User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 104

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


It never hurts to ask (well it might, but let's be WP:BOLD)

Mr. Wales, I have a great deal of respect for the project that you and our hundreds of thousands of volunteers have built. I'm a casual editor, and I tend to edit when I have the time. When I do, I try generally to have a positive, humorous, and laid back attitude toward my edits, lest I get too serious and take myself too seriously.

Once upon a time, you directly granted administrative powers to editors here, and I would like to know, forgiving my boldness, which some might not, if I asked you to grant me those rights if you would say yes. I don't need them, I don't really expect to use them much, and I won't feel slighted if you simply say no, but I often wonder as I look at things if its worth taking the now traditional route to get those rights. Either way, I appreciate your presence here and feel that its nice to be able to chat directly with the people who helped make Wikipedia into the massive engine for knowledge that it is today.

My sincere thanks, Avanu (talk) 06:49, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for asking but it's best if you go through the usual channels. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:03, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
For now, I think being simply as I have been is fine, but thanks for the considerate reply. -- Avanu (talk) 10:12, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I think Jimbo may have once upon a time givin said rights before the policies of consensus came on board. MrLittleIrish (talk) © 14:13, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
"I don't need them, I don't really expect to use them much..." Then, uhh, why are you asking for them? Also, I'm pretty sure that this kind of request wasn't the original intent of WP:BOLD. You were just being bold ←notice no bluelink. ‑Scottywong| soliloquize _ 17:43, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I've certainly made my share of mistakes here, but I think the greatest tool an admin has is not found in the special tools they are granted by the Community, but in the way they relate to others and set a standard of integrity for others. Many times I've been able to turn hostile editors into contributing ones, and confusing situations into ones that make more sense, by simply doing what we all have the power to do. That is, to listen and to contribute with the skills we all inherently possess. I personally think this should be expectation of all admins, and hopefully for many it is. Whenever the mantle of admin is lifted from its resting place, it should be held only as long as needed and returned there without fuss just as quickly. Like Cincinnatus, returning the fasces to its place, to grab the plow and sow good things again. So, yes, I was just 'bold', but I thank Jimbo for his kind response. -- Avanu (talk) 03:33, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Right, and of course, I think I saw some posts of yours on ANI recently that would have torpedoed any "normal" RFA process. That's ok though; you're entitled to opinions (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 23:22, 27 April 2012 (UTC)


Are there any wmf plans to 'protest' cispa?Smallman12q (talk) 14:22, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

It is up to the community.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:43, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
I would be in favor of protesting CISPA. Hghyux (talk to me)(talk to others) 22:12, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Proposal: Write a policy for company articles

Let's write a guideline or policy on how to write articles about companies. The formulation of that policy is something that Wikipedians with a PR job should be able to contribute to like anyone else. This should define:

  1. general content expectations, i.e. what information any article on a company should contain
  2. what sort of information may be added based on primary sources, and what requires secondary sources
    1. name of present CEO etc. can be sourced to company sources, e.g. the company website
    2. court cases should require secondary sources, as in biographies of living persons (no direct citing of court documents without secondary source)
  3. disclosure rules for PR professionals and company staff (e.g. use your real name, state who your client or employer is on your user page)
  4. what sort of information self-disclosed PR professionals are not just welcome, but requested to add and keep up to date, based on company sources – things like the name of the current CEO, location of the company headquarters, officially reported financial figures etc.
  5. guidance on neutrality, balance, coatracks, attack pages

We should also create a noticeboard where PR professionals can flag articles that have gone wrong, and can help to work out fixes, to then be implemented by another Wikipedian who has no ties to the company in question.

We have to accept that our articles on companies can go wrong, just like our BLPs can go wrong. We've responded to the BLP problem with the BLP policy and the BLP noticeboard, but the PR professional who sees a hatchet job in Wikipedia on her company has no such recourse. She can find plenty of pages telling her about her conflict of interest, but precious little about how to deal with a coatrack or attack page. Having a policy and an associated noticeboard would allow ethical engagement by self-identified PR people, enable them to make the types of edits, in very clearly circumscribed areas, that will keep our articles accurate and up to date, and give the means to make effective complaints when our article really does paint their company in an undeservedly bad light. --JN466 18:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

You will have my full support as long as a simple rule is followed: no editing of Wikipedia article space by paid advocates. There is absolutely no reason to ever do this - the talk pages, notice boards, wikiprojects, and OTRS provide ample opportunity for ethical engagement of Wikipedia. This is easy. The most common opposition to this comes from corrupt interests.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:53, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Are you adamant that PR professionals should not even be allowed to update information like the CEO's name when there has been a change, or correct a typo in the spelling of her name? --JN466 15:00, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:WikiProject Companies/Guidelines and Wikipedia:Companies, corporations and economic information.
Wavelength (talk) 19:14, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Wavelength, I am aware of these pages. They are moribund, and completely inadequate. --JN466 19:27, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/COI. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 19:19, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

That RfC is a mess. The only clear result is that neither forbidding all PR editing nor allowing it has any consensus support. The sensible thing is to allow it where it makes sense, to forbid it elsewhere, and to create a structure that allows PR professionals to raise legitimate complaints, just like BLP subjects are. Companies are people too. --JN466 19:27, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
"....and can help to work out fixes, to then be implemented by another Wikipedian who has no ties to the company in question. Don't forget to get the consensus of other editors. Without discussion and consensus, any policy that allows immediate proxy implementation of edits won't be worth the effort. It will just be a needless detour. Consensus to enact change is especially necessary at political campaign articles. Editors in support of a candidate are all too quick to make a requested change, especially when it comes from Campaign Headquarters. Who knows...maybe the candidate himself. ```Buster Seven Talk 21:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC).
I don't understand how you could have interpreted what I wrote to mean that someone would just implement the edit without discussion. The BLPN noticeboard does not work this way, and neither would this. Of course you have to get consensus first; that is the whole point of a noticeboard! --JN466 22:12, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

"companies are people too"?? What on earth could that mean? I'll do you the courtesy of assuming that you're not spouting American legal doctrines. But if it's not that -- well, I suppose you could get to work writing "Biographies of Living Companies" -- I'm sure there's a bright shiny future for a new policy along those lines. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 06:51, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't know a single thing about the BLP noticeboard or how it works. Consider above: you suggest a policy and then begin to define it. There is no mention of consensus. My personal experiences, and the focus of my involvement in this overall discussion, is Paid Political Operatives, editors who are influenced by salary to make the edits that they make. Those editors dont wait for consensus. Those editors ask, on the article talk pages, for something to be added or removed and within minutes some lackey performs the task. No regard for consensus...just regard for what The Campaign wants the article to look like. Further, you are making a proposal. Is it so surprising to you that other editors will point out things about it from their perspective? Is it really necessary to judge my interpretation as lacking understanding? I'm just filling in a gap I saw in your list which, BTW, preceeded mention of a noticeboard. ```Buster Seven Talk 11:08, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Do visit the BLP noticeboard. It performs quite a vital role in Wikipedia. Guidelines and policies commonly start out as essays or drafts. Once they have matured, they are put to a community vote for adoption as a guideline or (usually in a second step) as policy. Any page that has not gone through this community approval process is not (and must not be) called a Wikipedia guideline or policy. JN466 14:58, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo, what do you think of my remarks above? Paying someone to edit an article about your company is a lot like directly editing an article about yourself--and we don't categorically prohibit that. We don't say "there's no reason to ever edit your own BLP, after all we have talk pages, notice boards, wikiprojects, and OTRS". Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:41, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
What it means is that companies are composed of people earning a livelihood. They have as much a right to fair coverage in Wikipedia as individuals. I would have thought that obvious. JN466 14:58, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Companies are legal fictions consisting of various interlocking legal fictions, operating for the benefit of a tiny coterie of upper executives, occasionally for the benefit of larger shareholders and speculators, and only accidentally for the benefit of ordinary employees, contractors, customers, minority shareholders (actual investors) and/or frontline executives and professionals. --Orange Mike | Talk 15:55, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
What exactly is a "legal fiction"? Is that like a technical term. If a company (what kind? corporation? proprietorship? But let's put the misuse of the word "company" here) sues me for something, then when I go up before the judge can I say, "look Mr. Judge, companies are just legal fictions, none of this is really happening, we're all characters in some demiurge's silly play, let's drop this and go home", that's gonna work, right?
Anyway, if this was an article, then it'd be pretty clear you've got some pretty strong POV here and should probably watch it. Since this is a guideline/potential policy it would seem like that kind of consideration is even more important.VolunteerMarek 17:39, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
See "Legal fiction".—Wavelength (talk) 17:55, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Funny how one can learn stuff from Wikipedia, with a bit of effort (or even less than a bit). Nomoskedasticity (talk) 18:06, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes I'm aware of that (and love the "multiple issues" tag on that article) - the point is that the term "legal fiction" is not being used in its technical sense but in a off-hand pejorative and inaccurate "stuff that isn't real" sense, in the comment above. WMF is a "legal fiction" as well - not sure how that is relevant to anything.VolunteerMarek —Preceding undated comment added 22:47, 27 April 2012 (UTC).
OrangeMike, do you think that companies are evil then and need to be castigated in Wikipedia, or do you think we should follow NPOV as we do for everything else? JN466 23:35, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Love it -- let's be fair to Bob Diamond by being fair to Barclays. Let's not criticize them "excessively" -- determined (via JN466's proposal) from the POV of the living company as communicated by PR representatives. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 17:10, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
That applies to traditional BLPs too--and that reasoning has been roundly rejected there. You are basically saying that subjects of articles should not complain about undue weight in those articles. Ken Arromdee (talk) 18:33, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually I'm not saying that. The extension is exactly what is at issue. Anyway, someone (JN466!) really should go for it: WP:BLC. Fire that sucker up. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 18:42, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
I also support that company articles could use some of the same rules BLPs enjoy. Not because companies are comparable to people, but because these rules simply reinforce pre-existing policies and guidelines to create better, more balanced content. This could dry up a substantial portion of the paid editing "market" coming from companies that feel (and sometimes are) being attacked in their articles or are subject to other imbalances.
That's a policy debate, but the original discussion seems to be about a Wikiproject, noticeboard, and/or essay. There exists today the COIN board, the Cooperation Wikiproject, Paid Editor Help, and several essays on the issue already. Many of these essays are quite good, but rarely read. I have a hard time contributing time to creating even more documentation when current instructions aren't read, but I would be happy to help any project to simply improve the clarify of current policies, guidelines and essays. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 20:18, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
What are you saying then? Does NPOV and due weight apply to company articles or not? --JN466 23:38, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. BLP rules only enforce tighter standards of current policies such as NPOV, because those articles have a real-life impact on the subject and are likely targets for bias. It shouldn't matter if the subject is a person or not, the subject still deserves the neutrality Wikipedia policies already allow (when followed). All we're talking about is more liberal enforcement of current policies like NPOV and undue weight. And why not? It will only result in better articles by better following pre-existing policies without needing help from paid editors. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 01:01, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, that question was to Nomo. :) (Agreed on the rest though, provided you allow that paid editors can at the very least help by flagging article problems.) Regards. --JN466 01:21, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Of course they apply. That's why WP:BLC isn't necessary. But hey, if you think it is... Nomoskedasticity (talk) 09:11, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
  • What is required is not so much a policy for companies and paid PR editors as the infrastructure to assist them in being open and honest. I've pointed this out here; it's a no-brainer, IMO, no matter what the policy/guidelines are. Tony (talk) 11:46, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I would see a BLP-like policy as something to dramatically reduce the need for paid editors at all. I wonder how many fewer people edited their own article after BLP rules went in. But as far as instructions go, exactly. A PR person shouldn't have to become an expert Wikipedian to do most of the things CREWE is complaining about like factual errors. But what do they need that isn't covered by COIN and Paid Editor Help? User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 17:52, 28 April 2012 (UTC)


Hi Jimbo, and everyone. Last month I started an essay at Wikipedia:Bright Line, as an attempt to describe the concept I was reading a lot about on Wikipedia. The essay has gotten a little bit of attention, but not enough to get other editors working on it. So please accept my advanced apologies if I've misrepresented anything in the essay. Could you (and anyone else interested) take a look, and decide if the essay is worth improving/expanding, or not. Thanks. -- Eclipsed (talk) (COI Declaration) 19:28, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

The essay seems to be in conflict with part of our conflict of interest guideline, specifically WP:COI#Non-controversial edits. Per our guideline, someone with a conflict of interest is permitted to remove vandalism or BLP violations. And I don't think any essay or guideline should prevent anyone, whether the subject or even someone paid by the subject, from doing so. Rlendog (talk) 19:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
The essay's name is misleading. The "bright line" doesn't exist. There isn't a "clearly defined Wikipedia engagement strategy". All of the disagreements on this page are an indication of that. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 20:11, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Eclipsed. I think the essay is fine in its current length. It's a pretty simple rule and that is the point. I made some edits based on the feedback here. Hope you like them. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 19:58, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Cheers. Yes, a simple rule and that is the point. Exceptions are complicated. So I deleted that addition to the Scope section.[1]. The other changes I haven't looked into yet. -- Eclipsed (talk) (COI Declaration) 20:37, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, I looked at the other changes. I also added some tags ({{who}} and {{vague}}) with notes. Thanks. -- Eclipsed (talk) (COI Declaration) 08:34, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Alternate approach
In an attempt to organize my thinking on this issue, I'm starting from a different angle, namely, proposing a WP:Paid editor's bill of rights. My thinking is that if we consider this from the angle of the paid editor as a potentially exploited or defrauded person, we'll start to narrow down our thinking on a lot of other issues also. Wnt (talk) 19:50, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
It sounds like a paid editing union, which would go well with a certification program and an ethics oath, but way beyond the scope for Wikipedia to do/enforce itself. Such an independent organization could gain a reputation on and off Wikipedia for the ethics and transparency of its members, if such members are closely screened based on their experience, editing behavior and compliance with specific requirements. Probably way passed its time right now, since most of the paid editing market is for bad actors and article-mills. My 2 cents anyway. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 20:37, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
That's exactly why Wikipedia should include it within scope, if it's going to have paid editing. The proposed transformation is:
Outsiders Wikipedians
Corporations Paid Editors Rest of us
Companies The Union
Thereby splitting the economic pressure brought to bear on Wikipedia along its natural and proper line of cleavage. If we accept paid editors among us, then we and they should be part of the same "union". Wnt (talk) 22:03, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Survey finds errors in Wikipedia articles

Perhaps this is of some interest? --Coin945 (talk) 10:31, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Also previously discussed here. —MistyMorn (talk) 10:41, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Ahh, okay. This also seemed rather interesting.--Coin945 (talk) 11:06, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
...discussed here. So why did that horribly reported survey make it into papers such as the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, while the rather interesting question about establishing the evidence regarding the Haymarket Affair didn't get anything like that level of media exposure? Easy answer, one had some nicely quotable statistics to abuse. —MistyMorn (talk) 11:22, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
It appears the PRSA was paid to put that article into the journal. The process of "peer reviewing" it appears to have not been the usual one even for that journal, with a different one used for the purpose of supporting the claim that it was "peer reviewed". (This appears to have been a large chunk of the purpose of the exercise - as Robert Lawton stated on the CREWE Facebook group, "The study was peer reviewed, so as far as RS goes, you're stuck with it." i.e., peer-review-laundering a public relations effort.) If these turn out to be the case, this study and everyone involved in it is even more rotten than they previously looked. Seeking further details - David Gerard (talk) 12:13, 28 April 2012 (UTC)


I have come here to complain so I will come here to compliment the wonderful new template regarding deleting of new articles and others as well. They are respectful and give directions that are easy for a beginner to understand. Congratulations to all that participated. Mugginsx (talk) 17:21, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

That wouldn't be me, other than moaning about some bad templates recently. Can you link to the examples, old and new? I'd like to thank people for improvements to things like this!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:23, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes Sir, I will try to find them again. Came across them last week and thought they were so much nicer. Mugginsx (talk) 17:25, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I cannot be sure but this one seems to be something like the one I came across recently. Will look for more. Mugginsx (talk) 17:37, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
No, that is not the one though it is one of the more helpful templates. I will continue to look. Sorry, I have made many edits to many articles since that time and it was not on one of my articles. Mugginsx (talk) 17:45, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 87 shows an editor who has done much work in this area. The name is User:Okeyes (WMF). He directs editors to Article Creation Workflow/Landing System at (cannot make the link work, sorry) where he has been contributing. User:Canoe1967 has also been in favor of friendlier and New User Friendly templates and remarks at the same Village pump page. I will come back when I find the exact example but I think these two editors are good examples of those who have been working hard for some time on the effort and might be commended if you chose to do so. Mugginsx (talk) 18:54, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I suspect you're referencing the work done by Steven and Maryana at the WMF - I'll point them here. -Philippe (talk) 19:22, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Mugginsx (talk) 19:28, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
[You can make the link work like this: mw:Article Creation Workflow/Landing System.
Wavelength (talk) 20:06, 28 April 2012 (UTC)]
Thanks. Mugginsx (talk) 20:24, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
This is something like it but I do not remember the guy with the shovel. What's up with that? Face-smile.svg Template:New page Mugginsx (talk) 20:38, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Was it one of these? -Philippe (talk) 00:16, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
I do not believe it was one of the messages you indicated. The particular one I noticed was a changed one from old speedy delete template. I am sorry I will have to look more and get back to you. I should have taken better notice but was very busy at the time and did not do so. Thank you for your help. Mugginsx (talk) 10:34, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Template:Ref expand

Posting here and village pump to get more people familiar with it:

Hi I created this as I believed we needed a template like Bare URLs to encourage editors to add full citations not to just the websites like Alogia (band). Can somebody take care of this properly and sort out the documentation and note to use such a template like the way Template:Bare URLs is being used? Template:Ref fill, Template:Expand ref and Template:Expand reference redirects to this.. Hopefully it will encourage more editors to fill out references properly and will go a long way to ensuring a more consistent ref formatting on wikipedia with adequate source details and not just titled links.♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:06, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

You may have missed the question ...

