User talk:Iridescent

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My first arbitration
My second arbitration

Notification about notification[edit]

I hope I didn't step on anyone's toes with the referral to this talk page in this MediaWiki discussion where I've referred a developer (?) seeking comments on mw:JADE. The reason being that in my experience people with presumably little interest in a certain topic and a lot of background knowledge tend to have the best eye for spotting potential problems. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:42, 4 October 2018 (UTC)

I'm probably not the best one to be asking about this; I was skeptical of ORES, am skeptical of the WMF's paranoia that bots and AI are threatening to undermine Wikipedia's integrity (human stupidity is doing that just fine without assistance, but the notion of automated systems to detect bias I consider potty) and am even more skeptical of any further attempts to get a computer to decide between right and wrong in the context of a multicultural project. The person who would probably have the most useful input to make would be Gurch if you can winkle him out of wherever he's hiding, as IMO he's the first and only person ever to write a "potentially problematic edit" detector that didn't cause more problems through false positives (and the equally problematic false negatives; I'm already seeing a lot of "ORES didn't flag this so it must be OK" crap slipping through) than it solved.
Personally, I think it would be a much better use of time and money to have a handful of paid professional moderators monitoring Special:RecentChanges, regularly dip-sampling edits from all active editors, and investigating more closely if anything problematic were found and flagging any potentially problematic editors for admin attention. Yes, the WMF is paranoid about losing §230 protection if they take a more active role in directly patrolling content, but the big social media and blogging firms directly employ moderators and their worlds haven't imploded. If anything, a "we recognized that even though we didn't have a legal obligation we had an ethical responsibility to know what we were disseminating" now would probably stand the WMF in good stead when the rising tide of backlash against perceived corporate irresponsibility and Wild West attitudes on the internet—which is currently destroying the viral content farms, washing over Facebook, lapping at Twitter's feet, and headed steadily towards Wikipedia and Google—finally reaches us. (If WAID is still watching this page from a couple of threads up, her opinions would probably be worth hearing here; even if she isn't, it would probably be worth asking for her input.) ‑ Iridescent 12:12, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
Today's officially another holiday. I can take a break from this week's AFD fun, trying to convince someone that a centuries-old philosophical shouldn't get WP:INTEXT attribution to a still-living encyclopedia author, and trying to figure out what promotionalism actually is, to say that I think the AI question is a good one. That system will have GIGO problems, and the only real solution is to get the garbage out of it. JADE might make a useful way to do that. That last discussion is highly relevant: If people who do NPP and AFC work regularly reject direct, factual statements as {{db-spam}} rather sending the articles to AFD on the grounds of non-notability, then we're going to end up with an AI system that believes articles about average companies are spam, and that only those with long sections about scandals could be considered "neutral". There needs to be some way to say that yes, it was deleted as "spam", but it isn't technically spam.
Personally, and noting that I probably know less about §230 than anyone who has actually read the relevant Wikipedia article, and noting that the people who think that "They have more than X stores" should be counted as unambiguous promotionalism are all volunteers, I would rather have this moderation done by editors than by WMF staff, and it sounds like that's the plan. Providing a tool that lets volunteers correct the ORES database doesn't sound like controlling content to me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:38, 8 October 2018 (UTC)

The parable of the shitty early-2000s website[edit]

@WhatamIdoing: "Moderation done by editors" is fine in theory, but in practice that means "moderation by self-appointed busybodies who see it as their mission to purify the site" as they're the ones who'll devote their time to patrolling, so you end up introducing a huge systemic bias against anything that anyone, anywhere, might consider controversial. (If you haven't already, I'd recommend reading this thread to get a feeling for just how broad a range of articles the self-appointed Defenders of the Wiki consider 'inappropriate'.)
Way back before the dawn of time, I did some work for an early dating website. We discovered early on that we needed some kind of moderation system to filter out the dick-pics and inappropriate profile comments, and we also discovered early on that such a process couldn't be automated as it needed people with a good knowledge of popular culture both to spot people using celebrity photos, and to differentiate between genuinely offensive comments and jocular banter and youth-culture references. We also discovered that when you're running your site on a free-registration model, you'd need to hire a small army to moderate the flood of profiles being created.
The solution seemed obvious; offer people who'd been members of the site for a few months the opportunity to become volunteer moderators, on the grounds that these people obviously had too much time on their hands, and that human nature being what it is many of them would jump at the chance to work for free for anything that made them feel important and gave them a position of apparent authority. It was set up such that any new profile or newly-added photo would be passed in front of multiple moderators, and those moderators whose opinions were regularly out of step with consensus would have their opinions disregarded without their even knowing it, until such time as it was obvious that they were voting in line with consensus again.
The whole thing worked stunningly well at first, with some of the moderators literally reviewing tens of thousands of uploads per day, independent online communities growing up where the moderators would chat and exchange tips on what was and wasn't acceptable and problematic users to watch out for, the moderators recommending the site to their friends which in turn generated more ad traffic, and so on. With minimal staff costs the site boomed, and became a multi-million dollar business.
Then things started to get out of control. The volunteers became increasingly worried about the risk of being the one that let something inappropriate through, and more and more legitimate profiles started to be rejected. The offsite message boards became breeding grounds for paranoia with the moderators posting increasingly lurid speculation about the employees. As the site grew in popularity, religious groups who were opposed to the site on general principle began to figure out that if their members signed up en masse, they could systematically disrupt the system and block anyone they thought looked slutty from posting. Within a year, the volunteer-based system had to be abandoned, and a bunch of low-paid but paid interns took their place, as even though it cost the site more it was the only way to keep it functioning without either allowing a bunch of cranks to determine what was and wasn't hosted, or abandoning moderation altogether, trusting to §230, and developing a reputation as the cesspit of the internet.
The moral of this story is, the kind of people who want to act as volunteer moderators aren't always the people you would want as volunteer moderators. Wikipedia is still to this day suffering from the after-effects of the early days when Jimmy was handing out admin bits to his friends; allowing the small handful of people who see themselves as Fearless Spam Hunters to set the tempo for Wikipedia's attitude towards what constitutes promotion could do irreparable damage, but because they're by and large the only ones who care enough to have input into what ORES et al consider inappropriate (the silent majority are writing articles, not prowling around looking for good faith new editors to harass with A7 and G11 tags), these automated systems are handing the policy agenda to a tiny clique of Free Culture cranks who don't want Wikipedia to host anything that doesn't coincide with their particular view of what it ought to be. This is the point where I ping SoWhy who can probably articulate this better than I can. ‑ Iridescent 02:32, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
I think you articulated that very well 👏 I myself was active in the early 2000s in a number of message boards as a moderator and admin, I even ran a German support board for two major message board softwares. Moderation on such pages always hinged on the fact that it was people with too much free time doing most of the work, which logically included my teenage and tweenage self. Luckily for Wikipedia, the user base is still large enough to not fall into the same patterns but I do see the risks. Regards SoWhy 07:37, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── As always, I feel that switching to a Git style system (or really any semi-modern source control system) with revision control for individual pages would help this problem. Right now it's nearly impossible to tell whether any semi-competent editor has reviewed a version of a page; pending changes has too many problems to be a feasible site-wide solution. I estimate it would cost at least $100 million/year to have paid staff review every change; the Foundation does not have that kind of money. So we make do with free labor. The most disruptive forms of vandalism (fake references, BLP violations, and the like) will not be detectable by AI anytime soon. power~enwiki (π, ν) 02:42, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

In a paid-moderation model, paid staff wouldn't need to review every change, any more than Facebook's or Instagram's paid moderators are inspecting every restaurant review or photograph of your cat you post. They'd do random dip-samples of edits, and whenever they found something problematic would look into that editor's other contributions in more detail, and they'd pay particular attention to edits that added, removed or changed large blocks of text on topics on which that editor hadn't previously worked. This is what already happens, we'd just be making it less haphazard and ensuring that unfashionable topics that aren't on the watchlists of multiple editors also get monitored for problematic edits. There are legitimate grounds for arguing against paid moderation, on the grounds that it would potentially demoralize unpaid admins and RC patrollers to know that other people are being paid to do identical work and that some people were receiving formal training to do a job in which other people were just being thrown in at the deep end and expected to pick it up as they go along, but cost isn't an issue; it would probably take no more than ten full-time-equivalent posts to have a significant impact on Wikipedia's quality, and those posts could be anywhere and wouldn't need Bay Area—or even Biloxi Area—wages. (The WMF is sitting on roughly $30 million surplus cash and the figure rises every year—we quite literally have more money than we know what to do with.) ‑ Iridescent 02:59, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Ten FTE = 2.5 people concurrently, which is the lower end of being able to patrol Special:RecentChanges for vandalism (even with AI aids); in my experience a single person can watch IP edits, or can watch non-ECP edits, or can watch ECP edits and do something else. Doing that for 8 hours straight is borderline-unreasonable at any wage level; I don't think even the top Huggle-users manage that. And then you need other people (or "the community") to manage things that aren't insta-revert vandalism. If the WMF were willing to pay for such a thing, I'd rather them deal with patrolling/verifying references on articles on Indian films, rugby players, Chinese cars, etc. first. power~enwiki (π, ν) 03:10, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Again, they'd not be expected to review everything. RC patrol—with or without semiautomation—is a staggeringly inefficient method; the hypothetical reviewers would be dip-sampling a couple of edits from each editor with a slight bias towards newer accounts and a stronger bias towards newer accounts making large changes. This isn't some kind of crazy blue-sky thinking; virtually every major social media site, blogging platform, advertising site, information site including user-submitted content (e.g. Google Maps) etc with the exception of Wikipedia already does this. ‑ Iridescent 03:19, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
This seems like the class of problem where the good Rev. Bayes could help. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 04:05, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
As I understand it, that's what they're aiming for. The issue with all these machine-learning approaches is that Wikipedia is too complex a system to model well—if an IP removes a large block of text, are they a driveby vandal who should be summarily blocked and reverted, or an expert copyeditor who's realized that the point can be made far more elegantly, in which case blocking and reverting will likely drive away someone who could have gone on to do great things? With ORES and edit filters in particular, we also have blowback from what it doesn't detect; any WP:LTA case worth their salt can figure out how to word things such that an edit won't be flagged as potentially problematic, and if the RC patrollers are relying on the automated systems to decide what warrants further attention, the next Morning277 could be active for years before anyone even notices there's a problem. When even the human volunteers can't always agree on what is and isn't problematic, trusting in machines is unlikely to end well. ‑ Iridescent 13:37, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
In theory individual revisions can be reviewed (meta does this). On Iri’s point, while I’m certainly more on the “Self-appointed defender on the wiki” end, re: promotion, I also largely agree with his point on this more broadly: any stroll through SPI or AIV when both are crowded and you’ll find a fair number of “why do we care about this?” And “no. I will not indulge your bloodlust for blocks 11 months after the fact.” cases. I call it Wikipedia-the-videogame, and CAT:CSD probably suffers from the similar issues. Part of the problem is that very few admins feel like getting yelled at by the person reporting/tagging/requesting action because it’s not worth the hassle of spending 48 hours on your talk page explaining in explicit detail on how their interpretation of the policy/guideline in question is either wrong or controversial. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:02, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
This one is the worst example I've ever come across of "I haven't heard of it so we should delete it". ‑ Iridescent 03:19, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I remember that one. The worst I’ve seen was an A7 on an Indian Catholic bishop who was the driving force behind translating the Bible into Kashmiri. Also trying to delete the elections of the Holy Roman Emperor (I think I’ve bitched here about that one.) TonyBallioni (talk) 03:28, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Since I'm feeling grumpy (hmm, maybe it's bedtime? No, I'll post on your talk page first), I'm going to say that we can't even get support for proper version control for the actual software we're all running (i.e., JS/CSS; see phab:T165981 and related requests), so I'm not going to think about it for content.
I want to add another item to the list of problems: The problem is not just that edits are reviewed by bored busybodies (like me). The problem is also that the subset of bored busybodies who review RecentChanges in general have approximately zero incentive to support the addition of content. And perhaps even more importantly, a change gets reviewed, and re-reviewed, and re-re-reviewed, until someone reverts it. So if I happen to review a change, and I happen to believe that it's a net improvement to an article, that doesn't stop someone else from wandering by and reverting it anyway. The way most editors handle their watchlists is to check the net changes, rather than stepping through each change individually, so a change–revert cycle becomes invisible to them. I believe that we lose a fair bit of desirable (if perhaps not perfectly presented) content that way. Each change is subject to repeated review by people who "don't want to be the person who approved that" and whose only significant form of feedback is being Special:Thanked for things that they reverted (but never, ever thanked for things that they correctly accepted or ignored, because nobody knows about that).
At this wiki, anyway. Smaller wikis don't have this problem. There's too much work to be done, and changes are normally reviewed by only one or two people, who review all edits. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:43, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
I totally agree with every word of the above. The way our software is set up creates a huge inbuilt systemic bias towards action over inaction; as well as "changes keep getting reviewed until someone either reverts it or makes another change so it ceases to be the most recent", there's a serious problem (on which I've commented before) at the admin boards, in which it doesn't matter that a dozen admins have decided that no action needs to be taken if another admin comes along afterwards and decides that protections or blocks are in order. It might be a lingering collective memory from the early days; on Nupedia (and its successor Citizendium) articles were marked as drafts until Larry or one of his cronies signed off on them and pronounced them "ready" whereas on Wikipedia the articles were live from the moment someone clicked "Save Changes", and it's something of an article of faith among the old guard who still largely determine policy that anything Nupedia did was wrong (uou presumably remember how much shouting and arguing it took even to get such a thing as the Draft: namespace to exist, which was surely a no-brainer), so there's maybe a cultural subconscious opposition to any form of "I approve this change".
Ultimately, we're limited by the fact that despite 15 years of additions and enhancements, MediaWiki is at its heart the same software that was designed for use by a small community of friends and colleagues in which everyone knew each other (it's not that long since the 'blocking mechanism' was to leave a polite notice on the editors talkpage that if they made any further edits, consideration would be given to reverting them), and it's never really scaled to an anonymous community with thousands of active editors at any given time.
Because removing stuff—in the sense of "come revert vandals" and "come nominate stuff for deletion"—is one of the key routes en-wiki has traditionally offered to people who want to get involved but don't really feel confident writing their own content, the cynic in me says nothing will change. (This is not to belittle the bored busybodies in any way; I was one myself and still from time to time fire up the RecentChanges patrol scripts or the mass typo search-and-replace tools,* or go prowling around Special:Random looking for things to nominate for deletion.) Community Engagement can scream until they're blue in the face that constantly having time wasted with nonsense like Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Fownes Hotel or with constantly reviewing the actions of trigger-happy admins is a disincentive that drives editors away, but the rest of the WMF ultimately probably won't listen—the quick-buzz of "I reverted/tagged something and it disappeared! Something I did made a lasting change to the Sum of All Human Knowledge and it took minimal effort!" is one of the tools that keeps the new account registrations and the donor funds flowing.
*I was present at the birth of semiautomation—the sudden spike to 15,000 edits in a month in May 2007 and this talk thread mark the birth and growing pains of Huggle, the first credible attempt at a "likelihood that this edit is problematic" based system for reviewing recent changes. It's only with a decade of hindsight, watching people try and fail to come up with something better, that I truly appreciate what a work of genius Gurch's original incarnation of Huggle was.
Other than you and Maggie/MRG, most of the WMF staff, board and the volunteer devs don't actually have much experience with Wikipedia/MediaWiki as a writing medium (just gonna put this here), and even those who do have experience editing Wikipedia tend to do so from the revert-and-report admin-hurling-lightning-bolts-at-the-peasants-below perspective rather than from the perspective of someone trying to create and improve content from the bottom up—our supply of Doc James's is limited. If you hold your nose and try to read discussions at Meta and Phabricator, it's obvious that the prevailing attitude is towards technical rather than social fixes to problems, and towards a raw-participant-numbers social network approach in which a new account who does nothing but make hundreds of posts on talkpages is worth more than a new account who sits quietly in the background writing articles, because the editor who's made a thousand trivial posts to talkpages is more "engaged" in terms of raw metrics than the editor who's made fifty long contributions to articles. (Since these are your official statistics, it's reasonable to assume that they're the statistics you consider important, and you don't even differentiate between edits to talk and edits to articles.)
To be honest, as long as Jimmy Wales remains in post I don't see the problem ever being addressed, as he creates a huge chilling effect from the top down that freezes the life out of any serious "what do we want to be and how are we going to get there?" discussion from Board level down, especially since the Knowledge Engine farce burned his fingers. The WMF really needs people with the nerve to say "the existing model is ultimately going to reach the point where we can't keep patching and making do, what will Wikipedia 2.0 look like?", but his sitting in the center dismissing any suggestion that the sites aren't perfect as "trolling" means that anyone with a vision that goes beyond "more of the same" doesn't last. ‑ Iridescent 15:15, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
(ec) I must say I don't see too much excess reversion, with an insanely large watchlist, but mostly of relatively low-view articles. I try to look at the previous edit(s) if recent, and if such a reversion seems a net negative will of course revert, without knowing if it is a reviewer or not. Regarding Iri's points (which in general I agree with), it would help if WMF had a board with editorial/academic backgrounds, rather than just techie/activist type ones. AFAIK none of the "outside" board members has ever had such a background. Johnbod (talk) 15:24, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
I believe there have been a few journalists/media folks on the board, and a couple whose day jobs were in the education industry. I'm not sure that, say, a Professor of Education would be all that valuable. The board sets the budget (total amount + how much to spend in each of several major areas), and they set the overall direction ("Let's develop a strategy!" or "Give more attention to developing countries"), but none of them are involved in the day-to-day operations of the WMF, and the WMF is only involved in content tangentially (e.g., processing a DMCA takedown) or accidentally (developing software that increases or decreases the likelihood of a particular kind of content being created). WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:25, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
On the topic of stats, we do have a breakdown of edits to talk versus edits to articles HERE
Have considered the idea of having medical / nursing students systematically review edits to medical content. We are looking at about 500,000 article edits on EN WP per year which would not be impossible. Was thinking to trial with a summer student if I could find interest. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:50, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing I'm not sure either that a Professor of Education would be all that valuable, but what would be valuable would be a few textbook writers, museum curators, librarians and people with a background in "summarize current thinking for a mass audience" periodicals like Natural History, New Scientist and History Today; basically, people who reflect what Wikipedia actually does, rather than people who reflect the "better living through science" fantasy that any problem can be solved by throwing programmers at it. Because of the unique nature of Wikipedia, the WMF board has always had a tendency to reflect the values of the libertarian and Randroid lunatic fringe from which it came, and the influence of Silicon Valley types and sycophantic journalists is a negative, not a positive. As a great thinker once said, My ideal recruits to Wikipedia would be the people who write travel guidebooks, museum catalogs and children's nonfiction; they all understand the "absorb a lot of information and summarize the salient points in brief and neutral form" and if the WMF really want to spend money reaching out externally they'd do much better trying to recruit the people who write children's books and the people who write museum labels, as it's the ability to summarize material for people with little prior knowledge of the topic, not the ability to defend a point logically, that Wikipedia needs. (The ideal Wikipedia editor would be the authors of Cliff's Notes and the For Dummies books.); that goes just as much for the board as it does for the editor base, as it's that disconnect between the incompatible mentalities of "what can we do to get more readers and editors?" on the one hand and "what should we be doing to ensure we're as useful to readers as possible?" on the other that's at the heart of pretty much every systemic problem on Wikipedia and the other large WMF projects. It's no good having a board on which at most two members actually understand what it is that Wikipedia does. (I make no apologies for conflating Wikipedia with the WMF in this context. When it comes to the big policy issues, the big Wikipedias are the only games in town; no policy decision no matter how drastic made on Commons, Wikidata etc would have any significant impact on us other than a temporary inconvenience. Despite their protests to the contrary, the other projects exist to be a support mechanism for Wikipedia.)
@Doc James: The content/non-content ratio as a raw figure isn't that valuable—when I racked up c. 20,000 edits in a few days a few years ago search-and-replacing "and and" (something that needs human supervision as there are some instances in computing and logic articles where the term has a legitimate use) then in terms of raw edit count I must have appeared to be Wikipedia's greatest asset, whereas someone like Newyorkbrad or Moonriddengirl who don't make many article-space edits but do a lot of behind-the-curtain necessary stuff appear a total waste of space; likewise, a recent changes patroller who always stops to explain to each editor why they've been reverted and what they need to be doing differently is of considerably more value to Wikipedia than some human-bot hybrid running STiki and mindlessly machine-gunning the 'revert' button with one hand with 90% of their attention on the TV, even though the former will appear in terms of raw statistics to be someone treating Wikipedia as a social network (since each mainspace edit will be accompanied by multiple talk edits as they talk the new editor through what they should be doing).
I quite like the idea of picking a small field and getting people to regularly conduct systematic reviews, but medicine might be too broad a field, as well as too atypical a field if part of the aim is to conduct a genuine quality assessment of Wikipedia. (There are some absolutely fucking awful medical articles, but they're rarer than in most other fields because they tend to be more heavily patrolled and the standards more strictly enforced.) It might be better to start with relatively small and specialist fields in areas where Wikipedia already has good working relationships with relevant academic institutions (there must be some museums we haven't managed to piss off yet), and once we have the assessment and review processes up and running for teratology, 18th-century German porcelain or the comparative linguistics of Mediterranean island dialects, we then start rolling it out to broader fields like "medicine", "painting" and "astronomy". ‑ Iridescent 02:02, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

arbitrary editing convenience break: medical articles[edit]

There you go again, with all that high-minded stuff about being useful to readers. Intelligible, even.
Since enwiki's medical articles are the subject I know best, I'll use them as my example. What exactly does "useful to readers" mean for an article about a disease?
I have one simple answer, and it pretty much means that when you get a note from your friend saying "We just left the doctor's office, and it turns out that she has scaryitis", you'll be able to find that in Wikipedia and easily calibrate your response on a scale that runs from "What a relief" to "I'm so very sorry". But (a) that's not the only answer I have, and (b) not everyone agrees, even though a ==Prognosis== section is officially recommended.
Here's another simple answer I have: When you read about scaryitis in the news, you should be able to find out what the patient experience of that condition is. We do this in a very few articles. Off hand, Hyperhidrosis says (or at least used to) that severely sweaty palms make it inadvisable to take certain jobs, because knives slip out of wet hands, and Cancer probably still says that patients have a lot of emotional stuff around it. But with the exception of a few big subjects, such as cancer, our sourcing guidelines push us firmly away from that kind of content. You can get a good meta-analysis on whether drug A or drug B reduces cholesterol more. You can't get a good meta-analysis on whether sweaty palms is a disabling condition for a butcher, or whether parents of premature babies are just "really stressed" or "practically going insane from worry".
That's only two of the answers I would give, and neither of them are things that we're handling well.
BTW, WT:MEDMOS a while ago had a discussion about reading levels that might interest you. Since I've given up on my watchlists (both accounts, all wikis), I tend to wander in and out of discussions based on whether I remember them (pings help :-), so I have no idea what it ended up like. At the point I last read it, though, we had some reasonable consensus that articles ought to have a range of information (e.g., simpler introductory sentences, but still leaving room for jargon-filled paragraphs later). WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:45, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Interestingly, I'm exactly the same with regards to watchlists—I tend to use my recent contribution history as a mini-watchlist. I do still keep my big watchlist, but treat it as I would a social media feed, occasionally dipping in to it when I'm bored rather than checking it top-to-bottom on a regular basis. (And after months of grumbling about Echo when it was introduced, I now completely see the point of it; not just the direct pings, but the thanks and links notifications serve as notices that someone else has taken an interest in something I've done so I probably ought to have a look and see why.)
No apologies for banging on about usefulness; too many people seem to see Wikipedia as an exercise in how much obscure knowledge they can show off, and forget that our readers in most cases just want to know more about insert topic without feeling that they're unwelcome because they don't know all the jargon. Years and years ago when I first started, something Giano said stuck with me; assume that every reader is a bright 14-year-old with no prior knowledge of the topic but who's interested in learning. In my experience, other than a few very technical subjects which are usually subsidiary to something else, that rule works consistently both in terms of how articles should be targeted in terms of reading comprehension, and in terms of how we format articles to try to keep readers engaged (mention anything that sounds particularly interesting or unusual in the lead even if it's relatively unimportant so readers keep reading after they've skimmed the lead, top-load the most attractive or interesting images at the beginning of the article, stop to explain anything that might not be obvious to every reader even if it means a footnote section that's as long as the article, if a word has synonyms always use the one that a child is most likely to understand unless you absolutely need to mix them up to avoid repetition).
I agree with you about medical condition articles—we can scream and shout as much as we like that readers shouldn't be using Wikipedia as a medical source, but I've seen enough people using it in the wild to know that Wikipedia is one of the most trusted medical websites in the world no matter how many disclaimers we post. (For most illnesses and medications, the top hits are Mayo Clinic, WebMD, CDC, Wikipedia and the NHS; whether fairly or not, the 95% of the world that isn't the US have spent their entire life hearing horror stories about the American medical system so will automatically discount CDC and the Mayo Clinic, WebMD looks and feels like a dodgy commercial outfit with its "click here to subscribe" popups and adverts everywhere, and the NHS is so specific to England and Wales that it's not necessarily useful to people in other countries.)
As a very-long-term project a lot of the medical coverage should probably get a two-level approach with separate articles aimed at patients and aimed at practitioners/students, at least with regards to common illnesses and commonly-used medications—if I wake up with a sniffle, stomach cramps and aching limbs and wonder if I have flu and if so whether I need to be worried, I don't want the lead of the article to include the terms "polymerase chain reaction" or "neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir". (I also am going to be seriously misled and upset by an article whose lead gives the strong impression that influenza has a 10% fatality rate, since if I'm a typical reader I'm going to parse three to five million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths as "one in ten of the people who get it die" and not understand that what Wikipedia means by "severe illness" almost certainly doesn't include whatever I happen to have.*) It's been tried experimentally on a few broad topics like Virus and Genetics, but with limited success as in both cases the specialist technical article has been given the primary title and the non-specialist article hidden away at [[Introduction to...]], meaning the search engines are driving readers to the technical rather than the non-technical articles. ‑ Iridescent 14:22, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
*I'm hating on the Influenza article because this is a featured article and consequently considered to be one of the best articles Wikipedia has to offer, as determined by Wikipedia's editors and used by editors as examples for writing other articles, but the same points could be made about almost any article about a medical condition. In particular, the unnecessarily traumatizing language about mortality/recovery rates without putting it in context front-and-center that for most conditions the risk of death or long-term disability are heavily weighted towards people with already-compromised immune systems, is a particular bugbear of mine. (I don't know if figures exist, but any primary care physician, 911 operator or ER admissions staff can confirm anecdotally that "but I read on the internet that this might be fatal!!!" is a significant driver of people seeking unnecessary treatment and diverting services away from people who actually need them.)
Huh. I do make thorough passes through my not particularly long watchlist. I wonder if the issue with making articles interesting is that a) many dedicated editors can't tell when writing that they are using unnecessarily dense language (something people have said about my articles, most recently on Wōdejebato) and b) not all topics can necessarily be made interesting (Ita Mai Tai has an interesting etymology but Taapaca, Tutupaca and Ubinas don't have much to offer in kind) with the source material available. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:40, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
As a quick-and-dirty way to bring the volcano articles more in line with Giano's guide:
  1. Avoid words like "Holocene" in the lead and instead say "last erupted around 2300 years ago"; the former makes readers give up after just reading the lead and go find something that looks less like geography homework, while the latter conjures up images of comely Inca peasants fleeing the oncoming ash cloud astride their trusty llama steeds, even though they're semantically identical;
  2. Although most of the volcanoes in northern Chile are far from towns and inhabited areas, nowhere is entirely uninhabited; search round for some photos of people who live on the slopes or in areas at risk from pyroclastic flows, preferably attractive women in colorful native costumes, handsome men with wistful expressions, or cute children, and put it near the top. They're encyclopediacally justified, and adding a human element can transform a boring technical article into something that engages the reader. If you have trouble finding anything on Commons, Flickr is usually a good bet (nudge); whatever the license, Flickr users are almost always happy to CC BY-SA relicense a photo if you point out that an appearance on a Wikipedia TFA will generate between 20,000–200,000 views, at least some of which will be interested enough in the image to click through and view the rest of that user's Flickr photostream. Even interesting looking buildings would do; the historic town of Putre is likely to be destroyed if Taapaca erupts makes it clear that this is a story with a human impact rather than a technical article about magma flow rates;
  3. Even if this volcano hasn't erupted recently, that doesn't mean other similar volcanoes haven't; find some volcanoes of the same type and upload images with lots of impressive-looking lava streams and steam venting, to give the reader an idea of what it must have looked like when it was active.
Basically, what you need to remember is that your primary audience isn't "I am writing a history of the volcanoes of South America and want to know about all of them", it's "I went to Chile on vacation and saw this really cool looking mountain and want to know more about it", and if it does wind up at TFA it's "I have absolutely no idea what a Tutupaca is but I've learned from experience that if I click this link in the middle of the main page I sometimes see something interesting". The technical stuff needs to be there, but bury it at the bottom; despite what WP:LEAD may tell you the purpose of the lead isn't an introduction to the article and a summary of its most important contents (although it needs to be that as well), but as a sales pitch to convince people landing on the article that reading it will be worth their while (and equally importantly, to notify people who've landed on the article that this isn't a topic in which they'll be interested to save them wasting their time). ‑ Iridescent 15:18, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Really on these, which mostly get fewer than 10 views a day, you are preparing for the day they blow up and get 50,000 overnight. Then you have provided the world's media with stuff to repeat confidently to camera. Ubinas looks promising. Johnbod (talk) 15:39, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

arbitrary break: page view spikes[edit]

Har. I did find some good images of Putre for Taapaca and added one of them. Now I got sidetracked by the spectacular imagery of the landscape... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:38, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
It's not just preparedness for the day they blow up; all it takes is one high-profile event to happen there. (My shitty and ill-maintained Broadwater Farm article, which normally gets only a few page views a year, was briefly the most-viewed article on Wikipedia during some unpleasantness in 2011.) It doesn't even take anything interesting to happen; all it takes is a celebrity to take an interest in a Wikipedia page and tweet a link to it, and the page can go viral within seconds. Tarrare is my usual go-to example of the power of Twitter to affect Wikipedia page views; it normally gets the deservedly low page views you'd expect from an article on a case study of a patient with multiple metabolic digestive disorders in 18th-century France, but with metronomic regularity some celebrity or other finds the story interesting, tweets a link, and it becomes one of the most popular articles on Wikipedia for a day or two. (During his last spike his pageviews for that single day made him more popular over the entire week than China, Michael Jackson, World War II or Elvis Presley.) ‑ Iridescent 01:44, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
Ha. I am familiar with the "high profile event" thing since 1257 Samalas eruption - one of the most popular articles I've written with several translations - got a little more attention in 2017 during the eruptions of the neighbouring volcano of Agung.Too bad that the eruption was only discovered in 2013 and that there is no review source analyzing its region-by-region impact; if there was one it might stand a chance at FAC. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 06:44, 14 October 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────────────── It would probably stand a chance at FAC regardless, provided you can demonstrate that you looked for a review source analyzing its region-by-region impact. WP:What is a Featured Article is one of the more misunderstood pages on Wikipedia, even by experienced editors, and the neglects no major facts or details language is a little misleading. To be an FA an article doesn't need to say everything there is to know about the article subject, it needs to reflect the state of current scholarship on the subject, so if something hasn't been covered in the literature it's perfectly OK to omit it. (The "neglects no major facts or details" wording means that we don't omit the findings of Researcher A just because we prefer the conclusions of Researcher B.)

