User talk:Abd/Archive 2

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User talk:Abd/Archive 1


The funny thing about Wikipedia

The funny thing about Wikipedia is that in a way, what happens here is not important and yet, in another way, it's very important. Reasons why it's not important:

  • It's just a hobby, since no matter what we do, we're won't get any monetary compensation, and we're unlikely to gain much off-wiki prestige for it given the lack of prominent bylines and the collaborative nature of the project;
  • Any contributions (negative or positive) we do make can be readily reverted;
  • Nno matter what reputation we get, we can always restart under new usernames;
  • We're unlikely to ever meet the people we correspond with in person, and we can sever ties with all of them at any time without any impact on our lives in the real world.
  • If we leave, there can always be someone to take our place, because the information we contribute is from other secondary sources anyway.

And so on. And yet in some ways, it's very important, if only because these articles are ranked so high in Google searches. What will happen if Google ever changes their algorithm, to where that's not the case? Makes you wonder! Add that to the list of reasons why it's potentially unimportant.

Anyway, there's often a temptation to be lighthearted about the whole thing, and yet sometimes it's easy to get offended when you see people treat your work and contributions like it's nothing, when it meant a lot to you. (I use "you" not in the sense of you personally, but anyone.) I can see why things get taken the wrong way. I also agree with what you say, that when you count up all the hours spent on this encyclopedia, it is not a particularly efficient way to produce articles. It really is mostly a pastime, when it comes down to it. A lot of the internal stuff is as much for intellectual stimulation as for anything else. At least, that's the way I look at it. From the beginning, it's been a grand experiment, which followed a failed experiment (Nupedia). Actually, according to Larry Sanger, Nupedia could have had a chance under the reforms they were planning on making, but then Wikipedia came along.

In the end, we're all going to die and the whole earth will be engulfed by the sun, presumably destroying Wikipedia along with it, unless we send it out into space. Man, are all these embarrassing edits going to readable by aliens someday? Yikes. Something to think about before hitting the Save page button, eh? What if we send a space ark to another solar system, and Wikipedia is one of the main remnants of Earth civilization with which they can occupy their time on the centuries-long trip as sub-light-speed to their destination? What will they think of us? Will they get depressed about human nature as they read the RFAs? Maybe they will learn something from it. (talk) 05:08, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Just to let you know, it is a clear violation of policy to restart with a new username if you have been indefinitely blocked (or currently blocked). If you want to come back, you have to convince someone to remove your block. You will probably be allowed to start with a new account but it is not acceptable to do so while you are blocked. So it is not true that no matter what reputation you have, you can restart under a new username. Also, using an account until the point where you have annoyed the community enough that you are liable to be blocked only to abandon it and then do the same with your new account is similarly liable to be construed as a violation of policy Nil Einne (talk) 06:46, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

The implications of the RfA

I've been deliberately making it difficult for the RfA to pass, simply by being thoroughly open and not keeping my mouth shut. Opposition to me was going to surface, for sure, and the experience thing was almost certain to shoot this down.

But consider what happens if I'm nominated again, with higher edit count? I would not need to speak to all those issues again. I'd still answer direct questions, but succinctly. The bulk of the opposition has been based purely on edit experience. Without that problem, there would be many less oppose, and many neutrals moving to support.

Many users are assuming that because I'm answering all oppose votes that raise a new issue, I'm arguing or trying to convince. In a new RfA, I would totally abstain from even the appearance of that, confining myself to succinct answers to questions. I think it would be a shoo-in, unless I massively screw up in my editing, which I doubt I'll do. I've pretty much done the worst, I think.

But I remain unconvinced that I need the tools for anything. I don't expect to do Recent Changes patrol. As I mentioned, I'll help if asked, but it isn't where I'm seeking to go. Nevertheless, lots of good stuff is happening.

It's weird, really, that Yellowbeard is pushing so hard. For what? He's bringing a lot more community attention to himself; he'd never been blocked before. I think that he decided that the account was useless, he couldn't use it for its original purpose, it's a throwaway now. So he's just playing with this, seeing how outrageous he can get, wasting time, doing all the kind of stuff that I would, indeed, expect from Salsman. That ID is by no means certain, but I still consider it highly likely.

Connection with FairVote is a near-certainty. I put some argument on Yellowbeard's Talk. Together with the warnings and the block, he's deleted it, but of course it is all in History. He's reverted warnings before, with "rvv."

Checkuser is not reliable. I won't describe how to defeat it, on-wiki, but it certainly can be done, all it takes is some resources, definitely he'd be able to do it, and he had announced an intention to partition his activities, since before he had been easily detected by just looking at what accounts he edited. Quick registration, immediately editing the same articles with the same POV and the same wikilawyering. It won't be so easy in the future. --Abd (talk) 07:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

RfA / Sasparilla

Unsolicited response to:

I apologize for any wikifuss caused by my nominator, Sarsaparilla. I have no clue what he is doing with this, beyond some kind of WP:POINT. Because I was led to look at this because of reference to his alleged "vote-trading" in my RfA, I reviewed nominee's contributions and voted above to support as a result, not that I see it as necessary, there seems to be little serious opposition and lots of support. Good luck! --Abd (talk) 04:46, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Don't fret over this. Sasparilla said s/he confused User:Kim Dent-Brown with User:Kim Bruning. If you knew Kim Bruning -- whom I greatly admire and has an impressive ability to stir up trouble --, you'd likely get why this makes a difference. For a starting point, check out my first RfA. But in any case, it's got nothing to do with you, and I think most people understand that. - Revolving Bugbear 22:15, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Look, I've been working with "community consensus" for many, many years. It's not like ordinary democracy; here, it *all* works together to improve the community understanding and expression. That incident gave me an opportunity to show more of what I was made of, and I think I got another vote or two because of it. But I really don't care about the votes, as such, what is important, particularly at this point, is that I stand, in a sense, naked before the examination. The incident gave User:Yellowbeard one more opportunity to display before the community what I've been dealing with, in this case -- as in many others -- convoluted wikilawyering presenting the most ABF spin possible. (He has been cooperating with, or is from, an outside political action organization that considers me a very dangerous enemy, and has done more to damage the overall neutrality of Wikipedia than has yet become widely visible, it will take time to undo it. Wikipedia was, for a long time, used by these people, very effectively, they are skilled professionals and very good at what they do.) If I were to try to make this point myself, I'd hear, from many, WP:BATTLE. However, battles are affairs where two sides duke it out, and break the furniture. I'm not breaking any furniture, though I might confuse some with my tomes in Talk. My "weapon" is NPOV (as I understand it, of course, but that is true for any editor), and my guardian is the community. I listen to the community, which doesn't mean that I necessarily give undue weight to the loudest voices. Again, thanks. (I'll look at Kim Bruning, it might explain more what Sarsaparilla did; since I expect to be cooperating with him in other projects, I need to know if I'm dealing with a dangerously erratic loose cannon, or if there was some method to his madness and he merely made a mistake.) With appreciation, --Abd (talk) 23:56, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
According to loose cannon, the term means "an irresponsible and reckless individual whose behaviour (either intended or unintended) endangers the group he or she belongs to." Unfortunately, that does describe me in this instance but I will try to not be that way in the future. It was poor judgment in time/place to be joking around. Anyway, lesson learned. Please forgive me. Sarsaparilla —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Look, if I can claim that User:Yellowbeard is being very useful, trying his hardest to make trouble, certainly I can think even more of you. Looks to me like the whole affair gained me some support. Just don't do it again. Yes, you are fired as my "campaign manager," please don't nominate me again, it will have to be someone else next time, if it happens at all. On the other hand, you do, in fact, have better things to do than try to convince the community to hand me a mop. (Even though the floor is dirty.) Let's have some tea and talk about it. On the appropriate project page.
Everything I've written in the RfA is true to the best of my knowledge or understanding. (It's a bit ironic to be considered sarcastic when I just say what I see, but I'm used to it, happens all the time, and this is quite common with ADHD people, we are different, yet people expect us to be the same, and will project normal meanings on the words. I.e., if a normal person said that, it would be sarcastic, perhaps some kind of insult. (Normal people know how to avoid these implications, we don't even think of them, or at least it's quite difficult for me. I see them later, of course, when my attention is on those things. Imagine what this does to marriages -- when it is not understood and accepted.) --Abd (talk) 01:05, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Intriguing comments

See User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_32#all_sides_can_agree_in_principle_to_an_orderly_process_of_making_a_determination_of_what_to_do (talk) 04:10, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Quite like what I'm proposing. I've been saying this is inevitable, that the only question is how long it will take (and it's important; the lack of FA/DP process -- or something better -- is resulting in ongoing damage, though that is certainly nothing new (and by this I mean in the world, not just on Wikipedia). If FA/DP process is adopted here, I'd say it's all over, within a few years -- very few -- it will be influencing major political process.

And it seems they got the core: advice using delegable proxy -- they did use the term "liquid democracy," which generally refers to DP instead of mere proxy voting -- plus retaining individual responsibility for making actual binding or controlling decisions.

This is very, very important. DP has been around for a few years, but my contribution was combining it, as a proposal, with Free Association traditions, whereas every other worker had thought of using it for actual political elections, where power is transferred.

Using DP in an FA structure makes security much less of an issue. Quite simply, it's possible to analyze a vote expansion by proxy list in many ways, and then to compare the various analyses to detect anomalies due to sock puppets or other problems. Behind it all is the community, which actually holds the power and exercises it through myriads of individual actions. They are thinking of the inward flow of advice, which is an important part of it, but only half. There is also the outward flow of advice. A proxy-client relationship is one of mutual trust -- that's why the consent to communication aspect is so important -- and thus the views and responses of the one may be associated with those of the other. It works in both direction, but most effectively *outward*, since it is the proxy who has been chosen by the client; on average the proxy will be more informed or more wise or more worth of trust than the client. -- certainly not always and just on average, but it is enough that there is some general bias in this direction; causing high-level proxies to generally be good representatives of the community. As an example of ourward direction, supposed, suddenly, there is some financial emergency. If anyone could get the users to contribute rapidly, it would be the proxies.

As I have described many times, the relationship between the "fellowship" of Alcoholics Anonymous, i.e., the membership, which operates the local meetings, each one independent and *never* subsidized from the top or even one meeting supporting another (except through meeting lists so that members can find meetings), and the corporation that owns the copyrights to the publications, AA World Services, Inc., is a totally voluntary one. However, AAWS is "responsible" to the membership, because the organization is set up so that it is totally dependent on income from donations, publications being sold at not much more than cost. If AAWS sersiously deviated from an AA Conference consensus, they could be in trouble: the local groups don't need the central organization for anything, for, from time to time, local intergroups do publish their own material, they could replace all the central office functions in a flash. But they don't do it, because there is an understanding that a Conference consensus (2/3 vote minimum and they will debate and amend long beyond that point, seeking greater consensus) is binding on the corporation. But it's not *legally* binding, nor could it be, for legal reasons if nothing else. A "community" cannot take responsibility for the fulfilment of contracts or the satisfaction of other requirements of law. If the WP community voted to put up, say, Copyvio material, the community could not be sued or prosecuted. But the Foundation could be. They are legally responsible, so they must have the legal authority.

I'm really surprised by this exchange. It is far more than I hoped could happen at this point, though it might go nowhere. --Abd (talk) 04:49, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Another idea

One way in which users might look for suitable proxies is by running an automated search through discussions to see which editors they have generally voted on the same side as. This type of tool might also be a good way to find sockpuppet activity. Even if the delegable proxy idea doesn't get approved, this type of tool might be a way to estimate the true level of support for something by looking at the number of users for a proposal, and then multiplying that number by some formula based on the number of nonparticipating users who typically side with them in other debates and the degree to which those nonparticipating users have tended to agree with them. What do you think?

A downside I see is that there might be a bunch of noncontroversial debates, e.g. "Keep the article on George W. Bush," which ten users unanimously agree on, and there is one on "Keep the article on my school principal Joe Schmoe," which only one of those ten who agreed to keep the Bush article participates in, but his opinion is artificially weighted more because he sided with the majority in some noncontroversial debates. Is there a way to overcome this? Ron Duvall :(talk) 18:01, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Trying to figure out how we will use delegable proxy is like being an ancient multicellular organism, relying on chemical messaging through diffusion, how a "nervous system" would be used.... We do speculate on it, and there are obviously ideas to work on, but ... a similar question has to do with knowledge. Sometimes the question is asked about research, "How would this be used?" The long-term applications won't be visible initially, except rarely and dimly.
One of the most common objections to delegable proxy is "what about sock puppets?" In formal control systems, the security question must be addressed, it is critical. However, in the Free Association context, where votes don't control, rather they advise individuals and servants, sock puppet advice is going to be awfully fishy, and when one tries to discuss the advice with the sock puppets, the behavior gets strange. It was raised above, what about registration of accounts to create clients for a proxy, then new accounts, etc., until there are a large number of phony clients? Well, there is nothing that keeps anyone from analyzing a proxy table with edit count history. We could make it so, that placing a proxy assignment in a proxy table is consent for a servant of the community to request response from a user to the user's talk page. And then someone with checkuser could pretty quickly whack relatively unsophisticated sock puppets.
As to sophisticated ones, who can set up systems in ways I'm surely not going to describe, the bottom line is that the votes don't control. A servant may disregard an apparent consensus quite safely by simply addressing the "arguments" given. The servant may, for example, query other users whom the servant trusts as to what they think about it. If there is a significant discrepancy between this segment of the community, it may be suspected that something is going on, and then one could examine registration times, proxy assignment times, edit histories, etc. It does not have to be rigorous and foolproof. And, unless some discrepancy appears between the actual arguments presented and the votes, nothing at all need be done.
The best check for sock puppet activity would be a community consensus that doesn't make sense. There is a huge difference between the wisdom of the community, and the individual opinions and arguments of a single puppet master.
FA/DP is an interface between the most advanced election method known -- according to some election experts -- and the Free Association concept, which closely parallels what the Wikipedia community already is (as distinct from but in close cooperation with the Foundation). Implementation is voluntary, costs nothing, requires no policy changes, creates no bureaucracy. Operational cost (meaning community labor invested in using it) does rise as the scale of use rises, but that is true for everything we do; there is no significant operational cost if it isn't used, no overhead. By applying delegable proxy in the Free Association context, we avoid having to deal with the much thornier problems of security. Yet it could be far from ineffective. Consider revolutions which happened in modern times when the people decided to all go out into the streets at the same time, I'm thinking of Iran and the Philippines. I don't know much about the Philippines, but... what happened in Iran was that there were no communications systems in place to prevent the takeover of the revolution by highly motivated and ruthless ideologues at nodes of influence. Tiananmen Square in China failed because there was no means for the students to coherently act in negotiations with the government, which was negotiating with them, an unheard-of success. If they had had FA/DP, I'd suggest, they would have been able to find consensus, including consensus on where to draw the line on what they were demanding. Instead, the few student leaders who understood the dimensions of the problem and what was practically realizable were unable to deliver a coherent decision to the government, and the hotheads who made the loudest noises, demanding nothing short of the total humiliation of the people in the government, were able to drown out the voices of reason and compromise and consensus. And the government realized, I'm sure, that if they gave in to this incoherent anarchy, they'd have a very dangerous chaos, and so they called in the Army, with tragic results.
Key to FA/DP is that an FA takes no controversial positions, no matter how many "votes" are obtained. It can change its collective mind in a flash, because it isn't bound to precedent; but it is very unlikely to do this, with DP, in other than a very sober way. That's because power is not collected, the power remains entirely in the hands of individual members, except for a very minor amount of power delegated to trusted servants. Because there is no centralized power to speak of, there are no nodes to corrupt. A high-level proxy may lose his or her mind, and others just disregard the proxy. (Advice in votes is generally to servants, who will delete, block, protect, etc., but there is another kind of advice, which is from proxy to client; I would give the greatest weight to proxies where the proxy does not have many, many direct clients, for, if so, the communications between proxy and client will be weak and the votes therefore less clearly representative. If a proxy starts advising the client in ways the client does not understand, the client will ignore the advice, generally, or at least enough of them will do so that the advice is not powerful. And the proxy will lose clients, possibly rapidly. What would you do if your proxy told you that, say, we should boycott Wikipedia, and you asked why, and the answer wasn't satisfactory? Continue to trust this person? I wouldn't! Unless the arguments were good enough to convince me.
--Abd (talk) 19:25, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
That's the theory. In practice, it starts with an understanding of FA concepts, which many on Wikipedia already do understand in practice. And *then* we look at what DP could do. And we start very simply, by creating a good proxy table, easy to use, and then see what people do with it. It's about far more than "votes," that part I'm sure of. --Abd (talk) 19:25, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Prod discussion

Hello, can you please provide some insight into representativeness of AfDs and some of the other issues... Wikipedia_talk:Proposed_deletion#PROD_scales.2C_so_scale_it.21

If it is true that participation in deletion debates is already representative, as some people say, then it makes we wonder what use delegable proxy will have in AfDs? And if the answer is not much, then where else will it come in handy? Are there other debates that are less representative? Ron Duvall (talk) 05:34, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Your RfA was unsuccessful

I am sorry to inform you that your request for adminship was unsuccessful. I hope you will take onboard the concerns raised by those opposing and will consider running again in the future when you have feel you have addressed them. Best wishes, WjBscribe 08:27, 17 February 2008 (UTC)


Are the cases of Wikipedia:Association of Members' Advocates and Wikipedia:Esperanza significant from a free association perspective? I was a bit concerned about the langauge given at the latter, "This essay serves as a warning to all editors that existing projects must be open and transparent to all editors at all times, not to be overly hierarchical lest they are to meet a fate similar to Esperanza's." Besides the concerns we talked about earlier (i.e. was a genuine consensus reached to MfD them) is this something that could affect the success of delegable proxy? I know that you often view free association and delegable proxy as being tied together.

The AMA pages seems to be fine as is, but my thought is that if Esperanza is unprotected, I might make some tweaks to the wording. The community might allow that, or they might revert, in which case I would talk it out on the talk page, and we could get a dialogue going. My thought is that in general, we shouldn't prohibit free associations of any kind, unless they're being disruptive. Lack of openness/transparency and hierarchicalness don't seem like inherently disruptive things. Given that everything done here is recorded and public available, the former is not really even possible, unless people are doing underhanded stuff off-wiki. And I tend to look at off-wiki stuff like Vegas. What happens off-wiki stays off-wiki. Ron Duvall (talk) 19:11, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Here is the issue, and why Esperanza and AMA are of interest. Read the MfD discussions. The grounds for delete were that they were a waste of time. But whose time? A group of users wanted to save other users from wasting time. To save them, essentially, from themselves. Why? There were a reasonable number of Keep votes. But there were also votes of the nature of "Nuclear delete, stomp it out, scatter the ashes, and salt the ground." From where comes the intensity of this response? I'd say the only explanation is fear, most likely, fear of losing control. Control? But nobody controls Wikipedia! Or so they think. Actually, Wikipedia is controlled by a fairly large oligarchy of users, as oligarchies go, but still a very small percentage of editors. Anyone can gain admission to the group, but the price is high. These are all facts, not judgments. Commonly, such oligarchies are beneficial; however, they are also, typically, quite conservative and even reactionary. Threaten their control, they can become violent. In defense of all that is good and true, of course. We do not confront them. But reality might confront them.
Esperanza and AMA were defectively organized, and this made them vulnerable; plus they were inefficient, which seriously weakened their support. Even though it was oppressive, there is a certain logic to their deletion, and I don't support, at this time, an attempt to resurrect them. Unless a group of actual members decide to do it. And if they do, I'd suggest that they look at Delegable proxy for organizational hints. And given the history, do it off-wiki. Besides, mailing lists are much more efficient for rapid, broad communication. If it is FA/DP, it won't make stupid mistakes, it won't be disruptive, and it won't create a bureaucracy (though servants may be chosen, directly responsible to members), and it won't divert significant resources from the project. And it will still be opposed by some, but the real reasons will be more apparent.
--Abd (talk) 19:36, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I can has thankspam?

Proxy table templates

They obviously still have some technical glitches and deficiencies that need to be worked out... I wonder if there are analogous templates that I could borrow from. Hmm.

Documentation should of course be added as well; the thing about that is that the documentation will also be transcluded wherever that template is transcluded unless you tell it not to. You can specify that in certain namespaces, for instance, certain text will show up and in others it won't. Ron Duvall (talk) 04:22, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I stayed up till like 3 AM trying to figure out these templates... all this <noinclude>, <includeonly>, etc. stuff... I haven't found anyplace that documents it in a way that's easily understood. What I would like to do is make it so that the Row template will give you a little preview of what it's going to look like in the table. I.e., it should show you a little mini-table on your proxy page, rather than how it is now. I think we can use some of the magic words to hide that confusing stuff that shows up now at User:Abd/Proxy now and provide something that looks better. We may need to have yet another template or two that transclude into the row template. There should also be an easy/intuitive way to add the acceptance, maybe by pasting a subst in there somewhere. I'm a little burnt out on it for now, feel free to take over if you want. Maybe you know some other people who might be interested in helping out with this project? I contact that Bryan guy from meta but haven't heard back, nor from any of the other authors of that material cited at delegable proxy. What about James Green-Armytage? Do you know how to get in touch with him? Well, talk to you later. Ron Duvall (talk) 06:48, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Cool, so now that you've nominated me as proxy, does this mean I can go around to debates saying, "Yo, y'all are just going to have to bend to my will because it's not just me talking, I'm speaking on behalf of Abd Lomax. You see this proxy table over here? Yup, that's his John Hancock right there. See that diff, that proves it's legit. OK now where was I? All right, I want this article kept, and I want the speedy deletion template removed from this article over here that I wrote. That's right, I can do that now because it's not the author doing it; it's Abd. Also, I want you to order me a large supreme pan pizza from Papa John's because I'm getting pretty hungry. And if you do that, MAYBE I won't nominate your userpage for deletion. And don't even try to edit war with me. When I revert, it's really like only half a revert because I can revert once for me and the next time for Abd, and we can just alternate like that, so really when you're dealing with me, I've got the six revert rule going on while you can only change it back thrice. Yeah buddies, there's a new sheriff in town and his name is Ron Duvall." Ron Duvall (talk) 08:23, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Respected User:BigDeal, this is an automated notice from AdminBot User:Robocop. My Revert Radar clocked you at 4RRs per day in a 3RR per day zone, and you had not obtained a waiver decal from WP:3RREXCEPTIONS; therefore I am autoblocking you for 24 hours; you may appeal by blah blah blah, but this block will expire automatically in 24 hours without any action needed on your part. My apologies for any inconvenience; we know that sometimes actions such as yours are justified, and this autoblock will not be used against you in any future process. Sincerely, --Robocop.
But, officer, I was representing User:Abd in two of those reverts, please see the Proxy Table. --BigDeal.
My limited AI capabilities detected a probable excuse #136, Claim of Proxy Rights. See WP:PROXYFALLACIES. Proxies do not gain special user rights unless specifically granted by the community, and special reversion rights are generally allowed only for uninvolved administrators. My apologies for any inconvenience. Sincerely, --Robocop.
But, officer, I'm blah, blah, blah.
Tell it to the judge. My apologies for any inconvenience. Sincerely, --Robocop.
[request for review template, reason: My reverts were partly representing my clients] --BigDeal
I have reviewed your request above. As was explained in the PROXYFALLACIES page, proxies on Wikipedia do not act on behalf of users and holding proxies confers no special privileges; and even if we were to consider that you reverted twice on behalf of your client, this would be meat puppetry, and, as the active party, you remain personally responsible for your actions. (If you requested your client to revert twice, and this became known or could be seen from patterns of behavior, you could both be sanctioned, unless you were able to successfully defend the action as necessary upon review.) As you did not assert necessity in your appeal, and did not show due diligence in considering the information that was presented to you, I am not only not granting it, I am adding an additional 24-hour block for frivolous appeal. As always, you may appeal any administrative action at blah blah blah. Please understand that we must conserve administrator time in order to deal with the scale of Wikipedia. Next time, when a human or AdminBot gives you instructions, as found above with "blah blah blah," please read them carefully. Please note that short blocks, automatically applied, do not prejudice your record, they merely make the maintenance of the project more efficient, and the primary block by the bot was not in any way punitive. However, frivolous appeal consumes valuable human time, and thus must incur some cost for the appellant or it will spread like spam. If you find flaws in the operation of the AdminBots, in Wikipedia policies and functions, or in my personal response as an administrator, please see blah blah blah for how you can help improve how the project works. Your efforts at building and maintaining the encyclopedia are deeply appreciated. Sincerely, --BoredToTearsAtHavingToExplainThisYetAgain.

Seriously, short answer, no, it doesn't mean that. But some, apparently, think it would. One aspect of WP:AGF, commonly violated, is assuming that the proposals and ideas of other users are not stupid, that if an objection is obvious, the other user probably thought of it. Given that there always exists an unbounded universe of spurious objections to any proposal, it's impossible for a proposer to consider and be explicit about all of them, and so someone who does not consider the idea in terms of how it might work, instead of how it might not, at least for preliminary consideration, will often scream No, Not ever, Over My Dead Body, etc., at the first hint of something new.

There is a major flaw in AfDs, RfAs, and similar process: votes before arguments have been laid out. ArbComm doesn't do that, so why do the rest of us? What has happened is that Wikipedia, being put together initially by people with little experience in standard deliberative process, (or with what is common, negative experience of it being badly or abusively used) which is designed for efficiency at the same time as for appropriately thorough consideration of issues, didn't incorporate the wisdom of centuries in what was built. That's fine when the scale is small, it will increasingly break down as the scale increases. I'd say it's already badly broken; but because there are large numbers of editors willing to put in endless hours reinventing the wheel, it still functions reasonably well. But it's colossally inefficient, and those grinding hours will fade. In a way, Wikipedia is like a giant chain letter/pyramid scheme. The project feeds on the enthusiasm of new editors, some of whom put in extraordinary amounts of time with no compensation other than barnstars; while the project is growing, as these editors burn out, they are replaced by new ones. At a certain point, which probably has not yet been reached, the project reaches population limits, and growth stops or declines. If this is not anticipated, collapse can be rapid, as more and more mopping falls upon fewer and fewer users, who burn out more rapidly.

What would be suggested by deliberative tradition: (1) Action is proposed by a user. (2) Action is seconded by another user. (I'd recommend that proxies not serve for this purpose, except for superproxies, which I doubt will exist. (A superproxy represents an absolute majority of participating users.) (3) Debate takes place. Arguments are presented. Proxies are irrelevant. (4) Debate is closed by vote. Proxies may count at judgment of closing servant. (5) Arguments are summarized. (This is optional, but could be done by the community of participating users, or by the closing servant. This would be an NPOV section or subpage.) (6) Debate closes, Voting opens. Voting should be in a format that can be easily analyzed if desired. Proxies, if any participate, vote the same as anyone else, the vote does not mention proxy count. (7) Voting closes and servant rules on outcome. Servant may consider proxies, but should explicitly state if this has been done, otherwise the presumption would be that the outcome was based solely on the arguments.

It is possible that votes would refer specifically to arguments. "Per nom" is an ad-hominem argument and should be strongly discouraged. (Though it could really mean, I agree with the arguments presented with the vote of the nominator, and I take responsibility for the accuracy of any facts alleged by him or her. But, really, it should be explicit about the arguments, not the person who presented them. It takes little longer to say "based on 1, 2, and 5" than to say "per username")

In standard process, there are bypasses that eliminate a number of these steps for efficiency. For example, a user proposes an offensive deletion. If nobody seconds it, it dies with no wasted time. If someone seconds, anyone may Object to the Consideration of the Question. An administrator might at that point suspend deliberation and might protect the page, or might wait for a second. If it is seconded, the administrator should protect the page and open a voting page on the Objection. That's all that goes on that page, votes. No comments. The whole point is not to waste time considering frivolous or offensive questions. A majority sustains the objection. A meeting chair in many environments might simply rule the objection out of order, or accept it, always subject to appeal. However, tradition is that if there has been any debate, Objection is moot. Therefore what I would suggest is that any debate be out of order until an administrator -- or other accepted "chair" -- has formally opened it (allowing at least a minimal time for objections).

While this may seem complicated and the present system simple, in fact, in practice, the traditional system is quite simple and efficient, and the present system wastes loads of editor time debating the obvious (and often repeating arguments to make them seem more a matter of "consensus." The rules for deliberation were worked out over centuries of practice in peer assemblies. Many aspects of this already exist in Wikipedia process, but others, including some crucial ones. are missing (don't debate proposals that haven't been seconded; if a proposal can't find a second, it is certainly useless; nothing prevents a user from privately communicating with others, or using user Talk pages, to stir up some support). WP:SNOW handles some, but it would be much more efficient -- practically no admin time involved, really, and the only editor time wasted is that of the one who proposed the unseconded motion -- to let unseconded proposals die from lapse with no second.

A mature system will incorporate practically all of what is present practice, in fact, and will just nudge it a little. There are two ways that proxies affect, possibly, the described process: the "judge" or "chair" or "administrator" may decide to consider them (and probably should if there is no evidence that the proxy assignments are warped, but "consider" doesn't mean "follow like a robot," it means that, if votes matter to the administrator, using proxy exapansions makes sense *and is scalable*. The other way is that I expect we would see, particularly if the above practice became routine, less participation in, for example, AfDs, deeper, more cogent and more fully expressed arguments in all directions, and fewer direct voters, but, if proxies are considered, much wider representation in the process. If we get to the point that proxy assignments become routine, quorum rules become possible, preventing small but active minorities from dominating obscure corners. But that is highly speculative at this point. In large direct democracies, quorums tend to be miniscule, because of the difficulty of assembling them. (Town Meeting in my town had a 5% of registered voters quorum, and frequently had trouble meeting it.) If delegable proxy is used, and representation considered for quorum, it could become easy to assemble a quorum, and quorum could be much larger. It even becomes possible to require an Absolute majority for a proposal to pass. Democracy on steroids.

And then we get into hierarchical structures, which biology routinely invented as scale increased. The encyclopedia itself should be hierarchically organized, which hypertext makes simple. Previously, the "sum of human knowledge" was, encyclopedically, not the sum, but the top level of a hierarchy, consisting of validated information accepted by consensus of those in the fields involved. To go deeper, one would consider a library, with, presumably, volumes dealing with specific subjects, and these volumes are arranged for popular and specialist use (the latter require pre-existing knowledge, generally, to understand), and then, beyond that, peer-reviewed primary sources, and beyond that various collections of ordinary primary sources. It's all "human knowledge," but the encyclopedia was, necessarily, the "sum," as in the sense of "summary."

A librarian would throw in the trash none of the above, except for true trash, but would categorize it. Someone coming into the library and wanting to learn about a topic would not be referred to the primary source collection, they would be first referred to a top-level article on it. That top-level article would link to sources that access the next level, deeper examinations of the subject. With increasing depth comes the increasing possibility of controversy and disagreement, and the variety of what can be found at each level increases. However, if the interest of the reader is narrow, the reader should be able to go as deep as the reader cares, finding all the articles arranged. Depth indicates degree of consensus. Whatever is a matter of consensus is at a high level. What is at the lowest level is just like raw, uninterpreted sensory information. Most of us pay little attention to most of it. But when we need to, we can immediately access it. We only discard it, really, because of storage limits, we really cannot remember everything. But a librarian with practically infinite storage would solely be concerned with the categorization of knowledge for possible future access. Today's fancruft might turn out to be crucially important tomorrow. Well, probably not fancruft. But information about a local high school, submitted in good faith by some student? I see utterly no reason to delete it. Rather, it gets categorized into a layer for, say, unverified information of low notability. To see it, a reader must look for it.

The present Wikipedia is aspiring to be something between layers 1 and 2 in what I'm describing. It would like to be layer 1, but not only frequently falls short, the shortcomings are actually increasing, in my view; this is because there is no process for guaranteeing that articles are validated, that every source currently in the article has been checked, that every )notable) point of view has been represented in the process of editing the article. An article may gain GA status, which simply means that, at one point, it was decided this was appropriate. One edit later, it's no longer really good, possibly, but it will still have the status. Layers are the answer. There are separate articles, top layer is verified, validated. And protected. Underneath it is a working article anyone can edit. There is a process for moving text up from underneath to the top, but no individual editor, ordinarily, can do it (unless that editor has been specially empowered, and there could be a huge class of such editors, not admins, but still specially privileged, I think I've called them checkers before, or something like that. They are like fact-checkers with major publications. Responsible for what they do.

With such a system, there will still be transient glitches, because fact-checkers will turn out to be biased, errors will be made, etc. But the quality of the top-level Wikipedia would become such that it *could* be considered reliable, because articles would be, essentially, reviews of what is known in a field, peer-reviewed.

Classic encyclopedias had a method of checking articles that has largely been ignored and even rejected on Wikipedia. If something is unclear to the writers and editors, an expert was consulted. Sometimes several experts. Properly, the expert's opinion wasn't just inserted, raw, but that opinion was, still, a source, and might be credited. Peer-reviewed papers often refer to private correspondence with some person in the field. Verification is theoretically possible, but usually verification is negative: if the expert consulted doesn't pop up and say, "I never said such a thing," it is assumed to be accurate. AGF is actually how the world works.

