User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 81

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Y tus 300 wikipedistas

continuaran revirtiendo... hasta q encuentren algo mejor q hacer — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

"And your 300 wikipedians -- continue reverting ... until they find something better to do" Looie496 (talk) 22:23, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Please block the sock IP. (its Jacksonjake‎ for any who couldn't figure it out) :-) ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 22:28, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Is that an open proxy? His previous IP geolocates to Seattle; this one is from Argentina. Looie496 (talk) 22:37, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Movistar Mobile (Buenos Aires), his location... ??? Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 22:40, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Why is Wikipedia losing contributors, part 2

(continued from archived: "#Why is Wikipedia losing contributors? Thinking about remedies...") -Wikid77 11:58, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Adrift in a sea of knowledge: a personal narrative

I have gone through various periods of activity and inactivity on WP. The two most active and enjoyable periods for me were fairly different. The first was editing the article Günther Blumentritt in order to bring it up to B-class. I had in fact created the stub a few years before and then abandoned it. I came back to it out of renewed curiosity and began to improve it. I have no formal training or special knowledge on the subject, but for completely random reasons it caught my interest and I saw that WP needed an article, so I made one. My work was done mostly in isolation and without any kind of communication with others.

We are all familiar with the "low hanging fruit" hypothesis about the decline in contributions to WP. As time passes there are fewer and fewer opportunities for the average person to contribute a new article on a subject that is easy to research and understand. So, opportunities like my experience with my first article become less and less common over time.

The second major period of activity centered around the Hoxne Hoard article and the drive to get it to FA status as part of the Hoxne challenge. In truth, my contributions were fairly minor, partly because I did not have access to the main sources used in the article, but my entire experience of editing WP was transformed by this event. The feeling of teamwork and collaboration was invigorating, and unlike anything I have taken part in before or since. The editors involved talked to each other extensively, but it was about the project.

Right now I make 10 edits on a good day. Mainly reverting vandalism and leaving welcome messages on new user pages. I have almost zero contact with anyone here outside of that. I have many interests, but I feel overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done on literally MILLIONS of articles. I have searched for other opportunities for focused collaboration in a group, but I have not found any.

I am not a particularly social person, and I am fine with that. I don't need or want "like" buttons or small talk with people on WP. However, I do believe that creating and nurturing a more collaborative approach to editing would be a huge boon to WP. It would energize the contributors we have now, and make it far more likely that new editors would stick around. And it would be NOTHING like facebook in any significant way. If anyone reads "facebook" into this post they have missed the point.

Anyway, what do I know? *shrug* Revcasy (talk) 14:26, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

  • The "low-hanging-fruit" hypothesis, which contends that the easy subjects already have enough articles, has overlooked how many simple articles are still needed, for numerous topics. I think many new, simple articles could be made by changing redirects into full articles, about some other WP:notable aspects of a larger subject. I recently wrote "Third-party sources" and other major easy topics, so it is important for people to realize the many major, simple topics which have been overlooked. Also, many easy articles are still too hollow: the "low-hanging fruit" was picked while not ripe, so put that fruit back on the tree, and rewrite those simple articles. There is a massive amount of easy work to do. -Wikid77 11:58, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't buy for a minute the "low hanging fruit" hypothesis that there are "fewer and fewer opportunities for the average person to contribute a new article." We don't have an article on the 1952 Bolivian Revolution or an article about the Cuban Liberation Army that fought Spain, nor do we have an entry covering Latin America in World War II overall. We don't have an article on History of the Qing dynasty. Each of these are articles I'm working on building in my userspace, slowly and carefully. There are a ton of articles still needed, because Wikipedia's coverage of 19th century and earlier history is weak, and generally any history outside of Europe and the Anglosphere is thin at best. If you can't see all the low-hanging fruit out there, you've got a classic case of "fruit blindness," or aren't looking very far. —NickDupree (talk) 22:06, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Eh, I would contend that for the average person in the "anglosphere" with limited access to scholarly sources, writing an article about Latin America in World War II and writing an article about The Battle of the Bulge (for example) are not equivalent either in terms of time invested or effort expended. In order to write about Blumentritt, for instance, I had to find a way to translate sources from German, contact someone in Germany to send me a scan of an entry from a reference work not available to me here, and invest over $100 in books. I never said, nor does the low hanging fruit hypothesis claim that there are not articles that need to be written, merely that most of the ones that can be easily written by most people (non-experts, no JSTOR account, not near a major research library) have already been written. In any case, whether you agree with that particular part of my post, I hope you would agree that working in a more collaborative environment would be beneficial to everyone. (As an aside, this is a perfect example of the disputatious atmosphere that currently shrouds WP.) Revcasy (talk) 13:52, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Compared to a lot of folks here, I'd say Nick is an odd choice to tag as disputatious; and yeah, I see his point as well as your own. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:11, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
That comment was not meant as an ad hominem. I apologize if it seemed that way. Nick has the right to disagree with me. I like debate as much as the next guy. But, I think the problem is more systemic than personal. It seems WP can always produce at least one person willing to argue against any point. Revcasy (talk) 14:28, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Maybe "easy" articles left unwritten are tougher to find, but "easy" is so subjective, so "in the eye of the beholder" that no group over a tiny size will agree. The problem in my view isn't a lack of low-hanging fruit but the lack of community and collaboration needed to cultivate that fruit. The evidence, both in hard data and mountains of anecdotal experiences, is overwhelming that new editors aren't integrating well and quickly leave, and I would point the finger at a stale and broken collaborative platform and WikiProjects that died out in 2007 and block pathways forward as the prime culprits.... The question is, what is the Wikimedia Foundation going to do to change the MediaWiki interface—short term, medium term and long term—to support (and hopefully revitalize) collaborative editing experiences? —NickDupree (talk) 16:19, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, so some of your red links have turned blue. Some of your other red links seem to me to be idiomatic expressions which might be more appropriate in a dictionary than an encyclopedia. I will nevertheless yield the point. Had I been aware that the low-hanging-fruit idea was so controversial that it would come to dominate a discussion in which it was only mentioned tangentially I would certainly have avoided mentioning it at all. So, strike that part--if everyone else insists on being right, I volunteer to be wrong. Does everyone agree that WP is facing a problem with attracting and retaining editors? Might a better collaborative experience help retain editors? Revcasy (talk) 13:28, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Valid criticism is one thing, but this isn't a soapbox. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:23, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

A Novel Idea: Respect Facts and Follow Your Own Rules

You wonder why authorities on various subjects flee Wikipedia. You wonder why no respectable academic institution anywhere in the world will permit a student or faculty member to cite you as a source. You wonder why, in popular culture, "Wikipedia" is the punchline to a joke. I can tell you this much: Yes, your software is ridiculously hard to use, but your critical problems lie elsewhere.

We can start with the organizing principle of this pseudo "encyclopedia": that fact is whatever one of your child flashmobs says it is. Yes, child. One-third of your editors are high school students, and another one-third are college kids. Yes, flashmobs. Controversies are routinely dominated by a few editors with administrative privileges, most of them having no prior familiarity with the topic. A fact-free environment administered by roving gangs of children can be expected to end badly, as Wikipedia has done. You are routinely manipulated by governments, corporations, political ax-grinders, and p.r. flacks, the combination of which have turned much of Wikipedia into a wasteland.

From there, we can move to your "standards." When controversy erupts -- typically because someone with an interest wants to exclude one or more facts -- the very first thing you can expect at Wikipedia is wholesale flouting of your "standards." When standards are routinely ignored, they don't exist. The result is that Wikipedia's articles, to the extent that any material is a matter of controversy, are a political mishmash. It is only to be expected from an enterprise where, from the beginning, there is no such thing as "fact," but only "consensus."

The only way to rescue Wikipedia would be to make a fundamental change at the core: To put fact at the center of everything here, recognizing that it has independent validity and trumps everything else. Once you do that, you can go to work on your other critical flaw, i.e., the substitution of flashmob tactics for real process here. Until and unless you do those things, Wikipedia will quite appropriately be scorned, derided, and marginalized. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:54, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

mmm since this person gives no identifying information, its kind of hard to take this too seriously. After all, flash mobs work on the concept of anonymity as well. Since many participants, including myself have identities on Wikipedia, the flash mob analogy doesnt work so well. As far as being marginalized and non-citable, both are DOA. First of all, Wikipedia has NEVER looked to be a citable course... it is an encyclopedia, which is not supposed to be cited by academic rules. That students abuse WP by copying for assignements say a WHOLE lot more about the state of education than it does of Wikipedia. As for marginalization, if you mean that we arent invited to PhD cocktails in's social circle... well, I guess he is "right" However, it is easy to dismiss this elitist notion just by looking at the videos from the 2011 Wikimania were we have had speakers from various disciplines of academia as well as other sectors of society. Unlike elitist academics, Wikipedia does not feel the need to exclude in order to feel special.
Does WP have problems? Sure, but the best thing is that they are OPENLY acknowledged and discussed, even to the press and academics, which many of our so-called "betters" would never do. (hell, if the OP can stereotype, I can too). Go back to your comfortable clique, (talk) 13:44, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
I am the "anonymous" writer above. New to Wikipedia. Which of course is something you insiders absolutely despise. You don't want any outsiders here, and if someone pops in without full knowledge of your ridiculously stupid software, all the better to dismiss their views. It is any wonder that five-sixths of your contributors are young male programmers and video gamers, and that two-thirds of your "administrators" are high school or college kids? It shows throughout Wikipedia. It repels serious contributors, and renders your children's encyclopedia a standing joke throughout the world. If not for the agreement with Google to highlight Wikipedia searches, this "reference" guide would be on the scrap heap where it belongs. The bottom line at Wikipedia is that you don't know or care what's true, and your children-insiders routinely ignore Wikipedia's own rules when editing articles -- which, I might add, they rarely know anything about. If all of this is acceptable to you -- and it obviously is -- then Wikipedia will continue and indeed accelerate its downward trajectory. Jacksonjake (talk) 19:23, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
First, many of us do not despise new users. The vast majority of us, I'd say. If someone pops in without full knowledge of the community's software, I tend to jump in and help, as do many others. Heck, we even have a welcoming committee and a mentorship program for just such purposes. Now, while I rarely run into younger contributors (maybe 1/5th of them), I am not sure how that matters. We (the community) try to judge editors on their edits... not their age, hair color, interests or anything else. If you are interested in contributing here, and do need help, my talk page is right over here and is open to anyone. I'd be glad to help you along, and have a small handful of talkpage stalkers who will willingly jump in to assist as well. I'm always open to helping out anyone, or finding the right answers to questions I don't know the answer to. BTW, in case it matters, I haven't seen a college classroom in over 20 years. ;-) So, I hope that if you are serious about being able to contribute here (and improve things) that you take me up on my offer. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 19:40, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Judge on their edits? Hey, I've lurked in Wikipedia from time to time. The crap that goes on is appalling. Beyond the basic organizing principle that fact is whatever a Wikipedia flashmob says it is, your editors and administrators don't even bother to follow Wikipedia's own basic rules. Articles here lack facts; treat information in a wildly inconsistent manner; are frequently tendentious or whitewashed. Wikipedia is putty in the hands of governments, corporations, p.r. agents, and miscellaneous cranks of all sorts. You see it throughout the content here, and most of the problems boil down to a couple of issues: that Wikipedia thinks truth is something to vote on, and that Wikipedia doesn't take its own rules seriously. Until those basic issues are fixed, you'll be running around putting bandaids onto the patient while ignoring his brain cancer.Jacksonjake (talk) 20:02, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Alas, I think you will find that verifiable claims cited to reliable sources is a lot easier to defend than uncited truth, in a court of law. As for governments, corporations and so on; sure they are a problem... one which various of us combat. I regularly file speedy deletion requests on numerous new pages created by such as advertising platforms or soapboxes, etc. And help remove such content from existing articles. Instead of complaining about the problem, join me (and numerous others) in being a part of the solution. I too have been on Wikipedia for ages... since almost day one. With so many contributors, things wont be perfect, but you can help get them closer. In this, the old adage "actions speak louder than words" definitely applies. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 21:24, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Things won't be perfect? How about this: Wikipedia is a joke around the world. Participation has fallen off a cliff. The organization is built on intellectual quicksand, and its administration is a chaotic mess driven largely by high school and college students who know nothing about the subjects on which they rule. They operate not according to their published rules, but by the whim of small crowds. There are no real "standards" at Wikipedia, whose "popularity" is mainly a function of an agreement with Google that gives it top billing in search results. Among other things, Wikipedia's chaos leaves it wide open for manipulation by small groups of people with axes to grind: governments, corporations, ideologues, and simple cranks. As such manipulations grow, Wikipedia's content is inexorably weakened, along with its reputation. The organization is incapable of dealing with the mess, because like most institutions, Wikipedia is defensive in the face of criticism, and loath to re-examine the basic premises on which it rests. Jacksonjake (talk) 08:49, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Alright. I've been following your posts ever since you started this section. It becomes clear that the gist of your rants is nothing more than uninformed polemic. Since wikipedia absolutely sucks and we are all idiots, why don't you just leave? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:24, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I just gave this user a warning for this attacking rant , "voices in your head" etc.. at a user on Talk:Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory. The new account seems to have a likely previous grudge against the project, perhaps from a previous ban.Off2riorob (talk) 09:34, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Off2riorob has vandalized an article, repeatedly ignoring Wikipedia's own rules. Now he's harassing me at my talk page. I can't say I'm surprised. Wikipedia's standard practice is to ignore its own rules until it encounters a fierce critic, at which point you become hyper-legalistic. None of this changes the underlying reality, which is that your project is an arbitrary, empty joke, where participation has fallen off a cliff and continued survival is ensured only by a prior deal with Google to hype the articles here. Given the mess at Wikipedia, I wonder how long that will last. Jacksonjake (talk) 19:04, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Wait, valid criticisms were raised but need wider balance: Part of the issues raised by User:Jacksonjake seem to be valid concerns, but I think a wider view is needed, and mention current efforts to reduce those problems. Wikipedia is trying to reduce tendentious editing. For example, I recently wrote some essays to expand and re-balance WP's treatment of such issues:
  • Essay "WP:Avoiding POV funnels" is an attempt to balance concerns about WP:POVFORKs and slanting text.
  • Essay "WP:Avoiding untrue text in articles" (WP:TRUTHFUL) goes beyond the old "about verifiability, not truth" to explain how we do not put known false text into articles as if true, but rather quoted to sources (although the essay is still too simple to fully explain how and why).
  • Should we have WP:Gradmins, as a set of admins who have graduate degrees and are not the 66% of "young students" lacking expert knowledge?
  • The chaos does allow too much WP:POVPUSHing by small groups, so perhaps we could warn of suspected slant topics and tactics.
There are many areas of Wikipedia which need more study and analysis to offset the imbalance in how issues are emphasized. So, please avoid any gut reaction to "shoot the messenger" by trying to dismiss User:Jacksonjake as someone to discount or belittle. Let's listen to the concerns, and reply more constructively. Allow Jimbo some avenue to respond to those various concerns. -Wikid77 12:41, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, jackonjake is more intersted in screaming that "Wikipedia sucks" more than making contructive criticism. In my initial response and others here, we do acknowledge that there are serious problems. But nothing that JJ writes is an attempt at working towards a solution, or even a better understanding of the problem. If we are "shooting the messenger" it is not because of the message, which we have heard before, but because of the tone. I do not think you are going to get much support in WP for the idea that it should just disppear because it is a joke or that the problems WP has are unsolvable or unmanagable. For example, it is true that you can find many articles that do not follow WP rules. That is because of the size of the encyclopedia and that fact that correcting these errors made by inexperienced or frankly POV pushers takes time. It is one reason why newbies encounter stiff resistance from regulars and the reason I posted in another thread that we need to develop chapters, student groups and other real world support systems (they exist but need to be bigger) to recruit and more importantly KEEP new editors. I also happen to believe in getting rid of IP (non account) editing, but I realize that is not going to happen anytime soon.Thelmadatter (talk) 12:56, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
There is no use listening to someone who repeatedly hurls insults around and keeps calling you an infantile idiot. "Shooting the messenger" is a phrase used for a polite, innocent messengers, not for ranters. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 15:51, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't expect Wikipedia to "listen" to any of this. Here's the reality: You are appropriately disrespected worldwide. You are based on the empty premise that fact is negotiatiable. Your "rules" and "standards" are applied so arbitrarily that they are nothing more than instruments of manipulation by the (mainly) children who run Wikipedia, along with the governments, corporations, ideologues, and others who find you such easy pickings. This is why your children's pseudo reference work has lost two-thirds of its contributors in four years. You are nothing more than the punchline to a joke; but for the critical assistance received from Google, you'd be long gone. Jacksonjake (talk) 19:04, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Reminds me of a quote... :) --Yair rand (talk) 20:55, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
True enough. No one will ever go broke underestimating the intelligence, attention span, or depth of the average techie. It's probably also worth mentioning that Wikipedia is, in practical reality, little more than a vehicle to advance "Wikia," the software company. In that vein, the more controversy the better, from Mr. Wales's point of view. Any publicity is good publicity. That's a famous quote, or maybe a paraphrase, too. So talking about corporate infiltration here is, well, quaint. Jacksonjake (talk) 21:26, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Y'know, Jacksonjake, Wikipedia does have problems, and one of those is making newcomers feel welcome. But I'm sure you'll understand that people would be naturally suspicious of somebody who joins a project for seemingly no other purpose than to insult it. If you don't like Wikipedia, don't use it—don't read it, don't edit it. Go elsewhere, and register an account on a website you do like. Or, you can stop attacking it and help make it better. The choice is yours. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 21:39, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
You'd have despised H.L. Mencken, or the anti-Vietnam War movement, or heck, the fight against polio. All negative. Very Wikinotpoliticallycorrect. So be Wikidefensive. It's what any entrenched, failing organization does. You're not different.Jacksonjake (talk) 21:44, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
So if we're failing, why are you bothering to slag us off? HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 21:48, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Do you realize that you can surf through Wikipedia virtually at random and find shoddy, tendentious, unfactual material that wouldn't have made it to the first draft stage of the 1956 World Book? Doesn't that kinda sorta bug you?Jacksonjake (talk) 22:03, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Why is anyone bothering to respond to this troll? AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:30, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Um, you for one. Actually, more than once. Doc, time to heal thyself.Jacksonjake (talk) 21:45, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Because, unfortunately, he hasn't been blocked ... yet.--Bbb23 (talk) 21:49, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Honestly, I am wondering who has stopped and thought about this, and come to the conclusion that he wants to be blocked; at which point, this will make some story someplace... ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 21:54, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Control user-page markup by splitting into subpages

Here we go. There are many neat tactics to simplify markup (as in "defensive programming"). Remember, anyone can split their userpage into simpler subpages which are very fast to process, such as transcluding "User:Jimbo_Wales/xx" or "User:Jimbo_Wales/birthday" by "{{User:Jimbo_Wales/birthday}}" inside the main user-page. Copy the tedious markup into those fast subpages. Another trick is to then comment-out "<!-- -->" any subpages not needed all the time, so put "<!--{{User:Jimbo_Wales/birthday}}-->" when it is not August. The concept is related to changing a "procedural language" (with all the tedious details) into a "non-procedural language" which just invokes templates with parameters, not requiring procedural loops and branches. Dividing into subpages is a form of software encapsulation. Human factors studies confirm that markup is tedious, but often necessary for special formatting.

