User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 137

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JW gets a New York Times Magazine profile

Congratulations to JW on his New York Times Magazine profile. There's a great deal of personal detail, which editors might find interesting, but not much new on Wikipedia's process or culture. GabrielF (talk) 12:59, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Editors should be cautioned, though, that the article contains significant and mysterious factual errors. For example, that Wikipedia was never headquartered in a strip mall. "The original Florida address for one of the Internet’s most life-changing innovations is now a UPS store with a faded red awning" - bizarre, and merely slightly reworded after the fact checker asked me about it and I explained that it quite simply isn't true.
That one isn't all that important or controversial, but it indicates the overall quality of the piece.
Another paragraph begins "Wales has a complicated time balancing his new life with his old one." And then goes on to tell an anecdote that I expect any working parent can relate to - issues with the house keys. That has nothing to do with my alleged "new life" versus my "old one".
Then there is the cute bit about "B.D.F.L." - but as Wikipedians will know quite well, it's just not true. I'm not that, I'm not known as that, I've completely rejected that title, and it doesn't reflect the history or current reality of Wikipedia.
Here's another one (I've skipped over several others): "Scott Glosserman, a filmmaker who spent a year with Wales filming “Truth in Numbers?” - this is just patently untrue. Scott Glosserman never traveled with me, not even once, and did not spend a year with me. He doesn't even know me (we have met once, maybe twice). Nic Hill, who did travel with me for a year filming that movie would have been an interesting guy for her to talk to.
Her description of what I said about Aaron Swartz is incredibly off-base, and I'm 100% sure that in our extensive conversation about him, she fully knew what I said and what I meant. She makes it sound like I tried to distance myself from Aaron for being extremist. What I said is accurately quoted but in a context that makes it seem to say something different. I was incredibly moved by Aaron's life and incredibly saddened by his death - but I refrained from public commentary about it because other people like Larry Lessig and Cory Doctorow were commenting very well and were actually close to Aaron. I met him once, and I'm not the kind of person who would jump on the bandwagon of someone's suicide for political purposes when I don't even know him. That would be weird. It had nothing to do with Aaron's supposed extremism.
"This time he shut himself in the greenroom with a publicist." - that's just false and I explained it to the fact checker. I hung out in the green room with a couple of personal friends, Danny and Emma. Yes, the publicist was there but could easily confirm that we weren't back there going over talking points or anything - I was just chilling out with friends.
Anyway, it's a weird piece with lots of errors of basic fact that could have been gotten right.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:26, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Sounds like the majority of the articles here, funny, isn't it. --Malerooster (talk) 18:31, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
It does have a note on the article (which appears on every page, I think), that it's the author's first article for the NYTimes Magazine. Maybe her future work will be more carefully fact-checked. (Or maybe it's not her fault but editorial spin or editorial laziness, who knows.)
Some guy travelled with you for a year? Is that really financially viable?
I am a big enthusiast of cracked leather sofas, the one here is not quite in a suitable state of disrepair just yet. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:28, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Nic Hill. Not on every trip of course. But we went to India, South Africa, Europe, etc. I don't even remember all the places we went together. Over the course of a year I spent a lot of time with him. The movie he wanted to make was about the Wikipedia community - about all the wonderful and quirky people we are. He was warm and loving towards everyone because that's his nature and he had a very good eye to see the passion in our community. Glosserman managed to wrangle financial control of the film and to finish it in a very different way, as a talking heads think piece. My refusal to promote the film wasn't because it was critical (it wasn't, really) but because it wasn't the film that Nic set out to make. A key point here is that Amy Chozick wrote all of that without asking me anything about it at all. The fact checker didn't check to see if Glosserman spent a year with me, etc.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:41, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
I think sometimes, these days, people just want to see the headlines about disagreements, or about themselves getting mentioned by media sources... and are not really interested in the encyclopedia itself or in the actual enthusiasm that people all over the world have about it. That's sad, because that enthusiasm is still there, and it's very important. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:36, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Her article wasn't really critical of Wikipedia at all. It wasn't about WP, it was about Jimmy. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 00:28, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
That's what I thought also. She kept the focus on Mr. Wales. Cla68 (talk) 00:30, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
I am just curious, who was first one to label Jimbo as "B.D.F.L., or the Benevolent Dictator for Life"? What's the origin of that label? Mr T(Talk?) 08:33, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
That label has never been applied to me in any serious way. The label comes primarily from the Python community but has never been part of our lingo. I won't say that not one person ever said it in history ever - we are Wikipedians and so almost everything gets said sooner or later. But the implication of the story is that it used to be a title and that some people still use it but that I'm uncomfortable with it now. That's not even remotely correct and gives a completely wrong impression.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:17, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
One other thing, "Wales doesn’t have much choice. He realized early on that the community would revolt if he were to monetize Wikipedia by selling ads." — would you like to monetize wikipedia, is that what you said, Mr Wales? Mr T(Talk?) 08:36, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
No, I didn't say any such thing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:17, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
I've been directly involved with a few events that reached the newspapers. Every single time they got significant facts entirely wrong, so don't take it personally. It certainly adds a new layer of meaning to the awful "verifiability, not truth"—i.e., "if it's verifiable, it's not true." First Light (talk) 15:42, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't think any "significant" facts were missed, though she did get a few minor details not quite right (which are now being pointed out by the great fact-checking machine of web 2.0). What she got right is what a lot of the good people who read this page don't like to acknowledge: Jimmy makes his living giving speeches, and they pay him high dollar because he sells himself as the "sole founder and constitutional monarch" of Wikipedia. He also hangs out with the aristocrats and power-brokers of the UK these days (rather than schlubs like us), and she correctly pointed out that such a lifestyle doesn't really fit in all that well with the Wikipedian community.

It is what it is, and Jimmy is just Jimmy. No big surprise to anyone who's been paying attention. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 20:06, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Remind me again why we're supposed to resent Jimmy for hanging out with famous people, or for being paid speaking fees? The Times writer did nail the undercurrent of petty jealousy toward Jimmy's lifestyle which runs through the "community" (and which provides an unspoken and unacknowledged motivation for a lot of off-site criticism). But I don't quite get it. So he gets to hang out with Tony Blair and Bono - I'd probably love to do the same, in his position. He uses his prominence, at least in part, to promote the project - which is all one can really expect in these sorts of situations. No one forces me to contribute here, and if I felt like my volunteer time was being abused to support someone's overextravagant lifestyle, I'd just leave. Why are we supposed to resent him, again? MastCell Talk 21:51, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
It's also worth noting that she asked me over and over again about various famous people I have met, and wrote things up to give an impression that's false. I saw my wife's ex-boss at my wedding, and not since. I haven't seen Bono in... more than 2 years. I don't even remember exactly. The idea that I hang out with aristocrats and power-brokers in the UK rather than schlubs (SB_Johnny's offensive terminology, not mine) is pretty silly. It's easy to sneer but much harder, as MastCell has said, to come up with any coherent rational reason to think it's wrong for me to work to educate people who have power and influence to listen to our cause.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:04, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

I found the "faux-Brit" bit weird - the phrases and pronunciations made fun of are not specifically British at all - "good ol' boy" (akin to the "good o;' time" disparaged) is exceeding common in the South. as is "pop by" for "dropping in" (in fact "pop by" is in the McGraw-Hill list of American idioms) The pronunciation of "literally" described as "British" is also found down here. I wot not how the NYT failed to emend that bit. Collect (talk) 12:21, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

This made me smile, because it's true that her examples show a deafness to American dialects, not a sensitivity to British dialects. The truth is, though, having an English wife does mean that I've picked up a few Britishisms, mostly because our two year old corrects me if I say some things in the American way. "It's not a diaper, daddy, it's called nappy." :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:01, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Further evidence that there is absolutely no such thing as a "reliable source," there are only better or less good sources of information as well as certain sources that shouldn't be touched because they information they are apt to contain is probably tendentious or wrong. Wikipedians need to recognize that we are on a never-ending quest for accurate, verifiable information. Facts derived from a good blog may well trump this or that factoid in the New York Times Magazine or any other mainstream media organ. Source worship should be alien to us. Carrite (talk) 15:35, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
  • There's nothing wrong with "verifiability not truth". If Jimbo didn't tell us it was wrong, we'd be best off going reporting what the source said. Even as it is, it would not hurt to mention relevant things it said, before saying that Jimbo told us it was wrong. It would help, of course, to have something better than a talk page to cite, but cite it we should if that is all we have. And it is arguable that reporting a wrong thing that the source said only to refute it would be pointless here, unless it claims other sources for information beyond Jimbo himself. However, I think that unless the readership or reputation of the source is beneath response, the source would be worth citing, however flawed, with a lengthy and not particularly flattering footnote about its problems.
  • The underlying principle here is that it is not good enough to simply omit misinformation. When a reader looks up a source such as one of our articles that doesn't mention something, and then looks up something else that does, he believes the second source. If he looks up our page and it says one thing, and he looks up that article and it says something else, he doesn't know which to believe and might go either way. Only by acknowledging the verifiable-but-not-true content in our article, at least as a footnote to be followed up by such a perplexed reader, can we trump the false content with the true. Wnt (talk) 19:04, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
It's worthwhile to acknowledge, though, that there are philosophical complexities. One position, now widely discredited, is the purist "verifiability, not truth" position which caused many people to think that we must publish what verifiable sources say even if we have a strong consensus of thoughtful editors that it can't possibly be true. Such a view meant that nothing counted other than verifiable sources, and particularly not the direct testimony of someone who might be involved. In the strong version of this, it extended even to uncontroversial details that there could be no really plausible reason for the subject to lie about. Fortunately, that position is now generally considered untenable.
But there's an untenable opposite position which I think no one (thankfully) actually holds, which says that we can play loose with the sources if we don't like them, or that we have to trust the direct testimony of the subjects of articles, or that it's always ok to engage in original reporting and research to correct the record or whatever.
In fact we have to do something that we already do all the time - exercise editorial judgment. And that's not always easy. If I tell you, quite simply and for the record, that the Wikimedia Foundation never had an office in a strip mall, then only under the extremist and now discredited theory are you compelled to include it in an article. In this case, you can investigate the claim quite easily (even though it's in some small way original reporting) by asking Sue Gardner or Brad Patrick, both of whom saw the original office in St. Petersburg. But of course there are other things I could say which are more controversial points of history, and it wouldn't make sense to just take my word for it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:47, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
You're an unusual case because we know who you are, so your talk page counts as a self-published primary source suitable for citing about details of your own life, provided we're not making allegations against someone else based on it. But if someone comes on claiming to be Edward Snowden (or Elvis Presley), Wikipedia isn't really set up to verify that, so their talk pages wouldn't qualify. Wnt (talk) 02:09, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
"Verifiable and true". Why haven't we changed the dreaded "VNT" to the venerable "VAT"? In the policy yet? We are an encyclopedia, and therefore must report only what is true. Doc talk 07:26, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
The VNT phrase was removed, IRWolfie- (talk) 08:36, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
It was? Dang. Doc talk 08:43, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Here was the RFC: Wikipedia:Verifiability/2012_RfC. IRWolfie- (talk) 08:46, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I kinda remember that, and the one before it. I need to be less subtle with my sarcasm from now on. Doc talk 08:54, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think the lesson is that there are no reliable sources. The lesson is that newspapers are generally shoddy sources, but I don't think that is a revelation, IRWolfie- (talk) 08:38, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I think anyone who's ever been quoted by a newspaper in any circumstances whatsoever would give a laugh somewhere between hollow and hysterical at the idea of the media as actually reliable sources. The notion is like asking pseudoscientists about peer review: it's not the gold standard, but a level that the inadequate don't even reach - David Gerard (talk) 22:15, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Sabbatical reminder

Reminder that I'll be away from July 1st-21st. Happy to take advice on the best way to "close" this page. I haven't had time to review page protection policy relating to user pages yet.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:21, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

I hope that you have a very restful and enjoyable three weeks, Jimbo. Take care. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 22:25, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
And if you archive the page tomorrow, and then post a notice asking for people not to comment here for three weeks, I am sure that plenty of people will keep your page clear and inactive. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 22:38, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
It's even easy enough to full-protect, and due to the level of traffic - and most people's expectation of a response - I don't think you'd be going against any policies by doing so. Of course, it's just us dumb admins who could be dumb enough to post through the protection ... and some of us just might accidentally do it ;-) (✉→BWilkins←✎) 22:50, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I see no problem with full protection. If others disagree they can bring it up at an admin board for protection removal. That discussion could last a month or two and we could sort any violated policies there.--Canoe1967 (talk) 00:29, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Considering the two bombs dropped below, maybe the protection should have started earlier! Talk about raising drama! (✉→BWilkins←✎) 00:44, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
An admin may wish to 'boldly' protect this page now then. If Mr. Wales or others wish to protest then it can be discussed at other forums.--Canoe1967 (talk) 03:13, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Hey Jimbo...we're starting vacation on the same day. get a lot more time. LOL! Have a good time off and away. Go to the beach, I am....but then its like 114 in California right now so.......--Amadscientist (talk) 04:18, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Under Wikipedia:Protection policy for talk pages it says:

User talk pages are rarely protected, and are semi-protected for short durations only in the most severe cases of vandalism from IP users. Users whose talk pages are semi-protected should have an unprotected user talk subpage linked conspicuously from their main talk page to allow good faith comments from non-autoconfirmed users.

A user's request to have his or her own talk page protected is not a sufficient rationale to protect the page.

I, for one, have no issue with you doing whatever you wish with your page while you are away so that no one thinks they are leaving a note to you that you will not be able to see or respond to. However, if you wish to stay within our guidelines as a way to lead by could just archive everything the day you leave and replace the entire page with a single image with a note that asks for the talk page to be left un-altered until your return. Another possible idea.....would be a temporary redirect to your main user page. I had been redirecting my mainuser page to my talk page for a while. I know a few editors that do that. Why couldn't you simply reverse that for a short time? Let me see if it even works.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:28, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
OK that does work. So my suggestions are either a redirect to your main user page or a single graphic with the note to not alter the page for three weeks while you are away. My favorite is the redirect. Simple and very non offensive and I believe all admin would be bound to hold that edit of yours and revert all attempts to return the page until you do so yourself. Just leave a nice note at the top of the main user page. I am leaving my page this way for the duration of my vacation to at least leave it long enough for you to see what I mean. (although I am sure you get it).--Amadscientist (talk) 04:34, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
"A user's request to have his or her own talk page protected is not a sufficient rationale to protect the page". This is not a simple user request. Full protection is a message that the page is closed. This is not merely a user page but a pump page, mediation page, and sometimes a parliament. We can lock the doors on a mall for renovations, turn of water at pumps for maintenance, and suspend parliaments. Leaving them open would confuse people and have them waiting inside for water, service, and government.--Canoe1967 (talk) 06:44, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I believe the reason Mr. Wales was seeking different advice and suggestions on how to do this is for the very reason that he doesn't feel comfortable relaying that he is somehow "special" and protecting his own talk page unless that is the only choice. It is still an option and one I would support, but why do it if there are alternatives. It isn't a community issue. its still Jimbo's user page and maybe leaving it open to all is not an option. He has stated the reason for the closing is just so no one thinks they are communicating with him if he is away. Seems so simple and just not worth a full discussion. If you have some ideas you could suggest some, but saying Jimbo has no right to close the doors on his talk page for three weeks is not reasonable. It is still his talk page. I am sure whatever he decides will be best.--Amadscientist (talk) 07:05, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree that Mr. Wales should not be given any special treatment. This is about a community page though and not him. Full protection with a link to another page such as the village pump seems very reasonable. If editors that are not aware of his break post to an unprotected page without response then they could assume that Mr. Wales is ignoring their valid posts. If it is protected with a link then they would know why in case they didn't see any messages about the break in the first place.--Canoe1967 (talk) 18:04, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I think that's the main reason I liked the redirect suggestion with a note on the main userpage. You can call this talk page a community page...but it is still just a talk page, and one that belongs to a user, regardless of how many people post here or is still a user talk page. In the end, regardless of the honorary significance the page is still controlled by the user. But these are just arguments for the suggestion, not that it is the best route for Jimbo. I think it is...but Jimbo Wales may not.--Amadscientist (talk) 18:21, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
It doesn't really matter to me how this page is left for 3 weeks. An obvious message that responses will probably not happen and messages may be archived without being read seems fine. Even deleting/reverting any out of line posts would be satisfactory. I would assume that if the page isn't protected then we would still get many posts that aren't valid here. I also wouldn't expect Mr. Wales to come back to 3 weeks worth of posts that others would expect him to read and respond to. He probably won't read the 21 newspapers left on his doorstep either. Gone for 3 weeks means gone for 3 weeks. Don't keep knocking on the door after no one responded the first six times.--Canoe1967 (talk) 19:55, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Many of the suggestions are actually fine. I guess it all comes down to what Jumbo thinks works best. I support whatever he decides...if he hasn't already.--Amadscientist (talk) 20:21, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Why not just stick a very big disclaimer/notice at the top? IRWolfie- (talk) 08:50, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Why even bother locking the page down? Just put a notice at the top of the page and go on vacation. He only comments on a small fraction of postings here anyway, so its really not that big of a deal. If its truly that important locking down the page won;'t stop people from posting somewhere else or even worse just emailing it to him. At least this way someone is responding. Additionally, the average user doesn't have access to lock their page down, a vacation, IMO, is not a valid reason to use the tools to lock down a page. Kumioko (talk) 21:11, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Just for the record: Why I'm not editing any longer (a letter of resignation)

Jimbo, you're mentioned in this (for a specific failure of action), so it's only fair I should notify you (albeit a little belatedly). The original and various responses to it are on my own user talk page.

In response to mistaken assumptions or false characterizations of my reasoning (e.g. here), I'm going to explain more carefully why I've almost entirely ceased editing Wikipedia.

I've stopped editing here because I no longer have much faith in Wikipedia as an open editing environment, populated by peers in rational discourse, with encyclopedic goals. Wikipedia is now effectively and increasingly under the thumb of agenda-pushing, tin-pot dictatorial politicians abusing adminship as a caste system, as a puerile, venal popularity contest, and even as a means to a censorious and propagandistic end, all to the detriment of Wikipedia's mission.

In broad terms, I've not been editing, for much of any reason, since April 2013, and may leave permanently except as a decreasingly trusting reader. I've put Wikipedia at arm's length because of "cult of personality"-based, systemic abuses by "entitled" admins, and associated issues of "good ol' boy" cronyism, me-too-ism, and diffuse but stifling fear of challenging these pushy, censorious, charismatic admin "personalities", who have usurped ArbCom's authority and purpose, and turned WP:AE, WP:ANI and related administrative noticeboards into an above-the-law regime of make-it-up-as-you-go-along, arbitrary (in the negative sense), selective, even abusive and vindictive enforcement, with no checks and balances. From this Lord of the Flies-reminiscent kangaroo court, there is no appeal or recourse except to itself at WP:AE, or to a bureaucratic morass at WP:RFARB, where ArbCom generally declines to contradict admins, and not punish bad-acting ones even when the evidence can't be ignored, simply because they have a "badge".

This cancer of self-serving, aggressive, autocratic admins taking over dispute resolution process and perverting it to some kind of Judge Dredd/Dirty Harry bad-wiki-cop fantasy game, is compounded by:

  1. failure of the WP:AE/WP:ANI sub-community of admins to fulfill its role properly, with the result that it is effectively sanctioning, even egging on, the pillorying of productive editors, while encouraging the frivolous, exploitative "career troublemaking" of inveterate PoV-pushers, trolls and nutcases;
  2. failure of arbitrators to fulfill promises to clarify and resolve serious problems in the wording and enforcement of discretionary sanctions;
  3. failure of Jimmy Wales to institute the adminship reforms that he promised (vaguely as to detail, concretely as to timeline) would be in place by the first quarter of this year;
  4. and failure of the community more broadly to do much of anything about the increasing usurpation of the system of agenda-driven "civil PoV-pushers" who are seeking and uncritically gaining and keeping administrator authority, by which Wikipedia's coverage, tone and very nature are slowly being warped to reflect particular world-views, and increasingly limit the breadth and depth of the encyclopedia's base of contributors.

This is perhaps not surprising, given that (depending on whose stats and definitions you prefer) is one of the top-3 to top-5 most used websites in the world. Wikipedia's latent power on the human stage has staggering potential, but is mostly unguarded, with very few barriers to concerted, planned abuse and subversion. That's the surprising part, and the underlying impetus of my effective resignation as an editor here.

