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Background information[edit]

In the RfC, 17 editors expressed displeasure with Moulton's editing style, not including User:KillerChihuahua. Three editors, in addition to Moulton, supported Moulton's position. Two of these had never experienced Moulton's editing first hand. At least two of these promote an ideological agenda which disagrees with treating intelligent design as a WP:FRINGE subject on Wikipedia. A further two editors attempted to offer mediation, or a third party perspective to try to settle the dispute, which was not accepted by Moulton.

Arbitrators voted 0-6 to reject this case. A further 3 Wikipedia editors weighed in, 2 urging that the case be rejected, and one that it be accepted, in addition to some who also were involved with the RfC.

My position on Moulton's unblock/unban[edit]

Moulton's disruption[edit]

Aside from the actual edit warring at Picard's biography, and Tour's biography and at A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, which was considerable, and threats and other assorted bad behavior on the talk pages, the most fundamental problem with User:Moulton was his belief that a large fraction of the traditions, conventions, rules and policies of Wikipedia must be changed immediately if not sooner, by fiat issued by him. He has never renounced this belief to my knowledge and in fact continues to lobby for this position off-wiki extensively.

For example, Moulton was deadset against the notion of WP:NOR. Moulton demanded that Wikipedia editors discard this "quaint obsolete notion" and make up long complicated stories which are not supported by sources. Instead, Moulton wanted Wikipedia to base its material on things like "Theories of Mind" and "Framing" and intuition and claims that the New York Times reporter was an incompetent unethical buffoon based on Moulton's personal affirmation and so on. Moulton also wanted Wikipedia to publish this kind of unsourced material, as dictated by him, including long rambling attacks on the New York Times. Moulton claimed that Wikipedia should be aspiring to be a form of "online journalism" rather an online encyclopedia and to do otherwise was to violate "journalistic ethics".

Moulton insisted that WP:NOR, WP:NPOV, WP:RS, WP:COI and other policies be ignored or changed to suit his personal whims. He produced long rambling screeds about this on a variety of talk pages. Moulton rejected all suggestions from other editors and administrators that he should pursue WP:CON, or warnings that he was trying the community's patience, or attempts by assorted neutral outside parties to mediate, expressing disdain or even contempt for the views of anyone but himself.

Towards the end of Moulton's period on Wikipedia, Moulton declared both on and off-wiki that his goal was to create as much discord as possible intentionally so he could document it as part of assorted research projects and publish articles about Wikipedia's methods for handling disruptive users. Although Moulton clearly has what might appear to be impressive credentials at first glance, the community was not able to effectively harness his skills and Moulton became a huge time sink and negative for the project. Moulton's RfC only documents a small fraction of the surprising amount of disruption that the community dealt with from Moulton between August 22, 2007 and September 11, 2007.

At first, during Moulton's RfC only a topic ban was called for. However, Moulton so disruptive during the RfC that several who had started out supporting Moulton switched their support to call for sanctions. Even a couple of editors that supported what appeared to be Moulton's purported ideological position withdrew their support for Moulton's continued participation at Wikipedia because of Moulton's basic unwillingness to learn Wikipedia's policies, to follow Wikipedia's policies, and to work with others. Eventually, no one disagreed with the more stringent sanction that was eventually applied. Moulton has continued to engage in off-wiki activities that are disruptive since his departure, which I will not bother to document here.

My advice[edit]

I would suggest that before taking action in this case, the community carefully consider the input of those who interacted the most with Moulton during his tenure at Wikipedia. I suggest that his RfC and his Arbcomm appeal be studied in detail and if there are desires to have it more fully explained, that those of us who participated in the RfC be asked for their input. In particular, I would suggest that User:Hrafn and others be asked for their advice, comments and input.

If any restrictions against Moulton are to be lifted, I would suggest that it would be most prudent to, at a minimum, (1) do so with the clear understanding that Moulton only be allowed to edit solely in areas in which Moulton has no WP:COI difficulties such as Picard's biography, or ideological agendas, such as in the areas of evolution, creationism and intelligent design (2) avoid extremely sensitive topics like WP:BLP (3) be required to submit to an extended period of mentorship, with the understanding that if the mentor is unable to control him or unwilling to supervise him properly, that Moulton's editing privileges be restricted (4) Moulton be required to follow community norms of behavior including the following of Wikipedia principles like the WP:Five pillars (5) demonstrate that he can function and cooperate on Wikipedia productively and have those he works with attest to this fact or else have his privileges restricted again, by default.

