User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 78

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Creating a Wikicracy in Spain

Hello Jimmy, we wanted to contact you about the project we're doing. We are creating a political system that you know, Wikicracy using mediawiki as the main platform.The project becomes a political party, WikiPartido (WikiParty in english), among other things that will put citizens at the same level as politicians, can give a voice to the decisions taken.

Wiki users can create law proposals, edit and criticize them. An organ called Junta Crítica (Critical Team) is responsible for neutral analysis of proposals, for finally will get quality proposals. Once accepted by consensus or vote of the citizens is approved the proposal.

As WikiPartido is open to all peoples not a right, left, liberal or conservative party, we opted to use the sustainable development , seeking a balance between social, economic and ecological ideologies.

To carry out the project we used as a base mediawiki accompanied with different extensions and changes for facilitating the work to new users (eg, Semantic Forms), as well as changes in the skin.

The result of our work is visible through the following website: http://wikipartido.es

Greetings and thank you very much.

--Alberto.eps (talk) 17:31, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like an intriguing experiment.--SPhilbrickT 15:29, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
...heh, wait until their version of ArbCom has to deal with political policy :-P (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 17:41, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I am fascinated by this concept, I am curious to see the Pork Projects that would come from it if instituted. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 22:34, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I think this is an interesting idea, but I think they have set the wrong goal for the organization. I think they should strive to become a branch of government rather than a political party. In other words, the Wiki contributors should strive to examine issues and generate proposals which are "majority opinions", "concurring opinions", "dissenting opinions", like the Supreme Court in the U.S. - the leading opinions might then be taken up directly by such honest legislators as can be found and submitted for vote by the normal means. Wnt (talk) 06:19, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I find it theoretically interesting, but practically dangerous. As Churchill once said "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." Though he was talking more about a republic, than actual democracy, and this type of "pure democracy" using mediawiki falls into the "all the others" category. Allowing the fickle public to make decisions of such importance is dangerous, as any of the US Founding Father's would have told you, especially Alexander Hamilton. Taking 1,000 people whose IQ is 90 each does not generally end up with better decisions than 10 people with 110 IQ's for example (I chose one standard deviation above and below the average typical American). More voices doesnt make something better, no offense Wikipedia. I suggest the people of Spain simply decide, starting at the very lowest levels of elected officials, to simply vote for better candidates, the school board candidate of today is the Congressman of tommorow as Tom DeLay once said to one of my college classes, picking the "right" candidate (pun was his) at the lowest levels and grooming them to be better candidates to move up is how he managed to get the Republican Party to control Texas so thoroughly because as they progressed they had better qualifications, contacts, experience, and talent than the Democratic opponents (though in my opinion legal gerrymandering helped as well).Camelbinky (talk) 05:29, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is the disproof of that claim. A large number of people with ordinary skill can produce expert work. IQ is a number on a test, not a guarantee of superior performance. And a bill written by an honest person of ordinary intelligence is in any case infinitely superior to a bill written by a brilliant lobbyist loyal only to a specific interest. I wish WikiPartido good luck. Wnt (talk) 16:29, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your opinions. Constructive criticism helps us improve and grow. Let us know what you think Jimmy Wales. Grettings.--Alberto.eps (talk) 14:11, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Establishing and enforcing global Wiki-law

You should be already aware of the recent chaos in zh:wp which involves blocking of trolls, de-adminship poll of user:Shizhao (c.f. meta:Requests for comment/Oppression in zh wikipedia) and other "controversial" policies. I understand that we all don't like rules(laws), especially in a not-for-profit and voluntary project like Wikimedia. However, if the Foundation doesn't establish some essential "law" within its domain, some user of local wiki may challenge the local sysops' decision which ultimately leads to a mess just as zh.wp does today. There're many rules not satisfying all the Wikipedians but both opposing sides usually just want an uncompromised result (without consensus then leads to an anti-wiki poll). The even sad truth is, although something is downright against the principles of Wikipedia, those points like pushing democracy and false or controversial accusation against sysops can gain enormously large supporters (whether they're truly individuals or meat-puppets). Sysops may block few particular users who troll/promote the anti-wiki ideals, obviously they can't block all the supporters of those ideals, and then the drama goes on endlessly.

I believe, as the Wikimedia community keeps growing, we inevitably require more strict laws to fend off anti-wiki ideals to be promoted here. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 04:03, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I am a strong supporter of Shizhao. It is unfortunate that Chinese Wikipedia is going through these troubles, and it should be noted that there has been an off-wiki campaign against Shizhao for a long time and that many votes against him come from accounts that are essentially inactive except when they are petitioned off-wiki (perhaps as sock puppets) to come and vote. In the last vote, 90% of those with more than 10,000 edits supported Shizhao. I trust Wing, as I know him to be a kind and thoughtful person, the chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, and he also strongly supports Shizhao. I am not sure what I can do to help, but I agree with you that Chinese Wikipedia needs to think of ways to prevent further harassment.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:31, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Ultimately I suggest board of trustee make "wiki-laws" which shall override any local wiki policies or guidelines and not be challenged by non-trustee users (but contructive suggestion may be considered). Having said that I am aware of WP:NOTLAW. But the thing is, whenever there is no strict policy to authorize sysops' operation against disruptive activity, the troll simply protests "there's no such policy" and then the drama begins. Right now the most important wiki-laws I think zh.wp dreadfully need are prohibition of poll before discussion/consensus and trolling. If we don't appeal to Foundation, we Chinese Wikipedians will never be able to make such policies due to the strong protest from Shizhao's opposition. So many Chinese Wikipedians still believe poll is better than consensus. And troll is usually blocked when the damage to the community is already gravely done. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 08:19, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I am a strong supporter of 黃世澤 (talk:Martinoei ) who is the best man and have a lot of important contribution for that Chinese Wikipedia,I am very proud of a Homg Kong people for 黃世澤, but I also very and very shame for Sameboat - 同舟.-- 同舟人誓相隨 (talk) 14:37, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It seems that the user 黃世澤 is the very one who control all things behind.--113.71.91.223 (talk) 15:00, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I will give the good man 黃世澤 for strongly supports him ,Mr.Sameboat - 同舟who control all Chinese Wiki ,so I very look down Sameboat - 同舟 and his members of evil party.--同舟人誓相隨 (talk) 15:52, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
"Good man"? You mean it? Then please explain this[1] if you could. - Cravix (talk) 04:25, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

follow up

I and 百楽兎 had been Blocked from zh-wp indefinitely without any zh-policy support this kind block, 百楽兎 have more than 30000 times edits and I have more than 10000 times edits 31 DYKs and I don't have any block history before, no any waring before the blocks. Wing says he block us for Wikipedia:Ignore all rules. All such blocks happened before the de-sysop vote of shizhao, and all of us support to de-sysop. Since now it's 23 supports to de-sysop vs 12 opposes, althought 百楽兎 can not vote for the block.Sysywjel 18:56, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Don't be ridiculous. You were blocked by Wing because you are trolling Chinese Wikipedia. You boycott every single proposal by other users and every single sysop's action because you consider only the POLICY are consensus but ignore a lot of implicit conventions of the community. You even violate the resolution decided by board of trustees: you think we can't block you because the resolution didn't give a precise definition of trolls, so you can trolling a lot without any sanctions? No, that's totally wrong. --PhiLiP (talk) 20:11, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Do you remmber this?What_is_a_troll:

Trolling is a deliberate, bad faith attempt to disrupt the editing of Wikipedia. Ignorance is not trolling. Genuine dissent is not trolling. Biased editing, even if defended aggressively, is in itself not trolling. By themselves, misguided nominations, votes, and proposed policy are not trolling. They are only trolling when they are motivated by a program of malice rather than ignorance or bias. This requires a judgment of the personal motivation for another's action. Such a judgment can never be made with anything approaching certainty. This fact should always be kept in mind when one is tempted to label someone a troll.

I have to say: PhiLiP, You are totally wrong on What_is_a_troll.--苹果派.Talk 23:29, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

zh.wp arbcom

Does zh.wp have an arbitration committee? If so, what actions did the zh.wp arbitration committee take regarding these issues? If not, do you feel that an arbitration committee based on the en.wp model would help to address some of these problens? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 05:42, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

We don't have an arbcom. It may be a good idea, but the problem we have right now is that we're unable to reach any consensus regarding sysop management/operation as the opponent strongly insists they hold the "right" to strip sysop's privilege whenever they desire (thru poll). Any possible weakening or removal of that "right" will receive instant opposition. Unless WMF compulsively orders zh.wp to make the rules (including WP:PNSD) for the formation of arbcom, there will be no fruition of any local discussion. And the election of arbitration members is another problem as well. I don't know how the election ran in en.wp. As you can see in the 7th Shizhao's de-adminship poll, even though the accusations of privilege abuse are largely false or controversial, supporters of recall outnumber the opposers. I really can't give much hope to the elected arbitrator of zh arbcom unless they're directly appointed by WMF/BoT. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 10:29, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
The WMF is not likely to get involved; doing so would be unprecedented. It is more likely that I can have some influence, although how much influence I might have will depend more on the quality of any arguments I might put forward, based on the experiences of many other communities, than anything else.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:50, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I understand my initial suggestion is quite blatant. Whatever the poll result will be, there's no immediate threat to zh.wp management, I will still contribute regardless of all the politics. But 1 thing is sure: the community is collapsing bit by bit. Everyone gets involved is polarizing their standpoint un/consciously. If WMF can explore the solution to influence the local wiki in the mildest, most acceptable way before it falls apart will be greatly appreciated. Thx for the conversations. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 12:23, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

follow up again

I had been blocked again by wing and philip and be unblock by Jusjih and 人神之间. And I just post Comments against them: against wingagainst philip before they block me。--苹果派.Talk 22:56, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

A polite question

Hi Jimbo, could you confirm that this move is in line with Wiki naming policy and guide me to the part of the rules which support it. Thanks. Sarah777 (talk) 06:39, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:NCROY#British_nobility covers it. "Articles on the wives of hereditary peers are generally headed {First name} {Married name}, {Title}, as Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; calling her Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire would be anachronism. If the husband is a member of the Royal family, his article will usually have no surname; neither should hers: Diana, Princess of Wales."--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:43, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Georgiana Cavendish was such a naughty girl. She definitely had it though. The sexiest woman of the 18th century LOL.♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:41, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Administrator Barnstar Hires.png The Admin's Barnstar
铁铁的火大了 (talk) 03:28, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

I moved that barnstar to Jimbos Barnstar Page. Please remove that section, I can`t.--89.182.102.16 (talk) 16:43, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Adminstrators able to break the Privacy Policy per Abuse-filter extension?

See here for more details.--89.182.117.163 (talk) 12:48, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo's user page says "I am learning German". I speak decent German myself, but not good enough to follow that technical discussion, so I doubt that Jimbo will get much out of it. Could you perhaps summarize the issue as you see it? Looie496 (talk) 16:09, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Even I had trouble understanding this weird conversation, so I was going to leave an explanation. Apparently the German Wikipedia is using an edit filter that does the following:
  • When you edit a certain page, you get a message telling you that you are not allowed to make more than 3 edits in any 30-hour interval. Any edit that goes beyond that is tagged.
  • The criterion for triggering the tagging is edits by the same IP, regardless of whether the IP is logged in or not.
  • As a result, we can have the following situation: On day 1, an IP makes 2 edits to an article. At the end of day 2, a logged-in user makes another 2 edits to the same article. The second edit is tagged. There were no further edits to the article on either day. In this situation we know precisely what the editor's IP is. This looks like a serious bug to me. I guess that we are waiting for it to be fixed we need a rule that this feature of the edit filter may not be used. Hans Adler 16:25, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
yes, and there are other possibilities to abuse that. If that can`t be fixed to be safe, it has to be fixed by removal of the whole abuse-filter extension( on all wikis, of course). A (possible) breach of the privacy policy is something that has to be stopped as fast as possible. I suggest to remove the feature now and then to look for a solution--89.182.102.16 (talk) 16:34, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
(ec) In case it's not clear why this is a problem, here is an (ab)use case: User Abel has been leaving whistleblower-type comments at the talk page of his university's article. User Cain, a professor at the same university with a strong interest in keeping things under the rug, wants to know if Abel is a colleague or a student. Under some pretext he manages to convince admin Innocence to create a throttle edit filter as described above. As soon as another edit by Abel to the page in question appears on Cain's watchlist, Cain (who normally only edits from home) makes three anonymous edits to the same page, using the proxy that serves the main student computer pool. His third edit is tagged, so he now knows the whistleblower is a student who uses that pool. When Abel makes another edit to the page at the end of the week, it only takes five minutes for Cain's graduate student to appear in the pool, looking for the notes that he claims to have forgotten on the previous day, while keeping an eye open for browsers with Wikipedia pages in them. Half a year later, Abel fails his final exam. Hans Adler 16:41, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Cain and Abel, very nice. @Ip: Why should this now lead to a removal of the entire abuse filter system on all wikipedias? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 16:48, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
That is not a practical abuse case. To do what you propose you would require access to the same IP as the user who's IP you want to find (in which case you already know it anyway). Indeed it would be just as effective to have Cain's graduate student go look for Wikipedia pages in browsers whenever Able edits at all. Prodego talk 16:54, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Probably true, but as I understand it, it would also reveal any IP if you happen to be logged out for one of them, thus linking your username to an IP... no? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 16:58, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
If you edit logged out to the same page as you edit logged in, and all those edits are within 30 hours (in the dewiki case) and no other IP edits the page then yes. But if you do that it is probably obvious what user the IP is anyway. Prodego talk 17:00, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
True. I guess I'm desperately trying to imagine how/why/when this could be a real problem... Do we have that filter here on en.?Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 17:05, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
There is a similar filter on enwiki but that would only work for non-confirmed editors when all the edits are within 300 seconds. Prodego talk 17:17, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
It turns out that the question is not a theoretical one. A filter of this type was active on de:Marburger Burschenschaft Rheinfranken. After several days of inactivity on the article, on 15 June an IP made 3 edits.[2] The first was reverted by a logged-in user. The IP's fourth edit was prevented by the edit filter. [3] Two minutes, later user "Dr. Wenzig" was also prevented from an edit to that article. [4] We now know with certainty that "Dr. Wenzig" was editing from a German Arcor mobile phone connection. Since this was the account's first edit it's not a big problem, but it could have been.
If you don't like contrived scenarios, the odds that an editor's IP address is accidentally revealed to be that of a huge proxy aren't exactly zero, either. Hans Adler 17:08, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that the dewiki filter is a particularly good idea - there are plenty of reasons to make more than 3 edits to a page 30 hours. If dewiki wants to avoid this, they can use user,ip instead of ip as the throttle condition for that filter. But I don't think this is a problem that requires any changes be made. Prodego talk 17:17, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
As 89.* said above, there are also other problems with edit filters. Apparently you can set up an edit filter that catches all account creations in a certain IP range. Here is a way to abuse that:
  • Set up such a filter for the IP range of the foreign ministry of Ruritania.
  • Keep vandalising the minister's article.
  • Send an anonymous email to the minister with details of the vandalism, and explain that the only way he can prevent this is by creating a pseudonymous account and follow a robust approach in dealing with the admins who, according to you, are responsible for the vandalism by not keeping the article fully protected.
  • The minister (or his secretary) will start their editing career in a confrontational way, possibly leading to a block.
  • Feed the story to The Register. Since the account was verifiably created from a ministry IP, the minister does not have plausible deniability.
  • FOREIGN MINISTER BLOCKED FROM WIKIPEDIA FOR ABUSIVE EDITING.
These things may not be very serious privacy problems, but now they have been pointed out I guess it's necessary to check whether we can legally keep them unfixed while our current privacy policy is in place. Hans Adler 17:22, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
If you allow for malicious AbuseFilters then yes, it becomes possible to get a user's IP, for example. There are many other features that can be abused as well, including ones that can give you far more information with far less work. Generally that is avoided because it takes some knowledge to set that sort of thing up, and someone will likely notice. Prodego talk 17:31, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Don't all of the problems described here arise also as the result of investigation of "sockpuppetry" - either a user editing from an IP plus his own account to circumvent an editing rule, or else a malicious person editing from the user's own IP and acting like a sock so as to be investigated? Wnt (talk) 21:09, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
The difference is that checkusers are vetted much more thoroughly than admins, and most of the time they withhold IP information or decline explicitly connecting a reported IP with a specific sockmaster. Hans Adler 14:02, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps Jimbo, being interested in the German language, could promote some German-english translation scheme on here as the amount of editors actively working on German/Austrian and Swiss articles I can count on one hand. They are either all editing on German wikipedia, or too engrossed in wiki politics on here with the exception of User:Bermicourt. Austria in particular seems to be the most neglected, just check out the Austrian castle articles.. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 16:52, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

And yet another neologism BLP vio

GOCE drive invitation

Greetings from the Guild of Copy Editors
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The latest GOCE backlog elimination drive is under way! It began on 1 July and so far 18 people have signed up to help us reduce the number of articles in need of copyediting.

This drive will give a 50% bonus for articles edited from the GOCE requests page. Although we have cleared the backlog of 2009 articles there are still 3,935 articles needing copyediting and any help, no matter how small, would be appreciated.

We are appealing to all GOCE members, and any other editors who wish to participate, to come and help us reduce the number of articles needing copyediting, as well as the backlog of requests. If you have not signed up yet, why not take a look at the current signatories and help us by adding your name and copyediting a few articles. Barnstars will be given to anyone who edits more than 4,000 words, with special awards for the top 5 in the categories: "Number of articles", "Number of words", and "Number of articles of over 5,000 words".

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Sent on behalf of the Guild of Copy Editors using AWB on 09:08, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

There is a problem with the Arbitration Commitee

Jimbo, ArbCom, stalkers, random-passers by, whoever. I'm frustrated, but please don't dismiss me because I'm frustrated, please hear me out. My confidence in the Arbitration Committee has taken a few serious dents recently, and I have a feeling that others' confidence in that Committee might also have suffered in recent weeks and months. So, I've identified what I think are the problems and how I think they can be solved. I may be completely wrong, but it can't hurt to hear me out.

Over the last few months, I've noticed what, to me, seems to be a dangerous trend from the Arbitration Committee. I hold most of the 18 individuals who make up that Committee in the highest esteem, one or two of them, I have the honour of being able to call friends. But collectively, something seems to have gone wrong. The Committee has become very good at implementing and adjusting its procedures and policies to its liking and at passing motions on obscure details on the wording of pages that, while of course valuable, spend most of their time gathering dust. There is nothing deeply wrong with this, per se, but I would suggest to you, Jimmy, and to anyone who might be reading this (since this seems as good a place as any to say what I have to say), that this has become more important to the Committee than dispute resolution.

Dispute resolution is the defining purpose of that Committee, yet its noticeboard is full of relatively minor adjustments to its policies and procedures (like a slight update to the procedure on handling motions) and its members seem pre-occupied with issuing secret instructions to clerks. Almost all of its business is done on its private wiki or its mailing list (I assume) and all the "dirty work" is passed either to its clerks, who are charged with maintaining and supervising the case pages or to administrators in the form of discretionary sanctions. This all contributes to my impression that it is out of touch with the community and has become too wrapped up in making sure people obey its rules (for arbitration pages) and rulings (for the result of a case or motion).