The proximal "straw that broke the camel's back" for me is the fact that two admins (one, SarekOfVulcan (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log), now resigned under a cloud after narrowly escaping forced-desysoping by ArbCom, the other still active) went on a two-months-long campaign of direct personal harassment of me and abuse of administrative power and processes to hound me, with virtually no response in check from the community – much less from its collective administration in particular, despite that being their "job". The other admin of the pair, Sandstein (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log), who has previously made proven-false accusations against me and refused to retract them, even un-recused himself – after admitting that many others had raised concerns that he was too involved, being party to a still-unresolved discretionary-sanctions dispute with me, and thus agreeing to recuse himself – just so he could get to be the one to personally close a WP:AE case, in a manner that censored me with an unjustified and unjustifiable topic ban for a month, perhaps one of the clearest cases ever of disruptive sanctions. I've thought about pursuing a WP:RFARB case about the matter, and many have encouraged me to do so, a few publicly but (fearing repercussions) most privately. While I think I would win such a case on its merits, and I know of at least 5 others who would join as additional "plaintiffs", I feel I have better things to do with my time. Life is short, and I would rather do something pleasant and meaningful than put up with being conspiratorially attacked by inimical, petty power-brokers in a project that seems to be running off the rails, with no recourse but to engage a witheringly time-consuming and nit-picky, pseudo-legalistic, pretentious and slow-moving bureaucracy that is clearly stacked against non-admins. I also observe that one Arb recently resigned their post for reasons that indicate ArbCom is acting in the interests of its own collective public image, not the interests of the editing community, so I am skeptical that such an RFARB case would be decided on its merits, rather than expediency and authoritarianism. Even a couple of admins who have seemed relatively neutral toward me appear to express similar doubts. All these temporal specifics said, this particular back-breaking straw really is just one problem among many that together indicate serious institutional malaise. Being raked over the coals by an admin tag-team gang just happened to piss me off too much to let it slide.

Conclusion: Until I see at least some marginal progress on these worsening problems, I remain unconvinced that this project is worth any more of my time, since it is being incrementally but inexorably co-opted, while neither its most valuable contributors nor even its founder and chairman seem to care enough to speak up and take action about it. I don't even bother fixing typos any more; "Wikipedia doesn't need me", right? I've been in the top few hundred most-active editors for years. I've even spent several thousands of dollars obtaining hard-to-find paper sources for articles that badly need work (not to mention donating money directly to the project), but at this point I may just write my own well-researched pieces about these topics, and publish them elsewhere. This project certainly has no natural right to my continued massive amount of consistently productive labor, nor any entitlement to it even on moral suasion grounds, if it will not defend itself from rotting from the inside out.

SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 13:27, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

PS: I reserve the right to pop back in from time to time when I'm notified by someone in e-mail of something that actually needs my attention (like frivolous or malicious attempts to undo my work here), or to file or join actions at WP:AE, WP:RFARB, etc. that may help resolve some of the problems that have led to my leaving. Please do not ask for my involvement otherwise. I will not donate any more time to this project until I see that steps are being taken to put it back on the rails. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 23:49, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Surprised by your shortsightedness, but even more surprised by the timing: just before he goes away and locks the page. I really did not think WP:DIVA was in your nature, and I'm saddened by that as well. (✉→BWilkins←✎) 00:42, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I guess if I refer you to WP:DICK, that would make me one, too. I am not playing an attention-getting drama game and pretending to leave. Other than cleaning up a few loose ends, I've already left, because of the drama. You have it ass-backwards. PS: I do not pay any attention to Jimbo's schedule, any more than I pay attention to what color socks my neighbor is wearing or what the business hours are of an ice cream shop in Peoria. Nice job totally missing the point. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 02:51, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Hey, back off a little. Nobody said I'm not supportive of your concerns, and I believe you and I have always had a positive set of interactions whenever they have occurred, so back down. I also was quite clear that I never assigned ulterior motives - but seeing as this page is about to be blanked, my CONCERN was that your post would not receive the review/discussion that it would otherwise. Nice AGF there (✉→BWilkins←✎) 10:07, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Funny how people keep bringing up my horrendous behavior, but nobody ever files an arb case on it... --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 02:04, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
For one to bother submitting the case to Arbcom we would first need to have faith anything would be done about it. Besides that, you gave up the tools so there is no longer a need to do anything. You no longer have the ability to do anything the rest of us can't do. Kumioko (talk) 13:27, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Out of curiousity, do you run a script that allows you to find every mention of "Arbcom" so that you may enter said thread and continue crying about it? Resolute 15:54, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
No but thats a darn good idea. I just have 22, 000 pages on my watchlist so I have a pretty wide wingspan. This may surprise you but I do not respond to all of them. Arbcom comes up a lot in discussions and I only respond to a fraction. Kumioko (talk) 21:06, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Instead of crowing, perhaps some silent self-reflection about why an editor with 80K+ edits might feel this way about you would seem appropriate. Carrite (talk) 02:07, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
SoV, maybe you've forgotten but you already were recently at ArbCom, and escaped desysopping by pretty much nothing at all; one Arb even resigned over that and similar matters. You're evidence of the systemic problems, not an illustration that they're not there. Some of us have better things to do with our lives that play juvenile games with people like you. Trust me, if someone else does the insanely nit-picky and time-consuming work to get an RFARB rolling against you, Sandstein and other abusers of admin authority, I'll be happy to return long enough to chime in. I would just rather devote my own time on this planet to something more meaningful than trying to get Wikipedia's corrupt arbitration system to punish its corrupt bad cops. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 02:51, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Excuse me? An Arb resigned because I wasn't desysopped? I want a diff on that, or I want you to strike it. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 22:29, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Stanton, take some time off, maybe head over to Wikipediocracy and have a good loud vent (I'm sure you would have a mix of sympathetic ears and detractors), see if you can rediscover the fun, exciting, and important aspect of WP and figure out how to lose the stressful pain-in-the-ass part. The world isn't black and white, things are grey, and it seems like you've managed to drift off into a bleak alleyway. There is no need to stay there, the bad aspects of WP can be worked around or endured noisily. Best, —Tim /// Carrite (talk) 02:05, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I've already taken time off, and about all I see and hear out of this place are more and worse, not fewer and milder, problems of the sort I'm bringing up here. I'm not in a bleak alleyway at all, I'm in a happy, bright, warm place called real life. I appreciate what you're saying, but I was considering leaving for a long time. The problems are not new and sudden. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 02:51, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm saddened by this turn of events but don't disagree with your resignation statement at all. Thank you very much for everything you've done here, and the very best of luck with whatever you choose to do next. — Scott talk 13:01, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I completely understand the resignation and I share most of the same feelings including the 2 admins you mention. In fact I have mentioned them in multiple venues. It is good to know that I am not the only one with these concerns. I must admit I don't have much faith in the system or in the direction the project is going either. I am editing a lot currently but have been seriously considering walking away (at least for a while) myself but the honest truth is, nobody cares if someone leaves this place. That's part of the problem. The antisocial and adversarial culture that has been allowed to build up overtime has now become the norm and it will be much much harder to turn it around than it would have been to control it as we went. But no one was willing or capable to do it...including myself. I didn't bother with it until I was repeatedly pushed down and shown how ugly, short sighted and unevenly people are treated here. Kumioko (talk) 13:27, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
SMcCandlish, judging from your comments, I think you have left WP because WP's administration is unable or unwilling to satisfactorily resolve your concerns. If so, then I doubt you will ever be back, because I don't see any hope that WP's administration will be fixed. Believe me, you will be better off without Wikipedia being such a big part of your life. Congratulations on taking the red pill. Cla68 (talk) 01:16, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Dear Jimbo: Cease and Desist or...

I've often heard you tout the maxim, “There are no rules on Wikipedia.” I am sure you mean well, and I'm sure you genuinely believe what you say, but I suspect that Wikipedia (WP), has shifted, to the point that the reality of the situation and your hopes stand in such stark contrast as to be comic; there are in fact, many, many, many rules larding Wikipedia (WP).

There is another maxim I believe to be close to your heart, to the effect: “Break all the rules.” If you honestly believe these guidelines and you have recently applied them while patrolling WP I wish you would direct us to particular instances of their application by yourself while incognito. It will not do to point to instances where you are recognized by others as Jimbo Wales, as you might be allowed more elbow-room than would be allowed others with respect to the infractions of the rules (that don't exist). Surely there have been instances when you have shaved your beard and presented yourself as another (no doubt that would be against the rules of WP, of which there are none but there are many) in an effort to test the limits and by that means to see where things honestly stand?

If you have not done so, then shame on you. There has been a serious drift from those early principles, to the point that WP is now bound by rules, rules, and more rules. I've concluded that there are so many rules that only the few persons, obsessed with rules, could come to understand such a bureaucratic, Kafkaesque mass. Frankly, I feel that the quoting of rules to be low and repulsive and I want nothing to do with it. I find myself attracted only to the process of editing for the purpose of presenting the facts in an insightful manner, improving the readability, reducing the redundancy, clearing the turgidity, and eliminating the grotesque overwriting that I find almost everywhere on WP. Call me a simpleton, but isn't that the essence of contributing to WP?

To be completely honest with you, I've found myself in conflict with an “editor” who seems to believe his purpose here is to squat upon articles, lie in wait for others to perform an edit, and then to swoop down and pass judgment upon that edit, allowing those edits to his liking to remain but reverting those that do not jive with his weltanschauung. If such a person contributed to WP by way of constructive edits I would dismiss it as just more editing, but when the majority of his edits are simply reversions of others edits there is something seriously wrong. There is a growing crew of such persons whom act as if this is not Wikipedia but is instead the old Newpedia wherein the editors submitted suggested edits to a handful of auditors and those auditors would then reject the worst and keep the best. In this case the auditors seem to be expert rule-quoters and self-appointed WP police. I find this to be so obnoxious as to be ready to throw in the towel and bring my editing here to an end by my own hand or by the blocking from WP administrators as a result of my protestations. I will not back down from telling you and others the facts as I see them. If you and your crew here finds my frank manner and direct speaking to be offensive then please, by all means, do me the great favor of blocking me for life as I want nothing more to do with the growing body of trolls, vultures and their crew of selected, supporting administrators. I have invested to much honestly given effort here and cannot stand to think of associating any further with people with whom I would not want to occupy the same physical place.

If you genuinely believe the maxims of “there are no rules on Wikipedia”, and “break all the rules”, then you need to defend that stance and those whom you have lead along that path, otherwise you should cease and desist from that line and admit to us all that the development of Wikipedia has passed you by and that we, the simple minded editors who don't care one whit for all the rule quoting, should simply conform or leave. It won't bother me at all to leave as I really don't need the aggravation.

It is time to make a decision as to whom you will support. Either a growing body of rule-quoters and those that support them or those of us that pop in from time to time to make constructive edits to improve Wikipedia in a slow and sure manner who run afoul of the not-rules and the not-rule-quoters backed up by a few administrators that seemingly have no clue as to the tack Wikipedia is taking by their bad decisions. Take your pick.

Sincerely, Zedshort (talk) 00:30, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

As above, surprised (albeit by an editor I have never heard of before in my 6+ years) that you'd raise this a day before Jimbo shuts down the page for 3 weeks - if you wanted real discussion or action, you would have done it elsewhere at a different time (✉→BWilkins←✎) 00:43, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Actually it's almost amusing that two of these come along at the same time and at this time - it certainly shows how some people think. They are so very important. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 01:44, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Am I supposed to know where Jimbo is and what he is doing 24/7? I don't live on and for WP. I find your obsession with Jimbo amusing. Thanks for the laugh, I needed that. Zedshort (talk) 15:25, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Bwilkins, now I am going to cite WP:DICK at you and not feel bad about it. Go read WP:AGF and stop accusing everyone who posts here of having ulterior, sneaky motives just because they don't obsess over where Wales is and what he's doing like you evidently do. No one likes a snide sycophant. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 02:56, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
See my response above, and AGF a little more. Well-done. (✉→BWilkins←✎) 10:08, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Why on earth are you surprised that two editors who had made a total of four edits to this page before today were less familiar with why this might not be ideal timing than someone who has made 241 edits and counting here? Jimbo will probably find the input of those who do not know his holiday plans more useful than the 120+ who have made over 100 edits here.--Peter cohen (talk) 23:13, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Four posts to this talk page just in the last few hours, with increasing levels of stridency, suggests that you are in fact not in "a happy, bright, warm place called real life". Everyone has a right to go there, and everyone has a right to come back, but really it's important to decide if one is staying or leaving one way or the other. And yes, two consecutive TL:DR "I see Jimbo's talk page is being closed and I just want to say..." postings from two different people is more than enough to raise suspicions. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 03:20, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I really think it is a shame that the above editor is using the old complaint about there being too many rules and not understanding what is meant by "Ignore the rules" if it improves the article or project. Look...there really are very few "bright line rules" which means there are very few things that are absolute at Wikipedia. The policies and guidelines are there to guide the editor...not instruct them.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:15, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Come on now, you and I and everyone else know that the tenant of "Ignore all rules" has virtually outlived its mandate. The only ones who can use it now, without receiving a severe tongue lashing or a block are admins. Any IP or regular edit that would dare invoke IAR and especially against an admin would surely be reverted and or blocked. So to assume that someone would simply cite IAR is not only naive but foolish. Frankly we may as well Archive the IAR policy or submit it for deletion. Its long gone unfortunately. Kumioko (talk) 13:34, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
  • This editor appears to be using this post as a means to continue their campaign of personal attacks on another editor (AndyTheGrump). They were blocked for it, and they should be moving on, IRWolfie- (talk) 09:04, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
    • It is true I have had a run in with that editor on two occasions but please believe me I am not pursuing a campaign against him. This post is not about that particular editor but a class of editor of which AndyTheGrump is the prime example and about a general trend. Zedshort (talk) 14:32, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
      • I have nothing against that class of editor, as I myself fall into that category on occasion. Being right, especially in sensitive areas such as WP:BLP is more important than adhering to everything Miss Manners has to say about polite discourse. This project has been trending that way for years; hell, we shut down WP:WQA the ol "tut-tut-be-nice" civility board, even. Tarc (talk) 14:51, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
        • "I have nothing against that class of editor, as I myself fall into that category on occasion."
And what class of editor are you the rest of the time, Tarc? I've only ever seen you act like a trenchant buffoon, even when you are right. -- Hillbillyholiday talk 15:07, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
See there, Zedshort, the above comment was quite fortuitous, as it pretty much proves my point. Hillbilly here just clearly violated the no personal attacks policy (not a guideline, not a suggestion; policy) by calling me a "trenchant buffoon", yet no admin will sanction him (and for the record, I would not want one to). Why? Because he's right; I am somewhat of a dick for much of the time. Being right excuses being uncivil at times. Now, I could retort in kind and maybe get away with it, but just as likely not since Hillbilly is an editor in good standing, i.e. not a dick. He displays poor judgement when voting for potential admins, but having a bad opinion isn't really hear nor there. Zedshort, I hope this primer helps you navigate the tricky waters of the Wikipedia River. Happy editing! Tarc (talk) 15:32, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
How is "policy" any different than a guideline in this manner? It is still not a "brightline rule". Meaning, just because you cross some are not automaticly in the wrong. Besides he really didn't call you a name, but said he has only seen you act like something, he didn't say you are that something. See...this is how it works. You feel he violated a policy. A policy may have more force behind it than a guideline but it is still not like 3RR....and even then it is not always obvious that a violation of that actual "rule" was broken. It all still requires discussion and consensus.--Amadscientist (talk) 18:26, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
The point that hillbilly-boy sidetracked this from is that civility isn't terribly important, or at least it isn't for some editors. Tarc (talk) 19:08, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Sure, and a lot of people seem to use the closing of WP:WQA as some sign that Wikipedia encourages bad behavior. And sure...I have complained about the editor that was brought up, but then I also have taken time to see how that editor is a positive force at Wikipedia. The fact that notice board was taken down does not mean there are not locations within the project where being nice is required. The Teahouse does require all volunteers and participants remain civil and act nice to each other. Some people hate that. But then some people hate puppies and chocolate.--Amadscientist (talk) 19:15, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Only Communists hate puppies & chocolate. Surely we can all agree on that. Tarc (talk) 22:18, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Nope, even communists love puppies And chocolate! -- Hillbillyholiday talk 22:24, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
  • What's lost in this rant is the editing conflict that precipitated it. There was a three-revert edit skirmish (e.g.) over whether to use the term "etiology" or the simpler English word "cause" in the article on Chronic fatigue syndrome, followed by increasing levels of user-talkpage incivility. What's lacking is any effort to resolve the issue at talk:Chronic fatigue syndrome. Has the Wikipedia:Editor engagement experiments team studied conflicts of this nature and thought about ways these editors could engage with each other in a more constructive manner, and what could be done to make that happen? Wbm1058 (talk) 03:33, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
    • Well the team and many others have made major strives towards goals or retaining editors. There are a number of ways they do that. Could there be better ways? I think so. And I can't help but wonder if your point is actually something to stop and consider. To my knowledge we don't have a one on one method or process for conflicts of this nature. We do for content disputes but individual conflicts go beyond the content itself and generaly deal with issues of editor behavior and we don't deal with that effectively right now. I have started Wikipedia:WikiProject Conflict Resolution and in the near future hope to get members more involved in finding some method or process that could be used to deal with conflicts such as these to get editors to find some common ground to accept each other more the very least be able to tolerate each other in a civil manner.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:56, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the memories

Jimbo .. I honestly do thank you for what you and Larry created here with Wikipedia. I truly loved being a part of it. I have no idea if this typing will ever see the light of day, but I just wanted to say goodbye. I logged into my computer, and then hit the link to wiki. I went to edit .. and I have NO FREAKIN idea what the HELL this is. Sorry Jimbo.. I spent literally years learning the code, the policies, and how to do things. I was aware that this "Visual Editor" was going to be available to us... but I didn't realize that it was going to be forced down our throats. The "your notification bar is gone" was one thing .. but no. I studied and learned all the sfn, and ref stuff .. tried to understand .. and now I have NO idea how to edit a page. I'm way to damned old to play these kinds of games. I know that the project isn't losing anything here with me leaving .. I never played the FA/DYK games .. I just tried to fix stuff and help out at fixing drama crap. It's all cool. Let the children have at it. I quit .. they win. I'm gone. — Ched :  ?  00:37, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

I've heard talk about this, but editing this right now looks all normal-like. Where/how does the visual editor pop up? Tarc (talk) 00:54, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:VisualEditor#Timetable. It's now become the default editor ("edit this page") for article pages. It's certainly the case for me, though I can always hit "edit source" next to "edit this page" for old-skool editing, and I'm grateful for that, because I too have no clue how to edit with visual editor. ---Sluzzelin talk 00:58, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
It only pops up on articles from what I have seen. But the articles have two edit tabs, one that just is edit and it takes you to the virtual editor and the other that is edit source and it takes you to the standard edit window. Hopefully they leave that alone. GB fan 00:59, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
It came up on my user page but nobody else's, I guess they are allowing us to experiment with our own user pages which is fair enough. It really makes no odds given we can still edit the page source but I did think somebody had been messing around as I was removing spam when it first happened, thought it was perhaps some trick of the spammer. It hasnt been well publicized in or out of wikipedia. Thanks, ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 01:10, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the sentiments, but see VPT where Gadget850 reports that the visual editor can be disabled (search for "01:15, 2 July 2013"). Johnuniq (talk) 01:34, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
VE is total crap, more poor testing from WMF. TURN IT OFF BY Prefs/Gadgets/top of editing section, click the box. problem solved. PumpkinSky talk 01:50, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
I must be one of the lucky ones, I don't have Remove VisualEditor from the user interface ticked and still have the old school editing window. Bidgee (talk) 01:57, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Me too - I can't even see it to decide whether I like it. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:01, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Probably need to refresh, then go click the box to shut it off. PumpkinSky talk 02:04, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
I tried dabbing a link and made a mess of it. Hope we wont see too much of that in the article space or maybe it just allows one to do much less for new users who wont then realize how flexible wikis can be. Thanks, ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 01:59, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Best as I can tell what this does is add an extra tab at the top of your page. If you click the new the tab you are taken to some "easy to edit" version which lets you vandalize Wikipedia without having to provide a sneaky edit summary. The old tab is still there although now it's called "edit source". I don't think that any valuable long standing Wikipedia contributor will find the new "easy to vandalize Wikipedia" tab useful. It'll just annoy and confuse them, as exemplified by Ched above. But, credit where credit is do - this new tab will make stupid unconstructive edits so much harder to catch.

