User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 42

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Feliz Navidad

A vos y a todos los tuyos. Thanks, SqueakBox 19:43, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

A Persian User page?

Dear Jimbo.happy new u like to have a persian version of your userpage? Bbadree (talk) 19:54, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

SMK Semera

Hello Mr. Wales! I need your help! (Well, not specifically YOUR help, but you will do!) Please kindly refer to SMK Semera. Do you think it should get deleted? Thanks.--Mark Chung (talk) 05:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

If I were voting, and I am not, I would vote delete.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:38, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Photo in Your appeal

Hello! In your appeal is your photography, which is (c) all rights reserved, not creative commons, or other free licence. I think, it is bad, when you say "Wikipedia content is free to use by anyone for any purpose", "all dedicated to sharing knowledge freely" and give non-free picture to them. Merry Christmas --Wyksztalcioch (talk) 14:13, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Actually, the image is BY-SA. So, it's just that someone erred on the side of caution.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:36, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
File description page updated. Cbrown1023 talk 17:27, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
User:Krimpet/peek Awesome. :D krimpet 21:52, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Merry Christmas from Promethean

O'Hai there Jimbo Wales, Merry Christmas!

Jimbo Wales,
I wish you and your family all the best this Christmas and that you also have a Happy and safe new year.
Thankyou for all your contributions to Wikipedia this year and I look forward to seeing many more from you in the future.
Your work around Wikipedia has not gone un-noticed, this notice is testimony to that
Please feel free to drop by my talkpage any time to say Hi, as I will probably say Hi back :)

All the Best.   «l| Ψrometheăn ™|l»  (talk)

Calça arriada

Está de calça arriada, hein, Jimmy? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Editing of own Wikipedia biography

This title should be re name to> controversials —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:41, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

wikimedia back up servers

im just wondering, Mr. Wales, does wikimedia store everything on backup hard drives in case the main ones crash? don't all hard drives wear down after a while and break?Herius (talk) 16:41, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, there are backups. You could ask Brion Vibber for a pointer to the current details. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:53, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Who is your heir?

Hi Jimbo, this is a hypothetical that has been biting at the back of my mind for the past few days. As the situation stands now, the ArbCom board is appointed by you, with an advisory vote from the community. I'm sorry if I'm putting this indelicately, but we are all human, and therefore mortal. Who would appoint the ArbCom, and who would act as the ultimate decision-maker, in case something happened to you? Are there already contingency plans in place for this? In a related question, on other projects with Arbitration Committees, who appoints those members? Is it all you, or do other projects do it differently? Sorry to hit you with this during the holiday season,--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 08:25, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

I would imagine that the community would have an emergency vote on one of the members of the WMF board. Just my guess though, don't take it to the bank. Actually, in this economy, don't take anything to the bank! Sam Blab 13:10, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
That last part actually made ma laugh a little. ;-) ayematthew @ 13:14, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I think the Foundation has virtually nothing to do with it, although they might want some input into the matter. I would suggest that in such an eventuality, the ArbCom itself might wisely set down a procedure for their own replacement.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:59, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
The Arbcom has repeatedly demonstrated their inability to regulate themselves this year, actually: The Orangemarlin incident and the Arbcom RFC are notable examples of, firstly, the Arbcom making a bad decision then managing the fallout badly, and, in the second, refusing to take community feedback (Months after the community said "No new policy from Arbcom", they opened up a year-old case so they could create policy.) (talk) 15:51, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
All of the other wiki projects make up their own process on how to do it. Most if not all I believe hold straight elections, and if their ACs get access to private information (Checkuser, Oversight) the individual members still need vetting by the Foundation in any event. rootology (C)(T) 15:11, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
This wouldn't be much of an issue unless Jimbo became incapacitated right before an ArbCom election. Any potential assassins should keep that in mind and wait about a year before striking if their goal is to cause maximum chaos. JoshuaZ (talk) 15:49, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
...never read WP:BEANS, eh? EVula // talk // // 19:00, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Yeah Jimbo... gettin' old..... ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 05:26, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

How about a "How To Do It" wiki site?

Surely this has been suggested before (and if so, I'd be curious as to why no one thought to follow up on it). How to change the oil in your car. How to boil an egg in a microwave. How to do well in an interview. How to deal with depression? How to raise chickens. With its topical entries limited to those published about for a general, non-technical audience (although once that hurdle would be met, techical sources could buttress assertions); with preference given to entries dealing with basic life skills and with its presentations necessarily emphasizing practical applications over theory; and with an effort to make its directions as easy to understand as possible (which, in the case of many manual writers, is something that's somewhat difficult to do). Just tips me hat but then 〜on thought bows deeply 00:43, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikihow. Majorly talk 00:44, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
(ec) There's WikiHow. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:45, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Fail Julian :P Majorly talk 00:46, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Erm, indeed I do. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:53, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah yes the eternal conundrum! And don't forget that [[b:]] is the interwiki link for Wikibooks. – ukexpat (talk) 01:17, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

No no-follow restricted interwiki for wikihow? rootology (C)(T) 15:17, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

AFAIK, wikiHow is not an official sister project; Wikibooks is. GlassCobra 16:16, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
The code for WikiHow is, for example, "[[wikiHow:Foo]] according to the interwiki map. Graham87 16:26, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Developer support for parser function

Jimbo, I’ve run the gamut with the volunteer developer community on a template that requires a special, character-counting parser function that shouldn’t take too much time for an experienced developer to produce. The response from the developer community was that—while they were sympathetic to the cause—they felt that producing the character-counting parser function would “set a precedent” that might encourage more requests for special parser functions. Accordingly, I come to you in hopes you know of an even more sympathetic developer.

For a very succinct overview of the template I am talking about, please see this thread on WT:MOSNM.

This template was originally called by the name “Delimitnum”. It’s functionality is largely described here: here on WT:MOSNUM archive 94.

It was extensively discussed and voted upon here on WT:MOSNUM archive 94.

The template was well received here on WT:MOS archive 97 where its appearance was tweaked.

A bugzilla covering this is #15677, here.

Please note that this has languished since Feb. 15th in the form of Bugzilla #13025. So I believe I’ve demonstrated a reasonable degree of patience and diligence in trying to find some way to get this done without the need to approach you of all people.

Please note also, that I should think that a character-counting parser function—something that ‘bites off and spits out’ a specified number of characters from a string—should find wide utility in a variety of other templates and magic words. I think such a parser function would prove a valuable addition to the suite of parser functions we currently have.

In advance, thanks for looking into this. Greg L (talk) 20:20, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, that's really interesting. Can you give me an example of the rounding error, and some rough estimate of how often it might happen? I do agree with you that there can come a point at which, well, if no volunteer developer wants to do something (which is of course totally fine! they should do what interests them and they should be concerned about accepting requests that might lead to a flood of other stuff), it could make sense to have someone on staff do it. Totally makes sense. I don't know if this is such a case, nor am I in anything like a position to judge how much of a priority it should be. Probably you should talk to Erik Moeller or Brion Vibber. But in the meantime, keep me posted, and let me know more about this, if for no other reason than that I should stay informed about such stuff as best I can. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:32, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Jimbo, averaged across a wide variety of numbers, the rounding problem occurs perhaps about 10% of the time; often enough that our MOSNUM guideline cautions editors as follows: “Note that {{val}} can fail to correctly handle numbers with too many significant digits.” Some editors feel that this is too often to release the template “into the wild.” Nevertheless, it has been released due to the fact that MOSNUM now advises of its availability. If you would like to see some extensive, real-world use of {{val}}, see this portion of Kilogram.

    To see the error ratio yourself, please examine this 3960-count progression sandbox. The sandbox is for a similar template known as {{Delimitnum}}, which uses the same math-based technique as {{val}}. As you scroll down the sandbox, you can see that the problem occurs a troubling percentage of the time. Here is a link to another area of the same sandbox; scroll upwards to see the hit ratio. These rounding errors are all a consequence of the math-based technique that template authors currently must resort to. It can occur with modest-precision ones like this:


    Note too that in my recent post on WT:MOSNUM, I originally tried to use an example of proton mass but encountered the rounding error. So I settled for using the value for electron mass. Accordingly, my real-world error ratio was one out of four yesterday. Here is what happened with that failed attempt using proton mass:

    {{val|1.672621637|(83)|e=-27|ul=kg}}1.672621637(83)×10−27 kg (note the ending 6 v.s. the expected 7)

    The above number is a real-world value selected from the NIST here.

    Note too that the math-based technique completely chokes with very-high-precision values. The {val} template at least recognizes this fundamental limitation and provides an alert flag to editors that it can’t parse the value. Though this high-precision limitation occurs less frequently, they do arise with some regularity in real life due to the very high precision that physics and science is generating today.

    As for “priority,” scientific notation, as you know, appears all over Wikipedia. The current {{e}} tool is quite limited and produces very unsophisticated, non-delimited output like 1.672621637(83)×10−12. The {val} template is looked upon with great anticipation and—notwithstanding its current shortcomings with occasional rounding errors—still became the recommended tool on MOSNUM. I think the cost/benefit ratio of having a staff developer work on this is very much worthwhile; the developer would need make only the parser function, nothing further.

    Important: I’d like to avoid working cross-purpose here (a “right foot not knowing what the left foot intends” problem) if I can. I would think a parser function which spoons out a specified number of characters from a string (something template authors can ask Are there five or more digits remaining in the string(?), if so, feed me three more characters.) would be very, very useful for many other purposes besides this template. I think it would be great if a professional staff developer produced a well done parser function because a huge army of volunteer editors specializing in magic words and templates could then produce some fabulous tools once given a bullet proof parser function. Leverage. If you are interested in giving this to a staff developer, please advise. If you would prefer that I first approach Erik Moeller or Brion Vibber to see what their reaction is, please advise. Greg L (talk) 02:12, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I am fully persuaded and will support you in this until someone persuades me that you're wrong for some reason. :-) So, here is what I recommend - talk to Erik and/or Brion to get their feedback. (Erik rather than Sue because Erik is technical, and Brion because he's the lead developer.) I can't give stuff directly to developers myself, as that would be annoying in terms of who reports to whom, etc. (No one reports to me, I'm just a board member and community member, not part of staff.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:46, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Will do. A bullet-proof character-counting parser function will prove quite popular. Thanks. Greg L (talk) 04:57, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Done. I directed Erik to a perma-link of this thread. I will keep you apprised of interesting developments (or if I encounter stumbling blocks). Thank you for taking time from your many responsibilities to fret about a parser function. Greg L (talk) 07:30, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Talk entry on dewikinews

Hi, i'm an admin on dewikinews. Some anonymous user left the following message on a misnamed page which he probably suspected to be your user discussion. FYI i will copy the message to here before i remove it on dewikinews. -- Kju (talk) 23:25, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Hello Jimmy Wales!

I just read your article about the donation to keep wikipedia alive.

At first i have to say that i'm a big fan of the wiki-cyclopedia. When i search for something, i look here at first to find the answers for my questions. But there are two things i want to remark:

1. Quality always has it's price. So i don't understand, why wiki shouldn't be paid by advertisement. Even if so many people use it to get some knowledge about things they are interested of, its a big chance to evolve and to develop new possibilities or features (and btw. to collect some money to do that without donations). In my opinion wiki is globally used, not only by the donators, so it should be globally paid for it's service. It's no human act to provide such a website, it's the current and future need of mankind and it will be substituted by another site if wiki smashes by the lack of money. ;o)

2. I somehow miss the entry site of this database. In my imagination knowledge is like a pie, every part of science is a piece of it and it branches into a tree down to the border of knowledge. Nevertheless it's also relational, what means there are still cross-relations to other parts of a subject. Think about someone who wants to know something about a mathematical or physical case (for instance). At first he got to understand the basics and after that hes going deeper and deeper into the theory until he gets the answer he needs. I think this is the point to make wiki a platform to learn something, not only to get answers of a current question, subjected by a specific search term. What i want to say is, knowledge has a structure. To discover and to document this structure is the mission of any cyclopedia.

Please take what you need to get this wonderful idea of a global knowledge base that far.

Friendly Regards


Hi Jimbo

Just wanted to say hi. Hi. --Closedmouth (talk) 03:19, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

That is easily one of the creepiest things I've seen while just randomly browsing a user's talk page. EVula // talk // // 06:12, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
So that's where the bloody image that's been breaking my browser is coming from. --Carnildo (talk) 08:28, 29 December 2008 (UTC)


Hello.....reading your biography, i realized how IGNORANT USA people are!(Please don`t take this as an offense. The "American" nationality doesn´t exist. FYI, America is a huge continent, consisting in three sections (north america, central america and south america). By saying that you are american, you are saying nothing. Please, if you were borned in the USA, make your correction in your biography page. NOT VERY GOOD COMING FROM A GUY WHO INVENTED THIS FREE ENCLYCLOPEDIA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:11, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

He says "I am from Huntsville, Alabama", which should be a clue… Unfortunately, the country is "The United States of America" and not "The United States of Approximately ⅓ of North America by Land Area", and I doubt even Jimbo could persuade anyone to rename it. – iridescent 13:26, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
In the English language, 'America' and the 'US' are effectively synonymous. Other examples exist; often when speaking of Europe economically or politically one is referring to the EU despite the fact not all countries are. It isn't offensive, merely the manner in which the English language works. Computerjoe's talk 17:33, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
If people from South America are offended (I don't know if they are) then it is offensive. It may be similar to people calling Britain England, which is offensive to Welsh and Scots people. Titch Tucker (talk) 22:51, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
"if" being the key word there. But between American and wikt:American, I'm not getting the sense that this is the case. EVula // talk // // 22:53, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure the English Wikipedia will tell us whether or not South Americans may be offended by it. But, its as you say, they might not be offended. My point really was that if they are offended then the term can be called offensive. Titch Tucker (talk) 23:11, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I know a few people from South and Central America, and I've never heard them say anything about it when I refer to myself as American. They even refer to people who live in the US as Americans. American is the English language demonym for someone who lives in the United States. J.delanoygabsadds 23:16, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
If you are telling me from personal experience they are not offended then that's the case. Sorted. I don't know why my previous post was deleted, it was saying much the same thing. Titch Tucker (talk) 00:02, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
And not only in English. E.g, a US citicen is officially called an "Amerikaner" in Germany. --Amalthea 12:31, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Bad news from commons

Hi Jimbo, here I am again [1].

The bad news are: It might be "relevant" to have a sharp view on what currently happens on commons. It's not (only) about me - being blocked today as I demanded to kick out an admin, who has distributed private emails (btw: I'm blocked by Herby, one of its receivers) - it's more the new commons style to create and collect all hate stuff you can imagine, especially against Israel. Make your own impressions, ask around and don't forget to ask commons:User:Mbz1. Regards Mutter Erde (talk) 21:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Simple English projects

Hallo Jimbo, seasons greetings to you. This will probably not concern you right now for a few days but I wonder after the period if you or any other general staff might throw some words of wisdom at the recent and ongoing debates on meta calling for the closure of all Simple projects [2]. Almost 100 persons have made some sort of vote by now and are continuing to appear daily. Most of the debate seems to ask wether there is such a thing as "simple" or wether all wikis should be established traditional languages. Happy new year to you. ~ R.T.G 14:49, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

I have often thought that Simple English Wikipedia has suffered from confusion about it's standards and purpose, but overall I think the best solution is for that community to figure it out over time. The idea of a Wikipedia written with a controlled vocabulary and style specifically designed to be easier for non-native English learning adults sounds useful and interesting to me. I'm not an expert in that area, though, so my input would necessarily be limited.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:27, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

"non-native English learning adults sounds useful and interesting to me" And to me too. That is why I argued against closing Simple out. I think in fact, that its an untapped source of possibility for the whole project, with the ability to attract a new strata of editors, and to create useful linkages to projects aimed at the same population, such as those by the William and Melinda Gates Foundation. While I understand your reserve in giving an opinion on a topic not of your expertise, think the community might be interested in hearing more about this being interesting to you, so far you have a pretty good track record in making world-shattering reality out of finding ideas "useful and interesting" even when you are not an expert at them. Thanks!--Cerejota (talk) 06:53, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Questionable link

Hi Jimbo, Is [this sort of content] really necessary to be linked from Wikipedia? Sorry to bother you but I really don't know how to proceed. What can I do? Marek.69 talk 23:37, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the link. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Existing policy more than adequately addresses things like this, I believe, and those who were adding it back should review those policies as well as stop for a moment to think about human dignity.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:23, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your help. I totally agree, this indeed is a human dignity issue. Hopefully, now you will have put an end to the matter. Thanks again Marek.69 talk 00:33, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Another thought which I would like to add, is that it might be a good idea to 'block' this site from being linked to from Wikipedia in the future, if that is possible? For the obvious reasons, already discussed, plus I believe that on scrolling down on the same video page, there were references/links to 'child-porn/violence' type videos. I didn't really want to investigate any further. Thanks for your help. Marek.69 talk 20:03, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Problem with one of the messages of the fundraising banner

Hi Jimbo. I have tried a few avenues lately, including the Help Desk, to correct this problem, but to no avail. One of the rotating messages of the fundraising banner has a spelling error. The message is: " Merci et bravo pour votre impartialité ! — Benoit from Luxembuorg, donated 30 EUR". Thanks for your attention and best of the season to you. Take care.--Dr.K. (logos) 00:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I think I got this message to the right person eventually. :) Thanks! --Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:57, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
You are very welcome Jimbo, it was my pleasure. I somehow knew you were the right person to ask. ;) I also saw the message again on the banner. This time it was fixed. Looks great. Take care and it was nice talking to you again. Tasos (Dr.K. (logos) 16:30, 30 December 2008 (UTC))

Maybe we both were working on this - can you tell me how you fixed it? I asked a meta admin (Marybelle) to alter the quote translation, but I'm not sure that actually fixed anything after it was done. I tried to raise people on IRC in #wikimedia and #wikimedia-tech after it was reported on WP:AN, but wasn't having much luck. Avruch T 23:27, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I sent an email to internal-l, and then someone there forwarded it to Rand, who I suppose fixed it. :) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:48, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Hello Jimbo

Just wanted to wish you a happy new year Jim Black Reign 56 (talk) 22:26, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

An apparent antisemitism problem on fa.wikipedia

As described at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#fellow_admins.2C_what_would_you_do.3F, an administrator on the Persian-language Wikipedia has recently raised concerns that they are being overrun with editors intent on spreading antisemitic propaganda. Since this situation has the potential to bring the entire project into disrepute, it may be necessary for the foundation to remedy it. John254 01:45, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Happy New Year 2009

Happy New Year Jimbo Wales/Archive 42!!!! I wish for you and your family to have a wonderful 2009!!! Have fun partying and may you make many edits!!!

2005 Nagaoka Festival 001.jpg Krischbluetenfest-Hamburg.jpgHanabi in Adachi-ku1.jpg
-RavichandarMy coffee shop 12:00, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Frohes neues Jahr!!!

Hoffe, Sie haben ein glückliches 2009!!! --Miagirljmw14 Miagirljmw~talk 18:33, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales was inducted into The Hall of The Greats

On December 31, 2008, User:Jimbo Wales was inducted into

The Hall of The Greats

This portrait of Madonna was dedicated in his honor.
David Shankbone.