In general, don't get too hung up on complying with the letter of the law of WP:WIAFA, except for 1d (NPOV); criteria 1a, 1b, 1e and 4 are purely subjective, 1c is an impossibility to comply with for any but the narrowest topic so is disregarded, while 2 and 3 are just common sense with which every article should be complying. In reality, the FA criteria are "is this confusingly or badly written?", "is there anything obviously missing that ought to be there?", "does it fairly reflect the various schools of thought?", "are the images correctly licenced?" and "do the sources say what the articles claim they say?". ‑ Iridescent 13:27, 14 October 2018 (UTC)

Jo-Jo, have you seen any readability discussions? I'm partial to http://hemingwayapp.com/ (which requires copying and pasting plus removing the numbers leftover from the ref tags), but other people prefer http://readabilityofwikipedia.com/ (which sometimes gives nearly random results if there's a parsing error due to unsupported wikitext constructions; check its reported word count to see if it "lost" most of the article). In the case of Taapaca, Hemingway says that the lead rates as the last year of high school, and the whole article as the first year of university, and it highlights almost half the sentences as being "very hard to read". ROW says that only 28% of Wikipedia articles are more complicated to read that this one, and that it is "difficult" (but not the most difficult category).
On the subject of medical articles, figuring out that 98% of people survive non-melanoma skin cancer, even if you have one of those, isn't medical advice. "You personally should use ____" is medical advice; "Overall, the most effective treatment is ____" is medical information. I think that we need to provide much clearer medical information.
A solid training program on how to write might be useful. For example, most people understand that "98% of people with non-melanoma skin cancer can be completely cured", but they don't necessarily make the leap from that to "2% of people with non-melanoma skin cancer die from it." And while 98% is fairly well understood as meaning "practically everyone", it's sometimes clearer to write "one person out of 50" than to write "2%".
If you want to get even more complicated, then there are subtle effect. 98% is a simple number that everyone on this page grasps easily – we're not talking about something complicated, like the possibility that the used Barbie doll in the neighbor's garage sale will be one of the few that says "Math class is tough" (about 0.0003%, if you're curious) – but presentation matters, because "2% eventually die" is more salient than "98% are cured". For an affected person and their loved ones, it's not a simple math equation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:46, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
Regarding the 98%/2% thing, "98% of people can be completely cured" and "2% die from it" aren't at all the same thing. "98% of people can be completely cured" could just as well mean "2% of people will suffer mild headaches occasionally for the rest of their lives as a side effect of the treatment". For cancers it's not such an issue as for most of them the prognosis splits between "full recovery" and "dead" without much in between, but for something like neurological disorders, where the result is a dice-roll on the spectrum between "full recovery within a few days" to "dead within weeks" and the full range from "minor inconvenience" to "lifelong debilitating disability" in between, making it crystal clear whether we're talking about "the percentage who make a total recovery" or "the percentage who survive" is of utmost importance if you (rightly) see a significant function of Wikipedia's medical coverage as letting people know how worried they ought to be. ‑ Iridescent 03:06, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
Sidetrack within a sidetrack on readability scoring[edit]
I don't think I've seen thorough readability discussions, although "hemingwayapp" rang a bell. I am guessing that it might be harder for me since I am ESL and learned much of it from academic text too. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:13, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
Warning; hit nerve alert. I know from previous discussions at WT:MEDMOS that you (WhatamIdoing) are less skeptical than I, but I find the application to Wikipedia of Flesch–Kincaid and similar schemes that claim to assess readability to be very misguided. As with standard IQ tests, F-K doesn't actually measure anything that's particularly useful to Wikipedia, it measures how closely something conforms to American cultural expectations. (The very fact that its results are given in "grades", something completely meaningless in the rest of the world, is a giveaway.) As one very obvious case in point, the syllable and word counts are absolutely key to F-K, but all it takes is a couple of mentions of "laboratory", "Israel", "military" etc to send the syllable counts differing wildly between dialects, and that's before you get to the joys of English place names—want to see what a computer readability program makes of "from Hunstanton to Godmanchester via Costessey and Wymondham" (13 syllables, if you're counting)? If the article happens to include a foreign language quotation, does glasflächenreinigung (one word, five syllables) really improve the readability whilst nettoyage de la surface en verre (six words, nine syllables) wrecks it? The whole "short sentences are always better" thing is a cultural construct rather than an actual rule of writing; Dickens—the absolute exemplar of English language populist writing targeted at people who weren't necessarily avid readers—had an average sentence length just above 20 words and seems to have survived. "If the typical reader is likely to have forgotten how the sentence began when they reach the end, consider breaking it" is the only real rule of good writing when it comes to sentence length that isn't just snobbishness, and even that depends on the reader; if the reader finds a topic interesting, long sentences can increase comprehension as they're easier to focus on than a barrage of staccato short bursts.
The language used in Wikipedia articles should be as simple as it's possible to make them without losing meaning and not one step further. There's a legitimate argument to be had about when we should be assuming the reader has the background knowledge, when we should be explaining terms and background that might not be familiar,* and when we do stop to explain jargon and background whether it's better to do so in the footnotes where people might not notice it or inline where it disrupts the flow of text and risks appearing patronizing to those who are already familiar with the topic—but largely arbitrary scoring systems shouldn't be playing a part in it. (If you want more of me flying off the handle at Wikipedia's culture of 'improving the readability' of articles at the cost of losing the meaning, see User talk:Johnbod/36#Problems?.) ‑ Iridescent 02:11, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
*On an article that mentioned a railroad—I can't remember which—I remember once being quite surprised when Ealdgyth called me out for using "track lifting" instead of "removed or demolished the railroad-related structures". In hindsight she was quite correct, as even though "track lifting" is simpler in terms of readability, it's a false economy as enough readers will need to stop and look up what that means that it disrupts more readers than it helps.
One of the reasons that I prefer the Hemingway app is that the "grade level" score is just shiny chrome (added last year, I believe), and the core function is actually in evaluating the structure of individual sentences. "Go from Hunstanton to Godmanchester via Costessey and Wymondham" is high school reading level, but who cares? What is more important is that that sentence is not highlighted as being very difficult to read. Also, the Hemingway app provides sentence-by-sentence information, rather than an overall score. If you write a lengthy FA for this Wikipedia, and you don't get any sentences highlighted in red, then you probably have not accomplished "brilliant prose". The point isn't to have no difficult sentences; the point is to put your complex sentences where you want to have them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:43, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
I still can't really see the point of scoring in the context of Wikipedia. It makes sense for things like school textbooks, political pamphlets and news reportage, where you're trying to ensure that you communicate the pertinent points to readers who lack interest in the topic, before they lose attention. On Wikipedia, except for a very few limited exceptions such as material linked from the main page, readers are reading only what they've chosen to read, so if they've ended up at Guillain–Barré syndrome, it doesn't matter that the lead says In those with severe weakness, prompt treatment with intravenous immunoglobulins or plasmapheresis, together with supportive care, will lead to good recovery in the majority rather than If it's serious, injections and replacing ooky blood with clean blood will probably help, since the reader is obviously interested enough that provided they actually know what the words mean, they'll make the effort to understand. IMO, oversimplication is generally more of a problem on Wikipedia than overcomplication, particularly in talk pages; especially on hot-topic or high-traffic subjects there's a tendency to oversimplify, which means that particularly on medical and legal topics, where accuracy is more important than legibility, people tend to cut corners and change the meaning of things. For instance, although our Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is correct, you try explaining to Jimmy Wales that the European Parliament has no legislative powers and their voting to support it has no impact on whether the individual countries of the EU will introduce it into their legal systems. As I said somewhere above in this wall of text, Wikipedia articles should be in as basic a wording as it's possible to get them without losing meaning (until someone discreetly removed it a few months ago, it was a source of irritation to me for years that an article supposedly distinguished by professional standards of writing, presentation, and sourcing included the word "decollated", defended and regularly re-added by the author on the grounds that intentionally using obscure words was advancing people's understanding and knowledge of the English language), but not simplified the slightest bit further. (Paging Newyorkbrad, who I know has had strong opinions in the past about balancing readability and ambiguity, in the different-but-related field of how Wikipedia's internal policy pages and arbcom sanctions are worded.)
I know there are good reasons we got rid of the Article Feedback Tool, and I'd never advocate its return, but if you (with your WMF hat on) want an idea for something on which the WMF can spend money, which isn't very glamorous but likely to be far more useful in the long term than adding another member to the 45 "Community Engagement" staff (at least three of whom I wouldn't trust to count their fingers and get the same answer twice), commission and publish the results of some in-depth polling of what readers do and don't like about Wikipedia's articles and in particular Wikipedia's Featured Articles. I don't mean pop-up "did you find what you were looking for?" yes/no boxes displayed to readers when they leave a page, or "How would you improve this article" feedback boxes at the end of pages for readers to express their desire for more tits. I mean commission some paid, independent focus groups that represent the actual population (not the somewhat undiverse community that makes up the editor base), give them a big stack of printouts of Featured Articles and high-traffic articles, and ask them whether they found the articles easy or difficult to read, comprehensive, unbiased, interesting… and why. Then, start an equally independent group at the www.wikipedia.org search page on a database dump stripped of any indication of article assessment, ask them to independently navigate Wikipedia reading topics they find interesting for a few hours, and discreetly note whether they spend more time on and are more likely to follow internal links from articles with higher quality assessments. And then, use that same database dump stripped of quality assessment (maybe omitting the obvious one-line stubs), give people a genuinely random selection of Wikipedia articles and ask which they thought were the best-written, most readable, most comprehensive, and see how closely that correlates with Wikipedia's own article assessments.
While the wording and formatting has changed over the years, WP:Featured article criteria is still largely based on the arbitrary rules Raul made up in 2004 (in turn based on some equally arbitrary assumptions inherited from Larry Sanger), and carries with it a huge stack of assumptions that "articles meeting these criteria are what the readers are looking for". Because FAs are pushed as a model for other articles to follow, these assumptions leak through into the rest of Wikipedia; because Wikipedia is—rightly or wrongly—seen as a model for other websites to follow, those assumptions leak through into the rest of the internet; because the internet affects so much of the news agenda and everyday life nowadays, those assumptions leak through into reality. AFAIK these assumptions as to what readers want and what readers find useful has never been empirically tested among actual readers. While it might bruise some egos, it would be good to have an empirical list of "things readers want in articles" and "how technical should the language be?"; my gut instinct is that while there might be some surprises about how detailed readers feel articles should be, readability would rank fairly low as a concern. (Also paging @WP:FAC coordinators: @WP:FAR coordinators: @WP:TFA coordinators: in case anyone can think of a reason this is actually a Really Bad Idea, or can point out somewhere that it's already been done.) ‑ Iridescent 17:27, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Are we sure that we can treat "readers" as a bloc? I suspect that there are distinct groups of readers with different priorities and interests and that if you drill deep you'll notice some granularity. Also, at the risk of hijacking this talk page further, I shall apply some of the advice offered here to the Samalas article. Of course, the seamount articles have priority in terms of any FAC nomination. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:43, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I've felt for a decade that Wikipedia would be better served if content contributors were provided better data about how readers use articles, and if such things were the subject of discussion from time to time at the FA talk pages.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:51, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Yeah I'd agree with that too - get a bunch of folks who'd never edited wikipedia, bribe 'em with some money or beers and get them to peruse articles. Not too fussed between either printing them out or just reading them online and posting comments somewhere. You could do a bunch of college students in one batch, a group of high school kids in another batch, and (say) a group of senior citizens another day etc. BTW although the FA criteria are arbitrary, they strike me as pretty sensible and generic. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 19:03, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree that they seem sensible in general (although you know my feelings on it is a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature—you're not going to convince me that the editors who took Islam or Sea through FAC actually thoroughly read all relevant literature, much less included it in the bibliography). However, in both my and your case it's a gut feeling; we might well find that readers consistently don't want comprehensiveness and would rather have three short articles instead of one long one (or conversely that they find sub-articles confusing and would rather have a single enormous Banksia article rather than 179 individual articles on the species, even if it meant a megabyte-long page), or that the articles we consider our best work are consistently judged less readable than the rest—we have no way of knowing. We might even discover the shocking fact that readers don't care if citations are formatted identically, whether we use dashes or hyphens, or if an article with below 15,000 characters of readable prose has more than two paragraphs in the lead, provided the article is interesting and accurate. ‑ Iridescent 19:49, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) We have some that information, and it's basically discouraging. People generally read the introduction, or they're looking for a very specific detail (so they look in the infobox, and then skip to a relevant-sounding section). So if "write what readers want" is the goal, then 99% readers want much shorter articles, and the other 1% want all the possible infoboxes and lists and trivia about exactly which wrestling-entertainment-actor had which colors and theme songs and whatever else in which seasons. Also, a quick way to find out the name of that TV show that Joe Film had that six-second cameo in.
It's not exactly all about pop culture (e.g., people look things up for work), but the idea that lots of people are excited about spending half an hour (or more) reading about breast cancer awareness and its social effects is not exactly realistic. Even though this is the month for peak page views, I'd be surprised if more than a dozen people actually read it from start to finish. I'm not sure that ever I've done that, and I wrote the thing.
Other research has indicated that users want more media, and especially more interactive media. A timeline that you could swipe through and zoom in on areas that interest you the most, in-article calculators, or infographics would be popular.
I don't think that reader motivation is the key factor. Motivation does not turn you into a fluent reader of English. The writers of patient information leaflets are usually advised to assume that the reader has a functional grasp of English equivalent to what 13-year-old students are given in English class. This recommendation does not change when you think that the patient is "motivated", e.g., you are writing about a life-threatening condition. If anything, you try to write in simpler language in that case. Women who are "motivated" to read about DCIS do not need a bunch of complicated language. They need a sign that says "NOBODY DIES FROM THIS. YOU ARE GOING TO LIVE."
The Simple Measure of Gobbledygook, which I link because of its delightful name, is the recommended standard for pharmacy labels. I think my favorite study on on pharmacy labels was from 2010. It took a reasonably representative sample of Americans, showed them labels on drug bottles, and concluded in a very upbeat tone that all the prior studies were wrong and the old style of prescription labels were perfectly fine. The only little caveat, barely worth mentioning, was that you might need to make some changes to accommodate "special" populations of patients, like those who didn't have a university education (i.e., most people).
With a glance at my staff hat, I'm not sure about the practical utility of any such research. We (the experienced editors) are attached to long-form articles. We like writing them. We idealize them. Making those is Why We Are Here. And if the research says that long-form articles don't get read, or they don't educate readers, or that most readers really need, want, and benefit from infoboxes, then we think the problem is with the readers, not with our beautiful articles. The WMF has talked about encouraging other approaches, and the core editing community at this wiki has not been receptive to this idea. We (the editors) are a bit like the authors of that paper: Everything's fine with our current practices, unless you're trying to accommodate a few "special" groups of readers ...like 99% of them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:59, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
"Actually I put that typo there intentionally as a tripwire, kind of like the monolith in 2001, to notify me when intelligent life on Wikipedia had evolved to the point of reading articles all the way through." EEng 01:38, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
That wasn't really what my research (when at Cancer Research UK) suggested. Most of the 30 subjects asked to imagine that someone they slightly cared about had developed pancreatic cancer, and then find out about it on the web, went first to the top hits, namely specialized charities, or the NHS. Some later looked at WP, & if they didn't they were asked to at the end, but they had already got the infobox stuff elsewhere, and on the whole rather appreciated the extra depth on WP. Johnbod (talk) 21:13, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I'd go along with that. Someone looking up Cancer might only skim the lead, but someone interested enough in a particular variant is likely interested enough to want detailed information. The same goes in all fields including pop culture; someone looking up The Beatles might just want to know when they split up or who their manager was, but someone looking up You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) probably wants detailed information about this song, why it came to be written and what it's about. To repeat, my point is we don't know how people use Wikipedia and consequently whether we're wasting time doing things readers don't want. ‑ Iridescent 15:35, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, the one thing all 30 subjects had in common is that they looked at a range of sites (but nearly always from the first page of results); of course in this case there were actually plenty of very good sites in that first page. Johnbod (talk) 17:26, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, could you link to the research you called discouraging? I'd be interested to see what the questions were. What would help a lot would be knowing how many unique visitors each article gets, which section headings readers click on, and how much time they spend at the article. Then we'd have some data. You wrote that people look at the lead and infobox, then skip to the section they care about. But you conclude from that that they want shorter articles. A shorter article might not contain the section they decided to skip to. SarahSV (talk) 16:21, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
How readers use articles[edit]
Yes, I'd agree it would be interesting to see the raw data or at least a summary, if the WMF is willing to release it. When it comes to WMF research, there's something of a history of the WMF concluding that the data supports whatever the WMF party line happens to be (remember the huge support the WMF claimed there was for Flow and Winter, or the search engine unpleasantness?); while things may have got better since the Wikimedia Civil War had the side-effect of purging the noisiest Anything-We-Do-Is-A-Force-For-Good-And-Thus-Anyone-Opposing-Anything-We-Do-Must-Be-Evil cultists from the WMF, I haven't seen enough of the new regime to know if old habits have continued. Given that it's not that long since the WMF was producing stuff like this and twisting research to claim it's "what people wanted", I can believe that it's possible that they've listened to the Wikidata/Reasonator clique claiming "short articles and lots of infoboxes" are what people want and decided in advance that this is what the research will conclude. ‑ Iridescent 21:51, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
I assume Google Analytics data is available for Wikipedia articles. Kaldari, is this something you can help with? We're wondering what research is available about how readers behave when reading Wikipedia articles: how many unique viewers, how long they spend on each page, etc. SarahSV (talk) 17:08, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Some of it gets published in great detail, such as m:Research:Wikipedia Readership Survey 2011/Results. Others are in such bits and pieces that publication is not the relevant concept, because you won't find it even though it's been published. Some of it is also platform-specific. For example, they can find out how many sections people read from mobile, where most sections start off collapsed. People read slightly more pages on desktop than on mobile within the same reading session. Hovercards reduces page views (but should increase the proportion that reads more than the first line.) How long they spend on each page (on average) is known, but I can't remember the numbers beyond "short", and I can't find it quickly. Coming soon: 90% of readers read Wikipedia in a single tab, and if they click on a second article, they don't open a second tab for it. If you're interested in this, then stalking Tilman on Meta might be worth your while.
(We won't get unique viewers, because Legal refused.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:53, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────Sorry, only just noticed this in the morass, and thanks for replying. Pinging SarahSV as well. What I'd be really interested in—although it would be a pain to do—would be if in the next reader survey, the WMF actually asked "did you think this article was too long/too short/about right" for a variety of articles, and whether it varies between core and obscure. Per User:Johnbod's cancer examples, and my own experience with art and artists, I'd be willing to bet that readers typically skim the "core" articles like Cancer until they find the particular piece of information or internal link they're looking for, but when they reach the specific subtopic are much more likely to read top-to-bottom. ‑ Iridescent 18:24, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

Responding to the ping (way) above, there's always a trade-off in writing anything between a simple, straightforward presentation (which will eliminate some facts and details), and a more complicated one (which will be "more accurate" but will take longer to read and be harder to understand).

I've written about this before in the context of drafting policies and ArbCom decisions. Do we want a simple and straightforward statement of what the rule is (which will invariably fail to anticipate some possible scenarios), and a more developed and complicated presentation (which will provide specific guidance for a greater range of possible events, but take longer to read and be harder to understand)? On the one hand, oversimplification leads to more disputes later on, and at best just kicks the can down the road. On the other hand, it is impossible to anticipate every possible set of facts even in theory, so there's a limit to how hard we should try. We should also remember that we are writing policies and guidelines for a website, not a criminal statute or a chapter of the Code of Federal Regulations.

The same trade-off exists in articles. If we write "the sky is blue," we're immediately half-wrong on average: unlike the dog in "Silver Blaze" we do things in the night-time. If we write "the sky is blue during the daytime," we're perennial optimists (or drought-lovers) who have wished the clouds away. If we write "the sky is blue during the night time on a clear day," we're astronomical idiots who've never heard of solar eclipses. And if we write "the cloudless sky is blue during most daylight hours except during a total or annular eclipse of the sun," the reader will either be impressed by our attention to detail or bemused by how we can overcomplicate almost anything.

(Now I'm curious: how do we explain it? The lede of sky gives During daylight, the sky appears to be blue.... Thus only one of the (at least) three qualifications is given. But then again, I could push back against including a reference to clouds because when I see a cloud I'm not seeing the sky; I'm seeing an obstruction that's in the way of seeing the "sky." So we need to spend more time defining "sky." The first sentence of sky is The sky (or celestial dome) is everything that lies above the surface of the Earth, including the atmosphere and outer space. That is unclear as to whether the "sky" includes the clouds or doesn't, plus we have the extra bonus distraction of "celestial dome." I think I'll stop there for now, but perhaps I've made my point.)

Another oversimplified example—choose one: "Leap year is every fourth year." "Leap year is every fourth year, except that the years divisible by 100 aren't leap years." "Leap year is every fourth year, except that the years divisible by 100 aren't leap years, except that the years divisible by 400 are leap years." "Leap year is every fourth year, except that the years divisible by 100 aren't leap years, except that the years divisible by 400 are leap years, except that we'll probably skip a leap year one time about 3,000 years from now." Which is the most useful to the reader? Obviously all this information needs to be included in an article, but how to lay it out comprehensibly requires more writing skill than is generally appreciated.

By the way, on a different topic that has concerned both you (Iridescent) and me: I've come to conclude that variable and overcomplicated systems of referencing are one of the major deterrents to gaining and keeping contributors. I've been here however many years by this point, but I was drawn in partly because in 2006-2007 it was easy to add information to an article. If I found Wikipedia today I'm not sure I'd stick around after I'd messed up the referencing templates for the seventeenth time. But I digress. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:11, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Continuing the digression, if one looks at the history of green, blue and red I have had an ongoing difference of opinion with an editor about blue skies, red blood and green leaves.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:25, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I like the idea of a naturalistic study - get a bunch of people on wikipedia and track what they read and later ask then what they read and why. NB: if everyone reads bits and peaces of big articles, if they are all different bits and pieces...then surely being comprehensive is a good thing, right? Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:25, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
m:Research:Which parts of an article do readers read[edit]

Quick link on this subject: m:Research:Which parts of an article do readers read was updated last month, to include information about the effects of Page Previews. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:09, 10 November 2018 (UTC)

That's interesting—thanks. Interesting to see that they're also using my technique of assessing whether a reader is engaging with main page content by seeing how much of a spike there is in related topics (e.g. when Candaules, King of Lydia, Shews his Wife by Stealth to Gyges, One of his Ministers, as She Goes to Bed was TFA, it got about 90,000 pageviews, [[Candaules]] got about 13,000 and [[William Etty]] and [[Gyges of Lydia]] both got about 11,000, implying that of the people who clicked on it—and I have no illusions that most of those clicks were from people either intrigued by the peculiar title, or drawn in by the naked buttocks, rather than people with an actual interest in 19th-century history painting—about one reader in seven found the topic interesting enough that they wanted to know more).
I don't suppose there's been any research (either automated by by survey) regarding why readers leave pages—that is, of the 60.1% who viewed a mainspace page without opening a section, is it because all they wanted to know was in the infobox or lead, because they realized this wasn't the topic they were looking for, or because they don't realize that the apparently blank paragraphs are collapsed sections which they can open rather than sections that have yet to be written? (Don't discount that last one; I've no idea how common it is, but I can certainly anecdotally confirm that I've had people ask why the mobile versions of articles only include the text from the lead.)
I'm not entirely convinced by their conclusion that because the links in the lead are most likely to be clicked, that means readers aren't reading past the lead. Because the lead summarizes the most important content of the article, that's also where the links that are most relevant to readers of the article are going to appear first, pretty much by definition. One would expect readership of any article, in any reference work, to tail off towards the end, as assuming most readers work from top to bottom, anyone looking for a specific piece of information becomes progressively more likely to have found it the more of the article they read. (I'm astonished that as many as 10% of readers using the Android app are getting as far as the external links section.)
Incidentally, how on earth do they work out that "Links located on the left side of the screen are more likely to be clicked"? Surely what appears on the left and right of the screen is going to vary wildly depending on the user's font settings and browser window size? ‑ Iridescent 01:29, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
On the last question, the answer is that I don't know, but I know that the researchers have talked about the pros and cons of mouse-tracking and eye-gaze studies, so perhaps someone did one of those. You could also make a few assumptions, e.g., the first word in a paragraph is on the left, and links in captions are on the right.
Directly asking real-world users why they leave a page would require phab:T89970, which everybody wants to use, but nobody wants to spend a year building. You could ask people for their general recollections later.
I assume that many readers really only want the first bit of the article. The drop-off in page views that's attributable to the NAVPOPS-like tool demonstrates that pretty conclusively, as does our own experience (Did we put her article at George, Georgie, or Georgina? Let me go look...).
The problem of people thinking that the rest of the article doesn't exist is probably something that the Readers team should take a look at. I wonder if there is anyway to document the existence of the problem. (Maybe someone complaining in a web forum or something?) WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:56, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I can't think of any obvious way to measure the motivations for inactions, and whether someone not expanding the subsections isn't doing so because the lead has given them all they need, or because they aren't aware that the opens subsequent sections. It would probably need an a/b test in which a high-traffic article was configured such that half the readers were presented with the article as it normally appears and half the readers with the second section also expanded, and see if click-throughs to links that only appear in the second section are higher for those in the second group than the first. That said, a/b tests are a lot of work for what I imagine the WMF would consider a fairly limited return. A not-quite-as-accurate but much easier method would be to see if click-throughs to links that only appear in the later parts of the article are significantly higher from readers in desktop view compared to click-throughs from readers in mobile view in which these sections are hidden. Per my comments somewhere else in this morass, what I'd be really interested in seeing is how many readers feel they found what they were looking for, and whether that varies between people using different devices and between desktop/mobile view. ‑ Iridescent 22:35, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
section break: the result of a decade of WP:CITEVAR[edit]
(re Newyorkbrad) On the referencing, I've said and will continue to say that we should have a sole house style for references. There would be some grumbling at first but people would get used to it soon enough; it's ridiculous that we expect editors to be familiar with a couple of thousand different templates
The contents of Category:Citation templates
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
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(yes, some of those are sandboxes or miscategorized things that shouldn't be there, but most of them aren't; "a couple of thousand" isn't an exaggeration) and chide them for being unfamiliar with every obscure referencing convention in the world. I'd have thought the introduction of Visual Editor would be the perfect opportunity for this; only have it support a single reference template, meaning the only options for the next generation of editors are to comply with the template, manually format the citation themselves if they absolutely must display it in Bluebook for some reason, or use a bare URL.
(Re Casliber) Probably, although my point is we don't know. It might be that all those readers would prefer their bits and pieces spread across multiple small articles (i.e. instead of a single "Rail stations of Dutchess County" article we have eighteen separate and very similar articles), or they might prefer everything be merged into a single article so they only have to look in one place for whichever bit or piece they need (i.e. Infrastructure of the Brill Tramway lists all the paraphernalia, even though the reader is likely only interested in a specific part of it). The point is, we don't know. ‑ Iridescent 23:50, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
courtesy break so further replies don't need to scroll through the above[edit]

Because I was here for something else, I have read the above long thread with great interest. There so much that is important, it's really a shame that the discussion is not in a more prominent venue. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:16, 21 October 2018 (UTC)

