User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 128

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I'm not sure why the Pope's visits to the UK and US have articles. What about state visits by the Ayatolah? What about visits by the Dalai Lama? What about visits by the Mufti of Mecca? What about a Hindu Guru? I have thus proposed moving UK and US to wikinews. Pass a Method talk 12:57, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

It all depends on notability, and let's face it, the Pope's visit got national/worldwide tv coverage while I for one never noticed the others. -mattbuck (Talk) 13:44, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
I would think that a state visit to the US by the Grand Ayatollah would probably be notable, actually. Mark Arsten (talk) 15:41, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Fortunately, we don't need to worry about our personal opinions; we can defer to well-established guidelines. Mostly, if it has significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.
They both do, so both are OK.
What about <xxx> visiting <yyy>? Same thing; does it have significant coverage? If so, yes; if not, no.
No need to ponder what you or I (or Mr. Wales) consider worthy.
Whether or not it's worth a page on Wikinews has the same relevance as whether it's worth a page on "John's Super Blog" - ie, it's absolutely unrelated to this project. (talk) 20:38, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Template hoards still overpower Lua

Numerous other templates, still being rewritten in Lua, are continuing to slow an article's edit-preview to over a 10-second delay. Yet, the good news is that most of the prior hideous, 45-second, edit-previews will soon be fixed by using the fully-tested wp:CS1 Lua-based cites or {cite_quick} templates. While we are seeing the Lua script speed clearly improving a portion of edit-preview time, it seems many articles are over 55% other slow templates. Recent timing tests with the Lua-based wp:CS1-format cite templates have clocked at 115 cites per second, to format a large article's 350 cites within 3 seconds. However, when tested inside large articles, the overall improvement has been less than 45%, in many cases, where numerous other templates are still slowing the edit-preview, or reformat, to run over 10 seconds (rather than within 1.5 seconds if no templates were used).

The vast oceans of templates, as compared to only 4 million articles, are somewhat mindboggling, and this is an extreme case of the 80/20 Rule, as a 99/1 Rule where perhaps 1% of templates are likely to consume 99% of the slow edit-preview time. The next major "hog template" (which is being rewritten into Lua) is Template:Weather_box which often runs ~4-7 seconds to slowly convert negative temperatures to have &minus (meanwhile, I have a Template:Weather_box/quick, if the Lua version is not ready soon). Anyway, the enormous sets of templates show another aspect of wp:data hoarding, where obsessive use of templates has created a lot of work to rein in the current excesses in major articles. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:14, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Pssst. The guts of {{weather box}} were converted last weekend. It is about 93% faster. Dragons flight (talk) 16:30, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Removing on-going discussions from your talk page

The discussion in question has moved to commons--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:37, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Hi Jimmy,
I just noticed that you have removed that on-going discussion about the lack of CC-BY-SA release for commons:File:Paul Myners.jpg from this talk page, asking for it to be moved to Commons instead. I did so, but this left me wondering: how does removing on-going discussions match with your open door policy? More specifically, why did you remove this particular discussion, and allowed all the previous Commons-related discussions (mostly about how much Commons is broken) to take place here? Plus, I — and some other people — are still waiting for an answer to questions asked; for now, I would appreciate if you so much as let us know if you're going to comment on this subject at all. Thanks, odder (talk) 00:20, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

I thought the edit summary was quite clear. You didn't? I guess not.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:36, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Commons discussions belong on commons. Simple as that!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:10, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Then I am sure we can all hope you will be removing all "omg! penis! Commons is soo broken…" discussions from this talk page from now on? And we're still waiting for an answer from you on Commons, or at least a mention if you're going to answer at all (so we don't get our hopes up). odder (talk) 12:40, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Since such conversations routinely get derailed and shut down by your crony Russavia and his buddies when others try to start them on Commons, having them here is the only real place left. Tarc (talk) 15:02, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Odder, if you think those discussions were about penises, you can't be talking about the ones I started. Having said that, Commons is broken and there an absurd number of self-submitted snapshots of penises there. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:21, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
In this case it looks like the discussion was ported here because there was no response from Jimmy on commons (where the issue was raised March 13, then brought to this page a couple days later). Jimmy still hasn't responded on his commons page after deleting the topic here, which makes "keeping the discussion on commons" look more than a tad futile. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 16:28, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes to keeping Commons disputes on Commons and Wikimedia disputes on Metawiki, etc. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:56, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
    • I agree with that, but if I want to leave a talkpage message for Jimbo on Commons, I get soft redirected here. Formerip (talk) 16:02, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
      • Have you tried leaving a message on Jimbo's Commons talk page instead of his user page? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:08, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
        • No I haven't, so fair point. Formerip (talk) 16:16, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
      • (e/c) Hopefully Jimbo, if it's not clear, will update his instructions with a "ping me on this page" note: (eg. "I have left you a message [link], please respond.") It would be healthier for En, if those conversations happened at those other venues. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:12, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
        • Has it occurred to anyone that Jimbo may not be involved at all with commons and that any soft redirect is just inappropriate? Is it possible that those redirects are because people are actually directing questions to Jimbo himself at commons? Try asking Sue Gardener and see what happens. Just a thought.--Amadscientist (talk) 03:16, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
He is well aware of the matter, [1]. (talk) 03:39, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
And if you have a point you are welcome to make it.--Amadscientist (talk) 03:56, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I have no point to make, other than you suggested we consider "Jimbo may not be involved at all with commons" - he is quite clearly in the middle of this specific matter, so it is unsurprising that people are looking for his input - whether he chooses to respond here, on Commons, or anywhere else. (talk) 03:59, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Not seeing it.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:02, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
In the diff I linked, regarding File:Paul Myners.jpg, he expressed concerns that the Founder of Wikipedia and two Lords are subject to this kind of copyright paranoia. The image was later deleted due to no evidence that the author/copyright holder of this file released it under the terms of the CC-BY-SA 3.0. That is, I believe, the key issue. (talk) 04:19, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Still not seeing it, but thanks for elaborating on what I was able to read on my own.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:21, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

My talk page

Hello Jimmy! Can you please tell me why my talk page is red? Yusuf Tazim (talk) 16:30, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

The link was red because no one had ever left you a message. I left youa welcome message so your talk page link is now blue. A redlink like that means that the page has not been created. GB fan 16:36, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:57, 19 March 2013 (UTC)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:57, 19 March 2013 (UTC)


As book publishers are losing revenue and e-books are the way to go how will this affect our referencing? Pass a Method talk 20:07, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Why would it have any implications? It's all about verifiability. If the reference provides enough information about an e-book such that an interested user could track it down, buy it if necessary, and verify the reference, it can stand as a reference.--ukexpat (talk) 20:12, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I asked about this some time ago, and as long as the E-book is published by a reliable publisher and not a vanity press or a self publishing book site, they are the same as paper books as far as referencing. Take into consideration all of the other factors to weigh the strength of the source, but being an e-book is not an issue.--Amadscientist (talk) 20:23, 19 March 2013 (UTC)


Is this deletion in line with policy? Pass a Method talk 23:14, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Since the editor has cited BRD and started a talkpage discussion, then what they have done so far is in line with policy, yes. To stick, the addition needs a consensus behind it. Formerip (talk) 23:19, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

The encyclopedia anyone can edit

I believe the system might be Flawed.— Maile (talk) 00:01, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

RFCU is the process you were looking for, IRWolfie- (talk) 22:04, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the advice. — Maile (talk) 12:54, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

About non english letters

Hello ! I just happened to discover an old discussion about non-English letters, and You made an example remark like "Should we use (signs I cannot read -or spell) instead of Japan ?". A good point. But just one little remark from me - there is a distinct difference between latin based alphabets and f.i. Japanse signs, Arabic and Tamil. (However Vietnamese seems a bit difficult, despite it's latin based alphabet, I have to agree) Best reguards Boeing720 (talk) 23:28, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

There is a difference but I think the principle remains the same. There are letters in Polish (for example) that look very much like English letters but which aren't English letters at all, are not pronounced even remotely the same way, and using them blindly is a very bad idea. And it isn't bigotry to note that Munich is spelled Munich in English, London is spelled Londres in French, etc. Each Wikipedia should be written in its own language. I'm not opposed to all non-English letters in all cases, but note that we very much over use them.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:07, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

This topic is much more complicated than some editors would have it. Here is some food for thought for everyone who wants to participate in this debate.

On the term non-English letters
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

The concept of 'English letters' is a simplification for elementary school use. A more correct way to refer to them is as [the 26 letters of] the modern Latin alphabet, but that would hardly appeal to elementary school learners. Most native English speakers get exposure to some of the modern uses of accents in English later in life without noticing how this contradicts the simplification they learned earlier.

  • The letter þ (see thorn (letter)) as in "þe þing requires some þouȝt" is not non-English. It is Germanic and survived in English longer than in German. Icelandic still has it. Þ was replaced by th, and ȝ by gh, when England imported printing presses from Germany. For English texts using these letters, it is general editorial practice to make this change just like ſ (see long s) is changed to s. [2]
  • Putting two dots on a vowel does not result in a non-English letter but in something that some authors use as in "coöperation" or "coïncidence". See trema (diacritic)#English. The function of the trema/diaeresis in other languages is similar: Like in English, it changes the vowel qualities to something related to what you would otherwise expect.
  • Putting a downward stroke on a vowel does not result in a non-English letter but is a construction used in English to indicate stress when documenting or preparing speech where non-obvious stress occurs and matters. See grave accent#English. The function of the grave in other languages is similar: It changes the vowel qualities and often also indicates stress as in English (of which changed vowel qualities are a side effect).
  • Letters with French accents are not non-English letters due to (Norman) French once being the native language of the upper class, followed by many centuries of very close cultural contact with France. As a result, English has many loanwords from French that are still very frequently spelled with the original accents, where applicable. (When an American tourist insults a waiter in Paris by calling him garçon, I may have a feeling of déjà vu. Anyway, it's quite risqué to do this.) Also, even today entire sentences of French appear in British literature, are typeset according to French orthographic norms, and are expected to be understood by every half-educated reader.
  • Most other diacritics are technically not non-English, either, because they appear as the lemmas (titles) of main entries for various foreign places in Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary.
Why doesn't my favourite newspaper use diacritics in foreign names?
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

The odds are, if it's a quality paper it actually does this to the very limited extent that it can. The style guides of several high-quality newspapers are available online, and from them I learned the following.

  • The main problem is that most news reports come in via the news agencies' antediluvial system, which does not even support the full printable section of ASCII. Everybody can replace "per cent" by % (one of the symbols not technically possible), but only qualified staff knows whether or where to put an accent in names such as "Gérard Depardieu".
  • Nevertheless, the newspapers try to fix the agency reports by putting in the accents to the extent possible. Many have positive lists of languages that are supposed to be sufficiently familiar to their staff to make this effort. If such a list exists, then for British newspapers it always contains French and German, and for American newspapers it always contains Spanish.
  • In practice, agency reports often appear in their raw state and even the accents on languages that are on the positive list are not restored.
How do other reference works deal with the problem?
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

English reference sources of the highest editorial standards (Britannica 1911, today's Britannica, Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary) generally do use all applicable diacritics for the major European languages, even Polish. (Yes, this includes the 1911 Britannica, which had significant typesetting difficulties with Polish but still found workarounds.) They don't do this for some other languages with diacritics, such as Vietnamese or the Pinyin system for Chinese.

What does the Chicago Manual of Style say?
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • It gives advice on how to get diacritics in foreign names right. It does not advise to omit them.
  • For geographical names it advises to use the primary spelling in Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. In the vast majority of cases that's the original spelling with diacritics.
How about practical concerns?
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • From the point of view of Wikipedia's editing processes, we have a huge, silent majority of editors from all over the world who move articles to their proper original spelling including diacritics. Nobody needs to actively use diacritics, as there will always be other people around to make the necessary changes. We also have a small, vocal minority of editors on an anti-diacritics crusade who argue that as soon as a foreign name starts to appear in English publications that don't use diacritics, they have an "English name" and the article must be moved. The majority of established editors has a position somewhere in between the extremes. If we decided that we usually don't want diacritics in foreign names, roughly 5% of Wikipedia articles would have to be renamed and move protected to prevent massive disruption.
  • Also from the point of view of editing processes, it's not as simple as dropping diacritics, even when we ignore special letters such as þ or ß for this discussion. It is totally unacceptable and absolutely unusual to simply drop the two dots from German umlauts, and it is equally unacceptable and absolutely unusual to treat Danish umlauts the same way as German umlauts. For subjects related to both countries, this creates unnecessary POV problems. In general, there can be several relevant methods of transliteration and transcription even for a single language. For languages with non-Latin-based scripts this has already caused countless POV disputes.
  • In addition, if we got rid of diacritics, we would have to update WP:ENGVAR to the effect that normal but optional accents in English words are not allowed. Otherwise we might get an article about "Frederic Francois-Marsal" using French accents in English words, but not where they would make much more sense. (But then it will be hard to distinguish exposé from expose.)
  • From the point of view of the readers, it all depends on the reader's background and motivation. Readers who are using Wikipedia because they want the best/standard spelling according to major style guides will be misled if we drop the accents. We are currently a good, free substitute for Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. If we suddenly change course, this may affect the English language overall, so this should not be decided on a whim.
  • Native English-speakers familiar with the other language are a major target audience of articles relevant to this discussion. We can easily confuse them about the other language: There is at least one acute on "Gerard Depardieu", but where does it belong? Are the original spellings of two German towns Höxter and Coesfeld or Hoexter and Cösfeld?
  • Readers who don't understand the diacritics on a name have to strip them off in mind and may feel overwhelmed in certain cases. In an article not using diacritics, readers who do understand them have to add them in mind, leading to irritation.
  • For readers who can't input the special letters, searching inside the page can be harder. This is not an unusual problem. Variant spellings of English words or punctuation (quotation marks, dashes) can have similar effects.
Doesn't policy require us to use English names?
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Almost, though not quite: "the version of the name of the subject which is most common in the English language, as you would find it in reliable sources (for example other encyclopedias and reference works, scholarly journals and major news sources)". [3] Calling this the 'English name' of the subject can be misleading when there are two versions, one unchanged from the original language and one not, which both satisfy the definition.

The most common version of the name must be proved with reliable sources. An otherwise reliable source that is not concerned with the correct appearance or cannot print a name correctly due to technical or organisational issues is not reliable for the claim that a subject has a common English spelling that results from straightforward accent dropping. We are not transcription monkeys that copy such style decisions from sources without regard for their differing style guides and similar constraints.

Past experience has shown that for foreign sports people we have the following three stages of notability: (1) Only local coverage in the local language. (2) Coverage in English sports sources that drop all accents. (3) Coverage in high quality English sources up to Britannica, which use accents. It makes no sense to remove diacritics as a person gets better known in the Anglosphere and starts to appear in low-quality sources and specialised low-culture sources, and then add them back in again as they make it into the New York Times and Britannica.

Some subjects are so common in English that it is obviously justified to speak of an English name. But this English name can be identical with the original non-English name, Paris and Berlin being obvious examples. When there are two English names, we need to find out which one is more common, not which one 'is more English'. See linguistic purism in English for the ideology that would be behind such a decision.

The vast majority of non-English names does not come with a corresponding English name. By pressing "Random article" repeatedly I am consistently getting 5% of articles that are about foreign topics with diacritics, but have never found even one that actually had a different English name or was titled by diacritic-dropping.

Some people choose English names after moving to an English-speaking country. The press obviously respects this, and so do we.

Some people and places have traditional English names. Especially for places there is a general tendency in English to move towards the use of the local name instead. This seems to be the natural result of increased mobility: Once more native English-speakers know a place from traveling there than from reading about it in English, the older English name can become unstable. Sometimes editors disagree on whether a name has already tipped or not. (See Talk:Marseille/Archives/2012/October#Name for an example.)

Examples of genuine English names are Napoleon not Napoléon, Lisbon not Lisboa, Marseilles (quickly falling out of use) as the older English spelling for Marseille, Warsaw not Warszawa, Zurich not Zürich.

Hans Adler 11:44, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I'd just note that a considerable amount of the above is highly contentious, some of it to the point of being bafflingly and obviously wrong. For example "The letter þ (see thorn (letter)) as in "þe þing requires some þouȝt" is not non-English." is just a ludicrous claim. The letter þ is not a letter in contemporary English. And English Wikipedia is not written with spelling conventions that died out hundreds of years ago. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:03, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
You missed the last line of that (rather convoluted and unreadable) section Jimmy. "For English texts using these letters, it is general editorial practice to " [make the same change that the language itself has made over the years] —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:16, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Actually, Hans Adler is right that it is an English letter (as in, a letter that was used in English for hundreds of years), only not a contemporary or modern one. And for that reason, he is not advocating using it, or in his own words "For English texts using these letters, it is general editorial practice to make this change" (i.e. change "þ" to "th" or another equivalent). There is nothing "baffingly and obviously wrong" or "ludicrous" in what he actually wrote. Fram (talk) 15:23, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
In addition to TheDJ's and Fram's explanations: The general context of this discussion is a campaign by a handful of editors, many of whom appear to have a xenophobic agenda. Their thinking seems to be, roughly: If speakers of other languages are stupid enough to add silly adornments to the perfectly adequate Latin (well, they call it English) alphabet, then that is no reason for us, the speakers of a reasonable language, to humour them.
Now I felt it appropriate to tell them that English once had exactly the same problem. The printing presses imported from Germany could do ä, ö and ü, but they could not do þ. Nowadays there is only one solution: always using th rather than þ. At the time, there were two approaches. The other was to replace þ by y, which in some hand writings looked very similar. This is where things like "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe" come from. People forgot about this, and nowadays "ye" in such a context is generally pronounced as written, though it's really just an antiquated spelling for "the".
And this kind of chaos with translations and transcriptions occurs with other languages as well. I gave the example of German and Danish. Librarians have extensive literature on how to handle German authors in Danish libraries and vice versa. It's a can of worms. By needlessly manipulating names from major European languages, which make up a considerable fraction of the project, we would import this chaos.
If you think my statements about the approaches of Britannica, Webster's Geographical Dictionary and the Chicago Manual of Style are wrong, check them. They are verifiable. If you think I have made a poor choice of reference works, find more reliable ones and check them instead.
If you think I have misrepresented the situation with déjà vu, exposé, garçon, risqué etc., look them up in various dictionaries. You will find that most have them in both spellings, with sometimes the accented variant primary and sometimes the other, following no easily recognisable rule. If you doubt they are English words, ask a linguist. As I had to learn these words when I learned English as a foreign language, I am pretty sure what a linguist will tell you. Oh, and don't forget to read what style guides have to say about them. Most give detailed advice on which optional accents on English words to print and which not to print.
In my personal opinion we should use all applicable diacritics even on most Pinyin and Vietnamese names because we can and because it seems the right thing to do. There is a lot of resistance against that position, so I am not even trying to defend it. I am only defending what is common and entirely unremarkable practice among the English reference sources of highest quality and so far also of Wikipedia.
The art of encyclopedia writing appears to consist mostly of practices that are not codified, or at least not publicly. Maybe the Wikipedia Foundation should hire a professional encyclopedia editor who previously worked with Britannica, Encarta or similar to advise you and the project on such matters.
You clearly have an opinion on this matter. So far you haven't made much of an effort to justify your opinion. Which is what people normally need to do here when you want to win an argument. And if you can't justify your position, maybe you will learn something and change your opinion. This is generally considered a very good and honourable thing to do. (Except by certain manager types, constitutionally incompatible with wikis, who don't understand the concept of changing course on new information and imagine it involves loss of face.) I believe it is by publicly changing my opinion when I find out I was wrong about something that I have accumulated a large number of editors who respect me and are prepared to consider what I have to say even when it's not what they want to hear.
You may not have time to do your own research on this topic. But it would be very helpful if you were careful not to feed the frenzy of certain editors opposed to the status quo until you have done it and can properly explain your position. Or until you have found someone with the same position who can do so. Shouldn't be so hard if you are right, no? Hans Adler 21:04, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