I understand that WMF is worried about the editor decline and all that and is trying out things which will attract "new editors". But there should be a moment there where they stop and think ok, we want "new editors", but "what kind of new editors do we really want"? That step got lost somewhere in there. But hey, it will probably attract more new editors, by making vandalizing pages so much easier. And yes, it might piss off some people who worked hard on bringing up Wikipedia articles up to a decent level, but even if those curmudgeons leave, just think of how many "new editors" will replace them!Volunteer Marek 02:06, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

They're misguided. Facebooky notices (little red boxes) and VE won't do it. What is needed is a really effective way to deal with problem editors, which is what drives most good editors away. PumpkinSky talk 02:08, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. Well, I just did a bunch of test edits at one of my GA articles Robinson Crusoes of Warsaw. I'm not trying to be POINT-Y or anything, just wanted to see how this kind of stuff shows up "live". I'm pretty sure that before, if someone removed a whole section or a bunch of references (usually a red flag for vandalism or at least some sketchy edits), the way that showed up on the watchlist was with a "Tag: Section Blanking" message or "Removed references" or something similar.
Before, that was a pretty good way to catch nonsense editing. Now, it seems those kinds of edits are subsumed/relabeled as "Tag:Visual editor". A very generic, nondescript description. So it makes it much harder to catch these kinds of non-constructive edits.
I did both of these while logged in so I don't know how it works for IPs. Convince me I'm wrong, but I'm seeing a big problem here.Volunteer Marek 02:36, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't like it and just disabled it in my Prefs. It's horrible to me. Enable it for all new accounts, but leave it optional for people who have been here a while and know the wiki markup is tried and true. Jguy TalkDone 02:43, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
The old school folks may be annoyed but they'll figure their way around it. To me it looks like the new accounts are exactly the ones that shouldn't have it! Have you looked at the "new accounts" lately? Volunteer Marek 02:44, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

In which variant of English does "this page is closed" mean "type stuff here"?  :) Neutron (talk) 02:58, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

This is the only online community I've ever been part of which complains about new, optional features. Get a grip, people. Sædontalk 03:01, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Um, they don't seem to be an option at all for me. I've tried refreshing, but I still can't see the new editor... AndyTheGrump (talk)
I believe it's rolling out slowly. I had an option in my preferences for it but some people do not and instead have both the visual editor and a new button that says "edit source." Additionally, it can be disabled completely under the Gadgets tab in preferences. Btw, did you do a hard refresh? Sædontalk 03:14, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Taking a wikibreak

Hi. Taking a wikibreak is fine and I think it's certainly healthy for editors to occasionally do so, but taking a wikibreak means taking a wikibreak. You can't be actively editing here (while logged in) if you've locked down your talk page during a wikibreak. It's a core principle of Wikimedia wikis that users be open to collaboration and communication if they're actively editing here. Closing down your talk page is fine, but that means you must also temporarily stop editing (while logged in). We cannot create a situation in which your edits or actions can't be discussed on-wiki on your user talk page. It would set an awful precedent and would go against our values of communication, accountability, and approachability (especially as an administrator). Enjoy your break. I may take one as well. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 17:17, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

This page isn't locked. Obviously... AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:25, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
And some folks would rather act pointy than comply with a simple and civil request. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 17:30, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
Taking a wikibreak might be different to you than to him. Just leave him alone. Jguy TalkDone 17:41, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Request for Arbitration

Dear Jimbo:

I added you as a party to a current request for arbitration, which discusses the relation between

  • WMF and Wikipedia (and its ArbCom) and
  • Wikipedia's IRC channels.

You earlier authorized ArbCom to clean up IRC (2007).

Concerns include the use of IRC for

  1. canvassing administrators,
  2. sexual banter with children,
  3. chatting about lighting myself on fire with oil and a lighter (by a WMF employee), etc.

Another concern is the failure of WMF and Wikipedia to match the child-protection standards of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, for example, by requiring two adults witness every child-adult interaction. The Scouts would not tolerate Wikipedia's editor

  1. telling a boy how to work around his parents' removal of his contact list from his email, and following up with emails and IM messages for months, including one following the boy's having "learned his lesson".
  2. telling a boy that the editor will be visiting his town the next week.

IRC is a liability to children and Wikipedia and certainly to the WMF.

Sincerely, Kiefer.Wolfowitz 22:43, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

when WebCite will be at last saved? if it closed we will have hard problems with links required by Wikipedia:Verifiability (Idot (talk) 06:14, 8 July 2013 (UTC))

The STOPhaus Movement Feels as Though The Wikipedia Community is Intentionally Maintaining Libel Against Them

You may or may not be aware that there has been an ongoing feud between an anti-spam organization known as The Spamhaus Project and an anti-censorship collective known as The STOPhaus Movement. This has spilled over into Wikipedia community due to a largely biased and one-sided section on a page that seems to be gvery one-sided altogether. The Spamhaus Project has a page on Wikipedia and on that page there is a discussion concerning STOPhaus and their involvement in the "Largest DDoS Attack in History" as NYT so sensationally called it.

The NYT journalist, Nicole Perlroth and John Markoff were fed the content by Cloudflare, a DDoS mitigation company working alongside The Spamhaus Project. The Wikipedia article reflects on allegations against The STOPhaus Movement and even goes as far as to use a quote calling us "spam and malware hosters", "criminals" and various other libelous claims. We, if there is a "we" are a group of people, users, ISPs, and various anonymous supporters that believe that Spamhaus are over-aggressive in their means to the point it is, or should be, illegal. The debate is whether or not they are, in fact, criminal in their actions.

I am reaching out on the behalf of The STOPhaus Movement to suggest that your editors allow the inclusion of the allegations against Spamhaus, made by STOPhaus or the removal of any reference to STOPhaus from The Spamhaus Page. Maintaining what we are calling libel without moral or reasonable grounds to do so appears to be malicious propaganda and is being received as such. Congratulations on your new life, but you should understand first hand, how a NYT inaccuracy becomes a PR nightmare and Wikimedia Foundation Inc. should not promote the libelous abuse of any group of people.

Especially since the largest STOPhaus support comes from your hometown and a recently formed Political Party in Pinellas County support TSM. Seems you should be a proponent for the whole truth and nothing but the truth, bring a Floridian. Maybe London has already gotten to you though, who knows? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:38, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Hey Jimbo

Just to let you know that I am your biggest fan, and I love you and your encyclopedia. I will edit and contribute with you in my heart! I love you!! --Sr̶īo̶b̶ęb̶i̶e̶ (Jimbo's Biggest Fan) (talk) 16:57, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

FYI head's up (WP:AT)

Just an FYI, you can read it when you get back. At WT:AT (article titles), we are in discussions on a restriction the use of Chinese characters, as a matter of policy. -- (talk) 02:28, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

2nd Annual Wikimedia New England General Meeting

You are invited to the 2nd Annual Wikimedia New England General Meeting, on 20 July 2013 in Boston! We will be talking about the future of the chapter, including GLAM, Wiki Loves Monuments, and where we want to take our chapter in the future! EdwardsBot (talk) 10:02, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Please post elsewhere until July 21, per Jimbo's request

Lots of stuff is posted here that's usually meant for Jimbo but is also of interest to others. During his sabbatical people should post elsewhere. Let's make a nice list of pointers for them.

Dear helpful community members, please feel free to edit the following list to improve it.

  1. I want to talk to Jimbo himself about his own editing -> Please be aware that he will not respond until he is back.
  2. I would like to know the Wikimedia Foundation's position on a certain matter -> User talk:Philippe (WMF), User talk:Mdennis (WMF), User talk:Sue Gardner, etc. (see also private contact info listed on their user pages)
  3. I have a concern about something Wikipedia says about me, someone I'm close with, or someone I professionally represent. -> Wikipedia:Contact us
  4. I need to discuss a breach of policy that involves private information, and/or a pressing concern involving an administrator, bureaucrat, or functionary -> WP:ArbCom
  5. I have a concern about a particular user's behavior -> WP:ANI
  6. I have a concern about a problematic biography -> WP:BLPN
  7. I'm concerned about people edit warring -> WP:ANEW
  8. I want to discuss Wikipedia's policies and guidelines -> WP:VPP
  9. I am annoyed by the new Visual Editor -> VE Angry Thread
  10. I'm getting withdrawal symptoms due to not being able to post here -> See here for advice
  11. I really desperately need to contact Jimbo Wales! -> See the contact email listed under "Other inquiries of any kind" on his userpage.

What you missed: VE

The most important thing that happened while you were away is that the Visual Editor was released to the broad community in spite of having an astonishing number of critical bugs and being almost unusable for some basic functions, such as adding references. See WP:VE/F for results. (For the record, I'm hugely in favor of VE, but another month of debugging would have paid great dividends. The release came with no feature freeze -- major functionality was being added right up to the last moment, with predictable results.) Looie496 (talk) 15:16, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

The saddest thing about this is the WMF ignored its own research. Of course, it had precedent: it ignored its own research with Echo as well.
  1. VE reduces the likelihood of a newbie making his first edit by 43%
  2. Echo increases the chance of a new editor being blocked by 20%
In both cases, WMF attempted to portray objections by English Wikipedia as being simply a result of conservatism, despite the fact that their own research demonstrates that the objections are well founded.—Kww(talk) 17:12, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Agree with the above. This is serious, and WMF should listen and change attitude accordingly. The attitude of WMF developers, asking for "zen acceptance" of critical decisions never discussed with the community ([1]), is worrying. -- cyclopiaspeak! 17:19, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Having worked as a developer myself, I don't quite agree with those points. There is no way to introduce major new functionality without major disruption: the bad thing here is that the developers, probably as a result of being understaffed and overpressured, have not followed standard practices in the software industry. Looie496 (talk) 17:46, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I have worked as a developer, manager, director, and CTO. I will agree that this is not really the developers' fault: the blame lies with their management that has refused to withdraw the product until the errors are corrected. There's certainly a future that includes VE, but when a piece of software explodes this badly, you don't continue to roll it out.—Kww(talk) 17:53, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Welcome back Jimbo, as a question related to the software rollouts, do you personally believe that the WMF has continued in the heart of what you meant when you wrote at User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles- "Any changes to the software must be gradual and reversible. We need to make sure that any changes contribute positively to the community, as ultimately determined by the Wikimedia Foundation, in full consultation with the community consensus." (bolding from original)? As Kwww states above, the Community does seem to get a response from the WMF of (in Kww's words) "objections by English Wikipedia as being simply a result of conservatism", that kind of response, in my opinion, does seem to stall any "consultation with the community consensus", but I am taking Kww's word for it that their response is that truly that overtly "Daddy knows best", I would like your opinion as you are close to the WMF and still close to the Community at large.Camelbinky (talk) 19:55, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I am glad that the VE has been rolled out and congratulate and thank the WMF and VE staff for the VE. I guess the WMF is much better placed to see the big picture, and I guess, Daddy does know best. All hail VE!!!!OrangesRyellow (talk) 02:44, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

More fun with VE

Speaking of more fun (or humor)... Did you hear the Foundation is thinking about changing the MediaWiki logo,
to better reflect the VisualEditor, as the new default for all users:

FROM:   Poweredby mediawiki 88x31.png
TO:        <nowiki>[[Face-bad.svg]]</nowiki>

Rule 1 for Organizations:  When changing software, be sure it will not affect the official logo (just kidding!). Hopefully, the developers will soon change VE to accept any text in double-brackets as a wikilink, and then the logo would continue to make sense for new users. -Wikid77 23:51, 22 July 2013 (UTC)


Welcome back. I trust that you are well. Here, in no particular order, is a report from me about important things you might not be aware of:

Massive NASTRO/GNG violations

There are still countless articles on non-notable referents such as (12839) 1997 FB2 that flaunt not only WP:NASTRO, not to mention WP:GNG, simply because we lack the technical know-how to fix the problem.

Techno-wizards needed!Chrisrus (talk) 05:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Many pleasant articles available to anyone interested

The project to finish the category of Dickin Medal recipients is going pretty well, but has far to go.

Working in this area is relaxing and fun, take a dog or a bird and fill out a stub; you'll be glad you did!Chrisrus (talk) 05:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Ancient biological filing system failing as species hybridize and re-emerge

The taxonomy of the Red wolf has changed, and there seems to be an emerging hybrid species of canid in the Eastern United states, Canis latrans "var." and other such cases causing problems for biological taxonomy, an absolutely indispensable Dewey Decimal-like filing system designed pre-Darwin that can't deal with emerging hybrid species. It's interesting.

Google "Canis soupus" and you be glad you did.Chrisrus (talk) 05:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

BLP watches and administrators turn away in droves

No one is willing to transfer the important facts from the WP:RSes into the article NXIVM and associated BLPs. I've collected the RS on the leader's article's talk page, but will go no further. I understand the reaction, "not with a ten-foot pole" has been the reaction at all of the places you sent me. If you would like to see WP:GOOD articles about it/him, it might help greatly if you would just please say so.

Brave Wikipedians needed!Chrisrus (talk) 05:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Community awaits your opinion of VE

I couldn't make Visual Editor work for me either, and gave up quickly. I think many of us want to hear your opinion.Chrisrus (talk) 05:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

When the name of a place changes: simply check the maps; systemic problem would be solved.

The title of our article about the island at 39° 49′ 19″ N, 26° 1′ 44″ E is about ninety years out of date. There is no controversy in any WP:RS about the fact that the name was changed; it is not a disputed place name anywhere but Wikipedia. The system should be changed so that, simply, if all the maps agree, See: that's what the WP:MODERNPLACENAME is for any article. That will solve so much so simply! If the system would simply say to follow the modern maps, and if they all agree, use that. When you allow other measures of commonality such as Goggle Books searches it is not reasonable because when the name of a place changes, it takes many years before the new name catches up with the old name in such searches, especially if the place had been more notable under the old name than the new one.

When we find our car keys, we stop looking for them. When all the maps agree, we need to stop needless entmoots about modern place names. Chrisrus (talk) 05:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Systemic problem found

The situation with the name of that island has also brought to the fore bad systemic closing procedures for move requests, which have always been default rulings in favor of the status quo. Administrators should not close because the discussion betrays disagreement, so no consensus, or to close with reasons that betray they don't understand the basic facts or an understanding of what the positions actually are. If they don't have time for fact-finding and concept-checking and getting their facts straight, even if they have to investigate a bit themselves, they should not close at all.

Until these two systemic issues are addressed, I see no reason to re-open another move request for that place, although any reader of these words is invited to do so if only to see what happens. Chrisrus (talk) 05:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

when WebCite will be at last saved? if it closed we will have hard problems with links required by Wikipedia:Verifiability (Idot (talk) 06:14, 8 July 2013 (UTC))

I'm back

I'm back to work!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:59, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Welcome back! (✉→BWilkins←✎) 09:44, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, welcome back, and I hope it was a restful Wiki-break. Say Jimmy, you know that self-award for experienced editors, the one that has the sticky note saying that you had called needing "advice"... well, I think we need your advice on a host of topics. If you could dash off a couple paragraphs on your views of the current state of the 'pedia and where you see us going from here, it would be appreciated, I am sure, by a number of us volunteer editors. Thanks for considering it. Jusdafax 10:17, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes I'll think about that. I'd say my biggest concerns have to do with a desire to bring back more of the spirit of fun, and less of the spirit of rigid authoritarian rules-quoting.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:19, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Much obliged, and I agree about the more fun. 4-5 years ago there seemed to be a profound sense of amused responsibility and wacky comradeship that pervaded the project. Not sure how to regain that. Jusdafax 13:51, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
You can't. There are too many shadow bureaucracies and far too much OWN of policy. Once that happens, you can't wind the clock back. Once the power concentrates itself in the hands of people who are more interested in policy than they are creating articles things change. Intothatdarkness 14:45, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Bureaucracy is a natural part of life and there's no rolling back the clock to the days of a zany startup where random people would roll long into an article, type what they knew or thought then knew, and call it good, trusting on the magic of "crowd-sourcing" to sort out the wheat from the chaff. WP can be fun, and there are things that can make it more fun, but the existence of bureaucracy needs to be acknowledged with open eyes and constant effort made to slow or halt bureaucratic creep. Carrite (talk) 15:35, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, someone can still type "what they know" just not about Einstein, but rather "Einstein's father" and people will sort out details, rather than total reverts as in major articles. As a sidestep from the bureaucracy, the wp:AFC allows more freedom for people to try adding text without panic. -Wikid77 05:11, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. Count Iblis (talk) 15:44, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
That's a standard tactic to deny the existence of the bureaucracies here, and one that really doesn't work. They're alive and well. Intothatdarkness 19:03, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
The "fun" element is important. The presence of fun is an indication that an article is being steered by those who care about the topic. There may be joy in bureaucracy but it is not a joy that benefits the reader. Bus stop (talk) 12:39, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
As I've said, the reason people keep doing that authoritarian rules-quoting is because the system is set up so that if someone is causing trouble, and you can quote the rules to him, you win. Only once you do that, it also works when the troublemaker is the one quoting the rules. You can't have rules that are rigid when used by the good guys and flexible when used by the bad guys. Ken Arromdee (talk) 20:15, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Ah baloney (in the spirit of light fun). Ken, that is just too dark a perspective for me to believe. Authority is not the issue when someone is doing what the consensus has guided them to do, Claims of authoritarian are a perception and not a fact. We all have the responsibility to act professionally and work with each other. In that way, editors sometimes need that extra guidance. Its how that guidance is applied where things go bad or when an accusation is made of "Authoritarian behavior" the person being accused becomes frustrated and is baited into a fight. The claim of authoritarian behavior is an accusation and many times unfounded just because someone templates another editor with a warning. We need to be more than neutral when we approach each other as our words alone can be misunderstood. We should be approaching editors for warnings in a friendly mentor like fashion or why would we be warning them at all unless the goal is intimidation. We should lighten up, get back to enjoying Wikipedia as editors and try to guide the project back to a spirit of fun.--Amadscientist (talk) 20:41, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Hi – I am a totally new (aspiring) editor, trying to learn the ropes and inspired to see this conversation – what I see and love as an outsider is that the WP magic is exactly the tension between fun/play/boldness and policy/integrity/rigor – I've been noticing it playing out in the policy pages and discussion – great job, seriously amazing, changing what it means to be an authority! Thanks to the community - self-correcting, experimenting, using power, noticing hurt feelings, apologising for mistakes, trying and persevering ... and ps sorry in advance if I didn't add this comment right :-) Depthdiver (talk) 18:27, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, WP can still be fun, but there have been some severe users who drag an opponent to wp:ANI in hopes that some angry users will gang up to wp:topic_ban the opponent before discussions can calmly switch to a new wp:consensus with new users. The hostility trying to punish opposition to wp:DASH has been notorious for 2 years. -Wikid77 05:11, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Welcome back. Could I suggest that you have a go at editing any article, adding a reference or similar, and then comment at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback, or here, on what's been a major topic for some editors while you've been away. Thanks. PamD 10:38, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Great - I hope to use the visual editor extensively in the coming days, and also talk to people at the Foundation. At least preliminarily, I plan to speak about it at Wikimania... but I'm not sure yet that I'll have enough of interest to say!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:19, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
In the past when I've made major public mistakes, the best strategy was a sincere, heartfelt apology. Keeping it short tends to make it more credible. Since WMF doesn't seem inclined to apologize for the current condition of VE, perhaps you could do it for them.—Kww(talk) 19:13, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Welcome back. Hope we hear something about what you did on your time away.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 13:22, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't used to post on here but... welcome back, Jimmy. We missed you :) I wish I could hear you speak one day at Wikimania. Miss Bono [zootalk] 13:32, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
With all due respect, I'm not sure that "the spirit of fun" is a feasible goal at this stage of the project. Maybe it was pure fun in 2003, maybe Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard had more fun running a business out of Dave's garage than they did in later years sitting in corporate boardrooms. But like it or not, this has grown into a far-reaching and influential (not always a good influence, esp when it comes to bad BLP articles) project, supported by a massive bureaucracy. Obviously people should want to contribute here and enjoy the time spent creating content, but doing things responsibly should be the #1 concern here rather than fun. Tarc (talk) 14:06, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I disagree, one could contribute responsibly and have fun at the same time. For example, isn't it fun to run around screaming "it is a sock of a banned user"? Also isn't it fun to harass and abuse banned users? They are not people, and in any case they cannot respond anyway. Another fun way to contribute to Wikipedia is deleting contributions made by banned users, especially good ones. Another way to have fun while contributing strictly within the policies is the opposing the deletion requests concerning BLPs especially, when the subject himself wants it gone. Really why to bother, if no matter what "It is screamingly obvious he is making a big deal about his birthday not because he doesn't want it published, but because he hates Wikipedia. Whether we publish this already well-known information or not he will continue to hate Wikipedia. " (talk) 14:41, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
What other choice is there? If you allow such articles to stay around, you're basically saying "the user is banned except when he does good things". Since all users, banned or not, are supposed to only do good things, this is equivalent to not having bans at all.
Banning a user means we've decided the user causes so much trouble that it's not worth looking at the user's contributions one at a time to figure out which ones are actually good and correct the other ones. Going through the banned user's contributions to check for subtle vandalism just isn't worth it; we're better off deleting them and using the time for something else. Ken Arromdee (talk) 20:26, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Here are the posts you missed in your absence. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:14, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Welcome back. Hope the time off was refreshing. Take any pics?--Amadscientist (talk) 17:14, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Welcome back. I'm enjoying your talk in London. —Tom Morris (talk) 19:22, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Welcome back, Jimbo. GSK 19:42, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Welcome back Jimbo!, Great to have you back! - →Davey2010→→Talk to me!→ 19:48, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi Jimmy and welcome back! I couldn't agree with you more about the need to restore the spirit of fun. I used to be more active around 2005-2007. I started about a dozen new articles and made major changes to a few dozen more. It was a great learning experience, and I honestly felt like we were doing something good for the world. Then I had a content dispute with a notoriously tough administrator, and suddenly it wasn't so much fun anymore. I felt used, like Wikipedia was only happy to have my noncontroversial edits, but when it came to anything where anyone might have an opinion, those topics were off-limits. Looking around I could see many pages that used to be wide open were semi and full-protected, and admins were on a hair trigger. Long story short, I went and started an independent wiki encyclopedia. Now I write my way and it is fun again, at least for me, but without many more contributors it lacks the depth of Wikipedia. Obviously you hit on some magic here. Sole Flounder (talk) 03:02, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

