User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 44

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Archive 43 | Archive 44 | Archive 45


What happened with Kennedy

Please see a review of what happened to Ted Kennedy, which I have posted at Wikipedia_talk:Flagged_revisions#The_Kennedy_test. In brief:

There were seven additions of Kennedy's death, mostly at different points in the article.

  • Two of these were by long-established accounts, confused either about the facts or which way they were revising the text. Under most implementations of FR, these would have been sighted immediately, and therefore visible to the general public.
  • In one case, Newbie A added Kennedy's death, then Anon B added "January 20, 2009" as a free-standing paragraph. An admin reverted Anon B's edit to Newbie A's version; under all implementations of FR I know of, this would have sighted the version containing Newbie A's vandalism.
  • There were two cases in which one anon vandalized the article and then another anon reverted. This would probably have taken longer under FR, since the second anon wouldn't have seen it to revert. (The last case is similar, but removed by an established editor.)

In all, the article was in error for less than ten minutes.

Under FR, at least one, probably three, instances of the false claim would have been visible to the public, and for almost as long as it was in reality. Flagged revisions is not a panacea, even if the Washington Post says it is; why do you trust their political blogger's judgment on a technical question? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:50, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I think this analysis is simplistic. Why don't we contact the long-established accounts and find out why they added it. If they don't have a good reason, then they could be talked to firmly ("We don't add death reports until we have a source") and if they insist on continuing the behavior, they can be banned. Let's ask the admin if they would have been able to take more time to look at what they were doing if they weren't acting out of the legitimate fear that the article contained misinformation at a critical moment in time? And please don't insult me by assuming that I simply go by what a blogger at the Washington Post says: such an approach to talking to me may prevent you from hearing what I am saying.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:37, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

The edit summaries suggest that one or both of the established editors thought they were removing vandalism, and may well have been confused as to which way their edit was going. This does happen; I've done it myself, under less time pressure than mass vandalism. But what matters is that they did add it, for whatever reason; reviewers may be expected to do the same thing under FR. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:03, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I am glad to see Jimbo's assurance that his decision is not driven by the mass media; he may want to tell Signpost. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:05, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't believe you are correct in your analysis of the second point. When the admin reverted the edit, his edit would not have been autosighted as it was made on top of unsighted edits. In order to make the changes visible, he would have needed to review the article manually, whereupon he would have seen a diff of all the changes since the last sighted version, including the changes by Newbie A. As an unsourced and contentious claim, it would certainly have been noticed and in all likelihood removed. But there is no risk that the addition of the death-date would have been 'accidentally' sighted because that's not how the system works. Happymelon 08:56, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
This is at least the fourth different claim Happy Melon has made about how "the system works". I am tired of assurances that "nothing can go wrong", without evidence or specifications. Murphy rules. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:03, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Would you mind quantifying that accusation, Pmanderson? Naturally if I have made incompatible claims then I will need to withdraw one of them, but I do not believe that this is the case. If you attempt to reconstruct the edit sequence on en.labs you will see that it pans out exactly as I have described. Could you please provide some quotes of where I have implied the system functions differently? Happymelon 15:37, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I would mind; I do not want to comb through your edit history to find claims of months ago. At a minimum, I have seen no adequate and precise account of how the system works, and I have seen hand-waving which certainly suggested what I said. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:44, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Well in that case I assume that your accusation has no material foundation, and will ignore it. Given that a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, how many volumes is the fully functional demonstration that I constructed worth? The only way to get a correct picture in your own mind is to try it for yourself. Happymelon 17:51, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
No thank you; trial and error is not good enough. The only way to fully understand a system is to see its specifications. Happy-melon's assurance of the perfection of a system he cannot describe are hot air and evidence of bad faith. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:23, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
To deliberately decline the opportunity to verify your claims before (or indeed after) making them is not a very constructive approach to discussion; nor is stating that you effectively cannot be bothered to take the time to ensure that your statements are factually correct. I am more than willing to take the time to explain any part of the FlaggedRevs system to the best of my ability to ensure that people have the fullest possible picture of what it is and what it does. If you have read "hand-waving" descriptions, I hope they have not come from me. The system has been explained on numerous levels, ranging from the raw source files which are as always available for public view, right through to the aforementioned demonstration, and also by innumerable explanations that I and others have given on a dozen talk pages. Which aspects of the system would you like me to describe? And will you actually read and digest such an explanation if I take the time to write it? Happymelon 18:37, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
And to begin what I fear will merely be another loop of the above discussion, when have I ever presented the impression that FlaggedRevisions, in any incarnation, is in any way "perfect"? Happymelon 18:39, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
If you've explained it, feel free to link to the explanation. Otherwise, you demand that I play vandal and oversighter and ordinary user, each in turn, and from each viewpoint, to find out what should be explicable in a few well-digested paragraphs, if you actually knew and understood the system you are peddling. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:04, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Well let's see shall we. This is a good general explanation I made, as is this, and this. I explained this precise issue to a number of users, here, here and here, for example. You were actually involved in several of those discussions: in the final version of that last thread we see that the exact same misunderstanding you demonstrate above was actually clarified to you over two weeks ago. The issue is related to the confusion over the exact capabilities of bots - understanding their role, as I explained here, should have aided comprehension of the overall point. I actually address this precise issue to you, personally, here. Of course these are only a few, and only my own contributions, there are numerous other editors who have done sterling work in explaining and clarifying points from the trivial to the all-encompasing. Do you have any further questions? Happymelon 22:15, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
(left) Put together, as should long since have been done, they answer most questions; none of them is adequate individually, and none of them answer the questions which are most relevant to the Kennedy debacle:
  • What does a sighter do when he sights?
    • For example, does he make an edit with the "sight" checkbox checked?
    • Is he presented with the diffs since the last sighted edit?
    • What?
  • If sighting is a variety of editing, can his edits be set to sight by default? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:29, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I really don't understand why you prefer to have second-hand and piecemeal answers to your specific questions rather than trivially see for yourself, but I shall endeavour to answer them nonetheless. The primary way to sight a revision, as accessed by the links from Special:OldReviewedPages, the watchlist, recentchanges, and various "x changes need review" links, is a link to a diff of all changes since the last sighted version with a review bar across the top. Such a screen is shown here, although of course you will need the reviewer permission on en.labs to see it properly. The layout of that reviewing form is standard: checkboxes for sighting levels (only one in the case of the proposed trials here) and an input for a log summary. That input box also appears on every article, at the bottom to discourage reviewers from doing anything other than reading the article before sighting. When editing a page, there is a checkbox next to the "minor edit" and "watch this page" boxes to "review this edit", but it is unchecked by default and could be trivially removed with CSS or JavaScript if it is considered undesirable. There is no capability to sight edits by default, and rightly so, as this would be counter to the intention of the sighting process. Happymelon 13:15, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Why do I ask for answers? For the same reason I prefer programs with documentation. It tells me what the system is supposed to do, and what the bells and whistles are. The demand that we should have to work out the documentation each for ourselves is as arrogant as it is irresponsible. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:43, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I take your point to a certain extent. I don't agree that questions such as the the one you ask above should be answered in comprehensive documentation; there are literally thousands of such queries, and any documentation capable of answering them all would be completely unreadable. I'm also entirely unsure how you interpret good-faith attempts to resolve as many queries as possible as arrogant and irresponsible, but let's leave that to one side. I do concede, in fact, that answers to the more general questions would be better served in a central help document; certainly one that is more accessible than mw:Extension:FlaggedRevs. Perhaps you would like to assist me and others in writing such a document, to ensure that it is as accessible as possible? Happymelon 22:11, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
You have eight overlapping texts here, including this answer. I encourage you to add them as an explanation to WP:Flagged revisions, and boil them down to the two paragraphs that should cover the matter. That's what WP space is for: so questions don't have to be answered repeatedly. Please use it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:55, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

A terrible test case

Whilst being a very strong believer that radical reform of BLP editing is required, I think Ted Kennedy is a real bad rest case. 1) Firstly bad edits to an article like this will be (and were) quickly spotted and reverted by someone who knows enough to spot the lie. 2) The reader is likely to check other sources and realise that what he's read is crap. 3) Ted Kennedy has a huge reputation, which a wikipedia article cannot influce much. In short, crap on "high profile" BLPs may be heavily embarrassing to wikipedia from a PR angle, but it doesn't and can't do much harm to the subject. The real problem is when this happens to a BLP of a less notable figure. It is far more likely that the lie will remain for months because the article is underwatched, and any watchers may not spot the lie as they are ignorant about the truth. Further our bio and its mirrors may be the only "encyclopedic" content on the net, thus opinion forming for anyone googling in a way celebrity articles are not. On Kennedy stuff like this is simply high-profile graffiti, on other BLPS it is potentially destructive to the subject, his business and his reputation. Can we stop using Sarah Palin, Ted Kennedy and other household names as the litmus test for our policies?--Scott Mac (Doc) 12:17, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Then this case shouldn't be used as justification for FR; but it is already being so used. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:06, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, this case is an argument for FR. All I'm saying is that there are far far stronger ones.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:53, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Then they should be mentioned. The other specific case I have seen mentioned was an article which made a serious accusation against its subject, but cited a source for the accusation. (The source was a revisionist website, but telling that would require a degree of checking which Happy Melon keeps insisting is unnecessary for every edit.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:44, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
If what you say is correct, then I agree that the level of checking that it is reasonable to expect of reviewers would not have caught the edit. No coherent proponent of FlaggedRevs is claiming that it is a panacea. Happymelon 13:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The article, which I am intentionally not naming for BLP reasons, is discussed in the poll. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:05, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
If this had been a flagged revision, this would not have been visible to our readers for two weeks. Fram (talk) 07:58, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
This is a much better example, thanks for bringing it up, Fran. If FlaggedRevs in pretty much any form had been enabled on the article, then this entire sequence of edits would have been removed from the public eye. Had that chain of vandalism still been ongoing, I would probably just now have semi-protected it; FLR would have been a much less disruptive way of controlling the vandalism. Happymelon 13:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Flaggedrevs in the news

Medias have started reporting on flagged revisions, but often misleadingly, saying that it will be used on all articles, for all edits, some says that this will ban anonymous contributions. Now it's done... but maybe it could be clarified that this would only be used on an experimental basis, at least initially, and more importantly, that it'll be used only for certain articles, as a protection measure, temporarily or indefinitely, and that this is also intended to allow more anonymous contributions, by replacing the semi-protection system. Has the foundation considered a press release ? Cenarium (Talk) 12:57, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

This story [1] is currently on the front page of the BBC news website (international version). DuncanHill (talk) 17:46, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I have been complaining as loudly as I can about us being misrepresented, but I recommend that - as best we can - we ignore it. We have a serious responsibility and the fact that the traditional press is too incompetent to actually call me up and ask me what is going on is something that I hope we can just ignore. They will die soon enough if they can't get their act together.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:04, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Err, they're not calling you up and asking what's going on, they're calling us (the press contacts and OTRS) up and asking what's going on. I fail to see how calling the press incompetent for misreading something that was confusing in the first place, and inappropriately publicized helps anything, especially viewed in the context of "serious responsibilities". A serious responsibility on our behalf would have entailed not letting the press get the wrong message in the first place. SWATJester Son of the Defender 02:51, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
And on the front page on the UK version. I notice it comes on the front page under Americas and is the second story on the Americas page which I thought was rather odd. Davewild (talk) 17:51, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
A press release would be highly appropriate given the size of this brou-ha-ha. WP's normal decision-making system - namely, having an enormous fight - may be well-suited for keeping the place stable and not too chaotic, but here nobody who hadn't actively followed the debacle has a chance of seeing what's going on, and editors are finding out about the situation (whatever it is) from the media. --Kizor 18:10, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

We really need to clarify that the vast majority of edits and articles won't be affected, that this is only designed as a protection measure, for sensitive articles, and reviewing times should be a few minutes, a few hours at most. That this is done to allow more editing, while the protection system prevented editing. The BBC and others should also be contacted so that they correct or amend their entries. Now it won't stop.. I really don't know how the wmf will handle this. Hopefully, at least one got it right. Cenarium (Talk) 18:59, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Jimbo didn't make it very clear in his post above that it is a limited test. We cannot blame media for not having read every post in this discussion. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:07, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
On a point of order, nothing in the proposed configuration to be trialled says anything about the nature of the final implementation that you seem to have fixed in your post. It cannot be ruled in or ruled out as to how many articles this will affect. Nothing was detailed about scope of articles, be they sensitive or litte watched, and the oft quoted German implementation covers all articles. And again, nothing was said about reviewing times either. A wide range of opinions were given in the poll, and Jimbo's preference as we now find out happens to be a maximum of 1 week, and application to articles not currently protected. FR might very well mean Wikipedia is seen to be more open by new users, without any adverse effect on its core attractiveness, here's looking forward to a proper measurement of that theory in the trials. What this does for the overwhelming number of spontaneous edits we recieve we may never now, but the Ted Kennedy incident maybe shows that possibly none of these edits are usable without modification anyway, as maybe the real exposure/credibility problem with Wikipedia is a lack of policy knowledge in both new (and long term but laxidasical) users, and it actually has very little to do with the need to pre-check for malicious intent. Maybe 'the lawsuit' is around the corner, maybe it isn't. Maybe the Wikipedia model has always needed an upfront assumption of lack of policy knowledge, and FR realy is the only way that can be fixed. Maybe live feedback on their initial mistakes is important to drawing in new contributors, maybe it isn't. A lot of this sort of comment was already in the poll, which would have benefitted from having a number of issues and standpoints fixed beforehand, but even though I managed to get in at oppose number 10 and said some of these things, the whole thing already had its self feeding momentum, with anybody and everybody piling in supporting their own conflicting ideas of what FR is actually for or how it will work. Now, after it has closed, we have to somehow sort that conflicting consensus for change out, and magically end up with a higher than 60% support on the other side for a specific usage with specific policies and technical features. MickMacNee (talk) 23:53, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Alternate solution: Color-coding based on age of edit and page views

I remember reading a proposal a few years ago on some other site about this idea, but I'm afraid I couldn't find the original page. Anyway, the idea is this:

All immediate edits show up a red text. If the edit is one second old with no page views, it's bright red. As the time of the edit grows, and as the page views grow, the text gradients from red to black. For example, if the edit has been there for a year on an unpopular page, or if the edit has been there for 2-3 weeks on a popular page, it would likely be black.

The whole basis of this is sort of that same "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" mindset of how OSS works: Many eyes make all bugs shallow. If many people have seen the change without a re-edit, it's more likely to be correct, and it would give the edit the privilege to show up black. At the same time, this would still allow the text to show up. It's a warning to the reader that "This edit has not been time-tested, and it may or may not be correct. Check the sources, and verify the information." It also encourages people to source new edits to legitimize them better.

This idea could be combined with the original Flagged Revisions process. As well as factoring time and page views, it can also factor source reliability ("Is this user registered and made reliable edits before?") and approval. The content could immediately turn black after an admin approval. That could also just be the system for approval: red=unapproved, and black=approved.

To summarize, here's the three different ways of approaching this system:

  1. Text is color-coded based on time and page views.
  2. Text is color-coded based on time, page views, and source reliability. If the context is approved, the text immediately turns black. If not, it still has a chance of turning black based on time/page views.
  3. Just like the original Flagged Revision process, except that unapproved text still shows up red, and will turn black after approval.

It all depends on how simple or complex that you want it. However, I strongly believe that any of these solutions would solve for both striving for speedy edits as well as projecting reliable information. (I personally like option #2 myself.)

SineSwiper (talk) 14:39, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I like this idea, and let me suggest a slight variant:
When an unregistered user edits a page, that change shows up to them straight away and they see the change in black (this allows us to keep taking on new users at the same speed we were before, people still get the benefit of seeing their good faith edits right away). Other unregistered users initially see the page as it was before the change, thus removing the problem of news agencies picking up on every piece of vandalism that happens to a famous person's mainspace article. An established registered user does see the change, and sees it in colour as you describe. This allows 'ad hoc' vandalism reverts to continue- I figure most Wikipedians are like me and don't often check the 'Recent Changes' page, but will fix vandalism they come across while browsing. To simplify the revert, maybe even turn the coloured section in to a hyperlink which when clicked flashes up a box with the options "delete change", "allow change". Clicking "allow change" would make the change visible in black to all users, including unregistered ones. Delete change allows a simple reversion. This idea could even be extended to text that has been deleted by an unestablished user, simply have deleted text remain visible in grey (or perhaps struck out) to established users. Kaid100 (talk) 15:47, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Not sure if I really like the idea of different views for different people. It makes troubleshooting very difficult, and remember that you're an unregistered user until you re-login. I often forget to login until I notice it when I go into edit mode.
After all, the whole point of the colorization is to keep the edits immediate, while still giving notice to the viewer that the information is new and possibly may not be accurate. Any attempt to remove that immediate view defeats the purpose of the rapidly-updating ecosystem within Wikipedia. SineSwiper (talk) 18:28, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Is Mise (talk) 15:44, 27 January 2009 (UTC) As an occasional editor and frequent reader I would be fully in support of the color coding idea and was about to suggest it until I came across it here. The idea should be to let people make up their own mind on the validity of the information rather than take anything as fact.

Color coding lets readers know information is new and has not passed the eyes of many viewers/potential editors. The readers can then decide to dip deeper and check the revisions and follow the evidence (check reference links) as is regular researching practice.

I usually correct articles because it's quick and easy and I often make some other corrections based on my original improvements. Many times I read an article and I find it hard to understand because of poor ambiguous phraseology so I correct the phraseology to help me understand the article and move onto the next parts of it. It's obvious when you come across some articles which have been language translated by software or cut and pasted from people who don't have English as a first language. If the changes weren't instant as they currently are I wouldn't be as inclined to improve the articles. The web is instant and intentions for changes you may make, or links you may send onto other people, often don't happen once they are delayed.

