User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 63

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Dr. Wales

I saw you speak at a conference a few weeks ago and was very impressed with you. I am contacting you over this ludicrous discussion at the Reliable Sources Notice board. I hope you input will improve the situation as it seems to be more about people not liking a source rather than any issues about the source. I having seen you speak I think you are reasonable person thus I am not hear ranting about Wikipedia's alleged liberal bias —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Wait a minute...Dr. Wales? Does Jimbo have his doctorate in something? If so, I did not know this, and am quite impressed...if not, he should go for earning one, that'd be kinda cool. =) Ks0stm If you reply here, please leave me a {{Talkback}} message on my talk page. 21:33, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Heck, WP should offer PhD's when you write enough decent articles on any given subject.Thelmadatter (talk) 22:33, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
As the Essjay controversy taught us, you dont even need to write a lot of decent articles to claim a PhD on Wikipedia. Jimmy on the other hand has recieved a few honorary doctorates. John Vandenberg (chat) 03:16, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. I had not heard of that before. I might be making the opposite mistake. Im too easy to verify, especially with my unique last name. But then, Im kind of fatalistic anyway.Thelmadatter (talk) 15:57, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Happy Birthday

Armbrust Talk Contribs 02:51, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Discussion invitation

Hello and happy birthday Jimbo Wales, I'm here to invite you to a discussion on setting up good guidelines for tennis player notability. Please feel free to give comments and suggestions there. Thank you. Arteyu ? Blame it on me ! 09:23, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Non-free content

Dear Sir,

can you please confirm that it is not against the idea of fair-use content to remove such material from articles[1] which are rather pointless without it? And if indeed so for the given representative example, do you also think that the exception defined in the current wording of WP:NFC#UULP does not contradict it or could be misleading?[2] Another (non-BLP) case which you may find interessting and where a helpful illustration is going to be removed due to a possible overstrict policy interpretation by the same people would be the Charon moon. If you have a minute, please add small note. Testales (talk) 12:50, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Happy birthday

Hi Jimbo

Hope you managed to have a pleasant (and possibly Wikistressfree) birthday !

Best wishes for a happy day :¬)

Chaosdruid (talk) 21:57, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Happy birthday Jimmy, have fun ! —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 23:17, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

+1 for a happy birthday! extransit (talk) 23:27, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

A Chance

Happy Birthday Mr. Wales. I am user:InkHeart, I am writing this message as I am seeking a second chance in editing at Wikipedia. I know you don't give chances to socks but please I am asking and begging for you to give me another chance as an editor on Wikipedia. If you would like to suggest a proposal of me not editing for 1-2 years and then I can return I will most certainly take that offer. Please and thank you. (talk) 00:32, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

All users that don't sock for six months and make a fair request to edit constructively can be considered for WP:standard offer. I haven't looked at your specifics. Off2riorob (talk) 00:45, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Really I didn't know that?? (talk) 00:47, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I am willing to go 2 years without editing on Wikipedia to get my priviledges back. (talk) 00:54, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
The standard offer is leave the site for 6 months. Don't sock, and don't edit under IPs. We'll probably let these few edits slide it's obvious you're acting in good faith. You'll probably be asked to reveal any and all previous accounts, and there may be other restrictions. If you still have the password for User:InkHeart, why don't you log in there and we can continue this discussion on your talk page. It is permissible to edit that. What we don't want is for you to evade your block with alternate accounts. N419BH 01:24, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Annulment declaration of Wikipedia's principles and Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines in Japanese edition 3

Part1 Annulment declaration of Wikipedia's principles and Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines in Japanese edition

Part2 Annulment declaration of Wikipedia's principles and Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines in Japanese edition 2

Wikipedia Japanese edition community understood the speech of Jimbo as follows.Jimbo doesn't take part in Wikipedia Japanese edition. The authority was voluntarily abandoned. Neither Wikipedia:Role of Jimmy Wales nor User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles are applied to Wikipedia Japanese edition.Therefore, Wikipedia Japanese edition community rejected[3]] WP:TALKEDABOUTIT, WP:CONEXCEPT, and WA:OA[4]. Resolution:Licensing_policybecame an essay[5].Because Wikipedia:Revision deletion was existence to threaten authority of sysop, it was rejected by the community. It was suggested that I could use authority for unlimited freedom[6].Wikipedia:Info-ja negotiates as a legal representative, and does Office Action. It voted on the specification of MediaWiki[7], it resolved, and it changed to the directed content[8].

Wikipedia Japanese edition community is thought that Jimbo, Mike Godwin, Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikipedia English edition community also have connived at our behavior.--山吹色の御菓子 (talk) 07:38, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Balls. Wikipedia's got 'em. This rocks. --*Kat* (talk) 18:39, 3 August 2010 (UTC) epic. Stick it to the man, man! SilverserenC 18:58, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Good letter - as a fellow lawyer, I bet it was fun drafting it. – ukexpat (talk) 19:03, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
(ec) The sense of humor evident in this reply makes great reading. It must have been a fun day at the office when that was passed around for review. Peacock (talk) 19:05, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Love the closing: "appropriate respect" indeed. Bielle (talk) 00:40, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Damn Straight. Cwill151 (talk) 03:46, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Well I'm sure that letter was fun for Godwin to write, especially knowing it would end up in the news and across Wikipedia. But I think he's showboating and im not sure thats the best thing for WMF-- the letter rather has the tone of an AfD battle and is not likely to bring about resolution to this controversy. Why embarass the Feds into filing suit and needlessly waste WMF funds to litigate? Because it feels good? Well, yeah, but that may not be a sound business strategy. Ratcheting up the heat rarely results in a potential litigant backing down and dropping the issue. Granted, the Feds were petty in their request. Both sides have now painted themselves in a corner with threats of lawsuits that they may feel they have to follow through on to save face publicly Minor4th 04:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
So we should have complied, in your opinion? That's a matter of principle, we can't tolerate nonsensical requests of this kind, regardless of who files them. --Cyclopiatalk 16:12, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
It was such a ridiculous request (well, more like a demand, really) to begin with. While I would like to assume good faith about things outside WP as well...they're the freaking FBI. The chance that they didn't know that the laws they were citing didn't apply are pretty much nil. They just wanted to scare WMF to take down the seal, when they have no legal requirement to do so. And if they try and take it to court, they're just going to embarrass themselves, regardless of the outcome, because of it being such an asinine demand. SilverserenC 16:23, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
The problem is you're taking Godwin's interpretation as accurate and assuming he just educated the FBI lawyers on the law. That's not exactly what happened. In fact, the law does apply. Godwin cited "the leading case" interpreting the statute (18 USC 701), but his interpretation is exactly opposite of what the case says -- particularly on the principle of ejusdem generis. He should have read the whole case carefully, and not just the headnotes - as that is what it appears has happened. Your assumption of good faith should have been that the FBI lawyers do in fact know the laws they are citing to. The fact of the matter is it would not be real difficult for the FBI to get a restraining order to require removal of seal even on a temporary basis. They are more likely to do something like that after receiving this letter from Godwin. Minor4th 17:54, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't think Minor4th ever said anything about complying with the FBI's request - he's a lawyer and chooses his words carefully. I think it has more to do with the tone of the letter and the feeling that it may not have been the best strategy to accomplish the desired result, which was to tell the FBI to take a hike without causing a lot of drama in the process. GregJackP Boomer! 16:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Minor to my knowledge is a legal expert and when he commented I did see his those levels of importance and legality and lawsuits it is not a who has the big balls issue . Individual users should be more aware of their own personal legal responsibilities as they edit wikipedia and consider they may well require at some point their own 500 dollar an hour lawyer. Off2riorob (talk) 16:41, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
'Meekly complying' and 'writing a mocking, smartass refusal' weren't actually the only two options here. It would have been quite easy to write a classy, courteous, civil, and still utterly devastating legal smackdown that doesn't make the project look like a bunch sarcastic know-it-all teenagers. The letter, as written, goes out of its way to make enemies. While it may have been very satisfying to write, it probably also means that the FBI will be unlikely to cut us any slack on any real issues which might arise in the future. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 16:39, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps, but the fact of the matter was that the feds were misrepresenting the law and the legal guys let them know that they knew it. The letter wont make us friends at the FBI, but its pretty clear that they aint friends anyway.Thelmadatter (talk) 16:47, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
TenOfAllTrades is right. Why piss off the Feds if you don't have to? How well did that work for Martha Stewart? There are much more subtle snide and veiled ways to tell the Feds that they are idiots - ask anyone in the Climate Change area (on any side - both have experts in snide, veiled remarks). In any event, until a judge tells us otherwise, we should leave the image up. Another point is the difference in the type of law that Godwin practices (primarily in-house counsel - solicitor for you Brits) and Minor4th (litigator - barrister for the Brits). While both are important, I think I would go with what a litigator thinks if it involves a potential lawsuit.GregJackP Boomer! 17:01, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
@TOAT -- Precisely so.
  • As a taxpayer, I'll be pretty annoyed at the feds if they waste our money and tie up our courts with this nonsense. There are serious criminals who need to be dealt with. The logo on Wikipedia is not only legal, it's harmless. Whoever has been hired by the FBI to pursue this matter ought to be fired for egregious waste of taxpayer money. Jehochman Talk 18:01, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I do wonder why they singled out wikipedia. The letter mentions that the seal appears on brittanica also. So I wonder if Britannica submitted a request for permission to use the seal or if they also got a letter from the Feds. As far as wsstong tax dollars -- its the goverment, youre not expecting efficiency are you?Minor4th 21:43, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is providing a high quality SVG representation of the seal, while, as far as I know, Brittanica is not. I'm not saying that the FBI is right that it's illegal for us to display the seal, but I also don't think it's fair to compare our use of it to almost every other use of it on the web. The FBI is certainly correct that our representation would be very helpful to someone who is trying to pass themselves off as FBI when they're not. Has anyone actually applied for the proper permissions to use the seal? It's certainly worth a shot, though I'm not sure at this point that it's likely to be granted. Buddy431 (talk) 02:23, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if it's an SVG file, but Encyclopedia Britannica actually does have a pretty high-quality image of the seal, as seen here (go to the pane of videos and pictures on the left, scroll down to the seal and click) and a huge one here. Unless EB really did get permission from the FBI to display it that way, I don't see much difference. (talk) 03:48, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
In truth, the FBI does this a lot. While there is no law stating that the seal cannot be used if it is for informative and educational purposes, they still try and get places to take it down. I remember cases involving them and other websites. They've been doing this for years. In terms of matters like this, I don't really have any respect for them anymore. SilverserenC 03:57, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
A splendid piece of tact and diplomacy by Mike Godwin, and while I'm grateful for the free legal advice from Minor4th, it seems likely that Mike knows exactly what he's doing. Any court case on this would be fascinating. . . dave souza, talk 16:48, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I disagree - he was a little confrontational, and Minor4th was right. I read the case after he posted it, and it does look like Mike pulled it from the headnote (if he uses Lexis) or the keycite (if Westlaw). The body of the opinion doesn't support his argument. You are right, it would be fascinating - and expensive. Not sure it is worth it, but Jimbo and the board get to make those decisions. :D GregJackP Boomer! 04:51, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
@dave souza -- I was not giving legal advice, I was commenting on the merits of each argument. Do you have any meaningful rationale for your conclusion that Godwin knows exactly what he's doing and by logical extension, that the FBI lawyers do not know what they're doing? Any court case on this would be mundane and routine, not fascinating. This is something that has very rarely been litigated because it's just unnecessary to escalate a conflict over an official seal to that point. Why not simply make the requisite request for permission to use the seal? I guess some folks just love conflict more than results. Minor4th 13:07, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I must disagree with you there, Minor4th. We should not ask permission to do something that we have both common-sense and legal grounds to do, because it leaves us stuck if they say "No". What do we say then? "We weren't really asking in good faith; we're going to ignore you and do it anyway"? That doesn't win us any more friends than Mike's original obnoxious letter. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:04, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
@Silverseren -- Yes, this is unfortunately not uncommon for the Feds to flex their authority over minutiae. It is distasteful I agree. Minor4th 13:07, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikileaks hosts a TSA manual, in which they redacted various information in a .pdf by overlaying it with a separate black layer, »nuck, nuck«... [9] I was thinking the stuff on pages 4-23 to 4-26 might make good Commons uploads. ;) I mean, the CIA should thank us. If no one knows what their badge looks like how can we tell it's not a joke? Wnt (talk) 04:35, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

"Why not simply make the requisite request for permission to use the seal". Any idea how many such 'restricted' elements there are in the federal government ? Having to write 2000 or so letters to ask for permission to document all the seals, insignia and medals that we have articles on, is a waste of time on our editors. And in my opinion, doing so while continuing to ignore the same laws in all the other countries in the world is a sham, so that's another 100000 letters for you. I consider this "moderate risk taking" for the benefit of the Encyclopedia. I fully support it. We are here to build an encyclopedia, not to satisfy the archaic whims of the US government. If they force us, ok, they force us, but that will not go over nicely in the media. It will also leave them as the only agency without a seal in this Encyclopedia. With a nice 'Removed on demand of the FBI pdflink' in their infobox. We lose, they lose. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:01, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Wow. Maybe I'm misinterpreting your comment, but if the government has laws restricting the use of insignia, you don't think Wikipedia should comply with them because it would be a hassle for editors and the encyclopedia wouldn't look as good? Minor4th 22:50, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm of the opinion that doing a lot of work in covering asses, for something that is quite possibly perfectly allowed, is wasted effort. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 00:10, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

The Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been nominated for DYK. Any admin want to volunteer and put it in the queue? Marcus Qwertyus 15:32, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't know that this is the right place, but having seen the thread, I am compelled to respond. Upon my first read of the incident, my reaction was that it was a missed opportunity. Those are the worst because they don't generally re-present themselves. Wikipedia had the chance to preserve knowledge, without propagating arrogance. "Knowledge is not arrogant, knowledge is powerful" my quote WP:OR. As a side note and worthy of mention, while Wikipedia is very 1st amendment savvy, as a foundation you are far more in compliance with and concerned about issues of copyright, an attribute, while equally far less concerned and/or compliant with issues of trademark, a liability. And of course, all of this is in my opinion. My76Strat 03:06, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
This is neither a copyright nor a trademark issue. Neither applies to the seal. 18 U.S.C. 701 is a criminal statute, prohibiting the use of certain insignia of a law enforcement agency. I think it is a stretch on the part of the F.B.I., but I also think that Godwin misread the case (or only read the headnotes), because it doesn't say what he indicated it did in the letter. GregJackP Boomer! 04:12, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
@My76Strat, this is easily explained by the fact that copyright has been so abuse as a legal instrument, that we actually NEED to protect ourselves from it, while the other laws are almost never used in cases of non-commercial and educational usages of material. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:55, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that comment; I understand your rational, and accept its validity. My initial observation and decision to include it as a side-note was to highlight what I perceived as misaligned values. Other examples can be produced, but let this suffice to illustrate that I believe the foundation missed a valuable opportunity to favorably promote itself from a righteous perspective, in favor of arrogance, most likely spawned by a prevalence of misaligned values which seems ubiquitous. My76Strat 21:13, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

WikiLeaks has balls too! Count Iblis (talk) 22:13, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

For lolcats

The seal is sad now

FYI, a replacement image has already been proposed in case we are made to remove it. I see an internet meme coming :D —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 00:16, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Came across a news article regarding you which is relevant to an ongoing discussion

Hi Jimbo, Happy Birthday! :)

We are having a spirited discussion over at RSN regarding FOX news. While investigating the topic I came across this techcrunch article regarding you and thought you might have some thoughts to share on the matter. Best Regards, Unomi (talk) 08:59, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Ugh, I think I better stay out of it this time around. It is my birthday today, after all. Remind me in a few days to talk about Churchill and the UFOs story - I think it is a great example of how the media - across the board - are in a pretty sad state these days. Someone should buy me a newspaper to run, because I can hardly tolerate any of the lack of objectivity and reason that's going on these days.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:39, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
Well then, you should be proud of HJ Mitchell and the work done at WP:ITN, it's objectivity at it's maximum and credible information to boot. It is, in a sense, a "newspaper" that you already "run" :). Oh... and Happy Birthday Jimbo! Cwill151 (talk) 20:40, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
I fully agree with your assessment. Journalism today is reminiscent of journalism in the 1700s, and is nothing like I was taught. I wish I could afford to buy you a newspaper to run, but all I can offer Is this; Happy birthday! Zaereth (talk) 20:44, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
*cough* Wikinews *cough* Fences&Windows 17:31, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

administrative misjudgement

There are over a thousand administrators. However, only one is constantly the butt of complaints on ANI and he is Toddst1. Granted some complaints are not valid but when you have an outlying person, it must be a reason. Maybe he is abrasive. Maybe his judgement is bad.

In my case, he didn't like a banner on my talk page so he complained to me about it. He then closed an ANI post about my tag (as an involved party he should not be deciding on things involving himself) and also gave me an inappropriate (false accusation) warning about being uncivil and attacking others. That's like when the police beat up an innocent man then claim he beat them (until a video shows otherwise). Or like one person being the plaintiff, judge, and executioner.

Toddst1 should be on notice that his administrative powers will be stripped if he constantly gets complaints while other administrators do not have this problem. Either he is guilty or really rubs lots of people the wrong way, more than any other admin. Even you don't get this many complaints and you are the lightning rod of Wikipedia. Disclaimer: I am just letting you know this (like a cc in a business e-mail) but do not request any action - any action is per your descretion.RIPGC (talk) 03:08, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Oh this'll go well... HalfShadow 03:09, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Since RIPGC shopped this here from AN/I, Jimbo might want to take a look at that discussion. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:17, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Any time a user takes a trivial complaint to Jimbo, the issue immediately moves to hilarious. elektrikSHOOS 03:20, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Should we throw popcorn at him now, or wait until after the failsplosion? HalfShadow 03:21, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
That link is hilarious given the history behind it! If only every complaint brought to Jimbo could have such humor injected into it, I'm pretty sure the people complaining would relax a bit. Ks0stm If you reply here, please leave me a {{Talkback}} message on my talk page. 03:40, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
For the record, that was originally my idea, after I saw an account identify himself as Keegscee. SarekOfVulcan created the redirect. I agree; a little sense of humor would go a long way sometimes. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話す下さい) 02:30, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

According to User:Beyond My Ken, Ks0stm is being disruptive by adding that box and should be blocked. Toddst1 also agrees that adding such box will result in a this case of Ks0stm RIPGC (talk) 03:47, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Huh? Ks0stm If you reply here, please leave me a {{Talkback}} message on my talk page. 04:06, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
You know, I think that's the first time a user has even suggested that I be blocked...I never thought the first time would be for something so trivial as my signature (at least I think that's what he meant?) Ks0stm If you reply here, please leave me a {{Talkback}} message on my talk page. 05:03, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
@RIPGC. Please don't speak for me. I find that banner disruptive, and always have. I went to your talk page to read the discussions there and the damn banner was on the top of the page. Forgetting momentarily what the subject of your entry at AN/I was, I clicked on it thinking I had a message, and was sent to your talk page. Ha ha, very funny joke, but you manage to waste my time, which, even if it's only a couple of second, is not yours to waste. Get rid of the damn banner, and don't put words into my mouth again, please. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:13, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

I find the discussion from WP:AN/I is rapidly spilling onto here as well. Let's keep it over there. This page, after all, is for Jimbo's amusement only, and I really, really doubt he'll respond to it at all. Or, if he does, it certainly wouldn't be in the way that User:RIPGC is clearly expecting him to. elektrikSHOOS 04:25, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

I have blocked RIPGC as a disruptive sockpuppet of a banned user, confirmed by Checkuser. Newyorkbrad (talk) 05:21, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Larry Sanger interview - epistemic egalitarianism

Here - and well worth reading. I was particularly interested in this bit:

Why did you feel so strongly about involving experts [on Citizendium]?
Because of the complete disregard for expert opinion among a group of amateurs working on a subject [on Wikipedia], and in particular because of their tendency to openly express contempt for experts. There was this attitude that experts should be disqualified [from participating] by the very fact that they had published on the subject—that because they had published, they were therefore biased. That frustrated me very much, to see that happening over and over again: experts essentially being driven away by people who didn't have any respect for those who make it their lives' work to know things.
Where do you think that contempt for expertise comes from? It's seems odd to be committed to a project that's all about sharing knowledge, yet dismiss those who've worked so hard to acquire it.
There's a whole worldview that's shared by many programmers — although not all of them, of course — and by many young intellectuals that I characterize as "epistemic egalitarianism." They're greatly offended by the idea that anyone might be regarded as more reliable on a given topic than everyone else. They feel that for everything to be as fair as possible and equal as possible, the only thing that ought to matter is the content [of a claim] itself, not its source.