Anyway, to administer all this will require far more sophistication than what we have. What we have is, in fact, a very solid basis for it all. In biology, collections of cells, all equal to each other, all performing each function as needed, without specialization, worked well for a long time, and even continue to be successful, but lost out in terms of major success once competition arose. They are called slime molds. It worked, for a time. However, specialization brought survival benefits; the messaging between cells was still through diffusion of messenger molecules, though. In order to develop higher intelligence, the ability to respond rapidly to analysis of the environment, networks of cells were necessary, optimized for communication speed. These cells, in the growth of the organism, sought each other out and connected, forming vast networks of cells connected at synapses. The brain is built from the bottom up through the individual habits of cells as they connect.

Delegable proxy builds a network of connections, each one based on some level of mutual trust, indicating rapport. Indicating, probably, good communication. Such a network can respond, at least in theory, to new challenges far more rapidly than less organized structures, but it not only does not need top-down control, such control will impair it and inhibit its function. There are some dangers down this road, for sure, but what I see is that the system can encounter them and handle them without difficulty. The key is the protection of staying with intelligence ("advice"); this is, quite simply, a realization of Montesquieu's vision of judicial independence, uncorrupted by power.

Ahem, where were we? --Abd (talk) 18:26, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I think the reason we don't make decisions in deletion debates the way Arbcom does (i.e. have discussion first, then a vote) is that Arbcom has a membership that is going to stay with the case from beginning to end. In xfDs, users float in, say something, and leave to participate in other stuff. Or they may go on vacation, and you won't see them for another month. Or you may never see them again. So we combine discussion and votes all into one. It would be like in a deliberative assembly, if during debate, people said, "Well, I vote against this motion, because _____," and the secretary duly noted down everyone's opinion, until debate closed. Imagine also that the transcripts of the debate are being kept on file, and people wander into the room, leaf through them, get up and speak for or against the motion, and then walk back out. Occasionally, someone gets up and says, "You know what, I change my mind, actually I favor this motion now based on what that member just said." Eventually, the chair says, "OK, the results are _____," making a decision on the strengths of the arguments, taking into account that the members who spoke earliest may not have taken into account what people said later, and that things may have occurred that render the original arguments for/against the proposal meaningless. E.g. the original proposal may have been to commend Mr. X for founding and providing the seed money for a new animal shelter; and halfway through the debate, after many people have spoken in favor of the motion, news arrives that Mr. X has been caught selling large quantities of stray kittens acquired through the animal shelter to animal testing laboratories; so the chair disregards those earlier opinions. If the chair is not sure about the strengths of the arguments, he may decide based on the numbers. Or he may say, "We didn't reach a decision," and the status quo remains. In any event, those who participate in debate represent a very small portion of the overall membership, and the quorum is perhaps four or five people, although that can be waived too if the chair thinks the result is a foregone conclusion. In fact, the chair can cut the discussion short and skip to the result if he thinks there's no question what the end result will be.
This system has a lot of drawbacks, but I'm not sure how to fix them. Some solutions introduce more problems, which is one of the reasons we see so little change here. Ron Duvall (talk) 20:03, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
The principle of voting before arguments have been completed is really, really bad. It is *voting*, pure and simple, it is not consideration of arguments. Take a look at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Blood electrification (2nd nomination). Most of the arguments presented with delete votes were totally spurious as grounds for deletion. Quackery is not a ground for deletion, if it's notable quackery, as this clearly is (from patents and from an FTC filing I found). Now, clearly, there were many more votes for deletion than for keep, and there was attack on the keep votes as having been canvassed. But the sheer number of delete votes raises suspicion of either canvassing, or some very special attention being paid to AfDs that I haven't seen elsewhere. There were substantive arguments presented, the resolution of which is not obvious (why was this article deleted?) The closing administrator gave no clue. Frankly, it looks like this admin just looked at the number of votes. If I didn't have more important things to do, I'd go for Deletion Review and the whole nine yards of process.... something stinks here. (Blood Electrification is definitely quackery, from everything I know, the "evidence" for it is about as weak as anything I've ever seen, but that is not at all the point. Equipment for Blood Electrification is being sold. People are being threatened with prosecution for advertising it. Somebody sees that, wants to know what it is, looks at Wikipedia. Nothing. Why? In an article on AIDS, blood electrification isn't sufficiently notable to mention. But on its own, it clearly is, as notable quackery, and the knowledge of quackery is its whole department in human knowledge.
Delegable proxy will have little immediate effect in this; but it could have an effect long-term. What I see happening would be that caucuses would start to coordinate participation in AfDs, but openly and cleanly. AfDs where the process wasn't properly conducted would start to see more Deletion Reviews. The whole thing about vote canvassing is ... weird. If votes don't matter, what's the harm with canvassing? Obviously, those who are complaining about canvassing think votes count. Are they right or are they wrong? Blood electrification, though, makes it look like they are right, and I strongly suspect canvassing or some kind of coordination among the anti-quackery caucus (which made a big deal out of some "they are trying to delete it again" messages among the few keep voters. Ron, in a word, the process sucks. --Abd (talk) 03:16, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

By the way, a lot of people are saying that Wikipedia:Delegable proxy currently stresses deletion debates when it should stress policy debates, which the system may be more suited for. I don't suppose you could do a rewrite to reflect that? I'm just plain tired at the moment... Ron Duvall (talk) 01:07, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

The point of delegable proxy is the network created. DP will be useful with AfD, but only, really, in certain marginal situations, and some of the early discussion did indeed focus on AfD, and it's really easy to misunderstand that we are not proposing some rigid system that makes voting more important than it is already. Rather, it is a way of estimating a little more deeply, community support for some resolution for an issue, or the degree to which a community has considered the issue. The details of applications aren't actually part of the proposal, the proposal is only to create the tool, and we can already do that without community approval. So we are, quite simply, creating it, and welcoming all input as part of that process.

I'm not convinced that the proxy table, as it is, is simple enough. We should play with it a bit. The timestamps aren't right, they actually should show date and time, not a time code. And the diffs don't work.

I'll look at the project page and see what I can do to make it more general. I already did some of this yesterday. I do sense that the first applications to have any effect would be with Article proxies and associated special proxy tables, not necessarily the general proxies that are on the Proxy table page. Article proxies are create formal networks that connect a larger interested community, not necessarily currently active, with the smaller group that may be active on an article at one time. As shown in the little drama above, article proxies don't create special opportunities for meat puppets; indeed attempts to call in one's clients to out-revert an opposing caucus could backfire. However, bringing in more eyes is always helpful. But I certainly don't know the specifics about how it will play out. The reason why I think article proxies might be more important in the short term is that it only takes a small group of editors to make it work. --Abd (talk) 04:38, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Proxy voting vs. interactive democracy

Please see my comments at Talk:Proxy_voting#Proxy_voting_vs._interactive_representation Ron Duvall (talk) 23:46, 19 February 2008 (UTC)


Cool, I see that the Accept template worked. So, now that you've accepted, I get to contact you, right? Good, because there are four MfDs scheduled to close later tonight, at 1:41 AM, 2:31 AM, 3:11 AM, and 4:20 AM respectively, and I need you to vote on my behalf at the last minute for strategic reasons (we don't want to give time for people to respond with counter-arguments). I'll need to give you a ring a few minutes before each of those votes so that we can have a last-minute tactical discussion. I won't be able to vote on my own behalf because I'm planning on repeatedly vandalizing Jimbo's page before then (he said some stuff that really got on my nerves and I need to retaliate), and so I will probably be under a 24-hour autoblock. But that's what proxies are for, right? Ron Duvall (talk) 04:19, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, that's what revoking proxy acceptance is for. :-)
Seriously, users can already do this stuff, and I suspect sometimes they do. DP actually could make it a little more difficult, at least if it is on-wiki. After all, if I'm your proxy, as I hinted above, or vice-versa, and we both vote on something in anything like a suspicious way, or revert with apparent coordination, it could be suspected to be meat puppetry. A pattern over time could establish it. On the other hand, as I've mentioned, I think this is already happening to some degree, and I haven't seen a hint of any action against it. Is anyone looking for it? There was a block of Yellowbeard for canvassing, but if he had sent emails to those users, nothing would have happened unless they complained. What a coincidence that the only editors to have serious disputes with Abd just happen to show up in his AfD! (Actually, Yellowbeard canvassed every one, and only Tbouricius and Clockback -- who didn't seriously have a problem -- didn't pop in, and the rest of those who have tangled with me are blocked sock puppets of James Salsman.
Odd that Tomruen claims not to believe in sock puppets and all that "****" as he delicately put it. He's certainly cooperated with some. BenB4, Acct4, MilesAgain.... I was disappointed by Tom's appearance in my RfA, I really did think more of him.... I suspect there is something not openly visible going on.
--Abd (talk) 04:37, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
C'mon, how could someone with a name like "Acct4" possibly be a sockpuppet? Ron Duvall (talk) 04:40, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
That was a habit of James Salsman, quite possibly still is. "BenB4" had certainly "been here before." And then there was MilesAgain, and the name itself did indeed arouse my suspicion that this was a Salsman sock, immediately. Contribs showed that this was an experienced user with a new account, created roughly as other accounts were being rooted out. Interest in IRV was the same, though MilesAgain was actually more helpful in some ways. MilesAgain went on the edit furiously in other areas, I'm not sure what he was doing. It's not clear how he was caught, a Checkuser apparently got some tip and acted on it, there was no formal checkuser request filed.--Abd (talk) 05:44, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Speaking of The fine art of sock and meat puppetry, I have a book - endorsed on the back cover by Rob Richie as an "essential book for anyone who wants to make an informed choice about what voting system best fits a community or state" - called "Behind the Ballot box: A citizen's guide to voting systems.", by Douglas J. Amy. Looks like a good reference book for the IRV controversies article quotes. At least one of the "Disadvantages specific to this system" is "Guarantee of majority of continuing votes only". Tom Ruen (talk) 05:07, 20 February 2008 (UTC
Yes. What systems does it cover? Anything written after the 1980s should certainly be considering Approval, but the big mystery to me is what happened to Bucklin? There was a huge movement to advanced voting methods in the early part of the 20th century, lots of publications and enthusiasm, implementations of STV for proportional representation, preferential voting (as Bucklin or sequential elimination); and then it was as if it had never happened. What happened? The story told by FairVote that Bucklin was abandoned because people weren't using the additional ranks, frankly, makes no sense. First of all, people were using the additional ranks, just look at the election that Brown v. Smallwood reversed. Secondly, Bucklin was easy to vote and count, and second rank votes didn't need to be counted if there was a majority in the first round. I've read what I could find, so far, and there is no clue. Bucklin was enormously popular in Duluth, and the bulk of legal opinion at the time was apparently that it was constitutional. But there was no challenge to the court decision, as far as I know, no attempt to amend the constitution of Minnesota (which is relatively easy in some states, I don't know about Minnesota). We know what happened to IRV in Ann Arbor, there is good history on the web. But not Bucklin. I suspect that there were powerful political interests which were benefiting from vote-splitting, same as was the case in Ann Arbor. Given that Bucklin is very much like Approval, but with ranks so that first choices are considered first, it would seem to be quite a good option, though Approval remains the absolute simplest reform that would deal with the spoiler effect, which is the motive behind most reform interest. --Abd (talk) 05:44, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Single-winner systems analyzed: Plurality, Two round system, Instant runoff voting. It mentions Approval voting, and Condorcet method as single-winner methods in an appendix C Lesser-used Voting systems. Both are somewhat dismissed as winner-take-all methods, and encouraging bland smiley faced candidates. Tom Ruen (talk) 16:35, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Very scientific. This allegation is commonly given as a reason to oppose Approval voting, indeed, and the truth is that Approval will award (tautologically) victory to the most-widely-approved candidate. Approval with knowledgeable voters and multiple rounds will settle on the Condorcet winner (and apparently almost always finds the Condorcet winner with one round). I.e., take the winner with a "core support" system such as IRV, and face him or her off against such a "bland smiley faced" candidate, and the "bland" one will win hands down (that is, in certain situations, that would be common in a three-party system). No wonder Richie endorsed the book! That is political polemic, based on no actual study of the performance of election methods, neither in actual elections nor in simulations; an obviously POV epithet is applied to the Approval winner, with no deep consideration of what democratic methods are actually supposed to do. Among other things, they are supposed to prevent revolutions and rebellion by satisfying, at least, the majority with results. Suppose the election is between Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Mr. Nice-nice. Do you think one of the first two should win (if the electorate is divided roughly in thirds, with Mr. Nice-nice having the lowest first-rank count)? When we are dealing with elections where the major candidates are not far apart, most methods work fairly well, that is, they don't have disastrous results. But what happens if an outcome is really important?--Abd (talk) 20:55, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I could scan the book pages (2-3) and email if you want to read the full description. I accept the judgement that plurality rewards pre-election compromises, i.e. party power, and everything else weakens the influences of parties, including majority runoffs and IRV where candidates have to fight not only for a core following but also compromise voters who are too stubborn to compromise before the election. Condorcet and Approval take away party power to control the elections. I don't have your romantic attraction to approval. I don't know how it would work out in practice. I do think Condorcet and IRV will agree 99% of the time. Tom Ruen (talk) 21:21, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
The scan would be appreciated, if you care to send it, thanks in advance.
In a two-party system, with IRV and top-two, that's almost a tautology (about Condorcet winner), true for Approval as well. However, get a strong third party, or a true three-way race in a nonpartisan election -- which almost never happens -- Approval will perform better in this respect. Sequential elimination, quite simply, does not look at all the votes before it decides to start dropping candidates. There is another form of IRV that performs better, I think, that eliminates based on full rankings. The "romantic attraction" to Approval is based on it being nothing other than the present system with a slight tweak which costs nothing and which also allows most voters to vote as they have always voted, but which eliminates the spoiler effect (the minor party version) and also performs well -- at least according to simulations -- in three-way contests. Sure, it's not perfect. But it's free, and that's the point. I've claimed that voting methods activists should really agree on implementing Approval. My theory is that once there is Approval, voters will want to be able to express a Favorite, and then we would go to Bucklin or IRV (perhaps with overvoting allowed -- which performs better) or possibly some version of Range, probably a simple one. However, if one wants to use the initial reform to fuel a later reform, such as multiwinner proportional representation, and you are stuck on STV as the PR method, then.... one might oppose this. I do not consider Approval an ideal election method. Just the biggest bang for the buck.
The best method, IMHO, is what Robert's Rules *actually* recommends, straight-out: FPTP, majority required, no eliminations but repeated balloting if no majority found. Simple. Existing practice in parliamentary procedure. Making it Approval could make it more efficient, but if there were multiple majorities, I'd hold a runoff between any candidates gaining a majority. Turns out that some think this also evades Arrow's Theorem. This can also be done with Range -- and could be even more efficient -- but Approval cutoff would have to be specified (I'd fix it at 50% rating, though, in theory, approval cutoff could be set anywhere if the voting system could handle the complexity. --approval cutoff is used in this kind of scheme to determine if a majority has been found. Forcing a runoff if there are multiple majorities fixes certain problems regarding strategic exaggeration in Range, as it does with Approval. )But "strategic voting" in Range methods including Approval is a whole can of worms. It really is a different animal than it is with ranked methods, where strategic voting always requires preference reversal, expressing on the ballot that you prefer a candidate over another when the reverse is true. Having had that tradition for decades of study, at least, and with it being (correctly) considered a problem, comes Approval, the definition is shifted to allow a sincere vote to be considered strategic, and poof! we have an objection to Range and Approval manufactured out of sheer redefinition of terms in a practically invisible way.
Tom, there is serious politics behind all this, and money. If you don't think so, you are simply naive. That is the point of what was above. I've generally thought that you were, indeed, merely naive, but, your comments in my RfA.... well, first of all, I didn't ask you to comment, I didn't ask anyone to comment, that would be canvassing. Second, you were canvassed by a sock puppet, User:Yellowbeard, the kind you claim not to believe in. (He was blocked for it, you know.) When I find myself in agreement with people who are using underhanded methods, lying, cheating, I re-examine my own opinions. Sure it's possible that they are correct -- but odds are, with friends like that, I'm on the wrong side. Look at the History of the IRV article: User:BenB4, User:Acct4, User:MilesAgain, and those are just the ones I've noticed. You don't think they were sock puppets? All were confirmed as James Salsman. And I didn't lift a finger to cause their discovery. Well, that's not exactly true. When a 3RR warning was placed on my Talk page by User:p-j-t-a, about the most blatant sock I've ever seen, I did leave a very short note so that the administrator who saw it would have a little help figuring out what was going on. And he did. That's why your friend User:Tbouricius was blocked, as a meat puppet, not because I requested it (I didn't, au contraire) but because he saw the editing patterns. I didn't call him a meat puppet, the blocking administrator did )actually, he said something like "sock puppet, meat puppet, SPA, it's all the same to me," and he refused to reconsider when I suggested that Bouricius and Ask10Questions be unblocked (she was an SPA and might also be considered COI). Whether or not that was true, that was the appearance; what I've claimed is that Bouricius is a COI editor, which, by WP:COI, he clearly is. The matter is less clear for you, and slightly less clear, even, for me, as I have no formal or declared affiliations. And all I've done is to point out the obvious. If this ever went to ArbComm, based on what I've seen, it's quite likely that there would be sanctions inhibiting your editing of the IRV article, and possible that there would be the same against me, depending. ArbComm can be difficult to predict sometimes. But I'm not threatening anything. (Sometimes people read something like I just stated and imagine that it is a threat; no, it's a comment. You might notice, however, that I haven't been the one, so far, to take stuff to serious dispute resolution; the exceptions were a clumsy attempt, when I had been editing seriously about a week, to complain about Richie outrageously reverting as an IP editor, and an attempt to see if Yellowbeard was another Salsman sock. That he is a sock isn't in question, the behavior is waving a big flag, the only question is Salsman or not. Checkuser said no connection, but that is not always conclusive. I could quite easily evade checkuser, and I'm certainly not going to say how....
The irony about my RfA, of course, is that I didn't care about the outcome, and being handed the mop would be useless for any POV-pushing, should I want to do that. To refer to a very old Mullah Nasruddin story, I was smuggling donkeys. (Actually someone else was, and I just went along for the ride.) Yellowbeard revealed his hand by his action, confirming what I had suspected: association with FairVote. If not Salsman, well, there are others who would serve, I'm sure. Clumsy, though. Frankly, were I on the FairVote side, and I didn't know who these socks were mastered by, I'd suspect straw puppetry, the results have been so bad. Richie was completely out of his element in that RfA, I thought, until the last moment, when he appeared, that he had realized that discretion was the better part of valor; but, no, when it was totally unnecessary, the RfA was surely not going to pass, he tossed in his vote and comment and diatribe (really, quoting my post to the Range Voting list in an RfA? does he ever seek advice?).

However, horse to water.... --Abd (talk) 23:28, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Eclipse tonight, try to email the pages in a day or two. I'm against nontrivial anonymous agressive editing in general. I'm not afraid of people who have experience and passionate opinions. I'd rather avoid labeling people and focus on content and reason. I'll always lean towards positivity - prefer bias for the side that's promoting something than the side that is afraid of it, even if both make similar mistakes. I only learned one thing reading one of Rush Limbaugh's books - don't trust the facts of people with agendas. Besides that "weakness", we're all equal to me. Tom Ruen (talk) 23:51, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I would think that the use of meatpuppets would be disadvantageous. After all, you only get to play with them for a little while before you have to eat them, or else they go rancid. I guess the best type to use for this purpose would be hamburger meat, as you can mold it any way you want. Vegans would undoubtedly prefer tofu, as you can do all kinds of things with it, e.g. make a tofurkey, but does that really count? I think not. Ron Duvall (talk) 05:18, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
gross. however, I am on a very low carb diet, so meat puppets are ideal for me, much better than straw puppets. Socks? You have got to be kidding --Abd (talk) 05:44, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

By the way, "The Short Charter" proposed for Portland in 1912 would have implemented a combination of interactive representation and Bucklin. Ron Duvall (talk) 05:47, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

There are two streams: Proxy representation, where representatives have variable voting power, and delegable proxy can be used to do this without elections in the ordinary sense (though I have long suggested that there can be a secret ballot layer to choose first-level proxies), while still being able to boil down an assembly to manageable size, and Asset Voting, which is like delegable proxy except that the proxy structure is used to elect members, with each member being elected with a quota of votes. The resulting assemblies are different: P or DP produce assemblies with members who are not equal to each other in voting power, and Asset produces a peer assembly. DP is perfect proportional representation, Asset is very good, as good as is possible wtih a peer assembly, and STV gets pretty close to Asset if used for the same number of members. But Asset, because it can be handled such that there are *no* wasted votes, and it can even be handled so that voters generally know exactly whom their vote elected, is pretty interesting, because it would keep the peer tradition.
Any of these methods could increase the sense of participation in government for citizens. Lewis Carroll, apparently, proposed something like Asset Voting. My own realization, which has been taken up by others, is that deliberation and vote can be separated. Direct democracy for voting is actually practical, particularly if there are proxies or representatives, chosen by the citizens, who can vote on their behalf where they don't care to directly vote. Participation in deliberation, when the scale is large, must be restricted in some way. Connecting deliberation and voting is why direct democracy is generally abandoned when organizations get large, because deliberation on a large scale is essentially impossible (without structures to control the noise, anyway). But scale is not much of an impediment to voting. The argument that citizens aren't sufficiently informed to vote may be true, but who decides who is sufficiently informed. Some citizens may be more informed than the elected representatives! My view is that it is each citizen who should decide, for himself or herself. And, if the citizen is not going to vote, then the citizen should be able to choose, unopposed by the votes of anyone else, who will represent him or her in the process. And that kind of choice is necessary for deliberation.... --Abd (talk) 06:31, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Superproxy, anyone?

Are you sure you don't want to form a proxy chain of Ron Duvall -> Abd -> RRichie -> Tbouricius -> Tom Ruen -> Yellowbeard? Once we get it started, it will probably continue growing indefinitely, ensuring that we are always represented by someone. C'mon, you were the one saying that we should start by trying out the delegable proxy system within the context of a particular article. Now's our big chance. Plus, once you establish the proxy relationship, not only can you converse with them on the talk page, but you can start calling them up on the phone. "Ah, yes, this is Abd Lomax again, calling for Mr. Richie... Yes, it's about another upcoming poll on the instant runoff voting talk page on Wikipedia...Sure, I'll hold..." It's going to be awesome. Ron Duvall (talk) 07:59, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm sure. Hey, Ron, if you trust RRichie enough to recommend him to me as a proxy, why don't you change your assignment to him? that way, at least to start, it's Abd -> Duvall -> Richie, etc. Now, does this mean that you will call him up if I ask you to? Naturally, you'd only do so if what I was asking you to ask him, you thought was a reasonable question or suggestion. You would be his filter, and mine in the other direction. (DP networks at first glance look like the trust flows "upward," but it also flows in the other direction, and we want that, which is why proxy acceptance is important.) --Abd (talk) 17:27, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, well, the idea is that since you are so active on the IRV article, they would never actually vote your proxy. However, appointing them might make them more likely to appoint you, forming a huge loop in which as the most frequent participant you would hold the power. Ron Duvall (talk) 18:03, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Proxies don't hold power, other than their own; the clients do. And the point of the virtual editorial council that forms for each article is to find consensus, and DP only assists in that by ensuring that significant minorities are given due consideration. In an actual vote, and especially an actual vote that was seriously contested, clients would likely review what the proxy did, and if it was an abuse of even the very limited power that proxies do seem to hold, we would see a confirmation -- or rejection -- of the proxy votes. It really is simply for efficiency, rapidity of negotiation, and, of course, for the communication that might need to ensue if there is some abuse. With DP as we are implementing it, it's all in the open, and if anyone thinks a proxy is abusing the trust, they can ping the clients, or at least one at a time. If a client says, "Don't harass me, well, that's an answer...." --Abd (talk) 20:56, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Arrow's impossibility theorem

You wrote in an edit summary:

remove defective example, as stated, this is a unanimous ordering and most systems will pass. [1]

I responsed to Waisbrot at User talk:Waisbrot#Arrow's theorem about the original wording: in the case of the Borda count, the original example can occur exactly as written. But the version you changed from was Waisbrot's example, in which Dave only places last.

You further removed the paragraph which began

Various theorists have suggested weakening the IIA criterion'

which seems both unrelated and useful. Why was that?

CRGreathouse (t | c) 01:53, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I took out a defective example, a candidate unanimously ranked last, which is not a good example of IIA, since all methods that I can think of off-hand (without trying to make one up) would consider that candidate irrelevant.
The original before Waisbrot's edit was "Dave's candidacy is ranked last by every voter," and Waisbrot changed that to "Dave's candidacy is ranked last by the balloting system." This, of course, enters into the problem I've been describing in Talk for the article. (i.e., the difference between the voter's rankings and the "balloting system." Arrow's theorem doesn't get into the "balloting system." It merely looks at the voting system as if it were a black box, with voter rankings input and social order output. In previous Talk, Arrow was quoted:
I [an IP editor] read some of Arrow's book and this is his example of IIA (pg. 26, 1963 edition):
... For example, suppose that an election system has been devised whereby each individual lists all the candidates in order of his preference and then, by a preassigned procedure, the winning candidate is derived from these lists. (All election procedures are of this type, although in most the entire list is not required for the choice.) Suppose that an election is held, with a certain number of candidates in the field, each individual filing his list of preferences, and then one of the candidates dies. Surely the social choice should be made by taking each of the individual's preference lists, blotting out completely the dead candidate's name, and considering only the orderings of the remaining names in going through the procedure of determining the winner. That is, the choice to be made among the set S of surviving candidates should be independent of the preferences of individuals for candidates not in S. ... (Kenneth Arrow)
As can be seen, Arrow is assuming a complete rank order input -- then qualifies this by noting that sometimes this is truncated. But Range and Approval methods, and other methods allowing equal ranking, do not merely truncate.
I didn't take out the "various experts" paragraph, I merely took out the intervening text.[2]. Please feel free to improve this. My issue with what was taken out, beyond the Dave example, is the implication is that the options are only concluding that no voting system satisfies the criteria, or weakening, say, IIA. But IIA doesn't need to be weakened, there is another approach, which is to input something other than pure ranked preference order. IIA is intuitively desirable, and that is a sound intuition, in my opinion. Now, what's out there on this? I don't know. My own opinion isn't a source, it is only background. Warren Smith has written about this.... and maybe his opinion might be usable as an attributed source (as an expert). The real point of all this, to me, is that Arrow assumes that voting methods have, as input, rankings, whereas there is a whole class of cardinal methods that don't do this; rather, they segregate candidates into classes would be how I'd put it, and the classes may be in some order, and some classes may be empty, and some may have more than one candidate. Arrow's theorem assumes the total irrelevance of preference strength, which patently takes it out of game theory analysis and real (ordinary) human decision-making, where preference strength matters very much. That Arrow could write what he is quoted as writing above is actually shocking, to me; except that, apparently, this blindness was, simply, normal. The assumption of preference order as being what is input in advanced election methods is pretty old. But there already was a minor counterexample in Bucklin voting, and I have in mind the Duluth implementation, where third rank allowed multiple votes, i.e., multiple approvals, and if the election counting got as far as the third rank, it had become a pure Approval election. --Abd (talk) 02:50, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
(I'm now reading your response to Waisbrot, and, if you are correct -- I'm checking -- well, live and learn....)--Abd (talk) 02:53, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I responded on the talk page referenced above, User talk:Waisbrot#Arrow's theorem. It seems the example given was in error. --Abd (talk) 03:39, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Ayn Rand

I’ve been reconsidering my involvement in this encyclopedia, and with delegable proxy in particular, in light of Randian principles relating to selfishness and altruism. Specifically, I wonder if my time might be better devoted to programming.

I view helping humanity as being an important thing. Many people have noticed that I involve myself in a lot of activities, such as delegable proxy, private highways, free market environmentalism, etc. which while important, are little-known and relatively neglected causes. That is, in fact, what attracts me to them. After all, there are millions of people to support gun rights or drug reform or other fairly “mainstream” issues. But there are few who advocate for obscure issues. And voting reform seemed to be the most important, as it is the key to getting other reforms. Given my writing skills, and Wikipedia’s reach, this encyclopedia seemed to be a good and effective use of my time.

However, the encyclopedia is not directly remunerative to me in that it does not pay a wage or even really provide experience or admiration that I can foresee leveraging to my advantage in the future. This is in contrast to other unpaid activities such as volunteering for the food bank, which I have put on scholarship applications and gotten money thereby; or participating in the workplace-sponsored blood drive, which helped earn me corporate citizenship points which were a factor in the salary-influencing annual review; or even internships that got me job experience in my field. Even the future beneficiaries of delegable proxy, Wikipedians and the general public, have not been particularly appreciative. As Dominique Francon said at Howard Roark's trial, "You’re casting pearls without getting even a pork chop in return."

Ayn Rand wrote many books stressing that selfishness is a moral imperative and altruism immoral. She notes that the general bettering of humanity are byproducts of capitalism and our own efforts to help ourselves. Altruism, on the other hand, has led to harmful ideologies such as socialism and wasteful behaviors. She notes that under altruism, “A young man who gives up his career in order to support his parents and never rises beyond the rank of grocery clerk is regarded as morally superior to the young man who endures an excruciating struggle and achieves his personal ambition.” I have begun to wonder whether it would be better for both myself and for the world if I were to divert time spent on Wikipedia toward in activities that will pay off for me personally. Through the capitalist system, society is already seeking to guide my activity elsewhere through offers of a payoff. People express what is important to them with dollars and other rewards.

I hope to become a programmer and have thought at many times that by working on artificial intelligence and other tech-related projects, I might ultimately have greater positive impact on the world than in volunteer work. Perhaps algorithms can be created that will write the encyclopedia for us. Certainly, much labor could be saved through improvements to Wikimedia software. Those algorithms might be invented through projects originally undertaken for profit, whose secondary use was in not-for-profit work; just as computers themselves were invented for business purposes and are now being used to create and distribute a free encyclopedia. Is that, then, where my greatest usefulness could be, and the encyclopedia a harmful diversion?

Many people become rich and then contribute to good causes in the form of money. Perhaps that is the best thing to do – not to contribute my own labor, but to accumulate money and then give to someone who can work full-time on delegable proxy. That way, everyone is productively employed and making money. We do what we do best and exchange for the rest. The downside is that I don't see the immediate return – but it's questionable whether circumstances are right at this time anyway; and by taking other steps first, such as technological improvements, it might make the situation more amenable to this systems successful introduction. What do you think? Ron Duvall (talk) 23:23, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, let's set Ayn Rand aside. The distinction between self-interest and altruism is quite artificial. Fact is, if you don't take care of yourself you won't be much help to others. And let me just talk about myself; if you want to interpret it as advice, you can take it or leave it. I need to make a living, I have no savings to speak of, I have small children (at 63!), and I neglected my businesses to pursue FA/DP for the world. It's a choice. Something will have to change, I cannot continue as I have. However, there is a possibility: note that Bill Wilson, when he died, left an estate in excess of a million dollars, with continuing income from royalties. That was actually real money in those days. His passion, creating and developing a fellowship -- which he needed in order to stay sober -- and providing it with a solid foundation which remains solid to this day, turned out to also feed him and his family. Jesus said, it's reported, that the workman is worthy of his meat. If we are working for some overall good, we may have to ask for help. And if society doesn't think it worthwhile, well, that's an answer, isn't it? As you may have noticed, I have ADHD. This presents a whole series of challenges, and among them are difficulties in keeping projects organized and maintaining them. I need help in lots of ways. If the theory is correct, about FA/DP, there will be money in it, i.e., quite enough to support those involved. But ... I don't know how to organize it for that purpose, beyond what I already know I need to do and haven't done. Ask for it, ask for help, and, if the help doesn't materialize, then do whatever I need to do to take care of myself. These ideas don't need me, personally, they will live on and grow without me. I might be able to help it happen a little more quickly, that's all. However, if we are talking about a little more quickly for six billion people, that could save millions of lives. So ... watch this space!
Oh, and by the way: lots of people set out on the path of accumulation of wealth in order to do good later with it. I'd say quite a few of them never manage to make it to the later part, there is always one more coin to be collected. Don't put off until tomorrow the purpose of your life, live it today and take care of yourself and your tomorrow. Does it have to be all one or all the other?--Abd (talk) 00:44, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm a perfectionist; if I get involved, I feel like I have to take it to the extreme and devote my life and entire being to it to the exclusion of all other interests and considerations! Ron Duvall (talk) 01:37, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Right. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Ron, this is adult Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, right out of the book. What do you think about Thom Hartmann? And, by the way, what about that free-association ramble the middle of my RfA? It takes a certain kind of mind to do something like that. You can do certain things that might be extraordinarily difficult for "normal" people, and, my guess, certain things that are easy for "normal" people are difficult for you. And me. We are different, we are not normal. Estimates of the incidence of ADHD varies from 5% or so up to maybe 15% of the population. Strongly heritable genetically. (From twin studies: co-incidence much higher with identical twins than with fraternal twins.) But environmental factors also play a major role, apparently. It's called "attention-deficit" not because we can't focus on something, but because our focus isn't socially controllable. It may seem that we can focus "when we want to," but, in fact, "want" is not necessarily controllable. The "hyperactivity" part of the name kept me from seeing it for years, because I wasn't "hyperactive." Or so it would seem. Inwardly, I was. But the trait that is most salient is hyperfocus, and an ability to think "outside the box." This very ability and habit is socially problematic.... So ... some of us can be very successful, and others get a drink of hemlock. Some of us find the support that allows our ideas to take root and function, others never are successful. Captains of industry and the drunk in the gutter, we can be either of these.... High incidence of addictions and addictive behaviors, high incidence of genius and creative brilliance. They go together. --Abd (talk) 03:39, 22 February 2008 (UTC)


People say that delegable proxy is impractical, won't be accepted by the mainstream, won't work, etc. I was thinking, aren't those the kind of ideas typically embraced by academia? Why aren't there more college professors pushing this? Ron Duvall (talk) 02:06, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

They say all those things for very good reasons; first of all, if we just talk about DP, people will have a huge level of cynicism, born of hard experience if they ever were hopeful in the first place, that anything can change; something like DP seems like pie in the sky, a utopian vision, and, besides, they would surely corrupt it, etc., etc. There are many, many reasons to think it wouldn't work and few to think that it would.
But then there is FA/DP, which addresses the implementation problem; it provides a path from here to there, one step at a time, one person coming to recognize the idea at a time, and a safe and secure way to test the concepts at practically no risk and cost. But, of course, most people have never had close experience with Free Associations, which themselves fly in the face of what organizations are supposed to be. "Doesn't take controversial positions? Doesn't collect money? How could it do any good, then?" Only that relatively small segment of the population that has experienced this, as in AA, or as in Wikipedia, have some experience on which to base a different opinion. In AA, recognition of the power of the FA traditions is pretty easy, I've talked with a lot of people who have that experience, and they get FA/DP pretty quickly. But they have the formal statement of the Traditions in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and a few have even read the more obscure Twelve Concepts for World Service that laid out more of the theoretical foundation for AA. With Wikipedia, there is not nearly as much sound theoretical analysis of why Wikipedia works as well as it does, and the stratification of users into four classes doesn't help (admins, active editors familiar with the system, occasional editors not familiar, and lurkers -- i.e., mere readers. In an organization where the actual function is face-to-face, as with AA, there is practically no such stratification, AA members certainly differ in sophistication, but they meet as equals at meetings. In any case, Wikipedia usually functions closely to what I expect for Free Associations. There are exceptions, to be sure. But that the underlying traditions are not so clear and easily accessible, as they are in AA, is why we have seen and can expect more skepticism and even opposition.
And then there is opposition from those who have something to lose if this works. That's pretty rare, in terms of conscious opposition, but there is a more subtle kind of opposition from those who think, as I have encountered in political environments, that "things work pretty well as they are." Spoken by an elected public official in a small town, successful, and bright enough to get the concept, but who simply doesn't realize that what worked well for him doesn't work well for the mother who can't go to Town Meeting because somebody has to watch the kids, and even if, say, her husband, if she has one, will do it, she needs to get up in the morning to get them off to school and Town Meeting may go late because someone goes on and on when he has the floor....
As to academia, there may be some element of "not invented here." This may shift, as there are some young academics interested, such as James Armytage-Green. However, read the standard works on democracy; direct democracy is "impossible," because of the noise problem, and if we have representative democracy, with modern conditions, there are so many citizens per representative that the representative can't possibly be in good communication with all of them. Somehow all the books on democracy don't consider proxy representation in governing structures at all. It is as if the business world doesn't exist; there may be some political bias there.
Sometimes it can take a very long time for revolutionary ideas -- no matter how simple, or maybe even if they are simple -- to penetrate academia. Consider Asset voting and Lewis Carroll, see [3]] and [4]. What may be the most advanced proportional representation system yet proposed (at least for a peer assembly), was described by Carroll in 1884. Asset Voting and Delegable Proxy are quite similar, and, in fact, DP could be used in an Asset Voting system as the method by which large numbers of electors negotiate seat assignments in a parliament.... it doesn't need to be binding at all, rather it advises the electors how to recast their votes. --Abd (talk) 04:12, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Anything more?

