User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 220

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WMF 20% increase in salaries/wages and 250% increase in awards and grants in 1 year ?

Salaries and wages in 2016 were $31,713,961, up from 26,049,224 in 2015 and Awards and grants in 2016 were $11,354,612 up from 4,522,689 in 2015

Jimbo, I finally got around to looking at Guy Macon's links stemming from the discussions here which linked to this, below which was this, which refers to Guy's extremely well reasoned, imo, essay,which links to our WMF 2016 financial statement.

So, I have three questions, if you would be so kind,

1~Guy Macon makes a suggestion in his essay I would ask you to weigh in on, i.e.: "We should make spending transparent, publish a detailed account of what the money is being spent on and answer any reasonable questions asking for more details." Jimbo, do you think that is a good idea?

2~Do you feel the annual increase in spending on salaries, wages, awards and grants was reasonable and well spent?

3~I would like to see a breakdown of the individual salaries, wages, awards and grants, where and/or is that info available? Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim —Preceding undated comment added 04:05, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

@Jimbo:, Hi, I just wanted to be sure you had noticed the topic directly above.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim

I disagree substantially with parts of Guy's essay, while at the same time thinking that it is a valuable discussion to have.
First, let's just jump to one of his core conclusions, which is that our "runaway spending" will cause us to "burn through our reserves" leading to bankruptcy. But if you look at the actual numbers, what you see is a steady and strong increase in the building up of reserves, not a "burning through" at all. Yes, of course, if we face a decline in revenue in the future, and if - contrary to all evidence - we don't take corrective action - then of course we would eventually burn through reserves. But there is no reason at all to think that would be even remotely likely - the Foundation has always run in a very very fiscally conservative way, as directly evidenced by the data in his table.
Second, I am well in favor of increased transparency and accountability in whatever ways are possible. I'd be interested in some concrete suggestions of what further could be done. One of the original questions, above, was about the increase in grants - well the process for that is incredibly public and I encourage interested community members to get involved.
I'm asked if I agree with this: "We should make spending transparent, publish a detailed account of what the money is being spent on and answer any reasonable questions asking for more details." Yes, of course I do, and I think we already see the WMF doing a better job of that than virtually any other organization I know of. I also welcome suggestions of exactly how they might improve further.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:35, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
I have no doubts that it is your intent and the intent of the rest of the WMF to take corrective action if we face a decline in revenue in the future. Alas, my essay is based only on past performance -- what the WMF has done in the past -- and not on good intentions. You are on the board. Can you at least propose that the WMF limit spending to no more than a ten percent increase (10% over inflation and adjusted for any increases in page views, of course). 20%? 30%? Are you willing to propose ANY limit on spending increases, no matter how generous? Come on. Jimbo. You are our founder. You built this thing. It was your vision, and your vision was the right one. You are the only board member who can safely propose any limit on spending increases. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:10, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
The past performance of the WMF - as evidenced in your chart - shows a clear track record of consistently spending less than revenue and steadily building reserves. There is no evidence in your chart of any proclivity to spend beyond our means. So, looking at the past, you have to draw the conclusion that this is a financially conservative and cautious organization of precisely the type that is well positioned culturally and otherwise to weather a storm.
I do not support WMF spending limits based on the passage of time or the rate of inflation, as such an approach would be anathema to opportunities for growth and innovation. You might view Wikimedia as a "completed vision" which now should shift into longterm maintenance mode - I do not. We have a huge amount of work to do in the developing world, and we have huge potential challenges from changes in technology. I do very much propose strong spending limits based on our financial resources (income and reserves). That is to say, I think the WMF should continue a policy of increasing spending based on a thoughtful look at projects and opportunities - within the constraints of our budgets.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:20, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the refreshingly clear answers to the actual questions asked. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:40, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Jimbo, Awards and grants were $2 million 4 years ago and increased to $11 million last year. I think the annual increase should be limited to a specified maximum economic barometer like the EU inflation rate for example. Where can I make that suggestion?Nocturnalnow (talk) 03:10, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
I hope that suggestion is made nowhere. Assuming that increases in any particular line item ought to be limited to some metrics such as inflation is warranted only if a number of assumptions are true most of which are unlikely to be true. Let's just address one — it presupposes that the starting level is completely warranted. Can you provide a detailed analysis that shows that the total of $2 million in grants four years ago was exactly the right level?--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:14, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
@Jimbo:, oops, I almost forgot. I'd like to see a list of all individual WMF employees' total remuneration, including per diems, on an annual basis going back 5 years, preferably by name, but if that is not ok, at least by an employee number so we can see how much money they make individually and their annual increases.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
He's probably booked some A/L (grabbing those cunning extra days due to the falling of Easter this year!) But on a more serious note, I'd imagine that some if not most of the information requested above is commercially confidential...? — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 17:52, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
I don't buy any "commercially confidential" arguments. The WMF can reveal most of that if they choose to do so, holding back only that which infringes on employee privacy. Wikipedia doesn't have competitors who are only prevented from opening up their own online encyclopedia because of some sort of secrets we are not revealing. In fact, we allow and encourage anyone and everyone to open their own online encyclopedia, and we give away our software and the content of all of our articles to help them do it. (Finding 137,369 active editors and 1,151 administrators who are willing to create 49,013,017 pages of all kinds and 5,970,549 articles all for free is their problem.)
BTW, I am still waiting for some substantive answers from the WMF to the questions asked at m:Talk:Wikimedia Endowment#How should we select members of the Wikimedia Endowment Advisory board?...
--Guy Macon (talk) 18:14, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
It looks to me like Lisa Gruwell gave you clear and substantive answers but you kept on badgering her in a manner that I think failed to assume good faith. I'm not surprised if she just decided it was like talking to a wall. Nonetheless, I will attempt to answer some of your questions (again) as best I can.
"could some future CEO or some future board drain the endowment to support continued spending? Could they be forced to do so if the WMF loses a major lawsuit and has to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars?"
The WMF Endowment is being designed with precisely these kinds of questions in mind, and with reasonable safeguards in place. The whole point of setting up a separate governing body is to introduce a separate level of oversight for the endowment - checks and balances are important. If we merely set up a big bank account and called it "an endowment" then the protections for the long run would be much less.
Under no circumstances can any CEO ever unilaterally spend any money at all - there is a budgeting process and approval of the budget by the board. Spending without board approval is not allowed. But with the endowment, there is an added level in which not only does the CEO have to make the case to the WMF board for the spending, the case also must be put to the endowment board. Because any such decisions on that sort of thing are years away (we are just starting to collect money) now is the time to be thinking about and formulating what the longterm policy should be about that.
In terms of being forced to do so - again, part of the point of the endowment board is to provide an additional layer of safety. While one can never guarantee anything legally, and I am not a lawyer, it is important to note that assets of the endowment are not assets of the Foundation - so they should be, if things are done correctly (as they will be) safeguarded.
I have been involved in discussions with potential donors and think that, with staff, board and endowment board support, we will be able to bring in tens of millions of dollars over the next several years. (As usual, I'm more optimistic than that, but that's the basic plan - $100 million in 10 years.) Part of what the new class of donors we are targetting here are interested in is precisely that their (large) gifts be used appropriately. There may be specific gift-instruments that impose regulations on how we spend the money, and these will be decided in accordance with our usual principles and procedures.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:38, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Just a note to say there is currently an election for the WMF Board coming right up, and questions for candidates are being accepted here. Might be worth asking a question along these lines there as well. I'd certainly be interested to answer it. :) The Land (talk) 18:30, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Done. See m:Wikimedia Foundation elections/2017/Board of Trustees/Questions/Submitted/1#Uncontrolled spending increases. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:10, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Guy Macon, @Guy Macon:, I think you should please run for the WMF or tomorrow is the last day to get your nomination in, see here Nocturnalnow (talk) 03:36, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps next year. As a board member, I would not be allowed to make the sort of proposals that I am free to make as an ordinary user. Right now, I would ask anyone who thinks I would be a good choice for the board to vote for Doc James. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:38, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
As a board member, you would in no way be restricted from making exactly the same kinds of proposals that you can make as an ordinary user.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:58, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
The self-nomination deadline for the Board of Trustees is indeed coming up quickly (about 34 hours from the date of this comment). It would take some significant time to prepare the nomination. There are only 6 candidates declared. We need more. While the Board has traditionally been very diverse, I do think we need more diverse candidates from the community. e.g.
  • There is only 1 woman running (and 5 men)
  • Geographically it's all global north
  • 4 from Europe
  • 1 from North America
  • 1 from Jordan
We can do better than that. It's time for people to step up to the plate. Smallbones(smalltalk) 13:28, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
That "awards and grants were $2 million 4 years ago and increased to $11 million last year." was one of the best things to happen at WP in years. What this represents is providing support for WPedians individually and and in small groups to engage in projects of their own initiative that are directly based on actually recognized needs and capabilities. This is in contrast to prior growth in increasing the amount spent centrally not all of which in the past has in fact been used in a way many of us --including I think Guy -- thought of essential value, or even of positive value at all. Given Guy's view of the movement as I understand it, this sort of increased spending is what he should be applauding, not doubting. DGG ( talk ) 08:08, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
DGG makes a good point. It may very well be that this particular spending increase was well worth doing. Transparency -- telling us exactly what the money was spent on -- would allow each of us to decide that question for ourselves. That being said, I do not believe that every spending increase was worth doing.
Look at the total spending trend:
  • 2012: $29,260,652 US Dollars.
  • 2013: $35,704,796 US Dollars.
  • 2014: $45,900,745 US Dollars.
  • 2015: $52,596,782 US Dollars.
  • 2016: $65,947,465 US Dollars.
Is there really no part of the WMF that can "scrape by" with the amount we spent last year or the year before that? Not a single place where we can make even a small spending cut? Really? --Guy Macon (talk) 08:55, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Of course there are places that we have made spending cuts in the past, and places where we will make spending cuts in the future. Adjusting spending in response to changing conditions and things learned is a normal and healthy part of how a good organization functions over time. It is of course true that some spending, made with the best information available at the time, and with the best of intentions, doesn't work out. I'd be very worried about an organization that never had any pilot programs that didn't work out - if you aren't sometimes failing, then you aren't likely to be trying hard enough to do interesting things.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:58, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
@Jimbo:, you may have overlooked this request: I'd like to see a list of all individual WMF employees' total remuneration, including per diems, on an annual basis going back 5 years, preferably by name, but if that is not ok, at least by an employee number so we can see how much money they make individually and their annual increases. Please advise if you are willing to advance this request and if not, your reasoning. Thanks.Nocturnalnow (talk) 15:28, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
I think this is a terrible idea and I would never support it. It is an approach apparently rooted in a bizarre and excessive lack of trust grounded in no evidence whatsoever. I would gladly support increasing the transparency around salary ranges and hiring practices, so long as suggestions in that direction are not disrespectful to individual privacy and so long as reasons that aren't paranoid are given for it. A better and more respectful approach to genuine concerns in this area would be to have a compensation review conducted by a competent expert. But I'm not really aware of any really genuine concerns in this area. The WMF pays fair but modest salaries. Unlike other employers in the world of the Internet there can be no stock options. It is my view that employees should not be asked to take huge paycuts to come to the Foundation to work. I think our salaries are set in a sensible fashion. I have met with hundreds of donors large and small and have never heard any desire by them for this kind of detailed invasive data.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:03, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your response, Jimbo, a couple of points:
1: I'm coming from the old adage "an oz. of prevention is worth a pound of cure" because I think that by going overboard on transparency any foundation or non-profit can only help itself and its donors and employees. For example, our website says there are about 280 staff and contractors and our financial statement says we spend 33 million on salaries, so that gives the impression that our average employee makes $120,000. per year which may or may not be accurate but if reported like that ijn a news article, it could, imo, turn off a lot of donors. Whether you or I think that's a lot of money doesn't matter when average Americans or Europeans compare that number with their own salary, so, I think it would be better to just list everybody who makes over $100,000. per year, which will certainly be a lot less than half of the 280, and use some silicon valley comparables to put our salaries in perspective. This approach is being used right now in the Gov. of Ontario by publishing annually what they call the Sunshine List of employees earning over $100,000. per year. This approach has completely stopped the "revelations" that local newspapers used to come up with about certain individual salaries.
2:Guy lists in his essay several articles which are critical of our fundraising approach and theIBT article has one of our fundraising banners from 2015, and the wording could, imo, absolutely be seen as exaggeration or worse, imo, I'll have a go at it:°

We'll get right to it: This week we ask you to help Wikipedia. To protect our independence, we'll never run ads. We're sustained by donations averaging about £10. Only a tiny portion of our readers give. Now is the time we ask. If everyone reading this right now gave £2, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. That's right, the price of a cup of coffee is all we need. If Wikipedia is useful to you, please take one minute to keep it online and growing. We're a small non-profit with costs of a top site: servers, staff and programs. We serve millions of readers, but run on a fraction of what other top sites spend. We believe knowledge is a foundation. A foundation for human potential, for freedom, for opportunity. We believe everyone should have access to knowledge for free, without restriction, without limitation. Please help us end the fundraiser and improve Wikipedia. Thank you.

1:"protect" seems to alarming to me....."continue" would be better 2: "tiny" should be "small"...3."keep it online" is really bad and should be removed....4:"small" should be removed...
So, its not a big deal at this point in time, but it requires your attention, I think. Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Re: the so-called "sunshine list". The article you link to notes a substantial problem—the $100,000 threshold was set in 1996, when a hundred grand (even in Canadian dollars) was a very hefty salary. I'm not saying it isn't still a decent income, but the purpose of the list – to identify potential abuses of government money, and to 'name-and-shame' beneficiaries of government largesse – seems to have been diluted because the list's threshold hasn't been indexed to inflation or otherwise allowed to keep pace with the economy. A generation of inflation would have brought the cutoff to somewhere around $150K, except the line hasn't been moved for the usual political reasons.
I'm not sure that taking a name-and-shame approach to the Wikimedia Foundation's employees – particularly the rank and file, at such a low threshold – is helpful or beneficial. $100K is reasonable middle- to upper-middle-management money in tech, with more money on the table for particularly desirable skills or in particularly costly markets. (Source: My wife has a senior role at a software company with about $1 billion US in revenue.) Deciding to 'out' mid-level employees by name because they happen to make reasonable money would not be a good look for us, and would probably hurt our recruitment and retention.
If you really must explore such an approach, set the threshold to a level that actually represents a genuinely high income in 2017. Draw a line at $175K or $200K, where someone earning that kind of money should reasonably expect to be more than an anonymous cog in the Wikimedia machine, and it's reasonable for us to ask if they're earning that coin. If absolutely necessary, break down the rest of the salaries into bands (0-50K, 50-100K, etc.) and show the aggregate number without names. The purpose of a "sunshine list" is to allow the public to detect abuses, not to shame employees who happen be getting paid a reasonable wage. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 01:27, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
We could start by doubling Jimbo's salary (That's a joke folks! He does not get a salary!) for having to politely respond to the nonsense on this page. Regarding the question of whether details of salaries should be published, the answer is no. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an exercise in free speech or anarchy. Johnuniq (talk) 01:36, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Excellent and profound unintentional thought provoke, from an unlikely source, that free speech and anarchists are strangely and rapidly becoming mortal enemies. These are the wonderful epiphanies which appear out of nowhere on Wikipedia talk pages, that I don't run into anywhere else. Thanks. Nocturnalnow (talk) 02:54, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Now that I've been able to "sleep on it", this free reign of so called "anarchists" is something I'm old enough to have witnessed before. i.e. the global "establishment" aka Liberal international economic order's organic ability to absorb, hence neuter, the "anti-establishment" organisations like it did in the 3 decades post 60s with the anti-war, anti-materialism and feminism now its absorbing the small, but perhaps growing, anarchists subset. Wikipedia , imo, by its extremely open and popular (non-corporate or government) control structure, may also be in the process of being targeted and/or absorbed by "the establishment", through the paid editing, COI, channels of intrusion...I'm not saying its any kind of conspiracy or even planned attack by "the establishment"...I am saying its a natural organic tendency of the corporate and governmental forces to eliminate, diminish and/or absorb their competition, in this case, an encyclopedia full of free and unbiased information.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim In addition, and back to this topic more directly, what Carrite says below is a reasonable prognosis and cause for concern.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
  • Here's the problem. WMF has become very, very good at raising money. At the same time, there are absolutely no competitive constraints forcing WMF to function in an economically rational manner. They have more money than they have matches with which to burn it. Thus we have spending more than doubling from 2012 to 2016, an unhealthy rate of growth. Now they have a $65M "nut" to raise every year. Next year it will be higher still. One of these years, probably sooner rather than later, the glorious fundraising targets will not be met. And that will open the door for advertising, as the bureaucracy attempts to defend itself from potential (gasp! shock! horror!) cutbacks. Carrite (talk) 13:37, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
I think this is really quite obviously wrong. If you were evaluating a business and saw the numbers for revenue and expenses, you would say "This is a very well run business, and how can I invest"? Spending has more than doubled, yes. So has revenue. This is what successful planning and financial management looks like. This is what functioning in an economically rational manner looks like.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:28, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Please share with us the structural pressures pushing the bureaucracy towards economization. I contend that there are none, that WMF is an unchecked fiefdom that is spending out just like every bureaucracy has done anywhere as the end of its periodic budget cycle concludes. Or is the policy simply to up spending automatically in proportion to revenue as it increases? In no way is this what economic rationality looks like — it is what a bureaucracy with too much money and scant external supervision looks like. Carrite (talk) 18:35, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
The primary structural pressure is an independent board that has consistently insisted on solid financial performance. Look at the excellent track record and stop insulting good people.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:54, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
Track record of what?!?! Do you really think value has been delivered as WMF's cumulative total spending edges towards the quarter-billion-dollars mark? Why does the default WP screen still look like it's 2002??? Why doesn't WYSIWYG editing work worth a tinker's damn? Carrite (talk) 16:44, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
  • While not meeting a fundraising target is a realistic scenario, the introduction of advertising is not. --NeilN talk to me 14:28, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Well, that decision rests with a 10 person board, one of whom is Jimmy Wales, and three of whom don't even necessarily have a WP account. What's to stop the 10 people who have greenlighted the spendout from doing whatever it takes to keep the revenue rolling in when the bureaucratic pressure to avoid cutbacks ramps up? Do you expect WMF to fall on the sword or rather to get creative with "sponsorship opportunities"? Which strikes you as more likely? What is "unrealistic" about the tail that has been wagging the dog for more than 5 years doing whatever it takes to avoid cutting back what has taken so long to build? Carrite (talk) 18:46, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
I have consistently and will continue to consistently oppose the introduction of advertising in Wikipedia. This is a matter that, in the entire history of the board, there has been virtual unanimity about. Indeed, the idea is so far fetched that it isn't even something that the board discusses. What you appear to be missing is that the entire point of the board structure (with unpaid board members, with a majority from the community) is precisely to safeguard Wikipedia from such things. You can be absolutely and totally dishonest and pretend it is otherwise, but this is just scare mongering and insulting to good people.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:54, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
My community only has 3 seats on the 10-person board (I am not eligible to vote for any of the other 7 seats). Even if you consider the 2 affiliated organisation seats to be "community seats", that's only half, not a majority. And since Wikidata's CC0 1.0 license, which doesn't require attribution, auto-magically transforms Wikipedia's CC BY-SA 3.0 licensed content that does require attribution, then Google has all it wants, so there will never be any need to run ads on Wikipedia. As long as Google needs Wikipedia, it will keep funding the Foundation. Financial support from the proletariat is nice to have, but as long as Google and other profit-making businesses need Wikipedia to help them generate advertising-based revenue streams, it won't be necessary. wbm1058 (talk) 23:00, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
I consider 6 seats to be community seats. As an unpaid volunteer who doesn't work at the Foundation, I consider myself a member of the community. Your concerns about Google funding Wikipedia seem a bit... let's just say... lacking in factual basis. I don't know why you use insulting terms like "proletariat". Basically, you're just making things up that don't make any sense.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:37, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
I don't understand why you think that word is insulting, it's just a synonym for workers. Who am I insulting? I suppose from some points-of-view, the usage of "community" in this context might be insulting. A better term might be "appointed board members" – there are only five "elected" board members, so there is no majority of elected board members. I put "elected" in quotes because, by my understanding, even these members are appointed. By "appointed", I mean elected by the board itself. The "elections" are just for the purposes of recommending nominees for appointment. Maybe some appointed board members would feel insulted to learn that they were not members of the community. wbm1058 (talk) 20:55, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
Cutting back outreach programs and expenses not directly related to the day-to-day running of Wikipedia seems far more likely to me. Given that Jimbo has been fielding this same concern for at least the past ten years with the same response, in line with Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Advertising, the assertion that fundraising targets will not be met probably sooner rather than later hence advertising seems without merit. Do you want to wager that we'll have advertising on the website within the next five years? --NeilN talk to me 21:29, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Cutting back won't be as hard as Carrite thinks. It would be easy to drop funding for the Signpost and let their publication schedule lapse from fortnightly to fortmonthly. Yes I know, the Signpost doesn't have anything to do with advertising, so my statement makes no sense. lol wbm1058 (talk) 23:27, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Oh, this assertion is silly. The only space that doesn't allow advertising is Wikipedia itself, but as fewer and fewer readers read content directly from Wikipedia itself and more and more read Wikipedia from Wikidata-enabled third party sites (of which Google is foremost), the idea that Wikipedia does not support advertising becomes more and more of a joke. I view advertising as a major raison d'être for Wikidata. And the raison d'être for the ongoing Wikimedia movement strategy discussion is finding new ways to spend that money. I don't hold out big hopes that much will be spent on quality-control and filling in gaps in the core encyclopedic content, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. More likely the money will be spent on finding more ways for automation and Global South editors to dump more work into the laps of the already overworked core volunteers. wbm1058 (talk) 21:16, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
  • "I view advertising as a major raison d'être for Wikidata." This makes no sense. --NeilN talk to me 04:37, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
From Wikidata: There is concern that the project is being influenced by lobbying companies, PR professionals and search engine optimizers.[1] As of December 2015, according to Wikimedia statistics, half of the information in Wikidata is unsourced. Another 30% is labeled as having come from Wikipedia, but with no indication as to which article.[1] In short, Wikidata is an unreliable source, whose main value is in use by third-party sites for advertising and promotional purposes – web pages using Wikidata such as Google's Knowledge Graph also display ads. wbm1058 (talk) 21:05, 21 April 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Kolbe, Andrew (December 8, 2015). "Unsourced, unreliable, and in your face forever: Wikidata, the future of online nonsense". The Register.
Which means zero in regard to introducing advertising on Wikipedia. --NeilN talk to me 21:15, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
wbm1058, thank you. Very interesting and all new info for me.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
wbm1058, after reading the Register article and the Wikipedian Max Klein interview linked to by the Register, I am wondering if human editing/Wikipedia will be replaced entirely by AI in the hands of search engines pretty soon. Is that a realistic possibility?Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Who knows, we're getting to the "hockey stick" end of the exponential curve in the growth of computing power. Before the bots take on any higher-end tasks, I'd hope that they would just start making spelling corrections and fixing other routine syntax errors and get smarter at detecting & reverting vandalism. As the WMF relies on humans for most useful bot-development (why should they be motivated to develop solutions, when there's a volunteer army working for free?) I'd expect most big innovations to come from elsewhere. It's possible the time could come when Google didn't need Wikipedia anymore, but that's still on the long-term horizon at best, I think. wbm1058 (talk) 23:27, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Could not the bots use the same reliable sources filter we use and have a small staff to update? As far as spelling, syntax and vandalism, I know little about the level of difficulty for the bots to deal with those 3 matters, but I'd guess they could get on top of those things pretty quickly. In terms of the volunteer army working for free, we must be getting something out of it or else we wouldn't be doing it. The "reward" likely varies somewhat, but intellectual stimulation and expansion of my own knowledge are the 2 primary "rewards" for me; also, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Also, there is some feeling of contributing to humanity via this encyclopedia, but maybe the AI can do just as good a job, I don't know. Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
I just remembered, the best kind of life experience for anybody, with Wikipedia editing or anything else, is to have fun doing what they have fun doing and feel like doing, and leave the results, long or short term, to God, or history, or the forces of nature, or whatever else somebody might believe in, if anything; which fits well with no crystal ball.Nocturnalnow (talk) 15:20, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

Imagine a day in the future when there isn't enough money coming in to cover spending. Jimbo says that the WMF will immediately react and reduce spending. This is a hard thing to do. The WMF will have to fire good people who are doing useful work. They will have to miss opportunities, and cancel programs that are showing excellent results. Jimbo is going to have to look good friends in the eye and say "we can't afford you anymore". But Jimbo says that is what will happen. My prediction is a bit different. I predict that the WMF will figure that this is a temporary setback, that the good times will surely return soon, and will wait until next year to make those cuts. And then wait another year. As always in the predicting-the-future business, you cannot tell which prediction is right, and in fact both may be wrong. With that, I am going to withdraw from this conversation. Anyone who is going to agree with me has already done so. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:15, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

I understand there may be issues with revealing salaries of individual WMF employees. But I'd really like to see a histogram of the salaries. The reason for this is simple: salaries don't really average. What people expect throughout every institution in today's stratified society is that maybe four Brahmins will be making all the money, and then there will be all the nameless legions of underlings who technically do the work. (Note they are not in any meaningful way responsible for an institution's success, as they can and should feel instantly and casually replaceable for any small reason; it is the Brahmins whose vague and contradictory pontifications, backed by the power to give and withhold their endless wealth, who are solely responsible for anything an institution does, except of course any errors) Now it is possible that Wikipedia is the one lone exception to this iron rule of how society should be organized, in which case the histogram would prove an interesting sociological artifact; otherwise, at least it would go to demonstrate the universality of economic law, confirming the general faith in capitalism that has taken over the role of the certainty once given by the public to their traditional deities. Wnt (talk) 04:13, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