I am not against reform of Wikipedia and in fact participate in a number of forums on Wikipedia myself, advocating reform. However, there is a constructive cooperative way to advocate reform, and a destructive disruptive way to advocate reform. All I have seen from Moulton, from his time on Wikipedia and since then in various off-wiki venues, is disruptive in nature. What I am leery of are some who would advocate unleashing Moulton, and then leave others to cope with the likely consequences. I would counsel caution and contemplation before any action.--Filll (talk) 14:42, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

An Analysis of Moulton's stated "Objectives" May 15, 2008[edit]

From [1]:

  • My primary objective here is to achieve a respectable level of accuracy, excellence, and ethics in online media, especially when the subject at hand is an identifiable living person.

It sounds good, doesn't it? I mean, who could really disagree with that? Aren't we all in favor of accuracy, excellence and ethics? Aren't we all extra concerned about WP:BLP?

Unfortunately, one has to know Moulton carefully and have witnessed him in action to understand what he means here and to parse this statement. For example, when he is talking about "accuracy, excellence and ethics" he does not favor using WP:RS for statements. He is in favor of using his own (or whoever's) personal impressions and WP:OR for what happened. If the New York Times stated something that he disagrees with personally, then he will either remove it as incorrect, or advocate placing a few paragraphs of his own original analysis and WP:SYNTH about why the New York Times failed to get the story "accurate". This is what he means by accuracy and excellence and ethics; he (and for that matter, each editor) will be the arbiter of what is accurate and what is ethical.

At the very minimum, this will open the door to huge arguments. At the present, even if editors disagree about a topic personally, they can usually sort of agree about what a source is stating, even if they have to just quote the source directly.

If we follow this prescription of Moulton, then you can toss that out the window, and open yourself to immense never ending battles between different factions, each of which claims they are "right". Palestine vs. Israel. Pseudoscience vs. Science. Conspiracy Theorists vs. Government. Alternative medicine vs. Medicine. UFO fanatics vs. Skeptics. Intelligent design vs. evolution. Sunni vs. Shiite. Catholicism vs. Protestantism. And so on. Every possible controversial topic will erupt into never ending warfare, because you will never have any way to decide who is "right".

I notice he has now changed his tune from talking about "online journalism" to "online media", because I guess he was told enough times over the last 10 months that Wikipedia is WP:NOT journalism, although he fought extremely hard against that for a long time. So I guess he thinks it is more palatable to call it a form of "online media".

  • My secondary objective is to examine the efficacy of the process and the quality of the product achieved by any given policy, culture, or organizational architecture.

This is the "research scientist" in Moulton writing. What research scientist could disagree with that? I myself have ideas for research projects here and I am starting to reach out to others with similar interests.

Unfortunately, at least in Moulton's case, his "research" here, as he announced repeatedly on Wikipedia and in other venues, was to create as much disruption as possible and then catalogue how we responded to it. Not particularly helpful and in fact, destructive.

  • My tertiary objective is to identify and propose functional improvements to systems that are demonstrably falling short of best practices.

Again, eminently sensible, and not too different from what I myself am engaged in. However, the proposals he put forward, at least to date, over the last 10 months, have been based on some severe misunderstandings of how the community is organized and functions, and an unwillingness to cooperate with others and a disrespect for consensus. Of course the current system is nonoptimal. Of course the current system can be improved. And one of the ways in which it can be improved is to handle disruption like that presented by Moulton in a more efficient manner. --Filll (talk) 19:17, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

My version of the Moulton affair[edit]

I have seen a lot of obfuscation and confusion about the Moulton situation, and many conflicting and uninformed opinions about it. I have been challenged over and over about my version of the events, although I have explained and written about it extensively, and a lot of the detail is in the RfC. However rather than continue to answer piecemeal, I will write an account of the situation from my perspective.

