User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 52

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Archive 51 | Archive 52 | Archive 53


Use of the $7.5 million

Hi Jimbo. Is there a way I can get a 5k or 10k share of the 7.5 million for some camera lenses, a new computer, and a wide screen monitor. I will put them to very good use in helping to expand the world's encyclopedic knowledge base. Or is the money going to be put to even better use? ChildofMidnight (talk) 19:14, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

The Foundation is not currently generally considering grants to individual contributors, but if you think that's a good idea, I would recommend that you write up a proposal for it as a part of the strategy project. For a detailed understanding of where the money goes, I recommend looking at the financial statements, including in particular the financial plan and Q&A.
I personally think that grants to individual contributors is a potentially good idea but we must acknowledge a number of complexities. First, to responsibly administer such grants would require a fair amount of overhead. Second, there are some very difficult questions about how to measure the performance of such grants in service of the goals of the project. Third, there could be some thorny social issues around determining who gets the grants and who doesn't. And finally, I think there's a much greater need to fund development in languages in the developing world. What could 10k do in terms of funding community managers or equipment for groups working in Tamil or Swahali, as compared to what it could do for English Wikipedia?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:26, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your considerate answer. I apologize if my initial inquiry (which was intended to be humorous) came across as snarky. My intention was to broach the subject of how the money that is being raised will be spent (allocated) and how that spending reflects the core mission and goals of the project. I appreciate your providing an answer and will reflect on it. I share some of the concerns expressed by other editors over the way the fundraising campaign is being promoted (advertised) and how our core needs are being addressed. Certainly the idea of assisting our editors in doing their work is an intriguing idea, and the need for more and better photos is fairly critical (for example). I will have a look at the link you provided and reflect on your comments. ChildofMidnight (talk) 20:02, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
To play devil's advocate: if the goal is to spend Foundation money to increase the number of high-quality images, would the money possibly be better spent hiring an outside photographer with a specific agenda, rather than buying general-purpose equipment for contributors? If you think the community is divisive now, imagine what ruckus would ensue if the Foundation started subsidizing some editors, but not others... MastCell Talk 20:59, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Aren't we all supposed to be volunteers? Dr.K.praxislogos 21:08, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, one doesn't preclude the other. Occasionally, things such as stipends or grants may be used to compensate or reimburse people who do not hold an employee or contractual relationship with an organism without changing their status of volunteer.

For instance, it's customary for people volunteering as EMTs in events to be "compensated" with food, admittance and (often) some sort of party at the end. (I did so once for the Grand Prix in Montreal). — Coren (talk) 21:13, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Coren. But still it's a bit of a strech to go from food, admittance etc. to laptops and free digital cameras. Not that it isn't a very attractive idea :) Dr.K.praxislogos 21:19, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Heh. It's also just half a day of almost-work.  :-) — Coren (talk) 23:02, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
True enough for the small perks but I'd hate to see how much you are expected to produce for a free laptop though :) Dr.K.praxislogos 23:40, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Health insurance. We want health insurance. Jehochman Talk 21:21, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I looked at the budget and there was a lot of "strategizing" and abstract "outreach" type activity. Seven and a half million dollars would buy an awful lot of digital cameras for our volunteers (not to mention t-shirts, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers). Think of the goodwill and publicity that would be generated. Assume good faith and supply those who express a need? I don't know if it's a good idea or not. But I do think the expense accounts and consulting activities stretch some substantial budget figures in a direction that seems a bit far removed from our mission. And I think the outlandish sloganeering may be a reflection of an organization that is losing touch. But maybe I'm just biased. I'm not big on planning of any kind and I like free stuff, especially when if it keeps us from having to put up with Wikipedia Forever!!! type distractions. ChildofMidnight (talk) 22:11, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
More to the point, I think a campaign thanking our readers, editors and contributors and asking for their continued support would be a lot more encouraging than feverish rantings. I suspect individuals and companies would be very happy to donate materials to those wanting to expand our encyclopedic coverage. And it could be something very positive for all concerned. The web matching systems for pairing up what people would want with what they need are pretty well established. It should be possible to see what editors are requesting, to review their contributions, and to assist them with what they need. And that would be very positive outreach that would generate good publicity, while helping us accomplish our core educational goals. As long is it's set up tranparently based on our community goals I don't see a problem. Editor helping editor, and reader helping editor help reader. The reach could certainly be global. And it would maintain the volunteer focus. ChildofMidnight (talk) 22:22, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I would honestly buy a Wikipedia/Wikimedia bumper sticker. Matthewedwards :  Chat  23:08, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
While I do like the idea of directly supporting members of the community in improving the projects, buying cameras probably isn't the way to do it - they are already very widespread (at least in the developed world). I think enough people have digital cameras that they are not the bottleneck in getting more photos. The developing world is another matter, they could probably use them, but there may well be more useful ways to support the projects in the developing world. --Tango (talk) 23:46, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── First of all, apologies to ChildofMidnight if I misinterpreted his/her comments as provocative; however, this topic has perhaps developed into something worthy of wider discussion. I agree with Tango that buying equipment is not helpful, because that would raise legal issues of ownership, trust law, and misuse. The idea of a stipend is more attractive rather than capital expenditure, although of course there has to be a cost/benefit approach that makes this acceptable to the WMFoundation, and with the best will in the world I can't see it happening. It would inevitably create divisions between editors. What might work, however, is a competitive Scholarship scheme in which editors are given a time-limited specific grant to produce or improve content, which would be subject of tender, and judged on the basis of likely benefit to the project. Problem with that is that of enforcement on failure to deliver, so all in all, I'm not sure we are really geared up to do that. Personally, all I need is a quiet house to live in, but at present, that depends on me winning the National Lottery or selling enough on eBay to get out of here. I'll get me coat. Rodhullandemu 02:09, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

We could create a virtual library that would lend tools such as cameras, scanners, or paid database access, or books, to those in need. Jehochman Talk 14:05, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

A couple of points; Firstly, a "virtual" library would be useless for the holding of physical objects, and, secondly, the physical location of the holding space(s) is problematic; America is a very big area to serve, and not all en-WP editors are located there (and as this is the WMF, other wiki's are located around the planet). The overheads of servicing a network of resource points for the provision of such material will eat into the resources for purchasing and maintaining the inventory. Great idea, and perhaps one that potential donors might consider in lieu of cash, but not practical for the WMF to take on. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:45, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't like the idea of giving some people funding, since this would seem to lead towards a more pernicious and elitist system where we had two levels of contributors: amateurs and "professionals". The pseudo-professionals would then tend to become, or think themselves, the "proper" wikipedians, with more input and value than others, creating division. I can see that in the developing world things might be different, where fewer contributors and less access to equipment and facilities would make supplying funds or materials to individuals could be a more productive thing.
I do however like the idea of paid communal access for wikipedians to resources such as JSTOR. Xandar 23:41, 21 November

2009 (UTC)

Database access would be very helpful to me. I had a subscription to Highbeam for a while but it didnt provide me enough information for the $200 USD they charged per year. I live in Mexico and I have very limited access to English-language resources, even about Mexico. I can read in Spanish, which is tremendously useful for the articles I write, but the Internet and libraries here have limitations. Id even be interested in participating in some kind of cooperative scheme to have more access to more information at a reasonable price. As for cameras and stuff, it would be too easy to have to appearance of impropriety as someone is going to get miffed if they don't get something they want. However, I will say that I have two digital cameras, one from 2001 but still works like a charm, that Id be willing to donate to someone. Thelmadatter (talk) 23:43, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the link to the strategy page. Having never book marked it, plus forgetting the name of it, and after searching all over over Wikipedia for it on an off for a couple weeks, I had to come here to find it. When I went to the project, there were few recent proposals. I have recommended on Wiki HELP that whoever makes up categories should have this displayed prominently, if not on main page on the Contents page or at least at Wikipedia:Community_portal. (Did I miss them there?) If we can't market the project within the community how can we market it to the world? (And all those educated retirees on the internet with nothing better to do :-) CarolMooreDC (talk) 19:15, 23 November 2009 (UTC)


  I live just over the bridge in Tampa. But I am not writing for myself. Lady Gaga would like her page corrected to reflect that she is not from Yonkers. Other than that...everything's great. I use Wikipedia constantly. Thank you.
                                 DCS  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 24 November 2009 (UTC) 

Past campaigns?

I have a blogger who is claiming that the banners to promote the fundraiser are a very recent development and is challenging me to prove that we've had them in the past. Uh, ok. Well, so I don't quite know how to do that, but I'm assuming if I ask here, people will provide extensive links, preferably to screen shots or pages, and preferably as old as possible. Thanks!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:30, 21 November 2009 (UTC) See top. J.delanoygabsadds 03:35, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Keep 'em coming. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:37, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Wikimedia Fundraiser 2007 with Wikipedia Globe.png
is the one that I can find on commons. Ks0stm If you reply here, please leave me a {{Talkback}} message on my talk page. 03:38, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Is this of any use? Kiwiteen123 (talk) 03:58, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Try this Signpost article, particularly the section "Previous Articles", just below the byline. Graham87 16:37, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
The first fundraiser seems to have been this one, from 20 September to 3 October 2004. Graham87 16:42, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
And a donation page on the WMF website was apparently added on 24 September 2003. You wrote this letter on 28 December 2003 to try to get more donations. Graham87 17:13, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
(Responding with applause for research, so that concerns re self-indention are allayed.^^) Proofreader77 (talk) 17:33, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
LOL, thanks. :-) Graham87 17:44, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Why not?

Speaking of fundraising banners -- bear with me -- you know how, during public telivision fund-raising drives they offer little momentos and so-called premiums to folks who contribute? Well -- the Urban Dictionary site hawks these cool coffee mugs (& also apparently baseball caps, t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, magnets, blah blah) printed up with whatever U-D definition on 'em. (Eg you go to the Urban Dictionary def for Wikidemon (--> here) and hit the tiny colored bar that leads you to the merchandise.) Indeed. Why not? (talk) 13:51, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Or Jimboism. (--> here) (talk) 14:03, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia. (--> here) (talk) 14:22, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Do WP's NPOV guidelines needs strengthening?

[The DRv related to much of what I discuss below is here.]

Perhaps what follows can be open to alternate perceptions or interpretations but nonetheless is sincerely how I view things. And, the long and the short of my feeling is that some Wikipedians -- too many of them, really -- seem too often to claim that stringently neutral editors (such as how I see myself) to be fanboys of conservatism, simply because we recognize there to be natural leftish bias to the editing of WP and try and tow a more stringently neutral line in the face of it. A very meandering story but here goes.

In fact, Jimbo, I'll use the quote about your not liking user boxes that is contained wihin the link above to the Jimboism Urban Dictionary definition as a segue, in that what I'd like to propose is for WP to adopt something a bit more formal about Wikicontributors', for example, not bringing their blatant POVs into !voting contexts. As an informative example (or so I believe), I recently started an article about the recent Fox News versus Obama Administration brouhaha. It was a couple of sentences that could have been contributed in a couple of likely places but I figured its own article might be best and put it there and other editors greatly expanded it. In the new article's deletion discussion, many said, Merge the info to here or there.

A few said the info didn't belong anywhere and a reasonable contingent said, Keep the article in some form. Many of the comments revealed very blatant political bias, however. The closing admin said he didn't even read the article but he did look at the references (which seemed strange, but apparently is an accepted form of review) -- but also said he was discounting any Keep !votes because he didn't believe that appealing to WP:N was an appeal to guidelines whereas an appeal to WP:NOTNEWS was. So, what many might take to merit a no consensus close or a merge close, he instead felt merited a delete. Which is fine and dandy, however, then one of the most blatantly political commenters in the AfD contacted him on his user page and gave him a barnstar for being so brave against supposed enemy partisans on Wikipedia and he accepted it graciously. I myself said I could support the delete as a reasonable interpretation of guidelines, nonetheless I pinged the admin's talkpage with a question as to why he would make the editing history and content inaccessible through the very resolute delete, when the option seemed available for a more mid-way choice of a "suggestion to merge" close, which would have seemed both more contributor friendly as well as more in line with the majority of commentors in the AfD. (He didn't respond to my question at all. Instead he was busy emoting how he felt that a contingent of unnamed editors were now editing Wikipedia without proper intentions and that their lack of respect to folks in positions of decision making had come to make him feel less enjoyment in his continuing participation in the project....) Anyway, my point? Hey, most every contributor to the deleted article was stringently neutral in tone whereas many of the !voters this admin (himself carefully neutral) endorsed in his close were themselves extremely partisan.

Especially since I'm not even a contributor to Wikipedia now (I'm signing here using the IP of my home computer and not my user name BTW), I'll myself violate the "no partisan user boxes" Jimboism/suggestion and point out that my own political leaning aren't, say, objectivist (sorry! bad joke) or libertarian (although I appreciate the efforts made to figure out such theories)...but rather tend to align all the way over on the collectivist and internationalist side of the spectrum along with the sensibilities and critiques of the status quo as given by Noam Chomsky! As additional examples, I happened to have been the Wikipedian who started both the Palin "image" article and the Obama "image" article. Yet note that presently the Palin article is a repository of lots of negative stuff whereas the Obama article has almost none. Perhaps due to my own political leanings, the complete deletion, rather than mere merger, of info about the "Fox vs Obama White House tiff from the Fall 2009" topic doesn't really bother me -- just as the states of the Obama image article or the Palin image article don't bother me. Nevertheless, I would tend to acknowledge and recognize that, for example, these two "Image" articles' state would tend to reflect -- and even showcase -- how the distrubution of Wikicontributors' political leanings would be plotted on a bell curve, whose center would likely be decidedly to the left of that of the general public.

Is that OK? I think so, sure; however, I believe the WP enterprise could be measurable imprroved through our efforts to even aspire to more neutrality than this. Let's adopt a zero tolerance for paranoid, unsupported contentions of random editorial bias and lack of good faith. Neither "These editors are right wing shills" nor "That edit is 'too conservative'" should be recognized as legit argumentation unless either would be backed up by diffs or specifically shown to be violations of actual editing guidelines. Don't sanction uses of The New Republic in contexts where we wouldn't do so with regard to the Weekly Standard.

Let's make Wikipedia "all CNN -- but not at all MSNBC"! (talk) 22:29, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Does it have to be so close to Christmas?

The fund raising, I mean couldn’t it be some other time in the year when people like me don’t have all their money tied up in this most pestilent of holidays events? Because I really would like to donate. And on top of Christmas, going to South Korea isn’t cheap either (I leave on the 26th Dec). No money at all to give ): --Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 22:08, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for wanting to donate. You can always donate at another time of the year. The WMF accepts donations all year round. :-) --Deskana (talk) 23:48, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
IT DOES??? Yay!--Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 12:26, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Is there a reason... to why you're the coolest guy ever?! —Mr. E. Sánchez (that's me!)What I Do / What I Say 08:42, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Every time he goes to sleep, Chuck Norris checks his closet for Jimbo. --Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 19:22, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Cutting in The whole concept of Chuck Norris exists only because Jimbo has allowed such concept to exist. As we all know, Wikipedia dictates the real world. :-D. —Mr. E. Sánchez (that's me!)What I Do / What I Say 03:17, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo does not have to click any buttons to delete articles. He merely gives the article a cold stare, and it deletes itself in fear. Jimbo does not sleep, he edits. --Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 19:42, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Let's take it easy here. If Jimbo did not sleep but edited continuously his edit count would be much higher than it actually is. So no, I don't think this is true. Dr.K.praxislogos 20:14, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Edit counts are not a reliable guide to a contributor's quality. Also Jimbo could distribute his editing time over many of the Wikimedia wikis. Thryduulf (talk) 23:27, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Mine was just a tongue-in-cheek response to the notion that Jimmy never sleeps but edits. I never meant to initiate a discussion on the merits of counting edits. Dr.K.praxislogos 03:47, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Does that even matter. Jimbo is the Jimbo. Anymore to be said. His edit count is his own. And anyway, I don't think he usually responds to these sort of questions as the one listed at top, though it is surely a perfectly logical question. --15lsoucy (talk) 00:49, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I just wanted to stir up a bit of WP:HUMOR. I didn't really expect a response from him. I know he's busy. —Mr. E. Sánchez (that's me!)What I Do / What I Say 03:17, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo has no time for us. ):< --Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 16:40, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

2009-11-23, Toronto Star: "Thousands of editors leaving Wikipedia"

F.Y.I: [1] Bielle (talk) 22:50, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Bleh. It's not lawyers that need to go first, it's poor journalists who do not even check their basic facts. — Coren (talk) 23:10, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
What's this difficult programming that's supposedly required? LadyofShalott 23:33, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
I guesss that's the end of the Toronto Star on the Reliable Sources list! Bielle (talk) 23:51, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Interesting, if true. I can kind of understand some of the points being mentioned although the Star only cites one guy as a source. It would be strange if the Wikipedian make up didnt change over time and there are problems with (sometimes really steep) learning curves (e.g. citation of sources) for those interested in doing more than just a simple typo or grammatical correction. Ive been procrastinating learning a couple of things to do (like reviewing DYK's) because Im too lazy to figure it out, or heaven forbid, read the directions! I suspect much of this will iron itself out eventually.Thelmadatter (talk) 01:00, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Lots of the 'easy' articles are written, and to a better standard now than most random Wiki readers would usually write. The encyclopaedia may not be complete and for this reason will never die, but the low-hanging fruit has been got calling for a new user demographic. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 01:08, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Jim, I live just over the bridge in Tampa. But I am not writing for myself. Lady Gaga would like her page corrected to reflect that she is not from Yonkers. Other than that...everything's great. I use Wikipedia constantly. Thank you DCS —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:25, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee 2 is now Closed

I have closed this Request for Comment. My detailed review of the issues and the results of that discussion may be found here. To summarize, I found that consensus exists as follows:

  • The Arbitration Committee shall consist of 18 Members elected to 2 Year Terms.
  • Arbitrators will be elected by Secret Ballot using the Securepoll extension.
  • Ballots will invite editors to Support or Oppose candidates.
  • Voters must have 150 mainspace edits before the election cycle to vote (Status Quo)

Questions or comments may be posted at The RFC's Talk Page. Thank you to all who participated. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 16:33, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