Wnt, the histogram for the top 5 or so earners is a great idea. About 8 years ago the Toronto Star dug up the salary of the head of the Ontario Heart and Stroke was about $300,000 if I remember correctly..published it on their front page and there was a huge public outcry. Besides, its the right thing to do when an entity is seeking money from the public, imo, to have something like a histogram just for transparency purposes. Thirdly, I think that the culture of keeping salaries private is self serving for the top dogs (WNT's "Brahmins"), old fashioned, out dated, and much more in vogue in the USA than anywhere else, I believe...just check it out in the UK Jimbo. Nocturnalnow (talk) 16:38, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Except that we do not have a culture of keeping the top salaries private and indeed publish them as a part of our regular financial reporting. See for example Form 990, pages 7 and 8. Is there a plausible case for publishing more information about salaries? I suppose there could be, but please let's start with a basis of facts and trust and think about the question reasonably.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:39, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
This is perfect...I did not know about this publicly available listing. Yes, you are correct, Jimbo. There is no need for any more salary info to be published. This is a perfect amount of transparency, imo. Thank you very much.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
This is indeed a very satisfactory response! But I don't know accounting, so I realize there are bits I still don't really know. For example, I am surprised to see that Jimmy Wales, chair Jan-Bart de Vreede, vice-chair Patricio Lorente, and trustees Stu West, Maria Sefadari, Guy Kawasaki, Alice Wiegand, Samuel Klein, Phoebe Ayers, And Frieda Brioschi are all working for literally nothing, not from WMF and not from related organizations either. They deserve a big round of applause for that, but it also means I don't know if they're counted among the 192 WMF "employees" on the form or with the 80,000 "volunteers", which actually affects the average. The high paid employees are just over $300K - Lila Tretikov and Sue Gardner - and Geoff Brigham at $228K, secretary and general counsel. The rest are all $150K to $180K, which is still a lot of money but not too surprising I suppose. All told, nine people account for $1,849,754 of salary, ten are unpaid, and 173 (183?) others get $19,979,908 (I think) minus $1,849,754 = $18,130,154 for an average of $104,798.60 apiece. But in fact only 69 employees make over $100,000 according to page 8, so that means 104 employees share, at most, $10,400,000 and 69 get at least $7,730,154 for an average of $112,031.20 apiece, or at most 69 x $152,202 (the fifth highest salary) = $10,501,938. Anyway, I still wonder why can't WMF find a way to do completely without an executive director, but I have to admit that the stratification seems less than I expected. The hundred thousand dollar salaries make a person wince but I'm not sure I want WMF to move to New Delhi either. I feel like Wikimedia should do more to get the volunteer contribution model to extend into computer programming, but admittedly this is a hard thing to do. Mostly you need to do more for make sure we know what you've already told us. But I still wouldn't mind a more detailed histogram with bins of 5 employees or less so we really have a decent picture. Wnt (talk) 19:37, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
"You need $119,570 a year to live comfortably in San Francisco--at least $30,000 more than in any other American city." from Inc. Using the official CPI numbers, this site, puts San Francisco as number 2 most expensive after San Diego. Of course you have to also understand that programmers make more on average than most other people. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:33, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
  • I would suggest that people who are so inclined sit down and draft an alternate financial plan, an alternate budget and alternate fundraising and revenue goals. Personally I can think of better ways to waste my spare time. Coretheapple (talk) 13:28, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
    • That would require knowing where the money is going now in detail. Personally I would fire half the employees/contractors working ineptly on technical projects and retask the remainder on resolving bugs and the fulfilling the community wish list. There would probably be enough money to Put some generous bonuses in for completing on time and under budget. Less time wasted on in-house vanity and internal politics driven projects. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:36, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
      • @Only in death: That's a fair point. However, surely you must have some idea, based upon the public record and the disclosures, as to where the money is going and where it should go. I'm not asking in a "put up or shut up" fashion but am genuinely trying to understand if there are better uses for the rather large Foundation budget. For example, can some of it be devoted to databases, such as Lexis/Nexis or ProQuest? Such resources would enormously improve the project. That's just one idea. Of course, one would have to know how much they would cost. Coretheapple (talk) 21:14, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
        • Yes, I have 'some' idea. The problem with 'some' idea is that it is not detailed enough to make a real plan from. Wages for example. Without knowing what level of employee gets what, broken down by project, its practically impossible to determine if there is value for money in the expenditure. A lesser-paid but more productive team is worth keeping on compared to a higher paid but ultimately unproductive team. Given the various dead-end projects the WMF has been running in recent years, there is certainly a lot of scope for re-organising how it runs its technical teams, how they are managed, the oversight, targets etc. Its entirely possible the entire technical staff are highly skilled and productive workers who have suffered from a case of bad senior management and lack of board-level oversight. I doubt it though. Either way, to get an accurate picture of the whole, costs need to be broken down to a per-project level, including salaries. This does not mean individual salaries, but it certainly needs more detail than is available now. The issue with grants is entirely different. It will almost always be a good thing to give away more grants from its available funds - as long as the recipients are a clear benefit. This will always be subjective to a point, but there are certainly some grants that appear to not be value for money on the face of it, that could have been better used elsewhere. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:12, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
          • Given that between 50% and 80% of all IT projects fail, it's not in the least obvious that it's easy to improve on WIkimedia's project management. Pointing at individual project failures is certainly not enough. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:16, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
        • Coretheapple re your Lexis/Nexis or ProQuest suggestion, you might want to check out what the WMF is already doing at Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/Publishers or sign up for one here. Of course that isn't an alternative/better use for the Foundation budget, it is one of the things that has been added on in the last few years of growth. ϢereSpielChequers 22:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
          • Oh yes, I have fully availed myself of the databases noted there, Some fine ones there, and also there are good ones available online for alumni at certain universities and even humble New York Public Library cardholders. But imagine the kind of great sourcing we'd have with ProQuest and/or Lexis and Factiva. Coretheapple (talk) 00:30, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Lyrebird (voice imitation algorithm)

"A Montreal-based AI startup called Lyrebird has taken the wraps off a voice imitation algorithm that the team says can not only mimic the speech of a real person but shift its emotional cadence — and do all this with just a tiny snippet of real world audio."

Wavelength (talk) 00:33, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Super interesting, although not necessarily for the "fake news" reason the story indicates. I actually don't know a lot about the state of the art in text-to-voice, except that if it can plausibly shift its emotional cadence, it ought to be pretty good at reading Wikipedia. I recently tried a "wikipedia to voice" app and the results were disappointing as the robot voice was pretty bad. Since Wikipedia typically doesn't have a HUGE amount of emotional text (or shouldn't anyway) then it ought to be along the easier places to add a bit of it to make things sound more natural.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:12, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
You may be thinking of Wikipedia Audio, whose discussion is archived at User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 217#Wikipedia Audio (February 2017).
Wavelength (talk) 22:17, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Wasn't WikiSpeech an active project now? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 17:13, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Since the inventors are PhD students at the University of Montreal, somebody should invite them to give a speech at Wikimania. Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:55, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
You may be thinking of Wikipedia:WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia.
Wavelength (talk) 22:17, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
It would be useful if it marks the beginning of reading that is reliably correct. For example, it would be good to have a correct phonetic reading of the entire Daode Jing in Mandarin to help those interested learn the appropriate pronunciation for the language using an interesting source text. (That would actually be worth getting human volunteers lined up for ... and this is not good enough! But imagine having that for many source texts in many languages...) Wnt (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:03, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Russian government and control of the Internet

"OpenEconomy has learned of three potential ways the [Russian] authorities might begin to 'restore order' to the Internet in the coming years."

Wavelength (talk) 21:34, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Our ability to control what the KGB does in Russia has long been limited. Our foremost duty is to remain true to ourselves. If Russia sees clear to ban Wikipedia because we have something in it they don't want talked about, let them! The world might be safer if their nuclear engineers are a little less educated. Yet Wikipedia's model encourages subversion - the free and open archive practically begs to be smuggled over the Wall once it is rebuilt. So let them do that also. Meanwhile, let's not forget that the first part of Putin's idea (data retention) is a plague that did not begin in Russia. We should fight that where we know the language and profess an ability to influence the government, knowing the heroes and the villains here are both international in nature. Wnt (talk) 00:17, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
@Putin, @KGB: WP:NOTCENSORED. If that means you choose to harm the ordinary people of your nation, by denying them access to knowledge resources, so be it. Also, @Putin: maybe you know better from your days in the KGB, but I'm pretty certain that the ARPANET was a DARPA project for DoD, and not some secret CIA plot to chip away at the Soviet Union. Murph9000 (talk) 01:05, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
But then Alexandra Elbakyan has stolen all the scientific knowledge in the World and brought it to Russia from where she distributes it to everyone on the planet. Count Iblis (talk) 07:19, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
Count Iblis, interestingly, to me, her lede includes a comparison by Ars Technica to Aaron Swartz, who, imo, was a young man with amazing potential and perhaps, too much idealism, who was, imo, targeted by mean-spirited creeps who hounded him to his death with nowhere near the consideration given to him by the same creeps that they gave/give to political and Wall Street criminals, but I have no opinion concerning Alexandra Elbakyan herself as I know nothing about her or her history, however, her Blp certainly could use a lot more content if she is as important as you say. However, for clarification purposes only, are you saying that both "stealing all the scientific knowledge in the world" and "distributes it to everyone on the planet." are both bad things individually or just in concert? I mean, assuming she stole it all, would it be better if she had not distributed it? Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
What she did was not bad as I've pointed out here but, of course, Elsevier has a different opinion. Legally, it is theft, but I guess it's a mistake to apply the concept of property to scientific knowledge. Count Iblis (talk) 21:07, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
Count Iblis,thanks very much. Nocturnalnow (talk) 00:36, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Interesting. I thought that Kazakhstan deserved all the credit but I see that the integration with Libgen means that Russia is indeed being helpful here. A country is seldom a monolith of sense or nonsense ... but that doesn't mean a clear turn for the worse won't sink all boats.
I know that there are a lot of publishers claiming the site is "piracy", but that has not been tested in a civil court. To me it appears the actions of Sci-Hub fall under the general description of interlibrary loan - a researcher requests a work, another researcher with access to the work sends a copy to him. Apparently before Elbakyan got involved one procedure involved posting a request to a Twitter handle "#IcanhazPDF" and having a researcher do it manually, and she found a way to expedite the procedure. We have something very similar to that predecessor at Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange. Is Wikipedia a pirate site? Well, the answer is simply that logic does not apply and there is no real law. It's all just private entities running games in crooked courts that rule for whoever is more powerful. There is no objective reality about copyright, period! I have no doubt in my mind that the RIAA dreams of the day when they can finally send their jack booted thugs smashing through the door of your local library to seize all those music CDs that people are allowed to borrow to pirate with no digital "security" to make sure that only a licensed ear can hear them. Given their druthers, they would round up every user who had ever heard a song sung without paying for special permission and put chips in their head to eradicate the errant memories and set them to work turning some heavy turnstile for the amusement and greater glory of the one last rich man left in the world after the last merger, patching them up with more cloned and cybernetic bits as needed, inflicting ever more pain as their nominal wage falls ever further behind their accruing compound interest, under the watchful eye of the Beast Eternal until the stars fall from the sky. But, God willing, the time will much sooner come when Earth follows Venus (Lucifer) on the greenhouse express, the mountains melt and the seas boil and the last scrap of humanity and human knowledge and vanity is forever expunged from the cosmos, and millions of years later some other curious race will look up at the stars and say gee, why aren't there any other civilizations? Because it's probably something like that every single time. Better that than the other. Wnt (talk) 01:42, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Wikitribune, US Net Neutrality repeal and EU Copyright Reform

Good job on your Wikitribune Jimbo, but the Internet is under threat. Ajit Pai is threatening to get rid of strong net neutrality rules in the United States and a vote is scheduled for May 18, while in the European Union, the Parliament is debating copyright rules that would create new ancillary copyrights for press publishers and would create a mandatory censorship machine, affecting Wikipedia, which MEP Julia Reda says that Wikipedia could be required to employ robots to filter copyrighted content, and it won't even recognise fair use, like for example, an image of Miles "Tails" Prower could be deleted by SEGA under new EU copyright rules from Wikipedia, affecting not just the EU, but worldwide. YouTube has a content recognition technology and it doesn't recognise fair use. The new EU copyright reform could remove safe harbours. This is like the EU brought back SOPA, which Wikipedia blacked out against five years ago. -Mrs. Jan Cola (talk), 01:08, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

We have an article Julia Reda and she has a site here. I found a story on the topic here ... please provide more sources on this issue. It is clear that Europe is at risk of making some more bad decisions on copyright, but Wikipedia ought to do the same as it does about their "database rights" - ignore them. It is not actually possible for a site to follow the censorship/mandatory monopoly laws of more than one country, when even the first such set of laws doesn't make any sense. And we see from this EU project news that trying to extract a "common gist" out of them is only a license to make the situation much worse. Wnt (talk) 01:53, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Censorship pressure is increasing dramatically with seemingly odd couplings forming to frame censorship as unquestionably a useful tool for the "good" of mankind. Any battle against beefing up copyright laws will also be seen as being opposed to the good of mankind. Free Speech is connected with privacy rights and freedom of access to information, ( which ironically, or not, is addressed in the sub-topic above about Russia). All 3 of these rights are under attack at the same time...i.e. sure feels like fascism to me....and I'm not talking about Adolf, I'm talking about global intellectual and communication fascism.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim


See plan: Wikid77 (talk) 22:47, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Hi Jimbo. Saw this about Wikitribune. Sounds interesting, and here's to success. So is this going to be related to Wikipedia in any? Functional or organizational, or even cross-pollination of any sort? Also wondering what this might mean for WikiNews. Herostratus (talk) 01:05, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Note how a major weakness of Wikipedia has been the restriction against "investigative journalism" as against going to the scene and interviewing the participants. While WP has the benefit of being "encyclopedic" (all-encompassing), beyond the shallow limit of focus on simply what's new, the WP editors are not allowed to interview participants to get answers to the big gaps in coverage of a recent topic. Hopefully, Wikitribune could quickly answer those questions by interviewing key people or analysing primary sources to give quotable conclusions as answers to fill gaps in WP's coverage of a topic. -Wikid77 (talk) 02:58, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
That is a feature, not a bug. Resolute 13:52, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Of this encyclopedia, not a feature of news gathering in general. Now news gathering has lots of bugs of its own, but let's not pretend that the same model works everywhere. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:59, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Of course. But I was clearly responding to the complaint about how unfair it is that we don't allow original research on Wikipedia. Resolute 15:57, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
I ran into it here. I'll wish you luck as well. Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:13, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
And the BBC linked to
This does remind me of a suggestion I gave to you several months ago - that news media should have a delayed CC-BY-SA license, say delayed by a week or a month. There would obviously be a benefit to Wikipedia, but I think it would have a benefit to the Wikitribune as well. Knowing that more info can very easily be imported from the WTrib after a short period, WPedia editors will likely quote WTrib and cite it as one of their first choices of sources, so (after a period to see if it establishes itself as a reliable source) there will be lots of cites and links to the WTrib in WPedia. I hope that fits in with your business plan. Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:01, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
I like the concept of a delayed CC-BY-SA license. The delay is a detail, albeit important - I'd lean toward a month.--S Philbrick(Talk) 02:12, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
WikiTribune is CC-BY licensed prose,[1] compatible with Wikinews's CC-BY v2.5 license,[2] which means that WikiTribune-prose-content is *already* compatible for direct import into enWiki as I understand it.... Scroll down to the adapter's chart;[3] enWiki is CC-BY-SA v3 or v4 (plus a bit of GFDL sometimes and some fair use imagefiles and quotations and such). So there is no need for WikiTribune content to be proprietary-and-then-CC-BY-SA-after-a-delay, because it is already libre-licensed CC-BY from the beginning — provide attribution via a hyperlink to, and properly note you are copying therefrom in your edit-summary, and you can put the WikiTribune bodyprose directly into an enWiki article (WP:COMPLIC). The more 'interesting' question is whether, like CC-0 Wikidata, there will be an attempt to pull prose into WikiTribune news-pieces, since I don't think the licenses permit such actions? But then, I also don't think the licenses permit Wikidata to pull what they do from Wikipedia :-) (talk) 00:57, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
I'd be interested to know how Wikitribune differs from WikiNews, which I think most people would accept has been a failure. Prioryman (talk) 03:08, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
The primary difference seems to be that they're actually employing people to write articles. Jc86035 (talk) Use {{re|Jc86035}}
to reply to me
13:58, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Not sure where to report this, but at the bottom of the "" page, it says "", which is improperly spelled. Master of Time (talk) 03:38, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, I think that will be fixed momentarily.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:01, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Hi everyone! I'll post more later - still pretty swamped and I was up late last night for the launch. To answer some quick questions - Wikitribune will be licensed CC-BY so that it is compatible with Wikinews, and so I hope that will be helpful for them. It will involve a staff of paid journalists working side-by-side with community members in a way that, as is the nature of these things, will have to worked out socially over time. Some of the news reports have made it seem like journalists would write and community members can suggest edits, but obviously I'm more radical than that. I think the best translation of how I see the 'controls' mechanism into MediaWiki language is 'flagged revisions' - i.e. anyone can edit, but trusted community members (who might or might not be staff, it doesn't matter) approve. Wikitribune is completely independent of everything else - a new thing I'm starting. As such, in general in the future, questions about it will be best suited for somewhere there. (Just as I hardly ever answer questions about Wikia here.) But obviously it's good to talk about it here as well for now. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:01, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

One science writer wrote the following: "Any effort to fight fake news is noble and should be applauded. But, if Mr. Wales believes his new venture will be the solution to fake news, it will fall short for at least four reasons." (italics in original)
Wavelength (talk) 12:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC) and 15:03, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Please read the four point rebuttal that some young enterprising obvious WP editor seems to have posted in the comments section at the end of Berezow's naysaying article. Scott P. (talk) 23:39, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
WOW !!!'Very cool, Jimbo. All the best wishes. Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim

Why .com and not .org? (I realize it doesn't intrinsically make much of a difference, but the perception of the site would be somewhat different.) Jc86035 (talk) Use {{re|Jc86035}}
to reply to me
13:58, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

This is very interesting, and seems like it has a lot of potential. I know there are many specifics that haven't yet been worked out, but I look forward to learning more and potentially getting involved. A few questions jump immediately to mind. Starting with the easiest one:

  1. I'm assuming the presentation of the site will not be via wiki. Will it be edited as a wiki before being published?
  2. Over time, tensions can emerge in volunteer communities when a small group of people do similar work to everyone else but are paid for it. It sounds like, in this case, it's not the same as paying someone to edit Wikipedia alongside volunteers, but rather paying someone to do the bulk of the work, so it may not be an issue. Nonetheless, there will almost certainly be journalists, writers, other professionals, and amateurs who dedicate extensive time to this project without pay, and tensions will almost certainly emerge. Have these dynamics between paid and unpaid contributors been the subject of much discussion yet, or will they be worked out between the journalists and volunteers themselves without structural/central intervention?
  3. The site is supported by donors, like Wikipedia, but with Wikitribune people who donate have some power. According to The Guardian, "Those who donate will become supporters, who in turn will have a say in which subjects and story threads the site focuses on." The selection of what to cover is an awfully big part of the journalistic process. What is to prevent an interest group from donating many small amounts from multiple accounts in order to influence news coverage/selection?Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:00, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Rhododendrites I think Jimbo addresses one of your questions here ..."paid journalists working side-by-side with community members in a way that, as is the nature of these things, will have to worked out socially over time". Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Another error - near the top of the page it says "Supporting Wikitribune means ensuring that that journalists only write articles based on facts that they can verify." That's one "that" too many. (talk) 14:05, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Fantastic!!! Its about fuckin' time that the public gets to see and judge for themselves the credibility of the actual sources of the most important information and news that comes our way. Many of the "so called" journalists who work for establishment media have been able to throw out any kind of bullshit and pro- or anti- personal, corporate, or governmental spin/propaganda and justify it with "our sources tell us" or "my sources tell me" or "off the record sources confirm" or "sources suggest" or "my military sources say its likely" or even "anonymous sources reveal" and an entire book of other similar "hide the source" phraseology when they publish their biased bullshit. As far as Woodward and Bernstein go, who gives a flyin' fuck what they think...they had one good story 45 years ago and have not done a fuckin' thing since except blatantly puff up or degrade various politicians with their personal opinions and write a bunch of biographies, imo.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
@Nocturnalnow:. Well, quite; thanks for that. — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 15:08, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Somewhat along the lines of what Rhododendrites asked. How are you going to stop the Banc De Binarys and Burger Kings of the world from inserting their whoppers and putting in hidden advertisements? It looks like the journalists would in many cases have the final say on publishing so it should be easier in WTrib than in WPedia. But it's best to get these things straight at the beginning. How are you going to stop hidden ads? Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:25, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Like others here, I also saw the Guardian article, and showed it to my husband, who is a journalist. His response was, "... but, how will that work? Like, if I was writing for them, would random people be able to edit my article? Change the facts? Rearrange the presentation? I wouldn't like that and I don't think any professional journalist would." ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 14:39, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
That's cool, take note of Jimbo's use of the word "radical" above.. status quo and radical are maybe mutually exclusive. Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
My own take on this, is that the Watergate scandal and others would never have been exposed today because news papers can no no longer afford investigative reporters. Good investigative reporter got a good salary and generous expenses in order to for them to have resources and time to dig up the truth. In this modern age of the internet, much news is free thus starving newspapers of the revenue required for this work. Result, news publishing has to resort to printing much faux news to in order to sell copy ( after all the have to make a living). Next: How does good journalist go about digging up the truth? They in essence ask John and Jane Doe. Wikitribune provides a route whereby that J & J's of this World (the people who know) can provide information about malfeasance directly; which as a spin off, provides the Checks & Balances to keep our society on on an even keel. Of course in theory this idea will never work but it might in practice. Aspro (talk) 14:48, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Aspro, great critical thinking comment and reasoning, but I think this idea is an absolute slam dunk winner in theory as well as in practice. The people are literally starving for a source of news and information that they can trust and trace back to its origin, just like we can now trace back where a Tuna was caught from a number on the can. I think the millennials especially will have Jimbo's new creation as their "go to app" for news. This is the best news(pun) for humanity I've seen since I can't remember when. Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Thankyou for those kind words Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim. Am sure also, that many will see a mountain of issues preventing this project sailing forth. Yet to quote Linus Torvalds: "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” Aspro (talk) 19:14, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
My impression was that Wikinews wasn't killed from the bottom, but from the top, by having stories rejected until the contributors lost interest. So Wikitribune might or might not go the same way, depending - deletionists will kill Wiki-anything if given the chance.
I think a great opportunity for Wikitribune would be if they would actually let Wikipedia or other volunteers do proofreading and more advanced fact checking, at least where it comes to scientific issues. I think we have to go with volunteers--my distinct impression is that the very last professional proofreader and/or factchecker in the entire mainstream media probably took early retirement in the 90s... Wnt (talk) 21:14, 25 April 2017 (UTC)


Hello Jimbo. Read the Guardian story – very interesting venture. Would be glad to help (retired print journalist with 30-odd years' experience; active on WP since '04). Sca (talk) 15:10, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Great - can you send me an email? I'd love to talk. Actually, I'll try to send you an email now.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:07, 26 April 2017 (UTC)


Hi Jimbo. Would you say a goal of Wikitribune is to have a reliability level such that we could source Wikipedia articles from Wikitribune? Mr Ernie (talk) 15:47, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Yes, for sure. I mean, we accept all manner of - in my view - questionable tabloid newspapers as sources, at least in limited ways. If we can't meet at least that kind of minimal level of credibility, the whole exercise is a bit pointless.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:22, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Good question. Even WP is not regarded as a RS for citations in other WP articles. But if Wikitribune comes to be read, analyzed and quoted by other sources, then I think we may be permitted to quote from those independent source – In line with existing WP guidelines. We can not allow a positive feed-back system, like when a microphone picks up its own audio from a speaker and produces a howl. Aspro (talk) 18:54, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Interview on Wikinews

Jimmy, when this is close to launch, would you be interested in talking about it at Wikinews? Thanks. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 19:01, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Yes, totally.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:22, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

'Community members'

Jimbo I'm curious to know what you mean by "community members," whether that has been hashed out or determined. Who selects them. Who they are. Chiefly whether they will be anonymous. Anonymity is great for Wikipedia but it spawns all kinds of abuses, and if you don't watch out you'll become a conduit for fake news, corporate spin, and all kinds of garbage. Also I am not quite clear as to how this differs from conventional journalism, which utilizes laypeople as sources and tipsters. It is, however, the function of journalists to write and report the news. How will this differ? Are you opening up the process to laypeople? How will you do that? If I were a journalist, why would I want to participate in a process in which amateurs are an integral part of the process? What would I gain? Wouldn't it impede my work to have to cope with meddling by untrained, potentially biased people? Just idly curious. Coretheapple (talk) 21:13, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

A lot of questions! Let me try to say a few words to answer a few of them, and I apologize if I overlook something.
As this is a ground up new venture there are a lot of open questions, and as is my usual style, I'll be open to dialogue about it. However, my instinct is that anonymity is not consistent with quality journalism. Anonymous sources can be legitimate - with a lot of caution and caveats. But for the actual journalists (whether staff or volunteer) to be completely anonymous strikes me as problematic.
I do envision opening up the process to "laypeople" yes. If you are a journalist, why would you want to participate? Well, the flood of job applications I got today (my assistant is bewildered as to how we are going to respectfully process them all) suggests that lots of journalists are not officious jerks who would refuse to work well with thoughtful community members. :) Seriously, the view that community members are primarily best described by words like "meddling", "untrained", "biased" seems contrary to my long experience. Yeah, some are like that, but the great ones aren't. What I would expect is that a lot of people who do not want to pursue journalism as a career (perhaps sadly because the payscale is much lower than it should be) would like to help out with it, to lend expertise in the process, etc. Maybe I'm wrong but I think great people will want to be community members, and great people will want to have jobs assisting and working with them. Time will tell.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:22, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Think that the World Wide Web has turned out to be destructive technology to the existing news publishers. It has wipped the carpet from under their feet, leaving us with mostly faux news and churnalism. JW's proposal looks as if we can move into the 21st Century technological age and bring back factual news reporting of yester year at the same time. Aspro (talk) 00:04, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Jimbo this is an interesting venture, I'm not trying to be a sourpuss, but I wonder how this system is going to work with hot-button issues. I've found that "hot button issues" on Wikipedia can include pretty much anything. But right now I would put my finger on all the ones that you see in arbcom. Israe/Palestine is an example. One person's bias in that area is another person's truth. There are narratives, there are various ways of viewing any given subject. But yes, in that or any given field you will get plenty of applications. What you want to consider (to paraphrase Groucho Marx) is "would I want to hire people who would want to join this club?" Coretheapple (talk) 00:40, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Сonflict of interest (Wikinews vs. Wikitribune)

I see a very serious conflict of interests. This harms Wikimedia projects and our community. In my opinion, you must leave any positions associated with the Wikimedia Foundation. Thank you. --sasha (krassotkin) 08:18, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

