipedia religion/philosophy blog

I think that the idea would fly, but I would welcome your input in any event. At Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Religion#Activity, I have proposed as a possible incentive in an article improvement "contest" the opportunity to write an article in an offsite page, which might then be used as an external link in some articles here. I know that there are any number of potential problems with doing so, but think that if properly done it might also stimulate article development and allow some of our better informed editors to maybe write some pieces with information which might be useful to newcomers to a topic, but might not necessarily be appropriate for encyclopedia articles. Anyway, if you or the lurkers here want to comment about the idea, including ways to ensure that it doesn't descend into uselessness, I would welcome any input any of you might have. John Carter (talk) 21:33, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

People are free to write what they like off-wiki, and they do, in blogs and such. However blogs are not considered reliable sources for the most part, WP:SPS, so encouraging this seems like a very bad idea--Jac16888 Talk 16:19, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I thought WP:ELMAYBE to be the more appropriate link. Also, I note that at no time did I think that such external links would necessarily be self-published. Personally, I was thinking more of some sort of a situation where "reviewers" of some sort went over the material in advance to ensure that there actually was significant information not found in a main encyclopedic article. John Carter (talk) 20:14, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Presumably you mean point 4: "Sites that fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources.", but how would they be knowledgeable? It seems this would just turn into a way for people to promote their fringe theories, if the articles are written offsite then we have no control over them--Jac16888 Talk 20:23, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Actually, with the "reviewers" I mentioned above, I think we would have control over them. And, yes, I acknowledge the possibility that there might be some attempts to promote fringe theories, but I think "reviewers" might be able to stop that, and if such a system were instituted, possibly by having elected "reviewers" who choose and edit the material directly added to the pages, I think that concern might be able to be addressed. But if there were procedures instituted for what is directly added by the "writers" of pages, which I would expect, I think most of those concerns could be met. And, yeah, I assume most people who might want to write an article like "Why I am a (fill in the blank)" probably actually are what they say, and I think most people, including "reviewers" might be able to fairly easily note any obvious strangeness. John Carter (talk) 20:32, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
So just so I'm clear on this. You think that people should go offsite, and write a page about one of our article subjects. presumably this will be mostly opinion and [[WP:OR|original research], since if it was referenced they could just put it in an article. You then think that there should be a group of reviewers that would then say whether or not they think it should be linked to from the article it is about, based on some arbitrary standards, presumably operating under the idea that it should agree with what the article says, but at the same time has content not included in the article because we consider it not appropriate? Why exactly is this a good idea?--Jac16888 Talk 22:29, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with original research - in fact Asimov wrote in his Foundation series a nice piece about a "scientist" who did not do any research, just reciting what he had read somewhere. On WP we require something to be published first and then we can use it here. Interestingly the WMF is aware of the potential loss of information because of that and has been looking at projects in the third world to record information that can later be quoted in our articles. Agathoclea (talk) 22:38, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Corporate Representatives paid editing on Wikipedia

I'm not sure if you are aware, but the Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) has had some heated editing, and previously some discussion on the talk page (quote, "Robert Lawton: Those who follow the rules don't get noticed. 3 February at 14:31 · 5 Likes: Jeff Taylor, New Media Strategies — Adam Harris Berkowitz, NYU — Fred Bauder, Crestone, Colorado [who should know better] — Kris Gallagher, Northwestern University — John Cass [one of the admins of the group], Boston, Massachusetts") as well as on my own talk page (quote "you'll need to change Jimbo's mind and also get WP:COI changed", Silver Seren, founder of WP:CO-OP, CTRL+F on the page)

The article paints the group in an overwhelmingly positive light with no mention of that goal, using, surprise surprise, a lot of quotes from similar and sometimes even the same PR outlets involved in running the group.

It has been directly edited by Public Relations advocates such as and employees to try influence Wikipedia policy[12], and WP:PAIDWATCH has come under attack by the same employees[13] now who are trying to shut down the independent watchdog project of WP:PAIDWATCH (it used to be to directly discourage all WP:COI editing, now it exists just to try monitor the activities of corporate representatives to ensure they stay within the WP:COI policy rather than advocating its change to better suit Corporate Representatives, as the founders of WP:CO-OP have) and the founder has been threatened with being blocked by an administrator[14] for mentioning that those attempting to get the project deleted are also corporate representatives, with which direct attempts to influence policy seems to be in violation of WP:COI?

Since other than WP:PAIDWATCH you are pretty much the only person associated with Wikipedia or WMF that seems to be actually standing up against this kind of activity, your input could be a good thing at this point as it looks like the corporate representatives have some influential individuals on their side to help mould policy to better suit them as they wish it... They appear to be attempting to create a chilling effect on discussion with that threat against Herostratus (and I was also targeted for harassment previously after my posts on the Corporate Representatives page and PAIDWATCH, after I added Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/Websense,_Inc. to the PAIDWATCH wikiproject at 9:23[15], "bob rayner" arrived at 9:58[16] along with "Bilby" at 11:13[17] to talk:Websense to defend the companies' paid PR sockpuppeting — both whom are not members of wp:PAIDWATCH, but apparently founding members (the 5th and 7th respectively) of the previously mentioned Wikiproject working with the Corporate Representatives PR group, which most of them - as stated on the group itself (as you've probably seen) - are also members of themselves. After I edited in your reply to the group, speaking as the public representative for Wikipedia, I found that the very next edit after being reverted was bringing up a completely unrelated argument elsewhere as "ammunition" to get me, as an "enemy" of the group, blocked)

I'm not going to get involved in an argument with any of the people since like Herostratus, I've been warned that if I do I could be blocked too - so yeah, I thought you should know, and this should be public and transparent. --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 09:53, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

It's a facebook group. It should be speedy deleted (CSD A7) as non-notable. Since when are Facebook groups without major media coverage notable in their own right?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:14, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
That was an utterly inappropriate speedy deletion, done with no tagging, prior notifications of the author, or anything. If you can't see a single claim to significance within the article itself, I would advise you to read it. There are professional associations signed up to participate, noted columnists and writers: it's not "90,000 STRONG FOR JUSTIN BIEBER". If you want to AfD it, fine. If you think it should be CSDd, on the other hand, you need to reread deletion policy. Ironholds (talk) 10:26, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think you have made a serious mistake. A7 should be used when there is no credible indication of notability--it doesn't even consider whether there are sufficient sources to back the claims up. This subject had coverage in Forbes. Even someone considers it non-notable, it should be raised at AfD, not deleted through CSD A7. wctaiwan (talk) 10:28, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Not only a serious mistake to speedy it as A7, but also a clear case of WP:INVOLVED, deleting an article that partially deals with you. Fram (talk) 10:45, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I used 'TW' to do what I thought was tag it for speedy deletion. It was deleted before I realized it. I think thought, ah, well, it's 100% the right decision to speedy delete it as it's clearly something to be deleted, and it's easy enough for it to be listed at AfD. Fram, relax, not everything is a crisis.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:54, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
No need to get patronizing when you are the one that created a mess and (again) ignored our basic admin policies. I am quite relaxed and don't consider this a crisis, I just posted twice on this page, not on AN or ANI or ARBCOM or whatever page would be advisable if I truly believed this to be a crisis. Your decision was 100% the wrong decision, it shouldn't have been speedy deleted, and it should never have been done by you. Your complete lack of realisation (or your denial) of where you went wrong here is worrying (but, sadly, not surprising, considering that your previous deletion also was deemed to be disruptive and out of process). While your deletions are few and far between, it would be better if you just stopped doing them completely. Fram (talk) 09:14, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

We need to fight to the end to do everything possible to keep paid corporate hacks off this website...--MONGO 11:04, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

