User talk:Jimbo Wales

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This looks worthy of a discussion

This story looks worthy of a discussion. I have long advocated that we should deal much more quickly and much more severely with COI editors. The usual objections (from some quarters - I think most people agree with me) have to do with it being hard to detect them, but in this case, the COI was called out, warnings were issued, and nothing was done. Now the editor has been called out by the media embarrassing him (he deserves it), his employer (who may not), and Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:08, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

In case anyone interested in discussing this isn't aware, there is also a thread at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#User:Edwardpatrickalva and blatant COI.. -- Ed (Edgar181) 18:49, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
As the individual who initiated the ANI discussion, I feel that this user has also been fairly disingenuous about his actions. This extends beyond just simple COI, which is bad enough in its own right. I furthermore believe that what Mr. Alva is doing is a violation of WP:GAME, and is a flagrant disregard for all things factual and encyclopedic in nature. I looked through his contributions (that term can only be applied in the most literal sense), and the violations range from NPOV and WEIGHT, to IRS, GAME, and disruptive editing, with a healthy dose of shamelessly plugging the movie and the "stars" thereof. All this to make Wikipedia conform to the movie's narrative. Perhaps it's time for a consensus on a course of action? KirkCliff2 (talk) 15:05, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
@Edgar181: @KirkCliff2: Re J's in this case, the COI was called out, warnings were issued, and nothing was done. What are your views on that? Why was nothing done? Why does it take so long to stop abuse? What could be done to deal "much more quickly and much more severely" with egregious offenders? How would you improve WP:COI, esp the inconsequential "How to handle" section? I'll ask these questions and suggest some answers on COI Talk, but since Jimmy started the conversation here, I'm responding here first. - Thanks; LeoRomero (talk) 01:41, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
It's not really my place to speculate on why the inaction has persisted , but to give theAdministrators the benefit of the doubt, Mr. Alva's editing hasn't always been so noticeably egregious, and COI is a touchy and often less visible issue. Regardless of the Why's and How's of the matter, a statement needs to be made for the sake of the encyclopedia's very integrity: If Edward goes unpunished for deliberately flouting the rules and then disingenuously feigning ignorance, asserting his intentions were pure (as if that magically justifies his revisionist editing) when a brief look at his edit history would indicate otherwise, it would turn the criticism from him to us for permitting this "assistant producer" to essentially get away with slander, promoting a false narrative, disruptive editing, and making a mockery of the non-negotiable COI and GAME policies. A complete block would seemingly be the only logical course of action to ensure Wikipedia, BLP articles, and touchy subjects remain as neutral as possible, even if the block is issued by Jimbo himself (If memory serves correct, he hasn't banned anyone since 2010, and mostly renounced such powers ). It may not be my decision alone to make, but as a veteran editor who rarely even weighs in on such issues and has only been to ANI once before, but who is well-familiarized with how the system works, it would stand to argue that Mr. Alva must be banned for the reasons mentioned above. Now, we need to rally together and reach a necessary consensus on a course of action that preserves the values and principles Wikipedia stands upon. KirkCliff2 (talk) 13:54, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
LeoRomero, With regards to the COI policy itself, we need to take a very strict approach to violations thereof: Two warnings, and if the editor continues with the COI, it's a topic ban at the minimum. If coupled with other severe violations, which would show a complete disregard for Wikipedia policies, a total block outright. If we, as a community, start taking a more relaxed approach to a serious issue, it becomes a dangerous slope. KirkCliff2 (talk) 14:00, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
@KirkCliff2: I learned so much so quickly from your Admin Cliff Notes (ba dum bum), thanks! Would you mind bringing some Admins into this policy discussion? WP:COI, unlike some stronger policy docs, says nothing about block/ban procedures, or that Consensus process of which you speak. Are we supposed to being doing an emergency "sense of community" vote or something? Is it like the Supreme Court where advocates wrap up the case and a buncha people who are supposed to know stuff vote? Or can I just banish evildoers into Hades (like into Facebook or something)?
@Ryan Kaldari (WMF): You wrote Thanks and WikiLove - can you write WikiToughLove?
@Ryan Kaldari (WMF): @DannyH (WMF): PS: I added Better control of Conflict of Interest damage to the 2015 Community Wishlist Survey. Only because you don't have enough to do. Sorry/notsorry; LeoRomero (talk) 00:21, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, George "Jimbo" Washington, for your Solonic retirement. If the Community you founded can't deal with a little nuisance, who'll stand in front of the totalitarian tanks as we approach the Technological Singularity? Freedom and Responsibility Now!
LeoRomero (talk) 16:57, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
I've debated applying to be an admin, and whereas I do act as the head Admin on a Wikia project (ironically, the position there is called a Bureaucrat, which I rather despise, since I hate bureaucracy, and Wikipedia is never to be one), I'm ambivalent about being one here, even if they deemed me fit to be granted such a privilege. If ever I should feel my being an Administrator can serve to fill a niche or add something novel, I might consider applying. For the time being, however, the lack of instruction on how to best go about handling COI matters (assuming it hasn't been delineated elsewhere) might potentially be the reason for this confusion, much as Jimbo alluded to. I'd imagine a good place start is by going to the COI talk page, and seeking answers on banning policy as it relates to such matters there. I'll take the initiative, and go visit the COI noticeboard to see if we can bring in specialists to redress the problem as it relates to Edward Alva. KirkCliff2 (talk) 17:26, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Some logical thoughts to consider so we don't look like a kangaroo court or lynching:

  1. He did declare his COI. Good.
  2. He did use the talk page. Good.
  3. If his edits were questioned, did he edit war over them? If so, a short block might be in order if he persisted. Did any of that happen?
  4. If his editing was questioned, was he willing to stick to using the talk page and cease editing the article(s) in question? If so, good.
  5. Questions about his editing will naturally tend to call out the worst assumptions made by human nature (such failure to AGF can be a blockable offense): "He has a COI, so hang him immediately, no matter what types of edits he made, and by all means immediately revert all of them, regardless if they improved the article!" We must still AGF. Misunderstandings occur between all good faith editors, and that includes COI editors.
  6. Lynching is the wrong approach because a COI does not absolutely forbid editing, but rather it's an admonishment to be careful. If a COI editor actually violates policies (not referring to COI here), then judge based on those infractions. While it's wise for them to only use the talk page, it's not totally forbidden to carefully edit and seek consensus.
  7. A topic ban might be wise, if such infractions are clearly proven to be more than just differences of opinions.

So go through those steps and don't jump immediately to blocks and topic bans unless necessary. We do need topic experts, and even a topic ban should be limited to the article itself, not the talk page, unless dealing with a really hardcore a##hole. Then just indef them. So carry on and good luck with this. -- BullRangifer (talk) 05:12, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

@BullRangifer: Suggest we talk about the specific case not here but on its ANI section. (I just added a note there that it's way too long and ad hominem; requested a case summary) The conversation here pertains to Jimmy's long-standing concerns about WP:COI. I like your checklist/Qs. Work them into WP:COI#How to handle conflicts of interest? - Thanks; LeoRomero (talk) 18:31, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
Agree. -- BullRangifer (talk) 02:52, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
On COI problems in general, I've written some notes at Wikipedia:Hints on dealing with conflict of interest problems, based on experience at WP:COIN. This is not policy, just condensed experience from seeing similar problems over time. John Nagle (talk) 23:01, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Jimmy, having just posted a case summary draft of the Alva cases on ANI, I have one recommendation re COI: No Conflict of Interest Edits. All the drama, the anger, the wasted time, the misdirected energy. What for? If I truly believed that I'd earned myself a Wikipedia entry, I could just search a bit for 3-5 credible editors who're into what I'm into, ping them into a draft on my user space, and see if they'd discuss/edit/copy/paste. Done, and it's all legit. Why we gotta go and make things so complicated? You play COI, you're exiled to MySpace. - Thanks; LeoRomero (talk) 09:34, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

Yawl: I had a cozy and educational conversation at COI Talk yesterday, with two highly-regarded COI experts (Sarah & Risker). My conclusion (as of this moment) is this: COI is just one of the many consequences of more a fundamental problem at Wikipedia: We have lost our way. The counter-culture movement that was Wikipedia has been corrupted and co-opted by the cultures of our extra-wiki lives. It has become a bureaucracy, governed by rules. Worse, too many of these rules are vague, confusing - even contradictory - and therefore subject to endless interpretation and debate - much of it angry and hateful, and directed at the very volunteers who have invested in Wikipedia the most.

A small problem with rules: With each rule, another rule to break. Another heated debate. Another hundred pages of dissonant documents to read, interpret, and confuse. Another group of interpreters. Another group of cops. Some of them bad cops, who push away the very people we need to make us better.

A bigger problem: Our obsession with rules is distracting us, as a Community, from doing our job. Wikimedia Foundation describes that job well enough. Our "Mission" (another tell that we've been co-opted) is explicit. It's jargony - dominated by buzzwords (another co-optation tell) like "empower", "engage", "disseminate", and "effectively", so I'll try to put it plainly: Our job is to bring together people, from all over the world, to work as one, toward a common goal: to help each other gather knowledge, and keep it free, for everyone. I'll narrow that down further to just two words: Knowledge and Community.