I have been working on computer-language design for decades (I might become a volunteer developer), and the design issues are so complex, I advise that markup designers should have advanced degrees in language design, along with human-language linguistics. Here, I must emphasize that the MediaWiki markup is a non-nestable mess, requiring exclamation "{{!}}" to indicate the vertical-bar "|" to bypass parsing restrictions (of nested markup structures), due to fundamental design flaws of the scanner tokens (here, the vertical-bar "|" also used for if/else clauses).

Kids don't do this: Don't ever write a markup language with special tokens in column 1 of each line. The colon-indent ":" should have been "<:>" or similar, to indent anywhere on a line, not just in column 1. Never indent block text by putting spacing before a line; a space should always indicate spacing and nothing else (ever). Such core design issues have been known for over 30 years, but programmers get burnout quickly and stop teaching others the master techniques, and so software such as MediaWiki gets "hacked" into existence, and then takes on a life of its own. This is analogous to "value-added taxes" being superior to income taxes (omitted in Florida/Texas or Europe), but the tax system typically incarnates a life of its own.
The same happens in computer software every decade, that's why HTML markup has tag "<center>" as a word-processing directive to auto-center text, but does not allow "<left>" or "<right>" even though it must know both the left-margin and right-margin in order to center text. Just techno-foolish. The World Wide Web was designed by a physicist (Tim Berners Lee), not a typesetter nor computer scientist who might know about "context-free grammar" (etc.), so HTML and MediaWiki have bizarre limits. Wouldn't it be great if all taxes had been designed by financial experts, rather than politicians. Same goes for software designed or marketed by college dropouts or other non-experts: beware the bizarre kludges.
I guess we need more essays to provide easier user-page formatting and "WP:Anticipating vertical-bar problems" to better explain the syntax nightmares in the MediaWiki markup language. The separators for if/else should never have been vertical-bar "|" to be confused with separators for template parameters. However, the best news (yes!) is that the MediaWiki markup language could be evolved, over years, into easier syntax forms, such as using #then and #else, rather than vertical-bar "|" to separate if/else clauses. Like many problems in Wikipedia, there are several easy long-term solutions. Computers become extremely enjoyable once the recurring simple nightmares are fixed. -Wikid77 14:24, revised 18:24, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the good ideas, but if the point is not discouraging new contributors I don't think that's the problem. I would suggest most people join to contribute to the encyclopedia, not create a user page. (I note you have yet to address the simple issue of mouse-over descriptions for the Wiki Markup section of the edit box. I can't help but wonder if the techies here really do enjoy jerking non-techies around, while pretending to be helpful. Or if you just don't get it. Hard to tell.) (talk) 17:04, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
We hear you. Wikipedia focuses on words and help-desks and the WP:Village_pump, not mouse-over (we want people talking with other people). [However, there are mouse-over gadgets that advanced users can install.] Many issues are named exactly for the concept, such as "WP:Templates" or WP:Toolbar or "WP:Userpages" to explain many issues about user-pages. There is also WP:Help linked from typing "help" or try "huh" or HELP:template or HELP:DESK or HELP:HELP. Many topics cannot be explained in a mouse-over cloud, so there are whole pages, which sight-impaired readers can have read to them, or set browser TextSize larger. Meanwhile, the styling and customizing of user-pages is part of the social-networking aspect, so we want to encourage some experimentation and personalizing. After people expand their user-page, it provides experience and familiarity to create other user-space pages, such as for in-progress drafts of new articles or new WP:templates. Remember, the strategy is to use the name "WP:thing" for a thing people want to learn about. Feel free to help create more WP:things, or tell someone if something, obvious, seems to be missing. I hope this makes sense, as to how all the hundreds of issues in Wikipedia are being conveyed, by words and help-desks, to reach the various users. -Wikid77 (talk) 18:15, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Are you really hearing me? What I'm hearing from you is that Wikipedia actively and intentionally tries to discourage contributors unless they're willing to devote endless (and unnecessary, imo) amounts of time towards making Wikipedia the focus of their existence and social life. Instead of providing a quick and simple explanation and/or term name in a mouse-over (e.g., 'strike-through'), you prefer to force a contributor to waste their valuable time wandering all over the place trying to figure out how to search for something they've seen an example of, but have no idea what it's called. And you brag about that as a good thing? I call it "jerking people around." I find it appalling, as well as counter-productive to the stated goals (building an encyclopedia, not social networking), but I'll wait to see what others might say. (talk) 13:29, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
To, WP does require talking with other people, at some point. If you move the mouse-cursor and want to know more, then write a question to WP:Help_desk, and they can tell you if a mouse-over gadget can be installed for that. Currently, there is no WP:Mouseover. -Wikid77 07:10, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
The OP's criticisms are valid, yet... somehow programming languages seem to get written by non-experts, because the experts seem to have trouble writing dumb programming languages. I mean, the template system may be terrible, but we've never seen a rogue template malfunction and corrupt the entire template database requiring the server to be restored from tape backups. No one uses rogue templates to hack into accounts. I suggested splitting the happy birthday code into some logical templates for clarity, but I see that as procedural programming rather than OOP - we have an more or less absolute ideological separation of the code from the data, rather than getting a buffer overflow and a hacker vulnerability and a zero-day update for every piece of code on the Wiki. Until master programmers figure out how to be dumb, we'll need dumb people to do it for them. Wnt (talk) 13:42, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

I would suggest that the best thing Wikipedia could do (for itself) would be to make it easy to add references and photos to an article without having any coding experience -- or to put it another way, without understanding any of what has been said in this thread. I would be interested to know how many good writers do not participate in Wikipedia because they open up an edit window and see a lot of code (starting with "ref" and getting more complicated from there.) I'm talking about the large percentage of humanity that have never written any kind of markup language or code -- the doctor, the lawyer, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. It is kind of a struggle for us non-techies sometimes, who would like to write and edit without worrying about the technical side of things. Neutron (talk) 00:33, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

We have the basic WP:Article_wizard for article text, but I guess we could have a WP:Image_wizard, which then could generate the specific copy/paste text for each user's image-link parameters "[[File:xx.jpg|right|thumb|xxxxx]]". That might also help teach people to use "upright=1.1" to show an image as 10% larger than each user's image-size preference setting. On Wikimedia Commons, there is a wizard-style upload process to copy images into the Commons database, so progress is being made to simplify adding photos. -Wikid77 07:10, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Anti-gay paranoia or legitimate BLP application?

There are several discussions on BLP/N where even sources like ABC [1] are wikiunreliable to some because they choose to quote an interview done by a gay "activist" (as labeled by the wikidetractors) source instead of doing their own. What is your opinion on this? FuFoFuEd (talk) 12:30, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

WP:OTHERPARENT much?? (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:44, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
While your going to Jimbo is certainly acceptable, I suggest Jimbo also look at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Off2riorob_topic_ban_proposal and see precisly how much support your position has in the community. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:50, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I accept we know by wp:consensus that The Advocate is not re liable (and they practically think the same of Wikidpedia, duh [2], and OMG they getting parroted by E! Online [3]). The real question is whether ABC churnalism is any better. And by the way, that's a different article and different actor. It didn't involve the consensus decider Off2riorob yet, but I can presume what his AN-powered action will be given that his buddy Collect already weighed in. I guess Deep Throat would have had to wait for his name to be published before anything based on him could be included in Wikipedia, regardless where published. Shit, that took 30 years. Long live Nixon. FuFoFuEd (talk) 13:52, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
FuFoFuEd, you seem to be grouping a couple of things that are not related except that both deal with the reporting of the sexual preferences of actors. The Luke Evans situation was mishandled from the start (there was no reason for that page to be fully protected, for one thing) but seems to be working itself out now. The thread I started on the BLP noticeboard about David Ogden Stiers (which uses the ABC source) is unrelated and no one has used the word "activist" (with any qualifier) in the discussion. The suggestion is not that ABC News is unreliable, but that ABC quoting an unreliable source does not magically make the original source into a reliable. That discussion is here if you would like to express an opinion. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:41, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't the one mixing them, Collect was, on purpose I suspect. By the way, for those not getting what Nixon might have to do with this, here's a small history lesson [4]. I'm out of this madhouse for a while. Cheers, FuFoFuEd (talk) 15:30, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
No, it was you. You did it in the first sentence of this thread. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:23, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

I think that this page is one of the worst examples I've heard of where Wikipedia has actually maligned someone with notable effect - but this is not be covering sources about someone being gay, but rather, by someone's awkward effort to downplay the issue. In particular this Wikipedia edit led to this gossipy news article, where the reporter seems to take this edit, deleted a little over a day later, as if it were serious. Now while Off2riorob didn't make that particular edit, his suppression of good, sourced material on the topic on several occasions immediately preceding this, including two days before this edit [5], led directly to the information-starved quality of the article and the poisonous editing environment which allowed such a blurb to get through posing as Wikipedia's view of the issue. Whenever he's deleting things Off2riorob poses as the defender of all things BLP, but I've commented before, at Talk:Anders Behring Breivik#Responses from those mentioned:section, that his deleting things from articles can also create BLP problems. The problem with the tiny but remarkably disruptive cabal of deletionists we're encountering here is that they don't recognize that editors need to be responsible about deletions - that deletions can be original research when you remove what you personally don't find plausible, they can violate NPOV when they remove one side's opinion, and that they can violate NOR when you remove the basic known facts about a person. Wnt (talk) 15:33, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

What you call a "news article" is a blog post on a entertainment blog, which means "gossip column." Your comments here are not helpful Wnt, especially when you say things like "[w]henever he's deleting things Off2riorob poses as the defender of all things BLP." You're implying that he just likes to "delete things" and the BLP claims are just his cover. You go on to talk about a "remarkably disruptive cabal of delitionists," as if, again deletion is their prime objective as opposed to protecting or even to take a critical view, obsessing over BLP. Just because the end result has been the deletion of a few strings of text doesn't meant hat the objective is "deletion." Basically you're using this issue to further your own WP:BATTLEGROUND - fighting all the dirty rotten delitionists on Wikipedia at every turn - and like I said it's not helpful.Griswaldo (talk) 15:50, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Wnt, the dispute started somewhat before the edit you linked. The AfterElton piece suggests that Evans' PR people are manipulating the article and it appears to me that they are correct. That aspect of this case has yet to be addressed. When stories of this type come out, Wikipedia tends to do their best to kill the messenger instead of looking at the message to see if there is any merit. We can benefit from looking at the perspective of outsiders, even if we do not agree with them. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:43, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
For me, the question of whether to include someone's sexuality in an article is a complex matter requiring sophisticated and thoughtful judgment. Gossipy reporting of the sheer fact (or, often, claimed fact) is generally not enough - we need to know why it is noteworthy for someone's career. In this case, arguments have been put forward on both sides, and the discussion is both interesting, useful, and heading towards thoughtful consensus.
What isn't ok is what has also happened here, up to and including an angry email to me and the ridiculous headline of this section. And that is: the personal attack on other editors in the form of a claim that their position is based on anti-gay paranoia. The argument has been sometimes put in such a way that any argument against including information about someone being gay in an article must be grounded in anti-gay bias. That's as absurd as saying that any argument for including information about someone being gay in an article must be grounded in pro-gay bias.
Those who might argue in that fashion should consider that at least some of us might be so far beyond prejudice and bias on this issue, that we regard someone's sexual preference to be a pretty routine biographical fact like any other, about which we can make editorial judgment in the same way that we always do. Sometimes the fact is relevant to someone's life, career, etc., and other times it isn't. Activist magazines and blogs engaged in "outing" (or making a big deal out of it generally, even if it isn't technically "outing") only move the needle on that by a very tiny bit, if at all.
And finally, I'd like to recommend to Wnt that he strike his unfair comments about Off2riorob above. As someone else said, it could of course be possible to criticize Off2riorob for being overzealous or overcautious on BLP issues - he does take a strong stand, after all, and reasonable people may differ in specific cases - something I'm sure he is completely prepared to graciously acknowledge of reasonable opponents in particular debates.
But to characterize him as a "deletionist" as if his primary motive is to delete things from the encyclopedia really totally misses the point of his work.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:21, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Little issues can serve as good windows into bigger ones, because there's less peripheral clutter. The article about the actor was good for that purpose. It illustrates the two critical flaws inherent in the Wikipedia pseudo reference source. The first is that, for Wikipedia, facts have no independent validity but are dictated by the Wikipedia flashmob of the moment. This means that, at the core, you have no standards and cannot have any. Which leads to the second point: What passes for editorial "standards" at Wikipedia are routinely ignored by your flashmobs. This is why, on any controversial issue, Wikipedia is unreliable. Which is why no respected academic institution will permit its use as a source; why Wikipedia is losing serious contributors; and why Wikipedia is commonly satirized and derided in popular culture.
In the article about the actor, the fact is that he gave three interviews discussing his sexual orientation. One in 2001, and two in 2004. It is also a fact that the motion picture industry has always encouraged public interest in the private and public romantic lives of its actors, and it's a fact that there has indeed always been considerable public interest in such things. Yet, Wikipedia allowed the censorship of the fact of the actor's interviews. In doing so, the one editor cited here used Wikipedia's so-called "NOTABILITY" rule to justify the censorship, even though that rule clearly states that "NOTABILITY" is not to be applied to the contents of an article. In the end, what this boils down to is that fact is just another piece of the mix here, and that Wikipedia's "editors" can ignore your rules whenever they want to. These are routine happenings at Wikipedia, and over time they have driven serious people to throw up their hands and leave. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Exercising good editorial judgment is not censorship. It is not Wikipedia's role to amplify ephemeral gossip. Johnuniq (talk) 00:48, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Nor is it Wikipedia's role to even follow its own "standards." The editors and administrators of this pseudo "encyclopedia" continually ignore their own rules. It's a common, everyday feature here. Any real authority on a subject would need to have a screw loose to give Wikipedia his or her time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:16, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Have you really got nothing better to do with your life than to post endless repetitive negative comments about Wikipedia? If you don't like it, and don't think anyone else does, then stop whining, and find something else to occupy your time. Your attendance here isn't compulsory... AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:23, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I've looked over my comment above and I really don't think I was being all that unfair - not even with what I admit is a rather harshly worded remark about a deletionist cabal. That's because those three editors above, Off2riorob, Griswaldo, and Collect, are all parties to a current Arbcom case, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Manipulation of BLPs, and I've found myself in opposition to several of the parties on their side of that case on quite a few occasions (even on an issue with no explicit connection to BLP). And in the Breivik article, I felt like keeping the strong disavowals of people like Fjordman was a nice BLP consideration to give them. So my feeling here (barring some details) remains similar to that of 71.227.x.x. Wnt (talk) 05:30, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Um -- there are 21 "parties" to the ArbCom case. Yet you manage to single out 3? If you want to plead some sort of Cabal note the discussion about topicbanning Off2riorob -- Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Off2riorob_topic_ban_proposal which had a WP:SNOW result. Sorry -- I keep thinking about your earlier threads on this page [6] where you argue that WP:NOTNEWS should be deleted. [7] has you showing a clear POV about a BLP issue. [8] is an interesting colloquy about BLP as well. Cheers. Collect (talk) 09:14, 13 August 2011 (UTC) appending: You aver that "several" of us were involved in the Classified Documents discussion. That claim is errant. Exceedingly errant. Cheers. Collect (talk) 09:18, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Half the 21 ArbCom parties on the that side (plus one whose case was separated but is running concurrently).[9] You're right that "three" was wrong - Griswaldo, Delicious carbuncle, and Collect commented directly above; Off2riorob makes four. Viriditas, JN466, ResidentAnthropologist were involved in the Wikileaks discussion. Wnt (talk) 11:01, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Um -- Which of the 3 was involved in any way with the "Classified Documents" discussion? Try "none" as the answer instead of making the side claim that "half of the 21" is meaningful in any way. What you have is that there was ZERO intersection between the group you named and the group of 4 out of the 21 editors whom you aver were in the mini-cabal of some sort. In short - no connection whatsoever, and your imputations to the contrary do your case here no favour at all, but smell greatly of personal attacks. At least try to find some actual connection between editors whome you choose to categorize as being in the antiWnt group. Jimbo's page is not a great place to aver that some sort of group is involved in something you disagree with. Cheers. Collect (talk) 11:25, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
My goal there was to respond to Jimbo Wales about my comment, but I've strayed off topic. You're right that you weren't in there, but that wasn't the point I was making. Wnt (talk) 11:37, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
User 71, it may be permissible per policy to include the subject's sexual orientation in this instance. But that by no means makes inclusion compulsory. Inclusion of permitted content will be determined by consensus, based on considerations of relevance, noteworthiness, impact on living persons, and any other factors unique to the case. As for citing Wikipedia articles, I don't think anyone argues for citing a document that changes from one day to the next. Wikipedia is more an annotated bibliography than a source itself. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:43, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
More typical Wikiweaseling. Fact (something you wouldn't recognize, because you don't believe in fact) is that Wikipedia has no rules. Not in practice, because whatever rules you do have can be, and routinely are, ignored by consensus. That is what makes your efforts worthless. It's why contributions are down by two-thirds from four years ago. It's why no one in academia takes you seriously, and why you're a joke in popular culture. The only thing that gives Wikipedia as many hits as it gets is its agreement with Google to put Wikipedia at or near the top of any search. Absent that, Wikipedia would be swept down the drain where it belongs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:22, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Not just Google, but also puts WP entries high in search-results. After studying SEO problems for years, I think any search-engine should do the same, to answer many reader questions faster (WP typically has the answers). Ignoring all rules is a problem, as WP:CONSENSUS states that groups of people cannot override long-term policies, but the argument is like saying police are a failure because criminals use their consensus to ignore laws. Also, some in Academia sneak into WP to update information, while a few others teach classes about the wiki-issues and slanting which some writers face. Please realize that a few criminals do not turn social norms into a "joke" and a few vandals, badmins or madmins do not force Wikipedia to be swept down the drain. However, a few bad apples, as POV-pushers or WP:TAGTEAMs of censorship, do have a poisonous effect on the overall system, so we need "wiki-medics" to recover from wiki-injuries and illnesses in the overall system. -Wikid77 16:11, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Ignore the trolling. This IP hasn't had a new idea in ages at this point. Just ignore him.Griswaldo (talk) 10:33, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Nay, things aren't that bad - the consensus model can work as long as people's priorities are on getting the article together. The problem is that those looking to remove sourced content, even for "ethical" reasons, have had an unwarranted advantage in conflict resolution. I wasn't a part of this debate, but it looks like Off2riorob was opposed by consensus on the Luke Evans talk page, then things were taken to a noticeboard, where he was generally opposed,[10]; the overall consensus was 16 to 7 for including the information [11] though he claimed some were "SPAs" (without noticing Acerroad on his own side). He called for an RSN discussion but the RSN previously favored the 'blog post on a entertainment blog, which means "gossip column."' he just mentioned above. [12] Consensus itself isn't the problem here, only its failure to actually protect editors when they're working to build good articles. Wnt (talk) 10:42, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Wnt you're like a broken record. Getting our articles to top form will usually require adding and removing information. To decide that no information should ever be deleted, for any reason gets us nowhere fast. It's a position not unlike that taken by the Tea Party Republicans in the US Congress regarding the deficit. While they gum up the works by refusing to accept any compromise that raises even a penny of revenue you gum up the works by refusing to delete even a byte of information. Good luck with that.Griswaldo (talk) 10:51, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I would like to point out that the anti-gay comments given above are likely in response to a myriad of repetitious comments by Off2riorob that there is a "off wiki homosexual promotional tagging group" involved. He has yet to show proof that this "group" exists and has instead tried to crowd all new-ish users and IP addresses involved in the discussion into this group, even if they have been editing since before this Luke Evans dispute began. SilverserenC 09:56, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
    • Rubbish. Of course there's a vast gay conspiracy to manipulate Wikipedia! It's been going on for years. Here's the indisputable evidence: [13] FuFoFuEd (talk) 18:00, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
      • Ah... no worse than the anti-gay "conspiracy" or the anti-Muslim "conspiracy" or the anti-Christian "conspiracy" then? I've noticed that on any controversial topic (whether social, about a person, scientific, etc), such things always seem to exist on both sides of the fence. I wouldn't call any of them vast - but yes, they do exist. That aside, such biases exist here as well; I wouldn't call such vast either - but they do exist. There are always people with agendas. There will always be people trying to push their agendas (or even use others to do so). That does not make it vast, nor does it make it a conspiracy. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 18:18, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
        • Of course there has been a vast gay conspiracy to manipulate Wikipedia. And a vast conservative Christian one. And a vast CIA one, and a vast corporate one, and on and on and on. All of these conspiracies can seize ground at Wikipedia, because Wikipedia was founded by people wholly ignorant of the Western intellectual tradition regarding truth. They, and this pseudo-reference site's (mostly) child editors and administrators, regard fact as negotiable. They routinely ignore Wikipedia's own rules, with impunity, and have driven away hordes of serious people. You are left with the dregs, that one-third of your original base, plus the various ax-grinders who appropriate view Wikipedia as the means to pump out their press releases or opinions under the guise of "reference." But it hasn't worked. Worldwide, your enterprise is seen for exactly what it is: A poser. You're not an encyclopedia, and you never will be. Not when you think 2 + 2 = 4 is debatable. Jacksonjake (talk) 19:13, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
          • Ignore the troll, if you would, so we can continue on with our conversation. SilverserenC 19:38, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
        • I would like to also point out, as was pointed out at BLPN as well, that all of the links given by Collect there in that diff are pertaining to other events in the past and have nothing to do with the current subject. There has yet to be any evidence given that there is a "conspiracy" in terms of the current subject, which is what Rob is using to paint a number of people with the same brush. SilverserenC 19:38, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
          • I wouldn't go so far as to say there is a conspiracy, but it is true that someone purporting to be a Wikipedian posted a link to the BLPN discussion on AfterElton, that a number of people involved in the discussion since then have been single-purpose editors, and that they include an AfterElton journalist who disclosed his affiliation. All those editors are welcome to stay and contribute, and I respect their views, but it's reasonable to bear the demographics of those involved in the discussion in mind, especially since some of the new arrivals will be less familiar with BLP policy (whose correct interpretation in this case is subject to good-faith debate even among established Wikipedians). --JN466 20:07, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
            • A link to the Wikipedia page has been made in a number of news articles, yes, so the new users are likely some result of that, though a few of them have been editing for longer than this dispute and a significant number of them, surprisingly, have been properly quoting policy. And if we're going to bring up the topic of SPAs in this discussion, I would also like to bring up Acerroad. Considering his editing and his stance of removal of information, I wonder if he is some sort of publicist or PR manager in relation to Evans. SilverserenC 20:29, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
              • That is not what I said. A direct link was posted to the BLP/N thread, in the discussion underneath the AfterElton article. --JN466 21:37, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
                • Can you just give me the proper link then? The BLP/N discussion is really long and there are a number of other links also given in the discussion itself. SilverserenC 22:06, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
                  • It's the link I gave previously, Silver, here. Search for "BLP noticeboard" on that page, and you'll find it. (I'm sorry, it seems I used ambiguous phrasing. It was a link to the BLPN discussion, posted on the AfterElton site.) --JN466 02:11, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
                      • There's a big discussion of this article over at Wikipedia Review too. Wikipedia doesn't exist in a vacuum.   Will Beback  talk  02:22, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