Happy New Year. The other night User:Peteforsyth was telling me that he thought this was his favorite shot of mine, and I think it might be one of my better ones, as well. Certainly the most famous subject. Without you, it would not exist. Thus, I dedicate it in your honor. The inscription is in the description. I wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2009, Jim. --David Shankbone 20:52, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

 :) Thank you, David. That's really nice.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:08, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Happy New Year

Dear Jimbo Wales,
I just wanted to wish you and your family a happy new year, however you're celebrating it. Whether 2008 was a good year for you, or if it wasn't the greatest year, hopefully 2009 will be better. Cheers, and happy editing in 2009 :-),

 Ashbey  Ӝ  00:37, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Model for editors

You've said, I know not where, that WP is largely edited by college students or graduates. That would be all to the point if we could be sure that those people would establish a commitment to this project. Unfortunately, some don't, and dealing with their disruption is a complete waste of resources. I have spent my time here working on two fronts: creating good content, and resisting those whose aims are anathema to that. But I am now too tired to do both. I quit. --Rodhullandemu 23:59, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I've long being saying this myself. Rod, I'm working on a new, rival project, with another person, that I intend to launch in early January. Some notable attributes will be:
  • users will be required to log in before being permitted to edit;
  • no tolerance will be shown for those people whose intention is to cause disruption or damage;
  • there will be a strict requirement for civil and polite conduct;
  • people in positions of authority will be required to use their real names as their account names, with few exceptions; and
  • the project will place a high emphasis on developing and maintaining content according to established scholarly standards.
You might be interested. – Thomas H. Larsen 02:47, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Please, Rod, don't leave - you've done great things for Wikipedia's coverage of The Beatles, and you're a 'model for editors'. Now, Citizendium need your help (they're convinced The Beatles released an album called 'With'), and that might be just what you want to edit, but that doesn't mean you should leave Wikipedia altogether - please. Dendodge TalkContribs 13:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Maybe not yet. Times are hard, and I have no mercy for those who seek to make them harder. But sometimes, it's easy to get the feeling that it isn't worth it. --Rodhullandemu 14:08, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
On the subject of rival sites, it's worth remembering that the total number of articles on Citizendium (9001 at the time of writing), which is the best-organised and most advance of our rivals, is still less than the number of assessed quality content (FA+FL+GA) alone on Wikipedia (34101). Sometimes when you're staring at the torrent of spam and vanity pages, it's easy to lose sight of how far advanced we really are. (Just clicking Citizendium's random article button a few times – and remember, these are written by an "expert editing elite" with multiple layers of vetting and peer review – drives home just how hard this kind of project is to get right.) – iridescent 16:17, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
@Iridescent: While I think that Citizendium suffers from a number of serious flaws (different from Wikipedia's, though), I feel the urge to point out that CZ's articles are not written by an "expert editing elite with multiple layers of vetting and peer review". CZ is a collaborative wiki; anybody can get on board if they agree to use their real name as their account name and commit to comply with CZ's Statement of Fundamental Principles, and any participant can contribute to articles. However, "editors" (= experts) are given the authority to guide the development of articles and to resolve disputes regarding them. An editor (= expert) can also "approve" an article if they feel that it meets CZ's standards for excellent content; contributors thereafter contribute to a draft version of the article. I hope this clarifies.
Wikipedia is deeply flawed; that's why I'm creating an alternative. Citizendium is also flawed—but its lack of public adoption does not imply that another type of project will never work.
Best and friendly regards, – Thomas H. Larsen 04:39, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
There is some evidence that much of our content comes from very occasional editors (some of them just hit-and-runs). Asking for "a commitment to the project" would negate Wikipedia's principal strength: anyone can edit. --TS 18:49, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

I get tired of reverting vandalism to your userpage

Please put your administrator right to use and permanantly protect your user page. It gets annoying having to revert the countless times that change the target of the links on your page. So please, your user page is nearly as important and visible as the main page and ought to be protected as such.--Ipatrol (talk) 22:19, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I guess you haven't read the page you are protecting... ;~) You must be fast, because I rarely get to undo vandalism there when I see it - there is a queue of "quick guns" usually to revert vandalism. Anyhow, thanks for your efforts (from just another editor, though) and don't worry about anyone picking up the slack; there will be someone around, you can be certain of that. LessHeard vanU (talk) 22:24, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The userpage gets 7-9000 views a month. Whilst this is very high for a user page, by the standards of articles it isn't spectacular. It's certainly nowhere near the main page (200 million views a month). --Hut 8.5 11:10, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
To be fair, if you're tired of making reverts on Jimbo's page, you can always just... not revert. A strange concept, to be sure, this "don't take the weight of the world on your shoulders" idea, but it is possible. EVula // talk // // 19:34, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Happy New Year

Hope 2009 is a great year for you!--MONGO 15:51, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

A New Mirror Site

Hey Jimbo, I found a new mirror site. -> (my userpage on the site) P.S. I Rock Wikipedia! (talk) 16:40, 1 January 2009 (UTC)DJ WikiBob

Hog Jowls and Black-eyed peas

Dear Kindest Sir, please do not forget to eat your hog jowls and black-eyed peas today. Just in case they don't have hog jowls in your neck of the woods, here's wishing you a very lucky new year! (talk) 21:12, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Happy New Year!

Dear Jimbo Wales,

Wishing you a happy new year, and very best wishes for 2009. Whether we were friends or not in the past year, I hope 2009 will be better for us both.

Kind regards,

Majorly talk 21:19, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

appeal of ArbComm decision

Jimbo, in a recent post, you said : "I will be strongly inclined to overturn on appeal any decision of the ArbCom that did not include a public discussion and vote."[3]

So, I make an appeal to overturn this recent ArbComm decision: "Encyclopedias are generally expected to provide overviews of scientific topics that are in line with current mainstream scientific thought."[4] This ruling was not discussed publicly, and not publicly voted upon (there was however a limited discussion, and rejection, of WP:MAINSTREAM). I consider this ruling a violation of WP:NPOV, a core policy of Wikipedia, and I see "mainstream" as an example of WP:Weasel word. History has shown that no statement, even from what was considered "mainstream" science, is the ultimate truth; no statement should thus be presented as the truth on wikipedia. (Note: this ruling was instrumental in the decision to ban me.)

Thanks in advance for your consideration. Pcarbonn (talk) 20:36, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

They voted on it in public...? And Wikipedia talk:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion/Proposed decision is where it gets discussed. rootology (C)(T) 20:44, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
If that's what Jim meant by a "public discussion and vote", I don't see what his comment on appeal means: how could one make an appeal on a hidden, private decision ? I understood that he wanted the ArbComm ruling to involve some kind of community discussion. It has not happen on this particular ruling. Pcarbonn (talk) 20:56, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
There have been cases where ArbCom handled a case completely privately, voting and discussing on mailing lists, and only announcing the end result publicly. That's what Jimbo is referring to - "public discussion and vote" means "the arbitrators discussed the finding in public and voted on it in public". As pointed out above that's what happened in the cold fusion case. Hut 8.5 11:06, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
See generally Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion/Proposed decision; see also extensive discussion and arbitrators' comments at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion/Workshop; for my own general approach to the subject, see my comments at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion/Proposed decision#Undue weight. Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:51, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I fully accept the WP:DUE concept. The ArbComm found it necessary to make an additional ruling. That's the one I dispute for lack of community consensus. Pcarbonn (talk) 21:18, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

In articles on fringe topics such as cold fusion, one cannot discuss the subject only "in line with current mainstream scientific thought" as this ruling seems to indicate. That would be to take the point of view of mainstream science. This is new policy creation by the Arbitration Committee, so perhaps should be overturned on those grounds alone.

However, I actually interpret this statement as the final decision of Wikipedia that on fringe topics it has chosen to write from the perspective of mainstream science WP:SPOV. This would only be a reflection of general community consensus, that NPOV does not apply in these areas. From this perspective, it does not constitute new policy creation. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 21:06, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

WP:SPOV is not an active policy, so there is no community consensus that it applies (see its talk page). This is further evidence that the ArbComm decision is contrary to the community decision. Pcarbonn (talk) 21:18, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
The principle adopted in Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion was obviously intended to address the problem of people falsely asserting that because a fringe view existed the writing of an article on a scientific subject must give prominence to that fringe view, which is a misreading of the neutral point of view policy. Newyorkbrad's comment on proposed principle 4 (undue weight) is worth reading for context. --TS 21:37, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
No, not obvious at all, but rather the contrary is obvious. If the ArbCom were not about Cold fusion then perhaps we could interpret it to read "Encyclopedias are generally expected to provide overviews of mainstream scientific topics that are in line with current mainstream scientific thought." However, as it is it can only be interpreted as an injunction to write fringe articles from the POV of mainstream science. Mainstream science deprecates fringe science. Pcarbonn, the general consensus of editors of fringe articles is that they are to be written from SPOV. If anyone wishes to write fringe articles from the position of mainstream science, they can point to this ArbCom, (and they will, with good reason), and say that anyone wishing to write in a neutral tone is POV pushing. I know as a longtime editor in this area that I could do this, and it would work. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 00:10, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I can't make sense of that. Science is science, facts are facts. Fleischman and Pons conducted a scientific experiment which was published. Attempts to replicate the experiment have failed, and problems have been found with the design of the experiment and the interpretation of the results. This is what happened. It isn't a mainstream view of what happened. It isn't a fringe view of what happened. It's what happened.
During the arbitration case it emerged that pcarbonn had written an article in an advocacy journal saying:
"I'm pleased to report that the revised page, resulting from the mediation process, presents the topic as a continuing controversy, not as an example of pathological science."
Presenting failed scientific experiments as "a continuing controversy" is very poor writing and incompatible with the neutral point of view policy. You're entitled to your own point of view, but not to your own facts.
Without going into this matter in depth I've reviewed the lead section of the article as it stands at present, and it seems to be in keeping with our neutral point of view policy. To describe a neutral presentation of the known facts as "scientific point of view" is not necessarily helpful. Our governing policies here are enough to dictate and support this kind of presentation. --TS 03:52, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
A failed experiment is not an example of pathological science. However, the continuing experiments are often regarded -generally regarded, probably- as pathological science, by mainstream scientists. This is the point of view from which we now write the article- the SPOV view, that is to say "in line with current mainstream scientific thought." That's not NPOV, because any time you write an article in line with any stream of though at all, you automatically don't write it from the NPOV. That is true by definition. The specific stream of thought advocated for all science articles by the Arbitration Committee is mainstream science, that is to say, SPOV.
FloNight explained "To be an useful reference tool Wikipedia needs present information on science topics as presented in the current prevailing textbooks and review journals." That is again to say, that WP writes from the POV of mainstream science.
Sam Blacketer goes on to make it even clearer "The role of an encyclopaedia is to principally represent the mainstream view, and then to describe the challenges as such, and not as 'alternatives'."
That is, WP represents the mainstream POV, whereas it describes the alternatives.
Wikipedia is SPOV, and has rejected NPOV in science articles. We can now write the articles in a scornful manner- that's the mainstream POV "Enthusiasm turned to skepticism and ultimately scorn as a long series of failed replication attempts were weighed in view of several theoretical reasons cold fusion should not be possible,..."
Because it's a fact: the mainstream POV is often scornful of the fringe. And now we "principally represent" rather than merely "present" mainstream science. And that's even in articles on fringe topics. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 05:10, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a conflict between neutral point of view and the practice of representing mainstream views as such, and fringe views as such. In fact, I would say that the neutral point of view dictates that we should do so, and not misrepresent the non-mainstream views as in any meaningful way an equal alternative to the mainstream view.
On the science, it's obviously failed science. Absence of replication alone would be enough to establish that. Attempts to misrepresent the facts are necessarily pathological. There are endless opportunities here to muddy the waters, but a failed experiment is a failed experiment.
The notion that there are topics in science that are "fringe" and by virtue of that we can act as if contrafactual and unsupported views were as valid as those supported by evidence, is extremely toxic to Wikipedia's concept of the Neutral point of view. NPOV does not mean that falsehoods and speculation are the equals of facts and evidence. In that sense, there is no fringe. We don't relax the neutral point of view in favor of fringe views, ever. --TS 14:59, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

After all these postings, I still don't see any evidence that there was a significant discussion on a policy to present mainstream science at the expense of significant scientific minorities, let alone a consensus. WP:NPOV says that neutral point of view "is non-negotiable and expected of all articles, and of all article editors." and that "The principles upon which these policies are based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus.". An exception for science is thus not acceptable. Wikipedia is a NPOV encyclopedia, not a mainstream one. I thus maintain my appeal of the ArbComm decision. (As a side point, many reputable sources, such as the DOE, present cold fusion as an ongoing controversy, despite what "most scientists" and TS think). Pcarbonn (talk) 11:21, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

The NPOV vs Mainstream debate

It looks like we could not prevent us from starting the debate, although this is not the place. However, it does illustrate some of the key points of the debate
So, what exactly is the alternative? We put non-science and fringe-science on the exact same footing as well-accepted science, and become the laughingstock of the encyclopedia world? This is hardly the first time Arbcom have passed such resolutions, and every time, we get the usual Martinphi leaving Wikipedia in protest (Never sticks) and all sorts of whining - then next time such things are passed, we get the whole damn thing again. What we ought to do is agree on the principle and make it stick, not overturn a case because a couple fringe theorists cry out "Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!" Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 13:07, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
In any society, there are rules to protect minorities. NPOV is such a rule on wikipedia. It does require the majority and minority to be presented as such, and as I said, I fully accept that. The latest ruling of ArbComm has been driven by a majority who, yes, under the mantle of "mainstream" science, feels authorized to suppress minorities. Since its passing, many well-sourced arguments in favor of cold fusion have been removed from the cold fusion article. This is a disservice to our readers, who "should be allowed to form their own opinions", as NPOV says. Pcarbonn (talk) 13:47, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
We've been here before with the holocaust deniers, the creationists, and whatnot. It isn't a new argument. Falsely giving the impression of an ongoing, live debate on this subject would be a misrepresentation. --TS 15:14, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
A Mainstream policy is a killer of all minorities, even the significant ones. Unlike for the holocaust deniers or creationists controversies, there are plenty of reliable sources saying that the cold fusion controversy is not resolved scientifically (see here for examples) It's normal human nature that "most scientists" like to dismiss it (see cognitive dissonance). We should not fall into that trap. Pcarbonn (talk) 18:39, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, as Pcarbonn says, we have chosen to be a mainstream encyclopedia instead of a NPOV one. The mainstream does not treat the fringe in an NPOV fashion. Shoemaker says we do not put fringe on the "same level" as mainstream, and he's right. But that's preference, not NPOV. I agree with Shoemaker, "What we ought to do is agree on the principle and make it stick, not overturn a case because a couple fringe theorists cry out "Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!" Wikipedia is lying when it says it is NPOV. This is our opportunity to stop lying and say we are SPOV. The ArbCom has confirmed it. That is where WP is till otherwise noted by the ArbCom. Pcarbonn, we are not in society. WP specifically rejects civil rights. What we need to do is stop lying about NPOV, not try to fight the majority of editors who are SPOV. However, you are right about there being an ongoing debate with Cold fusion. TS, for NPOV there is no reason to give the impression of an ongoing significant debate where there isn't one. That's not what anyone is saying. For SPOV, we eliminate much of the other side of the argument as not worth coverage. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 20:05, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Have you considered that we do not put mainstream on the "same level" as fringe because it isn't on the same level? Neutrality demands that points of view be represented according to their respective prominence. If something is marginal, then it will have marginal coverage. If something is widely accepted, then it will have the bulk of coverage. NPOV doesn't mean that all points of view are equal, it means that none should be given unwarranted coverage. — Coren (talk) 20:31, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
You're getting mixed up between articles on mainstream subjects, where fringe is marginal, and articles on fringe, where fringe is central. I have no opinion- the cases are individual. Obviously, fringe would never be proven right if it were not sometimes on a higher level than mainstream. Usually, it is lower. However, you opinion is my point: we are SPOV, not NPOV. If we put it on a higher level because it is more true, rather than merely reporting the sources which express the opinion it is more true (per WEIGHT), then we are SPOV. The ArbCom decision, since it's about Cold fusion, is about the way we write articles on fringe subjects: we cover it from a particular perspective, the mainstream's perspective. What you say would be NPOV for articles on mainstream science. What the ArbCom said would be SPOV for all articles- it takes a POV regardless of the weight of sources on the article's subject. It gives the greatest weight/space to the mainstream even when the subject is fringe to make it "in line with current mainstream scientific thought." ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 21:14, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Fringe is not central, anywhere on Wikipedia. That's what "fringe" means. If I write an article about flying saucers I'm writing about a fringe subject, but it would not be neutral to represent the fringe viewpoint (that they're vehicles from another world, or whatever) as anything other than a fringe viewpoint.
You say that the arbitration committee is asking that on scientific subjects we "[take] a POV regardless of the weight of sources on the article's subject." That is a false statement. The weight of sources is what defines "mainstream" and "fringe". The views of cold fusion advocates on the subject are the fringe. The fact that they support the notion does not give their views more weight. --TS 03:36, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I followed the Pcarbonn/Cold fusion process the entire time. I was mightily impressed with the ArbComm process. Everything was done out in the open where it had to withstand the sanitizing light of public scrutiny. The process should serve as a paradigm for other organizations to model theirs after. The ArbComm findings of fact were correct and their decisions were wise and sound. Pcarbonn has been the beneficiary of more man-hours of Wikipedian time than I ever imagined might be devoted to just one of millions of users. It is time for Pcarbonn to accept the will of the community with grace and dignity. Greg L (talk) 03:59, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Fringe as it is used on Wikipedia is not used in reference to Wikipedia at all, but to "describe ideas that depart significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view in its particular field of study." Those ideas then may become Wikipedia articles if notable enough. Martinphi and Coren are right: "You're getting mixed up between articles on mainstream subjects, where fringe is marginal, and articles on fringe, where fringe is central." and "If something is marginal, then it will have marginal coverage. If something is widely accepted, then it will have the bulk of coverage. NPOV doesn't mean that all points of view are equal, it means that none should be given unwarranted coverage."(olive (talk) 04:49, 28 December 2008 (UTC))

"Fringe is not central, anywhere on Wikipedia. That's what "fringe" means." That's my point here: SPOV is the consensus of Wikipedia, confirmed by the Arbitration Committee. A fringe view doesn't even get to be central in its own article. And that's what SPOV means: seeing a view held by a majority as a minority view because it is a minority view of.... reasonable people? Skeptics of flying saucers? Well, in whatever group it's a minority, that's the group where WP edits from.

That's again my point, that you believe that we edit from a POV. We don't, under NPOV. We do under SPOV. Under NPOV we would write the UFO article not as a "majority view" or "minority view" but as a view held by "X number of group Y[source]." That's NPOV. Under SPOV, we write about it as a "minority view" held by those who don't know what they are talking about, whereas the Majority view is.....

Nope, I'm not a believer there, either.

On Cold fusion, Pcarbonn says sources have been censored because of their POV. Under NPOV that would be appropriate in an article on fusion (per WEIGHT), but not in the cold fusion article (also per WEIGHT). Rather the cold fusion article is the place to fully describe the views of cold fusion proponents, as well as any notable mainstream views. Mainstream views gain their prominence per sources, not because they are mainstream. Under SPOV, censorship comes in, mainstream gains its prominence from the fact that it is mainstream, and the article's tone is POV.

As I said before- you're right that we don't present a fringe viewpoint as other than a fringe viewpoint. But neither do we write from a mainstream POV- unless we are an SPOV encyclopedia. SPOV advocates sometimes don't get this, and sometimes just disagree. Whatever the case, the general consensus is SPOV, and the ArbCom has confirmed it, and it is policy. There is no more argument. I've been deeply involved for years, I know the topic of fringe versus mainstream very well, and I know what it is to "represent the mainstream" as opposed to "describe the mainstream." ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 05:14, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Under SPOV, this is a minority fringe view. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 06:43, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

No, it is not. It's an excellent source to support the assertion that more than half of Americans believe in guardian angels. Note the subtle but critical distinction here: this is most assuredly not a source supporting that guardian angels exist, only that the majority of one particular population of the world, according to a statistical sample, believe that they do. — Coren (talk) 06:57, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Look Coren, I'm talking about facts on the ground here. There seems to be a basic disconnect on the order of the ideals of religion versus their practice between you and me. I'm talking about what Wikipedia IS, you're talking about what it's supposed to be. I do not think we have any disagreement on what it is supposed to be. I'm telling you: 1) Wikipedia is SPOV 2) that SPOV is the consensus of editors on non-scientific or pseudoscientific subjects 3) the ArbCom has just confirmed this, as I explain above 4) because of these things, Wikipedia is being dishonest. That's what I really hate, that it's being dishonest about where it is coming from.
From the position of SPOV, the above kind of thing about angels is a "minority view" and is to be treated as such in terms of WEIGHT etc. Also, you don't seem to notice that SPOV editors look at things in terms of reality. If a majority of scientists believe something they represent that, rather than present it. Under NPOV, the belief should be presented, in the same way that the belief in angels should be presented. SPOV editors don't get that such a neutral description is more convincing anyway.
You're talking about the ideals of NPOV. I'm telling you that unless you and others do something really major, that what you are telling me is wrong is going to continue to be the fact of Wikipedia. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 19:07, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Martinphi that there is a lot of doublethinking on wikipedia, like "WP:MAINSTREAM is NPOV", or "WP:SPOV is NPOV", and I wish that to stop. On the other hand, the cold fusion controversy is a purely scientific controversy, not a controversy between science and non-science. Pcarbonn (talk) 20:31, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Hey, Coren, here is an example of the hateful SPOV pushing debunker atmosphere which recently made me leave all article editing:

  1. Keep. An interesting read. He seems to be concluding that it shouldn't be difficult to include facts about proven reality, and it should be difficult to include fringe POV as if they were reality, which makes sense. If fringe POV pushers want to edit here, they should have a hard row to hoe, and shouldn't be allowed to make life difficult for pushers of reality. "Advocacy" of nonsense is forbidden here, while advocacy of reality isn't forbidden. The push may look the same, but it's allowable to push for reality, but not allowable to push for nonsense. That type of "advocacy" is forbidden. "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. No one is entitled to their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We don't allow OR here, and opinions need to be sourced and attributed, but undeniable facts don't. Those who are so far out in left field as to not understand reality or to consider nonsense to be reality should have a hard time here. -- Fyslee (talk) 18:56, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
  2. Keep This essay is a crystal clear message that fringe POV-pushers are not welcome, and should not be welcome, on Wikipedia. Martin, thank you for reminding us why you will not be missed. Skinwalker (talk) 13:25, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

From here. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 00:00, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

NPOV is non-negotiable

The debate above shows that the NPOV vs Mainstream issue is about the protection of significant minorities on wikipedia. A community discussion of the topic may pit the majority against the significant minorities, and the significant minorities may lose. ArbComm may be tempted to follow the majority, especially during a re-election. I'm becoming convinced that only Jimbo can protect these minorities by reasserting the non-negotiability of NPOV, if he so wishes. Pcarbonn (talk) 09:02, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