I don't see this at all. Imagine you thought that Commons admins were much too strict in their interpretation of copyright law and decided to form a new website NPCommons where people could upload freely licensed photos that would not be allowed on Commons. Would founding this website, which could be considered to be competing with Commons disqualify you from doing anything on Commons, Wikipedia, or WMF? I don't think that most people would answer "yes". I certainly don't see any rules about the matter.
I would imagine that Jimbo has already talked to the ED and Board about this to see if they have any objections. My guess (and all of this is just guessing) is that they said "no, of course not." The free culture movement is all about freedom and does not require an exclusive oath of fealty to a single project that you work on. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:59, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
I can see a possible conflict or perhaps the appearance of one if this news project is structured as a nonprofit, and if there is a conflict related to fundraising for that project vs. fundraising for this one. Coretheapple (talk) 18:36, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
The interesting question is whether the Wikimedia Foundation has developed enough talent to not need Jimbo. I don't think it has, besides, we have nothing to gain and lots to lose by losing Jimbo. As far as fundraising goes, for whatever reason, we are on an amazing uptrend which shows no signs of stopping anytime I think WikiTribune will pick up a lot of donations from totally different demographics. Everything is beautiful:) Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
  • Come to think of it I do see a potentially serious conflict, but only if succeeds. If it does, it could bleed off experienced and valued volunteers from the "mother ship," Wikipedia. But again, only if it succeeds and only if it provides volunteers with the same experience, such as it is, as editing Wikipedia. The same.... I dunno. Why do I edit Wikipedia? It's a question I've been asking myself a lot lately. Coretheapple (talk) 22:33, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Most likely Wikitribune creates synergy at wikilinks: Imagine all the details published (or snippets quoted) back into Wikipedia from reports written by Wikitribune. Meanwhile, if Wikitribune provides a missing-facts investigation for Wikipedia, then many Wikipedians would be eager to format and proofread Wikitribune reports which answer those missing facts, then cite results back into WP pages while updating for the new information. Imagine getting answers for age-old mysteries or events where the specific details have been unclear for too long. As a result, many related wikilink pages will get updated in a positive synergy between Wikitribune and WP. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:37, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
  • The OP is total nonsense without even an attempted justification. Bluster rarely works at Wikipedia. Johnuniq (talk) 01:01, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Objective interviews by Wikitribune

The fake news could be refuted by interviews conducted by Wikitribune reporters. For example, perhaps an interview with former Secretary Hillary Clinton could refute the email controversy by explaining how emails were actually handled, as one reader concluded there was no way the U.S. State Department was run by private server with only 2,100 sensitive emails, so ask, "How many coworkers handled classified emails on behalf of the Secretary because 2,100 emails is nothing over a 4-year term?". Likewise, other in-depth interviews by Wikitribune journalists could refute other fake-news stories during the last few years. The goal of an interview would be to explain key questions, rather than pile-on the faked hype. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:51/22:39, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Original research by request

Beyond fake news, I think a major benefit could be provided as missing-fact requests from Wikipedia editors, such as re-check coroner's records to report time-of-death, or timespan, or likely 2nd cause of death in high-profile cases, such as Kurt Cobain and explain heroin levels in forensic toxicology. Another example might be distance between crime scenes in 1888 with Jack the Ripper or re-check records for familial DNA or relevant blood types at the time. Other requests might be to report simple facts, such as height or line size of the Uffington White Horse or similar, if such facts are not already in reliable sources. There could easily be 1,000 requests about a thousand major topics, not just ho-hum political squabbles but rather facts about major mysteries or events spanning hundreds of years, perhaps part-time tasks for archaeologists. We've never had the chance to ask, "How deep does the nilometer reach on Elephantine Island at Aswan, Egypt(?)" and get documented results by journalists (with contacts who can swim underwater and check). Wikid77 (talk) 16:51, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Yes!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:35, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps allow quarterly support

In the U.S. some large property taxes are paid quarterly (4 times per year), such as 4×$700, to spread the cost but not so tedious as 12 monthly payments. Meanwhile, many overspend at Xmas into January, and so 4 support payments as Feb/May/Aug/Nov could be ideal to total $200 to $1,000 annually for enthusiastic members (and level the income stream), during the first years of Wikitribune. Set aside extra monies to handle unexpected problems during the "maiden voyage" of the new project. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:37, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

The Daily Mail chimes in

Here is what the DM has to say about Wikitribune today.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 07:12, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

I'm definitely happy about that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:30, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I saw the article, in particular the part "He made 18 changes, cutting references to 'Bomis Babes' and replacing the word 'pornography' with softer terms such as 'glamour photography'", while over in the sidebar on the Mail's website, I can see "Millie Mackintosh shows off her toned abs in a crop top and scarlet trouser suit as she enjoys date night with beau Hugo Taylor"[4], "Slimline Vicky Pattison flaunts her fantastic figure and toned stomach in a bright pink bikini"[5] and "Explicit drama Versailles continues to shock as Anna Brewster strips off for a bath... and takes part in a sadomasochistic sex scene"[6]. Jeez, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. And then of course there's "Enemies of the People" and "Crush the saboteurs"..... (for the avoidance of doubt, I did not participate in the Mail ban and do not especially agree with it) Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:25, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
"Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead." David Farragut: Battle of Mobil Bay, Aug. 5, 1864 Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Hi Jimmy, was there any truth to their statement he was behind a PR stunt in which Wikipedia, the world's sixth-most-popular website, decided the Daily Mail is too 'unreliable' to be included on its site. Kudos if you were, but I didn't spot you in the discussion. Is this another example of the Daily Mail making stuff up? ϢereSpielChequers 18:08, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I had the same question. I didn't participate in that discussion either so maybe I masterminded it? By the way, they're doing a bang-up job of showing how reliable they are. Coretheapple (talk) 18:30, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I didn't sense any sour grapes in their tone. Nope. Not them. High journalistic standards and stuff. Ravensfire (talk) 19:01, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Sarcasm aside, I have to say that I hadn't followed the Daily Mail affair at all, and reading this article was all the evidence I needed that the RfC was correct. One can raise legitimate questions about this project. We're doing so right here. The Daily Mail didn't raise a single one, and instead published a polemic that it didn't even label as opinion! Coretheapple (talk) 21:29, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Nonprofit status and libel insurance

I'm not seeing any indication as to whether this would be nonprofit. Did I miss something? Is Jimbo setting up a 501C3 in the US? This is based in London, according to the Wikipedia article, which raises another issue: libel laws. Will this venture have libel insurance? Libel laws are strict in the UK. I'm assuming that this Wikitribune will be a "publisher" (unlike Wikipedia).

Frankly I can't quite fathom why someone would contribute to a venture without a clear understanding as to whether contributions are deductible. Like I said, maybe I missed that. If so, it should be reflected in the Wikipedia article, which is silent on the subject except for a "see also" to the article on nonprofit journalism. And if it's a for-profit venture, why should I contribute to someone else's business?

I'm also puzzled as to why this is based in London at all, considering the libel law situation over there. Coretheapple (talk) 14:12, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

I live in London, so we're based in London. I'm setting up a US subsidiary and of course in the future we'll want to look at the details of the best location for legal status.
On the second question, I want to present this to you in another way because I think you're making a very common conceptual error. Suppose a news site was subscription only. To get access, you have to pay. That's obviously perfectly normal and I think you'd see that as normal. Suppose then as well, the newspaper said, oh right, well, look - if you choose not to pay, that's ok, we'll let you have access for free. But we won't be able to hire as many journalists that way, but I hope you can pay. Many people will pay anyway, because they want to fund good journalism and because they want that journalism to be widely read (that is to say, a paywall is a negative thing even for people who are paying). The way you were looking at it, dropping the paywall suddenly means "contributing to someone else's business" in a weird way, rather than "paying for a company to do something I want them to do, which is write good stuff and share it with the world."--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:35, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
With all due respect I don't think I'm making a conceptual error. All nonprofit sites (such as ProPublica) have the very business model you articulate. The difference is that ProPublica is clearly nonprofit, whereas your status is hazy. (I believe that under IRS rules, present contributors' contributions would not be deductible unless you have already filed a 501C3 application). Coretheapple (talk) 14:56, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't think anything is hazy. This is a normal limited company, publicly disclosed in the normal way. And it isn't even a US organization at all (yet), so this has nothing to do with the IRS.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:54, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
In other words, what you seem to be offering is the same as ProPublica except without much initial capitalization, and with it not necessarily nonprofit, meaning that contributions are not deductible at the present time, and in fact this may be a for-profit business going forward. Coretheapple (talk) 14:58, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
.... jut to clarify: I don't mean what you are offering is editorially the same. You have readers playing a much higher visibility role, though I'm not clear on how those readers are selected or self-selected. Coretheapple (talk) 15:44, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Coretheapple, FWIW I think this is a bad idea which will crash and burn, but I see nothing untoward about the business model here. "For-profit company soliciting voluntary contributions" is a perfectly acceptable business model in journalism—the highest-profile example is probably The Guardian. ‑ Iridescent 16:02, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh I wasn't trying to imply that there was anything shady about the business model, just trying to understand it. Jimbo has clarified its tax status above (not nonprofit under US law). The Guardian has a dedicated readership but even so I don't believe it has done that well lately, having discharged much of its US staff. What Jimbo is banking on here, I gather, is that the reader-participation model will spur contributions and buzz. It may. But nonprofit tax status would help. Also the libel insurance issue is something to consider. Come to think of it, this Wikitribune might be close enough to Wikipedia in public purpose to be considered eligible for Wikipedia to contribute to it, if it was a nonprofit. Not advocating it, just mentioning the possibility. And no, I don't think that's a good use of Wikipedia assets. Will it crash and burn? Too early to say. Coretheapple (talk) 16:55, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Returning to ProPublica for a moment: I haven't checked the 990s and it is too early to say for sure, but I believe it has done very well financially. I believe its content is free-licensed too. Coretheapple (talk) 17:00, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Libel laws are more of a problem for tabloids. If the news you bring is mainly about things like X having an affair with Y, then you're going to be much more vulnerable to being sued by X and losing in court, than a story about, say, how a drug company has faked research leading to a drug that has unacceptable side effects being sold. In such a case you'll have evaluated a lot of evidence from many independent sources to back up any claims in the story. You can then stick to hard evidence and still have a good news story that is in the public interest. The drug company will not sue if their lawyers can see that they'll lose in court
Another issue is that tabloid-style news reports have made inroads in the more serious media (like e.g. BBC) to some degree because news has become more commercial, there is need to attract readers. For the serious news outlets this mainly affects the choice of topics. Some popular issue will be reported on more frequently than justified by its news value, because it has some "entertainment value". During the US presidential campaign, a lot of the reports about Trump were due to this effect, and Trump successfully exploited this effect (and no surprise then that there were a few libel cases due to excessive reporting about Trump and his wife). In general this tends to shift the focus away from relevant but perhaps boring facts toward people who are involved in such facts, because our brains are geared toward finding personal issues more interesting. Sometimes this is actually justified but in many cases it's the wrong way to get to the bottom of things (and often exploited by distractors). Count Iblis (talk) 21:59, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I think business stories are actually a major field of operations in libel law, certainly in the U.S. In Britain, Canada and Australia, the laws are far more pro-plaintiff. It seems only prudent to have libel insurance. Remember too that the idea here is to have volunteers working alongside professionals in the writing and editing process. That doesn't help. Coretheapple (talk) 22:16, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Here's a useful article on the subject of British libel law.[7] Remember too the recent movie "Denial," about the libel case that David Irving brought, in England, against an American writer. That movie seemed pretty accurate. It showed how hard it was for libel defendants in Britain. Coretheapple (talk) 22:20, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Ian Hislop

Hi Jimbo. Firstly, best of luck with this, it sounds interesting and potentially a cool blending of wiki and traditional journalism. Now, a possibly slightly crazy idea, but have you considered reaching out to Ian Hislop regarding this project? Obviously his well known journalism is somewhat different to your goals here, but he has been extremely vocal about problems with the traditional media (e.g. his appearance before the Leveson Inquiry). You're in London, his business is in London, it might just be worth seeing if he fancies lunch/dinner/a pint sometime? If nothing else, he could certainly give you some expert advice on the above libel concerns. Murph9000 (talk) 22:29, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Oooh, interesting. Would be fun to meet him anyway. :-) I'll look into it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:17, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

Jimbo Wikitribune on CBC NOW

Coming up at on the money show

Nocturnalnow (talk) 23:38, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

So, the Wikitribune segment was great. Jimbo was great.

Its available now

There are 3 ads before Jimbo appears but its a very cool interview and promo for WikiTribune, here it is. Nocturnalnow (talk) 02:54, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

I just watched it again and noticed how Jimbo stood up for Wikipedia's accuracy and emphasized how WikiTribune's uniqueness will be its wikiness. Jimbo spoke of how public engagement in fact based news will be the hallmark of Wikitribune. The interview brought out the plain speaking, clear thinking and sincere caring for the public good that is Jimbo Wales. Well done, Jimbo. Nocturnalnow (talk) 01:59, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Internet shutdowns in Kashmir

"This week, the northern state of Kashmir ordered the shutdown of 22 social media sites, mobile phone message applications and video sites following street protests against alleged abuses by Indian forces.." [sic]

Wavelength (talk) 03:59, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi Jimmy

hi Jimmy Bryan C. W. (talk) 17:44, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Has our NPOV policy "gone south?"

I just wrote a sort of an explanation in which your name was mentioned a few times, of what I believe are the major changes in the WP:NPOV policy section since the beginning around here, and I thought you might find this interesting to read or comment on. Thanks, Scott P. (talk) 16:15, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Scott P. has over 12,000 edits and has been editing since 2004, which I think is important. I also think the term "majoritarian journalism" which Scott uses is an interesting and maybe realistic theory/concept/observation. However, in order to "fix" it, as Scott suggests, I see no simple general solution and any solution I can imagine right now would make Wikipedia more complicated and self-analytical which would be a net negative, perhaps. I do think that our Reliable Sources "list" could use a lot more attention and qualifiers, but even that would require so much work and consensus building difficulty that I don't see the manpower available among the volunteers to address that now. I do think Scott has brought up something worth thinking about, although at this time, even if "majoritarian journalism" is in play, I think its something we have to live with for the foreseeable future. Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Hi Al,
Good to see you, and thanks for reading some of the argument over at the Erdogan talk page. I'm not sure which incarnation of that discussion you may have read, but it's a great ongoing discussion, which I hope you might still be following. You see, I believe that the exact same problem that I try to point out over there is the exact same journalistic problem that brought us Trump. The current journalistic model is majoritarian and not dual-argument. If it were truly dual-argument, we wouldn't have so easily lost say, 50% of the American electorate. You are correct, the subtle difference between majoritarian writing and dual-argument writing is a difficult concept. I hope more folks read that discussion over there. I believe that if more people could actually learn this concept, both WP, and politics in general would be greatly improved.
Scott P. (talk) 22:55, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Sometimes it's not fake news, just bad reporting

Please see Wikipedia to fight fake news with new site reporting on Wikitribune. The headline is the only real whopper, but the text is also inaccurate. Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:11, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

What part of the text is inaccurate? TheValeyard (talk) 04:13, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
  • The lede "Wikipedia, the website students are told not to cite in their work, is joining the battle against fake news with its own online news publication.", and the last sentence
  • "Wikipedia is one of largest information websites on the internet. As of April 2017 it has about 5.3 million pages in English, and English pages make only 12 percent of Wikipedia's total, the website's statistics page says." which strongly implies that they're reporting on Wikipedia, not Wikitribune. Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:22, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
  • I can say with reasonable certainty, having several relatives that word in the educational sector, that citing Wikipedia is expressly forbidden in many classrooms. Students are allowed to conduct initial research at a Wikipedia article, then follow its citations to the real sources. The lead is correct. The comment about the size of Wikipedia is accurate inasfar Wikipedia is accurate about itself, as it cites Wikipedia:Size of Wikipedia. Again, not a problem. ValarianB (talk) 13:31, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
We'll work to get this corrected! Thanks Smallbones for bringing it to my attention, I had overlooked this one!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:47, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
  • How about stopping using the word "Wiki" in the name of your new for-profit organization — since the only thing that can result from "Jimmy Wales" + "Wiki" is a completely false intimation that this new business enterprise has the slightest thing to do with the non-profit, non-commercial Wikipedia??? Certainly there are other words that one could use in a new organization? Or is the "accidental whoops name misunderstanding" actually part of the business plan??? Call me a cynic, but that's what it looks like to me... Carrite (talk) 05:49, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • In the real world, away from the conspiracy theories that Wikipediocracy types like to huff, the word "wiki" means "a website that provides collaborative modification of its content and structure directly from the web browser". That sounds very much like what is proposed for Wikitribune. I'd suggest spending more time in the real world, you might like it here! Prioryman (talk) 12:49, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
No, what it sounds like what is being proposed for Wikitribune is that donations be garnered for "Jimmy Inc. Wiki-something," cashing in on the goodwill generated by tens of thousands of volunteers, so that a crew of intrepid citizen-reporters, operating under the unfavorable libel laws of the UK and absorbing all the personal risk therefrom, generate content to be curated by a handful of paid ex-journalists. And if the venture makes money, we know where that goes. Silly conspiratorial me. Carrite (talk) 16:05, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
There's nothing silly about your accusations on this page. You use this page to accuse Jimmy and the WMF of all sorts of terrible things which never turn out the way you state them. Note that everybody has the right to use the prefix "Wiki", and Jimmy certainly has that right if anybody does. Wikipediocracy uses it, even though it is not a Wiki and does not share in the ideals of the Wikipedia community. Start there and have them remove the Wiki-prefix. "pediocracy" would be a much more descriptive name for it. I'll also suggest that if, after 10 years or so of complaining, you discover that you don't like Wikipedia, that you just leave. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:25, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Carrite merely got assigned to play "dissonance". Some music is ultimately improved with a little dissonance (though glass is sometimes shattered, and ears are sometimes quickly plugged too.) Scott P. (talk) 22:05, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Just giving you uptempo power chords of truth so the saccharine siren-song of stupidity doesn't clog your earholes. This is a for profit entity in which JW cashes in (again) on the good will associated with the Wiki brand with an intentional "whoops" company name and a fake-baked model heralding "volunteers" who are going to actually play the part of exploited minions. It's really a pathetic display. Hear me or don't, I don't care. Looking forward to seeing the transparently-provided executive compensation figures. Carrite (talk) 02:30, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep lashing out Carrite! You'll hit a target, or at least not look ridiculous, one day! Johnuniq (talk) 23:03, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I've hit the mark on this, kid yourself otherwise... Carrite (talk) 01:54, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
So long as Jimbo (replace with Ward Cunningham) has essentially released the copyrights to the word "Wiki" to the rest of the world, which he has, then he or anyone else in the rest of the world is both legally and ethically free to use the word Wiki however they want. Just because Jimbo happened to have the best idea since sliced bread in creating Wikipedia doesn't preclude him from a few legitimate bennies like capitalizing on a phenomenon that he basically created without introducing any real legal or ethical problems. I salute him for doing so. The more the word "wiki" is used, the more popular Wikipedia becomes. Why cry over this? Scott P. (talk) 16:12, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
"the copyrights to the word "Wiki"" ? Ward Cunningham may have an objection there, sir. ValarianB (talk) 17:36, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you sir, I stand gratefully corrected. Good to know these things. Have tortuously now repaired said blooper above. And also thanks for pointing out that we are each standing on the shoulders of countless unsung heroes, so none of us should ever imagine that we are truly giants, instead we're all really fortunate to have been temporarily lent rather good pairs of stilts. Scott P. (talk) 23:11, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

May you live in interesting times

Following on your announcement of Wikitribune, there seems to have been a flurry of other announcements and news:

Meanwhile, here in London, it's former Chancellor Osborne's first day at the Evening Standard. It seems that all of a sudden, everyone wants to spring clean the news. Remarkable. Andrew D. (talk) 16:24, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Concern yourself not. After a spring clean he will want to smarten up the walls with a fresh coat of white-wash, like he did when in Number 11. Aspro (talk) 22:42, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
George Osborne is a particularly entrenched silver spoon type, imo, frequent Bilderberg meeting attendee. Worst of all, he appears to be intellectually cunning and smart. I have nothing good to say about this man, unless you like the politician/media controllers revolving door. This is the worst news for objective U.K. media I could imagine.
Here is our history of his earlier, less connected, attempts to invade journalism "In 1993, Osborne intended to pursue a career in journalism. He was shortlisted for, but failed to gain a place on, The Times' trainee scheme; he also applied to The Economist, where he was interviewed and rejected by Gideon Rachman.[13] In the end, he had to settle for freelance work on the Peterborough diary column of The Daily Telegraph" Just when you think main stream news media could not get any worse, it does...bigtime.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Well, the BBC article on the Chinese initiative notes "Unlike Wikipedia, it will be created by selected scholars from state-run universities rather than being openly editable by volunteers". So it sounds more like Britannica, which I consider complementary to the Wikipedia rather than a rival. So the Chinese effort looks to be only a "rival" in that sense. It actually sounds fine, no reason the Chinese shouldn't have a great Britannica-like publication, if they don't already. Of course it will elide a lot of important stuff, but no helping that. Herostratus (talk) 22:28, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Jimmy is on it. Reading last night's issue of the Standard, I noticed that he had some advice for the new editor. He gives some good examples in that as I remember seeing that news story about the big sunrise screens in China but hadn't realised that it was fake news. You can still find that story online elsewhere. I wonder what the "Great Wall of Culture" will say about air pollution? Andrew D. (talk) 08:17, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Just for those who didn't know: "may you live in interesting times" is said to be a curse.
Concerning the news: hiring people to review contents and stronger regulations are no solutions to the problem. They might be partial fixes but they're also deeply problematic.
Some other relevant approaches are listed under Internet manipulation § Countermeasures.
And China launching a Wikipedia-substitute (similar to their social media website clones) is quite a problem imo. I guess they're aiming to have it to be just good enough that people won't bother to access English Wikipedia / use censorship-circumvention tools to access Chinese Wikipedia. This would mean that they could strengthen the narrow info-cultural bubbles they try to keep their citizens in (for "harmony", complete submissiveness for "economic progress" and whatnot). Wikipedia not only contains information that they certainly wouldn't feature - it's also editable by everyone who likes to participate. I hope that their project will be as expensive as possible for them and that their citizens will be critical of it and not get used to it. For Wikipedia I think we should of course attempt to make its Chinese language version make all competitors pale by the breadth of content featured, its quality (including the plurality of views presented / neutrality), be innovative and fostering of unique uses of its data and e.g. look for ways to recruit more experts (Chinese language ones in this case) or better integrating experts.
Their project is a showcase of splinternet - an issue that can be overcome by restructuring the Internet (decentralization etc), meshnets and the Dark Web, each with proper mechanisms of access.
--Fixuture (talk) 20:12, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Can concepts with mainly euphemisms have a page?

Let's say a concept is notable and encyclopedic, but due to its blunt or taboo nature it has a myriad of terms which are all uncommon and non-standard. Does the existence of numerous synonyms contribute to its notability or does the obscurity of the main/article title dislodge it from deserving an article? (talk) 15:09, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Boy this is a classic example of a question asked in such an abstract way that I find it difficult to answer. It would likely be more productive if you could give the example that you have in mind.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:23, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
I should think that WP:COMMONNAME should cover the majoity, where topics are not covered by other specific guidelines -- Aunva6talk - contribs 16:08, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
and when those fail... be bold, and set the title as what you think the most common one is, create redirects for other names, and if editiors don't like it, then can request a page move. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 16:11, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Well I think for many "taboo" topics, the right answer actually isn't going to be WP:COMMONNAME after all - or at least not a simplistic interpretation of it. Some things should be named by a more scientific or clinical name because we are an encyclopedia. The correct principle, ultimately, is that things should be at the name where most people would naturally expect them to be - and that includes deviations from a simplistic interpretation of common name policy in some cases. There can also be other factors at play such as where it makes sense for the common name to be used as the title of a different article. Again, the example that the original poster had in mind would probably be useful.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:53, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Here is maybe an example..I dunno...Zoophilia From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Bestiality). ta·boo noun: taboo; plural noun: taboos; noun: tabu; plural noun: tabus1. a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing. Where I grew up, supposedly with freedom of association, there was a strong taboo against white boys, like me, having friendly opinions about black boys, to the point where my buddies once called me a "n_____ lover" because I told another white boy to quit beating the shit out of a much smaller and younger black boy. Taboos can be perpetuation tools of stupidity and propaganda. Right now it is becoming close to a taboo in some western countries to say anything positive or even neutral about Vladimir Putin. Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
We already have an article on it Ikh Khorig.©Geni (talk) 21:06, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

World Press Freedom Index

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, and Reporters Without Borders has "published the 2017 rankings for the World Press Freedom Index".

