User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 132

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Sadly, Wiki is now officially Facebook With Articles

Not facebook not like thumbs down.pngDislike

(edit conflict)In the short term, see this discussion (towards the end): [1]. But in general, I agree with your sentiments. Begoontalk 18:21, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I find it more than a little annoying that with all the problems in Wiki such as the RFA process, the Arbitration Enforcment board, vandals and all the other serious problems we are spending our time developing nonsense like this that has no improvement. We should nt be wasting our time creating things that do not "fix" anything. As PumpkinSky put it above, we are becoming like Facebook changing things simply for the sake of a change with no obvious purpose or improvement. I don't mind the number next to my name but I do really like the orange bar. Kumioko (talk) 18:30, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Can you point to a way Engineering can fix RfA, please? Otherwise I'm not quite sure what you want us to be doing. This improves a lot of things, because it's a vector for notifications about things that happen that weren't previously tracked. watch. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 18:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I can tell you several ways Engineering can improve aspects of RFA. First you can start by doing a Business Process Review of what Adminship is and of the tools and the requirements for them. Then you can redesign the tools to allow them to be more useful and allow people to help the project rather than be told we would rather you didn't edit and just go away. Does everyone need to protect and block no. Should more users be able to view protected reports like unwatched pages, pull more than 25000 articles into AWB, view protected content (in some occassions), edit protected templates and pages, absolutely and none of these things are inherent in adminship. You do not need to "fix" RFA because that would be like paving a cowpath. What you can do is reengineer some of the tools and functions in the software to eliminate or reduce the need for them. There are also loads of other things you could do. In your defense though I do have to credit you with trying something. We as a community have repeatedly proven that we are incapable in accepting of or producing meaningful change so I have to give you credit for at least trying. I just think that you are spending time on fixing things that aren't broken and not doing changes that require action and the community has been asking for for a long time. Kumioko (talk) 21:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Probably the first time I've ever used this sentence, but Randy and Kumioko are 100% right here; if people want their name to act as a fucking hashtag they should be on Twitter, not here, and if the WMF really thinks this is a good idea then it's a sign Wikipedia needs a new foundation. Aside from tame WMFers, has anyone actually supported this change? To judge by Wikipedia talk:Notifications it appears to be you and Erik Moller getting ever-shriller in your defence of a change which nobody except you appears to support. – iridescent 2 18:41, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Not really; I don't support the change. I told the development team six months ago that they needed to find a better way of informing people of talkpage messages than a tiny red '1'. I've said this multiple times. I'd point to GabrielF's comment below, by the way - one of many ways in which you can fail to communicate your needs to the WMF is to start effing and blinding in conversations about changes. Do you really think it leads to a world in which we're less, rather than more likely to just walk away from the thread? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:03, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Kumioko is going to take every opportunity they can to bitch and cry about the things they hate, even (and especially) when it is irrelevant to the topic. As with most trolling, the only proper response is to offer no response. Resolute 19:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
That being said, they are right in their criticism of this specific feature. This is something along the lines of the WikiLove nonsense. Technical resources are being wasted on touchy-feely nonsense when the editing interface remains problematic for new users. Perhaps it is time to stop reaching for low hanging fruit? Resolute 19:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
You'll have to excuse me if I am not a mindless drone who will simply go along with the popular vote. Something that appears to be required in order to get the admin tools unfortunately but no one seems to care much how an admin acts once the do get the tools. It also seems that you are more than willing to gripe about your problems with me whenever you have the opportunity so we apparently aren't all that different. Kumioko (talk) 21:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Resolute: Tackling hard problems, like fixing our problematic editing interface, is being done. In fact, fixing the editing interface is the single largest features development team at the Foundation right now. Unlike the days of yore, we now have the capacity to work on multiple hard engineering problems at the same time. Another example are the resources devoted to admin tools development, at the same time that we're working on features like notifications. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 19:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
On the specific issue of "touchy-feely nonsense", there have been academic studies that show that receiving a barnstar specifically, and feedback in general, does lead to more contributions from a user. GabrielF (talk) 19:45, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Links? I'm sure that's correct. It's like advertising - it works even if you know how it works. Even when I know I'm being coddled and encouraged by silly software features they do still tend to work on me... But I'd love to see the surveys you mention, to see some numbers on that. Begoontalk 19:55, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Here is one paper[2]. I will try to dig up more links later. At the moment I would point you to the work of two researchers: David McDonald at U. Washington and User:Benjamin Mako Hill at MIT/Harvard's Berkman Center. GabrielF (talk) 20:18, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • How about, as an exercise, instead of bitching about changes we focus on (1) how we as a community can communicate our needs to the foundation's engineering team more effectively and (2) how we can let the foundation know about which of their efforts have been effective. GabrielF (talk) 18:45, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • The feature sounds useful - getting a notification when somebody reverts you should certainly be ... interesting. The orange bar script also might be a good idea but I notice it relies on cookies. I delete cookies every few hours, yet the old orange bar worked correctly anyway somehow. I do wish the devs would put a rewrite of the category system at the top of their list, though. I get more and more spam hits for Wikipedia in Google every day because every article has got some godawful infobox with every possible thing I might be looking for spattered across the bottom of an article that's not about it. The categories should be our navigation templates, and they should look just as pretty and be more flexible even than navboxes to use. Wnt (talk) 19:04, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, there's a first time for everything... I agree (a bit) with wnt. Generally, wnt, every time I see your name I cringe and wonder what irrelevant, self serving tangent you'll be taking us off on. Your seeming fixation on "freedom" of information over potential personal harm often offends me deeply. But here, on this trivial Orange Bar thing, I agree. See my talk page - I want my Orange bar, but I also want to see what "notifications" brings to my door. And yes, categories are fucked and should be dynamited and rebuilt. We'll get there. Begoontalk 19:17, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you agree, kind of ... I just don't understand the level of disparagement I'm getting here when I've been supporting the status quo - how Commons presently actually does things, how Flickr does things, how Google does things, how America does things. Wnt (talk) 19:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Cool - this is just something from personal experience. If I'm feeling confused because everyone is taking the opposite position or there's a sense that people keep saying: "Oh, Begoon, for god's sake, not again...", then I have to give myself a kick up the ass. I wasn't able to do that properly until my 4th decade, so either I'm a slow developer, or self awareness tends to come late. Either way I recommend it. Not easy, but a life-changing thing you can either embrace or look forward to. Begoontalk 19:41, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm so glad that people have found a new Wikipedia specific variant of Godwin's Law. All discussion of an change can be made utterly futile by dropping "Wikipedia is becoming Facebook". —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 19:28, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

You are missing the point. You're trying to defend a change that's got widespread disagreement by trying to focus on the fact that we mention facebook. But the real thing is that "We don't fix things unless they're broken." The orange bar wasn't broken, but the red button is. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 19:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of the change, but I'm at a complete loss on how the change makes us Facebook. --OnoremDil 19:50, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
+1. The comparison always seems to be tending to pretend that a community-edited encyclopedia doesn't need an actual, well, community. Rd232 talk 20:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Fixed that for you, Rd232 TheOriginalSoni (talk) 21:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, but unfixed. Ironically perhaps (given the issue), that template is too big loud and I don't want to use it. Your comment, however, triggered a "you've been mentioned" notification for the first time... and it turns out that that doesn't give you a diff link, just a link to the talkpage section, so you've got to hunt for the actual mention. Totally primetime ready... not. Rd232 talk 22:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

There was a change (ability for ability to an admin to mark their own block as an error in someone's block record) agreed to unanimously with many weighing in over weeks at the pump. Communicated it to the official channel, the "dead letter office" "Bugzilla" system and they buried it, while working on things that nobody decided. So, answering the question above, step 1 on better communicating needs will require them getting the cotton out of their ears. A good way to do that would for representative of them to participate at a forum. North8000 (talk) 20:07, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Maybe WP:DEVMEMO wasn't a great idea (it certainly didn't work), but I've yet to see anything better happening. It should be said that crosswiki watchlists would help, since besides bugzilla, a lot of developer activity is on Rd232 talk 20:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I loved the OBOD. It gave a certain "frisson". p.s. where's my "personal history timeline" displayed??! Martinevans123 (talk) 21:01, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I like the change. It still needs tweaks, and Okeyes said they are looking at maybe adding a temporary orange bar option, but it is a move in the right direction. We need more than an obnoxious orange bar, and the history function alone is worth making the adjustment. Give it time. As far is it being "facebook-like", so what? We are Wikipedia, we get to take parts of stuff we like and move it here, and just provide a citation. Why should functions be any different if they have some proven advantages? Dennis Brown - © Join WER 21:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

@OKEYES - one way to NOT get so much efing this and that is for the WMF TO COMMUNICATE, let us know about changes, ASK US what we want. NOT remove crat rename rights and the orange bar WITH NO NOTICE or discussion. This is more proof WMF could care less about the volunteers that do all the grunt work around here. At a minimum we should have been informed and the orange bar should be an option. And yes, this makes us officially facebooky. @BEGOON thanks for the script, I'll see if I can get it to work.PumpkinSky talk 21:20, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

This feature was out in the open for over a year and communicated on the blog, reported on in the signpost and tested in multiple locations. People choose not to participate (logically, because you wouldn't have any time left to edit the encyclopedia). People skip over stuff that doesn't interest them at first sight, it's quite natural. This website needs to be maintained, and if you don't want to stand in the S, then that's fine, but really there is a little bit too much complaining about the color and size of the manure silo and not enough focus on the improvements of having a freaking silo in the first place. The paintbrushes are out, and whatta you know, the silo is dynamically sizable, it will just take a bit of time. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 21:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
In the open? I never heard of it. What blog? SP--I don't get that. The uproar proves WMF once again did a lousy job of communicating. At a minimum, we should have the option to turn this on or off, to keep or not keep the orange bar. This is a facebooky touchfeely change with no real substance.PumpkinSky talk 21:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
The Crat changes I knew about, they started talking about it ages ago but no one really believed unification would ever come. I didn't know it was going to be this week, but knew it was coming. It had been discussed (and dismissed by some) at WP:BN. I knew about Echo a week or two ago, but I didn't follow much, except to announce it ahead of time at WER. It hasn't been a huge topic, but it didn't seem like anyone cared before today. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 01:15, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
And the only astonishing thing is that Douglas Adams had never heard of the WMF. --RexxS (talk) 03:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
That Echo was coming was well-known to many active Wikimedians, especially those like myself with an interest in tech. That it involved abolishing the Orange Bar - not so much. Was it mentioned in the Signpost reports? I've just skimmed again and not seen that. All the things I read on and off during development implied to me that it would supplement the Orange Bar. And I would never in a month of Sundays have expected the Orange Bar to be replaced without Echo giving due prominence (even if in a very different styling) to talkpage messages. Rd232 talk 22:20, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • WP:LAME. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:35, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I like the changes and applaud the WMF for their efforts. Unfortunately, their editors are proven to be resistant to change, so implementing this change will be like herding cats, which can be fun but tiresome. Hang in there! Viriditas (talk) 21:39, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Change can be good. Change is not automatically good. Please refrain from dismissing those that don't love every change. I've yet to see an explanation about what is positive about removing the orange bar (other than getting rid of stupid joke bars that haven't been funny in years.) --OnoremDil 21:43, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    This is a much needed change, and it will be improved through user feedback. However, I maintain that the old orange bar was quite possibly the most hated feature on Wikipedia. It disrupted people from doing their work, it disrupted the user experience with a bright color, and it had a disturbing psychological effect that quite seriously made me want to turn off the computer and stop participating. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm curious about the history of the orange bar and how it was chosen in the first place, as that one feature did more to turn me off from this place than anything else. Now that it's gone, I dance upon its grave with great joy. Viriditas (talk) 00:30, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • RIP Orange bar. It struck fear into the hearts of new editors for years and was such a huge distraction while editing. It was really.....really annoying. Good riddance. --Amadscientist (talk) 21:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Yes, the orange bar was distracting. So are fire alarms.
    In 2011, the bar's default appearance was briefly changed from orange to blue to better match the Vector skin. In response, it was pointed out that the message was supposed to stand out, not blend in. The new notifier blends in. —David Levy 22:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Wow. I knew of Wikipedian's tendency to hate change of absolutely any kind, but this.. I mean, maybe I'm missing something important here. Is this really about the orange bar becoming something that is not an orange bar, but works exactly the same? Or is there more to it? Are there features being removed? Will it become harder to see if someone sent me a message? Heck, from what I can see, this will dramatically improve the user experience by giving more and more useful notifications. Someone mentions me on another page and I'll be notified? Holy crap that's awesome! I want this, now! And some of you guys are seriously trying to stop this because.. it does not include the orange bar? Or is there something else I'm missing? --Conti| 22:22, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Are there features being removed? - yes, the Orange Bar. Will it become harder to see if someone sent me a message? - yes (especially for newcomers). See JohnCD's comment at Wikipedia_talk:Notifications#Discussion. Rd232 talk 22:29, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    The orange bar is not the feature, it's a way to display the feature. The feature itself obviously stays: You will still be notified. The only issue I can see is your second point, that the new notification will not be as obvious as the orange bar. And I'm fairly sure that some tweaking could solve this. Of course, the alternative is to stop this entirely and declare the end of the world (as with any new change on Wikipedia). Call me crazy, but I prefer the tweaking option. It should be trivial to make the new notification be just as annoying (in a good way) as the orange bar when your talk page changes. --Conti| 22:36, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Um, yes. I've asked for a temporary reversion while something better than both the Orange Bar and the new Echo handling of talkpage messages is developed. See Wikipedia_talk:Notifications#How_would_you_compare_two_methods_for_talk_page_message_notifications. (You may also be interested in my new essay, Wikipedia:Interface changes. Or not.) Rd232 talk 22:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    I agree with the principles of your essay, and it's entirely likely that the new feature can use some improvements. I was just annoyed at the crass, rude and unhelpful way some people were complaining about the change, and I probably overreacted a bit. It certainly was not directed at you. :) --Conti| 23:01, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Indeed, perhaps some tweaking can address this concern. (I'm not sure that it will be trivially easy, but it might be possible.) Until such time, it's reasonable to criticise the current style's shortcomings. —David Levy 22:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
THe big issues are: lack of notice, it's hard to see, and it looks like facebook. I don't do facebook. I do wiki. Now I will agree the "select options" feature in prefs is good, but it should include the ability to turn it on an off, to keep or not keep the orange bar, have both, etc. [Additional comment removed by author.] PumpkinSky talk 22:58, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Um, no it wasn't. I'm still trying to figure out what this new feature is and whether it's good, bad, or indifferent, but that last comment is appalling. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Are you expecting anyone to take you seriously or even acknowledge your opinion when you make statements like that? --Conti| 23:01, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, thanks for putting this slightly ill-thought-out interface change into perspective... although that was probably not your intention. Rd232 talk 23:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
So we've escalated to calling this metaphorical rape? Fantastic. I assume genocide is next, surely that will convince people your opinion should be taken seriously. --Floquenbeam (talk) 23:04, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, that is too far. I don't entirely like the change either, at first glance, but it does have positive aspects, workarounds are appearing for us old farts, and as I've said elsewhere, I'd be surprised if Orange Bar or "son of Orange Bar" doesn't officially reappear in some form as a response to the feedback. I like hyperbole as much as the next man, but there is a limit. Begoontalk 23:15, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yep, that was too far. I've struck it and apologize. PumpkinSky talk 23:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Which is more than many here would do after being called out for a comment. Thanks from me, at least, and I'm glad the temporary fix that Writ came up with is easing the pain for you a little, as it is for me. Begoontalk 23:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Conti - Any of us who work in IT will know that users are resistant to change. We also know that springing a significant change on a user base without notice will piss people off and make them even more resistant to the change. The way this was deployed showed a significant lack of respect to the user community, so the reaction should not be a surprise. There is a lesson in this that I hope the devs will heed next time. I think back to the way the Vector interface was rolled out. There was a lot of disdain for it - I myself despise it - but at least we were given notice that it was coming and the option to switch back. This change offered neither. Even if this new interface ultimately proves to be an improvement, the mishandling of its implementation will certainly reduce the odds of acceptance. Resolute 00:30, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I still refuse to use vector--it's ugly. I use monobook.PumpkinSky talk 01:09, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
As do I. I cringe every 90 days when my login expires. Resolute 01:10, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Every 90 days? You're lucky. I cringe several times a day, every time I and my socks have to log in and out. Curse Vector! Bishonen | talk 10:31, 3 May 2013 (UTC).
I understand that users are resistant to change, and yes, this could and should have been communicated to the community in a better way. But that doesn't mean we should tolerate the particularly crass and unhelpful complainers that come up whenever something changes. --Conti| 10:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
+1 New worl (talk) 11:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps not, but my point is that we should not be giving them extra ammunition by completely screwing up an implementation. (as an aside, holy crap is that +1 template annoying. Downright attention whorish.) Resolute 13:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Sometimes I think people forget that, in a sense, users are customers. You have to sell change. Simply assuming that all users hate/resist change is foolish. Most will welcome or at least tolerate it if it's presented and prepared in advance (and if they think there's something to be gained from it). It's also worth considering that change when put forward in a crass and unhelpful way is going to piss people off. And when there are still major issues with user interface, something like this just looks silly. More to the effect of "Oh, it's the same old klunker, but we put glitter-covered fuzzy dice on it. It's better now!" Intothatdarkness 14:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yep. See essay Wikipedia:Interface changes. Rd232 talk 14:33, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Well, today I have been looking at articles for several minutes, and I completely failed to notice that I had new messages in my talk page. I only realized because I saw the notification email in my inbox. Sorry, but removing the orange box was really a clumsy move. Pretty please put it back so I can't miss new messages. --Enric Naval (talk) 20:56, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree. Abolishing the orange bar without replacing it by something equally noticeable was a very stupid move. Now every newbie spammer profits from plausible deniability when they simply ignore the messages on their talk page, and on the other hand plenty of people will be blocked without ever having seen the numerous warnings about problems with their editing.
In addition, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a subculture of Wikimedia staff and related editors who believe that various off-wiki means of communication almost unknown to the general editorship are appropriate places for prior information about major changes. They are not. Hans Adler 22:17, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
(A slight tangent, but blocked newwbies should be taken to their talk page block notice when they click "edit", orange bar or no orange bar.) --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 00:48, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
True, but by then it's too late: blocking should be a last resort. Many vandals stop after a {{uw-v2}} message, and good-faith newbies who do something wrong are usually willing to learn if the problem is explained to them. The worry is that we shall be blocking people who need not have been blocked, if only they had realised there were messages for them. This is not the way to do "editor engagement". JohnCD (talk) 10:53, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Seems like all these sorts of things could be solved by simply making them "opt-in". If you are a registered editor and don't like the yellow bar, and you trust yourself that you will notice the little red message alerts, then you have the right, if you so choose, to change it. I like it, and would opt in. If you are not a registered editor (such as an IP vandal), or if you just plain like the old look, you still get the standard, very noticeable, yellow message box. Now I'm sure some tech guy will tell me why we can't, which is really just another symptom of the problem. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 22:30, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I like the new functions but the tab should be flashing, or the notifications floating box should pop up automatically when there's an unread message on your talk page. Yesterday I encountered an excellent new biomedical editor; I left a personalised welcome on his talk page. Today I realise he's never going to see it. There is no point in leaving talk page notices for newbies at the moment. This to some degree undermines new editor retention. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 01:02, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

I take a neutral stance to the notifications system as a whole (since I don't use it and probably never will) but the orange bar is something we need back. As someone mentioned above (sorry for forgetting your name amongst this lengthy discussion), the notification link doesn't grab your attention. In order to use the notifications system you need to know what and where it is. Vandals, spammers and other unwelcome types probably won't be willing to find all that stuff out, and will end up missing the messages on their talk page. So, in my opinion, we should keep the orange bar for both IPs and registered users, but with the latter being able to opt out either through their preferences or a link on the orange bar itself. Passengerpigeon (talk) 08:34, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

One more !vote for the old system -- I had to turn off my pop-up blocker in order to get the notification number reset, and to change notification settings! The red flag does not reset when you visit your talk page :(. Collect (talk) 14:07, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

What's worse is if I add a comment to my talk page or if I link to my name on a discussion it adds a notification. I don't need it to tell me I made a comment. Only when others do! Kumioko (talk) 16:21, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I really like the change - but see that people that have tlakbacks to the teahouse or help desk are not seeing them at all. Hard one here...I like that it is simple ..but dont want to have to post multiple times to people because they have no clue they have messages.--Moxy (talk) 22:40, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo, at some point you're going to have to tackle commons

There does not appear to be any common ground with those currently running it. Ducking and/or waiting it out aren't working. InconvenientCritic (talk) 23:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