"SPA" and Wikipedia's Wholesale Infiltration by Propagandists, Governments, Corporations, and Flacks

Look, kids, if Wikipedia were worth a damn, it wouldn't matter why people come here or who they were. Even if someone was a publicist, or a corporation, or the CIA, or some other government. If Wikipedia was organized on the primacy of truth and fact, and if it actually applied its own "standards" evenly to all comers, the motivation or source of a contributor would be irrelevant. These things only matter in a truth-free environment, where someone's motivation or identity is presumed to have a material impact on their contribution.

The accusation that this or that account is an "SPA" and therefore suspect, powerfully reveals the hollowness at Wikipedia's core. It is a tacit recognition that your founder(s) are uneducated people, unfamiliar with the nature of truth in a society that traces its intellectual roots back to the Greeks. They learned plenty of computer code, but not a lot else. So they, and the one-third of the insiders who have remained as this project has fallen off its cliff since 2007, are unable or unwilling to see or acknowledge the real issue, which is that Wikipedia cannot defend itself because there is nothing to defend.

When you don't believe in truth or fact, and hence have no recognition of the the difference between fact and opinion, and force serious people to spend inordinate amounts of time and energy defending basic fact, you drive them away. Furthermore, you judge content not on its own merits, but on who the contributor is. Is is a newbie making that sharp criticism? Not one of us. Must be an SPA. Easy to do that when you don't believe in facts as facts, but instead are organized around the idea that you can vote something a fact or not a fact. Same goes for your "standards." Once you've decided that truth doesn't exist and is whatever your roving flashmobs say it is, then your "rules" become arbitrary and meaningless, except as tools of retribution.

So keep focusing on who that new contributor is. Don't look at what he or she has contributed. Make it clear that the crowd will decide whether the sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning. And ignore your own rules, until your critic gets boisterous and it comes time for some serious Wikiwagoncircling. And then, as your participation keeps falling off the cliff and the level of world wide derision rises inexorably, tell yourself that your software is the issue, or that it's time to put smiley faces onto people's accounts. Yup, that'll do the trick. Jacksonjake (talk) 20:55, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

His complaints were excessive in spots, but blocking him doesn't prove him wrong. I think that "SPA" is one of a number of Wikipedia jargon terms (like "meatpuppet" and "coatrack") that should be deprecated. And when using it you're effectively citing WP:SPA, which is an essay, not consensus. The main thing I don't like about it is that every new user is a SPA for some interval, and they get treated as such. Wnt (talk) 05:57, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, if we followed your ideas - there would be no WP:BLP policy, anything with a reliable source would be unmovable and the place would be overrun with ranting users that dislike the project. Off2riorob (talk) 06:05, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
(Off topic) I'd allow for a BLP style guideline (as it was), keep things like the Strauss-Kahn allegation off the Main Page, and respect living persons by encouraging coverage of all sides of the story. Reliable sourced information would not be immovable, just not open to deletion based on original research or personal taste; I'd support looser notability standards and encourage worry-free splitting of fringe content to new sub-articles. And hopefully, discouraged, some of the deletionists would go elsewhere... Wnt (talk) 13:30, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
And where does the whole issue of undue fit into that; one of the main problems we have relates to people taking a biography with, say, 10 or so paragraphs and adding another 5 paragraphs about an affair, or the subjects sexuality, or their girlfriends, or their children. All usually based on fairly tabloid (bad) source material. Which is what leads to the myriad of OTRS requests saying "why is this the most important part of my life to you???". There is an art to summarising material effectively :) And that involves good writing, focus, and removing the unnecessary. --Errant (chat!) 13:49, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I think we need to have a sister projects for BLPs for this very reason. Having a dual track content policy (one for BLPs another for everything else), can be confusing, complicates enforcement, and in general decreases the quality of items. A separate project for example could have much more flexibility with server side tools (like Reviewer) and would be easy to inter-wiki with. Even migration would be relatively painless if we figure a way to do semi-soft redirects for the interwiki. We have to stop pretendending that BLPs are like list articles, just a "special" kind of article, and understand that a one-size-fits-all mediawiki deployment is actually creating more headaches than it solves.--Cerejota (talk) 15:32, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with that. --JN466 16:34, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Agree too, after some experience with BLPs, I came to the conclusion that at least a dedicated BLP team of editors/admins would be needed to patrol these articles, as they are easy targets for malicious vandalism and as soon as there is a whiff of scandal everything kicks off, people don't read policy, scream blue murder and it generally degenerates from there. Oh, and someone suggested this somewhere, how about a three-day lock on BLP articles to get consensus for any edits to be made? This would avoid a lot of the WP:NOTNEWS stuff and erroneous information that gets pushed into articles because of trivia or reliable sources not checking their facts properly (or just reporting rumours and hearsay). CaptainScreebo Parley! 18:32, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
ErrantX, if you are aware of concrete examples, Jclemens has asked for editors to submit related evidence at Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Manipulation_of_BLPs/Evidence. --JN466 16:34, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I just edited one such problem just now. That case, though, confuses me - I have no idea what the scope or purpose is... --Errant (chat!) 01:41, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
ErrantX that is absolutely true. (And if Jclemens needs 'related evidence', then it's pretty obvious Jclemens hasn't been paying enough attention to BLPs to warrant being in charge of this issue.) I think what happens is that someone reads something salacious in a tabloid and eagerly puts all of it at the end of the person's article, not even reading what's already there. This is the opposite of someone working to make an encyclopedia article which is complete and well-balanced. It's more like a blogger slapping up a post about whatever happened that day, and it's not supposed to be connected with any other posts. (And with all those NotW people currently at loose ends, I wouldn't be surprised if they started freelancing aka 'updating' Wikipedia articles. (talk) 22:08, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm flattered that you seem to think me omniscient. Fact is, I don't even WANT to try to keep tabs on all of Wikipedia. I still edit things occasionally as the fancy strikes me, but I spend the vast majority of my time trying to clean up messes like this. Since so much of that's done off-wiki, it may look like I've just gotten too lazy to look things up myself, but ask any arb and they will confirm that that's simply not the case. Jclemens (talk) 05:53, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

One reason why the WP:BLP policy exists, is because WP:V is so religious about "not truth". Instead of "not truth", the BLP policy page says: "We must get the article right." When I expressed a similar sentiment quite some time ago about editing science articles, I was hammered about violating the "not truth" dogma. :) . Count Iblis (talk) 18:37, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

An herbal remedy for you!

Spliff Joint Twig Dooby Jay.jpg Some Wikilove. Fuel for radical ideas. Wnt (talk) 00:14, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to leave it to (the people from the preceding section) and whatever source of inspiration you prefer to figure out which Wikipedia should have articles about the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the 2011 Nobel Prizes, Michael Moore's newest movie, etc. And how to refound Wikipedia with elite teams in charge and articles nobody can edit. Fortunately for me, I think the 2007 status quo is just fine, sparing me the need for deep philosophy. Wnt (talk) 00:14, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

An idea

Hi Mr Wales, I've just thought of an idea, so I'm posting it here because I think it would receive more readership than other pages. I'm thinking that Wikipedia adopt a system where a page is set up for every WikiProject to allow increased one-on-one collaborations and teamwork, as well as easier venerability.

Essentially, an editor would come along, write down a scholarly book that he or she has access to, so that other editors can set up a joint effort in writing (or re-writing) an article. For example, let's say WikiProject Aircraft creates Wikipedia:WikiProject Aircraft/Books. User A writes down a list of books that he/she has, so User B, who owns those books, can communicate with User A and hopefully start a week-long collaboration effort. This system hopefully would abolish the need for an editor to fish around the Project to see if there are editors who have the same sources as him/her. This is one of my ideas which I think addresses the quality issue; a user would normally might be deterred from daunting task of re-writing a page because they think such task this too taxing and laborious. With this system, there is much more potential for an article to be revamped and, hopefully, get promoted to FA status. Furthermore, with the publication written down User C might called User A to verify sources on a particular page, which would otherwise be impossible because User C does not have any knowledge that User A has such sources.

This is only an infant idea – further clarifications to this idea will be carried out should it be adopted. I'd like to hear your comments on this. :D Sp33dyphil "Ad astra" 10:34, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

I've been thinking along similar but different lines. When I found Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange/Resource Request it got me thinking. I started wondering how I could let people know I was willing to share references (when possible) that I've used in articles, or that I wouldn't mind looking up the occasional not-online newspaper article for somebody else. I'd been considering two user boxes. One user box to create a category of people who were willing to either share or else (when sharing isn't practical or legal) help people find the sources they themselves had used in articles. And then maybe a variant user box that says you'd be willing to help find offline sources in general. (It could have a spot where you could write a very very brief comment about what resources you'd be willing to look for. In my case it would say something like newspaper database searches. Somebody else might list an archive they have access to.) Cloveapple (talk) 15:51, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Has anyone thought of perhaps expanding this type of idea to an actual physical "Wikipedia storefront"? Or I guess "Wikipedia reference library" would be a better name. An actual place where physical references, like books, maps, newspapers, etc could be at for Wikipedians to use or borrow and have computers where they can go on Wikipedia and edit articles. There could be outreach programs to encourage at-risk youth to come in, for schools to have teachers bring their students in to work on articles as a project, etc. I realize actual libraries already exist that have similar resources, so maybe this isnt something viable or even needed. But maybe something along the lines of a physical real-world presence would help us with our "attracting new editors" problem. I would be willing to donate money to buy or rent for a storefront along those lines in St Louis.Camelbinky (talk) 23:28, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
You might like Wikipedia:Wikipedia Loves Libraries. Perhaps partnerships could come out of it that could do some of the things you envision. Cloveapple (talk) 05:52, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if this fits in with this specific conversation, but over at WikiProject Video games, we have a reference library, where we try to organize sources, as well as try and provide references to print sources by linking articles that are covered in various magazines directly to them; on those pages, users who have those print sources can be provided so that others can ask for such material to share upon request. I wished it could be used more often, but I do periodically get a few requests from others regarding the various print publications that I have. Could it be better advertised? Probably, if the culture of FUTON bias was not so persistent. –MuZemike 06:59, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I am not convinced of the theory of an "attracting-new-editors" problem. We have over 6,100 new registered usernames, per day, so I think the problem is getting them to join a Wikiproject, or some other collaborative group. That is why I mentioned the idea of announcing new users to consider joining "1 of 87 welcoming teams" which would lead to "989" Wikiprojects for the more-experienced editors to join. Meanwhile, we still have basic-skill issues, such as users who use the "spacebar" to start a new line, because they did not understand that the Enter/Return key puts newlines in an edit-window, rather than submitting the text, as when pressing Return in a Google-Search window. I am thinking the welcoming teams could help users see if they are ready to edit a variety of articles, rather than focusing on just one article which they had intended to edit. Also, this could steer editors into creating some of the WP:Requested articles. -Wikid77 06:42, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
  • The whole aim from the above-mentioned idea was to start one-on-one collaborative efforts. Look, even if someone does join a WikiProject, there is a high chance that they would not start on any significant work, since revamping an article by yourself is crazy hard (I know it because I've done it, a few times). Sp33dyphil "Ad astra" 07:58, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I, for one, support the idea. Why? Because then Wikipedians could collaberate much easier. What if I stumble upon a page of a WikiProject that is that book page? I currently am not part of ANY WikiProject, but I still think it would make sense for me to help make one of the pages better. Considering Jimbo Wales, I think he will say this is a good idea. Though we will have to see what he says. LikeLakers2 (talk) 14:13, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
  • (@Wikikid777) I agree, attracting new editors isn't quite the issue. Keeping them... that is a different story, as noted already. Some of this you or others already suggested, so take those as my agreement and a summary of which I think are some of the important ones that can be dealt with semi-easily...
  1. (as noted) an easier editor and/or markup to make editing and creating articles simpler,
  2. a simplified page containing summaries of all relevant things a new editor needs to know, with links to the full pages for each (Oh, we have one? Hmmmm...) - which brings me to...
  3. (which covers the tongue-in-cheek #2) an automated or semi-automated system that places a simple and/or nicely laid out welcome message emphasizing the important places the new editor should go first
  4. Perhaps an automated welcoming system (would go with the one above), which goes through the queue of active members in the welcoming committee and places it on new user pages with an active welcomer's name.
  5. a "Help Me" button on new editors' screens (ie: perhaps top right, where on an article it might have Read | Edit | * | Page | Help Me) with an explanation as to what that button is for (ie: mouseover, as well as notes in the semi-auto welcome message)... seems simple, but I've found helpme templates in the oddest of places - automating it so that pressing the button opens a pop-up (a-la Twinkle's tagging, etc) allowing the editor to type their message, and then drops the helpme on the user's talk page with an optional link to the article they were on and their comment.
Here's[14] an effort that MichaelQSchmidt is working on.
Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 00:34, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
WP really is a vast maze, which requires talking with people. Essays to map the maze, such as "WP:A Primer for newcomers" can help, but should not mislead users into thinking "Follow the rules, then no problems". Not that simple.
  • There is no substitute for knowledge from people: I like the idea of overview-essays, or primer pages, which can help to introduce newer users to all the numerous facets of Wikipedia, but we still need groups of people talking to new users, such as "1 of 87 welcoming-teams" which look to see if a user wants to talk about more issues. I suspect a vast number of newcomers would reveal they want to write about their company products, favorite book, or unsung heroes, so that should be a focus of discussions. However, keep talking to see who wants to write an encyclopedia. Meanwhile, I think we can suggest some newcomers should try reading parts of "WP:A Primer for newcomers" but also work to create welcoming-teams to answer other concerns. Polite teams could provide users with help 24/7, and avoid the current anxiety when one unknown user ("SlyFox" or "MayBcrazcy") sends a welcome-greeting to a wary, Internet-cautious newcomer. You got a welcome-message from what username? -Wikid77 06:30, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

When are we going to have, more or less, one single place for newcomers to go, instead of all these fragmented "welcome to Wikipedia, we would like to help you" pages around? I mean, I don't want to discredit anyone who is trying to help newcomers out (I think they're doing what they can with what they have.), but our help pages are so fragmented all over the place, no wonder why all our help pages looks like the maze in the picture. For example, the Help namespace, where many people would be expected to go, is so confused and convoluted, no wonder why they can't find their way around anything.

I also have to wonder about the amount of "hand-holding" we really should be doing for newcomers. I think of it this way: I would be annoyed a bit if, while walking down a busy street, I run into street canvassers every half-block (i.e. those "Hi! Do you have a minute for the environment/gay rights/etc?" folks). Another example, some would be rather annoyed by seeing the Office Assistant (i.e. the annoying paperclip in Microsoft Office) every time they check out something new.

