User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 167

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Well...(Problems of de.wikipedia)

You know, I didn't always agree with what you did. But... I need your help, and I think you might want to: I have been active in de.wikipedia in the past. The problem is... de. wikipedia has problems. Big problems. One of the problems is that the community has begun to act like a dictator: Ignoring the neutral point of view, one of the core principles... or at least it looks like that to me. The method of consensus is largely unknown and out of use. I am going to cite the arbcom in its ruling from [1] now:

"In einem kollaborativen Projekt wie der deutschsprachigen Wikipedia ist die unmissverständliche Meinungsäußerung einer Mehrheit der Community zu faktisch bestimmter Thematik als verbindlich anzusehen, was letztlich auch nicht durch Infragestellung aufgrund von übergeordnetem und allgemeinerem Regularium umgangen werden kann.[...]"

...Do I have to say more? Yes. A lack of civility is the biggest problem. Even personal attacks are often ignored and even if they are punished, it can take ages until those users get permanently blocked: permanently blocked after lots of personal attacks

not indef
Indef after socks, lots of personal attacks before

A case from yesterday: [2] Block log:[3] e

--Müdigkeit (talk) 22:25, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

The claim, that I would commit personal attacks is utterly ridiculous and deserves no further comment. --Liberaler Humanist (talk) 23:10, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Do you think this edit

and this edit are examples of good behaviour? Or maybe this block evasion?--Müdigkeit (talk) 05:33, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

What have I to do with it? The incorrect link I removed. In this causa I'm not involved. -- Label5 (talk) 10:48, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Toronto Star article about anonymous edits from Canadian government IP addresses

The idea of tracking government edits to Wikipedia appears to have spread to Canada. Here's the article: "Twitter account tracks anonymous Wiki edits from House of Commons addresses"Anne Delong (talk) 12:43, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

These tools are an unfortunate distraction. Obviously it is trivial for those who care to conceal their affiliations, and many who do not appear to be associated with politicians will nonetheless fight a war to the knife to make sure that untoward things about them are taken out of their articles in the name of "BLP". For us to find out that it was the subject himself, or someone associated with him, who did this whitewashing, and only then deciding that because it was specifically offensive to the subject we should make an exception and do our duty to summarize what the public sources say --- that's absurdity on absurdity. We need to have strong inclusionist values all the time. Wnt (talk) 16:39, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree that it doesn't matter who makes particular whitewashing edits, since it is our responsibility to make the articles neutral whether or not a COI editor is making changes. Also, just because an edit comes from a government IP address doesn't necessarily mean it is a COI edit. For all we know a government worker (secretary, custodian, file clerk, whoever) could be looking up something on Wikipedia on his or her lunch break, and decide to make an edit. Wikipedia already tracks which IP does which edit, so this Twitter business is more of use to people trying to sway public opinion about a politician in a negative way. —Anne Delong (talk) 17:43, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Many people in the Canadian miltary use government supplied internet as the only real means to maintain contact with family and friends. For them anonymous editing won't be so anonymous anymore and they will be forced to create accounts. I know many will just shy away from doing that. Saffron Blaze (talk) 18:21, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Impartiality and factual accuracy of "hot" topics

Dear Wikipedians;

Wikipedians have made Wikipedia the "go to" source for information on many issues. As an educator, it never cease to astonish and amaze me that whenever students are confronted with a question, their first resort is more often than not, to look it up on Wiki --- which speaks to the general high quality and timeliness of the information published by Wikipedians.

The reputation of Wikipedia to be factual, accurate, and as unbiased as possible is critical to the expansion and growth of the Wikipedia movement. It is with deep concern that I, as a non-Wikipedian who have never posted before or edited anything, wish to raise an issue with your organization.

Impartiality is a difficult standard to aspire to in any enterprise where interpretations of facts, and indeed facts, are constantly in a state of flux. Good scholarly work, however, at least, try to aspire to a reasonable standard of adherence to factual accuracy, and ensure that readers "get the drift" whether they are skimming a Wiki entry briefly, or delving into considerable details that are often available in Wiki entries.

Wikipedia, however, is facing technological change where the old large screen that displays pages of text at a time is being replaced by very small screens such on Smartphones or Tablets. In this context, it is vital that the general tone / drift / and gist of an entry be accurately reflected particularly in the summaries.

During the past few years, I have noticed a disturbing trend whereby certain articles that deal with highly sensitive matters to certain vested interests have been quietly edited, sometimes subtly, often crassly, to reflect the "party line". Allow me to illustrate this:

Example: Tiananmen Square Massacre Wiki Entry

Look on the Right Hand Sidebar that provide a summary of the issue, and this text under RESULTS:

"Tens of deaths and hundreds of injuries of military and police personnel (in riots and accidents)"

Is it a coincidence that this is exactly the Chinese Communist Party line that there were very few demonstrator deaths and many of the injured were military and police?

Now, if one bother to read the entire article, it is clear that most credible western sources say the incident resulted in considerable bigger numbers of casualties, and the majority of casualties are demonstrators.

Similarly, other items in the Sidebar summary are not supported by the facts cited in the article, including the title of the entry calling the incident a "protest" as opposed to a massacre.

This is but one example of many entries that appear to have been subtly altered by persons unknown to reflect the "party line". In this case, it is the official version of the event by the Chinese Communist Party.

The prominence given to the CCP version in the summary is, at best, dubious, and at worst, a propaganda whitewash.

Wikipedia can be justly proud of the transparency of the process of editing that have, on occasion, exposed vested interests editing Wiki entries in a very obviously biased manner, that did not happen with the Tiananmen Square Massacre entry.

To the best of my knowledge, the issues with the sidebar entry has been there for at least two years that I have monitored the page, including the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the event this past year.

I am concerned for Wikepedia's credibility going forward.

What can be done?


Wood Tablet July 15, 2014

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Wood Tablet (talkcontribs) 01:32, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

This idea that small screens can "replace" real computers reminds me of the sort of old sci-fi that supposed people had turned to using television for everything and lost the ability to read. It's absurd to think that small screens can replace big ones for real purposes (barring tech that would restore the effective resolution). The closest thing to a strong argument on the point is the idea that, say, Africans can only afford cell phones, so that's all they have - but that's merely transitional between many people who still can't, and people who can get real computers. I don't care if there's some food tech restaurant where you can suck a steak through a straw, that's still doing it wrong.
As for Tiananmen, there has been propaganda on both sides. At one point the article listed initial, disavowed anonymous reports from intelligence agencies claiming 50,000 casualties. As I support freedom of expression, it really annoys me to see Western countries pounding on this dead issue (China can do nothing to change it, unlike the right of churches to appoint their own bishops) decade after decade, yet never explaining just what method of nonviolent resistance the U.S. police agencies would use if people occupied the Capitol Mall and set up a 50-caliber machine gun in the middle of it. The current text of the article provides better evidence for seven police deaths than "tens of" police deaths, but I think we should beware of imposing a house POV if we omit mention of them entirely. Wnt (talk) 11:41, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out that the Tiananmen protestors set up a 50 caliber machine gun aimed at the poor defenceless tanks. It makes me give new credence to the Chinese views of that protest. Collect (talk) 12:36, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Wood Tablet, Why didn't you fix the issues with the info box that you have been monitoring for two years? --Bob K31416 (talk) 14:58, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Submissions by article-subjects

Do you think this should exist? It has been in user-space for more than one year. CorporateM (Talk) 18:10, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

If something like this were to be introduced, then the statement that "Wikipedia cannot [c]orrect errors published by reliable sources and repeated on Wikipedia" needs to be deleted or significantly modified. I suppose the point is that we can't accept the word of an article subject that something is an error predicated on the mere fact that he or she says so. Nonetheless, when there is good evidence an error has occurred, it should be corrected; our refusal to do so has led to some of our more absurd moments a la Philip Roth. While information contained in reliable sources may be entitled to a presumption of reliability (hence the term), the presumption can be overcome in some instances, particularly when different reliable sources disagree. Similarly, the statement that "Wikipedia cannot [r]emove criticisms sourced to reliable sources" is simplistic in that it may run contrary, in some circumstances, to our policy against giving undue weight to minor aspects of an individual's life or a company's history. Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:11, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
 Done This is what's there now:
Wikipedia cannot:
  • Correct alleged errors published by reliable sources and repeated on Wikipedia, unless there is good cause to believe it is wrong
  • Remove criticisms sourced to reliable sources, except when supported by WEIGHT or BLP policies
  • Accept bias or promotional content
  • Base a substantial body of content on primary sources like the company website or press releases
Before submitting content, consider reading What Wikipedia is Not (Organizations) and looking at examples of high-quality pages.
CorporateM (Talk) 22:06, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
The expression "poorly sourced" should be unhyphenated, according to WP:HYPHEN, sub-subsection 3, point 4.
Wavelength (talk) 23:52, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
 Done CorporateM (Talk) 23:58, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I think this is a good line of work.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:47, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

It is worth pointing out that currently the Request Edit queue is six months backlogged, so it's a little silly to ask those that do have a legitimate correction/BLP problem to wait six months. However, having submitters fill out a form would result in more structured requests and make it less frustrating to review. With some technical help to make the Recent Reviews feature work, it would also provide easier oversight, so when a COI edit is made by proxy by an overly helpful editor, or a good edit is denied, it can be double-checked. With technical help, we could create short wizards like they do at AfC "Is your correction supported by a credible, independent source? yes/no" It needs a lot of technical support to really polish it off.
I'm not sure I should be the one to move it into project space, so I invite anyone to do so, though I also think it needs some more work that would require partnering with a technical person to reach its full potential. It is probably only mildly useful in its current state. CorporateM (Talk) 14:27, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Just in case it makes you feel any better, the short wizards etc at AfC, available thanks to considerable technical help from various participants, have not proved a decisive solution to the somewhat similar problems that AfC faces. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:43, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Good point CorporateM (Talk) 23:00, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Congratulations for creating new knowledge in reliable sources!

WP:OR info (allegedly proposed alternative name not in the source cited) added to the page in 2007 [4] by someone who ironically would be a reliable source if he published this elsewhere and his proposed alt name took off. Then copied to the lead in 2008 [5] (obviously without checking the source cited). And appeared in a fairly respectable (??) published book in 2011 [6], which thankfully did cite their source as Wikipedia. Next time I'm pissed at how some author named something, I'll probably try to fix it via Wikipedia. It might work! (talk) 22:30, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

We do actually have a page on this. Check it out; Woozle effect. Tutelary (talk) 04:09, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
My 2¢: OK, but if "conditional complexity" is better than "cyclomatic complexity" for discussing (whatever it is they're talking about -- way over my head) then at the end of the day the world's a better place I guess. If it's a lot worse then it's not. I'm not supporting original research here as a general thing, but I wouldn't get the vapors over this particular instance if "conditional complexity" is indeed an arguably better term. Herostratus (talk) 00:21, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Except that it's wrong/misleading to call it that because it's only counting conditions in one particular case (perfectly SESE code), which isn't even of much importance today [7]. That's why you shouldn't use Wikipedia to publish your new ideas, even in the terminology department... (talk) 00:47, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Well then it's case of "If it's a lot worse then it's not". But you're right, you shouldn't use Wikipedia to publish your new ideas. It's even worse when you're wrong (as here, assuming you're correct about that) but it's never a good thing. Herostratus (talk) 02:49, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

A kitten for you!

Young cats.jpg

Keep up wikipedia and the good work

Tuckertwo (talk) 18:32, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Could you please stop user Robert McClenon

[8] sending us welcoming messages?-- (talk) 23:10, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Corporate folklore

A piece published by the Harvard Business Review this week makes for interesting reading.

The historian held the keys to drawer after drawer of artifacts from every era of the company’s existence — sewing machines, product sketches, vintage ephemera, love letters from fans, even the world’s oldest pair of dungarees. It was stuff with a story to tell, and she used it precisely for that purpose. She traveled the world giving presentations that featured these artifacts to illustrate the company’s brand promise through a visceral experience that no brochure or blog post could match. Given how fashionable storytelling is today, you’d think every market-centered company would have a person like this on staff to manage the collective memory of its brand. But in my experience, not many do, and that’s a shame. Artifacts and stories articulate a company’s identity, purpose, and value to customers and communities in a very real, powerful way. Making these past and present narratives accessible to current and future audiences is an important role because it captures the spirit of the organization and uses that to develop an even stronger brand. This role is so important, in fact, that companies should give it executive-level visibility, authority, and resources.

As someone that's worked a little bit with business archives of brand companies, I know exactly what she's talking about. Any large company will have a fantastic wealth of material about its history to mine and present. However, our instance on it being verboten for businesses to officially edit articles about themselves means that we've shut off our access to this quality of information, condemning our articles on businesses to be shallow when they could be rich and engrossing. Of course, it's the word officially there that's the problem - everyone knows that businesses edit about themselves all the time. Look at the contributor history of any business article and within seconds you'll find undeclared company SPAs, or even paid editing accounts. A saner, healthier, and more accountable road would be to allow business editing subject to exactly the same content policies that the rest of us adhere to. That way would bring business articles into the sunshine and end the black market for editing them; and we could establish a new era of outreach, with Wikipedians in Residence working with or as those corporate folklorists to enliven and deepen our coverage of any business that was willing to participate.  — Scott talk 08:54, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

This argument is entirely utterly completely 100% unpersuasive. "However, our instance on it being verboten for businesses to officially edit articles about themselves means that we've shut off our access to this quality of information, condemning our articles on businesses to be shallow when they could be rich and engrossing." It is very very easy for archivists and historians employed by brands to interact ethically with Wikipedia. There is no need for them to edit article space directly. And as we know from many many incidents over a long period of time (1) their edits will on average be tediously self-serving PR speak and (2) the press will chew them up for doing it, and rightly so.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:48, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Of course, Jimmy, because so very many of them have done that until now. And now that you've decided to publicly piss on them, they'll be even more motivated to take the time to learn our rules and participate here in a beneficial fashion. Flawless logic, Glorious Leader. It's also pretty rich for someone from the WMF to pass comment on "tediously self-serving PR speak", at which your organization excels.  — Scott talk 18:47, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Again, that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. I have always been very warmly supportive of people who want to approach us in a transparent and ethical fashion, allowing independent community members to make a determination about editorial matters. That isn't "pissing all over" anyone we actually want here. As for the rest, it's just noise rather than coherent arguments. (Tu quoque fallacy, look it up.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:55, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
How can you say that you welcome people approaching us in a "transparent and ethical fashion" when you support a system that forces business editors to become incognito? "Smithsonandco" gets blocked and has to change their name to "JoeLovesAirplanes123", at which point they're merrily unblocked by some admin, then off they go. Look at the renaming logs; it happens all the time. That's not tu quoque, it's just pointing out the gigantic logical disconnect between what you say you support and what actually happens. Your comment about "their edits will on average be tediously self-serving PR speak" is also telling: abuse of our articles for promotional purposes is an artifact of the black market produced by our own policies. These people can't engage with us fairly, so why is anyone surprised that the ones who bother to engage at all are the ones who unscrupulously take advantage of our hospitality?
Trying to prevent it from happening is also pure Whac-A-Mole. High-profile articles may get some defense, but have a stroll around random business articles some time. Look at the names in their edit history. Follow the edits. Virtually none of the people collectively taking advantage of this project on a massive scale identify themselves (and the ones that do, in ignorance, don't last long). Contrast their being allowed to identify themselves as businesses. In which model would their edits be subject to more scrutiny? Up there I said "subject to exactly the same content policies [as] the rest of us", because that should be obvious. Would Business X be allowed to add weasel words or uncited claims to [[Business X]]? Of course not. For anyone to argue against allowing business editing on the basis that they would is to make a colossal straw man. If Business X wants it to be known that their widgets are made from the highest grade of unobtainium ever recorded, they can damn well provide a reliable source to say so or forget about it. Why not subject identified businesses to an even stricter grade of requirements than other editors? The sourcing requirements of BLP covers a whole category of article; turn that inside out and make a new policy for a whole category of editors.
Prohibition is a failure, and Wikipedia needs a 21st Amendment. Mr. Wales, tear down this bright line.  — Scott talk 20:31, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
While some of Scott's rhetoric is excessive (and I think self-consciously, even archly, so), there is merit to at least one of his observations: (1) We ask editors affiliated with a business and editing about that business to prominently identify themselves; (2) the most prominent way for an editor to display an affiliation would be in his or her username; but (3) if an editor wanting to be fully transparent (or just naively assuming that's the norm) creates User:CorporationXYZeditor, the account will be blocked almost immediately for a bad username. The community has recently declined to change that policy, so so be it, but it's an introductory awkwardness that arises more often that one might imagine (peek at any day's installment of WP:UAA for examples). Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:37, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, it is a policy that I have long thought unwise and not particularly helpful with any meaningful problems. There are other problems in how we deal with corporate editing, too. It would be nice to have a constructive conversation about how to improve that, but such conversations tend to be derailed very quickly by excessive rhetoric and, with you Brad, I believe that is likely self-consciously so.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:03, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Employees can write about this stuff, they just cannot do it for the first time in Wikipedia, according to a cardinal content rule, NOR. And they are welcome to share published information on the talk page. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:38, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Whether or not they are usable in articles, images of "company folklore items" should be uploaded to Commons, which has explicitly rejected limitations on paid editing. The annotation pages for these images provide plenty of room for text explanations. Wnt (talk) 12:10, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Disclosure I am often a paid editor. The chief problem with the Bright Line is that PR professionals (not historians typically) only "get it right" about 20% of the time. In the face of a COI disclosure, volunteers only get it right about 60% of the time. (yes, I am making up/guessing those statistics). It's basically a coin flip whether the edit will be accepted, even if it is an overt COI edit, or an overt BLP problem.
The Bright Line is intended to be a single simple rule that is not easily gamed by bad-faith editors hiding behind AGF as they make COI edits, but it is actually more effectively gamed than direct editing ever was.
Historians would do better editing than PR professionals, however I have a few times received a book from a client written by a historian with the question "will our Wikipedia page look like this?" and found many discrepancies between the book and reliable sources. The corporate historian is recruited to create a slanted version of history CorporateM (Talk) 14:23, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Is anyone concerned that Scott appears to be proxying for a banned editor? - 2001:558:1400:10:AD5C:C6C0:2EE8:9093 (talk) 15:59, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
About as concerned as I am with which banned/blocked identity-concealing individual you are, which is to say, not much at all. How about you evaluate Scott's words on their own merit, rather than over-eagerly sniffing a breadcrumb trail like a Loony Tunes bloodhound? Tarc (talk) 16:19, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Tarc, the IP is the banned editor. Per the link, he got someone to post the concept here, which in itself not the end of the world, and now he is going out of his way to be obnoxious about it. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:45, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Guess the day isn't complete until Brad thinks he has uncovered 15 layers of socks hiding behind 9 proxies. Tarc (talk) 23:15, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Me? I couldn't tell a proxy from a parakeet. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:19, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
You sure its not a dead parrot? Spartaz Humbug! 00:41, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
It's not the proxying for a banned editor that's the problem -- there's some slack allowed on this page for that, I infer -- it's the "Author Your Own Legacy" mindset that comes with it. Authoring your own legacy, or trying to, has a place I guess, but that place is not here, really. After all, Scott, the article you quote from is titled Why Marketing Needs to Hire a Corporate Folklorist. Marketing does, I'm sure. Marketing's great and everybody loves marketing, but it's peripheral at best to what we're trying to do here. "Illustrate the company’s brand promise"... not quite sure what that even means (Google Translate does not yet have Marketing-to-English) but I don't think we're here to illustrate anybody's "brand promise". And definitely not to "articulate a company’s... value to customers and communities" -- in any way, and definitely not in a very real, powerful way. Herostratus (talk) 05:34, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
It's not even that your idea is not worth discussing. It is. It's just that, if you want your ideas to get traction, a couple things to consider are not vetting them thru Mr Author Your Own Legacy and not immediately turning your point into an excuse to beat the same old drum with the same old arguments regarding unfettered corporate editing of the Wikipedia. This makes people suspicious of where you're going with this, and as a simple point of practical politics if nothing else it's unwise.
As pointed out above, we would love donations to the public domain of corporate internal material (mostly photos, but maybe other materials as well) so we could use them. Photos of the insides of plants (not showing trade secrets of course), photos of notable living employees, photos of company-held historical objects, and so on. Any suggestion for getting these out of company archives is welcome. Providing it doesn't involve advocating sending the Wikipedia down the road to ruination, is all I'm saying.
(For instance, I'd love to get photos taken from within the Ford plant of the 1932 Ford massacre of demonstrators (4 dead, 22 injured by gunfire). This'd be a fine aid to "managing the collective memory" and "capturing the spirit of the organization" I would think. I suppose the Ford Motor Company Folklorist (if there is one) might have a different idea of what captures the spirit of the organization, though... so I'm not gonna hold my breath on that... and there's the rub, or part of it...) Herostratus (talk) 01:06, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
The above might have been worth replying to if it hadn't been opened with an insulting paragraph, but it was, so it isn't.  — Scott talk 01:15, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Where you see insult, I see good advice. Blustering into a debate misrepresenting other people by bringing up tired and discredited and irrelevant arguments is not helping you towards any goals that you might actually sensibly have. When you act like a jerk, people are not inclined to bend over backwards to find what is useful in what you are saying.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:57, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
So much for "no personal attacks". You do us credit as a figurehead.  — Scott talk 20:34, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
That isn't especially helpful. Please stop it before you put a Hex on the discussion. (And more seriously, please see my comment above.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:39, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Summary — An editor suggested that WP:COI should be waived for the case of a company's agent adding company history information to an article about the company. The suggestion did not gain consensus. --Bob K31416 (talk) 13:26, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Lengthy IP Range Blocking affecting millions of T-Mobile Users for 2 posts by a spammer????

