User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 117

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WMF involvement with Gibraltarpedia

Jimmy, Roger Bamkin has posted a partial timeline of his involvement in Gibraltarpedia. In it, he states "11th July - Gov. of Gib and WMF sign MOU. WMUK and me/John are not involved or consulted.(I was surprised by this)". Are you aware of the nature of that MOU (memorandum of understanding) or who negotiated it? I believe that WMUK have been negotiating an MOU with the government of Gibraltar for some months now - has anyone from the WMF seen it or been consulted? It seems like it would be useful to have a properly vetted MOU that can serve as a model for future projects (i.e., Tangerpedia, Chepstowpedia).

On 12 July 2012, WMF staffer Tilman Bayer posted an item on the WMF blog entitled "Volunteer’s efforts win Gibraltar the right to be the first Wikipedia ‘city’". The item was authored by "Steve Virgin, Wikimedia UK". Steve Virgin is a former Trustee of WMUK but did not get re-elected at the WMUK AGM some moths earlier. Whether or not the byline misleads people into thinking that Virgin represents the WMUK, it is clear that this byline gives the impression to readers that WMUK is involved in the project. In reality, this was a for-profit project between the Tourism Ministry of Gibraltar and two individuals who had been involved in Monmouthpedia, promoted by the "PR wizard" of Monmouthpedia. According to Roger Bamkin's "declarations of interest" related to Gibraltarpedia on the WMUK site, "Roger has a business relationship with John Cummings and Steve Virgin". "Knowing what we know now, do you think it was appropriate for this to have appeared on the WMF blog? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:08, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

WMUK have not been negotiating an MOU with the Government of Gibraltar at any time, nor have we yet seen the text of the one WMF signed with them. (WMUK Trustee) Johnbod (talk) 20:28, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
There are references to an MOU between WMUK and Gibraltarpedia - I assumed that this meant the government of Gibraltar. Thanks for the correction, Johnbod. So who were you negotiating an MOU with regarding Gibraltarpedia? Has this MOU been completed? Is it available to the public or to WMUK members? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 20:46, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't believe we were talking about one between WMUK or Gibraltarpedia either; certainly not in recent months. It isn't enough of an entity to be a "legal person" I'd imagine. We have not negotiated about or signed any agreement with anybody about anything to do with Gibraltar, other than sending some standard how-to-edit leaflets. Johnbod (talk) 01:07, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
I am extremely puzzled by your response, Johnbod. I've just taken a look at the minutes of the 8 September 2012 WMUK board meeting (at which you were present). Roger Bamkin spoke to the board for 25 minutes on Gibraltarpedia "and explained how he would like to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Wikimedia UK".

DECISION: There was support in principle to sign an MoU with Gibraltarpedia, so that we can provide non-financial support for the project via the office (such as provision of standard outreach leaflets) but it was noted that more work was needed on the draft MoU.
ACTION: 6.10 MP, DT, RB, SB to work through the outstanding issues with the Gibraltarpedia MoU.

Before the meeting, Roger Bamkin posted "I've created an updated copy of an MOU that Chris abnd I discussed. I'd like to get this approved in principle at the board meeting". Is the MOU that Roger refers to having posted available to the public or members of WMUK? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:01, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Indeed they do say that. Sorry, I'll have to look into this & get back to you. I'd just say now that those timings are an advance hoped-for timetable, not a record, & I doubt Roger actually spoke on Gibraltarpedia for that long. Johnbod (talk) 15:57, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Johnbod, have you had a chance to look into this yet? Also, what is the status of the Monmouth MOU? Is there a version of this available to the public or to members of WMUK? i think it would be helpful to know what these agreements contain and who the parties are, if you hope to reduce speculation about these projects. Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 19:57, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I spoke to one person last night & have emailed 2 others. It is pretty clear no MOU has been or will be signed; I am trying to establish if anyone at WMUK has had the draft Roger refers too. Johnbod (talk) 20:13, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Johnbod, don't you have access to the draft MOU posted by Roger prior to the meeting you attended? You are a Trustee of a registered UK charity. The Gibraltarpedia project was discussed at a meeting which you attended. A draft MOU was posted. This follows months of negotiating an MOU for Monmouthpedia. Surely you can easily lay your hands on the draft MOU if you cannot recall what was discussed at a board meeting earlier this month? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:09, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
A draft MOU was mentioned, but was not in the board papers, and as I say I am trying to establish if it has in fact been seen by anyone still in WMUK. I don't know what you mean by "posted", but I have not seen one, but then I'm not one of the 4 people who were to action it (one of whom is currently away on holiday). Johnbod (talk) 15:15, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Prior to the 9 September 2012 board meeting Roger stated "I've created an updated copy of an MOU that Chris abnd I discussed. I'd like to get this approved in principle at the board meeting. If we can get any issues highlighted before the meeting then we should be able to solve these quickly. This should be available with board papers". I was not present at that meeting, but from the minutes it is clear that the MOU was one of the things discussed with the board by Roger and an action was taken to "work through the outstanding issues with the Gibraltarpedia MoU". Were you in the room during Roger's presentation? Would it help if I asked WMUK staff about the apparently wayward document? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:32, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Johnbod, while we are discussing this, File:Signing_of_memorandum_of_understanding.ogv is a video of Roger, Fæ, John Cummings, and a representative from Monmouthshire County Council signing an MOU. The file's description is:

This video shows Roger Bamkin, Trustee of Wikimedia UK, introducing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Wikimedia UK and Monmouthshire County Council. The signing took place in Monmouth's Shire Hall on 19 May 2012, the Monmouthpedia celebration day.

Note that Roger is described as a "Trustee of Wikimedia UK" by the uploader of the file (WMUK staff member User:Stevie Benton) although I believe at that point he was being paid by the MCC. It would be useful to know how he was described as a signatory. Can you please undertake to find out if the MOU that was signed that day is available to the public or to members of Wikimedia UK? Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 12:45, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

I asked Roger directly and he has replied that he believes he was identified as "a member of the steering committee". We have been discussing this for almost a week now - have you made any progress on locating either of the MOUs or determining their status? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:15, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Seconded. JN466 15:10, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Also, is this Gibraltar - WMF MOU secret? As the project is having quite an impact here, can we discover what it says? I have made a proposal at WP:VPR#Pre-approval of collaborations that, for joint projects between Wikipedia and commercial organizations like the Gibraltar Ministry of Tourism, some sort of pre-authorisation is desirable before we get committed. Your view would be welcome. JohnCD (talk) 23:31, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
As I have not seen and had nothing to do with the negotiations of this MOU, I'm unable to comment on specifics. I can offer my own opinions on the general principles, and no one will be surprised by my views. I think chapter boards have a primary duty of loyalty to the charity, and that anything that even hints in any small way at a conflict of interest by a board member of a chapter should be dealt with in an extremely careful and proper way. I know that the WMF and WMUK are talking about the ramifications of this situation and expect and urge that all parties be extremely transparent about what happened here so that we, as a movement, can learn from it.
Paid advocacy is a scourge against which we must all be vigilant. For us in the editing community, one thing I think we should be examining very carefuly is how and why we had such an absurd number of Gibraltar-related DYKs. There's no editorial justification for it and so whatever process allowed it to happen is a broken process. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:09, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Your comments could equally well apply to the question of how and why we had such an absurd number of University of Michigan basketball related DYKs. There almost certainly wasn't any money changing hands there (although I'm sure the team and brand itself involves very large amounts of money), but the number of DYKs involved is way, way higher than the Gibraltar ones. Ten times more? Even more than that?
How many of the articles about Gibraltar do you imagine were on subjects that were not notable? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:40, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
DYK has long been subject to having a strong skew to particular subjects, it is a direct consequence of this being a crowd sourced project where people choose their topics. I'm tempted to suggest some sort of throttle on it such that very active DYK writers are limited to a set number of DYK nominations per month. FAC only allows FA writers to have one live nomination at a time. As DYK needs far more nominations perhaps we could say that any editor who has written half a dozen DYKs is subsequently limited to writing one "first pick" DYK every week, and similarly with second, third, fourth picks and so forth. Then the DYK team would aim to use all the "first picks" and top up with others as needed. Of course this wouldn't affect Gibraltar as I believe their DYKs were written by many people including newbies, but then the Gibraltar themed DYKs seemed a more diverse bunch to me than some of our previous trending topics at DYK. ϢereSpielChequers 21:50, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that it is a high priority for the WMF blog team to keep the Wikimedia blog open and inviting to the entire movement. (To this end, earlier this year we moved the bulk of the blog's scheduling and drafting process into the public, on Meta, to facilitate participation.) My colleague Matthew Roth and I routinely publish guest posts by chapters or other volunteers. If anyone reading this knows of projects or activities by Wikimedians which may be of interest to the blog's audience, and wants to contribute such a post, feel free to contact us!
While we try to ensure that these guest posts are in scope, and we support guest authors in copyediting and formatting issues etc. (such as the technicalities of including translations in the Gibraltarpedia post), we approach these guest posts with a general attitude of trust and do not demand to vet or endorse the described activities, or that the authors provide us with evidence for every statement to enable fact-checking. As usual with guest blog posts, the signing author is responsible for opinions and statements expressed in them. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 23:59, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps a standard and readily visible disavowal ("these views do not represent...") is in order then, because the way this post is phrased does make some undesirable implications. "The right to be the first Wikipedia ‘city’" and being "inundated with offers from people looking for their city to be the world’s second Wikipedia town." is not the way Wikipedia is supposed to work - we should be inundated with Wikipedia cities, not offers, and no one buys the "right" to anything except by actually finishing the job. Wnt (talk) 15:04, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

A conversation with User:Corporate Minion regarding Paid advocacy is a scourge against which we must all be vigilant

Was this statement made this broadly intentionally?
"Paid advocacy is a scourge against which we must all be vigilant."
I am not asking to be snarky. I believe I have made substantive and positive contributions as a paid advocate, but am still gauging how welcome I actually am here. I am open to leaving if I am really that unwanted. Corporate 22:02, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I haven't checked your contributions, but given your openness about what you do, I can't see that there would be a consensus objecting to your presence. By the way, are you aware of Wikipedia:COI_certification? JN466 00:24, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I see my firm listed as a desired participant, but I previously decided to pass.
A look at my user page shows some works I have contributed to with a COI that I am proud of, but it is not within my authority to make a promise implied by COI+ to be neutral in every case and/or to exceptional standards.
In my opinion, it is our greatest misconception that we think PR COI only has to do with individuals who have the authority to put Wikipedia's objectives above their own, when in fact a PR person merely represents the corporate bureaucracy they support and has very little decision-making authority.
I would even go as far as saying that - in some cases - I will be in a position to provide content I know is bias on behalf of an organization who has ignored my consult. (most PR agencies - our advice is ignored all the time) However, if I follow the Bright Line, we will get feedback from an editor and improve it without doing any harm to Wikipedia and while providing good content that is valuable. Corporate 03:59, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

No you won't. You can't. Not only that, but you can't even understand why you can't.

I get the "I am proud of [it]" part. Of course you are! Everyone wants to be proud of themselves! It's only natural, and healthy. That's why you can't understand that you can't "without doing any harm to Wikipedia... provid[e] good content that is valuable [to my client]."

I'm not proud of you, though. I'd like to be; I'd like to be proud of all my fellow-editors here at Wikipedia. But, you know, to some extent this has to be earned. I mean: "I will... provide content I know is bias[ed] on behalf of an organization...". I can't be proud of that, no.

And it's not just a matter of providing biased content. It's that your own mind is skewed by the position you are in.

I mean, I see that one of your clients is Honeywell Aerospace, for instance. I'm not interested in working on that article, but if I was, in the course of my research I'm sure statements like this would make my ears prick up: "Honeywell has long been regarded by many as a leading symbol of corporate immorality and irresponsibility... unwilling to take responsibility for clearing cluster bombs that remained in Vietnam after the war was over... attempted to open a testing range for weapons (including antitank shells with depleted uranium) on land in South Dakota sacred to the Sioux... bribery scandal involving two Navy officers..." yadda yadda yadda. (To be honest, without a lot more research I can't figure out the relationships between Honeywell Aerospace, Honeywell Defense Systems, Alliant TechSystems, AlliedSignal (of prolonged-dumping-of-Kepone-into-the-James-River fame), and various other players (by the time I finish this, they'll probably have spun off their KillTech division to merge with OmniCorrupt to form United DeathStar or something - it's hard to keep up), so maybe some of the above doesn't apply to Honeywell Aerospace specifically. But then again, who knows what else their busy busy fingers are into!)

I mean to me, as a Wikipedia editor my inclination is to ask questions like: is this true? Is it sourced? Is it important? Is it fair to point this out? What's the real deal here? And so on. But if I was a corrupt flack, my questions would be different! Right? Probably like: if I leave this out, will anybody notice? If it's already there, can I get away with removing it? If not, how can I best weasel-word it to take away the sting? Where can I get a blizzard of cites for my side of the story? How do I best deal with recalcitrant editor X... flattery? Push the NPOV-NPOV-NPOV-let's be fair-every-story-has-two-sides button over and over? Wear him down? Recruit him? Get some of my Wikibuddies on his case? Or what? And so on. (And of course you will! It's your job! Chicken dinners don't buy themselves, you know!)

See the difference? Different questions! Over here... Wikipedia editor. Over there... corrupt flack. Different!

(And if you're not asking questions like that, then you suck at your job, are betraying your clients, and need to be in a different business, you know.)

However... in your case, you've noted "...greatest misconception [is] that we think PR COI only has to do with individuals who have the authority to put Wikipedia's objectives above their own, when in fact a PR person merely represents the corporate bureaucracy they support and has very little decision-making authority." Assuming that by "individuals" and "a PR person" and so forth you mean "me" (which I think is a fair assumption) then you really are in a tough position. I don't know, maybe there's some sorrow behind that passage, or resentment, or uncertainty, or quiet desperation. Or maybe not; I shouldn't presume, I guess.

It's complicated. Life's complicated. Moral choices are hard! And I get that. I've done plenty of Ministry of Peace Defense Department work myself (they've got the money!) and I know how how to sell myself on that ("Better US than the REDS!") and so on.

But some things one doesn't do. Messing with the Wikipedia is one of them, in my book. So yeah I do it take kind of to heart, yes.

But I don't blame you, really. If it's not you it really will just be someone else. So I don't have the heart to answer your question "I am really that unwanted" in the affirmative. Better you than Greg Kohs I guess! It's not you, it's structural. Money will always find its level, you're just the conduit of that. If anyone's to blame it's Jimmy Wales (Hi Jimmy, sorry!) or whomever else is responsible for setting up the structure -- or non-structure -- such that there's really no mechanism available or even possible (I fear) to prevent you and you kind from despoiling the Wikipedia in this manner. I'm not even mad about it; I understand the utopian drive in people and honor it to some extent although these things don't usually end well. It's just sad, more than anything, really. A lot of work has gone into the Wikipedia and I'm fond of it.

I'm sorry about the crack about the chicken dinners. Maybe it's braces for the kids, or your mom's cancer meds, or just sufficient income to attract a suitable partner to make a family with, or something. Christ knows I haven't walked your path so I'm not fit to judge you, really.

But from the crooked timber of mankind no straight thing was ever made, Kant said, and I suppose he was probably right. Herostratus (talk) 07:55, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

It is not fair to portray me as financially motivated. This is a problem in corporate America - people should care about their work, not just their paycheck. We should be driven by a sense of mission, passion and interest in what we do, not a greedy and selfish need to have expensive things. Lets keep in mind I turn down better-paying traditional PR work to do this, and that much of my paycheck is squared away for charity anyway.
Even my permission-based approach is not perfect. There is no aspect of Wikipedia that is not open to criticism and no editor (COI or not) that can achieve the impossible objective of neutrality, but we are all flawed as humans and thus so is Wikipedia. Nobody is without bias or motive, but we still create imperfect content that is beneficial to the reader.
However, I would have closed my doors long ago, if it weren't for the Bright Line. As someone working on behalf of an organization, I cannot put myself in the position of being their gatekeeper to Wikipedia. Where Wikipedia often blames individuals, I only see someone who folded to tremendous corporate pressures to get results. Where we see individuals who are spammers, I see ROI calculation that shows spamming Wikipedia and letting other editors clean it up is effective.
We have everything backwards. We make targets out of COIs that disclose and use them as punching bags, then allow droves of non-disclosed spammers, censors and spin doctors run free while we clean up their mess. Companies that could offer tremendous value by getting involved in Wikipedia and/or have extremely bias pages are fearful of the repercussions. They feel it is better to leave their Wikipedia page clearly bias and factually inaccurate than expose themselves to criticism for getting involved. Meanwhile, I have seen astroturfing sockpuppets welcomed with open arms.
It feels like Wikipedia prefers astroturfing and if that preference is indeed true, than I have no role here. I would prefer we change things to make corporate participation that is helpful more attractive, while making disruptive editing less appealing. Corporate 13:45, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
You say "It is not fair to portray me as financially motivated"... this is confusing. You are listed as a COI editor. Are you not receiving financial compensation from your clients? Did you not receive any compensation from (say) Honeywell Aerospace? If not, then why is that article (and others) listed on your userpage as those to which you have "contributed heavily with a conflict of interest". If it's not financial, what is your COI with regards to these various companies??? Is it that you are related to major stockholders? Have they promised to say novenas for you? Find mates for your siblings? Or what?
I sure as hell hope the deal is not "yeah, they pay me, but it doesn't affect my editing". First of all, if you believe that, you are mistaken. You're probably not even lying, and I'm not accusing you lying (although you might be, and I hope that you are). I'm accusing you of deceiving yourself, which is much much worse. It's worse for you for obvious reasons -- that's no way to live -- but it's worse for us because we can't even have a conversation with you. It's like talking to someone who is not even wrong, except as regards ethics rather than science. All we can do is talk past each other.
If you're independently wealthy or reject material possessions and have taken a vow of poverty], only engage in paid corporate PR for amusement, and pass all your earnings on to charity, that'd be interesting. I'm willing to concede that certain exceptions might be made for paid reputation-management editors who pass 100% of their net earnings to charity. If this describes you, please let us know soonest.
However, I don't think that's it. If I recall earlier conversations correctly, your deal is supposedly something along the lines of "yeah I get paid and need the dough, but entirely independently of this I also believe that my clients, by happy coincidence, are wonderful and benign entities. And my mad skills are so awesomely in demand that I can turn down clients by the score, and do if I don't believe in their mission". That's a fair summary, is it not?
If that's the deal, then... well, let me present a couple of made-up quotes:
  • "Yes I took a suitcase of unmarked bills from MegaCorp and by coincidence I voted in Congress to free them from taxes forever, but I actually believe this is good public policy and would have done this anyway, so what's the problem?
  • Yes the plaintiff gave me $100,000 and by coincidence I ruled in his favor, but I actually believe he had a winning case and would have ruled in his favor anyway, so what's the problem?
If you see why those quotes indicate a possibly problematical situation, we can possibly talk fruitfully. I'm not really set up to run an entire Ethics 101 course here, but maybe something useful could happen. If you're scratching your head and going "so what is the problem?" then we probably don't have a lot of useful things to say to each other, is all.
Finally, if you deal is "yeah I get paid, but my most important goal is developing a balanced article -- and not just for tactical reasons, but because the Wikipedia comes first and if that devolves to less than my client's maximum benefit, well so be it."
Well, first of all, that's just loathsome -- flat-out crooked. Hey, I might need a PR man someday. If I'm paying him to get my picture in the Times, I don't want him to be thinking "well, Herostratus's picture doesn't really belong in the Times and its presence would degrade that newspaper, so I'll just take his money and pretend to try to get his picture in the paper, or deliberately do a half-assed job". That's a complete violation of the ethics of your profession (or hobby, or whatever it is for you.) So if that's your deal, why would we want to have anything do with you? We don't want editors with bad character, that seldom ends well.
Second of all, even that's predicated on your being in the elite I-have-so-much-work-I-can-freely-piss-off-clients league. Even if that's the case (color me skeptical, but whatever) most of your brethren aren't so happily situated, so your case has limited bearing on the general matter.
As for your other arguments, yeah we've heard all that. If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns and yadda yadda yadda. Maybe you're right. Who knows? I don't think you're right and I'm not ready to out and-out overtly and formally surrender the Wikipedia to commercial interests.
I dunno, man. What do you want? There's nobody here, and no power here, that can make you go away. There's little governance, and it's a wiki, and anyone can write whatever they want for whatever reason they want (there are a few exceptions, but paid reputation-management editing isn't one of them). Do you want everyone to approve of you? Is that it? Well plenty of people approve of you! I don't, but so what? You're never going to please everyone in this life, right? Just please whatever God you hold dear and do what you think best.
You write "It feels like Wikipedia prefers astroturfing and if that preference is indeed true, than I have no role here". Please, stop. Come on. It doesn't feel that way to me -- have you not seen the many many scores of comments on various fora accepting, and often valorizing, paid reputation-management here? For my part I am not going to approve of you, no. Sorry to be harsh but we are encyclopediast here and not middle school girls. I mean for most of us, we go to work to get paid, and that's plenty, and we don't expect a friggen medal too for processing our stack of claims forms or selling our quota of tires or whatever the hell we do. If the pay alone is not enough for you, I'm not sure what I can tell you. Herostratus (talk) 05:33, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Hero, you are unnecessarily confrontational. Why would you say that we are unable to have a discussion? Have I done something to make you think I am so unreasonable? Even as you say you disapprove of astroturfing, you prove that by participating in the discussion openly and honestly, I expose myself to excessive criticism and become a punching bag for editors that just don't like it. No matter how compelling you make the argument for operating discreetly, I will volunteer to be your punching bag instead.
I thought Jimbo had previously said paid advocates can be a good thing for Wikipedia if we do it right, however if he meant the more sweeping statement above, that is a compelling argument to retire, if any paid advocate operating in the open is a time-bomb waiting for a reputation-damaging event. There may not be a paid editing policy, but he has enough influence over the media to unilaterally humiliate editors who operate in a manner he disapproves. Corporate 23:33, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure what Jimbo said. It may be that he said paid advocates can be a good thing for Wikipedia if we do it right. He also may be of two minds on the issue and may have said different things at different times, which is understandable given that it's a very complicated issue. If he did say that paid advocates can be a good thing for Wikipedia if we do it right, I probably don't agree with him -- but don't worry about it, that's just me and I'm just one person and could, of course, be wrong. Jimbo is only one person too, at this point, and how much his opinion matters is debatable -- I think it matters kind of a lot, but a of people don't, I gather. If it matters to you, hmmmmm, well, it's sometimes hard to get an answer from Jimbo here, because so many people (like me -- sorry!) jump in. I wouldn't worry about a future reputation-damaging event, but that's easy for me to say; if you're really concerned about that maybe you should email him?
I am being confrontational, yes. Whether unnecessarily so I don't know. Sometimes people just disagree, is all, and it can't always be easily worked out, and so strife. I'm not inclined to back down here, so I don't know how it's not going to be somewhat confrontational. You're not unreasonable, no. You are a special case because you are particularly erudite and thoughtful and concerned with ethics. That doesn't mean you're right, though, and so though it pains me to be confrontational with you I'm not sure what else to do.
As far as having a discussion, then, well, first we would have to lay some groundwork so we're on the same page. For starters, I'd be interested in your response to these two quotes:
To me those statements appear contradictory. I'd like to be educated on how they're not contradictory (or failing that how one of them is not operative), if you please, before moving forward.
Also, regarding the following quote:
I'd be interested on your take on whether this is operative, whether "society's interests" includes "the existence of a good free online free-content NPOV encyclopedia", and -- if answering both in the affirmative -- whether you see anything problematic here. Herostratus (talk) 07:31, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
This is key. A PR person does not serve Wikipedia, we serve our clients. If I am allowed to directly edit, I am obligated to serve my client's interests by intentionally injecting overt bias and promotionalism to the extent that it is tolerated. If I am not forbidden, I should also pursue my client's best interest by editing Wikipedia anonymously. Again, I have no authority here to put Wikipedia's interests before those of my client and since this behavior is technically allowed, Wikipedia has not equipped me to push back.
On the other hand, when I use Talk pages, it is in the client's best-interest to genuinely make our best effort at being neutral, knowing that this is the most effective approach for my client.
When we work with BLPs we AGF that they didn't know any better, but for organizations or people that have a professional staff of communicators, we do and should have higher expectations. A reasonable degree of caution and warning is a good thing. My ability to convince companies to do things ethically is reliant on perceived risks in doing things unethically.
What Wikipedia sees are individuals that do or don't deserve AGF, but what I see is an imbalanced ROI calculation that encourages bad behavior. It is within our power as a community to make genuine improvements and better behavior a more compelling value proposition - to foster better alignment between NPOV and corporate participation.
BTW, I appreciate the change of tone. Even though we both have opposing viewpoints, I think we also both have minority viewpoints, but neither should prevent us from having a civil discussion. Corporate 16:42, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Considering the amount of discussion of GibraltarpediA on this talk page, Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:GLAM/GibraltarpediA may be of interest. Fram (talk) 09:08, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