TAFI on Main page

Bumping thread for 10 days. Ushau97 talk 17:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

A discussion is occurring at Wikipedia talk:Today's articles for improvement#Main Page deployment to finalize adding Today's articles for improvement on the Main Page. This announcement has been made here so that more editors will be aware of the implementation of TAFI on Main Page. --Ushau97 talk 17:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Dropping by to say Thank You


Just stopping by to say Thank You for creating Wikipedia & Mediawiki,etc. I've just beta launched one of the biggest wikis in the world, <edited to remove spam>, and it would have been an impossibility without the open source community you've founded and built up around Wikipedia and Mediawiki. Expressions of graditute are not expressed as often as they should be these days so let this statement serve as mine to you. Sorry for the tiny degree of overlap my project has with Wikivoyage, but these things happen. Christharp (talk) 19:36, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Sure; just avoid using this wiki to promote your own things. Cheers. (talk) 20:37, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Steve Cottle

Summary of problems with this, just from reading this AFD and its comments:

  • The nominator was a friend of the subject who had an argument with him at the time and then announced he was going to delete the article. The attempt to point out this conflict of interest was considered "borderline NPA/OUTING".
  • Someone pointed out that there is supposed to be a good faith effort made to look for sources, which may involve asking the article's creator, asking experts, and/or putting a notability tag on and waiting. Pointing out that the nominator did nothing remotely similar was considered "irrelevant content", even though comic strip archiving is a specialized subject on which most Wikipedians are not experts. (And I doubt that someone who nominated the article for deletion in the middle of an argument with the subject took the time to make a good faith effort to look for sources during the middle of the argument.)
  • When people who might have concerns about deleting the article came, this was of course, considered canvassing.
  • Four people voted to delete it on the basis of being self-promotion although the article was not created or written by anyone it promoted. (And doesn't being promotional require rewriting, not deletion, if it's possible to write the article in a non-promotional way?)

I have no way to read the article so it may very well have been a poor article, but this doesn't sound right. Ken Arromdee (talk) 06:45, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo doesn't normally deal with this sort of thing. You should take this matter to Wikipedia:Deletion review and create a discussion there. Robofish (talk) 15:47, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't really know much about the subject itself, it's the procedure that seemed odd. It could very well be non-notable. Ken Arromdee (talk) 21:57, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
The procedure as defined is pretty good. However it often (sometimes?) the case that it goes off the rails, and something is deleted for "having the wrong name" or based on counting votes, or on the quality of the writing. Even more often valuable content is deleted that could be easily merged. Rich Farmbrough, 02:37, 24 March 2013 (UTC).

Your interview

Hi Jimmie, I enjoyed reading your interview, and wonder, if you could address some comments on it? Thanks. (talk) 01:02, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Sure, fire away.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:53, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I think he meant the comments on the Wired website page. You won't like them. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 10:20, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Those comments don't make any sense to me actually. I don't say anything that is inconsistent with the things they are complaining about. This is well-worn territory. Look at who is complaining there, and their track record speaks for itself!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:02, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I think he would approve of the Britannica's comment, which denied that Wikipedia was responsible for discontinuation of its printed volumes, citing (sorry, WP blacklisted the site). I don't think Wikipedia has ever been, nor wanted to be, in the business of putting other publications out of business. I think that the ideal outcome of the Wikipedia Movement is not the destruction of writing and research as occupations, but rather, the understanding by society that copyright is an intolerable economic model and its subsequent replacement by a system that pays people for writing encyclopedias (by any name) without metering who is allowed to read them. Wnt (talk) 14:03, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
[4] isn't blacklisted, is. The Encyclopedia Britannica sales graph is at the top of page 5. (talk) 16:41, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
"The ideal outcome of the Wikipedia Movement": your position, or some official goal of Wikipedia (the Foundation)? If it is your personal opinion only, perhaps better to make such things clearer when posting here, before people get the impression that this is an official, Jimbo Wales endorsed position. I don't think you or I are qualified to speak on behalf of the "Wikipedia Movement", whatever that may be. Fram (talk) 14:20, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't recall ever using that phrase, actually. What does it say I said?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:02, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Fram is quoting Wnt's comment immediately above. (The "before people get the impression..." clause is perhaps badly worded - something doesn't become "endorsed by Jimbo" just by being posted to this page by someone else.) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:12, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
No, but how many non-regulars (like, presumably, the IP who started this section) know that? But indeed, I was quoting Wnt, who gave (probably inadvertently) the impression of presenting some official or common goal of "the Wikipedia Movement". Fram (talk) 15:22, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't think this was controversial, or that anyone would think I was speaking for Jimbo! I've added "I think that" above to be clear. Let's put it behind us? Wnt (talk) 15:57, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Jimmie, you say: "Look at who is complaining there, and their track record speaks for itself!" So I googled for Edvard Buckner and Wikipedia, to find his "track record", and I found this article for example. Looks like Edvard Buckner is actually "Dr. Buckner" and "a medievalist, who shared with me a paper he has written about deficiencies in an Oxford University study of the reliability of Wikipedia." I do not understand what's wrong with Dr. Buckner's "track record"? (talk) 15:34, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
He's a banned editor. You can look up the details.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:00, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
To address the point's Buckner makes in the Baltimore Sun: (1) He's looking at a very small number of articles on one topic - medieval theologians. He's only looking at what he terms the three most important theologians. This may be a domain of knowledge that lends itself particularly well to top-down professional efforts, perhaps because there is a limited group of people who know about this subject and they don't necessarily spend a lot of time on the Internet. I don't see this very specific topic as representative of Wikipedia as a whole. (2) It may very well be the case that an expert is going to write a better article on the most important medieval theologians than Wikipedia can produce. However, I think we've proven conclusively that top-down, professional efforts cannot match Wikipedia's breadth of coverage. I'm quite certain that we have more articles on medieval theologians than Britannica does. (3) I wouldn't describe Wikipedia's incorporation of 1911 Britannica or the Catholic Encyclopedia as plagiarism. We almost always provide citations and, of course, the material is in the public domain. The reader knows what they are getting and the author's rights are not violated. (4) Buckner is looking at these articles as static text. He doesn't address the possibility that these articles can get better over time. For instance, efforts like our collaboration with universities and galleries, libraries, archives and museums may very well lead to scholars and others from academia improving these articles. In that sense, Buckner's criticism is a good motivator for us to focus on improving existing articles, but I don't see it as damning because we aren't a static, printed text that can't improve. GabrielF (talk) 16:17, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
GabrielF, actually I looked up news on Wikipedia after a conversation I had with my friend (the world known expert in some areas of science). We were talking about an error I found in one of Wikipedia's articles. I told my friend:"This error will be reproduced in many, many sites, and maybe in some books." He responded: "I guess so. Well, it's like a lot of things: it looks OK when you look up a subject you know nothing about; but when you read what they have on a topic you're familiar with, you cringe. It certainly makes you respect real libraries more." Expect I am not sure libraries will be safe. Who knows how many Wikipedia's errors ended up in books, which later were bought by libraries. (talk) 18:50, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
But that's not a problem specific to Wikipedia. In the area of science that I have studied, I routinely find glaring errors in media that have reputations for accuracy including news articles, scientific journals, text books, "reputable" websites, etc. Those glaring errors end up in the "real libraries" that your friend respects. Deli nk (talk) 19:04, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Long story short: Buckner (editing as User:Peter Damian) was given a community ban in 2009 for sockpuppeting, harassment, wikihounding, violating ArbCom rulings and general disruption.[5] Even before that, he had a record of bad behaviour going back years, leading to an extensive block log, and was a regular source of unwanted drama.[6] Since then he's dedicated himself to the sad and futile pursuit of campaigning against Wikipedia. Anything he posts should be read in the light of him being an embittered individual with a history of abusive conduct on Wikipedia and a persistent grudge since he was kicked out. Prioryman (talk) 18:23, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Your closing sentence there is quite applicable to the IP editor that initiated this time-wasting exercise as well; the ever-returning-and-never-quite-departing Mbz1. Tarc (talk) 22:24, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Looks like people here are quite paranoid about banned users. Besides it so decent to accuse people who have no ability to even respond, and accuse them without presenting any evidences. By the way I cannot understand what "banned user" means anyway. If somebody is banned, it means he's no longer a Wikipedian, which means he's no longer a user, and if he's no longer a user how he could be "banned user", right? Ah whatever, let's improve Wikipedia by banning as many experts and content creators as you could, and please do not worry I will not fix that error I found in the lead of a popular article because, if I do, I'd probably would be accused in being Carl Hewitt and who knows what else. Wikipedia will be safe. Have fun. (talk) 00:51, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Long story short, Dr. Buckner was blocked for making allegations that another editor was a sockpuppeteer and then for not adhering to an interaction ban by aggressively repeating these same allegations around a block. He expressed fundamental disbelief in the Wikipedia project off site and was consequently rode out of town on a rail by his wikienemies. Drama was maximized and bitterness accentuated — and a lifelong enemy of the project created. His case was a great failing of Wikipedia's ability to mediate interpersonal conflict. My opinion. Carrite (talk) 17:31, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I think the problem with banning editors from the project is not the banning itself, but the way it is done, when anonymous users are allowed to participate in a character assassination of a named person. And then Wikipedia co-founder says: "his track record speaks for itself, he's a banned editor." If he only understood how silly such statements sound to an outside observer. A named person, a professor,a teacher,a writer was banned from the project by a bunch of nobodies and without an opportunity to respond accusations publicly on-wiki. Of course he's hurt, and of course he has became a lifelong enemy of the project. (talk) 02:42, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I feel I should clarify here: Buckner is not under any sanction from Wikimedia UK regarding events that Wikimedia UK organise. He's welcome to attend events as long as he follows WMUK's Participation Policy - just like anyone else. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:38, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
That is a very curious statement, Mr. Symonds. Perhaps it reflects the situation as it currently stands, but just over a year ago you said "he was banned not because he's criticising us, but because we can't trust him to keep the identities of our members secret when our members ask to remain anonymous", "he cannot be trusted with keeping the identities of those whom he meets secret", etc... link. So if that is no longer the case, great, but at one time, you and some of your friends were tossing about some potentially defamatory verbiage. Tarc (talk) 14:06, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
There's nothing curious about the statement, Tarc. And there's no "perhaps". The situation is as Richard describes: Dr Buckner is not under any sanction from Wikimedia UK. If you're having difficulty understanding that, let me give you an analogy: In August 2009, you were under a sanction from the English WIkipedia - not allowed to edit for breaking a bright-line rule on edit-warring. Your block was commuted by the sensible action of an admin who believed the sanction was no longer necessary. Have you worked out WMUK's position regarding Dr Buckner now? --RexxS (talk) 22:04, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Ahh, another WMUK white knight to the rescue, eh? What I've "worked out" is that Symonds is at best being discrete, and at worst being deceptive and disingenuous. He couched his response to make it sound like the person in question was never at any time banned from WMUK gatherings, when we all know that that is not the case. Let me know if you still need a hand figuring out what we're talking about, Rexx. Tarc (talk) 23:35, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, excuse me if this is a silly question, but: can anyone point to where User:Peter Damian has publicly identified himself as Edward Buckner, or vice versa? If not, isn't this whole conversation a violation of WP:OUTING? (Granted, perhaps that policy shouldn't extend to banned users, but as written it does appear to.) Robofish (talk) 15:40, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Not a silly question at all. Here is one instance of an on-wiki identification (assuming that the sock is indeed PD of course). There was also an old account with "buckner" in the name, that was edited by a Peter Damian account to establish the link. That account wsa later renamed and the original account courtesy deleted (hmm, so that means that the 2011 ArbCom courtesy blankings and deletions after he promised to stop socking (a promise since broken) were at least the second time this was done for him). That account was banned by Jimbo Wales in 2008. User:The Land Surveyor (another PD sock) claimed on wiki that his email address started with "thebuckners" (he gave his full address, no need to repeat it here). Some people seem very determined to keep all mentions of PD and his many socks to a minimum though, so I'll not make more links here, but those things are available through the Wiki search function. So, while I can't be certain that PD is Buckner, he certainly made the claim on wiki multiple times. Fram (talk) 09:20, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I just want to say that Jimbo's portrait photograph by Christopher Morris (VII Photo Agency) is fantastic! Viriditas (talk) 22:43, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
That is an excellent portrait. By the way, thanks to Jimbo Wales for taking the time to reply to this thread. I found the article and responses here very interesting and a good read.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:49, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Agree. Good use of traditional portrait lighting. Nicely composed. A bit Karsh-ish. Needs more fill on the jacket and a little on the background, though, imo. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:51, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Prior editors can be right about scholarly quality but wrong on priorities: When it comes to improving the articles, I would prefer to have "58" clerical errors fixed in mega-article "Jennifer Lopez" rather than revise article "John Duns Scotus" to better describe his major works. We have to continually re-prioritize, as to how many readers (or editors) will benefit from improvements to which articles. Eventually, editors can improve the explanations about medieval theologians, and if those changes can be maintained for another 3 years, then that could offset prior years when not so many readers were viewing those articles. BTW: Article "Thomas Aquinas" was already improved, long ago, so not all scholarly criticisms were a lasting issue. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:51, 20 March 2013 (UTC)


Hi. If you have followed this link from this Wikipedia article, then you must note that this wikia may exactly be as closely as possible an exact and preserved version of Nupedia. You, the renowned Wikipedia Founder and Staff Member Jimmy Wales are invited there, so you could be currently checking this wikia out to see if it is as close as possible to an exact replica, only to confirm this amusing near-replica fact for your curiousness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:59, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

False information in terrorism related articles

There is a systematic attempt by a small group of editors to spread false information. I tried to delete the false UN-referenced information and replaced it with information from the New York Times nevertheless it seems to be the case that some people prefer to have false information that borders propaganda.

I replaced the false information with a reference of the New York Times.

A user called Geo Swan incorrectly writes that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki is associated with AQAP. (no source) But the fact is that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki had no connection to terrorism. New York Times

Mr. Wales you should do whatever you can to make sure that this information will be corrected as soon as possible otherwise i fear the reputation of Wikipedia will be harmed beyond repair. Thank you. Batrachedra (talk) 04:58, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Harmed beyond repair? You've got to be kidding. Still, if you were correct, Geo Swan would be violating WP:BLP. But you're not correct. It says "alleged", and you were blocked correctly. I decline to remove this comment by a blocked editor from Jimbo's talk page, as he (Jimbo) has specifically said he doesn't want that guideline to apply to his page. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 15:05, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
OK. The Times states that Ibrahim al-Banna is "an Egyptian Qaeda operative" and Anwar al-Awlaki was "an operative in Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch". But Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, "had no connection to terrorism" according to the New York Times (he "had lived the life of a normal adolescent. He liked sports and music and kept his Facebook page regularly updated. But now he sneaked out of the family home in Sana, Yemen’s capital, leaving an apologetic note for his mother saying that he had gone to find his father" and ended up an innocent casualty of war, if you believe the Times).
Abdulrahman al-Awlaki's article is OK and so is Anwar al-Awlaki's, but Ibrahim al-Banna's article states ""Ibrahim al-Banna [was] killed, along with six other individuals alleged to have been associated with AQAP, including American Anwar al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki." (I will now go fix this.)
User:Elockid and User:Ruevtsi2 (now writing to us as User:Batrachedra I gather) had some back-and-forth edits over this text (I dislike using the inflammatory term "edit warring" for minor contretemps like this) and then User:Elockid, who is an administrator, protected the page (!) and blocked User:Ruevtsi2 (!!). User:Elockid's block reason claims checkuser confirmation that User:Ruevtsi2 was a sockpuppet. I can't comment on that, but this Does Not Look Good at all.
User:Batrachedra is in an unfortunate situation, since the BLP Noticeboard was not available for redress (Abdulrahman al-Awlaki is dead ), and other venues might not have gone well since he was edit-back-and-forthing with an admin. (I mean before he was blocked. No venue is open to him now, except here.)
And while edit-back-and-forthing and puppetry are not ideal, it's also kind of important to get our information right I think. It's not a BLP violation, but still. I'm assuming that User:Elockid was just having a bad day; he should probably undo the block, and thanking User:Ruevtsi2 for helping to put correct information into the Wikipedia would be a nice gesture. Herostratus (talk) 18:40, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Um, did you by chance see how many sockpuppets this user has? There was absolutely no mistake in blocking Ruevtsi. I will not unblock them. Elockid (Talk) 19:05, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
No, I didn't, but I believe you. Yes OK I understand you were in a difficult position. Even so, if he's making sock puppets because he's frustrated by inability to correct wrong information, that's understandable. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was (apparently) an innocent kid. That doesn't mean that the Predator program in Yemen is misguided or evil (I don't have an opinion on that) but it is a fact, apparently. We're supposed to be about publishing true information, with internal procedures and rules being secondary, I would think.
He's been making sockpuppets for awhile. He appears to be trying to conceal his whereabouts and at times evade his block when creating new accounts by editing through open proxies. But despite this, CU still says it's them. As I have said to other editors previously, they can revert my actions of reverting the sock edits (which is solely the reason why I reverted his edits). Elockid (Talk) 19:23, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, I see your point. It appears that you had little choice (part of your job is to block puppets, and we do appreciate your service in doing that). Still, I see that User:Ruevtsi2 is blocked as a puppet of User:Afghan1974, and User:Afghan1974 is blocked for puppetry, so this is kind of circular. If User:Afghan1974 (and his puppets) is a toxic editor trying to push the point that Al Queda is the bee's knees, that's one thing. But if he's generally correct on the facts and is otherwise a worthy editor, then something more complicated has gone wrong. In the particular edit he referenced here, he was correct on the facts. He may be cherry-picking a rare case. So what is his deal, do you know? Herostratus (talk) 19:40, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure, sorry. Elockid (Talk) 20:12, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Here another very recent example how user Geo Swan manipulates information in terrorism related articles. In my opinion he is doing this systematically in this set of articles. Often as in this example it does involve BLP.