As you well know, editors are responsible for the automated tools they wield. State of mind doesn't enter into it, effect of the tools does. This NEVER should have been tagged for Speedy (there is a source showing in the footnotes from Forbes magazine in which you yourself are pictured!) — even an attempt at PROD would have been rapidly declined. It is patently obvious that this should have been taken to AfD... And more: owing to your personal position as "public face" of Wikipedia, it was extremely impolitic for you to start the AfD yourself, in my opinion. Certainly you could have availed yourself of a proxy to initiate the action on your behalf. No good will come from this situation for The Project, that's for sure. Whether the page is Kept now or userfied until the inevitable sources appear is pretty much irrelevant — the apparent abuse of Administrative tools here should be a BIG issue. Carrite (talk) 18:16, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
The accidental deletion with "TW" does also not wash, as the timing of the earlier deletions of various redirects/talkpages as G8 before the actual page was deleted show a clear plan to delete. Agathoclea (talk) 10:25, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
That's not really true, as far as I can tell the three redirects and the main article were all deleted in one go using Twinkle. We can't judge whether it was accidental or not, but it is completely besides the point: he realised it was deleted, and did not reverse his action, making it a deliberate deletion, not a simple mistake. Fram (talk) 10:46, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Good point. I see a lot of self-justification and not a lot of self-criticism here, which is discouraging. I've tried to translate Jimmy Wales' role to the interested non-Wikipedians at CREWE as that of a king of a constitutional monarchy. Every once in a while the king lapses back into divine right sorts of behavior. We need a little more Juan Carlos, please. Carrite (talk) 19:25, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement. FYI; a needed discussion. Alarbus (talk) 11:41, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm fine with that; it is acceptable as an AfD candidate. Jimmy, I note from your contribution to that AfD that you still think the article should be deleted. This is fine. What is not fine is how you treated Ocaasi, one of our best contributors and someone who does a heck of a lot of work simplifying our help documentation and policy pages. He is a good editor, and he is the sort of editor we need: and you stepped in, deleted his article without any kind of proper nomination or notification in advance, and then basically said "I've deleted it. Done." Which, coming from The Almighty Godking Himself, is a pretty chilling thing to hear. New users, who you think are treated poorly and I think are treated poorly, would have been spoken to more often by more users with more opportunities to fix the situation under current guidelines and cultural standards than this fantastic editor was by the founder of Wikipedia. Consider apologising. Ironholds (talk) 15:07, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
      • It looks though as if he considers the trout he received for this as much worse than the actual incorrect and clearly involved speedy deletion he did, considering that he removed the trout with the edit summary "such behavior should be frowned upon always"... Fram (talk) 15:15, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
        • Seems to me that Jimbo is unaware of this popular IRC (and now wiki) custom. Either that or he's no fan of Monty Python. -- œ 11:33, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
          • User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 79#Just wondering... Fram (talk) 11:43, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
            • That still doesn't explain why he'd consider a light-hearted (and deserving) trout "behavior [that] should be frowned upon always". I'm wondering if Jimbo just got the wrong impression here. -- œ 11:49, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
        • Ironholds, thanks for the kind words. No apologies necessary, however; I think the article is in the right place now at AfD, where debate seems to be splitting along classic lines. I do disagree with Mistress Selina Kyle's initial post that the CREWE article paints the group in a positive light, or any light at all for that matter. Jimbo, I'm happy to discuss the article, but I've said most of what I can on the AfD page: the sources are not trivial, although the topic may seem to be. Ocaasi t | c 15:27, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
          • I've participated in CREWE though not as a PR person or a paid editor, since I am neither. I've tried there to explain to PR people the point of view of a moderately experienced editor committed to Wikipedia and the neutral point of view. I try to shed light on our internal workings. I am concerned about conflict of interest but also accept that our coverage of corporations (and many other topic areas) needs improvement. Perhaps I am not neutral myself on the subject of CREWE, so I think that I will abstain from the AfD debate. That disclosure being made, it seems to me that you may have run afoul of WP:INVOLVED, Jimbo, by your speedy deletion. You have posted to the CREWE Facebook group (as is your right and I'm glad you did) and the group has discussed your Wikipedia role in depth. It seems to me that makes you "involved". I invite you to elaborate on why you believed it right to take this action, and remain open to your explanation. I would not object to any uninvolved administrator taking such an action but have my own doubts about your action here. Respectfully. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:20, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

In the medicine "not having a COI" is not equivalent to "listing your conflicts of interest". It is a huge issue in the medical literature with excellent evidence that COI even if listed has a dramatic effect on the conclusions made based on the data provided. We need to prevent as much as possible COI here. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:46, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

i think this is a telling comment by User:Ocaasi [18]: "I suppose I get a little more leeway as a long-time non-COI editor.". El duderino (talk) 13:08, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Biased editing is not the same thing as a tainted experiment. A biased article with a promotional tone can be edited to become unbiased and neutral in tone. We all have our subtle biases we bring to the table, and a COI editor whose only biases are subconscious does not require as much editing to repair their work. Dcoetzee 03:34, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Go Daddy and MarkMonitor

I found links to these reports at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Suggestions#News items, March 11, 2011 (permanent link here).

The reports say that the domain name registrar of the Wikimedia Foundation has changed from Go Daddy to MarkMonitor.
Wavelength (talk) 16:46, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

  • What's the problem, exactly? Ironholds (talk) 17:07, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I did not intend to imply a problem; the completed transition probably interests many Wikipedians.
Wavelength (talk) 19:03, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I addressed my comments to Jimbo Wales, having in mind that he might not have been aware of those particular reports, and also having in mind that watchers of this talk page likewise might not have been aware of those reports.
Wavelength (talk) 05:49, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
You're a great resource Wavelength. Thanks for the helpful links you provide. -- œ 11:38, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

CREWE

That move was... interesting. I think a regular ol' AfD might have been more effective. But I support the move in principle. Special interests are doing their damnedest to take over Wikipedia. Even the pool of admins is changing fairly rapidly in ways that do not bode well. I appreciate your willingness to not simply shut up and let it happen. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:18, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

It was a bad move, which will make interesting press coverage and with that more coverage for CREWE therefore solidifying notablility. It will also effect how future actions outside of policy have will be viewed by the community. Agathoclea (talk) 21:11, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
If special interests are trying to take over Wikipedia, shouldn't we be able to read about that without having to resort to Google Knol or something? Wnt (talk) 01:37, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be an article about what amounts to an off-site wikiproject. Moving the article to "Wikipedia:" namespace is an option that seems to have some support. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 05:38, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Notability requires more than recent news: Fortunately, we have wp:NOTNEWS, so even a highly reported topic does not get a separate article (such as: Ebay has piece of toast partially eaten by celebrity). Meanwhile, we even had attempted deletion with the WP:Articles_for_deletion/Costa_Concordia_disaster, so deletions are still sought, although that subarticle for the Costa Concordia was saved by wp:SNOW-Keep within only 10 hours. Even truly notable topics get their articles deleted, so I am not worried in this case. -Wikid77 (talk) 01:33, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
"NOTNEWS" is almost always misinterpreted in AfD discussions. What it actually says is "breaking news should not be emphasized or otherwise treated differently from other information". What it doesn't say is that reliable sources don't count because they're recent. Wnt (talk) 04:03, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
In this case, we have nothing more than tangential mention in minor publications. The recentism also counts against the article, because this facebook group is not likely to be covered in the press or anywhere else ever again.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:45, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to your involvement now that's not very likely. -- œ 11:40, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I am asking the people at CREWE to move to a Wikiproject. An external facebook group is not a very useful tool for making progress at Wikipedia. It doesn't matter what I do - the Facebook page is not encyclopedic and never will be.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:06, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── We have Wikipedia:WikiProject Cooperation which those on the Facebook page could direct effort to. I'm not sure how many of those in the Facebook group have Wikipedia accounts, but that, in itself, would be a start to responsible involvement. User:Fred Bauder Talk 19:01, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Current discussion at CREWE seems to be to use WikiProject Cooperation for what it is useful for, but retain the FB group as a recruitment/chat venue. they don't seem to be mutually incompatible. PR people who might be interested in how they can interface with WP without getting blocked are more likely to look for something like that on Facebook, populated by PR people and their experiences with WP, than (assuming they even know what a WikiProject is or have an account yet at all) to join a project here likely stacked with anti-PR people. Much of what the FB group is currently being used for (general discussion, à la any random webboard, about how PR and WP interact), wouldn't be appropriate on a WikiProject talk page anyway, per WP:NOT#FORUM, WP:NOT#SOAPBOX and WP:NOT#WEBHOST. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:29, 14 March 2012 (UTC)


Proposed update for www.wikimedia.org content

Hi! Please read this proposal on Meta-wiki (about content of www.wikimedia.org portal). Your participation in the discussion would be very important because this portal is a "face" of Wikimedia World. Thanks before ;)--Kaganer (talk) 00:12, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

I am correcting the spelling from “Propsed” to “Proposed” in the section heading and in the link, in harmony with WP:TPOC, points 12 and 8 respectively.
Wavelength (talk) 02:24, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks ;) You also may comment this If you have an interest. --Kaganer (talk) 10:09, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

off Topic

Hi from Bangkok able Tips wide Muay Thai — Preceding unsigned comment added by 31.214.133.11 (talk) 05:38, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Response to NYT piece on SOPA