I've written an essay on the issue of Gibraltarpedia's supposed ability to produce commercial benefits for Gibraltar; see User:Prioryman/Gibraltarpedia, monetisation and myths. Prioryman (talk) 22:58, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
@Corporate minion. If a company knows that a page on them is factually inaccurate then there are legitimate ways to fix that. First do a talkpage request "x is wrong/outdated here is a reliable source reporting y", if no-one looks at the page in a reasonable time then escalate to OTRS. As for you, of course you are welcome here, just please do what I try to do and avoid editing topics where you have a COI or doubt you can write neutrally. ϢereSpielChequers 12:21, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
By this reasoning, if in individual knows that a page on himself is inaccurate there are things he can do other than editing it. So nobody should be allowed to edit pages about themselves under any circumstances.
Of course that is not policy. Editing articles about yourself is discouraged, but there are times where it's necessary.
I view paid editing the same way. Yes, if you edit when paid by X you have a conflict of interest--but it's no greater than the conflict you have if you are X. If X can edit an article about X, then someone paid by X should be able to edit an article about X. And articles about companies have the same basic problems that BLPs have, including errors that never get fixed and hatchet jobs when the article is controlled by the subject's enemies. Ken Arromdee (talk) 19:49, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I will agree with that, but with a couple caveats
  • There is a difference between what one does individually and what a company does officially
  • There is also a difference between what one does individually and what they do professionally
From my perspective it is silly to treat PR professionals, who participate as a function of their job, as just another editor, who happens to work for the company and is accidentally bias. Instead, we should provide a reasonable process for PR people to participate to the extent that they are helpful as a matter of their profession.
They do not need to edit articles whatsoever to be valuable to Wikipedia. They need only share their coverage reports in citation templates, provide a book on their history we would not otherwise have access to, or flag when an axe-grinder is attacking them and so forth. Corporate 21:38, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting we should treat them as another editor, I'm suggesting we should treat them like a BLP subject editing their own article. We know that such people are biased. But the bias by being paid to edit is no greater than the bias by being the subject of the article yourself, and we don't categorically prohibit people from editing articles about themselves.
Would we ever say "BLP subjects do not need to edit articles about themselves to be valuable to Wikipedia"? Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:23, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

The entire COI story reminds me of the days when the WWW slowly became commercial. Today we laugh it off. In ten years time it will be totally normal that commercial editors are behind every single company article, that PAs edit their boss' BLP, that governments spin the "Politics of X" entries, and so on. Like it or not, that's the future of WP. --Pgallert (talk) 12:55, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I've said before that Wikipedia's model is fundamentally flawed - this ship has been piled up with more and more cargo, more and more external pressure from those looking to control it, until it must capsize. There are approaches like The Federated Wiki to come up with a fragmented model, but that software seems primitive and poorly designed to me; I think regular MediaWikis with a few altered design elements ought to work better. It will be necessary, however, to fragment Wikipedia somehow into a wide internet community with no single authority in order for it/its successor to survive in the long term, and the scenario you outline is one of the deadlines. Wnt (talk) 14:43, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

An example of how this can work

I wanted to provide those editors who categorically oppose paid editing to look at an example of how it can be done correctly (this talk page/community forum seems to attract a lot). Please compare the old version of this article with the new one--that is, before and after COI/paid editor User:WWB Too improved the article. Not only is the new article better written with significantly more references, it's actually far more neutral than the previous version. In both the Bloomberg and Venezuelan recall election sections, WWB Too's version actually contains more criticism of the subject than the prior version, adequately reflecting the level of criticism of PSB. Note that WWB Too explicitly stated that he created the article while working with PSB's communications team, and he always follows the strictest of COI interpretations (drafting in user space, then asking one or more editors to review and merge over the information). Just as Ken Arromdee points out above, COI editing does not carry any more "danger" than any other editing where the editor's own biases or opinions have the potential to cause them to slant information (i.e., all editing, because we are all always already biased about everything). Qwyrxian (talk) 00:36, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

We often criticize COIs for "subtle" bias, even though overt bias is prolific on Wikipedia. A lot of negative or promotional articles could be made more neutral with the help of a COI. The COI editor is still bias, but less so than the article. The best COI content will come with the help of a Wikipedia consultant, who today is put under the most scrutiny.
On the other hand, I would like to be able to go to any company article and be able to find their PR contact for Wikipedia. Any company that has a PR and marketing team, should have someone available we can ask for images, an intern that shares their coverage reports in citation templates, or a contact willing to provide a book an editor needs to cover the company. It's silly that PR people are lobbying Wikipedia, when they are not even available to help impartial editors with a genuine interest in writing about the company as a volunteer. Corporate 02:08, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Yeah maybe. I mean most entities are fairly benign, so there's not too much of a problem. As far as I know (and assuming they're not culpable in the Venezuelan thing, which may be true although it's hard to figure), Penn Schoen Berland's never done anything embarrassing, at least not to a level that's notable and proven to the point of including in an encyclopedia article.
But if they have, then I assume that User:WWB Too would have covered it up or watered it down or spun it to the best of his (very considerable) ability, since that's part of the services he offers, as I think I've previously demonstrated to any reasonable person's satisfaction. So really what does the Penn Schoen Berland article have to do with the price of eggs? I mean, banned users create lots of good content at times, but so what? Their presence is considered a net negative and they're not welcome. Obviously, and notwithstanding any ability to format refs nicely and so forth, the presence of User:WWB Too and his like here is a net negative, right? So what is the use in pointing out particular instances where they edited an article and didn't wreck it?
I'd kind of wish you would not say "A lot of... promotional articles could be made more neutral with the help of a [paid reputation-management agent]". Corporations don't hire people to make themselves look worse, period, and it insults our intelligence to say that. So if you don't do that anymore, that'd be great! (Naturally Penn Schoen Berland etc. are very clever and subtle, and they or their agents might find advantage in toning down overly promotional material for various tactical reasons -- it looks too amateurish, it's too obviously over the top and thus looks false and/or is likely to eventually attract an unfriendly gimlet eye, they want to appear as good Wikipedians for later advantage, or whatever -- and making sure that negative material is addressed also for tactical reasons. But that's different; that's just tactics.)
Re "We often criticize COIs for "subtle" bias, even though overt bias is prolific on Wikipedia..." Well first of all it's not; overt bias exists, but it's usually successfully dealt with when pointed out. Sometimes it's hard to deal with and occasionally it's impossible, but that's rare, and again, so what? Are you saying that that existence of bias elsewhere justifies you introducing bias? Sounds like it. And subtle bias is lot more pernicious. It's not better; it's worse.
The statement "we are all always already biased about everything" is not true -- a lot of us are pretty fair-minded actually and work hard to be that way. We have different opinions about what should be in a proper encyclopedic article about an organization, is all. This is an issue that editors of good faith can discuss. It's an interesting statement to make, though. You know how it goes: The crook thinks that everyone steals (or would if they could), the dishonest person sees liars everywhere, and so on. If it makes you feel better about your own case to hold such a cynical view of the abilities or motivations of the other Wikipedia editors, that's understandable. Doesn't make it true, though. Herostratus (talk) 06:29, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. Many companies would prefer a credible article without flags at the top over a promotional article. Additionally, subtle and overt bias are both prolific on Wikipedia, especially on company articles. Much of this is due to problems of systematic bias, such as media sensationalism, the fact that controversies are funner to writer often leading to undue weight and that many editors love to score points against corporate America or have a personal vendetta. Additionally, subtle bias is not immune to correction by volunteers. Corporate 17:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Origin of the doctrine of NPOV

The earliest version of the User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles is dated October 27, 2001. It references NPOV with a link, but the earliest extant version of WP:NPOV is dated November 10, 2001 and it weighs in at 29.8 kb — clearly not anywhere near the first version of the page. I'm interested in the origins of the idea and was wondering if you or any of the yodas of the wiki know if there is any way to access the page WP:NPOV, or the page that proceeded it, back to the egg. Carrite (talk) 06:11, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

At that time is was named "Neutral point of view". Apteva (talk) 07:43, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I understand. But the oldest version there is the date I mention above. One thing I've learned in my WP history explorations tonight is that Wikipedia had Wikipedia's date of origin wrong. Oops. The Larry Sanger announcement to Nupedia-l (mailing list) came on January 17, 2001, not January 15, 2001 as we had had it... I suspect that NPOV had its origins in a similar doctrine at Nupedia, which Sanger cites on the oldest variant of the NPOV page with a link that is now 404. Still, there should be a "first WP version" around somewhere, one would think. It was interesting the way Nupedia and WP were simultaneous projects for a time. First Sanger saw them as supplemental to one another, WP with a dozen or so articles "almost as good as Nupedia drafts," or words to that effect. Next thing you know the bumblebee was the model that was flying and Nupedia was toast. Interesting. Carrite (talk) 07:55, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
For any historians wanting to grind primary sources, here's the Nupedia-l archive, as preserved by the Wayback Machine. A fair number of the messages were lost in the archiving process, but there is still some good material there. Carrite (talk) 08:07, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
The Nupedia version of the policy is at, in case that is of some interest. - Bilby (talk) 08:53, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
See the links from Wikipedia:Wikipedia's oldest articles for ample proof that Wikipedia was launched on 15 January 2001. Unlike most instances, the Nostalgia Wikipedia is of little help in this case because the surviving history of the earliest title, "NeutralPointOfView", doesn't contain many edits. However in December 2010, an archive of old Wikipedia edits was uncovered, going back to Wikipedia's very first edit. Joseph Reagle attempted to reconstruct the first 10,000 contributions to Wikipedia from those log files, from which we can find a version of the neutral point of view policy from February 2001. Graham87 13:03, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Ah, excellent, I stand corrected. There are clearly two critical dates — January 15, 2001 for what we might term as the beta launch and January 17, which is the date of the public announcement. I see from a link on Wikipedia:Wikipedia's oldest articles that Tim Starling has already done the detective work on trying to find the oldest extant save of the WP database. Two questions: (1) Is this material available anywhere? (The archive link doesn't work); and (2) Has anything similar been done trying to find the first versions and final version of Nupedia? There were no talk pages on Nupedia, anti-vandalism protection seems to have been done by full saves of the database, and one would think that there are surviving saves out there somewhere. Carrite (talk) 14:35, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
The link to the August 2001 edits in Tim Starling's message works fine for me, assuming that's what you mean. Graham87 06:24, 3 October 2012 (UTC) was registered 15 January. The first recorded use of 'wikipedia' was even before that. (talk) 18:46, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Perhaps contact Larry Sanger about NPOV: People might want to try email or such about these issues, rather than User_talk:Larry_Sanger, due to few edits this year (see: contribs). When Jimbo talks about the early days, then I think some people want to start severe arguments, which do not really help resolve current issues. However, I agree that "NPOV" is a crucial topic, as to understanding how WP contains the influence of superstitions and fringe theories. Regarding the shutdown of Nupedia, I found the comment, "Wikipedia proved to be so successful that when the server hosting Nupedia crashed in September of 2003, it was never restored." Some hostility revolves around trying to add more levels of approval cycles to Wikipedia, while other people see WP as already overly restrictive because they consider the edit-protected articles, or templates, as no longer even a true "wiki". -Wikid77 (talk) 08:42, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Ha ha, I'm a Carrite — personal testimony is swell, but trust the documents! Carrite (talk) 15:33, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Request for Jimbo or any others schooled in the lore of Bomis. Would it be possible for you to attach names to the people in THIS PICTURE? My mama told me to always write names on the back of photographs... Having a couple images in my collection of political convention participants, I know firsthand that the job for historians of making IDs doesn't get any easier five or ten decades down the road. Carrite (talk) 15:08, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
At the back, Tim Shell, Christine Wales (carrying Kira), Jimmy Wales, Terry Foote, Jarod Pappas-Kelly, Liz Campeau (who helped Larry in the summer of 2000 when he was setting up Nupedia), Jason Richey (installed the original wiki early in Jan 2001), Toan Vo (worked on the Nupedia database), Andrew McCague. At the front, Jeremy Rosenfeld (who Jimmy claimed had the idea for the wiki mid-December 2000, but the chronology does not bear this out), Larry Sanger, Rita Sanger (although they weren't married in the summer of 2000 - that was in December 2001). (talk) 18:45, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I have no idea what this anon is trying to claim here. Typical dishonest snarking, if you ask me. Jeremy Rosenfeld was the first person to propose the idea of using a wiki for the project, in mid-December, and that's just a simple fact.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:18, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
And Rita's surname at this point would have been what? Carrite (talk) 19:53, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • One more question - Thanks for the IDs, Edward. I'm curious about the form and content of Nupedia. It seems that anti-vandal protection was done by means of periodic saves of the entire content of the project. Then in 2003 the server dispensing Nupedia broke and was not repaired, that project having been supplanted by its Web 2.0 offshoot, Wikipedia. Does anyone know if any of those backup dumps have survived? Does anyone know if the broken server is still extant? Carrite (talk) 15:28, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

BLP applies to corporations

In today signpost you say "WP:BLP applies to corporations, which are just collections of people." WP:BLPGROUP is not so clear and says it is a case by case. On a more practical level the Category:Living people is not applied to a group or corporation and hence such articles are NOT monitored in systematic BLP processes. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 22:10, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

I've commented on this before here, and it's been dismissed before on Talk:BLP. Some will say you can libel a corporation, an ethnic group, a religion, a political party, or indeed, as Oprah Winfrey found out, a food. Doesn't our article on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 include un-BLP-worthy allegations about the Chinese Army? How far are you going with this? Wnt (talk) 07:54, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
How far? All the way.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:30, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, to be specific, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 for years included claims that the living people of the Chinese 27th Army killed anywhere from 186 to 10,000 people. There were times when Censorship of Wikipedia in China was based specifically on the Tiananmen issue. Wikipedia's coverage of the issue has been praised by others. [1] You met with Cai Mingzhao in 2008. And all that time, we've been saying that the living people of the Chinese 27th Army killed thousands and thousands of people, based on intelligence reports subsequently revised, anonymous allegations, defectors talking about documents they saw and so forth. Recently the 10,000 top figure was cut down to 6,000 at most.[2] But my feeling is that if this were handled the same way as a BLP, then any allegation not very rigorously verified would be struck out, would you cut out everything above the New York Times' "400 to 800 plausible"? Or would you be more rigorous and demand that no allegation beyond the PBS 241 figure be published? Or cut out everything but the 186 named dead, since the rest are vague allegations? Or would you impose the not uncommonly brandished BLP standard that until someone is convicted in a court of law of the deaths you don't mention them at all? And at what point does the reduction of the possibilities discussed go from being "responsible" to being biased in favor of the Chinese government's perspective? Wnt (talk) 14:04, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
I would personally suggest that
1) The Tiananmen square killings happened under circumstances where it is inherently impossible to try and convict any of the people involved, so requiring convictions in a court is stupid and would fall under IAR if necessary. If individual living people were in similar situations (for instance, some terrorist leaders) I would say we shouldn't require convictions for them either.
2) Saying that someone killed innocent people is a very negative statement about them. But once it's established that they did, increasing the number doesn't increase the negativity by anywhere near as much. Again, I would apply this to individuals as well; it isn't really a BLP issue to say "we know this individual terrorist killed 100 people, but we didn't rigorously verify an additional 150". Ken Arromdee (talk) 14:47, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
I'd really like a clarification on the statement that "WP:BLP applies to corporations, which are just collections of people". It could mean anything from "BLP applies to all articles, including those about corporations" to "We're going to block you the moment you add unsourced, negative material about corporations into articles". It's really simple to misinterpret (intentionally or not) that statement one way or the other. --Conti| 14:11, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo's statement isn't policy. It is also contrary to well-established practice. To give corporations the same level of protection as we afford to individuals under WP:BLP policy would make the project unworkable. Just ask yourselves how this article would look if WP:BLP applied. And then ask yourself if it would be in the interests of our readers if it did. We don't need to protect corporations - they are well-equipped to do so themselves... AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:25, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Arguably Enron would be a BDP (though they apparently were still distributing assets post-bankruptcy in 2009...); many of the corporations that can fight back somehow seem to get a softer treatment. Wnt (talk) 14:31, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
It's an interesting question, and "where do you draw the line" is a hard question but one that reasonable people can possibly work out. I don't have much sympathy for corporations generally, but the Wikipedia comes first and there would be a benefits to a functioning WP:AEO (Articles about Extant Organizations) infrastructure, including this: it would kneecap a primary philosphical excuse used by paid reputation-management agents here. Which is why I proposed it earlier, which didn't gain much traction. I've placed it here: WP:AEO to keep it alive, and if anyone wants to move it forward (not me; I'm terrible at politics) or just implement it (not me; I'm not available right now) then go forth and fear no evil, I suppose. Herostratus (talk) 16:34, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Ugh. Complete with a smarmy little template about your "last warning" for "vilification of organizations". I can just imagine trying to edit about a lead smelter after that. "Don't think of it as a lower IQ, think of it as a positive adaptation for the jobs of tomorrow when university educations are no longer worth the unwarranted expense..." Wnt (talk) 16:43, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Utterly ridiculous. If nonsense like that ever becomes policy, I'm out of here. Apart from anything else, it is a licence for purveyors of snake oil, 'multi-level-marketing' hucksters and the like to fill Wikipedia with bullshit, and then claim that they are being 'vilified' if we point out that people have described them as snake-oil-salesmen and hucksters. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:10, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
This idea lab discussion is worth referencing here. From my perspective, I would prefer we clean our own house instead of inviting paid advocates to lobby for neutrality from the Talk page. Even as a PR professional / paid advocate myself, this is not what I want my role to be on Wikipedia, nor do I think it is one I am able to do well. Corporate 19:10, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Replacing OTRS with a commercial consultancy service

OTRS will not be replaced with a commercial consultancy service, nor is anyone actually seriously proposing it. While I very much appreciate and agree with JN466 and others in opposing this kind of corruption, it does not serve our purposes to overstate the case. If any random volunteer on a random mailing list proposes a random bad idea, that's perfectly fine. Only by brainstorming and thinking openly will we be able to continue to innovate.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:15, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Jimbo, business ideas are being floated on the Wikimediauk-l to establish a social enterprise linked to Wikimedia UK that would provide commercial services. [3] One idea is about replacing OTRS with a paid consultancy service. [4]

"One other service it could sell, somewhat more controversially, is advice on dealing with problems with Wikipedia articles. I think it is clear that just letting OTRS handle it doesn't really work and people need more support than just an email address they can send things to and get back a lecture on Wikipedia policy and procedure, and judging by the number of attempts we see at setting up for-profit consultancy services for this, it would appear there is a market. [...] It would be better for a social enterprise of Wikimedians to be providing that paid consultancy than some of the other people trying to offer such services. I did try and draw up a rough business plan for such a consultancy, and I think it could turn a profit."