You seem to be mistaking WP:NPOV for some kind of "equal opportunities" scheme for fringe viewpoints – see NPOV: Giving "equal validity". NPOV means giving due weight to majority expert views, and applies to all articles, including those specifically devoted to a subject held dear by minorities. . . dave souza, talk
No, I'm not mistaking WP:NPOV for equal opportunity. On the other hand, you seem to be mistaking NPOV for WP:MAINSTREAM. Pcarbonn (talk) 11:30, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Let me clarify. There is a large overlap between WP:NPOV and WP:MAINSTREAM, and WP:MAINSTREAM has many statements about NPOV with which I fully agree. My issue is with every statement that use the "mainstream" word, a weasel word describing non-verifiable and/or non-reliable sources. Such "mainstream" sources have a simplistic, black-and-white view of a controversy, dismissing significant minority views. See here for more details. Pcarbonn (talk) 17:38, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
So. Good discussion. I have been mulling this over. NPOV is non-negotiable, yes. But NPOV requires us to take a thoughtful and nuanced approach to determining questions of how and when to include extreme minority viewpoints. A random crackpot web page seriously claiming that the moon is made of cheese is not worthy of mention in an article about the moon, not even in a section about cultural myths and stories about the moon, etc. On the other hand, a legitimate scientific controversy is a different matter, of course. I have not seen any overall trend towards the suppression of minority viewpoints in Wikipedia, nor have a seen any overall trend towards the kind of extreme relativism that would have us treat all views as if they are equally plausible, regardless of the source and manner in which they are promoted. We strike a balance, and a pretty good one for the most part.
My answer then, may not be very satisfying in the short run, but in the long run I think it is the only answer that can satisfy us all in a deep way: we need to continue to have serious and respectful dialog, as this one has been, feeling our way forward thoughtfully towards boundaries that make sense, and acknowledging that we may not get our way in every single case.
The argument that ArbCom may be inclined to follow the majority doesn't quite persuade me in this particular case, although I do think there is value in the ArbCom being - to a degree - insulated from the WikiPolitics of the moment, whatever those may be. The reason I am not persuaded in this particular case is that my sense of it is that the majority of Wikipedians prefers a degree of protection and kindness towards minority views, even those views which the majority of us might find to be silly. I've seen no broad tendency towards people wanting to exclude minority viewpoints, even quite odd ones. WP:TIGERS and all that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:42, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
What we're actually talking about here is just a few articles- you're right, there probably is no broad tendency, and you're right that the majority of Wikipedians are not into debunking fringe views. I've been trying to call people's attention to a group of perhaps 50 to 150 articles on alternative medicine and the paranormal which give rise to sentiments like I just posted in the section above "The push may look the same, but it's allowable to push for reality, but not allowable to push for nonsense." That sums it up well, POV pushing is OK if it's true. I assure you this is the opinion of a LOT of the editors in this small problem area. ——Martinphi Ψ~Φ—— 01:45, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
@Jimbo, not sure if you're following this newly accepted RfArb case or not but it seems relevant to this discussion. Cheers. Ronnotel (talk) 06:48, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I support Ronnotel's point. I don't think that banning someone who has not done any serious offense, a ban in response to a request of ScienceApologist who has explicitly stated that he wants to ban everybody he disagrees with[5], is a good example of "kindness and protection towards minority view points". Pcarbonn (talk) 09:13, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
How can I "continue to have serious and respectful dialog, as this one has been", when I am banned ? Even my critics call me a civil POV pusher,[6][7] and I've never been formally warned, let alone banned, before. I encourage Jimbo to look at the latest Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Fringe science, as Ronnotel suggested. Pcarbonn (talk) 10:45, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
You aren't banned, though. You are topic banned from one topic, and I haven't reviewed your edit history there to see if I agree with that or not (though, even if I disagreed, I would not overturn the ban, because I view my role in terms of review to be about "constitutional" matters more than detailed review of particular judgments by arbitrators). Your original appeal was about the question of public discussion, and public voting, and I conclude per Newyorkbrad's comments above that there's no problem in that regard. My advice to you is to wait out the topic ban, and work on some topic that is a bit more fun for you rather than near and dear to your heart.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:58, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
You wrote, "I view my role in terms of review to be about 'constitutional' matters more than detailed review of particular judgments by arbitrators."
I do not know whether the Wikipedia system has constitutional flaws, but the culture that has evolved from the present constitution appears to have at least one philosophical flaw.
First, the system permits and encourages aggressive, anti-social behavior among editors. For example, let's say, hypothetically, that an editor has an agenda (even openly) to destroy the work of others that he or she does not agree with. How many other editors would volunteer their time, patience and energy to deal with and contribute in such a hostile environment and community? Mature and successful people have better things to do with their time.
The cultural permissiveness of anonymity and the constitutionally encouraged destruction allow people with anti-social tendencies to dominate edit wars and be protected artificially. I say artificially because, if editors behaved like this in the real world, they would be beaten to a pulp, arrested, or sued. This nearly came to pass in one case in which an editor was visited by the police for issuing death threats to other Wikipedia editors that he was at war with.
The second problem is that the Wikipedia culture and constitution do not provide an effective process for the recognition of and incorporation of progress in controversial science. This likely will result in print encyclopedias - despite their long production time - being more current than Wikipedia in these areas.
If you combine the following factors - 1) cultural permissiveness of anonymity 2) constitutionally encouraged destruction of Wikipedia content and 3) the deficiency of the Wikipedia culture and constitution in recognizing progress in science - you have a perfect environment for an editor who may want to protect the integrity of science, but does so at the expense of nonrecogntion - and even censorship - of the progress of science as represented in Wikipedia.
Science is ever-changing, growing and messy. Those who do not recognize this will find themselves buying technology from overseas, reading about the achievements of others rather than their own, and being among the last to realize, for example, that the idea that the sun revolves around the earth is yesterday's news.
There is also a spin-off problem (not constitutionally, but culturally) with Wikipedia's handling of science progress. On many Wiki pages, the subject matter is kept up to date, sometimes up to the minute. The election of Barack Obama was an example. But on controversial pages, in at least one case I know of, the page at any given time can be 20 years out of date.
Consequently, there is a great variation in the timeliness among Wikipedia pages. This is a problem for editors because they can be confused about what is expected of them. Second, the variation in timeliness causes confusion for, and misinformation to, the public.
StevenBKrivit (talk) 07:12, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The belief in guardian angels is a good example of a fringe view--it doesn't matter how many Americans believe in them, the belief is based on superstition.

Cold fusion isn't quite like that. So far arguments for cold fusion are based largely on experiments that are intended to be replicated, where repeated well documented attempts to replicate them have failed. We should have no problem with the notion that there may be many more committed believers in cold fusion than there are scientists who have examined the data and been unable to conclude that cold fusion took place. This is why weighting is so important. But of course we don't dismiss cold fusion in quite the same way that we dismiss guardian angels. But we do not present it as if it were a mainstream view, because it isn't.

Weighting doesn't change so much from article to article so as to make it acceptable to present a fringe view as mainstream. Far from it. If we write an article about flat earth theory, we still do not write it as if the notion of a flat earth were not a fringe theory. If we write an article about cold fusion, we do not write it as if the views of proponents of cold fusion had more value than they actually do. --TS 15:34, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Weighting should be based on notable, reliable secondary sources. The 2004 DOE review is such a source. Here is what it said :
  • "Evaluations by the reviewers ranged from: 1) evidence for excess power is compelling, to 2) there is no convincing evidence that excess power is produced when integrated over the life of an experiment. The reviewers were split approximately evenly on this topic."
  • "Two-thirds of the reviewers ... did not feel the evidence was conclusive for low energy nuclear reactions, one found the evidence convincing, and the remainder indicated they were somewhat convinced."
That's plenty of evidence that the minority of "believers" is significant, and deserve representation on Wikipedia. Saying otherwise is to defend a black-and-white view of the controversy, and is contrary to NPOV. Pcarbonn (talk) 15:52, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I certainly wouldn't disagree that there is a significant minority view, and the article cold fusion should not be regarded as any nearer completion than any other article on a controversial field in science. However it does seem to reflect the status of the subject. The minority views are presented in the context of the significant problems with replication and with mechanism. --TS 00:01, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

How is NPOV enforced ?

Jimbo, thank you for taking the time to consider this issue. I understand you decision to trust the Arbitration Committee.

You said you are concerned with constitutional issues. May I suggest one : who enforces the core policies of NPOV ? ArbComm says that they can't deal with such content issues, so it's left to the community. The community deals with NPOV dispute through dispute resolution, but it does not work all the time: what can be done then ? How can significant minorities get the place they deserve per NPOV if the majority wants to silent them ? What makes you think that the majority is benevolent with minorities, when there are strong evidence that they aren't ? We have been through all sorts of dispute resolution mechanism, and I've always readily participated in them, and with civility. The DOE report is the most notable secondary review of Cold Fusion, as shown by his prominent place in our article : how come it is still horribly misrepresented ?

The real-world History is full of examples of the sorry fate of unprotected minorities : why would it be different on Wikipedia ? What's the point of "NPOV is non-negotiable" if NPOV is not enforced ? Pcarbonn (talk) 09:26, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

For what it's worth, according to New Scientist (a science magazine ! Beerk), a personality test done on 69 contributors to Wikipedia showed that they scored low for agreableness and openness to new ideas.[8] I read this as a confirmation of what we have been discussing here. Another interpretation of this survey is that our readers are much more open to new ideas than our editors. Shouldn't we try to please our readers ? How can we get there ? Pcarbonn (talk) 20:50, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Obnoxious Page Protection

Hi Jimbo,

I have a complaint. Administrator Ryulong's talk page is protected, and has been for some while, so IPs like me can't leave messages on it. I know this because I received a vandalism warning a while back and checked back now to see if I could communicate with Ryulong about it, but I am still unable to! Don't you think that this is a tad obnoxious?

Aside from this minor complaint, let me congratulate you on this project and I hope you can do something useful with my £50 :)

Best Regards

Ben L. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

May I suggest that you create an account? That has multiple advantages, as outlined here. Dendodge TalkContribs 17:39, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Maybe I should, but I don't really want to. However I at least can understand enough about Wikipedia to come here and complain... most users wouldn't even have that if they wanted to leave the guy a message. (talk) 19:44, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Post your query on my talkpage, and I will post it (providing it is civil and AGF) on Ryulong's talkpage - if you start a discussion I will host that, too. Mark your post, "Please forward to Ryulong" or similar. Cheers, LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:15, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Please Forward to Ryulong

Hi Ryulong,

Please could you consider unblocking your talk page? You left me a message incorrectly a while back and I was unable to reply; was just checking back now to let you know and found the same problem.

Best, Ben. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Message delivered - er, sorry about the inattention, I was elsewhere. LessHeard vanU (talk) 23:21, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Santa hat

I am glad the original image has been restored to your userpage, the one with the Santa hat was revolting! (talk) 16:07, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Straw poll on 'trial' implementation of FlaggedRevisions

The discussion on the implementation of a 'trial' configuration of FlaggedRevisions on has now reached the 'straw poll' stage. All editors are invited to read the proposal and discussion and to participate in the straw poll. Happymelon 18:12, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The Merits of Amassed Human Knowledge?

I have read and reread not only a number of discussions on this page, but other sources you (Jimbo) have written or upon which you have been quoted. I've also corresponded with the Wikimedia Foundation a couple of times on the specific subject of the usefulness and viability of Wikipedia in a serious academic research context. In all that time I've not been stricken with this thought until now, and so I thought this might be the form in which to pose it:

1., If the vast majority of humans that participate in Wikipedia are serving their own interests, and therefore their own points of view, a condition arguably innate to humanity as well as the philosophy to which you as the head of this organization ascribe...

2. And "facts are facts" insofar as objectivism demands, as science does, that true fact stands unencumbered by the whims and will of man, and as the philosophy to which you as the head of this organization ascribe...

Don't we have an inherent, fundamental problem with the sum of human knowledge? If people (read: participants in this forum) broadly believe X, and the facts broadly support Y, isn't Wikipedia bound to, as a whole, lean towards X despite the objective (if not proved in some cases) and measurable facts of Y? Perhaps that is the fundamental problem with amassed human knowledge: humans are, at the end of the day, largely subjective creatures.

If all people have access to the sum total of human knowledge, which Wikipedia would seek to represent through the least restrictive and/or intrusive guidelines necessary for its operation and perpetuation, and all people (again, at least participants) are representative of the constituent sum of that knowledge, that makes those who access the system those who created the system, and the system is bound to be crafted in such a way that pleases the majority... despite the facts.

I've asked for years for any single person to come up with a way in which Wikipedia could ever stand up to the highest rigors of the highest academic standards. Doesn't the fact that people tend to do what makes them happy and comfortable automatically lead to an inherent flaw in the ability of Wikipedia to ever be truly objective?

If the answer is "yes" or "probably" or even "possibly," doesn't that confirm that Wikipedia, while a fascinating social experiment and certainly an intellectual curiosity, can never be taken seriously as an academic resource by those whose work is predicated upon fact, not opinion or popular thought?

Bhs itrt (talk) 01:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

"Bhs", please: A person subscribes to an idea; he or she does not ascribe to an idea. One may ascribe an idea to a person. Michael Hardy (talk) 03:06, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think human subjectivity poses the obstacles that you are proposing. One of the reasons we avoid voting is that "majority rules" is not a proper test for neutrality or truth. Now, it is of course true that human beings are capable of all kinds of errors and bad behavior - Wikipedia is not a magic system for overcoming that. But I remain optimistic that if we work together in good faith, we can do a decent job.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
For many people (myself included), editing Wikipedia is hand-in-hand with doing what makes them happy. I enjoy working in a large, collaborative environment, where my weaknesses (article writing) can be covered by others, while my strengths (nit-picking and formatting) can cover the weaknesses in others. I enjoy looking at my body of work, done behind the scenes, and take pride in it. I enjoy helping to make as much information as freely available as possible. I enjoy being a component of possibly one of the largest projects ever attempted ("largest" being defined by scope, goal, and participants). That is not a flaw in Wikipedia; that is a strength. EVula // talk // // 03:12, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Exactly what EVula said. There's lots of problems, but I just plain enjoy being here and helping out where I can. There are just too many intelligent, committed and helpful participants here - we will solve the problems, one by one, bit by bit. I just read a great magazine article on how lighthouses are one of the most noble gifts that humans can build for all of humanity. We're building a great lighthouse... Franamax (talk) 03:30, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons for Non-Wikimedia-Projects?

Hallo Jimbo, I'm a German wikipedian and I like other free-license, too. A few days I know I learned about a German Wiki-project with Creative-Commons-3.0-license. They are collecting recipes and cooking tips. It's very small compared to Wikipedia, but for me it's the first successfull Non-Wikimedia-project I know. They have the same policy (except the name of the license) as the Wikimedia-projects, no adverstising, just donations - and they are growing. Some wikipedians don't like such projects, because they say: "Hey, we have something like that in Wikibooks!". They're right. But that thing doesn't work very good. And for the most of the users it is confusing to have something like a cooking-website in the wikibooks-project. They don't use it, because the design is not cooking-like. Okay, I'm wandering from the subject ;-). Due to some unfriendly wikipedians or misunderstandings between the Wikipedia and this non-wikimedia project-targets, this projects thinks Wikimedia Foundation doesn't want competition (wikipedians delete recipe-links). This is weird, because both projects have the same aim: To allocate free knowledge. So I think it would be useful for the intention of Wikimedia Foundation to work with these small projects or to support them. Why should Wikimedia seal itself off to other projects? Wikimedia is charitable and not profit-making - and it makes no sense having a monopoly. A concrete idea to support other free-license projects (who doesn't really overlap with wikimedia projects and with the same target as wikimedia foundation) would be, creating a free direct access to Wikimedia Commons and allocate it to these projects. Maybe there are other ways, but this is one idea, I had. And I didn't really know, who could realize something like that. Maybe it's possible yet, I never asked, but I didn't see a hint to it - and I thought it would be the easiest way to talk to the founder of Wikimedia :-). At last I would like to note, that I don't own a wiki-project, I'm didn't wrote this for my own benefit, just for trying to break lines. Sincerely --Finn-Pauls (talk) 04:18, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I would imagine that there are technical issues with syncing non-WMF wikis up with Commnos. There's also, however, the issue of bandwidth; it would be easier (for all parties involved) if a wiki just downloaded the image from Commons and uploaded it locally. EVula // talk // // 19:16, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I thought about it, and maybe you're right. But there seems to be a technical solution, because Wikimedia offers a commercial streaming connection (if the information on Commons isn't wrong). But maybe my error in reasoning was, that a small project doesn't affect the servers in comparison to wikipedia for example. But finally a lot of small projects would cost traffic, too. --Finn-Pauls (talk) 22:13, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
It can be done, and the software exists in core MediaWiki :) See this page in the MediaWiki manual. ^demon (talk)

Dnepropetrovsk maniacs

Please could you comment on the latest developments at Dnepropetrovsk maniacs. Thanks, --♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:35, 3 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi Jimbo,

We're discussing your user-rights over on Meta-wiki. We'd appreciate your comments!


Majorly talk 17:42, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia rocks!

The Practice of Wikipedia, by Brian W. Kernighan and Rob Pike:

Simplicity. Clarity. Generality.

This is where its at.

Simplicity: It must be funny as simple things often are. It is a simulation of reality. It is a city.

Clarity: It is NaCl, spice. It is it. It is a song (ar...).

Generality: It generates things. It is Literature. Thank you for it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC)


Are you suggesting that we implement these for the entire encyclopedia, or just protected and sprotected pages? Happy editing, Jonathan321 (talk) 23:11, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, "protected and sprotected pages" is a moving target, so I wouldn't say it that way. I am suggesting that we introduce it as a new option to (mostly) replace protection and sprotection, and that we use it similarly to those two, but more broadly. I don't think it should be turned on for every article; it should be turned on in a case-by-case way to deal with known problems. How broadly? That depends on questions like the depth of the approval queue. As I understand it, the Germans have it on by default for all articles at all times, and that works fine. But since people have concerns about the volume, I would suggest we go with the more limited approach.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:28, 4 January 2009 (UTC)