VisualEditor nowiki tags or garbled tables

This is FYI about VE. As you likely know, many editors (usernames + IP editors) have been fed the VisualEditor (VE) when MediaWiki quietly switched the "Edit" button away from the wikitext editor. Consequently, hundreds of people try to insert "[[xxx]]" for a wikilink, unaware how the literal square brackets are inserted instead with nowiki-tags, to get: "<nowiki>[[xxx]]</nowiki>" inside the article text. As a counter-move, edit-filter 550 has been set to detect the added nowiki-tags:

Scan 550 log:

The nowiki-tagged pages are being saved at the rate of 23 per hour, 550 per day (or 17,000 per month), but fortunately, many editors are all re-editing those garbled pages, and perhaps only 5 garbled pages (of 550) slip through each day, uncorrected. However, even worse, people are trying to edit wikitables, with the VisualEditor, and getting hacked markup as "<nowiki>||</nowiki>" which puts the literal double-bar "||" in the page. A recent example was Canadian TV article "The Next Step (TV series)" (which I later corrected):

By the time I had corrected the wikitables, there were 2 duplicate copies of the rows, so garbled that most editors would be unable to unscramble the hacked markup (unless they reverted several revisions, and then hand-edited for recent changes). We have seen that dilemma before: an article gets so garbled that anti-vandalism corrections are thwarted by the complexity of undoing numerous changes, for fear of losing some important new text. Bottomline: we have at least 550 articles, each day, altered by the VisualEditor in questionable ways, using nowiki-tags which might garble the page. There is a pending Bugzilla request (Bugzilla: 49686) for VE to accept "[[xxx]]" as a wikilink (rather than literal brackets) in the VisualEditor, which I think would solve many problems. More later. -Wikid77b (talk) 15:13, 22 July, 14:12, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I'll be looking into the wikitables thing, as that one sounds tricky and less urgent to me. The mediawiki table syntax has been horrific for a long time, and so I doubt new editors try to do it very often. However, it is extremely well known, even by non-editors, that square brackets make a link, and the odds of someone actually wanting literal square brackets are very very small. Making the visual editor default to interpreting square brackets as a link sounds right to me.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:16, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Request for square brackets as link is Bugzilla: 49686. -Wikid77 14:12, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I see it's been closed as "WONTFIX". That's disappointing; I agree with Jimbo that this would have made life easier for people familiar with the longstanding bracket syntax. 28bytes (talk) 16:50, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
And it is precisely this kind of perceived "f/u" arrogance from the developers that pisses people off.--ukexpat (talk) 17:05, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Now we see why workers form labor unions. Rather than "WONTFIX" perhaps they could have agreed to show warning for literal "[[__]]" as sign of compromise. Expect many complaints when VE is released to German WP today, among 9 languages, with Spanish (es), French (fr), Hebrew (he), Italian (it), Dutch (nl), Polish (pl), Russian (ru) and Swedish (sv). -Wikid77 14:08, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
  • FYI the bug is currently "REOPENED". Diego (talk) 14:49, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
And, because VE apparently can't do anything to make life easier for long-term editors, it's been put back to WONTFIX. Seriously, giving support to basic-level wikimarkup has to be easier than having to constantly switch from keyboard to mouse.
VE was apparently based solely on testing with new users. As far as I can tell, thinking about what users will want after a month or a year wasn't even part of the design program, meaning that basic compatibilities with wikitext are, from what I gather, considered a step backwards. shows Jdforrester as the one repeatedly taking this exceptionally useful feature off the table.
I will never use VE until it's well-integrated with Wikitext, and I think that's true of a lot of long-term editors. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:28, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

This week's articles for improvement

initially posted by Northamerica1000(talk) 10:41, 23 July 2013 (UTC), revised template posted below.

Durer selfporitrait.jpg

Albrecht Dürer, famous German painter of the German Renaissance.

Hello, Jimbo Wales:

The following are WikiProject Today's articles for improvement's weekly selections.

Posted by: Northamerica1000(talk) 03:39, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

I've added an opt-in section for those interested in receiving TAFI notifications on the project's main page, located here. Those that don't opt-in won't receive this message again. Also, a revised notification template has been created, located at Template:TAFI weekly selections notice. Northamerica1000(talk) 04:52, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

So, in general, "WP:TAFI" connects to those other pages. -Wikid77 05:11, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the articles are listed on the project's main page too. Back in November 2012, Mr. Wales expressed an interest in this project (see this link), so I figured I'd notify him about the latest weekly selections, and in hopes to possibly recruit Mr. Wales to join the project! Northamerica1000(talk) 05:31, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

VE newsletter

Hey Jimbo Wales. The newest updates:

  • Links now don't extend over space/punctuation/workbreaks when you type (bugzilla:51463)
  • Users with the "minoredit" preference set get working functionality (bugzilla:51515)
  • You can tab to buttons in dialogs, including the save dialog (bugzilla:50047)
  • We now show the <newarticletext> (or <newarticletextanon>) message as an edit notice (bugzilla:51459)
  • You can scroll dialog panels like in transclusions' templates' parameter listings (bugzilla:51739)
  • Templates that only create meta-data and no display content at all (like Template:Use dmy dates) now can't be deleted accidentally or deliberately, but still don't show up (bugzilla:51322)
  • FlaggedRevisions integration (bugzilla:49699)
  • Edit summary will get the section title pre-added if you launched from a section edit link (bugzilla:50872)

Along with some miscellaneous language support fixes. That's all for today; as always, let us know if you spot more bugs. Thanks, Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 21:44, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

About the use of mailing list of es:wiki's sysops to defame, and impunity

Some days ago revealed that one sysop of Spanish Wikipedia used the mailing list to difame and badmouth about another user who doesn't have access to this mailing list (list I had never heard before this), with no possibility to defend herself. Also have had a leak of this mailing list to another user outside of Wikipedia.

This issue was discussed and is being discussed in several threads of ES:WIKI,

On this last page, user Enrique Cordero said (I auto-translated his message):

In the talk page of Resped sysop revalidation has been established that the mailing list is used for a sysop or some sysops, in addition to other things, to speak badly of users who do not have access to that account and therefore are helpless against these insults. I have no access to that account, so I do not know who are the sysops using the account for this purpose, or how many, or how often they do, or how many users are mistreated, but two sysops with access to the account -Furti and BetoCG-recognized without a doubt that "there was something off-key comment" says one, and that "yes, it was the client uncivically expelled" the other. Established that these things happen, do not know how many times or against many, and accredited which some sysops misuse the email account, I understand that sysops who did not do it and those who maybe even consider ugly doing it, should be primarily interested in defending his/her good name and email that list to avoid being splashed by the garbage that cast those who misuse an account that Wikipedia has made ​​available to make an application on behalf of project and not dirtying their verbal incontinence (...) The sysop who uses the sysops mail account to insult users who do not have access to that account must be punished. Not enough for me to be told that "it was called the attention" without providing even a hint that this was so. If a sysop misuse of that account, a penalty provided would prevent his/her from using that account. And of course, to the relief of sysops who make proper use of his/her account, but also for the peace of the users that have been created the suspicion that generously as they partner with the project's sysop secretly insult them, would be essential to avoid giving the impression of impunity (...)

Most users did not even know of the existence of this mailing list, and apparently there's no policy for sysops to use the mailing list.

Sysop Resped should be removed of his flags due to the use of sock puppetry in the past, in voting.

PS: sorry for my bad english. The discussion goes along and touches several issues. (talk) 15:08, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Just starting to use the visual editor

Note: Please let's keep editorialization down to a minimum, and instead review the factual situation! Thanks!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:36, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Why is visual editor not on talk pages?

Why is it that when I edit an article, I get the visual editor, but when I edit my talk page, I get the wikitext editor?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:20, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Oh that's just the start of your issues, Jimmy. You wait until the need to edit a template. doktorb wordsdeeds 08:22, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Ok, but that's not an answer to my factual question. I don't see a huge issue with template editing at the moment - it's easy to click on 'Edit source' if I need to do that. Anyway, I just read at Wikipedia:VisualEditor that "The VisualEditor is only enabled for the article and user namespaces (the latter allows editors to make changes in a personal sandbox). In time, VE will include the specialised editing tools needed for non-article pages, but the developer focus has been on articles." That sounds like it is probably the right answer, but I'm curious what 'specialised editing tools' in particular make it impossible to roll this out for talk pages as well.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:33, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Direct answer: I have no idea why it's not rolled out to talk pages. doktorb wordsdeeds 08:34, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
another editor for discussions is in the pipeline. to get more confused:
that would be three editors at one wiki. Just the beginning? --PigeonIP (talk) 08:47, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I thought WP:Flow was the technical reason but I rapidly got confused when reading the various discussions. - Sitush (talk) 09:00, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
VE is active for User: namespace, not for User talk. Diego (talk) 09:01, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, VE is active for User: name space and for articles, but not for talk pages. I'm not yet clear on why that is. One hypothesis, put forward by PigeonIP is that the longterm roadmap for talk pages will be Flow, but I'm not sure why that would preclude using the VE now for talk pages. The quote I pasted above suggested some "specialized editing tools needed for non-article pages" but I don't know what that means - that's what I'm trying to understand. (Maybe it's just me - when I edit talk pages, I just click edit and type, the same as with articles. Maybe there is a concern about breaking archiving bots?)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:06, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not going to look up a link, but the official answer is that (1) making VE work properly on talk pages would involve significant extra work -- handling signatures is just a small part of it -- and (2) that extra work is thought to be not worth it, because talk pages will soon be converted to Flow, meaning that all the extra work would end up as a waste. Looie496 (talk) 18:07, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
FYI here is a nice 10,000-feet-view summary of the WMF plans for the new tools, and here my answer to that comment explaining the doubts that those plans cast on current usage of Talk pages. Diego (talk) 09:18, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Can you give me a concrete example of current functionality that you are afraid of losing under Flow? As a side note, Flow is a long way off so while it's good to be having conversations about it early, I'm this week mainly focussed on understanding the state of the world with respect to the visual editor.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:06, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── For the VE, surely the major concerns right now are with respect to templates; the VE design seems to have been centered around formatting, with little foresight on how creation of complex content would be used (it seems clear that they didn't create a single paper prototype for the templates dialog, or they would have found basic mistakes like the dialog obscuring the text in the article that one must read to populate the template).

With respect to both the VE and Flow I'm primarily concerned about how the community creates new backlog review processes (like the User:Snotbot/AfD's requiring attention, User:Wcquidditch/wikideletiontoday or the Wikipedia:Article Rescue Squadron/Rescue list) without the need to request developers' support. Those community tools heavily depend on the wiki support for semantic knowledge creation (tags, templates, categories, transclusion)... and there's nothing like that planned in the roadmap for the new tools.

This focus in the flexibility of the current existing platform seems to be completely lost in all WMF analysis, even though it's one of the project's main assets. That's why all editors are so rabidly focused on asking for guaranteed support of all current wikitext. I see Wikipedia as the major example of a semantic platform in the world (stronger and wealthier even than Google's Freebase), and the only successful deployment of a user-friendly semantic network in a massive scale. Forcing the community to rely on "Office"-level tools (simple word-processor editing and simple mailing support) is a disservice to what Wikipedians have built as an ecosystem for collaborative content creation.

The focus on specialized tools, fine-tuned for particular use cases, can't compete against the flexibility of the current semantic wiki tools. There seem to be some grand visions to support some workflow creation module in Flow, but frankly the prospect of depending on a yet-to-specify tool of uncertain possibilities and built from scratch is less appealing than using the existing, well tested mediawiki platform. Which is a shame, because at least the VisualEditor has potential to become the largest and user-friendliest semantic content creation tool in the world, if only its developers could see it that way instead of as a simple pretty printer for raw text. Diego (talk) 11:01, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

"it seems clear that they didn't create a single paper prototype" - seriously, the editorializing is insulting, demeaning, and unhelpful. Let's just focus on the facts and stop insulting good people who have worked hard to develop something new. It's just not helpful. If you believe it to be true that blame must be assigned, that's fine. Keep it to yourself, I don't want to hear it. NPOV.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:41, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry for making that comment and fully retract it. I didn't mean to insult the tool creators at all, and now I see how it was unfair to them. That comment was made without reflection, based on my current mood about the whole thing and my shallow first impressions of how the development teams are operating, which are based on the fragmented information that can be compiled from the various scattered documentation and talk pages. It's been a strange week of discussions in a rarefied atmosphere, enticing (or even teasing) developers to explain their design decisions beyond the simplest low level details, trying to gather enough information to make sense of the bigger picture of what the WMF is trying to achieve. The initial information provided was too specific and centered around the needs of new users, without clarifying how this would affect experienced editors, and this has caused too many points of friction between editors and the development team.
I wouldn't want that single sentence to obscure the rest of the points I've made, which are product of much deeper reflection and that I sincerely believe describe the more profound needs of the community, for which it's uncertain how the approach taken by the new tools will satisfy them. Diego (talk) 12:12, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! This is very meaningful to me. I just want to reduce some of the heat here so we can get to some light. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Apologies for the outburst. It's likely that you will find it again these days in other editors that are just trying to help. Those come from this fear that, as you're building something new, you'll inadvertently take something away that is deeply cared for. Diego (talk) 14:51, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
To summarize, these were the points I intended to make:
  • Wikipedia is an awesome, one-of-a-kind project.
  • The community is an awesome asset, as it uses the flexible tools to create awesome things.
  • The VisualEditor is a needed improvement with a lot of potential, but I believe it has and excessive focus on making it an easy tool to edit individual pages, which implies a risk that it will fall short to be an easy tool to build an encyclopedia. Diego (talk) 12:37, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Just in reply to the initial question, while I don't know the official reasoning, VE would be difficult for talk pages as things stand. It currently doesn't handle signatures, and by their nature talk pages require section editing, rather than full page editing - using a full page WYSIWYG editor on talk pages is asking for comments to be accidently refactored, with all the problems that would then emerge.
My guess is that this is in the "too hard" basket, with Flow presumably making it viable when launched. - Bilby (talk) 11:18, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Bilby, that's very helpful feedback and it makes sense to me. Handling signatures seems easy enough to add quickly. Section editing is needed for talk pages for sure, yes.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:43, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Why it's not available on talk pages is a worthwhile question. Why we can't opt-out of it completely is a better one. --Onorem (talk) 14:53, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand this objection. Can you explain it? As I understand it, I can completely avoid the new editor trivially by clicking on 'edit source' rather than 'edit'. Why is that burdensome?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:06, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
It's made the site noticeably slower with a good computer and connection. That's enough for me. I'm not going to rehash what was going on while you were on vacation. You can read up on all the discussions. Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#"Opt out" of VE needed under preferences is one place to start. I'm done now, because I very much believe that nobody cares. Veteran users who care enough will learn to deal with it...and it might attract new users. That's all you care about, so nothing said now will change anything. --Onorem (talk) 15:33, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
(To clarify, the 'You' above doesn't mean you. It means the and above developers who are working on 'upgrades' and get angry when people don't think they are upgrades.) OK. Now done. --Onorem (talk) 15:53, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Onorem, it's not true that nobody cares. I've read the available documentation of Parsoid, and those guys are taking great care and performing some deep magic tricks to make sure that (almost) all wikitext will be supported and all actual Wikipedia content will be available in the future; that overview and the project roadmap have given me confidence that there are people working for the Foundation with a thorough understanding of the technical complexities involved, and the value that wikitext brings to the party.
Sincerely, this situation looks to me as if there isn't a clear vision on how to bring to life the huge technological update they're planning for the next years, or at least not enough coordination to explain that vision in a meaningful way that the community can grasp; and that's the source of all the current bitterness and distrust. Diego (talk) 15:59, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
It's burdensome because it's both inconsistent and involves more checking.
It's inconsistent because (in Monobook skin, anyway), the third tab from the left is always named "edit this page" but that name can have two different actions. The tab to get the non-VE editor might be fourth tab from the left and titled "edit source", or third tab from the left ("edit this page").
It involves more checking because you can't go for the same tab every time: you need to consciously check the names of the tabs, and then hover over the appropriate one, in order to check the bottom of the screen (where Firefox displays the link being hovered) to ensure that the link has action=edit not veaction=edit before you click. To make it worse, these tabs depend upon the loading of javascript: if that is slow, the tabs move about and change their names just as you're about to click on them. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:52, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I seem to remember falling on the history of that page when it was altered to state that Visual Editor would be for talk pages and I think the edit summary states something like that. Could that edit be located and simply ask the editor who changed it where the information comes from to get an understanding if VE will be made available for user talk pages and when? Or has that been ironed out already?--Amadscientist (talk) 20:34, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Just for the record, I would have no problems if the option to disable VisualEditor had its default state switched back to VisualEditor being on when VE left beta. But I would expect to keep the ability to turn it off. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:34, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

What are the biggest issues with templates?

I'd love to have a single good example of a template issue to play with.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:43, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

OK, here's one of the most challenging: {{convert}}. Try adding it to an article, and also try editing an existing invocation in a more complex way (e.g. changing a single value to a range of values). Of course, all this using VE - imagine you're a noob again :) — This, that and the other (talk) 09:18, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Ugh. I wouldn't have been able to use that template under the old system, either.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:42, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
See below: "#Convert/help shows help-box of options". -Wikid77 14:12, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Two examples for you to play with User:Jimbo Wales. First try to build (not amend, build) [something from here]. Now try again with just about anything here. Completely impossible to build, almost impossible to amend anything doktorb wordsdeeds 09:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I think something in the first article changed? There is no section 11 now.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:07, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I removed a misplaced pipe; try again. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:56, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I found adding a reference with a citation template to be problematic, so it might be worth giving it a shot. I've yet to see an IP add a reference with VE using a citation template. But even something like adding Infobox person shows the basic issues in a common case - for example, while it adds the "Name" parameter automatically, only a few other parameters are visible, and there is no means of scrolling down to see the rest. If you know the missing parameters you can type them in, but that makes for a complicated process - as it is, the time it takes to add an infobox in VE is considerably greater than what an experienced editor would take in the old editor, and an inexperienced editor needs to already know the names of the parameters in order to add much more than the subject's name. On the plus side, this is a big step forward from the initial version deployed a couple of weeks back. Hopefully, though, there will be some better suggestions for things to try. :) - Bilby (talk) 11:28, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

{{coord}} is also a tricky one to use. The TemplateData system does not work well with templates that use overloading like {{coord}} and {{convert}}. I've had to create three new templates to work around this. --Salix (talk): 04:22, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Another big problem with templates is that you can't easily add the documentation to redirected templates, like {{commons cat}}.--Salix (talk): 04:31, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

The actual biggest issues with templates are the ones that don't follow the structure that Parsoid thought templates should follow. Bugzilla: 44498 prevents any table that uses {{won}}, {{nom}}, etc. from being able to display or edit properly. This means that pretty much any table of awards gets corrupted. {{singlechart}} and {{albumchart}} can't render properly, either, because of Bugzilla: 50589. This combination means that most music articles can't even have the primitive level of table editing that VE was promised to support in its initial release.—Kww(talk) 04:33, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

  • {{cite journal}} is perhaps the most important template for helping editors to cite the most reliable sources. Please give that one a try, to provide all of the information in a typical academic journal citation. Try to add a DOI or courtesy link, too. I dare you. (talk) 08:49, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Convert/help shows help-box of options

Last month (June 2013), I created Template:Convert/help to briefly list the parameter options, so, when users cannot remember the option names or unit-codes, then they can put "help" as a parameter and see the condensed options. For example, a user might not remember miles is unit-code "mi" and instead use the option "help":

Because Template:Convert often supports engineering articles, then there are many options, so many that it becomes difficult to remember the option names or unit-codes (over 350 codes so far). The basic overview concept, of a "help-box" to show condensed options, provides a balance between listing many options but keeping the display short, inside a small box, to avoid overwhelming the user with diatribe about the options. I think the "help-box" concept could be extended into many hundreds of common templates, as a small box to show major parameter names, in mid-sentence. -Wikid77 14:12, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

It's not just templates ...