That's a very interesting opinion from a user who only registered today. odder (talk) 23:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, from a coward who registered a throwaway account to hide their usual one at least. Resolute 23:48, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Please desist with the personal attacks. Thanks.InconvenientCritic (talk) 23:56, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree. We should assume good faith. It could be one of the IPs above, someone from commons that wants an English name here, or even one of the Filipacchi family providing input about commons.--Canoe1967 (talk) 00:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, InconvenientCritic certainly isn't me, but I agree with him/her wholeheartedly. Jimbo, I know you often prefer a hands-off approach to Wikipedia and the other projects, and I can understand that, but at some point you're going to have to give some kind of meaningful input into this conversation. Short of intervention from the leadership of the WMF, that's the only thing that's going to effect change. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 00:25, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
InconvenientCritic would be both more inconvenient and more critical if he gave some detailed proposals which have a snowflake's chance in hell of being implemented. "Oh Jimbo, save us!" doesn't qualify. Rd232 talk 00:04, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Since you asked nicely.
1) WMF/Jimbo should amend the keep/delete criteria to default delete for pictures using the full power of WMF:Office, especially in the case of non-notable but identifiable persons.
2) WMF/Jimbo should add an explicit deletion acceptance criteria wherein a non/marginally notable person asks for their picture to be deleted.
3) WMF/Jimbo should insist on a "delete on sight" policy for child pornography, broadly construed.
4) WMF/Jimbo should remove from positions of authority those who refuse to abide by these rules.
How's that for a start?InconvenientCritic (talk) 00:10, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
WMF/Jimbo doesn't have the power to do 1) or 2); and they would no doubt say that 3) is already the case. I'm not sure to what extent they have the power to do 4) either, where it doesn't involve violations of 3). 1) and 2) are certainly starting points for discussion for community revision to Commons policies - but as you probably know, it quickly gets into "we've been here before, that's not going to get consensus" territory. 2) is the more likely to maybe stand a chance to get consensus. Rd232 talk 00:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Bear with me here, you are saying that the WMF cannot dictate policy?
Who pays for the servers? Who owns the software copyrights? Who has control of the database?
I believe the answer is the WMF.
Political will is a different thing than capability/authority. InconvenientCritic (talk) 00:26, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Commons lost many good admins and other contributors the last time Jimbo tried to unilaterally dictate policy and there is no reason to think it would be any different if he tried again. The WMF may own the servers, but this project's sustainability depends on the good will of its community. Dictators tend not to generate much good will. Resolute 00:35, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
So you're saying that mostly the bad ones are left?
Or you're saying that doing the right thing might have a cost?
Or you're saying that nothing better be done or there will be consequences?
Please elaborate as to which choice you were referring to. InconvenientCritic (talk) 01:39, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't deal in false dichotomies, nor am I going to engage your strawmen. But I will say this: based on past experience, I believe your preferred method of action is unlikely to result in positive change, simply because you have not considered the unintended consequences. Resolute 01:48, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
So far, you've said very little about anything. Please continue. InconvenientCritic (talk) 02:41, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Off-topic, but I'm pretty sure the WMF doesn't actually own the software copyrights at all. --Yair rand (talk) 01:42, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
WMF owns the copyrights and uses GPLv2 or greater to license them. InconvenientCritic (talk) 02:47, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Here is a link that seems to cast doubt on your assurance that item #3 is already in place — Preceding unsigned comment added by InconvenientCritic (talkcontribs) 00:34, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Without going into details about that diff, let me make one thing clear: at least on Commons (I don't know about other projects, but I guess we're focusing on Commons here), #3 has been in place for a very long time. The procedure is as follows: every picture that is reported either to the oversight team or WMF Legal and can be classified as child pornography gets suppressed on sight, and their uploader is blocked locally (sometimes even globally locked), check-usered, and reported to appropriate US authorities. We are keeping these pictures on the servers as long as it's necessary for legal reasons, and after the process is finished, they get deleted from the servers by Wikimedia Foundation staff, and are no longer accessible for anyone. odder (talk) 00:48, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
That sounds useful, and if it were universally applied in practice we wouldn't have a problem like this. The relevant question, then, with regard to the issues DC has pointed out, is why it wasn't used in these cases. Only Mattbuck can answer that question, I imagine, but is there perhaps a problem with admins (and others) not being aware that this procedure exists? In any case, I'm sure there's more we can do to make people aware that this is an option. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 00:54, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
As far as I am concerned, most Commons admins (as well as other functionaries, for instance stewards and admins from other projects) are aware about the possibility of contacting the oversight team and WMF legal at the same time (there is no real difference between the two options—we as volunteers always inform the WMF about every children pornography picture reported to us), but I guess there is always a possibility to make it more prominent for inexperienced users. On the other part of your message, I have no idea why DC decided to contact a regular Commons administrator instead of an oversighter; I assume they might have not been aware that the oversight policy also applies to child pornography pictures (though I have to admit I would be a bit surprised if they weren't). odder (talk) 01:11, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure where that info is written down clearly though. Eg commons:Commons:Deletion policy doesn't mention it. commons:Help:Sexual content is a bit of a mess and not well-known. Rd232 talk 01:28, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Commons:Oversight mentions that "the right is used to remove material that may give rise to legal challenges"; I agree that it's most probably not written down properly — as far as I know, it's more of a non-written policy to contact the oversight team about such matters; the information about contacting the WMF legal team is available at Commons:Contact us/Problems, which is two clicks away from every page on Commons. odder (talk) 02:06, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Probably worth a mention in COM:D though. Rd232 talk 10:00, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Odder, you say "I have no idea why DC decided to contact a regular Commons administrator instead of an oversighter". In both cases discussed in the blog post I contacted a WMF employee, not a Commons admin. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 10:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Really? Please explain what you had in mind when you wrote the following sentence: When I saw these images, I looked to see if there were any Commons admins online. Howcheng seemed to be active. Howcheng is an admin on Commons and the English-language Wikipedia, and he also has access to the private OTRS facility which is used to confirm copyright permissions and respond to user complaints. I used Common’s email facility to alert him to these images, and asked him to delete them immediately. odder (talk) 11:06, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
You are correct. In that instance, I was hoping to get the images deleted from public view as soon as possible. I learned from that experience. Why do you think I didn't do the same in the later instance I detail? At the time of that incident the advice on Commons read "Innocent Images - To report inappropriate images of children, email the Wikimedia Foundation at, being sure to include a link to the content. We do not encourage community members to download or archive potentially inappropriate content". Contacting oversight was therefore not something I would have considered. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 11:38, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I am surprised to hear that from such an experienced user like you, DC. odder (talk) 11:42, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
It is precisely because I am an experienced user that I often chose to go the most direct route I can find. I am not unwilling to follow the normal procedures, but if they don't get results I tend to avoid repeating the exercise. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 20:00, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) And just to clarify, this isn't about Jimbo issuing some kind of divine edict from a mountaintop and enforcing his rules at the point of a sword. I just want him to engage directly with the problem and make some effort at either getting WMF involved in a non-trivial capacity, or building consensus to get rid of Russavia and rebuilding Commons as something other than what it now is. Something along the lines of his intervention with categorygate would suffice, if it brought about meaningful change. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 00:28, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I am afraid that the getting rid of Russavia part completely disqualifies your proposal. odder (talk) 10:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Disqualifies it in the eyes of the Russavia Fan Club, sure. But those sorts of people are not really relevant to the discussion. Tarc (talk) 12:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
This might be true, I wouldn't know. The point is, every proposal that focuses on kicking out a user that you don't like is a bad one, and already lost. And if you suggest to exclude people that you don't agree with from a discussion, that's even worse. odder (talk) 12:30, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Then perhaps you'll weigh in on Commons where a user is trying to have me blocked for "spreading terror". Apparently they were told some nonsense in IRC and swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 12:34, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
And we can add you to the list while we're at it, Odder. But I guess Commons is the sort of place where self-professed "trolls" get to be oversighters rather than indef blocked. I'm starting to like the "Old Yeller" solution for all of Commons more and more the longer this drags on. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 00:34, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Russavia = Saddam, Child Porn = WMD, InconvenientCritic = Bush, Count Iblis (talk) 13:08, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Commons has launched a pre-emptive attack against Jimbo's invasion force, it seems. Count Iblis (talk) 14:41, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Does this mean we're doomed to a library dedicated to InconvenientCritic? -mattbuck (Talk) 20:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Could an en.wp admin please remind some of the users on this page that personal attacks, edit warring and removal of threads from other people's talk pages are not allowed? It would be nice to be able to have a conversation without several people attempting to derail it every few minutes. InconvenientCritic (talk) 14:55, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Two people have been blocked for doing it; I think that's enough of a reminder. Rd232 talk 15:14, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I just saw that. Thanks for the notice.
I'm not so sure that I deserve to be compared to George W Bush.InconvenientCritic (talk) 15:15, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I'd agree. George W Bush was comedy gold material among other things. Hmm... just maybe... -- A Certain White Cat chi? 17:12, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Well, if you wanted any more evidence of the problems at Commons...

A user who is an admin, oversighter and OTRS at Commons gets blocked here for edit warring on this page. THeir response to this is to say "watch me now" [3] and then post an image saying "Troll Mode On" with an edit summary of "TROLOLOLOL" [4]. People complain about admins here, but I think you'd struggle to find any that are as immature and disruptive as that. Yet Commons gave that person oversight privilieges? Well, that looks really good, doesn't it? Black Kite (talk) 17:25, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

People complain about admins here, but I think you'd struggle to find any that are as immature and disruptive as that. - that probably sounds like a challenge to some ears... Rd232 talk 20:17, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
En.wikipedia is worse off than commons or many other wikis. No one on commons claimed to have a PhD on theology to be an arbitrator etc which turned out to be a lie and even got media coverage. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 17:31, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, let's ignore one unacceptable situation because there once was another unacceptable situation. --Conti| 17:47, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Immature perhaps, but disruptive? I'd consider that sardonic more than anything. Resolute 18:05, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, usually edit-warring to remove something you disagree with from someone else's talk page is, indeed, given to be disruptive. As is basically threatening to disrupt further. YMMV, obviously. Black Kite (talk) 18:11, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Ahh, sorry. I was referring to the image and "trololol" comment. My fault for not making that clear. As much as I personally agree that the purpose of that section was for harassment (and spam), warring to try and remove it was stupid and the block deserved. Resolute 18:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
However, this section is begging the question. Is there evidence that Odder is abusing their permissions on Commons? If the answer is no, then I fail to see how their being blocked on EN is "more evidence of the problems at Commons". Resolute 18:18, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Not at all, but my point was that should someone capable of such childishness have such advanced permissions, whether they're abusing them or not? Certainly if I was the WMF I'd be ensuring that users with such permissions were reliable editors at the very least. Black Kite (talk) 18:24, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
(ec) He removed it, was reverted, removed it again and was reverted again. Then that was it. By my count that means he reverted someone's edits once. Hardly 3RR, and in no way deserving a block. -mattbuck (Talk) 18:20, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I see. What about the "Troll Mode on", and threatening to disrupt further comments? Still, they've "retired" from now, so we won't have to deal with that any more. Black Kite (talk) 18:24, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Thing is, Wikipedia was planning a regime change at Commons, that tiggered a pre-emptive attack by two Commons fighter jets here which did some damage. The two planes where shot down, and the pilots were captured. After mediation by Bishonen, the two pilots were released. Count Iblis (talk) 18:32, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Odder didn't start the "war" and he only made two deletions, so is that normally blockable? But I do see he was quickly unblocked - despite circumstances where many a newbie would have been sent on a death-spiral - and admittedly, deleting talk page comments isn't exactly normal editing. Still, he could have been motivated by WP:Child protection, which comes very near to (but isn't actually) sanctioning the thread deletion, even revdeletion. Wikipedia ought to be a community more tolerant of occasional frustrated words - it's not like we had a fistfight like certain parliaments are wont. Wnt (talk) 18:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Discussing how admin Mattbuck has failed to act appropriately when they encounter child pornography is not an accusation that they are a pedophile. Even if Mattbuck says it is. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 20:40, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. Though I have to say, it is troubling though to see this laissez-faire attitude time and time again on the commons. Last month I was rather taken aback at Túrelio simply slapping speedy deletion tags on blatantly obvious kiddie porn, rather than deleting it outright. Thankfully Commons' oversighters were quick on the ball. Tarc (talk) 00:23, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

More problems here than at Commons

Because we're having far more unproductive discussions. If you consider Wikipedia with all its editors as a single entity, you could say that Wikipedia is far more stressed out about perceived imperfections of Commons than Commons is about itself. Besides that issue, Wikipedia has increasingly taken a more reactionary attitude when dealing with problems in recent years due to the way the ArbCom system operates. If this continues, Wikipedia may get a nervous breakdown. I suggest we calm down, just accept that not everything has to be perfect; what matters is that problems are dealt with, not that there are problems to deal with. Count Iblis (talk) 00:33, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Quaint speech. Reminds me a bit of ol' Baghdad Bob; "Contrary to the vicious lies spread by the Imperialist En.Wikipedia, Commons does not have any serious problems. I mean, really, what's so bad about being unsure just what the licensing really is when be bot-scrape from Flickr, or that we sometimes just propose deletion of child pornography rather than doing it immediately, or that we had to have the WMF ban a sex offender because we refused to do so ourselves. There's just nothing to see here, move along." Tarc (talk) 00:52, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, a child porn picture, bad as it is, doesn't do immediate damage, it isn't like a situation where you have a possible pedophile teacher in a school who has to be put on non-active immediately and investigated by the police. The problem with consistently taking the attitute appropriate for the latter problem in case of the former problem is that you end up being taken less seriously. If at Commons they can improve things, that should be addressed, but that then becomes a lot more difficult. If we attack them, they will defend themselves; they will be more inclined to explain to us how they do their things over there, instead of taking on board any suggestions we may have. Count Iblis (talk) 12:17, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Count Iblis, you say "a child porn picture, bad as it is, doesn't do immediate damage" - can you expand on that comment? How do you think Commons should deal with child porn images that are uploaded to Commons? Is it appropriate to leave the images publicly visible and start a deletion request (which is listed in other pages to draw editor participation and can last an indeterminate amount of time)? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:36, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
If it were up to me, I would distinguish between obvious child porn where you could close any community process immediately as a SNOW close and borderline cases where you do need community consensus to determine if in fact the picture is unacceptable child porn. In the former case, they should remove the pictures as soon as they are noticed, as there is no point in going through the community process. If they don't do this, then I think it's better to argue also on the basis that a slow process is not good for Commons, having child porn for too long on their website is not good for their reputation, rather than only arguing on the basis of e.g. harm to children. Everyone knows that child porn is illegal and should be removed because of that, but not everyone will agree about the urgency because of possible harm to children. Count Iblis (talk) 16:21, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Can you help me understand what you mean by "borderline cases"? In the cases I documented in my blog post, the explicit images of genitalia were labelled by the uploaders as being of a 16 year-old and a 17 year-old. Are those "borderline cases" or "obvious child porn", to use your terminology? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:31, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I can imagine someone might donate medical images that pass all but points 1 and 4 of the Dost test (I was just looking into a Refdesk question recently that led me to some really nasty stuff [5]...) Wnt (talk) 16:52, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
My own views on how they should deal with this problem is as follows. First they should look at the legal issues whe questions are raised about pictures. If these images are illegal (according to the US laws that WMF has to stick to) then that would make this a clear cut case, no matter what my personal opinion is about what should in principle be allowed or not (because that's an argument to be raised in the larger society, not on a WMF project). If the legality is not clear cut, then that should be settled not by the community processes, but by appointed people who represent WMF who deal with legal matters. They should make a final ruling, not the community.
Only if all these questions are settled in favor of the pictures being legal, does this question of the community norms w.r.t. unacceptable porn arise. I.m.o., the community should have norms that are at least a bit more strict then what is technically the legal boundary, because you want to stay well clear of violating the law; you need a buffer to deal with the community occasionally making the wrong decision.
So, in practice, a picture flagged as potentially illegal should be immediately deleted if it is clear that it doesn't satisfy the more stringent community norms. Otherwise it would be temporarily removed and checked for legality (e.g. the uploader could have lied about the age, saying that the person is 20 instead of 15). If the binding decision is made that the picture is legally ok. the community would then decide. Count Iblis (talk) 12:48, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
In the cases I documented in my blog post, the explicit images of genitalia were labelled by the uploaders as being of a 16 year-old and a 17 year-old. Are those "borderline cases" or "obvious child porn", to use your terminology? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:48, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not into the law on this issue. If such pictures are clearly illegal according to US law, then it's obvious child porn. If not, and one can raise arguments both for it being legal or illegal given the current US laws, it is a (legal) borderline case. In either cases, I would prefer that Commons were to reject such images without having to go through protracted community discussions, they should stay well clear of any legal boundaries. Just put the boundary at age 20 or so, and then have community discussions about the borderline cases that arise when using that safer boundary instead. Count Iblis (talk) 14:30, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
You said "If it were up to me, I would distinguish between obvious child porn where you could close any community process immediately as a SNOW close and borderline cases where you do need community consensus to determine if in fact the picture is unacceptable child porn". But when I do leave it up to you, you cannot distinguish between "obvious child porn" and "borderline cases". Then you state that you are not familiar with the law, but say that law (the with which you are not familiar) should be used to determine what is "obvious child porn". I agree the law should be used to determine what is obvious child pornography, but recall that the WMF does not train admins in the law and seems to have no expectation that they are aware of it. I cannot agree that there should be a public discussion by members of the Commons Community about something that is plausibly child pornography. If there is a plausible case to be made that an image is child pornography, it should be deleted by an admin and referred to the WMF legal department to make a determination. The Commons Community is the last group I would trust to make this kind of decision. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:06, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, after I had thought about this a bit more, I changed my thinking about this issue a bit, I now think it is is better to have community norms that are stricter than what the law would allow. And there should be legal experts at WMF that deal with the legal issues when such questions are raised. Count Iblis (talk) 22:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I also don't claim to be a legal expert on this. But, going from the description alone, these images probably are borderline. The question in California law (Penal Code § 311.3(b)(5)) is whether the images were made "for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer" (note: not whether they may feasibly serve that purpose). Formerip (talk) 15:14, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I have seen the images and, as I stated in my blog post, I believe they would be considered as child pornography by that criterion, but I am not an expert on this either. In any case the applicable law would, I believe, be the Florida statute not the California one, since the servers are in Florida. The criteria are slightly different (in this case I think "actual lewd exhibition of the genitals" covers it). Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:12, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Aren't the servers actually in South Korea nowadays? The WMF terms of use say "San Francisco County, California", though, so I think its reasonable to expect users to follow that.
In any event, while you're entitled to your view that the images were unlawful, it doesn't seem to me that you can reasonably claim that this is very clear-cut, at least based on the information you have provided about the images. Formerip (talk) 22:27, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
The WMF may identify as being based in San Francisco in order to set the jurisdiction for lawsuits, incorporation, etc. If the servers are in Florida, I imagine that local laws would be applied, but, again, I am not interested in playing internet lawyer with you or anyone else. The question isn't whether or not I am correct in my assessment of whether or not the images were illegal, it is whether there is a plausible case to be made that they are illegal, and there very clearly is such a case if you are arguing about the specifics of the law. Should Mattbuck have started deletion requests for images that are possibly illegal, or should he have immediately deleted the images and referred the matter to the WMF legal team? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:42, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
He should do whatever is policy over there. So, the images should have been deleted "immediately upon being identified as unlawful". But if Mattbuck did not feel able to identify the images as unlawful, policy tells him not to delete them ("a lawfully-hosted file, which falls within Commons' definitions of scope, will not be deleted"). That may be an unsatisfactory policy, but there it is.
In future, I guess he'd be best advised to just pretend he hasn't seen the upload. Formerip (talk) 23:25, 4 May 2013 (UTC)


This and this astonish me and my first instinct is that surely these stories are wrong in some important way. Can someone update me on where I can read the community conversation about this? Did it happen? How did it happen?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:13, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Not an isolated case, I'm afraid, Jimbo. See here for another example. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:27, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
That's not exactly the same thing. The articles complain about people (apparently) removing women from the main category to a "ghetto" of a women's category. Categorization that assumes male defaults is a very bad idea. The case you're talking about is a list, not a category (that's not important, and I know you know it, but I mention it because likely reporters will read this discussion). And having a list for women directors, and a list of all directors, isn't the same thing as having a general list (for men only) and a women's list.
There are still valid arguments against it, of course! But my point is that there is a respectable and non-sexist argument for having a category for women and a general category, namely that there are academic studies on female literature, female film, etc. Some might argue that the existence of such academic disciplines is sexist, but those arguments aren't very compelling since these tend to be highly pro-feminist areas of academic study. I do not think, let me be clear, that we should have any differences in the treatment of gender at all. But I also do respect that a person can be in favor of dual categorization of females for academic reasons and not in favor of dual categorization for males.
What is completely and totally unacceptable - and there seems to be strong consensus on this - is to create a general list or category and only include men, and then a special list for women. That's nonsense and sexist. I haven't seen anyone in favor of it, and so I think the Guardian and HuffPo (and NYT) articles are unfair to us in that regard. It seems that most of this came about because people categorized in a haphazard fashion, rather than through any real discussion or policy about this.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:37, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
The main category actually just includes one article and a bunch of subcategories. I have seen some categories created for "Male x", but there doesn't appear to be one in this case. So, really, it is more like women are getting a special category of their own and men aren't.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:42, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Ah, it is talking about the American novelist category specifically, rather than the general novelist category. It isn't actually accurate, though, as many female novelists are still included in the main category.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:45, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Oh, there is also a category for men so it isn't only being done to one gender.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:49, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Having a main category for an occupation and a subcategory for women with that occupation is the standard around here. It's everywhere in Category:People by occupation/Category:Women by occupation such as Category:Composers/Category:Women composers, Category:Scientists/Category:Women scientists to name just two. Deli nk (talk) 17:44, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
I was hoping someone would take the hint, Jimbo, and merge the two lists. It makes no sense to have a list of all of X (which is very incomplete) and a separate list of women in X (some, but not all, of whom appear in the main list). Either have one list or make the lists separate by gender (although one would have to question why we might wish to do that). We have separate lists of male and female kickboxers, not a list of kickboxers (including males and females) and a separate list of female kickboxers. This is a silly situation caused by the extreme gender imbalance in the Community. I'm surprised that you haven't noticed this before. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:25, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
This is just another example of the tendency to micro-categorize pages into sub sub sub categories what makes identifying and finding things via categories almost impossible. If I know X is a novelist and cannot remember the exact name or spelling for some reason I should be able to go to the appropriate category (Category:Novelists) and find the person. However given the policy and practice to shove the article into the most sub-sub-sub category possible it means I must know that the person is a novelist, their nationality and now gender. Getting a efficient category intersection system would make issues like this null. Werieth (talk) 17:29, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Personally, I find those big cluttered categories with hundreds upon hundreds of entries far more difficult to navigate. Dividing them into smaller categories can make it simpler. If you have a particular author in mind, but can't place the name you should know whether said author is male or female, American or British, etc. Should someone only know that x is a novelist then it is going to be nigh impossible to place the person by sorting through any category.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:35, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm sympathetic to both arguments, i.e. that big categories are too hard to navigate and should be broken down, and the argument that excessive micro-categorization is hard to navigate. I'm interested to hear more about "an efficient category intersection system". What would that be like?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:39, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
You know two things about a song, it was written in 2009 and written by Sean Garrett. Using WP:CATSCAN link to example you can filter the two categories Category:2009 singles and Category:Songs written by Sean Garrett from 2,029 items and 52 items respectively to just 7. Without the need to create a category called "2009 song written by Sean Garrett" This would enable the ability to find sort and organize articles using large categories and avoid sub-sub-sub categories. Werieth (talk) 17:50, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
It would probably look like something like Semantic Mediawiki; but you dismissed that years ago as "too difficult" or something. - (talk) 17:49, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
No, you are mistaken.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:17, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