Colour coding is an excellent way to keep Wikipedia instant and open to all while still informing about potential reliability issues. Is Mise (talk) 15:45, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Problems with the original poll

I actually agree with Jimbo's interpretation that 60% is usually enough to change something like this. However, I would like to state that in my opinion there were serious flaws in the manner that the poll was conducted. I have more than 11,000 edits and have been editing for almost five years and was not even aware that such a poll existed until I read about it on BBC news when the poll was already closed. I think that with proposals that could change such a basic pillar in how Wikipedia operates, there really ought to be a better method of notifying the general Wikipedia population that such polls exist. If this proposal is not adopted I think these votes have the capability of degenerating into elitist farce in which the vast majority of Wikipedia's editors have no real input into something that is supposed to be collaborative.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 18:20, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

It was listed on your watchlist notices at the top, at the Village Pump, at WP:CENT and many others. Short of spamming messages to all talkpages, I'm not sure what else Happy-melon could have done to notify you :) Additionally, the BBC article is very misleading - there is no plan at present to expand FlaggedRevs to all edits on Wikipedia. Jimmy and others (including me) want it trialled on BLPs, and there is discussion about augmenting semi and full protection with it at WP:Flagged Protection Fritzpoll (talk) 18:42, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
You know that in five years I have never even noticed those watchlist notices until you just said that. I'll be damned. Still I think it should have been even more visible. Only a small proportion of editors regularly check the village pump (I did for a time, but that was years ago) and even less people go to centralized discussion. Also it only became a trial version for BLP after considerable discussion. My point is that if we don't make the really important votes more obvious it isn't going to be very democratic because certain demographics are going to miss it entirely.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 19:07, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. I think these sort of polls should be announced in a box at the top of watchlists at the minimum. These polls tend to have narrow participation from the most dramatically-inclined members of the community. That certainly skews results. Cool Hand Luke 19:24, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. Actually it was on the watchlist, with an easily-dismissed link that pointed to the wrong place after the poll was moved on the 15th. What bothered me about this poll is that I participated in the feeler survey, but was unaware that this poll spun out. The poll had almost no details either, which garnered a lot of opposition from people who care about the details. Cool Hand Luke 19:33, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Ditto. I have an anon sign right now, but I have been a registered editor for years. Just like MCSAS above, I heard about this poll ten minutes ago on the BBC News front page! For important polls and discussions, why not have a banner like the one used for donations? (talk) 20:06, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I would fully support a move to put notices of this nature in the sitenotice, but it would be overturning a very long-established consensus that only wikimedia-wide content is generally shown there. Given that the short-text-description-with-cookie-dismiss-button format is used for all watchlist notices without exception, and that attempts to make the messages more prominent have met with fierce criticism, I think the impression you give of the notice that was shown is a little unfair. On the other hand, you are right that the link should have been updated when the poll was moved to a subpage. Happymelon 20:21, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree that this sort of notice really should have been in the sitenotice. Yes, it's an established precedent that it's reserved for major Wikimedia content. But then again, FlaggedRevisions is a major structural change to Wikipedia and will significantly affect most users, both registered and anonymous (depends on the nature of how it is used), therefore I feel these sorts of notices, as per consensus, should be moved there in future. After all, if the media is reporting about this change, then it is certainly something that even the public should know about. And that's exactly what that little section is really for. Of course the only problem is the suppression option, but perhaps that could always be reset? --.:Alex:. 21:08, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
The poll was supposed to be a first step, followed by an other poll for a specific test. I suggest that we decide on what test provisions we want exactly and then put up a poll with a very specific and clear description of what is it about. That poll should be announced in the cite notice. Flagged Revisions on the English Wikipedia has far greater impact on the foundation than the recent steward election that was announced there. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:53, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
However, Apoc, the specific and clear test you want, requires that FR capability first is turned on. It was clear before & in the first poll that once turned on, the capability won't be turned off. It can lie dormant forever if that's what we want, but I suspect it won't lie quietly. Suggestions for better trials will follow, continually, and require our attention. - Hordaland (talk) 18:21, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

words and their importance

Though not necessarily down to you personally what happened to the following: Straw which the English poll was labelled as, which means it is a tool for guessing the temperature / leanings towards something and not binding - whereas a poll without the word straw which means people thought long and hard about all the possible consequences of their vote and then if they so desired acted upon it, because their actions would be binding. The strength of wikipedia is that it is open to editing by people, this is not its' weakness. Edmund Patrickconfer 19:45, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Precisely. If it weren't for the open-editing process, Wikipedia would have remained a fringe web-site frequented by a handful of people. Ted Kennedy's bio was vandalized for five minutes - Zippy-dii-doo-daa!! Semi-protect the thing. It is all about trusting in the nature of humans to eventually find the voice of reason: it might take trials and errors, but the open-editing process has made Wikipedia a global name, right? So the system, fundamentally, works and corrects/will correct itself.. (talk) 20:02, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Er. You do realize that semiprotection prevents anons from editing right? Flagged revisions do not. Cool Hand Luke 20:27, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
The implication presumably being that enough of these edits will be perfect to justify imposing the additional barrier of complexity that FR presents to spontaneous contributions, rather than just asking for a request to be made on a talk page. MickMacNee (talk) 01:55, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I didn't know that; but again I wasn't aware of this discussion to begin with. Nevertheless, do qualify "prevent from editing". If someone has to wait 3 weeks for an edit to be approved, well heck why would they want to come back? Nearly all "established heavyweight" users were also anons back in the day, and they ended up joining Wikipedia most probably because the ability to contribute to a global information source was an overwhelmingly positive experience. Fundamentally, we just have to trust that it is in the nature of the humans to improve themselves. In other words, a teenager who got a kick from inserting "ARSE" into an article might unconsciously be impressed by the capacity/ability to contribute, and might come back a month later to correct a typo, then a month later to add something meaningful. However, if he has to wait for days or weeks for a random edit to be approved, by someone else (an overlooker with no face) (and let's think about how rarely people go back to articles they just viewed), wouldn't that user's Orwellian experience be detrimental for Wikipedia project in the long run? (talk) 21:05, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
The idea is to be more open than semi-protection. But the questions you ask are empirical questions, therefore we will test. Just for the record, I consider a 21 day delay to be completely unacceptable.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:35, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Response—there is no consensus for flagged revisions

Sorry, Jimbo, for not responding sooner—I'm very busy currently. Thank you for your response to my original comment; I appreciate your feedback. The wording I used was perhaps a little harsh, and I apologise for this. Despite sympathising with you regarding flagged revisions, I disagree with your request to have it enabled.

Allow me to make two points clear.

  • I support flagged revisions, as I indicated in my comment above: "I have always been a strong proponent of flagged revisions, and I still am." Your response to my original post assumed, incorrectly, that I oppose Flagged Revisions.
  • I'm assuming that when you speak about Flagged Revisions you do so as a normal community member, unless you are appointed by the Board as a representative. Thus, you currently have no more authority than I, or any other community member for that matter, to dictate whether or not this feature is enabled on the English Wikipedia.

You invited those in the minority who are opposed to Flagged Revisions to "make an alternative proposal within the next 7 days". Really, you do not have the power to force the minority to accept flagged revisions or to come up with another proposal, especially not within the timeframe of one week. Allow me to make it clear, again, that I am not in the minority; I support flagged revisions, but I do not believe that there is consensus for it.

I request that you abstain from dismissing opposition of Flagged Revisions as mislead, unreasonable, irresponsible, or based on / intended to cause fear, uncertainty, and doubt—this is inaccurate, as much opposition to the feature is well thought out and worthy of concern. You have a clear conflict of interest in regards to this matter, and you have supported—almost stubbornly, it would seem—Flagged Revisions since it became available in 2007. You cannot claim that there is substantive consensus when the poll, which was carried out after literally months of discussion (in which I was a significant participant), indicated only 60% consensus in favour of the feature. Taking into account the "weightings" of the votes (in the poll there were many votes indicating "weak support" and "strong oppose"), I consider it incumbent on you to drum up at least 70% support for this feature.

Let's look at what Erik said:

... If there are no objections within 14 days, your request will be considered valid. If there are objections, please try building consensus. If necessary, you can also resort to a poll (a very large majority, at least two thirds, is generally necessary) ...

—Erik Moeller, post on Foundation-L

You have received plenty of objections, and, according to Erik at least, it is your responsibility to try building consensus. A "very large majority" of supporters, consisting of at least two thirds of the community, is required as a prerequisite for enabling Flagged Revisions. I sincerely hope that you will not tell me that 60% is a very large majority, because doing so would imply that you are severely out-of-touch with this community, its longstanding cultural traditions (no matter how much I might disagree with some of them), and its current methods and standards. Hey, we nearly always require more consensus than this to delete a questionable biography of a living person.

In short, there is no consensus for the flagged revisions extension to be enabled on English Wikipedia. You have no special powers to form editorial or technical policy, and you cannot ignore the community "decision". While I regret this move by the community, I am not willing to override it or condone any overriding of it.

You should consider three things.

  • Would 60% of the community be enough to maintain flagged revisions on articles? With this much disunity, it's likely that there would be many "flagging wars" and much bitterness formed.
  • Implementing this feature in light of the lack of consensus for it would cause many people, including myself, to leave the community. Would it be better to avoid making pronouncements that could be seen as somewhat dictatorial and ignorant of the community's multitude of discussions about Flagged Revisions?
  • Would Flagged Revisions completely stop libel? My experiences with it indicate that the feature would stop obvious vandalism and libel, but insidious, discreet malicious alterations would have a significant probability of being sighted as accurate. It's likely that an unaccountable, pseudonymous reviewer would simply sight every edit that appeared credible, without making any significant effort to verify the facts concerned.

In short, I wish you the best of luck. I have no intentions of malice, but I disagree with you on two points: your claim that the poll indicates sufficient support for the enabling of Flagged Revisions, and your position of "constitutional monarch" here which seems to grant you virtually unlimited powers to enact editorial policy.

Cheers, – Thomas H. Larsen 00:04, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, please ignore the press reports which are - for the most part - completely irrational and insane (really), and let's work to find a strong consensus. We have a fabulous opportunity to finally move in the direction of wiki, i.e. allow more people to edit rather than using the crude tools of protection and semi-protection. Let's not lose that in a sea of media-driven nonsense. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:07, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you in regards to the media reports. Seems every media company must paint Flagged Revisions either as the saviour or destructor of Wikipedia. :-)
I'm not sure that using flagged revisions instead of full protection would always work—full protection is commonly used to stop edit wars. Using it as a substitute, in many cases, for semi-protection is a good idea in my view. – Thomas H. Larsen 00:18, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There is no consensus for a particular implementation of flagged revisions, in my view, but there is consensus to trial the software. Wikipedians will only be able to make an informed decision after seeing the software in action on Wikipedia. I believe that we might be able to find an implementation that contributes to addressing the BLP problem, yet does not compromise the wiki principle unnecessarily. Dedicated Wikipedians need to come up with good ideas for implementation and maximize the benefits of the trial, not pre-guess the outcome. Geometry guy 00:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Is there consensus to even trial the software? The poll was about a trial, and only came up with 60% support. Of course, some oppose votes were against any implementation, temporary or permanent, of flagged revisions, but it's not our decision to make whether or not people should have voted this way. – Thomas H. Larsen 00:41, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
You have to read what editors say, not just count the numbers, especially when polls are poorly constructed, or not widely understood. See WT:Flagged protection#Feeler poll and also WT:Flagged revisions/Trial#One possible breakdown of oppose vote. There's plenty of support for using FR in some way, but much disagreement on how to use it. Geometry guy 00:52, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
If that is indeed the case—as it probably is—then we should have another, very specific poll. – Thomas H. Larsen 02:21, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
"when polls are poorly constructed, or not widely understood" Geometry guy... Sounds like the classic "but sire, the ignorant masses don't know what they are voting for!!" canard à la Montesquieu. Well, if you consider it to be "widely misunderstood" (to the tune of 40 percent "minority"? - so what are you saying? If you "explained" it to them, can we hope for the perfect consensus of 100 percent, your Highness?), even if that were the case, then you should try to, at the very least, address the concerns of those people - many of them who have been long-time contributors to Wikipedia. 60-40 is not "very very strong support for turning on FlaggedRevs", Mr. Wales. Are you sure you weren't reading 90-10 or even 85-15? (talk) 02:43, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Unlike the polls you're familar with, this wasn't a simple "yes or no" vote. A great many people left comments with their votes, and based on this, it's often possible to figure out what they thought they were supporting or opposing. --Carnildo (talk) 02:54, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Just because I am editing from an IP doesn't mean I haven't edited Wikipedia before, you know :) In fact, my "registered" account had/has +19k edits, if I am not mistaken. And anyways, your claim "to figure out what they thought they were supporting or opposing" is, in essence no different than the issue I raised above - in fact it is worse: So let me get this straight, you (or someone else) actually sat down and thought you could figure out what others (the poor ignorant plèbe) thought they were voting for??? Do you have a mind reading device? If you do, please let me know, I might want to borrow it one day :) How about people stop beating around the bush and instead try to address many of the concerns that were raised? It is not for the poor ignorant "40 percent minority" (degrading language to use towards many long-time and dedicated editors of Wikipedia) to prepare "a motion in the next 7 days" on the orders of the monarch. If the "60 percent majority" feels that the ignorant 40 percenters need to be "shown the light", then how about dealing with concerns that go right to the heart of the philosophy that Wikipedia was founded on? Frankly, I am glad that BBC brought this up - good for them. They were spot on in considering that this issue is important enough for a wider global audience to be informed about. (talk) 03:56, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
When someone says "Oppose. Activating flagged revisions on all articles will generate insurmountable backlogs", and the proposal is to activate flagged revisions on a subset of BLPs, it doesn't take a mind reader to tell that the person isn't voting on the proposal as written. --Carnildo (talk) 05:49, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, really? Have we really voted on BLP - or not? Isn't that just your opinion? AFAIK we've only voted on whether to turn on capability - or not. Some people thought that meant BLP, some meant all-encompassing and others chose to mean something else. The proposal was not defined well enough for us all to be on the same page. - Hordaland (talk) 20:08, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
You see, no need for FR - the community can take care of itself. :) (talk) 00:54, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I stopped contributing to Wikipedia because it didn't have a way of letting expert contributors keep ignorant fanatics from posting uninformed drivel and mangling the contributions of others. This was after I contributed 12,000 carefully-researched words, based on standard academic texts which were all properly cited, and had to spend months fighting a protracted edit war with such fanatics in order to keep my contribution from being sabotaged or deleted. So don't just take into account the opinions of current Wikipedia contributors; think of people like me who have perhaps been leaving in droves all along because Wikipedia lacks the kind of process you're proposing. Wikipedia should work the way free software projects work, i.e. people should have to prove themselves before they gain the authority to commit changes. Otherwise, I'll never trust it, at least not on any controversial topic, and I'll certainly never contribute again. Beroul (talk) 02:25, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I should make it clear that Flagged Revisions is not intended to stop people posting ininformed drivel and mangling the contributions of others; it has generally been accepted by the English Wikipedia community that Flagged Revisions, if implemented, would be used only to combat obvious libel and vandalism. I agree with you wholeheartedly that ignorant fanatics should not be permitted to override expert contributors, but I think that this problem is one endemic to Wikipedia and its participatory culture. You might find the Citizendium more to your liking, or you can check out Epistemia, a new wiki encyclopedia that I co-founded about a week ago and which is growing nicely. – Thomas H. Larsen 02:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Figured I'd mention down here that your idea that lots of people would leave over FlaggedRevs has no evidence in support. 40% opposition to a poll is not "If you do this, we'll all pick up and go home." Some may, but Wikipedia is a self-selecting participatory project. The makeup of the community changes with time, as you're no doubt aware, and many people leave and come for many different reasons. I would link to WP:FORK, too, but perhaps this is a more appropriate choice. Avruch T 16:49, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The obvious alternative would be WP:Flagged protection. We can see how well it works in relatively short order, since it is comparable to semi-protection; it is popular because it is limited by our protection policy; and in due course (before many of the proposed trials of other forms of FR would be completed) we can discuss whether protection policy should be revised. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:12, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Adjusted Reading of the Core Principles of J.W

"You can edit this page right now" is a core guiding check on everything that we do. We must respect this principle as sacred.

Should read

"You can edit this page right now, but it may not actually change"


"You can edit this page right now, but the actual appearance may vary"

Perhaps? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:08, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

"You can edit this page in about a week, so long as the guy who gatekeeps it agrees to your edit." Grace Note (talk) 03:00, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Pages which are currently semi-protected can't be edited by new users at all. I am proposing that we allow them to edit. I think we are moving much closer to the ideal of "you can edit this page right now".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:28, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
My strong feeling is that "you can edit this page right now" only actually means something to people if the edits show up immediately too, otherwise it's weak sauce. People don't just want an edit button. They want their edits to show up quickly and (hopefully) stick. When you look at wiki communities that allow 100% open editing but have moderation of edits, they are stagnant. Allowing editing but making people feel like it's fruitless effort is worse than simply disallowing editing, from an encyclopedic and public relations standpoint. This is why I support Wikipedia:Flagged protection as an alternative, which I hope can be put in to trial very soon. Flagged revs is definitely more open than semi-protection, but not if we implement it on a much wider scale than we do semi-protection. Otherwise, it's applying protectionist measures to articles that do not need it. First do no harm applies not just to biographies of living people, but to the encyclopedia too. I think that even without BLP problems, flagged protection is a great replacement for semi-protection across the site. Steven Walling (talk) 07:01, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There are about 3,000 semi-protected articles, compared with 300,000 BLPs and 2,700,000 articles in total. If we implement flagged revisions over all articles, or even all BLPs, then the number of pages which would be opened up is tiny (1% or less) compared with the number that would be closed off. Your argument is only valid if we implement flagged protection or something similar.--Hut 8.5 08:55, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
That seems to be what he's suggesting. Flagged protection is just an implementation of Flagged Revisions after all... Fritzpoll (talk) 14:13, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo's version of FR will apply to more articles than just those under semi-protection, just look at the Ted Kennedy example. Quite rightly in light of this and the tide of support for applying it to all BLPs, 'FR opens up protected articles' is being re-assessed by people as being at best, a fringe benefit, and at worse, a convenient false flag, a cover for the real justification of applying FR, to be able to pre-approve contributions on the basis of an assumption of malice/incompetence. I don't buy for a micro-second this is about any actual or even potential legal liability, and if it is, the foundation should be open about it. MickMacNee (talk) 00:54, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

The worry about flagged revisions

Dear all watching this page - I realise this is a vexed issue, but the biggest fear I have is that flagged revs takes away the spontaneity of the 'pedia, and that there may be a massive downturn in those new contributors who become regular editors after a few tweaks here and there - "anyone can edit" was a great selling point. The "instant fix" of having your instant graffitti become part of a wiki page, so to speak. Is there any sense that there has been a downturn in new editors on the German wikipedia? Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:59, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

The evidence I have seen suggests that there has been no downturn in new editors on the German Wikipedia, although in amongst all the noise, it's quite difficult to say with certainty. I think it is safe to say that there is no dramatic change, though. But I share your concern, which is why I am not in support of the German model. I am supporting using this primarily as a softer alternative to semi-protection. Right now, because we only have that blunt tool, we are often faced with an ugly choice. This gives us a new way to be more open, while at the same time dealing more effectively with particular cases.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:30, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I am glad to hear it (evidence of no downturn at de wp that is), ah well, I myself am somehwat liberal in applying doses of semiprotection about the place FWIW...Casliber (talk · contribs) 07:15, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I posted this in another post on this page, but it is relevant here as well. Flagged revisions: as far as I can tell, they were enabled as a test on the German Wikipedia in May, and fully enabled in August-September 2008. This Wikimedia statistics page suggests that if anything, registration has gone up since then.[2] The rise is probably caused by IPs preferring to register after FR are implemented. From the same site, it also appears that the number of edits on the German Wikipedia has not significantly changed.[3]. While the first number (new editors) does not show the change FR may have on the existing base of editors, the number of edits seems to indicate that in the end, there was no apparent drop in the number of active editors. Fram (talk) 08:07, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
According to this the number of new registrations per month has dropped to less than half since May 2008. --Apoc2400 (talk) 10:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Comparing September, October, and November of 2008 with the same months of 2007 (to cancel out seasonal effects), the rate of new article creation is down about 10%, the edit rate is essentially unchanged, the number of editors is down about 1%, and the number of very active editors is up 1%. The rate of new registrations is down 50%, but that trend started long before flagged revisions was activated -- December of 2006 was the last time the rate of registration increased over the same time the previous year. --Carnildo (talk) 11:29, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I do wonder where they get that number of new registrations. Looking at this (from the same site), it seems that every major Wikipedia language has had a large drop in new registrations between May and now. However, when you look carefully, it counts all new Wikipedians with 10 or more contributions. What this statistic shows, is that a number of editors make their first ten edits very soon, that a similar number of editors does so over the course of months, and that a very large number of editors never even makes ten edits at all. What this statistic does not say is that the number of new editors has significantly changed, or even that the number of active editors has changed. Since the other numbers (number of edits, number of very active editors, ...) show no significant variations, I presume that FR have not made a significant change in the userbase of the German Wikipedia. Fram (talk) 11:48, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Men's work, like men himself, is not perfect. The quest for perfection leads to fascism. Without the new(bie) editors Wikipedia would lose its global appeal in the long run. Therefore, there is probably not a crisis at the BLP. So stop worrying and enjoy editing. Those who cannot stop worrying should find a new hobby or something - maybe the time has come for them to realise that they have outgrown Wikipedia. (talk) 04:11, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
It's not really about perfection. The seemingly biggest problem, in short, is about finding a way protecting biographies of living persons so that "rubbish" is not added to them that may harm those individuals. Taking this with regard to FR is where people seem to mix up. Some are talking about only BLPs, while others are talking about all articles. You'll have to read all the discussions about this to get a proper understanding. Chamal talk 07:21, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
f this becomes a part of Wikipedia then their will be loss of appeal to new people who want to join English Wikipedia.Had this been in place when I joined i would have simply not edited a single page.This will cause a huge loss of correct information, e.g. the Page about Mumbai attacks contain information which has still not been updated.It is a very important right now in this part of the world.We can't leave each and every thing for the Admins.User talk:Yousaf465

I'd like to point out an additional tool, which you yourself (Jimbo) supposedly proposed, and which was broadly supported, but which was never implemented: per-article blocking. All too often, we resort to semi-protection or even full protection in response to one or two users making undesirable edits. That is an enormous overreaction, of course, but we do it because we don't have the right tool. Per-article blocks (and in particular, per-article rangeblocks) would help us tremendously in fighting vandals, cranks, and edit-warriors, while keeping the encyclopedia open to everyone else.

