User talk:Jimbo Wales

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Science and math articles[edit]

Michael Byrne, a science writer at Motherboard has an article Wikipedia’s Science Articles Are Elitist, subtitled "Maybe Wikipedia readers shouldn’t need science degrees to digest articles about basic topics. Just an idea." I agree with much of what he says, though my experience is more with math/stats articles. Even though I really haven't kept up very well with the subject, I almost certainly have taken more math and stats courses (mostly stats) than 90% of the US population. But unless I specifically remember a topic from way back when, I can't even start understanding the 1st paragraph of 80% of our math and stats articles. Thus, I conclude that for a very large majority of our readers, most of our math articles might as well not even exist. Apparently it's the same for our science articles as well.

I'd love to see more academics writing and editing Wikipedia articles, but not if the articles are merely aimed for other academics. Any ideas how we fix this problem? Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:37, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

I agree with this 1,000%. Our math and statistics articles do a remarkable job of making the simplest concepts nearly impenetrable. And I make my living by solving nonlinear partial differential equations. I can't imagine what it must be like for the average reader. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 20:38, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
It's very hard to address blanket statements - part of the FA process is making articles as accessible as possible, which we try and do without sacrificing accuracy. Many experts aren't particularly good at this though some indeed are. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:05, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
I have no suggestion to address this, but this gave me a chuckle, so to perhaps lighten your Wikipedia day, from the link: "I have no idea who the article exists for because I'm not sure that person actually exists: someone with enough knowledge to comprehend dense physics formulations that doesn't also already understand the electroweak interaction or that doesn't already have, like, access to a textbook about it." Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:36, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
I do have a suggestion, for the math articles at least: in these articles it is kind of habitual to cite little or no sources (per a WP:BLUE reasoning if I understand correctly). I'd have these sources nonetheless in these articles, and preferably sources that explain the concepts in a more generally understandable language, which would (hopefully) still be more or less understandable without a degree in mathematics when summarized. --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:08, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
Very good idea, and also often an issue with physics articles. prokaryotes (talk) 22:39, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
There is a big difference in the citation styles in academic literature and textbooks between history and mathematics. In history virtually every statement is someones interpretation and needs citations. In mathematics most basic information, like trigonometric identities are backed by mathematical proof so are not controversial. All text books will cite these without reference. For a lot of articles the same identities can probably be found in 100 of sources and anyone of these sources can cover 90% of the information in an article. Indeed close referencing tracing individual formula back to their original sources would be a major work of scholarship and detract further from the accessibility of the articles. These are some of the reasons why the Wikipedia:Scientific citation guidelines was written. --Salix alba (talk): 12:12, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Plimpton 322 is an example why newer findings need to be considered (Babylonian mathematics), and why reference help to shift through existing content while being updated. prokaryotes (talk) 19:36, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Another suggestion: in the top right of an article we can have a sidebar, which is usually a navbox to articles on similar topics. For mathematics and similar high-tech articles, I'd propose another type of sidebar, one with "concepts used but not explained in this article", e.g. containing links to Boolean algebra and differential equation if that are concepts one needs to be acquainted with for a good understanding of the article you are reading; not too much detail: the "useful concepts" boxes on the articles referred to can in turn contain links to articles with the building blocs for that concept (e.g. "infinity (mathematics)" would be one that could figure in the box in the differential equation article).
This way one would always have a step down to something a bit more easily understandable, and a guide "where to start" if the article is too indigestible for the reader's level in math. --Francis Schonken (talk) 23:09, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

One thing to keep in mind is that a math/science article should be written for readers who would be looking for information on the subject of the article, which may naturally limit the readership to those who have a relevant technical background for understanding the subject. However, sometimes an article is written with language that is needlessly abstruse that makes it difficult for even a reader with a relevant technical background to follow. --Bob K31416 (talk) 22:36, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