He adds this to the biography Omar Khadr.

I think the newly added text is a gross violation of WP:NPOV WP:BLP that smears the subject - highlighting serious "faulty information" while among other things leaving out that his lawyer denies them.

Here is the source.

I fixed this by making it compliance with NPOV, BLP and added it to the right section. but user Geo Swan keeps reverting with the edit summary "see talk" while explaining nothing about it on the talk page. Read his text and the source carefully.

Mr. Wales and Wikipedia community please do have a close look at this users attribution, in my opinion he is a master of propaganda and he might be paid for it. At least correct BLP violations in terrorism related articles. No matter what we think of these people we should not apply double standard. Batrachedra2 (talk) 00:45, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Mentioned your views on Verifiability

Hi Jimbo, just a quick note that I mentioned your views on Verifiability (or at least, a brief summary of my understanding of your views, which may or may not be accurate) at Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions#Private emails and talk pages. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:00, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Some cookies!

Christmas Cookies Plateful.JPG Here's a plate full of cookies to share!
Hi Jimbo Wales/Archive 128, here are some delicious cookies to help brighten your day! However, there are too many cookies here for one person to eat all at once, so please share these cookies with at least two other editors by copying {{subst:Sharethecookies}} to their talk pages. Enjoy! AutomaticStrikeout (TCAAPT) 23:13, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Apologies if you've already seen this

Not sure what to think of this: "How To Get Your Own Wikipedia Page" Viriditas (talk) 07:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Hadn't seen it. It's cute. I like how they have a clear disclaimer that they aren't affiliated with us, and a big giant request that people donate money to the Foundation. Here is my entry.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:15, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I like the pic of you in the tux with S. Colbert.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:18, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Isn't Wikipedia a registered trademark? IRWolfie- (talk) 10:06, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

violating copyright laws by linking to archived sites when original site is still live

Some editors believe you should have archive links in references even when the main article its archiving is still there. [7] I believe this violates copyright law, plus makes no sense at all. If someone takes their copyrighted material and puts it elsewhere, depriving them of ad banner revenue, then I assume its illegal. They might not mind someone archiving stuff they no longer have on their site, but they certainly don't want people ignoring their active content, and getting it elsewhere. Dream Focus 15:29, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Surely it is the content that is copyright, not an url pointing to it? pablo 16:23, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
This may be an interesting issue if WMF takes over WebCite. It could raise copyright issues if WMF servers archive and offer copyrighted material from other websites.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:33, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Pablo, Wikipedia would not allow a link to a site that hosted an entire book on it in violation of copyright laws. Same thing here. No way this is justified under fair use laws. Dream Focus 17:28, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
The laws are not very clear. To use a dead tree analogy, libraries are allowed to archive and make available books that are still available for purchase. Presumably that also deprives authors of income, and yet those library collections are undoubtedly valid. Recent cases have argued that the nature of the internet is such that users have an implied license to copy and archive the publicly available material unless the copyright holder takes active measures to prevent it (such as excluding bots with robots.txt or asking for archived pages to be removed). It's not really a settled issue though. Internet archives would also argue that proving a site contained XYZ as of a specific date is a valuable service even if the site still contains XYZ as of today. Such evidence of website histories have been introduced in court cases to establish things like precedence for trademark claims. That said, its still a gray area, and many copyright holders get upset about archiving services for many of the reasons you mentioned. At present, Wikipedia operates on the presumption that such sites are legally valid and generally encourages linking to them to help avoid future linkrot. In particular, many people use the on-demand archiving service, WebCitation (e.g. WP:Using WebCite) to establish an archive link around the same time the reference is added. Dragons flight (talk) 18:08, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Definitely I agree with Dragons flight; however, the notion of Wikipedia taking over Webcite has worried me because I don't know what happens when WMF is both the reuser and the archivist. Besides, I hope that WebCite will find a way to stay afloat in the hands of people who are more determined to hold onto their content. Wnt (talk) 19:44, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

IANAL, but I think there are zero legal implications for linking to an archiving service rather than the original article. That does NOT mean that we should do it, it just means that the argument that we must not because it is illegal is one that I don't find persuasive. I think there are many good reasons to link to the original whenever it is available. I can think of no good arguments for not linking to the original. (I can understand an argument that perhaps we should link to the original and an archive, particularly if the original source is likely to go away, although I'd need to be persuaded with more facts.

I'd be interested in a bot which constantly crawls Wikipedia archiving every source and gathering metadata about when it crawled Wikipedia and what the source said at that time, automatically and repeatedly. In the event that a page goes 404 (and some other situations, like a human deciding that the page no longer accurately represents the original in some way), it could semi-automatically (i.e. with human oversight) edit the page to link to the archive, leaving a note on the talk page about what it did and way. If such a bot/service did not publish the page to the public until the original page vanished, we'd minimize the ethical questions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:57, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

  • DASHBot has linked both original/archive URLs in CS1 cites: When the User:DASHBot bot has crawled Wikipedia, looking for dead-links in wp:CS1-style citation footnotes, it has put links to both the original URL (dead) and suggested archive URL, into the cite template parameters, without pushing a major preference of one webpage, over the other, because the reader still has the option to click either link to the original/archive URL. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:47, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

This is a very grey area, definitely - and one worth considering. The apparent current idea, that we like linking to these archives, may conflict with WP:COPYLINK. I know that these archival sites try very hard to do the ethical thing. Webcite's website says, the WebCite® initiative is advocacy and research in the area of copyright. We aim to develop a system which balances the legitimate rights of the copyright-holders (e.g. cited authors and publishers) against the "fair use" rights of society to archive and access important material. We also advocate and lobby for a non-restrictive interpretation of copyright which does not impede digital preservation of our cultural heritage, or free and open flow of ideas. This should not be seen as a threat by copyright-holders - we aim to keep material which is currently openly accessible online accessible for future generations without creating economic harm to the copyright holder. [8], and Wayback says informed by the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, the Society of American Archivists Code of Ethics, the International Federation of Library Association's Internet Manifesto, as well as applicable law [9]. Honourable goals, but that's talking about 'fair use' in the American way; there is considerable debate over whether such ideas are permitted in other countries. For examples of legal problems, see Internet Archive#Controversies and legal disputes.
I'm not sure of the answer - but if we're not sure, perhaps we shouldn't be linking to them at all. (talk) 20:02, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

@Jimbo, whether something is or is not published elsewhere makes no difference to whether it is legal to publish it. I'm sure you don't think we can publish a photograph from BBC News just because the article has gone away; why is the content of the article any different? (talk) 20:04, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

I thought it was closer to automatic than that, but I confess I haven't been an active user of the archive option. I thought the goal was to include in the cite template both the live and the archived url, and a reader clicking on it would automatically get the original url if still live, and would only get the archive if the original is dead. If it isn't the process, it should be. Then no live link would ever be deprived of any meaningful amounts of traffic. The only traffic to the archive would be the original copy,and occasional tests to ensure it still exists.But it would ensure that copyright holders would still get traffic to their site as long as the site exists, and only if dead, would traffic be diverted to the archive. Am I misunderstanding how it works?--SPhilbrick(Talk) 20:07, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Phil yes, sorry, you are misunderstanding. Have a look at refs on [10] for example; it has both the orig and the archive, as in...
G., Robert (June 2011). "Characters with Character: Garrett". Blistered Thumbs. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. (talk) 20:44, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

We wouldn't link to a photo that we thought contravened copyright either - or the text from an old news article. if you know or reasonably suspect that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link - WP:COPYLINK. (talk) 20:07, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for that correction. I'll note that given a link to a title, and a second to an archived, I would suspect that most traffic would go to the first, but that doesn't mean there aren't issues worth pursuing.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 22:27, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
  • It says at Wikipedia:Link_rot#Web_archive_services you should do this to avoid pay walls, so people can read copyrighted material without having to pay for it, which the owners certainly don't want. Dream Focus 20:14, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
    • There are a number of aspects to consider, but the suggestion that archives can be used to circumvent pay walls is very troubling. I don't believe this can be justified. What is the rationale for allowing this?--SPhilbrick(Talk) 22:07, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I maybe wrong about the actual expectation, but I have been told that Featured Article Criteria requires such archive links, which would be a significant driver for doing so (if truly the case). The Copyvio issue, itself, does sound "unclear." Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:25, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Although IANAL, the copyright issue is not unclear. If an image, piece of text etc is still within copyright under US law, the copyright holder would be within their rights to object to having it in a web archive; this has happened in the past. It would make no difference whether the web page hosting it was still available or not.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 21:33, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
You maybe right, which is why it's unclear, see the links put forth above by If it were clear one would think a prosecution or lawsuit against these Archive Sites would have shut them down (or otherwise altered their practice) long ago. But my main point was if the Pedia incentivizes this in say FAC, then that would have to be addressed, if the goal was elimination of such links. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:01, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

It depends what country they're in though. USA has this whole mess of "fair use", which helps justify them. I doubt a web 'archive' that provided copies of UK websites that was hosted in the UK would last very long. It's worth reading WP:VEGAN (talk) 22:10, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Even so, a British trade group can sue in San Francisco federal court, if someone is violating their copyrights with apparent impunity. They might even be subject to suit in Britain (depending on British law and treaty rights)-- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:16, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

The main reason the DMCA safe harbor and take-down provisions are what they are is because of the Internet Archive testimony explaining that anything else would have outlawed them. Congressional floor debate during consideration of the Act discussed this in detail, so there is absolutely no doubt that linking to archived versions of copyrighted works is entirely legitimate and should be encouraged as much as possible (use it or lose it.) Congress is quite clear that it is the rights-holder's responsibility to ask that their archived content be removed if they no longer want it available for free on the internet. (talk) 22:24, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

In USA, yeah. What about respecting the law of other countries? (talk) 22:41, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
As a site policy matter, isn't that covered by "legal under US law." Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:56, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
While we consider ourselves bound by Florida law, by and large, we also make (what might be best described as) reasonable efforts to comply with other countries' copyright laws. Rich Farmbrough, 15:35, 20 March 2013 (UTC).
To be clearer, what I worry about is something like this:
1. Alice scans in the latest Harry Black novel and posts it to her MySpace page.
2. Bob archives the page at
3. Cindy posts it as a reference at the Wikipedia article.
4. Duane, an admin, is appalled and removes it, citing "copyright violation" in the edit summary. Maybe he even blocks Cindy and says at an AN/I or on the talk page the link is inappropriate. But he doesn't contact the organizationally separate archive site.
5. Five weeks later, the author's attorneys notice the archived reference and go ballistic. They say that 3,041 people downloaded this book and that uncounted millions probably got copies from them and Wikipedia, if it owns, knew about the violation the whole time and should be made to pay.
I think such things would be avoided if is set up as a separate non-profit organization that is merely receiving some support from, but not actually controlled by, WMF. But IANAL either. Wnt (talk) 16:48, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

This is all nonsense.
The DMCA says that someone like the Internet Archive has no liability if they delete the material when they get a complaint. Having no liability doesn't mean that the material wasn't a copyright violation; it just means that they can't get sued for the copyright violation. It still is a copyright violation, and so our rules don't let us link to it.
Furthermore, Youtube is in the same position as the Internet Archive: if they delete infringing material on request, they aren't liable, just like if the Internet Archive deletes the material on request, they aren't liable. By the reasoning above which lets us link to Internet Archive material, we should be able to link to anything on Youtube directly. Ken Arromdee (talk) 21:58, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

No, WP:COPYLINK has always allowed linking to verbatim archives such as the Internet Archive and WebCite (but not derivative works unless fair use is claimed.) If the law explicitly permits an exception, that means it's not a violation of the more general prohibition. Under your theory, the copy that your web browser receives over the internet of copyrighted web pages from their servers would all be copyright violations, too. (talk) 23:49, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
It would be, if you published it. (talk) 16:35, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Not necessarily. By the way, YouTube is not a verbatim archive because it doesn't include the source address and title of the original like the Wayback Machine and WebCitation always do. (talk) 20:04, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
YouTube doesn't include source addresses because it is not a web archive. It's a "verbatim" archive of videos people have uploaded, surely? I think Ken has raised a very good point. There does seem to be an inconsistency between us frowning on YouTube sourcing on the one hand and talking about investing in web archiving on the other. Formerip (talk) 22:03, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
YouTube videos are more often edited as excerpts and to remove credits than not, and almost never reference their original URLs when they are copies. A book without its cover and front matter may be a verbatim copy of its bulk, but it's not a suitable archival copy in any scholarly sense. (talk) 04:52, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
The point is that we don't link to Youtube videos when they are copyright violations--and "they don't count as copyright violations because they have no liability as long as they obey DMCA requests" is not an excuse we accept. Why is this excuse acceptable for
Yes, the Youtube video may be edited where the copy isn't, but the argument isn't " is okay because it's not edited", it's " is okay because it's not a copyright violation". If it's not edited, but it is a copyright violation, we're not allowed to use it.
Besides, I'd argue that material is "edited". archives pages, not web sites. A page outside the context of its site is as much "edited" as an excerpt taken out of the context of the whole video, and is very directly comparable to a book without a cover and front matter. Ken Arromdee (talk) 17:49, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Almost all of our citations to web addresses reference specific web pages, not entire sites. The difference is a practical matter: all Wayback Machine and WebCitation links store the original URL, but almost no YouTube copies do. (talk) 18:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
If you're seriously suggesting that we can link to unauthorized copies on Youtube, as long as they are properly cited, and that it's just that not many of them are cited, then I guess you're consistent, but that doesn't seem to be standard practice. For instance, WP:YOUTUBE specifically says "Many YouTube videos of newscasts, shows or other content of interest to Wikipedia visitors are copyright violations and should not be linked." There's no exception there for material that is properly cited and for which Youtube hasn't yet received a DMCA notice. Ken Arromdee (talk) 07:02, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Nobody has any way to know whether a copy is unauthorized unless the rightsholder contests it. If the rightsholder believes a free excerpt or copy is in their commercial interest, or is fair use, then it's not a copyright violation. And even for commercial content that would never qualify for fair use, the vast majority will never be challenged, because it undoubtedly is in the rightsholders' interest, according to a detailed Swiss government analysis. If you see a crappy video on YouTube, and you like it, it makes you far more likely to pay for a copy on iTunes. This guy is swimming in royalties 26 years later while royalties for the copyright-sticklers Metallica plummet. (talk) 07:59, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I think the comparison to YouTube doesn't hold up. One of the basic principles of web archiving is that when you make something available "on the web", you are making it available for one machine after another to copy it. Look at the number of hops in a path to any given IP address. Each one of those machines has permission to copy the site and send it on to you. There's no law saying how short the latency has to be; your web can lag by milliseconds or minutes. Or years. It's not like only one TV network had permission to show something and you screencapped it; the whole wide internet had permission to pass it along. However: copyright law is immune to sense, because it doesn't make sense. Wnt (talk) 23:58, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
The argument was that was okay because deletes material upon receiving a DMCA request and therefore is not violating copyright. This is also true of Youtube.
If you instead want to argue that is okay because the material was made available to the web and therefore isn't a copyright violation at all, that's different. Of course, this argument doesn't apply to Youtube, but I don't think it holds up either. If it was true, wouldn't *need* to handle DMCA requests because everything it posts would automatically be okay (unless it copied a web page that itself violated copyright). Ken Arromdee (talk) 14:24, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
In a stochastic legal system, arguments like these should be thought of not as mathematical proofs but as physical barriers, and adding new ones as a form of haggling over price. There is no very convincing guarantee, for example, that a web router won't at some point be served with a censorship notice not to relay the contents of some infringing page from abroad; it merely is difficult. Because holds contents continuously and long enough for the 48-hour period in DMCA to apply, it is may be more vulnerable. The key line we could hold here is that we should not self-censor based on moralistic interpretations of standards set by skulduggery. If we want to apply some moralistic standard "to be nice" then we should respect logical argument against that position; if we are submitting to legal terrorism out of fear then we need only consider what is actually likely to happen. Wnt (talk) 15:36, 25 March 2013 (UTC)


Jimbo, back to you;

  • We're linking to web archives like WayBack / WebCitation. Those hold copies of copyrighted works. In the USA, there are some dispensations to specifically allow such archival; in many other countries, there are not.
  • Wikipedia avoids linking to copyright-infringing sites. Should these really be an exception?
  • We could ask legal, but the answer would be furry; so I think this comes back to an ethical question. We could discuss it via an RFC or something, but if it does conflict with WMF ethics, there's no point.