You want it. We want it. So why didn't it happen? Because nobody -- except you -- has the power to tell the devs, "implement this". Jimbo, can I ask you to directly urge the devs to add this feature to Mediawiki? It's a potent, uncontroversial idea that's languished for almost four years. Far too long.--Father Goose (talk) 08:56, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Afterthought: I'd like to point out that I'm not suggesting per-article blocking in place of flagged revisions. It's a tool which would improve our response to vandalism whether or not flagged revisions is turned on.--Father Goose (talk) 09:06, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

For biographies only... This is only a problem for biographies. All biographies should be automatically flagged so that only users can edit them... This makes the most sense. SCmurky (talk) 00:05, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

per article blocking is much better.It also got support in 80's so it should be implented instead of this.User talk:Yousaf465

"it appears the majority of the community are behind this decision"

We work on consensus here, or have your forgotton that too? WP:NOTDEMOCRACY   «l| Ψrometheăn ™|l»  (talk) 08:59, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Maybe it is time for some adjustment to that concept. Why should a software improvement, favored by a decisive majority, fail to be implemented because a "consensus" is arguably not present? It would allow the minority to rule, and given the choice between "majority rules" and the "tyranny of the minority", I'll take the majority. This is not an article, where the policy allows for decisions not be made at all for considerable periods, when a consensus is not present either way. This is the "system" itself, and decisions have to be made. As someone said in a previous thread, "make it so", already. Engage. Thrusters ahead full. Fire photon torpedoes. Etc. 6SJ7 (talk) 13:26, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Arguably, consensus exists as well. Why do you think it doesn't? Fritzpoll (talk) 14:10, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
NOT#DEMOCRACY only strengthens the case for flagged revisions. "Here to write an encyclopaedia and not harm people's lives" trumps "Would make it a somewhat less fun MMORPG" or "I'm afraid backlogs would exist even though the evidence makes it very unlikely". WilyD 15:56, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Hear, hear Fritzpoll (talk) 15:59, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
But if Jimmy wants it, he can impose it, see WP:CONEXCEPT. – ukexpat (talk) 16:13, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
A true consensus is all but impossible when you have a large number of people involved, that's why we don't use it for much any more (WP:BRD is about the only process we have left that involves true consensus). We talk about "rough consensus" sometimes, but that just means a supermajority - 60% is a pretty decent majority. If we were to insist on having a consensus for everything, nothing would ever happen. --Tango (talk) 21:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There was no consensus around the straw poll. This means people who voted both ways now need to work together to find a proposal they can form a consensus around (this is what I think is the offer put forward by Jimbo - though 7 days seems a tight deadline). So far the only genuine attempt to do this has been around Flagged Protection, but the lack of enthusiasm for real consensus here is deafening. Riversider (talk) 23:21, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Considering FR is the result of months if not years of software development, asking for an alernative proposal within 7 days is pretty insulting if you ask me. I can only wonder what Jimbo actually expected anybody to come up with in that time. I am honestly interested. I have plenty of ideas, but they are all non-starters in this process, because they all need discussion surrounding possible software changes, just like FR did. MickMacNee (talk) 00:17, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
There is no room for compromise since the poll was just about whether or not we should trial the software, there were no details discussed. Flagged Protection isn't an alternative, it's just one proposal for a possible trial. --Tango (talk) 00:26, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Solving the Wrong Problem

The overblown fuss about the incorrect edits to the Byrd and Kennedy pages in January 2009 and the call for flagged revisions is hysterical nonsense. If unchecked it will lead to further restrictions on one of the most important aspects of Wikipedia, anonymous editing. Those who manage a system of flagged revisions will surely be registered editors who will give precedence to edits by other registered editors in the arrogant believe that they are better than those made by editors who choose to be anonymous. Another club run by the in crowd is born.

I have always though that what is written is far more important than who writes it. If Hitler had written that genocide was wrong, who would have disputed it? If someone called “Jimbo” had written that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, should he be believed because he had invented an on-line encyclopaedia? All that was needed in the case of the Byrd and Kennedy pages was to correct the false information and move on. By accident, or on purpose, such things happen. Fix it and move on. There will always be 12 year olds who think it is funny to write “FART” in the middle of articles completely unrelated to flatulence. Kids, of all ages, will be kids, so sort it out and move on.

The problem with the edits to the Byrd and Kennedy pages were actually symptomatic of a worse problem with Wikipedia. There seems to be an increasing number of editors who live entirely within a few seconds of the present and see Wikipedia as some sort of news website which must be updated from moment to moment. On seeing a senator fall on TV they rush to their computers to report his death before he even hits the ground. There are enough news websites in the world. Wikipedia does not need to compete with them. To solve this problem I propose that Wikipedia guidelines should be updated to discourage the inclusion of information about any events less than 90 days old. This would make Wikipedia more encyclopaedic by concerning itself with reasoned documentation of the past and all articles would be written in past tense without the awful uses of “today” and “currently” which will be meaningless to readers in 100 years time.

Finally, before someone writes “sign your posts” could I say, more politely, “please don't sign yours”. I'm interested in your ideas, not who you are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:23, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you that if overused, FR will lead to what you described. Note however that Jimbo's ideal overlaps with yours [4]. Anyhow, I also agree with 'please don't sign your" suggestion, as can be seen on my anonymous talk page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:11, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
A policy on a respectful delay in reporting deaths is a great idea - I suggest we call it 'Let them get cold' Riversider (talk) 23:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Signing at least helps people (a bit) see if it is the same person posting over and over. Please do sign. dougweller (talk) 23:39, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
No thanks. :P —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:46, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Environmental (Energy) option

I would like to investigate doing something like BlackLE for WikiPedia (or WikiMedia)... at least a "black" skin under preferences? I dislike bothering you with a question like this, but could not find anywhere that deals with "skins"? -- Mjquin_id (talk) 18:09, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I have no idea if it affects energy consumption, but go to "my preferences" (at the top of any page), click "gadgets", and in User interface, near the bottom, is an option to have a black screen with green text. It is much easier on the eyes than the normal display. DuncanHill (talk) 18:45, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

1950 Atlantic hurricane season

Jimmy, For some reason I can't see this page when logged out. Do you know what's going on? Please reply on my talk. Jchthys (talk) 19:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Try the Help Desk. – ukexpat (talk) 19:40, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposal for flagged revs

Here's my idea: There is a wiki markup one can use which makes the edit appear in colour for established users; these users can then confirm the edit from a right-click menu. Unconfirmed edits would not appear to unregistered users, except the user who made the edit. When an anonymous or new user makes an edit, this markup is automatically activated for the edit. However, established users can make edits without their needing to be confirmed (except possibly in the case of semi-protected pages). This solution would keep a low backlog and a free encyclopaedia without sacrificing quality. Jchthys (talk) 04:18, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

A suggested compromise

At the risk of being accused of spamming: (well not very much)
I have suggested a possible compromise at Trial 13: Three month trial of all BLPs + flagged protection? If we can decide on this (or a modified version of it) over other possible trials, then let us have an other poll which is widely advertised including the sitenotice. I believe that people are more likely to support a particular test rather than some unknown implementation, especially when it will not lead to flagging on all articles. --Apoc2400 (talk) 00:28, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I think we should seek the smallest possible test to get the widest possible support for the test. We need to have some indication of what metrics we will look at, in order to decide if the test has succeeded. (We don't need to decide up front what counts as success or not, since there are so many parameters that it's hard for any of us to know. I regard the extremely long wait times in the German Wikipedia to be a failure that we should not accept here... but see no reason for anyone to specify ahead of time how long a queue would be ok... everyone can decide that when voting at the end of the test.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:33, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
A slight amendment to Trial 13 would bring it down to size - 3 month trial of all BLPs beginning with 'Z' + flagged protection. Riversider (talk) 23:28, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I propose a similar trial on 1000 BLP articles alongside a trial of flagged protection at WP:Flagged protection and BLPs Fritzpoll (talk) 10:18, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Quasi Slashdot-based system of flagged revisions

Since I have yet to see it mentioned anywhere, why not take a look at Slashdot's system of moderation and adapt it to suit Wikipedia's purposes? Users can be assigned points every time helpful revisions are made. Similarly, points can be taken away if something of detriment is posted upon revision. Even some sort of hierarchy can be developed, where sensitive pages could only be edited by those who've accumulated a certain point total. In any case, if something must be done, let it be done with the utmost of prescience and understanding.

Wikipedia is one of the most important sources of information on the planet. Censorship of any kind is a most serious matter and I object very strongly to the notion that it should be implemented here. However, exercising some manner of control over content from unvetted users is just common sense, just so long as the baby isn't thrown out with the bathwater. In the end, it's better to suffer through 5 minutes of embarrassment, hurt feelings and vandalism than a lifetime of censorship.

--Sloth Loves Chunk (talk) 01:06, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

This is what moderators do by banning people. Those who make libelous contributions are no longer allowed to contribute. We don't have the traffic to use slashdot moderation on marginal BLPs with a few dozen hits per day. Those who crotribute well will be allowed to sight articles, and those who do not are banned. Simple.
At any rate, your rhetoric is overheated nonsense. Flagged revisions can't be compared to censorhip, especially if we target it to low-profile biographies. You, the pseudonymous editor, don't really have the right to decide what level of suffering real people should be willing to suffer for the sake of your instant editing gratification. Cool Hand Luke 21:01, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

So, Jimmy, with all these FR comments...

What are you thinking today? If I could suggest it, whats your ideal functioning version of a FR deployment, and the testing of it? There are so many threads and discussions floating now here, there, and everywhere, that I can't even personally keep track of what is most popular now, and I was one of the people that pushed for a discussion by starting the first survey. All I can tell is that there's overwhelming support for A test of something FR. You said you wanted a vote on what to test, but what options do you want us to vote on? It might help if you narrowed down the possibles. Nothing pro, con, or otherwise will probably happen otherwise. Give us a couple options to vote on, a couple options for duration perhaps. Two votes? What to test out of a couple formulations? ANd a couple of options for duration/scope? rootology (C)(T) 08:29, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Enough with the "voting" and "consensus gathering". We've been there, done that. Its time to implement a trial run of flagged revisions and give living people the decency they DESERVE. JBsupreme (talk) 09:01, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, fuck the principles Wikipedia was based on, we need to give sighters the ability to veto contribs that they DESERVE. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 12:22, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The idea that this is a violation of the principles of Wikipedia is just false. That idea is a complete and total nonstarter. This is a technique which will allow us to eliminate semi-protection!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:46, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
My comment was somewhat tongue in cheek meant to highlight the "[...] that they DESERVE" part of his reply. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 17:16, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm the last person to disagree with you on dignity for BLPs. The problem is... which trial implementation, and for how long? rootology (C)(T) 15:58, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes. WP:DECENCY!!!!111. The policy all us fucking idiots have all been ignoring all this time. Christ. MickMacNee (talk) 23:31, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

To answer the original question: I would like to see a trial in which FlaggedRevisions replaces semi-protection.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:46, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Interpreting the word "replaces" to mean a direct one for one replacement, i.e. to apply FR only to those articles that would already meet the criteria for semi-protection, then this system would not have prevented the Ted Kennedy incident.
And just to note, while it appears not to be Jimbo's preferred choice, the proposed Flagged Protection system which others are supporting here, explicitly states that "If the article does not meet the requirements for semi-protection under the current semi-protection policy, then it should not be protected with flagged revisions either". Another problem with it is that it proposed to allow Reviewer rights to be given to autoconfirmed users - again in the Ted Kennedy incident, even after it was semi-protected, three users that would have been autoconfirmed 'vandalised' (for want of a better word) the article (1 edit of mindless vandalism, 1 serious BLP violation and 1 less serious BLP violation). MickMacNee (talk) 16:11, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Mick, how would you feel about my proposed trial - it's sort of Flagged protection and BLPs rolled into one trial? I need some feedback on the trial aspects like number of articles, number of reviewers, the extension following the first phase, etc. Fritzpoll (talk) 16:21, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

"...anyone can edit"

Will you change that now that it won't be applicable anymore? (talk) 19:21, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Why? Thousands of edits by "anyone" are reverted every day. Flagged revisions are no more than a preemptive strike against vandalism. – ukexpat (talk) 19:33, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I like that wording. Pre-emptive strike. Kill 'em all and let God sort it out. Throw the baby out with the bath water. You pretend as though IP editors were always reverted and registered users are never reverted. That is, of course, pure fantasy. Of course, I am preparing for this as we speak. I believe it is inevitable, in this age of deletionism (I can hardly bring myself to look at the AfD list anymore: half of the entries are closed without discussion for that god-damned essay and the other half are people who haven't so much as done a Google News search) and authoritarianism (we watch the abuse of the last vestiges of WP:DEAL every day). And our solution to the issues that plague Wikipedia today are to close out editing (let's face it: there will be a backlog deep as oceans and tall as mountains and nobody will ever be able to work it down until IP editors simply stop editing). But hey, what do I know. I'm just a dumb old IP who will never see the light of turning oneself into a barnstar whore. (talk) 00:11, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
A pre-emptive strike? That would be remotely plausible if it were proven that even a basic majority of all untrusted edits were 'vandalism'. The definition of vandalism is being pushed ever further towards 'an edit that does not comply with policy'. I'm all for this to be honest, if it is to justify a bar to contribution, but please can we not bullshit people about what the reasons for wanting FR are, by totally lying about what our own current definition of what vandalism actually is. MickMacNee (talk) 00:38, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Needless to say, I'm a bit miffed that we've turned to Soviet scapegoats in our newfound elitist society. Welcome to the new Wikipedia, the encyclopaedia that anyone can submit changes to be looked over by a qualified resource and approved or rejected (without any rationale, naturally) within a year. (talk) 00:56, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I really like this idea above. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jchthys (talkcontribs) 19:39, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Personally I don't believe taking it as far as making a group of editors agree on an edit would be a little too far. We (wikipedia) would get weighed down with saying yes and no to edits instead of the much simpler "undo" if it isn't relevant or just plan wrong. The color coordinated idea is fairly flawless except when it comes to a lot of individual articles such as Papilio canadensis, seeing as that article most likely wont be viewed terribly often it would stay red for quite sometime. The red would then stop the people that do visit the article to question it and possibly not allow the work to help them. I think we should just make more pages safety "locked" I don't think it would be a horrible direction to go in. After all when it comes to pages that do get vandalized it's often the higher leveled pages such as Barak Obama, Red Panda and other such FA, GA, B+ scaled articles. And once again in my opinion those should be strictly for the established users. If it does go as far as getting rid of the "anyone can edit" idea you should still allow the established editors to work freely and let other new editors become established. I'd hate to see wikipedia become something that it's not. -- IvanTortuga (talk) 21:45, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
We've had protection for years, so either "anyone can edit" is already false or it will remain true. --Tango (talk) 00:28, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Tango: It's all a matter of the degree to which the encyclopaedia can be considered free. Jchthys (talk) 03:20, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
One of the suggestions so far is to only turned flagged revs on for pages that would otherwise be protected, so that makes the site more free. Agreeing to turn FlaggedRevs on so we can try it out does not automatically mean the site gets less free. --Tango (talk) 14:28, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

IvanTortuga: The point is also that (1) an established user can make any text black, and (2) the colour can be turned off for unregistered users. (In this latter case, it might be that unregistered users can't see changes until they've been looked at a little, at least.) ¶ Actually, it would make Wikipedia freer to replace semi-protection with the colour coding: Unregistered users would be able to edit, but the edits would have to be reviewed; and the rest of the pages would remain as free as before. Jchthys (talk) 03:19, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Ah I see what you're saying Jchthys I liked the idea either way don't get me wrong but now that it's cleared up I like it more. --IvanTortuga (talk) 05:56, 28 January 2009 (UTC)


Why do most pages have little keylocks and I can't edit them. Also is there a place were I can discuss something in general? Wrestling, Music, Christmas... Mecha13 (talk) 16:48, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

See WP:PROTECTION and WP:NOTFORUM -- M2Ys4U (talk) 17:21, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
No, not as forum, but about notable things, deciding whether to create an article on so-what... Mecha13 (talk) 21:39, 28 January 2009 (UTC) WAS 4.250 (talk) 10:40, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

User page semi'd for 1 hour...

...due to multiple sockpuppet vandalism. Let me know if you want it removed before then. Thanks, NawlinWiki (talk) 18:23, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Une solution...

Bonjour a tous,

Suite a l'article

Une protection des contenue... avec une equipe qui controle les page de wikipedia est une bonne idée mais on peut rajouter a ca des avis sur les utilisateur (avec un bout de leur ip/FAI pour la base donnée) et chaque utilisateur peut donner des avis favorable ou negatif au posteur du message.

L'equipe qui verifie les article regarderont en premier ceux des utilisateur qui on des avis négatif comme ca ca simplifi la tache et pour contrer les double utilisateur le bout de l'ip et du FAI qui est dans la base identifiront les meme utilisateur.

Comme ca si l'utilisateur ce retrouve avec des avis négatif et change de créer un nouveau compte pour ce débarraser de ces avis négatif, il pourat etre retrouver par l'équipe de control et seul l'equipe de control le serat et aprés vous pouvez mettre un petit logo qui indique que l'utilisateur a d'autre compte ou le nombre de compte .... ce que vous voulez.

Pour ip et le FAI je c pas si c'est ca mais ont peut avoir beaucuop d'info sur le visiteur et des info stable qui ne change pas. Sauf si celui si utilise un Proxy...

Donc voila ma solution si vous avez rien compri je suis désoler je peut re-expliquer si vous me le demender. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mars31600 (talkcontribs) 22:35, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Not everyone here can read French. For the future, please use English when editing the English Wikipedia. Thanks. --Lightsup55 ( T | C ) 04:15, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Note: Below text is the same reply as above, however, it has been translated to French using Google Translation:
Pas tout le monde peut lire Français. Pour l'avenir, s'il vous plaît utiliser Anglais lors de l'édition de la Wikipédia en anglais. Merci. --Lightsup55 ( T | C ) 04:15, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikinews on this

I just want to convey the message accross the news-internet on this, starting with Beebs (BBC), and hopefully, after today, January 29, a viable, happy and cheerful solution will be reached.