And that's already difficult enough, as you need to simplify things so that people who don't already know the stuff will find it a useful read. It means that you need to use sources other than the best sources (e.g. you can use books instead of scientific articles, but often the books will assume the reader has some background that you don't assume the readers of the wiki article have). Gong further than this is without violating Wiki policies regarding sourcing, can only be done for popular science topics. So, topics like black holes, particle physics, string theory are more easy to write articles for that are accessible to lay people because there are a large number of popular science books on these topics. But there are many more subjects that can be explained even more easily to lay people, but we're not allowed to do that here. What's also a factor here is that even when there exist sources that are accessible to lay people, the wiki community will prefer basing the article on more rigorous scientific sources.
This problem has persisted here on Wikipedia for quite long time and what we're seeing now s that other websites such as StackExchange are filling the hole. E.g. how to derive , Wikipedia doesn't explain it well, that's why people ask this question on other websites and the answer ends up there instead of here. Count Iblis (talk) 01:01, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
It wouldn't work. Those articles are guarded heavily and any simplification invariably means excluding details that underpin the theory. Hilbert space is one of my favorites and they are well-behaved. It's a technical article dedicated to the mathematics needed to establish a complete description. But at least it has pictures. A Hilbert space is a complete metric space which is just as technical but with no pictures. Non-mathmaticians would find them tedious. --DHeyward (talk) 04:09, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that what might be required are intentional forks, in which basic content is dealt with in the main article, linking to the ultra-esoteric specialist treatment in an "advanced" article on the same topic. Gibberishization of math articles has been a long-running complaint. Carrite (talk) 11:27, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
gib·ber·ish – Unintelligible or nonsensical talk or writing.[1]
Be careful not to cross the line into anti-intellectualism. --Bob K31416 (talk) 12:17, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Mathematics#Suggested_structure, which may be helpful and includes the advice, "A general approach is to start simple, then move toward more abstract and technical statements as the article proceeds." --Bob K31416 (talk) 12:45, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

First, this is not a problem only Wikipedia has: most general encyclopedias struggle to explain topics in math & the sciences to the general reader without lapsing into intimidating jargon. (Yes, the author of the piece Smallbones links to above says the EB does a better job of it. But EB hasn't always been a model to follow.) IMHO, the problem has two causes: (1) Mathematicians (& scientists) aren't taught how to explain their ideas in plain language -- which is a difficult challenge, no matter how one approaches it; & (2) people who write Wikipedia articles have no idea who their audience is -- what they can expect their readers to know before beginning to consult the article. To use an example totally unrelated to math/sciences from my own experience, lately I've been writing articles on Roman consuls, & have been struggling ways to express the idea of a given person assuming the office of consul that an average reader will understand; but I can't expect one common phrase used by Classicists -- "X held the fasces" -- to be understood by the average reader. (I suspect a fair number of readers who saw that phrase would puzzle over what Neo-Nazis have to do with ancient Rome.)

I don't have any answers for these problems, but if the regulars in these topics areas are aware of these issues, they might better respond to efforts to minimize jargon & target content to a general audience -- if not provide the solution. -- llywrch (talk) 23:52, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Very difficult to write in lay. Even the notations are different in different technical fields. How mathematicians write complex conjugtes, for example, is different than physicist and engineers. Even at University, there are course "content forks" for notation, approach and applications. Consider the following notations and difference in techical fields.

Mathematical notation for complex conjugates ("+" is a sum, not logic operator). Note the plus sign on both sides which is always true for complex conjugates
Engineering notation for DeMorgan's law (note the same notations describing completely unrelated topics and are not the same. "+" and "" are logical operator
Mathematical notation for DeMorgan's law (same as Engineering equation above. "" and "" are logical operators in mathematics, just different than what's in Engineering).