I think he's absolutely right on this point. "Epistemic egalitarianism" is a real problem on Wikipedia and it seems to be getting worse. One of the things that came across strongly for me in the recent collaboration with the British Museum, in which I participated, is how much we were reliant on expert sources (to the point of meeting and directly involving the experts in the writing of articles). Fortunately archaeology is largely free of non-expert sources that oppose the expert viewpoint, so we were pretty much free to focus on the views of the experts. However, there's a real and worrying trend in other subject areas of editors openly rejecting expert views and promoting the claims of non-experts, demanding that they be used to "balance" or refute an expert consensus. We've even seen WP:UNDUE being questioned; if it's weakened or removed, that really would open the floodgates for all kinds of pseudoscientific and pseudohistorical gibberish being added to articles. There are of course real-world consequences of epistemic egalitarianism - consider the vaccine controversy and the needless deaths and injuries that have been caused by parental confusion resulting from the media's scandalous promotion of non-expert claims about vaccine safety. I'd be interested to know where you see the line being drawn on the treatment of expert vs non-expert views on academic issues. -- ChrisO (talk) 08:13, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Chris, how do we decide who's an expert and who isn't? Whose views are standard and whose diverge significantly from the norm? The other problem is available time of experts in a particular field - most scientists I've found to be extremely time-poor. FWIW I thought we'd done an okay job in medical articles of keeping them balanced (??) Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Can you point to articles that suffer from this exclusion of experts, Chris? Medical experts and medical writers are enthusiastically embraced at all of the medical articles I've visited. Anthony (talk) 09:31, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I think Sanger is dead wrong about the ideas and ideals of the community. Expertise is generally welcomed. Of course it is fine for people to discuss and debate the precise limits of policies like WP:UNDUE - how could it be otherwise? That people are debating it, or that people with fringe views show up and cause trouble, is not evidence for a bias against expertise - it is rather evidence of a commitment to taking ideas seriously. Avoidance of fallacious appeals to authority is not epistemic egalitarianism. Indeed, to those who understand the deep roots of both understand that both errors stem from the same core.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:33, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Addendum: - Even the example you give, ChrisO, is one that I think we can be proud about: "A vaccine controversy is a dispute over the morality, ethics, effectiveness, or safety of vaccination. The medical and scientific evidence is that the benefits of preventing suffering and death from infectious diseases outweigh rare adverse effects of immunization.[1][2] Since vaccination began in the late 18th century, opponents have claimed that vaccines do not work, that they are or may be dangerous, that individuals should rely on personal hygiene instead, or that mandatory vaccinations violate individual rights or religious principles.[3] And since then, successful campaigns against vaccination have resulted in unnecessary injuries and mass deaths.[4]" We are not giving any credence at all to crackpot opinion there. As far as I know, that article's lede reflects very much the consensus of expert opinion.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:37, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
The entire Vaccine controversy article was (when I last read it 3 or 4 months ago) extremely rigorous and evidence-based. Anthony (talk) 09:45, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I think there's a misunderstanding here. I'm not saying vaccine controversy is a bad article, I'm saying that the vaccine controversy - the thing the article is about, not the article itself - is an example of Sanger's epistemic egalitarianism in action. The media gives the views of anti-vaccine cranks (and cranks in many other fields) far too much prominence and effectively treats their views as being of equal value to those of experts. This is a mistake we must not make. I think we get it mostly right at the moment, but there's constant pressure from advocates of fringe viewpoints to give their views much more prominence. -- ChrisO (talk) 18:46, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it's widely understood that many vaccines were rather toxic with dangerous levels of mercury, for example. So a push for safer vaccines has been useful and only a fanatic would argue that all vaccines are good and that they should all be administered without caution of measure. Freakshownerd (talk) 19:02, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
No, vaccines were not "rather toxic", nor was the level of thimerosal in them "dangerous"; hopefully our article makes that clear. To ChrisO's point, the reason that our vaccine articles have come around to a semblance of sanity actually has to do (IMO) with evolving media attitudes on the subject. It was actually extremely difficult to write good vaccine articles a few years ago, because the media was deeply entrenched in false-equivalence mode ("The NIH, CDC, and WHO believe X. Some guy with a lab in his basement believes Y.") The media was also rather committed to portraying Andrew Wakefield as a martyr to scientific orthodoxy, a la Galileo.

Since then, for a variety of reasons, the reputable media has come to cater far less to the anti-vaccine movement, and to cover the topic more responsibly. As a result, it's easier to write good Wikipedia articles, because there's no longer this tension between what experts believe and the way expert opinion is presented by the lay media. Unfortunately, in climate change, such a tension continues to exist, which is at the root of some of the current issues on that topic. MastCell Talk 21:12, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes indeed, very much so. False equivalence is very much a key issue. I see it as resulting from a number of factors - the media's loss of expertise in writing about scientific and medical issues, the actions of groups and organisations who want to promote confusion for financial or political reasons, and a general anti-intellectual climate that seems to be affecting the United States in particular. There also seems to be a trend in certain political circles - I'm thinking in particular of the right and libertarians - to disparage expertise when it clashes with ideological preconceptions. Thus for some people it doesn't matter how strong the science is, if it contradicts what they believe. -- ChrisO (talk) 21:24, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Chris, you've often used non-expert sources in articles about Scientology: non-expert in the sense of self-taught and self-published, activists who've made it their business to educate themselves about Scientology and who've published essays on personal websites, which you've then used as sources on Wikipedia. I'd like to hear your view on the difference between them and someone like Andrew Montford, a writer who's self-taught about global warming, and who has had a book published by a reliable publisher—The Hockey Stick Illusion—yet who's not allowed as a source on the particular aspect of the debate he's written about. How do you justify using the former but not the latter? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 22:37, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't use self-published sources in any article, and this unevidenced accusation of yours seems very much like an ad homimem. It's not a tactic that serves you well. -- ChrisO (talk) 22:42, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, it wasn't intended as ad hominem, and I apologize if it came across that way. I'm trying to explore the limits of your position. I believe I've seen you use Operation Clambake as a source, which is an excellent self-published source on Scientology, and I've also seen others use your own Scientology essays as a source, also excellent and self-published, with no objections from you. So my question to you is how you differentiate between those sources, and someone like Andrew Montford, a writer who taught himself about how one aspect of the global warming debate developed, yet whose independently published book about it has been rejected (by others and I believe by you too) on the grounds that he's self-taught, not an expert. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 22:53, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I've occasionally, a long time ago, used convenience links to non-self-published material (e.g. reliably published books) that Op Clambake hosts. I've not, as far as I know, ever used Op Clambake itself as a source. I've also not used my own essays as a source, and I'm not responsible for how other people use them. When I've come across such usage, I've removed it. I've not done much in that topic area for some time with the recent exception of Second Chance Program - I don't think you'll object to the sourcing there - but I can assure you that I don't use self-published sources in any articles. Regarding Montford, there you have an entirely different issue. He's not simply "a writer", he's a campaigning blogger promoting a scientifically fringe point of view. His book presents fringe claims which have been shredded by actual climate scientists. Much of the book is unsourced; where it is sourced, it appears to be sourced mainly to other bloggers. The book advocates a conspiracy theory (i.e. that climate science is a vast hoax) which has no support that I'm aware of from anyone in the relevant expert community. It's way outside the mainstream - it's the direct equivalent of Bill Kaysing's We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle. I doubt that many editors would support the use of that book as a source for an article on the Moon landings. -- ChrisO (talk) 23:51, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
But Operation Clambake is campaigning, you are campaigning (and I've seen you not remove your own essays as sources, Chris). As for Montford, he's a writer who works in publishing, he has a science degree, his book lists 270 sources in endnotes, plus footnotes, and it uses a lot of in-text attribution, some of it to posts on the various climate-change blogs, and some to science journals. It looks like a very carefully written piece of work. Have you read it? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:04, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I very much doubt if you've seen anything of the sort. I really don't think it's necessary to rehash the long discussion on WP:RS about Montford since it's not really germane to this discussion, and I won't pursue it any further here. -- ChrisO (talk) 00:28, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
It's germane because I've raised it as an example of the difficulty of establishing consistency in what counts as expertise—when on the one hand we use or allow self-taught, self-published sources (albeit good ones like yourself), and on the other we reject self-taught, other-published writers like Montford. Have you read Montford's book? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:01, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Yup. Vaccine controversy as a comparison is a perfect example of how far down the toilet certain Climate Change articles have been dragged by people who are writing from their deeply set POV, rather than from the neutral POV. It never ceases to amaze me that people think Jimbo of all people does not know what he is talking about regarding NPOV. MickMacNee (talk) 11:18, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Looking at a draft article like Citizendium's "History of biology", it seems to me that they have problems — not finishing a good draft, extensive deletions, and above all, despite the potential involvement of experts, they've stuck to designing that article according to a Eurocentric fairy tale where the Greeks and Romans invent civilization, then it's lost, then it mysteriously comes back again — without recognizing the fundamental importance of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia Minor, India, etc. in developing medicine over thousands of years, nor that great Roman physicians like Dioscorides actually came from Turkey, and the greatest Roman library was in Egypt, nor that the great Islamic physicians preserved and continued the art during Europe's Dark Ages, nor that Paracelsus and other European physicians "restored civilization" by learning from that source.
That said, I can see some merit to setting up an OTRS-like system where Wikipedians could register advanced credentials (PhD, professorship, and so on) and some cute template that they could use in talk page edits and edit summaries. Since experts are often reluctant to put their name to anything but an all-out effort, Wikipedia might encourage involvement by certifying these credentials but making them viewable labeled with only the Wikipedia pseudonym if the editor requests. While scientists may be busy with other things, you'll find if you look that a lot of people tend to fall out of the field, or are removed from significant research, and are potential contributors. Wnt (talk) 12:14, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I have encountered issues where the COI label has been used to prevent expert editors from contributing. I have also seen that this can lead to editors leaving and never to return after these disputes. I, personally, try to encourage COI declarations from all parties in such disputes and to point out that COI is not a reason to dismiss contributions out of hand. If an editor is an expert in the field (EIF), involved in research or works in the field (WIF) then COI, as used in its broadest definition, is almost definitely going to exist. This is a problem which needs to be addressed by the Wikipedia community to ensure that editors are not scared off from joining in to support the inclusion of material by "COI" editors whose edits are shown to be NPOV and factual.
It is my experience that if you ask, for example, a group of astronomers "What is the structure of the Universe?" you will get a much different answer than asking "What are the theories of the structure of the Universe?" as the first may result in long discussion and even hair pulling as each tries to prove the higher validity of their own particular theory. Asking the second results in a list of possibles that you can judge for yourself.
To me it seems Mr Sanger is eating some sour grapes and trying to show that citizendium is "more scholarly" than Wikipedia. This is simply not realistic. There are many experts who contribute, there are many that keep an eye on articles and police the edits. It is important that we do not lose that facility though and work out a way to encourage COI to be separated from "WIF". It is, of course, possible to have edit wars from even EIF editors and we have policy to guide these disputes which really causes me no concern apart from the possible misuses where one EIF who has not themselves declared COI points the COI finger at another who has.
Chaosdruid (talk) 12:35, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
There is no issue here. Existing policy covers all of the above. The one instance I have seen where an editor tried to exclude another solely because the other worked in the field, was laughed off the COI noticeboard. Anthony (talk) 13:08, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate that you may not have encountered this problem however that does not mean that it does not exist. The problem is an issue where those disputes do not make it to the COI boards whether due to inexperience in Wikipolicy or a feeling of being mobbed and the knee-jerk reaction of not-bothering-to-come-back once feelings that their mobbers are in some way representative of Wikipedia editors as a whole occurs. Biting newbies exists for a reason and if they are experts and accused of COI which prevents NPOV factual edits that sort of mobbing behaviour is classic biting. Chaosdruid (talk) 14:07, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes but that's bad behaviour, not bad policy. I agree with you, bad behaviour towards newbies is a problem here. Anthony (talk) 14:21, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I think that while a problem does exist, this does not manifest itself in the content of articles. The community is able to resist the pressure to let in anti-science opinions. But this pressure is not dealt with efficiently due to the fact that the Wiki-policies give too much room for arguing the anti-science POV. This can sometimes cause irritation, leading to problematic behavior on both sides, sometimes ending in administrative intervention and ArbCom cases. Count Iblis (talk) 15:04, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

"Anti-science" is hardly the real problem anyway. It is expertise in the humanities (history, literature, etc.) and social-sciences (sociology, anthropology, psychology, etc.) that most often has noses thumbed at it. This is not only true in Wikipedia of course, but in mass culture more generally. However, as an encyclopedia we should not be reflecting the selective anti-intellectualism of the blog sphere or even the mass media. I say selective, because out there, as well as in here, people have a very ambivalent relationship to scholarship. When it aids their POV it becomes the gold standard for the topic in question but when it does not nose thumbing commences. What I see constant disrespect for is not scholarship and expertise generally speaking but scholarly consensus when it doesn't fit an editor's POV. See for instance the current fiasco surrounding the Historicity of Jesus and the Christ-myth theory. Of course the authority of scholarship and expertise is eroded on a more general level every time someone plays this selective respect game.Griswaldo (talk) 15:12, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

The idea that content should trump expertise is very appealing. However, the price to be paid is that discussion of a topic must be orchestrated to facilitate useful discussion and quash disruption. When rancor and rhetoric are eliminated, reasonable people will agree, with the exceptions of religion and politics. Although there are guidelines on WP aimed in this direction they are constantly ignored or misused by rank and file, largely because administrators observing application of the guidelines don't understand that administrators are there to catalyze discussion, not to enforce agreement. The administrators try to identify the "correct" argument and enforce it, when they normally have no idea of what is going on and are simply taking the most popular or the most plausible stance as the right one. In any event, the "expert" may be a minority voice, and the "expert's insistence" may annoy other editors. That annoyance is not a basis for administrator action except to maintain civility and keep discussion on the subject. Administrators simply cannot tell whether the "expert" is truly authoritative. Their job is to stand back and referee (that is, keep down squalor and rhetorical devices), not to pretend to be judges, and let the argument (that is, sensible discussion) proceed to consensus in its own good time. Content will trump expertise in the right environment, but WP is far from arranging that environment. Brews ohare (talk) 17:37, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

  • This is rather topical, coming at a time when the arbs are reviewing demands that a subject expert should be topic banned for alleged incivility, and indeed whether a similar restriction is to be applied to an alleged "faction" which seems to include all those who think the overwhelming majority expert view on the science of the topic should be given more weight than fringe views which have significant political support. As ever, the arguments are more complex and nuanced than that, and the outcome will be fascinating. However, Citizendium's draft "History of biology" does indeed show the difficulties of trying to confine participation to experts: the as yet unwritten section on How Darwinism evolved into multiple species of neo-Darwinism jumped out at me as a very odd heading. So, I had a look at the bio of Darwin, which is essentially a 3 and a half year old clone of our article, lacking some valuable expert input we've had. An added section on Darwin's health gives prominent mention to homeopathy, some of which was added by an expert who used to contribute here, but doesn't seem to have been active this year.[10] Interestingly, an expert editor who toned it down a bit has qualifications in chiropractic and in acupuncture. So, the Citizendium approach doesn't exactly guarantee mainstream expertise. In my own view, the Wikipedia process tends eventually to lead to a good balance provided we show minority views as minority views, and make due reference to majority expert views, with the support of the established policies. Of course, that might change. . . dave souza, talk 17:32, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
The expert on homeopathy was indefinitely topic-banned from editing topics related to his expertise. He had been previously topic-banned 1 year by Arbcom due to advocacy of his area of expertise. Editing by experts can also be problematic. --Enric Naval (talk) 13:25, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Incivility is a problem and must be dealt with. However, the claims by a lynch mob that doesn't like to reason or stay on topic, but wants to quash the opposition as "uncivil" is another matter. I am personally unconvinced that administrators have the savvy (that's unkind, they just don't dig into it enough) to tell the difference; it's a crap shoot. Brews ohare (talk) 18:14, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Brews, you weren't topic-banned for incivility, but for pushing your interpretation of a certain topic. Let's not drag old disputes in places where they don't belong. --Enric Naval (talk) 13:25, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Has Arbcom acted yet to rein in the POV pushing fanatics of the Climate Cabal, who have clear COIs and hold Wikipedia's NPOV policy in disdain and want only their personal views represented? What's taking so long? Or has ignorance of dissent become a core value at Wikipedia? Maybe a new motto could be adopted: "Wikipedia: where the cabal with the most members wins and everyone else loses". Freakshownerd (talk) 18:55, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