Flag Revisions-Response; Flame wars; Encyclopaedia Britannica tests Wikipedia UGC

Yet another proposal

Basically, it is not mine. I simply read what the others proposed, what concerns they raised, and I want ot put them together this way:

Flagged revisions for all articles in WP is a negative, has so many shortcomings, that it is pointless for me to repeat them. However, among WP articles there is one very special "category", which is always treated with special care. At least, so I was told since I first made an account, and I personally was always careful about those articles. We're talking about Biographies of living persoons. I suggest to have flagged revisions ONLY for biographies of living persons. If you want to first run it as a test on a subset of it - that's a different question.

If you promiss not to introduce flagged revisions "incognito" afterwards for all articles, I believe you would get quite a big support. And by the way, consensus means 80%, not 59%. But you can get 80% if you ask the right question! I did not "vote" this time, but if there would be a new "vote", I would be one among the 21% that make the difference.

Introduction of flagged revisions brings along a new transformation of WP: introduction of "officials", called surveyors, or some other alternative name, who did not exist before, and who potentially can change the inter-relationship picture dramatically. Surveyors are not people with a mop, surveyors are people with while collar who sit in offices and receive applications; they accept or reject them based on their own personal will. It's the ideal position for someone who wants prestige and recongnition, but who does not like dedicated work without compensation. Until now, the only form to be recongnized in WP is to become an admin. But that's a difficult procedure, you have to prove you are really worth, and there is no shortage of applicants. In addition, admins, despite being people with keys, most of the time they also carry the mop, and 90% of the time they use the keys are on request by others or while performing rutine tasks. It is not a very grateful position. However with surveyors, you are going to start getting applications. Your ego can now be statisfied. Finally! The croud of people who think this way voted for the introduction of flagged revisions, but for very selfish reasons. As someone above pointed, another club run by the in crowd is born.

To avoid this, you can introduce applications (=flagged revisions), but only for very sensitive material. In such a case, the white collar job suddenly becomes much more responsible. It is hard to push POVs in biographies of living persons, regardless of the existence or not of flagged revisions. It is however quite easy to push POVs in other articles with the surveyor system around: there will be millions of edits to survey, nobody is going to survey your surveying!

I also think there is some sense to the proposal above in French, but perhaps we can simplify it a little bit. Say, if an IP address has 10 (or 20) positively surveyed articles, that address is entered in a green list: all future edits will not need surveying. However, if one single flagged revision is rejected, that IP address is removed from the green list and the count goes back to zero (yellow list). There can be also an option to put the address on a red list: all future edits will be surveyed. This kind of system can be implemented at the level of the software, and does not need human attention while running. Dc76\talk 00:36, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I think we should make a software that locates certain words and caux they are controlled by a team. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:53, 30 January 2009 (UTC)


In my opinion, it is necessary to recognize and acknowledge the strengths Wikipedia has: ease of use, breadth and extent of information, and good enough reliability. It is really a bad idea to sacrifice the first, leading to sacrificing the second, only to reach for reliability that is not necessary for the medium. Wikipedia is used for easy information for almost any subject, not reliable data, and to me it seems that this problem is mostly a PR issue that should not be lead to overextended measures. My 5 cents (sorry if a bit out of subject). RandomMonitor (talk) 10:30, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Stalin and Hitler photomontage

Stalin Hitler.png

Jimbo, what do you think about using this image (photoshopping) in Wikipedia article? (Stalin and Hitler has never met). X-romix (talk) 16:38, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

It seems like a bad idea to me, but please don't take this as a proclamation or anything.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:44, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
If Stalin and Hitler never met, then to display an image that implies they did would seem to me to be totally against the principles of an encyclopedia - to whit the neutral reporting of facts.Pedro :  Chat  09:53, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. X-romix (talk) 15:43, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
You could use it, as an example of photo trickery, in an article about PhotoShop.--Buster7 (talk) 03:31, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Semi Retired

How do you make your official status semi retired. Thanks Reallikeunreal (talk) 12:16, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Level of voluntary retirement is made known by placing a statement at the top of one's talk page. WAS 4.250 (talk) 12:52, 31 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi Jimbo.Never talked to you, but I do admire your work. Unfortunately, I think I am leaving. Cheers PHG (talk) 13:54, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi PHG. You may find this useful to you. Take care Vinegar Bits (talk) 21:20, 31 January 2009 (UTC)



I suggest a solution to reduce error and vandalism : When a personn make a new modification, she must accept a modication from an other personn but about a similar subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:23, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Sounds like an interesting idea, but with the number of edits done every minute, I have a feeling that it would not work. RP459 (talk) 18:06, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

BBC Radio 4 interview

Hi, your interview for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme was broadcast this morning. I don't know if you have heard it yet—mainly about WP:NPOV. Wikipedia's reputation can only be enhanced by such a serious discussion on our flagship station. Well done. Graham Colm Talk 22:08, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Anyone got a link to it ?? --Chaosdruid (talk) 23:56, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Try [5] at about 1:18.50. I'm not sure if it is available outside the UK, (probably is as it's BBC Radio and not BBC TV). Graham. Graham Colm Talk 00:04, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Starts at 1:19:00 --Chaosdruid (talk) 00:32, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

"Character Approved" Congrats!

Wanted to stop by and congratulate you on being "Character Approved" by the USA Network. I saw the commercial last night; it's a good way to promote the site. It seems, though, that I'm a bit behind the ball. While I was searching around for your video I came across Wikimedia's press release from a few days ago. For those, like me, who missed it for these few days USA has a nice site up here dedicated to Jimbo. Nice chunk of change as well. Congrats! §hepTalk 02:12, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

What is the situation with Flagged Revisions?

As an interested observer I am trying to understand where Wikipedia is in the process of implementing flagged revsisons. It seems that a number of trials have been suggested and that these are now being discussed and voted on. How will the final decision be made? Is there a deadline for when a decision will be made, and for when the implementation will occur? Thanks John Drainpipe (talk) 17:55, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I need to catch up on the latest myself.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:52, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Wikinews on this

I just want to convey the message accross the news-internet on this, starting with Beebs (BBC), and hopefully, after today, January 29, a viable, happy and cheerful solution will be reached.

Flag Revisions-Response; Flame wars; Encyclopaedia Britannica tests Wikipedia UGC

Two things - one, the editor who wrote this article (and likely the same editor who posted this comment) is banned on the English Wikipedia for good reason. Two, the article is really quite bad in a number of ways. I'm surprised it was published - an edit summary says "PUBLISHED: PASSED REVIEW" or some such. I'm not familiar with the standards on en.wikinews, but shouldn't the articles reflect news reporting as opposed to mainly opinion? Avruch T 00:14, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Copy and Pasted from the help desk (might shed some light)

my teacher told me that Wikipedia articles are just a collaboration of news articles put together in a way to create article about a single subject, Is this true? I have been told that 98% of references are from the news. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:55, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure exactly which percentage of references are news articles, but your teacher is basically right. We only compile information that is already available. - Mgm|(talk) 11:58, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

References from the news is probably not the best to use, Reporters write that stuff, storys get exaggerated ALOT. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Koolkittie (talkcontribs) 12:03, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

That is why we have to adhere to neutral point of view and use reliable sources. Wikipedia articles are not a collection of news reports, article writing requires much more than that. Also, news reports are not the only sources used. Chamal talk 12:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedias interpretation of reliable sources seems to be popular websites and well known newpapers. If i were to write an article using a book nobody on here has heard of, would anyone really check if the book even exists? Britannica for instance has 4000 highly specialized people who check and make sure the best sources (not just reliable ones) are used. Apparently there are only around 1000 admins (about 700) active that are made up of people of little or no understanding of how to write an encyclopedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Looks like some teachers need to go back to school again. If this were true, how could we write articles about historic events and people that no longer get into todays news - there would be no articles on Dinosaurs, nothing about early motorsport or anything about anyone born before 1940.
Wikipedia is written by people with knowledge of the subject they are writing about and with references quoted to ensure they are telling an accurate account of that subject. It is the same process by which any article of significance is written, be it at University for a degree, post degree or for any decent respectable paper published in the journal "Nature"
--Chaosdruid (talk) 14:05, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
PS some of our references may even refer to Encyclopedia Britanica's earlier versions

Why I am asking Flagged Revisions to be turned on now

Note: This section was directly linked from BITS, a blog of the New York Times and a high-traffic web site, on January 23, 2009 5:46 pm EST. The BITS article was linked from Techmeme, a high-volume web site. 16:48, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Note 2: This section was directly linked from BBC News, a very high-volume website, at 14:36 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009. -- ChrisO (talk) 19:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

"Note 3: Direct link here from 8:52AM, Monday 26th January 2009."

This nonsense would have been 100% prevented by Flagged Revisions. It could also have been prevented by protection or semi-protection, but this is a prime example of why we don't want to protect or semi-protect articles - this was a breaking news story and we want people to be able to participate (so protection is out) and even to participate in good faith for the first time ever (so semi-protection is out).

We have a tool available now that is (a) consistent with higher quality (b) will allow us to allow more people to edit it a wider range of circumstances and (c) will prevent certain kinds of BLP harm.

  • We now have a community poll indicating approximately a 60/40 support for the future. This is a very wide margin, with 20% separation between the pro's and con's.
  • The proposed configuration is significantly conservative as compared to that of the German Wikipedia, which has been successful with all articles flagged. They do, however, have an approval delay of 3 weeks at times, a figure which I regard as unacceptable. Our version should show very minimal delays (less than 1 week, hopefully a lot less) because we will only be using it on a subset of articles, the boundaries of which can be adjusted over time to manage the backlog.
  • The proposal is for a time-limited test.

To the Wikimedia Foundation: per the poll of the English Wikipedia community and upon my personal recommendation, please turn on the flagged revisions feature as approved in the poll.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:00, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Let me be the first to register my opposition to this. DS (talk) 23:03, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
To elaborate: we barely have enough people handling flagged new-articles. The backlog is almost a month long, and it would be longer if it wasn't for me personally working on it, and for me personally nagging people into creating software tools to speed up the task. Flagged revisions will suffocate under its own weight. DS (talk) 23:08, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I should not generalize, but the backlog on patrolling new articles (that's what you mean, right?) is perhaps created because many people, like me, don't see the benefits of it. However, I do see a lot of benefits for flagged revisions, and will contribute to keep the backlog on those as small as possible. Comparing the two is in my opinion not correct. Fram (talk) 07:44, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
"I do see a lot of benefits for flagged revisions, and will contribute to keep the backlog on those as small as possible. Comparing the two is in my opinion not correct" I agree 100% with that statement and will also work hard to approve these flags as quick as possible. I also agree with this new policy so long as it only applies to BLP's which get a lot of editor attention, so that the flags will be seen and approved in a day or less. As an aside, I think this will help to turn casual editors into regular contributors if we are nice to them and give them positive feedback and polite constructive criticism on their talk pages when we approve or decline their submissions DegenFarang (talk) 14:47, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
A problem with the newpages patrol feature is that not enough users are automatically patrolled, only admins and bots, so it creates backlogs. We could create a usergroup just for that but that would be of too little use compared to the added bureaucracy, while with flaggedrevs on, pages created by reviewers could be automatically patrolled. So this would help to reduce the newpages backlog too. Cenarium (Talk) 11:51, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo - is there any chance we can wait a little time so we can figure out how we're going to use it? Say 2 weeks? Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 23:04, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
You and I don't always see eye to eye, and I've had some harsh criticism in the past, but bravo. Cheers for using your power for good here. rootology (C)(T) 23:06, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
60% isn't really consensus. As much as I respect your opinion, I ask that this is postponed, at least until a more clear consensus is developed. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 23:08, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
To hell with "consensus". The majority has spoken, we don't need to wait until Wikipedia donations are drained by some silly lawsuit because we (we, as editors) couldn't see the forest for the trees. JBsupreme (talk) 01:44, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I have a feeling that the Washington Post article is going to be blown as big as Virgin Killer by other media using this message as the basis. - Mailer Diablo 23:12, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) No - good idea, Jimbo. That was tasteless, stupid and possibly offensive, not to mention the bad publicity it caused us (an example was linked above). Semi-protection would lock out IPs, and that editor could have just made a couple more edits and done the same again, and full protection certainly wasn't warranted - Flagged Revisions is a happy medium. Dendodge TalkContribs 23:13, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
There is a line of people, including me, willing and able to volunteer as "trusted users" to ensure that the revision backlog stays short. Fully support the decision to implement this on BLPs. A no-brainer. Cla68 (talk) 23:15, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I see what you're saying jimbo, but I don't believe it would've been 100% prevented. I mean, it got past RC patrol after all. Wizardman 23:17, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Not really. It was reverted within five minutes. — Jake Wartenberg 23:22, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Count me in the line of people willing and able to volunteer as "surveyor" to ensure that the initial set of articles is a reasonable set for the test. Fully support the decision to implement this on BLPs. A no-brainer. ++Lar: t/c 12:01, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Provided that this is currently to be considered a test, and provided that there is an explicit time limit -- Jimmy, you don't specify one above... -- which I suggest might be two months, I think this is excellent news. [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 23:18, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict)x2 I think we should extend it to also cover the recently deceased - we really don't want offensive comments upsetting a person's mourning family, do we? Dendodge TalkContribs 23:20, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Can we please try it for a trial period (echo Sam Korn)? I find myself agreeing with Cla68; I hear a never ending stream of complaints regarding just this type of vandalism on biographies. Bastique demandez 23:23, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
"please turn on the flagged revisions feature as approved in the poll"... the proposed configuration is a trial. Happymelon 23:27, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I just want to note that we would not turn FlaggedRevs on here on enwiki before working out some very specific parameters for the test first. Keeping an eye on workflow and seeing what can be streamlined or taken out would be very much part of our attention. --brion (talk) 23:29, 21 January 2009 (UTC) (CTO, Wikimedia Foundation)

  • As an admin who is only here for about 4380 of the 8760 hours there are in a year, and whose watchlist consists of mostly WP:BLP articles, I welcome this move with open arms. If I were not reverting, warning and blocking vandals, I could be creating new content, and just occasionaly I am able to do that. This example diff, which covers 96 edits over 10 days, shows what we are up against without this option. It's clear that whereas most of those edits may have been in good faith, few persisted. The Washington Post have, as usual for the media, picked upon an isolated glitch or two, and not, if I read the replies to their article correctly, entirely to their credit; and this is the paper of Woodward & Bernstein! --Rodhullandemu 23:31, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
But if you want to keep the Flagged Revisions backlog down, won't you have to patrol for more than 12 hours a day instead of revert for twelve hours a day anyway? NuclearWarfare (Talk) 23:50, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
No, because that activity would be rolled up into periodic reviews rather than "as occurs", if I understand it correctly. Whereas we may lose some opportunity to warn & block vandals, we would gain by only presenting defensible articles to our readers. Result! Vandals don't care much whether their versions are visible (except in certain circumstances), so if the message is that unproductive edits won't get past a Flagged Revisions approval, I'm all for that. If they're that potentially destructive, they'll fall into the hubris trap sooner or later. Sooner, nothing will happen; later, and their whole edit history is up for grabs, and it's goodbye, Mr. Vandal. --Rodhullandemu 00:01, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

With regard to the article about Kennedy, I personally attempted to revert the article and semi-protect it. Unfortunately, at the time, I was at a local store's internet café waiting for my ride home after college. The upload speed at the connection I was using was not high enough to allow me to revert and protect the page using Firefox within a reasonable amount of time. It is possible that I would have been able to to revert using Huggle, since I had been using that tool before hand fighting normal vandalism, but the request Huggle was sending to the API to retrieve the older revisions of the page kept timing out. So I tried using Twinkle, but it hung up as well; either it didn't parse the JavaScript or the server was not receiving the request. So then I tried doing it by hand. I was ultimately partly successful, but my connection was so slow that I edit-conflicted literally 15 times trying to remove the sentence manually. And after all that, I still missed part of the speculation, and it was fixed by someone else.

You cannot protect pages from Huggle, since it is designed for recent changes patrol. At the time, it was the only option I had to interact with Wikipedia's servers in a reasonable amount of time, as I explained above. While I was trying to get Firefox to send the protect form's request to the servers, people kept re-adding the erroneous information again and again, so I ( looking back foolishly) slowed it down by attempting to remove the information from a different tab while I was waiting for the protection request to go through.

I know I am not the only person on RC patrol, and I know that me saying this now will not help with regards to that article about Wikipedia's inaccuracy. I just wanted to say, for the record, that the problem was not that no one on RC patrol saw the issue, I saw it. The problem was I was physically unable to do anything about it fast enough because of my slow connection combined with the large number of edits being made to the page. J.delanoygabsadds 23:57, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

(ec)RC Patrol is a good tool, especially for potential WP:BLP violations. But still, as you say, some vandalism creeps through; semi-protection for all BLP articles would significantly reduce unnecessary edits. Although I approve in general terms of the open editing model, I wonder how much longer we can sustain it without stronger defences such as are currently under consideration, and I see these as a maturation process - I say this because there is a particularly insidious type of vandal whose edits are largely undetected, and any of which can leave us open to criticism (pls email me for details). I'd rather we were able to live without that. --Rodhullandemu
I personally had the same experience. I saw it when I looked at the page when television was reporting that Byrd had been taken away for medical reasons (they were wrong, it seems). I knew from television that there was no report of Byrd being dead, so I tried to revert. But the site was super slow at that time, other people beat me it, I got an edit conflict, etc.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:12, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • The worst argument in this thread is by DS, who has essentially said it's too much work, so he doesn't want to do it. DS's statement is easy to make for someone who suffers no ill effects from having their Wikipedia BLP vandalized. BLPs are not working well the way they are, and I'm sure Jimmy can attest to the same experience I have every time I meet a notable person: they launch into a list of complaints about their article. It gets tiresome to see the inertia in the community that causes it to ho-hum not care. We like our power, but we want none of the responsibility that goes along with it. That will be the fastest way we will lose the position we have gained on-line. Kudos, Jimmy, for taking a stand. --David Shankbone 00:32, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Worth it to note that he (Dragonfly67) is a fanatic new page patroller, perhaps the most active patroller with the longest tenure. When he describes how much work it is, we can rely on his understanding of the process. Avruch T 00:49, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • @Avruch: I'm not knocking Dragonfly, just the argument. There are a lot of things that are a lot of work. I remember back when we had zillions of copyvios on here. That took a lot of work. Flagged revs will mitigate the existing BLP problems because it will at least stem the increase. But that it's too much work? I don't buy that a valid argument to oppose. --David Shankbone 01:04, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Flagged Revisions are a good start but what to do with the thousands of BLP's that are completely unreferenced [6] or the thousands that are inadequately referenced [7]. Is it acceptable that these articles are allowed to remain? Is it likely that they will be adequately referenced in a reasonable time frame? Many of these articles remain largely ignored since creation, most of these articles are about people who do not appear in paper encyclopedias. Is it really justified keeping them on Wikipedia? Every single one of them could contain libellous content or could easily be edited to be libellous, who would notice? Even semi-protecting all BLP's would only have limited success, far better to delete all BLP articles that don't have coverage in traditional paper encyclopedias. If the WMF isn't prepared to accept its responsibilities in this regard, then shame on them and shame on you. Remember "Do no harm" whatever happened to that fine ideal? RMHED (talk) 00:38, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Can we keep the thread to its subject? Why do people have to throw in every issue when only one is being discussed? Please stop trying to derail the thread with other issues, some of which will be mitigated by flagged revs. --David Shankbone 00:42, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