"This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God."—John 3:19–21, World English Bible
Wavelength (talk) 12:53, 3 May 2017 (UTC) and 22:11, 4 May 2017 (UTC)


Hello, Jimbo Wales. Please check your email; you've got mail!
It may take a few minutes from the time the email is sent for it to show up in your inbox. You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{You've got mail}} or {{ygm}} template.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:06, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

WikiTribune Contact

You've got contact info for Wikipedia and Wikia on your user page, but I recommend you add info to your contact section on how press or others can contact you regarding WikiTribune. Thanks! (talk) 05:48, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Absolutely not. Don't do it Jimbo! Its (Wikitribune) a totally separate thing, its got its own web site , so the sooner the public and press recognise the separation, and use the Wikitrubune website for Wikitribune matters and contact info, the better. Nocturnalnow (talk) 14:19, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, my user talk page is probably a good place for me to make that distinction clear.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:55, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that would work. You are going to be getting lots of speaking invites re: both pedia and bune, I predict...its like the whole world has suddenly realized how much they need and want good and unbiased information....same thing with lots of food...a rush to quality and away from crap. Nocturnalnow (talk) 18:20, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

"Turkish authorities block Wikipedia without giving reason"

Here on BBC News. There are 1001 reasons why this might have happened, but it is likely that the government objects to a particular page or pages and can't block them individually, as there is a HTTPS connection to the site. As the BBC News story points out, this type of ban can be circumvented with a VPN, but it looks like Wikipedia is off the menu in Turkey at the moment.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:12, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

The Daily Sabah (a Pravda-style mouthpiece for the Turkish government) has just published the following [8]:
According to the sources, the internet watchdog Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) banned the website after it did not respond to any of the warnings by the government against the fabricated information aiming to show Turkey in cooperation with some terror groups.
Turkey has requested Wikipedia to open a representative agency in the country, comply with the international law, pay taxes like other companies operating in the country and stop becoming a part of smear campaign against Turkey.
So I would guess this is likely to be a permanent block, if the Turkish government is essentially trying to dictate Wikipedia's content. Prioryman (talk) 13:04, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

I hope Katherine is able to contact the relevant decision-maker in Turkey to resolve this sensitively and diplomatically. I hope the WMF and anyone presuming to speak for the WMF can resist any temptation to hector them publicly. On that, I hope we can leave public discussion and announcements to one (only) spokesperson. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 13:19, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

I hope the WMF tells the Turkish government go do one personally. Or in more polite language, 'The WMF has no control over the content of Wikipedia'. While the Turkish government might be able to bully and oppress its own populace, its not quite grasped that it cannot do the same to the internet in general. I wouldnt book any holidays in Turkey soon though Jimmy. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:26, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
I'm going to Turkey in 2 weeks time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:31, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I think this fits perfectly with the topic directly above, if not directly, indirectly in what I called "odd coupling"...or the term I had forgotten, strange bedfellows. Nocturnalnow (talk) 14:00, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
The Daily Sabah article isn't specific about which page or pages caused the problem, or if it was in the English or Turkish language Wikipedia. In August 2015, we know that officials in Russia objected to this article in Russian about charas, which is a form of cannabis.[9] The Turkish government has defined a range of issues that are problematic. It may be like the British government's 1988–94 British broadcasting voice restrictions involving the PKK or similar groups. While the Turkish government is entitled to take measures that are necessary for law and order, it isn't acceptable to censor reliably sourced material that is available via the media in other countries. Let's hope that the Turkish government can be more specific about what is causing the problem.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 15:39, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Village_pump_(miscellaneous)#The_cause_of_the_Wikipedia_block_in_Turkey. -- zzuuzz (talk) 15:49, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, just to clarify, this says that two articles on the English language Wikipedia have caused the problem:

Not being an expert on Turkish politics, I can't wade in on how accurate any of this is. However, if it meets Wikipedia guidelines it should be acceptable The Turkish government can make specific criticisms, but doesn't have a guaranteed right of veto over Wikipedia content. This is similar to the various occasions when Russian government agencies have objected to drug-related content on Wikipedia. Although the Russian language Wikipedia is in Russian, it isn't subject to Russian law; Russian is also spoken in countries other than Russia.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:03, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Jimmy has jumped in on Twitter. I hope you ran your intervention by the WMF ED before you picked up the megaphone, Jimmy. Megaphone hectoring and spotlight-grabbing self-aggrandising may might be great for your business launch, but it may not be in the movement's best interest, it may not be the best way to handle this. It's Katherine's call not yours. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 17:02, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

We call it freedom of expression, and we like it! --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:09, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Jimbo said on Twitter: "Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people, I will always stand with you and fight for this right. #turkey" This doesn't look like hectoring.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:15, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Definitely not hectoring. An eloquent statement of the principles that we stand for, and moral support for our community members at a time when they need it. I'm in constant contact with the WMF on this issue and as I have always done in such matters, will follow their advice. Of course. Anthony, you are invited to please try not to POV push about unrelated matters here. This is an important moment and an important human rights issue.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:40, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Also on Twitter, here is what the BTK (Turkey's telecoms regulator) said about the block. This is a content dispute, albeit with an entity that can block access to Wikipedia if it doesn't get what it wants. The Turkish government is sensitive about allegations that it has supported groups fighting the civil war in Syria. This is a common allegation on Russia Today, which is also effectively a mouthpiece for what the Kremlin wants to say. Wikipedia content is driven by the five pillars. It has to look at what secondary reliable sources have said, not government mouthpieces.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:01, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
I noticed thatLarry King is on RT and some of their productions win awards in New York. CNN is maybe no less of a mouthpiece. More important, the whole scene seems to be metastasizing and getting real scary real quick. I hope Jimbo does not go there right now....seems too dare devilish to me at this politically heated and militarily flammable point in time. Wikitribune is not live and with Wikipedia, being an encyclopedia, there is no rush. Just my opinion.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
Jimmy Wales is not some chattel of the WMF, and we should not be shocked if he says what he thinks. This is someone who founded Wikipedia in the first place; his judgment deserves respect. True, I would not be counted on to defer to that judgment if freedom of speech pulled me in the opposite direction, but this time I need no convincing.
I despise Twitter as a medium, but must note the response on his page citing this Daily Sabah article. It claims that "Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) banned the website after it did not respond to any of the warnings by the government against the fabricated information aiming to show Turkey in cooperation with some terror groups." Note that this is a government censoring its own people's access to all sorts of information as a hostage to its desire to burnish its image internationally. Note that they expect that the way article writing works is that they call up somebody at WMF and he takes command and control over the article and makes it the way they want from now on. There is not much to do with this but let the Turks sweat it out - they are the ones hurt, both by outage and by Streisand Effect. Even if we were so outrageously foolhardy as to give in to their demands ... how long would it take them to find something else? Remember, we have a decent article about Fethullah Gulen that, as it should, links directly to his website and various films and writings. Anybody in Turkish academia who can be shown to have read something like that is out of Turkish academia - for Wikipedia to possess such a book makes it formally a member of "FETO".[10] How long would it take them to come back and say we are "promoting terrorism"? Who would bank on the safety of some WMF idiot who actually went to go open "a representative agency in the country", as they also demand? The guy would end up being prosecuted as a terrorist merely by association with Gulenists! And why should Wikipedia "pay taxes like other companies operating in the country"? What contributor gives to WMF in order that it can pay ransom to a dictatorship? Wnt (talk) 18:49, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
One of the problems is that Wikipedia content is dynamic. A page may look quite different in a week's time from how it looks now. However, it looks as though the Turkish government will object to any mention of sources suggesting that it has been involved in backing groups fighting the civil war in Syria. Wikipedia content isn't going to be dictated down the phone from Ankara, so it's time for Turkish people to download Tor or use VPNs if they want to see what the English language Wikipedia says. This is similar to Internet censorship in China due to the Chinese government's thin skin over the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Taiwan and various other issues.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 19:30, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
On a practical level, could someone arrange for a bot to go through, find all the Turkey/Erdogan/Gulen related articles on Wikipedia, and have three or more web archives take snapshots of each and every reference in them? If Erdogan is hassling us he may be hassling news sites with less of a spine and much more at stake, and if our sources go away we are helpless, because defiance is no substitute for data. I'm trying to archive the ones at state-sponsored terrorism and it's a pretty dull thing to do. Even if I do have to notice, with an admixture of disgust and amusement, that an editor took out a Daily Mail link [11] citing "WP:DAILYMAIL", while leaving in two WND (WorldNetDaily) links. (I archived them anyway... 20 more to go...) Wnt (talk) 23:35, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
A very Wikipedia response: 2017 block of Wikipedia in Turkey. Prioryman (talk) 00:31, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Even more Wikipedia reaction (although maybe less how we want to see ourselves ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 05:42, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't consider those "Wikipedia responses" - they're reactions maybe. Instead I'd consider this the "most Wikipedia response" so to say: Imo it would be good to always have channels/pages, such as these, where the community (often alongside the WMF) responds. (Btw we could probably improve further on this process.) --Fixuture (talk) 18:15, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Turkey has also banned TV dating game shows.[12] Maybe this isn't a major loss for Turkey, but combined with the firing of 4,000 more government officials, it looks like Turkey is sliding towards authoritarianism.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:04, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
A friend suggested: maybe we need the "stealth revisions" version of "stealth banning" for relevant IP ranges (mentioned because it was humorous). —░]PaleoNeonate█ ⏎ ?ERROR 06:19, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Sliding towards you say? I think it already has, Turkey has been under the state of emergency since the botched coup attempt, which was on 15 July 2016. Since then, numerous executive orders were put in place without a parliamentary approval. Latest executive order was a ban on dating shows, as absurd as it sounds, is just a smokescreen, just an inflammatory action to cover much more insidious actions. It also goes to show you how brazen they are with the power they have. And with the latest Referendum for key constitutional changes, obviously stolen in favor of an outright regime change that would've made even Hitler envious, Erdogan has consolidated his absolute authority over Turkey. And when I say stolen I don't mean like Trump's whining of losing popular votes. It was properly stolen with a decision by the Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey. They made an unprecedented(not to mention against the law) ruling and declared that the ballots without the proper stamps of the electoral council, which is a precaution against voter fraud, will be allowed. The reports say more than a 1.5 million ballots without stamps were counted in, majority of which is in favor of the constitutional changes. So, "Turkey sliding towards authoritarianism" is the understatement of the century. Darwinian Ape talk 03:40, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Jimmy probably already knows, but let me post this for the followers of this page. He is probably not coming to Turkey, since his invitation has now been withdrawn.

Vito Genovese 08:43, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Probably not a very good idea for anyone who uses their real name to post here, and who has put any "unflattering" info on the Erdogan or Turkey pages, to travel to Turkey anytime soon. I hear Erdogan is really "going for the gold," these days. I hear he wants to put a good solid "lock" on his currently reigning Guinness Book of World Records title for incarcerating the most journalists ever recorded since the days of the Third Reich. The more he puts in the camp, the more he's the "champ," they say.... Scott P. (talk) 19:31, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh, almost forgot, Trump was the first Western leader (and only Western leader so far as I can tell) to call Erdogan to congratulate him on his recent "fake election" victory. I wonder just how closely Trump might hold Erdogan as a rolemodel? Trump says he wants to reduce the freedom of the American "fake press" with real "libel laws." I wonder if or when Erdogan will be calling Trump to congratulate him, and if Wikipedia might be real or fake in the Trump alternative universe? Scott P. (talk) 20:26, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I personally feel quite proud to be a part of Wikipedia, an organization which I believe is already making the world a far better place, and if I lived in Turkey right about now, I'd probably be a member of the Wikipedia underground resistance (if there were one). I'd like to believe I'd be willing to dare to get the truth out, and put the truth above many other less important things. I wish any and all Turkish Wikipedians who may have posted "unflattering things" on those pages safety, good health, and good luck in finding a virtual tunnel to get back to us at Wikipedia under Erdogan's radar. Scott P. (talk) 20:38, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Internet censorship in Turkey and North Korea

Well, I've already instructed several Turks on how to use Tor and VPNs. Even now, the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:13, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

I wonder if the N. Korean censor-gateway-system is as VPN/TOR-susceptable as Turkey's? Might you know? I'd like to hope that it is. I'd like to hope that the very nature of the Internet tends to make censorship ultimately impossible, but somehow I doubt it. Usually the more sophisticated the technology, the more sophisticated the new cops and the new robbers just have to be, that is all. Sigh. Scott P. (talk) 22:32, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
To my knowlege, North Korea does not block access to Wikipedia. They block (or blocekd) Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Voice of America, and some South Korean websites. But in general, that's not how North Korean internet censorship works at all. They restrict access to the internet as a whole rather than censor individual websites. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 22:47, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Yep. To the best of my knowledge, most North Koreans don't have access to the public Internet at all. That's about the only sure way you can block things; just not allow any access whatsoever. Seraphimblade Talk to me 08:36, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
It's really not the Internet that does that inherently but its inhabitants and engineers - active netizens and Internet pioneers. And I think those are desperately needed right now for rethinking the Internet's architecture to make it resilient and secure enough to withstand upcoming threats (including censorship) as well as to overcome currently undefeated attempts of censorship. In particular meshnet-development is needed - e.g. see Hyperboria. This in combination with the development and distribution of appropriate access tools (think: smartphones) would even allow for North Koreans to connect to the rest of the world, freely learn and eventually to stand up for their rights.
--Fixuture (talk) 18:15, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Jimbo banned from Turkey?

Spotted in the New Zealand Herald: [Istanbul] municipality said Tuesday that Jimmy Wales had been removed from a list of invitees to the World Cities Expo event later this month and that he had been notified of the decision. [13] Prioryman (talk) 19:46, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Uh-mm. It is often said that people vote with their feet. Turkey used to be Europe's 6th most popular holiday destination from which they earned billions Tourism in Turkey. Now, they appear to be slowly raising their own Iron Curtain. They even vacillated on joining the EU. So this country is no longer on my list of countries to visit before I die - and many others may strike it off their list too. What is the point in hosting the World Cities Expo in Turkey, if representatives of the whole World are not welcomed for being labelled as persona non grata ? Aspro (talk) 21:18, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Incredibly well said. —░]PaleoNeonate█ ⏎ ?ERROR 22:08, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
  • "removed from a list of invitees to the World Cities Expo event" is not the same thing as "banned from Turkey". That said, it would take some "nerve" to ignore the disinvite and pay your own way into the conference. I'd urge Jimbo to go, if he wants to, but I'm not sure I have all that's needed to do that type of thing myself. Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:31, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
I should be able to comment within a few days.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:46, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
I guess they didn't like your tweet or your legal action. They need to go through a proxy server and read Streisand effect. Coretheapple (talk) 16:53, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
I hope Jimbo does not go there right now....seems too dare devilish to me at this politically heated and militarily flammable point in time. Wikitribune is not live and with Wikipedia, being an encyclopedia, there is no rush. Just my opinion.Nocturnalnow/Alzheimer's victim
I think instead of attempting to go to the conference anyway in person it would be a better idea to make a public point about the backwardness of Turkey blocking Wikipedia and to introduce a new idea (in one go): at the start of the conference Jimmy could make a fool out of Turkey's censorship behaviour by bringing up the kind of self-contradiction (for the lack of a better word) of Turkey hosting an event for "smart" cities while at the same time blocking one of the major sources of knowledge and information in contemporary society (as well as its cofounder) - it really is bizarre - and by publicly talking about how Wikipedia and its model could be used for "smart cities". So for instance the Wikipedia app has a "Nearby"-feature which shows geolocated Wikipedia articles of spots of public interest and cultural signficance. This feature could be coupled/integrated into e.g. a city-app or used for tourism/sightseeing or be added to the sites via qr-code or alike etc. (Btw maybe we could start a Wikipedia:Smart city uses of Wikipedia page where we could crowdsource such ideas.)
--Fixuture (talk) 18:15, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
@Fixuture: Whenever you hear the word "smart", whether it's in an ad or in a term like "smart TV" or "smart watch" or "smart thermostat", the meaning of the word is always precisely the same as in "intelligence agency". Smart products are purchased by dumb people. So there should be no surprise that Erdogan would want a smart city that can watch where everyone is going and what they are saying. Wnt (talk) 12:11, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Stereotypes in artificial intelligence

"Using the popular GloVe algorithm, trained on around 840 billion words from the internet, three Princeton University academics have shown AI applications replicate the stereotypes shown in the human-generated data." [sic]

Wavelength (talk) 15:12, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

I normally don't edit about that stuff, but a new user tried to add some stuff about machine learning bias which ended up here after we worked it over: Machine_ethics#Machine_learning_bias. Jytdog (talk) 07:07, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Jytdog, thank you very much. This is a defining and crucial development. Unfortunately, the cause of this bias is not anything directly to do with algorithms, math, or machines..if it were, it would be fixable. I think we are looking at something here which may not be fixable, because these biases are, imo, caused by the current mentality of many, if not most, of Silicon Valley's most powerful corporate leaders. A mentality that was revealed, to a lesser extent here, but to a greater extent when Steve Jobs' email response to learning that an employee of Google had been terminated "immediately" for not adhering to the illegal arrangement. His response to her firing was a smiley face. This response shocked me but on subsequently paying attention to the personal attitudes of the tech titans and their corporate policies, it is apparent that the historical and undisputed evidence shows that some or many of them have an extreme classist view of society as well as a materialism view of human beings. I have seen this type of discrimination first hand. My father sold life insurance and in the company's office there was a map of the city up on the wall with a huge section crossed out. I asked my dad why that section was crossed out. You know the answer. There were laws passed to deal with that particular societal classism/racism, but since the section you reference says the current methods are in a "black box", I assume that our tech companies will be able to skirt and get ahead of any laws in order to perpetuate their approach. Obviously I'm not talking about all the tech titans, just the ones who might send a smiley face when hearing some much lower paid front line employee was fired. Nocturnalnow (talk) 16:42, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

The apparent reason for Turkey's censorship

I just had another look at this issue, and ran across an interesting little blurb by Commentary Magazine here. It points me at a Twitter posting (arrghh, but I mean, at least one with text, though because it's an image that's not selectable google-translatable text). But one thing I see from it is that the relevant article is not the two we've been talking about -- though state-sponsored terrorism is related to this -- but instead mentions Berat Albayrak. As described by the right-wing American Enterprise Institute here and much more cogently by the World Policy Institute here Albayrak was the target of a Wikileaks disclosure here, of emails hacked by RedHack, a Turkish communist group. The WPI reference goes on in great detail about how Albayrak allegedly set up Powertrans (we don't have an article) via a shell company. It and others say in 2011 Erdogan banned all import and export of oil from Turkey, but allowed himself a right to grant exceptions, and granted one exception -- to Powertrans. And it says Powertrans then brought oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, which originated in the Islamic State. The Russians later claimed to directly observe these oil transfers [14]. In another place one of these sources said there were actually three different routes of oil to get from ISIS to Turkey... I don't actually understand all of this -- but note that for all its horrid crimes and disproportional impact on the political landscape, ISIS' total monthly income is only 80 million - it is what, less than a couple of dozen times the size of Wikipedia? And sale of stolen oil by ISIS is 43% of its income.[15] Our own article Oil production and smuggling in ISIL quotes the U.S. saying the amount through Turkey is "insignificant", but there are other points of view -- and the view of some of these sources, which Erdogan may be censoring Wikipedia to suppress, is that, in coordination with a fairly indiscriminate effort to support any anti-Assad group during the earlier days of the Syrian War, ISIS was pretty much bankrolled by smuggling for the direct enrichment of Erdogan's family through corrupt use of his regulatory powers.

There are very few people doing anything with the articles presently - we could really use an influx of some people who know what the heck they are talking about to help edit and clarify what is going on. I mean, I've resorted to doing some editing myself and may do more, but there have to be some neutral experts somewhere to get this party going. Wnt (talk) 23:00, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

I am told that for legal reasons I'm not able to comment at the present time on which articles in particular have been raised to us as being of concern. I can say that it is always worthwhile and the right thing to do to improve articles according to our standards.
Let me discuss this in a purely hypothetical way. I think it is deeply wrong for Wikipedia to be blocked in a situation where an article might be biased or erroneous. In the vast majority of countries where there is a reasonable amount of respect for freedom of expression and dissent there is no power for the government to shut down publications that they disagree with. But a delicate question can arise: what if a country blocks us (inappropriately) based on a bad law for an article which actually by our own standards needs to be improved? I am not saying that this happened in this case, and I'm not saying that this didn't happen in this case. I'm in a personal process of reading and trying to understand everything and I wish that I could be more transparent with everyone but with press scrutiny and legal reasons, it's better if I just follow advice.
But what I can tell you is this: it is always the right thing to do to examine all of our entries for all countries and all people to try to make sure that they are very well sourced, that they accurate reflect what sources say, and that sources are not cherry picked to take one side of the story.
If we are highly confident that we have done our job correctly, and a country still wants to ban Wikipedia, then I think based on our principles and history and stated position on the fundamental human right to have access to knowledge, we must never compromise. But it is not compromise to improve Wikipedia in cases where that may help. I encourage the community to look at all articles relating to the matters being mentioned in the press as potentially problematic and make sure that there is absolutely no sensible justification for anyone to say falsely that we are "part of a smear campaign".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:39, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
The Turkish government is using WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT over any mention of suggestions that it has backed certain groups in the Syrian civil war, bought oil from ISIS etc. There isn't going to be a blanket ban on reliably sourced material mentioning these issues simply because Wikipedia might be blocked in Turkey if it does. There is little doubt that Kim Jong-un would dislike Human rights in North Korea but this and many similar articles are not up for removal at the behest of a government.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 15:40, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Think JW's statement is very clear. We don't start taking sides but carry on as normal.Aspro (talk) 16:26, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Has the Turkish government posted their concerns on any Wikipedia talk page or noticeboard? We can't fix it if they don't tell us what's wrong, and we don't know what the problem is. wbm1058 (talk) 22:00, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Village_pump_(miscellaneous)#The_cause_of_the_Wikipedia_block_in_Turkey. Mentioning reports that Turkey has backed certain groups in the Syrian civil war seems to be the root cause of the problem.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 04:34, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Turkey, North Korea and Russia

A few weeks ago (1 week before the Turkey ban) I visited the Erdogan and Turkey pages and noted that anyone reading the leads of either of these "pristine" pages, would probably walk away with no idea that Turkey is now being run by a man who has locked up most of the journalists in his country, and who has rigged his way into becoming effectively Turkey's next new sultan. I then fixed both of these leads to better reflect "reality," whether or not Planet-WP was ready to reflect it in the article leads or not. Sure enough, a week later we got banned by Turkey. Jimbo's response to Erdogan's request to "fix" WP to his own liking was basically "we stand for free speech here, not for dictatorial suppression of same." I salute Jimbo for this, despite some editor's concerns that read that "Jimbo can't really tell US what to do."

Yesterday I paid a visit to Kim Jong-un's lovely page, and strangely noted the same problem there. After reading just the lead, one would have probably wanted to move to wonderful N. Korea, so good was this man! Same problem on the Putin page too. Not a single ref in the lead that Putin happens to be fond of assassinating anyone who gets in his way! Egads!! Is Planet-WP really still in touch with planet Earth?

I've since "fixed" the two pages for both of those two wonderful leaders, and perhaps a little later I hope to review and fix the leads of both of their two related "country pages" (if needed.) Why do I seem to be the only one around here so far who cares enough to fix these things in these leads? I sincerely hope more might assist in this fight for free speech that WP could be, and that my own physical safety as so far being the lone voice in this, regarding the article leads, is not affected.

I know that some of the residents of Planet-WP will probably now complain to no end that WP has no business fighting for free speech, we're just a fancy news aggregating service here and nothing more. If that is really all we are, then I quit, really. We are ultimately all here to be actual providers of Truth, whether we like it or not. Sure we have an arcane system of approving our edits, but that system was designed specifically to yield the closest thing to Truth that it could. The Truth was not designed to fit the arcane system of edit verification! Some editors here seem to occasionally have a much greater preference for arcanity than for Truth. You all have my express permission to be amongst Elon Musk's first chosen ones to go to Mars. On second thought, please never lose touch with our humble planet Earth. Please never stop being grounded in Truth.


Scott P. (talk) 08:19, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Status update on Putin's page: In the six hours since I essentially converted the page from "Fake News" into the Truth, the page has been vandalized twice by established editors who are apparently pro-Putin guardians of the page. I have no doubt that there are more of them than there are of me. By WP's arcane rules, will Fake News prevail on Putin's page? Yes. That is, yes unless there are at least a few Wikipedians who are willing to come back down to Earth and help me over there! Please somebody come down out of your safe ivory tower on Planet-WP and actually help me with their next attempt at what is essentially vandalism in the name of censorship, in the name of supposed WP:NPOV over there. Fake, or real? The choice is now yours my friends.
Scott P. (talk) 09:03, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
@Scottperry: Don't get too carried away. Dismissing valid objections about scare quotes and calling other editors pro-Putin guardians is a sure and well-worn road to trouble. In that case your text didn't say enough for its length before, though you did revise it to shorter. We do indeed need a lot more good editors looking over all these pages. It is easy to feel lonely out there nowadays. Wnt (talk) 12:34, 7 May 2017 (UTC)


I will admit, the "style" of my first "bringing in reality" edit was not the best, and only after I got the "moral support" of another editor, was I even able to think straight enough to write more accurately and clearly as I should have in the first place. I did also carefully review the edit history of the first editor to revert me, and indeed that fellow had a long and consistent history of always removing info from the Putin article that was critical of Putin, and of many noticeboard battles, and an in depth knowledge of our arcane rules to try to support his edits. I think its safe to say he's a "pro-putin guardian of that page." I didn't have time to do such an analysis of the second guy. Admittedly, for all I know, that guy, who reverted while ignoring my "edit comment to go to the talk page before reverting," and who left no "edit comment" of his own, could have simply been reverting for merely stylistic reasons. I would say that the information is now better presented with less potential for reasonable and purely stylistic objections.

Who was the first editor who reverted? It appeared to me that he probably is what I will call a "self appointed page guardian" who has personally decided to guard that page against Putin-critical edits, probably due to his own personal fondness for the man. Do such page-guardians exist in WP? You know they do. I used to be one myself at an obscure article on a certain theological topic, but have personally recused myself from editing there, knowing I need to work on my own personal tendency towards POV-blindness on that one topic. This is what I will call idealogical-POV-blindness, and I will be the first to admit that I may have it on that one topic. Then there is what I will call favor-based-POV-blindness. I consider idealogical-POV-blindness at WP to be far less problematic than favor-based-POV-blindness.

When I first evaluated the editor who did the first revert, I checked him out to see which type of editor he was. He looked to me like he probably only suffered from what I'm calling idealogical-POV-blindness, and for that I was quite relieved. As we all know, Putin has almost certainly recently used his favors to "throw" a presidential election in a major democracy. Who is to say he could'nt try to use them to "throw" an iddy biddy WP article?

I don't think WP's little page-guardian problem is ever directly identified, let alone directly discussed in any one WP policy. Personally I think it could probably have a whole policy to itself, but our policy section itself happens to be ran by a bunch of idealogical-page-guardians, who mercelessly attack, in coordinated fashion, anyone else who dares to move even a comma on those pages.