The specific events that prompted me to post this are this notice, which I'm certain was ordered by an arbitrator, but I have no idea which one or where, since the Committee leaves no on-wiki paper trail, and the broader MickMacNee case, but I've felt there's a problem for a while. A week into the case and four arbitrators have made any sort of comment at all, out of the 10 who voted to accept the case and the 16 who are active and not recused. As each day passes, my confidence that arbitration will solve the problems, or at least not make them worse, decreases. This is an important case. There are things that need to be dealt with and issues that need to be resolved where RfCs and and other dispute resolution fora have been tried and failed, but arbitrators don't seem interested. In fact, my prediction is that it will turn out to be very much like the Arbitration Enforcement sanction handling case, where nothing new or useful arises and the disputes only get worse and the damage to various people's reputations ranges from shrapnel wounds to the irreparable.

There are, however, other examples. One from the top of my head that illustrates my point perfectly is this motion. The dispute was not resolved, questions about administrator misconduct (which the Arbitration Committee is the only body with the power to deal with) and the Committee hugely exceeded its powers by effectively re-writing part of the protection policy and lumbering admins with more unneeded red tape.

I apologise for the length of my post, and for putting it here, because I know you're a busy man, Jimmy, but where else can I take a dispute with the highest dispute-resolution body? What I would like to see is:

  • The Committee conducting its business and, where practical, its discussions on the wiki, except where privacy is concerned.
  • An increased focus towards dispute resolution, giving it the highest priority behind whatever urgent privacy concerns etc it has to deal with; that also means attempting to find the root cause of a dispute and dealing with it (even if that means attracting controversy) rather than passing the buck through discretionary sanctions
  • All active, non-recused arbitrators actively partaking in cases. Not just voting, but actually making an effort to comment in discussions about proposals and evidence and being seen to work suggestions from parties and passers-by into the final decision.
  • Raising issues with parties, such as evidence length, on their talk page in person, instead of secretly ordering a clerk to do it. And, more importantly, being more concerned about getting the best, yet most concise, evidence instead of forcing evidence into an arbitrary word limit.
  • Monthly (or at least quarterly) reports to the community on what the Committee has done in that time and a collegial discussion between community members and arbitrators on how anything could have been handled better.
  • Clearly defined scope to cases, to be determined before the evidence phase opens, and the removal of any evidence outside the scope of the case.
  • It would also be nice to see one arb a fortnight spend that fortnight on the "front line" as an admin (since all are currently admins) dealing with vandals, closing AfDs, answering RfPP requests and doing what admins do. I think, with one or two exceptions, those arbitrators who had significant experience of day-to-day admin work have forgotten their experiences there and some had very little before they were elected arbitrators (and I mean that not as a criticism; I understand being an arb is not easy and the job has a high burn-out rate).

I love Wikipedia, so I'm not posting this because I need to vent, though my experiences will inevitably be reflected in my opinions. I'd like to hear what you and others have to say, and if the consensus is that there is no issue and I'm just bitter about my recent experiences surrounding arbitration, then I'll shut up. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 03:12, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I feel arbcom is given too much power. Whoever came up with the idea that all members must have CU and Oversight access by default, and keep it indefinitely? Wikipedia shouldn't be, and isn't, a bureaucracy.Jasper Deng (talk) 03:25, 25 June 2011 (UTC
That may have been the case in the past, but as far as I know, the only former arbs that retain the checkuser and oversight tools are the ones that are actively using them to help out, or who held the tools before they were arbs. The impression I get (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that former arbs relinquish those tools if they have no need for them - that is what I did when my term expired. Also, as far as I am aware, there are periodic reviews of the CU and OS teams to ensure those with the tools are actually using them and helping out. Carcharoth (talk) 23:02, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
  • When I saw this pop up on my watchlist, I assumed you were talking about this. Is there a Deep Throat on arbcom? Maybe we should find out and close the hole, as this should never be able to happen. --John (talk) 03:30, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
    • John/Jimbo: See WT:AC for what's going on with the hack/theft of mail.
    • HJ: I can say this. I was the one who requested a clerk remove the yelling at sandstein, and I'll stand behind that. However, as far as I can tell, no one requested AGK do what the rules tell him, arb, clerk or whatever. I do know that we had people getting frustrated that we weren't enforcing word/diff limits on other cases/requests (the latest one is still on WT:RfArb, so in general, they're being hard-line in enforcing the word/diff rules that have been in place.. I think everyone needs to abide by them. Also, as one of the drafting arbs on this, I can assure you I'm paying attention to this case, I do so on every case possible. A lot of my fellow arbs have other duties and can't monitor cases 24/7, for example, Roger Davies spent the last few months shepherding through the latest version of the ArbPolicy.. As for your request to more narrowly delineate scopes, I think that's counterproductive. The Committee needs to go where the evidence (and its own review of the situation takes it). Sometimes, this gathers in related events (for example, MMN is primarily focused on MickMacNee's editing actions, specifically how he interacts with others, however, as a related issue, Sandstein's lengthening of the block (and your undoing) becomes part of the case. SirFozzie (talk) 03:56, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
      • And why did you make AGK do it? Why not do it yourself? Why is it all done cloak and dagger? I'm not an unreasoanble guy, even when I'm angry. You could have said something to me. As for the word limit nonsense, how can I possibly conduct a proper defence against Sandstein's accusations in 500 words? But the point is that ArbCom cares more about whether its procedures are followed and whether the evidence is within some arbitrary limit than it does about the substance of the evidence. With the exception of AE, which was spawned from ArbCom, arbitration is the only place on Wikipedia where the letter of the rule is so rigidly enforced over the spirit. I know the Committee has a difficult job to do, and I hold you and most of your colleagues in the utmost esteem, but collectively, you've got so wrapped up in procedure that you've forgotten you're there to resolve disputes. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 14:48, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
        • I think you may have misread, because SirFozzie said that "no one requested him to do what the rules tell him" (emphasis added). As a matter of routine, I periodically evaluate evidence submissions in cases I am clerking, and request the redaction of submissions that are overly length; by my count, your submission ran to 2000 words. Had I not asked you to reduce the length of your evidence, I am unsure whether an arbitrator would have prompted me to do so later, but that is a less important point because the rules on evidence submission are clear. As we are discussing the ArbCom generally here: I am always mindful that the clerks must not contribute to opaqueness. If an arbitrator had asked me to request redaction, I would have said "By arbitrator request [or, request of arb X], please reduce the length of your evidence". AGK [] 23:02, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
(OK, edit conflict with above) There's a lot to digest here, HJ Mitchell, but you kind of lost me at "The specific events that prompted me to post this are this notice, which I'm certain was ordered by an arbitrator, but I have no idea which one or where, since the Committee leaves no on-wiki paper trail...". There's a rule requiring a 500-word limit on submissions, and you made a 2000-word submission, is this correct? Well, what did you expect would happen, and what difference does it make if you were upbraided by an arbitrator, a clerk acting on her own, a clerk acting at the direction of an unnamed arbitrator, or the Swiss Minister of Tourism? If your submission had been 503 words you could claim pettifoggery, but 2000? It's a perfectly reasonable rule -- people are busy -- and I'm still wondering what your problem is with that particular diff. Herostratus (talk) 04:00, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
If you can't be bothered to read and comment on my entire post, that's fine, but you should say so instead of skim-reading it and dismissing my concerns. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 14:48, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
This decline show the importance of dispute resolution over conduct review (WRT roles the committee has), well that was my interpretation of it was, and this as well. So I think we are doing both. Casliber (talk · contribs) 05:20, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with most of HJ Mitchell's systemic criticism and strongly support his suggestions. Seen from the outside, the Committee as a body seems to spend too much time administering itself and trying to run a government of sorts, rather than actively resolving arbitration cases, which is its job description. Even simple cases last for months with ill-defined scopes and little arbitrator activity (on the WP:AESH case, several active members did not even vote!), while arbitrators are busy micro-managing and dabbling in the community's feuds and soap operas via e-mail (at least that's the superficial impression one gets from the e-mails being leaked on external websites). Arbitrators should focus on their main job (resolving the cases before them), do their work onwiki and refrain from accepting or sending e-mail unless really necessary for privacy reasons, come up with a sensible division of labor (an 18-strong committee can't do much as a body), and stop wasting time on complex "rehabilitation" projects of disruptive editors instead of just banning them and letting the rest of us get on with their work. Of course, there's little that Jimbo can do about that.  Sandstein  06:18, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, when I read HJ Mitchell's post, I was in the process of writing one myself, and wondering what to focus on, and where best to post it. The recent leaks show an ArbCom that seems to spend its time gossiping about editors, running people down, and obsessing with trivial issues and who-is-saying-what on Wikipedia Review. In parallel, they are turning down or failing to deal with important cases. It's so incredibly depressing that I currently feel I just don't want to be associated with this project anymore.
What is extremely worrying is that they are archiving these posts, and making the archives available to every new member, so inevitably someone has gained access and downloaded the lot. The ArbCom's response has been to discuss increasing security, which completely misses the point. The Foundation should not be hosting and retaining material like this in the first place. Even without the risk of leaks, it fosters a "Self and Other" atmosphere within the ArbCom, which is elected by everyone and should therefore serve everyone. And it gives new members permission to behave the same way, so it's not something that's likely to be self-correcting.
I've been a member of various private mailing lists, and it's unfortunately human nature for them to devolve into this kind of nastiness. As HJ Mitchell says, each of the Arbs alone may be someone we'd admire and want to support, but collectively something has gone badly wrong. It's no-one's fault, but it does have to be fixed. Suggestions:
  • I echo HJ Mitchell's request that the Committee conduct most of its business on Wikipedia, and not on secret ArbCom wikis or mailing lists.
  • That when writing to mailing lists, they copy their posts to the people they are writing about, except in circumstances where real harm could be caused by doing so.
  • That they remove from their archives as a matter of urgency material that could damage editors. Even though it seems the archives have been downloaded by the leaker, it still makes sense to stop them becoming available to anyone else. In fact, it would make sense in future not to retain archives. Why are they really needed?
  • That they focus exclusively on arbitration, and stop acting as though they're a mini-government.
  • That they do everything in their power not to allow an Us and Them situation to develop, and to clamp down on it internally when they see other members doing it. In other words, the more sensible members have to be willing to speak out, to stop the ArbCom from being just another clique.
As others have said, I'm writing this because I love Wikipedia (or loved it, I'm not sure which), and I respect individual ArbCom members. But as a group it just isn't working. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 07:27, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
As one who isn't always known for agreeing with SlimVirgin, I'd like to echo her above sentiments 100%. --Kotniski (talk) 14:46, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Sandstein's post above is probably the best comment I have ever seen about the ArbCom. I agree with it 100%. I've had similar thoughts for years, and hope this comment will be used to guide ArbCom reform in the future. Nanobear (talk) 09:12, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Arbcom members are well intentioned. However, they are serving as what amounts to a governing body for a major website. Perhaps it is time for the Foundation to hire a consultant to issue a report on what Arbcom does well, what it does not do well, and what it should look to be doing in future. I apologize if this has already been done, it is not something I am aware of.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:03, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
  • <sigh>... I don't know. I mean I really do love Wikipedia and all. But to be honest? ... As much as I might disagree with some of the Arbcom results? .. (throwing out the baby with the bathwater things) ... I really do think that for the most part they do what they're asked to do. They approach things very cautiously, try to keep in mind what the whole community wants of them,,,and they try their damndest to do what's best for the project. It's not like they're getting paid for the crap they have to read through. Damned good folks trying to do an impossible job that is for the most part pretty thankless. But I suppose we all feel that way at times here. We all (for the most part) invest our real life time to trying to "improve" this noble effort, and at times it can get frustrating. In the end? ... Do what you can to make things better, .. enjoy your time here ... enjoy life. When it gets to the point where you're feeling upset by something here - turn the computer off for a bit and walk outside and smell the roses. There's only one life we're given. Best to enjoy it while ya can. Just sayin. — Ched :  ?  15:43, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree with folks on the committee editing and being involved elsewhere on the 'pedia, and have stated this both times I was elected. I also agree with conflict resolution and figuring out ways to grease the axles and keep the 'pedia developing is critical as part of that process, and yes, I have a strong compulsion to go outside but it is middle of winter here...brrrr... :( Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:03, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Responding here to SlimVirgin's point about purging of the archives. That stops people gaining accessed to WMF-held archives of the list, but it does nothing about personal copies of mailing list correspondence kept by individual arbitrators. There are some arbitrators who have been on the committee for years (much longer than I was), and if archives are purged then any personal archives they may hold would be the next logical target. There are ways to make that attack vector less vulnerable, though, and purging the archives would ensure that new arbitrators only have access to what they get while on the committee. So on balance, I think purging of the archives is something that should, and likely will, be done. Trouble is, it looks like it is a bit late now, and it also raises the problem of verifying the leaks. How can you verify that a "leak" is genuine if the mastercopy has been destroyed? Carcharoth (talk) 23:11, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, but I have to make this comment: Does this mean that we have a Wiki-leaks problem? :) Ronk01 talk 23:13, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Carcharoth, the problem with the archives is that every year a new group of people is invited to read and download them. This means the correspondence is being read by people other than the original email recipients, people the original correspondents were not addressing. That is manifestly unfair, particularly as the ArbCom invites editors to write to it privately.
As for how to verify that a leak is genuine, why would that really matter, compared to the above? SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 21:57, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I have to echo HJ Mitchell, Sandstein and SlimVirgin here, and have little to add beyond the fact that it is depressing to see how often ArbCom tries to become GovCom. Truth be told, I think they create as many disputes as they solve at times. Resolute 23:27, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Somewhat arbitrary break

  • There's some disgruntled admins (above) not happy about certain specific decisions, but from which they appear to have drawn some general conclusions. WP is (sadly but inevitably) a hierarchy (new editors, then long-standing editors, then admins, then various cliques within the admins, then arbcom). Each bitches about the ring of the hierarchy just above them (exclusiveness, clique, "Self and Other", disrepect etc). Those who complain about the hierarchy above them are surprisingly unaware of the irony in their complaints. More to do with amour propre than anything else. Nothing new here...move on. DeCausa (talk) 21:20, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Oh, some long-standing editors are far more influential than any admins, make no mistake about that. You really don't need the admin tools to have any kind of status around here. Oh, and I think the bureaucrats and stewards and developers (and a few other groups) feel a bit left out from your hierarchy. Carcharoth (talk) 23:13, 26 June 2011 (UTC)


I would wholeheartedly agree that the Arbitration Committee is in need of significant reform so as to return the body to the purpose for which it was chartered. Perhaps, as above stated, an outside consultant could review the actions and efficacy of the Committee and produce a report with recommendations for positive reform. However, I do concur that the following reforms are direly needed:

  • Greater transparency in communication. Specifically, limiting all non-public discussion to that which contains private information that should not be made public.
  • Greater transparency in decision making
  • Re-dedication to conflict resolution, and less emphasis on developing a massive bureaucracy (Arbitration Committee policy etc.)
  • Elimination of pointless bureaucratic nonsense (such as using Arbitration Clerks unnecessarily)
  • Establishment of a system to select a diverse, knowledgeable, and unbiased temporary panel to review the actions of the Arbitration Committee in cases where case participants or community members raise legitimate concerns regarding Committee actions. The panel must be given the ability to reverse decisions it feels to be improper, and to sanction individual Arbitrators. (Perhaps to be selected by lottery from a pool of volunteers with at lease 3,000 edits and a year of service.)
  • Establishment of a two year term limit for Arbitrators to prevent stagnation of the character of the Committee.


Ronk01 talk 03:22, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

  • I dunno. It's not like you're ever going to not have problems running a project like this. It's simply a matter of this: which problems do you want to have? You can have everything be public, and then you have people being publicly hurt, and energy-consuming drama, and charismatic figures holding sway, and so forth. You can have nothing be public, and then you have lack of accountability, and insufficient input, and unreviewed hasty decisions, and alienation of the volunteers, and so forth. You can have some of each, and have some of both kind of problems. That's it; those are your choices. Perfect harmony is not on the menu. Similarly for governance -- if the ArbCom is acting like the senior bosses of an organization generally do, is that bad? I don't know. Maybe it is. It depends on how competent they are at it, I guess. I haven't considered the Wikipedia to be ruled with an iron fist, compared to most other human organizations. Herostratus (talk) 03:38, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I also have a serious issue with disciplining volunteers who are doing the best they can, and that is ArbCom. As for the proposed supervisory body, that inevitably will become the new ArbCom, to be run by random people? Now, we've had some difficult Arbs in my time, imagine what you will get selecting at random from Wikipedians with minimal qualifications!--Wehwalt (talk) 03:57, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
So are you opposed to disciplining corrupt or inept politicians? The board I propose would be formed only when needed, with no one individual serving on more than three boards within the span of five years. The 20 member board would be dissolved immediately upon the resolution of the conflict, and its scope would be limited to the particular case in dispute. Members would be volunteers with at least 3,000 edits and one year of service (Certainly enough experience to gain an appreciation for how the encyclopedia works) Both admins and regular editors who are not active or former Arbitrators or clerks. Said board would make decisions based firstly on Wikipedia policy, then on Arbitration Policy. There would be no input from either the case participants or ArbCom other than to give a position brief (ArbCom would submit one of these to represent the position of all active arbitrators). All discussion between board members would be public (exempting that information which was not made public during the ArbCom case) This approach provides for indirect, truly representative community intervention in cases of alleged malfeasance on the part of the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. Ronk01 talk 04:30, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
If politicians are volunteers, it's going to come as news to many, and open some questions about where the money they thought was salary came from. Politicians, by the way, in my view are best disciplined by denying them reelection.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:38, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps not the ideal comparison (though, if I remember, Jefferson thought that politicians should be volunteers) Though I would remind you that we are discussing a committee who's primary task is to discipline volunteers. Ronk01 talk 04:46, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Very true. For their conduct. Did you propose to have the new committee discipline arbs for their conduct? If so, what kind of conduct, by existing arbs causes you concern? I did not vote for all of the present serving arbs; that does not mean I cannot say they've done an OK job this year.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:53, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I have no personal issue with any individual Arb. However, to clarify the function of the commit tie: It would have four functions:
  • To determine the presence and extent of malfeasance committed by the Arbitration Committee and its members
  • To take appropriate action to correct the effects of Arbitration Committee malfeasance
  • To sanction individual arbitrators for their actions
  • To review those actions of the Committee that, while not overtly malfeasant, are in some way questionable or inappropriate

