User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 73

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  • [1] [2] . I think its time the community organized a cleanup thing for Pakistan articles, they're the worst on wikipedia. They need to be on watchlists too as they attract traffic from Pakistani users who barely speak english and add all sorts of POV and misinformation.♦ Dr. Blofeld 22:49, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Incredible! I had no idea that it was home to Baba Kamal.-RHM22 (talk) 22:57, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

I think wikipedia would be better off in nuking 90% of our current Pakistan village articles within Category:Populated places in Pakistan and sub categories and regulating it, leaving just the main cities and towns. The content of over 70% of the articles is shocking and are completely devoid of reliable sources. The problem is too massive to cleanup with just one or two. We'd be better off cleaning up the main cities and towns (and putting them on watchlists) and nuking most of the villages/merging into a tabled list with coordinates.. They are POV magnets and almost completely off anybody's radar on their watchlists.♦ Dr. Blofeld 23:07, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

That sounds like another reason articles should have a 'reliability panel' including its age, the number of editors who have contributed to it, the average experience in edits and years of the editors, the number of high-edit count editors, the number of total page views, the number of page views in the last month, the number of edits in the last month, its vandalism level defined by CBNG/Huggle/Igloo/STiki/Twinkle reverts, its WikiTrust score, the number of citations it has per word, its community (Public Policy project) assessment rating, the ratings of approved external experts or organizations, the number of Projects it belongs to, its Project ratings, its Version 1.0 rating, etc. Although this shouldn't be on the main article page, and there's no secret algorithm to compile these into a single reliability metric, it's time to give readers the data to draw some of their own conclusions. We could easily provide little bar graphs showing how an article compares to the average Wikipedia article in terms of its statistics for added perspective. That way, if you're getting information from a 3-month old article that 2 people watch and only 7 have ever viewed and only 3 have ever edited, and the editor wasn't autoconfirmed, and it has 4 reverts in the last month, and it's rated start class with no projects looking after it, well, buyer beware. Ocaasi (talk) 23:23, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Now that was a mouthful! Seriously though, I think a "reliability panel" is not a good idea at all. Just because a user hasn't made a lot of edits doesn't mean the content they contribute is more or less worthy than anyone else's.-RHM22 (talk) 23:50, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
RHM22, I'm not talking about preventing anyone from editing, just offering data. There is certainly a correlation between edit count and reliability. And that is only one metric along with many others that could help readers know how the article was constructed. A better question in my eyes is, why shouldn't the reader have access to it? Ocaasi (talk) 16:48, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
How about a drive to improve 90% of the Pakistan articles. That way we wouldn't have to nuke anything. --FormerIP (talk) 00:34, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
They could probably just be merged into a few different articles. Most of them are really short anyway.-RHM22 (talk) 02:06, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't see the kind of content stripping cited above as being "improvement". The English Wikipedia should be in part a Pakistani web site and it should not be ashamed to speak in a Pakistani voice, even if there is a bit of broken English involved. It isn't until Wikipedia that I realized that the reason why Ford Prefect's 15 years of research was summarized down to "Mostly Harmless" was not due to any lack of disk space in the Hitchhiker's Guide, but simply because the deletionists thought it read better that way! Wnt (talk) 03:54, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that try googling articles like Kathar Dilawar Khan and try improving it.. I get absolutely nothing in google books or web which could qualify as a decent source to try to expand it... (And I'd say that those one liners are not even the worst of the articles, worse are those with massive lists of schools, and local "notable" people and businesses all listed in CAPITAL LETTERS.♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:06, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Well that's why I don't want to knock what the Pakistanis put up. Sourcing, encyclopedic tone, neutrality... these are all great things, and we should hope to improve them, but it's better to have something than nothing at all. Wnt (talk) 16:13, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

I'll chime on Dr. Blofeld's comment: there is a vast number (many, many thousands) of Asia related articles (Pakistan, India, around them, localities, "castes", etc.) which are nothing more than sanboxes filled up with test edits. Ironically, they serve as a buffer to divert damage from kids vandalising through "random article", but I wonder what external users think when looking at them. Materialscientist (talk) 05:04, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

The central embarrassment is that issues like this have to brought here. Why should Jimbo be expected to mediate on issues like this? Yet where else can they be addressed? There is no central place on Wikipedia where general issues can be sensibly addressed. It is an administrative matter, and therefore the responsibility of administrators. Yet there is no appropriate forum. Why? --Epipelagic (talk) 10:32, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I think there are appropriate places for this discussion. My talk page is probably not the best, but I do appreciate just about any sensible conversation here, as it helps me to keep aware of any emerging or longstanding problems. Wikipedia:WikiProject Pakistan is probably a good place to look for people who know about this area, and I'm sure they'd be eager to have new members.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:46, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Okay. So its fine to bring general issues, like this one, here? --Epipelagic (talk) 10:59, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Sure, for a chat. It isn't an official forum for anything, but I do like to chat about Wikipedia. :) A lot of experienced Wikipedians turn up here as well, and so we often have useful conversations that help get ideas started.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:05, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
@ Epipelagic. Where else? At WP:Pakistan were there is virtually no active member or barely anybody who speaks fluent english? As you say there is no central place on Wikipedia where general issues can be sensibly addressed. Village pump maybe, but in my experience they are always largely ignored and superceded by other issues.. As far as I know Jimbo is open to conversation about problematic areas of the project and so are the many people who watch his talk page and ar ehappy to discuss ways in which such a situation could be rectified, even if just a starter conversation about it to get the ball rolling. We are striving for a high quality encyclopedia so if we have several thousand Pakistan related articles which are known to be in "Dire Straits" then something needs to be done to alleviate the problem. I've heard three other people this week describe Pakistan or rural Indian articles in general as "atrocious" and "the worst quality on wikipedia". The vast majority of articles are not on watchlists yet they generate quite a lot of traffic from South Asia.
WP:Pakistan formerly consisted of User:Pahari Sahib and barely anybody else. It was him doing all the work. I once addressed the major problem to him and he couldn't possibly put every Pakistan article on his watchlist and help clean them up. Even he is inactive at present. So we have several thousand articles governed by nobody and open to all sorts of POV and poor english. I don't know how the situation can be dealt with unless some sort of drive is done involving many people and they are cleaned up/put on watchlists to stop them getting bad again. Unfortunely though I don't think we have the numbers who care about Pakistani related topics. We do however have numbers who care about quality and avoiding articles which contain barely legible english and heavy POV. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 13:32, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm familiar with the issue, both from dealing with speedy deletion nominations of various articles from the global south, and also from the typo fixing that I do. In my view it is wider than just Pakistan, there are other areas of the developing world where Wikipedia is still at an early stage and even quite sizeable towns are barely stubs. Hopefully the next ten years will see radical improvement here, but at the moment we are much weaker in our coverage of some parts of the world than we are of others. However I don't see the solution as being to delete these articles, especially as increasing numbers of people in the developing world are getting access to the Internet. I would prefer that we improve our sourcing there and make it easier for mobile phone users to edit. Many of these articles need images, how hard would it be to enable people in Pakistan to take a photo on their mobile post it on commons and add it to an article? As for sourcing, maybe we need to do some investment in getting archives of developing world newspapers digitised and loaded to wikisource. ϢereSpielChequers 14:05, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I can try to get some attention from the Pakistani media - a friend of mine has a television program there. Before I do, it might be good to round up as many Pakistani Wikipedians working in English Wikipedia to get them interested and excited about a major initiative, and also get some good existing Wikipedians with no particular expertise in Pakistan to help with meeting-and-greeting newcomers. It's really amazing what even a dozen people can do if they coordinate and get excited.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:07, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

That sounds very interesting, and if you could do something like that it would be wonderful. It could really use some coordination. The problem is the lists of non notable people, schools and people leaving their contact info and POV is the problem. See Malhoo for the typical article. Most of the content was added in good faith but its way off. The thing is these editors do have potential but they tend to edit sporadically and don't really have a good idea of the sort of content we are looking for (and what reference are). Virtually every Pakistan related article on settlements at least have these problems..♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:35, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

(EC) I've welcomed a fair few of our editors there, but I'm not sure if the standard plate of cookies welcome crosses the cultural divide. Also I've raised the Sourcing issue. ϢereSpielChequers 14:40, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Malhoo, next article in the category is Mohalla Sadiqabad, note the POV (and that's one of the better articles!) .... Its not as if its just one or two its when you click any article in a categoryand know it probably going to be really bad is a big issue...♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:47, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Naushara in Sindh is of similar quality. Aaarraghh!. Well you get the picture!! ♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:30, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Scream as you like about Musa, but such genealogies and whos who are apparently important to the people who live there, which makes them important to Wikipedia. Though yes, we could do with a clearer format! Wnt (talk) 16:22, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
LOL so Lapiwala lists really important info Many of the articles glorify the local taxi driver and policeman as being "very famous". That doesn't make the information encyclopedic or even remotedly notable!! Sure the taxi driver might have a cult status amongst the locals but that doesn't make him wikipedia worthy!!♦ Dr. Blofeld 16:45, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
My very limited knowledge is that much of Pakistan has a very tribal culture. I would expect that family affiliations would be as important there as whether the local chief of police is an elected position in a U.S. town. Am I wrong? Wnt (talk) 00:40, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
How about encouraging these people to work on their native language Wikipedia? I see this all the time on NPP with India related articles; people who's native language is obviously Tamil post something like Dr. Blofeld is describing above in horrendously mangled English, while Tamil Wikipedia has around 20,000 articles and could use the new editors more than us. Just a thought. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:14, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Our volunteers have many and diverse motivations. I'm pretty sure that some at least have a secondary motivation of improving their writing in another language. But even so we could promote Urdu, Sindhi and other languages to our EN wiki editors in Pakistan and other non English speaking countries by GEO notices to geographically relevant authors. I made a proposal on Strategy which included this. ϢereSpielChequers 01:03, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I know; I myself have done a little work on on their Rush article, despite not knowing a huge amount. I understand maybe testing it out a bit, but we really should encourage more people to work on the languages that are still getting going; it will make us look better and more diverse. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 19:15, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

What about Notak Bhakkar? Vandalism?♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:54, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Yes that was vandalism - a quick trawl through the edit history and I've reverted it. ϢereSpielChequers 22:54, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

I've also been cleaning up some of the major Indian towns and have put them on my watchlist. The quality is generally better than Pakistan but still often contains massive lists of schools and other non-prose lists which really should be condensed and most text is unsourced and needs a major copyedit. Jimbo, any chance you could put me in contact with your friend in Pakistan via email or contact him yourself. I feel the same thing needs to be done with Indian places, a big drive to clean them up.. I can't cleanup Pakistan and India by myself!!♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:24, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

I just did a replace tool thing for town in Kerala. Replace the word "famous" with nothing. The article had a whopping 22 "famous" words in it!!!♦ Dr. Blofeld 19:13, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Check out how many "beautiful villages" there are. -- œ 20:47, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Just a suggestion, ableit probably not an amazing one. If the main problems with the articles are that they consist of broken English and formatting/MOS problems, how about we create a drive that utilises the two main groups that specalise in those areas - GOCE and Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikify. A bot could generate a list of articles (say, all Pakistan settlements), and each article could be wikified and copyedited. Like a traditional enwiki drive, edits would be logged, barnstarts/other shinies issued, etc. Wikipedia:WikiProject Pakistan may also have lots of willing editors, and even though there are tons of articles, most are short stubs that require little work. If this worked, we could do a similar one for India (or even intergrate it into the Pakistan drive). Thanks, Acather96 (talk) 11:17, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Embarrassment goes to those who wrote the articles

Just a clarification here: Users have seen all kinds of vandalism, or hack edits, in numerous articles (or past revisions), some lasting for 2 months or 6 months or 2 years (etc.). Most users quickly learn, after reading several articles, how various pages are hacked by jerks here, like the jerks they have met elsewhere in life (not to mention on other websites!). If the text has been removed, then all a user need do is:  run diffs among the revision histories and read all the "embarrassing" vandalism text which was reverted. Hence, the troublesome text cannot be totally hidden, and the embarrasment typically gets attributed back to the people who write such trash, just like toward other people who trash things in society at large. Most people would have a low opinion of them, rather than Wikipedia. Meanwhile, Wikipedia tends to be self-correcting, where the largest problems are solved the fastest, and minor problems get minor attention, at a slower pace. If someone finds unacceptable text, then just fix it (or call others to help fix it). Also, as more articles become controlled by verified-versions, then there will be less visibility for hacked edits. Other cultures are rarely aware of the notability of foreign citizens, so again, the embarrasment of listing a minor person only comes with knowledge of who they are (and some people are probably attributing far too much as "refined sensibilities" to most readers, who are not that elegant). Many people thought New Orleans was "hard hit" being flooded 80% when Hurricane Katrina passed, until they learned all coastal towns of Mississippi were flooded over 90% (up to 30 feet [9.1 m] deep) in a few hours, then battered by waves during Katrina. Perhaps it is embarrassing how people thought NOLA was the center of Katrina. It all depends on the perspective. Plus note again, many experienced readers have a high tolerance for vandalism, and the embarrassment goes to those who wrote the text, not to Wikipedia. Those few people are far more embarrassing, to themselves(!), than anything done by Wikipedia as a whole. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:59, revised 20:05, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Yeah but the problem is that most of the articles do not contain vandalism (expect self-promotions) and are not read much by experienced editors. They are read by people looking for information about Pakistan or India and expect a decent , well researched article which is up to standards and instead get something which is barely legible and in a great mess with POV, massive lists etc. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:05, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Deletion process in greek wikipedia

el:Δημοσθένης Λιακόπουλος was proposed for deletion. 25 voted deletion and 5 voted no-deletion. However the poll was completed and the result was no-deletion!!! This is against democracy in greek wikipedia. Please help, I don't know what to do... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

FWIW I looked into this a bit, and though I can't read Greek the 25-5 assertion is certainly not true... there were many puppets and some unsigned comments, but it looks closer to something like 5-5 if that. It is a BLP issue, but the subject of the article is apparently a fringe-theory blogger who is the subject of a defamation lawsuit which appears to have been legitimately written up in the press. Granted most of the short article is about the lawsuit, which understandably his supporters may not be happy about. I could be wrong, but offhand it doesn't look like anything the Greek Wikipedia can't handle through deletion review or whatever. Herostratus (talk) 05:13, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Herostratus. I'll also have a Greek friend look into it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:15, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Conditional display of photos based on #ifallowed

Currently, the WP:parser function "#ifexist" can be used to choose to link or display a photo, only if it already exists. If a simple system to check categories could control a "#ifallowed" parser function, then each article could be conditionally reformatted to display the photo-blurred (or modest) version of an image, or substitute whole paragraphs of sensitive text (such as explicit text about sexual abuse). For example, with a nude painting by Peter Paul Reubens:

  • {{#ifallowed: File:Reubens_nude_woman.jpg
    |<!--then show nude-->[[File:Reubens_nude_woman.jpg|thumb|...]]
    |<!--else blurred-->[[File:Reubens_nude_woman_blurred.jpg|thumb|...]]}}

The full nude image would display, in the article, only if allowed by the user preference group, where the blurred image would be displayed instead, as a modest image (in the same place on the article's page). Similarly, restricted text could be stored in some text templates (for example a set of perhaps 9 paragraphs chosen by parameter number), where paragraphs from the template could only be shown, or edited, based on the same idea of checking for {#ifallowed:...}. Using that tactic, a single article could be automatically reformatted to substitute images, or choose various altered-paragraph templates to describe violent or sexual events in the text. I mention this idea, at this level of detail, just to explain how a single, conditional article could be auto-reformatted to conform to each reader's allowed contents. There would be no need to omit every artist who ever painted a nude, nor to pre-censor and remove all nudes or erotic images from an article's contents, but rather children and adults could view the same core article, as auto-formatted, but not access the restricted photos or altered-paragraph templates (which contained the restricted text or sounds). With the use of verified revisions, the markup for #ifallowed could be controlled. Plus, by only putting the restricted text into separate templates, then children could edit the same core article as adults, just not view the restricted parts in files as linked. Hence, most infoboxes and navboxes could link the same articles, but the contents of each article would change for each user group, depending on the allowed content for their preferences group. The only potential problem would be in wiki-search of contents, where a filter would need to bleep some words found in adult-rated articles. The basic concept is that the core contents of most articles would be the same for all users, rather than have hundreds of "POV-forks" for each restricted user group. So, POV-forks would still be limited to rare cases, such as "Potential innocence of Linda Carty" (as very detailed defense arguments of British woman on death row). Does that approach seem workable, or would you prefer not to dwell on such details? -Wikid77 03:11, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