It looks like it was done earlier this month en masse by a single editor (although I'm not 100% sure, there may have been others doing it). It seems to go wider than just novelists. I've left the editor a talkpage note pointing them here.Formerip (talk) 17:37, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I think editors who do things like that should be banned much more quickly and firmly than our usual relaxed approach to banning.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:40, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, maybe. These were obviously poor edits. But my general impression is that mass changes to categories are not strongly discouraged or well-policed (hence, undoubtedly, the problem here). This could be an editor who's been caught speeding in a zone with no speed limit (i.e. this may be a failing of the community as much as an individual editor). But I'm not experienced with categorisation, so don't take my word for it, I could just be plain wrong. Formerip (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:51, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Unless it is somehow disruptive I fail to see why banning would be appropriate. Dividing a category into sub-categories when the main category gets cluttered (the American novelists cat has 4,000 articles) is a good improvement.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:47, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Um, Jimbo, why does the question of banning even come up before it's determined whether the editor in question understands the problem and is willing to work with the community? Is Wikipedia:Assume good faith no longer in effect, or have you already talked with the guy and found him to be intractable? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:14, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
@The Devil's Advocate: Maybe, but dividing a category into people and women gives an obvious cause for concern. Formerip (talk) 17:55, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
As I noted above, that isn't actually what has happened as a cat exists for men and women are still included in the main cat. The lamestream press are just being their old noobish selves, creating an Internet controversy where none would exist if they actually understood what they were talking about.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:59, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
No, that isn't how it happened. The category for "American men novelists" has been created in response to the NYT piece. Originally, all the women writers had been moved into "American women novelists". What the NYT describes looks to be basically accurate in terms of a description of the situation a day ago. Formerip (talk) 18:04, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
As of last night, very few of the "American women novelists" were in "American novelists," largely due to one editor removing them from "American novelists." Some of us have been re-adding them over the past twelve hours or so, which is why a lot of them are back now. --Elysdir (talk) 18:10, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
I think people who actually take the time to look at this more closely will find that the situation described in the press reports (the general category is assumed to be male by default) is more than not the way things are done here. User:Johnpacklambert is an experienced Wikipedia editor and is in no danger of being banned for this. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:12, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
If he can't come up with a darned good reason why he did it - one that is in the direct interest of our readership - he should be. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:18, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, why not examine his contributions to the discussion yourself before passing judgment? He's not only given an explanation for his behavior, based on precedent, but he's also offering constructive suggestions on how to address the problem. Is that really the kind of editor we're trying to get rid of? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:31, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
As a meta-comment, it's long been my impression that categories are more trouble than they're worth. As this case demonstrates, they can create a lot of bad feeling and bad publicity. If I had a nickel for every time a knock-down-drag-out fight develops over a controversial categorization, I'd have several dollars. A number of categories - particularly those with the potential to reflect negatively on living people - expose us to some ethical and legal risk. And I don't think they're useful as a navigation aid. I don't have any formal statistics measuring how categories are used by the average Wikipedia reader, but they don't seem very helpful at all; I find them difficult and inefficient to use after 7 years here, so I can't imagine the average casual reader gets a lot out of them. MastCell Talk 17:53, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Yup. Shoving people into boxes and labelling them, even metaphorically, is a nasty little habit. It is high time Wikipedia grew up and stopped doing it. And no, I'm not kidding... AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:08, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Since we aspire to host the sum of all human knowledge, it's probably an unavoidable duty that we involve ourselves in the taxonomy of knowledge. I agree with you both that the way we presently do it, particularly with regard to human and social types, needs improving. I agree with Looie's and Wnt's comments about usability, too. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 00:54, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • The problem is that someone took it upon themselves to exclude members of the subset American Female Authors from the universal set American Authors. This should be a learning experience why this kind of thing should not be done. There is nothing wrong with that subset, there is a legitimate academic concern with that subset. But making membership in Group A in any way related to inclusion in Group B creates a ghetto and controversy. A person can be part of categories "People born in 1926," "People from Duluth," "Swedish-Americans," "American female novelists," and "American novelists" — all 5. The last two are not and should not be regarded as mutually exclusive. If there is a structural reason why this happened, it should be fixed. If this was done by individual volition, it should be stopped. Carrite (talk) 18:09, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Let me be clear (because it may get lost) that I do not support the movement of women novelists to a separate category. It is a bad idea, but it is not necessarily a mendacious idea. I've deliberately avoided identifying the editor in question, so that I can comment generically. It is not an unreasonable thought to believe that women are under-represented in many categories: novelists, heads of state, architects, and many others. It is not unreasonable for someone to want to study the phenomenon, to look at the differences geographically, temporally, and by occupation. It is not unreasonable for someone wanting to do such a study, or make it easy for someone else to do such a study, to support counting women in various categories over time. It is a small step to think that the categorization started may be helpful to those who are interested in studies. While the specific approach is the wrong next step, it doesn't necessarily follow that it was undertaken with ghettoization as a goal. The effect is clear and should be reversed, but I urge dropping the banning talk. The problem arises because our categorization approach is deficient in many ways. As Jimbo notes, we should address this more broadly, rather than simply decree that this breakout should be reversed. There must be a better way to approach the categorization problem, so that one can, easily, identify women novelists, yet simultaneously be able to see a list of American novelists regardless of sex, or nth century novelists, regardless of country, or many other breakdowns, without having to resort to assemble micro-categories.


  • reverse the poor decision
  • use it as an excuse to think hard about the right way to do categorization
  • avoid riding someone out of town on the rails for what might be a sincere attempt at improvement.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 18:25, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
If an experienced Wikipedia editor sincerely thinks that removing women from 'category:American novelists' is an improvement, I sincerely think that we should get rid of him. And I sincerely think that arguing otherwise is missing the point. No matter how you spin it, it is detrimental to the credibility of Wikipedia. And just plain stupid. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:35, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Why wouldn't he think that, when the category says right on it that "It should directly contain very few, if any, articles and should mainly contain subcategories"? People are encouraged to move articles from these parents cats to subcats. Leon Uris isn't at this writing in that category. Why? He's been subcatted. I don't think it's a good decision to remove women only (or even first) or that it's a good decision to put women solely in categories related to gender (as opposed to the handling of Pearl S. Buck, where she is categorized as an author in several ways...but not at this writing, like Leon, in the parent cat). --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:40, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Oh, re: Pearl, I stand corrected; she's been added. Possibly in response to an email I sent out via OTRS a few hours ago. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:41, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Sorry to intrude, but here is the link to the current discussion. Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2013 April 24#Category:American women novelists. I may have missed it but I haven't been able to find the link in the above discussion so I thought it may be important. Carry on, and mind the gap. Coffeepusher (talk) 18:39, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Thank you. There's also Category talk:American novelists/Archives/1#Preferred gender classification style. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:41, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Same issue with actors/actresses - Category:American actresses is a sub-cat of Category:American actors.--ukexpat (talk) 18:40, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
And needless to say, Category:African-American television actors is a subcat of Category:American television actors. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:44, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
These are also down to the same editor, it seems. Formerip (talk) 18:48, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
And that one will be difficult to justify on the grounds that everyone should go into a subcategory, unless he is proposing we have a Category:non-African-American television actors... AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:55, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
To clarify, he didn't create these categories, just moved actors into them. Formerip (talk) 18:56, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
OK, actually he did create the actresses category. But I think we should focus less on the editor, beyond understanding that the problem is about a lack of community oversight. Formerip (talk) 18:59, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
We do have categories for non-Africans by occupation, including for pasty-faced white folk and that editor has created a few of those as well. Still, go on assuming that the editor is a bigot because Lord knows we can't stop and be considerate when people in the press are crying about the ebil nerdy white male privilege of Wikipedia.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:19, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Talking about lack of community oversight - the discussion (RfC?) on the subject is still waiting to be closed, after six months. See Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 101#Actresses categorization. StAnselm (talk) 21:52, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
"We do have categories for non-Africans by occupation"!!!!!!!!! Holy shit!!!!!! Now I've seen everything. Or rather, I haven't. Could you provide some examples... AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:45, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Here you go.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 00:51, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Er, no. I asked specifically for a Category:non-African..., as the logical subcategory to go with Category:African... - you have merely provided further evidence of Ghettoisation. (Though I have spotted a horrific WP:BLP violation in the entirely obnoxious Category:Chechen criminals, so I suppose I should be thankful...). AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:05, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
I am sorry, I thought you were making a serious request for categories involving non-Africans and not some trolling request for a category that says what people are not. Never mind.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 03:09, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

General rules of categorization would indicate that if we subdivide for women, we should subdivide for men as well. However, given all the attention that "women" get (Women's studies but no Men's studies, not to mention efforts to reward women based on the fact that they ARE women, rather than just on their accomplishments - such as some of our own programs here with Wikipedia) Im not all that surprised that someone made subcategories for women but not for men. To me, its not "ghettoizing" its giving women special status whereas male writers for example are not somehow special because they are men. Similarly, how many times do you see someone noted as a "gay" writer but never as a hetero one. While I agree that we should have a men's category, I dont think the preachiness or self righteousness is really warranted. Make the category and move on.Thelmadatter (talk) 20:01, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Categories as currently implemented are a worthless pain in the ass

This point was made above (by MastCell), but it is worth emphasizing. The value of categories is to expedite searching, but Wikipedia's category system is completely divorced from its search system. If you type "novelists" into the search box, you don't see anything related to Category:Novelists. Unless this can be fixed, the whole category system is a worthless waste of effort. Looie496 (talk) 18:19, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

The problem is broader than that, but that is a good observation. If the point of categorization is to help readers find things, then it ought to be integrated into search. I know a lot of readers who know about the search function, but have never really paid attention to categories.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 18:27, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me the only purpose for categories is to give obsessives something to do. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:48, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
They're potentially useful for research. I've used them to quickly find articles in a subject area. But they do suffer from and have long suffered from some issues in consistency, and frankly I don't really understand why large parent cats are a problem. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:50, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
They really are potentially useful -- *if* they are implemented with the intention of serving as navigational aides. If I click on an author who has been determined guilty of plagiarism and then want to see other instances of plagiarism, it's helpful to have a plagiarism category at the bottom of the first article. The difficulty is that people start thinking about categories (particularly for BLPs) as identity tags. That's not what I have in mind when I work with categories, but that's where the drama and controversy kicks off. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:47, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Just so long as you don't take the contents of your plagiarism category from a list in a book... Formerip (talk) 20:05, 25 April 2013 (UTC

This is all beside the point. The guidelines specify that "each categorized page should be placed in all of the most specific categories to which it logically belongs. This means that if a page belongs to a subcategory of C (or a subcategory of a subcategory of C, and so on) then it is not normally placed directly into C". That is to say, if Sylvia Plath is put in the cat of 'American women poets', she should not also go in 'poets', 'American poets', or 'American writers', which are parent categories. That is why all the American female novelists were in the 'American female novelist' cat but not also listed under 'American novelists', which would be a duplication. If this isn't how categorisation is structured, then you should change the policy. Span (talk) 20:52, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I believe this is addressed in WP:Cat gender. Unless "gender has a specific relation to the topic" categories by gender are not split; women are in both the specialist and the "appropriate gender-neutral role category". --Moonriddengirl (talk) 21:49, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
OK, so we have a guideline that might have prevented this problem. The question is why it didn't, for over two weeks. Formerip (talk) 22:56, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
The whole sentence, "A gender-specific category could be implemented where gender has a specific relation to the topic", actually reads more like a suggestion than a prohibition. As in "you might want to consider a gender-specific category if ...". If the intent is to prohibit such categories in most cases unless there is a strong motivation for them (which seems to be the intent of most of the rest of the page), then I would suggest that the WP:Cat gender section ought to be more clearly written to that effect. Dragons flight (talk) 00:08, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
The mere fact that Category:Male golfers does not exist on this site makes that set of guidelines more lolworthy than useful, and probably explains why the guideline did not prevent the current problem. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:30, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
I think it's more a sign that WP:TLDR is a real problem. My WP:AGF presumption is that people don't see it because they don't dig that deep. To get to that page from the main guideline, you have to follow the first link below "articles" to Wikipedia:Categorization of people and then to another link below "By ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexuality". That said, I agree wholeheartedly that it should be clarified. And I'd really love to understand better why the Category:American novelists should be depopulated. Is there some technical issue that makes listing all of them alphabetically for easy location impossible? --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:32, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree - we need to fix the category system, period. The limited display sucks, the inability to lump together subcategories into a single list sucks, and just in case someone would be tempted to use templates or Lua to do better, the contents are inaccessible to any kind of transclusion. We end up having these massive 'infoboxes' like Template:The Beatles that spam 200 links into 200 articles because our categories, which should be doing the job, are ugly and unfixable. And yes, we should be able to click on a nationality of our choice and a sex of our choice and a genre of our choice to create a custom intersection of lists. It's something basic the devs should be working on instead of skins and ratings and "wikilove". Wnt (talk) 00:02, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

  • There are long-standing problems with wikipedia categories, as I already tried to discuss on this talk page. My very best wishes (talk) 02:43, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • There are all sorts of problems with categories, probably the main one being that so many are incomplete, and all sorts of things that it would be great if they could do, but they remain a highly useful and flexible part of the 'pedia, way in advance of what other encyclopedias have. We should celebrate them, and improve them, more than we do, and I deprecate the recent trend to set up bottom templates for everything instead. Johnbod (talk) 13:09, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Johnbod's statements as expressed here. --Sm8900 (talk) 14:18, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
They aren't useful at all. The drones are forever munging them about so what was a valid category one week isn't so the next, the hierarchies are in constant flux. Taxonomies are stable they don't bloody well change every other day. John lilburne (talk) 08:45, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
  • As an administrator of many other MediaWiki wikis, this separation of category from search isn't a Wikipedia specific problem. It is a root problem of MediaWiki itself. On one of the wikis I administrate, we even created a custom namespace to improve searching because categories searching doesn't work. Technical 13 (talk) 16:20, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Speaking as someone who has created a few large categories which were sort of at right angles to what was there before, I find categories to be extremely useful. extremely. I don't feel their lack of coming up in search results means that they are not useful in many other ways. I find them to be of great practical value in finding information and items in related groups here. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 14:16, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
with that said, I do agree that some the specific problems noted above are genuine problems to be addressed. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 14:17, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

No basis for crying sexism other than blind assumption of bad faith

I see that the editor who created this category and did most of this has responded by creating similar cats for men. This is not a simple matter of the editor responding to controversy, however as some would certainly claim. He has created categories for men and women well before this. As can be seen in one instance back in February he created a cat for German male dancers immediately after creating a cat for German female dancers. Similarly, he created a cat for male film actors and one for film actresses within a month. He also created the general cat for American male actors a month and a half before creating the cat for American actresses. Now then, we can all stop buying into the scaremongering from some random "feminist" who lacks any amount of circumspection and thus is quick to assume everything is about sexism. Let no one ever claim again that editors on Wikipedia actually assume good faith. No, we jump to conclusions and have the rope ready before the defendant ever gets a chance to speak.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:11, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm glad you put "feminist" in quotation marks so that people know to ignore your opinion on this issue from here on in. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:20, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
A feminist is supposed to advocate for equality and part of that should be giving men the same amount of consideration one would give a women. Someone who is so quick to presume a situation is about men trying to demean women is not acting in a manner consistent with her proclaimed creed. Were a female editor doing this with men you would undoubtedly find certain self-proclaimed feminists less likely to notice, less likely to care, and more likely to consider less demeaning explanations. Most identity politics nowadays is about some person assuming the worst, stirring up a controversy, and calling for heads to roll. It really takes away from the goal of equality.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:52, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
I rest my case. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:55, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
I generally detest using identity politics as a way of whipping up an angry mob to attack and demean individuals without any meaningful consideration of guilt or innocence. If you want to say that makes me less of a person or a person with an opinion less worthy of consideration then fine. However, people shouldn't be labeling an editor a sexist and calling for bans based entirely on some random crap they read in the news.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:16, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Has anyone labelled an editor "sexist"? Has anyone (other than Jimbo) suggested banning anyone in relation to this incident? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:30, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, is someone proposing to create Category:non-African-American television actors? AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:42, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
*Points to DC and motions to Andy*--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:44, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Has anyone labelled an editor "sexist"? Has anyone (other than Jimbo) suggested banning anyone in relation to this incident? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:07, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
There are zillions of examples of this so-called ghettoization: Category:American film directors by ethnic or national origin is another one, which has Category:African-American_film_directors and as another parent, Category:African-American directors, which is a child of the (presumably) paler Category:American directors. Why people are up in arms about this one particular case quite boggles me - it's just an application of a standard that is somewhat inconsistent but it happens constantly all over the wiki (e.g. the standard is, always diffuse to most specific sub-cats - UNLESS you're dealing with gender/ethnicity/national origin - and then don't - unless the person is already diffused to a child, which means you need to know the parent-child relationships of all of the super and sub cats, or if you are working within a national origin tree, and therefore... ugh!) - so it's not at all surprising that this happens. And this is not all the work of one editor - for example, see [6], which "ghettoized" a writer, by a well-respected and long standing admin with no malicious intent in so doing.
Part of me thinks that the cat system is hopelessly broken especially with respect to people - most articles have a few cats, but bios have dozens. If we could implement category intersection - even in a stupid, simple way - that would be a massive help - then we could just assign each bio as {m/f/etc} {writer/actor/politician} {gay/straight/bi/etc} {armenian/greek/russian/etc} {catholic/jewish/muslim/etc} - it would be much easier to maintain, there would be no more tedious debates about whether we should create cats for Category:Catholic authors from San Francisco of Chinese descent, and everyone could easily find the intersections they wanted. Wikipedia, can you do Wikipedia:Category_intersection for us please?? So many of these arguments and endless debates would just go away in a puff of smoke if we had good cat intersects. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 06:25, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I did not create Category:American women novelists. Nor were was it my edits that made it so Amy Tan was in that category. Nor was Amy Tan in Category:American novelists before being placed in Category:American women novelists. Just because I added a lot of pages to the category does not mean that I created it. I find it very objectionable that people here at wikipedia are so concerned about their image that they would even suggest banning an editor just because the edits he did caused some ob-ed writer to write ill of wikipedia. The edits were completely in line with policy, Category:American novelists has many genre-specific sub-cats and is not the bottom rung. People are willing to let the misrepresentation of the matter by the New York Times color the issue and then call for banning someone with no good procedural grounds to do it. That is heavy handed disregard for the editors who actually create wikipedia by actually paying attention to policies. No policies were borken, and to call for banning someone in this case is totally unreasonable.John Pack Lambert (talk) 06:26, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
THE STATEMENT ABOVE BY Johnpacklambert is incorrect (although he may be unaware of this). Amy Tan was removed from “American novelists” on 13 September last year (and put into the category “American novelists of Asian descent”) and added to “American women novelists” by a different editor on 24 March. Here are the dates of these two edits: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Burkehart (talkcontribs) 21:55, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
That said people are totally ignoring what I was doing. I was primarily in the process of dividing Category:Women novelists into its varioussub-categories. As it was, some of the people in Category:Women novelists were not in any nationality categories. Many of the people currently in Category:Australian women novelsits were not in Category:Australian novelists before the move. People have entirely misrepresented what I did. Some people seem to want to drive off editors who help wikipedia.John Pack Lambert (talk) 06:32, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
As Delicious carbuncle notes above, the only one suggesting that you be "banned" here is Jimmy Wales. It's quite safe to ignore that threat. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 08:30, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
DC is wrong about that as I noted already. Not sure why DC insists that Jimmy is the only one.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 14:01, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm not insisting, but I have seen no one other than Jimbo suggest this and you have twice failed to respond to my question of who else has suggested a ban. Or provided a diff where anyone has labelled JohnPackLambert as "sexist". Perhpas I just missed your answers - can you repost those diffs? Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:13, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
I did direct you to someone, but apparently you didn't catch it. However, I'm not holding your hand as you were one of the first to label him a sexist and only suggested he wouldn't be banned as a criticism of Wikipedia rather than as a request against it, and thus should know well enough that what I am saying is accurate. Of course, you will deny all that as you have never used the words and think failing to say what you mean magically translates to you not having done it.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 18:32, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Not only didn't I say that JohnPackLambert was a "sexist" in those words, I didn't say it in any other words, either. I have no opinion on whether he is or isn't a sexist, but I don't think it is appropriate to lay the blame for this situation on him (or any other single editor). In my experience, what JPL did is common practice. If there is a problem here, it is that this practice leads to the result that sparked the New York Times op-ed piece and sparked this discussion. I am surprised at Jimbo's reaction, since I think it is not a new situation and it is one of which he ought to have been aware. I am glad that you don't want to hold my hand, but if you with to retain any credibility at all, perhaps you could trouble yourself to provide again those diffs of someone accusing JPL of being "sexist" and the ban suggestions? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:28, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Here is one I saw:says JPLs actions are racist and sexist and disgusting, expresses a wish that the press will criticize JPL even more. Outside the wiki, on twitter and blogs, the term sexist has been bandied about a whole lot, and in some cases applied to JPL. In my own little defense of JPL, I've followed him for a long time, and he is both an active editor and active contributor for several years now to CfD discussions - which most of these johnny-come-latelys barely know exists. I don't agree with all of his views, but he is a solid contributor and knows a hell of lot more about categorization that most people I've seen in this discussion, and has been applying that knowledge and work to help clean up cats in wikipedia. He is actually quite knowledgeable about different cultures and ethnicities, and is often fighting for more precise categorization of things so as not to gloss over cultural differences (for example, he argues strongly against categorization schemes based on race like Black so-and-so.) So the flak he is receiving is completely not deserved.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 01:13, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Those were made after The Devil's Advocate's statements, but thanks for pointing them out. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:17, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
"Devil's Advocate, are you a sock of Silver seren? You "argue" just like him."
I'm sorry, DC, did you want to actually take the steps necessary to back up that accusation? Come on, I dare you. SilverserenC 02:44, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, Silver seren, I won't be taking you up on your "dare". I was lightheartedly comparing The Devil's Advocate's failure to back up their statements with your habit of doing the same, but I didn't intend that it be taken seriously. I do not think that they are a sockpuppet of yours or vice versa. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:16, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I think you have discovered the problem with categories like this. There are 2,000 British species of Ichneumonoidea, but nobody is going to wade through them all no matter whether they are all listed in one lump, or sub-categorized into families, sub-families, tribes, and genera. For any given species one might walk back up the tree a bit, but one is hardly likely explorer based on cats. So there are currently 4,000 Category:American novelists if they split 1:1 on gender wouldn't 2,000 in each still be too much, and if the number are skewed isn't the larger number still to many? And how is it going to look in 10 or 20 years time? If size is the determinate factor how should one split the category:Living people? John lilburne (talk) 20:51, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Much of the rhetoric about this category ignores articles like Emily M. Danforth that was created with the Category:American women novelists and not Category:American novelists, long before I started adding large numbers of articles to this category. I did not create this category, nor was I the first person to put people in it but not its national specific parent category. In some ways I think it would help if there were better ways to trace the history of categories, so we could see how large they were at given times.John Pack Lambert (talk) 16:11, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Putting a finger on this specific issue