  • It would be difficult to make it all readable for technical people. isn't more or less accurate than or even the mathematical set notation version. But some people are more comfortable with different notations based on their backgrounds. For physics, there is another notation style called Bra-ket notation. We wouldn't even pick a style to serve very technical people so writing for lay people would be extremely. --DHeyward (talk)
DHeyward, you make some interesting points, but none relevant to what I wrote. It's as if I were to say that language dictates I communicate a mood or feeling differently--
  • Latin: sunt lacrimae rerum et mentum mortalia tangunt
  • French: Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan
  • English: The world is too much with us, late and soon
yet neglect to explain exactly what mood these three lines communicate, or the history & context of these lines. And in plain language, which was my point. (FWIW, Wikipedia has articles explaining each of these. I don't know how well they answer non-expert questions, though.) As difficult as it is, I know it can be done for math topics. Two examples of complex math being explained successfully in plain English from my own library shelves are Constance Reid, From Zero to Infinity (Third edition, 1964), & Calvin C. Clawson, Mathematical Mysteries (1996). -- llywrch (talk) 05:30, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that language already does dictate the science/math/engineering articles. Mathematics articles use Mathematical language. Engineering articles use engineering language, physics articles use physics language. They are all different. That is the Wikipedia we have today. Imagine that we had an article on Napoleon Bonaparte but it was only in French as it's a French Topic and zero English because francophones wanted to capture the French experience that loses something in translation. DeMorgan's law has applications from math to science to engineering to philosophy but that article uses mathematical language. Engineering notation might be gibberish to a mathematician and vice versa. Heck, many years ago I took a philosophy course on logic. The instructor made it very clear that if he caught anyone using math to solve his logic problems, they would be graded down. In philosophy, true is not 1 and false is not 0. These are issues that affect readability just keeping Frnch articles as French would create readability. We could try and ban technical language but that's not acceptable either. --DHeyward (talk) 19:45, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Smallbones that this is a problem in many math and science articles, which I have also seen in philosophy articles--although I have seen some progress on articles that were formerly incomprehensible to the lay person. I have a Masters in Electrical Engineering and I find it truly amazing how difficult to read some of the math and physics articles can be, and ownership issues if you try to simplify them.

I have proposed this solution whenever I see it: Start out with lay terms and explanations, and then separately have a section that is precise in the jargon used in the field--and assume the lay person will not attempt to read the precise definition which they will have no hope of understanding. I have heard it argued that anyone who does not understand the jargon can look up the jargon by clicking on the Wikipedia hyper-link. That seems unreasonable, as the reader is not seeking to spend hours clicking through wiki-links of technical jargon and symbols to try to understand a complex subject: They probably want only a very limited and vague understanding of the subject, and likely will want to know its significance, its history, the major players who did work on it, any major events regarding its development, fields and theories that were affected, created or discredited because of it, etc. Technical experts in the field can easily forget the human element and the importance of context. Plate tectonics, for example, is an incredibly interesting technical subject, but its development an impact on geology is just as interesting. And we all know that large cultural, religious, legal and educational significance of evolution.

If a lay person wants to understand exactly what an integral is in precise mathematical terms, I think there is no hope of that: they will need to take a class and learn about limits, Riemann sums, etc. Incidentally, the Riemann sum lede looks pretty reasonable (and somewhat takes the approach I suggest, although it immediately becomes far too technical following the lede and does not follow the basic rules of WP:LEDE, whereas integral quickly leaps into unduly technical language and symbols. --David Tornheim (talk) 03:18, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

With the exception of the immediately above comparison, I see a whole lot of general moaning with very few specifics. Until then, this is pointless --Deacon Vorbis (talk) 12:32, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
When you say comments lack specifics, do you mean specific articles? How about this one: System of bilinear equations
We can make a list of articles that have the problems described if you with. --David Tornheim (talk) 16:28, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

I find suggestion that science and math articles are the way they are because the editors are ignorant of their audience or worse because they are elitist and purposeful want to alienate part of the audience, insulting, (and very much against the spirit of WP:AGF. Writing articles on technical subjects that are both accessible and correct is not an easy task. Even less so do to the ever existing tension with the core policy of verifiability. The easiest way to write verifiable statements is to stay close to the source, which for technical subjects will often be very technical documents. Of course, one will usually try to put it in more simple language than the source. But given how big the gap is between the language in the source and the ideal level of accessibility here, simplifying the language a lot may still not be enough. Moreover, the more the language is simplified the hard it becomes to verify that the source actually supports the statement. To really bring an article to a level of accessibility suitable for an FA article, ultimately requires a very holistic approach to editing the article. This requires a large time investment from a small number of editors, and is not easy to achieve with lots of contributors adding many tidbits over a long time. TL;DR I think science/math articles are mostly so because nobody has (yet) invested the time and effort to make them better. Since it is so much easier to create technical article which is correct and verifiable, but hard to read this typically happens first.TR 13:31, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