(ec):::I don't see it as being that off-topic; I see the issue as being closely related to the proposal that BLPs should be permanently semi-protected, although I am in two minds on that at present. I agree with the "mitigation" idea, but couple that with a dedicated BLP task force, which may be initially very busy, but whose functions will eventually subsume into normal processes; and that could be very strong in improving the quality of our project where we are most open to criticism, and therefore should arguably be directing most effort. --Rodhullandemu 00:51, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I've spent roughly the last twenty-four months on wikibreak, and that will probably continue indefinitely (much as I would like to come back to the Project - WikiProject:Abortion was good times). However, I pop in from time to time when great things are afoot, and the BBC (falsely) led me to believe that such Things were Afoot today. I have two thoughts, coming from no well-formed opinion on the issue of Flagged Revisions: (1) It strikes me that a timed trial should have a somewhat lower "threshold for consensus" than permanent institution of a new system. Since it isn't a fundamental change to the process, but merely an experiment, there is less cause to insist on a > 70% consensus. (2) It also seems to me that, while the anti-FR folks are the ones mostly being accused of FUD, the pro-FR side is at least as guilty. In several places, editors have argued that we must adopt FR now, because, without it, the project will explode!!! Sure, there's some concern all around here, because this is an important decision - but appeals to fear don't work either way. Shrug. Thoughts from an editor who isn't around here like he used to be (but wants to). There are a lot of good ideas flying around here. I'll stay tuned from the backbench. --BCSWowbagger (talk) 02:21, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Good call

The rationale may be a subject of debate, but it is a good call to ask developers to turn on the software that allows us to test whether flagged revisions can make Wikipedia more reliable without compromising the basic principle that anyone can edit it. The discussion has already generated a very promising idea, WP:Flagged protection, which uses the flagged revision software to allow more IP edits by using it instead of semiprotection. I think this is a good way forward. It doesn't compromise our principles as flagged protection is more inclusive than semiprotection. But it also allows us to address the really serious BLP concerns that Jimbo has articulated many times. Geometry guy 00:46, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Strong endorse (with reservations). The "it's too much work" argument is bollocks. We have have no right to hold third parties open to the possibility of damage that we currently do. If we can't reduce the harm drastically, then we basically can't justify keeping 300,000 unmaintainable BLPs. However, flagged is NOT a panacea or a magic bullet. We'll need many reviewers who'll be under pressure to approve as much as possible, as quickly as possible. That will lead to mistakes. It is also unlikely that the reviewers will check assertions sourced to complex (or off line) sources. That means determined libellers and hatchet-jobers will still be able to put credible falsehoods (which are the most damaging) into articles. However, this is worth trying as it should somewhat diminish the problem,--Scott Mac (Doc) 00:51, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Just do it. --TS 01:13, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • How exactly do flagged revisions do anything to end the problem of unreferenced or poorly referenced BLP's? Even now these problem BLP's are still being created and as far as I can see fuck all is being done to stop this. If you try to blank these articles you get blocked for disruption, if you list them for deletion you get accused of disruption. According to WP:BLP only poorly/unsourced contentious content should be removed, who determines what is contentious? What might not seem contentious to most readers may well be so to the article's subject. As long as these articles are allowed to continue to exist on wikipedia, then wikipedia has no claim to be a legitimate encyclopedia. RMHED (talk) 01:17, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
WikiDefender Barnstar.png The Defender of the Wiki Barnstar
For being a leader when we really, truly needed it. Seems we may yet make an encyclopaedia. WilyD 01:19, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes self-interest is a great motivator isn't it. RMHED (talk) 01:28, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • +S It's an encyclopedia. Our "good" is information. We have a prophylactic device to prevent the distribution of "bad goods". Um, label it no-brainer. If it all goes thunk in the beginning, that's OK, we can work it out. SUPPORT. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:52, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - Although I am opposed to the trial run, I would rather it go through a trial run before it is enabled indefiniately.— dαlus Contribs 02:11, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
    • In fact, I would like to hear where exactly there exists this consensus of which you speak. I see a general amount of people in favor of implenentation for trials, but I see nothing for a complete implementation.— dαlus Contribs 02:20, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
      • It would behoove you to read what Jimbo's written before decrying it. It is, in fact, to implement a trial. WilyD 03:13, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Concur - on the Dutch Wikipedia we have a couple of years of experience with the predecessor of FR now, 'patrolled revs'. Patrolled revs work almost like flagged revs except all edits are visible. The Dutch experience is that the lag of unsighted revisions is never longer than a couple of weeks, most of the time it is no longer than one to three days. We have a rather small community compared with the English Wikipedia, so I think the lag will not be a problem here. Besides, Wikipedia is not written in a day or a month. There is no haste. There is no problem with a lag of even three weeks. Woodwalker (talk) 08:33, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Indeed, thank you very much, for stepping up, and asking for this to be installed. Even knowing you would take a lot of flak for it, I appreciate you doing what is clearly in the best interests of the project. SQLQuery me! 04:52, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. What could have been prevented, exactly? (A) A couple of articles' inaccuracy for five minutes. (B) Some bad press. (A) is so trivial I have to assume it's (B). But the genius of Wikipedia is that the principle of "anyone can edit" (and have the satisfaction of seeing their work go out to the world at once) works, even though the media chatterers don't understand or respect it. So kowtowing to bad press seems wrong-headed to me. Our future depends on those ignorant of Wikipedia's potential stumbling on an article, fixing it, and getting hooked. FlaggedRevs throws a wrench into that process, thus doing the naysayers' job for them. In the long run, I see Wikipedia becoming a less reliable and well-edited resource once this cat is out of the bag. (P.S. I am a college professor and would like to reiterate my argument about the naysayers specifically for the academic context: the professors who wring their hands about the unreliability of Wikipedia are those who don't understand it. Those who do understand it & are open to appreciating its value, or at least many of us, know that it works for precisely the reasons (even vulnerabilities) that has the ignoramuses wringing their hands.) Bottom line, why are Jimbo & others thin-skinned about bad press from writers who are rarely qualified to do justice to what Wikipedia is & ought to be in the first place? Wareh (talk) 00:05, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Sorry, but I have the feeling you don't understand how FR works. Even when IP-edits become invisible to others (that's just one option), the IP itself will see his edits immediately. Besides, (A) is a misjudgement of the seriousness of vandalism and, more seriously, what I call "bad edits" (sneaky POV, sentences becoming incomprehensive, etc). Whenever I revert vandalism, I check the other contributions of the vandal. Often I find one or two edits that have not been noticed for days, or even weeks. Woodwalker (talk) 15:12, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
      • His argument is essentially that we'll be discouraging people to make contributions by enacting this change. That is a valid argument against and one that should not be left to hypotheticals as there has already been a trial on the German Wikipedia. So what was the result for .de? Did new users contribute more, less or the same? If it is more or the same then this is an irrelevant point...if it was less, then we should really consider this carefully and the costs it will have on the whole of Wikipedia DegenFarang (talk) 15:13, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
        • Actually, Woodwalker does raise one detail ("the IP itself will see his edits immediately") that had escaped me. That is a thoughtful solution to one of my major objections, and I'm glad to hear it's part of the proposal. I still have concerns about what will represent a pretty fundamental change in the original idea of this encyclopedia, and I utterly reject that I have "misjudged the seriousness of vandalism." In my opinion, Wikipedia works by the principle of "10 steps forward, 1 step backward," and if our intolerance for the backwards steps becomes too absolute, we risk holding back progress together with vandalism, which if it happens even a little will mean a net loss of valuable contributions. Wareh (talk) 22:06, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Well, I already declared Wikipedia dead, so I guess I can't be upset when people start kicking the corpse. But it's a damn crying shame that Jimbo's the one wearing hobnailed boots. --The Cunctator (talk) 01:02, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Neutral As much as I support FR instead of semi-protection, there are gaping holes in what you propose to do, Jimbo, please specify if you would like WP:Flagged protection or something else turned on. I would also like a poll on whatever you are proposing.--Res2216firestar 21:14, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Concur. I have reverted many vandal edits (most but not all from IPs) that would have been prevented by a flagged revisions process. I think that quality and accuracy of content, particularly on recent news and "important people", is more important than instant dubious edits. Trusted users that meet edit criteria should still be able to make edits without FPs. Peter Campbell 23:02, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support: That's a change Wikipedia really needs. But I do believe we also need the many edits of anonymous editors, though it's impossible to check all the edits properly. So what if we start only with the featured articles? That might be a consensus. NCurse work 23:19, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I would argue that this issue is only significant to individual biographies'. Why should we impose this sort of change to all pages in wikipedia? There should be some additional security features on biographical pages, but not everywhere else. SCmurky (talk) 18:56, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose: This is ridiculous! Incorrect or confusing information is bound to make it into any Wiki sometimes. Learn to live with it and fix the info when it happens. The principle of anonymous editing is far more important than any of the problems it has created so far. Wikipedia is already too much of a gentleman's club where recognised editors rule the roost. A change like this would only make it worse. (deliberately anonymous to avoid cliquey behaviour). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:13, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: How about "if it ain't broke don't fix it?" Wikipedia has not earned the PR flack we have taken for this small, pedestrian instance of vandalism. Frankly, the washingtonpost never should have published such an idiotic article in the first place. Part of using wikipedia is understanding that articles are dynamic and subject to vandalism. That's why we give everyone access to the revision history. Implementing flagged revs will just slow down the editing process, place an unnecessary burden on a minority of editors, and unmotivate passive users. This is a bad idea and, in my eyes, completely contrary to what wikipedia is. --Shaggorama (talk) 21:34, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose If this ridiculous proposal goes through Wikipedia will have jumped the shark, it is finished, it will have ceased to be. The solution is relatively easy. Prevent ALL edits from accounts without a confirmed "real world" email address (i.e exclude the usual hotmail gmail,yahoo etc junk), then a considerable proportion of your problem is tackled. (not signing in right now but i'm a long term editor on a wikiholiday) (talk) 21:42, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Vehemently Oppose This Orwellian project would deter many new users. Would YOU have come back to Wikipedia the first time you started editing if your edit had to wait 3 weeks to be approved by an overlooker with no face? Think about it... Another long-time editor on a wikiholiday. (talk) 21:56, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - This would mark the end of Wikipedia as a bottom-up product. The fact that Wales is proposing it using such autocratic language only confirms the trend. It looks to me like the first significant step into turning the encyclopedia into some kind of commercial product, or a spawner of commercial products. jackbrown (talk) 22:27, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Bit hard to claim you're not a publisher if you exercise this level of editorial control. Obviously destroys the wiki concept too. Bit of a stretch claiming "Anyone can edit" a page if what you mean is "Anyone can edit the page so long as someone I approve of approves of it". Entrenching page ownership seems an obvious and abhorrent outcome too. Grace Note (talk)
  • Tentative Support, with a sugestion - I would support a limited rollout, on pages that experience the most vandalism. That would be much easier to manage than having to approve all comments. I'd like to see some data - ideally, a frequency plot, graphing frequency of vandalism. I'd imagine it's an inverse relationship, with a few pages experiencing lots of vandalism, and many, many pages experiencing almost no vandalism. Does such data exist? It would make the appropriate action much clearer. Nabarry (talk) 04:03, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
    Ahh, but the eternal problem of who will decide what constitutes a "problem", "many" and/or good faith, and that based on which conditions, still remains to be solved. Moreover, who will "police the police" - "overlook the overlookers"? Don't worry though, philosophers have been working on it for millenia :) (talk) 04:13, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm quite sure I wouldn't have taken any interest in Wikipedia 3 years ago, if that's how it worked. I also agree with Grace Note's point on editorial control and legal thresholds, which is a point I've tried to make before. KWH 07:01, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Vehemently Oppose: I tried out the German version to see what it is like. I simply added a reference book on the topic of one article, it is a technical article, about black holes, how many "trusted editors" are versed in black holes, how much time will it take for the change to take place, it has already been 24h and counting. I also donated money to wikipedia, I am definitely regretting that now, I will certainly not give money anymore. I gave money to keep wikipedia free, but apparently you are locking it down anyways without a valid reason. What? did the lousy criticism of encyclopedia Britannica and co. get to your head or what? 5 min!! It took only 5min to correct the wrong change! Studies have shown that wiki is as accurate on average as other encyclopedias, so what the hell are scared of? --YapaTi (talk) 17:22, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Also Oppose. Most people seem to be missing the point. This is a freely edited encyclopedia. It has faults. It should not be taken as accurate all the time. People who are offended by 'misleading information' can damned well be offended, because it's not correct. They can find other information through other sources and make their case if the media kicks up a storm in a teacup, but Wikipedia has no obligation to protect the reputation of other people, and no obligation to be that accurate. Its' nature accepts a few wrongs here and there, and so should others. We are not the Britannica and we should never try to be. We are a free encyclopedia liable to edits by people who haven't even registered, and this has been our calling card since this sites' inception. It is the beauty of this site, the thing that makes it what it is. I want to repeat myself: we shouldn't have to be this accurate, and we shouldn't seek to protect others. Accidents happen - we're Wikipedia, for Gods' sake.
Behind all the reasoned arguments seems to be some undertow of faux-professionalism, some reaching for a higher status or being able to rank amongst the fully funded encyclopedias, and it stinks. You're all harping on about how important internet traffic rankings are, about how much recognition we get in the media - it doesn't matter. You're getting a little big for your boots and boosting this site above its' status, and if you ask me this proposal is a symptom of that. We're simply a freely edited encyclopedia and you're pushing us to be much more than that, and to do it you're killing the basic tenets that this site was founded on. You could call that hyperbole if you'd like but it's true. It doesn't matter in what name you're doing it, you're removing from most users the ability to freely edit articles. At the moment it's only BLPs but I can see this stretching beyond that fairly quickly.
To summarise once again because I've lost myself: Wikipedia is by its' very nature often inaccurate, unsourced and sometimes malicious, but that's all it ever was and should be. It's vulgar. It's unkempt. It's freely edited by the plebs. It's Wikipedia, and it shouldn't be viewed as more than that - by its' users, by the media, by the professionals, by the other encyclopedias. This option is moving into an area that is trying to change that, and to do so, some of the basic freedoms are being curtailed, if you'll forgive the cliche. You can cover that with a cloak of "we're making it more accurate", but people who give editing a try will no longer see their results immediately and may not at all - they'll have to wait for the go ahead from the 'authorities'. It just doesn't work for this site, and I think you're taking this lovely little corner of the net a bit too seriously and slowly killing it because of that.
Also, fluff the people that get harmed by wrongful information on this site. They, the media and everyone who buys into that should be a little more mature than to take a free encyclopedia as so authoritative. We have no obligation at all to protect their reputations.
Uh... sorry for the mess of my argument and the likely gaping holes, I'm not too well at the moment. Seneillion (talk) 12:32, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Yank the band aid off quickly

You're wrong Jimbo, particularly in your assessment of "consensus," but if you're going to mandate this be done then please do so quickly and firmly so we can move past the (apparently futile) straw poll and get down to work. --ElKevbo (talk) 01:50, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Discussion for Reviewer criteria

No time like the present to start: Wikipedia talk:Requests for permissions/Archives/2009/January#Flagged revision reviewers. rootology (C)(T) 02:04, 22 January 2009 (UTC) ²

Jimbo didn't read the article

I really like the idea of flagged revisions, and I'm sure that discussion has spread somewhere else. However, I wanted to comment here about Jimbo's original post where he uses the Post's article as an example of something that went wrong: Are you nuts? Jimbo, splash some water in your eyes and read that article again. It took less than five minutes for the vandalism to be removed, and that's damn impressive. Instead of being proud of your users you instead take it as an opportunity to push for flagged revisions. What? -- Ned Scott 04:14, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Time based "flagging"

Here's a proposal which is simpler than manual flagging and could prevent most of the vandalized content from appearing: for frequently vandalized articles set a time based constraint, so that the edit appears publicly, say, only after an hour. This way there is a time window within which vandalism can be reverted and it won't appear publicly. -- anon —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:05, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

This is a good idea. Manual flagging will be fine for popular articles, but not for those articles which are edited very rarely (which represent the vast majority of Wikipedia's content). Esn (talk) 08:03, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
That is idea that also came to my mind. Also, unchecked material could actually appear in page in light gray or something clearly indicating that this information is not yet checked (so people can see what they are doing but it is not seen as "valid" information yet). Edit could be manually checked but it could "autocheck" if given time passes (no one has anything to complain). Skylarque (talk) 10:34, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
This solution is a step between the current state of things and manual flagging, so this should be tested first. It may solve most of the problems in practice, so there is no need for manual flagging at all. If we have to choose between an automatic and a manual solution then the automatic one is a better choice, because it will result in a smaller backlog and the result can almost be the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:43, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Premature announcement

While I understand that Wikia's press relation staff encourages you to react to events and make immediate announcements, and that this is the way that politicians work (proposals of news laws after a news item), I think that, again, on this occasion, you should have refrained from making this announcement to the press. The media cannot distinguish between "I'm the boss and this proposal shall be implemented" and "I'll propose this to the community, and they'll decide" (because they are used to governments and corporations operating on hierarchical lines_, and, as a result, the worldwide media has announced that editorial controls would soon be implemented.

Throughout the years, when the media played up incidents, you have announced a variety of new measures, some of which were never implemented. This has been an embarrassment for some of those in contact with the press, who had to explain why we had not delivered something we had announced years earlier.

Another problem is that this reaction blows this editorial incident out of proportion. When you think about it, it is not infrequent that the media announces the death of live individuals or other erroneous issue. In France, the chief of the news reporting in a major radio channel ordered the announcement of the death of some TV personality be broadcast whereas they had not run the necessary checks. Do you think the channel enacted rules imposing "moderators"? No. Do you think this person was sacked? No, he was promoted to a higher management position. A TV anchor erroneously announced the retirement from political life of a major political personality. Was he sacked? No, he was given a slap on the wrist. Did the TV channel enact new rules concerning fact-checking? Of course not.

Some media, or at least some of the journalists involved, have an editorial line of discrediting Wikipedia by playing up incidents at Wikipedia while keeping silent or apologetic about incidents in professional media. You will not change that by enacting new rules in reaction to their claims ­- they'll simply conclude that they were in the right, and they'll do it again. The only way you could get them to stop would be to close public editing altogether, maybe reserving it for academics and journalists. Since that's not going to happen, further attacks will necessarily ensue.

In short, while I personally approve of the "flagged revision" system, I think that announcing their implementation in reaction to what is, in reality, a minor problem, is counterproductive. David.Monniaux (talk) 11:57, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I want to second David.Monniaux's comment; we're already receiving requests from media outlets who are confusing the situation and don't know whether this was an official announcement, or what our plans are. For the press contacts, it makes our job more difficult when these things are not discussed with the Communications Committee beforehand.SWATJester Son of the Defender 16:05, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Add a category of 'validators'

Strongly support

I'm all for "flagged revision". Every day I check a range of articles I care about, mostly to reverse some really childish change from someone who thinks it clever to be destructive. It wastes small amount of time and also irritates me intensely. Especially when they keep making the same changes to the same article.

I also see the advantage in allowing new or unregistered users to contribute, provided it really is a contribution. Mostly it would take 10 seconds to figure out

You could have a new category of validators. People who don't want the committment or controversy of being full editors, but would be willing to passes a change if it serious and not vandalism. Not required to check it is true unless it is clearly a significant matter, like someone dying. Nor judge the style. I'd be willing to do that and I'm sure a lot of others would as well. --GwydionM (talk) 18:53, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Why not limit Flagged Revisions to only Biographies of Living Persons?