COI -- like all those other failed and failing attempts to impose rule-based ethics on our anarchic community -- is preventing us from doing our job.

Radical solutions:

  1. Get to the roots (radix) of the problems, by simply asking Why? Why do we allow COI editing? Why do we allow paid editing? To each answer, ask Why at least two more times. I got nothing - beyond Freedom of Speech (lawlz) - and hope to see what you got.
  2. Uproot all the invasive species that are killing the garden: get rid of all those rules that do not directly help us do our job.
  3. Tend only to the roots that matter: Knowledge and Community.
    1. Focus on Content, and the three (just three) core rules: neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research
    2. Focus on Community - it is here that we have failed ourselves the worst. Wikipedia:Community portal and Wikipedia:Wikipedians say nothing about how, in the words of the "Mission", we "engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content". What are we doing to get that job done? And how much power do we spend doing that, compared to all the energy sucked away into Arbitration over matters that matter less?

I have shortened my recommendations below from two to one: Get rid of COI.

LeoRomero (talk) 18:53, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

I proposed a major revision of WP:COI at COI Talk, here. LeoRomero (talk) 02:42, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Summary and discussion of recommendations

@KirkCliff2: Two warnings, and if the editor continues with the COI, it's a topic ban at the minimum. If coupled with other severe violations, which would show a complete disregard for Wikipedia policies, a total block outright ... the lack of instruction on how to best go about handling COI matters might be the reason for this confusion. A good place start is by going to the COI talk page, and seeking answers on banning policy as it relates to such matters there.


@BullRangifer: Checklist: Did User declare COI? Did s/he [ BR used "he" bec he was referring to Edward; s/he and h/er are Leo's gender-neutral revisions, pronounced "she" and "her", since these recommendations are meant to apply to all ] use the talk page? If edits were questioned, did s/he edit war over them? If so, a short block might be in order if s/he persists. If h/er editing was questioned, was s/he willing to stick to using the talk page and cease editing the article(s) in question? Are we assuming good faith? ... COI does not absolutely forbid editing, but rather it's an admonishment to be careful ... A topic ban might be wise, if such infractions are clearly proven to be more than just differences of opinions.


@Nagle: On COI problems in general, I've written some notes at Wikipedia:Hints on dealing with conflict of interest problems, based on experience at WP:COIN. This is not policy, just condensed experience from seeing similar problems over time.


@LeoRomero: The best way to get rid of the COI problem is to get rid of COI. No Conflict of Interest Edits. You get one warning. Ignore that, and you're done. Proposed major revision of WP:COI at COI Talk, here.


LeoRomero (talk) 19:01, 25 November 2015 (UTC)


Mister Jimbo, they called me a Troll on Dutch wikipedia. They blocked me twice, indefinitely , ok, the first time they were right because I had over 15 sockpuppets, and the other blocks were only a for shorter time. A TROLL ,THEY CALLED ME! DO YO HERE ME? A TROLL!!! What kind of organisation is this? They also blocked me on Wikimedia_Be because I called someone a Monkey. Only once. And on Dutch Wikimedia because I asked a few questions. YOU ARE A TROLL!!!! Graaf Statler (talk) 09:59, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

What is a troll?. The Avengers (talk) 14:09, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
O, that is a long thing to read. Later on the (euopean) evening I will read it, but it realy looks intersting! In fackt, what I understand is that many people don't behave themself like they should do on the internet. I mean, why shouldn't you behave youself the same like you do in the real society? You have to be always integer every were, so also anonymous on the internet! By the way, Jimbo is a troll but an very integer one. Graaf Statler (talk) 16:57, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
I blame the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. —Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 18:01, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
And I blame the Wikipedia-system. You can't live under the bridge here. (Thank you The Avengers for that link.) You have to conform yourself to a group, the exiting wikipedia community. But I can't and I don't want that! I want to do my "work" in a peaceful surroundings with people who know were they are talking about, I 'm not looking for a kind of Facebook, and I am not here to belong to some community! I am on Wikipedia to write about thing what interests me. (And I know my english is shit, but I am an editor on the dutch Wikipedia.) Nobody is protecting me, because I am not a part of the Wikipedia family (and never will be.) That is my problem. Graaf Statler (talk) 00:33, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia - The Game