It's Wikipedia and consequently all CC BY-SA—feel free to cherrypick the juicy parts if you want to post a summary somewhere else. This is actually one of Wikipedia's more prominent venues; the Signpost may have 256 active watchers whereas I have only 206, but most of those 206 represent the closest thing Wikipedia has to an elite. ‑ Iridescent 10:13, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment and another parable re: paid moderators: Hi, I'm new to this thread, and just now skimmed it. I read Iridescent's parable of his dating site with great interest, as it has many parallels with the saga of the IMDB message boards, on which I was quite active from 2005 through their demise in February 2017. They started out with paid moderators who reviewed each notification of the user-reported system and took whatever action or non-action they deemed appropriate. Eventually people started gaming the reporting system, creating sockpuppets to double-down on reporting people they didn't like, but by and large the system worked well to remove and keep away troll posts. Then IMDB cheaped out and let the deletions become more and more automated, removing the paid moderators; at that point gaming obviously became easier. Then in 2007 IMDB added a buttload of new message boards to the system: boards that had nothing to do with films; unfortunately, many of the new boards were troll magnets, like Video Games and that sort of youth-skewing stuff, and boards on Politics, Religion, and other dens of iniquity. At the same time, so-called moderation became completely automated -- no human moderators. The kids and trolls from the boards like Video Games soon discovered they could wreak havoc not only on their favorite boards, but all over the message boards, with impunity. Automated reporting got overwhelmed and virtually ceased to work at all, because it punished people who conscientiously reported a lot (there was a lot to report!) by ignoring their reports after a certain number. Also, since IMDB allowed people to create an infinite number of sockpuppets, the sockpuppets not only overran the site, they overran the reporting system and fairly easily got anyone deleted or even blocked whom they didn't like. Long story short: By 2012 or so, IMDB was Troll Heaven. Everyone on the internet knew it, so anyone who wanted to troll headed for IMDB. One of Wikipedia's most notorious sockpuppeting trolls, with hundreds of socks, abandoned Wikipedia to do the same thing on IMDB. Many good people left in disgust, unable to have a civil conversation amidst the barrage of trolling. Finally, when the bad press got too great, IMDB gave two weeks' notice and then deleted all the boards completely. Of course this could have all been prevented had they simply created a subscription service to use the boards; legitimate film fans would have gladly paid $5 or $10 a month to use the message boards. That would have cut out the trolls and socks, and would have provided revenue to return to paid human moderators. But they didn't do that. Softlavender (talk) 04:22, 21 October 2018 (UTC); edited 10:06, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
You know, is it important whether these moderators are paid or not? I am a moderator on the website known as TV Tropes and we do not get paid there. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:10, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
As Iridescent mentioned, it's a matter of size. Once a website becomes one of the largest user-generated sites on the internet, the volume tends to militate against volunteer moderation working adequately. Although TV Tropes is a pretty well-known site, it does not even approach a fraction of the amount of user-generated input as the second-by-second barrage of input that Wikipedia gets or that the hundreds of thousands of now-deleted IMDB message boards got. Or Facebook, etc. Softlavender (talk) 09:49, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Go back to where we started, to the kind of people who want to act as volunteer moderators aren't always the people you would want as volunteer moderators. On something like TV Tropes which has a fairly tightly focused remit, and isn't high-profile or controversial enough for outside interests to have an interest in infiltrating or destabilizing it, it's probably not an issue as nobody would ever get to the "become a moderator" stage unless they had a strong interest in deconstructing TV, and consequently shared the site's purpose and values. (You won't even know TV Tropes exists unless you have an interest in the topics it covers; you'll know Wikipedia exists if you've ever done a Google search.) For a site like Wikipedia, which by its nature attracts a lot of "I don't want to do any of the work, I just like the idea of criticizing other peoples' work" types and is a constant target for spammers, not so much; since people who enjoy or are good at writing, coding, difficult cleanup or important maintenance are more likely to want to devote their free time to writing, coding, difficult cleanup or important maintenance, that means there's a constant tendency for the routine patrolling to be done by busybody "we must clean up all the trash!" types whose values don't really align with the rest of Wikipedia. But because the busybody types are the ones who hang round the noticeboards, Meta, RFA, the talkpages of Signpost articles etc, if you're not deeply familiar with the culture of en-wiki—which most of the WMF aren't—they're the ones who appear to be representative of the internal culture of Wikipedia, so the WMF assume that the interests of the busybody-patroller types are synonymous with the interests of Wikipedia. (We're talking about a situation where the WMF can conclude that "Ping users from the edit summary" and "Allow 'thanks' notification for a log entry" are higher priority than allowing VisualEditor to handle named references.) Hell, as I write an RFA for someone who's openly running on a platform of "I don't care about the content of Wikipedia, I just like reverting and deleting" is about to pass. ‑ Iridescent 10:13, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
VE and referencing[edit]
Visual editor not comletely fucking up notifications would be a start, let alone letting it level up:
...via [[Plymouth]]{{Sfn|Schöttler|2010|p=417}}]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-62|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[54]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-61|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[53]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-61|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[53]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-61|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[53]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-61|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[53]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-59|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[51]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-59|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[51]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTESch%C3%B6ttler2010417-59|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[51]</span>]] and [[Cherbourg-Octeville|Cherbourg{{Sfn|Lyon|1985|p=186}}]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-63|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[55]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-62|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[54]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-62|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[54]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-62|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[54]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-62|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[54]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-60|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[52]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-60|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[52]</span>]][[User:Serial Number 54129/sandbox#cite%20note-FOOTNOTELyon1985186-60|<span class="mw-reflink-text">[52]</span>]] almost immediately.{{Sfn|Schöttler|2010|p=417}}
...any takers?! ——SerialNumber54129 11:54, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
I believe VE fucking things up falls into WAID's pigeonhole, but I don't really want to ping her as I'm sure she's sick of the sight of this thread. I do support the principle of VE 100%, but honestly if Lila had actively decided to run a feature launch to generate as much ill feeling as possible, she couldn't have gone about it better—"run fast and break things" is a great slogan but a disaster in practice. ‑ Iridescent 12:04, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
If you want me to repeat "sfn is not supported, and won't be" on the clock, then you'll have to ping my staff account. I can tell you that it wasn't just perverse willfulness or personal preference behind the decision; there's some complicated something or another that makes this simple-looking template actually be a royal pain. (They did try to explain once, several years ago, but my eyes glazed over fairly quickly, and I remember nothing of the explanation.) Now, of course, that team is doing little except mobile editing, so no new capabilities are expected there for another year. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:36, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Look up; I agree with the devs that VE shouldn't be expected to support all the variant reference formats. The problem is that at the moment we have two different systems (wikitext editing and VE) which are almost incompatible when it comes to referencing, as they handle them so differently, and there hasn't really been any effort to work towards a single style which both sets of editors can work with. ‑ Iridescent 09:55, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Have you seen m:WMDE Technical Wishes/Book referencing? That should let us combine ref tags and {{rp}}, which is a step towards unification. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:44, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Just use {{r}} with |p= and be done with it. EEng 02:14, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Or just use {{sfn}} and stick to bloody source mode... ——SerialNumber54129 17:10, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
But r is 1000 times easier to use than sfn. EEng 03:14, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
But (if I'm reading the documentation correctly), that requires list-defined references to function correctly, and LDRs bring a whole slew of problems of their own. New editors find the <ref>...</ref> system confusing, but they find LDR utterly incomprehensible (this is how Phineas Gage appears to someone using VE; see if you can work out how to add or change a reference). Consequently, converting a page to LDRs has the de facto effect of indefinitely semi-protecting it. From the editor point of view that's a good thing as anything which reduces the flow of well-intentioned noobs reduces the workload, but from Wikipedia's point of view it's strangling the next generation in the cradle. ‑ Iridescent 09:08, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
In fact you're not reading the {r} documentation correctly, but I've rewritten it to clarify [1]. As for PG, we've been over this before: editors can add, and have added, new refs just by doing what any editor would do i.e. use the familiar < ref>< /ref> machinery, which is perfectly compatible with what's already there and works exactly as expected. EEng 22:13, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
─────────────────────────────────But the {{r}} template still doesn't address the central issue, which is that VE can't cope with it so anyone attempting to amend the references using VE will turn the wikitext source into a mess of subst'ed codes.

It's more of an issue with {{r}} than with {{harv}} or {{sfn}}. As long as Wikipedia allows multiple different citation styles there will be people putting a steady stream of pressure on the devs to support sfn and the harv/harvnb templates, but if anyone approaches them telling them to support {{r}}, they'll (quite reasonably) say that they have enough on their plates trying to get VE to cope with the templates that are still live, and it's not a good use of their time supporting a legacy template whose use was deprecated almost a decade ago. (Sure, consensus can change, and one could theoretically hold a second RFC to un-deprecate it, but 26–3 was a clear enough supermajority that the WMF and devs are completely reasonable in assuming "en-wiki doesn't want this so we won't support it".) ‑ Iridescent 09:16, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

RFA and internal moderation[edit]
Good point on the last sentence. I found that worrisome as well but didn't want to go against the tsunami of support. People wring their hands about "RFA being broken", by which they mean too hard to pass, but in my mind it's way too easy to pass now, especially when there's peer pressure, unthinking bandwagonism, excessive participation by newbies, and a low percentage mandate. Softlavender (talk) 10:31, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
There are few successful RFAs not because RFA is hard to pass but because there are so many people saying RFA is hard to pass and it consequently discourages people from applying; plus, Wikipedia has been around for so long now that most of the active editors have either run at RFA or decided not to so there's a smaller pool to choose from. Looking at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship by year, I can't see any obvious miscarriages in the RFAs that didn't pass, whereas those candidates who weren't carrying some kind of problem-editing baggage tended to sail through with extremely high support. (Receiving 200 supports in an RFA was once so unusual that we created a dedicated page to document the phenomenon; this year five of the eight successful RFAs got that number.)
On the earlier point, how a site moderates itself is of great importance—in the current climate, arguably of paramount importance. It's obvious just from reading the news that the wild-west internet is becoming a political issue; when the Federal Communications Commission, the European Data Protection Board or the Information Commissioner's Office decides to call the big companies in for a chat, and Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Bezos point to the army of paid moderators they've hired to clean up the user-generated content and the teams of programmers they have working on scripts to spot fakes and libels before they go live, and Katherine Maher can only say "well, we kind of hoped some volunteers would take care of it", who's going to come out of that meeting worst? ‑ Iridescent 10:56, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
Just a tiny note re: number of vote(r)s in RFA: It's so high now because of the watchlist notification. Before that was implimented, unless you had the template on your userpage it was very easy to miss the fact that an RfA was occurring, even if you had WP:RFA watchlisted, because it's just a single blip there; whereas via watchlist everyone sees it, and the fewer pages one has watchlisted the easier it is to see the notice, hence all the newbies voting. Softlavender (talk) 11:09, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
In this particular case I'm not seeing many newbies, just a lot of "I've taken the candidate's word for it regarding his contributions and haven't bothered to check for myself and see that the purported creations were things like this, were all years ago, and that his only content creation this year was this". You can't legislate against laziness, but in this case the laziness is on the part of established editors not eager newcomers who don't know any better. ‑ Iridescent 12:19, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
I mean, as with everything on Wikipedia, it only works in practice. So we kind of hoped some volunteers would take care of it sounds bad, but who exactly is doing a better job, of say handling bots, or copyvios - I don't know about Facebook, but Reddit certainly abounds with obvious copyright violations, which Wikipedia at-least tries in taking care of. Galobtter (pingó mió) 11:05, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
We're better than the social networks at handling bots, as the format of Wikipedia articles isn't as conducive as that of Twitter and Facebook. We're not great at handling the Russian and Macedonian troll factories (who as I speak are duking it out on Jimmy's talkpage), and we're certainly not great at differentiating between constructive and unconstructive editing. (This thread has diverged slightly, but it was originally about mw:JADE and mw:ORES, and the possibilities and pitfalls of AI automating recent changes patrol.) ‑ Iridescent 11:33, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
We're "not great" but Facebook/Twitter seems to be absolutely-awful at dealing with Russian trolls with all the fake news/disinformation/ads/propoganda and so on spread through it. (I've been reading this thread as it pops up on my watchlist, and "diverged slightly" is probably the understatement of the year) Galobtter (pingó mió) 11:50, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
Sure, but the point I'm making is that FB, Twitter, Amazon etc are now hiring people to patrol full-time, assess the nature of the problem, delete what they need to and develop strategies for preventing it in future. When the FCC calls the big players in, they're the ones who can point to the positive action they're taking to try to address the issue; we're the ones whose solution is ten paid Trust & Safety staff backed up by 511 volunteer admins of varying degrees of activity, and whose figurehead boss openly tolerates assorted trolls, racists and crackpots on his talk page. ‑ Iridescent 11:59, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
Or one could say we're not doing anything because we don't have as much of a problem. Not that I think the FCC is going to do anything as long as this person sits in office. Galobtter (pingó mió) 12:19, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
Heh—I'd say the FCC is considerably more likely to do something while this person sits in office; Bush Jr and Obama might not have cared for the press or open internet but had enough respect for the constitution to largely keep their mitts away from them, whereas the current administration is openly hostile to any medium they don't control. If the Republicans hold both houses in the midterms (a big if) I wouldn't give §230 more than eighteen months. In any case, when it comes to the internet it's the EU and UK who largely make the running, as they have the clout, and more importantly the willingness, to enforce rulings extraterritorially, and don't have the American fetishization of free speech above all else. ‑ Iridescent 12:25, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
  • There was a mass-market book just published on the topic—the name escapes me, but there are posters for it on the side of buses so the publisher presumably expects it to sell. (I imagine they see it as the next Brief History of Time, as a book bought by people who are struggling to find gift ideas for nerds, and equally destined to languish unread on shelves.) ‑ Iridescent 16:57, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Especially useful for those people who have coffee tables with one leg an inch too short :) ——SerialNumber54129 17:10, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

Mediation proposal (and how to resolve content disputes)[edit]

This is obviously where all the fun is. I shall need to watchlist your talk page.

There is a proposal at WP:VPPR about the formal mediation process, and it raises questions I coincidentally started pondering soon after my return from break.

I am somewhat concerned at the trends of change we have seen, over the past decade or so, in how disputes unfold and are resolved on Wikipedia. As only a project old-timer can do, I have weighed in at the proposal with some thoughts about what unseen effects this particular manifestation of the trend might have on the project.

While doing so, it occurred that it was the type of thing I often see you comment on and enjoy reading. Whichever way you lean (as always, I think I would be happy with the wisdom of the crowd), what do you think? AGK ■ 18:09, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

Ha, I often see you comment on and enjoy reading seems like we have something in common then. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:17, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
+1 Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:29, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Hmm Iridescent, up for another 6 paragraph treatise on the failings of Wikipedia and reforms needed? Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:29, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
@Galobtter, I don't actually make that much of a habit of lengthy treatises—I tend to save them for occasions where the potential benefits of them are (at least possibly) worth the cost in terms of time. In the cases of the ramblings above; the editor who by day is the mild-mannered User:WhatamIdoing, by night turns into User:Whatamidoing (WMF), so it's worthwhile going into detail; if it's just general sub-Wikipedia Review splutterings about how Things Aren't As Good As They Used To Be And Come To Think Of They Never Were, they'll just be lost in the low-level background whining, but this way next time she reports to her insect overlords she can say "here is a detailed list of problems, here is a list of other people agreeing that they're problems, here are suggestions assorted people have made for addressing these problems". In the case of the #Politics thread, it's simply that Yngvadottir and I go back far enough that she warrants a detailed reply.
@AGK, if it's the proposal to shut down the mediation committee I should probably stay out of it, as I've had so little involvement with dispute resolution recently that it's not really fair of me to sit on the sidelines grumbling about how other people do things. I could make a strong case that if the Arbcom workload has really fallen off as much as Opabinia regalis is always claiming—and with far fewer cases and Arbcom no longer having responsibility for ban appeals and for quietly disappearing the kiddy-fiddlers, I've no reason to doubt that—it would be reasonable to rewrite WP:ARBPOL by removing The Committee does not rule on content, but may propose means by which community resolution of a content dispute can be facilitated and have a single dispute resolution committee which initially tried to get the parties in a case to agree on a compromise, and only if that failed moved on to imposing sanctions. If nothing else, it would save everybody having to repeat themselves three times at the admin boards or RFCs, at mediation, and at arbitration; it would also mean that for the first time the title "arbitrator" would have some resemblance to what those bearing it actually do. ‑ Iridescent 01:49, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
Until the next GamerGate or Balkans or Gun control or American politics, problems which aren't really suited for mediation... I think it's true there have been fewer big cases, but I don't remember us sitting on our hands very much (well, haha, some of us anyway), but a lot of the things that were handled were things that should never see the light of day. Drmies (talk) 21:56, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
644 new messages.JPG
In which case, a unified mediation-arbitration-sanctioning committee would make no difference in how these kind of cases would be handled, since if it felt an attempt at true arbitration would be pointless, it could move straight on to the trial-by-ordeal phase of a case. I appreciate that there's a lot that still goes on behind the curtain that isn't seen in public; I also don't for an instant believe the current arb caseload is still at the level where ever arb had to allocate between one and two hours each day just to skim the 100+ emails that they knew would be in their inbox on even the quietest day, and a single Ottava or Damian could literally mean doing nothing else for a week. ‑ Iridescent 22:04, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, I'll take back my low-workload claims just a little, for the same reason you pinged me two weeks ago and "I should read that" has been on my to-do list ever since. Last time I checked the mailing list was stable at 30-35 messages a day, and I have no reason to think that's changed, but the experience is somewhat different when you're on the more-active-than-average side and are consistently all caught up, and when you're on the less-active-than-average side and are consistently a little behind. There may not be much time in reading those 30 emails - most are short, I usually do it on the train - but there's a lot of mental space invested in retaining all of the relevant context. I think you need spare memory, even more than spare time. That alone would make me hesitant to take a more active role in mediating disputes at earlier stages. I do really wish we had a more formalized (and, well, actually active) mechanism for dealing with content disputes, though - arbcom can absorb the remaining ban appeals in our wheelhouse, and the desysopping mudslinging fests, but the cases that I find really draining are the ones where two camps have been duking it out for months over whose sources are misleadingly quoted, whose favorite expert is actually a self-promoting hack, which seemingly impeccable study is riddled with errors, who's obviously POV-pushing and who's just innocently trying to ensure that minority views are represented, and it's all about a subject I didn't know existed until the case request was filed. Those cases don't attract anywhere near the level of uninvolved-editor comment that the behavior-focused ones do, but they're actually important in a way that arguments about who broke which WP:WHATEVERTHEFUCK rule really isn't. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:36, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Maaaan to have WP:WHATEVERTHEFUCK actually bluelink somewhere—anywhere! :D ——SerialNumber54129 06:44, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
I really thought about creating it, but couldn't decide on a target... :) Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:13, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
If Arbcom don't want the content dispute job and Medcom is dead, how about a separate and independent committee empowered to issue binding and enforceable closures to RFCs? I've still to hear anyone give an actual reason why it wouldn't work (other than the the kind of people who want to act as volunteer moderators aren't always the people you would want as volunteer moderators argument, but I assume it would have a strict vetting process and a simple removal process to ensure people didn't use it as a bully pulpit to enforce their personal opinions on the subject or dislikes of particular editors.) ‑ Iridescent 08:43, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Binding content dispute resolution is something I think will have to come one day to deal with the fact that consensus doesn't scale as a group grows in size and Wikipedia does it wrong anyway, by doing straw polls rather that weighing the opposing views and arguments. (Read a transcript of Clay Shirky's talk, "A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy", for more on the need for dispute resolution in online communities.) The problem with getting there is that editors who participate in discussions on Wikipedia dispute resolution are typically either highly vested in Wikipedia's egalitarian ideal that supposedly underlies its decision-making model, or don't want to cede the power they have with English Wikipedia's current model to diffuse and divert discussions to the point where no consensus can be reached. I suspect if there were a magical way to poll all of English Wikipedia's users, including readers, they would be in favour of a binding mechanism, but there's no way to prove it. I think it may only come to pass once the composition of English Wikipedia's community shifts for some reason, such as getting overrun by non-neutral advocates thereby forcing the WMF to step in, a huge drop in editors driving the community to seek new ways to resolve conflicts, or something else that resets the community. isaacl (talk) 15:52, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
(talk page watcher) Would the WMF actually step in in such a scenario? It's possible they would just leave everything to the users, like they have (to some extent) for the Croatian Wikipedia. Jc86035 (talk) 16:01, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
I imagine if its flagship site became indistinguishable from an advertising site that the WMF would do something to reset the community. Exactly where they'd draw the line to intervene, I'm not sure, though. isaacl (talk) 16:11, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Another way the community can shift is generational: an incoming cohort might place a higher priority on swifter resolution of content disputes, for example, in today's age of demagoguery. (Although this is the only sure way that the community will change eventually, it's highly unpredictable how quickly a change will happen, and if it will actually precede the end of the website itself.) isaacl (talk) 16:27, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
In my experience, the incoming cohorts from 2010 onwards have been faced with a stark adapt-or-die choice, and are forced either to comply with the norms established in 2006–08 or leave Wikipedia (voluntarily or involuntarily). Don't underestimate just how much of a grip the people who signed up during the initial burst of Wikipedia's Eternal September now holds. (As a case in point, of the 14 members of Arbcom 12 registered their accounts between 2005–09; of the others one is a relic from 2003 and Nupedia days, and the other registered in 2015 but could be politely be described as "questionable" (unless you think this is what a genuine new editor's first contributions normally look like). ‑ Iridescent 17:03, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Time to dust off that {{sayin' what everybody else is thinking}} template. ——SerialNumber54129 18:04, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't think that's necessarily a mark of not being a genuine new editor (see Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/BU Rob13 question #4). My first edit (in 2012) was to add <ref>...</ref> tags partly because I'd previously edited on another wiki. Jc86035 (talk) 18:16, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Yeeessss… but there's something of a difference between adding <ref>...</ref> tags—something explained on the page to which we direct new editors on the Welcome template—and deprecating and standardising infoboxes on Australian railway stations. ‑ Iridescent 18:30, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Huh. So by that standard I who signed up in 2012 and became really active in 2015 and passed RfA in 2016 am a young wiki-child. Or am I supposed to be someone's sock? JoJo Eumerus mobile (talk) 11:51, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, the fact that consensus doesn't scale upwards means norms have gotten locked into place. (If Wikipedia lasts long enough, eventually they'll be turnover.) Whether or not this the community eventually agrees of its own accord to a decision-making process more amenable to its size will depend on how much it perceives this deadlock to be an impediment to its key goals. isaacl (talk) 15:56, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
"Turnover" for established editors is very low. We lose some, especially younger ones, to major time-sucking life events (think "finish school, get a full-time job, and have a baby"). Those might come back occasionally (a recession helps, since having a job tends to interfere with editing time), but they seem to move on to a different phase of their lives. People like me... I'll probably edit until I die. (There are typos on the internet. I need to fix them.)
On the question of impediments to key goals, I don't think that we have a shared set of goals. I've been contemplating (for most of this year) whether to start a discussion at WPMED about what we want to accomplish. I'm thinking that our goals don't really hang together. It seems like we have several separate goals that sometimes conflict. The anti-woo warriors don't want the same things as the educationists, who in turn don't want the same things as the FA crowd. I'm also not sure how accurate it would be. I'm not sure that people are self-aware enough – or perhaps courageous enough – to say things like "I don't actually care about any of Wikipedia's principles. All I care about is trashing <controversial topic> and driving away any editor who believes in it." You can look at edits over time and see what's happening, but I don't think anyone's going to be that candid. And then the result would be a bunch of meaningless waffle that doesn't help the group work together. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:17, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
WP:MED probably isn't a good example to use for any 'state of Wikipedia' tests—because it has real-world implications in a way most other topics don't, and because it has WP:MEDMOS and WP:MEDRS holding it to different standards than the rest of the wiki, it's something of an outlier. For the other non-moribund wikiprojects like WP:MILHIST or WP:TRAINS, you don't really see the same pattern; people still have vehement disagreements over what to include, but there isn't the same issue of crusaders who want to remove whole classes of article entirely vs people who insist Wikipedia cover every viewpoint no matter how fringe.
On the turnover of editors, you can't just look at raw numbers, but at who is leaving. As I said somewhere, take a look at WP:WBFAN (or any other page listing editors with a high level of input into Wikipedia content) and see how many of the names are no longer active. While the reforms have stemmed the decline in the number of editors, we're still losing the most experienced editors and their replacements will of necessity take a couple of years to get up to speed, assuming they hang around that long. Because the articles-to-editors ratio is steadily rising, the loss of the highly active editors has a disproportionate impact; take for example Wikipedia:WikiProject Greater Manchester, which for years was one of the most active and successful of Wikipedia's projects but since Eric Corbett was harassed off the project has become utterly moribund. Hell, look at Wikipedia:WikiProject London—which is the 'home' project of the city with probably the highest concentration of Wikipedia editors in the world and with the feverishly active WMUK providing sustenance, but which has dwindled to virtually an empty shell since Kbthompson died and I pulled out of it. ‑ Iridescent 16:49, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Or Wikipedia:WikiProject Equine - lost a few editors and I decided that I'd be better off actually writing my own books rather than donating my time to equine topics... Ealdgyth - Talk 16:55, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, every editor has a lifecycle, whether it's just moving on in life or passing away, and so eventually there will be a turnover (like I said, it may or may not precede the lifespan of Wikipedia). Yes, the whole issue of consensus not scaling upwards is that as a group grows, its goals do not remain in strong alignment (see my discussion on this that I linked to in my first post). However a combination of the community shrinking and some very basic goals being thwarted (for example, if the editor population struggled to close any discussions at all due to stonewalling by non-neutral parties) might lead to the community deciding on a change. isaacl (talk) 17:27, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Community turnover or not, I've never understood why the 'binding RfC closure committee' can't bootstrap itself. Set up Wikipedia: WikiProject RfCs with an initial population of a few people known for closing big discussions already, get a few prospective RfC-initiators to agree in advance to use the binding-closure system as test cases, and when someone inevitably doesn't like the result, file Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/No takesies-backsies. Yeah, there would be all kinds of nonsense - arguments over who gets to join as a closer, and who gets to decide who joins, and there would be trainee closers and closing clerks to manage the forest of templates that would develop, and there would sooner or later be a fight over how to remove a bad closer, and all kinds of arcane internal rules would evolve over when to interface with CUs about possible socking and what constitutes recusal and whether the closing committee needs to have a private mailing list and... well, eventually you get Arbcom: Expanded Edition (new and improved! now with twice the bureaucracy!). But you don't need to start with any of that stuff. Opabinia regalis (talk) 09:59, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────I'd argue that it would need to be created under either Arbcom's or the WMF imprimatur, and to be elected from the very outset, to have any kind of authority. You weren't here last time a bunch of self-appointed Power Users declared themselves to be Wikipedia's ruling council but I was, and it isn't something that ought to be repeated. Without a formal "we grant thee the power to enforce thy decisions", you're just reanimating the corpse of the Mediation Committee, and without an elected membership you're creating a body that will quite reasonably be ignored on "who put you in charge?" grounds. (In hindsight the ACPD debacle was probably healthy for Wikipedia, in that it triggered the end of the "admins rule the peasants, arbs rule the admins" mentality and its replacement with "governance on Wikipedia is by consent and can be ignored if their decisions are clearly perverse"—which also had knock-on effects on other dictatorially-run nooks and crannies like FAC and MILHIST—but it was an unpleasant few weeks.) ‑ Iridescent 10:19, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

I remember looking back through those ACPD discussions - without any personal investment in it or particularly deep knowledge of the wiki-politics of the time, the whole thing seems fantastically self-important. But in that case arbcom tried to hand-pick the Power Users; I'm suggesting they should be literally self-appointed and claim no special "authority" in the beginning other than moderating and closing an RfC - they can develop authority by being effective. (Kinda the opposite of arbcom, which had formal "authority" from the beginning, and yet one of the most persistent criticisms is that it's ineffective.) If it turns out that pre-selecting known-competent closers works consistently, great, we can build on that framework. I think this is different from what the mediation committee did in being more topic- than user-focused. A mediation case has a list of users that all need to buy in, whereas what I have in mind is something more like Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Genetically modified organisms where participation is open but the discussion is moderated and closers commit in advance to working through the mess. (I was extremely skeptical when that started, of the concept and the moderation, but.... it actually worked well, and settled some issues that the arbcom case never did.) Sure, that had the advantage of already having DS in the topic area, but the first step is getting this kind of highly structured discussion out from under the arbcom umbrella. Opabinia externa (talk) 22:53, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I think moderator-led discussion is a better fit for Wikipedia's collaborative editing environment than closed-door mediation modeled after formal dispute mediation. My personal experience in trying to step in and guide a discussion is that the disputants frequently just want to continue talking about whatever they want, ignoring your guidance. With contentious issues, they'll often be suspicious of your actions and ascribe hidden motives for everything you say, and loudly call into doubt your neutrality, which cuts the knees out from under your ability to moderate. Maybe it would be different if a group of moderators acted in concert to provide checks and balances? Or if the various approaches were outlined on a project page? (For example, having those who favour one approach first work out a proposal most likely to gain consensus approval, before opening up discussion to everyone.) However, all non-binding methods have a key problem: they are biased towards the status quo. Any one wanting to avoid change just needs to kick up enough objections to keep a consensus from forming. As the instinct of those moderating is to look for a happy compromise that as many people as possible can live with, just one or two contrarians can stalemate the discussion by being implacable. isaacl (talk) 17:27, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
That's IMO why there are some circumstances where Arbcom actually is the best option; the "you have 500 words to say your piece" format forces people to focus on what's actually important. I agree entirely with the issue about stasis and the status quo, though; unless mandated by someone, any RFC-closure-committee would just run into the "I'm going ignore you, what are you going to do about it?" issue on all but the most straightforward of issues. Hell, look how much time and effort went into negotiating a hostile armistice at Tree shaping, which is up there with Glass Age Development Committee as the most obscure and trivial article on the whole of Wikipedia. ‑ Iridescent 15:49, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

Thanks[edit]

for making me feel like I haven't lost my mind at the Sir Sputnik RfA. The whole affair has left a bad taste in my mouth, so I'm not sure I'll be !voting at RfA again any time soon. ceranthor 13:55, 20 October 2018 (UTC)