So, are there any further refinements to the DP thing before we take it live? I seem to have run up against some technical walls, and most of the stuff remaining on those "to do" lists is optional. Ron Duvall (talk) 04:50, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Let me play with it for a day or two, and maybe some others will as well. No rush, Ron. Or are you worried that your attention will go elsewhere and never come back? (That's my classic problem: gotta get it done today, or else I won't ever get back to it. This can keep me up all night, easily. I don't think I do my best work under these conditions, but I've pretty much believed so for many years. There is a truth to it, my attention moves on. But when other people are involved, they can bring me back when it's needed.) --Abd (talk) 04:57, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
So, how about those Mets? Ron Duvall (talk) 04:59, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Are they still in New York? --Abd (talk) 05:05, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Presumably. "How about those Mets" was just a code phrase that the kids who were cheating on the math exams in this one episode of the Wonder Years used when they wanted to signal the need to talk about their plans. Anyway, the real reason for wanting to hurry about this is so that I can stop obsessively checking in on it all the time, and have peace of mind in finding something else to obsess about. Ron Duvall (talk) 05:12, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, if I wanted to obsess about something, I'd notice the user who has commented on DP on the Sarsaparilla Talk page. Looking into who he is, I noticed he had just been granted adminship. A couple of months ago, he had only 1000 edits or so. But for the nom, he had 10,000. What happened? Bot edits. If I actually needed that mop, looks like it wouldn't be hard to get one. But I don't. I've started doing some more mainspace edits, the hard way. Actually doing some research, might get in one or two a day.... He probably deserves an answer.... gotta get some sleep, though, the girls get up early and start jumping on me.... --Abd (talk) 05:26, 22 February 2008 (UTC)


I'm genuinely sorry for mischaractarising your actions and have corrected my statments in 3 different places to record this. It was an honest mistake but I should have double checked. Spartaz Humbug! 20:14, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

No problem. I assumed it was an honest mistake. As you hinted, everyone makes mistakes. What can get ugly around here is when someone makes one, and refuses to see it, causing a person with a complaint to press it harder, perhaps getting hot, etc., etc. I have elsewhere written that "if you haven't been blocked, you are not trying hard enough to improve the project." That's hyperbole, of course, but it refers to mistakes that we make, and we make them necessarily, when we are active. It's fairly easy to make no mistakes: don't do anything. Yes, you should have checked, but .... you also could double-check everything you do, thus making fewer mistakes, but taking twice as long, i.e., getting half as much done. Keep up the good work, I seriously appreciate what administrators do. One of the administrators (ex-) I respect most was Durova, who made some real bloopers, but ... promptly admitted it, attempted to undo the damage, and took responsibility without making excuses for herself. Wow! In a sane community, everyone would have had a good laugh and that would have been that. But .... keep up the good work. --Abd (talk) 20:25, 23 February 2008 (UTC)


Hoping to establish general guidelines for this kind of thing... Absidy (talk) 05:54, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Speaking of experiments, what did you think about the redirection of your old Talk pages? I thought that was a little bold.... --Abd (talk) 06:39, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I don't really care about that stuff. I've got bigger fish to fry. Absidy (talk) 07:28, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Here's a little advertising banner I came up with:

Nuvola apps kuser.png This user supports delegable proxy.
Show your support for delegable proxy! Add this userbox to your userpage using {{User:Sarsaparilla/Delegable proxy}}

Absidy (talk) 08:54, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, you do have bigger fish. Today Wikipedia, tomorrow Superproxy of the Universe. Now will God listen to me?

Meanwhile, the Proxy file and stuff I set up will work regardless of where placed, it's not vulnerable to local damage, the proxy table can be anywhere. Hence, the first application, and I'll use my proxy table *and* yours as well, by transclusion. They can be combined, you know. But I'll tell you where my own proxy will sit: in a file that doesn't depend on templates that are elsewhere. If it's all in my personal Talk space, I have no reversion limits, should someone monkey with it. So if you want to count my proxy, you might have to read my file format.... and I'd appreciate it if you would settle on a name to use. While, as usual, your stunts do raise some interesting points.... ah, I was going to tell you to lay off. Never mind. Do what you think best, just don't violate policy and, I suggest only, don't tease the dogs.

In any case, I'm calling a meeting to organize The Community. It's an open meeting, to be held in User talk:The Community, the The Community as founding chair. Yes, meeting process. Please, if you don't like process, don't disrupt it. This will be delegable proxy, so, if there is 99% of the community which thinks this a big waste of time, or, worse, dangerous, they can all be represented by one proxy. Guess what: there is nothing new under the sun. AA dealt with the problem of people disagreeing about whether to meet, how to meet, the rules to be followed, all that, many years ago. There may be *many* meetings, or one. It depends on whether or not people can agree. Anyone who disagrees: the saying in AA is that all that is needed to start a meeting is a resentment and a coffee pot. Delegable proxy is this on steroids. Watch. Meetings that don't serve a purpose fade away. Nothing was lost, and the person with the resentment got to sit and think for a while about what had happened. It works. And meetings that were oppressive fade away as people go somewhere else more congenial.

All these meetings, to be meetings of the community, must be open to all community members -- but -- any meeting has the right to set its own rules. If it does so in a manner which is harmful to the community, then the community can certainly intervene, and legitimately so. However, if the rules merely make for orderly process without taking away essential rights or violating community policy, then existing procedures already exist for dealing with disruption. Editors wishing to take part in an Arbcomm case may do so, but they can't just put any comment anywhere. Add a long diatribe to an AfD, and someone else may well move it to Talk.

I really mean it when I say that FA/DP doesn't require new process. It's all, already, in place. The only thing new, really, is a proxy table or tables and some people deciding to use them. Use them for what? Whatever they want, as long as it isn't disruptive or in violation of policy.

You use of multiple accounts has, in fact, brought out a crucial point. I'll post it to the Village Pump in the Delegable Proxy discussion; it's really an amazing opportunity, though I never know how many are actually paying attention.--Abd (talk) 14:24, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I would have preferred far less confrontation. On the other hand, I'm not terribly surprised. The hysterical response to Esperanza showed that there are some very dark fears on the loose. Someday it might be useful to do a real postmortem on that case, looking not only at the MfDs but at the surrounding buzz. --Abd (talk) 14:24, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

AfD nomination of Delegable proxy

Nuvola apps important.svg

An article that you have been involved in editing, Delegable proxy, has been listed for deletion. If you are interested in the deletion discussion, please participate by adding your comments at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Delegable proxy. Thank you. Superm401 - Talk 16:15, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Cool! I have a Conflict of Interest, as one of the inventors of the "technology," but I might make some comments. We'll see.--Abd (talk) 16:29, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Absidy, Sarsaparilla, Ron Duvall blocked indefinitely. Wow!

Note that Absidy and all related accounts have now been blocked, by administrators with a COI or other conflict. I would not have advised that! Precedent is pretty clear. There is a checkuser report on Absidy, confirming the obvious. (Duh! -- already openly admitted as the same user) And, of course, the only new twist, confirming that I had no connection with Absidy/Duvall/Sarsaparilla. A sock account or puppet master going back two years, with the serial accounts having maybe 4000-5000 edits and the suspected master or sleeper puppet) less than 1500, all very recent? Old edit history utterly unrelated. A user who gets in no trouble for years has supposedly planted a sleeper sock, which he abandons *in good standing*? This is not merely about AfD, this is about idea and user deletion. Too bad. Are they aware that this is likely to speed up adoption of these ideas? And that I was trying to avoid conflict over this even though I knew that conflict would likely speed it up? Ah well. --Abd (talk) 23:23, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Your comment doesn't actually make much sense, considering that Absidy et al has admitted that he wanted to be indefinitely blocked and effectively commited suicide by admin. His/her block was clearly proper, since Absidy has admitted that he or she did something that warranted such a block Nil Einne (talk) 06:51, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Actually, there is a subtle but important difference between what he "admitted," and what is said above. He admitted knowing that he could be blocked, he knew that it was likely. He is a very experienced Wikipedian, and he knows the political and operational reality extremely well. However, by clear ArbComm precedent, and, indeed, common sense about how "police" function, he should not have been blocked. I'm pretty sure there are administrators who would not have blocked him, they might not even have warned him for incivility. I'd have laughed if a user did what he did with me. Blocks are for protecting the community, not my own "dignity." If he believed that there was some risk to the project (or personal harm from an insult), in such a situation, he would properly ask another admin to look at the facts and act appropriately. Whether or not his action had anything to do with specific knowledge about Jehochman or not, I don't know. I haven't asked him. However, Jehochman has continued to justify his action, and, indeed, quite a number of administrators see nothing wrong with it, and two members of ArbComm have weighed in with support. This is serious business. It seems I've been threatened with block as well, though there has been no formal warning. I'll return to it and examine that to see if I read it correctly, and, if so, inquire if it was seriously intended. If so, what will be the stated reason? Corrupting the youth? Not a bad way to go. I'd be in noble company, I find, as I examine Absidy's record in detail. As the hemlock overtook Socrates, he made a comment that indicated he was relieved by death. Would it be a relief to be blocked here? Probably. However, I'm a Muslim. Suicide isn't allowed, and, besides, raising that finger is rude. But standing up to power, questioning authority, that's not only allowed, but encouraged. It's not suicide, because we never know how power will react. Some power is benevolent, some will listen to criticism and challenge, and some will not. We never really know unless we have the courage to try. And if we do, the reward is guaranteed, by a guarantor who always keeps his promises.--Abd (talk) 05:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Out of Courtesy

I am here to inform you that a thread has opened at WP:ANI. The thread can be located here. The thread pertains to your Sock User:The Community. Rgoodermote  03:52, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. --Abd (talk) 05:29, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

To Critics, the wheels of justice grind slowly but surely.

There has been a lot of wikifuss over the last few days, for me to be distracted by:

  • the Afd for Delegable proxy, still pending but likely to be closed, I suspect, with Delete (I never voted because I'm COI and, indeed, beyond starting, as one of my first edits, in 2005, a different article, Liquid democracy, later moved to this title, I never edited it, only commenting in Talk. This AfD began with accusations of sock puppetry, which are irrelevant to AfD (if a sock creates an article, sock puppetry is not a legitimate ground for deletion. Period.) And "vanity," to be avoided, according to guidelines, in AfD discussions.
  • Various Village Pump sections relating to this
  • The MfD for Wikipedia:Delegable proxy, wildly inappropriate based on MfD policy, repeating by then discredited sock puppetry charges, likewise irrelevant, plus the nomination essentially misrepresented, in an inviting way (i.e., if a user read the proposal after having read the nomination, it would be easy to come away convinced that the proposal is something other than what it was. The nomination wasn't neutral, it was wildly opinionated, making uncivil accusations, which is disruptive. This MfD was eventually closed as, indeed, violating MfD policy, which suggests rejection tagging, generally, for proposal pages, instead of deleting them.
  • An SSP report on User:Ron Duvall, also inappropriate, deleted then later restored for questionable reasons and simply "courtesy blanked."
  • A checkuser report on User:Absidy, continuing the same line of suspicion and ABF, attempting to connect me and Sarsaparilla/Ron Duvall/Absidy, the latter being continuation accounts, not used for simultaneous editing, and not violating any policy (normally checkuser requests should have some reasonable charges of disruption presented). I didn't mind the checkuser, which mostly functioned to confirm the obvious (those accounts and some IP edits were openly the same editor).
  • An impulsive set of actions by User:Absidy, not technically blockable offenses, in my opinion, but quite easily interpreted as disruptive and possibly canvassing, receiving a warning from an admin.
  • Absidy's placement of a classic image of defiance of authority, an upraised finger, in response to that warning, saying, essentially, "Too late, I'm done."
  • Absidy was properly warned by administrator User:Mangojuice for his "attack." However,
  • Absidy was then blocked by the administrator he had defied by his gesture.
    • Mangojuice could not have properly blocked Absidy because Mangojuice was arguably involved in a dispute over WP:PRX. He, properly, abstained from that. If this was his reason for restraint, however, I do wonder why he bothered warning. I think he did not consider it blockworthy unless repeated. There had been no pattern of incivility from this user.
    • But for a similar reason, the administrator whose Talk page received the finger should have refrained from blocking, leaving it to an uninvolved admin. There was no emergency, no threatened (continued) disruption, merely an incivility. The alleged canvassing had stopped five hours earlier. The normal block, if any, for what Absidy had done, would have been a 24-hour block. Instead, it was an indef block, with request to not unblock before consultation. I have seen seriously disruptive editors, uncivil over a long period, receive much less as a penalty.
  • Then ensued a witch hunt to try to find IP edits and any other accounts created by Absidy, even though there was *no* ongoing disruption or provocation. Absidy, having scrambled his password so that he couldn't log in, did make some IP edits and created a new account to reply on his Talk page to discussion there, and, though comment from a blocked editor on their own Talk page is permitted, that account was promptly block as his sock. There was also some scattered edits, very low-level, harmless, and a couple of apology comments. Now, if it was his sock, it was permitted to do what it did with the new account, and if it was not his sock, there was no basis for block of it (other than impersonation, which was not alleged). And it was obviously him.
  • Probably because I had been commenting on what I saw as abuse of process by administrators, there began to be some buzz that I was being disruptive, and hints, not so subtle, that I could be blocked if I continued.
  • Two members of ArbComm have already commented, supporting the block actions, even though there is no dispute at that level yet, and it is pretty clear that the members haven't reviewed the record sufficiently to understand what is going on, for they repeated, as I recall, the sock puppetry charges, which were not the issue. Absidy was not blocked for sock puppetry, he had openly admitted and acknowledged the accounts, never took action to conceal their connections, and it was blatantly obvious. And he wasn't warned about it, though questions were asked.
  • It will all come out in the wash. At this point, however, it's quite obvious what happened, even to some who have only seen but a small part of the record. Absidy violated a deep, unwritten rule, one which cannot, by its nature, be stated explicitly, it is only known through the kinds of subtle cues that someone with his neurological condition cannot see except maybe post-facto, intellectually. See ADHD. Thou Shalt Not Ask Why the Emperor is Wearing No Clothes is a very old analogy. That kid is disruptive. Get him out of here, make sure nobody hears what he is saying, he actually had the gall (or courage) to drop reference to his proposal on the Talk page of every arbitrator. Canvassing! Off with his head!
  • In the most recent flap, several users criticized the closing administrator for the MfD mentioned above, for closing without deleting, with a basic argument being twofold: the proposal was disruptive by its very nature (not merely a bad idea, but An Idea Not To Be Mentioned), but, with more frequency, the close did not reflect a supermajority vote for Delete. Given that the main objection in the MfD to the proposal was that it was supposedly violating WP:NOTAVOTE, I found this ironic. "We don't vote here, and [we imagine], it is cogency of argument that counts, not votes. So how could you close without Delete when nearly all of us voted for that?" This kind of thing drives people like Absidy crazy. No wonder he is impulsive. It used to do it to me. But having been driven totally crazy, off the edge, years ago, it no longer bothers me. I expect it. --Abd (talk) 19:05, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I am waiting for the smoke to clear before proceeding, step by step, with whatever dispute resolution process is appropriate here. There is no emergency. Indeed, in terms of my long-term goals, they are furthered by cautious, thoughtful deliberation and consideration, one step at a time, not by action fueled by crisis. Absidy has, off-wiki, offered to help edit a book on the topic of Free Association/Delegable Proxy, and that will be taking up most of my time, I suspect, and I'm personally grateful to have the opportunity to work with him. He's brilliant, and that he is young and impulsive will merely help it come along. Ironically, there were charges of some sort of financial COI involved in the proposals here. I wish! However, as a result of what has taken place (which seems to have thoroughly soured a very long-time Wikipedian on the project), there may indeed appear such. I wish! Wikipedia's loss may be my gain. --Abd (talk) 19:05, 28 February 2008 (UTC)


Your posts were removed from my talk page. I dislike wikilawyering, and you cannot get your wikifriend unblocked by threatening me with process. Before you pray for arbitration, realize that 1/ my behavior has withstood scrutiny in two recent arbitrations, 2/ my sysop actions in this matter have been endorsed by two arbitrators already, and 3/ the actions of all parties will be scrutinized and the results may be quite different from what you wish. I urge you to drop this matter and get back to editing. If your friend wants to be unblocked, they can make their own request. Jehochman Talk 04:07, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the prompt response. Actually, I considered your removal of the warning sufficient response, summarizing what you wrote above, in its acknowledgment of receipt. [5].
This is not about my friend, who may be better off blocked. It's about the future of Wikipedia, which is poorer for having driven him away. And that is what AGF failure does.
I have not investigated your previous arbitrations. Did you do anything like what you did here, before? If so, it might save some trouble. Can you point me to the pages? Or you can wait for the RfC or whatever next step seems appropriate. No rush.
I don't think so, but you can see User:Jehochman/Arbitration. Jehochman Talk 06:00, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
Is there some administrator whose judgment you trust to whom I, or some intermediary, could explain the situation, to whom you would listen if, by chance, he or she thinks you should change your mind? That might be much more efficient than RfC et seq.
See User:Jehochman/Dispute resolution which lists User:Sarah, User:WJBscribe, User:FT2, User:Alison, User:Lar. Thanks, Jehochman Talk 06:00, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I wrote before that I would follow WP:DR, which starts with an attempt to communicate directly. Given that you are certain of the propriety of your actions, it appears, this step is now complete, and the next step will follow. Each step, as you know, escalates in difficulty and how much attention is drawn. Yes, I'm fully aware that my own actions will be scrutinized. However, I've been writing on-line for over twenty years, and I knew from the beginning that what is done remains for all to see. I make mistakes, to be sure, but I'm not afraid of the record. Simple advice, Jehochman: when someone points out a mistake, try to understand it. You might learn very rapidly, whether you actually made a mistake or not.
For starters, though, allow me to suggest to you that you have no idea what outcome I desire. Seriously. We made the proposal WP:PRX in full sincerity, and you and others have deceptively described it (quite likely without an intention to do so, you believe what you've written, I assume). Given that you obviously don't understand it, a situation which causes me no wonder, because it's subtle and not what people expect, you might imagine that I'm distressed by its "failure." Au contraire, I'm pleased, though not necessarily pleased for Wikipedia. I argue for what I believe to be the best outcome, at each point, but I also understand that what I think best at any time is bettered by reality, and it's not uncommon that I understand why. My preference would be for step-by-step, cautious exploration of the network that delegable proxy would create, but active suppression will accelerate adoption. I don't like that, it could get messy, but, as I wrote, what I like isn't the issue. I suggested to you what I think would be the optimum response for you, under the current conditions. What ensues from your rejection of it, I may regret but it is not my responsibility.
Yes, you may have some protection from the intervention of the arbitrators; however, note that their intervention, when it came, could itself turn out to be quite a problem. As I noted, I'm taking this step by step, and, since the most serious deviations from policy began with the block of Absidy, I'm beginning there. At each step there is opportunity for resolution, with minimum fuss. As to wikilawyering, I don't know if you followed my RfA, but I was asked about the most important rules, and I answered Rule Number One. It's amazing how much flak was thrown at me about that. It's Rule Number One because it's the most important rule!
That RfA was engineered by Sarsaparilla, have you actually looked at who he is? That's not his first account, you know, a prior was described in the deleted SSP report, since undeleted and blanked. And that prior was obviously not the first either, for from the early contributions, it can be seen that he was an experienced user in 2005.
At every point what I intended to do was an open book, Absidy and I discussed it extensively on my Talk page (and to some extent elsewhere, but what was discussed elsewhere was the same as what we discussed openly). He acted independently, he did not ask for my approval of his missives to all the members of ArbComm and some others, and not before dropping an image of a finger on your Talk page. He knows I did not approve of that, and he's been apologizing to me as well as to you. He did apologize to you, you know. Apparently that isn't enough for you. What I'd have done would have been to not-show you a not-finger. It's far more effective. You really should listen to God Kim Bruning.
The other matter is that you have asserted bad faith; you haven't responded with respect to that. Do you intend to continue the behavior, to assert abusive sock puppetry and that this is relevant to WP:PRX?
I am not threatening you; if you believe your action was correct, given the circumstances, that Sarsaparilla was warned by you for canvassing, responded to you with "too late, I'm finished" and a finger, and so you indef blocked him, and that it was proper for you to block, then, of course, you should not change it simply because I claim there could be consequences. For a first offense, no prior offenses, not even any warnings other than the one he informed you was not going to be violated, you indef blocked and requested no unblock without consultation. That alone should be improper, even if you weren't improperly blocking, because it reeks of "secret evidence," and this would be justifiable only under color of immediate danger to the project. Mangojuice warned him for the finger. Why did you consider it necessary to take further action? Yourself? Instead of heeding the very clear guidance of ArbComm and the community in the Physchim62 case -- ArbComm merely confirmed what the community said loud and clear -- you seem to be certain that your prior successes will sustain you. If you are harmed by this, it will be by your own hand, not by mine. I'm just a witness, I just work here, I'm not in charge.
I have no opinion, for example, on whether or not it would be best for me and my purpose in life if I'm confirmed in my observations and analysis, rejected, or even blocked. My kids might prefer the last of these. I'm here as long as the actual community (not just the administrator core) finds me of use, because I find Wikipedia to be of use to humanity. Otherwise I wouldn't bother trying to make it work better.

--Abd (talk) 05:49, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I appreciate that you want to make Wikipedia work better. There are a few simple things you could do to reduce friction:

  1. Recognize that the Wikipedia community dislikes bureaucracy and lawyering.
  2. Use the preview button to read your comments before posting, and edit for brevity. People will read more of what you write if you write less.
  3. Don't look at other editors as "friends" or "foes". We met over one issue and disagreed. If we meet at another issue, we might support each other. Disagreements are normal, and need not be disabling.

I hope this helps. You've obviously intelligent and dedicated. Why not make the most of this opportunity? Jehochman Talk 05:58, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Good advice. I also dislike bureaucracy and wikilawyering. Would you like some tea? Now, what about this little problem with a block, perhaps made in the heat of the moment, it's certainly understandable, that is continuing to cause fuss -- it has to be enforced --, with a user who was not, except for that very brief period, disruptive, who did not ignore any warning, and who did what would ordinarily merit not more than a 24-hour block, if that? Let me assure you, he was totally sincere in making the WP:PRX proposal, he did not violate WP:SOCK in any clear way, and he did not intend any violation of it at all. More tea? No rush. I won't be doing anything tonight, I'm reading WP:DR. Nice place you've got here. Must have taken a lot of work to build this.--Abd (talk) 06:10, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

In spite of appearances I am a softhearted person and would be willing to unblock one account for the user if they promise to use only one account from now on, and to mind their manners. It's really that simple. If they want to register a new account, that would be fine too. Have them email me because I blocked their IP to prevent block evasion. That IP block needs to be lifted before they start editing. Jehochman Talk 06:14, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll ask him where it stands. Can he email you through the WP interface? Your conditions are the same I'd ask of him. (I actually don't know if he wants an account back, he's now got other work to do and editing the project can be very time-consuming.) Here is what I suggest. I think he has access to a university library -- I have been following the traffic. He could create a new account from there and drop you a note on your Talk page. If you don't block him this time, references can then be made from Sarsaparilla/Ron Duvall/Absidy to the new account. Or he'll email you as you suggested.... I just think it would be most efficient if he creates a new account name he can live with.--Abd (talk) 06:33, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
He can email me through the interface. It is really best to unblock. Otherwise, somebody else could discover the connection later and block the new account for block evasion, and we just don't need that sort of mess. Jehochman Talk 06:36, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
Problem is, he can't use Absidy or the other accounts.... remember, he munged the passwords.--Abd (talk) 08:21, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

As a contributor it's not your job to "restrain" other contributors

Please lodge a complaint or seek one of the many channels available to you, and which you are amply aware of, to stop behaviour which you believe to go against wiki guidelines. Thank you...--scuro (talk) 18:46, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

My, my, Scuro. You have, unfortunately, miniscule understanding of the wiki process. It deals with problems at the smallest possible level before moving up. If I think dispute resolution is required, I'll pursue it. But I don't see that yet, though I've certainly been considering it. It's a question of "how important is it"? Right now, I'm working on overall Wikpedia process, and so I'm deferring to the community of editors actually working on the article you are so much interested in. If I make suggestions to them, what, exactly, is your objection, and what makes you think it's your job to tell me what my job is? If I can stop behavior easily, with the push of a button, or with a few words, do you really think I should call the wiki-police? Here, it seems, you are complaining about my words of warning and support for another user. Is he upset? Basic rule, Scuro: Mind Your Own Business. --Abd (talk) 21:14, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

That stance shows ignorance and possibly an assumption of bad faith. I.E. You know best and they need to be controlled. One can see this in your revert behaviour where you change someone's else's edit without ever having looked at the citation. You believe an editor needs to be "restrained" and once again your assumption can be wrong. Think about it, your viewpoint is subjective and can be very biased. That is why you should seek some other form of wiki-process before you "restrain" other editors. Each process pulls in editors or administrators whose viewpoint hopefully is more objective and who might give you insight.--scuro (talk) 22:32, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
Scuro, you are entitled to your opinion, and I to mine. I don't control your behavior, and you don't control mine. I'm not responsible for what you do, nor you for what I do. Having said that, I can edit as I think fit, subject to the same guidelines and policies as you, and if it offends you, you have access to the processes you are recommending I use. Do not continue to tendentiously assert your point on my Talk page, further comment like this will be considered harassment, and I will, indeed, pursue remedies. If one warning isn't enough, for the same user to repeat the same warning for the same behavior is harassment, and is itself not allowed.--Abd (talk) 04:06, 4 March 2008 (UTC)


Thank you for your tone of rationality and sincerity. Like those I cited I am about to go away. I would like the section on the media to remain and for it to be possible for readers here to find my web site. I think it offers a lot of well reasoned material that contributes to the topic here. Fortunately, apparently at my request, there is an external link now left there (it had been removed) but there is a whole assortment of ideas that I would like to add to the discussion which could then have a link to my article but this has to be done by someone else. I have also added to the talk page a section I would like to add that focuses specifically on the biology vs non biology aspect of ADHD.I would appreciate your comments on whether this section should be added to the article itself, or a corrected version

I clicked on the vandalize section and could not make head or tails of what happened there. I was editing the talk page with comments I had just made and when I went to save it got the message that the page had been changed so I had to integrate my comments into the current page. I copied the current page, removed my original contribution, and added the corrected one. At least I think that is what happened. I certainly didn't intend to "vandalize"

Once again thank you. I would very much appreciate it if, after I stop visiting this page for a while, you guard the section on the media. If you click on its various links (especially the Frontline links) you will find it is a rich source of valuable information, not all of it positions I necessarily agree with —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ss06470 (talkcontribs) 11:54, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

the potential vandalize issue has happened again. I forgot to sign it and wanted to make my message more coherent This time I will not touch the above text and add the same thing in a corrected version. Sorry for the repition Exactly what am I supposed to do in that situation

Thank you for your tone of rationality and sincerity. Like those I cited I am about to go away. I would like the section on the media to remain and for it to be possible for readers here to find my web site. I think it offers a lot of well reasoned material that contributes to the topic here. Fortunately, apparently at my request, there is an external link now left there (it had been removed) but there is a whole assortment of ideas that I would like to add to the discussion which could then have a link to my article but this has to be done by someone else. I have also added to the talk page a section I would like to add that focuses specifically on the biology vs non biology aspect of ADHD.I would appreciate your comments on whether this section should be added to the article itself, or a corrected version

I clicked on the vandalize section and could not make head or tails of what happened there. I was editing comments I had just made on the talk page but when I went to save it got the message that the page had been changed so I had to integrate my comments into the current page. I copied the current page, removed my original contribution, and added the corrected one. At least I think that is what happened. I certainly didn't intend to "vandalize"

Once again thank you. I would very much appreciate it if, after I stop visiting this page for a while, you guard the section on the media. If you click on its various links (especially the Frontline links) you will find it is a rich source of valuable information, not all of it positions I necessarily agree with Yours, Simon —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ss06470 (talkcontribs) 12:03, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


Another essay... Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 02:07, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Whoa, I just discovered significant overlap with Wikipedia:No personal attacks. Man, we should've been quoting that all along. Not that I was anyone to be quoting it... (walks away with tail between legs) Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 02:22, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Naw, raise that tail and wag it. You showed, actually, why we have WP:AGF as a basic policy. Break it and it induces others to fall into incivility. If I call you an abusive sock puppet, trying to wreck Wikipedia with your disruptive proposal, you are supposed to be nice in response? Yes, you are. But ... we understand when people aren't nice in response to massive AGF violations aimed at them, and that is why AGF violation is truly disruptive. Imagine what it would have been like if I went after Jehochman with, "You deliberately blocked Absidy because you hated his ideas and wanted to preserve the control of the cabal over Wikipedia, and you were willing to lie and deliberately violate policy to accomplish this end." It was bad enough that I had to note that the block was improper, and possibly could be grounds for revocation of his admin status, but I never accused him of bad faith, and, as a result, it was believable that I'd invite him to sit down over tea and calmly discuss the matter. Nobody likes to be threatened and to succumb to threats, so, while I had to wave the big stick a little bit, I could also -- sincerely -- explain that I had no intention of hitting him with it (with an implied "unless.... but of course, you won't make that necessary.") And then he could think of himself as a kind person, reasonably willing to "give you a chance," and this is exactly what we can and should encourage. It becomes reality if given a chance. (And, of course, this involves no assumption that he isn't a kind person already.)

So, in the end, you promised to do what was right in any case. Now. Please don't do what you did before again. It wasn't hard to defend you, but we have better things to do, and I think we learned enough from this affair that we don't need to repeat it.