Again, this committee would have no permanent members, and would only be formed when needed (much like some disciplinary committees here in the US) Possible sanctions against individuals could include temporary suspension, exclusion from upcoming elections etc. The committee would not have the direct authority to remove an arbitrator from the Committee, but could make such a recommendation to Jimbo. This would, of course further devolve power from Jimbo to the community, as per his stated wish. Ronk01 talk 05:08, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Every ArbCom outcome will have "case participants or community members" who will "raise legitimate concerns regarding Committee actions", guaranteed, and they will be, for the most part, good faith complaints, too. Just wading through the presentation verbiage alone will be a lifetime's sentence. And can you imagine volunteering to spend the time an arbitration takes if it is to be carefully done, knowing that some or all of it will have to be done all over again because that guaranteed someone will have a legitimate concern? If there is a problem with an abitrator, don't vote for him or her. If the problem is serious, tell the Board. Creating another level of bureaucracy, however well intentioned, smacks of process for the sake of process. And WP really needs that! I get a headache just thinking about the pages of drama in setting up the committee to set up the committee to determine who sits . . . Bielle (talk) 05:13, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
If legitimate concerns are always raised does this not raise the concern that ArbCom is not doing its job well, and that it needs supervision? Determining who sits is simple, anyone who meets the qualifications may apply, and volunteers are randomly selected from the pool. Using elections to resolve these kinds of issues simply doesn't work, the lag time between an event and an election is often simply too long. And, if we put a limit of the length of position briefs, reviewing them wouldn't be that hard. And don't you think that ArbCom would do a better job if they know that they could be brought up for review? Ronk01 talk 05:21, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
So randomly selected from those who apply, meeting rather minimal qualifications. Bielle, your concern is answered. The pages of drama will spew merrily away, because we will get the people who utterly revel in this sort of thing. And ArbCom is brought up for review on a regular basis, by election, and the community has been known to signal its displeasure with ArbCom in those elections. Indeed, one suggestion that would involve additional review is to plump for annual ArbCom elections of the entire committee.--Wehwalt (talk) 05:28, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
And we don't get pages of meaningless drama that leads nowhere in these situations anyway? Remember, juries work quite well when they have direction and order (perhaps have five of the 20 member board be admins?) With regard to "rather minimal qualifications" We've already tried a group with excellent qualifications, and that happens to be the one who's issues we are discussing right now. Allow the community to have a say in the arbitration process at some point, and you will see a greater lever or editor satisfaction with ArbCom. I do like the idea of annual total elections though. Ronk01 talk 05:40, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
(after 2 ecs) "If legitimate concerns are always raised does this not raise the concern that ArbCom is not doing its job well, and that it needs supervision?" Not at all. If ArbCom were always dealing with black-and-white, we wouldn't need it. All the cases are dozens of shades of gray. Seldom is anyone all right and all the others all wrong. The outcomes are more than a little like WP:The Wrong Version. I don't see how another layer of judges is going to make the process anything except worse. Have you thought about conflicts between certain admins and/or editors and the cases on which they are selected to sit? You really cannot just select from an open pool of volunteers. I have never worked better thinking someone was just waiting for me to make a mistake. Does anyone, from a toddler on up? Arbitrators can be "brought up for review" if the problem is egregious. If it isn't, it is their informed opinions versus our (relatively) uninformed ones. I know which one I'd choose. Bielle (talk) 05:42, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Also, I don't see why having a certain number of admins will provide order and direction. Admins are not chosen for leadership skills. Unless you meant they could "discipline" their own fellow members via the block button?--Wehwalt (talk) 05:47, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I suppose a point by point rebuttal?
  • "All the cases are dozens of shades of gray. Seldom is anyone all right and all the others all wrong..." Such a committee would ideally only examine cases in which there is no obvious justification for the actions of ArbCom
  • "Have you thought about conflicts between certain admins and/or editors and the cases on which they are selected to sit?"Conflicts would be resolved just like they are in real life jury systems, by exclusion for conflict*
  • "You really cannot just select from an open pool of volunteers" Juries work pretty well don't they?
  • "I have never worked better thinking someone was just waiting for me to make a mistake" But aren't you better motivated to preform well when you know that you are not practically invulnerable to reproach?
  • "Arbitrators can be "brought up for review" if the problem is egregious." How? I know of no such practical process
  • "it is their informed opinions versus our (relatively) uninformed ones. I know which one I'd choose." So you like the idea of people making your decision for you? I think that's called a dictatorship
  • Wehwalt: No, but admins are more experienced users and can steer discussions to important points etc.
    Ronk01 talk 06:02, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
There is a huge difference between looking at cases where someone has a "legitimate concern" and ones where "there is no obvious justification" for the ArbCom results (which covers every case where privacy is the issue, and all the pedophile matters, for example). In neither case do I see another level making an improvement.
Juries are not volunteers, at least not in any system based on common law. They are also seriously vetted once they are placed in the pool. All of this work in selecting them is done by people who are paid and professional. Whether they work or not depends almost entirely on how any given outcome is viewed.
It isn't a dictatorship because I value informed opinion over uninformed, even if the latter is mine. What possible logical connection is there in your conclusion?
Bielle (talk) 06:24, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
In U.S. common law, juries are composed of non-conflicted randomly selected members of the public who are chosen to sit by both the prosecution and the defense (voir dire). In our case they would be non-conflicted, knowledgeable volunteers randomly selected from a pool of diverse editors serving to represent the community as a whole. Probably more effective than a jury actually. Are juries effective? Well, for every 100 criminal cases presented to the average jury, 90 are decided correctly (i.e. in ten cases it is later verified that the jury gave the wrong verdict) Essentially, this system takes Jimbo's role of oversighting ArbCom and gives it to the community. No one group in any organization should ever have as little oversight as ArbCom has right now. I suppose a better definition of the scope of this committee would be in order, but certain type of concerns should always be addressed, such as legitimate accusations of malfeasance. The willing release of one's own right to affect society to a "better informed" other is, essentially a form of permitted dictatorship. Ronk01 talk 06:45, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that arbcom should be active in non-DR parts of the project. Otherwise they'd lose their grounding in what this is about. The problem is that wiki, as noble as the idea is, will never rise to what it could be until humans rise above what they are in the real world. Wiki is a reflection of our real world, with all its failings, despite its noble and lofty goals and ideas. Users bring their personas, personalities, and biases, good and bad, onto wiki, hence we have our ethnic wars, personality clashes, spelling disputes, etc. Until humans learn to resolve those issues and differences in the real world, wiki will always have these problems too. That being said, admins and arbs have a thankless task. I don't want to be one; I don't need the stress and drama. I imagine the arbs get dozens, perhaps hundreds, of emails a day--they have to slug thru that plus deal with all the complaining and problem cases and users, plus other onwiki tasks--all without pay and yet many users seems to expect them to be perfect and decide things their way all the time. I read some of the DR pages for info, but I try hard not to even comment; again I don't need the stress and drama. I've already seen many threads on users who've been problems for years and it's obvious if a user really wants to be involved here despite being a major pain the butt and not willing to change, there's really no effective way to get rid of them. BarkingMoon (talk) 12:31, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
@BarkingMoon, this has been discussed many a time. If you look through past cases, people do get banned from here at times. Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:58, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
@Cas, you're missing the point. Ban them if you want, but it doesn't actually prevent them from coming back, certainly not under a new name. And even if they get noticed, someone will cry that they never should have been banned, yada yada yada. Ala Betacommand/Delta (who I've seen at least 4 threads on for behavior that's years old, and countless others.BarkingMoon (talk) 18:37, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
He's not the best example of that, but I take your point - this is multifactorial, and features such as anonymous editing don't help this, however others who are banned stay pretty much so. Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:03, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am reading all this with great interest. Some of it is unfair to ArbCom, which I think does a fine job overall, but some of the concerns raised are reasonable and also structural, not complaints about how ArbCom is doing their jobs at the moment. I don't think it makes sense to a have a random jury over ArbCom, but think that random juries do make sense and likely should have a role in our future processes.

One of the problems that we have is that our ArbCom must function both as our Supreme Court and as our only court. What that means is that they really should continue to pay careful attention to precedent and precise wording and follow strict procedures. But it also means that they have to be a practical court which hears cases and finds solutions.

One of the concerns many have raised, and which I think is valid, is that combining those two things together means that, unfortunately, justice is slow - likely too slow in many cases.

I have long thought that a good solution would be some intermediate courts or - as I am now thinking - randomized juries. The idea here is for people to be able to get a quick and binding answer from uninvolved editors/admins. There's are of course a lot of potential problems with this - but I think it is an idea worth exploring.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:30, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, you have to deal with the issue of ArbCom members being openly contemptuous and insulting about the editors they discuss, and doing it without their knowledge. That's a feature of private mailing lists—you'll recall that the cyberstalking list unfortunately ended up with the same situation—because it's human nature to form in-groups and to speak differently about perceived outsiders. But it's something that has to be guarded against constantly on the ArbCom list, because it's not a private list. It's run by the Foundation, and the members were elected by the very people they're being contemptous of.
Now the archives are full of this damaging gossip, and even ignoring the issue of unauthorized access, more people are given authorized access to them every year, which damages the editors who've been discussed. People have been complaining about this for years to no avail, but it really has to be dealt with now at Foundation level because it has to stop. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 15:44, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I do like the idea of an intermediate binding DR venue. However, there are three aspects or ArbCom reform that I feel to be important:
  • Limiting private discussion to only those matters that would be in some way injurious to a party in the case, other editors, or Wikipedia if released.
  • Establishment of a form of oversight for ArbCom. This is critical. Supreme Courts are usually accountable to the national legislature and or the head of government.
  • Annual, total elections (And possibly term limits)
    Ronk01 talk 16:26, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
The oversight is crucial, and currently non-existent. And we do need annual elections for each member, with people not allowed to stand again for a certain length of time after serving, so that we have a genuine turnover each year.
Giano suggested last year that he be allowed to stand without identifying himself, with no CU or oversight access, no mailing list access, and just let him resolve disputes onwiki. We all threw our hands up in horror, me included, and said no. Well, what stupidity that turned out to be! That is in fact exactly what's needed now—an arbitration committee that will do only that, and will do it in public. With perhaps a very small separate group (two or three) who will quickly and carefully handle the genuinely sensitive material in private, and who are otherwise not involved in arbitration matters. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 17:06, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
No special rules for Giano, nor anyone else. It's high time Giano stop thinking he's so damn special. He is not God's gift to wiki.BarkingMoon (talk) 18:39, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I beg your pardon BarkingMoon, are you talking about me? As far as I'm aware i have not editied for 5 days or since this ridiculous fiasco began! You are quite right slim, but i don't think that is what Mr Wales wants to hear right now. Giacomo Returned 22:54, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I meant that it would be good to have Arbs who only manage arbitration cases in public. I think they're put in a very awkward situation with the current set-up, and it leads to situations that none of them can be held responsible for, yet they have to deal with the fall-out. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 20:16, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Slim, I totally agree that the arbs have too much on their plate and have heaps of undeserved flak fired at them.BarkingMoon (talk) 20:30, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Hence why it is a last resort and why there are proposals about to buff or rejig intermediate levels of dispute resolution. See Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Dispute resolution and Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Summarised_proposal for starters. Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:03, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
For more on the history of some of the suggestions for randomised juries, follow the links provided here. That is me responding back in 2007 to Kelly Martin's blog post on the subject, pointing out that the idea is older than her suggestion back then (hence the idea can't really be credited to any one person), though the proposals over the years have varied in detail and practicality. Of course, pointing out earlier suggestions should be done only to bring forward the better ideas to inform any new proposals. Carcharoth (talk) 22:27, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I do believe that a "lower court" of randomly selected anonymous jurors would be a great help to ArbCom's workload, as it would allow it to focus on those cases where a court capable of generating precedent is needed. I feel that many of ArbCom's current functions could be assumed by such a system, including routine desysop proceedings (which would solve another problem by speeding up the process) This may also help to alleviate some of the tensions created in cases, as the deciding body would be totally anonymous. (Think Rodhulandemu) Of course selection and qualifications required to serve would need to be decided. (I personally recommend 5,000 edits and at least a year of service, or 3,000 edits and a year of service if the editor has some DR experience (i.e. MEDCAB)) Ronk01 talk 22:49, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't think anyone was suggesting anonymous jurors. That would be a bad idea. Carcharoth (talk) 22:51, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
On thinking about that, it probably would turn out badly. Ronk01 talk 22:59, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't think a "lower court" would solve the problem, as IMO, the problem is that ArbCom (as a collective) has gotten to the point of having a God complex. Making the body something closer to a Supreme Court would not alleviate that problem. Considering that ArbCom, theoretically, exists to solve problems that the community cannot, I would suggest that a potential remedy would be to enshrine the community's right to overrule ArbCom when it feels confident that it has developed the ability to resolve said disputes itself. Resolute 23:32, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
This is my opinion as well, basically. My sense is that Arbcom needs a counterweight. Not necessarily something over them, but something that has the authority to override their decisions. Checks and balances, and all that, you know?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 00:23, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I have the authority to override decisions of ArbCom. Do you have a specific case that you'd like me to review? I treat all appeals seriously, but beyond that I'm always happy to listen to arguments that something was wrongly decided. Note well that "wrongly decided" doesn't mean "I would have voted differently" but rather serious breaches of protocol/ethics/etc. leading to a wrong decision.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:31, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
A specific case? ...no. Well, yes, but I'm worried that mentioning specific cases will pull us from the main topic into discussions about that or those specific cases. I'm aware that you have the authority to review cases, but... well, for one thing there's a lot of noise surrounding your presence on site, as you are well aware. Perhaps more specifically, there's no procedure for appealing things to you... you're just kinda here, there's nothing like a formal office for you (pseudo-executive office, is the basic idea), except maybe this talk page, which I don't believe to be adequate. Maybe a... "Jimbo noticeboard"? I don't know. I'm a fairly libertarian leaning guy, so I'm not completely comfortable with all of this, but if we're going to have formalized governance structures then we should do it correctly, if you see what I'm saying.
Incidentally, it seems to me that arbcoms' motions are the most controversial aspect of their activity. When I think of specific instances where I've taken issue with their positions, it seems that their motions are predominantly what comes to my mind.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 23:21, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you that it is not likely useful in this particular thread to go into specific cases, but I genuinely would love to hear from people about examples where you think ArbCom cases were decided wrongly in some serious way. The reason I point this out is that it is easy for people to get carried away with interesting proposals for improvement of our governance processes, but we need to be sure that we are solving actual problems, not hypothetical problems.
In my experience, the problem with ArbCom is not about coming to wrong decisions. While I, like anyone, might quibble with this or that detail, I think there is a very good reason for ArbCom to be very proud of their conduct and diligence, and the outcomes of ArbCom cases reflect that - often very nuanced and generally highly constructive. Rather, the problem with ArbCom is simply that there are many disputes that could be helped with some binding mechanisms of lighter weight, not giving rise to the kind of "constitutional" issues that ArbCom should be dealing with, and I fear that many of those disputes are resolved (or not resolved) in a fairly unsatisfactory manner.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:23, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree with User:DeCausa in his/her statement at the beginning of the "somewhat arbitrary break" starting this part of the thread, each "clique" thinks the one that it peceives as being "higher" on the food chain is the one that is dysfunctional, and the ones below it consists of children whose hands need to be held. I have never been a fan of Admins, who as a whole but with notable exceptions tend to treat normal editors as children and see themselves as police, judges, and jury, and at times executioners. It doesnt seem to be normal editors but instead it seems to be Admins that get upset about ArbCom, perhaps because they dont like being overruled. Generally I have seen, in cases like User:Noleander, ArbCom steps up and actually does something about cases where admins at AN/I pawn off the problem and refuse to get involved or do anything. I see the problem more being that Admins do not want to listen and actually do any work that involves actual fair and honest investigation. The problem is not with ArbCom, it with Admins. Does this mean we shouldn't have checks and balances as Ohm's law (V=IR) suggests? No, it is definately something to consider.

But we aren't a republic and we have a decidedly anti-bureaucratic anti-establishment community to work with and in. Could some people come up with some proposals for checks and balances? And since many of our users are not Americans perhaps "borrowing" from US functions might not be the best idea, or at least explaining them for lay people in other countries if your proposal does include borrowing from US federal structure. Above all, remember any type of bureaucracy set up never functions the way it was written, what we set up now may not be end up what we intended, and two/three years from now a new thread may be discussed about "ArbCom oversight committee is too powerful"Camelbinky (talk) 16:56, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I think one could integrate the lower court system quite easily within the present ArbCom system. If someone requests a case, then the Arbs decide whether or not the case will be heard as they do today. But if they decide that the case should be heard, they appoint a jury who will hear the case. The jury conducts the case just like ArbCom does now. Then in case of future problems, ArbCom can decide to look again at the case, the detailed evidence presented in the original case and the rulings on them are then available, so that will save a lot of work for the Arbs. Far more cases will then be heard, so that means that there will be less drama on AN/I. Count Iblis (talk) 23:04, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I think that's right. Whether this is the way we should move forward, I'm not sure, but I am sure that instituting a system of lower courts can be done in a straightforwardly evolutionary way from our current system.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:23, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Just exploring this idea a bit, do you mean like an RFC with teeth? If so, that has legs because it's an already established process. There is actually considerable merit in getting ArbCom to close some RFC/Us, in that a process - and therefore opportunities for further drama - could be side-stepped altogether (cf. Nabla).
Or do you really mean like a full-scale arbitration case with principles, FoFs, remedies and so on? If so, why would this be any quicker? And why, if the arbs need to read the evidence, go through diffs, perhaps pose fresh questions, why would it be any less work?  Roger Davies talk 12:57, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I know I've sometimes used the metaphor myself, but I think we want to get away from the "law court" analogy. We're supposed to be building an encyclopedia, not a version of Second Life. If disagreements arise that people can't settle for themselves, the best solution is compulsory mediation that focuses on the issue of substance, not people sitting on high trying to make judgements about individuals' character. We need something like ArbCom to decide things like "did this admin do right blocking this user?", "did this mediator do right assessing the consensus here as X?", but we shouldn't regard it as the kingpin of our dispute resolution system. (And to an outsider, this whole "case" setup must look really weird, even to the extent of putting them off getting involved in WP.)--Kotniski (talk) 13:09, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Kotniski, yes, I think that we should move more in the direction of mediation. Roger, I was thinking about having full cases, but such cases can proceed in different ways. Like Kotniski suggests, the focus could be far more on content issues, behavioral issues can come up but they may not be the main focus. The Arbitrators let a jury handle this, so they don't get involved here.
And all that the Arbitrators do is appoint a jury, they don't do anything else, the jury handles the whole case. Only if whatever is agreed to or imposed on the parties breaks down or an appeal starts, then the Arbitrators can get involved. They can also decide to let a new jury handle the problem. You can imagine that Arbitrators will choose to hear cases themselves if (also) focussing on content issues by previous juries has repeatedly failed. Then the Arbs have a head start compared to the current situation. Arbitrators have access to a detailed reports of the previous cases, while in the current situation, you have to deal with the mere fact that previous attempts at dispute resolution failed; the record of these are not in the form of neatly written up reports by neutral people.
Then, not only does this save a lot of work for arbitrators, it also allows the system to address content issues (the jury cases are the "compulsory mediation" that Kotniski suggested) while still allowing the Arbitrators themselves to stay neutral on content issues. The jury won't take editorial decisions for particular articles, but they have more freedom to say that certain sources are or are not reliable sources. E.g. in the climate change case, a jury could have decided that while in general blogs are not good sources, the Real Climate blog is a good source for scientific statements. This conclusion could have been reached at by delving into content disputes and then studying if what Real Climate says on scientific issues is consistent with the peer reviewed literature. Count Iblis (talk) 16:23, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Arbcom and WMF