It seems some admins have not done due diligence before issuing lengthy range blocking on IP's. A case in point is here: These IP's represent millions of T-Mobile users who are know blocked for 3 months. I understand the idea of preventing the type of spam as was done here:

However Special:Contributions/Materialscientist overreacted to it by issuing a 3 month block affecting millions of T Mobile users. More common sense needs to be applied and some investigating of the IP instead of a knee jerk reaction. What's the purpose of sloppy adminship? A few days block would likely of been sufficient to stop the spamming done on one article only. The IP posted 2X and now millions are blocked for 3 months. If that is not poor adminship what qualifies as such? (talk) 09:16, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Crafting a rangeblock is more of an art than exact science (especially after the fall of the Toolserver). Note that the spammer jumped from to, and this happens to be the range of, who is complaining above about has a history of blocks. Materialscientist (talk) 10:59, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
How about they just...create an account? I really wish we'd give up this sacred cow of IP editing as a right. Tarc (talk) 12:37, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Rocky Marciano has no semi-protection or pending changes at the moment, which would prevent obvious spam. How many pages does this spammer target? It is best to avoid locking out sensible editors for the sake of one idiot.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:09, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Maybe the way being shown here is for T-Mobile to pay an interconnection fee to improve service quality? But seriously, whether it's Materialscientist imposing it on this one provider or Tarc suggesting it throughout the Wiki, what possible use is there in blocking IP editing while allowing anonymous IPs to start new accounts whenever they want? It only puts their IPs behind the bureaucratic wall of checkuser restrictions. Wnt (talk) 16:40, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
I assure you MS I am not your spammer as you implied. They have no choice of the new IP they are assigned when they reset their connection or move to a new cell site. The IPs are randomly assigned and I am still the same so that tosses out your implication. The history shows you are the one placing the lengthy IP Range blocks so that history is your reactions I brought up. I like the simple suggestion of temporarily semi-protecting the page. That common sense choice would of solved the problem without disrupting so many contributors to wiki. Your choice did not work as they jumped and will again if you broaden your IP range block. T-Mobile has many varying IP's but an average editor would not know that and move on after receiving your message. What's your next move, block all IPs as was suggested above? That may be your personal feelings but not the foundations at this time so the idea is to play by the rules and not make your own. It seems one spammer has lead you to overreact and become the disruptive one. That may have been their real goal after reading their link that bashes wiki. They were probably looking for a sucker to cause mass disruption and found one.The Rocky angle was likely a diversion IMHO. (talk) 17:13, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
The right thing to do now is to redact the 3 month broad IP range block which is still in place as they have jumped to a new range as you indicated. Wiki policy advises against lengthy & broad range blocks due to this scenaro here. It seems to have been a trap for an overeactive admin who failed to follow policy recommendations. A few days would have been sufficient but the best choice would have been semi-protection of the article as the previous reaction did not stop the spammer. The article is still not protected but millions of users are completely blocked out of wikipedia. It is not an art either, but following policy made for just these scenarios. Policy was not followed. Again I call for some common sense. (talk) 17:32, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  • The 3 month ban of millions of users still remains in place while the article in question is still unprotected. That is a curious way of doing things. I had a closer look at the talk page of the article where a single persistent wiki basher kept linking to a web page that bashes wikipedia. The article should have been protected over a month ago but curiously MS choose to prevent millions of users from editing then as well. Again some common sense and outside eyes are now needed. (talk) 12:34, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Looks like the University of Oregon is indeffed as well. [9] Checkusered by an arb though, so I doubt if anyone would dare to overturn it. —Neotarf (talk) 12:55, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Test to see if my school is blocked as well. If it goes through it is not. I just checked out the link above and it seems the solution to a new editor was to confuse him with bureaucratic BS and then prevent him from having further discussion when he failed to grasp all the BS. That can't be a goood promotion for wikipedia. That gives wikipedia bad reputation among a major University. Someone like maybe Jimbo needs to grab the Bull by the Horn and try to eliminate the excessive Bureaucratic BS nightmare. Due to all this bureaucratic nonsense, I would suggest a name change to wackypedia if some of these issue are not addressed. (talk) 16:22, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
@Neotarf:, did you mean to refer to that revision? There's no indication that the user is from the University of Oregon that I could find, and in any case, autoblocks only affect IPs for a small period of time. LFaraone 22:37, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Apparently anyone in this IP range is considered to be a sock; I don't see any other reason, for instance, I don't see any similarity in editing style. —Neotarf (talk) 23:26, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Colton Cosmic ban discussion

Jimmy, a user you may have interacted with (Colton Cosmic) is currently the subject of a discussion at the Administrators' Noticeboard, where a majority are currently in favour of converting his indefinite block into a community ban. The reason for the initial indefinite block was concerns the account was a sockpuppet followed by a refusal to disclose any and all previous accounts under which he had edited Wikipedia, so that it may be determined if there are any sanctions, topic bans etc, which need to be applied to the new account. Colton Cosmic claims to have informed you of his previous account(s) and it would be appreciated if you could possibly make some sort of statement concerning this, and if you are aware of his previous account(s), whether they were under any sanction, from yourself, ArbCom or the community. I'm aware there are likely to be privacy issues at play, so understand fully if you're limited in what you can say to avoid identifying publicly any of the previous accounts you were made aware of. The discussion can be found at Wikipedia:AN#Colton_Cosmic_-_block.2Funblock.2Fban_discussion.2Fclarification_thread. Many thanks for your time. Nick (talk) 16:28, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

If you could please let people know that I'm reviewing my email history to make sure I remember everything correctly and ask Colton to ping me an email with his copy of the email chain he had with me (for assurance that I have everything) that would probably be useful.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:53, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Will do. Nick (talk) 17:09, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
  • From my understanding, the discussion at AN is not changing the indef block to a community ban, it's confirming that as per SOP, the fact that the community declined to overturn the indefinite block means that he is subject to a community ban. The "ban" discussion has nothing to do with his refusal to state his alternate accounts, the community has many many times stated that when it comes time to be unblocked/unbanned (whenever that might be... it's looking like a year before he can request), a condition of such unblock would be advising a trusted Arb of past accounts. the panda ɛˢˡ” 17:20, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that it matters whether the discussion at AN changes the block to a ban, or whether the discussion at AN leaves the block in place, so that it is a de facto ban. However, many of the comments said that he should be formally banned, and the closure of the thread states that he is now banned by the community. He can appeal his ban in twelve months, subject to conditions of no ban/block evasion, and a disclosure of all other accounts. There was some confusion about terminology, because some comments stated a condition of no sock-puppetry, and Colton insists, in a massive case of I refuse to hear that, that block evasion via IPs is not sock-puppetry, in spite of the fact that the sock-puppetry policy says that it is sock-puppetry. In any event, it's finished for now, until the next block/ban evasion. Robert McClenon (talk) 14:46, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Wikimania memorial for editors we have lost

Greetings, Jimbo. There has been some discussion at the Wikimania Information Desk about incorporating into the opening or closing ceremonies a memorial for User:Cindamuse, User:Wadewitz, and other Wikimedians we've lost in the past year. It was suggested that you might make this a regular part of your annual presentation. Would you be interested in doing that? If not, do you have any recommendation for memorializing these editors? Cheers! bd2412 T 18:25, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I am interested but wonder how to do it in a way that is fair and open and genuine. I'm sure there are many whom we have lost where we are unaware. There may be others who, if they knew, might be uncomfortable with such. (Right? I don't know.) Let's discuss further and if there is consensus, as always, I am happy to do the community's bidding.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:45, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
So far as I can tell, Wikipedia projects in 19 languages maintain general commemoration pages for deceased Wikipedians. Only a few of these report that any of their participants have passed away in the last calender year (English Wikipedia has the most, with 7, German Wikipedia is next with 4). Although I agree that we must lose many more every year than we ever hear of (particularly if they have retired from editing sometime earlier), I would venture that the commemorative pages capture those Wikipedians who have had tended to have the greatest impact on their communities. I think we can rely on the communities to determine, to the extent that it can be determined, who would be comfortable being comemmorated. As to format, I think a fairly brief slideshow would be fitting (I always tear up when they do the montage at the Oscars). We have pictures of some of these editors, but I was actually thinking about showing diffs for their most productive edits. For example, Cindamuse made a string of edits resulting in this thorough overhaul of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, the article for which she made the most edits. I hope to remind the community that we remember our own, and that through Wikipedia and its sister projects, they leave behind a lasting legacy of knowledge given to the world. bd2412 T 21:39, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

It's simple I guess - don't frame it as a memorial for everyone that has been lost. Frame it as a memorial for two extraordinary Wikimedians recently lost. If you attempt to be all inclusive and miss someone, that could be upsetting. If you honor two people for their special contributions, no should be too upset - hopefully. Nathan T 21:49, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm thinking that perhaps a picture might be a useful gauge, whether the editor ever shared a photo or appeared in person at events where they were photographed. Jackson Peebles had one, as did Aaron Swartz obviously. The tragic death of Ukranian editor and protester Igor would be included, I believe, based on that as a privacy measure. In all, such a moment for silence would be very meaningful to me, in whatever form you made it, and I think it would help our community grieve together and witness the loss we have had. Our community is filled with many brave souls, and when we lose one, we should take a breath together. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 23:06, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I have already been considering honoring Igor. I like your useful gauge. What do others think?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:30, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I would just comment that I have not uploaded any pictures of myself (although I have probably been photographed at an event or two), but I would certainly hope to be memorialized. I wouldn't exclude that as a consideration, but would also consider things like adminship, participation in projects, and the like. bd2412 T 13:15, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

I wonder where we might best put this discussion forward so that it gets a wide range of input so that a reasonable process can be developed. I'd be happy to do this annual as a part of my ceremonial role at Wikimania but I am fearful of volunteering to do it on my own as my efforts would necessarily be incomplete, overlooking important people, etc. If there were a unified community process to generate a few slides and some words for me to say about each of them... that sounds really interesting. And I'd also like to make sure that we have wide input as to whether this is tasteful and appropriate.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:46, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

I think if you published a request for input here, on meta, and on the mailing list (perhaps both wikimedia-l and the chapters list), that you should reach enough people. Nathan T 12:59, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
(e/c)Notices should be placed on all projects/chapters (in local language) to the proposal(s) at the WM site. Someone will have to take the lead in formulating it. They should specifically ask for comments about taste and propriety. Not sure about how the proposals/rationales could be translated. Given the short time, perhaps it should be represented (this year) not as those "we have lost" but as to these individuals you have noticed, and then the next wikimainia could include both relevant time periods to include those that were not memorialized this year) or just go with your prior plan to mention who you think proper (and perhaps some phrase about the unmentioned but still mourned) and announce the memorial project for the future, and the project can set up a booth this year (make a condolence book, etc). -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:29, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
A condolence book is a good idea, as it allows the writer to say what they want about who they want. I have made a chart of the twenty-one Wikipedians noted in Wikipedia project commemoration pages to have passed away in the preceding calender year. It's a large enough number that I would agree that it would be most efficient to specifically acknowledge those with an unusually high level of contributions, and have a moment of silence for the rest:
Wikipedian Image Participation
User:Jackson Peebles Jackson Scott Peebles.jpg 6,000+ edits across several projects
User:Timothy Perper TransparentPlaceholder.png 3,000 edits, last edited in 2012
User:Poocat9 TransparentPlaceholder.png under 500 edits
User:Ig2000 Ihor Kostenko 1.jpg 1,700+ edits across 16 projects
User:Arskoul TransparentPlaceholder.png about 1,000+ edits across 5 projects
User:Wadewitz Adrianne Wadewitz-6727.jpg very, very high, 50,000+ edits
User:Cindamuse Cindamuse - Cynthia Ashley-Nelson.pdf very, very high, 27,000+ edits
de:User:Ingo-Wolf Kittel TransparentPlaceholder.png 1,300+ edits across 4 projects
de:User:Werner Steven TransparentPlaceholder.png about 2,000 edits; last edited in 2007
de:User:Gerhard Kiesow TransparentPlaceholder.png 1,600 edits
de:User:H. Schreiber TransparentPlaceholder.png 4,000+ edits across 5 projects
es:User:CASF TransparentPlaceholder.png close to 30,000 edits, mostly in es
fr:User:Adamantane TransparentPlaceholder.png 1,400+ edits actross 12 projects
fr:User:Seymour TransparentPlaceholder.png 9,500+ edits actross 11 projects
fr:User:Damien Perrotin TransparentPlaceholder.png 10,000+ edits across 13 projects
nl:User:Diamant TransparentPlaceholder.png 11,000+ edits across 16 projects
nl:User:Henk Obee Henk Obee.jpg 13,000+ edits across 28 projects
nl:User:Grmbl76 TransparentPlaceholder.png 30,000+ edits across 11 projects
ru:User:Владимир Шеляпин TransparentPlaceholder.png 17,000+ edits across 49 projects
ru:User:Il Dottore TransparentPlaceholder.png 5,000+ edits across 10 projects
uk:User:Raider TransparentPlaceholder.png 17,000+ edits across 8 projects; last edited in 2010
Regards. bd2412 T 13:36, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
My comment in July 2013 (User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 137#Wikipedia bucket list) about retired Wikipedians (Wikipedia:Missing Wikipedians) can be applied to deceased Wikipedians also.
Wavelength (talk) 23:11, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Alles Müller, oder was?

Wikipedia: bringing you Mullergraphs since 2006. Face-tongue.svg (talk) 07:46, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

I would like some Yoghurt too. :p—cyberpower ChatOnline 18:21, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
OK, I had a hack at it. I think it should be moved to something like Rigi (software) or Hausi A. Müller, but I'd prefer if some people with big-picture CS experience would have a look at it to decide which way to go from here. Wnt (talk) 15:17, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Alas, all you have done is shown wikipedia has one more WP:RANDY in its ranks. Where do those papers talk about those graphs being used to "monitor and map out the functioning capabilities of various computer components"?? Those papers are about graphing the various modules that make up a software: "The Rigi system is centered around a language-independent graph editor for presenting software artifacts." (quote from one of the papers.) Adding semi-random references to crap text is only making the problem worse. JMP EAX (talk) 11:01, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, to me reverse engineering seems somewhat similar in nature to the first quote; I'm not saying the text is ideal but since it had led me to an actual concept and a well-published piece of free software out there I thought it was safe to leave it alone until someone improved it. And increasing the markup to four tags at the top and five in that little snippet of text isn't really improving it. Bottom line is somebody gotta read those papers and others and write what they say, same as anything, but not the easiest article to do this for. Wnt (talk) 12:36, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Unlike you (who apparently adds references without reading them), I've read enough of them to know they're not talking about the (former/main) topic of wiki article. Anyone not living in a bantustan can tell that a software component is not the same thing as a computer on a network. The actual improvement would be to delete your nonsense and the article, which at least was coherent before your intervention, albeit talking about something that no references seem to exist for. JMP EAX (talk) 12:25, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Did anyone notice the massive IBM PR?

It's hard to find a single page about IBM Rational division's software that is not written like it was penned by a PR flack. JMP EAX (talk) 23:23, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm not at all surprised by this, in fact I'll switch it around. Are there any examples of articles on large firms or small (mid-sized are sometimes better) that don't look like they have extensive influence from the company's PR flacks? Examples, please.
In this particular example there are about 30 articles showing the following signs: a pretty slick, well-organized presentation with nothing controversial mentioned, sourced mainly to the company and pretty boring. Nothing extraordinary here (to a non-programmer) but overall they all read like out-of-date software manuals. In fact a quick tour of about 5 articles shows a lack of some of the usual signs - e.g edit warring, long fruitless talk page discussions, an editor asserting ownership, or edits from User:Jackat XYZCorp.
Well there is one from an editor who describes himself as "Paul is Senior Rhapsody Product Marketing Manager at IBM working with major customers worldwide to successfully develop software and systems using state-of-the-art Model Driven Development tools and methodologies."
Which brings me to my point. A lot of these folks had no clue that this type of editing is unethical. They must have thought that Wikipedia was magically put on this earth to provide companies with free advertising. They weren't "really breaking any hard-and-fast rules" and many users, even admins, seem to have encouraged this type of editing.
Given the overwhelming results of the RfC on the ToU change, it's clear that our standards are tightening up, but there's still a way to go before it can be said that we are systematically avoiding new articles like this.
Then there's the question of how to get rid of the old stuff like IBM Rational. How many articles are there like this? The "offer" of free advertising on one of the world's busiest websites probably led to some huge numbers. 250,000? 500,000?
Specific advise to JMP EAX - get to work on the 30 article rewrites, see if you can find somebody to help you. "Slash-and burn" editing might not be completely out of place here, but you'll likely get some grief for doing so.
So what's the solution to the 2 bigger problems?
  • Stopping the flow of new articles like this, and
  • Getting rid of the huge number of old PR-inspired articles?
Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:09, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Suggest checking whether those articles satisfy the WP:Notability guideline. --Bob K31416 (talk) 01:56, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
I will take up your challenge, Smallbones. I have written the following articles about small businesses, simply because I was interested in them, and found them notable, and in my opinion, worthy of inclusion in this free encyclopedia: Mezzetta, Sonoma TrainTown Railroad, Gladding, McBean, Hagafen Cellars, Marin French Cheese Company and Whoa Nellie Deli. No one else asked me to write any of these articles, and I wasn't paid a penny, though the winery owner gave me a 375 ml bottle after I wrote the article, which I did not ask for. They are businesses I've visited and patronized, and that I find worthy of my research and writing time. I agree that PR editing is a problem but resent the implication that all writing about businesses here is paid PR editing. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:54, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Bravo! You've shown that properly documented small business articles can be written, and I apologize if you thought that I meant that every single business article is pure PR. However, I suspect that you might be the exception that proves the rule. There is one thing I'll say, even though all the articles have very high quality sources, they are all highly complimentary to their subjects. That's likely due to the nature of wine, cheese and restaurant reviews. Perhaps you'd feel uncomfortable writing about something more controversial in a small business, but in any case I'd think a set of well-written articles like this can lead to a systematic bias along the lines of "all small businesses are great." But that is just a quibble. Smallbones(smalltalk) 05:07, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Hmmm. I appreciate your kind words, Smallbones, but am unsure whether the phrase "the exception that proves the rule" really applies to me. I am just another dedicated editor, and I come from a left wing, socialist background. So maybe, I might be inclined to be a POV pusher arguing that the evil businessmen are exploiting the workers and despoiling the environment, and all that. If I chose to edit articles about the companies I hate the most, then maybe I would have a POV pushing reputation. But when I set out to write these articles, I had no idea if I might discover something negative in reliable sources. But I didn't. Leaving aside a generalized critique of capitalism, which is a POV I simply won't push in articles about individual companies, I think that most notable, successful small businesses have generally favorable coverage in reliable sources because they succeed by doing a good job meeting the needs of their customers. And that is worthy of coverage in this encyclopedia. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:22, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
While your articles are exceptional in their sourcing and writing style, I have to say they (the 6 examples you gave) are not exceptional in the fact that they are all absolutely glowing about the subject. It's no problem with one editor doing this, but when all our articles about businesses are glowing it must be a systematic bias somewhere. I am not some raving left winger saying that all businesses are evil, but I do have the firm belief that the average business is average, they cannot all be above average, which is what our articles show.
While I do not consider myself anti-business in any way, I perhaps do have a bias against advertising and PR. Every day I'm bombarded with messages that tell me that a credit card company/bank is going to give me free money, airlines are going to give me free transportation, vitamin pills are going to make me healthier, a certain brokerage firm will make my savings grow faster, buying certain brands of (clothing, fragrances, medicines, food, cigarettes) will make me (sexier, healthier, happier, a better person). And of course everything is on sale all the time.
Our articles on business are not as bad as all the above, but they do have a tendency in that direction. Letting that systematic bias persist in an encyclopedia is a great disservice to our readers. My questions are what to do about it? Any suggestions? Smallbones(smalltalk) 12:04, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
If all the independent sources about a subject are "glowing", then the article must be equally "glowing" (although with encyclopedic language and structure rather than ad copy), because only a glowing article would accurately and neutrally reflect the sources. The "neutral point of view" is not achieved by toning down glowing sources so that the subject seems more mediocre than fabulous, or by lightening up harshly critical sources so that the subject seems more middling than evil. It is achieved by reflecting what the source happens to say. If, as happens in some cases, all the independent sources say only positive, or even wildly enthusiastic, things about a subject, then the Wikipedia article must reflect the uniform enthusiasm of the sources.
Also, Smallbones, as an example of paid PR not resulting in ad copy, you might look at the history of Vector Marketing. This article has been edited by disgruntled ex-contractors in the past, and has also had several PR firms paid to correct errors. More than half the words in the article are about lawsuits and other criticisms from the 1990s. Every attempt at adding non-disparaging information was fought tooth and nail, including someone actually saying that sales information couldn't be described because he just (magically?) knew that the daily newspaper copied the sales information from a press release (one that somehow couldn't be found anywhere), and so he insisted that the entire newspaper article, which was mostly about a local store opening, ought to be treated like a self-published press release. I can't decide whether to laugh or cry about the line in the middle of the ==Controversy== section about independent contractors not getting expenses reimbursed the way that employees do: I'm betting that it was written by a student who signed up without understanding what independent contractor means. Adding critical information, like stories about one unhappy teenager's assertion that his manager lied to him, was always very easy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:55, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
JMP EAX, I notice that this discussion has digressed from the topic of your message. It might help if you specified the articles about IBM Rational division's software with which you had concern. --Bob K31416 (talk) 14:24, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
A prototypical example of article I touched is Rational Rose. That was actually a well-known product in its day. The wiki article had 0 sources and was tagged for lack of notability and advertisement [10]. I can surely agree with the latter, but not the former. The issue is that doing "30 article rewrites", like someone suggested above, is a lot of work for an unpaid editor. By the way, most of the advertish language, albeit mixed with some useful info, was added by an IP not obviously connected to IBM [11], nowadays anyway. If you're not convinced there is a pattern, you can easily follow the links from there to see what the other related articles such as Rational Software Architect look like. JMP EAX (talk) 18:34, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
From the article's history, it looks like it's been developed in a normal way. I noticed the improvements you recently made which addressed issues mentioned in the tag at the top of the page. You changed the article from the July 22 version to the July 25 version. So you might consider changing the tag at the top of the page. Good work. Regarding "30 article rewrites", fugetaboutit. We're volunteers. --Bob K31416 (talk) 20:25, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
P.S. [12] --Bob K31416 (talk) 20:48, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
By "normal way" you mean that editors like this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy wrote most of the articles (or at least most of the contents thereof, even if someone else started it as a stub) in that area? JMP EAX (talk) 21:09, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
The article I was referring to was the one you gave as an example, i.e. Rational Rose. I just now looked in the edit history of Rational Rose[13] for the four editors (Sjweaver, Bbryson, Kkronstain, JSarberHoch) you referred to in your last message and I didn't see them. I'll take your word for their activity in other articles. --Bob K31416 (talk) 19:44, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Software and the WMF vs. the English Wikipedia Community