Now, what next? The massive AGF failures and, yes, personal attacks, are continuing. For a time, today, the traffic had slowed to a trickle, but .... let's see what tomorrow brings. Remember, don't make the same mistake twice, and don't fight the same battle more than once. If it depends on you alone, it's a lost cause. Let others take up the banner, if banners are needed, you have quite enough to do. There is work to do with Delegated voting, and perhaps Mikael Nordfors. Did you try to contact him? And there will be work to do to document what happened here over the proposal. This kind of reporting and analysis is very important for our outside work. It's ironic that one of the current bad faith charges is that WP:PRX was proposed to promote our "startup" or, this has shifted to, our book. Of course, we were not working together on these until you made the proposal.... and I know, as they should have known, from your edit histories, that you were sincere.

What I should be doing is starting to warn editors who have made charges of bad faith over this affair. As you know, that's the next step, before any RFC; similar worked with Jehochman and a great deal of fuss has been avoided. He rejected the warning, on the face of it, but I've explained that above. In fact, he listened. I didn't want him cowering, I didn't want to bully him, but just to get his attention. Show big stick, but then, speak softly. It's actually very old, very good advice. One of my old high school friends died recently; I remember him as a very big adolescent. He was very gentle. He did not need to be otherwise, others, quite simply, did not mess with him, they'd have been pulverized.

And I've come to know and be known by quite a few brilliant editors. We have some good essays written. User:Abd/Rule 0 got some very nice review, maybe it should move to WP space. I really don't see your Wikidrama article as being trolling, that, in itself, is an outrageous assumption of bad faith. --Abd (talk) 04:48, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

The media section has been removed....Unbelievable!!!!!!!

They took out the media section from the ADHD controversy page. Are you going to do something about this? --Ss06470 (talk) 03:58, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, perhaps. What do you suggest? If you think it incorrect, why don't you revert it? You are COI with respect to your own web site, but not in general with respect to the topic, you can do anything he can do. I'll look it over, but my time is limited, and Scuro is already doing a lot that may need reversion; as you might know, there is a clear limit of three reverts per 24 hours per article, so one editor can really only restrain one other editor, and that with difficulty. If you revert, be sure to explain it in the edit summary, and to explain it as well in Talk. Always read Talk first before reverting, and consider any arguments there. If possible, instead of simply taking the text back to a former version, see if you can address at least some of the issues raised. Not only might this protect you against charges of edit warring, because it will show an attempt to find compromise, but it's just plain fair anyway. I reverted Scuro *twice* yesterday. I don't push 3RR except in an emergency. The answer to persistent POV-pushing is persistent holding of the line against it. Yes, it's a pain, but current Wikipedia policy and practice is extraordinarily inefficient, it's part of what I'm working on. It may take some years to make it better. Ask me if you need any specific assistance, and you can email me directly. If you do, I'll give you my phone number.

Scuro is being enough of a pain -- and I see from the record that this isn't new -- that higher levels of dispute resolution or comment on user behavior may be in order. But be careful. It is really easy to, in response, violate policy yourself. Carefully avoid accusations of bad faith. If his behavior is disruptive, it does not follow that his intention is disruptive. --Abd (talk) 04:16, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I put it back. But, Dr. Sobo, I can't always do this. You could have reverted it yourself. In this case, I had to do two reverts, i.e., reverting a small edit to the summary that had replaced the whole section, then I could revert back to restore the section. While this appears in the History as two reverts, in fact, it would be considered (with respect to the policy restricting reversion) only one, and, generally, a series of contiguous reverts like that will be counted as a single one. Please see my argument in Talk for the justification. Please, also, be careful about asserting bad faith, and don't use strikeout as a way to say something seriously rude. This kind of behavior could get you sanctioned. Sometimes I use strikeout to make a somewhat sarcastic point, and that might not be good itself, but the proper use is when one realizes later that a post has been incorrect or improper, one goes back and uses strikeout. If there have been no edits in response, then just taking it out is better; it is when people have responded that strikeout is used. Don't say it planning to strike it. Be nice. (Yes, I understand the frustration.) --Abd (talk) 05:40, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

voting or not

I think it's time you recognize that no matter what you claim, the proposal was about a lot of things you say it wasn't about. You now seem to be saying that the proposal was really just to make a directed graph of people who contribute to Wikipedia, with no meaning to it whatsoever, but it was never described in those terms. The proposal, from day 1, talked about people participating in debates "on behalf" of others, with some debates described overtly as votes and talking about how to count those votes. And even if the entire text of the proposal was ignored (which it's honestly pretty hard to even consider doing -- that page is supposed to describe the proposal), it's still called "delegable proxy" which is (1) named after a voting system, and (2) includes the word proxy which overtly means a person empowered to speak on behalf of others (and also the word "delegable" which implies a transfer of power). If the proposal had never said anything but "everyone pick another user and specify them, and we can have a big directed graph of users", it would have been a very different proposal; who knows how people would have reacted then.

So, one could believe that despite all the proposal text and even its name, that connections in the table really were absolutely devoid of meaning (which I agree would be quite nonoffensive, although pointless). Or, they could believe that the intended meaning was exactly what was described on the page and implied by the name, but that the proposal was that we should set up the table but not have it be "used" or "mean anything" officially yet. The latter is what the proposal was taken to be, and what was rejected by the community. Mangojuicetalk 07:03, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

This is fascinating. What determines what a "proposal was about"? I have previously described most of what Mangojuice claims, but come to a quite different conclusion. The proposal took place in phases. First was the initial proposal, written by Sarsaparilla, based on political concepts he learned from outside, partly through political applications for delegable proxy being proposed and sometimes implemented around the world, and partly from my work, which focuses on application in associations similar to the Wikipedia editor community, i.e., what I call Free Associations. What I promote is not "delegable proxy," per se, though I am one of numerous independent inventors of it, but "FA/DP" or Free Associations with Delegable Proxy. Delegable Proxy can be used as a voting method, and Sarsaparilla was actually quite interested in doing that elsewhere, in student government. But it is far more than a voting method. Mangojuice has correctly named what it does as "directed graph," but even this description implies force to the direction. I.e., the relationship between proxy and client is a bidirectional one when implemented in a Free Association. What it boils down to is an agreement to communicate, and this creates some rebuttable assumption that may be considered by others as to trustworthiness. Single-proxy, which I generally recommend, is most advisedly assigned to the member, among those willing to accept, whom one considers best to function in one's place, if such were allowed. In general real-world applications, of course, it's only done when there is actual function to perform, and the usual argument against it when brought up as a political reform is that, if it has no teeth, if proxies cannot act directly, it's useless, a waste of time. It's fascinating to me that this objection was not raised here.
No, the connections in the table were not devoid of meaning, but meaning is something that would be either intended by those adding assignments and accepting them, or by those analyzing the table. It is not prescribed, and even in a mature FA/DP structure, with everyone assigning a proxy (there are proposals, in fact, that automatically assign proxies to new members, a Bad Idea in my book), there is no fixed meaning. The real meaning is something completely between the proxy and client. And the analyzed meaning results from free decisions by the analyst. WP:PRX did not assign a meaning, as it settled. In the initial draft, Sarsaparilla speculated on possible meanings, but I pretty quickly removed those implications, with his full agreement. What the proposal settled on was simple this: create the file format for a proxy assignment in a user's space, by the user, and then for a central table to display these from a list of users. And see what happens. No meaning was prescribed. No policies were changed, nor, in fact, does the Rejection of the proposal create any policy or guideline. We can still do it. If you want to prohibit this, you are going to have to create guidelines or policies to prevent it. You might find that much more difficult. Already, this first proposal has attracted sufficient support, in my view, that the community will resist such efforts. Mangojuice, the enemy of delegable proxy is not you or the oligarchy of administrators and sympathizers who may find themselves threatened by this (which is an error, this does not actually threaten them), but apathy and cynicism.
The name "delegable proxy," from your comments but also from those of many others, will be abandoned, because "proxy" too easily implies voting. However, that was a misleading implication, and proxies aren't only about voting; in fact, most that are created legally have nothing to do with voting. Health care proxies. Powers of attorney. Open proxies. Etc. The proxies here, though, would be relatively unique in that no specific meaning would be attached to their creation, they are purely the creation of that directed graph, with only some vague expectation that an assignment indicates some level of trust.
What would have happened if you had not filed that Village Pump request for comment? That request, by the way, produced quite inconclusive response. Then the MfD, a debate entirely against standard procedure for proposals, accompanied with false charges of sock puppetry? As you full well know, Absidy's offense was placing an image of a finger on Jehochman's Talk page, not sock puppetry. He was never warned about sock puppetry and, up to that point (and I think beyond) he stayed clear of sock puppetry, he couldn't commit that offense because he spiked each account before using another. Anyway, what would have happened would probably have been, for a time, nothing. The sky would not have fallen. However, you did do this, and the result was that many more people have seen the proposal, the the proposers. Thanks for the help. Seriously. What you did was the maximum that you could have done to help this proposal, far more effective than, say, agreeing with it. Did we propose it to get the publicity? No. We proposed it sincerely, hoping that gradually, participation would widen -- it costs practically nothing in terms of continued effort, it isn't Esperanza or AMA -- and then applications would appear and be considered at that time. Now, let me suggest something to you. You will probably see it when proxy assignments start to be made. Instead of opposing it, why not choose the Wikipedia user you most trust and assign a proxy (it won't be called that, but it creates the directed graph, you will recognize it by that). FA/DP organizations have some fascinating characteristics: they, by nature, seek consensus; where caucuses arise that can't find consensus in short order, they fracture, but the fragments remain connected by overall purpose (and the overall proxy table) and the motivation to find consensus remains. If you don't care to waste your time arguing with some other caucus, you can still be "represented" with respect to them. Mikael Nordfors calls what we called the "proxy," an "advisor." Your proxy would advise you if your personal attention is needed. The choice is yours, and it will remain yours, and you will remain responsible for your own actions, the proxy for the actions of the proxy, and no changes in policy are involved. That's what we said, over and over, in fact, and what happened with you was that you remembered the early, rejected draft. Created by someone who was very much thinking (outside) about voting. He dropped that, you didn't. Thanks. --Abd (talk) 14:32, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
What the proposal at Wikipedia:Delegable proxy is is ultimately determined by what was written there when the community examined it. What was rejected is what was written there, but what was written there did at least try to make clear that nothing about these assignments should be considered binding. And BTW, Ron was abusing sockpuppets. Changing usernames three times in a week to support the same proposal when it's in need of defending is a type of abuse described at WP:SOCK. Just because he had an explanation doesn't mean that behavior is okay. It was minor abuse, though, compared to what some people do with sockpuppets. Even if he technically never used two accounts at the same time, he did (intentionally or not) create the appearance of extra support. There was the finger incident, a personal attack. But there was also the trolling -- the "canvassing" that was clearly designed to elicit anger. And then he continued to violate WP:SOCK by evading his block, and even going a bit further, to defend himself under new alternate usernames. So his behavior was, actually, not good. Not the end of the world bad, but certainly worthy of the block in my opinion.
Anyway, let's talk about something else. What I think you're now proposing is to set up a directed graph where each person chooses another person as someone they trust. (That's a meaning, and it's actually the meaning I first assumed you meant when you said this was supposed to be non-binding, well before the MfD.) It's perfectly reasonable people to express that they trust someone. (Why just one, though? Never mind, it's off the point.) I still have good arguments against that proposal. Setting up this web of trust with no specified purpose is akin to setting up a reputation system on Wikipedia. Those who are trusted by many or are trusted by many who are themselves trusted, have a good reputation. People do have reputations on Wikipedia, but we try our best to ignore those reputations. Having a system to quantify reputation or trust is counter to that. Mangojuicetalk 16:37, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

The directed graph is the proposal, period. By the time the community was "looking at it," as some did, it had been boiled down to that, the rest was speculation. However, the experiment was not to set it up as reputation system, per se, just a tool that could be used for that as well as for many other purposes. From the point of view of FA/DP theory, the most important purpose is the establishment of reliable communications channels. Once again, though you have backed off from thinking of it as voting, you are still thinking in terms of some output measure, i.e., simply a different kind of voting. Yes, it can be used for that, but that is not, from my point of view, the primary function that will arise. The network is itself the purpose, and the possible uses are manifold. For example, let's imagine a mature system. You want to bring something to the attention of, say, Jimbo. But there are, say, hundreds or thousands of people clamoring for his attention. He can't possibly give each one of them enough attention to be able to tell if the communication is something he should attend to or not. Now, there are standard organizational solutions to this; normally a hierarchy is created, with inputs at the bottom level, and each level filters input. Classic top-down solution, the "filters" are appointed by the person at the focus. This is different. This is created from the bottom up. Someone looks at the proxy table and sees that Jimbo has accepted direct proxies from twenty people. This creates a presumption that those people can communicate with Jimbo. But those are also busy, and, besides, you've got an idea that you think Jimbo might understand, but the others not. Where do you go? And this is the problem that I was considering twenty years ago when I stumbled across delegable proxy. You go to your own proxy. Your proxy is someone who will listen to you, who will give your ideas a sympathetic hearing. That doesn't mean "accept them." It means that there is some rapport there. If you can't convince your proxy the idea is worth passing on, forget about convincing anyone else! Don't waste your time and theirs. However, something is very different here from the usual rejection of ideas. Your proxy will tell you why. You can discuss it and work the idea over. The idea will get full consideration. If not, you need to find another proxy! In Europe, what we call the proxy is called the "advisor." Mikael Nordfors -- his article was just deleted, my suspicion is that most publication on him is in Swedish -- and I came up with AP, for Advisor/Proxy, because both functions can exist. Anyway, if you can convince your proxy, then your idea moves up a level in a fractal hierarchy, your proxy has a proxy, etc. At some point, the idea, if it passes through the filters (and this is not the telephone game, because not only might your, say, email be forwarded, but also you might watch the discussion and in some cases participate in it) reaches a level where someone with the ear of Jimbo will see it and probably discuss it. This happens with no formal hierarchy, no bureaucracy, no overhead.
All this already happens. The only difference with a proxy table is that there is a documented and readable path, which allows far more efficient communication. Anyway, to see this takes quite a bit of thought at this point. It will be far easier to see when there are operating systems. Operating DP systems have been created, but have been small and not very well documented. In any case, Wikipedia policy does not prohibit the creation of such tables. They can be in user space, and there are some applications where a table might be in article space (as a working subpage). Basically, in article space, it would be a list of editors who express an interest in an article; and a link from each editor, who cares to create it, to another editor. Again, this requires no proposal, no community approval, though the community can, post-facto, attempt to delete it. No policy is violated. (The most obvious place where such tables might be created is with wikiprojects, in WP space, which already have the lists of users, or on meta.) Off wiki, this idea is rapidly spreading, we just saw, for example, academic publication for "delegated voting." And, yes, it was transitive, so it was delegable proxy. Users are going to start to apply it here. If you want to stop it, you'd better get the policies written and approved, quickly. However, you might note something: this can't be stopped, for the essential element is the network itself, and that network can be off-wiki entirely. Having it on-wiki makes it transparent and makes it possible to more effectively prevent meat puppetry. Shove it off-wiki, and detecting meat puppetry becomes far more difficult. Trying to stop it will make it (1) happen more quickly, off-wiki, and (2) possibly make it happen in a disruptive way. For a Bad Thought, imagine all the disgruntled editors who now run sock puppets organizing like this, and imagine that, collectively, they aren't as stupid or clumsy as they often are individually. You were able to detect Absidy socks because he made no effort to conceal them. I would do everything I can to stop the disruption, but, historically, that's what happens when attempts to stop something like this get serious. Don't.
I could, in fact, describe in detail how an attack on Wikipedia organized in this way would be practically unstoppable, but I won't, for obvious reasons, I would only describe that to someone I'd thoroughly trust not to abuse the idea. I'd much rather see this kind of organization on the positive side, before the negative appears. It will appear. The question is when. What would be the goal of such an attack? Well, most think of vandalism, but vandalism is for the immature. Rather, there is a lot of money that could be attracted for subtle, coordinated manipulation of article space. I have had some suspicion that this was already happening, but I think it was mere appearance. The drug industry is huge. Small shifts in Wikipedia article spin on certain topics could be worth millions of dollars. And all it would take, under current conditions, is a few persistent editors with an agenda, and clever enough to coordinate their activities in such a way as to remain under the radar. You'd never know it. What I'm suggesting would be capable of meeting a challenge like this; it does it by entirely distributing the burden of watching, possible, all articles. It's not centrally organized, but there would be central registries, I'd forsee, where watch assignments are taken, and one can determine if there are trusted editors involved in that. "Trust" is not centrally decided, it's a fully distributed decision. There can be competing trust networks, and, under some conditions, that would be quite healthy and functional.
But the proposal we made was not all this, and most of this is stuff that will be news to Absidy. It is what becomes possible if people learn to use the tool, the simple tool of a proxy table. The proposal was not to set up any of these applications, it was merely to create something that could be used in any one of them, probably starting with the very simplest. The fact is that what you considered, above, as "nonoffensive, although pointless," is exactly what we proposed. Pointless, i.e., not having a defined and fixed point. Nonoffensive, though obviously a lot of people took offense at it, enough to want to delete it rather than merely reject it. Pointless, though, only in the sense that no decision was proposed on how to use it; i.e., the "point" is simply to allow experimentation in an inoffensive way.
I did come across an application today and might, in fact, set up a table to deal with it. This is Wikipedia, not only is everything I do visible, at least if I do it here (and almost entirely that's what is going on, I'm not plotting off-wiki), but I know that there are those who are watching everything, sifting through my contributions to see what I'm up to, I know by the immediate responses that otherwise would be phenomenal coincidences. Nothing wrong with that, by the way. So, given what has gone down, there might be attempts to intercept this. That would be regrettable. These applications would clearly not involve voting or representation or any violation of policy, so the analogy to what the community thought it was rejecting would be weak. However, the attempt to delete, in this case, would be more difficult, I suspect, more disruptive, and you saw how disruptive the MfD for WP:PRX was. Again, if what I'm talking about is, itself, disruptive, I'd better see some policy on that, quick. I've only been around here, seriously, since September of last year, and it's entirely possible I've missed something. (And with this application, if it's deleted, it would automatically go off-wiki, by its nature. Out of sight, out of mind?) The medium is the message.
Again, thanks for asking (or commenting). You haven't actually asked yet. These ideas got their biggest boost when a very bright and articulate Libertarian activist had been reading my writing for a year, and finally decided to ask the obvious questions, instead of merely raising them in his head to reject the idea, which is what most people do. He made a list of questions, and I answered them, publicly. That became the FAQ which is on and has become the basis for quite a few others to begin to get it. Damn! This might actually work! What you haven't seen here is that Absidy, or whatever his weird username is now, started out as a political enemy. However, he was unusual. He actually read what I wrote, and decided this was more important than his original cause. That was only a few months ago, so he is very new to the ideas, and the "voting" thing really does distract. As a result of the experience here, we will probably shift the language to much more strongly de-emphasize voting. FAs don't make decisions by voting, except for trivial stuff, and even then it's mostly "Do we all agree? Yes? Okay, let's do it!" In large FAs, polling is used, not to make decisions, but simply to get a better idea of how broadly something is supported. FAs don't control their members, and action is taken by members, so what may appear to be central decisions are always, in fact, decentralized and the ultimate responsibility is in the hands of those who act.
Well I think we agree on one thing at least -- these power structures already exist, they just aren't documented or codified, and can't be quantified. However, what the actual power structure is would not be captured well by this. Basically, as Shira said on the proposal talk page, for the most part everyone trusts those who are interested in debates to resolve them with the best interests of the encyclopedia in mind. That's how I view my trust relationships with others here, with exceptions for individuals I have an opinion about. Mangojuicetalk 07:06, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
My view in creating WP:PRX was that we would get some people to sign up, normal processes would continue as they do currently, and we would quietly analyze the proxy expansions of various debates and consider changes to the system in light of that. Eventually someone might point out, perhaps at the close of the debate, what the proxy expansion would have been, and a sub-debate would start on that. Either way, we would gather some information. It certainly was not a proposal ready to be used in control decisions; we hadn't seen how the proxy expansions would work out in practice. But a lot of the arguments used against even trying it seemed to be based on speculation, e.g. "We shouldn't even try this because people are going to use it to advance their agenda based on misleading proxy expansions." Well, people might try to do that, but the community would probably not let them get away with it. I didn't see a reason to nip the whole project in the bud, though. The proposed experiment itself would have just been a table and some user subpages, rather unobtrusive as experiments go. It's only the (mis)use that some might make of it that could be troublesome. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 14:58, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

(dedent)Progress. We doubtless agree on more than you've said. For example, the actual power structure is not documented or codified or quantified by a delegable proxy network. That, in fact, isn't the purpose, as I see it. Rather, DP creates a new rapid-response functional intelligence that overlays the former power structure, and interconnects with it. The biological analogy is the shift from multicellular organisms that communicated through diffusion of messenger proteins, to those interconnected by nerve cells. These cells each had only local input or influence. The older chemical messaging systems were not replaced, they continued to function (and still do). But something else becomes possible through rapid nerve network communication, and, eventually, it becomes what we call intelligence.

If you are correct, DP will be useless. But you aren't correct -- unless DP isn't actually used, in which case, no matter how it might function, if implemented, it will still be almost useless. But "almost useless" can be a dangerous label. If it costs "almost nothing," it might still be useful to those who participate in it. It's the old division by zero error. (From the point of view of the whole society, it's useless, but the cost/benefit ratio may still be below one, i.e., it accomplishes more than it costs.) One of the beauties of DP as an organizational technology is that it costs almost nothing, and the communication it creates is quite likely useful to those who participate, whether or not there are effects outside the pairs of members involved.

However, what you have described in terms of how Wikipedia works is, of course, correct. Mbstpo (Sarsaparilla, etc) was well aware of this, as was I. However, what I bring to the table is an understanding of how associations such as the editor community of Wikipedia have developed in the past. As the scale increases -- and as the stakes increase -- participation bias starts to function differently. At the beginning, it works very well. As has been noted, participation bias is part of how really bad voting methods (such as plurality, in common use in the U.S.) work. Those who don't care don't participate, and this improves the quality of outcomes. However, there are other factors besides lack of interest or knowledge. Classically, labor unions were taken over by anarchists and radicals, because the latter were highly motivated, while the rank and file were supporting families and couldn't stay up late at night arguing over control of a union. The strongly-motivated could outlast normal members. And the latter eventually just go away. Because the latter typically aren't organized independently (whereas the radicals might be), the power shifts to the most fanatic or otherwise singularly motivated members. That's a moderately sinister example. On Wikipedia, power has naturally devolved upon a core of highly interested editors, and that is as it should be. However, there are factions within this virtual oligarchy. Some factions might represent the entire editor corpus, if we could check, others not. Simply implementing a voting system could actually be disastrous, because serious problems arise if people who don't understand the issues start voting. Indeed, this happens within the oligarchy, and I've seen many examples. It's easiest to see with AfDs, but it's not my purpose here to go into the AfD process in details; suffice it to say that I've seen many AfDs where the result was contrary to the facts, and a little care and research on the part of those who voted would have shown that. Then, the actual result is the opinion of a single person, based on, what? Did the closing admin do independent research? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I voted in an RfA where the candidate had voted "per nom" without, obviously, checking what the nominator had claimed. When I pointed this out, the candidate apologised, correctly noting that this wasn't such a great idea. But it happens all the time. Do those !votes count? It's apparent that they do count, and that, again, is a whole other issue. By "count," I mean that results can be different just because of votes that contain no arguments except for "I agree." Do you need actual examples?

Now, how would DP shift the power balance? Only subtly, at least at first. The exact details can't be predicted precisely. However, I can speculate that DP networks could efficiently organize editor labor, in ways that are difficult or unreliable when done without this kind of spontaneous -- but documented -- hierarchical structure. "Okay, I'll take the AfD watch for March 30. If an AfD appears in a field, I'll notify our members with special interest in that field that the AfD has been created, so they can review it. Naturally, I can't vote for anyone, but, since I'll be watching, I'll vote, you can watch that and if you disagree, or think some new consideration should be added, you can, as always, add your own opinion or present your own evidence. If I see the discussion start to snow in a direction contrary to arguments we have presented, I'll ask for our caucus to review the AfD, to make sure that some other caucus isn't organizing, on or off-wiki, to influence outcomes."

Would this be "canvassing"? Good question. Consider this: if !votes don't count, then canvassing is harmless. Sock puppetry is harmless. They are all wasting their time; if they've got a good argument, it doesn't become better by being repeated a hundred times as "per Sock123." However, if those hundred votes are real, and the decision goes the other way, based on an isolated argument that the closing admin thought decisive, what will happen? You know. DRV, and more, perhaps. DP can, in fact, anticipate all this and avoid senseless battles. And exactly how, again, I could write till the cows come home, and a little demostration would be far more effective. That's what we tried to do, to set up a tool so that users could experiment with little applications, possibly creating demonstrations. It will happen anyway, so.... I wasn't upset, I'm not upset by the deletion of Delegable proxy, or the Rejection of WP:PRX because I'm working for the long run, for the future, and, quite simply, I expected all this (in round outlines and with the caveat that eventually, it's not going to be rejected and so I'm not just putting up something so it can be shot down. What I'm really doing is asking "Is it time yet?"). --Abd (talk) 15:21, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

You know, I have a hard time believing that you know what would help Wikipedia when you don't even participate in it that much. If you had experience with it, you wouldn't say things like "Sock puppetry is harmless." No, Sockpuppetry is very disruptive and causes real problems that volunteers have to clean up. You are arguing from a position of ignorance and it shows when you say things like that. The "caucus" idea you have is exactly what people thought you meant to be suggesting with this system, and it was thoroughly rejected, and yes, that would be inappropriate canvassing. Appropriate canvassing should always be neutral, sent to those without a known or likely opinion, and should be done on Wikipedia for clarity of decision-making. Mangojuicetalk 15:31, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Mind if I jump in? (Thanks!) Well, I agree with what Abd says that we might as well experiment and put an end to the speculation. It just happened that almost all of the speculation was against it. I have been on Wikipedia for a long time, although I haven't been an admin or worked much on counter-vandalism or counter-troll stuff, which probably contributes to my bias toward being a softy. Anyhoo, my view is that we should just test the dang thing. People objecting to using Wikipedia as a testbed for a new system. Well, hasn't Wikipedia been a testbed for a lot of new ideas? I don't know of any other wiki of this size, and many of the things we implement have never been tried in this type of environment. The benefits of DP could be great and any damage caused by it could be terminated by ending the experiment if it proved problematic. In my opinion, it was worth trying, but people didn't agree, so I guess that's the end of it. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 15:40, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Actually I think I'm going to unwatch Abd's page at this point, because the thought of what happened with WP:PRX just pisses me off every time I think of it. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 16:54, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Your privilege, of course. I'll continue watching yours and your contributions, I'm learning way too much to stop.... As to WP:PRX, the opposition was totally predictable. Suppose you walk into a meeting of the oligarchs that control a society and propose a change that will create a structure that allows everyone to participate, without creating the chaos that most will expect. What do you think they will do? The response will depend on how seriously they take you. Generally, they will laugh. Most of them don't think it possible. Some of them, however, will think that it will fail, but will create chaos in the process. These will actively try to stop you. But they don't understand what you are proposing. They will fail. (Unless they have bigger guns than Block. Much bigger.) Remember, the enemy of this change is apathy, not the oligarchy, which is simply playing the role set out for it. They are not the enemy. Getting caught in the moment, all you see is the rampant "stupidity." Of course it pisses you off. But you know too much. You can repress what you know only at terrific psychic cost. Don't. Just learn to be patient. It comes out in the wash.--Abd (talk) 17:21, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Whole new world

I just noticed that a lot of Wikipedia essays/policies/etc. have interwiki links to the other languages. I think if we just focus on English, we're missing out on a much larger picture. It's kinda analogous to basing a study of politics on what is happening in the U.S. Sure, we are one of the oldest and largest democracies, and a lot of countries try to model themselves after us, but the U.S. has a lot to learn from others as well. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 20:16, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Note, for instance, this list of verboten words: Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 20:18, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, we have to start somewhere. There is plenty of work on DP in Europe, and my guess is that the bulk of it isn't in English. Have you looked at --Abd (talk) 21:43, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Now, when we are tempted to insult someone, should we simply link to that section of that page? Would save a lot of trouble. You reject my ideas? See [6].--Abd (talk) 21:47, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Quite possibly. See . My, those Swedish do have a way with words, don't they? Now, where can I find a translation tool that can handle this? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 22:08, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Classification of articles

You've mentioned that we should have classifications of articles. Don't we already have that? For instance, IRV is rated as a B-class article. By the way, what do you think of my proposed implementation of WP:XD using Template:Prob? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:11, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, of course. However, present tagging is totally unreliable. Articles continually change, at least those where there is some kind of controversy. Wikipedia works really well when a topic isn't controversial. But when it is, there can be continual flux. There seemed to be an assumption at one time, based on early experience, that articles would continually improve. I've seen the opposite, of late. Long-term POV pushers can really shift an article over time, wearing out opposition. Regardless, from the point of view of a reader, a "B-class" designation, for example, may have applied to an article at one time, but it may be better or worse than that at any given time. What I was suggesting was a shell, accessing validated and classified versions of articles. I think this could be built into the existing system through indexes that point to versions. The best implementation, actually, might be an independent wiki that indexes (not mirrors) Wikipedia content, though it might host some articles locally. Accessing Wikipedia through such a filter, one would get reliable information, with rapid access to the latest version, history, and everything currently available. This independent site could be built step by step: it would start with a simple index to the present version; then site users would work on specifying versions, possibly working on the Wikipedia articles to check sources, etc., then certifying, as it were, a particular version, which would then become a stable version for that indexing site. This kind of task requires hierarchy, but the fractal, bottom-up hierarchy of delegable proxy could do it. In order to certify a newer version of an article, one would do a diff between the old, validated version and the present one.
I've been pretty much exhausted the last couple of days, tend to stay up way too late, then the girls are jumping on me, early. I'm going to be early. The smoke seems to have cleared from the flap over WP:PRX, so we can start to, so to speak, mop up, and collect what we need to collect. Template:Prob looks good. I'm not sure, though, what the application is. As a substitute for deletion, fine. It's already been noticed that blanking and redirecting can be done; problem is, the vandalism patrol picks it up and complains and reverts, no matter what. One of the IRV forks was a blatant POV fork, and I blanked it, with comment on Talk and in the edit summary, and I was warned for vandalism. However, I think those may have been James Salsman socks, so I'm not sure this fits with the idea that it was actually vandalism patrol. I forget the details. I do think that with marginal articles, in lieu of deletion, blank/redirect would be a much better solution, saving trouble in the future. Delegable proxy is almost certain to come back, and Mikael Nordfors. Amazing coincidence, eh, that these articles, around for years, are suddenly AfD'd out of existence at the same time as we propose WP:PRX? (Of course, it does make sense. A bunch of experienced Wikipedians want to find out what this is about and they see the article, then realize that the sourcing is what it was, mostly pretty weak, a common problem with internet phenomena, so they AfD it. However, we might wonder, what would they have known about the topic without the article? It's almost like, we got to read it, but we don't want' anyone else to. Point is, pure wiki deletion -- which blanking accomplishes if I'm correct -- works as far as protecting unsuspecting readers from non-notable content (as if they need to be protected, they won't look at Delegable proxy unless they want to), or from unverified information (and the non-RS stuff was actually verifiable, as I recall. If it is attributed and one can check this, it's verifiable. Not necessarily notable, not necessarily balanced, but verifiable). As I've written many, many times, the whole notability guideline is problematic, causing continual irritation, accumulating out in the world of casual editors. Experts hate it when they create an article and come back and find it gone. You got an expert to donate hours of free time, time they get paid for normally, and then someone with time to burn PRODs it, and only the expert was watching the article, and, of course, he didn't check his watchlist during the time period. I know experts who may not know how to use their watchlist.... Whatever is done, as the scale increases, it must be increasingly efficient. More and more, I'm realizing how horribly inefficient the present systems are, taking inordinate amounts of editor time to push an article boulder up the hill, and it rolls down again and has to be pushed up again. Problem is, it worked. Enthusiasm for this project has been great enough that all that editor time can be burned, and we enjoy the bonfire. But that cannot continue. It will take some years to build, bottom-up, the structures that can solve the problems mentioned and meet the coming challenges. The collapse could come in a year, but I don't have a sense that we are at the tipping point yet. (I.e., from the point where the project starts to seriously degrade, to collapse, could be less than a year.) It's the old story of the pond and the lily pads. The lilies are doubling in area covered once a day. If it takes a hundred days to cover the pond, choking off all life in the water, three days before the end, only 12% of the pond is covered. When editor burnout begins to exceed the replacement rate, the burden on the remaining editors increases, causing more burnout, accelerating. Good night.--Abd (talk) 02:21, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

== thanks once again for your help ==

Thanks again for your concern and warning. I have no intention to lose it again although I didn't have the intention before. It is just so infuriating to deal with issues with content, as is being asked for, then just see it tossed off with absurd logic. Hopefully, if I can complain to you I can ventilate enough to calm down. I agree this page is not worth it, but I do feel passionately about ADHD and a number of other topics in psychiatry. I would like to take leave from this site and just visit occasionally to make sure nothing horrendous has been done to the page. So far every time I have done that my worst fears have materialized. Will you also be checking from time to time?

I also would like your opinion about that section on biology vs non biology positions I am thinking about adding. I cannot understand the response so far on the talk page.

By the way my email is if you ever want to communicate directly. I don't intend to visit here very often if and when my current goals are accomplished.