I first edited the Picard article in early August 2007, when I cleaned up the wording in the article describing the Dissent petition which Picard was reported to have signed in a New York Times article. I have only made 7 edits ever to the mainspace part of the Picard article, and 4 of them were in early August 2007.

However, sometime around that time, some editor realized that a large section of the Picard article was plagiarized, and possibly a violation of copyright. This plagiarized material was removed. When Moulton looked at the Picard article on August 22, 2007, it was not in the best of shapes, and probably suffered from an WP:UNDUE problem.

I first talked to Moulton on August 23, 2007 and he asked for my help with the article. I agreed and called Moulton and talked to him for a few hours. Moulton told me that Picard was unfairly described as a signatory of the Dissent petition, and that she had never meant to sign an anti-evolution petition, as it was described by the New York Times. Moulton said Picard had signed a blank petition, or that the wording on the petition had been changed after she signed it, or that the petition had been "framed" with a new title and introduction after she signed it, misrepresenting her beliefs and position. I noted that there were reports in reliable sources that the Discovery Institute had been engaged in various amounts of subterfuge associated with the Dissent petition, and some others had been unhappy with the petition and had even had themselves removed from the petition.

I offered to look into how this was done and to get in contact with people that could help Picard get off the petition. I told Moulton the details and my plans. I also told Moulton that if Picard made some sort of statement or published a press release or letter in a publication that we could use as a reliable source as to her position on this issue, we could reference it in her Wikipedia biography. Without a source, our options were far more limited. I told Moulton I would contact Picard's laboratory at MIT in this regard.

I also did my best to instruct Moulton in how Wikipedia worked, and about Wikipedia editing principles such as WP:RS, WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:NPOV.

The next day, I made several phone calls, and sent out some emails. I had Picard's press agent contact Picard and make inquiries about her position and her willingness to issue a statement of some kind we could reference. I followed up with an email, cc'd to Moulton. I also sent Moulton an email detailing all my activities in investigating how Picard could be removed from the Dissent petition and presenting information and options.

I also encouraged the rewriting of Picard's article, including a rewritten main section about her career. However, at this time, before I had heard back from Picard's press liason, things started to go awry with Moulton on Wikipedia.

Moulton did not want to use the New York Times as a reliable source for Picard's signing of the Dissent petition. Moulton did not like that the New York Times had called it an "anti-evolution petition". Moulton stated that since that term was only in a title and not in the body of the article, the New York Times did not consider it an "anti-evolution petition". Moulton claimed the reporter (Steve Chang) had not been diligent enough in his reporting and in getting comments and that it was an unethical smear of Picard and others. Moulton constructed a wide range of theories for how Picard's name came to be on the petition; she signed a blank piece of paper and the text was added later, it was framed differently by the Discovery Institute when it was released in 2001 than it was when presented to Picard, it was something reasonable all scientists would agree to, etc. Moulton wanted Wikipedia to engage in WP:OR and to reproduce some of these theories in the Picard article for why her name appeared on the petition and still remained on the petition years later after others had removed their names from the petition. Moulton wanted Wikipedia to discuss the quality of the New York Times reporting in its article. Moulton tried to expunge this information about the New York Times article from Wikipedia completely.

Moulton then started going after other articles on Wikipedia, using the same sorts of reasoning, such as the James Tour biography, the article on A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, and others. He edit warred. He was cautioned repeatedly but dismissed it. He was blocked for a short time. People tried to educate him on how Wikipedia functioned but he was not interested. He was cautioned that he was violating WP:COI repeatedly, but he was disdainful. His posts became combative and then long and irrelevant. They showed creativity, but they were inappropriate for Wikipedia. People became very frustrated with him after a few days of him rejecting WP:NOR, WP:NPOV, WP:SYNTH, WP:V, WP:COI, WP:RS and other principles.