I will follow these requests when I make my appointments. I may make some adjustments to existing terms, subject to prior community approval, so as to make a fair and calm transition to the shorter term structure.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:36, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I am concerned about the forced notion of an 18-member committee should the support tallies for the 8 top candidates fall below 50 to 60%. The minimum support issue wasn't raised until November 16-- well into the RFC and well after most editors had opined-- so the unintended consequences of a vote for an 18-member panel in the event support tallies are low might not have been apparent to voters. The RFC was flawed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:57, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not that worried, personally, but I think you've just stated a fairly good argument why it remains important to keep a bit of flexibility when doing the actual appointments. — Coren (talk) 18:42, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I am worried this year, because the candidate pool isn't particularly strong. Since this aspect of the RFC was flawed, I do hope Jimbo will retain the discretion to weigh all factors. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:47, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's not like the RfC overturned Jimbo's longstanding comment that he would "not appoint someone with less than 50% support" (I can't seem to find a diff, but he's said it often enough). — Coren (talk) 19:05, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
But plenty of editors are interpreting the RFC as a mandate for an 18-member committee, regardless. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:08, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I will not accept an appointment with less than 50% support (I had ~40% last year when I dropped out). You should ask the other candidates what they think. Perhaps this is a matter that can be resolved with minimal fuss. Jehochman Talk 19:11, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Cite this diff in agreement with the above: I too will not accept an appointment without at least 50% support. I think after the elections, another, calmer RfC should be constructed to put these issues to bed - doing it just before the election with the inherent time imperative was always going to be tricky Fritzpoll (talk) 19:15, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I'll be flexible, and attempt to implement the spirit of this RfC as best I can, given the results. Last year, when I made my appointments, they were very popular and the reasoning I gave for how I did it was quite detailed. I think we want to maintain flexibility but also reduce the flexibility over time. There's no particular reason why I should in the long run have anything other than a ceremonial role here, but in the meantime, I want to act as a 'constitutional safeguard' to ensure that any changes don't accidentally have bizarre and generally unwelcome unintended consequences. I won't appoint anyone with less than 50% support. If we end up with fewer members on ArbCom as a result, we will deal with it at the time by having a thoughtful discussion and either (a) stretch a few terms of experienced members if they are willing (b) call for a second round of candidates to run to fill vacancies or (c) suffer through with a smaller group.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:06, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Whew; that's all I wanted to hear :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:10, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
That's very sensible, thank you.  Skomorokh, barbarian  20:19, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Much appreciated. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 21:56, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Makes sense.--Tznkai (talk) 00:55, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Not meaning to sound argumentative or negative here, but it might be a good idea come the elections to stress that voters should cast opinions on all the candidates. Having been involved in a lot of votes over my mumbledy-mumble years on this planet, I have regularly seen it happen that at least some people only cast votes for the candidates they are most supportive of, and leave a lot of the other candidates without a pro or con vote. I don't know how many such votes to expect this time around, but if there is a large enough number of such voters that could seriously play hob with the 50% threshold. John Carter (talk) 01:48, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
How does the voting work? In standing approval voting there is no difference between a "no" vote and an abstention. To get percentage support you just divide number of supporters by total participants in the election. --Tango (talk) 03:16, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I strongly object. Jimbo said that he intends to play only a ceremonial role in this election. Now we see a huge stepping back from this, thanks to SandyGeorgia's subjective concerns. The community has just voted overwhelmingly against a role for Jimbo in determining the number of arbs (1 Support among 117), and term lengths (8 Supports, among them SandyGeorgia, out of 115). On this basis, I have to say that I will rally opposition to any Jimbo-imposed changes, including fiddling with existing terms. This is not intended to give offence to Jimbo—far from it. This is a constitutional matter, and is also related to the fact that the community voted in the RfCs in the knowledge of Jimbo's pledge. Tony (talk) 02:08, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo suggested fiddling with existing terms as a possible conclusions that could come out of a community discussion. I can't see anything in what he said to suggest he would unilaterally do it, unless I am seriously misunderstanding him. All that Jimbo has really said here is that he doesn't see a clear consensus for eliminating the 50% criterion, so he's going to stick with the status quo on that issue - I think that is entirely correct. --Tango (talk) 03:16, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Tony1, can you point me to the statement of mine that you're referring to? I want to be careful to do what I have said, and I am unsure about what you're referring to exactly.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:39, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Sure Jimbo, and sorry to have been a little negative before. Here's the diff of your statement in October ("I want my 'appoint' role to be purely ceremonial this time around"). The implications of the 50% rule in combination with (1) the Support/Oppose voting system, and (2) a community-endorsed top-up of arbs to 18, were not explored by the recent set of RfCs, and probably should have been. Operating together, there's a chance they may not be mutually compatible. I think that next year the community needs to sort this out. Tony (talk) 07:57, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Ok, to clarify. I was referring there to not having a desire to make appointments "out of order". Traditionally, I have the right to appoint anyone with 50% approval or more, but I have normally followed the order of the vote, with the exception of a few expansion seats which were used to maintain continuity on the committee. I still intend to be active in the process otherwise, particularly if there are conflicting issues in the RfC. I should also note for the record that I don't think using the Securepoll extension is a good idea, and that it is very likely to lead to a lower degree of consensus and more nasty politics than usual. But, I'm happy for us to try it, and I will be pleased if I am wrong.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:58, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
And to add one more clarification. Let's move forward as per the outcome of this RfC, and I'll appoint accordingly. And I will also be flexible in case something strange happens, like if only 2 candidates achieve 50%, I'm not going to appoint people below that, and I'm not going to leave us with a tiny ArbCom, and we'll have a conversation about what happens next in that case. The point is, we don't have to design a perfect system a priori as long as we maintain the possibility of flexibility - and we can learn as we go along without risking an entire year of a totally broken setup.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:01, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
When President Lincoln violated the US Constitution he said something like "The Constitution is not a suicide pact" or maybe "Ignore all rules"; I never can remember which.  :) WAS 4.250 (talk) 01:00, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Most of us [are] happy about how that turned out.   Will Beback  talk  03:59, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
I had not remembered that Lincoln was a Constitution underminer. Thank you. (All I remembered was that he was a good wrestler 'cause his mom taught him good, else he'd never have whipped those town bullies ... paving the way to political power -- which I now realize was all for evil purposes. ^^ But having never read of the founder having any particular maternal wrestling influence, I'd guess there's little danger on that score here. :-) Proofreader77 (talk) 04:43, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Systems collapse when they become ossified or brittle. Flexibility is a virtue. None of us disagree that ArbCom members should have majority support. The point here isn't finding the perfect system - all we need is a system that's good enough to get the encyclopedia written.   Will Beback  talk  09:36, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

←Thanks for your response, Jimbo. I think the community will be pleased to hear that there will be consultation in the event that a top-up to 18 arbs and the 50% rule are incompatible.
When you say, "I was referring there to not having a desire to make appointments 'out of order' ", do 'out of order' appointments include the re-appointment of arbs whose terms have expired but who have either (a) not stood for re-election, or (b) failed to gain a seat through the relative strength of their vote? If you are not ruling out such appointments/extensions, can we presume that this would be done only with the agreement of the community? I note that your original statement was in response to my explicit question as to "whether you will extend the term of any sitting arbitrator or make any appointment beyond the scope of the election results".Tony (talk) 15:36, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Tony, I shall do as I think best, and I think you should and will support me in that.--User:Jimbo Wales confirmed it's Jimbo's comment, though not his standard sig. Jehochman Talk 21:14, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo, I hope I do see fit to support what you do; but it's now very different from your undertaking to play only a "ceremonial role". Tony (talk) 01:16, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it is different at all. I am confident you will be happy in the end, and I'm sorry that I'm not able to detail every possible happening and how I might handle it at this point. We are about to try a new election method, and we've identified a possible problem. I can assure you that any role I will play here will be as apolitical as possible and will be aimed at longterm stability and drama reduction. I don't think you'll be disappointed.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:46, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Adding the "Wikipedia principles" template to the bottom of policy pages

I'm not taking a position, but I think we should ask first before invoking your name at the bottom of multiple policy pages. Please see the short discussion at User_talk:Dmcq#WP:EDIT. One option would be to swap WP:IAR in for "Jimbo's statement", and merge some of your content into the "Simplified ruleset", if that works for you. - Dank (push to talk) 14:27, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

It reads: A quick note: you can "ignore all rules": any policy, guideline, or other rule may be ignored if it hinders improving Wikipedia. That is rather vague. In every AFD you have people quoting the guidelines as absolute law. Perhaps alter the guidelines to read "these are only suggestions on how to determine if something is notable, not binding rules, or an excuse to delete something simply because it doesn't meet the current guidelines." The policy should be made clearer otherwise it becomes meaningless and unenforceable. Dream Focus 16:41, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish those Wikipedians who have been nice enough to give me a barnstar or smile at me, supportive enough to agree with me, etc., a Happy Thanksgiving! Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 07:06, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Couldn't hurt to have a link to wikipedia:Wikipedia and User:Jimbo_Wales on that page, so people can read about what they are donating to if they reached the page from somewhere else. CompuHacker (talk) 08:05, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

And another thing...

Additionally, I really wish you/staff/someone would take the account restrictions off Either by just quietly opening registrations or lowering the approval standards on the request page to near non-existent levels. CompuHacker (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:07, 27 November 2009 (UTC).

Please block and ban LKD

A few days ago user:LKD claimed Bertram to deny the genocide commited by Nazi Germany (verbatim: 'Berti denials the holocaust"). That's not chicken feed and LKD was pressed to deliver suitable diff links to evidence this outrageous allegation but never furnished proof (and never ever will be able to provide a diff link for there simply are no diff links). (Meanwile they actually bring forward the 'argument' he who doesn't deny the holocaust on wikipedia must be a holocaust denier because he avoids to deny the holocaust and therfore ist to bee expulsed from wikipedia. Bravos!)

But back to topic. Forced reelection as a sanction for such a defamatory statement is in my humble opinion not good enough by half. LKD is in a very tight corner. But nevertheless LKD's defamation is an undreamt scandal, LKD still isn't blocked and banned. Until now no admin on screwed up his courage.

Well, I'm not here to have a heart-to-heart talk and I don't even say love me, love my dog. But Attention, please. I can't but invite you and the Wikimedia Foundation Inc. to please block and ban LKD.

Yours sincerly

--Bertram calling (talk) 08:29, 27 November 2009 (UTC) ) (that's me: Bertram)

  • Dear Bert, I'm afraid that this page here isn't the right place to air your grievances, perhaps you might want to go back to the German Language Wikipedia to file a proper complaint there as this here is the English Language Wikipedia, please note that administrator(s) on either side generally has no cross-version sanctioning powers. Correct me I'm wrong, anyone else got any thoughts to add? --Dave 1185 08:56, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Dear Dave, I guess Wikimedia Foundation Inc. as an operating company has got cross-version sanctioning powers in a severe case like this. --Bertram calling (talk) 09:28, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I have to say that you are absolutely right about it but this place is English Wikipedia, your complaint should thus be directed to Wikimedia instead, don't you think so? Or do you think I'm not trying to help you? There are proper channels and procedures to do thing(s), you don't go straight to the President of the United States to complain if someone in your town calls someone an idiot, right? --Dave 1185 09:44, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Dear Dave, thanx for trying to help me. I would appreciate it very much if I would volunteer to direct this complaint to Wikimedia. I must admit that I haven't got the faintest idea how and whereto address my complaint. Thanks a lot in advance. Sincerly --Bertram calling (talk) 10:13, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Look no further than at the "A Wikimedia project" icon located at the left bottom of your browser's page, I'm sure you'll be slapping your forehead now for missing it all this while you had been searching high and low for it, eh? Go there and ask for help, have fun! --Dave 1185 10:30, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Please note that Bertram has been banned following community consenus on de.wp. --Rosentod (talk) 12:57, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Is that perm? I hope it is. (Jew here)--Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 13:05, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it is. --Rosentod (talk) 13:12, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Good.--Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 15:09, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

an international Supreme Content panel ?

You might want to read this NY Times Op-ed by Evgeny Morozov. He seems to propose an independent panel of philosophers, journalists, scientists and experts to deal with content issues such as those recently with the Wolfgang Werle case. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:04, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Its an interesting piece, though less-than flattering to WP.The suggestion to have an independent panel might have its uses, but it would not address the Werle case. Is he advocating that this panel decide when WP should follow local laws and when it shouldn´t? If it follows some, such as Germany's privacy laws, wouldn't it then be open to arguments from other laws, including Thai laws about their king? If we were to have such a panel, I could see it for resolving content disputes in specialized fields, although we have arbitration committees for this purpose. If WP hasnt followed newspapers and periodicals in having a similar editorial board, it is because we are international and most traditional journal still follow a more local mindset.Thelmadatter (talk) 16:42, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I think it is a pretty offensive piece, actually. He acknowledges on the one hand that Wikipedians produced 60 pages of argument about this case, and boldly insults the participants of that debate by claiming that our process amounts to "the favorite basement project of anonymous 13-year-olds." He claims (correctly) that such decisions are too much and too important to be made unilaterally by one person (even if it is me :-) ), but fails to notice that I had absolutely nothing to do with the Wolfgang Werle decision - or hundreds of other decisions made thoughtfully here every day without me even knowing about it. (What does he suppose people were arguing about for 60 pages? It certainly wasn't about how to convince me of anything, since I don't think anyone would suggest that it is or should be up to me to make detailed content decisions of that type.)
None of that reflects well on his suggestion that we find a board of "experts" to overrule community consensus.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:06, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
It is certainly overstated for effect, particularly the 13 year old bit. But I'd say the rest pretty much hits the mark of showing up the downside of Wikipedia's remarkable success. Thankfully he doesn't make the normal error that critics make when they try to combine the "wikipedia is chaotic, and irresponsible" line with "it's all a sinister ploy by control-freak Jimbo to distort knowledge to his favoured version". But beyond that there is a bit of a scattergun approach to it. I'd say the question of responsibility is at the heart of it. Wikipedia tends to work best on fairly popular subjects - there's enough knowledgeable people there to correct errors and enough of a cross-spectrum to eliminate the worst biases. On lower interest stuff, it is hit and miss. It may be written by an expert(of whatever age) or it may have been written or changed by a moron, or a fringe nutter (who may be 13, but may equally be 31). However, the other problem is accountability. Most publications are accountable - to the laws of their land - to the laws of libel - to the tastes of the reader/customer - to the desire of the writer to retain professional credibility - and to the ethics of the owner/editor/publisher. Wikipedia tends to be written by the anonymous/pseudonymous for whom their are no effective external consequences. Further, there are few internal ones either - sure we ban the worst BLP carefrees - but there is no editor-in-chief saying "I don't care if that's legal - we're not going there". Anti-censorship campaigners may think the German State's "clean start" doctrine is evil (I might even be persuaded to agree) but I'm a lot more comfortable with such decisions being made by a democratically accountable German legislature and judiciary rather than by "whoever turns up" on wikipedia. It is easy to pontificate when you face neither the consequences nor accountability for your decision. PS Jimmy, why do you put "experts" in scare quotes? If that betrays your contempt for expertise, then I am more than a little concerned.--Scott Mac (Doc) 18:01, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I have no contempt for expertise! I'm actually quite elitist in my outlook in that regard. I just don't think every invocation of the word 'expert' indicates a real desire for genuine expertise.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:27, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

I too think that the piece is not meant to be offensive, nor should be interpreted like that. The problem I have is that this panel is either gonna be a 24hour job for people, and help issues before they get to court, or can't stop things from reaching court. I also think that court is actually a good thing, because it is the only way any of these issues are ever gonna be settled in international law. Still, much as the Foundation has an Advisory Board, there might be something to be said for a Content Advisory Board. Perhaps we shouldn't dismiss suggestions people make too quickly ? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:24, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

A content board is unworkable, even if desirable. You'd have every contentious article at it every three minutes. OTRS receives dozens of valid complaints a day, the board would too. No sooner had they ruled on an article than someone would make some other changes (it is a wiki) and you'd be back to square one. What wikipedia needs is two things: 1) a properly worked out code of content ethics (guidelines that spell out "do no harm") 2) a willingness to consider "maintainability" as a key principle when living people and real organisations are at stake. Yes, this article could be written neutrally, but given what we know of our system, the interest in the article, and the nature of the subject, will it be maintained in a form that's fair to the subject? Sure, we can't guarantee that for any article - however, there are some articles where we can almost guarantee the opposite. In such cases, we need to reduce the risk of "unfair treatment of the subject" - sometimes permanent semi-protection will do that sufficiently - sometimes it needs more, perhaps "semi-protection plus" (only regular editors with a proven record of clue can edit this) - and sometimes deletion is appropriate (wikipedia's current systems can't handle this subject without unacceptable risk of unfair treatment). The problem at the moment is we don't distinguish what we can in theory do fairly, from what we are very unlikely to actually do fairly.--Scott Mac (Doc) 15:05, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Your user page

(en-0) Why don't you protect your user page? There are a lot of vandalism. -- (talk) 20:51, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Lot of people watch this page and Jimbo is wayyy too trusting.. :) - 4twenty42o (talk) 20:56, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

1,940 reasons why. Darrenhusted (talk) 21:59, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Jimbo doesn't protect his user page because he actually believes in the wiki process, encourages others to edit his user page, and genuinely hopes and expects others will make positive contributions to his user page. He also recognizes that vandalism is easily reverted. —Finell 09:39, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Also, Jimbo has one essential role for the duration of his association with Wikipedia - one that no-one else can ever fulfill; he is a lightning conductor for vandalism, trolls and SPA's. They get drawn to this page, and vandalise it in the certainty that it will be seen by a large audience... Of course, being typical vandalising troll SPA's they don't realise that the large audience means the edits will be very quickly reverted and get them warned/blocked. Bless them, and copper sheathed Jimbo. LessHeard vanU (talk) 09:49, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

(Additional) Jimbo also uses his own user page as a scanner for vandals and trolls. If you notice it has been vandalised a lot of times; and thanks to the number of people that put this article on their watchlist these trolls are kept away from Wikipedia. It is just like a big scanner for vandals and trolls. Kangxi emperor6868 (talk) 07:58, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't get nearly the amount of exposure of, say, the main page which will always (well, never say never) be fully protected. Jimbo's page is stalked by many so damage control is relatively quick. It's also not an ivory tower. Jimbo is relatively accessible and the suggestion box is transparent. Valley2city 04:14, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia reconciliation

Hi! I've been recently looking at Wikipedia reconciliation and having seen many of these projects, am interested in creating a similiar "India-Pakistan" cooperation board. I believe that such a project would be one of the most interesting reconc. projects and would like to have your comments/thoughts on this. Rana A.R (talk) 10:17, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Your urgent attention

Your opinion, sir. Tcaudilllg (talk) 17:54, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Alright, fine. I will be monitoring the socionics page and if I see any insinuation that socionics is esoteric I will notify you. If you do not take immediate action at that time, Wikimedia may face a lawsuit. Tcaudilllg (talk) 17:30, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I have blocked the user for legal threats. Cenarium (talk) 17:58, 30 November 2009 (UTC)


Hi! So you founded Wikia and WikiPedia? AWESOME!!!-- (talk) 01:06, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

W/regard enhanced project neutrality

Wikipedia:WikiProject community rehabilitation/Idea/We are all Switzerland↜ (‘Just M E here , now) 16:07, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I think this deserves a lot of attention, and I think the core value put forward here is exactly right. One way I used to say it: for a really good Wikipedian, you ought to be unable to accurately guess at political affiliation or opinion. I think we should all leave our personal politics (and the polemics that go with them) politely at the door.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:53, 30 November 2009 (UTC)


I'm the coolest looking Wikipedian. I got depressed looking at Wikipedia:Facebook. Daniel Christensen (talk) 01:54, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

So you made Wikipedia and Wikia? Cool!-- (talk) 22:55, 1 December 2009 (UTC)


First of all I am not user:PIO neither my logged nicknames or IPs but in every case action of user:AlasdairGreen27 in article pallone is vandalism because version before suspected socks is this but not this disaster or stub! removing valid contribution of PIO who was banned by an Italian admin after these edits but for other reasons not pertinent this article regarding some Italian famous sports. I can develop this article because I have books and sources but I request your action against vandalism of AlasdairGreen27 who is notorious in Italwiki for his battle in meatpuppetry with user:DIREKTOR against all Italian and Serb editors in several articles of European history and this point I will report to you in future. Actions of admins user:Spellcast and user:MuZemike against my logged nicknames are nonsense. If you want, I can develop a lot of articles but I request unblock at least of account user:Vastaso. You can leave your answer here under. Regards, 29 November —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Note that I have not taken any administrative actions regarding PIO (i.e. I have not blocked any of the accounts myself), only in the handling of Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/PIO/Archive, which amounts endorsing for CheckUser attention and making sure the already-blocked socks were properly tagged. MuZemike 20:25, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Again we read complaints against user DIREKTOR. He does what he want in our wiki, even write in croatian in his talkpage (see: november 29 [2]) and no admin pinpoints that only in plain english he should have a discussion there. He does what he want with articles promoting Tito and communist Yugoslavia (gone with the wind the "impartiality" of wikipedia?) Unbelievable. When all this will stop? Pi. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:05, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
It will stop when the right to freedom of speech in the US, and the rest of the "Free World", is removed. While Wikipedia has certain rules, policies and guidelines, to regulate how content is presented and published, it has permits a great range of viewpoints and opinions access to the encyclopedia writing process - in this way it ensures the widest breadth of input, and disallows the stagnation of neutral point of view to that historically defined by consensus. You are free to continue to make your tedious, boring, asinine, dull comments on how you perceive DIREKTORS personal political stance makes him(her/who cares?) an unsuitable individual to be editing, and I am free to wish you would take your pathetic campaign to somewhere else where bigotry and narrowmindedness may make your wish come true. Isn't democracy wonderful? Now go away. Please. LessHeard vanU (talk) 22:22, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

LessHeard vanU, MuZemike, Spellcast stop your absurd POV battle against valid editors who request ban of vandals AlasdairGreen27/DIREKTOR: these guys are admirers of criminal dictator Tito! Read :Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Incipient edit war at Josip Broz Tito. Jimbo go! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:48, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

What POV battle, PIO (besides you calling others "vandals" and claiming they support a dictator)? And what vandals, beside perhaps you who keep evading your ban via IPs? MuZemike 21:46, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

secret poll voting for arbitrators

hi jimbo.

how do you feel about this developments on wikipedia [3]. is it in your view conflicting wikipedia's goal of being transparent? (talk) 23:17, 1 December 2009 (UTC) −−i love you--

I like u —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:01, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I would have voted differently. But it isn't about "transparency" per se. I think that we'll see more ugly politics, more campaigning based on slogans, and less actual thoughtful dialog. I don't think we'll see a material change in the kinds of candidates who are elected. We are likely to have many fewer candidates reach the 50% mark, because a private "no" on someone is much "softer" than actually standing up to publicly "veto". (A private no is more like an abstention from voting on a particular candidate in our traditional elections.) I think it will be an interesting experiment, and I think it is an experiment we are likely to abandon. But I hope I'm wrong and everything goes wonderfully. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:44, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, it seems that the politics aren't vitriolic, and seem rather low key. I was (and still am) of the opinion that a secret ballot encourages careful consideration of candidate statements and questions since it doesn't allow voting "like everyone else"; but the election is still young.