Having just made this not so humble observation, now they may soon try to use their "wiles" on me here, who knows? We've all seen what I will call an editorial-gang-bang, but that is another sweet topic that is "politely hush hush," around here. Scott P. (talk) 14:42, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Scott clearly Im the first editor, anyone could see that. Hello Jimbo it appears Im invading your page. But after being identified here (tiny check) I have to say I dont have much choice and that I like your spirit Scott but IMHO you have a few things backwards. One. I cant speak for others, but I only have time to watchlist so many pages, 7 or so currently, and then do them justice so to speak. This may look like Guardian behaviour, but in the real world its not. Its about time management. Two. You would not believe the vandalism on the Putin page in the past, so we get a bit reactive you could say when someone comes in and puts edgy stuff on a WP:BLP It may not survive review. But Im glad we emailed each other and I got to know you a little. Do remember I tried to warn you in a friendly manner about 3RR on your talk page. Lastly heres the other thing. Putin is the target of a lot of innuendo, smear, Russophobia and the like. Oh its RS for sure because MSM in the West is fairly tighly controlled, but a lot of it is BLP violation. Scott You seem like a crusader for Truth. Thats often a hard road. Truth is a hard commodity to pin down and there is a lot of Denialism around especially when its not protocol but RS is. I admire that you are trying but ask that you consider widenning and deepenning your knowledge base because there is another way to look at this. That WP is too valuable a resource to not be used by the Elites to further their agendas and that Putin and Russia are in their way. I have put a few thoughts about WP here[16] that apply that you may or may not have seen when researching me. Please also consider using the names of editors, its more transparent, when you talk about them in ways that are not exactly civil like 'idealogical-POV-blindness'. No I reject that and your general thrust imho is misplaced. SaintAviator lets talk 08:58, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Aviator, (@SaintAviator:) I feel that you raise some very good points above. Probably most of us here have probably been "page guardians" of some sort or another at some point in time. Most aspects of being a "page guardian" are obviously positive, but I feel that there are also a few potential risks to this very important (and usually helpful) role around here. I suspect that everyone here probably already knows what I'm about to say. Page Guardians sometimes tend to become obstinate and possessive of the pages they guard. I feel that this can sometimes result in their actually harming the page more than helping it.
Unfortunately, Wikipedia's policy pages probably have the fiercest crew of page guardians in the whole place. Admittedly this crew does perform a necessary task, because policy pages really should not even be editable at all by newbies, so they effectively keep the newbies out from our policy section, which must be done. Still, due to this the presence of this now necessary crew, our policies have been allowed to be modeled by this very same crew, which in my mind do not really understand them themselves.
This all argues for two closely related things, which Jimbo has thus far not yet been very flexible with the rest of us on:
  1. Accountability More accountability of one another and of Wikimedia is needed around here, in order to be able to better understand, trust and respect one another around here.
  2. Transparency More transparency as to exactly how such vital processes as policy decisions actually work around here, is needed in order to keep WP policies as helpful for the rest of us Wikipedians as possible.
Possibly Wikimedia paid page guardians of the policy section, come on? Resulting policies that are steadily eroding the freedom of speech within WP itself, come on?
First, I will say this, I have no clue as to whether or not Wikimedia pays the policy page guardians to do what they do, but I do have at least a strong hunch that probably Jimbo has personally asked them to do what they do, if not more. Do I fault Jimbo for probably doing this? No. My guess is that he probably did this because he couldn't think of any other way to do it better. Do I still think that WP needs more transparency? For God's sake, YES. Even if my hunch might be mistaken about Jimbo asking the policy page guardians to do what they do, the level of transparency around here makes it impossible for me to be able to even have a clue as to this whether or not this is true, and this level of opacity around here seems to me to be quite counterproductive.
Scott P. (talk) 00:33, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Engraving it in bronze

"Citing Wikipedia is one thing. Engraving it in bronze is another. At Pretoria Gautrain station." [ ]— Preceding unsigned comment added by Guy Macon (talkcontribs) 16:52, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

It looks like they have cited Longest trains, which says:

The source here is a problem, because it is a 404 and not on the Wayback Machine either. The other cite is a newsgroup posting and quotes The Guinness Book of Railway Facts and Feats (ISBN 978-0851127071) which says "The heaviest and longest train, with the largest number of wagons recorded, was run on the 3'6" gauge Sishen-Saldanha railway in South Africa on 26-27 August 1989. The train consisted of 660 wagons each loaded to 105 tons gross, a tank car and a caboose (guards van). The train was moved by nine 50kv electric and seven diesel electric locomotives distributed along the train. The train was 7.3km (4.5miles) long and weighed 69393 tons, excluding locomotives. It travelled 861km (535 miles)."
Looks OK, but it would have been better to cite Guinness directly as records are more their department than ours. By the way, the author of the tweet, Ian Macleod‏, is *not* me.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:24, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

So, someone needs to go there and stick a "citation needed" sticker on it? Face-wink.svg Murph9000 (talk) 17:56, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Obviously not! There is a citation, so it needs a [unreliable source?] tag! --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:32, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Whoever engraved this didn't read the Wikipedia:General disclaimer which is at the bottom of every page. It is likely to be correct, but someone should get their hands on a copy of The Guinness Book of Railway Facts and Feats and cite it directly from the book. There is a photo of the train here and the sourcing looks OK.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:07, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • laughing! Thanks for posting. Jytdog (talk) 20:28, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
However, it doesn't appear to be the current world record holder, which is an Australian iron ore train on 21 June 2001.[17][18] This was very slightly longer at 7.35km. This doesn't make the South African plaque wrong, because it was a world record at the time that it was set.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 05:11, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Saudi Arabia

Jimbo I've read you are at an NGO summit in Saudi Arabia. Is this true? Coretheapple (talk) 16:29, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

I attended and spoke at a UN event there. I'm in London again now.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:49, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Editing News #1—2017

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Hi Jimbo, I'd like to draw your attention to the deletion of futures and options an article I created recently. The CSD was massively out of process and obviously I could wipe the floor with it at DRV but that's not the point, because as far as anyone knew this was a newbie account which can't be expected to jump through this kind of hoop. That article was an improvement to Wikipedia and its putative author showed competence and potential to be a good contributor. It was trashed in an incredibly painful way and there is no way that a real newbie would want to spend any more time with this project after that, and frankly Wikipedia doesn't even deserve their contributions. Rex Iudaeorum (talk) 14:53, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Translation for those of us not knowing such as myself:
CSD = Consideration for Speedy Deletion.
DRV = Deletion Review
Perfect timing Rex, sounds like possibly an editorial-gang-bang (an EGB?) to me. No? Perhaps we need a new WP, WP:EGB. This sounds like it might be both BITE and EGB at the same time. Nasty! Please see just above. Scott P. (talk) 15:21, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Gotta go for awhile, Thanks, :-) Scott P. (talk) 15:21, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Sorry if you feel that you've been treated harshly. I didn't participate in the deletion or even read the article, but it jumps out that we have several articles on the subject of Futures and options, e.g. Futures contract, Option (finance), and Derivative (finance). These are long, detailed articles that have been around 10 years or longer. I noticed on your talk page that you were informed about the existence of Futures contract, which was given as a reason for deleting "your" article. That seems like a perfectly good reason to me.

As far as an "editorial-gang-bang"- please don't attack editors who seem to be providing advice and doing reasonable editing. Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:29, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Exactly, editors shouldn't gang up in "support groups" and then attack individual editors in a coordinated fashion, who may be merely doing reasonable editing and attempting to simply reasonably state their cases plainly without making personal attacks out of them. Scott P. (talk) 15:40, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
You read my comment exactly wrong. When I wrote "As far as an "editorial-gang-bang"- please don't attack editors who seem to be providing advice and doing reasonable editing," I was addressing you. Please don't attack editors who provided the OP with good advice. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:37, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
I haven't seen the logs for this interaction, so I could be mistaken regarding this one particular case, but EGB is a serious problem around here, and it usually translates as, "There are two of us here who somewhat know WP's fuzzy policies, and only one of you, so we win and you're a donkey. Hay!" Scott P. (talk) 15:43, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
In a typical EGB discussion, the EGB'ers will pretend to be the most officious know-it-alls, deeply familiar with years of fuzzy policy, and the poor EGB-ee gets to be the "poor benighted idiot," being patiently and tenderly taught by the obviously superior intellects of the exalted ones. Meanwhile nobody listens to a single valid rationale that the EGBee has patiently tried to express. Of course not, poor benighted fools never have anything to say, why they're poor benighted fools of course! Wonderful system of deriving the Truth, if I don't say so myself. While we pretend at "respecting one another" around here, there is all too often a clear "subtext" of very real contempt for one another, which is always counterproductive, and unfortunately all too well tolerated around here. But will I soon be EGB'ed for daring to speak the Truth here? We shall see. Scott P. (talk) 15:48, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

─────────────────────────This deletion was entirely appropriate. I have no idea why Scott P. would choose to rant about this situation. If Scott has seen the article, and knows anything about finance and Wikipedia, they would know this. If Scott hasn't seen the article, then the rant is even more misplaced. While there may be situations where knowledgable editors run roughshod over a newbie, even though the article might have some promise, this isn't remotely true in this case, so I'm left wondering about Scott's real agenda.--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:46, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

In other words, Smallbones is exactly right.--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:48, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
If I may...ScottP, could you please find a better euphemism to express your opinion and ditch the gross sexual innuendo? Referring to it 3 items by full term and 9 by acronym in a single thread is a bit juvenile. Thanks. TheValeyard (talk) 22:23, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

The WP-fishbowl effect

What I see here is four editors (myself and three others) whose communications between one another are all suffering from what I will call the WP-fishbowl-effect. I see each of us as quite well intended, and each attempting to respectfully engage in the best communications possible, but due to what I call the WP-fishbowl-effect, little or no "real communications" are able to occurr here. When I first read smallbones' first reply, I would have to say this comment could be taken in various different ways, so yes, I must confess that only for the purposes of better illustrating the WP-fishbowl effect, I did indeed "intentionally select" which way I wanted to take it, knowing full well I was probably wrong. The point I hoped to illustrate by doing this here is how easy such mis-communication is here in what I am calling the WP-fishbowl where I believe that there is sometimes a certain group-dynamic that can at times systematically encourage miscommunication. Please forgive me for this intentional 'effect.'

I see many harder editorial decisions at WP derailed or mishandled many times by this effect. Also I hope you might forgive me for the slightly crude terminology, but I used it here, simply because I felt I needed to get somebody's attention. Why does WP always have a problem getting female editors on board? It's because of what I've called the EGB effect, is so perilously close to what the initials actually stand for. It's whenever a group of editors on some level agree that another lone-editor is suddenly essentially "worthless" as an editor, but they never explicitly say it, they only suddenly all agree to EGB the lone-editor. They will then use words/ phrase like "ranter" or "doesn't understand," or "if only [lone editor] had understood or read this or that," ect. etc. All of these types of 'code phrases' are really EGB phrases, though nobody really realizes it.

Please think about the implications of this. None of these types of phrases actually have a thing to do with the actual 'idea' being proposed. All of them are really subtle ad-hominem attacks against the lone-editor, implying that the lone editor's ideas must simply be worthless because the lone-editor is obviously 'inferior to' the EGB'ers. Women are able to pick up on the rather unpleasant sensation of the EGB faster than we men, simply because the female species has been both physically and mentally GB'd for millenia, and they get the H out of here.

Proposed solution to remedy the WP-fishbowl effect in this discussion

I would invite either @Smallbones:, @Sphilbrick:, or @TheValeyard: to please try and engage with me one-on-one via email, to see what I mean. Which ever one of you might post here first, your agreement to email/ discuss this problem further with me via the WP email system, I would be happy to illustrate further to you in the privacy of a one-on-one email discussion. The first thing I will try to work out with whomever this might be, will be a certain mutual respect. If that cannot be agreed upon first, then the email communication attempt will have to end as a "hung-communication." If after 01:00 UTC, none of the three of you has taken me up on this offer by first responding here at the end of this thread to reserve my time and energies to working with you, then the offer will be open to anyone in general who might respond at the end of is thread similarly, by 03:00 UTC. If nobody responds by 03:00 UTC, then that will be the end of my attempt to explain or discuss any of these topics here any further.


Scott P. (talk)

PS: And yes Valeyard, you are correct that the EGB idea, if ever somehow incorporated into WP, would first have to be "politified," but not until at least one other person here can agree with me either that they really understand exactly what the idea here actually is that I'm attempting to explain, via a one-to-one email, or else that they at least minimally tried their best to understand via one-to-one email.

Thanks again,

Scott P. (talk)

@Scottperry: Early in my wiki career, a very wise Wikipedian, now a steward, advised me that discussion should take place on wiki as much as possible. While I think I have encountered situations where a private email discussion was warranted, this doesn't remotely sound like such an example. I don't think Jimbo's talk pages the right place, but if you'd like to discuss on your talk page or mine, or the talk page of some relevant WP page, let me know.--S Philbrick(Talk) 15:15, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Sphilbrick: , Thanks kindly for your generous offer here. I think I may be starting to understand, just a little more, why everyone here hesitates to discuss these things privately via email. Perhaps it's a concern about possible "factioning," that could result, which has the potential of sowing even greater discord in an already highly discordant place. This is a legitimate concern, and I thank you for in some sense, helping me to figure out what I will call the "internal-conspiracy-concern-effect." This effect is certainly very real, and would obviously have to be addressed in any new proposed dispute resolution process. Here is a concern of mine. It is one aspect of what I am calling the fishbowl-effect.
You see one of the clear downsides of doing all discussions in the WP-fishbowl is the fact that anyone from a first-day-newbie to Jimbo has the right to barge into any one-on-one conversation, and to then completely derail the original train of thought, to commandeer the conversation, to completely squelch whatever the original train of thought was. Or better yet, two or more could invite themselves into the conversation, and turn the conversation into a completely different topic from the chosen topic of the first two, which could in fact be something that the first two were fundamentally opposed to even discussing!
The good 'ole WP-fishbowl leaves my head spinning often, and leaves me often feeling quite frustrated and unable to carry on what I consider to be a truly intelligent conversation with anyone else here. Ultimately my point is: The traditional WP-fishbowl may not always be the best environment to have meaningful conversations with others, where ideas can be permitted to properly develop in the same way they often do in real life conversations between just two people. This is why I wanted to use email so badly, but please let me try to sort of "compromise" with you in the following proposal:
I propose the following "compromise solution" here, and I believe it is along the lines of what you have earlier proposed, and I hope that you might consider it. I would certainly be willing to discuss these things with you openly on my talk page, but only if you would agree to two simple rules in advance. Perhaps now you will see my rationale for these two proposed simple discussion rules. I will call these two rules the "no-ad-hominem" rule, and the "one-to-one" rule. By using these two simple rules on my talk page, I feel that a normal one-to-one conversation could be roughly "simulated" there. Here are the full descrcriptions of these two rules:
  1. No ad-hominem, means that we would have to each promise one another not to make any personal attacks against the other, either explicitly or implicitly, during the course of our one-to-one conversation.
  2. One to one, means that we would have to promise one another that one or both of us will politely dismiss any third party who might try to join in on our one-to-one conversation, until we are both satisfied that the conversation has finally reached its logical end.
The very reason I feel that I was just able to think clearly enough to put the above "compromise proposal" together, was actually due to your own agreement already, in the one comment you just made above, which had no ad-hominem wording in it, and was quite politely and well worded, if you don't mind me saying so. I believe that the "kindness" on your part just now actually allowed for perhaps a kinder response from myself. Perhaps a more polite label for what I have previously called the EGB-effect, would be the Ad-hominem-effect. In both cases, there is a subtle subtext of contempt. I believe that if there was a willingness to openly admit that the Ad-hominem-effect goes on a little too often around here, and to admit that a "lid" needs to somehow be placed upon it, that both the editorial environment and the quality of our articles would be significantly improved.
Scott P. (talk) 18:01, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Sort of. (As an aside, ad hominem is not a synonym for personal attack. The Venn diagreams have overlap, but many ad hominems are not personal attacks, and many personal attacks are not ad hominems. I'll read your request as wishing to avoid personal attacks, which is easy to agree to.)

I have one concern, easily addressed. Both my talk page and yours are intended for discussion, and it is quite inappropriate to uninvite third parties. Technically, a user subpage might also qualify as a page where we do not have the full right to exclude third parties, but historical practice suggests that such a request should be honored. So it you would like to create a personal user subpage (or I can) other than the main talk page, I'll try a discussion.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:01, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Again thanks Sphil. I've just finished creating a page that I think might be similar to the one you were describing. It is at: simulated email conversation 1. I look forward to our continued conversation.
Scott P. (talk) 22:58, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Obviously hit a nerve here

The fact that not a single person here has yet dared to make a single direct comment here about whether or not EGB is actually occuring here in WP tells me that I may have hit just a tiny nerve here. If it were totally off base, someone here would be able to explain to me exactly why it is not affecting our edits here. So far it appears that either nobody here has the intellectual capacity to begin to grasp what I'm talking about here, or else everyone here is scared sh*less that they might be the next victim of EGB should they even dare to begin to discuss this important WP issue with me here. Bunch of yellow livered cowards if you ask me (but nobody asked me.) Scott P. (talk) 01:01, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

I'm very sorry to have to say it, but lack of interest may not be the same as being scared shitless, although that's only my personal opinion. — PaleoNeonate — 01:14, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Scott P., "bunch of yellow livered cowards" is (a) unlikely to promote further constructive discussion and (b) a clear violation of Wikipedia's prohibition on personal attacks. You obviously are passionate about this topic, but please reflect and dial things back a notch or two. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:18, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
By advising editors to "be bold" and that there are "no rules", aren't we encouraging disruptive behavior, which might needlessly cause them to be banned?
Since writing that, I have taken note that the last pillars 3-5 of the Five Pillars include: Pillar 3: "Wikipedia is free content that anyone can...edit", Pillar 4:"respect and civility" and Pillar 5:"Wikipedia has no firm rules". The question is: are we following those rules?
--David Tornheim (talk) 01:28, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Ahh, more ad hominm attacks, but not yet a single attempt to actually respectfully and thoughtfully engage in a discussion of the EGB phenomenon going on here. You friends are only proving my point you know. Whether you realize it or not, you are simply EGBing me right now, and very publicly. Hah! By the way, such "ignoring" is certainly one more manner of performing the ole EGB. Great job fellas. Why am I being disrespectful here? It's simply because the EGB is the greatest disrespect of them all.

Scott P. (talk) 01:37, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

If a single one of you might have the nerve to enter into a one on one email conversation with me about this, where mutual respect would necessarily have to be the first topic discussed, perhaps I might be more respectful here myself. Scott P. (talk) 01:46, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I can say something perhaps. The goal of this project is to build an encyclopedia. When there are content disputes, the way it works is not how many people are in each camp, but what reliable sources there are and what they say. We have procedures to help in that direction when it's difficult. The rest is usually distraction from the main goals. — PaleoNeonate — 02:09, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes Paleo, you are correct in theory. Unfortunately practice is always more difficult than theory. Take a look at the Putin page history. Prior to my pointing it out, despite multiple RS, there is now nothing about the many assassinations of Putin's critics in the lead. A failure of process. I think now we may be close to arriving at getting this in there, by using my new process of dispute resolution. This dispute resolution process is all I am trying to propose here, and nobody so far has been willing to discuss it with me. Thanks for your observation there. Scott P. (talk) 02:41, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Scott P. I hesitated to do this as it may cause another flood of posts, but this thread and the Putin one you started above and have since ignored after my reply, should not be occuring on Jimbos talk page. It should be on either your talk page or the other editors. Also the email me option is not a solution to your concerns. You have contacted numerous editors about it now. I tried it. Its not productive in these circumstances. SaintAviator lets talk 21:52, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Email open to all now

Well, the original three who were invited to openly discuss with me, one to one about the EGB dynamic here have apparently declined my invitiation, and the clock has now struck 01:00 UTC, so I will now offer this conversation to anyone else in general who may be interested in exploring the question of whether or not editors tend to gang up on other editors here unfairly, and thus effect substandard outcomes as a result of this unfair practice. If anyone else might wish to discuss this dynamic of what might might also be called, the EGU effect, (multiple Editors Ganging Up unfairly against a single editor), then please let me know below.


Scott P. (talk) 01:08, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

  • It's a problem and I am happy to discuss on-Wiki. You might also find the essay WP:AVDUCK by Atsme of interest. --David Tornheim (talk) 01:38, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I wish I had "the intellectual capacity to begin to grasp what [you are] talking about here". So far this thread is You Ganging Up By Way Of Multiple Rants In Different Sub Sections, or YGUBWOMRIDSS. One is reminded of DNFTT. Drmies (talk) 01:41, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Still not a single one with the nerve I see. Wow. What does this say about the real level of trust and mutual respect around here? You guys are all merely pretending to respect one another, but nobody even has the guts to even take the first step to respect my call here for respect, by taking me up on my offer. Scott P. (talk) 01:49, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Pff. Who'd want to reveal their email address to a Nigerian prince, a casual grindr contact, or someone who ... well, whatever you're proposing here. Sorry, but if I want to see other people, I'll watch Donahue. Drmies (talk) 01:57, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Great EGB. Thanks for that. Wow. Scott P. (talk) 02:00, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

I'm proposing that there could be a better way, that is all. Scott P. (talk) 02:02, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

All email discussion will only be made "unprivate" by mutual consent. Scott P. (talk) 02:04, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
For an example of how this "better way" can work, please refer to our Putin article now. After using the alternative dispute resolution process to resolve the article's dispute between pro and con Putin editors, the closing paragraph of the lead was finally able to have info in it about all of the assassinations apparently authorized by Putin, but now with apparently full agreement of both sides. Where do you see this type of easy harmonious dispute resolution elsewhere in WP? Now the article appears to me to be a far more helpful article for all concerned, primarily due to this proposed process. Case in point. Scott P. (talk) 05:01, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Dude, tl;dr. If you way dial back the rhetoric and the verbosity someone might be able to respond to you. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 19:02, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Scott the ganging up is a problem, yes. But goes both ways. Take anything Syrian war or Eastern Europe and you will find ganging up in getting stuff in taking stuff out. My own experience is of POV pushing by a gang who appear politically motivated and likely to be back channelling tactics. Its happened before, they were caught then by a whistleblower and banned for periods like a year. I believe they could be back and also its very possible some sock puppets have been missed from that time and are now seen as established editors. Also legit accounts can be accessed remotely by programs like Team viewer, allowing one editor to engage mulilple accounts by agreement with other gang members. Essentially meat puppets. Why do I say these things? Because the coordination of responses is too suspicious. I am not the first to notice this, there have been numerous ANI on and around it. Admins are not capable, from my experience, of dealing with this problem.
As for giving out an email. They can be created and thrown away very easily so security is not an issue. Content of email conversations is however another issue. I have nothing to hide, and am happy to discuss this topic transparently anywhere with other editors. SaintAviator 03:45, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Offer now accepted

As noted above, at the end of the "Proposed solution" section, a fellow Wikipedian has now kindly offered to be a part of this small experiment, of attempting to have an "Simulated_email_discussion_body open-simulated-email-discussion" with me here on Wikipedia. I sincerely thank each one of you who put up with my intentional cantankerousness here, without trying to ban me. In my humble opinion, just the fact that you didn't make this maneuver speaks volumes of the integrity of each of you. Because you didn't do this, it tells me that you probably did (at least on a procedural level) actually listen to what I had to say, and you probably did sense that there may be at least some small grain of truth to it, so perhaps you had best just let me "rant" and maybe not send me off to the "brig" (just yet.) My hat is off to each one of you my friends and/ or fellow Wikifreakians.

There is hope,

Scott P. (talk) 08:51, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

And I wish to apologise if my previous reply to you seemed uncalled for. I have no objection to the development of dispute resolution tools (the ones we have needed to start somewhere). It may be the way it was proposed that was not very persuasive (your aims were far from clear). If not done already, I suggest writing an essay about it (some experimentation may be good before finishing it), then if still considered promising, to present the project by linking to the essay on relevant noticeboards (and maybe here, it will likely be taken more seriously). It may also be good for it to not ignore existing WP:3O, WP:RfC and WP:Mediation to persuasively demonstrate why it may sometimes be more appropriate... — PaleoNeonate — 11:55, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the good advice and the good will. As noted above, I do believe that simply the fact that nobody did an ANI on me is proof enough of everyone's good faith intentions here. Yes, this little "experiment" actually only occurred to me yesterday, in the process of this discussion here. I had never actually ever considered anything like it before, until Sphil suggested there might be a way to carry on our conversation on a special dedicated talk page. If it goes well, we will have to move it to a project page and such for sure.
Scott P. (talk) 12:30, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Good luck with it Scott. You're bypassing open channels to defuse personal tension by one on one as a means to reduce conflict. Its a time honoured valid tool, broadly personal mediation, that could be effective in WP. Maybe do a paper on it for your talk page. SaintAviator 22:11, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your efforts here Scott, please let me know how you get on with this email thing. This egb concept of yours helps explain a lot about Wikipedia. If you want a less vulgar synonym I suggest "editorial freight train" (cf wiktionary "train" #11). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rex Iudaeorum (talkcontribs) 14:57, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
For some strange,reason, I have seemed to find that people tend to respond more positively to subtlety, than to pies in their faces. Am still trying to figure out why? Excellent suggestion. Al-karbali (talk) 16:40, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
EFT, an acronym search says Emotional Freedom Technique. Interesting. I like. Al-karbali (talk) 16:47, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Lacks context up-front

So currently the beginning of the page is like

"Welcome to my talk page. Please sign and date your entries by inserting ~~~~ at the end.
Start a new talk topic.
Jimbo welcomes your comments and updates.
He holds the founder's seat on the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees.

So it does get around to introducing Jimbo, but only after some boilerplate messages that apply to any talk page. Also it jumps from first person to third person, and says something which sounds important but has no clear relevance to this page.

So I was thinking instead, Jimbo might want to say hi and introduce himself at the top of the page, along the lines of 'Hi I'm Jimbo, I'm the founder (and kinda the "boss") of Wikipedia, please leave a message after the beep. "

But he's a smart guy, and presumably has plenty of time on his hands, so he must have thought of this before and decided it was a bad idea. Siuenti (씨유엔티) 07:38, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Siuenti This is a "User talk" page, Jimbo's userpage is over there, that's where his "introduction" is. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:14, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Siuenti And it doesn't say he's "kinda the boss" because he's not.--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:03, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Being a chair isn't like being a boss? Siuenti (씨유엔티) 01:49, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
No. A CEO (which we do not have) is a boss. An Executive Director is sort of a boss, although my guess is Katherine might be uncomfortable with the term.--S Philbrick(Talk) 12:56, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Well he's not just a regular Wikipedian unless I'm very much mistaken, he has some kind of privileged position. Siuenti (씨유엔티) 23:26, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
well, it's complicated.probably best to see WP:JIMBO for a better explanation than i can rightly give. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 03:50, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Alternatively we could finesse this complicated issue by saying 'kinda the "boss"', putting "boss" in quotes and linking it to something funny. Siuenti (씨유엔티) 04:27, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
@Bishzilla: only true boss of wikipedia. benevolent dinosaur. give pocketings upon request very nice accomodations -- Aunva6talk - contribs 04:34, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
I hope Bishzilla will stick to the topic at hand, which is how to contextualize Jimbo's talk page. Siuenti (씨유엔티) 07:55, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Siuenti, the "context" of any user talk page is the corresponding user page. There is really nothing to discuss, just read User:Jimbo Wales and move on. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 20:17, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

─────────────────────────In the narrow sense @Siuenti: has made some mistakes with his suggestions, but in the larger sense he is correct. Every talk page needs a bit of sprucing up now and then. I'll quote Jimbo's user page (which is not necessarily Jimbo's own words) and suggest that it applies here as well:

You can edit this page!
Really, you can! If you would like to, please feel free to do so. Make an edit – or even several! After all, that's what Wikipedia is all about! I like to keep it a certain way (simple and free from anything that requires a div tag, style, or template), but the thing is, I trust you. Yes, really, I do! I trust that you will add something here that makes me really smile or that informs me or many others. But please, do not vandalize because it won't make the world any better, and you know that too, so please don't. Thank you for keeping Wikipedia clean.

Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:33, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Are we now a Yellow Pages for U.K. Realty?