What exactly is the relationship between the Arbcom and the WMF? Does the Arbcom have any kind of corporate standing? Prioryman (talk) 23:11, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Aside from being on the functionaries mailing list and some current or former arbs doing various kinds of work with the organization, nothing official. They have lines of communication that allow them to communicate concerns to the WMF and cooperate on certain issues, but that's about it AFAIK. Throwaway85 (talk) 23:29, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
The Wikimedia Foundation respects and supports the traditional arrangements of the community, which often predate the Foundation. I don't know what the phrase "corporate standing" means.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:33, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
If I had a guess, I would say they are asking if ArbCom has the ability to speak on behalf the WMF. Or simply, if ArbCom's judgements are to be assumed as having the support of the foundation. I am presuming the answer is no. Resolute 23:38, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Right, so for each of those questions in turn. First, ArbCom does not have the ability to speak on behalf of the Foundation. Second, the Foundation supports our traditional constitutional arrangements (which, in the English Wikipedia, means a whole set of complex institutions and traditions, including my role, the role of ArbCom, etc.) in a general way, but of course these are community processes, not Foundation processes.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:55, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
And on a related but possibly more topical note, will the Foundation cooperate with ArbCom and the community on putting in order our policies/practices on private data protection and retention? --Kotniski (talk) 12:33, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure the Foundation is willing to help out, but it is unclear to me what should be changed in this case. It seems that the breach was not in any systems of the Wikimedia Foundation (at least, that it my understanding so far). What policies/practices do you recommend that would necessitate the Foundation's help? (Not a rhetorical question, I'm really interested in thinking this through.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:18, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
We have to prevent the archiving of defamatory comments about editors, as well as unpleasant gossip that doesn't reach the level of defamation. Every year that new Arbs or functionaries access this material—on any of the non-public mailing lists, including ArbCom, functionaries, and checkuser, and the non-public wikis (all of which appear to have been compromised)—it poisons the well against the editors who have been discussed, yet they have no right of reply and may not even know they've been talked about.
This is inherently unjust, and leads to an Us and Them mentality that you see in the new batch of Arbs each year, when otherwise perfectly nice people start speaking down to other editors. This doesn't happen to them all, but every year to at least a couple, to the point where I had decided this year in the election to post a question about it, asking candidates how they would guard against it happening to them. Now I see the list discussions, I see what is causing it, and how hard it must be to resist once you're enmeshed in that culture as a new Arb. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 21:17, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with SlimVirgin about long-term storage of gossip. Finding a good alternative system is tricky, but is worth putting some thought into. SirFozzie and I discussed some ideas yesterday here -- basically, doing away with list archiving, creating a knowledge base of information future arbitrators really do need to be aware of (institutional memory), and giving editors the right to access whatever information is held on them, as well as the possibility to append a statement. That last part is similar to the FOIA. Access could be handled by the Foundation, or a new clerk function, rather than arbcom. These are just ideas, and they are not unproblematic either. But we should think about alternatives, and I offer those ideas purely in that spirit. --JN466 01:05, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The gossip, as you put it, has far less impact than you might imagine. Most arbitrators are old enough and ugly enough to make their own minds up about something. It is true that there is an element of siege mentality in being an arbitrator but the greater part of that, I suggest, is not caused by banter on a list but the very vocal criticism arbitrators are constantly faced with and the failure of the community to do anything about it. (Can you remember an instance of someone being blocked for making personal attacks on an arbitrator? I can't.
That said, I've never been a great believer in archives myself though there is great value in keeping a central carousel of emails for a year or so, just in case your email account/client gets trashed (it happens!) or you need to change your account and don't have an off-wiki record of what you wrote to someone last year.
The insitution memory thing is grossly overrated. It is far more useful to know how (the modus operandi) someone did something than what they did, simply because people tend to repeat patterns. The what is available on wiki in the form of RfAr's, SPIs, block log etc. Revealing the how will simply tell someone what to avoid doing in future (cf. BEANS.
Also, and I know you touched on this, there are also significant and probably insurmountable identity issues here. How do we establish that 12345@email.mars really is the same person as 12345@email.moon who is in the turn the same person as User:12345_mars and/or User:12345_moon and/or User:12345_email?
There is no significant groundswell among arbs for everything to archived for ever. The archive issues arise directly from the serious limitations in Mailman software: it can only be configured to archive everything or nothing, with no in-between. What workarounds could be devised are cumbersome and labour-intensive. This is profoundly unsatisfactory and we really need the funding for a much better software solution.  Roger Davies talk 07:12, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

The editors resent the admins. The admins resent the arbs. It is human nature. My take is to live in the real world and not get too excited about people who are moderators of a forum (they are more than that, but in a way they are a lot this) discussing the deeds of the miscreants. This is not war and peace, here. To me, the bigger issue is the huge way that this place seems to run on drama, that so many of the articles are crap, that the leadership is not worried about the articles (in many cases doesn't even edit them), etc.TCO (talk) 01:36, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Oh...and the user interface BLOWS. It is ungodly hard to edit stuff here with the edit window, no spellcheck, inline citation templates, yada yada. Plus...why they heck can't we have video formats on here? This is 2011! We have jpeg pics, why not mp3 videos. Every granny with a blog can put up better multimedia than we do. And the Mac using, non-IE browswer people are living in some deluded state where they don't realize how the vast majority of humanity accesses the Internet. — Preceding unsigned comment added by TCO (talkcontribs) 01:40, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
One of the things I love about this place is the transparency. Arbcom should deliberate openly onwiki, with the only exception being communication that would jeopardise the privacy or safety of users. Discussing cases and users in some back channel undermines the most radical and positive feature of this self-governance model. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:42, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with that too. The point of electing multiple arbitrators is to get multiple viewpoints on a matter. "Deliberation" should involve each arbitrator talking to the people involved and reaching an independent opinion, not arbitrators talking to each other out of sight of the people involved.--Kotniski (talk) 08:01, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

To return to the point of my question (and Jimbo's response to it), I think what the WMF can do is (a) provide satisfactory mailing-list software that allows old messages to be archived out of reach of new members (so that when a leak occurs, the consequences will be limited); (b) provide practical guidance as to what private data should be retained and how it should be secured to ensure that legal and moral oblgiations are met; (c) and ideally, take on the handling of all sensitive private communications so that bodies like ArbCom aren't saddled with this responsibility.--Kotniski (talk) 07:57, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

You're making it sound as if the archives are in the same league as medical or financial records. They're not and I don't think any of them would fall into that kind of category. Much of it is unsolicited correspondence about cases or wiki-enemies. Overwhelmingly, the only "private" data is the (often throwaway) email address and the user name. Most are only sensitive in the sense that the correspondents write in less guarded terms than they might do on-wiki ...  Roger Davies talk 12:11, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
There is defamation in those emails, Roger, and it would be the Arb that would be responsible for it, so it's in your own interests not to write that kind of thing. There are also real names exposed, and real email addresses, including of uninvolved people. For example, someone forwarded an email of a notorious sockpuppeteer who impersonates women. His latest impersonation was a real identifiable woman, whose name has now been leaked. That is potentially damaging and frightening to that person. There's no reason for this kind of thing to continue to be published (and by emailing each other and retaining it in archives for future Arbs, you are publishing it). SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 17:30, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I think it's very tortured to claim that ArbCom is "publishing" anything. They're maintaining an archive of private correspondence, which was explicitly not intended for publication. The person who's publishing it is the leaker. Moreover, I don't see how private commentary in emails can be "defamatory". I think that the free-speech laws of any democratic nation (and probably even most non-democratic ones) would protect the expression of personal opinions in private correspondence not intended for publication. But then, I'm not a lawyer. MastCell Talk 18:02, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The Arbs are publishing it when they send it to each other, and retaining it in archives for future Arbs who were not the intended recipients. And obviously by sending out plain-text passwords to non-secure webmail addresses, and the Arbs not deleting those emails, the likelihood of a leak was and remains high. So this is not in the slightest a "tortured" definition of "published". Even with authorized access, the readership is high, the material is often false, it is often damaging, it was not emailed to those recipients originally, and the person discussed has no knowledge this is happening and therefore no ability to correct it. So this is a very disturbing and toxic situation, which I hope no one will defend. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 18:32, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree that this is troubling. Has anyone asked the Foundation's GC for a legal opinion on privacy issues here, or the legal ramifications generally? – ukexpat (talk) 19:03, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Break

Like a slapfight at a Star Trek convention.  :) TCO (talk) 12:16, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Ok, well, I would not support some of those things as I find them both impractical and, where practical, unhelpful. I'll respond to both of your comments (one from above, and this one).
First, private deliberations are incredibly useful. It is important for people to be able to speak freely and openly, [I love this novel use of the word "openly" - uninvited interjection by Kotniski (talk) 12:53, 30 June 2011 (UTC)] exploring ideas and options, without being lobbied by outside parties during the process or fearing repercussions later. I am privy to ArbCom discussions and find them to be very thoughtful and apolitical in a way that public communications can't always be.
For your 3 points above, each taken in turn:
(a) It is valuable and important for ArbCom to have an institutional memory, and for new Arbs to be able to review past discussions and deliberations, particularly since many of the cases dealt with by ArbCom are perennial. The idea that ArbCom would function better if kept in the dark about history is not very persuasive to me.
(b) Certainly some practical guidance is necessary, but I think the best practical guidance in the context of ArbCom is: retain virtually everything. The exceptions that come to mind are relatively rare and relatively minor, for example if someone is accused of sockpuppetry and randomly decides that the right way to deal with the problem is to email us their phone number. This and similar useless information need not be retained, but I'm also not sure it is worth the effort to try to redact the mailing list archives.
(c) I'm not sure what sensitive private information you think the Foundation should handle and ArbCom shouldn't, so I'm not sure how to respond to this one. As an example, there is a system in place whereby certain members of the community, including ArbCom, identify to the Foundation. The Foundation handles all that, and I think that's appropriate. What else did you have in mind?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:17, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I must say I find this very complacent, given the anger that's been expressed about the recent leakings. People are (or have been up to now) invited to submit private information to ArbCom's e-mail address, and now you're saying it doesn't really matter whether or not this information is later leaked, because there's nothing particularly sensitive there. If this is the case, then fine, but let's stop inviting people to submit private information via that address - let them go via OTRS or via some individual arbitrator whose probity and security-consciousness they trust. And then, if the list no longer contained private details, its contents could be routinely made public, at the end of each year, say, to let people what a good and professional job the arbs have been doing behind the scenes. I'd be all in favour of such an arrangement. But we can't have the halfway solution we've had up to now, where we tell people what they submit is private, but in fact we know it's unlikely to stay that way.--Kotniski (talk) 12:46, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree in part and disagree in part. I think it is much too simplistic to imagine that there are simply two types of information "private" and "public". In general, genuinely private information is mostly irrelevant to Wikipedia and ArbCom - we aren't asking for people's home phone numbers or anything of the sort. There is a huge gray area in which people are quite reasonably more comfortable speaking privately, but where the damage done upon release isn't super duper tragic, just mildly embarrassing. That's an argument for taking a middle path - allow people to speak privately, and take reasonable and practical precautions to prevent the release of data. And that's what we do, and it is the right thing to do.
Let me use this (public) conversation as an example of how a reasonable degree of privacy can be useful. Let's imagine that you have a particular case in mind of information that was stolen and published has caused a serious harm, a harm of which I may not be aware. You'd rather not go into it here, as it might just further the harm by making the information even more widely available. So you might want to email me about it. But given the circumstances, you would have to be aware that emailing me isn't 100% secure. I'm known to be trustworthy with confidential information, and I exercise reasonable data security precautions, although I suppose I'm vulnerable and a likely target if anyone is super intent. I'm not arrogant about it, I just do my best to follow good processes.
So, to say that either (a) we should have this discussion 100% in public or (b) I should follow some draconian security regime in order to have a private conversation, strikes me as unpersuasive. If you did email me with an example that you didn't want to discuss publicly, that'd be a good thing. And if that conversation did leak in the future, that'd be a bad thing, but not so bad that it would outweigh the benefit of us being able to speak more openly in private about a specific case that illustrates an important principle.
I think the same is true for ArbCom - there is great value in the private conversations, undertaken thoughtfully. And if those are made public in the future, that's regrettable and stupid and annoying and should be avoided.
To sum up: I think ArbCom and the Foundation should make (as they have done and continue to do) a serious inquiry into security practices and procedures. I think that anyplace where people are invited to send private thoughts to the ArbCom that they be made aware of those practices and procedures and the limitations of them. I don't think we should cut off private conversations, and I don't think we should make unreasonable and impractical demands for some impossible levels of security. And I think the balance that we currently strike is about right.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:04, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, apart from the last sentence, which seems untrue (some people have been very angry that their private communications have been stolen, and they clearly felt that a greater level of security was implied than was actually being offered), I can go along with most of that in principle. But I still think that justice needs to be seen to be done - its course shouldn't be influenced by things which are being said in private about parties who have no opportunity to respond to them.--Kotniski (talk) 13:16, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I think we agree more than we disagree. So for example, I think one principle the ArbCom should use is that if someone provides private testimony against someone, testimony that is not evident from the public record, then that someone should have the opportunity to respond to it. As far as I know, this always happens. But I also think that the judges should be able to talk privately amongst themselves, putting forward ideas in a spirit of open and thoughtful dialogue, without the drama of doing all of that publicly. I'm unaware of anyone being convicted of something without being told what it was and what evidence there was.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:37, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree that we probably mostly agree. There seem to be two separate questions. Firstly about the level of security - the problem can probably be reduced to giving people an accurate perception of how "private" their submissions can be expected to be (but that presumably means that there needs to be an alternative channel for genuinely private information that people have reason to submit, which might mean increased traffic to OTRS or the Office). Secondly about private discussions - I remain unconvinced by the idea that dialogue (hey, you used the UK spelling ;) ) is made more "thoughtful" by the fact that fewer people can see it (and it manifestly isn't made more "open", that's a rather weird thing to keep claiming). If they need to talk privately just about the organization of proceedings, then OK, I'd still prefer it if they didn't, but it doesn't matter that much. But once they start discussing the people they're going to be passing judgement on, then at ther very least those people need to know what's being said. I can assure you that people very much have been "convicted" of things without being told what evidence there was (and have even been driven from WP as a result) - this is the Kafka experience oft-reported by ArbCom victims in the past. (This is from several years ago; I don't know if things have improved lately, but I suspect not much.)--Kotniski (talk) 14:20, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I think you may be overestimating the number of true "Kafkaesque" experiences, even in past committees. Of course, the committee isn't infallible — nor are any of its members — but cries of Star chamber trials are, at best, overblown. I've been on the committee for well over two years, and not once has an editor been sanctioned without being told why or given an opportunity to state their case. Many of them, of course, have simply rejected our explanation, then went on to publicly denied being told (what they believe to be) the "real" reason.

What usually happens, rather, is that people who are dissatisfied with a decision tend to presume all sorts of malice or secret dealings behind the decision because they were "so obviously right" that it never occurs to them that the arbitrators have, in fact, considered their defense and simply rejected it as insufficient or unsupported. And since they are "right", and the committee took the "wrong" decision, it must be because of something said on the evil mailing list. — Coren (talk) 17:06, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't know if you were on the committee when it banned me from the talk pages of all guideline pages for a time. I was given no explanation why, nor had any evidence been offered that I'd done anything to warrant such that kind of sanction, and when I asked an arbitrator (who is still on the committee) I was suddenly told - still without evidence or explanation - that he considered me a disruptive editor. As I (perhaps imperfectly) recall, I then asked for any justification for this claim, and there the communication went dead. So I can assure you from my experience (and that of others in the same case, who were treated far far worse) that what you say doesn't happen most decidedly does happen; when these errors are brought to ArbCom's attention they won't do anything about it for months - this is an institution which of course is not infallible (no-one is), but worse - it seems to believe it's infallible, and be institutionally deaf to any criticism. Note the excuses that have been offered for the recent leak situation - I think you at least did the decent thing and apologized for it, but other arbs have been making excuses and are now apparently saying that nothing bad really happened - this is pretty much par for the course in my experience. There seems to be a group culture where you always have to defend the institution because failure to do so would be disloyal to your colleagues (which is not true; the institution exists separately from its members, and I don't think its members are bad just because the institution is).--Kotniski (talk) 17:23, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Ok, now I really don't understand you. You were given a short topic ban as a result of a public case request and decision. Specifically, you engaged in edit warring on policy pages (something that was agreed to unanimously by the committee). You obviously disagree with our assessment, and with our decision, but there was absolutely nothing secret about the evidence or deliberation involved: they were (and remain) plainly visible on the case pages for all to see. — Coren (talk) 01:26, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

You don't understand because you don't want to understand. Unfortunately while I'm sure you mean well you are part of the problem that has broken wikipedia. Sorry Coren, it's just the way I feel about the body of Arbcom and their work. I agree with comments that ARBCOM isn't ARBCOM its GOVCOM and that's what we don't want. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 15:38, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Notification

Jimbo, could you please comment on the discussion at this thread, and in particular, on the fact that neither the Foundation nor the Committee has taken any action in over a week to notify those who might be harmed by the leak? It seems the archive contained horribly private information: the worst of it (full name and email address of an alleged sexual predator, blackmail and death threats directed at the family of a prominent Wikipedia administrator, name and employer information of a prominent Wikipedian who could be ruined in real life if he were associated with on-wiki drama) was, eventually, redacted by the Wikipedia Review staff, but there is no reason to assume they will continue to do so as diligently in the future, or that the archive hasn't been passed, unredacted, to other parties. There is significant potential that real harm will be done to real people by this leak -- I am trying very hard to assume good faith, but as the days drag on the status quo of doing nothing and hoping it all blows over strikes me as increasingly unprofessional and callous... TotientDragooned (talk) 04:04, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

I've sent an email to the Foundation to find out the current status.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:42, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
What you're seeing is a lay low and maybe no one will really get upset and maybe we'll all keep our jobs. I'm heartened and happy that ARBCOM was hacked! There needs to be transparency and the current format is broken. I think they are getting their just desserts. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 14:48, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
That's a very disappointing attitude and not consistent with the facts at all.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:42, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry we see things differently Jimbo.....I understand that you as a owner of the site would want to see a positive spin to this, there isn't one. Arbcom should be examined in it's full ugliness, events like this shouldn't be quitely swept under a rug but a time to purge the system and reform. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 18:24, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not an owner of the site. I don't see anyone trying to sweep anything under the rug. Speaking inaccurately is not helpful to your cause.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:05, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not actually playing champion to any one cause, I would just like to see positive change to the Arbcom format, you have the authority but you sit on your hands. You have the authority to actually fix problems, maybe it's time to do it. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 13:57, 3 July 2011 (U TC)
I'm not in any way comparing Jimbo to the Lord, G-d, but the I have to comment that I find Hell in a Bucket's comments to be eerily similar to how some view G-d's role in the world–"oh Lord you have the authority to fix all the evil in the world and keep me from losing my house and why did you let my cat die?! Why did that tornado hit my trailer?! Fix my problems for me for I am lazy and I dont like bad things to happen to me or to have to fix them myself!" I find both situations quite hilarious (though nothing is funny about tornadoes of course). "On the seventh day Jimbo rested after creating Wikipedia, He gave the Community free will in order to solve their own damn problems and make mistakes and own up to them ourselves." I should write a Wikipedia Bible! (Why not? Would be about as accurate as Conservapedia's Bible) We arent children, and Jimbo shouldnt have to "fix" anything.Camelbinky (talk) 18:50, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

That's be a False analogy, Jimbo situation can not even come close to compared to god. Jimbo is here and says he will do things when it's nec. and is invovled, but what I see is justification on why the system works when obviously there is a lot of room for change. When we settle on a broken system instead of a progressive one we stagnant and lose ground. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 22:22, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

But Hell (if I may refer to you as that with no offence meant), the wording you chose "you have the authority but you sit on your hands"... what do you want him to do? Swoop in from Mt Sinai and give us the 10 Commandments of Wikipedia and the Book of Deuteronomy, setting right all that is wrong with ArbCom and anything else someone might find working wrong. Why should Jimbo do anything? He created the concept and set forth the starting point, where we've gone from there is for the Community to decide, for right or wrong. We will make mistakes, go down bad paths, but ultimately it is OUR decision together, not imposed on us from on-high. I for one, though I find Jimbo to be quite wise, do not want him coming in and deciding how everything should be structured and making decisions for us. Badgering Jimbo to do something is not the way to go, convincing the rest of us with solid well-thought-out arguments is more effective, and I think Jimbo was trying to tell you that.Camelbinky (talk) 23:59, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I've been asked not to criticize it on this page, but WP:Child protection, which requires private discussions, was introduced via Jimbo's intervention. Wnt (talk) 01:39, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
as you see from above Jimbo does step in when he chooses to, yet again though Camel Binky you have twisted what my words were. In my original comments I was commenting on the situation and not appealing to Jimbo in any manner. Jimbo responded to my broad statement of belief and as is natural in any discussion I replied. I'm sure had I crossed a line he would have said something more then that he disagreed with my views, he's a big boy and can take care of himself. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 17:17, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Point of fact- my "name" is Camelbinky. No space, no capital B. Thanks :)Camelbinky (talk) 02:36, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

you should try to understand why there're so many people against Shizhao

Dear Jimmy,

You say Wing and Shizhao contribute a lot to wikipedia, that's true. However, you should also try to understand why there are so many people against him/them. It is nonsense to regard all of them (including me, I've vote against him) as "anti-wiki" (or something similar). We also want to contribute to wikipedia (otherwise why don't we go to do other things? I don't get paid from here!), but Shizhao and his friend are unfriendly to newbies, and he just delete the threads he don't understand without asking opinions from the wikipedians from that area. Many threads about Hong Kong are deleted, and made many Hong Kong wikipedians angry. I've suggested him to ask (e.g. Hong Kong wikipedian discussion board) before deletion, but he don't accept it and say it is not necessary.