So, this is something you could perhaps help guide us on. Should we link to archives of copyrighted websites, or not? (talk) 20:32, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

What dispensations? The only "dispensation" anyone mentioned above is the safe harbor and takedown provisions of the DMCA. Ken Arromdee (talk) 07:06, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant. Also, I threw a subsection break here, just for editing convenience (talk) 21:25, 23 March 2013 (UTC) (talk) 20:21, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there *are* any dispensations for such sites. Not in the sense of "it's legal for the site to copy the material". Being immune from lawsuits if they handle DMCA takedowns doesn't mean the material was ever legal. Ken Arromdee (talk) 14:25, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Do you have some way to read the minds of the rightsholders to tell whether they approve of a copy or not? This is just copyright paranoia amounting to trying to throw away hard-won rights. (talk) 23:56, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Your argument would apply to Youtube. Yet we don't allow indiscriminate links to Youtube, and that doesn't fall under copyright paranoia. Furthermore, that's an essay and isn't policy. Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:22, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Discussion regarding User:Will Beback

Have started a sort of RfC regarding Arbcom's recent denial to grant Will Beback a return to editing here. I have a number of concerns regarding this decision. One being that it was made without community input and in secrecy and two the evidence to support the original indefinite ban is so weak. Note that I was involved and did see the private evidence in question. It however is interesting to look at the public evidence as quoted by arbcom. Jimmy Wales was also involved in the issues in question and it would be interesting to hear him weight in. Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 00:35, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

One of the arbitrators of the then committee said as justification of the ban "In my mind, the most serious offense Will Beback has engaged in is lese-majesty" - this in my opinion is sufficient to show incompetence of the committee in that case. Rich Farmbrough, 03:13, 24 March 2013 (UTC).
No, it shows the incompetence of that committee member.Momento (talk) 10:07, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm at a total loss to see how that remark, which was about WBB's email to Jimmy and where the majesty in question was Jimmy, shows incompetence.  Roger Davies talk 12:42, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
If that committee member believes that "the most serious offense Will Beback has engaged in is lese-majesty", that member is indeed incompetent. I've been a victim of WBB's lies and back room deals for five years and provided ample evidence of it which was routinely ignored by ArbCom.Momento (talk) 21:03, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Jclemens also said it was Will Beback's off-wiki behaviour that got him the sanctions: [11]. Does this mean the rationale given under findings is not the whole truth? Is investigating conflicts of interest off-wiki the entirety of the reason that this editor got blocked, topic banned, and desysopped. Can you confirm that you think being a physician is a conflict of interest [12] on medical topics? IRWolfie- (talk) 16:19, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
When WBB emailed Jimmy, he triggered a series of events which got us to where we are now. That is openly discussed in the decision. On the COI issue, no I don't think physicians automatically come with a COI.  Roger Davies talk 17:30, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
What is the "perspective of a physician" and in what way does it differ from NPOV. IRWolfie- (talk) 17:46, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you can tell me? It's a distinction this part of the COI guideline seeks to make.  Roger Davies talk 18:53, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
That specific text is about tangible connections to the subject of the article. For example, it is not a COI to simply be a Catholic, or go to mass every week, while editing Pope Francis, it is a COI if you are his Butler, it is a COI if you work for Pope Promotions Inc and edit the article. Someone can't edit as a Catholic, they can only edit in a way as to insert Pro-Catholic bias. In that case they are a POV pushers. According to currently policy they are violating NPOV, but do not have a COI.
Simply put, it is never a COI simply because you are a subject matter expert. I will highlight this: "But subject-matter experts are welcome to contribute to articles in their areas of expertise, while being careful to make sure that their external relationships in that field do not interfere with their primary role on Wikipedia." The word "relationships" in this context is referring to "personal, religious, political, academic, financial, and legal" connections to the topic beyond being a qualified expert. If you promoted your own pet theory, that would be an academic conflict of interest; what you are, instead proposing is that a subject matter experts working in the particular field, and writing on a topic have a de facto COI. IRWolfie- (talk) 20:21, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Your assessment of COI in a religious context (your first paragraph) closely matches my own, and that was the lens through which I examined the off-wiki evidence in the case. Jclemens (talk) 23:36, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Interesting, IRWolfie- (talk) 23:45, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Because people can practice lese majesty all day long without being ban-worthy, and indeed healthy and robust criticism of the hierarchy (that we try very hard no to have) is essential to good functioning. We know that, as in almost every human endeavour, a proportion of those we have trusted have abused that trust, and I see no magical reason that this should have stopped - indeed I see ongoing abuse by those who assume the mantle of power all to easily. There are clear cases where a permanent ban is the only sensible solution, but there are also many many cases where a far more constructive solution is available. While the committee seems to have moved away from knee jerk bans and blocks, there is still very little in the way of proactive imaginative positive solutions. Rich Farmbrough, 02:57, 25 March 2013 (UTC).
  • Hello Jimbo,
I would like to ask if there is a way the ArbCom proceedings can be made public for this case? If the ArbCom proceedings are comepletely private and inaccessible to anyone, then it would be against the most basic principle of Wikipedia - Openness and transparency.
In my opinion, every user should have a right something similar to the Right to Information Act, where they can request for ArbCom proceedings (complete or specific, as the case may be) on a particular case. Any information which cannot be divulged publicly (personal information and the sort) would be edited out, and the rest would be sent to the editor under question, either privately, or publicly. We can make all such requests public so that the ArbCom could give the necessary (public) reply to any inappropriate request and turn it down.
TheOriginalSoni (talk) 13:16, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I was drafting arbitrator for this case: "TimidGuy ban appeal". Apart from evidence relating to outing, which as specified in the policy was conducted privately, the case was conducted entirely in public. WBB was not banned on the basis of secret evidence but because of long-term no-holds-barred feuding.  Roger Davies talk 13:46, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
If such is the case, this PR work seems quite doomed to fail. And the "Kill the Umps" bits seems ill-suited to getting WBB unbanned. Collect (talk) 16:41, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
It's that secret evidence which Jclemens appears to acknowledge was the reason for the block and all actions. Why not just redact, and then supply the evidence mentioned at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/TimidGuy_ban_appeal#Will_Beback:_outing_.2F_harassment if this was the primary reason. IRWolfie- (talk) 16:54, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Asked and answered above.  Roger Davies talk 17:30, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I would hope that if Will can agree to a topic ban in Transcendental Meditation (or possibly other new religious movements), and that he acknowledges that he inappropriately put the COI guideline above the Outing policy, and that he'll abide by the current policy so long as it remains consensus, that he be allowed to return. It's a shame to lose someone so prolific when they've been gone for a full year already. No one is 'above the law', but we all deserve a second chance. Ocaasi t | c 18:01, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there is any evidence that any outing occured on-wiki. Reflect that there is no mention of Will having outed anyone in the findings of fact. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:45, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
From everything I have read so far, it certainly appears that the Ban Appeal which was denied is completely secret, even from WBB himself. And there are certainly quite a few members who are asking for more information on the same. Another case that comes to my head is the banning of autistic minor user Curtaintoad, in which case we (me and a couple of other users who wanted to know what happened) were asked to mail the ArbCom for any communication. I got no response to my mails asking for information (Not sure if it was a technical glitch or deliberate).
I certianly am of the opinion that every single bit of ArbCom proceedings (except the parts that cannot be divulged for other reasons) must be allowed access to every Wikipedia member, if and when it is asked. We can always remove any identifying information from the Arbs themselves (and label them anonymously as 1,2,3..) but overall we (the general Wikipedia users) have a right to know what happened. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 03:16, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
If a minor is the subject of an arbcom block in a situation where the parent of the minor is still free to edit Wikipedia; and that parent indicates that they have received a response from arbcom with which they are satisfied; then I think it more constructive to email the parent if you want more information, not to email arbcom. I don't think this is a very good example to use to support an argument that arbcom discusses too many things in private. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:06, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Jimmy, given what I am reading here and Coren's ArbCom resignation statement earlier this month, in which he says among other things that the current version is "moribund and cancerous," I wonder if it isn't time for you to dissolve the body (giving it, say, a few weeks to finish their current matters) and call for new elections of all-new members. In my view, only this seemingly radical act will restore editor confidence in our 'Supreme Court' at a time when many editors have taken exception to their highly questionable operational methods. I do not make this comment lightly; it comes after considerable study and contemplation. I also understand that this will result in major turmoil, however I believe the long term effects will be beneficial. Jusdafax 06:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
A reboot will not cure bad design. If Wikipedia insists on holding "trials", then we should reinvent "juries". Let the ArbCom people focus on researching the facts and policy, perhaps sometimes including "closed proceedings" with the jury, but let the final decision making be done by ordinary editors. Wnt (talk) 15:47, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
These are difficult issues to manage. My primary point is that less should be decided in secrecy and at an minimum arbcom needs oversight to verify that this minimum of secrecy is uphead. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 23:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Considering the problems Coren feels exist that they highlighted, do you really think randomly kicking out all arbitrators suddenly and calling for fresh elections is going to anything to reduce them being concerned about their image and getting reelected? Nil Einne (talk) 22:40, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Not at all, since I submit that the current membership is badly compromised, per Coren and others. This is not a "random" act that I propose but a complete surgical excision which Jimmy Wales could and in my view should effectuate; I have called for all-new membership above, and I do so again now. The time has come to start afresh by electing, in an admittedly extraordinary action, an all-new ArbCom with members never before seated on that body. Wnt also makes an excellent point about the existing secretive methods employed by ArbCom, and I agree that that must be discussed by the editors at large. Oversight, as Doc James notes above, is also crucial. Power corrupts, and we need to include transparency as part of the solution, as well as greater participation by the community. ArbCom is adrift, and we must take steps to regain editor confidence in our court of last resort. Jusdafax 06:20, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
I fear if you go back and have another election with the same 300-400 voters picking people from the same small pool of admins to implement the same flawed policies, you won't get that much better of a result. I won't say it couldn't help to get some fresh faces (which can be accomplished less dramatically by simply reducing the terms - no more "he got 50 more votes so he's on an extra year"). But we all recognize that, right or wrong, we have been duplicating familiar judicial processes very closely, and in what country of the world do you get good justice without a jury system? Wnt (talk) 07:33, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Thank you Jimbo Wales

.....for allowing editors the ability to use your talk page to discuss issues of concern to them. I really hope I personally have never used your page in a manner inconsistent with your wishes. Having a place like this, which I see as neutral ground, is very much appreciated and hope it will always be available for editors to express themselves.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:11, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Did you realize that ...

All this is worth reading, but I'm hatting it to refocus the discussion, i.e. to cut down on some extraneous threads. What I want to do here is keep focussed on a factual look at what has happened here, so that I'm prepared to talk about this intelligently. Your help is much appreciated.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:45, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

About 40% of Wikipedia's article on BP (British Petroleum) was written by a BP employee, and the the source of this text is not disclosed to our readers? BP was also the source of the horrific Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It recently pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and to lying to its own investors, but those facts are not included in the article, nor is there anything in the article about BP misleading our readers.

If you'd like to know why independent editors are leaving Wikipedia, please read User talk:Slim Virgin#Re: BP <Retired>

Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:14, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

How do you know this as fact and how is that an issue? Are you claiming a conflict of interest? Is there an attempt to remove well sourced information or to add false claims etc?--Amadscientist (talk) 02:41, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • 44% was an estimate calculated by User:SlimVirgin based on the amount of text in User:Arturo at BP's user files that was added to the article.
  • Check the BP page - there's no footnote or similar stating that the material was written by a BP employee
  • BP pleaded guilty and paid a $4 billion fine for lying to Congress and for causing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and $525 million for lying to its investors see, e.g. NYTimes Nov. 15, 2012 BP Will Plead Guilty and Pay Over $4 Billion
  • Check the BP page - nothing on lying to Congress or pleading guilty.
  • I think anybody should realize that BP writing 40% of our article without disclosing it to readers, when they are involved in billion dollar lawsuits on the oil spill, and are convicted liars - anybody should realize that this is a problem for Wikipedia's credibility.
  • User:Arturo at BP admits the conflict of interest.
  • There has been a certain amount of bullying - see the talk page entry above. Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:22, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
We don't add a footnote just because someone works for a person or has in the past and is an editor here contributing to an article. Where is that in policy or guidelines? That alone is not a concern. Again, is there an attempt to compromise the article in some manner or are you just trying to discuss the editor in a public forum? --Amadscientist (talk) 03:27, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Arturo at BP works for BP now and has written about 40% of the text of our BP article and that is not disclosed to our readers. Are you saying that that is not a problem for Wikipedia's credibility? Surely you must realize that many people will question Wikipedia's credibility over this. Remember that 5 months ago - while this material was being added to the article - BP pleaded guilty to 2 counts of lying (to Congress and their investors).

I actually have no complaint about Arturo at BP. He is just doing what his bosses have told him to do and his livelihood depends on it. He is very upfront about it. I do have a complaint about folks who don't see this as a problem - they are ruining the credibility of Wikipedia. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:00, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I think you need to make some retractions and apologies. You are claiming that Arturo at BP is responsible for, between 40 and 44% of the BP article and that is just an outright falsehood. [13] Further more Arturo has not admitted to a conflict of interest. He has disclosed his relationship in his username to policy and, even though he may still edit the actual article, has stipulated on their user page, that they will not write in the article space but just the talk page. This is a reasonable manner to edit under the circumstances (even though, as I said, they can still edit the article as long as they stick to our guidelines and policies). This really is just a lot of drama for absolutely no reason. You do not strike me as a disinterested editor yourself by the way. You seem quite outraged by the lack of information you feel should be in the article. OK...source it and add it.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:40, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
And the accusation that the editor is doing something because his bosses told him so is pretty outrageous with no actual proof of such.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:43, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Pshaw! Check your facts. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:52, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I did, now you check yours. I think this is outrageous and melodramatic.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Cue piano music... Perilsofpauline.jpg--Amadscientist (talk) 04:58, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, I just read the article and found this text:
"On 14 November 2012, BP and the Department of Justice reached a $4.5 billion settlement, the largest of its kind in U.S. history. BP also agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts related to the deaths of the 11 workers. Beyond the 11 counts of manslaughter, the government charged several individuals as well. David Rainey, who worked for BP during the spill response, was indicted on charges of obstruction of Congress and false statements. He alledegedly cherry-picked pages from some documents and withheld others "to make the spill appear less catastrophic than it was.” Two other BP supervisors on board the rig when it exploded were charged with manslaughter and other counts[16][17] The settlement has not resolved the fines under the Clean Water Act, which could be as much as $21 billion.[17] Speaking at a news conference, a U.S. federal official said, “The explosion of the rig was a disaster that resulted from BP’s culture of privileging profit over prudence.” The total amount paid out by BP by November 2012 was $42 billion.[287][18] In November 2012, the U.S. Government temporarily banned BP from bidding any new federal contracts.[288][18] Estimates of the total amount of penalties that BP may be required to pay have reached as high as $90 billion.[289]"
So, I am not sure what Smallbones is saying is lacking in the article. It also links to four additional articles about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including the one Smallbones linked. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:36, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I am just guessing but it seems to me the OP didn't do a lot of reading.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:44, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, I did. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:47, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
👍 Like--Amadscientist (talk) 05:48, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I think it's very problematic (if true, although note that it is disputed and hard to define/measure) if 40% of any article about a company is written by someone representing that company. Let's note very well: it's as problematic for the company as it is for us, as they are at very strong risk of getting negative headlines about it. I'm happy to hear that the editor in this case has resolved to follow my "bright line" advice and not to edit in article space directly, and I invite the editor (and anyone else in a similar situation) to post here for advice in case it's hard getting heard elsewhere.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:30, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Addendum: I hadn't noticed but the negative headline I predicted above has already appeared: BP accused of rewriting environmental record on Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:46, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Second Addendum: Can someone confirm for me that the account in question did not directly edit the article but instead only interacted on the talk page? If that's right, then I intend to contact CNET and ask them to retract the article.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:53, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
On what grounds? The article makes it very clear that the account did indeed not directly edit the article, but provided "BP-approved" texts on the talk page, which some editors apparently then copied willingly into the article. I have not checked whether any of this is correct or not, but I don't see any grounds for a retraction on this basis (if there are actual clear errors in the article, you may have an argument, but retracting it because it is correctly reporting the situation seems bizarre). Fram (talk) 10:03, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I think it will be up to CNET's editors as to whether this kind of article is up to their standards. I think that accusing Arturo of "skirting" Wikipedia's rules in this case is fairly ludicrous - unless "skirting" means "going above and beyond what is required in order to be very clearly in compliance with best practice". So, I would consider that a blatant factual misrepresentation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:12, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I get the impression that the article author considers this "best practice" a quite dubious approach, and that in this case it has failed to achieve the intended result. Having COI editors note errors on a talk page is hardly the same as having COI editors completely rewriting major parts of the article, certainly on such rather controversial subjects. To me, assuming that the story has any basis in facts, the main problem is not so much a COI editor declaring his COI and posting "BP-approved" versions at the talk page, as it is the other editors then posting these versions wholesale into the article. Our rules and policies only work as long as editors are actively following or enforcing them. Fram (talk) 10:27, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Honestly, in my experience, POV editors are far more damaging to Wikipedia than COI editors. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 10:28, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Terrible reporting from CNET. They don't give a single instance of biased editing by the alleged BP employee, let alone a careful examination of the totality of these edits to determine if there are any POV issues. Instead, they rely on assumption that simply because the editor is a BP employee, they must have had ulterior motives. Shame on CNET. But hey, they got people to click on their article and generate more ad revenue. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 10:38, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

It gets even worse. I took a quick skim at this editor's last 500 contributions,[14] and all of them related to BP are to the talk page. I don't see any edits to the actual article. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 10:54, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Can someone please double check that I did this correctly? According to this,[15] this editor has never edited a single Wikipedia article, let alone the BP article. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 11:04, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
...which is both what is clearly stated in the CNet article, and was already discussed right above your post (see the posts from Jimbo Wales and me). Fram (talk) 11:11, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
The CNet article says the account did not edit the article directly. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:15, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Then there's nothing to see here[16] other than CNET's lousy reporting. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 11:17, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

What I'd like to see us do now is analyze his suggested edits, i.e. the actual content, to see if they warrant characterization as POV pushing or biased about their environmental record, and to see whether the incorporations by Wikipedians of his suggestions were inappropriate. I know that in many cases this might be a judgment call of the usual sort that we make in the content record, and I'm not likely to get an easy answer. But a thoughtful discussion is worthwhile here.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:45, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Here is some of what we have established so far (but please check my facts):
  1. Arturo openly identified as an employee of BP.
  2. He never made any edits to articles relating to BP, nor indeed, to any articles whatsoever.
  3. Concerns have been raised whether Wikipedians were too quick to incorporate his suggestions in the article, and whether those suggestions biased the article.
  4. Evidence has been offered that the article covers in a quite direct and clear way the oil spill situation. It's difficult to say in light of that, that any whitewashing actually took place.
More discussion, particularly of this last point, is warranted.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:48, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Essentially all correct, although you may want to add they have also been active on the article's talkpage and engaging with editors. Which is exactly what we want COI's to do. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:22, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo, my real concern is that some editors, with a particularly obvious hostility to the company, have made an effort in the opposite direction and are generally proving successful, removing all but a sentence about BP's positive environmental record in the lede in favor of an intense focus on environmental disasters such as Deepwater Horizon. See the following examples: [17] [18]. As far as what has been inserted from Arturo, here is a diff of Arturo's material regarding the Prudhoe Bay spill being inserted by another editor. There has also been material added regarding the company's stock and the company's American operations. Here are some of the discussions of the content proposals: Talk:BP/Archive 4#US operations Talk:BP/Archive 6#Stock history.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:48, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Editor in question here for the Prudhoe Bay section. Yeah, if you look at the diff supplied by TDA, you can see that Arturo's draft actually made the section, if anything, more negative, because he properly filled out the details on the incident that were missing. And, sure, he added in some things that one could call positive information, like when BP finished their cleanup efforts, but that certainly seems like relevant information to have. In fact, the most positive added line I can find in that section is, "The spill was cleaned up and there was no impact upon wildlife", but that's directly from the government report and is wholly accurate.
I find it hard to see how anyone could think whitewashing was happening here. SilverserenC 20:16, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Jimbo, what do you think of our current COI policies? I think that reactive policy-making is worse than exploitable policy-making; and sadly, we at Wikipedia prefer to do the former. It is time we also insert important paragraphs in our COI policy which make it clear that any COI editor, paid or not, do not enjoy any less standing than any normal editor, provided that they follow the rules in place, and are non POV-pushing on the topic under question.
I also further would like if some sort of penal action (warning followed by short term blocking) could be used against the editors whose actions go brazenly against any such view. While such editors on Wiki do not directly break any rules [and hence go scotfree of any reprimanding], their actions on the whole poison the entire atmosphere on this delicate issue, forcing those with COI to turn to anonymous third-party paid-editing. If we as an encyclopedia were more forthcoming to actually work alongside the article subjects than shoo them away (at least in practise), then we would be saving a lot of time policing and hunting those with a COI. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 19:20, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
That would be a drastic change to Wikipedia policy. We do not punish editors. We discourage them and try to guide them. That way of thinking is to controlling. One thing we could...and should do is clarify what an actual conflict of interest is. Right now people are making accusations of COI editing when none exist and it is creating more issues than the editor themselves. This is a good example of that. Someone starts screaming their head off about another editor and then when you look there appears to be nothing.--Amadscientist (talk) 20:16, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
That tends to happen with a lot of issues, and not just COI. Some editors simply link an irrelevant policy/essay than post an argument, and try to defend their original posting of the link. It is really sad to see how many times such policies are mis-interpreted and mis-quoted to try and defend the arguments. Regardless, it is indeed imperative to have a much more clear cut stand towards COI editing, and the relative status of the COI editors with respect to any ordinary editor. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 21:06, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I should also reply to Jimbo's point, that I really don't think a white washing has happened. I don't have a lot of edits at the articles, but someone did ask for my input a while back and I felt that there were enough articles to create a series template to let editors know about all of the articles within that subject. It appears to have grown a bit sine it was conceived and I have gone ahead and added the BP article, although I am not sure about adding the template to the BP article. I will leave that to the more involved editors. But here is the template:

--Amadscientist (talk) 21:17, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

We do actually have a Deepwater navbox already, which is on the BP article:


Rangoon11 (talk) 22:42, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, but the Navbox is for the bottom of the article and doesn't have all the articles in the Series template, which is meant as "at a glance" information under the infobox.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:11, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Let's start by acknowledging the obvious: no serious, reputable reference work on Earth would allow a member of a corporation's PR team to play a substantial role in drafting coverage of that corporation. That would be out of the question. The fact that this role is undisclosed to the casual reader makes the situation even worse. It's not a question of specific diffs or navboxes - it's a question of credibility, which is the lone currency of any value to a serious reference work. We can't ask our readers to invest us with credibility if we have such a cavalier attitude toward conflicts of interest. MastCell Talk 22:47, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Nor would such a work allow anyone to edit it, especially random people. Nor would such a work allow anti-company activists to edit it, which is clearly what must have happened to the BP article, considering the state it was in previously. So I fail to see your point. SilverserenC 22:57, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Wrong. Reputable outlets such as the Financial Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, Whitakers Almanack and many others use company sources for coverage on the same companies. Companies are very often the most knowledgable experts on themselves. Read the FT and you will constantly see "Source: company". (talk) 22:58, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • What's missing here, of course, is that we don't inform the casual reader that a particular piece of information came directly from the company's PR department. Which is the key point. MastCell Talk 23:05, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • It is certainly true that major corporations have plenty of hooks in the media to get their message out. At least here we let the people weigh in on the matter as well.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:03, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • My point is that every serious, reputable reference work takes conflicts of interest seriously. We don't. Insofar as we aspire to create a serious, respectable reference work (a goal which, admittedly, seems increasingly irrelevant to the community), that's a problem. I get that our editorial process is different from that of every other reference work, but I don't see how that frees us from worrying about conflicts of interest. On the contrary, I think it makes the problem even more pressing and relevant. MastCell Talk 23:05, 21 March 2013 (UTC) you believe the editor is a part of the PR team Mastercell? I disagree with you strongly that our credibility is in question over this. That is just doesn't take into account the efforts of all those editors that have been overseeing these articles and working for neutrality. So, you are in favor of adding specific attribution for other editors adding material that they felt was relevant because someone you don't trust proposed it. That doesn't seem logical. How would this work exactly? How would you determine who the attribution belongs to? How would it be added to the actual article space? Would that violate any current policies and guidelines and what happens if the editor objects? Is this a privacy issue? Is this even credible itself?--Amadscientist (talk) 23:07, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Do I trust a handful of pseudonymous Wikipedians to be able to filter the efforts of a billion-dollar corporation's PR department? No, not really - especially when they seem totally oblivious to the problem presented by these sorts of conflicts of interest. I get that you're offended, but pride is a handicap to dealing with these things effectively. As to dealing with the problem, I don't have a handy solution, but we haven't even reached The First Step - admitting that there's a problem. MastCell Talk 23:14, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)The tone on that was too harsh and I have edited it. But the issue is, this is an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Not an encyclopedia that only the "correct" editors are allowed to edit.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:18, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
That's a rhetorically compelling but utterly meaningless statement.Struck as unconstructive. We make judgements all the time about who can edit. See Special:BlockList, or the long list of editing restrictions at WP:RESTRICT. Also, I would prefer that you not retroactively edit your comments after I've already responded (e.g. [19], [20]). MastCell Talk 23:29, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Please note the (edit conflict). If you want to be hard headed here I can as well.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:32, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
The encyclopedia admitted there was a problem a long time ago, but too many people simply do not know what an actual conflict of interest is on Wikipedia. That is the main issue here.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:19, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

convenience break

I've just noticed in the media " "Arturo at BP," is the head of BP's Wikipedia engagement team, which interacts with Wikipedia editors to improve BP's Wikipedia page, according to ... a BP spokesman."

Wikipedia engagement team?

This raises all sorts of questions. How big is a team? Who's on it? What are they editing? How do they get paid? What are they doing all day? Have they also declared COIs?

Smallbones(smalltalk) 23:38, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Who cares? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 23:40, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
The last question is a valid question. All the rest are who cares. Though I think Arturo might be the only one that actually edits. SilverserenC 23:46, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
My first encounter with a COI editor was a producer of a small theatre company that had created and edited his own page, theater page and the cities arts section. Without realizing it, the editor had disclosed who he was through their Wikimedia Commons account for attribution of their images. Their edits used a number of their own non RS websites and contributions to them and not their actual official website (although they did have one). I raised the issue and was simply told that the consensus of editors was that he should be able to edit as he would know more about himself than others (a bit of an over simplification but that was the nutshell of it). Simply put, editors didn't feel the editor was compromising Wikipedia's integrity. I still disagree with that...but the community has spoken and I just don't touch the articles with even a ten foot pole now.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:07, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Not everyone with a conflict of interest is incapable of editing objectively. It may be rare, but it is also rare to find anyone capable of editing objectively. Many of the editors crying so loudly about this BP issue are themselves not objective about the subject because of their political leanings. We should be chiefly concerned with the content itself, and not who adds the content. Not to say who adds it is not relevant, but only insomuch as it affects the content. If the content is good and is exemplary with regards to our content policies then I fail to see the issue with who adds it.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 00:14, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Clearly we are seeing the Streisand effect move fast here because that article (mentioned above by Smallbones) is 2 hours old and is about THIS thread which is only a few hours old itself. I sure hope it is just a coincidence that the source got this information so quickly and was on their own. I also note they post personal information there so I will not mention where this was.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:16, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Oh, you mean at Wikipediocracy? Volunteer Marek 00:30, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Nope.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:40, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Let's start cleaning house by banning all the Doctor Who fans who edit our Doctor Who articles. Clearly, they are a danger to the integrity of Wikipedia and must be stopped. Off with their heads! A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 00:17, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strongest Possible Insanely High Super Uberlicious SUPPPPPORRRRTTTTT!!!! (I have no idea what this discussion is about, I just saw the edit summary).Volunteer Marek 00:20, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
You may not know this, AQFK, but at least some of the people commenting here think that Wikipedia has far too much coverage of Dr Who as it is, and that any drop in editor numbers on those topics would be a good thing. It takes all sorts, or so they don't think. btw Hi Marek :) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 00:23, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Reply to Smallbones

Smallbones, I am the only representative from BP on Wikipedia. I understand the rules about that, and I agree it would be bad if we were doing otherwise. I am a member of the Corporate Communications team, and I've had help with research, and making sure everything is accurate, but on Wikipedia it's just me. Arturo at BP (talk) 00:47, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

So when "Scott Dean, a BP spokesman" says that you head the "Wikipedia engagement team" what did that mean? Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:01, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I've awarded a barnstar[21] to Arturo at BP as have a couple other editors [22][23] A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:02, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Smallbones, he's referring to help I have with research and verification.Arturo at BP (talk) 01:10, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the prompt answer. I'll also thank you for your Dec. 19 talk page suggestion to put in:

“In November 2012, BP reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, admitting culpability for criminal charges relating to the oil spill including manslaughter and obstruction of Congress, as part of which it agreed to pay a $4 billion fine, the largest penalty of its kind in U.S. history.”

in place of the clear falsehood that BP had only been indicted.

Now I think “admitting culpability” should have been “pleaded guilty” and "lying to Congress" would have been more direct than “Obstruction of Congress” but that's just being picky about words.

  • More seriously, why did you leave out BP’s admission to lying to its investors and the additional $525 million fine (3rd highest in history, Goldman has the record of $550 million)? and
  • why did you just forget about this when your suggestion was ignored, leaving in the "indictment only" falsehood until today (when I changed it)?

Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:42, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Drop the stick and walk away from the carcass.--Amadscientist (talk) 01:59, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Smallbones, I haven't put a great deal of focus on the lead section. As I recollect, there was previously discussion about including only the most salient details in the lead, and discussing more details in the body of the article. I was trying to help them find consensus, although I'm afraid we didn't succeed. I still think the introduction needs work, and other editors should weigh in with their views. I can't speak for them. Arturo at BP (talk) 02:07, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Smallbones, just so you understand how nuanced this can all be, here's why saying "pled guilty" in November would have been technically incorrect: Arturo at BP (talk) 02:24, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
So it should have been "agreed to plead guilty"
When you wrote "In the 1990s and 2000s, BP has had a mixed environmental record" at User:Arturo at BP/Environmental record did you mean to suggest that BP doesn't have the worst environmental record of all time? "Mixed" suggests "average" or maybe "slightly below average". Do you think that there is anybody with a worse environmental record? (Don't worry, I won't ask you to name names) Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:43, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
No, "mixed" mean exactly what the word means. BP has had a very positive environmental record at times and a very negative environmental record at other times. That is a "mixed" record on the matter.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 03:37, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Pshaw! I'd like to see Arturo answer this. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:06, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
"Pshaw"? Really? You don't need Arturo to tell you the how the word "mixed" is defined or how it applies. Does my explanation for how the company's record can be accurately described as "mixed" not satisfy you?--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 04:13, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Half the time, I just think your explanation is ignorant, the other half I think you must have spent a lot of time thinking up the dumbest thing you could possibly say. So you'd probably describe my reaction as "mixed". :-) Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:36, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, it doesn't look like Arturo at BP is going to answer. In fact he cannot answer honestly. In an honest answer, he'd have to say that BP's environmental record is not "mixed", it's absolutely terrible. And then he'd be fired.

The point is that when a corporate PR guy writes text that that gets put word-for-word into an article, we are for certain biasing the article. And we are not telling our readers the source. He can't quite bring himself to write "Pleaded guilty to lying to Congress." He writes that a terrible environmental record is "mixed." He leaves out little things like a $525 million fine for lying to investors. He's willing to accept that an absolute falsehood - saying that BP was only indicted, rather than pleaded guilty - stays in the article for over 4 months.

So is he whitewashing our article? I have a great deal of sympathy for Arturo at BP. It appears that he tried to follow the letter of our rules. I don't think he intentionally put falsehoods into the article and in fact tried to get some removed (unsucessfully). He's got a team of helpers that can check facts but also put subtle corporate spin into his drafts, and volunteer editors like Petrarchan - who's only got a couple of hours a day to edit - simply get overwhelmed. He's probably not doing it intentionally, but the end result is that our article looks like it's been whitewashed. Arturo's just doing his job, so I don't blame him. Rather I think our rules can be unclear and a small group of our editors have just abdicated all responsibility and for whatever reason enjoy passing his drafts word-for-word into our articles without citing the source.

Jimbo - you asked for an intelligent discussion on this page - where do you see it? It looks more like a mob of hecklers than anything else. I don't think they are paid shills pretending to be ordinary editors - though it's likely some of that that goes on in Wikipedia. Rather, I think that it's a small group with the same idealogical blindness that led Mitt Romney to say during the Presidential campaign that "Corporations are people too." Corporate PR spokesmen are not the same as the ordinary people who edit Wikipedia in their spare time. The PR guys are paid to represent their company's interests, not to be unbiased. The corporation's goal is to maximize their shareholders' wealth, not to tell the unvarnished truth. They can overwhelm our ordinary editors with the resources their team can throw at an article. They cannot easily participate in an open honest conversation. We cannot assume good faith, certainly not at the same time they are pleading guilty to lying to Congress and lying to their investors.

If Wikipedia does not police this, then it's clear that the press will. They know how to recognize bias, and both the company and Wikipedia end up looking terrible. To be fair to the corporation we should tell them that this is going to happen.

There's an easy way out of this problem. We just need a simple rule that says if the words of a paid editor are to be used in an article, those words need to be published off-Wikipedia first, and cited. That way when people read that BP has a "mixed environmental record" they can check it out on the BP website, and laugh at BP rather than at Wikipedia.

I have nothing left to say - the ball's in your court now Jimbo.

Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:19, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Once again, the same could be said for BLPs. The BLP subject represents his own interests just like someone paid represents their employer's interests; like the PR guy, he's not there to be unbiased. Yet he's allowed to suggest text and even to edit directly, and we are required to assume good faith with him. Ken Arromdee (talk) 17:57, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
An individual, presumably without billions of dollars backing him, is nothing like a large corporation. For example, s/he doesn't have a multitude of ways of getting his/her message to the public: press conferences, adverts, etc. We can at least hope that s/he'd try to be unbiased. We have special rules for BLPs, but we still discourage them from editing their own articles. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:15, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Smallbones, I would recommend reading the "Environmental record overview" discussion on the BP Talk Page, where you'll see that I used "mixed" based on several sources from the 2000s, including Bloomberg, the New York Times, and the BBC. On the BP discussion, The Devil's Advocate wrote: ""Reality is that "mixed" is a pretty good way to describe the record of a company that has been a pioneer in terms of environmental advocacy in the corporate world and alternative energy research that also has been responsible for numerous severe ecological disasters, including the worst oil spill in history." It's fine if you disagree, but it's open for discussion.
And I'm sorry, but I think you're mischaracterizing my role with BP and on Wikipedia. I have demonstrated in other replies on this page that more often than not my suggestions were not added "word for word" but instead were changed through community discussion. I supplied sample text, but other editors here have exercised their views and the language that eventually makes it into the article has no bearing on my employment. Sometimes I've agreed with the changes and sometimes not. My draft for the Prudhoe Bay section included more negative information about BP than what was originally in the article, and editors continue to discuss and change minor aspects of language in it. Overall the article has become much more informative since early last year.Arturo at BP (talk) 19:38, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I really have said all that I have to say on this matter. I shouldn't have even answered the direct question above yours. It's all rehash at this point.
I would like to thank you, you've been a gentleman through a pretty difficult wiki-process. I think you've tried to follow the rules and I hope that you haven't taken anything I've said personally. I just think that you're on the wrong side of this issue. Hopefully we can agree to disagree.
Thanks again and have a good weekend.
Smallbones(smalltalk) 22:14, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
PS. I love to get in the last word - but go ahead if you'd like.
It's true that a corporation can have more resources than an individual. Yet it's also true that our rules about BLP editing aren't affected by how many resources the living person has. If the president of the company were to come on Wikipedia right now, you would be required to assume good faith when dealing with him, and he would be permitted to suggest text (and edit), no matter how rich he is, no matter what his COI is, and no matter how much he is interested in wealth as opposed to truth. Ultimately, a PR person is just the mouthpiece for one or more people who actually own and/or run the company. Ken Arromdee (talk) 22:42, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Smallbones, not a problem. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend.Arturo at BP (talk) 23:00, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Ken Arromdee, you're confusing what you would like to be with what is. You think BLP should apply to corporations, and maybe you're right, but it seems that few agree, for better or worse. If more people agreed then someone could take something like User:Herostratus/Articles about extant organizations and push it through. But that hasn't happened. Herostratus (talk) 08:34, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm pointing out that the *arguments* used against corporations also apply to BLP. This implies that the arguments are not valid. If all you're saying is that you don't need reasons why BLP and corporations have to be different, because it's policy, then I can't really dispute that, but most of us expect our policies to have reasons. And if all you're saying is that it's policy, and arguments don't matter, why is anyone even giving any arguments?
Also, while we don't treat BLP and corporations completely the same, we do treat them the same in some of the ways mentioned here. Proposed above was 1) that we should assume bad faith for corporations, and 2) we should not permit corporate representatives to suggest text. These are not in fact current policy for corporations and current policy treats BLPs, corporations, and everything else the same in that regard. Ken Arromdee (talk) 14:54, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Analyze this

Please enjoy Spin Checking BP's Tar Sands Entry petrarchan47tc 01:04, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi, Petrarchan. I'm afraid your analysis is misleading. I think editors should be aware of what "Canadian oil sands" looked like before the community discussion, and here is what it looks like after. In fact, if you look at my drafts (here), I had suggested adding much more information about the controversy. Following discussion on the BP Talk Page there was consensus to rewrite it to the version that Beagel added. And it still includes criticism from the Cree tribe, with more context. You were active on the page at the time as well, although it doesn't seem that you commented at the time. Meanwhile, I hope other editors who evaluate this would agree the latter version is better. Thanks, Arturo at BP (talk) 01:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Arturo, to the extent that this is a policy discussion, private entities are not encouraged to influence Wikipedia policy for gain. To the extent that the discussion is about this particular article, it would not be possible to convince you through logic, argument, or any other means that you're wrong. Because you are being paid not to be convinced or at any rate to admit it if you are. Who knows if you think that Petrarchan47's analysis is misleading? For all we know you're thinking to yourself "Wow, he makes some cogent points, he kind of nailed me". Because even if you believe that you'd still write "I'm afraid your analysis is misleading". You have to. You don't really have a choice, you'd be guilty of malfeasance otherwise. So what is the point of discussing these issues with you? There isn't any. I'm willing to engage and have engaged zealots who believe that all civilization came from Serbia and whatnot. I'm not willing to engage someone who is literally forbidden from changing their mind. Herostratus (talk) 02:43, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
He is paid to properly represent his company on Wikipedia. That means following our rules, all of our rules, including on writing neutral material. SilverserenC 03:31, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
He is paid to properly represent his company on Wikipedia. That means being unable to engage in honest conversation as between colleagues. So he shouldn't pretend. But never mind about that.