... up in the middle of all that stuff above. Sorry to bug you, but I think this is important, mainly because of the undercurrents to the recent ArbCom case about civility enforcement, and one of the biggest problems being that the policy is not applied equally and fairly to all. So, I'm going to paste the question (and couple of follow-on comments in here:

errrrrrrmmmm ... ummmmmmm .... I'm not quite sure how to put this one, Jimbo .... but how does this tie in with this? Pesky (talk) 11:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

:I guess it's an example of what he intended when he wrote last month "I intend to host general philosophical and policy discussions on my page from time to time, and I intend to enforce a higher standard of civility than you may be comfortable with. If you don't like it, that's fine with me, it really is. Just don't participate if you can't do so while behaving in a respectful manner to others." (emphasis mine). Fram (talk) 13:19, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

:::That's not making it any more clear to me. It may because I'm HFA. On the other hand, it could actually be a total contradiction. What I'm having trouble with is understanding how referring to another editor as a troll, and saying it's par for the course for that editor, is in line with the policy; let alone in line with "a higher standard of civility". To whom does this "higher standard" apply? Is there a list? Is there an answer? Pesky (talk) 14:15, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

:::I think Fram is sarcastically pointing out that Jimbo violated his own stated civility position. Thus, Fram was agreeing with you, Pesky. (Correct me if i'm wrong, Fram) SilverserenC 16:35, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

::::Aha! I fort so! What I would appreciate, though, would be a reply from Jimbo. I know the correct procedure, if one's concerned about possible violations of WP:CIVIL, is to bring it up with a politely worded message on the user's talk page ... but I have to admit I'm not entirely sure what the "official next step" is supposed to be if the matter is ignored. Pesky (talk) 23:24, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I can think of at least two editors who, if it had been them that said it, would have been likely to be dragged over to AN/I and / or facing a block, or at least the SnarkFest of the AN/I board, and various members of the WikiLynchMob calling for blood. Unequal interpretation and enforcement makes people very, very sour. It makes people quit editing. It undermines us, as a community. Do you see how this is so? Do you think that any other editor should be held to a higher standard of civility than you are held to, or hold yourself to? Can you think of any way we can make the whole civility enforcement thing more fair? Pesky (talk) 05:45, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm afraid I don't agree with the premise of the question. There was nothing uncivil about my remark. I didn't make a personal attack. I characterized a certain again as an "effective troll". I actually have some grudging respect for it on those grounds. Cla68 did something mildly disruptive and upsetting to many people and pushed people to think in a new way about the consequences of certain lines of argument.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:06, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I can see your point here, but if other editors (not all, but some) "characterise" another editor as "an effective troll" (or as a vandal, idiot, fatuous, stupid, etc. etc. etc.) then Teh Community calls them on the "name-calling" aspect of WP:CIVIL. On the basis that it's not generally considered OK to make remarks like that about other editors, no matter how true one thinks the remark is. Name-calling (or characterising another editor by use of what is generally considered to be a derogatory term), no matter how valid, comes under the policy, as written. And if it comes under that policy for some editors, it surely should do so for all editors, including you! Yes? (And I hate to have to say this, but your response here was predicted pretty accurately ...) Pesky (talk) 07:19, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Again, I did not characterize anyone as a troll. I characterized the action as an effective troll. The editor in question is not a troll, and his choice of action here was unfortunate. To answer the philosophical question, I do not think all editors should be held to exactly the same standards. I think I should be held to a much higher standard than anyone, which is why I welcome questions like this - they help me to positively review my own actions. I think admins should be held to a higher standard than non-admins. I think experienced editors should be held to a higher standard than newbies.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:41, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
"Looks like a pretty effective troll to me. Par for the course for this particular editor." "Troll" (the action) v. "troll" (the person) is a nice distinction. Even if it was the action, surely the second sentence equals saying this is typical of this edeitor. If saying trolling is typical of an editor, how (in substance rather semantic hair-splitting) does it differ from calling an editor a troll? DeCausa (talk) 08:00, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Fair point.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:22, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it was that second bit about which I was more concerned. Pesky (talk) 08:26, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Imo, the semantics here illustrate quite nicely one of the difficulties of fixing a definition of Civility based primarily on words on the page. I too initially interpreted the sentence as a troll rather than trolling. But the absurd scenarios that iconoclastic advertisement evokes really seem to be (as we Brits say) "stirring it up": ie trolling. (For me, the missing information to understand where the post was coming from was what might constitute "par for the course" for this particular editor.) The fact is that Talk page posts are generally composed off the cuff, and aren't worded as public communications... even though they're sometimes admissibly used as such (eg here). —MistyMorn (talk) 10:36, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, we have problems with interpretation of the policy! And much, much bigger problems with who gets zapped for what :o( There was certainly ambiguity about "an effective troll" – right up the bit about "par for the course for this particular editor." At that point, for me, the ambiguity ended (with effectively an accusation of habitual trolling) but Jimbo has already conceded that that was a fair point, which is good. Misty, you're so right about talk page comments generally being off-the-cuff. People say things which they either might not have said five minutes later (or earlier); people react to what someone else has just said; people get into a tangle of mutual misunderstandings and defensiveness, and then it all gets messy. But, as said before, the major, major problem, the one that violates the fundamental principles of justice, is that some people get walloped for things which others get away with without anyone batting an eyelid. Pesky (talk) 11:56, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
There's are questions of context, though. Unlike you and me, Jimbo is in the public eye. And his talk page is too (unfortunately, perhaps). I guess that complicates matters somewhat from his point of view. Imo, the idea that admins and founders etc should have higher standards regards their roles. The iconic god kingy thingy only has a sense in terms of personality cult prevention. Otherwise it might itself appear uncivil! And it's no good expecting admins to be superhumans, or we soon won't be having any.
Then again, I agree that anything Malleus has to say about a hyphen risks being cited in evidence against him at ANI, whereas Jimbo can (sort of) get away with golf balls. —MistyMorn (talk) 12:33, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Note though that the editor in question is frequently "stirring it up" and generally behaving in ways that are detrimental to the project. A civil and thoughtful discussion of behavioral problems is not an inappropriate personal attack. I don't think anyone who is familiar with his past would be surprised that he would do something like this, and so, in order to understand his action it is valuable to know that I think his action was designed to cause a stir, and that it is typical of him. I don't apologize for pointing that out.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:42, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
...and I wasn't suggesting you did apologise! What I'm trying to say is that I don't believe it's feasible to formulate a simple set of hard and fast civility guidelines which provide a level fairway for golf shots, irrespective of human and editorial context. We have to be sensitive to that, imo. —MistyMorn (talk) 12:56, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
The more we try to enforce civility, the less civil the discussion becomes. Where else in the world would you see this sort of complaining, about Jimbo yet!, because someone called something "an effective troll"? We really should consider that this is one of those things, like the War on Drugs or an athlete swimming against a rip current, where the harder you try to impose a solution the worse the problem gets. Wnt (talk) 13:29, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
"The more we try to enforce civility, the less civil the discussion becomes." - That's just not true. We are very very far from the right place in terms of civility enforcement, much too tolerant of outrageous behavior. And the evidence strongly suggests that blocking people for it, either for short periods of time or for much longer if they can't stop it, is highly effective.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:19, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
[Sigh]. Amputating a leg is also a highly effective way of losing a lot of weight. It doesn't mean that it's the best way. Surely we can look for better ways? Pesky (talk) 08:00, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Adding: Fing is, though, Jimbo, fing is .... that a user talk page isn't a consensus-approved way of dealing with an editor "generally behaving in ways that are detrimental to the project". WP:RFC/U is thataway ... as they'd say at AN/I ;P Pesky (talk) 08:35, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Of course, legs are amputated for other reasons as well. You weigh the cost vs. the benefit. When editor retention is an ongoing problem, it might be worth blocking a single editor now and then for blatantly thumbing their noses at others (see the edit summary), and doing so brazenly since they know no one will do anything about it. Plus I'll point out that the ones who keep doing this are the ones who keep threatening to leave when they're blocked and yet never do -- they're drama addicts and they're here for good, no matter how much they cry when we slap their wrists. Equazcion (talk) 01:03, 30 Apr 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Oh, I had a little bet with myself as to who would draw that comparison! (I lost, by the way, lol!) The gangrene thing equates to pure vandals, massive BLP-violators, legal-threaters, that kind of stuff. But we shouldn't amputate legs for psoriasis or any other irritating little rash. And some people can be a little rash ... Pesky (talk) 09:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Rewarding Incomptence?

Ok, this one is simply pissing me off (and I apologize for the language). Our policies on WP:ORGNAME are well-known, and well-"policed". Blocking admins obviously have significant leeway in how they block - including issuing a "soft block" that simply allows the user with an offending name to create a new one.

As per WP:ORGNAME, User:MonmouthMuseumWales was softblocked on April 20, with the proper and appropriate template on why and how to create a new username.

Suddenly, 7 days later, User:Victuallers an admin who is apparently the chair of Wikimedia UK swoops in, trashes the blocking admin, unilaterally unblocks, wholly contrary to a whack of policy.

Their justification just plain old shows either a lack of knowledge for, or lack of respect of our clear policies and years of jurisprudence.

If they cannot abide by such a simple, obvious, and required policy, and then they come in and throw their weight around as a "director" of a major chapter so that nobody is willing to undo their wrong actions (it's as chilling as a WP:NLT - I'm afraid to go up against the "big guy" in this case), they should be desysopped and removed from any position of power/trust.

Un-fricking-believable. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:37, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

I have no strong opinion about this particular case,but I think that particular policy is suboptimal.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:44, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree (actually I'm only a director of WMUK) Victuallers (talk) 12:49, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Suboptimal or not, one does not change policy by unilateral action. One proposes the changes appropriately, but lives by the policies as per jurisprudence/WP:CONSENSUS until then. Victuallers - your userpage states that you "became chair on 16 april 2012". This is not an WP:IAR-eligible situation, as we block similar usernames dozens of times a day. Re-block; follow the current rules, and argue for changes the right way, not by Kingly-action (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:53, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Ummm, anybody read that policy? Says not to block unless engaging in promotional behavior, which is banned anyway. And shouldn't discussion to actually make a consensus on the issue should be done at ANI?
(Though I can picture that eventually these org-type accounts could come up again someday as ex-employees or volunteers make off with the trademark, the entity complains and drama ensues) Wnt (talk) 13:36, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I think the relevant part of the policy is "Accounts that purport to represent an entire group or company are not permitted no matter the name;" which does seem pretty unambiguous. --Mrmatiko (talk) 13:42, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
True, and understandable - but, in this case, the action should have been an explanation, a gentle word, and advice to change their username, rather than an instant block. Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:47, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree. What I take issue with is the fact that Victuallers, a director of WMUK, was the one to step in. What happened to WP:INVOLVED? Ironholds (talk) 14:21, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
In fact WP:ORGNAME does state this: "Users who adopt such usernames, but who are not editing problematically in related articles, should not be blocked. Instead, they should be gently encouraged to change their username." (Bolding as in the original.) Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the policy, the blocking admin clearly should not have blocked the user as the policy clearly states that blocking should not be used in such situations. Victuallers' unblock was absolutely correct. I don't think WP:INVOLVED is relevant in this case, as the block was indisputably wrong under any reading of the situation. Prioryman (talk) 14:23, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
@For context; this is, evidently, the account for Monmouth Museum. Victuallers, as part of his WMUK role, is heavily involved in MonmouthpediA, a project to, wait for it, wait for it...more closely link Monmouth and its notable elements with Wikipedia. The project is funded by WMUK, which Victuallers was until recently the Chair of. The project is, according to the notes from WMUK's last board meeting, being led up or closely participated in by Victuallers in his current role as one of WMUK's directors. Now, either Victuallers coincidentally happened to stop by and notice this, or he's using his admin tools while as involved in a situation as you can get without sleeping with the offending party. Whether the block was correct or not, that decision is not one Victuallers should be making. Ironholds (talk) 14:26, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
From what I can tell, the fullness of the WP:ORGNAME policy was ignored when that block was issued. I took a look at a discussion taking place on that and the policy makes a very clear statement: "Users who adopt such usernames, but who are not editing problematically in related articles, should not be blocked. Instead, they should be gently encouraged to change their username."
So actually blocking immediately in such a case is against policy, which reminds admins to resort to their interpersonal skillset instead of their toolkit. -- Avanu (talk) 14:42, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Are you disputing that the blocking admin was wrong, or suggesting that the user should not have been unblocked? The important thing is that the right outcome has been reached. Complaining about Victuallers' role seems, frankly, too much like process wankery to me. Prioryman (talk) 15:47, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
The right outcome is a non-role username. The fact that the policeman let his son out of jail isn't at all concerning? The fact that the same policeman says he'll let his son break the law flagrantly again isn't at all concerning? (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 16:05, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
@Bwilkins, you come across as super upset about this. You said the unblocking admin "trashed" the other admin, but when I looked at his comment in the diff, it seemed polite. Policy on this is pretty clear, don't block unless they're making problematic edits. It isn't "breaking the law" if you're following the detail and minutiae of the law. I would say even the spirit of the law is being followed by not immediately (or ever) blocking someone in these circumstances. Why does this matter so much that it needs to become a big deal? -- Avanu (talk) 16:17, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
The block was rude and stupid ... and a breach of policy. The blocking admin should simply have approached the editor, human to human, and explained the situation. If the user is a reasonable person, as most are, they'll see the sense of individual account names, and it'll all be sorted in a gentle friendly way. Unblocking might have gone a small way towards ameliorating the offense caused by the blocking admin's thoughtlessness. I'm sure the user will be more than happy to rename. I'm not implying the blocking admin is rude and stupid. I don't know them. It is a rude and stupid norm among a segment of the admin corps. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:23, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Regardless of how (un)justified the block may have been, the involvement User:Victuallers has with both parties (WMUK and Monmouth Museum, as outlined nicely by User:Ironholds above) should've precluded him from administrative action here (not to mention wheel-warring is never good to begin with). Equazcion (talk) 16:31, 28 Apr 2012 (UTC)
My impression is that WP:wheel war covers the third administrative action after the first has been reverted. Otherwise there are some other cases where this has been broken... Wnt (talk) 16:35, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I'd rather see people break a rule in favor of Wiki-civility though. That said, looks like everyone messed up a little, so if everyone can just say "Sorry, I don't know why I'm not perfect like Jimbo" :) , and pledge to do better, maybe we can move on? -- Avanu (talk) 16:40, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You're right. Though wheel-warring was only the "not to mention" part of my comment. This admin was far too close to the situation to have acted here, which should be fairly obvious, and should have been especially obvious to him. Equazcion (talk) 16:43, 28 Apr 2012 (UTC)
In looking over the full username policy, I just realized that if I created my username today, current WP:ORGNAME policy would forbid it. But I'm also glad to see there is a grandfather clause in the policy that means I should be fine. -- Avanu (talk) 17:01, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
There is an RfC in progress about the username, so I'm not sure there's much point in continuing discussion here, but it should probably be noted that Victuallers stepped down as the chair of WMUK because "I’m becoming a consultant and as I’m proposing to take Monmouthshire County Council (Wikimedia UK partners for the Monmouthpedia project) as a client" as noted here. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:11, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Alright, this is now getting to the point of passing Hanlon's razor. I'm going to directly ask that he voluntarily restrict himself in future. If not, AN/I is the way. Ironholds (talk) 17:16, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
The problem with the RfC is that its already off track. You have people saying it violates WP:ROLE, but before you can determine that with certainty, you need to at least ask the editor. You also have people saying it was handled poorly and mistakes were made. I would just suggest that we learn from this that civility pays off and taking an extra little time to communicate actually saves a lot of time. -- Avanu (talk) 17:28, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
  • What exactly is the purpose of WP:ORGNAME? I know we only want one person using an account and we can make sure the user understands that, but besides that one thing, what's the issue? SilverserenC 19:19, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
  • As someone who comes to this site in order to add content to Wikipedia and tries to pretend that it is not Yasn (Yet Another Social Network), I found the following to be rather illuminating: Ottawahitech (talk) 00:37, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm thoroughly disappointed in the way this process worked (See RfC for MonmouthMuseumWales. It had no signs of an acknowledgement of policy as written, neither the letter nor the spirit of policy was followed. The policy is not ambiguous, yet the admins chose to ignore it and the closing admin's comment, at least in my opinion, shows a complete lack of acknowledgement or interest in reviewing the text of policy and merely saying "If you don't like the policy, get it changed". Yet policy as written doesn't support the outcome that the closer supports. What change are editors supposed to bring about if the policy already is clear, but is simply being ignored? I'm quite bemused, befuddled, and perplexed. -- Avanu (talk) 02:31, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
As I pick through the two policies very closely, I see now that this is a very fine point where it could be interpreted either way. I've made some small refinements to hopefully better clarify the specific distinctions and exceptions, and added a minor suggestion that should improve civility slightly. The problem really revolves around the relationship between socking behavior and what is implied by a username and a user via their userpage. I hope admins will work to recognize the difference between a legitimate new user and ignorance of policy versus a problem user and act accordingly. No one ought to be blocked for a simple misunderstanding, especially if no harm is done. -- Avanu (talk) 03:23, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, it happens a lot. Admins will often block a user that violates ORGNAME and the only information they get about it is what's int he blocking template. I do wonder how many productive new users we lose because of these bitey actions. SilverserenC 07:27, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree. I was instrumental in getting Xeno to change WP:UAAI in February 2011 to say that accounts using organisation names should *not* be blocked on sight if they edit productively, but that admins should *talk* to people first. That's still what WP:UAAI says today. So it's very disappointing to see that this still goes on, especially if the person at the receiving end is someone on a project like Monmouthpedia. Wikipedia is shooting itself in the foot.
Personally, I see no problem with a company name account where the user identifies themselves with their real name on the user page, e.g. "This account is operated by Kevin Smith, the Wikipedian in residence at Organisation X". To believe that this would somehow provide less accountability than having an account named User:Starwarrior editing from a dynamic IP is absurd. --JN466 13:29, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
The one problem I can picture with an orgname, as I alluded above, is that sometimes there are bitter disagreements with employees or between those in charge of an organization. With small nonprofits, especially, you can end up in a situation where there were three people in charge and now two say the third is no longer welcome, the third claims to be the true representative of the organization, and now they're racing to lock the offices and/or remove the contents. Possibly a trademark lawsuit over the entity's URL and even the Wikipedia username could figure into it. Wnt (talk) 14:21, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
That could easily be addressed by demanding that there should only be one person operating such an account. It's a demand we make for all other accounts; no one is suggesting it should be lifted for these types of account. JN466 18:27, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually no, that doesn't solve the problem. You'd still have one ex-employee passing himself off as the organization, the others complaining, and Wikipedia potentially trying to decide who is really right in an issue that's none of our business. Of course, we _could_ decide to allow users to simply claim names without checking in any case, e.g. User:Kentucky Fried Chicken, and ignore any complaints by the company; yet somehow, I have a feeling that they could make themselves obnoxious about something like that. Wnt (talk) 19:30, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
An employee leaving would hand the account over to their successor, who updates the user page and changes the account password. JN466 08:46, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. Unless they don't, in which case we have trouble. We also have a sort of trouble, for that matter, if he does hand over the password: when he goes on vacation, when he calls in sick, when he's out to lunch... and it turns into a pure role account, which is frowned upon by existing policy. Wnt (talk) 16:55, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
It would be absurd to say that there was less accountability, perhaps that's why no-one is suggesting that "This account is operated by Kevin Smith, the Wikipedian in residence at Organisation X" type accounts have the accountability problems inherent in role accounts. But is Accountability anything to do with promotional usernames? The concern about promotional usernames is that they are promoting something external on the project. ϢereSpielChequers 15:12, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
These accounts typically only edit articles about themselves, and policy could restrict them to that. JN466 18:27, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Our username policies have for a long time now been inconsistent and are enforced in a seemingly random fashion. There's really no security for a newbie to know if his name is okay, even if he does read all the policies and guidelines. Just look at WP:CORPNAME: "Unambiguous use of a name or URL of a company, group or product as a username is generally not permitted" directly followed by "Users who adopt such usernames, but who are not editing problematically in related articles, should not be blocked. Instead, they should be gently encouraged to change their username". "Generally not permitted" is Wikipedia speak for "has to be blocked immediately without any exception, ever" (just read some comments from some admins above), so the policy is directly contradicting itself right there. Of course then the policy says "Blocking should be a last resort, not a first step", another thing some admins simply ignore.(Looks like that part was just recently added) How on earth do we expect people trying to do the right thing to find an acceptable user name under these conditions? --Conti| 09:47, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I would love to see you diagram the possible workflow, keeping in mind that the sheer majority of people behind such usernames are here to promote their entity based on my regular interactions with them. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 10:55, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
There's no point in even trying as long as the policy directly contradicts itself. Either we immediately block every corporation username and tell them to change it, or we ask them nicely without blocking them first. If one half of the admins do the one thing and the other half does the other (sometimes at the same time) while both cite different parts of the policy for their actions, then something is quite wrong with the policy, isn't it? --Conti| 11:10, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Or... somethings quite wrong with the admin corp and they need to fix that - or both. For example, do the admins undergo any sort of continuing education type requirements? Cops, lawyers, teachers, accountants, etc, all go back to classes occasionally to refresh their outlook or knowledge. Do admins do this, or do we expect them to maintain their sunny disposition and just learn 'on the job'? Classes like 'maintaining civility', 'new policy developments', 'dealing with new users', 'dealing with other administrators', you name it. Too much bureaucracy? Too many admins to do this? -- Avanu (talk) 15:51, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Punishing competence

A sample of some friendly and hopeful GLAM people who are trying to help our movement. Sometimes they even get paid a small amount of money for the outreach work they love. Try to be nice back please.