"The third strand would be based on your thoughts about paid support. Rather than offer one-to-one support, I'd suggest training days and support groups (think; Wikipedia Anonymous ). Based loosely on the format of a morning crash course in Wikipedia and an afternoon QA session, with editors around to help with individual issues."

It is true that OTRS is sometimes not responsive enough. I have heard of cases where people's e-mails went unanswered for several weeks. But I think the solution is a more effective – and free! – complaints system within Wikimedia, not what amounts essentially to an outsourcing of customer services, and charging customers for it. And if a paid customer service is necessary, then this should not be based on entrepreneurialism, but use (as a last resort!) trained customer service staff paid by the Foundation from public donations.

However, there seems to be a very strong instinct among volunteers these days to want to monetise their Wikipedia skills. What are your thoughts? Do you think there is a place for paid consultancy services doing part of the job OTRS is supposed to do, whether these consultancy firms are affiliated with Wikimedia charities or not? JN466 12:10, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

What? No-one's suggested replacing OTRS with a commercial consultancy service. That's not even remotely what we're discussing - we like OTRS, and most of us volunteer on it! The Cavalry (Message me) 12:37, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Verbatim quote: "I think it is clear that just letting OTRS handle it doesn't really work and people need more support than just an email address they can send things to and get back a lecture on Wikipedia policy and procedure, and judging by the number of attempts we see at setting up for-profit consultancy services for this, it would appear there is a market." Certainly the idea is that part of what OTRS is meant to do (and fails to do) should be done by a service that the aggrieved parties should pay for. JN466 12:42, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
And we can quote back, that "Replacing it would certainly be a step too far...", "Indeed it would. I hope I was clear in defending OTRS as the best way to resolve issues that we currently have, although it needs work!"

What we're actually talking about is:

"* Invest in OTRS agents; run training sessions (we have already done that once I think...), write training materials etc.
* Invest in the OTRS software; it's not entirely fit for our purposes. The concept is not complex, and I feel it would be possible to contribute either to the OTRS software-base, tweak the existing code or even begin from scratch with a custom-built solution.
The third strand would be based on your thoughts about paid support. Rather than offer one-to-one support, I'd suggest training days and support groups (think; Wikipedia Anonymous :)). Based loosely on the format of a morning crash course in Wikipedia and an afternoon QA session, with editors around to help with individual issues.".
My personal view is that what we are talking about is very, very far away from a commercial consultancy service. The Cavalry (Message me) 12:45, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, and in a later email I suggest that the latter option would not be viable as a commercial enterprise, but as a free service run by volunteers. --Errant (chat!) 12:48, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry, if you, as Wikimedia UK, are saying that OTRS doesn't cut it and suggest to people that they avail themselves of the paid services of your trading subsidiary, then you are de facto replacing a part of the OTRS service. JN466 13:16, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
And let us note that the people who said "Replacing it would certainly be a step too far...", "Indeed it would. I hope I was clear in defending OTRS as the best way to resolve issues that we currently have, although it needs work!" were Andrew Gray and Thomas Morton. It was not the same person and ex-WMUK trustee who said "I think it is clear that just letting OTRS handle it doesn't really work" and proposed that Wikimedians should offer a paid service. In addition, they said it after I posted here. [6] JN466 13:22, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Andreas. You're raking an early brainstorming thread into an imminent threat, for what - the drama? The origin of this brainstorming is the idea of some sort of social enterprise - to address the issues surrounding Wikipedians being paid for their skills and the associated problems that come up. Some of the ideas I discuss in one of the later emails I already do; next week I will be setting up a MediaWiki installation for a company's public documentation, and training them on its use (i.e. encouraging a community). No reason not to provide an outlet for that sort of experience... As to paid support; people struggle to communicate issues to Wikipedia as they are always relying on a volunteer to be interested enough to resolve their issues. It's the core problem Wikipedia faces at the moment. That leaves many many problems; I agree that paying Wikipedians to fix problems (or having individuals pay to have their problems addressed) doesn't have very strong legs. But something in the concept may have. --Errant (chat!) 12:48, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

"I did try and draw up a rough business plan for such a consultancy, and I think it could turn a profit"???? Who said this, and do they have any position of trust or power in wikimedia-uk? If so, why? Has the UK unit been totally taken over by self-prostituting would-be paid consultants? This makes me want to puke. --Orange Mike | Talk 12:51, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
A volunteer said that, OrangeMike. A Wikipedian, like you, but with about 20,000 edits. He's never done paid editing in his life. I am a little upset that you're characterising 200+ Wikipedians as "self-prostituting would-be paid consultants" - I really don't think that's the case at all. What the list is actually doing - before we get carried away - is brainstorming ways to fix the current OTRS system.' No-one is being paid. No-one has written out business plans. And clearly, no-one has actually read the thread, otherwise we wouldn't be talking about this. The Cavalry (Message me) 12:58, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Not even "fix" OTRS. But I suggested some ideas (which we have already executed on in part, with past OTRS get-togethers) where WMUK could help support OTRS and get issues resolved faster. The problem is we seem to have mixed up several ideas in a little brainstorm... I have huge respect for Tango (who initially suggested these ideas) but clearly asking people to pay for editor support is not a workable idea. Who knows what may emerge from discussing the idea - I do encourage people to read the threads. I think looking at ways to direct people looking to monetize the skills they develop on Wikipedia into non-Wikipedia related consultancy has merit. --Errant (chat!) 13:11, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Above I said, "I think the solution is a more effective – and free! – complaints system within Wikimedia, not what amounts essentially to an outsourcing of customer services, and charging customers for it. And if a paid customer service is necessary, then this should not be based on entrepreneurialism, but use (as a last resort!) trained customer service staff paid by the Foundation from public donations." Don't you think that is better than Wikimedia UK starting up a "trading subsidiary"? That is how Andrew Turvey, another former trustee and treasurer of WMUK until spring 2012, put it. JN466 13:13, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Thomas Dalton, a former Wikimedia UK treasurer and trustee (until 2011 I believe). The Wikimediauk-l archives (which had been non-public for some time, but are now publicly available again) are here. The threads are "Social enterprise" and "Support service (was:Social enterprise)" JN466 13:05, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
To which he immediately followed, "I should have been clearer - I'm talking about giving advice, and possibly serving as a liason, not actual paid editing. There are procedures in place for this kind of thing, using OTRS and talk pages, but people need help navigating them, that's what this consultancy would provide." I think you're cherry-picking quotes, Andreas, in order to provoke controversy and disrupt a free and frank exchange of ideas. I say this as a volunteer, of course, and I don't support paid editing in the slightest - but I do support people talking about it. I don't think your actions in discouraging free speech in this way is fair, nor do I think the way in which you are mischaracterising the discussion is appropriate. The Cavalry (Message me) 13:08, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
You're really scraping the bottom of the barrel here with "free speech", Richard. JN466 13:24, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I have said this on the list, and I would like to say it here too: it is indefensible for an organisation that describes itself as charitable to have – in the website it is set up to support – such bad customer service that it offers customers with valid grievances a paid service to explain the customer service to them so they can have their grievance addressed. It has very uncomfortable parallels to a protection racket. The thing to do is not to derive financial benefit for your charity and its members from the bad customer service process, but to fix it so customers do not have to employ a paid consultant to understand it and make it work for them. JN466 13:36, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
"to fix it so customers do not have to employ a paid consultant to understand it" - this is exactly what we're talking about on the list - how to fix Wikipedia. Is a social enterprise scheme the way to go about it? We won't know unless it's, you know, discussed. In immediately taking it to Jimmy's talk page with misleading quotes, you are misrepresenting the views of those involved, in at attempt to force a change. The Cavalry (Message me) 14:06, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
You are not talking about fixing Wikipedia. You are not talking about fixing the labyrinth of pages that people have to navigate to find the right e-mail address, e.g., you are talking about setting up a "social enterprise", a "support service", a "trading subsidiary", a consultancy service that is entirely outside the pages of Wikipedia. [7] JN466 14:30, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

This is just well-poisoning by Andreas. Not sure I'd be on board with what is actually being proposed, and I seriously doubt it would get past the larger community, but what Andreas has described in his first few posts takes the idea out of context and misrepresents what is actually being discussed. He's basically trolling, and there's a procedure for that. Nathan T 13:11, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more, Nathan. The Cavalry (Message me) 13:15, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Good grief, Nathan and Chase Me. Defensive insults don't answer legitimate questions or make them go away. Try to remember that there are likely a significant number of journalists watching this page. So, please try to act a little more professional and forthright and just answer the questions. You know an independent investigator is about to be appointed to look into WMUK's practices? If that investigator asks some irritating questions, is the appropriate response to call him/her a "troll" and a "well-poisoner"? Cla68 (talk) 13:37, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I haven't been insulting, and if I'm defensive it's only because people's views are intentionally being misrepresented. I know that an independent investigator is about to be appointed to look into WMUK's practices, because WMUK are appointing the investigator, and I have a few good ideas as to who it might be. The Cavalry (Message me) 14:06, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
OTRS is of course a WMF operation. The OTRS list certainly isn't discussing this and it could only be the WMF that could make such a change. We really don't need more drama right now, and certainly nothing that would suggest that there are discussions about replacing OTRS. I hopefully don't have to explain why OTRS can't be replaced by a paid consultancy. Dougweller (talk) 13:45, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Andreas is anything but an unbiased, independent investigator and even so -- the questions have been answered and all the information anyone could want is right out there in the open for them to find. I'm not even a party to the discussion, nor have I ever (as far as I can recall) posted to the mailing list in question. As a non-participant but regular observer both of the UK mailing list and of Andreas' list conduct in general, I stand by my evaluation of his efforts and intentions. He drew the "quotes" he posted wildly out of context and misrepresented both their character and import. Nathan T 13:46, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Please don't shoot the messenger. Fabian's proposal,[1] Alan's response,[2] and Fabian's further comment[3] are interesting and worth thinking about. Thomas Dalton's response (where he introduced the admitted controversial idea of a for profit "social enterprise" helping people deal with OTRS)[4][5] was fairly quickly countered by others in the conversation.[6][7] The ensuing conversation about Fabian's more general proposal is worth reading.[8] It's inevitable there will be little cottage industries springing up around the Wikimedia behemoth. Discussing these and planning for them is sensible.

What worries me is the initial impression I gain from what I've read of that conversation that some of the players there are focussing more on the buck-making opportunities per se, than on how chapters, thematic organisations, and the Wikimedia projects should deal with Wikipedia's weak points. For instance, when I hear about delays or abruptness at OTRS, I don't immediately see that as a money-making opportunity; I look for solutions that would improve OTRS. And frankly, when I hear that there is a buck to be made in teaching people how to navigate Wikipedia's editing policies I ask myself "What went wrong? How can we make Wikipedia less arcane?" not "How can I get some of that?" I realise the participants in that discussion all have differing motivations. I'm impressed particularly by Thomas Morton's comments. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:24, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

This is what euphemism enables. The mealy-mouthed term "social enterprise", seemingly coined by guilt-ridden ex-liberals who don't want to admit to themselves that they are privateers making money out of providing social services for a profit, is now being used to obscure the fact that people (some of them, I gather, current or recent officeholders in WMUK) are openly talking about making themselves some money by doing what Wikipedia is supposed to be doing. "We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling over the price." --Orange Mike | Talk 16:15, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Mike. Wikipedia has many, many problems. But the one thing that gives it some grandeur is that at its best (and God knows, it often isn't) – at its best, away from the drama, self-interest and malice, it is lots people all over the world who just happen to know something, sharing it with others for free. If even Wikimedia's own organisations turn their back on this concept, there is nothing left. JN466 17:11, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
OM you are part of the problem. With attack article creations like this and this is it any wonder that people frustrated by the wikipedia attack pages from editors like you are looking for paid advocates to fix the crap? John lilburne (talk) 09:12, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is the flip side of the coin. I have seen BLP subjects turn up in Wikipedia, remove clear BLP violations from their article, and see the BLP violations restored to their article by established users. Without even such basic safeguards as flagged revisions/pending changes, Wikipedia needs a more efficient complaints system – perhaps an elected BLP committee that has the authority to make content decisions to ensure BLP compliance, and do so in a timely manner. Otherwise Wikipedia lacks the real moral authority to say that members of the public should not go to consultants, and that consultants should not be offering such services. Jimbo said in the recent Signpost interview that people could use his talk page to post complaints, but it really needs something more solid. JN466 11:26, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

This thread is extremely confused. It contains a large number of largely unattributed and misrepresented quotes from lots of different people discussing lots of different ideas, none of which have got beyond the brainstorming stage. I also don't know what it is doing on Jimmy's talk page. If the idea I mooted were to go beyond idle chat on a mailing list, then it would obviously need a lot of community consultation, but it would need to be a well-formed proposal before that could happen and that consultation would happen at RFC, not here. The idea I have in mind contains all sorts of checks and balances to properly manage all the inherent COI's, but I haven't explained all them because I haven't written any proper proposal - just one short email to a mailing list. I now regret sending that email - I should have waited until I had written up the proposal properly. --Tango (talk) 19:45, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

What's it doing on this page? The current Signpost contains an interview with Jimbo, with the following exchanges:
Q: There seems to be a trend, or at least the emergence of one, of experienced editors beginning to offer their services and expertise, as Wikipedia 'consultants'. What do you think of that trend? Is it compatible with a neutral encyclopedia?
A: I don't think there is any such trend, at least not among good editors. And no, it's not compatible with a neutral encyclopedia.
Q: In 10 years, what would it mean to you if there was an entire cottage industry of Wikipedia editors who were paid for their work? Do you think the encyclopedia could survive such a development?
A: It's difficult to answer such a hypothetical. It's so at odds with reality that it just isn't going to happen.
In the Wikimedia UK mailing list, on the other hand, we have just had this post, with various sections of it written by a former WMUK trustee, a present WMUK employee and former arbitrator, and a prominent WMUK volunteer who's also been listed in a recently retired WMUK trustee's declarations of interest. I believe the cottage industry is happening. It consists of Wikipedians in Residence, paid fellowships, overt and covert consultants, and Wikipedia "trainers". At this point the community should be very clear which vision it wishes to follow, Jimbo's or that of the aspiring consultants. JN466 00:34, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but this strikes me as making a mountain out of a molehill. Just about all of us are volunteers, and it's going to stay that way; we're debating ~.5% of the editing populace. I have no love for corporate editing (I've helped keep the article on Generation Rescue from being used as a platform to promote their vile shit), but let's not lose perspective on the actual size of this. To me, this appears to be a bunch of WMUK infighting imported, for reasons unknown to me, to Jimbo's talkpage. As an American Wikipedian who moonlights in at Wikimedia New York meetings when he can, I'd rather that WMUK work out its own problems and stop presenting it as "it's going to KILL WIKIPEDIA!!!!"; not only will it not do that, it won't produce more than a tiny blip on the overall radar screen. Wikipedia is a lot more affected by other major issues that everyone here is well aware of, so there's no reason to get overly worked up over this. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:54, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I just want to echo Orange Mike in saying THIS is absolutely appalling. The quicker that WMF shuts down the oozing chancre that is WMUK, the better. This is another, third consecutive public relations catastrophe in the making. As an institution WMUK are tone deaf and on the make, clearly. Carrite (talk) 06:39, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
You want to shut down an entire chapter because one person, unaffiliated with that chapter (other than being a member), sent one email with a very rough outline of an idea that is nowhere near anyone even thinking of actually implementing it? Please stop being so ridiculous. --Tango (talk) 11:22, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • It appears to me that there is no direct action WMF can take against a genuine "Wikipedia consultant" in the true sense of the term - i.e. someone who isn't selling their edits/!votes, but who simply tells a company, this is the stuff your PR people have to get published somewhere in order that you or your friends or your "fans" can have a notable article about your product; but don't start it until you're ready for a DYK; arrange via a friendly WikiProject to give it a high grade so it's faster to get to Featured, etc. You could out and out ban such a consultant and he would still be able to tell his clients how to navigate the maze. So it appears the only option left open to you is to make up an easy, free guide telling every company (other than video game makers, who judging by the Featured Article list seem to have known for years) how to game the system with the best of them. That, or allow the consultants to make their money. Or else change your policies to not feature commercial products on the Main Page, etc. Am I wrong? Wnt (talk) 07:39, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

People here may be interested in the fuller description of my idea that I have posted here. Hopefully people will see that it isn't anywhere near as "appalling" or "corrupt" as it may have first appeared. Please leave any comments on the talk page there, rather than here. --Tango (talk) 22:25, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Original Barnstar Hires.png The Original Barnstar
heyy there EvaActress (talk) 14:30, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

You're invited: Ada Lovelace, STEM women edit-a-thon at Harvard

U.S. Ada Lovelace Day 2012 edit-a-thon, Harvard University - You are invited!
Ada Lovelace color.svg
Now in its fourth year, Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and related fields. Participants from around New England are invited to gather together at Harvard Law School to edit and create Wikipedia entries on women who have made significant contributions to the STEM fields.
Register to attend or sign up to participate remotely - visit this page to do either.
00:26, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

you won a Bugatti

Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 Grand Sport (oblique).jpg bugatti
d Windows.dll (talk) 10:41, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

iPhones and editing

Hello. I hope you or others who watch you page can maybe help me here. I was told that the only way to edit Wikipedia on an iPhone was to use safari. Using safari I am still unable to as there are no edit buttons etc. I was only able to post here because there is a link at the top of the page for a new topic. Is there something else I should be doing to enable me to edit on my iPhone? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:43, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Right at the bottom of each page in the mobile version of the site is a link to the desktop version. You can edit in most phone browsers if you are using the desktop version of the site, but I wouldn't recommend it. Apparently work is being done to make it possible to perform some basic tasks on a phone, but full editing on a phone in a way that doesn't make you want to scream is probably a long way off. --Tango (talk) 21:27, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. I would venture so far as to say that full editing on a phone will always be unpleasant and difficult, due to the small size. The tablet experience should be pretty good in due course, though. It's already fine - I edit from an iPad sometimes, and it works.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:09, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Your comment prodded me to ask a Refdesk question based about phone displays [8] - from comments by John Carmack at QuakeCon (especially 1:32-1:42) it sounds like some people are still trying hard to make a big display from a little phone possible. Wnt (talk) 22:31, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Did you know...

...that an article like Battle of the Dance can get featured as a DYK? Why the heck are we using articles like this as a main-page showcased item? The lede doesn't tell us where the theater is, the infobox doesn't tell us what it is (though it usefully provides us with a defunct URL to what is self-evidently a dead concern), and the remainder of the article seems to have been thrown together from cuttings from a couple of local newspapers. Are we that desperate for main-page fillers that we resort to articles on subjects so 'notable' that nobody that wasn't paid to advertise seems to have noticed, and nobody seems to care about enough to even copy-edit. The article states that the show (or possibly the accompanying meals) were initially reviewed as "so-so", and later described as "terrible" and "tragic". Am I being unduly harsh if I suggest that our article is much the same? We can do better than this, surely... AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:39, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Agreed: the standards of DYK articles/stubs are pretty appalling, not to mention the lameness of many of those forced hooks. The tidal wave of 20+ hooks a day—each set typically exposed for just a few hours—needs to be significantly reduced so the reviewing resources can cope. It's an embarrassment. Tony (talk) 07:59, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
I remain in favor of uncoupling dyk from new articles.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:29, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Happy wedding day

The Times (talk) 09:09, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Do we really have to pay to find out if it's true? (Or just to keep it off Wikipedia). Very clever little text fade device there by The Times. Best wishes, anyway. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:13, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
New York Post is free, if a trifle breathless. William Avery (talk) 11:43, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

A toast to the happy couple, indeed! Collect (talk) 11:50, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Brainstorming: How can we improve the Wikipedia complaints system?

Trying to make the best of the hatted debacle above, one thing Tango is right about is that Wikipedia's complaints system does not work well enough. Talk page complaints are regularly ignored. BLP subjects removing BLP violations may find their edits are reverted. OTRS is not well enough advertised. Members of the public have to navigate a labyrinth of pages and contradictory instructions to locate the OTRS e-mail address, and even if they manage to contact OTRS, sometimes it can take days or weeks for them to receive a reply. OTRS is understaffed, and underfunded, with some OTRS staff at least complaining of poor software.

What I am driving at is that as long as Wikipedia's complaint system is too difficult to understand, too unresponsive for people with legitimate grievances to get any satisfaction from, there will be a market for consultants promising people that they can help "navigate the maze" that is Wikipedia, and its policies and guidelines.

So, how can we make Wikipedia responsive enough that nobody would dream of paying someone to help them fix something that is wrong? Ideas welcome. JN466 13:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

1. Redesign the Help path

Assume you are a BLP subject or a PR professional, and there is a problem in an article about you. This is how you are directed:

  1. If you spot and click on the tiny word "Help" on the left, under "Interaction", you come to Help:Contents, a page that is fairly confusing, and mainly offers help for people wishing to edit.
  2. If on that page you spot and click on "Report a problem", you come to Wikipedia:Contact us/Article problem, another confusing page.
  3. If on that page you click on "There's a problem in an article about you or someone you represent", in the "What's the problem" section, you come to Wikipedia:Contact us/Article problem/Factual error (from subject).
  4. This tells you, "Before you read anything else on this page, please visit the Article subjects FAQ." And the first section below that, which you can't help noticing, says, "Fix it yourself."
  5. The Article subjects FAQ is at Wikipedia:FAQ/Article subjects. It's a page with 2,000 words on it.

Frankly, it looks like Wikipedia does not want to help people very much. There is probably a good reason for that: lack of volunteers. But we cannot have it both ways. We cannot on the one hand make it difficult for BLP subjects and PR professionals to complain, or tell them in so many ways that we rather wish they'd leave us alone and fix the article themselves, and then turn around and come down like a ton of bricks on BLP subjects and PR professionals who make "COI edits", or who end up looking for consultants to help them "navigate the maze" and make the desired edits stick.

