User talk:Jimbo Wales

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Defining moment in USA discussion/debate[edit]

A young gay mayor is running for President and was on CNN today. He was challenged about the fact the green new deal is being framed by Republicans as being "socialism". His response was that his generation and younger are only interested in the content and results of a proposal, and can not, will not, be distracted by terminology which he referred to as a "kill switch" e.g. "socialism" in this case. These "kill switches" have been around in USA discussion maybe forever but long ago a kill switch was "that's communism", then there is "UnAmerican" and nowadays "conspiracy theory" and "socialism".

If kill switches don't work anymore, the productivity of discussion and debate will soar, imo. Nocturnalnow (talk) 18:49, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Well, what makes them work then? Ambiguity. Imagine that. ~ R.T.G 20:27, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
I hadn't followed this, but searched [1] to find Pete Buttigieg. I found a quote:

But you can no longer simply kill off a line of discussion about a policy by saying that it's socialist. If someone my age or younger is weighing a policy idea and somebody comes along and says you can't do that, it's socialist, I think our answer will be, is it a good idea or is it not? That idea has lost its power when you think about the way it was applied to characterize the ACA... Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, invented by a conservative think tank, relying on market principles, implemented first by a Republican governor. And they said that was socialist. So I think the word has mostly lost its meaning. It's certainly lost its ability to be used as a kill switch on debate.

Wnt (talk) 22:17, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
The so-called people with conservative viewpoints (like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson) despise "identity politics" (which itself is an unestablished term) and the media's portrayal of them as the right wing. Yet, the irony is they use the "radical left" as the scapegoat for every possible argument. This, I think is the kill switch present today, mostly on the internet. THE NEW ImmortalWizard(chat) 01:18, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
There exists a fake news, real news cycle. It starts with people accepting fake news even when they think it's not 100% accurate as to them it's a banner for the party they support. Any discussion on dealing with real problems is then impossible due to kill switches. E.g. in case of climate change, even if you could get some conservative leaning people to acknowledge that there could be a real issue, they would end up saying something like "perhaps there are some issues we need to look into it, but largely it's all about Al Gore pushing his socialist agenda". But then, on the long term by ignoring the real news in favor of fake news, reality will eventually start to bite and then the kill switch will be put aside. Another example is criminal justice reform in the US. After years of propaganda from right wing talk radio leading to ever longer prison sentences, the problems become ever more visible and then one needs to reform the system. Unfortunately, in case of climate change, the use of the kill switch may have gone on for too long:
"The history of the Earth system is a story of change. Some changes are gradual and benign, but others, especially those associated with catastrophic mass extinction, are relatively abrupt and destructive. What sets one group apart from the other? Here, I hypothesize that perturbations of Earth’s carbon cycle lead to mass extinction if they exceed either a critical rate at long time scales or a critical size at short time scales. By analyzing 31 carbon isotopic events during the past 542 million years, I identify the critical rate with a limit imposed by mass conservation. Identification of the crossover time scale separating fast from slow events then yields the critical size. The modern critical size for the marine carbon cycle is roughly similar to the mass of carbon that human activities will likely have added to the oceans by the year 2100." Count Iblis (talk) 20:52, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Why is this discussion happening on this talk page? What has this got to do with Jimbo? (talk) 15:13, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

@ lol IDK. It just happened. I think it's important for this community to understand media and politics. THE NEW ImmortalWizard(chat) 15:26, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, I'd like to mildly discourage general political discussions here if it doesn't relate to Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:53, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Did Ilhan Omar's twitter thoughts get hit with a "kill switch"?[edit]

This one is really out to lunch. If someone suggests, or asserts, as Trump did, that US foreign policy re: Saudi Arabia is influenced by how much American stuff Saudi Arabia buys, is that suggestion Islamophobia? According to the info here, her opinion was based on a practical deduction, not anti-Semitism, as far as I can see Nocturnalnow (talk) 22:39, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