I heard nothing back from Picard's press agent, after a few attempts and a few days. Moulton knew I was trying to work on that angle, of either getting a statement out of Picard, or her agreement to remove herself from the petition. Then Moulton presented me with two long rough drafts that he had composed. These articles that he wanted to publish would be completely destructive to his goals. They would inflame the situation further, and possibly bring disrepute to Picard and MIT and get the attention of the Discovery Institute, which I did not want to do under any circumstances. If we were going to do anything, it would be best to do it quietly. This was not going to be quiet. This had the potential of causing chaos. If his goal was to avoid negative publicity for his friend "Roz" over this petition issue, this was the completely wrong way to do it.

So I contacted the press agent again, and just able to leave a message, I contacted the MIT press office to caution them about how this might be the wrong thing to do. I am an MIT alumnus. I did not want to see MIT dragged into some sort of intelligent design/creationist mess over this. It is exactly what the Discovery Institute loves. And my contacts that were assisting me had cautioned me repeatedly about making this too public. They said they would look into this.

I received an email from Picard after this. Clearly, from Picard's email, Moulton had been doing this all on his own, without the knowledge or direction of Picard, and without Picard's agreement. I started to doubt everything Moulton had told me about Roz and her desire to get off the Dissent petition, and her position. I was put in a very awkward position because I had assumed good faith and believed Moulton's assurances.

The MIT police were notified about me, according to Moulton. I was clearly being characterized as a harasser and stalker. Because I had believed Moulton. I was not happy.

I did some checking and turned up some publications of Picard and personal information about Picard that made me realize that maybe all these claims of Moulton's about Picard not supporting intelligent design and having no problem with any aspect of evolution were incorrect. Fabrications, or at least exaggerations. I felt manipulated. I still do.

Do I care if Picard supports intelligent design? Nope. Do I care if Picard rejects evolution? Not at all. Do I care what Picard's religious beliefs are? Of course not. Picard's personal beliefs in all likelihood are not very different than my personal beliefs. That is not the point. The point is, I had my chain yanked and I was manipulated into committing a variety of actions by Moulton, by trusting his assurances. And I was burned.

It did not matter that it was about ID and evolution. It could have been about anything, like UFOs or high school track and field records. Anything at all. I was lead down a path by Moulton, and I told him what I was going to do. I was completely open, and I kept him informed. I didn't do anything in secret here. I told him what to do to correct Picard's biography. And he mislead me, and ignored my advice about Wikipedia editing.

As a result, I was put in a very awkward position with several individuals and organizations. And I acted in what appeared like a ridiculous manner. I looked bad to the organizations I contacted to arrange to get Picard off the biography. I looked foolish suggesting to Picard that she might want to get off the petition or that she might want to issue a statement, since she clearly did not want to get off the petition and did not want to issue a statement and was comfortable with her name on the petition, contrary to what Moulton claimed. I looked foolish to the law enforcement authorities. I looked ridiculous to my alma mater, MIT and the press offices at MIT for relying on Moulton's assurances which turned out to be incorrect. And so on. And it could have had very negative consequences for me. Because I was manipulated.

Moulton's disruption on Wikipedia increased. And increased. Moulton filled many kilobytes with assorted nonsense. Moulton railed against the lack of ethics on Wikipedia. Moulton repeatedly complained that Wikipedia was practicing poor "journalism" and had low journalistic standards because they would not publish The TruthTM. Moulton dismissed every attempt to educate him that Wikipedia endeavors to be an encyclopedia, and not an online newspaper.

Finally, after two weeks of this intense activity lasting what seemed like 16 hours or more a day, I filed an RfC, documenting a tiny fraction of the disruption. I wanted him to edit something else, and did not want to have to deal with him any longer. I did not want my associates to have to deal with him any longer. I gave up on trying to educate him on what Wikipedia was about. The RfC covered only a small fraction of the disruption; I did not want to smear Moulton. Just to produce enough evidence of the trouble that either Moulton would take corrective action, or someone else would.

After a week of the RfC, and repeated entreaties to get Moulton to treat this situation seriously which he ignored, Killer Chihuahua acted.

Since the RfC, Moulton has continued to opine about the problems with Wikipedia from assorted off-wiki websites. He has not changed his tune about why Wikipedia needs to change most of its policies. He has not changed his tune about "unethical online journalism", which he thinks Wikipedia represents.