One apparent positive side effect we can already see, however, is increased early participation. I was of the opinion that more people will feel comfortable voting if their votes are in private, and current trends seem to agree — with the caveat that it may be a related but distinct phenomenon: maybe voters are more inclined to vote early since there is no point to waiting to see the "trend", but that participation will remain at roughly the same level. — Coren (talk) 02:56, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Well stated points. I'm interested to see how it goes. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:20, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
So am I. Worst case: it's not as good as the old way. It's a Wiki, after all, so if we try something and it doesn't work, we just scrap it and try something else.  :-) — Coren (talk) 03:37, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Mike Godwin and David Gerard

Did you participate in asking Mike Godwin to intercede on behalf of David Gerard in this issue? Cla68 (talk) 23:22, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

No, I did not. I had nothing to do with it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:06, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
OK, then. Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir, but Mike Godwin should not have been involved that way. Either he represents the Foundation in his official capacity, or he stays out of En.Wikipedia "official" business when it comes to legal matters. The emails in the Register article make it look like he was trying to act in a semi-official capacity. Thus, the appearance of back-room dealing when it gets publicly revealed. Cla68 (talk) 04:20, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I am concerned that Godwin's stance was in direct opposition to the WMF Privacy Policy and may cause harm to the WMF. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:31, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Aw, c'mon, too much drama. I don't really know what this particular tiff is about and it's not tempting to get into scandal-watching. The Wikimedia foundation is an organization, perhaps unlike any other but a nonprofit organization nonetheless, with an executive director, staff, benevolent god-head, board, and lawyer. It's their prerogative to do what they want, to make good and bad decisions, and to control their site's rules, participants, and content. They already let the animals run the zoo, so to speak, but they're not ready to give up the keys to all the cages. On the face of it Mike Godwin's position is a little absurd. I don't know British law but courts generally give wide deference to organizations to manage their volunteer and paid work force, and website owners to manage their own terms of service. It would be hard to imagine that the findings of a private deliberative administrative body - a private court almost - in handling an internal discipline matter could constitute defamation, or that a court would apply full due process rules to an organization's discretionary decision-making. This would seem to undermine Arbcom, which is already struggling with questions of legitimacy, capacity, and effectiveness. However, he's a good lawyer and I trust his judgment. As I said, as an organization Wikimedia as an entity is free to make this kind of decision. They've been very hands off on almost every aspect, which is welcome. The occasional exception where they step in, for example the non-free image use policy, has never been too hard for us editors. - Wikidemon (talk) 02:41, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Great News!!!

Bacon materializer

Unable to resist bacon's temptations, rogue editors have kicked off the Bacon Challenge 2010 before the New Year even starts! This is a fun and collegial event and all are welcome. There are many non-pork articles for editors who enjoy some sizzle, but object to or don't like messing with pig products. This year's event includes a Bacon WikiCup 2010 for those who may want to keep score and enjoy engaging in friendly competition. Given the critical importance of this subject matter, I know you will want to participate, so remember to sign up today and get started A.S.A.P. ChildofMidnight (talk) 19:27, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

A proposal to Jimmy Wales

I would like to propose that Wikipedia run adds for 2-3 years and use the income to pay off the US national debt. Supposedly with adds Wikipedia could generate an income of $580 billion a year, which means in 2-3 years Wikipedia would earn more than enough to pay off our national debt. I understand that Wikipedia doesn't want to come across as a "money-driven" website, and it refuses ads to keep with it's egalitarian message - which is why I believe this proposal would be genius - it would further enhance the site's egalitarian reputation and would stay within Wikipedia's mission goal (the revenue money would be used for the benefit of our country, not just for the pocketbooks of the site's staff). I firmly believe in this idea and I'm just making my mind known. I would love to hear what others have to say as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:54, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is global. Limiting this to the US is bias. And that's ignoring the idea of actually having adverts in the first place. Microchip08 09:48, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
USA owes a lot to other countries, like China, so giving USA money will effectively be like giving money to its lenders. ;-) (talk) 11:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Ahh, the trickle-down theory. I wish I could explain that to my ex-wife. :) :) Franamax (talk) 12:09, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
It would be giving cash to them, it would be taking money from them (in the form of future interest payments). --Tango (talk) 17:47, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
So not only do you want to commercialise Wikipedia, you want to nationalise it as well? I'm going to vote "no"... --Tango (talk) 17:47, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Google's revenue will be about $22 billion this year. So an estimate of $580 billion for Wikipedia seems rather a bit optimistic. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:09, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
PS I like the donation banners. I don't understand why they're "controversial". The idea of rotating quotes, the formatting, the visual presentation—all are effective. You don't always get good results from a professional consultant, so if you organised this, Jimbo, well done. Tony (talk) 12:40, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The pros came up with "Wikipedia Forever", which was a complete dud. The banners which are working are all things that have been used in previous years - before we hired professional consultants. --Tango (talk) 13:09, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I think you'll find that they actually came up with "WIKIPEDIA FOREVER" first (and then decapitalised it)! To steer this back to the original topic I don't think we can run ads and simultaneously maintain NPOV and we certainly could not whilst we are using the profits to bail out the US government - Dumelow (talk) 23:43, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

you on wikianswers or an impostor

Is it you on wikianswers[4] or is just someone impersonating you? -- (talk) 22:23, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Since Wikianswers is run by wikia, that should be him. Prodego talk 22:36, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
The random questions there are truly random Unomi (talk) 22:27, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Content contributors Vs. Vandal fighters.

Hello Jimbo,

I was just wondering where you stand on what I think is an issue for Wikipedia at the moment. In the past, I have watched many a good candidate fail at WP:RFA because they were not content contributors, but vandal fighters. Many believe that because a candidate has not written a good article, or worked with a wikiproject to create a good article, that the candidate will not have sufficient knowledge to be an administrator. Some argue that through building an article, an editor can learn how to solve disputes, and can learn policies that are essential for an administrator. With this I can agree, writing articles is of the utmost importance, this is an encyclopedia after all. However, I must argue against people that insist that a person working as a vandal fighter cannot gain the same knowledge and skill as the content contributors. As avandal fighter myself I know the dispute resolution process as well as anybody, and I didn't learn that through writing an article. My userpages being vandalized, being screamed at by some of the worst faith editors around has taught me how to keep my cool and deal with problems that arise, I feel, better than writing an article could have. In short, I guess you could say I am fed up of seeing people being opposed at RFA because they are not great authors. The general Wikipedia symbol for an administrator is the mop after all, not the pen and paper.

I was just wondering how you, and all others that watch this page, feel about this issue.

Kind regards, --Gordonrox24 | Talk 18:26, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

  • There's certainly a complex matrix of ideas around that "simple" dichotomy. In keeping with my recent paralogic notes, I'll simply mention for now that other than User:J.delanoy (who many believe is a human host cloned for holding Cluebot's emergent A.I. consciousness), vandal fighting has virtually zero respect (5,000 reverts of vandalism and $3.00 will buy you a cup of coffee in the Wikipedia Cafe.) The complexity of doing the job well is not, um, well understood. (And, yes, vandal fighting is often poorly done.)

    So, how about this? Consider dichotomy not Content-creator/Vandal-fighter ... but rather Content-creators/Chaos-controllers. Proofreader77 (talk) 21:19, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Just to address what Gordon says about RFA - supports/opposes are of course subjective. Yes, there's a stigma surrounding RC patrollers supposed "inability" to deal with others on a personal level; however, if a candidate seriously wants to demonstrate that they can negotiate with others then they can get out there and write their own articles, participate in AFD, maybe even save a couple of articles from deletion. I've done this before despite my "primary Wiki occupation" being RCP, and I have absolutely no wish to become a sysop. I've found that building an article up from an AFD candidate, referencing it and letting it grow from there on is just a bit more fun than using tools to rollback a hundred edits. So, where there's a will there's a way - if a candidate wants to be taken seriously by 50% of the folks over at RFA, I think they should at least have some AFD and article building experience under their belts. Just my 5c ;) SMC (talk) 21:50, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I hadn't thought about AfD's as that kind of inspiration for creation. Good idea. (AfD's usually just depress me, so I mostly stay away.)

    Didn't intend to comment so extensively ^^, but re: "chaos-controllers," consider the case of (what I call) "current-events wrangling," when there is often a rush of new editors who most likely don't understand Wikipedia policy (e.g., NPOV). Helping "control chaos" in the midst of that is something that is a necessary adjunct to content creation. (I.E., Not everything RC patrollers do is reverting vandalism.) Proofreader77 (talk) 22:10, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Of course, if flagged revisions had been introduced as had been hinted (thankfully I didn't hold my breath) then there would be less need for vandal fighters and better content creators may have been attracted. GTD 21:30, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
    Question: Is there a good summary somewhere of how well flagged revisions have worked on German, Polish, and Russian Wikipedias? Once upon a time I read a lot about this (and voted on something), but have forgotten everything I once knew. :-) Proofreader77 (talk) 21:45, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes I must agree that an editor should be active at AFD if that editor has any desire of becoming an administrator, and yes flagged revisions may reduce the need for vandal fighters, but when a candidate is asked to go and prove to the community that he is serious and that they can negotiated with others by writing an article, I feel that is unfair. I can tell you that it takes a great deal of negotiating to work with editors who are upset at a revert, and it takes time and patience to deal with people who are still learning how Wikipedia works. You can fight vandalism and still negotiate with people, work with people, and learn just as much as any content contributor would.--Gordonrox24 | Talk 01:02, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Highly agree. In line with the above, I often get the feeling efforts done by "non-article" users who might spend hours on end researching to file even small reports or even a number of days on a larger issue aren't considered "beneficial for the community" in the same light. Also as said above, "vandal fighter" or RC to many just means hitting a red button somewhere. Though true in some cases, we have "Huggle-synthesized Patrols" as an undefined and unseen group that is fairly sizable, and these editors a likely to frequent XfDs. For some (often complicated) reasons, many users aren't hard-wired for new article work. They may even be disturbed enough to enjoy the catacombs below and don't want to be seen "outdoors". If anything, such users might be particularly beneficial after RfA because of the expansive disciplines used as a whole, being less likely to have affiliations with other editor, and an extremely strong desire to avoid all drama. Actually, I'll admit I only came here because I'd seen Proofreader77 on my watchlist. Having been very supportive toward me after a bold and precedent-permissible attempt to hold civility together was shunned by warring administrators, so I thought this could be somewhat along those lines. Really, I wish I could better try to convince others that editor work done in "Wikipedia" namespace is as involving, rigorous and challenging than top-end articles edits, and that any such statements (in an RfA?) could even be seen as a personal attack against that user's Wikipedia talents and desires. Any "higher" opinions are good. daTheisen(talk) 10:15, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Equatorial Guinean presidential election, 2009

Thanks for the thoughts on this article, I changed up the language. What do you think?SADADS (talk) 20:13, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Looks a lot better!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:00, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Changed on front page as well.SADADS (talk) 00:01, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Flagged revisions

You called for them last January. Do you know why they have not been turned on yet? NW (Talk) 02:19, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Agree. I saw this as a major step forward in both combating vandalism and thereby freeing up valuable time that could be spent on improving or creating articles. The PR would have been "your puerile vandalism will have no effect, because nobody will ever see it", and I think we could do with promoting that message. However, I guarantee that of my review of my watchlist when I return here tomorrow, between 30 and 60 minutes will be spent reverting vandalism or otherwise correcting unsourced or inept edits. It really is about time we had some standards, and imposed them, rigorously. Unless, of course, we really are a blog and not an encyclopedia. Rodhullandemu 02:34, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Case in point: while I was posting the above, two vandalisms cropped up on my watchlist; one a death threat, for which I issued a block, and the other a nonsense edit, which I just reverted. I would have issued warnings, and maybe followed up the death threat, but I'm a volunteer here, and it's difficult to care about tossers; but neither would have occurred with Flagged Revisions in place. I think it's time we had some professional attitudes. Rodhullandemu 02:44, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
+1. Do you know whatever happened to them? I thought we were going to have a trial rollout quite a while ago. J.delanoygabsadds 02:46, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) ::When I tried the simulation, I wondered how it could ever work. Not everyone is going to be given the right to make edits visible — and those that are have to look over not only what they want to add, but verify the not-yet-visible edits are correct (not just not vandalism) ... Seems a complex matter ... and not sure how people edit to add when other not-yet-visible edits are waiting. I.E., I don't get it.

Wonder what overall stats are where flagged revisions are in effect. Less vandalism surely, but perhaps less editing altogether. Hope to read more ... Proofreader77 (talk) 02:54, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Every now and then, someone asks Jimbo about it, but it's not up to him, you know ? As is more than usual with technical matters, we don't have enough developers to get this 'turned on' as fast as we'd like. We need to take into consideration the specifics of the implementation, the usability, performance, and scalability aspects. See this for an update by William Pietri who is working on implementing the trial with Howie Fung and Aaron. Cenarium (talk) 03:27, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm certainly red-faced. Clearly anyone should have known to just read:
Why didn't I think to look there? (rolls eyes) lol Thanks, Cenarium. :-) Proofreader77 (talk) 03:46, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I strongly support that we get this turned on as quickly as reasonably possible, and I let the staff know this often.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:34, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Proofreader77, the Gmane link is just a mirror of the more-official wikitech-l mailing list. I recommend following that list; that's where I saw that news, ages ago. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits}} 02:34, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
@Nihiltres, many thanks. I haven't used a mailing list in a long time. (Seems so last century. lol) Looks like it's time to go back in time, for awhile. :-) Proofreader77 (talk) 17:51, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Turnover in the technical staff, and staffing issues in general, seem to have delayed the implementation here. Nathan T 20:27, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

That's fair enough indeed; but for those of us to whom this may make a difference, and given that it was going to be, if not the deus ex machina, at least an improvement, some on-wiki notification would assist, at least to manage our expectations. Rodhullandemu 01:51, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Chicken or egg?