I hope that you do realize that just because section Y of Wikipedia doesn't say X, doesn't mean that X seems unlikely and that it's time to delete X from section Z. Furthermore, maybe you're just looking in all the wrong places for proof of X. Please don't make extra citation work for the rest of us, just because something "seems unlikely" to you. You said yourself, it "needs source" -- how about you find one and help Wikipedia, rather than deleting content from Wikipedia? Serious question... when was your last edit to a Main space article where you provided a reference citation? -- He called me with jack high (talk) 07:19, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Oy gevalt... it's not your first clumsy application of deletionist grudges against vegetation. For shame, Jimbo! -- He called me with jack high (talk) 07:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I stand by both edits. I looked for a source in both cases, and did not find one.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:55, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Here is how easy research can be in the modern Internet age. From there, I started looking more carefully for the actual chemicals that have the antimicrobial properties, and in about 6 minutes, I had referenced Wikipedia with an appropriate source (though I'm hoping that some wiki-gnome will clean up my syntax). Could you still answer my question? Have you ever made a Main space edit where you added a reference citation to otherwise unsourced information? It's been a key plank of your pitch and platform for about the past 2 years, so I would have thought you know first-hand what the process entails, but now I'm doubtful. -- He called me with jack high (talk) 15:13, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo doesn't make a lot of mainspace edits (150 in the last two years or so), but based on what my software turns up, it looks like he may actually understand the concept: [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]. Those are just sources with online links, there could well be more referncing print versions.
Thanks jack, for your individual efforts to add sources, it's important and appreciated. Franamax (talk) 15:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
You're welcome. I did notice one of the links you found was to IMDB, which is owned by Amazon, which invested $10 million in the for-profit company Jimbo co-founded. So, that's "interesting", we'll just say. Another link made the word "here" disappear, rendering the link non-functional. The BonziBUDDY bit, well, I guess you don't know the whole story behind that fiasco. Mzoli's... no comment, but similar issues as BonziBUDDY, and weak sources to try to prove notability. Fox News! I like! And the last one was over 18 months ago? Okay, you win. I'll shut up now. -- He called me with jack high (talk) 18:16, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, Jack, I'm busted. You got me. Amazon invested $10 million in my company. At the final signing of the papers, just as we were about to close the deal, they balked. They made me promise I would add a link to the imdb biography of a guy with a handful of obscure credits as "Miscellaneous Crew". And you know what? It worked. Amazon has made nearly $150 million from that link alone, so it was worth it.
Now, in case anyone thinks I'm being serious, I'm not. I made all that up to tease Jack for being a jerk. I actually added that link because I was asked to add the link when he got married. You see, Adrian already had a biography in Wikipedia, and he thought it might be cute if the update to his biography after his marriage was made by me personally. So he asked if I would do it.
If that's the sort of thing you can come up with to hate on me, well, I'm guessing that there's nothing I can say to make you happy. You've decided to hate me. So be it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:01, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I did notice the IMDB addition, but it caught my eye for a wholly different reason: WP:Citing IMDb, an ongoing discussion on reliability where I'm working with other editors to get in touch with that site's principals to help clarify the situation.
I'm not trying to "win" anything, I just happened to have the software handy to spew out some diffs (Version 0.3b5). :) I think we all agree that proper referencing is very important to what we are trying to achieve here. I personally get a little endorphin rush every time I'm able to add a solid ref into mainspace. I'm pretty sure though that if you were to work back through my edits, you would find some shaky ones too.
In the case of Jimbo, well, you can't ask the visionaries to be expert in all facets. In article space, he has the same right and obligation as anyone to expect review, modification and improvement of any edit he makes. It's a wiki... Franamax (talk) 18:35, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I still stand very firmly by both of the edits that Jack was complaining about, too. "From there, I started looking more carefully for the actual chemicals that have the antimicrobial properties" - I'm glad he could do that. As for me, if I were to start doing something like that, it would be the worst sort of original research. As it stands, I regard the sourcing for this alleged fact to be dodgy at best. Finding out that something contains a chemical that has antimicrobial properties is a far cry from properly describing that thing as antimicrobial, I should think. But, you know what, I'm not an expert on that, and I refuse to pretend to be. However, I am a competent reader, and when I see a throwaway comment in one article, which alleges a fact which is completely not mentioned in the main article on the subject, I think I'm wholly justified in removing it. That's what being a good editor is all about.
What being a good editor is not all about is doing what Jack did here: attacking someone on all manner of fronts, including bizarre suggestions of financial impropriety, as a thank-you for a mainspace edit that was perfectly fine.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:01, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Touché. Good story on the one particular IMDB link (though, a true skeptic might remind you that there are over 100,000 more such links within the English Wikipedia, serving up Amazon, your investment partner, more delectable consumer traffic). Anyhow, I behaved as a douchebag; you're right. But, let the facts stand -- you deleted two pieces of "knowledge" about two different vegetables, based on what appear to be hunches of yours. And now both deletions have been restored with more/better support. Is that a deliberate avenue of improving the encyclopedia you're trying out on us? Might I suggest in the future when you're feeling a deletionist urge, and it's about something you might find in the produce aisle at your local grocer and is a generally accepted fact, bring up your doubts on the Talk page of the article, rather than just chopping away at the encyclopedia we're all voluntarily building? Someone who really wanted to make a WP:POINT might go by your example and just start deleting any sentences that aren't referenced and sound like "likely nonsense". The world is an amazing place. The fact that cauliflower has fractal dimensions may sound like "nonsense", but even a quick search of the available cultural dialogue should have given someone pause before just deleting the fact and calling it "likely nonsense". I don't hate you, Jimbo. I hate how you malign the good work of others sometimes, such as by calling their correct and factual work "likely nonsense" or "seems unlikely", without what would seem to be a rather easy search of Google. Or any other favorite new search engine. -- He called me with jack high (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Are you here to heckle? You aren't the only one, if so - Jimbo's talkpage is a magnet for people who think they know better, after a few weeks or a few months or some even longer. Everyone just knows how Wikipedia ought to be, and criticising the guy who founded it is proof - if you can point out how you clearly know better than Jimmy Wales, that means you've really made it. Avruch T 00:56, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Wow, 24 edits - and 7 of them to this page. Time to sign you up for the lecture circuit, maybe. Avruch T 00:58, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I guess you're better than me, Avruch. I'm not here to heckle. Rather, I'd simply prefer to see a new practice adopted: that of finding and providing easily-obtained references before deleting factual content that seems unusual. You may disagree, if you wish. -- He called me with jack high (talk) 03:21, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You know, on a daily basis I come across many, many, many, unsupported propositions in our articles. If they are plain nonsense, I delete them with an appropriate edit summary. If I think they may be supportable, I tag with {{cn}}. If I have time, I will do a quick Google for a source or consult one of the few books I have remaining at my disposal. Mostly, though, I don't have time. However, policy specifies that an editor adding an assertion is required to justify "material challenged or likely to be challenged"; we have many editors unsophisticated in our ways and it should come as no surprise that personal knowledge is added to articles in the guise of fact, despite that requirement of verifiability. You shouldn't criticise any editor for failing to realise, or have the time, to follow up a factoid for which its originator hasn't provided a citation. One thing about a collaborative and volunteer environment is that we largely choose which articles to edit, and there is no such concept as a supervising editor to whom content research and issues of omission can be directed. Thirty years ago, I might have regarded biological fractals as "nonsense", although my understanding then of the Fibonacci series might have whetted my appetite. Meanwhile, my last word on this is that none of us can be omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent. Or afford to be. --Rodhullandemu 01:09, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
And in the end, after the carping from our friend with few edits who is almost certainly a sock of a banned user, I'll try harder to find a source before I remove any vegetable-related claims anytime soon.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:29, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

RFC at WP:NOR-notice

A concern was raised that the clause, "a primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by any reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge" conflicts with WP:NPOV by placing a higher duty of care with primary sourced claims than secondary or tertiary sourced claims. An RFC has been initiated to stimulate wider input on the issue. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:06, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea to me, and a good way to achieve NPOV, far from a hindrance to it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:17, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Salary levels

Before I, or others, start digging into oiur own pockets to fund Wiki, do you think that Wiki could publish a COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT list of how much the executives and trustees are paying themselves (out of the contributions)... presumably they don't do this for free!! But 4.5m divided by 23 staff seems one shedload of money each. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps the Financial Report found here would be of help to you. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:47, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
No one is "paying themselves". The Board of Trustees is not compensated at all. And at least for me, I don't ask for reimbursement even for my travel to board meetings, etc. This is my charity work. As for the staff, all salaries are modest and in line with salaries at comparable small nonprofits. As KillerChihuahua points out, you may find the annual report helpful.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I always love how people think we can serve 275 million requests with a $50 server. J.delanoygabsadds 21:54, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
It isn't difficult... As long as you aren't expecting any answer other than "No" (or more likely, "BzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZTD!" LessHeard vanU (talk) 22:02, 4 January 2009 (UTC)


I noticed on Jimbo's main page a userbox with a "42" on the side. I immediately assumed that this validated what I knew all along - that Jimbo (and, by extension, Wikipedia) is the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Imagine my disappointment when I read it closer and found that it's just mundane like your age (and will change in a few month's time to the less divine-like "43"). I'm crushed. --Canuckguy (talk) 02:15, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Me too! Crushed that I didn't think of this! --Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:31, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

IP addresses

If you are indeed the "head honcho" of wikipedia, you should seriously think about making it so you must have an e-mail confirmed account to edit. That would half the vandalism. If you're not, sorry for the spam. Ghost109 (talk) 02:33, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I used to think that, but now I'm not so sure. Certainly a lot of the vandalism I see comes from IP addresses, because they think they're anonymous; however, IP editors are actually more vulnerable in terms of traceability compared to registered editors. We have built-in defences for registered editors such that they have to pass thresholds before they can cause serious damage, but they are quickly detected if that happens, and we have at least got some possibly useful edits out of the deal. I don't believe it's as bad as you think it is. However, I doubt you are as naive as you claim here --Rodhullandemu 03:23, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Blocking IP addresses globally would not only lower our intake of vandalism, but it would also lower our intake of valuable content. Don't assume that all IP edits are bad - globally blocking them goes against our ethos. neuro(talk) 04:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

6,000,000 GET

Now, who are your daddies? We are...--Cerejota (talk) 16:30, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

 :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:37, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay, great. You got the six mill. Can the ugly banner ad go away now? I don't mind the regular ones they have every year, but the one with the giant text "A PERSONAL APPEAL FROM JIMBO WALES" with a red border is a massive eyesore. I mean, what's going to happen next year? Are we going to have a blinking, scrolling marquee, with audio? (talk) 17:38, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Are you aware that if you get a non-anon account, you can turn them off? I leave them cause I like looking at the bar, but to each their own... And of course, next year it will be like that, and I heard there will also be a rapidly flashing rainbow background...:D--Cerejota (talk) 18:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The blinking, scrolling marquee was the 2007 atrocity. No audio, though. --Carnildo (talk) 20:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I propose that next year we have me in a banana costume, dancing to "Peanut Butter Jelly Time", like this: It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:43, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Do that, and you get my $100. Fail to do it, and you get ONE JAPANESE YEN. -- He called me with jack high (talk) 06:55, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
lol :D --macbookair3140 (talk) 00:32, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, donating only ONE yen probably isn't possible. I tried donating 1 euro cent... It was considered to be too cheap ;).mpvdm 21:28, 4 January 2009
Do that, and I'll donate $500 instead of the $35 I did this year, despite being a poor college student... J.delanoygabsadds 15:33, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, I bought the 200-page spiral-bound notebook to record other wiki-notes, but it's found extra use. Jimbo, your offer has been recorded c/w DTM stamp. Banana costume, dancing... - we shall remember and expect no less! :) Franamax (talk) 18:46, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I wish I could donate all the money I could to wikipedia, but my father does not like the concept of wikipedia. Hell, I shouldn't even be editing! Montgomery' 39 (talk) 20:42, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Deletionism vs Inclusionism


If you have the time please read the article Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia

Basically there is a group of users that aggressively removing content. Their actions aren't based on consensus but their loud mouths gets them to do as they please. A User:TTN has made hundreds of AFDs on fiction related topics for example and arbcom doesn't feel there is something they can do. TTN was sanctioned for revert waring (to remove fiction related content) before.

The article covers the incusionism & deletionism dispute you probably well know. The internal dispute on wikipedia has made its way to the mass media. Meaning even sources like

So there is world-wide consensus that there is a problem. However according to the arbcom there is no problem whatsoever. There is a serious disconnect between the reality on the ground and what arbcom is saying.

This issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible as it already has dire consequences. This really is no longer about a bunch of fans trying to save their character or episode articles. Its more about the "battle for wikipedia's soul" as The Economist calls it. You had to deal with this issue to a degree when you created an article on the Mzoli's restaurant.

I tried all medians to bring up this problem to community attention but they seemingly will not react until. I was thinking maybe you could give it a shot.

P.S. A copy of this has been emailed to you.

-- Cat chi? 06:32, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi, please reply to my email so I know it didn't get stuck in a spam filter or something like the sort. -- Cat chi? 20:30, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

discussion of some sort

Below is an example of how far people will go to purge our content. -- Cat chi? 10:40, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Could you please explain how my reply to you is "an example of how far people will go"? Because it doesn't look like I was going very far at all... Fram (talk) 10:44, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I cannot see what more could you do to interrupt me... -- Cat chi? 10:54, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
White Cat, you claimled that this was "how far people would go to purge our content". Now you are back to me somehow interrupting you (as if my post caught you halfway through an edit. I have no idea how I iinterrupted you). Could you either show me how far I have gone in this discussion "to purge our content", or retract that statement? Fram (talk) 11:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
There is "worldwide consensus" that there are people who want to divide Wikipedians in inclusionists and deletionists. There is no worldwide consensus that this division is actually real (many people are neither or both), and even less that this supposed division is actually a problem or that the inclusionists are the good guys and the deletionists the bad guys. The fact that "the community" will not react to this supposed problem is probably an indication that it is not really a serious problem at all, but a normal situation in a consensus-driven large project. Fram (talk) 08:21, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Consensus? What consensus? This mass deletion spree isn't based on consensus. If there were any consensus behind it people wouldn't have to revert war and mass nominate articles for deletion now would they? A lack of consensus is the complaint here. -- Cat chi? 10:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Deletion discussions are a good way to check consensus on certain (groups of articles), and from previous ANI discussions and similar discussions about TTN's actions, I recall that there was consensus (not unanimous, but consensus) that he can send articles to AfD, and that the results of his AfD's showed a consensus that many of the articles were indeed deletable, and many other were better of merged, with very few remaining as actual straightforward keeps as separate articles. That some people vocally disagree and start forumshopping may be an indication that there is a problem, but not that the problem is with deletionists, TTN, or the community.
Furthermore, is this discussion about TTN or about the deletionist-inclusionist debate in general? I don't think that there is a "worldwide consensus that there is a problem" with TTN's actions, as you now seem to suggest... Fram (talk) 10:23, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
In general it is very rude to interrupt a discussion that you do not even know what it is about. I am going to pay no attention to you now on as you are not even in the know of the details of this follow up discussion. My post here was intended to remind Jimbo to check his mail and provide a copy for his convenience only. Not yours. -- Cat chi? 10:32, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Where have I interrupted a discussion? White Cat, you are here long enough to know that when you post on a talk page (certainly an often watched one like Jimbo's), you are not having a private discussion at all and should not complain when someone replies to the contents of your post. Of course, since you then start comparing such a reply to the actions of a notorious stalker[20], it appears that you are not interested in a true discussion of your post at all and rather start making ad hominem attacks than to argue your case. Fram (talk) 10:41, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
This aggressive tone is a part of the problem, yes. This is the kind of aggressive attitude I am complaining about. -- Cat chi? 10:56, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
So you say that I act like your previously banned stalker, that I am acting very rude, that you are not going to pay attention to me now, and then claim that I am acting aggressively? Perhaps we should focus again on the discussion of what is wrong with Wikipedia and stop this rather bizarre discussion of who did what now, as it is utterly pointless. But then again, I am not allowed by you to reply on posts you make on a talk page, apparently. Fram (talk) 11:08, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Call it whatever you wish. -- Cat chi? 11:15, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Why is this here on Jimbo's talk page? Have you brought this up at the appropriate noticeboards? Or is this frivolous complaint really that frivolous? There is nothing that Jimbo can do to stop people from nominating pages for deletion, and for administrators to delete them. The whole "inclusionist" versus "deletionist" wonka is really nonsense and has nothing to do with building an encyclopedia -- and why do we have an article on this? seicer | talk | contribs 20:35, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Flagged revisions, responsibility

Hi Jimbo!

I have a concern over the issue of flagged revisions, and who will then take responsibility from the edit. I now mean legal responsibility for the edit, not the "who should get blocked/banned for the edit" responsibility.

On the BLP feeler survey a question was brought up who would be responsible if a libellous edit were flagged, and one of the replies, which seriously concerns me is this one of JoshuaZ

The consensus seems to be that it does not make the Foundation more liable but it could conceivably make the flagger liable.

This I feel loads a huge burden over from the person adding the libel (and who in my opinion is unequivocally 100% the guilty party) over to a volunteer who makes a quick review and adds a good-faith, albeit mistaken "flag". Although I trust flaggers to have the good sense to not let "John Doe is a s***hole, and a**hole, who f***s young boys!!!!" receive a flag, even innocuous looking edits can be serious violations of BLP, even though they look OK because the text looks civil and sensible.

Indeed the incident which sparked off the need for a BLP policy, the Seigenthaler incident, did not involve a particularly nasty looking article if one makes a superficial read through it. At first glance, it looks like a reasonable (though unsourced) stub article. I can easily see an overworked flagger slapping a "flag" on that article, and moving on to the next article in the queue, and I am fearful that hell would rain down on the poor flagger who was only trying to help.

As you are a supporter of flagged revisions, can you shed some light on this issue, because I think it's a serious one which needs to be adressed before flagged revisions are implemented. Sjakkalle (Check!) 16:08, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

By way of disclaimer, I am not a lawyer. I think it can be made very clear that the only meaning of a flagging action is "apparently not vandalism" - and that the risk you are concerned with is not very large. The current situation is little different, since you may edit an article in one part, and click on save, thus "co-authoring" and "approving for publication" the _entire article_. Are you confident that every article you have ever touched didn't accidentally contain some libel at the time? Well, I think most of us *are* pretty comfortable with that - as for me, I at least try pretty hard to never hit 'save' unless I've removed unsourced and potentially libelous material. But I think that if I ever did, the risk would be small. Flagged revisions strikes me as being very similar in this regard.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Just nitpicking, but it was my understanding that WP:BLP was created due to the Daniel Brandt controversy (see the first edit by WAS to WP:BLP on [21]), not in response to the Seigenthaler hoax. – Thomas H. Larsen 08:02, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
The usual disclaimer, IANAL, but the two situations that Jimbo cites don't seem parallel to me:
  • Currently if I edit a page that contains a (pre-existing) libelous statement and I don't delete it I may be "guilty" of a "crime" of omission, i.e., I didn't prevent/undo a "crime" when I could. But that is true for any reader of wikipedia who reads the same page and doesn't delete the libelous statement, since they too have the ability to undo the "crime" (Anyone can edit, right ?).
  • On the other hand, with flagged revisions, the signer deliberately approves the edit, which means that he is actively opening a potentially libelous statement to public view by an act of commission. (In the current setup, this may be akin to re-inserting a deleted libelous statement.)
Note that I have used the words "crime", "guilty" etc in the non-legalistic sense, since I have no idea where the law lies and whether it distinguishes between the described acts of omission/commission. Also, personally I think the chance of my getting sued while editing wikipedia in good faith is minimal and I will take the "risk" in either case. But it would nevertheless be good to have some authoritative clarification of the legal liability for signers before flagged revisions are implemented, since amateurish legal analysis (like mine) is not worth much (a little learning is a dangerous thing!) Regards. Abecedare (talk) 08:41, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Happy New Year!!

Happy new year! Let us all hope that Wikipedia will continue to prosper and expand. Three cheers to free knowledge! Montgomery' 39 (talk) 20:24, 5 January 2009 (UTC)


Threat moved to WP:ANI --Rodhullandemu 23:40, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Keep up the good work

Needed to be said (talk) 05:26, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Wiki software

Hi Jimbo. I am just wondering what kind of wiki software you got for Wikipedia. Carabera (talk) 22:33, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Mediawiki. It's free! You can run it on your laptop, and you can run the 4th most popular website in the world with it. It's joyful and delicious! It likes ponies! :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:28, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Jimmy, I've installed the software myself, and while it is friendly and polite and easy to configure and all that, I don't recall it specifically liking ponies. I suspect Peacock phrasing. KillerChihuahua?!? 00:32, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I mean like Confluence. (That was to Jimbo) Carabera (talk) 01:02, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Why would we use a commercial (not-free) wiki implementation like Confluence when we have Mediawiki (free)? --Versageek 01:21, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I was just trying to state that I meant wiki software that gives you free access to the website. (Why didn't I think of that earlier?) Carabera (talk) 01:25, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
MediaWiki is the software that gives people access to the website. It's what runs on the servers to make all these webpages, we also use squid as a cache/proxy (to speed up the site) and a database server to store information, and a few other back-end tools, but mediawiki is the program that actually lets people use the wiki for free. ST47 (talk) 01:35, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I see now. Thanks everyone. Carabera (talk) 01:44, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
...words cannot express just how badly I want to add "MediaWiki likes ponies" with a link to Jimbo's diff to MediaWiki... EVula // talk // // 01:51, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I support adding the relevant phrasing. (I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, too.) KillerChihuahua?!? 13:29, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm joking of course, as I hope would be clear. KillerChihuahua?!? 13:31, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
 :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:23, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I dunno about "delicious" either; tastes like chicken. — Coren (talk) 02:56, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Hey, Jimbo...

To be honest, I don't care for you, but I was wondering why you allow anyone to edit your user page. It's not protected or even semi-protected, and it's vandalized, like, every five seconds.-- (talk) 19:27, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia's basic tenet is that anyone can edit, so Jimbo likes to keep his page unprotected. Probably around a thousand people or more have his page watchlisted, so it is rare for vandalism to remain for long. J.delanoygabsadds 19:34, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Advice from experience

Jimmy, I love taking notes from people I admire. I'll be very happy if you can give me one advice driven from your experiences. Thank you --Darwish07 (talk) 19:26, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Think you had better see this

I just found this on that user's page, and I felt I should bring it to your attention in case you have an idea of what to do with it. 21:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)—Preceding unsigned comment added by Another-anomaly (talkcontribs)

What is there to see? Looks like a content dispute that got a little heated and resulted in someone picking up their toys and going home. – ukexpat (talk) 21:50, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
If they carry out their threat to make a cartoon about Wikipedia, I want to be Jessica Rabbit. – iridescent 22:07, 6 January 2009 (UTC)


Stepping Away

Hello Jimbo, how are you? I am sorry to tell you this, but I must inform you of my decision to leave the project. It's the result of a pile-on of real life problems that pulls me away from participation. I leave with a load of sorrow because I enjoyed my time with you and other editors. I thank you for your forgiveness of my past wrongdoings. I would like to return, but not sure if I would be allowed to. Anyway, farewell old friend and hope to see you again on the web somewhere. Your friend, AdirondackMan (talk) 06:00, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

PS, I would like to be added to the list of missing Wikipedians if you can. AdirondackMan (talk) 06:01, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm writing for AdirondackMan. We're friends here in town and I have known him for some years. He had to leave Wikipedia because of problems I am helping him with involving his family and re-enrollment in college at this time. I'm using his computer to write this letter. I have a favor to ask of you Mr. Wales. Notwithstanding how few his edits were, could you allow him to be listed among the missing Wikipedians? Thank you sir. Mr. Charles E. Beers. (talk) 07:37, 6 January 2009 (UTC)


I only logged on to ask this question to you since you're the titular Wikipedia headman. If I wanted to return from retirement in the future, would you grant me permission to resume active service? Let me know. AdirondackMan (talk) 06:10, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Jimbo holds no authority over such thing, especially since your retirement lasted all of one day and ten minutes. Just start editing again. EVula // talk // // 06:24, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

UK users being proxied again?