Therefore we have to stare to the deletion vote board everyday to stop him from deleting important threads? Why don't we just "delete" him and get rest? That's what the guys vote against him thinks.

You says that "In the last vote, 90% of those with more than 10,000 edits supported Shizhao", ya we all know that. But I think that because they are friends! They contributed to Wikipedia for a long time and cooperate to set up rules. They ignore the needs of the newbies and different culture (most of the main contributors and establishers are from Mainland or Taiwan). In the threads about animation, sometimes when you add contents specially for Hong Kong, are regarded as "distruction" or "breaking rules", but the contents specially for Mainland or Taiwan were allowed. They just think what they are used to as universal!

It is more ridiculous to say the users vote against Shizhao are controlled by a user Martinoei, or just puppets. You didn't know that, what Shizhao and his friends' done upset many users (esp. the newbies and Hong Kong contributors), they are discouraged by Shizhao (and his friends) so that they didn't contribute anymore but rush to vote against him when a de-adminship poll held. (What can you do when you spent limited leisure time to contribute to wikipedia, but the contributions are all deleted few days after because the administrators says what you 've write are "not important"? And this kind of tragedies happen and happen again?) If we want Chinese wikipedia to growth further, try to understand of objectors, please. --Fongyun (talk) 06:53, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I don't speak Chinese, so unfortunately I can't study the situation directly. My main point is that mob rule - random votes to desysop - has led to more trouble than good in every wiki that I know of, when it reaches a substantial size. You need some thoughtful institutions, with respectful users, and broad community support for norms. I recommend the creation of an Arbitration Committee.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:56, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Very much a mob vote as the reasons of lot of votes are false or totally unrelated to Shizhao's adminship but others'. Luckily we're now discussing a new way to adopt an Arbcom into zh.wp which is different from the en.wp model. In a nut shell, our Arbcom will not have resident arbitrators but selected when arbitration is requested. And both (pro and anti) sides can name the desired arbitrators then they will be selected by the opposing side for fairness, ensuring the selected arbitrator does not speak only for his side. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 10:08, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I will be happy to hear about how that goes. It is an interesting concept!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:18, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

More anti-royalism

2011 royal tour of Canada up for deletion. Why is it any royal event goes to AFD?♦ Dr. Blofeld 09:42, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Well, it looks like a similar trip of President Obama was deleted, so I doubt if it has to do with anti-royalism. At the same time, I would !vote to keep, and I think many of those suggesting deletion are overlooking the importance of the trip and of the popularity of Will and Kate for the future of the monarchy in Canada.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:12, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
The interesting problem is that despite this being cited as a reason for keep no one has been able to back it up with in-depth citations. --Errant (chat!) 11:41, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Why would we care about the importance of their visit for the future of the monarchy in Canada? Keep it because it's notable (so much so that I can't turn on the news without seeing their faces plastered all over it), not because of any political significance. I wasn't aware "*'''Keep:''' they're super important for the future of the royals in Canada" was a legitimate !vote. Throwaway85 (talk) 03:11, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
My point is that the political significance is what makes it notable.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:27, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Although I'm not personally the biggest supporter of the royals I think royal visits should be covered. In fact we should have articles on all the major royal visits at least by Queen Elizabeth II since 1952. In fact I think List of royal visits by Queen Elizabeth II is worth starting (already existed so I've redirected). They have historical significance and are often covered on postage stamps for example.. If a visit is notable enough for its own flag.. It would make sense to have articles on the royal tours by year if anybody wants to write them I think...♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:50, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Truthfully, I think the political consequences will be nil. Canada has long since abandoned the British sphere of influence for the American, and the only links left to the old empire are based on tradition, not politics. This visit won't change anything on that front, any more than their decision to attend the Calgary Stampede will change the minds of anti-rodeo activists. The trip may be important to Will and Kate, but it is no more important to Canada than any other royal visit over the last century. So on that front, I think the claimed reason for this trip's importance is greatly exaggerated. But, if we are going to keep articles on the travels of famous people, one has to ask where we draw the line? If the travels of the man who is third in line to the British throne is notable, then obviously Charles and Liz's travels are also notable. What about the Pope? Dalai Lama? Revisit Obama? And if Obama, why not any British PM? How about a Canadian PM? The President of Ukraine? It may be useful for the people who find value in these articles to try and define what makes a foreign/state visit notable when there is no obvious historic value to one. Resolute 23:37, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Well, I'm beginning to become "anti royal". I've got all these kings and queens coming to my talk page saying "we want our article undeleted". I see it at WP:REFUND too. The only "we" here is the community and we are not amused. I would like to propose banning all royalty from editing Wikipedia :) --Ron Ritzman (talk) 18:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

The true notability of the Royal's trip is that it is their first state visit since being married. Full stop. That's notable enought to stay. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 14:19, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Monobia quadridens

Hi Jim,

I am unsure as to whether this is the right site or whether your the person I want to speak with.

I am emailing you as I read a page in wikipedia about various wasps. Today I was stung by a wasp that I had neer seen before and i managed to locate the type of wasp on one of the aticles.

I am from Chatham ON Canada and was boating on Lake St. Clair near Belleriver ON, (1 hr east of Deroit Michigan)and I was stung by a Monobia quadridens. I realzed in the article it mentioned that the Monobia quadridens has not been recorded in Canada. Therefore, I wanted to add this post as I was stung today and had never seen this hornet until I looked it up on the internet. Just a little additional information to think about or add if there is a need to.

Thanks for allowing this post. If additonal information is required or there arte questions, feel free to conatct me at (Redacted).


Sincerely,

Michele Wright — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.39.121.110 (talk) 22:13, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Hi Michele Wright,
I removed your email address from the above, to avoid you getting spam. On Wikipedia, we usually communicate via user talk pages (like this one), or registered users can be emailed directly, without giving their address in public (Wikipedia:E-mailing users). Registered users also each have their own 'user talk page', and there are other good reasons why you might want to create an account.
The article Monobia quadridens actually says, The occurrence of the species in Canada has not been explicitly recorded in print (my bold) - unless you've some published reference to the contrary, then editing the article wouldn't be appropriate. Wikipedia reports verifiable information based on reliable sources (such as books); articles do not include information based on personal experiences.
I hope the sting wasn't too painful, and advise getting it checked out by a medical professional; Wikipedia absolutely cannot advise on medical issues, of course.
For further general information type questions, you might find our reference desk useful.
As regards reporting your sting (if you want to get it put on-record) - perhaps you could try contacting Ontario SPCA. People over at the reference desk might have further advice, if you try asking there. Best,  Chzz  ►  01:54, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

sorry, a little late

Hello. I have found your talk page. If you are reading this, I just wanted to wish you a happy Fourth of July, and I apperciate the hard work you have been doing for Wikipedia. For your hard work I would like to reward you with a wonderful plate of cookies, shown below. Thanks again, A person who has been editing Wikipedia since October 28, 2010. (talk) 22:41, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

you should try to understand why there're so many people against Shizhao

This is a revive discussion about [you should try to understand why there're so many people against Shizhao ==]

Dear Jimmy: Sorry for my poor English, but I was very curiously about why the concept of'mob rule - random vote' has appeared in such an subject. I can not image how a 'mob rule - random vote' has any relationship with the recall procedure to Shizhao.Someone has already use your opinion to try to influence a formal vote procdure. (Wikipedia talk- 吉米看书生解任案VII), He use this link to support his opinion.

In fact, in the Chinese WIKI' policy, there has already a formal rule that if an administrator had a lot of abuse behavior and many serious violations of the Policy and Guidelines, according to 維基百科:管理員的離任, wiki members can sponsor a vote procedure to recall this administrator (发起对管理员的解任投票). Every accusation(five major accusations and many details) has enough evidence to prove. and there also has a formal Guideline - 維基百科: 管理員的解任投票(Wikipedia:RFDA) to execute the procedure. This kind of vote procedure has already executed many times before, only one times successfully recall an administrator. If shizhao really good enough, he has nothing to worry about. And if he can make common wiki editors feel he really has good contributes, even if he were recalled, he can apply administrator again.

But why such a recall procedure transformed to a chaos? And till now there has more than 140 wiki editors support the recall procedure. You said you trust Wing, but in this case Wing is the one of the opposition. You give an evidence that "In the last vote, 90% of those with more than 10,000 edits supported Shizhao", but why not such vote was made by 'mob rule'.

In addition,about the arbitration mechanism. Although I also suggested to establish an arbitration mechanism in the past, but I don't think it can have positive effect currently. Maybe many Chinese wiki editor have had the experiences that been a victim by 'mob rule - random vote'. And in the past, mob rule prevent Chinese WIKI has the arbitration mechanism ( such discussion had always been vetoed by voting.) , In the present situation, if arbitration mechanism were established, I'm afraid the arbitrators would be selected by a 'mob rule'. --Chehw (talk) 17:47, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

    • If you have investigate the Chinese WIKI 's edit history carefully, you will find a lot of evidence that administrators themselves modify Policy or Guideline as they want by 'mob rule -- random vote', but not by consensus.
    • They prevent common editor modify such error by 'mob rule', but not by consensus.
    • They arbitrarily delete another's editor content and squelch questions by 'mob rule', but not by consensus.
    • They arbitrarily banned users who have different opinion and suppress protest by 'mob rule', but not by consensus.

Those events were the fuse that fired the recall procedure. --Chehw (talk) 18:20, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

A cookie for you!

Choco chip cookie.png from egypt :) riddler (talk) 03:07, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Shell Kinney's resignation

It's likely that you already know of this, but on the off-chance that you don't and for the benefit of talk page watchers: you may wish to read Shell's resignation statement. NW (Talk) 12:36, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

I've just sent you email, Jimmy. Thanks in advance,  Roger Davies talk 13:36, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Roger, what subject line? I don't see it yet. Found it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:12, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
This is a an important issue. If the WMF is not supporting the EN.WP ArbCom sufficiently then that's a problem.   Will Beback  talk  04:15, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think anyone disagrees with that - especially not at the Wikimedia Foundation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:19, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Although this apparently hasn't been discussed much in Wikipedia, the WMF's relationship and support for, or lack thereof, with its wiki-projects has been a topic of discussion for some time now on Wikipedia Review. Cla68 (talk) 04:47, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
I invite such discussion here. The problem with Wikipedia Review's discussion of anything is that it is dominated by trolls who have no knowledge of anything at all, and who have a strong axe to grind, facts be damned.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:19, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm a bit torn on this. When it comes to things like people hosting child porn or what have you, that needs to be shunted off to legal and not even touched by volunteers. Same with real-world harassment. There is no way in Hell any editor should be taking the legal risk or assuming the responsibility needed to deal with these situations, and it's downright shameful that we're asking that of arbcom at present. The problem is, it's easy to say that about en.wp, but what happens with the smaller wikis, where you might not even have someone at the WMF who speaks the language? How does the WMF implement a policy for all of its projects? Do we just call en.wp special and fix it here then address it elsewhere as the problems we've encountered arise there? Either way, we need to come up with a stopgap solution while we wait on the WMF to figure it out. As an absolute minimum, I suggest that no volunteer should in any way be addressing illegal behaviour (outside of copyright). Real-world harassment, child porn, and the like need to be shunted to legal in a big way, if only to protect arbcom members from the ramifications. Throwaway85 (talk) 09:33, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
I think that's the right track. I currently have no interest in being an arbitrator... but if I did, well, I wouldn't much anymore, in no small part because of the liability. I recall seeing a comment that other nonprofits that engage volunteers in similar work indemnify them against volunteering-related lawsuits through an insurance policy; that seems like it might be a good second step (after making sure in-house staff takes care of the clearly-stuff-for-the-lawyers issues). // ⌘macwhiz (talk) 01:25, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Question

Hi Jimbo, hope you're doing well. I'll try to be as succinct as possible, as I know your time is greatly taxed. There's been some discussion in regards to giving the "crats" the right to not only grant the administrator bit, but to now also remove it. I realize (and greatly appreciate) that you do not "lord over the masses" and impose your will on the community (and I greatly admire that). However, I am interested in your opinion here. Briefly, my initial thought is that this represents a huge shift in "power" if you were. Meaning that the status quo is currently that "the crat giveth, and the Arb taketh away" .. a checks and balances if you will. As the project grows and matures, I also understand that we must be open to change and streamlining as well. Would you be willing to share your thoughts? Thank you, and all my best. — Ched :  ?  03:38, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Where is that discussion? I would be interested to read arguments pro and con, but it would represent a big shift that should not be undertaken lightly, and it doesn't seem to me to solve any problems that we actually have.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:56, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Apologies, and actually there are several:
This was not an "out of the blue" item either. There was recently a community RFC which concluded with the consensus that admins. which are inactive for a year or more, are now to have their "admin rights bit" removed. (I believe that was on a village pump discussion, but I don't recall where). Please understand that I'm not trying to "run to daddy" here; but rather I was curious about your views in the matter. It seems to me to be a rather large shift in the current power structure that's coming at a rather hurried pace. I completely respect that as a project we must often adapt to change as we grow and evolve. I also consider that it may effect that "checks and balances" system we currently have in place, and honestly wondered where your thoughts were in the matter. Thank you, and kind regards. — Ched :  ?  10:00, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh, right. Yes, I should have thought about that, as I did know about it. It strikes me as completely not a shift in the balance of power in any way, shape, or form. It's a purely technical/security matter, as anyone who has their bits removed in that way can get them back just for the asking.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:07, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Very good. I thank you for your time sir. Have a great day. — Ched :  ?  13:21, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah, very good, but, um, is there a way to discuss these matters without using the term "having their bits removed"? It just reminds me rather too closely of what actually does happen here sometimes (in a metaphorical sense at any rate) and causes me to reflexively tighten my thigh muscles... Herostratus (talk) 16:05, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, euphemisms. How about "Having their administrative mop put in storage, waiting for their return?"... Much less.. graphic imagery! SirFozzie (talk) 00:43, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Hey .. I'm liking that. Of course you realize that you've now released that under CC-BY-SA? .. :) — Ched :  ?  15:10, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

housten, wir haben ein problem oder warum ist wikipedia deutschland eine freie wissensdatenbank die jeder kopieren und nutzen kann

es gibt ein copyright problem mit einer nicht konformen wikipedia lizenz, ich bin ein mann der erklärung der aufklärung. um es auf den punkt zu bringen, in einer bzw. deiner enzyklopädie wikipedia, gibt es keine lizenz. ändere es doch bitte mal ab, auf deutsch gesagt, alles was in wikipedia geschrieben steht ist frei und beansprucht keine urheberschaft. um es einfach zu sagen, die wikipedia beansprucht keinerlei rechte auf irgend etwas und niemand der in wikipedia etwas schreibt oder einstellt. schaffe einfach die lizenz ab oder hat je jemand mal was von einer freien lizenz gehört in einer freien Enzyklopädie ? --Kapital Manager (talk) 01:24, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, you may not want to waste your time trying to understand this rant in German. (By the way, the first word is supposed to be Houston, as in Houston, we have a problem.)
Hans Adler 01:43, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, add "Blödsinn" to your vocabulary, that's the gist of it. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 04:11, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Tell him that would make it less free, as somebody could copy it then copyright it themselves and sue WMF for infringement. By releasing it under the CC3 we're ensuring that it will always be free. I guess I could tell him myself. Kapital: "Nein". Throwaway85 (talk) 04:49, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

What do you think of admins who canvass, abuse their tools to win content disputes that they're involved in and a create a list of Wikipedians they wish were dead?

What do you think of admins who canvass,[11] [12][13][14][15][16][17], abuse their tools to win content disputes that they're involved in[18] and create a list of Wikipedians they wish were dead because he considers them "the rudest, disrespectful maggots" who he's "had the displeasure of interacting with"?[19] In fairness, I will mention that he did undue page protection[20], had only one editor on the death wish list, and he did take it down.[21] A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:14, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Actually, as far as I can tell, he never had anyone on that list. It was intended as a funny contrast to his "Wall of Honor". Unless you can point to a version with an actual username on that list, I think you might owe an apology (and if you find one, please accept mine). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:45, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Immediately after his latest bust-up with ScottyBerg he put an S on one. Then at AN/I he gave two different explanations of what the S meant. In any case, I suspect if you had a recent run-in with him you'd have a fairly good clue that one was for you. But all that's not really relevant. Whether the gravestones can be assigned to individuals is neither here nor there. The question is: Is putting it on his userapage compatible with being an admin? DeCausa (talk) 13:55, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
What DeCausa said. Here's the diff of him adding Scotty's initial to his death wish list.[22] A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:58, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
(ec) While I suspect that AQFK's approach here will generate more heat than light, and is likely to be counterproductive, it takes a level of disingenuity I'm not capable of to read Marine 69-71's page as not singling out a particular editor for a death fantasy. Creating a tombstone labelled with an 'S' under the heading "Here are some of the Wikipedians whom I wish were dead" while he's right in the middle of extensive dispute with ScottyBerg? What's your plausible alternative explanation for the 'S'? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:01, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
S is one of the more frequent letters in the English alphabet (and note that the "S" actually linked to S, not to any user page). Not being aware about the dispute between the two, I was baffled. I'm still somewhat baffled by the flatfootedness of the reaction... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:27, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I think that the "joke" wasn't funny and that he should hand in his tools and stand for RfA to get them back. That's what I think. Additionally, I find his manner of expressing himself in some of the links you showed me to be conduct unbecoming an administrator, yet another reason for him to hand in his tools and stand for RfA to get them back.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:30, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Shouldn't this thread be more appropriate for some other venue like ANI???TMCk (talk) 14:35, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
It already is. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 14:38, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. I've missed that.TMCk (talk) 14:39, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, I am the "S" in the tombstone. How do you suggest that I proceed? The administrator in question is not going to hand in his tools voluntarily, and administrators on the ANI say that even a short block is not warranted. I've been told the only path open to me is an RFC-Admin. There are other issues to be dealt with, including canvassing and misuse of tools. However, it is unclear if I can meet the certification requirements for an RfC. One editor has volunteered to certify, but his qualifications for doing so have been questioned on ANI. What can be done in this situation? ScottyBerg (talk) 14:47, 8 July 2011 (UTC) Oh, and I have just been advised that my co-certifier has backed out. I'm not sure that is going to mean much, as his qualifications to certify were open to question. So it looks as if there will be no RfC. ScottyBerg (talk) 14:54, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

I would recommend that you reach out with friendliness and warmth to Marine 69-71. Explain that the joke wasn't something that you found funny, that it was demeaning and insulting and hurtful. Offer to make up for anything that you might have done wrong in the past, and ask him what that was. Be sincere in asking, and be prepared to change if change is necessary. Forgive him in your heart before you approach him, and hope that he apologizes. But I recommend not requiring an apology before you forgive - life is just too short to put conditions on people like that.
That's what I think you should do right now today. The real question then is what happens next. Does his behavior change? Does he continue to do spiteful things toward you? In that case, I think it will be wise to seek help from others who might have his ear. Remain calm yourself, remain kind and friendly. Leave a clean paper trail, by which I mean, make sure that in the future, when anyone reviews this, it will be patently obvious that you've done nothing wrong - no one enjoys helping with a dispute in which both parties have misbehaved.
After all of that, if nothing gets better, then proceeding with formal dispute resolution processes is what you might sadly have to do. But getting 'legal' on someone is often exhausting and unproductive, as it can tend to escalate the fight to ever greater levels.
I hope you find this advice helpful. It may be counter-intuitive and hard to follow, but based on long experience, I know that it is more likely to work than any other approach that I know about.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:56, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Jimbo, for providing your helpful insight. This brings up a secondary issue: admins get treated differently than regular editors (please e-mail me if you want diffs of why I say this). It seems to me that admins should be held to a higher standard than regular editors, but the converse is true. We seem to need some sort of secondary oversight to deal with admin misconduct. As I understand it, the community has the right to desysop an admin; but in practice this never happens because there is no procedure for it. It seems to me that if an admin loses the confidence of the community to use the tools, the community should have a way of removing them. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 02:44, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I've noticed this admin before. I absolutely believe that he should hand in his privileges and have to stand for RfA again, if he wishes to remain an administrator. StrikerforceTalk Review me! 03:19, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Vitruvian Barnstar Hires.png The Technical Barnstar
You've committed the ultimate act of technical enhancement of Wikipedia - creating it! For this I award you this barnstar. Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty | Averted crashes 19:40, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

A cup of tea for you!