You're welcome. I was considering sitting it out as it's obviously going to pass and in the current culture those who oppose popular candidates or candidates with popular nominators—both of which are the case here—tend to get earmarked for retribution, but in the end felt I couldn't sit on my hands and allow a candidate who appears obviously unsuitable to be waved through without my at least registering a protest. I have absolutely no issue with someone who hasn't written featured content running at RFA—at the time of my own RFA, this and this were my most substantive mainspace contributions—but if someone's requesting the right to sit in judgement on other peoples' work, I expect some indication that they understand the nature of that work, the difference between ownership and stewardship, and when and why Ignore all rules should be invoked, none of which I'm seeing here. We have far too many admins already who cause regular damage owing to a narrow-minded "the role of an admin is to enforce policy" mindset. Courtesy ping to GeneralizationsAreBad and KrakatoaKatie, since I'm publicly questioning their judgement on this relatively high profile talk page. I assume you and I will now get the same Two Minutes Hate treatment meted out to Andrew Davidson and Eric Corbett for questioning the "process is more important than content" consensus of the clique who WP:OWN RFA, but I assume we're both big enough to cope. ‑ Iridescent 14:35, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for prodding me to oppose, both of you. Been busy and it slipped my mind. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:40, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
No problem at all (although I do feel for the candidate, who was presumably expecting to sail through and suddenly started getting this in the final two days). When even Ritchie333who generally gives the impression he'd support a horse if you nominated it for RFA on "no reason not to" grounds—is saying that he feels unable to support a candidate, something is seriously wrong somewhere. Spoke too soon; with a certain inevitability he's indeed supporting on "no reason not to" grounds. ‑ Iridescent 14:48, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Meant to thank you too, Ealdgyth. I had no problem opposing for similar reasons to you, Iridescent, but I did not particularly relish having to defend myself multiple times and being asked how I was qualified to question someone with 120,000 edits when I only have a measly 30,000 (seems that person missed the fact that I have something like 50+ FAs/GAs under my belt). ceranthor 14:49, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm currently #69 on Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits (and most of those above me are running bots or scripts on their main accounts) and #18 on Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by featured article nominations despite my having withdrawn from FAC long ago; if they want to play that "my edit count is higher than yours" game, bring it on. ‑ Iridescent 14:55, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I was actually surprised that Ritchie didn't ultimately oppose. I have always found him to be reasonable, and his past opposes at the RfAs of popular users with little content work (this one comes to mind) suggested to me that he would have ended up in the oppose camp. ceranthor 15:00, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't mind your oppose, Ceranthor, it was a reasonable one. In fact, all the opposes and neutrals are reasonable, and as you can guess I was wavering towards it myself. Ultimately I thought, "if he does screw up, will he apologise and not defend himself like a thrashing mongoose?" This RfA reminds me of Liz. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:38, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict)x2 The badgering of opposers does need to stop. I did eventually move to neutral because of talking to Ritchie and TNT, both of whom I work well with so I don’t mind the discussion, but I was was anticipating less than lucid blowback if I had stayed in oppose. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:01, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
The way to deal with badgering is to ignore it. If I don't feel like replying to someone, its perfectly okay to ignore a ping. I don't have to have the last word... something I learned back in the usenet days.... Ealdgyth - Talk 15:04, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Sitting (comfortably) in support, I have never got the obsession with badgering opposers. Apparently some think that badgering opposers will reduce the acrimony at/unpleasantness of RfA? Somehow adding acrimony to RfA will reduce it? Befuddles the mind. Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:10, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
In some cases, it's probably a holdover from the old days. Back in 2006–08 there were some truly stupid opposes (I think this one on BrownHairedGirl's RFA is the all time winner, and every editor of a certain vintage will have unfond memories of this fuckwit). Since in many of those cases it was quite proper to challenge stupid comments, and that's the period in which many of Wikipedia's cultural norms were set, we've retained a culture in which it's considered acceptable to harangue someone for opposition but unacceptable to challenge an ill-thought-through support. Kudpung has probably written something about it at some point. ‑ Iridescent 15:18, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
As far as culture creation goes, actions speak louder than words. It may well be a crappy oppose, but wtf has BOOMERANG got to do with it?! ——SerialNumber54129 15:22, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Would BOOMERANG here mean granting sysop rights to Kolya77? :) Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:30, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
In my capacity as official translator from Admin to Human, "Boldly striking per WP:BOOMERANG"→"It is in the voter's best interest that this vote be stricken, as they have a problematic history and allowing it to stand will mean more people monitoring their contributions which will potentially lead to them being blocked". In my personal opinion it's a bullshit reason for striking and akin to the police arresting protestors who've committed no crime "to prevent a breach of the piece peaceThank you, EEng" (while I don't agree with it, "this user by far do not deserve to be an admin.he will probably start to ban people for nothing" isn't IMO the personal attack being claimed here, but just a case of clumsy wording no different to "I have concerns that this candidate has not demonstrated the judgement necessary to determine when blocking would be appropriate"), but I don't doubt the striking was done in good faith. ‑ Iridescent 15:32, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
You know, I was somewhat bemused by that striking. JoJo Eumerus mobile (talk) 16:14, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
"Breach of the piece" ... "bemused" ... are you two losing your goddam minds? EEng 16:53, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm sorely tempted to oppose every RfA with "I view wanting to be admin as prima facie evidence of power hunger." Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:35, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Y'know, this thread shows how little has changed. The "circle of life" indeed. Someone with an oppose, badgering, complaining about badgering, complaining about complaining about badgering and so on. Galobtter (pingó mió) 17:53, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
The math ref desk used to have a serious problem with a sort of competitive attitude towards being the first one to answer questions, and (correspondingly) lots of garbage answers. Numerous attempts to deal with this systematically, either by rule change or by cultural shift, were completely unsuccessful. Eventually, a topic ban was administered the most clearly out-of-line contributor after an ANI discussion. In the subsequent year or so, the situation has massively improved, beyond the level of disruption caused by that single user. A similar dynamic may be at play at RfA. Instead of trying to solve the problem completely, it seems worth trying to get rid of the most serious disruptors and see what that does to the total level of badgering. --JBL (talk) 23:50, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I mean, a few opposes doesn't really negate him sailing through, and shouldn't give grounds for Sir Sputnik to worry I'd say. Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:10, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Iri, why on earth do you think I would be upset with you for opposing? You're entitled to your opinion, and if you don't feel he meets your standards, you shouldn't support. I'd expect nothing less from you. I am not one to badger anyone who has valid reasons for his/her oppose (or support). Katietalk 15:58, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't think you or GAB would be upset; the ping was just to notify you that this discussion was taking place, in case other people see it and are prompted to start opposing as well and you wonder where it's suddenly coming from. (This page has shitloads of watchers.) My comments about the Two Minutes Hate et al were just an observation that the editors who see themselves as self-appointed Guardians of RFA are now likely to start trying to bait and attack me (as is already happening to Ceranthor). ‑ Iridescent 16:16, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
<Takes a gander at list/> Oy. The encyclopedia is "already built"? Really? Why is 1669 Etna eruption a redlink and Huaynaputina only ~18000 characters long, then?
Re RfA badgering, I think the problem is that one man's opinion is another man's irrational POV push. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:53, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
And what is there for Huaynaputina - I added a good chunk of that myself in 2011. I haven't found the time to get back to it, though it is on my extended to-do list... maybe a future collab, Jo-Jo? :) ceranthor 17:05, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
My go-to page for anyone claiming "the encyclopedia is complete" is Enid Blyton bibliography. This is one of the biggest-selling authors of all time, writing in the English language, still in print and still enjoying widespread popularity and regular TV and cinema adaptations of her works, yet 90% of the works haven't got any entry and those that do—even seminal books like Noddy Goes to Toyland—tend just to have ultrastubs. Hell, look at the quality of most of the entries on List of works by Vincent van Gogh. ‑ Iridescent 18:48, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh, Enid Blyton. I remember reading some of her books as a child.
Assuming that Iridescent does not object to a derail on their talkpage: On Huaynaputina I am inclined to wait until you get some free time; I have decided to pause article writing for a bit after the Allison Guyot/Horizon Guyot/Resolution Guyot/1257 Samalas eruption run and also to store up some energy for the Etna article and African humid period but I can probably squeeze some time in for Huaynaputina as well (I don't think that FAC eats up much time given how slow it is). Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:38, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Heh. This is possibly not the best day to say that FAC isn't time-consuming. ‑ Iridescent 19:41, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
If only you were getting paid by the hour eh ;) ——SerialNumber54129 19:46, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Heh, related to isn't it more likely that Rykener was performing oral sex on him (also classed as sodomy under Catholic law)? I'd need to go back to Aquinas (whose sexual ethics are beyond confusing and have basically been replaced in the circles that matter with JP2's baptized Kantianism) but at least with many historical and current moral theologies, the question as to whether oral sex is sodomy or not depends on the exact circumstances.
That may have been a later development, but I *think* Aquinas recognized nuance and distinctions here, and if he did, subsequent generations of moral theologians would have as well. Anyway, given the time period if the sources aren't clear, it might be best to talk around it while getting to the main idea that it was a sex act considered illicit. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:58, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree it's irrelevant to get into the details when "a sex act" will do, but surely even though it was centuries before Casti connubii, between Romans 1:27, Genesis 38:9, and Novels 141, the RCC had already decided that oral sex between men was A Bad Thing. At the time we're talking about the dissolution and trial of the Templars was still just about in living memory and the first Inquisition was underway, so the RCC hierarchy would have been very familiar with the dogma around sodomy and fornication. While googling for the right Novel, I came across—if you'll pardon the expression—the endearingly po-faced Christian Oral Sex, which is unintentionally hilarious. ‑ Iridescent 21:42, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I agree completely on those points: Liber Gomorrhianus pre-dated it by a few centuries, and while that dealt with the clergy, the point comes across quite clearly. I suppose my nitpicking was that when you're dealing with a system that categorized sexual vices as those that were against nature and those that weren't (where we get such theories as this infamous ranking, speculating as to which unnatural act if the sources don't say matters less: a mutual handjob would have been worse than rape in the system they were working under, so it'd all be pretty unmentionable. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:31, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Unnatural axe with a sheep. Also, tell me more about "Gomorrah Hi Anus". EEng 23:38, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Slightly off topic, but on my screen Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Tivedshambo, the bottom half is struckthrough. I see this from time to time in the archives, sometimes the entire archive with be struck out, but I check the history and find no evidence of tampering by vandals. The inital phrase Wheres Kurt? has an improper closing tag, but that should have been solved by the line below, after Sorry Kurt. there is a proper /s. What gives, or is this my older browser having issues again? Thanks, L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 23:05, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
  • See Wikipedia:Linter. The TL;DR verison is that in July this year Mediawiki changed, so it no longer works the way you describe; each opening html code now needs a corresponding closing code. AFAIK a bot is steadily working through Wikipedia cleaning these up, but with 46,160,798 to work through it will be a long time if ever before they're all done. (See Special:LintErrors if you want to keep track of how many are still outstanding to fix; at the time of writing it's approximately 22,000,000.) ‑ Iridescent 23:12, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
    Well, only ~30000 of page breaking errors like this, since the cause of that is mainly Special:LintErrors/multiple-unclosed-formatting-tags (vast majority of lint errors don't cause issues). Ahechtbot and Galobot fixed a fair few, but there is no bot running currently that I know of at-least, and for low priority lint errors there is no particular timeline on fixing them since they don't cause issues (for now at-least). Galobtter (pingó mió) 05:11, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
  • (since I was pinged). I can't remember evrything I wrote about RfA but it would probably fill a door-stopper of a paperback. I've opposed plenty of RfAs that were likely to pass, and some which passed that IMO quite clearly should not have. I have no qualms about experienced editors opposing an RfA, and certainy not Ceranthor, who I hope will continue to support future RfAs with their votes. Serious opposers do sometimes come up with issues that I or the nominators have missed. Some badgering does actually have the effect of some voters changing their position, but RfA has changed since the reform allowing RfAs to be widely publicised: the coments section at the bottom has become a chat room which in earlier times was rarely even used. Many issues now populate the talk page, again which in eartlier times basically only included a copied and pasted summary of the users' activity.
I therefore question whether or not that Dec. 2015 reform has really been productive in the long run. What people tend to forget however, is that it is most definitely the drama that disccourages many editors of the right calibre from coming forward - Ritchie333 and MelanieN are only too well aware of this. It seems also as if my 3-part series of articles in The Signpost has gone unheeded.
I do not belive that there is a clique of people who consider they 'own' RfA, but there is certainly a group of core voters (me included) who take the process seriously and vote on most of them, and some of whom have spent considerable time analysing the situation and trying to find solutions.
I don't belive either that serious bids for the bit are a quest for power. If they were, the many admins who have retired, or rarely use their tools, or have handed their privileges in for a while, would not do so.
What we are seeing now for a while are relatively few RfAs that fail, and an increase in 'crat chats (though the low frequency of RfAs is probably not a good sample period and may not reflect any trends). I think this demonstrates that some of our almost invisible recent measures to prevent trollish RfAs from being transcluded have worked, and that however nasty the process is, overall it is not strictly 'broken' and no one has been able to come up with a viable alternative for it. (FYI: Tony, Jo-Jo, Katie, Ealdgyth, and GeneralizationsAreBad). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:57, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
Might want to ping Joel B. Lewis as well. I personally don't think that RfA is "broken" but it still has a reputation problem. And the problem with fixing reputation issues is that you need to convince a lot of people. And that you need to give more consideration to a (vaguely defined) group of people's opinion than on your own. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:17, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
@Kudpung, "clique of people who consider they 'own' RfA" is oversimplifying shorthand somewhat, but I certainly do believe there's a small group who see themselves as the moderators of RFA, see it as their duty to steward every candidate through RFA, and hound and harass anyone (particularly in the oppose section, for reasons documented above) who expresses an opinion with which they don't agree. (The formation of cliques who mob people who don't follow the party line isn't unique to RFA; head on over to WT:MOS if you want to see it in its purest form.) Because I rarely join pile-ons, I tend to be in the oppose column more often than support (if someone is sailing through 200–0 or losing 1–30 I don't see the need for me to waste my time researching them when the result is obvious, and if there's opposition already there there's a better than average chance there's a reason the opposition's already there), so I probably see the mobbing and bullying more than most, but you can see a perfectly good example of it on the currently-open RFA (see also the General comments section).
Incidentally, despite all those opposes I'm not some kind of wild serial opposer—assuming Snottywong's tool is correct, the current RFA will be only the 11th RFA where I've opposed and that hasn't matched the final result, and at least three of the editors I opposed who went on to win anyway became notorious rogue admins. ‑ Iridescent 13:04, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
I think the unintended consequence of Dec2015 is that those who run are more likely to be consensus candidates who pass easily, while those who could still pass (but around 80-85%) are AWOL. To be clear, I do not stand for !oppose-badgering, nor do I oppose your !opposes :) GABgab 15:24, 21 October 2018 (UTC)

Question/Comment Regarding RFA[edit]

First, I wanted to thank you for your well-reasoned oppose of Sir Sputnik's RFA. My general approach at RFA is to support giving the tools to any editor with a track record of being a decent person, and who is clearly editing in good-faith. Your oppose made me wonder, though, whether I should not be more discerning with how I apply my "create good content" rule, perhaps requiring a certain percentage of edits to actual articles, or something to that effect. My basic question is this: where do YOU draw the line? I initially viewed Sir Sputnik as a fairly easy support, but your oppose (which I only noticed after the close) really caused me to reconsider my initial gut instinct.

Regards, Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 23:08, 22 October 2018 (UTC)

"Percentage of edits" doesn't really count for much; someone who reverts well-intentioned new editors who make a mistake and then patiently talks those editors through why they've been reverted and how they can avoid it in future, will have far more talk than article edits, but will likely make a much better admin than someone who racks up 10,000 article edits a day mechanically scanning recent changes and machine-gunning "revert". If someone has a high percentage of talk and user talk edits, that's generally a good sign; it's a high percentage of Wikipedia space edits that's generally the warning signal, as that's typically a sign either of someone more interested in process than in results, or of someone who keeps getting in trouble.
The administration of Wikipedia (with both a small and a large "a") isn't about mechanistically applying policy, or we could turn large chunks of it over to bots and scripts. It's about understanding that Ignore all rules isn't just a slogan but is the most important of Wikipedia's principles, and that editors are human, that they do lose their temper when they've removed the same error 20 times from something they've written because it happened to be published in a newspaper and well-intentioned editors try to add it; they do have a sense of pride and while the technical side of a block or deletion can be reversed within seconds, the social cost can't as the person on the receiving end is highly likely either to leave Wikipedia completely or drastically cut down their editing, and experienced writers aren't something that can easily be replaced; that content writing to a high level within Wikipedia's unique atmosphere might look easy but it really isn't, and that series of edits that looks like it's been made in a few minutes with minimal effort may well be the result of months of research, drafting and writing as well as hundreds of dollars of that editor's own money on source materials, and that editor is going to feel rightly aggrieved when someone slaps a big orange {{cleanup}} tag on it because they happen not to like the look of it, or when someone starts hanging around the article whining that they don't like the reference format or that it uses spaced em-dashes.
This doesn't just apply to the seasoned long-term FA writers; plenty of new editors who just like the idea of improving Wikipedia choose their own employer or a relative as the subject of their article because every piece of writing advice in every context other than Wikipedia begins with "write what you know". There are plenty of admins who will quite happily immediately block these editors as spammers, even though they were only trying to help and never understood even that they were doing anything wrong; likewise, there are new editors who create more than one account with no malicious intent but just because "separate accounts for separate interests" is a fairly common practice on social networking sites, get flagged as sockpuppets and promptly blocked because it's easier for the admin to click "block" and move on than it is for the admin to stop and patiently explain what is and isn't acceptable and how and why Wikipedia differs from every other user-generated site on the internet.
There are plenty of people who are editing in entirely good faith but who don't grasp these fundamental principles that breaching policy isn't synonymous with malicious intent, and the "why not?" mentality at RFA (based on Jimmy's "no big deal" comments, which were made in a different time, when Wikipedia had only 1408 registered editors of whom only 106 were active and it genuinely was possible for everyone to know each other's strengths and weaknesses) has meant that quite a few of these people have been given the admin tools at some time or another. They do have the potential to cause serious damage with an over-literal application of policy, particularly Wikipedia's most misunderstood policy WP:Civility. (This isn't just academic speculation; I could instantly name three admins who are actively damaging Wikipedia by their over-zealous use of the 'block' button, and probably a dozen more without much effort. Hell, Jimmy Wales is forbidden from blocking people on en-wiki owing to his over-zealous use of the block button. I could with equally minimal effort rattle off a dozen productive editors who've resigned or near-enough-resigned after being on the receiving end of misplaced admin action, and could probably compile a list of a hundred without thinking too hard.)
Wikipedia has a serious problem with admins, arbitrators and soi-disant power users who don't actually understand that without the content Wikipedia is just Facebook for ugly people, who try to treat Wikipedia's policies as a set of immutable laws, and who end up driving people away. While the decline in the number of active editors (the fourth chart down) has finally levelled off, the churn hasn't. We're still losing experienced editors at a rapid pace (go to Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by featured article nominations, check the contribution histories of the names, and note how many have ceased editing altogether or drastically curtailed their activity), and while overzealous admins don't account for all those losses—people get bored, people have kids or get new jobs and are too busy, people get new hobbies, people die—they certainly account for a sizeable chunk of it. If you don't mind losing half-an-hour of your life, I'd recommend reading at least this section of the monster thread a little way above this, in which (albeit in a slightly different context) I set out in detail just why I believe that the people who want to be admins aren't necessarily the people who should be admins.
Regarding a minimum standard at RFA, except in exceptional circumstances (an editor with a long history of investment in time-consuming and complicated process that directly benefit Wikipedia and have the potential to be challenged by other editors such as tool design or image creation and editing), I'd say the bare minimum I'd expect to see is at least two substantial articles (say, above 1000 words of readable prose), to which that editor has contributed over 50% of the current text, and which other editors have subsequently edited. Unless someone has had the experience of being frustrated by someone else screwing around with something they've spent their own time and money on (and above all, having something on which they've spent their own time and money blanked or nominated for deletion, although an editor who's never had something deleted may just be an editor who demonstrates a superb knowledge of Wikipedia policies on notability and sourcing) there's no way to judge whether that editor has empathy for the content writers, and empathy for the content writers is the single most important quality in a Wikipedia admin since the content is the only reason Wikipedia exists, and all the technical aspects of administration are something that can be learned but empathy is something you either have or you don't. ‑ Iridescent 00:46, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Thank you sincerely for this detailed and thoughtful reply. It really challenges my base assumptions regarding what adminship is, how the tools should be granted, and who should be granted them. I am a fairly experienced editor (much moreso than the age of this account would indicate), having started as an IP in 2006/7 and created an account in 2008. Over the years, I had come to the conclusion that the tools were far too difficult to get for everyday editors who just wanted to have them to help better the project in some way. That morphed into my belief that "reform" at RFA might include unbundling the tools into "sets" that could be awarded upon request to users in good standing. When similar ideas, proposed by various editors, were consistently shot down, I moved toward a belief that the tools should then simply be easier to get, as well as easier to lose. When the "easier to lose" part was never adopted, I guess what I was left with was "easier to get" which, after reading your response here, as well as the discussion right above it, I feel like a bit of an ingenue.
Honestly, I'm likely going to request deletion of that little "support rationale" page I made in my userspace, as I sort of question the base assumptions upon which I based it. I really appreciate your having taken the time to lay out your reasoning, and to help me think through my own.
Regards, Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 01:24, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Don't necessarily take anything I say as gospel; I think I'm correct, but there are certainly a number of well-respected editors who feel that "no big deal" still has relevance on today's Wikipedia. (User:Ritchie333 is one who springs to mind.) ‑ Iridescent 09:55, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Actually I agree with pretty much everything you wrote there; it spells out my concerns and problems with Wikipedia quite well. I am still brassed off about User talk:Charliallpress / The Mariposa Trust. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:22, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, that kind of thing is exactly what I mean when I talk about admins finding easier to just decide that something doesn't follow the letter of the law, press a 'delete' or 'block' button, and move on, because it's quicker than engaging the editor and explaining what they need to be doing differently. If I have my chronology correct one of the admins involved there was on Arbcom at the time, which just ices the cake. ‑ Iridescent 15:29, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
More to the point, comforting a family over a miscarriage is just the sort of subject material that would go right over the stereotypical Wikipedia geek's head. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:39, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
You're being more charitable than me; I'm aware of some admins—and I'm sure you are too—who would actively see it as a badge of pride if they've upset someone, because it makes them feel like some kind of tough-guy Sheriff of the Internet,and give them the chance to post some "the needs of Wikipedia outweigh the feelings of individuals" speech they've cribbed from some TV show or other and have been waiting for months for a pretext to use. ‑ Iridescent 15:45, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
I brought up this article at the ediathon (see below thread), and was asked "If it was okay to put on the main page, why did they delete it a year later?" I didn't have an answer. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:25, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yikes. Yeah, the two of you and I have somewhat divergent opinions on the COI/promo stuff, but that is certainly not a good way to treat people. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:52, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't actually make that much of a habit of lengthy treatises :) Galobtter (pingó mió) 07:31, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
It's not that long compared to some of the screeds I've posted in the past (just ask at FAC); besides, these are arguments I've made so often that I can type the key points on autopilot. If you want a TL;DR executive summary, "nor do I condemn you, go and sin no more" is more important than "keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, always", and knowing when to forgive and when to condemn is something that needs to be demonstrated through actions, not words. We want admins to be a Peelian police force, not an occupying army. ‑ Iridescent 09:55, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
No complaints here, and I definitely read the whole thing; a good read as always. Galobtter (pingó mió) 10:41, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
It's not just admins who can drive folks away - see Talk:Manchester Baby/Archive 1 where someone who basically exists to nitpick other editors managed to drive one of the more productive (if occasionally uncivil) editors away by repeated rename requests. I will freely admit I don't have as much time for WP right now, but I'm not sure I'll ever nominate another FAC while the insanity that is the "prose focus" remains there without any shred of worrying about the actual research. (Oh, and I agree with Iri's long post above...) Ealdgyth - Talk 11:43, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
@Ealdgyth: Is that what drove Eric away? I thought he was worn down by a number of factors; after all, he did keep editing through the summer IIRC. ceranthor 12:28, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
It was certainly a factor ... he's mentioned it a few times off Wiki as having a strong effect. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:31, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh yes, it's not just admins, which is why I cited admins, arbitrators and soi-disant power users as the problem. (Anyone who's familiar with recent threads on this page will be well aware of the particular soi-disant power user I had in mind, although most of his acolytes such as the one currently disrupting whatever title Talk:Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine happens to be at this week are cut from the same cloth.) I agree 100% about the "prose focus" nonsense; it may have been the decision to introduce TFA re-running that drove me away from FAC/TFA, but it's certainly the recent unwelcome re-emergence of the "brilliant refreshing prose" gang (with "brilliant refreshing prose" not meaning "interesting and engaging prose" but "prose that follows all the arbitrary rules me and my buddies have made up") that's keeping me away. ‑ Iridescent 14:45, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Here's a current affair that won't drive off noobs :) Oh no. ——SerialNumber54129 13:02, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
It could have been worse. The admin who protected the Teahouse initially protected it Edit=Require administrator access. ‑ Iridescent 14:45, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Holy shit! What a clusterfuck that move discussion was. And I didn't realize that Eric had left the project. In my 11+ years editing Wikipedia, I always considered him one of the really good content creators, alongside folks like Giano, Iri, and many others, of course. Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 14:28, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Eric still pops up very occasionally, but for all practical purposes is gone. I can't blame him; with the Defenders of the Wiki types painting a target on his back and the MOS coterie with their secret off-wiki mailing list coordinating attacks on him, why would he want to stay when there are so many other places—both on and offline—that would welcome him? ‑ Iridescent 14:45, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
There's a secret off-wiki mailing list? I can't say I'm surprised... ceranthor 14:54, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes—I was very briefly added to it before being promptly booted within a matter of days when the editor who runs it felt I wasn't showing him sufficient deference. I don't know who the current members are, although looking at the list of names who pile in whenever its operator is engaged in a dispute one can hazard some fairly safe guesses. ‑ Iridescent 15:01, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • The fact that prolific content creators like Eric no longer have a home on Wikipedia is an incredibly sad statement about where the project is right now. Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 15:02, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
The attitude voiced on that RFA, that people are here to maintain this encyclopaedia that is, arguably, already built isn't an unusual one; there's a strong contingent, supported at the very highest levels in the WMF, who hold that English Wikipedia is essentially complete when it comes to content, that the priorities now are ensuring the existing content is kept up to date, and inventing new ways for people to access the existing content rather than add to it (hence the obsession with mobile access and Wikidata), and that those writers and illustrators who remain are dinosaurs obstructing the path of progress. These are the WMFs priorities for last year (the ones for 2018 haven't been decided yet); note that not a single one of the ten that were chosen relates to the improvement of Wikipedia. ‑ Iridescent 15:13, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
That is certainly disheartening, though not surprising. Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 15:25, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Personally, I think a middle road is needed here: we aren't the Wikipedia of 2007 (which oddly, I remember quite well from the ~7 months I spent active on this and my previous account before finishing high school and starting university got in the way of Wikipedia.) We are not in rapid startup growth mode, and we have become the default source of knowledge, for better or worse, for the internet connected world. Realizing that changes the dynamic on what we are willing to accept in articles from a decade ago is important. On the flip side, some of our content in very important topics is honestly horrendous. Historical coverage of religion outside of certain time periods/regions being my pet peeve here, but this is another example of something that really shouldn't be unsourced given it's significance. Realizing that we both need to maintain and build the encyclopedia and figuring out how to thread that needle is probably one of the most difficult tasks. This conversation reminds me that I need to finish off one of my content projects that has been put on the back burner because my real life became more hectic about 6 months ago.
On the RfA front, while I'm not the biggest of the content creation crowd in terms of RfA voting, I do like to see it these days if only because it shows me they aren't a player of Wikipedia The Video Game and want the magic sysop powerup. I still go by the "not a jerk, have a clue" philosophy, but part of demonstrating the clue bit for me is being able to show that you aren't here to play COD at AIV/SPI/ANEW. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:52, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Meh. The encyclopedia is certainly not built. But with an order of magnitude more content than say 2006, there is certainly more of a need for maintenance than before. In regards to mobile access, with more than half the readers using mobiles to read Wikipedia (and quite a few editors to edit), mobile access seems pretty important. No point having content if people can't read it (nicely)! In the community wish-list, the top priority is certainly an improvement (the mapframe maps on articles like Empire State Building are a lot better than the previous {{Location map}} based maps) and, well, the community wish-list is kind of designed to be a minor backroom improvements sort of thing. Not that I'm saying the WMF does a good job of prioritising things (I'm sure it could be do more to help people build content, and that all the effort into Flow had less of an impact on the way people reply on wiki than this script developed by one person is .. bad) but there are more compelling and easier ways to make that case than pointing to the Community Wishlist. Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:59, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
In the past 15 years or so, expectations of what Wikipedia should deliver have increased exponentially. Back in 2003, I thought "well it's good enough for something online, I can always drop back on books and magazines". Nowadays I think that books and magazines are our direct competition and we have a responsibility to get the facts right and deliver them concisely to people. I'm not even talking about GAs or FAs, just a base level of what an article should look like. Hence my disappointment that about 90% of our articles haven't even got up to C-class. Unfortunately, fixing up all the articles so they are properly verifiable and easy to read is a far greater task than blocking vandals or sockpuppets - I have always maintained that anyone who's taken two articles to GA can work a backlog at AIV with zero experience and do a better job than people who sit on Huggle all day. (They might decline reports, advising people to assume good faith, for one thing). This edit springs to mind - it sat pretty much untouched for about three years until I rewrote it, and looks like a copyright violation, or at least something completely out of kilter with how any encyclopedia article should look.
I'm not surprised reply-link is getting a better response than Flow. It's smaller in scope, it is backwards compatible with the old system (and yes, having talk pages in raw wikitext is not ideal but it's what we've got so we have to support it), there are no great expectations for it, its popularity has spread via word of mouth and good feedback, plus (and the WMF will find this cutting) it was written by one guy because he wanted to solve a problem; not a bunch of software developers wandering aimlessly and getting paid by the hour to do so. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:12, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
In regards to blocking sockpuppets or vandals, or things like removing copyright violations, it is not so much the difficulty, but having people do it for hours every day, day in and day out, which is necessary on such a large project. The person who creates two GAs can certainly do it - but are they willing to spend that much time on it?
Certainly agree on reply-link. As can easily be predicted, completely changing a system widely used for more than a decade is basically impossible on Wikipedia, but actually trying to solve the problem in a small way is doable. Galobtter (pingó mió) 16:24, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
It's also a competence thing, tbh. I mainly do administrative work now, unfortunately due to life changes that make doing research more difficult, but how on earth are you supposed to be able to determine what to revert/block if you've never understood what should be in an article and somewhat related to Iri's point above seen the good faith mucking up of content that is far short of vandalism but has no place in mainspace (i.e. half the reports at AIV at any given time that if you don't actually look at the diffs will result in you blocking a user who should be talked to, but is instead templated for things such as adding correct information and not knowing you need a source, and then gets flumoxed when trying to learn wikitext and receiving more templates.) Having experience writing, and not just the "two-GAs to RfA" type of writing, really helps identify that sort of stuff. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:50, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Hey, people talking about reply-link! Yeah, during my WikiConf talk and Isarra's subsequent talk, there was some discussion about the future of talk pages and community coordination. It was really nice to write this script and see people using it. However, I see it more as a bandage for an existing problem: it really is true that unstructured wikitext isn't the best medium for community discussions, and until we can give new users a "reply button" that's guaranteed to work, discussions - and generally getting integrated into this community - will remain a stumbling block for them. Enterprisey (talk!) 08:18, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
The unstructured wikitext thing is going to be hard to solve. If people may forgive me for soapboxing here, I feel that Flow was supposed to be the fix but:
  • Flow contains a number of questionable features on top of "structured discussions" such as infinite scrolling and a reliance of VisualEditor that are not universally considered to be good things.
  • WMF Engineering had/has a reputation for pushing software changes that many people dislike and are problematic, such as MediaViewer. Thus any large change overhaul will be watched with wary eyes.
  • A lot of features such as discussion page bots and structured discussions would have to be utterly re-done if we were to change to Flow. That is a lot of work.
  • A change in discussion page format would require an RfC or somesuch, which would presumably happen in unstructured wikitext markup and thus be biased in favour of people who can work with the current format and against these who can't.
Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 07:37, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
IMO Flow is a perfect example of what you get when the people designing improvements to a product aren't the people who use the product. All the things that killed it—fixed-width narrow columns with broad whitespace borders, infinite scrolling with lazy loading, a single uniform font face and size—are things that work great on social media, and Lila briefed people that she wanted a social media site so that's what they gave her. Unfortunately, they're not things that work in an environment where many of the people who will be using the talk interface the most are professional writers working on large monitors who know perfectly well how to adjust their window width the way they like it and don't need Jimmy Wales claiming to know better, where one needs true random access as historic posts are just as likely to be the subject of searches as recent ones, and where one regularly needs to demonstrate the effects of markup and display various images. ‑ Iridescent 17:10, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Bummer I didn't get an invite! I suppose I'm too eguor for those corps. ceranthor 15:05, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
If I were a nasty and cynical type, I'd suggest fairly strongly that assuming the mailing list is still active, you can safely assume that this lists its membership fairly accurately. ‑ Iridescent 15:16, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
I'll try to pop back in here later - today hubby and I have about a million errands to run, a pile of crap to take to storage, early voting to do, and some food to acquire. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:35, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I just felt I wanted to say that Ealdgyth is quite right in suggesting that the renaming nonsense at the SSEM was a significant contributory factory in my decision to stop editing Wikipedia when I did, but there were others, as Iridescent has said. I won't bore anyone with a long list - and I do have a long list - but Iridiscent's right, the target on my back was becoming a little too burdensome. It wasn't just my own personal frustrations though, I was seeing long-term collaborators such as ParrotofDoom, Sagaciousphil and many others getting worn down and leaving, and the place began to feel a little bit lonely. I won't ever be editing Wikipedia again, but what's the loss of just another unit of work? After all, the received wisdom is that we're all free to edit, we're all equally competent to edit, and anything I say is just wrong anyway. Eric Corbett 15:48, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm still in contact with Sagaciousphil, and occasionally drop them a line about disputes in dog articles. I know he's not Iridescent's cup of tea but I miss Dr. Blofeld; I can't see any other way of Audrey Hepburn getting to FA status. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:51, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

How To Write A Biography Of Audrey Hepburn In Twenty-one Easy Steps[edit]