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────what about Petrarchan47's vetting? Herostratus (talk) 04:40, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Crickets... Herostratus (talk) 16:39, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

I already responded with my opinion about it below. And several other people have also responded to it, just not in this section. SilverserenC 19:27, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Right, you did. With your indulgence I'll copy your response over here: "Everything he raised was either incredibly minor or it was along the lines of 'if any single source discussing something negative was missing, then it's spin! Because BP must know about every single negative article about them in all of history and all of it is relevant!' Not to mention that the section in question was clearly not meant to be a finished draft, but just an improved section from the horrible mess it had been previously."
I'm reluctant to comment because I don't know how much credibility as a Fair Witness I'd carry on this exact matter at this time. I didn't see where any other people responded to it. Anyone besides Silver seren want to take a look at it? Herostratus (talk) 06:28, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I feel Arturo/BP's comment is misleading. He appears to claim that anyone can make a suggestion for changes or additions to his draft, and while true, I have not seen evidence that additions BP doesn't approve of will be added to the draft. After my comments about the Greenwashing Section, the draft and talk page section were abandoned and sit, without explanation, in limbo to this day. That seems strange in contrast with the urgency the editors and Arturo have shown with regard to getting other drafts into the article. After that, I stopped paying much attention to the draft discussions. I found it strange to be arguing with a BP employee about what could be added to the article. It has always felt like BP's article rather than Wikipedia's.

The spin in these drafts is both subtle and inevitable. As such, I feel it is too much to ask volunteer Wikipedians to spin-check giant companies or special interests. It's meant to be the other way around.

As Gandydancer said, "It is not just a simple matter of checking [drafts] for "issues". Information can be presented in a manner that accents the positive and minimizes the negative, to say nothing of just leaving some things out completely." She further states after spending a lot of time checking Arturo's latest draft, "I have felt that his edit suggestions have been, as far as I could tell, accurate and fair. It's only when Arturo rewrote this more controversial section that I have become very concerned. And then when editors that have never worked on the article began to arrive to place it in the article for him I began to wonder why I have spent so many hours and endless pages of talk when a paid editor and his crew can come and insert anything they want into the article. When I saw that Silverseren had even posted a few links so that that his posse could do a quick BP for Dummies read to bring their level of understanding of what they were about to vote on up to snuff--well who wouldn't wonder if some editors had not taken the "anybody can edit" slogan too far."

This entry by Gandydancer should be read by anyone wanting to truly assess the BP drafts and talk page situation. These are the words of an independent editor who experienced the process. Although the 'rules' are being followed, Wikipedia is being easily gamed in my observation. Supporters for a positive spin at the BP page are many (and can exhaust an independent editor quite easily).

The tar sands, or Canadian oil sands, project has caused tremendous controversy for BP. A careful examination of the section is warranted. The original draft written by Arturo/BP as well as the discussion where it was whittled it down to three sentences speak volumes when examined, especially in light of other facts and possible evidence of teamwork amongst editors who aren't reviewing the articles on behalf of the readers of this encyclopedia. Note that the first reference is a PDF from BP's website that quotes a greenhouse gas emission increase of 5-15% per barrel as compared to crude; while a peer reviewed Stanford study, accepted by the EU, found a 23% increase. The Stanford ref. is one I would expect to find in a Wikipedia article.

BP choose to highlight only the Cree Nation's protests, and mention that tar sands is "said to" damage the environment. A NASA scientist is quoted as saying that if these tar sands are developed, it's "game over for climate". Further, scientists say the SAGD method BP is using to extract the oil/tar/bitumen poisons underground aquifers. A report, ‘Does the Alberta Tar Sands Industry Pollute?’ in the Open Conservation Biology Journal notes a 30% increase in rare cancers, and elevated levels of mercury and arsenic in the local fishes. Also not mentioned, BP's own shareholders revolted over the tar sands project. Along with indigenous people of Canada, 15% of BP's stockholders do not support the project. According to the Independent, BP faced a "showdown with environmental campaigners and shareholders". The Cree nation example does seem cherry picked, as if the goal was to say "We DID mention a controversy!", but in no way was it to give an encyclopedic look at the issue.

If I were BP, this is the section I would want to write. And I would do it exactly as it was done. petrarchan47tc 01:38, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Harassment of Arturo at BP needs to end

Despite all the sound and fury, nobody has provided a single diff that Arturo at BP edited the BP article. In fact, none has been alleged. Arturo fully disclosed their relationship with their employer and only made suggestions on the talk page. There is nothing to see here, and the harassment of Arturo at BP needs to end. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:18, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

He's a witch! Burn him!--Amadscientist (talk) 01:24, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Sorry Jimbo, I know you wanted an intelligent conversation, but we can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.--Amadscientist (talk) 01:38, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I have a silk purse barnstar. Do you accept refunds? SilverserenC 02:43, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Guys, cut it out. A Quest For Knowledge and Amadscientist and Silver seren, you need to stop saying that it's not legitimate to even be concerned here, that it's not possible to have an intelligent conversation about this, and that editors who are concerned about this are idiots or deranged zealots (or whatever "He's a witch! Burn him!" and accusing editors of harrassment and the silk purse snark is supposed to mean.)

Here (Spin Checking BP's Tar Sands Entry) Petrarchan47 was kind enough to provide a detailed vetting of one section, for free, as a volunteer editor. A discussion of this on its merits would be useful. A discussion of whether this constitutes harassment for which Petrarchan47 should face penal sanctions wouldn't. But it's your call which way to go. Herostratus (talk) 02:51, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

I already read it. Everything he raised was either incredibly minor or it was along the lines of "if any single source discussing something negative was missing, then it's spin! Because BP must know about every single negative article about them in all of history and all of it is relevant!" Not to mention that the section in question was clearly not meant to be a finished draft, but just an improved section from the horrible mess it had been previously. SilverserenC 03:23, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh sure, an editor can make unfounded accusations that are splattered across the internet within hours and yet we are supposed to stop. I don't think so. However, if Mr. Wales asks us or even just me to stop I will. Frankly I am a little surprised by this witch hunt. This page has become finger pointing central and it has cost us at least one arbitrator for no reason and you want us to take this seriously when not one single ounce of legitimate issues have been raised? This is a serious conversation and some times you take it as serious as it is presented.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:48, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Petrar has already made some dubious claims regarding this matter on Slim's talk page when he declared his "retirement" from Wikipedia.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 03:24, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
You have yet to provide diffs for this claim. I advise you stop making accusations without bringing proof. And, I am retired from Wikipedia, though I was invited back especially to help with this situation by Slim Virgin (see my talk page). petrarchan47tc 03:30, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
You made a bunch of serious accusations on SV's page without diffs yet you are advising me about doing such a thing? Still, I have already done the work over at Wikipediocracy so here you go.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 03:35, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
'And, I am retired from Wikipedia, though I was invited back especially to help with this situation by Slim Virgin Geez, Wikipedia really *is* like Days of Our Lives with characters from past seasons coming back again or resurrected in new circumstances. Are you another editor's alien baby by any chance? No wonder Wikipedia's addictive - it's just another version of a cheap soap opera.Volunteer Marek 03:39, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
And so it begins. petrarchan47tc 03:45, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Don't feed them Petrarchan47. And I'm sorry to see you retire. This whole situation is very sad. I don't know what to say. There may be no solution to all this... we are a very top-ranked website, and there's a lot at money at stake. This may be an important nail in the coffin of the idea of an encyclopedia run and written by amateur volunteers. It's too bad. But nothing lasts forever, and after all the business of America is business. I wish I had some answers. I don't. Anyone who does is welcome to come to Wikipedia:WikiProject Integrity. Meanwhile, can we be done with the character assassination and all, and consider Petrarchan47 vetting.

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────We've heard from Silver seren. Thank you Silver. Are there any other editors, hopefully reasonably disinterested, willing to consider the matter? Herostratus (talk) 04:57, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

No one has asked for penal sanctions against Petrarchan47 and we don't punish editors....well, I guess we do as this thread shows....but we punish them for doing the right thing.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:05, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I really have looked at all of this Herostratus. I have been discussing and asking questions since the very first post. I was not actually given direct answers to very direct questions and was even given a "Pshaw" and told to check my facts, pretty much just blowing me off. So, I will repeat what I have brought to this discussion in terms of actual facts and bullet point everything I feel needs to be addressed.
  • User:Smallbones has made the accusation:"About 40% of Wikipedia's article on BP (British Petroleum) was written by a BP employee". Jimbo Wales then asked: " Can someone confirm for me that the account in question did not directly edit the article but instead only interacted on the talk page?". The accusation of editing the page has been demonstrated to be false here, here and here.
  • Jimbo Wales stated: " I think that accusing Arturo of "skirting" Wikipedia's rules in this case is fairly ludicrous - unless "skirting" means "going above and beyond what is required in order to be very clearly in compliance with best practice". So, I would consider that a blatant factual misrepresentation". I concur...vehemently.
  • There have been accusations that have been repeated in the media that an editor working for BP has had their contributions added to the article without any mention that the content was from a BP employee so that readers could see that. That is right because there is no process to attribute any information about us as editors on the article itself, but from what I understand the editors that placed the information actually did indeed properly attribute their "copied" content in the edit summary so editors have attributed the work properly.
  • Does Wikipedia take conflict of interest seriously? I have to say we do. I have seen the discussions, taken part in them and made suggestions, everything from a green colored usernames to signify paid editing to agreeing with Jimbo about the best practice of paid editors to disclose there association (not conflict, association. If they are editing within our guidelines they are not in conflict of interest) and restrict their editing to the talk pages.
  • Finally, does this mean the end of our all volunteer encyclopedia? No, but maybe it is a CLEAR indication to all those companies with paid editors how we expect them to work.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:34, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Actually I think it worth noting a few last things here. There are all levels of advocacy editing that go on at Wikipedia. Even some fans of film and television have financial or promotional goals by adding information and referencing the content with their non-RS websites to gain hits to their sites and add revenue from advertisers or sell their t-shirts, trinkets or coffee mugs or promote their amateur performance groups at a midnight cult movie. They will add their fan sites to the body of the article or external links that last for a very long time. Combating this is a risk. Trust me it is. We should be thankful that people are willing to edit those pages and remove that stuff, but we are looking far to closely at an editor because a handful of other editors think that the rules need to be changed and the best way to do that is to create an issue when none exist. As a community we don't all agree on how to handle paid, advocacy editing. Some want an outright ban on all paid editing and others want to hand the entire site back over to paid experts. I think it important to mention the analogy I just saw on the BP talk page is just way off. We are not the New York Times. We are not a newspaper. It is not our place to take a stand on any subject. Encyclopedias have been written by paid experts in all kinds of fields for hundreds of years. The issue seems to be that if we are amateurs then we must limit all editing here to amateurs. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way here. We strive to find experts on all levels, but not all experts know how to edit Wikipedia. We have had university professors banned from Wikipedia because they don't know how to edit here. Now we are attempting to chase off someone just because of a political view that, in itself, is extremely biased. Come on. The whole issue is because some editors are not disinterested and can't step back and have to become warriors to prove a point.--Amadscientist (talk) 06:24, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, "Some want an outright ban on all paid editing and others want to hand the entire site back over to paid experts" is kind of an interesting statement. It's obviously a false dichotomy and not true. Since it's not true you shouldn't say it. Nobody of consequence "want[s] to hand the entire site back over to paid experts", and saying something so ridiculous so as to position yourself as a moderate centrist is... pretty lame. As to the rest, I see we disagree, so OK, lets get back to the previous subsection re vetting the content on its merits. Herostratus (talk) 16:49, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Don't try to mediate this discussion, you are horrible at it. LOL!--Amadscientist (talk) 20:48, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I read about this controversy on CNet and just wanted to make this point. I don't think that the question is whether the BP employee's edit's are good or not. The issue is that BP is involved at all. I can see a company wishing to correct errors. By all means, they should be encouraged to contact Wikipedia or post on the discussion page to do so. But they should not be suggesting language. I don't think it's sufficiently appreciated how damaging that would be to Wikipedia's reputation. It would be like a newspaper allowing a source to suggest language in articles. A similar issue is coincidentally arising at another article and I think the whole thing is a big black eye for the wiki. Coretheapple (talk) 17:17, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
So what's your opinion on BLP subjects editing or suggesting language?
Think about what your position logically implies. Ken Arromdee (talk) 18:02, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
We've generally tried to show leniency toward private individuals who find objectionable material in their Wikipedia biographies, particularly if the individual is an otherwise relatively low-profile private figure. Here we're talking about giving the public-relations department of a billion-dollar multinational corporation a substantial (and undisclosed) role in drafting our coverage. Those are two very different situations; concern for the former does not imply disregard for the latter. MastCell Talk 18:23, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's my position. I think that it's shocking and impermissible that BP is responsible for so much of the text of the BP article. I don't care if that text is "good" or not. For all I know, it may be better than what us mere amateurs might write. Multinational corporations could hire the best writers in the world for their Wiki articles. But if you allow that you destroy the editorial independence of the wiki. Coretheapple (talk) 20:14, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Let me be clear that if BP feels it is getting ripped in its article, it should have the right to raise its objections in the discussion page or anywhere. I don't want to limit their ability to complain about poor treatment. But the actual writing of the article should be left to uninvolved people. Coretheapple (talk) 20:19, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Every time I write about this it goes the same way: I point out that the reasons given to not permit companies to do anything also apply to BLP subjects, and someone responds by responding that the company is really bad. The response universally fails to answer the objection, because we don't reject BLP subjects who are bad in similar ways. Yes, of course you can argue that letting companies suggest text "destroys the editorial independence of the wiki". Letting BLP subjects suggest text is equally capable of doing so, but we allow it anyway, so it's clearly not a dealbreaker. Ken Arromdee (talk) 22:47, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
No, it's pretty simple. We distinguish between individual living people (no matter how good or bad) and organizations or corporations (no matter how good or bad). In fact, we already do this as a matter of widely accepted policy: WP:BLP applies to individuals, but not to corporations, so I don't understand why you're treating this distinction as something unheard of. MastCell Talk 23:15, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
The point is that the fact that these concerns exist for BLP and yet we don't have similar restrictions shows that we do not consider these concerns to justify the restrictions.
And "automatically assume bad faith" and "cannot suggest text" is unheard of for either companies or people. Ken Arromdee (talk) 06:52, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
  • You are talking about the appearance of impropriety, and I certainly get that, I just don't support that. For one, I know for a fact that what you suggest about the news is wrong and naive. Big corporations and moneyed institutions have long had influence over the content of major news reports, in addition to the long-standing influences of governments. It is part of the drawback of having large news outlets dependent on outside sources for financing. This is just the normal process of information production and dissemination with greater transparency and more checks as the content is not permanent or unchanging, but dynamic and open.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 20:28, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
We can't prevent corporations from distorting the news in the media, but hopefully we can do a better job here. Coretheapple (talk) 20:33, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Thankfully, there is an easy way to prevent that. It is called reviewing the content and editing the page.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 20:58, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • "What I'd like to see us do now is analyze his suggested edits, i.e. the actual content, to see if they warrant characterization as POV pushing or biased about their environmental record, and to see whether the incorporations by Wikipedians of his suggestions were inappropriate." I think another approach would be to read both versions, before and after, and see if the article is net improved or made worse. Everyone has inherent biases, even unintentionally, so I think what is more important is if the vetting system worked. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:06, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
"[A]nalyze his suggested edits, i.e. the actual content, to see if they warrant characterization as POV pushing or biased about their environmental record" Really? And then who do you want to blame if you "believe" there is some sort of POV...Oh that's right, we want to blame BP. The fact that others are the ones that placed the information into the article and there is already both a consensus for the content and community consensus for the way Arturo edited means nothing here. Everyone...get your pitch forks and torches together...we have a monster loose! Get'em! And no, this mad scientist did not create this monster. In fact, he's just a figment of many editor's imagination!--Amadscientist (talk) 20:57, 22 March 2013 (UTC)


Several concerns here refer to verbatim copying of Arturo's version of the article, and the fact that there is nobody to monitor that. Would anyone be open to having a voluntary group of editors who specifically deal with COI issues, and help COI-affected editors change their own articles? In my opinion, it is simply not possible for us to think there will be no COI editing - open or otherwise, if we continue to blame editors like Arturo for providing a better (if not perfect) version of the article. We have to allow some direct and open way to monitor such edits, as well as to promote open COI editing.

So would anyone here be open to such a specific group? Moreover, would anyone be open to joining such a group? TheOriginalSoni (talk) 20:12, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

One of the several problems with that is, the orgs can pay $$$ for people to keep their articles as they want them; we have no $$$ to keep 'em in check. (talk) 21:10, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I am afraid that's going to be a problem forever (or until Wikimedia Foundation starts paying me). Even then, such a system will help the friendly ones, and encourage the other non-friendly COIs to follow our "best-practise policy" TheOriginalSoni (talk) 21:16, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I already created a Wikiproject to help with paid editors specifically. It's Wikiproject Cooperation. And we created a noticeboard, similar to the COI noticeboard, to allow those with such a COI to post their concerns there so they can be reviewed. You can find that noticeboard here. So, if you want to be part of the group, feel free to join the Wikiproject. SilverserenC 21:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Then half the thing is already done. What remains to be done, however, is to spread the word and make sure anyone with possible COI knows about this project. If there are visible results of articles being constructively improved by this project, it would encourage others to disclose themselves too. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 22:42, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm been keeping such a list here. It only includes notable achievements though, such as Featured, Good, DYK, or new article, so simple improvements to an article aren't listed on there, but they are still pretty good examples of what accomplishments have been made. As for outreach, CREWE has been a big help with that thus far, but finding other ways to let companies and people know about proper policy and processes is always helpful. SilverserenC 23:37, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
The problem is that there are are lot of different types of editors here. Some appear (based on my observations) to go through a two-step process for deciding how to deal with suggestions from paid agents, something like this:
  • Step One: Is the material written by a paid agent of a company?
  • Step Two: If yes, copy and paste the material into the article.
Why? Who knows. It may be ideology, it may be something else, but no way to really know. As I say, there are a lot of editors here, so its not surprising to find a wide range of attitudes about how to handle this kind of material. What to do about it I don't know, but it seems like the WikiProject described above is probably less than rigorous in policing this situation, maybe. Herostratus (talk) 03:01, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Can you please keep your ABF assumptions to yourself? SilverserenC 06:34, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not assuming anything, I'm describing something based on my observations and the wit that God gave me. Diffs abound. Herostratus (talk) 08:26, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Another Proposal (Disclosure)

In the spirit of full disclosure to Wikipedia readers, a Note be added to such articles: eg. "Arturo at BP (talk · contribs) an employee of British Petroleum has participated in the creation of portions of this article, in accordance with Wikipedia:Best practices for editors with conflicts of interest".