I feel I ought to say something about my personal concerns with how some sysop folks have used this policy as a block hammer. We have some truly lovely, well intentioned people in our GLAM communities who are eager to support our movement by working with their institutions (both as unpaid volunteers or paid professionals). Over the last year I have talked with some who have had bad experiences on Wikipedia and Commons after they get slapped back by administrators and immediately feel guilty that they have broken the rules and appear like a commercial spammer. I would really like our friends who work within the GLAM sector to feel supported and happy to experiment and contribute as the highly valued expert editors they ought to be seen as. The fact that even someone with such a great track record as Victuallers (talk · contribs · logs · block log) has been immediately portrayed as a paid editor with some sort of nefarious scheme afoot, rather than just being given an honest trout slap, is particularly worrying (for those so darn quick to criticise Victuallers, take another look at his fantastic track record and then hang your head in recognition of our joint shame).

As a long term vandal fighter, I know we are all completely cheesed off with spammers, vandals and manipulative advertizing agencies damaging our wonderful collaborative encyclopaedia, however in the process of robustly protecting our beautiful baby, let's not get so trigger happy that we go postal and start shooting our friends and family. Not only should the policy be made clear and easy to understand, but our admin community could probably do with some helpful reminders of how Assume good faith should especially apply to valued long term contributors and those newbie experts, academics and professionals who are genuinely trying to help our project and fully support our mission.

These are situations resolved with a friendly nudge and helpful advice rather than treating our community as a variation of Angry Birds. Come on people, play nice.

Yes, I have an interest here. I am the Chairman of the Wikimedia UK charity and so amongst other things have responsibility for the GLAM budget. As a trustee I am also unable to get paid one penny for my time, so this is not a conflict of interest.

Thanks -- (talk) 12:06, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

So the immediately succeeding chair sees no problem at all with their predecessor securing paid employment as a result of these "volunteer" activities, and has no problem with that person acting as an administrator apparently in support of attaining that paid employment? Does it really need spelling out how bad your statements are looking here? Especially considering recent questions about your own adminship? Paid adminship is what we're talking about here, not wonderful chaps out painting a fence. Franamax (talk) 15:33, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Correct, they see no problem at all, and it doesn't need spelling out. They are completely corrupt and without possibility of redemption. Oh wait, I was getting carried away by your impassioned argument. Actually, Jimbo seemed to say that ETHICS is the big issue. There's nothing unethical about someone paying you to work. Its unethical if you write slanty articles or leave out useful viewpoints, etc, but I could have sworn we have policies that cover that... maybe I'm mistaken? -- Avanu (talk) 15:51, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Corruption? Questions about my own adminship? My, how readily folks throw their handbags around these days. If you have a serious complaint about me as a trustee, please consider using the process described at wmuk:Whistle-blowing Policy. If you have a meaningful complaint about my admin status on Wikipedia, then you are free to follow Requests for comment/User conduct, but try and leave plenty of clear blue water between any complaint you might dream up and the fact that I am openly gay; unlike the last RFC/U raised against me. That boat sailed long ago. Thanks -- (talk) 16:18, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Fæ, the RfC/U that was started regarding your previous account User:Ash (and I re-opened when it became clear that you had not "vanished" but simply created a new account during that RfC/U to avoid sanctions) was not in any way related to you being openly gay. It was related to your editing. It wasn't about you editing in a gay way - it was primarily about your use of sources in relation to biographies of living people. It is well past time you dropped the persecution act. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:56, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Russian fan club against the EMI and Apple Corps (violation of copyright: 867 songs)

Wikipedia's hardcore sex films

Wikipedia:Pending changes/Request for Comment 2012

Dear Mr Wales,

Being a reviewer in Russian Wikipedia, I ask you to express your opinion in the mentioned Pending Changes poll.

--With respect, Николай95 (talk) 16:53, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Once upon a time

This is the one and only time I have contacted you on Wikipedia. It will be the only time because I'm flouncing. Don't be fooled by my red link status, I've done a few years on here and about 20k edits and even promoted articles to good and featured status. I really dig the idea of Wikipedia, but there is a small part of it that is broken. I think it only works if everyone's work and editing decisions are subject to impartial review, which can only be obtained if editors can be compelled to be reviewed. I recently discovered this is not the case. I was in a protracted content dispute, and it doesn't matter who is right or who is wrong in these cases, but it matters who gets to decide who is right and wrong. Unfortunately the editor I was in a dispute with was also an admin, and claimed a consensus for herself, and even refused to participate in dispute resolution, so consensus could be impartially determined. What disappointed me most was that the 3rr disciplinary board failed to compel this editor's participation in the dispute resolution process. If you start from the notion that you have two productive editors, then I think you have to assume they both have something to contribute to the article, so it is a broken system if one editor can be entirely dismissed from the editing process of an article by the other editor. Dispute resolution is the only recourse an editor has in a situation that has deteriorated, so if the process allows one editor to "opt out", then that process is not optimal; if an editor invokes dispute resolution, the opposing editor should be compelled to participate if they wish to keep editing the article. Opting out of dispute resolution seems a bit like opting out of consensus to me, so that's why I'm opting out of Wikipedia. You can snap your fingers and make this little thing happen, and it really needs to be done. Betty Logan (talk) 05:52, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

While I of course agree with you in principle, it is difficult to study this without the example.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:09, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Rundown, if you're interested. Equazcion (talk) 08:23, 30 Apr 2012 (UTC)
  • To User:Betty_Logan, please do not quit over recent frustrations, when many major articles need more improvements. Much writing will be needed for the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics. Plus, the current medical articles, while great for medical students, have become almost unreadable for most teenagers – even article "Anorexia nervosa" introduces the problem using the phrase "metabolic and hormonal disorders" with NO wikilinks nor alternative wording to relate that phrase for teenagers. While you are probably qualified to be an admin, we need more people improving articles, which is where your talents seem strong. Even though many articles seem frustrating, there are thousands more where improvements will work, without as much resistance. Your efforts will win out in other areas. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:05, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Even with a quick look at the case I see a lot of broad problems:
  • To begin with, the article List of vegans probably shouldn't exist. This is a classic Who's Who directory, a list of indiscriminate information, organized arbitrarily by nationality with a creative coloring scheme that involves snap judgments about a thousand different BLPs. (And arbitrarily imposes that work on anyone seeking simply to list another vegan) It doesn't tell us how many vegans there are, or what percentage of celebrities are vegan. If a different set of editors started over from scratch the article they would produce would probably have little in common with it.
  • As a result, two people are arguing over whether is a good source for William John Sullivan. Maybe if we were adding that he was a vegan to his own biography article (which doesn't say that) it would be easier for those editors to evaluate the source in context.
  • I think I smell POV here. There's no category for serial killers or white collar criminals. It's a colorful, well-illustrated article about a bunch of cool famous people who could serve as role models to someone. Because the list is open-ended and can't be completed, it's difficult to tell how biased it really is, though the overwhelming predominance of people from the United States, of all the unlikely places for vegetarianism, gives a hint.
  • Wikipedia actually has a place to work out sourcing issues, WP:RS/N, which was consulted. [2] But it doesn't look like enough people weighed in clearly enough to give a sense of resolution.
  • It is indeed true that Wikipedia's way of "mandatory dispute resolution" is to go to AN/I, which a) biases the process toward ugliness and blocking, and b) doesn't look neutral where admins are involved. We should set up a jury system where a pool of editors can be selected randomly to look in on a dispute and choose an outcome.
Wnt (talk) 14:58, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Category:Serial killers by nationality Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:39, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Categories are fine - I think a category would work very well for these vegans. The problem we have is that too many WMF resources are spent figuring out image filters and redundant ways to block people, and seemingly none on filling in the deficiencies in the basic software. Categories don't have to look stodgy and stupid with a crude alphabetical organization. We should have software which, with a little AI and a lot more user editing of category parameters, can turn every category into the sort of pretty, illustrated article we see in the List of vegans. There's no reason why the software can't automatically sort out categories according to the categories of their members, produce colorful pie charts or other indexes that can be show/hidden through to focus on particular segments, even slurp up top photographs from the component articles to lay out a more colorful category display. Wnt (talk) 15:58, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Without commenting on the particular issue in play here, let me note that there is now a Dispute Resolution project and that Steven Zhang has conducted and is presently compiling a survey on dispute resolution with a view towards seeing if improvements can and should be made to the present processes. (He and I had also hoped to make a Wikimania presentation on the past, present, and future of dispute resolution, but it appears to have been rejected.) The participation of anyone who is interested in dispute resolution at the project, or at any of the various DR forums would be very much appreciated by those of us who spend a lot of time working there. As a side note, let me just comment that having some kind of binding content dispute resolution is a perennial suggestion; those of us who work frequently in the area have suggested it many times, but the community has just never seemed to get behind it. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:54, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
It frustrates me that editors wish to leave over these kinds of issues. I understand her frustration and have had a similar situation occur, but....hash it out Betty. You are reacting far better than I did but you still desire to leave? That saddens me because my encounter with you left me thinking that you are a very collaboartive editor who takes into account what the other side is saying when they do talk and discuss. If you leave couldn't the situation just get worse if our stronger voices leave simply because the felt their voice wasn't heard. I think it was and hope you are encouraged to stick around longer betty.--Amadscientist (talk) 21:55, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I so totally understand from experience where you are, and I agree and support you Betty. The only difference is I tend to stand my ground, which leaves the most absurd issues like "day-month-year or month-day year" needing to go to Arbcomm. Right now I'm trying to explain why a list with 140 items needs numbering. Sometimes Wikipedia works, I think mostly by accident, and sometimes it is an exhibition of stupidity to rival any parliament or congress. Every forum, or at least many forums, conduct themselves better with a more developed hierarchy, but what goes on here ? admins are just the same chaos one step removed from editors, they need their own set of dispute resolution and consensus processes. Above that is Arbcomm, which, if I spent all day trying to make the process of requesting help more complex and difficult, I'd be lost for ideas, because they've covered everything already. In anthropology, in real life, in history, when a ruling group wants to completely distance itself from the population they invent their own language, politicians negotiating trade agreements, lawyers, judges, even Doctors use ridiculously messy handwriting and a different word for every part of the body and every common complaint 'dermal abrasions' if you scratch yourself. The catholic church went to such trouble to insert itself between man and god, it revived a dead language so you'd need to pay an interpreter to pray on your behalf, causing the lutheran church as a result when martin luther was sick of the bullshit. He re-wrote the bible, translating it into the common man's language so anyone could read it and understand.
Wikipedia's hierarchy is a layer of chaos above the chaos, the a huge divide where nothing exists, so yes, of course such a small change would help, and you can bet you won't see the day anytime soon. Fixing Wikipedia I feel is like trying to tell the 500 party crashers you put in charge of your home 3 days ago that it's time to stop drinking and go home, because you want to clean up and restore order. Well it can't be done, as the people who like the witch-burnings and pettiness and mob mentality will vote to keep it that way. On the other hand the band plays lovely music, and it's a nice place to hang out.
(Ah, if only there was another boat nearby, for all the editors who are leaping from the decks) I wish you well Betty. Penyulap 15:23, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

NPR story on Truthiness

I was listening to an interesting story on NPR today about the death of Facts (link). They comment that hyperbole and outright lies have become so prevalent in the public sphere that even fact-checking groups (like PolitiFact) have trouble at times determining what is and isn't real. They give one recent example of a Republican congressman telling constituents that around 80 members of the Democrat congressional delegation are Communists. We have a high standard of Verifiability on Wikipedia, but we depend heavily on the mainstream media for our 'facts'. My question for Jimbo is this: How do you think Wikipedia would fare if its articles were randomly audited by one of these fact-checking groups, and is this something that has ever been considered for Wikipedia?

As an aside, they also make some interesting points about how people react to corrections in news, so that if a false story is initially published, people seem to cling more to the original falsehood if they agreed with it, and tend to agree with the correction if they disagreed with the original story. So for political media, the idea is that false news creates an even larger chasm of ideologies. This interests me in relation to articles in Wikipedia because if a reader reads the 'wrong' version first, we might have altered their willingness to accept a future, more accurate article. -- Avanu (talk) 02:24, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia tends to restrict the truth by sins of omission: As I have mentioned before, when Wikipedia articles have been "officially judged" for accuracy, there has been a systemic bias which gives the impression that Wikipedia articles are extremely accurate, based on what is included in the articles, because the amount of omitted accurate text is difficult to measure. An earlier example was a French official accused of assaulting a maid at a New York City hotel, and within days, several people had tried to add sourced text which questioned if the woman's actions had been part of a conspiracy to frame the politician; however, other people kept deleting the conspiracy-faked possibility, and slanted the article to match only some of the sources, but eventually, the maid was tied to prior conspiracy incidents which undermined her credibility as a witness and the charged were dropped. Wikipedia's text was quite accurate for what it stated, but it failed wp:NPOV by minimizing the conspiracy concept (suggested by some reliable sources) and left the impression that the maid's relations with the French official were strong evidence of his guilt, rather than calculated for a potential set-up. A similar style of omission occurred in the murder of a British student in Italy, where her roommate was accused of the slaying, but some WP editors kept removing the fact that the victim's 300-euro rent money was missing, and that there was insufficient DNA evidence to have charged her roommate in a British or U.S. criminal court, despite numerous sources indicating the importance of those issues. Years later, the roommate was acquitted, and a destitute, unemployed drifter was convicted who went dancing after the murder "flush with cash" (300 euros?), but that information was not allowed into earlier versions of the article. Another example is a black teenager who was shot in central Florida in February 2012, by a community crime-patrol watchman, and the teenager had a bag of candy, can of iced tea, mobile phone/earplug, and $22, but the money part was removed from the article (contrary to wp:NPOV), allowing rumors that the candy/tea had been stolen by a teenager found with no money. Eventually, reports about store cameras confirmed the valid purchase at a local 7-Eleven store, but purposely omitting the sourced "$22" allowed the prior rumors to persist. Such sins of omission, in purposely, viciously omitting text noted in several sources, is what makes Wikipedia articles appear, on the surface, to past tests of accuracy, but infuriates people who look at the big picture of how text is slanted by purposely omitting text which would have provided a broader, encyclopedic balance to dispell rumors and better explain the overall topic. -Wikid77 05:44, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Though I've disagreed with you on an example recently, I agree with this overall sentiment and these cases sound good. I've just started an essay Wikipedia:À la carte. If you would like to detail these examples (if you have links handy in your browser history for example) it might strengthen the essay. Wnt (talk) 12:21, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
@Avanu - re "My question for Jimbo is this: How do you think Wikipedia would fare if its articles were randomly audited by one of these fact-checking groups, and is this something that has ever been considered for Wikipedia?" - Have you read Reliability of Wikipedia? A number of people have asked this question. A number of independent "studies" have been done. NickCT (talk) 16:11, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Why did Wikipedia change its export function so it no longer works with any other wikis?