Remarkable as it may seem just one month after the Virgin Killer brouhaha, there are signs that UK users are being proxied again when visiting Wikipedia. This morning TalkTalk reactivated one of the proxies in the 62. range [22], and there were similar complaints about other ISPs yesterday.[23]. Yesterday it was thought that a technical fault might be the cause, but today things are looking more worrying. Are our friends at the Internet Watch Foundation at it again? If so, what is the cause this time? Due to the star chamber processes of the IWF, it may be hard to find out. Would Mike Godwin be interested in contacting the IWF to get to the bottom of this? Thanks, --♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 15:21, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd recommend emailing Mike Godwin, yeah. I don't know anything beyond what you've just told me, and the Foundation staff is better situated than I am to do something promptly.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:38, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
In the past few minutes I have been able to try a Virgin Media cable connection, and it appears to be OK. TalkTalk was fine yesterday, but is apparently being proxied through just one IP address at today.[24]. Have we done something "potentially illegal" again? And if so, which of the 2,688,602 articles is the guilty party this time? I'll contact Mike Godwin, but as he points out, the IWF is a worryingly secretive organization.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 19:59, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia vs SEP

"You have proven that Wikipedia matters to you, and that you support our mission: to bring free knowledge to the planet, free of charge and free of advertising. You've helped make and keep Wikipedia available for the whole world." Poo Peter Damian (talk) 22:07, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Effectively arguing that quantity is inherently better than quality is not attractive. If we have 100,000 stub articles on relatively obscure, but inherently notable (according to policy) settlements (which we have recently acquired), that is not the same as usefulness to a reader. It's a vapid argument at best. --Rodhullandemu 22:27, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
reply, on principles, to deleted comment
What, changing "bollocks" to "poo"? We have a WP:BOLLOCKS but no WP:POO. You perhaps shouldn't expect too much from a volunteer workforce whose interests are manifold and may not be expected to follow academic expectations, even within one field of knowledge. Whereas Brittanica and SEP have "must-haves", with appropriate weighting according to perceived general importance, Wikipedia doesn't. Nor does it have paid authors who will write whatever they are contracted to write; meanwhile, if you have a gripe, why not take a look at WP:SOFIXIT? --Rodhullandemu 22:53, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
We do actually have a "must have" list. Although I disagree with a fair few of the selections (and even more so with what's not on there – The Beatles but not Michael Jackson, Iranian revolution but not Nazi Germany, Norway but not Argentina…) – iridescent 01:22, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that, for some reason I was unaware of it, but Ludwig Wittgenstein not being listed under "Philosophers and Social Scientists" and Transcendental numbers not being listed under "Mathematics" are unforgivable omissions. It's like the last sixty years haven't happened, and is frightening. --Rodhullandemu 01:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh don't get me started on that "Vital Articles" thing... — Realist2 01:43, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Net Neutrality

FYI. The Cato Institute is having a discussion in Washington, DC on the 12th regarding Net Neutrality. This is something that President-elect Barrack Obama supports. Net Neutrality is the Internet version of the Fairness Doctrine (read censorship) and could affect Wikipedia in the future if this happens. Accuracy In Media, Heritage Foundation, and Media Research Center have all raised concerns on Net Neutrality also. Chris (talk) 00:49, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

French Wikipedia

Hi Jimmy. Can you please delete my account on the French Wikipedia? I signed up there by mistake, and I don't understand french. Thanks! :) Versus22 talk 16:56, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Also, thanks for creating Wikipedia. I think it was a very good idea to create an online encyclopedia. Kind regards, Versus22 talk 16:59, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and here is the link... ( Versus22 talk 17:02, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
There's no harm done in having an account there.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:36, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I managed to create eight articles and a map in two languages I didn't even know existed until last week, without knowing anything of the language beyond a very basic online (one-way) dictionary and a couple of similarish articles. It's a little disturbing, but the folks over there don't seem to mind. Orderinchaos 02:47, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
There's no way to "delete" an account. Just don't edit there ;) Sam Blab 22:30, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
With WP:SUL in place, by having an account on one project you have an account on all of them. Don't worry about it. – iridescent 22:33, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
However, I had a different password and I forgot it. I didn't have my email configured at that time. Versus22 talk 08:06, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Why is wiki so slow?

User:Elbutler suggested I ask you why WIki is so SLOW to load, why is this? (talk) 02:14, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

The technical Village Pump is probably the best place to ask. EVula // talk // // 02:30, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the days of Jimmy walking over to kick the servers have long past. (We now pay devs to do that, hmm?) :) caknuck ° resolves to be more caknuck-y 05:40, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


I'm not sure which part is FUD: turning a wiki into something more like a conventional encyclopedia than anything is, as I initially thought, restricting it - antithetical to the whole concept that makes WP distinct from many similar projects. It certainly has the potential to make it (gradually, but noticeably) increasingly closed and probably culminating in sealing doors for newcomers giving no chance for anons.

As I see it this will majorly slow WP down by making a lot of edits static and requiring editors to preview them instead of writing even more articles.

Or am I just misunderstanding this like you said many posts did? -- Mentisock 11:19, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I think you are. This features makes it that much easier to be friendly to anons.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:09, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
From your recent comment, you supported the German version and implementation for BLPs. Yet, this recent report on the German implementation makes no mention of its effectiveness or even effect on BLPs, nor does it give any information as to whether is now considered more friendly by anons (it stated IP edits are down, but this of course is not the same thing). Is there a more enlightening report since it was launched on de? In the various archive pages I could only find more FUD. MickMacNee (talk) 20:54, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I recommend that you talk to Erik Moeller or Frank Schulenburg. Both are Wikimedia Foundation employees, and both are German. They can likely assist you in finding Germans who are interested in answering such questions in detail. I think there are many German Wikipedians who are sufficiently fluent in English to allow us to all get a deeper insight into their experiences.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:09, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I should also note that one reason the Germans have likely not reported specifically on the impact on BLPs is that the implementation they are using involves having all articles in 'oversight' state. I see no reason for us to start with that, and would prefer the softer experiment with BLPs only, first.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:13, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. Many thanks. MickMacNee (talk) 22:24, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
How is it friendliness when by implication a flagged edit casts doubt on its integrity and simply tells anons that they aren't trusted (and only they since I don't think it'll be enabled for accounts)? This also inevitably makes WP ever closer to peer-reviewed encyclopedias, does it not? Surely the exponential growth it once had will be affected because of this, too. -- Mentisock 09:31, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I believe it is enabled for all accounts - it isn't an anti-IP proposal. The idea of many is to try to give IPs more opportun ity to contribute, even in areas where we have had to semi-protect articles, etc. Fritzpoll (talk) 09:33, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
From WP:FLR: "established Wikipedia editors might be granted (possibly automatically) rights" - by definition implies that anons and newcomers won't be given the right, thus not trustworthy. I suppose it could work instead of sprotection (more efficient than proposing edits on the talk page) but I thought people wanted all pages to have this functionality and BLPs which constitute hundreds of thousands of articles. -- Mentisock 10:11, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
You're wrong on the last point. The current proposal is just to let us turn the extension on so that we can try it out on a few articles and see how it goes. I don't think most people supporting the proposal want to see it over the entire article space. A trial, which would e possible if the poll is successful, would allow us to determine if it's useful even on a limited scale. Fritzpoll (talk) 10:33, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

John Galt wrote a book, too.

Well, really it was Nathaniel Branden: Rand's protege and the man to whom she dedicated Atlas Shrugged. He called it "Judgement Day: My Years with Ayn Rand" While she offers compelling arguments for her personal philosophy, she herself was probably the least adherent to it of any who introduced themselves as objectivists. Her ambition, passion, and drive were largely inspired by amphetamine (prescribed for weight loss).

Check it out. Her arguments are solid, her ideas are helpful, but she wasn't rational thought physically manifest. A brilliant writer, no doubt, but one who used her presentation as a means to a more subjective end than can be found in the tenets of objectivism.


thirdpartyblind at gmail —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:05, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Obviously, noticeable

Jimmy -- Just a quick fact you probably already know -- but I don't understand why you don't follow.

Your USERpage has multiple "emails." With their @ and .com at the end. Why don't you help whoever it is out from spambots, and use the for example yournamehere[at]wikipedia[dot]org. I know it looks sloppy but it simply helps. I just didn't know if maybe you knew how to 'avoid' Googlespambots or something. But, the first time I EVER put anything down with my whole e-mail the '@' sign. Haha, I had spam like crazy.

Thought I'd let you know.

Love anUnknownBeing

AnUnknownBeing (talk) 21:06, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

We use {{NonSpamEmail}} here - it solves the problem fine. – iridescent 21:08, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

--That makes no sense whatsoever. if I can see, and highlight the text -- a spam bot can. and so can anyone else. AnUnknownBeing (talk) 19:26, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

You can't see and highlight the text – try cutting-and-pasting it and see what happens. What you see is the account name and the domain name, separated by the File:Nospam at.svg graphic. – iridescent 19:31, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
If somebody really did want to set up a spambot specifically designed for Wikipedia, though, all they would need to do would be to parse the HTML of pages in such a way as to convert the inclusion of "File:Nospam at.svg" to "@". All systems are flawed to varying degrees—but some are more flawed than others. – Thomas H. Larsen 00:37, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Breaking a Ban and Threatening Legal Action by Zeraeph

Hi Jimbo, nothing personal, but, if I don't get myself indefinately banned, the on and off-Wiki, attempts to get me to engage so that User:SandyGeorgia and her peculiar little friends can reinforce their "reign of terror" with yet another public lynching will NEVER end...and some of them are doing destructive things to other editors never mind me!

Just realised that if I don't hurry up and get on with it it will be too late to break the ban, when it ends on 14 January Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Zeraeph, so here goes...

First things first, the traditional Irish greeting, for this time of the year:

"How did you get over the Christmas?" (As if it was some kind of 'orrible disease, but I guess, since the kids arrived you realise just how accurate that assessment IS?).

Now, to business:

Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Zeraeph is full of unsubstantiated defamation, which, on permenent record (as it is) becomes libel. I know that is against your rules...but nobody seemed to care at the time, and I had pneumonia exacerbating COPD, I couldn't afford to care.

I asked arbcom, publicly, and by email, for time (6 days) to recover on 4 January 2008, and that request was totally ignored.

It's a big, complex issue, going back to events you are already aware let me just show you two highlights:

7 September 2006: It could be (and this is pure speculation) that Zeraeph is being stalked online, but not by SandyGeorgia. I believe this to be true, based on the emails I have"

30 May 2008: "I had additional evidence that I chose not to submit because of other delicate and unsavory issues in the case and to protect the confidentiality of involved parties. Because I knew vulnerable parties would be exposed, unsavory information could be revealed, and fragile people might be harmed, a priority in the ArbCom was to prevent further harassment of Zeraeph’s victims, even if that meant all the issues wouldn’t be fully examined."

Now that would stand up, alone, in any civil court as, totally unprovoked (as in 5 months since she heard a word from me) malicious defamation (never mind the mortal issues involved in being tried and convicted based up evidence people claim they have, yet chose not to submit). On permanent record, on your server, it is libel.

All checked with an Irish Solicitor, and a Colorado Lawyer and good to go...unless it is all retracted and/or oversighted.

Seriously Jimbo, I do realise that you are largely unaware of the more brutal aspects of "Lord of the Flies" being regularly re-enacted on your server, but that doesn't make it ok for them to go on, and, unfortunately it does make you legally liable.

(Also, as an aside, it is not exactly thrilling for me to have been libelled in this way.)

Up to you what you do about it...but first thing, run a will find this IP resolves.

THank you for your time, all the best for your own personal future. Zeraeph -- (talk) 16:36, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

It looks like someone (Cool Hand Luke) beat me to doing a courtesy blanking. I fully support that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:02, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Jimbo...on a human level that is really appreciated from you (but not from CHL on account the way he had to spoil it with sly innuendos and needling elsewhere - WHY can't some people do anything nice without spoiling it?). As long as it takes the whole thing of google I am, informally, a far happier puppy.
I am still very worried that User:SandyGeorgia and perhaps others, are able to use your server for deliberate malicious libel (as above) without sanction of any kind. I don't think that's right on any level, and I feel confident that you will be looking into it...
But..I have broken two cardinal rules
  • Posting while banned
  • Threatening legal action.
So now you really DO have to ban me, in accord with policy (with the effect of standing down SO many nasty little games) hard feelings...if fact, far from it. Zeraeph -- (talk) 18:59, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Pages relating to arbitration cases and the administrators' noticeboards are supposed to be designated with a "NOINDEX" template that blocks them from Google and other searches. To any user, if this is not happening, please let me know. Newyorkbrad (talk) 19:04, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Well NYBrad, in the light of I wouldn't have thought it was necessary for me (banned) to let you (not banned) know? Unless, of course the "protecting of editors privacy" was meant to be selective, in which case, perhaps you should have specified? Just a thought?
Regardless, rather than have the same cast of characters cause no end of problems by trying to find a way to provoke a re-run when my ban is up, can you please do me the courtesy of applying policy and banning me indefinately on the twin grounds stated above.
This isn't a "ruse", there is no way I would ever be prepared to participate in such a toxic environment, if I had the time, and I don't have the time. Zeraeph -- (talk) 19:40, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Considering of return

Hello Jimbo, I am temporarily logged in to ask of you one thing. I decided I want to return from retirement. Editing of things here I find helps me cope with my pile of problems emotionally and tends to help me put such things aside for the time being. If I may ask of you this, I lost my welcome page posted before when I was new which was placed by another user. Would it trouble you to place another welcome page on it when I lift my retirement and remove my notices on my user and user talk pages? Thank you Mr. Wales. AdirondackMan (talk) 16:12, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Jimbo is a busy man. Please contact him only with things that are important enough to bring to his attention. Other users and administrators can help if you are experiencing problems with editing on Wikipedia.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:35, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Just revert your talk page to this version before you added the retired template. No need for Jimbo to get involved. Tony Fox (arf!) 16:36, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Whether you are retired, unretired or whatever, most people don't care. Just edit what you want to edit, don't edit what you don't want to edit. Orderinchaos 02:44, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Good suggestion by OIC - and he may wish to ask his good friend User:Thewinchester to second that comment. Oh yes. That's right, they never seem to appear together on WP anymore... Strange that. --WatchForHypocrisy (talk) 00:55, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I wish my first edit was as good as that^^. J.delanoygabsadds 00:58, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Although I hate this photo because I had a weight problem at the time, this photo contains both me and Thewinchester in different parts of the group, as can be verified by anyone who was there. Orderinchaos 01:57, 14 January 2009 (UTC)


Hey. Why on the "Rouge editors" page does it say "I promise to annoy all admins and Timbo..." haha! What did you do? Haha... kidding! Just wondering!!! --DylanIloveYou (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd guess it's just a joke. (A pun of Jimbo too) Undead Warrior (talk) 07:07, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Plight of Nina Paley

Hanuman burns Lanka, freely licensed image from Sita Sings the Blues.

Nina Paley, author of award-winning animated film Sita Sings the Blues, is having a rough time because of copyright problems (copyright extension, extortionist fees etc.) Paley has become an eloquent and charismatic advocate of free culture. Is there any way you can help draw attention to her plight?[25][26] Haukur (talk) 01:10, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I doubt it, well not on Wikipedia anyway - Wikipedia maintains a neutral point of view and should not be used for promoting causes, however worthy though they may be. – ukexpat (talk) 19:28, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo can be used for promoting causes, in particular he often promotes free culture causes. Here's an example that's not even a month old: [27] I hope that, if nothing else, Jimbo reads up about Nina Paley so he can refer to the case in appropriate contexts, e.g. when giving talks. Haukur (talk) 22:03, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, Haukurth, and if you have any contact with Nina Paley, could you ask her to contact me so I can learn more?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:38, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for taking an interest! I have no personal connection with her but I've now left a comment on her blog suggesting she contact you. Haukur (talk) 09:56, 12 January 2009 (UTC)


Hello, I was wondering, are Wikipedia rules there to stay (can they be changed?)? I was just wondering because there are some people that abuse of the rules and some of them don't seem to be quite fair. No examples now but I was just wondering. Can you answer on my talk page because of my memory? Kalajan 18:17, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


Message from XENUcomplaints? leave me a message! 19:55, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Ayn Rand

Hi, I've filed an RfM on Ayn Rand, including as parties only those who've recently edited the article. However, as you've commented on talk, you might want to be involved too. If so, please add your name to the list of parties at Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Ayn Rand. Cheers, SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:33, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi, thanks. I actually didn't intend to get involved in any way with the content issue on that particular article. I was interested in the discussion about using an academic encyclopedia as a metric to think about the question of whether Wikipedia content is unbalanced in some ways, an idea that I consider interesting, although obviously there are a lot of important caveats and complexities.
I have very little interest in the underlying content issue, and I'm very rusty in my knowledge of the issues at hand.
I also don't wish to get involved in editing an article with someone who insults people who disagree with him by calling them 'cultists'. That just doesn't seem like a fun use of my time. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:00, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Relative coverage of articles in Wikipedia

Jimmy raised the question on another page (Ayn Rand) about the relative coverage of different subjects in Wikipedia. (I used the example of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, whose coverage of Aristotle is more than a 100 times greater than of Rand, whereas with Wikipedia it is the other way round. Two points to make:

(1) I agree that the way a subject approached in the SEP, which is intense and scholarly work, should not be compared to the way Wikipedia approaches the same subject. But that is not the same as ignoring a subject completely. Here we are at the age-old problem of balancing the education vs pandering to the interests of the general public.

In the UK where I am writing from we have a long tradition of public funding for 'highbrow' subjects to make them accessible to the general public. Thus as well as a radio station called 'Radio 3' which plays only classical music, whose funding is way out of proportion to the percentage of people who actually listen to out, which is way out of line to what commercial interests would have dictated. This is the legacy of Lord Reith - "His concept of broadcasting as a way of educating the masses marked for a long time the BBC and similar organizations around the world.", and it is alien to the way that American TV, mostly crap, is funded. A bit like the way your mother made you eat greens even though you hated it, because it was 'good for you'.

You could argue that Wikipedia is purely for entertainment purposes, and that its model should be commercial TV. No greens, straight burger and fries with Ben and Jerry's washed down with coke. But then many people have donated money to make the sum of human knowledge accessible to all the people on the planet, so isn't that short-changing all those people who donated that money? As well as the charitable trusts and foundations who donated large sums of money on the understanding it would be used for educational (not for entertainment) purposes.

(2) But another issue overshadowing this, which is why I used the example of Ayn Rand, is that Wikipedia is a magnet for cranks. Those whose ideas or theories or own research have been turned down by academic journals (which have very strict criteria for inclusion, and which turn down 90% on average of the material submitted) tend to go to Wikipedia to get #1 Google ranking for their ideas, or for the ideas of the cults they belong to. Such is the case of Rand, I suspect. From what I have read of her philosophy (which involves the 'Axiom of consciousness', eh what's that), she is not a philosopher. Jimmy has argued she is some kind of American literary figure, but then why is it that Rand is not even mentioned in Chambers Biographical Dictionary, whereas comparable figures like H. L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker are? The only explanation I can think of is that there is a kind of cult surrounding Rand, and that members of this cult are persistently slanting and biasing coverage of subjects in Wikipedia in a way that could not possibly happen in a standard reference work, which starts with the idea of how much space should be devoted to each subject, rather than ends with it.

In summary, we have two separate problems here. (1) What 'affirmative action' should be applied in Wikipedia to guarantee that the children eat their greens, without actually putting the children off. That's a difficult one (2) What 'negative action' should be applied to put off cultish and crank ideas being promoted in Wikipedia by sincere but deluded people. This is also difficult.

I end with a list of some very strange articles which qualify as neither burger and chips, nor spinach, and which relate to the second of the problems I have just mentioned.