As an opening disclaimer, I know relatively little about policies governing categories, and I know nothing at all about the technical aspects of how the categorization system works. As a second disclaimer, I expect that what I write below will be old hat to those who have thought about these issues for a long time, and also duplicative of twelve other discussions taking place elsewhere around the wiki. My apologies, but please bear with me.

It seems to me that the issue here resolves very simply to "when should members of a subcategory also be listed as members of the broader category."

Suppose we have a category for all the past and present members of the United States Senate. (On checking, it looks as if we actually have 50 separate state subcategories for this, which destroys my example, but I'm too lazy to think of another one.) Now suppose that someone studying the history of African-Americans in U.S. politics wants to create a Category:African-American U.S. Senators. There are obvious reasons that this would be worth doing, and there are equally obvious reasons that while creating this category with an unfortunately small number (currently eight) of members, one would not want to create a new Category:White U.S. Senators that would include 97% of the historial Senate membership, simply in order to work in parallel.

But what is also completely clear is that placing a senator into Category:Black U.S. Senators must not remove the senator from Category:[All] U.S. Senators. What this means is that either the listing of senators in the subcategory must be replicated into the parent category, or else that Black U.S. Senators should be a parallel category rather than a subcategory.

Similarly here, I don't see a problem with classifying Willa Cather and Edith Wharton into Category:American Women Novelists, provided that these novelists are not thereby removed from Category:[All] American Novelists. But if the result of the subcategorization is to create a category of "novelists" that includes all the males, and a category of "women novelists" that includes the females, that obviously is not acceptable. It is unacceptable if it was done by design, which per AGF I expect it probably wasn't, and it is also unacceptable and needs to be fixed if it is the practical result of categorizing edits.

From what I do know about the categorization system we currently utilize, this would mean that if we want to keep Category:American Women Novelists, then each female novelists would have to be separately categorized into both the "all novelists" category and the "women novelists" category. The question going forward (at least until we have a better overall categorization system) is whether this extra work can be done reliably and reasonably quickly so as to avoid the problematic situation that currently exists.

(The other question going forward is, of course, whether to have a separate category for males. To decide that, the key question needn't be whether every category for women should correspond to one for men or vice versa, but simply whether such a category would actually be useful to the editors and the readers.

As I say, I'm sure this is a very naive approach to a problem that is new to me (but which two of my non-wiki acquaintances have asked me about this week), but I think it sometimes helps for someone new to an area to look at a situation free from background assumptions and the like. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:14, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

I suggest we generally ought to place people into the simplest categories as a rule, and allow for searches using "and" instead of having a gazillion super-limited categories. Thus a search for the categories "Novelists", "Americans" and "Women" would thus find Willa Cather without any real problems. Collect (talk) 00:17, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
yes, that's called WP:Category intersection, and is not yet implemented as a full part of the wiki. You can do simple searches across categories (e.g. (American women novelists + people from queens), but such searches aren't recursive. Perhaps the best outcome of this brouhaha might be wikimedia foundation putting serious resources behind implementing a simple, easy to use category intersection scheme, which would eliminate 99% of arguments around creation of new categories on wikipedia. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 00:35, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi NYBrad. I don't think your approach is naive, and it actually mirrors more or less the current consensus - which is to avoid 'ghettoization' in these cases - see Wikipedia:Categorization/Ethnicity,_gender,_religion_and_sexuality. However, there are a few wrinkles worth exploring:
What happens when a novelist is in a thematic sub-cat of Category:American novelists - such as Category:American horror novelists- take Elaine_Bergstrom as an example. She sits in the horror novelists cat alongside her male peers, so it not "ghettoized" - but an automatic bubbling up of her to Category:American novelists causes a problem - because now we have to ask, why should Elaine Bergstrom be in 3 cats (Category:American horror novelists, Category:American women novelists, and Category:American novelists) while other male horror novelists who have the exact same credentials would technically only be in Category:American horror novelists... that's the problem with always bubbling up, and with making a special exception for race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality. How far up the 'parent' tree should you bubble/replicate people up? For example, isn't Elaine Bergstrom also a member of Category:American women writers? Should we 'bubble' her up to that category as well? And once you're there, why not stick her into Category:American writers as well? How would you simply and clearly define the rules for membership in parent categories? Is there some maximum number of steps up the tree she can bubble? What if the structure of the tree changes, and parent/child relationships are shifted - does this mean everyone needs to be recategorized?
If you look at this from a purely set-theoretical/mathematical point of view, this theory espoused above is not practically implementable at scale in a consistent fashion (because of recursion), and the complexity required to understand it and implement it correctly (e.g. you *should* always bubble someone up to the parent, unless they are in a sibling or niece/nephew cat already, but only if that sibling cat is not also one of race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality, and only if the parent cat itself is not based on the same race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality), it's not at all surprising that a massive percent of biographies are inconsistently categorized, and even highly experienced editors here completely don't understand this approach - and when one should or shouldn't diffuse. Remember, when assigning categories, people don't usually have the tree in front of them, and we have multiple overlapping systems, so someone could be beautifully categorized in one tree and "sexistly" categorized in another. While I understand the arguments for avoidance of ghettoization, I've become convinced through this discussion that it is untenable, and that a better solution is, if we categorize on a characteristic, then go full board, define all possible subsets, and diffuse fully - so if that means creating a men cat every time we have a women cat, and vice versa, so be it. The advantage would be simplicity in the rules - you just always diffuse - and there would be never again a question of ghettoization, as everyone would be in their own ghetto. One more point - category intersection would be even better, but it may not happen anytime soon, so we have to rely on outside tools until then. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 01:03, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I hope that, while we work to address the problems within the current system, there is still a push to get category intersection implemented. That would solve so many problems, and I would actually use categories to find articles then. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:35, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree, this has highlighted the need for category intersection (more like "tags" in google speak) over our current category system. I almost never use categories because I don't find them useful. Shadowjams (talk) 18:22, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Op-ed author making more misguided attacks on editors

In a follow-up to her op-ed, Miss Filipacchi is claiming that her BLP is being edited for revenge. Looking at it, these claims are clearly garbage. At the time of the original op-ed piece her article was rightly tagged for being severely lacking in sources with the external links section being cluttered with rave reviews added in by some single-purpose promotional account who was responsible for adding much of the unsourced puffery that has been added to the article. Editors removed those links and another began making the effort to clean up the promotional garbage. People should seriously check themselves before heeding her words on any of this as she clearly isn't making any effort to understand the subject she is discussing or consider any explanations that aren't nefarious.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 03:23, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Unfortunately, she says "But at least I’m back in the “American Novelists” category, along with many other women". She may have been when she wrote that piece, but she is not now. There appears to be an edit war going on to prevent her from being in that category. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 04:18, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Sure, let's ignore the various demeaning and misguided things she has said about editors who are trying to make her bio less of a promotional mess and focus on some trivial bickering over a category.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 04:56, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Her suspicions of revenge are well-founded and not "garbage." The tag that you cite was on April 25. Her article appeared on April 24. Her description of the article history is accurate. Let's face it, this whole thing is a big and well-deserved black eye for Wikipedia. Coretheapple (talk) 14:32, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
It's extremely clear that Filipacchi-related articles are being edited inappropriately. One editor has slapped tags accusing her of self-promotional editing on just about every article related to her, without a shred of evidence suggesting she has ever edited Wikipedia at all. Somebody rather spuriously deleted all the cover images from articles concerning her books, despite the existence of obviously proper rationales; it's hard to see that as anything but malicious vandalism. It's far too common to see editors circling the wagons and teeing off on "outsiders" who rather justifiably view a particular Wikipedia practice as blockheaded. It just adds to the not-entirely groundless perception is run by an odd concatenation of feral children and Afghan warlords. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 16:27, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
The stuff with the images is weird, as policy has been pretty clear since two years ago that it is acceptable fair use to have the cover art illustrating the article about a work (one of them did have an active tag as invalid fair use dating from back in 2007), but the rest is perfectly legit. It does seem there was a lot of promotional wording and unsourced puffery in those articles. See the changes made to Nude Men, Vapor, and Love Creeps. The advert tag was accurate and it is reasonable to suggest there was a COI issue, it wouldn't have to be Filipacchi herself editing the pages for that to be the case. It could have just been a fan gushing over her work, but that tagging was not inappropriate. It may no longer be necessary with all the changes that were made, though.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:22, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Given that the editor who placed the tags grouped Filipacchi with "people who've tried to use Wikipedia to promote themselves", their intent is obvious. The tone of the articles may have been favorable, but that's because the books were quite favorably reviewed. The form of the articles was lousy, but that's true of about 90% of what's written here. Removing reviews from major publications like Time and The Christian Science Monitor isn't eliminating advertising, it's at best blockheaded idiocy. And much of that "uncited" content was supported by external links or identified commentary, calling for citation fixes rather than excision. Sometimes, after all, the article about creative work is quite favorable because there's a strong critical consensus that it's really good work. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 18:06, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Oh come on now, you and I both know from the way those articles were written that they were not some attempt to present an accurate and unbiased portrayal. In a grand total of two minutes I found this review of Nude Men, which was hardly favorable and it was not the only one.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 18:56, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
And plot summaries do not need references, the novel itself is the reference. User:Qworty's actions look deliberately punitive to me. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:43, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
If it were simply stating what occurs in the book that would be one thing, but it threw in some editorializing and analysis that was not sourced.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 18:56, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand why you keep denying the obvious fact, blindly obvious to everyone else, which is that she is being subjected to retaliation for her op-ed. Coretheapple (talk) 11:05, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Of course it's retalation. If an editor were really trying to improve the article, acting in good faith, that editor would have added the ISBN numbers to each work, and linked to her WorldCat page in External links. That's pretty standard stuff. Instead, we have editors only looking for excuses to remove material. (btw DevilsAd, I noticed you referred to her as 'Miss Filipacci' although the Wikipedia style guide uses only a person's last name. iow, I saw what you did there.) (talk) 21:11, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Anon, please note that Wikipedia's manual of style is only applicable to articles, not talkpages. How editors name ppl on talkpages is their own business and depends on editing style and what culture they're from.
Peter Isotalo 21:36, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
And what pointy little point was being made. Nice try, though. (talk) 21:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The over-zealous removal of content was the work of basically just one person. That person was also engaged in a rather pointless slugfest with a rather suspicious user who was at best an uncivil and cantankerous supporter of Filipacchi. Both were edit warring and filled talkpages with a lot of hot air. While that went on, other editors gave the article a decent scrubbing. I'm all for improving and learning from mistakes, but I'm not keen on having the entire editing community taking a "well-deserved black eye" for cleaning up an article despite having to deal with an overly aggressive editor.
Peter Isotalo 21:13, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
If you look at the editor's contributions you will see edits that are effectively identical to the ones made to the Filipacchi-related articles on articles that have nothing to do with her so there is no evidence of special treatment and thus no evidence of retaliation. Seems likely the other articles were noticed when I brought up the promotional editing on her bio after Miss Filipacchi claimed editors were retaliating against her. This is the same misguided thinking that prompted this hurricane in a teacup: jumping to conclusions based solely on appearance and existing prejudices.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:00, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
But she had no way of knowing that, so naturally she assumed retaliation. It's a strong circumstantial case for retaliation, and it boomeranged and Wikipedia wound up getting a spanking in the Sunday Times. This kind of thing seems to happen again and again. The first piece appears to have been online only, and I don't think the second one would have appeared, in print, had editors not materialized on her page. Coretheapple (talk) 22:05, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
When people pop up in the news, especially regarding Wikipedia, there tend to be edits to that person's page. In this case the page hasn't been vandalized and has only undergone marked improvement. Are you suggesting that editors don't correct issues with articles on people currently criticizing Wikipedia because it could be misconstrued as retaliation? So does that mean if that person's article is a bunch of fluff talking about how so-and-so is the bee's knees and can kick Chuck Norris' ass we should all just let that stay up there until the period of criticism is over? That is not something I would support.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:30, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
The "retaliation" was entirely an issue of a single cantankerous user with extreeemely bad timing (and plenty of help from "pro-Filipacchi" sock puppets/trolls/whatever). But media has has completely ignored that Filipacchi's article has been cleaned up and slightly improved. And it has been even more disinterested in that community consensus is overall in favor of Filipacchi's critical analysis.
So what would you say is the lesson we should learn from this?
Peter Isotalo 22:32, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I guess for me, the takeaway is that what happens on Wikipedia is being watched, and that it can result in adverse publicity. The irony is that the companies and people who appear in Wikipedia care a great deal about their image, but Wikipedia as an entity has no such concern whatsoever. Coretheapple (talk) 22:37, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
The part about being watched struck me as well. After I read this in the New York Review of Books it seems more real than ever. But the "no concern"-bit I don't follow. We're the ones who fixed the problems caused by one user (and some provocateurs), not Filipacchi, or the Times or And that's regardless of how much they try to take credit for it. And we're not the one ones who sidetracked the issue with exaggerated accusations about "revenge editing". So how exactly do we communicate that?
Peter Isotalo 22:52, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Hopefully someone in authority will call or write Filipacchi and talk to her about it. Really, I don't know what else can be done. Maybe it already has happened, as well as reaching out to the media in a similarly proactive and friendly fashion. Coretheapple (talk) 22:54, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Believe it or not, I tried mailing her earlier today, pointing out that the articles have been improved, not "dismantled" (wording on Twitter). And I did try to explain that the community overall takes her seriously. But that was before the damning article, and before I checked out the rants over at certain users' talkpages. So I doubt that'll get us anywhere...
Peter Isotalo 23:08, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Skipping the discussion and focusing on the title: someone really needs to bring Filipacchi to AN/I quick for making personal attacks on Wikipedians!!! More seriously, this is such a typical Wikipedian response and it is so sad...Volunteer Marek 22:44, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

How is it sad? We've been around for more than a decade. Surely we can be at least mildly annoyed that professional journalists still can't be bothered with learning the basics of how Wikipedia works?
Peter Isotalo 22:52, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
It's sad in the sense that a lot of Wikipedia editors tend to confuse "criticism of their editing behavior" with these ... "attacks!!!!!!". As in, if anyone points out anything wrong with something they're doing then they are "attacking!!!!!" and then the editor runs to WP:ANI or WP:AE and tries to get them banned or blocked. Ok, that part is mostly just dysfunctional. Sad too, but the "dysfunctional" aspect overshadows the "sad" aspect, as long as it's just your usual Wikipedia battlegrounds. When Wikipedia editors try to apply these same standards to individuals who are not even part of Wikipedia - like NY Times writes, "OMG! This person said something bad about me in Slate! Personal attacks! Personal attacks! How can I file a report on them?!?"... then that part IS sad.
Dude. S/he is not "attacking" you. S/he is "criticizing" you. Grown ups know the difference.Volunteer Marek 23:09, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Uhm, I was talking about my personal frustration about how the community gets to take the blame for the actions of a few specific problematic users, while plenty of media outlets seem to think that their brief and grossly uninformed scrutiny of Wikipedia is what solves the problem. I didn't realize you were literally discussing only the sub-section heading. Maybe you should just change that heading if you find it so crappy...
Peter Isotalo 23:33, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Marek, no one should support false allegations being made against other people and concerns about such allegations should not be dismissed as a "typical Wikipediann response" as it should be a typical human response to be upset when people are being wrongly maligned.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:11, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Except that
1. She's probably right.
2. This rhetoric of "attack" is very much ridiculous Wiki-speak for "someone has DARED to criticize me!" or in this case, Wikipedia. Jimbo's original query of "WTF?" was meant - I assume - to ask "What The Fuck are you guys doing?" not "Why the Fuck is this person attacking us". That was the right question. So what has been the response to this? True, some people tried to fix the problem. Others went on a revenge-spree against this person's article(s) and then claimed she's "attacking".Volunteer Marek 23:22, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Point of order re Peter: She's an author who's blog is hosted at the NYT web site, not a journalist. These blogs are under even less editorial control than recurring op-ed columns. Don't blame journalism (at least on the NYT end, no comment on the Guardian or others). a13ean (talk) 23:31, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm assuming that NYT has a minimum of oversight about facts in op-ed pieces even online. But maybe I'm not properly informed on how things work there. But what really concerns me is how Salon has turned this into "Wikipedia's shame". A lot of it borders on sheer malice.
Peter Isotalo 23:39, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Claims of "revenge editing" are pure fiction and that was the point of my original post. Some editors went to her article, noticed a number of content issues, and corrected them. Editors then began the process of building up a higher quality page, which is what we should expect to happen. Many of the accounts that made the original promotional changes appear to have been created for the sole purpose of making such changes, mostly editing over a few weeks from mid-November to early December of 2007 so it is possible there were some conflict of interest issues with those changes. Criticism is all well and good, so long as it is well-informed and fair criticism.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:42, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

FWIW the Marin County Alert has picked this up. (transcript here). Herostratus (talk) 01:41, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

And for all the whining and wailing and gnashing of teeth...I see that Amanda Filipacchi's article is still missing the ISBNs in the Bibliography (should be Works, btw) section, and her Worldcat entry in External links. All this arguing about whether or not her article was improved vs. cut to pieces, whether or not Filipacchi is 'misguided', and the most standard material is still missing. So guess which I believe is being, shall we say, economical with the truth? (talk) 14:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

This is a discussion about media response on a talkpage. If you feel the article is lacking, why don't you point it out at talk:Amanda Filipacchi? Or better yet, get yourself an account and fix it yourself.
Peter Isotalo 21:23, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
That whooshing sound you hear is the point going over your head. (talk) 23:44, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
The point that you're extremely lazy and want everyone else to do the work for you? SilverserenC 08:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Double whoosh. O ye of little understanding.... (talk) 17:36, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Filipacchi now labeling multiple editors as sexist on a flimsy basis

Several editors are being mentioned in a piece for The Atlantic as evidence of pervasive sexism based solely on their changes involving those categories and making baseless assumptions about Lambert's actions in creating a gender-neutral category. Is anyone from the Foundation talking to her about these things? They should ask her if she knows anything about all the promotional editing on pages about her, her family, and her books, back in November and December of 2007. For some time the page about her and the pages about her books were basically serving as free advertising and now it seems she is using this controversy to promote herself as well (in this recent piece she goes on about how this is getting mentioned in all sorts of publications all over the world).--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:05, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

