User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 126

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Misadvertising: Fraud?

The WP-article-authoring-for-hire website wikiexperts guarantees "Expert Wikipedia article writing, consistent with all Wikipedia standards". But that can't be true, since their selling of article writing services violates the Wikipedia:Conflict of interest standard. The Transhumanist 00:43, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

That it does :-) No one claimed there was any truth in advertising. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 01:00, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Does that excuse claiming something that is untrue? The Transhumanist 01:39, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
See User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive selling editing to corporations (15 January 2011)
and User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 96#Money and expenses (February 2012).
Wavelength (talk) 01:14, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
What's the remedy? The Transhumanist 01:39, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
I think I heard in the news that Anonymous makes edits to webpages sometimes. Biosthmors (talk) 03:47, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
It all really comes down to the quality of their edits. If they make decent articles with reliable sources for notable entities, then whom does it hurt? RNealK (talk) 03:48, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
If you read WP:COI, it says you're perfectly allowed to write articles on commission, as long as the articles are the same as they'd otherwise be if you weren't being paid. You're discouraged from doing this because it's usually difficult to do so. If you work for a company, writing about it at your boss's behest, it become difficult to adhere to NPOV and please her. But as long as they're complying with WP:NPOV, they can write articles and get paid for it, and be fully compliant with Wikipedia's standards (though they'd be wise to get the money up front). WilyD 09:26, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
With respect to paid editing in general, according to WP:COI, transparency is key. Which accounts are WikiExpert editing under? Which articles have they edited? Where are WikiExpert's edit summaries?
By the way, WP:COI doesn't say what you said it says. On the contrary, it states:

"Paid advocates are very strongly discouraged from direct article editing, and should instead propose changes on the talk page of the article in question."

WP:COI distinguishes "paid advocacy" as a subtype of "paid editing", further elaborating:

"you are very strongly discouraged from editing Wikipedia in areas where those external relationships could reasonably be said to undermine your ability to remain neutral. If you have a financial connection to a topic (as an employee, owner or other stakeholder), you are advised to refrain from editing articles directly, and to provide full disclosure of the connection. You may use the article talk pages to suggest changes, or the {{request edit}} template to request edits."

That's pretty clear. The Transhumanist 20:49, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Even if paid editing was banned by policy (instead of "discouraged" by a guideline), it would be impossible to police and enforce. The best defense, in either case, are the main policies that already guide the improvement of articles: WP:NPOV and WP:Verifiability. If a paid editor follows those guidelines, they will likely be a net benefit to Wikipedia. If they don't follow those guidelines, there are already mechanisms in place to fix that. First Light (talk) 03:51, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
It is pretty clear, and it says exactly what I said it says. They get advised not to write about topics they're financially connected to. They're discouraged. But they can still do it anyhow, and if they can adhere to WP:NPOV, nothing's the matter with them being financially connected to the topic or not. And if you're familiar with Wikipedia, it's actually piss-ass easy to do this. I'm financially/professionally connected with this image I made, for instance, which now sits at the top of a featured article (and apparently more than two dozen language versions of Wikipedia - hey, who knew?), but nobody minds and everyone's happy to have it because it's quite reasonably neutral. For someone familiar with Wikipedia, it ain't that hard to write neutral articles even if you're getting paid to do it. As a business (or whatnot), it makes sense to pay for a neutral article, because it can raise your profile (indeed, I chose the location of my first date with my wife from Category:Museums in Toronto, no spamming necessary). Unpaid advocates are not better than paid advocates (indeed, they're usually worse, as their motivation is far less limited), and paid non-advocates are really a non-issue, discouraged because of the worry they'd become paid advocates. WilyD 10:19, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, unpaid advocates are no different—they are just getting "paid" in a different way, through some benefit to their point of view, political stand, religious beliefs, philosophical views (transhumanism, to give one example), professional life, etc. The fact that Wikipedia benefits from so many people with their own varied motivations for editing is, to a significant extent, responsible for Wikipedia's success. First Light (talk) 17:53, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
While there is something in what you say, First Light, in my view Wikipedia needs to draw a very bright line when it comes to paid editing. If it can not be banned officially due to enforcement issues, it must be discouraged with every means possible, as a serious threat to NPOV. It means that those with the money to afford it can buy their "slant." Most discouraging. I think we need a lot more clarification on this topic. Jusdafax 22:57, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Except that it isn't a "serious threat to NPOV", that's the point. POV warriors are a much more serious threat. Most paid editors are paid for something simple, such as just making an article on a topic. That doesn't mean the article is non-neutral. In most cases, the article written is perfectly fine. True, sometimes paid editors get asked to do something POV, such as removing criticism about a subject from an article, but most paid editors refuse those jobs, Wikiexperts included. The ones that do accept those jobs are almost all banned at this point. SilverserenC 04:47, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Indeed one could argue professionals are less likely to write overly POV articles, because if they did the articles are likely to be challenged and their contributions edited out. Which means they don't get paid, or at least don't get repeat business. Paid editors (and note, I'm not one) have a financial incentive to write and edit articles that conform to WP standards. Otherwise they're out of a job. --Icerat (talk) 13:41, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it's that easy. The problem with paid editors is that they are good at POV. The Trilantic article has various subtle biases introduced by its structure, composition, and layout that are designed to give it a certain 'glow' that corresponds to a difficulty of placing a negative statement if you had one. In other words, it focuses on present (and only present) investments, listing each company in a brief format that gives just enough room for what it is and does that sounds valuable, in a table format that allows no place to say "but so-and-so was hit with Better Business Bureau complaints". The well-composed paid article is structured in such a way that it is simply barren ground for some IP to try to implant a dose of harsh reality. In order to properly balance POV, it is necessary to compile a list of all the tricks the paid editors use to accomplish this 'glow', then devise suitable counters for each. Wnt (talk) 16:33, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
The same tricks are applied by non-paid POV editors, it's alas just part of editing here :(. I tried a couple of years ago to get a "manual of style" off the ground to offer guidelines on the content and structure of corporate entries, which I think would aid these type of issues. It didn't get much traction before I took an extended wikibreak. --Icerat (talk) 15:14, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I think the better way to describe it as follows: PR people by the nature of their position and COI are here to "do their jobs" rather than improve the project. So in general PRs are looking at "what is allowed" as oppose to "what makes a good article" which can result in a form of POV pushing within the rules. Some PRs will "get it" and do their best to be neutral, while others will accept the traditional role of a PR person as an advocate. Some amount of good-faith bias occurs from any editor on any topic, but when that bias is done both intentionally and for financial compensation, the same degree of bias is more offensive in this circumstance.
I would follow this to its logical conclusion, that the community does not support "paid advocacy" because the word "advocacy" suggests intentional bias that is found to be offensive coming from sponsored sources. Generally the idea of COI is that you're suppose to try to be neutral despite it. CorporateM (Talk) 15:35, 14 February 2013 (UTC) (PR guy, frequent COI contributor)
Interesting point - we should perhaps differentiate between "paid editors" and "paid advocacy"! They're not always synonymous :). I'm not sure there is such a thing as "POV pushing within the rules", except possibly when it's to balance POV in the other direction - in which case it should make for a better article. Honestly, I'm just not convinced that WP:COI provides anything above other policies and guidelines --Icerat (talk) 16:17, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I would abandon our Wiki-speak entirely and use common business language. I would call Paid Editing astroturf and Paid Advocacy lobbying. Offering corrections, images, expertise, and citations I would call "public relations" and offering content/drafts on Talk, I would call "Content Marketing." I would outlaw astroturf, encourage public relations, discourage content marketing and carry warnings for lobbying (which can sometimes be done accidentally). CorporateM (Talk) 19:43, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

preserving the imaginary

I was wondering, if the block log was currently for admin eyes only. Would there be a good reason to put it out there, in public, until the end of time, for the world to see? I wrote a really long posting about this but I don't want to use that much of your time. There is a long list of reasons why these logs should not be public. If you want elaboration just say the word. (talk) 08:23, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Block logs are public, and anyone can see them. What is it you want, or don't, want to see? Qwyrxian (talk) 09:17, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Could you please explain what you mean? (talk) 10:01, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
The IP explained that (1) they are not sure whether block logs are public at the moment, and (2) they believe that block logs should not be public.
Sometimes a block summary is seriously problematic and will be suppressed. But even a relatively harmless block log could cause the owner of a real name account to not get a job, for example, as employers increasingly look for information on applicants on the internet. Hans Adler 11:00, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
If you want to see what someone's block log looks like, go to their user page, then go to Special:log/block and enter the person's username in the "Target" field. You will see a list of all of the times the person has been blocked or unblocked, along with the reasons that the admins gave for making those blocks/unblocks. Is that the information you're looking for? It does generally need to be public, because if it weren't then admins could block users and no one other than other admins would ever know why. Qwyrxian (talk) 11:19, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
You can ask for "oversight" of block entries in certain specific cases outlined by policy. Generally, if a log entry causes damage to your reputation in real life, you can simply send a request to the oversight email, and they will happily remove it. (This doesn't apply to sourced facts about famous/notable persons, for reasons too long to explain here).
People will have certain expectations: you won't repeat the behaviour that caused the block in the first place, if you use oversight to hide a conflict of interest then you will stop editing the article where you have a conflict (you are supposed to be open about conflict of interest), etc. --Enric Naval (talk) 11:55, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
I have never seen any "long list" or even a "short list" of reasons why a block log should not be public ... some elaboration would be good, although this is not likely the right forum to discuss (✉→BWilkins←✎) 11:36, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
It's not the right forum to actually do something about it, but it seems as good as any for a brainstorm about the pros and cons. As we begin this discussion, let's remember that there are many gradations between 'public' and 'not public'. For example, I'm pretty sure (someone can check my work if they think I'm wrong) the block logs are set to NOINDEX so that they don't show up in Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. That takes us a fair distance between "there's no reason to trumpet it to the general public" and "it's important for internal purposes that people's reputations are based on their past behavior". Alternatives that might be considered would include: admin-only visibility (problematic from a power structure perspective, since part of the reason for the block log to be visible is to provide transparency into admin actions!), logged-in-only visibility (interesting), autoconfirmed-only visibility (interesting).--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:08, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I was curious what you thought about it. :)

I think the process of blocking and unblocking users strongly favors everyone going back to work asap. I thought this was a good thing 5 min ago. Our logs lack accuracy but that is ok,(I thought) as long as everyone can get back to work there is no harm done. (Except from the log entry)

Restrict access to auto confirmed users sounds great. I'm now pondering if it could be interesting to (also) improve the log to better provide transparency into admin actions. Currently the accusations have no evidence, the punishments are not necessarily deserved, and the user is not allowed to say anything in his defense on the page. The hard working careful admin looks the same as the trigger happy didn't really look guy. Both do a good job but the careful admin deserves extra credit. :)

Another angle is that any kind of log tends to perpetuate discussions about resolved issues. We wont be writing articles when that happens.

The puzzle is harder than I thought. (talk) 14:53, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

First, we don't do punishment. Period.
There's been millions of lines of discussion about "good blocks" versus "bad blocks" and "wheel warring" and "improper unblocking". Admins are selected based on trust. Blocking should be a last resort to protect the project. Sometimes, due to the nature of the protection required it becomes a "first" resort - based on the judement of the admin in question.
A good admin uses the right blocking reason, and often even provides a link to either the infraction *or* the discussion while blocking - that will appear in the block log. In most cases the admin then provides the appropriate block notice on their talkpage (difficult with rangeblocks, of course).
If the editor makes an unblock request that is accepted, the good admin will note "accepting unblock request" or "unblocking as per conditions", or "unblocking as per discussion at X" (with a link to ANI or wherever.
These kinds of annotations are not only good practice, they're recommended. They also leave a pretty good audit trail.
Now, a really interesting thing that could happen would be that if the person makes an unblock request and an admin declines it, that decline would be put into the block log as well.
Making the block log only available to logged-in/autoconfirmed editors does make a degree of sense ... although, how would an anonymous editor see they they're blocked ... or that the IP they are usign is blocked if they cannot see the block log? (✉→BWilkins←✎) 17:24, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Bwilkins' statement has great insight and I agree with it completely. Suggest we not make any changes in the visibility of the block log, a useful tool which should remain visible to all. For myself, and generally speaking, I find that someone with more than a few blocks has a partial or even complete inability to collaborate with others, and I will usually ignore or avoid such types. The objection that those editing under their real names may suffer if potential employers judge them for it carries little weight with me, as it was their choice to register that way to begin with. Jusdafax 00:20, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Bwilkins' statement lacks insight. It puts a fine "problem? what problem?" gloss on the situation. We do do punishment; not often, but we do. Blocking is often used without trying more productive, less hurtful, less disruptive options first. Blocking admins rarely provide a link in the block log to either the infraction *or* the discussion, and notes on the blocked user's talk page are often lacking a clear explanation and sufficient diffs for easy independent review. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:48, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Bad blocks should be deleted from the victim's block log. That would include "oopsy" blocks, where the perpetrator hit the wrong button or utterly misunderstood the situation; but blocks that are overturned as bad blocks after community review - or unilaterally overturned by another admin as a bad block, who is subsequently supported by the community - should also be deleted. A new log should be created, sortable by perpetrator and victim, of deleted blocks, separate from the block log.
Far too much blocking of good-faith editors goes on here, really. Newyorkbrad suggested here that temporary page-bans should be deployed instead of most 3RR blocks. Others suggested page protection could be used more often in lieu of edit-war blocks. A more nuanced approach like that could be taken in a number of different situations. One editor being rude to another could be told not to address or discuss the other for a set period by an admin. All of this would be backed up blocks, of course, in the case of defiance. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:38, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Newyorkbrad's idea might make sense, though as discussed there it creates more work for admins. NE Ent's call for a 'statute of limitations' that would include redacting the block log after a period of time is an idea I agree with as well. Last but not least, I'll just ask: is there a need to provide the block log under a CC-by license? If people are actually worrying about being discriminated against in employment based on this (which would be a travesty to begin with) then it might be possible to put a copyright notice on the block log page and say that it is provided for personal work as a WP volunteer only, not to be redistributed, and that by viewing this page you agree to terms and conditions including that you will not use the information in making employment decisions. Not at all sure I like that idea, but might as well ask. Wnt (talk) 18:01, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

In prison everyone is innocent. Whatever the block log says it is always wrong. Just ask whoever it belongs to. I think we don't really care what the truth is, we care only if your contributions are useful and your conduct is pleasant. The block log is useful at the point where your account merits admin investigation. (not before) After that we need the log to see if the administrator did his job properly. We dedicate resources to the investigation of the log. If there is a notice board discussion an admin will close it and then block the user. The link to the archive is 1 click away. It seems good to make it mandatory if there is a discussion. Hiding the link to the dubious report is of course a cleaver trick we shouldn't fall for. But generally we trust editors to do a reasonably good job reviewing another editor. We spend resources here. If there is a link to the discussion we can get something in return for the effort.

  • mandatory link
  • Only administrators can view all block logs.
  • All registered/Auto confirmed users can view their own block log and block logs from IP editors.
  • IP editors and readers can only view their own log.

That way log entries merit no further persecution. When a case is closed it is the end of story. (talk) 20:24, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

"Whatever the block log says it is always wrong." The ludicrousness of this statement is astounding; I have blocked plenty of people that absolutely, without a doubt, deserved it. Some people may make bad blocks, sure, but to say that the block log is always a lie? Um, no. The fact that the blocked editor doesn't think they should be blocked doesn't matter; they also thought it was a good idea to add spam links, violate WP:BLP repeatedly, or to repeatedly force "their" version of an article over consensus. They are biased in their opinion of their own actions. EVula // talk // // 16:28, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Reading comprehension. The sentence you quote follows "In prison everyone is innocent" in is in turn followed by further indications that it is not to be read literally. If you can't even get that, then I am deeply worried by the idea you might be blocking people based on their interactions with others. You seem to agree with the IP, except the IP's comment was much more extreme -- ridiculously so. Hans Adler 22:00, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I may have indeed missed something, but you're more than welcome to go thru my blocks if you think I'm doing something as stupid as blocking based on interactions. EVula // talk // // 05:03, 15 February 2013 (UTC)


Didn't you want to have something proposed in January. Or am I missing something.—cyberpower ChatOnline 13:59, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

No, you're right, but it's delayed - see User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_125#Constitutional_changes_update.2C_please, now archived. Johnbod (talk) 14:57, 15 February 2013 (UTC)


After reading so many talk pages it is very clear that most articles here are owned by two or three (or more), editors. They are guardians of their own private interests, and refuse to let anyone change anything without their explicit approval. Wikipedia is being transformed into the last dinosaur, before it rolled over and took its last breath.--andreasegde (talk) 16:08, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

It's very easy to make broad generalizations like that, but much harder to prove them. Perhaps a first approach would be to give examples so that others may examine them and think more deeply about the issue.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:25, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Andreasegde, I wrote an essay on this very problem. If you check that essay's history, you will see that a few activists then hijacked it. The reason small groups of advocates can take over a topic area (Intelligent Design is a notable example) is because there aren't enough active, regular Wikipedia editors around to overcome their article ownership and Wikipedia's administrators are unable and unwilling to enforce WP:NPOV. This is one of the major reasons why Wikipedia has, and will continue to have, major credibility problems. Since the WMF has no effective plan to fix this, I suggest that it's better to just find something else to do than participate as an editor here unless you're trying to use Wikipedia to promote your own cause. Cla68 (talk) 22:49, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't agree with that version of that essay. Removal of information because of WP:UNDUE is often a reaction to the other side trying to bias the article and there should not necessarily be any "compromising... to find a way to include it at appropriate length". That itself allows a side to bias an article--every time they put in things you can only 'compromise' on a shorter version, which lets them repeatedly put things in and keep half of them each time. Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:34, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
And in the specific case of Intelligent Design, the problem there is that real life is biased. So many of the facts about intelligent design are inherently damning that just neutrally reporting the truth ends up producing something that makes intelligent design looks bad. Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:38, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Reminds me of my luckless efforts to try to get some coverage of conservatives' IQ. Wnt (talk) 22:31, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Is that because there are no reliable sources to confirm the existance of such? (✉→BWilkins←✎) 15:08, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
There are sources, but they get scrubbed anyway, even from the backwater ghetto I tried to find them refuge in. A person would have to spend his whole life patrolling/"owning" an article to have a chance of keeping in one fact like that. Hell, I couldn't even manage to jam in a word, a See Also link or anything that would hint that Innocence of Muslims mentions Ya'fur, and it took professional help to keep the article from being deleted entirely merely because it is mentioned there. Wikipedia's political censorship is very strict and relentless, and no one should make the mistake of thinking it can cover an issue any way but the way somebody thinks sounds best. Wnt (talk) 16:22, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I think the case of Ya`fūr is illustrative, but perhaps not quite in the way you suggest. A lot of it is down to sourcing and neutrality. When I rewrote Ya`fūr and rescued your DYK nomination, I made sure to use high-quality sources and treat the topic with respect, no matter how odd it may seem to a secular Westerner (or indeed to many Muslims who haven't heard of Ya`fūr before). I've found that when people try to bias articles they often try to do so using thoroughly unreliable sources in an overtly non-neutral way. Conversely, if you use unreliable sources in a way that isn't completely neutral, people may think that you are intentionally trying to be biased. What you might perceive as censorship is often simply a concern for quality. If the quality of the sourcing or writing is low, people won't react favourably. Prioryman (talk) 23:47, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Jimmy, a good example of article ownership would be here and then here where you can see Andreasegde's reaction to critics of his articles: overwhelming hostility. Given his subsequent topic-banning by the community from all Beatles-related articles, and blocking for violating an interaction ban that developed from that, I find his coming here to complain about the very subject he is guilty of both bewildering and breathtaking. Jusdafax 01:22, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Gibraltar and DYK... again

You wrote [1]. They are proposing starting up Gibraltar DYKs again [2]

It doesn't seem like this has been settled and it appears that there are still serious conflicts of interest.