Earlier this year Wikipedia changed Special:Export, so that everything exported is in a different format than the one it had previously used for years. This means that other wikis, such as wikia, can no longer import pages. Was that done on purpose? Dream Focus 22:17, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

You will probably get a quicker answer at WP:VPT where the techie types hang out.--ukexpat (talk) 02:30, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't know anything about it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:46, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
[3] Apparently Wikipedia is using a newer version, and Wikia hasn't updated their stuff in awhile. I have no idea where to post over there which would likely get noticed by any staff that would do anything about it. Since you own the place, you might want to mention that to them, since a rather large number of Wikia content did start on Wikipedia. I still take pages about to be deleted here, and export their full histories over to the Manga wiki and elsewhere at times. Dream Focus 22:04, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
This works for me. Try (talk) 04:14, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Am I out of line on this? It makes me sick to my stomach, and I think it's violative of our ToS as well

Could you have a look at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#User:Cla68 advertising his services as a paid Wikipedia editor? As is often the case, your name is being invoked. --Orange Mike | Talk 19:51, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Looks like a pretty effective troll to me. Par for the course for this particular editor.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:57, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
There are comments there regarding comments you made at some point on this issue, not on Cla68 himself, but on the issue itself...I am sure if you're bothering, you can read it. I am vehemently in opposition to paid editing. We all know it goes on, but under no circumstances is it to be tolerated if we know about it. Next thing we'll have is paid Rfa, at FAC and elsewhere. Paid editing leads to graft...and the ruination of this website.--MONGO 22:25, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
I do hereby declare that for $500 I will support an RfA ;-) but no seriously? Paid editing occurs... fact. The question is putting limits/controls on it. The first step is to have people who are paid to edit, to declare such and to start to define criteria surrounding paid editors. E.g. declaring who is paying them and/or what they are being asked to write. This is only going to become more common place in the future. Hell, I saw on another page that the Smithsonian now has a Wikipedian in Residence. Undoubtably other large organizations have employees whose job it is to monitor articles and/or edit them. Do you doubt that Romney/Obama don't have people editing their articles and pushing their agendas? Wouldn't it be nice to know whom? As for Cla doing this as a business... more power to him. A short note on his page that he will work for money is acceptable, although I do object to his listing prices. THAT is advertising, but would you be opposed to my putting in my bio my company and what I do? Would you be opposed to my mentioniing that I am an independent consultant in the audit industry and then linking my page? No. That is par for the course. The question is not what he says, but how he says it.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 01:19, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, am prepared to commit to writing a policy which prohibits paid editing...the enforcement of such will be impractical, but if in stone, all will know where the website falls on this matter.--MONGO 22:28, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Maybe you should wait till the COI RFC is closed before undertaking to write such a policy... Monty845 23:41, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Have fun. I don't see that ever reaching community consensus. Just from observation, it looks like most of the community, who have weighed in thus far, fall on the "it's how you're editing, not why you're editing that matters" side. SilverserenC 00:04, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I think that's a wild misinterpretation of the evidence. A handful of noisy editors, mainly conflicted themselves, are in favor. Most editors are opposed, but don't bother stalking and killing every discussion about it. When we get to a proper project-wide vote, the correct answer will be reached.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:20, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
And, like I said, I don't believe the community is going to be on your side. The majority understands that everyone has a COI, some more than others, and that it is through their actions on-wiki that determines whether they are allowed to edit, not their COI. We have plenty of editors who have a strong COI that are able to edit quite neutrally without issue. And if one bans paid editing, it raises the question about anyone else who has a strong COI, and whether we should be allowed them to edit. Then those with a slightly less COI and those with slightly less than that, until you end up with nobody being allowed to edit, because they all have a COI, as, in most cases, they wouldn't be editing an article subject unless they were personally interested in it and have an opinion on it.
Luckily, most editors understand that it is for these very reasons that COI is largely irrelevant and only acts as a caution, but not as a wall. All that matters is whether an editor is making neutral contributions. If they are, then it doesn't matter if they have a strong positive or negative opinion on the subject. If they're editing neutrally, who cares? SilverserenC 00:30, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
This fallacious line of argument has been dealt with many times. Well, no sense in you going on and on about it. You are in the extreme minority here and I can't possibly convince you.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:33, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
(ec) I am in the extreme minority on your talk page, yes, that's obvious. That's because your talk page is, often, an echo chamber for your opinions. That doesn't mean it is at all representative of the actual community opinion on a subject. SilverserenC 00:46, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't think that I can convince Silverseren, because I think he's an advocate for an extreme position. So this is for those who might be naively taken in by his misreading of community consensus and who find his argument up above tempting to believe. I have just one simple thought experiment for you. Right now there is a big lawsuit going on between Google and Oracle. The judge in the case is Judge William Alsup. All of Judge Alsup's work in the case is public, he's in a public courtroom, and when he publishes his opinion in the case, that will be made public too. It will be subject to a lot of scrutiny. What would you think if you found out that Judge Alsup has a part-time job on the weekends advising Oracle on their patent litigation strategy for say $50,000 a year, much less than his salary as a judge, but a nice boost. Would you say "It isn't his motives for coming to a conclusion in the case, it's how he judges" and argue that Judges ought to be able to accept payments from litigants, as long as - somehow - they remain neutral?

It's frankly absurd, and it is equally absurd to take the position that someone can be a paid advocate (don't fall for the other fallacy, which is conflating the question of ALL paid editing with that of paid advocacy) and that as long as they are neutral it will not harm the reputation of Wikipedia. It is transparently obvious that if we welcome this kind of corruption, it will destroy the reputation of Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:43, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

The thought experiment surprisingly has a simple answer, R v Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy which I knew about because I remember it being used in this DRV. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 12:47, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
From a brief read of the ANI discussion, his position doesn't seem to be extreme. In fact, a lot of the comments fall on the "well, so what?" end of the issue.
The Judge Alsup analogy would only apply if the person in charge of FA were a paid advocate, if you think about it a little more. --SB_Johnny | talk 09:25, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I might start by saying that, if something is going to destroy the reputation of Wikipedia, there are a significant number of other issues that are actually damaging the encyclopedia that will destroy its reputation long before the allowance of paid editing would have any effect. But to respond more directly to that, the media's reception to an idea is largely dependant on how the idea is represented before them. If this paid editing issue causes a rift in the community, you can be sure that there will be press coverage of the conflict and it will not be good for Wikipedia (just like past conflicts have been bad). And a complete banning of paid editing would just lead to media complaints of hypocrisy that paid editors are banned, but those editors with extreme COI issues (often high ranking Wikipedia members as well) are allowed to roam free. On the other hand, if a direct guideline was laid out that welcomed paid editing, but explained specifically what is and is now acceptable and also offered them various direct avenues to have their suggested improvements be looked at, then I sincerely doubt there would be much, if any, bad press over those actions. SilverserenC 00:56, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Can we get back to the original complaint? Paid editing being good or bad is likely to go on forever. Should users be able to advertise their services on Wikipedia or not? --OnoremDil 00:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I would say no. SilverserenC 00:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, we do have some agreement then. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:01, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

[clear violation of POLICY "Wikipedia is not a soapbox, a battleground, or a vehicle for propaganda, advertising and showcasing. This applies to articles, categories, templates, talk page discussions, and user pages." (as well as WP:POINT removed.]

    • Last time I checked, blatantly promoting a product (FA article in this case) was not acceptable by policy or culture. Could you explain why this is different? --OnoremDil 01:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
      • I'm quite certain that this is all an attempt by Cla to be extremely sarcastic. Though i'm also sure he wouldn't mind if someone took him up on the offer, but the sarcasm does come first. Regardless though, sarcasm has its place and this isn' it. SilverserenC 01:12, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
      • Actually, you can find Cla's reasoning right here. SilverserenC 01:17, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
        • So...massive "Point" made. Good for Cla. Are we done with this stupidity yet? --OnoremDil 01:32, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
        • Looks pretty flawed frankly...bottom line is paid advocacy is intertwined with paid editing...they are almost inseparable. IF someone is paying another to edit, then they expect an outcome...surely one that favors their POV. It's ludicrous to think anyone would pay and not expect something in return.--MONGO 01:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
          • They expect an improved article. An improved article, rather than a stub, would be better for the person. And, if we're talking companies, updated company stats would also be helpful. It really doesn't have to do with POV-slanting an article at all. SilverserenC 01:57, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
            but...but...but...that is where they then say, gee thanks for updating our "stats" now how much is it going to cost us (to seasoned well thought of editor) to add THIS'? One leads to another for sure. I'll not be swayed by the motivations of corporate hacks to whitewash the facts...we already have enough of that going on with corporate ownership of the news...WE are supposed to be above all that.--MONGO 02:52, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
            • MONGO, several years ago I assisted a paid editor (for free) to take an article to FA. This was the article. The primary editor was an employee of the university. The article is fine. What you are really saying is that you don't trust Wikipedia's administrative or FA processes to enforce NPOV. After such a long time as you have participated in this project, doesn't that disappoint you? Cla68 (talk) 02:01, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
              • that article looks fine...but is it fine? It has two sections with left hand margin image placement at beginning of the section...MOS recommends right hand alignment with text left unless there is a paragraph of text first (example)...another section has text sandwiched between two images...where is the controversy section? Just touching the tip of the berg here...want more? I looked and saw nary an edit to that article by Cla68...I did see your support at was a half what are you trying to tell us? That your idea of assisting a paid editor should consist of a support vote for their enterprise? In consideration though, I didn't check the talkpage archives and did see other more well rounded supports...but I'm responding to your summary of "assistance".--MONGO 03:02, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
              • Are you declaring your intentions or advertising your services? What is your point in saying that you want 1000 for an article? --OnoremDil 02:06, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
                • I will accept $1000 to take an article to FA-level quality. Cla68 (talk) 02:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
                  • You nicely avoid answering but sure make yourself sound like a whore. --OnoremDil 02:14, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Chill out with the personal attacks.VolunteerMarek 02:17, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Just an observation. Do you have a better way to describe it? --OnoremDil 02:20, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
If a business will pay $1000 for a featured article, imagine how much it will pay for a successful AfD. Wnt (talk) 02:26, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
In terms of deleting or keeping an article? Either way, there's a significant difference between paid editing and what you're talking about. The former just involves (ideally) improving specific articles within our rules and guidelines. The latter would be breaking Wikipedia's rules to get a desired outcome. Of course, I don't even see how the latter could happen at all. Are you referring to an admin being paid off to close an AfD with a certain outcome? But then that would also mean that they would have to have a method of getting the AfD discussion to go their way, because it's otherwise be overturned at DRV. I just don't see paid AfD closing working at all without paying off everyone involved and, if that happens, it'll either be canvassing with a bunch of new accounts which we already know how to deal with or it'll be paying off a bunch of established users and I find it extremely unlikely, if not impossible, that none of them will come out and explain what's going on. SilverserenC 02:31, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I've heard tell that sometimes people disagree about whether policy supports a deletion or not. Some articles might be deleted if someone puts in extra effort to make policy arguments; more so if two or three are hired... Wnt (talk) 02:37, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, if the policy arguments are actually based in policy and stand up to scrutiny...then ostensibly, there wouldn't be an issue in the first place, paid or not. SilverserenC 02:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
(ec)Entrepreneur---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 02:45, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

<-- Yeah, ok, we got to nip this false analogy, which unfortunately was stated by Jimbo above, in the butt. Comparing being paid for bringing an article to an FA status to a judge in charge of a case who is also employed by one of the litigants is obviously - obviously, as in a few seconds of reflection should make one realize it - incorrect and misleading. A more appropriate analogy would be to one of the parties in a case ... horror of horrors!, hiring a lawyer. Which, I'm told, happens all the time.

Likewise, bringing AfD closures of AfDs or whatever into it is an obvious red herring. That's not what we're talking about.

The judge analogy fails because there is an intrinsic issue of power there. So yes, an admin who takes money to close an AfD a particular way, or to block someone etc. is acting unethically. And that should be prohibited. However, there's nothing intrinsically unethical about being paid to make edits - which can be reverted at any time - to an article. In fact, being paid to make quality legitimate edits to an article nicely aligns social and private incentives.

So basically, paid editing Yes, paid adminin', reviewin', Afd-closin', and other forms of constabulatin', No. THOSE are the people with the real conflict of interest. Being worried about the fact that some lowly joe schmoe is getting some compensation for improving the encyclopedia, is so far down the list of legitimate concerns that it exposes the (faux?) outrage here and on AN/I as the unintentionally hilarious sanctimonious piece of self-mocking twaddle that it is.VolunteerMarek 02:52, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. But I would also add, being paid to present a certain side of the story would be equally offensive... but we have those people and there is no way to get rid of them. The question here, is can a person be hired to edit objectively with the intent of getting a FA---which includes by definition being Neutral and Unbiased. There is a difference between this and paid advocacy.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 03:04, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Ugh analogies; a traditionally poor rhetoric. It's intellectually underhand to try that avenue (this is not the first time you have done it) as is the attempt to cast elements here as an extremist (seriously?) minority (based on some unseen super-majority who don't contribute to discussions). I have just read the COI RFC (what a disaster) where a huge number of people commented - more than most community "votes". But, if you are that confident of a community !vote process opposing this sort of activity then I fully support you going ahead and making one... --Errant (chat!) 08:58, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

In fact, you know, your obnoxious approach to this has annoyed me (sorry) so I'm going to insist on finally getting some answers to these questions (which you have consistently avoided when brought up):
  • I wrote Digital forensics (currently a good article) on company time, does this mean I am a paid editor? Should I AFD it?
  • How does your viewpoint fit with the WMF sanctioned Wikipedian in Residence - some of whom have been employed to edit Wikipedia articles.
Your answers here are critical, because I feel it highlights how the situation isn't as cut-and-dried as you wish to cast it. --Errant (chat!) 09:05, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
It isn't clear if you are asking me or some of the other participants in the discussion. I can't imagine that you are asking me because I have answered questions like this directly many times. I draw a strong distinction between paid advocacy and other types of editing which may be compensated. I don't see that as a complicated distinction at all. Regarding Digital forensics, I will take a look at it and give you an opinion on the ethics of you editing it if you like. Regarding Wikipedian in Residence, I think it crucial that people in such positions never edit to promote the institutions where they are in residence - and think it is a bannable offense if they do.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:50, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Feel free to check the article. I have noted you consistently use the word "advocacy" - which I agree with entirely - a word that refers to motive... but it is not clear whether you view all paid editing in general as primo-facto advocacy (the implication in your reply here is that you do not). Wikipedians in Residence often edit their home institutions article; is that over the line into editing to promote? I argue that motivation is the key here, and money is just one factor. --Errant (chat!) 10:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
errrrrrrmmmm ... ummmmmmm .... I'm not quite sure how to put this one, Jimbo .... but how does this tie in with this? Pesky (talk) 11:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I guess it's an example of what he intended when he wrote last month "I intend to host general philosophical and policy discussions on my page from time to time, and I intend to enforce a higher standard of civility than you may be comfortable with. If you don't like it, that's fine with me, it really is. Just don't participate if you can't do so while behaving in a respectful manner to others." (emphasis mine). Fram (talk) 13:19, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
That's not making it any more clear to me. It may because I'm HFA. On the other hand, it could actually be a total contradiction. What I'm having trouble with is understanding how referring to another editor as a troll, and saying it's par for the course for that editor, is in line with the policy; let alone in line with "a higher standard of civility". To whom does this "higher standard" apply? Is there a list? Is there an answer? Pesky (talk) 14:15, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I think Fram is sarcastically pointing out that Jimbo violated his own stated civility position. Thus, Fram was agreeing with you, Pesky. (Correct me if i'm wrong, Fram) SilverserenC 16:35, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Aha! I fort so! What I would appreciate, though, would be a reply from Jimbo. I know the correct procedure, if one's concerned about possible violations of WP:CIVIL, is to bring it up with a politely worded message on the user's talk page ... but I have to admit I'm not entirely sure what the "official next step" is supposed to be if the matter is ignored. Pesky (talk) 23:24, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo writes, I think it crucial that people in such positions never edit to promote the institutions where they are in residence - and think it is a bannable offense if they do. So, it is ok for them to write on subjects for which they are familiar/exposed to, just so long as they "never edit to promote?" E.g. they write neutrally and in line with our other policies? But how would we know? How do you know who is "the wikipedian in residence" at Cornell Univerisity? At Sears? At McDonald's? The Republican/Democratic party? I'm certain that most universities and larger corporations have professional writers/employees monitoring and editing their articles. Right now, we don't know who they are---unless they explicitly tell us. Which I'd rather have than a secret paid editor pushing an agenda.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 15:40, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I think Baloonman is absolutely right. One is reminded of this ! Martinevans123 (talk) 15:58, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I feel a need to second this statement as well. Being an editable and incredibly popular site means that we will inevitably have people around with some bias or intent to further their own goals. As Balloonman already stated it is extremely likely that larger institutions monitor or influence their own page - didn't one editor write a tool that confirmed that used IP addresses on some article's belong to the corporations in question? And how many of the smaller, less knowns companies only have an article since they started it?
Point is case is that we cannot know who a contributer is. If Cla68 has improved an article to FA status in exchange for money, and he wouldn't have mentioned it would we have detected it in the first place? Also, if we cannot detect it, how could we even act against it or justify acting against it? I am all to happy to hammer shady companies that try to whitewash or promote others, but an editor who earned his spurs is another matter. And what of the hypothetical case where a charitable organization decides to invest in public knowledge and therefor hires a biologist/chemist or two to go over our animal/chemistry related pages? There are simply to many shades of grey in this matter to have a hard-set policy on this. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 22:22, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Just because a desirable rule is difficult to completely enforce, and requires people to be honorable, doesn't mean that the rule is faulty. The principle is sound. To allow paid editing because people "disclose" is the height of cynicism and will measurably hurt Wikipedia.
Frankly I'm getting bored with this discussion. If Wikipedia wants to commit hari-kiri it won't interrupt my life. Go to it and have fun. Jay Tepper (talk) 22:41, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Why is "money" special?