What is the WMF supposed to talk to her about? Do they talk to anyone whose Wikipedia pages promotes their stuff? Maybe they could warn her that she's violating WP:NPA and might end up at WP:ANI if she doesn't drop the WP:STICK. It's a WP:BATTLEGROUND out there in the real world... — alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 23:33, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
LOL, obviously she isn't bound by our silly little policies, but I would think someone who is stirring up all this hostility in the media and causing a lot of trouble for the editors she is wrongly accusing of very serious misdeeds is someone to whom the Foundation would be interested in talking. If she has previously been involved in misuse of Wikipedia for self-promotion then that would be a legitimate concern to bring up as well.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 00:05, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
And in true Wikipedian fashion here we (and by we I mean not me) go down the usual route of attack; if you can't refute a critic's criticisms, you go after them personally, i.e. argumentam ad hominem. Her list of editors and "serious misdeeds" is quite spot-on. Tarc (talk) 00:11, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I think Filipacchi has done a fantastic job bringing attention to our problematic categorization system which does not work for the reader but functions solely to help bots and other automated tasks. I think we talked about having categories created in realtime from intersection queries (female + author) but I'm not sure whatever became of that proposal or how far along the technology has come. We don't really need editors messing around the categories; that should be a mostly automated process. And if we want to see a list of all American + female + authors, we should be able to construct the query in natural language. The problem is that we aren't where we want to be and we won't get there unless we have more people interested in human-computer interaction working on the site. Filipacchi has identified important problems that need immediate attention: how do people use the site, what are they looking for, and what do they expect to find? I recommend that the Wikimedia foundation consider hiring her as a consultant. Viriditas (talk) 00:26, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, she definitely is not about to let go. If she has said anything inaccurate, someone should make that point to the Atlantic. If not, then yes, listen to what she says. Coretheapple (talk) 00:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I am not particularly concerned about her criticism of Wikipedia, except with regards to its accuracy, but by "calling out" editors as sexists or accusing them of revenge editing, she is exposing them to personal targeting by online vigilantes and with nothing more than her own prejudices and misguided assumptions to back up her accusations. My concern is with the people who are being flippantly maligned in the press and subjected to harassment because of these half-truths.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 01:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
You're right. I think that her Atlantic piece was overkill in some respects, including the singling out of specific editors. Coretheapple (talk) 18:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
At this point our main overriding concern should be with how Wikipedia works and how it appears to outsiders. I realize that Qworty and others have spoken vociferously at length about how they don't care about how Wikipedia is seen in the world, but that kind of thinking isn't acceptable. We do care, and we're working on meeting the needs of our readers. Viriditas (talk) 01:07, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Filipacchi may have certain things wrong, but nothing that she has written in the past week can possibly compare to the venomous outpouring against her, the New York Times, her mother, her career, her personal background and the "thugs", "meats" and "socks" on Qworty's talk page in recent days. That was an astounding spectacle. What have you said about that, The Devil's Advocate? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Cullen is entirely correct. The failure of the community to respond appropriately to Qworty's behavior is direly disturbing. As is the extraordinary willingness of some highly visible segments of the community to trivialize and dismiss Filipacchi's criticisms and their support from literary figures as elevated as Joyce Carol Oates[7]. (Is there any genuine evidence, aside from Qworty's agitated and obviously off-target accusations, that "online vigilantes" are "targeting" the self-appointed nemeses of Filipacchi here?) And while the Filipacchi debacle was proceeding, Qworty had the chutzpah to endorse what they called "a very worthy effort to drive a naive but disruptive editor straight off Wikipedia"[8].Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 02:48, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
When people are harassed, as Qworty was, they sometimes react in a defensive manner and become hostile. Not surprisingly, a person stirring up tempers in major media outlets by making charges of bigotry then accusing people of retaliating for those charges lets out some people's lesser tendencies. The editor in question was being viciously hounded by several persons who were turned on to this editor as a consequence of Miss Filipacchi's baseless claims of "revenge editing" when that editor made an effort to fix a lot of promotional editing that came to light after Miss Filipacchi's op-ed. You should also know the editor has stated that he or she was receiving death threats as a consequence of Miss Filipacchi's accusations. Naturally, Wikipedia acts the way much of society acts when people react poorly to harassment, by condemning the victim for reacting and ignoring the conduct provoking it.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 02:17, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Qworty was asked to forward all alleged off-wiki harassment to arbcom, and if he does, I'm sure they will deal with it and/or contact law enforcement. However, based on the evidence we have on-wiki, it looks like Wikipedia pages belonging to Filipacchi and her family were unfairly targeted. I agree with Jimbo that any editor who engages in this kind of behavior should be banned/blocked. With respect to Qworty and other editors, it's really hard to see this behavior on-wiki as anything less than outright revenge editing and provocation. Wile there may always be valid concerns about promotional eidting and COI, it's really important for editors to respect our subjects and to not forget our audience. Qworty's words in this regard were very disheartening, and demonstrated either an obvious immaturity attributable to youth, or a willful disregard of our best practices. We don't seek to provoke our subjects nor revenge edit their pages, and if there is even the slightest semblance of such behavior, it needs to be put down like a rabid dog. Viriditas (talk) 02:29, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
"Unfairly" targeted my ass. She was in the press so people looked at her bio and saw that it was an unsourced promotional mess. It was fixed up and she cried "revenge editing", which turned attention on other articles related to her that were also unsourced promotional messes. They were fixed up as well. A few editors on-wiki who are either fans or associates of Filipacchi began hounding Qworty in response to Filipacchi's allegations in the press.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 02:41, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
If someone is in the press, then we need to be extra-careful and dial down the rhetoric. What we don't do is put the pedal to the metal and ramp it up. Seriously, that's just wrong. We need to spend more time working with our BLP subjects and addressing their concerns. That means not going after their family and leaving nasty messages everywhere. You seem to be arguing that she and her family were fair game. That's not right, TDA. Wikipedia isn't a video game where you get to go "after" people. I'm afraid your attitude here isn't really a good fit for the job we're trying to do. Viriditas (talk) 02:49, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
If someone, or more than one, threatened Quorty, then that is reprehensible, and the Wikimedia Foundation ought to make appropriate reports to legal authorities. I do not condemn Quorty, as that editor's words speak for themselves. I speak to the edits, not the editor. The response was ugly, it was belligerent, it was confrontational, it was scatalogical, it was off topic by a decade with regard to Judith Miller, it was a vicious counter-attack, and it was completely contrary to the advice that the editor in question received from several other editors in the hours before, including myself. While condemning Filipacci, you continue to rationalize Quorty's response. And when media outlets pick up on Quorty's words, quoting them word for word, you blame the media. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
The talkpage ranting is one thing, but speaking of the actual article editing, is it really justifiable to call it "revenge editing". What's the worst example we can point to in this case? Over-zealous removal of info that (very strictly speaking) lacked citations and cleaning out link farms? I don't really like that type of editing myself, but the community appears to find it perfectly acceptable behavior in plenty of cases, particularly when it comes to biographies of living people.
Peter Isotalo 02:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
We must avoid not only misconduct but the appearance of misconduct. Why haven't you, The Devil's Advocate, or Quorty or any other editor involved in this imbroglio added new referenced content to this group or articles? Do you really think that the world at large will be able to look at the edits to her biography, the articles about her books, the article about her mother and the article about her father and the article about the company her father was associated with, and conclude, "all above board", all motivated only and strictly and scrupulously by the neutral point of view, with not a hint or a trace of revenge? Yes, we can say so because the editors in question bent over backwards to add new, properly referenced content. They added ISBN numbers and WorldCat data, and uncovered reviews of her work, both positive and negative, and cited them. They expanded and fleshed out and referenced the articles about her notable family members and their business ventures. Yes, that was what it was. It wasn't that ugly thing called "revenge editing". No, not at all. Bridge for sale in Brooklyn. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:54, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Please don't get hyperbolic. I'm not taking the same position as The Devil's Advocate. Those articles might not have turned into FAs, but they were improved and in some cases slightly expanded. And they weren't in the best condition before this either. People here are suggesting disciplinary action against what was done, but I'm merely posing the question: we're very tolerant of over-zealous removals in other situations, especially if someone refers to WP:BLP. But here, it becomes pure "revenge editing". I might be wrong here, which is why I'm asking the question again: which of the edits would we suggest punishing users for and publicly acknowledging as retaliation?
Peter Isotalo 09:29, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Color me a whole lot of not fucking surprised that some of you care more about "appearances" and "PR" for this site then you do about the damn people editing here. Were some of the things Qworty said inappropriate? Of course, but there is a context here that the media are ignoring or not giving much consideration. If any of these other editors Filipacchi has now called out should get harassed because of her misguided accusations, then I guess they better not get too agitated about it, because everyone here is just going to pounce on them for acting poorly when we need to keep up appearances for the press.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 03:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, but you need to be this tall to edit this site. Filipacchi did not cause any problems, our editors did. Are you getting it yet? Appearance is not just everything, it is the sum total of everything we stand for, and if we don't want to be seen as sexist, or appear to engage in revenge editing or harassment, then we must give every appearance that we do not condone this type of behavior and we must not only give credence to this appearance, we must act on it. Our appearance reflects our actions, and our content reflects our contributors. This isn't an either/or situation, and black and white thinking isn't helpful. If anything, Filipacchi did us a favor by bringing home several points that the community has failed to address, namely the equal treatment of BLP's and the complete failure of our categorization system. She should be hired as a consultant for doing so, and the editors responsible for turning this into a conflict should change the error of their ways. Viriditas (talk) 03:56, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Do you care far more, The Devil's Advocate, for the "damn people editing here" than for the subjects of our BLPs, and their mothers, and their fathers? Have you read and understood WP:BLP, a policy which applies just as as much to user talk pages as it does to main space articles? Editing here is entirely voluntary, and any one of us is entirely free to step aside at any moment, but when voluntary editors here go on a rip-snorting ranting and raving vendetta against someone who wrote a couple of opinion pieces somewhat critical of Wikipedia, you think that "context" is a mitigating factor? The subjects of that rage have no such freedom to step aside. I am one of those "damn people editing here" too, and I am appalled by this editing, and deeply concerned by your ongoing defense of it. Do you have any concerns for those editors among us who find it shocking? Or will you continue to try to defend and explain the indefensible? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:07, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Editors here are living people too, in case you all forgot, and most don't have the luxury Miss Filipacchi has of being able to defend themselves and demonize their opponents in the popular press. It is the easiest thing in the world to do what you said, just appeal to the angry mob outside our doors and sate their bloodlust without any show of compassion or respect for the truth, but it does not make for an encouraging code of ethics.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 05:14, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Read the articles in question with an NPOV attitude (required here), and then read the responses among some Wikipedia editors. The tone of an "angry mob" is overwhelmingly evident among some defensive Wikipedia editors, especially on Quorty's talk page, and here on Jimbo's talk page, and not at all in the critical commentary in the media. And it was Quorty who argued so forcefully that the New York Times is dead and obsolete and has a tiny penis, and that Wikipdeia is the dominant media force. So much for the power of the "popular press". Pot? Kettle? Black much? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:57, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Let's be realistic here, we have some random nobodies on the Internet versus a somewhat successful author born into privilege with ready access to the news media. Who do you think has more legitimate cause for concern about personal safety when it comes to being maligned by the other?--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 07:59, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Lets be even more realistic: If random nobodies start dicking about with the categorisations or the content of "TEH WORLDZ ONLINE ENCYCLOPAEDIA" then they should expect to have their activities questioned. John lilburne (talk) 10:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
As should someone who stirs up hostility in the press. Questioning and criticizing need not entail baseless attacking and demeaning.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 18:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. Individuals who do bad things should be questioned. And they have. But Filipacchi has aimed her comments at Wikipedia as a collective, and in her latest article[9] rejects the very notion of addressing individuals. She's right in the sense that all the troubles aren't the work of one or two people, but she still hasn't got the faintest clue about the background of this issue or that Wikipedia has worked on things. And on she goes talking to Wikipedia as a monolithic collective without a plurality of opinions, except those Filipacchi and others in the media choose to focus on.
And why is that? Well, because Filipacchi and plenty of other critical writers aren't doing normal journalistic research when it comes to Wikipedia. Like talking to even a single Wikipedian who has experience with these issues.[10] Would it make this entire issue go away? No. Does it prove Filipacchi entirely wrong and clears the community and all its users of any wrongdoing? No. But it would have led to a much more fruitful discussion about what has actually happened, what can be done about it, and who or what is to blame for it. I'm personally very shocked at how little basic knowledge people in the media have about how Wikipedia actually functions, even after a decade of activity. And I'm very dismayed about how utterly disinterested all of them seem to be about doing basic background research by communicating directly with its contributors.
Peter Isotalo 09:20, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Women's literature isn't a thing that doesn't exist

The thing I find amazing about all the discussions on this is the idea that women aren't special, that women's literature isn't a thing. Of course they are special, the whole world recognizes this. That's why there are specific fields of academic disciplines devoted to the works of women and women alone. The same thing occurs for non-white ethnic groups. And we all already know the reason for it, because history, literature included, has been dominated by white men. And so the subjects of works by women and by minority groups is largely un-looked at, which is why they are fields of study.

There are whole classes on this topic alone, so I won't go into any more depth, but i'll reiterate that women are special. Separating them into their own category as novelists wasn't segregating them or making them less important, it was meant to be doing the exact opposite, it was meant to be emphasizing them, making them more important and focused upon. It's why we have subcategories for different racial groups as well. Now, while that may or may not mean that a male novelists category is appropriate, it doesn't change the fact that the creation of a women novelists category was a completely appropriate, pro-women, academic, and encyclopedic thing to do. SilverserenC 08:49, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Also sexist. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 08:58, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
So you're saying Women's studies is sexist? SilverserenC 09:01, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
If it presumes that everything any woman ever does is because of her gender, yeah. That's sexist. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:05, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Then where exactly do you go from there? Women are generally focused on more in academic disciplines because they have a history of being ignored (and often still are in favor of men outside of these specific disciplines). Equality is nice and all, but when you throw everyone in a group together, it doesn't change the fact that a large part of the world IS still sexist and will act in such a manner as to minimize the existence of women within the group. That's why feminism focuses on women's achievements as women. It's why women's studies is also called feminist studies.
So, again, while equality is a nice thing in name alone, it actually has to be worked on specifically to get beyond prejudices. And it is indeed a fine line to tread. But, hey, if you want to say that you know what sexism is better than all the feminist groups in the world and throughout history, feel free. SilverserenC 09:12, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Maybe one should start by not paying attention to feminist groups but using one's own brain. If available. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:18, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
People's brains is what led to everything being sexist and racist in the world in the first place. SilverserenC 09:23, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes. True. But mine didn't. :) Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
The issue is not that women were put into a category of women novelists. The problem was that they were also removed from American novelists. While this is an artifact of our categorisation system, the concern was that it presented women, and not men, as something other than novelists. Women are both novelists and women novelists, not just one of the two.
As many have mentioned, we need a better classification scheme. Wikipedia has become too large for the current model, which was more suitable to a much smaller project. - Bilby (talk) 09:28, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Except women novelists is a subcategory of novelists, so there's already the implication that they are novelists. I do agree that we need a better categorization system, that's obvious, but for anyone to actually take the subcategory and purposefully misconstrue it in their minds to mean that it isn't a part of the higher categories takes a significant amount of mental effort. Or a complete lack of familiarity with how categories work in general, which would then mean you don't really have the right to criticize it. Furthermore...why has no one complained about this for all of the racial subcategories? SilverserenC 09:34, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Oh I have at times, but of course no-one listens. The whole thing could simply be solved by creating "man/male" and "white XYZ" categories. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Probably not - it's quite likely people would still complain. Regardless of whether women authors are in Category:Authors or Category:Women Authors, some non-trivial chunk of feminists (and non-feminists) will complain it's sexist; that's not surprising; feminism is not a strongly hierarchical thing where everyone marches in lockstep. The only actual solution I can imagine is to re-jig categories so the members of the subcats are automatically displayed in the parent categories as well, so that women authors are both "authors" and "woman authors". But that's a technical fix we're unlikely to see, I suspect. WilyD 09:46, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
How is that useful? If you are doing a research project on women's literature in the early 20th century, and you wanted to see a list of all female authors who wrote about suffrage, how would our current category system help? It's not setup for readers, it's setup for bots and cyborgs like User:Hmains who have an abnormal, obsessive need to "refine" every category so that they are impossible to glean the least bit of information from. We need to start designing categories so that humans can use them to mine useful information. Right now, they are only useful for bots (and Hmains). Seriously, we need to look at this from a different point of view and stop "refining" the cats. Hmains and others have made them completely unusable. Viriditas (talk) 09:50, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
It would solve the sexist and racist-issue. Of course it wouldn't make categories more useful. For that, as you say, fundamental changes are needed. I cannot imagine why anyone would possibly find any of the ways persons are categorized useful. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:58, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course, you could argue that that's why we have List of women writers in the first place. SilverserenC 10:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
If you want categories to be useful, we dump the hierarchical model and build in a faceted model. So that we tag someone as "Female" "American" and "Writer". It would be wonderful to say "I want all fantasy authors from Australia born after 1970" and have that list built. Hierarchical models hit all sorts of problems as they grow. A faceted model would fix the problem and make them more useful at the same time. And I must admit, I'm surprised why it isn't automatically recognised that having a system where you click on the non-gender-specific "American novelists" category and be given a list of exclusively male authors is a Bad Thing. :) Amanda Filipacchi had a pretty good point, even if she was unaware of the technical reasons for it arising. - Bilby (talk) 10:11, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Except how does she know we weren't planning on also making a Male novelists category and moving the men over there and we were just starting with the women first? When someone's first thoughts jump to sexism or racism for something as innocuous as this, it really does make you wonder if they didn't just want it to be that for their own purposes. Especially since the user in question that was moving so many over has clearly made a number of categories for men and women in the past, so there's no reason to believe that a male novelist category wasn't next on the list. SilverserenC 10:40, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Wikidata is already going down this line. A person will have corresponding wikidata of 'female' 'author' 'american' for example. Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:27, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
That's why Wikidata is so cool. :) - Bilby (talk) 03:27, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Are there really people taking part in these discussions that feel that "women's literature isn't a thing" ? Tarc (talk) 12:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, and they seem to think that if they think that "women are special" then everything will be OK. Maybe they can pick up some flowers on the way home from work and then everything will be OK.
What I really want to say is that women writers are studied in women's studies departments and in literature departments. They should be categorized as women writers and as writers. This is obvious to anyone who's not trying to justify the sexist categorization system ex post facto.
@Seren, your "how does she know we weren't about to" argument has been widely used and justly ridiculed for centuries in many contexts. You can hear people making it about slavery in the US still. "If only the Yankees hadn't taken our slaves away by force we were about to let them go due to economic constraints and christian love and then it wouldn't have been so violent and things would have been better." You can hear it about abortion rights: "If only the supreme court hadn't forced the states to legalize abortion they would gradually have allowed it and there would have been no anti-abortion-rights backlash." Dude, if something is wrong you say it is wrong when you see it is wrong. No one believes that anyone was "about to fix it". Finally, you say it's innocuous, but the world disagrees with you. It's not only not innocuous, it's actually sexist. It actually is.
@Bilby, I'm glad you can see that Filipacchi was right, but if you think this kind of thing can be blamed on technical reasons you're ignoring the reality of the situations. It happened because Wikipedia is sexist, and that caused the "technical" decisions that led to a sexist categorization system. It's ridiculous to say that she was right even though she didn't understand why it was happening. When sexist results occur they occur because of sexism. That's how you can tell where there's sexism: there are sexist results. So-called technical reasons are also ex post facto justification. Good lord, but Wikipedia is insular and myopic.
@Everybody else except Tarc. No technical fixes are needed, although a tag-based category system would be nice. All that's needed is to put the goddamned articles in as many categories as apply and everyone shut up about not having them in parent categories. That's all it would take for now. Put Maya Angelou in American writers and American women writers and African-American writers and African-American women writers and American Southern writers and American Southern women writers and all those same things with "poets" too and "essayists" and "memoirists" and so what if she ends up in 700 categories? Fix the problem now, fix the technicals later. — alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 14:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
It's a question of perspective. When a reader (for whom this is all, I believe, written), clicks on "American Novelists" and gets a list of men, but no women, they are going to be confused, and maybe annoyed or outraged. If we identify a "technical reason" this has happened then what we have identified is an internal wikipedia matter that has caused this to happen. We can react in many ways, but we should consider what we intend to achieve with that reaction.
I suggest that any business which blamed its 'systems' for my lack of satisfaction with its provided service would lose my custom, unless it did so in a clear way identifying its regret at my inconvenience/confusion/outrage and indicating how it proposed to fix the problem, and perhaps how I could "work around it" in the meantime. I'm pretty certain I'd like an apology in there as well (customers like that).
It doesn't always work that way, of course. Some businesses would view me as an inconvenience, and maybe even become aggressive, or attempt to belittle my valid complaint. Those would be the ones I no longer deal with, and which I advise my friends to steer clear of.
But I forget - wikipedia is written by the "editors", for the "editors". Readers must feel like those people who have to interrupt a pair of shop assistants openly gossiping about what a "bitch" the previous customer was, in order to get served, if they ever stumble across discussions like this.
And Seren - what on earth is the whole strawman premise of your OP about? Who suggested that they don't think "women's literature is a thing", or that "women aren't special"? where?... diffs? Begoontalk 15:27, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
There were some that were arguing that rather than double categorization, that there shouldn't be a women specific category, that they shouldn't be specialized out. That in itself makes the assumption that women specific fields of study aren't a thing, because you're saying they shouldn't be noted. SilverserenC 18:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Ah, ok, so no real basis at all to say what you did in your section heading and initial post, just your hyperbolic interpretation. That's what I thought, based on your usual posting style here, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something someone had really said. Thanks for clarifying. I think you're special too, by the way... Begoontalk 22:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Wow, I don't even know how to respond to the rudeness in your comment. I thought about being rude right back, but then I realized that you aren't worth it, that your opinion is completely worthless to me. SilverserenC 00:05, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, sorry if you found my hyperbole rude. I could probably have phrased it better to avoid upsetting you, but I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find the comments your initial post suggested it was reacting to, and came up empty. That's the thing about exaggeration - it upsets people and wastes their time. I apologise for my own part in upsetting you that way. Two wrongs never make a right, and I momentarily forgot that. Begoontalk 00:24, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

On structural and categorical sexism

The words sexism and racism have been thrown about with abandon these past few days, and I don't think any of us would disagree that there is a widespread perception of sexism in the wikipedia, and especially in our category structure. A recent expose at wikipediocracy here and others have laid out strong claims for this sexism that go beyond perception to hard evidence, which we need to address as a community (the discussion on this page about a topless girl on commons is an excellent example) However, I'd like to posit that this particular case, if we only look at the categorization of women (and men for that matter), the word "sexism" is a bit trickier. While the perception of sexism is certainly there, the reality is much more fuzzy, and its solutions much less obvious. So to start with, allow me to attempt a definition of "categorical sexism", which is to say, sexism as manifested by membership of a biography in (and lack of membership in) certain categories. (Categorical racism would follow a similar set of rules). I'm not going to tackle the question of whether gendered categories should even exist at all (we have ~8000 devoted to women) - that's a different discussion - the question at hand is, given the structure we have, where (and why) do so-called "sexist" categorizations crop up? Based on my reading of the outside attention to this issue, "categorical sexism" seems to be defined in the media by the following two characteristics:

  1. Membership in a gendered category X and
  2. Non membership in the parent category of X that is non-gendered. (e.g. what is relevant here is membership by the article in the non-gendered parent category - whether the gendered category is a member or not doesn't seem to matter)
I should note here, for the record, that our guidance on this is clear (if a bit muddily written): WP:EGRS states that one should never be ghettoized, so the claims of Alf.laylah.wa.layla that "When sexist results occur they occur because of sexism." are ridiculous. This was the actions of a few editors categorizing against policy or misunderstanding policy. Look at the guidance - it was simply not followed in this case, but the guidance is clear on this point. The problem is, actually following that guidance is harder than it looks - so the non-following of the guidance we have is endemic, and I've estimated that 75-90% of bios are classified in a way that could lead to accusations of categorical sexism, racism, religion-ism, or heteronormism/anti-LGBT.