Can you please chime in here? ThoughtYouShouldKnow (talk) 23:57, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

What "serious conflicts of interest" are there "still"?
Do you mean that residents of the UK are choosing to write articles about matters related to a British Overseas Territory if those matters happen to interest them?
Or do you mean something else? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 03:22, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I suspect the OP means that once again the organized promotional campaign to bring the wonders of a vacation in Gibraltar to millions of mainpage viewers is being restarted. This is sickening and abusive of the DYK process and contrary Wikipedia's non-commercial intent and it needs to stop. Carrite (talk) 05:07, 14 February 2013 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 05:10, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
If you really think that Wikipedia having an article about a guy who was born in Morocco, died by impalement in 1339 AD in Castile, and is associated with no building, structure or place whatsoever in Gibraltar, is something to do with bringing "the wonders of a vacation in Gibraltar" to people, then I begin to worry. Also, your logic seems a bit off here; if you claim the campaign is being "restarted", when do you believe it was stopped? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 09:03, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Having seen a monthly series for the count of Gibraltar-related DYK articles since I made the above post, I sadly note that I stand corrected. The thinly-veiled promotional use of the DYK process on behalf of Gibraltar continues unabated. Carrite (talk) 00:52, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Demiurge, you ask what serious conflicts of interest still exist within WMUK. Allow me to suggest one. According to the WHOIS for, the domain is registered to "Michael Peel, Wiki UK Limited t/a Wikimedia UK". Mike Peel, is a trustee and Secretary of WMUK. John Cummings, who is in business with Roger Bamkin and has been paid for his work with Monmouthpedia/Gibraltarpedia, uses as his contact email. See here and elsewhere. For me, paid consultants using a domain registered to WMUK raises some questions. I do not know how this situation came about, but it certainly should not have continued as long as it has. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 05:34, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Raises some questions but hardly so alarming as that WP:SPA is trying to imply. So WMUK gets to own the domain? Nice. Did they pay for it? Also, what's that got to do with Dr Blofeld wanting to write articles about La Linea and Andreas wanting them barred from the main page? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 09:03, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
You asked a question, I responded to it. I'm sorry if you can't see how these issues are related. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:07, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
The domain name was purchased, and is operated, by WMUK as part of its support of the MonmouthpediA project - it has my name against it as the person that looked after the domain names and web hosting until recently. The address is a redirect to John's personal email address, not a full email address, and I believe it has only been used for his volunteer and WMUK-paid contract work, although Jon Davies will be looking into this. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 14:02, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Mike, anyone seeing or using that email to contact John Cummings rightly associates John Cummings with Monmouthpedia. Were the email ends up seems irrelevant to me, unless you are clarifying that you are not providing email services for John. The Chair of WMUK ultimately resigned when it became clear that running a for-profit business related to Wikipedia was incompatible with the aims of the charity and the WMF. I question the wisdom of using donations to pay for a domain and hosting a website when the Monmouthshire County Council is paying John and Roger to run the same project. Surely it would make more sense for the MCC or John and Roger to pay those costs? How long will WMUK continue to maintain the site? The prizes have been awarded - surely the project is over? In any case, this is just another instance of the unacceptable blurriness in lines between WMUK and paid work for individuals associated with WMUK. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:37, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Hello? Mike? Anyone? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:17, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo, back in October you criticised Jayen466 (talk · contribs) for deliberately generating hostile media stories to further his on-wiki agenda: "I wrote to Jayen466 privately to point out that if he was responsible for that news story appearing, it is not helpful for him to do that sort of thing. His view appears to be that getting negative press about the Gibraltarpedia situation is essential in forcing positive change. My point to him is that doing such things (emailing reporters) is not at all helpful." [3] He has admitted doing it again,[4] resulting in a hit piece by Andrew Orlowski of The Register, who as you know has a long history of attacking Wikipedia. Prioryman (talk) 08:15, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

I've wikilinked Orlowski in your comment, Prioryman, hope you don't mind - the Wikipedia article has an entire section on this, including a BBC report describing how he dismisses us as a "cult-like organisation". --Demiurge1000 (talk) 08:50, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
How could have he dismissed you as "cult-like organization"! Wikipedia is not a "cult-like organization". It is..., but let me quote a forgotten Wikipedia's co-founder Larry Sanger: ""I might have continued to participate," Sanger wrote in 2004, "were it not for a certain poisonous social or political atmosphere in the project."" (talk) 18:13, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Ah, we Wikipedians aren't a cult then, we're just poisonous, eh? That's fine. Thank you for the helpful input. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:01, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
this says it fairly well. wikipedia is known for its toxic environment. (talk) 21:38, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually Larry used the word "poisonous" in 2004. Now in 2013 Wikipedia is more like that. Don't you smell it? (talk) 00:24, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Until Wikipedia looks like this, throwing around terms like "poisonous" and "cult" is hyperbole. Mark Arsten (talk) 15:42, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, the atmosphere here is often quite toxic around hot-button topics; then the members' passionate attachment, their attitude to critical press and bad sites, the odd argot, the us regulars vs. IPs attitude and our charismatic founder all superficially resemble a cult I know. But that's a very superficial reading. From the inside, this place is nothing like a cult. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:18, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
When wikipedia will look like this, nobody will be throwing around terms like "poisonous" and "cult" because there will be no more wikipedia. (talk) 22:29, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
That's fine. Orlowski has been posting hit pieces on Wikipedia since as far back as 2004, so Jayen466 knows exactly what he will be getting by contacting Orlowski. Prioryman (talk) 08:55, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
The way things are going, soon we won't be able to mention Orlowski anywhere at all, just in case he's ever been on holiday to southern Spain (I think about half the UK population has been there...) or northern Morocco. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:01, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Prioryman, you aren't trying to shift the focus of this discussion from Gibraltarpedia, DYK nominations, and WMUK COI allegations to negative association with someone whose views you disagree with, are you? That would not be very helpful. Cla68 (talk) 22:40, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
My view, which I think many would share, is that while it's legitimate to debate issues here on Wikipedia, it's not legitimate to deliberately cause bad press for Wikipedia in order to gain leverage on-wiki. Jimbo made that very point in the comments I quoted above. Prioryman (talk) 22:47, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Pointing out an independent report on WMUK governance is hardly "deliberately causing bad press". It would rsther seem to go along with the principles of openness and transparency that are often touted about here. Kevin (talk) 23:30, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Deliberately telling such a thing to a writer who is well known for their dislike of Wikipedia and for making hit pieces on Wikipedia certainly seems like trying to create bad press and therefore gain an advantage on-wiki because of the drama it causes. SilverserenC 23:45, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
This is not a cult, where to speak ill is to be excommunicated. Is criticism of Wikipedia sometimes, even often, taken too far, especially by certain people? Sure. But a flat statement that it's unacceptable to tell someone critical of Wikipedia that Wikipedia has done something (someone thinks is) stupid is taking things a bit far. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 00:26, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
If the purpose of doing so is to then be able to use the bad press to give you an advantage in an on-wiki discussion, I would certainly think there's something wrong with it. SilverserenC 00:50, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. Let's consider what's happened here. Last week two pretty neutral and balanced articles were run in a couple of civil society governance journals. That didn't exactly set Wikipedia on fire (and didn't attract much comment). So what does Jayen466 do? He contacts the single most anti-Wikipedia journalist out there and pitches the story to him. Andrew Orlowski does not do neutral and balanced on any topic, let alone Wikipedia. If you pitch something to him, you know that the outcome is likely to be a spittle-flecked rant. After Orlowski's story ran, Jayen466 then used it as justification for opposing lifting the current restrictions on Gibraltar-related DYKs, without mentioning that he was himself the initiator of that story. It's breathtakingly cynical. His argument is that Gibraltar-related DYKs are causing controversy, but to justify that argument he is generating the controversy himself by pitching stories to anti-Wikipedia journalists. It reminds me of the fable about the person who murders their parents and then pleads for mercy on the grounds that they're an orphan. Prioryman (talk) 08:04, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Prioryman, why are you free to impugn Mr. Orlowski's journalistic integrity ("does not do neutral and balanced on any topic", "spittle-flecked rant") while crying foul on his Wikipedia criticism? It reminds me of the fable of the politician who criticizes another for sexual trysts while his own pants are around his ankles. Tarc (talk) 14:24, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I think it can be clearly said that Orlowski lacks any journalistic neutrality on any Wikipedia topic he writes on. This has been noticed by other news organizations. However, this is an irrelevant tangent that is just an attempt to avoid the discussion on whether its appropriate for Andreas to help propagate negative press so he can then use it as backing for his arguments on- already stated in the past that it was completely improper, so I don't see how it can be any different this time. SilverserenC 17:31, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Much as the Nixon administration viewed the Washington Post, eh? Tarc (talk) 17:57, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

(outdent) what on wiki advantage? and isn't it likely that the scandal would be discovered anyway? (talk) 01:27, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

So, I finally dug out my hip waders from the closet under the back stairs, repaired the rips from my last foray into turbulent waters, checked my ear protectors for a snug fit and followed the directions to this article, the one that Prioryman has noted above "is likely to be a spittle-flecked rant". It was all a complete waste of prep time. The most dramatic moments are direct quotations of Jimbo's responses to the general mess that is/was the governance of WMUK (and what a telling acronym that is in the circumstances!). In fact, the article is a fully referenced and reasonably straightforward telling of who, what, where, when, why and how of the events leading up to the formal review of WMUK, its trustees and their governance, and of that review's conclusions. I read it a second time, after I had removed all the protective gear, and can find no error and nothing even to which, if it were on WP, I would add "undue". Even Orlowski's conclusion "Gibraltar continues to be promoted heavily by Wikipedia" I'd be hard pressed to contradict after Prioryman's misleading charts where corrected by this histogram. Prioryman presents a very clear agenda to keep Gibraltar's current high level of exposure on WP's Main Page, and more, to lift those restrictions that currently keep some downward pressure on the numbers of mentions. As long as there remain unanswered questions about the financial payback for this exposure (Bamkin and his colleagues), I'd agree with Jimbo, except that I don't think five years is too extreme. Bielle (talk) 17:56, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Can I ask why this discussion seems to now be about Jayen466? He did not start the topic, the topic was not him nor the article in The Register, and he is unable to post here in his own defence. The WMF commissioned a report on WMUK governance following the Gibraltarpedia debacle which was covered by the media. It would be surprising if the people who covered the story originally did not report on the outcome. I was subject to similar attempts to discredit me and I do not like seeing such slimy tactics repeated. In my case, the main participants are now banned. Perhaps those who seek to discredit Jayen466 should take note of that. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:02, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Nice attempt to squash people expressing their opinions with an implied threat. Duly noted.
As for Jayen466, there's a reason he is banned - from this page - and that reason might give thoughtful participants an idea as to who is most responsible for him having been discredited. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:05, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo also tossed Fae out on his ear shortly before ArbCom banned him for a year anyways. Sometimes people just get too testy and overstep his personal patientce, it doesn't necessarily mean that their concerns are rendered invalid. Tarc (talk) 21:22, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Demiurge1000, it would be a bit difficult for me to make an implied or explicit threat to ban anyone, since it is not within my power to do so. On the other hand, I have seen several editors who used this type of character assassination banned for other reasons. If you think that people don't see these kinds of diversionary ploys for what they are, you are wrong. It may work for you now, but rest assured that people will remember it later, when you are the one in the hot seat. This isn't a threat, or even a warning, just some advice. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:31, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
You're funny. And no, you're not fooling anyone. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:21, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I am funny. Thank you for noticing. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:57, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Still not fooling anyone - if you want to talk to me, try doing it openly here, or openly on my talk page, not in an edit summary. If you don't want "nastiness", then don't come here with arrogant threats to begin with. I really couldn't care less which of your opponents, or people you view as your opponents, got banned. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 04:13, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, if you really want to get back to who made this discussion section, then we can note that it's clearly a sockpuppet user, so what's the point in the discussion in the first place? SilverserenC 22:45, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
They know that Jimbo's page is the one place Orlowski can be bothered to look at occasionally, so they have to keep on harassing Jimbo just to satisfy their craving for a few dozen press pixels... which boxcutter luvvies emailing in "things we noticed on the front page" doesn't quite seem to achieve on its own. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:26, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
It is probably wrong to call the account which created this thread a "sockpuppet". And I don't mean because it violates WP:NPA and WP:AGF. There was a sockpuppetry case opened and a checkuser has declared that they cannot identify another account associated with User:ThoughtYouShouldKnow. So, this account is to the best of our knowledge and ability to determine not a sockpuppet. Whoever they are, they have started a thread on Jimbo's page to alert Jimbo that editors are discussing starting Gibraltarpedia DYKs again. That discussion took place on a subpage of the DYK talk page, so I was not aware of it. Perhaps Jimbo, who has expressed a strong opinion on this issue in the past, was not aware of it either. I see nothing wrong with starting this topic. I might have done the same thing had I known of the discussion. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 04:10, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Free access to Wikipedia

Some of the students at Sinenjongo High School lobbied cellphone network operators for free access to Wikipedia. I wonder what other groups of people have participated in similar lobbies.
Wavelength (talk) 01:55, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Some schools block Wikipedia due to uncontrolled edits: A U.S. high school student told me her school will not allow Wikipedia use, because it has "articles that anyone can edit" and there was no talk of "pending changes" to deter improper edits. In some cases, the school computers have treated the Wikipedia websites as black-listed, and so students must use their own cellphones to read Wikipedia, although Google results will show a text excerpt from a Wikipedia page. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:42, 16 February 2013 (UTC)


Its been a few weeks sent I sent you my email proposal to Google Jimmy, not heard anything from you. Did you get it?♦ Dr. ☠ Blofeld 11:53, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

I haven't seen it but I'm very far behind in email at the moment. If you can please send again with the subject line including 'URGENT' then I should see it more quickly! (Also I have a pretty aggressive spam filter and I just did a quick search and don't see it from you.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:41, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I can imagine what your spam box looks like! I've sent it again with URGENT translation on it, let me know when you get it, feel free to reword it or alter it or reformat it!.♦ Dr. ☠ Blofeld 13:04, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Confirmed Google Translate garbles multi-phrases: Meanwhile, I have run recent tests to show that Google Translate still garbles translations with multi-phrase text (wording with 2 dependent clauses), even in simple Spanish to English (try "es:Medina de Rioseco" to English), not just German text with reversed subject/verb word order. For people who somewhat understand the other languages, they could split or simplify the sentences and try a re-translation. For proper nouns, Google Translate is still giving 50-50% wording, such as half "San Francisco" and half "Saint Francis" in the results. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:42, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Global account: Username

Hello dear Jimbo Wales. I am a proposition for the global account. But a great suggestion. I asked dear Superyetkin (bureaucrat in Turkish Wikipedia). There is a system called the "Global Account". When change user e-mail in a project that is valid in all projects. Why is "user name" in one place, so do not change preferences? İn Turkish Wikipedia, provided that at least 200 changes to user names are changed (1). Development of a system. Provided that at least 200 changes to all projects, change preferences section of the user himself. However, the condition can be changed at least once a year to get 2 or 3. Thus, the admin's work is reduced, and users will be happier and more comfortable. I presume exceeded that I'm sorry for such a proposal. My English is not very good. I hope you understand my meaning. What do you think about this? My sincerely, — Cano58 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 05:54, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Lua planned for 18 February 2013

The wp:PUMPTECH has a note that Scribunto and Lua script will be released on 18 February. This is likely to cause "future shock" so expect all kinds of wild improvements, perhaps faster than ever imagined. Major articles which have formerly edit-previewed in 20-35 seconds should display soon within 6 seconds using templates which #invoke Module:Citation (coming soon). Custom small/large default images (300px or 120px) will become instant options for most users. Because text scanning can be done 180,000x times faster in Lua, than in markup-based templates, we can have all kinds of "wizard advisor" templates which would have been unworkable before. I have already suggested ideas based on Template:Watchdog, to remind people when improper text is added, or report when critical details are "accidentally" removed from articles. There is also a massive effort to rewrite the extensive Template:Convert measurement system (although probably not all of it), so there is no limit to the enthusiasm and energy promoted by the thought of rapid, intelligent Lua-based templates. More later. -Wikid77 (talk) 15:41, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Darn, when I read the heading I thought there was a typo and that this was going to involve roast pig and hula dancing. It's just some software thing. Neutron (talk) 17:47, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
At least we don't have to try to choke down poi. Carrite (talk) 02:54, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
One man's meat is another man's poi, son. Jusdafax 07:53, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
  • After the installation is successful, perhaps we can have a Lua luau to celebrate! -Wikid77 (talk) 13:42, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Pu Pu -- Komowkwa (talk) 16:02, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Religious intolerance in Bulgarian Wikipedia

Hi, I know you are reading your talk page and that is why I am writing here because in the situation administrators are involved. Talking about Bulgarian Wikipedia it is edited by Bulgarians (living in Bulgaria, ex-communist Eastern EU country or abroad) where the majority is Orthodox Christians. I myself am Buddhist and with other 2 people are the major if not only editors in Buddhism. I know I can stop editing in Bulgarian Wikipedia and focus my attention to the English as here are many ways of resolutions as arbitrages, different administrators, etc. but still I think it is shocking the way they do especially with thinking that they are the 'last authority'. Yes, they threaten me with ban but thats not the point. I just think that there is a lack of religious tolerance (obviously) in our country, especially towards Buddhism which is expressed in ways of sarcasm, irony, bullying, etc. So it is not only the intolerance, it is bullying either. Outside Wikipedia we have the same problems I would say not all of the time but especially lately when many BSP sympathizers (the previously communist and pro-Soviet party) laugh at Buddhists in multiple ways, claiming that is because of the Prime Minister with agent name 'Buddha' (as proposed he did not became agent). It is very much hurtful to bare this outside Wikipedia but also in Wikipedia, with many disrupting edits by people who are not educated in the field. Which is supported by administrators. --Aleksd (talk) 23:02, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Are you hungry?

Wikipedia hungary2.JPG


I'm Vince, from Wikimedia Hungary. The Hungarian Wikipedia will be 10 yrs old this summer (July 8), and our chapter will be five (Sept 27.) We wish to celebrate them together with a plain and simple Wikipedian meetup here and we would be more than happy to see you joining us.

No need to give a speech or whatsoever, it would be just as mentioned a simple meetup (as illustrated on the right). Simply just come, sit down and talk with us for a few hours :)

Ok, we'll have a cake /hence the question in the header, plus... I'm from Hungary. Are you hungry? haha..argh / but no other extras.

The last time you visited us here in Budapest (in Oct 2005), there were only six or seven of us. This time there might be a bit more people.

The date is unspecified yet, so pick your day preferably somewhere at the second half of June or the first half of July, and that will be it. Come for a day, or a weekend, alone or with wife/family, all up to you, we would be more than happy to hear a positive reply from you. Tell us what you need or want to know, and we'll do it/assist you with it. We'll take the costs. --Vince (WMHU) (talk) 12:04, 18 February 2013 (UTC)


Today's Article For Improvement star.svg

In the past few days, Today's Articles for Improvement has gone through many changes.

  • We have modified the process for adding Nominations, which now uses a template/table format and requires only 3 supports for an article to be selected.
  • There is now a Holding Area, where articles are kept for discussion before being selected for a particular date.
  • The TAFI schedule now involves adding 10 articles weekly, chosen from a variety of topics.
  • We now have an Accomplishments page where we will be highlighting our older TAFI articles which have now become quality articles on the Wikipedia.

The Project is almost ready to hit the Main Page, where it will be occupying a section just below "Did you Know" section. Three article from the weekly batch of 7 will be displayed randomly at the main page, the format of which can be seen at the Main Page sandbox. There is also an ongoing discussion at the Main page talk over the final details before we can go forward with the Main Page.