I'm sure you've seen the Cary Sherman piece in the NYT. I was discussing it on Slashdot and someone suggested you ought to write a quick response to the NYT piece, specifically the implicit charge that Wikipedians were 'misled' over SOPA/PIPA. As the commenter says on Slashdot, they'd probably publish it. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:18, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, as that piece is nearly a month old now, it seems unnecessary to respond to it directly.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:21, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
The misrepresentation in that piece is annoying. We didn't protest for our right to "sell stolen goods" - though copyright is not a workable system in the digital age, and that metaphor should be rejected. We protested for our right to be able to say that there are people selling stolen goods somewhere in plain sight of the police, without being prosecuted in their place. Wnt (talk) 01:15, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
"We did not protest for our license to pirate copyrighted texts". Denial is not just a river in Egypt.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 14:09, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Your post indicates the precise problem -- that is your assertion that copyright is not a workable system in the digital age. I suggest that such is not a quote which one would like the NYT to pick up on, and is absolutely one which Jimbo would be extraordinarily ill-advised to use as an arguemnt in any venue. Wikipedia has far too many copyvios (inder the guise of "fair use" such as in Charles Lindbergh where one editor asserts that "fair use" trumps "copyright" in any case. ("Always there was some new experience, always something interesting going on to make the time spent at Brooks and Kelly one of the banner years in a pilot's life. The training is difficult and rigid but there is none better. A cadet must be willing to forget all other interest in life when he enters the Texas flying schools and he must enter with the intention of devoting every effort and all of the energy during the next 12 months towards a single goal. But when he receives the wings at Kelly a year later he has the satisfaction of knowing that he has graduated from one of the world's finest flying schools." [24] "WE" (p. 125) used as a caption for a picture of the book cover). Cheers. Collect (talk) 14:00, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not the Wikipedia spokesman - I'm sure Jimbo will be more diplomatic, but I have no patience to pretend that copyright can be salvaged in the long term. It can't. Not unless every single computer drive in the cosmos is under the constant and eternal vigilance of the Copyright Police, unhindered by encryption, anonymity, or the risk that someone other than the registered owner is able to pick it up and read something on it. We need to come up with a new way to reward authors that is not infinitely inefficient. I've suggested ideas about that here before. In the meanwhile, I don't think someone who has a search engine or an encyclopedia should have to deal with a constant stream of court orders telling him not to say what people are talking about on the Web. Even by the analogy of theft, it's not the responsibility of the guy owning a bar to stop every customer from saying to the others that there's some guy down by the docks selling stolen jewelry who the police already know about and can't stop themselves. And that's what SOPA was going to force the non-profit organization owning Wikipedia to do - to comply with court orders by hiding edits by individual writers that talk about where some material is available online at sites which are not prosecuted and might not even be illegal according to their local sovereign national authorities. It was censorship, pure and simple, even if you don't count copyright as censorship. Wnt (talk) 17:04, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
The kickback is going to be that for $500,000 wikipedia sided with those profiting from the sale of counterfeit drugs. John lilburne (talk) 19:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
What are you talking about? $500,000 what? You just made that lie up out of thin air.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:48, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that there is a follow the money trail which is raises speculation. A Google connection over SOPA was never going to be a good idea. John lilburne (talk) 21:30, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Jimbo - this is bull. Google founder Sergey Brin did donate $500,000 to Wikipedia, and for that, all Wikipedians should be thankful. But it doesn't mean we've been paid to oppose SOPA, because we darn well opposed that on our own! The WMF didn't make us vote to protest it! Even if you want to make some vague argument about exploitation, that we should reject Google's money out of some appearance it's a quid pro quo, there's still a huge hole in your logic -- because by contrast to the moral support we gave them on this one issue, which is of relatively low economic impact on their company, we have given them good high quality search results for practically any topic you type into their search interface. Without Wikipedia to provide high-ranking quality answers, a Google search would be much less valuable, and so their ads and stock would be much less valuable as well. And that's surely what Sergey Brin was "paying" us for with his generous gift. Wnt (talk) 17:35, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, Wnt, although you are right that the $500k had nothing to do with SOPA, you're wrong about Sergei "paying" for anything. I doubt if he even thinks in that way. It's really simple, actually. Sergei is really rich, and he really likes Wikipedia. He's worth, according to sources, something like $15-18 billion, depending on how Google stock is doing. It's much appreciated and it is sad that people always have to look for some kind of made-up motive for a gift like that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:51, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, I had no idea he got that rich... giving results away for free. The Dao must be strong in him! I guess he wouldn't think that much about $500,000 measly dollars. ;) Wnt (talk) 01:47, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Yeah $500K is change wrt $500 million. John lilburne (talk) 12:04, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
  • FIXED as essay WP:Overquoting: Well, at least I have created a draft essay, WP:Overquoting, to explain problems of quoting sections which are too long. That essay should help reduce borderline copyright infringement, where editors seem obsessed to parrot massive tracts of text into articles. The problem might be an issue of fandom, or perhaps some think that quoting from an expert might be viewed as "more scholarly" or have weighty impact to force ideas into an article. I hope other editors will feel free to expand that essay WP:OVERQUOTE (or any others) with better ideas to reduce the problem. -Wikid77 18:13, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
    • I already added Wikipedia:Quotation#Copyrighted_material_and_fair_use long ago. Dcoetzee 23:36, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
        • That particular post, however, implies that the limit is generally over 400 words (the claim is that it is an "extreme example" to find that 400 words is a copyright violation). I find such a statement to be a bit improper for Wikipedia, as Wikipedia can be used commercially, and in one commercial copyright case a single sentence was found to be a copyright infringement. Collect (talk) 13:39, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Cite? If the courts have seriously started copyrighting sentences, we don't need another policy, we need another country. Wnt (talk) 22:11, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Even just phrases -- see [19] Copyright Protection for Short Phrases. Collect (talk) 23:03, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
People who want a "word limit" before copying becomes copyvio are not going to find one. It's extremely dependent on context. The point of the "400 word" citation was to point out that copying a very small portion of a work (<1%) could still be a copyvio. Please feel free to expand Wikipedia:Quotation#Copyrighted_material_and_fair_use with citations to other relevant case law. Dcoetzee 23:23, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
One defining line is whether the infringement in any way affects the value of the work to the copyright holder. Best practice on Wikipedia is to use nothing which is not of specific value to the article in which the quote is used, and where other wording would not be of use to the article. My response, moreover, was addressed to an editor who seemed predisposed to allow all "fair use" despite this best practice. Collect (talk) 00:22, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Well... copyright is a fine system for the modern age as long as we as a society update it from time to time to keep pace with technology. It would be politically risky for Jimbo or anyone representing an important content organization to argue that the law needs to be changed to facilitate their mission, and in fact the law is just fine as it is. DMCA is part of copyright law, and it gives Wikipedia and other user-submitted content sites the room they need. Sure, Wikipedia hosts a fair amount of copyright infringement, and it is not illegal under the law for Wikipedia to do so. We have our community methods for catching and getting rid of it, and as a backstop there's the notice and takedown provision under DMCA. The essay seems like a good start, but there's no word limit for copyright infringement. AFAIK the 10 words, 10%, and 30 seconds guidelines are completely arbitrary - if anyone knows of a legal basis that would be useful. Anyway, WP:QUOTE has a lot of good stuff, it's well thought out. Although we'd do well to keep a wide margin around copyright infringement and avoid legal grey areas, and overly long quotes are unencyclopedic to boot, I wouldn't be so sure that very long quotations is a copyright violation in the first place. In this order[20] a US district court recently ruled that somebody posting an entire news article to a comment page, with attribution, was protected by fair use. That's on appeal to the 9th circuit, although it's not clear that a ruling will come out. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:35, 5 March 2012 (UTC)


hey new to board

Hey i am sam from pakistan i am new to this board hope i will particapte alot here sorry for bad english . :) Peace — Preceding unsigned comment added by 31.214.169.123 (talk) 12:16, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Hello! If you need help with anything, feel free to ask on my talk page. InverseHypercube (talk) 06:16, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Losing an editor on Human rights

