User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 238

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Arbitration appeal by Icewhiz

Statement by Icewhiz

Mr. Wales,

I'm appealing (per this policy) the decision in the Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Antisemitism in Poland. I requested a case on 1 June 2019 after being referred to do so by admins at AE. The case was opened on 9 June 2019. The committee failed to engage during the workshop phase. The case then languished, unprocessed save a temporary IBAN injunction (sanctioning also me) after I dared complain in August of continued WP:HOUNDing during the case here, and here. The PD draft, riddled with errors, was only published on 7 September. The committee ignored multiple involved and uninvolved editors, pointing out errors at the proposed decision talk page.

Mr. Wales, I accuse that:

  1. The arbitration committee failed to engage during the workshop phase. Committee member Worm That Turned admitted this - diff - "I am hoping to play around with the case deadlines in the next day or so, and might even re-open the workshop for an additional week, so that we can have a proper participatory workshop" (this did not occur).
  2. The drafting arbiter produced a biased proposed decision, seemingly picking random assertions from the evidence without properly evaluating the claims therein and subsequent workshop discussion. Among the more absurd findings: (Extended refutation of additional FoFs section below covers these and others in more depth)
    1. Deeming "Polophilic"(diff) as "inappropriate ethnically derogatory comments"[1] - contrast our Polonophile article (and Francophile or Anglophile) and mainstream use of this positive language.[1][2][3]
    2. Deeming diff as a "negative insinuations about Poland". Beyond it being unclear how "negative insinuations about Poland" are counter to Wikipedia policy, my statement on the legality of writing on Polish complicity in Poland is in fact within mainstream academic consensus on the effects of the widely condemned Polish Holocaust Law - e.g. ”Moreover, the law also criminalised any insinuation that individual Poles may have committed anti-Semitic crimes during the Holocaust”.[4] See also:[5][6][7][8][9]
    3. deeming diff as "BLP-violating edits on talk pages by posting negative claims or speculations about living scholars" - however this is not speculation, Davies said so himself, and this is one of the most widely covered episode in his career. See New York Times - SCHOLAR SAYS HIS VIEWS ON JEWS COST HIM A POST AT STANFORD or this book. Or Financial Times in 2012, [2] labelling this as "the most controversial episode of his academic career"
  3. The arbitration committee has failed to properly weigh the evidence placed before them, !voting in the affirmative on the proposed decisions that included findings of fact that are false.
  4. The arbitration committee of enacting remedies unsupported by evidence and facts.
  5. The arbitration committee has failed to adhere to the expected conduct of arbitrators, and ignored community input - failing to respond to community feedback by multiple editors at proposed decision talk page who pointed out several issues in the decision.
  6. The arbitration committee of creating a chilling effect against the lodging of any future complaint involving fabrication of hateful content on the English Wikipedia.
  7. This Wikipedia is hosting distortions on the Jewish Holocaust in Poland and its aftermath.
  8. This Wikipedia is not responding properly to complaints on bullying and spread of such content.

Following case closure on 22 September, several uninvolved editors voiced their concerns on the handling of this case and arbitrator conduct on the committee’s noticeboard.

Extended refutation of additional FoFs

This section contains several additional issues in the ruling, please expand
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

These FoFs pertain to my alleged conduct. In each there are several errors:


  1. "made inappropriate ethnically derogatory comments comments ([3], [4])" –this is defamatory libel by the committee, as this is not only not “ethnically derogatory”, but rather mainstream accepted language. Specifically:
    1. Polocaust,a contraction of “Polish Holocaust”, is used by mainstream sources (+the Polish government itself) to describe theories advanced by the PiS government and right-wing elements in Poland on the Holocaust in Poland: [5][6][7][8]
    2. “Polophilic” – “Polophile” is a spelling variant of Polonophile (no “ethnically derogatory” in our article), is analogous to Francophile or Anglophile, and is used by multiple mainstream sources to describe people favorable to Poland.[1][2][3]
  2. "made negative insinuations about Poland ([9])" – it unclear what Wikipedia policy prohibits “negative insinuations about Poland”. Furthermore, my comments on the legal environment facing editors on Polish Wikipedia editors as a result of the Holocaust law is in-line with mainstream writing on the subject: ”Moreover, the law also criminalised any insinuation that individual Poles may have committed anti-Semitic crimes during the Holocaust”.[4] See also:[5][6][7][8][9]


  1. "made negative edits to BLPs ([10])" – “negative edits to BLPs” are not counter to Wikipedia policy. We are supposed describe BLPs, such as David Irving, in the manner they are described in WP:RSes. Ewa Kurek is primarily known for Holocaust distortion (and has been compared to Irving) – [11][12][13] (recent media in English, Polish sources also available). When Kurek last visited NYC, her speaking engagements at local churches were cancelled by the bishop – [14].
  2. "including editorializing in Wikipedia's voice ([15], [16])" – in both cases the edits were mostly attributed and sourced to high quality academic sources (monographs written by scholars in the field, published by reputable publishers) – and closely followed the language in the sources. Kurek espouses the view that Jews lived voluntarily in Nazi ghettos and that this constituted a national autonomy for Jews – ”outlandish” was used by the academic source. Furthermore, these assertions was added by committee member Premeditated Chaos without them being in evidence. In one of the exceedingly rare comments on the PD talk page, Premeditated Chaos stated that – this was ”response in Whatever newspaper"”[17] – however the source in question – Collaboration with the Nazis: Public Discourse After the Holocaust: "Poland: where the past is never past", edited by Roni Stauber, essay by Laurence Weinbaum, Routledge, 2010 – is a peer-reviewed secondary source by a scholar in the field and published by Routledgeit is not a newspaper – this blatant error indicates that Premeditated Chaos did not thoroughly examine the evidence in question.
  3. "and made arguably BLP-violating edits on talk pages by posting negative claims or speculations about living scholars":
    1. [18] - Norman Davies tenure at Standford was rejected in conjunction with his writing on Jewish-Polish issues. This is not speculation - Davies said so himself (filing a protracted lawsuit on this basis), and this has had major coverage. See New York Times - SCHOLAR SAYS HIS VIEWS ON JEWS COST HIM A POST AT STANFORD or this book. Nor is this just an item of the distant past - e.g. Lunch with the FT: Norman Davies, 2012 in the Financial Times labels this as "the most controversial episode of his academic career"
    2. [19]) - Bronisław Wildstein is not a scholar (error #1). Furthermore Wildstein is primarily known for the Wildstein list controversy - the publication of over a hundred thousand names connected by archives to the communists. The uproar, at the time, led to Wildstein being fired from Rzeczpospolita (newspaper) - see Guardian in English. At least in English this controversy is his primary claim to notability.


  1. "interpreted editing of old text attributable to a long-blocked sock as "proxying" despite lack of evidence of communication with the sockmaster ([20])" – this is a misunderstanding of what I was trying to convey. In my AE complaint I stated that a provision of the WP:PROXYING policy applies (namely that "Editors who reinstate edits made by a banned or blocked editor take complete responsibility for the content.") in relation to content reinstated after being challenged as a (tagged and blocked) sockpuppet edit. At no point did I assert that proxying was taking place (as it was unlikely) – just that Volunteer Marek was responsible (as he authored it himself) for verifying the content he reinstated.
  2. "Icewhiz interpreted an apparent error by Poeticbent as a deliberate hoax (Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Antisemitism_in_Poland/Evidence#Poeticbent:_anti-Jewish_hoaxes)" – See below - 7 separate serious distortions were presented (some of which involved multiple edits vs. challenges to the content) – a pattern, and far from a single error. Furthermore that charge here relates to an arbitration complaint – a complaint on the introduction of false material to the English Wikipedia:
    1. Jewish Welcoming: commons, wiki1, wiki2 – a drab Soviet election notice was presented as a “Jewish welcoming banner for the Soviet forces invading Poland”.[21] This false presentation of the image falls within the Jewish Bolshevism Antisemitic canard.
    2. Stawiski[22] anti-Jewish pogrom perpetrated by Poles were falsely presented as tales of Jewish communists persecuting Poles followed by a massacre carried out by Germans (+” Some Poles, who emerged from their forest hideaways.. were led to acts of revenge-killing in German presence (approximately 6 suspects, around July 5–7)”). Not only were the facts of this Holocaust massacre distorted, the much more famous Jedwabne pogrom was presented in the same manner. The presentation here falls within the Jewish Bolshevism Antisemitic canard.
    3. Radziłów: [23][24] – similar false presentation (including Jedwabne denial). Volunteer Marek re-introduced some of this false content – [25], [26].
    4. Chełmno extermination camp[27] – falsely presented as ” The early killing process carried out by the SS from December 8, 1941, until mid January 1942, was targeted at removal of Jews and Poles from all nearby towns and villages slated for German colonization”. Chełmno was not employed for systematic extermination of Poles. Narrative presented falls into notions of “Polish Holocaust” advanced by the Polish far-right and unsupported by historians.
    5. Belzec extermination camp – in a series of edits (2013, 2014, 2015, 2015) Poeticbent removed long-standing content of wartime and post-war gravedigging by Poles and covered up his removal with fabricated information (e.g. stating the camp was nearly unknown, when it was in fact investigated post-war + was covered extensively in the press due to gravedigging and efforts to stop it. Presenting cleanup efforts by Polish school children in the 1990s as occurring in the 1950s (instead of the gravedigging).
    6. Jewish immigration: [28] – post-Holocaust Jewish flight from Poland presented as if prompted by “preferential treatment” in Israel (when the source in-fact states such proposals were rejected), and not by the widespread anti-Jewish violence (the 1946 Kielce pogrom and others). Volunteer Marek – [29][30] – removed sourced information on the anti-Jewish violence and reinstated the false content.
    7. KL Warschau conspiracy - [31] – misrepresenting a source and promoting a conspiracy theory following a citation-needed challenge. Sent to ARBCOM via e-mail (+noted to PD). Promotion of the well-known User:Icewhiz/KL Warschau conspiracy theory (which was present until 2019 in 7 Wikipedia articles).

4.2.9: "Icewhiz inappropriately and falsely linked Volunteer Marek to Holocaust denial ([32]". This is a false charge, since: I provided evidence and made assertions regarding Poeticbent. For Volunteer Marek I stated – ”Volunteer Marek ..., has been reverting and stonewalling corrections”, in the case I provided evidence of Volunteer Marek reverting back in Poeticbent authored content on the Holocaust (Radziłów massacre, post-Holocaust flight of Jews from Poland). These issues were presented to the committee by myself and other members of the community, and were not even met with a response.


Mr. Wales, I’ve demonstrated that the findings are not supported by the evidence, therefore I request that you modify findings and remedies:

  1. Remove the erroneous FoFs pertaining to me from: [33], [34], [35], [36]
  2. Remove the provisions applying to my edits from 4.3.2 Icewhiz and Volunteer Marek interaction-banned – converting this to a 1-way IBAN.
  3. Vacate 4.3.3 Icewhiz topic-banned.
References, click to expand
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


  1. ^ a b Poland’s president on NATO, his critics and the burden of history, Maclean's, 12 May 2016, quote: "prominent Polophiles as Timothy Snyder and Norman Davies"
  2. ^ a b World of Our Fathers, By Irving Howe & Kenneth Libo, NYU Press, page 514, quote: "And as a lifelong Polophile, Shatzky faced the additional problem of reconciling, if he could, his love for Polish history and culture with...
  3. ^ a b The Baltic, Alan Palmer, Overlook, quote: "... with a Polophile staff officer, General Wilhelm von Willisen, authorized to raise a Polish army...
  4. ^ a b History, memory, and politics in post-communist Eastern Europe, 19 Sep 2019, Dr. Jelena Subotic], quote: In 2018, the Polish government passed a law that criminalised the use of the phrase “Polish death camps” to designate German Nazi death camps in occupied Poland, such as Auschwitz, Treblinka and many others. Moreover, the law also criminalised any insinuation that individual Poles may have committed anti-Semitic crimes during the Holocaust...
  5. ^ a b Gauba, Kanika. "Rethinking ‘Memory Laws’ from a Comparative Perspective." The Indian Yearbook of Comparative Law 2018. Springer, Singapore, 2019. 233-249., quote: "The other kind of memory law imposes a duty to forget on the citizen. ... Another instance is the recently amended Act on the Institute of National Remembrance (1998, amended 2018) of Poland. The Act was originally passed to criminalize the denial of genocide, crimes against humanity and the Holocaust. The recent amendment criminalizes the attribution of responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich
  6. ^ a b Introduction to the special issue – disputed Holocaust memory in Poland, Larry Ray & Sławomir Kapralski, 31 March 2019, quote: hese issues were again thrown into sharp relief in January 2018 when the Polish ruling party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Justice and Law) introduced the ‘anti-defamation law’ prohibiting claims that ‘the Polish Nation’ was responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes. It was initially made a criminal offence, with up to three years imprisonment, to accuse Poles of complicity in Nazi war crimes. The law asserted extra-territoriality and ‘applies throughout the world, regardless of local laws.’ The ensuing outcry in Europe, Israel and the US continues – for example, under the Twitter hashtag #PolishDeathCamps there is widespread condemnation of the defamation laws, and in one post the Simon Wiesenthal Centre issued a travel advisory for Jews urging them to limit their visits to Poland following ‘Poland’s government campaign to change the historical truth by denying Polish complicity in the Nazi atrocities.’
  7. ^ a b Holocaust law wields a 'blunt instrument' against Poland's past, BBC News, 3 Feburary 2018, quote:"There is widespread agreement among historians that some Polish citizens did participate in the Holocaust, by betraying, even murdering Polish Jews. But there is disagreement over whether those acts add up to wider Polish complicity — a nuanced historical debate that the Polish government now seeks to legislate." ... "The bill was condemned by Holocaust charities as well as the US, EU and by Israel, which offered to foot the legal bill of anyone charged."
  8. ^ a b Poland’s Senate passes Holocaust complicity bill despite concerns from U.S., Israel, Washington Post, 2 Feb 2018, quote: "Despite Israeli and U.S. criticism, Poland’s Senate approved a highly controversial bill Thursday that bans any Holocaust accusations against Poles as well as descriptions of Nazi death camps as Polish."
  9. ^ a b Hackmann, J. (2018). Defending the “Good Name” of the Polish Nation: Politics of History as a Battlefield in Poland, 2015–18. Journal of Genocide Research, 20(4), 587–606. doi:10.1080/14623528.2018.1528742, quote: "This act, which met with harsh international criticism..."

Comments by involved editors

  • Regarding the accusation that we've not met WP:ARBCOND: there's no requirement that we individually reply to every comment or question. Our votes may or may not be influenced by input from others, but they certainly shouldn't be a mere conduit for the subset of the community that comments on the case talk pages (or what would be the point of electing arbitrators?). Speaking for myself, I read the workshop and PD talk page before voting, and I read it again after the case closed and people complained, and I stick by my votes. Several of the points raised there, which Icewhiz implies here were ignored, were actually explicitly discussed during the voting phase of the PD, e.g. #Insinuations of Holocaust denial, #BLP violations. – Joe (talk) 18:51, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
  • On point one, I read over the information that had been posted and did not see a need to re-open the workshop. Like Joe, I read everything thoroughly, multiple times. I stand by my votes. WormTT(talk) 08:39, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

Comments by uninvolved editors

  • I thoroughly recommend reading editors' responses to the proposed decision[37] and to case closure.[38] A total of 21 editors voiced their concerns, not including the parties; the consensus is that this was sub-par performance for ArbCom. François Robere (talk) 23:27, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
  • As one of the editors who commented in the linked page about the disappointing lack of interaction between arbitrators and the community in this case (it is pretty clear this case was on a backburner why the more prominent cases / topics were prioritized...) I nonetheless don't see the connection between this and the need for the appeal. That the arbitrators were slow and unresponsive is not related to whether they were 'right' and such. Slow justice is still justice. (Through as as I also said elsewhere, it is hard to see what solution would satisfy everyone, and of course people who get sanctioned will be among those not particularly satisfied...). PS. I think it is clear the Arbitrtion Committee needs to be expanded to include 2x if not 3x the members. Most of the time, 50-75% of the members will burn out/resign/be mostly inactive. See my peer reviewed research on this at Decision making in the self-evolved collegiate court: Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee and its implications for self-governance and judiciary in cyberspace (for free access go to Sci Hub :D). Too often ArbCom rejects cases because they can't handle the workload, and if a crisis hits, they find themselves undermanned. More members would be a simple solution. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:07, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
  • This is an obvious request for a do-over, based on Icewhiz disputing some of the findings. However, if people didn't dispute the findings, we'd hardly need arbitration. It is quite hard to see how any other outcome would have been reached given the long history of battleground conduct, on the part of several editors specifically including Icewhiz. The IBAN is long overdue and the topic ban was inevitable. The removal of both these editors from this contentious area will be better for the project, and actually probably also better for them. Sure, it is not the platonic ideal of an ArbCom case. However, the outcome is what I half expected to happen as a community action from the numerous ANI reports. Guy (help!) 12:30, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that this is a sub-par performance from ArbCom. As someone once said, results there usually end up in "nothing really being done, or generate a thick forest for bureaucracy, like complicated remedies, discretionary sanctions people have a hard time keeping track of, and "whack everyone involved on the head just for being involved" remedies in one of ArbCom's typical desperate attempts to appear more impartial than they really are." Icewhiz was indeed on the receiving end of unprovoked WP:HOUNDing and WP:CIVIL violations, and was TBANed as a result of reporting this. Stefka Bulgaria (talk) 11:20, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Dear Mr. Wales, Holocaust was a horrible disaster happened in the history of human beings, but this is a separate issue. Israel is causing systematic bias in Wikipedia. Please, do not let them do that. I know Icewhiz and company from another article, where they are trying to change history by washing crimes off of this "formerly terrorist group" (currently an ally of Israel). I am a father of two with more than one job. Yet, I cannot stand what is being done before my eyes and that is what is driving me in being a Wiki editor. I apologize if I do not sound eloquent enough, but this is just too much. Kazemita1 (talk) 20:07, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I do not agree that "this is a sub-par performance from ArbCom". I think they did a fine job and made a wise decision. They were a bit slow because of a heavy workload, but that doesn't equal "sub-par performance". Neither does a comparative lack of discussion. Some cases are of such a nature that the editors making comments bring up a bunch of things that require careful thought and extended discussion between arbs and between arbs and editors. Others are pretty cut and dry cases where the arbs look at the situation, read the comments, and all come to the same conclusion. After seeing Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Antisemitism in Poland#History at dispute-resolution venues and reading the linked discussions, I can't see how they could have come to a different conclusion. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:20, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I read everything on this case. I didn't agree with everything the arbitrators wrote, but there are no grounds to suggest that they were fundamentally mistaken in their final decisions. The decisions reached by arbcom would likely be reached by any arbcom hearing the case on the same evidence. In summary, this appeal is without foundation. Zerotalk 01:52, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Icewhiz blocked indefinitely

FYI. I fear there was a certain inevitability to this conclusion, its speed being the only surprising aspect. ——SerialNumber54129 13:38, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Blocked indefinitely by Arbcom with TPA revoked in the middle of appealing an Arbcom decision...largely on the basis of lack of involvement by Arbcom in the case. I’m sure there’s a rock solid reason for this. Anybody know where the reason was explained? (It’s not in the block log or block notice.) Levivich 13:45, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Levivich, Given the circumstances, I'll put up an announcement presently. WormTT(talk) 13:48, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Announcement WormTT(talk) 13:55, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Just to note that we were mindful that this appeal was in progress and don't intend to circumvent the process. However, on balance we felt the situation needed a prompt response. Jimbo of course has access to the private evidence and our mailing list discussions should he need to see them to make a decision here. – Joe (talk) 18:36, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Jimbo, I would appreciate it if you would review this Arbcom siteban of the editor who is appealing to you, and tell us if you agree the evidence justifies it. I think you can appreciate the optics of Arbcom sitebanning an editor during an appeal based entirely on secret off-wiki evidence. (We, like, literally just went through this exact issue with T&S and Framgate.) Thank you. Levivich 18:54, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Also note that Icewhiz filed this appeal (immediately) after we contacted him about the off-wiki harassment. – Joe (talk) 20:07, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Just for the record, how long is "immediately"? François Robere (talk) 20:58, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Is "immediately" enough time to write that whole appeal with all those diffs? Or could it be that he posted the appeal on the 7th day, i.e., just under the deadline, which would be pretty normal? Levivich 21:10, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
That's a stupid question. Icewhiz is a very prolific editor - it would be easy for him to compose a 26,475 bytes appeal, complete with 75 links, 52 Wikilinks and 9 refs, between the main course and dessert. Oh, "dessert" - because ArbCom emailed him on the Jewish New Year's Eve - which he may or may not celebrate, but the committee could easily figure he might - which also happened to fall on the last day he could appeal. Damn good timing! François Robere (talk) 21:21, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I think the point is that this ArbCom inquiry began we contacted Icewhiz before the appeal to Jimbo, we didn't block them as some sort of reactionary punishment for it. I'll let Joe Roe answer the question about timing -- looking back through my emails the timing isn't super clear to me because of forwarding/time zones. I'm pretty sure the two events were fairly simultaneous (within a few hours?), but I could be wrong. GorillaWarfare (talk) 21:49, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Wait, are you saying the "inquiry" started just two days ago, and he's already blocked? François Robere (talk) 22:17, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
No, I've adjusted my wording. It was technically correct to say "this ArbCom inquiry began before the appeal to Jimbo" too, I suppose, but I didn't mean to imply it began just two days ago. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:24, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
It's clear Arbcom didn't start the inquiry in response to this appeal. It's equally clear that WTT and Joe Roe are incorrect in their suggestion that the appeal was filed in response to the inquiry... since the appeal, and Arbcom's first email to Icewhiz, happened almost simultaneously. I look forward to WTT and Joe Roe striking their unfounded accusations that this appeal was a response to the siteban. Levivich 23:38, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
@Levivich: I never suggested that Icewhiz posted this in response to our question/ban. I pointed out, as GW said, that we had no idea he was going to appeal when we started looking into this and already started the ball rolling before he did so. @François Robere: 27 minutes. – Joe (talk) 06:12, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. François Robere (talk) 11:32, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

Timing, timing, timing!!! Yeah there's bad timing here but that's it. There isn't really anything interesting in this situation that requires a good old Jimbo review. How could anyone seeing a collective yet nefarious conspiracy from our elected ARBCOM officials have their concerns assuaged from the review of our Benevolent dictator for life?-Serialjoepsycho- (talk) 20:35, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