Meissen-teacup pinkrose01.jpg Oh, dear Jimbo, you have helped Wikipedia so much. (But you still have to tip me.) Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty | Averted crashes 19:42, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for keeping off the Reichstag!

100px The Off-The-Reichstag Award
Thank you for keeping off the Reichstag and managing to avoid this! Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty | Averted crashes 19:46, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

AFT

Please take a look at the Article Feedback Tool's talk page. To summarize, the current implementation is far from useful, there is no consensus to implement it, feedback by the community is ignored or dismissed (I got the supporters of the AFT to respond by imposing their own deadline (July 7th) upon them) and the supporters of the AFT are unwilling to make compromises. I think you may be in the position to change the direction of the conversation before the community has to overrule the AFT supporters who want to put the AFT on every single article on the 12th of July. If not I apologize for wasting your time. Greetings and much WikiLove from Amsterdam, Wasbeer 10:20, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

I strongly support rolling the tool out as quickly as possible and updating it often to improve it. The current implementation is extremely useful and generating valuable data which is going to make an incredible difference. Please, rather than turning this into another instance where people incorrectly get the idea that formal consensus is required for all changes (that's just not true, never has been, and never will be, because that rule is waaaaaaaaay too conservative and would never have allowed us to develop to where we are today), turn this into something that accurately matches the free software ideal of "release early, release often".
What I mean is this: If you have suggestions for improvement to the tool, please put them forward, I'm eager to hear about them. If you just hate the idea of the general public giving feedback on the quality of Wikipedia so that we in the community can figure out where we need to improve, then I'm sorry to hear that, but regret to say that you aren't going to get your way on that. If you hate the current implementation, the right thing to do is not campaign to have it killed, but rather campaign for testable, measurable, data-driven improvements to it.
I should add, for completeness, that no one at the Foundation asked me about this feature, nor did I propose it, nor did I have anything to do with creating it. But it is not my view that the right way to do software development is to have a !vote on everything all the time. Let them create cool stuff for us, and if it's really awful, we'll get them to remove it. No need for drama.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:47, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Hi Jimbo! Thanks for taking the time to respond. I am glad to see that I accuratly predicted your response. I agree with almost everything you wrote, the second sentence (The current implementation...incredible difference.) is the only exception. I hope my pessimism is unwarranted, time will tell. Greetings from Amsterdam, Wasbeer 16:34, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Could you give an example of how the thing is "extremely useful" and of the "valuable data" it generates, and perhaps of the "incredible difference" it is going to make? I have no problem with "release early, release often" as long as there is a "drop easy, drop often" counterweight for it, or some actual benefit. All I see now is an intrusive, untrustworthy and unhelpful tool almost no one was waiting for. Fram (talk) 06:49, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Time for a different "Committee" to deal with non content based issues?

As you may be aware, Jimbo, there is a bit of a discussion going on at Maggie Dennis' WMF talkpage regarding the fallout of the Shell Kinney resignation and statement, and the lack of any clear directions from the WMF in dealing with non content issues by the community (which latterly is via the arbcom). I have weighed in with quite a lengthy comment on how I view that the processes developed by ArbCom in dealing with editorial behavioural issues relating to content disputes are not suited to handling issues relating to individuals who are using the access available within the project for issues outside of subject or viewpoint considerations. My point, which I have asked Maggie to bring before the WMF, is that the project has no duty of process or issue resolution toward any person who is antithetical to the aims of the encyclopedia, as provided by the WMF's bylaws and stated goals, and that they may be perfunctorily removed from this (private) website.

In writing here, I am suggesting that the existing ArbCom should have its mission statement clarified - I suggest to that of its original concept as the last resort of dispute resolution - and to put in place another body who will oversee the claims of paedophile advocacy (and grooming), improper, or simply unwanted (outside of dispute resolution), communications between editors, outing or "investigation" of real life identities, and any of those issues presently handled by ArbCom which is unrelated to its intended purpose, and be tasked in investigating, deciding and acting upon those claims - by enacting, where deemed appropriate, permanent removal of access and editing privileges. (per request; take the extra stuff that stops ArbCom doing its original job to a new group, who will issue bans where necessary. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:39, 9 July 2011 (UTC)) My view that such a body may be made up of volunteers chosen by yourself, Philippe Beaudette (and/or other WMF personnel with similar responsibilities), the Arbitration Committee, and other WMF identified functionaries, and endorsed by the community, for finite periods of service to be decided. Candidates should be recruited, I suggest, from among current and former arbs and other functionaries (OS/CU) and any account in impeccable good standing.

This is my suggested manner in dealing with the issues that have recently been brought to our attention, and I invite comments, critiques, and alternative suggestions. LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:57, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Could you possibly rework the first sentence of your second paragraph? Its length and complexity make it very difficult to parse. Looie496 (talk) 21:05, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
If I could, I would have... LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:37, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I have to be honest here, LHVU, I am positively baffled by your proposal. Basically, what you are saying is "the same people should be doing the same thing that they're already doing." Because the group of suitable candidates you have identified are exactly the people who are doing it now. Risker (talk) 21:38, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Sort of, but the people doing it now were not aware that that was the role they were taking on - and this provides those who sign up to candidature for ArbCom in the future to be sure that dispute resolution is what they will be doing, and those who would take on the messy stuff need not apply the "fair and transparent" quasi legal processes to remove individuals who are not here for the purposes of the site. I think that those two aspects are not part of the present situation. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:45, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

A teeny bit confusing. Are you suggesting, perhaps, an official corps under the WMF aegis with authority to review certain behavioural and editing issues (specifically acts contrary to WMF and WP policies regarding propriety of edits, etc.) for which the current arbcom is unequipped to deal with sufficiently expeditiously? Including, but not limited to, assuring that any legal issues are dealt with as promptly as possible, much as OTRS does in limited cases? Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:01, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Er, no. I am suggesting that the WMF confirms that participants to the website whose purpose is not directed toward the bylaws and goals of the project may be summarily removed, and that a further volunteer group take on that role and release ArbCom to concentrate on editor dispute issues. LessHeard vanU (talk) 23:38, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

No copy from sites

Texts of web sites can't be copied in Wikipedia, but sources must be quoted. Why? Is there any reeson? Crystall Ball (talk) 11:14, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

BLP pause for thought

All BLPs created after created after March 18, 2010 are to have at least one reliable source. There is a permenant way around this requirement. Just claim the person is dead. No verification required. Makes you think. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 12:27, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a good way for someone to get blocked. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:00, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
No one would get blocked because unless it's an active article or a known person the idea they are dead doesn't even get questioned. It bypasses all the checks because Category:Living people doesn't get added, which it turn would bring a variety of automated and manual checks into action. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 20:47, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
It wouldn't be overly cumbersome to require anyone with a contemporary date of birth to show a reliable reference reflecting their death, as a precaution. FWIW, I think it would be equally as devastating for a vandal to create a biography for a living person, otherwise known to have deceased. For this there should be a search for death information for all articles whose subject is shown with a contemporary date of birth. And now, you are at least 2 cents ahead of where you were moments ago. Cheers. My76Strat talk 21:47, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Question regarding proxy editing for banned users

Dear Jimbo, I'm user Uwe from the German Wikipedia project for which I'm an administrator. I've recently blocked an editor there for one day because of what I deemed to be proxy edititing for a banned user. Explicit interaction between the blocked user and the Wikipedia editor regarding these edits was evident from their discussion on a respective page which also contained a "to do" list of planned edits.

Prior to banning, I twice (on two different days) warned the respective Wikipedia editor to stop his actions. In a discussion initiated by this editor on de:Wikipedia:Administratoren/Probleme, his allegation of misuse of administrative privileges for these warnings was overwhelmingly rejected with explicit statements by six administrators saying that these warnings were correct from their point of view. Subsequently (after continuing proxy editing by this user), I deleted the discussion page which was used to coordinate these edits. The page is now hosted in an external Wiki, and the respective Wikipedia editor continued his proxy work with further edits which were followed by "Done" markings from the banned user on the page in the external Wiki. Only then I blocked the respective Wikipedia user for one day.

This has created a lot of controversy in the German Wikipedia community as, unlike Wikipedia:Banning policy, there is no written policy in the German Wikipedia for handling the issue of proxy editing (which I would consider a new phenomenon in the German Wikipedia, at least in such an open style as performed in this case). A vast majority of users has heavily criticized my decision to block and my unwillingness to subsequently unblock the user as blatantly wrong because they argue that there is/was nothing wrong with those edits as regards content no matter whether they are/were explicitly done on behalf of a banned user.

I have two questions to you for which I would kindly appreciate a statement from you.

  1. Is it appropriate, in absence of an explicit (written) policy in the German Wikipedia on how to deal with proxy editing for banned users, to take action against this practice? For me, this was a classic example of a stunningly clever hack of our rules.
  2. What are appropriate measures to stop proxy editing (as this is not explicitly mentioned on Wikipedia:Banning policy?

Sincerely Yours, --Uwe (talk) 16:21, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Well, obviously the German Wikipedia's community needs to reach its own consensus on how to handle this matter, but even here it's more complicated than a simple black and white matter. The principle at play is that an editor takes personal responsibility for an edit they proxy for someone else: if the edit is bad, then they are responsible for it and not the banned user. In practice, that means that the editor that picks up a dispute that another editor was blocked or banned for ends up being exactly disruptive in the same way.

Obviously, it's never actually that clearcut in practice. The proxied edits can be productive (so difficult to justify giving a sanction for), and disruptive (because they were made to make a disruptive point). This makes application of any rule dependent on who the banned user is, what they were banned for, who the proxying user is, why they proxied edits (which is obviously nigh impossible to determine).

I wish I could be more helpful, but we haven't found the silver bullet here either.  :-) — Coren (talk) 17:35, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Hi Coren, thanks for your answer regarding my inquiry regarding a Wikipedian doing proxy edits for a banned user. My main point for taking action in this issue despite the lack of a written policy is summarized in Wikipedia:Banning policy under the "Bans apply to all editing, good or bad" headline: Even edits which can be considered "good" oder "harmless" when viewed isolated for their pure content merits have a long-term disruptive effect on the effectiveness of the ban. By doing "good" edits, banned users try to prove the point that their ban is not warranted. Or in other words, as cited on Wikipedia:Banning policy from an ArbCom decision: A ban is a ban. It's not uncommon for people to make "good" edits to create a soapbox for disputing their ban and/or thumbing their nose at the project. Let's not enable them.
That's exactly the point of the edits of the banned user in the case which I tried to handle. He has 180+ blocked accounts on the German Wikipedia and a couple more on Commons commons:Category:Sockpuppets of Jerry Dandridge, mainly for continued uploading of non-free images, for misuse of the mentoring program of the German Wikipedia for new users, for trying to overtake a non-SUL account on Commons, and for trying to steal passwords for Wikipedia accounts. His current account on the English Wikipedia is User:Robert Krueger 2. Recently, he began to cooperate (outside of Wikipedia in an external Wiki) with one of the most notorious trolls and banned users of the German Wikipedia (Mutter Erde) from whom he also got the idea to look for an editor who could perform proxy editing for him. The edits in question concern uploading of movie logos and adding them to the respective articles. From an isolated perspective they are not disruptive, but on the other hand their usefulness and encyclopedic value has been disputed as most users who are active in the German Wikipedia in the field of "TV and movies" believe that these logos add little to no relevant information to the articles. --Uwe (talk) 18:06, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
There's a spicy little detail that Uwe did not mention: The editor who supported the banned user is a current member of German Arbcom. Greetings Stefan64 (talk) 00:00, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
As always, I mainly recommend that good editors take the time to thank and appreciate each other, even in the midst of a disagreement. Coren gave a good explanation of how we do things in English Wikipedia, and I think our approach is pretty reasonable. In the event that you don't have a clear policy, I do recommend unblocking whenever a significant number of people complain about something. And finally, I'm not 100% sure that I understand. Uwe, am I reading this right to understand that you blocked a member of German ArbCom? That probably wasn't the best idea, if true.  :-) It does sound like this may have been a "stunningly clever hack" of the rules.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:06, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
The information as given by Stefan64 is correct. However, I don't think that ArbCom membership is a free ticket for an editor to do whatever he thinks is right (in his role as an "ordinary" Wikipedia editor, not acting as an ArbCom member) or that it makes him immune from consequences of undue behaviour. To be honest, I see that this fact makes the issue a complicated one. But if anything, ArbCom members who are supposed to solve conflicts should abstain from intentionally creating conflicts by questionable behaviour. He was criticized by several users for his proxy editing and ask to stop it, with no effect. I then warned him twice on two different days, with no effect. As a milder measure to a user block, I then deleted the page which was used to coordinate the proxy editing, with no effect. Only then, and after six administrators had confirmed that my warnings had been appropriate, I blocked him for one day (with the explicit offer that I immediately unblock him as soon as he assures to abstain from further proxy editing). From my point of view, there were ample opportunities over the course of several days to avoid the block at any time simply by abstaining from performing these proxy edits. Intentionally escalating a disagreement (not just between him and me, but between him and several other editors) into a conflict is not something I expected from an ArbCom member. --Uwe (talk) 18:44, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Pending-changes protection

Can you add the pending-changes protection policy was applied during the 2010 trial to Wikipedia:Protection policy? 123.24.93.215 (talk) 11:42, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:09, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
A section and a table — Wikipedia:Protection policy#Pending-changes protection and Wikipedia:Protection policy#Comparison table — have been in there for some time [23] Chaosdruid (talk) 03:08, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Putin ???

For your information: German press reactions on the Quadriga-Award for Putin are very critical, and they are always connected with your name, the founder of wikipedia, as member of the Award-Comitee. - SDB2009 (talk) 13:26, 10 July 2011 (UTC) See also de:Wikipedia:Café#Der Schein der Heiligen - SDB2009 (talk) 13:33, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm not a member of the award committee. I was not asked for any opinions of any kind about the award. I would not have given any award to Putin, were it up to me at all. I do rather like President Medvedev's position on Internet issues.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:10, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Look here please. You are honorary member of the Kuratorium as all who got the award. I do not know how the communication between the association "Werkstatt Deutschland" and you works, but in your position, i would give back the Quadriga-award for the Wikipedia, when they really havn´t communicated this fact to you and you have no opportunity to say "No". - SDB2009 (talk) 16:02, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying on the German Wikipedia's Café page. For your information: We are discussing to reject the prize because it was awarded to Putin.--Aschmidt (talk) 16:33, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Would you like a tea?

Meissen-teacup pinkrose01.jpg You're awesome! Mnid (talk) 01:39, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for wikipedia!

Kitten in a helmet.jpg

Without wikipedia, I won't know as much as I do now. Thanks!

Polycolored (talk) 09:14, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Once notable always notable?