There is a Request for Arbitration currently being considered: The issue illustrates a problem that needs to be addressed, which is tension between the English Wikipedia community and the WMF staff. On the one hand, it is true that the Wikimedia Foundation owns the servers and so sometimes has to assert power. On the other hand, Wikipedia has operated, with a few exceptions, on the model of community consensus. The issue in point has to do with the Media Viewer software. An RFC was concluded as to whether Media Viewer should be enabled by default or disabled by default. The RFC concluded (consensus of the English Wikpedia community) that it should be disabled by default. It appears that a "regular" administrator tried to set those options, and a conflict with a WMF staff member arose, in which the "regular" administrator was severely cautioned, and was threatened with desysopping for interfering with the Office. The issue about Media Viewer is very similar to Visual Editor. WMF staff and its developers attempted to push poorly tested software into production, and the community pushed back. The basic problem, as I see it, is that WMF staff is resistant to input by the community. There are a few situations, such as legal response to copyright violations, in which the principle of Office Action really must trump the community. The rollout of software is not one of the situations in which WMF must act unilaterally. Because of the complex and subtle relationship between the WMF as legal owner of the servers and the community as the purpose of the servers, Arbitration is not the ideal way to resolve this conflict. A cultural change would be preferred. We have already had one disaster narrowly averted with respect to Visual Editor. It does not appear that the WMF staff and its developers have learned that they should listen to the community about software. You, Jimbo Wales, are a board member of the WMF and its founder, and are the representative to the community of the WMF. Can you, Jimbo Wales, reason with WMF staff and remind them that, except in special cases such as Office legal action, their function is to serve the community (not to dictate to the community)? Robert McClenon (talk) 03:27, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

  • I think this is a perfect case for ArbCom, personally. I only hope they are up to the task. There is an enormous issue here: does WMF engineering, with a budget of tens of millions of dollars and a professional interest in their expensive initiatives "succeeding," quote-unquote, have an ownership right to shove broken or unwanted software down the volunteer community's throats? This is not so important with MediaViewer, which works fine, but is a huge issue with badly broken toys like VisualEditor or the massive disruption that will be inevitable if Flow is allowed to be imposed. This is the time to figure this question out... Carrite (talk) 15:09, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
  • The answer, quite obviously, is "yes". And ArbCom has no power to change that. But there really are two competing issues here. The first is that the implementation of technical enhancements should rarely, if ever, be determined by vote. Too many people (myself included) prefer the status quo, and that tends to result in stagnation. That is an issue for the community. The issue for the foundation is their reliance on the community for this site to work at all. So technical implementations that are broken (notifications) or likely to cause a massive uproar (Flow) carry the risk of eroding the community's trust and diminishing that community. A lot of that comes down to communication. Large swaths of people are going to be upset any time any of these changes are made. That is inevitable, and should not be used in and of itself as an excuse not to implement. From the community's perspective, I don't think MediaViewer is the hill we should want to die on. It is just as easy to open an image in a new tab to get the 'old look' and the feature does seem to be generally supported by our readers. Resolute 13:42, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
MediaViewer is a proxy for the real fight, which as far as I am concerned is all about Flow — a real frankenstein monster created because the bureaucracy had a budget and needed something to do, with an absolutely gargantuan potential for disruption of the entire WP project. The fight needs to be fought (and lost) over the fairly benign MediaViewer — but a fight lost in such a way by a committed and aggressive ArbCom that Flow's damage is diverted from an English WP launch until it can be proven by practice elsewhere to be a substantial improvement. Obviously, there is inertia among those of us using the software leading to preference for old ways over new. Less obviously, there is a multimillion dollar careerist incentive for WMF Engineering to churn out something, anything new to justify their ever expanding budget. So, I beg to differ: YES, this is the hill where the fight needs to be made; because if the fight starts after Flow is already unilaterally imposed systemwide, the disruption will have already taken place and it will be too late. —Tim Davenport //// Carrite (talk) 17:24, 17 July 2014 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 17:25, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Carrite this is an extremely unfair and false representation of the situation that does nothing to bring light and love and healing and progress and does much to create the kind of tensions that make progress difficult. You've got the motivations exactly wrong. We badly need software improvements, including improvements to our rather ridiculous system of discussing things with each other by editing raw wikitext (instead of a philosophically wiki but more technically sophisticated approach that allows us to do the same things but in an easier and more intuitive way) and so we are investing engineering in that. It isn't like we are just showering money on the tech team for no reason and then they have to make up a reason to spend it. Saying that is just simply and purely a personal attack on good people who are doing good work. Stop doing that please.
Are there problems with disconnect between what editors want and what the developers are developing? Sometimes clearly yes. Sometimes that's because editors forget what readers want matters too. But sometimes it's just a dysfunctional disconnect and ALL SIDES have the capability through assuming good faith and entering into non-hostile dialog to work to change that. I encourage you to make your complaints in a positive and constructive way and point out better solutions. Insulting people and spreading FUD is just simply not ok.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:25, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
This is clearly not the venue for me to speak frankly on this matter. My apologies for attempting to do so. Carrite (talk) 20:16, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Look, there is a time and place for generalized bitching and moaning. I personally recommend private email to friends as a good place for that. What I am asking for here is a dropping of emotional outbursts and a very practical set of requests in the form of an NPOV description of what you want. That's something I can take action on.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Let me chip in here, if only to communicate that it is not only a handful of usual suspects that are worried by WMF's handling of software updates. Jimbo Wales, you sit on the Board of Trustees. A legitimate concern has been brought up, and you dismiss it as 'insults' and "spreading FUD". There is no insult in saying that the VE deployment was characterised by utter incompetence, both in coding and in communication with the community, that has been documented ad nauseam. Thus, there is no insult in speculating that the same team might fail again. You are old enough to remember the joke "MS Windows - from the people that brought you edlin". And thus, there is no insult in speculating what the motivation might be of a team that in the past could not gather customer requirements, could not roll out software that works, and became defensive when massive bugs were pointed out. Feynman's "Safecracker meets Safecracker" is a classic on this: (quoted from memory) 'My boss asks me to drill a safe [...] I have no idea how to do that, but I'm the janitor. So I take my drill to the room with the safe and make zzzzzzz, zzzzzzzzzzzzz. --Pgallert (talk) 22:06, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Pgallert, you misunderstand me I'm afraid. I have no problem with legitimate concerns, and legitimate concerns are neither insults nor FUD. But "Frankenstein monster", "multimillion dollar careerist impluse" and the rest was simply not helpful for Carrite to have said for the simple reason that neither of those is either objectively true nor actionable. It is patently obvious that our antiquated way of holding discussions in raw wikitext is significantly inferior to what is possible, without losing any functionality. Flow is an effort to take what we already do and make it both easier for longterm highly proficient users and easier for newcomers - and it strikes me as clear that improvement will not be difficult given how horrible it is now. To reply to you, for example, one of the most common things that anyone would do in a discussion, I had to scroll up to the most recent section break and click edit then come down and cut and paste (or tediously count) indention levels and add a colon. I then have to sign my comment by either typing dash dash tilde tilde tilde tilde or typing out my username or something or waiting for a bot to notice that I didn't do it and do it for me. That's all completely silly.
No amount of false ranting about the evil developers and their careerist goals (despite that they work for significantly less than they could get at Google or elsewhere in most cases!) is going to result in one line of better code being written. Constructive and loving feedback about what works and what doesn't in proposed designs, with clear and NPOV explanations of why, based on our intimate knowledge of the editing process is the way forward. That's why I will continue to critique those who engage in unnecessary dramatics and insults of good people. As I said to Carrite above, if he wants to have a "frank" discussion of how much he hates certain developers, he can do it with friends in private email. But please let's use this page to be productive.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
That would only be true if the developers were sufficiently skilled to land themselves jobs at major corporations such as Google, which they clearly are not. Eric Corbett 14:19, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
That comment is made all the more amusing in that I have, this very week, turned down recruiters from both Google and Apple. (Which is rather unusual, while there is no shortage of headhunters trawling the technical staff lists of the Foundation, it's the first time that two big players contacted me at the same time). I don't know where you get this fantasy that the WMF engineering staff can't "get better"; I've yet to work with a more talented bunch of people. We work with the WMF because we believe in the cause, not because the salaries are high or because we can't get better. — Coren (talk) 18:33, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Where else have you worked as a software engineer? Anywhere? Eric Corbett 18:44, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
... nowhere? I'm an operations engineer and my ~23 year career was doing that (well, strictly speaking that's not entirely true – I was a dev for a very short while before I veered into system administration). It's also entirely besides the point. Your assertion is ridiculously false on its face given the number of devs working at the Foundation that actually came from Google, Amazon, and Yahoo (that I know of); probably other big players as well. Saying they "clearly are not" sufficiently skilled to work there is obviously nothing but a baseless, gratuitous personal attack given they not only did work there, but left to join the Foundation. — Coren (talk) 19:19, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
So basically you're not a software engineer, have never been a software engineer, and are therefore in no position to judge the competence or otherwise of software engineers. Thanks for the clarification. Eric Corbett 19:27, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
You mean, excepting the fact that this is what my master's major is in, that I've been in the industry for over two decades working in close collaboration with people whose specialty is software engineering, that despite my focus on system administration I have never stopped coding (though mostly on the infrastructure side of things), and that I have taught the subject matter?

What, pray tell, are your qualifications? — Coren (talk) 19:31, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Jimbo, I have no problem with a WYSIWYG editor, or with improvements of our message system. Any improvement is welcome. But in a system where some 100,000 regular editors cooperate on a fairly important knowledge project I would prefer the software to be tested by people explicitly volunteering (or being paid) for that, not by the writers of this encyclopedia. VE was Alpha software; to deploy it in this stage was irresponsible. Now, maybe Carrite should have used different words for what they tried to communicate. But I think I was able to distil the message from the theatrical wording. --Pgallert (talk) 08:18, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Someone should be by shortly to point out the WMF serves a much broader audience than the editing community. It won't actually matter if the software is fit for purpose. Saffron Blaze (talk) 15:26, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
    • I don't really understand this comment. Software that is not fit for purpose does not serve readers or editors. Software that makes editing worse does not serve readers or editors. The only way I can make sense of what you are saying is as a straw man attack, i.e. making up a position that the WMF does not take and then refuting it. No one at the Foundation has ever said or thought, not even once, "It doesn't matter if the software is broken, because... readers!" That would be silly.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:27, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Perhaps this diff will help you understand. The point was... the needs of the 500,000,000 casual users are in effect being held out as the requirement for MV, which may be true, but only if MV actually serves their needs. Saffron Blaze (talk) 13:36, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Perhaps, but that does not excuse what appears to be an abuse of admin tools (or, more accurately, the threat to use them in an abusive fashion), which were also not granted via normal community processes. If WMF people are going to behave in that fashion, they should either be required to use clearly designated WMF usernames or go through normal community processes (RfA) to gain their tools. Anything else seems to be against the spirit of this project. Intothatdarkness 16:26, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
  • [Some thoughts I also posted at the case page]: The "foundation" on which this is built is the Foundation. Sure Users, it is hoped by the Foundation and others come to this Project to write an English encyclopedia but upon the Foundation's legal and technical ownership and facilities, which has, as been seen in results, benefited the User's in doing so. This is not without demands on Users, however, Users must, according to the Foundation, for example, licence their work freely. Who determines what are attractive forces on donors to and readers of, as well as protecting and promoting the brand and the good will and other assets of the Foundation projects is placed in the Foundation, which has that purpose, not in a multitude of others who don't have the legal responsibility. As for Users, we all obviously showed up using the facility provided, and it's a well known and undisputed phenomena that changing technology is cognitively, emotionally, intellectually a challenge - and that free software is sometimes worth what one pays for it. It does not seem true that the Foundation does not consult widely and openly about the creation and deployment of free software. What anyone should do about the Foundation is go directly to the Foundation. If, for example, one wants them to no longer be adverse to commercial software then go lobby them to change course. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:04, 16 July 2014 (UTC) Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:36, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
User:Carrite says that this is a perfect case for ArbCom, if they are up to the task. I agree with Carrite's statement of the issue, but not with his conclusion that ArbCom is the right vehicle. I agree that it is time to figure the question. However, the assertion of "Office" privilege in what is not an "Office action" shows that some WMF personnel see themselves as the owners and not the servants of the community. Some WMF personnel clearly do not accept the will of the community and are willing to use their status to bully the community. If senior WMF personnel accept the will of the community, they may also accept the ArbCom as a representative of the community; but if senior WMF personnel accept the will of the community, they should remind other WMF personnel that they are there to serve the community, not to dictate to it. A cultural change is needed in the WMF. I am asking Jimbo Wales to explain to WMF staff. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:48, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Can User:Saffron Blaze explain in more detail whether the explanation should be make to the WMF or the community, and what it should be? Robert McClenon (talk) 18:48, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
The WMF rep that is at the center of this articulated as much and I think he was addressing that at the editing community. It was essentially the needs of the many (users) trumping the needs of the few (editors). When he made the statement he didn't really address what those needs were so one might be left to consider this is a textbook example of the self-licking ice cream cone. Saffron Blaze (talk) 14:25, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree with User:Intothatdarkness that the threat of arbitrary use of admin tools and wheel warring is problematic. Should that abuse be dealt with by arbitration (which WMF might or might not accept), or by a cultural change? The latter would be preferred. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:48, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Culture change doesn't occur on its own, and without some sort of push I can't see the WMF giving up what it's gotten thus far (admin tools with no community comment or validation and what seems to be an unacceptably wide discretionary action zone) for free. I agree that culture change is to be preferred, but also accept that it might not come without an actual case or threat of action (removal of admin tools) on the part of ArbCom (which seems to be the only group that can do this). Intothatdarkness 20:53, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
User:Alanscottwalker says that anyone who is concerned about the Foundation should go directly to the Foundation. I agree with him that changing technology is complicated. I partly agree and partly disagree with him when he says that the Foundation does consult openly and widely about the creation and deployment of software. The Foundation does discuss its plans for software openly and widely, but has a bad record with regard to accepting feedback. The backdown on Visual Editor was difficult and painful. Because the Foundation does not readily welcome community feedback, I am accepting Jimbo Wales on behalf of the community to go to the Foundation as the face of the Foundation. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:48, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Talking of going to the Foundation, perhaps it's time we blew the dust off Wikipedia:Petition to the WMF on handling of interface changes. It didn't go anywhere when it was put together last year, but could probably garner a fair few more signatures now.  — Scott talk 20:04, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
"Welcome community feedback", depends on what you mean by welcome - make changes - or do everything 100 people say you must do only their way (but not all 100 people agree exactly what that is). As for Wheel, there was none, and as for Staff Permissions, take it up with the Foundation which is the granter of them, obviously because they think they need them to fulfill their obligations. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:35, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Here's what I think is the right way forward, and much thanks to those who have asked me to represent the community on these issues (which, of course, I very much desire to do). A great model is what happened recently with concerns about LaTeX support in mathematics. I asked the math community to give an NPOV summary of what isn't working and what they need, and a few people went out and worked with a larger group of people, and they came back with a great explanation and a specific set of actionable requests, which I was able to pass along to Lila in a constructive way. Of course there are still things that could break down between where we are now and actual implementation, but this is at least a powerful and appropriate way to start.

On the Media Viewer issue, it might be very very useful if someone or some group of someones could write up an NPOV summary of what the issue is. And the community could seek a way to better serve both readers and editors. This is the Wikipedia way with articles. Two people are disagreeing? Then the best thing is if some third person comes along and sees a way out of the disagreement by finding a compromise that both parties agree is better than either of their initial preferred options. "Mediaviewer good or evil?" is a question with no happy answer. "Mediaviewer: how to make it better for everyone than the old way" is a question that, if we can answer it, resolves the problem neatly and moves everyone forward with joy and relaxation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:34, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