I know you are a supporter of "smaller" languages and believe in autonomy. What do *you* think? Thanks. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 04:28, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't think I understand what's going on well enough to be able to comment intelligently.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:30, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Pearl Harbor

The fact that attempts to put Pearl Harbor under "this day in history" are being ignored is a slap in the face to every US soldier, man/woman/black/white/gay/straight who fought in WW2. I refuse to donate because of this and the excuse of "Its on POTD" means NOTHING. (talk) 17:19, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Do you think Jimmy is going to have any idea what you are talking about? A few links would help... --Tango (talk) 17:23, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't take long to figure out. Today's featured image is a photo of rescue boats heading towards a US Navy vessel damaged during the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. Since that image is on the main page, the "On this day" box excludes the Pearl Harbor attack (which took place on Dec 7th, 1941). Some folks are disputing that logic. Nathan T
The OP talks about attempts being ignored. Some links show those attempts being made and then being ignored would help. I did look for those discussions and couldn't find them. --Tango (talk) 01:41, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • It was 68 years ago. Did they show it previously on the main page, in years past? Some comments on the discussion [5] seem offensive. I don't see any picture anywhere, nor did I see it yesterday. How long was it there? I see a picture of an albino wallaby and other junk there now. Dream Focus 18:30, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Dream Focus, unless you’re deliberately trolling you didn’t see this:[6] did you. And to the OP, the United States does not have a “Special status” when it comes to in the news/on this day ect ect ect. There are plenty of equally note worthy events that do not appear in the on this day section. Get over it.--Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 13:00, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
And by the way, Jimbo doesn’t decide what goes on the front page, so posting here and threatening to not donate wont do anything.--Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 13:03, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe Dream Focus just doesn't realise that wikipedia uses UTC and/or thinks an international site should use some American timezone? Nil Einne (talk) 13:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)


hi jimbo,

i tried to find info in relevant policies, but didn't succeed.

could you verify this:

A) checkusers have access to logs of actions that refer to user's edits


B) checkuser have access to both logs of actions that refer to user's edits, as well as to logs of which pages users have visited without editing them

thanks in advance for your reply. (talk) 12:09, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

"A" is correct - checkusers cannot find out someone's IP address if he/she just visits pages and doesn't edit them. Graham87 13:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
my question was slightly different. imagine i visit page 'x' without editing it, and page 'z' with editing it. do checkusers only see my visit/edit of page 'z', or also my visit to page 'x'? (talk) 13:54, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Checkusers don't see page views. They see edits. In the unlikely event somebody gets a court order, they might compell Wikipedia to release server logs showing which IP addresses accessed which pages. This would be unprecidented and I suspect the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others would raise a fuss. Jehochman Talk 14:13, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
that answers my question. thank you. (talk) 14:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
More question: could system admins see page views of users?.--AM (talk) 14:37, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
No YellowMonkey (bananabucket) (Invincibles finally at Featured topic candidates) 14:42, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Re copyvio cleanup

Dear Mr. JW: could you consider directing some of the foundation's investments towards copyright cleanups? Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations is seriously backlogged; User:Coren's bot has been tremendously helpful in flagging newly created articles as copyvios, but as you can see by looking at the first link and drilling down, hundreds of older articles still contain copy-pastes. The primary copyvio cleanup editors, User:Moonriddengirl, User:MLauba, and User:CactusWriter, have worked really hard to address these manually; but I can't help but feel that some support from you, whether in the form of your calls for more involvment or a dedication of remedial software funding, would be helpful. Sincerely, Novickas (talk) 19:41, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

ArbCom elections

I know you like to keep these things under your hat until after the election, but might you consider a public indication of how many Arbs you expect to appoint in view of User:John Vandenberg's recent resignation? Some of us let the number of available seats inform our support threshold (possibly going so far as to support exactly as many candidates as there are seats available), and we'd appreciate knowing if you expect to appoint nine instead of eight. Cheers, Steve Smith (talk) 10:09, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Should one not simply support those one thinks will make good arbs, and oppose those one thinks will be piss poor, rather than invite the returning officer to collude in tactical voting?--Scott Mac (Doc) 10:31, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's all about threshold, isn't it? Certainly, I'll oppose those who I think would be piss poor, but what about those who would be adequate, but not excellent? If there were three spots open, I could limit myself to supporting excellent candidates, knowing that there was no need to settle for adequacy. Were there fifteen, not quite so much. Quality of a candidate is not a binary measure, and I'm not sure how revealing the number of positions to be elected in advance of an election constitutes "collusion in tactical voting". I'm also not the only one who feels this way: [7]. I'll not be storming the WMF headquarters with torches if Jimbo declines to clarify, but I think it's nice if voters have advance knowledge of the rules of elections in which they're voting. Steve Smith (talk) 10:49, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
For better or worse, the premise of a vote allows people to vote tactically if they wish, since that is an accurate presentation of their expressed opinions.--Tznkai (talk) 10:37, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
No it isn't. The 50% rule prevents that. It is not an "accurate presentation" of my opinion if I oppose someone who I think would make a perfectly good arb on the grounds that they are 10th on my list of preferences. If people do that, there is every chance that candidates, whom most people think would make good arbs, will still fail to reach 50% approval - and indeed very few of such may make it. The election simply asks "do you think user:x would be suitable for arbcom?" and you can say yes/no/don't know. If you want a system that lets you express preferences, then we need a STV election system, we don't have that. Tactical voting of the type you suggest will tend to distort the system. Indeed, given the secret ballot, you may end up opposing someone you'd be be happy seeing as an arb only to find that your oppose causes them to be ranked below the candidate you really think would be a poor arb. Tactical voting does not work with multiple candidate secret ballots, unless you can predict how most other people will vote.--Scott Mac (Doc) 11:03, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
In other words, everyone should just forget about numbers and thresholds and vote according to the candidate's suitability. i.e. not worry about whether they are supporting more or less than seven editors. Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:15, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I said the same thing last year; "tactical voting sucks". I have supported those that I would like to see on ArbCom, opposed those who I would like to not see on ArbCom, and left those neutral who I have no opinion on. Easy. Opposing all the people that I don't care about to try to make my supports worth more... sounds a little like gaming the system, doesn't it? Aren't we supposed to note like that? --Deskana (talk) 11:19, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Anyway, there are better ways to magnify your votes...consider writing a guide or otherwise trumpeting loudly who or how you will vote. XD Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:29, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
This type of tactical voting makes more sense in a type of public wiki vote we have previously used. You can see if the oppose votes are causing problems, and they can be undone. What we had was a run-off election where the voters were able to choose how they wanted their votes redistributed, by amending their votes as required. That is very stressful on candidates. Oppose votes also makes sense when there is a very strong field.
The field isn't so strong this year, and it is a secret ballot, so a "tactical" vote needs to consider "what happens if my preferred candidates are not in the top nine", and that makes it important to support a set of suitable alternatives because otherwise we may end up electing unsuitable alternatives.
Also, one of the reasons I hastened my decision was so that voters had plenty of time to adjust their votes if the extra seat made a difference to their decision. Rather than expect Jimbo to adjust the outcome, post a note on every voters talk page to let them know about the extra seat, and say sorry from me while you are at it. John Vandenberg (chat) 11:41, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I am not defending tactical voting as a wise or particularly helpful choice. What I am saying, is its not our (or at least not my) damned business to tell others not to vote tactically, because that tactical opinion is what they chose to say. A vote asks for a show of hands, and it is certainly not my privilege to dictate how they should think about it.--Tznkai (talk) 18:42, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
My intention is to top-up the ArbCom to 18 members in two tranches, with appointments based on the order of vote percentages for all those who reach at least 50% support. I have not studied the exact composition of terms and what it means exactly to move from 3-year terms to 2-year terms, so I don't exactly know what that breakdown looks like nor whether there are any unusual situations that need to be handled. If there is a shortfall, i.e. not enough people make the 50% threshold, then we'll hold a discussion about what I should do then - I'll probably make a proposal for what I want to do and ask the community to ratify or reject it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo, your statement that you intend "to top up the ArbCom to 18 members in two tranches, with appointments based on the order of vote percentages for all those who reach at least 50% support" is unclear (to me, at least). There are at least four separable statements here:
(1) That you intend to appoint only those candidates at or above a rating of 50 under this Support/Oppose system (a reiteration of a similar staement you made last week). I note that the closing statement for the RfCs indicated "No Consensus exists to formally state a minimum", and that neither you nor anyone else in the community has raised an objection to this stated conclusion. A rating of 50 derived from a plus–minus calculation (which does not equate with a 50% vote) appears not to have garnered community support and to be incompatible with the current electoral arrangements. I am surprised it is figuring so prominently. There can be no automatic assumption that a candidate with a score of less than 50 is not a worthy candidate for ArbCom or has insufficient electoral support for the position; nor, conversely, will a score of 55 necessarily deliver a worthy arb or indicate electoral support. There seems to be no magic boundary in a score of 50, or 60 for that matter.
I will not appoint anyone who does not achieve at least 50% approval from the community. I don't see how the RFC would mandate me to act in that manner.
(2) That you intend to top up the Committee to 18, as decided by the community.
(3) That you intend to go against the community's decision that incoming arbs be appointed for two-year terms. This is the upshot of creating a hierarchical division into "two tranches", presumably involving some appointments that are not of two year's duration. In the RfC, there was "Strong Consensus ... for electing arbs "to terms of 2 Years", and there was certainly no sign of broad support for tranches—if anything, there were signs of the opposite ("There is also support for the related issue of the Elimination of Tranches, but participation in that section was low enough to preclude a firm statement").
I will ponder this, but I consider this to be a very technical point. I think it extremely important to have regular elections of a significant portion of the ArbCom, and caution against a system which eliminates a regular turnover.
(4) That there may be "unusual situations that need to be handled". Could you please explain what these situations might be?
As an example, suppose only 1 person gets 50% support. I won't appoint ONLY one person, and I won't appoint people with less than 50% support. In such a situation, something needs to be done. What? We need not discuss it now, as it's quite unlikely. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:47, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I am concerned that the creation of tranches also goes far beyond your your commitment that your "appoint" role will be "a purely ceremonial". I see that voters have made their decisions having read the diff to this undertaking (included without my knowledge, although in apparently in good faith given your October statement) in the lead to the election page.
You also wrote above: "I have not studied the exact composition of terms and what it means exactly to move from 3-year terms to 2-year terms, so I don't exactly know what that breakdown looks like"—The data are readily calculable, and Arbitrator Carcharoth has already explained the oscillatory effect that might ensue in the unlikely event that all arbs see out their full terms (that situation has never come close to occurring, of course). Tony (talk) 16:56, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I was under the impression that the "tranche" system was to be abolished per the community's wishes in the ArbCom RfC. You are not supposed to make any decision about the new arbitrators, as your role is purely ceremonial. Please do not attempt to override the community's wishes. — Kusma talk 17:06, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
The closing statement of the RFC said:
Strong Consensus exists for an Arbitration Committee composed of 18 Members elected to terms of 2 Years. There is also support for the related issue of the Elimination of Tranches, but participation in that section was low enough to preclude a firm statement. Functionally, having two year terms means that an arb is either up for election this year or next year, so tranches as a balancing mechanism may be deprecated anyway, and several editors seem to have assumed as much in supporting particular terms.
In the absence of a consensus we usually favour the status quo and the status quo is to have tranches. If we want to have annual elections to 2-year terms that means 2 tranches is the only number (other than just one) that makes sense. It seems to me that that is the reason for Jimmy's interpretation of the decision being to elect to 2 tranches. I don't see anything in what Jimmy says that suggests anyone will serve more than 2 years (the transition may be complicated, but I can't see why it would result in anyone elected at this election serving for more than 2 years - some existing arbs that were elected to 3 year terms may serve more than 2 years, but I don't see a problem there). --Tango (talk) 17:19, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't really see a point in appointing people to one-year terms, given a strong consensus to have two-year terms. Do "tranches" serve any purpose if everybody who is elected serves for the same length of time? — Kusma talk 17:33, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
The purpose is to keep the number of people elected each year roughly equal. If you don't actively try to keep equal tranches then you would end up with 15 people elected one year, none of them resigning early, and then only 3 people being elected the next year. This gives limited accountability of ArbCom as a whole. Then the next year there would be at least 15 places up for grabs (more if there have been resignations), which means the committee could have very limited continuity. Whether that purpose is worth it or not is debatable, but this isn't the time or place for that debate. There is a purpose, so the decision is not automatic, and there is no consensus for change, so we stick with the status quo. --Tango (talk) 17:52, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree with this. It's a relatively minor point. What are the numbers? --Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:47, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
It's not that minor - it determines how long people elected during this election get their seat for. The numbers for the vote? 4 in favour of keeping tranches, 12 in favour of getting rid of them and 2 in favour of a compromise (essentially tranches that vary in size between 8 and 10 Arbs). A clear majority in favour of getting rid of them, but a really low turnout compared to the rest of the RfC. --Tango (talk) 21:00, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
No, I meant: for this year, how many 1 year terms versus 2 year terms would there be if I appoint to 9/9 tranches versus automatic 2 year terms for everyone in the top-up to 18?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:04, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Of the nine current Arbs, four (Risker, Cool Hand Luke, Roger Davies, and Rlevse) have been appointed to serve to the end of 2011. The other five (Newyorkbrad, FayssalF, Vassyana. Carcharoth, and Wizardman) are to serve until the end of 2010. To create two equal tranches of nine from this election, you'd appoint four to one year terms and five to two year terms. Steve Smith (talk) 21:12, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
(ec - at least we got the same answer!) Ah, sorry. It looks to me like there will be 5 existing Arbs with a year to go on their terms and 4 with 2 years. To top up to 9/9, that would require 4 people to be given 1 year terms and 5 to be given 2 year terms. So that is quite a big difference to giving 9 people 2 year terms. If we don't use a tranche system and there are no further resignations, we will alternate between elections for 5 seats and elections for 13 seats each year. If we do use a tranche system, then obviously it is 9 each year. --Tango (talk) 21:17, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I will do 4 at 1 and 5 at 2 to normalize the setup in this first year of the two year term system, no sense starting things from day one with an imbalance. I see no support for the idea of a weird imbalance like that - it's a simple historical artifact of changing from 3 year to 2 year terms, etc. For subsequent years, we'll figure it out when we get there. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:44, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Good plan. --Tango (talk) 21:58, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you should make any decisions about term length, as that violates community consensus that your role should be "purely ceremonial" (see also below). — Kusma talk 10:19, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
PS Having read your question more carefully, let me actually answer it: If everyone is elected to a 2 year term then you simply don't have tranches. --Tango (talk) 17:53, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually, the page Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2009, on which every voter's expectations about the elections are probably based, states that all incoming arbitrators are going to be elected to two-year terms. I would be very disappointed to see a change of the rules during the election: I'd rather see these elections taken more seriously and handled more professionally. — Kusma talk 11:04, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

The closing statement of the RFC clearly said there was insufficient discussion to establish a consensus on tranches. --Tango (talk) 13:11, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The voters don't read the RFC, they read the voting page that is linked from the watchlist. If that page is wrong, the election process loses credibility. — Kusma talk 14:45, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I misunderstood the point you were trying to make. I agree that it is important for voters to understand what they are voting for. That page should be updated to clarify the situation. --Tango (talk) 14:59, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I made a note about Jimbo's plans on the election talk page: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2009. I haven't changed the actual election page, as I still hope that Jimbo will change his mind again and do what is written there. — Kusma talk 18:25, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

All the makings of a constitutional crisis

Jimbo, here are the facts we must now grapple with.

  1. You undertook to play only a "ceremonial" role in this election, and this, in good faith, was emblazoned at the top of the election page and was one of the bases on which voters proceeded ("The results will be announced ceremonially by Jimbo Wales shortly afterwards.").
  2. The community, via an extensive and well-advertised RfC, has decided that arbs should be elected for two-year terms, not one- or three-year terms. The decision effectively abolished the notion of tranches, where you have traditionally decided which candidate will serve what term. The result of the RfC is graphed below, in which the y-axis is calibrated in percentages. Strikingly, 3 users out of 140 want you to decide term lengths. This was the "Leave it adaptable to the current situation" option, which was introduced as follows:

    "after the last elections some arbitrators were appointed for 1 year terms, some for 2 years and remaining for 3 years. I think that the term length should remain flexible, so that User:Jimbo Wales can decide term lengths based upon the number of votes each candidate receives during elections and upon other circumstances."

Arb term lengths.jpg

Furthermore, the discussion above about turnover assumes that all arbs see out their term. This has never been the case: 2009 alone has seen an attrition rate of one third, and while we will seek to minimise it in the future, the fact is that a high attrition rate is historical. Neither you nor ArbCom nor the community can predict how many vacancies there will be—so we should not try to, beyond sharing what is almost a certainty that there will be attrition and thus an increased number of vacancies. The problem will not be too few arb vacancies for any particular election, but too many as we face this time around. A one-year tranche, apart from being in utter conflict with the community's determination that terms will be of two years' duration, is likely to present us with too many vacancies next year. In any case, in the highly unlikely event of zero attrition between elections, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with filling just three or four seats. Tony (talk) 04:21, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

You are quoting the wrong numbers. There was an explicit section of the RFC on tranches, that is the bit we need to look at. It was inconclusive. --Tango (talk) 13:14, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Tango, the numbers are from the RfC on term lengths, here. Tony (talk) 16:03, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I know. They are the wrong numbers. We aren't discussing term lengths, we are discussing tranches. The relevant numbers are those from the section of the RfC on tranches. --Tango (talk) 16:05, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
As you stated above, "If everyone is elected to a 2 year term then you simply don't have tranches". Correct. The community has overwhelmingly decided that arbs should be elected for two-year terms; this in itself moved us on from the notion of tranches. Tony (talk) 16:10, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
If that were the case lots of people would have voted to explicitly eliminate tranches. Only 12 people did. I think it is far more likely that people just didn't consider the issue. Standard elections will be to 2 year terms, nobody is questioning that. The question is about by-elections. Do you have any evidence to suggest that most people were considering by-elections when they expressed their opinions on term lengths? --Tango (talk) 16:21, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The tranches voting started really late into the RfC, around the 13/14 November. Hernce, the low voting figures.  Roger Davies talk 18:02, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Pardon my sticking my nose in where it probably doesn't belong, but I've always been a firm believer in procastination. Maybe the way to deal with this is to appoint all winners this year to two-year terms, and give the community the chance to decide on how to address imbalances through community discussion so that it can be resolved come next election. John Carter (talk) 17:41, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
If we want to procrastinate then we should appoint to tranches and then we can discuss whether or not to extend the 1-year terms to 2-year terms. If we elect to 2-year terms for everyone and then decide we actually want to balance it then it will be 2 years before we can fix the problem. --Tango (talk) 17:51, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The community voted to move to two year terms. I am respecting that and moving the entire system to two year terms. There was no consensus on a method for making that transition, and so I am opting to stick as closely as possible to both the longstanding status quo and what I take to be the most stable and balanced system in the long run. It makes no sense to elect 15 arbs one year and 3 arbs the next year, so we won't be doing that. This has an additional benefit, in that due to resignations there will likely always be some "short seats" which will go to people who have less support in the community. The idea that this provokes a constitutional crisis on the basis of a very low turnout on one question of an RfC strikes me as a bit unpersuasive. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:15, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Very well. That sounds most reasonable and wise when balancing the latest views of the Wikipedian community against a practical system of electing arbs. What has become clear is that the Wikipedian community wants more accountability from the admin (and arb) communities. Both admins and arbs obtain their privileges and powers from the community far, far more easily than the community can revoke those powers. This current state of affairs flouts a basic world-view to which I adhere: Leaders shall govern only with the consent of the governed.
I have long found a particular mantra of the admin community to be so incomplete that it is effectively untrue. It’s the one that goes “Admins don’t have police powers, they are just regular editors who have access to special tools.” Sure, that is part of it, but they certainly do have police (and prosecutor and judge, and jury) powers and I find it beyond-disingenuous for admins to assert otherwise.
Another mantra from the admin community is that we have long needed the preposterously high hurdles we currently have in place to recall ill-tempered or flat-out lousy admins because “in order to do their jobs effectively, admins necessarily must run afoul with regular editors and a cabal could gang up on an admin if the process was changed to make it easier.” Yes, I agree there could certainly be a lot of that tendency if there was a poor procedure in place to recall bad Admins. But that is certainly no reason for the community to not try to improve the system to make our admins more accountable.
I reject the implied assumption that we are stuck with the current system and its ridiculously high hurdles because we illiterate farmers can’t be trusted to figure out a fair system to recall powdered-wig admins. Two-year terms for arbs are just the beginning of refining Wikipedia’s system of governance. Greg L (talk) 20:21, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The two-year decision effectively abolished tranches. Jimbo, you say: "The idea that this provokes a constitutional crisis on the basis of a very low turnout on one question of an RfC strikes me as a bit unpersuasive." No, the constitutional crisis is related to the community's strong consensus on the numbers and term lengths for incoming arbs. As pointed out above, the two-year term for incoming arbs (65.0%) has effectively made the notion of tranches redundant. The specific "tranches" question was set up late, after most participants had already visited the RfC page, as an afterthought to John Vandenberg's framing of the big questions. The separate "tranches" issue it raised was and still is irrelevant as pointed out in several comments there. The lateness and irrelevance are both at issue when explaining the low turn-out.
The decision was not for a transition. Framing the community's decision on two-year terms as "transitional" has no basis in fact: the RfC mentioned nothing about transitions; nor were the stated options voters faced expressed as a maximum. The referendum was launched last month, just before the election, to establish the conditions that would apply to this election.
The 2.1% problem. The vanishingly small support for your choosing the term-lengths of arbs speaks for itself. The wording for that option could not have been more explicit: "after the last elections some arbitrators were appointed for 1 year terms, some for 2 years and remaining for 3 years. I think that the term length should remain flexible". People didn't support it.
Your existing undertakings. You have given undertakings (1) to play a purely ceremonial role in appointments; and (2) to follow the results of the RfCs. While the community will appreciate your promise to consult, discuss, debate the matter if the results of the election are not to your liking or are otherwise problematic, unilaterally announcing that you will act in conflict with consensus on arb terms would risk provoking a constitutional crisis. It seems logical that you would avoid such a crisis by instituting one- and two-year tranches only with community approval. Do you intend to gain that approval? Tony (talk) 07:32, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Read the reasons people gave when voting for 2 year terms. It is clear that they were thinking about reducing term lengths. They weren't thinking about increasing term lengths for by-elections (which I can't see anybody even mentioning). Obviously there is a transition - we're moving from 3 year terms to 2 year terms, that is a transition. As you say, the RfC didn't discuss the transition much, which means Jimmy has to try and transit in a way to maintains the status quo as much as possible, which means with tranches, at least for this election. --Tango (talk) 12:42, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm backing Tony here. If there are unforeseen problems arising from appointing 15 odd arbs at this election for two years - then that's for the community to decide at it's leisure. I'd hoped we were moving away from 'Aunty knows best', please sit on your hands Jimbo and stick to your ceremonial commitment - it's likely the community won't do things as well as you can, but the point is it clearly wants to - that will take a bit of time and practice. --Joopercoopers (talk) 13:54, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
This seems like a very reasonable decision. I certainly didn't interpret the term lengths question as saying anything about dispensing with the tranche system or affirming it, and I am surprised that it is being read by Tony in that way. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:38, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Two years looks very clear: two years, not one year, not tranche divisions, not three years, not transitions. Nope, two years, for this election. The referendum was urgently started in time for this election. Tony (talk) 17:28, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Look at the comments. People are comparing two year terms to three year terms. We never had universal three year terms. Three years was the maximum. It seems clear to me that people were expecting two years to be the new maximum. --Tango (talk) 17:36, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
And it seems clear to me that people were expecting two years to be the new term length, period. I in fact started the RfC question that meant to clarify this, and I'm disappointed that it couldn't form a strong consensus in time, but there were 12 people in favor of fixed term lengths and 6 5 in favor of something else. And that something else wasn't even the "Jimbo decides" option, which was clearly unpopular in the related question about term lengths. If we want some sort of self-balancing tranche system -- which I have argued is unnecessary given the high turnover rate of ArbCom -- it should be made as a proposal for 2010. rspεεr (talk) 18:06, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Could you explain why that is clear to you? I see no mention in the comments of by-elections. No-one here is suggesting any kind of "Jimbo decides" option - Jimbo will allocate the longest terms to those with the most votes as he has done for the last few elections. I haven't seen anything suggestion he would use any discretion. --Tango (talk) 18:19, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
When you keep saying "by-elections", you're talking about exactly the same thing as tranches, which were extensively mentioned in the comments in that most people don't see the need for them. There is no need for "by-elections". The proposal was to fill all the empty seats at each election, no matter why they're empty, and give the elected arbitrators 2-year terms starting from then. In a sense, it's a "maximum" of 2 years in that many of them will resign before that. rspεεr (talk) 23:13, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
That simply was not the proposal. The proposal that people voted in favour of, in its entirety, was "two years" under the heading "term lengths". There was no mention, positive or negative, of tranches or by-elections, just those four words: "term lengths" and "2 years". I suggest you actually go and look at the RfC. (I don't know what comments you are referencing, but I can't see a single mention of tranches under the "2 year" header.) --Tango (talk) 00:48, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
The poll presented itself as 1 vs. 2 vs. 3; the natural assumption was that "3 years" represented the status quo (tranches with 3 year terms; multiple people address the 3 year option as if it represented a status quo) and that the option "2 years" meant simply changing "3" to "2". Your interpretation, which is that all initial poll choices silently assumed the elimination of the tranche system, would seem fundamentally misleading and out of line with the results of the specific poll on tranches. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:57, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