Noticed 'The Game about Wikipedia', complete with familiar font and logo, has been released. The makers state 'This game is not sold or endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation' but it certainly looks the part. AnonNep (talk) 21:54, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it has been out for a while. A while back, I saw it at Wal-Mart. I have to say, I don't know anything at all about the trademark arrangements but I assume it's legit.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:15, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Looking at the instructions, this looks like it could possibly be the most boring game ever devised. ("Wikipedia has kept track of all the page views or hits each of the 3 theme-related topics have received in one year. Their ranking is shown in the right column in blue, from most views to least views. The reader flips over the sand timer and reads the 3 topics aloud from the left column in black. The players use their markers and boards to rank those topics in order from most to least hits. When the sand timer runs out, time is up, and markers are put down. The reader announces the correct order and players receive one token for each correct ranking.") ‑ Iridescent 22:46, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Could be worse (?) Martinevans123 (talk) 23:01, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Oh Noes!! GamerGate started over depressing games. What havoc will be wrought with boring games? --DHeyward (talk) 06:56, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Ghettopoly was a spoof of Monopoly. This led to successful legal action from Hasbro.[1] Although Wikimedia material is supposed to be copyright free, it is surprising that the Wikipedia game can be sold without any official approval.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:34, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
I believe there is approval from the trademark perspective, but that's not the same as 'endorsement'. However, as I indicated above, I am not sure.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:17, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, as long as any trademark licensing $s is going to feed the homeless in a long cold northern winter, or such like, I'm sure the volunteer army that builds this thing won't mind. *raises eyebrow* AnonNep (talk) 09:54, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
This were was a discussion about this a couple of weeks ago. User:Kaldari said "I doubt that the WMF approved this as a trademark use". User:Moonriddengirl said she would check with the "trademark team" but I didn't see a response. Protopone primigena (talk) 19:02, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, what I said actually is that I would contact the trademark team. :) I did, and alerted them to the potential problem. I don't expect a response. If there are issues, they will likely deal with the people directly, Protopone primigena. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 23:09, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I guess I misunderstood. Could someone ask for a statement from the trademark team so that the rest of us know what the situation is? Jimbo? I don't want to buy a game that is using Wikipedia branding but doesn't actually have permission for it. And if the game is no good, it would be better if it wasn't associated with Wikipedia/WMF. Protopone primigena (talk) 22:10, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Surprised no-one has yet written an article about it, so that it can include itself. I'd write one myself over Christmas, but I'll be too busy playing the game. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:01, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Technically the Ghettopoly decision isn't a specific precedent - the manufacturer apparently didn't come up with some document and a default judgment was given, so it sounds like a commonplace application of the legal principle that the wealthier party always prevails. But Ghettopoly was a parody, which in the cloud-cuckooland of copyright law is ostensibly legal but prohibited as a rule since if you don't have more money than the person parodying you, you're not worth parodying. This is a direct use of the trademark, which is different. Wnt (talk) 20:14, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Phew! As if anyone would ever want to play games that were a parody of Wikipedia. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:19, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Hey! I've had fun playing varieties of Fictionary, and can't wait for Fikipedia with made-up infoboxes, citation-needed templates, talk-page discussions, inclusion of fringe-views, vandalisms and all! ---Sluzzelin talk 23:29, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
In that case you may enjoy Wikiopoly.... --Jules (Mrjulesd) 23:41, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
The forfeit, of being forced to play in "the infobox", until the end of the game, seems a little harsh. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:45, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Unfortunately branding-wise, this board game has latched itself onto Wikipedia, so if people deem it boring or a quick cashin, that might negatively affect the way they view Wikipedia...--Coin945 (talk) 23:15, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
That was my main concern. If someone put a Nike logo on something that was not an official Nike product, they would soon be sued to kingdom come until it was removed from the market. The Wikimedia Foundation is not litigious, and the game itself does not seem to contain harmful material. However, there does need to be a look at how to protect Wikimedia logos and content from this type of reuse without permission.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 03:36, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
How ridiculous, who would ever pursue litigation over a board game!? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:44, 28 November 2015 (UTC) p.s. maybe Wikipedia could branch out into sports sponsorship??