  • I think that there are two problems here. The first one is: which is the intended public of the article? An article about a technical mathematical subject can definitely not be understood by everybody. For example, Scheme theory is a fundamental part of algebraic geometry, which is used, among many other applications, in Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. However, it seems impossible to write an article about scheme theory, such that more than the first sentence, and a part of the history section, may be understood by someone who has not, at least, the level of a graduate student in mathematics. Thus the best that can be done is that every scientist or engineer who has encountered the subject of an article in his work can understand what it is, and what is known about it.
  • The second problem is the difficulty for filling this objective, difficulty that lies in the competence of the mathematics editors: many of them, often PhD students, have only a partial view of their subject. For this reason, they tend to write only for people who know it already. A similar problem occurs with elementary articles, which are often written for a classroom audience, ignoring that there are many other kinds of readers, with different backgrounds. A typical example was, until March 2013, Simultaneous equations. Until this date, a reader were not told that there are other cases than two linear equations in two unknowns, or that systems of thousands equations and thousands unknown are routinely solved by computers (I cannot provide more recent examples because, when I encounter one, I try to fix it.) D.Lazard (talk) 15:42, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • "I find suggestion that science and math articles are the way they are because the editors are ignorant of their audience or worse because they are elitist and purposeful want to alienate part of the audience, insulting, (and very much against the spirit of WP:AGF." I agree.
  • "The easiest way to write verifiable statements is to stay close to the source, which for technical subjects will often be very technical documents." I do not generally agree. It depends on the article. If the subject is so obscure that no one but experts in the field will have heard about it, then it really doesn't matter if it is too technical.
The concerns I have--which I believe are what this thread is about--are with important areas of math and physics that lay people will almost certainly have heard of. In those cases there will almost always be non-technical sources that are written for lay people. I gave examples above: calculus, plate tectonics. Other examples: Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle, Theory_of_relativity (this Wiki articles starts out reasonably) and can rely on sources written for lay people such as [2]. An above comment talked about systems of equations: In System_of_bilinear_equations it immediately launches into symbols that people with a high school math education would not understand, unless they had taken a linear algebra or matrix methods class--that is completely unnecessary. --David Tornheim (talk) 16:28, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Observing that there are several "pages" in our perview that even in the introductory paragraph, which as I understand it should be the simplest, require at least a collegiate level grounding in the discipline to begin to understand it. This means that the average reader or volunteer cannot make heads or tails of the subject. I suggest that pages like this be strongly encouraged (if not required) to provide a simplified explanation so that we don't become a permanant repository of abstract post-graduate knowledge that belongs better in academic journals or textbooks. Hasteur (talk) 16:40, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Rotten Tomatoes[edit]

Martin Scorsese has drawn attention to the crappiness of this website as a determinant of anything whatsoever about a film. Wikipedia would be better served to cease treating this idiotic thumbs up/down metric as meaningful data, included in a virtually automatic way (because it's so easy) on almost all film pages. It is meaningless data that does not need free promotion on thousands of Wikipedia pages. Here's the Scorsese article: Scorsese on Rotten Tomatoes. This has been brought up before, responded to with ridicule by users who seemed to somehow assume it was sour grapes on the part of some film industry person: hardly. I write this as someone who cares both about Wikipedia and about culture in general, as should all Wikipedia users. (talk) 06:16, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