The two tranche system makes sense to me, and it also seems to be in accord with the result of the RfC. The RfC dealt with terms and tranches as separate issues; there was consensus for one, but not the other. Avoiding dramatically imbalanced elections is a reasonable goal, and taking one year to transition to a two year term system is a reasonable way to achieve that goal. The folks who are approaching this like lawyers arguing over technical interpretations are treating Jimbo's own words as the rule he is supposedly violating. I understand that having Jimbo make some relatively minor decisions causes some people to feel as though their own influence over events is reduced. Luckily, this is a minor enough detail that we should be able to get past it. Nathan T 20:24, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Nathan, you are absolutely right. Some people in this discussion appear to be a bit confused about the constitutional status of the ArbCom. This discussion is rapidly approaching the point of redundancy. :-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:40, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
My interpretation of the RfC is that Jimbo shouldn't make any decisions with respect to this election. It is irrelevant whether his decision to use a tranche system is good or not, as the community decided that he should not have the power to decide term lengths in the election. — Kusma talk 21:50, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
If everyone gets a 2-year term, it won't necessarily mean "dramatically imbalanced elections". If everyone this year gets a 2-year term, the majority of ArbCom will have two years remaining, and some will have one year remaining. However, assuming early resignations are equally likely for each group, then proportionally more of those with two remaining years should resign early. Early resignations should tend to equalize the groups with one and two years remaining. Gimmetrow 22:37, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Why would you make that assumption? I can think of a variety of factors that could cause more resignations in one group or the other. --Tango (talk) 00:48, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Why would you not make that assumption, since you provided no opposing data? Gimmetrow 04:02, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Jimmy, the time to make proposals and express your views was during the RFC. The premise of the RFC was to determine the preferred number & term for the new arbitrators for 2010, in order that your role could be purely ceremonial. As I stated at the top of the RFC, the community can have another RFC next year in order to fine-tune the system and "to cater to the different needs of the next election". The community strongly supported two year terms for the arbitrators appointed at the conclusion of this year. There was not strong support for a tranches system or for one year terms. There was very little support for letting Jimbo decide, or leaving it "adaptable to the current situation". John Vandenberg (chat) 01:54, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Flawed RFC?

It seems to me the problem here is a flawed RFC, which isn't Jimbo's fault. I didn't take part in the RFC and didn't even know it was going on that. I'm not blaming anyone for that. But my reading of it now agrees with Tango. The communities intention was for a standard term length to be 2 years. Whether to abolish the trache system was unclear from the RFC. The Jimbo decides bit was a red herring since it wasn't worded clearly enough. My reading of it was the community doesn't want Jimbo deciding at random how long terms should be which he basically did last year when he decided to expand the number of arbs. However this isn't a case of Jimbo decides. Rather it's a case of the community decided on a standard two year term length but couldn't decide on traches therefore as always with wikipedia, we stick with the original option (which in this case is also less disruptive) which is we preserve tranches. Jimbo ceremonially appoints editors to ensure there are 9 in the 2 year remaining tranche from the real elections and 9 in the 1 year remaining tranches from the byelection. Reading the above, it appears the RFC was rushed. While I understand the reasons, I think the highlights the problem with rushing things... Unfortunately it appears nothing but an RFC is going to clear this up. I suggest the future RFC be properly worded to ensure everyone understands that a 2 year term means a standard term lasts 2 years but a term resulting from a byelection will last 1 year if they decide to keep tranches. Alternatively you could have a question on a definite term length and make it clear that with such a term length, it is likely the tranche system will be effectively abolished or at least 'limited' and that there's a fair chance the number elected each year is going to vary significantly with sometimes it could easily be 4 and other times 14. To put it a different way, the community needs to know precisely what they are voting for in the RFC, and how it will affect matters. Nil Einne (talk) 13:12, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't follow. "Jimbo decides about term lengths" clearly had minimal support. Term lengths are two years for everybody elected in this year's election. There's no consensus on abolishing the "tranche" system, but that is irrelevant since term lengths are tow years. Anyway, time to complain about the RFC closure and the election setup was before the election. Now, everybody has voted based on the two-year assumption, and "rules changing after the election" was one of the reasons why people voted against all "Jimbo decides" options. — Kusma talk 13:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
But Jimbo isn't deciding (unless you think en electoral agency in announcing who's been elected in a normal election and therefore for a normal term length and who's been elected in a by-election and a therefore shorter term length i.e. remaining term length is 'deciding' what the term length is, it's true of course our situation in somewhat unique in that it's combined and flexible but then again it's also flexible in the number of candidates period and at a guess there may be some countries with some sort of proportional voting system such as STV which do what we're doing in terms of combined.) He's just following the RFC. If the election wording isn't following the RFC, that's rather unfortunate but isn't Jimbo's fault. And as I said already in my first post, Jimbo isn't deciding anything except to follow the RFC, which seems a wise course of action given that we have no way of knowing how many people bothered to read it, and how many thought it was following the RFC or just didn't care. And just to repeat what I also said earlier, we have no way of knowing how many people voting in the RFC realised that when voting in a 2 term length, they were voting for a 2 term length even for by elections and how many people though they were only voting on a normal term length, but by elections would still be 1 year (as Tango apparently did, and I probably would have if I'd voted in the RFC) Nil Einne (talk) 13:38, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Jimbo saying "I will do 4 at 1 and 5 at 2 to normalize the setup" sounds to me like he has made a decision, however minor it may be. This is a matter of principle -- I believe that ArbCom matters should not be in Jimbo's hands. No other Wikipedia needs a God-King, why should this one? — Kusma talk 13:46, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
And I don't believe he has, but the community has, of rather failed to overturn the existing system and therefore we're sticking with it and Jimbo is simply following what the community has said and not deciding anything. Ultimately this isn't going anywhere. And it's not minor IMHO when you want to misuse a poorly worded RFC to do something the community may never have intended (as I've said, the fact that you may have read it that way and I accept in good faith that it was your intention in voting doesn't mean everyone else did, it's clear Tango at least didn't and I don't think I would have either). To put it another way. the community has decided they want 18 arbs. If someone else resigns and Jimbo therefore appoints another (i.e. 10) arbs, does that mean Jimbo is deciding the number of arbs? No he's simply fulling the requirement for 18 arbs. In the same case, the community has decided (by default) to have 2 tranches with (not by default) arbs in each tranche having 2 year terms. Jimbo in appointing however many arb vacancies we end up with for the first tranche after the election to 2 year terms and however many arb vacancies after the by-election for the second tranche to 1 year term, is simply doing what the community wants, and not deciding anything. Nil Einne (talk) 13:49, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Every voter in this year's election can expect nine arbitrators to be appointed to two-year terms, as stated on the election page since the start of the election. I don't want to misuse any RfCs (and I don't think that this RfC says that Jimbo shouldn't be our GodKing anymore), but I would like people to know what their vote means, and not find out later that it meant something else instead of what they intended. — Kusma talk 13:58, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I do not believe it's fair to overturn a community decision based on an improperly worded election page. For example, how do you know people actually read the election page and didn't just assume it would follow the existing rules, as decided by the RFC? How many thought it was following the rules because they didn't take part in the RFC or did but didn't follow the results and thought therefore that it was a community decision when it wasn't? In a real life election, if someone changes the rules by writing something else in the election guide and then expects everyone to be okay because hey they knew what they were voting for even if that guide violated the existing rules, you can be assured they would be deadly (word chosen unintentionally but it's actually fairly fitting because real violence can result from such things) wrong. Nil Einne (talk) 14:03, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
That's not a community decision that would be overturned. At most, it's a community non-decision, as the question was posed too late for consensus on it to be obtained. — Kusma talk 14:06, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's as simple as that. For example, if you tried to change a long standing policy and didn't receive a clear cut result either way it would be difficult to claim that disregarding the policy is okay because it's only a community non-decision. What we're discussing is more or less the same thing, a resonably long standing policy (tranches) that was not removed by the community when they had the chance (or perhaps they did intend to remove it, the RFC just wasn't worded well enough that everyone agrees that was the result). This also doesn't address the issue that I raised very early on, i.e. that it's possible people did want a fixed 2 year term but didn't think it through and realise the implications of that since this wasn't apparently made clear in the RFC. In something of this sort where people may have limited time to think of the implications, I think it's imperative that it's clearly explained what will happen and how it will work. That's definitely what happens in real life cases of important decisions, e.g. if a change of election system is being proposed, there will be education campaign to ensure people know how the new system will work. And in these cases you would think people have much more will to think of it and research it themselves then in decisions of this sort which let's face it, are likely to be much lower on the scale of importance for most people. Nil Einne (talk) 14:21, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
P.S. Anyone as I said earlier on, I see little point continuing this discussion. If you feel that strong about this then I guess another RFC is appropriate. To me, it would be acceptable if a short RFC clarifying the previous RFC in particularly whether it was a fixed two year term length disregarding tranches and even if it meant the complete abolition of tranches (i.e. 18 people every 2 years) or anything in between (e.g. 3 people 1 year 15 people another) advertised to all of those who participated in the previous RFC and getting at least 50% of support of the total number who voted in the previous RFC would assure me it was what the community intended as I presume Jimbo, Tango and anyone else who disagrees. I would suggest due care is taken with the wording to ensure there are no issues that haven't been considered first. I would personally recommend a more thorough unrushed RFC instead but it's up to you. Nil Einne (talk) 14:43, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I know I said I wouldn't be participating in this discussion anymore and for that reason I haven't read any response. However an important point occured to me that I didn't really make clear earlier. In particular, the RFC was inadvertedly misleading in suggesting Jmbo Wales was deciding term length. As I've already said, this is not the case. Rather Jimbo Wales is simply ensuring the appropriate number of people are duly elected in each tranche/class/whatever as required by the arbcom rules. If we completely eliminate JW from the system and appoint an arbcom electoral agency it would result in the same outcome because JW is simply following a defined set of rules. In other words, he has no flexibility in what he's doing.
As I've mentioned before, looking at existing election systems may help to clarify what I'm talking about here. For example in Australia after a double dissolution half the senators are elected to a full term and half to a half term. There has been some dispute about the method of choosing who get's the half term [8] [9], but that's a result of the fact it's not in the constitution and the Senate itself defines the rules and it is accepted that the those with more votes get the full term and less votes get the half term (how you decide which has more is the area that has been in flux). There's no suggestion that the Australian Electoral Commission or even the Australian senate is in some way 'deciding' the term length of senators.
Further while, I've been unable to verify this, I presume a better example would be Senate by-elections due to casual vacancies in the Senate (coming from states) held during half-senate before 1977 for example as held in 1970, 1961, 1958 and 1953 [10]. I presume but have been unable to verify that in these cases the person who received the lowest votes of those elected was elected for a halfterm to fill out the remaining term, in otherwords, a simultaneous by election was held with the existing election and the winner was the byelection was effectively the first loser of the election, the same as we are doing here. (This was abandonded after 1977 apparently because of concerns it screwed up with the proportionality and instead casual vacancies are fulfilled solely by appointment and don't need to face election.)
I should also clarify since I didn't perhaps make this clear enough that it seems to me it's also unfair to word the RFC such that you force people to choose between a 2 year fixed term no matter what instead of giving them a 2 year normal term but allowing a 1 year half term when the situation arises. Of course, as I've already said I'm not convinced that people even understood that a 2 year fixed term no matter was what you were apparently suggesting in the RFC, nor were the implications of that made clear.
Nil Einne (talk) 02:28, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

g'day jimbo

Hi Jimbo - I saw that you're planning on recording a 'WikiVoices' conversation near christmas - it'll be great to hear how that goes - good luck creating the news article :-) - if you browse the WikiVoices page, you'll further see that there's a conversation planned for this weekend (sunday at 01.00 UTC), and that one of the topics is 'Internet safety for underage Wikipedians' - I posted to the foundation mailing list a little while ago, following learning that wiki administrators under the age of 18 are taking routine admin. actions in respect of images which could reasonably be described as pornography - in one case, the admin. Julian C. is a self identified minor, and the image (which will appear if you click the link) is of a woman masturbating - the file is called 'Masturbating Amy'.

To echo my foundation post, I'd like to see some external advice sought on this matter, and I'd like to see Wikipedia:Child protection grow to contain some meaningful ideas for consideration. However, even should the Wikipedia community consensus feel that it's appropriate for minors to work with explicit media, I believe measures should be taken to ensure that they are discouraged or prohibited. Would you agree? Privatemusings (talk) 01:27, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

JC did exactly the right thing; he reverted vandalism; that's what I would expect an admin to do, and especially an admin on five WMF projects, including Meta, Commons and Wikinews, with global rollback permission, and a project coordinator with over 100,000 edits on this Wiki alone. He is probably more maturely minded than most adults who contribute here, and not obviously in need of "protection". There's nothing to see here, let's stop scarifying and move on please. Rodhullandemu 02:00, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, in that particular instance, I was merely mass-reverting a blocked vandal, so I didn't actually see the image itself (nor do I intend to). –Juliancolton | Talk 02:18, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Privatemusings, would you like to prohibit all minors from seeing image vandalism? Seeing bad images which have vandalism that needs to be reverted? JC is easily mature enough to handle something like this... He doesn't need to have his hand held like a 5 year old... The thing that should not be 02:40, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I must mainly agree with User:The Thing That Should Not Be. I agree that average minors should not have access to 'inappropriate' images on commons, however, established, mature wikipedians such as Julian should in no way be barred from doing their administrative duties. If a user indefinitely asserts maturity through his or her edits then they should be able to deal with images. And, these images are no worse than what any average teenager could access on a regular computer or even innocently run into on a bilboard, TV, etc. Besides, even if Wikipedia decided to attempt to bar users from viewing said images, who would be able to tell a users age? Wikipedia does not require date of birth etc. at registration. Unless we demand each user's full name, date of birth, and pull their birth certificate- which, frankly, wouldn't be possible to do with over 11 million users- It really wouldn't be prudent to block user's viewing. I suppose one could block self-admitted minors, but even that would leave a good million plus users underage and able to view these images. I think that this upcoming WikiVoices will most definitely be an interesting debate over this issue.  IShadowed  ✰  03:49, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
It's not Wikimedia's job to act in loco parentis. It's a child's parents' job to monitor the child's internet use. In any event how would one determine what is and is not appropriate? And how would one go about verifying any user's age?  – ukexpat (talk) 03:56, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree per all above. I've always believed that a user should be respected based on their contributions and actions alone, not their age or other personal factors. Why should it be any different in this case? As IShadowed points out, even if we wanted to restrict the viewing of such content, we wouldn't be able to! A worthwhile point for discussion, but I doubt it will go anywhere in particular, mainly due to both the principle and the feasibility of any such scheme. :) SMC (talk) 05:10, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
He, it's privatemusings again.. BORED !!!! —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 17:21, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
heh... well the comments above are generally indicative of the 'community consensus' - except for the 'bored' one, because everyone knows I'm witty, great looking, and heaps fun ;-) - To me it's both unsustainable and undesirable to continue to support underage editors and administrators engaging with / working with explicit material - I really just wanted to ensure that Jimbo was personally aware that this (minors both accessing, and wiki-working on) is occurring on a fairly large scale - and growing. What I'd really like is for Jimbo to raise the matter with the advisory board, or board proper for discussion, and recognition as an issue. For a light hearted examination of the issues (which also include the inclusion of images taken in public places, such as topless young women at the beach, without permission from the young person pictured) - see my essay - not safe for work, and not appropriate to view as a minor. Privatemusings (talk) 00:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)time stamp is wrong, 'cos I signed a bit later - sorry!
And I suppose that we should also bar minors from seeing sexually explicit cuss words (which I see on a regular basis)? Now, as a minor myself (and devout vandal fighter) I want to know why in the world you want to leave us blind to image vandalism? Isn't removing the vandalism more important? Besides, protecting the innocence of our eyes isn't something you can control; that's our business as well as our parents'. And it's not like we're deliberately looking for them to for so-called "gratification"; when we non-vandalizing editors see them, we remove and request them for deletion (if we don't have the privilege of being able to delete them ourselves). And, as IShadowed said, how are we going to tell who's a minor and who's not?--Twilight Helryx 23:22, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I've seen/heard worse in my three years of high school so far than I have on Wikipedia for the most part. Wikipedia is on the whole a much less explicit place than high school, from my experiences. Ks0stm If you reply here, please leave me a {{Talkback}} message on my talk page. 23:35, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Ditto and agreed, especially given how 98+% of articles on Wikipedia are asexual. If some pornographic image shows up where they shouldn't be, you can rest assured that it will be promptly reverted/removed.--Twilight Helryx 23:49, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