@Ritchie333:
  1. Get the nine Hepburn biographies listed in the bibliography;
  2. Start with a blank sandbox, completely disregarding the existing article;
  3. Populate the sandbox with a basic infobox, a block of {{lorem ipsum}} for the lead, and section headings just named for periods in her life (I'd suggest using the same ones as in the existing article);
  4. In your own sandbox (because doing this in draft space means other people can also edit it, which leads to an attribution nightmare) go through the first book start-to-finish, and each time you come across something that looks either like it's pertinent to the story, or that would interest readers, add it in the appropriate section;
  5. Repeat with the second book;
  6. Repeat with the third book;
  7. Repeat with the fourth book;
  8. Repeat with the fifth book;
  9. Repeat with the sixth book;
  10. Repeat with the seventh book;
  11. Repeat with the eighth book;
  12. Repeat with the ninth book;
  13. At this point (and not before), enter "Audrey Hepburn biography" as a search term on Amazon to see if anything recent has been published that you should be aware of; because Amazon's entire business revolves around showing you things of interest which you may not have been aware of, their search function is second-to-none when it comes to finding relevant material. If there is, get it out of the library and repeat the cover-to-cover thing;
  14. Look over the images on Commons, and select appropriate images to illustrate each section. Don't be swayed by what's in the current article, as quite often those are things which were added years ago and better images have been uploaded to Commons in the meantime;
  15. Write a lead section summarising your new article;
  16. (This is easiest if you have a monitor large enough to handle split-screen) With your sandbox and the existing article open, go through the Wikipedia article sentence-by-sentence and ensure that everything mentioned in the existing article is also mentioned in your sandbox. If something isn't mentioned in your sandbox, decide whether it's relevant enough to include, and if so copy-and-paste it across, verifying the source as you do so. You're intentionally doing this as late as possible in the process, to ensure that the new-and-improved article doesn't overwrite and lose improvements people have added to the existing article while you've been writing the sandbox;
  17. Copyedit the sandbox as closely as possible. Don't invite anyone else to do so at this stage, as anyone other than yourself editing will screw up the attribution even if it's just moving a misplaced comma;
  18. Ctrl-A, ctrl-C, and overwrite the existing article with the contents of your sandbox. Because you're the only person who's edited the sandbox, you can do this as a cut-and-paste move even though it would normally be forbidden as all the edits are copyright to and licenced by yourself, so you don't need to screw around with history merges;
  19. Invite anyone you think might be interested to copyedit the new version of the article;
  20. Give it three months without making any substantive changes to the article, in case someone finds a serious error or imbalance in your new version. This is frustrating but necessary;
  21. If nobody's complained about your new version, nominate it at FAC.
This is time-consuming, but as long as you have the confidence in your writing to be sure that the quality of your own writing will be equal to or better than the quality of the existing writing, it's the easiest way to nurture any kind of high-traffic but low-quality article to FAC quality, while avoiding either having to work from nine books simultaneously, or have an awkward stage when you've thoroughly integrated the opinions of one author on the topic but haven't yet done the others, so the article is giving undue weight to a particular biographer's views. ‑ Iridescent 16:35, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
If I can be very rude :) I suspect it's the #21st step that Ritchie's not keen on: the subsequent few weeks' worth of arguing the ritual toss :) ——SerialNumber54129 16:42, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Don't forget #21a: Write/Do something else while waiting. It did a lot of good for me to do that while Wōdejebato and Ubinas are/were at FAC. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:45, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Besides the sandbox bit, Iridescent's approach is almost precisely how I write articles. Incidentally, @Ritchie333: if you end up working on the Hepburn article, I've gotten some good experience providing feedback for famous people biographies prepping for RfA thanks to Aoba and FrB.TG, so I'd be happy to help if you do pursue that. ceranthor 16:51, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh, it's not just me offering opinions without experience; this genuinely is how I write articles. In terms of edit count it looks bad, because you end up with only one mainspace edit for what can be months of work, but it's far easier IMO to write from scratch even if you end up duplicating most of the existing article, and then on each point compare your version with the existing wording and decide what to keep. ‑ Iridescent 16:56, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps a bad habit, but I tend to just write on top of what's present, or hide unsourced material until I can find evidence to back it up (or else it gets the chop as original research). Sandbox might be a good option if I ever take on Mount Vesuvius or something of similar importance. ceranthor 16:58, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Writing on top of the existing article can be problematic assuming you're working one-source-at-a-time (which is by far the easiest way to do it). It's not so much of an issue with something like a volcano article, as there aren't multiple schools of thought on how a volcano works, but for anything with any potential to be contentious, it's hard to avoid that awkward phase when you've worked through the fawning hagiography but not yet the muckraking biography, and people quite rightly accuse you of giving undue weight to the opinions of a single author. Even for something like Vesuvius I could foresee issues working in mainspace, since presumably you'd need to cover attitudes towards the Italian government's disaster-readiness measures, on which I'd imagine there is a range of views. ‑ Iridescent 17:04, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
"A range of views": a slight understatement?! :) ——SerialNumber54129 17:09, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Vesuvius ... now see I was thinking to write something about Mount Etna one day but the 5460 academic articles with "etna" in the name scared me off. Vesuvius has "only" 1990 but it'd be daunting either way. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:03, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
I suppose those kind of volcanoes are probably the sort of articles that would be as much political, sociological and cultural discussions and impact as the pure vulcanology; particularly Vesuvius, I guess, as it must have literally formed Western Europe's entire understanding and awareness of volcanoes for the next ~2000 years. Wouldn't it end up up being 20K words though?! ——SerialNumber54129 19:12, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Exactly. And of the volcanoes that are vital articles, only a few truly deserve that label IMO. Mount Mazama isn't one, for example, even though it had the largest eruption in the past million years in the Cascades. Besides, I find articles like Lake Nyos or Nevado del Ruiz more interesting; it's the human aspects of the tragedy that make it compelling to write and tell the story, not mere geological phenomena, at least for me. ceranthor 19:34, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Interesting. For me it's actually the opposite; I am primarily interested in the landscape and geology and tend to be less interested in human aspects. Probably because I am fairly asocial myself. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:49, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
And for the spectacular landscapes. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:49, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Nah, Ceranthor is right; on any topic, the human aspect is almost always the most important. Remember, you're not writing here for an academic audience, you're writing for 14-year-olds who've stumbled across the topic while clicking links, and the single most important thing is to convince them that there's a reason this topic is worthy of their time. It's why somewhere up above I recommended photographs of people who live on or near the slopes whenever you can shoehorn them in to volcano articles; you want readers to think "hey, this isn't a boring technical article about magma domes after all, this is actually a story about people like me". ‑ Iridescent 20:28, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Sigh. On Nevado Sajama I just got an irritating reminder of why I don't include human interest information: There are no reliable sources for it. That's Bolivia's most prominent volcano and there is a lot of research on its ice and yet there is a sum total of two sources about its geology, both of which apparently don't exist outside of Bolivia. Ojos del Salado and Guallatiri and Isluga, same deal, very important volcanoes very little info on their geology. El Tatio has adequate geology info but little on tourism - presumably it's more oral knowledge than stuff written down. JoJo Eumerus mobile (talk) 21:10, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't know about Bolivia, but for most places you can at least find a bare minimum of information from primary sources like census records. Educational regulators are always a good bet, as school inspection reports tend to say things like "most children go on to higher education" or "over half the children are from immigrant communities" which allow readers to paint a mental picture of the community. Failing that, and as per my comments regarding Putre on the other thread, if there's genuinely nothing to write on the human angle, raid Commons and Flickr to see if you can find photos of local residents and buildings. Readers engage more with an article if they can see a connection to their own lives, and even something as simple as "people live there, hey I'm a person too" create that connection. (It's why adverts almost invariably show people, even when it's for something like an automobile where logic would suggest purchasers would be more interested in technical specifications, and on the rare occasions where ads don't show people—Apple springs to mind—they'll without exception be soundtracked with a piece of music their researchers have shown that the target market will be familiar with.) ‑ Iridescent 09:14, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, miracles still happen; I did just track down one of these two unfindable sources so I guess I'll be working on Sajama over the next few days and on 1669 Etna eruption later unless Ceranthor calls me for Huaynaputina. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis also looks like it might yield an interesting and creepy story. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:46, 25 October 2018 (UTC)

I think I probably should have mentioned User:Dr. Blofeld/Audrey Hepburn, which already covers points 1 - 9. For every serious article improvement I have done, I have stuck to a handful of biographies that I consider the best; for example Keith Moon was done from two, The Carpenters was done from two with a strong tilt towards one, The Who used three with a fourth as a backup, and Bootleg recording used just the one (though if there's a more definitive book on bootlegs that Clinton Heylin's, I haven't heard of it). Also, I have read every book from cover to cover and understood it - this is really important because if you pick up a book and just pull something out of it without thinking what you're doing - you will make mistakes and the anti-vandalism, Wikipedia-as-video-game crowd will not spot them as they can't recognise well-written prose cited to reliable sources that is in fact wrong. SN54129 makes a good point above - on the occasions I have put up an article for FAC I have become so fed up of working on the bloody article that I really haven't got the stamina to tackle any comments that crop up.

So based on that, I realise the "twenty-one easy steps" was tongue in cheek though good advice, but I suspect if I did all that in earnest it would take about three years. I've never been particularly good at biographies of women and have struggled at Women in Red projects to try and write them - I find it much easier to write about inanimate objects like train stations. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:44, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

It's only about 5% tongue-in-cheek—provided you have confidence that you can write at the right "not too dumb, not too complicated" level, the above genuinely is the cookie-cutter formula for getting an article to FA standard with minimal conflict. Regarding "read every book from cover to cover and understood it", it kind of goes without saying that I'd expect anyone writing on any topic to know the topic before they start. (Giano used to advocate writing drafts completely unsourced and then sourcing the article once it's finished. I wouldn't go that far—I think there's too much risk of something being left out if one doesn't go through the source start-to-finish when writing it, tedious though it is—but I can certainly see his point.) I know there's a school of thought on Wikipedia that says you don't need to know a topic to write about it provided you have the sources, but IMO that's an awful attitude and leads to the kind of mentality that's turned DYK into the laughing-stock it's become.
In my personal opinion, writing biographies of 20th and 21st century figures is rarely a good use of time on Wikipedia. In most of these cases, particularly high-profile figures like Hepburn, the reader could find out information of equal quality just as easily from Google even if the Wikipedia biography consisted of nothing more than the recipe for honey roast parsnips and a photograph of Jimmy Wales re-creating goatse, and since new material is going to keep being published for some time the articles will go out of date as soon as they're written. Biographies are worthwhile for obscure but important figures on whom there isn't a great deal of information elsewhere—although by definition, these are also the people for whom the Wikipedia articles will be shitty as the sources aren't there—and for people who've been safely dead for at least a century and on whom the historical consensus has formed. ‑ Iridescent 20:24, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

(Wel that is considerably more helpful than anything I had ever found before, but it leaves me with little hope for Robert E. Valett, Military bicycle, or Escort carrier getting to GA or FA without me flying out to get my hands on source material, in the case of carriers the 3 books are either out of print or unavailable at my local and university libraries. If not everything can be FA level, which is more important: making more stub-C-class articles or "expanding" a tiny percentage of pre-existing articles? Thanks, L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 02:52, 24 October 2018 (UTC)

Assuming you're in a reasonably large country, you can usually get almost anything on Interlibrary loan, while rooting around on Worldcat finds books nearby surprisingly often. As a last resort, and providing you can afford to take a slight financial hit, buy whatever book it is on Amazon Marketplace and then when you're done re-post it for sale at the same price you paid for it. You'll pay Amazon's per-item fee (currently $1) and might have to wait until someone else buys the book, but won't lose out otherwise. ‑ Iridescent 07:37, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
  • It's free to list on the UK site, but there's fees when you sell, and Amazon have a standard reimbursement which might not cover the p&p. Some big sellers use automation to ensure they have the lowest selling price. There's no hit if you offer something for sale and then claim it's "out of stock" when someone tries to buy it. So you could list your own nonexistent copy at the lowest price, and see if you can drive down the cost of the others- a lot of the prices are almost random. Alternatively volunteer at a charity shop- a friend does that and he processes somewhere around half a ton of books a week. Xanthomelanoussprog (talk) 07:51, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Here's a puzzle for you. Victorian artist, invented a new technique of painting, was a favourite artist of Ruskin, who hung several of his works in his bedroom. Nicknamed after his most typical subject matter, he influenced a number of followers to paint the same subject with the result that antique fairs still contain several examples either of handcoloured prints of his work or similar works by other artists. He travelled by wheelbarrow in his later life. propelled by his daughter. One biography and a catalogue of an exhibition in the 1980s are the only published works on him. Xanthomelanoussprog (talk) 08:59, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Vacher is the only one I can think of who'd fit the bill, but I'm unaware of any wheelbarrow-related activity. Go on, who? ‑ Iridescent 18:00, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
  • "Bird's Nest" Hunt. He developed a technique of painting on wet white gouache, and knocked out plenty of still lives- fruit against a mossy background, with obligate snail shell or nest. Appears to have had a number of imitators, judging by the number of badly-painted Victorian fruit assemblages I've seen. Xanthomelanoussprog (talk) 18:47, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Blame Etty for the prevalence of paintings like this in the second half of the 19th century
  • I was thinking of the other Hunt while going through names, as he was certainly imitated and Ruskin was certainly a fan, but was fairly confident there were no wheelbarrows involved in his life.

    Regarding the Victorian fad for still-lifes, the blame can be squarely laid at the feet of William Etty. Before the 1840s still lifes were seen as a crude exercise only practiced by lower races like the Dutch—if your honest English art student wanted to paint something that didn't need paying or get up and start walking around, he'd find a sculpture or statue and paint that—but c. 1840 Etty, who was a full Academician so could exhibit whatever he liked, started to exhibit assorted fruit bowls at the RA and BI, and they caught on. ‑ Iridescent 19:51, 24 October 2018 (UTC)

  • There's a third Hunt, who did dog portraits- Walter Hunt (1861-1941). Specialised in Border Collies apparently. Don't need paying, and they don't walk around if you nail their paws to the floor. Xanthomelanoussprog (talk) 21:04, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Imo ""expanding" a tiny percentage of pre-existing articles" is considerably more important, and what I have mostly done for years, like too few others. I don't know why you say "a tiny percentage" - whatever you do that will apply, and there are plenty of really crap articles getting views into 3 figures daily. I certainly ration my effort in terms of the views the article will get, or try to. It's nice to have FAs, but I have only done "special requests" for years, or been added onto someone else's nom after helping out. FAC seems to be getting ever-tougher on referencing and prose niggles, and less demanding over the actual content. Although I do have lots of books, I manage to keep ongoing expenditure on Amazon covered by the modest prizes from Wikipedia:The Core Contest (time for another User:Casliber!), and work in an area where google preview is pretty generous. Mind you, sometimes a good library is really necessary - the two most essential books on St Cuthbert Gospel (one tiny and the other weighing some 20 kg) would both have cost well into 3 figures - one is currently unavailable and the other currently £275 and up. I am supposed to be delivering my views on FA writing to an eager public at the WMUK office on the evening of November 21st btw. All and any welcome. Here's the page. Johnbod (talk) 11:31, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
If the choice is between creating articles on topics you know will never go beyond stubs, or "expanding" a tiny percentage of pre-existing articles, the expansions win every time, but that's a false dichotomy. The priorities should be expanding the pre-existing articles and creating articles on topics where you genuinely feel there's at minimum 1000-ish words to be written on the topic. If you don't feel the article will ever rise above a stub/start ("C-class" is a meaningless term we created a few years back to assuage the feelings of contributors who were taking offence at having articles tagged as inadequate), then it's almost certainly an article that should never have been created and instead should be an entry in a list somewhere. ‑ Iridescent 18:00, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Step 18 looks like an opportunity for someone to complain: "The diff is too big, you left out my thing, you're destroying what everyone else contributed". Replacing it section by section, perhaps over the space of a week or two, should mitigate that problem. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:56, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
But that means an awkward phase when the article is an amalgam of the two, particularly if you're changing the section order. From experience of twelve years (on-and-off) writing this way, provided your rewrite is clearly an improvement over what went before and provided that if you do omit anything that was previously mentioned you're able to justify why it was omitted, it doesn't generate complaints. ‑ Iridescent 19:51, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
The reaction might depend upon your subject area. Not quite everyone is excited about having their own contributions erased. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:05, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Which is why step 16—integration, not overwriting—is so important; you're not wiping and replacing the existing article when you do the cut-and-paste overwrite, you're expanding it. As I understand it, the reason Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Translation task force annoyed people was that they gave the impression (whether fairly or not) of parachuting in to smaller wikis and announcing "your content isn't good enough so we're going to replace it with ours", rather than respecting existing consensuses (consensi?), working according to the local house style and respecting the sources used by local editors. (As you know, the content of a lot of wikis outside the big four Wikipedias is terrible, but en-wiki is so widely seen as a domineering bully that anything looking like an en-wiki landgrab will unite editors against us.) ‑ Iridescent 08:26, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
and I still say write it in draft without sources and references, then look all the facts up and while you are doing so, you’ll find all the bits you had forgotten or thought too tedious to mention while the enthusiasm was driving you. You can pop those bits in to pad out the short paragraphs. Don’t forget you are also writing for the proverbial 14-year-old, so to keep his attention, you’ll need a bit of sex and violence, so you may have to hunt about to find this, but it’s usually there if you look hard enough - nobody wants to read about a perfect saint: it would be too dull. Strongly recommend not writing about people who are still alive, as they may sue or turn out to be a mate of Jimbo’s, which means huge chunks will have to be deleted. The recent dead too are best avoided because for five years after death people are deified by their friends, and people who think they would have been ther friends had they actually ever met them. Incidentally, I have a friend who knew Hepburn extremely well and still hasn’t a bad word to say about her. However, Aud’s mother is a whole different kettle of fish. Now, there could be a warts and all biography if you have the wherewithal to research her. Not a nice lady at all. Giano (talk) 20:13, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Always interesting to see how others approach writing for Wikipedia. I follow neither Iri's nor Giano's method, which may have something to do with my topics. When I'm expanding for GA and/or FA, I generally don't get the luxury of whole books devoted to the subject - instead I get to tease out their life (since its almost always a biography) from bits and pieces all over the place. If I'm lucky, I'll have a journal article or two on the subject to supplement the ODNB entry. After getting information from those sources in - it's pull out a stack of books on the time period and start hunting for bits in them to add in. Then I do a search on JSTOR (and all the journal articles I already have on my hard drive), then Google Scholar. If necessary, I then order books I uncovered at Google Scholar through ILL. Sometimes, I'm able to snag a really cheap copy on Amazon. This usually provides enough for a GA length article - FA is more iffy. The horse articles are pretty much the same, except the fact that I don't bother with Google Scholar or JSTOR for horse biographies - I already own almost everything published on QHs - instead I'll do a newspapers.com search after pulling everything from my books and magazine articles (which are old fashioned and in hard copy in files in file drawers). For most of my subjects ... it's a case of piecing together ... not distilling. Even the "exceptions" where there are full length biographies of a subject (William the Conqueror, the occasional bishop), it's at best three biographies (that's the total number of good scholarly biographies of William the Conqueror out there - as opposed to crap stuff that pushes fringe theories or is written for grade school kids). If a bishop has a biography ... it's a time for rejoicing (Hubert Walter has TWO... still the record for English medieval ecclesiastics). And English medieval ecclesiastics are lucky - there's good information out there - not only the ODNB but also the Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, which gives the bare bones biographical facts for all bishops (and many diocesan officials below bishops) for 1066-1857. There's an equivalent to the Fasti for Norman medieval sees til 1204, but after that you're digging into old Victorian or earlier sources most European medieval ecclesiastical biography - there is certainly nothing in English on Continental ecclesistics to compare to the coverage in the Fasti and the ODNB. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:52, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
I usually rewrite in main space as I go, using Iri's rationale that every step is an improvement. It's also a good way of sniffing out if anybody is likely to object, which usually they aren't (I also look at the article history early on). If it's a subject I (think I) know a bit about, I have been known to rewrite before doing any or much new reading, and then reference up & adjust as necessary in a 2nd phase. That's for more general topics than bios though, & I'm usually doing them precisely because they have been neglected for years. Johnbod (talk) 23:29, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

File source problem with File:Selina Rushbrook (née Selina Ann Jenkins), 1905.jpg[edit]

Thank you for uploading File:Selina Rushbrook (née Selina Ann Jenkins), 1905.jpg. I noticed that the file's description page currently doesn't specify who created the content, so the copyright status is unclear. If you did not create this file yourself, you will need to specify the owner of the copyright. If you obtained it from a website, please add a link to the page from which it was taken, together with a brief restatement of the website's terms of use of its content. If the original copyright holder is a party unaffiliated with the website, that author should also be credited. Please add this information by editing the image description page.

If the necessary information is not added within the next days, the image will be deleted. If the file is already gone, you can still make a request for undeletion and ask for a chance to fix the problem.

Please refer to the image use policy to learn what images you can or cannot upload on Wikipedia. Please also check any other files you have uploaded to make sure they are correctly tagged. Here is a list of your uploads. If you have any questions or are in need of assistance please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 15:17, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

Fuck off, Sfan. Your disruptobot is starting to seriously try my patience; in what way do you think that 19th-century official prison photographs could still be in copyright, even if owing to some unusual chain of events involving all the official cameras being broken and the prison having to get an independent photographer to take the photos on that day, they for some reason weren't Crown Copyright? As pointed out last time you incorrectly tagged this for deletion, "not following the arbitrary attribution format you've made up" is not synonymous with "incorrectly attributed" ‑ Iridescent 15:23, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
...is not added within the next days... within the what days? Shame about the copyediting :D ——SerialNumber54129 15:32, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
On Sunday I was at an editathon in the Wellcome Library, mainly to see what sort of things new users did and what they wanted to talk about. One of the attendees said, "what sort of pictures can you upload?" - I just kind of hid because I knew my answer : "Don't bother, you'll just get abuse from random people without explanation if you try it" probably wouldn't go down too well. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:50, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
At the risk of sounding like an egg teaching a hen: I wouldn't bother to reply to a semiautomatic notification here as I don't expect that Twinkle users always watchlist the user talk pages they semi-auto-posted on; I'd post it on User talk:ShakespeareFan00 ~. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:01, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
In this particular case, I'm fairly confident he's watching the page, given that last time I questioned his mis-tagging this image for deletion with a made-up deletion rationale he promptly went off to the admin noticeboard to announce his divaquitting, before coming back and picking up where he left off shortly afterwards. ‑ Iridescent 16:11, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Diggin' da shades, sister: [2]. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:31, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
The answer is extremely simple: anything either not copyrighted or under a license that we support uploading of, where you can prove that license.
Copyright has legal implications and must be dealt with strictly. Vermont (talk) 09:16, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I also thought it was that extremely simple, until I read the conversation that EEng links to below. How would you respond to that? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:27, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
From a quick read (I read the help desk link, skimmed over the discussion on Magog's user talk, and briefly looked at the OTRS tickets), the conversation linked to below seems to revolve around who owns copyright to a few different images where the person claiming to have copyright either appeared in the image or wasn't directly the photographer. This doesn't effect the simplicity of copyright; it's an issue with proving that the person claiming to own it actually does, which can get very complicated depending on the situation. Vermont (talk) 10:40, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I can see that distinction. But as far as an outcome is concerned, I guess it's going to be equally perplexing for the image uploader? My experience is that in the "real world" images are frequently transferred for use between friends and colleagues with simple verbal assurances of "you're welcome to use that image on your website" etc., without any kind of formal ownership or copyright declaration being recorded. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:11, 24 October 2018 (UTC)

Speaking of ridiculous enforcers of file permissions[edit]

[3]. EEng 05:13, 24 October 2018 (UTC)

Nobody likes insulting Commons and their arbitrary administration, which appears based more on who you're friends with than anything else, more than me, but I can feel a degree of sympathy for the admins in that particular case. "I don't know who the creator was but I'm the copyright owner" is right up there with "source: personal knowledge" when it comes to being a warning flag for a potentially problematic edit. ‑ Iridescent 08:08, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Based on your comment I don't think you read the discussion carefully enough. This bunch can't even keep straight what their own rules and procedures are, slip back and forth between copyright holder and author without seemingly realizing it, and much more. They're a bunch of clowns out of their depth. The post get at my link above itself starts with a link to an earlier round of the same discussion; to get the full flavor of the Commons hall of mirrors, follow that link and read what happened there too. EEng 17:03, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Did someone mention drowning clowns (with added chainsaw)?? You need.... Herbaria'™' calming tea, allegedly. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:10, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I'm not defending the Commons crowd in the slightest; it has by far the most incompetent administration of any WMF project, which given that we run Wikiversity is saying something. (We're talking a project that felt the need to hold a discussion about whether someone globally banned by WMF Legal—a serial sockpuppeteer who counted User:WMFcansuckmyballs among his many identities—should retain admin and crat userrights, to put this in perspective.) All I'm saying is that I can appreciate the initial knee-jerk; anyone who's ever worked the speedy deletion queue here can confirm that "I own this, I don't know who created it" is 99.999% of the time code for "I stole this from a website somewhere", and on Commons—where the admins deal with far more images than we do here—it must have set every admin who saw it into the mindset of "this editor is clearly up to something and it's my job to find out what it is". Admins are human, even Commons admins; while one can blame them for doggedly defending conclusions after they've jumped to them, one can hardly blame the initial jump in this case. ‑ Iridescent 17:43, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
No, you can blame them. The release text sent was exactly the text Commons supplies; apparently, depending on which admin you get, they just arbitrarily decide they don't want to accept the clear statement made in that release text they supply. My beef is that if they want more, or more under certain circumstances (or, as it seems, more now and then according to random whim) why don't they say that up front? It put me in an embarrassing situation. EEng 22:32, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
Abney Park – 20180710 110251 (42600535824).jpg
Sure I get that, but from the admin point of view just because someone's followed the correct procedure doesn't mean there's not going to be an issue—there's a looooooong history of people who think that appearing in a photograph automatically makes them the owner of the copyright, and who then go on to upload the photo entirely in good faith and through the correct channels, but Commons still needs to delete it because the copyright wasn't theirs to give. Look on it as Commons's equivalent of a new account here who's correctly gone through all the AfC and Article Wizard processes, but creates an article that shows as a 90% match on the copyvio detector; yes, there are cases where someone has legitimately copied a public domain source and correctly attributed it, but there are enough new pages created by copy-pasting websites that the admins are going to examine you very closely.

As I say, I'm not defending the admins in this case, just saying that I can understand their initial reaction. Have the world's most petulant gravestone as compensation for your time. If anyone feels the urge, I imagine John Swan (engineer) could be turned blue with fairly minimal effort. ‑ Iridescent 18:09, 25 October 2018 (UTC)

Didn't anyone tell him his reward would be in Heaven...? I suppose he found out soon enough... ——SerialNumber54129 18:17, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
Grave of Frank Bostock, "The Animal King"
He obviously left his daughter enough that she could afford a gravestone the size of a small house, so I assume he didn't die of starvation. If you don't mind stepping over the East European drunks who've colonised it, Abney Park is a great place if you want really peculiar tombstones as it's where the arriviste new money, who weren't posh enough for Highgate or Hampstead but were important enough that their families could prevent the Necropolis Company hauling their remains off to Brookwood, tended to be buried; here's the tomb of lion-tamer Frank Bostock (tragically also a redlink). ‑ Iridescent 18:26, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
We want a strong and stable Brexit, where cemetery means cemetery, but where all East European drunks will be very welcome to stay. thank you. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:07, 25 October 2018 (UTC)

Brummie Sewer Lions[edit]

Bostock's trained lions LCCN2012645716.jpg
That no one has had cause yet to use the above picture in an article is indeed a tragedy. Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:37, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
This guy was not only a world-famous lion tamer but also managed to lose a lion down a sewer? How can he not have an article? (Well actually he did, I see it was A7'd back in 2012).--Pawnkingthree (talk) 18:56, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
To be fair, the entire text of the deleted article was Animal trainer from Glasgow Scotland. He received his first opportunity to perform in America from Bolossy Kiralfy.—I don't think one can really blame the admins for that one. It looks like all the recent sources on him are just chapters in books on circus history, so I'm reluctant to take him on as it would mean being lumbered with a stack of books that aren't of interest to me. (I wouldn't really want to rely on the BBC link without double-checking everything; Bethan Bell writes the human-interest filler pieces like Bureaucats: The felines with official positions and What could Harry and Meghan expect at Butlin's? rather than real news, so I suspect her articles aren't fact-checked even to BBC News's poor standards.) ‑ Iridescent 20:09, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
But it's not all Butlins and Bureaucats for Bethan Bell is it? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:19, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
Check the links; she didn't do the actual news reporting, she wrote the grim-up-north back story pieces. This isn't to criticise her – I've just spent the best part of 300kb of text arguing that human interest and linking the story to the readers' own experiences is one of the most important parts of writing for an online audience – but in Wikipedia terms this kind of story, when news organisations have slashed budgets and need to allocate the factchecking teams where the lawsuits are most likely, are the ones least likely to be RS. ‑ Iridescent 20:34, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
So her name's on this, but she merely wrote it, not actually reported it? How do we know if she made some of it up? I just see "BBC" and assume a certain level of veracity, I guess. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:41, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
Other people did the actual news reports—they're at the bottom of the Wikipedia article, and linked in Bell's article—and Bell summarised their reports in her piece. As I say, I'm not critical of it as a style of journalism, but it's one to be wary of in Wikipedia terms. On the general reliability of the BBC, on big stories like changes of government or major incidents they're superb, but on lower-profile take their reporting with a piece of salt, and when BBC local are involved take them with a kilo bag of salt. BBC News is halfway through their four-year programme of £80 million in cuts (that's just cuts to the BBC News budget, not the rest of the corporation), and since given recent—er—developments they can't cut London, Scotland, Belfast, Brussels or Washington, it's English and Welsh news outside of London that's taken the full weight of the axe. If you want to read utopian technobabble at a level that would make the WMF proud, the BBC's official ramblings about how cuts don't matter because in the future everyone will already know about everything the instant it happens so the only job for journalists is to provide commentary (I'm paraphrasing but not by much) are here. ‑ Iridescent 21:17, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, I really don't know if one has to spend years footslogging around the fetid sewers of Hartlepool (hunting large cats with ancient firearms) before one gets a nice cosy office at White City, or if one still just has to go to Oxbridge. Someone still has to put a story together and assume that they've got actual facts to work with from those lower down the food chain? How nice of Auntie to pick up the tab for the free OAP licence in two years' time. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:30, 25 October 2018 (UTC)

The extent of a lion's knowledge of firearms[edit]

Sorry Eng, too busy reading about sewer lion to bitch about commons. There must be an editor who likes circus history somewhere... Only in death does duty end (talk) 00:38, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
The circus editors are all tied up writing about the Trump administration. EEng 01:26, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
We do genuinely have a professional elephant-tamer. I don't know if there's some kind of menagerie rivalry and the elephant and lion folk all hate each other, or if it's all one big happy family. Casliber wrote Lion, so I assume if there's anyone with an interest in circus lions he'll be aware of them. ‑ Iridescent 07:55, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
On is it really possible to threaten a lion with a gun?, if it was a tame lion then possibly. His trainer may well have used a blank-firing gun as a punishment. If that's the case, while the lion on seeing the firearm wouldn't have had metaphysical thoughts on whether it is better to die free or live as a captive, he would have thought "that's the bang-stick that makes my ears hurt if I don't go where the man points and lie down". ‑ Iridescent 08:06, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I thought of that later. Good thing cats have good night vision for looking at guns in sewers. EEng 16:43, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • "I at once asked... that he would instruct the superintendent of sewers to send me the bravest men he could spare, with their top-boots, ladders, ropes, and revolvers with them." What the hell was going on down those sewers? Xanthomelanoussprog (talk) 17:11, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
A typical sight in Edwardian Yorkshire
Charismatic megafauna for sale in the Victorian East End

Although, as well all know, Wikipedia is almost finished and now entering its maintenance phase (ha!) there is still much that could be said on discrete but somewhat niche topics such as the early history of the travelling menagerie.