Jimbo, I ask in all sincerity: why do you seem to believe that money is somehow more poisonous to the project than other motivations that might cause a person to edit non-neutrally? I really, truly don’t understand why someone who gets $1000 to edit an article is more inclined to violate our policies (WP:NPOV, etc.) than someone who is a “true fan” committed to showing the world how great their favorite team/singer/restaurant, or someone who is absolutely certain that Ethnic group X is better than Ethnic group Y. I don’t understand why we want or need a special policy to deal with one specific form of motivation, when we have a perfectly good set of policies that govern all forms of biased and improper editing behavior. For instance, I think the current insanity at WP:MMA, including strong evidence of off-wiki threats and canvassing, is a much better example of disruptive editing that is damaging Wikipedia than the polite, cooperative editors at WP:WikiProject Cooperation/Paid Editor Help. Heck, I think the debacle that was WP: India Education Project was significantly more disruptive and potentially damaging to Wikipedia (since it results in large scale copyright violations) than paid editing, and that was a WMF directed project. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:56, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

You are positing a competition between two things that are completely different. Apples and oranges. Yes, a person who is a "true fan" (in the negative sense) is a problem. The person of a particular religious (or other) viewpoint who comes to Wikipedia with an axe to grind is someone who has to be dealt with, and we do it every day. A paid advocate is also a problem, but a different problem, as the incentives before them and the motivations are different. It simply isn't the case that "one size fits all" - we should adapt policy and solutions in a way that works, to deal with each problem in the best possible way - false analogies to other problems will mislead.
The truth is that paid advocacy is significantly deterrable through a thoughtful set of policies that forbids direct article editing and encourages appropriate interaction with the community. There really are ethical communications professionals who understand that I will crucify their clients in the media if they do not do the right thing. And there are those who do NOT get it, and banning them is the fastest and easiest thing to do. It's really quite simple: follow a bright-line rule - no paid advocacy in article space - come to the discussion page.
Similarly with the India project. Was it a debacle? Yes, of course it was. But that provides no argument for not solving other problems as well. We don't have to choose to EITHER improve projects like that OR deal with the scourge of paid advocates. We must do both.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:41, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
My two cents:
  • Payment influences decisions. In a study of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, studies where the author was funded by a drug company were four times more likely to find results favorable to that company than those funded independently.
  • Payment does not eliminate meatpuppet prohibitions. If I can't ask my friend to support my views in discussions, I shouldn't be able to pay him to do it.
  • It is not compelling to say Y is not a problem, because X, Y, and Z are all problems and we can't do anything about X or Z. If paid editing distracts or detracts from the project, it should be prohibited. Even if there are other things which are harder to deal with, we should not avoid dealing with the easier problems.
But, of course, I don't speak for Jimbo. --TeaDrinker (talk) 03:22, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Another point against paid editing is you get someone that is a slick practiced expert in dispute resolution that can easily "beat down" the volunteers that are trying to improve the encyclopedia because they like the idea of a free encyclopedia built by volunteers. My view is that paid editing would be a poison that would eventually destroy the original intent of Wikipedia and chase away many volunteers. There are frequently complaints about SPA's pushing their own POV. The SPA's are usually crude violate the rules and end up getting blocked. A paid editor that knows the rules and especially knows how to manipulate the dispute resolution process would be a menace to WP:NPOV. Money is special because it buys time and influence. If it was also allowed to buy Wikipedians with knowledge and experience it would likely destroy Wikipedia or change it into something that I'll guess that most volunteers will not be interested in being part of. Bill Huffman (talk) 05:58, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
And you don't think this doesn't already occur?
(ec)Re point 1: Yes, payment influences decisions. So which is better to read a study knowing who funded the study or to read a study not knowing who funded it? I'd like to know that McDonald's paid for that study about the nutrional value of a big mac. By knowing who is being paid, it opens avenues for oversight, that don't exist if we don't know.
Re point 2: Again, Cla's "advertisement" was to get an article to FA status. I think everybody agrees that being paid to advocate a stance is questionable (but we also know paid editors exist.) The key isn't to bury our heads and pretend that all is well in the world and that paid editing doesn't occur, but rather to regulate/monitor them in an appropriate manner.
Re point 3: Yes, because prohibition worked so well. The war on drugs worked so well. The situation exists and will continue to exist. Let's deal with it rather than pretend it doesn't happen.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 06:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Balloonman, but I find your points are missing a major point: $1000 is a laughably small amount of money. Paid editors that get results - control content to the satisfaction of the client - will get paid in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars...easy. You think a civil POV pushing volunteer is a nightmare? Think what one making $80000 a year would be like? ...with five paid co-workers? Game over. —ArtifexMayhem (talk) 07:50, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, Balloonman, as far as I can tell, you either agree with me, or you are positing a straw man. It is precisely my argument that we need to "eal with it rather than pretend it doesn't happen". The best way I know of to NOT deal with it is to continue to entertain lunatic arguments that it doesn't matter. The best way I know of to deal with it is channel it into appropriate channels (talk pages, primarily) and to be extremely firm that paid advocacy in article space is unwelcome, will not be tolerated. We need to offer a path for paid advocates to deal with us responsibly - allowing them to take over Wikipedia is absolutely not an option... that option would be burying our heads in the sand.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:46, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Bluntly, this already exists, and more or less de-facto permitted for professional photographers who put some of their work on Wikipedia. Why shouldn't similar tolerance be allowed for our writers? I do not ascribe this position to you, but I'm seeing remnants of Avery Brundage's belief in the "gifted amateur" as ideal. His vision did not survive the entry of money into the Olympic movement. Did it harm the Olympics? Well, try finding tickets for this year's Olympics, and athletes no longer have to live in the ghetto until after the games. Frankly, I doubt if there's much money in this—I am reminded of a "The Far Side" cartoon showing classified ads seeking those good at playing arcade games for big money—but I'd be willing to talk to a company offering sponsorship which includes access to databases and resources as well as my expenses. Unfortunately, when requests to the Foundation for resources get little heed or are hijacked, editors turn elsewhere.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:01, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Influenced by Pay editing is a poison that, even in small un-noticible doses, will eventually kill any reliablity we now have. We need to improve our trust level with the general public not allow it to continue its slide toward wholesale MIS-trust. ```Buster Seven Talk 12:14, 26 April 2012 (UTC).
Many editors are influenced in their editing by their nationality and religion. Isn't that a far more serious poison?--Wehwalt (talk) 12:18, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I think it's self-evident (that money is "special"), and that it's ridiculous to posit otherwise. Given the indecision and dithering of the so-called "community," I think that it's incumbent on Mr. Wales to show some leadership in this area and personally take action against paid editing. He seems to have the power and he should use it. If he doesn't, this online encyclopedia will be swamped by public relations professionals plying their trade. It already is to some extent. Just look at the articles p.r. people write about themselves. He knows it, and whether others do or don't is beside the point. Jay Tepper (talk) 12:46, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Given time and attention, National and Religiouslly "poisoned" editng become obvious and can be dealt with. Influenced by Pay editing is hidden, unknown, out of sight. Requiring that Paid Operatives self-identify removes the subversive flavor from the mix. The fact that the Communications Director for the Gingrich campaign finally self-identified created a workable collaborative effort in article creation. not perfect, just workable. At the very least, concerned editors could be alert for biased and slanted editing that only favored the candidate. WP is a major site for information dispersal. From now on, EVERY campaign for Major political offices will have a person, or a room of persons, whose job it will be to orchestrate what exists, or doesnt exist, in the Campaign article. Our readers need to be aware of that fact. ```Buster Seven Talk 13:03, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
You can also place a permanent tag on articles to which paid editors have contributed, saying prominently "This article has been editors by persons paid by the subject of the article." Then you'd have two classes of articles, but the reader would receive disclosure. A better idea is to simply ban paid editing. Jay Tepper (talk) 13:25, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Of course money is special. It creates a culture where money becomes the end and everything else is just the means. And, you may not realize this, but a wikipedia page has a great deal of financial value because it is the first place people go looking for information. A small consulting firm, a university professor looking for consulting, small businesses, none notable in their own right would all love to have a nice wikipedia article of their own. Preferably with negative information left out. Tourist departments would be happy to pay to have their latest sites featured on wikipedia. A few dollars to reorder a list, what's the harm in that? Many dollars to add the sentence "access to the island from Liberty State Park is easier", no problem. On the flip side, editors would have an incentive to overlook that negative information being left out, the lack of notability, the reordering of lists or information, because they too would be pushing their own pet paid businesses and who wants to rock the boat. That's what happens all the time in the business world. And, the unpaid editors who are left would either be demotivated (thought experiment: How likely would you be to work for free in an environment where many people are getting paid for the same work?), or swamped. It's hard enough dealing with nationalist pov pushers but money is entirely a different ball game. --regentspark (comment) 13:33, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. You've raised a number of good points, especially about the demoralizing effect on unpaid editors. This issue is vital to Wikipedia, and its amazing to me that so many editors seem blithely unaware of the corrosive effects of allowing openly paid editors. Many focus instead on disclosure as a panacea. That may help from an internal Wikipedia standpoint, but it affords no advantage whatever to the millions of casual readers who would have no idea that an article they are reading may or may not be a direct product of a public relations professional. It amazes me the extent to which so many members of the "community" have their heads wedged up their posteriors on conflicts of interest and public relations poisoning of Wikipedia. Jay Tepper (talk) 13:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
And notice that there is a very simple and clean way to resolve this all ethically and practically - disclosure and engaging solely on the talk pages, noticeboards, wikiprojects, etc. If you can write good quality text that is actually neutral, and offer it up on the talk page, there is no need whatsoever to go to editing the article space directly. This is a simple plan that resolves all the serious concerns quite neatly. I have never seen a single valid argument against it. (Almost none of the paid advocates ever even try to engage this argument directly, instead throwing up a lot of obfuscation and presenting my position in a straw-man way.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:00, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
That makes sense. I agree that we can't keep paid editing out, the wikipedia product is too valuable for that and money always finds a way in. Restricting paid editors to talk pages would help by creating a moat around article space. Moats don't always keep marauders out, but they do act as a deterrent. We also need a policy that bans editors from being paid for anything other than writing text. For example, we don't want editors being paid to !vote on deletion, move or FA discussions. --regentspark (comment) 14:15, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually that issue has been addressed, Jimbo, several times. The problem there is that talk pages can often be low traffic - so all your suggestions could easily sit there for days/weeks/months/years without any attention. To get the advocates to agree to that wholly logical approach requires us to improve our reaction to contributions of that sort as well. And I think we have to make the first move, it being our house. This whole paid advocacy problem has been mishandled from the get go - with us sat here going "go to the talk page, you underhand advocate!" and them going "stop printing lies, naughty Wikipedia!". It's a lot like an echo chamber - having conversed with both sides.. you're all as bad as each other. --Errant (chat!) 14:52, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
What do you think of a policy-cum-noticeboard, as we have for BLP? The situations are quite similar in some respects. JN466 20:55, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Why is money special? That's easy to answer. Think about the situation where Company X is paying Cla68 $1000 to write a FA about Company X. Company X has made some good products and has done some good things, but they also once made a malfunctioning product that seriously injured someone. The incident wasn't headline news, but it did get reported in several newspapers around the world. As the article gets closer to FA, another editor joins in and writes a short section about the malfunctioning product incident. Company X calls up Cla68 and says, "What is this bullshit? We're paying you $1000 to write an article about us, and you include information that makes us look bad? You better take that out or we're not paying you a dime!" Cla68 tries to explain that he didn't include it in the article, some other editor did. But, Company X doesn't care, they want it out of the article or no payday.
Now Cla68 is faced with a (quite plausible) dilemma. Protect the neutrality of the article and get paid nothing for all the work he put into it, or try to appease Company X by arguing for the removal of the section about the incident. Which do you think he would do? What would you do in this situation? What if the payment for writing the article was $10,000? $50,000? Where is your limit? How much would you have to be paid to bend the rules and write something that's not entirely neutral?
Radix malorum est cupiditas. Allowing payment for writing an article (especially if it's about the organization who is paying you, which in most cases, it will be) gives some measure of control to that organization, unless they are forced to pay up front (to which I highly doubt any intelligent person would agree). This invites non-neutrality. We're better off not allowing it. But, back to the topic at hand, which is not whether we should allow paid editing, but whether we should allow editors to advertise their paid editing services on their user page. I think this is a clear cut "No", and if WP:UP needs to be updated to state this clearly, then so be it. ‑Scottywong| comment _ 14:07, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Also, one argument against it might be this. If other editors know, or get to know, that a talk page proposal has been paid for, won't there simply be a battle between those who wish to add it because it's fair (plus those who wish to add it because they have been paid to write it and/or wish to promote the principle of paid editing) and those who wish to keep it out simply because it has been paid for. Or would it be forbidden to show that a proposal had been paid for? Or perhaps Admins would know, but not ordinary editors? How would that particlar battle ground be policed? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 14:59, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Jimbo, I largely agree with your position on paid editing, but I take issue with how you have responded to Cla68's action. You state that we must "be extremely firm that paid advocacy in article space is unwelcome, will not be tolerated" but the truth is that no firm stance has been taken and paid editors have not only been tolerated but, of late, aided and abetted. This issue has been building for years now and the community has been unwilling to have serious discussion about it. Or set any firm rules or guidelines. I was only too happy to point out paid editors to those who claimed they would block on sight (including yourself and a former ArmCom member) yet no blocks ever happened. Meanwhile, advocates of paid editing first subverted the proposed guidelines, then formed welcoming committees. It is far too late to pretend that Cla68 is responsible for the current ruckus. His provocation was only possible thanks to years of studied inattention. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

That's not 100% true... 3 years ago [4], a person with several "prestigious" hats on wikipedia was stripped of all his hats and had an account blocked for paid editing. But beyond that, you are correct. The concern has been more centered around COI and and preserving proper weighting/balance/neutrality. I'd rather know who the paid editors are so they could be better monitored and if they can't/don't write in an objective/neutral manner, then we can address those situations better. If Editor X is hired by 3M to take the 3M article to FA status, wouldn't it be advantageous to know that Editor X is paid by 3M? It would bring down additional scrutiny. Also, if we know that Editor X is a paid editor, then violations of UNDUE/POV/ETC become easier to prove and officiate. There is a distinct difference between Paid-Editor X working on a controversial article and putting in POV edits and non-paid editor Y putting in the same edits. My tolerance for the paid editor is going to be a lot less. Thus, I want to know who the paid contributors are.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 15:23, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I was referring specifically to the paid editors that I had identified. Of those, I believe some did end up getting blocked for sockpuppetry, but not for paid editing. In the case that you cite, Nichalp was not blocked. Their alternate account was and they were stripped of their privileges because they failed to respond to ArbCom's emails. We could read between the lines, but those are the facts as presented. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:53, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Just because you're unaware of it (paid editing), doesn't mean it isn't happening. And just because someone doesn't advertise their services, doesn't mean those services aren't available. In this case, ignorance is not bliss, and if it is expressly prohibited, then the only thing we incentivize is that ignorance, when the correct incentives belong with quality material.ℱorƬheℒoveofℬacon 21:47, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

We get distracted when we say "There really are ethical communications professionals who understand that I will crucify their clients in the media if they do not do the right thing." (Makes them sound scared rather than ethical, but let that pass.) The key point is disclosure, the whole idea behind an open editing ethos is that we know editors by their reputation, based on their actual edits. Disclosure is good, in a healthy community, because we can say "hang on, that's not quite right, do you think you are being biased there?" In an unhealthy community, where being a paid editor is treated as a badge of shame, it will be "back on the talk page you!" or submarine paid editng. I am fairly certain that the way forward is with the standard COI advice - declare potential conflicts of interest, and be very careful around these areas, in order to maintain a GF environment conducive to healthy editing. Common sense and human decency should prevail in these matters, as in all else. Rich Farmbrough, 18:17, 1 May 2012 (UTC).

Ironic side note

Having watched the ongoing RfC on Images in Mohammed, I have to ask where all the editors are that simply chimed in, "NOT CENSORED?" No seriously? This is a complete aside from the Paid Editing debate, but rather an illuminating point on my problem with WP:NOTCENSORED. We have people here, including Jimbo, who want to ban (e.g. censor) paid editors and nobody has cried NOT CENSORED. I bring this is up not because I want to use it as an argument in favor of paid editing, but rather because I find the use of "NOT CENSORED" as a position to be devoid of value. NOT CENSORED, while a fine ideal, is a weak argument in and of itself. It's a find starting point, but it should never be used to dispell reasoned arguments for the inclusion/exclusion/movement of materials.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 14:27, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

If that's your strongest argument for allowing paid editors, then I'd suggest that you have no argument whatsoever. Jay Tepper (talk) 14:33, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Balloonman, do note that Jimbo has not said we should ban paid editors. Rather, we need to manage them. See his comments on how paid editing can work above. --regentspark (comment) 14:39, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure he did. John Vandenberg (chat) 15:15, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
That's not what he's saying now. [5] --regentspark (comment) 15:39, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
it is a bannable offense if they do and banning them is the fastest and easiest thing to do. It's really quite simple: follow a bright-line rule - no paid advocacy in article space are from today.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 15:45, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo is clearly distinguishing between paid editors and paid advocates. The l;atter should be banned the former not. I agree with that.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:42, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
And I'm opposed to paid advocacy as well... but where do we draw the line? How do we draw the line if we equate paid editing with paid advocacy? In order to have a disctinction, we need to draw a distinction and we need to make it so that paid editors can be identified. That way we can start to tell if that person who is a little too persistent on including a specific fact is doing so because they are a paid advocate or just stubborn. Identifying the motives is the first step.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 17:43, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
And where is the distinction between paid editor and paid advocate defined? If it isnt defined, they are the same thing, and the atmosphere will be unfriendly to newbies who will run into this constantly. Some admins will block, others will unblock, and it will go to Arbcom – mark my words. Newbies will be forced watch public debates about whether they are paid editing or paid advocates. At the WMAU/SLQ training workshops last week, many of the participants wrote articles which they have a COI with. e.g. Pinnacles Gallery. All openly declared; some participants even started with usernames which broke the username policy. Some of these participants and articles were what I would consider to be advocacy. No worries; easily fixed by editing according to content policies. John Vandenberg (chat) 22:36, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree that it would be beneficial to establish criteria for what is advocacy and what isn't. I think advocacy in general should be more frowned upon than it is - but particularly paid advocacy. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:06, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Balloonman, banning paid editors in article space while allowing them to use the talk page for advocating their points of view or suggesting the text they would like to see in the article is hardly the same thing as censorship or even banning them outright from wikipedia. I think Jimbo's proposal is a reasonable starting point on how to deal with paid editors so that they have a voice but the downside is minimized. --regentspark (comment) 16:13, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Jay, did you read my post? No it is not "my strongest argument" in favor of paid editing---in fact, I explicitly state that This is a complete aside from the Paid Editing debate. In fact, I consider NOT CENSORED to be a worthless argument when it is simply presented by itself. YET whenever we have debates of IMAGES on Mohammed or a nude in the lead of the pregnancy article or what have you, slews of people come out chiming in "NOT CENSORED" without regard for why the issue is being raised or whether or not the question being raised has merit. IMHO, NOT CENSORED is a meaningless platatude on its own... and I think this debate is showing how pathetic that phrase is. So, Jay, in reality, I agree 100%. If "NOT CENSORED" is the "strongest argument" for any issue, the "I'd suggest [whomever uses it has] no argument whatsoever."---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 15:08, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I think that our opposition to censorship is very important and relevant - it's the reason why we're having this debate; indeed, it's the reason why we're allowed to have this debate instead of just having Jimbo settle the point five years ago and move on. This is the boat and "NOTCENSORED" is the ocean. Nonetheless, we have not in the past extended this principle to advertising businesses on user pages or introducing POV in certain ways, as there are other important pillars we're trying to uphold at the same time. Wnt (talk) 15:52, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Opposition to censorship is important, but this whole argument belies the notion that simply citing "NOTCENSORED" is sufficeint in and of itself. Censorship occurs on Wikipedia... UNDUE/NPOV/RS/V/etc. The question is why? If the entirety of one's argument is NOT CENSORED, which we often see in various debates, then I contend that it often is not sufficeint---especially when rationale reasons have been presented for moving/removing/editing etc.---Balloonman Poppa Balloon 17:43, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

First I wish to make clear that I am not an advocate of paid editing. I think there are a lot of areas of WP that currently rely on volunteer activity alone could profit from paid advocacy (such as WikiProject management, crosswiki bot maintenance, recruiting and retention programs, image.article improvement, copyright enforcement, etc.) but I think that in the case of article developement its best left to volunteers. To allow editing of articles for profit puts us on a slippery slope that would undoubtedly only get worse over time and would encourage users to demand payment for their services rather than voluneer.