If you have any ideas to discuss with everyone else, please visit the TAFI Talk Page and join in on the ongoing discussions there. You are also invited to add new nominations, and comment and suport on the current ones at the Nominations page. You can also help by helping in the discussions at the Holding Area.

Above all, please do not forget to improve our current Today's Articles for Improvement

Thank you and hoping to have some productive work from you at the Project,
TheOriginalSoni (talk) 12:19, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
(From the TAFI team)

Sent you an e-mail a couple of days ago...

...but just remembered it was via an address I've never used to contact you with before, so it might've hit your junk folder. Cheers, WilliamH (talk) 15:28, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Subject line so I can search for it?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:36, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
" clarification" WilliamH (talk) 18:36, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Religious battles

Is it me or are over half the content disputes that show up at AN/I about religious disputes? only today there was a battle about Ahmadiyyas, a battle about Jesus existence, a battle about prophets and earlier a battle about religion and gays. Pass a Method talk 04:56, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

It's you. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:00, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
It is you. LOL! Seriously, there are often cycles where collaboration across a wide subject garner more conficts than normal. This seems to be one of those cycles. Politics, religion and sex. The three subjects that normally cause issues in any discussion do so on Wikipedia as well.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:13, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree political heat-ups happen but i have only really noticed thewm during election seasons. Religious disputes however occur even on leap years. Pass a Method talk 05:20, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
I see them all the time. It gets out of hand around election time, but they seem to occur pretty randomly....unless some public figure makes a comment and then BOOM, the page explodes with disputes (Paul Revere).--Amadscientist (talk) 05:34, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia short on volunteer editors

This morning, news outlets are carrying a story about Wikimedia Exec Director Sue Gardner, stating that she is concerned about a steep decline in the number of new volunteer editors. See e.g.,

I'm not the least bit suprised by a decline in editors, but I am suprised by the reasons given by Sue, which don't seem to convey any conviction. Below I set out what I think the reason are.

I've consulted Wikipedia from a few years now - it's a terrific resource, but the quality of articles is definitely deteriorating. For about 18 months I have been monitoring the Science Reference Desk, and have occiasonally contributed answers. The experience is not good.

I am a university qualified professional electrical engineer with 40 years experience in diesel power generation. I'm currently doing research at Ph.d level into diesel engine combustion. So, I do know quite a bit about electrical engineering and the design, engineering, operation of engines, and related subjects. When questions on basic aspects of electrical distribution or diesel engine principles have popped up on Science Ref Desk, I have posted answers. The experience is NOT good. Subsequent postings of thanks and appreciation for good answers, and postings claiming I am a nut/troll/idiot are roughly equal. In some cases, after I have posted an answer that any electrically qualified chap would regard as straightforward textbook stuff, some other person has posted a conflicting answewr that would most likely mislead the OP. So what's the point?

After I answered one question on the operation of diesel engines, some peanut posted in disagreement. So I posted again, showing why he was wrong - some debate ensued. At the end of it, a Wikipedia editor requested I register and clean up the engine articles and put them right, as I obviously had the expert knowledge and the ability to present it. I've checked these articles out - they are a mess, with heaps of common misconceptions and errors. I'd LOVE to put them right. But why would I bother? I could spend 100's of hours on it, getting it all ship-shape, ensuring everything is referenced, etc. Then any twit, vandal, or troll can just stuff it up again, or revert all the changes. This issue could be largely fixed by requiring all editors to be registered (allowing unregistered dynamic IP users to edit Wikipedia articles is crazy), appointing moderators for each subject, and requiring edtors to supply their qualifications. There's nothing wrong with people editing subjects they are not officially qualified in, if they have sufficient genuine interest, but if editor X says something, and person Y with qualifications in the field says he's wrong, and person Z without appropriate qualifications says he's right and Y is a dickhead, I'd at least give Y's opinions careful consideration. It seems that Wikipedia gives Y's and Z's equal voice. I'd be HAPPY to spend the 100's of hours if I had some protection after reasonable moderation and critique. Nobody is perfect, we all mistakes. So I don't have a problem with intelligent critique. But it seems in Wikipedia editing all dickheads are equal.

A lot of problems woulkd be eliminated if Wikipedia articles, afrer a consensus was reached, were locked against further edits. If somebody then spotted an error/omission/desirable change, then that change be debated, and after consensus again reached, a moderator requested to unlock it, change, and re-lock.

The quality of answers on Science Ref Desk is low and getting lower, with much spurious off-topic debate not in the least helpful to poor OP's. This has the following effects: a) It discourages folk from posting really good questions; b) it discourages folk who know the answer from posting; and c) It shows Wikipedia in a bad light and discourages folk who know their stuff from contributing to Wikipedia articles.

I've made suggestions in good faith before to the Admin talk page on how to better manage the vandal and troll issue. But instead of accepting my suggestions, or politely showing me why my suggestion is not a good one (either of which would be good), I've got instead a lot of diatribe about me being a troll or vandal, and discussion on whether I might be someone else they don't like, and how I can be blocked again. That doesn't encourage me to register and edit articles, and I should think it turns others off as well. Even if I was socking or whatever, no harm to the community at large would have come from giving an intelligent response.

The Ref Desk talk page and the Admin talk page give one a marked impression that Wikipedia has a very serious problem with vandals stuffing up articles. That may be an incorrect impression I have, but it is one reason why I will not register, and why I will not waste time editing/improving.creating articles.

I hope for once this feedback can be seen in good faith. Wikipedia is a good resource - but it could be heaps better with only a few admin and process changes. If you want more editors, make it attractive to folk, treat them with some respect.

Keit (talk) 02:58, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for posting here. I respect your efforts to answer questions. Thanks for that. We care about content and articles a lot around here. Once you get an article up to a respectable state, it's easier to maintain. I've spent considerable effort updating deep vein thrombosis and it's very low-maintenance, despite getting thousands of hits a day. Why not try editing articles with someone's guidance? You can always ask me questions at my talk page and I can watch the article you edit too. I respect your experience and knowledge. Now can you reflect those with edits? ;-) Biosthmors (talk) 03:05, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Editor decline by 2% still overpowers vandals: Although the active editor counts have begun dropping a slight 2% per year, still the decline has been gradual, as perhaps 10% in the next 4 years. However, the numbers remain strong: as if comparing a room of 90 people rather than 99 after 4 years. The party is still rocking, but Sue Gardner can wish for more visitors. We have about 18,000 casual editors updating several articles each month, but over 9,100 will update dozens of pages, and 3,200 editors still make over 99 article edits each month. If those people were focused on higher-priority improvements, then more could be done with fewer people. Also, while it might seem demoralizing, when considering the impact of people hacking articles, it is important to look at overall improvements to Wikipedia in a holistic manner, where there is often a positive synergism, as good efforts attract other good efforts, year after year. For example, a population region gains spin-off articles, which describe each district or town. Similarly, talking about ways to improve Wikipedia will attract other suggestions for improvements. Meanwhile, the expert editors tend to write text which remains in place, in general, for years. Yes, "theoretically" it might seem to be all articles that "anyone can hack" but in practice, the helpful editors outweigh the troublemakers, and hence, many articles are a net positive to readers, despite some rough edges of awkward or fringe text over the years. The illusions of "doom and gloom" are fostered because Wikipedia is often maintained by mere "skeleton crews" of people handling each topic area. If only a few editors write about diesel engines, then it can require years to make progress, but if a few experienced editors also join that effort, then details are expanded in just months. Conversely, a few editors who quit from a specific area might foster the illusion, "The end is near" but when a few (re-)join, then massive improvements can occur within a few months. Wikipedia uses "economy of scale" practices, which allow massive improvements by automation, or by small changes, which often have a huge multiplier effect to spread improvements quickly. Hence, even the fewer editors can accomplish more, by working smarter rather than harder. Watch the results during the next 4 years, and then judge for yourself. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:23, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
  • To think that he's complaining. At least electrical engineers are on a level playing ground with the people who want to destroy articles. By contrast, the biologists are being subjected to WP:MEDRS, an overbearing guideline that is used to dictate that (a) any article about genes or biologically active compounds is solely about human health, and so studies in vitro, in animals, early clinical studies, etc. are of at best peripheral relevance, (b) any new research result, even in the most prestigious journal, is inferior to any review, even a "meta-analysis" of dubious validity, (c) the target audience of any article is "a general audience", by which is implied patients, whom it would be unethical to inform about any currently uncertain development, and (d) therefore, anything of interest to biological researchers can and should be exterminated whenever the reader finds it "reasonable" to do so. Wnt (talk) 16:42, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
No. MEDRS is about medical research not biology. And citing primary sources is fine, per WP:MEDREV. Why else would I have added two recent RCTs from NEJM at DVT#Research directions? Biosthmors (talk) 19:21, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia treats people not just unfairly. Wikipedia treats people as no human being should be treated. No wonder there's editors decline. Until "Vandals, trolls and malactors are given respect, whereas those who are here to actually create an encyclopedia, and to do meaningful work, are slapped in the face and not given the support needed to do the work they need to do." there will be editors decline. (talk) 19:13, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
The best way to continue as a writing Wikipedian for many years is to be 'indifferent to both praise and blame.' Indifference to praise is a hard task for mere humans, but millions of potential anonymous readers demand it of you, for if you require praise you will burn out... Biosthmors (talk) 19:18, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Question - is there any stats on the amount of editors at the sister projects. What I am wondering is if the amount of editors lost here on English Wikipedia is actually dispersed trough the other projects. Is there a net lost of contributors over all to all the projects - or are they simply speared out over the many projects instead of all here.Moxy (talk) 19:29, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Global increase but decline is not loss of editors: Previous statistics have shown a slight increase in overall global Wikipedia active editors, while English Wikipedia (enwiki) had seemed level for 3 years (since 2010, or slight decline). After reviewing thousands of edits, it becomes apparent that many editors who were formerly quite active, several years ago, are still here but editing fewer articles per month. Even Jimbo counts as an editor who rarely edits articles, compared to years ago, but then posting talk-page messages can help others to edit even more. Meanwhile, other editors have increased their edits (after years of casual editing), or changed their usernames, and it is very difficult to "count" the truly new editors. The stats for English WP merely show a slight %2 decline in recent article activity (or projected 10% over next 4 years). As for motives, it is difficult to determine if users reduce editing due to continual moaning by bad-apple editors, or merely edit as other usernames or as IP editors. I confirmed one dynamic IP had updated related articles from over 105 rotating IP addresses, rarely repeated (which took me hours to confirm the patterns).
    However, another illusion (in the "decline") is the switch to "multi-change edits" where one edit-save might alter 250 details in a page, rather than just a few words. In several cases, I have made over 1,000 changes in a single edit-save, during a WP:GOCE backlog drive (working from an offline text copy), to avoid edit-conflicts with other users who might try editing after noticing the page has changed (in Special:RecentChanges). Other editors have also switched to multi-change edits, posting just 1 or 2 edits where, formerly, they would have edited a page 9 times, and that switch looks like a decline in editor "activity" from 9 edits to 2, even if some editors make more improvements in pages when it looks like the edit-count levels have declined. Anyway, lower edit-activity does not equate to a "loss of editors" just fewer edit-save operations in articles (not talk-pages or templates). -Wikid77 (talk) 22:26, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the reasoned responses. If I may summarise what's been said in response to my comments:-
  • The actual deline in editor numbers in English Wikipedia is not significant, only 2%.
  • Good editors still outweigh vandals.
  • Editor count stats don't mean much - an editor is counted as having done an edit regardless of whether he/she change one letter in a word, or made thousands of changes for each Save.
  • Editing and maintaining Wikipedia articles is not as onerous as I think it is.
  • Some editors seem to think things are in fact not good.
Sue Gardner made a public statement, which I quote here: "A fall in the number of new people volunteering to edit articles and administer the site is [Wikipedia's] greatest concern." Well, is she right or is she wrong, noting that a fall in new editors is not the same as declining activity by old editors (declining activity by old editors could be a good sign - they've made their contribution about what they are knowlegable on, and their contribution is sound, and so requiring little amendment)? As Executive Director, she ought to know. Can we please get Sue Gardner to comment on this thread?
None of the responents above addressed the major thrust of my feedback, which is that what one sees up front is a right turn off. As a potential new editor, I dipped my toe in at Ref Desk. That experience was not good. The next thing a potential new editor does is have a sniff round the various talk pages, to see how Wikipedia works. He soon sees there's an awful lot of discussion about trolls, vandals, and sock puppets. Seems to be a huge problem - not at all enticing. He sees that some editors have been blocked, and the case for doing so in some cases is strong, in other case it seems weak. He sees that other contributors are right pests, but continue with impunity (There's one guy, no need to mention his name - anyone who looks at Ref Desk will recognise him. He posts on Ref Desk, multiple times every day, answers on almost anything. Sometimes his answers are good, sometimes middling, but often quite wrong and not at all helpfull to the OP. He clearly HATES anyone pointing out he's wrong. Not good. )
The perception gained this way might well be wrong, but without experience, it's the perception that counts. Upon posting comments about this in talk pages, one usually gets attacked - not a good sign at all. Some folk post comments saying it's not so bad, the tools are nice, so try it and see. Fair enough - but if it is a good experience doing good edits, why not show how and why up front? Lastly, but quite importantly, what about my suggestion of having moderators? What about article locking as I described? Surely, if editors had some assurance that their work cannot be altered without some sort of consensus, the work load of all maintaining articles will be reduced, and editors would be more willing.
Keit (talk) 01:48, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Locking articles to never be changed would be a terrible idea. Even our featured articles are not locked, and those have gone through very extensive vetting processes and are (allegedly) the best articles on the entire site. A large portion of the value of Wikipedia is that it can be easily updated when new information becomes available. I can't think of very many subjects for which we could reasonably say "Well, everything that could be said about this topic has been said, there won't be any new research/reporting about it in the future, so we can confidently lock it down indefinitely." It's a trade-off, of course, in that it means articles can be vandalized in the future...but it's a trade-off that we basically have to accept because the alternative would fundamentally change the very nature of the project. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:56, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
You didn't take the trouble to read what I actually said in my first post. Permanent locking for all time would indeed be stupid. Here it is again: Articles should be prepared and feedback/comments debated. When a good consensus is reached, as seen by the article moderator, the article to be locked. If, at a later date, someone thinks a change/update/correction or whatever is required, a dicussion about it should occur. When a good consensus is again reached, a moderator be requested to unlock the article, make the change(s), and then lock it again. This is the basic concept, many variations are possible. It's called change management, and is used very effectively elsewhere. It means that (in this case it would be a volunteer) a moderator must be appointed to handle each change, but the total work load on everyone is reduced, because vandals are kept out and reverts would hardly ever be necessary. From looking at talk pages, there seems to a lot of article monitoring going on to manage vandals. While just how that is done is not visible to me, it seems obvious that it is a lot of work the Wikipedia community should not be doing. Note I said "good consensus". In the real world, nothing is perfect, and perfect consensus is not always reached. Soemtimes no consensus is reached - you get stick-in-the-muds. It is for the moderator (or perhaps lead editor) to judge when to go with it and lock in a change. Keit (talk) 02:50, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with a lot of your points but I don't think this is necessary for most articles. I do think this has some merit for articles at the FA level though. Really though this suggestion is just pending changes. (talk) 20:03, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
A lot of editors who edit without an account are not aware of the power of watchlists simply because they haven't experienced it. Established editors with an account typically have hundreds if not thousands of articles on their watchlist and will check it weekly if not daily. Due to this, serious deterioration of an article hardly ever happens without someone noticing within a few days (usually minutes) and fixing the problem.
The introduction of misconceptions can usually be prevented rather effectively once you have a source that allows you to explicitly mention the misconception and say outright that it is false. An extreme example is the doughnut misconception in Ich bin ein Berliner. The article continues to attract people who insist on 'correcting' it to say that Kennedy's sentence sounds funny in German and doesn't say what it was supposed to, but in practice this is not a problem because the article attracts more editors who defend the article after they have learned the facts from the reliable sources cited.
Nominating an article as a Good Article or even Featured Article is another way to not just improve it further but also make it more stable.
I guess my point boils down to this: Crowd sourcing really works in practice. There are some problems with it, but usually they are not what you would expect. You can only find out about the real problems through observation, not speculation. Hans Adler 21:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I understand what your saying and it is correct to a point. Unfortunately the evidence doesn't completely support it though. There are many FA articles that have deteriorated over the years due to neglect, vandalism and even changes in the rules of how we do things. We even have an FA review process. I tend to agree with the underlying premise of what I think you are saying which is we shouldn't lock the articles down and I agree with that. I just think that there might be some merit to considering locking down the FA articles is all. (talk) 22:45, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
If Wikipedia had an effective change management/version control process that controlled the vandals and incompetents, would I be willing to spend 100's of hours putting together good well referenced articles on the subjects I am expert in? Yes - I would love to! Would I do it if it means I have to monitor it on a weekly or even daily basis and constantly make lots of little changes to keep down the munber of bad edits by vandals and incompetents, as Hans Adler seems to think is ok? You must be joking! Would I be prepared to review suggested changes on a 6-monthly or yearly basis? Yes, that might be acceptable. Keit (talk) 00:48, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • You can get a third opinion, try other forms of dispute resolution or WP:AIV if an article you have put a lot of work into is repeated vandalized (usually vandalism is easy to revert, using "Undo" on the History tab), and there are several levels of article locking (article protection) that can be applied. But it helps if you are patient about explaining things, try to listen to and incorporate other people's suggestions, allow other people to improve the wording, and in general don't have a big ego—stay polite, respectful, and friendly. Look for other knowledgeable editors in the same or related fields, and ask their advice/opinion. It certainly helps to create an account: you can then create a watchlist to monitor articles that you have invested a lot of time in improving, also people can give you feedback on your own talk page—and you also have the option of using email. LittleBen (talk) 03:11, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I think you are looking for some kind of ownership of an article. That's a legitimate concern, but one that Wikipedia rejects in principle. In spite of all the talk about editor numbers going down, the number of editors on the English Wikipedia is still enormous, and that includes some lots of editors with an academic degree in one of the fields in which they are active here. I don't agree with 108.*. The most common reason for a featured article review is increasing standards expected of featured articles, not serious degradation in the articles. That also exists, but usually it's quite harmless even afer the original creator leaves Wikipedia. There are enough other people who take care. The trick is to trust a crowd consisting of mostly anonymous people, including a large percentage of morons and lunatics, to ultimately do the right thing, most of the time, and then to be surprised that it works. Hans Adler 07:51, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
No, I'm not looking for ownership of articles, not in the sense of an editor or author owning them anyway. Ownership of texts works in the business world, but I don't see it working too weel for Wikipedia. What I want you to understand is this: I, and I supect others think the same, am not going to put a lot of time getting artciles ship shape (I estimate 100's of hours for the articles I have been asked to do), just so some peanut can go in a change it without some sort of control. Telling me I can, after I've done all that work, continue to monitor it every day/week for ever more to protect it is stupid. I've suggested above a system of locking - where, if somebody thinks a change is appropriate, it be subject to a discusion, and when some sort of consensus is reached, the article unlocked, changed, and locked again. This does not require article ownership, and could be largely automated with a voting system. That is, Fred proposes a change. Tom, Dick, and Harry debate it with him. Then they vote on it, or a monitor decides. It could be a requiremnt that anybody proposing a change to an existing article has to get someone to agree with him. That would eliminate almost all vandals and incompetents. Keit (talk) 12:12, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • If you help create a good article that others appreciate, you may well find that they will show their appreciation by putting it on their watchlists, and they will catch and revert most—if not all—of the vandalism for you. LittleBen (talk) 15:02, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
The problem with that is that often times its impossible to reach a consensus on things here. Those same peanuts you mention likely outnumber the few users who are true experts so the consensus would either be nullified or would turn out to not be in the favor of the experts and possibly the article. (talk) 12:43, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
In any one group, you'd probably get a few leaders who know what they are talking about and have the ability & witt to put it down in writing; a few more who can tell whether what they are reading is good or not, a few incompetents that the first two groups can recognise as such; and some vandals that all the other groups can recognise. That's why I used the phrase "good consensus" rather than "perfect consensus". Failing that, a moderator can reduce the impact of incompetents and vandals. No doubt in practice some good changes might get locked out that should be let in. But that may be heaps better than the present system that takes and awful lot of work to sweep out the dirt that blows in without restraint. Keit (talk) 14:54, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
In a rational world the real reward for an FA would be some kind of protection along the lines Keit outlines above, not just a useless bit of screen furniture. But of course Wikipedia is very far from being any kind of rational world. Malleus Fatuorum 12:54, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Keit and MF. We don't want to pretend than an FA is perfect, and needs no change, but we ought to have a mechanism to make it harder for vandals or even well-meaning idiots to make changes. I'm not sure whether it should be semi-, full or PC, or something else, but we don't lose our motto, "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit" simply by requiring some process more difficult than the edit button for well-written articles.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 20:32, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