If Jimbo doesn't give them the answer they want, then he is clearly in on the conspiracy...
I would like to comment on Levivich's claim ("...based entirely on secret off-wiki evidence. We, like, literally just went through this exact issue with T&S and Framgate"). Apparently the words "this exact issue" now mean "quite different issues". Arbcom has acted on evidence that they cannot reveal to the rest of us from day one, and rightly so. If Arbcom received private evidence showing that I posted information offwiki containing Levivich's home address, credit card numbers and complete medical records, would he want every detail of that evidence revealed publicly? Or would he want me booted from Wikipedia with no indication of who I outed or where to look for the information I posted? The Fram situation was completely different from arbcom acting on evidence that they cannot reveal to the rest of us. It started with T&S refusing to let anyone -- including Fram, Jimbo and Arbcom -- see the evidence, then under pressure allowed arbcom alone to see but not reveal a redacted version of it. If that's "literally the exact same issue" I am a Dalek. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:57, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Indeed. We have a community system which largely works - but for which there appears to be a significant degree of support for improving. I for one think we need to improve it - which includes finding ways to support ArbCom so that they can make the tough choices and do the right things even when it may generate a lot of noise. Otherwise, we will fail in our mission to make Wikipedia a safe fun thing where we work together in good faith and with good will - and could even face a future in which staff moderators work in a model similar to youtube or twitter or facebook, making unaccountable decisions behind closed doors even in very routine cases.
In this case, as with all cases, I'm not going to hear an appeal or second guess ArbCom unless there is some very significant reason to do so. Having briefly reviewed the evidence here, and having consulted with ArbCom, I was advised by a member of ArbCom to post my thoughts, which are that I'm completely persuaded by the reasons for this indefinite block and I don't intend to intervene.
There are plenty of cases where our rather strict rules against outing mean that certain types of evidence and situations dealing with off-site behavior can't be easily or properly discussed on-wiki. We need to trust and support our elected ArbCom, and believe me, I stand ready whenever necessary to exercise my (theoretical?) reserve powers to call an election if I see a power-mad ArbCom going off the rails. We are very very far from that situation today.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:57, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I, for one, am looking forward to the suggestions that will be brought forth at the upcoming RfC on handling off-wiki harassment or private harassment complaints by folks who have the perfect solution for handling complaints that:
  • allows the (accused party|community) to respond to every shred of evidence
  • allows the (accused party|community) to know precisely who is accusing them
  • allows (accused party|community|ArbCom) to thoroughly verify the identities and motives of the accuser(s)
  • does not release the identities of the accuser(s) to the (accused party|community|ArbCom)
  • does not run the risk of the (accused party|community) being able to identify the accuser(s) from context around the evidence presented
  • does not draw further attention to private/harassing information
  • does not run any risk of encouraging the harasser to escalate their behavior
  • does not run any risk of the accuser(s) facing backlash or additional harassment from others
  • allows for independent review of the evidence and sanction by (the community|a panel of Wikimedians that is not the ArbCom|an outside party|Jimbo|the WMF)
  • is a feasible process for an unpaid group of volunteers with no budget, limited time, and no law degrees/forensic training/etc.
  • verifies connections between Wikipedia accounts and off-wiki accounts with forensic levels of scrutiny (presumably requiring subpoenas or other ways to compel release of private information by sites on which these other accounts are being run)
  • verifies beyond any doubt that the accused party has committed said harassment
  • allows for no possibility of joe-jobbing
  • does not release a reason for what the accused has done, so as to avoid legal connotations around terms like "harassment", etc.
  • precisely identifies what the accused has done, so as to avoid speculation
I could keep going on with this list for quite some time. Every time some action like this has to be taken, we get a grab-bag of any of these demands, and people are inevitably shocked and angry that we haven't ticked their particular set of boxes. I'm being a bit tongue in cheek here, but seriously, if anyone has suggestions, please raise them at the RfC. GorillaWarfare (talk) 01:01, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
GorillaWarfare, I get your point and I do agree to an extent, but for a start, let's start enforcing on-site harassment and civility. Last week, I was called a cancer to this site, among other things, and nothing was done about it. Can you at least answer if Icewhiz was given the chance to answer the charges? Anyone can say the Twitter was his, but did he have a chance to defend himself? Sir Joseph (talk) 01:06, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I just did a search and could not find any evidence supporting the claim "Last week, I was called a cancer to this site, among other things, and nothing was done about it." There are a significant number of Sir Joseph's edits that have been removed from the page history, presumably as a side effect of removing comments from some troll, so it may very well be that the evidence exists but is not visible to me. If Sir Joseph or anyone else would be so kind as to email me with some sort of hint so I can find the incident, I will be glad to either make sure that something is done about it or to report that Sir Joseph's claim is misleading, depending on what the evidence shows. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:35, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
It's here, unhat the "all's well that ends well" hat. Levivich 01:43, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Diff. In my opinion, what I am seeing in that diff is totally unacceptable, especially followed by a threat to report a WP:NPA violation over the (far less of a personal attack but still wrong) response "Avoid sounding like a Nazi". Beyond My Ken and Leviv, may we please have a better set of apologies and a commitment to not comparing other editors to cancer or Nazis? Sir Joseph in particular deserves a heartfelt apology; that was some really nasty stuff. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:34, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
And since nobody responded, allow me to make an additional comment. El_C blocked an editor for making an almost 100% similar comment, and I posted on El_C's talk page and asked him to do something about this comment, but maybe he didn't see it. In any event, civil discourse and vile comments are only forbidden depending on who you are talking about. I got blocked for saying "Jimbo should have blocked you for longer. You are not an asset to this project." Perhaps that's not nice to say, but I don't think that rises to any level of what we see on a daily basis at all, nor is it what is or was directed toward me and ignored by admins when they saw it. Sir Joseph (talk) 23:38, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, I missed that, Sir Joseph. And not for the first time, even. Sorry about that, again. El_C 23:46, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
El C, that's OK, people miss things. But other admins on that page didn't miss it, they just chose to ignore it, and it's still there. I would have hoped it would be rev'deled or something. GW went through that discussion, and got rid of the Twitter stuff, I think this deserves to be gone too and something should be done about the NPA violation. I did find it ironic that BMK told Levivich that he was going to complain about his language right after his tirade against me. There was no excuse for his language. Sir Joseph (talk) 05:02, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
I have revdeleted the offending text. El_C 05:09, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
El C, I appreciate it, but it is still there. If you go to Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive1019#Proposal:_Sir_Joseph_is_site_banned and open the hatted section, it's in there. Maybe just get rid of that whole section? The whole thing is weird, the main link is suppressed entirely and only the archive is available so I can't even get to the link that Primefac posted on my talk page. Sir Joseph (talk) 05:13, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Manually redacted. I also left the user a note about conducting themselves with greater moderation in the future. El_C 05:30, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
El C, thanks, much appreciated. Sir Joseph (talk) 11:43, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @Sir Joseph: I could make a whole other list about on-site harassment and civility... Anyway, as is often the case with discussions like this, things have fragmented a bit. We have already confirmed at WT:ACN that we did contact Icewhiz and ask him to respond to the allegations. GorillaWarfare (talk) 01:11, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
GorillaWarfare, As for his response, did he respond? Or did ARBCOM block while waiting for a response? I think that is one issue people have. The communication is not clear. You said you asked him to respond to the allegations, but that doesn't mean he responded or defended himself. Did he? We shouldn't tolerate harassment, but we need to be clear that you're getting the right person, and giving everyone due process. Sir Joseph (talk) 01:23, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, he did. I am trying to be as transparent as I can here and respond to the questions everyone has, but given that this is a private matter involving serious harassment I am probably not going to go into any more detail. GorillaWarfare (talk) 01:26, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
OK, understood. Sir Joseph (talk) 01:30, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree with GorillaWarfare very much here. These are all extremely difficult issues, and the truth is: there is no magic bullet. The solution to the issue of harassment is always to be hard. Justice always is.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:09, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Fortunately we have an example of how to deal with harassment (and other malfeasance) that has been developed over the course of thousands of years of human civilization. We should stop trying to reinvent this from scratch and instead study what others before us have tried and learned. In court, if you want to have secret evidence, you have to apply to the judge for permission to seal the evidence. Even if evidence is sealed, the accused as a right to appoint an agent, an officer of the court (also known as a lawyer) to review the evidence on their behalf and challenge it if need be. How do I know anything about this? I'm not a lawyer but I did go to law school and I work as a technology expert in litigation. We often get evidence marked AEO (attorney's eyes only, a designation that includes experts working for an attorney) which we can review, but cannot share with the client. Jehochman Talk 12:18, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I completely agree. Wikipedia tried to reinvent the wheel more than once without external input, which is how we got these idiosyncratic terms that don't correspond to their "real life" meaning: "harassment" isn't really "harassment";[39] "personal attacks" can be completely impersonal,[40] and even valid criticism,[41] "arbitration" isn't really arbitration (at least by one meaning of the term); and conflict resolution procedures (and policy in general) are complex, inaccessible, and even unique. Why not learn from past experience? Why not involve experts in these fields instead of have hobbyists write all of it? This community is so territorial, it pushes on any prospect of outside involvement ("Framgate" being a good example, but also this, and even the replies here). Are there no better solutions than have a group of untrained, if experienced editors decide based on expertise they don't have, evidence they don't share, and policy that's so ambiguous that it can contradict even a common dictionary? François Robere (talk) 14:02, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
We can have hobbyists write policy. That's fine. What I think we need to recognize where existing systems have already studied and addressed the same problems. If we are going to have secret evidence that can be used against editors, then we need to have a mechanism for those editors to appoint a trusted agent to review the secret evidence on their behalf and advise them in general how to proceed, what arguments to make. Otherwise the accused is left blind and unable to defend themselves at all. That would be obviously unfair. Jehochman Talk 14:28, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
But not on their own - we need some expert input. This is a 400,000 member organization, with 65,000 members active at any one time - we need to know how to write policy for an organization of this scale. We need to know how to construct community mechanisms that work reliably and independently. We need proper evidentiary procedures. We need better mechanism for community input. This is all in the realm of constitutional lawyers, organizational psychologists, sociologists and informatics experts - not hobbyists. This ideal that the community can form itself as a sort of "closed system" inadvertently leads to suboptimal results.
Sub-optimal results? Quite doubtful since English Wikipedia is a success. Perhaps the only hope for promoting sub-optimal failure is becoming the process workshop, you envision. Comparatively almost no one, is here at English Wikipedia for process, we even bothered to write policy about not being into process. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:53, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
So is Facebook, and look at the number of scandals it's been involved in. Success in one metric isn't a measure of overall results. Here on Wikipedia, the numbers of editors, active editors and newly-registered editors of the English Wikipedia seem to have stabilized at around half of what they were at their peak,[42][43][44] and the number of admins is the lowest it's been since 2005.[45] Measures of diversity and inclusiveness across Wikipedia projects are low, with 71% of editors reporting being bullied or harassed on Wikipedia in the last year (with the leading reasons for harassment being ethnicity and gender - surprise surprise [46]),[47] and around a quarter of editors saying they don't enjoy their time contributing (that's an improvement - it used to be a third).[48] So if you're looking at traffic, number of articles, overall accuracy etc. - yeah, Wikipedia is a huge success (though it does lack significantly in diversity). But if you're looking at the engine of that success - the editors - then it's clear that success had a cost in editor wear and turnover. So yeah - suboptimal. François Robere (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
we even bothered to write policy about not being into process And yet everything is about process: ArbCom clerks copy templates by hand;[49] ANI and AE have both written and unwritten conventions on how to submit a complaint, or it won't be handled (have you seen these pages? ANI has an 11 point "information panel" right at the top, and AE has a thousand word preamble); talk pages are full of policy and guidelines quotes, because just arguing on the merit of a source isn't enough. Of course there's "process" on Wikipedia - everywhere! François Robere (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
All again, very doubtful. You are arguing that there is more than enough process already AND that we need more process. And your solution is to hire experts from places like Facebook or others who have never created an on-line encyclopedia written by users. Your faith in process is misplaced. Process has doubtful attraction to any of the people you are allegedly trying to reach. Process never got someone to write or edit an article on Emmanuel Pratt, Black Metropolis, or Jaqueline Stewart. Process never stopped someone from being bullied, it just leads to claims that process is bullying someone - generally, the best that process can do is shut the barn door after the horse is gone, so process should be light and flexible; and to the extent process is good, it will devolve more power to users, so that there are less and less admins. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:46, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
You are arguing that there is more than enough process already AND that we need more process No, I'm arguing an organization like this is bound to have some bureaucracy, so let's at least get it right. SPI, for example, is completely redundant, and could easily be replaced by a piece of code.
your solution is to hire experts from places like Facebook I didn't say anything about "hiring experts from Facebook".
Your faith in process is misplaced Where did you get that I have "faith in process"? The whole point is that current community processes are deeply flawed, push qualified editors out and frustrate most anyone who endures them long enough. François Robere (talk) 20:32, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
That "some bureaucracy" is either organic or it can have no buy-in. "Experts from places like Facebook and others" would be the ones in your hiring spree, otherwise there are no experts in handling on-line platforms and the people who use them. To the extent the current community processes are "deeply flawed", it is because humans created them and humans are flawed, there is no magic expert to fix that. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:51, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm going to stop here. Not only you missed my point and you're making assertions I didn't make, but you seem to accept the situation as-is ("humans are flawed"), which is something I reject outright. Cheers. François Robere (talk) 11:22, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Jehochman, I have to say, I like the sound of allowing a representative of the accused to review the evidence. Obviously, it poses some (quite significant) problems when applied to Wikipedia, since the evidence would, by its nature, be restricted to signatories of NDAs. That would in practice mean Arbitrators, without creating a new user group or something. Could it be made to work... maybe, and that's worth investigating. Bellezzasolo Discuss 16:05, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

I believe functionaries are qualified. Many of them are former arbitrators. They’ve signed and are trusted. What makes it fair is that the accused can appoint somebody they trust. Jehochman Talk 18:27, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

Findings of fact

Regardless of the new block, two major and legitimate questions remain: was ArbCom right in making certain FoFs despite the existence of validating RS (§2 in Icewhiz's appeal); and was ArbCom within its mandate in ignoring the questions and reservations of 16 out of 17 editors who commented on the PD talk page (§5 in Icewhiz's appeal)? I ask that Jimbo reviews these questions, as they have broad implications to the community beyond Icewhiz's case. François Robere (talk) 19:26, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

The answer to (2) is: yes. They are allowed to ignore the mob. Even if the mob is right. Were they right to do so in this case? Who knows. But they are definitely allowed to, and I would not want it any other way. Guy (help!) 20:53, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
The mob? Yes. But this wasn't a mob - some of the objections were lengthy and well-reasoned, and directly challenged ArbCom's conclusions. Hence the question. François Robere (talk) 11:29, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Doesn't matter. Yes, Arbcom should read and consider all comments, which they clearly do. In that sense, nothing is "ignored". But Arbcom can -- and does on a regular basis -- fail to be persuaded by a comment and Arbcom can -- and does on a regular basis -- choose not to respond to comments (AKA "ignoring" them). What you fail to appreciate is that the comments section of an Arbcom page is there to help the arbitrators, not to meet any needs -- real or perceived -- of the commenters or anyone reading the comments. The arbitrators communicate with us in the form of a final decision, They have no mandate to communicate with us on the talk page. They sometimes do post to the talk page, especially when asking for more details, asking for a clarification, or correcting obvious errors of fact, but they don't have to respond. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:55, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Guy Macon is generally correct - the committee needn't respond and policy is written that way, to allow the committee to not respond when the best response is silence. That said, I (and by extension the rest of the committee) could and should have done better at responding on that talk page. I did read the comments and consider them in making my votes on the final decision but, what with one thing and another, I never responded. I do consider that a failing on my part, even if not a breach of policy. WormTT(talk) 08:48, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
It's never too late. The objections revolved around three questions:
  1. Why did you find Icewhiz "guilty" of certain rhetoric despite him having RS that validate it?
  2. Why wasn't Volunteer Marek penalized more severely for his frequent abusive rhetoric (which he now continues,[50][51] violating not only CIVILITY/NPA/ASPERSIONS but also his I-ban)?
  3. Why did you choose to narrow down the case to Icewhiz and VM, when you had plenty of evidence of wrongdoing by other editors as well?
If ArbCom could (satisfactorily) answer these three questions, I'm sure it would put everyone's minds at ease. François Robere (talk) 09:08, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
François Robere, I'll do my best to answer as an individual.
  1. Icewhiz opinion and rhetoric wasn't quoting a reliable source, nor was it in editing an article. Instead it was in the middle of a discussion, of his opinion. As such, sources, reliable or not, are not part of it. What's more, Arbcom does not deal with content disputes as it is not qualified to do so - but rather behavioural ones. Icewhiz's behaviour, exemplified in those diffs, but also more generally was clearly unacceptable.
  2. Both were iBanned, and topic banned from the area. I believe that was sufficient to allow the area to move forward
  3. When it came down to it, removing those two from the area, along with iBanning from each other seemed to be sufficient on an individual basis. The area already had access to DS and with the additional sourcing requirement, I believe the area could move forward.
We've had cases before where our decision weren't sufficient, and it may be that Arbcom needs to revisit the area - but I'd like to see how things have settled first. WormTT(talk) 09:33, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. I have strong reservations about all of these, but they can wait. In the meanwhile I'll tell you what happened in the time since the case closed, just to give you an idea of how well your formulation worked: two editors from related topic areas were banned for related offenses (Paul Siebert at AE, and Sir Joseph at ANI), one editor from the topic area is facing multiple sanctions at ANI (Xx236), one editor has violated his I-ban (Volunteer Marek), one editor was blocked (Icewhiz), and one editor - that of the Signpost - snubbed a scoop because he was afraid of sanctions - all in the span of two weeks. Success! François Robere (talk) 15:06, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
I realize that you are being sarcastic, but what you describe actually is "success". If ANI can handle a situation, as it did with Sir Joseph, then AE and Arbcom should not take the case. If AE can handle a situation, as it did with Paul Siebert, then Arbcom should not take the case. Arbcom took the Icewhiz case because neither ANI or AE is set up to deal with evidence that cannot be revealed, and offwiki harassment is one of the most common cases where evidence cannot be revealed -- we don't want to leave any clue as to who Icewhiz harassed or the nature of that harassment. Knowing that multiple arbs, elected to do just that, looked at the evidence is enough. ANI and AE are more open; you and I can review the evidence behind the decision. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:16, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Indeed I am, but I'm not referring to Icewhiz's infini-ban, but to the ArbCom case: there ArbCom had a chance to deal with several problems at once, but instead it chose to focus almost exclusively on Icewhiz and Volunteer Marek as a sort of "silver bullet". Commentators (including myself) warned that this wasn't enough, and the "action" in the TA over the past weeks shows they (or we) were right. François Robere (talk) 11:25, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Regarding "ignoring the mob", I wouldn't express it like that as editors are entitled to state their opinions. However it is completely obvious that people who disagree with an arbcom decision will be far more motivated to write about it than people who are satisfied with the decision. It is faulty reasoning to interpret a bunch of complaints as indicating a community consensus. Zerotalk 11:04, 4 October 2019 (UTC)


I have a request for those who wish to come to dispute resolution venues and drama boards with complaints of antisemitism.

I am a fully paid-up card-carrying goy, and definitely a social justice warrior. I have exactly zero patience with holocaust denial and would gleefully ban every neo-Nazi from Wikipedia in an eyeblink. So why do you think you are failing to convince me, and others like me, of the "obvious" anti-Semitism you keep reporting?

I can tell you how it feels from my side. I see two editors asserting that X incident is either an example of the subversion of Poles by the Nazis, or an example of Polish anti-Semitism, and neither will accept anything other than A or B, black or white. When I read the sources I see the same facts interpreted one way by one set of scholars and another way by another set of scholars. Admins try not to pick sides, but we don't like bigots overmuch. Anyone who uses the n-word is out, pronto. We look for obvious bigotry - racial slurs and the like, - and deal with it. But intractable disputes between mutually irreconcilable interpretations of the same facts, are not a thing we can deal with, certainly not by taking an administrative view of which side is right.

So we have areas where we used to be a model for tense but respectful collaboration (e.g. around Israel-Palestine), with obvious trolls unceremoniously ejected, and we can't seem to get the same sort of environment around Poland. It's not due to nationalism (that applies far more to Israel-Palestine), so is it an effect of the increasingly angry and polarised world we live in? You've got to be aware that being Jewish doesn't get you a free pass, that the Jewish Internet Defense Force and other groups have caused us huge problems in the past with the assertion that anything other than uncritical support for Israel is anti-Semitism, so you must know that we are treading a tightrope.

When you come to ANI with a complaint of "obvious" anti-Semitism that seems to be based on a difference over interpretation of the same facts by different sources, you're going to end up with yet another angry and inconclusive mess. When you complain that X said that your mother smelled of elderberries, you're going to have to explain, for an audience largely comprised of goyim who know nothing about the underlying subject matter and have a strong incentive not to change that, why that is actually a slur rather than mere vulgar abuse. Right now the majority of these complaints come across not as asking for help, which is all we can offer, but as demanding support in a holy cause. The admin approach to fractious partisans is generally to drag them apart or block them all rather than decide that one group or the other is objectively right, because the experience of years says that in most such disputes it's neither. "X called me Y!" often turns out to be "X said Y, which I interpret as Y' and will not accept it was intended in any other way". Opinion is stated as fact. One or other competing interpretation is asserted as ineffable truth. We have discretionary sanctions because admins and arbcom can't settle content disputes, we can only ban the people who make them disruptive. Very often, these people are in the right. We have banned at least three staunch science advocates that I know of, defenders of our medical content against woo-mongers. Doesn't matter. If they cause more drama than they are worth, they go.

We're not content managers, we're janitors, or maybe traffic police (though we do try not to summarily execute people for driving while black).

I guess what I am saying is that you're not helping your cause by berating those who fail to take the "obviously correct" side. In the same way that the best article writing involves putting yourself in the shoes of the opposition, you'll probably have a lot more success if you remember that we're just folks. I can't explain to a Brexiteer why Brexit is a catastrophically stupid idea, and I can't get them to explain to me what, exactly, the EU does that makes their lives miserable enough to suffer a huge drop in GDP and the loss of free movement. So in general I don't try. You, however, are trying to get us involved in your dispute, on your side. The burden is on you to lead us along the way. Often you want sanctions and reprimands for what look to any non-partisan non subject expert onlooker like perfectly reasonable representations of perfectly reasonable sources. We don't do content disputes. You need to work out a way of settling the content issue and separating out behaviour so it's sufficiently clear that we can see the good guys and the bad guys, rather than a sack of ferrets fighting tooth and claw. Jimmy, tell me if I am getting this wrong. I have tried to see things from these guys' perspective but I can't get past the fact that they always seem to be trying to recruit me tot heir side rather than ask for help with a specific and well-defined problem that I can fix with the admin's limited toolbag. Guy (help!) 21:53, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

What is your view of these diffs (the "Poles" before "Jews" section)? Levivich 22:18, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Levivich, it will take a while to review them all, but to pick one that immediately stood out: you changed "During World War II Poland was the main scene of the Holocaust ..." to "During World War II Poland was the main scene of the genocide of Poles by Nazi Germany as well as Holocaust ..." Can you see how, to a Pole, that would be an important distinction? Do you think Poland, without Nazi invasion, would have undertaken genocide of the Jews? [Edit: Tired, missed the fact he substituted Poles]. You are good at compromise wording, what did you suggest instead? Incidentally, your question to molobo was correct, and his less than perfect English is a significant part of the problem IMO. Guy (help!) 22:42, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Levivich It's rather straightforward-in context of the Holocaust Jews were the main victims and should be mentioned first. In context of overall genocidal policies within Poland carried out by Nazi Germany(in whcih Poles and Jews were classified as subhumans fit for slavery and eventual extermination) Poles consituted the largest group affected and should be mentioned first, with other groups mentioned after the main group later. So, in texts about Holocaust Jews should be mentione first, but if we are writing about genocide carried out by Nazi in the whole country, not just Holocuast-then we should start with the largest group affected. If we are writing about Poland than it is rather self explanatory that treatment of Poles by Nazi Germany will be described first.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 07:00, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Since I've been working on this page occasionally, my reading is this: a person landing on this entry *today* would expect to read first what the situation is *today*. With over 94% of the population self-declaring their ethnicity as Polish, it doesn't make sense to list Poles as the primary victims of racism in Poland today. Readers might also expect a bit of history on "racism in Poland", including of course the Holocaust, the pogroms between the wars (and before WWI) which led many Jews to leave the country (the Lwów pogrom (1918) for example). Before that, the Jews were kicked out of Silesia, most major cities (Warsaw, Krakow) and, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, were largely protected by the absentee landowners (szlachta), on whose estates they lived, being called upon to collect rent from the (Ruthenian / Ukrainian) peasants... which put them very much on the front line during the Khmelnytsky Uprising. The claim that the Poles were the primary victim of racism / ethnic discrimination just doesn't stand up for any period of time based on the scholarly sources I've read. That doesn't mean that there shouldn't be some mention of the history of Nazi racial ideology concerning Slavs. The "in Poland" part of "Racism in Poland" makes it such that the Katyn massacre is probably off-topic (and it is currently not mentioned in the entry if I remember correctly). On the other hand, the grisly fate of Poles in German agricultural workcamps *is* mentioned, as it should be.🌿 SashiRolls t · c 10:52, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Right. So the topic is racism in modern Poland, and the history of racism in Poland is a different topic complicated by the involvement of the Nazis. That makes sense to me. Guy (help!) 11:29, 3 October 2019 (UTC) deleted comment restored by 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 13:59, 3 October 2019 (UTC). . . . (I don't understand the allusion to the Mongols below, but there seems to have been an edit clash.)
Yes. We've had a discussion about it and we reached more or less the conclusion SashiRolls reached.[52] There's another problem, though: Molobo has been inserting some content that pertains to 18th-19th cen. proto/racism in parts of Poland occupied by Prussia. I'm not entirely sure that belongs in an article on Poland proper, or that it is enough of a justification to re-order the entire article. François Robere (talk) 15:33, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
And what was the outcome of the RfC, and how many people participated? Guy (help!) 22:04, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
It wasn't an RfC, just a regular vote. It was 4:3 (4:2 discounting an IP editor) for trimming the article - three for one formulation, one for another, but all in agreement on the main proposition. François Robere (talk) 14:40, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Actually I count
  • 1. Support- modern Poland after 1992
  • 2. Oppose
  • 3. Exclude WW2 include other periods
  • 4. Oppose-Exclude anything that is not backed up by sources to be racially motivated.
  • 5. Oppose
  • 6. Exclude wartime acts by foreign actors; mention those by domestic actor; include everything else
  • 7. Support-for modern Poland only after 1992
  • 8. The article "Racism in Poland" must cover ALL the history
  • 9. Support for modern Poland after 1992

So total is:

  • 3 votes for modern Poland after 1992
  • 4 votes opposing
  • 1 vote for exclusion of WW2
  • 1 vote for exclusion of foreign racism in WW2

Feel free to double checkMyMoloboaccount (talk) 15:08, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