I know a lot of Wikipedians aren't fans of Rotten Tomatoes. I'm not a great fan either, but an outright ban on saying "Film X has a score of Y on Rotten Tomatoes" would be difficult. This should be raised at WP:RSN or Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Film.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:31, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Ever since the movies became big business over a hundred years ago, there have been directors, producers, stars and screenwriters who despise film critics. The ticket buying public actually reads movie critics, in their never ending quest to avoid wasting hard earned money on big screen turkeys. Rotten Tomatoes raises special ire from those disposed to hate film criticism, because, somewhat like Wikipedia, it summarizes what the full range of professional movie critics (AKA reliable sources) say about a movie. The funny thing is that Scorsese is also defending mother!, a film that enjoys a generally positive 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps he could not find an indisputably great film with a really bad Rotten Tomatoes rating to use as a rhetorical device. IP editor, you are as entitled as Martin Scorsese (a great director) to despise Rotten Tomatoes, but do not expect the rest of us to ride along with the two of you. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:54, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Space Jam is an example of a movie with genuine critical acclaim (getting positive reviews from Siskel, Ebert and Maltin) but a wretched RT rating. I very much doubt Scorsese is a fan, but Rad is probably the canonical example of a movie that was universally loathed by critics but which was hugely popular with audiences (0% rating on RT, 91% audience appreciation rating); Scorsese would probably find Rise of the Footsoldier (14% RT rating, 83% audience rating, successful enough to spawn two sequels) more to his liking. ‑ Iridescent 07:19, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Every database of 10,000 items will have some statistical outliers. As for Rad in particular, its self selected audience almost self evidently differs "rad"ically in personal taste from professional film critics. That is part of the reason why we do not rely solely on Rotten Tomatoes when discussing the critical reaction to movies. Are those three examples enough to ban references to Rotten Tomatoes from Wikipedia, Iridescent, or are they just interesting anecdotes? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 08:05, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Geez. It has nothing to do with directors, producers or stars despising film criticism (and Scorsese does not despise film criticism either, so it's really totally beside the point). The discussion I attempted to start had nothing to do with removing criticism from Wikipedia. The question is not that at all, but whether Rotten Tomatoes has anything to do with film criticism and whether it counts as meaningful and relevant information deserving of inclusion in thousands upon thousands of Wikipedia articles. The moronic thumbs up/thumbs down metric is the question here, and it is what I discussed. Providing examples, whether mother! or Space Jam, simply makes no difference. In my view, there is no justification for doing so, and the same applies whether it is "all critics" or "top critics": whether a film gets a thumbs up or a thumbs down, and counting them up, is simply a completely useless and mindless way of evaluating works of art or entertainment (one simply cannot imagine such a formula being used for great works of painting or literature or any other form of art). If users can find critical opinions that a consensus tends to find worthwhile and just, then that should be included (as is currently the case), but it would simply be beneficial in all respects for Wikipedians to agree that, as I said, almost completely automatic inclusion of this non-data and non-knowledge does not benefit Wikipedia, cinema or culture in general. One can only hope that Wikipedians are capable of thinking about those kinds of questions, rather than simply being preoccupied with defending their castle. (talk) 21:54, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
The answer to your question about whether Rotten Tomatoes has anything to do with film criticism is, "Yes, it does". It aggregates professional film criticism. I consider that meaningful and relevant, and check Rotten Tomatoes every time I am considering whether to spend hard earned money on a movie ticket. Obviously, you disagree, which is your right. But I submit that you will need to marshall far more compelling arguments if you hope to end the use of Rotten Tomatoes here on Wikipedia. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:00, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
In the August 2, 2017 issue of the Hollywood Reporter, Paul Dergarabedian of ComScore offered this sage assessment: "The best way for studios to combat the 'Rotten Tomatoes Effect' is to make better movies, plain and simple." Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:26, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Clearly you, Cullen328, are someone determined to talk about something other than the issue raised, and about an issue not relevant to this encyclopedia, so no further discussion with you need be entered into at this point. If the mindlessness of the thumbs up/down metric escapes you, then I can only recommend a bout of self-reflection away from this encyclopedia. I would simply add that your smug response provides an example of the kind of approach taken by self-satisfied users that has the effect of driving others away. Best. (talk) 01:35, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
I am mystified by your response, IP editor. I have attempted to engage you in conversation about Rotten Tomatoes, the subject that you raised. It appears that you do not like any disagreement. Your opinion that my comments have the effect of driving anyone away is pretty strange to me. As for the "mindlessness" of the thumbs up/thumbs down model, let me make two observations: That method of briefly summarizing film criticism was created by the highly respected team of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and the thumbs are a tiny part of the rich critical evaluation available on Rotten Tomatoes. I self-reflect constantly, but will continue working on this encyclopedia, as is my right. Good luck to you! Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:54, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, Cullen, but you know not of what you speak. "It aggregates professional film criticism". Only it doesn't. Taking a balanced and thought-out piece of prose and crassly dumbing it down to a meaningless "score" or percentage will only ever pander to those who are too stupid or lazy to read reviews and who just want to look at a number, without really understanding what is behind that number. Let the prose of the reviewers tell the story, not an artificially forced "score" that has absolutely no input from the critic, and is, in many cases, highly dubious (I've seen reviews that are generally positive but include genuine criticism, but RT have graded that review as 100% - utter useless and misleading crap). How anyone can consider their scoring system as in any way "encyclopaedic" really does need to have a long hard look at encyclopaedia is supposed to be. I'm entirely with the IP and Scorsese in thinking RT is useless crap. - SchroCat (talk) 17:04, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