Moulton asked that Arbcomm examine his situation to see if his case was handled properly. Arbcomm declined to hear the case. Moulton has continued to lobby off-wiki for reexamination of his case and for changes to Wikipedia's policies and structures. Moulton still has almost no understand of what Wikipedia is, or how it operates or why it does what it does.

There is a lot more to this story, but this account is a bit more of the story that has not been presented on Wikipedia before. I do not mean to slight Moulton or to smear him. As I state in the next section, his behavior was completely normal and natural for someone with his position and background. It was to be expected in fact.

Picard's biography[edit]

I have only made about 7 mainspace edits to Picard's biography. Four of these were in early August 2007 when I was rewriting the Dissent petition article with others.

In the middle of August 2007, plagiarized material that possibly violated copyright was removed from the article. This arguably made the article exhibit an WP:UNDUE problem, with too much space devoted to discussion of the Dissent petition. In August 2007 I advocated (1) replacing the plagiarized material with rewritten material about Picard's career (2) getting a statement from Picard, or finding a statement from Picard, about her position on the Dissent petition and/or intelligent design and/or evolution (3) failing either of these, just deleting the article.

Although I asked repeatedly about deleting the article, this idea did not recieve much support. So it was not deleted.

There was so much edit warring and rancor at the Picard article, mainly caused by Moulton, that the Picard career information was not adequately replaced. No one could write because there was too much fighting. People became exhausted from all the fighting.

Those who repeatedly express unhappiness at the state of the Picard biography in August of 2007, or in the subsequent months really have themselves to blame. By fighting like maniacs over this article instead of "fixing" it, everyone else lost their appetite for "fixing" the article.

By the way, I have noticed this frequently on the intelligent design, evolution and creationism articles. Trolls and POV warriors show up and demand that the articles be completely rewritten. Sometimes they want nothing less than religious recruiting tracts for their particular religious sect and will complain if they do not get that. When asked to make suggestions for text themselves, or to rewrite offending sections themselves, they decline. Over and over and over. They want someone else to rewrite it. They almost never want to do it themselves. It is more fun to complain and cause disruption. So this is nothing new. It just gets tiresome.

I looked for statements of Picard on her personal positions on evolution, the Dissent petition and intelligent design. I could not find them. I asked Moulton for them. They were not forthcoming. I asked Picard for them. They did not show up. I asked Picard's press contact for them. I did not get them. Picard promised me she would look into it and get back to me. I did not hear back. Others looked for these materials. They could not find them. Other Wikipedia editors asked Moulton for these sorts of information. He did not provide them. Even the New York Times reporter Chang had asked repeatedly for this kind of information. Chang's requests were declined or ignored (I have been in communication with Chang, who sent me the details from his notes).

Finally, during the last bit of turmoil at the Picard article, a Picard statement that partially fulfills this requirement from November 2007 was provided. It is now incorporated in the article. Also more career material was provided. It is now incorporated in the article. This material was provided months later than it was requested.

A consensus was forged at the Picard article. It is quiet now. And more career information will probably be added. Fine.

There was no vendetta against Picard or anyone else who signed the petition. In fact, I think it is totally understandable that anyone signed the petition. I even wrote that section of the Dissent petition article describing that, with sources. All these claims I read over and over and over on Wikipedia and the Noticeboards and on Wikipedia Review on this subject are just ridiculous. They are false. Completely and utterly false.

The more of these people that have signed the petition and subsequently had their names removed, the better. We will document it here on Wikipedia. The more of these people that were tricked by the Discovery Institute into signing and dismiss intelligent design, the better. We will document it on Wikipedia.

Why Moulton disdains WP principles[edit]

It might not be obvious to those here why Moulton would be dismissive of the principles of Wikipedia. He is a lifelong research engineer and research scientist and academic. And frankly, although there is some similarity between Wikipedia and academic writing, it is far from identical, particularly in the sciences and engineering.

And I can say this with some authority, since my background and experience is quite similar to Moulton's.

When I first came to Wikipedia, I saw pages and pages of contradictory policy. I didn't read it. It was too long. It was poorly organized. And I was sure I didn't need to waste the time reading irrelevant drivel. Just like Moulton.