It is certainly in the neighborhood of what I have in mind when I think about how to allow individual users and the community to control the experience of Wikipedia. I think the biggest obstacle may be social, in that some people don't agree with NPOV, or think that NPOV means "People should see things in my way, or else go away."--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:22, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I can perhaps see the logic of what Wikid77 is proposing in relation to images, but s/he seems to be suggesting that this could be applied to sections of text too. Isn't that going to lead to an editing nightmare? Expecting a text to be grammatical, logical, and stylistically acceptable with or without sections that are presumably seen as significant by contributors is probably asking the impossible. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:41, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Editors interested in creating a special "child safe" version should edit a mirror site with appropriate policies. Such a site may have different procedures (such as not allowing children to converse on unwatched pages with anonymous strangers, and suppressing children from viewing history versions). But should they somehow manage to conquer this site, it will fall on the current editors to find a new site to work with. Wnt (talk) 08:36, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
mw:Personal image filter --MZMcBride (talk) 08:49, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Yes, I was just explaining how an article could display alternate images, and alternate paragraphs, depending on content restrictions, but the example group of "children" was not intended to exclude groups of Sunni or Shiite Muslims, where graven images are not allowed to be displayed in mosques. Turn off images and "read" an article at a mosque. It is a concept were talk-pages (and articles) could still be "phrase-filtered" but let children access enwiki's 1.5 million sports articles, while articles about artist Salvador Dali would substitute (or omit) his close-up graphic nudes, while substituting other paragraphs (or sound files) if describing the genitalia in those drawings. The idea is to avoid many POV-forks of numerous articles, or avoid POV-mirror websites for every religion or restriction. Let children see how enWP will have 9 million articles, but where only a tiny fraction have partial contents substituted or omitted. Some teachers are paid to use Wikimedia projects, and have their classes work on articles, so they can learn about typesetting and text storage in a very large system. -Wikid77 12:31, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Alternative paragraphs is effectively impossible - for that to work, you would need to find editors willing to mark up the content of individual paragraphs - a whole lot of issues arise then, such as contextual impact. Alternatively you could go with automatic filtering of phrases, which I think is your suggestion, but that is also a problem - they rarely work well, as key words can be fine in one context and bad in another, and does feel like WF would be taking a more active role. The proposal to rely on categories is stronger, as it looks at articles or images as a whole, and we are much better at that - setting cats is something we already do, and it is a community decision as to what categories apply to a given article which is made independent to how those categories may be employed.
Your conditional is fine, but the trick is in how "is allowed" is calculated: my thought was something along the lines of combining article and image categories to provide context in order to make an automated decision, but there may well be better approaches. - Bilby (talk) 13:06, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

...and the default for anons/IPs would be what? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 13:33, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Yup, that is the concern. How much censorship are you envisioning, Jimmy? Resolute 16:29, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Editorial judgment by the community is not censorship. Individual choice is not censorship.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:17, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
That did not answer the question. Determining how an article, including its images, look is an editorial decision. Hiding or changing aspects of that content to suit the sensibilities of certain groups is censorship. Which track do we follow as our default option for readers who are not logged in is the question. Resolute 16:45, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
It did answer the question. The community can and does and should exercise thoughtful editorial judgment taking into account a wide range of factors and reader needs in order to determine the default look of articles. That is not censorship, even in cases where cultural sensitivities and age appropriateness and so on are part of the process.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:53, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
I should add that there is a much smaller compromise which I think is tolerable, which I wrote up some time ago here. You could let those interested in "filtering" content occasionally add bowdlerized versions of articles as History revisions, then access them conveniently as frames within a mirror site. By serving only the latest bowdlerized or otherwise approved History versions within a frame, the site could impose its standards reliably without hosting a full mirror. (This approach could also be used to make Wikipedia a factually reliable "textbook" for classes) Wnt (talk) 20:31, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Wnt, that's an interesting idea but the implementation sounds complicated and mirrors are generally failures. Wouldn't your idea mesh with Flagged Revisions--not the review component--but the display aspect. So instead of displaying either 'latest version' or 'latest accepted version' you could also have preferences set to display 'latest kid-friendly' version (or latest academic-expert approved version, or whatever). Ocaasi (talk) 21:32, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, you'd have to have kids access Wikipedia, then log in to restrict their own access. Even when/if they log in, they still have access to the history, the talk page, the external links, Wikimedia Commons... I don't think any restriction would be seen as meaningful. And you'd have to modify PC to recognize different certifying authorities, and apply it to a vast number of articles. Even if you do all that, you'd still have kids free to chat with anonymous internet strangers, which is about a billion times more dangerous than any porno image known to man. Wnt (talk) 22:51, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
In my case, I would turn on such a feature that allowed me to have NSFW images hidden by default (I often work in airports and other public places, and the nature of my work includes investigating all manner of conflicts and complaints). I'd leave it turned on if a child or my mother were using my computer. Parents can turn such features on (if they are easy to find) and leave them on. If well-designed, they will be useful and minimally intrusive.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:55, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, Jimbo, you answered my question above after someone shouted the buzz-word "censorship". Just to clarify: you envision that the default would leave wikipedia as it appears right now, and the "enduser" will have to switch something "on" for any filter to kick in? (That would be reasonable. I would only be skeptical about a situation where one gets a box that says "in order to see this image, please create an account and switch off the filter.") Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 20:15, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
I like Wnt's idea. This would create a School-friendly Wikipedia. Obviously it can be a WMF project. The markup syntax looks simpler on the first glance but it involves too many very complicated problems: vandalism, non-logged viewing, history viewing. Also every complication of the syntax enlarge the barriers for the novice users (that are already too high). It should be relatively easy to make a viewer that would show the latest of the approved versions (and either show the latest or show nothing if no approved versions exists). It would not show history, talk pages or give an access to editing. It can be done on either server side (as e.g. address or on the client side. Trusted users (e.g. roll-back users) should be able to mark the school-safe revisions. In similar manner we could mark muslim-friendly revisions, etc. Alex Bakharev (talk) 02:50, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I think we've clarified that we should distinguish a "child safe version" from a "courtesy filter". The two have absolutely different purposes and would require much different implementation. I think that a setting to protect people from overly nosy passersby would not need to be anything elaborate - just display every thumbnail image with a default setting of, oh, maybe 40 x 40 pixels, and be done with it. No rating, no arguments. Wnt (talk) 05:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Censorship is done by the readers, not Wikipedia: (another clarification) Any text filters, image-suppression options, or conditional displays would be selected by the user groups as "censorship" for themselves. Meanwhile, Wikipedia, as a whole, would still retain the typical, open freedom of speech (except "yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater") as allowed before. In that sense there is no "censorship of Wikipedia" (by current Wikipedia polices), although some editors, individually, might continue to try, such as deleting text saying a murder suspect had never been arrested before, as a way to make readers suspect a history of possible criminal behavior. Such deletionist "sins of omission" are the real censorship to beware: by removing all details to the contrary, any suspect of a crime can be slanted to seem "more likely guilty" if all the sourced details which refute claims of guilt are deleted from articles. That is the reason Wikipedia needs a stronger policy for WP:NOTCENSORED, because removing half of the NPOV story (as a WP:DESYNTH), can often mislead readers to have false impressions, in the reverse manner of WP:SYNTH, where 2 or more sources are combined to imply a novel, unsourced conclusion. A WP:DESYNTH would be a case where known details are deleted to mislead readers into having other unsourced conclusions. -Wikid77 13:49, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
    • ...Which has nothing to do with either the topic at hand (tagging images, text sections, whole articles in a way that allows either our software or external software to conditionally be shows or be hidden for specific users or groups of users) or with meta:deletionism, which is about the more or less strict standards applied for accepting and removing articles. WP:UNDUE, WP:NPOV, WP:OR, ... are all policies which have to do with unbalanced, slanted articles by careful selection of what to include and what to exclude, which is in general not a deletionist vs. inclusionist problem. Fram (talk) 15:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Possible piracy

I am directing here to inform about an unusual event that took place yesterday on this ANI report. What happend is that I provided a diff in the report (the first one) that at the moment I made the report contained substantially less edit content than in the moment User:Baseball Bugs responded (1 hour later). In the moment I made the report, the edit [3] consisted only of the removal by User:DIREKTOR of the initial part:


And atheist ,communist ,Yugonostalgic genious like you is 100% neutral??? Yeah, right! LOL

a friendly piece of advice:stick to the topics that you understand (medicine) and stay away from the topics where you are total amateur (i.e. history)"

without any of the further changes found now in the same diff, meaning, all the rest (the section name changes, more comments removed, and the direktors explanation on bottom) were not there. That is another reason why I talk about "a comment" (single) in the report. Resumingly, the diff was modified without the modifications being recorded on the articles edit history. FkpCascais (talk) 00:07, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

I looked at this, but I don't understand it. Perhaps others can research this and comment. Is it possible for a diff to change based on suppression of intervening diffs or something?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:36, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

I also touth of that possibility, and that was why I waited one day to report this. I also touth that it could have been some upload problem and only the initial part of the edit was appearing to me, but no, I checked the edit several times back then when making the report (5 or 6 times at least) and it allways contained removed only the initial part. The edit was consistently shorter when donne, and expanded later. The diff was purpously modified so the author of the edit is spared from my complain, modifiying it in a way that instead of being a removal of one comment without any explanation (as it was initially, containing only the removal by direktor of the first comment found on the diff) it was now a removal of several comments with an explanation added at the bottom and including some section title changes. Obviously, I wouldn´t have reported the diff as it appears now after the modifications, and I wouldn´t be talking about the removal of "the comment" as I mention in the report. The diff was basically "fixed" with all the additions somewhere hapening around one hour after I made the report. That modification was donne not by normal editing but by some page content modification without being registred in the edit history, only explained by piratery, which in that case would be serios issue. FkpCascais (talk) 18:47, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
P.S.:As seen in the report (Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive681#Removal_of_another_user_comment_on_article_talk_page) I even went searcing for the diff when the removed comment was made, something I certainly wouldn´t do if there was a number of comments removed donne on different edits. The removal of the other comments, the adding of the explanation at bottom and the section titles changes were certaninly done later. FkpCascais (talk) 19:06, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Happy First Day of Spring!

Delayed changes need activation

Dear Sir I have heard much in news about so-called "Delayed changes" system. Would be very helpful in deal with sneaky people like Special:Contributions/The Last Wikipedian It is a most excellent idea! (talk) 04:30, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Opt-in Page Rating

Hey Jimbo - I've been playing around with various internet filtering solutions, e.g. OpenDNS, and it seems like the tools to allow parents to monitor and control internet content their kids are exposed to have matured. What, if anything, would prevent WP from implementing a similar opt-in page rating system? I'm thinking of a property (or collection of properties) embedded in each page and set by the community that will alert opt-in systems such as OpenDNS to presence of adult-themed material. Curious to know your thoughts on this matter. Ronnotel (talk) 17:38, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Not to butt in, but that seems really unnecessary. Firstly, that seems to sort of conflict with the not censored stuff, and there are already tons of programs (some already built into many, if not all, newer computers) that do the same thing.-RHM22 (talk) 03:21, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I support such measures. I think WP:NOTCENSORED is not a good reason not to do it. My own view is that NPOV categories are the way to handle this, and then end users (or software like you are talking about) can decide what to do about it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:14, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
What are "NPOV" categories? Fram (talk) 08:04, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
All it would do is spawn endless arguments over whether X should be censored. For example; images of Mohammed? Images of people in disasters, or body parts etc. Images of guns? That's a can of worms that doesn't seem worthwhile opening; censorship needs to be performed on a more local level and the selection of scope made by that individuals. --Errant (chat!) 09:54, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Completely agree with you, Errant. The only possible way forward would be to apply a series of NPOV labels, set by the community, that merely describe the presence of content that may be potentially objectionable. The labels are not normally visible to the casual viewer (see below, viewing and manipulating the tags would require the user to turn on a preference). It is then up to the viewer's environment (broswer, content filtering solution, etc.) to determine whether a page should be shown to that user by referencing the meta tags. Most of schools can't let their students use WP now because of content objections. A solution like this could help make WP more available to those kids. Ronnotel (talk) 12:33, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback, Jimbo. I know this has caused controversy before and there's a likely to be huge negative reaction from the WP:NOTCENSORED crowd. However, I was thinking that the way to go would be to make the page ratings completely 'opt-in' - i.e. visible only if you have specifically turned on a preference. When a page gets a rating, such as "profanity", it would simply generate meta tags that another tool, for instance a content filter application at a school, could use to filter the page based on its various meta tags. The vast majority of WP users can safely ignore the preference and their viewing experience will be unchanged since they will never see the rating and they can simply choose to use a viewing platform that does not employ content filtering. The small fraction of WP users who have an interest in making WP more available to non-adult audiences can deploy the preference and participate in the page ratings. I think this might require some small change on the dev side (new preference(s), generate meta tags, etc.). I don't have much visibility into the dev process and I would appreciate a pointer or two on how to navigate. Thoughts? Ronnotel (talk) 12:23, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Given that one of the most qualified legal scholars of the last century resorted to "I know it when I see it", I don't see how a single label would work (in other words, I think the idea is broken and should be rejected). But we could possibly make use of the the Wikipedia crowd, and have (potentially) every individual registered user assign a separate value on certain danger scales ("obscene", "violent", "religiously offensive", "makes people think"). Values could be averaged for the overall rating, possibly with a decay factor. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:12, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I would not be against it as long as it is only used when someone specifically sets it what way on their preferences. Also, I think only administrators should be allowed to assign parental info to articles. If you allow anybody to set the level, people will be marking everything as inappropriate.-RHM22 (talk) 14:14, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
@Stephen - most modern rating systems attempt to use multiple, objective criteria rather than a single subjective criteria. For instance, a TV show might be tagged with "Nudity, mild language, some violence". It's then up to the gate-keeper (i.e. the kid's parent) to decide whether the show would be appropriate. I'm thinking along the same lines. If a user opts-in by setting a preference on their account, they would then be able to view and/or edit multiple ratings properties. For instance, a tasteful nude portrait might be tagged with "nudity", while a picture demonstrating the use of a sex toy might be labeled "nudity" + "sexual content" + "explicit". Again, only those who have turned on the preference would even see these ratings. It would be up to the gate keepers (i.e. parents, school-based filtering solutions) to determine what level is appropriate for their viewers. For someone who doesn't care about these issues, the impact would be completely zero. They haven't turned on the preference - they don't see the ratings, their experience is completely unaffected. Ronnotel (talk) 14:34, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Oh, it would definitely have an impact on articles, and one that is in my opinion unwanted. When such a system would be in place, people would either self-censor articles, or ask for the censoring of them, so that the content would remain visible for people filtering out "nudity" or "profanity" or "unveiled women" or whatever potentially unwanted content there may be. If e.g. an article on Peter Paul Rubens would be tagged with "nudity" as long as File:Peter Paul Rubens 019.jpg was included, then wouldn't it be better to remove that (and similar) pictures from the article, so that school children are still able to read about Rubens on Wikipedia? What about Phan Thị Kim Phúc? Should we remove the picture because it is "child nudity" and/or "violence"? Such a scheme will lead to endless discussions, with little to no benefit in the end. Fram (talk) 15:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Fram, it sounds like you are responding to something no one is proposing. What I think is that we have an encyclopedic responsibility to identify the facts of reality in a clear and accurate way, and that there is a very easy and obvious responsible middle ground which does *not* require removal of images to satisfy edge cases. It actually is possible to find middle ground here, if people are willing to try. The debate between "take it out, it is offensive" and "to hell with you, you'll look at what we want you to look at" is stale. It's time to move on to thinking about responsible and thoughtful accommodation and compromise. NPOV labeling and individual control is the Wikipedia way.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:10, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
That's the second time you used NPOV in conjunction with labelling things as nudity, profanity, etcetera. Could you please elaboate on what is the link between "Editors must write articles from a neutral point of view, representing all significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias." and indicating whether a page containing e.g. works of arts should be labeled "nudity", "artistic nudity", "nsfw", or whatever one would prefer? As for my comments: the proposal is to categorize articles so that people may install category-based filters to exclude some articles from view for some groups (e.g. schools may filter all pages with nudity). The to me logical next step is that people will try to have pages not labeled as conteining nudity, to make them more accessible for restricted audiences. The only obvious options to achieve this are to either remove the labeling from such pages, or to remove the offending bits from such pages. The first will lead to edit wars, the last is censoring. We have all witnessed the repeated removal of works of arts from Commons because they offended some people (or because someone feared that they would offend other people or generate bad publicity or whatever). There is no "very easy and obvious responsible middle ground", as evidenced by that fiasco. Fram (talk) 08:02, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Which one of "Nudity, mild language, some violence" is objective? Nude faces? Feet? Breast(s) (male or female)? Popeye or the A-Team vs. 24 or Spooks on violence? I know which ones give me nightmares. And seriously, if someone is offended by "language", they are welcome to stop using any. The fixation on certain "dirty words" seems to be a very culture-dependent criteria that is not applicable to the international audience of Wikipedia at all. Moreover, specific words are very easy to filter on the client-side. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:39, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Most of the comments above seem to have misunderstood my position, and so I will expand on it here. Problems about whether or not filtering systems work or work well enough should be left to others. My point is that NPOV tagging is entirely possible and well within our capacity, and reasonable default settings are well within our capacity. I can't tell you whether a particular image is appropriate for you or not. I can tell you what the image is of. "Image of Muhammad" - and you decide if you want to see it or not. Simple measures can be taken to allow end users control over their experience. The real danger here is that "cram it down their throats to prove WP:NOTCENSORED" as a sentiment may blind people to the possibilities of individual choice.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree. If it is done, I think that each article with potentially objectionable content should be labeled as such by administrators. There would several invisible tags that could be added, such as "religion", "nudity", "crude language" etc. That way, in your preferences, you could click a box that says "don't show me nudity, religion etc".-RHM22 (talk) 19:08, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Err "Image of Muhammad" is highly POV. One of the standing objections to the images is that they don't actualy depict muhammad (since none of the depictions date from anywhere close to his lifetime). La trahison des images gets taken seriously.©Geni 19:13, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. "Image of Muhammad" is quite straightforward in the vast majority of cases. In the edge cases, it is quite simple to refine the label so that it is NPOV. Do you have any examples or are you simply objecting to object? Give me an example, and I'll work with you to find a neutral and informative way of describing it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:18, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
okey lets take a fairly straigforward one.File:Mohammed kaaba 1315.jpg You would probably describe that as an image of Mohammed yes? However it was painted ~680 years after his death and claiming it as an image of the prophet would from the POV of certian versions of islam be a lying and/or blasphemy. Either way its pushing a POV. A more NPOV forumation would be something along the lines of "images intended to depict Muhammad" however that is not only clumsy but would also include File:Aziz efendi-muhammad alayhi s-salam.jpg which is probably not the intent. Sure you can get around this by adding ever longer tags or writing the whole thing in Lojban but by that point you've destoryed any reasonable level of usability so your approach is less effective than just leaving people to construct lists of images they want to block in adblock pluss.©Geni 19:55, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
That particular image is already categorised as "Muslim depictions of Muhammad" - I presume that a tag would be different to a cat, in a sense, (or may be not - the distinction is fairly arbitrary), but if I understand Jimbo correctly, a tag or a category with that wording would be sufficient to permit appropriate software to allow an individual to choose whether or not to display the image, without impacting on notcensored, and the wording "depictions of Muhammad" is sufficiently NPOV to avoid the question of whether it is an accurate portrayal. - Bilby (talk) 00:06, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Bilby is absolutely correct, and this is my point. We already do perfectly well with NPOV tagging. That's what we do quite well. Of course people can always argue and fuss about what tags to use. And, no, I don't propose that we do any completely new tagging system - such would be a needless duplicate of what we already do quite well. I let this example run to illustrate the point: those who say that NPOV tagging is impossible must, to be consistent, be opposed to our category tagging entirely.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:29, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Errr you are aware that that category is on commons right? And that Commons doesn't have a NPOV policy that resembles anything on the english wikipedia?16:48, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