Jimbo, are we now hosting a yellow pages of the biggest developers, realtors and other realty services in the U.K. with this template: Template:Real_estate_in_the_United_Kingdom. --David Tornheim (talk) 23:39, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict) I posed the same question here: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Are_we_now_a_Yellow_Pages_for_U.K._Realty.3F --David Tornheim (talk) 23:52, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Huh? There's a similar template for the main players in virtually every industry, from {{Ginger ales}} to {{Steel industry of India}}, on the perfectly sensible grounds that someone interested in one company is quite likely to be interested in other similar companies. (The UK property market is one of the most significant service industries in the world, with an annual turnover in the hundreds of billions, and these are some of the highest-profile companies in Europe—I very much doubt their marketing departments care about the additional exposure of a couple of hundred extra Wikipedia pageviews.) ‑ Iridescent 23:46, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
So, then will we soon be adding {{attorney}}, {{barrister}} and {{solicitor}} naming each and every attorney on Wikipedia to the category {{law}} so that each of our law articles has this complete list; {{physicist}} listing every single physicist with an article to the category [[physics]] and all articles related to physics; and the same for {{realtor}}, {{dentist}}, {{doctor}}, {{professor}}, {{chemist}}, {{truck driver}}, {{janitor}}, etc. to every template that is related to these professions? Like I said, seems like we will be turning our categories into yellow pages. --David Tornheim (talk) 00:40, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
That's a perfectly formed slippery slope fallacy. Every article needs to meet our notability threshold. So, no, we won't be adding every entity of a particular industry type, but why wouldn't we add relevant articles to relevant categories at the lowest level? Stephen —Preceding undated comment added 03:08, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Please re-read my statement: every attorney, doctor, physicist on Wikipedia...with an article. Then look at Lists of mathematicians: We have hundreds if not thousands of articles for mathematicians. --David Tornheim (talk) 17:04, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
...and why was this brought here? Why didn't you nominate it for deletion if you believe that is the right thing to do?
 — Berean Hunter (talk) 23:52, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Because the Real Estate in the U.K. is an area of law. A small sliver in the middle of the yellow pages is dedicated to that important encyclopedia content. I stumbled across this when I was reviewing Land_tenure_in_England. I was afraid I would be topic-banned from real estate law if I tried to delete the free advertising of all these companies. --David Tornheim (talk) 00:04, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Bizwiki is closer to being like Yellow Pages, where businesses can emphasize their positive aspects. CorpWatch ( has a focus on the negative aspects of businesses. Wikipedia aims for a balanced presentation of both positive and negative aspects, to the extent that they exist.
Wavelength (talk) 00:44, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
  • These templates are a good way to keep these companies from being WP:Orphans. Trying to keep this stuff off Wikipedia is kind of like trying to keep spam from entering your inbox. wbm1058 (talk) 01:49, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
David Tornheim (talk · contribs) is perfectly correct saying that the UK Real estate template shows a widespread tendency for "yellow pages" advertising on Wikipedia. For example there is one firm in the template Targetfollow that seems to have gone through a (partial?) bankruptcy. I can't find anything on that bankruptcy and how the company emerged from it. It seems to me that if we can't report on something as obviously important as that, then we shouldn't have an article on the firm. And the main reason that we can't report much on the bankruptcy, is that there doesn't seem to be much of anything about it on the web.
The same type of thing happens with many other templates, e.g. the Burger King template gives about 70 links, a slight majority being to "purely Burger King" articles such as those on their advertising campaigns (Where's Herb?, The Subservient Chicken, their products (Burger King fish sandwiches). That is a whopping amount of free advertising on Wikipedia for one company.
It's not just templates, e.g. Template:Lehigh Valley Malls, where you can find lists of this type of advertising articles. There are "lists of companies in industry X" e.g. List of companies operating nursing homes, and in categories (Category:Unbuilt buildings and structures in the United States, with 4 sub-categories and 85 articles). If anybody hadn't noticed - we've got way too much advertising in Wikipedia. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:03, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
The list articles are another easy way to pull these out of the orphan work queue. Of course it's not impossible to notice this, if you pay any attention at all to Wikipedia content. What do you expect when you don't pay for content, and you don't pay anyone to edit the content? You can delete their article, salt the page, and they still keep coming back (some of them may be paid to not take no for an answer) – you may find a fork created at an alternative title that you didn't lock down. Just as with email, without automated spam filters the unpaid volunteers will always be outgunned. Good luck convincing the WMF to develop spam filters. As a volunteer developer, it's not on my priority list. – wbm1058 (talk) 16:38, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
As a volunteer, I might be interested in working on a spam filter. I do not want Wikipedia's content to be dominated by corporate, private and big money financial interests the way the mainstream media is. We must continue to push the WMF to support us in accomplishing this important goal, which is why I brought this to Jimbo Wales's attention. --David Tornheim (talk) 17:17, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
I think you have one too many "nots" in the bolded sentence above. I agree and will go further, paid advertising in Wikipedia is a threat to our very existence. If people know that they are going to be bombarded by advertising when the come to Wikipedia then they will stop coming to Wikipedia.
If you can come up with some sort of spam filter, please do. Or perhaps just something simple like a bot that will give an "advertising score" to a selected article. It shouldn't be that hard: PR folks have a very special vocabulary. I suppose that vocab is necessary - how to lie without violating false advertising laws. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:20, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I fixed the knot of nots [33]; your observation was not for naught. --David Tornheim (talk) 02:25, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
We have something resembling a crude spam filter in userspace, see Special:Abusefilter/354 (edit filter manager + admins only), with about a 50% delete on sight rate. I'm not sure how this will perform in mainspace, some of the terms appear legitimately in non-spam articles. MER-C 02:31, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@MER-C: Yes. We seem to be on the same page (please take a look at my comments below). I think something like that could be helped, but I hope it would not immediately block the work, but simply identify it as needing review for puffery (or as an attack page), and sending it immediately to a board like WP:AfD for wide review. Do we have any place where articles get reviewed because of filter triggers other than clear vandalism? I might be interested in working in such a place.--David Tornheim (talk) 02:42, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @Smallbones: Sounds like a good plan. The code for the edit-filter that detects swearing type vandalism might be a good starting place. Review and analysis of articles that have been deleted for puffery would help in looking for language patterns that a bot could detect, rather than simply searching for specific words. A similar filter could be used to detect attack pages. Unfortunately, the deleted pages are inaccessible. It would be nice if someone who worked at hotmail, gmail, etc. on spam filters who knows the latest techniques could share their expertise. There might even be scholarly articles on the subject in a Computer Science Journals. It's a slightly different task for us, of course, in that email spam detection tools I have encountered tend of focus first on the email address names and extensions, but the techniques should be similar. Will take note of post right above in just a sec. --David Tornheim (talk) 02:38, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
David, thanks for the interest. I can add all the encouragement that you need, but my bot skills are nil. But please, go for it. I'll add one further method and ping @Halfak (WMF):. He uses AI and does things like the article/revision scoring system ORES. It is great stuff. I'm sure he could do something like the following (huge caveat at the end):
  • Organize a scoring session where human volunteers score hundreds of articles as "advertising/abusive" or "not"
  • Use his AI skills to predict how humans will score articles out of the sample
  • Do this on thousands of articles, and publish the scores, or just let individuals do it for whatever articles they wish
  • Caveats, he always says that his skills are in high demand at the WMF (they are) and that he has limited time (I'm sure that's also correct), plus I have a very limited idea of AI and can only really say that the above is what he's done for general article scoring.
I think that a limited purpose, grind-it-out bot would be a wonderful tools to start with, and an AI scoring system would be amazing. Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:47, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Smallbones: Yes. AI would work for that. I took an AI class a long time ago, and also worked with neural nets. A neural net could be optimized/programmed to produce scores that are very close to what humans have marked as puffery on a specific set of articles (as inputs) and the score is the output [like a function with a domain; y = f(x), where x is an article's wiki-text and y=the score for puffery]. The challenge is to get it to make the right prediction from articles that it has not seen yet. With the speed and memory of computers today, that task should be a lot easier now that when I was playing with them! So what do you think about moving the discussion somewhere (as mentioned in comment below)? --David Tornheim (talk) 05:24, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Can we copy or move this discussion somewhere appropriate to start work on this project. I'm glad there is interest in it. Possibly at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)? I think we also need to check to make sure no one has proposed this before, or if some limited version of what we seek to do already exists but needs to be improved. I'm not all that familiar where discussion goes about proposed bots, filters, categories, templates, etc. Maybe there is a better place to discuss it...--David Tornheim (talk) 02:48, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@David Tornheim: please go ahead and list it wherever you think is best. I've never been one to use the Village Pump much, but that seems as good a place as any. You should probably start over with a summary of this section and link to here. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:10, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Okay. Sounds like a plan. --David Tornheim (talk) 16:24, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Am I the only one who is somewhat shocked by the argument that list articles and templates are used to avoid articles being orphans? --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:55, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

I believe that 999 out of 1000 editors know this. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:45, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
It is however a prime example of WP:SPAMHOLE. We have many articles that have no relevance to other articles, and which are basically orphans, but just not in a technical sense. 'No kiddo, you're not an orphan anymore, you're in an orphanage!' We could just as well say that articles that are categorised are not orphans anymore. We've slipped down the slope a lot already. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:46, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I see - you were shocked in the same way Capt. Renaud was shocked, shocked that there was gambling going on at Rick's Cafe Americain. I'd never seen WP:SPAMHOLE before and the timeline looks about right. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:18, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
No, not exactly. But whatever. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:56, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

In the meantime, I'm willing to entertain semi-protect requests for the most frequently targeted articles, lists, category pages and templates. MER-C 02:17, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

I should add that these templates and list articles are a constant spamhole-problem. I have a handful of such on my watchlist, and some require weekly cleanup due to additions of irrelevant entries (even witnessing sockpuppet type spam pushing). An enforceable solution would be highly appreciated. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:53, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure how effective semi-protection would be. The lists tend to accrete slowly over time, and new lists can pop up to have a slightly different angle. Perhaps if all lists of companies were automatically semi-protected???? I did want to give you at least one concrete list to look at. I don't think I'm responsible for deleting this one List of foreign exchange companies. It seems to have been created by a paid/sock who got indefinitely blocked for his troubles. It gave a wonderful list of articles to check out. I'd say about 30% respectable companies, 30% fly-by-night, and 40% somewhere in-between. I saved most of it at User:Smallbones/FXstuff before I started proding the worst of the worst. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:12, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I've had some success: List of film production companies, Comparison of shopping cart software, List of marketing research firms, List of companies of Pakistan and List of blogs are my most recent protections for this reason. But yeah, most of these list articles are too low volume to justify semi-protection. MER-C 07:11, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I found a bunch more looking through real estate:
It's far worse than I realized. --David Tornheim (talk) 09:12, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Some more semi-protections: List of food companies and List of animation studios (bumped from PC1). Comparison of time-tracking software looks like it'll be next. MER-C 12:34, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
All of the members of Category:The Leading Hotels of the World templates have the same problem. I'm wondering whether the Oceana one will become David T's new favorite. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:10, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Smallbones: Wow. I see they are all part of the company Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (their website: Impressive that all that advertising promotion has gone unnoticed, that like Burger King, they have their own template(s) and category list(s). --David Tornheim (talk) 02:20, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
I did my part with the foreign exchange companies. Dealing with this on even a semi-automated basis is tedious and time-consuming. I'm happy though that you're interested in pursuing this path. I think it's a better way than trying to out people or companies and block accounts. Writing a good anti-spam-bot would be a task for someone with the talents to write the anti-vandalism bots, and you would still have the bureaucratic backlog of getting past WP:BRFA, where I've been on hold for over a month waiting for approval of what I assume will be my second set of tests by a bot whose task is considerably less complex than this would be. Good luck. wbm1058 (talk) 22:49, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I found some more:
The meta category is Template:Companies_by_industry.
I could see some utility to these lists if you are trying to remember the name of a particular significant company and want to see the other ones in some context, especially from a concern for history, such as the development of the automotive or airline industry, which would also include companies that went under, merged, etc.: e.g. Braniff, TWA or Tucker 48. Perhaps the bigger problem is that so many of the items on these lists are not really notable and they are just using these lists to advertise and promote their services, as a yellow pages. --David Tornheim (talk) 02:40, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I just noticed this discussion and I have to say that I agree with David Tornheim in all respects. Coretheapple (talk) 12:39, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Coretheapple. I found yet another set of corporate templates: Template:Subsidiaries_of_Norwegian_Cruise_Line, Template:Norwegian_Cruise_Line, etc. And Boeing's has even more entries: Template:Boeing, Template:Boeing_model_numbers and Template:Boeing_airliners; however, with the last two for Boeing, most of these entries are historical and interesting and encyclopedic IMHO compared to a bunch of individual cruise ships from the last 20 or so years. --David Tornheim (talk) 11:10, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Your "Detroit vs. Everybody" edit

Hi Jimmy, I checked out the article history at Detroit vs. Everybody and discovered that the puffery you removed there was added by SouthpawThroner. I reverted their other edits to the article and left a message on their talk page about them. Graham87 10:05, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks. I thought the genre inclusion was fine, but I see that I overlooked the removal of 2 credits!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:43, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

"What I Learned When a Wikipedia Troll Deleted My Page"

Amy Osmond Cook wrote an article in Entrepreneur (magazine) entitled What I Learned When a Wikipedia Troll Deleted My Page. In it she recommends

  • 1. Hire a Wikipedia editor.
  • 2. After you hire a Wikipedia editor, don’t tell anyone. Anyone.
  • 4. Don't post that you have paid someone to write your page. (which cites WP:Paid!)
  • 5. Don’t be a “sockpuppet” or a “meatpuppet.” (where she describes how she meatpuppeted and then concludes "If I were to do it again, I would hire established Wikipedia editors to review and comment on my page," i.e. that next time she'll used paid meatpuppets.

May I suggest permanently salting the article Amy Osmond Cook?

We should also community ban her and the employees of her company until she discloses which paid editors she has worked with (per ToU).

Note that her business is marketing and PR, mostly on social media, mostly providing content (e.g. articles) for the type of folks who would like articles on their small businesses on Wikipedia.

We also need to let Entrepreneur (magazine) and its readers know that her advice is totally contrary to our rules. I'd like to hear how editors think this could best be done. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:34, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia needs rules but we cannot become the internet's analogue of Kim's North Korea. Count Iblis (talk) 19:14, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
(Polite version) Don't dare to compare editors who want to remove ads from Wikipedia to North Korea. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:23, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Count Iblis. Let's combat paid editing done incorrectly, but this is not part of the solution.--S Philbrick(Talk) 19:26, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
If you are agreeing with Iblis's North Korea comment you are just engaging in insults. If you are saying that there is no way to let people know that we have rules that will be enforced, then you are just dead wrong. Let's hear what you would do to let the folks who read Cook's article know that it is telling them to violate Wikipedia's rules. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:13, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
No, agreement with the central point made by Count Iblis does not constitute an insult. Declaring that we should not have an article about a person, ignoring all our guidelines covering inclusion, simply because you don't like what she says is so wrong, I'm stunned you would even support it.--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:36, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
The central point of Iblis was obviously not the 3 words "Wikipedia needs rules". The only thing that's left is his comparing folks who want to stop paid advertising on Wikipedia (including me) to North Korea. I consider that worse than comparing me to Nazis. And tarring many other people with that brush makes it even worse. Both of you should apologize.
"simply because you don't like what she says" She is telling people to break our Terms of Use and put undeclared paid editing into our articles. She is in a closely related business to paid editors (social media PR and advertising) and essentially says she is going to continue hiring paid editors, including for "her" article. Why wouldn't we salt "her" article and ban her and her company from editing?
And you are avoiding my question to you "How can we best inform the readers of her article that her advice is totally contrary to our rules." Or do you think the question is just irrelevant? Smallbones(smalltalk) 23:01, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
There is a difference between not responding to a question and "avoiding " it. I had not read the article until now, so I wasn't about to answer a question before reading the article. Now having read it, I am stunned at how uninformed she is. (And that's a low bar, as many writers are woefully misinformed). I think it is worth debating how best to respond, but this thread is the wrong thread. IMO, you poisoned it with some of the worst advice I've ever read here. I can now see why you over-reacted, but still, you over-reacted. Perhaps wait a few days, and ask again in a more neutral way?--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:26, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Fans of unintended irony will note her lamenting the fact that "special interest and ecommerce rule" Wikipedia. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 20:21, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

  • Boris, this is why we pay you the big rubles. Thank you. Drmies (talk) 01:43, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Sock case.
     — Berean Hunter (talk) 21:12, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I added a link to the AfD at the top of the page. I read the Entrepreneur posting she wrote. That is the opposite of a gracious response to everything, by her. Jytdog (talk) 00:11, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Smallbones, you may suggest that, but I see no reason to salt the article if it's to be done out of spite. Same with a ban. Drmies (talk) 01:44, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
    • "done out of spite"? Why are you accusing me of being spiteful? She is telling everybody to violate our rules. There's every reason to believe that she'll do it again. Salt and ban is the perfect way to prevent future violations of the ToU and WP:Paid, as well as WP:COI, meatpuppeting, article ownership ... And I do hope somebody will deign to answer my question "How can we best inform the readers of her article that her advice is totally contrary to our rules." Letting people know what our rules are is the first step in having our rules followed. Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:31, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
      • Typically an article would have been recreated several times before we would salt it. Usually 4-5 times. This article was created once and deleted once. It hasn't been recreated so there is no justification in salting. If they begin recreating it then we could revisit that.
         — Berean Hunter (talk) 03:55, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
        • Smallbones, you have been here for so long that I will not accept that you believe something as simple as "if we prevent this person from having a Wikipedia article they'll stop editing". So yeah, that must be spite. If she's notable, she should have an article. If she's not, well, then not, and if the article is being disruptively recreated, it will be salted. Calling for it to be salted on Jimbo's talk page, as if it's some kind of punishment, there is no point in that. Drmies (talk) 03:58, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
          • The entire idea is to let people know what our rules are. If folks know our rules, I believe that most people will follow them. But just saying "Oh this person is encouraging people to break our rules and there is nothing we can do about it," is just wrong. We can do lots about it. Please read User_talk:Smallbones#Thank_you and yes I mean you. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:24, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
            • Smallbones, at one point I would have thought like you did... but serving real people in medicine has changed my perspective: I don't get to treat patients different based on who is nice to me, who smells better, who flirts with me, who shares my political views... none of that. Impartiality is a virtue in medicine, and it should be in Wikipedia as well. It's not. Lots of people have grudges against things, and instead of all striving to be as impartial as possible, what we seem to end up getting is competing campaigns against this or that. Drmies is right: if she becomes notable, she should get an article, because that's how an impartial encyclopedia should work. Jclemens (talk) 04:32, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
              • Quibble: Salting does not mean she "doesn't get an article". It means that any future article will be reviewed by at least one admin while in draft/user space before being moved to article space. --NeilN talk to me 13:17, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
                • (talk page stalker) Someone tell her that she can't use the word "devoured" instead of "deleted" per WP:WEASEL? [FBDB] Patient Zerotalk 13:40, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
                  • And having "a long discussion with Wikipedia’s legal counsel" is very unlikely to go well when you're trying to force Wikipedia to host your autobiography. --NeilN talk to me 14:05, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
                    • That too, NeilN! I wasn't actually aware we had one. I thought she'd made that bit up. Patient Zerotalk 14:15, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Huh? Who said anything about draftspace/userspace? It can be created in mainspace and take its chance at AfD second time around. (talk) 13:47, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Please read WP:Salt. There are 3 levels of page protection that are used to salt articles. Semi-protection just requires that a new editor (or a new sock) requests permission from any admin to recreate the article. It might also attract scrutiny to a sleeper account that recreates the article. I wasn't aware that people thought of this as cruel and unusual punishment. It doesn't sound at all drastic to me, especially for an article about somebody who says that they've read all our rules and links to WP:Paid and then advises everybody to ignore our rules. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:20, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I expect the number of people who have read this and watchlisted the red=link means it's not going to exist any time soon - unless, of course, she becomes more notable. Which is as it should be. Pre-emptive salting, though? No, we don't do that. Black Kite (talk) 14:54, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Great idea! I didn't know that you could watchlist a red link. People should try it if they haven't done it before. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:20, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Smallbones, I feel your anger and frustration. This event, imo, is 1 more example of how the mere existence and metastasizing of paid editing within Wikipedia is the disease. I realize the matter of paid editing here has been talked to death with no concrete attack on the disease, but that does not mean we can continue to allow it. We have to take drastic action. Now I'm going to use an analogy which is always risky but I think it is a good one. Uber...please let me explain. It does not matter for the purpose of this analogy whether I or any of us like or want or use Uber, what matters is looking at the historical and current ways in which Uber has grown, and/or been accepted, and/or been prohibited and/or been effectively killed off. To start with, there really are many countries and jurisdictions which have killed off Uber or made life so difficult for it that Uber has pulled out of its own accord. But in order to get this done, those jurisdictions have resorted to extremely creative and or drastic approaches, like legislating sensors within Uber cars to detect the number of passengers as just 1 example. I remember 50 years ago we had what were called "bandit taxis" in Toronto. It was a crime and was considered so serious that the car being used could be seized and sold off at public auction. Then, and I don't need to tell you how powerful and competent Uber's legal and corporate team are, Uber has been able to largely break the existing rules, attract huge public support, and pressure jurisdictions into accepting their presence. But, my point is, when there has been sufficient alarm, creativity and determination, they have been stopped. So, imo, we have to get much more determined to attack and kill off any and all paid editing here. Nocturnalnow (talk) 15:33, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Because, make no mistake about it, paid editing is an existential threat to Wikipedia, it threatens our existence. Nocturnalnow (talk) 15:43, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not angry at Amy Osmond Cook but I do feel some frustration when admins and an arb come here when asked "How can we best inform people that her advice is against our rules?" and all they can do is pretend that salting an article is cruel and unusual punishment. I did get angry being compared to a North Korean official, and if I over-reacted to that I apologize. But I've actually had experience with North Korean students, e.g. in the FSU, and what their government does is unspeakable.
So creative is great - there are a million ways to let Cook's readers know our rules. I don't think "drastic" is necessary, though surprising or unexpected might be usefull. So let's hear some ideas folks. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:20, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
If you had cited the article and started with "How can we best inform people that her advice is against our rules?" you might have opened up a fruitful discussion. Instead, you opened with May I suggest permanently salting the article Amy Osmond Cook? I don't think it has sunk in how odious that proposal is. While NeilN correctly notes that salting "merely" means it takes an admin to allow the article, you didn't propose salting you proposed permanently salting, a concept that doesn't exist, but anyone with a brain knows what you intend. You were upset it was analogized to North Korea - I would not have chosen that analogy, but Soviet airbrushing did spring to mind, and we must resist with every fiber of our being even the suggestion that someone who says mean things about Wikipedia should be excluded from it. I fervently hope that you didn't mean that, but you haven't taken it back. As I suggested above, the question is worth debating, but I think it would be worth dropping for a few days, and trying again in more measured tones.--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:43, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
She definitely did say some nasty things about Wikipedia, e.g. "The real rules of the game are hidden, political, and bizarre." I'm not mad about that. In fact I think it is correct. It would be nice if we could have a simple discussion about how we actually can respond in an open, apolitical, simple way to somebody who not only violates our paid editing and meatpuppeting rules, but acknowledges it off-Wiki, and encourages everybody else to do the same. I do not think it's appropriate to say that I'm being "odious" for suggesting salting the article on this person, rather the only appropriate response is to discuss what steps we should take to let people know that her advice is totally against our rules. One nasty thing she said is that one or more of our editors who deleted the article are "trolls". Presumably she is referring to @DGG: who listed the article for deletion. DGG has likely gotten over this, I'd guess he's been called worse, but her almost random striking out is indeed odious. A bit more - articles apparently written by her or her company have been deleted including Osmond Marketing, and 2 likely clients Ryan Westwood, and Amada Senior Care. Ryan Westwood was written by a related editor, deleted twice (the first time as part of the Orange Moody scandal). Amada Senior Care appears to be a regular client, the same related editor was also involved. She's been practicing what she preaches. Responding to this is not unWikipedian, but refusing to recognize her actions as a problem is. Let's just get started. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:45, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
As I read the article, I was reminded of the concept of fisking which used to be common, but I haven't seen recently. That may be cathartic for you or I, and less useful as part of a serious dialog, but as I read her article, I literally wondered if there were a sentence without a glaring error in it. There probably is, but it is replete with errors.
She does seem to love the word "troll" and throws it around with abandon. DGG is a target, as is Ymblanter. Anyone who knows either editor would be gobsmacked to hear them called Trolls. I am sure it will roll off their backs, and she undoubtedly has no clue how far off base she is, which all by itself, eviscerates her credibility. How can you take anyone seriously who refers to DGG as a troll? Only the fact that she has an audience is reason not to simply dismiss her.
To summarize, you said let's get started. My proposed first step is a separate page identifying each and every error of fact.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:14, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

I do not support any punitive measures against potential BLP subjects, regardless of whether or not site policies have been broken. Mr Ernie (talk) 19:12, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

(EC) I don't see why punitive measures cannot be considered. To respond to Smallbones' question, here are three consequences I suggest:

  • 1. I find the Entrepreneur article to be kind of breezy and amusing at first, but then the author explains what is against terms of use and advocates doing it anyhow. This is unethical, and she seems proud of it. It does not come across as funny or well-written, it seems like just hack work. I personally think it is reasonable to assume that the author operates unethically in other arenas, i.e. I rather assume that they cheats on their taxes and rips off clients when they can; sorry, that's my personal view, and I am not suggesting I have any real knowledge that they do, and this does not constitute slander. It simply is embarrassing to see what they wrote, and I expect that many potential clients will see that, and will choose to avoid them. Potential clients who themselves tend to cheat where they can, may appreciate her dishonesty, and engage, and then accidentally on purpose fail to pay their bill, which maybe would serve the author right.
  • 2. The publisher is Entrepreneur (magazine), right? The publisher is unethical for printing that. Probably, maybe, they would see their way to publishing a retraction/apology, if they were called on the carpet for it. Perhaps a well-written letter to the editor (do they publish letters to the editor?) with some balance of humor/sarcasm and actually-useful information for their readers would get published. I am sure that ethics matter in business, and I rather expect that Entrepreneur is sometimes pointing out to entrepreneurs that ethical shortcuts have consequences (like that no investor will ever trust you, when they see you cheating others). Any business owner who is seeking to get coverage in Wikipedia should consider the message they send to their employees and customers, that for this they will lie and cheat, yet they don't want the employees and customers to cheat them. It would be fine if Wikipedia's legal counsel or the community director(s) mentioned in the articles would be the ones to speak up in this way. It would be very appropriate for the community director to speak up and say their words were twisted if they were; they would have standing. And that could both educate Entrepreneur's readers and impose some consequence upon the author (that their work is trashed/retracted).
  • 3. The article itself suggests a consequence that can be used. It discusses a service called "Upwork" and discusses finding honest (but of course dishonest) paid writers there, and goes on "When you are ready to reach out, post the job with a dummy account that does not reveal your real name. Even if you reach out in a private message, any editor can see the job board once it has been posted. This is important because some Wikipedia trolls routinely look for work on Upwork; and, if they don’t get the job, they find the page that another editor wrote and take it down out of spite." Okay, so run a sting-like operation. This can be done by any volunteer Wikipedian, who could be rewarded by barnstars and the like. Or it would be appropriate to give out grant funds to pay editors to do this, on general principle that the work done is protecting the quality of the volunteer editing experience for others. Write a grant proposal. In the sting operation, you create multiple paid writer identities, and do trolling for real. Seek to get those private messages. Seek to get hired. Then burn those seeking to cheat. Impose costs into that economic system. Certainly put all the suggested redlinks onto your watchlist, and as part of the grant or whatever, continue to watch them forever, and see to deletion of future efforts (assuming that real notability is not obvious...I agree with SPhilbrick's point somewhat). I believe the way that paid editing works is that if an article gets taken down, the paid author doesn't get paid, or has to refund part or all of their fees. Impose costs on them, that they will perform work and then eventually have to forfeit fees. It will be a continuous cat-and-mouse game with "Upwork" and other services, to figure out what are the violaters' strategies and to impose costs upon them.
Hmm, those are my off-hand thoughts, along the lines of being vindictive. I feel a bit dirty from taking this line, and I am not completely sure of my own moral stance on this. Is it unethical to try to impose financial damage on real persons? Is it somehow wrong for the Foundation to provide grant funds for such purposes? Is it wrong for me to cast judgment on the article author? I could perhaps be swayed by others views on this. However, I certainly am not recommending anything illegal, and I don't think that anything I am writing here constitutes slander. And offhand, I think it is allowable and even morally sensible/good to take negative actions against others, within the law. That's what we pay police, and criminal prosecutors, etc., to do. Hmm, what if trolling "Upwork" is against that service's terms of use. That's quite likely, and I am not sure what is ethically okay to do there, then, but I would explore what can be done along those lines. --doncram 19:37, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
(EC)Thanks for coming up with some methods of addressing the actual problem.
I personally wouldn't suggest 3) we've had a heck of a time just to be able to link to these sites in very limited circumstances, without us getting banned here for harassment.
I'd also forget about "punitive" and concentrate on "preventative." Certainly any preventative action we take can be seen as having some punitive content (see above for some such reactions). But the more we concentrate on preventative, such as getting the word out that we actually have rules that we enforce, the better.
The letter to the editor idea is great. I'd mostly play it straight, but some humor might be useful, e.g. we might ask the magazine how they would react if someone without permission placed an advert in their magazine. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:01, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Okay, good, can you run with the letter idea. This could be highly appropriate for User:Jimbo Wales to write. Certainly the persons mentioned in the article should be contacted, to find out if/how their comments were twisted (Wikipedia’s legal counsel, the media director, and the author "exchanged long emails one of the fifteen corporate community directors", so certainly contact all of them.
However, why not be punitive. Punitive is needed. I think it is nice that you shrink from that, and it is nice that User:Mr Ernie and most other readers here find it a bit abhorrent. That's because you're nice people, and voluntarily contribute to Wikipedia. The world of law enforcement, and the real ethics of sting operations etc., are not your world. You and me probably think that it is wrong for police to lie, ever, and we tend to dislike anything that sounds like it was entrapment. In the U.S., law enforcement against prostitution includes sting operations, where undercover cops pose as prostitutes and bust "johns", and there are undercover drug law enforcement operations where agents lie and violate lots of local laws and norms except probably usually not performing actual murders to prove themselves, and you and I don't really grok how those things can be allowed. Although I am not familiar with that world myself, I am sure there is ethical lying and misrepresentation going on, that is ethical and appropriate. It's not right for nice regular Wikipedia volunteers to have to engage in that kind of stuff. It is highly appropriate for the Foundation, IMO, to fund grants to competent professional ethical law enforcement contractors and to hire people directly to engage in protecting the franchise, protecting the nice volunteers and the mission of serving readers. --doncram 20:28, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Let me get this straight - because the author of this piece had some struggles with her biography and wasn't happy with the events that followed, you believe that she might cheat on her taxes or rip her clients off? Sorry, but this is disgusting. Mr Ernie (talk) 20:12, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Right, I absolutely do think that. I could have been entertained and amused and approving of their sarcasm about Wikipedia hypocrisy and bureaucracy and so on. But they did not write a high quality piece that conveys that. Their work looks like it is paid work...they perceive what they think the audience wants to hear (give them permission to cheat) and they write that. Who the hell are they to give permission. I don't know if I believe that is really their view; they are acting like people i have known who believe they are paid to lie, and they do lie, when it would be better for them to actually sort through some ethics and come to a principled position. And right, I do suspect that a person shamelessly advocating cheating in one way is very likely to cheat in other ways. --doncram 20:28, 8 May 2017 (UTC) doncram 20:45, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Having thought about this a little longer, I think it is quite interesting to see the direction of discussion. The author had an issue with Wikipedia, spent some time reading policies and interviewing people, and uncovered some very real flaws in the Wikipedia processes. Now, instead of trying to work with this person and improve the project, the response is to try to bring them here and publicly humiliate them. Note that User:Smallbones has also tried to follow this formula with Corey Stewart (politician) and the Burger King Whopper incident - btw did you ever receive a response to your "demands?" To me, these actions run contrary to the collaborative nature of our project. Mr Ernie (talk) 20:10, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

I agree to some extent with your statement "The author had an issue with Wikipedia, spent some time reading policies and interviewing people, and uncovered some very real flaws in the Wikipedia processes." I'm sure we've all read an article about Wikipedia and smiled at the lack of knowledge of the author. This isn't quite in that same mold. The author claims to have done a fair amount of research, yet makes error after error after error. If it were merely full of multiple errors, that would beg for education rather than humiliation, but it goes well beyond that. Some of her claims are "merely" over the top (she claims to have read every single rule in Wikipedia) but she's doesn't simply identify flaws, she actively promotes violation of our rules. She isn't simply advising people how to get around a bit of a bureaucracy, she is actively promoting an approach which would undermine what we stand for. If she's interested in education, I'd say reach out but I'd like to see some signs that she identifies flaws in our processes and wants them improved as opposed to subverted.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:45, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Fraud: "an act of deceiving or misrepresenting". Facebook recently hired 3,000 people to combat fake news. I think WMF should use some of their millions to hire some people to identify and combat undeclared paid editing activities and enterprises as well as respond to articles such as the one in question. We need a "fraud department". Nocturnalnow (talk) 23:18, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Quibble - "Fraud" is often used in a legal sense meaning "theft by deception" Just deceiving somebody is not legally fraud - did I tell you that I won both a Pulitzer and a Nobel and really am a lawyer? But, of course, legal definitions have lots of ifs, ands and buts. Borrowing from [34]
"Fraud must be proved by showing that the defendant's actions involved five separate elements: (1) a false statement of a material fact,(2) knowledge on the part of the defendant that the statement is untrue, (3) intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim, (4) justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and (5) injury to the alleged victim as a result. Note that "lying by omission" can be considered to be a "false statement" in some cases, e.g. "Sorry I forget to tell you that the house I sold you is built on a toxic waste dump."
If the "lying by omission" applies here - and declaring that you are a paid editor is required by the ToU - then all 5 elements are there as shown in the Entrepreneur article and the fact that "her"article lasted 6 months, for point 4. (No I'm not really a lawyer). Note that I do think it is important for several reasons to ask somebody that you suspect of being an undeclared paid editor if he is. 1st he might be able to explain why you're mistaken, 2nd, it's no longer "lying by omission" if an undeclared paid editor states that he isn't one, it's just plain lying. 3rd he might re-examine his actions at that point. ....
Some people seem to not understand the "theft" part "(5) injury to the alleged victim as a result." The use of a webpage (for advertising or otherwise) is property, owned by the WMF in this case. If Osmond Marketing really, really wanted to use a page for an ad, then they could contact the owner (the WMF) and arrange to pay for its use. Just because the owner doesn't want to sell doesn't make it any less "property." It also injures our reputation and can injure our readers e.g. in the Banc De Binary case.
So was AOC committing fraud? Morally, I don't have any doubt about it. Legally, we can leave that up to a real lawyer. Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:41, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Ernie. It's not a bad read, and I sense some anger that she "spilled some beans". Like it or not, I think she paints a reasonable picture of the current "system". It's up to the editors or the Foundation to change it, if we don't like the system. Sure, she uses the word troll a lot. It's a negative word, but just think of it referring to "the people who are controlling the content". I'm not seeing the blatant "errors" in the article, other than minor things like not getting someone's precise job title. wbm1058 (talk) 00:42, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

She said the editors "violated every rule in the book (and I know because I read them all)". Let's AGF a little hyperbole and assume she overstated by a factor of 100. Can you name five rules the editors violated?--S Philbrick(Talk) 02:29, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Right, that's hyperbole, and she didn't define what she meant by the "book". The "rulebook" could be every rule in Wikipedia: project space, or it could be just one policy or guideline page. Even so, there isn't much detail to back up the claim. Where she was specific, she just said, "the others basically just voted"; that would be WP:Not a vote, or the Wikipedia:Consensus policy: Consensus on Wikipedia does not mean unanimity...; nor is it the result of a vote. Decision-making involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns... obviously her opinion is that insufficient effort was made to incorporate her (legitimate) concerns. So yes, "every rule in the book" is an over-the-top claim that isn't backed up. On the other hand, she didn't claim any specific policy violations that didn't actually happen, as far as I see. wbm1058 (talk) 16:37, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Convenience break

While I know our legal counsel, she claimed she communicated with "the media director" and "one of the fifteen corporate community directors". I don't recognize the titles. Can someone tell me who she means? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sphilbrick (talkcontribs) 20:26, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Your guess is probably as good as mine, but here is the current staff page. Probably someone from Community Engagement and someone from Communications? wbm1058 (talk) 00:07, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
I suspect she means that she contacted someone (or a couple of someones) with some degree of authority at en:wp, then either forgot or took a little creative license as to the details. One might have been an arb -- aren't there 15 of them when we have a full complement? Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:58, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Sure, a member of the Arbitration Committee sounds like a good possibility. Makes sense that she would want to talk to someone at the top of the command pyramid that actually controls the content, as everyone she talked to at WMF said, "we don't". I think it's actually nice of her to be vague and not name names so as not to bring undue attention to someone in a negative light. wbm1058 (talk) 16:16, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Target freelancing sites

As this article points out, it's incredibly easy to find freelancers on Upwork to create articles for pay and hide who the client is. In many cases, even if we can find out who a client is from the ad, the freelancers are sophisticated enough to avoid being CUd e.g. Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Mareenchee. Unfortunately finding undisclosed paid editors is a cat and mouse game and we are losing the fight against the most experienced UPEs such as User:Morning277. While there are a few exceptions, the vast majority of freelancers are creating promotional articles on non-notable subjects, generally using throwaway accounts. We can chase them here, but a longer-term solution has to be to target the sites where this originates i.e. Fiverr, Upwork and The jobs are a tiny part of their sites and yet are a considerable source of spam on here. Presumably being associated with spamming us is not good PR for them and we should leverage this to our advantage. I've had some success at getting ads by freelancers removed from Peopleperhour after contacting one of the CEOs. I've reported users on Upwork who are blocked here to them and they informed me that they will ban users who break other site's ToUs, but frustratingly they were unable to understand the evidence I provided linking accounts here and there. This is really something where WMF could flex their muscles and at least encourage the sites to either completely prohibit WP editing jobs, or require that users on their sites disclose their WP username and only use one account. SmartSE (talk) 12:57, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

I agree. The WMF should be taking action on issues like this, and not relying on (or even letting in the first place) editors to propose punitive headers for article subjects who broke the rules or to send them a list of "demands." Frankly the inaction by the WMF on this issue is surprising. Mr Ernie (talk) 16:04, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not exactly sure what you are accusing me of, but the header of main section here is just the the title of the article in Entrepreneur. If you can find some rule that prevents me from doing that, please just list it below. It strikes me that you might be proposing that folks who recommend to their readers in an off-Wiki site that they break Wikipedia's rules and ToU must be left completely unanswered off-Wiki, but that Wikipedia editors who want Wikipedia's rules to be followed may not post anything about that off-Wiki. A complete double standard. Or are you trying to censor me on Jimbo's talk page? If so, just ask Jimmy to request that I not post on this subject on his talk page. I will follow his wishes on the matter. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:23, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
User:Smallbones I appreciate your passion and how you are acting in what you feel is the best interest of the project, but I don't necessarily agree with editors doing things like contacting magazines or employers and or making demands or whatever. This must come from the WMF, which has the resources and legal knowledge to (hopefully) do it in the right way. Of course this is my personal opinion, and I appreciate that you have a different one. Let me try to communicate a little better and perhaps not be so hyperbolic. I have no desire to censor you on Jimbo's talk page, and actually I wish you would strike that because it seems to be completely uncalled for - can you let me know what looks like an attempt to censor you so I can refactor? Mr Ernie (talk) 22:09, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Summarizing your first comment in this subsection 'The WMF should ... not ... even (be) letting in ... editors to propose punitive headers for article subjects who broke the rules or to send them a list of "demands." " and from the comment just above
"I don't necessarily agree with editors doing things like contacting magazines or employers and or making demands or whatever."
What you are say, somewhat politely, is "Smallbones shut up. You don't get to say these things" i.e. an attempt at censorship. If the WMF wants to handle this themselves, I'll listen to what they have to say. If there is a rule here that I've broken, let me know about it.
But if you want to tell me what I can say to people off-Wiki, or to people on Jimbo's talk page, the only answer I can give you is "mind your own business." Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:17, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
That's a gross mischaracterization of what I said, and I do not appreciate your paraphrasing of my comments. You're free to do whatever you want to do, and I'm free to have an opinion on it. You can cry censorship if you want, but it simply isn't the case. Disagreement =/ censorship. Mr Ernie (talk) 11:44, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Upwork isn't really our primary target in this; I have a distaste for the modern practice of viewing corporate monopoly as a natural condition that should be exploited to make companies the nannies of the serfs they supervise. But even so, they may be the clients' primary target.
The first thing to understand is that the BLP subject, even a sleazy corporation, is a victim here. They get their reputation trashed in news exposes because they paid for work they usually could have convinced someone to do for free.
Once we have the victim identified, who is the criminal? Well, that's the person who puts out his shingle as a professional Wiki contractor when in fact he's a fly-by-night vandal who is defying the site's Terms of Service and leaving his clients' name in the mud when he finishes. But that's not our cause of action - it's the client's cause of action.
Now if something like this happened, a company like Upwork's position would be simple enough: as a client, you're saying you turned to them for Wiki contractors, and they gave you flim-flam men who didn't even follow the site TOS. I imagine you must have to sign away every right known to man to hire contractors on any freelancing site, but legal matters are never predictable, and there's always the court of public opinion. Even if such a dispute merely leads to an unproductive lawsuit ... the contractor probably had to sign something even worse with Upwork, which lands indemnity for any and all court costs at his doorstep.
So Upwork and other freelancing sites aren't really a target, but they are potentially a medium, but first we have to identify the right person to act, who is the subject of the article. Only by acting as an alliance can Wikipedia and a wronged article subject act together to crack down on the stealth paid editing marketplace. Wnt (talk) 16:34, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Upwork is certainly not the target, it is just a medium. But the advertiser, usually the company who initiates the advert on Upwork, which then results in an advert for the company on Wikipedia, is not the victim. Using your words, it is the "criminal." Wikipedians certainly have a cause-of-action. The companies are effectively stealing advertising on Wikipedia and degrading our reputation. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:32, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
The recommendation of using those sites deceptively is one of the most disturbing parts of the Entrepreneur article. We can shut down the deceptive use of those sites, with minimal cooperation by the sites, if we are willing to take the bull by the horns. What we need is a simple, essentially self-checking method to confirm whether proper disclosure has been made. I suggest adding to the WP:Paid policy the following:
  • Paid editors using these sites who wish to edit on Wikipedia must prominently post on their Wikipedia user pages that they bid on jobs or advertise for work on them, and post their user names there.
  • When posting on one of those sites, they must also link to their user pages here, and link to WP:Paid with a short statement saying that they will follow that policy.
    • Note that we are not dictating to anybody what they have to do on Fiver or any other off-Wiki website. We are only saying what they need to do if they want to do paid editing on Wikipedia.
Given that set-up, all Fiver would have to do to see if a UPE is breaking our policy is
  • make sure that the ad is for writing on Wikipedia
  • check if the links to the Wikipedia user page and to WP:Paid are there
  • check if the Wikipedia user page has the required positing about bidding on Fiver
That's avery simple process that doesn't require any detailed knowledge of Wikipedia policy or making any fine distinctions. A 5th grader could do it.
If a Wikipedian sees that there is an ad to write a Wikipedia article, they could send a notice to Fiver if they see that any one of the notices is missing.
Ultimately this system would make sure that everybody who uses these sites will declare, or totally close the Wikipedia business on those sites. It will also let the businesses that offer the jobs know our rules via the link to WP:Paid.
All we need is the will to put this into policy. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:36, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Really, we all just need to ignore it. Becoming more byzantine with rules isn't the way to attract volunteer editors and news stories like this only bother a small subset of editors. Jumping through a set of hoops after every article is the same as being trolled and the more particular we get, the greater the need for paid editors because eventually we become so byzantine that we exist only to serve the rules rather than the other way 'round. How can someone get so worked up about an article about paid editing (not actual paid editing) that they pay their ISP to weigh in and spend wikimedia server space while decrying that others might actually be getting money. It's apparent the real winners are the ISP and server manufacturers in this circular argument. The elephant in the room is that our rules regarding paid editing and appearance of COI create the demand for paid editors. Which is more harmful, that tiny WP article about Osmond Cook written by her or an associate with no money being paid or the rules that force people like her to seek out experienced editors? --DHeyward (talk) 03:49, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

  • I just noticed this discussion and read the Entrepreneur article. I haven't read all the comments above as they are tl;dr, but I think I get the gist. My reaction is that absolutely nothing should be done and that the deleted article should be treated like any other deleted article, not salted or anything. Look, my observation is that Wikipedia does a poor job of handling Wikipedia controversies, either going overboard or (when there are Wiki editors personally involved) soft-pedaling. I don't think this article or person should get any special treatment at this time, as she is just one person, not a corporation engaged in massive subversion of Wikipedia. It is true that she is calling for specific methods of deception to pursue a violation of the Wiki terms of service. I'll grant you that. But in my view writing a lawyer letter or whatever would just result in the Streisand effect and otherwise be counterproductive. Yes I know she runs a "company" but it looks to me like a one-person operation. Now, if this was a major PR firm counseling that, I would say "fire away." Coretheapple (talk) 14:15, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
@Coretheapple: thanks for the feedback. Actually her business has 16 employees [35], lists a dozen current clients at the bottom of the main page, some fairly large like Sea World, dozens of projects total are listed on 3 pages. So it's not huge but more like Wiki-PR. They do several different things, design websites, write content, pure PR. A theme that I'll call guerrilla marketing runs throughout their site. Looking at their blog HOW TO GET YOURSELF IN THE NEWS gives an idea of this. They want free coverage, not just in Wikipedia but in other "reliable sites" and it is an integral part of how they do things. They want the Streisand effect and I'm willing to give it to them if it results in letting businesses know our rules. Their target audience is small business, aka entrepreneurs, which also should be one of our targets as far as who needs to know about our rules.
I must say that most of the feedback from this post makes me more determined than ever to pursue this line of publicizing our rules. Most of the feedback, including that of admins and an arb, says that I'm doing something wrong in trying to let people know about our rules. They accuse me of being spiteful for even suggesting this, or violating our sacred non-salting tradition, or forcing paid editors underground, or creating the demand for paid editors, or trying to divide the community. I'll ask them to save some of their ire for the folks who are preaching for money that people should violate our rules, or else please just cut the BS.
As far as my suggestion that the deleted articles be salted, it seems appropriate for a PR agency that says (in their very last point) (paraphrase) "If you get caught, lie low for awhile before you try it again." Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:58, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Sixteen people definitely puts it in a different level of effrontery. I would just counsel caution. My concern is that responding too forcefully will just drive business to her outfit, which I assume was the point of her article in the first place. Coretheapple (talk) 16:12, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Caution, acceptance and other forms of timidity have been tried and have not worked. Its time to hire some monitors to hunt down paid editors and get them shut down. Nocturnalnow (talk) 01:56, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
This will be unsuccessful. Paid editing is permitted, so the only ones you can hunt down are those who fail to disclose. However, those who do not disclose often do so in order to prevent identification. Leading to the question as to how we identify them so that we can get them shut down. - Bilby (talk) 04:04, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Right on Bilby! Jimbo, please pay attention to this. Yes,"how we identify them so that we can get them shut down" is the question. WMF needs to hire maybe 5 of the most capable IT people in the world, perhaps some would even be from our own volunteer ranks, to design the strategy for determining:"how we identify them so that we can get them shut down". Nocturnalnow (talk) 15:28, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm with you on the objective. However, the WMF is not interested in spending their hard-taken money on addressing the problem. It doesn't help that many Wikipedia editors are dead set against doing anything, and that the only Wikipedia criticism site is a tool of paid editors. Coretheapple (talk) 15:37, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
If the WMF is not interested, maybe an editors' strike will get their interest.Nocturnalnow (talk) 03:19, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
  • The reason we have so much trouble with undisclosed paid editing is because we have a fanatical, punitive-minded 1% that singles out and attacks every known paid editor and their work. This drives the inevitable paid editing (which has always existed, which will always exist) underground instead of leaving it open for easy supervision. The ridiculousness above about "stealing free advertising" is just that, as it ignores the fact that probably half or more of paid editing is vanity work for individuals. The best paid editors pay close attention to Notability and NPOV and there is little if any problem with them. The worse of the worst don't pay attention to these things and work underground with burner sock accounts. The crazier that people are about them, the deeper these people work. If one really wants to ameliorate the negative effects of paid editing, moderation and evenhandedness is what is necessary, not the formation of a fanatical Super Explorers Club to rattle sabers they don't possess. Carrite (talk) 10:36, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
The only time that your illusory "Super Explorers Club" is problematic is when editors harass other editors to further of their own agendas. That has happened in the past and has resulted in severe consequences of the harassers. That's the only valid point I can see raised, but you didn't raise it in your boilerplate above. Coretheapple (talk) 15:50, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

The Turkish government says:

"Turkey cannot be shown as a supporter of a terror organization. They should remove the false information, and then we will allow the publications. They should also open an office and pay tax."[36] (Ahmet Arslan, 11 May 2017). This is referring to State-sponsored_terrorism#Turkey and Foreign_involvement_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War#Turkey. These sections have been checked and don't seem to have much wrong with them in accordance with Wikipedia guidelines. As for opening an office and paying tax, Turkey has also asked YouTube to do this but they are still waiting. The reality is that websites based in foreign jurisdictions are unlikely to allow their content to be dictated by other jurisdictions. Nevertheless, YouTube did allow the creation of a local Pakistani version in 2016, following the controversy over Innocence of Muslims.[37]--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:11, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Sometimes its good to be banned. Nocturnalnow (talk) 22:51, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, but its never good for the people living under it. Turkish Vikipedi has under 600,000 pages. There are major pages missing on academic topics - literature, history, etc. - things that students would traditionally use an encyclopedia to research. In countries where reliably translated materials are difficult to come by and often expensive, it's a great resource academically, but more difficult to build up under the ban. Sometimes I wish Wikipedia would stay out of news reporting/political current events entirely - but in practice its difficult to draw the line between what belongs in an encyclopedia and what might be more appropriate for a news digest service. Seraphim System (talk) 00:53, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
The people are always the ultimate authority in any country, whether they know it or not, either through their inactions or their actions. Nocturnalnow (talk) 03:48, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
This is a sad graph :( But, this is what the sovereign republic of Turkey wants so that is how it will be. Were not going to bow to their publication standards and demands. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:39, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that the people are indoctrinated, the media and even the free Western media will not tell the truth about religion, because that would offend the indoctrinated subscribers. This means that fake news will get a pass whenever it is consistent with the prevailing religion, this then keeps the population indoctrinated. Count Iblis (talk) 03:04, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Fortunately, there are always good people who will expose the indoctrination, thus the buck still stops with the people, as they have a responsibility to pay attention when people like Paul sound the alarm(pun intended). Nocturnalnow (talk) 03:58, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
@Nocturnalnow: The relationship between free speech and freedom of expression is often poorly understood, I suggest this article. It is most disingenuous to invoke western concepts of free expression to demean religious beliefs - Turkey does not have a state religion - Rumi's tomb is open to all and the dervishes still put on a good show. Seraphim System (talk) 01:15, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Seraphim System, however, I was not trying to address free speech or freedom of expression or anything to do with religion in Turkey, about which I know nothing at all. As an example, I do not even know anything about "Rumi's tomb". Nocturnalnow (talk) 14:42, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Dear Jimmy Donal Wales, I frankly hope that Republic of Macedonia will not have to apply similar measures as Turkish government did. There is unacceptable offensive page on Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia: "Janevistan" [38] with a Nazi content there. I hope that you will realize that this page have to be deleted. Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration. (talk) 22:49, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
@ There does not seem to be a discussion at that article's talk page, which would usually be where this discussion should take place. Note that I am not replying for Jimmy Wales, I am only making an additional suggestion. Thank you, — PaleoNeonate — 23:46, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
@Count Iblis: I think that you're on the wrong track where religion is concerned, and Turkey is a perfect example. Turkey's troubles and its increasingly formal return to dictatorship cannot really be blamed on the strength of "religion" given the effort earlier generations made to make it a mandatorily secular society - they did just about everything I can picture to detoxify Islam, but it turns out the true failing of Islam is not the nonsense it preaches, but the nonsense it fails to preach. And we should not really be surprised about this because atheist Russia and atheist North Korea have taken similar paths. The enlightenment we see is revealing itself to be the product of a specifically Christian culture in Western Europe that, particularly since the Reformation, has allowed people to think deeply on philosophical matters, and guided them toward greater compassion, of which freedom is a part. By and large, the rest of the world is not following. Despite all its many sins, religion's benefit has outweighed its faults, which are the same faults as we see with non-religion. Why people do what they do, the "meaning of life" and all that, is a generally open question, but an important one, and religion represents the first small and clumsy efforts toward an understanding of that. And science should not intrinsically have a corrosive effect on religion - far from it! - it forces us to ask fundamental questions about the nature of self and universe, things that you have to decide about before you sign up to get your personality downloaded or even decide whether to have an abortion. Religion is viewed by the majority, yes, as a handful of scraps of paper saved from ancient movements of wise and foolish people, which are then taken to be an incorruptible and complete record by some, but there is a lot more that can be done within this sphere. Wnt (talk) 13:40, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Wnt, just a slight correction re: religion in Russia. Nocturnalnow (talk) 23:01, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I was thinking specifically of official atheism in the Soviet era. Though it is worth noting that even now freedom of religion in Russia remains quite limited, and their preferred church is tainted by association with the ruling regime. Wnt (talk) 23:26, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

Warning and hope for better understanding.