Object to idea in current form

Why not just have flagging only for Biographies of Living Persons? Clearly not everyone can be trusted to flag an article as such at the time of creation, but if admins can do so at a later date then the problem is solved: we can still carry on with letting anyone edit any article EXCEPT for those about living people. We could, even, have a nomination procedure where editors nominate articles for this protection. Let's not ruin the whole of WP just for the sake of a few articles. Guelphus 18:52, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Take a look at Trial 13: Three month trial of all BLPs + flagged protection that I suggested. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:22, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Strong Support - Limiting to Biographies of Living Persons is the obvious solution to this issue, if it really is such a serious issue in the first place. It is hard to believe that this isn't the first proposal! jackbrown (talk) 22:30, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support - The Washington Post blows something out of proportion, and then we get this equally disproportionate idea from Jimbo. The vandalism was fixed in 5 minutes, so I don't really think it's much of a problem, but if biographies of living persons absolutely must be accurate, then use Flagged Revisions only on that. Anything that doesn't absolutely have to be 100% accurate all the time doesn't need Flagged Revisions.Ziiv (talk) 03:54, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - C'mon, this issue doesn't apply to any other aspect of Wikipedia, just biographies. There are sometimes the same issues with political topics, but these are usually erased in the blink of an eye... I mean C'mon... Let people edit, it is too much to restrict to registered members. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bohunk (talkcontribs) 23:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - I had the same idea; we could also add protected and semi-protected articles, but it still represents a huge quantity of work... I think they should quantify the work that administrating those articles would imply. --Warman06 (talk) 12:28, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - My explanation can be found here. Dc76\talk 14:13, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Support -Indeed this is why the proposal was initiated in the first place, because of the problems we've had with scandalous editions to people who have been downright offended by wikipedia, especially powerful media figures who then publish that wikipedia should be avoided like the plague. I think that would be a great step to make to have a form of protection of this, but there are of course many many other topics that can the continual abuse wihtout protection. I would suggest a trial period and then draw up an analysis using administrative tools to form a conclusion on its success or failure. Based on evidence of it working or failing I think more people would be in a position to adequately comment on the implemenation of such a scheme. The evidence though given my Dutch wikipedians above suggests to me that the scheme has been a considerable success to date and the workload has not been too much, especially as they are far smaller than us. I say go for it for a trial period! If it works and we dramatically lower our vandalism rate without too much trouble I fully agree with Jimbo that is a major step to a more mature encyclopedia as it evolves. Dr. Blofeld White cat 21:35, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, Support, Support - This is the only option that should be considered... Set up a bot for name recognition and have that bot scan all the new pages of the day. Those pages with names should be limited for edit, by users only, and that limitation should not be removed. If it is discovered that users are vandalizing the page anyways, and this is irrefutable, then the user should be banned. If any user creates an account from that IP again, then another bot should inform the new user that their account is being subjected to increased scrutiny. At this point, all edits that that user makes, should then be reviewed within a short (couple of hours) time frame. SCmurky (talk) 22:53, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Limit flagged revisions to high-profile/important articles

Oppose in current form Why not select key articles - those with high numbers of edits/hits per day; on imporant current events and on higher profile such as Gordon Brown/Obama etc - as opposed to verifying every edit which will lead to a huge back log. With hundreds of edits every minute and the number of editors far outstripping those who are trusted to verify such edits the task will be highly labour intensive. With flagged-revisions for a few, key articles the integrity of Wikipedia can be maintained and the original idea that anyone can edit be largely maintained. (talk) 23:05, 26 January 2009 (UTC) v

But what's it for?

This may sound like a stupid question but after trying to follow the discussion I get the impression that different supporters of Flagged Revisions support it for different reasons. Are we implementing Flagged Revisions to:

1. To stop vandalism appearing to the internet, or
2. To improve the accuracy and writing in Wikipedia by allowing talkpage discussions before draft versions of article are published and before publiched versions of articles are updated? — Blue-Haired Lawyer 16:16, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think either of these are valid reasons to implement FR. Even with the trials, there will be no evidence that FR will achieve either of these things. The only convincing argument I have heard in favour of Flagged Revisions is that they could prevent some harm being caused to living persons by the WP, and that this 'trumps' any of the foundation principles about rights to edit. Trouble is, people who advocate FRs use this argument, then go on to advocate its use on articles that are not BLPs. I have yet to see any article that is not a BLP that could cause more harm without FRs than it would with them. Until advocates of FRs agree that they should be limited purely to BLPs, we have every right to be concerned about FR 'Creep' across the whole of Wikipedia, as there is otherwise no clear limit on their use. Riversider (talk) 17:23, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Just make it so...

Jimbo, time to just get 'er done - WP:CONEXCEPT. (archiving comment. Fram (talk) 20:55, 3 February 2009 (UTC))

Maybe a solution

Well I maybe have a solution but it's somehow heavy at the beginning. Each article needs to be confirmed by the moderators when they have time. Wiki can put a warning message in the article that have been changed recently and not confirmed yet by a moderator.

If the articles have been confirmed and the information they have is true, then wiki put a message (in a green background) saying that this article have been confirmed and its content is correct.

The other articles that have been modified have a warning (in an orange background) saying that the content of this article have been modified and have not been confirmed yet so maybe the information here isn't 100% correct. The articles will have this warning until it's been confirmed by a moderator.

In the case the moderator read an altered article and this new version presents wrong content, he will refuse it and the old version of the article will be restored.

This solution is not very hard to implement (in programming terms) but it will be hard at the beginning because the admins will have to confirmed every articles. So for resuming to help the programmers (if this is accepted) (I'm a programmer and webmaster so...)

Every articles can be created, altered without waiting for the confirmation.

Every articles that have been altered or created will have a warning until it's been confirmed.

Every confirmed articles will have a note saying the content is true and have been checked.

Every articles will have a backup in the case the content changed and the moderators refuse the new content.

This solution mean the requirement for two databases (one for the actual content and anther for the backups).

EDIT: one more thing to help the moderator. If anyone suspects wrong content in an article, checked or not, there will be a link for them to warn the moderators. They can enter a short message saying what's wrong.

PS: Sorry for errors but I'm french —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aerodark (talkcontribs) 17:45, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I hope this will help. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aerodark (talkcontribs) 17:44, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Little revision : It'll be better if, when an article has been changed and not confirmed by a moderator, there is a link to the unmodified one (an older version, but more realistic). (I also apologise for my english) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:35, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

One of the points to this was to stop the "edited but not accepted" version from public view until it has been "accepted". It is no use if the page says "this may not be approved yet" and instead of the article the page says "shit cock mofo" --Chaosdruid (talk) 19:05, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

"Libraries" and Larry

In the "WEBISODE" video found here, with about 54 seconds remaining in the video, you say, "...and publish them and put them in libraries..." It sounds like you pronounce the word as "lie-berries". Am I mishearing your speech pattern, or is that typically how you pronounce the word "libraries"?

Also, at the beginning of the video, there is a text overlay and your voice describing you as "Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia". The Wikipedia article about Wikipedia indicates that "Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales are the founders of Wikipedia." Would you object or have a problem if there were a video presented on a prominent website (such as featuring Larry Sanger, describing him as "Larry Sanger, founder of Wikipedia"? -- 3 Good 1 Comment (talk) 15:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I believe you are mishearing, yes. I never say "liberries". Of course, I might also have messed up a word at some point, too. My views on the founder thing are well known, so I'll decline to answer your second question.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I pronounce the word "ly-burries" and was totally unaware of this until it was called to my attention when I was a lad of ~20. WilyD 19:48, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I used to think I pronounced it ly-berry, but then my wife pointed out that I (and a lot of my fellow Pennsylvanians) actually pronounce it "Ly-bree". Huh. --SB_Johnny | talk 19:56, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

German archives

These images donated from the German Archives really are amazing. We have some fantastic historical images of places and people not just from Germany but from early German expeditions to Tibet etc and the German arrival in west africa etc. Amazing. I wonder whether anybody would consider contacting national archives from any other country and informing them about wiki's goals and aspirations. It might be a good idea to do so if it meant we could drastically improve our image resources in this way. It is something anybody has ever considered or was did they donate on their own accord without any request? Dr. Blofeld White cat 17:07, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I think The Christian Science Monitor might be open to donating historical images of the United States. (talk) 19:01, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

FlaggedRevs and WikiLove

I was hoping we might be able to have a nice cup of tea and a (rather large) sit down ("we" being everyone relating to FlaggedReves (supporters, opponents, etc.)). --Thinboy00 @082, i.e. 00:58, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I will be catching up later this week, and this weekend reviewing as much of the discussion as I can, in order to set out a proposal that will get a very very high degree of support. I am quite sure there is a strong middle ground, based on many of the comments of both supporters and opponents. It has been very sad and disappointing to me that the media has misrepresented us all so badly. There is an easy but false idea that the opponents of this are in favor of some kind of radical free speech that doesn't tolerate any limits on publication in wikipedia at all. And an easy but false idea that the supporters of this are in favor of closing down open editing. The truth is, of course, significantly more complex, and significantly more interesting.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:18, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Alternative technological solution - Historic Views

Change Wikipedia so the default view is what the page looked like an hour ago. Vandals would lose most of the incentive and almost all of their audience. Editors would have time to correct vandalism.

Users could have a preference that set whether they wanted to see the page as it was most recently edited, an hour ago, yesterday, last week, last year. Bear1952 (talk) 02:35, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

This wouldn't work to solve what is perceived as the problem though. Plenty of even well-patrolled pages do not have vandalism reverted within an hour. That's been my experience. And less popular pages can have days before anyone notices. --C S (talk) 04:15, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Furthermore, instead of seeing vandalism immediately before it is reverted two minutes later, it would become visible one hour later (for two minutes). This does not solve anything. Fram (talk) 08:05, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Heh, good point! I didn't think it through :-) --C S (talk) 08:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
It would definitely be a good step to solve the problem for high traffic pages which are the main targets of vandalism and which are monitored by lots of people. True it wouldn't catch all rogue modifications, but it would prevent a lot of them. If we talk about a trial period then this intermediary solution is a much better candidate for a trial than manual flagging (less rigid, semi-automated). Let's implement and activate this first for a month and see what happens. We can always go back to more aggressive solutions like manual flagging if it doesn't prove effective enough. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:09, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
See Fram's point right above though. Delaying the vandalism by one hour would do nothing! It just time shifts everything by one hour. Bear1952's solution, as far as I can tell, is based entirely on the premise that vandals seek only immediate gratification. The loophole is that I'm sure many of the more persistent vandals would be perfectly fine with their vandalism showing up one hour later instead. --C S (talk) 08:38, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Obviously, there should be special revert action the result of which would appear immediately, effectively cancelling out the vandalism. And there should be a rule that if the last action was a special revert then it cannot be reverted by another special revert, but the page can be edited of course. Revert should be distinguished from a normal edit anyway. If we want improvement then the edit process must be improved too. You cannot build a solid building on loose soil. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:33, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I suspected you would respond like that. What you are in effect describing is a flagged revision where instead of approving changes, you would have time to disapprove them. The advantage of an approval system versus diaspproval system, is that if nobody approves the changes, then it doesn't show up. In your disapproval system, if nobody disapproves them in one hour, then the vandalism will show up. In the situations I imagine you are envisioning, there would be plenty of eyes to watch and disapprove of obvious vandalism. In those situations, however, there would also be plenty of eyes to watch and approve of non-vandalism edits. So I see only disadvantages, not advantages, with a disapproval system as you describe. --C S (talk) 11:35, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Are most of the edits vandalism? The answer is no. Vandalism is only a small percentage of all edits. Consequently, a system which delays showing the results of an edit and displays it if noone disapproves it will allow through mostly valid modifications. On the other hand a system which relies on manual approval will accumulate a pending backlog of unapproved edits which will very likely will grow with time, since all edits must be approved. A system as large as Wikipedia shouldn't rely exclusively on manual filtering, because it will surely be a bottleneck sooner or later. That's why the semi-automated, delayed approach is better. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Of course, logged-in users could see the current revision of a page. Jchthys (talk) 16:58, 4 February 2009 (UTC)


hi jim :)

-- Zachera (talk) 03:43, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Assign me some homework

Please leave a list of links here for me regarding Flagged Revisions - be liberal - what should I be reading? I plan to spend a major amount of time this weekend (including Friday) looking at everything and trying to come up with a proposal that will be met with near-universal acclaim. Well, that's my dream but of course with a large community and a lot of opinions, that's going to be difficult of course.

Then we'll vote again and see where we stand.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:00, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Have fun! --MZMcBride (talk) 14:17, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I have a delightful pre-course research paper on Dow Jones v Gutnick, should you have some spare time for more homework once this is done :) Daniel (talk) 14:18, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
(EC) I guess you should read through the straw poll completely. It has quite a large amount of discussion for a straw poll and I doubt you read those 360kB+ of text already ;-) SoWhy 14:19, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

You may also add Wikipedia:Deferred revisions to your list. Cenarium (Talk) 17:54, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

The following is not trolling. I think you should read this thread on Wikipedia Review (feel free to do so via a proxy). I think the comments of Doc Glasgow, Kato, and One (who's User:Cool Hand Luke here, if you weren't aware) are especially perceptive. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 18:25, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
You could usefully gather and clearly broadcast (e.g. via an official FR FAQ) some reliable information: partly, facts about the impact of FR at the German Wikipedia, and partly, ground rules for the future implementation at en:wp (discussion now is bogged down due to a list of not-very-well defined "trials" with little clarity on what rolled-out configuration the trials are intended to prototype).
  • Would FR create an unmanagable backlog? The statistics for de:wp are widely misunderstood, e.g. claims that it typically takes a week or longer to flag an edit (wrong). Discussed at WT:FLR#21 days?, with links to useful graphics on the German situation kept by de:Benutzer:ParaDox.
  • There was a debate on this page about whether there was a decline in new users at de:wp coincident with starting FR. The most easily accessible statistics (Eric Zachte's) suggest this, but IIRC this is an artefact and really there is no decline. This should not be buried in your talk archives.
  • Somewhere in the talk linked above is the claim that the Recent Changes Patrollers at de:wp have refused to cooperate with FR. If true this is a minor organizational disaster, as ideally FR should work seamlessly with RCP. So find out what happened and why. (RCP people are not notably supportive at en:wp, either).
  • The recent reader's survey included questions about FR. Why not announce the results?
  • If FR is to be used to protect BLPs, answer the many queries about whether editors will incur any liability if they inadvertently "validate" libel.
  • Lack of clarity on who would be eligible to flag is causing opposes claiming this would be a small elite. You could at least say that on "roll-out" the qualifications will be "no harder to get than XXX", with a plausible estimate for the (minimum) number of users who would qualify. PaddyLeahy (talk) 21:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
  1. The unanswered FR posts on your talk page and its recent archives.
  2. This section of Wikipedia talk:Flagged revisions about Ted Kennedy
MickMacNee (talk) 22:19, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Britannica uses Commons images

Jimbo, I just read your interview in Deutsche Welle with Michael Knigge, where you suggest that traditional encyclopedia's might look to our images to cut costs. Britannica has actually already been doing this for some time. See, for example, the lead images in "soundboard" and "Edward O. Wilson". Although they don't explicitly credit Wikipedia or Commons as the source, they are using both under the GFDL and as far as I know our projects are the only place they would have found them under that license. I've found a few other of my own images on Britannica as well. I'm not sure what the scale of free image use is overall, but I think most of the new images they are adding these days are free, with many coming from us. I first noticed my images being used in September 2008, and more have popped up since then.

Nice interview, by the way.--ragesoss (talk) 20:21, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

EB is very nervous, since it is 249th while Wikipedia is #8

E Britannica has gone wild. It wants a chunk of the online thing. It has studied the matter, though. For me, since this is democracy. THERE MUST BE A VOTE on this from a) registered users and b) anonymous, to be submitted to Jimbo Wales for final countdown.

I just want to convey the message accross the news-internet on this, starting with Beebs (BBC), and hopefully, after January 29, a viable, happy and cheerful solution will be reached. *Encyclopaedia Britannica fights back against Wikipedia, soon to let users edit contents;
  • Discuss; Any rejoinder, comment or what? Please share your thoughts on this. Cheeers. Palo alto.-- (talk) 11:24, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Jimbo's philo

"You may edit this page!" Really, you can! Please feel free to do so. Just do it! Make an edit! Make several edits! Make thousands of edits! After all, that's what Wikipedia is all about! -- (talk) 11:26, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

A different approach on content approval from enterprise collaboration

I have a commercial approval workflow product for Confluence (an enterprise wiki), and wanted to share my approach towards content approving.

I understand that enterprise collaboration is not the same as Wikipedia, but it could give you guys some ideas.

In a nutshell, these are the concepts:

  • Read-only users view by default the published version of a page, but they can also look at the draft (unapproved) version at any time
  • What version people are looking at is visually evident
  • When a page is edited, it has to go through the approval process again
  • When a page is edited, Reviewers (moderators) get a notification
  • When a page gets approved, it becomes the published version again
  • Reviewers can approve or reject changes.
  • Different workflows could be applied to different user roles or type of content

My ideas for Wikipedia:

  • Maybe you want to move from flagging content to (figuratively) flagging contributors: The level of workflow required would be based on the level of trust of the contributor. i.e. unregistered users would be subject to a more stringent approvals process than registered or trusted users.
  • Any registered user could moderate a page, by subscribing as Moderator to it and they would get notified when changed
  • You can track the behaviour of Contributors and Moderators to increase (or decrease or even flag) their trust level
  • The concept could be applied to sections on pages... although that could add complexity

At the end, it is only a small percentage of people that actually contributes (90-9-1 theory) so I think adding extra steps will not discourage collaboration.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Some of these concepts might have already been discussed, but have a look at what I have so you know what I am taking about.

Rodogu (talk) 06:03, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Example of what Flagged Revisions on all BLPs would have prevented

There has been a lot of discussion about the Ted Kennedy edits that speedied the latest FR implementation suggestions, and how such fast reverted edits are not a good reason to have flagged revisions and so on. People also asked about examples of actual BLP problems.