What are your (and anyone else's) ideas on whether something that is considered notable can ever lose that classification. A convention center in Hartford, Connecticut could have an article (and possibly already does) but if it gets torn down tomorrow should we still have an article on it 50 years from now? If 200 years from now there are no sources that have mentioned the Casey Anthony trial since... say 2025...does that mean perhaps that trial is no longer notable and should at least be discussed for deletion? Or does being notable at some point confer notability forever? This being different than AfD's that close-out by slim margins and are renominated based on non-notability later.Camelbinky (talk) 23:00, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I think notability is a permanent benchmark provided it is genuinely achieved as outlined in guidelines such as WP:GNG. My76Strat talk 23:07, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
It is interesting to note that a subject as notable as the Sears Tower has been relegated to a redirect in spite of all the years vested by Sears to achieve such notoriety while Willis Tower, a term that may not have been searched, receives the benefit of the former notability. My76Strat talk 23:21, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I think this is an interesting philosophical question but one which Wikipedians in 2025 may have a better handle on than we do. I think of greater practical interest is this question: are there any articles in Wikipedia today which should be deleted on the grounds of notability, even though we would also say they should have been written and were worth having 5 years ago? Notice that this is a different question from whether we made any mistakes in assessing notability 5 years ago that should be corrected today. I am sure we did. My question is more about whether, in general, we think there can be cases of notability which fades over time. I'm inclined to say yes, but that they are rare.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:05, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia:Notability, "notability is not temporary." As you mentioned, however, we do reconsider past assessments and correct errors. —David Levy 01:19, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
One obvious means for a notable subject to lose notability is if the supporting sources become discredited. Retractions and corrections are moderately common occurrences for most news organizations. These usually arrive within a day or two of the initial report, but there have been cases where hoaxes and manufactured stories have gone uncontested for years before they were discovered. --Allen3 talk 01:35, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
As we endeavor to be the sum of all human knowledge, it seems intuitive that we wouldn't want to lose verifiable knowledge suggesting it is somehow outdated. Otherwise we pass on knowledge deficient of its sum. Past methodology leaves a legacy whereas we know who invented the screw, but not the screwdriver. Just a thought I pondered from this question. Cheers. My76Strat talk 02:18, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Personally, I think that "notability isn't temporary" also reads the other way around: if it was temporary, then it wasn't notable. Most of what lasts only a day or two in the press and then is promptly forgotten is unlikely to be something which we'd want to keep for posterity, and pretty much anything of true significance will get lasting coverage. — Coren (talk) 02:52, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
    (I suppose, what I'm trying to say is that notability only exists in retrospect; our notability guidelines try to guess whether something will be notable in the future by how it's covered today). — Coren (talk) 02:57, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Follow up question that was sparked by Jimbo's question- If the Casey Anthony trial had occured in 1976 (35 years ago) would Wikipedia have ever made the article today? Yes, it is a big deal and notable today with all the press coverage but in the long run are there likely to continue to be any new relevant sources as time goes on that arent just compilations of what is already covered in today's sources? To me it seems like alot of times we jump the gun, someone saw something in the news and they think an article has to be written NOW about it, no time to reflect and watch if the event or person truly has a lasting effect on the world. I've always wondered if I can get my name mentioned in a newspaper a couple times if then I could write an article about myself and get it past everyone, just as an experiment.Camelbinky (talk) 15:26, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Well the Dreyfus trial took place in 1894 and it's still notable... – ukexpat (talk) 19:01, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I would argue there's a big difference between a racially motivated trial of someone who really was innocent, because they are Jewish, and a woman who murdered her child (allegedly). The Dreyfus affair has continued to be discussed and relevant about anti-semitism in a so-called enlightened nation that should have known better, 80+ years after that country's own Emperor Napoleon eliminated the ghettoes and anti-semitic laws across most of Europe. How many women have murdered their children in Florida alone in the 3 or 4 (or is it five now?) years since Caylee died? Nothing about the act, or the people, or the trial itself is notable, the only thing notable is that the news organizations had a slow news cycle (something they have admitted as the reason this went national) and so they fixated on this trial to fill airtime, and is that in itself really notable 100 years from now? Whereas with the Dreyfus affair the very act and trial and subsequent actions (such as Dreyfus going on to be a hero in WWI against the very Germans which he was accused of spying for) are in themselves notable, the coverage the case got isnt the notability. I see a big distinction, let me know if I see through colored glasses.Camelbinky (talk) 19:20, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
So you're making a distinction between "worthy of note" and "noted in the media"? I wonder what the criteria for the former would look like. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 22:01, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Although we say - "notability is not temporary." - consensus is, and changes as the times change and with historic hindsight. What was considered in a wiki discussion to be notable amongst some editors is not set in stone, the next year a different bunch of editors may come to a consensus that the issue is not notable. - Its a fluid not a fixed reality. - which is one of its strengths. With truly notable issues this will likely be a completely fixed reality - some of the stuff that is recent and popular at the time of being created and supported from newspaper/press reports has a greater degree of likely reassessment as a true long term notable/encyclopedic topic/person. - Off2riorob (talk) 22:08, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
That's correct. There've been many occasions in which an article topic has been deemed notable in AFDs over and over, but is eventually deleted because the consensus on its notability has changed. Vice versa, topics which were not previously considered notably can become so, particularly due to special notability rules, such as the one which makes every professional athlete notable.   Will Beback  talk  22:18, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Anthony definitely hit the nail on the head of what I was trying to describe- a difference in being worthy of note and noted in the media. I dont think current Wikipedia policy makes that distinction and I think it should. I may be mistaken but I think Wikinews is the perfect forum for something like coverage of Casey Anthony whereas an encyclopedia is not. In my view there's a big difference between cases that get news attention at the time, and cases that continue to be have consequences and enter mainstream culture. There's a big difference, in my mind at least, between Casey Anthony and Rodney King, because of the verdict in the King case and the riots it became more than just a case that got national attention. Lizzie Borden I say became noteworthy because of the nursery rhyme "Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she done, she gave her father forty one", if it wasnt for that the case probably would have gone obscure over the years and not gone on to be well-enough known for History channel to make documentaries and by the time of Wikipedia's founding for anyone to want to write an article about it, I remember learning about Borden in middle school. Such cultural mainstream references outside of news covereage can solidify a "fifteen mins of fame" into a lasting contribution to national cultural identity. I think that may be the defining line between "worthy of note" and "noted in the media"–a cultural reference outside of the news media. Has Casey Anthony reached that status where she is worthy of note outside of media references?Camelbinky (talk) 22:32, 11 July 2011 (UTC)


In my view the only valid reason for deleting an article due to a change in notability would be if the reliability of the sources that established notability come into question -- for example, if a person is mainly notable due to a certain event, but the newspaper article reporting that event turns out to be a hoax. I believe that in the future, articles about obscure events from the past will be among the most useful things in Wikipedia. Looie496 (talk) 22:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Nelson Mandela Day

The organizers have asked me whether they could have an article in Wikipedia, Nelson Mandela Day. With 3,800 results in the Google news archive it seems likely that sufficient reliable sources exist. I'd just start it myself, but I'm going to be awfully busy this week, so I thought I would just mention it here and see if anyone takes up the idea.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:17, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Actually, I just found Mandela Day - looks like it could use some love.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:18, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
  • DONE. We have edited the small draft into typical format, to allow expansion. Thanks for the 1-week warning (for July 18) because I have seen some pages remain tagged for 27,000 pageviews before someone finally fixes/untags them. In prior months, the reader interest for "Mandela Day" has been 30 pageviews/day, now already 60 pv/day, possibly going 300x higher around July 18 (we'll see how high). It took me some time to realize the UN's annual "Nelson Mandela International Day" (redirect) began in 2010, where others began Mandela Day in 2009. The Google hits=2,390,000 for "Nelson Mandela International Day" so I think you found a great "missing" article for July. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:24, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
    • Wouldn't it be cool to try to get it to featured article status and run it on the front page that day? I'm not sure there is enough time for that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:28, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks to you!

Anniv troix.svg Thanks to you!
Dear Jimbo,

Almost three years ago, after using this project for some years and enjoying it, I decided to join this great community, now I'm a part of the community which help the internet not suck, knowing that I am useful is an amazing feeling, and for that, I must thank you, for your ideas, your vision and for starting Wikipedia.

I'm here to give you a piece of my wiki-birthday cake and to get some attention and WikiLove, which some wikipedians say it will improves users self-esteem and will motivate them to contribute better Face-wink.svg

Best regards.   ■ MMXX  talk  10:28, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

OM NOM NOM NOM! Good cake!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:42, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Proposal: Moving to new platforms for collaboration

Hello Jimbo: to introduce myself, I'm Nick, and like you I'm also from Alabama (though the other end, Mobile, AL) and also now live in the "big city" (in my case, NYC). I've written for Wikipedia off and on since November 2005, and have frequented the wikipedia-en IRC channel off and on, a couple of times talking with you, the man himself.

During the Wikipedia in Higher Education summit (I was following along on Twitter via the #wihed hashtag) what Sue Gardner said about Wikipedia's coverage of the social sciences and humanities rang true for me. I've been trying hard to get some teamwork and collaboration going to help improve weak history articles (history, especially history outside of the United States and Europe are weaknesses at present) with limited success. With WikiProjects largely abandoned and useless as tools for collaboration, my only success has been through talk pages and the IRC channel. So, I've created this proposal that–extrapolating from the Wikimedia Strategic Plan to 2015's call for more social and collaborative tools–aims to change the way collaboration works on Wikipedia: Proposal: Moving beyond moribund WikiProjects to a new platform for collaboration.

In order to reverse the troubling trend of editors leaving Wikipedia (i.e. improve the recruitment and retention of new writers) it's necessary we move beyond moribund WikiProjects to new platforms for collaboration. This is already addressed, in part, by the "strategy:Attracting and retaining participants" portion of the current Wikimedia Strategic Plan. My proposal deals with how we get from where we are now (in en.wikipedia, littered with moribund WikiProjects) to where the Strategic Plan takes us: the introduction of more social/collaborative tools to the Wiki, including "Users would be able to join topical groups, based on their editing interests (e.g., “18th century American history)". My proposal is about how we get from here to there.

Proposal: Moving beyond moribund WikiProjects to a new platform for collaboration.

It's just a start, but your thoughts are appreciated!

NickDupree (talk) 02:44, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Hi Nick, sounds interesting. I'm going to be offline for awhile right now, so I've loaded up the pages you suggested and I will read them with great interest. I do think there is a strong need to improve various tools and platforms, so I'm eager to learn about new ideas in this area.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:09, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I read all that. I very much support the idea of more aggressively tagging inactive wikiprojects as inactive, but I also propose that it would be cool if we had a way to also try a revival process, i.e. everyone who is associated with any wikiproject (having edited it at least once) is contacted on their user talk page with a proposed "revival day" about a week in the future. Part of what makes Wikiprojects fun and worth it is a critical mass of people - can be just a few but the key is if I ask a question or make a comment, and someone responds to me, that's fun. If no one answers, it is just talking into a black hole - not fun.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:12, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you hit the nail on the head, Jimbo, and I'd love to see revival days happen. Sadly, shouting into black holes is more common an experience than ever, and leads to questions like "what's broken in Wikipedia's model?" and "when are the new social and collaborative tools mentioned in the Wikimedia Strategic Plan to 2015 coming online? When will us in the trenches get more info?" Any insight into these questions, Jimbo? Very appreciated. –NickDupree (talk) 18:48, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid that on the detailed roadmap of software development, I'm just an editor in the trenches like anyone else. I wish that I knew more, but probably other people will be better able to shed some light on that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:38, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Post when you find out something please? NickDupree (talk) 18:13, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
This may be relevant: the Wikimedia product whitepaper is the technology plan as it stands now... it's still very high level, of course. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 08:51, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Finagling with WP:V

Hi, after some discussion on an article for which the name probably originated there, I set up a poll on nl.wikipedia to get the principles for this issue straight. The statement up for vote is (translated): If an article is on Wikipedia under a title which was (most probably) invented here, and there is another acceptable name for the phenomenon, the article's name should be changed, even if the current name is by now well used outside wikipedia. As this is a straightforward reaffirmation of WP:V and WP:NOR/Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not for things made up one day, I expected this to easily get a majority, after which the concerned article would be renamed. However, the current votes are: Voor (agree) 18; Tegen (disagree) 23. Arguments against include, among others: "You should not have polled a topic this broad" and "The article name should be in uppercase" (preceding are not literal quotes). Because this (V) is one of the true principles of wikipedia, and the overall usefulness of polls is being affected by this kind of vote, I ask for your response/reaction in/to this matter. (Feel free to tell me I shouldn't have put something so self-evident up for vote. If I would have thought this was a possible outcome, I wouldn't have.) -- Buzz-tardis (talk) 03:07, 11 July 2011 (UTC) (Vote lasts till this friday (the 15th).)

Hi, Buzz-tardis, this is User:Wikid77 here. I'll leave space for Jimbo to answer above, because we had a similar naming problem, where some people wanted to call a word a "neologism" when others considered it a name slur or campaign tactic. Also, as stated in your Dutch WP poll (nlwiki poll on renaming), there was concern the title would bring "schade aan/schande" (damage/shame) to the Encyclopedia. However, remember it is difficult to get an objective poll for a policy issue, when a recent article title has caused a heated POV-bias split. Many people want a new guideline set to enforce their view of just the one article, rather than decide a general principle. Perhaps, policy decisions might be more fair if made by groups of elected leaders who avoid editing specific articles (or titles), while encouraging polls of hundreds of users, rather than risk a "gang of 10 people" who will sway a poll by a 10-vote bias compared to a larger, randomized poll. Try not to get angry at that "gang of 10" because, as a benefit, they have revealed loopholes in policies which allow a handful of people to distort Dutch Wikipedia (nlwiki), and those loopholes can be seen, finally now, as more dangerous, long-term, than the current article being debated. Note, already, that nlwiki has progressed beyond enwiki because the poll in nlwiki lasts 2 weeks (still time for a different vote, until 15 July), while many decisions on English WP are rushed to close or WP:SNOWed within only 7 days. Also, you've answered your own concern, "It is too dangerous to attempt a new policy change to resolve a recent hot-topic dispute". Next time, wait for more people to arrive and decide the issues, later. -Wikid77 (talk) 15:10, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry to intervene, but Buzz-Tardis isn't giving a true and proper description of the discussion on the Dutch Wikipedia. It obviously isn't, as is somewhat suggested here, a poll about WP:V; why would we poll over a guidelines which form the basis of our work? I could provide another translation (a proper one, my POV) of what's going on, but (i) I suspect you got better things to do than to meddle in with minor disputes on all the projects, and (ii) the poll is running properly according to the nl-guidelines: I don't see why we would need external advice on this matter, we are perfectly able to decide for ourselves what option should receive the majority of votes. All the best, CaAl (talk) 07:30, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, I expected as much... This person CaAl (a sysop, no less) is one of the persons voting against "because this poll should not have been held"(no lit. quote). I trust you, Jimbo, to form your own opinion. Greetings. -- Buzz-tardis (talk) 14:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the problem here. The hypothetical timeline goes something like this, yes?
  1. A Wikipedia article is created on the subject of foo. For whatever reason, the original authors use the seldom-seen description or neologism bar for the article's title.
  2. The article stays under the title bar for an extended period of time (months or years).
  3. During this period of time, the wider world adopts bar as a synonym for foo. The terms are now used somewhat interchangeably by the public, and/or are seen as equivalent by experts in foo. The relevant literature uses both foo and bar.
The question is, must we rename our article bar to reflect the original term foo, even though both words are now widely used to describe the topic? If that's the question, I'd say that nlwiki has gotten it right in saying no. WP:V and WP:NOR apply to the current state of knowledge, language, and usage. There's no reason to insist that Wikipedia articles now should be altered – and limited – to reflect the state of knowledge months or years in the past. The fact that the title might have been incorrect at the time that it was created doesn't affect the question of whether or not it is correct now. Even the fact that the term might have been originally popularized by Wikipedia doesn't render it invalid if there is now genuine, widespread, independent usage.
If Wikipedia had existed in 1935 and someone had created an article titled World War I, that would have been incorrect. If the title were left unchanged until 1945, it would have been equally wrong for another editor to rename the article to The Great War, even though that would have been the unquestionably correct title in 1935 when the article was created. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:06, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Your timeline is correct, except for the fact that as far as can be determined, the term bar was not used anywhere before it was used for the article. (No sources were found before that date at all, hence the most probably in the statement... sources might still be found.) The original term (bar) also isn't used interchangeably; When found outside of wikipedia, many/most mention wikipedia as source for the term. People knowledgeable on the topic mostly prefer foo. Your example of WWI is off in as much that it's more like the article was named The great mishap.
However, the real issue is the poll... when it closes, this friday, I will have to draw a conclusion... At the moment I think it might come out something like this:
I do not think that is a desirable outcome. -- Buzz-tardis (talk) 17:00, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Please do not be discouraged by that type of poll: most people will only apply the poll result to the one article they wish to slant, and it will go no further. Also, in later months, the renaming poll can be re-run with a wider audience, and hopefully, more people will realize the wiki-invented phrases should not be article titles. -Wikid77 20:52, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
That won't be the outcome, the statement on which we are voting is not: "It is forbidden to invent your own titles for articles." I think it's ridiculous that you are bothering Jimmy with this issue now it's clear you are not getting what you want from the local community. It seems like you are hoping he can/will overrule that community. For me personally, it seems kind of childish. Wkr, Fontes (talk) 11:46, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
However, the concerns of Buzz-tardis have seemed valid, and when you invoked argumentum ad hominem, 3 times, with "ridiculous" or "bothering" or "childish" then that totally discounted all your views, and left Buzz-tardis the clear winner in this debate. (I was a formal debate judge, for years.) In general, attacking an opponent will only strengthen their views. -Wikid77 20:52, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
How is Argument from authority ("I was a formal debate judge") any better in a discussion than what you perceive to be ad hominems (even though they aren't, not every uncivil comment is an ad hominem)? Formal debate judges normally don't first comment in the debate before judging someone with an opposite opinion in a formal way. Please stick to the actual discussion instead of trying to "win" it with such tactics. Fram (talk) 09:09, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you misunderstood. I was the debate judge. I made the decision. No argument at all. The above topic contains multiple debates, and I was commenting on the debate of whether to mention a topic to Jimbo. Also, I think referring to a person's line of reasoning as "kind of childish" is a clear case of argumentum ad hominem but perhaps that is why debate judges are appointed to decide those issues. People disagree, and the judge makes the decision. -Wikid77 18:01, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying, it is clear that I understood you correctly the first time around. You have appointed yourself as the authority, and decide a debate in which you participated based on that authority. Referring to a line of reasoning in negative or uncivil terms is clearly not an "ad hominem" remark, as it is aimed at the reasoning, not the person. It may be a totally wrong remark, but the reason you give for discounting it is wrong, making your authority not only self-appointed but also very dubious. Please try to give your impression, your opinion of a debate or of an argument in the future not as a judge, but as an editor like everyone else. Fram (talk) 06:33, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
c.f. wp:Argumentum ad Jimbonem and wp:Appeals to Jimbo. Jimbo may offers suggestion or advice, he seldom takes any side or adjudicates, especially on other wiki's affair. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 09:20, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm also not in a debate here with Buzz, I already did that where it was supposed to be done, our home wiki. I only gave my opinion about his actions here. Wkr, Fontes (talk) 10:08, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Your comments related to a "meta-debate" as a debate about whether the renaming debate should have been mentioned here (debating his actions for a venue, not his viewpoints about renaming). I hope that clarifies the difference, as being multiple levels of debates. -Wikid77 18:01, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Unreferenced BLPs - Job almost done

About 17 months ago, after the deletion of long-term unreferenced BLPs by some admins, you said I consider this a valid application of WP:BOLD. You have my support and It sounds like deletion was just the thing we needed in order to finally get these articles into shape. We (that is, a bunch of editors mutually exclusive to those involved in the deletions) have now COMPLETELY eliminated ALL 50,000 articles that were marked as Unreferenced BLPs at that time (3000 have been tagged since then, but they'll be cleared in the next few months).