With that said I do believe that the problem exists and there are likely more editors writing for profit than any of us know and we should try and bring those to light as much as possible. I think if its determined that paid editing should be allowed in some form we could draft some policies that limit this activity to certain areas or with controls in place that force them into the light more. It is my opinion that there are some "professional" organizations that, if we allowed them, would follow any rules we put in place to be allowed to edit. I also think that if an article is promoted in this way it should be visible on the article (possibly the talk page) and the article be ineligible for display on the main page.

I also want to clarify how I perceive the difference (and I could be wildly wrong here I admit) between paid editing and rewarded editing before its made into an issue. There are several programs in place by the organization such as students editing for classes that one could argue are merely paid editing in disguise because the individual is still "profiting" from the editing. I agree these editors are "rewarded" for their efforts in the form of degrees or even status, we hand out barnstars and things as rewards and we promote editors in wiki status by bestowing upon them additional rights such as administrator, beaurocrat, arbitrator, etc. but although these "rewards" help the wiki, improve morale and encourage a little good spirited competition in some cases no one is getting "paid". I think there are a lot of ways that editors, businesses and those interested in improving articles could be rewarded without stooping to the level of paying an editor to get their article promoted. For example, I do not think it would be wrong if "WP" accepted a sum to improve articles on a given topic (Call it a bounty or whatever even if the individual or might somehow be improved by it) as long as the sum is not directly attributed to that topic. Kumioko (talk) 17:05, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Valid point, but it still relegates articles and editors deemed professionals to second-class status. No one settles for being tolerated when equality should be on the table. What you are doing is adding an asterisk to achievement. That would not be acceptable. And I would not be amenable to WMF getting money for my editing.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:27, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
"relegates"? That's not a neutral term. I'd say the old, "We already established that; now we're just haggling about price" principle applies. If you're doing this for money for anybody but the Wikimedia movement itself, you're a pro; by definition you've forfeited any credible claim to lack of COI or (in my view) NPOV; and of course you have no place acting as an admin or in any other administrative capacity. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:42, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it does and should mean relegating paid editors to non-editing status. That is correct. Jay Tepper (talk) 17:55, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo spoke of a global community vote, a better question is: will an admin action against a paid editor stand? Unless the answer to that is "yes", isn't this just whistling in the wind?--Wehwalt (talk) 18:07, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think following COI guidelines makes us second class citizens any more than a volunteer editor who does the same for different COI reasons. Only when Civility and AGF are broken do we become so mistreated. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 21:10, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

I want to emphasize a point that Jimbo made earlier: the problem is not really paid editing, it is paid advocacy, and we must be careful to recognize the difference. For example, the US National Institutes of Health sometimes awards grant money for community outreach, and one type of outreach it has funded is addition of material to Wikipedia. The people receiving those funds are doing paid editing, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that -- this approach ought to be encouraged rather than discouraged. Whatever we do, we need to keep this distinction in mind. Looie496 (talk) 17:46, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

No, the problem is paid editing not paid "advocacy," whatever that means. It means paying somebody to edit Wikipedia for the purpose of placing or removing specific content from the encyclopedia. That's all it means. Jay Tepper (talk) 17:54, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
To be honest, I don't think the problem is being paid - whether you are paid to advocate or paid to just write. The problem is whether or not your interests in editing Wikipedia are in conflict with the interests of Wikipedia as a whole. I've been looking at articles written by paid (freelance) editors over the last few weeks, and the problems that stand out are occasionally related to advocacy, which is a problem, but equally I find copyright violations, spam, falsified references, the creation of articles about non-notable subjects, and deliberate misrepresentations of the editor's relationship with the subject when questions are raised about the articles. (Not all those problems are equally serious, of course, but copyvio and falsified references I hold at least on a par with POV editing). At the same time, there are also cases where the interests of WP and those of the author haven't been in conflict, and the results have been good, solid encyclopedic articles in spite of money being involved. I wish there was a neat fix, and some nice way to distinguish between them, but it is a messy problem. - Bilby (talk) 18:12, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
This is one instance where the community is divided against itself. Jimbo has been on record against paid advocacy on any number of occasions, and has confined his efforts to dealing with inappropriate attempts to influence content against our existing policies. But the battle lines are drawn between those who advocate "anything goes, as long as our policies are followed" and "paid editing of any sort inherently corrupts Wikipedia". Either of these extreme positions is unlikely to ever achieve consensus, but the loudest voices in the argument are those on the fringes. Jclemens (talk) 18:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
All paid editing is advocacy of some sort, for some reason. Wikimedians-in-Residence are merely engaging people well versed in policy in order that the advocacy is kept within acceptable levels. Even non-profits have objectives, and they are required by law to ensure all their activities work towards those goals. As far as I know, there are no Wikimedia chapters that have "build Wikipedia content" as one of their objectives. John Vandenberg (chat) 22:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
That is not true. If somebody paid me a salary to edit wikipedia like I used to without posing any criteria about what i should and shouldn't edit then it wouldn't be advocacy - they would just do wikipedia the favor of having more contributions by me ;) .·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:00, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
From Wikimedia UK Constitution: "We exist to help collect, develop and distribute freely licensed knowledge (and other educational, cultural and historic content) ..." – arguably that would encompass "build Wikipedia content" with much of a stretch of the imagination. The problem we're faced with here is not so much editors receiving remuneration whilst editing, but outside interests paying to buy undue influence in given articles. The former may be unproblematic in some circumstances; the latter is always going to be anathema to the spirit of our project. --RexxS (talk) 01:04, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
John, saying "all paid editing is advocacy of some sort" isn't really helpful either. It's entirely possible for an entity to pick an editor and say "Keep doing what you're doing. No strings, here's a few bucks to reward your contribution to knowledge". Which, I suppose, would be advocacy for Wikipedia's own core principles. If you get to that point, I think that "advocacy" has been watered down to meaninglessness. Paid advocacy, at least as I use the term, means being an agent for some entity, to do their bidding and improperly influence Wikipedia processes. Further complicating the picture is that there is all sorts of other advocacy going on throughout Wikipedia--you and I have both seen it in terms of cases before the arbitration committee, but I suspect we both understand that those are the tip of the iceberg. Paid or unpaid, there are tons of editors who are not interested in NPOV, and I have yet to see how money is a fundamentally different motivator than nationalism, ethnic pride, or religion. Jclemens (talk) 01:51, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
It is different because money = time. If i were paid to advocate in favor of X topic I would be able to dedicate more time to it than if i weren't and consequently I'd be a couple of steps ahead of the volunteers trying to keep wikipedia neutral. if i was just advocating my own point of view I could be expected to dedicate the same amount of efforts as the volunteers trying to neutralize it.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:03, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
What I'm finding, in many cases, is the opposite. If you are paid $100 to write an article, it seems many people will want to do the minimum amount of work to earn that in order to make it cost-effective. And that means not looking into WP's policies, not researching the topic in any depth, copying the client's text without modification or directly from their website, and not finding references that properly support the text. (Again, I should clarify that sometimes they do it properly as well). This isn't the case with a full-time PR person working on an article, but it is interesting that we have the two extremes - someone paid to spend a lot of time looking after the company's WP profile, and someone paid to get it on to WP only. - Bilby (talk) 02:16, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
but that is exactly the difference between advocacy and editing. If i were paid to put in a specific phrase in favor of X viewpoint then I could do so sloppily (most advocates also edit sloppily, edit warring to insert POV material etc. but some adept advocates (WP:CPUSH) of course know how to use the processes in their favor) - but if i was simply paid to do good editing like I usually do then I could make the effort.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:26, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
True. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the paid editing vs paid advocacy distinction is complex and somewhat artificial. Problems and benefits sit on both sides, but they tend to be different problems and benefits. The more I look at the problem, the more complex it seems to get. - Bilby (talk) 02:33, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
So yes, money can buy time. But I challenge you to look into some of the religious, ethnic, or nationalistic issues that have cropped up on Wikipedia and articulate how anyone being a paid advocate could have made any of them worse than they already were. That is, the editors involved have already made time, based on their own values system, and paying them to do anything at all would be likely to reduce their intransigence and fervency. Jclemens (talk) 02:40, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm curious why Jimbo is always portrayed as being "against" paid editing. I have only seen him advocate for the Bright Line, which in itself seems to imply he's not oppose to paid editing. Meanwhile he's been supportive of Joe Desantos, who has followed the bright line. In response to my blog post, which described treating Wikipedia like a PR person would any independent news and information source, he said he agreed with my approach. Maybe I'm missing something? It seems to me that he supports paid editing, so long as we follow a single basic rule. Yet in an effort to change his mind, he's constantly portrayed as having an extreme point of view that's different than his actual statements or behavior. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 21:04, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Probably because in the past he's made statements that all paid editors, once identified, should be banned. That's the extreme camp that he is considered to be in. SilverserenC 21:29, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Taking notice that there are technically a half-dozen exceptions to the Bright Line such as non-controversial edits, blatant defamation, etc. (Jimbo may disagree) I have a difficult time finding a sensible argument against it. It isn't that different from what the COI guideline already encourages. Wikipedia will have better content, a happier community and more credibility because of it.
Eclipsed and I - both paid editors - support it. And why wouldn't we? There is no situation where it actually prevents a marketing professional from improving an article with confidence that they are doing right by Wikipedia. There are dozens of situations where it provides more confidence/credibility, less potential issues or conflicts, and so on. I realize what Jimbo said years ago, but that was a long time ago. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 23:23, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
May I suggest that you use more caution when declaring the support of other editors. In this case, for me only, it would be more accurate to say that I support any editor who wishes to follow the Bright Line. It would also be more accurate to say that I am a freelance editor that sometimes works for payment, and sometimes works for free. Please be more careful with your wordings. Thanks. -- Eclipsed (talk) (COI Declaration) 10:10, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Apologies for over-reaching. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 03:11, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why we shouldn't just go with the current practice of don't edit directly, unless you're making a Non controversial edit. That's the current practice and it's fine. SilverserenC 19:14, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Hmm... I have to imagine that Jimbo doesn't have an issue with fixing apostrophe's with a COI, but rather how such a message could be construed. The moment he mentions exceptions to the bright line, a crow bar will be taken to that crack, and we go down a rabit hole of defining those exceptions. In practice I'm confident he has better things to do than police paid editors for grammar. :-D User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 06:07, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
rabbit hole ;) -- Eclipsed (talk) (COI Declaration) 11:05, 29 April 2012 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/COI. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 19:18, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Request for comments

FYI - For those of you involved in the discussion above, I have started a request for comments on the issue. If you're interested in contributing, please see Wikipedia talk:User pages#Request for comment - Advertising on user pages. Thanks. ‑Scottywong| express _ 20:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I suggest that if there is to be paid editing, these editors should be registered as paid editors and contribute a % levy to Wikipedia to pay for costs incured in providing them with the means of earning an income. Unregistered paid editors if found out could be banned. This levy would be additional to the regular fundraising efforts and could help with technology costs. SkyMachine (++) 23:00, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

That sounds like a form of extortion and flies in the face of our logo there on the top left of your page that reads "The Free Encyclopedia". SilverserenC 05:32, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Good luck on that one, SkyMachine! When the Foundation does a better job getting editors resources, we'll talk taxes, OK?--Wehwalt (talk) 05:40, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Relies on ethical practise of professional paid editors doing the right thing and self reporting earned income. It is only fair that if they hunt fat geese on the King's commons that they pay tribute to the King to maintain the commons. SkyMachine (++) 05:58, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
If we don't charge people for using our content, it seems pretty small of us to charge people for generating it.--Wehwalt (talk) 06:04, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Strictly speaking it would be the person or corporation who pays the paid editor for their services that is charged the levy by Wikipedia. They can not complain about being charged because they are already paying for what they have deamed as a useful commercial service. They could always do it themselves for free. SkyMachine (++) 06:14, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Good luck on your proposal.--Wehwalt (talk) 06:59, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
I have an unfinished proposal for something somewhat similar. Esetzer (talk) 05:53, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Well go get your patent on that and then go see Mark Zuckerberg for your billion dollars. I guess the web is going to head in that direction at some point as advertizers lose their old publishing venues, and competitors arise to try and compete with what google's got. SkyMachine (++) 08:33, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
You can be sure that I cannot patent it since most of the text has been publicly available at that URL for more than a year. I am just trying to do what I can to get the web to that point as soon as possible since trying to make a living within the current monopolized-yet-schizophrenic web economy is very unpleasant (trying to charge patent royalties would cause significant delay). Esetzer (talk) 17:02, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Well I'm an atheist but I'll quote a bit in the gospels about this I think describes my feelings about the idea. ""Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". I think it is a very bad idea. Dmcq (talk) 08:53, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure if we looked at some Scientology or Confucian text it would lend some mumbo jumbo wisdom support to the side of my idea too. If the tax idea is giving you the skeevies then how about some community expectation to oblige paid editors to make a public disclosure of having made some (voluntary) donation in proportion to the proceeds they have skimmed from their work. SkyMachine (++) 09:29, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Do not bind the mouths of the kine that treadth the grain. And there is not a word in there about rendering unto Jimbo.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:39, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
SkyMachine, then charge a levy to anyone who reproduces the content of a WMF project. Same thing. Tony (talk) 11:42, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia has less control over end user consumption. Editors with accounts are subject to community scrutiny, and are expected to abide by the rules set by the community. SkyMachine (++) 21:33, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

It seems to me that paid editing is often very similar to when a BLP subject tries editing their own biography. In one case, someone edits an article about themself. In another case, you have a company basically doing the same thing, but companies don't act on their own, they act by paying employees to do it. Someone who is paid by X can be biased in favor of X, but no more than someone who *is* X can be biased in favor of X.

And for BLP subjects, we discourage editing, but we don't prohibit it. We recognize that categorically prohibiting someone from editing their own article is a bad idea even if it can often lead to problems, so we allow them to make straightforward changes and remove unsourced information. We don't ban people just for editing their own article, nor do we say "when can you edit your own article? NEVER!" And we don't *automatically* assume that someone editing their own article must be up to no good unless we can point to a specific policy that they have violated other than just the one about editing your own article.

Also, companies pay people to edit articles about themselves for similar reasons to why individuals directly edit articles about themselves. They may be trying to promote themselves or make themselves look good--but they may also be concerned about misinformation, or that the article was written by someone who hates them and thus has undue weight problems.

This is why I can't completely oppose paid editing of your own company's article. Like editing your BLP, it's often bad, but also like editing your BLP, it's often necessary, and it's the most necessary when Wikipedia has already failed the subject. If anything, paid editing is more necessary than editing your own BLP because there are special BLP rules that are meant to prevent bad BLPs, while this safety net is absent for articles about companies. Ken Arromdee (talk) 04:13, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you. SilverserenC 05:34, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Ken. I sometimes think we are treating PR professionals like pedophiles, as that is literally the only other category of people whom we tell that they must not edit Wikipedia in their own interest. Everyone else is welcome. That does an injustice to the PR profession. We are treating them like lepers, and I am sometimes at a loss to explain just where this quite extraordinary level of hostility stems from.
Now I understand that PR professionals have made atrocious edits; but frankly so have people disliking individuals and companies. I understand that Wikipedia's reputation is on the line; but Wikipedia's reputation should be as much on the line when someone writes a hatchet job about a company as it is when someone abuses Wikipedia for advertising and/or whitewashing. I see no indication that that is the case. An article can be an outright hatchet job, containing poorly sourced, unsourced, undue, unfair, or even outright defamatory material: yet when a PR professional deletes any part of it, all that the press will report is that "A PR company deleted negative material". They will not report that the Wikipedia article was grossly unfair to begin with. My personal preference – see #Proposal:_Write_a_policy_for_company_articles below – is to have a clear policy on Company articles, and that self-identified PR staff, who give their real names on their user page, along with their employer, company position and any companies and individuals whose PR they or their employer handle,
  1. should be allowed to make certain well-circumscribed edits in articles for their company or its clients, such as correcting a typo or updating the name of the CEO (but I won't insist on this).
  2. should be allowed, like any other editor, to participate as ordinary Wikipedians at discussions at a Companies noticeboard, and implement changes on articles for companies that they have no professional linkage to.
Any concerns about apparent abuses, such as improper tag teaming between PR professionals, should go to an RfC/U and arbcom. I think this will offer the best of both worlds:
  • there will be scrutiny from the wider community at such a Company noticeboard,
  • PR professionals are not anonymous, but have their real name and reputation as well as that of their employers on the line,
  • a policy identifying article requirements and potential failure modes, along with an associated noticeboard, provides a fair and more responsive mechanism to legitimate concerns, one that I believe PR professionals who come here in good faith would use in preference to making surreptitious edits under false pretences. --JN466 15:45, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Somebody had to have the balls

I have nominated his userpage for deletion (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 22:06, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

WP:POINT. Carrite (talk) 00:12, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Bwilkins, you are aware that there is a RfC on this very topic. What can be gained by having two separate discussions and potentially two separate consensus outcomes on the same issue? In addition, Ed17 placed page protection on the User page for Cla68, which you overrode in order to place your tag. This would seem to constitute a type of wheel-warring, since as an WP:INVOLVED editor, you overrode the protection using tools to place your deletion discussion on it. I would politely ask that you permit your nomination to be closed and withdraw any further nominations until such time as the RfC on this has closed with some type of consensus. -- Avanu (talk) 00:47, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
How am I "involved"? Do you actually understand anything about the project? You're making comments that lack any basis in reality, and your disgusting lack of WP:AGF is horrific (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 21:34, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Here's an idea....