The Help function needs a complete overhaul, and if there is a lack of volunteers, then the Foundation should use some of the millions it is taking to employ staff, or fund a body that employs staff, to handle content complaints. Thoughts? JN466 13:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Since we have so many Wikilawyers, maybe we could look into recruiting Wiki public defenders/advocates to help people for free in the way that people would be hired to do externally. Though I'm not sure that this would be a very satisfying cause for volunteers, especially when seen as an alternative to being paid. Wnt (talk) 14:35, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
The wub has been redesigning Help:Contents as part of his Community Fellowship. He's done a great job streamlining the page, but it doesn't have a section for I need help editing an article I'm personally or professionally connected to. His redesign is here: Help:Contents/B. I think adding a field to that page which introduces WP:COI, WP:PSCOI, WP:COIN, WP:WIZ, and WP:PAIDHELP would be very useful and go a long way towards giving COI/paid editors a chance at figuring out what the f*ck they're supposed to do around here. Ocaasi t | c 16:56, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
I have spent a lot of time re-working the request edit templates, process and instructions for reasons along these lines - to create a consistent and reasonable process.
I think there is no compelling reason for a company to use New Page Patrol instead of AfC. By the same token, a well-supported request edit process can eliminate any argument for direct editing. Between COIN, Talk, Request Edit and AfC, I would think OTRS would be a last resort. Corporate 20:32, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
WP:AfC is really another topic altogether. But did you know that there is presently a backlog of around 1250 articles for creation waiting for review at Category:Pending_AfC_submissions? I would accept being 1250th in line at AfC as an arguably compelling reason for trying to put an article directly into mainspace. JN466 21:01, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
The queue is always large, but the wait is usually only a couple weeks. I have never been in a situation as a paid advocate where someone was pressuring me to directly edit because AfC was taking too long. The same could not be said for request edit, however I should probably escalate un-answered requests to COIN more often. Corporate 22:53, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Following the Philip Roth controversy, I boldly added a simple link from Wikipedia:Contact us to the OTRS email address. There's some discussion about it on the talk page. It'd be nice if we could get some consensus on simplifying the process for people contacting us. It's simply bad practice to obfuscate the "let me get to a human" bit: it's horrible when we have that phone tree nonsense, it's equally horrible when you have to decide which of seventeen options to choose when you are, well, angry, pissed off and want to talk to someone about it.
Imagine calling The Samaritans and being presented with a series of options: "If you are feeling suicidal right now, press 1. If you are contemplating suicide but aren't actually standing on the bridge ready to jump off, press 2. If you are a closeted gay teenager who is about to storm off and leave home because your parents are bigots, press 3." No. Just no.
For a long time, in the web design world, there's been a "three click rule". You should be able to do everything on a website in three clicks or fewer. Wikipedia:Contact us fails the three click test.
Also, press-ganging more Wikipedians for OTRS work may also be a good idea. —Tom Morris (talk) 11:29, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Agree on all of those (except perhaps the press-ganging). But the inertia appears extreme. I don't see a practical way to accomplish this. JN466 10:17, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
I think one obvious problem is that people tend to expect important things such as FAQs or Help pages to be highlighted plainly at the bottom, per standard practice on most major websites. What we have is dinky little text that includes a hefty About us page, a disclaimer, privacy policy, and the contact page. Adding the Help page link at the bottom would be one thing to ease the process. Most sites also have "terms of services" i.e. policies linked at the bottom, but to get to those on Wikipedia requires you to go to the about page and read through a block of text. Not to mention that, when editors are creating an account, no notice is given to them about Wikipedia's policies. It would make things more accessible if people didn't have to go through a whole lot of navigation and pour over text just to find out what edits are good and what edits are bad. The main reason we have so many vandal-fighting editors is because it takes minimal effort to identify and fix vandalism so there is little risk of running afoul of some complex and obscure policy. Of course, vandal-fighting isn't conducive to actually building an encyclopedia.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 01:06, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

There is currently an RfC on the narrow question of whether Help:Contents/B should replace Help:Contents at Help_talk:Contents#RfC:_Redesign_of_Help:Contents. However, note that this only addresses the first of the many pages listed above that a user has to click through. JN466 20:06, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Also see Wikipedia_talk:Contact_us#Proposed_replacement. JN466 08:59, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

2. Establish an elected BLP committee

Another, complementary option would be an elected BLP committee, similar in size to the arbitration committee, with the authority to hear and adjudicate complaints so as to bring articles on living people and corporations in line with BLP policy. Thoughts? JN466 13:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

IANAL, but I would think that hiring or appointing staff to control BLPs starts to look a lot like publishing, and would expose Wikipedia and/or these overlords to direct claims of liability. This would be everything wrong with Pending Changes, intensified. If such an election did occur, of course, there is no way that Democrats could conceivably permit Republicans to have authority over the presidential candidate articles, or vice versa, so we should expect a partisan campaign with one single faction in absolute control of Wikipedia's political bias. Wnt (talk) 14:27, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
They would be no more hired and appointed than arbcom. JN466 14:38, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
ArbCom certainly is appointed, indeed by Jimbo as he affirmed just recently; but it wisely avoids taking a position in content disputes. Wnt (talk) 14:45, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
This is one of those things that people keep repeating, but that does not make it true. :) While it is true that Arbcom does not write content, it routinely rules on edits' compliance with policy. A BLP committee could operate in a similar manner. At the end of the day, members of such a committee remain community-appointed volunteers. They are not paid, contractually bound employees. JN466 15:39, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Numerous people are semi-idle many months: I think there are many people who could help if contacted. In analyzing active-editor patterns, I am not seeing "everyone quitting", no instead, I am seeing many long-term editors who drift into "dabble mode" ("nibbling and grazing") during several months, where in other months, they have been far more active. I am wondering if we should have "1-week update drives" where perhaps the semi-idle editors would join for a week, if the need was not expected to last an entire month, then people could rotate out more often. Plus, I am seeing more strong evidence of the numerous, questionable AWB-2-word-edits, when people need to really fix 75-changes-per-page, or join a group who are answering help-requests. In many articles which get AWB-2-word-edits, the remaining punctuation errors have lasted for many months or years. AWB is being used like "washing windows by 2 strokes of a toothbrush" so the windows stay dirty a long time (compare to 75 strokes). Even the Top 1000 most-viewed articles often have "40" punctuation errors, typically with non-italicized book/film titles or missing hyphens. -Wikid77 (talk) 15:23, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Doesn't fix the problem. It seems to me that BLP issues aren't all alike. (Duh.) The big major BLP issues which end up on WP:BLPN or which get dragged through RfCs or other dispute resolution processes: that's the sort of thing a BLP committee would handle, presumably. There are other issues too which this doesn't solve: a minor entertainer contacts us telling us her birthdate is wrong. We're talking by a few months, not like some grand attempt to cover up the truth. It turns out that there are a lot of sources with the wrong birthdate because lazy journalists copied IMDB, which is wrong. She mentions in her email that the IMDB page is incorrect and she's been contacting them for months to get it corrected. Eventually, I find a few sources that have a different birthdate, change the article, contact her to tell her it's been fixed. Awesome: OTRS worked as it intended. But the problem is when we can't find those sources, there's not much we can do other than tell them.
    The BLP committee also risks becoming a big public thing. We'll get more "Supreme Court of Wikipedia" type stories about how Wikipedia is secretly in the pocket of some BLP subject. This is really a giant distraction from the problem.
    What would be nice is if we could be slightly less barmy about WP:V for uncontentious BLP facts. Someone emails us in with a minor correction like, say, a middle name or a birthday, and we could have a way for OTRS agents to use the email they've sent us as verification for changing the article. On wiki, we would simply add a note to the talk page saying "The subject of this article has contacted Wikipedia's OTRS address requesting corrections. Two Wikipedians have verified this and corrected this issue." Obviously, we'd have to get the consent of the person and verify that they are who they say they are, and only apply it in really uncontentious cases like birthdates and the like.
    We need a way for OTRSers to actually take action on uncontentious BLP issues when there's a lack of sources. That'd solve a lot of the problems. Not all of them: won't guarantee that there won't be another Siegenthaler or Roth incident, but it'll cut down on a lot of the more minor problems.
    Better OTRS training would be useful. It's something the OTRS community have talked about for a while, but currently, there's little more than "oh, read the wiki". When I started OTRS work, if it wasn't for the fact that I knew an OTRSer who guided me through the process of answering my first two or three tickets, it's rather a daunting process. —Tom Morris (talk) 11:58, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Good comment! I agree we should have some system for doing what I've called "Verified Interviews with Biographic Subjects", and this is rather similar to OTRS in that some amount of moderately confidential data will need to be handled in order to verify the interview actually is with the subject. But it also should resemble Wikinews in the sense that the output of the process should be publicly archived somewhere, independently of specific facts for an article that may be deleted or munged over time. Wnt (talk) 16:53, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
  • BLPs (articles on persons) should have their own mediawiki wiki. This would help disentangle policy between BLPs and the rest of the encyclopedia. - jc37 22:27, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
    • Sure, with pages transcluded here. An idea I've long been in favour of, but which will never happen. :) JN466 10:21, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
      • Um, no. WP:BLP policy applies to all articles, in as much as they refer to identifiable living people. The last thing we need is to lose people experienced in BLP issues to another wiki. AndyTheGrump (talk) 10:46, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

3. Providing a paid consultancy service that helps members of the public navigate Wikipedia (with profits benefiting Wikimedia)

Tango has produced a more complete write-up of his analysis of the problem, why he thinks a paid consultancy service might be the way forward, and how Wikipedia's interests could be protected. While the service would be for profit, any profits made would be donated to the Wikimedia movement. The complete write-up is at JN466 00:49, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Can anyone with comments please go to the talk page there? I'd like to keep the discussion in one place and there have already been some very useful comments made over there. Thanks! --Tango (talk) 11:10, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

exemplar of "silly season"

[9] a short BLP of a not-especially-important person on 5 May 2012.

[10] the same BLP today.

Almost all added by one editor. The article is now 15 times its former size.

I suggest that such pages are great exemplars of "silly season" editing" indeed. Collect (talk) 11:54, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

A guy has to support fourteen children somehow, I guess. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:05, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
"Silly season" properly refers to a slow news season, not news you don't want people to know. When Wikipedia covers minor figures in an important political campaign, it is working properly. It is also interesting indeed to see how in reality the rich get rich. Wnt (talk) 13:05, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Yeppers -- we must be sure to show how bad the rich are, fer shure. With thousands of words listing every detail of a Boy Scout pedophile scandal which is already fully covered on Wikipedia in the first place. Every candidate he has ever supported with details of the campaigns. With all the dollar amounts. Sure. Thousands of words tell us how evil Stowell was -- who is not even particularly relevant to VanderSloot unless you think VanderSloot favours pedophilia? Sure -- we haveta make sure those "rich" people get this sort of BLP. I think I have seen that sort of argument from you before on this very talk page very recently. My concept of WP:BLP is a lot different from yours. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:45, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
and even richer. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:37, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
a) To me it looks like the section describes conflict between VanderSloot and Peter Zuckerman; Stowell is not the focus.
b) When I said "how the rich get rich", I did not launch off on a tirade (though I could). That someone actually became a notable wealthy person via the Melaleuca marketing model is interesting. It makes me wonder if it would be possible to have an open source equivalent, or open source business in general. I should note that Wikipedia and Wikiversity have generally all but ignored any positive social role they could exercise by making business more accessible to the public understanding the way they have with science. For a truly sad experience, visit v:School:Business. Wikipedia should have abundant resources letting people see how the rich got rich, case by case, and Wikiversity should have a huge range of resources that would explain, step by step for the novice, how people can set up businesses within many specific jurisdictions, come up with a business plan, raise capital, get them licensed, get them profitable. I understand that there is a strong caste barrier in many places and that those on the wrong side don't know this stuff or even feel like it's their place to know this stuff, but WMF could recruit people in to break it if they tried. Wnt (talk) 14:30, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
"Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil." - Ghandi. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:25, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Compare 1 Timothy: 6:10.—Wavelength (talk) 14:22, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
The love of money may be the root of all evil, but nothing is said there about the knowledge of money. I'm thinking that if every housewife in New Jersey could easily find out exactly how to start her own business to package deer jerky or barbecue roo meat, we'd have a more varied diet - and better prices, and a more even distribution of wealth. Wnt (talk) 15:17, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Surely, the roo of all evil? Martinevans123 (talk) 15:38, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
In the original Greek version, the noun ῥίζα ("hriza", "rhiza") is anarthrous and means "a root", not "the root".
Wavelength (talk) 15:38, 8 October 2012 (UTC)


  • Sincere congratulations to both you and Kate on your marriage. My prayers for much love, many blessings, and a beautiful life together! Always, Cindy(talk to me) 18:58, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

I'll second that. --Jonty Monty (talk) 19:18, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

  • A third congratulations from here! Ryan Vesey 19:21, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Would speculating on where they are going for their honeymoon be WP:NOTGOSSIP? Seriously though, best wishes and many happy citations! Face-smile.svg Alanl (talk) 16:19, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

I just saw on the front page of the Sunday Times. Congratulations! --Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 10:47, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Congrats! ♛♚★Vaibhav Jain★♚♛ Talk Email 10:55, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
  • According to The Register, you and Kate were wed on 6 October,[1] so best wishes and a happy, proper, inline citation. --Lexein (talk) 14:19, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Many congratulations our glorious leader doktorb wordsdeeds 19:24, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
  • occasional wikipedia editor here wanting to add my congratulations! Thedreamdied (talk) 22:23, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Congratulations! the wub "?!" 12:41, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Best wishes and many congrats Mr. Wales! NickCT (talk) 13:39, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Congratulations and fond hopes for a long and wonderful marriage! Jusdafax 16:25, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Congrats wikiman!! :) Greg Heffley 20:52, 9 October 2012 (UTC)


This item from the SignPost caught my attention:

Here's a standing offer: any PR professional who feels their concerns have not been addressed in the English Wikipedia should come and post to my user talk page. I will personally see to it. This idea that PR people have to edit Wikipedia article directly because they can't get a response any other way is sheer and total nonsense.

My experience has been that companies often want to directly edit because they want control of the article (WP:OWN) or want a borderline ADVERT, excessive external links, etc.. Many companies I work with will at some point nod to a competitor's article that is spammy and promotional and say "why can't we do that?" But the one valid reason for direct editing that is not at odds with Wikipedia's principles is that it can take weeks/months/years to get anything done following the WP:BRIGHTLINE.

I appreciate the standing offer, but any risk-adverse organization probably wouldn't feel comfortable having their Wikipedia woes on public display on Jimbo's Talk page. I would go so far as to say that WP:NORUSH and the time/difficulty in getting things done following the WP:BRIGHTLINE are the single most compelling arguments not to follow it.

I've tried a few projects to make the BrightLine more obvious and easier, faster and more consistent, but not with any great success.

What do you think can be done to make the Bright Line a more compelling option for companies pursuing their own self-interest? I do my best to convince companies there is value in doing Wikipedia ethically, but for all intensive purposes, I am not sure the ROI calculation swings that way. Corporate 18:30, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

I've compared paid COI editing to BLP subject editing. Imagine that we did the same thing for BLP subjects: we said "we won't let you fix the article about yourself. Instead, we'll make a standing offer in an obscure place; if you track down the offer and ask someone to fix the article, there's a chance they might do so". We probably wouldn't tolerate that, and it certainly wouldn't help BLPs. Ken Arromdee (talk) 18:59, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

proper question for anyone to ask?

Why are you so keen to bury information regarding the activities of a pedophile?

Was asked of me at [11]

I happened to consider it an millimetre beyond the pale - was it? Collect (talk) 20:01, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Is it a proper question to ask? No, I very much doubt it. Is this a proper place for you to raise this? I don't think so. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:04, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I asked the person to redact - and have received absolutely no response. And this is rather a good place to ask just about anything at all, if you wish to read the many varied discussions held here in the past. Thus it is "proper" to ask and I do not understand why anyone would think otherwise. BTW, I think you should recall my defending you for some rather "grumpy" language in the past. Cheers. Collect (talk) 20:29, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Yeah - but is this a good place to raise the issue? Do you want something specific done about it? If so, it won't happen here. If it had say been raised at WP:ANI (which I'd have thought not entirely over-the-top given the refusal to redact), there would be at least possibility of a resolution. Here, likely as not if there is going to be a response at all it will end up running through the whole 'civility' debate once again, with the same inconclusive outcome as everyone goes over the same old ground once more. Meanwhile, more people will have seen what was said, and any redaction becomes less meaningful. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:53, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Check the archives - civility is a major topic on this page. And where an editor does not redact a ridiculous aspersion, the iteration here harms no one but the person who made the absurd comment. And I would daresay Wikipedia's record on actually "enforcing" civility is everso slightly less stellar than a "100 magnitude" star. Collect (talk) 21:08, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
A better discussion question might be: does adding a middle initial or middle name constitute "original research" as you intimate it does in the exchange in question here? I don't think it does — OR is a prohibition against unsourced essays and novel scientific expositions. Here's the big question with which we should concern ourselves: Is the information accurate? Carrite (talk) 01:06, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

To answer the first question above, the wording of the question you quoted was not good, as it contains a highly objectionable insinuation for which there is no basis. I hope that this will not be repeated. (I'm not certain that substantially publicizing the question by repeating it here helped much either, but meh.)

Disambiguating the name of someone accused of a serious crime with a middle name sounds like a reasonable thing to do, given that a Wikipedia article containing an individual's name often jumps to the top of Google searches concerning that person. (Unfortunately for people who share a name with a notorious namesake, even when we on Wikipedia do our best to disambiguate, the rest of the Internet often does not, so there's only so much we can do to fix this problem.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 01:20, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

The problem is - the person named was not of any notability nor, indeed, of any relevance to the article where it was placed. Nor were the names of the victims needed in the article. Nor was the name of the reporter who complained of "outing" needed to be further outed in Wikipedia in Wikipedia's voice. Collect (talk) 13:04, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

RfA: A horrible and broken process

Jimbo, it's over 18 months since you made that statement. In the meantime the number of candidates has dwindled to almost nothing. This current RfA is perhaps the most distubing (or disturbed) RfA since you made that comment. Whether or not I am involved as one of the nominators is besides the point - it's really time now to get some sanity into the system. Other Wikimedia projects exercise far greater control over their RfA processes, why can't we? Please take a moment if you can, to review that RfA; I realise that you have no executive powers, but your opinions on policy are influential. Thanks. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:54, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

It is not surprising that there is opposition to an editor who admits to having used the English Wikipedia IRC to helping to organize vandalism of another Wiki. Kiefer.Wolfowitz 09:44, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
That's not quite what I am talking about, is it Wolfowitz? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:53, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
If the number of applicants can be plausibly modeled as a Poisson process, the mean and variance are the same. Thus, it's common that we have months with zero applicants. Kiefer.Wolfowitz 13:02, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. Sometimes all the buses come at once, and sometimes none arrive for half an hour. And looking at the pattern from last year there was a big drop (only 1/3 the level of previous months) in candidates in August and September, no candidates in the first two weeks of September, and applications in October and November were running at half those in June and July. --Elen of the Roads (talk) 13:58, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
I suspect that the number of editors who've discussed anything on The Dark Side of Wikipedia and have been around for 1-2 years is a good predictor of the incidence of RfAs. I would agree that that number has been dropping.
Even so, with low intensities of applicants (mean-numbers of applicants, dropping also), it's not surprising that zeros do come up, and come up in clusters. Kiefer.Wolfowitz 21:03, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