continuation: Wikipedia short on volunteers

  • Appreciate the input Keit. One of the problems with treating everyone equal is that everyone isn't equal in all areas, if in any. A consensus model works good most of the time, but it does give equal voice to experts and incompetents sometimes. The essay WP:Randy in Boise is a good read, if you haven't already. I promise you will identify with it. We are perpetually in a Catch 22 here at Wikipedia. The easier it is for more people to edit, the more editing we get, but we also get more noise. I understand why we allow IPs to edit, although it wouldn't break my heart if we required all editors to register to edit. I do recommend registering, then picking your area, watch those articles for changes, and making a difference in one specific area. The "politics" are thick but easy enough to learn in time. What we depend on is people like you, who are experts in one area, to work that area regularly. Add enough experts, you have an encyclopedia. Unfortunately, we sometimes run off some of the best talent with the politics. We are still a work in progress, and haven't worked all the bugs out of this crazy but effective system of building an encyclopedia. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 02:12, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I din't know about Randy in Boise. I've read it now and I enjoyed it. I agree, producing Wiki articles, as with any document, is a compromise. You want to have the input of many, but letting many in lets noise in. The solution to this is to have lead editors or moderators. A moderator can monitor the debate and (diplomatically if possible) throttle back the incompetents, and work towards letting experts have their say. As the anonimity and volunteer nature of Wikipedia means that appointing lead editors on any rational selective basis is not likely to work as well, a moderator system should be tried. If a moderator system has already been tried, and it didn't work out, I would be interested in why.
Why Wikipedia lets folk identified by only their dynamic IP edit articles is a mystery to me. It's lunacy. Only registered folk should be allowed to edit Wiki articles. I'm not talking about Ref Desk here - rules should be relaxed a bit on Ref Desk.
One thing about Wikpedia I find hard to understand, is that policies and procedures seem to be cast in stone. Wikipedians are the most change resistant community I know. As an Engineer, when I see a problem, I want to fix it. Wikipedians seem to agree that vandalism and incompetent editing is a problem - can't we have another go at adressing it? Can't we continue to fix the bugs?
Keit (talk) 03:11, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I just did a welcome of your IP address above, now noticing you change IP addresses constantly. I agree with Dennis here, some people are quite unqualified in an area of the project, and need as many experienced editors as we could. We have many talks/archives and so forth here on the project that discusses the same issues you are trying to address but it has been all over the place and sometimes we can't find consensus on these issues. We do follow a number of policies and guidelines here, mainly WP:V. Some people are so strict with it that they simply revert whatever content created in good faith without bothering to check for sourcing and so forth, so I understand why new users gets discouraged very easily. For an expert to survive in the project, like Dennis said, you need to comprehend the "politics". Most people simply quit after so many bad experiences with the "politics" of the project, but once you get a hand on it, our guidelines and policies are rather simple to learn, and editing can be a more pleasant experience. You sound like the type of editor we truly need if we want to accomplish our goal of building a reliable encyclopedia. You can create an account, and me or another contributor who knows how this project "runs" can mentor you throughout the project. Secret account 04:05, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
  • First rule of Wikipedia Fight Club: The 1st rule is: "Don't tell newcomers WP is a fight club". 2nd rule: "Wikipedia is a fight club", and newcomers do not know that, so they come here and edit for awhile before they get into a fight. Sue Gardner has a valid point that newcomers are needed to sustain editing (often as "cannon fodder") in disputes because there are no/few moderators to ensure civility, and even when a admin tries to ensure civility, they often overstep and force content decisions, such as, "we cannot write that student was suspended 3x from school despite sources that parents confirmed suspensions" because an admin says not to write that. So, newcomers burn out, and more newcomers are needed for editing. People could hope that a moderator would be appointed who was Albert Einstein as clever about the issues; however, a moderator is also likely to be "Francis Bacon" stuffing a chicken with snow to preserve it. Unfortunately, moderator judges need to have good judgment, and typically that would be assured by a tedious pre-certification process. Unless pre-screened to keep them out, then poor judges would be difficult to remove, so perhaps a term limit could automatically kick them out. Meanwhile, more progress seems to be made by balancing freedom and control, where control would typically grow stronger to lock out most changes (and most improvements) unless counterbalanced by freedom to allow some changes. Yes, it can be disgusting when careful, researched text is reverted or axed by people, but more often, the text is allowed to remain. Perhaps people who continue as IP editors are less likely to be targeted for fights, because they do not have a memorable name to slur, or do not have a stable talk-page for complaints, and when they rotate to other IP numbers, they cannot be easily stalked for wp:Wikihounding. However, imposing a system of moderators presupposes that moderators would not alienate more people than trolls have, but even some admins are more dangerous than trolls because they are easily duped into blocking the good editors while the trolls continue to foster sneer-reviewed articles. Trying to control the mobocracy has been difficult. Yet, many people have survived the fight club activities here, even though other people are driven away. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:49, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps moderators could be appointed by invitation, from editors known to a) have written good text, and b) shown skill and diplomacy, and open mindedness in handling chalenges while asserting their point of view. I understand admins get appointed by invitation. I haven't discovered how I can volunteer to be an admin, but I have noticed the odd invite on some editor's talk pages. Or, perhaps moderators could be appointed by some sort of election process on a project-by-project basis. On the one hand, I'm a bit surprised to hear that newcomers often burn out, as they can do what I did, dip one's toe and have a sniff round the talk pages etc to see how it works first. On the other hand, newcomers not sticking with it is not so bad as it sounds. Some newcomers won't have the knowlege & skill to do good work anyway, and not realise this themselves. I've done a lot of management/admin work extending over many years for certain not-for-profit organisations that mobilise volunteers to assist people with special needs. These Not-For-Profits have the same problem. Many newcomers mean well and are keen, but when they find out they have to conform to policies, procedures, and directions, and not just do their own thing their own way, they leave. I don't mind a friendly fight - it keeps one mentally fit, and one gets to see other points of view. It's the apparent high risk that good work taking significant time to do can be completely wasted by incompetents and vandals that worries me. That and the Wikipedia community's extreme resistance to change and preoccupation with threats. Keit (talk) 12:25, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Several tactics to reduce attacks: Outside of hot topics (recent events or controversies), the conflicts are quite rare. Anyone can act as a "moderator" (but no direct power) to ask people to work together, or contact admins at wp:ANI if conflicts escalate. Also, joining a wp:WikiProject helps to request a group to work together to fix a set of articles, rather than face resistance alone. To reduce direct conflicts, wait for others to revert some hack edits of troublemakers, and that way it will not look like one editor fighting all trouble. Proceed cautiously, to test friendships, because in some cases, an editor will "extend an olive branch" to get you to say more (as in private emails), but actually try to catch you in mistakes to ridicule your remarks later. This is semi-controlled real life (or "reel life") as others attempt to reel you into collaboration which might be either a power play in disguise, or true cooperation, which you might not realize for months if they would denigrate or support your efforts as an eventual ally. Not all treat WP as an academic effort, but rather as a social game where some think they score ridicule points rather than kindle their fires in Hell. Meanwhile, others have learned to be nice guys (rethinking Heaven's gate?), reverting vandalism they formerly caused, and overcoming incompetence by months of continual learning here. I have reminded others, "Hate the sin not the sinner" and also imagine a former enemy to become a friend here, even if unexpected. As Milton said, "The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven". Enjoy the journey here. Many others have welcomed you and offered to help resolve problems, so take a chance, and try again... -Wikid77 (talk) 15:11, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I can only suggest that the OP try writing the article he wants to write. While no one can guarantee the issues that the OP fears won't arise, if one writes about a relatively prozaic subject (eg. not the latest craze or world conflict), and writes it in a manner that is in the mainstream of thought about that subject, and sources it, those issues/fears are not likely to be realized. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:35, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with adding some kind of protection to articles once they have achieved a certain quality. Ive been asked several times to work on Mexico City which is a disaster not because of vandals but there are too many cooks in the soup. I wont touch for the reason the OP wont touch many poor articles... the improvements wont stick.Thelmadatter (talk) 19:01, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
@ Keit, please do create an account, you are the type of editor we need in this project, considering your expertise, and your curiosity about it. As you have changing IPs, it is hard to guide you though it without one. Having a account gives more anonymity as well if that what you are seeking, as anybody can click on your IP address and more or less find which area you are located. Many of your ideas were proposed to the community, but we fail to achieve a consensus. With conflicts I agree with Wikid77, it's quite rare in the project but unfortunately too much attention is focused on that. Me, Wikid77, Dennis Brown, or any WP:TEAHOUSE member can guide you to become a successful editor and avoid the newbie biting and conflicts that is sadly quite common, and you already experienced unfortunately. If you create an account, contact me or any user who replied back to you and we can go from there. Thank you for relating your experiences here. Secret account 23:16, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
keit, don't fall for that. having an account makes it easier for the game players to target you, throw together a sockpuppetry case, and block you. (talk) 19:21, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Again, thank you to all who have responded here with considered reasoned replies. You can be certain I have read and carefully considered what you've said. My post at the beginning of this thread was really intended for Sue Garner, who thinks the problem is in large part that you need to be a geek to master the tools. Is Sue aware of the issue I raised, vandals and incompetents uncontrolled, and that which Wikid77 calls the "fight club"? It seems from some of the posts in this thread and other threads below that at least some Wikipedians agree with me. Keit (talk) 04:42, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Need to be crowd and computer-alert: Sue Gardner has written about the relatively low participation (13%?) by women and how the heated disputes might drive some female editors away. Beyond computer knowledge of markup language and computerized text formatting, people need to be aware of crowd control issues, such as the "too many cooks" trying to update the same article "Mexico City" or "New York City". It is much easier to work on subarticles of each city, without so many rampant changes. I have also noted the problem of wp:Data hoarding, where vast amounts of tangent detail have been stuffed into many articles, much of which should only appear in books or pamphlets, such as names of the local school board or members of the town finance committee. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:42, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
    This comment is not headline news, but you might think so due to the boldface. Very little of the talking points being thrown back and forth in this discussion have any bearing on the decline in the numbers of people willing to become part of the wikipedia community (or communities). --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 00:38, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Eyecatching first phrase, followed by whatever leaps into my head at the time, whether relevant or not. Usually not. pablo 14:44, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

The problem isn't recruiting, its culture

I largely agree with Sue and with Keit. The problem we have isn't with recruiting, its with culture and how we treat each other. The problem isn't that we don't have enough editors or that we don't have enough people willing to be editors. The problem is that the culture of Wikipedia is becoming more and more toxic because we don't have mechanisms in place (and Arbcom is part of the problem, not the answer) to prevent these things from happening. As I stated on an almost identical topic on the Village pump earlier today, if we want to fix the problems we need to address multiple issues simultaneously, not just focus on one or 2 at a time because the others will offset any gains. Here are a few of the things we need to do in order to fix the problems here:

  1. Most importantly we need to accept there is a problem and end the cycle of denial.
  2. Second most importantly we need a short and long term strategic vision for the pedia. Neither seems to exist and if it does the foundation isn't very forthcoming with it. This will probably include the foundation stepping up and showing some leadership. This may drive a few editors away but if we stay consistent and fair in the application of policies, we will gain many more back. This should include management of the site, dealing with vandalism, attracting new editors, expanding and adding articles and fixing the toxic culture that has rooted itself here.
  3. We need to recruit, we are doing that. Too much focus is being put on universities where people are busy. What about retirees with lots of free time, what about military veterans, what about the millions of unemployed folks including those on Welfare and social security, what about Facebook? It already pulls in articles and other content, why not capitalize on that. There are plenty of others. I imagine if the foundation asked editors would be willing to set up a committee to explore ideas. But focusing all efforts on busy university students and faculty and then wondering why we are seeing limited results is just silly.
  4. We need to treat each other with respect, not continue to propagate the current system of us and them elitism that exists between editors and admins. This includes eliminating the Admin for life to bad admins. If they aren't using the tools or are using the abusively they should be removed.
  5. We need reform RFA and to modularize the admin toolset. There is no reason for a seasoned editor to have to get the whole set if all they need to see is deleted content, edit a protected page or be able to pull in more than 25000 articles to AWB. You want restrictions on some tools, fine, but release the rest. The argument that if they are trusted they can get the whole set is patently false and proves incorrect in nearly every failed RFA.
  6. We need to help and mentor new users, not blocked them indefinately because they didn't instantly learn the thousands of rules
  7. We need to establish some standardization and enforce it. Many of the existing problems exist because we have an almost anything goes mentality. The other related problem is that we enforce them sporadically or when it suits us. Enforcement needs to be consistent.
  8. We need to quite driving off seasoned veteran editors for petty reasons. This includes but is not limited too, performing too many minor edits (even minor edits are helpful. If we watch the pennies the dollars will mind themselves), telling them they cannot be trusted after years of faithful service, telling them they long ago stopped being useful, etc. All of these happen frequently.

If we do these things, you will start to see this place turn around. Editors will start coming back, new editors will start to edit and stay. We need to stob being a site of impatient snobs and bullies and start teaching new editors instead of blocking them. Even after all this I half expect someone to delete this post, to call me a troll, or accuse me of something else just to discredit my statement. If one person says there is a problem once, then there isn't a problem. When multiple editors say multiple times, in multiple places and with multiple examples that there is a problem, then there is a problem. (talk) 15:48, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

  • A few months ago somebody posted this research. An idiot removed it claiming (WP:NPA). Nobody restored it, nobody checked on the editors listed there. Nobody tried to understand why so many of the most active users either blocked or stopped editing. Nobody cares. Until Wikipedia treats the editors the way it does, there will be editors decline, and eventually only idiots, arbitrators and Jimbo will remain. (talk) 17:49, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Nothing will change until Wikipedia regards it's proven experts as experts and stops treating them as secondary to its often juvenile admins. Every university in the world has its often eccentric professors who are a leading experts in their fields. It accepts their shortcomings in order to retain them. At Wikipedia, children (promoted to policemen) are invited to prod them and throw stones until they leave. No one ever asks the proven experts to adjudicate in a content dispute; it's always assumed that the admins or the community know better and so the problems perpetuate. Show the experts respect; they will show you respect and encourage others.  Giano  18:18, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I've been on Wikipedia for nearly 10 years and the culture has changed drastically for the worse in that time. More bureaucracy, obviously, but also far more politics. Unfortunately Jimbo himself exemplifies that trend; the Jimbo of 2013 is much more of a politician than the Jimbo of 2003, and he has lost a lot of support in the community for what many people have seen as putting political concerns above encyclopedic ones. We do, I think, have a problem with a lack of leadership in the community but I think the current problems with Wikipedia's culture are mostly to do with it becoming a more mature project without its governance keeping pace. Prioryman (talk) 20:16, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • It's quite true that what we casually refer to as "the community" doesn't exist. It would be more accurate to say that Wikipedia is a community of communities. There are a whole lot of little communities - people working on articles about plants, military history, Gibraltar etc - but there really isn't much glue to bind them together other than the overall policies and guidelines of Wikipedia. The people who spend their time on the noticeboards do have a role to play, in that they are addressing governance issues such as the working of those policies and guidelines. You obviously prefer working on encyclopedic content. So do I! But that doesn't mean to say that governance isn't important too, and I don't think we should dismiss the contributions of those who prefer to work on governance issues rather than developing content. Prioryman (talk) 23:48, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, governance is important too, but before one is to govern, one should get involved in content's creation, and better in some controversial topics. Only, if he survives that, then he could be allowed to govern. (talk) 01:03, 18 February 2013 (UTC) is absolutely right: the problem isn't recruiting, it's culture. Nearly everything else they say is spot on, particularly that the solution will only come through strong leadership from the WMF. The lack of social interaction skills that are too common here, combined with the overemphasis on consensus, equals mob rule in many instances (not all). There are some areas where collaboration and good will have become the norm, and I'm willing to bet the retention rate is much higher in those areas. One good example, based on my own experience, is WikiProject Plants — but I think such examples exist only because the associated real world culture is one of cooperation. That isn't going to happen in most of Wikipedia without strong leadership by the WMF. It's time for Wikipedia to grow up in that regard. First Light (talk) 20:41, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
It's only fair that participants in this discussion know that IP 108...125 is User:Kumioko. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:49, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a vicious place. And the problem isn't violation of the rules and systems to be vicious, it's USING the rules and systems to be vicious, and the shortcomings that allow that to happen. North8000 (talk) 20:56, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
"A vicious place"? You are too kind. Jimbo himself said: "[Wikipedia is] like a sausage: you might like the taste of it, but you don't necessarily want to see how it's made." Yes, Wikipedia is like a sausage, and in process of creating it real people get butchered. Isn't this price a little bit too much for a "free knowledge"? (talk) 21:38, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Because nothing is free. Actual knowledge involves conflicts and contradictions. (talk) 23:34, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
And with all these conflicts a free knowledge is ...well, a free knowledge, and as one smart person says: "Wikipedia is free, and often you get what you pay for". (talk) 01:03, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
By "vicious place" we're talking about something far beyond "conflicts and contradictions". North8000 (talk) 23:43, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Right. (talk) 01:03, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
This is a vicious culture here. I need to stay and edit here for reasons I keep to myself; one cannot appear weak or defenseless. I edit gingerly and keep a low profile. I would never dare to write a new article, although I have the skill and experience. My edits tend to revert vandalism or be minor because I stalk an edit test / junk edit bot around for work to do. I clear out categories of backlogged work and rephrase grammar. I duly registered an account and hung wallpaper on my walls. My first edit was to add information to a BLP with a substantiating reference and it was tagged as vandalism. I have had my feelings hurt and have been in a few tiffs and sometimes just have to walk away and talk myself into feeling less injured; to remember that I have to continue here for a greater personal cause. I always apologize for whatever I've done rather than have anything escalate, even on an article talk page. It's like living in an abusive relationship, waiting to be beaten in the face with a glass casserole dish. I've been here 15 months and some of the stuff I've experienced only vicariously; if I had to live through what I've seen other fine editors subjected to, I'm not sure how I would ever get over it. I heard Chris Matthews say the other day on MSNBC that probably everyone, if placed under sodium pentathol would say they hated high school - I would say the same about Wikipedia. It's torture waiting to happen lying just beneath the surface. The bullying, the taunts, the evil staff waiting to wound you with cruel words you will never forget. Fylbecatulous talk 13:59, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
You are absolutely right. I only cannot understand why Jimbo does not seem to care. I am sure he loves Wikipedia as a father loves his own child, and that child is vicious, and that child is a paradise for anonymous "bullying, the taunts, the evil staff", and eventually that child will kill somebody, probably already have. Sometimes it almost feels as Jimbo is afraid of the monster he has created, like the creator of Frankenstein was afraid of his creature. (talk) 17:40, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh my, what drama queenery. There's been lots of problems and valid concerns raised here, but this "eventually they will kill somebody" stuff is just absurd. Hysterics from a "new editor" (most likely a banned/blocked former user) who has edited nothing but this page over the last few weeks is a typical example of why I have little but contempt for IP edits. Tarc (talk) 18:19, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I've never claimed to be an editor, I am just an IP, and about my post, well I simply searched this very talk page (only a single talk page), and here are a few posts I found: [5];[6];[7] and so on, and so on. Besides, if Wikipedia is so nice and so friendly, who in the world would ever want to harm himself here? (talk) 19:00, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • While there are significant problems with WP culture, in my opinion they primarily affect editor retention rather than recruitment. It takes a while, at least a few months, of regular editing to figure out something about the trends of internal Wikipedia politics and to become significantly affected by them, and most people never get that far. In fact, most people who could be WP editors never make a single edit. My feeling is that the main issue here concerns the limited pool of recruits on which WP continues to rely. In my observations, the largest segment of regular WP editors comes from college students, followed by high school students. When WP was created, it had significant novelty appeal/ "cool factor" for these groups. By now this novelty appeal has largely worn off, and so, non-surprisingly, there is a decrease in the number of college and high school students that come in as new WP editors. Yet, as far as I can tell, the main WP and WMF outreach and recruitment efforts continue to target the same group, particularly the college students. Even there, the focus of the existing outreach efforts appears to be on persuading the audience to use Wikipedia (e.g. for various class projects) rather than to start editing Wikipedia. But I have not seen any substantial efforts by WMF to attract new social and demographic groups to become WP editors. There are quite a few largely untapped pools of such potential editors. For example, academics represent one such obvious group. Being an academic myself, I know quite well that only a tiny fraction of academics (a much more miniscule fraction than that of college students) have ever made even a single WP edit, not to mention created a WP article. There is a lot of untapped expertise and potential for recruitment there, given the right pitch. Of course, there are also obvious dangers, particularly the fact that academics are focused on creating original research and editing Wikipedia for them would require a significant change in the mindset. Also, they are pretty busy and are accustomed to getting credit for their work rather than to contributing anonymously. But there are some current trends in academia that WP could exploit to increase recruitment. For examples, the ideas of open access are quickly gaining ground in academic circles. One could try to pitch to the academics the idea of Wikipedia editing as a form of public and community service. And even if the active academics may by and large be too busy, there is a huge number of retired academics who have both a great deal of subject matter expertise and a lot of free time. I have not seen any effort by WMF to reach these groups. Nsk92 (talk) 14:01, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • It would help greatly to delete WP:MEDRS entirely, an overbearing guideline which is being used to ban coverage of high-quality biological and medical research. The discussion I'm having there now makes it very clear that Wikipedia is deliberately excluding information about recent research, banning (at least haphazardly) any information from certain articles (i.e. on compounds used as drugs) that is not targeted specifically toward the reader being a patient rather than a researcher or student. Wikipedia is, for them, a single purpose resource. Each MEDRS believer has his own unique pathology, so one person might say it's OK to say what chemical inhibits a kinase on the page about the kinase, but not the chemical; but then a third will come along and remove everything from an article except the one sentence the first said was not acceptable, etc. The way things are now I would say straight up, summary of policy, that biomedical research does not belong on Wikipedia and neither do the researchers. Wnt (talk) 16:34, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I think MEDRS is necessary. In pretty much every science there are going to be scientific studies which produce unusual results. Most of the time the unusual results are not borne out by further study and are anything from statistical anomalies to errors.
It is easy for a crackpot to latch on to one of the studies that produces unusual results and claim that the study supports his crackpot theory, even though the result of the study is not actually accepted by scientists as proving anything.
If anything, MEDRS needs to be expanded to cover fields other than medicine. But medicine has a particularly bad case of this. Ken Arromdee (talk) 22:07, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Pretty much every science gets by without MEDRS just fine. But if you want to show the chemists, physicists, and astronomers the door too you can try. Wnt (talk) 02:26, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