Financial support from Qatar Foundation

Jimmy, since you reverted another discussion as "trolling", how about a simple question that any open and transparent organization should not cower from? The Wikimedia Foundation at one time listed a contribution from the Qatar Foundation in the amount of "$100,000 to $999,999". While you may not know the answer off the top of your head, could you please find out exactly how much money the Wikimedia Foundation has accepted to date from the Qatar Foundation, then share it with us here? - Checking the checkers (talk) 12:15, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

Why does it matter? What does it have to do with building an encyclopedia? Who we get donations from shouldn't matter. The important thing is that we stay running and be more open to how to improve the site for the better to promote content in the long term.♦ Dr. Blofeld 17:09, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

Could it be that Checking the checkers is working on an article titled Qatar Foundation? --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 18:44, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
The "logic" here is that Jimbo is associated with Wikipedia, which took a donation from Qatar Foundation, which also funded a mosque, which had a Ramadan forum, which allowed a preacher to speak at it, who had said some insensitive and radical things at other times in his life. That's literally six degrees of separation. Wnt (talk) 20:18, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Precisely. Trolling.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:00, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to know how much they gave. WMF is in no position to deny the potential influence of large donors on its behaviour. Is there a good reason not to disclose the size of QF's donation? Short of a good reason not to, I'd hope the WMF would default to transparency. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 05:57, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
WMF is actually in a very strong position to deny the potential influence of large donors on its behaviour. Large donors have no influence on policy of any kind. This is very clear. The WMF does default to transparency, which is why the amount was disclosed freely, here: May 2012 Wikimedia Foundation Report and the report was promoted here in "highlights" version in the Wikimedia blog. The amount was $100,000.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:24, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for fishing that out. I'm concerned to hear you deny the potential influence of large donors on the WMF's behaviour. The WMF's employment of a Harvard Belfer Center associate was a serious error; an error highly unlikely to have been made if the Stanton Foundation were not a major contributor to the WMF.
I am enormously grateful to Stanton for their support, and the Belfer-Wikimedia collaboration while clearly very, very ill-thought-through and launched against the wise counsel of two very experienced Wikipedians, did not turn into the PR nightmare it might have. Still. The WMF - and you as a board member - need to be vigilant. It would be a very hubristic foundation, indeed, that, even without the Belfer debacle in its immediate past, believed its behaviour is immune to potential influence from large donors.
The current WMF management seems alert to this potential, and that's all we can ask. Your stance - to deny the existance of potential influence - is mistaken. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 08:37, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for providing that information, and for (implicitly) confirming that there were no other donations before or since, on top of the $100,000 gift. Feeling some sorrow that this was considered "trolling", but you have your perspective and I have mine. I think that the Wikimedia Foundation should be careful about accepting money from organizations that also provide financial support to Hamas and other controversial figures. - Checking the checkers (talk) 16:38, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
I'll go further than that. I think that the Wikimedia Foundation should not accept money from the Qatar Foundation in the future. A lot has happened since 2012. But let's be clear - you were trolling, you know you were trolling. You included ridiculous and weird claims about "clock boy" and so on. It is quite clear to me from - nearly 10 years now - of your trolling (I hope you are planning a celebration of the anniversary) that you actually have no interest in much other than trying to paint anything and everything that I do in a negative light. (The only exceptions would be trying to frighten me and my family with obsession over where my children are and sly jokes about violence, emailed threats from anonymous accounts, etc.) For whatever sad reason, you're obsessed and I'm used to it by now. I'm sure it will never end. And I'm sure it will never be any less pathetic. I genuinely hope you seek help for it - it must be hard on your family to see you throw so much of your life away on this quest.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:57, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Whatever the amount was, it was probably significant if it was over $100,000. Yes it would be nice to have transparency about the exact amount, but on the other hand there are reasons to respect donor wishes for privacy. And I very much doubt that a donation of even $999,999 is having a problematic influence on the Wikimedia Foundation; if anything, it would be nice if the Foundation used it to support initiatives like the Wikipedia Education Program in Arabic, Wiki Loves Monuments in Middle Eastern countries, and language translation software development. Unless some evidence emerges that there is an actual problem with this donation or how the Foundation is using it, I think that we should be grateful for the support of the Qatar Foundation. --Pine 07:20, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

The more money Qatar Foundation donates to Wikimedia, the less money they have left to donate to Hamas (which they allegedly do, I don't know if it's true). So it's a good thing when Wikimedia continues to accept donations from Qatar Foundation. --Distelfinck (talk) 12:53, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

New Liquor portal

Bar Hard Rock Cafe Prague (cropped).png

Greetings Mr. Wales: Check out the new Liquor portal I created today. Pitch in to improve it if you'd like. Cheers, Face-smile.svg North America1000 12:51, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

The Signpost: 25 November 2015

colloquy on intellectual property rights

In cases other than "slavish copying" (per the Corel case exception), ought museums be allowed to use their own copyrighted photographs to get monies for operations through royalties? See the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Wikipedia_Signpost/2015-11-25/Blog where I suggest the issue is clearly made out. Thanks to any who opine. Collect (talk) 01:27, 30 November 2015 (UTC)