Long story short, there needs to be a way to be receptive to newcomers without looking like we're looking over their shoulders constantly or being overbearing. We need to bring them to speed with the other regular editors here, not keep them down. –MuZemike 06:59, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

OK, this discussion is getting sidetracked. My idea was to start pages where editors could reveal sources that they have to the Project so others could come along and start a collab. I don't want this discussion to be about helping new editors. Sp33dyphil "Ad astra" 07:51, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

WP:Welcome of WP:Welcoming committee

This is a follow-up tangent, from the earlier topic "#An idea".

I see the WP:Welcoming_committee currently has 61 members (Aug. 2011) to respond to users who follow the WP:Welcome page. I was thinking to have "1 to 87 welcoming-teams" to focus the follow-up support within each team, but perhaps the common types of questions, asked by newcomers, can be fielded, adequately, by the one large team, as the current one WP:Welcoming committee. Then, from there, some new users could join the various WP:Wikiprojects, where specialized questions could be handled by the skills within each wikiproject.

Regarding: "looking over their shoulders constantly or being overbearing" - I think there needs to be some repeated discussions with each new user, to at least see if their plans would be rejected, if they were left alone too long. However, I can appreciate the fear of a "20-questions" dialogue which could repel some new users. However, that danger should be offset with avoiding a user making big plans to write a large text which would not be allowed, and might likely get deleted wholesale. I just think we should continue discussing the efforts of new users, because there is a lot of work to do, for improving article quality, and we need to have more helpers. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:26, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

No Incentive for Article Builders; Incentive for Article Destroyers

What is the incentive for contributing and building an article for Wikipedia? To have it shredded by ignorant louts who know nothing about a subject but get an ego trip from forcing their will on something not of their making?

Wikipedia gives more incentives to kibitzers and parasites than to people who actually build the encyclopedia. The deluded groupthink acceptable criteria for becoming an admin has little to do with the creation of articles; but a whole lot with their removal.

The meme that Wikipedia is inferior because it has too many low quality articles and it needs to be stricter is a sham. The enforcers of that "quality" are the ones turning people off Wikipedia.

Almost every other website takes pride in its associations. They like being associated with other netizens. Wikipedia isn't. Instead of cultivating those relationships, Wikipedia uses them and then dispenses with them. Take for example the editor who writes a wonderful article on a subject for Wikipedia and then keeps an eye on it with the incentive that a link to his website (which is perfectly relevant to the article) is there. Then comes along the "Wikiprotectors" who see the external link and delete it and then hound the erstwhile editor off Wikipedia. Is that really a gain for Wikipedia? Apparently the current calculation is that it is a win for Wikipedia. It isn't being considered that it is a lose-lose situation whereas previously it was a win-win.

But Wikipedia doesn't need such editors some might say. But then who remains? The Wikiprotectors? Too many like to lounge around and stick their nose into other editors' business instead of building articles—and Wikipedia encourages them and people like them, even giving them unique powers.

So make a convincing case why an editor should write an article here instead of setting up their own blog and then making money off of it for themselves instead of contributing to Mr. Wales's legacy?

On the other hand make a convincing case why a Monday morning quarterback personality wouldn't love it here. Lambanog (talk) 15:03, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Ahh yes, quid pro quo. You'll edit for us if we let you buy some free hits to your website in return. So how do we police that? How much work do you have to do on an article before you get to promote your website? What about editor B, who hasn't done much, but believes their site is just as good? What about editor C who took a stub to featured status, and expects his blog where he spews invective to be retained in the EL? There are plenty of reasons why Wikipedia aims to minimize the use of external links, not the least of which is that we are an encyclopedia, not a self-promotion service.
Speaking as an article builder, I can answer your question pretty easily: Any blog most of us start is very unlikely to ever be seen by anything but web crawlers. I do it for altruistic purposes. I enjoy learning, and I enjoy sharing. One of "my" articles, Terry Fox, gets 1000 hits per day. I didn't work that article up to FA status so that I could make a few extra pennies by linking to my own blog. I did it because I was inspired to share an important person in Canadian history, and to give his biography the treatment it deserves. Same for remarkably obscure topics. The Calgary Tigers were a hockey team that folded 80 years ago, and the article might get two or three human viewers on an average day. But, I believe the article I wrote is also the most complete history of that team anywhere, and the only other sources that come close would likely be very difficult to find outside of Calgary and Edmonton's library systems. Anybody looking to learn about either topic is going to come here. They won't find some obscure blog. Resolute 03:52, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Which is all very noble and high-minded no doubt. You could also of course create a Terry Fox dedicated page and go more in-depth into the minutiae and solicit on behalf of cancer charities or promote Terry Fox inspired events—but I digress. As you say it is altruism that motivates you, but what you don't go into much detail is that something else does too, because if it was altruism alone you could write anywhere. What you are looking for is to be seen and heard. If a more popular venue than Wikipedia emerges then that would be a better venue to write for. But we're also talking about only one side of the coin. If altruism alone was what motivated people on Wikipedia the problem this issue of losing contributors wouldn't need to be discussed. But Wikipedia seems to be losing contributors, and if so there is a countervailing force that is overcoming altruism in the minds of contributors that makes Wikipedia not worth contributing to.
Resolute, the topics you've brought up are all pretty safe. If you get into less innocuous areas you will start seeing something else. Maybe you can stick to your safe little corner and the rampaging barbarians will go by. But if having devoured everything else, they in their boredom go after you, don't expect many to step in and help you out because any who might have probably would have left. Although I guess by that time Wikipedia would have ceased to matter. Lambanog (talk) 13:53, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • To Lambanog, I understand many of your concerns, but there has been a well-justified fear of turning Wikipedia into a vast collection of commercial adverts, which would contain self-promotion of product claims, perhaps linked to their own websites. Have you looked at what happened to Google Knol, with the thousands of corporate product-marketing pages? Also, Wikipedia tends to be very unforgiving of the slightest insults, so stating, "ignorant louts" is likely to get your username blocked. And, while we are addressing "Mr. Wales" in the third person, perhaps it would be better for one of us to clarify that he actively contributes to his own legacy for expanding and improving Wikipedia (and other WMF projects), with daily edits and outside discussions. Consider how difficult it is to edit Wikipedia almost every day for 11 years, while also holding meetings, travelling around the world to encourage users and investors, dodging natural disasters, plus working at another job with Wikia and other ventures (see bio: "Jimmy Wales"). Beware that some remarks you make could be viewed as highly insulting, under the circumstances. Meanwhile, there might be a way to discuss getting some external links into various articles, but please understand why Wikipedia has evolved to continually reject the numerous corporate ads and unbacked product claims from flooding many thousands of articles. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:48, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Global Ban on Wikia

I got globally blocked for no reason on Wikia. I am also Spidey665 on Wikia. Can you unblock me there? Thanks.
--Mystery UkuleleMan (Talk) 14:04, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps you could tell us what the reason included for the block was. That usually helps. LikeLakers2 (talk) 14:07, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I note that your question is about Wikia... typically, Wikia based questions don't get answered here.  :) Wikia has their own support mechanisms, etc. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 15:08, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. You can email Wales (talk) 15:25, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I was the top contributor, and by some users, "most helpful", on Annoying Orange Wiki, until I was globally blocked by user:Sannse for "Disruption", which I actually found out was sockpuppetry. It was actually my brother who did the disruption, but my iPad is my responsibility, so any ban for the disruption was deserved. But Shea (Spidey) thought it was another user, user:Charitwo, who blocked me. Eventually, he got infuriated. On AOW, he repeatedly blocked user:Charitwo and user:VSTF Bot, which user:DaNASCAT called "harassment", thus causing the global block. He tried to get me for help, but I couldn't help that much; he needs to get through Wikia and not through me. Bryce Wilson | talk 13:02, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Hang on ... was that just socking going there, or are my eyes deceiving me? (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 14:30, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
If I'm following along right, the two of them are brothers and both are globally blocked on Wikia. I don't think it's necessarily socking here on en-wiki unless there's some malicious behaviour in line with WP:SOCK. Strange Passerby (talkcont) 14:46, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
No, no, no, no, no. Strange Passerby, your statement is disproportionately incorrect, please shy away from that. I was globally blocked on Wikia because of something my brother, who is not Spidey665, did with my iPad, but my iPad is MY responsibility. Spidey665 has no relationship or connection with me. Spidey, who thought it was user:Charitwo who blocked me globally, (but it was Sannse) started to create profane blog posts about Charitwo, and repeatedly blocked Charitwo's and VSTF Bot's accounts, causing the ban. And lem'me repeat: Spidey665 and I are not brothers. Hope this helps, Bryce Wilson | talk 02:09, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Option to remove sections in User talk page

This proposal might be interesting for you: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Option_to_remove_sections_in_User_talk_page. -- Magioladitis (talk) 12:47, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

SEO test

I recognize that experiments on Wikipedia are disallowed for good reason, but there is only one way to actually measure how well "search engine optimization" works within Wikipedia - that is to have a dummy article (clearly marked) and to have other Wikipedia articles which currently exist then link thereto. Examining the Google results for the dummy term before and after the added links would show whether the SEO process within Wikipedia works. I suspect that Google assigns weight to each page based on the source of the link, and it is possible that it assigns a higher weight to WP sources (internal links) than to sources on other sites. Such a test would likely take under a week total. If it shows such a weighting (that is, that adding links within Wikipedia has a noticeable affect), then WMF might ask Google to remove Wikipedia internal links from being used to increase the rank of a result. Clearly Wikipedia has no ability to restrit links from other sites used to make a given term rank highly in searches, but it ought to be able to reduce the internal use of links to make a term rank more highly for a Wikipedia article. Cheers. Collect (talk) 10:48, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand the premise of this posting. Is the aim to avoid having Wikipedia articles appear in search engines?   Will Beback  talk  11:03, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
I think such an experiment would be a good idea. I would differentiate between two different types of links:
  1. Wikilinks to mainspace articles placed in the body text of other mainspace articles: these are links that should rightfully count towards an article's page ranking
  2. Wikilinks to mainspace articles placed in nav boxes, project pages, talk pages, user pages etc.: these are links that should not count towards an article's page ranking. The inclusion of an article in, say, three nav boxes, each containing 120 terms, can hugely inflate the number of inbound links to a minor article in a way that is not commensurate with the article's importance. Administrative processes within Wikipedia can have a similar effect, resulting in links to an article from a large number of project pages, archives etc. that do not reflect the topic's importance as such. --JN466 11:24, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
It's Google's job to do Google's job. They are interested in providing the best search results to their customers, and they have both the know-how and the tools to handle undesirable situations. We have neither. I'd also note that Collect's suggestion above assumes some fairly naive (and, frankly, wrong) properties of Google's algorithms, and would not provide remotely useful information. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 11:34, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Do you mean to imply that internal links don't count for SEO? Matt Cutts has indicated they do. [15] This applies both to which page within Wikipedia ranks above any other Wikipedia page for particular keyword searches in Google and other search engines, and to absolute page rank. Here is a video that explains the role of internal links in assuring that the Wikipedia article Internet is the top Google result for users searching for "Internet". --JN466 13:57, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
No, I've not said that. What I have said is that it's Google's job to determine if, when, and how to use any kinds of links, and that it is futile for us to second-guess their algorithms and try to develop policies that would influence their ranking in a way that reflects our view of what it should be. Google has a large number of excellent researchers doing nothing but improving their algorithms - with the bonus of actually knowing them. For us, a link is either useful for the encyclopedia, or not. If it also changes Google's ranking is of zero interest to Wikipedia. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:46, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec)I fear you have not read the recent and multiple discussions about using "search engine optimization" as an issue on Wikipedia. This has nothing to do with normal internal links, but addresses issues raised on Wikipedia and inthe media. [16] states that Wikipedia does not work for "outside links" (that is, commercial spam does not benefit from Wikipedia links for their Google ranking) but it does not address internal Wikipedia linking with regard to Google ranking of internal Wikipedia articles. I believe some may refer to it as "wikibombing" but without some solid empirical evidence, it is all a matter of some dispute. Hence the proposal to see if the discussion is about a real or potential problem, or is more like counting angels on a pin. I rather assume, in fact, that this is of interest to the WMF. Cheers. Collect (talk) 11:41, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
@StS: As Google views their algorithms as a "trade secret" I think it unwise to make such assertions as to what they do and do not do. Cheers. Collect (talk) 11:45, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
While the details are confidential, we do know quite a bit about Google. Some things we know is that the algorithm exhibits non-deterministic behavior, and that page rank is not a function of a static snapshot of the internet (or Google's database) at any one time. Thus the simple approach you suggest is unsuitable to give any useful information. Any suitable protocol would need to run over a much larger time, and would need to control for many other variables (like e.g. inbound links from people trying to disrupt the experiment, time, modification rate, crawler visits, ...). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:51, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
IOW, since we do not know the answer, therefore there is no need to find the answer? Interesting concept. Yes - a longer time would help. And yes, running a control page would help. But that is scarcely a strong argument against seeking the answers. Cheers. Collect (talk) 15:30, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Collect, I know Matt Cutts and of course we have good relations with Google, and I think they'd listen to any ideas I might put forward, but I don't understand the point of this. Why would we want to "ask Google to remove Wikipedia internal links from being used to increase the rank of a result"? Can you give an example of where this has been a problem? I think Google should use all the information they can get to improve the quality of their search results. (And I don't really agree fully with our use of 'nofollow'.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:03, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

The goal would be to find out if there is a real possibility that people would gain from adding links within Wikipedia in order to promote a specific ranking of an article on Google. At this point various people have said it is possible, and others that it is not possible. If it is possible, then Google likely would wish to determine whether such an artificial increase in rank is something which is desireable or not desireable. Clearly the use of internal links per se is not a problem unless they are being misused. The test would not be needed here if Mr. Cutts is able to determine whether this could happen or not. Right now, however, a great deal of possibly (likely?) useless discussion is occurring on and off-Wiki. The idea is to answer the questions which have been raised - as long as we get an answer, we can cut down a few megabytes of discussions (I think one discussion was on this talk page re: "santorum"). Cheers. Collect (talk) 14:22, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

In reading through this discussion, "Santorum neologism" did flash repeatedly in my mind long before I read Collect's last statement. This is the sort of thing we should be aware of, but not tie all of Wikipedia into knots trying to avoid. 99.999% of the articles are using internal links in a useful, helpful manner for our readers, and that's where our focus should be. If a template is wrong, fix the template. If the body of an article, or an infobox, or a category, or anything else is wrong, fix those. There's no need, imo, to do anything else. If someone is trying to game Google, the answer is not to try to ungame Google, but to refocus on what Wikipedia is trying to accomplish: informing readers by aiming for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If we do that, Google can certainly take care of itself with its ever-changing algorithms. (talk) 14:48, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Or rather the verifiable, the wholly verifiable, and nothing but the verifiable? LadyofShalott 00:39, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
We are applying nofollow to external links, to discourage spam links. In the same way, we could apply nofollow to navboxes, to remove the motivation for internal link spam. There is no good reason to have an article jump up the Google rankings just because a navbox is added. Project pages like noticeboards, WikiProjects and so on shouldn't really add to the "Google juice" a particular article gets either, allowing them to leap-frog other articles that have been unproblematic enough not to attract such attention. --JN466 14:58, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • (Also see topic below: #Linking fringe ideas.) Some new WP articles, nearly orphaned with no incoming links, get instant high-ranking after 10 years of a subject being in Google, so there are stronger factors than being linked in many navboxes. -Wikid77 15:15, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
    • That's certainly true. I've noticed that newly created articles pretty much immediately show up on the first page of Google results, and after a few days make it to the top. --JN466 15:27, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
The implication is that Google assigns higher values to pages on popular sites than it does to other ones. Wikipedia, as a major Internet site, is almost surely assigned much higher weight than any page on "" Cheers. Collect (talk) 15:32, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
If Google confirms that - it would stop a lot of futile speculation. Thanks! Collect (talk) 19:15, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
A confirmation from Google one way or the other as to how internal Wikipedia links influence the absolute page rank of Wikipedia pages, and the relative page rank compared to other Wikipedia pages, would certainly be useful. It is best to have this information out in the open – if it's possible to do SEO using internal links, the community should know how it's done, so we can write guidelines on how to handle it responsibly, and monitor it, or take technical measures that mitigate the problem. If it is possible, but the "how" remains the knowledge of a privileged few, it will just lead to undetected abuse.
On the other hand, if even several hundred internal links make no discernible difference to absolute and relative page rank, then that knowledge would stop a lot of idle speculation. Jimbo, could you ask Matt for information about this? --JN466 20:07, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of this discussion until now so thanks to JN466 for informing me of it. I very much doubt if Google will release any information about their ranking system - it's their crown jewels. Quite apart from anything else, divulging information on how they rank Wikipedia articles could help real SEO spammers; it could hurt us more than it helps us. Prioryman (talk) 22:54, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
We do not need trade secrets (heck - what would we do with them?) - only an assurance that gaming Wikipedia is something that they would not favour. The issue is the amount of discourse which has occurred already and would be likely to continue without some sort of assurance after recent articles indicating the possibility of a problem. I strongly suspect this would be in Google's best interests, as well as the WMF's. Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:10, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
For an acid test, you could try adding the article to a hidden field of Template:The Beatles... Wnt (talk) 23:18, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo asking is likely to be pretty solid. Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:37, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Another SEO issue may be the competition for the term being searched. I imagine that "Whorlton Castle" does not have much competition as far as frequently visited websites are concerned, so while it is known that Google places high value on pages at Wikipedia, it is natural that Whorlton Castle would rank highly without any particular SEO effort. The situation may be different with regard to "Santorum" where an article on a neologism may not rank highly without a bit of SEO effort. Johnuniq (talk) 23:54, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
I thought of that issue too. As I reported at User:Prioryman/Use of SEO techniques on Wikipedia#Conclusions, according to advice from a professional SEO it is easier to manipulate the rankings of an obscure topic than a high-profile one, but that effort would have to be mounted off-wiki rather than on it. With a relatively obscure, low-traffic topic there are unlikely to be many competing landing pages for a particular term. In the case of a high-profile, high-traffic topic like the Santorum Google bomb there will be far more landing pages; pages at the top of search engine rankings will be very difficult to dislodge because of the number of incoming links to those high-ranked pages. And in the specific case of Santorum, we are fortunate to have a reliably sourced screenshot from February 16, 2011 showing Wikipedia's "Santorum (neologism)" article at #2 on Google, well before anyone started making claims about "SEO effort" [17]. To date there is no evidence that I know of to support claims that any such effort has been made and my study suggests that on-wiki attempts to manipulate search rankings are unlikely to have much impact, even in the case of relatively obscure low-traffic topics. Prioryman (talk) 00:21, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
As editors found on the talk page of your study, results vary regionally. I recall the article not being among the top three in May, then moving to second, and finally first place, overtaking even Savage's own Google bomb. I am absolutely certain of the latter – I was amazed when it displaced Savage's own site. Since the changes, it has never again been in first place for me, now consistently ranking in second (but above Rick Santorum).
The fact that Campaign for "santorum" neologism ranks above Rick Santorum in Google searches for santorum is curious, by the way. According to Yahoo! Site Explorer, the Rick Santorum page has vastly more in-bound links than the campaign article, but still comes in third place, after the campaign article (in the UK, at least). [18][19]. The campaign article may still benefit from a few redirects, but it still seems a big difference. --JN466 00:54, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
To clarify, the absolute ranking of articles was not the focus of my study. I was interested in investigating the sensitivity of Google's search engine to changes made to articles – the movement of rankings was the focus rather than the absolute rankings which, as you rightly say, vary regionally. Prioryman (talk) 02:07, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Prioryman, I assume that the SEO expert you refer to above is Jehochman? If not, did you consult him? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:11, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
No, it wasn't. I wasn't aware that Jehochman had anything to do with SEO. Prioryman (talk) 21:02, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Heh. Google ranks pages, not websites. However they have algorithms that detect navigation and run of site links and adjust their calculations accordingly. Adding nav templates in an effort to make a page rank better is not going to manipulate rankings so easily. Page ranking is a complex set of algorithms that take in hundreds of signals, including social signals (click through rates from the search result pages, dwell time, Etc). If people are google bombing the Spreading Santorum site, I am sure they are also Google bombing our page. The solution is for us to speak with Matt Cutts and gently request that Google be a little more respectful of search terms that match a person's name. They would have to do this algorithmically for everyone, not just Santorum, and not just Wikipedia. They may already be working on it, and the problem may be more complex than it looks at first glance. Matt gets a lot of people chewing his ear off about different issues (including me at times). Probably the best thing would be for Jimmy to point Matt to this discussion and ask him to comment. Jehochman Talk 21:50, 17 August 2011 (UTC).
  • I think Google has solved subarticle rank already, by listing 2 WP pages together, in the search-results page (both page titles are listed). See tangent topic: "#Google lists 2 WP pages but needs versus-2 title". -Wikid77 09:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

A kitten for you!