I would argue vehemently that NPOV tagging is entirely impossible and completely outside our capacity, as a multicultural project. One person's porn is another's erotica is another's refreshingly frank fiction. --Orange Mike | Talk 19:27, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

I can't see why this would be a bad idea, but I do think that what is said by editors above is cogent, Jimbo. There probably would be disputes about whether and how particular things should be tagged (how nude is nude? what sort of behaviours count as sexual?). It's a hallmark of Wikipedia that editors will find opportunities to disagree wherever they can. You could object, though, that all that is is an argument for never doing anything new.
I do think that if it was introduced it would be a good idea, if poss, to make it unavailable to IPs or things would constantly be getting tagged and untagged (this would not apply to former IPs, of course).
Mike, what you're saying is correct, but that's just a reason for not designing a system that has options such as "porn", "erotica", "refreshingly frank fiction". It's also a reason not to allow new tags to be created without consensus.--FormerIP (talk) 19:38, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I think that Mike is mistaken, actually. We already do a great job of NPOV labeling of images. The point of NPOV is that we (already) tend to avoid tags that involve a value judgment. We already deal perfectly well with questions like "how nude is nude?" The point I am trying to make here is that we are already doing what many people are claiming is impossible: we categorize images in an NPOV fashion. Much of the negative reaction here seems to be either unaware of our category system, or envisioning something different that no one is actually proposing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:29, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
People would be hiding pages on Wikipedia based on categories on Commons? That seems problematic to me. And how NPOV is the labeling, and are we really doing a great job of it? I can imagine that every page that has a picture listed in the Commons category "Category:Female buttocks" would be hidden for some viewers. (I don't know why anyone would believe the sight of female buttocks to be a problem, but that's beside the point). Would this include every image in the subcategories as well? If so, many articles on art and artists would be hidden as well. The same for categories like "nude females" and so on. Luckily, we can replace some of these images with other Commons images which are not similarly categorised, even if they could be; File:Rubens, Peter Paul (workshop) - Die drei Grazien - 1620-24.jpg has no "restricting" NPOV categories, but File:Las tres Gracias de Rubens (Detalle).jpg has, so make sure to only use the former and not the latter. Fram (talk) 08:56, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

I would tend to agree that any useful tagging is inherently impossible; regardless of how the categories are named, they remain "things some group might want to not see because they might be offended" which requires judgement and subjective evaluation. Even something as "straightforward" as nudity isn't: is a woman wearing only a cache-sexe nude? Is a man? What if they wear nothing, but only their head and shoulders are visible? What if it's a man shown from the waist up? A woman? Or a woman seen from the waist up, but facing away from the camera? What if their entire body is visible but genitalia is obscured by the decor? What if the obstruction is added to the image itself rather than part of the photograph? What do we do in the frequent Hollowodian case that context and setup obviously indend to imply that the subject is nude, but they are not (and it's not possible to tell)?

That impossibility to classify neutrally is the easy part too: with the tags will come pressure to have articles contain no "tagged" material so that "all" may see them; quickly causing de facto ghettos and encouraging self-censorship. That's if things go well.

I'm sorry, Jimmy, but I can't think of a worse idea. — Coren (talk) 19:47, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Land war in Asia. Hands down. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:38, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
To Coren: That seems a little dramatic. If such a feature were available, I think very few would use it outside of schools and possibly some young children.-RHM22 (talk) 21:12, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Then you posses depths of optimism to which I cannot aspire. I predict that, should such a tagging feature be turned on, wheel wars over tags are inevitable. (And yes, "nothing worse" is hyperbole; what I obviously means is that "... in the context of content control ...") — Coren (talk) 00:19, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't it be nice if we could modularly reuse content among different presentations? This is bigger than anything Wikipedia is or could forseeably be, but indulge me for a second as I dream. In Wikipedia Mark N+1, for each different possible article, editors create content that has both a handle or tag (think of a current section or subsection) and an attribute. So if I want to see (just picking this one because I saw an OTRS ticket complaining about its images) the article Vulva, it would by default show everything we currently have. But if users want to create and upload, say, a line drawing in place of any of the pictures, it could be uploaded with the same tag and a different attribute--say "line drawing of female human vulva" vs. "photograph of human female vulva". In my ideal world, users can choose by default, "show me no photographs of human nudity" and selectively opt-out of the images. I'd love it if this would allow sections of technical articles to be rewritten for non-technical audiences, and readers could select their preferred reading level. If we could keep articles adhering to the same skeleton between different languages, we could then eliminate different "language" wikipedias, and then just store different texts as different attributes of one, all-encompassing article. Ultimately, if this were achieved consistently, all we need to do is allow account configuration to be fixed and password protected, and then we have the ability to have hobbled accounts, locked off to the child-appropriate parts of Wikipedia, opening the knowledge base to kids who might otherwise be restricted from Wikipedia access. Part of inclusionism and diversity is recognizing when others' value systems differ from our own. I'd much rather make enable a setting that says "Don't show me any images that depict Muhammad" than either thumb our nose at Muslims who care about it OR buckle and remove the images entirely. Just because we have a "don't display images" option doesn't mean it's anything more than an inelegant kludge. Jclemens (talk) 00:29, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
What if the "NPOV categories" were highly refined? That is, instead of having a "human nudity" hidden tag, what if there were different tagsfor "revealed human female face," "revealed human male face", "revealed human female abdomen", and "revealed human male genitalia"? Or would that be useless for interaction with the types of software mentioned by the OP? It sure would be a big pain to categorize pictures that way, but it presumably could be done gradually, over time. I don't support "censorship" (in the sense of government restrictions on the publication of images), but I do support people's ability to self-restrict as well as restrict what members of their own family (or, probably, even company or school) can see. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:23, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
There may be a big potential for creep, though, when you describe it like that. If it is claimed that parents want to have the facility to filter out anything to do with "Theory of Evolution", do we pander to that? --FormerIP (talk) 02:33, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I would say so. And if some people don't want to see Muhammed, or some people don't want to see nudity, or anything else. I really don't see why an opt-in filter wouldn't be a good idea. Right now, there are probably millions of children who aren't allowed to learn from all the knowledge available on Wikipedia because of what some people call objectionable. To me, it doesn't matter if a kid is a fundamentalist Christian or a conservative Muslim, or if his/her parent are enormous prudes. They should all be able to access Wikipedia with their parent's approval. As long as the tags are applied either by administrators or trusted users (not just autoconfirmed), there probably wouldn't be a huge problem. Sure, some articles would be labeled incorrectly due to POV or whatever else, but if there are children who can't even access Wikipedia at all the way it is now (either at school or at home), then they're not seeing anything anyway. That's just my opinion. To me, as long as everything is done properly and responsibly, it won't cause huge waves.-RHM22 (talk) 02:55, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

This topic was discussed at Meta:2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content and related talk pages. I oppose rating on Wikipedia because: how do you enforce that people apply the "right" rating scheme? If someone has a different opinion about a particular image, how do you prove him wrong? Endless discussion? Do you have an ever-running majority vote by edit war? The only definitive way - i.e. the only effective way - would be by having admins establish a dictatorial hierarchy in which anyone at a lower level is banned if they classify an image too lightly, or allow someone else to do so. Now that actually can work in a private ratings organization with a strong, monolithic religious viewpoint. It could also work if each user has the right to create his own ratings system and to choose which other users' ratings he trusts. But such systems are not "NPOV" - they are absolutely, unashamedly POV - and they should be administered outside of the normal functioning of Wikipedia. For example, a company providing the internet censorship software which schools and libraries are forced to provide at public expense could recognize that specific URLs within Wikipedia should not be served (whether articles or images). For all I know they are doing so now. That is their business, not ours. Wnt (talk) 03:46, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

How about the way we handle any other content dispute? Local consensus, 3O, MEDCAB, etc... Jclemens (talk) 05:37, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Political content disputes can be very hard to resolve, but in the end there are sources to go by. WP:V covers a multitude of sins. But the definition of categories for rating articles has no reliable source, and everyone has an opinion. There simply is no objective consensus. Wnt (talk) 06:02, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Why are objective criteria even useful? Consider that what people don't want to see is itself subjective. Consider also that things could be multi-tagged. There's no reason that every niche cabal of whomever couldn't stick their own seal of approval or disapproval on anything, and any user could be free to use or not use any one of the myriad of rating schemes. Give people the freedom to organize content as they see fit, and other people the ability to entrust whomever they choose, and then there's no problem, is there? Jclemens (talk) 06:07, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
That is the best way to do it, but note that now you've made the ratings non-collaborative. Keeping them on Wikipedia means that one person can maliciously or accidentally damage someone else's rating, but it doesn't allow multiple raters to do any better than they can on their own. If any IP can edit some morass of special notations in an image file and flip them around, you'll always have odd things popping up where they're not wanted. So it's best to continue by moving the ratings entirely off the site. Wnt (talk) 06:32, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I think there is a significant different between the current proposal and the ratings model - the proposal, as I understand it, isn't to add a rating scheme to images, but to use meaningful categories which describe the content in a machine-readable fashion. So you wouldn't say "18+ only" so much as "Sexual acts" or "Male nudity", as we already do. Thus there wouldn't be concerns about incorrect ratings, so much as concerns about incorrect categorisation - and those are problems that we already face. I presume that the categories may need to be expanded, in order to allow fine-grained options for the end user, but having effective NPOV categories is a plus for the project anyway. - Bilby (talk) 09:20, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Well-put. I agree. Effective NPOV categories are useful to permit community and end-user control over their experience at Wikipedia, as well as having obvious encyclopedic purpose as well.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:39, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
So if I understand this correctly, what's being proposed is something that resembles the current categories but with the ability to emit meta tags that are machine readable. In addition, these tag-emitting categories, whatever they are called, should be somewhat more stable than existing categories since there will be an expectation by third parties developers who will treat these like an API. That sounds like an interesting approach. Ronnotel (talk) 12:47, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
And these cats (or their tags) should be passed on from Commons to en.wikipedia as well, if I understand it correctly, and they should be diverse enough to prevent lumping together innocent and less innocent pictures into one potentially blocked category, and they should be perfectly NPOV somehow, e.g. being perfectly clear what is nudity vs. what is sexual content vs. what is educational sexual content vs. what is artistic nudity etcetera. Considering that the categories, i.e. the metatags, will come from Commons, this also implies that they have to be universal, i.e. the Danish Wikipedia will receive the same metatags as the English and as the Malaysian, even though they may have a completely different concept of what is e.g. indecent female undressing. Should we add categories to Commons indicating whether on a picture of a woman, any hair is visible? Her ankles? Anything at all? Fram (talk) 13:48, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
@Fram, I take your point but this is, after all, English Wikipedia and the tag-emitting categories themselves will be in English. I don't know that we need to overweight Danish sensitivities. The Danes would presumably be free to develop their own categories. Ronnotel (talk) 14:12, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
(removed the semicolon so you're post isn't bolded, hope you don't mind!-RHM22 (talk) 15:14, 17 March 2011 (UTC))But the categorization would not happen on the English Wikipedia, but (at least for most of the pictures) on Commons. I don't know if Commons will be very happy to add categories dependent on the different wikipedia-languages, or if they will be happy adding matadata categories for the English language Wikipedia only. (I know that I am mixing language and culture in my comments, but we don't have culture-oriented Wikipedia versions, only language-oriented ones, but in many cases, they are linked together to some extent). Fram (talk) 14:56, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand why anyone thinks there would be POV involved in labeling. There's either nudity or there isn't. I don't think anyone is suggesting that articles be "rated" like movies are. That is POV by its nature. Simply labeling images or articles as to what is in them is not, however.-RHM22 (talk) 15:14, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Is File:Breast feeding within minutes.jpg "nudity"? Or File:Female human buttocks.jpg? File:Bone Crusher exposing his buttocks.jpg? File:Aloys Röhr - Arsch gezeigt.jpg? Fram (talk) 15:26, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Individual labeling of media files at Commons or in English Wikipedia is neither necessary, nor, to my mind, even optimal. Please stop throwing up straw men. I would argue that labeling at the article level is far better in this case. And yes, I grant you there will always be edge cases - so what? There are plenty of edge cases now and WP seems pretty good at resolving them. Ronnotel (talk) 15:41, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
But then your solution is quite different from the one proposed here by other people, who clearly indicate that it should be done on file level (see e.g. the discussion about images depicting Mohammed). My objections are not straw men, they just address the proposal discussed so far, not the one you give (which has other problems). Fram (talk) 15:51, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I think that the articles have much of the same ambiguity - consider breast feeding for example. Some people will see smut and some will see Madonnas. Most of the alleged Muhammad images will have their own articles, etc. To be clear, does the proposal for categorization of articles in this way include blocking/banning editors who add images to articles without adjusting the categories at the end of the article? Wnt (talk) 16:17, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
That seems a little absurd. If an image is going to change the "rating" of an article, it probably shouldn't be added anyway. If I'm reading about Canada, I don't need to see a woman's ass. Also, as far as breast feeding goes, yes, that is nudity. If a human female breast is exposed, that is nudity. The point of "ratings" is not to say that breast feeding or showing breasts is immoral, it's just to let people know what's in the article and allow them to decide whether or not they want to see it.-RHM22 (talk) 17:57, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I would disagree. Modern celebrity fashion is that as long as the nipple isn't visible, it isn't nudity. You can't see the nipple when it is in the baby's mouth; therefore, most breast-feeding images are not nudity. So long as we keep out of the rating racket, this disagreement doesn't need to lead to blocked editors and general strikes. Wnt (talk) 00:35, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
"If an image is going to change the "rating" of an article, it probably shouldn't be added anyway." What about works of art in articles on artists? Paintings, photographs, ... These can clearly influence the rating an article would get. Look at Eadward Muybridge and compare it with One contains photographs of nudity, the other one doesn't. Claiming that because the addition of the nude photographs, the article would get a different rating, and therefor the photographs shouldn't be added, is a perfect example of how this scheme would lead to unwanted censoring of our content. Fram (talk) 20:28, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

No offense, but you're really putting words in my mouth. Clearly what I meant is that most articles would not benefit from images depicting nudity or other controversial matters. Some articles obviously would, but most would not. Wikipedia is a work in progress, so if an article would benefit from a nude image, it'll be added and the tag would eventually reflect that. Like I said earlier, IPs and new users can simply not be allowed to tag articles that contain nudity, because you'll have all kinds of censorship going on.-RHM22 (talk) 20:39, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