Jimbo, there are a lot of other problems with VE. Many are irritations, though likely to disconcert new users. As an example (bug 50341, adding {{italic title}} doesn't have instant visible effect, nor any effect when you save the page in VE, until you reload the page: so you wonder what's gone wrong, whether you messed up the edit, etc. There are lots of similar imperfections, non-intuitive icons to click, etc.

But there are some more serious problems, of which I'll mention a very few:

  1. bug 49603 Hidden messages and templates don't show up, so the editor doesn't see {{Use British English}} or the <!-- Please do not make significant changes to the lead without discussing them first on the article's talk page.--> at the start of London. So our long-established messages to editors are lost. And because they're invisible they can be accidentally deleted.
  2. bug 49969 The dialog box for adding categories or templates completely hides the article text. So if I want to add birth and death date categories, or perhaps a geographical category with unfamiliar spelling, I have to try to remember them, write them down, or open the article in another window. It just makes routine wikignomish article improvements much harder work.
  3. Various utlities which editors are accustomed to using are not available with VE and apparently won't be because the previous versions weren't part of the editor: bug 48274 autocompletion of commonly-used edit summaries (it's a browser feature for the old one-line edit summaries, and browsers don't do it for the new multiline box); the ability to hover the mouse to preview the first few lines of a linked article to check the link destination or fill out a dab page entry, rather than follow the link and wait for the article to load (WP:NAVPOPS is a gadget, so it's "not our job to replace it".) So it's harder to leave a routine, complex, edit summary; harder to quickly check the links in an article.

Many of us can see that VE has potential to offer a great improvement in editing, but at the moment it makes life very difficult for those of us who persist in using it, reporting bugs and quirks as we go along. And we worry that in its present state it's been rolled out to a lot of new editors who will unintentionally damage articles, leaving messes for other editors to clean up after them (and who will be flummoxed if they then try to contribute to any talk page, as they'll have a new editing system to learn there). There's been a lot of good stuff at WP:VE/F, in between the unconstructive yells of "I don't like it, take it away". PamD 13:32, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

To summarize some of the main deficiencies: you cannot do maths, you cannot do code samples, you cannot insert special characters, you cannot use tables, you cannot easily edit list articles which make heavy uses of {{div col}}. To my mind it is still in alpha, as beta generally begins when the software is feature complete. Not being able to edit a good percentage articles does not count a feature complete to me. I've made a more extensive list of problems at Wikipedia:visualEditor/Known problems.--Salix (talk): 04:29, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Some workflows

Jimbo, might I suggest some simple tests. Each of these is possible, though the workflow may not be very intuitive. There is also a long list of editor actions that are not presently possible in VE (e.g. creating tables, copy & pasting text that includes templates, adding accented characters, math, etc.); however, I am only going to focus on workflows that presently exist.

  • Add the equivalent of [ My search engine] to an article.
  • Add the equivalent of {{see also | Page 1 | Page 2 }}. (This is an example of a template that doesn't currently have TemplateData set up. {{main}} is somewhat easier to use, if you want an example with TemplateData as well.)
  • Reposition an existing right-aligned image to a new section of an article.
  • Add a new copy of File:Wm2007_press_002.jpg to an existing article with the caption "I am Jimbo Wales".
  • Duplicate a reference in an existing article so it appears elsewhere in the article.
  • For an article without a "see also" section, add the equivalent of:
== See also ==
* Former [[President of the United States|president]] [[George Bush]] from Texas
* Current president [[Barack Obama]]
  • Add a category to a page
  • Attempt to edit any really large article

There are some simple things that VE already does well. On the other hand, there are many present tasks that VE either can't handle at all or where VE tends to do things in a way that is awkward and/or hard to discover. Dragons flight (talk) 16:24, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

There are some simple things that VE already does well ist just to little. Making mistakes is not that bad, but introducing this amount of problems to one of the most frequented websites in the world is vandalism. Frankly spoken, in a company ruled by me, everybody responsible for implementing a buggy feature like VE would get a kick, i.e. all contracts would be terminated immidiately. I am so disappointed how we throw fundraised money out of the window for nothing more than rubbish. --Matthiasb (talk) 22:46, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Is commons broken? It was...but now it is fixed...I hope

Hey Jimbo, while you were away, commons broke for real for a tiny bit. LOL! I mean broke in that no uploads were able to be made for a small period of time. I never got an answer about what happened. Any chance you know?--Amadscientist (talk) 04:32, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

I hadn't heard anything about it until just now. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:48, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
It probably isn't anything to worry about as it appears to have been fixed quickly but that was the first time that has ever happened. I'll keep checking at the Commons discussion to see if anyone mentions what the cause was. It was during one of my first attempts to upload multiple images and perhaps that still has some bugs to be worked out. Thanks for the reply.--Amadscientist (talk) 16:29, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia copyright policy verses Commons FOP policy

I wonder, as it seems clear that commons is taking their own route and allowing non free content now (yes, they are allowing non free Freedom of Panorama images from countries with a FOP of artwork). In the US we do not have a freedom of Panorama for, do we still delete images that violate the US FOP or do we allow it because commons allows it? We can't allow non free use of the image without a full rational, but if Commons is allowing it, how do we counter that here...or do we even try?--Amadscientist (talk) 04:55, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

And it really does seem that commons is broken. The Upload help page was vandalized 3 hours ago and nobody even noticed or cared. Don't worry about this Jimbo, I have lost interest and no longer care about this particular issue. I am a little disappointed by commons and how even we here at Wikipedia don't seem to have a consistent and clear non free use guideline. That I am not giving up on, we need to work on that here in my opinion and I am trying to look into the matter to get the best understanding of our policies. Where are the servers for commons by the way?--Amadscientist (talk) 05:07, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Future of undergraduate education

Hi Jimmy, it was amazing to hear you on BBC World Service last night. What do you think of [2] and [3]? Too many MOOCs seem to achieve their "economies of scale" by removing opportunities for Q&A and other interactions which are encouraged strongly in brick and mortar situations. Many MOOCs tell the students to not email the instructor so that others can handle questions with template answers like we handle OTRS inquires. Can you imagine a brick and mortar college doing that, or telling students they weren't allowed to go to office hours? (talk) 16:23, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

I think you're approaching the problem without sufficient nuance. There is great promise in MOOCs and good reason to think that they will be a major part of education going forward. I welcome that. At the same time, yes, of course, a badly done MOOC is badly done. That's not even close to a valid reason to reject the entire concept, nor even to have skepticism about the entire concept.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:43, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
As a related question, you had mentioned in that discussion that there were technologies that were starting to get into place to facilitate guidance and advising services that are typically available at higher ed. institutions. What sort of technologies were you referring to? I, Jethrobot drop me a line (note: not a bot!) 16:50, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, without an exact quote of what I said, I'm not sure what I might have meant. That interview was done quite a little while ago. But answering the question as best I understand it, I refer back to a particularly disastrous math course I had many years ago in which the instructor was incredibly boring and had very poor English language skills. All the the supposed benefits of in-person education were lost in that case, and to pass the course I ended up watching videotapes of an award-winning teaching professor at the same university. That was many many years ago. I think a very interesting model is to have the very best (most engaging, most effective) teachers doing highly technology-enhanced lectures, with very high quality 1-1 support as needed. The ultimate question here is an empirical one: how do we stop wasting the time of students and professors? How can we increase the effectiveness and decrease the cost of education? Technology is clearly going to be a very strong component of that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:43, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo, I totally agree with your above assessment, especially being a math teacher. I love this site, obviously, but have to admit that I find math related articles absolutely, err, what word I am I looking for, confusing?? Its a whole other discussion, but I find articles that are "controlled" by so called "experts" in their fields to be very hard to grasp and understand because they are so over the top technical. I never edit math articles but really like bios and topics I have very little knowledge about. Cheers! --Malerooster (talk) 14:56, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

"Tying wikitext into VisualEditor would be moving backwards": Why VisualEditor is fundamentally flawed.

I can't use VisualEditor at this time. It slows my computer to a crawl (and this is the computer I use for editing giant image files for WP:Featured pictures.) However, I'm also aware that the devs really want it to be the new way to edit Wikipedia, so, if they ever actually manage to make the thing work right, I'd like to have sufficient functionality and legacy support included that I could at least consider it. However, even suggestions that the most basic wikimarkup - '''bold''', ''italic'', [[link]] be included was rejected by J.D. Forrester, changing the bugzilla request to "WONTFIX", a.k.a. this will never be done.

VE appears to be based solely on tests of reactions of people who had never edited Wikipedia before, on good computers, with good connections, on test wikis, doing a short list of commands the VE team knew VE could support in both VE and wikimarkup. When actual tests were done in the real world, they showed that VisualEditor, at least in the state it was in at the time, was a disaster for new editors.

And, remember, this was, so far as can be told, the same VisualEditor that was apparently doing so well in the artificial tests of new editors.

But that's the big problem. So far as any documentation shows, not a single attempt was made to find out what would help older editors. Even if VisualEditor improved the experience for new editors in the first five minutes, or even five days, we're playing a long game here. It takes time to learn enough to become a quality contributor, and, as such, the user experience a few months on matters as well.

And that's the problem: The WMF seems determined not to study more established editors, and what would help them. VisualEditor launched to all of En-wiki without any real functional ability to add references, a core necessity for the project, but not something one notices in the first five minutes of editing.

And now, we learn that the VE team are determined to make sure VE excludes even the most basic Wikimarkup.

I'm convinced VisualEditor is doomed, because the views of the community don't matter to the VE team. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:21, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

I'm afraid I have to agree with Adam's analysis. The WMF has made enormous efforts to device a plan to improve Wikipedia's infrastructure, nobody denies that. But all the evidence found when reading about the WMF's plans has lead me to think there's a blind spot in the way they're approaching the design of the visual editor. Every time someone in a the Foundation says how wikitext is obsolete or hard to use, I die a little death inside. The Foundation is seeing only the drawbacks of using wikitext, but they're missing all the advantages that it provides, and we're terrified that many of them will be discarded in the transition. Following a cell phone metaphor introduced by User:Whatamidoing, it's like being used to a dumbphone device with a battery that lasts several days without recharge, and suddenly being forced to use a shiny smartphone that is depleted in a few hours.
The difficulties faced by new editors are not solely because of wikitext syntax, which is terse and easy to touch-type; most problems are created by the complex layer of templates, categories, and community guidelines that one must fulfill, and those are not going away. By the time the VE is able to support all tasks that wikicode support today, it will be nearly as complex as wikitext, and much less welcoming in many ways (some complex tasks are made more discoverable by the VE, true, but also much less efficient by the new interface).
The interfaces for templates and references (the very first improvements that the community requested as indispensable) are a good first step towards what should be a tool that editors can use to the achieve the most complex tasks. But more effort needs to be placed on providing the same efficiency that a veteran can achieve by writing code directly; and the final tool should resemble how editors write code with raw text, only enhanced by (optional) user-friendly wizards. A solution for veterans should provide ways to make editing semantic code friendlier to newcomers (with autocompletion, easy discovery of features, self-documenting interfaces...) as well as quick to use by experienced editors, and this requires not completely shielding them from code by hiding all the semantics existing behind Wikipedia articles. How can we get the WMF to listen to these requirements, when they have a strong vision of their own that looks incompatible with them? Diego (talk) 10:08, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
The title of this section of my talk page includes a quote, but a quote from where? I think, although a good argument could persuade me otherwise, that the visual editor should always include support for double-bracket linking. The reason is that double brackets only very very very rarely could possibly mean anything else, and it's a very very fast way to do linking. I'm open to alternative perspectives, but I'd like to see a discussion of those perspectives - without a lot of hand-wringing and philosophizing about consumers and elitism and so on. :-) Let's just stay very very practical and say what we want and explain it clearly and without a lot of rhetorical flourishes. What are the best arguments against allowing double-bracket linking in the VE?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:34, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, here's another couple of quotes, from Erik Moeller:
  • " Sorry, but this is not something we'll ever do, as I explained in comment 9. It's not simply a matter of prioritization - it's a matter of ensuring we can provide a user experience that's not modeled on markup, but on best user experience practices. As James said, we provide keyboard shortcuts, and will provide other user interfaces optimized for markup. But parsing markup within the visual editing context is completely off the table."
  • "We're listening, but in this case we're saying no, and that decision is final. We can elaborate a bit more on the why if that helps, but parsing wikitext in VisualEditor is absolutely not going to happen. If accidental insertion of wikitext is still an issue, we should focus on other ways to mitigate that issue."
- Bug 49686 - VisualEditor: automagically convert wikitext (e.g. link) to VE-compatible elements. (that's the 'bugzilla page' Adam linked above)
So I guess we could be forgiven for thinking the [[ issue is not "up for discussion" with the WMF... Begoontalk 12:44, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
@Jimbo: The reason is that double brackets only very very very rarely could possibly mean anything else, and it's a very very fast way to do linking. You have just described the essence of wikitext, what makes it a very good way to create wiki content. That example is not an exception, ALL wiki markup achieves the same effect of being unambiguous and fast to type. There should not be arguments against double-bracket linking in the VE, because that is the most efficient possible way to insert (and maintain!) links.
A good Visual Editor would treat all the page content as a stream of text decorated with semantic tags (either inline of peripheral), with tools that allow easy discovery and auto-completion. Inserting semantic tags in articles, moving them around and transforming them through copy-paste and search-and-replace operations should be as easy in the new tools as it's easy to do in wikitext.
The main problem with the current interface is that it's based on forms and modal dialogs, and every time you need to insert semantic tags (links, infoboxes, categories...), those dialogs get in the way of adding content; these insertion tools that are less efficient than just typing. Turning the page into a 1980's style WYSIWYG editor is sub-optimal, as it hides the semantics that keep Wikipedia articles interlinked and classified, which should be visible in a user-friendly way, not hidden from view. WYSIWYG is good for rich-formatted text (bold, italics, sections...) but not for editing semantic tags. There should be a "semantic mode" for people who know what they're doing and want to add anything more complex than format. Here are several ways to make a semantic editor that is both efficient and user-friendly:
  • Show the semantic tag of the element that has focus, without requiring the user to press any key nor open any dialog.
  • Tools that facilitate insertion should be non-modal, attached to the sides of the window. This way, a novice doesn't need to remember all possible parameters, but an expert user can interleave using the tool and inserting semantic content directly.
  • Copying text should retain all the semantic info attached to the part of the text being copied. (The VE developers are working on this one).
  • If a complex element (table, infobox...) is composed of several tags, it should be possible to edit only parts of the structure (copy, paste or delete rows, fields)... without the need to insert data in forms.
You should try to explain Erik that the best user experience practices for editing semantic content is to make markup visible but not scary. Diego (talk) 13:07, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

I agree very much with Adam that having support for some basic wikitext would be incredibly helpful. I love the idea of VE but the couple of features missing make it very hard for me to use. Linking is very slow and frustrating when I want to create piped links, and not being able to name my references is also frustrating when I'm switching from VE to source editing and back. That said, I'm glad to hear the devs are working on things like template parsing and special characters. Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents here. Keilana|Parlez ici 13:11, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Ok, having read the bug report now, and the full response, I see that what is being suggested is that control-k (or command-k on mac) is the new double square brackets. Why is that not a valid response? At this moment, I went into an article to write some new text. (Hypothetical text.) I typed: "I really like <cmd-k>Thomas Jefferson<enter><enter> as a President." It was reasonably fast. I'd change a couple of things about the experience - first, it seems to have forced the popup dialog with the autocomplete... I think it should only do that if I hesitate for a couple of seconds, not every time. If it didn't pop up that box, but instead just let me quickly power type ahead, then cmd-k whatever enter enter is at least as fast as double brackets, no? If that's right, then yes there's a user education issue (who knows command-k? not me) and there's also some work to be done on the UI (but not philosophically difficult work, just some nice polishing).

An alternate view is that if it is philosophically ok for the 'trigger' for hyperlinking to be cmd-k, then why can't it also be bracket-bracket?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:10, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Note how you and the people from the WMF are only reviewing use cases for inserting content. Nobody seems to care for how difficult it is to modify previous links, or to copy one link several times with small tweaks at each copy. (Also, time-based interfaces like waiting for a pop-up are terrible for people with disabilities). Diego (talk) 15:27, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Hi, you've been one of the most helpful people in this thread, so I'm disappointed to see you speculating about what is in my mind or the minds of people at the WMF. I care very much how difficult or easy it is to modify previous links, or to copy one link several times, usability for those with disabilities, etc. Speculating on motives or objectives is not likely to lead you to a happy place. I've been away for 3 weeks and (like most of us) haven't ever really seriously tried to use the VE during development. If I'm commenting on one aspect of things, please don't jump to the conclusion that I don't care about other aspects of things.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:04, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, that should have been: "nobody seems to make it explicit how much they care" ;-) The problem is that leaving for the end the difficult part can leave us with a solution that is acceptable for the easy task of creating content, but terrible for modifying it. Diego (talk) 19:10, 26 July 2013 (UTC) (P.S. It's obvious that you and everybody at the Foundation care. My remark at the other comment was never an attempt to speculate about what is on your mind, but an expression of how things feel for people at this side without access to the more detailed strategic plan and inner workings of the development team, even when reason says that the feeling is not totally fair). Diego (talk) 19:40, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. The thing with wikimarkup is it was specifically designed to be things that were never used in language. About the only use of double brackets or more than one apostrophe that an encyclopedia might need are in articles about Wikitext itself, which makes them ideal keyboard hortcuts that maintain our identity. If the VisualEditor team wishes to include alternatives as well, such as, say, Cntrl-K, that would be one thing, but the only argument being provided is that it would be a "step backwards", which is a pointless rejection of something so successful that it made an entirely new and incredibly popular class of websites.

The WMF seems absolutely blind to its own success, and to how far Wikimarkup has spread beyond Wikipedia, based on its quality and ease of use. Since Wikipedia launched, I'm pretty sure it's fair to say it has become one of the - if not just the - best-known text-markup tools in existence. And that says a lot to its quality.

Further, offering some basic wikitext support has no drawback to the user. Wikitext was created specifically to not conflict with user activities. However, not offering the support makes VisualEditor have a very high opportunity cost to switch to. Particularly at the moment, the lack of support means that editors have to learn all new codes and shortcuts for basic functions - or be stuck into an inefficient keyboard-and-mouse interface - all whilst using an editor that still lacks a lot of basic functionality.

Quantitative data:
First of all, let's look at the most up-to-date stats:

These support the results of meta:Research:VisualEditor's_effect_on_newly_registered_editors/Results, "The analysis seems to consistently suggest that newcomers with VisualEditor enabled performed less work than editors using the standard wikitext editor. Figures 1, 2 & 3 suggest that (1) the average number of article edits performed, (2) the average number of productive edits, and (3) the average amount of hours spent editing by newcomers in the test condition [VisualEditor] during their first three days was substantially lower than that of newcomers in the control [Wikitext] condition."

We can expand that to the present day using the stats we have. Looking at daily edits by newly-registered editors (newly-registered being defined as ones that registered after VE launched), there's a slight preference for Wikitext (979 VE vs. 1.01K Wikitext), but not as strong as in other groups. However - looking at the most recent stats at time of writing, 2.85 per hour for VE, vs. 4.24 for Wikitext (I presume that's thousands). That implies that the results are holding steady.

So, basically, editors are still preferring Wikitext, even the new users this was meant to attract.

VisualEditor's interface apparently attempts to sabotage the ability for users to find Wikitext editing

VisualEditor has been set as the default for all users, and the interface for VisualEditor is designed to make Wikitext editing less attractive. "Edit source" is a confusing and off-putting term, as opposed to the safe-sounding plain "Edit". Editing a section in Wikitext requires you to hover over the "edit" button and then move to Edit source. As such, if anything, one would presume that the interface would actively bias users against Wikitext at present.