I just came across a typical (thankfully relatively rare) example of a low-profile WP:BLP (some 100 views a month only) where very serious and open vandalism (a.o. the false claim that someone was sent to jail for ten years for molesting a five year old) went unnoticed for nearly two months[8]. We have to take our responsability and take every measure reasonably possible to prevent such dreadful things to appear in what is supposed to be an encyclopedia. Flagged revisions is one (good) solution to achieve this, despite the drawbacks it has for well-meaning new editors. Fram (talk) 11:55, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

So I hope you will oppose any version of FR that would not have prevented this case, as not being fit for purpose. In just the same way that a retraction will be due from Jimbo if he somehow comes up with a proposal that would not have "100% prevented" the Ted Kennedy incident.
I hope that you might also realise that if in your words the case here is "thankfully relatively rare", why many people would then think that applying a blanket measure such as Flagged Revisions is not very appropriate at all. I contrast it as the British Government contending every citizen must be forced to carry an identity card, on the presumption that is the best way you can catch terrorists, which happen to also be "thankfully relatively rare". Why not for example in this specific case take a more intelligent approach, and implement sopmething that prevents or flags any edit that adds the word "molesting", instead of forcing onto all BLP articles an incredibly blunt and incredibly bad faith assuming measure? (and any interested observers, please, stop before you say it, these valid concerns with what FR is/could be cannot all just be washed away by referring to the quite irrelevant 'advantage' of FR of opening up the tiny minority of protected articles).
And to further address the specific example you give, maybe you can expand on why anybody would be likely to believe that one sentence claim, when it was added to the article along with another 15 sentences, which at best hint at the whole thing being a hoax, and at worst, screams delete me now for being total WP:BOLLOCKS. We can also discuss how an editor in between the vandalism and your removal 'fixes the article for typos' [9] without noticing that it is 90% complete bollocks? Even when one of the typos is a few words away from the molesting red flag. A systemic failure perhaps?
And finally, as an admin, perhaps you can tell me why the IP user is not now blocked, irrespective of how long ago the edit occurred. Incidentally, the now famous bad account on Ted Kennedy was also not blocked immmediately after his first edit was a BLP violation on an unrelated article. Another systemic failure?
I'm all for criticla analysis of cases 'FR would have prevented', because they frequently pose more questions than they answer, about the whole model of Wikipedia, never mind how we efficiently and intelligently prevent BLP violations. MickMacNee (talk) 17:16, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
To a significant extent, I agree with Mick here - as a broad supporter of FR being used on BLPs, I think it is unhelpful to make blanket statements such as "FlaggedRevs would have prevented X" - we simply won't know if this is true until we try it out, and, as a restatement of what I believe is Mick's point, what the extent, if any, of the negative consequences are. Highlighting these issues is important, but making broad unsupported judgements is not helpful in the reconciling the two sides of this ongoing debate.
As a side note, we can't block the IP after two months due to the preventative nature of blocks. Blocks are not meant to be punishment. Fritzpoll (talk) 19:42, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Why should we insist upon anything like 100% success rate for FR? People dying in car crashes is bad, seatbelts reduce the number of people dying, but they do provide a 100% survival rate. BLP violations are bad, FR will likely reduce the number of issues, but will not completely prevent them. Seatbelts are a good idea and so, probably, are FRs. PlasticExplosive (talk) 17:07, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

But the phenomenal success of Wikipedia lies in all sorts of editing

When Jimbo created Wikipedia, he never knew it would cripple the giant EB, so, let us be conservative. Let free editing go.[10]-- (talk) 14:05, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Who decides what is notable ?

A few days ago I added an entry to the Geocaching Wikipedia entry. I put information about a new innovation in Geocaching called TextCaching. A few days later the edit was gone. I went back the the site and refined my entry and looked for a better place to insert the information. Because TextCaching creates an instant multi-cache, I put the information after the last entry for Multi-caching and I posted reasons for my entry on the discussion page. A few days later the entry was gone. I went into the Discussion page and found this: Nothing showing up on GoogleNews...again. Removing as not notable enough for inclusion for now. §hep • Talk 00:42, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Now, granted, I have a biased opinion, as I am the inventor of TextCaching, but I believe that it is notable. I have just recently started publicizing the site because without any advertising I got users in the U.K., Germany and the United States. So my question is, who decides what is notable ? 2050 media (talk) 06:15, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Notability is usually determined through consensus of the Wikipedia community, rather than any individual editor. Cheers, –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 06:25, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I rather work to the criteria that an independent reliable third party needs to have published material (for good or bad) in respect of the subject for it to be notable, and that the role consensus plays is deciding whether the sources provided make that standard. I know that in cases the claims made for a subject may be deemed notable, and there may be consensus required on that, but I still prefer that someone else has already noted the fact. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:22, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Would this not also fall under original research ? --Chaosdruid (talk) 22:15, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Consensus expressed through the notability guidelines: what is notable in one sector of society/world/universe may not be in another. Yes but. Each case is slightly different. Babakathy (talk) 10:48, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Section 230

While this query does not necessarily fall under your request of "homework", I haven't seen any specific discussion from either yourself or Mr. Godwin in regards to a significant concern. I am interested in knowing how these changes are perceived to affect the Foundation's Section 230 immunity. Since Flagged Revisions may require the assigning of specific rights to users to enable them to sight article revisions, does this create de facto agents of the Foundation? Will the Foundation's "hands off" requirement be affected by having these agents approving official versions with a potential move to Flagged Revisions? Under Section 230, liability is assigned to the person creating the content, not with the entity that is hosting it, but with an approved version does this liability potentially shift? Also, since you personally are a member of the Foundation and you have stated in the past your desire to direct the developers to turn on Flagged Revisions, although you appear to have have retreated from that assertion, does this also potentially cause a tectonic shift in the Foundation's immunity under Section 230 because of your involvement? --Chasingsol(talk) 09:42, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Who can flag revisions will be decided by individual project communities, not the WMF. I don't see a problem. I think Mike has said somewhere that he's confident there is no liability for the WMF. There could be a liability for whoever does the flagging, though, which needs to be considered - it's probably a very low risk, though. --Tango (talk) 12:48, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Maybe independent counsel is needed to assess the potential risk to editors. DuncanHill (talk) 12:50, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
In regards to Tango and DuncanHill's remarks. Liability for material is already the concern of the editor. If, for example, I posted libelous information on Wikipedia, the liability for that content solely rests with me and not with the Foundation. Under Section 230, the host has immunity from liability in regards to content that was provided by a user of their service, under certain conditions. My concern is that if a technical measure is implemented to enforce official versions of content, along with Jimbo's involvement in pushing for the measure to be implemented (he voted for the trial and has discussed requesting it be turned on), it raises some important questions. Wikipedia would likely not exist without Section 230 immunity. The exercise of approved editorial control and specific direction being provided to exercise that control, may potentially erode that immunity. Hence my inquiry for more analysis from both a contributors and the Foundations standpoint. --Chasingsol(talk) 13:16, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
According to the majority opinion of the California Supreme Court in Barrett_v._Rosenthal, it would appear that only the originator of defamatory content can be held liable for said content. As far as I know, that decision has never been put to a hard test. Also, I am not sure if the person sighting a page would be considered the "originator" of the content, but (from my extremely limited knowledge of this portion of the legal code) I think that is highly unlikely. J.delanoygabsadds 14:22, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I am not worried about this aspect of things in the least. Section 230 immunity for the Foundation is not at all compromised by the involvement of the Foundation in decisions of software policy. Indeed, this is the entire point of Section 230 immunity: to allow for even direct interventions into content without creating new liabilities. The Foundation is legally responsible for what the Foundation does. Libellers are legally responsible for what they do. Furthermore, my participation here is in my traditional capacity in the English Wikipedia community, not as board member as such. (But even if it were, I don't see it raising any very interesting questions. The Foundation is allowed to turn on and off software features at will, just as every other internet service provider is.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:24, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree completely with all of that, however you haven't mentioned the point about the liability of the person doing the flagging. If you post something libellous and I then flag it as being ok, could I get in trouble? The case mentioned by J.delanoy certainly seems to be in my favour, but our article doesn't talk about what actually happened - did the "republishing" carry the kind of endorsement that could be thought of as being implicit in flagging? My personal (non-lawyer) opinion is that we just need to be careful what we say in the rules about flagging - if we say the edit has to be free of libel, then we might get into trouble, if we just say it has to free of "obvious libel" then I think we'll be ok (an example of non-obvious libel would be a false, negative statement with a fake source). --Tango (talk) 19:50, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the wording of the endorsement should be worded carefully, not just in light of Section 230, but also of what is reasonable to expect of people. In the first uses of this, I think the meaning should be not materially different from the meaning of a rollback to a prior version, i.e. a meaning of "at a glance, this looks better than the alternative - but I promise nothing".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:04, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree, I think part of (if not most of) the reason the German's have such a backlog is because they are expecting too much of reviewers. This is quite different from rollback - rollback says "this edit is bad", it doesn't pass any judgement on the edit before. Flagging says "this edit is good". Rejecting something is far less problematic than endorsing it. I think we need to stick the word "obvious" in there somewhere. That doesn't remove all liability, but if someone does flag something that contains obvious libel, they probably deserve to be sued - people flagging BLPs do have at least some duty of care, morally, if not legally. --Tango (talk) 20:28, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Can we have an independent counsel to give an opinion on the liability of editors who flag/sight? Or does the Foundation not stretch to paying for that? DuncanHill (talk) 20:32, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean by "independent"? There's no case yet, so there are no parties to be independent of. I agree, though, an expert opinion on this would be useful. --Tango (talk) 20:59, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Independent as in not looking to the Foundation's interests, but rather to the editors'. DuncanHill (talk) 21:01, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
The two aren't really at odds with each other... They're different, sure, but not contradictory. --Tango (talk) 22:20, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
(indent)I would disagree that the Foundation has any concern with the liability of the users of the site. It is not their concern, since the Foundation is not responsible for the content that is posted. I appreciate Jimbo taking the time to respond to my queries, it answers some questions, but does raise others. As J.delanoy has mentioned and which I failed to elucidate, liability for "sighting" a Flagged Revision would appear to also fall upon the person making the revision since it is no different to republishing of prior content. Case law is rather lacking in depth in regards to this issue, so it may be an "unknowable unknown", but the concern is no less reduced and could be a major impediment. Will revision sighters be willing to potentially accept liability for the content that they approve? Further information can be found at the EFF's website at [11], in particular the statement: The courts have not clarified the line between acceptable editing and the point at which you become the "information content provider." To the extent that your edits or comment change the meaning of the information, and the new meaning is defamatory, you may lose the protection of Section 230.--Chasingsol(talk) 23:11, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Sighting would not change the meaning of the originators edit, it simply allows it to be viewable (or not). Likewise, the allowing of the viewing does not change the meaning of the article as it is the originators edits that do that, and therefore the sighter is operating under the same 230 protection as does the site itself. My opinion only, though, and I am not a solicitor or barrister (and nor do I play one - but I have employed their services). LessHeard vanU (talk) 00:47, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the crux of the matter is that there is the potential for liability to exist, an assertion that the EFF agrees with. I personally would be unwilling to act as a revision sighter if I could conceivably be held liable for another persons content that I have taken an action to publish. The concern is valid and it may not be possible to address affirmatively since there does not appear to be any precedent established by the courts in regards to specificity. --Chasingsol(talk) 01:10, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Reviewing the site, I was struck by the following;

Do I lose Section 230 immunity if I edit the content?

Courts have held that Section 230 prevents you from being held liable even if you exercise the usual prerogative of publishers to edit the material you publish. You may also delete entire posts. However, you may still be held responsible for information you provide in commentary or through editing. For example, if you edit the statement, "Fred is not a criminal" to remove the word "not," a court might find that you have sufficiently contributed to the content to take it as your own. Likewise, if you link to an article, but provide a defamatory comment with the link, you may not qualify for the immunity.
which appears to say that only by altering original comment to change its meaning makes a sighter potentially liable, and by only reviewing/passing content this does not arise - the sighter approves publication or not, and does not edit at all let alone change the meaning. Think of copy editors, they correct spellings, syntax and grammar but are not held responsible for the content contained within the use of the words. LessHeard vanU (talk) 01:25, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
The difference arises because sighting a revision creates an official (for want of a better word) version of the content, which a person may be required to exercise reasonable care to prevent defamatory content from being posted. You'll note that the EFF isn't specifically saying that someone would not be liable, it simply has not been established by precedent. We also don't know if copyediting an article that contains defamatory material creates liability, it may. Flagged Revisions however goes beyond mere copyediting and the like since it creates a situation where the content did not exist in an public immediately viewable format. A revision sighter may be liable, but there is no way of knowing unless a court establishes precedent. That is the concern, that there may be liability, which is problematic. --Chasingsol(talk) 01:47, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the sighter is analogous to the publisher, even more than the site/host, by the wording - editorship includes the decision to publish, even in part, and the protection holds providing that the meaning is not altered. Everything that is published, or broadcast, or made available, is the "official version" until it is superceded. However, as I said I am not a legal professional and this is my take of the wording I have seen. Others, including those with training in the law, may have a different interpretation. LessHeard vanU (talk) 02:01, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Possible change to Criteria on Speedy Deletion

Hey Jimbo, I know its rare to see you discussing policy changes nowadays, but maybe you might be interested on this one Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#RfC:_Reverting_speedy_deletions_-_administrator.27s_guide Thanks!--Cerejota (talk) 10:48, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Mr. Wales' USA networks "Characters" spot

It is clear that anyone who, when asked for an explanation of themselves as it relates to their greatest accomplishment, cannot measure themself in anything but racist terms (old white men) is, at his core a racist. Not that we can't benefit from the contributions of a racist, but it's important to know who one's idols really are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:08, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I fail to see how "old white man" is a racist term in any way.-- Darth Mike  (join the dark side) 16:05, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. That's one of the weirdest arguments I have ever heard.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:25, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps we need an article entry on the idea of Old white men to explain the idea the IP?--Tznkai (talk) 21:41, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
That was out of line. I'm not saying the OP has a point, but it is considered out of touch in some places to say a person can be 'white'. (talk) 21:57, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Sunday Times article

Just thought you might like to read the Sunday Times article, featuring an interview with you, in which Giles Hattersley lies about Wikipedia's coverage of him. [12]. DuncanHill (talk) 16:37, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm aware of the article, can you expand upon what you mean about him "lying"? I have already taken serious issue with the article and asked them to retract it - I am badly misquoted and misrepresented in it, in a number of ways. I took at face value the honesty of his complaints about Wikipedia, though.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:53, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

What I take it DuncanHill is refering to is that Giles Hattersley talks about his own entry on wikipedia but that there is no record of such an article existing until it was created today after the article was published. Davewild (talk) 20:03, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I created it as a rebuttal, if some Admin doea not wake up and protect the page we will look like even bigger idiots, who cannot even defend ourselves properly. FGS Wales get your act together, wake up, and defend this project from this rubbish. Giano (talk)
What I mean here by lying is deliberately saying something that is untrue. It is of course possible that someone in the pub told him that we had an article with false statements in it, and he took their word for it without checking his facts. DuncanHill (talk) 20:17, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Why is a 30 year old fashion journalist worthy of a Wikipedia article anyway? Personally, I preferred having no article at all - so anyone who goes to look can see that Mr. Hattersley was simply wrong. I'm interested to know what proposal Jimmy is making tomorrow that the article refers to, though. Avruch T 20:24, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I have an idea, and I'd appreciate some help researching this. Perhaps the bit about him having his own entry was the doings of an over-eager editor, and he didn't write it that way. Is it possible that our entry on Roy Hattersley at some point listed Giles as his son? Or that the claim appeared in Wikipedia somewhere at some point in time? I think it quite important that we be 100% sure our facts are right.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:05, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I haven't found anything, but I didn't search every article of course. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:10, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Have just used Wikiblame to search the Roy Hattersley article for the word "Giles", and it at no time appeared in the article since at least 14:34 on the 4th July 2007. I could search further back, but I suspect that such a search could be done faster by someone at the Foundation. DuncanHill (talk) 21:13, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
The article doesn't have that many revisions and presuming it's working properly wikiblame found no mention of Giles or giles ever in the Roy Hattersley aricle. No deletions in the log so only possibility I could have missed presuming the tool is working would be oversights since I obviously can't see that log but it seems to me not that likely unlike with the Giles article. Also looked in the Roy talk page Nil Einne (talk) 21:37, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
using the same tool, no mention of a Roy in Arena (magazine). We're looking for a possibly phantasmal needle in a very large haystack.--Tznkai (talk) 21:52, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
No Roy or Hattersley in The Sunday Times according to Wikiblame.--Tznkai (talk) 22:03, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I have emailed the Sunday Times to complain about the article, will update when/if I get a reply. I also tried to add a comment to the online version of his story, but it does not appear to have been published. DuncanHill (talk) 21:07, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
(EC) Jimbo, since you are currently involved in this it my be best to mention it to you. As highlighted above and in other places e.g. [13] it appears to most people that Giles Hattersleys article was only created recently after Giles Hattersley's story in the Times upon which it was deleted by you not long after. This makes it sound like Giles Hattersley story was nonsense (ignoring how he misquited you) since we didn't have an article on him until he made noise. As a BLP regular, I understand why an article may be oversighted if it contained highly inaccurate or libellious information but given what's happened here, we need to clear up ASAP if this (oversighting the article) is what happened or else people who don't research the story properly are going to start accusing us of trying to hide the fact we did have a potentially libellious article for a while. Cheers. Nil Einne (talk) 21:14, 8 February 2009 (UTC) So just to be clear, the article has never been oversighted then? Nil Einne (talk) 21:15, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with your concern completely. I am deeply concerned about us making an allegation that Mr. Hattersley has lied. That, if true, could be a job-ending issue at a newspaper of strong reputation, which the Sunday Times is. For this reason, I have deleted the article about Mr. Hattersley, which appears to me have been created for the sole purpose of making this claim. Wikipedia is neither a tabloid, nor a newspaper of any kind. There are many possible explanations for what Hattersley wrote, including but not limited to:
  • An overzealous editor misunderstanding what Hattersley actually wrote, and turning the claim false in the process
  • An old version of the article which was oversighted - but I have checked the oversight logs and personally found nothing... although I would like to have this confirmed by others, more experienced than I in oversight log checking
  • An innocent error on the part of Mr. Hattersley based on a faulty memory of the claim being made on the other Hattersley's page - though people seem to have adequately checked up on this as well
  • An innocent error on the part of Mr. Hattersley based on a faulty memory of the claim being made on some completely unrelated website (who knows, only he can help to shed light on that)
Giano was deeply wrong to create the article and deeply wrong, as usual, to bark at people about it. However, I have unblocked him because this is not really about Giano, and I trust that he has the good sense to stay very far away from this situation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:57, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The page Jimbo was written to set the record straight. It was factual, it was referenced and it was accurate. The matter was widely known and discussed for 21 hours before I wrote the page. The page was openly writen, I also discussed it with an Arb at the time I was writing it. I posted openly concerning it on the Admins Notceboard, where upon it was vastly edited and expanded by others. The page needed to be written by an editor, who if checked would be seen to be a reliable mainspace editor; my mainspace edits are reliable. You are reading far too much into this, and quite frankly I find your aspertions insulting. If you had dealt with this matter 24 hours ago, when Wiki En began reporting it, you would not find yourself in this mess. It was not deeply wromg to write the page, it was the right thing to do. Giano (talk) 22:52, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a tabloid, sir, and your writing an article which cast aspersions upon a journalist at a reputable newspaper, based as it turns out on a misunderstanding of the facts, was completely unacceptable. Your persistent barking at others was and is equally unacceptable. As it turns out, and of course unknown to you, I was dealing with this matter in a timely fashion. But, the right way to handle it is not to write a hatchet-job article as you did, but to allow me to contact the journalist and his editors to find out the facts in an orderly manner. Your mainspace edits are precisely what is at issue here: you engaged an egregious BLP violation. I recommend that you stay very far away from doing things like this in this or any other similar situation henceforth lest you earn yourself what will be a richly deserved permanent ban.
I cannot for the life of me understand why someone who likes to fashion himself as a good mainspace editor would even begin to imagine that the right way to respond to Mr. Hattersley's article would be to do what you did. Shame on you.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:22, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
"based as it turns out on a misunderstanding of the facts" - do you have a reliable source for that? DuncanHill (talk) 23:24, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • It's also worth noting Mr Hattersley's other example - the article on Deal Castle which he claims was started by an 11 year old. It may well have been, but that was in 2004, so it's hardly breaking news. DuncanHill (talk) 21:18, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
    Didn't we have a 10 year old admin at one point? Who cares... --Tango (talk) 21:45, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