Why doesn't the foundation take some of the money it spends on various "studies" and "social" events and instead pay Cla68 to write featured articles? Perhaps from WP:VA. $1,000 an article is a bargain! (talk) 00:17, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

New userbox for paid editors

  • I have created a new userbox for those editors who would like to declare that they are available to edit for pay. Cla68 (talk) 11:04, 1 May 2012 (UTC)


Wikipedia is not the place to advertise. Even to advertise yourself.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:00, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Well, look, if you don't run edit for the love of the game Jimbo the encyclopedia, you don't belong in the Olympics on Wikipedia.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:10, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I think that's a non sequitur, but a seemingly common one. We all agree Cla68 can run a nail salon, for instance, if he wants to. However if he puts up his price list, suggests people email him to make appointments, we take it down. --TeaDrinker (talk) 12:24, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
The thing is, there is no consensus for that. And so you are faced with a "rule" that was never intended for this situation, and which you can't enforce.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:39, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
We seem to be talking past each other. Cla68 doesn't need consensus to run a nail salon and we have consensus to delete a nail salon ad from a userpage. My point was the validity of the enterprise and the ability to advertise it on the project are separate concerns. --TeaDrinker (talk) 12:52, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
There's no consensus for removing advertisements? Where the hell did you get that idea? We've been doing it for years without complaint...but now that people want to push to allow it in their quest for paid editing, there's no consensus? Take a look at NPP and how many userpages are deleted as adverts. I guess it makes sense. It's like civility. The rules don't apply as long as you've contributed enough to make the right friends. --OnoremDil 19:58, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm bottom lining it, I suppose. If a dispute arises over his inclusion of the ad, you can't make your removal stick, is what I was getting at.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:04, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that addresses the logical fallacy in your argument. One of the recurring themes of this whole discussion has been editors standing in the way of forming consensus with the argument "you don't have consensus." It seems counter-productive. --TeaDrinker (talk) 13:45, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Do you count yourself as one of those doing this? Or do you feel that a. you don't deny that those disagreeing with you have consensus support or b. that you do so in a manner that doesn't stand in the way of consensus forming? (talk) 18:17, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Since the community cannot make up its collective mind

I've added myself as a paid editor. Let's be clear about this. A paid editor's primary duty is toward his or her client and wikipedia's policies and guidelines are only secondary in nature. In the interests of transparency, since that appears to be the primary concern of most wikipedians, I've made this clear to both the community as well as the client on my user page. (I think I'll also ask for a user name change to something like 1111111.) If this is the future the community wants, then so be it. --regentspark (comment) 16:51, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

This continued posturing is just getting annoying and isn't really making any sort of point. SilverserenC 19:49, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Trivial hatnotes guideline proposal

Per the earlier discussion about the trivial hatnote at Johnny Cash, ( archive) I have proposed a formalization at the appropriate WP page: Wikipedia_talk:Hatnote#Trivial_hatnote_links. The main issue with my proposal is that I support two-term disambiguation pages over leaving trivial hatnote links in place. This contradicts the general idea that disambiguation pages need at least three terms to disambiguate, but I think my case is straightforward, and, given a little time, most two-term disambiguation pages tend to gather one or more links anyway. Cheers everyone, -Stevertigo (t | c) 07:32, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Again, data confirms hatnotes are not clicked much: The hatnote links are just not a problem. As discussed here last week, the pageviews of song article "Johnny Cash (song)" were not coming due to imagined "unfair" hatnote promotion in the singer's article, where April pageviews remained at 27.4 per day (78%), extremely high, compared to March's average of 35 per day. The imagined fears of that famous song being commonly viewed, only due to mention in the singer article, were soundly refuted by the April pageview data (song-stats-201204). For article "Johnny Cash" the pageview stats (singer-stats-201204) showed that only 1-in-1500 people were clicking the song-hatnote link. It is difficult to prove that people even notice the hatnote when they view an article to check the singer's famous songs, birthdate, hometown, or career events. In fact, for the new dab page, "Johnny Cash (disambiguation)" the pageview stats (disambig-stats-201204) showed only 1 extra person viewing that page on 30 April, when pageviews of the singer soared by 9,098 that day, from 14,898 to 23,996 views on 30 April. The hatnote links are just not a problem, and cross-links between 2 articles should continue to be made by hatnote links, in 2 articles with same-name titles, without creating a 3rd, disambiguation page to list just 2 articles. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:33, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Hi, can we please continue this discussion here: Wikipedia_talk:Hatnote#Trivial_hatnote_links. Jimbo you would be welcome to join us.--KarlB (talk) 17:15, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Protest IT Act in India

The new IT Act law in India is worse than SOPA or PIPA. An MP is raising a motion to annul the law. Please protest Indian Internet Censorship the way you did with SOPA & PIPA by blacking out. We desperately need awareness in India and many people use Wikipedia. The law directly affects wikipedia. You will have to take down any material that is 'objectionable' to someone without any trial or opportunity to present your case. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:36, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Can they remove content held on servers outside India, especially in the US, where WMF servers are?--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 19:46, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Has anyone in India been punished for reading or contributing to Wikipedia? It will be easier to get people to rally around this if we know we're defending our own. Wnt (talk) 22:16, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I asked Wnt's question last year, when the India maps dispute arose and there were also arguments being put forward by various Hindutva-oriented contributors that it was illegal to write or speak the term shudra. No-one involved in promoting those arguments provided any evidence of even one arrest for reading or contributing to Wikipedia. Ironically, there were some arrests of people protesting against Wikipedia at the Wikiconference in Mumbai. - Sitush (talk) 01:53, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not my intention to cast aspersions on the Indian protest; it's merely that to outsiders (and sometimes to natives!) it can be unclear how serious such laws are in a country. For example the U.S. passed a similarly infamous law dubbed the "Communications Decency Act", but as it was unconstitutional and everyone knew it, it didn't lead to actual prosecutions. Even so, the protests against it were worthwhile. Wnt (talk) 07:37, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Huh, at best there's probably support for it in a committee of one house of the Indian parliament, because there's little support for it in the upper house or with the president, and the bill has little chance of passage we should do nothing ... oh wait ... darn those precedents!--Wehwalt (talk) 07:41, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

More information on Indian ITA: (see also meta:Legal and Community Advocacy/Censorship#India and Internet censorship in India) --Atlasowa (talk) 07:29, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

  • In April 2011, new "IT Rules 2011" (NOTIFICATION, MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (Department of Information Technology) THE GAZETTE OF INDIA, 11th April, 2011) were adopted as a supplement to the 2000 Information Technology Act (ITA) as amended by the 2008 Information Technology (Amendment) Act. Before the amendment, section 79 of the IT Act shielded intermediaries such as Google, Facebook and Twitter from any liability for user generated content [6]. The new "Intermediary Guidelines" make it necessary for the intermediaries to observe "due diligence" and not to host information that is blasphemous, grossly harmful, harassing, invasive of another's privacy, racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, belongs to another person and harm minors in any way [7]. The rules enable any individual or public or private institution to get content removed from websites in 36 hours, in most cases simply by notifying the website owners or intermediaries such as Google, Yahoo and others. Takedown requests can be based on any of 15 vaguely drafted parameters, without stating any reasons or requiring any judicial or quasi-judicial order in support [8].
    • October 2011 the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) carried out an undercover investigation into the “chilling effects”, with six out of seven major websites removing innocent content online without proper investigation, after a CIS researcher had sent “fraudulent” takedown letters to seven internet companies making claims without providing any evidence that certain third-party content violated provisions under the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules [9]. Report: Intermediary Liability in India: Chilling Effects on Free Expression on the Internet 2011
    • In January 2012, a Delhi Court issues summons to Google, Facebook headquarters for objectionable content [10].
    • March 2012 Kerala-based advocate Shojan Jacob filed the first ever writ challenging the rules in the Kerala High Court [11] [12].
    • April 24, 2012: P Rajeeve, Member of Parliament has tabled a motion to annul the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) rules, 2011 and told ET that the Left parties are "more or less" in support of the motion and that it has been accepted for discussion [13].
Sounds serious. Based on the SOPA precedent, I'm sure Jimbo will lock out editors for at least a week. Just reuse the game plan: Bring in hundreds of people who have never edited Wikipedia in their lives, swamp the usual editors, and do your will.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:21, 3 May 2012 (UTC)


why was I blocked from using wikipedia just because my user name is admarkroundsquare. making assumptions about the username. I am the marketing and advancement assistant for Round Square so I think I have every right to amend the Round Square page as an employee of the organisation (which happens to be a charity). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:24, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Your status as a paid employee affords you no particular status here, nor with regard to that article in particular. So, you seem to be laboring under at least that one misconception. Secondly, blocks are not made because of a chosen username, they are made for inappropriate behavior. Hence if editors have asked you to change your manner of conduct, you can get the block lifted if you simply comply with those requests. -Stevertigo (t | c) 07:34, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
He wasn't blocked for inappropriate behavior though, he was blocked by Orange Mike because of his username, the block which was, I might say, in violation of WP:ORGNAME. SilverserenC 07:41, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Have to also make mention of that. The block was not issued based on behavior at all. It was solely based on the username choice. The user was not notified in a civil manner and given a chance to change the username before the block was issued; he was summarily blocked. Please see this diff for information. -- Avanu (talk) 08:25, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally, I took a look at Orange Mike's contribution history. He seems to stay on the New Pages Patrol and looks like this was just the latest rapid fire block action. He blocked 6 new users within 17 minutes and seems to do a lot of regular blocking.
14:19, 26 April 2012 (diff | hist) . . (+3,381)‎ . . N User talk:HollywoodCaperEntertainment ‎ (blocked for obvious reasons)
14:15, 26 April 2012 (diff | hist) . . (+3,383)‎ . . User talk:Submarinengineering ‎ (blocked for obvious reasons) (top) [rollback]
14:14, 26 April 2012 (diff | hist) . . (+3,383)‎ . . User talk:Hitwise us ‎ (blocked for obvious reasons) (top) [rollback]
14:12, 26 April 2012 (diff | hist) . . (+3,383)‎ . . User talk:Rugpijnweg ‎ (blocked for obvious reasons) (top) [rollback]
14:07, 26 April 2012 (diff | hist) . . (+3,381)‎ . . N User talk:Admarkroundsquare ‎ (advertising and marketing of Round Square is what we're trying to avoid)
14:04, 26 April 2012 (diff | hist) . . (+657)‎ . . Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard ‎ (→‎Ministry for Primary Industries (New Zealand): new section)
14:02, 26 April 2012 (diff | hist) . . (+3,381)‎ . . N User talk:MAFNZ ‎ (should have been blocked long ago) (top)
I can't say whether this is the best approach or not, but I would think such a shotgun approach would regularly hit otherwise innocent new users. -- Avanu (talk) 08:33, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Most of those cases pretty obviously require a name change, that's not the problem here. The problem is they're being blocked without preliminary explanatory discussion as prescribed by WP:ORGNAME. This fairly normal admin behaviour is being civilly discussed at WP:AN and Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy#WP:ORGNAME. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 09:59, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I think this is the root of the problem. Administrators are routinely not following WP:ORGNAME. Frankly I think an administrator who consistently behaves in that way, as Orange Mike seems to be doing, should be excluded from carrying out username administration. Quite honestly, it's blatant maladministration. Prioryman (talk) 17:47, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Yep. The user declared their COI and asked for help updating the article on the charity at the help desk, having made no edits to the page and no problematic edits, and was summarily blocked. The user was transparent; something we appreciate, and obviously willing to cooperate, and our response was to hard block them. I emailed the user a couple of hours ago to advise them they can now create a new name, and pointed them to this discussion and the WP:AN discussion. I didn't, but should have pointed them to their talk page.
Admarkroundsquare, the simplest way forward would be for you to create a new account, something like "Joe at Round Square" would be fine. Then familiarise yourself with WP:COI, and go ahead and edit. Although there is nothing specifically preventing you from editing the article directly, in the current environment the (again) simplest way forward would be for you to post suggestions on the article's talk page. (Could talk page stalkers please consider watchlisting Round Square so that the editor's requests can be addressed without undue delay?) --Anthonyhcole (talk) 09:35, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
"Joe at Round Square" sounds like it would also be forbidden because it contains the existing organization name? IRWolfie- (talk) 10:40, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
There's nothing in policy that says you can't include an organisation name in your username. You might consider joining the discussion at Wikipedia:AN#Orange_Mike or Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy#WP:ORGNAME rather than split the same discussion into three forums. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:55, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

It's an advertising and marketing account with the explicit intention of wiping and replacing the current round square page with promotional material: How do I delete a page from Wikipedia that was produced ages ago. I need to replace the whole page with up to date information and new logo.. The editors name is explicitly forbidden when a new account is created: Username policy prohibits usernames which are promotional, misleading, or offensive: promotional usernames: containing existing company, organization, group, or website names (including non-profit organizations). IRWolfie- (talk) 10:27, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

If it's apparent they're a paid advocate, or have any kind of conflict of interest, what you do is point them to WP:N and WP:COI. What you don't do is summarily block them.
Of course, if, once they're aware of the relevant polices, they edit problematically, deal with them accordingly.
"Promotional usernames are used to promote an existing company, organization, group (including non-profit organizations), website, or product on Wikipedia. "Admarkroundsquare" is not promoting or defaming Round Square. It's neutral. It's just making clear the editor is affiliated with the organisation, and very clear they have a CoI. That's transparency. That's a good thing. User:Round Sqhare Will Save You Money; that's a promotional username. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:55, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. This idea that a name in itself is promotional is verging on some kind of paranoia. It's sick. I suppose if Barack Obama registered User:Barack Obama and we had a White House confirmation that it was indeed him, we would still hard-block him because he's advertising himself by plastering his name all over our edit histories? Really? --JN466 14:42, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
No, in the real world we have a clearcut exception that says if your username is your real name, you're fine; just as we have the "Mark at Alcoa" precedent, which would have covered the RoundSquare person if their chosen username had not trumpeted (and they themselves have admitted) that they were there for the purpose of Advertising and marketing Round Square. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:47, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Umm. Yes. She's the organisation's marketing person so she's identifying herself as such. She's being transparent. As the marketing person, she has an interest in seeing the article is accurate and up to date. What makes you think she's going to be a problem? And the username is not promotional. It's transparent. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:56, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I see this as a borderline case. We could accept the name provided that it is clear that it is the username of a person who happens to be associated with RoundSquare and does advertising and marketing, but not if it, say, the advertising and marketing division of Round Square (I know nothing about the company or whether it has one). For their protection and ours, we should not have companies taking responsibility for Wikipedia edits, but individuals. Wnt (talk) 17:16, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I've had an email from her. She's it, the sole user of the account. But we've moved on. She's created another account and I'll mentor her. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:50, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
That's great. Thank you. --JN466 00:13, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I'll join Jayen in thanking you, Anthony.
I will, however, be blunt (speaking truth to power and all that): "advertising" and "marketing" departments, with rare exceptions, are in my opinion just euphemisms for groups of people paid to lie, mislead and/or exaggerate beyond the limits of decency, for the sake of someone's gain (regardless of the cost to society) and to the great detriment of public discourse. I will begrudgingly consent to the consensus here that spamming (including SEO) is not technically vandalism; but I consider it very little short of vandalism, and refuse to yield to anybody's demand that I "respect" this profession. I will add in many cases (albeit not all) "public relations" is the same damned thing, but with the added contemptible purpose of attempting to mislead or distract the press in pursuit of their masters' goals and (again) to the detriment of the public discourse. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:15, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
The same is true for members and supporters of political parties. They also add copy with the contemptible purpose of attempting to mislead or distract the press in pursuit of their masters' goals and (again) to the detriment of the public discourse. As I'm sure you will attest that rarely do they add negative copy regarding their own side and hardly ever add positive copy regarding their opponent's side. John lilburne (talk) 19:44, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I might point out that User:Barack Obama is indeed hard-blocked... Prioryman (talk) 17:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Except it was a vandal account, so it really doesn't apply to this discussion. The name was just being used as an example. SilverserenC 17:52, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Reply #2

Hi! Welcome to Wikipedia. It can be a bit confusing at first, don't you think? One confusing thing is the username stuff. Wikipedia needs every account to be only for 1 person. If a username is similar to a company or organization name, it is confusing because we don't know if it's just 1 person, or a group of people. It's also confusing if a username is similar to a company or organization name, because people may think the account is going to be used for promotion. But no worry, it's easy to request a new username. Maybe first take a look at Wikipedia:Username policy (it even has a video you can watch), then goto WP:RENAME and read the instructions. May I suggest you also take a look at WikiProject Cooperation? There are folks there that can help you with learning all the guidelines and policies that are important to know for people working in marketing. Cheers. -- Eclipsed (talk) (COI Declaration) 11:00, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

That's more like it. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:06, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Of course just an example of tone. And actually in this case the user couldn't do WP:RENAME due to the hard block. But seems things are getting worked out anyways. -- Eclipsed (talk) (COI Declaration) 11:35, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Be more watchful!

Hi Jimbo, I want to ask of you to be more watchful in the future. There are things happening where you dont participate or refuse to to due to fearness. A person in particular is threatening many of your admins annd if you don't act there will be very few of them left! Scanning my contribs. you can find him. Lastly, please do not reply with some snarky comment. I will also not read any replies for fear of bashing. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crampyoldman (talkcontribs) 16:29, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

You're welcome to send me an email with details and I'll gladly look into it. But this sort of vague complaint from a throwaway sockpuppet account is really hard for me to do anything about.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:55, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

One key to solving chronic problems

This article makes some points which pertain to all of us.

Wavelength (talk) 17:07, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure Mr. Wales' talk page is an appropriate area for depositing random little pearls of knowledge. NickCT (talk) 17:45, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I had this same problem just this morning. The key is to turn the banana sideways. Bus stop (talk) 17:53, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
re "I had this same problem just this morning." - Sorta makes me wonder why the trappers would be after you Bus stop. NickCT (talk) 17:58, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
They apparently feel my humanlike behavior needs further study. Bus stop (talk) 18:17, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
This talk page seems to be an appropriate area for this topic, because Wikipedia has chronic problems, just as the world has chronic problems.
Wavelength (talk) 20:25, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I welcome here general philosophical discussion of strategies and tactics towards the improvement of Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:49, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • That magazine article sounds like a con artist or bully: I especially noticed the blame shifter, "Actually about 80% of our problems are of our own making." That sounds a lot like a con artist claiming, "80% of thefts or muggings are your own fault" or "80% of student lunch thefts are the little student's fault" ...for what? ...for not knifing a bully in the hand who grabs the kid's food? Well, I would think a mugger would love that magazine article and think, "80% of crime victims are like monkeys trying to hold on to their wallets bananas" and so the muggers continue to conclude, "They deserved to be robbed for being as stupid as those monkeys". A mugger is unlikely to warn people to keep a small amount of cash to throw into the air, or hand to a mugger, while hiding major cash inside clothing or even better, inside a hidden compartment in your shoes. Perhaps it is wiser to note, "80% of your problems are caused by other people, so expect to focus 80% of total problem solving on handling the other people's actions". Gee, while we're at it, let's blame the victim even more, "80% of vandalism is your own fault?". Whatever. -Wikid77 23:17, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Let us strive individually to recognize problems which are (in some cases partly) of our own making, and to distinguish the ones which we can (in some cases partly) solve from the ones which we can not (even partly) solve. Also, let us individually recognize problems which are (in some cases partly) caused by others, and let us strive to distinguish the ones which we can (in some cases partly) solve from the ones which we can not (even partly) solve.
Wavelength (talk) 02:03, 4 May 2012 (UTC) and 15:23, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

We need help on MMA topic!