Red Kitten 01.jpg

SSDPenguin (talk) 05:31, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Google lists 2 WP pages but needs versus-2 title

Tangent from above topic: #SEO test.

I think Google has already provided a neat solution: it now lists 2 WP pages together (senator-bio + neologism), so in the future, a subarticle will not eclipse the bio-page just because of WP:RECENTISM. However, I think, in subarticles which are either legal cases, family feuds, or name slurs (etc.), then show both names, such as:

Also, in the case of wide controversies:

  • "Animal rights and Mother Teresa" not "Mother Teresa's animal cruelty" (or other outrageous allegations, even with many sources);
  • "UFO issues and Albert Enstein" not "Einstein talks of UFO sightings".

If a fringe topic must be presented, due to clear notability in WP:RS documents, then do not taint the main article, but rather, create a pro/con subarticle where the fringe idea can be expanded without contaminating the main article, and also provide space to "refute" or offset the fringe idea with NPOV-balanced text. Such a case would be article "Alternative ideas of Titanic sinking" where reliable sources report crewman seeing a UFO (not really) which shot the ship using ice-weapons to stop them reporting the sighting. Nowhere within article "RMS Titanic" would the fringe idea ("UFO") be mentioned (unless it later became widely backed by evidence or later research); no, instead, the neutral title would be linked (as "Alternative ideas...of sinking"). In the same way, nowhere in article "Mother Teresa" would "animal cruelty" be stated as a fringe idea of her actions.
Using that naming tactic, similar to naming legal cases ("U.S. State of Texas v. John Doe"), then criminal acts are not stated and both parties get named in case the event becomes a smear (Texas is just as likely to be wrong, as is John Doe). Plus, in conflicts, state the aggressor (plaintiff) first, so that the, perhaps blameless, target (defendant), gets lower billing (as in "top billing" of actor names in movie scroll credits). I really think we can learn from the legal system (and film schools) how to avoid sensational allegations and soapboxing of lesser characters, or fringe ideas in main articles, and in page titles. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure I entirely understand this proposal, but I agree that this is done already and should be used where necessary. As I was telling someone recently, we have Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory mostly to keep fringe views out of the main Pearl Harbor articles. These views may be worth mentioning, but in some cases they don't deserve more than a sentence in main articles. It's easier to create a repository for them then to fight over their inclusion in other articles. But that article probably shouldn't be the most prominent one in search engine results.   Will Beback  talk  09:33, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
People are suggesting that Google ranks a page higher for whichever Wikipedia page gets more clicks (after a few days), and hence it is good for Google to list 2 pages, both "Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory" plus "Attack on Pearl Harbor" (as back-to-back entries on the search-results page). In that manner, if a fringe TV show causes people to read the conspiracy page more, then at least other readers will still see the main article as WP choice #2 in the list. Remember: in this year (2011), Google changed every result click to a boomerang spy-click, back to Google, to record and tally your choices, where formerly, clicking a search result went directly to that matching website (without Google's knowledge of which result was clicked). Now, if a user accidentally clicks on "Girls gone wild" then Google records that click, noting "which girls were chosen" and perhaps counts if "blondes have more fun". To avoid the spy-clicks, a user must right-click "Copy shortcut" and edit the link to bypass Google, as just a direct link to the chosen website. However, perhaps Google also tallies people who use right-click to bypass spy-clicks (and tallies those copied shortcuts), so copy URLs from the screen (unless copy/paste is also tallied). Privacy requires a lot of work. I think these peeping-tom Google spy-clicks started in March 2011, about the time Google Search dropped "weather" (like "weather London") as a magic search keyword, but I'm not sure exactly when. Anyway, a WP fringe page might outrank the main article, but hopefully, Google continues to list both pages as results for a search. -Wikid77 20:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Linking fringe ideas

This is a tangent from talk of allegations in BLP bio-pages.

People have noted that filling a BLP bio-page with recent-news allegations can distort the page balance, giving WP:UNDUE weight to insinuations of guilt, in a long-term bio-page. However, splitting that text into a sub-article could cause the allegations to outrank the bio-page in Google, as if recommended by Wikipedia as the most-important page about the person (or concept article). So, the issues of concern involve:

  • C1. How to limit allegations within a bio-page?
  • C2. How to title the sub-article to not outrank the bio-page?   -I think Google now lists 2 pages together (close ranks)
  • C3. How to avoid the sub-article from becoming a POV-fork to dwell on negatives about a person/subject, when separated from the main article?
  • C4. How to avoid WP:SEOBOMB wiki-bombing of the fringe, allegations sub-article "title" as a see-also entry or navbox entry in hundreds of other pages?

I have just started this tangent topic, very fast, so I am unaware of the possible answers. Perhaps some people are saying there is no easy solution, as a Catch-22 problem, of being damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't when writing allegations. However, I wanted to focus the discussion here, while people are thinking of ways to repeat an outrageous allegation, or fringe theory, without staining or smearing the main article. More later. -Wikid77 (talk) 10:06, revised 10:14, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

C2: it's really outside of our remit to attempt to manipulate PageRank Jebus989 15:33, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
A real and significant problem - the only real solution is to entirely deprecate "current accusations" where no indictment has been filed. And, more importantly, to bar "links" in other articles to the page listing charges and allegations, or connecting third parties to the acts of the primary party. Wikipedia does not need to be a news source for allegations - let's limit BLP articles to being written scrupulously and not "scruplelessly". Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:25, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Totally wrong. If the reliable sources print it, it's not a fringe idea. And attacking sourcing directly is a mathematically precise perversion of WP:V. Now I agree we should never have had the allegation against Strauss-Kahn on the Main Page, but we should certainly have covered it to the best of our ability, reflecting all viewpoints. Wnt (talk) 16:24, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I am thinking the solution involves "neutral naming of subarticles" as in the manner of court cases which use "versus" rather than naming the charges in the title, exhibit "The people versus Larry Flynt" or "U.S. State of xx v. John Doe". Some outrageous examples of fringe ideas might be:
  • "George Washington's wife-beating concerns" (if real) would be named as "Marital concerns of George Washington" which might also summarize positive reports of his marriage, along with any well-sourced negative text, assuming such concerns were documented in WP:RS pages.
  • "Mother Teresa's sexual deviance issues" (if real) would be named as "Personal life of Mother Teresa" where any well-sourced negative claims, such as prior criminal charges, would be included after a recap of the mainstream positive aspects of her personal life.
Wikipedia can avoid article titles which appear to be "begging the question" of the negative (or positive) ideas, such as the classic "Have you stopped beating your wife?" or "John Doe's views as computer genius" (such titles are POV unbalanced). When an article title appears in Google, then it acts as begging the question that the issue has some possible merit, rather than as merely filed criminal charges, or rather than proven and upheld in various appeals courts. -Wikid77 15:36, revised 15:45, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
That's clearly correct - titles should never beg the question (nice to see the phrase used correctly). That's part of NPOV. Dougweller (talk) 15:52, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
For a real example of a similar problem (now moved, but we are still arguing over the the name, the content, the topic etc) see Lewontin's fallacy. Of course, some will insist it isn't a sub-article, and that it isn't a BLP issue (I suspect that Richard Lewontin might differ)... AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:59, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Some major examples: I have been thinking about names of some major articles, whereas others, such as "Lewontin" might not be so obvious. In particular, I was upset to see the "Dominique Strauss-Kahn case" named in WP with the sensational phrase "sexual assault" even though there were 8? multiple charges including kidnapping, and suggestions of evading arrest. Some alternative titles for that article might be:
  • "Dominique Strauss-Kahn case" - (common title in news reports) which assumes there will not be any others soon;
  • "Dominique Strauss-Kahn hotel maid case" - that's fairly pinpointed;
  • "Dominique Strauss-Kahn case in New York" - similar to a legal title "State of New York v. Strauss-Kahn" (also pinpoints events)
The use of phrase "hotel maid" is also more of a 1-versus-2 form of title, and if the allegations prove to be false, then that title fits the notion of a "he said she said" court debate, rather than as a constant reminder and strong insinuation of sexually-deviant actions. Admittedly, some sources also use the phrase "sexual assault case" but WP is rare in using that choice of words, where most sources simply state, "Dominique Strauss-Kahn case". Considering the deadline for declaring his election candidacy was 13 July 2011, the potential for "character assassination" has already occurred in other sources (outside of WP). However, the naming of that article is a good example to consider, such as compared to child-abuse cases where suspects are often hated in presumption of guilt, such as the highly notable Casey Anthony, acquitted of child-abuse/murder in St. Petersburg, Florida on 5 July 2011. Anyway, I am thinking criminal cases should be named in the style of "Dominique Strauss-Kahn case in New York" (adding the location to pinpoint the jurisdiction). WP should avoid repeating the alleged charges in article titles. -Wikid77 05:23, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
[20], [21]. You could propose adding a section on article titles to BLP policy. A related policy that could comment on the matter is Wikipedia:Article_titles#Neutrality_in_article_titles. --JN466 11:37, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
OK, I have joined conversations at WT:Article_titles, as a first step. Also, created common media redirect "Dominique Strauss-Kahn case" having 4 million Google hits. -Wikid77 06:53, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Simplifying - ban the div tag?

The complex rev. of page User:Jimbo_Wales was oldid=444912787. -Wikid77 04:06, 18 August 2011

Ok, I don't mean 'ban' in the sense of a project-wide ban, but here is what I am thinking about.

I just went to edit my own user page User:Jimbo Wales because I noticed someone had placed a photo on there that had nothing to do with me at all. (Lovely photo, but I thought I would just remove it.) And as I was editing, I thought about my keynote speech at Wikimania this year and how I think I should take a leadership role in coaching all of us to make editing easier for relative newcomers. (Think of a wonderful, smart person who would be a good writer, who has just made 2-3 edits and is thinking of getting more involved... but who doesn't know a lot about programming / coding / markup languages.)

My user page is quite pretty, but it is chock full of div tags (and much worse). Please go click on edit and see. Here's a sample of markup: {{#ifexpr: {{CURRENTMONTH}}=8 and {{CURRENTDAY}}=7 |{{!}}- {{!}} style="text-align: center; {{gradient|#ddddff|#eeeeff|vertical}} border: 1px solid #88a; {{box-shadow|1px|1px|6px|#445}} {{border-radius|1em}}" colspan="2" {{!}} [[File:Birthday cake (fun).png|left|200px]] [[File:Birthday cake (fun).png|right|200px]] <span style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 16pt">{{Break|5}}Happy {{Ordinal|{{#expr:{{CURRENTYEAR}}-1966}}|sup=yes}} Birthday Jimbo, from everyone here at Wikipedia!!</span> }}

So, like, I'm a programmer and I can at least read the general gist of this. Once a year, on my birthday, this will magically change part of my userpage to give me a sweet birthday message. Great, I mean, that really is actually quite cool.

But what isn't cool is some of this markup. Ok, many people can probably roughly guess at what things like "text-align: center" might mean. But what the heck is "{{!}}"??? I know that the curly braces denote a template. Do we really have a template out there named as exclamation point? (The sad answer is yes, yes we do.) What does it do? Why? Why do I need to know this? If the benefit is some minor degree of flexibility/beauty in my userpage, but the cost is that a relatively new user such as myself (haha) feels intimidated from editing, not because I'm dumb and can't figure things out if I try (I am a programmer, after all), but because, jeez, I have a life, and I want to write an encyclopedia not get a diploma in wiki markup.

So here is what I am thinking about. I'm thinking about going through my user page with a chain saw and return it to a 'good old days' style... and to encourage others to do the same... and eventually to encourage the Foundation to develop the visual editing tools to allow a certain amount of beauty but without forcing people to learn this horrifying way of doing things.

But this is my own userpage, so of course within rational bounds I can do what I want. Slightly more controversially, I may start to go through articles on my watchlist that I edit for content (generally, UK peers and BLPs that I help monitor) with a general bias against including div tags and other such monstrosities. Not "with a chainsaw" mind you (that would be disrupting Wikipedia to make a point), but rather with a gentle eye towards making Wikipedia the encyclopedia anyone can edit.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:20, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

To be fair, most of the really bad markup is outside of article space (like on your userpage) but we need it for places like portals or the main page. The worst markup in article space is usually in the references, unfortunately. —Kusma (t·c) 11:46, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
There are many things in life many of us enjoy using without understanding exactly how they work, and certainly without feeling any necessity to create them from scratch. That's most people, not techies. Techies love to code from scratch and have a visceral dislike for anything anyone else has coded. Whatever it is, they feel an immediate name to 'improve' it. Some write their own word processors and spreadsheets. It's who they are. Go ahead and embrace your Inner Geek, but don't assume everyone has one. If I wanted to use that Birthday thing myself, I would copy and paste it. Why would I want to recreate it myself? The obvious fields to change are CURRENTDAY, CURRENTMONTH, CURRENTYEAR and the message. I can do that, no diploma required. So can everyone else. I can't create an infobox or a table either, but I can copy and modify ones that others have done. Which is a good thing, as it helps with consistency. Do you honestly want each UK Peer article to be 'creative and unique' in its formatting, or do you want the focus to be on the contents? I just don't buy the assumption that there are vast legions of potential Wikipedia contributors who are violently allergic to any and all code. They just want to use it, not write it. Most people have used Word and Excel in school or work and understand the concept of highlight and click an option. That implies knowing what the options are. What they need is to be able to mouse-over the more cryptic Wikipedia symbols and see an explanation of what they'll do. Unfortunately, Wikipedia steadfastly refuses to provide this in the editing box, so people are understandably frustrated trying to figure out what the various 'Wiki markup' symbols mean. They're not stupid, they just don't enjoy being jerked around by people who enjoy discouraging non-techies. Ten years, and no one has yet found the time to write a useful mouse-over for these? Really? They can find all sorts of time to create birthday cakes et al, yet a few minutes for the mouse-overs is simply not possible? Jimmy, it's insulting to see Click on the character or tag to insert it into the edit window for every single example of code. We know that. We get it. What we want is to know what the codes do, and we know very well that shouldn't require a video tutorial, endless reading, less-than-useful 'wizards', a personal mentor - or a diploma, as you put it. (talk) 14:04, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Unless the articles you maintain are different from the ones I do, I don't think you'll actually find much of that stuff. What would really be most valuable to new editors, I believe, would be to provide a simpler way of constructing references. For medical journal articles there is an excellent tool to do it automatically given a Pubmed index number, but for other types of references it is usually a huge pain in the ass, even for experienced editors. Looie496 (talk) 15:38, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you on the aim but not the priority. We have a team of people developing a WYSIWYG interface - I'd be inclined to wait until they announce they can't do it or they are doing all but templates x, y and z - then go round and see if the bits they can't do are really needed in articles. If you want to push the simplification agenda I'd suggest revisiting the maintenance templates. I suggested a while back that we work out which ones are needed to warn readers, and which others succeed in recruiting readers and newbies to fix things and replace all the rest with hidden categories. The only thing hindering such a move is that some people like these templates, but if we used a bot to replace all orphan templates with a hidden category of orphan it would be an easy and painless simplification of the pedia.
Oh and I love the idea of the diploma for wiki markup - how do I apply for mine? Wait, this could be sensible, how do we get an academic institution to start assessing editors and awarding diplomas? I'm thinking this could apply on a very broad range from badges in the scouts to points towards Open University courses. When I was in the scouts I got a badge for growing a bunch of vegetables, I'm sure we could agree criteria for a scout badge. ϢereSpielChequers 15:59, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
The orphan tag issue does need fixing... discussions at Wikiproject Orphanage seem to fizzle out but moving the tags to a talk page / hidden category / end-of-article template should be a priority. No reader or inexperienced editor needs to see them at the head of so many pages.
@Jimbo I would definitely sort your userpage out if you want to. It's become extremely bloated and has an outdated 'web 1.0' feeling. Userpages that work well often just have a single nice image from commons and a small amount of text Jebus989 11:24, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Looking at this code, the reason for its complexity is (a) it's trying to conditionally add rows to an HTML table, which requires the Template:! kludge to pass the "|" character and (b) it was a custom job, not using any template pages to break down the problem conceptually. The first I can't do anything about, but the second I can. I've apparently recreated the output using the following code (changing your birthday from 8-7 just to make it display today):
{{User:Wnt/Templates/Addrow|conditional={{User:Wnt/Templates/Dateconditional|8|13}}|style={{User:Wnt/Templates/Birthdaystyle}}|colspan=2|content={{User:Wnt/Templates/Birthdaycontent|name=Jimbo|from=everyone here at Wikipedia!!|byear=1966}}}}
If you'd like, I could substitute this code on your userpage; also you might prefer I move the templates to be subpages of your page. I've written them now to be generalizable to anyone. But likely one or more of these templates already exists somewhere, very likely the code could be written better ... and without a doubt, there must be a better birthday cake image and font.
I understand the frustration with this code, but I would bet money there's no way that any WYSIWYG editor is going to have a way to let you add a row to a table to display a custom message just on your birthday. You need some ugly programming like language to do that; but sorting it out into individual templates seems neater. Wnt (talk) 14:09, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
But I think there is absolutely no valid reason to have it on anyone user page at all, ever, under any circumstances. It's a bad thing that we have the ability to do such things, at the cost of ridiculous coding.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:23, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I concur with making Wikipedia the encyclopedia that "Anybody can edit", so might I suggest a feature where you can "hide code" or "show code". This would make things convenient for people who get scared away and intimidated by seeing code; while alternatively, a "show code" button should make it easy enough for more experienced editors to continue building pages into more aesthetically pleasing layouts (not too mention functionally better). Consider also implementing Google's Font API's, with restrictions of course (wouldn't want the horrendous layouts that happened to Myspace), but beautiful typography is nothing to squawk at, especially for an encyclopedia, it could really push Wikipedia to the next level, least I think so. The current skins are just - well - brutally ugly. No offense. I had to quickly revert to the default Vector style. The others styles are what I would have expected from a website in the 90's. Couldn't you just hire some good designers to come up with some good alternatives? Well anyway, still a great site. Good work. No complaints just suggesting whats on my mind. Jason (talk) 06:47, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Some interesting comments from Jimbo, I will say. Sometimes, I feel the same way when I look at my userpage, and I did that all myself :) Anyways, when I was a newcomer here some 3 or so years ago, I have had some RL experience in web design, HTML/CSS, etc., but MediaWiki was brand new to me, though I did experiment with some other wikis back in the day (I'm talking back in 2006-2007). On the other hand, I understand what a black box is. I realized that some things worked for reasons past my level of knowledge because of that "black box", and that, if I wanted to, I could delve deeper into that box anytime and see how the insides work.