I thought the plan was renom prior candidates: I thought the long-term plan was to re-nominate the prior candidates who were barely rejected because of lack of experience, or more study of some issues. I understand that the re-RfA requires indepth attention to the discussion for several days, but the duties of an RfA can be applied in phases, with wikibreaks, so a candidate should understand that a re-RfA is similar to an editor fighting attempts to topic-ban them, or impose a long-term block, and gives the candidate first-hand experience at such an ordeal. However, although we have some "reformed vandals" who now help improve many articles, it will be difficult to get them approved as admins, due to suspicions of eventual mistrust. Another option would be to ask former admins to rejoin, on a part-time basis with wikibreaks. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:50, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Glancing at the current RfA, it is easy to see why there isn't a long line of candidates who previously failed ready to run the gauntlet yet again. While there are some very legitimate concerns regarding the current candidate, the amount of drama, bludgeoning, verbosity and simple bad judgement displayed boggles the mind. It is as if the entire world lost it's mind and decided to be individually and personally invested in the outcome of this RfA. In a word, it is disgraceful. The only thing I find more disgraceful is the lack of a strong community response. When we condone bad behavior simply because we agree with the eventual outcome (the end justifies the means), we are no better than those creating the disruption to begin with. It does not speak well to our character as a community, that is certain. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 13:56, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
"the amount of drama, bludgeoning, verbosity and simple bad judgement" - I thought that WAS the 'strong community response'? Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:13, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Then you don't understand the problem. I see someone has collapsed one section[12], which the author refused to do earlier. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 14:21, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
RFA itself has been *the* problem since becoming an Admin was seen as a promotion/status symbol. Short of changing the RFA process, or the very nature of being an Admin on WP. When nominated editors are not so clean, expect it to not end well. Such is the nature of the WP commnunity Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:34, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
That seems overly apologetic to those that disrupt. Like I said, the end doesn't justify the means. Previous bad behavior by a candidate doesn't require bad behavior by participants in an RfA, as neither should be tolerated. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 15:04, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
There certainly is a lot of bullshite in that RfA. I think it stems from the rather obvious pre-canvassing on IRC and teen:net et al. That sort of effort results in boomerang effects which amps everything up in a vicious cycle. Properly sussing of any true “consensus” would discard both the canvassing and the off-wiki issues. There's no way to do that accurately, of course. So that's how this should be closed. Br'er Rabbit (talk) 15:14, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)If neither should be tolerated then a candidate demonstrating or with unacceptable previous should not be nominated. However, I really don't think that this is the time or the place to discuss this problem. Leaky Caldron 15:17, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)What disturbs me most is how tolerant we are when an admin is clearly too verbose, and would have quickly hatted, talk page'ed the discussion, or dragged the editor to ANI if they refused, IF it would have been a non-admin. Do you think that if it was YOUR name attached at the end of those comments, it would have been so easily tolerated and overlooked, Br'er Rabbit? I don't. That is de facto inequity, condoned by the community, and that is what I find most disturbing. RfA doesn't belong to us admin, nor should admin have special privilege when participating. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 15:22, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
If I had made cunard's tl;dr rant? (and I didn't read it all) Sure, more shite would have kicked up; the littluns hate me. That's the nature of (the problem with) the community and it's way the fuck out of control at RfA and ANI. They are venues where live targets are pilloried for public abuse. I've suggested many times and means by which the serious participants in this project could rein in the nasty blood sports. How about summarily indef'ing the worst dozen RfA and ANI trolls? It would send a real wake-up call to the next four dozen on the list. (Hey, Jimmy; I've an eighth anniversary coming up, how about a free sysop bit? No big deal, right? /*and congratulations*/) Br'er Rabbit (talk) 15:59, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
I think if the process in place to elect someone to a position of authority is an adversarial process, by which they are questioned and their background looked into, complaining about someone doing due diligence is a bit unfair. Verbosity may be TLDR, but at least it was relevant & on-topic. I would rather have verbosity than some of the hatchet jobs that have happened in the past. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:45, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't think the current RFA is any worse than any other for defective candidates. Usually the Oppose votes come forward at once and things are snowed shut almost instantaneously. In this case, it was about 115 to 10 before the fact that a candidate had admitted to having used IRC last year to organize vandalism on a rival Wiki really began to sink in. OF COURSE the reaction is going to be vigorous. We have recently seen the effect of at least one tainted RFA nomination slipping through the sieve. This has Episode Two written all over it. One would think that mature judgment would win the day with a classy withdrawal, but apparently this is going down as a fight to the last ditch. Unfortunate. Carrite (talk) 15:56, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

(edit conflict)I disagree. The candidate was under no obligation to reveal their off-wiki stupidity. It took courage for him to say what he said. He admitted to his faults. Anybody that has that kind of courage and responsibility to admit their wrong is a + in my books. Has he ever vandalized this Wikipedia? The answer to hat is no. Judgements about the candidate need to confined to what goes on in the WMF projects. What's next, we ask for his social security number to perform a background check on everything they did wrong, point out every job they got fired in or or were laid off? If that were true, NO ONE would be an admin, crat, Checkuser, oversighted, or steward. It just wouldn't work.—cyberpower ChatOnline 16:08, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
This is larger than the one candidate currently there. Where do we do draw the line on participation? Why do we allow some editors more leeway than others? RfA should be a shining example of consistency and fairness, but instead it is often more chaotic and drama filled than ANI. I expect a degree of it at ANI, and that can be managed. There is no such management at RfA. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 16:04, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
There's always Wikipedia:SecurePoll. The problem centres around the badgering dynamic; all the indented shite. So nix that. It doesn't have to actually be SecurePoll, but like it; /all/ bullshite clerked off to the talk page and blocks or page-boots for the disruptive. Same for the Q/A section. !votes limited to one sentence, 30 words, two diffs; anything more goes on talk. This would make talk a zoo, but it can be ignored there. Σ needs to answer Q#23 (mine). But he seems to have taken a runner when this capsized 40 hours ago. Br'er Rabbit (talk) 16:41, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Part of the discussion that needs to be had. Some obvious solutions spring to mind such as far more detailed disclosure questions, an embargo on !votes until answers are received, simple rules on challenge and response to !votes with overspill transferred to the talk page and simple clerking duties doled out to trusty, uninvolved editors to manage the whole affair. Leaky Caldron 16:10, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
I am pretty sure that a situation that has arisen out of the current overly-bureaucratic process of RFA is not going to be improved by... more bureaucracy. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:37, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
More specific requirements for candidates and parameters over the RfA process would be a step in the right direction. It does not have to be akin to an obtuse IRS reg. Kierzek (talk) 17:24, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Bureaucratic? It is currently a complete free-for-all with no structure at all (apart from the section headings). I've suggested some outline ideas to improve flow and minimise disruption while ensuring candidates are given a fair chance without the pillories and stocks being set up in advance or the man trap being introduced half way through. Leaky Caldron 17:39, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Here is one example of how the process is hindering the pedia. Over the last year several admins have been going on a mass protection spree protecting everything touch. This means that a lot of us cannot edit these items. I have been trying for weeks to get some edits done to Template:WikiProject United States, a protected template, that I have the technical ability to do but don't have admin rights to implement the change. My RFA showed the community doesn't trust me to be an admin, ok fine, that means I should not do these edits IMO even in the sandbox but the editors with admin rights have repeatedly refused to do them unless I do all the work. They expect me to do all the work so they can just copy and paste the change and claim "credit" for the admin action. Call it a bad attitude on my part if you want but I am not going to do all the work to make a change I am not "trusted" to do. This is only one of a hundred examples how the RFA process is killing Wikipedia. It needs to change, someone needs to change it. We need to go back to the beginning when Wikipedia was still a fun place to edit when we trusted editors. Not the us and them mentality battleground that we now have. Split the admin functions into groups like we did with Filemover and rollbacker. Keep the RFA for only those that really want all the tools. With that said someone needs to archive this discussion. Its been discussed too many times already. Everyone knows the process is broken and everyone should by now know that it isn't going to get fixed anytime soon. There is no need to continue to beat a dead horse here. Kumioko (talk) 17:33, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

There are scores of Wikipedia in different languages. Perhaps one laboratory of mediocracy has a good system for developing administrators? Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:56, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
I think it's worth a look but you're gonna run into problems of scale there. en-Wiki is just much bigger than (almost) all the other ones. Volunteer Marek  18:40, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Automatically bestow admin privileges on anyone who reaches 5,000 edits with a clean block log. Those with a besmirched block log must undergo the RfA process. For RfAs, set-up a system in which editors are randomly selected by a bot to vote in the RfA instead of having it open to self-selected voters. Set-up an "admin review board" with power to desysop admins who repeatedly foul up. I think that will solve the problem of not enough active admins and make the RfA process less adversarial. Cla68 (talk) 22:33, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Bad idea. We'll just get a whole slew of bot-runners and twinkle users who lack any experience in ... real human interaction. Volunteer Marek  22:49, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Human interaction??? What is this strange thing you speak of? If it's so important, why can't I do it using WP:Twinkle? Mark Arsten (talk) 00:13, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Human interation is something one experiances off Wiki, not on. We are simply the text we type out here. Is this really "human" interaction? I would say not. But I actually get the point. Social graces do seem to escape some here and one would wonder if they actually have any true human contact. It is kinda important to understand how to get along with others....even in the virtual world.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:58, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Social graces in communication went out of the window with the advent of the Internet and the anonymity it affords. Many editors don't know the world as it was when communication was by snail mail, phone, and fax when every one knew who every one was. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:01, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
It has not been that long since the real inclusion of the Internet in the application of everyday life; and all the forms of communication you list are still in service and practice (the fax being the nearest to death). The point is that many people don't care to practice the "social graces in communication" in this anonymous world of people behind the screen, which are "simply the text we type out here". Kierzek (talk) 15:56, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Since the closing of Wikipedia:Wikiquette assistance I think it may also be time to close RFA and incorporate it's function into either Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard or, better yet, Wikipedia:Bureaucrats' noticeboard. It might even be something to think about by closing both WP:RFA and WP:BN and incorporate both functions into WP:AN and WP:AN/I and other existing boards.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:36, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Interesting, such a suggestion was not made at WP:RFA2011. I would be more interested however to know how you believe that would address the issues that have been identified with the current system. Perhaps you would like to provide more detail on your idea here. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:03, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely Kudpung. I see this as part of reforming both civility issues and DR as well as reforming the admin nomination process.--Amadscientist (talk) 07:10, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

My apolgies if I sound blunt but I believe the 5,000 Edits clean blog idea is an idea that would never fly, you could end up with someone who doesn't get all of the rules with privilages to change anything, it would be a worrying thought if I was an Admin to one of the web's biggest websites. To be honest you never know who could be on their way up to that. It is an idea that makes a good base but how about the Admin team puts their heads together and improves the idea? CHCSPrefect (talk) 09:51, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

I still don't understand why people haven't adopted an "unbundling" or trial program for this stuff. Say, at 5000 edits, you can claim a bit allowing you to protect, unprotect, and edit full-protected pages. After some period of time and/or edits, you can block and unblock users - but maybe there would be rules on how many how often. And after a while more, the ultimate power of deleting and undeleting stuff. It's simple kinetics: you have a very high barrier (activation energy), so stabilize the transition state so that the process can occur via smaller steps. Wnt (talk) 23:34, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Unbundling is a perennial topic and there have been no less than 3 proposals this year alone. They all fail to reach consensus. The reasons are multiple, but although most of those for and against are reasonable on the surface, they are diametrically opposed, contrarian, and oft times hypocritical. A bit like RfA itself. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:05, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
  • most of the reason there are issues at RfA is that there are regulars who will make personal attacks and misrepresentations against those who disagree with them, with a kind of battlefield mentality in most RfAs that just makes commenting at RfA unpleasant:
  • [13] "Perhaps "attack-like form" is a new weapon created by semi-literate children who really ought to be spending more time in school than here. Anyway, haven't you got school tomorrow yourself Zac?"
  • [14] "I've never found talking to blinkered fools to be a productive exercise, so, whatever."
  • [15] "Quite. Which marginalised group would be next on his radar if he was "promoted" to admin? Unpopular editors?"
  • [16] "I never suggested that you and Sigma were friends, I was simply musing on possible explanations for your dishonesty."
  • [17] "two can play that childish game cyberpower678, and it's hardly an "upgrade" unless you believe the closing bureaucrat to be an idiot"
[18][19][20]. What would be unacceptable from new editors is tolerated from long term editors. If there was some sense of decorum at RfA, it wouldn't be all that bad. IRWolfie- (talk) 11:25, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Rfa's should adopt the arbcom case structure and only allow comments in own section at the vote or limit it to the talkpage. While some have changed their votes after seeing new evidence brought forth as the Rfa progresses, I think it rare that these back and forth arguments lead to more than a few people changing their opinions.MONGO 11:48, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
A great deal here seems duplicative of comments on the RfA talk page where I made my own specific proposal [21]:
!Votes should not be accompanied by extensive commentary, but should have only a brief comment or two (under three lines total). Further discussion of any comments should not be made in a threaded discussion within the RfA, but on the talk page set aside for such an RfA. If any editors feel that extensive exposition on their !votes is needed, then links to pages in their userspace where their extended opinions are given is proper
I suggest this meets all the arguments about the devolution of RfA into extensive debates. Collect (talk) 12:24, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
We need to abolish the RFA process not replace it with a worse one like Arbcom! I also agree that unbundling is the way to go but as with most things on Wikipedia, if we leave it up to consensus it will never happen. Someone in the foundation needs to step up and make a command decision for once and do it. They need to start leading rather than sit in the back seat and make comments about the ones driving the bus who often times don't know how to drive. The RFA process os broken, it comes up multiple times a year and everyone agrees, few want to be an admin, few have the ability needed and even fewer possess the ability to pass the RFA gauntlet. In addition to that many of the tasks reserved for admins have nothing to do with adminship like editing a protected article or template, viewing certain special reports like unwatched articles and being able to pull in lists of more than 25000 articles at a time to AWB to name a few. We need to put more trust in our editors and stop this us versus them, we are better than you, we are right and you are wrong mentality that a majority of admins hve towards editors, especially IP editors. These are just some of the things that need to be addressed but never will unless someone in the foundation shows some leadership. Kumioko (talk) 12:50, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
I meant to eliminate the back and forth chatter outside one's own comment is done with arbitration pages. Its rather ridiculous when everyone comes here screaming about how Rfa is "broken" and offer no viable alternative that has any chance being better. If the bickering and back and forth threading are eliminated then the process may be less like running the gaunlet. As its set up now, there is no restraining the potential for flaming.MONGO 14:05, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
IMO what we need to do is trust our editors. If you have an editor submit for RFA that has been around for a while and knows the ropes it shouldn't be a big deal to give them the tools. There isn't anything that can't be undone with a mere edit and if they screw up too bad and too many times the tools can simply be removed. Its a complete waste of time in my opinion to take a couple weeks to let everyone bring an editor down and more often then not make them leave the project because they hurt some editors feelings in the past. Users like myself who are longterm positive contributors to the project shouldn't be spit on by other editors because they want to be able to keep contributing as more and more content gets protected and it becomes harder and harder to edit because they no longer have access to do so. Again using myself as an example if I can't be trusted at this point and if I haven't proven myself capable and reliable enough to be trusted to wield the tools then someone should just block my account and all the others that aren't good or wanted enough to participate in the project. And yes I have gotten a bit of a bad attitude about it. Its hard to not take it personal after a while but I believe in the prouject and thats why I stay. Same as the others who keep contributing but after a while it wears on you and you eventually just stop editing or trying for RFA as so many have andn that brings us to the problem we now face. Not enough editors and not enough admins. Longer wait times for admin related tasks and more articles and content being restricted to admin editing. Its only going to get worse unless someone does something. Kumioko (talk) 14:59, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Okay...I understand and I think eliminating the acrimonious threading that is currently allowed needs to be curtailed. Perhaps the Rfa pages can have some clerks around to keep order. Set Rfa policy so the threading is eliminated. Allow voters to state their case for or against in the spot they vote only and move the infighting to the Rfa talkpage.MONGO 16:18, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
It also seems to me like the back and forth rarely goes anywhere and could easily be moved to the talk; perhaps there's some value in commenting on opposes to try and sway undecided voters, but I doubt it. WilyD 16:30, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
If we keep the existing process, which I don't think we should, then IMO there is no reason to leave a long commentary on ones vote. Support, Oppose or neutral and any commentary can be left on the talk page. There is no need to put things like Strong, Weak, Oppose with Napalm, etc. Kumioko (talk) 16:54, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Let me also followup with these rather troubling numbers:

  • 2012 (20)
  • 2011 (52)
  • 2010 (75)
  • 2009 (121)
  • 2008 (201)
  • 2007 (408)

From 2007 we have been promoting roughly half the number of admins every year since 2007. There are many factors for this including incresaed scutiny and standards but the fact is this is a troubling sign of the future if we don't do something soon. Kumioko (talk) 17:06, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

  • For those who don't like the idea of automatic bestowals of adminship after 5,000 edits, you forget that the more active admins there are, the more difficult it would be for any one admin to do harm. Cla68 (talk) 22:44, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
And the more difficult it would be to control them. The idea of according the tools based on a very low bar conflicts with the view of the group of adminship detractors who want more control over the admins that we do have. That said, unfortunately, we may well have some rotten apples within the corps of sysops. In parallel to RfA reform, a stronger Arbcom is required, and a huge simplification of the arbcom case process which has become more complex than a court of law. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:49, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
We absolutely do not need a stronger Arbcom. The Arbcom we have is too much. Everything they touch turns to crap. The very acceptance of a case relating to users by Arbcom is a Wiki death sentence to that user and the determinations they make about general subject is questionable as well. I do agree that we shouldn't be handing out Admin rights to every editor based on some arbitrary number of edits like 5000 but I do also believe that we need to have more trust in the editors who have proven themselves knowledgable about how things work and allow them to continue to contribute. Especially as the protection faeries go skipping through the Namespaces sprinkling protection dust on everything so that only admins can edit them. We have over 3100 protected templates that only admins can edit not counting articles and other namespaces. Kumioko (talk) 02:24, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't seem like that much considering the amount of overall artilces is something like 3,719,838 [22]--Amadscientist (talk) 04:07, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

May I share a system I used on a major site elsewhere. Moderators(similar to admins here) where short listed on basis of activity. That won't be edit count(with the flaws pointed out above), rather it would be periods of activity. In a Wikipedia way that would be to count the number of days someone edited and reset if they are inactive for a protracted time (i.e. a month). I suggest that 180 days of activity on Wikipedia would give a reasonable starting point to identify committed individuals. A short list could be reduced further, those that are blocked etc, or those who don't want to be an admin, but the above criteria would be a great starting point. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 04:07, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

The only easy way out of this is to take Mongo's idea up and eliminate threading (and all the bickering that goes with it). If you have a comment/question/objection take it to the talk page (or the editors talk page). RxS (talk) 04:16, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

The figures quoted above are interesting. Is the average Wikipedian today twenty times less suitable to become an admin than in 2007?--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 09:23, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't think less suitable, but less willing to apply and less are able to pass that gauntlet. It also reflects the declining number of editors and the declining number of editors who stick around for more than a couple months. Kumioko (talk) 12:54, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Clannish behavior at Rfa is hardly new though, and gang warfare has been part of the Rfa process for at least 5 years. I think we need to start an Rfc in the appropriate venue and discuss the elimination of threaded responses...force the discussion to the particular Rfa talkpage...or in the section where they !voted. I'd be glad to start such an Rfc if no one beats me to it...others could surely word the parameters better than I and we need to avoid regulation creep, but make sure we get some better controls over some of the hostility and infighting which we sometimes see at an Rfa.MONGO 14:04, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
This recent ANI, unfortunately, does not show much better behavior. Look here to see a gang-up and a one-year old pay-back attempt which resulted in yet the loss of another great content editor. The subject is Self-determination and in addition, a final act of vandalism is still unremarked on along with the overall failure of a conclusive resolution. This process is also unfortunately broken. [23]
I don't keep up with who likes or dislikes whom on-wiki, who fell out with whom on IRC, who slagged off whom off-wiki etc. etc. It is all too complicated, but this is what RfA seems to be about nowadays.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 14:33, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Exactly, and most good editors quit as a result of an disagreeable process, no matter what kind it is, because they just want to be productive and not get sidetracked with all of the unpleasantness. That is what I was trying to say. It is all the same when you think about it. People drag out old grienvances, perceived slights, etc. It is all the same.Mugginsx (talk) 14:37, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
The world news is still happening at the same rate that it was five years ago, but the regular editors are leaving or retiring at a worrying rate. Many high quality contributors have left recently. This is known in the business world as the churn rate, and it has long term implications for Wikipedia.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 14:48, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
I still think that modularizing the various admin tasks is the way too go. Most admins don't use the full set, in fact most only use the same 2 or 3 tools for whatever niche they do (like vandal fighting, protecting, deleting, etc.). That will allow editors to just request the tools they need rather than get the whole set of tools they don't even need and won't use and will reduce the need for a full blown RFA process just to get the ability to do one or 2 things. This will allow far more people to do the things they need to do. We did it with Rollback and Filemover and it wasn't armageddon, we can do it for the others too. Kumioko (talk) 16:14, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Fundamentally, rollback is a nothing tool - everyone can revert, so it doesn't really allow you to do anything you couldn't do anyways. (un)Deletion, (un)protection, (un)blocking are significant tools that give you the ability to do something you otherwise couldn't do. Debundling them probably only means replacing a single bureaucracy with three, leading to three times the discussions (and presumably, three times the acrimony). Fundamentally, you'd have to move away from "Does this person have the trust of the community to use these tools appropriately and responsibly?" - and previous RFA reform attempts suggest you're unlikely to find a consensus to bypass the fundamental requirement that an editor have the trust of the community - you'll just run them through three gauntlets instead of one. WilyD 07:18, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
But there is nothing in those tools that can't be reverted bu another editor. The changes aren't permanent. So if someone makes a mistake, which happens fairly often even now, then someone else just changes it back. No big deal. And if the user makes too many mistakes or abuses the right, just like other things like using AWB, rollbacker, filmover or several other things then we just take the right away. That's where the admins would come in. The ability to grant and remove those rights. No one is saying that the tools should be given to every editor and certainly there should be a vetting process but not the one we have now that takes at least a week, has a high degree of failure and a high rate of editors stop editing completely. I would also say that editing protected articles, pulling in more than 25000 articles to AWB also have a lot probability of abuse and shouldn't be restricted to admins. AS it is now, these 2 hinder my editing significantly and its comment to have to wait more than a week for some admin to clear the backlog at the Requests for editing protected pages board.Kumioko (talk) 10:47, 12 October 2012 (UTC)


ferero hi and bai! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:21, 9 October 2012 (UTC)


To User talk:Wilfridselsey for single-handedly saving the Main article Hundred Years' War from its numerous and entensive blantant copyright violations (see article Talk Page) and bringing it to the highest of Wikipedia standards. Well done! You are one fine Wikipedia editor. I hope others, much more important editors than I, will also congratulate and encourage youMugginsx (talk) 19:29, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Special Barnstar Hires.png The Special Barnstar
Thank you for Wikipedia, and enabling humanity to share information for free. Hammered Pizza (talk) 13:45, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

I want ask your opinion (issue: common sense)

Hello! I want ask your opinion on this issue: (Talk:Heinrich Himmler). This does not create any responsibilities (I say this because you are Jimbo Wales, who not must have relation to different wars here). Simply opinion and reply on the question. Can exist this topic (last live version is under rollback) there: (on the talk page of this article)? Not more, than your recomendation (opinion of independent watcher). Kind regards! - Bond 2012 (talk) 13:05, 12 October 2012 (UTC).

Typo in bad place

Hey, there's a typo in the fundraising banner. the word 'for' is spelled incorrectly. I figured it might be important to tell someone, even if this isn't the right channel. I would fix it myself, but there is no way i could get to it. Best of luck keeping WP funded! Dynamitejoe (talk) 14:31, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Do you trust Wikipedia, Jimbo?