SchroCat, Looks like you're giving RT a score of "useless crap" on the kitty litter scale. --Bob K31416 (talk) 21:06, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
SchroCat, are we talking about the same website? I just looked at the Rotten Tomatoes page for a newly released film I want to see, Only the Brave (2017 film). That page features prominent prose excerpts from six reviews and links to a total of 14 reviews. You are entitled to claim that the website does not aggregate movie reviews, just as I am entitled to point out, with evidence, that it actually does. Dislike it all you want, but please do not misrepresent it. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:25, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
FFS, no wonder admins are no longer held in esteem when they throw round such nonsense as accusations of misrepresentation. Does the turgid site turn balanced prose into a rather crass percentage, yes or no? Yes is the answer, and it does so badly. It is the main thing the site is known for, and is only one of the problematic approaches taken by the site. If you think that is encyclopaedic, then your definition of what is encyclopaedic differs from mine. - SchroCat (talk) 05:32, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
You said that Rotten Tomatoes is not an aggregator of film criticism, SchroCat, while any neutral party can look at that website and reliable sources discussing it, and see that it is an aggregator of film criticism. Perhaps you are correct that they do a poor job of it, but that is what they do. Yes, they use a percentage scale, which is far more granular than the usual "thumbs up or down", or four star rating systems. As for my status as an administrator, I am expressing my personal opinions about a source, rather than using or discussing administrative tools. What does my admin status have to do with this conversation? Am I muzzled because I passed an RfA? I hope not. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:59, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Wow... where did that straw man come from? No-one has said anything about you not expressing your opinion, or that you are in any way "muzzled". Way to go in side-lining a discussion away from its point. - SchroCat (talk) 06:05, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
One of the problems is ubiquity. It has become routine on Wikipedia to say "Film X has a score of Y on Rotten Tomatoes" even though it is far from clear what this type of aggregated score actually means. It's rather like assuming that the results that come up first in Google are the most important ones; they may be, or they may not be. As I've said, it's unlikely that Wikipedia would ban Rotten Tomatoes, but it does need to be careful about giving it a free plug in every film article.-♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:31, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree with all you have said. It's a particular problem with older films, as RT still counts modern reviews towards their rather crass "score" alongside the small number of original reviews. Some will consider the RT "score" to be a valid judgement on a film, when the standards and expectations of reviewers and audiences have changed over time; the language used by reviews has also changed which is another factor not taken into account by RT, nor is the difference in the use of language: on the whole British reviewers are more restrained than their American counterparts, and reviewers from the 1940s and 50s were less given to the hyperbole favoured by modern reviewers - none of these factors are taken into account by RT when slapping their one-size-fits all guess percentage. (And a pointless thing it is too: what is the difference between a 59% review and a 60% review: there is absolutely no way that any sense can be applied to such a crass and ridiculous decision as applying a percentage "score" to prose). - SchroCat (talk) 07:32, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, do you have a similar disdain for other polls, for example the percentage approval rating for US presidents? --Bob K31416 (talk) 13:36, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
What on earth has that got to do with it? It's a ridiculous parallel to try and draw. - SchroCat (talk) 13:48, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Your criticisms seem to be applicable to polls in general, of which RT is but one. --Bob K31416 (talk) 14:18, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Then you have utterly missed the point of what both I, the IP and ianmacm have said. I suggest you re-read the thread, particularly the point about the stupidity of trying to give an equivalent numerical "score" in place of a prose review. - SchroCat (talk) 14:27, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, I'd characterize RT as useful but fallible. Regarding your comments, I'd be less generous. --Bob K31416 (talk) 19:28, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks fr the baiting, but I've ignored far better than yours. - SchroCat (talk) 19:32, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure how Rotten Tomatoes turns text reviews into a percentage rating. It's far from obvious how you would do this. There is also the question of how the perception of a film can change over time. Stanley Kubrick's career might have been ruined if the film studios were a slave to Rotten Tomatoes ratings, as critics hated many of his films when they came out. The Internet has developed a fascination with Rotten Tomatoes ratings which is far beyond what they actually deserve.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:51, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. I'm old enough to remember a universally-panned flop called Blade Runner struggling to compete with more critically-acclaimed movies released at the same time such as Conan the Barbarian, while this is how Stanley Kauffmann reviewed 2001 on its release. ‑ Iridescent 16:39, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