No decision yet. Climate science is, of course, a topic area under very severe pressure from advocates of pseudoscientific and fringe POVs. -- ChrisO (talk) 18:58, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Fringe POVs? Like acknowledging past warming periods or the frequency of errors in the predictions produced by the climate modelers or conflicts of interest among those advocating for "alternative energy" sources? The Global Warming article is a joke. It's a totally unserious advocacy piece that's grossly distorted, slanted, and unscientific. Freakshownerd (talk) 19:16, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
When did you last read the articles you're complaining about? Previous warm periods are "acknowledged" and discussed in Global warming#Temperature changes and temperature record, as well as a host of specific articles like Medieval Warm Period. The uncertainty inherent in climate modeling is described in the lead of global warming, and elaborated upon in Global warming#Climate models and global climate model. I'm not sure which particular conflict-of-interest allegations you're referring to. If they're covered in serious, reputable sources (as opposed to the partisan blogosphere) then I feel sure we cover them here. Actually, even if they're confined to the partisan blogosphere, I would bet we cover them here - because that's where the bar is right now. In any case, it's not clear to me that your complaints are informed by actual familiarity with the articles in question. MastCell Talk 19:33, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Have you read the article? Past global warming is omitted implicitly by the definition in the very first sentence where the subject is defined. There's also nothing in the opening paragraphs about prehistoric global warming. There are also clear misrepresentations such as the statement that "Most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century was caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, which results from human activity such as the burning of fossil fuel and deforestation" based on a source that says "Most scientists agree that the warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." Including clear misrepresentations, distortions, omissions, and smears against those with unpopular views may be your idea of how encyclopedia building and science is done. It's certainly not mine. Freakshownerd (talk) 19:43, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, so the items in question aren't actually "omitted" - they're just not featured prominently at the top of the lead, where you believe they belong. Also, I don't see the misrepresentation in the sourcing example you cite - certainly there's nothing egregious enough to justify even a fraction of the angry rhetoric that you consistently apply to anything with which you disagree. You might want to take these content disputes to the article talk page. MastCell Talk 19:52, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
No, they're ommitted. They are excluded from the definition provided and the introduction to the subject. So the reader is misinformed. Furthermore, as you seem to have ignored, the article is slanted by distortions, as even cherry picked sources are misrepresented. It's dishonest. It's an abortion carried out by anti-science bigots. It's a shameful and disgusting piece of propaganda that would be more appropriate on Connolley's blog than an encyclopedia. Freakshownerd (talk) 19:55, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Alright then. Maybe it's better you don't go to the article talk page, at least not with that sort of approach. MastCell Talk 20:34, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
But that may at least answer Jimbo's earlier question: "Freakshownerd, are you feeling calmer?" MastCell Talk 19:10, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not any calmer about the slanderous misrespresentations and smears being included in BLPs. But having brought them to Jimbo's attention and the appropriate noticeboards, I did what I could to get them addressed. If the powers that be here aren't concerned about the problem and stand behind the editors and admins propagandizing Wikipedia's contents, then that's their business (figuratively and in some cases quite literally). Freakshownerd (talk) 19:16, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Generall comments:
  1. Vaccines never contained dangerous amounts of mercury, and the type of mercury they contained was generally seen to be easily excreted and incapable of causing harm. Reviews of the effects of mercury's removal from vaccines found zero change in any compared parameter. There is no science-based reason to worry about the amount of mercury in vaccines. That is widely understood by experts, and not understood by laypeople who hear "mercury", think all "mercury" is bad, and therefore think that vaccination is bad - with no appreciation of the danger of the disease the vaccine prevents.
  2. Researchers who are experts should have both an extensive library of research papers to draw from, and an understanding of their expert area that they can contextualize findings and spot nonsense. Researchers should not be editing on the basis of their expertise - they should be easily able to substantiate their points by reference to the highest-quality literature. I certainly have contempt for people who say "trust me, I'm an expert", but have great respect for fantastic editors (like the unfortunately-departed Eubulides) who never rely on their opinion to sell an edit - they drop citations like clusterbombs.
  3. WP:MEDRS is a fantastic way of dealing with nonsense, that cuts through the BS generated by POV-pushing in and outside of wikipedia. I can only hope the equivalently-useful Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (science-related articles) will also become something official to address this in balancing nonmedical controversies (i.e. news sources and pundits who don't understand climate science mocking climate change because it's cold in January suddenly becoming less important than an international consensus statement that the world is indeed changing).
  4. Sanger's approach is very different because Citizendium actively promotes "expert based" original research and commentary - to its detriment. Two editors I worked with who were blocked from wikipedia for POV-pushing have gone on to "contribute" at Citizendium, to the detriment of the articles in question. Compare satanic ritual abuse to their version. Much more credulous over there in my mind, because it can rely on the "trust me, I'm an expert" line rather than the "substantiate your point with real sources" approach of wikipedia. If your "expert" is biased and has no touchstone of reliable sources to work with/on, then you've got an unredeemably biased page that can't correct without another "expert" showing up. Our insistence on insisting the sources have the final word is a far superior approach in my mind. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 20:30, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
"Thiomersal is very toxic by inhalation, ingestion, and in contact with skin (EC hazard symbol T+), with a danger of cumulative effects. It is also very toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in aquatic environments (EC hazard symbol N).[1] In the body, it is metabolized or degraded to ethylmercury (C2H5Hg+) and thiosalicylate.[2] Few studies of the toxicity of thiomersal in humans have been performed. Cases have been reported of severe poisoning by accidental exposure or attempted suicide, with some fatalities.[3] Concerns based on extrapolations from methylmercury caused thiomersal to be removed from U.S. childhood vaccines, starting in 1999." And of course several vaccines have been pulled from the market or kept off the market entirely because of safetly issues. So while vaccines have been extraordinarily effective in erradicating diseases, they haven't been used without risks or problems. That said, the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases is generally much greater than the risk of potential side effects. Freakshownerd (talk) 20:42, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
"Cases of severe poisoning by accidental exposure or attempted suicide, some with fatalities" have been reported for acetaminophen. And water. The safety of thiomersal to aquatic life, or in the setting of poisoning, is one thing. When it comes to vaccines, as the World Health Organization has concluded, "there is no evidence of toxicity in infants, children or adults exposed to thiomersal in vaccines." MastCell Talk 21:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I assume those risks are noted in the acetaminophen article. I'm not aware of any cases of severe poisoning from accidental exposure to water. Did it cause melting? Freakshownerd (talk) 21:32, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I recall a tragic case of an old woman who did indeed succumb to acute water poisoning... -- ChrisO (talk) 21:39, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Water intoxication#Notable cases. Isn't Wikipedia useful? :P MastCell Talk 21:41, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't tend to think of drowning or massive ingestion of a substance as "accidental exposure", but if that's what you meant then I think your comparison of mercury to water is a bit of a stretch. But who am I to stop you from drinking what you please. As far as the encyclopedia is concerned, it's best to avoid wp:weasel words and to write and speak plainly and accurately so as to avoid obfuscation and misunderstanding, and to abide by the wp:NPOV policy, even if you don't agree with all of the notable views of the notable figures who have expressed them. Freakshownerd (talk) 21:55, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah. So you think of a massive overdose of a substance once found in minute non-dangerous quantities in vaccines as "accidental exposure", but don't think that applies to much less disproportionate massive accidental overdosing on water, as shown in the sad cases in the article linked by MastCell. Ok, keep taking the tablets as Moses said when he came down from the mountain. . . dave souza, talk 22:12, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
See also straw man. I don't think the toxicity of mercury and water are in any way similar. And as far as "accidental exposures" are concerned I'll take a good rain storm or a splash of water in the pool over a broken thermometer any day of the week. Speaking of which, I think your arguments are all washed up. Freakshownerd (talk) 22:19, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

If I may interject here, I think that one of the main problems Chris was trying to point out was the idea that all sources are often considered to be equally reliable. Obviously, they are not. A newspaper or magazine article on gravity will not usually be as accuate as a book. Many times it's a case of simple misunderstanding. I've seen many articles that claim that the weightlessness an astronaut experiences in space is achieved by simply climbing out of the Earth's gravity field. Anyone familiar with the subject knows that zero-G is only achieved during the free-fall of orbit, and should find it easy to get a better source. Expert guidence is the best way to ensure that the best sources are used.

However, a few problems can exist with experts. In the world of science, for instance, which is dominated more by theory than by law, many experts will try to push their own theory as the correct one, sometimes succumbing to the temptation of synthesis and OR to do so. While this is usually done subconsciously and with good intent, it is important to be conscious that the writing accurately represents the sources. Many experts will disagree profoundly. Tesla would have nothing to do with Einstein's theories. However, when presenting and organizing differing views, I think it's also important to give prominence only where prominence is due. Zaereth (talk) 22:52, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree completely with Jimbo's first comment here. I have not seen a disdain for experts here, and in fact many of the contributors are quite well-versed in their editing topics. The polite, humble ones do not feel a need to rub it in. In my experience many of the people claiming to be experts by way of trying to pull out a trump card in a content disagreement are either non-experts who are inflating if not lying about their credentials, or else they are too rude or out on a limb to support what they are claiming. I have a feeling that most true experts -- full professors, practicing scientists, influential philosophers, and the like -- probably don't have the time or inclination to have it know that they are editing Wikipedia. In any case, giving incrementally more trust in people who self-declare as experts would, in practice, will probably lead to content that degrades the encyclopedia. It's not obviously apparent that letting anyone edit a collaborative document would result in agreement on sound content policies and guidelines, much less adherence to them. I don't know how Jimbo got this idea but Wikipedia was a noble experiment that worked in practice. I can't argue in the abstract why we should trust amateurs, but we do and it works. - Wikidemon (talk) 23:23, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Just to be clear, as an amateur I look for and carefully evaluate the best available sources showing expert opinion. Where it gets difficult is the circumstance of non-expert views and fringe views being promoted in publications for political, economic or religious reasons. We can judge editors by the quality of information they bring to Wikipedia, not by their self-declaration of credentials. It's a tough process, and experts have to be pretty resilient to keep editing under these circumstances, but in my experience they have contributed a great deal of value. . . dave souza, talk 23:35, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Most of the battles I've seen involving experts are usually with other experts. While it's true, they usually don't brag about it, if you have some experience with a subject it's pretty easy to tell when someone is for real of just pretending. While I am no expert in the articles I've worked on, I think my experience in those subjects improves my understanding of the sources and is a great help to my writing. I greatly value any expert assistance. Zaereth (talk) 00:16, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

I haven't read most of the stuff above, but as far as experts being welcomed goes: My experience has been that (with some exceptions) experts are welcomed. But when I mention this to people who claim their experience is different, they tell me that's because things are different in my field from the way they are in philosophy, sociology, politics, etc. Michael Hardy (talk) 02:17, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

What people are telling you is true, but as I said above it's not that experts in the humanities and/or social sciences aren't welcome per se, its just that their expertise may but up against what a fair number of POV pushers would rather believe is true and hence render those particular experts less welcome. This is also true in the areas where the hard sciences intersect with various hot button issues in mass cultural politics -- see climate science, or evolution. There is a current fiasco going on at Historicity of Jesus which is rather exemplary of these problems.Griswaldo (talk) 03:07, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
In medical articles, I find MEDRS again extremely valuable and always regret there isn't an equivalent for nonmedical stuff. It would be nice to have a broader guideline for scholarly subjects in general to drive up the requirements and respect for scholarly sources. BLP prevents a lot of spurious nonsense on people's articles, MEDRS works well for medical articles, and shouldn't scholarly sources take precedence for the late great historical JC? If it's not in a journal or book, then it's probably less reliable? But I haven't seen the mess over there. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 12:21, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Something like that would be useful in other areas of scholarship for sure. The issue on the Jesus page is a group of editors, spearheaded by one in particular, who are insisting that attributing the religious affiliation of scholars is necessary because being Christian is a bias ... no matter where the scholar holds a faculty position, no matter what journal or academic press is publishing their scholarship, no matter how well received their scholarship has been in the field, etc. These editors have produced no reliable sources indicating that such a bias would exist, but instead discuss it as if it is common sense. Those who have some knowledge of the relevant fields have been driven away or driven to exhaustion. The bigger problem is that others, even some admins on AN/I, are also buying this "common sense" idea, and here's where the anti-intellectualism comes in. Apparently well established institutions in the humanities are not to be trusted, but instead the "common sense" ideas of Wikipedians are. Users are free to troll fringe theories to their hearts content as long as they don't offend the commonsensical ideas of admins. Foey!Griswaldo (talk) 17:05, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Maxine Waters

This biography of a controversial figure who is in the news seems like a mess to me. Do you think it's fixable without there being a whitewashing of the controversies? Freakshownerd (talk) 21:52, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

The article looks fine to me. There are good sources and the section divisions seem correct. While the Controversy and criticism is a tad long, it doesn't give undue weight to any specific criticism, it's just that there are a lot of different things she is criticized for. So, in that sense, the section doesn't seem bad to me at all. What exactly about the article do you think is a mess? SilverserenC 21:58, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that much of the article is poorly written and riddled with weight issues and a lack of appropriate context. Like many articles here, it seems to me to be a product of the likes, dislikes and interests of Wikipedia editors, especially the most active POV pushers who use hte encyclopedia to promote their point of view. Unpopular BLPs get trashed, while the pets of the powers that be here are treated to fawning accounts where every blemish and controversy is whitewashed and contextualized out of existence a la a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon par excellence. Freakshownerd (talk) 23:54, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Taking a closer look, I see some of what you mean. The "Los Angeles riots of 1992", the "Confrontation with Dave Obey", and the "Alleged gaffes" sections should probably be removed, as they neither add anything to the article, are important, or are really Controversy and criticism for that matter. But, if those are taken out, I think the rest of the article is fine. There probably needs to be more NPOV put into the info on her Policy Positions. But it's nothing that can't be fixed. SilverserenC 00:02, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments Silver seren. I did my best to clean the article up, although it needs more and better sources and content related to the work of her career and her most notable positions on issues. Other editors cut out a couple bits that seem relevant to me (although they needed tightening), but hopefully they'll see the light. Freakshownerd (talk) 15:07, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Your private input into FBI dispute may be beneficial

The FBI seal problem may escalate more in a few days. This is notice to you, in case you are interested.

In the Did You Know section an article about the seal is making its way to the main page. Note that when it appears, a picture of the seal will appear, not just text. Many DYK hooks are just text, but this is a text and a seal.

You may wish to discuss with Mike Godwin what to do. Some lawyers purposely try to create test cases and want lawsuits and a whole lot of publicity. If this is the strategy, some lawyers will want the seal to be published online on the main page. Other lawyers advocate quiet diplomacy. They may publically insist they have the right to publish the seal but quietly try not to thumb their noses at the FBI and try to poke them in the eye. Those lawyers might have the DYK hook but not have the picture. Still other lawyers would want to do some action, but not have a public discussion about it.

I will let you decide with Mike Godwin what to do. If you want to have the hook but not the picture but do it in a low keyed way, you could always e-mail a bureaucrat and ask them to modify the hook (or ask one of the DYK regulars).

As I said, I will leave strategy up to you, whether you want to make the FBI dispute high profile or low keyed. Good luck. I mention this only to give you the heads up and do the right thing for Wikipedia. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 16:45, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

I second comments made by Suomi Finland both here and at the DYK suggestion with the reservation that I would like to see less privacy regarding any response. By virtue of the recent comments to this talk page, it is obvious users are interested in the founders views in this matter. Wikipedia is a community at the user level and my share of the proxy is being misrepresented by both the initial response, and now the direction this implies we perhaps want to seek. My76Strat 19:37, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I hope this is helpful in some small way.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:58, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Would it be okay if we just not use the image with the DYK submission and just use the text? SilverserenC 21:07, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Do what you want in your own name and be prepared to pay your own 500 dollar an hour lawyers, don't big yourself up using the foundation. Off2riorob (talk) 21:19, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
More significantly, it's not a new article or one expanded simply to improve the 'pedia, and pushing it into DYK to get it on the front page is rather blatantly pointy. The FBI have been given a firm response, it's up to them if they want to take it further and we don't need to go out of our way to provoke them. Best to let it be and await developments rather than forcing the pace. . dave souza, talk 22:25, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I completely agree. Let's please not do this. Putting this on DYK now is unnecessary, provocative, and just a plain bad idea. Antandrus (talk) 22:28, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree. Stupidity at best, malice at worst. Anthony (talk) 09:14, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Do we have editorial independence any more?

Jimbo, I'm stunned and dismayed by your intervention on T:TDYK regarding Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which I recently expanded. You make it very clear that your objection is solely that "it is clearly politically provocative". Other editors have raised all kind of accusations above of bad faith and POINTy behaviour. Such accusations are nonsense - I took a stub article that was little more than a copy-and-paste of the FBI website's description of the seal [11] and made it into a full-length article that provides far more information than the FBI itself does [12]. I note that nobody has raised any objections to the content of the article or the proposed DYK hook. The article and hook both meet all the criteria for inclusion on DYK.

Personally, if I was in your shoes, I would be hailing this as an example of how Wikipedia can add value - we now have the most comprehensive, detailed and best-researched article on the FBI seal published anywhere. It's far more informative than anything the FBI itself has published. This should surely be applauded, not criticised.

I have no particular preferences regarding the seal and I've not argued for or against its retention on Wikipedia. I don't mind whether or not it's displayed on the home page along with the DYK item. I've said so in the DYK discussion. However, I think it's totally inappropriate for you (or anyone else for that matter, but especially you, considering your role) to argue against a DYK nomination for purely political reasons. I was under the impression that the role of the WMF was – in part at least – to insulate Wikipedia against political pressures and ensure that we have editorial independence. Now it seems you want to influence editorial decisions because they are politically inconvenient (to whom? you? the Foundation? the US Government?). There's no support whatsoever in Wikipedia's policies, as I think you implicitly acknowledge, for external political considerations to dictate what we do editorially.

That is a very dangerous road to start down. It raises the question of whether we do in fact have editorial independence. If you want us to suppress editorial decisions because you are concerned about political implication then that suggests that we are not in fact editorially independent after all. I hope you reconsider your decision to oppose the DYK. In particular, I request that you clarify whether you oppose the DYK nomination outright, or are willing to accept it if it is not accompanied by the image of the seal.

Given the issues that this raises, I hope you will also clarify whether or not we editors can write articles without facing politically motivated interventions in the future. I don't want to be in a situation where we have to hold back because an article is politically inconvenient to someone. -- ChrisO (talk) 18:53, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