I will give a few examples - take a look at these, and see if you can tell, without going to the tree, which one is sexist or racist according to the definition above:

  • Mary, a politician from New York. Suppose her cats are as follows:

Here is another one:

  • John, a gay, feminist, scholar and actor. His cats are:

If you look at these two examples in detail, following the rules above, and without spending 10 minutes in the tree, which most editors won't do - you may notice it is not always easy to determine where the 'racism' or 'sexism' comes in, since many of the parent categories in question are diffusing - so both bios fail miserably according to that first set of rules (e.g. you must always be in the non-gendered parent cat) - but the reality is more subtle. Mary is not, for example, a member of the (grand)parent cat Category:American politicians, but she doesn't need to be, since she is in Category:New York State Senators, which is a sub-cat of that one - but she would need to be part of Category:American women in politics. So the original rule above, which suggests someone needs to be a member of the parent category, is inherently flawed, as this would mean we would violate the idea of diffusing categories, and in some cases you'd need to join the grandparent, or go up multiple levels of the tree. There's also a trick in the above, which is that Mary is gender-ghettoized by her non-membership in Category:African-American activists, which would be easy for someone to miss, given she's in Category:African Americans' rights activists (she would also need to be in Category:American activists and Category:American women activists by the same reasoning). While Mary has examples of both categorical sexism and racism above (I leave the others as an exercise for the reader), John does not - because he is in a gendered sub-category of Category:Feminists and in a relative as well - e.g. Category:Feminist studies scholars, and he is not ghettoized by his sexuality either, since he is in a subcat of Category:Male actors that is not sexuality specific. And, a more subtle point, John's acting career is not ghettoized by gender in this case, because all actors are fully diffused by gender.

As a side note, there are about 30 Category:Male feminists who aren't elsewhere categorized in the Category:Feminists tree - and thus ghettoized by definition. It's rather interesting no-one has mentioned this - is this an example of systematic anti-male bias? Category:Male prostitutes is another example where these poor fellows are ghettoized. Are the sexist editors of wikipedia to blame for that one too? :)

In any case, we have to modify our rule, which now becomes: (Categorical sexism/racism/anti-LGBT/anti-religion-ism is defined by)

  1. Membership in a gendered or ethnic or sexuality or religion or category X and
  2. Non membership in an ancestor or "blood relative" category (e.g. sibling, cousin) of X that is non-gendered, non-ethnic, non-sexuality-based, and non-religious. (again what is relevant here is membership by the article in the non-gendered parent category - whether the gendered category is a member or not is not really relevant)
  3. If multiple categorizations are applied (e.g. gender, ethnicity, sexuality), as you go up the tree, you must also be a member of each extant iteration that removes a facet while retaining the same noun. (e.g. Category:African-American women poets members should also be in Category:African-American poets, Category:American women poets, and Category:American poets - unless the bio is are already in a non-gendered sub-cat of same.
  4. The above rules do not apply for any characteristic which has been fully diffused - e.g. if all men and women are fully categorized, there is no need for membership in a super-cat.

Now, this is where it gets tricky. How far does "blood relative" extend? Let's take another example:

  • Sadia, a poet. Her cats are:
  • She has a friend, Aliah, who is in these cats:

Can you tell, just by looking, which one has been ghettoized and which one gets a clean bill of health? The answer is, Aliah has been ghettoized - Sadia is in a women-specific medieval poetry sub-cat, and in a several-times-removed cousin under the same tree (e.g. Category:Medieval poets)., so she's technically safe, and she sits alongside other men in harmony. Aliah, on the other hand, is in a non-gendered Category:Sufi poets cat alongside other men, but it's arguably based on religion, so she needs to bubble up (somewhere?), but more importantly, Category:Sufi poets is not a subcat of Category:Medieval poets, so it is a more distant relative. Thus, she has been ghettoized by both gender and religion, but I'm still not quite sure how to put my finger on why - how far of a distant relative do you have to be before it no longer counts as a de-ghettoizing category? If we put Sadia in Category:11th-century writers, that doesn't help her either - she still remains ghettoized from her medieval poet peers, but with Category:11th-century poets, she's back in business - ghettoization-by-gender has been removed. The mathematics of this is worthy of a PhD thesis in my opinion - because it comes down to a subtle interplay of identity and grouping, and you need to carefully study how far you must go up the tree, and how deep into cousins and second cousins you're allowed to go to ensure you've been able to find a de-ghettoizing category. To all those, like Alf.laylah.wa.laylah, who would say "just stick them in every parent", you're sort of missing the point of diffusing categories - if we did that, then why not put all novelists in writers, and all writers in arts occupations, and so on. If you don't diffuse on something, there is no real point in having categories at all. Now, we've tried to create rules that say certain types of cats should be non-diffusing, which is reasonable, but it's also very hard to do correctly in the general case. This non-diffusing special case rule also means that each bio must embed and repeat within it the full logic and structure of the tree - and this leads to a different set of problems, which I've called "retroactive sexism". Let's look at an example:

  1. Susan is a romantic novelist, and is placed in the following cats:

For now, she's good - she sits along side her male peers in a non-gendered child cat of Category:American novelists. Now however, a wily editor comes along and decides that Category:American romantic fiction writers should be moved up to Category:American writers as it's actually a broader category - this is a single edit change to a category that most people may not notice. However, in that action, said wily editor has now ghettoized hundreds of women in the Category:American romantic fiction writers cat, since they are no longer in a non-gendered child of Category:American novelists. To fix this, you now have to go back to all of your romantic fiction writers and add a new category, or stick them in the novelist parent. Thus, a non-sexist categorization *becomes* sexist after the fact, based on the (relatively innocent) actions of someone else - hence retroactive sexism.
Here's another example of what you might call retroactive-reversal-of-sexism. Much has been said about how Category:American novelists is the "main" category, the "lead" category, and that membership in this category means you have arrived as a novelist. All of the hubub around this ignores the simple fact that there are 3000 bios - both of men and women, that are not, and have never been in Category:American novelists - they sit happily in the subcats below. The reason we can't just bubble all women novelists up to Category:American novelists (as many have argued) is this now becomes unfair to the men who aren't there - (say those sitting peacefully in the mystery novelists cat) - to be fair, we'd have to bubble them up too. And then all novelist sub-cats become non-diffusing, so why not make novelists itself non-diffusing, and up everyone bubbles to Category:American writers - this is a recursive problem.
But now, we get to retroactive-reversal-of-sexism - a clever wikipedia programmer creates some code that will allow a toggle to display not just the direct members, but all sub-members of a given category. (As a note - I've now added this feature, just go to Category:American novelists and click to see it, using the catscan tool.) Now, when Amanda from the NY Times swings by wikipedia, she can click on Category:American novelists, click on "see all including subcats", and see the full list of everyone, including those in subcats. Thus, with a stroke of programming genuis, the so-called "sexism" has been erased. Now, whether you're a member or not in the super cat doesn't matter so much anymore, as we've fixed the display issue - so the "sexist" acts of categorization are hence, with a few lines of computer code, rendered non-sexist!
If you want to explore this more deeply (even though I gather most of you are sick of this and just want to get on with your lives), please please please come take the quiz I put together, it's a real-life example and I challenge all of you, especially you, alf laylah wa laylah, to do your best. I'm quite confident that you, like others who have tried, will fail (I myself spent an hour making the answer key, and I still failed). Not because you're a bad person, nor because you're a racist or sexist, but because doing this right is really really hard. We've spent so much time and focus on Category:American women novelists where the answer seems to simple (duh, move them up), but avoiding ghettoization in the *general* case is much harder. I welcome your thoughts and comments on the above, and sorry I'm a bit wordy... --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 16:57, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

In a shorter sense, I too would like to see a change to the way we categorise people. Take, for example, Ed Balls: he's an MP, he's in the Labour Party, and he's a Labour MP. I think it would be much easier to have a sort of "tag" system a la Wikidata, and visible categories maybe as something distinct but related to tags? So I could tag Ed Balls "Labour (UK)", "Members of Parliament", "55th Parliament", and "Current Labour (UK) MPs" could be int[Labour (UK), Members of Parliament, 55th Parliament]? It's something to think about among the devs, I'm sure. Sceptre (talk) 17:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks for putting that message in the category pointing people to the toolserver app that was recently mentioned; this is progress. But I would like to see this message generalized and polished a bit and placed as an editnotice for the entire category: namespace! (Categories need a lot more help than this, but shunting people away from them is a good start) Wnt (talk) 19:14, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Wnt: You're welcome. Please spread the word, even tweet about it "wikipedia provides full listing of all novelists - all 6700 of them" - with a single click. Secondly, I totally agree, this needs to be baked into the interface. And Sceptre, I fully agree with this - a faceted based system ala Wikdata is the way to go. However, we're not there yet, and we may have to find a fix in the meantime.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 20:59, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Wow, that's complicated stuff. It does illustrate why there is such a huge problem with throwing out terms such as "sexism" in this situation. All the little tricks you point out where some category would accidentally be made "sexist" or "non-sexist" indicates that using the terms in this context conveys no obvious meaning and really trivializes them. The whole idea of "sexism" is that it discriminates, i.e. treats one group differently than the other. We have more than enough evidence that none of these particular editors actually treat women differently from men with regards to categorization and that this controversy is being driven entirely by appearances. It is very easy for people who have little or no knowledge of Wikipedia and its internal processes to come upon certain situations and misconstrue them. Unfortunately, in society people are quick to assume maliciousness and this is especially the case when a situation gets caught up in identity politics. My thinking in all this is that I would really just love to shove all the people in the American novelists cat into relevant subcats so that no one is in the main cat and thus any gender sub-cats are no longer a real issue.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 21:23, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm sure that, even then, someone would find a way to claim that it's sexist or racist. It's what people do. Especially mass media. SilverserenC 22:07, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, full diffusion has happened like at Category:American politicians - the women have a subcat, but they're also categorized along with their male peers elsewhere in the tree - so no brouhaha. The problem we had here is, no-one had diffused the (massive) Category:American novelists category, so it seemed like the main place to be. Now, the by-century cats have been created, and people are starting to diffuse to those, so eventually all will be diffused to lower-level cats and Category:American novelists will remain a container cat or a holding ground for those who haven't been placed in lower level cats. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 23:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
It does look like full diffusion is the best option. Otherwise, you're creating something that is a headache to replicate in other categories. I shudder to think what a category for duplication would be in biology. The Life category would just end up being the most horrendous thing ever, because it would have everything in the subcategories in it specifically. SilverserenC 00:07, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Ok, serious question based on what you just said: I'm British, Male, White, and living in Australia. Why should I not be categorised as "all" of those things if I had an article? If I can't search for Cat:Male +Cat:White: +Cat:British +Cat Australian based British Ex-pat(or similar) then the Category System is broken, fundamentally. In the over specific current ghettoised system I need to know the answer before I do the search. There is nothing wrong with a category containing a million things, or 10 million, for your "life" example. Just because people have somehow decided on an arbitrary size of category that is "too big" for their taste doesn't mean the world will adapt to their sense of neatness. Categorise everything as it is. Then you have all the data. How to display, manage, and search that is the next problem to solve - but make the encyclopedia record reality and everything else flows from there. Otherwise what you are doing is trying to guess all the potential searches beforehand in the over specific category names, and it's not achievable. It's probably a hard place to get to from here, but it is the place we will eventually inevitably be, so maybe the journey should start now? Begoontalk 00:50, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
See WP:Category intersection, and the proof of concept tool I just posted below. Yes, the way to go is that way - searchability across arbitrary cats. We can hack this, today. As in, right now. It works, and we can make it easy for users. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 01:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I have always been uncomfortable with the activist nature of some categories. I know the LGBT community (to pick one at random) is fiercely proud and claims its own, but often the result is that people are identified as a foo author when really they are just an author, and the category foo is reinforced as other when in fact it is (and rightly should be) irrelevant to most people. It is, I guess, as noted above, the tag vs. category question that bloggers have to deal with all the time. It may well be interesting to research books by female authors, as a topic of study, but I really hope that in this day and age the gender, sexuality, colour or nationality of an author is of very little relevance to their actual literary output. Guy (Help!) 22:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Perfect example. Rupert Everett and Quentin Crisp were both categorised as category:Gay male prostitutes and Category:English male prostitutes. No. Just no. Neither is known for this, it is an incidental and trivial aside to two careers that are defined by something else entirely. Neither is currently a prostitute, neither had prostitution as a significant part of their career, it is, ion short, tabloid sensationalism. We really should be better than this. In a list article they could be included as "people who at some point earned a living through prostitution due to lack of any alternative". I really hope we don't have that article. Guy (Help!) 23:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
That's a different example - the relevant guidance is WP:DEFINING - e.g. in an article about this person, would that be in the lede (more or less). I do note, however, according to our guidelines, that *is* the correct categorization for a gay english prostitute - both cats are needed to avoid ghettoization. But for these fellows, if it was a short term thing they did and people don't talk about it every time they mention them, then they should be removed from the cat. The same goes for someone who wrote a poem when they were 10 - that doesn't put them in Category:American poets. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 23:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Do those authors write books about the LGBT community? Because if they write LGBT literature, which is a specific academic subject, then them being labeled as LGBT authors seems appropriate, though I suppose that could be confusing if you have a straight person writing LGBT literature, like with John Green being co-author for Will Grayson, Will Grayson. That's the problem with terminology that has two different facets to it, it gets confusing. SilverserenC 00:10, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
But here's how you make that confusion go away. Categorise all the authors as 'authors'. Categorise LGBT people as 'LGBT people'. Categorise authors known for writing on LGBT subjects as 'authors known for writing on LGBT subjects' if you must or want to. Hey - confusion gone - search to your hearts content on the intersects that now exist. Begoontalk 01:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I think that makes much more sense. Now how about Joan Armatrading? Two LGBT categories, both accurate, she is no in the closet, but neither does she make a big thing of it, it's rarely if ever mentioned in interviews, it does not define her stage persona, she appears to regard it as a private matter, as is her right. Guy (Help!) 08:15, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Apart from loving some of her music, I don't really have an opinion on what categories should be attached to Joan. Even if I did, that's a content decision for that article, and the BLP/other policies we have, surely, rather than the general principle of how Categories should work, which is the only place I was coming from. Sure, you'd need to have inclusion rules for Categories, especially potentially contentious ones, but we have those content rules already. Begoontalk 14:50, 5 May 2013 (UTC)


The category/list/superset/subset/Venn diagram problem is being addressed via [Wikidata]. Please read it, especially noting the List of Properties Sections for people, literature, etc. I suspect there was an assumption they could automagically populate some of the tags using Wikipedia categories. This is still possible of course, but perhaps not in the they assumed. Keep calm and carry on! (talk) 17:31, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

A bandaid, but it works - Category intersections, today!

I wanted to share a new development from the Obi-wan labs. Take a look at Category:Nigerian novelists. What I've done is, created an easy way to do category intersections. The steps were as follows:

  1. I've taken several women and several men (4 women, 3 men)
  2. I kept or placed them in the Category:Nigerian novelists category (the women, I removed from the Category:Nigerian women novelists cat for now)
  3. I added them to Category:Nigerian men or Category:Nigerian women - top level, generic cat
  4. I added one of them to Category:Igbo people also to get another ethnic slice (she was in a subcat, but I stuck her at the top)
  5. Then I created a link to pre-populated cat-scan templates, to do category intersections on "Nigerian novelist" + "Nigerian woman" or whatever.
  6. I only did this with a few people in each category, as it's just a proof of concept.

Using this technique, we could make a big chunk of this problem go away, at least in the short term, while we're waiting for wikidata to get fully set up. For any given category, we could just move people up to top-level national men/women/gay/straight/black/white categories (I'm thinking by-country, since that would reduce the search space somewhat), and then stick them all in non-gendered, non-ethnic, non-religious jobs, cities, what have you. And at the top of each category, editors could create pre-populated links to their favorite intersections essentially replicating the categories that used to exist below. The cats on each bio would become vastly simplified. Editors could argue on the talk page whether Armenian chess players of Jewish descent from Philadelphia is indeed a valid intersection to provide a default link on the cat page, but even if that particular intersect doesn't survive, the user who needs it will be able to click right over to the tool, tweak the entry fields, and get the data anyway. Researchers would be able to intersect to their heart's content - something which is actually hard right now with hard-coded ethnic/gendered categories.
In the meantime, we would be bit by bit getting rid of *all* of the ethnic/gendered/sexuality categories, except at the very top level, because they aren't really necessary in the wikidata world - in a way we'd be priming the pump for wikidata by simplifying our bio categorization structure entirely. For now this is v0.1, but please take a look and let me know your thoughts as a possible approach to fix this mess. If all of those commenting just focused on being gnomes on this issue, we could change the whole world in a few weeks I bet, and show the outside world that we're changing, we're doing something about it, immediately.
We could also easily add links to recursively enumerate all subcategories, or even to enumerate all subcategories with a particular gender/ethnicity/etc. For example, show me all African-American men novelists, no matter where they are categorized in the Category:American novelists tree - this is trivial if you have the right categories set up to start with.
Finally, many thanks to the guy who wrote the catscan tool. If we did this, we'd want to reach out to him, to make the interface/display a little nicer for the newbies. But as a hack, I think it's not a bad start.