I have. There are only 7-8 votes there (a technicality, but of the IPs didn't vote):
  • 3 x Post-1919, brief mention of WWII, some background info (FR, Icewhiz, MVBW)
  • 1 x Post-1989 (Slatersteven, per MVBW)
  • 3-4 x objections (IP, Molobo, Malick, IP)
So depending on how you consider the IPs, we have a majority for at least cutting back on anything from before 1919. François Robere (talk) 13:50, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
4 vs 3 is majority against, as is 4 vs 1.Sorry FR.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 15:59, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
"Post-1989" (ie nothing before 1989) includes by definition "post-1919" (ie nothing before 1919), hence the four votes. François Robere (talk) 11:27, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
The events is 13th century weren't really motivated by racism though but by religious strife.Also Poles were primary victims of racism in Prussian Partition and largest group facing racism in Poland under Nazi German rule.That being said, nobody disputes that Holocaust happened, or that Jews faced immediate's just that the article covers more than just this event.MyMoloboaccount (talk) 11:25, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • "Insert inspirational message here about how you can't please everyone and about how we can't ask more of site staff than to act judiciously and justly."-Serialjoepsycho- (talk) 22:28, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, sorry. But it pisses me off that despite a bazillion words at ANI I still struggle to see this as anything other than a cat fight. Guy (help!) 22:44, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
That was my TLDR agreeing with you.-Serialjoepsycho- (talk) 23:50, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I've kept well away from this dispute (and I'm keeping it that way) but I just want to fully support those very wise words from Guy just up there ^. When you're deeply involved in an issue in a personal way, it can be very difficult (perhaps even impossible) to step back from it and try to see it from the outside. But that is exactly what we have to do. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:18, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the question. I tried to answer exactly that here, but as you may know it went sideways,[53][54] so I'll try to rephrase it:
The main problem has to do with recognition: What admins seem to generally expect is the sort of loud-mouthed vandalism akin to a graffiti of a swastika on a synagogue's front door; what you then miss is more subtle expressions of bias and prejudice, like an editor routinely promoting the stereotype of Judeo-Communism using 3rd rate sources.[55] In pure terms it's as prejudiced and biased as any other neo-Nazi idea, it's just expressed more subtly and politely, so editors who are not intimately acquainted with the subject tend to miss it. And yet, with some editors we can show that this is a pattern, including source selection and even terminology. In general there's a lot of subtlety in racism, but if you're not aware of it you won't necessarily recognize it (see "dog-whistling" as an example). Now the question is "why won't you be aware of these various expressions of prejudice?" I suspect the answer has to do with the community's demographics: mostly male, from majority-white, majority-Christian, Western countries. Most probably have no first-person experience of being routinely or significantly prejudiced against (ie. in a manner that is life-changing) - they probably don't know how it is "to walk in another person's shoes"[56] - so they have a hard time acknowledging common prejudice even when it's right in front of them. What do you think? What's your experience? François Robere (talk) 15:28, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
That's not really true, though. What we do need is to be shown a clear an obvious difference between the behaviour of the parties. Remember, we do not are not arbiters of content disputes, we expect you to fix that, we just help to maintain an environment in which that can happen. Guy (help!) 22:02, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Oh, but you are. If I wrote something that was clearly racist you would delete it and I'd get blocked. Why? Because you would be able to recognize it as racist. But what if I "dog-whistled"? Without thorough understanding of the subject you'd have no idea, and you'l just say it's a "content issue" and "deal with it yourself". François Robere (talk) 08:48, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
@JzG: That is correct, however, there is one important point admins (as whole) seem to miss: if some formal criterion becomes a sole indicator of performance, it stops working. If admin's vision of a good environment is that environment where nobody calls each other "Holocaust deniers", such an environment may become friendly to civil POV pushers. If admins see every dispute that cannot be described in 500 words and 20 diffs as "content dispute" that means good faith users are left vis-a-vis with civil POV pushers, who feel totally safe as soon as they avoid making certain statements.--Paul Siebert (talk) 07:23, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Also, false accusations of dog whistling when none was intended do exist. As does intentional dog whistling followed by claims that none was intended. If I see someone who only sees dog whistling by one side of the ongoing Team Red vs. Team Blue dumpster fire, I tend to ignore them. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:01, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
We recognise dog whistles too. Nobody I know had any difficulty understanding what Trump meant when he told the Squad to "go back where they came from". But some people are hypersensitive, and some dog whistles require extensive knowledge of the content area before they are recognisable. Guy (help!) 10:13, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
That's exactly the point: you know that one not only because Trump is a complete idiot, but also because you're exposed to that culture. Could you recognize "dog whistles" from cultures you're not exposed to on a daily basis? Let's take for example the simplest possible one: "them". Who does "them" refer to in different cultures? A thousand different people? More? But if you're not familiar with the context, how would you know?
Now imagine this isn't a single example (eg. "X is racist, here are five sources") - and certainly not one as obvious as Trump's - but something that permeates the entire discussion (which is what the second paragraph of my little essay was meant to convey) - not a term, but an idea; how can you even begin to explain, let alone convince someone who isn't familiar with the subject? Now, I'll be happy to give you a whole bunch of diffs to show you how some editors consistently apply antisemitic stereotypes,[57] but the moment I do so the discussion will launch itself to AE (just as it has before, even when I didn't name any names). And so we're stuck in a vicious circle: I can't explain it because I'll get sanctioned if I do; if I don't explain it the admins won't understand it; and if they don't understand it they'll sanction me for raising it; so why are you surprised no one is convinced? That's why I think only outside involvement (eg. diversity training) could help here. Under the current conditions - without using explicit terms, without giving clear examples, and in a hostile and short-winded environment like ANI or AE - it's practically impossible to do that. François Robere (talk) 13:57, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
@JzG: Told you.[58] François Robere (talk) 11:02, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Omer Ben Jaakov on KL Warsaw, at Haaretz

Today on Haaretz:

For over 15 years, false claims that thousands of Poles were gassed to death in Warsaw were presented as fact. Haaretz reveals they are just the tip of an iceberg of a widespread Holocaust distortion operation by Polish nationalists.

— Benjakob, Omer (2019-10-03). "The Fake Nazi Death Camp: Wikipedia's Longest Hoax, Exposed". Haaretz. Retrieved 2019-10-03.

François Robere (talk) 20:56, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

The article is amusing as nobody here wrote about the KL Warschau in any significant extent, and the article itself seems to be unaware that Nuremberg Trials declared that both Jewish and Polish nations faced genocide(" They conducted deliberate and systematic genocide, viz., the extermination of racial and national groups, against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories in order to destroy particular races and classes of people and national, racial, or religious groups, particularly Jews, Poles, and Gypsies and others. "The trial of German major war criminals : proceedings of the International Military Tribunal sitting at Nuremberg Germany Indictment : Count Three.I think it represents more of the current worldview in certain parts of Isreali society that leads to these endless historical conflicts in both media and public space, than accurate show of problems with Wikipedia.For the record I don't recall anyone objecting to correcting the article as long as it sticked to the facts.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 22:09, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't find it even mildly amusing. The article is about Holocaust revisionism first and foremost, and mentions you, Piotrus, Volunteer Marek, PoeticBent and the EEML by name. It includes the opinions of two world-class researchers - Jan Grabowski and Havi Dreifuss (of TAU and Yad Vashem), who I trust know much more than you about the Nuremberg trials. Grabowski, as you know, is not Israeli, and Yad Vashem's reputation is beyond reproach. Haaretz is a paper of record, known for thorough reporting and open discussion. Before you make insinuations, make sure you have your sources in order. François Robere (talk) 08:33, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
For the last time. Stop. Referring to me on this topic. Stop making attacks on me. Volunteer Marek 19:30, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
VM, with due respect, that FR's statement is in a full accordance with our content and even BLP policy. Just ask yourself, if the statement:
"The article is about Holocaust revisionism first and foremost, and mentions John Smith (a living person, -P.S.) by name."
is acceptable in the article space? Obviously, yes. Then why cannot the same be said about you (especially, taking into account that VM is hardly your real full name)?--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:06, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
I have to say I am rather disappointed in Haaretz. This story is very one sided - effectively might have been written by a certain banned editor we discuss here. I was interviewed for it shortly before it went to press, and asked to be allowed to review the final piece for errors, etc. They did not do it, and so their piece is quite full of both factual errors, and it misquotes me as well :( I wrote an email to Haaretz with corrections, but I have no idea if it will do any good, the account is very one sided and emotional, and clearly has an agenda :( It is also interesting to note how it dwells on an ancient history (an arbcom case from 10 years ago) but not much on this one. We are dealing with Poisoning the well and harassment not only on Twitter, but even in media I thought was actually reputable (I guess now I'll know better). Fake news era, I guess. In either case, I find this article another nail in said editor's coffin; further off-wiki attempts to harass those one disagrees with are unlikely to lead to revision of the indef ban, which at first I thought was rather unreasonable, but the more I look at the evidence (tweets, now this) the more sad I feel. "True believers" are not only scary, but plain and simply detrimental to this project; they will fight tooth and nail until until the bitter end (and in some cases, continue with socking or off wiki harassment and such). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:34, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
The Haaretz story has one primary source: Icewhiz. Of course it's one-sided, what else would you expect? It also makes a few good points, but doesn't, in the end ,help us untangle the difference between actual revisionism and Polish nationalism - I suspect there is a Venn diagram with some overlap but it's not a single circle. This issue of bias in published sources is not Wikipedia's problem alone, of course. Until the heroic Deborah Lipstadt stood up to be counted, David Irving was accepted as a legitimate scholar in the real world. Guy (help!) 10:10, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
It's not what I would've hoped for, but having some attention drawn to the subject is better than no attention at all. If you were misquoted, feel free to send you me your version of the story - I can't do anything about it, but I'm open to reading others' accounts. As for the EEML - it's old, but it is the history of the topic area, and I occasionally wonder myself how some editors who were involved there were allowed to continue editing.
Two things must be said for the story: a) OBJ verified each and every claim, and where he didn't it's noted; b) he got in touch with two major scholars, and they said what should be pretty clear to everyone: this topic area has major issues, which the community hasn't addressed properly.
There are arguments for and against the claim that this is "poisoning the well". I think in this case it's worth it: Wikipedia needs a wake up call. This isn't slander - it's an actual problem that is brought to light. It's very much not fake.
As for "untangling the difference" - that we cannot do without a lot more work, or without changing the community process (or without replacing the community, which looks like the easiest option of the three). At the moment we simply don't have a process in place where, for example, we can invite Lipstadt, or Dreifuss, or Grabowski to review articles and tell us what they think; and without a lot of reading, there's no way a small but topically-well-read group of editors can explain all of this to the broader community (that is, indeed, exactly the problem we've had in most of the 11 ANI and AE discussions we had here). ArbCom was our "last hope" in this respect, but as others had anticipated they did very little. François Robere (talk) 13:20, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
The Haaretz article gives the impression that the "conspiracy theory" parts of the history of the Warsaw concentration camp remained unchallenged in the article until last month. However, the article's talkpage shows that was not the case; in the first two years of the life of the article, the controversies were raised here and here. Major sections of text were deleted by K.e.coffman on the 5th and 6th of May. Subsequently, Icewhiz obtained a copy of a long London Review of Books article of 09 May 2019, which describes the work done by Zygmunt Walkowski, started in 2010 and finished in 2017, which demonstrated that there were no gas chambers at the camp. Using that as a source, he further redacted the article. Calling that the exposure of a hoax on Wikipedia, further, the exposure of a hoax by a particular editor, is somewhat of an exagerration.     ←   ZScarpia   23:20, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Il Post (Italian, English Gtranslation) picked up the Haaretz story and sums up the issue as: The revisionist narrative claims that the Polish population in general - and not just the Jewish population of the country - was among the main victims of the Nazi occupation. Efforts to increase the estimate of the number of Poles who died during the so-called Polocaust are also part of the attempt, to minimize the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust and to alter, in general, various historical events. Also at Italian online journal Open [59]. Levivich 16:35, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

the revisionist narrative claims that the Polish population in general - and not just the Jewish population of the country - was among the main victims of the Nazi occupation.That's quite perplexing claim that isn't representative of the mainstream historiography or international law.As mentioned above Nuremberg Trials Indictment Count Three stated:They conducted deliberate and systematic genocide, viz., the extermination of racial and national groups, against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories in order to destroy particular races and classes of people and national, racial, or religious groups, particularly Jews, Poles, and Gypsies and others.[60] Historians are of the same view: Timothy Snyder states: "When the Germans shot tens of thousands of Poles in 1944, with the intention of making sure that Warsaw would never rise again, that was genocide, too. Far less dramatic measures, such as the kidnapping and Germanisation of Polish children, were also, by the legal definition, genocide." Norman M. Naimark states in Genocide: A World History published Oxford University Press:"Hitler's genocidal policies in Poland were directed both at the Poles and at the Jews". I rather doubt that Timothy Snyder, or Norman Naimark are revisionists, nor that Nuremberg Trial judges were revisionists. That that the death toll of Poles at KL Warschau was inflated by fringe historian to 200,000(in reality 10,000 Poles were executed) doesn't change the fact of genocical nature of Nazi policies towards the Poles, and claiming that Poles weren't among main victims of Nazis in Poland itself goes against mainstream history, as short glance at Nazi crimes against the Polish nation will demonstrate.To conclude, yes some fringe researches exaggerated the death toll at KL Warschau, but to claim Nazi Germany didn't mass murder Poles in genocide goes against mainstream accepted research and legal verdicts at Nuremberg Trials.
--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 19:23, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Nobody disputes that Nazis killed many Poles. But Poles were not the primary target of Nazi's genocidal policies; Jews were. Nazi crimes against the Polish nation needs a lot of cleaning up. For example, its description of Auschwitz as "the main concentration camp for Poles" is inaccurate and not neutral. Compare with Auschwitz. Changing articles to say that Poles were the primary victims of Nazis is revisionism. Levivich 19:37, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Nobody disputes that Nazis killed many PolesThis is not what I stated, Poles were targets of genocide as well, as stated by legal verdicts of Nuremberg Trial and respectable historians.Nobody disputes that Jews were victims of Nazi genocide and faced the most immediate and intense extermination, but this doesn't mean that other groups weren't victims of Nazi Germany's genocide as well, and Poles certainly were one of the main targets.For example, its description of Auschwitz as "the main concentration camp for Poles" is inaccurate and not neutral IIRC it housed 150,000 ethnic Poles till 1941, if there was a bigger concentration camp for Poles I confess I don't know and would have to research this, if you if any other camp housed more Poles, feel free to add this information.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 20:04, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
About 960,000 Jews killed at Auschwitz; 75,000 non-Jewish Poles. Auschwitz wasn't the "main concentration camp for Poles"; it wasn't "for Poles" at all, it was for Jews. 960k out of 1.1 million deaths at Auschwitz were Jews. The main concentration camps for Poles were Polenlagers, and Auschwitz wasn't one of them. Levivich 01:31, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
"It wasn't 'for Poles' at all, it was for Jews." Do take more care with the statement of fact. Although an extermination complex whose main victims were Jews was later built, as its original purpose, Auschwitz was "for" the general Polish population and Poles could well have formed the largest group among its inmates throughout its existence.
From "KL, A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps" (2015) by Nikolaus Wachsmann:
  • "By early 1942, Auschwitz had become the largest concentration camp of all (except for Mauthausen), with nearly twelve thousand men locked up inside. More than three-quarters of these men were Poles, as the camp’s main purpose remained the battle against the conquered population. Today Auschwitz is synonymous with the Holocaust, but it was built to impose German rule over Poland."
  • "The new camps contributed to the spread of wartime terror. As we have seen, Auschwitz was designed to combat dissent and opposition among the Polish population."
  • "Auschwitz officially operated from June 14, 1940, when the first mass transport of Polish inmates arrived: 728 men from Tarnów prison near Krakow, across the border in the General Government. Most of them were young men, including students and soldiers, accused of a wide range of anti-German activities."
  • "Several of his lieutenants, including Camp Inspector Glücks, championed a new KL “for the East,” to hold down the Polish population. After much deliberation, the SS settled on a site in the provincial Polish border town Oświęcim, southeast of Katowice (Kattowitz)."
  • "Nor were concentration camps synonymous with the Holocaust, although their histories are intertwined. First, anti-Jewish terror largely unfolded outside the KL; it was not until the final year of World War II that most of the surviving Jews found themselves inside a concentration camp. The significant majority of the up to six million Jews murdered under the Nazi regime perished in other places, shot in ditches and fields across eastern Europe, or gassed in distinct death camps like Treblinka, which operated separately from the KL. Second, the concentration camps always targeted various victim groups, and except for a few weeks in late 1938, Jews did not make up a majority among registered prisoners. For most of the Third Reich, in fact, they formed a relatively small part, and even after numbers rose sharply in the second half of the war, Jews did not constitute more than perhaps thirty percent of the registered inmate population."
  • "The SS concentration camps, in turn, have become closely identified with Auschwitz and its Jewish victims, obscuring other camps and other inmates. A German poll found that Auschwitz is by far the most recognized KL and that the vast majority of respondents associate the camps with the persecution of Jews; by contrast, less than ten percent named Communists, criminals, or homosexuals as victims. In popular memory, then, the concentration camps, Auschwitz, and the Holocaust have merged into one. But Auschwitz was never synonymous with the Nazi concentration camps. True, as the largest and most lethal camp by far, it occupied a special place in the KL system. But there was always more to this system. Auschwitz was closely integrated into the wider KL network, and it was preceded and shaped by other camps. Dachau, for example, was more than seven years old when Auschwitz was established, and clearly influenced it."
    ←   ZScarpia   12:31, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
Low quality journalistic echo effect is already in progress. Nobody is trying to inflate the number of Polish casualties, nor deflate the Jewish number. Well, nobody in the mainstream, and no estabilished editor here, some fringe theories pushed by SPAs or such do occasionally arise and it is good to keep them in check. As I said several times, I wonder if we should stub Polocaust. Getting a new article would be preferable to continued bickering and beating a dead horse here... --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 01:06, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
[61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] are all edits suggesting Nazis targetted non-Jewish Poles as much or more than Jews. Levivich 01:22, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm counting at least six discussions trying to discredit a particular (award-winning) historian for his estimate of the number of Jews killed by, or because of Poles,[73][74][75][76][77][78] plus many others in the respective TPs of his[79] and the particular book's.[80] François Robere (talk) 14:08, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
This has been discussed numerous times and Grabowskis number not only has been rejected by other scholars, he himself withdrew from the numbers.I suggest you think carefully about reopening content disputes led by Icewhiz on numerous pages.I also suggest you remove the aspersion that editors were trying to "discredit" him.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 16:01, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
This is exactly what I mean. Not only do other editors read his comments very differently than you do,[81] but the overall reception that he received was that of praise, and one of his books even won the Yad Vashem literary award. When you fail to mention any of it, despite it being mentioned to more times than I'd wish to count, it kind of gives the impression you don't like the guy... François Robere (talk) 11:49, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Levivich-nobody here disputes that Auschwitz was primarily for Jews and overwhelming majority of deaths were Jewish.That it also held largest number of Polish prisoners out of all the camps is however also correct from what I understand.The Polenlager(which I informed you about) were solely for Poles but their population was small compared to Auschwitz.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 09:40, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Nope, Jews faces the most intense extermination by Nazis,even if they weren't the largest group affected. You reading into this this more than there is to it.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 09:40, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

"Poles could well have formed the largest group among its inmates throughout its existence" ... "Jews faces the most intense extermination by Nazis,even if they weren't the largest group affected" ... this is what historical revisionism looks like. “Largest group”...PLEASE. The “largest group affected” by the Nazis were right-handed people. Did you know that? The vast majority of people killed by the Nazis were right-handed; left-handed people made up a much smaller proportion of victims. Almost all the prisoners at Auschwitz were right-handed. And in the Polenlagers, too!
And what’s more: the primary victims of Nazis were Europeans. Yes, everyone knows that virtually all concentration camp prisoners were European.
Indeed, it seems obvious that the largest group facing genocide by the Nazis were right-handed Europeans. It was right-handed Europeans who were most affected by Nazi policies, and most Nazi victims — both inside and outside of Poland — were right-handed Europeans. Therefore, we can write that "Poland was the main scene of the Nazi genocide of right-handed Europeans, including Poles, Jews, and others." Right?
Wrong. 75% of Europe’s Jews were killed. Not 75% of Polish people. Not 75% of right-handed people. It was a systematic genocide of Jews and specifically Jews. Claiming that any other group was the "main" or "primary" or "largest" victim of Nazis is historical revisionism. It’s just not true. Poles were the largest affected in Poland is like saying Europeans were the largest group affected in Europe. Duh! Saying non-Jewish Poles were the largest group affected in Poland is only true in the same way that saying right-handed people were the largest group affected, or two-legged people were the largest group affected. Technically true but meaningless, and misleading when made the focus of an article. Don’t try to change World War II into a Nazi crime against Poles as opposed to Jews. Don’t try to invent a Nazi genocide of Poles to rival the Holocaust. The consensus of sources don’t say that, and neither should Wikipedia. Levivich 15:23, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
Before making accusations of Holocaust revisionism or denial, you should straighten out your own facts and arguments.
In my previous comment, by quoting Nikolaus Wachsmann's "KL, A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps", I addressed the claim that Auschwitz "wasn't 'for Poles' at all, it was for Jews." You haven't repeated the claim, but you have quoted part of my comment, that "Poles could well have formed the largest group among its inmates throughout its existence," as an example of what "historical revisionism looks like." Please re-read the very first quotation from Wachsmann: "By early 1942, Auschwitz had become the largest concentration camp of all (except for Mauthausen), with nearly twelve thousand men locked up inside. More than three-quarters of these men were Poles, as the camp’s main purpose remained the battle against the conquered population." I think that justifies what I wrote. Do you have any contradicting evidence?
    ←   ZScarpia   18:12, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm sure more than three-quarters of these men were right-handed, and more than three-quarters of these men were European, as well. Auschwitz had 1.3 million prisoners: over a million Jews, 150,000 non-Jewish Poles. Auschwitz was "for Jews", not for non-Jewish Poles, not "for Poles", and yes, many of the Jews were Poles, and also European and right-handed, but that doesn't make Auschwitz "for Poles" or "for Europeans" or "for right-handed people", and neither Wachsmann nor any other historian paints it that way. Saying that Auschwitz was mainly for Poles, or that Poles were the largest group facing Nazi genocide, is WP:SYNTH. The consensus of reliable sources do not say this. Levivich 18:48, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Claiming that any other group was the "main" or "primary" or "largest" victim of Nazis is historical revisionism. Don’t try to invent a Nazi genocide of Poles to rival the Holocaust Here is what Nuremberg trials stated

  • That Haaretz article is shocking. If true (a big "if") then it is the biggest embarassment ever to hit Wikipedia on multiple levels. I have no personal familiarity with Icewhiz, but if half of what it says about him is true then Wikipedia and especially Arbcom has egg on its face. This one isn't going away, people. Coretheapple (talk) 01:21, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
Icewhiz isn't the issue. This is the issue:

Everything that is related to negative treatment of Jews by Poles during the Holocaust is now being distorted and manipulated – with the goal of promoting a false narrative and sowing confusion on English Wikipedia.

— Jan Grabowski, Prof. of History at the University of Ottawa[1]

I saw articles changing dramatically, in front of my students' very eyes... Holocaust revisionism in Wikipedia deserves to be studied in its own right.

— Havi Dreifuss, Prof. of History at Tel Aviv University and head of Yad Vashem's Center for Research on the Holocaust in Poland[1]
François Robere (talk) 14:08, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
But we're not going to resolve content issues here. All this reinventing the wheel on the underlying dispute is just venting. A more practical way of using this space is to discuss whether it is correct that Icewhiz uncovered, or helped uncover, a major hoax that lasted for many years, and whether that has not been given sufficient weight in determining penalties. Coretheapple (talk) 15:18, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
@Coretheapple: I don't see it as a content issue, but as a "conduct" and community issue. Not only did that stay "in the open" for 15 years, but many of the same issues (if not as concentrated in a single article) have been raised repeatedly over the last year and a half, up to and including at ArbCom, with slow and wanting change. AFAIC the community needs an overhaul of its review mechanisms. François Robere (talk) 12:02, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
I think you make some good points here. There is no question that Wikipedia is getting complacent and that change is so out of the question it is ridiculed. Coretheapple (talk) 13:24, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Grabowski isn't without controversy:

In December 2018 Grabowski co-wrote a Haaretz opinion piece criticizing Israeli historian Daniel Blatman, professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for accepting the post of chief historian at the newly-formed Warsaw Ghetto Museum, in Warsaw, Poland, and thus agreeing to be "the poster boy of [Polish] state authorities bent on turning back the clock and distorting the history of the Holocaust".[53] In January 2019 Blatman responded in Haaretz that, while the four scholars, in their research, had provided some valuable insights into involvement in the Holocaust by parts of the Polish population, they had locked into this historical outlook and, unable to move beyond it, had turned it into a "holy crusade with the mission of confronting Polish society with its past in the Holocaust and emphasi[zing] Polish antisemitism"; Blatman wrote that Grabowski and his co-authors do not give due weight to the terror and violence perpetrated by the Germans, and to the deaths of Poles, who themselves suffered under German occupation. Blatman concluded that the four researchers' criticism of him was motivated not so much by historical questions as by their fear of losing an aspirational monopoly on the historical debate, and pointed out that, while they accused him of collaborating with Poland's "nationalist government", they themselves rely, for their work, on funds received from that Polish government.