I am asking because of this "The couple, who have one child, met at the World Economic Forum at Davos, where Mr Wales reportedly asked an aide to track down Miss Garvey, but not to get her details from Wikipedia, in case they were wrong." By the by why did you ask to track down Miss Garvey in the first place? Regards. (talk) 19:14, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Seems a little personal, don't be surprised if you do not get a reply. Wiki's (including Wikipedia) are not considered a WP:RS, as any one can add anything at any time. --Hu12 (talk) 19:26, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:General disclaimer. Albacore (talk) 19:32, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Ah, she's a Brit. I wondered why he's in the UK so much and knew more about the country than-is-normally-feasible-for-an-American.DeCausa (talk) 19:40, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
@, I believe the newspaper was making a lame joke. -- Avanu (talk) 19:43, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure it was necessarily a joke, but note the Telegraph's careful use of the word 'reportedly' - usually best translated as "someone we don't trust told us this..." AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:46, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Can "complete non-believers" get married in Methodist churches? DuncanHill (talk) 20:15, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
lot's of people do, in all types of churches. It's generally to make their spouses happy. --Jonty Monty (talk) 20:20, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Oh well, perhaps you're right. Call me old-fashioned, I just thought marriage was one of those times that honesty was important. DuncanHill (talk) 20:25, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Not saying it's right or wrong. Just saying it's a regular occurance. --Jonty Monty (talk) 20:32, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
For a lot of secular-minded people, they get married in a church because... most people get married in a church. A lot of clergy are aware of that and don't unduly concern themselves with the spiritual life of the couple. In the U.S. at least, most Methodist churches are pretty tolerant/progressive, so they'd probably be the last ones to refuse to marry an insufficiently religious couple. Mark Arsten (talk) 17:16, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
DuncanHill, these people are being honest. They are saying to their partner, "I will identify as X because it is important to you." I think you'll find that churches are filled to the brim with non-believers. In the United States (and most of the world for that matter) most people go to church for the social benefits, not because they believe. Everyone under the age of 21 knows that if you're single, the best place to meet another single person is in a religious place of worship. Viriditas (talk) 01:25, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
What kind of a question is this? Come on! This isn't a social network. Let the man have his personal life for gods sake.--Amadscientist (talk) 02:16, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

This is another good example of what is wrong with a simple "transcription monkey" approach to the now-discredited adage "verifiability, not truth". The Telegraph repeated an anecdote from the Sunday Times "leader" - a joke article written by a dear friend of ours who attended the wedding. (The Times also had a serious article.) Careful attention to details will show that the joke article appeared on Saturday, the Telegraph article on Sunday. "Mr Wales reportedly asked an aide to track down Miss Garvey, but not to get her details from Wikipedia, in case they were wrong." - this is completely false. Of course, the Sunday Times is behind a paywall, so the Telegraph piece is the only easily available "reliable" source. But it was sloppy of them to repeat a comment from a joke article.

A simple and false understanding (unfortunately too common) would say that we have to suspend all thoughtful editorial judgment and simply write what the reliable sources say. A more nuanced approach realizes that our goal is that every single sentence in Wikipedia be true, i.e. that it all correspond faithfully to the facts of reality, and that simple common sense and a look at the timing and grasp that the joke article was foolishly taken seriously by someone at the Telegraph.

As to Duncan Hill's question, I'll answer it, but first I'll go a little bit "meta" to talk about courtesy and what it should mean to be a part of a community like this. Duncan had absolutely no reason to call my honesty into question and he should apologize for that. It's behavior that he should be ashamed of. It's perfectly ok to have a genuine interest in the question: how did you reconcile the apparently contradictory belief systems and have a wedding in a church? A valid question, and one I'm happy to answer. To suggest that I must have been dishonest in some way is just... not ok.

As others have pointed out up above, the Methodist Church is generally pretty "tolerant/progressive". In the ceremony, Lord Griffiths was quite explicit and clear about my beliefs, discussing Ayn Rand and Objectivism at some length, seeking common ground. A tough job, but he's a warm and clever man so I think he managed to pull it off reasonably well. My wife was raised Catholic, and I was raised in the Methodist Church, and we are both very close to our warm, strong, and supportive families. The service was an excellent homage to all of that - satisfactory both to the grannies and aunties and uncles in the room as well as to the younger more atheist friends, etc. There was no dishonesty - it was 100% clear to everyone in the audience that I'm atheist. I wouldn't have had it any other way.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:48, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but when I login to WP, I still sense the message, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" as editing on WP is clear proof that Hell exists, and ergo, Heaven! -Wikid77 (talk) 20:23, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
In the 1950s, surveys of Methodist ministers in the USA revealed that the majority did not believe that there had been supernatural events associated with Jesus Christ, if I remember a "stat" from Martin Gardner correctly.
Kiefer.Wolfowitz 20:58, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Some of our WP philosophy articles, here, mention the concept that God does not want to reveal direct proof, but perhaps encourage people to embrace others who are "witnessing for the Lord" in how they have seen miracles or premonitions in their lives, beyond the realm of mere chance. Many devout ministers have never had a vision, while the most vicious of people have had a near-death experience and gone to the Light. Although some skeptics call that "ICU psychosis" rather than a vision of the afterlife. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:23, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
Another kick in the head for the meaning of "VnT". You want every sentence in WP to be true? Well, how do you know a given sentence is true to the "facts of reality"? By verifying it. How? Editorial judgement comes from analyzing sources, not analyzing the unsourced abject truth of reality (different truths for different people) that some schlub slaps up on an article. The transcription monkeys are the press writers who copy from this site without verifying their work because we don't bother to do it ourselves. And by publishing the "truth" as WP editors we're creating more gaffes. Doc talk 06:28, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Jimmy, you got upset with Duncan Hill's question, and even requested an apology. Then here's my question for you. Could you honestly say that since the beginning of Wikipedia you have always been absolutely honest in all matters related to Wikipedia? For example, on October 28, 2005 you changed your own bio, claiming to be a sole founder of Wikipedia. After you were reverted you did it again. So, Jimbo Wales, are you a sole founder of Wikipedia, and your bio is wrong, or you are not a sole founder of Wikipedia, and your user page is not exactly honest with this matter? (talk) 16:41, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
The term "co-founder" is a matter of perspective, as sources in "Nupedia" have noted the rise of Wikipedia was fought by others, who wanted Nupedia to continue, rather than the Wikipedia plan of "assume good faith" in re-editing. Perhaps "Judas" was the co-founder of Christianity, as pivotal to the arrest and Crucifixion, but ask a priest for who co-founded the Holy Spirit into the world. I do not see Thomas Edison as the co-founder of Nikola Tesla's plans to use AC current, but perhaps others do. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:42, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
The above is another example of how an open community will be exploited by those who imagine themselves to be righting great wrongs (if everyone likes Wikipedia, there must be some GREAT WRONG). There is nothing in this section to indicate that anyone got "upset", and there is nothing to even suggest a lack of honesty. Johnuniq (talk) 22:25, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Biggest threat to innovation... information technology. A very important read, confirming what we've known all along. Viriditas (talk) 06:39, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Actually, it looks like 'lack of leadership' is the threat. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:55, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, in the context of the article, corporate IT doesn't "lead" on the innovation front, nor should they. They point is that the people they are serving and supporting know what works best for their business. So the leadership in this particular case needs to come from those at the bottom, not the top. This is a difficult concept for many to follow due to the hierarchical nature of many corporations. But, this is the reason IBM didn't invent the personal computer. Viriditas (talk) 00:34, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't think any fan of Dilbert will see anything surprising here. Looie496 (talk) 01:45, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
PacBell wasn't as bad as some other companies when Adams was working there. In some respects, they were actually more innovative than others. I can't speak for Adams, of course, but some of the problems might have stemmed from an older management demographic that was transitioning to retirement. At this point, we've really moved beyond the corporate IT model. The MIS, top-down management approach is no longer relevant nor helpful and it is time to bury it. The bottom-up model exemplified by the Quantified Self movement should be the approach we take on Wikipedia. Start with getting rid of the admin model. Viriditas (talk) 09:10, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

For-profit projects managed from within Wikipedia

Jimbo, we currently have at least two for-profit projects coordinated by Wikimedia consultants in Wikipedia project space:

Roger Bamkin is a former trustee of Wikimedia UK, and Pete Forsyth is a former WMF staff member. Both are involved in these projects with their own for-profit consultancy businesses (Victuallers Ltd. and Wiki Strategies, respectively).

We have discussed Gibraltarpedia at length. Wiki Strategies' Communicate OER seems to be less beset by conflicts of interest, and a little more transparent (especially after this addition earlier today), but I still wonder if there should not be some kind of approval process and transparency ground rules for for-profit projects wanting to have a page in project space (i.e. a page whose name begins with "Wikipedia:" followed by the project name).

This could be something for the Affiliations Committee, for example. Are we not otherwise entering horribly grey areas, with projects like Pete's at one end, and (for argument's sake) a Nestlé-funded drive to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Nestlé products at the other, coordinated from a page like Wikipedia:Communicate Nestlé products? Or is this the future of Wikipedia? I am not sure many volunteers will want to contribute their time for free, while others are getting paid. JN466 12:38, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

PS: Discussions are currently underway to resume the publication of Gibraltar DYK hooks on the main page: Wikipedia_talk:Did_you_know#Outstanding_Gibraltar_nominations. JN466 13:07, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

It sounds like you've done a lot of hard work to address a very real problem, but I don't see a solution coming: one after another, the proposals come in to make paid editing subject to draconian standards or impossible approvals. I doubt if any will ever achieve majority, let alone consensus; they ignore the fact that if you make the procedure draconian, it will be bypassed. We should probably settle for notification to the arbcom-l list and leave it at that. However, you put your finger on what will be the most difficult angle: the interaction between editors who are getting paid, and those who are not getting paid.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:23, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. The difference between covert operations and overt ones is that Wikipedia can condemn and dissociate itself from the former, and not from the latter. It is a question of reputation management. Open collaboration with commercial, social and political entities will be potentially disastrous unless these interests are ones that enjoy very, very broad support. There is also another angle: it's the interaction between the editors who are allowed to have a recruitment page for their paid project on-wiki, and those who are not allowed to have such a page. The current approach looks a lot like "If you are an ex-staffer, or an ex-chapter trustee, or have lots of GLAM friends, then you can advertise your for-profit project on-wiki. But if you are Joe Bloggs, we will delete your page and ban you." The criterion should not be who you know, but what kind of project you're running, and which masters you serve. And that, as well as the payment structure, should be very transparent on-wiki, on every page related to such a project; for the benefit of both editors and the general public. I am slowly seeing a dystopian vision of Wikipedia in 20 years, and it looks a lot like this: [24] JN466 14:07, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Wehwalt, I think it is important to distinguish between straightforward paid editing and the more subtle practices of using Wikipedia to make money. Your comments may have some relevance to the former, but it is the latter that under discussion here. It is not surprising that people who are committed to the aims of Wikipedia find themselves drawn to areas where they can be paid while also advancing those goals. The difficulty is that when one's livelihood is based on Wikipedia, it is all too easy for one to rationalize conflicts of interest. After all, one has to eat. It may not be possible, or even desirable, to prevent these kinds of projects, but there should be a bright line drawn when it comes to support from within the projects. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 20:56, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
At the present time no one makes a living off Wikipedia, some WMF staff and Jimbo (somewhat) exempted. That being said, if someone was, I would expect them to act in an ethical manner if only to protect themselves. There is an old expression, you don't crap where you eat. I expect that a successful professional Wikipedian would be very careful about his standing on the project and very careful about the work that he did. After all, if it is for pay, someone may check to make sure they got their money's worth, if reviewers don't.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:39, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Not so. I advised Pete of this conversation, and he can of course speak for himself, but he is actually on public record regarding this, telling The Signpost this April that "All my income relates to Wikipedia; it's my day job. I am comfortable with my income, but I won't be rich any time soon." I agree he is circumspect, and of course he continues to volunteer here like everyone else and is in good standing, but I am fairly sure that he is not unique in earning his living here – it's just that others like who work with throwaway sockpuppet accounts are far less open about it. JN466 23:31, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Wehwalt you say "someone may check to make sure they got their money's worth". Given the choice between the paying client (who wants results if some kind) and volunteer colleagues (who have no particular expectations), which do you think most people will choose to please? I get the impression that you are thinking in terms of paid editing of articles. In the case of Gibraltarpedia, for example, the benefit was clearly intended to come in the form of positive media coverage (following the Monmouthpedia model). The ways in which Wikipedia were used as a means to this end are obvious, but there is no direct paid editing. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 02:50, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
JN466 writes: "I am not sure many volunteers will want to contribute their time for free, while others are getting paid."
I can think of a place where this happens all the time: open-source software. In the world of software, the users of the software benefit, so often have a clear motivation for improving the software. The Japanese telco NTT use and have contributed lots of code to PostgreSQL. The developers who work for NTT are probably (gasp!) getting paid to contribute. And yet, so do unpaid volunteers. This happens routinely in open source software. The contributors to the Linux kernel: lots of them work for big companies like IBM.
But in open source, there seem to have been ways for people to continue running community-directed projects with some paid contributors. The Subversion project was managed by a company—CollabNet—for a few years before eventually becoming an Apache project in 2009. While it was being managed by CollabNet, the community leads instituted a firewalling policy that said that new employees of CollabNet would have to earn commit access and other community privileges in the same way; they couldn't avoid going through the same processes community members would go through.
The problem comes not with corporate contributors or even corporate owners of projects, but when those corporate owners end up being bad open source citizens or, to use wiki parlance, they are dicks to the community. The reason LibreOffice, MariaDB and Jenkins exist is because quite a lot of developers aren't happy with Oracle. (As a Java developer, the continued idiocy over software patents, OpenJDK and the now deceased Apache Harmony frequently gives me cause for bad nightmares.)
It seems pretty simple to me that the line shouldn't be about money. I've suggested this thought experiment repeatedly: if Bill Gates suddenly decided to fund a programme to pay a group of Wikipedia editors to take a year off from work, live in subsidised housing and be paid a living wage to contribute to writing, translating and improving Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, that'd be pretty cool. They wouldn't be "getting rich" off editing Wikipedia (we all know that in the money/power/sex stakes, the historians, lexicographers and academic book authors are only a few rungs below Goldman Sachs investment wizards), there would be strict conflict of interest limitations so they'd not be able to write about the programme itself, nor about Gates or Microsoft or POV pushing, it'd all have to be universally agreed good things like science and history and medicine and so on. If your interest is improving the encyclopedia, and these people are improving the encyclopedia and not, oh, "profiteering!" or something, it shouldn't be a big deal.
That's not to say the Foundation ought to pay for it, or the chapters. No thanks. But if a billionaire philanthropist decided to, I can't honestly see a big problem with that.
As for outreach projects and Wikipedians in Residence? I do think it's probably time for some actual discussion about them. I mean, the easy thing to start with is: the Wikipedians in Residence we have had with GLAM institutions seem to do a pretty good job. GLAM seems to be a pretty damn good thing. There is a feeling among some that the GLAM people are separate from the community. This is unfortunately true, and we need to fix this gap. That the Smithsonian and the British Library and other such institutions want to work with Wikipedia shows we are doing something right. And we should work with them because we have very similar goals. The Smithsonian's mission very simply is "The increase and diffusion of knowledge". That seems eminently compatible with what we're trying to do on the Wikimedia projects.
While it might be quite difficult to work out the details, I think that we need to find a way to ensure that the community is involved with and aware of the good and productive GLAM outreach work that's going on, and making sure that the GLAM community isn't a separate thing from the community. It seems to me the problems with things like Gibraltarpedia and other things stem from not enough talking to the community. I think, in general, if we can get over the whole "paid editing is teh evil!" thing, productive outreach projects that are based on a shared mutual goal of sharing knowledge should have nothing to fear from community discussion.
Disclaimer: I may have had a few sandwiches bought for me by cultural institutions and I may have written some Wikipedia articles about objects contained therein. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:03, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I appreciate this and will mull over it. Just one brief comment on Gibraltarpedia and QRpedia: the big problem is that what was being "sold" there was Wikipedia's SEO value (see this screenshot of a Wikimedia UK slide entitled "Improving a city's Google position on the web", and then watch the entire video). This is something Pete Forsyth categorically says he will not do. Pete makes it quite clear to clients that he is not in the SEO business, and that if his clients are even thinking of SEO, or asking for SEO metrics, their approach to Wikipedia is probably inappropriate. You do not see Pete at DYK, trying to get his project's articles on the main page. The other problem is that QRpedia/Gibraltarpedia were advertised as "a phenomenally cheap, and very, very imaginative way to absolutely energize a city and put a city on the map" (time code 17:41), or "marketing ... done at the lowest possible cost", and "marketing Gibraltar as a tourist product through Wikipedia". At that point, when paid consultants make low cost a prime selling point for their project, the whole thing begins to look like cynical exploitation of volunteer labour, in return for kiddie awards like barnstars and DYK credits. I would go so far as to say that any suggestion of SEO benefits, and any promise of commercial or marketing value in project proposals, agreements, contracts, MOUs etc., should instantly disqualify a project from consideration. The rationale for any Wikipedia project should be educational value, and based on the common good, rather than a promise of competitive advantage. JN466 12:47, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
"I am not sure many volunteers will want to contribute their time for free, while others are getting paid." - Only if your volunteers are jealous dicks, I hope people contribute to Wikipedia because they want to make Wikipedia a better place, whether or not anyone is making money from it doesn't factor into it at all.
Some users seem more worried about the sales pitch and the perception than the actual work. Whether or not SEO is mentioned doesn't stop it from being true - if you energise a community to create Wikipedia articles on subjects on local attractions, it's going to look good on Google. This is obvious, should this fact be omitted from the record and instead communicated through nods and winks?
What's important is that organisations realise that their best interests are to act in Wikipedia's best interests. That ad-copy isn't in Wikipedia's interests, but energising the community is. Whether that's through Commons donations, a Wikipedian in Residence, or just opening yourselves up to editors, it's up to you. I have a really hard time believing that getting articles like First Siege of Gibraltar (1309) onto DYK is somehow harming the project. - hahnchen 13:55, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree. What I don't think will happen is the one-dimensional responses like "our competition has a vanity article, we need one just like that" once someone above the level of a summer intern spends five minutes learning about Wikipedia. If a company wanted to contract with me for my expenses and possibly a small honorarium while supplying me with records, resources, and access to databases, I'd have a go at their article if it interested me.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:15, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
JN466, I broadly agree with that, but with one big proviso. Museums and cultural institutions are often measured on things like website visitor statistics as a metric for "engagement". Sadly, just like everything from healthcare to policing, in the UK, "target culture" rules. Funding for cultural institutions is often dependent on their meeting "targets". (Academics now have to meet 'engagement' metrics as part of the Research Assessment Exercise.)
And Wikipedia can help with that. You do some scientific research, and if there's a Wikipedia article on the topic, that's better public engagement than if there isn't. Wikipedia can help scientific, academic and cultural bodies better meet their targets and goals for engagement and so on. But that is only really problematic if the whole point of the institution differs significantly from that of Wikipedia. If the British Museum want to increase engagement on African art, say, and Wikipedia is the way to do that... and as a result, they get more money from the government for having met their target, is that such a bad thing? They'll spend it on some dastardly thing like preserving historical artefacts.
Telling the British Museum "hey, you know that Rosetta Stone. We get pretty good SEO on that. Just saying." is rather a different matter from the Gibraltarpedia situation which, well, wherever the line is, it has danced back and forth over it a few times. —Tom Morris (talk) 15:48, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
"I am not sure many volunteers will want to contribute their time for free, while others are getting paid." My income is not solely based on Wikipedia, but in addition to traditional marketing/writing work, I help companies contribute with a COI.
What I find is the greatest misconception is that helping a company contribute with a COI is just like volunteer work, but with cash. The truth is companies have dozens of stakeholders involved that all need to be educated on the rules, and it's an immense amount of work, pressure and delicate consulting.
Telling companies that their version of the truth is incorrect, that they must accept factual errors because they are not reliable, that their CEO is not notable or that what they think is neutral is not - it's all tough work. Meanwhile, contributing as a volunteer is fun and easy. It is not a good comparison to make. Corporate 18:42, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
I am roughly in agreement with you, Tom. But the sales pitch should be, "Wikipedia can help spread important knowledge". It should not be "Wikipedia can help you get one over on the museum next door". And it definitely should not be "Wikipedia can bring you tourist dollars that would otherwise go elsewhere." Getting people to learn about the Rosetta Stone is one thing, and consistent with the WMF mission. Getting them to spend money in Gibraltar, or any other "product", is another.
Speaking of Gibraltarpedia, Gibraltar has had two hooks on the main page these past couple of days (one running right now), with another ten or so lined up for the next couple of weeks. The product placement continues. JN466 12:21, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Speaking of projects that promote for-profit causes, what do you think of Wikipedia:GLEE? For example, User:BlueMoonset is vastly outperforming all of Gibraltar (so far as I can tell) in GA's (30) and has over half their DYK count (21), focusing exclusively on some TV show I never heard of. Wnt (talk) 22:49, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Unless you believe that BlueMoonset or someone else associated with the Glee wikiproject is profiting from it, I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here, Wnt. I haven't heard anyone suggesting that wikiprojects are inherently bad or that wikiprojects dealing with for-profit subjects do not belong here. I believe the main issue is the distortion of Wikipedia's original goals for one's own interests. I see no indication that the Glee wikiproject is doing this. Do you? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:19, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, why is it "spam" to cover a place in good detail, but ordinary editing to cover a current TV series in exhaustive detail? I still kind of wish that all the countries and towns would fight to get the most exhaustive coverage of their regions in Wikipedia, even if that means providing some indirect financial assistance to editors, but I'm not at all sure I'd say that about TV series. Wnt (talk) 23:53, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Gibraltarpedia is not "providing some indirect financial assistance to editors". The people involved with Gibraltarpedia are not being paid to edit, they are being paid for other services as "consultants". It is that extra-Wikipedia part that has caused concern about for-profit enterprises that leverage Wikipedia's volunteer base for someone else's benefit. I guess you haven't been following the discussions. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 02:10, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
... and another Gibraltar hook on the main page. ("Did you know ... that the HMS Victory, containing the remains of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, was towed into Rosia Bay, Gibraltar, after the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar?") JN466 09:33, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Consider limits and mandatory breaks