@Nocturnalnow: great observation. That's clearly not antisemitism. Unfortunately, the media and critics from both sides (Republicans and Democrats) have "alleged" her of that. It seems somewhat unbiased, unless there's any kind soul who publicly defended her for this wrong and twisted allegation. THE NEW ImmortalWizard(chat) 23:52, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
It was clearly antisemitic, and she rightly apologized for it. But this has nothing to do with Wikipedia, so I suggest we move on from it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:46, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia discussion/talk pages are substantially less prone to lead to optimum valuable consensus, imo, when a "kill switch" cuts off discussion, and that does happen sometimes.
So that's the Wikipedia connection; maybe I should've mentioned that connection at the outset. Sorry. Nocturnalnow (talk) 05:30, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
As the Young Turks illustrate, if Omar's comments were anti-Semitic, so were Trump's. That is, if people believed in objective standards. But come on, a Somali-American congressman? She could have asked for a drink of water and been branded an anti-Semite! After some of the stunts like with Steven Salaita, I don't know if there's a Palestinian professor left in the U.S.... if there is, the department better have somebody available to continue his classes next week. There is a 1984 level of doublethink among those who know that groups like AIPAC and (in Salaita's case) large university donors exercise financial influence, purportedly to help Israel (though their policies often endanger it), yet any mention of what is routinely published and known is supposed to be problematic ... depending on who says it. All because "we do not tolerate racism"! Wnt (talk) 13:59, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
That Trump says racist things is not surprising. That lobbyists lobby is also not surprising. Here is a (flawed I think) list of some of the biggest ones. Here is the entry on AIPAC.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:27, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Eye opening stats, so AIPAC spends less than 1% as much as Big Pharma on lobbying. Pelosi should've shot her down with that fact rather than ordering her to apologise. Btw, when did an apology ordered by a boss become worth anything? That is a much bigger issue... promoting or accepting forced apologies is bullying by the enforcer, insulting for the apologee, and contributes to societal indoctrination of insincerity. Nocturnalnow (talk) 20:27, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

Are questions about your political opinions pertinent to Wikipedia?[edit]

Jimbo, given the influence you wield in your Founder's Seat on the WMF Board, and now on its Advocacy Working Group, are there any reasons that questions about your political opinions, goals, and affinities aren't pertinent to Wikipedia? I recently asked you, "where you would be on the tycoon spectrum. Do you feel closer to Dell or Hanauer?", a question I am returning here from the archives since a related opinion was recently expressed by Bill Gates, a well-respected luminary who has had something of a rough-and-tumble relationship with the free culture movement. Do volunteer editors have a right to know where you stand on issues affecting them? EllenCT (talk) 19:03, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Unless an issue has some direct bearing on Wikipedia/Wikimedia or the free culture movement, I don't think there's any good reason to have a political discussion on my Wikipedia talk page. You want me to offer a general opinion about wealth inequality and mention my role on the WMF Board but I see zero relevance. The WMF is not going to take any position on what the appropriate level of taxation is, obviously.
On certain other matters where I am involved in diplomacy or negotiations, I must deliberately sometimes hold my tongue if speaking is not in the best interests of the movement. I defer to the WMF on such things.
A good place to ask me about random political issues would be twitter or quora. But as I am not a political candidate running for election, and have no intention to ever be one, I do reserve the absolute right to speak or not speak on various political issues as my personal mood strikes me. So no, I don't think volunteer editors - or anyone else - has a "right to know where I stand" on such things as marginal tax rates.
On the other hand I'm a friendly and open person and I might answer just about anything that I'm asked - in the appropriate venue!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:05, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
Do you like Japanese all-payer better than Canadian single-payer? They live longer and pay their doctors more. How about billionaires in general? EllenCT (talk) 08:14, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I have no opinion about the Japanese health care system. I have no opinion about the Canadian health care system. I have very little time or interest in learning more about either of them. As for billionaires, I have two responses: I don't know what you are asking me exactly, and I have made it very clear that this isn't the correct venue for such questions. In the context of Wikipedia, what do I think of billionaires? I think they should give more money to the Wikimedia Endowment.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:23, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Eh, I strongly suspect you're very biased on that subject. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 18:13, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

"The text of Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive has just been finalised"[edit]

Quoting MEP Julia Reda:

Moments ago, negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council concluded the trilogue negotiations with a final text for the new EU Copyright Directive.
For two years we've debated different drafts and versions of the controversial Articles 11 and 13. Now, there is no more ambiguity: This law will fundamentally change the internet as we know it – if it is adopted in the upcoming final vote. [2]

XOR'easter (talk) 19:57, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

@XOR'easter: Any idea on how this will impact Wikipedia? THE NEW ImmortalWizard(chat) 00:56, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
@ImmortalWizard: See this blog posting by Eileen Hershenov (former General Counsel of the WMF) for a brief summary. The main threats remain, i.e. the mandatory introduction of upload filters and the restrictions regarding news snippets. It all depends now on the final Parliamentary vote short before the EU elections. --AFBorchert (talk) 08:12, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
@ImmortalWizard: Cory Doctorow has also outlined it in June 2018 at as well, especially how bad it will be for Wikipedia. Regards SoWhy 08:38, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
Now can we have that blackout? This makes SOPA look pretty damn tame by comparison! Concerning Jimbo: we should get some expert opinion on whether any of the proposed Brexit deals would encourage or mandate this sickness to spread out of the EU into Britain. Wnt (talk) 13:44, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
Here is Julia Reda's explanation of what has been agreed. The text of Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive has just been finalised. The WMF has asked me not to speak to the blackout question just yet. I am seeking permission to do that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:48, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