I think this all sounds very sensible, although I think you may need to offer your guarantee that editors who engage in something like that will not simply be wasting their time. The underlying problem, I think, is a perception among editors that they are seen as an obstacle to "progress" and WMF staff are not really interesting in engaging with them until they are forced to. IMO, whether this perception is a good reflection of reality or not is besides the point. WMF ought to be scrupulous in ensuring that it carries editing communities with it and I think it is hard to mount an argument that this is the way things are. In this discussion, I think it can fairly be said that you are seeking engagement, but there is a stark contrast between this and the recent behaviour of WMF's deputy director. Formerip (talk) 22:31, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
As an aside, could the process you suggest be easily undertaken using Flow? I'm not sure, but at the moment, it doesn't look like Flow is going to offer the flexibility to provide a space where editors can draft something in collaboration. Formerip (talk) 23:32, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
@FormerIP: Hi, I believe you're referring to the current experimental-configuration, whereby only the original author of a flow-post (or an admin) can edit the post. This is currently a trial-setup, and they did some analysis of the use-cases, which is documented at mw:Flow/Editing comments. The rationale for it is given at mw:Flow/FAQ#Will we be able to edit other people's posts?. Whilst that experiment is ongoing, they're also considering creating a type of open-post that could be inserted anywhere in a discussion (a 'scratchpad' or 'sandbox' post). So, those are the 2 main possibilities at the moment (but alternative/new suggestions, are appreciated). There's also, of course, the option of doing the collaborative editing on a project-page, and having a Flow discussion on the talkpage. Feedback is welcome (and appreciated, they want wider constructive-input) ideally over at WT:Flow or mw:Talk:Flow (which is an active Flow page). HTH. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 01:54, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, @Quiddity (WMF):, for the info.
IMO, though, "We welcome your feedback" is not sufficient in terms of engagement. It is unfortunately obvious that WMF does always walk this limited walk in any case, but it doesn't really work, moreover, because the community's understanding of what WMF is doing naturally lags behing WMF's (particularly to the extent that it opts for incubation in seclusion). This means that if you just sit around waiting for community feedback, you will tend to get it at a stage in the process where it is not really convenient. So, with Flow, WMF seems to have begun considering the needs of Wikipedias only after having designed something that is not well-suited to their needs. Now you are at an awkward juncture of thinking about how to retrofix. It feels unlikely that this will result in software that is as good as it would have been had you been able to see ahead. The main thing that, I think, has to be insisted on, is that none of this is the fault of editing communities. Formerip (talk) 12:02, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
@FormerIP: Re: "in seclusion" - This is the eternal difficulty - The Flow dev team has been getting feedback from many editors for over a year. But most editors don't have time (or inclination) to help beta-test new software. Additionally, many editors approach developing software with the perspective that by the time they are seeing it, it should be 'complete' and nearly-bug-free, and hence will often give only negative/angry feedback if they see early prototypes, or experimental ideas, or unpolished UIs, or missing features.
[Tangentially, this mirrors the slow slide away from Eventualism, that worked so well for articles and project-content over the years, and is an ongoing concern for the retention of old and new editors.]
Even the BetaFeatures, some of which have ~10,000 editors using them (across all 800+ wikis), often only have a few dozen editors giving feedback.
They also run into the m:Not my wiki problem in a few ways, e.g. Editors are less likely (or able) to properly test software that isn't on their homewiki, and are less able to participate deeply in the process because of the separation (which global-notifications and crosswiki-Flow-discussions, will eventually help with). But at the same time, some editors are reluctant to have incomplete software anywhere on their homewiki.
There are a number of ideas for ways to increase the quantity of editors who participate in software beta-testing/feedback: everything from better newsletters, to simple inhouse survey systems, to broader (or more targeted) announcements when an extension has been updated, to more specific requests for input on specific features, and others. All of these (and more) are being worked on or investigated, but most of them take time to code, and they all add to the many projects/tasks already clamouring for attention from each editor, so have to be done gently. [I'll stop there, before I tangent/ramble further. HTH.] Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
There's a bit of WMF double speak at work there. What editors expect is that when a new piece of software becomes the default it should be "complete" and "nearly-bug-free". And that just hasn't been happening, witness the visual editor and now the image viewer. Eric Corbett 20:21, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
And this is the problem in a nutshell; making non-optimal software opt-out rather than opt-in. When people know something is beta and they're trying it out, they don't moan if there are problems - indeed they often report them. Whereas - like with Visual Editor - if they think this is the standard way of working then they simply say "this is rubbish, it doesn't work". Whilst MV is clearly not as broken as VE was (at least it doesn't actually mangle content), it is not optimal for the editors that contribute the most to the encyclopedia. Black Kite (talk) 20:32, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
@Quiddity (WMF):. I don't think it's realistic to think in terms of an identity between beta testing and engagement. Imagine my tailor called me up an told me he had made me a suit, so when would I like to come in and have my measurements taken and get a quote for the work. After I had gotten over the surprise of discovering that I had a tailor, I think I would decline the suit. I definitely don't want, or expect, software to arrive complete. What I really want is the opportunity to comment on it before it exists. If it even has a name I'd feel late on the scene.
WMF's engagement process seems to go something like: "We don't care what you think ... No, we still don't care what you think ... Here's some buggy software ... Why aren't you pleased?" Flow appears to take this to another level entirely by not only excluding editing communities but being designed in willful ignorance that those communities even exist (i.e. how on Earth can you deliver software that is unable to handle basic Wikipedia talkpage processes?). Formerip (talk) 21:54, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Formerip, do I understand you correctly? You say here that you want to become involved before the product has a name, but after the decision has been taken about which one of the multiple collaborative-editing proposals will be used. I'm sure that can't be correct, because if it were me—and my only role in Flow is making sure that Quiddity has a long list of requirements from me—I'd care a lot less about what the name is, and a lot more about which one of these methods is chosen. I've seen at least four proposals that don't require giving newbies and IPs the ability to blank or vandalize other people's comments (common area per thread, common area per post, 'scratch pad', separate/transcluded page), and I like some of them a lot better than others. I don't keep up with the discussions very closely, but even I know that the necessity of providing some method for collaborative editing within Flow has been considered a settled fact for months and months now. The question is not "whether", but "which way", and if you care more about editing than about naming, then please think about different ways to achieve the goal and tell Quiddity what your favorite one is. Perhaps you'll come up with an even better proposal than the ones that other people have been looking at. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:21, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
No, you don't understand me correctly. Where did I suggest that I wanted to "become involved...after the decision has been taken about which one of the multiple collaborative-editing proposals will be used"? What I want is for editors to have the opportunity to be involved in interface development from the outset of any discussion. I'm perplexed that options to do with collaborative editing are only being considered at such an advanced stage in the process. Formerip (talk) 00:38, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
People have been considering them since before a prototype for Flow existed. I've seen discussions about this for about a year. That is, I saw discussion on this question before the product even had a product manager assigned, which is to say that I saw discussions about this feature before it was possible to make decisions for the product. Discussions on core features that started, for the first time, today might be considered to happen "at such an advanced stage" (a dubious position, I think, but not unreasonable position, especially if you don't know anything about the state of the software). However, the fact is that discussions about collaborative editing needs are not starting now. The first time I personally saw this issue considered was about a year ago, but I pretty much ignored the product before then. (For all I know, those discussions started before the discussions happened to impinge upon my consciousness.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:13, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Can you point me to these discussions? I'd like to try to understand why they were ignored. BTW, by "too advanced" I don't mean "today", I just mean any time after a relevant decision has been taken. It's ridiculous that the core purpose of the software is only being uncovered during the testing phase. Even "today", there doesn't seem to be any firm silk-pursing plan. According to the page linked to by Quiddity above mw:Flow/Editing_comments, a scratchpad would "slow down the development and deployment process ... and be worse than existing functionality in some ways", while "Obviously, the ideal is 'not needing comment editing'". So, it seems like WMF may still be hoping that, in default of it having designed software that is fit for purpose, the projects will redesign their processes to be fit for the software. Formerip (talk) 11:48, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
I think it possible that the reference might be to User_talk:Whatamidoing_(WMF)#Engaging_with_the_mathematics_editor_community, Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics/Archive/2013/Aug#Is_it_time_for_mathematicians_to_leave_Wikipedia? or Talk:Flow_Portal/Archive2#Maths. Deltahedron (talk) 15:51, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
See now, here's the problem. There are quite a few people who don't think that the software is fit for purpose, which is (by definition) communication. Risker (talk) 15:06, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Without wishing to prejudge the issue, and I'm quite looking forward to hearing how they seem in retrospect, I would not have attributed any failure of those discussions to deficiencies in the software. Deltahedron (talk) 15:42, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
As a participant in and observer of those discussions, WhatamIdoing, do you think they went well or badly, and why? What could have been done to make them more constructive? Do you think that Community Advocates should have been aware of the discussions earlier? Deltahedron (talk) 09:11, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I could, User:FormerIP, but it would be pointless, because your premise is wrong: "I'd like to try to understand why they were ignored". These discussions were not ignored. The need for this feature has been agreed to by all parties, including the devs for months. So if your goal is to find out "why they were ignored", you're doomed to failure: you're only going to find the devs saying "Yes, that's obviously necessary. The question is, which of these many possible methods, some of which do not include anyone editing anyone else's actual comments, would be best support collaborative work on article text?"

What hasn't been decided yet is "how"—not "whether"—to have a method of people being able to edit the same text.

Perhaps this will help:

  •  Done Everyone agrees that a method of working collaboratively on text is absolutely necessary for discussions.
  • Not done yet Nobody agrees on the exact method of working collaboratively on text that will be best for collaborative editors.

The status of collaborative editing is "Not done yet". Your premise is that the status is "not going to do it", which is both very different and wrong.

The Flow team really needs people to talk about how to promote collaborative editing. For example, would it be good to have a structured system that indicates that the OP truly does want you to edit what s/he's written (or, conversely, that s/he doesn't)? "Just edit this" hasn't usually worked in my recent experience. If you go look through the recent archives of most major policies (WT:V, WT:CONSENSUS), you'll find few people actually editing the other person's, but instead putting up slight variations, one after another.

One of the problems with this "I'll just post my preferred version, without changing yours" approach is that it's actually hard to tell what has been changed from one version to the next, because you can't get a useful diff. Would you like a system that encourages people to actually edit the original proposal? Would you like one that makes it possible to get a diff on just the changes to the collaborative text? Would you like a system that makes it possible to import the collaborative history into the article, so that if you post a requested edit or help out with collaborative text on a talk page, and your text gets put in the article, then the attribution would be correctly represented in the article history?

People who can wrap their heads around the distinction between "the method I've been using" (e.g., editing someone else's comment) and "what I actually need to achieve" (collaborative editing as part of a discussion) would be really valuable in testing and discussions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:14, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Break (WMF software discussion)

I thank Jimbo for his kind words about the recent initiative over mathematics content tendering and editing: I am looking forward to seeing the next step in what I hope will become a productive engagement. However, I would be disturbed if it were seen as the model for that sort of engagement, rather than the exception. It took something like a year, on and off, for several people, all from the volunteer side of the house, to get that under way, using time and energy taken away from other contributions to the project and it's still not clear that it will have been worth while. In the meantime, WMF has a team of Community Advocates whose role is to facilitate communication between staff and all the communities in every project under the umbrella of the Wikimedia Foundation, to help ensure that both sides of this important equation are pulling together towards our common goal and to help volunteers get access to resources and information they need from the Wikimedia Foundation and to ensure that the Wikimedia Foundation remains aware of the character of its communities. Unfortunately right now they are unable to act in the way I had hoped, and many members of the community clearly expect: one of them stated "in the way things are currently set up, I am not able to advocate for you in the way that you request, and I have no authority to assign anyone to advocate for you in the way that you request. I can point you to resources; I can pass along your suggestions; I can generally get information. I cannot proactively help tease out requirements for math development from the community, and what I know about what is planned is all public information" [14]. Clearly whatever is getting in the way of the Community Advocates playing the role they asipire to play and the volunteer community wants them to play needs to be fixed, whether it be lack of resources, lack of information, lack of access or lack of authority. Deltahedron (talk) 15:13, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Deltahedron, I think this is very excellent feedback. The reason I use this as a model is not the "something like a year" that it took, but rather the "something like a month" (as I recall) from me suggesting the NPOV summary to me getting a commitment from Lila for resources. You are absolutely right that in this particular case (as in all particular cases) time will tell about the results but I'm very hopeful here. It's a lot better than the usual lack of communication and carping, that's for sure.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:12, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that resources are being committed. I hope we hear more good news in due course. Deltahedron (talk) 06:14, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
"Community Advocates" are company employees, bottom line. There needs to be formal organization of the volunteers and frank and realistic negotiations need to take place between the two groups, bearing in mind that objectives of each group are not necessarily identical. A "company union" is no substitute for a real union in hammering out a fair contract... The relationship right now is one-sided. Carrite (talk) 03:23, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
I think that's unduly cynical: they are indeed employees, but their job involves liaison between volunteers and staff. For various reasons unknown to me they are unable to do that to the extent that I would have expected, but I would imagine that one of those reasons is that each group sees them as representative of the "others". Indeed, that's fairly usual for people in a liaison role. Fixing that would involve fixing the culture. Deltahedron (talk) 15:57, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
More realistically, "fixing that", where "that" means community advocates not being able to pick up any projects that any volunteers like Deltahedron wants them to take on, would require that there were far more of them. Right now, there are four community advocates supporting 800+ WMF projects, two million contributors, and half a billion readers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:23, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I think that's right. Carrite's view is just false - it doesn't reflect the attitudes of the WMF nor the community advocates nor is there inherent tension between the Foundation's goals and the community's goals. When there are frictions, the solution is not to unionize and battle but to fix the underlying problem.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:12, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Firstly, having community advocates "pick up any project that any volunteer like Deltahedron wants them to take on" is not what I am asking for, and I think that I have discussed this often enough with community advocates, including WhatamIdoing, that she should know this. Just to repeat myself, I was asking for constructive proactive engagement. Is there any serious opposition to that? Secondly, "fixing that" referred to the problem that each group sees the advocates as representative of the "others". Deltahedron (talk) 06:48, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Before you get overwhelmed trying to support half a billion readers, I suggest that you focus on the most active 10,000, or the subset of those who have edited within the past three months, and make more use of your Mass message sender privileges. This would be analogous to members of the US Congress, who "support" several hundred thousand voters, focusing on the subset of those voters who are their biggest financial contributors. The most active content contributors are probably Wikipedia's biggest asset. Wbm1058 (talk) 23:47, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Interesting point. The biggest asset is probably the readers, whose actions are what makes Wikipedia a top-5 google-hit for almost every subject; the only role of the editors in that is the creation of the page in the first place. Risker (talk) 01:24, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I think it is a mistake to go down this path. The Foundation exists to serve the goal of building an encyclopedia. We are here to build it and we want the readers to read it. We can look for points of opposition and devaluation and we might find some if we try really hard. But I think it's a strain. As an editor, I value readers. As a reader, I value editors. In either role, I value the developers who do the technical work to make the rest of it possible. And the developers, in my personal experience, care very deeply about the readers and editors. It is important not to mistake errors or breakdowns in communications as evidence of a fundamental and irreconcilable difference in goals that has to be fought about.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:12, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Readers are the consumers of the product. That any business which loses its customers (money-paying consumers) likely won't continue its operations for long is a trivial point. I'm not sure what you mean by asset, but I was thinking of the primary meaning: Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value and that is held to have positive economic value. One might argue that editors aren't owned or controlled, but perhaps they are ;0| Wbm1058 (talk) 04:16, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Sending out a mass message is not generally considered "proactive engagement". It would be insufficient to the point of irrelevance for Deltahedron's goal.
What Deltahedron wants is for the (four) CAs to push the volunteer mathematics editors into holding long, organized, conversations about product requirements for mathematics software, so that detailed, actionable product specifications and a plan for implementing them can be created and adopted.
This is not a bad idea at all, except:
  • none of the CAs are technically qualified to hold this conversation,
  • the most natural department for gathering software requirements is not the one called "Legal and Community Advocacy" department, and
  • doing this—even just for this one project, not even counting Deltahedron's desire for this to be done more generally, to find and support many more ideas—the CA team would have to stop at least some of what they're already doing (e.g., answering the emergency contact systems and supporting community discussions about legal-related policy discussions) to make time for this.
Again: it's not their job to collect product requirements, and it would not be possible to do this in general without a massive expansion of the staff. (Since Congress was mentioned above, I'll note that each US Representative has 18 official staff members, not just four.) Should somebody do this? Maybe: Product already collects requirements for software they're building, but they have historically relied on volunteers community members to approach them with ideas for which products to build. But maybe not: Maybe we don't want a culture in which paid staff crowd out volunteers by taking over tasks that volunteers have historically done (and done well), like talking about how the site software should evolve. Maybe we want to have these discussions when the community feels like it, instead of when some staff member gets an assignment to talk about something. I can see advantages and disadvantages to the general goal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:34, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I note that User:Whatamidoing (WMF) has as part of her job description "ensuring that readers and editors are represented in the decision-making process and that our planned software adequately reflects user needs". I applaud her frankness in explaining that it is not actually possible for her to do so, at least in the way I propose. What would be needed for it to become possible? Deltahedron (talk) 17:21, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
What would it take for me to do what you want? It would take my boss making my main assignment be talking to 800+ WMF wikis and thousands of communities in 200+ languages about anything and everything, rather than talking to (currently) three wikis about one product. Also, as a practical matter, we would need an advanced state of human cloning technology, because the last time what you wanted was undertaken, it involved a thousand participants, including multiple staff and volunteers working full-time. If you'd like to consider the outcome (which might be a reasonable way of figuring out whether you would like to repeat this; AFAIK, the WMF has no official position on that point), then you should note that the previous iteration of your proposal decided what what the communities urgently wanted and needed was VisualEditor, Flow, and Mobile web. The proposal to minimize all that scary mathematics stuff fortunately didn't go anywhere. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:18, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
That would seem to simplify down to "more staff". How many more, would you estimate? Or, if you think the required numbers unfeasible, what alternative and less costly mechanism would achieve the required degree of ensuring that readers and editors are represented in the decision-making process and that our planned software adequately reflects user needs? Deltahedron (talk) 19:37, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
For what you're talking about, I'd estimate about 20, speaking at least 10 major languages between them, for two years—and that's just to make a plan, not to implement it. The more important parts are:
  • Would the communities of contributors want to give up thousands and thousands of hours of work on the projects, to talk about software that might or might not need any changes as far as they're personally concerned? For example, since you favor LaTeX support, are you interested in spending a couple of weeks talking to people who believe that LaTeX is a poor choice and that everything ought to be done in HTML or as static images? Would that be a productive use of your time?
  • Would the communities accept the decisions that were made by whichever contributors decided to join the process? For example, VisualEditor was identified in the last round as a key priority. But when it was announced last year, there were some people who objected to the idea of any rich text editor, because they thought that learning to use wikitext proved you were smart enough to write an encyclopedia article.
Finally, we do have mechanisms that allow editors to report their needs and wants. The main mechanism is called "posting a note on the Village Pump", which any moderately experienced editor should be both capable of finding and capable of doing. There are many other options, including contacting devs directly, talking to people at [[Mediawiki:]], filing bug reports and enhancement requests at Bugzilla:, and even writing the code yourself, for people who know how to do that. In some areas, especially tech-oriented areas like mathematics, you don't even have to do that much: Several MediaWiki developers are also members of WikiProject Mathematics, so messages there tend to get noted by people who could take action on them, if they wanted to. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:02, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Twenty sounds about right, and quite consistent with WMF budget and staffing aspirations. There are a lot of interesting points here: some specific comments
Would the communities of contributors want to give up thousands and thousands of hours of work on the projects, to talk about software that might or might not need any changes as far as they're personally concerned? I'm told that there are some 75,364 active editors on all Wikimedia projects, sp that's a few minutes each, hardly onerous.
are you interested in spending a couple of weeks talking to people who believe that LaTeX is a poor choice and that everything ought to be done in HTML or as static images? Would that be a productive use of your time? No and no. But I had to anyway, hence my desire to see a strategic and structural solution in place.
The main mechanism is called "posting a note on the Village Pump" which any moderately experienced editor should be both capable of finding and capable of doing Yes, if you happen to be an English-speaking editor on Wikipedia. We have been told that there are 800+ WMF wikis and thousands of communities in 200+ languages. Are they all likely to be able to go there?
There are many other options Indeed, and that is part of the problem, not part of the solution, as I know having spent time navigating some of the many options. I would hesitate to say that it's a way of giving non-staff the runaround, but it does seem that there's always another page somewhere that I should have posted at, which staff knew about but I didn't. Surely it makes more sense for staff, who presumably know their way round the structures already, to do it.
Several MediaWiki developers are also members of WikiProject Mathematics, so messages there tend to get noted by people who could take action on them, if they wanted to My experience does not support even this limited view of engagement.
The tone suggests that everything is already catered for. I wonder whether the facts support that? The tenor seems to be that sufficiently determined editors, let's call them power users, will always find a way. But then we discover that the opinion of a small number of power users doesn't count! Previous mechanisms for developing views from the volunteer side and incorporating them effectively into WMF planning simply are not fit for purpose any more. Deltahedron (talk) 18:07, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Additional: WhatamIdoing has pointed out to me that she is a Community Liaison, not a Community Advocate as I had thought. Sorry for the confusion, but I do not think it affects either the principle or even the detail of my argument here. Deltahedron (talk) 19:44, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Risker suggests that the "biggest asset is probably the readers": actually, I'm pretty sure it's the encyclopaedia, which is what we are building here -- "the only role of the editors in that is the creation": yes, and quite an important one I would have said. Deltahedron (talk) 17:25, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Quite. That was a rather strange and very revealing thing for Risker to have said. Eric Corbett 14:14, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Not strange at all from a narrow "head office" sort of view where you focus on money raised. It does, however, ignore the reality of product quality (which is created and maintained by those valueless editors). If the product is crap (or becomes crap), you lose customers (readers)...or they lose their willingness to feed the coffers. Intothatdarkness 15:10, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Break (WMF Engineering and the Wikipedia Community)

The underlying problem is that the WMF engineering team think they should be able to dictate what the Wikipedia community chooses to enable/disable on the Wikipedia project. No one seriously thinks they do not have the right or power to make changes to the underlying software, that is what they get paid to do. However the EN-wikipedia project community takes the view that the community is the final arbiter of what parts of that software are on and visible by default on en-wikipedia. What should be the preferred and least objectionable version of wikipedia that the public sees. Now VisualEditor (and Flow to a lesser extent) are not 'reader' centric upgrades. They are aimed at the editing community who are frankly (and justified in my opinion) unforgiving of engineers who dont listen to feedback, dont understand what is and isnt a priority, and yet still insist on ramming their badly-designed and bug-laden babies down editors throats. Media Viewer is a slightly different kettle of fish in that it is a reader-centric upgrade. However there are still valid concerns with it, and the community decided it should be off by default until its in better shape.

The problem this causes for the WMF engineering team is that they *need* en-wikipedia to adopt their software upgrades to justify their budget and staffing. Its the biggest and most PR/newsworthy project. Its not satisfactory to them to say 'Well we have done all this but no one is using it'. This isnt really their fault, as there is a clear lack of oversight, targets & goals, project management etc etc. The only validation they get is seeing their work turned on on en-wiki. If the engineering team had proper leadership and oversight, they wouldnt be in the place they are now, having software after software rejected by the wiki-project's communities.