  • Consider edit-limits, term limits and mandatory wikibreaks: In some articles, the text is slowly slanted by hundreds of tiny edits to remove text phrases, or to slant text "one word at a time". If the system controlled per-article edit-limits, then such "death by 500 tiny cuts" could be thwarted. I have proposed that only suspected editors would be monitored, and any other editor could nominate an editor for edit-limit controls. That would make the concept feasible, rather than restrict the edit-count of every editor at every page. At some point, a person with "600" edits to one article needs to face a limit. Since 2006, the Swedish WP has had those 1-year term limits for admins, to be re-elected during one of 4 quarterly re-elections during the year. Wikibreaks, even for 1 week, can help people to gain a wider perspective. Other types of limits should be considered. -Wikid77 (talk) 21:13, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
    There are a lot of words I could use to describe this proposal. "Stupid" is perhaps the most polite. I especially like the bad faith assumption that people making a lot of edits to an article (e.g.: to maintain one with an ongoing history) are "slowly slanting" it - even if you try to soften your bad faith by claiming only some editors would be "monitored". Term limits for admins is pretty much WP:PEREN, and you have no right to dictate to anyone when they can and cannot edit. Resolute 00:11, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
    My thoughts exactly - not to mention it violates the prime directive of Wikipedia, i.e., anyone can edit. Mugginsx (talk) 15:50, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Good god, I hope that's not the prime directive. I thought it was something about creating an encyclopedia which assembles the whole of human knowledge for the free use of humanity. Has the process obscured the product? OF COURSE not everyone can edit, see WP:COMPETENCE for an essay that is on the money... Carrite (talk) 16:25, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
"Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." is the closest thing we have to a Prime Directive. "Everyone can edit" is a means to that end, and very very very far down the list.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:49, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Anent your dictum - in many cases the arguments on Wikipedia involve figuring out precisely what is "knowledge" and what is ephemeral "opinion." Sadly, "opinions" win out on many articles, asserting to users that such is "knowledge." While "dry science" articles may work out OK, the areas of sex, religion, politics, history and biography all are generally tainted and do not always follow the precepts of being "knowledge" at all. Collect (talk) 13:47, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
That sounds good, but in actual practice some of WP's most bitter and dysfunctional content wars have dealt with matters of "hard science" ("climate change" and "race & intelligence" come to mind), while a microscopic fraction of the million-ish biographies on WP have had any problem at all. The biggest POV warriors tend to accumulate around (1) matters of nationalism; (2) matters of current politics; (3) matters of debate about current social policy. In general, matters of history and biography are not content war zones. Where to draw the line, if any, on matters of sex is a special case; if there is a problem with the topic of religion is has to do with page "ownership" by adherents. Each of these are relatively minor causes of disruption on En-WP. Carrite (talk) 19:49, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
The most reliable sourcing is fairly well defined for most areas. For example, the academic history sources are fairly well defined. Issues would only arise when people don't stick to them and insist on using lower grade sources that suit their particular POV. Most issues arise because of a lack of objectivity while writing the encyclopedia. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:52, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure we do have some POV warriors who make scores of edits to the same article to slowly move it to their direction, we also have writers who make huge numbers of edits to an article to get it to FA standard. We also have many patient vandal fighters who find themselves reverting vandalism once or twice a day on a particular vandalism target. My suspicion is that an edit limit that stopped individual editors doing more than a certain number of edits on any one article would hit our vandalfighters and FA writers long before it hit the POV editors. We do need better ways to deal with POV editing, but not a solution that was more disruptive to our content writers and our vandalfighters than it was to POV warriors. ϢereSpielChequers 00:08, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Obviously if there is an article that has slowly been degraded by a multitude of tiny edits to now be a POV concern, that should be addressed and the editors that did it sorted out and sanctioned... if this is a hypothetical then? There are MANY HIGHLY contentious articles that I watch, specifically in the Creation-Evolution debates, and there are MANY POV editors that come and go and have all different tactics, from blatant vandalism to the highly annoying WP:TE editors, and anywhere in-between. I'd venture a guess that MOST of the articles that are targets to these kids of POV editors are probably HIGHLY watched and these kinds of edits don't last very long and these kind of editors are quickly identified and dealt with. Tiny word-by-word POV edits are still against policy and if they keep doing it it usually earns a ban... As for implying some sort of "edit count cap" or something, that's pretty silly, there are TONS of HIGH volume editors that are contributing quality edits, and there are probably VERY VERY FEW high volume POV editors trying to do what you say... kinda like throwing the baby out with the bath water, as the expression goes. These articles and editors can be dealt with with existing means.. — raekyt 15:45, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Saudi Arabia partnership and censorship

I'm rebooting this discussion, which was excessively emotional and not very well focussed.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:41, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

It was recently announced that Wikipedia has formed a partnership with the Saudi Telecom Company and is now offering free Wikipedia access to its users. News has already started about this here. However, there are concerns about censorship that will be conducted by STC, as discussed on the Wiki-en lists here.

These concerns are amplified by the fact that this is all being done in collaboration with "Intigral", a company that is known for sophisticated censorship. I think this is an issue that is of concern to all of us, because we don't want to be partnering with a group that is going to censor our content. SilverserenC 15:34, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

There is an odd amount of Arabic Wikipedia news today. ;) Also announced today: the UAE are launching their own Wikipedia (, beginning with an Arabic version, but with other languages to follow: [25]
And, perfectly timed to coincide with this, the Asian Football Confederation has had to apologise to the UAE for referring to their team as the "Sand Monkeys", a term their writer picked up from ... Wikipedia. [26]
Dan Murphy, a journalist and former Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, has today criticised the decision of WMF to get into bed with Intigral and the government-owned Saudi Telecom, and has warned that censorship and privacy invasion in Saudi Arabia are far worse than anything that might happen under the UK proposals you recently opposed so vociferously. Dan states that it is "almost criminally irresponsible to encourage young Saudis to edit Wikipedia without warning them of the potential consequences", as the "Saudi government routinely tracks down the identities of internet users and harasses them." Are those concerns realistic, and were they borne in mind when this partnership was constructed?
Was this a board decision? And is it possible to release the partnership agreement between WMF and Saudi Telecom? AndreasKolbe JN466 17:02, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't think other news is really relevant (besides the first one being possibly timed). And I don't consider Murphy's opinion of Wikipedia to be relevant for anything ever. Not when he's a jerk to everyone. SilverserenC 17:08, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Regardless of how much of a dick Murphy is; his point stands. How can WM partner and encourage users to edit the wikipedia while it knows full well the dangers inherent in that? These are not "theoretical" dangers; a quick lookup on GV's Advocacy and threatened voices page, or the EFF, would show you that these are real and imminent. Yazan (talk) 17:18, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand why we would ever partner with an organization that's going to be censoring our content anyways. Seems rather counter-productive to the whole free knowledge thing. We shouldn't be standing for just partial knowledge of certain things of one viewpoint because other people dislike it. In fact, we've stood against that kind of thing time and again. And I really don't agree with compromising our principles like this at this point. SilverserenC 17:21, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Right! What could a professional researcher, editor and journalist with extensive experience in the Arab world, possibly have to say of value about writing non-fiction for a general-interest audience or about the politics and pitfalls of jumping into bed with the Saudi government? As a long time war correspondent, who has also worked closely with Arab dissidents (and the groups that help them), the odds that I might know anything about internet security challenges and dangers in the region are slim indeed. So best to plug up your ears, shout even worse than Greg Kohs!, and wait until the storm passes. (Isn't it a little early for us to be trotting out our Halloween bogeymen?) That said, "Silver's" slavish devotion to reading Wikipediocracy is duly noted and appreciated.Dan Murphy (talk) 17:24, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Let's take this to my talk page. Otherwise, this is just going to muddle the discussion. SilverserenC 17:27, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, there's a section on my talk page if you want to continue this, but i'm not going to further this line of discussion here. SilverserenC 17:42, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Silver seren, you made an intemperate remark. I think it would be best to apologize, strike your comment, and move on, rather than pretending to take the high road here while still picking a fight elsewhere. It really doesn't make you look good. Especially when you and Dan Murphy seem to be in agreement about this issue. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:44, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
My statements have been in response to Mr. Murphy's unsolicited remarks about me, such as calling me an "ignorant, naval gazing child" in the linked WO thread above. Both the response you link and my comment up above is in response to that. I think he's the one that doesn't look good when he makes statements like that about people out of nowhere. Do you think he would ever apologize for his statements? SilverserenC 18:58, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
The difference is that you made your statements here which understandably drew Dan Murphy/Bali ultimate to respond here. I don't expect either of you to change your opinion about the other, but have the sense to step back from this rather than making it worse. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 20:07, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Rather than complaining you really should be thanking him for being so complimentary. John lilburne (talk) 20:08, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Mr. Murphy, you write: "As a long time war correspondent..." So I looked at one of your "war" time articles, in which you write: "Another horrific attack on Shiites today. Reuters reports that at least 35 people were killed when a car bomb ripped through the mourning tent at a funeral in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad neighborhood of Shula." Maybe you could explain why "a long time war correspondent" is using Reuters to "report" from Iraq? (talk) 18:51, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Because I was writing a blog a long way from the war zone? I lived in Baghdad/Cairo split time from 2003-2008. Covered the first couple of months of the Libyan revolution, covered Afghanistan, and covered multiple small wars in the 1990s and the early 2000s in Indonesia, Burma, and the Philippines. Thanks for playing.Dan Murphy (talk) 19:04, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
The dilemma here seems to be that we can give millions of people free access to our content who otherwise wouldn't have had it but only by cooperating with people who practice censorship. I'd rather there be more access to knowledge in the Arab world then that the WMF remain ideologically pure. This issue of encouraging people to edit who might be subject to persecution seems silly. Its hard enough to edit on a smartphone. Nobody is going to edit on a feature phone. Yes, we're telling millions of people that there is a source of information that exists out there that they can contribute to - and, yes, these people could be subject to repercussions if they contribute (which I'm sure they know better than we do), but the very fact that we're telling them that we want and value their contributions is pretty extraordinary in a country as undemocratic as Saudi Arabia. I do agree with Andreas, however, that given the controversial nature of this partnership, the more that the community can know about exactly what was agreed to the better.GabrielF (talk) 19:22, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

I just want to throw in what Saudi Arabia proposed to the ITU for the World Telecommunication Policy Forum 2013 and gives me trouble to keep down my hackles: Contribution to the third draft of the Secretary-General's Report from Saudi Arabia. --/人 ‿‿ 人\ 署名の宣言 19:33, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Second that: Can someone explain what WMF's role in the "partnership" is? We already have and anyone can freely access it. I'm all for Saudi Arabians getting freer access to the Internet but I don't understand what we have to do with it. I ask because I wouldn't approve of the use of WMF resources to pay for a censored Arabic version any more than I would approve of WMF spending donor funds to release a "child-safe" version in English. Wnt (talk) 20:35, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Apparently, Wikipedia:Wikipedia CD Selection is a "child-safe" version in English.
Wavelength (talk) 20:45, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, isn't WP:Merchandise supposed to bring in money? Wnt (talk) 23:27, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

I personally know nothing about this partnership. I am deeply concerned about any collaboration with people who practice censorship. But I also acknowledge there are many complexities and possibilities. I'll investigate and if I'm unhappy about it, I'll let you know. And if I'm happy about it, I'll let you know. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:41, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia trademark

I've just come across what looks like a violation of Wikipedia's trade mark - and I'm not sure what to do about it. I looked for contact information on the site concerned, and can see none. Who or what do I pass this over to at this side? Never come across this before... Peridon (talk) 18:20, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. Left him a message. Peridon (talk) 18:41, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
See User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 99#Wikipedia, a wiki (February and March 2012).
Wavelength (talk) 18:58, 16 October 2012 (UTC)


I have noticed here that you are not a crat. Given all the RfA related controversy and discussion, I'd be interested to see you go through the experience so that you can comment on it yourself with a more thorough knowledge of what the process is like. Granted, the discussion has not really been about RfB's, but the process is similar to that of the RfA and you are already an admin. Also, if you were throw your hat in the ring for cratship, it might increase participation in both RfA and RfB. AutomaticStrikeout 20:18, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I set this challenge for myself: by the end of the day, try to think of something more pointless, drama-creating, and time-wasting than Jimbo running for 'crat. I have a feeling I'm going to fail. --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:23, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
It would rejuvenate user involvement at both RfA and RfB. The conversation surrounding Jimbo's RfB would lead to other users deciding to give it a go. AutomaticStrikeout 20:26, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Very few people have spent longer contemplating this issue than I have and I can assure you that it would neither rejuvenate user involvement nor encourage others to give it a go. There just isn't a strong causal connection between Jimbo doing something and people wanting to do the same thing. MBisanz talk 20:33, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
That is not quite what I had in mind. I was thinking more that the amount of attention drawn to the RfB would lead to other editors deciding to give it a try. AutomaticStrikeout 20:35, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Stupid question: do we have a serious lack of 'crats or something?--Tznkai (talk) 21:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I sense your intention was to preface your own rhetorical question as a "stupid question". I think many could think you were calling the original question stupid. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 21:30, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
My question wasn't rhetorical. I honestly don't know, and I'm not sure if I'm missing the point.--Tznkai (talk) 21:31, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, I was not really concerned about a lack of crats, although it is true that we don't have many. AutomaticStrikeout 21:37, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Then it seems like a fine question to me. My understanding is that it would be good to increase the ranks and there was a recent discussion to determine practical means to encourage qualified editors to seek that permission. I'll link that discussion soon; when I find it. Sorry for assuming your question was rhetorical. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 21:43, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Have you considered the likelihood of unintended consequences; like the potential that it could augment an editors resolve to stay a country mile away from the process? Or the effect of asking for tools you've no intention to use? That said, I'd like to see Mr. Wales comment a !vote at an RfA/RfB or three, and perhaps offer a nomination at times; or simply an encouragement where appropriate. 76Strat String da Broke da (talk) 21:22, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it would at least be interesting to see him get involved in the community process. AutomaticStrikeout 21:37, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo, it seems to me, is not much involved with community processes these days. I don't think he ever was much, but it's pretty apparent that he doesn't spend much time doing things other than occasionally posting comments on this page. So I don't think you're likely to attract much of a response. Prioryman (talk) 21:32, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Shameless advertising

Hi Jimbo -- in case you aren't a regular reader of the Signpost, let me give a pointer to Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2012-10-15/Op-ed, which might interest you (or maybe not). Regards, Looie496 (talk) 00:21, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

And there I thought you were referring to the fact that we have just had yet another Gibraltar DYK on the main page. (Did you know that the historic Rosia Water Tanks, which provided water for Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson's fleet in Gibraltar, were demolished in 2006?) [27] AndreasKolbe JN466 01:17, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
What is it going to take to shut off the Gibraltar spam? Completely ridiculous. Carrite (talk) 18:08, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
DYK was always ridiculous and it was used for even more shameless political stunts. This Gib stuff is mild in comparison to Wikipedia:Recent_additions/2011/January#16_January_2011. At the time of DYK proposal, the article looked like this. There was a now-banned user who regularly put up DYKs like that for the IP conflict. Tijfo098 (talk) 11:04, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
For anybody who glances at this and sees the comments above, the op-ed I was pointing to has nothing whatsoever to do with Gibraltar; it's about changing the way we choose admins. Looie496 (talk) 15:27, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Somebody is selling themselves to write Wikipedia articles for pay, and using our trademarks on their pages to do it

See --Orange Mike | Talk 01:01, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

In the wake of the Gibraltar deal, this is hardly surprising. If we think about it, it shouldn't be surprising without Gibraltar; capitalism (which happens to be the economic system in which we function) is all about figuring out how to make a buck. This is undoubtedly only one of many. And then think of all the PR guys for big companies and president/owners of small businesses who do this.
Now, to come roaring out of my armchair philosophizing, WE GOTTA STOP'EM!! (An impossible task. But we can take measures against the trademark violation.) Yopienso (talk) 01:13, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Stopping them will be hard, but it reminds me of something. A while back at ANI, a post about a similar website called "" or something like that was made, and it's still somewhere in the archives. Apparently, the company had a twitter account and had around 100 followers. I'm not a stalker, but if any articles on the followers were created recently, I would get suspicious. Maybe we can do a little detective work on their clients. Just a thought. Thekillerpenguin (talk) 01:23, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
What about blocking the people who work there? --Orange Mike | Talk 01:25, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Note that there were no names under the pictures of the writers. I wonder why... AutomaticStrikeout 01:32, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, the first step would probably be a polite letter from Jimbo or an appropriate representative requesting Wikipedia Writers immediately remove the Wikipedia logo from their site. I do not know the legalities of requesting that they cease and desist from offering paid editing. Wikipedia may just be a sitting duck for such ventures. ??? Yopienso (talk) 01:35, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
As I recall, the Wikipedia logo is registered trademark owned by the Wikimedia Foundation. You may want to talk to WMF's legal counsel.--Tznkai (talk) 01:40, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

The pictures are probably clip art. Here's the people who designed the web site running the company. They are two university students. Gigs (talk) 01:51, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Those people run the company that hosts the website as far as I can tell. Thekillerpenguin (talk) 01:54, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Right, my mistake. "Abid Karmali", owner of the account "infotrancemedia" on eLance,, and Seems to use eLance as a place to find people to pay a few dollars to complete the work he gets from the heavily SEOed websites. The eLance account includes a job with the title "Wikipedia work" that has already been completed. Gigs (talk) 02:07, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I wonder if those two kids are ready to pay the cost of hosting a blatant trademark violation like that? Do they even know or care? --Orange Mike | Talk 02:09, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Huh, the college tuitions are really expensive nowadays. More debt for them I guess. Thekillerpenguin (talk) 02:21, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
It's hosted on godaddy. The college students just designed the web site. Sorry for the confusion. Their only sin was designing a bunch of SEO-tastic websites for that other guy. Gigs (talk) 02:23, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the photos might be legit; I did a reverse image search (search with image instead of words) and found it was only on that website. Thekillerpenguin (talk) 02:25, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
The work is contracted out through eLance to random freelancers. Check that account history I linked earlier. Unfortunately it does not seem possible to see what articles were affected by the paid editing. Gigs (talk) 02:39, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Huh, they don't even do the work themselves. I wonder what their clients are thinking Face-wink.svg.
Back to seriousness now. Do you think we could make a mole account, accept the job, look at the articles, back off with the info obtained, and then keep an eye out in the new pages feed? Thekillerpenguin (talk) 03:18, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

(unindent) I found something! On this page in the section "wiki expert" the person doing the job is "Adam", a.k.a. this guy. At least we can put together some suspects. I also found something interesting here. It talks about hiring someone to write an article about a "Robert Redford", and upon investigating, a page with this name was deleted twice. Come to think of it, we could track down lots of spam this way. Thekillerpenguin (talk) 03:25, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

  • From reading their ad, it is not clear to me that you can or should stop what they do. If what they do is take the client's company information, see what sources they can find, and deliver back a completed, well-written article to the company, for their own people to post, then that is a 100% legitimate activity. (Aside from the question of whether the COI editor posts it, I mean, but you can't trace him to them) Plus, it doesn't actually require them to possess an active Wikipedia account. Wnt (talk) 06:40, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
This is also being discussed at ANI. Graham87 08:18, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Other than the use of the trademark, It seems that these people are using the fact that they are Wikipedians as a "reference" and that is not illegal, though it is unfortunate. If the trademark if copyrighted, and they cannot produce permission to use it, it is a legal problem for them. If one can find out who they are or their company's name, they are liable. The holder of the copyright would have to bring the action. Mugginsx (talk) 15:24, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Sexist comments made against male Wikipedians in a national publication (WSJ)

Per User:Tvoz's comment: "this discussion ought to be happening all over the project".

Look at this recent front-page WSJ article which says "[Wikipedia] disputes have become more frequent over the years. [Tvoz] blames 'an overabundance of testosterone running around the pages.'"

For the discussion at Tvoz's talk page see here. Any thoughts? ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:02, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2012-10-15/In the media has a link to the same article.
Wavelength (talk) 00:05, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Are you kidding me GabeMC? Are your seriously kidding me? Drop the bloody stick, back away from the horse, and move on with your life. You're badgering Tvoz for making comments that are nearly identical to those made be several Wikimedia staffers. Furthermore, the comments are completely, 100% accurate. And whether they are or not, are you seriously trying to criticize a Wikipedia editor for the personal opinions they expressed to a news media? Are you implying that we can't make comments to the media just because you happen to disagree with them? Or even that the community as a whole disagrees with them? Just because you don't think the sexist culture at Wikipedia is a problem doesn't mean you need to drag this around Wikipedia trying to generate some sort of animosity towards Tvoz for publicly expressing his opinion? The very fact that you're trying to make a big deal out of this, in an antagonistic fashion, laying blame and "winning", is itself a masculinist attitude rooted in patriarchal ways of conversing. Could you please get back to actually improving the encyclopedia? Qwyrxian (talk) 00:27, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
1) No, I'm not kidding, if someone said "Wikipedia has too many disputes because woman don't compromise", I would have gotten equally disturbed. 2) I think it's ironic that you defend her "right" to make sexist remarks while actively trying to squash my "right" to complain about them. 3) Its not a job Qwyrxian, I am an unpaid volunteer! Admins shouldn't treat editors as their employees. 4) I took a 10,000 word article (Pink Floyd) through FAC during the Beatles mediation, so don't preach to me about improving the encyclopedia. 5) "laying blame ... [is] a masculinist attitude rooted in patriarchal ways of conversing", well, if you knew the history of this dispute a little better, you would know that Tvoz has done exactly that when it comes to me and my brief involvement in the Beatles dispute. She has repeatedly claimed that I have been "driving this for years", when in fact she is well aware that my involvement began around 18 months ago, while hers began more than 5 years ago! 6) Your claim that an increase in Wikipedia disputes correlates directly with an increase in male editors is a logical fallacy with no direct scientific support. Take a look at this article that purports that testosterone increases honesty! Therefore, female editors are less honest and more manipulative right? Do you see the folly in your overgeneralization? ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:40, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • From Wikipedia:Discrimination: "In discrimination notion is included any discrimination on base of: gender" And: "Banned activities: 4.Using offensive and discriminative language and attitude: words, phrases, etc. meaning to harm, offend, belittle editor's contribution."