So, are you going to again praise Scott Mac, Kevin, Lars, Unitanode et al for motivating good contributors to recognize the problem and take action or are you going to recognise those good contributors (see WP:URBLPR & WP:URBLP) who actually spent their time and reviewed each and every one of those 50,000 articles (plus a heap more that were tagged since then) and either referenced or deleted them? Did you ever seriously think we'd actually get it done without another bunch of out-of-process deletions? The-Pope (talk) 15:46, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I will praise everyone who played a role. And I do think it is entirely possible to do things in lots of different ways, and hope that there is no reason to turn this into a squabble about the means. The main thing is that it is important that important things get done, as quickly as possible.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:55, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Did someone actually look over all 50,000 articles and check for references for them? You said you "eliminated ALL 50,000 articles". None of them were deemed notable? I did a few of them at various times and found information proving they were notable. CBS medical expert Jennifer Ashton and published writer and notable director Graham Bendel for instance. I recall quite a number of people tagged as unreferenced and sent to AFDs, in the Anime and Manga wikiproject, that ended in keep when a quick search of sources showed they had worked on various notable things and even had news coverage of their work at times. Has WP:BEFORE been followed for all of these articles? Also, unless the information there is slanderous I see no reason to rush to delete it for lack of references alone. Just going through and mass destroying articles isn't something to be proud of. You can't get them into shape by destroying them. Dream Focus 22:52, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Uh, I don't think by eliminated he means only "deleted"; in fact, probably the opposite ;) --Errant (chat!) 23:40, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Frankly, I think it is an insult the people who did the actual work on this by singling out the instigators for praise, especially when several of them spent a lot of time in the BLP RFC's (and later) obstructing efforts to define a better process with their "sod the community", I'll do what I want attitude and resorting to threats when volunteers failed to work at their demanded speeds. That is the kind of attitude that Wikipedia does not need, and should never be held out as a positive example. On the other hand, The-Pope, people who acted in the fashion you did - notifying, organizing and encouraging - deserve the highest praise and should be held out as the example of what this community is capable of. I congratulate you, and I congratulate the people who made a positive change in this regard. Resolute 23:59, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Frankly, the job hasn't been done, the problem has been papered over. The biggest change was weakening the definition of "unreferenced," to the detriment of the encyclopedia. An article used to be "unreferenced" if no fact in it was cited. That was changed a while back, without consensus or appropriate discussion. Now any article that contains an external link is considered "sourced," even if the external link is a wretchedly unreliable as IMDB. The last part of the change was snuck through here [24], after a hopelessly inadequate "discussion" during the (Western) holiday season at the end of last year, with only a handful of users particpating and no high-visibility discussion, or any attempt to notify users who had previously objected to the lowering of standards. The project's approach is best displayed is articles like this one, Alberto Romulo, which I selected at random from a list on the project's talk page. It was created as entirely unsourced, then a single source was added, success was declared, and editors moved on. And the source doesn't even support the claim it's cited for. The sentence including the cite reads "He was Foreign Secretary in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III." Benigno Aquino was elected President of the Philippines on May 10, 2010, and took office on June 30, 2010. The source was published in 2009, which should have been a huge red flag, and refers to events in 2005. The source can't possibly verify the statement it's cited for. (The statement happens to be true, more or less by happenstance, but a true statement with an impossible cite is hardly better than an uncited one). And the rest of the article remains completely unsourced and unreferenced.
There are thousands of articles tagged with a special imdb-specific template which indicates, more or less, that the article has no references, but does have a boilerplate external link to imdb, which to my mind isn't much more than a let's-pretend-it's-sourced tag. There isn't even any guarantee that the imdb bio linked to corresponds to the article subject, although fortunately I've come across very few errors like that.
I don't think this effort has done Wikipedia all that much good. We used to have 50,000 unreferenced BLPs, and that was certainly not good. But converting unsourced BLPs into BLPs whose sourcing is grossly inadequate isn't solving the important problem. It's treating a substantive problem as a PR problem. I suppose it's nice that people don't have an easy easy handle to bash the project with a count showing all those unsourced BLPs, but having 50,000 more badly sourced but not completely unsourced BLPs isn't a whole lot better, especially when it's just the lowest-hanging fruit that's been sourced. Is going from this state [25] to this one [26] (in the first article I had an editing dispute with project members over) really an improvement?
The great majority of my edits deal with BLPs and BLP cleanup. Getting it right is tedious and time-consuming, and I don't want to be overcritical of any efforts to deal with the problem. But too much of this project is putting lipstick on the pig rather than . . . well, I don't know what the appropriate metaphor would be. But if we had a way to keep count of articles that are embarassingly badly sourced, I doubt we'd see very much of an improvement. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 02:00, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
The real metrics here are, first priority, making sure that our BLP articles don't contain potentially damaging false or privacy-invading information about their subjects, and second (but still important) priority, making sure that our articles are of high editorial quality, which includes their providing interested readers with access to additional resources about the subject-matter. The apparent success of the "all BLPS must contain at least one reference" drive represents incremental progress toward both of these goals. To be sure, it is not a panacea and does not solve any problem; one obvious reason for this is that adding a reference for fact A (or for an article as a whole) does not improve the sourcing of potentially inaccurate fact B, other than to the limited extent of suggesting that at least one editor has looked at the article recently. We should neither disparage the efforts that have been made as no progress at all, nor suggest that our BLP problems have been solved in whole or major part; we have made some valuable progress, which needs to be followed by a good deal more of the same. Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:23, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Hullaballoo Wolfowitz has it substantially right. He's wrong about what unreferenced means, but he's right that the effort has largely been window dressing. Just because a reference has been added doesn't mean that any of those BLPs (or the already-referenced BLPs, or the non-BLP articles that state facts about living people...) has been vetted as accurate, complete, and unbiased. Of those 50,000 articles, I suspect close to half got (or had but were mistagged) a single reference and were re-queued into the {{blp refimprove}} pool. Accomplishment, yes, but goal achievement... probably not. Jclemens (talk) 02:30, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps reverse that? Goal achieved? Yes. Accomplished much? Probably not as much as some think. Resolute 02:35, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, that. It's been a long week already. Jclemens (talk) 04:31, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I really hope that people referencing BLP's (work I simply could not face, and I doff my hat to those who did the work!) took time with each to check for the most serious problems and for basic accuracy. If not... that's now a major problem because the articles have been de-tagged :S --Errant (chat!) 09:37, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Impose a deadline, and you get the minimum amount of work necessary to save articles from deletion. Now, in the several hundred I took care of, I 1) only ever changed the tags to the new status, which was "refimprove" in 95% of the cases, and 2) never noticed any remaining problems when I did so. But then, I wasn't reading for BLP problems, I was reading to find Googlable facts that could be cleanly sourced. So, bottom line is a lot of articles now have sources that didn't, and editors gave those articles at least a cursory look... but really, in order to provide assurance that BLPs were appropriately sourced, you'd need the level of a GA review at the minimum, which is not something I'm aware that anyone did in the process of cleaning up "blp unreferenced" tags. Jclemens (talk) 05:26, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
In reply to ErrantX - why is it a major problem if the articles have been re-tagged, not de-tagged, into a more appropriate or technically correct clean up cat? Cleanup lists such as this one exist and are available for anyone to work on. Yes, the other cats don't get the profile or attention that uBLPs have had, but there is no reason why another cleanup list can't be targeted next. The-Pope (talk) 15:47, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong: I wasn't intending to imply this was a disaster, or anything like that. If they have been appropriately re-tagged and checked for libel then that works fine for me :) In, say, a couple of years we could run through and tag "all BLP articles with just one reference" and then cause a mass panic where a new bunch of editors get another reference added. And so on ad-infinitum :) --Errant (chat!) 15:57, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Random note: I hope Alberto Romulo is up to what you expect now. SilverserenC 02:57, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Sigh.
  1. Eliminated doesn't mean deleted, it means removed from the list.
  2. No-one redefined what unreferenced means, in fact many of us want to improve BLPPROD to allow it to remain in place when only self-published sources are added. And you can't possible think that an article with a link to a article from a major newspaper, or a book published by a major publisher or any similar reliable source should be considered unreferenced just because the word before it is External links and not References... or can you?
  3. {{BLP IMDB refimprove}} has survived a TfD (feel free to nominate it again if you don't like it) and allows for the consolidation of the "wretchedly unreliable" IMDB sourced articles into a conveniently locatable single category.
  4. The Alberto Romulo citation was correct and you unfairly attacked the efforts of our project's most persistent and hardest working member. The citation was placed only after the "He was foriegn secretary", which is entirely backed up by the reference. I would have thought you would understand that a citation placed in the middle of a sentence only verifies the section of the sentence preceeding it, not the whole sentence.
  5. No one has ever said that a single source for an article is the solution to the BLP problem. The problem was that 3 admins decided that the lack of any references in a BLP was the primary BLP problem and deleting them was the only solution. Yes a lot have been moved into the BLPreimprove section, but we never said we'd fix the whole wikipedia. We just (correctly) thought that it wasn't a problem that was too big or too hard or impossible to fix using the normal collaborative approach.
I can't guarantee the work of others, but I would bet that the vast, vast majority of the >50,000 articles removed from these lists were checked for libel, contentious statements or vandalism. Of course, some would have been vandalised again since. But over 3400 of the 45000 UBLPs that existed on Feb 7 2010 (the earliest full list I kept) have been deleted (are currently redlinks). A heap more would be redirected to other more notable articles. And of course the BLPPROD system is helping keep the number of new articles to a minimum. Of the 3000 articles remaining, less than a few hundred were created since the BLPPROD was introduced. We have found years old hoaxes, hijacked pages, blatant vandalism that got missed by the huggle users and have made a huge contribution. And guess what. In a few months time, when the entire backlog is gone, we probably won't unplug the keyboard, delete the gnews search link and start playing a sport, we'll probably turn to another backlog, because we now have the systems, tracking bots and lots of other smart things in place to help improve this place even more. The-Pope (talk) 13:08, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
In the fields I have worked on, we are not talking about BLP catastrophes waiting to happen, but often about stubs on people who are notable in their fields, but not necessarily referenced well by typical Wikipedia sources. Typical examples are academics or specialist journalists who write and talk more than they are written and talked about. Some appear regularly on national television or are frequently cited as experts by other academics, but sometimes there is no written, independent source that states explicitly that they are regarded as leading experts in their field, that they have written the definitive book on their subject, etc. In some cases, notability may be disputable, but these are usually not the sort of articles that would damage Wikipedia if it took a little longer to find suitable (often foreign-language) references. For stubs and similar short articles, a quick check for potentially controversial statements and the addition of a single reliable source (possibly changing BLP-unsourced to BLP-sources) may often mean that the ratio of references to text still compares favourably with featured articles; and references are still provided for information that is often not even verified and referenced in featured articles (basic information, such as year of birth, nationality, occupation, and claim to notability, may account for a much larger proportion of stubs). The following articles (currently still flagged as unreferenced, so, anybody, please feel free to fix them) seem reasonably typical of the most problematic unreferenced BLP articles that I normally encounter: Uwe Windhorst, Enzio von Pfeil, Daniel Knop, Sarah Sorge. Perhaps it would be interesting to check how many featured BLP articles actually give a source for the stated date of birth, nationality, occupation, claim to notability, and published works. --Boson (talk) 12:59, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
  • ← For the "Enzio von Pfeil" article, I noticed the dewiki link, so that quickly reduces notability fears: the German Wikipedia is extremely picky about content (I once submitted translated articles to dewiki, precisely typeset with 20 photos, and they complained the grammar was only 99.5% accurate). For the recent Pfeil article, with the relief provided by a dewiki version, I searched in "Books.Google.com" and found 39 sources, of which I used 6 to quickly verify Pfeil's birthyear & job titles at 3 international firms. I know the result is not like citing a biography written by experts, but when several bio details are spot-verified in Google Books, then let probability suggest the article is fairly accurate, with 7 sources. There are always errors, even by readers seeing "Mikrozoft" and misreading that name (as "Microsoft"), so consider quality to be an issue of Statistical Process Control, where x% of details are verified, so assume that level of general quality. We just need more people to help, to search Books.Google.com and cite those sources. Most hard-working editors know the drill: we need to attract and appreciate more helpful editors, rather than drive them to ANI, terrify them, waste their time debating, and then decree shut-up orders to block their access to WP. I realize some users want to expand source-citing tools, to let each editor update 100 articles more quickly, but it would be so much better to just get more people to help improve articles, in many different aspects. -Wikid77 04:29, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Who's afraid of Rupert Murdoch?

your signature

Hi Jimmy, User:Dabit100 has uploaded this chat forum signature http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=66256&start=25 to Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Firma_de_Jimmy_Wales.svg and is desirous of adding it to your BLP , I thought that considering its source to ask you if it is your signature - Personally I don't think all these traced and tweaked claimed signatures are a correct addition to any BLP. Whats are your thoughts on this? Off2riorob (talk) 20:16, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo has previously expressed this opinion on the subject of having his signature in his article at [30]. As for the authenticity of the signature, from looking at File:Free Travel-Shirt 2010 (2).jpg, the two images are very similar (not that we should be in the business of taking our signature files from anonymous message boards). --B (talk) 20:30, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Hey yo!

Are you coming to Wikimania 2011 in Haifa? you'll have a speech? in which date?... thanks :D — Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.68.24.176 (talk) 05:51, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

A Random quote from Wiki Admin:

"the burden is upon the person who wishes to add material to gain consensus for the material they wish to be added."

Thoughts anyone? QuAzGaA 01:48, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

I think the random admin is being quoted out of context, and in this case - context is key. --Versageek 01:55, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Context is indeed the key, though I'd suggest as a starting point this is sound: the quantity of potentially useful article content is so small in proportion the the quantity of non-useful content that to assume that material added without consensus (or even inspection) is of net benefit would be overoptimistic. So yes, Wikipedia's default attitude to new material should be that it probably shouldn't be included. If anything is worth including, it is also worth explaining why. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:24, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
  • The burden-approach has been tested, both ways. In extreme cases, some articles have been severely restricted to a prior-consensus-for-any-edit mode. This is typically enforced by setting the article-page protection to admin-only (sysop) level, where a prior consensus discussion then leads another admin to update the page. However, in general, "Wikipedia does not require prior consensus to add text" and instead, just add the text, and get consensus to have it removed/altered. That is the mode of most WP:AfD deletions, where an article gets created without "permission" and can only be removed by a rough consensus inline with policies which allow total deletion. Perhaps the best reason: in terms of logistics, asking for group permission for every edit has caused improvements to instantly grind to a halt (or very slow snail's pace), for many years. If such prior permission is deemed necessary, then a better mode is to appoint a one-person article "gate-keeper" (from a group of keen gatekeepers) who would give that permission for each edit, rather than wait on a "consensus committee" to ruminate about the potential implications of WP:UNDUE, POV-pushing, WP:COATRACK, or WP:SOAPBOX (etc.) problems which new text might promote (not just the actual proposed text, but the long-term future implications if such text were allowed into the page, as a corrupting influence on later text). Another approach is to allow a "design competition" to create several altered variations of a page, and then choose the best variation. Otherwise, requiring prior permission from a consensus committee often leads to extreme "paralysis of analysis". That is why requiring prior permission is often, in terms of article logistics, the death of change. -Wikid77 (talk) 06:36, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not suggesting we change policy regarding allowing the addition of material without prior consensus. All I'm suggesting is that we need to make it clearer that if any addition is queried or reverted, the burden of proof is then on the person wishing to add material to demonstrate it's relevance and usefulness. Too often we get non-reasons offered for inclusion of material: "it's from a reliable source" (a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition), "Wikipedia isn't censored" (no, but it isn't a midden-heap of Google-droppings either) etc, etc... Like I said, if anything is worth including, it is also worth explaining why. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:51, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
  • If the material is properly sourced should there be a burden on inclusion editor? Is this not the explination on why it should be included?
  • Should deletionist/reverting editor have the burden of reaching consensus on why the edit does not meet policy (ie, WP:UNDUE, WP:POV, etc.)?

These questions and further statements like "Wikipedia's default attitude to new material should be that it probably shouldn't be included." seem IMHO to take the project further and further from what its original intention was. QuAzGaA 15:33, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Here's the bottom line. You were edit-warring, and an admin warned you about it. Experience says that what you are probably looking for here is some justification to continue edit-warring. Not gonna happen. Wikipedia welcomes new material if it is consistent with basic policy, but when the addition of material is disputed, the burden falls on the person wanting to add it to justify it. See WP:BRD. Looie496 (talk) 17:27, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes ... WP:BRD is the absolutely PERFECT concept here. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 17:30, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but I meant these questions as Philosophical in nature. This is not about my past actions and the fact that someone took the time to study my history is laughable and does not answer my questions. But since my "Edit warring" episode has been drawn to light (as the Bottom Line even!), let me use it as an example. WP:BRD failed here because, IMO, the reverting editor thought he had ownership of the article. He failed to address adequately why my simple addition to the Bill Clinton article with reliable sources should not be added. His continued reverts without addressing the issue with me directly makes him a direct participant in the edit warring. But that's fine, it really was what I wanted. You see, Gaining Consensus for such a simple little additional edit such as mine would have been too overboard and dramatic. I anticipated the editor would not violate the 3 revert rule, but I had to reach the precipice in order for the editor to see that my Good Faith edit actually improves upon the article (adding new wikilinks etc...) So a initiating WP:BRD to reach Consensus on this matter is really a waste of time and resources. Thus my 3 Reverts actually served a Purpose here and had its place, the normal editing cycle restored. The editor actually took it upon himself to be WP:BOLD and actually correct the format, removed irrelevant content mistakes only after getting re-reverted. Thus the Bill Clinton article is microscopically better (He was awarded (post-editing) a wiki-beer for his WP:BOLD actions). Now that I have addressed the Irrelevancy brought up on this Topic, lets get back to WP:BRD which was proposed as an answer to my questions. I accept this answer and this will be my last posting on this issue as it seems I am not going to get any definitive philosophical answers here. Like many WP:Policies, WP:BRD is far from perfect. I believe it actually detracts participation from the project, from the less nerdy English population that is. Here are some reasons: BRD steps say Be Bold but Only make the changes you absolutely need to , Revert but Rather than reverting, try (being) BOLD , Discuss but Do not accept "Policy" , "consensus", or "procedure" as valid reasons. The simple fact that the Burden is placed on me to initiate this process to prove why my edit would improve upon the article of Bill Clinton after a revert because "this is hardly the most notable episode in his military and foreign policy" makes reverts the perfect tool for special interests to Corrupt their views upon the article. Scenario: Editor Q adds a fact which links to other wiki-articles, but editor L thinks that this paints subject in a non-favorable light thus reverts. Burden on editor Q? Something does not seem right here. I believe I have the same right to revert as the reverting editor. Or, shall I say, we both have the same burden to improve the article. Thanks for Hearing me out. QuAzGaA 03:05, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Can editors PLEASE refrain from taking a perfectly legitimate philosophical discussion and making it an attack on the editor's prior actions (even if they are bad). This is completely bad faith and uncalled for to say something along the lines of "you are probably looking for justification for more edit-warring". Please AGF and stick to the hypothetical. With the chastising out of the way–I hate WP:BURDEN. It is fine in theory but too often it is gamed by those who want to delete for the sake of deleting out of laziness or "I dont like it". If you can not take 5 seconds to find something obvious yourself, it is NOT "my" burden to find it for you and shove it in your face. If there's no citation, find one yourself, most times Google is just as quick as you tagging something or deleting it, same with any other tags. You think something may be not-notable since there's no sources, check first before AfD, because if it goes to a discussion and it's obviously notable, people are going to be pissed and snotty about it and make you look like you are either a jerk or incapable of common sense. Perhaps WP:BURDEN needs a well-deserved overhaul, it is not a carte-blanche to go around and tag and make everyone else do the work you are too lazy to do yourself. The problem is too many editors want quantity over quality (eg- "look! I just tagged 100 articles with citation needed tags and AfD'd 20 articles; all in 3 days! I did a great job cleaning up Wikipedia!"). Those editors need to be told "slow down, and DO SOMETHING."Camelbinky (talk) 04:40, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Camelbinky is in principle right — with the exception of unacceptable WP:BLP-material. This is were the burden should really be on the person who wants to include stuff ("screwed his mistress while his wife was in the bathroom", "killed 10 people at Burger King this morning"). Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:15, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't accept that editors have a right to mess up an article and then demand that other editors clean up the mess. (And that's exactly what happened here.) Looie496 (talk) 05:16, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
That's basically what "anyone can edit" means. It doesn't say "anyone who's perfect at it can edit". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:19, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I believe in treating other editors with respect, but I believe that I should be treated with respect too. I am usually willing to help out an editor who has a problem getting something right, but I don't want to be forced to clean up a mess created by an editor who is too lazy or too antagonistic to clean it up. Looie496 (talk) 18:03, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Too often, especially in political articles, the mere fact that an editor doesn't like something means that there can never be consensus, which means it can never be included according to this (all too common) belief. Note that the number, quality, and prominence of sources is irrelevant to this argument - actually, having more sources only increases the "burden" for those trying to keep the information. Wnt (talk) 15:15, 17 July 2011 (UTC)