-----> Category:Nigerian novelists <-----

cheers, --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 00:38, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Note: to centralize discussion, I propose to have the discussion here: Wikipedia_talk:Category_intersection#Bandaid category intersection discussion

I grew a beard on my face in the time it took to run that query. What do we have to do to speed it up? Viriditas (talk) 08:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
C'est la vie. The sample I ran usually took 5-7 seconds. I have no idea how to improve performance, am trying to get in touch with developer now.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 00:39, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I would actually say a set-intersection system in a years time! Wikidata has opened up the possibility of a tagging based system which could be used for set intersections but its not mature or populated enough yet. Work first on an ontology for the wikidata and a search mechanism . This might take a year to do then we could migrate to that system gradually abandoning categories apart from where its most useful - small groups of tightly related very specific concepts like say Category:Unicode blocks.--Salix (talk): 07:26, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Writers Barnstar Hires.png The Writer's Barnstar
You found this wiki. I'm so proud of you because you're famous than other users and your CEO users.You will never protect your user, but some admins protect it. John H. Adams (talk) 13:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, is Jimbo [more] famous than other users? Who are the most famous people who regularly or semi-regularly edit the Wikipedia or have done so, I wonder? (And can we get them to endorse...?) Herostratus (talk) 15:10, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Templates to auto-respell IPA format

After years of frustration, I noticed the wp:IPA folks have been spelling the complex IPA pronunciations as one-symbol-per-parameter, which could be auto-respelled to also display as simple wp:respelled form. So, Eureka!  I have begun writing templates, to "read" the 366 various IPA-for-English symbols and "say" the typical respelled syllables. For example:

Although more template logic is needed to split the respelled syllables with hyphens "-" between them, even at this point, the auto-respell templates can be used to advise editors how to write the respelled format. Plus, in more complex cases, then an auto-respelled form could be suppressed while showing a manual respelled form instead. These templates could be a big help to users who do not know the 366 IPA symbols being coded to show English words. -Wikid77 (talk) 21:07, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

There are about 30 IPA symbols for English, not 366. Your template might be an easier way of respelling once you get the bugs worked out, such as not being able to indicate stress. But that's a discussion for the respelling template talk page. — kwami (talk) 03:41, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I counted 366 symbols in IPA-English template with stress marks: It would be wonderful, if only "30 IPA symbols" were used, in reality. However, there are 16 symbols in the 2 words above, alone, or did you mean "about 300 symbols, not 366"? I found the example word for Template:IPA-en, "Alabama" shows /ˌæləˈbæmə/, which would auto-respell as /`alə'Bamə/. The primary stress is indicated by lead-apostrophe ('), and secondary stress is by accent mark (`). No bugs there, but I see how the IPA format has omitted the syllable breaks, so unless specified by syllable-dot "." then the auto-respelled form would not have the syllable information. A full wp:respelled form is a higher-level format, than the primitive IPA form. Word "Azerbaijan" shows IPA /ˌæzərbˈɑːn/, or auto-respelled as /`azərbye'djahn/. Anyway, the French IPA form, Template:IPAc-fr, has more symbols beyond the 366 used by the English-text Template:IPAc-en in 17,000 articles. So, that is a separate effort, to show the auto-respelled French form. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:26/11:54, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
No, 30, or about 50 if you count trivial ones like "b". Not that it matters, because we'll use the IPA regardless.
Jimbo's page is not the place to discuss this.
Your template as it stands cannot generally give the pronunciation of English words, but that's a discussion for the template talk page. — kwami (talk) 19:15, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I have changed it to show phonetic-respelled form. -Wikid77 17:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Enhanced for capital letter to stress syllable: Although the primary-stress mark, in the wp:respelled form, shows as apostrophe ('), I have enhanced Template:IPAc-en/re to use a lookahead algorithm and put a capital letter in the next syllable following the apostrophe stress mark. Some examples:
So, even though the IPA form for "archipelago" used lowercase "p" (in IPA "/p|ɛ|l/"), when the template generates the auto-respelled form, it shows a capital "P" to stress syllable "Pel" in the pronunciation. -Wikid77 17:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Showing schwa (ə) rather than "ah" sound: To match the current wp:RESPELL key, for phonetic respelling, I have changed the template to show the typical schwa "ə" for the short 'a' in 'about', rather than "ah" which could be considered a longer sound than "ə" although I think they are nearly the same. However, I am still wondering if showing "ah" would be easier for more readers to understand. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:16, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo, can you please chime in?

We've got lots of conversation on your talk page, but none from you. I think it would be worthwhile to have you put your opinions about these topics down in writing. InconvenientCritic (talk) 17:01, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

This conversation has been going on, on my talk page and elsewhere, for a very long time. My views are well known and I have nothing new to add.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:45, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
As I do not have a clear understanding of your position in regards to the situation at Commons, could you please reiterate them for me here or provide a link to a clear statement of your understanding? Thanks. InconvenientCritic (talk) 01:15, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
If the newly registered editor "InconvenientCritic" has something new to add, then it would be nice to see it. Either here or, perhaps preferably, elsewhere. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:52, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Please, stop. I was clearly asking for comment from Jimbo. Thanks for leaving me alone in the future. InconvenientCritic (talk) 01:15, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Listen, Mr. Random-Wikipediocracy-Luminary/Banned-User, you are little but a distraction to the general criticism discussions around here, esp with a dumb username that's still redlinked for christ's sake. Stick to the forums and leave the on-wiki discussions to actual on-wiki editors, if you would. Tarc (talk) 01:33, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Tarc, this is the The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Apparently. For Better or Worse. Or something. That's an actual page/redirect/wiki-link right there. (The sooner that gets jettisoned, the better).Volunteer Marek 01:50, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
So, what is Jimbo's position on the troubles at Commons? Just asking because I don't know and I have to assume I'm not the only one. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 02:04, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, a few years back Fox News ran a piece about porn on wikipedia, and so Jimbo ran to Commons and started mass-deleting sexuality images, including a number of historical images. That led to a revolt, and he had to give up his founder status on Commons. I don't think his opinion has changed since. -mattbuck (Talk) 02:13, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I think that's too harsh a summary. As I recall, roughly half of a couple of hundred deletions Jimbo proposed were ultimately judged to be justified based on the previously established Commons scope, and half weren't. There have been more (too many, some of us might say) scope- or ethics- based deletions since that time. You could equally as well say that he gave Commons a kick in the rear to get more thought about to the issue. But the net result is indeed that much of the material is worth keeping. Either side can call that a victory or a defeat depending on how they look at it. So far as I know, Jimbo's pull-back from active management was a long-term trend that long predated the Commons thing (actually one of the criticisms as I recall was that he wasn't used to how things worked by that point). As I said in the French Intelligence section so far above at the beginning of these discussions, I think it is actually not a good thing, even for them, for a few people in power to have that much say over these things, because agencies or criminal organizations could try to push them around, whereas a community is harder to pressure. Wnt (talk) 03:23, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
No, I think the summary is accurate. There is nobody else but Jimbo who would have people willing to defend a 50% error rate, particularly given the amount of damage it did to the Commons community. And yes, it led to some RFCs which, ultimately, were rejected. (at least at first. I lost track of any subsequent debates). And "InconvenientCritic", Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. So why don't you go edit something? Or tell us what you did edit under your real account? Resolute 14:17, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't have the faintest idea what your position is vis-a-vis commons, Jimmy, and I don't think anyone else would either. Maybe write up an opinion piece on it at User:Jimbo Wales/My ideas for a solution for Commons? --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 00:20, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

While I realize that your talk page can be more than a little chaotic, I really would like to understand what your position on the commons is. Thanks. InconvenientCritic (talk) 22:39, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Civilization Jihad (patiently read please!)

(Find sources: "Civilization Jihad" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference)

This relatively poorly written article about a notable subject was deleted multiple times, weirdly enough, as a violation of WP:G11 and at times as a contravention of WP:G10 and none of the times was it allowed a proper AFD discussion, albeit poorly written articles don't necessarily need deletions. Then it was userfied by Someguy1221 with the hopes of improvement.
Thereafter even that user-space draft was also nominated for deletion within 2-3 hours of userfication (same editors who CSDed it, AFDed it commented there)! This much fervor towards deleting the draft struck me as a tad odd to say the least. Moving on, it was dismissively labelled as a "garbage", "conspiracy theory POV", "crackpot theories" by some editor (obviously these labels were left unsourced at the MFD discussion. The irony is even if it were sourced it would only redound to the vindication of its notability). Whatever the raised issues were they were either nonexistent or fully surmountable. Wikipedia has no deadline.
Not to mention, the creator of the article was vilified at the MFD (later blocked with the accusations of sock-puppetry), I was labelled as an "Islamophobe" merely for arguing in favor of that draft. Amazingly enough for me, the reviewing admin (Spartaz) at the MFD was almost readily convinced that this article does not even merit a page in the user-space (which in turn deprived the creator, or any other interested editor, of the chance to rectify the issues) even though the threshold for keeping is much lower in userspace. Now there is no trace of Civilization Jihad on wikipedia.
"Civilization Jihad" is a very notable subject in the United States (be it a phenomenon or an umbrella term for something), it is not a fictitious construct as some have tried to frame it at the MFD discussion. There is no shortage of sources, verifiability is not a problem at all, only language was but it ought not to have served as grounds for deletion, let alone speedy deletion.

I have initiated a DRV seeking to review the speedy deletion of Civilization Jihad. More or less, the same group of editors are endorsing the deletion even now. There primary argument against the article, to me, seems to be (1) "unsubstantiated conspiracy theory" doesn't deserve a page (2) it is somehow promotional and the consensus (who knows when that was established?) is against the subject's inclusion. This local consensus is not acceptable.
This is diametrically antithetical to what Wikipedia stands for, intrepid enunciation of verifiable information regardless of who is getting offended. Now they think the DRV isn't a valid one. What about Ignore all rules and need to use common sense?! Mr T(Talk?) (New thread?) 08:20, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I can't say I've come across this topic before but when I look at the sources listed at the top of this section, it's abundantly clear that this is something that is being promoted by Islamophobes and whackjobs. That instantly rings warning bells, as does your assertion that it's a "very notable subject in the United States." Wikipedia is not a venue for promoting the latest memes from the fever swamp of America's far right fringe. Prioryman (talk) 09:50, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
There are 4 endorsements from users not involved in prior discussions so I think your argument about the validity of the DRV lacks merit. After this fails to get you your way, what's next? Should I steel myself for an ANI or will we be jumping directly to an RFC or RFAR in your unceasing effort to keep this content anywhere on wikipedia. Frankly, the only users advocating for this text are you are and the currently blocked GroundRisk. Perhaps everyone else is involved in a conspiracy? Or is it maybe, just maybe, that this text really doesn't belong here. Spartaz Humbug! 11:24, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
After DRV you mean? Nothing. I will be going my way and you yours. Mr T(Talk?) (New thread?) 11:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Well since the DRV still has almost a week to run and you are already here trying to get higher authority to overturn the community process because you don't like the way its going, Ican't see that you can honestly blame me for wondering where next you will be taking this crusade... Spartaz Humbug! 11:50, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I haven't seen this article, but putting all lawyering aside, the first thing we need is a simple description of the concept. Looking through that long AfD I found that "Civilization Jihad" was attributed by a partisan source [11] to Mohamed Akram of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that another partisan source [12] described Robert Spencer (author) as calling the same thing "Stealth Jihad". The gist of the idea is that Muslims will increase in numbers, take over an area, and impose sharia law. Looking at an item like Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church, I can see how you can say that's kind of true and kind of not true - not really a fringe claim, even if it is in fringe sources, but then again, it is hard to picture that people of any culture (even atheists), upon getting political power in an area, won't end up trampling former customs.
The question is, is there a way to define the idea precisely enough to make it a proper article topic, or whether it should be left to more generic articles like Criticism of Islam or more specific articles like those about Kosovo or the people mentioned above. And so far, I just don't see a case for pulling out this term that one guy uses and another term that another guy uses but which a third guy says is the same, and saying that's a way to organize Wikipedia. I understand your frustration, I really do, but I think you're trying to get to a valid goal by the wrong route, and you also need to use the kinds of sources you've encountered very carefully, recognizing their highly partisan nature. Wnt (talk) 15:08, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Except, that's not the real problem. The real problem is the incredible amount of time and energy this one user is wasting and what Wikipedia can do to prevent it from happening again and again. He asks us for our patience, but what do we get in return? IDHT and repetitive copy and pastes. No, I'm sorry, but this needs to stop. Viriditas (talk) 00:36, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

I am sick and tired of people abusing Wikipedia rules about content to claim that editorial decisions are not permitted. In this case, it's claiming that the theory can't be excluded as a crackpot theory on the grounds that "obviously these labels were left unsourced at the MFD discussion". You don't need to source an editorial decision in the same sense that you need to source article content. If you wanted to write an article describing it as a crackpot theory, then you would need a source for that claim, but if you wanted to delete it on the grounds that it's a crackpot theory, you would not. Indeed, you might end up concluding that it is a crackpot theory precisely because there are no reliable sources for it. Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:03, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

You have gone through every single source available on the subject, I presume? Anyway I have withdrawn the nomination and I fear I will have to face retribution just because I've said what I thought. Some are trying to get me banned. You know what, I am tired of watching people bend the relatively straight-forward rules of Wikipedia to achieve whatever they want to in the name of "consensus". Mr T(Talk?) (New thread?) 16:14, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

What? Ban? Shut me up?

Viriditas, you're trying to seek retribution against me by attempting to enforce a topic ban? What is this? I said nothing out of my limits. I have not even edited that article much, because I knew something like this would follow. I withdrew the nomination, now you want to seek a ban against me for once saying the subject is consequential as the geocentric model? What is this? [13][14] Are you trying to shut me up this way? Is this overt censorship? Mr T(Talk?) (New thread?) 16:02, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Is this overt censorship? No it is Wikipedia operating the way it usually does, exercising its rights to decide what article content is acceptable, and who is permitted to edit. It isn't 'censorship' because only governments have the power to engage in censorship. Wikipedia, as a privately-run institution, permits editing by those willing to abide by the rules, but is obliged to do so for no one. If you don't comply with the rules, you don't get to edit. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:40, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
"it is Wikipedia operating the way it usually does" - I don't know much but does Wikipedia ban editors simply for inadvertently putting forth an unfavorable view against a cherished subject of one community? Don't get me wrong I am fully open to an Arbitration Committee review, or Jimbo blocking me (I have high regards for his judicious attitude)..but I am just outright amazed by the rationale given. Is that suitable rationale for a Topic ban? If we ban everybody who contributes to criticisms against a religious community, then we are inherently fostering bias insofar as we are reducing the number of people who would like to introduce some relevant but contentious content in that article. You say wikipedia should not be expected to follow its own set of policies, why?
Having said all that, I believe I am one of "those willing to abide by the rules". Which rule says that I cannot nominate a speedy-deleted article, which I earlier thought was an inappropriate deletion, for review? Yes, that's all I did in that case. And then I withdrew as soon as I realized my review request didn't pass the WP:DRVPURPOSE criterion. I am not a political activist nor do I have an agenda. I simply misconstrued the process. If I am labelled as an Islamophobe simply because I favored a poorly written article about a right-wing theory and banned for this then, I believe, it will be disingenuous not to call it censorship. I am sorry I don't think Wikipedia stands for this. Mr T(Talk?) (New thread?) 06:23, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any discussion seeking to have you banned, or even topic banned. Based on my knowledge of your standing, everything is in order and at most you have worn some editors patience thin by rebutting the counsel given when it would have been more prudent to acknowledge areas where you had previously been mistaken; like the requirements outlined at WP:DRVPURPOSE, as you have done, or WP:FORUMSHOP, which you are yet to do. You should familiarize yourself with the purpose and application of discretionary sanctions because this is likely the area where you are at greatest risk, and you should do an honest self evaluation to determine if you have a conflict of interest in any area where you may be editing. It's next to impossible to be neutral regarding a topic where your own views are inculcated into your person. Let this thread archive, take what you can from it to better yourself, and move forward and away from the unpleasantness of your recent endeavors. Good luck to you and happy editing. My76Strat (talk) 07:45, 6 May 2013 (UTC)


Hey jimbo, do you think wikipeia has reached the point where it can replace libraries in terms of factual knowledge? Pass a Method talk 21:54, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Obviously, I can't speak for Jimbo, but I don't know anyone knowledgeable about Wikipedia who thinks that Wikipedia can replace libraries, or who would want it to. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:03, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedia killed Britannica although nobody wanted to kill Britannica or did they? Wikipedia is replacing libraries as we speak, but not in terms of factual knowledge. If one really cares about the knowledge, one should still go to libraries, except more and more students are getting their factual "knowledge" from Wikipedia. (talk) 22:51, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
It was Encarta, and the internet generally that "killed" Britannica (which of course is still there). See the 2004 interview with its Editor in Chief, which doesn't even mention Wikipedia. Johnbod (talk) 03:00, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
And Encarta too. Britannica is still there, except I meant "Britannica no more: Wikipedia wins ". This is a rather sad victory. (talk) 01:26, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and, as such is a tertiary source, while libraries have all types of sources. Wikipedia could not replace those types of sources, and should not aim to. An encyclopedia summarizes a topic, it does not give the sort of depth of coverage that the primary and secondary sources do, and should never aim to. An encyclopedia will always, to some degree, reflect the particular biases of those who edit it. Also, the quality of most wikipedia articles is very low. Ignoring pop culture, and stubs of villages, hamlets and motorways etc there are perhaps 300,000 or so articles of worthwhile merit on wikipedia; that's far short of being comprehensive in breadth. Wikipedia, and any encyclopedia, is useful for a first glance at a topic, to get some basic familiarity. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:45, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
In the future this may happen, but it may not be Wikipedia but other internet sites that will replace libraries. Also, books will change into electronic versions that are then not restricted to have the linear structure that is defined by the pages of the book. E.g. suppose you want to learn about electromagnetism, then today you would study from a textbook and usually you would have start reading from page 1 even if you are already familiar with 50% of the topic. In practice only people who have mastered the topic at university level are capable of using a text like the one by Jackson as a reference book to quickly look up something without having to spend many hours of study. Then if instead of the book you could read an explanation of what you want to know in terms of more fundamental concepts which you can get explained too if you want that, down to the most fundamental concepts. This would save a lot of studying time for most people. Wikipedia with its wikilinks actually could in principle work like this, but in practice you won't get far if you are a lay person who wants to know the details of, say, quantum field theory. Count Iblis (talk) 12:34, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Simple answer - NO. Intothatdarkness 20:07, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

(Christian) clergy titles in article names

I know how much you care about naming conventions for people in general given the number of times you edited a number of these policies/guidelines so I decided to point out yet another title related problem to you.

Since 2006 titles such as King, Queen, Sheik, Sultan, Dr. and boatloads of other titles are unwelcome in article names. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis such as with Mother Teresa. We have one divergence from this general rule with Christian clergy more notably titles such as Pope, Cardinal, Patriarch and possibly also Saint in article names.

This anomaly in the currently used guideline was added on 04:23, 20 April 2003 without consensus and remained without much discussion. There was some village pump discussion on 00:28, 17 October 2003‎ until issue was mostly forgotten until 2005 as far as I can tell.

When objections are raised people are quick to claim of a previous consensus for this naming convention of which there is no evidence of such a discussion taking place much less an established consensus. This argument isn't a new thing and was pointed out countless times even all the way back on 02:04, 6 October 2006 when one user attempted to semi-force the idea.

This double standard originally applied to Western (Christian) clergy but then was expanded to include Eastern (Christian) clergy for perhaps obvious reasons. So at this point this issue undermines the entire naming convention as because of this exception to Christian clergy other religions and even royalty may want to have their fancy titles back in article names.