A team of 5 people could 2/3 solve the problem with:

  • 1 new policy (against mis-using Wiki systems to conduct warfare, and points out the ways that that is done. )
  • 1 Prominent new guideline. "What editors DO do" or "Good editing is not illegal"
  • 1 prominent new help article. Wikipedia for dummies......Where to find what you need, and what you need to know that they don't tell you
  • Change wp:agf to where it is realistic / reflects reality, and then upgrade it to a policy
  • Strengthen "WP:Don't bite the newcomers"
  • A few changes to 4 other policies so that they better match reality and are less easily mis-used

North8000 (talk) 18:35, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Did you read WP:PIECE and WP:KNOW? Collect (talk) 12:32, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Standalone cover song articles

This is about broader scale issue about the encyclopedia to where policy and guideline are on one side and efforts by a few individuals and low interest on the topic are the on the other. Wikipedia has four million articles, but not one of them as far as I am aware is a standalone article on a cover song. I opened threads to see if I could figure out how we got to this situation to where Elvis Presley cover song Hound Dog and nine other top cover songs more famous than the original have no standalone article coverage, e.g., why has no writer step forward to post at least one standalone article on these super notable topics. From MfD, DRV, N and other pages I looked at, apparently, at least since 2009, all standalone cover song article articles apparently have been removed from the encyclopedia via redirects and talk page merge, which has largely kept the issue out of AfD and DRV. Talk page merges can remain open for more than three years (see Category:Articles to be merged from September 2009). This and other events have lead to the situation where Wikipedia writers no longer write about cover songs. It seems that it is only few individuals that have worked to keep the entire encyclopedia free of standalone cover song articles. Just about all regular editors who responded are of the opinion that nothing is keeping anyone from posting standalone cover song articles - policy and guidelines allow anyone to post a standalone cover song article meeting content requirements. Yet, there are no articles on the top ten cover songs more famous than the original. News articles now are coming out how there are no more low lying fruit topics from which to post in Wikipedia. Yet, there are no articles on the top ten cover songs more famous than the original, or even hundreds or more other cover song topics that meet standalone article guidelines. I'm at a loss of what to do. Policy and guideline allow standalone cover song articles, so there does not seem any basis to change policy or guideline such as through an RFC or other discussion. Yet, the encyclopedia you and thousand others worked hard to create has no standalone cover song articles. Given the large scale impact this issue has had on the encyclopedia as a whole over several years, any help/advise you can offer would be welcome. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 08:08, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

What information is lost by keeping all coverage of a song together in one article?—Kww(talk) 16:51, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, I can kinda see Uzma's point. There are different levels of covers. There's the karaoke version which pretty much is a backing track in the old style with a new person singing on top (which glee has pretty much made a living off doing), and then there is the complete reinvention (like Whitney's I Will Always Love You or Jonathan Counter's Baby Got Back. And then there are obviously types of 'covers' in between. But I can certainly see the argument for why the latter should have separate articles for each unique version.--Coin945 (talk) 17:12, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
You didn't answer my question in that reply.—Kww(talk) 18:26, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Uzma Gamal makes a reasonabe point. There's certainly enough material at Hound Dog (song)#Elvis Presley TV performances and recording to break out into a separate article as Hound Dog (Elvis Presley cover song), for instance. It's really a matter of personal opinion, informed by Wikipedia:Article size. Some people like things neat, so (according to Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:WikiProject Songs Cover-versions and multiple-renditions), "WikiProject Songs has been enforcing a rule that all cover song subjects must be treated only in the song topic article and never in a separate article". My personal opinion is that that's reasonable provided that exceptions are made for Hound Dog and a few others. However, some people like things to be All Sir Garnet, and so no exceptions, and others don't. See Human behavior. My advice to Uzma Gamal would be:
  • It is frustrating when others enforce a standard with which one disagrees. I hear you. I wish people would take more of a "whatever" attitude towards these things, but if wishes were horses beggars would ride.
  • Don't worry about it. As long as no material is lost, and the appropriate redirects are in place, it doesn't really matter that much.
  • But if want to press it, you do have the right to create articles that you consider appropriate and defend them if you can. It's a wiki. I wouldn't spend emotional energy on it myself, but you can create say Hound Dog (Elvis Presley cover song) (if deleted, it was never deleted through an AfD) and defend it if an AfD comes up. I'd probably vote to keep it. Herostratus (talk) 18:46, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • If the issues regarding past cover songs were routed through AfD and DRV or that the Wikipedia guideline WP:NSONG were enforce over the WikiProject policy WP:SONGCOVER, I would not be here today pointing out that there are no cover song standalone articles in Wikipedia, that the encyclopedia's existing cover song coverage is a poor quality as a result, and that the current situation disuades Wikipedia writers from improving that coverage. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 11:08, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Regarding the loss of material, omnibus song articles do not place the cover song subject in context, they do not provide a representative survey of the relevant cover song literature, and, as a result, they impart a bias into Wikipedia's coverage of cover songs. We do not have "the film" articles that limit Wikipedia's coverage of film remakes to the film because policy and guidelines are enforce for film remakes. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 11:17, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Kww, by allowing the WikiProject policy WP:SONGCOVER to supersede the Wikipedia guideline WP:NSONG, the encyclopedia prevents cover song major subtopics from receiving the fuller treatment in a separate article provided under Wikipedia:Summary style. For Elvis Presley cover song Hound Dog, just about all the efforts leading up to that cover song, the cover song performance itself, and the impact afterwards are not directly relevant to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's lyrics and composition writing efforts to create the Hound Dog song. The efforts of Thornton's people to develop their cover song, the Thornton cover song itself, and the impact afterwards are not directly relevant to Presley's efforts and the people's reactions to Presley's efforts or directly relevant to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's lyrics and composition writing efforts to create the Hound Dog song. The only connection between a cove song and the original are the lyrics and composition writing efforts of the original creators of the song. That original creating efforts information can be covered in a separate article. The problem there is that notability is not inherited "up", from notable subordinate to parent. Parent notability has to be established independently. Yet, with all coverage of the original song and the cover song forced together in one omnibus article, the efforts for a parent song receives it notability through the cover song in some cases. Springsteen's version of Blinded by the Light was commercially unsuccessful and did not appear on the music charts. Yet, because it is "the song", that topic inherits notability through Manfred Mann's Earth Band's efforts and Wikipedia writer's are limited in what they post about Manfred Mann's Earth Band's cover song efforts to the context of "the song" rather than the context provided by the reliable source when writing about Manfred Mann's Earth Band cover song. In general, another thing loss with these omnibus song articles is that they do not place the subject in context of how the reliable sources presented the information. They require Wikipedia writers to reinterpret the context of the reliable sources into the Wikipedia's context and, as such, impart a bias into the information presented in Wikipedia. When reliable sources write about a cover song, they do not write about "the song". They write about the circumstances and events around the cover song. In that regard, these omnibus song articles do not provide a representative survey of the relevant literature. That has lead to a situation where there are no F or GA quality "the song" articles or cover song articles. That is a significant loss. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 11:00, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
The problem is that you focus on recordings. There isn't an article about Springsteen's recording of "Blinded by the Light", either: there's an article about "Blinded by the Light" that includes information on all recordings. It's called a "Springsteen" song because, unsurprisingly, it was written by Bruce Springsteen. Your statement "the only connection between a cove song and the original are the lyrics and composition writing efforts of the original creators of the song" borders on the absurd. It's like saying "the only connection between these two things is that they are two different performances of the same thing". Articles are generally written about songs, not recordings, and the guidance at the Wikiproject simply notes that. Is it a little bombastic in its phrasing? Certainly. Is it a recognition that consensus is completely against you? Certainly. In general, when you wind up taking your plea to Jimbo Wales's talk page, it's a very good sign that you are fighting widespread consensus and hoping for some kind of executive override.—Kww(talk) 16:39, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
The reliable sources focus on the cover song topic, not an omnibus song topic, and Wikipedia articles should be a representative survey of that relevant literature. By not bringing cover song issues to AfD and instead using talk page merge and redirects, the few editors actively removing and keeping removed cover song standalone articles from the encyclopedia have avoided detection by many regular editors. Jimbo Wales' talk page provides one way to reach editors who have a comprehensive overview of how the encyclopedia works and make them aware of a below-the-surface effort that affects a significant portion of the encyclopedia. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 11:57, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Help pages and the shear amount of them..and funding for help

Hello - just wanted to stop by and express a concern I have and a related question. This came up because of concerns raised by some students at our Wikipedia Education Programs. Some were commenting about the overwhelming amount of places and redundant help pages they had to sort over before they found what they wanted. Because of this concern I created Wikipedia:Help index so we can point them to one page (and for all users). However during this process of compiling the index I found (like the students) the amount of redundancy and sheer amount of pages and noticeboards is to say the least confusing. Wikipedia:Help Project has done a great job over the years - but there dealing with thousands of pages. My question is has the Advisory Board or staff and contractors ever discussed this aspect of Wikipedia before? Has there ever been any talk about funding books officially published by the Foundation on the topics of What is and how to use Wikipedia (be they fiscal or digital publications). Yes we have Help:Wikipedia: The Missing Manual and John Broughton book from 2008 - but I ask because I saw Wikimedia Australia and the State Library of Queensland. "(Exploring Wikipedia - Content Creation) "Training Manual"" (PDF upload 2.71mb).  and was wondering if there are bigger plans of this nature?. All the best -- Moxy (talk) 05:38, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Sue Gardner addressed this in a talk she gave, I think in London.
Unfortunately, her point was that crowd-sourcing is good at some things, but simplifying processes isn't one of them.
It will take a major initiative to address this. I wanted to tackle copyright issues, which, on the one hand, is a small subset of our overall set of help pages, yet that small subset itself is overwhelming, and I haven't yet figured out how to tackle it.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 13:39, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
I also note that, while you went to a lot of work to create that list, and I will find it useful, it creates yet another entry in the list of places to look for help. Ultimately, we may need to create new pages, but we need to do a good enough job that we can be ruthless and remove dozens of others. Otherwise, it just adds to the list of places people have to read. I think the Help:Contents page was a major improvement, without overwhelming an sea of text at the top, coupled with a collapsed directory to help topics at the bottom.
We either ought to decide that your approach is better, and replace Help:Contents with your page, or decide that the Help:Contents approach is better, and see if your list contains entries not on that page. But having both is exactly the type of problem Sue was alluding to; we add new pages about process and do not remove old ones.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 13:53, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
It was made so there is a better central place to find info without have to read over 250 pages to find the one topic - we have Help:Contents/Site map but the students say its not informative. The page is just an index - that complies most help type page like with Editor's index, Abbrv, Glossary, Departments, Directory, FAQ , Shortcuts ,Tips. It is simply another way to navigate the pages.Moxy (talk) 16:20, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Here is something I threw together to illustrate one aspect of the problem: User:Sphilbrick/Yes,_we_can_have_too_much_help--SPhilbrick(Talk) 17:06, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

If I recall correctly, WMF staffer Pete Forsyth was tasked to do exactly this some time ago. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:39, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Since I was asked to clarify, User:Peteforsyth/User:Pete Forsyth (WMF) is no longer a WMF staff member. He is now a paid consultant, working on such projects as Wikipedia:Communicate OER. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:15, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
That was The wub (Peter Coombe), and he's a Community Fellow. Graham87 07:34, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Meanwhile we need more help-pages: I understand how the vast extend of help-pages might seem overwhelming, but more pages are needed, and the solution is to suggest better ways to "wikisearch" among hundreds of pages. I advise to have a redirect "Help:xx" to provide for every major topic "xx" which a user might request. Already, I had to create "Help:Lua" because, despite all the plans for the extra Lua processing power, we had very little about wp:Lua in Wikipedia and we also need "Help:Lua debugging". The reality means Wikipedia covers a vast ocean of topics, and it does not work to wish the ocean simply had less water. The navigation of the "high seas" will need different vessels for different numbers of wiki-travellers who pass through WP. Let's create a few hundred more help-pages and then think again. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:04, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
It isn't a case of wishing the ocean had less water. I agree we need many help pages. However, if someone simply asked "How do I edit?" do you really think 24 (and counting ) pages are needed? Do you honestly think there is no overlap in those pages?--SPhilbrick(Talk) 22:15, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Our mistranslation, etc, seems to be contributing to a worldwide Doomsday scare, but we may need your authority to correct it

You can find some of the details at Talk:Prophecy_of_the_Popes#Mistranslation.2C_leading_to_misleading_commentary.2C_etc, Talk:Prophecy_of_the_Popes#A_possible_Fix.3F, and Talk:Prophecy_of_the_Popes#How_can_we_spell_out_that.2C_once_translation_is_corrected.2C_there_is_no_Petrus_Romanus_.27prophecy.27.3F. Below is a summary of the problem as I see it, which I'm also about to post there:

We have a seemingly clear mistranslation, found in two places (the table and the Petrus Romanus section) which at least appears to be significantly contributing to a worldwide Doomsday scare, in which our mistranslation is being used by the media to say that the Prophesies predict the next Pope will be the last, when a correct translation would seemingly basically say the exact opposite - that the Prophecies actually seem to predict at least one (and probably at least two) next Popes, and quite possibly zillions of next Popes. There is also a second translation problem, that we are reporting a Prophesy that a period of 'extreme' persecution is about to start, when an alternative translation is the less scary 'last' persecution (which could easily be very mild and unfrightening, such as criticism and ridicule of the Church in the way we already have today, and need not even be persecution of the Church - though our mistranslation currently says it must be). Meanwhile so-called experts, like our 'reliable' source Church historian Father James Weiss on our 'reliable' HuffPo reference, at least appear to be basing their own arguments on our mistranslation (albeit in this instance using the mistranslation in a non-alarmist manner). And meanwhile we can't fix our mistranslation and everything that flows from it, because any correction will get reverted as OR (or as using a non-RS source from a blacklisted website). As a result, nothing has changed since I first reported the problem several hours ago. And, as you, Trystan, pointed out in a slightly different context a few days ago, bringing the matter through normal dispute resolution will probably freeze the mistranslantion and associated nonsense on our site for at least 30 days, thereby potentially further contributing to the worldwide Doomsday scare. Therefore I have decided, possibly mistakenly, that this matter is potentially so serious and urgent that it needs to be brought to the immediate attention of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, so I have now just posted a relevant note on his Talk page, in the hope that he can help bring about some sort of quick fix, or at least delegate the task to some high-ranking admin to do it for him. It may well be that I'm being unduly alarmist, but if so Jimmy Wales will presumably be well able to decide that for himself.Tlhslobus (talk) 21:34, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me that we need more eyes on the problem. It is unclear to me whether you are saying that we have an incorrect translation of our own making (original research), or whether the translation given in reliable sources is incorrect (according to whom?). I would say that a "worldwide Doomsday scare" is a bit overstating the situation, but then I have to say that I am personally pretty immune to worrying about "prophecy". :-) We certainly should try to make sure that we not repeat incorrect information from unreliable sources and that's particularly true if it is frightening people. (On the other hand, if reliable sources say things that frighten people, it's not our job to cover them up of course.)
As I know nothing about any of this, all I can state are general principles. It does sound quite interesting so I'm sure some good editors will jump in to study the situation and make sure the world is set right. :-) I mean, if nothing else, one of our unsung heroic jobs is to help prevent misinformation leading to worldwide panic. Someone has to do it, and we're here.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:43, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
So, Peter Turkson will be the next and last pope? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 08:41, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Old Roman saying: He who goes into a conclave as a Pope comes out as a Cardinal. It means the favourite usually loses (though Ratzinger beat that saying last time, so there may be hope for Turkson yet). But after checking out the various translations on Wiki Catalonia, I've decided the likeliest interpretation of the forger's 'prophecy' is that whoever wins will only be the second last Pope - though that's my 3rd different interpretation in 3 days, so I guess by tomorrow I'll be predicting the 3rd last Pope will be Jimbo Wales :) Tlhslobus (talk) 05:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
That WOULD be an omen om strange times indeed! Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:29, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
You're right, Gråbergs: the world might then even become a marginally saner place, and that really would be strange and unprecedented times indeed :) Tlhslobus (talk) 23:00, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
As I partly mentioned above I've checked out the Article on Wiki France, and the translations on Wiki Catalonia, and I've re-read Jimbo's reply, and decided to delete the foolishness that I'd written here earlier today, pending a re-think and possible new reply after I get up tomorrow. Tlhslobus (talk) 05:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