Its within Arbcom's scope to say 'This is our project, we will decide what we want to use of your software'. If the WMF does not want to accept that, then it needs to start acting professionally within its engineering teams and not like a bunch of amateurs. There is a proposal for an oversight committee that is a good start, but without dismantling some of the WMF's engineering fiefdoms, I dont really expect it to do much. Only in death does duty end (talk) 23:15, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

An interesting proposal, and well worth further consideration.—Neotarf (talk) 16:22, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

They deployed it too early. That's all. They did it again. Too many bugs. Too many important functions missing or poorly implemented. Again. Yes, there will always be troglodytes who resist any change, and editors who seem oblivious to the existence of that other stakeholder, the reader. Those people can always be ignored. But here there are many critical faults being reported by sane volunteers and the WMF's response is, "Aww, people always bellyache about new stuff. They just need to learn where the buttons are." Again. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 12:32, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

I haven't followed the discussions on MediaViewer closely, but I did have it enabled in beta for several months before it was made mandatory. Were they still receiving complaints of broken or missing features that were legitimately broken and missing features as opposed to "it moved, I don't like it, put it back"? If yes, then I would agree launch was premature. As to the latter point, I agree somewhat with your characterization of WMF's oft-used response to community complaints, but I have to admit that we as a community have partially done that to ourselves. Many people - again, myself included - have railed against changes simply because they were changes. The amount of static we've helped to create has helped to drown out legitimate concern and feedback in some cases. Resolute 15:10, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
@Resolute: Here's the list of open bugs. I think that they have an interesting idea, and they've made some major improvements... nonetheless, every developer (even for free software) has to face the harsh reality of the marketplace eventually. Wnt (talk) 00:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

I think there is more going on here. The thing is that the MediaWiki software is used in tens of thousands of web sites (some fairly important) outside of Wikipedia. I think it's important that the developers of MediaWiki be completely free to do whatever improvements they want/need without Wikipedia breathing down their necks. However, Wikipedians must be the ultimate decision-makers in whether we wish to upgrade to some new and (arguably) improved version - or whether we'd prefer to wait things out on a maintenance branch of our own until things stabilize enough to be used here. Ideally, things like the visual editor, the new media viewer and flow should be options that can be turned on and off - preferably by individual users of Wikipedia. Rather than turning something on by default and waiting for a slew of complaints - we should provide it as an option and carefully inform users that they can turn it on if they like it.

Obviously, there will come a time when some very ancient option that very few people still use needs to be dumped in order to streamline some newer functionality - but it should be easily possible to look at the user base statistics and say "Well - less than 1% of editors are using this - we can just dump it now."

The deal here is that both communities need the freedom to do their thing. That's what makes people happy. That's what allows innovation. If the software team produce a feature that's truly a massive win - then people will flock to use it. If they produce something that's basically just eye-candy, they won't. That's how you figure out what your users want. SteveBaker (talk) 14:23, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

  • Let me ask a candid question. From what I read above it appears that Jimbo's position is much closer to the MV's team than to the editors'. Is that is indeed the case, how can he represent this community in the dispute? -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 20:05, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
    • Perhaps you could explain in exactly which particulars you find my position to be "closer to the MV's team than to the editors" as a first step. I don't think that's true at all, but I also think that the whole "editors versus developers" meme is factually mistaken and the result of not having a robust view into all sides. What the developers need is non-insulting factual (NPOV) summaries of existing problems and desired solutions. A whole lot of AGF is called for.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:01, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
      • @Jimbo Wales: In order to represent the editors in a hypothetical dialogue with WMF, you should share with the community a couple of important convictions: (1) That MV was implemented prematurely as the default viewer: because it was not ready and because the community was not consulted as it should; (2) That a vast majority of the editor’s community in en:WP does not consider MV useful. That is demonstrated by the poll made by WMF in June; (3) That a vast majority of the editor’s community in en:WP consider that MV should not be implemented by default. That was demonstrated in a recent RfC, whose results are in line with the WMF poll. In my opinion no effective dialogue is possible while MV continues to be the default viewer. I would be honored to have you as my representative in this dispute. However, in what you have written above I see no clear indication that you share with the community any of those convictions. Please correct me if I am wrong. Alvesgaspar (talk) 21:44, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
        • @Alvesgaspar:You are wrong, as it turns out, but it is also important to note that my personal opinions of MV are of absolutely no relevance. I don't go to the Foundation with my personal software gripes elevated to a position of privilege. Instead I work to move forward dialog in a constructive way. What I have been asking for - and still hope to get - is an NPOV summary of the problem, stripped of all insult and hypothesizing about the eeeeevil motives of the Foundation or the developers, so that I can consult with them in a constructive way. :-) To repeat the important point here: I wouldn't be of much use as a voice for the community, if I have to agree with everything the community says before voicing it. Please reconsider that part of your idea.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:12, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
          • @Jimbo Wales: I’m afraid there are two misunderstandings here: the first is about the concept of representative. If you want to be our representative, then your view of the problem must be identical to ours, at least in its fundamental points. A different thing, apparently more in line with what appears to be your personal opinion and status, is to be a mediator between the community of editors and WMF. The second misunderstanding is about scope. Of course, you are worried about the big picture: how to modernize the rather primitive interface of Wikimedia and involve the community of volunteers in the process? However, that is not the object of the recent RfC or the specific focus of the present conflict. My opinion is that in order to start dealing with the big problem, we will have to solve the small one first. Otherwise animosity between the two parties will tend to increase and AGF to erode rapidly. I fail to understand why the MV team hasn’t yet acknowledged that they did wrong and hasn’t yet retracted with its decision to make MV a default. Could it be pride? Or the very human reluctance of losing the face? I don’t think it is that difficult to write a NPOV description of the facts concerning the MV problem. That is what I did in my last post, with no insults or suggestion of evils motives ;-). The bottom line: yes, maybe you could act as a good mediator between the community of editors and WM; no, I don’t think you could represent the community in the present conflict: that is the role of ArbCom. Alvesgaspar (talk) 17:41, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
            • @Alvesgaspar: "If you want to be our representative, then your view of the problem must be identical to ours, at least in its fundamental points." That's just not true and couldn't possibly be made operational. There is a vast and diverse editing community who disagree about all sorts of things. But that's really a philosophical question because, as I've said, it's just mistaken that I don't agree. I can represent that community very effectively by communicating consensus and majority viewpoints clearly. It would be inappropriate for me to require that I agree with everything before I do so, and no one could possibly represent a community all the time under that condition. Second "I don't think it is that difficult to write a NPOV description of the facts concerning the MV problem. That is what I did in my last post..." Can you point me to the diff, because I'm not sure what you mean. Could we pull that out of whatever thread it is in, and start a separate document? User talk:Jimbo Wales/NPOV report on problems with MV how about? That'd give me something to use as a basis for advocacy.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:16, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
              • @Jimbo Wales: I have done what you asked for, please check User talk:Jimbo Wales/NPOV report on problems with MV. But I don't agree with your interpretation of what a representative of the community should be. I see two possibilities: either your were elected to represent us all in whatever situation (the case of ArbCom); or you were accepted in some ad hoc fashion to represent the community in a specific situation. In such case it seems obvious that you POV should be the same as the one of the editors you represent. Giving a carte blanche would never be accepted. Alvesgaspar (talk) 21:26, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
                • Jimbo, is that what you were looking for? Or something more along the lines of a summary of open bugs that listed them by severity and indicated which, if any, should be considered show-stoppers? Wbm1058 (talk) 18:18, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Why would you think that Jimbo's role was to represent the community in this dispute?—Kww(talk) 15:34, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Because of the implicit invitation in the first comment of this thread and of his response above: ... and much thanks to those who have asked me to represent the community on these issues (which, of course, I very much desire to do). -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 16:00, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

One thing people are missing here is that "we don't like changes, why did you move this stuff around" is a legitimate complaint. Arbitrarily changing the user interface so the designers can feel they've accomplished something is one of the scourges of bad software design.

I'm also astonished at the suggestion that Wikipedians "compromise". What does it even mean to compromise with tearing something down and replacing it? Tearing down half of it and replacing the half?Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:06, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Indeed, all change comes as a cost. Sadly, the people making the change very often are not the ones paying the cost. Deltahedron (talk) 16:45, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, you should say that they don't pay the same cost. They likely have a lot of other costs (monetary and other) related to a situation of NOT changing, and they have directs costs for the change itself. The problem is that those are not visible to you and don't have short term impact on you. This is the 'consumers don't care'-problem. But our movement (also its software consumers) does have to care, because we are the reason there is a foundation, and the ones shaping it's future. So in my opinion we have a responsibility to take a wider view for problems that we face.—TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:27, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Well the ArbCom represents the editor community, as it was elected by the community. Readers, who don't edit and thus don't vote, can only be represented by reputable neutral third-party-produced opinion polls and analysis of site traffic (page reads). Jimbo's request that someone write up an NPOV summary of the issues is reasonable, but is a distraction from other priorities for those who might take the time to do this in a quality way. I've already taken time to give feedback on Visual Editor and Flow, and am frustrated that I only got so far in discussions with product management before the conversation stalled. I would like to know who asked for the Media Viewer, and at what level the decision to undertake the project was approved. – Wbm1058 (talk) 20:20, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
  • ArbCom, while elected, does not directly represent the editor community, as they all have opinions of their own. In fact, no one can be said to "represent the editor community". If representation of editors is what you want, an RfC would be closer, but still not close enough. KonveyorBelt 00:14, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    What you are suggesting is that for Wikipedia, a direct democracy should be preferred over a representative democracy. But the WMF is saying that they have issues with the self-selected participation levels in our direct democracy-based requests for comment. If you don't like the way ArbCom handles this case, then you can vote them out of office. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:28, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

I asked a couple of simple questions:

  1. who asked for the Media Viewer – and in what venue did they ask? please link to where discussion was initiated, if possible.
  2. at what level was the decision to undertake the project approved? Board of Directors? Executive Director? Head of Product Management? A product manager under him? Please link to where approval was given if possible

Anyone have answers? Wbm1058 (talk) 13:45, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Hi, I don't have answers to all of these questions but I could try to find out if I can understand the purpose of the questions. Why does it matter "who asked" and "in what venue"? Is it your view that it is always improper for the community to propose new features? Always improper for staff to propose new features? I just don't see how it could be of interest at this point to know who asked for it.
In terms of "what level was the decision to undertake the project approved" I can only say that it quite properly was not at the board level. If you want my opinion as to where the right level of management for that sort of approval should be it should be with the relevant head of product. (I.E. a relatively straightforward product improvement doesn't need ED signoff, but individual developers shouldn't allocate resources without management review at the appropriate level). There can be reasonable deviations in specific cases (where the feature is very minor, or where it is very major, then a higher or lower level of approval would be fine). Given that general discussion, can you understand why I'm not sure why you are even asking this.
Isn't this a better question: "What are the specific problems that people have with the Media Viewer and how can they best be communicate to the appropriate level of the WMF organization so that fixes and improvements can be implemented in a timely fashion?" That's the question that I'm asking you: what's the problem, written up unemotionally, so that I can make sure that the right people hear about it and respond appropriately.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:14, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
There are two issues here. (1) Whether a project which uses readers' donations of money should be undertaken at all, and (2) Once undertaken, whether it is ready to go "live". The discussion above is mostly about the second question, but that presupposes that the first question was already answered satisfactorily. So my questions here are getting at the first question, which presumably was already answered satisfactorily. This should just be a matter of public record, as this is a charity dealing with donated money. I don't see why the answers to these questions should be secret or controversial. As to whether the community or the staff should propose new features, I don't think it should matter. May the best ideas get funding, regardless of where they came from. If there is one person making a proposal, and then approving their own proposal without adequate review, then that would be a problem. Routinely publishing information on this sort of decision making would remove any doubt that might be the case. While this isn't as big a project as VE or Flow, I don't see it as very minor either. Wbm1058 (talk) 16:24, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
The "purpose of the questions" is simple, Jimbo. The WMF seems to be implementing features that make things "modern" without sufficient engagement with the community to make sure that they will actually improve things and without spending time understanding the editing flow. Combine that with the dismissive attitude towards "power users" and you have a breeding ground for problems. Quite simply, there's nothing about Media Viewer that I could describe as an "improvement" unless you presume the reason I want to examine the image is to get a larger version of the image, which I rarely want to do. Flow actually seems designed to intentionally interfere with our normal communication methods, ostensibly on the grounds that the reason people have a hard time joining the community is that editing talk pages is hard. In practice, it seems to be designed to encourage brief, superficial discussion without allowing us to branch into subtopics as easily.
All of this seems based on the strange concept that we need to grow the editing base by some substantial margin. Why would we do that? Are we falling behind? Are the 4 million or so articles that have been created inadequate? It's no great surprise that any project that has created this mass of material has idiosyncratic ways of producing it. I've never worked for a company that said "the people working on this project have developed a largely successful method of producing product. Let's go disrupt all that so that we can hire more employees!".—Kww(talk) 14:06, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
This is another huge issue, I think. As English WP fleshed out, the need is not for more editors, it is for better editors, at least as far as content writing is concerned. Obviously, vandalism policing and copy editing are different subsets of volunteers and may have different needs. Gone are the days when we want Joe IP to drop by and "add what he knows" about parsley or the atomic bomb, in the hopes that somebody else will come along an fix his errors and that through the magic of "crowdsourcing" a fine article will result. Specialized topics need specialized writers with access to specialized sources. It's not about counting noses and feeling the need for quantitatively more — it's a matter of targeted recruitment. (Again YMMV for copy editors and vandal fighters). Carrite (talk) 21:09, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Tim makes a really good point. Editing has changed a lot in the past nine years. It used to be much easier to stroll by and drop in a packet of information. As our standards have increased, making substantial content edits (as opposed to gnoming) requires a great deal more energy and concentration. My general impression of the big, controversial software projects (AFT, Visual Editor) is that they've largely focused on the barrier to initial entry: going from being a non-Wikipedian to being make small edits. They don't address the much larger barrier (IMO) that exists between making little tweaks and typo fixes to actually writing paragraphs of well-sourced and well-formatted content. Software can't do anything about the cognitive load of having to read and integrate multiple sources, but what it can do is abstract away the technical details of reference formatting, template syntax, etc. that crop up in making a polished article. The initial release of VE lowered the first barrier, but if anything, it made the second barrier worse, which I think accounts for a great deal of the ill-will surrounding its introduction.
I understand that there are plans afoot to overhaul the citation system. [15] A good implementation of reference management in Visual Editor and the ability to make bibliographic queries on our article base is the sort of thing that could vastly improve editor productivity, and I would expect it to be quite well-received. (Although I don't doubt that there will be an angry minority complaining about any change and trying to stonewall the whole thing with WP:CITEVAR.) Choess (talk) 00:49, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
If a "power user" has no idea in what venues accepted project proposals are proposed, and what the process is by which accepted project proposals are accepted, what chance do they have of submitting an accepted project proposal themselves? It seems that "power users" are shut out of the process. – Wbm1058 (talk) 15:01, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I would myself be intrigued to learn how this and other projects were conceived and approved. The new ED of WMF, Lila Tretikov, at the July Metrics Meeting in San Francisco included the slogan "You Work For The Users" in her presentation, without managing to say exactly of whom she speaks of as "Users" — the readers or the volunteers who write, edit, and maintain this site. These two questions: (1) How are projects conceived and approved by WMF? and (2) Which so-called "users" does WMF think it is working for? seem critical. Carrite (talk) 15:34, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
You're absolutely right for the need for more explanation there. The truth is, that for the Foundation as a whole, I think Lila means all the users (readers and editors of all experience levels). Balancing these user groups is something we have to do at the top level of the organization and its planning for the year and beyond. It's when it comes to any individual feature or change to the site however where we need to be more specific. I think this is where TheDJ's comments below are helpful. If there's a lack of clarity about A) who something is for B) our theory about why it's improvement C) data of some kind to show whether we were remotely correct or not, then that's a problem. Communicating this stuff to thousands of people isn't easy, but that doesn't mean we can't do better. I think everyone working on software at WMF would echo that sentiment. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:44, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Adding something constructive to this conversation: I have never been formally surveyed about what I need as a content writer on this site. I assume that is true for other content writers, copy editors, vandal fighters, and administrative facilitators. WMF needs to immediately figure out who those 10,000 or so Very Active Editors are across the projects and to systematically and regularly ask them things. Projects should emerge from actual needs. That's the huge disconnect, I think. Also: stop calling the active volunteer community "power users." It is insulting. Carrite (talk) 15:45, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
The last general editor survey did include questions about what tools people desire, and I believe we're working on another one. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:45, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Great, but I think you should do two surveys: (1) A randomized general-editor survey to determine what would help casual, occasional editors make fewer mistakes. (2) A survey of all, for lack of a better term, power-editors to determine what tools might help them fix the errors and omissions of the casuals. A better de-orphaning tool immediately comes to mind. We have something developed by a volunteer, but could use better. Wbm1058 (talk) 19:03, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Hey, we have an article on Power users: it does seem like an insult to call template editors, Lua module coders and bot operators. Wbm1058 (talk) 17:57, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Personally I use the term 'advanced users', which to me includes active (and invested) editors that are involved with common tasks. Be it discussions for deletion, clerical work, write JS tools or lua modules, do spell fixes, write FA articles, sort categories, issue blocks or protect pages, crop or rotate pictures, cleanup wikicode, preventing link rot, adding sources etc etc etc. Basically people that have build up expertise that is very specific to building the encyclopedia. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:21, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Right. If an expert PHP programmer leaves Wikipedia, they can easily be replaced. But a PHP programmer who also has built up expertise that is very specific to building the encyclopedia, that is a skill that is priceless to Wikipedia, but alas, nontransferable to another position for the programmer. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:51, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I just ran across the Multimedia usability project report on a project funded by the Ford Foundation which developed the file upload wizard. Hey if the Media Viewer was funded by a similar corporate grant, and the grantor is happy with the project, that's good. Cool usability videos in this report, and it seems that this was implemented quietly and with no or minimal drama. What a contrast with MV. Is there a similar project report for Media Viewer? Wbm1058 (talk) 19:03, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe that any such report exists, although one may be written in the future.
However, have you heard of the "not my wiki" problem before? Things that happen on another wiki don't "count" as far as people "here" are concerned. Upload Wizard's deployment happened "quietly and with no or minimal drama" because it didn't happen at your wiki. There are several dozen archives as well as discussions like this that suggest your assessment, made a couple of years later and from the vantage point of another wiki, might not be based on full information. That said, it was a relatively successful product introduction, with only a minority of users demanding that it be immediately turned off for all users. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:11, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
OK, I was thinking of Wikipedia:File Upload Wizard when I wrote that. Is Commons' wizard a totally unrelated product? Off hand it seems like there should be some synergy between the two. What I do know is that Wikipedia:File Upload Wizard was a big improvement and that {{error}} transclusions from the poorly designed {{logo fur}} slowed to a crawl after the new wizard replaced the previous process. Wbm1058 (talk) 22:38, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I assume it's the same, but I'm not sure. Different communities (and subcommunities) often have different reactions to the same software. The first community is usually the least pleased (because they get all the bugs and unfinished design issues), but a "specialist" community often is less happy than a community that is less dependent on the software.
The way someone became a major contributor to Commons pre-deployment was to know how to use the old software, right? So completely new software is low on their priority list, and the benefits have to be substantial for the frustration and time spent learning the new system to be worthwhile to them personally. The old system, by definition, was basically working for them.
Now, for someone who was having problems because of the old system—the old system that they gave up on, or that they used in ways that produced all those errors—the new system might be easier to learn than the old one, and it's probably good for them. However, they're not present (because of all those problems they encountered with the old system). The deployment process rarely hears from those users. The comments after a deployment come disproportionately from the established contributors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:33, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. Taking that a little further, what mechanisms are in place for the various proposals to be made and triaged, and for preferences and requirements, costs and benefits to be captured, assessed and prioritised? As an example, how was this done for VE, Flow and VM? Are those mechanisms reviewed, discussed and assessed as fit for purpose? Deltahedron (talk) 05:58, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

I consider the whole above discussion ample proof of why the whole process will simply never work satisfactory. Too many differing expectations, too much build around volunteers (software and website). You can never even come close to the efficiency of a company and at the same time you are expected to deliver better quality than a company. It's the most expensive development model there is on the lowest budget, the lowest velocity and exposed to an extreme amount of criticism. You need to be in full control and at the same time are at the mercy of a (and/or the most important) fraction of your user base. You need extreme amounts of input by the different stakeholders of the software, but if you are lucky a few stakeholders are represented in you testgroup of volunteers that are already too busy with other things. You need the most transparent communication and processes and at the same time get out of the way of everyone. You need to be Apple (One More Thing, iMac, iPhone) and Microsoft (Look this enterprise IE6 app that you never spent a dollar on in 10 years still runs on IE11). It is guaranteed to lead to conflict as soon as people stop understanding/respecting these extremely contradictory influences. In the past this used to be less of a problem. No money meant, too bad, good luck and see what happens, aka no expectations everyone is on their own. Now there is money and management and thus people have (wildly varying) expectations. In general I do see a few problems though

  • Making the project bigger than it needs to be: how and why did a lightbox imageviewer idea turn into file description page replacement before it's 1st public release ? Probably too ambitious and too much focus on long term.
  • Using opt out as the deploy strategy, instead of gradual and repetitive invite (Invite is a nudge from the website to try something and is often employed by google).
  • Feature development is overly focused on non-editors, but does often create new problems for these editors. There is no reward only 'punishment'. It's like giving a present to the youngest child and then letting it play with the oldest child. Don't be surprised if the older one crushes the toy.
  • No in your face explanation of where the opt-out is located. Make that visible to 'editors'.
  • Worse, no initial opt-out at all...