It is pleasing to see that there are other users willing to reflect on whether a meaningless number (or a one or two word summary) from Rotten Tomatoes really merits inclusion in a virtually automatic way in an encyclopedia. And obviously: even if one believes that the RT website, as an "aggregator", has some kind of merit as a way of viewing a range of opinion (which I do not concede), the point is that is precisely not how it is used on film pages in this encyclopedia: in short, the way that Wikipedia uses RT is even worse than the site itself. Nevertheless, the fact that a longstanding user and admin persists so doggedly in arguing irrelevant points about the merits he perceives in RT is disheartening: rather than a real discussion about whether the encyclopedia or culture benefit from the automatic inclusion of this stupid metric, one sees just another instance of the useless and disingenuous bickering that drives so many contributors or potential contributors away (the other user's equally disingenuous query about whether this translates into "disdain" for all polls does not merit a response). And what is so clear is that such strategies are undertaken purely as a means of unreflectively maintaining a status quo, for no good reason. Such strategies work, of course: who could be bothered engaging over and over and over again with such nonsense? Someone with far more energy than I have for these kinds of futile games would be required to effect this kind of change. For myself, it is just one more symptom of Wikipedia's greatest problem, insufficiently recognised: the insidiousness with which users facilitate the process by which it falls prey to entropic tendencies. Best of luck. (talk) 19:36, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Reminder, the first editor responding to your opening post wrote, "This should be raised at WP:RSN or Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Film." Any plans to follow-up there? --Bob K31416 (talk) 19:50, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
IP editor, it is striking to see you continue to spread incorrect information about Rotten Tomatoes, as when you describe their content as a "one or two word summary", when the current page for Only the Brave that I mentioned above includes about 150 words of quotations from six different reviews plus links to 14 reviews. Your caricature of this website that provides far more comprehensive information about criticism of many thousands of films than you acknowledge does nothing whatsoever to advance proper and nuanced use of this source by Wikipedia editors. As for your attacks on me, they are like water rolling off a duck's back. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:03, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