The issue of cultural bias problems still arises though. Nudity is an obvious category certainly. Would you be as open to categorising an article as containing an image of "women showing XYZ portions of skin", because in certain countries that is viewed as offensive. I argue that finding a limit to what is being categorised is the inherent problem --Errant (chat!) 20:44, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Not really putting any words in your mouth, just showing how untenable or unwanted your stated position was. I'm glad that you adjusted or clarified it once this was pointed out with a clear example. As for the rest, it often is not about "allow them to decide whether or not they want to see it.", but about whether they allow others to see it or not. Why should we make this easier? Why should we e.g. help the Chinese Government filter out all pages including descriptions of or images of what happened at Tien-an-Men Square? Why should we help schools in hiding the article on breast feeding or the article Pioneer plaque because it contains "nudity" (as far as one can call that nudity)? This will only lead to more edit wars, more discussions, for very little benefit (even assuming that a good system can be found, since there seems to be no agreement whether this should be image-based, on Commons, or article-based, here, and how it should be done). Fram (talk) 20:56, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
ErrantX: If a signifigant amount of readers of the English language Wikipedia find that objectionable, then yes. I would say the same thing about anything. Muhammed, nudity, vulgar content etc. I'd imagine that partially clothed women (IE, bikinis) would probably offend only a small subsection of English language readers, though. Something like that would be a lot bigger concern for Arabic, Farsi, Persian and the most common languages of other Islamic nations. In most Christian nations, violence and nudity would probably be the biggest offenders.
Fram: I don't believe that Wikipedia is in the business of helping the Chinese government censor the encyclopedia, but if a large percentage of Chinese viewers are indeed offended by images or descriptions of the Tienanmen square incident, then I would allow them to block out such content on their accounts or computers. Still, it seems very strenuous to connect self imposed censorship of articles on a case by case basis with forced governmental censorship as is happening within the current Chinese dictatorship. Allowing users to choose what they want to see is a lot different from forcing it on them.-RHM22 (talk) 21:03, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Also, there are several different kinds of nudity. First and foremost are the two major categories into which all such images fall, spurious and educational. Some of our more pornography-centered articles depict spurious nudity whose original goal was undoubtedly to titillate. The Pioneer image you linked to is entirely different, and was presumably meant to be educational when the aliens found it.-RHM22 (talk) 21:07, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
"Allowing users to choose what they want to see is a lot different from forcing it on them." True, but both options get easier with metadate or specific warning categories. You don't only help users to choose what they want to see, but also to to choose what others may see, no matter if it is parents for their children, schools for their students, or governments for their people. I don't believe that the supposed benefits outweigh the disadvantages and possible problems. (Speaking of problems, what if some parents or schools rely on our metadata, and then find that their children have seen some nudity or whatever they find objectionable, because we forgot to tag one page or image correctly? At least now, people don't get the impression that we take any responsability for what people may see, even though we aim to only include relevant pictures for all articles). Fram (talk) 21:17, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, nothing on Wikipedia is perfect, and that would also extend to the tags. I really don't see how such a tool could be used for governmental censorship, since the proposed idea would be an opt-in for individual users. Maybe if everyone in a certain country used the same WP account. Even if a government could use it to censor Wikipedia, it's nothing they don't already have access to as it is. I'd imagine that most governments that are interested in censoring Wikipedia probably already do it.-RHM22 (talk) 21:45, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
RHM22, r.e. the limitations; that is OK so long as it is clear that the intent is to cater specifically for the majority of English language readers. However if such a feature did appear you are going to see persistent requests for that form of tagging, so it must be ironed out clearly before hand where the limit lies. FWIW I disagree that we need to focus on the majority of English language users, this form of self-censorship is quite clearly a minority issue and if this really is to move forward we need to identify the strong minorities on WP who would like to see content tagged for their benefit in this way. That will probably mean Mohammed images. There is also the issue that has the largest amount of content by far - and, so, we are a global Wiki, which means we have to at least consider it from a global perspective. --Errant (chat!) 23:23, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
To lay out a scenario for censorship, let's consider what happens if people set up the proposed categories and somehow manage to suppress edit wars enough to make them stable, however many editors that costs. Someone then works out a way to confine child readers to some subset of the categories that is considered "child safe" - no nudity, no death, no expressions of racial hatred, etc. etc. Well what happens next? Obviously, some vandal sees a big juicy target and makes however many edits it takes to get autoconfirmed. He goes into the "child safe" article, on some innocuous kid show, and puts in a big hairy something or other. Now the proponents of "child safe", who by this time have quite a caucus set up, don't just want him banned - they say, he targeted children for pornography and go after him with some state law of very dubious constitutionality, of which there are altogether too many. Now I assume that such a NONOCENSORED wikipedia would cheerfully hand over the vandal's full information without a second thought, but what if that isn't enough? What if the prosecutor says, hey wait a minute, these "child safe" people have a list of complaints on this forum a mile long, so he decides to subpoena Wikipedia for all records for the past 120 days so he can figure out how many editors added an image to an article without changing its rating "appropriately". Now, note, it is no longer up to the editors, but the prosecutors, post facto, to decide whether breast feeding is nudity and so forth. They can make up their lists, make a purge of editors, and demand that Wikipedia enter into a consent decree for permanent censorship of large categories of information, probably they'll throw in articles about explosives or infoboxes which show the location of nuclear power plants by the time they finish.
And after that? It's time to petition Hudong to start an English site so we can have some freedom of speech. Wnt (talk) 01:34, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
No offense, but that is absolutely ridiculous. While there are pros and cons for allowing self censorship, there's just about zero chance of anyone going after Wikipedia because they "exposed children to pornography". I'm sure Jimbo will tell you that Wikipedia gets sued probably dozens of times per year, like all high profile websites, individuals and organizations. If someone wanted to sue because their children were exposed to pornography via an article on Barney the Dinosaur, they would do it anyway. I'm certain that if such a program of self censorship were allowed, it would not say "you are absolutely guaranteed to see no pornography at all when you use this tool." While I don't doubt that some nut might try to sue, it would be totally baseless.-RHM22 (talk) 02:45, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
But if e.g. schools can not trust the system, why would they use it? If they don't allow the use of Wikipedia now for fear of exposing their students to titillation or violence or a more correct explanation of the evolutionary theory, then why would they change that if we have a metadata system that would give them some indication but no reassurance? And if schools and so on wouldn't use the system, then why would we implement it? Fram (talk) 09:55, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Like I said earlier, nothing is perfect. There's no guarantee that every single potentially offending item will be blocked from view, but I think that schools would feel a lot more comfortable with that than regular Wikipedia. Also, I don't think violence or evolution would be an issue for American or European schools, because most (besides Catholic) teach about those things anyway. In the U.S., nudity or sexual content is the ultimate taboo when it comes to children.-RHM22 (talk) 15:11, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

(deindent) RHM22, above you state "I really don't see how such a tool could be used for governmental censorship, since the proposed idea would be an opt-in for individual users." But here, you agree that it can be used by schools. If the users (students) log in to Wikipedia, either they use the school IP (and I don't think this would work for IPs as presented, it would be coupled with user preferences I suppose), or with an individual user, not a school user (role account). Schools can hardly prevent users from logging in with their own account or logging in as an IP. In this case, the school would have no influence at all on the opt-in or opt-out of the user (student), and it would achieve nothing. Can you please explain how this would work for a school in your view? Fram (talk) 15:23, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, I don't know much about technical stuff, but I'd imagine that the school could have a single account for student use. I'm not sure how that works, but I believe they do that already for certain websites.-RHM22 (talk) 15:34, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
They can of course hand out one "accepted" login, e.g. for informational websites which only hand out a limited amount of accounts, but I don't think that if a school allows a website, they can actually monitor (or at least restrict) what anyone chooses to type in the login and password fields (they would need to be able to make the difference between a student typing in the search box, and a student typing in the login box, to do that). It may be technically possible, but it would amaze me if it was much used in school environments. Fram (talk) 15:48, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Actually, that's called a role account, and is not allowed on Wikipedia. Schools really can't have a single login for Wikipedia. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 13:08, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
  • I asked a few weeks ago on the Foundation list what the status was with respect to implementing the recommendations of the 2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content. Opt-in or opt-out is something that is being looked at. The reply I received from Phoebe is here. --JN466 20:11, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
At mw:Personal image filter, results of the work of the tech staff mentioned in that posting can be seen (presumably to be presented to the Board at its March 25/26 meeting). In the design sketched there, "Individual wikis will be required to maintain a 'Category Equivalence Mapping'", a system which appears to be similar to the kind of categories discussed above. Regards, HaeB (talk) 21:30, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, HaeB. --JN466 21:39, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia has existing major POV problems with its text content and its unprofessional of categories (offers to use fix our amateur categorization have been rejected). And text POV problems? says: "One hostile-to-women thing about Wikipedia I have noticed is that if a movie has a rape scene in it, the wiki article will often say it was a sex scene." Giving our broken cat system more importance before we fix it would be a mistake. - WAS 4.250 (talk) 15:26, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

That is a beautifully detailed essay. I'm all too aware that deletionists love to cite WP:NOTDIR as an unrestricted license to remove "detail" that doesn't interest them, and that this carries a very heavy Western bias, but I never even thought about the way that they would use this to quash topics of greater interest to women, let alone that they would target female authors for eradication. Wnt (talk) 20:21, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Are people really targeting female authors, subjects, ...? Or are some females reacting "they are removing my edits, deleting my articles, it must be because I am a woman"? It is a natural reaction to blame some action you don't like on ulterior motives, instead of accepting the given reason at face-value. And obviously there may be instances where the ulterior motives are the true reason, but some unsupported anecdotes like in that essay are not really convincing one way or another, and hardly areason to base an anti-deletionists post on. People trying to divide the Wikipedia-editing community in evil deletionists and good, hardworking inclusionists may weel do more to alienate people and make editors tired of all the in-fighting, than the actual supposed deletionists and inclusionists (who are often the same people in reverse roles, depending on the discussion). Fram (talk) 09:32, 21 March 2011 (UTC)


You should make it so that the only person able to edit a userpage is the user it belongs to because if one user got an award on wikipedia (You do give awards here, right?) and put it on their userpage as a usertag,the other user could just click edit, highlight the usertag code and in the thing at the top of the computer, click edit and paste, edit their userpage, and copy the award on their userpage.--Tepigisthe498th (talk to me!) 18:16, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Yep. We like it that way. And you know what, that's such a silly thing to do, that I don't know of anyone ever actually doing it, giving themselves an award. I mean, it's a big noisy place, so I'm sure someone must have done it at some point, but it's just silly and no one would find it impressive at all. Most people are sensible, as it turns out.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:09, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
To expand on what Jimbo said, awards aren't really given any importance or meaning. They're really just there for editors to congratulate or thank one another, and there is no benefit to having them other than to show that someone appreciates your contributions.-RHM22 (talk) 03:04, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
You are correct, people have done it before. See this. Reaper Eternal (talk) 15:03, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Pending Changes

I suspect you are following the ongoing and interminable discussions thereon. One particular item could be quickly laid to rest if someone in a position of authority could answer the issue of potential liability on the part of any reviewer for accepting an improper edit to any article. I suspect this is a simple matter at its root, but it does seem to bother a significant number of those (possibly a third or more) who are opposed to any such feature on Wikipedia. I am amazed at how many words can be used to express basically a small range of opinions :). The other issue is a belief that until the system is perfect that we ought not use it, which I find weak. Cheers. Collect (talk) 19:58, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

I am unaware of any real issue relating to that. I think arguments that a reviewer accepting an improper edit causes them to become liable for it are thin. The exact same arguments would apply to anyone editing and saving any article with anything improper in it at all. A similar but simpler review system has been in place in German Wikipedia for a long time now, and no such problem has ever arisen there. Anyone who is concerned about such should not edit Wikipedia at all, really, because there is always a risk that a diff will be read wrong and you'll be seen to be saving something improper that someone else did. After 10 years, no one has ever had any trouble from that at all, and I doubt if anyone ever will.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:57, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Re-saving libel added by someone should never be a concern when editing a different part of an article. Clearly the originator of libel is responsible for it today. With pending changes, an editor may be assisting in the posting of libelous information because it is the approval action that makes it publicly visible. I hope that it's not a concern, but there is doubt. In addition, the legal status may vary by country. I don't even know if the applicable laws are from the country of the originator, the reviewer, or the Wikipedia servers. Here are some links with more questions than answers: [4], [5], [6]. My quick read is that anyone living in the UK would be foolish to act as a reviewer. —UncleDouggie (talk) 08:43, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I think your post should make clear to Jimbo that at least some editors are specifically citing this as the issue they find troublesome, and that a definitive answer should sway those holding this as their objection. Collect (talk) 10:07, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I find it troublesome, but it's not my only issue. It's first on my list because liability impacts the number of available reviewers, which has a big effect on all the other issues. —UncleDouggie (talk) 11:16, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't think a definitive answer is possible under any circumstances. The law doesn't work that way. I find the argument completely and totally uncompelling. I often edit from the UK (doing it right now) and this doesn't worry me one bit. What I would recommend is a clear statement of what it means to review making it clear upon submission and as a part of overall policy on the site that to review something is not to claim that it is libel-free but merely an indication by one user of a website that upon a cursory review the changes made were not blatant vandalism.
We don't have an answer right now as to whether a court might find you liable for clicking on 'save' and thus 'co-authoring' libel when you see a spelling error and fix it in the midst of something awful. No court has ever held such, and no plaintiff has ever argued such. I expect the same to be true of this concern if the action is clicking on a review button. We won't know for sure what a court will say, but it won't matter because it's just extremely unlikely to ever come up in the first place.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:46, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly what I thought; but I still don't understand why people think it's any different for PC rejection than it would be for e.g. rollbacks. See here.  Chzz  ►  15:27, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm somewhat less concerned about fixing spelling errors, although this very issue is mentioned as a problem in the links I gave. More troubling is that the software displays a pending change as being "accepted by" the reviewer. Several editors are concerned over this. I know that the WMF can't be our lawyers. However, it would be nice if they could give us some links to the appropriate laws and a guide to how to determine which country's laws would apply to a given case. Alternatively, perhaps we could engage the EFF if Jimbo has some contacts there. After all, we're not a small website anymore and if we can't figure this out I don't know how the rest of the world can. —UncleDouggie (talk) 00:42, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
My concern is that reviewers are given a special status above normal users, and choose whether or not to make submissions viewable to the general public. I think someone might argue that this makes them publishers. I am concerned that PC could be packaged as a "quick check for vandalism", but then reviewers become unwilling to approve potentially libelous edits - by which I mean unflattering information which is sourced to an offline, paywalled, or unfamiliar publication. There are already reviewers saying they do reject such edits. Now the same may be true in semi-protected articles, where editors need to submit requested changes under their own names; but the difference is that any one of dozens of people reading a semi-protected article's talk page might take the time to review the proposed edit properly, or submit a more temperately worded version, whereas with PC there is one quick yes/no decision. Wnt (talk) 08:12, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
If users are unwilling to approve negative material sourced to "an offline, paywalled, or unfamiliar publication" then all I can say is: good. That's a big part of the point here: to provide a bit of buffer so that the public gets access only to material that is of the highest possible quality, in all cases, but particularly when a living person's reputation is at stake.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:23, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

In short - there is no credible reason to think that reviewers would be especially subject to any legal liability beyond what all editors currently have (nil for anything made in good faith). Wikipedia, of course, retains the OTRS system which would still be used if necessary, furnishing yet another layer of protection. I regard the odd side issue of saying "reviewers would be above ordinary users" to be neatly irrelevant to the issue as to whether "pending changes" as a system should be used and improved over time. And the reviewers I know do not make snap decisions. Collect (talk) 12:39, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Evil clown image in Coulrophobia

Should this clown image be added to Coulrophobia?(See also Talk:Coulrophobia#Removal_of_File:Scary_clown.jpg and Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Psychology#Images_in_phobia_articles)Smallman12q (talk) 01:20, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