< you chaps make interesting points, but also sort of miss mine - I think I'll head over to JC's talk page too, because it interests me that he notes that he didn't view the image, and doesn't intend to (which to me almost implies that he may feel it would be inappropriate for him to do so?) - my issue is really that working on this encyclopedia is attractive to children (it should be! it's wonderful to engage young people in a positive effort!) - and that we are rather irresponsible when it comes to offering advice / guidelines / policy to ensure that the material children are working with is appropriate. Obviously any child is going to be able to find very (very!) explicit material on the internet with a click of a button - but I'm afraid that doesn't abdicate our responsibility for the material we host here (and the foundation's responsibility for wmf projects in general, of course) - as I mentioned, I really just wanted to make sure Jimbo was personally aware that there is a large amount of very explicit material now available on both wikipedia, and commons, and that children are regularly accessing, and routinely administering, such material - hopefully jimbo may agree with me that this is an issue worth considering :-) Privatemusings (talk) 00:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you there, Privatemusings. But still, how do you propose we keep children (I'm assuming that you mean 12 and under since most of us teens are already aware by 13) from seeing these unnecessarily explicit images? Clearly a block isn't going to work (it won't even get off the ground!) and guidelines are easily missed. Getting rid of the images that are totally unnecessary is one part of the solution, but I would like to hear what the rest is. After all, you wouldn't go after a man-eating tiger with a staff, but no spear head.--Twilight Helryx 00:34, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
well generally I try to avoid man eating tigers all together! (I read this with my morning coffee this morning - horrible...!) - agreeing that there's something to discuss is the first step - we're a smart bunch of folk with fantastic problem solving abilities here on wiki - if we turned our minds to it, we'll come up with something workable, and useful, I reckon - I have a feeling jimbo will support this too, although he can probably help best by asking the board of advisors, or trustees to consider the matter :-) (solutions include things like restricting sexual content to article space, working on 'descriptive image tagging' which would help with using filters, and stuff like that....) cheers, Privatemusings (talk) 00:39, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Heheh, now we have a nice assortment of spearheads. X3 Now the question is which one is more effective (and which the tiger will use as toothpicks =P). Because some kids think "no" means "yes". But I agree that we best let Jimbo and friends sort decide which one to slay the man(or kid)-eater with. Cheers!--Twilight Helryx 00:58, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
By just reading this disscussion here I must say. 'sigh' I cant belive that some wikipedian are still ageist. After all this is one reason that JC failed his RFB. At any rate I hope that the community will eventually see that most minor aged editors are a huge benefit to the project.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 01:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm sure that you can at least agree that people who are not legal adults probably shouldn't look at photographs depicting masturbating women. @Kate (parlez) 01:20, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I strongly oppose that suggestion. As a Dutch national, I think there is nothing wrong with such a thing. There were images of naked women in my biology book in what would be 8th grade in the US system. There are images of dead people in the Children's Newsbulletin at least once a week. I can drink beer at 16 and enter nightclubs and drive at 18. There is more to the world than the US. I might be convinced that there is a point to be made that we should not have administrators under 18, but to say that we universally agree on "not legal adults probably shouldn't look at photographs depicting masturbating women" is a travesty. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:36, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Well of course! But I feel that JC was doing the right thing. It just so happens that he is a minor and now people are bringing up this whole thing about minors of wikipedia. I feel that you should judge editors on their contribs not their age.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 01:22, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
For the opinons mentioned: Yup, yup, and yup. For the stuff about minors: No one's saying that JC did anything wrong; the real issue here (as mentioned a few comments ago) is about little kids finding themselves staring at very unnecessary pornographic images uploaded by a few idiot users.--Twilight Helryx 01:31, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
WEll then could'nt this be fixed by deleting the images themselves? After all what pourpose do they serve other than getting this site blocked at schools and giving is a bad reputation? I was just saying that people have to learn that minors are a huge benefit tot he project.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 01:36, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
That's what I said. ;) With all due respect, no one said that minors should be kept off either. But I get your point.--Twilight Helryx 01:38, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
wow. Sorry for all the typos. Anyway I think that this has been resolved.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 01:40, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Ditto.--Twilight Helryx 01:43, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Could we wrap this up please? I think the conversation here has strayed from the OP's initial intentions. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:12, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Well I think that it is wrapped up. Thank you Julian.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 02:14, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Congratulations, it's a girl!

Mahalia Merita Angela Smith (6lb 11oz), heaven help her, was born this week, delivered by Wikipedia! Who needs a midwife, when you've got "The kid that anyone can deliver". See here.--Scott Mac (Doc) 10:27, 11 December 2009 (UTC)Heaven help here.

Not to pour water on a feelgood story (and a reliable source like The Sun!) but I rather suspect that the father used Wikihow, rather than our article on Childbirth (?). The former is the first google hit for "How to deliver a baby" and the instructions there match the one in the newspaper story. Abecedare (talk) 13:30, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Shhhhhh, don't let facts get in the way of a good PR angle. Anyway, we have a reliable source.--Scott Mac (Doc) 15:48, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
True. I christen the newborn Wikikidia - who wants to make that a bluelink ? ;-) Abecedare (talk) 16:05, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Oil and water and other conflicting personality types in Wikipedia collaboration

I'm not a huge fan of personality pigeon holes (e.g., Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), but it is clear (at least to me) that some relatively significant percentage of "totally unnecessary" contention among Wikipedians arises from their being, um, different species.

Has there ever been any discussion of such things at Wikipedia? (And yes, I'm thinking about this because of how "peaceful/uneventful" the Arbcom election has been. Have even threatened to compose a Wikipedia Western holiday musical review with songs inspired by the various "barfights" I've witnessed. :-)

Knowledge/links/random noise welcome. In any case, happy holidays. Proofreader77 (talk) 00:08, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Not sure that Jimbo's Talk page is the best place for this discussion, but here's a scholarly paper on the subject. Cool3 (talk) 03:33, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
What? You didn't see the constitutional crisis? :-) Perhaps those in contention may have different, um, personality codes. Maybe not. Jimbo knows all! :-) In any case, many thanks the link ... what I'd like to see though is whether there is any acknowledgement that we are dealing with not just different opinions, but different planets of origin. :-) (I have the feeling I responded twice to this within the same message.) Proofreader77 (talk) 03:40, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
(Follow up after reading scholarly article suggested.) Hmmm, no, what outside analysts conclude about personality types isn't what I mean — but rather whether Wikipedians have ever attempted to acknowledge that many intractable discussion "barfights" arise from personality and communication style differences (not preferences, but innate).

For example (perhaps), there is a discussion on AN at this time between two POVs (which I've lightly labeled pro-silly and anti-silly) about a disruptive (some say) humorous (amusing enough to be worth allowing, some say) editor ... and whether that argument is based on a profound philosophical difference in perspective .... or a personality-encoded reaction ... hmm, well, that's the issue I'm raising here. :-)

SO: Have Wikipedians ever "took a meta-look" at their discussions from that perspective (of personality types, etc)? And I ask this here, because I figure Jimbo ... being the ultimate (when he feels it necessary or useful) Matt Dillion of the grand saloon (yep, not salon) of all knowledge that is Wikipedia, ... would know.

PS:-) To celebrate Arbcom election closing day, I have mightily exceeded my piss-ant 100-word "editing restriction" (not publicly catalogued, but privately imposed after one of those "carwreck" ANIs which have become more frequent in recent months, and which I'll probably have to straighten up at Arbcom with many hundreds of hours of wasted effort on the part of many good (and some transiently-bad^^) people — unless, of course, Matt Dillon decides to celebrate Arbcom election day by a pardon for Proofreader77 ... in acknowledgement that some usually wise Wikipedians sometimes get their panties in a twist over things that shouldn't be an issue, but get sideways in "personality and communication style differences," and damn foolishness results. Amen. :-) (Oh, and, let me know if you'd like a sonnetized executive summary. I'm pretty dang rhetorically competent, but some rudely and, yes, foolishly, have claimed otherwise ... How strange to be threatened with being SITEBANNED for matters such as these. Up to you, Mister Dillon — how 'bout sparing Arbcom some foolishness? :-)
-- (And, in any case, happy holidays to all.) Proofreader77 (talk) 18:49, 14 December 2009 (UTC)


You may also like to watch this debate. [11]. Alex Harvey (talk) 04:13, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

New Articles

Hi, I'm the user Charli31898, previously I have created 2 pages Charlotte Beazley and Country Road (film) and they have both been deleted. I wanted to make those pages because Charlotte Beazley is an actress and will be in Sleepover Girlz next year in February and next year December in Country the film. And then in 2021 will be in Mamma Mia but that's a long time away so can you please make a page for Charlotte Beazley only and I will send you an image and information for the article, thank-you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Charli31898 (talkcontribs) 07:29, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

According to the log, Charlotte Beazley was deleted because "[the] sole author requested deletion or blanked." [12] and Country Road (film) was deleted because there was "no indication of importance" in the article. Articles must conform to Wikipedia policies regardless of who creates the article, so asking somebody to put the same article back up will just result in deletion again. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 10:26, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

The Page of Laurance W. Marvin was deleted without reason by srtange user....

Resolved: Editor has asked User:Jayjg for clarification Rodhullandemu 23:18, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Hello, The Page of Laurance W. Marvin was deleted without reason by strange user....[Jayjg]. All in formation on the page was factually accurate and up to date. I wish to file a complaint against this user [Jayjg]. And for the page Laurance W. Marvin to be returned. If you need additional information I can put you in contact with Mr. Marvin. the majority of his history is on actual paper not on the net. Also if you need any additional information I will provide it to you. Please contact me...Thankyou. --Yoko-Litner (talk) 22:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Jimbo isn't really supposed to be used for mediating. Please try WP:Wikiquette instead. Thanks!  IShadowed  ✰  23:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

The Great Wikipedia Dramaout

Hi! As you have expressed an interest in the initial The Great Wikipedia Dramaout, you're being notified because we are currently planning another one in January! We hope to have an even greater level of participation this time around, and we need your help. If you're still interested please sign up now at Wikipedia:The Great Wikipedia Dramaout/2nd. Thanks, and Happy Holidays! JCbot (talk) 04:39, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Minor style inconsistency in personal appeal

The first dash in your personal appeal is shorter than the other two dashes you've used. Given that it seems to have the same grammatical purpose – marking off a sort of parenthetical phrase – shouldn't the first dash be an endash like the other two dashes? Emw (talk) 02:56, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

ok, i came here for one thing, which i'm not going to get to (for today) after all, but on the topic of the fundraising programme: why is it that the fundraising-related "adverts" @ the top of wm pages do not have a right-click option to "open in new tab"!? i know this this is a very small thing, but i find it extremely annoying to be forced to open ads on the article page (or whatever page) i'm looking at. i suspect the "irritation-factor" of this might be a negative for our campaign, at least in a small way. Lx 121 (talk) 16:53, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Can it be true?

User:GoneAwayNowAndRetired/Wikipedia is broken and failing: Things like this scare me a little. Is it true that we are loseing more valued editors than gaining inexperianced ones? This essay has shown a lot of points. Shouldnt something be done about this? (I would post more examples but its getting late here).--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 02:59, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

That's not really what Rootology said, exactly, and there is conflicting data on participation. The accepted wisdom for awhile was that participation had flattened out in 2007 and might be in a slow decline, but recently other data have suggested renewed growth. He describes some fairly well known problems, but what we lack are workable ideas on how to solve them. And even though I agree with him that certain problems exist, and why, I can't subscribe to the urgency he gives them. The sky isn't really falling. Rootology went from community banned to administrator to RTV in something like two years, I think he's visited most of the extremes of Wikipedia, but most real progress takes place far away from those extremes. Where you spend your time around here has a major impact on how frustrated you get with the inertia on some issues. Anyway, given Root's views on authority, bringing it here for Jimmy's help is a little ironic ;-) Nathan T 04:08, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
True. He says that Jimbo has not real authority and is just a figurehead. IS this true? I thought that thats why we created the founder position. And I see what he means in the essay. Afterall the ANI is a bunch of jumbled mess. And WP:CONCENSUS is almost impossible to reach most of the time.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 11:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
without writing an extended essay on the topic

as far as "new-user-experience" goes, it would be fair to say that for all the wm projects i've worked on to any extent (wp/eng & wmc), an incoming noob faces considerable hostility, & a vicious learning curve:

after the welcoming-spam msg(s), the typical new user's first experiences with "the community" are mostly (& most often) negative: speedy deletions, ordinary deletions, problems with their contributions, & little or no help (fixing problems, etc.) from other editors. the style of communication received is also, typically: cold, neutral, and/or (at best) form-letter "nice". @ wmc, some established users are even in the habit of sending snarky form-letter msgs to new users whose contributions they do not value; i.e.: related to sexual content (primarily).

we have enough problems with losing good, experienced editors (for a variety of reasons),


if we continue the trend of driving off noobs too, wikimedia is dead.

if anything, the continual influx of new people is more essential to an open-source, open-collabouration wiki-project's ongoing viability.

we really need to fix this (on both points)!

Lx 121 (talk) 16:10, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree. "noobs" are the future of Wikipedia. But what can be done?--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 16:59, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
hi, was surprised to see such a fast response. i'm not really up on everything that wm has in place, at least not in detail, but here is a rough sketch of a few ideas (aka, "an extended essay"; first draft):

(unindenting, because i can)

1. improved "mentoring" system

2. an more active, organized "welcome" process (related to the above); to the point of having dedicated users whose job it is to:

a) sort thru the influx of new & unregistered contributors, looking for the... "most promising"(?) candidates (bots could help with that, to some degree).
b) contact & communicate with them on an ongoing basis, preferably one to one, or as a small pool of friendly & sympathetic voices.
c) teaching & guiding the new user through the "start-up" learning process; or at least offering & making themselves available to help as needed.
d) maintain at least a low-level of contact with the new users indefinitely, help them find their "niche" in wm operations, & hopefully encourage them to mentor the next "generation" of noobs.

3. revise wm processes to at least reduce the "negative" experiences (& messages) that a noob user gets in their "start-up" phase @ a project.

4. wandering a bit off-focus, but what about more pro-active recruitment? schools, professional organizations, enthusiast clubs, etc.?

3 sub-cats we should consider focussing efforts on:

i. "experts" on a subject (or at least knowledgeable people); who may or may not have the other skills necessary to contribute @ a wikimediaproject
i.a) "enthusiasts", who may or may not be knowledgeable about the subject (or have the other necessary wiki-skills, etc.), but are interested in the topic, want to learn, & are willing to put in the effort working on the topic @ wikimedia.
ii. students (young & old; but assume young people @ school, primarily): both as academic-related efforts, & as extra-curricular "club" activities.

it's not hard to see how efforts to contribute material to wikipedia could be organized as an academic challenge; both for the topics coverd & as writing.

professional-quality work could also be of benefit to the contributing editors, as a part of their portfolio/resume/college applications/etc. we should look at ways to facilitate that.

challenges could also be set up, on a more "fun" level; to encourage students to contribute material about "their" school, "their" community, or "their" x____?. some care (& much tact) would be needed to incorporate their efforts into the larger wiki-community & maintain the quality standards of "final product", but there are fixes that could be used to keep peace & order. one obvious possibility would be "sandboxing" projects; in the sense of creating a "working space" user area for the students (or etc.), separate from the mainline article, then incorporating the "best" work back into it. there are a variety of ways to structure something like that, & i won't attempt to suggest a "best" process.

5. rewards/honours.

tricky subject.

it can get to be a "game", like "featured picture" status on wmc; or worse, a "game" controlled by a small group of dedicated users.


it would help encourage more people to greater efforts, if there was more positive feedback, in a variety of ways; something beyond "barnstars" & "feature" status; both of which suffer from a degree of inconsistency in their application (& yes i know we're working hard to tighten up "feature article" ratings).

a better-organized system of internal honours (& possibly more of them?).
"prizes", possibly related to competitions and/or other "focussed effort" activities. again, tricky subject; but some kinds of sponsorship should be possible, without compromising our independence, or our standards
more feedback with regards to the use of wm's "finished" products: more easily accessible info & stats for... well, everything; but especially end-user traffic on wm pages, & re-use of wm materials. it would be good for a creative contributor to the impact their work is having.
more comprehensive & more accessible stats would be useful in a number of others ways, too; but i digress.

lunchtime here, & reading back i see that this post is long, rambling & messy; i hope the core ideas are clear enough to follow, though; & i'll return later to clean up my text. my apologies @ JW for cluttering up his talkpage; but i feel much better now! ^__^

Lx 121 (talk) 18:03, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

That was pretty well thought out. I must say that I agree with you. Acording to the essay that I posed earlier, we need some form of Leadership here. Jimbo is the de jure leader but we need (or ones) with the power to close the door on discussions ect. Perhaps the Abrcom should have the power to do more than just Abrigation. but its just an idea. At anyrate we need to stop or at leats stem the tide of leaving editors or bring in new recruits. As for what you said, I like what you posted. Its a good idea but can or will it work? (PS im sorry as well JW for cluttering up you page buit I thought this was the best place to take my concern as the AN would result in the same thing that the essay was talking about)--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 18:22, 16 December 2009 (UTC)


Would love to donate, but I've been abused by your admins too much.--Otterathome (talk) 18:24, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikimedia and privacy during server failures

I've commented on this before, and it seems to have been neglected, ignored, or simply gone unnoticed.

During server outages, a page is returned that states "This wiki has a problem". It states that the server is down, the database cannot be accessed, or whatever other problem the site is experiencing. In addition, it provides a Google search box. This is not a problem.

However, the Google logo is served from Google's servers, which is a problem. (Specifically, the file "".) This allows Google to record an entry into its logs every time I access Wikipedia during a server outage (IP address, page accessed, date and time, etc.). The Wikimedia privacy policy regarding IP addresses states "When a visitor requests or reads a page [...] The Wikimedia Foundation may keep raw logs of such transactions, but these will not be published..." There is no mention that external parties will also record this information, or how they will treat that information, though I think it's unacceptable to provide Google or any other party this information (especially for logged in users for whom the privacy policy explicitly states that IP address info will not be shared or disclosed).