Let the reader decide. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:08, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Please no. Such a note, especially in article space, is simply poor form. Nothing stops us from them noting that "This article was written by an evironmentalist with staunch anti BP views" or a "This article was written by an unemployed male who does not believe in global warming" or even "This article was written by an anonymous government agent whose idenetity is not currently known" TheOriginalSoni (talk) 21:14, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Nope. I would agree to an addition straight across the board on all articles to list the top 5 contributors, but we don't single out individuals because you don't like or trust the company.--Amadscientist (talk) 21:21, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
    • It has nothing to do with whether anyone likes or trusts them or not. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:28, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
      • It has everything to do with that. This is POV pushing in itself. Its also a manner of public shaming and is not within the spirit of the project. If you single out a particular editor that didn't even edit the actual article to attribute them in this manner it is a clear Point of View.--Amadscientist (talk) 21:39, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
        • It is not a public shaming, and its not a POV. The COI is already known, and it's just putting the declared COI before the reader. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:42, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
          • Good grief, no. This is an absurd idea. Prioryman (talk) 21:43, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
            • Why? Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:48, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
              • Alan, you really need to review what a COI is for Wikipedia. The editor is not in conflict of interest here. He simply isn't.--Amadscientist (talk) 21:50, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                • Yes he is, that is why he disclosed that he is participating in editing as an employee of British Petroleum. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                  • While I myself do tend to use COI as "any editer who may be involved to the subject of the article", the relevant COI policy speaks only of those editors whose edits are harmful/biased. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 22:21, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                    • Yes, and for that reason consensus is that such editors should not even substantively make direct edits to the article (as in this case). Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:32, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                      • That is incorrect. Many editors have close associations with subjects and topics. There has never been a policy stating that they cannot edit, only that their edits conform with policy and guidelines. In this case the editor did not contribute to the article at all.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:47, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                        • Many editors are paid by their employers for being an editor here? That does not seem true. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:19, 22 March 2013 (UTC). And even if true, all the more reason to disclose. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:23, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
                      • Precaution is not punitive action. Arturo has followed all Wikipedia policies and have been directly responsible for improving the article. To add such a line is akin to punishing him for disclosing himself and having followed the best-possible path. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 22:48, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                        • I agree.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:51, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                        • That's well put, both of you. If you don't like the policies under which Arturo has evidently operated, change the policies - don't punish the editor who followed them in good faith. Prioryman (talk) 22:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                        • It's not punishing him at all. What could possibly be punishing about it? Are you saying he is ashamed of his work here? Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:55, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                          • Really Alan? I don't see how that question was relevant to this discussion at all.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:58, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                            • You're the one who said it's shaming. How is it punishment? How is it shameful? Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:02, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                          • "So you are not going to be sneaky and surreptitiously change your company's articles to make it look better? Good. Because we support that. And just to be sure, we'll let all readers know about it, because it does not matter if your draft was approved by others. The reader should know you wrote that"
                          • "So wikipedia says Shell is an awesome company. I better believe that, because every editor there, including Anonymous_Guy_14285 is perfectly trustable. But the BP article is written by an employee!!!! Holy s**t. I should not trust this company" TheOriginalSoni (talk) 23:03, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                            • Nothing like that is said anywhere. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:10, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                                • That was a figure of speech. But the sentiments are exact. That is certainly what will happen if we actually implement the proposal. Users will doubt BP's and wikipedia's crediblity on seeing this proposed notice. Which is punitive to BP and Arturo, who have followed all the rules that we wrote. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 23:18, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                                  • The sentiments are odd and imaginary. All we need to do is to disclose. Disclosing those rules and his following of them is not a punishment. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:23, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                            • Alan, we do not – we have never – added attributions to specific editors on article pages. Not in the entire history of Wikipedia (and I've been around for a lot longer than you have). Creating a special rule to single out one individual editor would certainly constitute a form of punishment. Prioryman (talk) 23:05, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                              • Except, no one is being punished. It's not, therefore, any form of punishment. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:10, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                                • No one is being punished because this has a snowball's chance of being implemented.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:25, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                                  • So, no one is being punished. Then we can dispense with that baseless objection. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:30, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
                                    • No, this proposal can be dispensed with. That is my point Alan.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:04, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

You know what? There's a special {{connect contributor}} template for this. It is standard practice to add it when someone is connected to the subject of the article. It is an aid to readers and fellow editors and not a badge of shame. It would have been sensible for Arturo at BP or anyone else involved with this to have added that template, but no one did. It is there now. Better late than never. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:41, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Oh that. Sure. I think I have seen that used before. It goes on the talk page. I support that templates usage on the talk page.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:52, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Good idea. I totally forgot about that one. I've used it quite a few times myself in the past, much better way to deal with notification of COI. SilverserenC 06:36, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Ah, interesting how it is so similar to this proposal. Looks like the shame and punishment stuff was baseless. Thanks. Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:45, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Somewhat related, but peripherally: Some question has at least been raised about the copyright status of work done for hire. I could be dead wrong about this, but I think that it might be an issue, and it's possible that an we ought to be including something like this:

This paragraph ©2013 BP p.l.c. All rights reserved

in the appropriate places. I opened a thread (here) to discuss this, if anyone's interested. Herostratus (talk) 06:15, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

But I'd much rather see contributions to the thread User talk:Jimbo Wales#Analyze this regarding the Petrarchan47's Spin Checking BP's Tar Sands Entry. This it a lot closer to what Jimbo asked for and better use of our time. Herostratus (talk) 06:22, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

I already asked Moonriddengirl about the copyright issue. You should know, you were there. And she's the public face of the legal team (more or less, though only in copyright matters perhaps) and she said it was fine. Several other users well versed in copyright matters also pointed out that there wasn't any issue here. Thus, there is no issue. SilverserenC 06:39, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Forgive the interjection, please. I just noticed this, and I need to clarify that while I may speak for the legal team sometimes, it's only when I'm in this account and only when I'm specifically saying so. When I'm Moonriddengirl, I'm speaking as a volunteer and only for myself, unless I'm linking to a policy or explicitly reporting what somebody else said. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 20:19, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I was there. My take was that Moonriddengirl said that it might well be a problem but not to worry about it as a practical matter, which is quite possibly good advice, and also not to discuss it publicly per WP:BEANS, which is also possibly good advice, but odd advice for a policy matter. "Yes it is a copyvio but no one will actually be hurt" is actually pretty fine with me (I'm easy), but would certainly be an exception to the approach we generally take to copyvio, so I dunno, maybe somebody else has a useful take on the matter. If not, not, and that's fine too. Herostratus (talk) 08:16, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
My gawd...people are trying everything to keep this going. For heavens sake, do editors even read our polices and guidelines? The editor made their draft contributions on Wikipedia and therefore are releasing them as CC by 3.0. Attributions were made correctly in the edit summaries. Give it up already people. There is no issue here. If you don't like our policies either propose new ones or work with what we have--Amadscientist (talk) 08:19, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
You can't release the rights to something you don't own. Herostratus (talk) 08:47, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I take it you are saying that Arturo does not own the copyright because it is owned by his employer? Except here, his employer has paid him to contribute under a free license, so his work would be free from their standpoint also. Now, if he is adding other people's work in the company, that is a more complicated issue, but assuming that that is also within his employer's mandate to him, than that would also be contributed under free license from their standpoint. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:07, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Herostratus, I am the author of the proposed text I have submitted for consideration on the BP article, and I am authorized by the company to release it under Wikipedia's Creative Commons license, so I think your concern about copyright status is misplaced. Additionally, readers who review Petrarchan's take on the "Canadian oil sands" entry should also see my reply in the thread you point to. It gives a clear overview of how the new version of that section was developed. Arturo at BP (talk) 14:41, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Alanscottwalker and Arturo, you may very well be right. I'm just raising the question. So, Aturo, who retains the actual copyright? (Even donating text via CC-BY-SA 3.0 does not end the fact that the one retains copyright, one just gives broad permission for others to use it, subject to certain fairly minor restrictions.) Either 1) you the typist own the text or 2) BP does, and if so I think we might need proof via Wikipedia:Requesting copyright permission that BP has relinquished (most of) its rights via CC-BY-SA 3.0. You have course pointed out to BP that this gives anyone to right use all of the text in derogatory, sarcastic, or even obscene context.
The other side of this is, then, is BP releasing this (if they are; written proof requested) sight unseen? If they are I applaud their trust in you and lack of bureaucratic red tape. It'd be pretty surprising to a large corporation to release text like this with with no oversight, and color me skeptical. We can't know what goes on inside BP but we may make reasonable inferences. And it may matter a great deal, because of the concept that accounts must be controlled by a single person.
I once made a stupid joke where I pretended that I didn't have access to a computer and had to write up my contributions for someone else to type in. I was informed that this absolutely not allowed and and fact I was blocked for this ("Account owner not in control of account") until this was cleared up. Per Wikipedia:User account policy, "Usernames should not be shared between more than one individual", and this brings up the question of what is meant by "shared". I am not a Wikilawyer, but if your brief is "Write whatever you think best", you're probably in the clear. If the deal is "Type it up first and run it by legal/the boss/whomever", the account is arguably shared, this is pretty problematic, maybe. Not sure, but maybe.
It seems that likely that either you don't have authority to donate the text, or if you do then you're likely not in complete control of the account. These are murky waters you are getting into Aturo. Herostratus (talk) 16:51, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Since there is no mechanism for disclosing to casual readers of the BP article that BP helped write the article, I think that BP contributions are problematic. If allowed by policy, then the policy needs to be changed. If BP feels the article is wrong or unfair, it can certainly say so, but uninvolved editors need to write the text or proposed text. I think that the fact that BP would engage in this activity, which is causing such a furor and negative publicity for all concerned, is emblematic of this company's tin ear when it comes to dealing with the public. Coretheapple (talk) 15:37, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Doesnt appear to be causing a 'furor', most of the news articles from reputable sources (I dont count bloggers with axes to grind who are clearly being agitated by editors who are not getting their way here) appear to be quite neutral in tone, the comments are fairly balanced and pretty much explain both sides of the issue. Much as the BP articles are.... shock horror.... neutral and balanced. My god! Wikipedia is working! That IS something to cause a furor! I suggest if you dont like policy, feel free to attempt to change the policies while quoting the situation where a company rep has followed all of our guidelines - resulting in much better articles. I can really see that being persuasive to change policy! Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:57, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Why change policy when all one has to do is misinterpret it and claim everyone else is wrong! LOL!--Amadscientist (talk) 00:14, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

edit break

@Jimbo. As wonderful and cooperative as Arturo from BP is, he has no alligiance to WP or its rules or guidelines whatsoever. His allegiance is to his paycheck and the bills it pays and the lifestyle it affords him. His allegiance is to BP and his Corporate Communications Team of simalarly paid-to-edit BP employees. One major consideration when formulating policy and then maintaining it must have been "How does this policy effect our reader". Most readers of the our articles would like to know who wrote them, who had input: common John Doe's or paid corporate employees. ```Buster Seven Talk 13:29, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Uhm...Buster, I have no allegiance to WP. No one does. No one is required to make such a pledge, nor should they ever be required. I have known a PR guy who has written articles here and made contributions (they are no longer employed by that company however) and they were actually never asked to make those articles by anyone within the company or edit Wikipedia for any reason. They just enjoyed the site, had an interest in the area and felt the company was notable enough to write about. Yes, I did have to clean up a good amount (needed some sourcing and history improvements) but there was no allegiance to the company he was working for and money really didn't paly into it for them. Arturo from BP is clearly a paid advocate who's role is to represent a company on Wikipedia. We allow this, and have for some time, whether that is because they wish to do it on their own or they are paid to do it. Why should the reader be hand held and lead down directly to an editor just because others felt his drafts were worth using? We don't do that for editors. Why would we do that for readers. They have the same ability to click the history section and follow the same paths laid out for contributors. What I am saying is: No one has a special allegiance to the project. We are all volunteers, just because there are others who get paid to "represent" the interests of a corporation does not mean we have to place a spotlight on the in a manner that in itself would compromise the integrity of Wikipedia. I hope that makes some kind of sense.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:35, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
A VAST majority of our readers do not know about the interesting talk pages behind every article. All they know about is the mainpage. Every other possible place they could go to help their investigation is completely unknown to them. And I'll bet 99% of our readers never look beyond the article they came to look up. The "page history' is an editing tool that readers have absolutely no knowledge of. They come, get their info, and leave. During the recent Republican primary for POTUS, one of Newt Gingrich's campaign people (who, after becoming aware of the need to acknowledge his affiliation, included his title in his signature) edited the article and then, when confronted, shifted to making "suggestions" on the talk page as to items to be included into or removed from the article. And most of his suggestions were implemented within an hour of posting with no discussion, debate or consensus gathering. If other editors were not "on watchlist duty" his version of the facts (or his gentle phrasing of the facts) were what was contained in trhe article. His ONLY desire, his ONLY purpose for editing Wikipedia was to get his Boss elected. His allegiance was to Gingrich. The mortgage on his house was paid by Gingrich. His car and the gas he put in the tank was paid by Gingrich. Should I really believe that he cared one iota for WP's rule and guidelines. His objective, what he was paid to do, was to get support for his boss. He knew that WP is the most visited site and that readers would come in droves to get information. It was his job to make sure they didn't get wind of anything negative about his boss. Arturo at BP has the same dilemma. Allegiance means loyalty and I think you DO have an allegiance to WP. If you didnt, you wouldn't be the quality editor that you are. Arturo's loyalty is to BP. Not to our reader. ```Buster Seven Talk 05:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Hey...I passed that article to GA a few years back and its still on my watch list (nope, it wasn't. I was monitoring it on my own) and I watched it during the primaries. I see nothing that was done really wrong there. You are over-reacting and assuming that just because someone has some perceived stake in the subject that they have the same stake in the Wikipedia article. He may not have cared one iota but I did and so did a number of other editors. The guy must have done a miserable job then...because Gingrich didn't get elected. Buster, I like you. I respect you and even admire you as an excellent editor....but you are making assumptions. How is this different than trying to fend of the fan base of, say "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"? Some stuff is relevant and acceptable and some isn't. The difference is that, generally speaking, these paid advocates have better sources. Just being paid is the only real issue, but it isn't the most important issue.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:29, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Think of it this way. Do the readers deserve to know who passed the article to GA? What their political affiliation is (A liberal, gay Democrat passed it to GA by the way) and any other detail about that editor? I hope not or I have wasted a hell of a lot of time volunteering on this project.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:34, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Please see use of quoting? and on energy policy. And there are other dicussions during that period at an article about Gingriches third wife. These are not assumptions. This is what happens when a paid editor is involved in the daily re-tooling of an article about his boss or the company he is specifically tasked, by that company, to defend. Had the campaign manager not self-identified, the articles would have been filled with the spin directly from the Gingrich Campaign. And no one would have known. Are you saying that our reader was not intitled to know that? I'm glad that Arturo self identifies himself as a member of BP's Communication team. But that happens on the talk inform other editors. It doesn't happen on the Main inform our reader. ```Buster Seven Talk 16:29, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I did not take part in any of the discussion there. I watched the content on the article. Yes, actually I am saying that our readers are not entitled to know about the accusations and concerns we may have with other editors for whatever reason. In the 2010 election, when Meg Whitman was running for Governor I discovered a person editing with what I felt was extreme bias and was an admitted ex employee. They were even touched on in the article but not by name but after all was said and done, that editor was not really doing anything really wrong. There might have been some ownership issues at first but they loosened up. On another article I have been watching, there has been a constant flow of advocacy edits from the fan base from people with a financial stake in their organization of conventions and other money making endeavors attempting to list themselves, their websites, their performance groups etc. One person even tried to tell us that they should be able to use their own Wikifan site interviews with figures as sources for their claims because they own the site and have been editing it for years. What right do we have to make sure the readers are aware of their actions? What real good does it serve? How would it improve the encyclopedia?--Amadscientist (talk) 20:45, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Just to be clear. I didnt say, nor do I desire, that our readers are entitled to know about the accusations and concerns we may have with other editors for whatever reason. I think we are duty bound to let our reader know that BP or the Gingrich Campaign or officials from the country of Gibraltar had heavy involvement in the construction of the article they are reading and depending on. Pro or Con. Let the reader decide how to respond. But let the reader know that the article, more than likely, has a favorable slant and should be read and interpreted with a "grain of salt".```Buster Seven Talk 21:12, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

An arch observation

Some readers here will recall the perhaps-apocryphal WWII story of how additional armor was added to bombers by carefully examining the locations of bullet holes on returning bombers.

We appear to be eagerly up-armoring the most bullet-holed areas on those bombers. Choess (talk) 15:28, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

A good analogy, but perhaps this is more like providing the pilots with thick and complicated instruction manuals on how to avoid getting hit in the places where there were bullet holes found on the returning bombers, and then blaming the pilots of non-returning bombers for not having memorized the manuals. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 22:31, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Lua speeds medical pages under 9 seconds

After years of "watching paint peel" and "pulling teeth" the Template:Cite_journal is finally using Lua script, as 6x faster (9x faster than last year). Now, most major medical articles or science articles, which heavily repeat {cite_journal}, can edit-preview, or reformat, within 9 seconds, rather than the prior 20-35 seconds for the first time in years. The article "Lyme disease" (in 2011-2012 Top 1000 most-viewed pages) formerly reformatted in 22 seconds, and now edit-previews within 9 seconds. That article has over 247 citations, as wp:data hoarding of sources, but at least, some of the extra footnotes can be removed now that it edit-previews over 2x times faster. Once {cite_web} is also transitioned to Lua, then most articles will edit-preview within 7 seconds, just like a major computer system from the 20th century. We are finally back to the future. -Wikid77 (talk) 18:05, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Amazing. My thanks to all those who made this happen. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 13:10, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
It is amazing, when considering the entrenched, vast wp:CS1 citation system in 1.8 million articles, and for over 3 years, numerous editors (with many admins) debated, analyzed, modified, rewrote, corrected, and tested the 430 parameters of the CS1 cite templates, in both markup and Lua-based forms. And now we approach the next phase of WP evolution: the "7-second Wikipedia" to edit or reformat any article with any image-size setting. -Wikid77 14:19, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I hope that Template:citation is also speedied up. Cold fusion currently takes 15 seconds to preview.... --Enric Naval (talk) 13:15, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the Lua version of {citation} has been written/corrected and tested by editors who know the many details in actual use. It can be transitioned to Lua within a few days. -Wikid77 14:19, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Now 174,000 articles entirely use Lua cites: By watching the delinking of the gigantic, markup-based wp:CS1 helper Template:Citation/core, we can track the count of articles which have "broken the shackles" of the prior technology to run, now, over 9x times faster than last year. As of today, more than 174,000 articles are using only the Lua-based citations, and we expect the count to exceed 1 million pages after {cite_web} is transitioned to use Lua, as running 125 cites/second. Also, the developers have found a method to quicken the Lua Scribunto #invoke interface 2x faster, in the next MediaWiki software release, which might speed the reformat to over 200 cites per second. -Wikid77 14:19, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Template {cite_book} transitioned to Lua: As of 23:24, 24 March 2013‎, the Template:Cite_book has been upgraded to use the Lua script module, to run 6x faster in over 466,000 articles. The prior COinS metadata has been restored in the Lua version, to allow User:DASHBot to check for dead-link URL addresses in those pages and insert some archive-links instead. Some rare bugs were also fixed, which had omitted the access-date on some citations, and many double-dots ".." were fixed after "Inc.." or author initials. Many articles can now edit-preview, or reformat, within 8 seconds, compared to 15-35 seconds in prior years. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:19, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
After about 24 hours, another 220,000 pages delinked the markup-based helper Template:Citation/core, as now nearly 394,000 pages which use only the Lua-based cites. After {cite_web} is upgraded, in a few days, then expect about 1 million pages to delink from {Citation/core}. At that point, {Citation/core} can be upgraded to provide better features for the remainder of the 23 {cite_*} fork templates, and the additional overhead to process those features would be neglible because most cites would be formatted by the Lua versions instead. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:29, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
All sounds good, but I'm not quite sure I'm following this. Is the {{citation}} template now Lua based? Malleus Fatuorum 17:34, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
No, {{cite book}}, {{cite news}}, {{cite journal}}, and {{cite encyclopedia}} are now Lua based. {{cite web}} is next for transitioning to Lua, later this week. At that point well over half of all citations will be using Lua. {{citation}} will probably be the next one after {{cite web}}. Dragons flight (talk) 19:03, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Now 970,000 pages use Lua-based CS1 cites: I recently checked the transclusion count of pages which link the related Lua script, Module:Citation/CS1, and it reports over 969,000 pages. So, nearly 1 million pages are using the Lua version of the wp:CS1 {cite_*} templates to format citations, with the COinS metadata restored. -Wikid77 20:29, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Peter Damian & WMUK

All, there's been a bit more discussion on Peter Damian in a thread above. I really want to make this clear, however, to everyone, so I'm starting a new section: Peter Damian is not banned from any Wikimedia UK events. We were, in late 2011, worried about his attending an event at the British Library, and we reacted to that by banning him from attending it. This evolved into a 'general ban from events'. However, it was pointed out to us that this ban was perhaps an overreaction, and indeed after having met with Peter in person over a cup of tea, we are quite happy that he is not a 'threat to security'. As a result, we rethought the ban - it was, shall we say, a decision made in haste. We retracted it, and issued an apology for the phrasing. I'm happy to repeat that: Peter is not a threat to our member's security.