Peter Damian (talk) 09:02, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Much of what Peter raises is actually germane to an ongoing arbitration case, Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Fringe science. In particular, what are good answers to his point #2, and how to respond to bad answers to same. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 15:18, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia has standards for notability and so inclusion. Although, I can understand the concern that "more notable" inclusions are not well developed, the decision of what is more notable may be personal, and the solution may be not to exclude but simply to make sure that the perceived more-important be better developed. Wikipedia maybe a buffet, rather than a single course meal, that includes both vegetables and chips-just have to make sure there's lots of both.Because Wikipedia doesn't seem to have a formal structure in place that monitors article inclusion and development, the concern may be ongoing, and possibly the correction is as it now is, when an editor finds an undeveloped article to fix it.(olive (talk) 17:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC))
That stale old argument may have worked when Wikipedia was young. No longer. You have to look carefully at the reasons why hardly any professional academics write for Wikipedia. Look at the nonsense going on at Talk:Ayn Rand right now. Peter Damian (talk) 19:58, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I can't see how I make any kind of argument at all but am making a statement about what actually goes on. The way things are right now if something is notable , and that doesn't mean by academic standards otherwise this would be a very different encyclopedia, then it can be included. What do you suggest be the alternative to " some editors edit Rand and fewer edit Aristotle or care to". Wikipedia isn't structured presently to overview articles and their content. Is this an encyclopedia for academics or for a general population. Should the general population be better educated .... sure. (I'm not American by the way.) Why do academics not edit ... if they don't? As an academic if I want to publish in my field I am not going to go to an encyclopedia to do it, any encyclopedia. As an academic, though, I might work here because I want to make the '"sum total of human knowledge" accessible, and Rand is part of that however disagreeable that might be.I don't care about Rand, at all, but I do care that we are reminded this is an encyclopedia not an academic journal or even academic encyclopedia. I don't care much about so called fringe topics either. I do care that human knowledge is extensive, doesn't necessarily exist in textbooks or academic journals and that all knowledge is treated neutrally by the editors here. Sometimes I think we forget this is a general encyclopedia, just an encyclopedia, and is group /community driven.(olive (talk) 21:02, 8 January 2009 (UTC))
Afraid that sounds like I'm lecturing, and that wasn't meant. I guess there are organizational, structural aspects if this encyclopedia that predispose a very particular kind of encyclopedia.(olive (talk) 21:19, 8 January 2009 (UTC))
"Standards for notability and so inclusion" don't really mean much here. It's perfectly possible for a subject "A" to have say 100 notable, reliable sources, and for subject "B" to have 100,000 (or more) notable and reliable sources, and yet to have a much bigger and more detailed Wikipedia article on "A" than on "B". It all depends on popularity and advocacy. Surely, surely, one can find many, many more sources (of any kind, on any level of detail and presentation, in any language etc.) on Aristotle than on Rand? And yet...?
Really, the main question is that of proportion. Paper-based encyclopediae had limited space; therefore they had to decide which subjects to cover in greater detail. And this is what the general public has come to expect: that the level of coverage in an encyclopedia is indicative of the importance of the subject. Now Wikipedia is not paper; but still that rule remains; the readers still expect that subjects of greater importance are covered in more detail. And when trivial subjects (="cruft") get long-winded but pointless articles, and serious subjects only a brief treatment, that is indicative of a very serious imbalance. -- Ekjon Lok (talk) 23:44, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Compare e.g. the following:
Which is the odd one out??? -- Ekjon Lok (talk) 00:14, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Your argument is based on the premise that readers still do in fact expect that a longer more detailed article means more notability or importance. I don't buy that premise. Some readers, readers that have grown up with computers, blogs, email, online communities, (my students when I'm teaching) may never have looked at a paper encyclopedia and do not generally have expectations when they arrive at Wikipedia's door. As for the odd man out, sure if your an academic it will be Robotech, but if you're sixteen it will be the other three gentleman. That's the point I guess. This is a huge unlimited-space encyclopedia. Once allowable as being notable and included, we have to let go of our views, claims go, and just edit as neutrally as possible unless or until an an over-viewing group takes charge of controlling articles and content. I'm not sure I would want that to happen.(olive (talk) 02:43, 9 January 2009 (UTC))
..."sure if your [sic] an academic it will be Robotech" ... "but if you're sixteen it will be the other three gentleman [sic]". Really, I don't have to say anything more here. My point is made perfectly. But, I must admit, your phrase "my students when I'm teaching" is really frightening. -- Ekjon Lok (talk) 23:05, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Page size is mainly set by being reason to load over a slow connection. Category:Aristotle gives a better picture there, for instance we have articles on 34 works by Aristotle Category:Works_of_Aristotle. But it's well known the answer is not to fix the balance by writing less about Robotech, that only makes Wikipedia worse, but to add more information of Locke (Aristotle is sorely overrated anyways). WilyD 18:24, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Aristotle may be overrated. To be sure. Every philosopher or thinker may be overrated... as long as they are actually rated. Yet, he lived in about 300 BC... which makes him and his ideas, now, approximately 2300 year old. So, what thinker (or artist, or writer, or poet) of the present age do you think will survive for the next 2300 years? Do you think that in 2300 years hence they will still speak of Robotech as the crowning achievement of our age??? -- Ekjon Lok (talk) 23:20, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

'Aristotle was sorely overrated'. Ha! Wikipediot. Obscure greek Homer 42k, famous american Homer 65k. I would have bought this argument when Wikipedia first began. But as I pointed out above, the project is now mature, and we still find it difficult to attract editors who can write accessible material on more encylopedic subjects. The reason is abundantly clear: the place is infested with cranks, advocates of strange fringe theories, mystics, lunatics of all kinds. No sane intelligent person would go near the place with a bargepole. In any case, I have now re-written the introduction to Ayn Rand that makes it less obviously written by Rand fanatics. Let's see what happens from there on. If the introduction stands relatively unchanged, I lose my bet. If it is torn to shreds and returned to the unreadable ungrammatical state as before, I win, bigtime. Peter Damian (talk) 13:08, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Try this on for size: "No sane intelligent person would go near the place with a bargepole"... and yet, here you are, and here I am. What does that make you and me, then? More generally, insulting other people (as you just did WilyD, and as you have throughout this thread) may not be the most effective way to convince them you are correct. (although it's fairly effective at convincing them you are difficult to work with) ++Lar: t/c 15:42, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I know I'm barging in into an intellectual discussion, but I feel I must do it. Somebody above just said: "No sane intelligent person would go near the place with a bargepole". Well, let met tell you a story. My background is in physical and mathematical sciences. I do hold a degree from a major UK university (the exact details do not matter at present.) Anyway, not such a long time ago I happened to look at Cold Fusion article here on Wikipedia. (This happened some 4 or 6 months ago, I can't remember now.) Anyway, the article aroused my attention. Not being an expert on this subject, I asked an opinion of somebody who was (officially) an expert. Their reply was, to put it bluntly, "are you bl**dy f**king serious?" In other words, the article was in such bad shape that nobody who was a real expert in this subject was prepared to do anything about it. I remember that at that stage I pointed out the nature of Wikipedia, and I remember I said something that it's a resource that anyone can edit. The expert's response was [and I am now trying to put it in printable terms] something along the lines "don't be bl**dy silly; this whole thing is bl**dy nonsense and I am not spending my valuable time trying to fix that." So, well, that was that. So much for expert retention. And, oh yes: "No sane intelligent person would go near the place with a bargepole" is so obviously true. -- Ekjon Lok (talk) 23:49, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Lar for your professed admiration of the English you are deficient in any understanding of the English sense of humour. I don't count myself as sane, by the way, by any stretch. Also, if you see the Talk:Ayn Rand talk page, it seems I have lost my bet with Jimmy (the intro has stuck, for now). But let's wait a week. Peter Damian —Preceding undated comment was added at 16:29, 10 January 2009 (UTC).
[edit] On being difficult to work with, that is the whole and entire point. I have no desire to 'work with' anyone here. Why on earth would I? Peter Damian (talk) 16:40, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
You might find it rewarding to step back and realize that we are all volunteers working on a charitable effort to share knowledge. There are a lot of good hearted people here, people who are as interested in high quality work in a collegial and respectful environment as you are. Many of us are quirky, interesting, loving and fun, and making us exhausted through constantly being difficult to work with (with a snotty attitude that makes it seem that you feel yourself better than others in a way that you clearly are not) might not be the best way for you to enjoy yourself. Rather, working well with others can be very rewarding, and can in fact help you to achieve your ends more easily than snapping/sniping at people, as Lar has indicated up above.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:36, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Quit the moralizing, it hardly suits you. Working with others can be rewarding, of course, but rarely on Wikipedia. You simply haven't addressed the problem of the legion of people here with a monstrous agenda of promoting whatever cult or lunatic belief they happen to be obsessed by. Working with them is the last thing I want to do. It might seem snotty but after all the articles Rational egoism and indeed Ayn Rand are now somewhat improved, at least, and that's what we are here for, eh? And as I mentioned above, you are all missing the sense of humour here. Has it ever struck you that some of the things I say cannot possibly be seriously intended? Lar is an idiot anyway, everyone knows that. Peter Damian (talk) 17:54, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
It does seem as though many of the things you say can't be seriously intended, but I'm not sure my impressions will agree with your intentions. You've pointed out that Wikipedia is beset by lunatics, POV warriors, cult followers, the gullible, con men, the querulous and the hopelessly unequipped. We've also got the entire upside, so I'd say we're a pretty accurate representation of humanity in that respect. Most institutions with lofty goals have effective methods of weeding people out - unfortunately, as you've noted, we have a difficult time managing that important task. On the other hand, our inefficiency permits us to retain those well-educated few who simply are unable to consistently manage working with others online. Avruch T 19:32, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I seem to have missed 'the entire upside'. Where did you spot those? Peter Damian (talk) 19:49, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Let's show the door to trolls

Kick them out

Looking at the Ayn Rand talk page is revealing. We learn that Peter Damian thinks she's a crank and has no respect for her work and doesn't consider her a philosopher. He's argued that she's been ignored by serious scholars. So to address this he's now working on his own article on her in his userspace (does this indicate Damian isn't a serious scholar?). Meanwhile, a philosopher he referred to in attacking Rand has a poorly written, unformatted, stubby article. Wouldn't it make more sense for Damian to work on that article? I'm not a professional philosopher, but I don't understand his logic. In fact, he's working hard to exert his personal opinions on a very complete article that needs careful editing. This in no way makes the encyclopedia better and distracts others from the good works of adding good sourced content and copy-editing articles. I hope someone will direct his efforts in a more useful direction. Trying to twist articles of people we don't like to suit our personal POV isn't helpful in any way shape or form. ChildofMidnight (talk) 18:54, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

You seem to have missed the fact I have moved the userspace material to mainspace. Someone desperately needs to show you the door, don't they? Peter Damian (talk) 19:49, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
And behold I win my bet with Jimbo. How long before the article reverts to an ungrammatical mess, bereft of any criticism of Rand? As I said, I will not attempt to revert. What is astonishing is that this edit, which claims to revert 'unsourced nonsense' was actually sourced from Stephen Hicks <personal attack redacted>. Peter Damian (talk) 19:59, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Peter, indeed, let's show the door to trolls. One form of trolling, to my mind, is to whine about hostility to academic philosophers, and then to turn around and call a tenured professor of philosophy who has written on the subject at hand a "member of the cult". Forgive me for being completely disappointed in you.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:45, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
You are wrong Hicks is clearly belongs to the, er, 'movement'. And you clearly misunderstand. It was our trollish friend User:ChildofMidnight removed the quote which I sourced from Hicks, not I. I wrote "Her fundamental principle is that self-interest is the true standard of morality and that altruism is profoundly immoral. Hicks wrote, in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, article 'Ayn Rand' that "self-interest, properly understood, is the standard of morality and selflessness is the deepest immorality. " which CofM removes with the comment "removed poorly sourced nonsense". I'm the one sourcing Hicks, geddit? And Hicks, by the way, while clearly a competent philosopher, is clearly blinded when it comes to the subject of Rand. I can cite 100 sources which show Rand's rambling nonsense is exactly that. Objectivists seize upon Hicks. In another edit, he (or she) removes an entire section I had added. I wrote "Her philosophical work, however, has had little recognition among established philosophers, who have been scathing about her lack of rigour, the derivative nature of her thinking<[1], and her apparently limited understanding of philosophical subject-matter[2]. Even as a writer of fiction, she has enjoyed almost no critical recognition outside the United States[3]." These are important points. Academic philosophers are not hostile to Rand because they are elitist. They are hostile because she is a poor philosopher. And it is a fact that no one outside the US has heard of Rand. Read those standard reference works. This so-called 'encyclopedia' is nothing but a fraud. How dare you take people's hard-earned cash, and take funding from charitable institutions, in the name of 'knowledge'. Peter Damian (talk) 21:37, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not at all interested in the underlying content issue here. You're simply not acknowledging my point: it is wrong for you to insult a tenured academic who is expert in the area in question and at the same time whine about academic respectability.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:44, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
You are right, I have never noticed you had any interest in underlying content issues. Peter Damian (talk) 21:46, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
[edit] I see I am already being threatened with a block, both on my talk page and on Wikipedia Review. So be it. This is Wikipedia's notion of civility, and neutrality. Peter Damian (talk) 21:58, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

For the record, someone else (Damian I presume?) added the header on this discussion section. I don't condone that type of statement or incivility. Refactoring is just another example of misdeeds that detract from the encyclopedia. Paragraphs of criticism don't belong in an introduction. I added the statement that "her philosophical work is not part of most academic curricula, and she has received strong criticism from some in academia." This seems like a reasonable summary of one notable aspect of the Ayn Rand story. She didn't care much for academia, by the way, and if Damian is any indication of academics, I can see why. ChildofMidnight (talk) 23:59, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I's not incivility that is causing perfectly good editors to leave

Message on my talk page: "Thanks for your message. I support your efforts, but won't spend any more time on Ayn Rand myself. I think it's a waste of time, and highlights perfectly the main flaw of Wikipedia - that unlike with proper encyclopedias, experts and idiots have equal say, and fanatics (no matter how amateur or idiotic) can always get their way if they stay up late enough and make enough edits and reversions. (Not that I am an expert in this particular case.) Larry Sanger's phrase that Wikipedia is 'committed to amateurism' sums it up perfectly. Ben Finn (talk) 14:05, 11 January 2009 (UTC)" Peter Damian (talk) 16:18, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


Hello, I know has a partnership with WMF (, but I was wondering if User:Pediapress is permitted to use their userpage to promote their site? I took this to UAA awhile back, and was referred to ANI but got little interest other than a reference to WMF. The reason I ask is because quite a few templates are listed on User:Pediapress/TemplateBlacklist and I wondered if this was something you knew about. Please advise. Rgrds. --Tombstone (talk) 13:38, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I have no strong opinion about it. It's up to the community as far as I know.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:00, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Having just now reviewed the situation, I am shocked at the hostility shown to this user in this case. I think the wrong thing has been done here.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:12, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Not shocked by the hostility, it's pretty much normal. DuncanHill (talk) 13:25, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm a little distressed by the term "hostility" here, Jimbo. The situation appeared to be one of simple ordinary spamming and the use of a role account; matters admins are expected to deal with everyday, as part of the job of the wielders of the sacred Mop-and-Bucket. Should we be more welcoming to spammers? I think not. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:18, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
That you feel we should be hostile to spammers, roll accounts and the like doesn't mean we're not. Anybody involved in any roll that encounters a lot of these knows very well we are. Certainly answering speedy deletion requests, I know we are. You ought to know this too, Mike. It is unreasonable for us to expect new users to know not to use roll accounts, for instance, and our responses are typically hostile. COIs, reposting their own copyrighted materials, and so forth - all are likely to generate a good deal of hostility. We plead overwork (which may'r may not be valid), but things are what they are. WilyD 16:27, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I would prefer a term such as "stern" or "firm" rather than "hostile," is all. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:10, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Jimmy, can you comment on Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#PediaPress as to what it actually IS? If this a WMF officially sanctioned thing, or is it a 3rd party thing like Wikia or some other body and subject to local approval by the community here to run on the site? rootology (C)(T) 23:14, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I commented over there. It has nothing to do with Wikia!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:10, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Begging message

There used to be a gadget to enable logged-in users to suppress display of the begging messages from the foundation. This has been removed. It is highly offensive to force contributors to Wikipedia to see this message on every page that they look at. DuncanHill (talk) 16:14, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

I still have that option in gadgets (second one from the top) and I don't see any banner when logged in. –Capricorn42 (talk) 16:24, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
It (the gadget) just reappeared. DuncanHill (talk) 16:26, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
It is my belief that the banner should be easily removable at all times. I don't know of anyone who disagrees.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:48, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
The gadget was removed because the banner was removed. It suddenly came back, and as a result, so did the gadget. EVula // talk // // 17:53, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Articles dealing with controversies related to Wikipedia

I have posted some remarks on this topic at Wikipedia_talk:Deletion_policy#Articles_dealing_with_controversies_related_to_Wikipedia that might interest you. --Ravpapa (talk) 08:44, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

PediaPress update

Hi, thanks for raising the issue at AN - I must say it looks to me like a useful service for users. Anyway, the user is now unblocked, and their userpage restored. I took the liberty of adding a link to the Foundation's press release to both the userpage and the talkpage, so hopefully that will help avoid future (perhaps too speedy) deletions or blocks. It was suggested at AN that maybe the Foundation should list it as an approved rôle account - would you be able to raise this with whoever is most appropriate? As to the script, I have added it to my monobook.js and it seems to work fine for me (and I am someone with almost exactly no knowledge of how such things work!) DuncanHill (talk) 01:39, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I'll have to try it again. I don't know if it should be a role account or what, exactly. Hopefully the user will show back up and try again.

In my view, and I'm just thinking out loud here, if this is a partnership that benefits Wikipedia financially (apparently it is, although I confess to knowing little about it), then the page should likely be moved to the Wikipedia mainspace instead of User space, and it should be more official. But that's just me speaking personally and thinking out loud...--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:13, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Their website does say "A portion of the proceeds of each book will be donated to the Wikimedia Foundation to support their mission." Did you remember to clear your cache? The links to add articles or view your collection appear at the top right of your screen. DuncanHill (talk) 02:18, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
The collections extension has already been enabled on Wikibooks, for example Wikibooks:Wikijunior:Solar_System/Neptune. The link is in the toolbox, along with the "Printable version". And, the extension provides the wikibooks:Special:Collection page, with additional options for printing, as well as ordering a printed book version. (see User:Aude/Technology_report, which will be part of the next Wikipedia:Signpost) --Aude (talk) 02:29, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo, in case you were not aware, User:Pediapress is an alternate account used by User:He!ko. Rgrds. --Tombstone (talk) 13:46, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I didn't know it. I hope the account is properly identified as such now.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:31, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Crown Copyright - effectively free?

I have been referred to you by User:Carnildo but first, surprised at seeing who I was being referred to, many congratulations on this brilliant knowledge resource and for encouraging the worldwide mega-altruism by which it has developed.

The query concerns the Wiki copyright policies and, in particular, what is and what is not included in what is desribed as having 'non-free content'. User:Jheald and Carnildo have been helpful explaining this policy - in fact I can do no better than refer you to what Jheald has put on my own talk page.

thumb|right|200px|Architects (Registration) Act, 1931My error, as Carnildo sees it, is that I included a copy of a front sheet of a superseded British Act of Parliament on the page desribing the Architects (Registration) Acts, 1931 to 1938. It's a dry subject but of topical interest to architects in the United Kingdom and I put the image in merely to liven it up a bit. (I guess there might even be a bit of intrinsic curiosity in the old paper as well.) Now Crown Copyright in this country is such that Acts of Parliament (and a lot more besides) can be copied and re-copied for ever. There just a few rules which can be found here, the explanation of what is and what is not allowed being easy to understand. We find that Crown copyright may be asserted to protect the copied Material against use in a misleading or derogatory manner; otherwise, there is effectively no limit to the freedom of use: copyright is waived.

Now it occurs to me that under European law (and it would not surprise me if similar provisions apply elsewhere) that even if all rights were waived over copyright (ie. copy it and alter it as much as you like), if the treatment became misleading or derogatory to the author (or to anyone else for that matter), a remedy would arise in any event; the only difference being that the remedy would arise not under copyright law but in the field of defamation or damaging misrepresentation.

left|200px|Badge of the Assyrian Church of the EastSo we are drawn to the contemplation of risk. I gather that it is only recently that the Wiki-warriors have been unleashed on so-called non-free images and the result, as I have seen elsewhere, is to diminish the encyclopedia. A good example is the removal of this badge of the Assyrian Church of the East, now replaced I see, which I found fascinating. Is the risk avoidance worth that loss? I would suggest not.