This seems like an ideal example of a case in which the use of javascript to permit user choice would be a service to the reader.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:36, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Looks a good idea. Could be used for more sensitive images in some articles.--BSTemple (talk) 12:43, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Agree absolutely. I'm going to bring it up at an ongoing WP:NFCR discussion about a disturbing image. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:46, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Except that with ResourceLoader in MediaWiki 1.17, the image is first displayed and then a short-time later it is collapsed. The delay is dependent on network load and the state of the user's browser cache, but it can definitely be seen in most cases. It is also visible in both the edit and preview windows if using WP:wikEd. —UncleDouggie (talk) 12:57, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed that and chuckled to myself (against my will and better judgment)... when I was testing the hidden-template, I kept seeing a "subliminal flash" of the clown. I think that just argues for, as well, keeping the image towards the bottom of the article as well.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:47, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
The current consensus is to keep the image out. Not because it serves as a potential trigger of panic (which it does), but because it doesn't illustrate the topic. It could also confuse readers, as it's not a fear of "evil" clowns, or scary clowns. It's a fear of clowns, and that image doesn't depict that fear. An example of an appropriate image for a phobia article is the lead image in arachnophobia. It illustrates the fear itself. Simply putting an image of the source of fear is unnecessary. People know what clowns are, and if they're so fortunate not to, there's a handy link to clowns where they can find all the information (and pictures!) they need. Additionally, the idea of hiding the image with code has already been discussed on Talk:Coulrophobia with the introduction of a collapsible image box, which would be the more appropriate option than the collapsible discussion box used above. Lara 19:09, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with all of this. Regarding a collapsible discussion box versus collapsible image box, I just didn't know what template to use. This is a very common problem and a broader problem that I think we should be thinking about as a community: it's often very hard for even experienced editors to figure out how to do something. For my work in Wikipedia, I seldom work on anything that needs collapsing, so I just didn't know how to do it. So when I set out to do it, I had trouble.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:43, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
A Buh --A Buh -A Buh - a Billy Boy!!. I had nightmares for weeks after that clown!♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:15, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Is extreme opposite of censorship: cluttership

Some reactions to the talk of deleting, or rather hiding, text, for particular user groups, leads to the opposite concern: what if a user group wanted much more information to be displayed, as their preference about an article? Of course, that would be more rare, and I have had a difficult time trying to find a common word for this viewpoint, such as the non-existent word "cluttership" (or "data hoarding"), to describe people who want tons of information to be revealed about a subject. In this extreme view, some users might want the discussion about nude portraits, by a particular painter, to describe virtually all forms of nudity painted, and could be expected to include a rough count of those paintings and perhaps the titles of almost all nude portraits created by that painter. In reality, I have rarely seen that level of requested detail for art. However, in the sports articles (yup, currently exceeding 1.5 million? pages), there is a similar type of cluttership, with navboxes linking to every game played (complete with home-visitor scores and probably also listing the major game maneuvers). This would be akin to articles for all "87" episodes of "9,000" TV shows, or a similar level of detail, viewed as cluttership. Anyway, the main point is to beware people who might want a user group to view a greater, in-depth coverage, than the general public would prefer. Isn't it a relief to have a rare problem to consider? -Wikid77 02:10, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

"Cluttership" is rightly known as Wikipedia. Everyone who builds it wants something to be known. Wnt (talk) 08:17, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
You may be looking for the term fancruft. --Orange Mike | Talk 18:07, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Humourous revision

Looks like someone wants a personal apology off you. page. Face-tongue.svg Oh, and he says he will unleash an army of Orcs on Wikipedia if you don't comply. Face-smile.svg By the way, please don't take this seriously. Face-tongue.svg --123Hedgehog456 : Create an account! 18:53, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

At least it was only orcs. A gnome invasion would've been truly frightening. Tarc (talk) 18:59, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
To the contrary, we can be quite helpful. Gnome de plume (talk) 19:52, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

hi jimbo wales

hi —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:58, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Pseudoscience v NPOV v Pseudosketicism

British heraldry

Hi Jimbo! I need some help regarding British heraldry. The article Charles Edward Stuart, Count Roehenstart is currently at DYK. May I know how the heraldry title should be at the DYK hook? Should it be Count Charles Edward Stuart, or Charles Edward Stuart, Count de Roehenstart? Bejinhan talks 13:23, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Hi, I am not an expert on British heraldry, but I do know that "Count" is not a British title. The British equivalent is "Earl". So probably you'll want to ask around. A natural assumption might be that the title of the article is the natural title to use in the DYK, but that can be a tricky thing. Although, I don't know much about Continental conventions, I note that in the article we say that his headstone reads "GENERAL CHARLES EDWARD STUART COUNT ROEHENSTART".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:45, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Mmm, but the article also points out that he wasn't actually a General (but he was "sometimes" called that). Sources vary in the way they state the name;
Burke's Peerage says "...more commonly known as Charles Edward Stuart, Count de Roehenstart"; The Complete Peerage says "Charles Edward Stuart was styled as Count Roehenstart, self-styled" and then, there is a book entitled, "The pedigree of Charles Edward Stuart, Count of Roehenstart". So plenty of choices; probably none definitive.
I'd be inclined to go with Burke's - Charles Edward Stuart, Count de Roehenstart - pending any other info, because it sounds about right. But yes, we could ask around. incidentally, I suggested asking you, Mr. Wales, because I remembered reading that you were interested in articles on English nobility articles - but if I remembered wrongly, or the press was wrong...sorry - Mea culpa.  Chzz  ►  16:03, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Keenly interested, but not an expert.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:46, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Cool, cheers.  Chzz  ►  17:01, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
The article itself seems somewhat weak. It wasn't clear to me on first reading whether or not the guy actually was a "Count" (a Continental title) or was, as your quote from Burke's suggests, "self-styled" - i.e. he made up a meaningless title for himself.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:41, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, it is a bit unclear. Bejinhan has asked on refdesk.  Chzz  ►  11:00, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo: Thanks for the reply! I have asked in RefDesk. According to the article creator, the title is self-styled but I don't see that mentioned anywhere in the article. Bejinhan talks 11:27, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
FYI, there is consensus at reference desk that Charles Edward Stuart is not a "Count". I amended the DYK hook to reflect that. =) Bejinhan talks 10:32, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Meredich Kercher murder case

Regarding the uploading of illegal content to Wikimedia Commons

On Talk:Reporting of child pornography images on Wikimedia Commons, someone drew attention to this deletion discussion. The image in question was apparently an explicit photograph of the anus and genitals of a pre-pubescent girl (a Google image search for the image name still showed a thumbnail when I tried it). Although there appear to be differing opinions as to whether or not the file was actually illegal, that image and its counterpart File:Vulva post-sviluppo 05.jpg have been deleted and the WMF contacted to "get a developer purge if necessary".

When someone encounters an image that is potentially illegal under US child pornography laws, what is the process that is followed at Commons and Wikipedia? Are the images actually deleted (I assume this is what is meant by "developer purge") or are they still visible to admins? From the Larry Sanger/FBI discussion, I understand that there is a legal obligation for such things to be reported to the authorities. Does the WMF do this? If not, why not? Jimbo's talkpage stalkers: This isn't an invitation to debate the legality of specific image example or give your theories about the process - I am looking for a qualified answer from a WMF representative. Thanks for your cooperation. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 10:59, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Putting my expertise hat on for a moment: there would be no requirement to report such a matter, or, rather, you should use your best judgement. In this specific case the intention is clearly intended to be educational (the legality of the image is definitely a gray area and it is not something that would be pursue IMHO, although hosting it is clearly problematic and I agree with deletion in this case). On the other hand if you had an account uploading sets of illegal images with no educational intent then there would be solid reasoning to report that to the authorities; in such a situation I am going to guess that an email to the WMF emergency email address would get you the required support - they have been pretty responsive in cases of threats/suicides in the past. To explicitly answer part of your query; there is no legal obligation to report such matters (no matter how much the FBI wishes you would) if, in good faith, it does not appear an actionable matter. --Errant (chat!) 11:57, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Rather than a bunch of non-experts arguing about discussing this in a deletion discussion, shouldn't the legality question be referred to the Foundation's General Counsel? – ukexpat (talk) 13:56, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Ahem, this is my expertise! You are right, it's a decision that ultimately rests with WMF counsel, but hopefully I can be of use by giving a run down on the relevant legal aspects in resp. to the question. EDIT: bleh, I didn't read your comment properly sorry! Ignore the previous. referring all potential illegal images to the WMF or a decision might be counter productive, I think telling editors to use their best judgement (i.e. if there is a reasonable claim to illegality then ping the relevant people) is the right approach. --Errant (chat!) 14:17, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I am happy to host this discussion here, but I am afraid I will have little to add. My position on such matters is well known: deletion should be swift, banning should be swift, and reporting to the legal authorities should happen in many cases. I have no idea personally what the process is for a "developer purge" and of course any legal matters relating to the Foundation can be discussed by the community in a philosophical way, and in order to advise the Foundation as best you can, but serious actual matters should be referred directly to the WMF General Counsel and not to me, as I'm not involved in such matters in a day-to-day capacity at all.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:44, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I think ErrantX's expert opinion has obviated the need for most of my questions, but I do appreciate the response. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 02:50, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
And on the technical side, I don't see that devs can take any useful action. If you want to ensure the deleted image cannot be seen by administrators, then you should request oversight (by email). The cached image that you see on Google is stored on their servers, last time they crawled us; so the only person who can remove that is them; at the bottom of their search screen is a link to "Report Offensive Images".  Chzz  ►  12:18, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

A letter from a Mother to Mr. Wales personally.

Thank you... Ok I apologies if this is not where i should be speaking. I looked but didn't find a private message place so this was all I could find. The fact of A Mom. is also the name I use online :) I am asking you to please look into this list ,

All banned 23/12/2010

All banned by Black Kite

All banned for Meatpuppetry and Votestacking

None have history of previous blocks or warnings of blocks, As well as many of the names in the previous list I do not argue, may have been argumentative, but it was my eyes that saw the whole page was. It is sad and unforgeable this has been ongoing. I am confident if given the opportunity the hard work efforts and all they have put forth in this matter will shine. I have been noticing that you have met up with the same efforts to not place the rest of the facts into the article as well. The hostility previously was for those same efforts. I am very glad to see things are making a turn around point. You are correct. As I stated earlier, is there any harm to allow the whole round table to discussion to address all involved? If this is not something that is done here, I surely apologies in advance. I am just hopeful, that all of this dismay can be put to rest and the situation corrected on this front. This site holds high regards and I feel it should not be held as a playground arena for very valuable information. This is our children's future of history, Let us as adults make it the best we can for them. --Truth Mom (talk) 20:43, 25 March 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Truth Mom (talkcontribs) 20:42, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

"It is my suggestion, as a Mother and a Woman, that this stuff STOP. That all banning power be taken a hold of, as this again, is like children on a playground with rifles. I was informed yesterday that 2 contributors, were in fact banned quietly by a SUPERMARIO and Ruslik0. I am very sorry to make it sound as I am, but this is the time to take the ball away from the CHILDREN in this dodge ball game."
I feel that I must point out a few rather important details omitted in the italicised sentence - it isn't telling the whole story, and I will defend myself and the other named user against this allegation of users "being banned quietly". It is true that administrator and steward Ruslik0 has recently blocked two users (one an IP address, one registered) who had contributed to the Murder of Meredith Kercher talk page - but only because they had stated quite categorically on that same page to circumventing indefinite blocks as sockpuppets of two other registered accounts (in violation of policy set out at WP:ILLEGIT). After the enforcement of the IP block, I realised that Perk100 (talk · contribs) was a thinly-disguised alternative account for the indeffed Perk10 (talk · contribs) (the user has posted no unblock request at the talk page of their first Wikipedia account), and notified Ruslik0 at his talk page. Whatever one's convictions regarding article content, it is impermissible to create doppelganger accounts or use IP addresses to evade blocks - activities must at first be restricted to the original user talk page, where an unblock request can be evaluated. As far as I'm concerned, Truth Mom is quite misinformed to suggest impropriety here, and I wholeheartedly reject her statements regarding myself and Ruslik0. SuperMarioMan 21:10, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that those blocks were appropriate.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:17, 25 March 2011 (UTC)


Mr. Wales, I'm sorry I didn't have an opportunity to meet you in person tonight at your keynote at Washington University in St. Louis. I want to say you've done amazing things, thank you. — Fourthords | =/\= | 00:54, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

That's very kind of you, thanks!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:01, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

RfA is a horrible and broken process

Thanks, Jimbo, for coming out and saying it so clearly. Perhaps those of us who populate WT:RfA can now move faster forward with getting some changes made. --Kudpung (talk) 09:10, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

We don't really need Jimbo to tell us that. About the only thing you can possibly get consensus on at WP:RFA is that it's a horrible and broken process. After that, the cats run wild. Anyone who has tried can attest to the utter impossibility. I for one won't be making another attempt. —UncleDouggie (talk) 09:07, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I am seeking feedback via email for some ideas of an alternative process to run concurrently with the existing process with an eye toward easier confirmation for highly experienced editors with no history of troubles who don't want to run this silly gauntlet. While we have no evidence that the current process actually works, we can design and implement a new process for a few months and see how it goes. The goal should be to have a lot of happy and kind and thoughtful admins. To the extent that the current process is emotionally draining and not obviously achieving that goal, we should consider adding a new process.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:55, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent. —UncleDouggie (talk) 23:01, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
That's interesting, I just sent an email too lol. Dusti*poke* 20:50, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I suggest making liberal use of admin-use-only accounts available to well established uncontroversial editors with knowledge of the connection known only to those with privileges that would let them find out anyway. (not for me; I wouldn't want that thankless job if you paid me) WAS 4.250 (talk) 15:38, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Are you talking about a role account? If so, it is not feasable, both for licensing concerns and especially security risks. Also, I would suggest that the kind of admins we need more of - the ones willing to get involved in the dirty disputes - won't remain uncontroversial for long, simply due to the battleground mentality that exists in such places. Resolute 16:28, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm pleasantly surprised actually what Jimmy said about this. I've long thought it it a rather spiteful process and it seems the more you've actually contributed to wikipedia and said to more the grilling and the more the number of opposes. Most of the people who get given the tools through RFA are those which have kept a low profile so do not have a dramatic history for other editors to pick up on and point out every error they ever made. Reform is certainly needed.♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:11, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I'll certainly agree with that, Blofeld - from my own recent experience. If you have been around long enough to have a couple of dusty skellies in the cupboard, all sorts of people come out of the woodwork to shout you down. Kudpung (talk) 13:08, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent, the gist being that if a person has X level of service the presumption should be that she can be an admin if she wants to be. X being some reasonably high number of edits and time in harness. Vetting required, but this can be done without drama I think. Herostratus (talk) 17:50, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent. Short version if we're goung to loosen up the process we need to be able to separate the routine tool use from areas like the minefields of arbcom enforcement and discressionary sanctions as well as some means of reining in those we later learn lack competance, but do not rise to arbcom level misconduct.--Cube lurker (talk) 18:08, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent, along the same lines. I said something similar to the above back in my "A little more radical" post ... although we've had more people promoted in February and March so the situation isn't as dire. But I still support the idea, and apparently more people are getting on board. Wikipedia works well as a participatory democracy, not so much as a representative democracy. (This isn't a jab at Arbcom; they do a good job, and I haven't heard any good alternatives.) RFA will be a much nicer place if we start electing admins because they're competent at geeky, grindy jobs, and not with the idea that we're going to hand off tough, wiki-changing decisions to admins so that we don't have to make the calls by consensus. No wonder many voters feel a need to put candidates through the ringer. - Dank (push to talk) 20:43, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent, along the lines of keeping the same basic system but making it a more welcoming experience by introducing minimum candidate requirements and nolinations, more control over !voters, questions, and discussions. Kudpung (talk) 11:08, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent. I am interested in a new method, and have put forward a couple of concerns and ways of dealing with them. I know RfA being a "broken" process is a popular turn of phrase, but in general I do think that people who should become admins do and people who shouldn't don't. The problem I see is the vitriol, causing editors to feel like failures for not passing - and I've offered some solutions there too. WormTT · (talk) 13:34, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

By using Strat's RFA as his illustration of the "horrible and broken process," Jimbo sacrificed a little credibility. Strat was as pugnacious as it gets at RFA, picking fights in the oppose section with anyone who was game. That RFA reached the right result, for obvious temperament issues if nothing else. Perhaps Jimbo would favor us with a better example of what he considers the evils of RFA to be, because there is little disagreement that the process is imperfect, but what exactly is wrong is a subject of perennial dispute. Townlake (talk) 13:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC) Stricken to discourage additional drama over this comment. Townlake (talk) 03:24, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

My76Strat was clearly stressed by the pile on RfA proceeding, as others have been, and we don't know what their temperament would be in the face of individual attacks as a working admin. It's crazy that we attack non-perfect candidates and then sit back and say "see, I told you so" while more qualified candidates sail through. Should we stress test all candidates, regardless of any actual objections, just to see if they can take it? What a perfect example of just how broken the process is. —UncleDouggie (talk) 01:38, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I am aggrieved by the comment from Townlake. This is not the place to expand further on that sentiment. I am optimistic that this discussion is advancing interest in improving the RfA process. A new danger has just manifest, whereby a failure to demonstrate a requisite admin quality during RfA, extrapolates to negative characterizations being attached against my character, outside of the RfA. The statements are not valid conclusions, they are POV, and should not be hurled as in an accusation. I will seek a retraction. I will also email some thoughts that I will offer for consideration. And I look forward to following the progress. I am glad that strong opinion exists to improve this process. I am in fact; Optimistic! My76Strat (talk) 23:59, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Much of the problem lies in the fact that adminship is a lifetime appointment, so people are wary of the tiniest hint that someone could turn out to be unsuitable. Term limits are the obvious answer, since this would assure people that admins who were nasty and overreaching though not quite to the point of full-blown Arbcom action would eventually age out. But the admin corps is implacably opposed to any such proposal; the prevailing attitude is "I'll give up my adminship when you take it from my cold, dead hands." Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 16:21, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
While I agree that RfA is a horrible and broken process, I think we're missing the elephant in the room: the fact that adminship itself is no longer what it appears to have been a few years back. I don't have email enabled, but have elabourated here. —WFC— 17:59, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent, included are a few suggestions for allowing qualified editors to pass without being picked apart by !voters and filtering editors not quite ready yet with civility and courtesy. Tyrol5 [Talk] 18:28, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
It's not just admins who were against your the proposal, SBHB. You They weren't just proposing term-limits, youthey were proposing enforced time off from being an admin. That was just fatally flawed from the start. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:52, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
That is untrue. Perhaps you are thinking of the recent VP proposal, where I supported the idea of term limits but not enforced time off. I am unconvinced of the need for enforced time off; I can see both the merits of an enforced break as well as the merits in the arguments against it. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 19:34, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Email sent, expanding on what I have said on-wiki. —WFC— 20:46, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Your Support statement didn't make that distinction. Though I did misremember, it wasn't your proposal, you just supported it, so I've corrected my statement above. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 21:32, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