ChrisO, surely you see that now now is not a good time to push this on to the main page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
No, perhaps you can explain why writing about a US Government agency's logo is harmful. If the FBI had objected in any way to the fact that we have an article about its seal, I think we'd have been told by now. -- ChrisO (talk) 21:03, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Chris0, did you not think that in the circumstances of the letter from the FBI and us using the seal and Godwins reply, and the multiple articles in the press about it that attempting to add the seal to the front page of wikipedia was a confrontational and controversial thing to do that would do nothing but increase tension and more controversial headlines in the press like, Wikipedia laughs in the face of FBI complaints and posts image of disputed seal on front page . Off2riorob (talk) 22:47, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Wen Jiabao calls Obama: "Obama, I see that Wikipedia is going to put an article on the Dalai Lama on their main page. Our people are not so pleased about that, especially not during the time we are supposed to meet." Obama to Wen Jiabao: "I have no control about what Wikipedia decides to do". Wen Jiabao to Obama: "But you did remove that picture of the FBI badge, but that was just a badge, we are now talking about a propaganda article that advocates succession of Greater Tibet from China". Obama to Wen Jiabo: "Ok., I'll see what I can do". Count Iblis (talk) 23:28, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
The "we" in "do we have editorial independence?" is a bit tricky at Wikipedia. I see a number of people here and at T:TDYK who have commented that there is no reason to poke the FBI at the moment, and I agree with that view. I am using my editorial independence as an anonymous contributor who is not under any pressure from anyone here or in the real world, and my conclusion is that no benefit to society (or anything else) will follow from putting the contested image on the main page. There are some things that I strongly believe in, but I recognize that it is not always appropriate to assert my strong beliefs in situations where it would serve no purpose and only be confrontational. Similarly, "editorial independence" is doing what one thinks is right, not what one thinks one should do to express freedom. Johnuniq (talk) 23:14, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, the current proposal is for a DYK hook for the article, with no image on the main page. Probably best to comment at T:TDYK. . . dave souza, talk 23:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Both of you clearly don't read what other people say, as it seems you just skimmed over what ChrisO said. If you read again, you would notice that he said he has no problem with not using the image for DYK and just using the text. I agree with him that preventing this DYK nomination for purely political reasons damages the ethics of Wikipedia. ChrisO spent time and energy on that article to improve it to where it is now. And I am also appalled at Jimbo's statement on T:TDYK, as it would be one thing if he had just said "I think this should be postponed for a few months, right now is not a good time to be putting this on the front page." But, instead, he said, "I this this should be postponed for a few months or forever." That is a ridiculous statement and seems to imply that any subject that is ever "political" for Wikipedia in any way can never be allowed to be shown as good. I suppose it will never be allowed up on FA, no matter the quality it becomes, since it's so political. That should also go for a number of other articles too then, huh?
In short, I am extremely disappointed in this action. SilverserenC 23:34, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I have already said that I'm happy to see the DYK appear without the image, but apparently some people don't even want to mention the article about the seal. The article has been the subject of no controversy and no complaints. Not using the image of the seal is one thing - it's not essential for DYK. But suppressing the DYK item altogether because of a nebulous concern about some unnamed party facing political inconvenience is simply not acceptable. That is political censorship, quite simply, and it's a gross overreaction. I've had nothing to do with the creation or maintenance of the seal image and I strongly disagree with the idea that an editorial decision about article content should be dictated by local political interests. As I said above, once you start going down the road of allowing politics to dictate editorial decisions then you are going down a very slippery slope indeed. -- ChrisO (talk) 23:35, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
It would be better not to bother with the DYK at the present time. Thats not such a big issue, is it? Its not like we are short of DYKs is it. Off2riorob (talk) 23:52, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
You're completely ignoring the topic of discussion. SilverserenC 23:55, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I am not, the DYK is the topic of discussion. Off2riorob (talk) 23:56, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
No, the suppression of the DYK for political reasons is the topic of discussion. Removing the image is one thing, as I've said, but suppressing the DYK entirely is quite another. -- ChrisO (talk) 23:58, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
ec..If the topic is ChrisO worries about his editorial freedom then would ChrisO answer my question.. did you not think that in the circumstances of the letter from the FBI and us using the seal and Godwins reply, and the multiple articles in the press about it that attempting to add the seal to the front page of wikipedia was a confrontational and controversial thing to do that would do nothing but increase tension and more controversial headlines in the press .. which will help me to understand what he feels about our personal editing responsibilities to the project.Off2riorob (talk) 23:56, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
This isn't about politics but about civility and manners and common sense. There's no censorship--nobody's taking down either article or image; some of us prefer to be polite and respectful rather than rude and defiant. --Yopienso (talk) 00:04, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
The timing of all of this is what gives me pause. The expansion happened the day after the story about the complaint went public, and now we're trying to put it on the front page. It's needlessly confrontational and looks like an attempt escalate an already unpleasant situation. AniMate 00:18, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
As Dave Souza has said on T:TDYK, "I don't think there can or should be any accusation of bad faith, the timing of the increase strongly suggests that the news story caught ChrisO's interest and he thought it was worthwhile improving the article from a stub. He did so, and it reached the stage of qualifying for DYK. There should be no guessing of anyone's motives." That is all there is to it, and it is really inappropriate to try to impugn my motives. Can we have a little less hysteria and second-guessing here, please? -- ChrisO (talk) 00:25, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
So you don't want to answer the question as to your motives and thoughts as regards your actions and any consequences of them but you want to complain that your editorial freedom has been curtailed, hilarious. Off2riorob (talk) 00:33, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't find questions of the "have you stopped beating your wife" type particularly useful. -- ChrisO (talk) 00:38, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Regardless of ChrisO's motives, which are best known to him, as AniMate said, "It's needlessly confrontational and looks like [my bolding] an attempt [to] escalate an already unpleasant situation." Making it a DYK at this juncture would easily be construed as just that even if it were nothing of the sort. Restraint is part of good manners and common sense; let's exercise some. After this issue with the FBI is settled there will be ample opportunity to feature ChrisO's work. --Yopienso (talk) 01:01, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • May I point out that one of the main reasons for why this FBI seal thing is such a big deal is because of the manner in which Godwin responded to the FBI. If he had sent a much more neutrally worded, explanatory letter, I would bet you that this wouldn't be as big of a deal as it is. I don't think that ChrisO's contribution and time spent on the article should be censored just because of the controversy that started because Godwin was sarcastic and, dare I say it, almost rude to the FBI. Us users and Wikipedia as a whole should not be penalized and censored for what he did. (And if the letter was approved by the Board or some management within the company, then that is definitely saying something else about the manner. Something not good.) SilverserenC 00:39, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
    • You might want to take some time to learn the meaning of censorship before commenting further. ChrisO's work has not been censored in any way - the article remains expanded and publicly available. Resolute 13:57, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
We have three separate issues there - first, the FBI taking an expansionary and possibly unconstitutional interpretation of the law about its seal. Second was the somewhat confrontational approach Wikipedia took to the FBI's provocation. And third is the DYK. Not only should we assume good faith here, I don't think it matters what ChrisO's intent was in expanding the article, or other editors' intent is in promoting it to DYK. Whatever the intent, it creates the appearance of navel-gazing and/or taking a further swipe at the FBI. It will likely have the effect of further news coverage and perhaps both sides digging in their heels. Therefore, although we are not censored and do not easily bow to political mores, we are certainly not prevented as a group from exercising some tact and discretion. Further, the prime issue is to keep a good encyclopedia, not to have a nice nifty front page feature. That sometimes means giving in on legal issues we know we could win if we only wanted to spend (donate) the money to fight them. There are far more important things to fight for in the world, and far more important free speech and abuse of government power issues, than the FBI getting overzealous about its seal. Anyway, why don't we make an exception to the timing requirement and simply agree to postpone the DYK for at least two weeks, if not a few months as Jimbo has personally requested, until a time where there is no active friction between Wikipedia and the FBI? We still get the information out to inform the readers and recognize ChrisO for his (her?) work, and it's out of the current news cycle. - Wikidemon (talk) 00:58, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Let's just be clear, there is no legal issue whatsoever about running the DYK without the image, and nobody has claimed that there is. However, I think a two-week postponement is a reasonable compromise to allow things to cool down. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:02, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
We can put it up for a specific day in the Special occasion holding area on TT:DYK. SilverserenC 01:08, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Let me try to simplify ChrisO's position here: WP:DYK should not care what the FBI thinks when deciding to run articles. The WMF exists partially to allow editors the freedom to do this. If we start to listen to non-Wikipedians for deciding what to run on the main page, that leaves us vulnerable to political pressure down the line, which would be a bad thing. Chris, does that sound accurate? NW (Talk) 01:14, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Correct in all regards. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:17, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that we shouldn't in principle, but sometimes in practice we do have to pay attention to public relations realities. Unlike certain issues (e.g. removing company logos if the company complains, or deleting articles about public figures on their request) this one would not set much of a precedent. How often will it come up, whether or not we defer to caution? - Wikidemon (talk) 03:36, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I also agree with the above assertions with the qualification that I and the others here are Wikipedians making these requests, therefore it is not outside pressure but rather internal preference which motivates our stated desire to move forward with measurable respect, absent contempt. My76Strat 14:59, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Publishing the DYK with or without the image is unprofessional. People have to be allowed to complain to publishers without the complaint triggering a backlash, where the publisher deliberately draws even more attention to the issue that was complained about. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:22, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Realistically, if that letter had never gotten out, none of us would have known about this. How was it even found in the first place? SilverserenC 01:29, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
How do you think? Someone at the WMF no doubt gave it to a friendly reporter at the New York Times because they thought it would make a good story. That's the usual way this sort of thing works. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:33, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
SV, that's a red herring, since the WMF has had no role in developing the article, and the FBI has not made any complaint of any kind about the article. The dispute is over the image. It has no bearing on whether or not we decide to include the article on DYK. Since it meets all the criteria for DYK, there's no reason within Wikipedia policy not to do so. Thus we come back to the point I made at the start of this - that the opposition to this DYK is entirely about politics, which is an improper reason to suppress an editorial decision. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:33, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
It's the same attitude as if a person asks for their article or image to be removed, and we respond by getting it up to featured-article or featured-image status and posting it on the front page. Just because the FBI is powerful doesn't mean we have to behave like this. We can just say no, we're not removing the seal, then move on rather than making a point. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:02, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
The FBI isn't a person, and displaying its seal isn't a personal attack. My gut feeling is to cheer on the DYK and photo, but I'll also admit that this is a bit like poking at a small, sharp-toothed animal with a stick... keep at it long enough and it might bite back. It looks like Jimbo Wales came to the DYK process and made his request not based on power but his reputation, and that deserves our respect. There are also some arguments like the old "Wikipedia is not a shock site" to argue against putting something on the Main Page with the primary intent of getting someone's goat. This is not some new or far-reaching censorship policy, it's just a one-off decision not to do something today, and for Jimbo I think we can put up with it.
Our real annoyance is not with Jimbo Wales but with finding some obscure censorship law we never even heard of, with its own vague boundaries being pushed past what the law says, which doesn't stop criminals from impersonating police, and gives police an excuse to avoid coming up with a 20th- or 21st-century method of badging themselves, i.e. using a crypto unit (with changeable keys if one is stolen) to generate a code that changes once a minute that a skeptical person can type into any phone (or transfer electronically with a more specialized function) to check that the officer is genuine and make a secure record of the phone number, location, time and badge number at contact. Wnt (talk) 04:16, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Is there a way to centralize a discussion? Perhaps a dedicated page, with pointers at this talk page and DYK? I don't think it's a good idea to have it spread out. IronDuke 01:31, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

ChrisO's argument is completely fallacious. I did not make a political argument at all. I rather said the opposite: posting the contested logo to the front page would be clearly political, and Wikipedia should not be political. Full stop. The rest of this discussion is interesting, but has nothing to do with me.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:56, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

And, like we've been asking, what about if we don't use the image and just have the text used and just place that text in the middle of the other 7 DYK hooks? SilverserenC 17:01, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Seems to me if all of the normal DYK rules have been followed, preventing it being posted is just as political as posting it now. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 00:51, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
It's diplomatic, not political. There's a difference. --Yopienso (talk) 02:13, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Of course it was political. I assume Jimbo is attempting to abjure the third, pejorative sense, but the action was, in the more positive senses of the term, a political decision. A smart one, I might add. Had Jimbo urged the deletion of the image, even temporarily, it would be an improper buckling in the face of power. But as so many others have put it so eloquently, there is no need at this very moment to take an action that would be viewed as sticking a thumb in their eye. To avoid the temptation that even this action might be viewed as capitulation, I like ChrisO's compromise suggestion that the DYK be scheduled for some future date. --SPhilbrickT 13:30, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

I think we should take Jimbo at his word: "posting the contested logo to the front page would be clearly political, and Wikipedia should not be political. Full stop." He has been silent on whether posting a text-only DYK entry would be political. My own opinion is that following our normal DYK editorial policy is the least political thing we can do in this case. Delaying the DYK entry to some particular date is not our normal policy and risks reigniting controversy at a later date. The article was expanded properly, the article and hook are not defamatory (in fact, they are flattering). Run it as we would normally. Abby Kelleyite (talk) 17:19, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

I'll only note that there's nothing routine or normal about this at all. We have a highly POINT-y expansion of an article, clearly in response to the press about this, made by a highly political editor with a long history of politicized editing. The least political thing we can do here is stop it dead in its tracks: using Wikipedia to drive a poltical agenda is not appropriate.
I would feel differently if this article were already in the queue before anything happened about it. But the perception that Wikipedia is responding politically to prove a point against the FBI is unavoidable here, because - if we let this happen - it will be actually true. I hope we have the maturity to avoid that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:19, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Or, we could AGF that ChrisO saw Wikipedia and the FBI seal in the news, figured that Wikipedians especially might be flocking to the Seal of the FBI article, and decided to post a comprehensive article about the Seal, which includes perhaps two sentences on the current matter. The article existed well before this recent flap, and I hardly think an improvement of an article to B-class counts as "pointy". NW (Talk) 03:02, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I do frequently write or expand articles on topics that are in the news and put them up for DYK where they meet the inclusion criteria. Recent examples include Milan Paumer, Star Carr house, Second Chance Program, GT200, Alpha 6, and so on, all of which have been on or are scheduled for DYK. People do come to Wikipedia to find out more about a topic that's in the news. I do that myself, which is how I came across the stub article on the FBI seal in the first place. The stats for that article show that about 30,000 other people did the same on the two days that I did most of the work in expanding it. Likewise, 1367 people read the article I created on the Star Carr house - which has been the topic of international media coverage over the last two days. What is "pointy" about providing useful content for users? Isn't that the purpose of Wikipedia? Don't users expect that from us? -- ChrisO (talk) 07:07, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Editorial independence involves trying as hard as possible to publish policy-compliant, interesting material regardless of the pressures going on around us. So we don't bow to pressure to remove the seal, and we don't push against that pressure to force it onto the front page just because we can. Editorial independence involves checking that the law and our policies are on our side, then carrying on as normal. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 07:16, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
"Editorial independence involves checking that the law and our policies are on our side, then carrying on as normal." Exactly right. That is the key issue. What we're being asked to do here is to make an exception from our normal policies and processes because of a dispute about an image - not about the article's content, which is not and has never been the subject of any dispute. The controversy here has arisen precisely because some people are advocating that we should not carry on as normal. -- ChrisO (talk) 08:28, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree with SlimVirgin, and as ChrisO notes it's usual for editors to notice something in the news or magazines, create or expand an article, and put it up for DYK where it duly appears on the front page. In this case there has evidently been correspondence from Wikimedia on the topic and a short delay to avoid interfering with discussions seems to have been reasonable, but it remains a valid article for DYK. It gives a lot of useful general information which wasn't in the article previously, and makes only a small and reasonable mention of the recent issue between Wikimedia and the FBI. So, carry on as normal. . . dave souza, talk 08:28, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I see it the same way as ChrisO in his comment above. If the foundation wanted the image removed they'd remove it. Lets carry one as normal.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 09:13, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Here is what will happen if we run this

Here is what will happen if we run this DYK on the front page: nothing much. The FBI won't do anything new or different. The press might or might not notice, and if they do notice, it'll lead to a couple of new stories at most. I'm not at all concerned about pressure from the FBI or the press - it isn't about that.

It's really more about preserving the idea of NPOV and really taking it seriously. It's recognizing that running this on the front page *in reaction to a news story about the Wikimedia Foundation and the FBI* is not our style. If we were a tabloid newpaper, we'd likely take up the (very popular, as far as I have seen) cause of fighting the FBI on this, poking them about it daily. But we aren't like that, and we shouldn't be like that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:04, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it's also about preserving the right of people to complain to the Foundation without there being backlash for it on Wikipedia. We want people to feel they can complain, because sometimes they'll be right, and even when not, the interaction is important. We can't set up a scenario where organizations are worried about making things even worse if they do complain, or where individuals may actually be frightened to complain for the same reason. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 09:17, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Well said.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:38, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't disagree with what you are saying Jimbo, but how is running this DIY hook a week and a half (or more) after the news story ran any different from running WP's feature article on LOST the day that show's second season premiered? That wasn't a once off either. Front page feature articles are often "timely" like that.
The past can't be changed. But if we are going to decide against running this hook for NPOV reasons then lets make sure we do the same with other hooks and articles. --*Kat* (talk) 09:32, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand the comparison, as the two cases don't have the relevant feature in common. There is nothing wrong with DIY hooks being timely, that isn't the issue. The issue is that the FBI and Wikimedia Foundation have been in a public dispute. SlimVirgin's point stands. If there was some demand from the owners of Lost that Wikipedia do something, and a response of "no" from Wikipedia on that, and we followed by putting the disputed content on the front page, I think that would be wrong. (I just thought of this addition: if there were a *donation* from the owners of Lost, I would feel the same way. The front page is not for pushing the advantage of the Wikimedia Foundation, neither in a dispute nor in a friendly situation.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:38, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Any article that gets a place on the front page is going to get people's attention. By giving LOST a place on the front page the day that season two premiered you were effectively giving it free advertising. If memory serves (and I've got a killer memory) the blurb even said that the second season premiered that night. That, IMHO, is way more POV than this hook.
Again, I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just saying that you are setting a higher standard here than what has been used in the past. Which is great. Personally, I would really like to see that standard continue to be applied in the future.
I'm not really expecting a response to this. I'm just (attempting) to clarify what I said earlier.--*Kat* (talk) 18:52, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
So now all it takes is someone to complain in the press about an upcoming FA, or something, and then we are forced to have to pull it following the same reasoning, because we don't want to seem provocative. Wasn't there a buzz about some Scientology FA a while back? If they had been aware of the upcoming feature, all they would have had to do is bitterly complain in the press and threaten a suit against us. We'd have to skip it because of the precedent we are making right now. Wouldn't we?--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 10:08, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
First, we are talking about something which actually has happened, not about some other hypothetical event. Second, the DYK proposal came after and almost certainly as a consequence of the complaint, whereas in your case it would be other way around. Johnuniq (talk) 10:37, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
{ec}Don't be obtuse. The suggestion is not that complaints and press comment should influence Wikipedia's content, it is precisely the opposite. Content isn't influenced, or seen to be influenced, by people complaining to the WMF or commenting about the WMF. If the FBI hadn't complained, there wouldn't have been a DYK proposal on the FBI image, thus there shouldn't be a DYK on the FBI image. Jimbo has already said (and I agree) that had this hook been proposed before the complaint, then the complaint should not have stopped it. But the fact is that this is a reaction to the complaint, and we don't react via content.--Scott Mac 10:41, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Johnuniq and Scott Mac have it right. Again, we can and should make a meaningful distinction, just as I did above in the case of Lost. First, it is fine (actually, it is great!) for a DYK to be timely - so the issue here is not timeliness. Second, if something is in process to go on the front page, in the normal way, and there happens to be a news story about us and the content (a conflict, for example) that's perfectly fine too. The issue here is that this DYK was not in process before hand and, per SlimVirgin's point above, using the front page to "score points" on behalf of Wikipedia is not good. My main concern is not this particular case - as I indicated above, nothing too disastrous would happen. It's more about continuing the principle that we absolutely do not "get" people in response to complaints, no matter how outrageous.
Let me put this in another context. Recently a well known newspaper writer wrote a fairly vicious column singling out the names of two OTRS agents who had tried to assist with his entry. The complaints against them sounded bad, so I went and reviewed the entire thread in OTRS. There was no merit to the complaint at all, and it was actually shocking to see someone who had been treated with such kindness behaving in such a petulant fashion. What these two very excellent editors didn't do was respond in-content or, indeed, at all. Dignity and pride in work well done, not using Wikipedia to respond to critics - even when the critics are unfair - is the right thing to do and something we should be proud about.
Finally, let me say this one more time: this isn't a case of "OMG OMG horror" at this one example, as it won't amount to much either way. It's about thinking with pride about what our best practices should be. We aren't a tabloid, we aren't even a normal media organization of any kind. We (the editors, not the Foundation) are encyclopedists, engaged in a passionately dispassionate quest for the truth. We sometimes don't all agree, we sometimes have personal fights, we sometimes will have difficulty establishing the precise thing to do in edge cases, but we can proceed with good will and come to a decent place anyway.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:02, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to explore a bit more some of the implications of what is being advocated here.

First, Jimbo, you said that you wanted the DYK to be postponed "forever". That's equivalent to banning it from ever appearing on the main page. Bear in mind that we're not talking about using the image on the home page, merely having a text link with an uncontentious hook to the (entirely uncontroversial) article. Is there no room for compromise here? Could we not run it in, say, a month's time as others have suggested?

Second, this is just one of many articles which feature the FBI seal. Does this mean that all of them are also banned from ever appearing on the main page?

Third, has there been any other example in the history of Wikipedia where an article has effectively been banned from the main page because of purely political reasons? What kind of precedent does this set? -- ChrisO (talk) 12:47, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Why don't you just get over yourself and stop whining on? Off2riorob (talk) 12:56, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Yup. The article has not been "banned from the main page because of purely political reasons", the reverse is true. You've been prevented from putting on the mainpage for your "political reasons". So, now please step away from the horse carcass with that stick.--Scott Mac 13:05, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, we're supposed to be here building an encyclopedia, not engaging in political activism. Cla68 (talk) 13:19, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that a DYK on this would smack of vindictiveness and would be blatantly retaliatory. It would upset the neutrality of the organization as a whole. That may not be written in policy, but I think that it needs to be taken into consideration. ScottyBerg (talk) 13:36, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Not to interrupt the piling-on here but what "political activism" would this be promoting? I really can't figure this out, since this issue has nothing to do with actual politics. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:51, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't agree that it's "political activism." I think that's overstating the case. To me, it's a more simple issue of Wikipedia giving the appearance of acting in a retaliatory way toward somebody who complained to the foundation. I don't think we have to get into motives or label it as activism. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:17, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Wooooow, people weren't kidding when they said civility on Wikipedia was dead. While Cla68 and ScottyBerg are semi-okay, Off2riorob and Scott MacDonald have very clearly broken WP:CIVIL. But, of course, nothing will be done about it, because, as I said, civility is dead on Wikipedia.