  • Not supporting basic wikimarkup in VisualEditor adds a high opportunity cost for existing editors.
  • All classes of editors still prefer Wikimarkup. Older editors and IPs reject it by huge margins; a majority of new editors still reject it, although by smaller margins.
  • Those using VisualEditor are less productive.
  • Wikitext is designed not to interfere with other editing, making it ideal for shortcuts.
  • All this despite VisualEditor being the default, and VisualEditor's interface attempting to discouage Wikitext editing.
  • The only argument given, so far, for the idea that VisualEditor should not support basic Wikimarkup is that this would be a "step backwards". This is not an argument

Adam Cuerden (talk) 15:24, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

The design is indeed fundamentally flawed, due in no small part to its reliance on Parsoid and javascript. What I want is a split-screen editor, in which I can edit either in wysiwyg mode or the wikitext directly and switch between the two effortlessly. In other words, the WMF ought to have spent the time and money in developing a proper downloadable editor. Eric Corbett 15:48, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Read Diego's post above, Eric. That's basically what he describes, although he goes into more detail. It's what I think most of us want. That's largely because it makes a great deal of sense. I think the WMF are taking a huge gamble here ignoring this kind of input and I hope they have their bets covered. Perhaps you and I are just old Dinosaurs and should give way to the Facebook crowd - although I used to think wiki was so fundamentally sound it would outlast those ephemera. I think wikitext is the "magic" that built this empire, and deprecating it should only be done with a far more visible gameplan and a great deal more thought and consultation (if that's indeed what's happening - but it's starting to look that way...). We'll see. Begoontalk 17:10, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Don't let's forget that the dinosaurs didn't die out, they evolved into birds. So there's maybe a future for us yet. Eric Corbett 17:23, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Oh, apparently birds are still dinosaurs - check the talkpage. I hope you're right. I must believe you're right or I wouldn't be bashing the keys here... Face-smile.svg. Begoontalk 17:29, 26 July 2013 (UTC)


Whatever happened to all the talk about how you had some ideas for saving the RfX process? AutomaticStrikeout  ?  16:28, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

My ideas, which are not yet fully formed, are more about how to reform and adjust my role in the project so that I give away some of my theoretical powers (which are unused today and likely unusable without quite rightful outrage) and invest them in new community processes for decision-making that are more clear and more sane. Right now we have the problem, in my view, that we are in strange "corner solutions" where any of several competing options would be better than the current default, but because we require "consensus" (ill-defined, but often meaning 70-80% support) to change anything, a small and vocal and organized minority can block reform indefinitely, or two competing but equally sensible ideas can't either of them gain enough support to be even tested. The core idea, which I need to flesh out in my own mind because it is a big freaking deal, is that we institute a process that can be invoked rarely to bring about change but only with majority support in the community. Right now, there are lots of things that, in theory, I could do by fiat - but I won't and it wouldn't make sense. But imagine if I (upon the advice of ArbCom or a suitably large petition from the community) could call for a majority vote, and we would all agree in advance to constitutional procedures that would ensure that (a) we don't start having votes about everything all the time but (b) we can finally make some decisions that have just been dangling for years.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:48, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Majority as 60% seemed workable when 2/3 not possible: As I recall, in some close cases, a large group could reach a 60% majority (or 62%), when a typical two-thirds majority was often thwarted. So, perhaps a plan could call for a 60% majority up front, as not just 50%+1, and there would be fewer complaints of slanting the results of the decision. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:05, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Editing Wikipedia from mobile devices

It is now possible to edit the mobile version of the site, , as explained in this blog post After signing in, I clicked the pencil icon and made a basic text edit with a smartphone (it was tagged as a mobile edit, and there is a Recent Changes page specifically for mobile edits). The editing facilities on the mobile version are limited, so markup, rollback etc are not available. This is a worthwhile new feature, and hopefully some more editing options can be added to make it closer to what is offered by the desktop interface.-♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:47, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

I have been editing for years using Android smart phones, currently the Droid RAZR, but I access the desktop version instead of mobile. Editing lengthy passages and formatting citations is awkward, so I wait until I have access to bigger computer to do such work. But I have answered hundreds of questions at the Teahouse, participated in hundreds of AfD debates, and had productive interactions with many other editors using my smart phone. It can be frustrating, especially edit conflicts, but overall I enjoy it. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 17:57, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
If the foundation wants to open up wikipedia to more ppl and esp to more 3rd world ppl (countering systemic bias) mobile devices is the way to go. Thanks, ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 18:28, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia bucket list

Any editor who is contemplating retirement from Wikipedia may wish to consider the compilation of a bucket list of things to do for Wikipedia before bailing out, and thereby minimize losses to Wikipedia.
Wavelength (talk) 19:13, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Verifiability and WebCite?

WebCite which is used for dead links required by Wikipedia:Verifiability is going to close.

without saving dead links Wikipedia:Verifiability is completely meanless!

when we got any offical solution for ? (Idot (talk) 12:04, 25 July 2013 (UTC))

Making loud noises does not prove an argument! The closure of webcite does not make WP:V any more meaningless than it was before webcite existed. Linkrot is a problem we will always have, and will always have to deal with. Resolute 14:13, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
what we will do with dead links as do not have any alternative ways for verification of dead links?
shall we cancel WP:V as meanless rule or what?
or you just going to wait until all dead links will really die, then say "sorry guys..."? (Idot (talk) 16:07, 25 July 2013 (UTC))
Also it should be noted that the vast majority of voters supported acquisition. I was among them. We donate and we should be able to determine how Wikimedia spends our money. — kf8 17:03, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
How much more do they need to raise and by when? (talk) 16:24, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
They need $30k by the end of year, of which 10k is already raised. Personally, I'm very disappointed by WMF spending large amounts for meaningless activities and not supporting service which stores over 300k pages for verifiability purposes. WMF could acquire WebCite or make similar service of our own, but the Foundation is occupied with its own petty projects like VE, it's a shame! --Akim Dubrow (talk) 10:19, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Jimmy, how can mere mortals check to see whether someone has put in a FDC application for saving WebCite? (talk) 15:05, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Website should be supported. In the end, one of the pillars of Wikipedia holds, because the service operates. ADDvokat (talk) 15:22, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Don't acquire it, just support it. $30k is chickenfeed to the WMF - it's the kind of money they lay out to "train the trainers" so that some people in a WMxx organization can have something cool to put on their resumes (without providing a Wikiversity course for the rest of us to follow, either). That money can (a) keep them operating and (b) buy their promise to serve links to Wikipedia with greater reliability, to warn us if they are approaching an outage, etc. Wnt (talk) 20:25, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree completely. If this was something that the Foundation could purchase with an operations requisition, there is no question in my mind that they would pay for it to prevent service interruptions for all the outgoing links. But why can't they? Jimbo, are you going to ask the Foundation staff to cut a check to keep WebCite up? EJM86 (talk) 06:40, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Tables with VE

You said somewhere above that you thought it was acceptable to have left tables out of VE because they were hard. I think it's actually the worst deficiency of VE. Any examination of the hundreds of thousands of pop culture articles on Wikipedia will reveal that they are built around tables: tables of episodes, tables of release dates, filmographies, discographies, videographies, bibliographies, more -ographies than you can shake a stick at.

Go take a look at List of awards and nominations received by Demi Lovato, probably the poster-child article for something a new young editor is likely to go edit. Hit that edit button and ask yourself whether you would dare touch the result (please don't actually touch it with VE by the way: the results are highly unpredictable and rarely good).

Efforts by newbies to edit them can result in disasters like this edit. No editor really wanted to replace every episode description with the ♙ character.

No newbie can add the fact that a song charted in his country using VE, probably the single most common edit to pop song articles. The release of VE has saved me some time: newbies can't figure out how to even try to add a chart entry, so I don't have to spend as much of my time fixing them as I used to. That's certainly not your goal.

This thing really needs to get rolled back until it has the basic capabilities required to edit all of our articles, and that includes table editing, including tables of templates that don't meet Parsoid's definition of how we should have built templates.—Kww(talk) 16:49, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't think rolling it back is a live option; nor should it be. But we can work together, all of us, to help the Foundation prioritize what to do next. And we may want to reconsider some editorial policies which have allowed/encouraged excessively complex markup for years. For newbies, editing that page in either wikitext or VE is a nightmare. When I click 'edit' with VE (I won't save, as I take your warning seriously), it looks quite easy to edit except for code that should never have been in there in the first place, i.e. the styling attributes. But yes, I can say this: on that page, editing using VE is essentially impossible.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:53, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
No, I agree with Kww - it really should be an option. The "live" test has been done, it failed to be usable as a default editor, people are animated and willing to help. Pull it back, regroup and we'll get there. Sorry if you think that's negative, but there's lots of positive there too, if you look for it. Begoontalk 18:02, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
That wouldn't be my decision to make in any event, but I see the Foundation being highly responsive and iterating quickly and I think we should support and push forward with that. If show stopping problems can't be fixed for months or years then yes, I'd strongly support a campaign to get them to roll it back. But that doesn't seem to be the case. And I didn't take your comment as negative, and I do very much appreciate you being positive about it. It's very meaningful and more likely to get legitimate problems heard than the temptation some have had to yell at or denigrate the efforts of the people doing this work. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:43, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Kww and Begoon. Most of the long term editors do not want to touch VE with a yard-long stick. The usage study on new editors has shown is makes the situation worse for them, or at best identical. Rolling it back would be a huge step forward, despite what it seems: it is first and foremost a way to show the community that WMF listens to them, and second it would allow more time and peace of mind to fix the software before it is released again. -- cyclopiaspeak! 18:09, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Wouldn't a better way to listen be to prioritize and quickly fix serious problems? One problem we have had (for a very long time) is that widely advertised and promoted beta tests have drawn only a handful of testers and commenters (and that's much appreciated). In any event, I should emphasize: I'm not ideological on this point. I'd prefer that we hold off here on talk about rolling it back (not something that's within my range of decision making, and my excessive level of influence would mean that if I called for it, it'd be seriously considered and highly disruptive). Let's first work through the specific problems, get estimates on how long it takes to fix them, and see what the Foundation's overall timeline looks like. I think we can take a few weeks of annoyances if it means we get to where we want to be within a month or two, rather than a rollback and malaise that means it will be delayed by another year (or longer).--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:43, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Rolling it back shouldn't only be considered a live option, it's the only responsible option. For what it's worth, that page and similar ones have been successfully edited by small children for a long time. Most of them could figure out what {{nom}},{{won}}, and {{lost}} meant without any help at all. None of them would have been able to create any of the templates, but that's not the point: inexperienced editors were quite capable of using them. All of the nasty and difficult parts were dealt with by experienced editors, making it easy for newbies.—Kww(talk) 18:26, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
I think that's an empirical question, and I'm not convinced. Far more common would be someone (small child or not) who clicks on edit and quite rightly runs away from the whole thing. People are nice, and they don't want to break things. On the question of tables, my question is: how long will it take to get them usable? If the Foundation's answer to that is: 9 months, then yeah, let's roll it back. But if the answer is that a series of improvements are going to roll out weekly with expected full fix being done in 4 weeks, then I think we should ask them to get cracking on it. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:43, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
The bugs related to the article I gave you a link to were known before VE's deployment. Per basic table support is nearly a year away (currently scheduled for Q2 of 2014). The bugzillas related to even being able to display tables being created with templates are Bugzilla: 44498 (currently marked as low importance, unscheduled), Bugzilla: 50589 (normal importance, unscheduled), and Bugzilla: 50951 (unprioritized, unscheduled). The Foundation is at least nine months away from having a usable editor, and probably closer to 18 months. I don't know where you have gotten the impression that WMF has been "highly responsive" to editors, BTW: we asked them to turn it off until they got it fixed, and their only response has been to treat us like we are children throwing a temper tantrum. Take a look at User talk:Jdforrester (WMF)#Question, where his response to me basically translates to "go away and bother somebody else, because I don't care what you think."—Kww(talk) 19:15, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
@Kww:, in that document I believe they are saying that tables will be addressed in Q2 of the fiscal year, which is October-December as WMF's fiscal year starts in July. I agree that the mixing of fiscal quarters and calendar quarters can be confusing. Dragons flight (talk) 22:56, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
So Jan-March in real life, given the way engineering projects go. Still six to nine months after a feature critical to initial deployment should be available.—Kww(talk) 23:05, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
This is rather interesting. I tried VE when it first launched and quickly discovered that traditional wikitext was far better for me. Since an opt out was rapidly enabled, I took that and haven't spent too much time worrying about VE. I hadn't realized that something as basic as tables - which are used in hundreds of thousands of articles - are problematic to the point of being uneditable in this system. I have no idea how something so critical is left out of the release. Based on what I am reading here - especially if proper support for such major features is six months away - I think the WMF would be extremely wise to roll back. You've gotten your data, you know many of the bugs. Bring it back in house, fix the bugs, then try again. The only thing the foundation/devs are going to accomplish by continuing to try and force this down people's throats will be to firmly entrench opposition to the tool. If you bring it back in a few months once most of the bugs are fixed, you have a chance of rescuing its reputation. Otherwise, you have to consider how much damage you are willing to do to the community to force a product that simply is not ready for deployment. Resolute 19:29, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

One factor is that more and more people understand simple wikitext, as I have seen at a small MediaWiki wiki unrelated to the WMF. A few years ago, it was common to see people messing up the wiki syntax. But now it is rare to see a new user who cannot confidently edit basic wikitext. If VE was a downloadable program that lived and ran on the editor's computer, eliminating wikitext might be achievable with a reasonable result. However, while I can understand the excitement of devs facing the technical challenge of writing VE, Javascript will never be an improvement on ''italic text'' or [[Example link]]. Tables are tricky, but editors should have the option to work with basic wikitext, particularly for its fast and easy copy/paste. Johnuniq (talk) 00:17, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

To be viable, VE has to be a downloadable program. Nothing else makes sense. But unfortunately the WMF made some bad choices. Eric Corbett 01:02, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Is it possible this can still be an option? That sounds very interesting and perhaps the best suggestion I have heard yet.--Amadscientist (talk) 02:35, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
It does sound like a good avenue for exploration, on the face of it. Even as an additional option, where the downloadable version could be a more 'heavyweight' affair. Begoontalk 02:43, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

From the sound of it, it seems Wikimedia will soon follow the same path of Wikia which mandatorily enforces the VE to all sister projects and refuse any request for local opt-out. The visualeditor of Wikia is a fiasco on a different level but the result is the same: VE users submit changes which ultimately ruined the markups or even the layout of the article itself. WMF will convoy VE regardless of all the serious shortcomings, just like Wikia:

Thanks for contacting Wikia. Disabling the visual editor is not something we are offering anymore. To disable that would be to remove a core functionality of the Wikia service. If you're encountering any bugs that you feel are hurting the editor on the wiki, or you have any suggestions for how you think it can be improved, you're welcome to send them our way and we'll make sure the Engineering Team and Product Team (respectively) have that information. Thanks, and feel free to let us know if you need anything else.

— Wikia staff, [4]

-- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 04:11, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

?--Amadscientist (talk) 20:40, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

So, any progress on getting this thing turned off yet, Jimmy? I'd love to hear that because we are so far away from basic minimal functionality you were spearheading the move to roll this thing back into testing mode as opposed to a full deployment. Any chance of that happening?—Kww(talk) 17:17, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I do not think at the present time that turning it off would be the best option. I think we should prioritize bugs for the Foundation and get reasonable timeline estimates for when various of them can be fixed. If certain severe problems can be fixed in a matter of weeks, and we see real progress being made toward that, then I think that's fine. As I've said elsewhere, the only way I know of to get through this is to just get through it by massive testing and feedback. And the Foundation staff are being highly responsive to bug reports and prioritization. On the other hand, if some basic things can't be fixed for months, I do think that turning it off (at least on some class of pages) is better. And I'm keenly interested to track A/B tests on new editors to see how it is going.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:56, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo, just look up in this discussion, where you asked this before and I answered. Tables, cut-and-paste, and some of our most common templates will not be fixed this year. What more does it take to get you to "some basic things can't be fixed for months"? —Kww(talk) 18:16, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

On recuiting people to the VE beta

Note: "you" is used generically in this section; it does not refer to Jimbo.

I don't think the problem necessarily was the rollout to all English Wikipedia editors. The problem was how the rollout was handled.

  1. The CentralNotice was especially poor. I believe - I can't find it now - that it did not even link people to Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback, let alone offer any advice on what was going. And it disappeared very quickly, so any user who was inactive for a few days would not have seen it. I also think it did not explain about using "Edit source" for wikitext, but I'm less certain about that.
  2. Central notice was the wrong tool for this. Sitenotice has several advantages that meant it should have been used instead:
    1. It allows users to dismiss the banner
    2. Although it can be manually turned off, if not, it keeps the banner up until dismissed, meaning users get a chance to see it even if they're away for a day or two.
It became clear in a discussion with Okeyes, here that he had no idea what the functionality of Sitenotice was (he claims a sitenotice would not be able to be dismissed, and would show to IPs as well, two functionalities sitenotice, in fact, fully supports) and he seems to be of the impression that Centralnotice banners can be dismissed, which they cannot.

And... the third point I'm going to pull out of the list, because this needs some space.

I understand your point that VisualEditor needed users to test it out, and that recruiting wasn't working. And I don't think users of Wikipedia would really have objected to having had VisualEditor turned on for them, so long as the sitenotice explained, at a minimum:

  1. What was happening.
  2. A link to clear instructions, prominently including how to use Wikitext under VisualEditor, as well as explaining the features.
  3. Where to give feedback (bugzilla at WP:VE/F
  4. How to opt-out

There would have been grumbling, but it'd probably have been understood. A lot of users would likely opt out, but in a large site like ours, it's likely a sufficiently sizeable percentage would at least try it out enough to give feedback, report bugs, and generally move the improvement forwards.

This was not what happened. The sitenotice was uninformative, the opt-out was intentionally disabled, forcing the community to create a gadget not under the VE team's control, and it quickly became clear the VE team was not interested in any feedback that wasn't a bug report, and, even then, many things, such as wikimarkup support in VE, had already been taken off the table before users got there.

So, let's talk about why sites provide an easy opt-out at time of launch of new features. First of all, being able to easily disable a change keeps users from resenting the change. They remain in control, if they don't like it, they don't have to use it. This is a situation that encourages a happy userbase, supportive of your project.

Now, if VisualEditor was a lot better than it was at time of launch, they might have somewhat gotten away with no opt-out. But when accidentally loading up VE caused anything short of very new computers to become slow and laggy for a quarter to half a minute, no, that was not going to work out well. Since the editor was doing that, and, in addition, also damaging articles with unwanted code, unexplained deletions and insertions, and other problems, there was no way they could have gotten away with it, and the userbase very rapidly turned against VisualEditor.

Unfortunately, by not providing an easy opt-out for so long, a secondary problem is caused for them: If you control the way users disable your proposed new code, you remain in control of turning it on again when feedback has been addressed. By not providing an opt-in, the VisualEditor instead also caused the creation of a user-gadget solely in control of the users at en-wiki.

That's a huge problem for the VE team,Gadgets are solely under the purview of en-wiki administrators, and, as such, they can't turn off the gadget without pulling major rank. Sure, they could do it, but, like the manner VE was launched, it would be a PR disaster. And most of the people who opted out are likely using the gadget, or even means not accessible to the VE team at all, such as using Adblock against VisualEditor.

Further, by forcing people to go through a lot of effort to turn the VisualEditor off... Well, basic psychology. The amount of annoyance caused by a given nuisance is, all other things being equal, proportional to the amount of work it takes to stop the thing being a nuisance. Had it been easy to turn off VE, sure, you'd have lost a proportion of your potential testers soon after launch. However, you likely didn't gain testers by stopping them. You instead turned people who likely thought, as I initially did, "This will be great for new users, but given my editing needs features A, B, and C which Visual editor likely could never have (in my case, the ability to search for filenames and a few other things:. I work a lot in WP:FPC, and regularly need to replace a number of copies of an image with a restored version of that image while maintaining the caption, size, and layout. That's not a feature it would ever be reasonable to expect something like VisualEditor to handle.) You instead only managed to make people horribly annoyed.

A clever marketing strategy would have given a date, say, two or three months in the future at which point VisualEditor would be reevaluated with community feedback, and a decision made as to whether to continue the test. It would have diffused tensions, and encouraged people to stick around, give feedback, and suggest changes.

A really clever strategy would have had a set time after which it would turn back to opt-in. That way, you could relaunch it, giving yourself a perfectly valid reason for re-enabling your improved version for all users.

But the VE team have hugely screwed things up, and every day it continues like this decreases the chance of VE ever gaining community favour. Adam Cuerden (talk) 06:24, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Expect hostilities about VE at Wikimania

One mathematician's view of VE


German Wikipedia and the Visual Editor

Per this poll, it looks like German Wikipedia has wholeheartedly denounced the Visual Editor per community consensus and only want it as an opt-in option for individuals and not default. Good for them. Now if we could only do that here. SilverserenC 22:22, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

[5], [6], [7], [8]. The community appears to lack confidence in the Foundation's judgement. EJM86 (talk) 06:52, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

The Visual Editor has been switched to opt-in for everyone, including anonymous users on the German Wikipedia. EJM86 (talk) 19:41, 29 July 2013 (UTC)


DYK proposal

Hi Jimmy, as I seem to recall you expressed an opinion on something similar in the past, you might want to have a look at this, a RfC of mine that proposes that newly promoted Good Articles be eligible for DYK.--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 23:31, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Nice! And it seems to be succeeding quite well. Good work!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:58, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Face-smile.svg Could I persuade you to comment?--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 14:25, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
It seems unnecessary at this stage. I like to keep my powder dry, so to speak. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:27, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

In reply to your question

Hey, Jimbo. You asked me why VisualEditor needed a way to turn it off, when there's options for avoiding it put into the VE interface. A good question, that deserves a full reply.