It is interesting to see that none of the admins abusing the current system are actually giving their touths here... FkpCascais (talk) 21:17, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

That assumes admins are abusing the system. Care to provide some evidence of that? — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 21:36, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Not the time or place. FkpCascais (talk) 22:20, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Uh-huh. But it's apparently the time & place to make snide remarks without evidence? — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 16:24, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes. The comment is related to the subject. Jimmy probably knows what I am talking about since we already discused here some of the issues in the past. If not I gladly explain them to him. I don´t understand you attitude. I give some clues further on, so I don´t understand if you felt personally "touched" by my comment, or is a genuine interess... FkpCascais (talk) 19:18, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
More like concern. It's not exactly kosher to play games with accusations of wrongdoing like that. I don't want clues. I'd prefer you make specific claims with diffs to back them up. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 21:08, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but again, not the place or time. FkpCascais (talk) 21:16, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Not sure how or why this could or should be done by email, but I've jotted down a few thoughts at User:WereSpielChequers/RFA reform, some options are old chestnuts, I think at least one is new. The advantage of creating it on wiki is that the talkpage is open to all. ϢereSpielChequers 22:59, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Roughly paraphrasing Scott MacDonald on this: Everyone knows who the abusive admins are, and everyone disagrees on who they are. NW (Talk) 01:05, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I haven´t seen anything regarding this anywhere, so I can´t resist not mentioning it: I think the voting being open creates many "groups" or possible animosities between admins, thus being harmfull. The result is many times that we end up having groups of admins supporting each other against the ones that "oposed" their RfA´s. If the voting sistem continues it should become secret. FkpCascais (talk) 23:52, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Possible yes, actual I hope not. The disadvantage of secret ballots is that the rejected candidate would not know why they were rejected, would not have the chance to refute misconceptions about them, and would not know what they needed to do to change the community's perception of them. As someone whose first RFA failed and who was able to resolve the concerns of some of my opposers in both my RFAs, I think that a secret ballot would be a very bad move. ϢereSpielChequers 01:07, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I see the advantages in being open. I also touth about the doubts that could possibly exist in such sistem, and if accepted, it would certainly implicate a number of other modifications. I just touth it as possibility and as a way to solve the "groopies" problem inside the sistem. And to see opinions and reactions. Many thanks. FkpCascais (talk) 02:26, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Regarding open efficiency: It seems more proper to have a screening process which identifies some quick fail criteria and closes per NOTNOW prior to transclusion. By the time a candidate has vested energy to produce the nomination statement and initial answers, they are already emotionally attached to the outcome. Whereas if step 1 was to request an RfA, step 2 may produce a quick fail preempting step 3; Which would be: If sufficient clue determines a reasonable possibility for success, they approve the candidate to complete the RfA and transclude. Just today I saw a user of about three months tenor pleading to be given a chance, while his RfA came to a SNOW. Perhaps there must be some level of requisite evaluation. My76Strat (talk) 04:07, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, I agree entirely with your thoughts. My I add a few things? A less daunting process should be accompanied by easier ways of giving admins a rest from it when they get stressed, repeatedly make bad judgements, or themselves elect to have a break from it. Easier entry, high expectations once there, and easier down-time or desysopping, if it comes to that. Gotta have both ends of the pipeline freed up, don't you think? A bit more of the revolving door would mean that it's not such a big deal to have time off for an admin. At the moment, time off means you face the daunting process again to come back: aargh. One might consider a bigger role for the crats in the process. I'd like SecurePoll (I know that would be controversial, but the herd behaviour has a lot to do with the drama, and it seems to have played out well for ArbCom elections). Tony (talk) 10:05, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
It may have worked for the ArbCom elections, but remember that its use in the CU/OS elections was partially responsible for only one oversighter CheckUser and no checkusers Oversighters being voted in. (It's largely because SecurePoll adds an additional layer of anonymity, allowing a user to oppose for more ridiculous reasons without being rounded upon for it.) —Jeremy (v^_^v Hyper Combo K.O.!) 10:36, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
What is your specific, documented evidence for this conclusion? I would argue that SecurePoll allows people to oppose for legitimate reasons without fear of later retaliation, or being labeled "ridiculous" for expressing good-faith concerns. But I can't prove this, any more than you can prove your argument. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 13:17, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/CheckUser and Oversight/May 2010 election. That election used SecurePoll, and the end result of it was that, compared to the prior year, nobody except Amalthea (who was promoted to CU, not OS as I thought) was promoted via voting. The situation was such that the Arbitration Committee had to intervene and appoint new CU/OS without voting. The general consensus was that SecurePoll was one of the main causes, if not the main cause, for this, as it allowed for tactical voting due to the increased anonymity. —Jeremy (v^_^v Hyper Combo K.O.!) 21:41, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Appointing administrators for life is a most serious error. Many of our administrators have become mandarins, an all but untouchable elite, in some cases an obnoxious and contemptible elite. There is no longer any real truth in the notion that being an administrator is not a big deal, or that administrators are there to serve. Administrators now wield seriously disproportionate power over content editors. Being a content editor on Wikipedia is now, all too often, demeaning. And I am talking here of the content editors who deliver the real content. Administrators are not required to demonstrate that they have any real competence in content building. Nor should they be, since most administrator functions don't require that competence. But incomprehensibly, they are given power to block content editors, which does not make sense. Many of them seem unable to distinguish between vandals and content editors. There should be a separate group which has the power to block content editors, and they need to be a group held in some respect by content editors. The danger now is that being blocked will be seen as a badge of honour by content editors.
As Tony says the process needs to be loosened from both ends of the pipeline. Many of the more suitable candidates for administrator status are excluded from entry, while many of the most destructive and dysfunctional incumbents seem untouchable. There is no point in opening discussion about these matters with the community as a whole, because as we have seen in the past, the administrator corp dominate proceedings like that, and ensure that nothing happens that doesn't further secure their own ends. It can be argued that that is the fault of content editors, because they do not properly represent their own interests. But it is in the nature of things that dedicated content editors tend to immerse themselves in trying to improve content, and are therefore at the mercy of administrator types, who in many cases are focused on process and power.
There is no properly formulated policy on Wikipedia to identify, facilitate the development, nurture and protect dedicated content editors. Instead, time and time again, we see administrators and administrator wannabes asserting that it is not their business to stoop to such matters. I do not know how many valuable content editors Wikipedia has now lost, partly to placate those administrators who demand a stream of sacrifices. How many experts in specialized fields have now left Wikipedia in despair and disgust? Many of these exits would not have happened if they had been handled in more skillful ways. These loses can be irreplaceable and permanently diminish what Wikipedia could have become. The future of Wikipedia depends largely on the degree it nurtures and protects able content editor. The future is not about enabling users focused on process and power to become administrators and ride roughshod over the project. Already, the damage that has been done to the future of the project must be immense. Is there no better way? --Epipelagic (talk) 12:34, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I always feel sad to see this elite "content editor" banner, it is as bad as the elite administrator mentality (probably worse because it often tries to justify it). I come across content editors all the time, the vast majority produce good content without causing any sort of waves or risking any form of block. Some of those individuals are pretty prolific, some are less so. Then we have others, particularly those who like to brand themselves "content editors", who produce awesome content but also get involved in the other background stuff, usually to decry the admin corps at every turn. Let's be honest, yes it does have/face significant problems (hence this discussion), but their contribution is often just attacking the institution and rather than being constructive/helpful. It's not a new phenomena; it happens in the real world too (simplest example; the extreme ends of political divides). My point being; can we avoid making this an "us versus them" dispute between elitist admins and "content editors". They're all as bad as each other and should, IMO, largely be ignored (unless, of course, a sensible solution to either problem can be proposed). Our contribution here should be measured on three things;
  • Our ability to contribute to the actual encyclopaedia (and I include cleanup tasks on an absolutely equal par to content creation here)
  • Our ability to contribute in a collegial way and to get on with each other, accepting other points of view
  • Our ability to understand and follow the basic rules & guidelines
Where those abilities are met, and where an editors style of contribution requires it, the admin bit should be granted. The rest is just politics.
On the other hand; initiatives to foster content editors (and I mean the real spectrum on content editors) is a brilliant idea. --Errant (chat!) 13:06, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
It is not at all clear to me what you are trying to say in the first half of your comments above, Errant. What is this talk of yours about "us versus them" disputes between elitist admins and "content editors" and how bad elite content editor "mentalities" are? You seem to be the one who is trying to polarise things. It's nice that you come across content editors all the time who "produce good content without causing any sort of waves or risking any form of block." But you go on to say "Then we have others, particularly those who like to brand themselves "content editors", who ... get involved in the other background stuff...", and that such people are largely to "be ignored". What are you getting at here? Are you saying content editor should know their place and keep their mouth shut? I distinctly get the impression you are saying a content editor has no business expressing the views I have here, and that such behaviour is "risking a block". --Epipelagic (talk) 15:38, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
I distinctly get the impression you are saying a content editor has no business expressing the views I have here, and that such behaviour is "risking a block".; ouch, no not even slightly. Particularly the comment about risking a block :S not sure where on earth that came from (if it came from the mention of blocks earlier in my comment, that was a direct reply to your thought: "but incomprehensibly, they are given power to block content editors")! In fact you've sort of proven my point by so quickly jumping to an extreme conclusion - your comment could be read along the lines of "see, the admin corps are already trying to stifle this debate" (although I suspect it is more to do with the fact I am not expressing myself well :)). In fact, I am simply commenting on the recent spate of editors coming out with "well content editors like myself..." lines, followed by some diatribe about how put upon they are by the admin cabal. My conclusion being that both of those sorts of editors are at the table to snipe at each other, so it is more constructive simply to ignore them. I'm not including you in that clique at all, on the other hand your comment pitted "content editors" vs. the admin corps, which is a view I think we need to step away from because it does creating a polarising argument (and one of the big roadblocks to this sort of discussion in the past has been the more vocal minorities on both "sides" derailing things). Admins, non-admins, content editors, gnomes; you name it, there are a lot of different classes of contributors here. It is not always the class of an editor that causes the problem, it is simply that they somehow "hate and despise" another class and take every opportunity to tell everyone how awful they are. My point; there are problems with the way adminship is handled and issues with how adminship is viewed in the community, it is possible to address that problem without sniping at the "admin corps". Going back; I distinctly get the impression you are saying a content editor has no business expressing the views I have here not at all. In fact I'd much prefer we stop using such classifications - it only causes divides and gives the less rhetorically adept editors ammunition to try and invalidate the views of others. And indeed it leaves those editors who do other things feeling a bit left out :) But that is, I understand, something of a pipe dream. But this is the crux of my suggestion; don't come at this debate as a "content editor" or "admin" or whatever, and simply come at it from the perspective of "is there a provable problem?" and "what can be done?" :) -Errant (chat!) 16:26, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
That observation is accurate, and the bullet points are ones that I endorse. But I don't think the resulting criticism is fair. In real life, when you want to demolish and replace a building, you would ordinarily submit a planning application, and only think about demolition once that is done and dusted. The inherent inertia of Wikipedia means that, for our equivalent of buildings (processes that are not set in stone but are certainly long term), planning only ever starts when a proverbial wrecking ball and angry mob are taken to the front gate.
There may be editors of the type you describe; I might well be one of them. But the sad fact of the matter is that it is currently the most effective mechanism, as RfCs invariably either fall down on semantics, or collapse when the structure balloons out of control. I'll cite two examples of pro-active behavior prompting change. BLPPROD would most likely not be in place were it not for the deletion spree the January before it started. And the FLC/FAC criteria tend to be scrutinised roughly twice a year. Not because we're not happy with them on the whole, but because where a specific criteria causes a problem, editors at those places are minded to do something that will pre-empt change. —WFC— 14:10, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Email sent---basic idea is for some sort of admin lite process such as Wikipedia:Adminship coaching with tools RfA reform proposal---but not exactly as described there. Let it become a mentor/mentoree process. Also, with any process to make it easier to get the tools, we need to have a process to remove the tools. As long as removing the bit is a big deal, then adminship is a big deal. It should be easier to move in and out of than it currently is.---Balloonman NO! I'm Spartacus! 16:49, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

  • Jimbo, since it is impractical-to-impossible to desysop bad admins on en.Wikipedia, our RfA process could certainly benefit from significant improvements. Wikipedia being as much a behind-the-scenes social network as it is a copyediting room, what we see on the official surface of RfAs is often much the product of gamemanship and tribal maneuvering. In a recent RfA, a rapid stream of “support” votes (I won’t use the more PC “!vote” for this post) came in with only a smattering of “opposes” before it eventually slipped out that the nom had edited with less-than-stellar conduct under a prior account. The voting balance changed significantly but it was too late. I’m concerned about this sort of thing because all too often on Wikipedia, being politically correct with “good-gosh-golly, can’t we all just get along?”-reactions can masquerade as true wisdom and maturity. All one has to do is dish out a consistent track record of that sort of baby pablum for six straight months and being anointed an adminship has become a well-greased proposition.

    Being ostracized by one’s admin-peers behind the scenes is a big dissuading factor in just hammering persistently disruptive editors. So after maintaining a six-month-long facade of PC baby pablum and getting through the RfA process, maintaining ones standing as an admin with his peers is best accomplished by meeting out mere slaps on the wrists to editors who specialize mainly in being tendentious and disruptive.

    You, Jimbo, probably have a better feel for the social nature of Wikipedia than anyone else. In addition to what I call “practical power,” you also serve as an important figurehead and are in a greatest of leadership roles on Wikipedia. I wish you would put some thought into the base, human desires of our admins and think of some way to align their natural tendencies with the needs of the project. Somehow, it would be nice if admins could simply cut through the facade of beating around the bush on ANIs and WQAs, look at what’s really going on that disrupts the collaborative writing environment, and meet out remedies that acknowledge who is truly contributing to the project and who is just getting in the way and trying to be a pain in the ass. Improving the RfA process is a start. Greg L (talk) 18:17, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

The ACC Tool Server model

  • If the administrative right were handled the same way as Stwalkerster and other interface heads manage the ACC Tool Server user rights, this whole issue could be simply resolved. Give away administrative rights to all trustworthy users (and not necessarily those who're 'enough' experienced); yet, have a zero/low tolerance policy for mistakes (ergo, take away those administrative rights for a limited period of time - one, two, three weeks, whatever - at the first or second instance of mistakes), but be open to giving back the rights to the same individual post that period of suspension time getting over provided the user recognizes and learns from the past mistake. That's as much as how the ACC Tool Server usage rights are disbursed and taken away (and disbursed again...). My experience with administrative rights leads me to be convinced that the ACC model could be replicated here without an issue (perhaps as a parallel procedure that Mr. Wales is suggesting?). Wifione ....... Leave a message 18:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
    • Tools-wise, that's a very interesting suggestion, one that I'd be totally on board with. But the reason RfA has evolved into what it has is that there is (or more accurately, is often) more to adminship than the tools. The sorts of issues that arise reasonably frequently at good article nominations are the sorts of issues that would no doubt arise at XfD and RfC closures, if this approach were extended to the judgement side of adminship. —WFC— 19:12, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
    • One suggestion I have had for a while and one that seems to be already happening incrememntally is to modularize the various admin tasks into smaller task specific groups. Examples are the Rollbacker and File mover. This would allow a user to get used to using one group before using the next. We don't give a doctor the ability to write prescriptions and perform surgeries on the first day of medical school so it seems like we shouldn't do that here either. This would also allow one set of tools to be revoked if abused while still allowing the user the ability of using other tools. As the editor learns each set then they can apply for the next. Since most users even in the admin roles typically specialize this would allow people to get the abilities they need to do the things they are interested in without all the extra fluff. I also think that we should have some rules in place to revoke the access if either abused or if the account goes dormant for a while (6 months maybe). --Kumioko (talk) 19:26, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Wifione, you have, I'm afraid, somewhat spectacularly missed the point (or rather the issue). You say "Give away administrative rights..." ........"but be open to giving back the rights ". Forgive me but who exactly gives and removes these rights? The community? They have the giving but not the taking away in place already. Bureaucrats? They grant per consensus at RFA and many are firmly (and rightly) opposed to any extension of their remit, and have no power to remove in any case. ARBCOM? They take away and have no power to grant (and rightly so). So maybe an action by the WMF? I doubt it. Your noble and honest solution is in fact not one at all, as it dances the issue but does not address it. Sorry. Pedro :  Chat  21:56, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