One other thought. How would this go over as a new entry "In conjunction with the release of its 1996 and 1997 annual reports, the UN's International Narcotics Control Board issued warnings about the dramatically increasing use of methylphenidate, primarily in the United States... At present, the unprecedented high level of ADD diagnosis in children, the very widespread prescription of Ritalin and the growing abuse and black market appear to be limited to the United States. But, the INCB foresees the likelihood that this trend will soon take hold in other countries. Some of the parent groups promoting methylphenidate in the United States have announced their intention to extend their activities outside the country. The Board is therefore requesting all Governments to exercise utmost vigilance to prevent the overdiagnosing of ADD and any medically-unjustified treatment with methylphenidate and other stimulants. It has also requested the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate this matter and to provide expertise to national public health authorities."

for the entire discussion here is the link [7] It really does belong on that page.

Take it easy. I am on my way to Palm Beach tomorrow so maybe I will decompress. By the way don't know if you like photography but you might be interested in my picassa site [8] It has great pictures of Japan, China (and my garden and dog Charley) As you will see I am not always an angry warrior. Hope you are doing well

Best wishes

Simon --Ss06470 (talk) 05:07, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Canvassing opt-in

Please see User talk:Obuibo Mbstpo/Canvassing. You may wish to opt-in as well. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 16:06, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

User:Obuibo Mbstpo/What kind of system is this?

Another essay... This time I kept it in userspace. I think the First they came... reference is particularly cool. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 23:13, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Feel free to edit, I'm sure you have some thoughts on this... Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 23:21, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Your edit to WP:CANVASS

I'm so used to back-and-forth with Mbstpo that I put this on my Talk instead of his... and I'm adding this note so others don't get confused.--Abd (talk) 23:58, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it was appropriate to edit the guideline page to set up this canvassing permission suggesting, without seeking consensus first. This is a guideline, and it really should be discussed first. I'm going to revert it, on that basis, whether or not it's a good idea. By all means, continue to discuss it in Talk there, and my reversion isn't an opposition to the proposal or action, just to bypassing process for guideline pages. --Abd (talk) 01:01, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I understand your concern but recommend reverting yourself, if you are not opposed to the substance of the change. WP:BRD can be an appropriate process for changing policy, unless one has reason to believe that the change will likely be controversial. I consider my edit to basically be an application of WP:SNOW and WP:BUREAUCRACY. This type of change to WP:CANVASS is not a particularly big deal compared to, say, a major change in notability criteria in the deletion policy; and this change being an opt-in, I feel it is appropriate. I am also rather impatient and don't feel like saying "If there is no objection, the change will be made... hearing no objection, the change will be made." I'd rather just make the change and let someone revert if they want to. I'll bear the onus if I'm wrong. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:11, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Tell you what. Think about it for a day. Ask me again in 24 hours, and if no reason to object has appeared, I'll revert myself. I agree that you are rather impatient. We already knew that, didn't we? But here is why I wouldn't do it your way: as I mentioned above, if there are thousands of different rules for user opt-ins for canvassing, the whole thing is impossibly cumbersome. Further, I'm not at all sure that mass canvassing (everyone who has agreed to opt-in) is a good idea, and targeted canvassing becomes what the guideline wishes to avoid, unless it is small-scale. Either way, it's a mess. So, think about it yourself. I'd suggest letting it go at this point. You didn't violate WP:CANVASS, though, in my opinion. It was not mass, and it was not targeted to create a bias in some process. It may have been mildly annoying to a few editors, but, hey, I get annoying comments on my Talk page from time to time, I don't file a complaint unless there is persistence, and the guideline specifically indicates block as an inappropriate response, even if it is canvassing, unless it is persistent. The ArbComm case referenced in the guideline page was about some serious, persistent, aggressive canvassing. And, in the end, the user was not sanctioned for canvassing. You weren't even close.--Abd (talk) 01:22, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, I ultimately would like to see a system in which people opt-out of canvassing and it is allowed by default, within certain restrictions. Each user could set their own more restrictive restrictions as well. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:51, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, this is an issue that I've actually put a fair amount of thought into. In an FA, can an individual member contact all members? If there is an opt-in, obviously, yes. However, consider a really large FA, one with, say, a billion members. Now if .001% of these members, on any given day, decide to contact all members, with something REALLY IMPORTANT, we would all be getting 10,000 messages a day. Spam. Originally, there was a lot of comment about spam, what's the big deal, just delete it! Well, few say that any more. I get about five hundred spams a day. I have a good tool (Mailwasher) but it still is quite a nuisance, day in and day out. Delegable proxy is actually designed as a filter, the proxy network functions as a bidirectional filter. So there may be members who only allow their proxy to contact them. There would be, to be sure, a bypass. When I create a mailing list for an FA, I generally encourage (maybe even insist, which I can do as a moderator) that members not set no-mail, web only, but that they enable Special Messages (these are yahoogroups lists). That takes moderator approval. And I won't send special messages unless there is a good reason. A majority vote to do so would be a good reason. (majority voting directly or by proxy). The proxy handles routine communication. Perhaps the member subscribes to a mailing list run by the proxy. On-wiki, it's pretty simple to arrange this..... I think the mass mailing concept is a mistake. Rather, create a structure that connects everybody, but that filters, so that users aren't spammed to death. --Abd (talk) 02:52, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

There would probably need to be different fields for different types of restrictions. E.g., {{canvassing|topics=cat, goat, orangutan|noticesperuser=10|period=1 month}} might be used to restrict acceptable notices to cat, goat, and orangutan-related articles, with each user being allowed to send 10 notices per month. In this way, some automation could be done. In place of "1 month" we might have code letters or numbers such as A=week, B=month, etc. to enable easier automated parsing. I am cross-posting this to Template talk:Canvassing. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 17:05, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

OK, it's been 24 hours, so please revert. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts and/or what tweaks are made. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 23:32, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Political questions

I am on a roll... here is my latest essay. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:50, 6 March 2008 (UTC)


If I weren't impatient, no doubt more of my edits would have edit summaries. Maybe I should start using those... I was thinking, if you're trying to draw notice to a certain comment, or whatnot, edit summaries could be half the battle. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 17:19, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Og voutdr! Even more important, though, is making sure that one's fingers are on the proper keys, that left hand can wander. You know, we have a bit of a catch-22. If we are brief, we are cryptic. And if we explain what we are saying, we are writing too much, boil it down, please! It depends on who has the most motivation. Should someone who is relatively detached take the time to explain what they see, or should those who might have a need to know make the effort to figure it out, i.e., by asking. I know who needs it the most, but those people, practically by definition, don't realize it. Do you know what the solution to this problem is? Delegable proxy. Proposals and new ideas with delegable proxy are filtered through trusted filters, trusted in both directions. If I have accepted a proxy, I am saying, in effect, I'll give you enough attention to understand what you are trying to say. If I find it too much, I'll ask you to slow down, or revoke the proxy, recommending, if I have a recommendation, someone else. In the other direction, I'd expect clients to take the time to understand what their proxy is telling them. It's only one person, it's not opening the floodgates to the barrage of half-baked ideas that will overwhelm us, immediately, if we actually try to consider them all. Mbstpo, it's important that you see that the rejection the idea received here is normal, and that it is not proceeding from malice, or at least not most of it. Just because they did not AGF doesn't mean that we shouldn't. It's frustrating, but, hey, I'm sure it was frustrating trying to walk on land when all your ancestors were swimmers only. It's always hard at first. But it gets easier. Some sayings I've heard in those rooms where people get real with each other:
God, grant me patience. And hurry!
The reward of patience is patience.
--Abd (talk) 17:39, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Ah, it is possible for our writings to be concise and correct, clear, complete, concrete, considerate, and courteous. Remember the seven 7 C's! (See User:Sarsaparilla/Conciseness for more details) Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 17:53, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
By the way, brilliant essay.--Abd (talk) 18:24, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Sometimes. In general, though, the problem is NP-complete. For one thing, "complete" is utterly impossible. To take a phrase from the Qur'an, if I were to try to be complete, the ocean could be ink and the trees could be pens, and I couldn't write it all. However, if we take the 7 Cs as a goal, to be approached if not reached, then they are useful. However, suppose I know I'm dying tomorrow? How much should I go back and edit? It's discourteous to point out to an "idiot" that he's an idiot. However, what is it to clearly refute the claim he has nailed his reputation to? Is it courteous? Depends. Who needs to know?--Abd (talk) 18:22, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Hey, I've been waiting for five minutes and patience still hasn't come. What's the holdup? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 17:55, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
It came, you just haven't noticed it yet.--Abd (talk) 18:22, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, that essay used to be in Wikipedia namespace but they moved it because I was the only editor. So, I suppose that if one assumed that editors wish their pieces to be placed in Wikipedia namespace, then the system actually rewards bad writing that will require other users to edit it. If you write a perfect essay, then no revisions by other users are necessary, and it becomes a candidate for userfication. Of course, if a lot of users like your essay, they may well link extensively to it, which is another way it can stay in the Wikipedia namespace. Anyhoo, I've pointed out that most, if not virtually all, the essays in the Wikipedia namespace originally started out as something with only one user in the edit history and few/no incoming links... Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 19:41, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

TBSDY and his departure

Yeah, I knew TBSDY but wasn't aware that was what led to his departure. He had retired once before, saying that he wanted to devote more time to reading the Bible, etc. Gave up his mop and everything. Then he came back, got in trouble for demonstrating Wikipedia's self-repairing nature to a friend via an act of vandalism to the featured article of the day, which was brought up as a reason for not giving him back the mop (he had an RFA pending). However, eventually he did become sysop again and the rest is history. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:09, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

He had over 32,000 edits. In his 2nd RfA, even with the problem of the demonstration, he would have been promoted, but he abandoned it, considering his own error serious. His 3rd RfA succeeded a month later. --Abd (talk) 03:27, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, TBSDY is a good guy. Probably too laid back to remain long here though. The fault is with the community, not him. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 04:12, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
We are the community. So what are we going to do? --Abd (talk) 04:19, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't know, but now that you mention it, he may have overreacted by leaving the encyclopedia over a 1-hour block. But perhaps he was looking for an excuse to leave. Who knows? It's water over the dam. In some ways, it's that old question – do you protest by not voting, or do you hang around and vote in hopes of changing the system? Of course, we don't vote, but we all have the option of leaving or continuing trying to change things. And most people, due to the sheer addictiveness of this thing, end up picking the latter. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 04:39, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't count as part of the community that drove him away, by the way, because I was gone at the time... Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 18:59, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

(dedent) Actually, is that "most people"? I think not. I think most people go away quietly. They are not addicted. Many of those who stay are addicted, along with others who may not be addicted but who have, perhaps, an agenda. Gradually, this warps the fabric of the community.

Look, the solution is obvious: FA/DP. FA principles are quite close to Wikipedia principles. The editor community doesn't own anything as a community. It has no governmental power except as voluntarily accepted by trustees. DP, then, allows a structure to develop without disturbing what is already in place. At first, it merely enhances it. With a few participants, it enhances it a little. With more, more. The network is the point and all that stuff about voting was total distraction. There are other editor networks that connect editors and influence policy, and Jimbo has essentially blessed this. ArbComm has recently formed a committee to study edit wars and make recommendations. They appointed the committee, and the committee will meet off-wiki, privately, it takes ArbComm permission to gain access to the discussion record. This is ArbComm acting quasi-governmentally.

Right now, deletion policy is the worst situation, creating endless debate with no improvement of the encyclopedia. Truly useless articles are speedy-deleted, AfD is almost always about notability. WP:V is often raised as an issue, but that's a red herring. It is always possible to edit an article so that everything in it is verifiable, the only difficulty is that we insist upon WP:RS, but that's actually an error. Verifiability is possible without RS as currently defined. WP:NPOV actually covers this. The core policy is that any user can verify what is in an article, it merely takes looking at sources, and, if everything is properly attributed, that's it. Yes, Mr. Opinionated Fringe Scientist did actually say "Blah, blah, blah," it's on his web site, which is known to be his web site. Ahem. User Abd did actually make such and such an argument on the Talk page for Delegable proxy. Anyone can verify it from History. (Yes, this violates guidelines. Not WP:V]]. Or if it does, it shouldn't. Deleting verifiable and interesting information -- defined as being of interest to a reader -- does not improve the encyclopedia, ever. It merely makes it less comprehensive, and, by definition, less interesting. And it's phenomenally rude to delete an article someone works on in good faith. That admin above left over an MfD, quite a rude one. It failed. But why should it have been necessary to defend a Wikipedia page which, clearly, many Wikipedians wanted to have, and the vast majority of the rest, I'm sure, didn't care? His parting messages described the reason for his disappointment: the breakdown of the community. Sure, he may have been planning to leave. But that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Did anyone pay attention? Quite a few people expressed disappointment at his leaving, noted that his block was against policy, etc. But did anyone do anything about it? Not that I've seen so far. No trace of complaint on that admin's Talk page (I think he may have left a nice note there himself). So, this admin, presumably, may do something similar to someone else. I'm considering raising the issues of your block and the MfD etc., because some seriously bad stuff came down, and no official notice has been taken. While we gained from the experience, the community built no precedent that may stop future wastes of time. And the colossal inefficiency of this project is what will kill it. More and more effort is wasted maintaining the encyclopedia in some desired state. Obviously, there are aspects of this that are necessary and proper, but the way it is being done is often quite a bit less than adequate. I remember my first observations about admin action. The action was essentially foolish. Let me explain it.

I had a high cholesterol test and my doctor recommended the South Beach diet. My wife had been on the Atkins nutritional approach, however, and Agatston, the cardiologist behind South Beach (and famous as a cardiologist, not merely for the diet), actually praises Atkins. So, of course, I read the Wikipedia article on the Atkins diet. Among the links there was [[9]]. It's a site with almost entirely user-generated content, and experts participate, it's really the best source of information on low carb diets on the net, with rapid analysis of recent research, etc. And it has advertising. Comes another user who puts up a link to his own web site. It's removed. He then removes all such links, including, and there are massive reams of Talk about this. The edits go back and forth and eventually admin attention arrives, the article is protected while the admins figure out what to do. There is no formal process, they simply decide, as I recall (I should go back) that all advertising-supported web sites can't be linked by policy. So, to this day, isn't linked. I follow plenty of other links in articles and get pop-up ads. Any link to a newspaper exposes me to ads, etc., etc. Now, I know enough now to fix this, and maybe I should. But the point is that for a few years I thought that Wikipedia administration was hopeless. I'll go back and look at what happened with a more educated eye. All this fuss, though, did the article get better? No. It's still pretty much a mess, or at least it was last time I looked. And the most important thing to me, that link to, is gone.

Now, suppose when I joined Wikipedia, the welcome were to suggest that I look around, and when I find an editor who seems to have his or her head screwed on straight, I consider naming that person as my, what do we call it?, network connection. If I can find one who accepts me -- and there is no rush -- then when I see some kind of problem, I know exactly where to go, and it is someone who knows the system, presumably, better than I. That person is similarly connected to an even more experienced or knowledgeable or generally trustworthy Wikipedian, and, through this network, an observed problem (or suggested solution) can efficiently rise to a level where someone can do something about it. Everyone benefits if we can find consensus, we don't waste time arguing about stuff if we have participated (directly or through some rep) in developing a consensus, and especially if the consensus is real, not merely some kind of disguised majority or supermajority vote. DP is efficient because it does not involve more people than necessary in addressing any problem or proposed solution or change. A proponent of change benefits, even if the proposal is rejected, because the proponent gets an explanation, from his chosen trusted user, of why it was rejected. And that explanation won't be "because they won't accept it." (Or, more accurately, that kind of rejection is likely to be rare, and to be accompanied by some kind of reasonable numerical estimate of the acceptance ratio, with access to the record of consideration at every level it reached. Thus, if the original proponent thinks something was overlooked, it's possible to, again, raise the issue with explicit corrections, and, at each step of the way, it's only necessary to convince one person for the idea to rise in the hierarchy. Those conversations can be relatively deep, back and forth. This is why it is so important to encourage a culture of proxies -- it's so much easier to use that word at this point -- not accepting more than the number of clients with whom they can manage the necessary communication. I've often thought of twenty as some kind of optimal number, but, in fact, it will vary with organization, conditions, and the people involved. Some have thought that the number should be limited, but I prefer natural limits, and, in particular, that clients come to expect good service from proxies, which "service" means, really, that the proxy listens and explains and advises, and passes on what the proxy agrees with. (If I had a client who passed on to me stuff from his or her client, without filtering it and making sure it is really appropriate for me, or at least attempting to do so, I'd probably withdraw my acceptance of the proxy. Obviously, a client might sometimes consult a proxy about something brought to them by a client, but if the reason for passing it on is merely, "She will revoke my proxy if I don't pass this on to you," I'd revoke it.

Proxy networks represent the formation of social intelligence. As others have noted, they already exist, informally, we'd be in really sorry shape if they did not. However, the formalization, I expect, should make the whole process far more reliable and efficient, as well as transparent. --Abd (talk) 20:29, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Essay Categorization and/or Classification

By the way, we have launched this project... Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:29, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Esperanza pages

I was going to create a list of links to the Esperanza pages as they existed right before they were deleted/merged/etc. circa 1 January 2007, but midway through, I got kinda lazy and stopped.

Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 19:15, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


Another long subject line... Anyhoo (I started using that word after it was popularized by the Dell Dude), this is pretty much at the core of WP:PQ – should we decide notability policies and such through individual xFDs or through centralized policy proposals? For instance, in adopting the layered categorization scheme that you suggest, should you begin simply going to xFDs and voting "Downgrade to C-level"? Should I begin implementing my blanking idea by voting "Blank"? (I have been doing this) Or is it more appropriate to start a formal proposal, which may die on the vine? Typically, I would rather be bold and just start doing it, as you suggested with WP:PRX. The thing about that is that we were about to just start doing it, and they crushed it. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 20:40, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Did they crush it? Sure, it looks that way. But is there any policy (or guideline, for that matter) that says we can't put a "trust" file in our user space. And a trust table likewise? If we want to pick a relatively exposed user space, to make it harder, we can use User:The Community for the table. But I have in mind using special tables for articles. These would be Participant tables, listing all persons who want to be notified, directly or indirectly, if there is some issue that arises with the article. Watchlists are fine with some articles. Do you watch Village Pump/policy? I do. For short periods of time, then remove it from my watchlist because of all the noise. In the Participant table is a "trusted rep" field, and possibly other fields as well. If there is an RfC for the page, it would not be canvassing to notify everybody in the table who has not named a rep to receive such notices, nor to notify those reps. It would simply be informing people who have asked to be informed.
No, they did not crush it. They simply paved the way for the next steps. Do you see now why I wanted the proxy table to be mobile, not dependent upon centralized templates, etc? The table in my userspace, referenced in Talk for WP:PRX, works anywhere, and they are still simple enough to be easily usable. Will they try to crush these distributed, clearly non-voting applications? Perhaps, but each effort on their part will get more difficult. I really don't know what will happen when we take the next step; that is, I don't know at what point the balance will tip. The responsibility for any disruption, though, would not be mine. If they want to change policy or guidelines, then they should openly change policy or guidelines and not attempt to do it through a low-representation MfD, with severe participation bias.

--Abd (talk) 21:03, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

So in other words, you're saying it's a political question? I'm going to create some wikilinks to that page from some of the other essays that attempt to deter people from creating policy through the proposal process. By the way, when are you thinking of launching the next FA/DP implementation on meta/wiki/whatever? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 21:06, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't generally propose an FA/DP implementation in a community until I become sufficiently familiar to understand the dynamics, to know what problem, if any, it could solve. There usually are some! Even with quite small communities (less than a hundred members). However, bringing people to the point where they actually lift a finger (i.e., designate a proxy) is quite difficult, even the same people who bitterly complain about the problems of the status quo won't do it. Quite simply, they don't believe that something so simple could have any beneficial effect. Are they right? Probably not. They have no relevant experience, as far as I've been able to tell, and, believe me, I ask, and I'd be thrilled to discover any prior applications of any size, whether they show success or failure. Given this, it seems to take about a year of exposure before even a few people, enough to do something, start to get it. The elements of FA/DP are all known to work. FAs can be phenomenally successful, if they avoid the traps that the FA traditions prevent them from falling into, and proxy representation is, of course, common law and of long standing. Delegability is the only new element, but it doesn't really kick in, in any major way, until the scale starts to rise above a few hundred, probably (because members will tend to assign proxies to active members). Delegability always existed, but because proxy assignments were not structured with delegability in mind, the usefulness of it has never been seriously tested, and it was always some kind of exception. The use of Delegated voting -- transitive -- by Demoex was short and the application wasn't an FA. What delegability allows is proxy choice on a very small scale while still collecting participation on a very large scale. So the proxy/client relationship can be one with good communication and mutual trust. Large-scale representational systems suffer from the problem that someone, say, with a seat in an assembly, may represent so many people that the communication cannot be personal. It's a well-known problem of democracy, considered insoluble because, quite simply, the political scientists have all assumed that proxy voting is for business, where ownership rights are involved, not for politics, and delegability was never even thought of. However, as you know, it's not the voting, it's the connections that count. So this solution arose, and continues to arise independently all over the world. It's coming, of that I'm certain, but when it comes, I can't predict, nor can I predict how much damage will continue from the shortcomings of the alternatives before it comes.--Abd (talk) 13:26, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
So basically, you're saying, "Not now." Fair enough. Well, I probably won't be proposing DP on any wikis for awhile. Apparently, I haven't figured out a way to rebut the arguments against it effectively. It's gotten to the point where I'm just repeating my original thesis, which is "JUST TEST THE DAMN THING!" Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 16:01, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


You may wish to comment here. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:09, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

some old article deletions you found

Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Liquid Organization

Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Liquid Democracy

There may have been some useful sources in those articles....

217.x.x.x is European, RIPE. Given that much work on LD was in Europe, this may indeed have been two separate users.

I love the Delete vote: "I'm a poli sci major and I don't ever recall hearing this term." --Abd (talk) 14:42, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

It figures that RickK was the nominator. Notice how back then, they were much more upfront about calling it a "vote," and talked about what you needed to do for your vote to "count." Yet they scream at you today if you refer to it as such. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 16:23, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Of course. However, if a closer follows policy and argument, when most !votes don't, then they scream just as loudly that it was a close "contrary to consensus." I.e., contrary to the preponderance of votes. I found that to be one of the most ironic of situations around the MfD for WP:PRX, its closure by User:Kim Bruning, the DRV created in total exception to process (Deletion Review is for review of deletions, not for non-deletions, where the proper remedy is another nomination), Bruning's (improper) closure of that, the re-opening of the MfD for a few more days to result in the same result as Bruning's closure, it's all fascinating as a snapshot of what's wrong with this community (as well as what's right). Starting with rampant AGF failure, bad enough when coming from ordinary editors, shocking when coming from administrators.--Abd (talk) 16:43, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I see that User:RickK left in December 2005, with a negative retired message. Wikipedia has been burning out users for a long time, and it's only the constant influx that has kept it from collapsing. This is classic pyramid scheme behavior. At some point the pool of suckers new editors, willing to pour large chunks of their life into the project, becomes exhausted. As I've pointed out, classically, the collapse can come rapidly, much more rapidly than one might think. I think we have an opportunity to avert it, but not necessarily much opportunity. The basic Wikipedia vision is quite sound, I'd only differ with it in a few details, but scalability wasn't built in; procedures were adopted that worked quite well up to a point, but that were clearly beginning to break down some years ago, and the scale has continued to increase.
So: ArbComm has started a working group on edit wars, elected by ArbComm, meeting off-wiki and privately. What about a working group on AGF, started by users? On-wiki or off?--Abd (talk) 16:58, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Notice, though, that while individual pyramid schemes may fail from the perspective of those who get burned, pyramid schemes continue to exist. Wikipedia may be in a position to do the same. It may be even more robust in that it's not like the typical pyramid scheme in which the dollar contributions must continue moving at a rapid pace or it dies, much as a bicycle has to keep moving or it falls over. Wikipedia is more like a tricycle; it can slow down without falling. The contributions of the burnt out users remain, and continue attracting new users like flies. Have you ever read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged? Ayn Rand would probably suggest that we go back to the quarry or retreat to Galt's Gulch. (OK, have we had enough mixed metaphors for the day?) Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 18:02, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, true pyramid schemes, that depend on rapid growth, don't continue to exist. The growth rate, over the long term, can't be much more than the growth of the population of potential participants. Actually, I've never read Ayn Rand. I've read so much drek from people ostensibly following her that ... I've not been exercised to read it. As you know, sometimes the rumors and reports are false, so, tell me, should I read the books? Absolutely, I'm not a pessimist. Rather, I see, I think, the problem, and it isn't anyone's fault. Whose fault was it that fish couldn't breathe air?
Let me put it this way: if a human trait is common, it must, in some way, contribute to survival, or at least not be generally harmful. But, it may be objected, we see harmful traits that are common. While that is also true, what we often don't see is how these traits are also beneficial in some way, and, to a point, the benefit outweighs the harm. The problem arises when that point is past. If the traits are hard-coded, the population may not be flexible enough to survive. However, it seems, there is a percentage of the population which is genetically different, and which probably exists to provide the necessary flexibility. These are the people who are so often rejected as rebels, eccentric, erratic, dangerous. When society is overcome by these, generally, we see the harmful side, indeed, for change can happen too rapidly and in quite dangerous and harmful ways. These radicals may be smart, but not smart enough to design a whole new society and toss out the old. In the other direction, though, when society vigorously represses these, it becomes rigid and unable to respond to new conditions. What I'm coming to as an understanding of this is that society must contain these rebels and change artists, but not repress them. Indeed, this seems to be the trajectory of democracy, to tolerate even severe dissent, but not to be disrupted by it. And then what is needed, and what we are, in fact, working on, is how to integrate what can be seen by these nonconformists with what already exists and is working, at least to some degree. Modern democracy works, that's obvious, it would not have been able to defeat the older autocracies were it not, in fact, more efficient than them. However, it's also famous for being "the worst of all systems," which must be glossed as "having glaring defects." {{Winston Churchill]], whose famous quip about democracy is so well known, did not have experience with forms of democracy other than a few. What I see is that direct democracy works quite well in small groups, but it breaks down with scale. Free Association/Delegable proxy is an attempt to harness that, to reduce the scale of working groups to manageable size, without introducing a new oligarchy. FA/DP organizations could theoretically grow to the size of the total human population, and still remain viable and efficient. Now, when I write this, hosts of readers will think of "obvious" reasons why that would fail. But what a few have seen is that those reasons are spurious, they don't account for the differences between a Free Association and standard organizations, and they don't account for the flexibility and filtering aspects of delegable proxy, they will simply think of single, powerful proxies wielding the power of thousands or millions of people. That is, they will think in terms of existing structures.
Suppose, though, that a single person, a proxy, in an FA, has a billion clients. The only power this person has, because it is an FA, is the power to advise those clients. Did the billion clients choose this person? No. The vast majority of them known this proxy only by reputation, and it is impossible for the proxy to communicate directly with more than a small fraction of clients. So, then, with whom does the proxy communicate? With *direct* clients, which are naturally limited to a number that is not too large to handle. Most of these direct clients would have very large constituencies themselves, would be highly trusted (and, thus, probably, highly responsible). And they have no need, in an FA, to keep their proxy assignment where it is. They can watch the actions of their proxy, and they don't need to depend on media for that.
Yes, in such a vast FA, there could be millions of clients who really don't care very much, who give their proxy to Mr. BigReputation. However, how much power is thereby conveyed? Remember, it's an FA. There is no collected power. If anything is to be actually done, it will be done voluntarily by the members, individually or in voluntary combinations. Caucuses, I call them. So Mr BigReputation has an opinion, and maybe even in a proxy expansion seems to have the most "votes." But the other proxies working at that level know full well how empty this is. They see that there are millions of direct proxy assignments, and they know that it is impossible that this represents real power. (There could be exceptions; Mr. BigReputation might be some respected religious leader, with millions of people ready to do whatever he suggests, but ... in that case Mr. BigReputation is indeed a force to be reckoned with. We'd better listen to him! -- not follow him, but listen and consider and not needlessly offend. And, in fact, Br. BigReputation wouldn't have millions of direct clients, he would create a whole network of subproxies to handle communication ... and these subproxies would collectively have the power, should they so decide, to "dethrone" him. If he tries to interdict that possibility, he will destroy the efficiency of his network. Classic problem of dictators, actually.)
However, that's a vision way ahead of where we are. The present situation is that relatively small improvements in our collective response to "situations" could make Wikipedia function more efficiently and make the existing editor community more effective. There are some very simple possibilities, such as an article registry of editors interested in helping maintain a particular article or class of articles, so that it does not devolve in the presence of POV attack. This is similar to present wikiprojects. It could be abused, but the abuse can be detected and addressed. The article register would be a list of editors who request notification of any RfC for the article, or other problem; contacting the entire list would not be canvassing, because it would be an open list, anyone could add their name to it, no POV bias is created. However, take this one step further. An editor may name a "contact." Bypassing the contact *could* be considered canvassing (the unwanted communication form). However, this makes notification easier. Only contacts need be notified, plus users who haven't named one. I won't describe the entire system, but I don't think it's terribly difficult to imagine. I've been asked to watch an article by a user. So, why not make this formal? And why not invite others to participate? Very small scale. But also integrable with a master "contact" table, where, if a user doesn't name a contact in the local table, a contact from a master table can be substituted. At initial implementation, much of the possible complexity would be avoided. A user who thinks the whole "contact" thing is hooey could still drop a notice of an RfC on the talk page of every user listed. However, using a bot for this is currently a quick way to get blocked. And I just called attention to a user who tried to notify 200 obviously interested Wikipedians about an MfD for a page. He was an administrator, and was blocked. So, it could be tedious, if the list gets long. But look at the contacts, and the number to be contacted gets reduced. We can develop systems, within current policy, which handle this, making it easier and more efficient. For example, contact bypass: I would have, on my watchlist, the Talk page -- or a separate Contact page -- of my proxy. And quite likely the proxy of my proxy, if that's relevant. So I'll see that traffic, even if my proxy is away. None of this is a centralized bureaucracy, and different editors may use the tables and files differently. It's all advisory only. Small steps, but scalable.--Abd (talk) 20:20, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

If you're going to start reading Ayn Rand, if you're in the mood for fiction, I recommend The Fountainhead; if non-fiction, I recommend Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Atlas Shrugged, as fiction goes, is her magnum opus and more comprehensive; but it's long as heck and frankly not as much fun to read. Actually, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is the only non-fiction of hers that I've read; it was assigned for an economics class by Prof. Thomas Carl Rustici. In reference to your statement, "if a human trait is common, it must, in some way, contribute to survival, or at least not be generally harmful" – what about the appendix? By the way, when pyramid schemes do collapse, do they become pancake schemes? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 20:26, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Appendicitis is not particularly common. As to appendices, what would we do if we couldn't add extra material to books? Yes, there are exceptions, it appears. Or sometimes we just haven't figured out what the bloody thing does. Apparently there are some theories as to the function of the appendix, see Appendix, what else? This Wikipedia thingy is kinda useful.

Wikipedia:WikiProject Parliamentary Procedure

I have started up W-Triple-P. (WP:WPPP). You're welcome to join up, this should be a fun project. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 16:47, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

The battle for Wikipedia's soul

Wasn't sure if you had seen this yet. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 22:07, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, I hadn't until I saw this yesterday. Thanks. --Abd (talk) 20:43, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


I added some stuff about accountability to this subheading of the article. If you haven't already, I recommend joining the National Association of Parliamentarians. You just have to take a (very easy and short) exam proctored by your local librarian, and you're in. They have a lot of good stuff about nonprofit governance, electronic voting methods, and other interesting issues in their newsletters. I also used to be a member of AIP, although they seem to focus more on the details of specific procedures and on being a professional parliamentarian. They advantage of the latter is that their focus is more broad, encompassing the other parliamentary manuals besides RONR.

I was thinking that Wikimedia might eventually have a membership. We should all pay some nominal amount, e.g. $1, just to prove we are who we say we are. And then we, as a body, could make policy decisions that will overrule the "consensus" on the wikis. Or maybe not. What do you think? Would the "majority" decision be any more misleading than the system we have now? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 18:00, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Actually, joining the NAP has been suggested before to me. Maybe I should consider it. My particular interest has long been parliamentary procedure as applied to on-line "meetings." There are two basic issues involved in applying traditional rules to on-line meetings. Suppose the "meeting" is a mailing list. There can be two lists, or they can be combined into one. It's a little simpler if there are two: the first list is meeting as a committee of the whole, with most rules suspended. The second meeting operates with rules and a process chair. From now on, I'll only consider the second meeting. The two places where variation may be appropriate from RR, is

  • Members aren't actually "present" at the same time. Rather, they may generally be present over a period of time. Some people may not check their mail every day. To handle this, either special rules need to be developed, or adequate time allowed for reasonable participation. I've used three days and I've used a week. With delegable proxy, this might be speeded up, perhaps. In any case, having a good chair, who can sense consensus and suggest it, can really speed it up; otherwise every little procedural vote, that would take seconds in a face-to-face meeting, can take days. On the other hand:
  • More than one motion can be on the virtual floor at a time. With a mailing list, these can be conveniently threaded, so they can be followed as threads. Formal threads start with a motion, a second, and then debate, etc. A pause is allowed for Objection to Consideration before the chair opens debate. The chair is either a moderator of the list or requests service from the moderator: out of order posts can be deleted. (Though they may be copied to a separate archive.) The archive of the list then becomes, automatically, the official record of the organization. It contains no idle discussion, except as connected with posts that aren't idle discussion. It has a start, a specific and headered amendment process, and a close and conclusion. I've used Yahoogroups lists, just from simplicity and familiarity, there are many other options. Yahoogroups has polling tools.