Other improvements:

  • Don't poke the bear (do stuff that you know will give en.wp everything it needs to stomp you back in the ground)
  • Explain the way the new feature works. Getting started tours should be requirements of every single new feature.
  • Put a lot more attention on the ethical principles of the community, review the software on those criteria as well as the other criteria.
  • Invest a lot more into identifying stakeholders (types of users). Forgetting institutional donations in MMV was not too handy for instance. That should have been known and documented, with possible justification based on strategy (Please inform the institutions that we are committed and show them these prelim designs for version 2 coming in august 2014).
  • Make those things part of a public specification (Wether people comment on it or not).
  • Make this a required material for every developer/product group:

These are some small things that would probably help just a bit. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 16:06, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree with all
said, particularly about inviting people to try it on a large scale. Thanks, Matty.007 07:28, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Ditto. I think the lack of response here is just a sign that everyone is bowing to Derk-Jan's insights and expertise. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:51, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

I don't know if it will make any difference...

I am hatting this discussion not to end it, but to restart it in a more focussed direction. In my view, civility is a critical community issue and there are a fair number of editors who should be handed longterm blocks for clear and egregious bad behavior. Without, of course, necessarily endorsing every single nuance of what they have said, I am strongly supportive of what both BrownHairedGirl and Lightbreather have had to say on this topic, and appalled and disappointed by the lack of reasonableness of some of their interlocutors. In particular, the original usage of the word "cunt" in debate was deeply inappropriate and I think just as likely to have been a sly personal attack as not. "What? Who me? I didn't mean it about YOU of course, I just happened to say it about people in general." Right. And the idea expressed by Nomoskedasticity that "Civility campaigns are a tactic for those whose will to power has failed to gain potency in other respects" is just obviously false. Speaking for myself, as far as I can tell, my will to power has gained sufficient potency in the world, and yet I campaign for civility. I think a more accurate statement is "Opposition to a strong notion of civility is a tactic for those who know that their ideas cannot stand up to rational scrutiny, leaving bullying and abuse as the only way to win a debate."

So. As I said, I'm hatting this discussion in order to restart it in a more focussed direction. I'd like to invite kind and reasoned discussion based on the fundamental premise that we do have a problem, and that some people should be banned for it. If you don't agree with that premise, then this discussion may not be joyful for you so you may want to go start a different discussion on your own user talk page.

For me, progress involves working on some real issues with enforcement of civility. It isn't easy. Judgment calls have to be made, etc. But I believe that we can do much better and that even for that strange class of editors who do a lot of productive work but at great emotional cost to the rest of us, we are better off without them, because they cost us good editors in lots of ways. (Not just through their own obnoxiousness, but through the lowering of community norms that ensues by tolerating their behavior.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:55, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

... but I don't know how things could be any worse for me.

Mr. Wales, I am a sad editor. And I don't mean that in a comical way, like the sad panda on South Park. I mean that I am genuinely miserable. This isn't about a content dispute, which, judging from your front page, you might find more interesting. It's about my experience as a Wikipedia editor.

I am a good editor, and I love to edit. The research. The writing. The checking style guides. The juggling for balance. My current, preferred subject area is a contentious one. I finally got topic-banned for edit warring, which I don't deny: I warred with another user over the content in an article. Yes I did.

But one thing I've experienced and observed is incivility. I have received many lectures on the subject. Some insist that this has nothing to do with gender. Nonetheless, I feel that I have been personally attacked and harassed. Others say that it is only my behavior or my worldview that makes me feel this way. They say that I'll only make things worse for myself by bringing it up here. However - despite making my stomach turn a little - my natural curiosity now wants to know how it could possibly get any worse.

I am retired in the real world, but once upon a time I was a computer programmer/analyst: old-school, main-frame programming, plus some systems analysis, in manufacturing and the service industry. Then I went back to school and got a journalism degree, just because. When I'm alone with family and friends, I say politically incorrect things and use interjections like, "What the fuck!" just as often as the next Jane or Joe. But I also believe that in certain places, like in church or at work, civility matters, no matter how talented or important you are otherwise. Apparently, if this ever was much of a concern on WP, it's not much of one now.

For instance, if I were to say, "If I were to say that you are a cocksucker," it wouldn't matter. For one, I don't think that you are. But also, according to the dozen or so editors I discussed this with recently - as an aside to a simple question that I asked - civility is unenforceable on Wikipedia. You see, because of the way I worded my "for instance," there is no way in hell anyone could prove that I called you a cocksucker. Also, there might be someone somewhere who uses "cocksucker" as a term of affection. I'm sure that these other editors could come up with other reasons, but I'll set that aside for now.

Why is this so? Because the only thing that is important on WP is content. Conduct is secondary. Product over process. Never mind that there are civility and conduct policies, unless incivility or conduct threatens content anything goes.

I generally give lots of diffs with my complaints, but I'm just going to leave one here,[permalink] and if my story is interesting to you (and I'd much rather work on content than tell a story, but I feel this needs to at least be broached) feel free to ask questions. (BTW: The discussion I've linked to is not meant to cast a shadow on any particular editor or admin, only as an example of what I'm talking about.)

--Lightbreather (talk) 00:11, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Jimbo, as this leaves much unanswered, let me break it down a little:
  • Lightbreather rightly asked at WT:AN about how to request a civility board. It is, after all, one of our pillars
  • She was directed to the former WP:WQA where I used to be an active participant. She was shown the sad community discussion that shut it down
  • That conversation went downhill on a discussion about civility as a whole. During that discussion, an editor with a long block log - and a history of using the word "cunt" said the phrase "if you don't want to be called a cunt, don't act like one." It was at no point directed ay any specific person. They have also long argued that the word in question has a different meaning in the UK than in the US.
  • Lightbreather almost immediately filed a report alleging a violation of WP:NPA
  • As much as she's been shown that although uncivil and inappropriate, it was never a personal attack as per definition, she has filed 2 AN's, another ANI, and interjected in numerous conversation about her WP:IDHT/WP:STICK ... and it's just getting disruptive.
We all understand civility is key ... but Lightbreather's false claims of NPA are becoming extremely tiresome, and she's taking the tirade literally everywhere. I have personally supported many of her statements ... until this WP:POINTY (and perhaps WP:SPIDERMAN) behaviour began. She just refuses to read the policies/listen to wise counsel the panda ₯’ 00:21, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
First, re: DP's edit summary in adding his comments above, I don't think his story is "realer"[16] than mine. Second, I asked him earlier today, after he accused me of being disruptive, which subsections of the disruptive policy he was referring to. His answer was an unhelpful "all of it."[17] I reminded him that the DE policy is mostly, if not entirely, to do with conduct in the mainspace. Then I asked DP two specific follow-up questions and made two short observations,[18] which he did not respond to. Now he says that I am going "literally everywhere" with my "tirade." This is an example of the kind of conduct I'm talking about. Unhelpful and exaggerated. I went to exactly the places I was supposed to go in, I believe, exactly the order I'm supposed to if I want to complain. Also, 2 ANs and an ANI? I see 1 AN talk-page question (that devolved into the "c" word thing)[19], 1 related ANI yesterday,[20] and a separate ANI today.[21] Lightbreather (talk) 01:25, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
First AN/I discussion was closed, you then started a second just below the close, which was closed again. Then today you started a 3rd. Monty845 01:32, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
The second was really just part of the first. The editor who closed the first wouldn't reopen it, but he said that I could. That felt wrong to me, so I appended to it, in an unorthodox manner maybe, but it went through a channel (original closer) that seems legit to me.[22] It's all together now,[23] though no-one seriously addressed what I appended - which was the whole reason that I asked to have it re-opened. Lightbreather (talk) 01:41, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I would like to repeat the essence of a comment I made at ANI two days ago: Replacing the word with {{rpa}} was not correct as there was no personal attack. As I understand it, the issue is that a culture which tolerates such language attracts others of a similar mind whilehort repelling a significant portion who find such a culture unwelcoming and potentially unsafe. That argument can be made (slowly), but claiming a personal attack when there was none is only going to focus discussion on the mistake. That is what has happened. Johnuniq (talk) 01:42, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────Wow. The stuff that happens while one is sleeping. I keep making a point here that either no-one is getting (which is sad, if it's true) or everyone is declining to comment on. IF, after reading Eric's comment that first time and being insulted (which I was) I then immediately proceeded to remove it per WP:RPA, that would've been jumping the gun. However, what I did was tell him that it was insulting and ask him to remove it. He didn't remove it, so then I did. As I've concluded about this elsewhere: Insisting on using a word after colleagues have told you, more than once, that it is offensive is a personal attack. It's as simple as that, folks. This isn't about censorship in the mainspace - I'm not saying we should remove the word 'cunt' from Wikipedia - it's about conduct in the workplace. Lightbreather (talk) 15:51, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

We hear you loud and clear, do not confuse us 'not getting the point' with the 'rejection of the point' that you've tried to bring up at WT:ANI, WP:ANI multiple times, and finally Jimbo's talk page. Ignoring blatant WP:FORUMSHOPPING violations, I think what you're doing is constantly making the point which has already been rejected by the community. I fear that if you continue this, WP:HEAR may be invoked to eventually sanction you. Tutelary (talk) 16:18, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Having reviewed the diffs: this was clearly not a personal attack, not directly addressed at Lightbreather, just more of the same from the usual suspects. Carrite (talk) 01:55, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
So, it's your contention that in the course of a conversation, which includes a female, that the deliberate use of the word cunt is not a personal attack because it was not really directed at her? Saffron Blaze (talk) 05:12, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Surely that would be the conclusion of any rational editor, male or female, would it not? Eric Corbett 05:18, 29 July 2014 (UTC) ⚠ Alert Incivility in edit summary. – Wbm1058 (talk) 11:21, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Narrowing the issue to one of "personal attack" sadly illustrates the underlying problem. Any man using that language in a well-run workplace which included women would face disciplinary action, before the employer faced lawsuits from its female staff asserting their right not to have that sort of working environment.
Eric Corbett's attempt to dismiss objections as being not rational is an excellent illustration of how far uncivil and inapporpriate behaviour has become normalised on en.wp. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 10:23, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
PS just in case anyone missing the hostile intent of Eric's comment, note the edit summary which eric used in the comment to which I just replied: were you hiding behind the door when God handed out brains?.
Why does Wikipedia tolerate people who address other editors like that? The fact that they think they can get away with posting like that to the talkpage of Wikipedia's founder illustrates the extent to which a culture of incivility now flourishes openly amongst a minority of editors. I will block Eric for this, but i fear that I will face a backlash for doing so :( --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 10:28, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Please feel free to block me too then, because he's absolutely correct. The use of the word "cunt", not aimed at anyone, in a conversation which just happens to include a woman is not in any way a personal attack, and to claim such is not only not rational, but frankly ridiculous. If people say stupid things, they should be prepared to be called out on it. Black Kite (talk) 10:37, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
@Black Kite: It is perfectly fine to indicate disagreement, and a competent editor can do so without trying to convey an assertion that the other person is irrational. The use of an edit summary which amounts to blatant personal attack is unacceptable from any editor; it is inexcusable when done by an admineditor who has a long record blocks for that sort of conduct. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 10:57, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Nonsense needs to be indicated as such, and people need to take responsibility for saying it. Ah well, at least Lightbreather finally has the result she has forum-shopped for. Black Kite (talk) 11:07, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
In a civil discussion, people avoid placing the label "nonsense" on something with which they happen to disagree.
Do you seriously claim that the use of the c-word as a term of abuse should be regarded as acceptable in a mixed-gender workplace, just because the speaker claims that it was not aimed at a particular individual? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:14, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
It's only a term of abuse if it's being used as a term of abuse - which in this case it wasn't. Thus, classing it as a personal attack is, indeed, nonsense. I don't particularly like the word myself - you'll probably only hear it from me if I hit my thumb with a hammer - but I've heard it plenty of times in mixed-gender workplaces from people of both genders, and I've never seen anyone take it as some sort of misogynist personal attack on a random female who happened to be in earshot, which Lightbreather appears to think is the case every time it is used. Black Kite (talk) 11:31, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
It is misogynist language whose uses creates a hostile environment for women. The question of whether it was a direct personal attack is debatable. It may not have been directly addressed to that particular woman, but the editor who used that term should be aware of its effect in creating a hostile environment. I don't know whether its use was due to lack of thought about the effect, or amounted to an attempt to create that hostile environment while having a defence against accusations of personal attack; either explanation is plausible. However some of the replies here seem determined to focus on the possible mislabelling of the nature of the misconduct, whch has the effect of deflecting attention away from behaviour which should be not accepted regardless of intent.
If the effect of this sort of language is unclear, just consider the analogy of editors who defended the use of the n-word in a mixed-race environment. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:43, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
It is absolutely not analogous to the n-word, that is simply a hyperbolic strawman. That word is always a personal attack because of its history and connotations. We'll simply have to disagree on the semantics of the other word, but I will strongly maintain that it can only be misogynist when it is being used deliberately in the sense of demeaning someone because of their gender. 99% of the usages that I hear in everyday life simply aren't. Black Kite (talk) 12:02, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
1)The first statement was a defense of using it as an attack, even if not an attack itself. 2) The word is inappropriately offensive according to Oxford and Merriam-Webster.[24][25]. 3) So, Wikipedians should not be encouraged when they claim it is appropriate to use the word as an attack. They should be told, it is not appropriate (and is against policy) to call people names, and if that had been done, this likely could have been nipped in the beginning. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:07, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
@Black Kite: When people at the receiving end of derogatory language point out its abusiveness and unacceptability, it is a very aggressive response to denounce their objections as irrational, or (as you did) to denounce comparators as a hyperbolic strawman. There is plenty of scholarly writing on how this terminology degrades and offends women (e.g. [26], [27], [28], [29]).
I don't know what your intent is, but this thread now contains two examples of the ancient pattern of women's objections to misogynist language being dismissed as absurd. It will be interesting to see whether others continue down this path of problematising the complainant (a form of victimisation), instead of upholding the policy of civility. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:48, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
My intent, if it wasn't clear already, is to point out to you the screamingly obvious point that there was no person "at the receiving end of derogatory language". Many editors, in this thread and other related ones, were pointing out that a mere use of the word, not aimed at any editor, cannot ever be a personal attack, and claiming it is one is irrational, which it is. The terminology only "degrades and offends women" if it's aimed at a woman and is intended to degrade. I'm not entirely sure why you don't get this. Oh, and insinuating that I'm somehow enabling some type of misogyny won't end well, I'd suggest you strike that. Black Kite (talk) 13:30, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I will strike none of my comments.
My intent is to point out to you and others that the use of misogynistic language has a chilling effect on women who edit wikipedia, whether or not its usage is expressly directed at a particular individual. Given that effect, I believe that the question of whether it was intended as a personal attack is a diversion from the problem of aggressive incivility.
You may not agree with that view, but I stand by my assertion the intentional denunciation as "irrational" of women's complaints over this sort of behaviour is of itself a form of misogyny. Your repeated attacks on those who challenge this misogynist language amount to a form of victimisation. Whether or not you intend to behave in a misogynist fashion, the effect of your stance is to enable and defend misogyny, and to victimise those who ask for civility. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:04, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Well done, that's just as much a personal attack as the one you blocked Eric for, ironic huh? I'd suggest you take a good long look in the mirror and try to realise that your opinion on things isn't necessarily correct. You don't know me from anyone, you don't know my attitudes or outlooks at all. You haven't even tried to look at the bigger picture or why many editors - including some that are female - have described Lightbreather's claims as unfounded. You think I enable misogyny? Seriously, just fuck off. I'm having a rest from this place, well done. Black Kite (talk) 14:12, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Once again, we are in the bizarre corner of wikiworld where attempts to challenge a personal attack are labelled as a personal attack. The underlying complaint about misogynist language is ignored, and my subsequent challenging of your actions as misogynist in effect are regarded as a much greater sin than using language which would be classed as gross misconduct in any office I have ever worked in. The only thing needed to complete the classic picture here is for male editors to start adding the word "hysterical" on top of "irrational".
You continue to focus on the narrow question of whether the use of the c-word was a "personal attack", while defending the use of this misogynist terminology. I have indeed looked hard at the bigger picture -- which is that macho rudeness is endemic on Wikipedia, and that it will persist so long as editors like you defend against efforts to stop it. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:35, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: I absolutely agree with your comment about the use of edit summaries for PA. This seems to be a common problem, completely against WP:ES, but absolutely tolerated. Here is an example: [30] That editor has been warned outright to focus on content, not on contributor,[31] but she showed up here not to make a positive contribution to the discussion, but to let Jimbo and posterity (via the edit summary) know that she has a problem with me and what she calls "drama." Lightbreather (talk) 16:05, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Whoops! Sorry Jimbo. I have your page on my watchlist, and didn't realize it was just Lightbreather drama again. Sorry for the intrusion, I will go away now. Be well. --Sue Rangell 02:08, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Does that mean I can call another editor "a cunt" as long as I'm sure he's not a woman? (Not that I have any particular editor in mind, of course). Martinevans123 (talk) 13:42, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
No, of course not, it simply means you won't be adding a sexist connotation to your personal attack. Black Kite (talk) 13:57, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I'll bear that in mind. I can think of some editors who would be quite insulted to be called "a woman." Martinevans123 (talk) 14:24, 29 July 2014 (UTC)


I will comment briefly on this matter (as another retired mainframe programmer). First, I agree completely with Lightbreather that something needs to be done about civility. The fact that we had two boards to deal with civility issues and eliminated both of them is shameful. Wikipedia has four pillars, because civility is one of the defined pillars, but is absent, and there is no mechanism for dealing with habitually uncivil editors who have a reputation as "content creators" short of the ArbCom. Policy is that incivility can be dealt with by "community consensus". In fact, certain editors who have reputation as "excellent content creators" get a pass on civility, because if they are taken to the noticeboards, their entourages will ensure that there is no supermajority in favor of sanctions. They may be blocked, but they will come right back off the block and resume their habitual incivility. The inability of "the community" to deal with them creates a hostile work environment for junior editors who do not like incivility. In the short run, uncivil "content creators" add to Wikipedia. In the long run, it is hard to say whether they add, when their impact on the retention of new editors is taken into account.

Second, as Carrite says, the real problem was not personal attacks, so much as "more of the same from the usual suspects", who apparently actually take pleasure in making Wikipedia a crude and unpleasant place for boys like themselves. At this point, that is the least implausible explanation for the behavior of a small number of habitually uncivil editors. They appear actually to want to "win" by making Wikipedia uncivil. They aren't engaging in personal attacks. They are engaging in "impersonal attacks". One editor actually made a snarky comment about the problem of editors who won't swear. I found that comment troublesome.

Third, Lightbreather is forum-shopping. What she is really doing is not so much being disruptive in the usual sense as being tendentious and vexatious. She does have an issue, incivility, and not just incivility, and not just a pattern of incivility, but a desire to promote incivility, but she is feeding the trolls. The editors in question are not trolls in the usual sense, but what LB is doing has the same effect as the feeding of traditional trolls.

We don't have an effective civility pillar or policy. A few editors are systematically uncivil. LB is giving them too much recognition.

Jimbo: Do you have any philosophical thoughts on how to reassert the lost pillar of civility?

Robert McClenon (talk) 02:34, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Note: I've created User:Lightbreather/Proposal to centralize proposals for moving forward. Viriditas (talk) 02:40, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
And I plan to use it, and welcome others working on it with me, if they mean to in a spirit of true collaboration and with civility. The focus will be on identifying specific civility/conduct problems (for example, misuse of edit summaries) and discussing solutions. (No focus on what can't work - I've heard enough of that to get the point.) Lightbreather (talk) 16:16, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Where is the foundation?

Lightbreather has engaged in forum-shopping, but I understand why she was led to do so.

The lack of enforcement of the 4th pillar has meant that incivility goes unchallenged. That process becomes self-sustaining, as editors who dislike the hostile environment drift away, making it harder to mount any challenge to it. The resulting unsuccessful challenges reinforce the culture of incivility.

There is a gender issue here too, because the failure to sustain a civil editing environment makes Wikipedia a more difficult place for women than for men. In workplaces, this sort of environment amounts to a form of indirect discrimination which places a barrier to the engagement and advancement of women, and becomes actionable in law. I have no reason to believe that WMF is exposed to legal action, but as a matter of good practice and human decency it should feel morally obliged to seek an improvement.

The former Executive Director Sue Gardener repeatedly acknowledged the seriousness of the incivility problem, even noting that when she met people with the expertise to significantly enhance Wikipedia's coverage of neglected areas, she was reluctant to recommend that they expose themselves to such a hostile editing environment. That is an appalling indictment of the foundation's governance, particular when editor retention is problem acknowledged by all involved.