Now, to respond to Jimbo. Your main point, as I take it and as you said, is to "preserve NPOV". Which I assume to mean something like showing that Wikipedia is aloof from disputes and doesn't pick sides on things, even in disputes that involve itself. However, the way you phrased the rest of what you said, makes it seem as if ChrisO did this in order to spit in the face of the FBI or because he wanted to be a political activist, as others have been saying above my comment here.

But that is blatantly untrue. Yes, without this issue between the FBI and Wikipedia happening, he likely would have never found the page. However, he found it as it was before, short and with much room for improvement. Thus, separate from any "evil" or "political" motivations, he set about improving it. He did a great job on doing it too. As he said himself, it's the most comprehensive discussion of the seal anywhere on the internet and likely in the world, even more comprehensive than on the FBI website itself.

When he was done improving it, it was clear to see that it had been expanded five-fold (or thereabouts, there was some confusion at the beginning of the nomination) and so he submitted it to DYK with a hook that was extremely appreciative to the FBI and showed all of their good parts. It is quite clear from the said hook that ChrisO has no negative aspersions toward the FBI and wants to show them in a good light.

Onto current times, we have people, yourself included, Jimbo, who say that the nomination should be delayed because it would be negative toward the FBI and be the same as giving them the finger (or something similar). You and others cite NPOV for this viewpoint, but this is an improper application of that.

Since ChrisO expanded and nominated the article without any malice intended, the nomination itself from him is not meant to be negative toward anyone. Now, if we postpone the nomination, that would be a direct violation of NPOV, because we would be showing that DYK itself is personally affected by internal and external disputes and is not neutral in such matters.

If DYK and Wikipedia itself wanted to show that it was truly neutral, then it would run the nomination and the hook business as usual and put no particular emphasis on it. If it was trated as every other usual nomination, and the text was just placed in the middle of all the other nominations in that eight-fold set, that would be true NPOV.

Unfortunately, you yourself and others, have already made things worse because you have made a big deal about it and created "drama". If this hadn't been mentioned by anyone, if no one had noticed, then no one would have noticed. But, now we have discussion all over the place about this, spanning pages and pages. I'm afraid to say that NPOV has already been truly violated.

I just don't want to make it even worse by postponing the nomination and all of the drama that would result from that and then the further, possible drama that will occur when the time comes for it to go through once again. Just let it pass and be done with it, treat it like a normal DYK nomination and everything will be fine.

But, that's all from me. And, bleh, that was long, but I think I covered all of the points I wanted to cover. Of course, I now expect to get off-topic responses or nit-picking of single words or sentences that I said or, gosh, maybe even insults. Wouldn't that be fun? Let's see. SilverserenC 16:32, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

I just wanted to make it clear that I'm not questioning ChrisO's motives in any way. I agree with you that to do so is out-of-bounds and needs to stop. My main concern is the appearance of it being retaliatory. I don't believe that was a motive in expanding the article and nominating it for DYK. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:38, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for that. In terms of its appearance, if it was not retaliatory in its motive, then that means that the nomination itself isn't retaliatory. But the appearance is another matter, as that is something we craft. Something that would be more overt if we included the seal's image, something that would be more overt if we make it the top nomination in the set. How about we put it right in the middle as text? I really don't see what kind of negative appearance that can give to anyone, beyond the fact that we are clearly trying to treat it as any other nomination and it is not more important than any other one. As i've said before, if anyone gets the appearance of "retaliation" from us doing that, then they really need to get a thicker skin, because they must be the type of person to take offense at everything. SilverserenC 16:45, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Putting it in the middle as text only is not a bad idea, if it's to run. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:50, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
We're in an unusual situation that is unlikely to be repeated often. The dispute with the FBI is not over politics, at least not over any political issue that many people in America care about. Nor is it the case where the subject of an article believes the article is unfair. It's over whether we have a fair use right to display a particular insignia, vis-a-vis an obscure trademark-like statute that applies to the insignia. I think that promoting the insignia to the front page in response is poking them in the eye on this, even if that is not the intention or motivation. I don't think it's an impingement on free expression of ideas, nor is it backing down from our encyclopedic goal, to try not to poke an organization in the eye unnecessarily in response to their complaining about us. IMO the question of whether it is retaliatory in an editor's heart of hearts, or ours, misses the point. We poke them back after they poke us. The effect is retaliatory, something we cannot disavow as unintentional because we're aware of that and have a choice whether or not to proceed. This won't come up often regarding normal non-free images because the laws there are well understood and we have a robust policy and guidelines for them. - Wikidemon (talk) 17:07, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
The image won't be on the front page. So I don't see the problem there. (Regardless of the fact that the image itself is in the public domain, under governmental law) SilverserenC 17:09, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
User silver siren is now edit warring the controversial DYK as accepted. Off2riorob (talk) 17:12, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
No, i'm not. I removed the tick before, if you noticed. I'm "edit-warring" the attempted cover-up of my comment. If you or the other user had just removed the tick, I wouldn't have cared, but you removed my entire comment, violating WP:TPO. SilverserenC 17:15, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
You are warring it as an accepted DYK, you added the tick and edit warred it back in. Off2riorob (talk) 17:17, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I was actually putting my comment back in. I couldn't care less about the tick, as is seen by the fact that I removed it myself. Furthermore, neither you nor the other user made any edit summary of your actions. In fact, the other user hid the removal under the pretense of adding in a new nomination elsewhere. SilverserenC 17:20, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Here's my removal diff and the edit summary of (Undid revision 378562588 by Silver seren (talk) multiple objections to this inclusion) nothing hidden about that. Off2riorob (talk) 17:29, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
And I responded by re-adding my comment without the tick. Now can we move on, please? SilverserenC 17:31, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
(ec X n - responding to Silver seren @ 17:09) The image would be available by link from the front page to an article containing it, which certainly makes it more prominent. The image is non-free by statute in the sense that people are not free to use it. There would be a fair use-like argument that the first amendment prevents the government from passing a law prohibiting the use of a government-owned image for purposes of critical commentary, and a statutory argument that the law by its wording does not apply to our use. If we really got down to it and this covered a lot of images, there is a good chance we would err on the side of caution, as we do with other images that have restrictions on use. - Wikidemon (talk) 17:22, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Compromise proposal

In the interests of resolving this amicably, I'd like to propose a compromise solution: pass the DYK with the current hook (and no image) but defer its Main Page appearance until January 1, 2011. That date has two main advantages:

1) It is the 60th anniversary - to the day - of the first official use of the seal. The article's appearance on DYK would therefore be tied in with the anniversary, allaying any possible impression that it's related to the recent dispute over the image.

2) It will have been five months since the publicity over the dispute concerning the image of the seal. It will be "old news" at that point.

There is no dispute over whether the DYK meets the criteria for inclusion, as clearly it does, only over the timing of running it on the Main Page. Hopefully this proposal meets these concerns. I'd be interested to know what others think. -- ChrisO (talk) 17:19, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

If that's what you want, Chris, i'm with you on it. The date certainly seems appropriate. SilverserenC 17:24, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that's a really good idea. Thanks, Chris. ScottyBerg (talk) 17:38, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Good compromise. It would be good to mention the 60th in the hook, or if space constraints preclude that, make sure it is in the article at that time.--SPhilbrickT 17:48, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I've proposed (on T:TDYK) an alternative hook that includes a mention of the 60th anniversary. -- ChrisO (talk) 23:32, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. --*Kat* (talk) 18:36, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree so long as nothing actually develops between the FBI and WMF over the issue of the image of the seal. ChrisO, I appreciate your willingness to compromise and your intelligent suggestion. ("Nothing actually develops" means actual litigation or decisions against the use of the image. I'm not expecting that to happen, but then we didn't expect any of this to happen. I'm assuming it will indeed be 5-mo.-old news by then.) --Yopienso (talk) 18:50, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree, that's a brilliant solution to this whole situation. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 20:10, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

The proposal hinges on the DYK operation and has to be discussed at the corresponding project (WT:DYK). At the bottom of T:TDYK there is a special section where one can deposit a nomination for a future date. This can be no longer than weeks. There is a regular 1 April event for which a nomination can be up to a year old, but it will be evaluated a few days before the launch, not upon submission. Materialscientist (talk) 00:20, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it's a better idea than what's been passed around, yet even 2 or 3 years from now, it will still bring some raised eyebrows ("Oh, is Wikipedia thumbing their noses at the FBI?" I can almost hear people saying that.) And, as Materialscientist said, there are rules to follow. I still think it's a better idea though.--Mithrandir (Talk!) (Opus Operis) 00:45, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

I think this compromise is an excellent approach. Rlendog (talk) 20:36, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I've proposed this formally at T:TDYK#For January 1, 2011, Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. -- ChrisO (talk) 20:57, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Band of users coordinating to delete reliably sourced article on inconclusive espionage allegations, external input requested

Users want to delete because of wp:idontlikeit and have no trouble twisting information. Some claim they want to rewrite, however, last time they made these claims the focus of the article had shifted from being about allegations of Israelis spying on the u.s. to a focus on an unrelated chinese tourist trap in china. Later sources treat the spying allegations as at the very least inconclusive.

Thanks. washington post, this was written before many of the other articles and is the only one to claim to dismiss the allegations, however; the post admitted to not bothering to obtain the 60 pg. Dea document

Preciseaccuracy (talk) 18:09, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Another request from ~Wimpy Fanboy chit-chat? sign mine! 15:05, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Could you please fully protect the user pages of my old accounts, Cedric99 and Cegalegolog99? Also, please hide the history of those pages. ~Wimpy Fanboy chit-chat? sign mine! 15:05, 13 August 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wimpy Fanboy (talkcontribs)

Do you not have an e-mail address? There's a box when you log on which says 'email me new password' (or something like that). --Half Price (talk) 21:07, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

A Request from:Augusto Antonio

Good day Mr. Jimbo Wales. I'm an italian wikipedian and I don't know english very well. Can you do me a favour? I would like to have your welcome for me (I am new in Wikipedia) in my english talk page. I would be very honored. Thanks. --Augusto Antonio (msg) 14:42, 16 August 2010 (CEST)

I too want your autograph Jimbo. It's time to please your fans! :) -- œ 12:56, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I would settle for a "welcome to wikipedia, you have been a naughty boy - signed Jimbo" Polargeo (talk) 13:03, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

"Let's hear it for another great Italian, ladies and gentlemen, Augusto Antonio!" DVdm (talk) 13:31, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

No ArbCom-like body for NPOV

I see everyone is preoccupied with the FBI thing, and rightly so. I can wait weeks for a reply from Jimbo (I know scores of folks will chip in earlier.. thanks, but I will wait for a reply from Jimbo). Here's my question: The Five Pillars stress NPOV, but there is absolutely no arbCom-like body monitoring or guaranteeing it. There is zero-point-zero in the structure of Wikipedia to protect it. Does this mean that structurally, Wikipedia flatly does not value NPOV (except as a recruiting slogan, that is not honored by reality or by concrete actions)? Note here I am not saying that Wikipedians do not value NPOV; I'm saying that Wikipedia does zero-point-zero to back up its altruistic talk regarding NPOV. Or is altruism too time-consuming, or...? [I suppose the standard reply is "no hierarchies", but that idea is not given among the five pillars, nor implied by them. Does it trump them? Besides, ArbCom is a hierarchy. Sigh.] Thanks. • Ling.Nut 03:18, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

There is an NPOV noticeboard... -- ChrisO (talk) 08:14, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
  • A step or layer in the process. There are many layers between an article and ArbCom, but eventually there is a binding ArbCom (for behavioral problems only). Thanks! • Ling.Nut 08:46, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
It would be difficult to envision a body that could "declare NPOV" on a subject or its article; NPOV is an evolutionary process, one which necessarily is never exactly defined. NPOV should be the result if all the policies and guidelines (and those rules that are inviolate) are followed by all the participants, and thus the correct blend of reliable sources are accurately reported in the most neutral language. Since NPOV may be invalidated by the misuse of policy, guideline and practice, it is the various methods of dispute resolution (including, ultimately, ArbCom) in respect of policy violation that best "repairs" NPOV. At the same time, it should be noted that the policies and guidelines are open to be varied, by consensus, so the NPOV provided on a subject article may alter to reflect the latest understanding of the application of policy. Again, when new sources are found that reflect a differing viewpoint this may also change the definition of NPOV. Under the circumstances, the determination of NPOV is best left to the body of editors working together in a collegiate and respectful manner and finding a consensus on how current policy is best reflected within the article according to the sources available. I doubt if any ArbCom type body could fulfil that function. My opinion, anyway, Y(&J)MMV. LessHeard vanU (talk) 12:56, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
I am strongly in favour of an elected body to reflect on and decide changes to policies and processes, and give general leadership. However, any structured body cannot possibly deal with content disputes on individual articles. We've got waaay too many - and unless the group freezes the article on one state, any declaration of what's NPOV wouldn't last a week. It can't work.--Scott Mac 13:13, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The "too many articles" is not a problem. ArbCom rejects cases; the POV ArbCom could do the same with most cases that are put in their in-box. Only intractable cases or long-running, bitter edit wars need apply. As for "Any declaration of what POV wouldn't last a week", they would set topic-specific guidelines regarding key principles of the specific cases or area, and then we have this thing called Pending Changes (hallelujah!!!). "The determination of NPOV is best left to the body of editors working together in a collegiate and respectful manner" and yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.• Ling.Nut 00:06, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
    • It simply doesn't upscale. There are hundreds, if not tens of thousands, of articles that have "intractable cases or long-running, bitter edit wars". An elected committee could only get bogged down in a dozen a month, at most. As for "pending changes", I don't see how that helps. Are the committee going to review each change before approval? And what happens if a month after the committee settle a dispute, an editor re-writes the articles claiming "new developments" or a new source. Does the article get referred back to the committee. This simply is unworkable.--Scott Mac 00:14, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
      • The current situation is unworkable; we close our eyes every day, smile, and pretend that it works. In these areas, Wikipedia's content is a joke. Moreover, these things account for a vast accumulation of wasted editor/admin hours, scores of burned-out Wikipedians, etc. The current situation is unworkable. If a single body won't do the trick, then find a way to apply more top-down oversight to the problem. Or smile and accept that these articles are, and always will be, crap – and that endless wasted hours and burned out Wikipedians is just okey-dokey peachey keen neato, because hey, we're Wikipedia, and abusing our editors and neglecting our content is just what we do around here. • Ling.Nut 00:30, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
        • Actually, the current system does work. Wikipedia isn't blowing up. Now, granted, you are correct that many articles are poor, and some Wikipedians burn out and leave. There may well be better ways of doing it, I just can't think of any. If you come up with any workable improvements, I'm sure people will listen. As for "abusing editors", last time I looked, few nations have made editing Wikipedia compulsory, or finding another hobby a criminal offence. I suspect most editors leave because of real world reasons, or other interests, and not so much to do with internal Wikipedia stuff.--Scott Mac 01:04, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
  • (undent) No, it doesn't work. It's facile to mention "blowing up"; I detailed the specific ways in which it doesn't work. Your shrug regarding the implicit abuse of editors is particularly uncaring; I suppose you have the attitude "Eh, so some burn out? Who cares? We can get more." The "come up with a better paln" tak, which I had been waiting for, is at best burying your head in the sand; at worst, evasive. I refer you to my original points:
  1. There is no concrete, structural, put it in my hand so I can see it rather than yapping about it evidence that Wikipedia (as opposed to Wikipedians) cares about the NPOV of its content. WP:NPOV is, functionally, merely a recruiting slogan.
  2. There is no concrete, structural evidence that Wikipedia cares about Wikipedians, or else it would take concrete steps to address the problem. It shares your "screw them, they are replaceable" attitude.
  3. No concrete, demonstrable evidence that Wikipedia cares about anything at all, other than continuing to exist as an organization, and continuing to recruit new editors. • Ling.Nut 02:44, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
  • One of the things we could do is topic ban activist editors—editors who may not be single-purpose accounts, but who have clearly crossed the line into activism. We wouldn't need to set up any additional structure; it's something that could be determined by consensus at AN/I, or by admins, in the same way that disruption is currently identified, with the benefit of the doubt on the editor's side, so that we'd only be dealing with the worst cases. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 03:58, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy is all this is. For real change forget top-down bureaucracy and elected committees. Democracy and bureaucracy suck in a situation like this, and really we dont subscribe in Wikipedia to either and generally abhore the second. What may be needed is for each wikiproject to declare an "arbitrator", someone from the wikiproject who is generally considered the most knowledgeable in the subject. A dispute on NPOV or any content dispute/edit war in any article would, hopefully before it gets heated, be given to the arbitrator to listen to both sides and render a binding final decision. Of course I can flesh it out quite easily to handle any situation, that is not needed to be done here though. The point is we need some more dictators who simply say ENOUGH this is how it is going to be no more arguing. And admins need to understand to simply enforce these rulings and place blocks on those that dont adhere instead of substituting their own non-informed opinions. Instead of bureaucracy and endless debates, we nip the problem at the source, end these endless debates and votes! which get ignored by the losing party anyways who then ignore consensus and get away with it because they dont agree with it and admins are not willing to simply declare a consensus in cases of five against two or eight against three.Camelbinky (talk) 04:50, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that would work, CB, because the people involved in the wikiprojects have views on the issues themselves. What's needed to judge neutrality is someone who's not involved, and that often means not knowledgeable, so to have a content arbiter you'd need to find someone able and willing (two separate issues) to immerse themselves in a topic they're not familiar with, to judge what the educated man in the street might feel was neutral. It would be very difficult to find such people, because it would be so time-consuming. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:54, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh, I know it probably cant work if implemented (though I wish it could be somehow given a trial run and problems fleshed out, I would love to see how it turned out in a real situation). But I think what you say about the average educated man on the street being the model for NPOV is interesting, though I have some questions about it. Do we really want "Joe the Plumber" being our NPOV-decider-model on a topic of physics or someone who a "majority" of the wikiproject has agreed knows his/her stuff? I can see them having their own POV, especially regarding insertion of religious material and in that case yes Joe might be more neutral (or have an equally opposing POV). In the end I think most content disputes that result from POV pushing is not about grand ideology and equal time in an article. I think it is usually the minor "lame" disputes over a word or sentence that could be decided quite easily though drags on FOREVER because one or two editors refuse to listen to the majority and no one steps in to enfore majority decisions (majority doesnt always rule on Wikipedia and I understand that). Is there any way you can think of that perhaps we can end endless debates prior to them having to get out of hand? Other than admins with spines of steel who are willing to swoop in declare a "winner" and block those that keep ignoring consensus. Where oh where are you super admin?Camelbinky (talk) 05:10, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
I do see the neutral stance as the educated Man on the Clapham Omnibus perspective, with the emphasis on "educated" in the sense of willing to inform himself before judging it. Admins do often act as you're describing, CB, when things get out of hand, but most hesitate to do it on very contentious issues, where they're most needed, because the result is often vilification. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 05:35, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
The "man on the Clapham Omnibus" would likely need 5 years of single-minded study to have an sufficiently informed opinion on superstring theory, or the origin of birds, or the documentary hypothesis, or Nostratic languages. The purpose of a general purpose encyclopedia is to make a condensed form the knowledge available to the bussist. It cannot teach him all the background and the methods about how to arrive at the knowledge. True Renaissance men are, for the better or the worse, relegated to the renaissance, not a London omnibus. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 11:27, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
No, you cannot topic ban some certain "activist editors". You just will not get consensus. I believe you've seen this case. The user is not even a single purpose account, she is a single article account, and she is much, much more than just an "activist editor". I proposed to ban her on this article she was pushing to promote so hard for only a month. And what result did I get? None! The thread was archived with no even warning. I am 100% sure, that if I did 20% of what she did, I would have been banned for good. Unfair? Extremely! Surprising? Not at all (just look at the world map). --Mbz1 (talk) 04:13, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
It's something we could cautiously explore, and my thinking is really to leave it only for the most obvious cases, where an editor's work has clearly crossed the line from "I'm interested in this and want others to know about it too" into using Wikipedia to promote an agenda. At present, there's nothing we can do about such editors unless they cross into disruption, yet they really are very problematic. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:50, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I sympathize with SV's suggestion, but I am only one editor.
  • Let me speak very concretely about what would make me happy with Wikipedia, Jimbo, the Board, and the Universe in general. I wouldn't want any of the above-named bigwigs to force a solution on the community. What I would be happy to see is this:
  • The above-named bigwigs get together and issue a joint statement on the single most appropriate forum, saying something like "<Insert one or two feel-good sentences here>. We are concerned about issues that spring directly from the principle of WP:NPOV as laid out in the Five Pillars: The fact that edit warring reduces important articles to a spaghetti-like point-counterpoint mess, the tremendous amount of time and energy spent by Good Faith editors dealing with this problem, and the concurrent possibility of editor burnout, exhaustion and retirement. We don't dictate to the community etc., so we are asking the entire community of Wikipedia editors to consider two questions: 1) Is there a community-wide solution to the problem of NPOV edit warring that is superior to the solutions we currently have in place 2) If not, then is there a community-wide solution to the results of this problem that is superior to what we now have in place. We solicit thoughtful input from all valued editors on this topic, and place the full support of our collective approval behind this initiative. Signed, <insert names>." Then let the Wikipedia community gnaw at each others' ankles for six months or so. Maybe a real solution will emerge. If not, then I will at least feel that they care. • Ling.Nut 05:03, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, I'd like to point out that the 5P has nothing to do with WP:NPOV other than that the 5P summarizes the policy, which is all the 5P does, it summarizes our collective policies and purpose. Policies are generally older than the Pillars and are not dictated by the 5P, the 5P flow FROM the policies, not the other way around. Just a minor point, but quite an important one, for future reference I'd drop all reference of the 5P and stick with talking about the POLICY itself.Camelbinky (talk) 05:16, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