All Critics vs Top Critics[edit]

We should only use top critics score. Example for the new Star Trek. The top critics RT value in this case is close to the user value at IMDB. prokaryotes (talk) 11:05, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

No we shouldn't. They differ from market to market, and are still an artificially created nonsense devoid of intelligence. How does anyone put a sore on a piece of balanced prose? It's just not possible, and Rancid Tomatoes are very, very bad at doing it. - SchroCat (talk) 17:04, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Turkey block[edit]

Tomb of the Kings, Dalyan

Hello. Attached is a picture I took on our September holiday in Turkey. Despite my moaning about Wikipedia from time to time, it is a valuable resource. Bristol stool scale is useful for foreign food attacks, and I wanted to look up Kaunos while I was there. But Wikipedia is blocked, as I found out. It is quite subtle. When you try to access Wikipedia, there is a long wait, and the server gives up, so you think it is the internet connection, which is not brilliant in most hotels. I only found out when I Googled 'Wikipedia block'. Google returns articles like 2017 block of Wikipedia in Turkey which you can see, but cannot access of course. So many people in Turkey will not realise there is a block at all.

I understand the block was following an article dispute. Is there any prospect of resolving it? As I say, it is a valuable resource, and it seems wrong that access to nearly 80m people is denied. Is the WMF still working on this? Best wishes Peter Damian (talk) 18:16, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps Turkey could, oh I don't know, stop supporting terrorists? That'd go a long ways towards resolving the issue. TheValeyard (talk) 03:02, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, the WMF continues to work for a resolution of the situation through both legal and diplomatic channels.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:37, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
If someone can suggest the principal culprits, I go fairly near Saylorsburg on occasion (where Gulen lives); I could try mailing out some random crap (I wonder if Gulen's convention center has a gift shop?) from there to those guys or their family members and see if they get sent to gulag over it. Wnt (talk) 13:27, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
I often appreciate your iconoclastic comments, Wnt, or at least consider them thought provoking. Sorry, but this one strikes me as irresponsible. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:43, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, to lay out some ideas more directly: (a) Done right, terrorism is not illegal; (b) a totalitarian society is a vulnerable society; (c) when people are being rounded up in large numbers over nothing, it is not really about their behavior any more, which means that if one person is unjustly sent to jail another will not be taken for some unjust reason, which means there is no sin in setting someone up; (d) none of us are ever far from the front line of a war today, and it is our decision minute by minute whether to put our heads up or not. You might also reasonably infer (e) that I'm not extraordinarily serious about the proposal, or else I'd have done my own research and not spoken about it where Turkish intelligence might hear ... caveat being there is fair reason to be skeptical that exculpatory evidence would matter anyway, and of course, if the thing were suggested publicly here and they still took the bait it would be much funnier. Wnt (talk) 12:05, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Maybe I'm confused, but the block is by the Turkish government, not by Wikipedia. So it is of course up to the Turkish government to lift it. I'd be very much pissed off if we would let political censorship influence our editing process. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:57, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Wikitribune and Wikipedia[edit]

May I ask what will be Wikipedia's stand with relation to Wikitribune ?Will we be allowed to use it as a reliable source ?Or should we treat it as we do with references from Wikia ? Forceradical (talk) 10:50, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

This will not be for me to decide - it's a matter for the Wikipedia community. However, our approach and standards involve editorial oversight and a strong ethos of evidence-based journalism and neutrality, so I would anticipate it being viewed favorably.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:39, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Think this should and will be considered reasonably if we don't sit on our laurels. From what I can gather, Wikitribune will avoid 'fake news'. That in-itself should make it RS.... but-in-the-same-breath, there is a danger of introducing the phenomenon of positive feed back. This is like, if one places a microphone too close to a speaker and gets a loud howl of audio distortion. Still, nothing ventured nothing tried, so think we can run with it and see how it goes and adjust policies as seen fit. This is too bigger job for one or two admins – it needs the wisdom of the crowds. Which is one of WP's very strong points. Aspro (talk) 15:27, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Wikitribune will at least initially lack a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 21:01, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Agree. Reputation (the type of which is valued and respected) only comes from repeated examples of accuracy and NPOV. Which is why I say that just because WP and the WMF has been a success, we should and must not, rest on our laurels. WP & WMF is dynamic. Us, as editors (community), must remain dynamic also -until the seas boil dry. Aspro (talk) 13:59, 17 October 2017 (UTC)


I'm asking you for help, in arabic wikipedia I'm koussayou003 I'm blocked because i try to entre with an admistator account two times -it's joke- then the admistrator avertiss me . i dosen't try to doing it after that and i said sorry but the admistrator chek me and blocked me for a mounth, It's a long time and really i'v got so much things to do i'v got a bot for creating , two article to traduction in my two sandbox and so much athoer things to do. I realy would to improve wikipedia but the others hate me because I'm different , I always do admistrator things I dosen't now how to traduct them in english . So can you please unblock me.thanks

Now I'm asking for unblocking me so the admistrator blocked me for three mouth, please i need your help — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:50, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Hello IP address. This is the English wikipedia. Traditionally one language's affairs are not discussed on another language's sites seeking appeal. Additionally, per Wikipedia:Role of Jimmy Wales, traditionally Jimmy Wales has passed on or devolved most of his privileges and responsibilities with respect to the operations. As such, it is very unlikely that your request will be responded to. Please go back to the Arabic Wikipedia and engage in dispute resolution to try and resolve the issue. Hasteur (talk) 17:16, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Jimmy Wales lookalike[edit]

Some years ago I was looking up the author Thomas Hardy on the excellent site that is Wikipedia. The results appeared with a personal appeal from Jimmy Wales and a picture of him. By a rather remarkable coincidence the two portaits were almost identical! I would like to send the screen shot I took to Jimbo but I do not seem to be allowed to add it here. Please can someone contact me away from this post? Ajlholt (talk) 21:53, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia graphic designs[edit]


I am a Farsi (Persian) Wikipedia user. So forgive my language flaws!

I've designed some designs for Wikipedia. To promote wikipedia and its users. I've written more in here about this.

Thanks, Seyyedalith (talk) 23:16, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Cooperation in Wikipedia Community
Taking care of wikipedia
Unity of the Wikipedia Community
Wikipedian at night