I think it is also worth pointing out that Grabowski believes that there are "hundreds of Polish volunteers" that have been recruited by the Polish government to edit English Wikipedia. Given that there are only three or four actual Polish editors active in the topic area this seems to be very detached from reality, and should give a second thought before taking everything he claims as granted.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 15:57, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

I noticed that from 2 August 2019 - 2 October 2019, no fewer than 12 IPs adds tens of thousands of bytes to the talk page of Racism in Poland to help you and Xx236 lobby for your concern that strong representation be given to racism against Ethnic Poles. Now it has since been suggested that many of the 12 IPs were in fact the same person, but someone who doesn't live on en.wp is not expected to know all about Wikipedia gaming behaviors. Incidentally, why have you never learned talk-page etiquette? (you've deleted replies, refuse to indent, sign your posts before the end...) You've been through 2 ArbCom cases now (EEML, Holocaust in Poland), one would think you would have caught on by now? 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 20:32, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
If you believe I am associated in any way with these IP's feel free to ask for checkuser, I am not.Likewise if you have personal questions ask them on my talk page rather than here please.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 21:18, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
Grabowski isn't without controversy Ah, politics! How irrelevant. One "controversial" historian replying to another. You can hardly deal with nations' national ethos without being controversial to some degree.
Grabowski believes that there are "hundreds of Polish volunteers" that have been recruited by the Polish government to edit English Wikipedia. He said "volunteers", not "government recruits"; and the number likely comes from the fact that the EEML, at its haydai, numbered around a hundred editors. François Robere (talk) 11:58, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
LOL. Haaretz article cannot get some basic facts straight, but we should know better. ArbCom finding from ten years ago was that 17 (if I count correctly) people posted to that list. That article has quite a few of such glaring errors. I exchanged emails with the article's author, he is convinced that everyone listed in Category:Polish Wikipedians is an active editor (and was ten years ago). When such amateurs try to understand Wikipedia, hilarious mistakes happen. Or less hilarious, as it this case. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 10:04, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree that the report by Haaretz was an outright distortion, at least in the part that relates to EEML story and editing by specific contributors in WP. But you have made a serious mistake by agreeing to talk with Haaretz. They used you. This is something I have seen many times in Russian state-controlled media: they interview someone only to make him a glutton for punishment, frequently distort his words and distort everything. This is shame for Haaretz. My very best wishes (talk) 15:40, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
And here you make a nasty accusation against a reporter for what is widely considered Israel's best newspaper - one that takes its cues from NYT, not RT - that is privately-owned, and that regularly sheds light on even the darkest aspects of Israeli politics and policy. And by the way, that reporter also writes for Wired, so it might be a two-for-one. François Robere (talk) 15:56, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Well, I am not interested in Israeli politics and I do not read Haaretz. I can only say this particular publication was an outright distortion with regard to the aspects I know much better than the author of the publication. Yes, I think it was worse than RT, somewhere at the level of domestic Russian propaganda television programs. My very best wishes (talk) 16:07, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps. I found it too high as well, but you know how WP:SOURCE goes.
Regardless, I wouldn't say he's an "amateur" - he's been reporting on Wikipedia for at least a couple of years now, and has shown decent understand of its procedures and practices. It's true that Wikipedia has a long learning curve, though - I've been here for four or five years before I ever had to delve into half its policies... François Robere (talk) 13:04, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
@Piotrus: probably, I remembered something incorrectly (if I did, please, correct me), but I recall EEML members themselves believed some Russian Cabal existed, and even my name was mentioned (as I was told) in connection to my possible membership of that putative Cabal. Therefore, it is not a surprise that Grabowski made similar mistake regarding Polish users. That is just a demonstration of a very intense work Polish users are doing to promote (I do not say "push") some sort of ideas. When I find myself in a situation that my POV obviously wins in some dispute, I ask myself: "Stop. How can you be sure that, in the absence of serious opponents, you are sufficiently neutral? Maybe it makes sense to think about being devil's advocate for myself?"--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:02, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

In general, regarding the Haaretz article, I would like to know your opinion about these general question:

"When some reliable source (or sources) writes about a coverage of some topic in Wikipedia, does it make sense to add a section "Coverage in Wikipedia" to the corresponding WP article?"

For example, if Haaretz (a reliable source) writes about a coverage of the Holocaust in the Holocaust in Poland, article, can we add a section to that article that describes opinia published in reliable sources about this concrete WP article? (Of course, not only Haaretz, but all other sources should be added.)--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:35, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

  • Yes. If there is reliable sourcing, the article could have a section detailing notable fringe theories to help the reader understand that these theories are considered to be nonsense by reputable historians. This section might utilize {{main|Warsaw concentration camp#Conspiracy theory}}. Please relocate discussion from Jimmy's talk page to an appropriate article talk page. I'm sure he will appreciate fewer pings and walls o' text. Jehochman Talk 16:51, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Sometimes, it depends on WP:UNDUE/WP:FRINGE. In most cases the use of talk page Template:Press is sufficient. In this case, the fringe theory is likely important enough to be mentioned in the Warsaw concentration camp article, and in the bio of the amateour historian who created it, but I don't think it merits any mention in the Holocaust in Poland article, just like Flat Earth is not mentioned in the article on Earth nor on Geography.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:49, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with Jehochman insofar as going in the weeds on that article is concerned. The article desperately needs eyeballs. I think this discussion should continue here, but should be narrowly focused on whether Icewhiz was treated appropriately. Coretheapple (talk) 17:12, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

For those who understand Hebrew, the Israel Broadcasting Corporation did a piece on this yesterday. El_C 05:36, 8 October 2019 (UTC)

Gideon Greif is being interviewed by Moav Vardi. He completely rejects the KLW conspiracy theory, and supports the mainstream research on subject. He has some very harsh words about "whitewashing" Poles' role in the Holocaust, intensified following the rise of PiS, and to the role of the contemporary IPN in doing so (the IPN, he says, was "more or less objective" in its "previous incarnations"). He's clear on the use of "Nazi death camps" ("It's clear the extermination camps were German Nazi camps, and not Polish camps. They were on Polish ex-territory, because Poland doesn't exist between 1939 and 1945"), but says this does not justify the behavior of the majority of Poles (excluding saviors, eg. Żegota), "who were at best indifferent to the fate of Jews and their suffering, or collaborated with some degree of enthusiasm." He cite G's Hunt for the Jews and the 200,000 estimate. He says these events did not stop when the war ended- "they continued murdering Jews between 1945 and 1951 as if they haven't heard the Holocaust was over and Germany lost." He says the best and only way to fight Holocaust denialism is with continued research, publication and collection of testimonies.[2] François Robere (talk) 15:26, 8 October 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Benjakob, Omer (2019-10-03). "The Fake Nazi Death Camp: Wikipedia's Longest Hoax, Exposed". Haaretz. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  2. ^ ורדי, מואב (2019-10-06). העולם היום - 06.10.19. Event occurs at 5:28.

The glamour of war on Wikipedia

NO GANG PATCHES sign on the Cook Strait ferry Arahura's vehicle deck.JPG

The images on [EDIT the lead of] this article: American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War do not distinguish the event in particular. As such, they are chosen because they are attractive. They are attractive, and that is not neutral. I made a slightly disruptive edit this morning, but a genuine edit, disruptive only because I knew it would not last very long on the article (40 mins?). But I wanted to illustrate the other possible extreme, which I assume is largely overlooked by the editors in control of the style of this article, (this).

My point is not to shuffle the pictures as I did, but to avoid glamorous appearance on certain categories of sensitive topics, particularly in the lede, unless they truly illustrate and define the subject in a single or containable range of imagery. The current images do not do that at all, and are bland in terms of definition.

I am pretty sure that even if you are personally biased towards this war in some way, you will agree with this sentiment generally in the spirit of neutrality. We all know I am not going to walk into the talk page of that article and say, you could be more neutral if you removed the glamour from the lead section here, and they all roll over. So I came here to ask for any thoughts. Maybe there is a guide specific to this but I don't think so. Any opinion? I'm not great at gathering support for ideas but I do have a point here that many will be familiar with and this relates to an anxious current event. We should neutralise it to the fullest on the site content, should we not? ~ R.T.G 11:32, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

In cases like this I find that it is most helpful for me to speak about the broad principles that all editors should agree with and abide by, rather than comment on the specific details. Images are a powerful means to communicate, and some amount of subtext is inevitable with images. Unlike text, where we can always work together to edit and rephrase and rephrase and edit some more in an attempt to find a more neutral presentation, our range of options with images is usually much narrower. This means that it is all the more important to be extremely careful and conservative about the use of potentially emotionally charged images. If a set of images consistently portrays the subject matter in a one-sided fashion, that can be a real problem. The classic example would be in a BLP. There are a great many images of Donald Trump looking ridiculous but we choose the main photo to be his official portrait, and rightly so. I have not looked at the article you are writing about before writing these words, precisely to make clear that I'm not taking a side in this edit dispute but rather setting forth the principles I expect should rule the final result.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:41, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Well said Jimbo, thanks o/ ~ R.T.G 13:28, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Right now, Talk:American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War suffers from [A] too few editors who have an opinion about what images to use, and [B] too many words by two of the editors of that page. I would like to invite anyone reading this who doesn't have strong feelings about Syria, Kurds, or the US Military to weigh in and help us to arrive at a consensus about the images. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:13, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

BBC Click (TV programme) segment on state interference on WP - Chinese especially

I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but the current edition of Click (TV programme) has an interesting segment on this - 5 mins or so, at the top of the programme. I expect it's available wherever their news channel is, & maybe online. link on UK site. Johnbod (talk) 15:24, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

The Beeb reuses a lot of content, so it's probably very similar to this article. -- zzuuzz (talk) 15:41, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, with interviews. There's an amusing moment when the group of Taiwanese Wikipedians are asked what the WMF are doing about it. Johnbod (talk) 16:04, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Is there any way to legitimately see the clip or get the transcript outside the UK? I've read the article, but the video link above says it only works for the UK. I'd love to see the "amusing moment" described above. Smallbones(smalltalk) 22:44, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

@Smallbones: here you go. EllenCT (talk) 04:59, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
The whole broadcast is up on YouTube (legally) at [82] time 0:35-11:55. I found the broadcast much more accusatory than the article. TV can be like that, where a question (with a lifted eyebrow) can seem like (or actually be) an accusation. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:25, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
@Smallbones: who are you suggesting is being accused of what? Do you agree with the Taiwanese editors that the Foundation is apparently oblivious to the mainland Chinese government propaganda campaign? I'm pretty sure I do not. EllenCT (talk) 11:21, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
"Accusatory" or just "accuse" can have some negative connotations toward the person making the accusations, but I was not using it in that sense. I first read the article linked above and noticed that the BBC was not making any accusations in its voice about the Chinese government editing Wikipedia (unless I missed something). They did come close at times though. In the video, even though they used many of the same words, the tone of voice or other non-verbal cues makes it sound very, very accusatory, even if they didn't say "The Chinese government is editing Wikipedia." A casual viewer might even say that they did say this, or something very close to it.
As far as reading the tea leaves about what the WMF thinks about China and Taiwan - I don't drink tea much these days so am short on leaves to read. I never assume the WMF is oblivious to anything, though they may wish to appear to be at times. Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:29, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

Russia Plans Its Own Version of Wikipedia by 2023

Russia Plans Its Own Version of Wikipedia by 2023 as per this article.Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 09:17, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

According to description in Russian [83], this will be simply an electronic version of Great Russian Encyclopedia. Not a Wikipedia. It will have an editorial board led by people like Sergey Naryshkin and Sergey Shoygu... My very best wishes (talk) 18:40, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
You guys should have read ITM (search for GRE) in last month's The Signpost. Reporting on Russia always involves some confusion, and I reported on Belsat's take on the GRE. Belsat is likely not a reliable source on this, as I hinted, but they reported essentially the same story as the 3 sources above are now reporting - that The Russian Budget is planning on spending $30 million over 3 years on turning the GRE into a online version of a "Wikipedia replacement". What everybody seems to have missed is that the GRE is already on-line and with about 80,000(?) articles is nowhere near a Wikipedia replacement. And $30 million spent on experts is nowhere near enough to make up the difference. (numbers from memory, feel free to check). BTW, the GRE mentions Wikipedia only in one sentence in the whole thing (under Encyclopedia), whereas we've got a very lengthy article on them. It's all show IMHO. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:13, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

Any comments

on this article? WBGconverse 03:40, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

This is a very interesting article and I've been trying to track down something solid about it for awhile, with little luck. If there's a reliable Farsi speaker out there who can give me an English transcript of a 15(?) minute Farsi podcast please contact me. (Google translate seems to do an ok job on some Twitter stuff) . seems to be a fairly leftwing, but almost-in-the-mainstream, source supported by, but not part of, the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Rockerfeller Brothers Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and many others. Just went to check something and there is some new news on this at [84] Radio Farda. Perhaps there will be some progress on this story. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:32, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
Can you kindly link to the podcast? WBGconverse 16:47, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

NRA Employees Editing Wikipedia?

A Brief History of NRA Employees Editing Wikipedia for Fun and Possibly Profit --Guy Macon (talk) 18:06, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

How do you feel about video game makers posting commercials in Wikipedia articles?

At Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Video_games#video_game_article_with_video_commercial_in_it I started a discussion about this. Can every single video game maker advertise their product by releasing a commercial under a free license? Since there is a limit to how much pictures an article can have, and their size and quality level, I would assume there would be rules about videos as well. This is not a historical video, its just a commercial for a modern game. Dream Focus 01:14, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Honest John's Used Car Lot
I don't really follow video game articles, but there are 2 issues here. 1) Commons and 2) for Wikipedia, is a commercial commercial promotion?, or let's say "is a commercial an advertisement?"
Commons has its own rules, but I doubt that most video adverts for video games are within its scope, which is educational material. Check over at Commons, I rarely understand their reasoning these days.
But even if Commons accepts the advert, en:Wiki does not have to, and indeed it looks like putting a video advertisement into an article violates WP:NOADS (part of WP:NOT) "Wikipedia is not ... a vehicle for propaganda, advertising and showcasing." It looks like that article is being used directly as a vehicle for advertising. Local consensus can't over-ride a basic policy like WP:NOT. Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:02, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I am partially agreeing with Smallbones here. Wikimedia Commons accepts a lot of things, if properly licensed, that are not appropriate for inclusion in encyclopedia articles. One person's "commercial" is another person's "informative video about a notable topic". We simply do not want or need much of what they host on Conmons, and that is OK. They host about 55 million image files and we only have six million articles on English Wikipedia. Of course we should not include videos of complete and overt contemporary commercials in encyclopedia articles, with the exception of notable historical ads. But screen shots or brief snippets might be appropriate, using good editorial judgment. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:36, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Plus, as I pointed out at WT:VG, everything on Commons has to be adaptable, so any video with commercials can be edited to remove the commercial parts and we'd end up with a video we can use to improve the article. Regards SoWhy 07:19, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
The article is already a commercial. Releasing a free beer advert means releasing game content freely. Stuff has to have a degree of notability. Adverts are like, "Wow this is really great and fun! You should enjoy it" So, none of that stuff actually excludes a commercial being hosted or used in an article, but it narrows it down a lot. A commercial would sort of have to be so dull that it just said, "This is a game you play with your computer mouse..." while at the same time adding something notable. What is realistic is, give us some pictures of your games and movies and staff you greedy short-sighters, like the politicans do. Actors and actresses be like, my agent didn't do it, and agents be like, the public owe them something because what we got... In fact, I think there's been a downslide in entertainment because the internet has jilted the entertainment industry for demanding free content and they've had a mixed bag in coping and evolving to suit. They reckon we are going to come knocking, but the change is so slow it is generational now. When the kids figure it out they are looking at another world. Welcome to the world of tomorrow, we've been waiting for you... ~ R.T.G 13:02, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

LTA page that you deleted in 2006

Jimbo, At Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#LTA activity on Talk:Chess variant and Talk:List of chess variants. we have been discussing an LTA page that you deleted in 2006 with the comment "courtesy delete as part of negotiation with individual".[85] Do you have any objections to restoring the LTA page? --Guy Macon (talk) 03:22, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

For what purpose? Can you email me to discuss, as I do have current information on this one and best to discuss privately.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Mostly convenience. I find the LTA pages quite helpful in recognizing typical patterns from LTAs. I spend a lot of time on obscure engineering topics that don't get a lot of attention from people who aren't interested in things like Cockcroft–Walton generators[86] and Austin transformers,[87] so I see a fair amount of unaddressed vandalism. If there are reasons to not have an LTA page in this case, that's fine with me. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:05, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Related: User talk:Antandrus#Which LTA? --Guy Macon (talk) 13:10, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

The main page

I noticed that fr.Wikipedia has Comment contribuer ? on their main page. I noticed that en.Wikipedia has "Other areas of Wikipedia", but I like the idea of having a section on how to contribute on the main page or something like a link to WP:Contributing to Wikipedia added there. I know that any change to the main page probably wouldn't happen without extensive community discussion and consensus, but I was wondering if you (or any of the many who have this page on their watchlist) know if there's been any previous discussions on this sort of thing already? Clovermoss (talk) 21:18, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

I agree that it would be useful, on the main page, to have a small amount of text saying "How to contribute". But not "how to contribute on the main page" (it took me awhile to figure out what you meant there - but I must be going slow today). Next question - where do you want to put the text? Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:10, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Smallbones Ummm... well I was giving a comparison to the French Wikipedia because Comment contribuer ? is like How to contribute? And I thought that was a great idea to have something like that on our main page because it might get more new editors who are interested in contributing actually contributing. I didn't see all the tiny blue links on the side until after I created my account, and I was thinking the visibility of a section like that on the main page would be beneficial. But if it isn't a section, a link to a guide like WP:Contributing to Wikipedia on Other areas of Wikipedia, or even a link to the five pillars, or the Teahouse, something that might encourage readers to try and edit, or learn how to. But... I can't directly edit the main page, right? Even if I could, shouldn't I write a proposal or something first? Clovermoss (talk) 19:27, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Question for Jimbo and talk page stalkers alike

What proportion of the time do you think editors involved in a dispute invoke WP:STICK or write "drop the stick" in good faith because they don't find their persistent opponent persuasive, compared to those times when they lack a conclusive response to at least somewhat persuasive arguments and would rather make the discussion about the annoyance of persistence instead of the merits? EllenCT (talk) 00:21, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

100% and 0%. The two (whether your argument has merits and whether you should drop the stick) have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Your question assumes without evidence that it is OK to beat a dead horse if your argument is persuasive/has merits. It isn't. Also, everyone thinks that their argument is persuasive/has merits, whether it is or not. and everyone who rejects an argument is thinks that it is not persuasive and has no merits, whether it is or not. The only thing you need to know is that when one person keeps making the same arguments and failing to persuade anyone he/she needs to drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass I wrote an essay on this exact subject that you may find to be helpful. It can be found at WP:1AM. Also see [88]. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:37, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
My question is about the sincerity of those responding with the admonition, not the propriety of those making persistent arguments. I take it you are no fan of the WP:DROP essay, which predates both of the other essays, and expresses a sharply contrasting sentiment, or the even earlier WP:CCC policy. Do you think it is reasonable to admonish someone to drop the stick when they are persistently raising different arguments in support of the same point? How do you judge whether silent editors are persuaded? Admitting error isn't necessarily more likely than remaining silent when persuaded against a previously held belief, is it? I'm sure not everyone is absolutist with regard to merits and persuasion, as terms such as "preponderance of the evidence" imply. I'm also curious about how you think your 1AM position interacts with the WP:TAGTEAM phenomenon. EllenCT (talk) 06:23, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Rather than asking multiple editors who disagree with you to all admit that they are insincere and that you are raising different arguments each time, why not simply admit that you are insincere and using minor variations of the same argument each time? Either solution requires someone who sincerely thinks they are right (everybody always thinks that they are right) to admit they are actually wrong, but my variation only requires one person to do that. What's that I hear? You don't think you are wrong? Guess what -- neither do they.
Read WP:1AM more carefully. You will find that it explicitly covers the situation that WP:TAGTEAM talks about and tells you precisely what to do about it. It is in the section starting with "When you think that the page has been hijacked by a group...". --Guy Macon (talk) 07:37, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Every time a person acts purposely they believe they are doing the thing they should be doing at that time, even if the thing they are doing is purposely intended to be the most wrong thing they can do at that particular time, they believed they should do the wrong thing, to be right for themselves. I'm not sure if that always helps but it is one way of looking at AGF when it is difficult but you believe it is still relevant to do so or enough evidence is not yet apparent to drop said good faith. ~ R.T.G 15:16, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
I have seen many people say things like "I hate to do this, but I am forcing myself because it is the right thing to do". I have never heard anyone say "I hate to do this, but I am forcing myself because it is the wrong thing to do". Everyone who posts any comment on Wikipedia thinks they are right. If they didn't think they are right they wouldn't have posted it. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:25, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Not that this detracts from your point, but there are lots of people who edit Wikipedia wrongly intentionally: vandals, trolls, etc. --JBL (talk) 20:27, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Oh, certainly. but as a general rule you don't find large numbers of them them spending time on article talk pages disputing content with EllenCT and nobody supporting her position. You do find the occasional troll/vandal who pretends to be a productive editor, but this usually happens in the context of interacting with someone who blocked or reported them. And of course we will always have the well meaning editor who really does believe that vaccines cause autism or that the democratic party is running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor, but they are just wrong, not intentionally posting things that they know are wrong.
I thought about covering this situation in WP:1AM, but how many one-against-many situations involve one good editor and everyone else being trolls? I finally decided that following the advice I give for the other one-against-many situations would work just fine in the rare case of everyone else being a troll. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:07, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
What do you recommend when the number of editors on each side of a dispute are roughly even in number, the evidence is admittedly inconclusive, but one side is aggressive, admonishing the other to "drop the stick" and demanding sanctions for merely continuing the discussion. If it looks like your side is effectively being bullied away and you're the only one who seems to want to stand up for the aggressively opposed position you think is right, what's the correct course of action then? EllenCT (talk) 05:21, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
In the case on one-against-many disputes I have done a lot of research, consulted with many experienced wikipedians, and have read extensively in the scientific literature. I have far less expertise in the area of equal-number conflicts, so take any advice I give with a grain of salt. The first question I would ask is "What is it about Wikipedia's existing dispute resolution system that isn't working for you? Can we figure out why? Has anyone involved tried following the instructions at WP:DRR?" --Guy Macon (talk) 06:19, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: which open access peer reviewed journals publish on both evenly and unevenly matched disputes? EllenCT (talk) 07:38, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
I wonder if I said to Ellen, you know when people go on about who does Jimbo think he is or he is worthless and stuff, as I looked at your recent post to WMF Katherines talkpage... Jimbo spent years, probably still does, lecturing about Wikipedia. When the principles of the site were laid down, Jimbo wasn't just in charge, he was hiring teams of consultants and heading them up. I'm not sure what his academic credentials are, but Jimbo is a defacto professor who specialises in Wikipedia. I'm not sure Jimbo himself will be too flattered by that given he hasn't got enough bodies and brains to stick into everything he could regarding the site, but for those who fan this page a bit such as yourself, you know Jimbo holds more than esteem. Jimbo honours the site as much as it honours him, not because he is a match for Einstein, but because he is an intellectual focusing his lifes work on this site, has more experience than probably anybody with it. Has hired more professionals, tried more experiments with major ramifications, Jimbo may not be even capable of being the next Einstein on physics, but when it comes to being qualified towards Wikipedia he is always going to be hard to beat. No he isn't perfect, his word is not final law and he makes mistakes or has failures like any human, but he really is all that and I imagine the only reason he doesn't say so himself when challenged, well two reasons, for one, everybody is going to try and have a piece of Jimbo if he puts up a big argument about how qualified he is, and second, if you need a cart to haul around your resume, you only need to list it off a handful of times offensively and you are going to trip up over that cart from over confidence. Worse, good schemers are going to manipulate him in that circumstance because they know you can't see both over and under a full cart at the same time. Jimbo is qualified for his role and anyone who says he is not qualified at all, may be acting in good faith, but they aren't acting with the wider consideration. That doesn't mean his word is law or he is always right about everything, but he's not only an excellent consultant, he is a commissioner of consultants, not a bit stupid or unqualified or irrelevant to the site. We didn't invite Jimbo to this thing we've got, he invited us to this thing that he got. What was it I was going to write to WMF Katherines talkpage, I do not say that because I am a fan of Jimbos, but I am a fan of Jimbos because that can be said. The same goes for any language because if you aren't focused towards very similar principles on a Wikipedia site, you aren't down with what these sites are for. Someone like Guy or Ellen who make this page their playground and know what Jimbos relevance is should write something to that effect in WP space I think. I'd write it but I forgot to bring my suit, as it happens to be important. Thanks Jimbo. However, dissent is important. That money could be just resting in Jimbos account, who knows? Remember that sign language interpreter in south Africa who couldn't really speak sign language? Nobody really knew until somebody said... ~ R.T.G 12:40, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Editing News #2 – Mobile editing and talk pages – October 2019

Read this in another languageSubscription list for this multilingual newsletter

Inside this newsletter, the Editing team talks about their work on the mobile visual editor, on the new talk pages project, and at Wikimania 2019.


What talk page interactions do you remember? Is it a story about how someone helped you to learn something new? Is it a story about how someone helped you get involved in a group? Something else? Whatever your story is, we want to hear it!

Please tell us a story about how you used a talk page. Please share a link to a memorable discussion, or describe it on the talk page for this project. The team would value your examples. These examples will help everyone develop a shared understanding of what this project should support and encourage.

Talk Pages

The Talk Pages Consultation was a global consultation to define better tools for wiki communication. From February through June 2019, more than 500 volunteers on 20 wikis, across 15 languages and multiple projects, came together with members of the Foundation to create a product direction for a set of discussion tools. The Phase 2 Report of the Talk Page Consultation was published in August. It summarizes the product direction the team has started to work on, which you can read more about here: Talk Page Project project page.

The team needs and wants your help at this early stage. They are starting to develop the first idea. Please add your name to the "Getting involved" section of the project page, if you would like to hear about opportunities to participate.