User Khazar left Wikipedia 70 DYK facts about people who fight for Human rights. I turn there when I think I have "problems" because they seem smaller in comparison. He left the project, writing "I don't take the accusation as lightly as you do. I regularly engage with and learn from people who have concerns about my editing. But that editor didn't talk to me about close paraphrasing, but started posting on article pages, user pages, and project pages that my Wikipedia work consisted entirely of "clear as daylight" serial plagiarism." I am sure that the well intended quest for less close paraphrasing could be pursued with more respect for every editor as a person. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:29, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Perhaps get new username per WP:Clean_start: For users who are convinced that the insults, or inuendos, are ruining their reputation, please consider following the process of WP:Clean_start, to close the old username account and start a new username. It might also be a good time to leave on a 1-month wikibreak, while preparing to initiate the new-username process. Many people struggle on the verge of copyright infringement (from close paraphrasing) when trying to convey free information from protected sources, which, ironically, is the reason for Wikipedia to exist. However, when a person eventually "crosses the line" (or is thought to have done improper copying) as a stigma to reputation, then perhaps consider closing the username account, and try a wp:Clean_start. Always remember, many of us on Wikipedia struggle with trying to avoid copyright infringement, when most of the text or pictures displayed by search-engine lookup are being shown from copyrighted sources. The specifics of copyright laws are tedious, and safe-harbor provisions, misapplied, might mislead editors into copying too much material from copyrighted sources. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:46, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
In general a good idea, but this user seems to have taken the treatment so much to his heart that he doesn't want to return. (This was his second attempt, more on my talk, look for Khazar 2011.) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:35, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Also, more generally, if someone is accused unjustified, should he do something about it? Not the one who accused? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:48, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Maybe form a WP:WikiProject_Investigation: The highest level of judgment is typically WP:ArbCom, but they are known to avoid many cases due to being too busy with other issues. I am wondering if there should be a new WP:WikiProject_Investigation (or similar name) to provide indepth analysis of user actions, with a rigorous investigation, including questions to involved users. Then have a rendered "verdict" with right of appeal, and warn the other involved users when their actions, shown by the evidence, were out-of-line with proper behavior. A misjudged user could be given a banner of clearance, perhaps to even recommend that admins clear some sanctions leveled against the user. By having such a WikiProject, then more fair decisions could be suggested, with the tedious investigations done by concerned users, rather than tasked to busy admins. Perhaps, some of the paralegal-type editors might really enjoy that type of WikiProject, and learn the limitations of policies versus legal proceedings, to spend the time to render indepth judgments about user disagreements. Part of the problem with admin-based judgments has been that POV-pushing is often relative to expert knowledge in a subject, and only courts have the resources to retain subject-matter experts. However, most admins, due to limited time, just have to float along, hoping that any trickery is obvious to see, rather than only transparent to formally trained experts. A dedicated WikiProject could spend the needed time to establish levels of "common sense" plus "rules of evidence" about specialized subjects, to help detect inuendos or obvious finagling about technical topics. Otherwise, the "due process" needed to properly investigate user disagreements is often far beyond the level of current discussions. Fair decisions are fairly tedious. -Wikid77 (talk) 18:56, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I would like to do the opposite, not investigate a past, but set the tone for a future where the contributor who donates time and skill to this project is first of all treated as a human being, with decency and respect, and not some thing "serial plagiator". Materialscientist worded some recommendations for attitude (intended for DYK but applicable more generally) when Khazar left the first time, quote "Personal trust has been an important part of the system ... think of long-term goals, your reputation and the project in general". --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:54, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
The way editors are treated comes into the remit of the Civility policy. We're working on some improvements at the moment; it needs a spring-clean, brush-up, and clarification. All constructive input is more than welcome! Pesky (talk) 10:43, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
When new editors, with the potential to be productive, are met with reversions, somewhat nasty warnings by non-admins, and battlefield behavior, well, they do not come back. We don't know how much we are losing by that. Jimbo has indicated he is aware of the problem, but I don't see an obvious solution. I suspect the only thing that will cause change is some sort of tragedy and subsequent publicity. Some of the things that are said about other editors, including IPs, will not look nice in the morning paper. God forbid, obviously, but it's not a simple issue and I don't see obvious answers. When cleverness in insulting other people is admired, we may resemble The Dozens but are we really doing good?--Wehwalt (talk) 10:55, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, Gerda didn't know this yet, but I'm back at least part-time (as Khazar2, since I reset the Khazar e-mail and password to terminate the account). I apologize for having been a bit of a prima donna. Having your work called wholesale plagiarism is so serious in academia (I used to be an English prof) that it took me some time to understand that this is a more common, and less serious, occurrence on the wiki. (It also helps that I've now left academia to be a full-time dad, meaning I no longer have to worry about the longshot of wiki accusations having Tenure Committee Consequences.) Thanks to Gerda, Moonriddengirl, and everybody else who helped clear my name for their encouragement to re-engage. Khazar2 (talk) 21:50, 15 March 2012 (UTC)


Please, keep the bunny

The "soft bunny" of happiness and tranquility.

The hijacking of Wikipedia by groups is horrifying to us all.

Forgive me if I'm being presumptuous, but to you, this must be very personal. If I were in your shoes, it would be breaking my heart, and making me very angry too.

If this is what you're going through, I want to acknowledge your feelings. I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that you have the support of millions of us who are on your side. We will work together to protect our dear project. Best wishes, Anna Frodesiak (talk) 09:54, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Rare but difficult to stop: I'll leave space for Jimbo to respond, above, if he has time, but group-control of articles is a difficult problem, in some cases. Part of the problem is that questionable actions of users are typically investigated separately at WP:ANI (rather than as wp:TAGTEAM groups), and if a person is not named as the subject of an incident report, then often several statements of improper actions will go unanswered because that person is not specifically the focus of a separate incident report. A troublesome user can be overlooked due to the technicalities of how incidents are described at WP:ANI. Also, there have been cases at WP:ANI when a person reports someone else, but then the original person becomes the target of several marginal complaints, to totally lose focus on the original incident. In some cases, a person must try to defend against false allegations and inuendos for 3-5 solid days of attacks, because there are no "wiki-public defenders" who could be checking for true evidence ("due process"), while an accused person is at work, sleeping, or away for the weekend. Fortunately, the impact of groups who are POV-pushing is relatively rare, compared to the vast ocean of 3.8 million articles. Even in cases where extreme nitpicking and obstruction was maintained by group tag-teaming, the observers have noted how they had not seen anything that severe in years of work on WP. For that reason, I think that perhaps forming a new WP:WikiProject_Investigation, to carefully investigate for the, relatively rare, group tag-teaming, could be very effective to analyze and defuse any hijacking being done by groups on WP. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:08, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
(Bunnies are good, important first point...)
Well, there is wp:PAIDWATCH to keep a track of paid corruption (explained above on #Corporate_Representatives_paid_editing_on_Wikipedia), but it does have a blind spot in that some organised groups are not paid, and is never really going to be effective as the people with money are always going to have more person-hours available to put to work than people volunteering - just a war of attrition. Sites like Wikipedia Review, any watchdogs will not be able to fight the highest bidder in a few years as the technology improves, I am sure of it Face-sad.svg
The main problem you're getting though, is that this is not just a problem of Wikipedia, but the whole internet, the model itself is increasingly going to become more and more controlled by those who have the most money, persona management / identity management technology[21] is only going to grow cleverer and nastier... It may be a niche[22] thing now, but it's still happening on a wide scale now, which is why Wikipedia in its current form could probably be considered dangerous - because you literally have no way to tell who is working for who, or money trails like political campaign donations have to be for non-internet activities...
The technology, the capabilities, are growing, and being taken very seriously by corporations making investments in literally, attempting to take control of the internet/social media by force: [23][24][25]
The obvious weakness with current illegal astroturfing [26] at the moment is that there's always a good chance to get caught, due to someone having a crisis of conscience and blowing the whistle - but with just a few closely-monitored individuals using automated tools to replicate their work on a wide scale, under non-disclosure agreements and other threats, there's no need for any conspiracies, it's just the same model that more traditional style "psychological warfare" public relations/reputation management groups and private intelligence agencies already use on a daily basis to keep employees quiet about their activities, just put up to a whole different kind of scale by the hydra-like technology that means there's far less of a chance for leaks, and far less of a chance for them to "play their hand" and ever be detected.
That is my prediction, and even if I turn out to be right, I'm obviously not happy about making it because I am not sure how even if you did change Wikipedia hugely, if it can be stopped, if even any massive structural changes can stop this, once bot-assisted identities are able to get to the swaying point where interest groups could easily take control of whole swathes of Wikipedia, let alone their own articles, given that its a system of majority rules generally? That is the way things are going, that "industry" is growing and growing ... and will go on, unless some very bright ideas are came up with, I am not sure if there is anything that can be done to stop it. Unless you do more to tackle the problems of Wikipedia at their root rather than hoping that "the community will sort itself out", you're just going to see this get worse and worse, I wish I had more answers on how you could actually dig a way out of that deepening pit, but does anyone? --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 00:35, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
My response
  • Saying "...Rare but difficult to stop..." gives a ray of hope, doesn't it? Are you saying that only a tiny percentage of political and corporate articles are of interest to these groups? Violin and Albatross are safe, right?
  • This seems like honest people allowing baddies into a party with the plan of keeping an eye on them, fixing what they break, prosecuting them, booting them after they're caught, and keeping the door open for more.
  • Cheaper and safer is a guard at the door of this tiny percentage of articles. Editing is a privilege, right? So, VIP only. Guests to that party of articles need 10k edits in other areas or something like that. At least then we know who they are, and if they're paid, it will be expensive for them.
  • Keeping the door open results is a waste keystrokes on repair, investigations, other backroom stuff, etc. Plus, we get overwhelmed in the end, and lose control of quality, and Wikipedia itself.
  • I'm probably being naive, but shouldn't we be as defensive as they are offensive? I don't know. This isn't really my area. I prefer to make pie articles. :) Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:55, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Not just at the door but everywhere: To quote from Pogo (comic strip), "We have met the enemy and he is us" because the groups pushing article contents are all around, as long-term registered users and admins. Plus, the issue is not just corporate slanting. Instead, there have been groups who refused to allow text to note, "Hurricane Katrina travelled up the entire state of Mississippi" and refused, "Coastal towns in Mississippi flooded 32 feet (10 m) deep" while omitting the fact, "Downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter did not flood". In fact, the flood waters in Alabama (waves 23 ft or 7 m) were higher than most in New Orleans, but the waters receded the same day, rather than remain 3 ft (1 m) deep for weeks. In reality, casino barges in Biloxi floated onto the roof of 2-storey hotels, and buildings were gutted at the 3rd storey, with seawaves 40 feet (12 m) high. Think about the worst tsunami in recent times and multiply by 10x, but there were no touristy photos because it was raining wet sand and debris as the towns were submerged. Inland emergency command centers, at 30 feet (9 m) elevation in Mississippi, flooded 2 feet deep inside, and the flood pushed boats and refrigerators 6–12 miles (10–19 km) inland. However, some users did not want "Hurricane Katrina" to mention any of these facts in the intro. That slanting was not a problem of paid-editors as pushing a corporate spin. Hence, in general, consider POV-pushing to be a system-wide problem, but it happens in relatively few cases, so a WikiProject could investigate problems and re-balance the text. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:50/14:06, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Anna, you're not being naive, you're totally right that Wikipedia needs to defend itself - but if anything is going to done it needs to be big, because Wikipedia is currently helpless to organisations that are actually organised, the nature of the way the internet enables anonymity is a strength when writing about things that may endanger people, sure, but it's also its greatest weakness when people can then use run as many "persona" accounts as they want to manipulate the truth... Definitely read through the links I gave, it's all real... Sure, whilst its only in the hands of the government it is not so much of a problem — twitter.com/TomHarrisMP/status/90492249418371072, — but the Internet started off as military too, I am sure this technology will reach the corporate sector soon enough (and that google result I linked shows similar stuff already in wide use on Facebook and Twitter, where there is less scrutiny so bot-assisted human spammers do not need to be act human sophisticated)
There's no point saying "x edits" because persona management technology enables corporations to maintain accounts that on the surface seem like real people, for a long time - making it expensive won't solve anything, because that's the biggest issue really, that Wikipedia will become under the control with the people who have the most money, the best technology...
You're absolutely right though that the current state is:

This seems like honest people allowing baddies into a party with the plan of keeping an eye on them, fixing what they break, prosecuting them, booting them after they're caught, and keeping the door open for more.

*Keeping the door open results is a waste keystrokes on repair, investigations, other backroom stuff, etc. Plus, we get overwhelmed in the end, and lose control of quality, and Wikipedia itself.

Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:55, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Because volunteers will never be able to keep up with people being paid to spend all their time, then with the capacity to run multiple identities easier too, it's just, well, scary what Wikipedia's future will be if nothing is done to change it to prevent that future... --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 17:26, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
While I think that WP:PAIDWATCH is excessive and one-sided (basically, it and WP:COOP need to merge into something balanced), your last sentence there is the crux of the problem. But see also WP:SPECIALSTYLE. A "group" doesn't even have to be organized, and paid, and have intent to subvert and game the system; it can simply be a self-selecting set of stubborn people who insist on doing things their special way even if it conflicts with all real-world usage outside their little specialty, simply because they're obsessive about it and bring an us vs. them mentality to bear (especially a "super-smart us vs. ignorant and stupid them", holier-than-thou mentality). In bad cases, it has resulted in WP:OWN-level dominance of tens of thousands of articles. Combine something like that with an actual will to "spin" and deceive, and the reliability of the entire project would basically be roadkill. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:43, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Thank you all for shedding light. I'm not sure if I should be more hopeful now. But, it does sound like it can be managed if we try hard. Sorry to clog up Jimbo's page. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:53, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Global policy on child protectiion

Encyclopedia Britannica going out of print

NYTimes reports that the 2010 edition of Britannica will be the last.[29]. The 2010 edition only sold 8,000 copies and accounted for less than 1% of the company's revenue. It isn't clear to me from the article whether the EB website will stop being updated - it has about half a million subscribers at $70 a year and accounts for 15% of the company's revenue. 85% of the company's revenue now comes from publishing curricula for schools. GabrielF (talk) 23:06, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

This paragraph is quite gratifying: "Created as a free online encyclopedia that is now written and edited by tens of thousands of active contributors, Wikipedia has been gradually accepted as a largely accurate source, even by scholars and academics, and one that meets the 21st-century requirements of comprehensiveness and instantly updated material." It's sad to see Britannica go – I remember as a kid I used to love leafing through the Britannica "Micropedia" – but progress always has its casualties, unfortunately. Prioryman (talk) 23:42, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I too have such memories. It is a great comfort of mine that kids today will have a similar, if not richer experience for free. --TeaDrinker (talk) 23:54, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Access to the Internet can be inhibited by legislative, technical, economic, or environmental factors. (User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 85#"Carpe diem. Seize the day.") Access to a printed encyclopedia is useful when the Internet is not available.
Wavelength (talk) 00:23, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
A good reason to worry about getting a high-quality print version of Wikipedia out the door. I realise this effort has gained little traction in the last few years, but I still believe it's possible. Dcoetzee 03:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
That's rather sad. I read a lot of things in it including all the maths articles when I was a child and it was about the only proper maths I could get access to. The internet is a real boon, if only I had it then. If only we could get a few more articles to be as readable as the EB ones that would be great. I think some readability comparisons might help the competitive here! Dmcq (talk) 14:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 18#Suggestion: readability test(s) for Wikipedia articles.
Wavelength (talk) 16:31, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Has nothing happened about automating rating articles for readability? It sounds to me like the sort of thing one of the toolsmiths around could set up fairly readily and we could use it within projects to compare articles with each other even if general comparisons might be rather problematic. Dmcq (talk) 13:32, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Apparently nothing has happened in that regard. Let us hope that no one wishes to maintain an air of incomprehensibility.
Wavelength (talk) 19:10, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
The following text is from Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2012-03-12/In the news.

Although he had warm words for his erstwhile colleagues, former Britannica.com editor Charlie Madigan blasted the corporate management of the venerable institution for what he saw as their questionable ethics and narrow, profit-driven focus in recent years. Calling the abandonment of its print edition "inevitable", he expressed his disenchantment with the enterprise and his involvement with it: "I had high hopes for the idea of giving away knowledge. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what it was about. It was all about monetizing information and selling the Britannica brand."

Please note the expressions "questionable ethics" and "narrow, profit-driven focus" and "monetizing information".
Wavelength (talk) 19:07, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Recruiting retirees and invalids

The Wikimedia Foundation can reach out to retirees in retirement homes and to patients in hospitals for assistance in editing Wikipedia. Many retirees and invalids have large amounts of time, knowledge, and expertise, and a continuing desire to be contributing to society. However, I suspect that many of them, having been raised in the first half of the twentieth century, have a very different set of ethics than those of people born in the last half, and that they would have a low threshold of tolerance for some of the ethical standards of Wikipedia. I am referring to standards of content and standards of behavior.

Their involvement with Wikipedia can offset, to some degree, the influence of corporate editors. They (retirees and invalids) would likely find Wikipedia a more welcoming environment, if its standards were more compatible with their ethics (that is to say, the ethics of retirees and invalids). Otherwise, corporate editors might claim that Wikipedia is a "failed project" in need of a "management change" according to their standard of business ethics (that is to say, the business ethics standards of corporate editors).
Wavelength (talk) 19:06, 14 March 2012 (UTC) and 00:29, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

This is a thoughtful suggestion. Retirees, perhaps looking to keep brains active, could be a useful resource, and get an interest for themselves. NewbyG ( talk) 08:39, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
As a self-identified retiring editor, I am sure that wikipedia editing has maintained my mental capacity, certainly moreso than other Internet sites that I could be availing myself of. This is a wonderful proposal for both Wikipedia and for the new retired editors. It would offset the meme that WP is edited by "14 year old high school students." If Editor Wavelength persues this further, I would be happy to assist.```Buster Seven Talk 12:31, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Seems like an interesting idea to me too; that would be a great section of the population to have on board. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:51, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Category:Better Business Bureau members by year

I propose Category:Better Business Bureau members by year (red link now), including Category:Better Business Bureau members in 2012 (red link now). Knowing whether a particular business is or has been a member of the Better Business Bureau can help a reader to evaluate the contents and the editing history of an article about that business. (I have posted this message at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Business.)
Wavelength (talk) 19:18, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I have now read most of the article "Better Business Bureau", and I realize that a business’s BBB rating seems to be more indicative of its business ethics than its BBB membership status is, but even that might be difficult to use for categories.
Wavelength (talk) 20:24, 14 March 2012 (UTC) and 16:28, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

That is extremely undue emphasis on a trivial and parochial aspect of a company's article. Remember, we are a global project. --Orange Mike | Talk 18:29, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia (encyclopaedia) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia

The online edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica is free for one week, and here is a link to its article about Wikipedia.