I am currently in the sky is falling! mode, and fear a future where more editors will learn how to game the system: always be civil; use certain key phrases in edit summaries; refer to sources; claim those sources trump others. Just two or three such editors with an interest in a certain POV can turn a series of articles into undue promotions that contradict mainstream views, and there is no way that normal editors can counter them. Even if not learned consciously, POV editors will acquire the WP:CPUSH techniques from a process like natural selection, whereby obviously misbehaving editors will be blocked, leaving only the polite but persistent POV pushers. Some techniques to assist article stability may become necessary, even if it involves locking the "wrong version" of an article for, say, two months at a time (not actual protection, but some system to strictly enforce an article POV that has been declared the temporary winner, even if by a coin toss). Stability, even of the wrong version, may be much more helpful in retaining good editors who can at least take a break knowing either that their version is reasonably safe, or that the wrong version cannot be currently challenged. This outrageous scheme would not apply to poorly-sourced negativity in BLPs or cases involving real-world issues like libel. Johnuniq (talk) 07:15, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

  • The solution is quite simple: develop a "science of NPOV issues", with the issues sub-divided into tangible areas, where evidence can be gathered to "prove" what NPOV means in each area. Currently, the feelings about NPOV sound like, "We will never be able to build a bridge to safely cross the river" because of too much worrying: what about having a foot-race of 2 million runners cross the bridge, and if a terrorist detonates a bomb..., so let's do nothing. No, instead, set priorities about what are the real problems and start building smaller prototype bridges, to clarify how NPOV is determined for a smaller topic. There are lots of data sets to support analysis of NPOV: just go to Google and key "Albert Einstein" and wait for the suggested search-categories: those are some sub-topics to emphasize. Talk about "Albert Einstein theories" or "Albert Einstein College of Medicine" as suggested by Google, but anyone flooding articles with "Einstein footballer scores" has clearly violated the balance of NPOV.
    Again, treat the problem as a "science of NPOV issues" rather than let people's wild opinions rule what should be placed in articles. If Google gives 5 search-categories to a topic, then consider creating 5 separate articles, rather than some superstitious idea that people are "POV-forking" to have 5 articles, as if they speak with "forked tongue" or some other wild idea to find tricks to censor people trying to expand the coverage to a full NPOV-balance of a topic. If Google thinks a topic has 4 major search-categories, then prepare to have at least 4 articles. Switch from severe opinions to objective analysis of related data, and stop the witch-hunts of !non-votes about who doesn't think something is notable. Change to a system of objective measurements about topics, rather than "Delete", "Delete" because a handful out of 13 million registered users don't personally like something. Use statistical surveys of data to get general trends, and avoid focusing on a few complaints out of thousands of readers. The key is to focus on objective measurements, not a "jury of sneers" who decide everything. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:58, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree that there is a big problem in dealing with civil (and even with uncivil) POV pushers. There are some editing tactics, like misinterpreting sources and tendentiously restating the same point again (and again, and again, and again, and again) that make editing articles in certain topic areas incredibly frustrating and difficult. Although civility is certainly important in minimizing conflict, the overriding goal is to have good content, and the first editor to be uncivil in such a situation is not always the one at fault. And if the mess finds its way to a noticeboard, it generally degenerates into an abstract debate about Free Speech and Censorship or a "he said, she said" mudslinging match. Sometimes, the situation is graced with some of the extraordinary editors that have the ability to navigate the minefield of POV-pushing and forge a compromise that everyone can agree is pretty darn good. (Ling.Nut seems to be one of these extraordinary editors, looking through her recent contribs I was extremely impressed with her tenacious, patient, reasonable, and diplomatic approach on the Six-Day War article, which was admired by editors on all sides of the debate). But, although carefully wrought work in uncontentious topic areas can remain in pristine condition for years with little maintenance required besides reverting simple vandalism, lovely work on contentious topics tends to succumb quickly to the forces of chaos unless a clueful editor is willing to take up residence on the talk page indefinitely. This is frustrating for the clueful editor, who might enjoy developing new encyclopedic content rather than dealing with the same issues again (and again, and again, and again, and again). If are better systematic ways to deal with POV-pushing, to make it easier to create and maintain excellent content in contentious topic areas, and to reduce stress on productive editors, we should try them. Cordelia Vorkosigan (talk) 19:07, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I see your point about the fleeting control of busy articles, which are soon likely to descend into other rounds of hacked text (again & again). For that reason, I have proposed defining formal "layout pages" (like article "blueprints") which specify the agreed rules, decided particularly for each article, as rules listed in the "Talk:xx/layout" subpage for each controlled article. This is Wikimedia Strategy "Proposal:Create layouts to focus articles" (see: WM-CLFA). We know from city regulations, how people can be controlled (well) without chaining "clueful people" to every spot in a city, but there must be a general police force, and a set of detailed regulations. In a large group, people will not be stopped by "assume goodness" and "be neutral" because that is too vague. There must be more specific rules to control large groups of people, and hence, layout pages provide the specifics for article scope, format, notable controversies, and common pitfalls. Since the concept has been formally defined on the Strategy wiki, then feel free to start using layout-pages, where other editors agree to follow their shared, debated rules under "Talk:xx/layout". By accepting a layout-page, then editors are agreeing to stop total rewrites of articles, which formerly, had allowed the next group of folks to completely ignore years of prior discussions which had set consensus for each critical issue in an article. I thought of needing layout pages, after seeing article "Taj Mahal" totally re-written in a few days, and thinking, "Wow, a complete rewrite must be totally demoralizing to previous editors". Once you "put it in writing" then the POV-pushers, or POV-forcers, lose their power to upstage an article and replace the entire contents with their own fantasy text. This is another example where some simple ideas can generate massive improvements, to close the current loopholes in Wikipedia. See the Strategy proposal-link, above, for suggested details to define within layout-pages. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:40, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Request for responsible attitude.

Dear Mr. Wales, I am writing you about this post in which you stated "I think a cursory look at dozens of articles suggest that, if anything, we have a problem with anti-Israeli bias, not the other way around.". I imagine that you understand that you are an important personality and serve, among some others, as a face to Wikipedia. This position begs some responsibility on your actions as they are given more weight, sometimes, and may exercise influence, in this case on Wikipedia. On this light I would like to ask you to comment further on the linked statement. To what degree is this claim true? What articles you had in mind for that "cursory look"? To what extend is this a personal view/ opinion or, if it is the case, a view supported by some other source as well (maybe even a reliable source in the sense of Wikipedia)? Thank you. Best regards, Alotropicistic (talk) 20:46, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it is going to be difficult to find a source on this, from outside Wikipedia, that isn't an editorial commentary by someone in one direction or the other. It would be difficult to design a rigorous test for it, because bias is not amenable to simple algorithmic analysis.
Nonetheless, I think it is clearly true in many cases.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:54, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Could you point to an example or two? Unomi (talk) 21:59, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Quickly - Art student scam is a minor example. Article ostensibly about a criminal trick (interesting enough, I guess) but it's also a WP:COATRACK so that the vast bulk of the article is about accusations (with virtually no credibility) of a vast Israeli spyring. It's easy to find stuff like that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:41, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I would personally say that we have bias on both sides of the Israeli argument on Wikipedia. It's not really that heavy toward any one side. SilverserenC 22:02, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
In my experience it has been a struggle just to be able to state that certain areas are occupied, and this is the view held by just about every country in the world and the courts of Israel itself. Indeed many of our articles seem to fall afoul of WP:GEVAL due to misapprehensions of what WP:NPOV entails. Unomi (talk) 22:11, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
People see bias where they expect to see it, IMO. Tarc (talk) 00:33, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I personally think some our articles on this topic contain pro-Israel bias, others contain anti-Israel bias, and others still manage to be biased both ways (usually as a result of a hamfisted attempt at NPOV). But it is a highly controversial subject area, where almost everyone has some existing prejudices, and it's very difficult (impossible?) to write a neutral and objective view. Certainly not somewhere we're likely to reach consensus any time soon, any more than the real world conflict will. Robofish (talk) 01:07, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Couldn't agree more. Unomi (talk) 01:15, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Arbitration committee taking far too long

Regarding Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Climate change See Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Climate change/Proposed decision#Unacceptable. Is the arbitration process failing?

I agree with Polargeo. While it has been pointed out that the 48 hour reference includes the qualifier "minimum", the phrase sets up an expectation that the time will be days, meaning a few. Not 28. I'm quite appreciative of the complexity of this case - my concern is the lack of communication. A number of open issues are on hold, on the presumption that a proposed result was imminent. The arbitration committee should add some guidelines on how they communicate with the community when results are expected to take more than a few days.--SPhilbrickT 11:59, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Or maybe we just need some more arbitrators. -- œ 12:51, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Maybe. But arbiters who Grasp the nettle rather than go to ground will be a start. Polargeo (talk) 12:53, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Why are you guys complaining to Jimbo about this? Cla68 (talk) 13:21, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Why are you happy with the status quo? Polargeo (talk) 13:26, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
What do you expect Jimbo to do about it? Cla68 (talk) 14:03, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm personally hoping Jimbo will dock their pay for this! ;-) ATren (talk) 18:13, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I won't speak for Polargeo, but I'll tell you why I posted here. I assume the arbs and clerks are doing what they are supposed to be doing—working hard to craft a proposed decision. When I look at the procedural policy I see no guidance on what they should do if they expect a long gap between the closing of the workshop and the issuance of a draft decision. I assume they have broad leeway in their actions, and they could do a better job of communicating, and resolving interim issues, but they have not. One option is for the community to propose changes in the way an arbitration is handled in this situation. It is arguably the best solution, and ideally, the only way a change would be enacted. However, if Jimbo were to read this discussion, there's a chance he might agree that the communication between the arbs and the community isn't ideal, and he might suggest that it could be improved. My experience tells me that a prod from Jimbo carries more weight, than,say, a prod from me. I'm not suggesting Jimbo ought to unilaterally change the policy. I'm simply suggesting that if he agreed that the policy address procedures in a situation where there is expected to be a multi-week lag, that the community would start such a discussion seriously.--SPhilbrickT 16:01, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with this analysis. Polargeo (talk) 16:15, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Maybe ... we must have good faith. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 13:49, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

So ZuluPapa has not said he is happy but that we must assume good faith. Come on ZP put some argument forward. Polargeo (talk) 13:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Please see Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Climate change/Proposed decision#Interim comment. It's not being ignored, and if it was really necessary to ask about this in a second forum this isn't necessarily the best one if you want the attention of Arbs or Clerks. This is a time of year when we both tend to be away, don't forget, and this is a complicated case. I can understand the frustration that people have over this, but we all want this done correctly. It doesn't help that this is now being discussed in two venue, here and the proposed decision page. Dougweller (talk) 14:12, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

This is not really being discussed on any venue. I don't really get what you are driving at here. Is it. "We are all on holiday so don't expect any decisions for a few weeks" let's play in the sand? Polargeo (talk) 14:17, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

See my comment here:

I always thought that it would take ArbCom of the order of 90 days to carefully examine all the facts, deliberate, and draft proposed decisions. When I saw the 48 hours notice, I was very surprised. Count Iblis (talk) 16:00, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Count Iblis (talk) 15:08, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, why not make that 365 days or more? Polargeo (talk) 15:09, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Arbitrators like the rest of us are volunteers and have real lives outside of Wikipedia. Rushing a complex issue/case won't give a fair response either, so patience is necessary. Wikipedia is a project, not a life.(olive (talk) 15:37, 16 August 2010 (UTC))
Apologies... Jehochman was closing this as I was posting.(olive (talk) 15:39, 16 August 2010 (UTC))
If anyone wants a change in policy, they should be commenting at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Policy/Draft. Dougweller (talk) 17:05, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Jeeeze, can we not just flag the issue up here without all this opposition? Polargeo (talk) 17:13, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't intend to speak for Jimbo in any way, but generally speaking if he hasn't responded at this point he has chosen not to... Cwill151 (talk) 17:30, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
He hasn't even edited since this thread started. Please stop trying to close this thread down. Polargeo (talk) 17:33, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Please, my pointing out that there is currently an opportunity to shape policy on this isn't opposition. Dougweller (talk) 17:39, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Raising an issue repeatedly, badgering, demanding answers is not helpful. The ArbCom is well aware that you and others want a result. Please be patient, instead of spreading the conflict to multiple forums. Failure to drop the stick and continuing to forum shop is not a good idea. Jehochman Talk 17:59, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I hope everyone will please relax a notch or two. I'll drop a line to ArbCom to let them know that people are eager for a decision. But I'll also firmly recommend that they take their time to try to get this right. There are no deadlines. I'm sure everyone would agree that a decision which works and really helps things, 4 weeks later, is better than a decision taken 4 weeks earlier which doesn't work as well.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:49, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I am concerned that there is a misapprehension at work here, on the part of one or more parties — possibly that includes myself. My understanding of how the Arbitration process generally works is that the ArbCom presents a proposed decision, and then allows ample time for further discussion – followed by amendments of proposals, addition of overlooked remedies, review of evidence (even introduction of new evidence if necessary), and voting – before closing the (sometimes extensively) revised final decision. While I agree that it would be imprudent to rush the process, I am not sure that the community, the encyclopedia, the involved parties, or even the Arbitrators themselves are best served by this extraordinary closed-door session. Unless the ArbCom hopes to do a great deal of off-wiki horse-trading so as to produce a rubber-stampable decision with a minimum of open discussion – which I don't believe that they want – attempting to achieve perfection before presenting the proposed decision is probably a futile endeavor. Encouraging them to 'take their time to try to get this right' before posting a proposed decision may actually be counterproductive, because it will encourage them to view their slowly-hammered-out decision, when finally posted, as a final product not requiring or subject to revision.
Perhaps the Arbs should present what they have now, allow the community to comment, and reserve the right to present a second draft in a few weeks. Carcharoth recently asked the parties what they might like to add to the case if the workshop were to be unlocked for further posting. He also noted that the evidence page would not be re-opened for new evidence unless proposals were put forth describing why new evidence was needed. While Carcharoth's question was in good faith, it is impossible for the parties to guess what might be worthwhile to add if they have no idea what findings the ArbCom is or is not considering, nor any notion of what evidence the Committee finds convincing or lacking. This case is unusual among Arbitrations in that it lacks both a formal list of involved parties and any statement of its scope; given those circumstances, the ArbCom has a greater responsibility to provide feedback to the community than it may be used to. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 22:59, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that problem isn't limited to this case. In a legal case, the charges are clear and the threshold for evidence is known to a reasonable degree. With an ArbCom case it's hard to know what violations may have occurred or are serious enough for a remedy, and what evidence it going to be relevant or sufficient. It would really help if arbitrators acted less like a jury, who passively sit back while evidence is presented to them, and more like a magistrate, who actively questions the participants.   Will Beback  talk  23:32, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with this. The best ArbCom decisions have not been made behind closed doors, but transparently so that people can see which Arb is making the proposal, and why, and how the others are responding. I wondered about the decision at the start of the climate-change case to have three named Arbs draft the decision, because it means if they're busy the case will be slowed down, and other Arbs may want to draft parts of the decision instead. It is always helpful when the Arbs are pro-active, asking questions, accepting feedback, adjusting their views. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 23:38, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm about to open up a 'general discussion' page for this case, where discussions like this can take place at a centralised venue. One of the things that causes lack of co-ordination and an appearance of chaos is the propensity for discussions to spring up in odd places (such as Lar's talk page, Jimbo's talk page, the user talk pages of various arbitrators). This makes it well-nigh impossible to follow what is happening (this is what led me to make an update on the proposed decision talk page, while not realising that discussions were going on on arbitrator talk pages). It is time-consuming enough to follow the changes here without having user talk pages thrown into the mix (along with non-arbitration edits). So what I am going to do is set up the general discussion page mentioned earlier, and ask everyone to please comment there and not spread things out all over the place. And as Jimbo says, "please relax a notch or two". Carcharoth (talk) 00:53, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