I am sure that I will not have been the first to raise it. I would be interested to know the arguments. Salisian (talk) 19:52, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Limitation 12(b) on the here rules you gave would preclude us from using it. Free content requires the freedom to modify a work, whereas this rule would imply that you can only reproduce the work exactly as it originally was. --B (talk) 19:58, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't Crown Copyright expire after 50 years? DuncanHill (talk) 20:07, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Disclaimer IANAL: I believe it does, it depends on wether or not it has been officialy published or not though. The problem is however that even if the copyright have expired in the UK, it can still be considered copyrighted under US law (wich we have to abide by seeing as the servers are located in the US) since US copyright law does not recognize copyright terms shorter than it's own. There is one possible loophole though, per this chart if it was published before 1977 (quite likely) with no copyright notice (no idea) and was in the public domain in the UK before 1996 (maybe, depending on when it was published) it will be considered public domain in the US also because the new law that came into effect in 1996 didn't re-copyright works that had already expired under the old law, it just extended the term of works still under copyright. Don't you just love how straight forward copyright law is :P --Sherool (talk) 22:13, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
No, under UK law, Crown copyright is an exception to the rule that the duration of copyright in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works is for only 50 years (See subsection 5 in that link). It makes the question of the threat of the risk (which I think tends to be greatly overstated) from an infringement more interesting. Salisian (talk) 22:33, 12 January 2009 (UTC) Oh! and I've just followed IANAL, and IANAL, and TINLA!! but I was fortunate enough to be around to help with the drafting of the UK's 1988 legislation. Salisian (talk) 22:33, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
But the 1988 Act has been superseded - copyright is generally 70 years from death now. DuncanHill (talk) 22:36, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Section 163 of the 1988 Act says of Crown Copyright that is lasts "if the work is published commercially before the end of the period of 75 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was made, until the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was first so published." DuncanHill (talk) 22:38, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
And s164 says of Parliamentary Copyright for Acts "The copyright subsists from Royal Assent until the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which Royal Assent was given". So the 1931 Act referred to by the OP is now Public Domain in the United Kingdom. DuncanHill (talk) 22:40, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that, s.164 rules; and thanks for the note on the image page. Meanwhile, the point that I have been tying to make has been aptly demonstrated by BJBOT which has wasted the two images that I put into this thread (with half a mind to see what happened). The problem of Wiki impoverishment it seems to me is lies with thoughtless intervention. There is probably a balance, but image generators and planters are probably not in the same league of anarchism as the Bot drivers (although the person behind this particular bot at least appears reasonable). My point is that certain so-called non-free images present negligible risk, enrich the knowledge-base, improve comprehension and enjoyment, but get thoughtlessly removed nevertheless. And I think the rules, if tweaked a bit, would improve the environment.Salisian (talk) 07:15, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
As things stand right now, Wikipedia has roughly 800,000 images split about evenly between free and non-free, with around 1000 new ones (again with a 50/50 split) being uploaded every day. There are maybe a dozen people who understand the image use policies and are willing to work to enforce them. Many of the details of policy and how it's enforced is a reaction to this, to let a small number of people handle a large amount of work. I'd love for it to be possible to handle everything with a personal touch, but until the number of people working on it increases at least twenty-fold, there aren't enough hours in the day, and the bulk of the effort needs to be handled by bots. --Carnildo (talk) 07:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
If those facts tally, then yes I can see the problem. May I suggest that the User page of every Bot supplies that information as a courtesy to those whose impression, I think not unreasonably, is that Bots are generally to be equated with vandals and run by natural bullies? But it still does not address what I see as being the problem, which is that virtually risk-free but 'non-free' images (which are usually of greater historical interest that free images at least) are constantly and unnecessarily being zapped? It is, I think, a subtle rule-change that is needed. And as an also-ran, if this were to be combined with a softening in the style of wikiwarriors so that the arguments for and against inclusion can be objectively and accurately assessed, the place would be a lot richer (and more genial).Salisian (talk) 08:18, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
The "virtually risk-free" argument isn't going to fly: historically, one of the major struggles with non-free content has been getting rid of the floods of risk-free but easily-replaced promotional material that public-relations people put out. It's a Pandora's box that those of us who do image work do not want to open again. "Risk-free" permits advertising pictures of rare cars from the 1920s, but it also permits publicity images of Ford's latest. --Carnildo (talk) 08:33, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Back to didactics? I hope not; but you make a different but related point succinctly. You appear to approve the image of a 1920s car (that is 'free') but not one from 2009 (which might be 'non-free' and possibly risk free). I have no idea what Ford's latest is: if I were interested, why should I not see it here? It appears that what you are complaining about specifically is that some people will substitute one image for another and subversively let advertising creep in. That would be against the intention of an encyclopedia and instant removal (or at least reversion) would be an appropriate Bot activity. But an informative image of the latest tin box on the market cannot be wrong, surely? - But we are straying away from the issue, which is to suggest a modification of the rules so that Bots will take a liberal attitude to non-free and risk free images, rather than crashing about with the carelessness of a bull in a china shop. Salisian (talk) 13:10, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
There is consensus, for quite good reasons I think, not to use images licensed as non-modifiable if there is a chance that alternative images could be created or found that would be completely unrestricted. The paradigm case is actor/actress publicity photos with strings attached, where we (IMO rightly) make a point of not accepting these, but prefer completely free images.
But Salisian's example brings up the slightly different question of whether there is any point in excluding images licensed as usable (including for commercial use) but non-modifiable, if these are not taking the place of other images that could replace them. Happily, it seems that the images Salisian is most concerned about are now public domain, but current Crown Copyright images could include, for example, images of Acts of Parliament from the 1960s; or all current UK road sign designs. Now if you want to show a current UK road sign, you are inevitably going to end up showing either the official design, or an image which is a derivative work of it (eg a picture taken by the roadside). So such an image is not going to be replaceable by another image which is any more "free".
The question is, in such circumstances, does it make any sense to insist on minimising the use of such images? Or do we better empower people and help their freedom by using such (commercially okay, non-replaceable, but non-modifiable) images comparatively liberally, so that we are comparatively relaxed about showing people a non-replaceable image with restrictions, rather than no image at all?
This is the question that Salisian's example seems to me to raise. Jheald (talk) 22:52, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Brilliant exposition; thank you. Salisian (talk) 07:17, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Flagged protection

If you have time, can you please take a look and read this flagged revision proposal which I started a while ago, any comments on this proposal would be also greatly appreciated. Just want to hear about what do you think about this proposal. Y. Ichiro (talk) 23:47, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Input needed on a Wikiversity project

Hi Jimbo Wales. I'm trying to get a project started on Wikiversity: Wikipedia and the 2008 US elections‎, which is a research project on how Wikipedia articles are created and improved, particularly when the topic is the subject of strong sentiments and relates to events that change over the time period in the study (probably January 2008 through January 2009, but there's some question about when the campaign actually "began").

I'm leaving you (and a few other folks) this note because you've had some interest in Wikiversity's studies of Wikipedia in the past, I wanted to get a few more eyes on the project before announcing it on Wikipedia: I hope to do that over the next few days on the talk pages of the 4 "beta test" articles: Barack Obama, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Joe Biden, with a broader announcement later after the initial kinks are worked out. I was also hoping you would know people who would be interested in this, as well as knowing people with a few "special skills", including:

  1. Data collection and sorting from the article histories (how many edits and what sorts of edits over a given time period, etc.)
  2. People who can make good graphs and charts from that data
  3. people who can help develop guidelines for whether and how to discuss individual editors if they are felt to be "notable"

I think this could be a very fruitful study: Wikipedia's model of content creation is quite complicated, but it works! --SB_Johnny | talk 14:07, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Happy New Year

Ring out the old,
and Ring in the new.
Happy New Year!

From FloNight

(archiving comment Fram (talk) 15:00, 15 January 2009 (UTC))

Act or abdicate!

For Heaven's sake you have limited enough sole responsibilities on Wikipedia as it is, for how much longer are you expecting people to swallow the garbage going on here [28]. You have an Arb who is more than a cuckoo in the nest , he is bloody liability. Either fire him or resign yourself - Quite frankly after this stupidly prolonged debacle, I no longer care which of you goes - Are you so disinterested in this project? Get a grip and sort it! Giano (talk) 19:57, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

  • [29] Act or abdicate! Giano (talk) 22:08, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
You seem to misunderstand my role here. The time for me to act may someday come. It is not today.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:16, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
    • I emailed you, it's a very serious matter with faults in both sides, including one of your ArbCom members. Secret account 22:32, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I emailed him too, he did not even bother to reply - he did not want to know. Giano (talk) 22:50, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
You have stated your wish to be a constitutional monarch, now go be one. This is your golden opportunity. Sadly, you seem to have failed at the first hurdle. Giano (talk) 22:34, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Real constitutional monarchs act by the advise of their ministers; in this case the other thirteen arbitrators. Jimbo may wish to do the same. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:56, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo, under what, if any, circumstances, do you feel it would be appropriate for the community to remove an arbiter? At Wikipedia:Village_pump/Arbitration_Committee_Feedback#FT2, FT2's approval rating ran something below that of George W Bush. Granted, the US congress is unlikely to impeach the President, but the analogy isn't perfect. --B (talk) 22:48, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it best to wait for the normal processes to be exhausted before imagining a new one. You've just elected a new Arbitration Committee and they are discussing and deliberating about this case. Let them do their work, I say. As you may recall from my appointments, I have issued a call for the creation of an Arbitrator recall process, but it will take time to develop it. As it stands, there's virtually no reason, as far as I am aware, for all the emergency-hang-wringing that's going on.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:58, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think there's an emergency, just a frustration level that has been slowly building with the lack of visible action. (Arbcom could be working 24/7 behind the scenes but nobody knows that, so the frustration builds.) --B (talk) 23:07, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I love the way closed-door back-room glacially slow secret dealings are the *normal* processes now. Abnormal ones would presumably have open debate and come to a timely resolution. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 23:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Jimbo, your new Arbitrator Wizardman is of the opinion that Arbcom can not remove FT2 as Arbitrator, and that the matter is entirely within FT2's hands to either accede to the community's wish to resign, or to remain but under a cloud. This seems a critical issue to get sorted out ASAP. Do you have the authority to remove FT2? Does Arbcom? Does the community? Thatcher 23:25, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

No one does, which is why there are so many problems with the governance structure on this project. Now if only the community had the power (which they rightfully should), this would have been over long ago, and we'd all be getting on with something a lot more productive. The community has clearly expressed no confidence in FT2, and that should have been listened to, and action taken. It's not a light thing to be suggesting an arbitrator stand down (I don't think such a thing has ever happened before either), but there is simply no way he can continue as one. It's up to you Jimbo. Please don't stall any longer. Majorly talk 23:28, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Fact: JWales, alone, has the power to fire an Arb. Giano (talk) 23:32, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Thatcher - no one truly can, nor wants to answer that question, because it represents at the most fundamental level the failure of Wikipedia's governance. It should never have to come up - we're not a government, we;re not a bureaucracy. The Arbitration system was created to resolve intractable disputes pertaining to the encyclopedia (or so I figure) not as a place where the governed give up their natural rights in exchange for civil rights. The fact is, that whoever persuades the community and the people controlling the servers they've got it right is the one who has got it right. It is in all of our best interests if we don't address your question, and that we handle the situation through means that don't make us act like a government. My take on it anyway.--Tznkai (talk) 00:05, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Jimbo, this does need you to look at it. I believe the Bishonen business is trivial and can/will be dealt with by arbcom/community. The alleged abuse of oversight is far more serious, particularly since nobody apart from you can look at this: the community, not possessing oversight or access to the relevant logs, is in a knowledge vaccuum, and arbcom are useless here as FT2 is an arbitrator, as indeed was David Gerard. Since privacy policy is not the issue here external ombudsmen have no role. Abuse of oversight is something you and only you can look at since oversight is mostly in the hands of arbitrators and for obvious reasons we can't have arbitrators ruling on fellow arbitrators (even former arbitrators is stretching it a bit).
  • Usually, I am of the "hands off, Jimbo" camp. But now we need you, since you are the traditional leader of en, and on this issue decision-making can be done by no other. Particularly since very arguably FT2 should be stepping down or removed anyway, since there are significant problems surrounding his tenure (no idea whether this is one of them, though). Moreschi (talk) 00:17, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
    • I think we could settle for a blunter version "I [Jimbo] am in the loop." while ArbCom tries to handle it without provoking a constitutional crisis. (At least I hope thats what they are doing) ---Tznkai (talk) 00:43, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, I am in the loop, talking to ArbCom daily as they study the situation. I do have the authority to remove Arbs, but would not do so casually. The ArbCom is looking at the situation, and in my judgment is doing so wisely. There's a lot of hysteria today which, it seems to me, is unnecessary and premature. Tznkai has it exactly right. I do think it is entirely reasonable to have Arbs ruling on Arbs, at least until such time as that has proven to fail - these are good and careful people, elected by you with a mandate for openness, and I am recommending that they proceed in an open fashion. I am encouraging FT2 to do what a lot of people have been asking for a lot of time: hurry up and post your side of the story. I'm also asking other people to be relaxed about waiting for him to do that, because as it turns out, it is quite a complex story.
Regarding the need for a community process to remove Arbs, recall that I am the one who called for one in my appointment of the new ArbCom: "We want arbs to be both responsive to community concerns, and also immune from populist campaigns that push rash decisionmaking. These are competing concerns which must be kept in balance. I request the new ArbCom to reflect on and discuss the creation of a method for the community recall of unpopular ArbCom members. This discussion should take place in June of 2009, once the new Arbs have some experience of the job and thus a deeper understanding of the pressures involved. I would like to see a procedure in place by the time of the next election".
I think today's stir illustrates quite nicely why we need it, but also why we have to be careful about it. Giano running around screaming for me to "do something" is not really a wise way for us to proceed with governance for the long run.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:17, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo, there's an attempt to turn this into a complex issue requiring months of discussion, when it is, in fact, quite simple. FT2 was asked onwiki in July 2008 about his December 2007 oversighted edits. He replied, "this ... [is] the first mention of any such to me." [30] That not only beggars belief, but has subsequently been shown to be untrue. He was told about the oversighting in e-mails on December 11, 2007, on April 22, 2008, and again on May 2, 2008. See Thatcher's statement here. FT2 had a responsibility either to tell the truth about the oversighting, or to say nothing at all. Given that he opted instead to post what he knew was a falsehood, he really has no alternative now but to resign as an arb, checkuser, and oversighter. The longer that takes, the more he damages himself and the committee. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:54, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
He's never abused his checkuser and oversight rights. I don't think anyone's ever accused him of that either. Asking him to resign as an Arbitrator is one thing. Streching it to resigning oversight is pushing it, but asking him to resign checkuser is way off the mark. --Deskana (talk) 01:56, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
It's a question of honesty, Deskana. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:59, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
The question is trust. FT2's reputation within the community is so severely compromised that no statement by ArbCom or Jimbo will be sufficient to restore trust. A resignation of his arb seat will be the end result of this tragedy. My impression is that FT2 is a good guy who does not care for politics. He failed to answer questions promptly, not seeing the political importance of doing so, and as a result his approval rating has plummeted to a critically low level. Perhaps events will prove my analysis wrong, but I don't think so. Lingering does nobody any good, least of all him. Jehochman Talk 05:41, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I would suggest that interested parties reserve judgement until at least the Committee's statement on the issue is posted. Cla68 (talk) 06:12, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • We have waited long enough for this to be dealt with. Jimbo says [31]:"(Giano is) as usual ranting without the least bit of information" is to say the least inacurate, he then goes on to say [32] "Giano seems to want me.....acting instantly on either my own judgment" that does not normally seem to be a problem, he has frequently de-sysopped instantly on his own judgement - what's so different this time. This is one of the few occasions I can thnk of where it would be good idea if he did, but no as usual it is easier for him lambast me for pointing it out? All people want is a straight answer, FT2 has had more tham ample time (months in fact) to provide one. Time has tun out. Instead of speaking so decisively to me, Jimbo should sort this matter out, one way or the other.Giano (talk) 07:01, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Giano, I know this is late and largely superseded but you have obviously never really corresponded with Jimbo. If you read and understand what he writes in many venues, you will know that he is a thoughtful man with deep reserves of good faith. It is entirely in character for Jimbo to want to think long and hard about something like this, which reflects, don't forget, on his own personal bonds of trust just as much as, if not more than, those of the wider community. There is no deadline, and nothing will break because Jimbo is not immediately acting the God-King and calling down fire from above. You know from your own experience that trying to force someone to do something against their will is much less effective than persuading them to do the right thing in a way that lets them maintain their dignity. You know this because of the number of times that people have tried to coerce you into being less abrasive, and your response is almost always to be more abrasive, even though you are an intelligent, well-educated, well-read and decent man. Do you not see that the way to fix this is not to reach for the tar and feathers? I don't think anyone is in any doubt as to the community's feelings here, and in my experience Jimbo will try to avoid having to do anything himself, as he generally prefers people to do the right thing of their own accord in response to reasoned discussion. Please just back off for a bit. Guy (Help!) 22:21, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

This straw poll

Would you kindly make this straw poll visible to people when they look at their watchlists? Thank you very much. Jonathan321 (talk) 19:07, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't really have any control of things like that, I have no idea who does or what might make that happen. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:02, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Any admin has the capability of adding it to MediaWiki:Watchlist-details, but I don't really think this is something of wide enough interest to justify it. I would suggest to Jonathan321 instead advertising it at {{cent}} and WP:VPT. --B (talk) 20:32, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Open letter from FT2

Dear Jimmy,

You will be well aware - more than most - of recent matters. I have considered the position of myself, the community, yourself, and Arbcom, the prior record, and conclude that this note is necessary and appropriate. In brief, there is a problem encompassing all of these points:

Analysis of problem
  1. Two specific matters went bad. These were Orangemarlin and the present "oversighted edits" issue. The community has a legitimate concern whether the messenger was the creator of these (by substandard care or wilful misconduct), or whether a reasonable or high standard of care existed and in fact the issue was of different origins. There is pivotal information in both that remains rightly non-public at this time. Like other cases that contain non-public information, in each the requirement is for review by users trusted to report with insight and integrity.
  2. A wide range of matters in 2008 went well. The community broadly has no knowledge of those and cannot consider the above in the context of general standards of arbitrator conduct.
  3. There is a complication related to active and engaged arbitrators, in that the community includes a number of users with grudges, and users who have a personal agendas, and these are often quite separate from any actual neutral assessment of the role as carried out. Factors within this complication include significant bad faith, attacks, conspiracy theorizing, rumor, and speculative hearsay. As well, many users felt very badly let down by Arbcom (either in 2008 or historically) and inclined to believe or wish to express their disapproval on an individual, whether well or badly judged. In this area, the community broadly does not fully know what to believe or trust since the deciding factor is more likely a kind of general backlash.
  4. Community dispute resolution processes cannot resolve this. They may at best see the matter dissipate, in which case much of the raw data needed to form a view is unknown and will remain so. This would be unfair to the community, to the committee, and to myself.
  5. Arbcom itself is at risk of being too close to the issue, and hence it rightly may fear being tainted or overshadowed in its 2009 reform agenda by this matter, which it may rightly regard as a 2008 "albatross". It may be torn between wanting fairness, wanting to recognize communal feelings, and wanting to rid itself of the issue entirely by "cutting the Gordian knot". The latter must surely be extremely tempting in terms of resolution.

    Although I have asked about self-requested RFAR -- our highest level of dispute handling -- in my view Arbcom cannot easily take on this role (despite being "within remit") as it has a more important job to do, namely serving and focussing on the community. There is a possibility that in fact it cannot take on this case in a practical sense without imperilling its other remits. I may be wrong, but that would be a clear point to consider.

  6. Finally, you yourself cannot take on this issue either. You would usually be the resort for a case Arbcom cannot handle, but it would put you in a difficult position, perhaps transferring some grudges from myself to you if you did decide there was no or little substantive issue. You might also be accused of being too close, due to prior involvement and possibly a prior view. As project leader you may hold and execute whatever view (in that role) you wish -- you may ban a user, change their role or access, or instate them in a role or access. I do not believe on this case that you can readily run the inquiry.

Track record

I list below for those who don't know, some of the other matters I have attended to this last year:

  • I handled personally and alone, the cross-wiki inquiry into Poetlister/Cato. This involved a team of arbs, crats, and cross-wiki stewards, the historically prickly "political" relationships between the enwiki and wikiquote communities or users within them, WMF (Jimbo, Cary), three top level directors within the UK civil service, and the user himself. The risk here was of "rogue checkuser", the creation of a media storm harmful to the project, and immense loss of trust related to private data handling. It was complicated by a lack of formal proof of rogue-ness, and communal mis-belief these socks were genuine people. The matter was handled in a way that caused less drama than most desysoppings. It took a large part of 3 - 4 months of my year to do so, and was highly commended by seasoned Wikimedians.

    Despite being by far the most sensitive and complex sock-puppetry matter in the entire history of all WMF projects combined, and with inter-project and real-life "political" concerns, it still concluded with barely a ripple in any WMF sense, and with all matters under good control from a WMF and enwiki perspective.