    • Interjecting the discussion here. Pedro, similar to topic bans that we impose on editors, we could easily as a community impose tool bans for a specific period on erring administrators (and further on block those administrators who do not respect those bans). It doesn't require stewards to do this. But before that, the starting point has to be a perspective change within the community to respect the original totem of adminship being no big deal in principle. In essence, we have to be open to give the tools on good faith to users who appear trustworthy on the face of their contributions. Why I quote Stwalkerster and his handling of the ACC Tool is because even I have been suspended by him (and reinstated, once I understood the mistakes); and I have realized that he and his tool managers are worth being benchmarks for the whole adminship process, more because the tool managers simply look for trustworthiness and an urge to contribute within the editor requesting for the ACC tool access. To make you understand the expansiveness of the reach of ACC Tool users, let me document that the ACC Tool users even have access to ip addresses and private email addresses of each and every user requesting a new account on the English Wikipedia. Yes, there is an ACC pledge which some of them sign, but even that is voluntary. It has no connection with being granted the ACC tool access. Like I mentioned, the start has to openness on our part to test the ACC process as a parallel procedure on the RfA. Wifione ....... Leave a message 05:38, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Well Pedro, if what you say is really all there is to it then you've certainly killed the issue right there. We might as well kiss Wikipedia goodbye now and find something else to do, since the hemorrhage of competent content editors is draining its lifeblood. But you can take that position only if you adamantly refuse to examine the many other possibilities. Wifione and Kumioko make excellent suggestions. Admins always seem to jump up and down whenever a suggestion is made that the admin package be unbundled. But it is precisely the current configuration of the bundle that is the problem; an unnecessary amount of power often in the wrong hands. The admin package needn't be totally unbundled, but it certainly needs partial unbundling, with separate tools targeted at separate user groups. As Kumioko points out, Rollbacker and File mover are already unbundled, and it would certainly be possible to unbundle some other parts of the admin package in a similar way. For example, what is so difficult about providing well established users with a good track record on AfD with the tool to delete articles? And then, as Kumioko suggests, pull the tools for a specified period of time if performance is not up to scratch. And what is the problems with unbundling the tool to block vandals, and allowing its use by dedicated vandal fighters? Setting out appropriate guidelines for blocking vandals, and retaining a reviewing noticeboard, seems relatively straightforward and uncontroversial.
The big issue is which users should have the tool to block well established editors, who most emphatically are not vandals. Currently this tool is in the hands of some thoroughly unsuitable users who create fraught and threatening environments for other users to work in. It is simply wrong (no good asking administrators as a group what they think about this matter, their wagons are already circled). I would suggest that a modified form of the current RfA process is retained to determine which users should have this specific tool, and perhaps the term "administrator" could be confined to those users.
What is remarkable so far in this discussion, is how little attempt has been made to look afresh at these issues. This subthread right now is starting to open up the best promise of fresh air we have had. If this issue is allowed to die yet again, as it has in the past, then Wikipedia may well slowly die with it. It will certainly not reach the potential it might otherwise have. But if we have a collective will to make this work for all users, then we will find ways, and probably quite simple ways. --Epipelagic (talk) 02:08, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
This is why conversations on Wikipedia so rarely work, often less so on Jimbo's talk page. Pedro :  Chat  07:38, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, that is an interesting point. There is a considerable difference between (say) blocking someone who has seven edits all which consist of adding "TONYS MOM LOVES DIKS" to articles in Category:Parliament of New Zealand, and blocking and someone who has 40,000 edits and 45 featured articles and 320 articles created. Isn't there? I would say that there is. But there's no difference in the rights. Why is that, I wonder, and who decided that, and is it a good thing?
If I vote "yes" on someone's RfA I'm giving him the power to block the "TONYS MOM LOVES DIKS" guy, and I'm willing to give that power to most anybody who has basic common sense and a bit of experience and is willing to deal with that stuff. But I'm also giving him the right to block me (and other established editors), and that's very different, and is it not understandable that I would be not willing to give that power to anyone who I am not very convinced is of the very highest level of integrity, intelligence, character, judgment, and experience, and can prove it; and that I would be very interested in fully examining and considering any slight blemish on the candidate's record.
I dunno. For one thing, there is no technical way to break the block rights down by type of editor, I guess. And for other reasons maybe this is not a good idea. But its an interesting point. Herostratus (talk) 04:40, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
You have made a valid concern known. My best hope, if someone had such a concern regarding mine for example, would be that the concerned user would form an optional question to these regards, and prepare to see if the response satisfied your concern or not. So I was taken aback slightly, that so many conclusions were reached about me, that didn't identify with the things I had stated, and never was an optional question formed where I might have a chance to answer. That frustrated me greatly. My76Strat (talk) 08:09, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
By the way, I don't hold the view expressed above (we need admins, we need to be more relaxed about it, and I've never voted Oppose on an RfA), but was just bringing it up as a thought process that some people have. I didn't see or vote on your case, but I wonder: If the tools you were requesting were identical to what the SysOp tools are now except that you couldn't block an editor with (let's say) more than 200 edits (that power to be attained at some later date), would people have been more relaxed? Why not? Protecting pages, deleting pages, etc. - that can all be undone easily enough if done mistakenly. But blocking a user can never be undone. I mean it can be reversed, but its still part of that person's experience on this earth. Herostratus (talk) 15:29, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
To further expand; If success at RfA, appointed a tentative confirmation; Which became ratified at some later date. The interim period can serve to evaluate the candidate more fully, with specific regard to the lifetime appointment. Upon sufficient concern, based on the interim conduct, some may not be ratified, thereby reverting back to the previously held user rights. I know some of these things have been discussed, as well as Admin in training. I do not accept; Something that has been discussed means no more discussion. I think it is best for open dialog with all ideas weighed. From that perspective we should be able to refine a pretty accurate model to address the validity of the concerns. I think an interim appoint is valid, as is a clear need for an efficient process for considering DESYSOP, and some mechanism to force a leave of absence (regarding use of the bit) during certain predesignated situations. The current RfA damages Wikipedia in two ways. It easily allows the rejection of an uncut diamond, discarding it as glass, and not the first gemologist is ever involved. (not intended as an insult to the finest of the fine who do participate) It also provides easy for the good actor to manipulate the process and sail through, acquiring the coveted right under guise at best. Checks and balances are necessary at each end of the spectrum! The middle ground will share the full benefit. And the big winner is Wikipedia. My76Strat (talk) 04:04, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

How about this for a new approach?

I've long thought that the reason RfA is so hard is because there is no way to undo it. Once you got the tools it takes an act of God ArbCom to have them taken away. If we made it easier to de-admin someone, perhaps the community would be more willing to hand the tools out in the first place. What I would suggest is that Wikipedia implement a Vote of No Confidence process by which the tools can be taken away from those who can no longer handle them. (I actually had the whole thing worked out and written out but then my computer crashed and I lost it....will reconstruct if you are interested)--*Kat* (meow?) 04:32, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

A problem I see with this is, there is (or some people say there is) a shortage of admins, or at any rate such a shortage is looming in the near future. A process that made it easier to de-admin a person would in the short run only make this worse. Only if it was followed in fairly short order by a relaxing of the gatekeeping for new admins would it be a net benefit. But we don't know if this would occur, and if it didn't it would be too late. In addition, depending on how the No Confidence thingy played out, it might make people even less willing to volunteer: "I not only have to go through an RfA, but I can be hauled up for a No Confidence - and maybe even kicked out of the admin corps - for forgetting some rule or something other minor infraction". I'm not saying its not a good idea, but there is this possible complication. Herostratus (talk) 04:53, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Re: People not wanting to RfA because they might later face a VNC: I considered that. However the community at large is a rational beast and a VNC (Vote of No Confidence) based upon such a minor infraction is VERY unlikely to garner the consensus necessary to have the admin's tools removed. Furthermore the process, as I envision it, would not require--would infact, discourage--the person up for VNC from defending themselves. Instead the person who filed the VNC would have to defend their assertions against the questions of the community. Sort of like the RfA only in reverse. Therefore the admin up on the block would not have to waste time defending themselves in frivolous Votes.--*Kat* (meow?) 05:11, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Re: We're short on admins already and this won't help: I don't think this process will immediately deprive Wikipedia of that many admins. Community consensus is not an easy thing to gain. If there is a community consensus that Admin X should not be an admin, then that is one admin WP can really do without.--*Kat* (meow?) 05:24, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
There was an exhaustive discussion about this proposal a few months ago (no idea where, sorry). The real problem with making it easier to vote out admins is the consequences for admins who take tough decisions, or who work in certain fields involving frequent reversions. An admin who spends a fair bit of time reverting promotional or silly edits can build up a large following of haters—I watch the talk page of a couple of such admins and the haters can be very dedicated and organized, and some of them hold a grudge for years. Such admins would face energy-draining challenges as frequently as the process allowed, and inevitably each admin makes a couple of bad decisions, and we could end up removing many admins who work in awkward areas. It's much easier for an admin to hand out rollback rights, do a few page moves and uncontentious page deletes—why should a volunteer admin put up with trolling by those who have been prevented from misusing Wikipedia? Johnuniq (talk) 02:48, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
If there is a voice that believes RfA is a fine process, efficient in its current design, I would like to hear this opinion. (for balance) Because I am otherwise seeing 100% support for change and improvement. And every comment is founded on valid considerations. If in fact there are none who oppose, please consider placing this restructuring as a high priority for fast track implementation. This part is @Jimbo, Will you give a preliminary indication of the response you solicited by email; I am curious regarding the amount, a trickle, a significant response, an outpouring? And if there are any, if not many, worthwhile considerations developing. Lastly if you could project a tentative time-line for when specific considerations might be available for discussion? This would be great insight to share at this time. Thank you! My76Strat (talk) 03:20, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Various proposals along the lines of a vote of no confidence procedure or some other form of community-imposed desysopping procedure have been rejected in the past: I think it would be very difficult to gain consensus for any such notion. We've established that the current RfA system is broken, but finding a better alternative is the hard part. I think there is a need for some sort of assessment of suitability. I would not support any automatic qualification for adminship based on some arbitrary measure of experience alone: many criticisms of both serving and prospective administrators involve concerns that decisions are sometimes made in haste - an issue which could be exacerbated by focusing unduly on edit counts. Focus should be on quality more than quantity of edits. Having said all that, I still don't know what the best system would be, but perhaps we could consider having some sort of elected panel (including both admins and non-admins) to appoint new administrators? Contains Mild Peril (talk) 05:55, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Yours are valid observations as well. I think we could find ways to address as close to all concerns as possible. For my part I have suggested as a possibility an additional user-right, (RfA participant) without such right you should not have a voice in RfA. To be heard should require, as in semi protection, an authorized user to place it on your behalf. Which of course they could professionally refuse to publish innuendo that is not policy driven. Their own conduct should be reasonably beyond reproach to receive the right, and failure to discharge obligations associated with it should be promptly removed. As far as recalling and admin for any kind of reason, I would say that all bureaucrats, and the group who emerged in support of the RfA should constitute the entire eligible group to advance such a request. So if you have a discrepancy, to bring it for DESYSOP, you would need co sponsorship from a member of this small group who could effect it's advance. Things like that strengthen the process, and allow that a process to DESYSOP can exist, without subjecting admins to the every whim of a jaded user, whatever has drawn their ire. My76Strat (talk) 06:31, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
That's an interesting suggestion which I'm afraid may be resisted by those wanting to exercise their "human rights" to participate in every aspect of Wikipedia. However, even if something like an admin-appointing panel were arranged, there should be a certain amount of hazing applied to each applicant. We need to see how people will react when trolled, or when asked a pointy but necessary question. Admins will be subject to such hazing when working, and some people just cannot respond in an appropriate manner—it is better to find that out during an RfA than after an appointment. Johnuniq (talk) 06:37, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with your statements above. I have suggested that some form of a debrief is necessary so the candidate can see that they failed a criteria, while knowing is was an evaluation of a programed event. Even the positive sentiments could easily have been programed. In the end it would be helpful to know what just happened. Was I truly offending someone for being myself, without intending, or was I being shown a scenario for evaluation. Also remember that I have been trolled on Wikipedia, and my reactions can be seen. Funny thing is, I most often noticed the trolling remarks because some patrol had reverted them, before I even saw them. If someone told me to "Shut the fuck up" it would surly be reverted within minutes. But not in an RfA. And if the pressure builds to some negative effect, the only consequence should be to emerge unsuccessful. Not to emerge defending character, or subject to name calling. So the debrief is important. At some point the discussion should turn on the truth, and not require the candidate to depart in full belief that so many people did feel there comments were true. In the final phase when truth dominates the things discussed, lots of gains are within reach. The alternative is as I have stated, "a willingness to accept the loss of an otherwise good contributor". Unacceptable to me. My76Strat (talk) 07:04, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Two concurrent process: hard in, hard out (existing RfA and existing glacial desysop) for all who don't meet a conspicuously high minimum bar of meaningful contribution and time contributing; easy-in, easy-out (streamlined sysop and desysop) processes for those who do. As always, the linchpin is the "easy-out" component: with glacial desysop, RfA will always be hell. That's all. • Ling.Nut (talk)
It need not be hell. That's why we need a dedicated task force in a central place rather than discussion here or at RfC or at WT:RfA, to discuss all these proposals without background noise, and when some ground has been made, to offer a solution to Jimbo and/or the WMF. Kudpung (talk) 04:50, 27 March 2011 (UTC)


The above round of typical, circular, unproductive debates demonstrates the exact problem.

I appreciate that the editors above have good intentions, and are trying to raise important points - but I'm sorry; in this specific case, we really have heard it all before.

RfA is broken, and we're just blowing hot air; we need help to fix it. Mr. Wales, if you can help, please do. That is all.  Chzz  ►  12:28, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

If that means something dramatic, please don't, not yet. I'd like to see what happens at WT:RFA over the next week. - Dank (push to talk) 13:15, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Another 9000+ pages of talk? Sorry for the cynicism, Dank, but I'm jaded. We've forgotten how to be bold.  Chzz  ►  16:06, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
No, people are as bold as ever. We've forgotten how to discuss. MastCell Talk 18:08, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I've posted my thoughts at WT:RFA#Eureka! We're all morons.. - Dank (push to talk) 19:19, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
@Mastcell, tell me about it...meh.  Chzz  ►  20:16, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I could easily derive pessimism from the aforementioned. Instead I simply state to me some of our thoughts diverge upon some of these. I have stated the value of reiterating former things said because it is often the third or forth hearing which sometimes gains results. I think this process of RfA will seem a Major change in stature to reflect their important function. And collecting emails is promising. My76Strat (talk) 02:36, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
There is no point in building the runways before we have designed the plane. Jimbo has made his comments and asked for emails. There is nothing to be gained by continuing the discussion about the fine details of reform here - it's been tried before. WT:RfA is probably not the best place to do it either - it's too much like a gaggle of populated bar stools all talking at the same time, interrupting the process with off-topic comments and occasional incivility, and a lot of background noise. In a few more days the subject will change again, the threads will be archived, and the whole thing will start over again for the 37th time. There is now already some serious work being done at here, here, and here, and on the respective talk pages, and I'm sure Jimbo will be watching even if chooses not to comment. If all goes well, we'll soon have a task force together who will review all these suggestions and come up with a proposal that can be fast tracked into legislation. I would much prefer this than a mandate from on high that all future admins will be selected by a process that is not open for all to see, such as for example, the way OTRS assistants are chosen. Kudpung (talk) 14:15, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
I've signed up for the task force and I encourage others to sign up, it will be useful in the long run, but before we start thinking about every issue in the world, I really wish people would focus for a moment on just whether we can make RFA less harsh and more sane. I'll try to sketch recent progress in a minute at User talk:Dank/RFA#What next. - Dank (push to talk) 14:45, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Yet again admins take over and swamp any debate. There is no debate. Any concerns other than those of the admins are just brushed aside. The essays discussed in this section are by admins pushing admin barrows. Making it more comfortable for admins and admin wannabes doesn't address the real issues, such as allowing unsuitable administrators to wade around Wikipedia with inappropriate powers, leaving in their wake a bewildered wreckage of threatened and demoralized content editors. This is not the way forward. --Epipelagic (talk) 23:38, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Epipelagic, I don't think that is a fair criticism of the work we are trying to do. It's not our fault if mainly admins are the only ones who have taken the initiative to prpare some ground and sign up for the task force up till now. One thing is for sure, the admins, at least the more fairly recent ones, are the editors who had to go through the shite, and we certainly know what we're talking about; we've got the bit already, and we've got nothing personal to gain by making the whole process more amenable to dozens of experienced editors who won't run for office until something gets changed. The whole idea is to get reform achieved without this kind of drama. Kudpung (talk) 02:25, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I guess the remaining content editors are too beaten down to stand up for themselves. Bashing your head on stone walls hurts. --Epipelagic (talk) 04:13, 27 March 2011 (UTC) I see admins only, including at least one scourge of content editors, are being actively canvased for this "task force". The task force, it seems, is to be a closed shop set up for admins and admin wannabes. Might we hope for a token peasant please, just for cosmetic reasons? It also seems the task force was set up by you, Kudpung. There's nothing more to say really. After this round, the admin corps will have Wikipedia in a death grip. --Epipelagic (talk) 04:51, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
You obviously are not following the process. The task force is for finding a new way to select admins. If you want a closed shop, try an IRC channel. The idea wasn't mine alone actually, even though the first name on the list is mine. A start has to be made somewhere. The reason for a task force is to maintain objective commenting and suggestions. One thing I can do in my user space is delete the drama if I have to, but after I have moved that page to project space, I won't have the admin 'control' you appear to fear - in fact I don't even care two hoots if I'm not on the final committee. Kudpung (talk) 06:43, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I am following the process very well. The real problems are structured around who gets to use which admin tools, and how they are used and removed, as outlined above. Instead the task force is going to concentrate on propping up the existing structure and breathing new life into the supporting RfA process. No doubt you will succeed and the real problems will just get worse. You may disagree with these issues, but it is not appropriate for you to try and deflect them as "drama". --Epipelagic (talk) 08:50, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Mr. Wales, one specific (short!) comment that I think worthy of your attention is this.  Chzz  ►  10:11, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