.WIKI / .WK Proposal

I've seen that there is a proposal to buy the gTLD .wiki, due to the New gTLD program of ICANN, but a long time since it was publish nothing was done. There is no mentioning about what will happen with this proposal. I know the cost for this is very high, but it might pay off if it will be in frequent use, so the other domains could be abandoned in the future. Currently, a company called "Top Level Design" is the only one who sent an application for this gTLD. I think it's more appropriate that Wikimedia Foundation will hold the ownership on it. Galzigler (talk) 11:22, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Why should the Foundation waste donor's money on this ICANN money grab? People are too obsessed with short URLs. Most people use search engines to access articles anyway. --Cgtdk (talk) 12:32, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
+1. ICANN doesn't need WMF money. Rd232 talk 13:38, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
One thing bothers me about this program, ICANN is a non-profit organization. Why do they charge so much money for this? Anyway, even Wikia could buy it, and it more suitable for Wikia rather than some anonymous company. Galzigler (talk) 21:17, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Barrier to entry. The high price prevents all but serious parties from trying to buy a tld. And as with others, I see no reason for Wikimedia to divert funds into purchasing one. Resolute 21:29, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

The Lua future is here

Already several Lua script modules have been created here on enwiki, and successful tests are well underway. See the module index (which was empty yesterday):

It really looks like "Lua is here to stay" but perhaps 2 more weeks would be more assurance of usability, before we commit to the future. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:04, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

I think there is a need for user modules to test things in sandboxes or run userpage scripts. Can we agree to use some standard prefix like Module:User:Username (e.g. Module:User:Wnt/Sandbox) so that these less-useful scripts are recognizable? Wnt (talk) 18:00, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't suppose we have an "Idiots' Guide to Lua" page anywhere?--ukexpat (talk) 18:29, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • We have "wp:Lua" as a start, but we will expect computer programmers as the first group, and yet try to reach a point where "markup users" can help to adjust the Lua script source code. Because of the base complexity, the related JavaScript and toolserver people will be the most likely to work with Lua at first. However, there will be more Lua-based templates which act as "super-templates" which the markup users can combine as powerful tools. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:41, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Lua readership has doubled from 2009/2010: I was looking back to Lua readership in 2009, which I had forgotten was an issue back then, so no wonder the installation of Lua seemed like a will-it-ever-arrive frustration. Anyway, back in 2009, there were ~640 Lua pageviews per day, but later increased in 2010 to 720/day, and now we have ~1,280/day. Compare the growth of January pageview graphs in years 2009-2013:
Even though the active editors have maintained a relatively stable article-edit rate for the past 3 years, the reader interest in article "Lua (programming language)" has grown to double during those years. We might even attract users who prefer helping to improve Lua modules, rather than articles, and could become more future developers to accelerate other software improvements to simplify the editing of articles. I had not realized how a thousand people a day read about Lua here. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:41, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, but that is exactly the same growth rate as English project page views in general, so it's nearly zero growth in proportion. (talk) 22:28, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Lua pageviews 200%, some articles 130% since 2009: The growth, or decline, in article pageviews greatly depends on the topic, where views of article "wiki" have declined to 66% of prior years (formerly 100,000/day), while "New York" or "hacker" rose only +31% and "Vienna" rose +58%, while "Lua (programming language)" doubled to 200% from 2009 pageviews. As Jimbo has warned us, beware of too small a sample to represent the vast extent of Wikipedia, or when oversimplifying the diversity such as an article with 10x higher pageviews, now, because it was a new stub in January 2009. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:45, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
It's hard to say, exactly. (talk) 23:02, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Seeking forgiveness

Dear Mr. Wales, I have sinned and seek your intervention in a small matter. Over the time of several years I wrote an article about a medical term entitled "Injection Fraction". This term has been bogged down at the US Library of Congress for many years as well. I have two questions regarding my infraction: 1. If the USLOC (Medicine) approves the term "Injection Fraction" will Wikipedia restore it as it was? The longstanding run on Wikipedia of this term has probably helped. Confirmation of the term would likely be beneficial to both of us in the long run if made transparent. 2. I understand why Wikipedia erased the article Injection Fraction. I have been editing Wikipedia since 9/11/07 and have 1163 edits to date. 83 of these apparently addressed injection fraction and have similarly been erased from my "contributions" file. Why was this necessary as this was a private file?

I further request your discretion in addressing this matter. I am a grandfather and would be greatly appreciative if my grandchildren and extended family do not find out that I am in trouble with Wikipedia again (they would find this hilarious). Please read my talk page if you are interested to learn more about my interest in the heart.

Leslie A. Beben, PA-C, SC License #415 Sumter Cardiology 540 Physician's Lane Sumter, SC, 29150 lbeben 02:25, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

It was deleted as a result of the discussion here. Very briefly, Wikipedia only summarises what has already been published by other reliable publishers. Approval from an official body of a term doesn't carry much weight; what matters is whether the term is discussed in depth in books, magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals, etc. The discussion there found this wasn't the case (though I haven't looked personally). Whether to include an article is discussed in much more depth here. WilyD 07:46, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
I deleted the page in question, and while I'm always open to discussing complaints about my admin actions, in this case the best solution may be to learn more about our guidelines for medical articles (WP:MEDRS & WP:MEDMOS). The regulars at WT:MED can explain things better than I can, but there are very specific requirements for sourcing medical articles. This article may be a case of WP:TOOSOON, in that it may take a lot of time for suitable medical sources to emerge about a new topic. Mark Arsten (talk) 15:23, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
I think that deleting the page history (which has the side effect of concealing the editor's contribution history as described), rather than merely making a redirect (and perhaps protecting it) was an unpleasant surprise, and not a practice I'd like to see catch on. I don't know if there was merge-worthy material in there or not now. Wnt (talk) 17:41, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Typically I do leave the history when redirecting, in this case though most of the participants were explicit about deleting and then redirecting so I felt consensus forced me to delete first. The article that I deleted was almost completely unsourced, so I don't think there's much chance of a viable merger anyway. Mark Arsten (talk) 19:11, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
If an editor expresses any interest in continuing work on it, and it's not defamatory or obviously non-scholarly, then it should certainly immediately be restored and userfied, shouldn't it? (talk) 23:06, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
I generally do userfy deleted content upon request, as a perusal of my talk page will show. I'm willing to do so if anyone wants it in this case. It's difficult with IPs though--I'm not sure where to put the userfied draft. Mark Arsten (talk) 23:34, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me that User:Lbeben probably requested a copy of the deleted article at the top of this thread; in not so many words, perhaps, and also provided an email address which would likely be even better than userfication. Neo Poz (talk) 03:26, 22 February 2013 (UTC)


Jimbo, I'd like to give you an advice: please remove this ban. I am not a friend of Jayen466, and I am not sure what the user said to you, but I'd like to tell you how such bans look to an outside observer. They look as Jimbo is censoring his own talk page, and does not allow criticism. They look like Jimbo, one of the most powerful man in the world, is concerned about what members of his own community are saying about him. They look like Jimbo behaves as a kindergartener, who says to his friend: "I do not want to play with you anymore." Jimbo, please have more trust in your own community. If Jayen466 or anybody else for that matter, are lying about you, I am sure your community will be able to figure this out on its own, but Jimbo Wales himself, Jimbo Wales, a co-founder of Wikipedia, should be well above these sort of things. And by the way before you remove my post, you may want to take look at this. Please do not provide them with more opportunities to attack you there. If you remove this ban, it will a very tiny step, but this step will be in the right direction. (talk) 16:24, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Ah, misuse of the word "ban" had this bystander confused. Your post sounds like an ultimatum ... but one based on some bizarre unreality. This kind of bullmalarky accusations have no place on Wikipedia. I don't blame Jimbo whatsoever for saying "leave me alone". If wikipediocracy members are that ridiculous that they don't recognize the inappropriateness of such posts, then they're in more trouble than I thought ... (✉→BWilkins←✎) 16:44, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, a normal person, not a Wikipedian I mean, does have difficulties in understanding what "ban" means in Wikipedian, but I used the word after I noticed the same one is used by at least one prominent Wikipedian.
Of course my post is not an ultimatum, it is just an advise.I believe everybody here, on Wikipedia, has the right to say to somebody "leave me alone", but I am not sure this right applies to Jimbo Wales, simply because in my opinion he should give this right up to demonstrate who he is, if you understand what I mean. If I am not mistaking Jimbo emailed to Jayen466 after imposing the ban. If he did, does not look like he wanted to be left alone. Why use emails? Why not to do it publicly, if for nothing else, simply for the sake of transparency. (talk) 17:02, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Of course it applies to Jimbo. Someone made unfounded, "did you stop beating your wife" accusations of government interference, ad kept harping on it. There was no possible way to defend themself. Just because Jimbo is somewhat public (no, he's not powerful) does not give ANYBODY the right to throw those kind of crap accusations anywhere (✉→BWilkins←✎) 17:15, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Of course nobody has the right " to throw crap accusations anywhere", but, if you see them as "crap", so will the others. It is better to respond to them publicly, or to ignore them publicly, but not to remove them, and not to ban the poster from this talk page only to email to him later. Jimbo is a powerful man. "His role in creating Wikipedia, which has become the world’s largest encyclopedia, prompted Time magazine to name him in its 2006 list of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World".", and it was in 2006, now in 2013 Jimbo has much more influence, and influence equals power. (talk) 17:30, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Let's all remember that this is a user talk page. If somebody posts something I don't like to my talk page, I have a right to delete it. We all do. Jimbo merely told us that he would delete comments on his talk page by this person, which he is not even required to do. If you want an open forum try the Village Pump, the Signpost (where JN466 has been busy), policy talk pages... you have a hundred options. Now as a symbolic gesture I would like to see Jimbo re-invite Fae to participate on this page when he is able, but I have no power over that either. Wnt (talk) 20:05, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
This is not a user talk page, this is Wikipedia's co-founder talk page, and I believe every member of his community should have a right to talk to him publicly at his own talk page, and, if that public talk is an unconfirmed, crappy allegations let everybody see them,do not remove them, do not create The Streisand effect. (talk) 21:21, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
No ... this is the talkpage of the User named Jimbo Wales. He happens to have also been a founder of the project. If you come to my talkpage to unfairly criticize me about something I do in real life, I'll probably tell you to take a hike too (✉→BWilkins←✎) 21:25, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)This is a user talk page. It just happens to be Mr. Wales' user talk page. There is no problem here that I can see. --OnoremDil 21:27, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)First of all, whether Jimbo Wales is the founder of Wikipedia or not is beside the point. This is still his talkpage and he still has the same expectations as the rest of us. That is, if you attack the user and continue to make such posts on their talkpage they may ask you to stop posting on their page.--Amadscientist (talk) 21:32, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
The funniest part is that all of you have successfully confirmed the point I made, in particular: Jimbo will be better off, leaving posts at his talk page alone. He has more than enough defenders here, on Wikipedia, and he looks much better, when they do the job of censoring his talk, and teaching a lesson to an intruder. (talk) 03:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Clearly you don't get it. You think this is about how Wikipedia looks for Jimbo not taking any crap from disrupters? are beating a dead horse. Nothing has been confirmed other than the fact that, for some odd reason, you think Jimbo can't request people to stay off his page like any other user here. You are simply wrong. Happy editing...if that is what you are actually here for. Seems you have a singular purpose so far.--Amadscientist (talk) 03:52, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Either this is a user talk page, where the normal user talk page rules apply (like e.g. Canvassing, but also his right to remove posts and so on), or this is an alternative community discussion page (which seems to be the view Jimbo Wales has), where normal user talk page rules don't apply. But what we shouldn't have is a page where the user talk page rules apply when it suits Jimbo Wales, but where they don't apply when it doesn't suit Jimbo Wales. This has happened too often in the past. Fram (talk) 08:40, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

What an odd way of thinking about things.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:42, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh, odd is good, the world could use more oddities (and odd ditties). Fram (talk) 14:02, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure why Jimbo – or any other Wikipedia editor – should be unable to manage their user talk page in the way that Jimbo has: generally free-ranging discussion of issues of community interest, along with conversations with and about this particular Wikipedia editor, but moderated by the editor when particular users or editors start to hijack the page for far-off-topic discussion, soapboxing, or beating of dead horses.
Jimbo's name (and his userspace) obviously have a particularly high level of community recognition, but I see general community and policy issues coming up from time to time on the user pages of other high-profile editors as well. If you want to be more obnoxious than Jimbo will put up with here, we have the Village Pump or the Administrators' Noticeboard. (Though even those pages will only tolerate so much ask-the-other-parent silliness; I'm not sure where Fram gets the idea that other 'community discussion pages' offer an unlimited license for soapboxing.) In the meantime, I would much prefer to see Jimbo apply the Mallet of Loving Correction to keep discussions here generally constructive and productive. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:03, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't see where I gave the impression that other pages offer an "unlimited license for soapboxing". I do know that on other community pages, you are not allowed to canvass or to stifle one side of a debate while encouraging the other; most other community pages don't have one super-user with the power to decide what is acceptable on that page and what isn't. Contrary to what you seem to claim, one of my problems with the use of this page is that this page will tolerate nearly endless "ask-the-other-parent silliness" and is being often used to raise "arguments from authority" instead of having a genuine community discussion. Fram (talk) 15:40, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I see— this is an 'irregular verb' problem. (That is, I exercise restraint; you stifle; he censors.) Since Jimbo doesn't always cut off unconstructive debate or discussion, he should never be allowed to do so. I think I'm going to stop now, since Jimbo alrealy said it best—"What an odd way of thinking about things." TenOfAllTrades(talk) 16:37, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
The only special exemption I know of is for WP:CANVASS, a policy which should be nominated for deletion. It doesn't work - it gives special power to off-wiki hate clubs - and the effect of raising it is only to start bickering. Replace it with some numerical limit on how many users you can "cold call" about an issue, i.e. a basic spamming policy, no longer than three sentences, preferably one. But even under the CANVASS policy, one is allowed to contact a single editor one knows to look at an issue of interest, so it can be argued that there is really no special exemption here at all. Wnt (talk) 17:56, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Off-wiki canvassing is usually spotted quite easily and routinely ignored (e.g. in AfDs). Allowing on-wiki canvassing because it also exists off-wiki seems pointless though. And posting a biased message to one page with a large readership is forbidden under canvass, but Jimbo Wales claims that his page is an exemption to that rule and that such canvassing is allowed here (because then it suddenly is a single user talk page, not a community discussion page). If you would post a note at AN or the village pump asking for help in e.g. keeping a certain article, you would be accused of canvassing, even if it was a single post. What are discussions like User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 121#Articles about namecalling terminology doing here? They belong at the village pump or somesuch. Fram (talk) 21:43, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
You do have a point that some issues raised here need to be transferred to the proper venue for any meaningful disposition. Wnt (talk) 17:44, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
TenOfAllTrades, I agree that it is useless to continue this discussion, as you again read things in my comments that aren't there. I am not discussing "always or never" in the context you seem to read it: what I object to is a community discussion page that is steered in one direction by the page owner. Our community discussion pages have a tradition of openness and NPOV, not of being directed by a single opinion. Your "irregular verb" problem is indeed odd, since "exercising restraint" is something you usually do wrt yourself, while stifling and censoring are usually done to others. The link between the former one and the latter two is not really obvious from the discussion before your post introduced them. Fram (talk) 21:43, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
It appears you are just not familiar with our policy about discussing the contributions and not the contributer. By the way, I am not anonymous. You may not discuss my personal life on Wikipedia. I am not the subject. Niether is Jimbo Wales and his friends. You just wont stop dishing out personal information about someone. That is seriously showing your standards and I can't help but see a well deserved block in your future or general sanctions. I would support that, based on your behavior here.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:19, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

"Wikipedia, the collaborative encyclopedia" as tag-line?

Wikipedia's current tag-line — "the encyclopedia anyone can edit" — bothers me, in part because it is so manifestly false: not anyone lacking Internet access, not anyone lacking competency (e.g., infants), and not anyone who has been banned. Also, there are people who think that because they can edit WP they therefore have a right to edit, never mind any other editors, community standards, pillars, or principles. This has prompted me to consider alternatives.

Perhaps the most common characterization of Wikipedia (second only to "on-line"), within and without, is the collaborative encyclopedia. This epitomizes what I think is the essential characteristic of WP: laboring together. It emphasizes teamwork over the unfortunate tendency towards melee. Having not found any prior discussion of this, I would ask: might we consider replacing the tag-line with: "Wikipedia, the collaborative encyclopedia"? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:34, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Agree. All good points. It's needed because the collaborative encyclopedia is more aspirational than descriptive currently. DeCausa (talk) 20:38, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
The English Wikipedia's slogan is "the free encyclopedia". You appear to be referring to the welcome message appearing on the main page, in which Wikipedia is described as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit".
Regarding your suggestion, what major encyclopedias are not collaborations? —David Levy 20:44, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Disagree. "That anyone can edit" is a bottom-line philosophy that WP has stuck to, even when the community has opposed it, such as the case when wide community consensus concluded only registered accounts should be able to create articles, suddenly, at the developers level, they "could not do that" with little explanation as to "why" other than just "no." Of course infants can't edit, people without access can't edit, and even Bambifan and Ent Moot can't edit (though they could, and probably do, under other names that edit constructively), but for all practical purposes, anyone interested in contributing positively to the encyclopedia,even those who do not have a registered account, can contribute in some form or fashion. That's why we don't range block dynamic IP's for instance, or if we protect an article, we leave the talk page open to suggested edits. Ditch 03:14, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but creating an article is not exclusive to editing. Once the article is created anyone can edit it. You are attempting to over examine the issue. Anyone can does not mean everyone will or is able to. Nor does it address that not all should be allowed once they have demonstrated a reason to block, ban or revert. Comeone. Lets be real here.--Amadscientist (talk) 03:33, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
All encyclopedias are collaborative. Other encyclopedias just don't advertize the fact. It would not be distinctive to say that wikipedia iz collaborative. The competence iz in the hands of children. And when it's not, it's in the hands of time. Even banned users can sometimes edit by proxy via e-mail. I think user:Durova did something like that.
I am here, because I am not all there. (talk) 13:28, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, for sure, all encyclopedias are collaborative to some extent. But it seems to fair to say that Wikipedia is more so than all the rest, to the extent of being "the collaborative encyclopedia", and is already called so by people outside of WP. It is also definitely not true that "anyone can edit", and it takes more caveats and shoe-horning to make that fit than "collaborative". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:53, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh no! I think anyone can edit wikipedia. They might need to grow up a little bit and accept some censorship. It might take some time, or some personal prodding of a proxy. There's a warning template about wikipedia not being censored. I do not think anybody uses it. Oh no! We hav a disagreement on wikipedia. What news!? The other encyclopedias actually hav some very fast, personal ways of coming to an agreement -- one iz superior. What we could argue about iz whether wiki really means fast anymore. Maybe once we get to some point of good, fast becomes expensive. (talk) 23:43, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Confucius say: Woman who cook carrots and peas in same pot not sanitary.
I've seen it get used before. I also say: Then man who cook carrots and peas in same pot sanitary? ZappaOMati 00:10, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Locking Policy