I would assume that this is unintended, and would like to see this corrected immediately. I think the easiest thing to do is either replace the logo with plaintext, or host the Google logo on a Wikimedia server. (I have no problem with the search box, so long as it is explicitly clear that the transaction will be processed by Google, because at that point I can make the decision.) Mindmatrix 19:42, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

By the way, here is the HTML of the page in question:

<html><head><title>This wiki has a problem</title></head><body>
                <h1><img src="" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em;" alt="">This wiki has a problem</h1>
                <p><strong>Sorry! This site is experiencing technical difficulties.</strong><br>Try waiting a few minutes and reloading.</p><p><small>(Cannot contact the database server: No working slave server: Unknown error (</small></p><hr><div style="margin: 1.5em;">You can try searching via Google in the meantime.<br>
<small>Note that their indexes of our content may be out of date.</small></div>
<!-- SiteSearch Google -->
<form method="get" action="" id="googlesearch">
    <input name="domains" value="" type="hidden">

    <input name="num" value="50" type="hidden">
    <input name="ie" value="utf-8" type="hidden">
    <input name="oe" value="utf-8" type="hidden">

    <img src="" alt="" style="float: left; margin-left: 1.5em; margin-right: 1.5em;">

    <input name="q" size="31" maxlength="255" value="" type="text">
    <input name="btnG" value="Search" type="submit">
    <input name="sitesearch" id="gwiki" value="" checked="checked" type="radio"><label for="gwiki">Wikipedia</label>

    <input name="sitesearch" id="gWWW" value="" type="radio"><label for="gWWW">WWW</label>
<!-- SiteSearch Google --></body></html>

Thanks. Mindmatrix 19:43, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm not really the right person to ask about this. You'll want to email someone at the Foundation about it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:03, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I have added this issue to the bugtracking system under bugzilla:21870TheDJ (talkcontribs) 21:46, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Flagged revisions petition

^ --MZMcBride (talk) 15:44, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

You have my support. I signed.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:50, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

exec summary of issues relating to minors and sexually explicit images

Hi Jimbo, the above thread (permanent link) is well worth a read through - being a friendly, and to my mind, interesting chat through an important issue - the short version is that "...I really just wanted to make sure Jimbo was personally aware that there is a large amount of very explicit material now available on both wikipedia, and commons, and that children are regularly accessing, and routinely administering, such material..." - I'd really like you to request the board of advisers offer some feedback on this issue, or you could raise it with the board proper. See above for more - and a quick note that you (jimbo) have seen this would be appreciated :-) Privatemusings (talk) (archiving signature, this thread is already continuing an older thread.) Fram (talk) 11:36, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

hi; i'm not in the habit of commenting as a 3rd party on other people's talk pages (really!), but i can't resist jumping in on this, it's too important.
we are committed to providing free, freely-accessible knowledge to the world(, the i.s.s., & beyond...? lol).
that is wikimedia'a purpose, that is why we are here.
wikimedia is NOT censored!
either that means something.
...or it doesn't
if it doesn't, we should probably remove the line & stop pretending.
...if we had to, i could live with a tagging system to identify things that "offend" some people; but attempting to implement a system which would be fair to all of the offended & potentially offended parties, would be nightmarish. for example, what kinds of "offensive material" should we choose to warn & not to warn about, & for which groups of users?
there is no "good" way of resolving the questions that would be raised, once we started down such a path.
if it would satisfy the core complaints, what about creating a "kid-friendly" wm/wp project?
i'm really not crazy about the idea, but if it gets (at least some of) the complaints off our backs, i could live with that, too...
Lx 121 (talk) 16:31, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
wikipedia really is censored, Lx - and I presume you support the removal / censorship of things like child pornography? - I'm just suggesting that it's high time we considered dissuading or prohibiting children from accessing, or administering sexually explicit images - maybe you'd agree with that too? - either ways, have a listen to this podcast if you get the chance - you may find it interesting. Privatemusings (talk) 06:41, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
i'm getting way too deep into this "behind the scenes" stuff way & i'm going to (try to) limit that; but just to reply to the key points raised above:

(unindenting, because i can, again)

1. we delete materials meeting the definition of child pornography because they are illegal; same with copyright violations, though that generally falls under different parts of the law. beyond that, the questions of what to include/exclude should be based on definitions of project scope, (verifiable) factual accuracy, & quality (which is a tricky, extremely subjective, nnpov thing).

in terms of contents the line could perhaps be modified to something like: "wikimedia is NOT censored, except for materials that are illegal for wm to host, & materials that (clearly) fall (well) outside of a given project's scope."

sex is a topic that easily fits in as educational, as do related subject like human special interaction, art, etc.

2. tangentially, both the laws governing intellectual property & the laws governing child pornography are becoming an unmanageable mess, & getting worse, not better. i won't get into a debate about IP law here, because it is "outside of scope" lol; but i will expand (very) briefly on the subject of child pronography laws, & how hard it is becoming to define workable boundaries on the definitions of same.

problem 1. defining which materials are & are not "kiddie porn": the range of opinion on this could (& does) range from the extreme conservative "anti" i.e.: any nudity (full or partial; not even necessarily involving "naughty bits"), any sexual or erotic qualities in a work, any image, or other material, that makes a judgemental observer feel "uncomfortable". & all this applies to any depiction of persons under the age of 18 or, potentially seeming to be under the age of 18, & it even includes works that are non-literal depictions (i.e.: not photographs, video, audio, or etc. recordings) of persons under the age of 18, & fictional works (i.e.: not involving the use of any real persons).

the other extreme "laissez faire/libertarianism"(?) would be a true "freedom of expression" without limits, at least as re: sexual content; where governing legal principals would perhaps relate to issues of consent, IP rights, etc., but not to the control of content per se.

in between, it is quite hard to come up with reasonable, satisfactory "middle ground" that does not stray too far towards one extreme, or the other.

for the last few decades (as with IP law), the debate has been dominated by the more conservative/restrictive factions, & the law is being pushed gradually towards an unmanageable extreme, where "reducto ad absurdam" situations are becoming increasingly commonplace.

& no, personally i do not really agree with either extreme in this dabte; i'm usually a rational, pragamatic moderate, in most things, although i am quite strong on individual rights; i'm also somewhat of a liberal-democratic-socialist, as well as a monarchist, & occasionally a confucian! ^__^

problem 2. how to define boundaries for acceptable uses of materials? i.e.: artistic, educational, entertainment, medical/scientific, personal/private, sexual, etc.

problem 3. we live in an age of widely available internet, audio/video recording devices that are becoming ubiquitous to the point of being universal, etc.

we've gone beyond marshal mcluan's age of centralized mass media, to a place where (almost)everyone now has access, (potentially at least) to the resources necessary to produce & distribute content, "en masse" to the point of (near) universal access. least (most) people living in the more developed/technologically advanced parts of the world now have these abilities.

so; it's basically the same problem for IP law, child porn, privacy, & any other legal restrictions on the free movement of information.

essentially: when should we control what people do? & how are we going to control what people are going to do?

a) what laws are reasonable/acceptable to society?

b) what kinds of legal controls are possible/practical?

in particular, how do you control what a person (or persons) create & distribute as consensual, self-authored, self-published works?

so far, the political/legislative & judicial branches of most governments have not managed to work out a viable balance on these kinds of things; typically, the politics seem to be (at least) a good 10 years behind the technology.

problem 4 (miscellaneous). what about older materials? should there be a "grandfather" clause? exceptions historical/archaeological works? exceptions for "old" art? what about a "statute of limitations"? anything 100+ yrs old say... & should that be a one-time locked limit? 100 years pre-2009? or floating? 100 years before "now"?

what about works depicting a person who was under 18 at the time the work was created, but is now 18+, & freely consents to the work's distribution? what about self-authored works meeting the preceding criteria?

"the devil is in the details"; & it is wise to know when one is facing an impossible (and/or impassible) quagmire.

i know i've gone far beyond the initial scope of our specific discussion, but please consider the above as "complicating factors" for the issues you have raised.

as regards wikimedia:

we don't want to break the law, or get into non-viable legal situations

wikimedia projects (generally) have definitions of scope, which outline what to include/exclude

we are working to achieve "continuous improvement" in quality standards (including, but not limited to, verifiable factuality).

we have practical, technical limits on our available resources; storage space is not a serious issue (so far), software functionality is, however.

...& if anybody wants to contribute an extreme hi-res multi-gb scan of the mona lisa (for example), we are going to have one hell of a time figuring out what to do with it, & how

"pax et finis" for this subject, at least @ jw's talk page


Lx 121 (talk) 16:05, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

as re: limiting the access of minors; please see my initial post.
i disagree with censorship on basic principles; i also think such attempts are rather silly or, at best, naive.
it is both unwise & non-viable to "shelter" people from truth, no matter how uncomfortable.
"innocence" should not be defined as ignorance.
i am willing to support the creation of "kid-friendly" versions of wm projects, or even the inclusion of warning tags on the mainline projects; though i don't see any practical way to implement that, except possibly as a subset of a larger "universal" system for tagging semantic content @ wm.
again, as usual, i digress...
if we're going to get into this further, let's start a nice open topic thread someplace else?


Lx 121 (talk) 16:19, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I feel that any explicit images should not be readily available or widely displayed on Wikipedia. it's easy to label this idea "censorship" and thus to make it sound automatically bad. However, I think it should be seen as simply a way for Wikipedia to show some reasonable restraint and discretion. --Steve, Sm8900 (talk) 16:48, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
We are neither parents nor nannies, and if a kid purposefully looks up naughty bits and terms and whatnot, they are going to see exactly what they expect to see, and it isn't our job to prevent that. I will agree that certain images do not need to be in articles where they are wholly unexpected, e.g. a chick pissing next to a car adds nothing to the reader's understanding of urination, and neither does the Shankerrific goat imagery for that matter. Tarc (talk) 19:27, 17 December 2009 (UTC)


poke no. 1 on the above :-) - and merry christmas! Privatemusings (talk) 01:47, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

If Jimbo hasn't responded, that means he's ignoring you. Griffinofwales (talk) 02:28, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
surely not! - I reckon it's more to do with being busy, no? Nothing wrong with being busy, Griff... it's a busy time of year! ...../me glugs a bit more mulled wine, and wishes he was somewhere cold..... cheers, Privatemusings (talk) 03:30, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Hi privatemusings, yes, I'm aware of discussions in this area.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:57, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Jimbo - I'm glad you're aware of the volume of very sexually explicit images, and the numbers of minors and children who currently access and work on them, hopefully you'll be up for asking the advisory board for some ideas, or raising this with the board proper? Privatemusings (talk) 21:12, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
That wasn't what he said, Privatemusings. Jimbo said that he is aware that there is a discussion on this topic on his talk page. Gently prodding a person, and suggesting one course of action or another, is fine; putting words into their mouths is not. AGK 22:09, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
AGK: thank you. Privatemusings: take heed. I am on your side on this issue, and yet putting words in my mouth is rude and is not effective in our cause, ok?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:14, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
The great man just doesn't have the time to reply to them all.--Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 19:40, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
see above! he surely does :-) Privatemusings (talk) 21:12, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas.--Sky Attacker the legend reborn... 01:22, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

And a Happy New Year.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 18:23, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Joyeux Noel.  IShadowed  ✰  05:35, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2009

Results were added to page. we were asked to inform you as part of the procedure.

On behalf of the scrutineers --Mardetanha talk 22:43, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Suggest Edits

I'm sitting her, reading some articles about different football players and i have come across some errors in some of the facts. For example the english article about Ryan Giggs, says that he has played 576 matches for Man Utd, but i know the real number is 821. The problem is now, that the article is protected, and i can't edit it. Here i would like a button saying something like "Suggest Changes". Here i would like to be able to suggest something to the author and if he find that info to be correct, that person can edit the article himself. Maybe it could be made so that i could edit the article, send my new suggestion to him, and my changes will be highlighted, he then just have to accept my new draft and the changes will be put into the article. I hope you understand where i'm going with this and that you will take it to consideration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BandittenJacob (talkcontribs) 23:12, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

You can do this already by adding the {{Editsemiprotected}} template to the article's Talk page, which you should be able to edit, and providing exact wording for your proposed changes, with sources to support them. Someone will be along to deal with your request in due course, so there's no need to make changes to the software. In any event, after ten edits and four days, you will become an autoconfirmed editor and be able to make changes to semi-protected articles. Rodhullandemu 23:18, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

bonjour Jimmy Wales


N'ayant pas d'argent nous vous proposons une idée sans savoir si elle est réalisable. Pourrions-nous utiliser comme de nombreux projets mathématiques (the Grid)les ordinateurs des volontaires pour traiter une partie de Wikipédia et ainsi créer un SUPERCLUSTER FREE. Best regards —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:10, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Translation (using Google Translate:


Having no money we offer an idea without knowing whether it is feasible. Could we use as many math projects (the Grid) computers of volunteers to handle some of Wikipedia and create a FREE Supercluster. Best regards" --Yowuza yadderhouse | meh 11:26, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

This issue was discussed recently in response to a similar proposal on foundation-l(at)wikimedia(dot)org, the mailing list used by people interested in the operations of the Wikimedia Foundation. MediaWiki developers described why this solution would not reduce costs or other resource usage at this point, making the option unfeasible barring major technological advances. If you google "Foundation-l" you'll find the various sites that maintain archives of this list, I prefer gmane or markmail. Nathan T 19:13, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
A direct link would be nice. Unomi (talk) 08:46, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Anthropogenic Global Warming

As you are no doubt aware, the subject of AGW has become extremely controversial as a result of the release of a dossier of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit. This controversy has been exacerbated by the failure of the Copenhagen COP15 conference to reach a substantive agreement on climate change. Interested neutrals on this matter will seek relevant information in Wikipedia. Here they will find a strong bias in favour of Global Warming as a result of editing activities since 2003 on various subjects by William Connolley. It is clear that this individual has generated a lot of controversy and has engaged in the same type of activity (excluding opposing views from publication) that the UEA CRU people have been accused of. As someone who has supported the highest ideals of the Wiki initiative for several years (in spite of a spurious block for sock-puppetry that was lifted) I feel that this is a subject of such immense political and scientific importance that it deserves your personal intervention. If you are interested in my further ideas and supporting references on this matter I should be glad to be of help. Geologician (talk) 17:25, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I am disgusted by your site

How come there is an article on some senator named Spencer Coggs but there is no article on the word "the"? I am disgusted by this. (talk) 18:48, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

As an English article, the word the is notable. You're more than welcome to begin a sourced article on the topic. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:53, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the reason the article on the does not exist is because Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Information on "the" belongs on the Wiktionary entry on "the". --Yair rand (talk) 20:19, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't agree with that. I think it likely that a sourced article on the topic could be much more than a dictionary entry and that as such, it would be kept by consensus. Either way though, this isn't the page for talking about it. Gwen Gale (talk) 20:30, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Leave Spencer Coggs alone! --Sooo Kawaii!!! ^__^ (talk) 21:12, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Abuse of power by stewards

I have requested a checkuser to be done for user:mardetanha which is a steward on Meta. Here!. I am quite sure that he uses at least one sock and quite openly abuses his power by banning any opposing ideas of himself. Obviously other stewards didn't do the checkuser (read they have done and saw that it is positive) because he is also a steward and their friend. If you are entitled to keep your website clean, please check it out!--Feuer1000 (talk) 14:53, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Because Mardetanha has a userbox on his userpage saying he doesn't mind being checkusered at any time, perhaps the checkuser should be done. But I think you need to present more actual arguments and evidence before anyone should take you seriously. It's super easy to make random accusations, and it is not that hard to come up with some reasons we might want to bother checking into it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:31, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I have got tones of tones of evidence. Most will be considering outing if I put them here. Would you like to receive them? I can email them to you or to any of the stewards which you appoint for the job.--Feuer1000 (talk) 17:49, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Jimmy, if I'm looking at the right pages, Feuer1000 has no real history either here, on Meta or on the Farsi Wikipedia. Given the political realities and current climate in Iran right now, as well as the potential ramifications of a privacy breach, I think great care should be given to any CU request. In the absence of evidence, the decline was correct (despite Mardetanha's userbox). Nathan T 19:53, 21 December 2009 (UTC)


Hello (tr:Selam) We look at this Turkish news Wikipedia is heavily criticized. This article we de wikipedia Turkish village, we expressed our fountain. User:Levent, E-mail at the news vendor has written. But could not get a response. News labeled it were Akşam (TR: AKŞAM) papers. In News The world's most famous virtual encyclopedia Wikipedia, the financial crisis has requested 340 million user support. The site's founder has received written article in Wales 'make a donation or can not survive was said

Cries of distress of Wikipedia's Free Encyclopedia. The only surviving without ads and donations passed 340 million users that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales encyclopedic knowledge, to overcome difficulties in which they had written an emotional post. Wikipedia users can read articles entering 'Please read: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales a personal request' title brings. Wales, her language written in the article that users can learn, 'the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.,' wanted to donate to his foundation. Foundation's president said in a statement some time ago in Florence Devouard 'financial distress can be based on the most 3-4 months. Servers to continue to work a maximum of 3 or 4 months we have a power 'he said. Wales article summarize as follows:

We NEED your SUPPORT VAR: you, I would like to support Wikipedia donated. And 8 years, I've started Wikipedia in 2001, the largest encyclopedia in human history to create hundreds of thousands of volunteers have joined me in the face I'm surprised. Every month more than 340 million people use Wikipedia says, that almost one-third of the world's population connected to the internet is. That you are a member of our community.

LIVING HARD are to: Wikipedia, like we can do something to show the power of people is extraordinary. Wikipedia writers word by word, people like us. People like us who financed him. This is proof of our potential to change our world. We want to keep it free and ad-free.

Profit not: Wikipedia to operate, enlarge, develop and set up in 2003 in order to protect the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit groups in Turkey. U.S. $ 10 million annual budget and fewer than 35 employees and the world's fifth most widely read web site operates. Order to continue our business would like your support.

BECOME PART of HISTORY: So, imagine a world that every single person on the planet, humanity can get all the knowledge freely. Is our goal. Please donate here today.

If it's your opinion?--Yusuf Avcı (talk) 15:28, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

It looks like this was machine translated; unfortunately the translation was poor enough that the meaning of this message is obscured. It looks to be a protest against Jimmy's fundraising message, using Turkish publicity as a backdrop. Nathan T 16:02, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes. I don't quite understand what is being asked here. If I understand it correctly, it sounds like a Turkish news article interpreted our annual giving campaign as some kind of crisis - this is common, and unwarranted. They even brought up the press kerfuffle from a few years ago in which something Florence said was taken out of context and trumpeted as a panic headline. Hmm.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:27, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

My English is not very good. translation is wrong:)--Yusuf Avcı (talk) 22:01, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Don't try to translate it, then. Explain whatever it is you are trying to say in your own words. --Tango (talk) 22:49, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Arbcom appointments

Wednesday evening, east coast US time. Expect no surprises. I'm just "doing the paperwork" at this point. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:45, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I like surprises :( iMatthew talk at 22:47, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Btw Jimmy, interested in joining the 2010 WikiCup? :D iMatthew talk at 22:48, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
David Tombe's comments
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Jimbo, As regards the ARBCOM elections, do we have a figure for the total eligible electorate? The number must be very large, and certainly many orders of magnitude larger that the nine hundred odd who turned out to vote. I would guess that the figure of 994 represents a very poor turn out, such as should seriously undermine the credibility of the results. 994 must surely be well below 50% of the electorate.

But it gets worse than that. Only one of the candidates actually secured more than 50% of the support votes cast, and even then, his result was only marginal. So in actual fact, the remainder of the candidates are very heavy losers.

But it gets even worse still. All of the canditates additionally had a distinct anti-vote cast against them. So whether or not their net vote is positive or negative, it means that the results are particularly poor. And of course, the situation is particularly appalling for those who got net negative votes. The net negative candidates have been thoroughly whipped at the polls, and thoroughly rejected. As for all the congratulations that are going around for the ones who got small net positive votes, these congratulations appear to be congratulations for not having polled extremely badly.