The whole issue did raise a big question, however, as to how we could deal with concerns like these in future. Obviously, banning anyone is not the best thing to do - it's quite firm and final - and as a result, we wrote a Participation Policy, which is much more sensible and covers practically all eventualities. I'm more than happy to chat with people about this, but I don't keep an eye on this talk page. If anyone has any questions, or wants a chat, drop me an email at and we'll sort something out. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 13:50, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Clearly another situation where the longstanding UK tradition of a Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down has resolved a problem. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:00, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I'd never heard that expression. I know the expression "sit down" from American mafia films - a different sort of thing altogether, but also used for conflict resolution. :-) Oddly I noticed in a google search that Wikipedia uses the expression pretty often but apparently doesn't have an article about the expression itself.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:31, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I was introduced to the phrase (in the context of some rather troublesome disputes) by User:Chzz, who you'll be pleased to hear is editing again today. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:01, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I thought only a judge can make the decision that he is a threat and impose control orders banning him from attending certain events. Count Iblis (talk) 19:37, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
In the UK, at a private function, the organisers can permit or deny entry to whomever they choose. (Much like, contrary to amusing opinions pontificated on certain websites, the provision of alcohol does not affect whether people under the age of 21 or indeed 18 can legally be permitted to attend private functions - that would make organising weddings rather awkward, to say the least.) In practice, most similar private functions I've organised have tended to have an entrance door that isn't guarded by anyone at all, and while there were some people whose presence would not be generally welcomed, they either never found the cojones to show up, or didn't make a nuisance of themselves. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I see! Count Iblis (talk) 12:17, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
All the same, there are quite a number of individuals who would rather not be present where Peter Damien is, because of his habit of posting derogatory character sketches of people he's met on WR/W-cracy, not to mention his supposed forthcoming book. This has put off some people (not including me) from coming to events where he has threatened to be present. In fact, I think he has only been to one event in recent years, plus a visit to the WMUK office - both were written up in this fashion. The "security" issue was in terms of outing etc. Johnbod (talk) 12:51, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:13, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Not followed by Damien, that's for sure. Johnbod (talk) 18:54, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
How true. I can personally testify to being harassed by Buckner/Damian back in July 2010, blatantly for shit'n'giggles rather than any high-flown principles; he seems to be driven primarily by ego rather than principle. As far as I'm concerned, he shouldn't be unblocked before the heat death of the universe, though even that's probably too soon. I can understand why people have been put off attending WMUK events. Speaking for myself, I would prefer to stay away from any event at which he was also present. I think that if someone has been banned for certain conduct offences – specifically making legal threats or harassment – they should automatically forfeit their WMUK membership and any right to attend WMUK events, because of the chilling effects they can cause to others. WMUK members in good standing shouldn't have to feel that they need to look over their shoulders because of what one of their fellow attendees may intend doing. Frankly, it feels like this individual is being given preference by being allowed to attend events despite the evident upset that it's causing multiple people. Prioryman (talk) 19:46, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Contributors banned over conduct

We banned user who showed no constructive effort and we banned users who didn't meet our standards for pleasant conduct. I had the fascinating idea that just because talking failed to the point where we want no further discussion with the user, this really says nothing about the quality of their contributions. I know it sounds crazy...

Most contributions happen without any talk. We can filter out such contributions with the pending changes machinery. While pending changes is very unattractive compared to free editing, it doesn't compare unfavorably to not being allowed to contribute. Banning people would be that much more relaxed. Loosing the discussion privileges for a few months isn't a big deal, having other editors approve your contributions isn't a big deal and backlogs are not that big of a deal either. When people tell you to go away, that is a big deal if your intention was to help.

It may takes years to finally find the context where the user crosses the line. With pending changes he could impress us with elaborate sourcing and accurate citation. The sense of punishment is minimal. Banning users over civility becomes much less of a hassle. Currently if a user makes tons of good contributions it is very hard to decide to ban him over small civility offenses. It can be a big loss.

Talk is necessary but not for the majority of content. If one stays away from the controversies and cites good sources there is nothing worth talking about. If editors run into a pending vandalism they can press a button, then an Admin looks at the rejected contribution before removing the user privileges. Even with abuse, pending changes gives useful context to any unblock request. I mean, do we want people to work on wikipedia, or have them write us a story about what great editor they are going to be in the future? The later doesn't seem very useful. It doesn't really tell us much about the editor. It makes a nice cache 22, the editor cant contribute because he is under review and the reviewers cant review because the editor cant contribute. The pending content would give us an idea what the user is worth as a contributor.

As a community we decided not to be rude to people, some think it doesn't go far enough, for some it is really hard to stick to the rules, there are also people who cant do it. Hell, we have a whole minefield of special articles waiting to systematically ban poorly informed editors. Not necessarily bad editors, just annoying in an already annoying context. If they are completely mystified by the situation doesn't matter much. If we are going to require endless patience we exclude a very high percentage. In the process we've created a new kind of expert who writes wikipedia. That was not the plan.

I think the prevailing logic must be that when it is obvious a guy really wants to help to the point that he is still here after we upset him and banned him, then there is no good excuse to deny the projects it's content. In stead of dropping the user in a bottomless pit hoping he will never return we give him a brand new interface that is going to convince him that talk is unnecessary. One might find the new interface frighteningly more productive than endless arguing over tiny contributions.

These pending changes can just sit there for years. Eventually editors will get to it when they get to it. Could ask the user to review a pending change when their contribution breaks it. I imagine a user who just edited that same article section to be a most sophisticated reviewer. With almost no extra effort we can have many additional contributions. People who would otherwise have to write anti-wikipedia essays, what normal people should be expected to do when their best was not good enough. At least some of the essays are really funny but I would prefer they would invest that energy helping out.

Is there something I'm missing? (talk) 23:56, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

As I understand it, you are saying (at incredibly boring length) that edits from banned editors should not be reverted. Is that correct? Looie496 (talk) 01:44, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

My proposal in short:

  • Create a user level below unregistered.
  • Users banned over their discussion qualities are promoted to the new user level.
  • Unregistered ip users and registered users can approve the contributions. (and flag them as vandalism)
  • The pending changes submitted by the user make up a significant part of the unblock requests.
  • By having another user approve the pending contribution they become responsible for it.
Wikipedia users, page protections, and page edits
  Restricted Unregistered, New Autoconfirmed, Confirmed Reviewer Administrator Appropriate for
No protection can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer;
can edit;
changes go live immediately
can accept pending changes
The vast majority of articles
Pending changes
cannot edit can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer;
can edit;
changes go live immediately (if no previous pending changes remain to be accepted)
can edit;
changes go live immediately*;
can accept pending changes
Articles experiencing high levels of vandalism or BLP violations from unregistered and new users
Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
Articles experiencing high levels of vandalism or edit warring from unregistered and new users
Full protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately
Articles experiencing persistent vandalism or edit warring from (auto)confirmed accounts and for important templates
*When editing articles with un-reviewed pending changes, Administrators and Reviewers are prompted to review the pending changes before saving their edit.

Note "go live" means the edits will be visible to readers who are not logged in. In all cases, edits are always visible to readers logged into Wikipedia. (talk) 03:34, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

"I think the prevailing logic must be that when it is obvious a guy really wants to help to the point that he is still here after we upset him and banned him, then there is no good excuse to deny the projects it's content." I don't think it is at all the prevailing logic. I also disagree that it is "obvious" that just remaining after a ban means that there is no good excuse to deny the project that content. If the content was what got the editor banned it would have been removed and just sticking it out after becoming upset doesn't mean we include whatever was deleted.--Amadscientist (talk) 01:49, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry my post is a bit vague. I was specifically referring to conduct bans. We do a lot of those, it takes a lot of patience to be a wikipedian. (talk) 03:07, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Not nearly enough and this comes from someone very much concerned with editor retention. But frankly we chase off far better contributors by allowing these editors the right to run rough shot over the project.--Amadscientist (talk) 03:13, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
People come from different places, they have different views, different hobbies. How nice the wikipedia is for them depends much on these things. Over time people get in all sorts of different situations on the wiki. I'm not suggesting to let editors run rough. If the sense of punishment is minimal it is much easier to ban people. (talk) 04:44, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, there you have it. This is what is missing, your basic understanding that Wikipedia does not punish editors.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:53, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not in a position to talk for the user. The user may experience his ban as a punishment. Thats why I wrote "sense of punishment", to exclude intension. (talk) 11:57, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose Why create an entire new level of participation just to appease banned or blocked editors for conduct issues? Couldn't they...I don't know...act with within our behavioral guidelines? --Amadscientist (talk) 03:42, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Agreed, one thing that really grinds my gears is that some editors are able to tell other editors to "fuck off" on an almost constant basis, and do so only to be foul-mouthed prats, and constantly nothing is done about this. The time has to come when such editors are shown the door, because it truly is not helping with editor retention and helping to build a nice environment in which to edit. Russavia (talk) 04:13, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Currently administrators can chose between the permaban or a warning. Making the bans less harsh would make the decision easier and it would be much less of a drama. (talk) 04:44, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
No they can't. Bans are not supposed to be implemented by administrators unless they are over article probation issues. They have no authority to strengthen or weaken an Arbcom or community ban.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:50, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you are trying to say. The general blocking policy for civility is here Wikipedia:Civil#Blocking_for_incivility.
There are also topics with special rules like: Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Abd-William_M._Connolley/Proposed_decision#Discretionary_sanctions (talk) 11:27, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment This is a fairly interesting suggestion that might work for editors that have been banned due to the content of their article edits. Otherwise, I don't think it should be applied. AutomaticStrikeout (TCAAPT) 16:56, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I tried to limit the idea to (what I thought was) the most obvious cases. Perhaps it would work better with users banned over contributions. There is only one way to be sure. (talk) 22:49, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's bad enough that some editors already wear their rude conduct as a badge of honor and admins tell their victims to chill, the rude one is just being themselves. I don't see that we need more levels of complexity to accommodate those who can't conduct themselves with propriety, unless I missed something. We would do better if we simply enforced civility. If you use "f**k", asterisked or not, you start at a one week block which doubles at every infraction thereafter: 1 week, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128,... VєсrumЬа TALK 23:21, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
The community is a means to write the encyclopedia. We need it for a tiny percentage of content. Usually these things take much more time than they should and the outcome of the debates isn't always useful. We all agree editors who are going to make it even harder for us have no place in this area. If you are missing anything, it might be that it leaves them 99% of mainspace to work on? (talk) 22:49, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Pending Changes is a never-ending train wreck. Having just popped over to the talk page, we have all manner of irregularities - articles under Level 2 though there was no consensus for it, autoconfirmed and I think even reviewers' contributions being rejected anyway because a reviewer "deprecated" the revision later, and a there's also VPT thread about some kind of rejection of edits by editors if they duplicate former IP edits, which makes me wonder if reviewer status is license to win an edit war. Having any variety of Pending Changes affecting an article, however limited, is therefore highly undesirable. Wnt (talk) 07:21, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
After the incident one should focus on non-controversial stuff. So yes, the reviewer would have a license to win any edit war if the editor makes controversial edits. The reviewer may also refuse things he doesn't want to be responsible for. But if the reviewer crosses the line it does deal damage to mainspace. And we do ban users for that. But but but but..... Doesn't your opinion involve refusing all of these content suggestions? You want to refuses millions of contributions without even reading them? What makes your opinion so reasonable compared to a perhaps biased reviewer? (talk) 22:23, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Jimmy Wales

Mr. Jimmy Wales

I am a writer and IT specialist and Brazil, and I would like to invite you to participate in my book with one article/review about Social networking..

What do you think about my invitation ? please, contact me at


heverton Anunciacao — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

The best way to contact Mr. Wales for press, is to go to WP:Contact. Thanks — nerdfighter 02:51, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
User:Jimbo Wales# Contacting me is a touch more relevant, methinks. Graham87 09:07, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Interesting, as I have noticed a trend of companies to take control of their social networking. Some companies have filed with OTRS a declaration that such-and-such an agency has the authority to add connect on their behalf to social networks, including Wikipedia. I'm trying to respond that Wikipedia is not like Twitter, Linked-In, or Facebook, and they cannot control the content. I fear we will be fighting this battle for some time. Wikipedia isn't a social network, although I've long felt that there was a need to create a parallel project to serve as a formal social network for editors with like interests.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 16:10, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Do interviews with someone about themselves count towards notability?

There have been discussions in the past but it keeps coming up. I'm not talking about an interview with a random stranger about a news event, but instead an interview with someone about themselves and/or their work. Sometimes in AFDs people accept this proves the person is notable, if reliable sources interviewed them, while at other times they claim all interviews are primary only and you must be secondary sources to count towards meeting the notability guidelines. So random results of keep or delete do happen. Dream Focus 16:48, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't see how that's at all "primary". A primary source is something that comes from the person or organization which obviously doesn't inherently say much about notability. An interview, as a secondary source, will tend to indicate notability to a degree that depends on things like: the reputability of the interviewing publication/show/organization, the topic of the interview, etc. At one end of the scale we might have the kind of example that you've correctly identified as not giving any real evidence of notability - an interview with a random stranger about a news event. Along the way, we might have a social media expert interviewed by a mid-range business publication for an opinion about Facebook. (Probably not sufficient to establish notability in the Wikipedia sense, although if there are dozens of them, it's not nothing.) And then we might have a cover story profile interview about the person, their life, their work, etc., by a major publication, which is probably enough on its own to establish notability (with some exceptions of course!).
But none of that means that an interview is a "primary source" from the perspective of notability discussions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:08, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. This keeps coming up. I made a note at Wikipedia:Notability (people) to hopefully stop the same arguments from constantly happening. Dream Focus 18:55, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Hey Jimmy. My issues with interviews stem from the fact that the majority of the contents are produced by the interviewee, not by the interviewer. While the interviewer may be a reliable journalist, the interviews are very rarely edited for truth or clarity, it's just whatever the interviewee wishes to say to the interviewer. For this reason, 90% (probably more) are going to fail the "editorial oversight" and "not by person topic is about" tests. However, interviews with someone from HP about a computer science topic may be okay, as they aren't interviewing the topic of the article directly. Just my opinions, would like to hear your thoughts on it. gwickwiretalkediting 19:12, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
The title of this section refers to notability. An interview may indeed be a useful source for establishing notability, but it is definitely a primary source with regard to the statements made by the person who is being interviewed. Looie496 (talk) 22:37, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Someone can't have an interview with a secondary source, the document is the source not the person. You can have an interview, the transcript and interview itself would be a primary source and a write up about the interview (by the journalist say) would be the secondary source. The interview is primary because it's original material. The analysis of the interview is secondary source because it is deriving from the primary materials. Interviews (and thus the transcripts) are listed as an example of a primary source in the references at primary source [24][25][26]. IRWolfie- (talk) 19:19, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Pretty sure we have the same idea there. The transcript of the interview is the primary source, but a writeup of the interview (i.e. discussion by a reporter on the interview) is not always a primary source. By default, it's not defaultly a reliable source, it still would have to meet the not-a-blog and other requirements :) gwickwiretalkediting 19:57, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
  • The guidelines were written and changed constantly, and this was obviously not with the intention of disqualifying such obvious evidence of notability. Being interviewed in reliable sources has always been proof someone was notable. Just need to change the guideline to clarify that. Dream Focus 20:01, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
It is not as simple as "Interviews do/don't count towards notability", and I do not agree with your change to the guideline simply saying that they do. (I see it has been reverted - if any new wording is needed, it should be agreed on the talk page).
It depends: at one end of the scale an interview in a major newspaper like the NYT or the Economist certainly counts; but at the other, there are countless "lifestyle" and similar magazines which are happy to interview anyone and let them talk about themself (often in conjunction with an advertisement or "advertorial" feature) and interviews like that are a common means of self-promotion. If notability is in doubt, the nature of the source and the interview has to be taken into account. JohnCD (talk) 23:43, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Seems to me extremely unlikely that an article on anybody genuinely notable would have to rely for its only source of a claim of notability, on an interview with the subject as primary focus. Interviews about your life and/or work in reliable sources don't generally happen unless the person is already considered notable by that source, and that doesn't often happen in a vacuum. Only an idiot would assert that "Joe Soap, an 19-year-old-student, saw the event and described it to us" as being biographical or a claim to notability. Guy (Help!) 02:10, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Round Two done, Round Three in progress

Round Two of the Requests for Comment (RfC) on the Requests for Adminship (RfA) process was a success by any measure, and has now been closed. The final round is a one-week vote on two proposals that got support, but relatively few votes, so we're advertising widely and hoping for broader participation in Round Three. - Dank (push to talk) 23:39, 27 March 2013 (UTC)