Mobile visual editor

The Editing team is trying to make it simpler to edit on mobile devices. The team is changing the visual editor on mobile. If you have something to say about editing on a mobile device, please leave a message at Talk:VisualEditor on mobile.

Edit Cards

What happens when you click on a link. The new Edit Card is bigger and has more options for editing links.


The editing toolbar is changing in the mobile visual editor. The old system had two different toolbars. Now, all the buttons are together. Tell the team what you think about the new toolbar.
  • In September, the Editing team updated the mobile visual editor's editing toolbar. Anyone could see these changes in the mobile visual editor.
    • One toolbar: All of the editing tools are located in one toolbar. Previously, the toolbar changed when you clicked on different things.
    • New navigation: The buttons for moving forward and backward in the edit flow have changed.
    • Seamless switching: an improved workflow for switching between the visual and wikitext modes.
  • Feedback: You can try the refreshed toolbar by opening the mobile VisualEditor on a smartphone. Please post your feedback on the Toolbar feedback talk page.


The Editing Team attended Wikimania 2019 in Sweden. They led a session on the mobile visual editor and a session on the new talk pages project. They tested two new features in the mobile visual editor with contributors. You can read more about what the team did and learned in the team's report on Wikimania 2019.

Looking ahead

  • Talk Pages Project: The team is thinking about the first set of proposed changes. The team will be working with a few communities to pilot those changes. The best way to stay informed is by adding your username to the list on the project page: Getting involved.
  • Testing the mobile visual editor as the default: The Editing team plans to post results before the end of the calendar year. The best way to stay informed is by adding the project page to your watchlist: VisualEditor as mobile default project page.
  • Measuring the impact of Edit Cards: The Editing team hopes to share results in November. This study asks whether the project helped editors add links and citations. The best way to stay informed is by adding the project page to your watchlist: Edit Cards project page.

PPelberg (WMF) (talk) & Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:51, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

What is an encyclopaedia?

Dear Jimbo, what would you call the part of an encyclopaedia where everything is listed that you can find within? Could you give it a title like, if there was an article about that, what would it be called? Not the introduction, but the bit before that you know like:

  1. Introduction
  2. Current events
  3. Reference
  4. Culture
  5. Geography
  6. Health
  7. History
  8. etc..

What would you call that, if it was the first page of an encyclopaedia? It might help solve a minor dispute. ~ R.T.G 00:18, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

@RTG: Where, mayhaps, is said dispute? Jimbo's talk is probably not the best place to solve disputes, but I'd be willing to help or point ya in the right direction. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 04:00, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I would probably call it a table of contents, or maybe an index. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 04:03, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Encyclopedia duh. EllenCT (talk) 07:29, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
No but, the bit with the list at the front of the 'pedia. I think it's the contents. I think the index is the bit at the back which lists the content in more detail whereas the list at the front is more categorising? ~ R.T.G 22:54, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Which encyclopedias have such a part? What do they call it? (talk) 11:26, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Something like wikisource:fr:Explication du frontispice de l'encyclopédie? William Avery (talk) 14:07, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
That's an introduction, a preface... Hmm. It was so unusual to see an actual shelf full of Britannicas outside a library, and not to really spend hours with them inside a library, as they were all just like, felt like, one-liners. Didn't shelf sized versions tend to have a dedicated volume for the index, while smaller single volume ones would have a table of content?
@CaptainEek:, I'm trying to propose changing the name of "Portal:" space to "Content:", as a way to manipulate it positively, in a way that satisfies some of the cries for total deletion. "Minor" dispute is supposed to be an obvious lie. I was trying to catch Jimbo off guard that he would say, "that's the contents, silly," and I would say, Jimbo says yaddy yah. He gets up early but... Or gets up sensibly(), and doesn't want to get involved.
In the old day, you'd have a mat on one side of your bed. If you rose without waking up fully, you might put your feet on the cold floor and be cranky all morning for no real reason. People have been getting up on the wrong side of bed over the portals for ages.
There is an RFC going on, on Portal:Contents, asking that it be changed to Wikipedia:Contents, as well as a bit of a dispute about either deleting Portal: space altogether, or changing it. I am trying to argue for Content:Wikipedia, and the same for the rest of portal space to be "Content:". You won't all be aware that this dispute has raged on, in a way, for 15 years now, or at least procedure hasn't been settled. That is AGES for Wikipedia. I'm trying to radically change it in a way that will also seem to dumb it down in sensibility, to refocus the portal project without simply deleting and/or handcuffing it. I think having a Content namespace is a good move aesthetically and psychologically, which seems to be relevant to the recent unrelenting paranoia about them.
The encyclopaedia is all about Content. Give it a Content space while there is a gap going on. While it is relevant to do so. Tomorrow it will not be so easy. ~ R.T.G 16:24, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
@RTG:, would you be thinking of something similar to the diagram in the middle of this page? (Taken from Chamber's Cyclopedia.)
It was the practice for encyclopedias of the 17th & 18th centuries to have a diagram of "useful knowledge" at the beginning of their work for various reasons. IIRC, originally it was to help the reader find the specific article containing the information desired. However, humans being human, categorizing knowledge became an end in itself, & these diagrams eventually became quite complex. One edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was notable for being the first encyclopedia to drop this feature; I think it was the first, but it may have been the second or third. You can find the answer in Richard Yeo's Encyclopedic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture (Cambridge: 2001), which I do not have at hand. Yeo discusses this & other matters in the evolution of the encyclopedia, which is one of the few books I've been able to find that addresses, either in whole or in part, the question "What is an encyclopedia, & how should it be written?" -- llywrch (talk) 20:49, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Well it's an apt illustration for thought on this topic.. Quite reminiscent of what portals and outlines and all that other jazz are doing here on WP. And maybe the portal project should be producing diagrams like that to help guide them into what portals should be. (Isn't it?) The humans of the past were not stupid, and we only believe they were because we would feel stupid, doing half of anything they had to do just to stay human. It's a flow chart, sort of, and I imagine they would have called it a tree of knowledge, or, a Tree of Knowledge. Studying this may or not guide you directly, but for all their naivety, these people were cleverer than us. Just more naive, way more naive. Yeah, I don't think the current content page is very well schemed. I believe it is written, understandably, like a search for a scheme, and I encourage you to go to Portal talk:Contents where I have attempted to start a discussion on this very topic, in search of this very picture. I'm even going to say to Jimbo himself, if you could write a page in WP space illustrated by this or a similarly apt picture, it's a foundational element which has not really been set yet. Wow, what a big gap where everything is... ~ R.T.G 09:02, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

New Foreign Policy article


I just noticed your new article in Foreign Policy. I'll likely put a link to this in the next "In the media" at The Signpost since it refers to the "Wikipedia model" so much. It also refers to the WikiTribune a few times. I'm not sure what I'll say about the article, but since your are so nice and optimistic, as is your usual wont, I'll likely be mildly skeptical, as is my usual wont. Would you like to make a 1 or 2 sentence comment for The Signpost? (via email, my talk page, whatever you'd like).

BTW I did check out the WikiTribune and came up with your new format at . Looks ok so far. But I'll be mildly skeptical here. Did you hear that Facebook signed up the WSJ and the rest of Dow Jones, to provide news to their readers? Let's see - no requested donation, Dow Jones and other news providers, a signed-up base of jillions of users (vs. WT's 650). Are you ready for the big leagues?

Thanks for any comment. And good luck! Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:42, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

As usual when I'm doing my best work, I'm not particularly interested in what Facebook or other people are doing. I'm building something different - a social network that's almost exclusively collaboratively editable posts is going to give a very different result to Facebook. I'm building something I like and if others like it too, that's great, but it isn't my first objective really. Finally, I think and have spoken many times about how the advertising-only business model has been unhealthy for journalism - it works for some things, but for journalism it has been bad. And I've also come to understand that it is unhealthy for social networks. Facebook makes money by keeping you clicking, keeping you addicted, not by making your life meaningfully better. doesn't have ads and only makes money if people think "Ok, this is good for me, this deserves my support". It is too early to fully understand all the implications of that, but first and foremost I think it is clear that a different financial model drives to a different set of incentives in software/algorithm design.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:37, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

Worn asphalt


When I was a kid, the rumour was that the moon was no more reflective than coal. To accept this, I imagined, some forms of coal have visible crystalline forms, this must be the norm for untreated coal and thus explain the phenomenon. Actually, coal is only about 1/3 as reflective, according to NASA. To me, the moon looks like it is similarly reflective to concrete, but concrete is 4 or 5 times as reflective. Even bare soil is more reflective however. Similar albedo to the moon is "worn asphalt". It's black, but it is a grey sort of a black. Now just tell me something Jimmy, and don't give us none of your nonsense neither, just be straight up. Would you consider using some of the endowment policy to paint a big Www2.svg up on the moon? It would be more decorative than anything. The only thing is, how dark would it have to be before it was really visible back down here on Earth? I think you should send WMF Katherine up there to check it out for possible landing spots. You'll just have to get her a new suit but, the weather is extreme so it makes sense. Know what else is similarly reflective to the moon? A forest here on earth.

Did you know a true forest takes many hundreds, if not thousands of years, to truly grow back? You ever heard the phrase "deepest, darkest, Africa"? If you were a kid you might think that meant the colour of somebodies skin, but a real forest is like a bunch of skyscrapers which blot out much of the light. They don't kill the sunshine for humans, because when they die they fall over and leave big gaps. Thousands of years to grow back? Well, when a gap comes in the forest, a race begins between the plants. First stuff like flowers and vines just sprout up over the floor of the place. These act like a shield, because underneath them grows the bushes and small shrubs which it takes longer to grow. They grow up after a few years and then they might last for a couple of decades but they too are acting as a shield because slower and slower, but longer and longer lasting plants are growing up from the floor. A shield is necessary because even in a temperate (colder) climate, direct sun all day will kill most plants in the summer. Leaves are dark and shield against burning, but they let through a certain amount of suns rays, such as the ones that stimulate vitamin D production in your blood. Almost like a true forest was our natural environment. Yeah but, if you cut them all down, what happens is, exposure to the wind and the animals gets the little trees and bushes that used to act as shields for the nurseries. Even if trees grow back and reconstitute what we consider a forest, the big trees never really grow back and form a natural forest, not for, it would seem, thousands of years.

Do you like to see the countryside Jimbo? I love to see the countryside and it is beautiful, but it can be a matter of perspective sometimes. Grass seems like a primitive plant form, but in fact, compared to trees, it isn't. It makes sense when you think about it. Once plants began to grow upward, in competition with each other, they didn't grow into grasses and wave around on the surface, but into the precursors for trees, and built a new world over the top of the main one. Grass came along x million of years, and do you know what grass is, Jimbo? Grass is the mortal enemy of the tree. Can you believe that? Grasses most fancy thing isn't its seed or its upward growth. The thing about grass is how it roots and catches fire. Fire does not simply catch the grass every year, but as life goes on forever, a year is only a heartbeat. Eventually, even in the coldest climates, the grass will catch fire and kill the trees. The trees leave seeds but the grass is fast and thick as it grows back from its fat belly roots. It tangles small trees and, well you can actually see it sometimes. Grass really is the enemy of trees. But you can tell, by the way trees let in the invisible light, to feed our blood, trees really are our friend. Hugging them is stupid, after a while. Cultivating them is more fun though. Thanks Jimbo o/ ~ R.T.G 09:13, 23 October 2019 (UTC)

I'll guess that Jimbo supports both grass and trees. Each is good in it's natural place. However putting KM on the moon to paint a big W on it would be out-of-place. Advertising by Wikipedia is for the most part out-of-place, and of course Katherine would be out of place - we need her down here. If you wanted to volunteer that would be cool. We might even try to set up a "go fund me" appeal somewhere! Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:21, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Regarding the claim "the grass will catch fire and kill the trees""
"Giant sequoias are in many ways adapted to forest fires... and their cones will normally open immediately after a fire... They therefore require periodic wildfire." --Source: Sequoiadendron giganteum
" Wildfire is a feature of the Australian landscape and many eucalypt species are adapted to fire, and resprout after fire or have seeds which survive fire." Source: Eucalyptus
"Phylogenetic studies indicated that fire adaptive traits have evolved for a long time (tens of millions of years) and these traits are associated with the environment. In habitats with regular surface fires, similar species developed traits such as thick bark and self-pruning branches. In crown fire regimes, pines have evolved into traits such as retaining dead branches in order to attract fires." Source: Fire adaptations
"Serotiny is an ecological adaptation exhibited by some seed plants, in which seed release occurs in response to an environmental trigger, rather than spontaneously at seed maturation. The most common and best studied trigger is fire, and the term serotiny is often used to refer to this specific case." Source: Serotiny
"Pyrogenic flowering is the fire-stimulated flowering of plants in heathland and other fire-prone habitats." Source: Pyrogenic flowering
I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:57, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
According to the sequoia article (giant redwoods), the 2nd largest tree in the world died owing to fire and ice in 2005. The problem is, only the very big ones tend to survive the fire. Humans are protecting the last redwoods from fire mostly. If grass entangles a tree, it is really untidy looking; it knits the edge of the tree to the ground. You'd fix it and never even realise you'd taken a side in a war. Sure, trees have survived grass for 60 million years. As Carlin was great at saying, the world isn't going anywhere (We are, is the mantra...) GrrlScientist for the Guardian says scientist are talking about forest and even jungle retaking grassy lands in Africa, owing to the extra carbon going around (I'm skeptical). However, even if grass loses the battle it wages from the underworld, it is still a belligerent in that war. It is the enemy of the tree. That is its nature. They say the opposite of love is an empty space, in emotion, more than any hate. But a tree can be lovely sometimes. ~ R.T.G 16:45, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

How do Endowment corporations spend their tax avoidance lobbying dollars?

Hi Jimbo, how has the Endowment been doing? How have you been doing? How have the other Endowment managers been doing? I hope you have all been well. I would like to know, of the companies in which the Endowment has been investing, the ratio of the money, if any, they spend to lobby on issues such as tax avoidance, the proportion spent on defending the accumulation of offshore cash haven accounts to the proportion of those spending on reducing regressive taxes, making them less regressive, or perhaps even reversing some of them? Am I wrong for hoping that you have been careful to only invest in companies who are invested in a reduction of economic inequality? I'm sorry I violated my topic ban about economics again but I would rather blow off steam here than file a formal appeal at WP:AN until the harassment RFC and/or working group concludes with a set of training materials for avoiding poor corporate performance. Please throw the peanut gallery a bone every once in a while so we can say you're transparent. EllenCT (talk) 07:29, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

We, the Endowment board, don't get involved in stock picking. To my knowledge, we have not had any conversations about investing the fund to deal with your pet issue, economic inequality, and I doubt very much whether we would be interested in doing that. I'm not aware of any investment funds that have such a goal. We do have some constraints on how the money is invested, and we do discuss exactly how we should do that. I would like us to be more transparent about that and so at the next endowment board meeting, I will discuss with them about how we might work with the WMF for transparent reporting and community input into those questions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:11, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Jimbo. First, I do not have just one pet issue. I am also very interested in mitigating 38 gigatons of tropospheric carbon and converting public transportation to hoist commuting (if they want you to wear a business suit, say that you are claustrophobic.) I know you will be the best Advocacy Working Group member that the Endowment Board has ever seen. EllenCT (talk) 05:32, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

"When we were fellows together at the Harvard Center for Ethics, I think we annoyed everyone else with our repeated insistence that reducing economic inequality was somehow always the appropriate solution to each of the many social ills the group identified." -- Aaron Swartz reviewing Hayes, Chris L. (2013). Twilight of the elites: America after meritocracy. ISBN 0307720462. (talk) 23:16, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

"Clean coal"

Jimbo, you share my other pet issue of mitigating 38 gigatons of carbon, right? That's only 0.0075 grams per square centimeter of Earth's surface area, so I think we can do this by recycling used carbon into plastic building materials. As carbon sequestration goes, we're up against "putting it back in the ground" which is one of the "clean coal" projects abandoned as too expensive. Which reminds me of this section I am returning from your archives:

Since August; compare to the 3rd place Google hit from National Geographic (Wikipedia's article appears in 1st and 2nd places.) (talk) 02:54, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, clean coal is an oxymoron. {{sofixit}}. Any decently written suggested change on Talk, I will happily review and make the edit. Guy (Help!) 10:28, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
Talk:Clean coal#None of the US-funded projects are operating; are any? (talk) 16:22, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
And... someone has edited it to say that one of the projects is operating because it's scheduled to go into operation in two days, violating WP:CRYSTAL. The vast majority of the 22 U.S. projects missed their deadlines far more often than they made them, but I guess it won't be long until we see. (talk) 19:31, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

I invite you to judge the state of clean coal on Wikipedia these days, Jimbo. Have we given up opposing wealthy paid organized conflicted interest editing? EllenCT (talk) 05:09, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

You had me worried there. Fortunately it's still at Coal pollution mitigation. Guy (help!) 18:46, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
@JzG: My apologies; I was looking at Carbon capture and storage when I wrote that. But my point is, do we stand up to the only COI editors with more resources than the fossil fuel lobby or not? In a way -- and again I'm violating my topic ban here for which I'm not really sorry -- it's difficult because there are definitely easy ways to overheat the economy driving labor costs up. But why are we worried about hurting the richest who claim to need to amass cash to "keep their powder dry" for mergers and acquisitions when they never use more than 2-5% of their savings on such? It's like the charity advocates who admit they can at best achieve 6% of what transfers need to keep the working class from abject poverty. Imagine if Jimbo announced that the Endowment would be screening for firms that want to reverse the payroll tax (keeping the connection between earnings and e.g. US Social Security that Jimbo has said is essential through some kind of accounting methods for instance) paid for by whatever taxes on the top are in style. That's not going to raise labor costs for small businesses or inflate prices for fixed income pensioners, would it? EllenCT (talk) 15:21, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
What are you going to do with 80 gigatons of composite structural lumber? Seawalls? (talk) 19:33, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
If it keeps enough wood timber off the market we might not need them. EllenCT (talk) 19:47, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
75,000 kg/km2. What is that figure in proportion of coastline that gets seawall protection? (talk) 06:11, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
It varies? EllenCT (talk) 08:54, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
Why 38 gigatons? (talk) 05:38, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
CO2 has more than three times the mass of a carbon atom. EllenCT (talk) 16:19, 27 October 2019 (UTC)

Elsevier encourages COI

Recently I got an article accepted for publication in an Elsevier journal. I have published there before quite a few times, but that was a long time ago. In today's social media world SEO is far more important than a decade ago, and Elsevier has to participate with that too. I got an email about promoting my article, it contains SEO tips for authors who are still writing their articles and also about actions one can take after publication. A quote from the 20 page document they linked to:

"Other easy ways to improve SEO include:

  • Writing captions with keywords for all photographs, images, graphs and tables.
  • Adding clear titles or subheadings (with keywords) to each section of your article.
  • Linking to your article from relevant websites e.g. your institute’s website, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, blogs and social media."

Suppose then that I had never edited Wikipedia before and if I had come here with the intention of promoting my research, then that would obviously not have gone down well here. Feedback that I would have gotten here would likely have caused me to engage in lengthy arguments where I would vigorously argue for at least the core of my published argument to be included here. I would see myself as far more expert in the topic area than the editors I would be engaging with here. It would then be difficult for me to accept that far less knowledgeable people would keep and article here in an inferior state, even after I had gone out of my way by to give up on any unduly promotion of my article and sticking 100% to the science. For me my engagement on Wikipedia would have become far more of a scientific engagement to explain my argument than about promoting my research. And not allowed to do that here would likely cause friction as I would see myself as having the same rights to edit as the other folks here.

Count Iblis (talk) 17:23, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

What exactly do you do here? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:18, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
The Court Jester isn't expected to clean the stables. EllenCT (talk) 19:46, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
I edit to make Wikipedia great again. Count Iblis (talk) 07:30, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

See page 5. Page 13 has the only other mentions in the document for Wikipedia: "Wikipedia is the well-known, free, online encyclopedia where registered users can create and edit entries. Not everyone can have a Wikipedia page; once you’ve published several books and articles, and have gained a solid reputation in your field, you have a better chance of successfully obtaining one. Links to your article from a Wikipedia page will dramatically increase your SEO. You can try to include an entry with a link to your article on a relevant topic page. Wikipedia has many guidelines for writing an entry, so check its website for more details."

Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:14, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

I don't mind them encouraging academics to participate in Wikipedia, but this is not really ideal. It implies that an academics motive for joining our merry community should not be the love of sharing knowledge with the world and a part of what makes being an academic a morally worthy profession. Instead, it should be about "search engine optimization" and self-promotion. I hope some professors will take them to task for it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:08, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

Most Popular Websites 1996 - 2019

(let's leave this in. I don't like seeing editors "edit warring" with themselves on this page - Smallbones(smalltalk))

Wikipedia appears about two and a half minutes in. --Guy Macon (talkc 05:39, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

I watched the whole thing. I was like, AOL is more popular than Yahoo? No it... is it? ~ R.T.G 10:36, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
It is informative, but quite a bit too long. It would have been easy for them to have packed everything into about 3 minutes rather than 8ish. The website seems to specialize in dynamic bar charts, which can get a bit boring after a while. Maybe they should try dynamic pie charts for a change. The pie in this example could start small to reflect the early web traffic. Then it could grow over time with increasing traffic as the proportions change. Maybe as the websites come in and out, the whole pie could spin around. Then at the end, the pie could explode leaving behind a message perhaps "Happy Halloween" or "Just kidding, folks".
Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:25, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
I see it pops up on all of our youtube recommendations. I suggest watching it at 2x speed. I was interested to realise that we actually fell out of the top 10 in 2007 before coming back in and rising up the ranks. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:11, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the link,quite informative indeed. I never heard of American Greetings before and was quite surprised that it once was a Top 10 website. Regards SoWhy 19:21, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
Sorry for the first deletion in the edit war. I posted it and it just sit there, so I assumed that I had made a mistake and posted something nobody is interested in and self-reverted.
I think that one important aspect is that people assume that whoever is on top now simply must stay on top forever. I remember people telling me that nobody would ever break the dominance of Wordperfect and Lotus 123. Earlier it was the Apple II and Commodore 64 that would dominate forever, and before that it was IBM and DEC mainframes. It may very well turn out that in 20 years Wikipedia is a minor player at best and something else has become the place for people to go for answers. That's why I have been pushing (and being ignored) for years for the WMF to make it so that we have an endowment that will keep the servers running forever and which the WMF is legally unable to withdraw from to cover spending on Wikimanias or on large legal judgements. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:51, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Guy, putting aside an endowment that is large enough to keep the servers running and nothing else is a great idea. We can keep raising money for other things, but we should remember that they're all secondary to that main task. --GRuban (talk) 17:50, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
I think an untouchable endowment for keeping the lights on/the servers running/the "Wikipedia" domain name owning ongoing/etc. is a great idea. Shearonink (talk) 18:06, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Well, Jimbo? According to meta:Wikimedia Endowment you are on the board for the endowment as well as of course being on the WMF board. I don't see a good reason to make all of the endowment principle untouchable, but can we please have the lawyers look into making a portion of the endowment untouchable -- a portion large enough so that the interest from that portion is enough to keep the servers running no matter what else happens? Please note that I have been asking for this for years and have never gotten a yes or no answer. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:06, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

A question

How can I mark my own user page as world-editable? Erkin Alp Güney 17:10, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Not quite sure what this means. However, a user page (and its accompanying talk page) can usually be edited by anyone unless they are protected to prevent vandalism.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:24, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
@Erkinalp9035 and Ianmacm: Base user pages have normally been editable only by autoconfirmed users (and the user the page belongs to) since the relevant filter was implemented in 2016. {{unlocked userpage}} can be used to opt out of this general protection. As for marking a user page as editable by everybody, I guess the only way is to add a textual note to that effect. Graham87 04:17, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Privacy question

Jimbo, are the names and contact e.g. email and/or social media addresses of the set of humans who are stakeholders of the US citizens referred to in the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution notable or noteworthy or both or neither? (talk) 21:57, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

Please read WP:OUTING. What you are proposing is not allowed on Wikipedia. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:35, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Are you referring to a guideline or a policy? EllenCT (talk) 03:19, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
You could' simply click on WP:OUTING. look at the top, and see whether it is a policy or a guideline. I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:50, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Guy Macon, not sure that's quite the policy, most if not all of these names are in the public domain, but it's sure as hell not what Wikipedia is for. Guy (help!) 13:55, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
The names are publicly known, and we already list them at United States presidential line of succession. I would assume that they pretty much all have published email and social media addresses where anyone can contact an overworked and underpaid staffer. Those might be good infobox entries. But THE OP sounded like they wanted to out the politician's private email addresses. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:43, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
I find that when someone asks me a cryptic question to be answered in the manner of general principals, it's most often an attempt at a "gotcha" in which they hope I will answer in some way that they know I wouldn't, were they to ask their question in a simple and straightforward manner.
In this case I can say that reliably sourced information about people who are in the line of succession to the US Presidency is at least potentially notable or noteworthy, but even when reliably sourced, not everything belongs in an encyclopedia. In the case of personal data that is not available in reliable sources (like personal email addresses or mobile phone numbers) that have somehow been leaked - no, I don't think that's every appropriate for Wikipedia. Indeed, even if a home address (for example) is in the media for some reason, there may very well be good reasons for us to leave it out as being completely un-encyclopedic and potentially dangerous.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:50, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
The information the OP asks about is explicitly banned from Wikipedia, per WP:BLPRIVACY. -- llywrch (talk) 17:38, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Per WP:NOTDIRECTORY, which documents policy, contact information such as phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses is not encyclopedic. (talk) 13:27, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

See Former Senate staffer admits to doxxing five senators on Wikipedia. IIRC 2 people went to jail for this type of thing (1 was serious time). That involved breaking into offices and computers (by former Congressional staffers - it was an inside job). So if you don't actually break in anywhere to get the info? Don't know, don't want to know. Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:17, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Interesting thought

Our research found that the median value that U.S. consumers place on Wikipedia is about $150 a year—but the cost is $0. That translates into roughly $42 billion in consumer surplus that isn’t reflected in the U.S. GDP. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:04, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

Note that in an international digital economy the consumer surplus is no longer generated exclusively "domestically" (in the US or whatever country's GDP is considered), but may as well be imported for 0$ from other countries, like for instance my 2¢ in this discussion, which is another difference with traditional views on GDP (not mentioned among the limitations of the GDP-B idea in the HBR article). --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:47, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
I value this comment at way more than 2¢. If you really want to adjust GDPs, take a look at what daycare costs and ascribe that to families' self-transactions. Dammit I violated my economics topic ban again. EllenCT (talk) 22:22, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Looks like this extension is not used here
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Related: Search engine optimization, Local search engine optimisation.