NPOV and navigation templates

Hey Jimbo. As the person who pretty much invented WP:POV, I come to you as the venue of last resort to have a basic question settled, as all other attempts have completely failed. Discussion has been had at the template itself, via Tfd [11], and generically at NPOVN [12]. Now we're into edit warring. Normally, I'd seek input via Rfc & admin assistance, but Irish POV pushing issues are pretty much the oil to admin's water in my experience, and other Rfcs in this area have unsurprisingly generated nothing except the restatement of polarised views and not much else. Those admins/neutrals who do try and get involved eventually give up due to the fantastic levels of WP:TE in this area, or have infact retired (multiple admins). The issue is over Template:British Isles and the British Isles naming dispute (which is itself not a very good attempt at documenting the dispute either in terms of balance or overall weight, but that's another story). Template:British Isles is the only navigation template on Wikipedia that I have seen, that changes the way it displays its name (and indeed some content), depending on which article it is placed on. This is done in the name of NPOV apparently - some editors argue that that NPOV justifies presenting one view of a controversy on one page which is read by people more sympathetic to that view, and vice versa (and infact, that it allows Wikipedia to make those assumptions about readers at all). Thus, on the Republic of Ireland article, the displayed name of the template is "British-Irish Council Area" (unlinked), however, when it is displayed on United Kingdom it is The British Isles. The notional parent topic article for which this template aids navigation around is called British Isles, and the wiki-markup name of the template is also British Isles; in 99% of other templates this is enough to also set the displayed title to British Isles. This is also a pretty well understood convention, if not an expectation, among editors and readers, as to how navigation templates work. And as said, no other navigation template I know of changes this display title according to where it's used. I mentioned previous attempts at resolution, and while many of the other issues in this dispute area have shades of grey and further discussion is always helpful, I think the actual answer here is pretty black or white - consensus at Tfd has declared that this template has to exist, nobody has yet succeeded in renaming the British Isles article, and so, it either is acceptable under NPOV for the template to change its form in this way, or it isn't. That's how I understand the concept of NPOV being a core principle of Wikipedia - it cannot be over-ridden by a few editors making compromise deals on local talk pages in the name of consensus and then edit warring to enforce that, aided and abetted by the complete unwillingness of anyone else to get involved (the NPOVN link) or to really even get what the issue is (the Tfd). MickMacNee (talk) 01:14, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

I take no position on the naming dispute. However, I side with you fully that a template that automagically changes when used in different articles, to represent different POVs, is just wrong. It's wrong from an editorial and technical perspective.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:31, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I thank you for the swift & clear response. Much appreciated. MickMacNee (talk) 03:13, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I dunno. I don't care about the naming dispute, but as for templates, it depends whether one views the as "content in themselves" or just convenient devices to allow content on a given page. If they have a content value in themselves, then they should be constant and neutral and not varying by the anticipated POV of the viewer. If they are just devices, then there is no more need for consistency than there is for any two pages to be consistent in the nomenclature. The question is does a UK article and an Irish one need to refer to the British Isles using the same terminology? Sometimes there just isn't clearly neutral terminology and we need to compromise and fudge a bit - unless we are going to have an editorial board and a "house POV" and that has its own dangers. (Currently an article on Judaism uses CE/BCE and an article on Christianity uses BC/AD - we could I suppose have a "house style" across all article - but that would force Wikipedia to have a POV on a contentious issue. Sitting on the fence, as uncomfortable as it is, may be the best we can do. Not ideal , no. But the alternative?--Scott Mac 02:56, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
There no such thing as "a UK article and an Irish one". There are only Wikipedia articles. Your points are well taken, but this is a pretty core value, I think. Herostratus (talk) 07:16, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
You've missed the point. I'm not arguing that there's a UK article and an Irish one. What I'm saying is that unless you are going to standardise the nomenclature on all Wikipedia articles, then there's no particular reason for standardising it on a template. Template are not real content, they are simply devices to help standardise content on given pages - if the pages are not standardised then insisting the template is simply forcing the template to be a microcosm of the wider problem. Ideally, you would arrive at an NPOV nomenclature for all wikipedia articles - but sometimes with naming disputes there simply isn't a NPOV version (or at least not one any consensus can agree on). So what do we do? We either have wars of attrition and unending edit warring, or we have some "editorial authority" to dictate the house POV (we currently lack that), or we allow for some degree of irregularity where editors on each article work it out for themselves, and the type of editor the article attracts will largely determine which way it goes. There aren't "Christian articles" and "Jewish articles" there are only Wikipedia articles. But good luck in standardising AD or CE across all Wikipedia articles - either choice favours someone's POV.--Scott Mac 10:20, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
"Template are not real content" is entirely incorrect. NPOV, and other policies, can apply to templates, user pages, edit summaries, user boxes, and anything else.  Chzz  ►  12:23, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Congratulations for taking a quote out of context and arguing against something I never said. Of course NPOV applies. But it applies to template BECAUSE they are transcluded on articles. That's why it doesn't apply to usertemplates etc. Out focus needs to be on what the reader sees when the read an article (including the text of the article and all transcribed templates). My point is that articles are not consistent in nomenclature (although ideally they would be) and that this is the underlying problem. As long as we can't solve this, there's little point in trying to solve it on a template. In any case, there isn't an obvious NPOV nomenclature in certain areas. Insisting on consistency when we can't actually agree on what neutrality is, misses the entire point, and simply forces people to wage unwinnable battles. If you can settle the nomenclature dispute fine. Then you'll have the wording to use on the templates AND on all related articles. But that's evaded us so far.--Scott Mac 13:27, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I take your point, Scott, to be that NPOV-violations in templates are no worse than NPOV-violations generally. I agree. My view about this particular thing, though, is that putting them into a template makes it a lot harder to get local consensus on an article because people would have to go edit a template, and possibly fight the broader battle with people who are "guarding" the template. Seems problematic to me all around. I'd rather keep things simple enough for ordinary people to be able to engage in constructive debate. Templatizing something that's wrong is in a way institutionalizing it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:13, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Again, the problem is that we can't say which version is the NPOV-violation and which isn't. There's no consensus on that. That means article each go there own way. So, you either have to delete the template, define NPOV for the template (and if you define NPOV then you'd enforce it across wikipedia), or allow the template to vary with the articles. The template is reflecting the current impasse - you can't solve that unless you break the impasse. (As I say, I couldn't give an Irish penny about the issue itself)--Scott Mac 17:34, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Words can change their meaning depending on context. A lot of words having to do with the internal setup of the United Kingdom, of Ireland, and of the relations between the two are loaded with so much symbolism that it's hard to say anything without making a political statement for or against a party. In this situation you can't prescribe one word to be used on every article that uses a template any more than you can prescribe that a template that is used for geographical articles around the world must use the same variant of English everywhere.
In British English it's still normal to talk about the British Isles, and by using different language you make a political statement. In Irish English some people still do it, but its more and more considered offensive. MickMacNee is one of a number of British editors who are trying to force formulations that offend Irish readers into articles such as Ireland and Republic of Ireland. They don't have a chance with fair means, so MickMacNee is trying to win by wikilawyering. You should not support him in his endeavour. Or to repeat myself from the NPOV/N discussion:
"There are many valid ways for attempting to get a global consensus that the British Isles may be referred to only as the British Isles, no other terms allowed in special contexts such as Ireland-related articles. Participation in WP:BITASK is the most obvious and potentially the most effective path for that. Attacking a technical feature of a template is just about the least acceptable and most disruptive approach." Hans Adler 20:31, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
British- and Irish-related topics are littered with examples of highly-charged and symbolic terms that (in the real world) use or non-use of which expresses a particular POV. This puts us between a rock and hard place. We cannot strike a NPOV while using one term or another. It is not merely that we would be perceived as presenting a particular POV. It is to use or not to use these terms that is the (real world) expression of the POV. And we cannot decide that one term is correct, or more correct than another, since that choice is the POV (in the real world).
In the real world, these issues in British and Irish topics have been overcome through what has been called "constructive ambiguity" in some cases and an approach to these issues that is known as "parity of esteem". On Wikipedia, the most successful solutions have been fudges that are similar in spirit the approaches in the real world.
The oldest and most well-known of these is over whether to call the city and county Derry or Londonderry. The fudge is to call the city Derry in all circumstances and the county Londonderry in all circumstances regardless of the subject and regardless of the editor's POV. Amazingly, this works very well and editors respect the each others POV (in political speak they show a "parity of esteem"). Importantly, the choice of which to use in which circumstance was not simply arbitrary: it was based on several considerations relevant to the question of the name. Crucially, questions of politics and identity are set aside as criteria, and so the choice doesn't ghetto-ise articles between British (Londonderry) and Irish (Derry). Ultimately, it is seen as fair by a consensus of editors who know the topic.
The solution in the case of the British Isles template, which is also pretty old now at 4 years, is a similar fudge. It does what the best (real world) approaches to this issue does: it recongises that there is a problem with this terminology in some circumstances, acknowledges the richness of the vocabulary around the terms, favours no particular vocabulary in all contexts but demonstrates and adeptness at use of a variety of terms for the same thing, and then moves on. It is entirely correct to say that there is no such thing as a "UK article" and an "Irish article". And so, like Derry/Londonderry, the choice of term used in different articles is consciously based on a politically-neutral set of criteria that is relevant to question of the name. The choice is based on whether the article is related to (a) politics, (b) geography/islands (c) terminology and (d) all others (issues relevant to the question of the name aside from politics and political identity). Consequently, the result (although unusual) is seen as fair and balanced by a consensus of editors familiar with the topic, although Mick is vocal in his disagreement with it.
Using approaches like this it has been possible to get a consensus around charged vocabulary like this while maintaining Wikipedia's NPOV on the question of otherwise highly-charged terms such as these examples. --RA (talk) 23:59, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
There's just 1 problem which illustrates the core failure here - the Derry/Londonderry solution is UNIVERSALLY applied on all pages. It doesn't matter if you are reading a page about Ireland or a page about Britain, or any other page infact, you see Derry for city and Londonderry for County - the content delivered by Wikipedia everywhere is the agreed solution taking account of the dispute. And this absolutely does not produce a politically neutral outcome on many many pages, as the people who have to continually revert and revert and reevert to enforce even this agreed solution, will attest. But that solution is at least perfectly consistent with NPOV, as it does not introduce into Wikipedia the utterly false premise that readers of Irish articles are Irish, and British articles are British, and they must be 'served' as such. And nobody has any trouble getting policy knowledgable people generally agreeing it is correct. That's not the case here, not by a long shot. In the Derry solution, the potential for offence is the same on all articles, and the solution is in balance with all mainstream views with appropriate representative weight. The view presented by Wikipedia such as it is formulated, must be consistent, everywhere. That is how you do NPOV, not 'fudging'. And it's how the solutions work on other many disputes too, like Gdansk and Macedonia etc etc. This is no coincidence - what works, works. What is correct, is correct. Whereas this particular template morphing fudge is unique to this particular dispute. And it is defended as the consensus view of "editors who know the topic", who cannot offer any real policy based justifications for their solution. Those two facts are not unrelated. And btw Jimbo, none of them are ignorant of any of these very simple points. We are most definitely going over old ground here, in truly epic TE style, which is why I came here to cut the knot (and note the pointlessness of even that - the template has been reverted back to the morphing version several times since your view, by the same editors who are asserting here they 'know the topic'). And on that score, I think the people assuming Jimbo knows nothing of the specifics of the actual dispute and are basically saying he just blindly offered that view out of some ignorance of it, are being quite insulting. I despair frankly that admins will, to a man, seemingly run a mile from tackling these behavioural problems head on, as you can surely see from just this exchange that the problem is not really the substantive policy basis of the argument, certainly not on the NPOV side anyway. MickMacNee (talk) 01:29, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
You are correct in that it is not being equally applied. It does make a distinction between articles where the title is seen as problematic and where it is not. That's a fair point and one worth raising. I've stuck part of my comment above because of it.
Honestly, Mick, consensus does changes. At one time it was seen as essential that the template be pipe linked. Back in 2006, the only way that the template could be included on the Ireland and Republic of Ireland articles was to pipe link the title. Consequently, the greatest issue, from my perspective, is the failure to notify the relevant pages when this functionality is quietly removed. Whether the functionality is appropriate or not, it is being used (and has been used for four years). Quietly removing it makes changes to pages on an issue that at least was seen to be very important without notifying the relevant community of editors.
That is the gravest issue for me right now. Just drop a line on the affected pages to say you want the functionality taken out or open a wider RfC on how to handle this question. --RA (talk) 03:58, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Once again, your approach shows that you really do see this in terms of the views of people who read/edit Irish articles, and those that don't, and how the two camps can 'fudge' something together by discussion. This is not NPOV, and this is not how you gauge or assert consensus. ROI is not an FA, anything decided on its talk page has no special status or legimate right to continue to ignore a core policy, which is the embodiment of site-wide consensus, certainly not when it apparently dates back to a discussion from 2006, and especially given CCC. On Wikipedia, it's certainly not necessary to seek 'permission' from specific article editors in order to be able to change the template so that it adheres to NPOV, or indeed to make it behave like every other navigation template on Wikipedia. Do you think Irish disputes/editors have a more special status here than Gdansk for example, or Macedonia? The functionality was not 'quietly' removed in the slightest. Subsequent edit-warrring / tag-teaming tactics aside, the burden is on you to show a consensus exists that this clearly disputed functionality ever met a core policy in the first place, let alone showing it still has proper support now. I am going to reinstate it one last time to reinstate the state that both meets NPOV and which it was in when 'silence was consensus' last (it's 2nd removal went unnoticed for four months remember), and if you don't like that or think this is somehow different to your claim that the previous four years of silence is somehow a more legitimate standing consensus, I ask you to open an Rfc to gather opinions from the whole community to show this anomolous bit of coding already satisfied NPOV and still does, rather than expecting others to jump through hoops to get rid of your locally decided and defended fudges. And rather than advertising that Rfc just in the places where you will only find the usual polarised opinions from the 'people that know the topic' which is what produces these fudges in the first place, I ask that you seek much more neutral opinions in the relative mix, by advertising it to the widest possible group of policy knowledgeable editors - CN, NPOVN, or even CENT. If you think the view of the wider community on NPOV and templates will be different to Jimbo's, go ahead. Plenty of others have already said it isn't, unsurprisingly they are mostly from the neutral and not always involved camp. The prevailing environment of TE that exists always ensures there are easily over-looked, when the inevitable happens and you yet again come along and declare what the consensus is on the issue you've been heavily involved in debating. If this local fudging is a valid aspect of NPOV, then we may even end up with a proposed wording change to the policy, because as I'm rather tired of explaining to you, it's not justified in any part of its wording right now, or in any community accepted guideline or even essay that further interprets it. Local consensus, silence, and now tag-teaming is pretty much the only thing I've ever seen offered up to support it. It's amazing that you even compared it to something like Derry/LondonDerry, which iirc went all the way to a community wide vote, did it not? It's certainly part of an approved MoS Guideline at least. Whereas all attempts to try and get this sort of fudge over BI approved more widely have all spectacularly tanked once they get to the peer review against policy stage. If you think this template issue will be any different, go ahead. MickMacNee (talk) 15:51, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

:How did the template appear at Republic of Ireland & Ireland, when it had Snappy's edit? GoodDay (talk) 00:25, 26 March 2011 (UTC)