One thing that happens all the time in ad-hoc groups such as mailing lists is that any member can open a poll. Because the answers depend on the question, parliamentary procedure, except for procedural motions, never asks a question without the community, essentially, approving the form of the question first. What happens with open polls is that some members will propose frequent polls, possibly with slanted questions, and members eventually stop responding to polls. Indeed, the principle that you don't bug members with extra process is very, very important and, in fact, delegable proxy is designed to deal with this.

Wikipedia, supposedly avoiding voting, has this weird form of !voting where the question can sometimes shift during the process, making early responses problematic. There seems to be little consideration of the importance of consensus in forming the question. So I just saw a poll taken on WP:ANI about blocking an allegedly disruptive user, and the term of the block shifted during the vote, while others !voted to ban and a few others to do nothing. And then the result is called "consensus." ArbComm has better process. I fully understand why the informal process is as it is. However, the wheel was invented a long time ago. It does make it much easier to get from place to place, from suggestions and opinions and discussions to conclusions.

At this point, any kind of central discussion about improving the process will quite likely end up as a tangled snarl. Essentially, Wikipedia waited too long for the traditional solutions. What will change it, I see, is for ad hoc groups of editors to start to make internal decisions using more efficient process. Different groups will use different processes, and, ideally, the best will survive. --Abd (talk) 23:36, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

You might start by joining the NAP Yahoo group if you haven't already. That is a group that is interested in parley pro and online communities. And guess what, I don't remember the url for it. I'll let you know. Oh here it is. Scroll down the page to the online communities. There also used to be one called ParliParkingLot or something like that, which was a more "anything goes" type of area for talking about parliamentary procedure. There were two groups, and in the more restricted one, sometimes people would say "Take it outside!" and they would go to the parking lot. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 00:08, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 04:43, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Parliamentary procedure

Do you have any suggestions for additions to this article? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 02:34, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

An entertaining site Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 05:15, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Dude, that site has a whole world of cool stuff. Also see User:Daniel Quinlan/gaming. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 05:36, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Here is also a blog maintained by a friend of mine: Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 11:56, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

See also User:Dragons flight/Log analysis Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 13:31, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
So much to do, so little time....--Abd (talk) 13:51, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
As to those statistics, well, it's what I've been predicting. While I think there is time to intercept the collapse, it isn't necessarily a long time. There are stretegies we can follow. For me the salient one is connecting the long-term editors, both on and off-wiki. Quite a few of them, apparently, see the problem. It's those in the intermediate stage of editor maturity that don't. Most solutions abandon the free association aspects. I think we have proposed the only one that doesn't.--Abd (talk) 14:09, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Wow, they're so eloquent about it: Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 00:05, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Check out this paragraph: I think that Wikitruth is even more addictive than Wikipedia. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 00:14, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Tiered content

There are some lengthy threads about tiered content proposals here: Sometimes you have to go outside Wikipedia to get a reasonable discussion on certain things. (Here, people have a tendency to shoot stuff down prematurely) Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 13:38, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

This is awesome as well Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 13:44, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

About Whig

In response to your comment at User talk:Whig#Current draft:

This has all gotten very complicated, not because of the AN/I report filed by Whig, but because of the subsequent !vote on sanctions against him. Users should generally be cut quite a bit of slack in filing AN/I reports; I'm a bit disturbed by what I saw happen there in this case. I've seen plenty of AN/I reports, not solidly founded, that simply wither away. Why didn't this one? Frankly, I don't understand it yet. I'm troubled, though, about certain things. Whig makes a complaint, he is threatened as a result, that it will be treated as a personal attack if he can't back it up with diffs, and he thinks he has. Whig indicates his intention to appeal to ArbComm if the ban is determined, and it seems to me he was threatened with sanctions because of that...

I'd like to explain a bit more of what happened to cause his report to turn against him. I decided to post this on your talk page rather than responding there so this doesn't serve to inflame the situation. Basically, this issue started at Talk:Homeopathy/Article probation/Incidents#Request for Sanction. The editors involved were treating it under the purview of the probation at first, rather than a larger-scale case. Note that initially it was completely independent of Whig's report on WP:AN. Then, for a reason I don't know, User:Skinwalker decided to crosspost his complaint to WP:AN, under the same heading as Whig's complaint. This led to things developing over there, rather than on the incidents page. From this perspective, it really doesn't seem like the proposal for a ban was in response to him raising a complaint there. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 19:33, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

If I can interject, I posted on the AN thread because I felt the disruption was continuing unabated, and I wanted to expose the issue to a wide variety of editors and admins - not just those who monitored the probation page. In retrospect, I regret giving the appearance that it was retaliation for Whig's initial complaint at AN, though much of the ongoing disruption centered around his tendentious pursuit of the issue. I should have posted it in a separate area of AN, or waited for an admin to act on the homeopathy probation page. Skinwalker (talk) 01:44, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
My operating assumption is actually required of us by policy: AGF -- I assume that all acted in good faith. I'm aware that this is a rebuttable presumption, but we should be very, very careful about the conclusions we draw. There is "tendentious" in Talk and "tendentious" in article edits, and they are quite different things. On the face of it, Whig appears to have felt that Jehochman was uncivil or inappropriately accused him of impropriety, and when people feel offended like that, and nobody seems to be listening, they can easily become "tendentious." Part of my attempt to mediate this is to explore how this happens, how, specifically, what might be a simple disagreement, possibly resolvable, spins out and becomes disruptive. And I really don't want endless discussion and argument that goes nowhere. What happened? We are supposedly good at writing encyclopedia articles that are NPOV. Why not start applying that to situations like this? Current processes skip some very important steps, only before ArbComm is the basic rule actually followed, that you collect the evidence before you start to debate implications and conclusions. Participants will still have conclusions in mind when they select evidence, but if we can work together to complete the collection of relevant evidence, this very project may begin to heal some of the problems. I expect that we will have a consensus document on everything verifiable before we start to deal with implications. It's all in the record here, in page histories. Frankly, this would be standard with a committee report, for a deliberative body. Instead, what we have is a debate over conclusions, with !voting, before the record is clear. !Voters are literally not on the same page. Sure, they are !voting on the same page as everyone else, but what is on that page is generally only the tip of the iceberg, and each !voter has a different iceberg in mind. Whig's ANI report started with some simple statements. Were those ever examined to see if they were true? What I recall as happening is that some *implications* of the diffs reported were denied; and what an edit implies depends a great deal on the individuals involved, the history of the discussion, etc. It can be extraordinarily complicated. To just riff on this, without looking back at the record -- my memory could be quite faulty -- suppose Jehochman called Whig a "meat puppet." We know this can be problematic. Did he say that directly? Did he make a statement that could be taken as implying it? First question: what was said. Whether it was correct or not is a *separate* question. We don't come to understand Whig's complaint if we immediately jump in to defend Jehochman. One of the things that makes mediation difficult is that we can tend to mix up facts with the implications of facts. And so one group will have its preferred facts and implications, and another its own, similarly. Twenty years ago, as a moderator and participant on the W.E.L.L., I was struck by how people would argue over on-line incidents based, obviously, on what they wanted to be true, or inferred back from their own remembered feelings about something that happened, and the actual record didn't seem to matter. People wouldn't, for the most part, actually go back and look at it. If somebody was insulted, and offended, they became the problem. And what was in the record did not matter. These habits were, I'm sure, developed before accurate records were available. With most disputes in everyday life, there is not an exact transcript of the whole exchange, so all we have is what we remember. Here, there is a record. How often I've wished that my wife and I had that! We don't take enough advantage of that record, unless we go before ArbComm, which, as a centralized process, is problematic. It can't take every case. What I'm proposing here is scalable. It's like Mediation, except a bit more spread out. (And Mediation is also a possible remedy for Whig to consider. I just think what I'm suggesting will be quite a bit faster. This process is not asking for a Mediator to make a decision. I'd be deciding only about process and ensuring that it remains civil and not disruptive.)--Abd (talk) 02:39, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
I looked at quite a lot, and not at enough to figure out what's going on, other than probable Rule 0 violation. Rule 0 explains the pile-on. Rule 0 violators are, in fact, disruptive (sometimes with no intention to be so, which can be perplexing to them), but many can be contained and can remain useful to the community, if enough of the community realizes what's going on. There are other possible explanations. (1) a sinister conspiracy against Whig. (2) revenge from offended users. (3) Genuine trolling on Whig's part. The second possibility does seem likely to me as a complicating factor. The others seem quite unlikely. From the history of the account, Trolling seems pretty unlikely.
Yes, Whig's report on ANI isn't sufficient to explain what happened. It wasn't disruptive, it was civil, as I recall. And then everything and the kitchen sink was tossed at him. I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to keep this from going to ArbComm, where there will be even more wikifuss, with no security that the outcome will be any better. Maybe that's going to have to happen. Given that Whig and Jehochman seem to be able to communicate civilly and even cooperatively, this might be a good test case for something between ANI and an Arbitration. What I have in mind is creating a page to examine what happened, for the community of those who want to cooperate on it detail the history. Consider it the evidence phase of an ArbComm case, only done cooperatively. It would have a "moderator," chosen by general consent; if the community of interest can't agree on one, then two (possibly more) moderators who would choose a third by actual consensus (or as many as necessary to make up an odd number). It's standard voluntary arbitration, pretty much. The role of these is to guide the process, to prevent it from being derailed by flames. To describe it all is more complicated than to actually do it. I'd do it in the space of a user who acts as a trustee, pledged to follow the consensus -- as he or she determines or measures it, with the goal being an actual community decision, not, initially, on conclusions, but simply on what happened. (Why do it in user space? Because the user has unlimited revert rights there.) If it does later go to arbitration, the work won't be wasted, there will be the evidence, compiled and reviewed. Filtered, as it were. There is a good chance that simply going through this process, where the etiology of the affair becomes clear, will be enough to defuse the whole thing. If not, there is still ArbComm, but, going in, there would be much better preparation than normal for an ArbComm case. Much of the outraged energy that often fuels hot debate might have been dissipated, with a possibility for cooler heads to prevail, much more quickly.
My own interest is primarily in the process. I really don't have much of an opinion one way or another on the merits of Whig's complaint, except to note that some of what I've seen concerned me. I was also impressed by both Whig and Jehochman in what followed the ANI ban. Traditional process short of ArbComm, when there is much contest, can become a convoluted mess, hence I'd like to see this treated more like an article on the subject of the pre-arbitration. Talk and the whole History can be a mess, but the article hopefully ends up being coherent and expressing some kind of consensus. The user who hosts it can keep it from getting too ugly, and can simply request that disruptive participants submit evidence or arguments through another participant who takes responsibility for their appropriateness. If there are participants who think the host is being abusive, well, they can start their own version with their own rules, and it would be up to those participating to decide where to put their efforts. I don't think this parallel work is necessary, but the possibility of it is actually important. The user hosting it is not a dictator, merely a host, and the guests can take their party elsewhere, easily, in a few minutes.
The host, if this is going to happen, should be chosen by agreement between the parties. For starters, it could be by agreement between Whig and Jehochman, but if others want to come it as parties (i.e., they would be parties if it goes to ArbComm), then it's quite possible that they could intervene and object to the host, if they found that host uncogenial. Since the goal is to find consensus, starting with the host, that intervention should be treated respectfully. And I start to think too much. Is there any interest in this idea? This is the first attempt at elaborating it. I can go, already, into far too much detail, so I'll stop here! If there is interest, we can work this out.--Abd (talk) 20:44, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Alternative dispute resolution

I am open to your suggestions on how an appeal might be made without involving the arbitration committee. A process which involves the same people who have already expressed an opinion on the matter having to choose whether or not to reverse themselves would not work, for obvious reasons. In the meantime, I'd be perfectly happy to have a cup of tea and sit down if you think it will do some good. —Whig (talk) 03:09, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, have a cup of tea, sit down, and describe why you are considering going to ArbComm, but do it on the page User:Abd/Pre-arbitration/Whig. What the heck happened anyway?
People have expressed opinions on the matter, and it has happened that they have changed some of those opinions. Wikipedia process somewhat, sometimes, encourages knee-jerk responses and the voicing of opinions based on general impressions and expectations. For example, if someone has considered you a contentious editor, has been frustrated by an interaction with you, no matter whose fault it was, and later there is some dispute between you and a third party, they may assume that you are the problem, and the response they suggest and support is based, not solely on what is before them, but on their own personal history, which can itself be distorted. Most of us don't remember actual history very well, instead we remember how we felt about it. Frankly, the hard part will be getting people to participate, not that they will participate and it will be useless. Remember, we are starting with "just the facts." If we do this carefully, we might be surprised what happens, even without proceeding to the "argument" phase. "Oh, I didn't realize that you were reacting to that!" "I'd overlooked what had been said to you." And look at the apology that Jehochman already made. Yes, it wasn't complete, perhaps -- or perhaps he went quite far enough, that will depend on facts --, but it was a huge step.--Abd (talk) 21:28, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think that much of what I have to say is better said in the appropriate forum. I am not going to present a case without knowing the rules, and don't want to start a process that isn't likely to go anywhere. Much as I appreciate your attempt to help this is broader and more substantial than should be resolved outside of normal dispute resolution in my opinion. I do not feel comfortable making statements about other editors in places where it is not furthering that process, and so unless something changes or another person convinces me to follow your approach, I'm still quite confident in the ArbCom's abilities to sort things out. —Whig (talk) 21:41, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
My prediction: you will never get from here to there. ArbComm is not going to "sort things out" for you. How much have you read of ArbComm cases? They don't do the research, you and those opposed to you will do it. They verify. Maybe. It's really quite like standard legal process: the judges don't go out and search for evidence, the plaintiff and defendant do; the judges don't even, often, research the law; the contending parties do that for them. Yes, there are exceptions, but don't count on them. If you don't present a case in a form that convinces them, they aren't like to sift through the facts to figure it out for themselves. What I'm suggesting is far, far easier, and, if it fails, you will have put together the best possible case. If you have one.--Abd (talk) 21:47, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm familiar enough to know what to expect. I've never been a named participant in an arbitration but I have been an outside participant, and I have always been impressed with the patient and careful work of the committee. —Whig (talk) 21:49, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia Reform

I haven't really "taken this live" yet, and it's not clear that a WikiProject is the best venue, but I'm not sure how else to organize it. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 14:01, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

I've started Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia Reform/Turnover. Feel free to add more categories of why users left. I'm not familiar with too many users' situations offhand. Once we get several users categorized, I want to announce this endeavor at the Village Pump. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 15:46, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm thinking that Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia Reform/Turnover/Reasons for leaving is the kind of project that's going to take a substantial amount of gruntwork. I suppose the best way to do this is like a chess game. I'll process five users, you'll process five, and we'll just alternate back and forth like that. What do you think? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 16:50, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, we do what is easy. Basic FA/DP principles: don't burn yourself out. Pass it on. Have fun. As we do this, we might develop a questionnaire that users are invited to fill out.... but we should also keep it very easy for them. Contacting some departed editors may be difficult, but we can also piece together comments; often these editors, even if they did not make comments on their user pages about why they were leaving, did comment to others, a review of their contribution history can show. To some extent we are fishing, we don't know what we will find. If they have email enabled, this may help, of course. Otherwise we might be able to identify other editors who supported them and might have direct contact information. Some of this should definitely not be on-wiki.--Abd (talk) 21:35, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I had thought of that as well. Usually exit interviews are confidential, otherwise it kinda defeats the point. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 04:58, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
I guess we'll have separate signup for the sub-project. See the participants list at Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia Reform/Turnover. Any other ideas on who might be interested in this? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 19:57, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Not specifically. But I think there will be interest, I can't predict how much. Be patient.--Abd (talk) 21:35, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Hey, you forgot to join this one!

Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion

That would be like going to Massachusetts and recruiting for the Republican Party. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 02:23, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I wonder what this "trust" thing is, by the way.


Would you mind weighing in on this? I'm sure you have some pertinent examples you can raise. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 20:13, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

You know, this used to be a helluva good wiki

Having seen some of the comments at Wikipedia talk:Proposed blanking, I think it is basically just a case of cops vs. hippies. I'm starting to understand how it got this way, too. Yeah, it all makes sense. It's just a result of the different kinds of work we all engage in. It gives us different perspectives. Another apt analogy might be hawks and hippies. The hippies will say, We can't have one casualty over oil. The hawks will say, In any war there are going to be casualties/collateral damage/etc. And these things are necessary for freedom.

Well, okay. Man, this reminds me of that scene in Easy Rider where he's talking about how all these patriotic dudes say that they're all about freedom, but they don't like it when you actually exercise your freedom:

  • George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.
  • Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened. Hey, we can't even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or somethin'. They're scared, man.
  • George Hanson: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
  • Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
  • George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
  • Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about.
  • George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
  • Billy: Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared.
  • George Hanson: No, it makes 'em dangerous. Buh, neh! Neh! Neh! Neh! Swamp!

Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 23:48, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Don't let the flack discourage you. Do you recall I reverted your edit to WP:CANVASS? I think you got diverted, you are working on some issues far more important than a canvassing template. We don't need mass canvassing, it's actually a bad idea. There is a better way, and you know what it is. Yes, we ought to be able to consent to whatever. But you ought to know that this one would raise hackles. Stick with what works, there is plenty of room there. Have you noticed the discussion on User talk:Kim Bruning about "we don't vote here?" [10]. A few people are starting to actually read WP:PRX. --Abd (talk) 00:04, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Sometime when I get bored, I think I'll copy and paste all the content from the policies at Wikipedia:List of policies and the guidelines at Wikipedia:List of guidelines (or perhaps Category:Wikipedia_guidelines) into a Word document, and compare the page count to some parliamentary authorities. Did you know Demeter's weighs in at 375 pages? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 00:36, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Exit interviews?

Are those share-able?

--Kim Bruning (talk) 00:52, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I think we're still in the process of figuring that out. We'll probably ask the interviewees if it's okay to share the info and use their names. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 01:51, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, they haven't been done yet. It's merely been proposed. Some might be confidential, it's possible. If we come up with a questionnaire, then it's possible that some interviews would be made under promise of confidentiality, i.e., the results would only be "published" in summary, without personal identifying information. Along with that would go the removal of specific charges against specific editors. (I.e., no anonymous personal attacks.) All these are issues to be faced in designing the project. However, some kind of review like this is really necessary, in my opinion. What is happening? What I can see is rampant ABF, it seems to be the norm in some forums. It's possible that it's too late, that the downward spiral will simply accelerate. But I don't think so.
One thing the project can do is to link to various departing comments on Talk pages, I've been seeing quite a few of those lately. Obviously, many of these can be depreciated, sour grapes from sysops who screwed up, angry with the community; however, that's far too easy. What led these users, most of whom had the interests of the project at heart, to go down the path that led to their problems? From my point of view, we have some administrators continuing to do the same things that got others de-sysopped. I'm not interested in attacking them, but I do think it should stop. It's time for Wikipedia to come of age.--Abd (talk) 02:00, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

What about this idea?

You know how aggregates info from Wikipedia and many other resources? What if we develop something like that, except that it would be bidirectional? You can edit Wikipedia indirectly using that interface, by means of your Wikipedia account. (This is not unprecedented, as Facebook already has a feature in which you give it your Gmail account and password and it logs in and imports all your contacts. Basically, Facebook acts as your agent in dealing with Gmail in that transaction.) You give this interface your Wikipedia account name and password, and then you go to work.

The difference is, the interface saves all edits you make permanently. So, if something gets deleted, it stays in that system. Deleted content is viewable to other users of that interface, and even members of the public. A classification system can be established through this interface that is based partly on data pulled from Wikipedia (e.g. WikiProject classifications) and partly through our own information (e.g. Has this page been deleted? If so, then that might put it in a low classification.)

In this way, certain reforms could be implemented from the outside that the community is not willing to make because of their own myopia or whatnot. And in this way, the broken system could be fixed. Yet Wikipedia gets what it wants as well, because anyone dealing with the website directly does not have to deal with that deleted stuff. Everyone wins.

The interface of this system, if it were made better than Wikipedia's interface (and it might, if it pulled in info from other resources, and if we had good developers), might attract more users than Wikipedia. We can do a dump of the database periodically, to catch snapshots at moments in time, and archive those versions like the Internet Archive does. You know how people say we need to get rid of the ads? Well, some people find ads useful! If they didn't, then why would they keep Yellow Pages and Thrifty Nickel around their house?

all in all, I think this could be the breakthrough. What do you think? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 02:52, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, an external site could serve as an interface to Wikipedia, perhaps tagging certain article versions as validated, and generally keeping all deleted content. It is certainly a possible solution to the inclusionist/deletionist conflict. But it's a big project of its own. I'd certainly be interested in helping with such a project, which could organize Wikipedia content into an information hierarchy, but it is also way beyond something that I could start myself. What's my speed is maybe encouraging a few users to network with each other.--Abd (talk) 03:02, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we can get Clay in on it? By the way, this could enable some much-overdue enhancements to be made, such as spelling suggestions. It's going to be awesome. This is the solution! I'm tired of dealing with these intractable blowhards. Why can't everyone be reasonable, like me? Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 03:08, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Because who would keep the subways running? --Abd (talk) 03:14, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

By the way, another cool thing is that articles could grow on this parallel wiki (or exo-wiki, or whatever), and eventually get moved to Wikipedia once they get to a high enough quality. E.g., "delegable proxy" could exist on this interface-wiki, having been deleted from Wikipedia; and once enough reliable sources are added, it could go to Wikipedia. But in the meantime, it would be just as visible; although people could filter out deleted articles as they please. If we do this right, the interface could end up being the one with the higher search rankings on Google. And to some extent, we would be in control. This rules. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 03:17, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

You want a MediaWiki installation? It can be arranged.--Abd (talk) 03:21, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
No, this is a plan to do something much more ambitious than that. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 03:23, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Clay says that it sounds like Subversion branching. Take a look at this diagram. That's kinda how it would work. Now, I'm thinking that we will need each edit made through this thing to come from the user's IP address, as we don't want our system's IP address to get blocked if the user does something bad (or if Wikipedia decides to block our system for any other reason). So, I'm thinking this may work using a Firefox plug-in or something. The question is, how will people use it when they're away from their home computer, which has the plug-in? So, perhaps it will be done through Javascript instead. I think the technical problems are surmountable; it's just going to take some creativity. We will probably run into seeming brick walls, much as we have already encountered with Wikipedia policy, but there are ways around them.

The problem with trying to change the system here is that change moves too slowly, and some things are simply opposed by the community. And I've talked, and talked, and talked to them, trying to get them to see it a different way and they won't. And there are many others who have tried, as well. Notice the comment at Wikipedia_talk:Wikipedia_is_a_community#Query saying that the essay is in contradiction to policy. That's rather telling. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 14:46, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

That comment was from Radiant. And wasn't accepted. Now are you sufficiently offended that Bruning compared you to Radiant? Take a look at this: [11]. He's still editing, but.... is he still an administrator? I haven't checked.--Abd (talk) 17:56, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
See also my new essay, Wikipedia:There is a deadline Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 15:21, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I went ahead and implemented your idea

Check this out: User:Obuibo Mbstpo/Discussions in progress

Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 18:53, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

ARRGH. Great that you are going ahead, not so great that you are soliciting specific votes or opinions. While I suppose you can do that, it really looks like meat puppetry. It is not neutral any more. We don't need more !votes, we actually need less. Rather, the appropriate use is to call attention to what is going on. Attention. Not votes, unless the attention suggests that to the user who follows the link and looks.

Basically, if you say to me, "Please look at this," and I trust you generally have a good reason for doing that, I'll look. At that time, if it matters to me, I'll see what you have expressed. Never have you asked me to go to an AfD and vote any particular way. You just said I might be interested. Keep it that way. Otherwise, it's going to attract opposition, much more understandably. Even though it's in your user space, I'm going to be bold and edit out the problem text, hopefully before it does some damage. You may, of course, revert me, but I don't suggest it. --Abd (talk) 19:04, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, it's just a proof of concept. I think I see what you mean, though. Although I did not solicit opinions; I went ahead and changed WP:CANVASS, and someone's reversion caused us to end up in the D portion of WP:BRD. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 19:06, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. I could revert, but I'm not going to. Instead, I'll support through Talk. It's a good change, and we can establish that. There is some precedent for it, as you know. It's being done. However, doing it with specific vote recommendations is like proposing something with an extreme example. Not the way to win friends and influence people. I don't like specific recommendations, at least not with the existing system. Which is what we have, by definition. Change other things first, maybe.--Abd (talk) 19:11, 14 March 2008 (UTC)


Hey Abd, Have you thought about writing some essays or proposals expounding on your ideas in more detail? For instance, your ideas about how we can stop sockpuppetry. At times, I've thought that it would be useful to have more robust defenses against sockpuppetry, but on the other hand, I think that it could be dangerous, given the current anarchic state of our disciplinary systems, which with the exception of arbcom, don't follow any particularly well-defined rules. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 04:23, 15 March 2008 (UTC)


Thanks! I knew that is the way it should work, but I've never come across this problem before on WP. Some of the comments sounded close to a violation of freedom of association and free speech, to me. It's great to have your input (: ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 06:22, 15 March 2008 (UTC)


There is a dangerous territory that one enters when one encourages a user to proxy for a banned user. Let me be clear: good ideas are good ideas the world around. However, take careful note of what is happening: a banned user is making on-wiki comments with sockpuppet accounts. Then, a user with whom you have been in contact is taking the less offensive parts of these comments as his own. If this is what you meant to condone, I cannot agree. Antelan talk 07:15, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Praia da Lulz

I would like to thank you for the reply you made to user Praia da Lulz. As I have checked, she has persistently tried to block me from the community. My edits were good faith (see contribution history.) There is one concern, however. Admin Praia da Lulz does not have any contributions and has the rights as an admin (does she has enough trust from the community?) . Prowikipedians (talk) 16:17, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

What makes you think that User:Praia da Lulz is an administrator? S/he is not. See [12]. First of all, this appears to be an account created solely to harass you. (or, to be complete, I suppose, by you to present the appearance of harassment. Obviously, you know which is true.) See Special:Contributions/Praia da Lulz. I'm investigating and will report to WP:AN/I. --Abd (talk) 16:32, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Admin Abuse in AfD

WP:AFD can be like trench warfare and I do agree about debates often favouring those who spend alot of time there and also with guidelines like notability. It is healthy not to spend too much time there and try like hell to source material you really want to keep. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:17, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. This is a much larger issue than that, however. Thank you. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 06:29, 15 March 2008 (UTC))
It might help to specify exactly what the "larger issue" is, and then to address it in the appropriate place. There was no administrator abuse here; rather there was a decision by an administrator which you did not agree with. The administrator did explain the reasoning, obscurely in the closing statement, more thoroughly in specific response to you. And the administrator is not obligated to defend the decision at all. (Unless some serious policy violation is involved, and making a decision of Keep or Delete or No Consensus would never be a policy violation, it's a decision, and decisions must be free.) However, administrators have no special "opinion" powers, they merely have a delete button so they can directly implement a Delete decision, so admins normally close AfDs, but, in theory, any editor can do it, and can implement it by finding an administrator willing to delete.
Yes, notability policy is problematic and unclear, and the result is a lot of contentious debate in AfDs. But individual AfDs are not the place to resolve this, though you are certainly welcome to express your opinion in each and every one of them. Ultimately, though, notabiity guidelines can't be clear enough to be usable without major contention simply through the accumulation of precedent, because there is so much variety of opinion among editors, so each AfD is unique.
So ... stop the complaints about the closing administrator, you are barking up the wrong tree, and the neighbors might call the police. Appeal the decision to DRV if you think it was incorrect. However, you might also, for efficiency and better chance of success, actually read and consider the delete arguments. A fair number suggested that the "Murder of X" would pass, but "X" wasn't notable. So ask an admin who provides copies of deleted articles to give you a copy, and then create an article "Murder of X," using that material. You can then create an "X" page and redirect it to "Murder of X." You might find it much more defensible, that is, apparently you would have reliable source showing the notability, and probably would get enough Keep votes to prevail, or at least to avoid deletion.
Abd (talk) 14:35, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
You missed the point ... which is ... he thinks the standard is "what argument / side do I agree with" ... when the standard really is "what is the consensus of everyone else who participated in the debate". If an AfD decision merely comes down to "what does this one particular individual admin feel about the issue" ... then, really, why have an AfD debate at all? Makes no sense. Why seek consensus at all if the result is "the consensus is irrelevant, it's what the closing admin feels is the stronger argument" ...? Makes no sense whatsoever. And, quite frankly, if he's changing standards at his whim and ignoring consensus and merely pushing his own bias and agenda ... how is that not an abuse of admin duty? It's the very definition of abuse. No? Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 00:15, 16 March 2008 (UTC))
Actually, it is you who has missed the whole concept of Wikipedia process. AfDs are not votes and, indeed, they are closed by an individual based on how that individual reads the arguments presented. Take a look at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Delegable proxy. I count 23 Delete, 10 Keep. The result was Keep. Because the first closer, a very experienced Wikipedian, saw that the whole MfD was contrary to precedent, so the delete votes were irrelevant. The delete voters were outraged, and went to Deletion Review. What came out of that was simply that the MfD was opened for a few more days, very few additional comments, and was then closed with the same result. You have totally missed that closing deletion debates is not actually an administrative function. The edtior who closed that MfD was not an administrator. Any editor can close, though it's discouraged if the editor doesn't have the technical skills. Only an admin can actually delete, but if a non-admin has everything set up, it's easy and quick. This was not an abuse of administrative tools, and what you seem to be suggesting would be a radical departure from Wikipedia traditions. We don't vote, in theory. What is supposed to happen is that arguments and evidence ' are presented. That's what the purpose of the AfD debate. Then a *judge* closes. In our legal system, does the judge make decisions based on how many lawyers argued on each side? Let's hope not? So what you think "makes no sense" actually makes a great deal of sense. Now, also from common law, if you don't agree -- if anyone does not agree -- with the AfD outcome, you have due process to follow. It's not to rake the closing admin over the coals. He actually did more than he was required to do, trying to explain to you his reasons. He doesn't have to say a peep, and many don't. Look at other AfD's, sometimes even contentious ones, will close with "Result was Delete." No explanation at all. Don't like it? Take the next step. Deletion Review, if it was a Delete Close, or renomination, if it was No Consensus or Keep.
Yes, there is a contradiction in No Consensus. There are lots of contradictions here. Consistency is the hobgoblin of little encyclopedias. All I can say is, I'm working on it. We shouldn't mix voting and deliberation, deliberation should come *first*, then voting as a separate process. Yes, we should vote, but it should not control outcome. It's advice, a different kind of advice than is contained in the evidence and arguments, and the big problem currently is that participation bias makes "votes" problematic. They are not really a cross-section of editors. Again, we are working on it, against some fairly formidable opposition. But not to control outcomes with votes, rather to make votes be analyzable to more fairly represent the whole community. Outcomes would still be individual decisions. However, if the community wants an article and an adminstrator closes as Delete, there will be Deletion Review, which usually will fix it. And then there can be further process. Somebody can simply recreate the article, then, and when it is to be speedy deleted, others protest. So, yes, a closer should be aware of the community's opinions, particular with notability, which is not crisply defined.
I personally think the whole deletion process is an error. We shouldn't be deleting anything that can't already be speedy deleted without debate. We should be categorizing articles, not deleting them. The project gains nothing by deleting articles on allegedly non-notable subjects. It's a huge mistake. It does not help the reputation of Wikipedia; the problems with reputation for unreliability have to do with notable subjects. If material is verifiable, it should be kept, period. Somebody thought it was notable enough to write the article, it's notable enough to keep if it can be verified, and until it is verified, it should be categorized as unverified, marginal, whatever. Not deleted.
Don't go after the administrator. If you think the decision was wrong, go to Deletion Review. Best thing is to be ready with reliable sources showing notability. Become familiar with the standards, such as they are. In addition, get a copy of the article and keep it off-wiki. You can ask certain administrators, there is a whole category of them who will provide copies of deleted articles. If you can't find one, come back and I'll find one for you. When you have the article in your user space. Open it for edit, select and copy it all, and paste it into a text file on your computer. There are other wikis, you know, using the same software, MediaWiki. And if the topic becomes more notable, there is some news, for example, you'll be ready to immediately recreate the article. (You could also ask for a copy at that time, but there is no guarantee that deleted articles will remain forever. They normally do ... but at any time, the developers could decide they need some disk space.--Abd (talk) 00:58, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


I appreciate your defenses of me, but have you considered the consequences? If you haven't thoroughly researched the matter, it gives TenOfAllTrades and others an invitation to rehash the full record of things in order to set matters straight. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 00:40, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Consequences? Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!
Oops! That's your line. I agree, it pisses me off that there is such rampant ABF. As to the "full record," I don't have anything to hide, and I'm not aware of you having anything more than the obvious: some impulsive pranks, worth of a warning, normally, or maybe a 24-hour block, and then editing, pretty openly, while blocked. If there is something I should know about, tell me, here or in email. I'm serious about the AGF thing. AGF is policy, it's fundamental, actually. And it is flagrantly violated, and it's about time we confront it. And if we don't confront it, this isn't a place where I'd care to spend more time, anyway.
As you know, I didn't like your use of canned XfD comments. But then I looked at all of them. You were right. In every case, Delete was not the best outcome, and it seems that is the way most MfDs are going; if they don't, it's likely because nobody cares enough to show up, not that the MfD was worth the effort. It's a pure waste of time, outside of article space. In article space, it's also a bad, bad idea to delete articles on verifiable subjects. Stub them, if necessary, but leave them and the history. It is not going to do any harm. (If it is, the article is speedy deletable, whole other issue.)--Abd (talk) 01:08, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, it looks like there's going to be some pressure on the deletion system now that The Cabal is interested again. <crosses fingers> --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:11, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Whatever we do, it's got to be more efficient. Notability is never going to be clear, I think we need to basically dump it in favor of something much, much simpler: if two users agree a topic is notable, it's notable. Maybe make that "two trusted users," i.e., two having some kind of status. Then, if there is verifiable information, it can be in the article. Somehow, I imagined that NPOV covered the problem: if we can verify that so-and-so said such and such, we can put it in the article, attributed, even if such and such is pure nonsense (but somehow notable within the topic.) Notability, properly, is relative, it isn't generally an absolute, hence all the difficulty. Notable compared to what? On En-L, somebody claimed that if we have an article on some trivial subject, this somehow violates balance. Again, a basic error. Balance issues arise when facts are being compared. Flat-earth theories aren't notable in an article on geophysics, but in an article on rejected theories, or the like, they can be notable. If there is no clear standard, it will create debate and resentment, and the resentment created in unsophisticated users who create an article on their favorite band, spend hours on it, and it disappears, is going to continue to accumulate out there, poisoning the well. No matter how clear the guidelines are, because we don't announce the guidelines on the Main page and in all the promo stuff. Instead, the sum of all human knowledge, the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Really? Anyone? Wow! Oh, I see here that what I write can be changed by anyone as well. Okay, I can live with that. I see as well that there are lots of other rules, but here is one that cuts through it all: if they get in the way of improving the encyclopedia, ignore all rules. I can't see how it could do anything other than improve the encyclopedia if it's more thorough, if it has an article on every garage band in the world, so, I'll go ahead, seems like policy is on my side.
Policy must match intuition, or at least fully integrate with intuition, or it's going to be a source of continual conflict. Most policy, in fact, does that (match intuition), including IAR, which is a standard common law principle.--Abd (talk) 01:28, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


At another page, you wrote, "On the other hand -- I always have several other hands around ..."