The Mediawiki WikiSEO extension[89] appears to help Wikipedia users to artificially move a particular Wikipedia page higher up in the search engine results at Google, Bing, etc.

In my opinion, this extension violates WP:NOSALESMEN, encourages paid editing and spamming, and reduced the relevance of the Wikipedia links that the search engines return to their users -- putting pages that have not had SEO applied at a comparative disadvantage. . In my opinion, we need to put a stop to the use of this tool, ether by convincing Mediawiki to delete it or by blocking it from being used on the English Wikipedia.

The reason I am bringing this up here is that I don't know where to go to try to make either of those things happen, and because I suspect that telling Mediawiki to stop doing something because it harms the English Wikipedia is not something that we can accomplish anywhere on the English Wikipedia.

Any suggestions as to where to go with this are welcome. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:08, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Guy I love that you were composing this section at the same time I was composing the section below. I'm pretty sure it's at least one valid answer to your question, but you could also start an RFC on one or more of the WP:VPs about uninstalling the extension. However, it's not clear to me that the extension does anything special on a per-page basis, as opposed to just validating the entire site for various search engines and social media sites. (I wonder what it would take to get "card" previews for articles....) Where do you see "a particular Wikipedia page" as an option? EllenCT (talk) 22:19, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but I think the fact that "WikiSEO" is not present at Special:Version means it is not used here. At any rate, it's not a shameful act, it is simply putting keywords in places that search engines will find so they can accurately identify topics covered by the page. Johnuniq (talk) 22:40, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
At first glance, this extension is for people running their own MediaWiki installations. Wikipedia editors won't be able to use it, even if they have mops. Wikimedia system administrators (once called developers) might be able to, but they probably already have quite as much of the functionality as they want. (talk) 22:43, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Dropping attribution to US officials in our service In the News

Every day over 15 million people view our main page, and today those readers see us report that "...Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi kills himself during a US raid in Idlib..." Should any reader continue to the linked articles and read their underlying sources however, they'll find instead that Baghdadi "killed himself during a US military operation in north-west Syria, President Donald Trump has said" (taken directly from the BBC, [90]). Like all other news sources, the BBC is careful to attribute the claim of suicide to Donald Trump or US officials:

  • ABC News [91] The president said al-Baghdadi, "went into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way," and died when he detonated a suicide vest.
  • Agence France-Presse [92] As U.S. troops bore down on al-Baghdadi, he fled into a “dead-end” tunnel with three of his children, Trump said, and detonated a suicide vest.
  • Associated Press [93] US media cited multiple government sources as saying Baghdadi may have killed himself with a suicide vest as US special operations forces descended.
  • The Atlantic [94] like the Abbasids, he is dead—smashed to bits, according to Trump, by a self-detonated suicide vest.
  • BBC [95] The fugitive leader of the Islamic State (IS) group killed himself during a US military operation in north-west Syria, President Donald Trump has said.
  • The Guardian [96] US president says jihadist leader detonated suicide vest in US raid in north-west Syria.
  • NBC News [97] Trump said the ISIS leader "died like a dog, he died like a coward. He was whimpering, screaming, and crying."
  • Reuters [98] Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by detonating a suicide vest, Trump said in a televised address from the White House.

It is really egregious to report, without attribution, that a person has blown themselves alongside a number of small children (possibly their own), when no reputable newspaper will do the same. While El C [99] and Nil Einne [100] have expressed some concern, I must admit that most editors (e.g. Masem, Ad Orientem, The Wordsmith) do not agree with me. However, I think that we are veering into very dangerous territory if we begin accepting statements from political officials and leaders — only used with attribution in the media — as fact at ITN and on our main page. If WP:V no longer obtains for material receiving more readership and scrutiny than anywhere else on the site, we need a serious culture check. -Darouet (talk) 02:16, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

Oooh. I think this is the first time my name has been mentioned in the sanctuary. -Ad Orientem (talk) 02:19, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
On a serious note and FTR, I have addressed this issue at WP:ITNC and have nothing to add to what I wrote there except that there is more than a whiff of Forum Shopping here. -Ad Orientem (talk) 02:28, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
I know the feeling, I haven't been dragged to Jimbotalk in years. I also don't have much to add that hasn't been discussed in any of the other fora.The WordsmithTalk to me 02:32, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
I'll repeat what I said at ITNC: while everyone is quoting Trump or US military leaders, no high-quality RS is expressing any doubt of this. As others have said, it is very unlikely for any non-military person to verify this, and the reports stated they took DNA to confirm the identity. Could this be a lie? maaaaybe, but there's a lack of any doubt or counter-reporting to suggest this, and instead just the standard way that the press will report something like this when they cannot confirm first hand. --Masem (t) 03:25, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
And while we can’t confirm any more than the press can, we have dropped attribution, when the press has not. -Darouet (talk) 03:41, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

(EC) One thing which I sort of mentioned there but will elaborate more in here is that in reality a lot of this technically applies to many of the things we cover. For example, our article currently "Thirty-nine people are found dead in a refrigerated lorry in Grays, England". But this is basically based on what British officials have said. AFAIK the media haven't been shown the bodies or even photos of them. There have been photos of the lorry but that's about it.

To some extent with this particular story the various parties are more independent. E.g. I'm fairly sure the ambulance service for Essex or whatever probably has few legal media restrictions other than those that apply generally and I suspect their connection to the British government is complicated too. It's likely to be quite difficult to force them to report they found bodies when they didn't, no matter that technically (and even more if Brexit happens), there are actually limited legal restrictions on what the British government can do including cutting off any funding and maybe even jailing them if they can get the support of parliament. The possibility they could get the support of parliament, or that there wouldn't be a mass uprising if they tried may seem slim, but then again this basically requires a lot of OR on our part. There is good reason to believe the person charged knows there were at least some bodies, and if they believed there were none this is likely to come out in court probably even on the first appearance. However, I think almost no one doubts that 39 bodies were found in that lorry.

Anyway I only used this example because it was what's currently there. If you go back further I'm sure you will find plenty of better examples where we said something which was basically simply based on what a few government sources said with no real confirmation, but was like the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi case, something which few doubt.

An additional point which isn't ITN related is that with these sort of case, even relying on the media is problematic since as we all know, they can be quite careless. For example, quite a few are reporting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed three of his children and Trump did say this a few times. But in that same press conference he also said [101] "We don’t know if they were his children. They might have been." From what I can tell, there has been no real confirmation from anyone in the US that they were confident these were Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's children. I doubt they've already done a paternity DNA test, and since they also didn't capture anyone present AFAIWK, it may be difficult to be sure otherwise. It sounds like there were other non relatives present, so it seems entirely plausible that at least one of them was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's child. Perhaps stuff spoken gives some clue, or there's some clue from the context, but it also seems entirely possible he just grabbed three children who were there to use as human shields. The White House PR just says 3 children [102]. IMO this is a much more reasonable area of doubt than whether he actually killed himself. Yet if we go by RSS, technically we probably should say according to reports, he killed 3 of his children. Hopefully over time sources will pick this up as well or we will get some better confirmation, time will tell.

Nil Einne (talk) 03:46, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for your post Nil Einne. There are some important differences in the Lorry case. For one, sources there (e.g. the first BBC source we cite in our Lorry article) treat the deaths as a fact, and don’t see the need to attribute them (whereas as shown above, the BBC does attribute Baghdadi’s death by suicide to a statement by Trump). That’s probably because unlike in the case of Baghdadi dying - where witnesses are military personnel on a classified mission and sworn to secrecy - hundreds of medical and other professionals are involved in the Lorry case. -Darouet (talk) 04:09, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
(EC) Actually I think I was wrong on no one being captured. Still I doubt that establishing who's children they were is high up on the list of questions the US is going to be asking although maybe they will be part of the interview technique. Also I just saw that Al-Jazeera specifically said three children not his children, so hopefully the tide is turning on that particular inaccuracy. Nil Einne (talk) 04:16, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure I would say the same in every circumstance, but I think it particularly true that when Trump says something, it should be clearly attributed to him, not to "the US government" or "government officials" or especially just given as if it were a fact. I think in general it's always good practice to be as specific as we can on who said or claimed something, but I think it particularly important when it is Donald Trump. It's a service to the readers because as we all know "Trump said..." can very often be very far from "It is true that...". There is no need to specifically doubt something for no reason in some non-neutral way - it's warning enough to readers that Trump is the one who said it. People know to take it with a grain of salt.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:57, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Masem asked "no high-quality RS is expressing any doubt of this?" -- Doubts over Donald Trump's dramatic account of Baghdadi raid. The whole claim from Trump smelled of tripe and that's why no respectable news outlet transformed his claim from "Trump said" to fact. It now seems very likely this "Trump said" will be widely mocked as the nonsense it clearly was. -- Colin°Talk 12:32, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Thank you @Jimbo Wales and Colin: I should note that while no newspaper has written that Baghdadi killed himself as fact, newspapers have variously attributed this statement to Trump, or US officials, or both.
However, given that there is an ongoing war between the United States and ISIS, both Trump and US officials are parties to this conflict, and cannot be neutral or unbiased sources of information, even if what they state may well be accurate. Especially given the nature of the narrative, many elements of which are now being questioned [103], it seems that we should be at least as conservative as other news sources. As of this morning in North America, we remain the only supposedly reputable source of information on the internet that has converted Baghdadi's death into a fact. -Darouet (talk) 12:58, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
  • We don't accept official government statements as fact, except for the fact that the government has made the claim. Once a fact is verified by independent organizations and then reported as fact, we can also report it as fact. For the moment the suicide claim appears not to have been verified independently, so it has to be attributed as a claim made by somebody. I've corrected ITN because factual accuracy is urgent and non-negotiable. The burden is on those wishing to add the fact to substantiate it. At the moment the doubts are significant enough to mean that we need to report the suicide as a claim, not a fact. Jehochman Talk 13:05, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
There are three levels of claim made:
  • Baghdadi is dead as a result of US military action
  • Badhdadi killed himself and his children with a suicide vest when trapped in a tunnel
  • Baghdadi was “whimpering, crying and screaming all the way”, and “spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread” as a US military dog pursued him and three of his children down a dead-end tunnel. Cornered, Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest, killing himself, his children and injuring the “beautiful” and “talented” dog
I think we can safely say Baghdadi is dead as a result of US military action. The second claim is quite likely but only the US Military would know, and so must remain an attributed claim. Most of the third lot of claims is fantasy from a known fantasist. While the journalists do add "Trump said" they are generally uncritically repeating these words. We get the same problem in the UK with "A Downing St source said ...." along with deliberate misinformation repeated. The problem is that the technique of attribution rather than factual statement is a subtlety where the only folk who pick up on it would already have been sceptical. -- Colin°Talk 13:38, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Except the dog. All dogs are beautiful and talented. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:41, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Was a dog killed in this action? From the account repeated ad nauseum on the American tv news, I was under the impression that a known unreliable source alleged that al-Baghdadi died like a dog. No canines were reported injured or dead. (Glancing at the relevant articles, which might be fluid in their content, no dog(s) is said to have been injured or killed.) -- llywrch (talk) 16:32, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Trump Says 'Beautiful' and 'Talented' Dog Injured in al-Baghdadi Raid --Guy Macon (talk) 16:38, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Guy, you can rest easier: Injured military dog who chased down al-Baghdadi returned to full duty, Military Times - Bri.public (talk) 20:20, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I would not take a single goddamned word uttered by Donald Trump as factual without additional corroboration from reality-based sourcing. The man lies perpetually and nonstop. Carrite (talk) 19:41, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
  • ...unlike all of the other politicians, who lie perpetually and nonstop. I'm just saying. The ability of politicians to deceive us far exceeds our ability to detect deception. The deception we see is completely real, but it is only the tip of the bullshitberg. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:23, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
    Guy Macon, Most politicians have at least sufficient acquaintance with the truth that their lies are either deliberate, or arguably true if you squint. Trump has a completely different style. Guy (help!) 21:37, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
    Alternative theory: You, as a person who roots for Team Blue and against Team Red, have a hard time recognizing Team Blue lies. Others who are rooting for Team Red and against Team Blue, have a hard time recognizing Team Red lies (you know they exist). Both of you really believe in your heart and against all evidence that your ability to detect deception exceeds the politicians' ability to deceive you. This seems odd to me; you don't appear to believe that you can win a fistfight with Andy Ruiz Jr., or that you can beat Magnus Carlsen in chess, but for some inexplicable reason you seem to think that you would be able to tell if Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama or Chuck Schumer were trying to deceive you, Yet all of the people I just named (and Trump, and all the liars on Team Red) have come out on top of thousands and thousands of lesser politicians, just as surely as Ruiz and Carlson have done. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:31, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
    There is a clear difference between a speech like this, and a speech like this. Count Iblis (talk) 07:58, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    Two can play that "compare the best speech from one team with the worst speech from the other team" game. you know. There is a clear difference between a speech like this, and a speech like this. I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:04, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    Guy Macon, do you think what Trump is doing is normal? Do you think "lock her up" was normal? Do you think the obsessive belittling and sometimes racist nicknames are normal? In the end, Trump does not appear to recognise the concept of loyal opposition.
    I was no fan of W but he was a normal President who did normal things. Reagan was perhaps not the sharpest tool in the box but he surrounded himself with competent people and listened to their advice (even if it was sometimes illegal). Trump basically fires anyone who brings him inconvenient truth. The churn in top positions is unprecedented. Guy (help!) 10:10, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Guy Macon has fallen for the very game that Trump is playing: to make you doubt the sincerity of anything you hear from politicians or media. If everything is fake news and lies, then we all just have "alternative facts" and mine are no worse than yours. Which is BS. If all politicians are equally as dishonest, then why bother to vote with your head, just vote with your heart. Cherry-picking youtube videos isn't an effective argument. Guy is right, Trump and own very own Boris Johnson are playing a different game than before. And it is a game that we aid by giving their claims oxygen and by getting so worked up about their "obvious lies" that we get distracted from more serious issues. -- Colin°Talk 09:15, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Do you have any evidence -- any reason at all -- why you believe that your ability as an amateur to detect deception exceeds the politicians' ability as a professional to deceive you? It is a rather extraordinary claim.
Half of the following promises are from Team Red and half are from Team Blue.
  • "Read my lips: No new taxes" (followed by new taxes)
  • "We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary" (followed by the largest increase in federal spending up to that time.)
  • "We will allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system." (followed by zero effort to make that happen)
  • "We're going to lead by shutting down Guantanamo and restoring habeas corpus in this country" (followed by expanding Guantanamo)
  • "I’m under a routine audit... as soon as the audit is finished [my tax returns] will be released." (followed by refusal to release tax returns)
  • "If You've Got A Health Care Plan That You Like, You Can Keep It." (named the Lie of the Year by PolitiFact)
  • "If I'm elected president, I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress." (followed by zero effort to propose any such amendment)
  • "We did not—repeat, did not—trade weapons or anything else for hostages, nor will we" (sold arms to Iran, saying that they were part of an operation to free seven American hostages being held Iran-backed Hezbollah)
  • "The era of big government is over" (a brief dip, followed by a budget containing more than 100 new federal initiatives)
  • "We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." (followed by entering the Vietnam war)
  • "I will ensure that the federal government, which is the country’s largest polluter, complies with all environmental laws." (followed by asking congress to exempt the feds from most pollution laws)
--Guy Macon (talk) 10:38, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Guy Macon, OK, now compare that with telling Ukraine that he will withhold Congressionally appropriated funds to protect themselves against an ongoing invasion by one of the USA's two greatest geopolitical enemies, until he makes a public statement that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for hacking the 2016 US election. A claim which has been extensively analysed and found to be false by thee Senate, the House (including under GOP control), the CIA, FBI, DOJ, and multiple foreign intelligence agencies notably including MI6 and Mossad.
It's the difference between political promises - which are, like pie crust, easily broken - and insane conspiracy theories that are promoted because either his ego or (worse) because he has to deliver some favour to Putin. Or maybe both.
This. Is. Not. Normal. Guy (help!) 13:33, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Guy Macon, No, that is not fair. There is abundant evidence that Trump is uniquely unmoored from fact. The mainstream media has struggled with this from the earliest days of "alternative facts". Psychology provides a good explanation: he has lived in a bubble all his life and has never really been exposed to any serious challenge. It is much harder to remain isolated from confounding truth if you have military service, elected office, or leadership in a public company in your background. He doesn't.
    If you need a concrete example, look at Sharpiegate. He made a trivial error, and was so unable to admit it that he actually NOAA coerced staff to prevent them challenging his "reality". This is not normal. Doesn't matter if you're liberal or conservative.
    And yes I do lean liberal, but largely because the Overton window has moved so far even in my lifetime. I went to a thousand-yea-old English school, scarcely a hotbed of socialism. In terms of UK politics I was a Blairite and now support the Liberal Democrats (see political compass). I'm pretty centrist. Neutrality is not the average between Trump world and the mainstream media here. Guy (help!) 09:59, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    You keep presenting evidence that Trump is bad. You are preaching to the choir. What I am not seeing is you arguing that the person he beat in the last election or the two front runners in the next one are not bad. If Trump's unique badness is as you describe, how do you explain him winning the election? Somebody likes him, and it isn't me. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:38, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    Guy Macon, support for Trump comes from a number of well documented sources: Southern racists, white supremacists, evangelicals, the NRA. Mostly this is transactional: Trump allows the Federalist Society to run judicial appointments, so they get activist judges who promote christian supremacism and the gun lobby while attacking civil rights, women's reproductive rights, LGBT rights and so on. It's been stable at 38-40% since about March 2017. The spike in Trump support around the election parallels very closely the spike in support for Brexit around the time of the UK's referendum - and the same players are involved. Russian intelligence, backed by troll farms, Cambridge Analytica and its stolen data set, Steve Bannon and the far right culture warriors.
    I am not pretending that other politicians are good, but pretty much all other politicians are better than Trump. Ask yourself: why would liberals prefer to see Trump out of office even if it means Pence in the White House? On civil liberties Pence is vastly worse, he's a Dominionist bigot who would listen to advisers and probably manage to get some of the horrible shit he supports through Congress as a result. But he's a normal politician so at least subject to shame at some level. Guy (help!) 13:25, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    Oddly I'm not a southern racist, white supremacist, an evangelical or a NRA member. I'll bet that extremely few of the 60 million voters that did vote for Trump are either. Youre off the rails and your behavior and nonstop attacks both violate BLP and are well beyond the realm of free speech, even here on this page of penultimate tolerance.--MONGO (talk) 15:27, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    MONGO, you are right, my generalisation was lazy. I plead in mitigation the interests of brevity.
    The GOP, generally, relies on, and has specifically courted, racists, and has done so since Nixon. Trump dog-whistles to white supremacists: whether he is one is open to debate but they clearly think he is one of them. Evangelicals also support the GOP, including from the pulpit. The GOP allows the Federalist Society to pick its judges, and that delivers hard right activist judges who support a Christian supremacist anti-LGBT view of the law. That's not new either: Thomas is on record as supporting judicial activism rather than stare decisis, which the Federalist papers clearly show the founders considered to be the abiding principle of jurisprudence. Of course a chunk of the 40% are just party loyalists, reject progressive policies on principle, or don't like the Democratic Party for whatever reason, but in order to gain sufficient support to retain power, the GOP has to appeal to racists, the NRA and evangelicals. It cannot afford to lose any of those three groups. Lose any one of those groups and not even gerrymandering and voter suppression can deliver a GOP victory.
    George W. Bush was not a racist, did not dog-whistle to racists, did not allow fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell Jr. to dictate policy, and I think would have stood up to the NRA after Parkland. I didn't like Bush, but he represented normal order. The only insane theory he believed in was trickle-down economics. Bush did not scare me. Trump does. The prospect of nuclear war, a shadow my parents grew up with, and which lifted in my teens, is, I think, looming again. I see the likelihood of widespread war again, and I have a son in the Army.
    To state that things - even hasty generalisations - are "beyond the realm of free speech", that is totalitarian talk. I find it hard to recognise the MONGO of the 9/11 Truther battles in that statement. Yes, I genuinely think that Trump is terrifyingly aberrant. I believe can defend that view with good evidence. That's not about left/right, it's about this specific person. Even Putin is less scary, because Putin has discipline.
    We live in a world where lifelong Republicans who criticise the President are castigated as "human scum". Where Fox News can call Alexander Vindman a Ukrainian double-agent because the government of Ukraine asked him how they should react to the shakedown. Sure, some of the outrage is inflated by the 24 hour rolling news cycle, but that is just stunning. Are you not even a little bit worried about this? Guy (help!) 16:14, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    As I mentioned on your talkpage in an effort to get you to calm down, that Trump is not my idea of an ideal President and I stated that many people voted against Clinton in the last election. I mean, she lost to Trump of all people...what does that say about the considerations of those that oppose her? You seem to want to think that nearly half the US electors had a massive brain fart or are from fringe extremist groups and that is ridiculous. This craziness that we are closer to a nuclear war then in recent years contradicts the Russia-Trump narrative completely. Yes, I was and am still likely the SOB in Chief of fighting the 9/11 truthers...and I am forever thankful for all the support you gave me. However, this heat doesn't give us light...its just smoke.--MONGO (talk) 16:35, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
    MONGO, I'm perfectly calm and always have been. And no, I am not making the point you think I am making. Rather the opposite: two out of every five Americans approve of Donald Trump's performance as President, and that barely changes regardless of what he does, good, bad or batshit insane. There's no other President of whom that has been true.
    So, support for Trump appears to be linked either to the only policies he is actually enacting - promotion of the interests of big business, isolationism and punching down at non-whites - or is wholly tribal and completely independent of what he does. Guy (help!) 17:32, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
    Not sure, 'winning the election' has anything to do with being truthful or not, that rather sounds like an argument that historical facts are voted on. As to how Trump won, it was through the

Electoral College, while losing the popular vote, and the popular vote was reported at 61.4% of the eligible voters[104], so that his and his opponent's popular vote support was around 30% of eligible voters each, with Trump's being the lesser of the two. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:54, 29 October 2019 (UTC) I am going to stop responding to this thread now. I think we have abused Jimbo's talk page enough. I welcome anyone who disagrees with me to continue doing so on my talk page. Alanscottwalker, I would be especially interested in discussing your implied claim that the founding fathers were wrong when they set up the electoral college system. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:49, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

Guy Macon, There was no implied claim. Just the facts of how presidential elections work, and how they worked in this election. Of course, if there are no facts under some philosophical theory of there being no such thing as objective truth, all is just some ad hoc claim, one supposes. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:16, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
My response to Alanscottwalker is on my talk page. I really do think that we are abusing Jimbo's page with excessive content rooting for Team Blue vs. rooting for Team Red, and I won't do it any more. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:34, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
You are free to not comment but I am free to note your invented implications are false. It rather seems useful that people know how the presidential elections work based on facts. If you view facts as rooting, that is all in your mind not reality. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 07:53, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, pundits: The problem isn't "polarization" — Republicans have lost their damn minds. Count Iblis (talk) 22:07, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

We don't accept official government statements as fact

While I'm really interested to hear about the politicians you like / dislike / trust / distrust, I came here because I was concerned that we were stating as fact, in wikivoice and on the main page, something that all reputable newspapers would report only with attribution to US officials (Trump being one of them). Jehochman replied that

We don't accept official government statements as fact, except for the fact that the government has made the claim.

And I think that's sufficient for now. If you'd like to argue that politicians from your own particular ideological, social, or national tribe are so much more reliable than others that we should begin converting their utterances into bona fide truth here on an international encyclopedia, the anthropologist in me is really curious to read about it. But I doubt that converting such statements into fact would be wise or supported by policy, and there's a reason why we treat strong, independent news and academic publishers differently than politicians as sources of information. -Darouet (talk) 14:05, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

There might be some subtle distinctions. For instance, if the US Census reports the population statistics, that information is probably going to be taken as reliable fact because that's their job and they have a reputation for accuracy. I would distinguish between "official government statements" made by politicians from statements by government employed experts who are not political appointees. I think Wikipedia may contain a lot of basic data cited to the CIA World Factbook, for instance. Jehochman Talk 22:42, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. -Darouet (talk) 23:16, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
For avoidance of doubt, I agree with all of that. My main point is that we need to be particularly careful with politicians who are known to be dishonest.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:52, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Suggest inserting a comma after the word "politicians".--GRuban (talk) 20:45, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

The Signpost: 31 October 2019


A Signpost question here.