Wavelength (talk) 23:20, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

The controversy section is over half of the article by itself. I get the feeling the Brittanica isn't too fond of us for some reason. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 18:37, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
(Also, for fairness, here's a link to Wikipedia's article about the Encyclopædia Britannica elektrikSHOOS (talk) 18:39, 15 March 2012 (UTC))
The Britannica article on Wikipedia has a button to suggest an edit. I went in and did some NPOV work for stuff like "serious problems." "Serious"? Says who? Turns out you have to register before you can even suggest an edit. :-D User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 19:31, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
It should also be pointed out too that while the Encyclopædia Brittanica devotes a measly 500-ish words to what's wrong with Wikipedia, over here we have numerous article sections and an essay on the topic. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 21:13, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
We have a hell of a lot more on them than they do on us!--Gilderien Talk|Contribs 21:34, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Dear Jimbo, did you intend to create, in other editors' words, an "American television watchers' encyclopedia"?

I decided to post here after seeing your indirect invitation to edit the page, and also after seeing the comment above about Encyclopedia Britannica, shouldn't Wikipedia strive to be a better encyclopedia?

You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Big_Bang_Theory_(disambiguation)#Primary_Topic_RFC.

70.27.12.150 (talk) 04:32, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Not that I care all that much to begin with, but could you explain what it is that is causing you to forum shop this over dozens of places in the past couple days? Resolute 18:13, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Many terms have been wiki-hijacked but not for TV: Other terms have been redirected away from the common name, not just for TV shows (see: "Illegal"). At least "Big Bang theory" has been redirected to the common term "Big Bang" but "Big Bang Theory" (capital "T") has been redirected to the American TV show The Big Bang Theory. Part of the reason is because Wikipedia tends to use lower-case words in terminology, such as Kant's categorical imperative (rather than traditional "The Categorical Imperative"), but capital letters are used in titles of TV shows, films, books. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:40, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
"Categorical Imperative" rather than "categorical imperative" seems to me to derive from excessive Germanicization of translations, rather than having any justification I can see. --Orange Mike | Talk 12:45, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia has a systemic bias in regard to which topics have articles, and in regard to perspective in many articles. See Wikipedia:Systemic bias. Wikipedia can be a better encyclopedia if Wikipedians strive individually to be better editors, both in expertise and in values. Entertainment is inadequate as a substitute for encouragement.
Wavelength (talk) 16:33, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

This source says that there are 7 paid editors with administrative privileges? I just can't believe that, at least you will not be telling lies, is it so? NEVER is the answer, I think so. Dipankan says.. ("Be bold and edit!") 11:17, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

The article is referring to the WMF in that sentence. - Sitush (talk) 11:21, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
The article does not say that, Dipankan001. It says that there are (or were, as the article is quite old!) "seven paid administrative employees". That does not mean editors with administrative privileges! --Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:43, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
(Addendum: Error in my reading of the original post has caused me to update this answer, thank you to those who pointed it out to me!)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:53, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

NPR's journalism policy update

An interesting read about National Public Radio's updated journalism policy. Interesting how it compares to our own NPOV approach:

  • "In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth."
  • "At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been considered and represented fairly.
  • Maintaining the “appearance of balance” isn’t good enough, NPR says. “If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side…” we have to say so. When we are spun, we don’t just report it. “We tell our audience…” This is spin!"

Of course, they do investigative 'original research' and we just 'report the reports', but it makes for a particular contrast in juxtaposition with our heated 'verifiability not truth' debate. We do seem to have a kinship with them along WP:WEIGHT lines. Just thought I'd share. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 20:06, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Is this a normal drop?

Does anyone know if the drop in the Alexa search traffic chart (the percentage of site visits from search engines) for Wikipedia from around 38% to 25% around March 6 have any importance?[30] Jesanj (talk) 21:45, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Google tweaked their algorithms that return search results at the end of Feb, could have had an effect ? Youreallycan 21:56, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Only 24% from search engines is much less than I expected; as is only 20% of visitors coming from the US. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 03:33, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
If you look at the other data available from Alexa, there seems to be nothing to suggest that this is anything other than a result of revised algorithms. We are still getting the same 'reach' etc. Don't panic... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:03, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Alexa also reduced other site ranks from 6 March-present: It does seem as though Alexa changed their search-traffic algorithm, beginning on 6 March 2012, as a relative percentage against more websites. It is like going from a DIJA Dow 30 to a Dow 100 stock comparison, so each website now is a lower percentage of the total websites being ranked. Twitter.com dropped from 3.8% to 2.7%. Otherwise, there might be a new "dark matter" website eating most search-traffic results, as an "Attack of the Killer app" like a black hole spinning all stars around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. However, I prefer the "Dow 100" analogy, adding several more websites into Alexa's relative search-traffic rank. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:04, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Harassment

'Your recent reverts to this article were in line with your past POV pushing behavior. This has to stop. The statements you removed were neither promotional nor inaccurate, and were both uncontroversial and easily sourced. I know you hate Naveen Jain - but you should go start a blog about him or something, and not use Wikipedia in this way.' [31] [32]

Leave me alone, follow our behavioral policies and guidelines, or make a case in a proper noticeboard if your truly believe the harassment you repeatedly target at me. --Ronz (talk) 17:26, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Naveen Jain and Moon Express

Thanks for finding the Space.com source. It was the date that I tried multiple times to verify and could not. I used the archived news feature of Google to look, but failed to find the older date. Given the page protection expiring and yet another possible Intelius ipo, I like to be cautious and closely follow WP:V, WP:NPOV, WP:SOAP. --Ronz (talk) 18:00, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Electronic surveillance

This article seems important enough for every Wikipedian to read.

Wavelength (talk) 19:47, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Conspiracy theorists already watch Person of Interest (TV series). Collect (talk) 19:56, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Wavelength, thank you for troubling to post the link to a very interesting piece. You might consider contributing to the Utah Data Center article. Writegeist (talk) 22:25, 16 March 2012 (UTC) (Adding) And you might find this review of Bamford's book useful. Writegeist (talk) 22:31, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Such things are not new - the Internet was built right next to the "spy industrial complex" from the beginning. Look here [33] at the addresses on Sunset Hills Road in Reston. That's the street next to the main turnpike where the "internet backbone" is constructed in the median. See [34]; AOL built one of their main facilities there, right across the turnpike from one of the main NSA buildings. From the beginning, the Internet has always been constructed with espionage as a top priority.
In a sense, Wikipedia is a reaction to this. Everything posted here is out in the open, and so any ordinary reader can find out as much as the NSA can about your activity. It is a way to restore equality. With the notable exception of identities and the persecution thereof, which is an aberration which people must fight back against resolutely. If we make enough information of all kinds available, quickly and in depth, even the seemingly infinite insider trading potential of such NSA facilities might be blunted by competition. Wnt (talk) 19:51, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Tracking cookie usage on wikipedia

Do you support the use of tracking cookies on Wikipedia?Smallman12q (talk) 20:24, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

What would be the purpose of doing that? (Keeping a record of which articles a user has viewed, that is.) Looie496 (talk) 21:55, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Not sure, but Wikipedia has a session limited tracking cookie as part of the clicktracker. The cookie remains the same after you logout: bug 34794http://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=34794.Smallman12q (talk) 23:25, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Banning editors with higher access levels

Formerly How to ban a Steward, Administrators, and editors who collude and severely violate Conflict of Interest rules with their POV

I tried to raise this issue in Teahouse follow-up, and was referred to the dispute resolution noticeboard Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard. The issue title was changed to Circumcision, but was shut off (discussion closed ) by the same Steward, Administrator, and editor cited in the complaint. Discussion closed! My guess is that's the power of a bad Steward. Circumcision is not the primary issue, though it serves to highlight the horrible extent and harm of the problem.

I re entered the complaint at the Teahouse. How to ban a Steward, Administrators, and editors who collude and severely violate Conflict of Interest rules with their POV.