E.g. "typical of adolescent boys, or super-annuated ones", "It's adolescent behavior I am talking about", "people in the minority ... are in the better position to recognize and identify it than those in the majority", "testosterone-driven" adolescent behavior", "That's one-upmanship, bullying, and it just isn't particularly a trait of women in arguments that I have observed", "I didn't make it up - we are not all the same", "I'm glad the reporter chose that quote, because it encapsulates my sense of what happens here", "when I talk about adolescent behavior, bullying, one-upmanship, territorialism", "The need to win - the status-seeking - territory marking - is what I've been talking about, and like it or not, it is widely associated with adolescent male behavior, hence, in a word, testosterone", "I'm not going to get into a diatribe about the patriarchy here, but you can guess what my conclusions are", "I of course said a lot more to the reporter than just that quote ... which I totally stand behind", etcetera.

What Tvoz is espousing is a clear-cut case of gender bias and discrimination. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:04, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Your attitude makes me so angry I could scream. I'm furious. You're comments here and on Tvoz's talk page are the perfect example of twisting the word "discrimination" into the exact opposite of what it means. It's like people who say that using gender-neutral language is discrimination (i.e., allegations of political correctness). It's like people who say that laws that attempt to equalize the number of women and men in business, politics, or other fields are "discrimination". Take your "oh, poor, me, I'm a man, I'm being discriminated against by those narrow-minded feminists" attitude to some men's rights group and get out of our faces here. Wikipedia is set up, by its disputative nature with a quasi-legal system of regulations and ad-hoc juries to benefit those with a masculinist bent. This tends to be (biological) men, since society tends to give men masculinist skills. Through a vicious feedback cycle, this process both empowers masculinists, and ensures that any serious disagreements on Wikipedia because "disputes" rather than "consensus forming discussions". Do we do better than some places? Yes. Are we a victim of our overwhelmingly male population? Absolutely. Do Tvoz's comments make it better, and yours make it worse? Undeniably. Feminism has taught me to look to my own body. And right now my fingers are pounding on the keyboard four times harder than they should be. My stomach is tight and my jaw is clenched. I'm angry. And this is a conversation that needs anger. It needs people of all biological and sociological genders to angrily say, "Don't you (GabeMC) dare call Tvoz's statements discrimination or sexism. Wikipedia's greatest problems come from the masculinist drive to win, and, if possible, to crush one's enemies at the same time." And let me admit: I'm a part of this problem, too. I know exactly how to use the system to "win", and do it when I consider it necessary. I try, but I fail, to leave behind my own masculinist tendencies to promote a better Wikipedia. Wikipedia needs more female editors, and it really needs more feminist writers. Working against that is preserving the status quo, reinventing real, actual discrimination on the internet. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:24, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't need more female editors. (but female editors are clearly fine, and I'm not suggesting male editors are better.)..or more feminist writers. Editors with an agenda are not what we need more of.
(ec/@Gabe) And how exactly are you contributing to the discussion at hand? S'pose Tvoz was right — what are you gonna do about it? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:25, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
And by the way... I just read the article in WSJ... not once does Tvoz mention "men" or "male". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:33, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Testosterone can't be the cause, because Wikipedia has always had a larger number of male editors. Though half the editors don't self-identify sex, and I suspect more of those are women than those who do self-label. The real cause is that a lot of people have put a lot of effort into making articles, and now whoever wins the wars gets to control those accumulated resources and the long shadow they cast from Google. Those who want to simply contribute content keep getting turned off and driven out - there's nobody left who doesn't have some taste for battle by this point. I stick to my position (Fae...) that ethnic/sexual/etc. bias is not uncommon, not an extraordinary accusation, but something we should discuss within the normal range of all the other biases that affect us. Wnt (talk) 04:08, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
All of this is way out into an ontological nightmare land which we aren't going to resolve on Wikipedia, so everyone here who seriously feels concerned about gender discrimination would be well advised to turn their attention to what's going on in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Saudi Arabia. There are bigger issues than the histrionics of one website at play here, and we're never going to resolve this until many much larger, external, problems are dealt with. But I suspect this won't be the end of this thread, so carry on... Hall of Jade (お話しになります) 04:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Introducing this topic on this page is a surreal illustration of the very problem that Tvoz was addressing in the article. The infamous, years-long dispute about whether or not to capitalize the first "t" in "The Beatles" has already been the occasion for a bizarre display of aggression and acrimony that has overflown the confines of numerous polls, mediations and RfCs. It's now spilled over into various other talk pages and now this -- not to mention the national media. It's like the climax of Blazing Saddles, where the barroom brawl spreads from one sound stage to another, then out into the theater and finally out into the street. Talk about testosterone! Jburlinson (talk) 05:52, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
(RIP Mongo)
However, let's not forget that some editors are hyper-sensitive in areas such as this. When you have an editor who is willing to be extremely combative over things like a "t"; someone's personal opinion about the cause of battles; or indeed if gets angry if someone says "fuck" every now and then, then the editor clearly needs to be approached differently than most. Indeed, those might be signs that community-based projects are not their forte, but I'm a journalist and not a psychologist. dangerouspanda 09:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Bwilkins (DP, ESL), when are you going to let it go? Our little conflict (which lasted less than three days) was over more than three months ago! Yet every single chance you get you remind people and attempt to antagonize me. I don't care if you enjoy calling people retarded, or using the f-word excessively, or you call people "wussies", or that you antagonise an editor you viewed as racist using offensive racist language, or even that you bragged on Wikipedia about how sexually attracted you are to teenagers, and here. I've long since let it go, and perhaps now is a good time for you to as well, before the WSJ does a front-page piece on abusive and potentially sexually inappropriate Wikipedia admins. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:17, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
What are you talking about and who are you talking to? I don't see where Bwilkins has said a word in this thread. Jburlinson (talk) 00:27, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Jburlinson, Bwilkins is DangerousPanda/ESL. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:36, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

I wouldn't call what Tvoz initially said was sexist; but her subsequent comments do tend to suggest some sexist thinking (of the most on-up-man-ship editors I have come across on Wikipedia a good number of them are female, and most [regardless of sex] are older individuals). But I also think GabeMC is doing his best to portray Tvoz's stereotype in what looks a lot like a temper tantrum :S Wikipedias social problems are not specifically driven by testosterone or gender, and I suggest Tvoz needs to get beyond those stereotypes to help emphasise her point (if for nothing else to avoid this sort of bickering). The problems are driven by our social structure, the minimal punishment of bad behaviour and anonymity. --Errant (chat!) 10:44, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

As our article states, women have testosterone, too. And an excess of it in women leads to... "increased aggression". Can we stop being silly now and get back to writing an encyclopedia? --Dweller (talk) 12:05, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. This is all childish and ridiculous. I'd be tempted to tell all the participants in this farce to grow a pair, but I shall just make a meta-joke about doing so instead.Tom Morris (talk) 12:54, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm glad you didn't make that joke--as a man, I'm tired of being a persecuted minority on the internet. Mark Arsten (talk) 14:38, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
The solution is easy, call the band "Beatles", and watch everyone twitch :D , IRWolfie- (talk) 17:48, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Speaking as a male prone to argument and all-around d-baggery once in awhile alot of the time, I see nothing in Tvoz's comments that are actually incorrect. If there's butthurt to be had over this, it is over the exposure of an unfortunate truth. Tarc (talk) 15:16, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Echoing the above: "it's only the truth that hurts," as the saying goes. GabeMc, either she is right or the statement is wack and shouldn't matter — plus you're assuming the accuracy and good will of a Rupert Murdoch publication on top of that. Much ado about nothing, move along. Carrite (talk) 18:02, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment - Supporting feminism does not mean spreading idiotic stereotypes about males. "An overabundance of testosterone" could be translated into "there are too many men on Wikipedia", which could imply 1) We should recruit more women (my !vote) or 2) We should reduce the amount of men. Either way, claiming that Wikipedia is not a friendly environment for woman in the most circulated newspaper in the US does not accomplish #1 and I can only assume #2 is not a realistic or appealing option to anyone.

As for how I would handle the issue? I think the conversation/question should move away from individual users and specific genders and into the realm of: "Is Wikipedia at times an abusive and hostile environment?" And, "What can we do to improve the situation?" If Tvoz had said that Wikipedia should be more encouraging and nurturing, and less hostile and abusive, I would have completely agreed. Her tieing the negative traits associated with Wikipedia disputes to testosterone (maleness) is to take a low-blow against men, a cheap-shot that does not help the project in anyway that I can see.

FTR, I would have never guessed Tvoz was female until she made sure I knew in a hostile and aggresive way, "Finally, don't call me 'they' - it's 'she'". I don't go around thinking, "I wonder if that editor is female, or gay, or black, or Jewish, or liberal or conservative", I don't attempt to judge them based on anything except their words and actions. If anyone thinks that supporting feminism means insulting men, then they have missed the point entirely.

If I was a female who was considering joining Wikipedia, I would think twice after reading Tvoz's comments on the front-page of the WSJ, that's my main concern, Wikipedia. Also, if I was a female benefactor considering donating money to Wikipedia, I would definately think twice after reading Tvoz's comments in the WSJ article. I think this issue is a valuable discussion, a crucial conversation, that should be had internally, not externally for all the world to see, which could in fact be damaging to the project overall and long-term ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 20:55, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Just will note, I found the WSJ article an amusing read (or is that The WSJ). Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree, it was a generally accurate and well-balanced piece. FTR, according to Miss Chadhuri, it's The Wall Street Journal but the New York Times. She also pointed out that at the WSJ, it's "the Beatles", not "The Beatles". ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:19, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I'm having a hard time following this thread as anything other than a petty personal/idealogical conflict with no genuine relationship with the encyclopedia or its working environment. Someone care to tell me what I am missing?--Tznkai (talk) 21:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

IMO, it's about sexism on Wikipedia, and whether or not this should be dealt with internally, or aired for all the world to see, potentially driving away future female contributors and donors in the process. I say the conversation should shift away from blaming a specific gender or person, and move toward looking at solutions to the issue of abuse and hostility in the Wikipedia culture, an issue that crosses genders and should never be blamed wholesale on maleness. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:07, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like a no. Or, more precisely, a good description of a petty personal/ideological conflict par excellence. Complain about the unfair treatment of males on your own server time. I'm not saying you don't have a point, but I am saying this is not the time and place.--Tznkai (talk) 22:12, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Wow, I can't believe it, you think this conversation should end immediately, that's a new one, never heard anyone say that on Wikipedia before. It's the old, ignore the problem until it goes away solution, which of course has been demonstrated time and time again as being highly effective. Take the Beatles dispute for example, it practically solved itslef after only 8 years. Tznkai, if not here then where, and if not now then when? ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:15, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, you could've taken up, politely, reasonably, and privately your problems with Tmoz's framing of the issue with her directly. You chose not to, although on net that may not have been a bad idea. Write an editorial for the Signpost on how to reduce hostility in Wikipedia culture (although I'd sharpen up your arguments, based on the negative response you got here), think about some sort of constructive proposal to actively improve how things go. The "problem" that I want to go away is you using Wikipedia to take up your causes and complaints. We don't do that for the issues that involve dead bodies, why are we going to do it for you?--Tznkai (talk) 22:24, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the educated lesson on civility, you set a fine example. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:31, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
If that was meant sarcastically, I apologize that I've come off as disrespectful of you in anyway. (If it was not meant sarcastically, I apologize for misunderstanding you). As I said earlier, I don't discount your opinions, but I don't think this is the appropriate forum.--Tznkai (talk) 22:55, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Then what in your opinion is the appropriate forum? Tvoz: "this discussion ought to be happening all over the project". GabeMc: I agree! ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 23:26, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
(ec)That is not what is being said at all. The point is, Tvoz pointed out an actual problem within this project, and all you have done is whine about those comments being sexist (they weren't), whine that women should seriously think first before editing or donating (they should), and whine that all this dirty laundry should have been kept internal (it shouldn't). Please, enough already. Tarc (talk) 22:30, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Both men and women have testosterone. Just saying. Kaldari (talk) 01:11, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Both men and women have estrogen as well, Just saying. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:30, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, if we make surgical emasculation a prerequisite for males to edit Wikipedia, then we can assure ourselves that disputes are merely intellectual and not hormonal. VєсrumЬа TALK 01:33, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
  • On a more specific note, Tvoz made this comment to me yesterday, in reference to my need to make multiple edits for a single comment: "By the way - try using your sandbox to perfect your comments before posting them - it's a lot more considerate to other editors." True perhaps, but it is also completely ignoring the numerous possible biological causes for this, e.g. poor eyesight, dyslexia, dysgraphia, aphasia, etcetera. So, are we to believe that all women are more considerate and compassionate, and willing to work through potential biological difficulties of users? Or did Tvoz make a blatantly rude, and inconsiderate comment that is completely without gender distinction? And she made this inconsiderate and insulting remark in the same diff in which she chides me to be more considerate. Irony? Was Tvoz acting feminine here while I was acting aggressive and masculine? I think this insult is rude and inappropriate, the difference is I don't blame it on Tvoz's gender, I blame it on her lack of compassion and understanding for people with language difficulties. But aren't women supposed to be more considerate, compromising and nurturing? What gives? ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 02:02, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
    • Tu quoque. Distracting us from Tvoz's argument by attacking her for perceived hypocrisy doesn't dispute or dismiss her argument. Try again next time, with a little less aggression and attacks and a bit more interest in trying to resolve the dispute. In my experience here, her observations about the domineering dynamic of Wikipedia discussions is accurate, and it's one of the reasons I rarely participate in this community. Many people I know have even left Wikipedia because of this style of discussion. Viriditas (talk) 02:21, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
GabeMC. Please. Drop this issue. For the past 3 days, your more than 100 contributions have been on this topic, on Tvoz, on "bullying" you're receiving, and on followups to long finished things in the mediation. Your actions are not contributing to the improvement of the encyclopedia. Your comment just above this is practically a personal attack, and doesn't even make any sense. If you or someone else had those problems, then it would be best to do exactly what Tvoz suggests--use a sandbox or offline editing tool to get your comments completed prior to posting. The fact that you see her comments as "lacking compassion", and then somehow draw some way off based comparisons to her biological sex really show that you're just taking things way out of context and out of proportion. Please, just walk away. Go find some article on a 17th century mathematician and copy-edit it. Go dig up 100 new sources on some Beatles song and transform it into a GA. Or just walk away from Wikipedia entirely for a few days. Anything that gets you back in a place where you're actually contributing to the encyclopedia instead of hanging around behind the scenes and creating drama. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:38, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
"Hanging around behind the scenes"? What? I am the primary reason Wikipedia got a front-page article in the WSJ last week, and one of the lamest edit-wars in Wikipedia history has now ended, mostly because I wouldn't shut-up. But hey, I can tell that any minute now you are gonna threaten me with your admin powers so yeah, I'll stop now out of fear, and not comment at this thread again so as to avoid your reprisals. Once again, an admin shuts-down discussion, wow, what a surprise! But please, don't you ever try to boss me, or anyone else around telling them to get back to work improving articles. We are not your employees! I am an unpaid volunteer offering an important service for free! As for: "actually contributing to the encyclopedia", due tell Qwyrxian, how many FAs have you accomplished this year great master and commander? I've managed to move more than 22,000 words through FAC in the last 3 months! Oh yeah, and just last week, I gave an extensive review of an 11,000 word article, also at FAC. So please, be a little more careful when you ring the bell signaling that break-time is over; this specific point relates to editor retention in a significant way. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 02:56, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I tried earlier to subtly bring an end to this ridiculous debate, but now your prediction about an admin coming to shut it down is coming to fruition; if you don't quietly back away from this right now, I'll block you until this all disappears into archives. You're proving that you're either incapable of or pretending not to listen. It's taking me a considerable amount of restraint to diplomatically say this, so consider yourself fortunate that the awful headache I have now is making me carefully think over everything I'm doing, because on my worst nights I'd probably be a lot blunter. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:06, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Another option (admittedly, never used on Wikipedia) is: Instead of threats of blocking, just stop responding to him. Lots of people like to say "stop beating the dead horse", and then take the opportunity to get one more whack at the dead horse themselves, but are shocked when the other person then does the same thing. If people stop responding to him, I doubt he's going to go on and on forever. (The personalization of the dispute is troubling, but is certainly not one-sided.) --Floquenbeam (talk) 12:16, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
    If this were an isolated instance I'd agree with you, but this is far from the first time with him and it really needs to stop. A perusal of the archive for this page should demonstrate what I'm talking about. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:29, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
    Thanks for thinking outside the box Floquenbeam, and realising that this isn't entirely one-sided. To me, this isn't even a dispute amongst two editors, its an issue of concern for all of Wikipedia about which a crucial conversation should occur. The Blade of the Northern Lights, after three years on Wikipedia, this is only the second time I have ever complained about anything here, so to say "this is far from the first time" is a bit of a stretch IMO. Your actions also seem to discourage/override Jimbo's supposed "open-door" policy, and in an inconsistent way. Some editors complain here weekly and some do it almost daily, but hey, no matter, I've dropped the issue entirely and I won't bring it up on Wikipedia space ever again, so you can put your samurai sword back in its sheath as there will be no need for a beheading today. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:05, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
    On the contrary, instead of starting a centralized discussion in one place, you deliberately engaged in WP:POINTY behavior by starting many duplicate discussions on many different pages in order to "get back" at Tvoz for expressing her opinion that "this discussion ought to be happening all over the project". Seriously, your bad behavior is entirely transparent. All you've done is prove Tvoz's point that editors will do and say anything to "win" rather than engage with the actual thoughts and ideas under discussion. Viriditas (talk) 21:58, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
    Well, that's not WP:AGF is it Viriditas? To clarify, I only ever wanted to have the discussion at one place, the Beatles mediation page; however, an admin reverted the last comment I intended to make on it, and implied that the discussion should occur elsewhere, presumably he meant at Tvoz's talk page. So I went there and noticed that User:Coren had already started a thread on the issue. After several editors agreed in principle with my concern about the comment, Tvoz banned me from participating further in the conversation at her talk page; thus I opened two more threads, one at editor retention and the other here in response to her declaration: "this discussion ought to be happening all over the project, not isolated to my talk page just because my quote got it some attention." So, I took her comment at face value and assumed that she meant what she said. FWIW, in the past three months I have been under more stress here and in RL than usual, so I have admittedly not been my highest-self. For that I apologise, but I stand by my assertion that dividing Wikipedians into stereotype groups based on gender is not at all a positive approach to solving, or even improving the Wikipedia dispute resolution process in general. AGF, ABF, the choice is of course yours, but that is the truth as I see it. Again, I wrongly thought Jimbo was serious about his "open-door" policy, I see now that it is only symbolic in nature, and I won't make this mistake ever again (which I have made a grand total of two times in three years). Cheers! ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 23:37, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Developer resources for pending changes

Is it really the case that there are no developer resources available to fix bugs in pending changes? It's recently come to light that PC returns the latest (unapproved) version to the GoogleBot because Google uses the API call to get the latest version of a page. That seriously reduces the usefulness of pending changes if the unapproved versions are still going into Google and other search engines. Gigs (talk) 00:37, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I've never understood why we don't simply use flagged revisions as implemented for years in the German and other Wikipedias, at least on biographies. All the various false death reports, and the malicious nonsense with Gideon Levy and Anita Sarkeesian, would never have been seen by the public, and would never have hit the press. AndreasKolbe JN466 01:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Based on my experience over the past 9-10 months, I'd say it's the unbelievable torrent of verbiage unleashed by all sides on the topic; I'll feel lucky to come out of closing these discussions alive. When so many people feel the need to expound in more detail than would be required to bore a judge all at once, it has two paradoxical effects; 1. the last people tend to be the ones with the most extreme viewpoints and 2. it prevents anything but the most moderate changes to the status quo, for better or worse. Why do you think other areas run into the same problems? Hall of Jade (お話しになります) 04:03, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Stalemates and interminable waffle are a problem inherent in the Wikipedia system. It affects pretty much every issue where there is a difference in opinion. Coming back to the original topic, I've just written a blog post on Flagged Revisions. If the pending changes version that is supposed to be used here in the English Wikipedia – to whatever degree pending changes may come to be used in the future – is buggy, then resources should be made available to fix the bugs. WMF revenue has risen more than 12-fold over the past five years; it is hard to understand why, with so much funding available, programming projects suffer delays such as the one that, according to the OP, afflicts the en:WP version of pending changes. AndreasKolbe JN466 15:12, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Here is the diff where Jdforrester claims there's no development resources for PC [28]. Gigs (talk) 19:03, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. If the RfC shows consensus for any use of PC, under whichever circumstances, then I would suggest we use flagged revisions, as that seems to be the only version that actually does the advertised job of keeping unapproved changes and defamation out of Google. AndreasKolbe JN466 19:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
RfC 1 settled that question. PC is going to be enabled on December 1, unless something else major happens between now and then. Gigs (talk) 16:48, 18 October 2012 (UTC)