While I appreciate the offer, Carcharoth, the problem isn't really one of a lack of places to shoot the breeze. Unless there is going to be some sort of very clear, definite, significant, comprehensive feedback from the active Arbitrators on this case as to what remedies are being considered and what evidence is being discussed, opening another discussion venue isn't going to be helpful. You remain the only Arbitrator who has offered any appreciable response to the proposals on the workshop page, and even then you stopped offering comments pretty early on. If you could get your fellow Arbitrators to open up a bit, that would be far more useful to the process than creating a new forum for parties to guess about the direction of the case. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 01:34, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
This new page is intended to be a venue for active arbitrators to engage with the parties. It is a necessary balance between engaging with the parties and doing the work of writing out a proposed decision that is in good enough shape to present to the parties for comments. The first stage is taking place off-wiki, but there should be a lengthy period of on-wiki discussion of the proposals before voting takes place. One of the other things I intend to do there is ask the questions I had been intending to ask earlier. The key is to set the pace at the right level. One arbitrator can be overwhelmed quickly by comments from lots of parties to a case. Get the level right though, and it should work. Carcharoth (talk) 01:46, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, is it your intention to discuss specific remedies and findings actually under consideration (or why certain remedies and findings are not being proposed)? And will there be regular participation from a significant cross-section of arbitrators, or just from you? In the absence of a direct connection between the discussion page on-wiki and the discussions that Arbs are having off-wiki (and which they probably ought to be moving on-wiki very soon), I still have reservations about the usefulness of this page. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 02:33, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I was expecting questions like: "Why is it taking so long?" or "How much progress has been made in the last week" or "Which bits of evidence were useful?". Stuff like that. Less discussion goes on off-wiki than you might think. Things are still at the stage of getting the general proposed decision in shape, based partly on the evidence submitted so far, and partly on what arbitrators find that hasn't been submitted in evidence. Once it reaches that point, the proposed decision should be posted on-wiki to allow discussion. It's a question of fleshing out the decision so that a useful discussion can be had on-wiki, and then refining it from there. Essentially, I want to answer questions about how a proposed decision is written, and clear up some common misunderstandings. Carcharoth (talk) 03:15, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

For the record, my page is not an "odd page", it's remarkably even :) ++Lar: t/c 02:17, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

I thought it was transcendental. WAS 4.250 (talk) 16:54, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Disrupting Wikipedia to prove edit-counts are wanted

With the Soxred93 edit-counter tool offline this past week, it was a great opportunity to realize Wikipedia, sometimes, slips into a "single point of failure" in relying too much on one thing, and "putting too many eggs in one basket". That reminder has prompted me to begin writing a much-needed essay to explain getting a user's edit-count in other ways:

In particular, people can use the Special:Contributions page, with CGI option "limit=5000" and display several pages of 5000 History-tab entries, to indicate how many edits a particular user has logged. That essay can be expanded, with other ideas about determining a user's edit-activity, to better explain how a person's edit-history indicates the nature of their work efforts on Wikipedia. The offline tool came at a perfect time, because the August-swell of increased new pages (after summer vacations) is just about to start, and an essay has been needed about the topic of edit-count analysis. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:09, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I never even look at edit counts, so I wasn't even aware that the tool was offline. Did anyone else notice? Why? Is it important?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:51, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Many noticed, and it is the subject of a minor tempest in a teacup at WT:RFA (really - very minor). I do find it quite useful. When I run across a new editor, it helps give me a picture. It is decried for providing the total count, so let's pretend I don't look at that. I can look at the distribution of edits between areas. I've personally been fighting a losing battle to keep my article edits above 50%. Seeing how many edits are in Wikipedia space gives me some insight into the extent to which they are contributing to the community, versus pure wiki-gnoming. There's nothing at all wrong with pure wiki-gnoming, but if I'm looking for someone to give a second opinion on an article requesting feedback, I want someone who has some experience, and seems interested in helping others.
I help out at WP:MFD. A common claim is that someone is using their user page for playing games. Frankly, I'd like to cut them some slack if they are also building the encyclopedia. The tool is a quick way to find out, for example, that they may have zero edits to article space.
If I am doing an editor review, I'd like to see which articles they have edited the most. The tool tells me that. There's probably another way to find out, but I don't know what it is.--SPhilbrickT 00:12, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
^ These reasons, yes. Getting rid of the tool wouldn't stop editcountitis anyways. It just serves as a useful system that explains a lot about a user, their habits, and what they need to work on. There's a reason why it is so useful in RfAs. SilverserenC 00:16, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
SPhilbrick, management activity is also helping to build the encyclopedia. WAS 4.250 (talk) 17:00, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

User rights

Remember the question I asked about you not being a 'crat? I came across this (it actually says "admin", but...):

Hazard-SJ Talk 07:02, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

This was seven years ago; we've moved on as a Project since then. Rodhullandemu 22:27, 17 August 2010 (UTC)


Hello, again. I'd like to know if your foundership only extends in the English Wikipedia. Hazard-SJ Talk 21:49, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Local information is here. For a broader view, please start here. Meanwhile, there are thousands upon thousands of tasks awaiting your avid attention. Cheers. Rodhullandemu 22:31, 17 August 2010 (UTC)


For replying, wow, I got to talk with one of the founders of Wikipedia! AboundingHinata talk 22:37, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

GOCE Backlog Elimination Drive invitation

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The Wikipedia Guild of Copy-Editors invite you to participate in the September 2010 Backlog Elimination Drive, a month-long effort to reduce the backlog of articles that require copy-editing. The drive will begin on 1 September at 00:00 (UTC) and will end on 30 September at 23:59 (UTC). The goals for this drive are to eliminate 2008 from the queue and to reduce the backlog to fewer than 5,000 articles.

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ɳorɑfʈ Talk! and S Masters (talk).

Delivered by MessageDeliveryBot on behalf of The Utahraptor at 23:19, 17 August 2010 (UTC).

Heads up - broadcaster "improving" his own entry on Wikipedia

Hi Jimbo, you (and/or TPSs) may be interested in Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard#Broadcaster "improving" his own entry on Wikipedia, re Cash Peters who has been having some fun as Monkeynuts54 (talk · contribs). More eyes to check what I've done is on the right lines are welcome. BencherliteTalk 09:25, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for stopping by (to be honest, I wasn't expecting that you'd help with the article, merely letting you know that Wikipedia had been mentioned extensively in a BBC broadcast in this way, in case anything came of it, and hoping that your TPSs would help with the spadework). Perhaps scare quotes weren't needed in the section headings here and BLPN, but I couldn't tell how much of the additional material was genuine without sources (and for much of the information, I still can only at the moment find his website as a source... which is frustrating!) I've left another message at his talk page, and a request for Operation Parallax sourcing at WP:REX, and I hope that my (over-hasty?) changes to the article will at the end of the day lead to a better article. Regards, BencherliteTalk 10:59, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
It's all good. You did the right thing. What's a "TPS"?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:04, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Talk page stalker. Gosh, all this excitement and I get to explain a WP TLA to you! BencherliteTalk 11:07, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Curious question

Is this guy really you? WhiplashInferno (talk) 10:19, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that's my account's user talk page at Uncyclopedia. Further discussion, if any, should probably be over there and not here. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:26, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Arb Com case related to BLP issue you commented on a few months

Hi: You supported me in a BLPN discussion a few months ago. Ironically, I am about to be sanctioned by Arb Com for that same behavior. Your comments there most appreciated. David.Kane (talk) 12:04, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Pending changes/Closure

Wikipedia:Pending changes/Closure

Hi Jimmy, pending changes is under discussion as the trial expired and there is some discussion presently and there is scheduled to be a vote comment in about ten days for consensus as to any continued use. I was wondering as you have previously commented on the issue of flagged revisions and such like, how do you think the trial worked? Off2riorob (talk) 13:43, 20 August 2010 (UTC)


I would like to say that I enjoyed you being on America:The Story of Us.RacoonHunter (talk) 22:36, 20 August 2010 (UTC)


Спасибо, вам за Википедию. А.С.Сидорченко (talk) 13:13, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Google translation: "Thank you for the Wikipedia." -- M2Ys4U (talk) 13:35, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Another tempest in a too-small teapot

Hi. Wikid77 here about the ArbCom case Race_and_intelligence/Proposed_decision. As you may know, there are several issues involved, but a major debate has been in trying to force articles to state, "there is no real difference between races, based on current scientific studies" (which ones I didn't want to elaborate, but some editors are adamant about this). More megabytes of discussions seem likely, and people are being banned for any violations they can be forced to commit. If ever there was a need to POV-fork [revised: spinout-fork] into 2 (or more) articles, this is it. Perhaps there could be the 2 titles: "Racial differences seen as real" v. "Racial differences seen as illusions". By having 2 separate articles, then each side could quote their "valid experts" and Wikipedia articles would not be seen as forcing the opinion either way. As you know, when a single article is a POV battleground, then typically, it will become slanted to one side or the other, due to the temptation to de-edit text which people really want to disappear from the article. The removal of unwanted text has been done through many tactics, but the overall effect is generally WP:Wikifinagling (aka WP:LAWYER) where people find creative interpretations for why the opposing text should be trimmed. The editors don't have to intend to be severe; however, in the typical manner they interpret policies, then they truly think the opposing view lacks proper sources and the text must be removed. If each viewpoint were to have a whole article, then temptation would be reduced to avoid the current incentive, "The less this page talks about the other view, the more people will read our viewpoint" (or similar). The Strategy Wiki already has a general proposal for similar 2-article POV-forks content-forks to resolve endless debates, and stop banning highly talented people who happen to dwell within one viewpoint or the other. Also, splitting the 2 camps would reduce the clogging of WP with the blame-game debates: one talk-page has already reached 400kb of complaining what other guys wrote months ago. This is a case of "Fix the problem, not the blame" where the blame discussion might be 100x times the size of the article(s), recording all kinds of hateful remarks to clog the server traffic. I don't know if you have any thoughts about this yet. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:50, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Everything seems fine here. I am very opposed to POV-forks, for a number of reasons. First, POV forks would be a disservice to our readers, who expect Wikipedia to be as neutral as humanly possible given the constraints of an open system. Second, POV forks don't actually solve anything - POV-warriors will simply make edits to each others' version to undermine them. I question how much talent these purported highly talented people have, if they are seriously unable to step back, take a calm breath, and write something neutral while treating others with respect.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:53, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree that some POV-edits continue. However, as with spin-off article "Effects of Hurricane Katrina in Florida" (and others), more sourced text has been allowed to remain, and now Wikipedia finally states that much flooding from Hurricane Katrina was faster and deeper outside of New Orleans, despite media coverage which made people imagine that NOLA was flooded the worst. The U.S. media so bemoaned the slow flooding of New Orleans (and subsequent deaths) that flash-flood deaths in other areas went under-reported (only people who could swim that morning, to rooftops or treetops lived): people outside the area could not imagine waters in Biloxi were 30-40 ft deep, or many buildings in Alabama were completely submerged (so they imagined the sources were exaggerated, bad). To this day, the censorship thwarted creation of "Effects of Hurricane Katrina in Alabama" (but now it can be told: ships on land, oil rigs on islands, boats in towns). The neutrality of Wikipedia is preserved because each sub-article focuses mainly on its sub-area of the topic, but clearly cross-links to other articles in recognition of those viewpoints, as well. I think some talented people find it hard to give respect when they perceive others as finagling to twist policies to delete their viewpoint: such as claiming it is a WP:NOR violation to count 3 experts in an article who disagree with the article's premise. Apparently, some people want to "cherry pick" items from a source, but accuse NOR-vio when opponents find opposing views within the same article; hence the lack of respect. This is a "violence-begets-violence" issue, and so we see people rebel when confronted with passive-aggressive actions (mental attacks) by calmer editors. -Wikid77 (talk) 21:16, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Your example about Katrina is a prime example of the failings of POV forks. Why is it superior to hide information in a side article that almost no one will read? And is it really appropriate to use the word "censorship" in this context? I would suggest that it is not. I think it is a horrible state of affairs if an article like "Effects of Hurricane Katrina in Florida" is a POV-fork! Horrible!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:28, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Okay, wait, I re-read guideline WP:POVFORK, and the term I'm thinking is "spinout-fork" (not POV-fork). The main Katrina article has always had a side navbox (Template:Katrina), so people can clearly link to "Effects on Florida" as a sub-article, not hidden where a person would have to guess the name of the article. In fact, even though electricity was out in the area for days or months, other Wikipedians had created navbox {Katrina} on 01-Sep-2005 (3 days after the storm), so as news sources reported details, readers could click to any of a series of WP sub-articles that explained the various aspects of Katrina's storm surge, damage, and the rebuilding. Anyway, the term I'm thinking is "spinout-fork" or similar, which allows "Evolution" v. "Creationism" as separate content-forks (not POV-forks, sorry!). That is the solution I am suggesting: to use valid spinout-forks, so that each area can be expanded with enough detail to clarify what the sources state about each viewpoint, then use a side-navbox to link those subarticles back into other articles about the main topic. With Katrina, there was too much information for one article: the deaths and flooding filled the intro, leaving little space to mention offshore islands cut in half: Dauphin Island (Alabama) split at the "Katrina cut" or further separation of West and East Ship Island (Mississippi), etc. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:35, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual of Style (summary style) - WAS 4.250 (talk) 13:37, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

cool story bro


you, sir wales :D, know how to add pics without that others delete it? i really wanna add a pic but i cant. thx. -- ♫Greatorangepumpkin♫ T 19:35, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Policy on images here, as copyrighted material, is pretty strict. A rule of thumb is that if you found it on a website somewhere, it is almost certainly unusable here. This is set out in our Image Use Policy. But some images may be useable, with an appropriate defence, and this is set out here. If your image uploads are being nominated for deletion, the best approach is to ask yourself why, given the notice you've had, and ask the editor who placed the notice if it still isn't clear. It takes a little time to grasp our rules, but they are there for very strong legal reasons, and again, you can always ask another editor what the problem is. Hope that helps. Rodhullandemu 22:54, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

page with the most featured article relevance in other languages


do you know a "rating system" where i can find pages with the most featured article relevance in other languages? for example mars, its has an unbelivable number of 13 featured article in other languages. or this:Dürer's Rhinoceros. almost all wikipedias give this a featured star. it is on 17 wikipedias and has 9 featured stars, thats 9/17 so its an average of 52,941176470588235294117647058824 %. i hope you understand me what i want to say.-- ♫Greatorangepumpkin♫ T 20:18, 24 August 2010 (UTC)


What made you decide not to run advertisements on Wikipedia rather than make millions of dollars doing so? Battleaxe9872 Talk 22:05, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Your question assume facts not in evidence. Yes, this site, as it is now, could garner millions in advertising, but had there been advertising at some earlier point of development, many editors, such as myself, would not volunteer hundreds of hours to help improve the site. If you ask then, why not now, I am sure hundreds of editors will tell you that it wouldn't be pretty if such an ingrained cultural decision were reversed.--SPhilbrickT 22:20, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree. And whether the Jimbo would get a piece of the millions today is a better question. Plus there are associated costs in having ads and millions of dollars arent what they used to be, nor is advertising on the web always a guarenteed source of profit, not every site is Google, even Facebook's accounts are in question as they have yet to issue an IPO and I would assume if they are not making a profit then neither would Wikipedia (and my opinion is that Facebook doesnt make as much as people think and that is why the IPO hasnt happened).Camelbinky (talk) 22:33, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
  • There is also the problem of extremely slow response time with sidebar adverts (many of them animated now). Even though many Internet connections are 50-70x times faster than dial-up, today's "mega-magazine webpages" seem 100-200x more complex: net result = webpages with ads are 20-50x times slower than Wikipedia? Google and Wikipedia are some of the few websites which still have lightning-fast response time (except for huge navboxes). -Wikid77 (talk) 23:58, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Read between the lines of Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español. Somebody apparently brought up the subject of advertisements, and a considerable portion of a wiki's community left en masse. I'll not name the somebody :-). --SB_Johnny | talk 20:44, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Your thoughts requested

Hey there :) I'm writing something approaching a dissertation on the future of the web as we know it, politically, philosophically and economically, briefly covering a few of the major disagreements on what things will/should be like. One section is devoted to free culture and copyleft, etc; another is on freedom of speech (others are on net neutrality and paywalling). Since I have such good links with Wikipedia, being an admin and all, and I get bonus marks for going out and getting (not necessarily new) information myself, I thought it would be a pity if I didn't at least try to get a soundbite from you of some description. Whilst I would appreciate your thoughts on, well, anything related, a particular focus could be the difference between freedom of speech and the "free" of Wikipedia (as this applies to the recent "Wiki"leaks débâcle? Just a thought). A few sentences would be absolutely top notch. Regards, - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:24, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, it did also occur to me that this request is not particularly talk page material, but I didn't think much harm could come of it. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:46, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Regarding Wikipedia editors participating in Wikipedia Review

Hi Jimbo. Was wondering about this (other viewers of this page are welcome to comment also, of course).

Do comments made at Wikipedia Review exist, for the purpose of Wikipedia?

(A lot of this would apply to other sites too, but I am narrowing the question to Wikipedia Review for the moment.) I asked a few people about this, and most everyone agreed that in the case of true emergency -- such as an outing, a threat of violence, or a suicide threat -- it'd be ridiculous to pretend they don't exist. But what about in other cases? Opinion seems mixed.

Now there is is this: Wikipedia:Linking to external harassment, and Antandrus at User:Antandrus/observations on Wikipedia behavior has something to say about the matter. But both of these basically offer tactical advice: posts at external sites should be ignored because 1) you can't do anything about them, and 2) trying to will only encourage them and raise your stress level to no purpose. Well this is all well and good when applied to oneself, when applied to another editor, it is basically advice to look the other way and cross the street, which seems cowardly. And I also think we're supposed to ignore Wikipedia Review, but for various reasons this is becoming less possible.

Let me give an extreme-case example: Editor XYZ edits at Wikipedia and at Wikipedia Review, and there is no question that they are the same person because he allows that it's true. Let's say Wikipedia Editor ABC has, for some reason, willingly revealed his true identity. Suppose Editor ABC has a disfigured teenage daughter, as can be seen on Facebook. Suppose Editor XYZ posts jeering comments about his daughter's appearance. If he does this on Wikipedia, he'd be banned (I assume). But suppose he does it on Wikipedia Review. Would Wikipedia editors (including Editor ABC) be required to pretend these posts don't exist, and continue to engage in collegial give-and-take with this person on other issues?

Granted this is an extreme example, but it's not an emergency. Unless there's a cogent argument otherwise, it seems to me that, short of the emergency situations described above, either posts at Wikipedia Review exist or they don't. So less-extreme examples would all either exist, or not. I think a case-by-case determination of existence would not be defensible (e.g., it would reasonable to say "No non-emergency external posts exist" or "Posts A and B both exist, but Post B is not so bad, so let's disregard it", but not reasonable to say "Post A is pretty bad, so it exists, but Post B is not so bad, so it doesn't exist").

I also realize that a Wikipedia editor can post anywhere off-wiki under a different identity. And of course there is the question of someone assuming another person's identity. And so forth. But again, these are technical issue. My question is is one of right: assuming no question of mistaken identity, do Wikipedians have the right to post basically anything (excluding the true emergencies described above) about other Wikipedia editors off-Wiki and remain in good standing here?