I'm going to start with the strongest argument, albeit one that does not apply to me: On screenreaders, as used by the visually impaired, options that only show up when you hover over them are not accessible. If VisualEditor is activated, the only way to choose "Edit source" on a section is to choose it from an option that only shows up when you hover over it. As such, it ruins accessibility of the option most suitable for visually impaired editors.

However, you probably would like to hear why I want to turn it off for myself. This boils down to seven points:

  1. High cost of misclick: My computer isn't particularly old, but, nonetheless, misclicking on VisualEditor slows my computer to a crawl for.. well, it varies by article size and complexity, but at least a couple seconds, and going up to ten, fifteen seconds. This, by the way, is the computer I edit all my featured pictures on, so it's not that much of a lightweight. That's a fairly major annoyance. Admittedly, it's still an annoyance, but if I never want VE in the first place, I don't see why I should risk the annoyance.
  2. Consistency of experience: I do a fair amount of work in templates (likely never suitable to VisualEditor), work on images on Commons (unlikely to have the VisualEditor anytime soon), occasional editing of foreign-language encyclopedias, as well as the usual non-VE namespaces of Talk, Wikipedia, etc. As such, it's very hard to get used to things being in different positions.
  3. Weird interface for editing source: Editing from the section links is particularly awful if you don't want VE. It requires wrist movements on the mouse that I find somewhat uncomfortable and unnatural. I'd rather not risk a repetitive strain injury over VE.
  4. I am not convinced VE will last Interface issues, lack of wikitext support Edited to focus discussion.: If points 1 and 3 were fixed, I might be willing to learn the new screen layout, but I feel VE's development is fundamentally misguided: The developers have rejected using basic Wikitext as a simple way to do simple markup, in favour of an unnecessarily complicated menu-based scheme. Whilst I'm fine with menus for complicated tasks, noone should need to open a dialogue just to add an image with caption, or to add a basic {{cn}} template, or the hundreds of other very simple tasks in wikitext that are made much more difficult as the VE team ideologically reject continuity of experience, instead borrowing, as far as I can tell, from weird little repurposed thing. One example I noticed while reading threads: If I remember rightly Ctrl-K is used for adding a wikilink. This is apparently borrowed from the code used to add a URL link in Wordpress. So, what, instead of brackets which everyone knows, they're borrowing from Wordpress the code for a completely different functionality? Actually, I just forcing myself to take on the slowness and try it, it's incredibly unintuitive as well: there's not a single hint onscreen for how to make a Wikilink link to anything but the word highlighted, nor, so far as I can tell, can you set up a link without having typed something already. Awful. So, anyway, why bother to learn a new interface for something which every new thing I discover about makes me have less and less confidence it will last out the year?
  5. Ideological reasons: VE was launched too early, and various bugs in it keep damaging articles. As damaging articles is one of the worst things you can do on an encyclopedia, I really don't want something that does that forced on me until after it's actually fixed.
  6. I am terrified of the VE team, and don't want them having any control over my editing experience: See this commentary, made just before the launch, in which they talk openly about not allowing editors to edit subsections of an article in Wikitext after VE leaves beta, and planning to have VE launch with the ability to edit sections in wikitext disabled by default. Yes, they backed off on that one, but that they'd even consider that a reasonable choice is a sign of a fundamental disconnect from the users that makes them unqualified to be making decisions about the user interface.
  7. The VE team do not seem to understand what goes into an encyclopedia: the VisualEditor was launched with exceptionally poor support or adding references.[9] That's a pretty fundamental launch-day failure for an encyclopedia.

I think that covers most of the issues, and hope this helps. Now, with all that said, I would like to see VisualEditor succeed, but my problem is that my definitions of success - a simple, lightweight tool that combines the best of GUI and wikimarkup, and allows easy toggling between the two, preferably with clever customization features - seem so be so far from what the actual VE team are looking at that I'm deeply concerned that this could end very badly for Wikipedia, with a GUI that actively hinders. Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:13, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for this. I'll be back tomorrow and respond as best I can do this. Some of it I agree with it, some of it I don't, and some of those agreements/disagreements are philosophical and some are empirical. Right now I'm trying to focus mainly on the empirical questions because I think we can only make progress on the philosophical questions when we have stronger common understanding of the empirical facts.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:37, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
That's completely fair. I look forward to your response, but I realise this is a pretty weighty post - I wanted to give as honest and complete of an answer as I possibly could, because your question deserved that. If it helps, 1,2,3, 4 (as revised) and 5 are the main points, 6 and 7 are... well, I think they need discussion, but I do recognise they might just be a symptom of point 5 - an overly-rushed launch schedule, and overworked people missing out on things. Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:59, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I hope Jimbo isn't getting overwhelmed. It seems like perhaps coordinating the appeal to him on VE might be more efficient, so he doesn't have to sift through and organize so many statements. II | (t - c) 17:44, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
    • Well, he specifically asked me for a response on my talk page, so I felt he deserved as complete of an answer as I could give. If it is too much, though, please let me know, Jimbo. Adam Cuerden (talk) 17:52, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Also, I responded to the secondary issue Bielle raised about whether new users should be exposed to VE over on my talk page, insofar as it doesn't overlap with the points raised here. Adam Cuerden (talk) 18:17, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
citation issue seems easy to fix, at least to me. just integrate the proveit gadget into VE. simple, easy. even better refs than we have now. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 18:40, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Easier said than done but I agree that would be a big improvement. I think technically its possible but not as simple as it may seem. Kumioko (talk) 18:54, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
yeah, scripting rarely is. but really, there's more than one way of doing things. i'm sure they're both JS, and if the WMF team would actually work with the editor-coders here, it should be pretty simple to do, relatively speaking. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 19:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree and I'm sure there are several coders here that would be glad to help. Unfortunately last I heard the API functionality for the VE interface wasn't done yet. That means the only ones who can code changes to/for VE are the Mediawiki devs currently working on it. They are working on it but with all the problems with VE its probably not going to be released for a while. I could be wrong of course, but that's the last I knew of it. Kumioko (talk) 19:15, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Quick heads up.

You may know this already, but after a poll showed strong community reaction against VisualEditor, German Wikipedia has just had VE switched to opt-in only. Adam Cuerden (talk) 18:52, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

The Dutch one did as well. Kumioko (talk) 18:54, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
How'd that happen? Did they shout longer and louder than us?--ukexpat (talk) 20:17, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Time to organise our own poll methinks.--ukexpat (talk) 20:21, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
We can sign in to multiple language wikipedias in one signing in but to disable visual editor you have to do it in every single wikipedia you use and I cannot figure out how to opt out of the Spanish wikipedia cos things arent even in the same order, very poor I thought. A universal opt-out would be helpful here. Thanks, ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 21:52, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
If I lived in London and had a good connection for rotten fruit, I'd set up a stand outside of Wikimania this year.
Jimmy, it's the people who really want to edit and improve the encyclopedia that are complaining here... you might want to listen to them. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 22:19, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Zeitgeist: The Movie BLP issue

From the BLP noticeboard:

Wikipedia:BLPN#Zeitgeist: The Movie

Summary: Source claims the BLP subject has distanced himself from his movie. The BLP subject denies this. It is being argued that we must ignore the BLP subject's denial because it is self-published, it is self-serving, and it makes claims about third parties (i.e. claiming the other source lied or made a mistake).

voting is currently neck and neck on whether we should or shouldn't include the subject's denial. Ken Arromdee (talk) 19
30, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

June editors edged to 7-year low but strong

The June editor-activity data (in still shows strong levels of editing, similar to recent months, so any major change in July levels would be surprising (such as the impact of VisualEditor). However, it is sad to see the June levels continue to erode, slightly, as now the lowest in about 7 years (since July 2006), but still wondering if editors are doing more in fewer edits. I plan on doing more to encourage the power users to keep going, and try to focus more MediaWiki software updates (+templates or Lua modules) on their concerns, with the developers in WMF platform engineering. Here are the June 2013 editor-activity levels:

Edits ≥ 1 3 5 10 25 100 250 1000 2500 10000
Jun 2013 104,758 46,106 30,978 18,206 9143 3233 1366 225 50 6
May 2013 114,333 50,140 33,193 19,164 9513 3322 1453 246 52 3
Apr 2013 114,142 50,326 33,494 19,430 9583 3301 1446 240 53 4
Jun 2012 108,492 48,845 32,407 18,711 9307 3249 1375 220 53 3
May 2012 112,531 50,846 33,585 19,387 9622 3358 1484 237 54 2

Adjusted for the 30/31-day difference, the June 2013 levels are mostly ~1%-4% lower than May 2013, so it's not like a 10% drop or such. I guess we should also compare the June editor-activity levels for the other target languages of VE, when released today: German (de), Spanish (es), French (fr), Hebrew (he), Italian (it), Dutch (nl), Polish (pl), Russian (ru) and Swedish (sv). The Bugzilla entry for non-English Wikipedia issues with VisualEditor is: Bugzilla: 51792. Anyway, the June 2013 data for enwiki still shows strong editor activity among the power users, although the new-editor group, of 5,654 users reaching 10 edits (down 14% since May), was the lowest in 7 years, since November 2005 gained only 3,567 new editors. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:08, 24 July, 05:11, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

I'm a big believer in comparing things to previous year rather than previous month and the metric that I care most about is the 100+ edits/month group, so-called "very active editors" in the official jargon. June 2012 showed 3249 very active editors in English-Wikipedia, compared to 3233 in June 2013. That drop is 0.5%, which we can call "more or less flat." The same stats for May are 3358 and 3322, respectively, which is a drop of 1.1%, which we would call a "slight drop." New article creation is off about 10% for June 2013 vs. June 2012, which is more concerning. Carrite (talk) 02:43, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Almost all editor-activity levels are lower for June 2013, and the lowest in 7 years, even though only slightly below prior years for 100+ edits/month. I have added June/May 2012 into the above table, to compare the lower counts at the other edit-levels, such as 25+ edits/month. There are concerns now at almost every level. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:11, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree year-on-year is more useful - June is a big exam/holiday month and the start of the usual summer vacation fall-off. All levels above 100 epm show tiny declines yoy, or rises. A fall off in new article creation a) is probably explained by the forest of barbed wire AFC now represents and b) doesn't bother me at all as (sweeping generalization) we have far too many new articles & should be concentrating on improving the old ones. Maybe we've finally run out of Kentucky politicians, US naval transport ships etc. Johnbod (talk) 11:21, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Just wanted to chime in here and say that at the WMF, we generally also look at these metrics on a year-over-year basis. There are plenty of month to month fluctuations in our numbers, including due to seasonal trends that Johnbod hinted at (school, holidays, etc.). If you're interested in how we examine editor trends, the presentation from the July metrics and activities meeting is a good example. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 23:20, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
There is strong evidence that more than than half of anonymous IP editors are as sophisticated and prolific as "active" registered editors. Therefore, trying to count people is foolish and we should start concentrating on bytes added to articlespace per time period instead. (talk) 08:55, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
If there is any evidence whatsoever, let alone strong evidence, that "more than than half of anonymous IP editors are as sophisticated and prolific as 'active' registered editors," I certainly am not aware of it. Can you point me to such evidence? I believe that quite the contrary is true, that "more than than half of Wikipedia vandalism and problematic edits are the product of anonymous IP editors," but I admit that this is an impressionistic observation based on perusal of various edit histories over time. I'm sure vandal fighters would have a more definite opinion on this. There are certainly many anonymous IP editors who are as productive and sophisticated as is typical for mostly anonymous named accounts, don't get me wrong, but "more than half?" That I doubt. How many? That's a question resolvable by empirical evidence... If we toss aside the count of mostly anonymous named accounts contributing content, the count of new articles is way off from the previous year's pace, which may be considered a cause for grave concern. I'm not really all that stressed about that metric myself, since this would be a natural tendency of a maturing encyclopedia. Topics get "taken." Carrite (talk) 15:34, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes there is, but don't take my word for it. Click recent changes and do your own tally. Count how many IPs are adding templates or whatever measure of sophistication you prefer. It's an easy script. (talk) 16:28, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
If you don't mind, I'll wait to take you up on that. Other "regular editors" might be doing what I did and playing with VE logged out as an IP, having shut it down for their account. I'll keep my eyes open watching edit histories... Carrite (talk) 20:44, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
After a couple visits to the ever-changing Recent Changes queue, I'm sure not seeing it. Minor changes via VE. I did see one substantial contribution about a middle school, which will be ephemeral since it won't clear the notability bar. IP editors are, I think it is very likely — (1) newer, (2) making fewer substantial contributions, (3) creating more problematic contributions, and (4) adding content at a lower level of sophistication than registered name editors — on average. You want to see adequate footnoting to provide required verifiability? An IP editor is far less likely to be making it. Again, if there are systematically sampled academic studies on this question, that trumps impressionistic opinions. But I'd lay money that I am right here... No offense, of course. Carrite (talk) 17:51, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
  • @Wikid77. Do the "active editing" stats include IPs or just logged in edits? Carrite (talk) 20:44, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Those are username-only stats in TablesWikipediaEN.htm, while the Bot edits are in separate columns (see German:, "Mai" is May), and so-called "new" users must reach 10 edits, but the IP users are estimated at 2/3 one-half (54% in 2013) of the general username activity levels. However, while usernames might include a few wp:SOCK#Legit alternate usernames, the IP users are often rotating as dynamic IP addresses (often 255 numbers, or more for large ISP companies, among billions of IP numbers). The IP user who created articles "Édith Piaf" and "Maria Callas" was over 100 other IPs, looking like "100 newcomers" in general. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:17, 26 July, 05:25, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
So, what exactly is an edit? Is the insert of a comma the equal to a thousand words added to an article? If so, that definition seems so skewed as to be a useless measure.
An "edit" in the statistics is any change to a mainspace article (not a talk-page, template, user page, nor help-page, etc.). Although inserting a comma counts the same as a thousand-word edit, among 110,000 active usernames and 3 million edits, the "average edit" tends to balance out to a relatively simple edit, and few editors are changing or adding even 250 words to an article. A sample of 4,000 edits (30 July) shows: 3.4% of edits (136) add +1 character (comma/letter), 2.3% remove -1, but 7.4% of edits (296) make an exact "(0)" replacement of letters/digits, as total 13% of edits are ±1/0, but 73% net less than 99-byte changes (<15 words, while some rewrite sections netting up to 14 words); only 26 edits (0.6%) net over 250 words, and only 9 (2-per-thousand, 0.2%) net over 1,000 words, but 85% of large edits either create new pages or revert blanking of sections, including 13.8% using VE. -Wikid77 12:35/16:30, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
  • IP edits are 54% of username levels, 1/3 of total: Because the relative edit-counts of IP users is often noted as an issue, in comparisons to username-based edits, then the levels should be emphasized. For some years, the IP edits have been about one-third of all edits, where edit-count statistics in mid-July 2013 logged IP edits as 54% of the username-based edit-counts. I am creating essay "wp:IP users" to better explain the activities of IP users, for future reference. -Wikid77 06:18, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

qui vive

See Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Tea_Party_movement/Proposed_decision where a bunch of people who were added to the case on 16 July (yep - less than two weeks ago!) are now proposed for "topic bans" in a really strange "motion for final decision" where zero evidence has been presented about them at all, where they have not been given rational notice that such an idiotic decision would be proposed, and where, in some cases, their efforts have been to reach compromise in the first place, and now see that ArbCom thinks no good deed should go unpunished, and where, since they seem unable to actually rationally discuss what should be done, they simply invoke the Massacre at Béziers as justification. If this is "arbitration" than I am Pope Francis. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Could you be more specific so that I can study this more quickly? Who was added on 16 July? Can you point me to a diff where Massacre at Béziers was given as justification? (The word 'massacre' does not appear on the page you linked to at all.
Finally, could you please relax and tone down the hostile language? It's very unhelpful and leads me to doubt the validity of your concerns. "idiotic decision", "ArbCom thinks no good deed should go unpunished", "unable to actually rationally discuss" - these are all content-free insults that do not help me to understand the situation at all. Just state the facts in an NPOV fashion, and include diffs where appropriate to prove specific points that you think I might find surprising or unlikely.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:04, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I was added on 16 July to the case, along with some others. [10]. Two were added on 26 July (three days ago) [11]. The "motion" was posted today [12]. It states:
Although the Committee does not feel comfortable adopting findings and remedies blaming specific named editors for the ongoing problems with the Tea Party movement article, it also concludes that it would not be appropriate simply to dismiss the case without action. The case was accepted for arbitration after community-based efforts to address the issues proved insufficient, and as noted above, an extraordinary effort at mediation during the case itself was also unsuccessful. Nor would it be sufficient to only authorize ArbCom-based discretionary sanctions on Tea Party movement and related articles. While discretionary sanctions, as a continuation of the existing community-based sanctions, are certainly in order, to impose them as the sole remedy would simply deflect the issues from this case only to the already overburdened Arbitration enforcement noticeboard and administrators. The Arbitration Committee's "at wits end" principle reflects that in intractable situations where other measures have proved insufficient to solve a problem, the Committee may adopt otherwise seemingly draconian measures, temporarily or otherwise, as a means of resolving the dispute. We conclude that this is one of the rare cases in which it is necessary to invoke this principle.
It then lists willy-nilly editors who were added less than two weeks ago, and as recently as three days ago, in this soi disant "draconian" solution. Such editors are not only the subject of any evidence at all, they have not even been given a rational opportunity to present evidence. The article I cited is the source of "Kill them all, God will know his own." which is the apparent precept being followed here. I spent a great deal of effort seeking to be a moderating influence - and the thanks I get is a topic ban <g>. I consider decisions made to topic ban fofolks sans any evidence being presented and not allowing "the accused" to present evidence is not in accord with past Wikipedia practice nor policy, and stretches the ArbCom remit beyond the breaking point utterly. If the committess makes no findings, has no evidence, and agrees on no remedies, then adopting this extreme (the committee states "draconian") solution is something Raleigh would write about as a "sharp remedy but a sure one for all ills" [13]. I humbly suggest that such a system for an Arbitration Committee is unwise, and will not serve Wikipedia. Cheers. Collect (talk) 16:43, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
It seems that the Committee went to great lengths to explain that the remedy doesn't imply fault on the part of any specific editor, but rather a collective failure of this particular group of editors to make constructive progress. I don't think this is an ideal solution, but it's a reasonable choice among several unappealing alternatives. Frankly, I don't think that being restricted from the Tea Party movement article for 6 months is akin to a massacre even in any metaphorical sense. It's not even really a punishment; more like a favor, since the editing environment there would test anyone's sanity. Surely there are other interesting areas of the encyclopedia to work on in the meantime. Hell, I topic-banned myself from Tea-Party-related articles once I got a taste of how this group of editors handled academic sources. I'll happily extend my self-ban from the Tea Party movement article for another 6 months if it will make you feel better. MastCell Talk 18:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
The point is that there is no logical basis other than "we have no idea what the hell to do, so let's ban everyone except a couple of folks - but specifically including folks who did their damndest to solve the problem which we ain't trying to solve ourselves" for this sort of "decision" from an ArbCom which has nothing else on its plate at this point at all as far as cases are concerned. The "failure" is actually ArbCom's failure at this point - and the best decision might well be to have the entire committee resign if they can not make a rational decision based on actual evidence and not add folks at the last second to the draconian decision. Cheers -- but your "please sir" response fails mightily. Collect (talk) 19:22, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I haven't explored the entire rabbit hole - it appears there was something against Collect referenced in that proceeding from February ([14] referenced [15]), nonetheless, this obscure link to a diff scarcely qualifies as notice that an editor needs to make a defense when he isn't listed as a party. I remember seeing ArbCom add parties at a late date before but be persuaded to give people a later deadline to present evidence and discussion, which seems the right way to go about it. Wnt (talk) 15:42, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Look at [16] wherein absolutely no one at all argues for such a ban. As in no one at all arguning for such a ban at all. Seems the at all part should be noted <g>. Collect (talk) 16:06, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, there was [17] cited in [18] - the two were from about the same time so I assume there was some relation. Still, as I said, not something you would plausibly be expected to respond to in the arbitration! Wnt (talk) 16:18, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Doesn't surprise me given what I've seen in the past. The core problem is an ineffective dispute resolution process on Wikipedia, combined with ArbCom being the final venue for this. So, ArbCom is de-facto the first and only dispute resolution venue that will impose remedies that are guaranteed to work. Any non-Wikipedian reading this would immediately draw the correct conclusion about what to expect from such an ArbCom, it's only we Wikipedians who have difficulties accepting the truth. That's why the system hasn't been reformed yet. Count Iblis (talk) 16:35, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Dismissive of criticism of Visual Editor