You told us not to expect any surprises. I would be surprised if you continued to appoint any arbitrators at all based on these results. Do you not think that the time has come to do away with the arbitration committee altogether? It certainly doesn't have any consensus. Law and order can easily be maintained on wikipedia with the block mechanism, limited to a finite duration.

I would support the idea of some kind of arbitration committee to examine the fairness of blocks, but such a committee would have to be completely independent of the administration that issues the blocks, and it would need to be appointed behind the scenes in the real world. David Tombe (talk) 03:47, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the statement of the problem, but not with the solution. Many of the behavioral issues end up causing admins to have their own squabbles, including wheel-wars. There must be a functioning higher echelon to decide those disputes. Unfortunately, the community is so divided and polarized nowadays that nobody has wide popularity, esp. people who have had to deal with real problems as admins, or as editors in contentious articles. So at the moment, for lack of better solution, the status quo rules. I think having Jimbo as a "benevolent dictator" final authority is beneficial, and gives arbcom a needed stamp of approval. Crum375 (talk) 04:06, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Crum375, I also agree with the idea of having Jimbo as a "benevolent dictator" final authority. But the time has come when we need to see that role becoming much more pro-active. The status quo is anything but satisfactory. I would like to see ARBCOM getting the stamp of disapproval for a change, because they have totally surpassed themselves. David Tombe (talk) 04:17, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Only a tiny fraction of Wikipedia's readers and editors take any part in ArbCom elections. There is nothing that Jimbo, or anyone, can do about that. On the other hand, those who do participate tend to be those editors who are active here and who have some knowledge of the candidates from personal experience, as well as taking the time to read candidates' statements, answers to questions, and other available information. Likewise, Jimbo doesn't decide who will choose to run. It is what it is. The idea that Jimbo should ignore the election is nonsense, especially since he repeatedly said, both before and after the vote, that he will abide by the election. I do not see that there is anything "particularly poor" about this particular ArbCom election. Wikipedia doesn't believe in doing things "behind the scenes", and most of us are thankful for that. The idea of doing away with ArbCom is also nonsense. We need ArbCom do deal with those behavioral problems that are not adequately addressed by the very large, non-hierarchical pool of administrators. ArbCom already does "examine the fairness of blocks" in the cases that are brought to it. I do not understand what you mean by a committee that is "completely independent of the administration [sic] that issues the blocks". There is no "administration", but there is a large body of administrators who enforce the community's policies and guidelines; blocks are only one of the many ways that administrators carry out this important "law enforcement" (to use your analogy) function, and we are all thankful that they do. ArbCom is independent of the administrators; they even "de-sysop" administrators when administrator misconduct warrants that action. ArbCom has a very difficult job and, for the most part, they perform it very well. In my opinion, they performed that function very well when they sanctioned you in the Speed of light arbitration; almost everyone who is familiar with that arbitration agrees with that assessment. Also, from what I can tell, the remedies that they imposed worked, as you seem to have stopped disrupting the building of the encyclopedia and have stopped your intolerable Nazi slurs against other editors.—Finell 11:10, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Finell, I didn't say that Jimbo should ignore the elections. I am saying that he should heed the results of the elections. The results clearly tell us that all but one of the candidates are losers, and that we have a ridiculous situation in which these losers are being congratulated. It's a bit like saying "Congratulations on the fact that there were others who did even worse than yourself".

I am saying to Jimbo that there needs to be a major shake up. We need a temporary emergency measure involving an interim benevolent dictatorship, until the full details of a better organized system can be worked out. Of course we need some kind of arbitration committee. But the existing set up has lost all credibility. There is a clear pattern emerging in which administrator User:jehochman stirs the pot by imposing some unlawful sanction on an editor. The ensuing argument then ends up at ARBCOM, where the only arbitrator who can see right through User:jehochman is User:Stephen Bain. This vicious cycle needs to be brought to an end if wikipedia is to have any credibility over the next decade. I haven't checked out all the recent arbitration cases, but I have seen enough to realize that User:jehochman has been the root cause of quite a few of them, and I know from personal experience that User:Stephen Bain is the only arbitrator who studies the cases objectively and who is brave enough to act on his findings. David Tombe (talk) 12:00, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Presumably this is a reaction to the Ottava Rima case? ViridaeTalk 12:16, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Probably more about Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Speed of light/Proposed decision, about Tombe, initiated by Jehochman, and where the only one to oppose the more harsh restrictions was Stephen Bain. Basically, if "Wikipedia is to have any credibility over the next decade", we should presumably let David Tombe again edit unrestricted. I am not completely convinced that that would increase the credibility of Wikipedia though... Fram (talk) 12:30, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Ahh. I love when people editorialise without disclosing the back story. ViridaeTalk 12:32, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Viridae, If you can give me immunity from the topic ban, I will be more than delighted to give you the back story. Meanwhile, it suffices to say that there is a pattern involving User:jehochman, who was thoroughly whipped at the polls, and who has therefore lost any mandate to hold a position of authority in the outfit. The time has now come for a full enquiry into his abuses of power. I can state the date 19th August 2009 for some prime evidence. David Tombe (talk) 12:40, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

WP:RFC is <--- that-a-way. Jimbo's talk page is not part of the dispute resolution process, unless the dispute is with Jimbo, which it clearly isn't. ViridaeTalk 12:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree. The original post was about the generic issue of arbcom members not having true community support, but at least there are many of them and they represent a wide spectrum. Any arbcom decision reflects consensus within that body and is not the result of any individual member's opinion. Crum375 (talk) 12:49, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
So basically, we have an editor you had a dispute with when he ws not an ArbCom member, and who at the current elections has not received sufficient support to become one. And you use this, somehow, to complain about ArbCom and the elections? That doesn't seem to make any sense... Fram (talk) 12:49, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Viridae, This thread is about the 2009 ARBCOM elections. I am commenting on the credibility of the elections. Please don't try to change the subject to 'dispute resolution'. In my statement above, I was merely defending myself against the inuendo in your statement about not disclosing the back story. I can now see that you have knowledge of the Ottava Rima case. As such you will already by now have seen a parallel, and hence know exactly what I am talking about. David Tombe (talk) 12:52, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

BS. Arbcom wiped the floor with you at your arb case. Thats why you are protesting. ViridaeTalk 13:01, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Point of order. There are some viscious personal attacks above, by David Tombe, an editor under ArbCom restrictions for tendentious editing, and who was casebanned for gross incivility. Could one of the admins here please enforce WP:NPA. Thank you. It would be appalling if such comments were posted to Jimbo's talk page, and nobody did anything about them. Jehochman Make my day 13:39, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
    • For reference, my actions have been scrutinized numerous times. Here's a list: User:Jehochman/Arbitration. Even people who dislike me note that I seem to be coated in Teflon. Jehochman Make my day 13:44, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
    • While I agree in principle, J, I hope you'll forgive me for not stepping in? — Coren (talk) 13:46, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
      • Lilly livered wimp! Yes, that's very proper of you. Jehochman Make my day 13:49, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

No Jehochman, There is a recent pattern of ARBCOM playing second fiddle to yourself. Only arbitrator User:Stephen Bain seems to be outside of whatever is going on. Your request to have disciplinary action taken against me for my comments on this thread is merely further evidence against yourself. There is a clear pattern in existence for anybody who is willing to see it. David Tombe (talk) 14:08, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I've managed to cast a spell on the entire committee, except for the Bainer. As the hero, you will awaken them from their trance. With colorful pictures that would make a fine bedtime story. Jehochman Make my day 14:11, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh no, now I'll never be able to edit the image of J on stage singing "I put a spell on you" with two witches as backup singers out of my mind! — Coren (talk) 14:15, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
(ec)And, again, what has this to do with the 2009 ArbCom elections? If what you perceive as some ArbCom-Jehochman conspiracy or cabal is true, then you should be delighted that 1) Jehochman won't become an Arb, and 2) a large section of the current Arbs is to be replaced soon. But if you are trying to imply that because Jehochman didn't get a lot of support at the ArbCom elections, he should not longer initiate Arb cases, or (even worse) that cases he initiated hav become somehow invalid), then I don't think many people will follow your logic. Fram (talk) 14:12, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

False Sockpuppet Accusation

Hi Jimbo, sorry to break the perma ban I had to request myself in order to be left in peace by certain persons and bother you again, but some poor soul has been wrongly accused of being a sockpuppet of me, by a couple of "the usual suspects". This is not fair, it's just a slur on the user concerned, and on myself, there wasn't even a proper sock check run...

User:Alamanth had nothing, whatsoever to do with me, and this is the first I have heard of him/her, today, check the actual pathways and I feel sure you will find that out. I have no sockpuppets. I also REALLY think it is time someone put a stop to User:Penbat's more abstract capacity for equal misinformation, he is filling up psyhology articles with left of field nonsense, most of which is, at best, a considerable distortion of any source he cites, and, at worse simply made up off the top of his head. signed - The REAL Zeraeph -- (talk) 08:55, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

PS Merry Christmas

Wikipedia loosing authors?

Good Day, Mr. Wales. Pre'd like to apologize for your English, I'm from Czech Republic, and I'm not very good speakers - this letter is a combination of Google transtator

and knowledge of the schools that are not good.

I read your comments on the situation where the new loses wikipedia authors, but authors who could be called a veteran too.

Personally, I blame them - I personally feel on wikipedia, it does not like people driving, but some (and malfunctioning) computer AI algorithms. Maybe

I'm the one language version of the article changed the picture for the version from the Bundesarchiv version that has cropped the white border.

It is the aesthetics, also wikipedia commons itself is a template which enjoys the cutting watermarking from picture.

But there was a five-reverting, with justification as "me it somehow seems, but it's a strange, and I rel that way To be not" - while the license under

which they were dedicated to these files allows me to modify the file.

And then there came another oven, which gave me a ban for "editing war". Actually it came to me as though both of these people read the rules wrong,

and yet they could not fully understand. Just "I once read somewhere on a site that should not cut the white edges and the admin gave you ban" here I

heard somewhere that in early reverting two ban '

And it's not interested in what the particular situation, just act completely machine-non-self-reflection and without any effort to understand the

problem - just "the rules say that, I will perform is what I think any trouble."

Which in turn refers to other problems - im got a photo of a man who died in 1927. Photo therefore bound to be more than 70 years old, and I can

release it under the template for works which are 70 years old, and their author is unknown.

But then you always start running a series of absurd scenarios, like "but I do not know me it seems somehow - just the same: a what if, what if yonder,

what if this, what if maybe - then the problem of content any commons develop, because almost always begin a cascade of meaningless words, which is not

for nothing do not just burden the community and to make the project work lengthy ordeal.

Sometimes I find, as the authors of wikipedia itself any typ feared terror act, if not exactly according to the rules and take your work into their own


He is a big challenge to improve anything, especially because I specialize in historical and political articles, where the multimedia illustrations

make difficult "own hands".

What can prove even the next episode - the website of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( is explicitly written that the files

(pictures) are available for ANY use by any institutions.

But when I uploaded the files somewhere that, once the user is sure of the German wikipedia, which I do not want unnecessary name, suggested to delete

and wit stupid arguments as "but it thing to me that this is only for newspapers and magazines", "and similar nonsensical speech.

And did not help anything - not even the copied e-mail telling me a representative of the Ministry explicitly says that the actual files and pages can

To be a type of wikipedia, or even Orts e-mail. The first evidence was the reaction of the "do not copy here foreign private mail" and other "it is a

false ORTS".

Files were deleted, as the German could not in any way at all to speak, because once thought the brain, but the rules. And any dialogue with him was

like arguing with a deaf and blind ...

Mr. Wales then do not be surprised that losing wikipedia authors. Have nice day.

Ladislav Šafránek, Czech Republic —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fredy.00 (talkcontribs) 08:39, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Lack of arbcom oversight at enforcement requests

I would like to see more arbcom members chime in at the enforcement sections like they used to. Right now, a topic banned editor who is a self proclaimed single purpose account (updating his userpage to look less ominous) has been permitted to resume editing (albeit on a 30 day trial) in the topic he was banned from and this was done after only one day of discussion and with only a few people chiming in. We should see more involvement from arbcom in this area.--MONGO 03:59, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

The reason arbcom members rarely comment at WP:AE is that if they did comment and enforce a sanction, etc, and the sanctioned editor later came before arbcom for a clarification/new case, they would be asked to recuse for having a COI of intervening in the AE report. A dammed if you do/dammed it you don't situation. MBisanz talk 05:08, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
But that does seem to be a solvable problem, no? What are some ways we might try to solve that?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:59, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, traditionally there have been a number of admins who kept enforcement pretty well under control; but that is unarguably a high pressure job with strong burnout so it's hard to find volunteers for that thankless job. The only way I can think of that would allow arbitrators to involve themselves directly in enforcement would be to have very clear recusal rules that specifically excluded enforcement work as grounds for exclusion in further cases, but it's not clear that the people who then return to a case would be mollified by the distinction.

Having the judges be the enforcers is always seen as dangerous — and not without reason — which is why the tradition has always been to leave that to the admin corps; and the immediately obvious solution of empowering "enforcement admins" for the task is unlikely to be well received. — Coren (talk) 15:00, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with all of that. I was thinking more along the lines of - how was the topic ban written, and why does anyone think they have the right to overturn it? If he's topic banned by ArbCom, then presumably any admin can block him for editing in that area, and anyone who unblocks him is wheel-warring and likely to lose their admin bit. If the topic ban is written too softly, then that's a problem. On the other hand, if ArbCom intended this sort of outcome (i.e. topic banned unless someone takes the guy under their wing) then that's fine too. What I'm hoping we aren't seeing is a small group of admins deciding that they can overrule ArbCom. MONGO, how do you see this?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
IMO, "presumably any admin can block him for editing in that area, and anyone who unblocks him is wheel-warring" is part of the problem: it's generally only considered wheel-warring when someone re-blocks after an unblock. Arguably, I'm not being entirely impartial here given that this is also the core of a dispute I'm mired in.  :-) But I think you've touched a problematic spot right there. — Coren (talk) 01:55, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

A lot of Wikipedians, including administrators, misunderstand Wikipedia's sequence of checks and balances. The community can add upon ArbCom sanctions (for example, the community ban of Mantanmoreland), so people presume the community can subtract from its decisions also. Durova386 02:11, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

According to the AE page ArbCom was approached by the editor in question and was told to get a 'public sounding' at AE. Admins patrolling AE at that time decided to lift the topic ban for a 30 day trial with a review after that time. This seems a fairly constructive step. Unomi (talk) 02:24, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree, to an extent. Having reviewed this now, it doesn't seem to be a particularly problematic case, although one issue is that it is hard for the ArbCom to properly review things when people approach individual members and take the response of one to be the response of many - we've had many misunderstandings in the past due to this. I recommend that the ArbCom generally avoid "indefinite" sanctions. (I say 'generally', not 'absolutely', for good reason I think.)
And yet, in the general case, Coren's point is valid. The point at which "wheel warring" has taken place is when someone unblocks outside of policy, not when someone enforces policy. (And I say this while simultaneously acknowledging that individual cases can be quite complex.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:18, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo, there might have been a nuance in your last two posts that I missed. So just for clarification: If editor who has been topic banned by the Arbitration Committee violates that topic ban and is blocked for it by an administrator, would a second administrator be wheel warring if they unblocked? Would a reblocking administrator be considered to be properly enforcing an ArbCom decision or using the admin tools improperly? Thanks, NW (Talk) 02:13, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes. If an editor who has been topic banned by the Arbitration Committee violates that topic ban and is blocked for it by an administrator, a second administrator would be wheel warring if they unblocked. A reblocking administrator would be properly enforcing an ArbCom decision. Ideally, the reblocking administrator should be uninvolved and not the same person as the admin who blocked for the topic ban violation in the first place, but the important thing is that the unblocking administrator is the one who is in error.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:34, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. NW (Talk) 19:50, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
The definition of wheel warring should not depend on whether the action was right or wrong, otherwise it doesn't work. So, what would happen if Admin A blocks someone for violating an ArbCom topic ban when they hadn't actually violated it (we'll assume good faith on the part of Admin A) and then Admin B unblocks? If what you describe is wheel warring then so should what I describe. Is that your intention? --Tango (talk) 18:28, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I was the one who, ultimately, lifted the topic ban of the user in question for a trial period. I am aware that MONGO doesn't consider it a particularly good idea, but in the end there were a few factors that I considered important: Our core philosophy of openness implies that in the absence of ongoing problems, everyone should be free to edit. We have traditionally allowed second chances and opportunities for reform, given sufficient time passing (as you say, indefinite restrictions have drawbacks - in this case, the ban was 18 months old). I considered the temporary suspension of a topic ban for a trial fairly unproblematic: it's easy enough to reinstate if the need arises. If I was mistaken in any of this, I am of course open to the error of my ways being pointed out. henriktalk 22:53, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  • It is severely problematic for arbitrators to get involved in any sort of controversial blocking, such as frequently is required at arbitration enforcement. If an arbitrator starts to wield too much power and act against community wishes, there is no clear path for the community to reign them in. Not so many of us believe that an sitting arbitrator would be seriously sanctioned by their peers. Therefore, arbitrators should act conservatively with their sysop tools, only performing non-controversial tasks. See also Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?. Jimbo, you remember the kerfuffle when you blocked Bishonen. Such actions, even when perfectly correct, risk widespread ructions. These are better avoided. Jehochman Talk 03:21, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Good points about the need for arbcom to be somewhat distancing in this area to avoid any future COI issues, I guess. In this particular case, and there may be similar ones, sadly, the editor in question, even after numerous efforts to encourage him to edit outside his topic ban, failed to do so...a loss to us I believe since I know for a fact that this editor is articulate, intelligent and understands how to edit here...etc. So a topic ban was lifted in this case when we had no evidence (since he hadn't edited elsewhere) that any "reform" had occurred. I know Henrik has done what he thinks is the correct thing, and I don't hold this against him....perhaps I would just like to have seen a lengthier period for discussion and more involvement from various editors, knowing that I am of course not a neutral in this matter...the original topic ban against this editor was applied under the "discretionary sanctions"...and arbcom upheld this when the editor tried to appeal his sanction in April of this year. It sure would have been nice to see some editing in areas outside the topic ban...but there was a totality of almost zero to go that is why I felt that arbcom members who may be more familiar with previous related cases as well as may have participated in in the last appeal effort by this editor may have been more involved.--MONGO 00:49, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Considering that there were comments in there from the 7th (I know, because I placed one there), I think two weeks was enough time for discussion. I do understand MONGO's concern, and would support ending the 30 day trial period early and reimposing the topic ban if they stepped even the slightest bit out of line. It's best to know now if this editor can edit within Wikipedia's guidelines, or if this needs to be a permanent sanction. SirFozzie (talk) 01:11, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Respectfully, the 30 day suspension of the topic ban was implemented after only one day of discussion...the thread was archived after about a week and I restored it. I guess if there had been more dissenters, there would have been comments. What was initially a discrentionary sanction was later uphled by arbcom at an appeal this April...the editor made one (1) edit inbetween..he wasn't banned altogether...he had opportunities to demonstrate his understanding of NPOV in others areas and chose not to do so....I edit all over the place...9/11 isn't even my main area of focus.--MONGO 01:31, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Nevermind...I think we're already seeing why (long thread) and here) the Collapse of the World Trade Center article has been so difficult to even bring to Good Article long as SPA's are going to try and violate the NPOV clauses governing issues centered around "undue weight" in such difficult topics, it is going to be difficult to see a lot of improvement in such articles.--MONGO 01:13, 23 December 2009 (UTC)