Although I have an opinion, either way is at least defensible. It would be reasonable to say "Barring true emergencies, external posts do not exist (and therefore Wikipedians can say whatever they want on external sites)" for tactical reasons, such as a fear of drama, or for ideological reasons ("It's a free world and a free internet"). As long as what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I don't care as much about the answer as getting an answer, and I propose to continue gathering community input on the question. Thank you for your time and consideration, Herostratus (talk) 00:25, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Clarification questions: How could anyone be sure some name is truly the same person on both websites? If people say they are the same Elvis, or President Clinton, on both websites, when could that be a joke? Does the other website ensure 1-person usage? If the other website allows intruders to post under another user's name, and not allow unposting by the real user, the hate-post could be a permanent fake. Also, if they act hateful over there, they might also act in jest. Remember, the absolute identity of the person must be proven beforehand (not "Nerf Smith" v. "Nerf Smithy"), otherwise, any conclusion could be wrong, as warned in Argument from false premises. There are many chances for mistaken judgment. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:14, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
"Proven" is too strong. But many editors clearly acknowledge that they edit "over (t)here" under the same name, and for others there is sufficient evidence that it would be unreasonable to withhold the assumption of identity absent strong evidence to the contrary. I agree that a mere match of user names is neither sufficient nor necessary. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:30, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Do comments made at Wikipedia Review exist, for the purpose of Wikipedia? Herostratus, ontology is not a black-and-white issue. You might as well ask if red is black or white. - WAS 4.250 (talk) 13:55, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
The subject of WR has come up recently on one of the Climate Change pages and then on ChrisO's user page. My concern is with outside websites generally and I see two potential problems. One is that administrators/arbitrators/others in authority may make comments indicating prejudice on issues they're dealing with as administrators or arbitrators. For example, one of the administrators who is claiming "uninvolvement" in the CC pages recently posted negatively on an active CC editor at WR. This is a problem for that administrator as much as anyone, as it undermines his case that he is unbiased. The second potential problem is worse, which is use of outside websites to circumvent Wikipedia canvassing rules, to encourage participation on one side of a dispute. ScottyBerg (talk) 14:48, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
There seems to be an implicit and not terribly subtle suggestion that there are agreed "emergency" cases wherein off-wiki statements become actionable on-wiki. I do not believe there is any such agreement. Certainly the case of off-wiki outing has been encountered many times before with very mixed results. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:14, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
As I recall, there was an arbcom case involving intelligent design where editors were held to have responsibility for off-wiki outing of other editors or similarly heinous actions, but were not required to maintain normal on-wiki standards of civility in off-wiki comments about other wiki editors. Someone will no doubt be able to find it in the archives. . . dave souza, talk 19:32, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, if someone can find that case, that'd be a good starting point if we want this to get off the ground. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:09, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Barry Kort (a.k.a Moulton) has spent the last few years experimenting with exactly where this line is. You could do worse than to start with,_JWSchmidt's_investigation . - WAS 4.250 (talk) 16:59, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
The case dave souza is referring to may be this: Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Intelligent Design, where there were statements such as "I see harassment by a large group of editors linked to Wikipedia Review" but also "Editors who have posted to Wikipedia Review have very reasonably objected to being described as... 'Wikipedia Review members'" Herostratus (talk) 17:08, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

For sale?

Hi there. I'd like to buy Wikipedia; how much do you want for it? Tom (talk) 01:43, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Pointless; Wikipedia is already free, although not without value- and I think that that is the distinction you are missing. Rodhullandemu 01:51, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I am prepared to be exceptionally generous with my offer though. Tom (talk) 02:07, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I think the going price is about $1,696,268,500,000 (about $500,000 per article), so not cheap. There's also all the royalties you'll need to pay to all the article authors on top of that. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WikiProject Japan! 05:07, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I demand compensation damn it!! Hell In A Bucket (talk) 05:26, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll give you £270,000 and a multipack bag of walker's crisps. If we can complete the deal within two weeks, I'll throw in a pair of K-Swiss trainers. Tom (talk) 11:05, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Jimbo, Walkers crisps are a savoury snack and not an exclusive brand of sports footwear; I think you are being being offered a poor value product... LessHeard vanU (talk) 17:07, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. Not "exceptionally generous" at all. A least you could offer 70 virgins in an afterlife paradise and thirty pieces of silver. - WAS 4.250 (talk) 17:24, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
How dare the both of you! My final offer is £310,000, a used Sweeney Todd DVD, any five books from my bookcase, three multipacks of Walker's crisps and a Paul Smith dressing gown. I can't offer virgins or pieces of silver, but if it helps I am willing to pay the money only in 20 pence pieces, which look silver. Tom (talk) 17:30, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I withdraw my offer. I'm going to try and buy google instead. Tom (talk) 20:13, 25 August 2010 (UTC)


hi jimbo wales Imo1234 (talk) 01:49, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

k another question, doh

k: how do i add this:User:GreatOrangePumpkin/EditCounterOptIn.js. i know how create this, but what should i write there. thx. hope u answer me. -- ♫Greatorangepumpkin♫ T 16:01, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Anything, the content doesn't matter. Throwaway85 (talk) 02:18, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Comment / Request

Why aren't you active on other Wiki's that you understand the language of, like the Simple English Wiki? If you could leave a message on Simple talk (our equivalent to the Village pump), we would be very appreciative, and we'd know that our hard work isn't overlooked. Best, Battleaxe9872 Talk 20:45, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Because the English Wikipedia is bigger? Because we have meta? Because of real life? :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 03:05, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, the size of English Wikipedia isn't the reason, but "Because of real life" is a pretty good explanation. But I will try to pop by Simple more often, for sure.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:20, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

My sock puppet case

Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/Hinata I need you to checkuser me please. Thanks for the understanding. Hinata talk 14:38, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Please? Hinata talk 18:19, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Checkuser is not for establishing innocence, however useful that might be to you, and although Jimbo could technically do this, in practice he does not. If a CU user decides that a check is appropriate, it will happen. Meanwhile, if you have nothing to worry about, I'd sit back and relax. The truth, as far as can be ascertained, will out, and in the absence of cogent evidence, you should not worry. Rodhullandemu 00:29, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I know Jimbo Wales is a checkuser and all.. but I have to protect myself from it. They are signing their posts with my name. And trying to for me to get blocked. Its a hassle. Hinata talk 11:48, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I can see from the SPI page that you are exonerated; such unnecessary accusations re indeed "a hassle". However, we are not so unsophisticated here as to fail to realise that this sort of thing happens from time to time. All I can suggest is that if you are innocent, and know that for a fact, you have little to be concerned about. Rodhullandemu 01:44, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Never mind, it is over anyway. But.. will somebody teach me how to type Japanese correctly with the Microsoft software I have? I had to use the Windows XP Software CD to do it, but it is interesting. Sorry for the changing of the subject. Hinata talk 14:47, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Threats from the JIDF

Hi Jimbo, in case you have not been informed, "David Appletree" aka User:Einsteindonut the founder of the Kahanist Jewish Internet Defense Force has been using sockpuppets to make on-wiki threats [13] and [14] to disrupt the operation of Wikipedia once he is community banned. Appletree has been careful to protect his real identity, but should these threats come to fruition, I can provide information on sources that have disclosed his real name and they can presumably provide contact details should the Foundation decide to take legal action against him.--Peter cohen (talk) 17:15, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it far more likely that you will be blocked for making personal attacks than that the Foundation would take legal action against him.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:19, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
For the record, I'm not a "Kahanist" and neither is my organization. Somewhere on the JIDF site, I have explained that while Rabbi Kahane is an influence, I hardly know everything about the man, what he has said, written and done. While sometimes we post some of his material, we also have posted Bob Marley videos. Does that make me a Rastafarian? And we've posted stuff from the Beastie Boys. Does that mean I support the wide variety of political and religious views they have? Like many people out there, I have diverse interests and influences. For anyone to focus on just one and claim that they are the embodiment of my views, or the views of the JIDF, is shallow, and wrong. Futhermore, if the Wikipedia Foundation needs any information from me for any legal matters, I'm sure that there are legal channels that can be taken. Lastly, I'm tired of baseless allegations about me and my organization on this site. Just because there's a handful of pro-JIDF sockpuppets out there, it doesn't mean they are all me, all the time. While I might have had access to some of them upon occasion for an edit here or there, I'm currently working all this out with Wikipedia itself, privately, through ArbCom. I'm here now to represent and defend myself, and my organization in order to answer questions, fully adhering to WP's rules and policies to the best of my ability. I believe my mainpage editing will be kept to a minimum, but I think that I could be a valuable contributor to the project in that way as well. If WP wishes to believe that I'm a one-man disruption force or that I directed all the problems that have been happening in the name of, and in defense of the JIDF, and keep my contributions and insight into my work and self, completely off the site, that will be their decision to make. At least now, and in my own name, I will be accountable for my own edits and they will be representative of only me, and I will act as an official representative of the JIDF on Wikipedia. I don't need random anonymous sockpuppets causing trouble for me, my organization, or for Wikipedia. --DavidAppletree (talk) 12:05, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
As far as I can tell that would be an incredibly silly thing to do. I have convinced myself in the past (1) that the JIDF is openly attacking the Wikipedia community in an attempt to censor/embellish the JIDF article, and (2) that the one "attack" against the JIDF that it tends to react most strongly to is the allegation that it is a one-man operation. (I am not sure if this allegation ever made it into the article in any form, but the user who is behind the JIDF accounts such as Einsteindonut generally goes ballistic when it comes up in Wikipedia-internal discussions.) Connecting the dots, it appears that the JIDF is a one-man operation, by someone with severe ego problems, probably thinking of himself as an internet super-hero.
You may not know this, but Peter Cohen once made it onto a hate list that was posted on the JIDF website and which also includes FayssalF. [15] See Talk:Jewish Internet Defense Force/Archive 12#Final quote and link to JIDF Guide to WIkipedia Editors for some of the context. The post by a likely Einsteindonut sockpuppet (deleted by Spartaz) was an attempt to defend this edit, which introduced the hate list as a reference into the article. Hans Adler 20:12, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
None of that justifies insults and personal attacks on Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:54, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. To follow your logic, what we should do when faced with an organisation trying to attack us is 1) goad them on by suing them, thus giving publicity to their problems and claims and 2) ban them and ignore them completely, which historically has done oh-so much to keep people away. Ironholds (talk) 19:16, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I am not saying that it justifies insults and personal attacks. But you are attacking an active, constructive member of our community for stepping over a line while over-reacting to a self-promoter who has been trampling over several lines repeatedly in the last years, and who is basically invulnerable because he doesn't care about the fate of any of his incarnations. I doubt that this is what you are trying to do. It seems to me that you have at least two reasonable options:
  • Rebuking Peter cohen publicly and simultaneously making it clear that you understand the real origin of the problem and that you support assertive action against the self-promoter(s).
  • Telling Peter cohen quietly to stop over-reacting, while not really examining the case in detail, or without bothering to do anything about Einsteindonut or his current incarnation User:WPYellowStars. (Btw, I am not sure why so far no admin has bothered to block this account for the blatant WP:USERNAME violation – offensive and trolling –, which is being reaffirmed by the huge image on the user page. Instead, the SPI case is apparently being ignored. That may well be the kind of thing that causes such over-reactions.)
But rebuking Peter cohen publicly while apparently ignoring the root of the problem (sorry if I missed something – if you have said something about that it may not be sufficiently visible) is not a good reaction because it's counter-productive w.r.t. the ultimate goal of improving our social climate and retaining productive editors. Hans Adler 22:51, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it's fairly clear for all the world to see that the problem has been or is being addressed - community ban, constant sockpuppet blocks, so on, so forth. In fact, if as you say there's nothing that can be properly done about the sockpuppeteer, what more do you expect? The point is that 1) improving our social climate rarely involves giving editors free reign (either through lack of a public slap on the wrists or completely ignoring them) to post longwinded and offensive diatribes as Peter has done, 2) Peter completely failed to appreciate he's in the wrong with my message, while the pileon of "seriously, dude, over the line" messages seems to have had some impact (which supports the idea that a private message would have been pointless) and 3) the ultimate goal of retaining productive editors does not involve carte blanche. Peter has publicly stated that he feels his GA and FA contributions and all the other fancy schmancy article contributions he has, compared to the "wiki-crimes" of the other editor, means that he can do what he likes, when he likes. The sockpuppeteering is so obvious and awfully executed that it can be easily cleared up, and no edits are unrevertable. If, as you say, our ultimate goal is to improve our social climate and retain productive editors, I think allowing the idea that certain editors can, as a result of their article contributions, do and say whatever the hell they want with immunity to gain credence, is a far greater threat than a guy with a rotating IP address. Ironholds (talk) 13:00, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Well stated, Ironholds. I believe Peter Cohen and other editors like him represent a serious threat to this project and I'm glad Mr. Cohen is on Mr. Wales' radar. --DavidAppletree (talk) 07:32, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
The nerve. This account was created 8 hours after Georgewilliamherbert marked the account User:Einsteindonut as community banned. Hans Adler 08:52, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Let me be clear, DavidAppletree; I consider you and people like you a serious threat to the website, I find your politics despicably, and your tirades amusing. I just don't think personal attacks are going to help anything. Ironholds (talk) 10:19, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Note that I have referred this to arbcom for advice. Spartaz Humbug! 10:21, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Where, what element, and have you informed participants? Ironholds (talk) 10:34, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Specifically the account of DavidAppletree and since it concerns off-wiki communication and personally identifying information I am sure you will understand that I cannot go into it further. That's why I referred to arbcom. Spartaz Humbug! 10:36, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

You should know about this.

A few weeks ago, there was a proposed hook on DYK (did you know) about the FBI seal along with a picture of it.

I thought that the mechanics of WP were progressing with nobody stepping back and thinking what was better for Wikipedia overall. It was going through the usual process which would have resulted in it being on the front page. I, therefore, notified you not to intervene but for you to be able to use your wise thinking and understanding of the big picture of Wikipedia to offer advice.

Today, I bring to you a different matter, possibly less profound. There are lots of editors with conflicts of interest. We ignore them. However, if companies have a conflict of interest or people with identifiable corporate links, we jump all over them and often block them. This is not very equal treatment of people. I proposed that everyone should disclose their potential conflicts of interest. In doing so, the reliability and reputation of Wikipedia is increased.

Scientific journals do this all the time. If a Dow Chemical chemist writes an article about chemical X, even if Dow Chemical does not make it, the chemist will have a disclosure in their article saying "Francisco Gomez, Ph.D. receives support from the American Chemical Society and is on the speaker's bureau for Varian X-Ray systems".

People say that they don't want this. They say it is impossible. It is easily possible. One of many ways is to add a tab at the top of the article that says "disclaimers" or "disclosures" or "possible conflicts of interest". If someone edits the Russian Army article, they would say "Editor X, I am a member of the French Army" or "Editor Y, I am employed by a supplier of parts to the Russian Army".

If the consensus is that editors don't want this, then they are supporting the idea that it is ok to have undisclosed conflicts of interest. Wikipedia can live with it but Wikipedia's credibility would be greatly enhanced with better ethics and disclosures. If you have a profound idea, let us know! I will not post the links to the VP to avoid accusations of canvassing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Suomi Finland 2009 (talkcontribs) 17:23, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

One problem is that editors will fiercely resist self regulation and don't want disclosures. That is the nature of the beast. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 01:03, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
We already have this; a talkpage tag noting something along the lines of "some editors may have a conflict of interest on this subject". Ironholds (talk) 13:01, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
And it's not like there would be a way to police that everyone was telling the truth. And impossible to track for IPs since they change. §hepTalk 16:53, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── In most cases I have encountered it seems that the more well meaning people either declare COI, when they know about it, or simply are easily identified by their chosen names. The problem is that anyone with a name such as "BerteosOfAragorn" or "MrBigBen" are fairly anonymous and are unlikely to be identified as COI. Often it is the non-obvious persons that create the biggest hullaballoo with "They have COI - they cannot edit here!" when in reality it seems to me that these same pointers of fingers edit fairly obviously high percentage of single subject pages and yet do not declare COI themselves.

Although this may be true, and it is true that this can be a major problem, it is impossible to identify COI editors who are not declaring COI and have fairly nondescript names. It seems impossible to ensure any COI policy would work apart from supporting the people they pick on, ensuring neutrality, accuracy of sources and information, and other such guidelines are followed to make sure that any COI is kept to a minimum.

Then there is the matter of COI being used incorrectly to prevent editors from contributing - if we are going to ask for expert input "Attention from an expert is needed" it seems that these experts would be possibly the most COI persons to ask lol - and yet in many cases the best persons to edit are those involved in the field or company. As long as their input is scrutinised and accurate then these problems of COI should not exist. I think that it is a little, pardon me for saying this and no offence intended whatsoever, naieve to think that you will get a declaration out of someone with COI who was possibly going to be POV - and these are the very people who do the most damage.

It is an unfortunate and necessary evil as COI does not, in many cases, mean POV. COI/POV will always exist but it is only when they are misused/unbalanced that they affect negatively and only with diligent and accurate editing do we stand a chance of negating these two particular evils.Chaosdruid (talk) 01:50, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

It is reaffirmed by Jinbo

You kept silent the question. It is thought that the silence agreed positively.Do you abandon the authority of Wikipedia? Is it agreed that the authority of Wikipedia Foundation is not applied to Wikipedia Japanese?Do you approve it for a domain donation[16]? It is your responsibility that makes an excuse. Japanese community is thought that you approved them. You should announce the excuse in Wikipedia Japanese.--山吹色の御菓子 (talk) 12:44, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

You already got a reply from Jimbo here. The discussion was moved to the archives to make place for new discussions. --Enric Naval (talk) 15:37, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Japanese community was resolved by the answer.The remark of Jinbo was translated by sysop. "Jinbo does not participate in Wikipedia Japanese". "I am not interested in Wikipedia Japanese". User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_63#Annulment_declaration_of_Wikipedia.27s_principles_and_Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines_in_Japanese_edition_3--山吹色の御菓子 (talk) 17:24, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
I am very interested in Japanese Wikipedia. I am unable to read Japanese and therefore unable to participate directly. That is not the same as "not interested". I requested that several Japanese Wikipedians contact me separately to explain what I am being asked, because I really do not understand what you are saying. For example, when you talk about a "domain donation" I do not know what you mean.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:27, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
A trademark of "wikipedia" is used for the e-mail address of ja:Wikipedia:Info-ja contributes the trademark of "Wikipedia" or does the use permission. The person in charge of ja:Wikipedia:Info-ja possesses negotiation rights, and can protect the modification and the page of the content of the description. They disclose a use history and the IP address of each user to the police organization.--山吹色の御菓子 (talk) 04:46, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
You need to explain clearly what the issue is with Japanese Wikipedia. What exactly is occurring there that you think requires attention? The Wikimedia Foundation owns, as it does all other Wikipedias. They are not about to cede it to someone else. Fences&Windows 02:12, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Where are the other Japanese Wikipedians, User:山吹色の御菓子. We need to hear from them. -- (talk) 17:14, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I did not plan it.It has been executed by sysop since about 2004. I opposed their ideas. Neither Japanese community nor syspo have the idea of consenting to the interrogation. This is because it is a decision by the vote by Japanese community. You (acceptable the deputy) should participate in Japanese Wikipedia if you want to question it. You are recommended to participate in thisja:Wikipedia:Help_for_Non-Japanese_Speakers. --山吹色の御菓子 (talk) 03:42, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I recommend you post here in Japanese as we can not understand your English. There are plenty of people here who can translate your Japanese into English. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WikiProject Japan! 04:31, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
If you and someone can translate, the report is written in Japanese. --山吹色の御菓子 (talk) 16:11, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
ja:User:山吹色の御菓子 has been blocked indefinitely on the Japanese Wikipedia since 7 July following a discussion here: ja:Wikipedia:投稿ブロック依頼/山吹色の御菓子. His English is not good (and my Japanese is a thousand times worse!) but I suspect he is complaining about those who blocked him. (talk) 20:09, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
This is totally beside the point, but I have to say that I really get a kick out of the image used in the indefblocked user template on the Japanese Wikipedia. -- Ed (Edgar181) 20:29, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

I wrote brief explanation at jawp[17] about the situation based on my understanding. Related pages are ja:Wikipedia:投稿ブロック依頼/山吹色の御菓子(google trans) and ja:Wikipedia:コメント依頼/山吹色の御菓子(google trans) . User name "山吹色の御菓子"(a Japanese euphemism for 'bribe'.) is translated as "angel of the bright yellow cake" in google trans. --Was a bee (talk) 00:29, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, Was a bee, (talk) 01:32, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
They do not answer the first problem.Japanese Wikipedia doesn't have the policy in the block. As for syaop, the authority use is unlimited in principle.The argument is performed by a vote. --山吹色の御菓子 (talk) 16:04, 28 August 2010 (UTC)