Anyways, long story short, if you want to "increase" the size of that black box, then more templates or subpages would be needed; to decrease its size would logically be the opposite. –MuZemike 22:33, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

  • The solution here is not to take a chainsaw to things we don't understand, but to solve the actual problem. The problem is that the markup on your user page is cryptic and difficult to decipher. The solution is to make it easier to decipher without losing functionality. There is already a way to do this, and it's called templates. Templates are routinely used to hide away the nasty code that is required to make something dynamic happen. It would be rather trivial to create a template which simplifies the code into something like this: {{BirthdayMessage|month=8|day=7}}, and a solution such as this has the added benefit that now other users can easily add a birthday message to their user pages without having to understand <div> tags and {{!}} templates and CSS styles. —SW— confess 22:37, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
    • I think that even {{BirthdayMessage|month=8|day=7}} is ridiculous and wrong. It's a conceptual failure if we think that's how we should do things, I think. Ask yourself, would facebook do it that way? No. Yes, people who want to be app developers can develop apps for facebook. I'm sure there's one to pop up a birthday message on my profile at facebook. (Of course facebook's permission model is different from ours, radically so, but that isn't my point.) My point is that no one should have to learn that kind of markup language.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:23, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Here's my concern: Why is it "sad" that we have a Template:!? You could say that it would be better to name the template something more transparent like Template:PipeHack or even Template:Use this to include literal pipes in parser function parameters, but either one of those makes the readability problem worse, not better. Is it sad that we need the template just because we want to make things look pretty? Is it sad that we can't write a parser that distinguishes automatically between a literal pipe and an operator pipe? Is it sad that the pipe operator is overloaded and used for tables, for pipelinks, for image parameter delimiting, for template parameter delimiting, and for parser function parameter delimiting? Powers T 13:36, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
    • I think it is obviously sad that an end user should ever need to know anything like it. People should not have to ever think about such arcane questions about the pipe operator being overloaded, etc. People should not ever have to write code to make things look pretty. I use facebook nearly every single day, and I know how to do a lot of nice things. Smart people who are developers made them for me. I don't need to know how they did it. End users should be protected from such stuff, absolutely, or we simply should not have it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:42, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
      If more people knew the pipe/bar "|" was overloaded, then we might get #then and #else, sooner, to be allowed in MediaWiki if-expressions. -Wikid77 06:06, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
      • Facebook is a poor model to follow. On Facebook, you have end users and you have developers, and 99% of the end users will never become developers, because you need to know how to program, and how to interface with the Facebook API, and have a server on which to host the program, and all sorts of other technical details that keep even me, a professional software engineer, from actually coding any applications. Wiki markup and template coding, on the other hand, may be hard to understand, but it's much more accessible than nearly any other programming language. People like me, who don't find relatively simple markup intimidating, can work on these complex templates without needing help from "full-time" MediaWiki developers and without having to learn a full language.
        If we were to obfuscate MediaWiki's useful abilities behind complex code and applications and gadgets, people like me might be shut out of the development process. By exposing it, we make people want to learn more, and then they can help us make these neat things. Powers T 00:56, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
      • I'm all for going back to our roots and all.. but this kind of 'dumbing-down' of Wikipedia could have a negative effect on the quality of content. I'd think we want to attract the intelligent intuitive crowd.. we're an encyclopedia, not a social networking site. When I first started on Wikipedia I knew nothing of wiki-markup, but that only made me eager to learn, now I consider myself privileged to have this knowledge, and willing to teach it to others. -- œ 05:01, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
      • I have to agree with the above; yet Wikipedia already suffers from some pretty big divides once you get to the serious Javascript applications (like User:AndyZ/peerreviewer, though reading that I see there is an effort at Wikipedia:WikiProject User scripts to start helping people up). Development of the Wiki software itself seems beyond the reach of even the experienced editor. Clearly the idealistic optimum situation would not be to give Wikimedia money to hire developers but to have an active community that creates developers from scratch. Wnt (talk) 07:30, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Well, Jimbo's user-page had become overly complex (see revision: oldid=444912787), and too many fringe people have been griping that "Wikipedia is too hard to use" (but not according to user-survey), so avoiding some complex markup is part of the solution. However, we know from computer usability studies that use of "non-procedural languages" is the answer. Hence, we can adequately simplify a gob of nested markup: {{#if:{{A}}=8 and {{B}}=7|{{{x}}}|{{{y|}}}{{box-shadow|1px|1px|6px|#445}}...}}, as replaced by a simple template, such as {{BirthdayMessage |month=8|day=7}}. The evidence of how such templates are accepted by users, on enwiki, is clear from the use of millions of template calls in the form of infoboxes and conversions. It's not like "63 people" are coding all infoboxes, instead there are thousands of editors creating and using templates. Once all the complex CSS styles and wikitable codes are hidden inside such templates, then most users have no trouble editing the article pages. We need to beware the management-by-gripe syndrome, where only the "squeaky wheel gets the oil" when all "wheels" need oil on a regular basis. A small handful of people keep complaining, griping, and bemoaning the misperception that Wikipedia is too complicated (?), while the broader user surveys reveal perhaps only 9% worry about the technology, whereas more users (43%) want to know their editing will help people, not be deleted, want to know what to edit, and not anger other editors to argue about the writing. Even the 9% who worried about techno-issues could perhaps be taught some special editing tips (WP:Advanced text formatting), and then the real worries would be very few. Quality-control guru W. Edwards Deming warned of dangers from gripes, which are not a representative sample of all end-users, and warned about "zero defects" overkill, when customers might not mind a few glitches (rarely need to be "perfect"). That's why readers scan past vandalism, and people keep reading (high pageviews) despite the rare gripes, "There are a few errors in articles" (so?). Most readers do not care. Meanwhile, rely on results of broader survey sample sizes (> 1,001), and beware of gripes, especially since negative, pessimistic people are perhaps the source of most gripes. They do not reflect the broader reality. This is an issue we need to discuss more in the future. -Wikid77 06:06, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

The other day, I decided to shunt the header and other wiki-markup to a separate template (see [22]), so the only thing there besides the bot-archiving and template transclusion are actual discussions with simple, everyday wiki-markup. Does make things significantly neater, I will say. –MuZemike 22:30, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo's page used to say "Since this page is just so simple and plain, my ultimate dream is that some person who thinks it is fun would come along and make it look perfect, or close to perfect." Has that dream died? Or is Jimbo's position now that it's up to a MediaWiki developer to create intuitive tools to make the page look perfect, rather than up to the average Wikipedia editor using the existing HTML, CSS, and MediaWiki tools to make the page look perfect? I, for one, greatly prefer the latter route, because the former route is closed to so many of us. Powers T 13:51, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Image filter "referendum"

Jimbo, do you think you could use your influence to put the brakes on the misnamed "referendum" happening now [Meta about the implementation of image filters on Wikipedia? It seems clear that it is premature to be discussing design and implementation before the difficult discussions of classifying images has been done. Some basic questions seem to be unanswered:

  • Will there be one classification system for all language wikis or will each wiki need its own classifications?
  • Will this apply to all images or only those from Commons?
  • Who will classify images (i.e., admins or editors or some new class of user)?
  • What are the categories (and will they apply to all wikis or will each language wiki have their own)?
  • Will users be able to flag images for possible inclusion in filters? All users or only registered users?
  • Will users have the ability to filter specific images that are not classified by the main system (a personal blacklist)?
  • Does the system need to work on low powers computers (eg OLPC, or computers not running Javascript for performance reasons)?
  • What is an acceptable level of performance degradation on Wikipedia as a whole as a result of such a system?
  • What is an acceptable level of performance degradation on a user's computer as a result of such a system?

It is possible that these questions have been considered and answered. If so, that information needs to be given to the community to digest before asking for their input. If not, perhaps it would be more sensible to pose some of these questions to the community before starting the design phase of the project in earnest.

The most contentious part of this project will be the classification of images. It is foolhardy to expect that this project can be successful unless those difficult discussions are had sooner rather than later. Many people on the referendum's talk page do not seem to grasp that implementation has been mandated by the WMF and seem to think that the referendum is a vote. Perhaps the title "referendum" was a poor choice. I urge you to call a halt to this and ask that people stop work on the design until the process issues are discussed. Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 12:51, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I have been under the impression that the referendum is being used to help answer some of those questions. Have you taken it? There is a specific area for write-in comments. Ryan Vesey Review me! 13:09, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be useful to ask those questions, then, rather than asking users to rate specific propositions on a scale of one to ten. Everything about this referendum seems to be designed merely to say "we asked the community for input". It is premature and misguided to be at this stage without having settled the process issues, unpleasant as that will be. I suspect that someone at the WMF decided that there would be less likelihood of the project being derailed if they wrote the code first and then presented the community with the process issue afterwards. That doesn't seem like a good way to run a software project. Frankly, the people that the WMF should be asking for input are not the people who edit Wikipedia, but those who read Wikipedia, specifically those communities that are likely to make use of any such filtering system. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:39, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I noted that the filter is far more important for "logged out" users than anyone else - a parent who has strong filters would find a child seeking the "juicy bits" would simply log out! Thus making the entire concept non-utile. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:14, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
As I understand it, it is computer specific and cookie-based. Logging out won't allow them to see the juicy bits. :) A child smart enough to delete the cookie, now..... --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:16, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
My 8-year-old grandnephew knows how to delete cookies - do you really think that idea works for any half-way intelligent computer knowledgable kid? (I submit that a kid on the Internet is likely to now a bit about how cookies work) <g> Collect (talk) 13:26, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
My assumption is that a cookie set for a logged-in user would not be applied to the logged out (or not logged in) user on the same computer, any more than it would be applied to a different logged-in user on the same computer who has not set a preference. This is one of the many reasons that I have proposed that the filters be on by default. Another design question that should be posed to the end user. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:28, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Filters on by default? You'll have to deprecate WP:NOTCENSORED first, and I wish you all the luck in the world accomplishing that. Resolute 13:45, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
As I asked on the talk page, when did personal preference become synonymous with censorship? If you want to see the images, just turn off the filter. Nothing is being censored. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:49, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Hiding the images by default is censorship. If you want to hide images that suit your personal views, you can turn on the filter. Don't shove your personal preferences down my throat by default. Resolute 14:57, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Have you read anything about the filter? It is an opt-in image filter. No images are going to be hidden "by default". Ryan Vesey Review me! 15:00, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
In my experience, every other major website that hides potentially offensive content does so by default. While you will probably feel that they are shoving things down your throat also, this is the common model. In the case of the Wikipedia image filter, someone has to take action either to turn on or turn off the filter. One could argue that you want to shove your personal preferences down other's throats be making them opt-in to an image filter. I don't find that kind of language or argument helpful. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:16, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you Delicious carbuncle. Every system has a default. Whatever the default is set to, it will be arguably "shoving someone's personal preferences down other people's throat". Reso's argument is incoherent and inflammatory.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:49, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes Ryan, I know that the proposal is opt-in. I was responding to DC's suggestion to make it opt-out. DC - What other sites do is irrelevant. Wikipedia's own content disclaimers warn you that you may be offended by what you see here. If you wish to change that, you either need to take responsibility for yourself, or find a way to convince the community to hide what you find objectionable. The latter has about a snowball's chance in hell of passing, so I would recommend you consider the former. Resolute 17:25, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Resolute, although I occasionally think that some images are used inappropriately here, I am fairly hard to offend and have never been offended by an image I've seen on Wikipedia. I have not decreed that image filters will be implemented - the WMF has. I have not decided that the users will have the ability to block images they find objectionable - the WMF has. Given that those images filters are going to implemented, I believe that they should be on by default. Not for my benefit, but for the benefit of those who are likely to want them. What other high-profile sites do should be viewed as "best practice". Being dismissive is not helpful. 17:36, 17 August 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Delicious carbuncle (talkcontribs)
Sorry Resolute, I missed that portion of his comment. Ryan Vesey Review me! 18:34, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe that the primary purpose of the filter will be as a parental control tool either. Even if it is, I think kids have better sites than Wikipedia to go to see the "juicy bits". Ryan Vesey Review me! 13:22, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that the notion that we should have a massive community engagement before product design has been proven to not work well at all. We in the community need to give the software developers the moral permission to innovate with a more traditional and successful free software model of "Release early, release often". The bureaucratic process of holding massive community referendums to decide how software will work that is not even in existence isn't very helpful. At the same time, this referendum is, as Ryan says above, precisely about getting a sense of how people weight various issues, so I don't mind it so much.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:37, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, Jimbo, but I tend to think the the process should drive the software design and not vice versa. I am not suggesting you ask the community how to implement the code, but they should be the ones designing the process. Leaving process issues until the software is written is not usually a recipe for success in software projects. Thanks anyway. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:45, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Your statement about "freedom to innovate" makes it sound like the software developers are deciding what to work on as a matter of personal choice. Is that true? Because if so I can understand leaving them to volunteer what work they wish, but if someone is telling them what to do then I want them to be told to put this on a far back burner and instead develop a way to search the article history to find out who in the last two years took out the source I added, or who added a particular sentence. Also a better diff filter that highlights moved but otherwise unchanged text in a different color. Wnt (talk) 14:54, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I'd agree with you, Jimmy, were that proposed feature not so fundamentally opposed to everything this project is about. It's not clear to me that there wouldn't be overwhelming consensus against that "feature" as opposed to the common cries of "a simple supermajority isn't consensus!!1!" — Coren (talk) 11:43, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Simply said: The worst piece of shit i have ever seen in my years contributing to Wikipedia. There is no way such a system could be neutral or objective. It's a burden on technical side, on user side and contributers side. It was decided without asking the communities. All they got left is to choose the method on how it should work, not if it should work. Many feel already betrayed by this method. At least we can throw cats around... Does or can it get any stupider? --Niabot (talk) 15:07, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Limit software discussions to avoid paralysis of analysis: A tactic sometimes used to avoid over-debating of features is to have a design competition, perhaps including several rough prototype software packages, and then people can choose the best design or suggest merging features of some. The prototypes can be very crude, or even just some proposed screen-designs rather than actual running software. If enough features are known, then a single prototype could be the basis for expansion, without a competition phase. That tactic allows developers to work faster, and allows more time to then work on other software features, such as there is/was a blame-tool that tediously searches into the various article revisions to find who to "blame" for adding a particular phrase to an article. -Wikid77 15:15, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
It's not to "blame" people, but to be able to see the reason given in the edit summary, to know where (when) in the archives to look for any relevant discussion, to be able to contact the editor for more info about a paywalled/offline source, etc. Wnt (talk) 15:23, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Delicious carbuncle has it right: Frankly, the people that the WMF should be asking for input are not the people who edit Wikipedia, but those who read Wikipedia, specifically those communities that are likely to make use of any such filtering system. In addition, I would remind everyone that Wikipedia, as an encyclopedia, already insists on educational value for images. That means salacious or violent images with no redeeming social or educational value aren't allowed in the first place. Parental filters for only one source (Wikipedia) are absurd. If someone wants one for their children, they'll choose one which works on the entire web and fits their personal ideas of what's fit and what's not fit for viewing, as one size does NOT fit all. Religious filters (no pictures of Mohammed, for instance) vary by religion, and Wikipedia does not need to go there. Filters for those easily upset make me wonder why those people would search for (for example) a graphic sexual term in the first place. Summary: If an image is considered to be seriously problematical, then simply provide a link to it (where it presumably resides in Commons) with a note that it's problematical. Any user can then decide whether or not to follow it. Based on what the article or section is about, readers will already have a pretty good idea of what they're going to see if they click on the link. No opt-in/opt-out or setting of preferences is necessary. Quite frankly, this referendum sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Note: If the issue is that Google is not listing some Wikipedia pages because of their own image filters, then we should be told that upfront. (talk) 16:03, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Let software guys suggest solutions: After the programmers start considering several scenarios, then they begin to see what could be done. There are a few, somewhat complex issues; remember, many youngsters think the plural of "spelling test" is "spelling testes" and other typos cause trouble (mammoth, mammary, penal code, penile, whole, whore, plus slang: ho, hoe, beaver, etc.). There are many ways that an image search could go awry, and we've already discussed ways to substitute "modest nudes" (by conditional display) into artistic articles, such as a Salvador Dali gallery, where close-up nudes could be avoided by showing blurred or other modest images. Let the developers see what reasonable features could be provided. Meanwhile, it has been suggested that some talk-pages are more vulgar than pornography, and often, no child should be allowed to read WP:ANI debates, without adult supervision! -Wikid77 17:43, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
  • "salacious or violent images with no redeeming social or educational value aren't allowed in the first place": I guess opinions differ as to whether the five images of tied-up women in Hogtie_bondage are salacious, or educational. --JN466 17:44, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
    • Every image demonstrates a different hogtie. Together they show that there are different variations. But im wondering if someone searching for "Hogtie Bondage" would expect to see pink bunnies, green grass, a yello sun and some purple flowers? --Niabot (talk) 17:51, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
      • I wouldn't care if the opt-in/out filter blocked all images unless specifically asked to be shown. What I do hate is when a personally disturbing image pops up on my screen and my family, including an 8 year old, are in close proximity. I think it is a positive step in the right direction, I have voted, and as I said on my talk page, I think you should too. My76Strat (talk) 17:58, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
        • I already voted on this issue. You can guess that it was (0,0,10,0,?,?), because i think it is unacceptable to block knowledge. But let me ask you about your typical usage of Wikipedia if you randomly stumble upon such "offensive" content? If you are an admin you will need to watch at many different pages then you could set up this filter for the meantime. No need for permanent blocking of such content for everyone. --Niabot (talk) 18:11, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
          • "permanent blocking of such content for everyone"? I'm not sure if clarification is needed or if you're referring to stronger suggestions above than the PIF actually establishes, but I'll just note in case it's not clear that this is a personal opt-in filter that individuals set up for themselves and can override at will on individual images or overall. If I choose to adopt a filter (I will not, though I support the option), I am not blocking content for anyone else but me, and there's nothing permanent about it. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 19:47, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
    • Are you suggesting that similar images would be appropriate in the Knot article, because they depict different knots. If so, it is one more reason for the filter. My76Strat (talk) 18:31, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
      • There are many different examples and illustrations for knots. I would not have any problem to find such an image as an "example for practical" use, if it's not the only one in this section. But since this is not main usage of knots i would not include it inside the article "knot", because there are tasks/depictions of higher importance for the topic. The other way around i wouldn't replace one of the images inside "hogtie bondage" with a generic example of a knot that fails the subject. It's only natural where to expect things and where not. BTW: No one suggested to include one of the images in knot. You must have wild ideas, my friend. ;-) --Niabot (talk) 18:40, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
IMHO I'd say Lilith as illustrated offers a much more appealing variant on this motif, and it's true that any child with the name might type it in. But it's also true that such outstanding artwork really shouldn't be shuttered. We only make such concessions to such poor unfortunates as believe in offense by image as are necessary to permit them to enjoy our encyclopedia to the extent they are able. As such, I voted against this not because I want to make all image hiding in all forms impossible - I am merely unwilling to support any idea that requires people here to decide which images are or are not in a category of potentially offensive content. Wnt (talk) 19:40, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Unless this has already been put up for a vote before, is there any reason why you're not polling for the preference between opt-in vs. opt-out for un-logged-in readers? Since it seems relatively simple to change the preferences using cookie tracking, this seems at least worth consideration (and far more likely to actually address the issue). --SB_Johnny | talk 21:08, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree with you but I didn't have anything to do with the referendum.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:03, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Go vote already