Dear Jimmy Donal Wales, I frankly hope that Republic of Macedonia will not have to apply similar measures as Turkish government did. There is unacceptable offensive page on Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia: "Janevistan" [39] with a Nazi content there. I hope that you will realize that this page have to be deleted. Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.00:54, 14 May 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

@ There does not seem to be a discussion at that article's talk page, which would usually be where this discussion should take place. Note that I am not replying for Jimmy Wales, I am only making an additional suggestion. Thank you, — PaleoNeonate — 00:59, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Judging from google translate I would suggest that the page should be deleted. While Google translate is very far from perfect (bordering on gibberish sometimes) it appears to be joke page which is also a personal attack on a controversial figure. I do not see any reason why any government would find it problematic, but it is not consistent with the high regard for human dignity, even of controversial figures, that I expect of Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:27, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Igor Janev has been discussed many times on your talk page before: 2014-05-22 complaining about "salting" of the page, 2013-08-25, in which the deletion of de:Igor Janev was mentioned. 2014-04-06 2014-12-27 The topic came up incidentally at 2014-11-06, where the "Igor Janev spammer" was said to be User:Operahome, and at 2014-11-24, where it fueled a wall of text about Macedonia. The .sh page was specifically the topic of a sustained campaign lately: 2016-11-13 2016-12-13 2017-02-23
While there is something pathological going on here, note that the page cited is (as I said in one of those recent discussions) just a user subpage marked as humor. I doubt that there is as much trouble to be had in letting some random user host a page making mild fun of someone than there is in dignifying a long-term troll with any high-level response. Wnt (talk) 13:19, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree. The best thing to do is not host humor that makes fun of someone - even if they are regarded as a "long-term troll". Let Mr. Janev walk away with dignity and take the high ground.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:13, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Igor Janev was the guy who had drafted Macedonian Constitution in 1991, like Founding Fathers in US George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison or Benjamin Franklin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:07, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
The Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia is generally credited to the coalition government of Kiro Gligorov, leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia. It is one of those long new-style constitutions with more than a hundred separately written articles, perhaps not the best format (their article on freedom of expression is pretty decent, but who knows what part of some other paragraph might supersede it?). I therefore doubt it was all written by Janev. Nonetheless, Janev is a real person:[40]

According to Dr. Igor Janev, a former special advisor of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, from the legal point of view, UN Security Council (SC) resolution 817 (1993) and General Assembly (GA) resolution 47/225 (1993) impose additional requirements to Macedonia’s admission to the United Nations. He claims that these conditions, which include “the applicant’s acceptance of a provisional name and an obligation to negotiate with another country (Greece) over its final name,” are in collision with the provisions of Article 4(1) of the UN Charter.

Some of the battle on the ground is apparent from forums like this: [41] The document by Janev is cited here as Janev I., „Legal aspects of the use of a provisional name for Macedonia in the United Nations system“, AJIL, vol. 93, 1999; pp. 157. There are some copies like this and JSTOR providing a teaser page -- the JSTOR text is readily available via Sci-Hub if you paste in the link. I am convinced, therefore, that a) Igor Janev is a real person; b) he is primarily known for making a strong argument against the legitimacy of the UN's demand that Macedonia be prohibited from joining under that name; and c) there are a lot of people who want to make trouble for him and others based on some kind of hyped-up name controversy that seems inconceivable to Americans who, for example, would not expect Mexico to demand that California be renamed "Alta California" to avoid confusion. Wnt (talk) 15:38, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

You've got mail!

Hello, Jimbo Wales. Please check your email; you've got mail! The subject is Trademark Infringement.
Message added 20:27, 14 May 2017 (UTC). It may take a few minutes from the time the email is sent for it to show up in your inbox. You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{You've got mail}} or {{ygm}} template.

I sent an email to about a possible trademark infringement. Please email back if you can. If you think that this discussion can happen on Wikipedia (for ex: on this talk page) than please respond to this message. Thanks! Jamesjpk (talk) 20:27, 14 May 2017 (UTC) Jamesjpk (talk) 20:27, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

I'll find it - but usually you should email the legal department on such things, thanks!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:12, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Trademark infringement on Wikia? I could write emails reporting those 1 every 30 seconds for a month and it would barely scratch the surface. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:19, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
No, not on Wikia. It was about a domain name with the word 'wikipedia' in it. He's just telling me which of my many email addresses he used to contact me.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:04, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Would a domain like be something the legal department or Jimbo would be unhappy about? Siuenti (씨유엔티) 08:20, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
There is no harm in letting them know (they'll probably appreciate it), but it's not likely a trademark infringement. There is little chance of brand confusion, it's distinct feature is named in the domain name. I'm presuming there is no commercial interest.. etc. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:29, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
The domain in question is clearly a trademark violation, but I'd best just leave this to the legal department!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:59, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
(IANAL, etc., usual disclaimers apply) That wouldn't be a trademark violation, though for some decades corporations tried to abuse trademark law to censor criticism. It is true that at the beginning, some holders managed to threaten critics with unsustainable legal bills as in the "U-Hell" case. [42] Nonetheless, from [43]: "There are currently 68 active Web sites with such names as , , , , and ." Trying to use a trademark argument to attack a clearly non-affiliated name like that would rightfully anger a lot of people and damage the reputation of WMF. Wnt (talk) 14:23, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I was unclear. The domain name that the original poster contacted me about via email is clearly a trademark violation. The rest of this discussion has nothing to do with anything, as far as I can tell!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:28, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

WMF board elections reminder

I received an email reminder that WMF board elections are happening, and I am eligible to vote.

This is how I am taking my time to respond.

I am not voting, as voting would be more of a waste of my time than writing this is (which is also really a waste of my time).

The WMF board has already shown it will throw our representative off the board whenever it wants. The editing community has no means to hold the board accountable for such actions.

The WMF board has shown it will spit in our faces when the editing community asks for accountability and transparency under the WMF board's own rhetoric about accountability and transparency.

I have no tolerance for bullshit. Fake elections are bullshit. Or shall I say, "fucking bullshit."Jytdog (talk) 01:58, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

I just voted for the gutsy guy they kicked out last year. Maybe he can help them accomplish more and install some means to hold them accountable and transparent; they won't kick him out again, that's for sure. Nocturnalnow (talk) 03:39, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
I would suggest that everybody who is eligible vote. The WMF is, compared to other organizations that use volunteer labor, very open to input on overall governance by the volunteers. OTOH, we the volunteers, cannot expect to govern the entire organization via RfC. Legally this is not an option, and we need a legal organization to deal with the rest of the world. I'm sure most volunteers recognize that governance by RfC simply is not a workable system, even if it were legally possible.
But this is not the place to campaign for individual candidates. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:33, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
Vote for James Heilman and vote oppose for Maria S., the strikebreaker who took his place. That's how to play this. Vote now. Carrite (talk) 03:23, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

Editors need to have a say in throwing out any current board member at any time. Most current board members need to be kicked out in the street. They are against the values of the community or worse do not care about article content. We want real elections (pounding the table). QuackGuru (talk) 18:43, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

  • The only productive way to protest against the dismissal of a community-chosen board member is to vote for him again this time, which is what I have done. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:49, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
    • Likewise, although frankly nothing prevents them booting him from the board straight away if he gets voted back on. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:59, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
      • The context of the ousting was about the following question: should an Executive Director be allowed to ask the San Francisco people to work better (and perhaps harder) ? Most of the candidates are not so vocal about this question. Nevertheless, this remains an interesting criterion. Pldx1 (talk) 11:34, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
        • If one were truly adamant about this, one might consider voting for a specific candidate and opposing all others. This is a somewhat controversial practice that I neither recommend nor condemn. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 14:22, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
          • There is some extensive discussion of this issue on this Meta talk page, including a range of views from current candidates on how to handle this kind of situation should it recur, and also a number of perspectives on what the issue was in 2015. Do have a look. The Land (talk) 18:28, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
            • There is no point in talking. The power structure is what it is and people will murmur pleasantries all day, when it doesn't matter. When it mattered - when the proverbial shit was hitting the fan, the WMF board a) made the power structure very clear, b) displayed their willingness to wield that power, and c) expressed their disdain for the editing community's expressed concern. Fucking bullshit is fucking bullshit. I won't pretend it is otherwise. Jytdog (talk) 21:21, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
              • The volunteers may need to get fierce and fight back when, if, the WMF board gets out of line again. Jytdog's view is certainly valid if the volunteers stay passive in the face of any future abuses. Nocturnalnow (talk) 23:44, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
One longterm incumbent in particular needs to be removed. Somebody must be held accountable for the multimillion dollar mess that is WMF. Carrite (talk) 03:31, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder about the election, Jytdog, even though I rejected your recommendation to boycott the vote. Instead, I voted for one candidate. The candidate who, in my opinion, best represents the community of productive editors. The candidate who was the subject of Jimbo's ugly "UFB" slur. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:19, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
User:Carrite, did one long-term board used the WMF as his own personal piggy bank? A $1,300 dinner for four? What did they order that costs so much? A multimillion dollar mess, indeed. It adds up. QuackGuru (talk) 18:04, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
All the editors paying attention should have voted for precisely one candidate--I know I did, regardless of past differences--but the question is "are enough editors paying attention to matter"? Jclemens (talk) 06:52, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
  • In my opinion, the abrasive tone of this thread has obfuscated whatever constructive intent those responding may have had; to the detriment of your cause.--John Cline (talk) 17:53, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
I think the "fake elections" accusation is worth more discussion. If I remember right, the person elected by the community must be acceptable or confirmed by the rest of the board in some way? Nocturnalnow (talk) 23:43, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
As I understand it, Nocturnalnow, the results of the "elections" are actually recommendations for the Board to consider, but the Board can appoint whomever it chooses. I think there is no technical impediment to the Board not appointing Doc James (say), no matter his level of community support; indeed, the Board can ignore the results completely, as I understand it, and not have its decision challengeable. The restriction comes from individual Board members feeling constrained by their values and ethics, and from the potential for negative community reactions. There are pragmatic reasons for this structure, but presenting the elections as if they are appointing Board members is disingenuous, in my opinion. EdChem (talk) 02:57, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Hm. I think you're correct, but the election (or "thing", as we might want to call it, at risk of confusion with thing) sure is being presented as an "election" as the term usually is understood: Members of the Wikimedia community have the opportunity to elect three candidates to a three-year term which will expire in 2020. There's some waffle at m:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_Handbook#Selection_for_the_Board about "The Board appoints the successful candidates, provided that, in the Board's judgment, they meet legal and other requirements for Board membership." Goodness knows what "and other requirements" might mean. If it's not really an election as usually understood, the wording of future "elections" should be revised to something like "...opportunity to recommend three candidates..." Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:12, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Every time the community or affiliate appointment process comes around, this discussion comes up. Should we call it an election, a selection, or something else entirely? Whatever you do someone comes along to demand we do something else, because the English language lacks a commonly understood word for "election process that produces a result that while not legally binding is nonetheless intended to be acted upon unless significant new information is received between the conclusion of the election and the appointment of the persons elected to their position". By the way, the "other requirements" you were interested in are largely spelt out at meta:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_Handbook#Appointment_and_onboarding_of_new_Board_members. Regards, The Land (talk) 21:50, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Volunteer Editors' Union ?

I have been wondering, ever since several debacles last year re: the Trustees, whether the project and the community might benefit from a union of some type. I actually, many, many years ago, was the President of a Local with over 500 members and the approach we took was a cooperative approach with management. Someone above said that Wikipedia can not be run by Rfc, and if that is true, then perhaps...just brainstorming now..we should entertain the possibility that there is, in effect, a management/workers relationship of some type in play. The biggest risk, imo, before us is that the WMF board going forward may become even less responsive to community values and wishes, especially now that Jimbo will certainly ( time being a quantitative substance ) be spending time on his WikiTribune project which previously may have gone to Wikipedia. That is assuming, as I do, but some others do not, that Jimbo has the smarts and intentions of keeping Wikipedia's values and foundation in place. So, as a practical move, putting in place a formally structured "union" or "association" seems to me like an option worth considering. I did come to the opinion during my years as a "Union Man", that a Union without the right to strike is like a bull with no balls. So, that's the topic, what do you think ? User:NocturnalnowAlzheimer's victim

Good luck. Most editors don't care about wikipolitics and will ignore whatever you're trying to do here. --NeilN talk to me 15:42, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
A union also represents its members. How would that work? "I'm taking my rep into ANI / ANEW / AE..."?! — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 15:46, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Association of Members' Advocates—and in particular the discussions linked at the top that led to it being shut down—for an idea of what happened last time someone thought this was a good idea. If you really want to rake over old coals, read the troubled history of Wikipedia:Esperanza (and in particular Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Esperanza), which left a mess which isn't completely cleaned up a decade later. ‑ Iridescent 16:17, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
O Fortuna, I think it would be very simple technically. Since we are volunteers, we will avoid the problems that monetary avarice can cause, and I also think there would be no need at all for any dues or donations whatsoever to be paid. At this point, its just an idea and any sort of structure, like elected representatives, would be determined by those who wish to move forward with the idea. Iridescent, thank you very much for the linked info. I will certainly read and think about it all. However, events of 2016 re: the Trustees as well as a seemingly substantial sense of unhappiness with the recent performance of the WMF board (as exemplified in the comments above about the Trustee election), a performance which many see as having been impotent with dealing with important issues like paid editing, leads me to feel that things are moving so fast that whatever the discussions or results were in the past, they should not be given enough weight to adopt the mantra "we tried it before and it didn't work". Two things I like about considering this idea is that this volunteer community is not adversarial by nature and are not dependent upon or receiving money from this project, so, were something to be done, I can see it having more of the advantages and less of the disadvantages of typical unions. Nocturnalnow (talk) 22:14, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
If you're in the mood for reading links, you might want to read Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Self electing groups and Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Advisory Council on Project Development as well. While these were all a few years ago and consensus can change, Wikipedia has generally taken an extremely dim view of any group that claims to "speak for the people" or to have some kind of inside track to management, particularly if that group isn't elected. (Ask any arb just how much respect being on arbcom—which at least has the virtues of being elected by the membership rather than appointed or self-selecting, and of having at least a grudging acquiescence if not actual respect—gets you.) ‑ Iridescent 22:27, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm looking at this "union" as a possible problem solving entity with zero personalities. The power of a union's members to suspend their work is a power that requires management of any type, like a board, to pay a whole lot of attention to what the members think and feel about any actions management/the board takes. For the purpose of this discussion, I would use this definition of a union; "2. an organized association of workers formed to protect and further their rights and interests". The only rights and interests most of us have, I think, are the right to help improve the encyclopedia and our interest in protecting the encyclopedia, and although these are not personal rights or interests, they are community rights and interests which may benefit from the power of a union. Nocturnalnow (talk) 22:44, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Of course if there is not much interest, the idea is dead in the water. Nocturnalnow (talk) 22:47, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
I think you're under a misapprehension of how Wikipedia operates (we don't help the matter with the "anyone can edit" slogan). Wikipedia is a privately-owned website, and the only rights you have as an editor are the right to vanish and the right to fork. Since neither of these rights are disputed by anyone, there are no 'rights' this union could protect; what you're actually proposing is just a forum for organising meat-puppetry tag-teams. ‑ Iridescent 23:00, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

....whiiiich isn't the definition of any union I've ever been a member of :) Thanks, as usual, to Iridescent, for that incisive, if robust as ever, analysis. As usual, also, some excellent historical comparisons made. Cheers! — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 05:50, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Obviously I get to be president.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:18, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Yo VM, your particular brand of tact and delicacy is precisely what these negotiations will require ;) — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 06:23, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Uh "Wikipedia is a privately-owned website, and the only rights you have as an editor are the right to vanish", especially bolded, sounds excessively Soviet in tone. "You have plenty of rights, you have the right to obey, the right to be sent to a labor camp, the right to be shot, and the right to vanish without a trace". Just saying. Herostratus (talk) 07:53, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

It's not my phrase, it goes back to the earliest days as a shorthand explanation for just why Nupedia/Wikipedia have always reserved to themselves the right to treat their participants in arbitrary ways on occasion—I suspect from the tone that it was originally Larry who said it, but it may have been Jimmy. (There's actually a third right editors have, the right to attribution, but that one rarely causes issues.) All the other things that some editors feel are 'rights', like the right to express their political views, the right to a fair hearing, the right to have input on decision-making etc are just good practice rather than actual policy; the board could theoretically unilaterally decide that Wikipedia has too many editors and randomly block 30% of accounts, and the only 'right' the community would have would be the right to set up a new site with a less goofy board (the right to fork), or the right to walk out in disgust and request their identity not be associated with such a messed-up project (the right to vanish). ‑ Iridescent 08:28, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Rights are rarely promulgated from on high. They emerge organically from the experience of judges and others who come to understand that there is a rational way to do law so that it works, or from the inspired campaigns of idealists. We should remember that if it were not for the 1791 Whiskey Rebellion, when the Transsylvanians proudly raised their serpent flag and declared their independence, (I thought I remembered reading this, but the time frame doesn't work - perhaps it was the influence of an earlier case like Shays' Rebellion, sorry) the Bill of Rights might never have even existed! Wikipedia can be defined many ways - a body of CC-licensed work, a corporation with a cabal of hopefully wise leaders, a cadre of dedicated employees, or as the body of editors who produce and care about the content. The rights emerge from whoever believes in them and has the power to act on that belief. No right is truly secure and self-defending - Salman Rushdie knows that all the constitutions and police in the country don't fully make up for a foreign nutcase with some money to throw around. But so long as people let themselves believe and act, they have a reality that can make life better. Wnt (talk) 14:09, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
I mean, right, User:Iridescent, all you say is arguably correct (depending on how you define "right", it's a slippery word). And of course people saying "I have the right to free speech here!" etc. is nonsense and sometimes annoying. At the same time... I mean, editors have the moral right to be be treated reasonably. Yeah a moral right and a dime will get you a cup of coffee, but doesn't mean that "moral right" isn't actually a thing. I would advise members of the admin corps in particular to maybe softpedal anything that sounds too much like "you have no rights, kulak", just as practical advice. Herostratus (talk) 15:43, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Editors do have a right to free speech, both in terms of WP:NOTCENSORED and more fundamentally in terms of WP:NPOV. These rights emerge from a sort of social contract far more explicit than most. As codified there are some limitations in terms of overall purpose, relevance, sourcing, and as always those limitations become problematic; but it is no more accurate to say that there is no right to free speech than it would be to say it about a country that has some unfortunate libel or pornography laws. Insofar as it goes, the right is relevant, sensible, and workable, providing straightforward guidance in a wide range of situations. Wnt (talk) 16:05, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Editors have no 'right' to free speech anywhere on wikipedia. Either legally, or through any sort of social contract. Most of wikipedia's policies in some way restrict the limits on what editors can do or say. To quote you: "Editors do have a right to free speech, both in terms of WP:NOTCENSORED and more fundamentally in terms of WP:NPOV." Neither of those indicate an editor has free speech. NOTCENSORED is about Wikipedia hosting objectionable (to some people) content. It does not mean editors can say what they want - this is a common complaint of inexperienced editors who think notcensored allows them to soapbox about whatever cause is bothering them. NPOV heavily restricts the 'freedom' of editors in that if you edit non-neutrally, you will end up prevented from speaking at all. If you edit neutrally in line with NPOV, NOTCENSORED allows you to edit an article on any subject you wish. Provided you can also satisfy WP:V, another policy which heavily restricts the 'freedom' of editors. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:01, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
From your tone it sounds like you're disagreeing, yet your comment seems otherwise. You're telling me that yes, core longstanding Wikipedia policy gives us the right to edit articles on any subject we wish, and yes, core longstanding Wikipedia policy gives us the right to include information favorable to every side and point of view. Wnt (talk) 10:37, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
"core longstanding Wikipedia policy gives us the right to edit articles on any subject we wish" - Provided they are backed up by reliable sources in line with WP:V, NOTCENSORED allows this. However individual editors may still be restricted because they are unable to edit in a neutral manner, may have a conflict of interest, be disruptive etc. "core longstanding Wikipedia policy gives us the right to include information favorable to every side and point of view." Yes and no. We dont include information because it is favorable to every side/point of view in order to satisfy NPOV. NPOV states we edit in a neutral manner, not that the source or the information is required to be neutral. 100 experts state position X and are covered in reliable sources. 1 crank on his personal website states position Y and no one covers this. We dont include the crank to satisfy NPOV. In fact our content policies would prohibit us from including the crank. This again is a common mistake people seem to make regarding neutrality. If the crank had been picked up/discussed by numerous reliable sources then it *may* be included, but would still likely be excluded by editors under WP:UNDUE. And that is still editing neutrally. None of this has anything to do with the 'freedom of speech' as people understand it, because all editing on wikipedia is covered by any number of policies and guidelines that restrict/prohibit or allow, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the circumstances. Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:21, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, the right to edit an article on any topic you wish is limited by it being an article, not a random rant off the top of your head. But to say there's no right at all is like saying there is no right to freedom of speech because you're not allowed to write a message on a piece of masking tape, wrap it around a brick and toss it through your neighbor's window. Sure, we have that limit. Additionally, the "WP:FRINGE" limit is indeed sometimes taken so broadly as to damage the right to cover all points of view, but I think normally and properly interpreted it should not prohibit the coverage of reliable sources expressing an uncommon but not unheard of point of view. And, I mean, the right to detail any point of view about any topic you want pretty much is freedom of speech, under the limitation of course that these are articles and not personal ruminations.
Underlying this is the deconstruction of anarchism: anything that can be written as a law can be written as a right, and anything that can be written as a right can be written as a law. Thus even if you intend to infringe on the right of free speech by editors in some space, e.g. by prohibiting harassment, you can and probably will try to sell that as a right to be free from harassment. Simply saying that editors should have rights, therefore, does not remove the essence of politics: deciding which rights are paramount, when. But by evaluating issues both as laws and as rights, you can strive for policies which have a compact, sensible description as rights that emphasizes their ability to help editors work freely and without fear of administrative entanglement - while still also looking at them as laws which have to be understandable and enforceable and such. Wnt (talk) 14:18, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Again, you have a fundemental misunderstanding of your 'rights' on wikipedia. There is no right to 'cover all points of view'. You are permitted to cover all points of view that can be backed up by reliable sourcing in line with WP:V, WP:BLP, WP:RS and so on. If your point of view was that <insert famous person here> was a serial child molestor, absent strong evidence of such, your ability to express your point of view would be shortly curtailed. "anything that can be written as a law can be written as a right" this is semantic waffle. Laws can be both permissive "You are allowed" and prohibitive "you may not". The associated right with the law "do not kill people" would be "You have the right to not kill people" - which implies you can refrain from exercising that right (you cant). Wikipedia has many prohibitive policies, the associated right when you dont want to obey a prohibitive policy would be, as Iridescent says above, 'Fork off'. There is no inherant right to free speech anywhere on wikipedia, and while you persist in the assumption there is, you will continue to misinterpret the various policies that govern it. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:44, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you're so resistant to this semantic, but you're making a hash out of it. The complementary right to "do not kill people" is, of course, that you have the right not to be murdered! Such a right to life is not uncommon, and in that context people get into bitter but philosophically useful arguments about who (or what) has a right not to be killed. I mean, it is emotionally and intellectually more immediate to ask whether a 20-week-old fetus has a right not to be killed than to debate whether a law against murder should exempt killers of 20-week-old fetuses, even if that is the same argument; even if phrased the latter way, in our heads we probably turn it around and look at it as a rights question. In your editing example, people have the right to edit about any topic, any person, and to cover any allegation about a person; but people also have a right to have reliably researched articles free of unsourced speculation by random editors (i.e. verifiability), and to have articles for which sufficient reliable sourcing exists to provide decent coverage of the topic (i.e. notability). I see no difficulty in extending the rights-based semantic to accurately match every aspect of Wikipedia policy, and I think a rights-based semantic can be a valuable aid to help evaluate and modify Wikipedia policy. Wnt (talk) 02:24, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

While a union seems out of the question, for many of the reasons given above, an editor user group might very well be an option to me. However you would have to specify a relatively narrow raison d'être with a large potential base (at least cross language/project and low barrier of entry I presume), to prevent 'elitism' and groupthink I fear. Defining (and putting on paper) what such a user group should look like and what it would do, will be by far the hardest for sure. Just some ideas about what a user group could do: organise an editor's conference, hold a community wishlist or other type of feedback gathering, drafting input for feature development that Wikimedia does, writing reviews of delivered features, hire your own developer.. writing yearly performance reviews of WMF policies... And then you preface everything with: "This is the collected opinion of a group of enthusiastic editors and in no way claims to reflect the opinion of others" or something. Do realise that that will take you away a lot of your available editing time :) —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:11, 17 May 2017 (UTC)


UVW Union of Volunteer Wikipedians? Nocturnalnow (talk) 17:16, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

WP:DEADHORSE may be more apt. --NeilN talk to me 14:42, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Volunteer doesn't need to be part of the name. "Union" seems to go over about as well as "proletariat" these days so we can avoid that too. English Wikipedia Editors' Association or something similar. It would have a board of directors elected by all qualified editors, similar to the way the Arbitration Committee and our representatives on the WMF board are elected. Candidates would campaign on platforms stating where they think that English Wikipedia and the WMF should be going in the future. However this organization would not be responsible for content, i.e. it would not be an "editorial board". We already have too many splintered and diverse "user groups" and don't need any more. This organization would not be charged with developing a friendly, supportive community to keep editors happy and productive, nor would it advocate for editors on the drama boards or in ArbCom proceedings. It's raison d'être is to be the editor's voice in our relationship with the WMF. Think of it as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference communicating with Lyndon Johnson and the US Congress. We have the right to sit at the back of the bus; we want the right to drive the bus. – wbm1058 (talk) 20:25, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Do you really think there's a singular "editor's voice" here? --NeilN talk to me 21:25, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Hmmmm..... qualified editors voting for a board of directors, with candidates talking about where WMF should be going in future..... sounds familiar for some reason, can't think why. ;) The Land (talk) 21:50, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
  • wbm1058, I like your name and analogy re: communication.. .if/as the concept is developed, the collective editors could decide whether and to what extent, the WMF, and the EWEA (using your suggested name) would be pilot or co-pilot or, perhaps, alternating depending upon the task/process. I intentionally say the collective editors would make that important decision because, imo, the real and absolute power here rests with the volunteers at this time......and of course, as we all know, accepting the status quo is a decision.
  • In the future, the paid editors and their corporate bosses may battle with the WMF fund raising board for control and chore allocation, but for now, the volunteers have the power to design and implement Wikipedia's processes and future. This was made obvious last year when the Google/Tesla guy was kicked out by the editors. The WMF has been in charge here only because the volunteers, for whatever reasons, have chosen to allow them to be. The only question is whether the volunteers choose that the future of the project is best left solely in the hands of the WMF (and increasingly the advocate/paid editors), or whether the volunteers choose to exercise their/our collective power and be more determinative regarding the future of Wikipedia. Nocturnalnow (talk) 22:20, 17 May 2017 (UTC)