Too many people burn too many hours trying to change the rules.
Too many people burn too many hours trying to maintain the rules.
How many arbcom cases could be burned if no rules were? I'VE GOT IT! Make the rules invisible one day each month. Let's say the thirteenth. Any admin caught enforcing anything with a block on that day gets desysoped. Any user caught contributing to the rules on the thirteenth gets auto-blocked or site-banned for three days. One day a month, three rules: No manual enforcement operations. No rule contributions. No announcement. You find out when you get caught trying to govern. It's like when someone gets 30.5 in 31: Everybody pays. (talk) 19:17, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Isn't the desysopping rather harsh, especially if it was just because of a block on one day? The vandals would run amok that day. ZappaOMati 23:50, 22 February 2013 (UTC) (talk) 00:02, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Blocking iz just az harsh az desysopping. Vandals are curbed just fine with regyuhlr yuuzerz on chat.
Discarded Acronyms: Wake On Packet: WOP.
Except admins work hard to earn their mops, unlike vandalizing, which requires almost no effort. Besides, it's the vandals' fault for vandalizing in the first place. ZappaOMati 00:05, 23 February 2013 (UTC) (talk) 00:19, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Persistent vandals? Maybe it wuz a blok that created the vandal. A big ex-spook sez that America's foreign policy created al-qaeda. One vandalizm might be a joke.
Call a chicken place and ask "Do you have extra crispy breasts?". Besides, I am talking about policy payjez disappearing and becoming non-targets. To do productive work, you must forget about all of the rules, and concentrate on what iz true. If the rules disappear four times a month, so much the better. Maybe it should be the other way around. Maybe rules should only appear four dayz a munth.
How do I assimilate thee? Let me count the ways.
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
How could a block create the vandal? Is the vandal trying to get blocked? Are we in Soviet Russia now? Just because an ex-CIA agent says that the US's policy created Al-Qaeda does not mean that the group was created by it. Speaking of chicken places, I happened to order extra crispy breasts directly as stated. No, no one flashed me by the way. Anyway... WP:IAR? worth a read for you? ZappaOMati 00:24, 23 February 2013 (UTC) (talk) 00:32, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Many people hav written versions of ignoring all rules. An ex-president sed "My policy is to have no policy". Seven days of policy a munth seems like a majik number, because nobody would expect it weekly.
A cat in heat has elevated whore moan levels.
First, please do consider using a spellchecker. I know we have many editors for whom English is not their first language, so I'm not knocking you at all, but it's very jarring to read and makes it harder to get your point. :) That being said, we already have a policy that states that our policies and guidelines are not firm rules, and if in a given scenario they're harmful rather than helpful, they can be bent, broken, or ignored. But they're policies and guidelines because we've found that in most cases, they are helpful, like "Don't deliberately make unconstructive changes", "Write neutrally", "Stick to the sources, don't editorialize", and "Those who persistently disrupt the community may be asked (or required) to leave it". I don't see any reason to throw those out the window, for a day or otherwise. They've served us very well. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:16, 23 February 2013 (UTC)


Jimbo, do you know if User:Hoder got released (which I certainly doubt). If not, you might want to look at this ANI thread. Techman224Talk 07:07, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

I left a note there. I think a short leave from prison is likely - he's had at least one in the past (and sent me an email at that time), as confirmed to me by people close to him. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:49, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

How do I create a site like Wikia?

I just want to know how I create a site like Wikia where you have the Wikimea staff, Wikimea helpers, Wikimea stewards, adminmentor, authenticated Users, Autoconfirmed users, Bots, Global bots, Global check users, check users, chat moderators, forum moderators, ombudsman, bureaucrats, emailconfirmed, Community Council, rollback, administrators, users, Wikimea Utilities, VSTF (Voulenteer Spam Task Force) and Wikimea Stars in steps please. I'll be calling it Wikimea. Cmach7 04:06, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry to say that I don't understand the question.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 04:10, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I think he's asking how to create a wiki similar to Wikia, and I'm guessing he wants to call the finished result "Wikimea". ZappaOMati 04:23, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, Wikia is a company with over 100 employees and hundreds of thousands of wikis. So, you know, it's hard to answer concisely how to do that. Maybe he means he would like to make a site at Wikia, but this is not the right place for that... he should ask at Wikia. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 04:35, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I think Cmach7 is asking your advice about how to go into business in competition against you, Jimbo. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:36, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, I'd start by downloading mediawiki, then. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:50, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo I want to make a wiki too. Can I borrow, your servers, and volunteers, not to mention a database dump to get started? :D—cyberpower ChatOnline 00:56, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

AfC is misleading registered users about their options for creating new articles

I am a new editor and I had a "bad" experience using AfC to create an article. Really it wasn't that bad... but I did feel mislead, and I've since heard of several others who felt they were also mislead. Basically WP:AFC does not tell registered users they can simply move articles into article space. It intentionally leaves this information off the page, to stem the tide of "bad" articles which WP:NPP would have to deal with. I understand the intent here, but I feel the method is neither upfront nor transparent. I don't know what the best policy would be here; we certainly need to manage the influx of "bad" new articles somehow. But I feel strongly we should have a policy we are comfortable telling people about.

Uhm.....this isn't accurate. AFC is for newer users not yet autoconfimed which only requires a few edits to the mainspace to acquire. The article wizard, I believe, does indeed publish to the mainspace. Am I incorrect about this? I just create my articles in the mainspace. Look, I think this may be a bit of confusion about autoconfirming to create an article and not so much about the guidance at AFC. From the direction I am seeing, it seems that AFC is more or less for IP users.--Amadscientist (talk) 09:43, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I just went through the Article Wizard twice 2 minutes ago. Each time it left me with an article that had a big banner on top which submits it to AfC. I am autoconfirmed. Certainly there might be way to make it behave differently, to guide you to mainspace instead, but it is not obvious to me now, and was not obvious when I created my first article. And I read of other people who experienced the same issue. I only brought it up after see other people had the same experience. Consider, we are specifically only talking about people creating their first article, ever. I suspect most wikipedians are so far from that point, they have forgotten what it was like. I'm about a month out and already forgetting. Silas Ropac (talk) 09:59, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

I think the problem is AfC is written as if people reading it have already surveyed their options, and have decided to use AfC. Given that context, that the AfC page guides people into AfC is very reasonable. However, I believe people arrive at that page having no idea what their options are, they just hear "articles for creation" and come running. So I think all that's needed is a little more exposition:

Unregistered users: Create your article now!
Registered users: click here for your options

Your options:

  1. Use the Article Wizard, submit to AfC: here's how
  2. Use the Article Wizard, move into mainspace when ready: here's how
  3. Create your article from scratch: here's how

Plus some explanation about autoconfirmed. Silas Ropac (talk) 10:54, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

BTW, being autoconfirmed has nothing to do with whether you can create articles, and it requires ten edits (in any namespace) over four days. If you were not autoconfirmed, you wouldn't be able to move your article from the articles for creation page to the main namespace yourself, however. Graham87 12:54, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate the link, I'm certainly ignorant of WP history, around this issue and in general. By create an article I'm including getting it into mainspace. Until it's in mainspace, I don't think new editors would feel they have created an article. So everything I said stands despite my sloppy terminology. We let autoconfirmed users bypass AfC, but we don't explain that to them on the WP:AFC page. I'm not saying we should change any policies, just that we should communicate the existing policy openly and honestly. If that alone leads to problems, then I think the solution is to change the policy, rather than hide the policy. Silas Ropac (talk) 15:51, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
No it isn't just autoconfirmed editors. Any registered editor can ignore AFC and create an article. Only IP editors have no choice but to use AFC. Both AFC and mainspace have disadvantages for article creators, and I'm not sure which I'd currently recommend. To be frank both are a bit of a lottery, at special newpages we have some sloppy tagging with some people tagging and I suspect even speedy deleting articles that would probably fail AFD. Whilst AFC works to a much higher standard, for example articles get rejected for being unsourced. ϢereSpielChequers 17:23, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Very educational thread here. It seems that Silas Ropac has a very relevant point that actually needs to be addressed.--Amadscientist (talk) 02:02, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree. I thought I had stumbled into the help desk for a minute but seriously, sounds like some good advice.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 03:08, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

I looked at more of the old threads on this issue. I see there are two strong camps: review-first and review-later. My pleas for being upfront implicitly put me on the review-later side, because if we were upfront more editors would add articles themselves. I do believe review-later is better, more than that I think WP:HONEST should trump politics here. Be honest to registered editors about our current policy, see what happens. If NPP gets overwhelmed, then fix that problem. I'm sure there was never an official proposal "let's hide information from registered users" instead the current situation just grew organically. So let's trim it back, see what's underneath, and fix that.

Moving my user space draft directly into mainspace was a thrill, I think everyone who is entitled to that thrill should know they are allowed to do it. This was my article the day I moved it into mainspace, I think it would have been a shame for it to wait in a queue for weeks, I think it was ready. During the time I would have been waiting, I made it a B-class article. That's a much better outcome for WP. If I had waited I might have lost interest. Adding a new article gives you a real rush. I imagine it leads to more enthusiastic and long-lasting editors than waiting in a queue.

Now why can't NPP just have the ability to yank bad articles back into some kind of AfC-like queue? That seems like the best of both worlds. Let people launch their articles immediately, if they start to sink rather than shoot them full of holes or patch them up while sailing, take them back to port to be overhauled out of the limelight. Some day I'd hope that we can even use machine learning on new articles to help NPP, like we do with vandalism today. Silas Ropac (talk) 17:29, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

International Open Data Day

February 23 is the date of the 2013 Open Data Day Hackathon.

Wavelength (talk) 03:08, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

WikiProject Cleanup

Hello, Jimbo Wales.

You are invited to join WikiProject Cleanup, a WikiProject and resource for Wikipedia cleanup listings, information and discussion.
To join the project, just add your name to the member list. Northamerica1000(talk) 14:31, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Dang....I forgot all about this project.--Amadscientist (talk) 20:10, 24 February 2013 (UTC)


Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, Jimbo Wales. You have new messages at
Message added 17:57, 24 February 2013 (UTC). You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

WilliamH (talk) 17:57, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

good man

Thanks for the great website :) (talk) 20:48, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia wide backlog reduction goal using the watchlist

I couldn't think of the best place to propose this, and this probably isn't that place, but hopefully discussion that starts here can meander over to wherever that best place is. When I first started editing Wikipedia, there was a backlog reduction goal using the watchlist. The goal was to reference all unreferenced BLPs and it used a progress bar to show how close we were. I think it would be a great idea to do the same thing with another huge category. If every active registered user cleared 2 pages in Articles lacking sources the entire backlog would be cleared (the actual number of highly active editors is probably far less than the 135,706 active editors, but it would still go incredibly far towards clearing the backlog). I have little preference towards what category we choose, but I was wondering if anyone else thought this would be a good idea. Ryan Vesey 21:55, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Seems good to me, but wouldn't this proposal be better at the village pump. TBrandley (what's up) 00:05, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Support. Biosthmors (talk) 00:13, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
  • If WP had a user-notice MotD for such issues: Many people have requested to post whatever notices into the gigantic mainpage (viewed 5-7 million times per day). However, if we had an MotD ("message of the day") template displayed in every user-talk page, then when active users (9,100 who edit 25 articles/mo) checked their talk-pages, then they could read a short MotD, such as:
  • "If everyone added sources to 2 articles this month..."
The overhead has been with typical templates, which once a message has changed, then all "800,000" user-talk pages would be scheduled for reformatting. So instead, it could be some type of short quick-banner-style notice (not the typical screen-lockup banners) which only appeared on active user-talk pages and only for each specific username (when active). If the typical volunteer action-rate of 3% applied, then 3% x 9100 x 2 articles ~= 550 articles, at least, could be cleared per month. During the wp:GOCE copy-edit backlog drives, about 700-900 scruffy articles are carefully fixed, every 2 months. As an alternate tactic, to add wp:RS footnotes, it might be better to have a bot-assisted sourcing team, of 50 people, fix 50 articles each, or 2,500/month. However, the best plan is to follow the 80/20 rule, and first fix the "20%" of articles viewed "80%" of the time, with bot-assisted lists of most-active articles in a category. There are numerous articles which no one really cares to read, and those pages could wait much longer. -Wikid77 (talk) 07:31, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Should WMF employment and ArbCom membership intersect?

Jimmy: Information has arisen that User:Coren has become a paid employee of WMF, effective Feb. 25, 2013. To his credit, Coren did disclose this information HERE. I am curious whether WMF's legal eagles have issued an opinion as to whether this is an acceptable "co-mingling of responsibilities" or whether this presents a potential foothold for anyone who might in the future seek to demonstrate legal responsibility for the Foundation over content. Do you personally share my own view that Coren should resign one position or the other? Carrite (talk) 16:50, 26 February 2013 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 17:09, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Considering the rest of us dont get paid for our contributions this might be in the affirmative. Pass a Method talk 16:58, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that my manager at the Foundation would be pretty annoyed if I billed him for my volunteer work – and well he should. I am being paid for very specific technical work on a specific part of the infrastructure, not for any of the work I do on the English Wikipedia. — Coren (talk) 02:00, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
It's my understanding that the legal eagles at WMF do not see any issue with Coren's retaining his role from a legal perspective. Fortunately for me, they've been okay with my remaining an admin and an editor in spite of my work, too, as long as I am careful to maintain separation of roles. I'll be happy to verify. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:39, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
First, a brief correction: Coren is not a paid employee of the Wikimedia Foundation, he has accepted a contract for a defined scope of work as a contractor, I believe. On the question above, however, Maggie is correct. Prior to Coren accepting employment, I asked the General Counsel this exact question. The opinion he expressed to me is that there is no conflict of interest from a legal perspective, and therefore that wouldn't legally bar his appointment or him continuing on the Arbcom. Of course, community issues of COI and editorial standards are different, and the community is certainly allowed to create and codify standards there, but there is nothing that legally prohibits this. Disclosure: like Maggie, I retained my adminship here when I was hired. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 18:15, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I suppose the fundamental question is whether being one of 15 elected ArbCom members is fundamentally different than being one of 1500 or so Administrators. I don't see a COI issue between WMF employment with the latter, I do with the former. Carrite (talk) 18:18, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

This is an interesting question, but it'd be worthwhile for someone who thinks there is an issue here to explain exactly what it might be. ArbCom's work and the work of the Foundation have very little overlap. ArbCom doesn't rule on Foundation issues (it has no authority to do so) and the Foundation doesn't interfere with ArbCom decisions (it has the authority to do so, but it doesn't as a general practice). I'm not sure what the problem would be.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:41, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

I don't see it as a big issue but it's probably not a good idea in principle. I know the analogy can only go so far, but it is a bit like mixing the Executive branch with the Judiciary. --regentspark (comment) 20:34, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Risker says on the page linked that he would have had to recuse from 27% of Arbcom cases in the last year, as well as other matters. Coren's response: "...But, in the end, if it turns out that I would have to recuse on half of the issues that reach the Committee during my contract (which would surprise me no end), that leaves me available to contribute positively for the other half...." does not represent a good way forward. Johnbod (talk) 20:42, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
While that's not a good sign, the bigger problem is that people will wonder who's doing the talking. The WMF or the arb. And this is regardless of whether there is an overlap between their roles at all. Human nature being what it is, this is probably not a good idea at all. --regentspark (comment) 20:52, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
From what I've seen, "who's doing the talking" is a problem that's been solved by people having official accounts that are separate from their volunteer accounts, and making sure they talk from the right one at the right time. (About which quite a degree of care seems to be taken.) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:39, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Carrite, "information has arisen" is an interesting way of saying "Wikipediocracy has just noticed"; there was hardly any secret involved. As soon as I was offered the job I posted prominent notices on a half dozen high visibility noticeboards (including the Committee's, AN, and the Village Pump) inviting comments and discussion. (And, incidentally, I would have appreciated notice that you were discussing me here).

And again, for those who did not have the opportunity to involve themselves in the previous discussion, the contract I have with the foundation is with Engineering and Product Development, which has no influence or authority on the English Wikipedia – let alone the Committee. While Jimmy is correct above that the Foundation does have some interplay with the projects, that would necessarily come from Legal and Community Advocacy, which is a different bunch of people. And even then, in order to prevent from even the appearance of impropriety, I recuse from any such interactions.

If you have specific concerns about possible interactions between my volunteer work and my paid role, I invite you to discuss them with me (or with the Committee); but to date the consensus is that, with some care to avoid the appearance of conflict, there is no impact on either. Vague gesturing at hypothetical shadows, however, is probably not quite as helpful. — Coren (talk) 01:56, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Nice of you to phrase it with overtones of conspiracy theory. I'm just curious about whether there is a potential of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act being undermined by your rather tone-deaf failure to separate commercial gain from volunteer service. The answer appears to be no. Good for you. Carrite (talk) 03:03, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • All arbitrators and all WMF employees (contractors) have some COI. They all are concerned about keeping their very nice positions much more than about being fair and honest. They all have much to lose, you see. Arbitrators have to balance of course. They have to keep friends in the upper circles, and they have to remain popular with the community. For example Jclemens made a very bad mistake, when he voted to ban Malleus, and he lost the election. On the other hand Courcelles has learned his lesson. Once he almost got desysoped for blocking Malleus. He's never repeated the same mistake again, and I am sure he never will. It was funny seeing him opposing Malleus's ban. Has he suddenly liked Malleus? Has he suddenly decided to play it fair? It is very doubtful. He opposed the ban not because he acted in Wikipedia's best interests, not because he acted in Malleus's best interests. He opposed the ban because he acted in his own best interests, and by a pure accident he did the right thing. Often though Wikipedia's best interests and arbitrators best interests are different. I think Coren has two COI now. I think he should resign as Chase did, when he got employed by WMUK. (talk) 04:12, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Is there anyone else you want to drag into this?--Amadscientist (talk) 04:27, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • In my experience, when someone accepts a volunteer position like this one with a charitable organization, they are often hoping to work their way into a paid position, perhaps by doing such a good job in the volunteer position that they make a successful bid to get it funded with a salary the next business year. Coren, has any thought like this crossed your mind? Cla68 (talk) 05:22, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
    Oh come on man. More fodder for WR or well, whatever offsite dramaboard that has succeeded it?--MONGO 05:35, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
    • That's an ad hominem argument MONGO, meant to discredit my statement by casting doubt on my motivation for stating it. An ad hominem is a logical fallacy. As adults, we should try to debate the merits of each others' arguments without resorting to such tactics. Using such tactics reflects poorly on you, and on Wikipedia for allowing anyone to engage in such behavior. Wikipedians continue to do it, however, because there are no consequences for doing so. Since you edit anonymously, you don't worry about real life people coming to the conclusion that you debate in a dishonest manner. Cla68 (talk) 06:49, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
    I think Cla may be over-generalizing from his own expreience. Tom Harrison Talk 13:35, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
    I had that same thought. --Orlady (talk) 15:50, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
    • (@Cla68) I never had any pretension that what I do here on enwp is so brilliantly executed that I should be paid for it. Did my involvement here play a part in my getting the job? No doubt it did – the Foundation never made any secret of the fact that they consider involvement as a volunteer a "plus" when making hiring decisions. What I can tell you is that during the extended interview process, the people I have talked to seemed interested rather in my technical skills and experience.