Seriously, go vote!. By the way, was there some sort of watchlist notice that I missed for this vote? I had to go search out a link to vote myself and it really shouldn't be that difficult to do so. SilverserenC 21:56, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

There is a site notice, but it doesn't render very well on my browser as configured, perhaps your as well. My76Strat (talk) 21:58, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Voting on what? The vote only contains the choice between one evil thing and another evil thing. What about all the people that don't like this filtering at all. How are they supposed to be voting? Rolling some dice, don't vote at all, vote as confusing as it can get? --Niabot (talk) 00:31, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm fairly certain that voting all 0's and then writing in the comment section that you oppose any use of this filter (like I did) would count as opposing it. SilverserenC 01:59, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
You can vote 0 on whether this is important to do, and 10 on the questions how easy it should be to disable. Of course any money spent on this should rather go into educating board members about how a censorship infrastructure is antithetical to the Foundation's mission. —Kusma (t·c) 02:30, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I definitely agree with that. SilverserenC 02:33, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I also agree in principle, but it is a straw man argument because censorship is not what this is about. It is about choices, that can allow me to be different than you. My76Strat (talk) 02:37, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I have nothing against you choosing not to see certain pictures. I think that the Wikimedia Foundation should not be providing tools for you to do that, as these tools can be used also for censorship. Third parties might supply what you need without endangering the WMF's mission. —Kusma (t·c) 02:56, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
WMF should be the primary responder in assisting with the tools. It shows that they value even my position. And it's not some tremendous burden. My76Strat (talk) 02:59, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
But who decides what your position is? Implementing a filter requires implementing a system to decide what is filtered. --OnoremDil 04:04, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I am fairly certain that the WMF people will be deciding what is filtered. The only thing we would be doing is placing images into categories. Ryan Vesey Review me! 04:13, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
That doesn't at all answer the question. OK...WMF picks the filter, now who decides what category the image belongs in? --OnoremDil 04:17, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Categories are maintained by the communities, just as they are now. In other words, us. :)
I see the word "censorship" being thrown around in this conversation at its various outlets an awful lot. Our article on censorship seems to take as central to the concept that control is being exerted by outside bodies. In this case, control is being offered to the individuals themselves--who choose what categories (if any) to exclude and who, like all of us, are capable of shaping the development of the categories. Even self-censorship doesn't seem to include the idea that censorship involves choosing what you do not want to view yourself. Don't most of us do this in some form or another, more or less constantly? My local bookstore is kind enough to categorize their content. I choose what sections I want to go to. I choose not to go to the sections where they house magazines with naked people, and I know that (unless some customer has been naughty) I will not find them tucked in next to Harry Potter. I'm happy; the people who want to peruse the naked magazines are happy. We all have personal choice and free will. (Of course, somebody could argue that clumping those magazines in one section, as they do, stigmatizes them, ghettoizes them and is one step away from banning them altogether. And yet, they've been there for decades.)
When I decided to save the article shock art from speedy deletion in 2007, I saw lots of stuff on the web that I wish I could have unseen. I knew the risks, took them, and forged ahead for the sake of saving the article--but I'm also not really comfortable, say, with torturing animals for the artistic enlightenment of others. Due to copyright and issues of reliable sourcing, our article is pretty innocuous. :) But say there weren't copyright concerns (and more reliable sources utilized the term). It wouldn't be censorship to put images in that article which readers could choose to see, or not, based on their categories and descriptions. It's one thing to read about it, something else to look at it. The article does not lose all educational value because the images must be clicked to be viewed. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:26, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Should they also value the position of the Chinese government? —Kusma (t·c) 06:34, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, put it this way: if Wikipedia goes out of its way to respect the position of someone who doesn't want to look at topless women because they're not "safe for work", should we express contempt for Chinese people who don't want images of Tank Man coming up because it's not safe for them not getting hauled down to the police station and beaten? We should avoid such impossible decisions in the first place, by focusing on creating the content and leaving it to others to decide what to chop out for their own uses of it. Wnt (talk) 07:17, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

As I understand it, if this proposal is implemented, and a user chooses to do nothing about it at all -- doesn't opt in, doesn't opt out, but just ignores the whole whole thing -- it will not change how he/she views images at all. Is that correct? In other words, that hypothetical user would see exactly what he/she sees now, without having to click anything extra to see any image. Right? (I have already voted, but if the answer is not what I think it is, I guess I have to reconsider my vote.) Neutron (talk) 20:14, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Your userpage

JIMBO WHY U VANDALISING :P May I ask why you have decided to reset your userpage? No need to answer, but you may if you want. LikeLakers2 (talk) 22:05, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

There's a big discussion further up the page. I'm on a campaign against anything and everything within Wikipedia which is both difficult and useless. I'm doing my part to make Wikipedia less frustrating for newcomers by cleaning up my own userpage. It will be less pretty now, but anyone who wants to help with it will find it easy to do so.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:08, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I thought you had embraced the harej school of user page design: if you use anything other than text and a few pictures, you're a tool. hare j 22:10, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
 :-) Something like that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:14, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps it could be like WP:SANDBOX; it gets reset every so often. Perhaps we could reset it once per month? No objections to what you say, though, Jimbo Wales. I say that because I don't want to get blocked :P LikeLakers2 (talk) 22:18, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
It could be the start of something good. I have returned over 75,000 bytes for more productive use. My76Strat (talk) 22:21, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I assume there will be a lot of editors leaning towards simplification now. Ryan Vesey Review me! 22:29, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo garners a lot of respect, and when he chooses to lead, I am inclined to follow. I do wish there was more in the way of leadership. My76Strat (talk) 22:32, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
You should keep your committed identity box though folks--Jac16888 Talk 22:34, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Happy to see it happen, at last. Less is more. Gwen Gale (talk) 22:35, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
If you don't mind, Jimbo, I re-added the "You may edit this page!" thing from before, to let users know they may freely edit this page, so long as it isn't vandalism or some other rule breaker. Mainly, the page doesn't exactly feel as good without it. I did mark down what the {{/Editnotice}} thing at the bottom of the page was for, so don't worry. (Of course, you may revert this if you do not want this.) LikeLakers2 (talk) 23:05, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
That's a template, LikeLakers, which he said he didn't want. Only saying. Gwen Gale (talk) 00:50, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I know. It seems to make the page look nicer is all. If he doesn't want it there, he can remove it himself OR let me know. I am nice like that. Besides, its not exactly a Jimbo Wales-type userpage to me unless there is something like that there. (to me, at least) LikeLakers2 (talk) 01:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, I dunno... I see a {{nowrap|{{NonSpamEmail|jwales|}}}} in there. I think someone has already strayed from the straight and narrow of Wiki-Wahhabism. ;) Wnt (talk) 07:39, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I guess this makes me a Wiki-Infidel, cause they'll have to pry my divs out of my cold dead hands :) No that I do not see the point. --Cerejota (talk) 09:05, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I created my userpage on my 5th edit, and apart from removing vandalism a few times it hasn't been touched since. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:46, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Admirable move Jimbo. I've done my first stab at joining you on this one. ;) Steven Walling • talk 21:26, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


Followup attempt from

Dear Mr Wales,

I apologize for the delay and appreciate the patience you've given. Xyrem worked. I am more "well rested" than i can ever remember, ready to try again, and coincidentally in urgent need of exactly what "" will provide others with. So the medical complication I am currently panicking over can at least have value functioning as illumination for you. I have confidence that i will be able to successfully communicate it this time. May i contact you?

Aaron Remington Kasey Bale-Grasch
Narcoleptic Inventor of NeuroSync

--ARKBG1 (talk) 10:43, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

In case you haven't heard about it, we do have a Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science where you can ask questions to a more scientifically inclined audience. We can't offer medical diagnosis or treatment recommendations for specific cases, but we could give general information about Xyrem, gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, narcolepsy, and perhaps some of the side effects if you describe them further. I'd encourage you to consider asking there. Besides, I wouldn't mind going a bit off-topic and trying to figure out how a popular drug banned in the 90s is patented until 2024. Wnt (talk) 20:24, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
jimbos proclivity towards science isnt needed. there are few people on earth that can revolutionize the concept of an "encyclopedia" in just a profoudly delicate and self sustaining way. long story short: i lost a decade (at least) unecessarily. Altho i have been studying "support groups" since diagnosis at age 19, and will continue towards revolutionizing them, no one can provide the scoped perspective of jimbo. i only need his foresight. revolutionizing the encycolpedic community is fundamentally opposite support groups in many ways, so im not expecting him to read the future perfectly, just praying. I believe that he could find a path more than anyone. --ARKBG1 (talk) 21:06, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
30 minutes ago, My fathers nurse/girlfriend just confirmed that he has all 5 Narcolepsy flags, and the underdocumented REM onset erections. official DSM diagnosis pending polysomnography, but i bet my life that i just caught another N. thats 3 so far that wouldnt have gotten help for decades. and ive done it with no help. if you dont want to save the wikihug project countless time and energy because of a valid reason fine, but if its because you dont think my lofty predictions are accurate, then give me one chance to convince you. what if im right and my project can save exponentially more lives than current reach allows. I only need 1 chance jim. --ARKBG1 (talk) 03:04, 20 August 2011 (UTC)


It would be really great if AWB included a phrase converting all instances of sadly / tragically passed away / died to "died". So unencyclopedic. There seems to be a school of thought that believes sadly or tragically goes with such words in order to make "good writing". I have tried but failed. Kittybrewster 11:11, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

And of course the 2000+ instances of "untimely death" should be changed to simply "death" as well (apart from those cases where it is in a quote). Of course, in a sentence like "His untimely death is an irreparable loss to the nation and the mathematical community in Pakistan." (here), removing one word isn't sufficient to make things WP:NPOV. Fram (talk) 13:18, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Things like that are difficult to remove, even though we must do so, because it's probably perfectly true and probably written by someone close to him who feels a great loss. I recommend that as people do remove such things, the most respectful possible language and explanations are given, both in the edit summary and on the talk page. It's not good if such things are removed with "revert promotional fluff" or whatever people might be tempted to say.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:03, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, well as discussed in early March here, India and Pakistan-related articles are filled with this; I've cleaned up after more than a few on NPP, and it does wear your patience down. A particularly amusing example I came across a few days ago is this; I've seen worse (many of these people seem to like WRITING IN ALL CAPS). But I do agree with the general sentiment; much of my very early wiki-career was spent removing the word "perished" from articles about people. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:44, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Remember, the earlier computers often used ALL CAPS, as in many road signs, and for years, people would press the <Caps lock> or <Shift-lock> key, when writing. Passports, visas, or travel documents sometimes require all-caps text (because the 26 letters are actually 52 upper/lower). It is another cultural issue to beware. There were computer tools which downcased pages of text, which are needed again in this century. -Wikid77 03:18, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Beware censorship of cultural idioms: I am always trying to respect idiomatic expressions, in articles centered on certain cultures, so I would be reluctant to keep "sanitizing" phrases about deceased people in articles. One related case is the phrase "square brackets" (for "[ ]") which seems, to many Americans, to be a redundancy (with the extra word "square"), until considering that parentheses are often called "brackets" in some major cultures. Although "flat" can mean "apartment", note how Americans might read a phrase differently: "the singer's flat" (or perhaps sharp, off-key higher) or "the girl's flat" (-chested). Similarly, if an article stated, "The Java source code had more than 10 methods in each class" and someone rewrote that as "10 ways in each school course" then that would ruin the use of the Java terms "method" and "class". Also, when saying that a person was raised in a family with 6 brothers, expect people to note, "Crops are raised, children are reared". There are just too many cultural idioms (and technical idioms), and it might be better to let each article state the idioms appropriate for their culture. Otherwise, there is just more "anglo-morphing" of articles into the U.S. mid-western accent with the Chicago Manual of Style. English speakers from Swedish settlements understand "this here problem" and Italians should be able to write "Michelangelo he was an artist". I think it is good to leave more cultural idioms in articles. Things to ponder. -Wikid77 19:13, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I disagree because English Wikipedia applies to many different English speaking cultures, not just American and British, yet most editors are American and British, meaning the cultural idioms that would predominate are those of Americans and British editors and we should counter systemic bias. Eliminating idiomatic English solves the issue of cultural difference, unless of course you are willing to defend idiomatic Indian English or idiomatic South African English. In addition, many cultural idioms are euphemisms, and we shouldn't be euphemistic as per WP:EUPHEMISM.--Cerejota (talk) 22:12, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't think Wikid's argument is helped by introducing into the mix idiomatic speech that is clearly inappropriate for formal writing. While the use of terms in a appropriate to the context of an article is fine (like "methods" and "class" in a Java programming context), using ungrammatical colloquial expressions like "Dick Cheney dun goofed" isn't. hare j 23:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree. English Wikipedia is written in many different styles of primary English. Things that may be read by someone using English as a second language are meant for Ryan Vesey Review me! 23:23, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, well do a search for "is a beautiful village" and tell me how many of those articles you think were actually written by people whose first language is English. That's the theory, but it doesn't always work out that way. It's a surprisingly large problem; some are almost G1 bad. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:14, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
  • It can be difficult when people write at a 12-year-old level of language, raising questions about the editor's age. But then how many Americans laugh when they read a singular they (such as, "One student failed their exam") or a plural group (such as, "The gang are dangerous"). It reminds me of the old joke about the area of a circle, pr2 (pi r-square), "No, pie are round, cornbread are square". When trying to force styles, someone might transform the Italian style, from, "Michelangelo he was an artist" into, "Michelangelo the artist was he" and I cannot say the 2nd form is preferable, although quite grammatical. There is a lot of work, still needed, to transform many articles about India into common western-style idioms, but maybe knowing more about "Indian English" and the cultural idioms would help somewhat. Meanwhile, the worst horror stories seem to be when people are "simplifying" the techno-jargon idioms in articles, where "source code" becomes "origin id" or perhaps "Java methods" become "ways to brew coffee" or such. That is also very annoying to the authors. -Wikid77 03:18, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
    Honestly, I think we're best off directing these people to their native language wiki. As I said in March, Tamil Wikipedia has something like 20,000+ articles, and Telugu/Sinhalese are probably around the same, and Hindi is about 50,000; they need the new editors more than we do at the moment. Furthermore, if they're writing in their native language they're probably producing higher quality material anyways, and there's not nearly as much cleanup involved. I don't necessarily object to people lacking complete fluency in English coming here to practice (I occasionally drop into to work on their Rush article; I'm still annoyed that they don't transliterate Neil Peart's name properly, but that's another discussion), but it's not usually a lack of high performance that I run into, it's a lack of even the most rudimentary basics. In short, I think everyone's editing experience would be significantly better if we did a better job at pointing people to the wiki in their native language. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:14, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Happy to hear that you are a Rush fan and happy to hear about this example. As you are likely aware I'm on a campaign against some of the overuse of foreign character sets in English Wikipedia. One element of that is making sure people understand that it is perfectly ok for people in different languages to name things differently, and so using foreign character sets is generally a bad idea with only very rare exceptions. So if the Japanese are transliterating Neil Peart "wrongly" but in a way that fits WP:COMMONNAME there, then I'm actually happy about it. I'm just about as happy about マクドナルド (McDonald's, which if I reverse-transliterate, Japanese people say "makudonarudo" and many other similar examples. ニール・パート - "Niiru Paato" is fine with me. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:02, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Now that I think about it, that actually does make sense. At least they're consistent with it. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 16:23, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Is it me...

Is it just me, or does your userpage just not feel like a Jimbo Wales userpage without the "You may edit this page!" thing on it? LikeLakers2 (talk) 17:31, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, it was on there, but I just moved it to the top anyway.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:36, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Your text-only user page is shaping up to be really good. It's suitable, given how bare-bones Wikipedia was when you "joined" it. (Speaking of which, I remember the first time I visited your user page. The picture was of you holding a beer bottle. I was not too impressed.) hare j 23:00, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

It was the brand of beer, wasn't it? If only it had been a hand-made artisan beer with new and unusual, yet complex, flavors. A beautiful label, suitable for reproducing in Commons. Made by a multicultural, multi-language team, all using Google Translate to communicate. Known and written about by connoiseurs worldwide. Then you would have found it appropriate and been impressed. ;-) (talk) 12:53, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Thats Jimbo in a {{nutshell}} for you. LikeLakers2 (talk) 23:35, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Anders Behring Breivik image and Wikipedia is not censored

Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Urgent_action_required_on_Anders_Behring_Breivik an editor literally said "One editor insists on restoring an image that glorifies Breivik. There is a consensus that this could lead to copycat killings".

Without getting into the merits or demerits of other arguments to include or not include the image, I think it is a seriously harmful thing to the project to say things like that, and it is actually an argument to deploy the filter ASAP, so we can say it is filtered and focus on other, better reasons for inclusion or exclusion, such as copy-vio or illustrative value.