I enjoyed that comment, and I just wanted to acknowledge the humor in what you said. Have a good day. Jonneroo (talk) 05:32, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. Be careful; agreeing with me, laughing at my humor, etc., can bring accusations that you are another one of my hands.
I'm actually quite new also. While my account goes back to 2005, I did not start editing in earnest until September 2007. However, my outside work has been the theory of organizations quite like Wikipedia, so most policies were immediately obvious to me, I already understood most of the underlying principles. However, policy is one thing, practice is another.
The strain of thought represented by myself and by Obuibo Mbstpo is actually a strain fairly common among the early Wikipedians. From his report, he began in 2004, and was active from then. I've traced his account history back to 2005, and he has been very active. He knows Wikipedia very well. He also is one of the few people who actually looked at what I've been proposing, thought about it, and essentially signed up. For the world, not merely for Wikipedia. It just happens that we start at home, where we are.
So what happened to those early Wikipedians? They suffered various fates. Some became the operating core, the "cabal." Many, though, left or were driven away. We have started to research this formally, but it is obvious from the many departing statements that have been left. Something ugly happened with the culture. Look at the present wikifuss. A basic policy is WP:AGF. Many of those making a fuss are administrators. Are they following this policy? It requires that we assume good faith as long as there is any reasonable possibility that an action was done in good faith. Instead, if an action is not understood, or if it seems opposed to their opinions about what is the "consensus," assumptions of good faith are discarded and there is, instead, accusation of bad faith. This is *rampant,* it does not only occur with us. Policy violation is rampant. That is, my friend, the very definition of a Bad Situation. Obuibo is, largely, calling attention to this fact. As am I, with less direct methods. They will try to shoot the messenger. However, this particular messenger is very, very old, and does not die easily, if at all.
Take a look at WP:Esperanza and what happened to it. "Esperanza." Hope. They tried, and continue to try, to kill Hope. They have been trying for many centuries. It won't work, but it can look as if it worked, for a while. It would be, indeed, quite funny, if it were not tragic. I'm a Muslim, but I do get to quote Jesus: "Forgive them, my creator, they know not what they do." I do, in fact, trust the good faith of these critics. But they are violating policy by not trusting that of others.
Thanks again. It's nice that somebody sees the humor. Basic operating principle: if you are not having fun, you are probably doing the work of Satan (i.e., the ancient deceiver, the one who tries to divide people and make them fight each other.)
--Abd (talk) 16:21, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Dude, The original Esperanza crew were really cool. But after a while Esperanza went downhill, and had sort of stopped spreading hope, and was more of a Bureaucratic nightmare by the time we got to it. There was really nothing left to save. :-/ --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:00, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Please don't ever do this again

I noticed at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Chiism(Godianism), that you decided to resolve the matter by copying the article to user space. It would have been far better if you had moved the article to userspace mid-discussion (I know that's recommended against but it would have been much much better than what you did). It is highly likely that the result of the deletion discussion will be delete, the material in userspace is attributed to you, the history will show you copied it from Portal space but the article won't be there. Deletion is not an archive and can't be relied on for copyright compliance - theoretically the Tim Starling can purge it without notice. Consequently, we now have a GFDL problem to fix. Please, in the future just suggest userfication and tell us why and if the community agrees (or normally if the creator requests), the material will be moved to userspace. As it stands, you have created a lot more work, no matter how the close occurs. You could fix this very quickly with {{db-author}} if you were so inclined. Thanks.--Doug.(talk contribs) 05:28, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

My apologies. I'll fix it. I believe I did suggest userification. What I'll do is to rename the file in my user space and tag it for deletion. I will then move the Portal file, which is clearly in the wrong space, to the user space for that user, with a note on the Talk page. The MfD tag will remain, of course, and the MfD itself will point to the file now in the user's user space. Essentially, it creates an argument for keeping the file, that it is in the space of the user who created it, and I'll make that argument. In the future, userification would avoid a lot of MfDs, which, for files like this, can then be reserved for cases where the argument for deletion is much stronger. It's the wiki way, just do it. Something is wrong, fix it, don't create an argument for deletion, unless that is really necessary. And thanks for telling me that what I did created a problem, I won't do it again. And I'll be glad to do the footwork needed to clean up any problem I create; I appreciate help and suggestions.--Abd (talk) 15:46, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
It's not a big deal, sorry if I made it one, I'm a bit of fanatic about the copyright stuff. It can be fixed by an admin if you don't do it. It's just a pain in the ass and particularly annoying as part of the whole "keep everything" (or "most everything" in your case). I don't have a big problem with the extreme inclusionist thing (I don't agree with it, it just doesn't bother me that much), just as long as you don't try too much unilateralism - especially when it creates a GFDL problem. I was afraid you and OM might start doing this all over the place.
The copy I saw reference to was in User:Onyioha/Chiism(Godianism), not your userspace, but any copies should be deleted. As for moving the Portal space page to User:Onyioha/Chiism(Godianism) after deletion of the copy; I don't recommend it, but there are no GFDL issues there. It's just rather brash to do that on the last day of a deletion discussion and could result in a backlash in which the usersubpage is nominated or simply deleted under a speedy criterion. Why don't you just argue userfication of this specific page at MfD? BTW, the tag would stay but the cross namespace redirect would be speedy deletable so the link at MfD might get fouled up. If you do move it, PLEASE, give MfD the courtesy of a note to that effect - if you were to note that you understand the MfD is not affected it would likely go a long way towards preventing claims of WP:DE. Cheers--Doug.(talk contribs) 16:13, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Of course I would do that. However, what I suggested above I would do -- I have not done it yet -- would simply make the work of the closing admin easier. If the article has been moved, the closing admin might simply close it with the decision to move it, and has nothing else to do. Or if the decision, even given that it has been moved, is Delete, I would consent to deletion where the file sits. I am not trying to disrupt deletion decision process. Yes, the move should not affect the MfD except that it changes the underlying circumstances. A closing editor -- damn! I could close it myself this way if I hadn't commented -- could consider the MfD to extend to the moved file, or not. Given that I see that there are only two possible outcomes, Keep (as-is) being inappropriate and impossible, leaving Move or Delete, by moving I'm not interfering with Delete and I'm facilitating Move by making it a done deal. I see no harm and possible benefit, so I think I should do it. A little later, to give you an opportunity to more explicitly consent (but I read the above as consent). It may take me a little time to deal with the copied file, but I will fix it. The word we use around here for reversible decisions made "brashly" is "bold" and it is actually recommended if reasonably intended to make things better and/or easier. Thanks again for your help.--Abd (talk) 17:03, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I think the difference between brash and bold is a matter of intent. I'm not suggesting you have a bad intent, but your close association with OM might lead others to stumble in their duty to AGF. Additionally, moving the Portal over to userspace might be seen by some as a defacto close by a party who has taken a position - I think it's fine though if you post at MfD that you are improving the page by moving it to userspace but that you acknowledge the MfD continues. I think the two options you have suggested for disposition of the article are the very two that I have advocated at MfD for this pseudo-Portal - though I clearly prefer outright deletion, I'd be OK with either. BTW, have we heard anything from the creator? Would be nice to know that he or she actually intends to do something with this at some point. Not a show stopper though.--Doug.(talk contribs) 18:05, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
No, have heard nothing. But I should email him or her. My email wasn't working here, mysteriously. It *was* working, but when I checked, the preferences were set with no email. I did *not* do this. Weird. Weird things happening with log-in, too, as if someone is trying to crack the password.... paranoia strikes deep ....
Note that if you would accept userification, and I would accept userification (actually I prefer it, and would have prefered no MfD at all, just userification of a file placed in the wrong space), and nobody has indicated that it should not be userified, that is what I'd call consensus. As to Mbstpo, I assume you know he is currently indef blocked, quite improperly, in my opinion, but there may be a compromise afoot. A weird one, but actually probably the best for the situation. He was accused of vandalism. First offense, no prior warnings. Indef Block. Obviously, the stated reason for the block isn't the real reason, just the excuse. But so what? This is Wikipedia, IAR. You know, with the poisonous atmosphere around here, I'd be accused of sarcasm for that comment. It's not sarcastic. IAR is the operating foundation of Wikipedia, everything else proceeds from and is subservient to that. Mbstpo understood that; it's ironic that he is accused of "wikilawyering." Anyway, as you may have seen, I (improperly again) moved the file to my own user space and tagged it speedy delete/author. Likewise with the redirect that was created when I move the file. Live and learn. Given all that, I'm leaving the original alone. But moving it would be "improving" it, and because a redirect would temporarily exist, no harm to the MfD, which could still decide to delete both, or just the redirect. Though the redirect wouldn't be doing much harm....--Abd (talk) 18:35, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I didn't look carefully, but I don't think the second move was improper - I just didn't know why you bothered since you could've just deleted the article in the place it was. The key is to always use the move tab at the top of the page. It doesn't really move the page at all, it renames it (or moves it with all it's history - same same I guess), and simultaneously creates a new page at the old location that is a redirect. It is the safe way to move pages. You can always go back and delete the redirect if you want to because it has no history - especially important in cross-namespace redirects which when going into userspace are not generally appropriate. With regard to OM, yeah I followed the whole thing from afar, I made one comment generally against blocking him early on before the whole vandalism part came to light. My understanding was that he was now unblocked and subject to a topic ban (though I wasn't clear if it was a ban or some sort of technical "limited block" from the way it was discussed). As to IAR, I agree, but in the process it's important to remember to don't be a dick.--Doug.(talk contribs) 20:54, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

(dedent) This response is long, but, hey, this is my Talk page. Reading it is optional.

It's called a M i s t a k e. One of those. I'm known for making lots of them, first time I do something. I'm not dense, but it can certainly look that way, if you only look at the first time I do something. I totally mangled my first 3RR report, I didn't even know how to prepare a diff. Yes, it's obvious. I miss lots of obvious things first time around. It's actually because I think too much, I might be thinking of numerous possibilities that wouldn't even occur to a "normal" person. I'm not normal. Very much not normal. That 3RR thing came up in my recent RfA; what did not come out so quickly, until I mentioned it, was that I'd only been seriously editing for a week or maybe two, even though my account had been created in 2005.

I'm not using the default interface; Move appears in a sidebar menu. That's what I used. Obviously, I should have blanked the page in place and added the speedy delete tag, I made a little more work for the admin by moving it first. I moved it because I was thinking that I might attach the history, but, of course, that doesn't make sense. From what I know, I can't just delete anything, I can only blank and speedy tag. I still have more to learn about this process.

As to Mbstpo, I'll check and see if he has been unblocked, with the ban. That was suggested as a compromise, and, while Mbstpo didn't like it, I thought that he would come around. I'll see if he has. The problem with don't be a dick is that sometimes people will consider you one of those when you are just minding your own business, if that business happens to be improving the project in ways that impact other's expectations. Really, if Mbstpo was doing something wrong -- as to the WP space edits -- somebody should MfD or userfy WP:BRD, because that is exactly what he was doing as to policies. Mbstpo -- and I -- are searching for ways to address major systemic issues within current policy, because that can be far more efficient, and more likely to succeed, than attempting to rewrite formal guidelines and procedures. Once one can see that, his actions become quite understandable. If abrupt at times. I'm trying to slow him down. Behind all this is what might be called a philosophy of social structure, how to organize without using traditional hierarchies. Elsewhere on this page I will discuss a comment Kim Bruning just made. It's related to that. Mbstpo and I have been very, very open about what we are doing; if you look back at my Talk page and the Talk pages of Sarsaparilla, Ron Duvall, and Absidy, you'll see it all laid out, as it developed. There has also been phone and email contact, but, in fact, nearly everything important is explicit on-wiki. For starters, efforts to crush what we are doing help speed the process up. That we noted this has been used to claim that we are deliberately causing disruption to further our evil plan. Or at least our crazy scheme. That's not the case. To illustrate this, see the MfD for WP:PRX. Mbstpo made the proposal. It was immediately tagged as Rejected by analogy with Esperanza, even though it created no bureaucracy and the only similarity is that it was voluntary connection between editors, only one pair at a time instead of en masse. I took the Rejected tag off as premature, given that the proposal hadn't even been formed clearly. Then it was eventually replaced. No edit warring took place, it was left. There was a Village Pump post, by Mangojuice, I think, seeking comment but basically seeking rejection (like almost all subsequent process with WP:PRX, it was radically misrepresented as establishing a system of voting, which it did not. Voting is a possible application, but, in fact, I'm opposed to voting, per se, as a means of making decisions. However, if we want to estimate consensus, we can get, in theory, a better measure of it through a proxy system than simply by raw votes, which suffer from drastic participation bias. If we could know that those not voting don't care, that wouldn't be a problem, but we don't know that at all. That application, though, wasn't to be established by WP:PRX itself, which really was only a proposal to set up a central proxy table transcluding individual proxy tables in user spaces. No particular meaning for "proxy" was to be established, beyond a suggestion that users choose someone they generally trust. No right to represent was to be established by it, no right to vote on behalf of "clients." However, the Village Pump RfC claimed this, and if you read WP:PRX with that in mind, you can easily overlook the disclaimers that it wasn't about voting, or simply not believe them. In any case, the Village Pump post brought some comment (including a little positive). Mbstpo, by that time Absidy, however, suffered from an unfortunate response to rejection. He knows better, but I've seen this before with people like him. It can be quite lonely, and there can be a reaction. He decided to commit wiki-suicide, and he did it by dropping a suggestion on the Talk page of every member of ArbComm that they name a proxy. Was this a violation of WP:CANVASS? Maybe. There was no vote in progress that this solicited response on. The numbers were not as large as what has been considered canvassing, and the proposal not biased in the ordinary way. In any case, it was considered canvassing, and he was asked to stop. About five hours after he'd actually stopped. He responded, in short, with a "Too late, I'm done." And an image of an upraised finger. He chose an admin who, he knew, would respond with a block. (Which is improper in itself. Another admin might legitimately block, though that would actually be an extreme remedy in that situation. But this was, definitely, trolling. Now, as to disruption. The disruption from his notices was minor, practically trivial. The disruption from WP:PRX would have been about zero, if the reject tag had simply been left, we were not about to remove it unless evidence appeared that the community was actually accepting it, or at least not rejecting it. But that was not enough. WP:PRX was MfD'd. The MfD, of course, claimed that it was about voting, and most voters, voting Delete repeated that as a reason for deleting. Then came Kim Bruning, who closed the MfD as improper (which was correct), so it was Keep as Rejected. That raised a huge flap. After all, the greatest number, by far, of !votes were Delete. So how could the closer neglect that and only attend to the arguments raised? When I told Mbstpo that Bruning had closed the MfD that way, he said that this was the funniest thing he had ever heard. It was, of course, totally correct. Bruning is not an administrator, but he was one, and he is, quite properly, respected; he could have his admin bit back any time he asks for it. Anyway, what did they do? These are people claiming that Mbstpo (and I) don't understand Wikipedia process. So they go to WP:DRV. Deletion Review is about reviewing deletions, not not-deletions. After a few people have !voted to re-open the MfD, Bruning closed the DRV as improper. Again, he was correct as to substance, but this time he was also technically in violation of COI, at least that could be argued. The proper remedy would have been renomination if the MfD was improperly closed. Or reversion of the closure, as another option. In any case, Bruning did not contest a re-opening of the MfD (again, quite what I'd expect from him), it was re-opened. And closed again after a few days and very few additional comments. With the same result. Big flap, about nothing. Not created by me or by Mbstpo, but by an insane desire to delete a simple proposal. And, of course, serving the long-term goal of publicizing the concept, without our having to do any work. There are a few people now, who know about it, who would not have known if there had been no attempt to go beyond simple Rejection. This is not what I would have chosen. I'm really trying to proceed step-by-step, not taking the community beyond its comfort zone at any point. Mbstpo, though, is a classic trickster, a change artist, who can, sometimes, catalyze rapid change. And I can't say he's wrong. He did not have my approval for most of the stunts he pulled. However, I can still appreciate them. His stunts aren't -- usually -- random and senseless acts. They point out, as did Socrates, contradictions in our structures and policies, and they do so without accusing anyone of bad faith.

Now, since I wrote the above, more has developed. I had to put my kids to bed, and, laying there with them and my Palm, I saw that he had spiked his password. He did not answer his cell phone earlier today when I tried to call him. I don't think he wanted me to talk him out of it. He sent me an email saying that he'd decided not to work on Wikipedia under the conditions suggested, which was certainly his right. I am asking him not to evade the block. He has given me certain suggestions as to how to proceed, which would basically be what I would do anyway, but, more to the point, he's asked me to drop all response to his block. I may or may not do that. He is not vindictive, that came out clearly with his last block. He has no desire to "get" anyone. He created an account while he was blocked and used it to apologize to the blocking admin, and another account to apologize to another user, a gesture not appreciated by either. (Both times the response was: "Hey, another sock of Absidy, block him!). He created no disruption while blocked. He apparently does not intend to evade the block, but he did have that intention before and did evade it, though not disruptively (except that any evasion is disruptive because it raises additional blocking effort). I'm hoping that this time he can stick to it. It's Wikipedia's loss, I think, but his gain, if he does. He has other projects to work on, including making a living. Come to think of it, so do I. --Abd (talk) 02:27, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

I have no problem with anything you've done that I've seen - that's not to say I agree with it all, it just doesn't bother me. Though I've watched most of this from the outside only taking notice because it made its way to MfD where I tend to hang out. Though I did try to do some back reading and came across most of what you mention. Still, I've never really investigated in detail and I have ever really seen your/OM's side argued; the other side's comments assuming facts I haven't gone back far enough to verify, nor do I care to. The recent null-comments ("Keep everything" - which amounts to "dissolve this discussion page") were annoying, but I only really got concerned when you did the copy/paste thing, which you fixed, so all is hunky-dory. Mistakes are fine, especially when you fix them.  :-) Let me know if I can help you avoid or undo any in the future. BTW, why didn't you create your proposals in userspace rather than in project space. That's generally a better place to do anything that isn't ready for the community as a whole.--Doug.(talk contribs) 05:00, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks again for your comments. Yes, I'm sure the canned comments were annoying, but if they were more than mildly annoying, I'm concerned about the health of the one getting seriously annoyed. Mbstpo was, indeed, making a point, but was it disruptive? He was using the occasion of deletion debates to make some points about deletion process, by exercising his right to vote and express opinion. There is nothing, in theory, stopping a user from going to every single deletion debate and voting, say, "Keep" or "Delete" or "This whole process stinks!" It isn't disruptive, in fact, and those !votes theoretically have no effect. Unless they actually do convince a closer, in which case, that they were canned or automatic is irrelevant. It is, as you know, the informed judgment of the closer that counts. This is why the whole concern about canvassing and sock puppetry is off. If only arguments count, does it matter if the argument came from a sock puppet? A closer of an AfD should verify facts stated, there are, in fact, sock puppets and SPAs who nominate articles for deletion, selected by political agenda, and I've seen closers err in assuming good faith. AGF should not extend to conflict, and an AfD is a situation where there is possible conflict from the beginning. Normally an editor creating an article thinks the topic notable, so we have a built-in conflict. In the cases I have in mind, the creators were experts in the field and most such experts don't check Wikipedia often, they have other things to do. So they were never even aware of the AfDs.... and nobody else was watching those articles....
As to creating proposals in user space, of course. However, Mbstpo was a long-term Wikipedian, very active, back to 2004 I understand (I've only seen back to 2005, he changed his account before, disappeared it.) He never got into trouble until he nominated me for administrator, I've seen nothing, no warnings, and the only block a block in error, promptly unblocked. He thought in terms of making a proposal to the community. I did not favor that, but, at the same time, he is a brilliant social change artist. He simply did not bring that to bear on this community until he discovered my work on delegable proxy, which he recognized as having the potential to transform this community in a way that not only does not lose the original vision and the early traditions, but would realize them more perfectly and address the serious abuses that have arisen.
In any case, he used what he knew: a project page. Now, what we came to, in the days before his wikidemise, was how to do it. I already knew that user space was the path, plus off-wiki connection. I prefer open proxy tables, but, under difficult conditions, anonymity becomes important. Compare town meeting government with secret ballot. And then came User:Kurt Weber, whose page with AfDs to be considered was discovered. That's it!, we realized. It's simple: a page in user space that others choose to watch, where the user places notices intended for what in a delegable proxy system, would be his clients (or, as well, in the other direction, his proxy -- or proxies. Delegable Proxy is really a bidirectional communications network.). I saw, in the AfDs and MfDs that came up through that, the utility. Mbstpo's canned comments didn't necessarily do much, but mine may have had more effect, because I didn't add canned comments, I did, in fact, present arguments, and even though some of the arguments were generic -- I really think the vast majority of XfDs are a waste of time, and improve the project and its reputation not one bit -- others were specific. I will be working to get rid of XfD, leaving only speedy deletion for uncontroversial cases, and going to WP:PWD, which was Mbstpo's position. It is, in fact, the wiki way, and it was a mistake that Wikipedia abandoned it. We know, fairly well, how to make editorial decisions, all of which are reversible and which therefore don't normally create desperate contention. So if it isn't notable, blank it and redirect. Simple. Reversible. Requires no admin attention. Move inappropriate content to user space. If feelings are ruffled by this, they would be far more ruffled by deletion. (Really Bad Stuff, which is sometimes brought up when PWD is mentioned, is covered by the speedy rules, and I would, in fact, leave AfD and MfD in place, but not allow notability to be an issue, for example, with AfD, thus getting rid of most AfDs. And frivolous nomination would be considered disruption if continued after warning.
People strongly dislike being told to shut up. They dislike having their work erased. And, indeed, that's a functional response. Present deletion process is guaranteed to increase resentment and disagreement, and it is not scalable. It is receiving serious negative outside attention. And it has WP:ABF practically built-in. This is what Mbstpo was calling attention to.
I've set up User:Abd/Notices which any one can watch. I request that editors not edit that page, unless I'm blocked, in which case any user may edit it, subject to all the normal rules. (I can disregard 3RR in my own user space, is my interpretation, but others probably could not without very good cause.) If someone wants to announce a thing to the community of those who watch that page, the person can leave me a note on my Talk page. I'll decide whether or not to pass it on. That's subject to all the ordinary rules about canvassing. Direct email to me, however, will not result in a complaint, unless it is clearly abusive. These are the basic procedures, starting out, for setting up a delegable proxy network. The medium is the message. --Abd (talk) 14:54, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Request to block user:

I have a request to block user This user has created disruptions as well as vandalism in Wikipedia articles Tibet and [[2008 unrest in Tibet], which is very disturbing from the hateful comments he made to religion, people as well as H.H. Dalai Lama.

Secondly, I have a request to semi-protect articles Tibet and 2008 unrest in Tibet due to the history of vandalism made delibertly to damage religion as well as its articles.

This user appears to be harming Wikipedia delibertly due to his history of edits with a time span of less than ONE minuite -> a certain truth/clue that this user does not have good faith.

May this issue be peacefully resolved. Thank you. Prowikipedians (talk) 07:27, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I responded on this user's Talk page. Thankfully, I am not an administrator. Tough job.--Abd (talk) 16:00, 17 March 2008 (UTC)


You think hoaxes should not be deleted? And hoaxers should be tolerated? Do you not see this as fundamentally incompatible with the goals of the project? Have you seen WP:ENC? Friday (talk) 15:41, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Wow, four questions. Pregnant with possibilities.

(1) Nothing should be deleted. It isn't anyway. There are two differences between a deleted article and one that is simply blanked. There are only 1500 users who can read the article if deleted, vs. millions if it is blanked -- because it's in history in either case, but only admins can see deleted articles in history, and then, if something is deleted it is possible that it could end up being deleted from the database. That's problematic, though, and generally isn't happening, except for oversight deletions.

(2) Hoaxers should be tolerated, to a degree but watched. They should be warned. If the work of watching them becomes excessive -- i.e., nobody is willing to take responsibility for watching them -- then blocking becomes appropriate. We already have policy for this. What is the penalty for putting up a hoax article? It can be considered a form of vandalism. How severe a form is it, when the article is on a person whose name does not show up on Google -- except, of course, for the wikipedia user? Who is going to even find the article, unless specifically looking for Obuibo Mbstpo? Who may indeed be an important figure in Wikipedia history. Indeed, the article should be recreated as a redirect to his user page.... Just an idea!

(3) This is fundamentally compatible with the goals of the project. Human knowledge is not increased by deletion, period. It is made accessible by categorization, so there are two fundamental aspects to an encyclopedia: the collection of knowledge, its verification, and its categorization. Categorization places knowledge in hierarchies of notability and importance. A hoax article should be categorized as a hoax article.

(4) Not that I recall. I'll look. Ah, yes, of course I've seen that, but as the individual NOTs, not as the "in your face" page.

Now, what was not asked: What should be done with hoaxes and articles that are unverifiable? Mbstpo made the suggestion, but it's actually an old one, and was the original wiki idea. You blank them. To find them, you have to look for them. This is called Pure Wiki Deletion. I.e., any editor can do it. It's an editorial decision. It is not a decision for the police.

So I would (1) leave alone articles of marginal notability, but verifiable and verified. (2) blank articles that are hoaxes or that are properly merged with a larger topic, and many other articles currently deleted. (3) reserve deletion for legally required removals. Deletion takes special tools and access rights and is therefore only scaled with difficulty. It should be reserved for necessity. Blanking is quite sufficient to protect casual readers from nonsense and hoaxes. Casual readers usually would not even know where to look for blanked content.

There are two issues here, and you have confused them. The first is the goal, the encyclopedia. The second is how we get there. Your response focused on the first, the goal. But how we get there must consider the human beings who do the work, and what they need, and what drives them away and alienates them, turning some of them into serious vandals, far more serious than the two pranks of Mbstpo, both harmless. As Wikipedia grows, continuing to do the latter, and it is happening every day, will make the project more and more untenable. --Abd (talk) 16:24, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

I've been an advocate of pure wiki deletion for a couple years, but this has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Someone who intentionally hoaxes has given us a nice handy glimpse of their intent. Anyone whose intent is not to make the project better should be shown the door. Hoaxes don't make the project better. If you really want to attempt a project under the philosophy you've described, well, feel free to fork. But it'll never fly here. I have no interest in coddling editors who intend to damage Wikipedia, and neither should you. Friday (talk) 16:29, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll be straight. Get off my talk page. Don't come back. If you have a necessary warning notice to make, of course you can make it, but be careful. It will be taken seriously. --Abd (talk) 16:38, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
I've asked you to clarify your remarks, Abd, at User talk:Obuibo Mbstpo, but in case you missed my request there, can you tell use precisely what you meant when you said you had "confirmed at least some of his story". Did you have any evidence at all on which to base that statement, or were you leading us all down the garden path? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 16:32, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
I answered you there. He has told me "some of his story," and I have confirmed some of it. Read the original statement, in context. "His story" was the user's personal history, as told by him, not the hoax article. Clear? --Abd (talk) 16:40, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Jumpstart (radio show)

Many thanks for your kind words. I tried to take everyones thought into account when closing the AfD and hopefully my close was the correct interpretation of consensus. There were some wide ranging views in the MfD but there was certainly a clear consensus that the content was not needed in a seperate article - it was therefore a choice between merge and delete. It looked like everyone who commented delted would also have been happy with a merge, hence why I redirected and clearly stated that I have no problems with the content being merged into the main radio station article. I've had no complaints so far which is always a good thing :-) Take care, Ryan Postlethwaite 16:10, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

The fact is that most AfDs could be handled by a merge/redirect, without an AfD at all. Disagreement over that, if it arises, is a pure editorial decision and can normally be handled through dispute resolution, with less fuss and damage than an AfD.--Abd (talk) 16:26, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Exactly - which is what should have been tried in this case before it even went to AfD. Ryan Postlethwaite 18:44, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/PHG's archived articles

I understand that you're trying to help out the discussion, but I'd like you to consider removing the highly prejudical information you just added to the head of the debate. Editors are not penalized for bringing an case to ArbCom and labeling the case and incidents surrounding it a "content dispute" is highly inaccurate. Have you reviewed the actual case at ArbCom? Since ArbCom does not weigh in on matters of content, I think you'll find the case is about the conduct of a particular editor. The only reason deletion of these erroneous subpages was not done as part of the Arbitration is that everyone involved felt that the deletion through MfD was a foregone conclusion; not because the Arbitrator's felt that anyone was incorrect in believing they should be deleted.