See User:Healthnet11/dispute for the substance of the complaint. Isn't there some way to expose the extent of this problem and sanction the violators?Healthnet11 (talk) 20:57, 16 March 2012 (UTC)Healthnet11 (talk) 21:03, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I am revising the heading of this section from "How to ban a Steward, Administrators, and editors who collude and severely violate Conflict of Interest rules with their POV" to "Banning editors with higher access levels", in harmony with WP:TPOC, point 12 (Section headings). Please see Microcontent: Headlines and Subject Lines (Alertbox).
Wavelength (talk) 21:19, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
You probably intended to link to Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions. At User:Healthnet11/dispute (permanent link here), most of the medical words are spelled correctly. Bravo! However, at least one word is misspelled in three places. The correct spelling is "meatotomy". (Warning: The images in that article may be disturbing to some viewers.)
Wavelength (talk) 21:29, 16 March 2012 (UTC) and 22:04, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Some people pronounce "latter" like "ladder", "shutter" like "shudder", "hurtle" like "hurdle", "metal" like "medal”, and "-otomy" like the hypothetical "-odomy", but there is no "d" in "‑otomy". More information is at List of surgical procedures#Suffixes (permanent link here).
Wavelength (talk) 06:13, 17 March 2012 (UTC) and 23:52, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

What did we learn here?

Dear Jimmy!

I’m mostly active on Commons but I have not been very active for a few weeks because I have been busy in real live. And today I realize I have been missing a big drama (child protection).

I have just spent a few hours looking through the discussion and I think that much drama and frustration could be avoided if things are done better.

I will not make a long list of who said or did what and who is to blame etc. I will just mention a few things I think could make things easier in the future.

I think that better information about what WMF wants would be helpful. I’m sure that most users is willing to do as you and WMF wants if we know what it is (and perhaps also why).

So if things are global it would be better to put it on meta and not “just” en-wiki. It is a waste of time to discuss something on Commons or elsewhere if it can’t really be discussed. There is also a risk that the discussion comes to the wrong conclusion.

If something needs to be fixed then perhaps a new policy or a chance of policy etc. is better than an office action. If things need to go fast then the solution could be an office action + a new policy or a change. That way we can all see how it should be and we do not risk policies do not match what WMF wants.

I do not expect you to do big changes today or tomorrow. I just hope this notice may inspire you and/or other users from WMF and the office.

Happy editing to you and all users reading this :-) --MGA73 (talk) 21:38, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I should say that I'm very glad that WMF stuck to investigating the specific practical question at hand and not taking a top-down approach on writing policy in general. I still hope the Commons community will work things through to a sensible, moderate consensus that will make future intervention unnecessary. Wnt (talk) 00:10, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
I do not know if it was indented or not but you comment could be read as Commons could not solve the problem. As I said I do not think we should turn it into a discussion about who to blame.
Commons have a long history of saying we judge users on what they do on Commons and not what they do on Wikipedia or even outside Wikipedia/Commons.
If WMF does not agree with that then it would make the process much easier if WFM told us about that. How are we supposed to know if we are not told?
If you look at m:Pedophilia you can see that it was started in 2010. Why has that not been made official yet if WMF thinks it should be that way? There was plenty of time to do that if WMF wanted to.
Wikipedia has articles about someone who had sex with persons under age. What do we do about that? Do we delete the articles? Add a notice saying “This person had sex with someone under age. Wikipedia does not support sex with persons under age”? Do we do nothing? And what do we do with users who support what those persons did? Block them? Nothing?
And what do we do if Anders Behring Breivik creates a profile on Wikipedia or Commons?
My point is that when things are done as office actions it leaves a lot of questions. If WFM instead make a public statement. “WMF would like to have m:Pedophilia made a global policy. Please help us finish it soon. So far this only applies for pedophilia and not other crimes.” or “WMF has decided that as of today xxx is a global policy. Please help inform all wiki-projects.” then it would make it much easier. --MGA73 (talk) 10:54, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Naveen Jain

Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, Jimbo Wales. You have new messages at Slon02's talk page.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Slon02 (talkcontribs) 22:42, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

King

You are the king of Wikipedia! Web+TV+3=WebTV3! (talk) 20:15, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Bell Pottinger account?

User:BePoWiki, self pronounced to be the official account of the Bell Pottinger group, popped up at wp:UAA as a wp:ROLE account. As you where directly involved in this I though you might have some advice how to handle this. Yoenit (talk) 10:52, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

I think policy should be rigorously enforced against this and all similar accounts, so it's pretty easy, isn't it. In this particular case, I can say without a doubt that they are well aware of how to contact us for advice and assistance, which I think we should give generously.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:26, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Account blocked [35] Writegeist (talk) 18:33, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Cool news, HighBeam Research to donate free, 1-year accounts for Wikipedians

I have just finished a discussion with some generous folks at HighBeam Research--an online, pay-for-use search engine for newspapers, magazines, academic journals, newswires, trade magazines and encyclopedias. The site has access to over 80 million articles from 6,500 publications, most of which are not available for free elsewhere on the internet. Aside from a free 7-day trial (credit card required), access to HighBeam costs $30 per month or $200 per year for the first year and $300 for subsequent years.

But...as of yesterday, HighBeam has agreed to give free, full-access, 1-year accounts for numerous Wikipedia editors to use, at the discretion of the community. They do not expect there to be a problem with the number of these free accounts; however, the plan is for editors to have a minimum 1 year-old account with 1000 edits in order to qualify.

This is a proposal/announcement of the project not the signup process, which should begin in early April and will be widely publicized. Details about the project are available at WP:Highbeam. Comments and assistance setting up the project are welcome. Cheers! Ocaasi t | c 09:07, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

This is great news, and while I'm sure I would eagerly queue up to get an account - I wouldn't want to feel like I was denying a place to a wikipedian whose use of the resource would benefit the community/encyclopaedia in a wider or more meaningful way. To that end if I could make a suggestion that if oversubscribed - the accounts not be issued on a First Come or even random basis but that the be issued firstly to editors who actively engage in wikiprojects such as Unreferenced articles, Fact and Reference Check, Resource Exchange, or to editors who who have demonstrably strong background in referencing articles? Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 09:45, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Those details are still up for discussion. My working plan was to assign them randomly, to avoid people feeling like they missed out for some arbitrary reason of timing. Also, giving preference to content editors, researchers, and verifiers about quadruples the administrative work as opposed to a simple account age/number of edits qualification. The sentiment I've gotten from HighBeam is that they want to give out these accounts to well-intentioned editors and they are not worried about giving out too many. Although I want to respect their offer and try to get them in good hands, I think we are actually discussing a situation that is unlikely to arise given the basic qualification requirements and HighBeam's willingness to share. Ocaasi t | c 09:58, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Excellent news, Ocaasi! – SJ + 13:54, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Well done Ocassi!--Wehwalt (talk) 14:00, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
 :) Ocaasi t | c 14:25, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Epic!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:14, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