  • The community values openness. Last year there was openness in a radical area. For the first time analysis of the use of the Checkuser function was made public. It was greatly appreciated by all. Also as many will recall, in 2008 CheckUser ceased to be a secretive arbcom decision merely announced, but changed. The replacement process sought interested candidates, and sought community input on their suitability. There were concerns by some arbitrators to this, and it took from my initial proposal in January until August to see it go "live". Both of these moves towards openness were seen as broadly positive steps for the future, and both were substantively my working for the benefit of the community. A further item barely two weeks ago is keeping the community informed here.
  • In January 2008, Archtransit was desysopped. In 2007 when Runcorn was desysopped, the announcement was a one-line statement. Perennial drama followed due to the willingness of some to doubt it, and Poetlister's own manipulations. I alone made sure Arbcom did not make the same mistake twice. Archtransit was desysopped with a full announcement and summary evidence. Poetlister was unbanned (and later rebanned when case proven!) with full explanation. No other arbitrator moved to make such matters open. This became widely valued as a break from past years and considerable improved communal transparency.
  • I noted wide concerns about BLP. While not an "action as an arb" it's worth noting. An at-risk BLP monitoring process, the BLP subject's help page, a request to create NOINDEX (I wasn't aware others had asked for this), the proposal to switch no consensus = delete at BLP AFDs, and the strong and principled rejection at RFAR/Footlighted quotes of BLPSE (since discussed for review/withdrawal), were all parts of this. Despite this very strong oppose, when BLPSE passed I worked wholeheartedly with the Committee consensus to try and find ways to make it work.
  • When the "new arbitrators' induction manual" was suggested by a colleague in fall 2008 for the ACE2008 new arbs, I was its main collaborator and wrote a very large part of the manual for the incoming arbitrators. There is one wording issue within that writing is worthy of note, where I assessed that arbcom had bluntly, failed to achieve its aims in 2008. I used the word "fail". My rationale was that the newcomers were not naive. This was objected to by a collaborator. The evidence of this is in Arbcom records, and shows I was under no illusion as to how I measured the performance, and that I did not soften my words around it the many times that this arose.
  • I did a number of major sock work, caught a number of issues missed by other arbs on RFAR, and innovated the idea that Arbcom might owe an apology to the community for its significant errors or mishandlings. At RFAR I pushed the idea that rather than just accept and reject, arbitrators might also advise parties how to resolve their disputes, a more helpful response, and I did this on many occasions. In a number of cases it helped. I plan to continue.
  • I proposed and drafted the proposal for the Ban Appeal panel, which would allow fair review of bans and separation of arbcom review of its own bans, as well as creating the current 2009 Arbitrators' proposals process that ensured internal matters that didn't work or where Arbcom discovered an issue, were noted for a decision to be made and improvement. Examples of such matters: When should arb's enforce rulings? How should banned users be reintegrated to the community? Under what circumstances are emergency and/or temporary desysops appropriate?
  • Contentious in the eyes of some, and highly well considered in the eyes of others, I count this item as a significant matter for the project: A user unblocked an Arbcom-only matter (Giano) at Arbitration Enforcement. This was a high profile and very sensitive matter and a tinderbox waiting to explode. The user and many others knew it. The last times a "Giano matter" exploded it resulted in a wheel war, admonishments, discussion of desysopping, and a lengthy multiparty "pile-on" RFAR that was wasteful, discouraging, and no benefit to the project. Admin users who acted poorly in the heat of the moment had also risked their adminship for nothing, and many other users got sucked into the drama spiral, either as participants or outside opinions. The 2 hour block prevented any repetition. No wheel war took place which was likely had nothing been done. On this occasion, strikingly, there was no drama spiral, no multi-party pile-on; all parties decided rather quickly that usual dispute resolution was in fact quite a good idea, and the resulting RFAR was orderly, simple, and quick, with just one user needing to be simply told by Arbcom not to repeat their action as the remedy.

I place these as examples of the highlights of my work for the community, both on-wiki and off. Of course a large number of routine matters existed too. They are well evidenced and may indicate that the cases of communal concern were exceptions, where "something unexpected happened", and not wilful acts.

I submit these as evidence that in fact I am confident it will show a higher - that is, broadly well above average - standard, not a lower one; with more effective, reasonable and appropriate actions, not fewer.

A personal view

I conclude above that this project (enwiki) may not itself fully resolve the dispute. The sole resolution this project can find within its own dedicated users would be RFAR or ignore (each leading to low grade concerns), or else removal based on reasons that, themselves, largely exist only due to lack of reassurance as to what is true or fair, and what is not. One cannot blame a number of users for acting on apprehensions or unreassured anxieties, and authoritative review indeed would be needed.

Is it worth it? I have analyzed the evidence of Thatcher, possibly the best respected and most knowledgable non-arbitrator on these issues, and it is riddled with errors that are hard evidenced in cites, diffs, emails, and the like. It is likely others hold similar misconceptions as in lieu of privacy-barred data rumor is easy to believe. As I asked on my talk page, to one user:

"Given that the majority of assumption here is badly misinformed [...] and given also, that the reality is that my work has been of a high quality and benefited the community very well [...] does it serve the community better to 1/ remove a beneficial, seasoned, acts-with-integrity, productive user based on visible misassumptions and hearsay that isn't well backed up, or does it serve the community better to 2/ find some way to get at the truth of it and get genuine information as to what to believe and what not about this all?"


I have concerns whether arbcom or the community can resolve this (or would even be wise to try). At the same time we extend good faith within reason, and evidence should speak more than perception -- this is the norm for all matters, and this one no less than others. The community needs to have the evidence, and any concerns, reviewed carefully and authoritatively. I ask you therefore in your role as project leader to meet my service to the community with a means of fair hearing, by users who have authority and standing to reach the appropriate findings of fact needed here and sufficient experience, lack of connection, and standing, to have their work taken seriously.

If I would suggest an approach, it would be perhaps to create a panel of 5 WMF stewards who know this community's ways well (for background) but not necessarily from this community. Make the scope as wide or narrow as wished, or "as they see fit"; take evidence in private or public as needed; show any or none of it so long as I know the points I must myself evidence; and let it take its path for whatever time it needs. If there is a strict and careful inquiry then its decision will be balanced, and based on good evidence, rather than hearsay, presumption, and occasional ill-minded myth and malice. Let its findings of fact stand as they will.

For my part, I am by this notice stepping down from the committee until this or another way is found to provide a fair hearing with appropriate gravitas. The role is not important; it is the ability to help the community, and the avoidance of doubts, which matter. Dialog on this is stalling because I cannot answer questions being presented without either inciting a past harasser, or else breaching my own and others' privacy, which is the barrier that promoted me to seek Arbcom's counsel in the first place.

If you have a better way I leave it in your hands.

In the interim I will return to my first love on-wiki: random content-work wherever it takes me (the tougher the better), dispute resolution, assistance to administrators and users, complex sock cases, and areas where WMF or this project needs help in its more difficult cases. I have been less available for that during this last year.

Either way it is an honor serving the community, and I bear none ill-will.**

FT2 (Talk | email) 06:52, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

** And yes, to anyone who may feel that they acted hostile or aggressive at some time, so that reciprocal ill-will must be believed to exist. It doesn't. I argued for Giano's benefit as often as told him when the line needed drawing; argued for Damian's benefit as fiercely (and unknown, unpublicized) as making clear that he would also need proper lines to be drawn for a time. The same would go for all. There is absence of ill-will. To anyone who may wonder if this can be so, your belief is not a prerequisite. Only good conduct is.


Increasingly, I'm not sure what the purpose of a hearing would be. Is the question whether you made misleading statements and failed to correct them, or is it whether the community still has confidence in you? The latter question cannot be adjudicated—it's a question for the community (see Wikipedia:Requests for comment/FT2, in progress). I agree that ArbCom is poorly situated to decide anything about one of its own members, but I doubt that organizing an extraordinary tribunal is helpful to you or Wikipedia. Cool Hand Luke 07:46, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Its a bit like "Cart before horse". The problem is not that the community cannot handle the facts. It is that the community cannot fairly judge these matters in any usual process used to assess facts about conduct, either because the full picture is not available to it or because each usual venue may be seen as non-neutral in its assessment. But difficulty in assessing someone's standard of wiki-related conduct is not a good reason not to do so. I don't know what remit or scope this might have, but I know if I were a generic interested user I would want answers such as "was this genuinely X" and "how plausible is the evidence that Y". Those questions and interpretations are not "overly subjective"; they are the ones we make every day at RFAR, RFCU, ANI. So we know how to make them. The only difference here is deciding who is qualified to make such decisions if the enwiki community's usual methods cannot. The likely answer is that there are competent means outside the enwiki community that can. Is it worth the effort? Well, we routinely spend 15 users' time off and on for 4-8 weeks or more and many others presenting evidence and discussion, for far less. It's unusual. So some novel thought in setup may be needed. We did that as we found necessary on some cases too. As to "helpful", once such findings are available one might then have confidence as to the community's ability via its usual processes (RFC/RFAR/Arbcom review) to consider the matter, since the basic understandings would be stated, much better founded, and hence far less susceptible to volatile "blue skies" speculations and/or badly unfounded apprehensions. FT2 (Talk | email) 08:11, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
I think you're right about this. I imagine we should have a fact-finding, and then a poll of the community. Maybe we could even try to employ the jury system once suggested by Kelly Martin—we would avoid dramaheads that way. Grab 12 random active editors with more than X edits, and ask them "given these facts, do you think this editor should be continue to be an arbitrator?" Cool Hand Luke 20:55, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
However it's done, it needs to put the matter to bed one way or the other, and also, needs to handle uncensored material relevant to real-world matters. That means they need to have trust levels akin to the sitting arbitration committee, sufficient experience to evaluate the matter, and sufficient standing/gravitas that their view would be capable of being taken seriously by a large part of those interested (in all sides). I cannot see other than WMF stewards meeting that requirement, but it's one case and a pure "evaluate and report on these facts please", so there is good reason. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:54, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks for your service over the past year, FT2. --TS 09:46, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Enjoy the freedom to do what you want. --Apoc2400 (talk) 09:55, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • For clarification, do you consider your arb-time suspended while you step down, or will you be up for re-election at the same juncture as previously, or immediate re-election when you wish to return, or is this an outright resignation, or otherwise. I'd just like to clarify this point as I feel it is important. Thanks, Verbal chat 10:03, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
I stated "stand down" rather than "suspend". The choice of wording was intentional. Arbitratorship needs communal trust, and I am stonewalled in clearing my name by virtue of the above issues, namely that 1) the evidence to do so is non-public, and 2) the body allocated the role usually of assessing non-public evidence is too closely involved to do so and 3) has not yet succeeded in suggesting any workable advice how I myself might bypass this conundrum.
I have no idea what this would imply. It's completely unknown territory of course for Arbcom itself to be unable to resolve a division even by ruling. However some things can be said. It is our way to find solutions to genuine dilemmas. For example, it is not for the good of the project to mark a seasoned, experienced user with a close to meticulous record for care, as untrusted in any way, save on good evidence, nor would I endorse depriving the community of users who even with a moribund arbitration committee have produced exceptionally skilled and productive work, and whose very few cases of failure are themselves very largely due to the state of that same committee in that year. Not many other users showed the above level of commitment to openness under the rigors of last years' inertia. It doesn't help the project to deprive the committee unless the cause is genuinely good; even less so when they have visibly themselves taken full steps to prevent any recurrence. Put simply, RFAR is not decided based on popular views, when it is quite likely that the popular views relate poorly to the full neutrally-reviewed evidence.
I also state "until a way is found [to go forward]". We do as a community norm, often make summary decisions and sort any questions out afterwards. This to me seems one of those cases. We might allow a review of a matter before taking action, or allow it after, but it will always be available to any editor who seeks it in good faith. In this case it seems right to step down until the review is done, rather than review first and decide at the end.

FT2 (Talk | email) 13:35, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

  • FT2, have you resigned or not? Please try to answer briefly as, to be frank, further long spiels will do you, arbcom, and the community in general more harm than good. By the way, at least one current Arbitrator has publicly indicated that you should resign ([33]), and another has requested a significant re-write of your statement at the RfArb on Bish ([34]). DuncanHill (talk) 13:40, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

(edit conflict) It's a semantic matter, I think. I have stepped down. I have de-subscribed from the Arbitration Committee's "sitting arbitrators" list at the same time as posting the open letter, i.e. from all places that ex-arbitrators would be excluded. I plan to focus on more general matters, although I will probably retain an interest in what goes on at RFAR and in resolving complex disputes, as before arbcom. Those are the practicalities. Call them what you like. I do not at this time consider myself to be "on Arbcom" or "an Arbitrator", but instead an ex-arbitrator. I do not have an imminent interest in resuming the role of an arbitrator (it feels rather like being let out of school to be honest!). The committee as well needs to be able to ignore the issue completely, continue its development, and serve the community. What word is used for that is secondary and is not intended for quibbling over. Resigned would imply an intention. I have no intention other than see what may be**. The issue for me is instead about resolution -- if you think about it, no other user will be impacted by perceptions if left unresolved so I have a personal interest in this even if I were never to seek a seat again.
On a side, since some will surely wonder **, I confirm as well that no formal or evidence-based finding of any significant conduct issue has taken place, nor has any such been proposed at the time of stepping down. A view does exist by various arbitrators that the extent of communal apprehensions whether right or wrong is disruptive to its work, and it is out of respect for that sentiment and to prevent those beliefs and apprehensions impacting the work of the committee that I step down, as an ex-arbitrator in good standing, with no finding to the contrary nor any anticipation of such finding happening if I were to remain. If it did happen that a later review were to find actual misconduct that would change things. I do not believe it will. If needed I will ask a sitting arbitrator to confirm that no discussion of any finding of gross or significant misconduct was proposed, nor was the raising of such a finding discussed. the sole issue
(And thanks for the heads-up!) FT2 (Talk | email) 14:50, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

** Noting: if the Committee were to decide at some time that those concerns had become sufficiently discredited or stale, so be it also. No specific intentions but not closing the door.
** and some might wish their perceptions to be treated as reality, which sadly is human nature

  • "Stepped down" clearly is synonymous with "resigned", so there is no way to reinstate FT2 without another election when a spot comes up. Verbal chat 13:50, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • A further clarification, and please keep the excessive verbiage to a minimum this time: As you have "stepped down" (resigned), will you also no longer be included on Arb mailing lists and other privileged forms of communication, resources, etc., as befits a non-arb. Verbal chat 13:46, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
    • As you're no doubt aware, Verbal, former arbitrators retain access to the main arbitrators mailing list. Avruch T 14:16, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
      • I wasn't aware, that is why I have asked. If this is the usual thing then this isn't the place to address it. Verbal chat 14:44, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Apologies, then. Avruch T 14:47, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • For what its worth, FT2, I think you did the right thing. I would not argue for it, but it was the only way forward. Thank you for your efforts and what you've accomplished, and for putting the community first. Avruch T 14:16, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I think FT2 has done the honorable thing. Trust is not rational. You cannot prove that people should trust; either they do or they don't and their reasons may or may not be correct. Nevertheless, an arbitrator requires a high degree of trust or they cannot do that particular job. If trust is lost, then resignation is the right move and may even help increase trust. Jehochman Talk 14:26, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
It isn't rational, but that's okay. FT2 (Talk | email) 14:54, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Thank you, FT2. This whole matter is quite unfortunate in a number of ways.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:37, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
It's been a privilege, and an experience. It's also remarkably relaxing, this new experience. I forgot what plain adminship felt like! I imagine I'll be around :) FT2 (Talk | email) 14:54, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks from me as well, FT2, for whatever it's worth. I'm sorry that you were the victim of the anti-ArbCom smear brigade, and regret that this incident had to come to pass. I'm very glad to hear that you intend to continue serving the community. GlassCobra 15:06, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
It'd help if there was some "outside way" to review arbitrator conduct (this actually was in the original Review Board proposal Coren and I posted). So in true wiki {{sofixit}} fashion I figure, let's fix it so we have it for future :) FT2 (Talk | email) 15:12, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi FT2, I'm still confused. In some bits you seem to say that you are stepping down just for durinon of any investigation, in others you seem to be saying you are permanently resigning. I was wondering which it is? Or by 'not closing the door' do you mean that you would come back at a later date if the other arbs want you to? It is unlikely you will get the type of hearing you want, from people outside So I suppose this is probably the end of us having you as an arb. Thanks for having a go, anyway. I would have been perhaps a coward and found an excuse to witthdraw my candidacy during the arbcom election if someone brought up something that intense about me, I must admit. :) Sticky Parkin 15:27, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

  • As a simple of matter of procedure, I am removing FT2 from the active Arbitration list and into the "former members" category, with the note "Stepped down indefinitely" (See Filiocht for a parallel). --Tznkai (talk) 16:02, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You know I think you have been a valuable editor. I do acknowledge valuable and important work you did at ArbCom, but I think you have done the honorable thing and I think you, and also wish you well as you resume the most important job of all: editing and contributing to articles. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:26, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Depends on how Jimbo views this, really. The previous precedents (which in practice has not occurred) is that people on indefinite leaves (read: inactivity from wiki as a whole while being arbitrator) would be able to reclaim a seat in their trench provided there are openings. This, obviously, is not one of those cases. - Penwhale | Blast him / Follow his steps 18:20, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

A formal request

Jimbo, a key element is missing here. The community hasn't gotten confirmation whether FT2 was the problem or the fall guy. The community doesn't know how the Orangemarlin affair happened or what the Committee learned from it. This Oversight business couldn't have gained so much traction if that more meaningful event had been resolved with greater candor.

What we have right now is not an acceptable situation. Either FT2's resignation ought to have come much sooner or perhaps not at all. His credibility was undermined too greatly. One administrator forced events by deciding to indefinitely block an arbitrator, and as a result the Committee itself was arguably unable to weigh her underlying complaint.

It may be very tempting to breathe a sigh of relief, call this extraordinary, and try to put it behind us. Yet without underlying confidence in the Committee we run the risk of more events like this one. Opinions vary over whether the ends justified the means, but such means should never have been considered necessary or even plausible. You know how to boil a frog: drop the frog in warm water and turn up the heat slowly. We're on heavy simmer right now.

About two weeks ago, while I was attempting to persuade a well known editor to participate in a case where he's under scrutiny, arbitrators were weighing in on a formal motion that five of them obviously hadn't read.[35] Can you imagine how difficult it is to be a mentor trying to persuade an editor to submit evidence while arbitrators behave as if they aren't obliged to review one brief paragraph that had been submitted by one of this site's most prolific featured article writers?

A month earlier I was stunned to see a reliable administrator attest that the Committee had lagged seven months on a legitimate community ban review. The administrator had been observing and advising the banned editor, and was deeply frustrated after watching four arbitrators and a clerk each respond with initial positive indications and then, in turn, each drop the ball. I had been the original blocking administrator: if anyone had pursued his request seriously they would have come to me. None did for half a year until the banned editor approached me himself. He more than satisfied my standards for unbanning; I approached the Committee on his behalf, then watched the request fall into the same black hole. That is the kind of institutional paralysis that turns would-be reformers into hardened vandals, the observing administrator commented when I took matters into my own hands and opened an ANI thread. The community completed review and unblocked in three days.

I don't like blogging this; I don't like posting this. It shouldn't fall to me--an ex-admin under formal admonishment--to call this spade a spade.

In the Navy we used to do an exercise called 'lessons learned'. The point was to be frank about collective mistakes in order to prevent them from happening again. For three years I've been advising editors who come under scrutiny at arbitration to do their own 'lessons learned' if they've erred. That is not an easy exercise to undertake. It's time for the Committee to do their own 'lessons learned': to announce their intention to do it now, along with a deadline when the formal report will be ready. The community needs its confidence restored. DurovaCharge! 22:12, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Vacant seat

Jimbo, I hope you will consider filling FT2's now vacant Committee seat with the next highest vote getter from the recent election. Cla68 (talk) 00:13, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, what the hell, we voted for 7, got ten (plus one for a badly timed retirement), why not just appoint all the candidates and have done with it? DuncanHill (talk) 00:20, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Technically, there are two vacant seats; Deskana's seat was not filled on his retirement. Risker (talk) 00:24, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, my mistake. I do find the shuffling and tranches confusing. DuncanHill (talk) 00:25, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The next highest would be SirFozzie and The Fat Man Who Never Came Back.[36]. rootology (C)(T) 04:52, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Interesting. Majorly talk 05:06, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
We could probably survive waiting until the next special election cycle - I don't foresee an 8/8 tie which would be the only pressing issue.--Tznkai (talk) 08:00, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't think appointing the next two in the election would be wise. Candidates in the top 7 got extra scrutiny because they were the most likely to be appointed - candidates outside of the top ten got considerable less scrutiny because it seemed unlikely they would be successful. Think of it this way - all the Republican candidates for the nomination dropped out when McCain was the clear winner except Ron Paul. Picking 11 and 12 in the ArbCom election would be like proceeding to Ron Paul if something happened to McCain. Avruch T 14:27, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I don't think the seats absolutely need to be filled. As the ArbCom has just been expanded, it might be large enough to deal with the workload. I would prefer new elections in 6 months to appointing lower-percentage candidates from the last election. Kusma (talk) 15:03, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
    • I think I'll call for a special election in a few months, maybe June unless there's some reason the ArbCom advises me to do it earlier. In that election, there will be at least 2 seats available, plus any more that come available in the meantime through retirement (and I'll encourage retirement for those who are not active and don't foresee being able to free up time). The length of the terms available will be announced in advance, we have a bit of a strange unbalanced situation at the moment.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:00, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
      • Which is precisely what you said when you announced the winners before... I guess not many people actually read that announcement. --Tango (talk) 16:18, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
        • Might be an opportunity to juggle the existing tranche system - but that could just be my own pipe dream.--Tznkai (talk) 19:44, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
          • Just curious. How many Arbcom seats are there? GoodDay (talk) 22:53, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
            • Last time I checked, 16 filled 18 total, divided into 3 tranches --Tznkai (talk) 23:25, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
          • Juggle it in what way? --Tango (talk) 23:30, 16 January 2009 (UTC)