Bostock added his name to that of George Wombwell (does his memorial in Highgate look familiar, folks?). We don't appear to have anything on Day's Menagerie, but the sources are out there.

And then there are the likes of Charles Jamrach (and his escaped tiger) and Edward Cross (and his rampaging elephant Chunee, whose fate has its historical echo of unfortunate later elephants such as Topsy or Mary), or a little further back Douwe Mout van der Meer [nl] (and the extended travels of Clara). All in good time. 213.205.198.205 (talk) 01:46, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

There's probably quite a lot there, but I'm not the one to do it, as I know virtually nothing about circuses. Aside from anything else, these would be harder to write than they first appear, as one would need to put them in the context of both 19th- and 21st-century attitudes towards animal welfare which is a tricky balancing act (look at the history of Brown Dog affair to get an idea). ‑ Iridescent 08:01, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Look more closely—she's holding the crocodile clasped to her bosom with the other hand. ‑ Iridescent 07:55, 26 October 2018 (UTC)


being pinged in this discussion, I can only share my view after +40 years in the profession, that people working with animals in general are somehow downgraded to be pretty unimportant, unless they engage in political correct fields as animal rights and likewise. Any teenager who run a blog about which makeup they use, will be regarded as more relevant for Wikipedia article, than an animal trainer working all his life in 15 countries, and three continents. I think partly has political grounds. Internatioanlly known animal trainers should be buried and forgotten. Dan Koehl (talk) 10:24, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I'd agree with that; because animal acts are unfashionable (in fairness, mainly because so many high profile cases of trainers treating animals appallingly has soured the public), nobody's writing much about them. It would be interesting to see if the success of The Greatest Showman leads to a new interest in the history of vintage circus acts. ‑ Iridescent 17:13, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Politics again i guess, animal acts are in politically correctPOV unfashionable (in fairness, mainly because NOT so many high profile cases of trainers treating animals appallingly has soured the public). But Wikipedia should not be POV... Dan Koehl (talk) 16:42, 12 November 2018 (UTC)
I don't disagree—there's nothing inherently more abusive about training an elephant than training any other animal; a lot of people who'd complain of cruelty if they saw a whip being used on a racehorse or a blank-firing gun used to control a circus lion will rub a puppy's nose in its own faeces or slap a cat for jumping on the table; and even the worst-run circuses and zoos treat their animals infinitely better than industrial farms treat intensively-farmed pigs or battery hens, yet the people complaining that zoos disrespect the dignity of the animals are generally quite happy to go home and eat their bacon and eggs.
I'd imagine that what caused the swing in the public mood against traditional circuses is that there were some high-profile cases of circuses—and especially smaller private zoos—treating animals atrociously (yes, most of these cases were in countries like Turkey and Russia which have generally laxer animal welfare standards and less of a tradition of caring for wildlife, but all the public sees is a bear or a lion being beaten by its handler and aren't going to stop and think about differential animal welfare legislation between countries); many of those cases came to light over a relatively short period so although what was actually happening was that the prevalence of cameraphones and cheap video cameras made people more aware of something that had always gone on, it appeared that there was an upswing in mistreatment; and the increased population of Africa and Asia for tourism and a boom in the popularity of wildlife documentaries made more people aware of the natural habitats and behavior of large animals and thus the zoo/circus environment (particularly old-style cages-and-bars zoos) came to give the appearance of cruelty regardless of how the animals were actually being treated.
I suspect that, assuming wild populations continue to decline, captive breeding programs will come back to being seen as a public good (as has already happened in the US regarding bison), while advances in robotics will make the use of live animals in circuses less necessary (Circus 1903 is using robot elephants in place of real ones, and where Vegas goes the rest of the entertainment industry generally follows). ‑ Iridescent 16:32, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
And how about Moby Dick robotscetacean needed too? Martinevans123 (talk) 16:43, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Those exist; the robot whales used in the Free Willy movies were so convincing, most viewers thought they were using real trained whale performers. ‑ Iridescent 16:51, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I mean, many folks see aquatic parks as the worse kind of zoos, don't they. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:57, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I once took a four-year-old to an aquarium; she wandered round in near-silence and eventually asked "Were these fish naughty to be put in jail?". (As with my bison comment above, there are legitimate reasons for keeping animals in captivity for study and for a hedge against extinction, and there are legitimate reasons for putting them on display to raise money to fund the breeding and conservation programs. I'm not sure there are really legitimate reasons for training walruses to mime jazz sax. The thoughts of marine animals are harder to read; if an elephant or a lion is unhappy it's obvious to both the trainer and the audience, but I doubt anyone can really tell what's going through the mind of a dolphin or a sea-lion.) ‑ Iridescent 17:07, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I met one of the penguins from Batman Returns today. 33 years old. Looked pretty happy getting his fish dinner. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:26, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Iridescent, they're probably thinking what we'd be thinking if we had to spend our lives in a big bathtub. SarahSV (talk) 21:14, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
... anything over about 17 seconds is way long enough for me. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:25, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I've honestly no idea whether "spend our lives in a big bathtub" is fair or not. I've no idea how much space a fish (whale, dolphin etc) actually wants or needs; for all I know a fish-tank is no crueller than keeping a horse in a field, or locking the cat in the house when you go on holiday. (This thread surely must hold the record for the one that's veered furthest from its original topic, even by the standards of this talk page.) ‑ Iridescent 22:24, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Well, ya know what they say.... "You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead". Martinevans123 (talk) 22:34, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Civility[edit]

You might be interested to partake in what appears to be striving for the most productive discussion of the year.WBGconverse 09:45, 28 October 2018 (UTC)

Not sure why you think I'd be interested; AFAIK I don't believe I've ever commented on a civility proposal in my life (other than maybe at a couple of the arb cases), and fully intend to ignore the result of this one whatever it turns out to be. In fairness to Lourdes, the problem is with the commenters not the proposal; this isn't the usual "ban whatever words happen to be offensive in whatever place I currently live" proposal, but specifically about at what point repetitive usage becomes inappropriate. I think it's a misguided proposal—why should the relatively mild "fuck off" be singled out for special treatment as opposed to other, potentially much more offensive language—but she can't be blamed for the fact that most of those commenting—both for and against—appear to be ignoring the actual proposal and voting for/against banning the use of the word "fuck". ‑ Iridescent 17:20, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
(adding) If anyone wants the actual least productive discussion currently taking place on Wikipedia, head on over to Talk:Trypophobia#Survey, in which a bunch of people are earnestly debating whether Wikipedia should disregard Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not censored—which, lest we forget, is supposedly the first of the Five Pillars—to accommodate the supposed sufferers from an 'illness' that was made up on the internet 13 years ago. ‑ Iridescent 00:04, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I have !voted, it is now officially the least productive discussion. Only in death does duty end (talk) 00:10, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

Query[edit]

I don't know whether you've ever been part of the Arbcom, or if you wish to be. But given the extensive experience and significant grasp you have of issues that concern most of Wikipedia, I thought of requesting you to consider running for the same. (I know, most probably you won't; but no harm trying...imo your inclusion in the committee would be most valuable to the community). Thanks, Lourdes 00:44, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

Damnit where's my popcorn.... Only in death does duty end (talk) 01:34, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Oooooohhhhh...entertainment...I foresee a long Iri post incoming....Ealdgyth - Talk 02:01, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
@Lourdes: Iri was on Arbcom a few years back and it was not an enjoyable experience for them...thus the TPS amusement. Ealdgyth - Talk 02:04, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Damn, 7 years ago and more. Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/History. Sucks getting old. Ealdgyth - Talk 02:07, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, but there's only one alternative. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:08, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
The rumor is that Shock Brigade Harvester Boris is finally going to run this year. power~enwiki (π, ν) 02:14, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Really? I was thinking kill it with fire tbh.. Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:58, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Rumor? User talk:Shock Brigade Harvester Boris#ArbCom. - We didn't need ArbCom in 2017, do you agree? - User talk:Shock Brigade Harvester Boris#Precious 31 October. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 12:20, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
@Lourdes, I share with Essjay the honour of being one of only two people ever to be expelled from Arbcom. (Admittedly in my case it was a simple case of inactivity rather than malpractice or misfeasance, but I still wear the badge with pride.) If you ever need to check, there's a wall of shame listing all the former members here.
644 new messages.JPG
As Ealdgyth says, this was the Arbcom of seven years ago, when general incompetence and laziness at the WMF had led to pretty much every responsibility, from child protection to appeals over inappropriate use of the checkuser tool, ending up on Arbcom's desk—the day (see right) I came home to find 644 new emails was a little on the high side, but not unusually so. By all accounts, it's a very different beast nowadays, now that the ten full-time paid staff of the Trust and Safety team are doing the work that a dozen unpaid volunteers were expected to do in their spare time without training and in addition to all their other duties.
In all honesty, I no longer really see the purpose of Arbcom; it no longer even makes a pretence of arbitrating disputes (look up a couple of threads and you can see a current arb frantically scrabbling against the proposal that the Arbitration Committee arbitrate things), and has turned into a largely-ignored dumping ground for assorted processes that nobody else wants to do. It should have been split into separate mediation-committee-with-power-to-sanction and committee-with-authority-to-issue-binding-closures-to-RFCs years ago, but AFAIK there have only ever been two arbs who seriously wanted reform, and we both had a thoroughly unpleasant time of trying to tell 13 other turkeys that they should join us in voting for Christmas.
I'd have almost no chance of winning an Arbcom election in the unlikely event that I ran again. I've annoyed far too many of the leaders of Wikipedia's various cliques, all of whom would be frantically canvassing against me. Besides, I'm barely active on Wikipedia nowadays—my mainspace edit count in the last couple of months is even lower than Newyorkbrad's—and having spent the last decade railing that it's a systemic failure on Wikipedia's part that our processes allow people who don't contribute to the project to sit in judgement upon those who do, it would be a little hypocritical of me to run. Besides, I can't commit the time; Arbcom needs people who have lots of spare time on their hands day-in, day-out, which ironically disqualifies many of the people best qualified for it. (See this post a few threads up; the principle that the kind of people who want to act as volunteer moderators aren't always the people you would want as volunteer moderators applies to Arbcom in spades.)
I couldn't recommend to anyone that they serve on it—it's a horrible timesink that consumes at least an hour of your life every day, all while being subjected to an unrelenting barrage of harassment and abuse both on-wiki and off. In an ideal world, there will be no successful candidates this year, the Committee will wither on the vine, and either the community or the WMF will come up with a decent alternative; it's obvious to pretty much anyone who's ever had any dealings with Arbcom that a system that was inadequate when it was introduced in 2004 has now evolved into painfully inadequate. ‑ Iridescent 17:50, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the significantly detailed response. I'm in awe of the effort you take to explain these nuances; one reason I would love to see you run again. But then, you're right.... Have a nice day, Lourdes 18:57, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
The last two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are (a) sticky situations where editors might have had personal/mental health issues/delicate situations that might have happened. These are not common but can be very fiddly. it helps having experienced discreet editors who are engaged with the community to help with these and I can't quite see how a WMF community engagement team would take this on (but probably should), and (b) management of some protracted disputes where someone needs to be mandated to review a complex issue properly. I haven't been following those outside arbitration to see if these are managed better than they were several years ago. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:53, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Well... The editors with mental illnesses and personal issues probably shouldn't be dealt with by Arbcom; if nothing else, it means former arbs have inappropriate knowledge of other people's lives which they can't un-forget on leaving the committee, and it means that those mental illnesses and personal issues become public knowledge next time a disgruntled arb or WMF staffer leaks the mailing list. It's not as if Community Engagement are formed in a vacuum with no knowledge of Wikipedia—people like WAID and Elitre are engaged with the community, and if the WMF found they needed more people I'm sure they could stretch to hiring current Wikipedia editors on an ad hoc basis to plug gaps in the committee or provide specialist knowledge on specific cases or issues. ‑ Iridescent 15:50, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

Best way to contact you?[edit]

Baklava - Turkish special, 80-ply.JPEG I'm an Australian journalist working on a story about Wikipedia editors and am hoping to chat to you about Michael Jackson's death and the way it was reported on wiki. What's the best way to reach you? Journo10 (talk) 05:12, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
@Journo10, this page is the best place to contact me. My part in the coverage of Michael Jackson's death was minimal, and was primarily due to my being one of the few administrators who happened to be active at the time the news broke. The timeline was (all times in UTC):
  • At 19:21 Jackson's security called 911;
  • At 21:26, 25 June 2009 Jackson was pronounced dead;
  • At 21:44, 25 June 2009 TMZ announced Jackson's death;
  • At 22:15, 25 June 2009 Wikipedia crashes owing to the high volume of Jackson-related searches; by this point Twitter had already gone down and Google had blocked all queries including "Michael Jackson" as a search term;
  • At 22:42, 25 June 2009 an article was created saying The Death of Michael Jackson occured on the 25th June 2009. Jackson was rushed to hospital in Los Angeles after suffering a cardiac arrest and arrived at hospital in a coma. Fans began arriving outside of the hospital. It was sourced solely to the Daily Mirror and the Sunderland Echo, a British tabloid and a low-circulation English local newspaper, neither of which would be considered reliable in Wikipedia's terms for a story of this nature given the potential libel implications of getting it wrong;
  • At 22:47, 25 June 2009 Golbez deleted the page;
  • At 22:51, 25 June 2009 I protected the page against creation for a 24-hour period, to prevent anyone else creating the page until the situation was clarified; TMZ is not a reliable source and at this point there had been no official confirmation. Shortly after this, Malcolmxl5 extended the protection period from 24 hours to indefinite;
  • At 01:21, 27 June 2009 Gwen Gale removed the create protection from the page;
  • At 01:28, 27 June 2009‎ SlimVirgin created the first version of the existing article, as Jackson's death was by that time being reported in sources considered reliable by Wikipedia's specific definition of the term and there was too much coverage specifically of his death for it to be practical to remain in his biography without giving it undue weight compared to his career; all further additions to the page are built on that article.
The way in which Wikipedia covers high-profile events like this isn't really much of a story, as this type of event has numerous eyes on it so tends to follow a very set path of "protect while it's only speculation in unreliable sources, unprotect and create when it's confirmed in reliable sources". Consequently for this type of story Wikipedia tends to fulfil fairly well its brief of reflecting what mainstream consensus on the topic is, even when it's a topic that's moving rapidly.
Where Wikipedia falls down is with lower-profile but still important events, where there are fewer eyes on the topic and it's easier for problematic content to slip though un-noticed, and particularly with figures in non-English-speaking countries where people monitoring Recent Changes aren't necessarily going to be in a position to verify that sources say what it's being claimed they say. We maintain a list of the most seriously problematic instances as a warning from history; that list only gives true hoaxes, and doesn't include the good-faith misinterpretation of sources or the use of sources which aren't themselves reliable.
If you're interested in the behind-the-curtain workings of how Wikipedia decides which sources are and aren't appropriate to be using, the discussions are all held publicly on this page and its many archives. For more general enquiries about how Wikipedia operates—which is usually fairly different to the public idea of how it operates—emailing press@wikimedia.org would probably be the best place to start. ‑ Iridescent 20:48, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
I got a ping as well. It wasn't about any specific article, but do remember performing the Wikipedia equivalent of sticking my finger in a leaking dyke for a couple of hours where Tom Petty was "not quite dead" but it was imminent. There was a huge argument as to whether or not he should be listed as a "living person" and I'm pretty sure there was a bit of wheel-warring going on there as well. Somebody else can dig out the diffs, but Talk:Tom Petty/Archive 2 will give you a basic idea of things. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 12:02, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
..not dead? What was he? Pining for the fjords?! Just stunned?!
Good grief. I had exactly the same thought. Risker (talk) 13:38, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
Holy moly that was a weird read. "Not technically dead yet". That's the kind of stuff you do not want on your tombstone. Softlavender (talk) 15:51, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
Tom Petty and Michael Jackson were both exceptional cases, in that we had at least vaguely credible sources reporting their death before any official statement had been made that life had been pronounced extinct. (Petty was a particularly unusual case, as the police themselves mistakenly released a statement that he was dead, which the media reasonably enough took as confirmation.) For 99.9% of deaths, things aren't updated in real time so the issues of premature announcement doesn't arise; this kind of "when some sources say something has happened and some say it hasn't, what does Wikipedia say?" question generally arises more with things like wars, elections and major government policy changes than with the lives and deaths of individuals. The next big tests of Wikipedia's resilience will be when blacked-out vans are seen leaving the home of Paul McCartney, Queen Elizabeth or Bob Dylan, although I foresee some interesting edit-wars on March 29 next year. ‑ Iridescent 23:10, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
@Ritchie333: Just for info, the (questionably accurate) article resulting from the above is here. ‑ Iridescent 21:04, 12 November 2018 (UTC)

Splitting off[edit]

No content changed, but I'm taking the unusual step of splitting this off into a completely different thread rather than a subthread so as not to confuse Journo10 with a long divergence from their original question.

WRT the thread on your (Ritchie's) talkpage, the issue in this particular case with Sfan wasn't his indiscriminate template-bombing of any file that doesn't follow the arbitrary format he's made up for what he considers the only correct way to format a citation is, irritating though that may be; it's that the file about which he was making false claims was exactly the same file he'd made the same false claims about last year, which in turn had followed on the heels of his harassment of Giano which included such gems as claiming that something published in 1699 was a copyvio; he openly admits on your talk that he does analysis 'per user' when choosing where to aim his disruptobot, i.e. picking a particular user to target and flooding their watchlist and talkpage with his false claims in the hope of bludgeoning them into complying with his made-up rules. AGF has its limits. ‑ Iridescent 23:10, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

...and the disruptbot has been re-aimed. ——SerialNumber54129 11:12, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Highlighted watchlist on en-wp.png
@Serial Number 54129: Keep logs of this; I have a feeling this is going to end in a formal ban from automated editing fairly soon if he genuinely is still using the bot to harass specific editors. Is there any potential AGF explanation for that, such as all the images being uploaded as a single batch so somebody working through "all uploads" chronologically would naturally have come across them all at once, or is it clear that he's specifically targeting you? ‑ Iridescent 11:21, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
They are mostly from one day, but quite a few are from a month or two either side. Will do, in any case. ——SerialNumber54129 11:35, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Looking at Special:Contributions/ShakespeareFan00, it looks fairly clear that he's picking specific users one at a time and targeting their contribution histories rather than working through the upload log or categories; he's also clearly still running an unauthorised bot since he's editing at between 10–12 pages per minute and there's no possible way a human editor could assess the copyright status of images at that rate. I'd be inclined to indef him outright—lord knows he's had enough warnings—but given the history I'm clearly WP:INVOLVED so won't do so myself. I'll take another look in a couple of days just in case he's having a momentary lapse, and if this is still going on will set the necessary wheels in motion for a ban discussion. User:Nick, you seem to be one of the few editors he'll listen to; do you think you could talk him out of trying to martyr himself? Given that how clear the evidence is, there's only one way a ban discussion or arb case is going to end if it reaches that point. ‑ Iridescent 11:50, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Didn't get the ping, so apologies at being slow to reply. I'll discuss this with him. The most recent advice I've given him is to focus on one user at a time, but to leave one custom, detailed message with the problems identified with each image clearly listed instead of multiple 'boilerplate' type messages which are drifting towards being disruptive. Nick (talk) 19:05, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Right deep breath everyone, What are the actual concern? I'd like to know so we can come up with an approach that isn't going to continually lead to these sorts of heated discussions over what seems to be either a difference of opinion, or a misunderstanding.
Is the concern the sheer volume? I don't use bots, I was however using a combination of Special:Filelist, Special:Logs, a specially constructed query on Quarry at Labs, and TWINKLE to issue the CSD/FFD tags and notifcations. I have an aversion to actual bots, given that in less obvious cases they aren't perfect. (Neither is a human contributor as you can probably tell.). As concerns were raised about the "wall of notifications" being raised the other day (on wiki and on IRC), I switched what I was doing to try and find media which was reasonable to consider for Commons (as your screenshot above shows), I was doing this by using the upload log to find recently uploaded "free" files, and then back through the uploads of a particular uploader with Special:ListFiles, adding {{information}} where needed and then based on an evaluation of that, and context, marking images for Commons transfer (or duplication if they were {{Keep local}} as those should not be deleted locally. In adding the information, I was also examining past contributions of the uploaders, typically to determine if from context there was additional information available such as image captioning, or sourcing.
Is the concern that something got retagged and you got a second notification, or that certain tags are being applied too rashly (or to rephrase that I'm not doing enough before "hitting the button"? This was a "mistake" and when I noticed, I went back and updated the information to something closer to what you describe above as an "arbitrary" format, and was able to resolve the sourcing issue, it was felt in good faith reasonable to remove the notification from your talked as it no longer applied. You then reinstated the CSD notification starting a further discussion. Whilst, even experienced contributors will make mistakes, you seem to be saying, you have a concern that I am making too many of them, either due to speed, (lack of) comptence or a perceived bias? Given the volume of images (which may be part of the issue as noted above), I'm not necessarily expecting to be able to recognise that some image HAD been dealt with previously. I certainly do not want to give the perception that I am in trying to resolve image issues I'm "targetting" specific users in bad faith, or being too willing to 'push the button". I will note here that we may have a considerable difference opinion about free-form file descriptions, vs {{information}} blocks, given that the later is more straightforward when it comes to picking up relevant information during commons transfers (if they appropriate).

My reasons for converting file description pages to {{information}} blocks and querying the lack of sourcing, amongst other issues, were as follows :

  1. The pending implementation of Structured Data on Wikimedia Commons (and other projects), if the information is already present on Wikipedia in a semi-structured form (such as completed {{information}} blocks , this makes it easier to convert, as opposed to conversion from 'free-form' file description pages. The free form pages are of course still equally valid. Structued Data is still a long way off, but it was felt reasonable to try and for once assist in aiding efforts to be ahead of the intended implementation, instead of behind (like with the parser change, there still being many LintErrors to resolve.).
  2. The proposed changes in European copyright policy, which could have made certain platforms more directly responsible for copyright violations. Whilst for the most part Wikipedia is understood to have certain exemptions from the proposed changes, being able to "prove" something is directly from a public domain or freely licensable source is useful, in defending against claims from entities that don't necessarily understand 'free' content collaborative projects (and that they very strongly attempt to respect copyrights).
  3. So that media , that the uploader, other contributors and potential re-users implicitly assume IS under a given license, is definitively confirmed as such, so that it can (eventually) be transferred to Wikimedia Commons, without their being a move, delete local, time passes, deleted at Commons on a pedantic technicality, resulting in the loss of the resource.

The aims here are as I see them intended to be in "good faith", even if you feel that the implementation of the goals/aims is problematic.

As to the specifc PD file, you link as an example, the concern I had wasn't as I see it that it was a copyvio ( It clearly isn't) but that it wasn't straightforward to "prove" it was Public domain without clearer sourcing information, and looking at it subsequently I feel I may have over-reacted. This may be one of the differences of opinion or misunderstandings that is creating tensions, and it would be nice to have firmer guidance on when a source is and isn't needed on something that's clearly old ( in the example you give the original was at least 300 years old if not more)

Is the concern that media files aren't being evaluated correctly? This links into the concern above. Given the volume of some backlogs, It's perhaps not unreasonable for a contributor patrolling images, to do what they can and defer to the original uploader or other contributors , if they can't find what they consider to be relevant details, the issue of what constitutes a reasonable format has occurred before and will occur again. I'd like to think that of more recent images I've updated, I've tried to use CSD/FFD less then before, I typically use it because I wasn't able to determine certain information from the information on-wiki. If you are arguing that there's been an onging 'misapplication' of policy, I'd be interested to know where I am making mistakes, because to date, many of the CSD/FFD tgas went unchallenged (This isn't however, by itself a good indication as to the reliability or competence of those tags or nominations)

I will also note that I've found the current wording of BSR to be confusing, and would appreciate expanded advice on when and how to apply it in a less disruptive way. I also wrote {{bsr-old}}, so that when (and if I am allowed to) update the information on media files with public domain license, I had a mechanism for indicating a sourcing concern, without having to use CSD/FFD. (The logic behind this is the same reasoning behind why I also wrote {{img-unclaimed}} which I've also sometimes used on media to avoid CSD F4 on files that were uploaded before the current sourcing policy was as strongly worded or as vigoursly enforced, and which were in a number of instances uploaded in good faith as own work, but which based on the information given can't necessarily be regarded definitively as such. (I will note here that in the past I had been more prepared to assume good faith and automatically assume own-work or some PD status, that was until probably over a decade ago, I had some other contributors and administrators, tell me off for assuming good faith too easily. Perhaps this has meant I am now not assuming good faith often enough?.

So where from here ?

It seems that until there's a new consensus on a number of concerns and issues, I shouldn't be editing in File: namespace. From the tone of your concerns above, an extended pause (beyond the immediate issue) on my part would be justified.

I'd appreciate it greatly, if there was a groups of other experienced contributors I could defer "stupid questions" at... without CSD/FFD etc being involved. Or if there was a group of contributors able to undertake periodic reviews of my own or other (mass-patrollers efforts).. On IRC I've in the last few months asked on more than one instance if the approach I was using was the correct one and for someone to review, the responses either being not to worry, that contributors didn't have the time, even when I expressed concerns that owing to a lack of talk page concerns I was sure based on past experience, that things seemed too quiet. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 22:45, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

Having had a chance to re-examine the basis of this dispute and the concerns, I am going to say that I feel I've failed to meet the standard needed, on more than one occasion. Despite acting in what I thought to be good faith, I've clearly failed several times to exercise the level of care required, or the degree of caution needed. I'd like to continue editing ( and if allowed in File namespace), but in a way that's not going to cause (percived) disruption, and with approrpiate care and practices that there doesn't have to be another (cycical) discussion of this nature.

Amongst some of the concerns I can identify :-

  • I've relied far too heavily on automated tools, without taking the time to understand what they are doing. This has meant that in an eagerness to push the button to resolve an issue, some details may have been overlooked unnecessarily.
  • I've been far too willing to apply a precautionary rule, or assume that given media is unsourced (needing a CSD/FFD response).
  • I've been too eager to get through certain backlogs, which has severely compromised my ability to give media files more time.

I do not want to get blocked, because I do value the project, but can appreciate fully that you may feel you don't have any discretion. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 12:54, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for giving me time to rethink certain thingsShakespeareFan00 (talk) 12:58, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
I will also note for the record here, as I had not apparently mentioned it previously, that the apparent speed of some edits when tagging for Copy to Commons (on a group of uploads) is due to the having a number of the relevant file pages open in multiple tabs. The initial review of the pages was done using Special:Filelist for a given set and the popups gadget used to examine the information present, build a block of open tabs containing the suitable files, which were then tagged using TWINKLE , moving across on each one. (This tabbed approach is NOT one I've used for CSD/FFD nominations.) The initial review process would not be reflected in the apparent speed of editing recorded, as it had been done prior to the edits being saved, No bots involved, Just a highly responsive multi-tabbed browser, (and reasonable speed broadband) However, because what you where seeing was long pauses, followed by a burst of activity associated with a particular set of files or a specfic uploader, I can understand why you may have perceived there to be what looked like a bot in operation, and would appreciate your advice on how to appear less bot like, going forward. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 17:04, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
Earlier you said "he openly admits on your talk that he does "analysis 'per user'" when choosing where to aim his disruptobot, i.e. picking a particular user to target and flooding their watchlist and talkpage with his false claims in the hope of bludgeoning them into complying with his made-up rules. AGF has its limits" .. What I actually said was, "Generally to find media that needed to be examined (or which needed meta-data). I've been using a combination of the upload log, (which I had also been using to find material which was already well sourced and suitable for commons BTW) and a query here, https://quarry.wmflabs.org/query/18892. In a past comment, someone had mentioned that rather than the scattered evaluation of images (by type of issue), it might be better to do analysis 'per user', which is an approach I've sometimes used when trying to identify media that was commons suitable (the logic here being that if an uploader has already got a few 'free' license images, others by them are likely to follow a pattern.)". Whilst, under the circumstance I can see why you made a link here, the relevant section was nominally dealing with two different things.
You drew a link between various distinct threads in this, which from your perspective, is not unreasonable at all, However, I'd like to expand on my quote a little, in the hope that it provides additional commentary.
The first part dealt with the sourcing/authorship/information concern effort (the upload log, query based approach), and whilst that was underway I'd also been occasionally marking suitable files for possible commons transfer, alongside adding the {{information}} blocks to file descriptions which were already tagged for Commons, In a large number of instances adding the information blocks being intended to assist the tools used to duplicate those files across. Compared to the majority of file descriptions which were easily converted( and because they were already tagged for Duplication to Commons should eventually carry across), the number of files where a CSD/FFD/BSR got used was considerably smaller (But on reconsideration, I am prepared to accept that I am perhaps still too paranoid about certain types of file being challenged.)
The query/log based approach is a 'per file' approach which is problematic (as you and others have already expressed), given that the mass of notifcations (you used the term "bludegon") led to the wall of text situation which I think we can both in consideration agree is undesirable to solving the issue, which is to ensure the file has "sufficient" information for other users, as people are less likely to respond to repeated similar notifications (especially if the are substantially the same as ones they received some time in the past!)
The second part of the quote was in relation to a hypothetical future situation, along the lines of the approach that @Nick: was suggesting, where the notifcations were "batched" up into a single message per user, which would be a better approach. The rest of the quote, then compares this to the approach I had used in the past when identifying potential commons candidate media, of looking through an uploaders other contributions to find if there was other media that was suitable for Commons.
After the concerns expressed in the other discussion, I felt that continued patrolling for sourcing/authorship concerns wasn't going to be sustainable given the concerns that had been raised. So I decided to switch to identifying items that I felt could be duplicated over to commons. As I don't hold grudges, amongst the uploaders I checked for commons candidates where those that had raised concerns previously, I was reviewing their uploads as an act of good faith, as I also wanted to see "useful" media more widely used. It seems perhaps that these attempts were misguided (and misunderstood) given the previous effort had raised tensions. This would seem to be where the most recent concerns about the perceived "disruptobot" may have arisen, despite the more recent edits being intended in good faith to identify media which would be more widely usable.
I apologise for a longish post here.ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 18:10, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
Your concern above also appears to be that I'm mis-applying Wikipedia:IUP#RI(which is re-read following the recent concerns), Another contributor had also challanged me over what they thought was a 'mis-application' of this. His view (or at least my reading of it) seemed to be that the issue wasn't the existence or non-existence of any given source (or it's non existence in a predefined format), but that there was "sufficient information" to determine a given media's status. In response to this, I'm more than willing to agree that it would be unreasonable to consider something older than 100 years as still being a copyright issue (given that the date of creation forms part of the status), and therefore concur, that I am based on a continued misunderstanding, (you've mentioned concerns have been noted to me previously) still mis-applying the sourcing requirement. I' willing to listen to what you consider a more appropriate evaluation to determine "sufficient information" should be.