The foundation has intervened on issues such as BLPs, and those interventions have been very effective in driving the community to a change of practice. Similar intervention on the civility problem could have a similarly powerful effect in driving change. Why the silence? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 10:17, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Linking the "gender issue" and the "civility issue" harms the case for change on both issues. The solid empirical evidence for linking the two in the context of WP doesn't exist. The case for change on both issues is best served by keeping them separate; linking them needlessly narrows the constituency prepared to listen. DeCausa (talk) 10:35, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
There is plenty of evidence in numerous other contexts. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to claim that Wikipedia is somehow an exception to the widely-documented fact that women do not enjoy participating in an environment where aggression and rudeness are tolerated and defended. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:05, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
No, the realpolitik is that the burden of proof lies with those who want change to happen. Persuasion is the only tool in a volunteer environment. DeCausa (talk) 11:23, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
@DeCausa: My point is that the realpolitik of the situation is that persuasion has been tried many many times over many years, and has always failed. The solution lies in foundation-level intervention to reassert a fundamental principle whose abandonment has been acknowledged and decried by the Foundation's most senior officer. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:32, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
What are you suggesting the Foundation do? As I understand it, their action over BLPs was to make verifiability be more closely applied to relevant articles, a content issue. This is a behavioural issue, and while I do agree with you that there is too much incivility (and, incidentally, sexism), I don't see how the foundation could enforce it besides instituting some kind of civility police, which would massively backfire. BethNaught (talk) 11:53, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl:, yes, I did miss your point. But I feel fairly confident in predicting that (successfully) making the changes you want by fiat of the Foundation is even less likely to happen than persuading the volunteer community of change on the basis of linking the two issues. Good luck! DeCausa (talk) 12:04, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
@BethNaught: @DeCausa: The Foundation's intervention on BLPs massively strengthened the hand of those who were pushing for a change in the community's tolerance of sub-standard BLPs. A similar intervention by the Foundation could spur the community to assert itself against the vocal minority who defend each other against efforts to restrain their incivility.
I have no idea whether a request to the Foundation will fall on deaf ears. But I think there is loooong trail of evidence that the community is incapable of resolving this itself. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:14, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
A good first step is saying that there is a problem. The foundation has done that, right? The second step is to say that it supports efforts to address the problem, so that marginalized editors (not just women) feel welcome and safe. (The marginalization comes from a culture that is 85% men - a high number of them young, white men - that insists that its behavior is the "norm," and that to request different - as in civil - treatment is offensive.) That support might be given more than just lip service if reasonable proposals to address specific conduct problems were given recognition by the foundation. Again, this isn't about content censorship, this is about creating and maintaining a work environment where civility isn't given short shrift over content production. Lightbreather (talk) 16:30, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I favor maintaining Wikipedia as a place where people can speak their minds freely and not have to worry too much about culturally specific sensitivities. That's what anti-"cunt" sentiments are; in my circles, women are just as likely to use it as men, and I'm not all that bothered about the prissiness that prevails elsewhere (just as I don't expect others to cater to any particular sensitivities I might have; if someone's a dick, it reflects much more on them than on me). Civility campaigns are a tactic for those whose will to power has failed to gain potency in other respects. The worry about backfire should be paramount here. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 13:14, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
    • @Nomoskedasticity please clarify. Do you advocate that there should be no restraint on racism, anti-semitism, homophobic attacks, or other forms of bullying?
      Or is it only misgonystic terminology which you think should be acceptable? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:52, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
      • Oh for fuxake. You surely don't expect me to try to have a serious discussion with you after you post that kind of crap. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 13:59, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
        • I would expect that a serious editor would try to clarify their position. You are of course free to choose not to reply. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:08, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
          • I would be happy to clarify, if I had been presented with a question that didn't involve such a ridiculous premise. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 15:54, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
            • My premise is very simply that editors should refrain from using language which causes avoidable and un-necessary offense. I am sorry to hear that you find this ridiculous. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:29, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Nomoskedasticity et al: Yes, some women use bad language. Hell, I use it where it's appropriate. Sometimes maybe even where it's not. Just like sometimes I maybe go over the speed limit. But the speed limits are there for a reason. And if a cop pulls me over for it, I don't start arguing with him about whether I'm being repressed. What's going on here on Wikipedia is we've got a lot of people who've chosen, apparently as a driving style, to put where they're going ahead of how they get there. If they were only risking their own safety, maybe that would be OK. But they're causing damage, and they're saying to other drivers (as are the cops): Stay out of my way. In a nutshell, that's uncivilized. Lightbreather (talk) 16:49, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Preach it, brother! Enlighten us heathens as to what "civilisation" is. It's your burden. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 17:07, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

The word "cunt" should be blacklisted

As to the idea that the word has a different meaning in the UK than in the US, see wikt:cunt. All six meanings are considered to be vulgar—in all English-speaking countries. Wikipedia's article on cunt confirms that the word "is widely considered to be extremely vulgar." Wikipedia has a highly effective system for blacklisting links to websites which are deemed to be "spam", which stops edits attempting to add such links in their tracks. Nobody seems to be concerned about the "free speech" rights of the spammers. It shouldn't be that hard to blacklist a word like "cunt", which has no place on talk pages related to gun control. The word can be whitelisted for its few legitimate encyclopedic uses, such as in the article on cunt. Wbm1058 (talk) 12:24, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Yeppers -- Wikipedia could have its own "7 words" - but would that actually solve anything? Bear in mind that many of the words and terms people find jarring (which is a very extensive list -- calling a person an "old fruit" was deemed an attack in the past by some) are also used in reasonable contexts as well, meaning an "editing blacklist" is totally unworkable. Far better to look at the proposals at [32] et supra. Collect (talk) 12:36, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps the worst trend in American higher education is the proliferation of free speech zones, I'd rather not want to see something like that tried here. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for dropping the hammer on and jerk that drops the c-word into conversation here, especially if directed to or alluded to a woman partaking in the discussion. Corbett should have been bounced form the project long ago, I'm glad to see a 72-hour block sticking (for now), but you cannot legislate good behavior merely by preventing people from using bad words. Just take appropriate measures when they use such words inappropriately. Tarc (talk) 12:40, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Filters have numerous problems, including interfering with a meta-discussion of the word itself. The real question is not how the individual in question should have been protected from not knowing any better, but that he should have known better, a conduct issue, not a technical issue. I disagree with a filter. My recommendation for standards for talk page discussion is not intended to be implemented by filter. Also, at this point a block would be punitive, and would be an attempt to put Humpty Dumpty back together. The damage, and it has been very deep damage, has been done, and cannot be reversed. Leave the individual alone for now. Robert McClenon (talk) 12:54, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
He was not blocked for that, he was blocked for something else. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:07, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
A meta-discussion of the word itself can take place at Talk:Cunt, which obviously would need to be whitelisted. In most areas of the encyclopedia, one should easily be able to find another way to say what they mean, without resorting to use of this derogatory epithet.
I don't want to see "free speech zones" either. See User talk:Jimbo Wales/NPOV report on problems with MV and User:Lightbreather/Proposal. I think the creation of the latter was a small act of incivility, as Lightbreather didn't ask for that. Doesn't it seem to be a double standard that we have an Orwellian friendly space policy for in-person events, but are like the Wild West online? Some balance needs to be found. A blacklist-alert can't enforce good behavior, but can nudge an editor in the right direction, without infringing on their speech rights or forcing them into some "free speech zone". Wbm1058 (talk) 13:42, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Given that an essay about not being a dick is often tossed around as pseudo-policy, I find this whole discussion rather ironic. Intothatdarkness 14:25, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
People need to get a life and grow a thicker skin. I've been falsely accused in multiple messages at WP:ANI today of uploading child pornography but I'm not going to get distressed about it, although its potential impact on me is far, far greater than someone using the cunt word. Seriously, if the mere presence of a word really, really distresses you then go do something else. And all the talk above about litigation in the corporate workplace sounds like US experience: there's more to the world than the US and it's about time some people here realised that. - Sitush (talk) 16:24, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Sitush Suggesting that this is a US-only issue is itself rather Amerocentric. I have no experience of US workplaces. But I do know that both in the UK and in Ireland, an employer who fails to takes reasonable steps to maintain a safe working environment, free of sexism and racism etc, exposes themselves to legal liability, and that EU Directives extend a similar requirement across the whole of the EU. As above, I don't see this applying to the WMF, because it is not an employer ... but I stand by point that if WMF's statemnets about Wikilove etc are anything other than window-dressing, the Foundation has a moral responsibility to insist that projects using its facilities uphold decent standards of behaviour.
The fact that you choose (or are able) to shrug off false allegations of misconduct does not mean that false allegations are acceptable ... nor does it mean that they are the same thing as the gratuitous use of intentionally offensive language. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:43, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
There's a part of me that likes the idea of blacklisting certain words, but that isn't necessary. (At least not at this time.) There are words that most agree can be quite inflammatory when used in conversation. You might have, on one article talk page, people - men, women, gay, straight, whatever - who use one or more of these words in their conversation and no one expresses any offense. Fine. But if someone says, that word is offensive to me, the offending party says, "I'm sorry" and refactors what they've said. That's civility. As for abuse of the process, you make it clear on whatever policy or guideline page that outlines this, on whatever civility board that handles it, that policing discussions for offensive language or insisting that some words are offensive, without evidence, is just as bad as using offensive language after you've been asked no to. (For instance, there is plenty of evidence that, regardless of how some people use them, the "C" word and the "N" word are offensive to a lot of people. However, if in your circle/community the word "widget" is offensive, that's a lot harder to prove.) Lightbreather (talk) 17:16, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Ugh. No, let's not have censorship - not of the word, not of the image, not the implication, not of the community of largely Australian men who have admitted to being fairly described by it, and not of the others who have yet to realize that. I should emphasize that the blacklist is not an effective measure; when you take a long-dead but blacklisted site it is perfectly feasible to display even a live link to it on a page with minimal effort. (However, for some reason it seems to jam up subsequent edits, so I better take this back to sandbox) To display a mere word without typing it out can be done ____y___n__am _____ different ways. Wnt (talk) 17:22, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Debating is more stimulating than creating content

I think that's the basic problem. --Bob K31416 (talk) 12:04, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

  • Nonsense. Sorry Jimbo for saying a fairly bad word here. But this is nonsense. Drmies (talk) 17:10, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, I don't know about that. The claim is over broad and oversimplified, but I think we can remember that sometimes debating (and/or drama) is something that people can (perhaps inadvertently) enjoy more than they should.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:29, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
There's the nub. (so to speak…) Some people are getting off on "cunt"; it's a pity they can't admit it (and then just enjoy it). Nomoskedasticity (talk) 17:33, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
This is "train wreck" or "car wreck" syndrome, people just can't look away. But here on WP instead of just causing traffic congestion, people comment and the "wreck" continues in slow motion. This must be hard wired into the human DNA because everyone seems to do it regardless of gender, race, culture, etc. Heck, what else would explain why NASCAR is so popular. No one will admit that the real reason they watch is because there might be a wreck... --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (Talk) 18:03, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
While that is certainly true to some extent, I would take the analogy further and compare it to a car wreck in a city of a million people. Many people in the vicinity of the crash will stop to look (these drama-fuelled arguments), but for 99% of the population, life proceeds apace (editing articles). Resolute 18:40, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I quit enjoying debating things on Wikipedia a long time ago, Jimbo--unless it's over some actual content-related thing. There's debate and debate. The academic debate over the grammaticality of "Between you and I" (you should read that article: it's written by one of our finest editors) is exciting, but the various debates on my talk, on ANI, on Dennis Brown's talk, on your talk, not so much. They serve only to entrench. But I'm not supposed to be a frequent visitor here; it prevents me from filling up my own talk page, so sayonara. Don't forget Alabama: you have a standing invitation to have a beer and dip in the pool in Montgomery, and when you make it down here, please don't forget to bring my admin shirt. I'll take a medium, even though--apparently--Wikipediocracy thinks it makes me look fat. Bob, article writing is more fun than most things here--Zazie in the Metro, for instance, is woefully underdeveloped. Best, Drmies (talk) 17:46, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Super. :-) I fully support what you are saying. I sometimes feel like closing my talk page and refusing to talk to anyone about policy for a week or two.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:01, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I just took your talk page off my watch list a while back. It actually helped me to get back to content creation. I like reading the debates here but sometimes...they aren't really I understand Drmies comments and yours. Back to work (which really isn't work or I'd probably not be doing it. LOL!)--Mark Miller (talk) 20:18, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
We are I think in several topics getting to the point that some editors with a form of tunnel-vision and maybe something like ADD have decided that what matters is not the NPOV development of content, but the weight and attention it gets in a specific broad article. The "my group has this opinion on baptism, and it has to be covered fully in the Baptism article, whether there is a spinout or not." I have a feeling many of the debates we have in much of the content relating to beliefs of all sorts are driven by this need to clearly "win" in a topic. To the extent that is true, expect the problem to get worse until and unless wikibooks and longer content become better developed and known to the general public. John Carter (talk) 18:10, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Debating to correct misinformation: Some debating is needed to refute false claims in talk-pages. Recall how Google Search will match to some WP essay pages or other project pages, and thereby link the general public into discussions, or debates, which could give the impression that misinformation is allowed, unchallenged, in other Wikipedia pages. For example, one user recently posted the false claim that Britannica pages often rank higher than WP in Google (not true) for "encyclopedic" topics if the user does not read Wikipedia often; however the truth is that WP pages often far outrank matches to Britannica pages even at neutral sites such as public libraries or hotel Internet rooms (where the active browsers sometimes have no history of "" viewing). So, even though the debating in talk-pages or project-pages might seem a waste of time, those pages have become a tangent to the "sum of all knowledge" which readers access via the search-engine links. We have a shared responsibility to refute misinformation, and it is good to see various volunteers come here and help correct the misleading claims which some people have posted. The wikitext format of talk-pages makes it faster for power users to refute several claims across the page in a few edits. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:47, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

ANI Noticeboard

Jimbo, I just wanted to inform you that someone (not me) started a discussion about you at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Jimbo. -A1candidate (talk) 20:21, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

*Repeatedly hits head against desk* Can't we all just get along nicely? Dusti*Let's talk!* 20:25, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
When this sort of thing kicks off, as it regularly does, don't you just think 'who the hell would want to get involved with us'? Anyone looking in on WP from the outside must think this place is just bonkers. DeCausa (talk) 20:36, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Can we pause this? I need to go buy more popcorn. Dusti*Let's talk!* 20:39, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Really. I can't manage to sign out long enough to watch my evening news programs. Fylbecatulous talk 20:43, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I would just like to repeat my position that the project would be better off in terms of productively and harmoniously producing an encyclopedia if we become less tolerant of people who can't behave themselves according to a higher standard. The sheer amount of time lost in drama created by a handful of angry people - the sheer number of good contributors driven away by them - is a massive drain on the happiness and health of the community. It is a mistake to imagine that we have to keep annoying people around because we want to improve the number of quality editors contributing. The best way to improve the number of quality editors contributing is to get rid of people who cause so much trouble.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:27, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I am a strong believer in the use of polite language (vide my proposal relating to use of language on talk pages) - but demur on the "get rid of people who cause so much trouble" as being a valid solution. Once we start on that road, we can "get rid of people who have annoying opinions" and "people who annoy us on specific topics" with great abandon, and I suggest using that sort of argument would be ill-conducive to collegiality. We can require that people be cognizant that some words are offensive to others, and then ask they not use such words where any reproof as been given by a person so offended, and use dispute resolution if they decide to use such words where they are deemed offensive. Beyond that, we will be making a grave error IMO. Collect (talk) 12:14, 30 July 2014 (UTC) .
I am a strong believer that polite language can be used in a far more unpleasant way than the odd "rude" word. I agree the encyclopedia needs far more quality editors but they are not necessarily the ones Jimbo would keep. Polite doesn't equal quality. J3Mrs (talk) 13:29, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I, on the other hand, am in complete agreement with Jimmy. Civility is a great problem on Wikipedia, and growing worse. Potential contributors, many of them women unused to testosterone-fueled chest-beating, whom would be excellent content providers or develop into such, are discouraged and driven away by arrogant and abusive types like Eric Corbett. Until such time as the situation is rectified, the battleground mentality will continue, with few dozen bullies effectively running the show. I once again advocate a top-down solution of reform to break the logjam, including wholesale changes in the way admins are made and unmade. Jusdafax 13:51, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
In what sense is that not a personal attack? Do you have even the slightest shred of evidence that I've ever driven anyone away, male or female? All the evidence would appear to be in quite the opposite direction in fact. Eric Corbett 14:05, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, I stopped participating when you implied I was an idiot in the edit summary. Saffron Blaze (talk) 13:30, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
@Jusdafax. On this Eric has a point. Without diffs this is technically a personal attack. This just goes to show that obsession with naughty words or liquidation of one or a dozen individuals isn't gonna end anything. There is always going to be drama on WP; there has been since the very first months of the project's existence. The contours of the quibbling and battling might change but there is no utopian solution with banning this word or that person. That said — @Eric: you need to stop this shit, man. This does not end well continuing on this path... Carrite (talk) 07:55, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't need to do anything Carrite. Eric Corbett 13:46, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Most editors, male and female never come into contact with testosterone-fueled chest-beating on here because they never find the drama boards. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that women are driven away by "arrogant and abusive types like Eric Corbett". Provide some real evidence and do something about your own dual standards of civility. J3Mrs (talk) 14:09, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Um, there are many other Wikipedia locations of conflict other than found on the drama boards. I am experiencing some that has been rather distressing on (of all places), the WP:Featured pictures candidates project. Fylbecatulous talk 14:41, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
@Jimbo - It's good to see some common sense here, but as Wikipedia is currently set up, your position is untenable. There are too many separated groups behaving like immature children. Antagonizing happens, then reactions, then blocks, then unblocks, then more and more drama until the next time. It's a joke and will never be solved without a structure of mature editors who see the problem for what it is. I suppose ArbCom could be that structure, but many times they are almost as dysfunctional as the separated groups going at each other. In other words, things aren't going to change unless things change. I don't really care that much about the civility a person has, up to a point. But when it disrupts the whole project for days or weeks at a time, and takes so much energy away from other editors, it's a problem. If there is no 3rd party to step in and put a stop to the drama, it will just keep repeating itself. No matter who is at fault, there are too many immature editors involved on both sides. It's just unbelievable that it continues time after time and there are not enough mature editors to put an end to it. Dave Dial (talk) 15:47, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Nine Reasons Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia (in their own words) by Sue Gardner"4) Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes-fighty culture" It is absolutely not true that if you "stay away from the drama boards you won't get into conflict". I have seen major hate filled feuds over, for instance, infoboxes on articles about historic houses or whether to title articles Red Robin or Red robin. In both cases editors, especially ones who had some expertise in those subjects, were mercilessly bullied by others trying to impose uniform regulations across the whole site and told "if you don't like it, just go away" and some did. You have really got to be prepared to be very assertive here and stand up for what you believe in, and yes, fight, and many women, according to the study referenced in that link, do not want to spend their spare time volunteering to engage in online combats. I think the culture absolutely needs to change, not only should civility be enforced but editors who actually have some idea what they are writing about on this site should be protected more from attacks by "Randy from Boise" editors. I have seen this happen over and over, you can see what the most valuable editor in the field of Roman history, Cynwolfe, a woman, gives as the reason why she no longer edits on her talk page (The MOS straitjacket had started to feel like a drag...the dysfunction of dispute resolution. It's just too exhausting. I could revisit some of the war stories, but what's the point?)Smeat75 (talk) 14:34, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Editors who get driven away tend not to come back just to prove they've been driven away. Some editors get driven away from certain articles because they find it just too painful to contribute. Don't know how you'd prove it, either way. (talk) 14:14, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Eric Corbett asked Jusdafax "Do you have even the slightest shred of evidence that I've ever driven anyone away, male or female?": [33] DeCausa (talk) 14:23, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Man, that's a shocking loss there... Carrite (talk) 08:16, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Suggestion: Although undoubtedly there is drama on Wikipedia, I would like to see work toward discouraging use of the term "drama boards." The noticeboards are there for a legitimate reason, and calling them "drama boards" implies that anyone who goes there looking for help is a drama queen. It's another way to perpetuate an unspoken boys' code of not being a "rat." Bullshit. With a few exceptions, they might not be the first place to go, but they serve a valid purpose. Lightbreather (talk) 23:01, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Entertainment industry versus Wikipedia

It appears that the entertainment industry is undermining Wikipedia.

  1. Wikipedia depends on editors who have intelligence and education. Society has expected those qualities to be promoted by educators in educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities, et cetera).
  2. Wikipedia depends on editors who have courtesy and compassion. Society has expected those qualities to be promoted by philosophies in various places and by religions in places of worship (churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, et cetera).
  3. People in the entertainment industry (producers, performers, and broadcasters) often prefer content that undermines proper education and proper courtesy.
  4. Consumers of entertainment often prefer content that undermines proper education and proper courtesy.
  5. People in the news industry often follow (to some extent) the standards of the entertainment industry.
  6. In comparison with standards in the entertainment industry, standards in the news industry often appear to be more refined, even if they are less refined than what society has expected people to learn from places of education and from places of worship.
  7. Consumers of entertainment and news can subtly pick up undesirable habits which they find difficult to resist.
  8. Very careful selection of news and entertainment by consumers can help them to develop and maintain desirable habits if they wish to do so.
  9. Avoiding undesirable content can be challenging, especially for people for whom there appear to be few options for "good feelings".
  10. Entertainment relieves tediousness. Encouragement relieves discouragement. Entertainment is inadequate as a substitute for encouragement.
  11. Each editor can execute a personal search for a view of life and a pattern of life that promote not only proper education and proper courtesy, but also genuine encouragement.
  12. Some tips are available at Evaluating Internet Research Sources.