When I first encountered WP:NOR, I was stunned. No research? Huh? That is what academics and scientists are always seeking. That is the goal. Original thought. Novel interpretations. New ideas. Innovation. And it is forbidden here? I was stunned and dismayed and confused. I was sure this was a mistake. Just like Moulton.

When I first encountered WP:NPOV, I was shocked. First, the very name seems contradictory. How can something containing all views in proportion to their prominence be neutral; it makes no sense. Then, we are not allowed to advocate for one position or another? Or at least not supposed to? Even Encyclopedia Britannica does that in their articles, written by experts! What on earth? I didn't get it. I could not understand what the reason for this was. Just like Moulton.

The ideas behind WP:RS and WP:V were a little more clear, but still confusing. For example, academics often use personal communication as a reliable source, which is forbidden here on Wikipedia. Some of what is a reasonable source on Wikipedia would be unlikely to be accepted in academia, like the New York Times. After all, reporters are just basically boobs; they are not academics, or research scientists. They get stories wrong. They misquote. They are idiots, right? So I did not understand this either. Just like Moulton.

Even the principle of WP:SYNTH struck me as dumb when I first encountered it. Putting together two or three disparate sources to demonstrate a point is exactly what you are supposed to do and trained to do in academia and research. But you are not supposed to do it here. I was puzzled about WP:SYNTH when I first encountered it. Just like Moulton.

However, I had senior editors here mentor me and explain these principles to me. And after a while, I came to understand why the principles of Wikipedia were what they are. And to realize the wisdom of them. But I was willing to learn. Moulton has had decades of experience in designing and using online environments. He is positive he knows better. He has rejected any effort to coach him or tutor him. After all, why should someone with his experience submit to tutoring by someone who is probably a teenager or an undergraduate ? (or at least, this is probably what he thinks). Moulton has not been interested in learning, at least so far. He is sure he knows better. And maybe he does. But while people have tried to educate him, he was extremely disruptive.

Therefore, it was quite natural that Moulton rejected all the principles Wikipedia operates under. It was to be expected in fact; I did. I understand perfectly. And it is also quite natural that Moulton continues to reject all the principles that Wikipedia operates under. And it is quite natural that Moulton is resistant to learning about Wikipedia principles and accepting them. This is no mystery. I was the same way for a considerable time at first. But I was more submissive and willing to learn, and eventually I did. Moulton has not reached that point yet, and might never. But if Moulton is to learn how to operate in this environment, I would prefer that someone besides me try to train him, in their areas, rather than me and my associates, in the areas in which he has already demonstrated he has difficulty. Fair enough?--Filll (talk) 12:10, 17 May 2008 (UTC)


On the AN thread, and other places, there are repeated calls for those of us in the Intelligent Design Wikiproject to admit that "mistakes were made" on all sides, and not just by Moulton. Dave souza and others have acknowledged this, but let me also chime in to agree that of course, "mistakes were made" by me, as well as others on all sides. I do not know why some are so frantic to have an admission of mistakes beyond what has been made already, but I will make a preliminary evaluation of what mistakes I believe were made here.

From this vantage point, what do I believe the faults were on "my side"? Well there are probably too many to list, but I can attempt a few:

  • I do not believe that the Rosalind Picard biography was part of the ID Wikiproject for a long time after it was created. It was an orphan article, created after a New York Times article. Maybe it should have been part of the ID Wikiproject.
  • We allowed plagiarized material in the Rosalind Picard biography as a community. Probably someone just cut and pasted it from material protected by copyright; possibly even someone from Picard's laboratory. But we were not policing the article carefully, so this was not noticed by anyone for a long time.
  • When the plagiarized material was recognized, the article should have been taken offline until it was rewritten. I know this is not standard procedure, but it would have been more fair.
  • I believe that the original section describing the petition was too long. I believe the current section the Picard biography describing the petition is about right however.
  • I should never have called Moulton and tried to help him. I should never have relied on Moulton's representations of the situation or of Picard's position, which were incorrect.
  • I should never have tried to "correct" the situation based on Moulton's misrepresentations, since that put me in very awkward situations.
  • I believe that the RfC was inevitable, given Moulton's behavior. It also came early, but not too early given the volume of edits that Moulton was making and the disruption. I would have made it more extensive if I was doing it over again, with more material. Only a small fraction of the material available was placed in the RfC.
  • I think that persistent and repeated appeals to the mediation organizations might have served the purpose of obtaining more outside observers of Moulton's behavior. That might have been beneficial. I do not think Moulton would have abided by any mediator's suggestions however.
  • I think that rather than an RfC lasting from September 4-11, 2007, I would now suggest that the RfC last maybe 8 weeks or so to avoid any appearance of railroading. There was no progress being made at all, and Moulton was not taking the proceedings seriously, even though he was warned over and over and over about the need to do so. I do not believe he would have acted any differently if the RfC had lasted much much longer, but there would be less for assorted malcontents to complain about.
  • I think it would have been good to get more outside observers of the situation. About twenty or so looked at this RfC, of which about 50 percent are part of the ID Wikiproject, and about 90 percent had strong misgivings about Moulton's behavior. Perhaps if we had managed to persuade more people to look at this RfC it would have less of a negative appearance. How many would be enough? Fifty? One hundred? I do not know, but more would probably be better.
  • I would have tried harder to get Picard's biography deleted. Picard is a very minor figure. She is one of over 1000 MIT faculty, and most of those have no biography. She is one of many thousands of IEEE fellows, and most of those have no biography. Her biography typically gets at most 5 hits or so a day, which is a very low number, including those from Wikipedia Review where Moulton has been waging a campaign for months and months.
By comparison, until recently we were lacking a large number of biographies of Nobel Prize Winners; are we even caught up now? What sort of quality are they? Does anyone claim Picard is more notable than a Nobel Prize Winner? By comparison, until recently we were lacking a large number of biographies of the members of the National Academy of Sciences and fellows of the Royal Society. How are we doing on creating those? Are they more than stubs? Surely we cannot claim that Picard is more notable than the average member of the NAS. To put this much time and energy into Picard is ludicrous, particularly if we are trying to be a serious encyclopedia.
Perhaps Picard's biography should even be deleted now. Is it really worth all the drama and fighting? Can someone really honestly tell me she is more notable than hundreds if not thousands of other academics at Harvard and Caltech and MIT and Princeton and the Institute for Advanced Studies and the University of Chicago and Cambridge and Oxford and the Sorbonne and Australian National University and Stanford and Berkeley and NYU and so on? Please, it isn't even worth discussing.
  • On top of this, there are many problems with Wikipedia policies that contributed to this situation. I will not list these here, but I am working with others to try to brainstorm about methods for identifying and correcting them.

There are likely many other problems and mistakes as well in this situation. But this will serve as a start for those who are so desperate.--Filll (talk) 13:19, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Advice to Moulton[edit]

I guarantee if you do not agree to follow the rules and take instruction in how to behave here, you will have the same experience you did the last time. You might even be shown the door quicker.

I know you want to "improve" the system, according to your own intuition and undestanding. My interpretation is that you want to dictate rules to tens of thousands of other users, based on nothing besides the fact that you are Moulton. That is not how a collaborative, consensus-driven enterprise like Wikipedia works. The fact that you even believe it is possible when you do not understand the system is mind-boggling, and shows you are not much of a "scientist" or "researcher" at all.

If you want to try to improve the system (as I and many others do), you have to understand it first. And you will not understand it by sitting over at WR and throwing stones at Wikipedia with other malcontents. And you will not understand the system by demanding that you be allowed to disobey all the policies and practices and conventions, and to insult others at will who are only trying to follow the rules, and do so with impunity and no consequences.

I would suggest that you do what I did; pick some very bland topics you are interested in, like the theatre, or some playwrite, or chess, or Arabic poetry and build up a few FA and GA articles over a few months. Get at least 20,000 edits under your belt, and write a good 100 articles or more.

Then try a controversial article in an area in which you are not personally involved, like "race and IQ" or "chiropractic" or "electronic voice phenomenon". Get at least 500 edits on the talk page of a controversial article trying to broker a consensus between warring factions and get the article closer to the standards that Wikipedia aspires to (not your standards, but Wikipedia's).