Hello, I was wondering if you may help us in sorting out the mess that is plaguing the mixed martial arts topic at this time. For years there has been an agreed system by all users on the topic to create single pages for UFC events as well as other promotions that are highly regarded.

Recently users like TreyGeek and Mtking have been causing issues to this, placing AfDs on each UFC event, and after a while of failing to successfully delete a page, or enough time past for the page to be remake with more references to support its notability, they were talking to an admin called Beeblebrox, who remained out of the AfDs debates in MMA at the time, who they were clearly getting along with really well during the time, then during one case, which clearly had a strong case to keep, Beeblebrox was the closing admin and voting 'no consensus' in which he added to his decision that ALL UFC events should be put onto same pages based on year. Then all of a sudden TreyGeek worked like a machine from the moment 'GO' to create the 2012 in UFC events, in which it has become a disaster.

The page is way too long, its too easy to get lost in the page and no-one who is interested in MMA likes it, so this has received a major backlash in which the page has been on TWO AfDs and both was resulted as 'Speedy Keep' by the exact same user, so again I'm thinking foul play. There is a deletion review on at this time which can be found on the 2012 in UFC events page if you want to check it out.

I find it incredibly odd, however, that the largest reason that these users were voting delete on the AfDs on single event pages was because 'the sources/references were from MMA websites only, which means they are not allowed', however, by looking at the references at the bottom of the 2012 in UFC events page, nearly every single one of the 105 references are all from MMA websites, all of which are from the same pages as they are trying to get deleted at this time. Because of this they are making it confusing for all of us who actually care about the topic. What they are saying it is okay for a Omnibus page like that to have what they describe as 'poor' sources as long as there are loads of them on the same page? They also said that there are not enough references for the single event pages to support it either. Again this don't make sense as there is no such number that all pages must meet, besides I believe that 15 references (which an average UFC event has on Wikipedia) is enough to support notability.

The 2012 in UFC events page was the start of a solution that was proposed and agreed upon through mediation. It was not ment to be the end all solution, as a matter of fact,at WP:MMANOT there have been multiple suggestions of tiered events pages. Also there is not single or Largest reason that some events have been brought to AfD. In order for an event to meet current requirements for notability, it must have WP:IRS( MMA only websites are far from independent ),Have coverage that is more than WP:ROUTINE, and demonstrates a lasting effect and continuing coverage. WP:NOTNEWSPAPER. Issues have arisen because there is a desire to not participate in coming to consensus with the community for guidelines, but a demand that the status quo is acceptable and anything else is unacceptable.Newmanoconnor (talk) 16:13, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

I do hope you look into this, we really need someone outside the topic really to give the best formula to fix this problem, there has been too much vote fixing, too much inaccurate decisions made by Admins, too much ignorance and just too much mess for anyone to continue working on the topic anymore. Thank you for reading. (talk) 10:23, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Seems reasonable to have 30 UFC-event articles per year: The long-term tradition appears to be workable, to have separate articles for each of the UFC events, especially considering there are only about 30 major events per year. Obviously, there will be enough news sources for each sporting event, and with only 30 per year, then later reports will often re-mention the earlier events to strengthen their notability for separate articles. The added yearly article ("2012 in UFC events") would be workable if kept condensed, with links to the larger, separate UFC-event articles. This situation is similar to hurricane articles, where some people have questioned the notability of each storm, and if a hurricane stayed out at sea (and only a few islands or ships were affected), then deletionists have tried to ax the separate pages, in favor of the yearly article, such as "2005 Atlantic hurricane season" listing 28 tropical storms and 15 hurricanes for year 2005, where the major storms included Hurricane Katrina (August), Hurricane Rita (September), and Hurricane Wilma (October), but also the July storms Hurricane Emily (2005) and Hurricane Dennis were considered to be powerful storms. Try not to be upset about people being obsessed with deleting articles, but also remember that having a yearly article (such as "2012 in UFC events") does not mean the separate UFC-event articles must be deleted. Both the separate and yearly UFC articles can be kept, as with each year's hurricane articles. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:20, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, I will bring this up on the Wikipedia:Deletion review#2012 in UFC events page now, and hopefully people will see it like this. I hope you will add your input on there as well, for if we are to get this movement in action we need to have as many people get involved with this ideal solution as possible to influence the others on the topic to help us! (talk) 13:23, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Have you read WP:OTHERSTUFFNewmanoconnor (talk) 16:13, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Interesting article about a 'paid' advocate,wp405 here (fixed link)

Talks about an ESPN reporter using her position to potentially manipulate coverage.

-- Avanu (talk) 15:19, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

That link takes me to something different?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:26, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Hardlink to the blog post here. Doesn't look like it involves Wikipedia though. WilliamH (talk) 16:19, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Correct it isn't about Wikipedia, but what I found interesting is that it demonstrates the way that a person creating content can manipulate or be manipulated by others. Curious story, but I didn't realize until you made your comment that my section title might have led it to be construed as relating to Wikipedia because of our recent discussions. -- Avanu (talk) 05:45, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't even understand what sort of comparison you're trying to say exists here. Scamming people to get control of their twitter and facebook accounts in order to steal their followers over to her account has little to nothing to do with being a "paid advocate". As far as I can tell, she never paid these people anyways. SilverserenC 08:38, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I think it's important for us to avoid getting caught up in these myths about $1000 and $10,000 paydays. I think that in practice, most people getting into deals to do paid editing on Wikipedia are going to get scammed, and the ones that aren't will be making something like $3 an item, like "professional bloggers". If we agreed to put consensus behind some "WP:Paid editor's bill of rights" maybe we could shift the marketplace to be more legitimate, even hold it to a U.S. minimum wage. I think keeping a U.S.-scale minimum wage would be an important milestone (if we don't hold a much stronger resolve against paid editing than it appears we're doing now) because otherwise I think we'll eventually see a very ugly ethnic dimension to the situation, with very low-paid editors from certain countries with certain ways of speaking leading to a hostile response toward their nationalities of volunteers on Wikipedia in general. Wnt (talk) 16:34, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Invitation to talk at the University of Bristol - part of big speaker event to the City of Bristol.

Trying something with COI usernames

I'm currently working around some ideas about moving forward that address a bunch of the issues that have been raised here, and on both WP:AN and WP:ANI recently. The concepts would require some minor edits to some Wikipedia policies, some new templates, and would definitely require advertising to the entire Admin crew if they were acceptable. I know this isn't the best place to gain consensus for them, but discussion on the ideas would be beneficial.

As I have said before, as someone who handles a lot of unblock requests, and as the person who designed the original {{coiq}} template that gets used a heck of a lot, I would like to think I have pretty extensive experience with both the good and bad COI users. If the goal is to bring them on board, let's do so the right way.

Comments would be appreciated before I bring this to different fora for further discussion - after all, the idea is in its early stages (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:16, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Bwilkins, I think you meant "forum". Crampyoldman (talk) 16:31, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I see you conflating problem user names with problem behaviours but can't see the need for that conflation. There seem to be three types of problem uses of organisation names in usernames. (1) When the user name is the same as the organisation name. (2) When the username appears to represent a role account. (3) When the username is promotional. The inappropriateness of the first is fairly well agreed by everyone, I think, especially when it's being used to edit content related to the organisation. The second is a function of the use of the account, rather than the name, and can be clarified with dialig. Just what (3) a "promotional" username is needs clarifying, though. Most will agree that User:Coke tastes better is a promotional username. But a number of admins read User:Mark at Alcoa as promotional, whereas others just think Mark is being nice and transparent. That difference of opinion needs to be resolved and I think it will be in the current discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy#WP:ORGNAME.
The behaviour issue is, what to do when such usernames come to our attention? Again, that seems to be being addressed at Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy#WP:ORGNAME. The other behavioural aspect, problematical editing by COI editors, surely needs to be constantly honed, but isn't that independent of the username issues? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 12:42, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, WP:ORGNAME is not the only policy that would need amending, so focusing the attention there will lead us to the same problems we have: there's a ream of inter-related policies and guidelines (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:45, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Whatever we decide will affect several policies/guidelines; or, at least, how they're interpreted. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 12:48, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

The daftest thing about the current 'shoot first, ask questions later' blocking practice is that many of the same people come back to make the same edits under another user name. This does not help at all. At least if it's User:MyCOI we have transparency. All this practice does is teach people that they have to be sneaky to be Wikipedians. Here is an example of an account with a visible COI being hard-blocked and having their -- entirely innocent and helpful -- edits reverted, and then another account appearing shortly after under a less conspicuous name and making the same (still innocent) edits: [14], [15], [16]. So their first Wikipedia lesson was that they have to be sneaky to get things done here. Sneakipedia. If you are prepared to sneak, you can be one of us. JN466 13:05, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Another example: Special:Contributions/GGSoccerFoundation. I can't see any reason why that account needed hard-blocking so they can't register another account from that IP. This is just vicious behaviour. (For reference, this is what the article looked like before the account's edits, and this is what it looks like now, after the account's edits.) --JN466 14:23, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
That whole section of the Davidson College article is promotional and frothy as hell, JayEn, and you are partially to blame for it. You appear to think that most COI editors are "innocent and helpful" fluffybunnies, but I refuse to apologize for attempting in good faith to maintain our standards. As to the "GGSoccerFoundation": that was a shameless role account, making edits to the article about Grover Gibson, the same guy who funds that foundation. How much more COI can you get, for goodness sake????
I didn't know until recently that you were involved with one of the "hate Wikipedia" sites, but I can't pretend I'm surprised, in view of the vendetta you seem to have taken out on me and my efforts to be a constructive editor and admin here. Don't bother to post any pictures with guns and gunbattle fantasies, though; I'm a Quaker, so the haters already know I won't shoot back. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:34, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, does the Grover Gibson article look better or worse after their edits? The Davidson College article looks whatever it looked like before those edits by User:TheNuances12. All that account did was to update information. And I'm not aware of having contributed to the state of that article one way or the other. You're punishing people for having a COI. --JN466 14:48, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
We need to stop right here... THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK ON ORANGE MIKE. This is an attempt to promote the following of policy and a civil attitude among ALL editors. OrangeMike, this comment "the vendetta you seem to have taken out on me" is not right. We (at least me) are not here to tell the world that OrangeMike is the worst admin ever. We're discussing a problem and trying to come up with ways to let you do what you do best and avoid having to come back and give explanations. One suggestion I have that might help is being able to mark an account in such a way that it is still able to edit and then automatically blocks after a given period of time. That way, you could notify people that their account is in violation of policy, but since they aren't a bad actor in Wikipedia, they can still communicate with others to ask for help in transitioning to a new account. Another idea might be a forced rename to a random sequence, but the account is marked in such a way that the user can rename themselves and come into compliance. Possibly, we could combine both of these ideas. Or maybe they're both lame. Point is, let's stay on focus here. Which is fixing and improving Wikipedia, and avoid personally attacking. If we need personal improvement and can diplomatically tell one another, that's great, but just because we bring up something for discussion doesn't mean we are blaming you. -- Avanu (talk) 14:59, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
If Jayen hasn't made a single edit to the Davidson College article [17], how is he "partially to blame" for a secton of it being "promotional and frothy as hell"? Softlavender (talk) 15:24, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Good point. I was unclear. The point I was trying to make, is that efforts like this by JayEn and others, to facilitate COI edits and enable COI editors, lead to situations like the current one, where the a cappella groups at an obscure college are competing to fluff up the Wikipedia coverage of a capella at Davidson in general, and their own groups in particular, to a promotional extent, and to an extent grossly violative of WP:UNDUE. JayEn is not individually to blame for the state of the Davidson article, and I'm sorry if I conveyed that impression. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:13, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Apology accepted. A far better solution for situations like this would be pending changes. COI accounts could suggest edits to their heart's content, and a proper editor could approve or reject them according to their merits. --JN466 00:19, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
It's pretty obvious that Mike has the best interests of the encyclopedia in mind, informing his behaviour towards COI accounts. I don't think anyone doubts that. And the way Mike is treating COI accounts seems to be pretty much standard treatment among a group of admins. So, this isn't about Mike's behaviour in particular, it's about a norm that prevails among a few editors. I and quite a few other editors take issue with that norm. We see it as being in clear breach of policy and working against the best interests of the project (notwithstanding the good intentions of Mike and the others).
Mike, above you assert User GGSoccerFoundation (talk · contribs) was a shameless role account. WP:ROLE says an account with a username that implies it is a role account or is being shared is permitted only if the account information is forever limited to one individual. Did you ask the editor if the account was being used by more than one editor before you blocked it as a role account? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:50, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Hell, no!!!! Why should I? Look at their edit history. WP:AGF is not a suicide pact! --Orange Mike | Talk 15:55, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I did look at their history and I can't tell the account is being used by more than one person. What am I missing? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:02, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Apparently I'm being unclear, and the specific link WP:ROLE has become a red herring. This account in the name of a corporate entity was being used only to edit the article about the jock whose name it advertises, including an edit which added an advertisement about the Foundation to the jock's article. If Grover Gibson himself had an account in his name, then we wouldn't be having this conversation; but the corporate name puts it beyond the pale, by my reading of our username rules. The bizarrely unrealistic idea that we should ask every account in a corporate name to assure us that "it's okay, nobody here but us chickens" before blocking turns AGF into a suicide pact. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:09, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Which part of that policy are they violating that, by your reading, justifies a hard block, exactly? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:21, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
We have to have policy that matches blocking behavior - people feel like they've done something wrong when they're blocked, and I'd suppose that if you get the company name blocked people think you've made the company look bad. That shouldn't happen without fair warning. But on consideration, I'm starting to wonder if we should change policy to allow hard blocks, rather than stopping the blocks. It is clear that we don't want accounts in the name of companies, and telling someone "change your username" isn't that confusing that they need to post to every noticeboard on Wikipedia. For one thing that comes to mind, if companies can make edits, then companies can be liable for edits - and if there are corporate-scale deep pockets on the table, Wikipedia is going to get the bejeezus sued out of it by gold diggers hoping for a lucky verdict. (For example, imagine User:IBM were a formal corporate account and someone used it to post that a certain peripheral was incompatible, but it actually was) True, IANAL, but if I'm right, then there should be clear policy that people make edits, solely in their role as individuals, and if someone wants to prove that the person was acting as someone's agent, they'll have to make do with off-Wikipedia evidence.
That said, we should have some nicer way to mark accounts that have been blocked than "01:11, 1 May 2012 Orangemike (talk | contribs) blocked GGSoccerFoundation (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite ({{spamusernameblock}})" in a big red box when you look up the entity. We should try to make a template or other notation that looks respectful and dignified and indicate simply that the company name can't be used for editing, providing a place on the user page for people to affiliate themselves unofficially with it so that if you search the company name you can find those people. We could even suggest right on the template that if you have a company name you can submit it to have it blocked to prevent it from being abused. Wnt (talk) 17:05, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually, policy reflects community consensus; behaviour conforms to policy. The view that a username shouldn't exactly match an organisation name, especially if the account is editing content related to the organisation, is pretty much held unanimously. The nature of a COI user name and how best to deal with it is being discussed at Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy#WP:ORGNAME. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:25, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I'm pretty much in agreement with Orange Mike on this issue; there are so many of these corporate accounts with no intention of doing anything but spam about themselves that the very few who are actually interested in being constructive can be asked to change their usernames. It's not really fair to ask the relatively few people who watch the new user log and deal with spam all the time to watch these types of accounts until they inevitably start making COI edits; if they want to change their usernames and resume editing the articles, then we'll just have to deal with it through our normal channels. The vast majority give up and either leave or do something constructive once they realize we're not an advertising service anyways, and it's best to hasten that as possible; if we block and ask them to change their usernames, that stands a much better chance of getting their attention. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:19, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
You're entitled to your view. But blocking just on the basis that their username incorporates an organisation name, or just because they have a coi, or just because their initial edits are promotional, is diametrically against policy as it stands. Someone has just proposed at Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy#WP:ORGNAME that policy should be changed to reflect your point of view. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:30, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I think that two different issues - multi-user accounts and promotion/advertising - are being confused here. They should be entirely unrelated issues. Wnt (talk) 00:11, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I've created a Template:Legal person which I think could take some of the rough edges off. I think this could be posted to user pages for some of the companies blocked by Orange Mike recently. (As written this is only for those without any other WikiSins; a switch could be added if need be, but maybe only the other block notice should be used in that situation). I think we should try to make it so that when people here look up the corporation, it feels like we've given it some common courtesy. Wnt (talk) 19:56, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm puzzled by the function of the text at the bottom, where it says (outside the box) If you would like to identify your username as associated with this entity, please list it below by typing * ~~~ on the line after "{{Legal person}}". What is that supposed to do? You're not trying to let people claim to speak for companies, etc., are you? --Orange Mike | Talk 20:01, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
My thought was that if someone gets blocked as User:Alcoa, and starts a username User:Mark at Alcoa, you should be able to list his name at the bottom of the User:Alcoa page. True, there's a bit of Scylla and Carybdis to this because I don't want to formalize representation, but I don't want to leave people with no way to redirect people after the old account gets blocked either. If you think of a way to tweak this it would be welcome... (note that in the example given the page is literally a redirect, which seems a little chancier to me, but I'm not proposing anything retroactive here) Wnt (talk) 20:17, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm still a little nervous, both on the "formalizing representation" issue and on the possiblity of impersonation; about 2-3% of the ORGNAME accounts I've blocked have been haters, not spammers, but purporting to speak for the organization. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:47, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, I've chopped that part out then - they ought to be able to hit on some idea of their own anyway - how's this? (Template:Legal person) Wnt (talk) 21:29, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
This needs to go to Template talk:Legal person at this point, and come off Jimbo's talk page. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:48, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

New candidate for most random article on Wikipedia?

Jimbo, a few years ago you commented that Crushing by elephant - a featured article that I wrote back in 2006 - was the "most random entry" you'd found on Wikipedia. I'd like to bring to your attention a new article that I've written, Human-animal breastfeeding, as a possible new candidate for that title. Enjoy! :-) Prioryman (talk) 21:43, 4 May 2012 (UTC)