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:09, 6 November 2018 (UTC)


Section break as this is going to be long[edit]

OK, if you want this in detail:
The obvious concern and proximate cause of the issues in this case are that you're
  1. Targeting and harassing specific editors (through your "pick one editor at a time and work through their contributions" approach, which is at best a shocking assumption of bad faith on your part;
  2. Spam-bombing both file pages themselves and the user talk pages of uploaders with inappropriate templates, and failing to engage with the people who reply to the templates you post unless they actually notify you themselves;
  3. Working at unfeasibly high speeds. If one's running AWB or a similar application that works in diff-view and is using a very well-crafted regex to carry out an uncomplicated search-and-replace operation, it's just about possible to hit an edit rate of 8–10 pages per minute without making mistakes. When you're claiming to be assessing the copyright status of files—something with which even genuine experts in copyright status struggle—an average time of around six seconds per file is not feasible.

    None of this would be a deal-breaker were it not for:

  4. You're making shitloads of mistakes. Of the users recently targeted by you of whom I'm most aware—myself, User:Ritchie333 and User:Giano—as far as I can tell not a single one of the files you've marked for deletion have actually ended up being deleted.

    People might get irritated when someone raises a legitimate concern with material on which they've devoted a significant amount of time and work, but provided the concern is legitimate they'll be understanding; people are quite rightly going to lose patience with someone raises illegitimate concerns based on their own laziness (in this case, your unwillingness either to conduct the most basic WP:SOFIXIT repairs and your apparent inability to comprehend that Wikipedia is written by and for humans, not machines, and something not being machine-readable is not a deletion criterion).

    Which in turn leads into:

  5. You're repeatedly, and consistently, implicitly claiming that your judgment is superior to that of other editors. Take, for example, the example given above of the wall of {{Copy to Commons}} templates with which you spammed User:Serial Number 54129.

    There are many reasons why editors choose to upload material locally to individual wikis as needed, rather than to Commons (differing notability standards between projects, potential legal issues in non-US jurisdictions, a reluctance to get involved with the famously dysfunctional administration of Commons, well-documented issues with local files being deleted as duplicates of Commons files after which the Commons file is deleted or substantially altered, a recognition that a particular file has been uploaded for a specific and esoteric purpose on a particular wiki and is unlikely to be of value to other projects and consequently there's no point cluttering Commons, that fact that having uploads hosted externally on Commons makes it far more likely that significant notifications relating to that file will be missed as most editors rarely if ever check Commons watchlists…). The basic "Upload File" button in the sidebar, the 'Files for Upload' process, and the guided upload process all point users towards Commons unless the uploader explicitly specifies they have a reason to upload the file locally, so it's not as if someone is likely to upload a file locally unless they intended to do so. (The fourth and most powerful means of uploading files, Special:Upload, is intentionally hidden unless a user knows exactly where to find it; by the time anyone is experienced enough in image use to know where it is, it's safe to assume they're familiar with the differences between Wikipedia and Commons.)

    SN54129 is a highly experienced editor and one can assume that he's well aware of the existence of Commons, and as a consequence anything he's uploaded that he hasn't uploaded to Commons hasn't been uploaded to Commons for a reason. By working through his contribution history top-to-bottom tagging files, you're not only harassing him by means of the general nuisance of watchlist-flooding, you're making the implicit claim that his judgment is consistently faulty when it comes to choosing the most appropriate place to upload any given file, that he—and everyone else on the project, since looking at your history you appear fairly indiscriminate regarding who you target—has an inferior judgment to your own regarding how Wikipedia operates, and that regardless of whether or not he chooses to engage with Commons he should be forced to do so against his will because you happen to prefer it that way. If you were using a bot, this would be irritating but forgivable as bots operate on a GIGO principle; if, as you say, you're doing all this manually, then you're explicitly demanding that the rest of Wikipedia defer to your personal preferences, which is obnoxious when done in small doses and outright disruption when done en masse.

To be blunt, I don't give two hoots about The pending implementation of Structured Data on Wikimedia Commons (and other projects), and nor should anyone else. Wikipedia is written for the benefit of its readers, not for the benefit of Mark Zuckerberg or for the benefit of the assorted self-proclaimed 'consultants' who are trying to profit from peddling Wikidata snake-oil to online marketers. If our own activity happens to benefit private businesses, that's all well and good and I'm glad to be of service, but nobody here should be acting as Google and Facebook's unpaid shills if it causes even the most minimal inconvenience to either our editors or our readers.
And on to "bludgeoning" and the query/log based approach. This is the point at which I urge you, if you haven't already, to read and absorb the lessons of WP:AN/B and WP:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Magioladitis. Unless one has identified a specific problem that needs fixing, as opposed to a general "some things could be done better" or "not everything is formatted the way I'd like it to be", the Wikipedia community has traditionally been extremely hostile both to people appointing themselves as the Wikipedia Image Police, to people trying to enforce their preferred formats in an absence of a policy-based reason to do so, particularly when done with bots, scripts or semi-automation. Are there some problematic uploads on Wikipedia such as files uploaded under an incorrect license? Sure. Is this something so problematic that it requires a mass sweep through every image file? No, or WMF Legal would employ someone to audit them properly; the existing mechanism of people flagging problematic files as and when they come across them or they're brought to our attention by rights holders has worked fine for 17 years. The query/log based approach is essentially a massive assumption on your part that the of the 34,975,110 editors on Wikipedia, everyone but you is either acting in bad faith or is incompetent, so it's completely unsurprising that the other 34,975,109 are going to feel offended and annoyed.
Regarding a more appropriate evaluation to determine "sufficient information" should be, your first thought should always be "is this obviously old"? Unlike Commons, en-wiki operates solely in jurisdictions that don't recognize sweat-of-the-brow and as such, whatever one may think of it ethically in terms of photographers' rights, from a legal point of view we only care when the original work was published, not how and when it was photographed or reproduced. If it's a picture-postcard of a building that burned down in 1922 or a woodcut printed in 1699, then while it may be nice to have details of who scanned the work, it's not a legal requirement and it has no impact on the file's copyright status. If, after applying that test and doing everything reasonable within your own power to assess the file's status for yourself,* you're still uncertain whether something is in copyright or not, politely approach the uploader—in your own words, not with one of your spam templates—explaining what you feel the concern is, as there's a very good chance that they'll be able to document the file's history. (Even if the editor is retired or deceased, it's still worth asking them; other editors with an interest in the same topics as them are highly likely to be watching their talkpage and might be able to help.) If you're in genuine doubt that an image was published pre-1923 or is in the public domain in the US by virtue of Bridgeman Corel, and you've conducted your own enquiries and are unable to confirm whether the image is or isn't in copyright, and you've approached the original uploader and they don't reply or they're unable to recall where the image came from, then and only then should you be considering tagging a file for deletion, particularly if the file is currently in use.
*If you're researching the history of files on a regular basis, I'd strongly recommend using Chrome as your browser, at least for this purpose. In Chrome, right-clicking on any given image will give a "search Google for image" option, and if the image genuinely does turn out to be something stolen from another website, this will almost always find it within seconds.
As a more general meta-point regarding your editing. the lengthy point I made a couple of threads up about understanding that Ignore all rules isn't just a slogan but is the most important of Wikipedia's principles and Unless someone has had the experience of being frustrated by someone else screwing around with something they've spent their own time and money on there's no way to judge whether that editor has empathy, and empathy is the single most important quality were written about trigger-happy admins who give the impression of lacking an appreciation of just how much time, effort and cash goes into creating and maintaining a decent-quality Wikipedia article, but it applies just as much to trigger-happy patrollers who give the impression of lacking an appreciation of just how much time, effort and cash goes into creating and maintaining a decent-quality Wikipedia article. If the recipients of your templates thought "hey, this guy who templated me is obviously an experienced editor, I should take what he's telling me seriously even if I don't agree" as opposed to "who the hell is this guy and why is someone with no apparent experience taking it on themselves to tell me how I should be doing things", I'd suggest that you'd be likely to get a lot less blowback if you had some demonstrable contributions to Wikipedia of your own. For all I know you have made valuable contributions to Wikipedia and just don't like to boast, but there's nothing at your contribution history to indicate that you do anything other than wander about belittling other people's work. While I'm not normally very fond of "my achievements" sections on userpages, in your case you should. While the principle that all editors are equal in terms of rights is a fundamental Wikipedia principle, it's basic human nature that people will more readily take criticism from people who are qualified to criticize. In terms of appearances (fairly or not), in Wikipedia terms something like this is akin to someone walking into a courtroom brandishing a copy of Law for Dummies and loudly telling the judge that they don't know what they're doing. ‑ Iridescent 15:49, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
All valid points. You've managed to convince me not to continue editing on Wikipedia at all, for competence reasons, once I've dealt with some things, I would like to do a SOFIXIT on. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 16:16, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
However, some other contributors off wiki, advised me not to make a hasty decision.ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 20:43, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
For what it's worth regarding having uploads hosted externally on Commons makes it far more likely that significant notifications relating to that file will be missed as most editors rarely if ever check Commons watchlists… it looks like the WMF is working at fixing the problem at least for deletions. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:21, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
Just a few random musings when it comes to your response, Iri.
I understand the concern about 'Targeting and harassing specific editors' - now I know that's exactly how ShakespeareFan00's behaviour comes across as, and that's a massive problem, but I do think focusing on the uploads of one editor at a time is sensible, particularly when they've uploaded multiple images from the same or similar sources, they'll most likely be able to fix a number of images by fixing the first image and then simply copying and pasting things like source and other details into successive files. I think in these sorts of scenarios, picking a file alphabetically in November, notifying the uploader there's a problem (or better, nicely asking the uploader to help add more information to their file) then coming back three months later and asking them to fix the very next file they uploaded would be significantly more disruptive/problematic. If ShakespeareFan00 was to continue to work in this area, they need to get away from 'tag bombing' and they need to start working with the uploaders to help them improve the information on their files.
That sort of dovetails neatly into point two - the tag bombing has to stop, that's disruptive. And I'm not at all happy with the amount of information or explanations SF00 is giving the uploaders. It needs to be tailored, customised, personalised and non automated messages which are left, one edit, one notification, least disruptive process possible.
Speed is an issue and SF00 will need to slow down, but that will probably happen anyway when they stop tag bombing and start writing custom messages, and begin to help uploaders rather than the current hit and run approach.
Error rate is, I think, in part down to the inflexibility of the automated messages. I would hope slowly leaving custom messages with precise issues highlighted would be useful. It might also help them think about exactly what they're tagging and whether they should be doing what it is they're doing.
The Copy to Commons stuff is useful, but where someone has uploaded more than two or three files to en.wp and where the uploader is still active, like SN54129, it would be much more useful to ask first whether they want to keep files locally, if they don't want files moved to Commons, before spending time actually tagging them. Even if they say 'yes' to moving to Commons, you might want to ask if there are any issues which might see them deleted on Commons, understand if there are issues that you don't see immediately.
The remainder of your advice is excellent and cannot be faulted, I particularly endorse the comments you make about SF00 researching the files themselves, looking for fixes they can undertake without having to trouble the uploader (particularly important if the uploader isn't active but important regardless).
Cheers. Nick (talk) 21:44, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
@Sfan, nobody is telling you not to edit on Wikipedia at all; we're telling you not to edit Wikipedia disruptively. Wikipedia is a community, not a group of editors each working in a vacuum, and when one is editing it one needs to consider the impact one's edits are having on both Wikipedia's readers and Wikipedia's editors. For any given edit, if you can't answer "Is this edit going to make things better for either Wikipedia's readers or Wikipedia's editors?" in the affirmative, it's almost certainly an edit that shouldn't be made.
@Nick, part of the reason I'm being so WP:ABF here is that we've been here so often before. As Drmies said last time round, "we keep seeing the user apologize for their approach, yet they keep approaching" there's a clear pattern going back years of Sfan promising to be more careful, lying low for a few weeks, then firing the disruptobot back up and resuming indiscriminate bulk editing. (Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive491#User:Sfan00 IMG, Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Sfan00 IMG, Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive626#Image tagging by User:Sfan00 IMG, Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive457#Mass removal of links to potential copyvio sites?, Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive264#Sfan00_IMG - Taking a break before my Wikistress gets too high, Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive235#The Pirate Bay and Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive805#User:Sfan00 IMG and Wikimedia Commons are a few to start with. This has literally been repeating itself for years.) If this discussion has genuinely been the one that broke through when all others failed and leads him to start discussing concerns rather than slapping indiscriminate maintenance tags and moving on, then that's great, but given that next week will see the tenth anniversary of it being pointed out that the problem is that he constantly removes or tags things en mass, and apparently often doesn't give enough info as to WHY he feels this way, you'll forgive me for saying I'll wait until I see it. ‑ Iridescent 18:55, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
It's the cyclic nature of the concerns, which is why I'm considering not editing at all. I think you and User:nick can all agree we don;'t want "dirsuptive" edits, but given that there seems to be a difference of opinion, and several misunderstandings on my part, it's safer if I just don't edit (especially in File namespace), because it seems whatever changes in approach I consider or take, I still seem to be unable to not generate the kinds of concerns you mention.
  • As well as the valid concerns, you mention. A long time ago I got advised (can't recall if it was on or off wiki) about not moving stuff to Commons directly (even though I was nominally reviewing them before transfer, perhaps not carefully enough), so I changed to tagging them locally so that they get reviewed locally (at least once), which you say causes issues due to a lot of "watch-list" comments, when an entire users contributions are looked at in a pattern, (It also creates a large backlog, the relevant category of media marked for pending review contained over 20,000 items at one point, which is more than small number of dedicated reviewers may be able to cope with in a timely manner.)
  • I also got told off because some of the images I was tagging locally had percived issues about sourcing, authorship (although as you point out some of this could be due to a lack of SOFIXIT research.).
  • Parallel to this, I also got advised (can't recall if it was on or off-wiki) that I might be assuming "too much" good faith about certain media, and was advised that I should be asking for definitive sources, or applying certain CSD strictly. ( Your concern about applying F4 to something that you felt no-one was ever going to challange being pertinent here.) This is partly why templates like {{assumed license}}, {{presumed self}}, {{img-unclaimed}}, the recently created {{bsr-old}} now exist (and a template called "is-old" previously which it was my recollection was eventually subst or removed. because of it's generic nature.).
  • Precisely because of concerns about the non-appropriateness of a given CSD, I'd put files at FFD (with increasing frequency when it became 'disscusion' rather than 'deletion' to get a determination (in retrospect WP:MCQ may have been better forum, now that I am aware of it), only to be told that quite a few of the files I was unusre about didn't need to go to FFD, and could be handled under CSD directly! (Aside: How to handle the bias of certain closers at FFD towards deleting, is a different discussion entirely, although partially related

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 10:23, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

Further on certain templates[edit]

Although I don't plan on editing again soon, I also have some other followup questions/concerns, mostly to do with the aspects of certain templates I've created in the past in respect of certain (contentious) approaches ( I am not expecting a rapid reponse or even one at all, but your feedback (or that of others watching this page would be desirable.)

  • You stated earlier that one consideration should be if something is obviously old ? At some point I had been considering this, and a while back I'd been using an "is-old" style template in the source field of {{information}} blocks, this categorised to here - Category:Wikipedia files missing original publication data or Category:Mechanical reproductions of original works in need of additional detail as far as can recall. The categories had also been used in some instances, for media that was nominally web sourced (intermediately), but where the publication concerned was older and thus it would have been "nice to have" (not required) to have additional information about the original publication/creation in addition. This category was more finely tuned in focus than the category used by {{bsr}} and {{bsr-old}}. The concerns I have here are to do with it being a "parallel process".
  • {{media by uploader}} (the first attempt) ,{{img-unclaimed}} (the second attempt), {{img-claimed}} (and various categories), a pragmatic response (and on consideration maybe an overly boldy approach). Whilst the intent here was to ask uploaders to reclaim old work, and get credit. The concern here is that what's actually happened is an 'unofficial' parallel process, which is NOT having the desired result. Amongst the concerns that can be identified on further review
    • Uploaders aren't responding... whilst a small number of files were "claimed" , many were not and Category:Unclaimed images thought to be uploader remains a backlog, that's merely moving stuff around, rather than solving the actual issue it's design intent was.
    • That these templates created a "process". You will agree I think that this would (and should) have been better done with consultation, rather than unilaterally.
  • {{Imgnote-hassource}}, This was created to drop certain media that was sourced out of queries. I'm not sure if this is useful as 'human' contributors are expected to check if the source is adequate or not.. This was intended mostly as an "ignore this in your processing" flag for queries and tools. On review I'm not sure it meets the design intent, it's not widely used and can be removed relatively quickly.
  • {{OTRS source}} prgamatic, although possibly a rare situation, It was intended when an image patroller came across something that would clearly be sourced, but which was going to be in an OTRS ticket which only those with access to the queue could read. Useful only for a specfic purpose, and generally those that would be adding this, should be adding the full source at the same time as the OTRS ticket number anyway....
  • {{Duplicate_to_Commons}}. On review this might be problematic. You've noted above that sometimes uploaders have reasons for not putting media on Commons. The intent here was for it to be used where media was felt to be "useful" beyond Wikipedia, despite the local uploader wanting the local copy retained. The same standards in terms of applicability/eligibility (notwithstanding the retention of the local copy) were to be applied, but based on your concerns about "bludegoning" attitudes onto other contributors...
  • {{Expimgsrc}} - Currently this is a redirect, and when I took the previous wording to TFD, it seems it was for the "canned" response nature of it. This isn't necessarily a useful redirect as no-one should now be using this over the target it redirects to. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 10:06, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • {{No-date}} - This went through several copy edits.. I'd like a second view because you raised concerns about the use of {{information}} blocks, and about "lazy" updating thereof.
  • {{Infosplit}} - Deprecated, it broke stuff when implemented Commons, It's only retained because of wide use locally . ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 10:06, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • {{Add-author-I}} - Based on your concerns this is contentious, and before you'd posted your extensive response above I'd considered asking to have it removed from {{information}}, essentially reversing the outcome of the request I made about adding it about 7 years ago. It's intended to be subst, and it's removal would not break anything. I've now suggested a merge or redirect at TFD [[4]]. Overhaul of the {{information}} template itself, even if it should be retained longer term is a topic for elsewhere ( although I left a comment on User talk:Nick recently..)ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 10:06, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
OK, you've lost most sympathy from me as soon as you got to A long time ago I got advised (can't recall if it was on or off wiki) about not moving stuff to Commons directly (even though I was nominally reviewing them before transfer, perhaps not carefully enough), so I changed to tagging them locally. Do you see what I said above about the arrogance of assuming your personal preferences outweigh everyone else's to the extent that you're justified in forcing them through? This kind of attitude is exactly what I mean. These are, pretty much without exception, experienced editors who are well aware of the existence of Commons (it's virtually impossible to upload a file without being aware of the existence of Commons, as all the upload forms other than Special:Upload explain the difference between local and Commons uploading and nobody who isn't an expert in wiki navigation will even be aware of the existence of Special:Upload). Consequently, all (or virtually all) of these locally-hosted files are locally hosted intentionally. You are unilaterally deciding that these files ought to be hosted on Commons instead and tagging them for transfer, without even doing the uploader the courtesy of asking if there's a reason they're hosted locally (which there almost always will be).
Regarding the templates, if you're not sure whether any given template is appropriate don't use it. You're not the Sheriff of Wikipedia cleaning up the town, you're one editor among 34,975,110, and the wiki is not going to fail apart because you're not there to tag a file with a malformed license template. Seriously, just why is it you feel you need to boss everybody around? As far as I can see most of the rest of your queries are variations on "how should {{information}} be formatted?", and given that I think that {{information}} is and always has been a pointless and disruptive template that serves no useful purpose other than to make life easier for a handful of spammers and data-mining corporations, and I revert it on sight when I see it being added to anything I've uploaded, I'm not going to lose the slightest sleep over how you choose to format it.
Incidentally, please stop canvassing your IRC cronies to post crap on the talk-pages of people with whom you're in dispute. IRC is not loved on Wikipedia at the best of times, and your buddies popping up on the talk pages of people with whom they've never previously interacted to post ill-informed drivel like [5], [6] and [7] not only makes you look like a dick-by-association, but like a coward secretly canvassing off-wiki to try to find someone to take your side. ‑ Iridescent 17:42, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I had read what you said, That's why I'd mentioned the examples I gave, so that everything was considered. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 22:40, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
I’d just like to clear this up: it isn’t canvassing. This set of incidents was mentioned on IRC a while back, and I began following the discussion as I found it interesting. At no point did ShakespeareFan00 ask me to take part, and I will note that when I did comment, none of them were in favor of ShakespeareFan00. The first diff link is me commenting about enwiki copyright procedures (about which I was informed a few minutes later that I was incorrect, and I removed it). The second is simply asking someone not to discourage people from contributing to File-space and Wikimedia commons, and the third diff is related to that. None of these support ShakespeareFan00 or his argument, and are simply general comments. Vermont (talk) 00:22, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

English cemetery photographs[edit]

I posted this over at WT:MILHIST, but CCing it here for the benefit of any TPWs who feel the urge, given that this page is among other things the de facto WikiProject Cemeteries. Anyone else like me, who's irritated enough at Commons's inability to handle batch uploads and at the general assholery of some of their regulars that they're using Flickr as an alternative hosting site for CC by-SA images which can then be individually imported to Commons as and when they're needed, should likewise get their stuff out of there while you still can, as from early next year their new owners are going to start demanding a $50 ransom and start deleting your uploads if you don't pony up. ‑ Iridescent 23:34, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

In anticipation of the imminent death of Flickr, I've just conducted a bulk transfer of a big chunk of my archive of photos of cemeteries in south east England to Commons; a mixture of CWGC and allied burial sites, interesting funerary monuments and chapel architecture, representative civilian and non-CWGC-design gravestones and wide atmosphere shots of cemeteries. As I have neither the time nor the inclination to catalogue 7000+ images in detail, especially against the 8 Jan deadline for the shutdown of Flickr as a free image hosting service, I've of necessity just uploaded them into broad categories based on which cemetery the burials in question are in, which in turn has resulted in the flooding of those categories on Commons with files with uninformative descriptions and uninformative names. If anyone feels the urge, they could virtually all do with having more specific descriptions, and in many cases more specific categories, added.

The Commons categories in question are:

This change hasn't been widely publicised—I imagine SmugMug, who have just absorbed Flickr, are hoping that most users won't realise the change is coming until the deadline strikes and will then feel the need to pay out the $50 fee to prevent their work being deleted—but anyone else who's using Flickr as an easier-to-upload-but-still-Creative-Commons-licenced alternative to Commons, get your own stuff out now before they start charging you a ransom to release it as well! If you activate Flickr2Commons, the transfer process is virtually automatic and all you need to do is specify the Commons categories you want them to land in. ‑ Iridescent 22:30, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

Now I wonder if someone not on Flickr can do this mass upload. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:19, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes; you need a Commons account (which you automatically have under SUL when you create an en-wiki account), but after that the Flickr2Commons tool will hoover up any Flickr photoset or user upload page at which you point it, provided the photos in question are CC by-SA licensed (not everything on Flickr is, but most Flickr users are happy to change the licensing when you explain that they'll still be credited and being used on a Wikipedia article will greatly increase the photo views). It's how Droxford Station on what was the Meon Valley Line opens it's doors to the public was absorbed by Commons:Category:Droxford railway station when I was writing Droxford railway station, for instance. Even if the photos aren't ones you've uploaded, if there's anything you're aware of on Flickr that you feel ought to be rescued, now's the time to copy it across since from February 2019 huge swathes of the content there will be irretrievably lost. (I'd go as far as to say that unless Google or Internet Archive decide to do so themselves, we should seriously consider getting a bot to import everything on Flickr that's appropriately licensed and not already on Commons and dump it into a NOINDEXed holding pen for us to delete the unencyclopedic holiday snaps and home-made porn at our leisure, but given the strain that would put on the servers that's a decision that would need to be made at WMF level.) ‑ Iridescent 10:47, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
commons:Commons:Village pump#Flickr will start deleting photos in 2019-02 has the Commons side discussion. Sadly I don't think I can help with Flickr2Commons as that function apparently (from checking) does not run per-keyword uploads. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:10, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
In general, I find that unless the keyword is something very popular like "Eiffel Tower" or a vague concept like "boats" (in which cases we almost certainly already have plenty of photos already so it's not an issue), one finds that most of the photos on Flickr on any given topic are the result of just a handful of uploaders. If you do want to upload every appropriately-licensed image on a topic—e.g. every photo with a Commons-compatible license including the keyword "volcano"—to sort through at your leisure, Magnus Manske might be willing to customize the script for you. (If you do bot-upload 30,000 files, put them in a temporary holding category and not into Commons:Category:Volcanoes! Some hits on a keyword search are always going to be false positives.) Alternatively, you can install this script which will add an "upload to commons" button to Flickr, allowing you to browse through looking for images you think might be useful and bring those you think would be potentially useful across one at a time. ‑ Iridescent 12:28, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Well, it looks like I've opted for a small start by uploading a number of files from one Flickr user commons:Category:Ojos de Mar for use on my recently created Ojos de Mar. Possibly it might become one of the more interesting (and with beautiful images) articles I've written lately. I presume there will be people uploading 10,000 or so files now. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:04, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Pity that none of the things here freely licensed; some images there could be useful in the Atacama articles. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:44, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
In general, in my experience Flickr users are happy to change the license on images if you ping them. The reason they're on there in the first place in most cases is either that they're professional photographers looking to showcase their skills to potential customers, or they're amateur photographers interested to see what the public thinks of their work; in either case, "would you like your photo to appear on a page viewed by 23,000,000 people?" is usually an incentive. Wikipedia's general ban on spam links has never applied to image uploads; if a photographer wants us to link to their website so people who like it can find out more, we're generally happy to comply. ‑ Iridescent 15:47, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
That's good and all, but I don't have access to Yahoo Email (unless another Flickr user can contact them). And I am not sure if they are still active. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:29, 7 November 2018 (UTC)

Lridescent[edit]

FYI, I've just blocked Lridescent (talk · contribs) as a suspected impersonation of your username. -- Longhair\talk 16:42, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

...The most sincerest form of flattery, of course?—Mind you, if that's as good as it gets... ——SerialNumber54129 16:51, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Huh. User:Jo-Jo Emuerus and User:Jo-Jo Humorus and both were created a mere 3 days after my RfA passed. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:25, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
...Jo-Jo Humorus?! Now that was below the belt ;) ——SerialNumber54129 20:10, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
JO? Below the belt? Gross! EEng 18:57, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
I have legions of admirers. I tend to just leave them to it unless they start being disruptive; since the advent of SUL it's fairly easy for someone on another wiki to accidentally create an account with a problematic name and only realize when they come over here. (Because of the reach of en-wiki, virtually everyone ends up here at some point whichever language they're working in.) ‑ Iridescent 15:47, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
That's nothing! Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 14:20, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
Haha, Oshwah was the first person that came to my mind. Glad you mentioned those! Softlavender (talk) 23:34, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
That sounds like my old friend, (see these remnants, most have been oversighted); all of us in the IP area who are not considered pro Israeli enough have had lots of them. But he is (thankfully) mostly not active on a computer these days, AFAIK, Huldra (talk) 23:55, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
By the way, there are 493 of those Oshwah spoofs so far. You have to click "500" at the bottom to see them all. Softlavender (talk) 02:19, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
I recently learned from checkuser that I stole Drmies crimson tide tickets. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:31, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
...and then found out no-one would buy 'em ;) ——SerialNumber54129 18:42, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
don't tell Drmies that :) Galobtter (pingó mió) 20:06, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
YOU TOOK MY TICKETS???? (Serial Number, remind me of the score of the LSU game... ) Drmies (talk) 02:05, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Good Doctor, I went to a basketball school. The only reason to get football tickets was the drinking beforehand. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:40, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

Advice[edit]

Thanks for the ping about Flickr and the cemetery photos. It is useful to know about that change with maybe enough time to find/save/keep various photos. I wouldn't normally log in just to thank you for that, so I'll take the opportunity to ask you for some advice, publicly and privately. The two bits of advice I wanted to ask you about here are firstly about the TFA for 11 November (probably too late now, but I left a note here), and whether it would be worth doing an article on the commemorations of the end of the First World War (similar to this article which got posted at 'In The News' four years ago, see here)? (The main problem is that I don't have time to do an article on this, or to expand/reorganise First World War centenary, though I might get to it eventually). On that topic, you gave some useful advice a long time ago here, where among other things you may remember Francis Bennett-Goldney. While updating a page in my userspace with links to a series of blogs about the deaths of MPs in WWI, I was reminded of that when reading this, which has a little bit more that might be of interest. About the other matters, will using 'Email this user' reach you if I use that? Carcharoth (talk) 14:27, 7 November 2018 (UTC)