These two forum postings that are completely unrelated to Wikipedia say that Giles is the son of Roy: [14], [15] --Apoc2400 (talk) 22:11, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Just a word about the state of the majority of British national newspapers, and especially those from the News International stable; check your calender against the date printed on the front page - just in case they are making that up as well. LessHeard vanU (talk) 22:35, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Please be careful not to traduce Mr Hattersley; he has written about many notable people, including Peaches Geldof and Paris Hilton; he has also interviewed people of lesser import, such as Jilly Cooper, although she does complain that he got that wrong too. Let it not be said that whereas mainstream journalists, paid a relative fortune to preen and peacock on expense accounts, sometimes get it wrong, whereas we unpaid volunteers, giving up a lot more than our time, also do so from time to time. When I write an article here, I'd hope it stays written because I care enough to try to make it so. Would that others had the same commitment. This whole thing makes me feel ill. Actually make that "more ill". --Rodhullandemu 22:47, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
    • What he said. I think a lot of people fell for the mistake of thinking the Times of today is the stolid, newspaper-of-record Times of fifty years ago. It isn't. – iridescent 22:40, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Even The Times crossword isn't what it was, which is why I switched to Araucaria in The Guardian. Now that is a crossword that can take up to an hour to complete! --Rodhullandemu 23:01, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Sunday Times

Can we now assume that the Sunday Times is no longer a reliable source? DuncanHill (talk) 23:59, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

It was always the somewhat less reliable version of The Times. There is no such thing as a 100% reliable source, that's one of the reasons it is so important to cite sources, it allows people to judge the reliability of the information for themselves. --Tango (talk) 00:04, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
That's one of the most common sense explanations of the reliable sources policy that I've ever seen. Cla68 (talk) 00:51, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Most Wikipedia policies are easy to explain using common sense - it's the applications of them that go horribly wrong. --Tango (talk) 11:22, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

(od) Depends a lot on which bit of the Sunday Times. The Insight Team are one of the finest investigative journalism groups in the world, a reputation built over thirty years. In contrast, the style and lifestyle is much less reliable but it's only intended as frothy light reading. --ROGER DAVIES talk 12:17, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

The Insight Team (or what was leftof them) were dispanded in the 90s.Geni 12:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Huh? Either them (or a clone) has behind the peers and cash investigation a week or so back. That said, I don't read the Sunday Times .... --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:19, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Neither. The term has become a tag to use on any bit of inhouse journalism that they want to give prominace to.Geni 13:43, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
It was always like that. The core team was always small, pulling in people/resources as needed. A source close to the Sunday Times tells me that the permanent core (three) went in 2005. --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:55, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

A suggestion for spending your money


Just defended my dissertation; I'll be losing access to my university library's databases in a few months. I suggest that Wikipedia get the same access to various databases (JSTOR, AcademicSearchPremier, etc) that your local university has, and choose a team of volunteer researchers to utilize that access. Of course I volunteer to be one of them. ;-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:21, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Count me in too!:) prashanthns (talk) 11:58, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
What companies own the databases we'd like some access to?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:33, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure there are tons of them. Some well-known ones for starters:
Are those all independent companies, or are they owned by major publishers?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:41, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
If this could be pulled off somehow, and reasonably on price, it would be made of awesome. rootology (C)(T) 14:45, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I am not in academia and JSTOR would be so useful for Wikipedia. I have thought the same. I suggest Wikipedia invest in this and newspaper archives. I don't know how it could be co-ordinated, though. Computerjoe's talk 15:13, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Many universities offer borrowing privileges for people who donate $US250 (or other amount) to their library. I'm not sure if off-campus access to databases is included. That probably depends on the university, and if it is included, it may be more restricted. That's another option to look into, and the borrowing privileges would certainly be helpful too. --Aude (talk) 15:22, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
This has been suggested several times before in various forums. The main issue is that no company wants to give away their resources to everyone capable of registering a Wikipedia account. You've go to be able to set some sort of threshold for who gets access. Or, alternately, I suppose the Foundation could buy licenses similar to those that universities buy, but the cost would likely be very prohibitive. --MZMcBride (talk) 16:30, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Nonetheless worth talking JSTOR atleast. It would go a long way in improving several important categories of articles...also, JSTOR is non-profit. Worthwhile for the fondation to buy access and have a Wikiproject with access to it. prashanthns (talk) 18:31, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm asking for selfish reasons, but what would that kind of individual access cost per year/month? — Ched (talk) 17:29, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Most of them don't offer individual subscriptions (including JSTOR). This was indeed discussed at length and in detail on the mailing lists recently. Might be useful for participants in this discussion to look that up and see what useful information has already been dug up. Avruch T 18:56, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
@Ling.Nut. My public library, one of the best in the nation, offers a limited selection of such databases to any cardholder. These databases are remotely accessible via a proxy. The only authentication is that you have to enter your library card number. [16]. A godsend for those without access to a large university's subscription. I suggest that the public library (online and off-line) is a valuable alternative to subscribing to private databases. -Truckbest23098 (talk) 18:41, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Not always an option. I live in a small borough. Our libraries don't have access. Computerjoe's talk 19:20, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Don't be so sure. Do some research. There are many free resources available. Many universities allow local residents to enter their library for free and use their collections online and off-line. The resource I cited is available to anyone who lives in Massachusetts. Residents of many small towns in the western part of the state like North Adams and such have access to the BPL's entire circulation network. What is the general area of your residence? I bet I could find something.--Truckbest23098 (talk) 19:31, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I do have a university nearby but I don't fancy trekking there and back. It would be good if Wikipedia could get editors access (perhaps editors could apply to view specific articles to ensure it's not just used by the general public) in the right of Wikipedia. I don't see how/why they'd object. Computerjoe's talk 22:09, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
My point, of course, is that Wikipedia is a non-profit organization that was most recently having trouble raising money and considering ad placement. As such, the organization is not in a position to spend money unwisely. High quality database subscriptions are expensive, reaching into the five figures for institutional access. As you yourself demonstrate, a free alternative is easily available. Moreover, the distributed nature of Wikipedia ensures that someone somewhere will likely have access to a particular requested article. In other words, the plan of giving a limited subset of Wikipedians access to these databases is already in place. There is already a large number of people on Wikipedia who have access to these databases. Perhaps those with access can flag themselves so people in need can contact them and they can pass a copy of the article along. Now, if you're talking about paying for every Wikipedian to access these databases, I'm listening. --Truckbest23098 (talk) 00:01, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
While it is true that Wikimedia is a non-profit without a large budget for things like this, I just wanted to say that we were not "having trouble raising money" and absolutely were not "considering ad placement".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:48, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I doubt universities would be forthcoming with this. Computerjoe's talk 15:39, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
saying "The plan is already in place" is true in theory but more or less false in practice. There is (or there used to be; deletionists probably got it) a userbox for folks with JSTOR access who are willing to share. But a clearinghouse of requests is lacking. And my original idea still stands as a superior alternative. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:43, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I should say that the plan is in the process of being carried out. The hard part, access, is already solved for a subset of Wikipedians. I'm not sure your original idea is superior. Firstly it will cost extra money: around four figures per database to allow several thousand people to access it, for a total in the mid-five figures -- per year. Secondly, you will have a whole series of issues regarding who gets access and who does not. Thirdly, it will take time and administrators to negotiate the deals with each subscription. If a significant subset of Wikipedians already have access to these databases, it would seem not only more economical, but more expedient to simply set up a request clearinghouse much like the Admin notice board or Req for deletion board (Legal issues aside). -Truckbest23098 (talk) 02:27, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Getting official access is far and away superior because of the last three words of your post: "Legal issues aside."
  • "Time to negotiate deals"? That sounds a lot like someone's official, paid job.
  • "Who gets access and who does not" is a trivial question. Two options:
  1. Depending on how many seats (or whatever they are termed) are acquired, select a number of folks (raul, Sandy, G-guy, TimVvickers, various WikiProjects such as MILHIST and BIO, etc.) to invite a set number of other folks to have access. My First choice, since you start with trusted individuals. Also you can deliberately spread topic coverage, so folks in the Video games WikiProject don't get every single access seat (or whatever it's called).
  2. Let the community decide. My second choice.
Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:53, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Choice of access is not trivial. That was a long explaination you had to give. Imagine the fight over who gets access and who does not. If implemented, it would be a vaulable commodity, and I assure you tempers will flare / accusations of unfairness etc. I for one do not condone futher stratifications of Wikipedia users as it is a major turn off for me. Legal issues, I conceed. A _formalized_ system of article exchange will likely violate T&C. But, it would be very hard for database providers to enforce or stop such an exchange system. It does go against the spirit of such things and takes advantage of the database providers. -Truckbest23098 (talk) 03:14, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I'm a veteran arguer, and I don't think there will be arguments. There's no power whatsoever involved, and only a truly modest amount of prestige. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Ah, from personal experience, I can assure you that access to JStor sadly confers neither prestige nor power. That's not the point: I object to providing the real economic value that access to Jstor confers. Quick research also shows that T&C may not be as big of a problem as I thought: Jstor for example allows for "ad hoc" distribution of articles. -Truckbest23098 (talk) 03:24, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

What a wonderful idea! When I was an undergrad at Columbia we had access to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) database. That was incredibly useful for more than just definitions and can definitely be useful for building articles. Valley2city 03:28, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I started the thread, and added a suggestion about how to allocate seats/choose volunteers. I think I've added all the value I can add to this thread. Unwatching– Good Luck & ping me if anything ever happens. Later! Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:33, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
As an aside User:Foxhill/internet reference sites accessible with a valid UK Library card is useful for those in the UK but may be out of date. Nanonic (talk) 05:21, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Sadly I don't think this will happen. Access is too expensive for the foundation to pay for and then give away even to a small subset of users. One solution might be to ask the foundation to examine possible ways to offer this as an add-on you pay for but I think we all know how that would be recieved by large portions of the community. Given the significant increase in traffic these providers would likely recieve if we started adding more links to them, I don't think it would unreasonable to expect a discount thus making it possible for the foundation to make a bit of badly needed money as well but as I said this will never happen. There's too much opposition to these things within the community. EconomicsGuy (talk) 11:40, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Incidentally, Ling Nut is mistaken. There is already a clearinghouse for requests, check out Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange. Under utilised and lacking on exposure perhaps but it's there. Also, I have to say to anyone making the claim that you're sadly mistaken if you think there is going to be no arguments over who get's access to a valuable commercial subscription provided by the foundation at no cost. Nil Einne (talk) 11:49, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Please undelete Giles Hattersley

I'll repeat my request from the article talk page here in case you miss it: It seems we have the facts now. Since this was intended as a temporary deletion until we had the facts, could you please undelete and allow the community to decide what to do? Thanks. --Tango (talk) 00:00, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Highly likely an AfD tag would be slapped onto it within minutes, which might be helpful towards sorting this out. Gwen Gale (talk) 00:09, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I intend to AfD it myself as not notable, I just want the chance to do that and for other people to disagree with me. (Please note, my request for undeletion is not an attempt to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point, I think allowing the community to make this decision will prevent further disruption.) --Tango (talk) 00:20, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
It might be better that we get the full facts (who made what mistakes) before we start considering an undelete. Two wrongs don't make a right, and we have no reliable sources to say what exactly happened at this stage. I'd say leave it a few days before we even consider it - even then the best thing to do might be to start from scratch when emotions aren't running as high. Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 00:13, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Indeed.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:22, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
The Sunday Times made the mistake, who within that organisation made it is their problem. --Tango (talk) 00:20, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Can we centralize discussion to Talk:Giles Hattersley or vice versa?--Tznkai (talk) 00:23, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Could you clarify who you are replying to? Are you agreeing to my request? (The indent would suggest so.) --Tango (talk) 00:24, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I fixed the indent, above. I agree with Ryan that there is no hurry at all for an undelete. Facts continue to emerge and Wikipedia is not a newspaper.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:55, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
What relevant facts do we still not have? If there are some, then I fully support waiting, but I can't see anything we're missing. I think we need to have an AFD on this sooner or later since, if it remains deleted as a "temporary deletion", someone is sure to drag it up in a few month's time when looking for something to complain about. I think getting it out the way sooner rather than later is for the best. Perhaps I have more (misplaced?) faith in the community's ability to have a rational discussion about it than you. I think waiting will only reduce participation, which will reduce the credibility of the final result, and drag this whole thing out. --Tango (talk) 11:20, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm quite sure that I have a higher degree of belief in the ability of the community to have a rational discussion about this than you do, actually. There's just no reason at all for you to frame it in that way. You can have the discussion now, in fact. You can start working on a replacement article in user space, in fact.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:16, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
What gives you that surety? How do you know my degree of belief? I don't want to start a replacement article, as I've said before I don't think the article should exist, I just want the community to make that decision. You said it was a temporary deletion until we had the facts, unless you can tell me some facts that we don't have yet, I can't see any reason for not undeleting it. --Tango (talk) 18:55, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

This situation should be allowed to defuse for a few days before any further action is taken. Re-posting the article so that can immediately be the subject of a deletion discussion would not serve a useful purpose under the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:23, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

It would allow us to end this, that's a useful a purpose. --Tango (talk) 00:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Tango, though I think your intentions are very good, NYB and JW are correct: letting people vent about the article now would just create all sorts of unnecessary drama. There is absolutely no need to have a subject this minor be recreated immediately. Let's let tempers cool, then have a rational discussion about it. (Full disclosure: I really couldn't care less if the article stays or goes.) IronDuke 01:47, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
And I would like to note that there's nothing preventing anyone from having a discussion about it now.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:16, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
It's very difficult to have a discussion about an article people can't see. Also, if I start an AFD about an article that doesn't exist it will probably get immeadiately closed since it makes no sense. Even if we could have the discussion now, that isn't an argument for not undeleting it. --Tango (talk) 18:55, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Arbitration Committee mailing list being leaked

It seems that somebody is leaking (or claiming to leak) private emails sent to the Arbitration Committee mailing list [17]. Is this true or fake? I assume that this is a security leak and it should be fixed ASAP. As somebody who may have sent private information to the list, and who was assured that the list was composed of very trusted individuals and that any emails sent would be handled confidentially, this is very worrying. Please alert the developers and get this fixed soon. (talk) 00:19, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

It is not that sort of leak. The site purports to be leaks by Kelly Martin, former ArbCom member, in violation of the trust and goodwill of others. I have no idea what I could possibly do about it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:22, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Those are emails from years ago, there's not a lot that can be done about them. I think the list has recently been reduced to just those that actually need to receive the emails so hopefully that will stop any future leaks. --Tango (talk) 00:23, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict)The leaks are unacceptable; they are also, at least formally, copyright violations; but as a practical matter there are no good options in dealing with them. This is a most regretable situation. Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:24, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
It's ex-arb Kelly Martin (talk · contribs). Wikipedia Review thread where he talks about it. He has no new emails. --Apoc2400 (talk) 00:26, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Here's her explanation. I thought she'd overcome her addiction to Wikidrama, apparently not. Kind of sad really. the wub "?!" 00:29, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Wow. Why is Kelly Martin not banned for doing that? --Conti| 01:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
To the original poster, she was on the mailing list from October 2005 until September 2006, so if your posts were outside that time, they should be safe. the wub "?!" 00:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Yawn Moving on. No-one can possibly find three-year-old mailing list mailing list archives useful or illuminating.

98.134.etc is clearly a sockpuppet (probably an arb or ex-arb), and would have most likely been checkusered and blocked immediately if he/she had taken up the opposite side of the issue. I have to wonder what arbcom (rather more specifically, that era's arbcom; I have no intention of casting such aspersions on current arbcom members whose tenure does not date back to that time period) has to hide, since Ms. Martin is obviously taking the initiative to clean up any actual private information in the emails before posting them. --Random832 (contribs) 00:49, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

"probably an arb or ex-arb" Any proof of that? It could be anyone who reads WR or Kelly Martin herself. What is the opposite side of the issue you talk about? --Apoc2400 (talk) 00:54, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
No proof, but who but they would take this side? The opposite side would of course be that there's no problem with these posts, since any personal information sent to the list is being redacted. --Random832 (contribs) 00:55, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Everything on the arbcom list is supposed to be confidential. Is that having "something to hide" to you? Also, removing real names etc. does not equal removing all sensitive information. --Apoc2400 (talk) 00:58, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Well, maybe they just missed the post where she said she would be redacting personal info - it isn't on the front page. the wub "?!" 01:00, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I think this is a confirmation that Wikipedia volunteers handling sensitive information: at least the arbitrators, checkusers and oversighters should sign legally binding Non Disclosure Agreement (and their real life identity should be known to WMF). I think OTRSers and admins might have to sign NDAs as well but for the arbitrators it is an absolute must Alex Bakharev (talk) 01:25, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

As far as I am aware, all current Arbitrators are identified to the Foundation. Certainly, all checkusers and oversighters are. --Deskana (talk) 01:31, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I am quite sure the real life identity of Kelly Martin is known to WMF since she has worked there. What I am not sure about is that she has signed the legally binding non disclosure agreement that includes a ban on disclosing privileged information on the Wikipedia volunteers that she has got access to due to her work as an arbitrator. If she did then we probably should explore legal avenues to stop such behavior. If not then we should ask people who has such an access to sign the NDA. Leaks my Kelly seems to be relatively mild so far with not much of the harm done, I could easily imagine publications from the arbcom mailing list can be much more damaging. We do not want the situation to repeat in the future Alex Bakharev (talk) 03:53, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Legal avenues? You should realize that the arbcom-l mailing list in no way constitutes "privileged" information in any legal sense. The closest it came, from NYB, who is legally qualified, is of being questionable in regards to copyright. PII (Personally Identifying Information) is being redacted. While you may have qualms about the morals or ethics of this decision, I would be frankly amazed if any judge would consider this appropriate. There would be also a problem in that if a single other person on arbcom-l had not been asked or required to sign an NDA, then there would be a good argument that there was nothing more than a "gentleman's agreement", if that, as to privacy. And then, of course, there's grounds for irony - perhaps Kelly could submit the archives to wikileaks? Achromatic (talk) 16:02, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

It is not appropriate to say "there's nothing we can do about it" when you (the collective "you") made assurances that private matters could be safely sent there. I think it is incumbent upon you to do everything you can to stop the leaks, be they it by using copyright, or any confidentiality agreement that was signed to get on this mailing list, if only to maintain your credibility. As far as the leaker claiming to redact personal information, what makes you think that someone who has already broken one trust can be taken at their word? To Sam Korn, who yawns above, real names don't change in three years, occupations don't change, addresses don't change, employers don't change. It is extremely worrying that a person such as yourself would be trusted to have access to the list. (talk) 01:35, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Who are you? Clearly you are an established user either here or on WR. As for " As far as the leaker claiming to redact personal information, what makes you think that someone who has already broken one trust can be taken at their word?" how about, given that she already HAS posted some with personal information redacted, we wait until some is actually posted before claiming that she broke her word? Much is being made of this supposed "breach of trust", but should we really ignore it if it comes out that arbitrators had been abusing their positions? And if they weren't, this will be more embarrasing for Kelly Martin than anything. --Random832 (contribs) 01:54, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't have access to the list. [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 15:21, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

In my view, Kelly's actions in creating this blog are commendable. Her new blog should be seen not as an embarrassment or as an offense against the power structure, but as a reminder of the ArbCom's severe deficiencies with regard to transparency and openness. I recommend the establishment of an official process for disclosing the archives, and I recommend that in the future the ArbCom conduct its normal deliberations in public, reserving its mailing list only for sensitive information that must be kept secret due to privacy concerns. Everyking (talk) 04:58, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

The lesson, of course, is that if you don't want to be embarassed, don't do or say things that would embarass you if people found out. There are enough people around here that thrive on transparency that you simply can't count on keeping your secrets. WilyD 16:02, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Leak of current posts

See this post, from someone who offered to post archives from arbcom-l and checkuser-l through Jan 16, 2009. Puts paid to the notion that former arbitrators are uniformly trustworthy, in a way Kelly's disclosures didn't. Avruch T 00:44, 10 February 2009 (UTC)