Greetings Jimmy, I just noticed you archived several discussions containing criticisms of VE in a rather dismissive way. This is not unlike the way its been done by other members of the staff and I have no doubt this will be archived similarly or simply deleted. I wanted to say however that there are a lot of us editors who feel that VE was poorly implemented, is not nearly ready for release and is causing far too many problems. In its current state it is a detriment to the project and should be disabled until all of the major problems have been fixed. Being dismissive of the problems or the communities concerns is not only inappropriate but disheartening to those of us who believe in the project and have devoted time to it. Some of us have stopped editing for the time being until it gets sorted out. I for one do not feel like cleaning up the WMF's mess since they feel that our time isn't important enough for a proper and thouroughly tested software release. Happy editing! Kumioko (talk) 14:01, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi, can you tell me what in particular you think I was dismissive about? I don't think I've been dismissive at all!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:24, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
To be fair, it's not like he archived all of them. The more extensive, detailed points were left up. I suspect he just doesn't want to have arguments in ten different threads. Adam Cuerden (talk) 14:10, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Maybe, I just don't think he's done yet and I don't think he wants to hear it any more than the rest of the WMF. They knew there would be criticism because the community is incapable of doing anything related to meaningful change so they are just dismissing all comments as expected. Kumioko (talk) 14:21, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
That's completely unfair, not just to me, but to the WMF.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:24, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Its not unfair at all. There are hundreds of complaints in dozens of venues. Editors have been asking for the WMF to slow down on the implementation of the VE app but all we are getting is dismissive statements. VE isn't ready for release. It wasn't a month ago when they decided to release it in an unready condition, it wasn't ready when they decided to force it on the community and force us to clean up the mess its making but you say its unfair to you and the WMF? Maybe it is, but when you and the WMF force us to use something that doesn't work and force us to clean up the mess because everyone knows it doesn't work, causes too many problems and is driving away editors, then you are being unfair to us. If you want me and other editors to be fair, then start showing us the same courtesy and listen when we say its not ready. I was a supported of the app and so were a lot of others. But we told you that it wasn't ready and you forced it out knowing it was broken, you lost that support with most of us. Now you have to earn it back. Kumioko (talk) 14:46, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
You haven't addressed how you think me closing those two threads was dismissive? One asked for a specific response, which I gave: a clear statement that wikitext is not going away. The other was a relatively content-free rant about 'hostility' - something that I'm sure you know me well enough to know I don't approve of. I have personally given no dismissive statements, and to say that "all we are getting is dismissive statements" is just really far out of line. I have been giving serious responses to serious issues, and raising them internally. I'm not being dismissive at all. Please try to set aside your anger and work cooperatively to help move things forward. Yelling and stomping your feet is what is dismissive of what other people are telling you.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:53, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
@Kumioko. I'm hardly a supporter of how the rollout has been handled, and I see lots of concerns with what we have now. I think most people would also classify Adam as a pretty strong opponent of the way things have gone. I think it would also be fair to include Adam with me and yourself as people who'd like to see VE succeed. Jimbo does have a point here, though - at some point just wailing about how awful it all is becomes counter productive even to the people who are basically "on your side". Just my 2 cents. Begoontalk 15:01, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, thank you.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Well as far as the one about hostility, I agree that you don't condone that but that wasn't what that message was trying to convey. It was trying to inform you that when the topic of VE is brought up at Wikimania you should expect a lot of angry editors commenting about how much they hate it, hate how it was forced on them and more importantly how it was implemented knowing it wasn't ready. And still isn't and won't be when Wikimania happens. Not that they would be greeting you with pitchforks and torches. Whether you agree or not or regardless of the intent, that is how a lot of editors feel right now. The WMF doesn't care about our comments nor do they respect our time. They released VE knowing it was full of bugs and expect us to clean up the mess. That was fine for a few days but now we are going over a month. I stopped editing completely for 2 weeks solely because of VE. Others did as well. Some haven't come back. Some may never come back. VE is not helping. And for what its worth I was working cooperatively when I felt that the WMF wanted our help. Now they just want us to tell them what a great job they did. That isn't the case. I don't exepect you to change your mind. But that is how many of us feel and you deserve to know that, whether you want to hear it or not. Your right Begoon, I think we do want it to succeed. But sitting in the corner and keeping quite isn't going to help either. No one is listening to our concerns, so all we can do to show them at this point is to not edit until they fix it. Kumioko (talk) 15:03, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
"The WMF doesn't care about our comments nor do they respect our time" - this is incorrect. The WMF cares deeply about comments and is very respectful of your time. Can you explain in more detail for me why you stopped editing due to VE? Be specific. Why don't you just ignore it and just click on "edit source"? No one is forcing you to use something you don't like. I can tell you that in all my conversations with board and staff about this, from top to bottom, not one person has had the attitude "Now they just want us to tell them what a great job they did". You are speaking from a place of hurt and anger. It is absolutely false to say "no one is listening to our concerns".
What I am asking people to do is be helpful in pointing out specific fixes that need to be prioritized. Simply yelling "turn it off" with an attitude of "no one cares and I hate the Foundation because they hate us" is totally out of line and not at all helpful to anyone or anything. The surest way to make sure people really do stop listening is to say such unreasoned things that are a slap in the face of good people who are working very hard on difficult problems.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:10, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Maybe its false and maybe its not but that is the perception that many of us have after spending countless hours reading and contributing to discussions about this crappy VE app. I can give you several reasons why I stopped. First, the VE randomly causes problems with syntax in articles or deletes things it shouldn't. Then we editors are left to clean up the mess. Second, we told the WMF that these problems existed and VE wasn't ready. We were ignored. Third it slows down the article loading terribly even when disabled. So it takes longer to load the article. Fourth, it encourages editors to not use citations when adding content because its such a pain to add a citation. I can go on but all these and more have been mentioned repeatedly to deaf ears. You are partially correct I can ignore it and simply edit but then a lot of editors are using it and adding problems to articles that then need to be cleaned up. Many of which are IP's or newby's and don't know, or don't know why the problems are happening or what to do about them. So although I am not personally being forced to use it we as a community are being forced to clean up the mess becauase the WMF didn't want to do the right thing and slow down. There is no rush. But instead they wanted to hurry and get it out, knowing it wasn't ready, because they didn't care about our time or what we thought. Just as in other discussions you are getting defensive and trying to bloddy the victim to make it seem like I am the monster. I am a monster, no doubt about that but that doesn't make the message untrue. Kumioko (talk) 15:20, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Let me respond to these 4 things, but before I do, I ask again that you drop the hostile tone and that you stop repeating things that are false. There are no deaf ears and no one is being ignored. That's just an insult to people who are working very hard and being very responsive.
"First, the VE randomly causes problems with syntax in articles or deletes things it shouldn't. Then we editors are left to clean up the mess." - the empirical evidence I have seen to date shows that this is false. The rate of broken edits by newbies has not materially increased. It is easy to point to new messes made by newbies and feel outraged, but if the actual rate hasn't changed, then this is not a real problem. I invite empirical evidence to the contrary. Second, "We told the WMF that these problems existed... we were ignored" - this is just more complaining, there's nothing I can really say to respond to it. You weren't and aren't being ignored. Third, "it slows down the article loading terribly even when disabled" - this is flatly false. As it has been explained to me, there is a very marginal slowdown to download some javascript which is cached and so you should only see that slowdown (which is too small to notice) about once a week. Again, I invite empirical evidence to the contrary if you've got it. And fourth, it encouraged editors not to use citations - this is a valid concern and I'm planning to study this one further. However, for newbies, how many of them were adding cites in the first place? I don't know but again insist that this is an empirical question - if newbies or infrequent editors or experienced editors are seriously inserting fewer citations, that's a real problem that has to be solved. Finally, as an extra 5th point just for fun, I do not think you are a monster, and I'm not trying to bloody you. But if you say false or unnecessarily hostile things, I'm going to call you on it. Only through a civil and productive dialog grounded in empirical evidence can we make progress.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:30, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
So just to respond to a couple things. If I have been hostile its due to the frustration that the WMF is not listening to the community. That's not a perception, its a fact. If the WMF folks are telling you that VE isn't making bad edits and are blaming the editors, new or old, then you are being lied too. Don't take my word for it, look through the bug reports for VE. Its full of problems where VE added or removed things it shouldn't (images, infoboxes, categories, broke lists, templates, etc.). In regards to the slowdown, in fairness, it may not be VE but Parsoid or someother app that VE uses or that was released at the same time. This goes back to the poor implementation I mentioned before. So yes I might be a bit hostile but I cannot see anything I told you that was false and I'm getting tired and frustrated with the WMF's and the developors lack of connection and compassion towards the community. So if it takes me getting a little heated to get the problem addressed and corrected then I'll take the heat for that. Hell block me if you want. But fix the problem and stop ignoring it hoping it will go away. Kumioko (talk) 16:41, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Anyway, I am tired of everyone walking on eggshells and not stating what the problem is flat out. The Visual editor app has a lot of potential, but well meaninged though it may be, in its current form its a piece of crap that we don't need or want. I and many others have tried to say that in nicer ways but no one is listening so its time to be blunt. If that hurts your feelings I'm sorry but it needs to be said. Kumioko (talk) 15:25, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Kumioko, several of the things you say are valid, in my opinion. The WMF response has been sub-optimal on various occasions - and sometimes it can feel as though concerns are being dismissed or ignored. Drawing battle lines doesn't make this improve, though, on either "side". There are occasions when we need to clean up after VE errors, and it does negatively disrupt our workflow and experience - I referred to a few in one of the "hatted" sections. I also believe it would have been better to pull the VE back and regroup, and I've said as much. You're right that many people agree with the assessment you've made of the application as not ready for primetime - I'm one of them. I don't support your approach here, though, and, just on a personal level, you might want to consider how much traction this approach has ever really got for you on any issue here. Apologies if you find that too personal, but I'm prone to reacting the same way, and have to try hard not to do so too often, so I empathise and feel a little pain for your obvious distress. Begoontalk 15:43, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • @Kumioko. Just turn Visual Editor off. I generally agree with your observation that WMF doesn't want to hear carping about the extremely obvious fact that VE was in no way ready for release as the default editing platform, nor is it now. I agree that they are continuing to charge ahead with fingers in their ears singing "LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!" really loudly so they don't hear. Just turn it off. That's all. There's no need to go on strike; so far assurances are that WikiText is going to remain indefinitely, so there shouldn't be an issue... Carrite (talk) 16:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 16:14, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
    • The Foundation is not charging ahead with fingers in their ears singing anything. Such insulting and demeaning comments are inappropriate and unwelcome. Please be civil.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:34, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
      • In fairness Jimbo, the foundation has pretty much lost any good will it possessed with how these recent launches have gone. The comment may be demeaning, but it would be prudent to consider why people feel this way. I think Adam's point six in his lower thread applies, and that is a sentiment I share. It really doesn't feel like the foundation/devs are interested or willing to listen to concerns until basically pressured into it. To that end, I have absolutely no confidence in your statement that wikitext will remain. I trust you are being honest when you make that statement, but I don't trust the team in charge of this, based on how this has all been handled. Nor can I trust that the classic editing interface will remain. I am more worried that we'll end up with some bastardized mixture of VE with limited wikitext support that will be to nobody's advantage. Resolute 18:35, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
There's an interesting link in that "point 6", which led me to the section a little above in the archive: Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback/Archive_2013_06#Now_unable_to_edit_sections_by_old_method. There's a statement in that section from Okeyes(WMF) which I think illustrates the disconnect between what WMF representatives have been saying and what we, as long-term users, feel is "right". He says this:
  • 'I'd say that actually we shouldn't be giving new editors access to non-VE stuff if they're new to Wikipedia, insofar as if the end goal is "have a VisualEditor that does all the things people need to do in markup", having people be able to go "hey, I wanted to do X and can't do X" is useful so we can prioritise X, whatever that might be.'
Now this just makes me stop and read it again. To me it parses as: "we should make it pretty close to impossible for new users to perform tasks they can't do with VE, so that they have to report bugs in order to contribute, and thus we will enrol them in our compulsory 'beta test team'". Except those of us who live in the real world know this just isn't true.
A new user faced with an insurmountable task is far more likely to just go away than take the trouble to report a fault. If he does anything it will be to tell his friends that he couldn't make an edit to WP when he tried. Jimbo alludes to this tendency of new users to "run away" when it's "too hard" somewhere else on the page, and it's fairly certain that would be what a large number of these users would do.
So, VE, the supposedly easy way to edit for new users becomes just the opposite, a deterrent, and as a direct result of WMF philosophy just as much as software limitations. This 'deterrence' also seems to be largely borne out by the disappointing statistics people are quoting. I hope I explained all that OK. Begoontalk 05:04, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually I did turn it off. But that doesn't stop all the mistakes that need to be cleaned up or the dismissive attitude by the WMF. Contrary to what it may seem I am all too happy to collaborate and I did help initially when things were done sensibly. I was happy to help the app develop but when suggestions are dismissed or identified problems are ignored just so it can be rushed into production seemingly for no reason, I don't feel compelled to help. I believe in the project so I am sure that I will contribute outside discussions again at some point but not until either the VE is turned to opt in instead of opt out or its fixed. Neither of which seems to be anywhere in the near future. Kumioko (talk) 16:24, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Not all the mistakes it causes are for newbies either. I'm very much a non-newbie, but in trying to use VE, I just had a weird nowiki tag show up. It actually told me that occurred, but I could figure out no way to get rid of it short of just cancelling the edit. So I proceeded with that edit, and then had to do a followup edit to fix that and to remove a redlink I'd inadvertently added at the same time (which I'd not have done if just editing the source). I've been trying to give VE a fair shake, but I think I'm about done with it. LadyofShalott 17:00, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I turned it off as soon as I discovered that it made adding citations extremely difficult. How is that remotely useful for building content that by its nature requires complete and accurate citations? Until that's fixed (and adding citations is as intuitive as it is without VE) I won't be turning the bloody thing back on. Intothatdarkness 17:20, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
While there may be some issues with Kumioko's tone, Jimbo, his fundamental message is right. The same applies to Caritte's characterization of it as charging ahead with their fingers in their ears.
The WMF proceeded with this before analyzing the results of the A/B test, and at a time when the preliminary results of the A/B test told them that Visual Editor was a significant impediment to new editors. When the response here was profoundly negative, they proceeded with the rollout to anonymous editors anyway. When that was a profound failure (with anonymous editors rejecting VE by a 4:1 margin), they attempted to proceed with it on all others.
They are showing some lines of listening, now, by allowing the Dutch Wikipedia to opt-out completely and the German Wikipedia to go to an opt-in system. All most of us ask is the same courtesy: we've told WMF that the software is too bug-ridden and feature deficient for widespread deployment, and asked them to turn it off on English Wikipedia until they fix it. They show no signs of listening to that.
You want to show us that anyone is listening? Turn this off until it supports basic functionality like cut-and-paste and table editing, and doesn't shred articles that use some of our most common templates into ribbons.—Kww(talk) 17:17, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Yeah - I can't disagree with any of that, really. To deny it mangles code unrelated to what's being edited is just wrong, and to retain it as the default editor is a mistake, until the serious bugs and basic functionality are fixed. Begoontalk 17:35, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • There is an incredibly simple way of the WMF making it look like they actually give a damn about editors and their views: enable the proper "turn off VE" switch, rather than the glitchy gadget used instead. It wouldn't take them more than 5 minutes, unless the thing is so broken that even the kill command doesn't work... Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 17:22, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • That's already been done. The problem is that it defaults to enabling VE instead of disabling VE.—Kww(talk) 17:28, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's - Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-editing Usability features (Temporarily disable VisualEditor while it is in beta) - but I agree, it should be opt-in, not opt-out at this stage. Begoontalk 17:35, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Although I wasn't aware of this (thanks) the statement "Temporarily disable VisualEditor while it is in beta" is NOT what people are requesting; we want a proper, permanent off switch, not one the WMF can remove on their own whim by claiming "this isn't in beta any more". Especially as VE is in alpha - betas are supposed to be feature complete, or very nearly feature complete, for starters - but... Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 18:19, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes - I understand this was a compromise after a drawn out discussion on one of the mailing lists, where the initial response was no off-switch, then this 'compromise' was reached eventually: this is the (long) thread: [19]. Begoontalk 18:29, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm glad that more editors weighed in and put their feelings about the WMF and VE in here. Kumiko's posts might come off as hostile but what he says has truth. I almost completely stopped editing mainspace articles after the first couple weeks of release. Shortly after that, I stopped almost editing completely, and I was on my way to a monthly high of edits. I know dozens of other editors that were exactly the same way. I'm "hostile" about this sitation for a multitude of reasons.
  1. VE was enabled to every logged in user by default on July 1st. A large majority of editors reported seeing no notifications of this happening. The attitude of the WMF at the time was 'deal with it, it's here to stay'. They would respond to positive comments about the VE but either ignored the complaints or responded to them with 'deal with it', or 'not our fault'. Only after 2 weeks of people complaining and complaining that there was no notification, they finally looked into the issue and reported a potential cookie problem to blame. This is the basis for Kumiko's comments above. The negative points about VE, even with proof or valid complaints, not just 'oh, I hate change' were met with comments along the lines of 'oh well', or 'deal with it'. While they might not have used these exact words, these were how the comments felt, like the WMF was not taking concerns into consideration.
  2. A software release with over 350 confirmed bugs, even a release to a massive amount of people under 'Beta', would get any software developer fired in a typical setting. Many many many people, Kumiko included, told the WMF that the VE was not ready for release, and many comments such as this weren't even responded to.
  3. The javascript slowness and errors is a hot issue and I think needs to be addressed. The Universal Language Selector was released almost right with the VE, causing huge problems on every browser. Loading some larger pages slowed to a crawl with the amount of javascript.
  4. More on #1 above, VE was basically crammed down everyone's throats. Only after a couple of days of extreme lash outs did the VE finally add an option to hide (not disable) the VE from the interface. This still loads the Javascript, and every so often people have been reporting it being disabled on its own randomly. It's happened to me twice where I've signed on and all of the sudden, the button is active again and I accidentally click on it (which, as Adam below mentions, it slows my PC to a crawl). This is not about change (I too, think the VE has tons of potential and can't wait to see it be usable for all of Wikipedia) but about the WMF playing "big brother" and forcing change upon the community, especially when the community told them it wasn't ready.
  5. Coming here, I've just learned that the DE wiki has the option to disable it entirely and opt-out. I don't mind the default opt-in so much for new editors, but make it able to be fully disabled.
I know my comments may not have the most weight being a low activity editor (especially recently), but I too have had to clean up some VE mess (nowiki tags, missing formatting, blanking of pages, rearranging of content) and it's discouraging that we would have to do this. Jguy TalkDone 19:32, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Okay, look, um... I'm pretty sure Jimbo can look after himself, but I just want to point out that he, just today, went to my talk page and asked me to explain why just having "edit source" isn't enough. He was on holiday for the first three weeks of the VE launch. I think we should calm down a bit: He's clearly trying to listen, but he'll probably need some time. Adam Cuerden (talk) 18:42, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Well right, he was away while they rolled the thing out, the storm was supposed to have settled a bit by now, and his job was supposed to be to help smooth things out with the small minority that was still upset because they just "don't like change". The comforting line was supposed to be "hey, you can still hit the 'edit source' thingy and it's all fine, so what's the big deal?". The problems related to slow pageloads, lost edits, and those whacked-out edits that are causing grief for the RC patrollers go off-script, and Möller's deputies are neither responding in good faith to complaints about that nor are they updating Jimbo about what the real complaints are about.
It would have absolutely made sense to close Jimmy's page down for the roll-out, because it would have been flooded by goats and sheep saying "change is ba-a-a-a-ad!". I say would have because that would have been the appropriate thing if the software wasn't completely inadequate, but as chance would have it the software is junk. So now Jimmy is being put out there as the reassuring face for the broken product, which is a terrible job to get stuck with.
Give the guy some time for thoughtful assessment of the situation, and I'm sure he'll see the light. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 22:49, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Reporting inappropriate images of children

Over on Commons, Jalexander has posted a notice about a new email address to be used to report inappropriate images of children. While this situation is more likely to arise on Commons than here, images may be noticed first on Wikipedia if such images are used in articles.

Jimbo, can you ensure that admins on all Wikipedias are informed of this new address? This would be a wonderful opportunity for someone in the legal department to put together a very brief summary of applicable laws for those who are not aware of what may be considered "inappropriate". Since laws and cultures differ, there should be a reminder that the WMF must observe the law in the US where some of the servers are located. The email address is a great first step, but the lack of guidance is an obvious shortcoming which could be easily fixed. Perhaps you can use some of your influence with the board to see that this gets addressed? Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:24, 30 July 2013 (UTC)