In an ideal world we wouldn't be running a TFA about lemurs on a day that's the secular equivalent of a High Holy Day for much of the world, but seeing as we're not going to get Poppy or Eternal flame through FAC with four days notice I'm not sure what we can really do. Most of the existing WW1 FAs are about specific regiment/unit, individual or war memorial, and IMO it would be disrespectful and inappropriate to highlight a particular nation or event. A few years back I was eyeing Prisoner of war as a broad-topic article that could be improved to FA standard, but rapidly abandoned the idea. The relevant part of the DYK queue has at least a nod to the centenary. (One of the hooks there, that the war memorial at Woodvale Park is said to be unique in honouring the dead from both sides of the First World War, is total bullshit and I wouldn't be surprised if The Rambling Man or Fram yanks it from the queue. The hook technically isn't inaccurate, as the claim is that it's said to be unique not that it's actually unique and it can be sourced that people have made the claim, but that's a little hair-splitting.) Since the commemorations will involve Trump, Putin, May, Macron, Merkel and Erdogan all being in the same room (and presumably the King of Belgium thinking that his nation has surely suffered enough to have that bunch as house-guests), I'd imagine the potential for it getting on to ITN is quite high as well.
Regarding a Centenary of the Armistice article, wait and see what happens on the day. Given that it will presumably involve Trump, May, Putin, Juncker, Merkel, Macron, Erdogan and Conte all being in the same room, I'd imagine the potential for something newsworthy happening is quite high.
"Email this user" will reach me, but it goes to an account which only gets checked once in a blue moon. If it's anything time-sensitive, it's probably best to notify me—Echo is theoretically meant to notify when someone has used the "email this user" button, but in my experience it only seems to work about two times in three. ‑ Iridescent 18:25, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
I had nothing to work with for the 11th that wasn't specifically about a particular unit. As an aside, Carcharoth, - if you have concerns about TFA selection - it's probably best to bring it up to the four folks responsible for TFA - you can use @WP:TFA coordinators: to get all of us at once. If someone brings me a better choice .. .I'm happy to switch things around but it needs to be quick. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:43, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
If you're going to honor the Armistice then skimming over WP:FANMP I'd say Manchester Cenotaph is the least worst of the options. It's not ideal, as it specifically commemorates the forces of one side rather than all nations that took part, but at least it's not celebrating a particular unit or individual, and is something unlikely to cause offense. As you know, I'm not a great fan of "date significance" on the main page, so in my personal opinion unless there's something obviously appropriate (e.g. Vladimir Lenin last year on the anniversary of the Russian Revolution) it's better to ignore the anniversary than to try to shoehorn something in. Since every conceivable surface in Britain is currently plastered with poppies and I assume the equivalent is true in France, Germany, and Belgium, and the date is a public holiday in the US, it's not as if readers are unaware of the date and we'd be doing a service by reminding them.
(On the subject of FAs, I'm not sure which of the delegates is responsible for deciding which categories articles are listed under at WP:FA, but you might want to find whoever filed Neil Armstrong under "Warfare biographies" and give them a slap. Yes, he served in the Korean War so technically it's a military biography, but I'd guess his naval service isn't the reason most readers are looking him up.) ‑ Iridescent 19:14, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
Just a point of information, I can't yank anything from the queue. I can advocate for it, but nothing more. Cheers for the ping. The Rambling Man (talk) 23:02, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
On the centenary specifically, PoTD is relevant: Template:POTD/2018-11-11. However, Wikipedia:Selected anniversaries/November 11 doesn't have 1918 yet. Who should I contact about that? I think it would be User:Howcheng, who seems to do updates the day before. Hopefully that will all be OK. Agreed about the Woodvale Park memorial comment. Looking at the DYK nominations, there are none in the holding area flagged for 11 November, but one relevant one being reviewed: University of Reading War Memorial (the French submarine one is not actually WWI). Carcharoth (talk) 12:56, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
@Carcharoth: Long-standing policy has it that OTD doesn't run the same content as TFA/POTD, but we do have The Unknown Warrior and Shrine of Remembrance that we can feature. howcheng {chat} 16:44, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
That is why I posted to your talk page suggesting an exception (because it is the 100th anniversary, not just any anniversary). Though I then noticed someone else made the changes (to include the article on the armistice) anyway (to quibble there, the official end could be said to be the peace treaties the following year). I was trying to pre-empt things, but then things happened anyway. Given that TFA is unlikely to include anything related, I think it would be good to have both OTD and PoTD include something in this vein. I fail to see why you would allow 'Shrine of Remembrance' and 'The Unknown Warrior' (from different years) but not allow 'Armistice of 11 November 1918' - readers of the main page will be interested in that far more than the other two (other readers will click on the link from the picture caption to WWI, but why not both?). Carcharoth (talk) 16:58, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
As also stated on my talk page, I'm concerned that one of those edits to make the article more presentable for OTD purposes has excised too much material and has compromised our coverage of the history. howcheng {chat} 17:24, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes, that needs fixing. May try and do that. Carcharoth (talk) 17:36, 8 November 2018 (UTC) Done, will go back to Howcheng's talk page to continue discussion there. Carcharoth (talk) 18:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

A reply now (may have time to say more later), and with thanks for the responses so far: I think there have been memorial and/or specific WWI or WWII articles focused on specific nationalities (rather than the general history of the World Wars articles that are nearly impossible to get to FA) run on November 11 before (but more likely they were run on dates linked to the event/object, or not linked to any date), but given that this is a more significant date than normal, I agree with the point made above that it would be better to have nothing at all (and we had a memorial last year). My next step would have been to contact the TFA co-ordinators, but I won't do that now, as I am going to leave things as they are (and drop HJ a note back on his talk page pointing him here). For the record, from 2004 to 2018, the TFAs were (with actual military relevance marked with an asterisk): Sarajevo, Peterborough Chronicle, Leonhard Euler, Bobcat, Ronald Stuart(*), Battle of Arras (1917)(*), Saint-Gaudens double eagle, Harry Cobby(*), William Jennings Bryan presidential campaign, 1896, John Treloar(*), Goodbyeee(*), Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, George S. Patton(*), Norwich War Memorial(*) and (pending) Mesopropithecus. During the WWI centenary years (2014-2018), the years where a WW1-related TFA ran on 11 November were in 2014 and 2017 (the TFA in 2016 had some WWI content as well). Note (for full context) that other WWI-related content ran as TFA on other dates in the period 2014 to 2018, often on more relevant dates. Carcharoth (talk) 11:46, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

On actual news coverage of this coming weekend (and Monday in France, apparently), it is possible to get a flavour of what will happen from a number of sources. Firstly, the news articles that are out there with specific previewed details (though some of the detail is under wraps). There will be the BBC coverage of the actual ceremonies, focusing on Westminster Abbey and Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, and wherever the main events are in France and Belgium. Some of the focus will be on dignitaries [titular leaders and royalty], rather than politicians (I am defining the two rather loosely here). Some examples: No Trump-Putin summit in Paris with focus on Armistice commemorations; Armistice Commemorations Muted as Germany Reflects on World War Lessons; Europe Remembers One of Deadliest Conflicts in Human History; PM to visit Belgium and France as part of Armistice commemorations. Incidentally, one of the things I was fascinated by over the summer was whether Theresa May would actually still be PM for these commemorations. That press release was only put out on 3 November. The main takeaway point (from the VoA article):

Some 80 leaders from around the world, including U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will fly into France this week to attend remembrance events marking a century since the guns fell silent on the Western Front. The culmination of the commemorations in France will come with a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Monday (sic).

(Other sources say Sunday, not Monday, which makes more sense.) The (British) PM's schedule takes her to Mons (Belgium) on Friday and Albert (France) on Saturday, and back to London on Sunday where the German President will "lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in an historic act of reconciliation". There is obviously much more, such as Australian ceremony in France which is an example of one of the many events being held at memorials in many countries (e.g. there will be an event at Brookwood on Sunday as well). A good summary of the French events is: here and here. More here and here. You can never be sure quite what direction the news coverage will take, and how much will get covered, but if other news is quiet there will be quite a bit (not to mentioned the pieces commissioned well in advance). Carcharoth (talk) 15:09, 8 November 2018 (UTC) PS. The main problem with me making a start on an article (I might do that today) is that I am away this weekend, and not back until Tuesday. Carcharoth (talk) 15:14, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Whats worrying me is "How will Trump ruin this?" - its a sad day when you are actively expeciting a world leader to do something awful at such an event. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:12, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
This is one of the few occasions where you can assume Trump will be on best behavior. Unless and until you've lived there, one really can't appreciate just how big a deal veterans are in the US compared to any other country, and that's particularly true among the Republican right; doing anything to screw up a ceremony honoring American troops (among others) would destroy the fragile and uneasy coalition of evangelicals, libertarians and centrists that keeps Trump in office. He's well aware that all it takes is 20 senators to decide that he's an electoral liability and that Pence/Ryan 2020 would have a better chance of preventing the nightmare scenario of a Sanders/Warren ticket winning, and he's gone within weeks and potentially spending the rest of his life fighting legal charges. ‑ Iridescent 17:59, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes but 'on best behaviour' in his case means just not actively trying to offend. I'm still allowing for stupidity. Only in death does duty end (talk) 02:18, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
@Only in death: Trump cancels due to heavy rain... Aiken D 17:58, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
Well I suppose you can't balls it up if you don't go. Blessing really. The hair would not survive heavy rain... Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:31, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
Seems to offending enough people with that cancellation anyhow (he could've easily gone by road apparently - "I helped plan all of President Obama's trips for 8 years," he wrote on Twitter. "There is always a rain option. Always."). So much for doing anything to screw up a ceremony honoring American troops (among others) would destroy the fragile and uneasy coalition of evangelicals, libertarians and centrists that keeps Trump in office. I suppose as long as one has a plausible enough excuse for doing so...
Iri, I think you have far more faith that evangelicals/libertarians are only supporting Trump because it is their only choice, and are ignoring that more than half of the Republican party is rabidly pro-Trump (hence the Trump pandering, and emulation, especially in the primaries, by candidates in the midterms) and would revolt against any impeachment. Galobtter (pingó mió) 19:57, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
Good grief; as well as the rain incident, if Le Monde is correct and Sarah Sanders is lying—and I know who I'd put my money on—he also told the Lithuanian ambassador that his nation was responsible for the war in Yugoslavia. Putin and Morawiecki must be bemused at the feeling of being at an international gathering and not being the objects of derision.
I still stand by my evangelicals/libertarians comment. Certainly, many if not most of the Republican party is rabidly pro-Trump, but they have nowhere else to go; if Trump steps down they're not suddenly going to start cheerleading for Hillary 2020. If the opposition party takes and holds a strong lead in the polls, political parties are ruthless when it comes to dumping leaders if they think that leader is potentially going to lose them the next election—there are enough people in the upper ranks of the GOP who know their history well enough to remember both the fate of Margaret Thatcher, and that dumping her kept the Conservatives in office for a further seven years from a point at which everyone expected them to be wiped out for a generation. I know this is a highly unrepresentative sample, but whenever I speak with my family I get the feeling the unofficial motto is "the guy's an asshole but I'm voting for the party, not him"; if it starts looking like those people start feeling in significant numbers that they can no longer support the party, it only takes ​13 of Republican senators to start feeling itchy to eject him altogether (unlikely) and it only takes between two and three (depending on recounts) to frustrate his agenda in the hope that he won't seek a second term and a more conventional right-winger like Ryan can run as the common-sense candidate (highly likely). The usually-spookily-reliable electionbettingodds.com is only giving Trump a one-in-three chance of standing and winning in 2020. ‑ Iridescent 00:12, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
"he also told the Lithuanian ambassador that his nation was responsible for the war in Yugoslavia" - Well the Baltics and the Balkans are very similar... (Sigh) Only in death does duty end (talk) 23:55, 12 November 2018 (UTC)
I'm way ahead of you: see the bottom of this section [8]. EEng 00:07, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
You mean, the section that was added two days after I made the above post? I feel we may be using differing definitions of "way ahead". ‑ Iridescent 21:50, 13 November 2018 (UTC)

Am not going to try and do any article on the Armistice centenary commemorations until next week at earliest now (probably later than that). I do have notes on the commemorations for Jutland, the Somme, Passchendaele and Amiens, so might try and write all of them up at some point, with suitable sources (or add to existing or newly created articles). But this all needs more time than I have at present. It is good that PoTD, OTD and DYK will have thematic content. Carcharoth (talk) 15:14, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

Realistically there's no chance of rushing anything through in time for Sunday. If "date significance" is important, then September 1st or 3rd next year (depending on how you reckon it) will be the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, which despite not being a nice round number like 100 will possibly be more evocative as it's likely to be the last major WWII anniversary commemoration at which survivors will be in attendance. Because of the general chaos left by the disintegration of the European empires, we also have significant centenaries coming up thick and fast in the next couple of years:
  • 3 Jan 1919; formation of the Nazi Party;
  • 15 Jan 1919, assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht;
  • 21 Jan 1919, formation of the First Dáil and declaration of the Irish Republic (I have absolutely no intention of touching this one with a bargepole);
  • 25 Jan 1919, formation of the League of Nations;
  • 14 Feb 1919, Soviet invasion of Poland;
  • 2 Mar 1919, formation of the Comintern;
  • 13 Apr 1919, Amritsar massacre (I have absolutely no intention of touching this one even with someone else's bargepole);
  • 19 May 1919, Atatürk begins the Turkish Civil War;
  • 28 Jun 1919, Treaty of Versailles;
  • 11 Aug 1919, formation of the Weimar Republic;
  • 19 Aug 1919, Britain withdraws from Afghanistan and formally stops considering it part of the Empire;
  • 10 Jan 1920, the Central Powers formally surrender;
  • 15 Mar 1920, Britain occupies Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire comes to an end;
  • 4 Jun 1920, Treaty of Trianon and the dismantling of Hungary;
  • 21 Nov 1920, Bloody Sunday in Ireland (I have no intention of touching this one with twenty bargepoles lashed together to make a single 250-foot bargepole);
  • 23 Dec 1920, the allies create Syria and Palestine, with hilarious consequences (the bargepole doesn't exist that's long enough);
  • also 23 Dec 1920, the partition of Ireland and creation of Northern Ireland, which presumably seemed like a good idea at the time to someone (the bargepole will never exist that's long enough).
Those are just the MILHIST ones likely to be of interest to en-wiki readers; there are also shedloads of significant anniversaries coming up in Eastern Europe, as assorted Balkan and Baltic states declared their independence from Austria, Russia and Turkey, and the centenary of both prohibition and women's suffrage in the US. Because the people being born around 100 years ago were the generation who fought in WW2 and who created post-war popular culture, there are also lots of 100th birthdays about to hit us over the next two or three years. December 23, 2020 in particular is likely to give the incoming Arbcom who'll be taking office a week later lots of fun things to talk about. ‑ Iridescent 17:09, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
The Treaty of Versailles might be possible. Your bargepoles are funny, though I hope someone does try to improve those articles a bit. The expected Trump soundbite has emerged: Trump blasts Macron. I do like whoever suggested May quote WWI poetry in her tributes: Theresa May pays respects in France and Belgium. It may well have been May herself, for all we know. The quotes used (in the cards used on the wreaths) were Binyon ("They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted"), Brooke ("in that rich earth a richer dust concealed") and Streets ("There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn'd to live (so died) when languished liberty"). There will be lots more coverage between now and Monday, when the papers may well carry front page coverage if nothing more newsworthy happens (and the Sunday papers will carry feature articles, of course). Carcharoth (talk) 11:18, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
To quote Sir Bernard Woolley, No, you can't have alphabetical seating at the Abbey. You'd have Iraq and Iran next to each other. Plus Israel and Jordan all sitting in the same pew. We'd be in danger of starting World War III. Yes, I know "Ireland" begins with an "I", but no. That doesn't make it any better. Ireland never makes anything any better. You were an arb for long enough to know that nothing good has ever come of editing an article that even contains the words "Israel" or "Ireland", let alone the hyper-sensitive topics of 100 years ago around the origins of Zionism and the formation of the IRA. I'd be reluctant to try to clean up Treaty of Versailles, as I suspect too many well-intentioned school projects and people who are half-remembering things they heard on the History Channel will be edit-warring over it come the day. If I'm feeling particularly masochistic I may take a stab at Occupation of Smyrna, although it's in such a poor state it will probably (appropriately enough) need a scorched earth destruction and rebuilding from scratch; the next ones I have tentatively lined up are the somewhat less controversial botanical ceiling of the Natural History Museum, Reading's Soane Obelisk, de-shittifying our embarrassingly bad Round-tower church article and possibly trying to get Bayeux Tapestry into a less messy condition in time for 2022 if I can summon up the energy and Ealdgyth doesn't get there first. ‑ Iridescent 15:20, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
The Tapestry-that-isn't isn't even on my radar. I have it watchlisted for vandalism fighting, but no interest in working on it. My interests to work up are continuing on the Holocaust article, perhaps Treblinka (it's using Steiner as a freaking source! ARGH!) and maybe a bishop or two eventually. If we ever get moved, I can actually start working on articles again.. I might even return to nominating articles for FAC eventually... Ealdgyth - Talk 17:16, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
I'm not really that interested in the Tapestry, but assuming the Grand Symbolic Gesture of repatriating it in 2022 goes ahead, it's likely to become one of the most read Wikipedia articles of all time, and it would be nice if it were in decent shape. Regardless of its artistic merit or accuracy, or of why anyone would queue for hours to catch a glimpse of it through a crowd when they can scrutinize the thing for hours at their leisure online or go see the stitch-for-stitch replica in Reading for free at any time, it will be the most visited exhibition of all time, and interest in all things Norman is going to soar. ‑ Iridescent 00:12, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Colourful arguments[edit]

Can one of you take a look at this discussion on my talk page and come up with a more convincing argument than mine? It seems to be a perfect clash of common sense over Wikipedia policy. I'm sure the IP is telling the truth and using evidence that would be reasonable in the real world, but I can't add unsourced content to articles without a reliable source - it'll just get reverted "per policy". (I appreciate in this instance that's exactly what I did do, but at least I presented the sources and explained the problem!) Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:59, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

Sure, but can you appreciate the argument that it's a lot of work and hassle for something that is "obvious" and not that important in the grand scheme (although what mighty contests rise from trivial things) Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 11:25, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Sometimes I think this entire website is reaching the point of self-parody. Newyorkbrad (talk) 11:50, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Pall Mall is obviously sits comfortably in neither pink nor purple. It's really maroon. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:55, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
...and life is a self-parody Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:56, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
How about mauve? Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 12:01, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
I'd personally say the St Charles Place/States Ave/Virginia Ave group is indisputably "pink" and not "purple". Hand on heart, it's not something to which I've ever given much consideration nor ever expect to do so again. ‑ Iridescent 17:42, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
@Ritchie333, on further thought while it may not be possible to cite "Hasbro call it pink" or "Hasbro call it purple", what you can do is figure out the CMYK of the color in question and cite the Pantone chart for whatever they call that particular shade. Going by eye alone, the shade appears to be Pantone 219C, which is unambiguously called "pink". ‑ Iridescent 18:45, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
NYB, you now think this entire website is reaching the point of self-parody? The megabyte-long discussion about whether "sycophantic" is a swear word, the sitting arb who wrote a 2280-word paean to bestiality-porn, or the earnest discussions about whether it constitutes "outing" to mention the real name of someone who edits under their real name, didn't do it for you? ‑ Iridescent 17:46, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for making me look up "paean": I learn new words every day. Psst...animal porn? Sitting arb?? 199.80.13.80 (talk) 17:49, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
It was a decade ago and those were different times. The argument was that it was a userspace first draft of what would eventually develop into a neutral article on the topic, but one can certainly see the point of view of those who thought it was unduly favorable towards its topic. The page itself has long since been deleted (there are still mirrors on the internet, but I wouldn't advise looking for them). ‑ Iridescent 18:06, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Which page? Sorry, but I really can't resist an open invitation. JoJo Eumerus mobile (talk) 18:33, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Iridescent is (unwittingly) making it sound way more interesting than it is....I'd forgotten about the paean bit. "Paean" is a handy word for scrabble. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:56, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Well, sort of—I just re-read it and parts of it are still eyebrow-raising even now. ([I find it hard to imagine the new and sober Wikipedia of today hosting this image, or including the phrase To restrain the struggling animals as they spasm, the dogs are placed in rigid muzzles, through which they must vomit (without being able to fully open their mouths), and forcibly held in position over the girls for this activity.) ‑ Iridescent 23:08, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
I fell for that. Now I have to own up too knowing that the impact has been deleted. In the past ten hours, though?! ——SerialNumber54129 09:36, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
The link above is an admin-only link; everything to do with the incident was deleted a decade ago (legitimately, as it was al at the request of the uploader; there's no implication of a cover-up). As Cas (almost) says, it's not as shocking as the description makes it sounds; although there are some genuinely shocking moments, it's more depressing than anything else, and "ew" is probably the phrase that best sums it up. Thanks to "you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the GFDL", some mirrors which picked it up before deletion are still legitimately hosting the page, if you really feel the need. ‑ Iridescent 10:47, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
I think—not :) but thanks for clearing that up (as it were). ——SerialNumber54129 10:58, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
Hmmm, couldn't find that phrase and then I realised I was looking at the wrong paean. Silly me. Found that one you were reading. Dunno what to say really. Can't think of anything glib or deep....(shuffles away from topic and waits for winds to change) Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:17, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
Well, I did get the link to the page and it was kind of blah to me. I've read pages like human way too often probably. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 07:10, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars#List of London Monopoly locations Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 13:17, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

WP:LAME isn't entirely fair in this case, as this is a Verifiability Not Truth issue rather than people squabbling over which of their personal preferences is included. How Wikipedia deals with the situation when a reliable source unequivocally states something but the reliable source is undoubtedly wrong is something we've never really figured out in almost 20 years of trying (my preferred knot-cutting method is to shove a detailed explanation of what the source claims and proof that the source is wrong into an explanatory footnote). ‑ Iridescent 17:17, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
Given I was an active participant in the edit war, and the most vocal participant in the dispute (if only because I created the article and took it to FLC, so had the most interest in it), I feel a bit of self-deprecation at LAME is not particularly onerous. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:31, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
Speaking of sources claiming things that are demonstrably untrue, I'm not in the least convinced that Whitechapel Road is "outside and more than one tube stop away from the Circle line", unless you're counting the as-yet-unbuilt section of Crossrail between Liverpool Street and Whitechapel. One tube stop east from the Circle line takes you to either Bethnal Green or Aldgate East, neither of which is on Whitechapel Road—"get off at Aldgate East/Bethnal Green and walk up Whitechapel High Street/Cambridge Heath Road until you get to Whitechapel Road" seems a little shaky to me.</nerd mode> ‑ Iridescent 17:50, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
I do sometimes also see such issues. Copiapo (volcano) which is also known as Azufre according to the Global Volcanism Program is fumarolically alive, citing "Von Wolff F, 1929. Der Volcanismus II Band: Spezieller Teil 1 Teil Die Neue Welt (Pazifische Erdhalfte) der Pazifische Ozean und Seine Randgebiete. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke, 828 p." as a source for that info. That source mentions indeed an "Azufre" as fumarolically active but it clearly refers to Lastarria which a) is a different volcano and b) also known as Azufre. It seems like Smithsonian mixed the two volcanoes up.
Don't start me on how many volcanoes have conflicting heights or how some share names. That's a nightmare to find sources in. JoJo Eumerus mobile (talk) 18:38, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
Conflicting heights is a surprisingly common issue. Manchester Council have just discovered that they've been mis-labelling their highest point for a century, and that's a major city which is one of the world's leading academic centres for geology and Earth sciences, not an impoverished backwater whose government is focusing its efforts on feeding the population and doesn't have money to waste measuring hills. (I do particularly like the example I give above, of the Pitt Rivers Museum mistaking a Walter Scott novel for genuine medieval records. Scott may have fallen from popularity now, but he was probably the most successful novelist of the 19th century; that goof is equivalent to a 22nd-century museum mistaking Harry Potter for documentary footage and earnestly stating that dragons were endemic to England in the late 20th century.) ‑ Iridescent 19:25, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

Conflict of Interest Noticeboard[edit]

Hi, you recently closed my COIN notice for Jytdog. I think you may have overlooked where I mentioned that Jytdog openly stated the confidential settlement amount but was unable to provide the source for his claim until another editor found a single mention in an SEC filing. This should be answered to. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Secondly, I don't agree that it is common to edit Wikipedia for 16 hours a day for months straight. I understand your point that this is suggestive, but I don't see how it would be physically possible to do this with a day job as Jytdog claims to have on their user page. 2604:2000:E0CF:5100:81B8:A314:4A73:70AF (talk) 16:23, 10 November 2018 (UTC)

No, that's not how it works. It's Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard not WP:Vague insinuations noticeboard; if you're accusing someone of being an undisclosed paid editor—which is about the most serious charge one can level against someone on Wikipedia—you're expected to provide evidence to support your claims. A glance at Jytdog's edit history would show you that they edit on a huge range of topics, with a particular interest in medicine; to claim that this demonstrates that they have a particular connection to this one fairly obscure medication despite 99.99% of their edits being to unrelated subjects is an extraordinary claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Someone making a correct claim, and then being unable to remember where they originally read it, doesn't in the slightest fall into that category; I couldn't tell you how I came to know that George Frederic Watts painted Love and Death, but that doesn't mean I'm secretly in the pay of the Watts Gallery.
Your insinuation that Jytdog's edit count implies that they must be paid to edit Wikipedia is also laughable; Jytdog consistently makes around 3500 edits per month, which if anything is fairly low for a Wikipedia regular (as a comparator, I made c. 700 edits yesterday alone; Doc James, who's working in similar fields on-wiki to Jytdog and is combining that with a full-time job as a doctor and with being a board member of the Wikimedia Foundation, made just over 3000 edits last month, roughly the same number as Jytdog). Remember that by the nature of the project, many Wikipedia editors are either retirees, stay-at-home parents or in shift-work jobs, as Wikipedia (as with any online project) is going to attract a disproportionate number of people with spare time on their hands; someone regularly spending the entire day on Wikipedia isn't remotely unusual, particularly in November where it's cold and wet in most of the places editors are based so people are less likely to go out.
If you actually have any evidence, feel free to reopen the WP:COIN thread. If you don't have any evidence but you still want to challenge my close, ANI is thataway. ‑ Iridescent 16:40, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
I couldn't tell you how I came to know that George Frederic Watts painted Love and Death, but that doesn't mean I'm secretly in the pay of the Watts Gallery. A similar example might be, "I couldn't tell you who it was was told me—or when—not to link to Gbooks in bibliographies, but that doesn't mean I've ever done so since" :) ——SerialNumber54129 17:10, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
Those examples aren't comparable because this issue related to information filed confidentially and apparently only available in a single reference in a regulatory filing. Your example of who painted a piece of art is common knowledge for many and widely disseminated in the public domain. You also presumably learned about the topic a very long time ago and this matter was something Jytdog was concurrently researching and then instantly forgot and could not locate his source.2604:2000:E0CF:5100:65FB:CB44:D9A7:62AF (talk) 17:33, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
If you want to re-open the WP:COIN discussion feel free, and I won't revert you, but I warn you that you'll be laughed out. To repeat, claiming that because of the 8973 mainspace edits Jytdog has made in the past six months, a grand total of four of them[9][10][11][12] have been to Finasteride, somehow proves that he has a contact of interest on the topic, is a claim for which you need to provide evidence if you're going to make it. (Here's the man himself explaining where he works and what he does, and his identity and field of work has been confirmed by an oversighter.) There are many legitimate criticisms that can be made (and have been made) of Jytdog's approach, but this isn't one of them. Finasteride is more notable than most obscure pharmaceuticals as it's on record that Donald Trump is taking it in an effort to ward off baldness, so it's completely unsurprising that more eyes than usual will be watching this article. ‑ Iridescent 00:12, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
Its funny you mention that the drug is more notable than average because Trump is taking it. Jytdog tried to suppress that piece of information from the page as trivia, which is a common theme for him. Jytdog even recently got a doctor banned who was an expert on the pharmacovigilance and specifically studied finasteride. It would be crazy to think that his sole purpose on wiki is that he is paid to edit this particular page but many others on Wiki have believed he is a paid editor, I am not the first.
As somebody who has never filed a COIN issue before, I don't understand what kind of evidence you would be expected to report. What kinds of facts could be and have been used to prove a COI if the person knows better than to disclose it? It seems like a simple denial of COI would be enough to shut down any claim, even if untrue. I'm not asking to be argumentative but I genuinely don't know what the answer may be or how the process works. 98.7.48.66 (talk) 00:48, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
Well, any evidence at all would be a good start (and no, "he said the value of the settlement was $5 million and it was actually $4.3 million which is near enough to prove he had insider knowledge" doesn't count). You do realise that "Jytdog tried to suppress [that Trump is taking the drug]" is strong evidence against him shilling for the manufacturer, given that "our drug is so safe, even the President of the United States takes it" is exactly the kind of claim for which any decent PR hack would give their right arm? If Trump is actually taking the stuff, I'd say you have evidence right there that it doesn't cause persistent diminished libido or erectile dysfunction.
You've answered your own question when you say What kinds of facts could be and have been used to prove a COI if the person knows better than to disclose it?. Assume good faith is an absolutely fundamental principle of Wikipedia, going right back to when we only had three rules (and FWIW, "editing with a conflict of interest" isn't and never has been forbidden, except in the very specific circumstances of someone who is being paid for their contributions to Wikipedia and has failed to disclose the fact that they're being paid); if you have no evidence that someone has a conflict of interest you are obliged to work on the assumption that they don't. Wikipedia isn't a court of law, and despite popular perception we don't do witch-hunts just because two editors have disagreed about what constitutes due weight and reliable sourcing in a given article. ‑ Iridescent 01:11, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
So it seems clear according to your explanation that any paid editor can simply not disclose or deny their payment and that is a work around for wiki guidelines. This isn't really important to mention, but just because a single person takes a drug doesn't make it safe or dangerous, regardless of who they are. Trump is a polarizing figure, vain, and has quite bizarre hair so he doesn't provide a positive endorsement for such a class of product. Just an opinion. Definitely not any evidence for or against safety profile though, there is actual scientific evidence for that. 98.7.48.66 (talk) 01:33, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Responding to your message[edit]

Wow, how did someone find my test on the Rafael Santana (of all people) talk page so quickly? :) I figured it would be seen by pretty much noone ever. Instead it took about an hour and a half. Your point is taken. If I had a clue as to how to delete it, I would. Please advise. Vcuttolo (talk) 08:38, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Despite what some people think, Wikipedia isn't a giant sandbox, and all changes are logged and monitored; by the nature of a project with 46,367,647 pages sometimes vandalism gets through, but in general we usually spot it. Please don't do it again; I haven't looked into the background that led to them but given the number of recent warnings on your talk page from multiple people regarding multiple issues, you're very much on your last chance. ‑ Iridescent 08:45, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Oops[edit]

Thanks for the feedback here. I was under the impression that the copyvio detector omitted results which were published after the articles it analyses! SITH (talk) 16:55, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

No such luck; I don't think such a thing would even be possible to automate. Earwig's tool only really works on brand-new articles; because Wikipedia content is so heavily mirrored, anything on Wikipedia will be replicated hundreds of times within at most a week of going live. ‑ Iridescent 16:59, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Ah, well I'll check in future then. And that's quite a list, really emphasises the importance of verifiability! SITH (talk) 17:04, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fred Bauder[edit]

You were recently listed as a party to a request for arbitration. The Arbitration Committee has accepted that request for arbitration and an arbitration case has been opened at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fred Bauder. Evidence that you wish the arbitrators to consider should be added to the evidence subpage, at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fred Bauder/Evidence. Please add your evidence by November 27, 2018, which is when the evidence phase closes. You can also contribute to the case workshop subpage, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fred Bauder/Workshop. For a guide to the arbitration process, see Wikipedia:Arbitration/Guide to arbitration. For the Arbitration Committee, --Cameron11598 (Talk) 20:48, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

When I said Unless anyone has any specific question, I doubt I have anything to add that hasn't been said at the ANI thread, I meant it; if the arbs have something to ask me I'm sure they know where to find me. If you want to save everyone six weeks of arguing, bad feeling and earnest pontification, the result will be "Maxim advised, Fred Bauder's desysop confirmed but with a stipulation he can immediately run for RFA whenever he chooses, Boing! said Zebedee admonished, no action regarding Future Perfect at Sunrise"; the only variable is whether I get advised, admonished or desysopped for the lèse-majesté of reposting information that's been publicly available on-wiki since 2004. (Ironically, the result they actually want—"Eric Corbett banned"—is the one they can't hand down, as they haven't named him as a party.) ‑ Iridescent 21:03, 16 November 2018 (UTC)