That's great, but I'm still waiting on my admin t-shirt. Drmies (talk) 16:15, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Wonderful news - Highbeam is a great resource. Prioryman (talk) 20:20, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Drmies, your t-shirt should arrive with your first paycheque--Jac16888 Talk 23:23, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
This is an appealing plan, but it sounds like in doing so we're getting very close to paid advertising on Wikipedia - from the Wikipedia:Highbeam/Plan, Highbeam gets "Direct links within references back to HighBeam.com" and "Greater awareness among readers who follow links that HighBeam exists and provides a useful service" with usage requiring "A reference to the HighBeam page". Now, the rules also require to use a free link if we have it, and the Highbeam site does offer one paid means to get at the article; even so, it would not technically be necessary for that link to be included rather than just the original newspaper cite. But it's not a formal contract. And if they give out, say, 400 accounts worth $200 for a year, that's $80,000 worth of payment simply to include an extra online source you can buy an article from, something a lot of editors would do for free. Still ... it's coming very close to the line, and so it might time to think carefully about exactly how far we're willing to go.
Also, I wonder whether their Wikipedia 'subscriber' database details will be for sale. If the folks at WR can buy the real names of 1000 of Wikipedia's top editors, they'll be ready to hatch enough drama to last a thousand years. Wnt (talk) 18:07, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Wnt, this is a fair concern to raise, but I think a closer examination reveals a win-win situation. I acknowledge it's near the line we don't want to cross, but think it's definitely not over it, and therefore, just a good opportunity. First, I want to make sure it's clear that nothing outside of current practices or policy is being proposed here. The direct links back to HighBeam are just regular verification procedure for any reference where an online copy is available. Further, the application requirements as well as the project plan state up front that under no circumstances should HighBeam be used where free sources are available and HighBeam should never be linked alone without providing the original citation information so editors can attempt to seek it out on their own. The mere fact that HighBeam will benefit from their donation does not mean this is somehow a commercial venture or partnership; it's just a situation where our interests happily align. HighBeam wants people to use their services and we can benefit from those services. We're not endorsing HighBeam, agreeing to use them exclusively, or suggesting even that we'll use them preferentially over other paid options. The reality is that we are in desperate need of high quality sources, and as great as Google is, many editors find themselves wanting for sources that are locked behind paywalls. The majority of us are not in college anymore and don't have access to those wonderful databases that come with tuition. So we can either be take this opportunity, or deprive ourselves for purity of a principle that is not really threatened here. Also, I wonder, would you feel differently if we expanded this project to include HighBeam's competitors (LexisNexis, Bloomberg, ThompsonReuters)? As for our subscriber details, I'm sure HighBeam has a privacy policy, but I'd be happy to ask them specifically about it if you'd like. Cheers! Ocaasi t | c 19:24, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks; I think this makes sense. The privacy policy might be useful ... provided trolls don't hack into their database... Wnt (talk) 01:40, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I suggest the small print should be first gone through with a fine tooth-comb due to the number of complaint this org has had generated over many years. [36] and www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/highbeam-research-c387333.html and [37] and so on and so on.--Aspro (talk) 16:28, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I checked those two links you provided. The first link was a complaint that a free trial had resulted in a charge. The way their free trial works is you sign up for a week's access using a credit card, and you have to cancel before the trial is over or be charged the full price. I think that is standard practice with most free trials, and although the link doesn't specify, what likely happened is the person just forgot to cancel their free trial. I have signed up for that free trial myself at one point, and it clearly says it has to be canceled to avoid charges. The second link was a 404 error, so I can't respond to it. It's not uncommon for any business to have occasional complaints, and I'm sure HighBeam isn't perfect. But there's really no need to worry in this case. Wikipedia editors do not have to give credit card information, only basic biographical details, in order to access their free 1-year accounts. So even in the interest of skepticism and scrutiny, I just don't see how this could turn out badly on our end. Again, it seems like a win-win. If you'd like me to address any specific questions to HighBeam's staff, let me know and I can do that. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 17:01, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
A few reports might just be taken as anecdotal but this org seems like a magnet to people who a failed to get their trial cancelled – so I'm just saying be very wary as there appears to be too many ongoing administrative failures. Google “highbeam scam” and you get 1.5 m hits and a call for a class action lawsuit . I wouldn't call that a few occasional complains. Don't you think it would look bad on us if because of our growing use of it, it causes a flood of our readers to sign-up, only find they have to fight to claim back charges? --Aspro (talk) 17:23, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Beware of unrefined google searches. Look at some of the results after page 1 in your 1.5 million hit query. Searching - Wikipedia scam - gives 14.5 million hits. For a more accurate result, nest your terms a la Boolean_algebra#Boolean_searches. The results are a bit more informative. The Interior (Talk) 19:56, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I would love a free subscription if there are no strings attached except for citing back to High Beam. That's fair, I think. But I have to think some more; just saw this, and frankly, what I saw was SOMETHING FOR NOTHING! LOL. Yopienso (talk) 20:21, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Yet, do please, perform a Boolean search on my behalf, so we can tell the United States Senate that they’re wasting their time on examining the complaints about this org. --Aspro (talk) 20:24, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
  • You may not know that Google results are often inflated in initial results report. If you scroll to the bottom and click on results page 6 you'll see that there are only 54 actual results for "highbeam scam". Many of those have nothing to do with HighBeam or about an unrelated mention of the site
  • The class action lawsuit you found states: "This practice is known as "Free-to-Pay" conversion marketing, or automatically billing consumers for a service or membership if the consumer does not take affirmative steps to cancel during the "free trial" period.These marketing schemes [take] advantage of consumers' expectations that they would have the opportunity to accept or reject the membership at the end of the 'free trial' period," the Highbeam Research class action lawsuit states. The practice of "Free-to-Pay" has led to a Senate Committee investigation after thousands of online consumer complained to state Attorneys Generals, the Better Business Bureau, and other consumer advocates of misleading and deceptive enrollment in membership plans. The Highbeam Research class action lawsuit alleges the Defendants violated consumer protection laws by tricking consumers into signing up for a "free trial" and then charging their credit/debit cards without their knowledge after the trial period ends. It is seeking damages for Class Members in the amount of at least $25, in addition to other relief." It appears to be a general criticism of the 'free-to-pay' model, and all I can say is that I had no problem with my own experience signing up and did not feel mislead or deceived; and I canceled my trial account without incident.
  • I did find these complaints in the search results: [38], [39], [40]. It's very hard to tell how many of these are legitimate complaints and how many are just accidents or mistakes on the part of the subscriber to cancel in time. I don't know what bearing this has on our completely voluntary relationship with HighBeam. The free trial sign-up page clearly states that it must be canceled to avoid charges. What else could we expect here or do in terms of due diligence? If you want I will add a note on the project page that HighBeam's free one week trial does require a credit card and must be canceled to avoid charges; however, since the free accounts they're offering us have nothing to do with their standard 1 week free trial, I think that would only confuse matters. And my offer to ask HighBeam anything directly is openended, if you would like a response to these issues. It seems more of an issue for their free 1-week trial subscribers, we simply won't be.
  • In short, Wikipedia editors are being given free access to 1-year accounts. No credit card information is required. There is no commitment to do anything except enjoy and utilize a free resource. Ocaasi t | c 20:25, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Presumably, there's not even that commitment. We are free to dislike and ignore it, if we want, I take it. FormerIP (talk) 20:30, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
ETA: That's not meant as a dig at Highbeam, BTW. I just mean it does not sound like there is even the minimal string of being grateful involved. FormerIP (talk) 21:12, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Regarding the lawsuit, I have no idea if it is valid under law, but the fact of a lawsuit really just means a lawyer saw money there. (I am a lawyer, btw). I see no reason why we should not gratefully accept these. If, however, there are strings, we can discuss that then. But don't look a gift horse in the mouth, except if it is Greek of course.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:43, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
What disturbs me Ocaasi (and I mean this in a nice way) is you lack of questioning.
  • Yes, the Senate does have a mountain of orgs to investigate – does that make this one OK then?
  • You’re own experience and interpretation of their T&C, 'could' (to be fair) in this case be taken as another anecdotal account -their are many who would disagree based on their experience.
  • free access to 1-year accounts (Note: a 7days free trial x 52weeks). Now, I'm not saying you’re being bought off ( see above point) but your comment naturally brings that phrase to mind.
I'm too old to ever get surprised anymore, yet I would be disappointed if this Foundation entered into such an agreement until until this suit and the Senate investigations get resolved. If Highbeam comes out smelling of roses, then well and good. JW may well leave this to the community to suss out – and I'm sure at the end of the day we'll make right decision but at the moment, I think too many people are too shy to look a gift horse in the mouth and consider the veterinary bills that may accrue from a too hasty acceptance. Surely Highbeam can leave their offer open until these issues are resolved – unless of course there are also other motivations not mentioned -like a public relation exercise to impress the court and senate which would necessitate their instance on a time limited offer... --Aspro (talk) 21:46, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I will concede that I might not be objective here. I am quite appreciative of HighBeam's offer to donate up to 1000 (or more) 1 year accounts, which would cost 200 thousand dollars if purchased individually. Does that sound too good to be true? I don't think so, considering the obvious benefit to HighBeam from being associated with our wonderful encyclopedia and the added awareness among readers and editors which references linking to their resources will bring them. I am a bit concerned that you're getting all of your information from what looks like a press release for a class action attorney. If there is a Senate investigation, it appears to be about so called 'free-to-pay' membership plans in general, not about HighBeam specifically. There are definitely some dubious practices in this area, but they only involve not notifying people (or doing so in very small print) that a free trial results in a charge, or not cancelling free trials when asked. We have nothing but a bit of anecdotal evidence that this has ever happened with HighBeam, and my personal experience with their free trial contradicts it. At the very top of the 1 week free trial page it says: "Pay nothing at all for your first 7 days of unlimited access to HighBeam. To avoid a charge to your preferred payment method, cancel your account before your trial ends. Or, continue and pay just $29.95 per month or $199.95 per year (plus applicable taxes)." So there's no 'small print' problem. And I have no reliable evidence that people have been trapped into these plans against their will. I think there's a healthy level of skepticism but there's also paranoia. Since I'm involved here, I won't say which is which in this case. I just hope the trial works out as well as it sounds like it will. Ocaasi t | c 22:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Update. Although sign-ups won't be actually considered until April 2, people have begun adding their names to the list. So far over 100 editors have applied, including editors from English, German, Italian, and French Wikipedia. Please feel free to add yourself at the WP:HighBeam/Applications page. HighBeam is ready to donate up to 1000 free 1 year accounts (and possibly more), so this is a great opportunity. Also, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. We don't want anyone to miss out. Cheers! Ocaasi t | c 10:02, 18 March 2012 (UTC)