I've been half-way tracking the numbers of articles on en:Wiki for a month or two. ETA for 6,000,000 articles is January 4, 2020, plus or minus a week, by the back of my envelop. So The Signpost has to have something for the November 30 issue or we'll be missing the story. I did email the WMF yesterday to see if they are doing anything special, but no reply yet. What will you be doing to celebrate? Any suggestions for a story or who to ask? If you are at a total loss of what to do, you can send a (fifth, quart, liter, and/or gallon) of a single malt scotch to me. Smallbones(smalltalk) 23:14, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

We are only 994,020,028 articles away from our 1,000,000,000th article... --Guy Macon (talk) 23:56, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
If the WMF acquires AI editors we may get there in a few years. Wikipedia may end up becoming an important part of the brain of the future machine civilization. Count Iblis (talk) 12:18, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Questions for 2020 Board Candidates

Jimbo, nobody on staff, the Board, or the community bothered to do anything about the scheduled FDC elections this year. meta:Wikimedia Foundation elections/FDC elections still states that "The next community elections will be held in May 2019." So, I have created a meta:Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2020/Questions page to carry forward Alsee's proposal to convert your Board seat into a community-elected position if you become incapacitated, ask about the neglected FDC elections, and open it up for other questions from the community for submission to candidates. EllenCT (talk) 22:10, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

I submitted another question about delegation of authority from the Board to the CEO and staff relative to support of readers and the community. EllenCT (talk) 20:42, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Weaving Books into the Web—Starting with Wikipedia

--Guy Macon (talk) 08:33, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Instead Wikipedia in Russia

Hello everyone! What do you think about it (info from November 5 (RU)? President Putin personally calls replace Wikipedia to the other encyclopedia. (easy suppose that it will be under control of the state). The Great Russian Encyclopedia can be instead Wikipedia in Russia. - (talk) 17:41, 5 November 2019 (UTC).

Sounds like a great opportunity for some public education about the nature of free content. With the proposal reaching the media, people will want to know that if the Russian government so decides, they won't have to start from scratch. People are going to hear that Wikipedia is so open, that even someone building a state-controlled encyclopedia with all sorts of bad stuff will be able to freely copy Wikipedia's content over to their new system, and that we simply give the content away to anyone who is willing to attribute the authors... and to similarly freely share their own derivative versions. There are some interesting potential outcomes that could come of this, especially on the off-chance that Putin is at all genuine about his concern being insufficient verifiability of Russian Wikipedia content. (OTOH, if this is entirely an excuse for censorship and/or propaganda, well...) --Yair rand (talk) 21:26, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
This story has been out forever, see e.g. this month's In the media, last month's In the media, and very likely something when they released the Great Russian Encyclopedia online back in 2016(?) with 17,000 articles. The new "news" is that the federation government has budgeted about $30 million over 3 years to subsidize the GRE. The GRE itself has been going since 1926 when it was the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. But there was news on it yesterday - Putin likes the idea of having a Russian online encyclopedia according to an AFP report in the Guardian Vladimir Putin calls for 'reliable' Russian version of Wikipedia (headline slightly misleading - the story is about the GRE, not ru.Wiki. Smallbones(smalltalk) 12:55, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
And there is something in Deutsche Welle as well. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:20, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
  • He can always use Conservapedia, which already does what he wants. It even supports the ludicrous claim that Ukraine hacked the US election in 2016. Guy (help!) 22:38, 7 November 2019 (UTC)

Enabling Flickr import for all is blocked on a technical issue

As Commons has been excluded from the m:Community Wishlist Survey 2020 for reasons I don't particularly agree with and Wikipedia editors would benefit from this as well, I'll raise this here. Hopefully a talk page watcher can help, or maybe Jimbo can poke one of the paid developers - not sure how that works.

After my proposal to enable Flickr import for 6000+ users was passed, recently a proposal to enable Flickr import for all has been passed. This proposal included a limit to address some concerns that would have otherwise likely prevented the proposal from passing. The implementation of this limit is described at phab:T236341 which is now a blocker for phab:T236342. According to MarkTraceur (WMF) this is "reasonably possible". I've already seen quite some autopatrollers (that group of 6000+ users) who were grateful for the Flickr import feature. Now phab:T236341 is all that is standing in the way of enabling it for everybody. - Alexis Jazz 14:24, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia "gets it".

It is all too easy to focus in on the areas of Wikipedia that we want to improve and to forget all of the areas that we don't pay attention to because Wikipedia gets it right. I was reminded of this when I read the Electronic Frontier Foundation's TOSsed Out page: "TOSsed Out highlights the various ways in which Terms of Service (TOS) and other speech moderation rules are unevenly enforced, with little to no transparency, against a wide spectrum of people." Jimbo, you had a big hand in leading us away from those sort of problems, and you deserve a big "Attaboy" * (Usual restrictions apply) for that.

* Usual restrictions: you can collect as many "attaboy"s as you wish, but a single "ohshit" erases all accumulated "attaboy"s.

--Guy Macon (talk) 19:34, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Second that. What about a "wellcrap"? - Alexis Jazz 20:04, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Blocking admins in the Croatian Wikipedia = Curtailing free speech

Hello Jimmy,

I am concerned about this action, that has been proposed: Requests for comment/Site-wide administrator abuse and WP:PILLARS violations on the Croatian Wikipedia. It is proposed that admins of the Croation will be blocked (among other measures) in order to have only one political opinion be presented across all language versions. I think this is unacceptable and has to be stopped somehow. Would be thankful for your input. Whatever happened to: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?--Sparrow (麻雀) 🐧 19:47, 6 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Judging by that discussion (and many others passim) the phrase "in order to have only one political opinion be presented" is exactly what is happening on the Croatian Wikipedia now, and these measures are required to stop it happening. Black Kite (talk) 20:40, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Per English Wikipedia WP:NOT, Wikipedia is not an experiment in free speech. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 21:05, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
@CaptainEek: well yes and no. Wikipedia is not an experiment in free speech as in sharing opinions, but Wikipedia is not censored either. Which is suggested to be the problem here. And "curtailing free speech" is indeed a form of censorship. - Alexis Jazz 14:05, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not censored. But it also must be neutral. And the point of the Croatian issues hubbub is that the Croatian Wikipedia is no longer neutral. We don't just allow any viewpoint on Wikipedia: we regularly block people for being disruptive around fringe issues. Heck, even expressing far-right ideas on English Wiki is usually a one-way ticket to a WP:NOTHERE ban. Croatian Wikipedia seems to have been cancerously infected by far-right views and some absurd biases. This seems far from censorship, in fact just the opposite. This action seems crafted to try to wipe clean a horribly biased slate. Now we can argue whether or not those actions will actually achieve the goal of cleaning up the Croat Wiki. But I think it is a laudable goal. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 15:22, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
@CaptainEek: from the RfC on meta: "blocking editors who try to fix the biased content", if true, is clearly censorship. - Alexis Jazz 16:21, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
Alexis Jazz, Clearly, editors trying to make biased content neutral are doing a good thing. And if they're going about it in a constructive manner, they shouldn't be blocked. But I'm not sure that any such editors are being suggested for a block, although I could be wrong. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 19:56, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Re: "curtailing free speech", see XKCD and EFF. I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:13, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, in the legal (US) sense there is no free speech to be curtailed on any WMF project because free speech doesn't apply to any WMF project to begin with. But the layman definition would still apply in this situation. - Alexis Jazz 17:38, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
  • The goal of the original Wikipedia -- & I hope all other languages Wikipedias -- is to present information from a Neutral point of view. From the reports I have read, this is the issue with the Croatian Wikipedia. The issue of freedom of speech is completely irrelevant in this. (About the only defense those accused of perverting the Croatian Wikipedia have is to show the allegations against them is wrong, & they are including all important opinions in their articles. But from the responses I've seen, all they have managed to present are accusations that people are lying about them, but neglecting to provide evidence of these lies.) -- llywrch (talk) 00:48, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

A survey to improve the community consultation outreach process


The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to improve the community consultation outreach process for Foundation policies, and we are interested in why you didn't participate in a recent consultation that followed a community discussion you’ve been part of.

Please fill out this short survey to help us improve our community consultation process for the future. It should only take about three minutes.

The privacy policy for this survey is here. This survey is a one-off request from us related to this unique topic.

Thank you for your participation, Kbrown (WMF) 10:44, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

I will repeat what I said during the "consultation" (comments that were archived with no response from the WMF): By carefully controlling what questions get asked and rejecting the questions that people want to ask, you offer us Hobson's choice. Might I suggest you simply save time and effort by simply writing the questions and the answers with no participation by the community? The result (further protests) will be the same... The questions you asked are not the questions that most people want answers to. Pretty much nobody wants to just talk about partial and temporary office actions. Pretty much everyone wants to talk about the specific actions that T&S did using partial and temporary office actions as a stalking horse. (Stalking horse: A thing that is used to conceal someone's real intentions. Originally referred to a screen made in the shape of a horse behind which a hunter stays concealed when stalking prey.) If T&S completely stops all use of partial and temporary office actions but continues the recent objectionable behavior using the good old office actions that have been around forever, the shit will hit the fan again and the board will end up telling T&S to consult with the community again.
The community wants T&S to go back to doing things they way you did them before -- the way that nobody had a problem with. Your "consultation" was carefully designed to avoid you having to actually address the issues that the community wanted you to address. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:15, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

That "Irish slavery" stuff...

I saw this on my FB feed today, and I recall earlier discussions on this page. 5 Historical 'Facts' That Are Nothing But Propaganda - The Idea Of Irish "Slavery" Can Be Tracked Down To A Holocaust Denier's Book.

I know, right? A holocaust denier spreading a false narrative used by white supremacists. I was shocked too. Guy (help!) 12:16, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

Politically diverse editors

Dear Jimmy,

What can we do to ensure that Call-out culture gains the attention of politically diverse editors? It went from this to this over the course of this year. While the original revision was not exactly a great encyclopedic content, it did not warrant such mass deletion and an ongoing active resistance to any attempts at improvement.

I sent an invite over at a WikiProject, but aside from that I do not know what to do.

(Please ping me when replying anywhere else but my talk page)

Srid🍁 17:55, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

Sridc, I recommend you take the advice given to you by many editors and stay away from the article, perhaps for a while. Edit in some other areas, and come back in a month or two. If you need some advice on other places to edit, I can help. Also, note that the political alignment of editors should have nothing to do with the article: editors must write neutrally regardless of the personal beliefs. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 21:19, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
Given the languishing state of the article and an active resistance to change, I do not have any plans to edit this article on my own (and thank you for the offer; I've been asking questions in Help Desk and noticeboards, even IRC). However I'm curious what Jimmy has to say to my query, especially in the context of the study quoted to me by User:Oceanflynn - which "measured the political diversity or polarization of each team of editors behind 232,000 different Wikipedia pages, considering editor groups with a broader range of ideological alignments to be more “polarized.”

When this measure of polarization was used to predict Wikipedia’s internal ratings of article quality (ranging from "stub" up to "featured article"), we found that higher team political polarization was strongly associated with higher page quality, far exceeding the quality of similarly sized biased, neutral, or moderate editor teams. This was especially true for political articles, but also those on social issues and science...Political polarization is typically regarded as negative, but we reveal that if the power of diverse, polarized perspectives can be unleashed, it can positively influence quality productivity." — Shi et al. Are Politically Diverse Teams More Effective?, Harvard Business Review.

Srid🍁 21:29, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
My belief based on long experience and much thought and probably less review of academic studies than I should have done, is that a strong article is best produced by a politically diverse team who are also absolutely committed more to Wikipedia's ideal of neutrality than they are to their own political agenda. Battlegrounds don't produce quality. And a certain blindness can set in if I'm only working with people I agree with. But if we disagree, but treat each other with dignity, good humor, and respect, we can do something very good indeed.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:40, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
Really appreciate the response, Jimmy. I see your point, and agree. I'm trying my best to learn and adopt Wikipedia's ideal of neutrality. I'll keep your comment stamped as an ongoing reminder! —Srid🍁 20:07, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
Coincidentally, I recently proposed an AP2 noticeboard along the same lines as WP:FTN for exactly this reason. Guy (help!) 23:03, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

What was your motivation to create wikipedia?

Respected sir , I am interested to know what was your motivation to create Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2409:4073:2011:FC6:C0B9:8035:A36E:1967 (talk) 08:01, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

I'm not Jimbo, but Wikipedia grew from Nupedia. Quote from Jimbo himself: "The idea was to have thousands of volunteers writing articles for an online encyclopedia in all languages. Initially we found ourselves organizing the work in a very top-down, structured, academic, old-fashioned way. It was no fun for the volunteer writers because we had a lot of academic peer review committees who would criticize articles and give feedback. It was like handing in an essay at grad school, and basically intimidating to participate in." The main difference is that Nupedia had an academic-style peer review process, rather than today's "anyone can edit" system on Wikipedia. See also this 2007 interview with Jimbo.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:18, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
I see this question a lot; there should probably be a FAQ posted somewhere. Зенитная Самоходная Установка (talk) 23:24, 16 November 2019 (UTC)

Some interesting early edits of yours

Hi Jimmy, I've just imported some Wikipedia edits under your non-CamelCase username from the August 2001 database dump. Among them are the first edits to Shotgun, Riding shotgun, and, last but not least, Present King of France ... the latter edit and edit summary amuse me to no end for some reason. Graham87 15:43, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

How fun!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:15, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

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Political stances by public figures

Jimmy With power comes responsibility, yesterday you signed a letter in the Guardian ( saying that you cannot vote for Corbyn because of concerns about antisemitism. I too abhor antisemitism, however I will be voting for Corbyn, because I look at the alternative and see something much worse. Johnson is very happy to use anti islamic tropes, describing muslim women as looking like letter boxes and bank robbers. I accept that the Labour party could have addressed the issue more effectively, but at least they have recognised that there is a problem, the Conservative party refuses to accept that they even have a problem. I no longer feel comfortable supporting Wikipedia, if you are going to take such an unbalanced a position in favour of the Conservative party. I realise that I am damming an organisation that you no longer run, but you and it will forever be linked in the public's mind. Cheers Paul PS Do you have the right to vote in the UK General Election? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Leighcreekguzzler (talkcontribs) 11:47, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

Leighcreekguzzler, it's a defensible position, albeit one I don't share. People seem to think that Corbyn enables antisemitism or is actively antisemitic, based on arguments that never seem to me to get beyond "LOOK! LOOK! IT'S OBVIOUS!" Enough people believe it that it's patently not insane, and if you sincerely believe that someone is antisemitic then not supporting them on a point of principle is clearly correct.
Obviously anybody who cares at all about racism or hate speech won't be voting Tory anyway. Maybe Jimmy will be a Lib-Dem, like me :-) Guy (help!) 12:24, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I gotta say, as someone who's only ever been able to vote in Canada and the UK, the idea that you can only vote for one of two choices isn't one that would benefit either of those countries. Indeed, I suspect it's a lot easier to not be a strong partisan somewhere you have three or more viable choices. WilyD 12:36, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I would be happy if I had four or five political parties to dislike instead of two that I dislike and a couple of others that I would probably dislike if they somehow managed to win an election. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:39, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
It's all due to social media. Nothing you have to say can get attention unless it stands out of the social media crowd, which for politics means it has to be extremely provocative. No normal message about the Mid East that would fit into Labour's foreign policy agenda will get attention, only the extreme outliers posted by people in a bad mood on twitter. The normal media then covers what goes viral on social media at the expense of the normal opinion held by the vast majority of the party members. This is why Brexit could happen and why Trump could get elected. Count Iblis (talk) 04:32, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Boris Johnson called gay men ‘tank-topped bumboys’ and black people ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’. Count Iblis (talk) 10:16, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
"In his 2001 book “Friends, Voters, Countrymen,” Johnson compared gay marriage to bestiality, writing that “If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog.”" Count Iblis (talk) 10:20, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Jimbo Wales. I disagree with your position regarding antisemitism in the Labour party. The Labour party has historically been a strong supporter of the Palestinians oppression by the state of Israel, the antisemitic allegations are rooted in this. Jeremy Corben is a man of peace and a defender of all oppressed people the world over, a person that is without a single racist bone in his body. If you are public enough to promote your political position regarding who you will not vote for and why then please do us the favour of letting us know who you will support in the election and why? Thanks Govindaharihari (talk) 13:25, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
I am just happy to see a political discussion that doesn't involve Team Red vs. Team Blue... :) --Guy Macon (talk) 16:01, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Guy Macon, Wow, you don't like Red vs. Blue?? [just kidding] Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 18:41, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Just because I don't like Team Rocket, that doesn't mean that I don't like The Rockets (smile). --Guy Macon (talk) 20:18, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
One can also ask how in practice a Corbyn government would end up causing problems for Jews in Britain or elsewhere. For example, suppose that there are attacks in Britain against Jews, would the police not investigate such crimes? Would the Corbyn government send arms to Hamas? Obviously, not, so what could realistically go wrong? I don't see anything that could realistically go wrong. What I can see happening is that a Corbyn government could help Europe undermining Trump's maximum pressure campaign against Iran to save the JCPOA that Israel wants to see scrapped. Count Iblis (talk) 16:59, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Simon Wren Lewis, a left leaning economist whos not really a fan a Corbyn did a quite detailed investigation into claims of Corbyn's antisemitism [105] and found a lot of the claims wanting. The ones who tend to should loudest about this are those with another political axe to grid, either strong supporters of Isreal or those who use it as a convenient way to attack the left of the Labour party. It would be interesting to see how much investigation Jimmy did into the issue before signing the letter. --Salix alba (talk): 21:23, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
That would be the Simon Wren-Lewis who's employed by Jeremy Corbyn? ‑ Iridescent 09:22, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
That announcement is from 2015. Our page on that committee might be helpful reading. Parabolist (talk) 09:45, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
To be clear, my personal political opinions which involve, among many other things, a strong opposition to anti-semitism and racism in any form, have no relevance to Wikipedia. Having said that, I won't be voting for Boris Johnson, either.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:17, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

So where is your open letter condemning Boris Johnson? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:50, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

The CASE Act

Jimbo, the US Congress has been fast-tracking a new $30,000-per-violation administrative, extrajudicial, unappealable copyright penalty called the CASE Act which puts the burden of proof on alleged infringers for the fair use exemptions on which prolific editors rely often several times per day, requiring a time-consuming and dangerously manipulable administrative process.[106] It's unclear if the noticing requirements are compatible with editors' pseudonymity (is email or a user talk page notice "reasonable means" of personal service?) or whether they would require the Foundation to identify pseudonymous editors ("the Copyright Claims Board may approve additional relevant discovery ... and may request specific information and documents from participants in the proceeding and voluntary submissions from nonparticipants [and] may apply an adverse inference with respect to disputed facts against a party who has failed to timely provide discovery....")

I believe this rises to the level of an existential threat and ask that you ask the Foundation to take a strong and active position against the bill before the Senate votes on it. Thank you for your kind consideration of this request. EllenCT (talk) 08:26, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

EllenCT, has the US ever passed a law which you didn't consider an existential threat? ‑ Iridescent 13:33, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
I am okay with the Federal Reserve Act and the ratification of the Charter of the United Nations. EllenCT (talk) 20:08, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Tools for detecting CP?

Jimbo, talk page watchers, WMF, anyone: please, think of the children! (but for realsies) See c:Commons:Village pump/Technical#I will no longer be looking for copyvios or child porn. A valuable tool to detect this crap has been taken away for reasons that aren't supported by any evidence and this outcry is simply ignored. If we can't have it back permanently, it should be replaced by a good alternative before it gets disabled.

Please, think of the children. - Alexis Jazz 20:26, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Simple solution: Make it so that abandoning a productive discussion with the users with no explanation is a fireable offense at the WMF. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:58, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
The real problem is the cop-out "based on the community voting exercise each year" mentioned in the discussion. Vital tools will not win general support in a beauty contest among those with time to spend at meta:Community Wishlist Survey 2020. There needs to be a way for such tools to be discussed at a higher level. Johnuniq (talk) 22:26, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Did the community voting exercise specifically ask about this tool? If so, were users of the tool notified of the discussion? --Guy Macon (talk) 04:00, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't know, but probably not. My comment is based on experience from requests in previous years, mainly for anti-spam tools as I recall. Even something obvious like fixing Special:LinkSearch so it finds http and https without fuss cannot be requested because the number of people who would prefer nicer user boxes exceeds the number who try to keep spam under control. Johnuniq (talk) 04:24, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
@Johnuniq and Guy Macon: Community Wishlist makes no difference: "Wishes for Wikidata or Wikimedia Commons are not eligible." - Alexis Jazz 06:30, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
And yet Jdforrester (WMF) wrote "In general, power tools support is carried out by the wonderful Community Tech team based on the community voting exercise each year (next time starting in a few months' time)."[107] And this phabricator comment[108] implies that there are now time limits (not treating a user with 10 years and a million edits as a new user) but mentions nothing about the main functionality used to find newly posted child pornography going away. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:48, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
I have been talking about the general case (wish lists since they started), not the specific limits on the current list. In general, vital tools will not gain more support than other more glamorous proposals because most participants would not regard something like an anti-spam tool as useful to them. Johnuniq (talk) 07:08, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
The community wishlist is a joke by itself, when things get serious they define it as out of scope, too big a task (see diff, diff). It is fine if something is out of scope for that team, but gathering input does show that there is a significant problem that needs to be solved, and there should be an effort to get that solved instead of shoving it under a rug (or just disabling it because you can't be bothered to find a solution and are seriously disconnected from the community). --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:42, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

{{Ping}} you claimed that the Phabricator issue indicated that the "Show contributions of new accounts only" checkbox was removed from the Special:NewFiles list on Commons for performance reasons, but did not respond for weeks when others said that they could find no such indication. My limited understanding of the query and schema involved suggests that there aren't any substantial performance issues at all, and even if they were they would be realized solely in the process querying on the filter, from which there have apparently been no complaints; in fact this filter serves a profoundly useful function thanks to those patrollers who are kind enough to monitor its results. Would you please clarify this? EllenCT (talk) 08:35, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Please try to keep this productive. Whatever communication problems may exist, or whatever lack of interest in developing vital tools there may be, random editors are not in a position to pass judgment about the performance issues mentioned by Jdforrester. It is simply unproductive to doubt the conclusions of an expert who has access to development tools that allow serious system monitoring. Johnuniq (talk) 08:40, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
It's moot. Steinsplitter apparently had anticipated this years ago, and has replaced the functionality including thumbnails uploaded from new users to Commons on Toolforge at and (someone) has linked that from where the removed checkbox used to be. (But in my defense I note that Jdforrester said he had "eyeballed" it instead of making measurements from system monitoring.) EllenCT (talk) 08:47, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Johnuniq, what I do find worrying is that again WMF just decided to remove it, again without expectations/anticipation to the consequences (in this case: despite Jdforrester 'eyeballing' the logs, people were actually using it and find it a necessary tool to maintaining the site). Again no communication beforehand, no proper pathway to replacement, nor making sure sufficient alternatives exist. It is in perfect line with necessary tools that are left to rot away. I find it a very, very weak excuse, and a very very typical WMF excuse that user:Jdforrester (WMF) has: it is too much work to properly solve this, so we just remove it. Dirk Beetstra T C 10:30, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. A quick workaround for the missing tools (and the 500 hard limit to viewing contributions instead of the previous 5000) would be to make them work only if the user has suitable rights with a strong message to the community that the number of people with the right has to be small. Johnuniq (talk) 23:26, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Your social network is being identified with Wikipedia

"Finally, Wikipedia Is Making a Social Network", "Wikipedia is taking on Facebook with a new social network", "Wikipedia is creating a social network" (Italian).

While the above headlines certainly highlight many of the problems with the media that your projects have tried to solve, this is likely causing some problems for Wikipedia now. Is there anything that your organization, or maybe someone from WMF Communications, could do about the misleading/inaccurate reports claiming these things? --Yair rand (talk) 01:26, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

You shouldn't worry too much about these. Sometimes it's just not worth correcting the lower grades of publishers. Most of this is just headlines that are off. Source 1) states the (non)connection between the WMF and WT, pretty well, but then very badly in the next sentence - so it ends up that you'll really only be misled if you believe the headline. I don't believe most headlines these days. Source 2) is short and only the headline looks off (on a quick reading). Source 3) is short, but manages to plagiarize 1). In short, my advice is fuggitabowdit. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:13, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Free clues:
  1. If the logo of your project contains the phrase "news focused social network" don't be surprised if sources assume that it is a social network.
  2. If the main page of your project contains no "about us" explaining the difference between wikitribune, wikibooks, wikipedia, etc. and Jimbo advertises it with tweets like this[109] don't be surprised if sources assume that it is connected with Wikipedia.
I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:35, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Jimmy isn't responsible for other peoples' misunderstandings. Wiki is a generic, descriptive word. Anybody can use it for anything. Jehochman Talk 14:58, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

I do think I have a responsibility to correct misinformation - I'm following up with any of these that I find!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:02, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Have you considered putting an "about us" or "about this site" link on to help the next journalist who writes about this to avoid making a similar mistake? --Guy Macon (talk) 18:43, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
(...Sound of crickets...) ---Guy Macon (talk) 22:17, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
I have applied to join WT.Social and am number 248572 on the waiting list. I didn't realise that you can't join immediately unless you pay a fee, or speed things up by recommending friends. The subscription is 10 GBP per month, or 80 GBP per year. --♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:30, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

"Do that again and you are fired."