-- A Certain White Cat chi? 22:54, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Do you have any evidence that these relatively limited exceptions "undermine the entire naming convention"? I don't see an actual problem here. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 23:12, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Sure. It is fairly easy (also as per WP:NPOV) we either need to promote religious statuses on all other religious leaders and monarchs or else we are giving special treatment to the King and Pope of the Vatican as well as the representative of the legal corporate person the Holy See. C.G.P. Grey on YouTube explains the Pope, Vatican City with fascinating detail.
Queen Elizabeth II whom is not only the head of state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as of the Commonwealth Realm but also the supreme leader of the Anglican Church as handed to her by God (per British tradition) making her a religious figure just like the Pope. This religious role is underplayed but it is nevertheless there. Mind that this is hardly unique to Europe as if you look at the Democratic People's Republic of Korea the former head of state had many titles such as 천출위인 (Great Man, Who Descended From Heaven) as well as 천출명장 (Glorious General, Who Descended From Heaven) of which none are put in the article's title. Practically every Caliphate including many Arab & Ottoman Sultans were also heads of state until the title was abolished in 1924. These individuals do not get to keep such a title on their article name. I could list many other examples but the list would quickly clutter this talk page. Furthermore, why shouldn't every other CEO representing a legal corporate person get a fancy title in their article name? After all arguably CEOs of the largest corporations matter far more (in terms of Notability) than the Pope given their influence on global economy.
The reason I mentioned the examples is to demonstrate just how complicated these titles can be. If we are going to give such a massive exception to a group of people, we must do so with good reason of which I can see none here in good faith. Feel free to point any out because nothing is more unwiki than double standards especially if they are arbitrary to begin with.
-- A Certain White Cat chi? 23:18, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
The relevant notability guideline is WP:Naming conventions (clergy). You mention developments in 2003 and 2006, which are "ancient history" in Wikipedia terms. There is extensive recent discussion of your point on the talk page of that notability guideline; motivated, I assume, by the recent resignation of a pope. Personally, I like you would prefer "Benedict XVI" as an article title to Pope Benedict XVI, but the consensus in that discussion is clear, and is against your point.
I would submit that this is not a "massive exception", as it involves just several hundred clearly defined articles. You can speculate all you want about efforts to incorporate North Korean titles or corporate titles into article names. I see no evidence whatsoever of that happening, or of this issue spilling over into other broader areas of article naming. Why we have Queen Victoria but Elizabeth II, I do not know, but I am also not interested in rocking that boat. I suggest that you read the talk page of the guideline, and abide by the consensus, even though you disagree with it. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:32, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
The fact that we do have a Queen Victoria while having Elizabeth II shows that there is a naming convention inconsistency beyond what is being talked about and a larger discussion and rewrite should occur (though Victoria is often referred by the full title in pop culture every-day-speak whereas Liz 2 was not... most likely the origin of the inconsistency). And I'm disturbed by the fact that Christian clergy is given different guidelines on naming. Consensus or not there is no reason anyone should just "abide by the consensus" and not question it, though I'm sure Cullen328 is only saying to not vandalize; surely Cullen328 is not implying that people have no right to question the consensus, bring up good points, and sway people to see perhaps a new way is possible and better. Surely we can agree that naming convention guidelines for ALL religious leaders should be consistent and that a separate guideline for one religion is not the best way? A general guideline done by a large community consensus would be best, instead of a localized consensus by those who have a vested interest already in Christian leadership. How would the community feel if wikiproject for Judaism decided that Rabbi (or Rebbe) would precede all rabbi's articles? If your answer is that of course rabbi's should not have such naming then obviously neither should Christian clergy. (talk) 04:52, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course, I am not implying that consensus can never change, and I hope that I made clear that I would personally support such a change. Rather, I am correcting the impression created that there was no consensus, and that the issue had not been debated recently. It was debated recently, and quite a few editors offered their opinions. Personally, I oppose discussing these sorts of issues over and over again, without time for reflection and study of consequences. If it is shown that there is a spillover effect on North Korean articles or corporate CEO articles or articles of any other type, then I would be less opposed to revisiting the issue immediately. Consistency is a good thing in general, but it is not an absolute requirement, and exceptions to general rules are often made, as in this case. Accepting consensus even when one disagrees personally is an important trait of a really useful editor here.
As for comparing articles about rabbis to articles about popes, I have a unique personal perspective. I was born and raised Catholic, later converted to Judaism, and have written a biography of a rabbi, Joseph Asher. I know enough about the two religions to understand that that Judaism has no central authority while Roman Catholicism is hierarchical, and that popes pretty much abandon their birth names, while rabbis do not. The comparison you made is, in my view, not valid for those reasons. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:10, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Just as a thought, can I suggest that perhaps Queen Victoria was adopted because Victoria has multiple meanings and that was a more elegant way to disambiguate the title than Victoria (Queen)? sroc (talk) 11:19, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Cullen328, please see- Chief Rabbi. Also there have been in the past 50 years at least one Rebbe in Brooklyn who had been declared the Messiah (his death obviously disqualified him, though like another 2000 yrs ago there are some followers who hold on, and one day they too may be excommunicated from the Jewish community for heresy and become a separate religion). Though yes, rabbis are religious/law TEACHERS analogous to lawyers and judges and are still laymen (similar to elder in Presbyterian or deacon, it is not actually a religious leadership title analogous to priest, bishop, cardinal, minister, etc. Rabbis is comparable with Imam in the Muslim religion. The Kohen are the Priests of the Jewish religion, and still have a significant religious role in prayer in the synagogue even though their duties at the Temple are unable to be fulfilled since the Temple does not exist. Point in all this anyways is that- Christianity is getting "special" treatment; though I guess the idea is now that it gets special treatment because many of its branches are episcopal... well most non-Christian religions do not have a hierarchy. (talk) 12:12, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
All this technical detail is great but Christianity is just another religion as far as Wikipedia content is concerned. If we give a special status to Christianity we are either undermining other religions or we are essentially encouraging other religions to seek a special status as well which promotes them to a special status over Kings/Queens/Presidents/Prime Ministers/etc which is not the kind of message we want to give. Consider Akihito, the Japanese Emperor. He has no fancy titles around his article name. This is with good reason. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 14:55, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
My point exactly we are giving a special privilege to Christian clergy for the sake of it. You are pointing to a disambiguation problem which can be dealt with on a case by case basis. Currently we have article names with the "Pope" title in them even if there is no disambiguation conflict. Currently Benedict XVI redirects to Pope Benedict XVI and as far as I know in history there has been only one Benedict XVI so putting a "Pope" in front of "Benedict XVI" is pointless.
Should Queen Victoria be renamed to something else? My instinct would be a "yes" but Victoria is among the most notable figures in British & World history (Victorian era is named after her after all). Most popes aren't notable beyond the walls of the Vatican globally. I'd suggest a rename of Queen Victoria to Victoria of the United Kingdom (with Queen Victoria redirecting of course) to eliminate the "Queen" in the article name but as I said I am hesitating due to the overwhelming notability of Victoria. As mentioned before the only reason why we even entertain the thought of putting a title in front of Victoria is because of a need for disambiguation and looking at the move request for it I can tell this issue is very complicated.
Among all British Monarchs how many others have a title in their article name? Among Popes how many are there without the "Pope" title? All?! Can a few popes have the same exception Victoria has? Sure, if and only if the following conditions are met
  • There is a need for disambiguation
  • The person is notable enough in history for WP:COMMONNAME to apply. (not my preference but it is the consensus)
Otherwise normal disambiguation guidelines would apply.
-- A Certain White Cat chi? 13:16, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Anne, Queen of Great Britain, Charles, Prince of Wales, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Stephen, King of England, John, King of England, Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern ... John lilburne (talk) 22:50, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Note: The use of titles is not exclusively Christian on Wikipedia (vide 14th Dalai Lama, etc.) and most of the above is not actually important. "Rabbi" historically was an honorific which did not have specific requirements, thus is not relevant here. Degrees earned are also generally not used in article titles. Queen Victoria was never widely known as "Victoria" other than after her ascendancy to the throne (she was Princess Alexandrina) thus the "Queen" is specifically applicable to her name as queen. Thus - usage appears to be if the name associated with the title is not the given name of the person, then the title is also used with the name as a practical result. And this does appear to be how Wikipedia generally uses the titles (other than "Saint" which is so infrequently a problem with editors that it is fairly moot). I think this covers everything above. Collect (talk) 16:01, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

There has not been a single monarch known by their name without their title. Under normal circumstances we do not put titles in article names. There needs to be a reason why we would want to make such an exception for Popes and not others. You are not even attempting to provide any reason why Popes should be treated any differently than anyone else.
Again what you mentioned is a disambiguation problem. Would anyone not realize Benedict XVI as former Pope? Is there another Benedict XVI? As for the specific issue you pointed out, it seems like all articles on Dalai Lama lineage have a numbered Dalai Lama representation (nth Dalai Lama). I do not know enough on Dalai Lama as to why is this but that is a smaller problem with only 14 articles. The problem here is that the name itself isn't used at all, if this is the common way to refer to a Dalai Lama then it may be fine. Popes have actual names aside from their titles and in such a case the title should be unwelcome per common practice for articles on all people. Since we are talking about common names and Victorian era, David Livingstone was an icon in it and is more popularly known as "Dr. Livingstone" (redirects) which even lead to the popular quotation "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?". Despite this the title isn't in the article name. This is the example discussed in the guideline.
-- A Certain White Cat chi? 17:16, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
So much fun to poke holes in "absolute" statements -- try "Louis Quatorze" - we do not call him "King Louis XIV" as a rule either in real life or on Wikipedia. Now try finding actual "rules". --— Preceding unsigned comment added by Collect (talkcontribs) 06:46, 6 May 2013‎ (UTC)
Point is his article name does not have the title "King" as we avoid titles in names as much as possible, then we consider if there is a more common name. "Louis Quatorze" isn't mentioned once in article content so I cannot see the terms relevance. I also do not believe that it is that important because your example's article name is Louis XIV of France which follows the guideline I am proposing to apply to Popes just like how it applies to everyone else. After all there is no disambiguation problem. There exists only one "Louis XIV" in history. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 12:21, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
The claim made above was There has not been a single monarch known by their name without their title which I disproved. Period. As stated. And I showed that titles are used for people who are specifically not Christian. As claimed. I could have chosen "Louis I" by the way, but was being nice enough to use an article name which is a redirect for people who are excessively literate. Thus this entire section of this talk page seeks to solve something which is not a problem on Wikipedia. Cheers. Collect (talk) 15:20, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Titles are used for every Pope which breaks convention used for everyone else. We do not use titles for other royalty or religious leaders practically all the time including your example. If you look at Louis I none of the Louis I's have a title in their article name including Louis the Pious as it isn't King Louis. Current Pope should have an article name such as Francis of the Vatican rather than Pope Francis, just look at Francis only the Pope has a title in the article name. This is the problem. Popes are no more special than any other individual. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 16:13, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
@A Certain White Cat, you raised this at Talk:Pope Francis, and were told that this had been just been discussed and consensus was against you. You then raised it at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (clergy) and were told that it had just been discussed there too and consensus was against you. And now here. Don't you get that you are only raising points which have already been discussed at length and in detail a few weeks ago, you've raised nothing new and consensus is against you. DeCausa (talk) 19:21, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
I am not satisfied with the responses I got so far. I have made reasonable arguments and have not seen a single good counter-arguments so far. Why do we need to apply a special status to Popes different from everyone else? The consensus you mention fails to satisfy such a simple question. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 21:55, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
The problem with the consensus that have been reached in the past, even recently, are that they are localized to those who have a working relationship with the subject, and is not a community-wide consensus reflecting a consistent policy across more than just popes. Popes, or the Christian episcopal naming convention as a whole, should not have their own guideline made up by the sub-community of Christianity. My point about rabbis was that if the Jewish editor community came up with their own guideline regarding naming conventions there would be hell to pay (but I guess it would be gehenna to pay, since hell is not a Jewish concept nor found in the Tanakh/Old Testament). If the Jewish community would see a backlash against trying to come up with their own naming convention, then so too should the Christian community be blocked from having their own special terms simply based on "consensus". Consistency needs to override consensus sometimes. (talk) 02:50, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Not every decision requires wide ranging discussions involving hundreds of editors. So far the only real argument against the current naming conventions is IDONTLIKEIT. Reading White Cat's arguments, all I am seeing are false dilemma fallacies, statements that are assumed to be true simply because White Cat Says So, and finally a Run To Jimbo. But in my view - as someone who has no involvement with either religious or royal biographies, the current conventions uphold COMMONNAME rather than undermine it. I almost never hear of a pope named without the title "Pope", and likewise, it is very common for Elizabeth II, for instance, to be noted without the word "Queen". The article titles are appropriate, IMNSHO. Resolute 03:25, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Math suggests people are more likely to attach "Queen" in front of Elizabeth II than "Pope" in front of Benedict XVI. Having titles such as King/Queen/Princess/President/Dr./(Prime) Minister/General/etc. in front of names for people is common practice as such people are more commonly associated with their job title. Here on Wikipedia we per guidelines, policy and practice based on community-wide consensus we do not normally put job related titles in article names on people. WP:COMMONNAME is intended to give articles a name that people are commonly known for which may either be a nickname or may exclude middle/other names which is why its Bill Clinton (not: William Jefferson Clinton) or Lady Gaga (not: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta). There are only a few exceptions to this general rule such as Queen Victoria as previously mentioned. With Popes it is always an exception which is bizarre. Why are Popes to be always treated differently?
-- A Certain White Cat chi? 11:41, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
@IP97.85: "not a community-wide consensus reflecting a consistent policy across more than just popes". In fact the consensus was reached at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (clergy) and closed on 10 April 2013. It's difficult to see a more appropriate place to reach a community wide consensus on this. @A Certain White Cat: you say you are "not satisfied" with the consensus. Whilst consensus can change, you seem not to understand a pretty basic aspect of WP:CONSENSUS. DeCausa (talk) 11:50, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
There is site-wide consensus against titles in article names. A general exception to this consensus requires a site-wide consensus. The discussion you linked suffers from Consensus-building pitfalls and errors hence it isn't much of a consensus and more of a series of potentially canvassed drive-by oppose votes. The WP:SNOW comments on the linked page support this assessment as people were more interested in ending the vote rather than engage in discussion. I do not feel most of the oppose vote comments by people do not have much of a substance. People even opposed renaming Wikipedia:Naming conventions (clergy)Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Christian clergy) establishing the actual scope of the guideline but clearly Christianity is given an exception over other regions as we are to assume its the default religion. There is a very serious bias there. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 12:41, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, that's just kinda too bad, now isn't it? The consensus of a discussion didn't go your way, you don't have the right to just ignore it because you don't like thw hows and the whys of people's opinions. We went through this same junk last year with the Muhammad image censorship debate; consensus was crystal-clear, but some editors ignored that anyways and keeps hammering away. Tarc (talk) 13:02, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Really? I think a simple question such as "Why do article names on Popes have a special exception on Wikipedia to existing consensus/guidelines/policies?" should have a simple self evdient answer. If the consensusstraw poll you mentioned is full of "no need for change" votes it is pretty weak to begin with devoid of reasoning hence not much of a consensus. Comments with more substance also does not hold as demonstrated above. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 13:14, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, really. Perhaps the reason is that this is the en.wikipedia, i.e. English, for the Western world where Christianity is still the prevailing religion. I see nothing wrong with recognizing that the title of "Pope..." is inherently tied to the person who currently holds the position. Tarc (talk) 13:58, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
This isn't western world-pedia either. Wikipedia is written with a WP:NPOV which doesn't seem to interest you much. For that reason and others we do not put titles in article names for everyone else - Presidents, Kings, Queens, Ministers, etc. included. There needs to be a good reason why Popes are given a broad exception to the guidelines. If I understand correctly your reasoning is that because this is English Wikipedia, Christianity should be the default religion and be granted all sorts of exceptions? I do not want to misinterpret which is why I am asking. If that is the case can we please establish it in a policy? -- A Certain White Cat chi? 14:09, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
There were good reasons in the lengthy and detailed discussion on the naming convention talk page a discussion that went on for several weeks and it's ridiculous to call a "straw poll". You appear to be unable to understand that. You have failed to grasp the points, that's all. For example, you have suggested "Francis of the Vatican". What about the vast majority of Popes who were not sovereigns of the Vatican since that state only came about in 1929? What about the Popes who were not sovereigns at all (1870-1929 and prior to the early middle ages). What are they to be "of...", eg "of Rome". Great, "Linus of Rome" or "Linus (Pope)". Except that was all thought about and discussed and consensus rejected those suggestions as being pointless and contrary to any usefulness to the reader. There is no problem to fix in the first place and COMMONAME makes Pope Linus a perfgectly good article title. You just don't like it. DeCausa (talk) 15:29, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Article names of Popes should be handled on a case by case basis just like everyone else. My main objection is to the general exception to policies. On a case by case basis I cannot see a reason for Benedict XVI to have "Pope" in the article name. Does this apply to every Pope? No. They should be handled on a case by case basis.
  1. The Papal States (754 - 1870) - Format could be Name of the Papal States
  2. Prisoner in the Vatican (1870–1929) - Format could be Name of the Vatican or Name of Prisoner in the Vatican
  3. Vatican City (1929-...) - Format could be Name of the Vatican
Hence all Popes from (Stephen II) 754 until now were sovereigns and I proposed some examples above to name them. That is 175 of the popes out of 266 or 175/266=0.6578947368421053 ~ 66% of the popes - 2/3rds roughly. What to do with 1/3rd of the remaining pre-754 Popes ie "Pope-elect Stephen" and prior? There are many options to consider on a case by case basis. My proposed general solution (there may be exceptions on a case by case basis of course) would be Name (clergy) similar to Name (politician). We disambiguate (prime) ministers/presidents as politicians which seem to work well. The first line of the article would begin as "Pope Name" so there wouldn't be confusion. The (clergy) suffix wouldn't be added if there is no disambiguation problem such as with Felix III. This is just a suggestion on how to handle Popes on a case by case basis.
Since we are in the business of specifics I want to pick an example to illustrate my point. We currently have an anomaly: Pope-elect Stephen. Pope-elect is a horrible title - it isn't even a real title (any more than trying to add "President elect" to Mitt Romney). Name (clergy) would also help avoid this problem as well. I realize Catholic Church doesn't recognize him as pope but what Catholic Church recognizes as valid isn't necessarily relevant since Wikipedia does not abide by the rulings of Catholic Church. Historically and currently there may be sources that recognize him as a Pope contradicting the Catholic Church which would be worthwhile if they are from credible sources. All the historic/complicated details about this persons election & removal of his Pope title shouldn't be relevant for the article name. To extend the same rationale who is an Antipope who is a Pope wouldn't matter in this scheme for article name. Such title-specific details can be explained in article lead.
-- A Certain White Cat chi? 16:52, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
This is all really besides the point, though; your opinion on this matter has already been rejected by a consensus of editors. Continuing to argue the point on Jimbo's talk page isn't really going to accomplish a thing. Tarc (talk) 18:16, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Then you have nothing to fear, the community would never agree with me if you are right. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 18:45, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm already quite well-aware that the community does not agree with you. I'm just reminded here by the actions of Ludwigs2 from the Muhammad images debacle who could not accept that consensus was against him either, who filled up much of Jimbo's talk page with argument after argument after argument. That didn't end well. Tarc (talk) 18:57, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) there was already an RfC on this mater not long ago. I was in support of the standardized naming, but now, I'm thinking decausa is correct; anything talking about a pope is almost certainly going to be related to the office of pope. also, unlike most elected sovereigns, popes ALWAYS take a regnal name, are elected for life, and, unlike almost all sovereigns, are almost exclusively notable for their papacy, and almost always referred to as Pope X, Pope Francis is almost never referred to simply as Francis. not to mention that changing the names would require alot of very klutzy disambiguation, and would be more inconsistent than it is now. currently, all popes are titles "Pope X"; changing it would leave some as X, and others as "X (pope)", or some other disambiguation. the seat and sovereignty of the pope has changed many times throughout history as well, and the majority of readers are probably not going to look for "X of the Vatican". 99% are going to look for "Pope X". WP:commonname WP:STICK -- Aunva6talk - contribs 19:03, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Nobody is suggesting mass deletion of redirects. First 54 popes used their actual name so that statement doesn't even always work. Furthermore articles on popes (especially the more recent ones) do not exclusively cover their rule as the King & Pope of the Vatican. Popes especially more modern ones are sovereigns too. I do not think people would stop reading an article if they do not see "Pope" in the title. I am unaware of the RfC you mentioned, can you please link? -- A Certain White Cat chi? 20:39, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
it's right on the talk page: Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(clergy)#Pope_as_part_of_the_name we pretty much made the exact same arguments as were made here. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 01:09, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
So what exactly is the argument against applying the guideline that applies to everyone else? I statistically demonstrated above with Elizabeth II vs Benedict XVI above how Queen title is more commonly used than Pope title when referring to the relevant people. We do not put Queen in front of Elizabeth II as per guidelines. COMMONNAME is a more general guideline and more specific naming conventions exist and would be preferred. The Guideline is clear:
Pope (lit. Papa or Father) is a title no different than King/Queen etc. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (clergy) contradicts Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people) guideline that had community-wide consensus behind it without any good reason. The problems mentioned in the discussion you linked and above are no different from the problems faced by other people in history without last names.
-- A Certain White Cat chi? 10:10, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

As an atheist with no dog in this fight, I have to say this is one of the lamest Wikipedia disputes I have seen.--ukexpat (talk) 19:17, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Don't know what being an atheist has to do with your comment ukexpat, but I don't know why you would waste your time with that comment. I'm sure you've been a part of hundreds of discussions that I would find extremely lame. If you aren't interested in a discussion, fine, don't comment, but to say it's lame and put down the editors who are discussing this and feel passionate about it is quite rude and childish. (talk) 00:06, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm still laughing at "(1870–1929) - Format could be ... Name of Prisoner in the Vatican". So the genius idea is instead of Pope Leo XIII, we'll have Leo XIII of Prisoner of the Vatican - or is it Leo XIII, Prisoner of the Vatican? Per Ukexpat. The line between eccentricity and lameness is a thin one. DeCausa (talk) 12:40, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
What exactly is wrong with the title? Alternative I suggested was Leo XIII of the Vatican or perhaps Leo XIII of the States of the Church/Leo XIII, States of the Church. Prisoner of the Vatican was an era where Popes complained about being imprisoned by Italy while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge that Italy exists. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 13:13, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
The fact that you don't know, and the fact that you don't understand why editor after editor has told you to drop it on at least three different talk pages indicates to me that there's a problem here. DeCausa (talk) 13:30, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It seems like papal states were also known as States of the Church so... Prisoner of the Vatican era was a continuation of the papal states so perhaps Leo XIII of the Papal States is also a possibility. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 13:41, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I think you're still missing the point that arguing about it here and now has no purpose. It's like continuing to arguing for an article to be deleted at deletion review. Tarc (talk) 13:56, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Actually why not just Leo XIII? There is no other Leo XIII... -- A Certain White Cat chi? 14:15, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
It looks like Leo I through Leo VI are dab pages, though. On reflection – and I've never given this issue a thought or a glance until now – it strikes me as useful and convenient that the names of popes' articles are all automatically disambiguated in a way that is natural, obvious, consistent, and in many instances will require no piping. Of course, as everyone else has already said, it sure looks like White Cat is just beating a dead horse—and doing so in the wrong place. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:29, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I was asking for Jimbo's opinion on the matter primarily and perhaps gather the opinions of a more general audience. I am not moving Pope pages and I am not making POINTy moves of other pages to contrive a problem to support my argument. I merely don't think Popes are any more special than presidents/kings/queens and hence it is problematic for them to have their office title in their article name per exiting guidelines with consensus. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 15:29, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Ok, now you've "gathered the opinions of a more general audience". Opinions here are the same as on the other two talk pages you've tried. Don't you think it's time to drop it? DeCausa (talk) 15:57, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I am still needing a reason why Popes are given an exception in disambiguation/naming conventions that apply to everyone else but them. In the pages of text this simple question wasn't answered. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 23:26, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

In due course

It's been 10 days since we were told a full report would be coming "in due course". I suppose that means we're 10 days closer to the finish line on this "course", but could you give us some idea of whether this course is more like the Tour de France or like the precession of the equinoxes? - 2001:558:1400:10:713B:FD62:C2B6:F2FE (talk) 16:08, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

If you think that accidentally mistaking the copyright status of an image is morally equivalent to publishing a photo of someone in a compromising situation then something is seriously wrong with you. GabrielF (talk) 16:16, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Not sure what gutter your mind is in, but I never talked about moral equivalency in my question to Jimbo. I'm just interested in the timeline of the promised full report. Some reports take a few hours to create, while others can take a year or more to construct. I thought that a 10-day span without an update was sufficiently long enough to merit a question. - 2001:558:1400:10:713B:FD62:C2B6:F2FE (talk) 16:32, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Every time I see this question here, it makes me think of a little kid saying, "Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?" and Jimbo saying "Only a little bit longer... Only a little bit longer... NO! Just be patient, it's going to take a long time!" Deli nk (talk) 19:13, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Except that the car is headed to the orthodontist, when the kids have been told they're going to Disney World. - 2001:558:1400:10:713B:FD62:C2B6:F2FE (talk) 19:58, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps someone is watching Jimbo continuously? Count Iblis (talk) 18:32, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

So scrutiny decays into noise? This explains a lot, actually.StaniStani  19:11, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I can't control the speed of responses of other people, so you're just going to have to hold your breath for now.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:18, 8 May 2013 (UTC)