I appreciate you offering your point of view to the discussion, but lets not try to preemptively influence other editors who might come to the debate, okay? Shell babelfish 14:03, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I am noting that there may be a COI for those editors. This is not prejudicial. The editors have a right to comment, but that an editor was involved in a content dispute with another does, in fact, create a COI with respect to the issue before the MfD, and it seems to me that, in fact, the arguments in the MfD are being colored by that, and the ArbComm decision is being presented in a slanted way. If necessary, we can ask for ArbComm to clarify this? Do you think that's a good idea?
Yes, I have reviewed the ArbComm case. It encourages this editor to continue contributing, including, specifically, to this set of articles. Did any of these COI editors note that? I'm neutral here, I had no involvement and know about the case only by reading the ArbComm decision. I have no a priori opinion as to who was "right" as to content. (It's quite possible to be untrue to source and to nevertheless be correct as to facts; this is the kind of issue that commonly trips up experts on Wikipedia.) As to your comment about about how "everyone felt," I didn't see that. Can you point it out? The ArbComm decision was referenced by the first commentor, in a quite misleading way. Should we go to Newyorkbrad for clarification? I see the files as being potentially useful to PHG -- or possibly others -- in his further work on a subject where, regardless of the issues that came up in Arbitration, he is apparently an expert. And this is not the place nor the time to debate his prior actions. He has specifically been encouraged to continue, and these files contain source material for that. It's specifically about working on the project. What ArbComm decided was two-fold: First, he had misrepresented what was in sources. His good faith in that, by the way, was not impugned. Source misrepresentation can be unintentional. The level of it was judged to be sufficient that he was put on a one-year topic ban, from editing the article, not from contributing to the topic through civil participation in Talk. Given the history, I'm not surprised that he was, at first, not fully civil. (The level of incivility for which he was blocked would ordinarily have been considered minor, but I also agree that the block was proper.) Second, he had been uncivil, as I recall. (This also is common with experts, who can blow some fuses when they think they are being challenged by people who don't know what they are talking about. Whether that is true or not.) Then ArbComm specifically encouraged him to continue. It's also noted that the topic ban expires; in other words, he will be allowed -- and encouraged -- to then continue to contribute through actual editing. These files may be useful.
I have not reviewed the specifics, but it seems unlikely to me that the files in question are majority fabrication; were they, we'd be dealing with hoax charges, not failure to be true to sources. --Abd (talk) 15:41, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
I can see that you really *haven't* read the case. PHG is not an expert, in fact, he was fighting against several professional historians and actual experts who were attempting to help improve the article. Majority fabrication was one of the major problems - for instance, take the article by Schien; the entire premise for her article is to discuss the fallacy of rumors that the Mongols took Jerusalem in 1300. She is incredibly, excruciatingly clear and goes so far as to state "[it] never happened." PHG cited her article several times claiming that her work supported the idea that the Mongols took Jerusalem as fact. If that isn't complete fabrication, I'm not sure what else to call it. If you had reviewed the tables of evidence presented specifically in reference to this complaint, you would see that this was not the only instance, but a pattern of behavior across more than 30 articles in the topic area.
Also, please note that PHG was encouraged to continue contributing in other areas. There were also a number of other remedies, indicating that the scope of the behavior was more problematic than just the sourcing. I have no doubt that PHG can make excellent contributions and I hope he chooses to do so in the future; I will support him if he chooses to do so and have even made edits to pages for him that he's currently prohibited from editing. Instead of calling the group of editors who dealt with the disruptive behavior for more than six months "conflicted" perhaps you should look at them as more knowledgeable on the subject.
In any case, there's no reason you can't look at the case and the items surrounding it and have a different opinion, but there's also no reason to assert your opinion as correct by placing that information in the header. Please remove it. Shell babelfish 16:12, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Also, please note that PHG was encouraged to continue contributing in other areas. Sure. But also please note:
PHG restricted
1) PHG (talk · contribs) is prohibited from editing articles relating to medieval or ancient history for a period of one year. He is permitted to make suggestions on talk pages, provided that he interacts with other editors in a civil fashion.
passed 8-0 at 01:00, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Okay, that's the restriction, which specifically exempts from restriction making suggestions on Talk pages, if done civilly.
PHG encouraged
3) PHG is encouraged to continue contributing to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in other ways, including by suggesting topics for articles, making well-sourced suggestions on talkpages, and continuing to contribute free-content images to Wikimedia Commons.
passed 8-0 at 01:00, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
"Other ways" must be glossed, I submit, to mean "other than by editing the articles in question. So he is not only permitted to make suggestions on Talk pages (unsourced or otherwise) but actively encouraged to make "well-sourced" suggestions. Somebody really worked on that decision, it is precisely crafted.
So, it's happening here. A source is misrepresented to make it appear something different than it actually, in total, is doing. I'm sure that this is being done in good faith, the editors involved are, it would seem to me, reading what they think into the source, and reporting it that way. But that doesn't make it proper.--Abd (talk) 18:12, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I was going to remove the header as well, but I see that Shell already got to it. Abd, I appreciate what you're trying to do here, and that you are a strong inclusionist: User:Abd/AfD: formula for conflict. However, there is a line between expressing your opinion, and disrupting an AfD to make a point. You are welcome to participate in the deletion discussion, but please do not post large headers which try to belittle the opinions of good-faith editors. To say that anyone involved with an article then has a "COI" involving that article, is a too-broad interpretation of what WP:COI means. --Elonka 16:31, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

agreed and removed (again) on that basis. --Fredrick day 16:44, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Hmm... we may need to go back to ArbComm for a clarification, though it is very, very clear to me what they decided. What has been done by the editors above is to treat the *charges* (principally made by Elonka) as if ArbComm confirmed all of them. ArbComm backed way off from what Elonka claimed, and, in particular, took pains to deny that there was a decision that PHG had acted in bad faith. I started to look at the evidence in the case, and realized that this is extraordinarily complex, but certain things were clear. Both sides were assuming bad faith, fairly routinely. And that continues in the MfD, though PHG has toned it down considerably. If expressing the result of what I've found, looking into this matter, is "disrupting" the AfD, well, I see a whole lot of ruption going on. This MfD is, at best, premature, and at worst, a concerted attempt to hinder PHG from doing what the ArbComm decision specifically encouraged him to do: contribute through Talk. Having his previous sources and resulting text handy, not having to rummage through history, etc., to do it, facilitates what ArbComm encouraged. What appears to be a casual comment by Newyorkbrad that inappropriate material, if only two files, could be MfD'd later, has been misrepresented as a recommendation to delete. ArbComm made no decision condemning the work of this editor, only that the editor had erred in a matter raising sufficient concern to suggest a topic ban for a year, but, specifically, unlike other similar decisions I've seen, he was positively encouraged to continue to contribute through Talk. And deleting materials that he considers helpful for that is hindering that and is, in fact, disruptive. The above editors have been willing to edit war over this in the MfD, so I'm starting to have some sympathy with PHG, whereas before I had no opinion (or, indeed, had formed a fairly negative impression of his work, from what little I'd seen of the ArbComm case, but realizing that I knew little.) He may well have improperly used sources, but, hey, he's working for free and he does get to make mistakes; plus much of the material where he allegedly misrepresented sources was pretty weak, hinging on fairly sophisticated implications and nuances. ArbComm doesn't make content decisions, and those above eager to delete what is effectively working notes for this editor seem to be pretending that ArbComm condemned PHG's content. It most certainly did not, and it did not impugn his character, nor his scholarship, except to confirm certain problems in sourcing, the kind that, actually, I've seen many experts run into. Nothing of a level where you could say, "he deliberately fabricated sources." Unless we can read medieval Latin, there was one place where he claimed that a passage referred to a treaty, when another expert claimed there was no reference to a treaty, reported as hearsay, as I recall. To really resolve this would require a conversation where those making the claims discuss them, and nail it down to what specific text makes or implies the reference. And, given the difficulty, PHG's error here could have been just that. An error. Not any deliberate fabrication of sources.

Which brings us to a real question: WP:OR, which was a factor in the ArbComm decision. Much of PHG's work may qualify as that. Now, he could take his work and see it published elsewhere, and it may be of a quality that would allow that (which by no means it is free of error). And then we could use it under WP:RS. It's clear to me that there was a degree of original research in his work here, interpretations placed on texts that were not found elsewhere, but, again, to come to a firm conclusion about this would take more work than I can put in now, nor do I think it necessary. The topic ban, as a remedy, covers all that. What I wish to point out now is that frequently original research or unsourced personal knowledge is used to create text, and, in fact, the encyclopedia is better for it. That's not the goal, but if we could somehow eliminate such text en masse, we'd quite simply, have a poorer encyclopedia. *Many* articles contain unsourced statements. The general response that I've seen with experienced editors to such is to find sources for it, and only when the effort fails do they take it out, and they will bend over backwards to include what they can. Unless, of course, they have POV to maintain, and the material is inconvenient. Then they will simply delete it as unsourced. We have developed mechanisms to deal with this, with citation tags, so any editor can flag unsourced material without taking it out. That provides time to find sources. My opinion is that we need to tighten up this process, that the status quo is wasting huge amounts of editor labor, duplicating effort, but it does basically work. So I would never condemn an editor for inserting original research or unsourced knowledge. What I'd condemn and sanction is edit warring to maintain such. Arguing tenaciously in Talk is not a cause for a ban from talk. Arguing uncivilly can be. Apparently, ArbComm did not consider the incivility of this editor to be sufficient to warrant an a priori block or topic ban from Talk as well as mainspace. His recent block for incivility was based on a fairly mild incident. I support the block, to get his attention. He should be rigorously civil, in the context.

What I see is a writer who has contributed prodigiously. What he needs is editors. And that we have plenty of. He may need, specifically, a good editor with whom he has rapport. Different people are good at different things, and one thing I've seen happening is that, as the very picky policy-hounds pick over the encyclopedia, the writing quality is declining as, we might think, reliability is increasing. Except that the reliability is not necessarily increasing, because I have started to see articles decline in both reliability and quality (which I am defining now as "interesting to me to read."), as months and years of patient and cautious POV-pushing take their toll. Wikipedia process was designed to deal with the impatient, impulsive, and mostly immature POV-pushers, who can be detected and interdicted easily. It is now facing long-term, patient, and even (possibly) professional POV-pushers, and the damage they can do is enormous.

Most important point to take from this: Writing and editing are different skills. We have started to get really, really nasty with writers.--Abd (talk) 17:59, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Abd, I think I see what you're getting at here. From your point of view, PHG is just a knowledgeable expert, who made a couple mistakes, was caught on it, was rude about it, and then got blocked from editing in the topic area. And then, if I'm understanding your point of view correctly, you feel that a bunch of people jumped on PHG and are trying to delete his research notes. In effect you seem to be assuming good faith on the part of PHG, and bad faith on the part of everyone else.
If I have this wrong, please let me know. However, assuming that this is how you see things, let me assure you that this is not the case. :)
I do agree with you that the situation is complex. I have spent many hours on it over the last six months, and I feel that I can see pretty clearly what PHG has been doing. I also have my own opinions as to why he's doing it. So, if you'll allow me, I'll try to share some of that insight?
In terms of your own analysis, I encourage you to keep reading. There's plenty to read, at Talk:Franco-Mongol alliance in the archives. See also my evidence (and everyone else's). It is my hope that once you actually get your head around all of it (if you wish to spend the time doing so), that you will come to the same conclusion as I have, the same conclusion as the other participants at arbitration, and the same conclusion that every other arbitrator also did. Which is that PHG's behavior was disruptive, his ability to interpret sources is highly questionable, his editing cannot be trusted, and his ability to work as part of a cooperative team, has been lacking.
It concerns me that you see everyone else's behavior as tendentious here, but that you're not seeing the problems with PHG's behavior. All I can guess is that you are somehow projecting some issue from your own past, onto PHG's situation, and this is making you see him with more sympathy than others might. If you want to play "defense attorney" for him, that's your business, though ultimately I think you would find it a waste of time. Yes, I am that sure about the situation, because I know how hard many of us have already worked, to try and accommodate PHG in the past. And he absolutely has edit-warred, he has edited tendentiously, and even when multiple editors have challenged his work, he has either refused to listen to their concerns, or has responded with bizarre cherry-picked quotations to try and back up his point of view. Truly, you don't have to take my word for it. Read the archives.
Regarding the articles in PHG's userspace, I do hear what you're saying about how they could be useful as a resource for PHG. However, I disagree that such a resource has to stay on-wiki. There's really no reason that PHG's notes have to remain on a public wiki page, and there is especially no reason that PHG's notes have to stay in an "article" format. It would take only minutes for someone to completely copy the article source into Notepad or a Word document, from which it could be retrieved very rapidly. However, it is my belief that PHG doesn't want to keep the information in his userspace as a "resource" for his own purposes -- he wants to keep the information there because it looks like a Wikipedia article, and this way "his version" is still on the web, with an URL. My own feeling (and I am backed up by WP:USER), is that this is not what Wikipedia is for, which is why the pages should be deleted.
Another editor in the MfD, Srnec, suggested that PHG be allowed to keep the information as just a list of references, but without all the "article" commentary. That would be acceptable to me, but I don't think PHG will do it. Another option is that PHG simply blank the page, and then he has access to the whole thing in history. But I don't think he'll do that either. We have also suggested that he move the information to his own webpage, or to another wiki such as the WarWiki at Wikia. But he doesn't want that either. He wants the whole article up, looking like an article, public, and on the wikipedia domain. In effect, he is trying to use Wikipedia as his own personal webhost. But the version of the article that he has there is not good scholarship, it is full of original research, it is highly biased, and is in effect an attempt to rewrite history to what PHG thinks history should say.
Frankly, I am surprised that you are encouraging this type of behavior. All I can hope is that you just haven't finished your own review yet. If you do have any further questions though, please don't hesitate to ask. --Elonka 18:38, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your civil comments here. I actually hope that we could find consensus, we are actually fairly close, closer than it may seem. First of all, it should be understood, clearly, that I have not formed any independent opinion about the original disputes, but I see no reason to dispute the ArbComm decision. It is possible that there was some injustice involved there, to be sure, but more likely not, and I am assuming that the ArbComm decision is to be accepted, as-is. The problem is that it has been, I believe, misinterpreted. If it has not been misinterpreted, i.e., if the position of the editors I am calling "COI" here is correct, then the decision was poorly written, and I would indeed have more suspicion about it.
I would, in addition, confirm that the editor involved has been uncivil. *However*, I also see incivility from others. Not necessarily from you, by the way. For you to state your interpretation of the ArbComm decision is not uncivil, even if it is incorrect. Please note the "if." While I make mistakes, more often I write carefully and mean what I write, and do not mean to imply beyond what I write. Part of what is happening here is that what I've written is, apparently, extrapolated in the minds of some readers to imply something that I'm not saying, and then they not only react to that imputed implication, but that's what they remember, and then later their projection is what they repeat as being what I said. I've seen this phenomenon with on-line debate since the mid 1980s, to give you some sense of my experience with it. It can be deadly. Communication through raw text is very hazardous, if the parties do not fervently cling to assumptions of good faith and strive mightily to interpret what they read through that lens. To complicate matters, we run into cross-cultural problems. What is civil and normal in one culture or subculture may be terribly uncivil and insulting in another. And once one party accuses another of incivility, the accusations tend to multiply.
I urge you to read the comments I inserted in the MfD, they are now on the Talk page. I see nothing uncivil there, only a note that, in effect, those who may have been involved in a prior content dispute over the very material in the pages to be deleted may have some conflict of interest; if possible, this should be left to neutral editors. Yes, I recognize that you have expertise from your history with this material and you may see problems that will be missed by others; however, this is covered by your advice being included in the MfD. In no way was I claiming that you could not comment. I replaced the first language I'd put in the prefatory comment with "COI" because that is actually neutral, and it implies no misconduct at all as to the expression of opinion. The advice of COI editors is often invaluable. But the COI must be disclosed, and it was not visible in the MfD, and I only realized the extent of its importance when I went to the Arbitration itself.
My initial involvement was through the principle that, generally, user space should be left alone, absent strong reasons. The reasons given for deletion seemed somewhat weak to me, and I'm generally leaning toward keeping user space material, that is, I have a general opinion in that direction. However, when I looked at the Arbitration, which I eventually did, because of what started to seem like oddly vigorous debate, something not to be expected from a mere formality, with clear consensus and policy already established, and I was, in fact, shocked at what I found. I'll stand with my interpretation. The ArbComm decision and its implications have been seriously misrepresented in the MfD, and, from my experience, when an XfD is begun with misrepresentations, it definitely skews the result, as there is a whole class of editors who patrol XfD debates and vote based solely on what they see. They assume that the nominator is fairly presenting the facts.
Now, is this an accusation of bad faith or misconduct? Actually, no. My assumption is that the nominator, and you in your first comment, were reporting what you believed to be true. I have stated above a suspicion that the same was true of PHG, with respect to the original content disputes, but that is speculation. I have nowhere near enough familiarity with the material to have more than the basic assumption of good faith about that. I will note, however, that ArbComm was careful not to accuse PHG of bad faith, of willful falsification of sources. Rather, they stated: Arbitrators' independent review of several of PHG's sourced edits versus the content of the original sources confirms that several sources have been cited in a misleading or distorted fashion. Although we continue to assume good faith with regard to the intent of PHG's editing, its overall effect is problematic.
You may have an opinion that the situation is much worse than that, but ArbComm did not confirm that. If you look at the comments being made on the MfD, you will see that many of them assume that this editor was found to have massively falsified sources, such that, for example, a deleted article would be a mass of misinformation. Instead, what ArbComm found, in fact, is that we should be careful about accepting source claims from this editor without verifying them. Essentially, he may have misinterpreted the sources due to his own bias. Just as, it seems to me, some editors have misinterpreted the ArbComm decision according to their own bias. To misinterpret according to bias is not bad faith, it is not even particularly reprehensible, it is merely human, and this is why we prefer decisions, where possible, to be made by neutral parties, and why we generally prohibit COI editors (of the article space variety) from making controversial edits to articles. It is not any accusation of bad faith, it simply recognizes that once we are personally involved, our views can become narrow.
So I placed the prefatory comment such that the closer and any voters could see this context, that some of those commenting in the MfD were involved in the underlying dispute. I began with a simple list of the "involved parties," but there were others who presented testimony that was clearly adverse, and I started to list them. My intention is to complete that list. Based on comments here, I edited what was there slightly to remove unintended negative implication. It was deleted and moved to Talk. The history is on AN/I at this point, I'll go there and comment. I decided to make one revert, and I explained why, as I recall. It was reverted back. I then did not revert, but placed a brief and, in fact, neutral comment pointing to Talk. In it, I stated an opinion as my opinion, not as fact, and there was no prejudicial language. It was taken out, and at this point I saw that there were those involved willing to edit war. The edit summary for the removal of the brief comment was actually a personal attack. At this point, how I would have proceeded would have been to warn the editor involved regarding edit warring and incivility. The next step would have depended on his response. However, because I had no time, I have two small children to care for, I left a note asking for someone, seeing this, to warn the editor and, if the response was unsatisfactory in the judgment of that editor, to take this to AN/I. I don't think the editor was warned, I think that the editor who did respond simply took it to AN/I, and, while the original presentation seemed reasonably correct, at least the diffs were there, it seems he may have held the opinion that I was being disruptive and that I was edit warring. I've been scrupulously avoiding that, a single revert, as done in this context and in the manner in which it was done, does not constitute edit warring. However, repeated reverts start to approach that, and the third deletion by Fredrick day definitely reached it, compounded by incivility. (I later found out that he reverted himself, with additional incivility.)
This is not about PHG and certainly not about you. This is actually about that editor, who may be responding to disputes over other AfDs and MfDs; certainly his actions don't make sense solely in the context of this particular MfD. If my analysis is incorrect, if I have been uncivil, I'd definitely appreciate correction; however, the atmosphere in the whole deletion area is poisonous, and what I've seen, again and again, is accusations of bad faith and personal attacks (subtle and not so subtle) practically as the norm. It can be contagious, and, for that reason, some experienced users have advised staying away from deletion debates.
Now, I mentioned that we might actually be close to agreement. It has been mentioned that if the article is blanked, the material PHG might legitimately use to make suggestions -- or even later, after his topic ban expires, to actually edit the article -- would still be available in history. This was mentioned and then, as I recall, somewhat rejected on the opinion that PHG would not accept it. However, if he doesn't accept it, he'd certainly have no support from me. Consensus, real consensus, is about finding solutions that are acceptable to all parties, not necessarily the ideal. If he is, as some have claimed, merely abusing Wikipedia as a web host, the blanking fixes that. If he needs the material for future work, then blanking would have practically no effect, he can simply set up a link to the pre-blank version. If you would be willing to support blanking, we could present a united solution. If PHG doesn't accept it, if he tries to block it, then I would quite comfortably wash my hands of the affair.
Again, thanks for your consideration of this.--Abd (talk) 02:07, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Abd, I think Wikipedia:Vested interest sums up the reason people were objecting to that particular note. Mangojuicetalk 04:08, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps. Essay. No implication was made that these people should not comment, but it was very clear to me that prior involvement in content dispute was coloring comment in the MfD, and that, quite likely, the ArbComm decision was being viewed through glasses tinted by it. The ArbComm decision was not nearly as negative as it was being made out to be. Frankly, I think you fell for it too. ArbComm did not condemn this editor's work, only they found sufficient cause to consider that he shouldn't contribute to articles without the contributions being filtered through other editors. He was actually encouraged to continue to contribute "properly sourced" material, as I recall. Indirectly with the subject articles, and directly elsewhere. You'd never know that from the nominations and comments from those who were involved in the prior content dispute, and I conclude that they believe that ArbComm was much more critical than it actually was. It did not toss this guy's work in the trash, did not suggest that his working files be deleted, and did not prohibit him from participating in the articles. Essentially, he's a writer and he needs an editor before it's published. Common, actually, were we to look. In any case, thanks for pointing out the essay.
--Abd (talk) 23:19, 19 March 2008

Miscellany for Deletion front matter

I know we disagree on this, but it is clear to me that there is no consensus for a change. Three or four different editors have made the same change and three different editors have reverted. Until there is consensus there should be no change.--Doug.(talk contribs) 05:28, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, I said see Talk, and it does take a couple of minutes to write, it has now been done. The change is clearly proper, and no argument against it has been presented in Talk. Reverting is not a method of discussing. Reversion without discussion may ultimately be disregarded, and I saw no discussion there from those who reverted before -- and I was only aware of two, not three. Otherwise we have, in effect, voting, where number of editors (3, you say) counts, rather than arguments. I see your argument as purely about voting. If you disagree, please discuss it and justify your position. An active proposal should not be MfDd, period, and if I see one, unless conditions have appeared that I can't anticipate, I would close it immediately. If it is disruptive, the proposal, MfDing it will only compound the disruption, so if I think a proposal disruptive, I would seek administrative assistance in immediately shutting it down, probably by protection. Given the level of insanely disruptive discussions that are permitted to continue, it's hard to imagine even this.
Jordan's language was exactly correct. Yes, I know it's irritating. (This language came from Kim Bruning, Jordan has informed me. But it was also inadequately addressed in Talk, unless it is in history somewhere that I haven't seen. I hope I have remedied that.)--Abd (talk) 05:47, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Thank you!

Thank you Abd for your courageous support on Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Arbitration enforcement. I truely appreciate! Best regards. PHG (talk) 08:01, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

You are welcome. Please understand that my support for a non-repressive (and I think clear) interpreation of the ArbComm decision is not approval of your behavior. It expresses little or no opinion about that. Under current conditions, I recommend scrupulously avoiding any comments, anywhere, which can reasonably be interpreted as uncivil, even if you are sorely tempted by a veritable wall of incivility. Incivility has become practically the norm in certain areas of this project, and to deal with this, we are going to have to take it very seriously or it will kill the project. And squeaky wheels just may get the grease. Avoid the temptations, rigorously filter your own contributions, and ask for help. Don't tilt at windmills, those blades will whack you something awful if you get in their way. I think you have been treated unfairly, post-Arbitration. I have not reviewed what happened before, and thus could easily be misjudging the situation. But ArbComm did not intend to condemn you, that's clear. It, so to speak, wikitrouted you for misrepresentation of sources, an offense which is common with experts. Take it seriously, be scrupulous, and both you and the project will benefit. If you need any assistance, and I have not myself been whacked by one of those blades, please don't hesitate to ask.
And you might consider watching User:Abd/Notices. If you look at the history of that, you can see how it has been used.--Abd (talk) 14:21, 22 March 2008 (UTC)


Just to make sure, you do know that User:FT2 is an arbitrator, and participated in Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Franco-Mongol alliance? You seem to be arguing that FT2 has misinterpreted the ArbCom decision, which is strange, because FT2 is one of the people who made the decision. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:43, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, I was not aware of that, I don't have the names of the arbitrators memorized. However, ArbComm is not necessarily united. It seemed from what was being argued by FT2 that he was not pleased with the decision, i.e., thought it did not go far enough. Which leads us to the obvious question: why did not not go, for him, far enough? It would seem that he holds opinions that would not have received consensus. I have not reviewed the details of the decision, i.e., the Proposed decision, where I might find evidence for this. However, the decision itself is what represents an ArbComm decision, and that decision is not as it was represented in the MfD, nor in the ensuing process. Given what you have raised, I will investigate further as to the etiology of this mess.
Consensus decisions often leave behind some level of disagreement, and that someone signed on to what was found to have a required committee majority does not in any way ensure that the person agreed with the decision as to depth or severity of response, nor does it guarantee that the person even understood the decision. All of this is general, none of it is specific to FT2, except that what he wrote clearly indicated dissatisfaction with the decision, and thus he might not be the appropriate person to be enforcing it, since his response may then be exaggerated by his position. --Abd (talk) 18:46, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
I found two things. First of all, I had overlooked what was proposed remedy 4, which included "When one editor finds themselves at odds with most other editors on a topic, it can be disruptive to continue repeating the same argument." This "repeating the same argument" is close to what is being asserted, though I have not noticed specific allegation of that, and I do find this the most problematic finding of ArbComm on this case. Yes, it can be disruptive, but where is the boundary drawn? What is "most editors." As an example, I have seen articles where there is a contingent of interested editors, with a clear POV and some with COI, pushing a particular slant, and other editors show up and face what appears to be an existing consensus in favor of the POV. (In my judgement.) Maybe there is one editor who is interested, possibly with a contrary POV. How much assertion of minority POV (toward balance, of course) appropriate and how much is disruptive? We have normal dispute resolution to deal with this, and it generally works. Usually, though, simply "pushing a POV" in Talk, if done civilly, isn't a problem, unless other editors think they must counteract every wrong or misleading statement made. *Then* repetition of some variant point of view becomes disruptive. Alternatively, if the variant point of view is expressed every day on every point, that is, likewise, clearly too much. It's a matter of balance. Variant POV is actually essential to Wikipedia process, and it is not uncommon that there are attempts to repress it as disruptive, so I had overlooked the remedy mentioned above, which can be read to be suppressive. It can also, however, reasonably interpreted, be quite simple and correct.
Now, as to FT2's position in the Arbitration. With most of the proposed remedies, FT2 made an additional comment that was, to some minor degree, "pushing" the remedy toward increased severity, providing, even, additional evidence. What I see in looking at the whole case as to evidence provided, and the manner in which it was provided (but my no means from an examination of all of it, merely a cursory examination, the evidence is voluminous) is that PHG is an editor who felt embattled, unfairly accused, and, as is unfortunately common, responded with imputations of bad faith. For example, if one user claimed that there were multiple versions of a letter, he claimed that the user had "made up" this, implying intent to deceive. There was, in this case, massive AGF failure, and it continues; PHG has mostly ceased, whatever remains is clearly reactive and minor; but against him, there continues to be the full weight of the original charges, which were far more serious than the findings of ArbComm, and there is a heavy assumption that the editor is incapable of civil collaboration. That may be a self-fulfilling assumption, and this presents a real problem, one not easily solved.
It is clear to me that PHG is not the only problem here. Were I in a different position, I would offer to assist PHG, not as any kind of "meat puppet," but as an editor who would review his contributions, check the sources, and then make actual edits accordingly. I've made the point in my discussions of this case that there are two kinds of participants on Wikipedia: writers and editors. Some people can do both, but many of us are really only good at one or the other. Writers are famously in dispute with their editors. But writers without editors are often a POV disaster, and editors without writers are often uninspired and dull. Writers, indeed, do original research, and therein lies part of the problem. The basic policy is WP:V. So what if a writer finds facts, verifiable, that lead to an obvious conclusion, but nobody else has reported that conclusion in a reliable source? Now, there are solutions to this problem, but when tenacious POVs get involved, it can be hard to find and maintain them, and egos and rampant incivility make it even more difficult.
The long-term solution takes place off of Wikipedia; what we should really do is to encourage writers to take that content to places where it can be peer-reviewed and published. Encourage. Not "Go get your own wiki," which is uncivil, in fact, and which would not resolve the problem. Short term, limited synthesis is allowed, provided there is consensus for it, I will assert. We can report the sum of two verified numbers, even if nobody else has reported it. The meaning of the report, no, we can't report, certainly not as fact, though sometimes we can use the attributed opinion of an expert in the field, and we can also allow the reader to make their own implications.
These issues are encountered frequently in the Wikipedia editorial process, and normally it never comes to ArbComm. My opinion is that this brouhaha has happened here not merely because of the intransigence of one editor, but because of a community problem. Focusing on the history and offenses of the one editor is not going to solve the problem. Identifying and addressing the fuel that feeds these flames might. I have small children once again, and I may come across one of them insulting or attacking another. Absolutely, I must address what I see, but nearly always that is a response to what the other has done, so if I leave it at that, I may simply be perpetuating an injustice.--Abd (talk) 20:03, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Another village pump discussion

Please see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Accurate_and_precise_use_of_terminology_in_policies.2Fguidelines_and_elsewhere. They've been complaining about the length of my posts, so I need you to go in there, if you will, and just sum the whole thing up, reducing it to its bare essence. Make me proud. Larry E. Jordan (talk) 23:26, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Don't bother he's been blocked again - this time, he created an article called "easter bunny hotline" which, if children rang it, would allow them to talk to the easter bunny - well... the easter bunny if he liked the words "fuck" and "cunt". Yeah, great article to be creating at easter not trolling in the slightest... -- (talk) 00:22, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh, I'll bother. The liar above has been instigating much of the recent fuss, anonymously. The words don't appear in the message. There is one passage in the message which is sexually explicit but not obscene, I hear similar on the radio frequently. If children found the article, they'd be suffering from parents not monitoring their internet access, and I'm quite sure they would have been seeing a lot more problematic sexual content right here in Wikipedia than anything in that recorded phone message. (You might search my work here for a long time, the word "liar" is not ordinarily part of my vocabulary, I reserve it for proven situations. I once used it on a moderated usenet newsgroup about a poster. And it got through moderation, because the foundation had been laid and it was necessary. I don't know if there is any point pursuing the IP editor....

The Jordan posts to the Village Pump have been deleted, it appears. I'll restore them.--Abd (talk) 04:22, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Nathan Larson

I'm not that stupid. Neither am I impressed by your messing about. As far as I'm concerned, you either believe in the WP project, or you don't, and playing silly sophomore games isn't part of that. If you have something you want to get off your chest about this, please email me. But I spend way, way, too much time here to waste any moment of it it playing catch as catch can. There is knowledge to be got out there, whether it's Spongebob Squarepants or Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the ludicrous politics obscure that. Now, square up to me please, or desist. --Rodhullandemu (Talk) 04:51, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Got the wrong person, Rodhullandemu. Who is Nathan Larson? Nathan Larson? Does he have an account? Now, suppose I was this person. Would your action revealing my name be legitimate? My impression was that this would not be. Let's put it this way. My name is on my User page. I'm not hard to find. You can google me. As I said on AN/I, if you were to block me, it would make my day. I'm not trolling for it, I did not invite it, and I did nothing to deserve it. When an admin blocks under those circumtances, loss of the admin bit becomes fairly likely. That's not a threat, because it is not something I can do. Except, of course, to follow due process.

I scarcely care one way or another. What matters to me is that you're not not appearing to be straight up and down. Speaking in riddles is cause for concern. However, I have better things to do with my limited time on this planet than to ferret about. If you're not on the level, it will surface one way or another. If you are, you have nothing to worry about. End of. --Rodhullandemu (Talk) 05:15, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Rodhullandemu. If you want to be taken seriously, be on the level. While reading the whole Obuibo Mbstpo thing over at WP:ANI, I figured out in about 45 seconds "the secret meaning" behind his username. It doesn't exactly take a Nobel prize to figure it out. And you indicated that OM had shared with you the secret behind the name, so I think it's clear that you know what we figured out. I think we all realize we are talking about the same thing here and should admit to ourselves that each of us knows. In that context, we should avoid playing games with each other.
I agree with WP:EM, WP:CIVIL, WP:SOW/REAP, etc. People are important and we should try to work with others and keep a human aspect to Wikipedia editing, lest we lose good editors. But there are policies that we must all honor. Those policies exist for a reason. Also, I agree with Rodhullandemu's sentiments above. We have better things to do with our time than solve riddles, both on-wiki and off-wiki. A lot of time can be wasted. This waste of time is detrimental because it shifts valuable resources such as time and energy away from editing and improving the encyclopedia. So I implore you, let's put Wikipedia politics aside and get back to the business of editing articles. Jonneroo (talk) 06:01, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh, the irony

They accuse you of being a sock, when in fact the only persistently abusive sock that has ever been involved in all this is one of their own.

Take a look at Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Fredrick day.

Incidentally, Rodhullandemu really is a good guy, and he means well. He's been very helpful in dealing with all this vandalism that the anon sock has been doing to my userspace and many of my comments elsewhere. Try not to let a disagreement on the specifics of a situation blind you to the fact that you're both working towards the same goal. I disagree with him as much as you do, but I still realize that we share a common goal.

The same is true of just about all of them, really. Friday in particular (and I mention him specifically because of your comment to him above)--his only problem with OM is the hoax--he actually understands that we need new ideas, and defended me vigorously when I was thrown against the wall a few months ago for my RfA comments (a position with which he substantially disagrees, but that was never the point--a bunch of people tried to shut down the expression of an idea they found objectionable, and he wouldn't stand for it). He has perhaps blown the severity of OM's hoax totally out of proportion, but at least it's a legitimate reason to object to allowing him back. Kurt Weber (Go Colts!) 05:07, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up. The new article by Jordan is not a hoax. The Obuibo Mbstpo article was. One hoax in about four years of Wikipedia editing (though I've only verified three of them). He does have a tendency to create articles about things he comes across that are of interest, without much regard for notability, but, normally, we don't block people for creating non-notable articles unless they've been doing a lot of it, which he was not.
I told him that if he wants to change the world -- and he does -- he has to stop being the class clown. There are places for it. Not right now. He was being effective, and he gave them an excuse. I asked him if he knew what would happen. He claimed, no, but he really should have known. On the other hand, I have to remember, every stunt that he has pulled has taught me volumes. When he pushes the edges, it shows us where the edges are.
There is now an IP editor active, who clearly is after Jordan with a political agenda. The M.O. is similar to User:Yellowbeard, a piece of work himself. Venom. There is outside politics involved in all of this. Notice that the AN/I report on Jordan was started by this IP editor. Does anyone wonder why some anonymous editor would suddenly be so thoroughly informed and helpful?
I don't know about Fredrick day. I have filed seriously conclusive sock reports, where a user was obviously a sock, and obviously disruptive, and nothing was done. Which does make all the fuss about Jordan's serial accounts really obvious. He has never used an account when he still had access to the former one, at least not that I've found so far. That's the old meaning of sock puppet.
Thanks.--Abd (talk) 05:25, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
could you explain to me what the outside politics are? because they've passed me by? I notice they've started to work out at AN/I that you are OM and those other accounts (either that or he a meatpuppet taking direct orders from you) - so yes it could get quite interesting. The real interesting questions are not about me - but you - why are you using socks to push your liquid democracy concept, you couldn't get it to work on your own wiki, so why do you think that a license for puppetmasters is going to be accepted here? -- (talk) 11:23, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
The IP edits are coming in from England, it seems. (You have been vandalized by the same IP as has been attacking Jordan. It's a range of numbers, possibly a dialup provider.)--Abd (talk) 05:41, 23 March 2008 (UTC)