Put some time in closing threads at the COI noticeboard or a few other noticeboards.

Then and only then will you have enough background to begin suggesting changes to Wikipedia's culture. Then and only then will you understand enough for your statements on improving Wikipedia to make any sense. Then and only then will anyone pay attention to you at all, and even then you will mostly be ignored.

That is reality. Deal with it. Otherwise, you are like an illiterate high school dropout demanding a chaired position in the English Department at Harvard. It ain't gunna happen.--Filll (talk | wpc) 15:05, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Who has looked at the Moulton situation?[edit]

Actually quite a few more than this, but here are a few who have looked in detail:

  1. Mike Godwin [2]
  2. unblock-en-l (Sarah Ewart and George Herbert)
  3. Durova
  4. ornis
  5. dave souza
  6. JoshuaZ
  7. KillerChihuahua
  8. Guettarda
  9. Hrafn
  10. OrangeMarlin
  11. Addhoc
  12. Jim62sch
  13. Odd nature
  14. MastCell
  15. Sheffield Steel
  16. Moreschi
  17. Baegis
  18. Kenneth Chang (NYT)
  19. THF
  20. Avb
  21. Kenosis
  22. FeloniousMonk
  23. Filll
  24. Athaenara
  25. ZayZayEM
  26. Yamla
  27. Mercury
  28. SwatJester
  29. Kirill
  30. jpgordon
  31. FloNight
  32. James F.
  33. Mathew Brown (Morven)
  34. Raul654
  35. jossi
  36. Merzbow
  37. FassalF
  38. Charles Mathews
  39. Paul August
  40. Lar
  41. WAS 4.250
  42. Kim Bruning
  43. Everyking
  44. The Uninvited
  45. Wesley R. Elsberry
  46. Guy
  47. Blueboy96
  48. Sarah
  49. R. Baley.
  50. Toddst1
  51. Sandstein
  52. Mangojuice
  53. Ned Scott

Interestingly, those on this list all came to roughly the same conclusion.

Efforts to unblock disruptive editors[edit]

One of the defects of Wikipedia is that there are a large body of editors who are unfamiliar with disruptive editing and controversial articles, but who are willing nonetheless to lecture those with extensive experience in these areas about how they are wrong. Now this in itself would not necessarily be bad, except the inexperienced editors have the ability and the will to force other editors to deal with disruptive elements, wasting their time. There are no consequences for this.

As a community, we have only limited resources. Is it reasonable to volunteer 100 hours of someone else's volunteer time to deal with a mess you helped create? How about 500 hours? 1000 hours? Currently, there are no clear consequences to this sort of behavior. The enabling of destructive and disruptive editors is almost as negative for the project as the editors creating the disruption, if not more so. One enabler can help introduce 20 disruptive editors onto Wikipedia, burning up countless hours of other's time to deal with the ensuing nonsense. And they can do so with impunity. There is nothing to stop them from doing it again and again and again.

However, this gets worse. Many new editors encounter disruptive editors, and leave an article that they have expertise in. Or leave Wikipedia altogether, disgusted. Some respond with uncivil comments and are quickly blocked. Although many claim that civility problems create a bad working environment and discourage new editors, there is no evidence of this. Many of the new editors themselves exhibit civility problems when they encounter a tendentious editing environment, with edit warring, obvious trolls and disruptive editors pushing unencyclopedic agendas.

How many productive editors or potentially productive new editors is Wikipedia willing to sacrifice to introduce one disruptive editor into Wikipedia unfettered? How many hours of other editors time is Wikipedia willing to waste to cope with the introduction of one disruptive editor? These are important considerations and it should not be thought that there are not subtantial costs to the project to allowing disruptive editors to have free rein.

Other sites with a problem with Moulton[edit]

  • [3] Blocked at World Crossing for revealing personal information of anonymous editors, July 2005
  • [4] Blocked from posting at Wikipedia Review, July 2008
  • User_talk:FeloniousMonk/Arbcom_evidence#Moulton is a deleted page that provided several other examples.
  • [5] [6] is a thread on Wikinews where editors became sufficiently irritated with Moulton that a block was threatened, June 2008