Please see the response of the Wikipedia community at Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram#End of community consultation on temporary and partial office bans. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:47, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Impossible to remove a rightwing hoax?

I have tried to remove a right wing hoax from but people keep undoing my improvements can you help please. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) Part of a webhost rangeblock rn, so may not get a response

Eh dunno if I'd call it a rightwing hoax, but it is dubious. Some work to find more sources and keep it neutral would be good. Interested editors might wish to head to Talk:Military stress card#Suggested changes, as some extra hands seem useful. Some cleanup has already happened, keep it up. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 04:04, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

WP for sale, to Google?

I just learned that Wikipedia engages with Google: mw:Google_Code-in (since 2013). Where can I find a justification? Really, Google is commercial, only polishing their image—IOW not really helping us nor our readers. What is going on? -DePiep (talk) 23:08, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Oh, and please tell what money goes where, Google<–>Wikipedia. -DePiep (talk) 23:20, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm possibly the WMF's harshest critic but I'm not seeing the basis of your objection. Google Code-in is a long running program in partnership with numerous open-source organisations; yes, it's funded by a commercial company but it's not as if we're forcing people to work in Google's slave-mines, just providing an environment where trainees can experience real-world situations. The WMF doesn't exist in a vacuum and we've always worked with and accepted donations from commercial companies; indeed, we explicitly solicit donations from companies like Google whose success depends in part on reusing our information; we also work with and get donations from Facebook, Microsoft, Apple et al. If you're really such an ideological purist that you can't bear to work on a site that would ever work with a commercial firm, I respectfully suggest that Wikipedia is probably not the website for you (and if you dislike a minor small-scale collaboration with Google, you're really going to blow when you hear about the million dollars we just got from Amazon). ‑ Iridescent 23:39, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
If I ever see a shred of evidence that Google, Amazon, or any other commercial entity is buying some sort of unfair preferential treatment I will be the first to complain about it (assuming Iridescent is asleep at the time; he types slightly faster than I do...) I have seen zero evidence of that. And, while the WMF may have their flaws, selling out is not one of them. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:51, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Guy Macon, true. There's a much bigger problem of people citing Amazon sales pages as if they are a source in articles. There are many thousands of them. Guy (help!) 16:07, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
JzG I try to change Amazon cites to book cites when I find them, but I think it could be (at least partly) done by a bot. Extracting an ISBN from an Amazon page should be fairly simple. An ISBN is all that's needed to populate a "cite book" reference, except for page number(s), if they are present in the Amazon references. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 16:27, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
It couldn't be done by a bot; at most it could be a semi-automated process with human review of each edit. A few of those cites to Amazon will genuinely be citations to the text of the Amazon page, for such things as the publisher's sales description of the book. More significantly there's a non-negligible number of books that have an ASIN (Amazon reference) but not an ISBN or OCLC code; less importantly for our purposes very old obscure books from the pre-ISBN era; more importantly for our purposes the ever-increasing number of books published only in Kindle format which have never had a hard copy and consequently never get assigned an ISBN or OCLC. In these cases we actively encourage people citing these works to link to Amazon as it allows people to verify the existence of the source and obtain it for themselves if they want; it's why the {{Cite book}} template includes the asin= field. ‑ Iridescent 17:00, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Iridescent, that's a genuinely terrible idea. ASIN= only links to Amazon, whereas the book sources link from ISBN not only verifies from WorldCat and Library of Congress, which are more reliable, it also shows libraries and multiple online booksellers. It's hard to think of a less appropriate use of a template parameter than making it easy for readers to buy the book from a specific reseller. We have 48,000 articles linking to, 11,000 to and about 2,000 invoking {{asin}} directly. How would that make you feel if you were, say, the owner of a local bookstore? Or even Borders? How much is that free promotion worth? Is Jeff Bezos making a donation to cover it? Guy (help!) 17:28, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
For the second time, the reason we use ASIN is that not all books have an ISBN or OCLC. If the book does have an ISBN or OCLC, we shouldn't be using ASIN and the instructions make this clear, but you can't assume that every time you see ASIN being used it's illegitimate. ‑ Iridescent 17:36, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Dodger67, not that easy. I've done a lot of them and they are all different: people using {{asin}} instead of ISBN, all sorts. It is a plague. Guy (help!) 17:26, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm shocked that anyone would even suggest we use an ad-link to one of the largest, ugliest, and most greedy corporations in the world. I'm also shocked that there seems to be a template to auto-generate those numbers. No wonder Amazon is throwing WMF a couple crumbs — it's part of their advertising budget! Amazon catalog numbers should never be used, period. Carrite (talk) 15:38, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
Making sure our relationships with the big tech companies stay "clean" is pretty important. We have pages on Meta like m:Google, m:Amazon, m:Facebook, and m:Apple, documenting the relationships. (m:Google's section on Google's outreach programs is currently empty, and could use some content.) --Yair rand (talk) 21:44, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

AE-DS-POV fork

Jimbo - for clarity purposes...

  • Can ArbCom extend their authority, provided they have such authority, and (a) authorize admins to use their sole discretion to create what are basically nuanced POV forks of standard DS, and (b) authorize admins per AE to use their sole discretion and take unilateral actions against editors based on that admin's customized interpretations of DS written to fit a specific editor? Atsme Talk 📧 12:59, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
    Atsme, yes, they have very broad authority, and the community has even greater authority to decide to do things pretty much however we like. Guy (help!) 00:46, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
    Atsme, For better or worse, ArbCom has delegated broad powers to WP:AE and the admins who work there. This is because the community has delegated broad powers to ArbCom. Are those powers too broad? Depends on your viewpoint. They could be changed, with consensus. But I do not envy anyone who would try to start that discussion...
    In terms of the page you linked, could you expand on the issue? Are you saying that it isn't policy, but is being treated as such by admins? Or have I misunderstood, and you don't take issue with that page? Smooth sailing, Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 04:17, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
CaptainEek, apologies for the late response - I've been dutifully confined to the kitchen. [FBDB] See the discussion at ANI. At this point in time, I'm relaxing on the couch. Atsme Talk 📧 13:31, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
Atsme, Hehe no worries, I too have been cooking up a storm. Thanks for the ANI link, I had been paying attention to the original discussion but hadn't seen the follow-up. Seems to me like it's time for ArbCom to review discretionary sanctions... Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 16:42, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
  • This issue was also raised at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification and Amendment, where a sitting arbitrator opined "as to the discretionary sanctions scheme, I'm not crazy about it and wasn't crazy about it when I first learned of it several months ago. If Awilley runs across an editor, he's going to use his set of discretionary sanctions while all the other 1100+ admins will use another set. It's arbitrary, and I don't like it. But I believe this would be better addressed in a case request about discretionary sanctions, which is yet another thing we've been meaning to take a look at for a while." I agree with that sentiment. I just became aware of this administrator's "discretionary sanctions" user subpage yesterday. I think the Arbitration Committee should periodically review the operations of the "discretionary sanctions" system they authorized, to make sure it is performing satisfactorily as they envisioned. – wbm1058 (talk) 16:34, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

Links to crime sites

Jimbo, do we have a policy about linking to sites that facilitate criminal activity? When I ask that, I am thinking specifically about drug marketplaces, carding sites, assassination markets, and other sites related to criminal activity. The nearest thing to guidance I could find is WP:EL but I don't think that covers links in articles about a site. I know that in some cases we are linking to sites that have become associated with criminal and/or terrorist activity, such as 8chan and The Daily Stormer, but I am talking about sites that are inherently about crinimal activities. I know people are going to start screaming "CENSORSHIP!" before they even finish reading my comment, but there's a difference between just discussing a subject and providing working links to dangerous sites. Bitter Oil (talk) 21:17, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Many of the sites that do this sort of thing are .onion sites and can be accessed only with the Tor browser. If you try to add a link to a .onion site to a Wikipedia article, it will not save because these links are blacklisted. Can you give a specific example of where a site like this was linked from a Wikipedia article? WP:EL guidelines would cover most of this, particularly if the material was illegal under United States law.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 21:34, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
The article that prompted me to ask was Tor Carding Forum, which is a site for trading illegally obtained credit card information. Darknet sites may be "blacklisted", but that hasn't stopped people from adding the addresses. Yes, you might have to cut and paste them, but I think most people can manage that. See Dread (forum) and Agora (online marketplace) as two examples. Is there a policy about linking to the darknet? I couldn't find one. Bitter Oil (talk) 21:43, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
I couldn't get any of these sites to work, possibly because they are defunct (like the link to Agora) or down for some reason. If you have concerns about any external link possibly being illegal, the best thing to do would to be to raise it at WP:ANI.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 21:58, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
@Ianmacm: You couldn't access Tor Carding Forum? As for the darkweb sites, "defunct" doesn't necessarily mean gone forever. These sites have a habit of popping back up. Just because it isn't available now, doesn't mean it won't be available again in the future. But if it were truly dead and gone, why have the address anyway? Do we have a policy about this somewhere? I don't want to start a thread on ANI if there's nothing to stop the links from coming back again... Bitter Oil (talk) 22:25, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
Before you report it to ANI, you need to establish that we have a policy against "linking to sites that facilitate criminal activity". Most such sites would be rejected for other reasons, but where is the policy specifically outlawing linking to sites that facilitate criminal activity?
If you really want to ban "linking to sites that facilitate criminal activity" the first site that you need to ban is Wikipedia. See
Molotov cocktail#Design,
Gun-type fission weapon,
History and culture of substituted amphetamines#Illegal synthesis,
Illegal immigration#Methods, and
Confidence trick#Stages of the con.
Then you have to get rid of links to places like [ ] (linked from Bomb-making instructions on the Internet)
But wait! There's still more! Valhalla (steam yacht, 1892) links to [ ]. nothing illegal there, but unmuseum also hosts [ ].
You would also have to ban Gizmodo [ ],
Quora [ ],
the BBC [ ]
The Atlantic [ ]
and many other sites.
Then, after you have banned all of the above. you need to ban this reply.
BTW, making a site a clickable link is just a convenience. You can easily cut and paste 3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion (it's safe. Trust me.) into the Tor Browser from this post. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:32, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
WP:NOTHOWTO is definitely unevenly applied to recreational drugs syntheses, which are far more detailed and practical than articles on synthesizing useful chemicals like plastics. EllenCT (talk) 06:11, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
The article Tor Carding Forum is fully protected, which shows that admins have known about problems with it in the past. The only external link I can find is and it won't load for me.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 22:39, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
@Ianmacm: I don't know why the link doesn't work for you. It does work, though. I do not recommend accessing these sites, by the way. The reason the article is protected is because people were changing the link, presumably to drive traffic to competing carding sites. Again, is there a policy about this anywhere? Bitter Oil (talk) 23:49, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: I'm not asking about information that might allow people to do something illegal, I am asking about sites that are wholly dedicated to facilitating criminal behavior. What are the guidelines? It seems like I can't link to a site that might have copyrighted song lyrics, but I can link to a site that sells illegally obtained credit card information for the purposes of fraud? That seems really, really odd to me. Bitter Oil (talk) 23:54, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
If a website contains any one of content that is illegal to access in the United States, Individual web pages that primarily exist to sell products or services, sites that work only with a specific browser or in a specific country or Sites that are not reliably functional and/or not likely to continue being functional—which between them describe pretty much the entire dark web—then no, we don't want them. The criteria for links we don't want are at WP:ELNO. ‑ Iridescent 23:58, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
All of which make perfect sense. The key here is that "content that is illegal to access in the United States" (the actual rule) and "sites that are wholly dedicated to facilitating criminal behavior" (what Bitter Oil (now that the goalposts have been moved) wants to ban) are two entirely different things. For example, in the US it is illegal to access a site that contains child pornography. It is not illegal to access a site that sells illegal drugs or credit card numbers. It is illegal to actually buy either of those of course. And lest we forget, "content that is illegal to access in the United States" is only a tiny part of what Wikipedia doesn't allow you to link to. I can't think of any example where a site that sells illegal drugs or credit card numbers -- even though not illegal to access -- would in any way be acceptable as a link on Wikipedia. It would never pass WP:RS, for one thing. But we do link to [ ] from our Bomb-making instructions on the Internet article. It is legal to view that page and it is allowed by Wikipedia's rules to link to that page, but making your own cruise Missile is illegal in the US. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:45, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
Getting somewhat off the point, but unless you fitted an explosive warhead—which would fall foul of more general laws about the handling of explosives—I'm not at all convinced building a guided missile would be illegal in most jurisdictions. The US has a long tradition of amateur rocketry. Launching your home-made missile without the appropriate permissions would be another matter. ‑ Iridescent 01:01, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: I'm not "moving the goalposts" at all. I came here asking what the rules were because I stumbled across something that troubled me. I don't like that we link to crime sites and I don't think we should link to crime sites. That's my opinion but I am willing to listen to other opinions. Let's hold off talking about banning things until we agree on whether this is covered by one of our existing guidelines already. Thanks. Bitter Oil (talk) 04:39, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
Actually, you kind of did move the goalposts. First you talked about "linking to sites that facilitate criminal activity" then, after I listed The BBC and The Atlantic doing exactly that, changed it to "sites that are wholly dedicated to facilitating criminal behavior"
As for your question "I came here asking what the rules were because I stumbled across something that troubled me", the answer is at WP:NOTCENSORED. I know you don't like that rule, but I can assure you that the folks who don't want us to show images of Mohamed like it even less. The good news is that probably 99.9% of such sites are not allowed to be linked for other reasons, so the effect is close to the same. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:06, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
I listed the types of sites that were specific concerns: "drug marketplaces, carding sites, assassination markets, and other sites related to criminal activity". Again, I think there is a difference between discussing a subject and providing links. We can provide information about crime sites without linking to them. If links to child porn sites were not otherwise excluded, I doubt you would be arguing for their inclusion. I get the impression that you would rather rail about censorship than help me answer my question. Please don't derail the discussion. Thanks. Bitter Oil (talk) 00:50, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
@Iridescent: sites that work only with a specific browser or in a specific country
Well, you can remove the link to from St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the link to from Chicago Tribune, from Orlando Sentinel and so on. I can't visit any of those. - Alexis Jazz 06:32, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

WP:NOADS likely covers any advertised criminal activity. The Terms of Use seems to cover most of this as well, in particular Section 4 which covers fraud specifically and then a catchall section

Misusing Our Services for Other Illegal Purposes
  • Posting child pornography or any other content that violates applicable law concerning child pornography;
  • Posting or trafficking in obscene material that is unlawful under applicable law; and
  • Using the services in a manner that is inconsistent with applicable law.

Especially that last line. Smallbones(smalltalk) 05:09, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

"Purposes" is a key word here. If I insert a link to my favorite rock band's website for the purpose of advertising or promotion, that's not allowed. However, we link to the websites of many bands because they are notable enough to have Wikipedia pages. The same goes for illegal activity. We link to The Pirate Bay and we link to the two examples Bitter Oil listed at the top ( 8chan and The Daily Stormer ) whether or not they are "sites that facilitate criminal activity" Contrast this with the fact that no matter how notable the topic Child pornography is we don't link to it or provide any examples of it. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:06, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
Not sure why I can't access but there is a snapshot of it on the Wayback Machine that can be found here. Yep, it's a carding forum, and these do exist on the clearweb as well as the dark web. Since IANAL it's hard to say how legal this is, and whether it meets WP:EL.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:37, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
Works for me. redirects to -- which has a link to where you find ajnghe5vbdd4tf3ffkn6bclfipein6fv4ef7pb2om7klox4lfd4z3uyd.onion (http, not https). I can get to the www site using either ULR in firefox and I can get to what looks like the same site with the ,onion URL using the Tor Browser. I didn't check but I bet they accept all major credit cards... :( I see zero reason why anyone would want to legitimately link to any of them from Wikipedia, but they are easy to find with Google. --08:04, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
My $0.02 is that it is questionable whether sites like this should be linked from Wikipedia. Maybe there should be a Village pump proposal discussing this.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:19, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
I can tell you something which plagues all these types of site (though it's not strictly limited to these types of site). They are constantly subject to link hijacking, i.e. people adding links which point to an imposter site. I've found that we often have to insist on strictly applying WP:V - to use independent sources to verify that the link refers to the named site. The result (in theory) is that we do what reliable sources do. Most reliable sources won't touch the links with a barge pole, in which case nor should we. -- zzuuzz (talk) 08:21, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
That alone is reason enough to reject them, thus bypassing the censorship question. Perhaps we should add mention of site hijacking to ELNO? --Guy Macon (talk) 08:38, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
FYI, this appears to be the case with the carding site mentioned above, with many alternative links being added this year (I suspect they are ALL fake). I've completely removed the link and left a note on the talk page. WP:V is a policy which can't be trumped, but I'm surprised not to find anything about it at WP:ELNO. Maybe something could be added. I would mention that if we get too pedantic about this policy, it can cause problems for obvious links, but for contentious links it can be applied for sure. Also, for the record, we can link to onion sites, and do so at the Daily Stormer (and other pages). I can tell you that I verified that one from independent sources myself. -- zzuuzz (talk) 09:22, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
@Zzuuzz: Thanks. You seem to know about this stuff. I managed to figure out that onion sites are blacklisted, but a few have been whitelisted. What about ones that aren't whitelisted but have urls as text? Assassination market#Assassination Market (assmkedzgorodn7.onion) is one example, but there are some that list "defunct" urls as text. Bitter Oil (talk) 01:11, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
There's a lot of stuff I don't know about. According to our article Jim Bell, there seems to be some question about the illegality of this type of enterprise. That and other hypotheticals aside, my main observation would be that the site is defunct, and so this is moot. The URL appears to be a (relatively) harmless historical note, useful only as an identifier, as is the case for most defunct Tor sites. -- zzuuzz (talk) 04:18, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

Another example of a crime site with a link

Russian Anonymous Marketplace was a darknet crime site. It has been defunct since 2017. Back in August 2015 (when it was still active) User:Deku-shrub added the onion link in the external links section. It was there until April 2016. Since then a variety of urls have been added to the article by IPs and others. Looks like same situation as discussed above with Tor Carding Forum except no one seems to be watching this one at all. Bitter Oil (talk) 16:04, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

That one was only a few days ago. Now fixed. Welcome to Wikipedia. -- zzuuzz (talk) 18:48, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Certainly such pages should be protected, not because they have links to "crime sites" (many people including me disagree with your desire to ban "crime sites" that pass WP:V and WP:RS), but because those pages are spam magnets. If you identify any more, please request protection at WP:RFPP. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:19, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
"Many people including me disagree with your desire to ban 'crime sites' ...". Oh really? Many people, you say? I don't want to ban crime sites. I want to know what are the policies and guidelines about linking to crime sites. If you can't be helpful (and it appears that you can't) please refrain from commenting. I'm not here to argue with you. Thanks. Bitter Oil (talk) 23:23, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Please don't pretend that you don't understand "ban crime sites" as being a verbal shorthand for what we were already discussing (disallowing external link to sites that are wholly dedicated to facilitating behavior that is against US law). Your snarky "If you can't be helpful (and it appears that you can't) please refrain from commenting" was not appropriate. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:16, 25 November 2019 (UTC)
Guy, not sure I can imagine a crime site that is also a reliable source? A Tor black market forum seems the very opposite of RS. Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 06:51, 25 November 2019 (UTC)
You are correct. My point is that disallowing a Tor black market forum because it is dedicated to breaking US law violates our core values (WP:NOTCENSORED) but disallowing the same Tor black market forum because it fails RS is not only allowed but is required. For an example of a website that is both dedicated to breaking US law (at least until the next appeal) and a reliable source, see Defense Distributed. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:16, 25 November 2019 (UTC)
Small point, but I used the word "dedicated" to mean that the crime sites like carding sites are not general purpose sites but exist only to facilitate certain criminal activities. Defense Distributed is not selling illegal guns. If they were, I don't think we should link to them. I get it, we have different opinions, but you keep trying make it seem like I am suggesting things which do not represent my positions at all. If there is any consensus to prohibit linking to certain sites, I'm not going to be the one to decide the criteria, that will be up to the community. I'm sure your input will be helpful if that ever happens. Bitter Oil (talk) 16:43, 25 November 2019 (UTC)
@Zzuuzz: Like the other example, shouldn't the article be fully protected to prevent future additions of bogus links? Shouldn't all articles about such darkweb marketplaces be fully protected for the same reason? Bitter Oil (talk) 23:28, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
If I explain how and where to find a drug dealer IRL, that's not a problem. It's your responsibility what you do with that information. We should include correct links. Journalists also browse these sites to see (for example) which drugs are popular, how much any particular item or service costs and what kind of things are available. For example, if 1000 Facebook likes can be bought for $5, that can be something worth mentioning in an article about social media manipulation. I would however draw the line when the very content of the site is itself illegal. Read: CP. - Alexis Jazz 06:32, 25 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't have any problem with the explaining, but this is giving the drug dealer's name and phone number (to follow your analogy). Again, just my view. If we are going to talk about buying Facebook likes, we will reference reliable secondary sources, not one of the sites where you can buy them. Let's look at your child porn comment. If there were sites where individuals sell and trade child porn but the images were not on the site itself, do you think we should link to such sites? Bitter Oil (talk) 16:19, 25 November 2019 (UTC)
@Bitter Oil: giving the dealer's name and phone number is also fine. It's still your responsibility what you do with that information. And we don't have to talk about buying Facebook likes. Journalists do. And they do some of their research on sites like those. And we cite the journalists. To answer your question: yes, I think we could link such a site. The very moment even a single image appears on the site itself we should remove it, so it could be tricky. But hypothetically speaking, if we could be sure the site wouldn't actually host the content, it would be fine to link. - Alexis Jazz 07:50, 26 November 2019 (UTC)
This link is allowed on Wikipedia. Count Iblis (talk) 16:13, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

Third example of a crime site link

So there seem to be a variety of views here ranging from not linking crime sites to allowing links to child porn trading sites. I think there is a consensus forming that if such there are such links, they need to be supported by reliable secondary sources and the articles need to be fully protected to avoid sneaky changes to different sites. That last point may need more discussion because Russian Anonymous Marketplace is still unprotected. I'm offering a third example to show that this problem isn't limited to "official links". Market for zero-day exploits is about the general use of the term, not about a specific site. Nevertheless, an IP editor added a site link (January 2018). Over a year later a registered editor moved that link from the "see also" section to the "external links" section. It is still there. Bitter Oil (talk) 21:37, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for reporting that—it was just removed (diff). There is a liberty trend at Wikipedia and there will always be contributors who want to link to everything, and others who support that in the name of freedom. However, the edit summary in the removal diff is "rm spam" and that is correct—it's promotional spam. Forget about debating the merits here. Instead, just remove links like that using edit summary "per [[WP:EL]]". If reverted, report at WP:ELN for others to assess. Johnuniq (talk) 23:45, 27 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm more of a Wikipedia user than a Wikipedia editor. I don't have the time to find all of these kinds of articles and then watch them in case IPs add links. Can't we at least protect the articles where this is likely to happen? Bitter Oil (talk) 18:38, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
If frequent spamming happens, sure, that's grounds for protection. For just once, though, just fix it. We're not going to preemptively protect, though. Spam can happen literally anywhere, so we'd essentially be protecting every single one. If you see spam in an article, just remove it. That would take less time than to complain about it here. Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:42, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
Spam can happen literally anywhere on Wikipedia, but these are obvious, attractive targets for an especially bad type of link. Protecting these articles is like putting a fence around a construction site so people don't wander in and fall down a hole. the article which got me on to this, Tor Carding Forum, is now fully protected but when @Deku-shrub: asked for it to be protected because of "cybercrime advertising" in July it got protected for 4 days. Why wait until someone falls in a hole before we put up the fence? Bitter Oil (talk) 15:44, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
Sure, it got protected for a few days, and that was sufficient for the IP spammer to lose interest. More recently, it was full-protected for a few days due to an edit war (that protection has expired, I can't think of any circumstance under which we'd indefinitely full-protect a mainspace article). "Anyone can edit" is part of what we do. Protection, while sometimes necessary, is unfortunate, and we use it as little as possible. Often, short-term protection is enough to cause a vandal or spammer to lose interest and go away, or for editors to quit edit warring. Seems to have worked just fine here too. And no one can "fall in" to a site selling stolen credit card numbers—they would have to get on Tor, visit the site, see what the site does and what it's selling, get hold of whatever form of cryptocurrency or other payment the criminals accept, and purchase and receive stolen credit card numbers. At that point, we call that "intentional", and a person willing to do something like that would've done it anyway. (And if it turns out the person on the other end is actually an undercover cop, well, call me unsympathetic.) But if some good-faith editors believe we should include the link (and especially when we're talking about a particular site, a good case can be made that we should, e.g. The Pirate Bay, in which consensus was to include), that is resolved via discussion and consensus, not protection. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:35, 29 November 2019 (UTC)

The Signpost: 29 November 2019

A cupcake for you!

Choco-Nut Bake with Meringue Top cropped.jpg Eat this. Wolf20482 (talk) 08:48, 30 November 2019 (UTC)