      I was looking for a job, and there was a posting for a contractual position I was perfectly qualified for. I didn't go "Finally, my volunteer work 'paid off'!", just "Cool, I could work at something I love for a change." — Coren (talk) 13:37, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

      Of course that is the case, but the conspiracy theorists don't want to be fair. While there is no issue with some wanting a pledge from you to be mindful of COI issues, its the insinuation of assumed impropriety that is just pure tabloid dribble, suitable only for some slanderous trash rag.--MONGO 15:15, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Besides everything else it is all but impossible to be an honest arbitrator and to be an honest employee. There's simply not enough time. Some time ago I happened to read an email sent by a former arbitrator, which was forwarded to me by an accident. They confirmed my words. They said that being an arbitrator is a full time job, and there's no time left for anything else. They said the amount of emails the arbitrators should read and respond is overwhelming, and then there's on wiki work to do. Also Risker writes: "I'm at work now, so am not in a position to use my fancy tools, so can someone checkuser this one please ..." So she cannot use her " fancy tools" because she is at work, but she reads and responds emails that have absolutely nothing to do with her work. Is she an honest employee? Of course she is not, and if a person is dishonest at his/her work, he/she makes a dishonest arbitrator. (talk) 15:27, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Excuse me, but what on earth are you gibbering on about? Yes, several arbs have day jobs that aren't to do with Wikipedia, and yes, they find enough hours in the day to carry out those day jobs and also carry out their arb "work". And yes, one might imagine they sometimes answer email from their workplaces during their lunch hour or during other designated break periods. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:36, 27 February 2013 (UTC) (writing this from, but not for, my employer)
  • " during their lunch hour", yeah, sure. Give me a break, please. Besides I quoted a former arbitrator, and I have no reasons to mistrust that person. (talk) 17:29, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • What are you, someone who fell into a Roald Dahl novel and can't get out? Those of us gainfully employed in the modern world are not screwing the tops onto toothpaste tubes and required to do so many per minute across x number of hours we are sat in the factory. Grow up and get a real job. Or, as the Americans would say, "graduate college". --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:26, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • The anon statement was not appropriate. Your statement is downright insulting. Please think before you hit save page. --OnoremDil 21:35, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I would do so if others would take the same care. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:44, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)That's not at all what I thought you meant. I'm not surprised you don't get it though. --OnoremDil 21:48, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • No worries, I respect your point of view anyway. By the way, just in case it helps you to think about such matters at all; if someone is elected to arbcom, and then happens to reply to an arbcom email while physically located on the premises of their employer, does that make the person "dishonest"? Just wondering what you think. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:51, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Lets not get off topic here. Please come to my talk page and tell me what my point of view is. I don't think you have a clue based on your previous reply. I think you are simply trying to deescalate. No. I don't think occassional use of company time for personal matters is 'dishonest' exactly. It's not right, but it is something that many studies have shown happens very frequently. Most people waste 'some' time at work every day. --OnoremDil 21:57, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I might plead guilty to "trying to de-escalate", but in return you'll have to surrender the Falkland Islands and agree my right to re-coal dreadnought warships there. Deal? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 22:17, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Works for me as long as you don't try to treat me like a child again. (but again, this doesn't belong here now) --OnoremDil 22:23, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, a lot of people are salaried rather than on an hourly wage. If you're salaried, then there is very much less of a distinction between work time and non-work time, although this varies among salaried positions. In the United States at least, there is no limit to the workweek for salaried employees (there is for hourly employees: 40 hours (one can be required to work more, but by law must be paid a higher rater after 40 hours)). Salaried employees have no such limit and (again, depending on the particular job) often work irregular hours and at home (answering emails and so forth), and are sometimes on call at any reasonable time. Salaried employees are often more or less judged by their final product rather than their labor-time input -- e.g., if one produces one's "deliverables" on time and of acceptable quality, it doesn't much matter if one did a lot of the work at home and night and did other things during "work time".

So it's not really "dishonest" to remain plugged into the Wikipedia while "at work", for many. Many employers allow or even encourage salaried employees to engage in wide variety of activities throughout the day. Besides which the Wikipedia is a charity and many employers encourage their people to contribute to charitable undertakings.

However, for some people this is a fairly foreign concept. They work on an hourly basis and perhaps everyone they know does too. It's a sort of a class thing, and Onorem was right to point out that there's no need for Demiurge1000 get shirty about it. Demiurge1000, guess what: working for an hourly wage is a "real job", and not all of us can "graduate college" (its expensive for one thing), and "screwing the tops onto toothpaste tubes" is honest work and not to be denigrated by the entitled, in my opinion. Your lack of respect of the world of hourly-wage work does not make you better than with his lack of respect for the world of salaried work. It makes you equally clueless, and a little more humility and kindness all around might be in order, I think. Herostratus (talk) 01:16, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Well said. The level of condescension and ignorance in those remarks is appalling. Beeblebrox (talk) 03:27, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Herostratus, and to the original question (posed to Jimbo, not me) I don't personally think there is any conflict between Coren's roles.  7  07:08, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
In the Roald Dahl story to which I was referring, financial difficulties are caused by the task of "screwing the tops onto toothpaste tubes" being taken over by machines. This was written in the early 1960s (most likely referring to events decades earlier), and I had no idea that half a century later there were still people employed in such roles, nor that they might be reading Jimbo's talk page in order to be offended by my comments. Unlike the IP, however, I was not accusing them (or anyone else) of being dishonest due to the nature of their employment. My thanks to Herostratus for enlightening me about employment practices and the affordability of a college education in the modern world. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 11:33, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

"Arbitrators are neither Wikimedia Foundation employees or agents" -- Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee. (talk) 07:27, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

I think it's always been clear that means that the arbitrator role is not a WMF employee/agent role; not that a person holding the arbitrator role disqualifies them from also having WMF employee/agent role separately. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 11:33, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
That declaration implies a separation which no longer exists. There should be a more explicit phrasing detailing the new reality, in my opinion. What has "always been clear" was that ArbCom was the elected, highest expression of the volunteer community, and the Foundation was the Foundation, the professional organization behind The Project, which was something altogether different.... "While members of ArbCom may be paid employees of the Wikimedia Foundation, their activities as a part of ArbCom are an expression of their private, uncompensated participation as ordinary Wikipedia editors," or some such. (I really can't believe that the WMF legal beagles think this is a super great idea 230-wise, but I guess that's why they make the big bucks and I just sit around muttering under my breath and shaking my head...) Carrite (talk) 03:57, 1 March 2013 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 04:03, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Under your breath? Not so much.
But I don't see why the page in question shouldn't be updated to make it clearer what it does and doesn't imply. Now, where would be the place to discuss making changes to that page? :) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 07:46, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Being on the ArbCom is good. Being a WMF contractor/term employee is also good. But you can't do both without (consciously or unconsciously) being biased. Sorry but one of them has to be dropped in order for the other to continue. It's a basic Conflict of Interest. (talk) 16:13, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Can you give an example specific to this situation? I can appreciate that many WMF employees should not be on Arbcom, as Arbcom deals with user behavior and there are,many WMF employees whose day job may relate to user behavior. However, Corn is doing some technical database work. Given that he will recuse if someone has a rogue bot interfering with a database, what other types of things can come up before Arbcom where his WMF contractor hat might lead him to a different conclusion that if he only considered user behavior.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 17:40, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
  • If the community votes him in, knowing that he's a technical contractor for WMF, then there is no issue. However, when people voted for Coren he was an independent volunteer. We don't know whether people would have voted for Coren the WMF technical contractor. The way to find out is for Coren to resign, and then stand at the next ArbCom election. That would be the way to place his arbitratorship beyond any doubt. I don't think Coren has done anything wrong, but I think that resigning and standing in the next election would be the best way forward. Jehochman Talk 17:56, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

When WMUK hired an individual that was serving on ArbCom at the time, part of the conditions of their recruitment was that they resigned from ArbCom to avoid any confusion in their roles. I would recommend that the WMF adopts the same approach here. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:07, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

  • People are available who will argue both sides of any issue, particularly at Wikipedia. However, the substantive comments were made two WMF staffers within the first couple of hours, and nothing more has been said since then apart from vague expressions of there must be a problem. Naturally gossip websites thrive on anything that might create drama, but no one has given the slightest clue about how Coren's technical work might impact Arbcom deliberations—it's just speculative stirring. In the vanishingly unlikely case that anyone connected with Coren's technical work comes before Arbcom, Coren would recuse. Recusal would occur because of a prior connection with the subject, not because of Coren's contract. That applies to any arbitrator. Johnuniq (talk) 22:24, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
    • That's an overly narrow view. Any discussion involving the WMF – or any of its personnel or contractors – is potentially problematic.  Roger Davies talk 22:35, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
      • Given the formatting here, I'm not sure whether Johnuniq was replying to my point or making a new one. Please could Johnuniq clarify this? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 23:15, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
        • Mine was a general observation, not a reply to any particular comment. @Roger Davies: yes, but an arb might be an employee of Apple, and a case involving articles related to Apple or its products might come to arbitration. In that case, the arb should recuse because of their involvement with the subject. I have not seen any credible suggestion that someone with a contract to perform work on a new toolserver would have a COI for the kinds of deliberation normally conducted by Arbcom. Johnuniq (talk) 23:53, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
          • The Apple analogy is a poor one because Apple is not involved with so many aspects of the site's operation and functioning. The fact is that the committee has quite a lot of contact with the WMF in various capacities, and also fulfils various special roles both in WMF policy and the WMF's Terms of Use. It follows that it is probably best to have as much operational clear blue water as possible between the two bodies. This gets complicated with people who have feet firmly planted in both camps. I'm surprised Jimmy was so relaxed about this as he's normally very hot on COI.  Roger Davies talk 07:32, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I think we have discussed this contributer against our policies and, to be honest, I think this thread is terribly unfair to the general community by setting a horrible example. I also think the horse is very dead and everyone should step away from the carcus.--Amadscientist (talk) 07:44, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Qorvis and Wikipedia manipulation

Hello Jimbo,

I found myself interested in a man named Alexander Mirtchev after reading an article about the enablers of the dictatorship of Kazakhstan in the United States. I did some research and found that Mr. Mirtchev has been investigated for money laundering (in an article by the Wall Street Journal[8] ) and has been identified as the dictator's "point man" in Washington DC. I cited the Wall Street Journal (twice), Der Spiegel, Forbes, and The Human Rights Foundation as my sources. But this is only the beginning of the story.

My edits were almost immediately removed by a brand new user. We went back and forth debating the content of the article, but after a while, I lost interest—I do have a job after all and I can't spend all day arguing on Wikipedia. When I came back to check on the page a couple months later, I noticed that the page looked like a blatant advertisement. I also noticed some similarities between the half-dozen single-purpose accounts created to edit his page.

I launched a sockpuppet investigation on the 31st of January[9]. The results came back positive, and the CheckUsers were able to identify several other accounts that edit on the same IP address. After reviewing the contributions of some of the usernames identified, it became clear that these were all sockpuppets of the PR company Qorvis.

In case you are unfamiliar, this is from Qorvis's Wikipedia page:

"In early February 2011, three of Qorvis's partners left the firm disgruntled by compensation; however, they later attributed it to the company's controversial work with foreign governments. A former employee, Don Goldberg, who represented Saudi Arabia and Halliburton while at the firm, was reported as saying, 'I just have trouble working with despotic dictators killing their own people.'"

Some of the usernames involved:

  • RachelleLin edits exclusively Alexander Mirtchev, a man accused by the Wall Street Journal of laundering money for the dictator of Kazakhstan[10] and a man who directs the sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan — also, a known client of Qorvis[11]
  • RichardBr2 is just a weak attempt at sockpuppetry working for the Mirtchev page.
  • Msgolightly212 is another editor that adds puffery to Mirtchev's page and removes anything negative, no matter how well sourced.
  • Harriett888 edits exclusively Qorvis's page, removes all negative information, and hid the negative information he/she couldn't remove under the Bahrain section at the very end of the page.
  • Sacoca edits exclusively Tom Squitieri, an employee of Qorvis.

I understand you are familiar with the ethical blindness of PR firms like Bell Pottinger[12]—a company to which Qorvis subcontracts some of its dirtiest work[13] including covering up the actions of Bahrain and Yemen. This is not the first time Qorvis has been caught editing Wikipedia[14]

I am a huge fan of the Wikipedia project and I would hate to see it corrupted by lobbyists and PR firms, hoping to erase the evils done by dictatorships. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. KazakhBT (talk) 22:40, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

  • As a steadfast opponent of all paid editing here, who knows nothing about the particulars of the above matter, all I can say is that if it is true, we need to have a long-overdue Wiki-wide discussion about eliminating all traces of paid editing, if Wikipedia is to maintain any semblance of NPOV, or just change the slogan to "The Free Encyclopedia that those with money and power can slant as they see fit." Jusdafax 04:38, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
By this reasoning, if Mirtchev himself had put such material in his own article, using a sockpuppet, you would be arguing that having BLP subjects editing their own articles should be absolutely prohibited. There's a big leap from "is often harmful, see, look at this case of it doing harm" and "should be absolutely prohibited". If Mirtchev had done this himself, we would refuse to take that leap; we should not do so here either. Ken Arromdee (talk) 21:43, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

This response from Qorvis is relevant here - I'm travelling home today and I don't have time to look at this right now. If we could write up a solid NPOV summary of what Qorvis did, that would likely be very useful in terms of responding to them.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:18, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Question about Qorvis and Kazakhstan

    • Jimbo, Alexander Mirtchev is the "independent" director and a member of the Board of Directors of Kazakhstan’s $30 billion National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna. Samruk Kazyna sponsored WikiBilim's expansion of the Kazakh Wikipedia, with funding of $340,000 spent in part on paid editing (71 contracts signed), digitization of documents, and conversion of the licensing rights of the "official" state-authored Kazakh encyclopedia, so that it could be copied (largely verbatim) into the Kazakh Wikipedia. Samruk Kazyna awarded 100 laptop computers to editors for transcribing articles within a given time frame and written to "a satisfactory level". Mirtchev is a client of Qorvis, who have been caught editing the Wikipedia article about him. Now, instead of hiding the assertion, why don't you address it? Cla68 (talk) 23:44, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
(As I said above, I welcome this discussion, so I object to your false accusation of 'hiding the assertion'. I asked you to bring me information in a different thread so as to avoid hijacking the other thread, which is much more important.) This is a different topic and deserves a different thread. Let me see if I understand what you are saying. Alexander Mirtchev is a member of the board of directors of the sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan, an organization with $78 billion in assets (not the $30 billion you mention) which amounts to 56% of the GDP of Kazakhstan. He is a client (in a personal capacity?) of Qorvis, who are accused (probably rightly) of inappropriate editing of Wikipedia. And that same sovereign wealth fund gave a grant to Wikibilim. And on the basis of this you are saying that Qorvis is liked to Wikibilim? I think that's a stretch. It's like arguing that the Wikimedia Foundation is linked to a PR company hired by an independent director of Microsoft (for example) if Microsoft has donated money to Wikimedia. We can expect that large grantmaking organizations will have members of their boards of directors with many connections to all sorts of things.
At the same time, let me be clear about several things. 1. It is wildly inappropriate what Qorvis appears to have done here and I strongly support acknowledging what appears to me to be an emerging community consensus that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with more firmly. 2. My own view is that we should clearly and passionately ban paid editing in the article space, and we should improve community processes to improve the ability PR people to participate appropriately through open self-identification and editing of talk pages. 3. Wikibilim should continue to make it clear that grants from any organization must come with no content restrictions. 4. The real issue with National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna is not what PR firm for one of their board members have done, but their close ties to an autocratic regime which has engaged in repeated and systematic human rights abuses. It's not wise to focus on the side issues. It's extremely problematic that Wikibilim has received funding from them, despite the fact that as far as anyone has been able to show, their money has com without restrictions, and again, not because of unrelated issues having to do with one of their directors.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:41, 28 February 2013 (UTC)


It does not look like Cla68 will be able to continue this discussion any time soon. (talk) 16:27, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Cla68 is a seasoned editor and he knows the rules about that sort of thing.--MONGO 17:09, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
You're right, Cla68 is a seasoned editor and he knows the rules. That's why it is very strange that such experienced editor violated these rules, or did he? (talk) 00:31, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
In this case, MONGO the editor who was supposedly "outed" has plainly linked his off-wiki identity to his on-wiki identity on Wikimedia mailing lists, used off-line accounts under his real name to ask for permission to use pictures on something in his userspace explicitly linking his off-wiki personal accounts to his Wikipedia account, and has stated on-wiki that he owns a perfume business, a business which he has also used as a source on Wikipedia articles (twice that I have seen). The policy is designed to protect an individual's privacy from serious intrusion, not to force everyone else to keep that editor's secrets when even said editor can't keep them secret.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 01:55, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Had you done what Cla68 did, I would be supportive of an indefinite ban...that applies to anyone who outs editors--MONGO 14:57, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
At first I thought I would not agree with MONGO, but it turns out that TDA's description of the situation is at least misleading. Cla68 linked to an obtrusive and obviously malicious outing blog post. Many editors are not actively hiding their real-life identity, but are also not advertising it. In such cases it takes luck or a lot of patience to make the connection. More patience than, e.g., a prospective employer would need when researching a candidate's social media history. That malicious blog post appeared designed to change this for one individual editor. Not good at all. Hans Adler 17:05, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Looking at the blog post in question, there seems to be little there that a search of the user's real name does not turn up other than connecting the real name to the Wikipedia username. Unless your concern is that employers will react negatively to that person's Wikipedia activities. In this case, I suspect that employers would find other things more concerning, and those things would have been discovered with or without this blog post. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:31, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Surprising though it may seem, Wikipedia's policy on outing does not provide room for people's speculation and personal opinions on what things employers (or anyone else) may or may not find more or less concerning, or similar speculation about what may or may not have been discovered in the absence of an outing attempt. It just forbids such attempts. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 17:45, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
If the harm done by outing is irrelevant, why does our outing policy say "Posting such information about another editor is an unjustifiable and uninvited invasion of privacy and may place that editor at risk of harm outside of their activities on Wikipedia"? What's the point of explaining that outing can cause harm if whether the outing causes harm is completely irrelevant? Ken Arromdee (talk) 22:29, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
It's not directly about harm, it's about privacy invasion. There is a huge difference between someone handing out the occasional detail about their personal life in on-wiki conversations and mailing list posts on one hand, and on the other hand a big blog post that is all about "LOOK HERE EVERYONE! USER X IS REALLY Y Z FROM Q! READ ON FOR ALL OF X'S ACCOUNTS THAT I COULD FIND AND GOSSIP ABOUT HIS WORK!" That blog post is an off-site attack page. We don't have to discuss whether it can be harmful if harm is very obviously the intent. And once a person has been targeted in this way one really has to be careful about repeating any of the information on-wiki, even if one considers it well known from previous interactions. Hans Adler 22:43, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Very well put; it was a good block. And I find it rather ironic, not to say hypocritical, that the person who wrote that blog post is preserving their anonymity through a pseudonym (as indeed does Cla68). Privacy for me, but not for thee? Prioryman (talk) 22:57, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── What is particularly ironic is that Cla68 was shouting from the ramparts in the TimidGuy Appeal ArbCom, demanding that WillBeback be banned for disclosing to Jimbo the employer of TimidGuy - something that TimidGuy had repeatedly posted on his userpage and elsewhere on Wikipedia - and is being backed now by TimidGuy's co-employees who similarly posted information about their employment but later had it redacted but pissed and moaned that Will pointed out their COI and insisted he be banned. Now, arguing that redacted on-Wikipedia and other off-Wikipedia information make it easy to identify another editor, he should be excused from the clear consequences of blatantly violating the outing policy as written. If any admin or arb is inclined to unblock Cla68, they should only do so if they simultaneously unblock WillBeback. Fladrif (talk) 02:21, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

  • What seems to have worked well in the past with SEO and PR firms that misbehave is to contact them in real life, explain how Wikipedia works, and show them productive ways they can interact with us. People generally aren't that malicious. Once they understand the risks of paid editing sub rosa, they will generally stop. Jehochman Talk 18:04, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

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For being the most awesome person

Teh Flying Corgi 15:29, 1 March 2013 (UTC)