Mark Dice[edit]

I have to say I am utterly disgusted by Mr Dice's behavior now (and far more disgusted by the actions of his supporters), and can now see why some criticized your decision to try and accommodate him.Slatersteven (talk) 15:51, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

NPOV is fundamental. Viewing things through the lens of "accommodation" is mistaken. My argument remains completely 100% valid: not liking someone or their political positions is not a valid reason to ignore their concerns about their biography in Wikipedia. I will continue to advise Mr Dice that confrontational behavior is not helpful to his cause, but at the same time, it shouldn't really matter - Wikipedia is about the facts of reality, and that is the only thing that should guide us.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:21, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Dice has nothing to bitch about now. We (well, not me, some you lot) have just given him a ton of free publicity. He shouldn't have any trouble getting YouTube 'views' and selling a few more books, at least for the next short while. - wolf 08:34, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
WP:NPOV is fundamental yes, however so is WP:CIVILITY. Not only is Mr Dice being confrontational to other users, some of those that he recruited have developed this attitude. It's really not helpful at all to the encyclopedia. They need to learn to drop it.-- 5 albert square (talk) 09:17, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Certainly. Civility matters.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:14, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Utter fucking bullshit; remember those days or they seem a bit hazy? WBGconverse 15:35, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I agree, and even supported your view on it over there. The problem is that it is now clear to me (you no doubt disagree) that Mr Dice was in fact just as much pushing a POV, one aimed at promoting his work. The actions of his fans were far worse (and was vandalism in some cases, acts I am yet to see him condemn).Slatersteven (talk) 11:38, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Why would I disagree? And I thank you for that support! The point is: I don't care about him or his motives, I care whenever any article needs improving. I advise people regularly that being spectacularly aggressive with Wikipedians is super duper counter productive, and of course it is. But I think we are at our best when we make as sure as we can that our dislike of someone or their behavior is kept strictly separate from our mission of NPOV.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:14, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I agree that some of the tone of the counter arguments was POV pushing. I think the fact we cannot call him a media analyst is just bizarre. But the subsequent actions convinced me that Mr Dice was not being wholly honest about his intentions. After all after two days of digging we have found precious little to indicate he in fact really is notable anymore. I fell now that his aim was yo use Wikipedia to boost his ego and promote his work, as no one else seems to really care anymore about him.
But as I said the other side has not overly impressed me either, but then I have encountered this attitude before (mostly not about politics, but mostly the same users). As I have said elsewhere there is now I think a serious issue with civility and a band of elilte editors who seem to be able to flout it.
But I can also see why (now, after the Dice incident) they can sometimes forget themselves. It does not excuse it (as I have also said before, we do not convince anyone by these tactics), just makes it more understandable.Slatersteven (talk) 13:32, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
The core of the problem is your's ventures out of your t/p. You have questionable editing competency (esp. in these areas) and it might be better; if you choose to voluntarily refrain from your adventurism(s) in light of the destructive trail, left by them. WBGconverse 15:38, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

FYI I nominated the article for deletion as I am convinced Mr Dice is not a notable personality: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Mark Dice (2nd nomination). funplussmart (talk) 01:56, 16 February 2019 (UTC)

Why did you create Wikipedia?[edit]

What motivated you to make it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Persononthinternet (talkcontribs) 04:48, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

"One of the problems experienced by Nupedia during much of its existence was that the software lacked functionality." -- Nupedia#Software development. EllenCT (talk) 08:06, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I had been watching the growth of free software (or open source software as many people call it) and saw programmers coming together to collaborate in news ways to build all the really great software that was building the Internet - Apache, Perl, PHP, MySql, GNU/Linux, Bind, etc. And I realized that this model of collaboration could extend far beyond just software and into many kinds of cultural work. And I thought that an encyclopedia, because it should be neutral and factual, provided an easier place to start and experiment than other types of work. I also always loved encyclopedias as a child, and the idea of a free encyclopedia for everyone on the planet felt really inspiring to me. Still does!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:20, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Larry Sanger moved to San Diego in February 2000, to help Jimmy Wales with Nupedia. Sanger contacted a friend, Ben Kovitz about ways to improve the site, and the two met on January 2, 2001 to discuss this. Kovitz told Sanger about WikiWikiWeb, and Sanger became excited that an encyclopedia could be written by anyone, and contacted Wales to set the site up. Sanger came up with the name Wikipedia.[1] Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 21:15, 15 February 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Lih, Andrew (2008). The Wikipedia Revolution. Hyperion. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-1-4013-0371-6.