I have numbered my points for convenient reference in replies.
Wavelength (talk) 00:28, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

(1) Citation needed. (2-11) See (1). (12) Random blog - applying the standards given there, it isn't a reliable source... AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:36, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Admin who rejects terms of service

Hi Jimbo

You may or may not be aware of the comment at ANI's talk page by the admin John, who wrote "Anyone who feels this site is too rude or too male-dominated has the freedom to leave, or the freedom to fork".

I have asked John to clarify whether they wished to retract or withdraw that comment, but got stonewalled. [34]

So I want to ask your views on a few questions:

  1. wmf:Terms of Use explicitly requires of every editor that "you support a civil environment". If an editor advocates that editors offended by a lack of civility should leave, are they breaching the terms of service?
  2. Is such a view compatible with the holding the status of administrator on en.Wikipedia?
  3. Does the WikiMedia Foundation have any mechanism independent of the community of editors for addressing breaches of its terms of service?

I look forward to any clarification you can provide. I understand that you may not be able to speak for the Foundation. If that is the case, I would welcome your own thoughts, but would also ask that you should guide me on where to raise this with the Foundation. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:16, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Let me think about this for a bit before writing my answer. I want to be precise.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:31, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Jimbo. I appreciate your desire to be precise, so please take your time. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:59, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
What does "freedom to fork" mean? Bus stop (talk) 11:28, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I think it's talking about creating your own break away wiki from Wikipedia. Thanks, Matty.007 11:29, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
It means that the content is generally freely licensed so that if someone wants, they can take all the content and start a competing website. I'd like to suggest that the extreme minority who think that being rude and tolerating mysogyny is the right thing to do, go set up a website with those as founding principles. I'll pay for the server personally.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:31, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo, a separate misogopedia for that minority seems like a great idea. However, that extreme minority seems well enough entrenched in the community's decision-making processes that they see no need to shift. Instead they expect the decent majority to clear off. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:01, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo, they already have a website with those as founding principles; the Commons. Tarc (talk) 12:50, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Please reflect carefully Jimbo, and make sure you don't encourage an approach that can backfire and open Wikipedia to a destructive "cleansing" by some of its more blinkered, self-righteous and vindictive users. --Epipelagic (talk) 13:08, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl Where were you when Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Archive_156#Bird_common_name_decapitalisation took place then? The barrage of comments that every person supporting option 2 got, and the walls of text and belittling comments that were hurled en masse ...and left alot of birdos that have donated thousands of hours to wikipedia feeling gutted? Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:05, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Cas Liber, I guess I was busy creating content, categorising articles and closing discussions, as I usually do. If you believe that there was a civility problem in the discussion you linked, please can you raise it in appropriate venue rather than in this discussion? Thanks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:34, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
You had been involved in that so I figured you might have been watching it. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:26, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I was involved only as the closer of an RM discussion, and in the subsequent move review. Once the I had explained the reasons for my closure and the editors involved had accepted my suggestion to open a formal RFC to resolve the wider dispute, I had no interest in or reason for further involvement. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:58, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl, the contention that I reject terms of service is yours not mine. I reject the idea that you can bully people into civility. True civility is based on love, kindness and thoughtfulness, not things we can legislate for. For what it's worth, I feel more insulted by your misrepresentation of my position than if you had called me some rude name. Dishonesty and bearing false witness are really damaging to our community, and arguably more so than a few rude words, which are merely childish. --John (talk) 13:15, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
John, your words are very clearly written in plain English. As noted above, I took the time to ask you to clarify whether those remarks represent your view, giving you the opportunity to withdraw or revise them. You chose to reject that opportunity, and you now post here without any retraction.
It is regrettable an admin like you should not only refuse an opportunity to explain or clarify your words (contrary to WP:ADMINACCT), but follow that up with a false accusation of of misrepresentation and dishonesty.
I am fascinated by your belated statement that "true civility is based on love, kindness and thoughtfulness", which you chose to offer only when your unretracted statement was brought to wider attention. Your un-retracted suggestion that people who dislike rudeness can leave Wikipedia does not meet any of those 3 criteria. I suggest that you reconsider your position. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:28, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I have no intention of discussing this with you, as I have, for the moment, lost all respect for you as an editor, as I stated on my talk page. You blocked someone you were having a dispute with without warning for an edit they had made many hours before and then sat back and enjoyed the reaction that followed. You bore false witness again and again. I have no interest in your opinion of my editing behaviour, because I have no respect for you as an editor. I am only posting here to make it clear that I do not agree with your interpretation of my words. If someone else wishes to discuss any of my actions with me, they are welcome to do so at my talk page. I will make no further reply to you here, BHG. --John (talk) 13:35, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
John, I was not "in dispute" with the editor concerned, as the history clearly shows. If you disagree with that, feel free to seek action through the usual channels, but unless you are prepared to produce the evidence I strongly suggest that you avoid making such allegations. Nor did I in any way enjoy the reaction which followed; on the contrary, I was appalled as Jimbo was that even such blatant incivility through an edit summary was exempt from sanction.
It is entirely up to you whether you choose to respect me as an editor or as an admin. Personally, I have no desire to be respected by an editor who doggedly holds to the view that "Anyone who feels this site is too rude or too male-dominated has the freedom to leave, or the freedom to fork", and refuses multiple opportunities to retract those words. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:45, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
BHG, let me summarize. You had a personal conflict with John. He made an unsound comment, and you berated him, demanding that he retract it, so you could then do the victory dance. What you are doing is bad. Why don't you both stop baiting each other, and John, please, at my request, strike that remark as a gesture of peace. It is insensitive to people who've experienced misogyny or rudeness. Wikipedia also has a problem with misandry and rudeness by female editors, though much less, because we have fewer female editors. Neither the belittling or dehumanizing of males or females is acceptable. Jehochman Talk 13:57, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
@BHG. This ridiculous forum-shopped circus was caused by someone who refused to accept a normal consensus decision about their more or less legitimate complaint. It will ultimately end up at ArbCom and there will be discussion there about whether your block of Eric was a bad block. It seems to me it was, it was a throwing of gasoline upon the fire. My opinion, at the appropriate time evidence will be presented. So, let's just have things move there so that we can get the people who need to be blocked blocked and the people who need to lose tools lose tools, shall we? (By the way, you invited me to fork and leave if I didn't agree with your interpretation of the world in an earlier thread related to this same incident, so excuse me for saying that you aren't going to find very much traction advancing the notion that someone saying that is committing a great personal offense.) Carrite (talk) 14:16, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl a person makes a complaint about civility. You appear to share concerns. A person she sees as incivil after mistakenly interpreting a comment as an attack on her when it was not, later makes another comment that most people would have brushed off and you block. True, you didn't have a dispute per se, but it is a bit like if I, as an inclusionist on some hypothetical AfD then blocked someone who voted delete who was rude to another editor. I'd never do that. If you can't see that you'd taken a position then I am not sure how to explain it more clearly. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:26, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Casliber, I believe that your analogy is deeply misplaced, but if you want to discuss the block, please find another venue (which may be on another page or in a different thead on this page). This discussion is about the enforcement of WMF's Terms of Service. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:34, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Casliber, That cannot be involved, otherwise anyone with a view of any policy is involved (ie., everyone), and not just the policy in issue but any other related policy (ie., every policy). Moreover, if your point is taken, than applying your analysis, the unblocking admin was involved. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:20, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Jehochman, I appreciate your good intent to pour oil on troubles waters, but I think it is misplaced. I don't want any victory dance; I do want the Foundation to start taking action to ensure that its fundamental policies are respected.
I did not have a "personal conflict" with John. He was one side of a wider argument about enforcement of civility policy, in which editors took many different views.
My attention was later drawn elsewhere to that extraordinary comment which I believe goes to the heart of a wider problem on Wikipedia. Elsewhere there were groups of editors actively discussing their hostility to any efforts to close the gender gap on Wikipedia, while other editors explicitly advocated that editors who repeatedly refuse to be civil should face no sanction, in case they stop editing.
Enough of this. I want an end to the culture of incivility, and I want the WMF to demonstrate that its terms of service are not window-dressing. If those Foundation-mandated terms carry their plain English meaning, then it is time for the Foundation to insist that users of their website uphold those terms. The first step on that path is to reject the bully-boy culture which asks that editors uncomfortable with institutionalised incivility should leave, and John's unretracted statement is the most explicit, concise and unqualified articulation of values of that culture. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:31, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that in this environment true civility is based on love, kindness and thoughtfulness. I think that true civility in this environment is more based on articulateness. If we can't speak clearly we are lost in this environment. What part do terms such as those under discussion play in clear communication? I don't think those terms play any part in articulating a point. Bus stop (talk) 14:37, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl's assertions are an attempt to censor John and should be vigorously opposed, IMHO. If even admins are not allowed to say what they think wikipedia is going to have a serious and entirely unnecessary problem. Let us not allow political correctness to poison the atmosphere for volunteers working here. I have nothing against BrownHairedGirl opposing and challenging John's comments, my issue is in her Terms of Service claims which she thinks should be used to censor John and to send out a message to other admins who dare to oppose the politically correct beliefs of some users♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 14:38, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I am in agreement that censorship is a bad thing but self-censorship could be a good thing. Bus stop (talk) 14:51, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps BrownHairedGirl might consider taking your advice♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 14:57, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
SqueakBox, you appear to be assuming that Wikipedia is place for unfettered speech, but that has never been the case.
Editors are barred from making legal threats, from harassment, from threatening violence, from breaching copyright, etc etc. The wmf:Terms of Use include a long list of restraints on what editors are allowed to write, most of which are well-enforced by the community. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:26, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
John hasnt been harrassing anyone or threatening violence or breaching copyright which is why I think your argument lacks merit. What he did was to simply expressing an opinion and you seem to want to shut him up using legal terms to unleash a witch hunt. And nor do I for a second believe that desysopping John will attract more women to the project but it will set a trend that will drive people away, both men and women. It strikes me that trying to censor comment in this way will set a precedent whereby some editors can legitimately engage in the harrassment of admins♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 15:48, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree, though I'd probably word it a little more mildly. John should be free to express his viewpoint, and if we are going to try to use the TOS to take action regarding civility, I don't see him as a proper target given the quoted statement. He is, after all, objectively correct. People who don't like the nature of a community are not required to remain a part of it. However, I think the point that BHG is raising has merit in a general sense. Just what kind of community is Wikipedia willing to foster? Resolute 15:06, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
@Resolute, well said. Why the hell can't I articulate like that? Oh yeah, I am a math guy :). --Malerooster (talk) 15:39, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
We should expend effort not to destroy a sense of community. I find this statement off-putting: "Anyone who feels this site is too rude or too male-dominated has the freedom to leave, or the freedom to fork". Bus stop (talk) 15:16, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

I can think of few things more destructive to a civil environment than using the terms of service as a weapon, attempting to get the WMF to sanction someone, over that person stating an opinion that you disagree with. Civility is more than not using "bad words".--Cube lurker (talk) 15:31, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Civility involves more than just bad words considered individually. I agree 100% with that. Bus stop (talk) 15:37, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Civility is indeed more than not using "bad words". A lot more.
But I can think of few things more destructive to a civil environment than suggesting that editors put off by incivility should leave. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:41, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Expressing that is civil. Your trying to impose your viewpoint through WMF sanctions is not.--Cube lurker (talk) 15:45, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree as well. BGH has a strong will to power. I know Jimbo rejected this claim, but I think the civility campaign here is a means of exercising that will. It's deeply uncivil. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 15:40, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Nice try, Nomoskedasticity. By your logic, anyone challenging abuse of power is seeking power. And anyone challenging incivility is uncivil. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:44, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
By Nomoskedasticity's logic it is uncivil to oppose incivility. Bus stop (talk) 15:46, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
PS I am fascinated by Nomoskedasticity's faith in their ability to unequivocally diagnose a "will to power" in someone who they have never met. Nomoskedasticity, where did you get your psychology qualifications? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:49, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
See Popular psychology. Bus stop (talk) 15:51, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Speaking of people who believe we should block people over civility issues, it's fascinating to compare John's more recent comments regarding policing civility with this case. It involves a woman editor blocked for "phraseology". He seems to be taking the exact opposite tack regarding the importance of editor civility and the need to block for "obscene aspersions" with a woman editor who was editing in footy pages. His rationale for blocking her included that she used the phrase "circle jerk" after being warned not to. It's harder to feel any sympathy for any "free speech" issues he might be facing after that. A consensus of wikipedia sports editors did agree that the woman editor used shocking! language that broached appropriate decorum and that people should be blocked for civility issues if they persist after being warned. I don't see anywhere near the same level of comments that people should be able to use salty language because we're all grown ups, "sticks-and-stones"-arguments, or sentiments that editors should just "leave if you can't handle strong language". Instead there is only a cloud of moral outrage that civility has been breached, and a firm resolve to make sure a WikiProject has not been smeared by close connection to dirty, dirty words. It's self-parody.__ E L A Q U E A T E 15:52, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
It is the free speech issues that wikipedia faces not those that John faces that should concern us. If there is an overall pattern of behaviour demanding desysopping there is surely an arena for that which is not here. But BrownHairedGirl has requested he be desysopped for making one isolated statement that she alleges breaches his terms of service as an admin. It is that and nott he individuals here which should deeply conmcern us♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 16:08, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
So you think admins, as a class, shouldn't block someone for dirty words after being warned not to? You think actions like John took are the wrong way to go?__ E L A Q U E A T E 16:20, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I dont really have an opinion on that, Elaqueate, but that is because desysopping an admin for soemthing like that does not set my alarm bells ringing. What BrownHairedGirl proposed here opening this section, though, absolutely does set my alarm bells ringing. If you are going to desysopp an admin DONT do it for soemthing that can be construed as censoring his opinion♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 16:32, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
What "opinion" might that be? Bus stop (talk) 16:40, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
His opinion that editors have the freedom to leave or fork if they cant handle the uncivil and/or male dominated environment. You dont have to agree with this opinion to support his right to express it. Otherwise we could desysop ppl for say opposing doing anything to attract more women to the site or opposing more severe civility policing. ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 18:41, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
When footy editors complained that a woman used uncivil "phraseology", he blocked her. He didn't tell the aggrieved editors they were free to leave, he didn't tell them to grow up, he didn't champion free speech, he didn't call the footy editors over-emotional. The fact he's using a different line of reasoning here seems to have little to do with an underlying principle. He obviously doesn't oppose severe civility policing, if he's performed it himself. What's different this time?__ E L A Q U E A T E 19:35, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I think people are twisting John's message, really what does gender have to do with our work here? If you want to be just a screen name and not be judged off your color race and or gender then don't tell anyone. For Fucks Sake it isn't rocket science your gender doesn't matter here, whether you tell someone or not, your gender doesn't matter. dangler or otherwise, it's the work that matters not your organs. Hell in a Bucket (talk) 16:00, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I am in complete agreement with BHG. Admin John acts like a bully, then reverses course when a spotlight is put on his abusive, intimidating statements. I call on John to hand over his mop at once. It's the decent thing to do. Jusdafax 16:03, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

It sure would be neat if someone could ask Jimbo an important question without it turning into the 7th page that there is a multipage debate about this very subject. We have this going on on several noticeboards and talk pages, we don't need to spam this talk page in order for BHG to get a response. Chillum 16:18, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

I thought those discussions were all shut down? If you don't think it should be discussed here, which page are you suggesting discussion should be centralized?__ E L A Q U E A T E 16:24, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

I was been shutdown on AN/ANI etc with advice to take it to RFC or Arbcom. This is a slightly different conversation about if admins are expected to follow the terms of service for this website. This is something only the website owners can tell us, ie the foundation. It is not a question for community debate. Chillum 16:37, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

  • I know at least one administrator who firmly rejects the Terms of Use in its new provision requiring disclosure of paid editing. Since administrators are volunteers, they have no obligation to enforce each and every provision of the TOU. They don't take an oath to "support and defend the Terms of Use," the way officeholders and new immigrants take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." What matters is not if they enforce it or endorse it but whether they actively violate it. Unless that happens I don't see how it matters all that much. Coretheapple (talk) 16:42, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
    You do? Oh my. You should probably gather evidence of that and post it at an appropriate noticeboard. I don't know any administrators who have ever been paid to edit.--v/r - TP 03:11, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
The TOU applies to everybody who uses the website. Sure we don't have to enforce it, but we do have to follow it. And we cannot act against it. Refusing to be civil is a violation, blocking is appropriate. Reversing that block and effectively preventing enforcement of the TOU is a violation by my interpretation.
Admins should follow community expectations and the foundation which provides our servers is part of that community and they ultimately decide what is allowed. I think it is great that BHG is seeking clarification on this. Chillum 16:56, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
When did "clarifying" mean bullying another editor with vague threats of Foundation involvement? The WMF has better things to do than resolve verbal spats. KonveyorBelt 17:12, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
This has grown into something a bit bigger than a spat, as there is a very basic and fundamental divide over civility in this project, i.e. "grow thicker skin" vs. "be civil or begone". The community is hopelessly unable to bridge this divide on its own. Tarc (talk) 19:25, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Hmmm, yes. I'm kinda sensing a watershed moment developing in terms of WMF involvement on this. DeCausa (talk) 19:38, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Which is ironic because one of their own is currently in the spotlight (ArbCom) for possibly abusing admin inherently uncivil act. Intothatdarkness 20:42, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I'd like the WMF to take a position and make a statement, but I don't think they will start a culture change no matter what they do, except maybe Orwellian censorship. And we should not be threatening editors, whether it be John or anyone else, with WMF punishment. KonveyorBelt 20:49, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Sometimes change from above is the only solution to an intractable situation, even if they really don't want to intervene. Reminds me of the 1999 MLB vs. the umpires mess, where part of the kerfuffle was the commissioner trying to force the umpires to call the high strike as called for by the rulebook but which they rarely did. So it's abit like what we have here, where some people want admins to actually enforce both the spirit and the letter of the project's civility policy, where historically enforcement has been up to each individual admin to decide, much like how individual umpires once had their own strike zones. Tarc (talk) 22:28, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── A very astute comment from Tarc regarding "grow thicker skin" vs. "be civil or begone" groups. I think "grow thicker skin" was very useful in Wikipedia's founding days, but if we maintain this belief, groups that have been at the receiving end of a power differential for a long time (ie every group that is not a white male) will continue to avoid WP, which is contrary to WMF's goal of global engagement. I am sure there is a middle road that most users can support, although I'm not sure I've seen it proposed yet. (talk) 22:34, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

A middle road can be a good solution, but not inevitably so. IN any case, a middle road is something which can arise only when the range of possibilities has been clarified. Without that mapping, a "middle road" just becomes one of the polar positions. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:02, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Reading this part of the discussion one would surmise that "grow thicker skin" vs. "be civil or begone" are both directed disproportionally against women. Saffron Blaze (talk) 13:43, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

A concern

Due to end of ramadan, i was surfing though the different language versions of articles about Muhammad. When I saw the German wikipedia entry, I was flabbergasted. They use Christian symbols to mark Muhammad's birth and death date. It is of course up to the German speaking community, but I guess, if that goes the round, it might elicit outrage. See de:Mohammed. Muslims will feel disturbed to see a Christian cross in a Muhammad article. --Countryfanningexpert (talk) 02:25, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Nope. See Dagger (typography). "The dagger (†) should not be confused with the Christian cross (✝, U+271D), the character "box drawings light vertical and horizontal" (┼, U+253C), or other cross symbols." Viriditas (talk) 02:27, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
But you have to admit, it still looks like a cross like that of the Christian symbol. You can tell what you want, but it still will offend Muslims just because the dagger sign has strong reminiscent of the cross. --Countryfanningexpert (talk) 03:22, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that would be any different than a Christian (or Athiest) choosing to be offended because calendar makers use a "Muslim" crescent moon symbol to denote the phases of the lunar cycle. Any offence taken in either case is irrational. We're not going to remove the actual images of Muhammad from his article. I doubt any manufactured outrage over the use of the dagger symbol by the German community is likely to be any more persuasive. Resolute 03:35, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
It's not a cross it's a dagger (or obelisk), and it's not related to the cross. The use of the dagger was popularized in the 1st millennium BCE, hundreds of years before Christianity. Considering the great respect shown to Isa Ibn Maryam by Muslims, one is forced to wonder how it could offend Muslims. And considering the tradition of scholarship in the Muslim world, I will speculate that the use of the obelisk by Muslim scholars is probably quite common. Viriditas (talk) 03:38, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
It is actually the conventional symbol used in German genealogies etc. for "died". There was a discussion back in 2005 on the German WP as to whether to continue to use it or not and it was decided to continue [35].Smeat75 (talk) 12:12, 31 July 2014 (UTC)