I think it begs a reminder from you as to why WP:NOTCENSORED is such a long-standing view. Unless, of course, you have changed views, in which case I am all ears.--Cerejota (talk) 12:42, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

My longstanding view is that WP:NOTCENSORED is the most abused notion on Wikipedia, invoked in cases where it has absolutely no relevance. I have said many times that sound editorial judgment has nothing to do with censorship. As I haven't seen the picture in question, I have no view on whether or not sound editorial judgment would argue for inclusion or exclusion. But I do think that an argument that it "glorifies" the man is a perfectly sensible type of argument to make, as our images should be neutral. I also think that a consideration of the wider impact of our work, including whether something might inspire copycat killings, is a perfectly valid thing to consider. We are not mindless automatons engaged in an amoral mechanistic enterprise to catalog sheer facts. We are writing an encyclopedia with a real human benevolent purpose.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:09, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that last comment is a fair comment on those of us arguing against such a consideration in this case - to put it another way; equally we are not scared children running from every possibly consequence of our actions (which is how you could classify the contrary view). In the context of the actual discussion Martin removed the image with a very breathy and emotional comment which belies the sort of rational consideration you are suggesting (and which I agree with). I think care needs to be taken over the idea of images which "glorify" too. I mean; it's not a good infobox image because in that place it could be view as intended to glorify him. On the other hand the image is commented on in RS's and has made the national media, and objectively says something critical about Breivik's view of himself. So pre-cluding the use purely on grounds it may glorify him is dubious; I argue it entirely depends on the context/placement. --Errant (chat!) 13:38, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, I have no very strong opinion about this particular image. I just want to try to stop people from arguing for ignoring moral considerations, or the view that WP:NOTCENSORED is in any way relevant in cases like this. (It is almost never relevant, but cited frequently in a way that simply muddled otherwise useful debates.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:46, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree, we should never ignore moral considerations. In this case - those arguing against the moral objection are not arguing we should ignore such things (although perhaps in retrospect my first comment on the matter was a little ambiguous on the matter) but that we should not be making our own value judgements on the impact of images. For example Martin is saying the image might have the potential to incite copycats - but this is a view that is not really supported in any real life evidence. I think our discussion is rational; Martin has a premise, I reject it, we really need evidence to progress further. But I disagree on the censorship issue - it is argued the image should be removed anyway, in the interim, on the basis of "worst case" situation. This is the part I object to most strongly as an attempt at censorship. --Errant (chat!) 14:03, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Anent Breivik -- he is being inserted into a great many articles with which he has minimal direct connection (COATRACK) including even Progress Party's Youth (Norway)! BLP is being rapidly torn asunder IMHO. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:59, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:11, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
This is a serious problem, and I see no way to address it other than a binding community RFC or arguing it on every. single. article. --Errant (chat!) 13:39, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
This seems absolutely an article-by-article decision. I think that "coatrack" is a terrible term, "minimal direct connection" is a step in the right direction, but the real issue here is keeping the direction of the association straight. In other words, Breivik may be "about" the Progress Party Youth, but is the Progress Party Youth "about" Breivik? If you look them up nowadays, will you see discussions about what this man means for their principles? Will you see them speaking out to denounce his actions and distance themselves from him? If you see that kind of data, then he's relevant. That said, the format of starting a new heading "Notable members" and including only him is obviously creating a sense of bias - if you want a notable members section it's best to take a quick look and see who the most notable members are, probably some heavy-duty politicians for example. Wnt (talk) 17:09, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the response. I mostly agree, but there is a difference between the argument that it might be a "glorification" (a sensible, reasonable proposition - which can be questioned in equally sensible, reasonable ways) and another is to argue that it will lead to copycat killings, which I consider not to be sensible. Feel me?--Cerejota (talk) 13:24, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

I fear that the facts are not on your side here, though. There is evidence that such images do lead to copycat killings, and that the media is often irresponsible in their portrayal of criminals. We can and should take that into account. Whether it's a sufficient argument in this case, I don't have a strong view. My point is that it's a perfectly sensible thing to discuss thoughtfully.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:48, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Got it, can't say I agree that there is evidence that images promote murder, but I can see your point with regards to our process, much appreciated.--Cerejota (talk) 13:56, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I think it's very important for Wikipedia to avoid farming the readers - to avoid serving up one fact and not another with the intention of making the reader do this and not that. Such a manipulative perspective is contradictory with the idea of the sum of all human knowledge available to everyone. We should seek to be guileless and neutral, above all honest, faithfully passing on such knowledge as we can acquire. Wnt (talk) 17:09, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I was the "editor who insists on restoring an image that glorifies Breivik". Martin Hogbin was the user who claimed "is a consensus that this could lead to copycat killings". He removed the image three times, I restored the page three times. Both of us where warned, and neither of us edited the page afterwards. Still, he decided it was neccesary to report me to the Administrator's Noticeboard. The result of this hysteria was me ending up blocked for 24 hours while he was still able to edit. I was thus the victim of his weird paranoia. I cannot say this is a very nice way to handle things. Polozooza (talk) 18:19, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
This entire issue makes me feel like I am being portrayed as someone who "glorifies Breivik". Nothing is further from the truth. I was the one who restored vandalism, for crying out loud! Polozooza (talk) 18:22, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
That's 4 in 21 hours, not 3. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:24, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Sure, the first one was the 17th, the other three the 18th. There were many hours between them. And we were talking about the "edit war" between Martin Hogbin and me. Which I would hardly call an edit war. Also: I was warned after I had already stopped editing the page. Only then was I blocked. Polozooza (talk) 18:27, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Why the hell doesn't somebody just crop out his head??? Somebody please add File:Anders Behring Breivik in military uniform.jpg. Can anybody honestly say that crop of his head is suddenly going to propel thousands of young lads to go on a shooting spree. Stop being ridiculous and just add the crop if you can't take a gun.♦ Dr. Blofeld 18:30, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I fully agree, Dr. Blofeld. But it wouldn't do any good since there is still a discussion on Commons going on - whether or not the image(s) are copyrighted and if they could be used. Only if those discussions reach a consensus and the articles are kept, a crop can be made. Polozooza (talk) 18:50, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
If nobody can even take the top of his uniform then try File:Anders Behring Breivik.jpg LOL. But this is clearly ridiculous. Showing his face at least is not problematic. Maybe him pictured with a gun was a little too much for some but there's no excuse to remove a cropped image of him. Please add either of the crops of him and stop being silly.♦ Dr. Blofeld 18:55, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Add it if you want, by all means. But they'll just remove it again and block you if you try to add it again. I know the drill. ;) Polozooza (talk) 18:56, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not permitted to, the article has been locked. Can anybody genuinely claim that wikipedia could possibly accept a moral responsibility for the safety of the world's population just for displaying File:Anders Behring Breivik in military uniform.jpg in an infobox? If somebody is going to copy him they would go much further than looking at how he looks in a wikipedia infobox for heaven's sake!! ♦ Dr. Blofeld 19:00, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree that "we are not an an amoral mechanistic enterprise to catalog sheer facts. We are writing an encyclopedia with a real human benevolent purpose." But we need to have faith that cataloging the facts is indeed the way to that benevolent purpose. How can we provide so much information about so many things, then turn back at some last detail and say that will be harmful? Much less when based only on some statements of opinion originally directed at commercialized mass media with an unjust domination of the information market granted under government license, not the voluntary work of volunteer editors. I recognize that Breivik attempted to manipulate his image - first with the "conservative" Facebook image (deleted thanks to champion gamesmanship) which he used as a tool to avoid suspicion regarding his chemical purchases; then with his militaristic image, meant to inspire a certain sort of radical element. But if we print these images, carefully document the manipulations, get people to understand the broader context - that is the way to avoid violence and immunize the population against propaganda, including a handful of people at risk to follow on in such behavior. Wnt (talk) 20:15, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Comment' I would think a picture of him in a military uniform would be problematical because it could be seen as smearing the military and its members, perhaps reducing the public's trust in them, as opposed to glorifying him and encouraging any sort of copycat killings. If I were a member of the military there, I certainly would be appalled if such a photo were chosen over others. (talk) 00:30, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Obviously the photo caption should mention and link to what articles can be found about his kooky uniform and the various "decorations" he awarded himself. We should not seek to prevent the appropriate emotional reactions from the reader. Wnt (talk) 05:39, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Chill sections

Regarding the brevik shooter nutter - if you have time Jimbo, please give me your feedback on Talk:Anders_Behring_Breivik#The_Chill_Section as I wonder if this sort of thing could help calm donw conflicts and grudges before they begin. Or maybe I'm just too much of a peacenik Face-tongue.svg

P.S. Were you a local in a past life? Am confused exactly what it is you did - press don't really understand exactly what it is traders do. Am a LIFFE local myself and I'm sure we could exchange war stories, my email (and more) is avaliable if you wish to keep it shtum Face-wink.svg Egg Centric 21:57, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

I wasn't a local in the technical sense - never had a seat on the exchange, but I worked for a firm of locals.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:23, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Barnstar of Diligence Hires.png The Barnstar of Diligence
Without you, Wikipedia would not exist. Thanks, Jimbo! Migro Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (talk) 13:05, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I think Jimbo Wales has enough barnstars for his collection, but it is still nice to give one! LikeLakers2 (talk) 12:51, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
And this reminds me of something GLaDOS said in the Portal 2 coop. "Like Albert Einstein and his cousin <forgot>, history will only remember one of you." (I actually did forget the word that "<forgot>" was in place of) Jimbo Wales was one of two people to have founded Wikipedia. Not sure if the other has an account here, however. LikeLakers2 (talk) 12:55, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

The span tag...

Are the <span class="plainlinks"></span> tags banned from your userpage too? LikeLakers2 (talk) 16:58, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

why do we even have a "plainlinks" CSS class? I only see it used to mask external links as internal links, which is only useful for hiding spam links [23]. The only possible use is for aesthetic reasons, for people who don't like seeing the little arrow image after the link. --Enric Naval (talk) 18:39, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
It is primarely used for linking to internal pages that can only be reached through full URLs. Edokter (talk) — 20:24, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, the latest signpost has no arrow images at all in any link. They have lots of CSS hidden in the header templates, looks like they managed to remove the arrow images via some hidden away CSS. In former issues they simply enveloped the whole Signpost with a huge "plaintext" div[24], making all external links indistinguishable from internal links. This is the kind of thing I complain about. --Enric Naval (talk) 21:59, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Anyways, it's used in places like Template:Ref. So, it's not feasible to simply get rid of the class. --Enric Naval (talk) 11:30, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Ugh, yeah. I see no good reason to do that. It makes editing harder for smart people who are on the 2nd-99th edit, for virtually no actual benefit.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:17, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

no easy complaint page,

Respected sir, there is no easy method to complain about actions by editors and their specific guidelines. kindly create the same Thanking you AneeshJoseph — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aneeshjoseph10912 (talkcontribs) 08:45, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

There are, depending on the nature of the issue. Indeed, if you don't know the right place to go, the WP:HELPDESK is the right start. They'll guide you to WQA (for minor things) ANI (for things that need admin attention) or DR (for dispute resolution) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 08:53, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks will try thatAneeshjoseph10912 (talk) 12:07, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Problems with how we communicate with new editors?

The above editor's eighth edit was to create an article about an Indian movie of uncertain notability. When a PROD tag was placed on their article, they removed it (as is permitted), but without an edit summary; User:Dave1185 reverted their removal as vandalism and proceeded to tell them on their talk page that their edit was "Illegal". Dave1185 also posted a giant picture of a rodent on the editor's talk page, telling them that it would eat them if they continued to forget to sign their posts.

When I politely pointed out to Dave1185 that, for people whose first language variant isn't British or American English, such humour, and statements implying law-breaking, might cause misunderstandings, he responded by blanking my comment with the edit summary "cleanups, isn't it obvious?"

What's my point here? Oh, yes. Encouraging more editors from the so-called "Global South" is sensible, but such editors don't always find it easy to deal with Wikipedia's existing practices. Suggesting that they - and their culture - are something that needs "cleaning up", doesn't make that any easier, and is the sort of viewpoint we should avoid any appearance of. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 00:24, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

I find it strange that India is fourth on the GDP list, and yet some still consider them "Global South" due to population.
The comments were less than satisfactory though, can you point out where that editor attacked their culture? Chaosdruid (talk) 02:13, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's not very clear. Was it me, my contributions, the complaining editor, their contributions, or the subject of their contributions that was in need of "cleanups"? What might the Indian editor assume about that? (On their own talk page, they weren't even sure if I would see their reply, so they're not going to be much reassured if they try asking questions of an editor who just blanks polite queries with dismissive edit summaries.) As I said, we should be avoiding any appearance of that, not just avoiding specifically stating it.
Same day, slightly different culture - a few hours after my advice to Dave that he dismissed. Imagine you're an unregistered editor in the Philippines, and you're making good faith attempts to add information about your country's navy. But you don't understand the need for reliable sourcing yet, so Dave reverts you with "(rmv unsourced claim by idiotic IP editors, as usual)". Not only that, but you don't understand how piped links work, either, so you get a second edit reverted as vandalism and Dave heads to your talk page to give you an "only warning" for vandalism.
Just a bad day? No, let's go back to the previous month. An unregistered editor from India (a pattern here?) thinks the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war was part of the Cold War. Yes, they're probably wrong to add Cold War to the infobox, but it's an entirely reasonable edit to make, given how both superpowers had their favourites in this war, and the USA in particular threw its weight about, getting the aircraft of a rather famous U.S. general destroyed in the process. But no, Dave reverts the edit as vandalism, and heads off to the editor's talk page to give them, you guessed it, an "only warning" for vandalism. What does the person behind the IP address think of this? We'll never know - after getting that warning for their first edit, the IP never edited again.
Now I'm focusing a little too much on an individual editor, and this is not the right place for it (Dave has made a couple of appearances in the right place for it, but it hasn't helped much), however my point is that we are indeed succeeding in getting a lot more editors from outside the traditional western strongholds of the English Wikipedia, but we are really not dealing very well with their arrival. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:30, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I think both users should be sanctioned to write a separate version of article "culture clash" (the social concept, not a rock band), and then told to merge the 2 versions of the article. In the end, at least Wikipedia would have an article explaining what a "culture clash" has meant, historically, plus 2 users ready to update the article. -Wikid77 04:39, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I have notified Dave1855 of this on his talk page. It just feels that things like what he did is what is scaring the newcomers away. That is just me, though. LikeLakers2 (talk) 16:49, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Dave was already notified, and removed the notice. Please don't pile on. Dave is an experienced user,and does great work in fighting vandals and trolls. He is just human like the rest of us, and ocan get jaded at times, and over-react, as he appears to have done here. I know we're not supposed to "bite the newbies", but "eating the oldtimers" is not helpful either, and runs off many exerienced users. I'd like to see the Foundation put spend a little of the effort they spend on attracting new users towards the retention of experienced users. Serious efforts towards limiting the huge amounts of time spent on fighting vandals. trolls and tenditions users, many who use dynamic IPs, would also be greatly appreciated. This would lessen the stress on otherwise good editors such as Dave and myself, and would also help make WP a more friendly place to new users. Thanks. - BilCat (talk) 23:55, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I understand that, in fact I agree that recruiting a larger number and a greater diversity of editors should be accompanied by doing more to deal with the impact of their arrival. However, I don't think "getting jaded" quite covers it. I can think of a few admins, even, who have got old and cynical, can be bitey towards newbies, and have developed their own unique interpretations of when speedy deletion is permitted. But even they, when others remonstrate with them on their talk pages, will engage in discussion, and on occasion begrudgingly admit they made a mistake.
Your friend, by contrast, seems to have retreated into his castle surrounded by walls of non-communication and complicated talk page rules and "if you're an IP and don't leave an edit summary then it's vandalism" preconceptions, and sallies forth to trample new editors, but won't respond when hailed from beyond the moat. He says on your talkpage that he and you are on a different "level" from the rest of us (weird anyway, he's not even been on Wikipedia for a very long time, unless I'm missing something), if so then I think you should use your ability to communicate on his wavelength to drop a few gentle hints. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 15:30, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
He's been here long enough. As to "being on a different level", he was referring to the newbiers, not you. I agree that he is getting cynical about newbies, but with good reason, as he has been the target of heavy IP harassment in the past, most of whom were masquerading as newbies. Give him some time, and I think he'll level out again. If he doesn't, then it will need to be dealt with. If I am giving him some hints, it's in private. He's a good enough editor that he deserves some respect and privacy. But User:LikeLakers2 re-posting of comments about this issue on Dave's talk page after you did were unnecessary, and just piling on.
Yes, we need to treat all users, especially newbies, with respect. But there is a serious problems with vandals and trolls using IPs dynamic IPs, and this needs some attention from the higher-ups. Many trolls are successfully able to "game the system" on WP, and good, conscientious users such as Dave and myself spend alot of time cleaning up after them, and often get serious harssment by these users for such efforts. In addition, there probably needs to be a way to help genuine newbies get some experience on WP in a less-threatening enviroment than full-scale editing, where they can learn hwo to edit, and get a sense for WP's policiys and guidelienes without being trhown in tho the deep end. I don't know how this can be addressed, as even fairly simple solutions such as pending changes have been mired in controversy when they were attempted to be implemented. Eventually, this will be an issue the Foundation will have to deal with if they want to attract new users and retain experencied ones.
At to this the "cultural issues" discussed above, many users are find it difficult to adapt to WP's neutrality policies. When some of these users from different countries come in contact with each other in article editing, it can be very contentious and disruptive. While this is common in such topics as India-Pakistan, Arab-Israeli, and PRC-ROC (China/Taiwan), we still see it in other areas too, such as Ireland/UK. Eventually, those will have to be dealt with too, including possibly having an Editorial Arbitration Committee to settle non-behavioral issues. - BilCat (talk) 00:14, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Television, human values, and Wikipedia

It has been reported that television is now teaching children to value fame foremost, whereas benevolence is being devalued. Please see Popular TV shows teach children fame is most important value, UCLA psychologists report / UCLA Newsroom. You can imagine the values that (some) young people bring with them when they edit Wikipedia. (People of all ages are impressionable, but children especially so.)
Wavelength (talk) 16:42, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Here on Wikipedia, benevolence is valued over fame, so it seems like we're actually a useful counterweight. Powers T 18:05, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but which weight is stronger? Wikipedia has great influence, but television also has great influence. Will Wikipedia cause young editors to be more benevolent and to devalue fame, or will young editors cause the Wikipedia community to be less benevolent and to inflate the value of fame?
Wavelength (talk) 18:26, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

More garage-band and my-pet "articles" coming up... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 18:37, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Google Related

I just installed and was trying out Google Related. Wikipedia articles are, as I expected, a major link common to all the websites I've checked. Has anyone else tried it out? Thoughts? (talk) 20:57, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Only works on IE. Wxidea (talk) 03:41, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
I think you mean Chrome. (talk) 13:52, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

santorum again

I think you might get a chuckle out of [25] being suggested by a "new editor" with a total of 1 edit. And there are those who think there is no reason for ArbCom to have a general case on BLPs <g>. Cheers. Collect (talk) 01:20, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

To clarify: A new name slur (for name "Rick") was added to the neologism article, in the lede section, as the entire 3rd paragraph, with pageviews=3100/day, viewed 130 times per hour. I submitted page for WP:Requests_for_page_protection#Current requests for protection. -Wikid77 12:20, revised 13:06, 20 August 2011
The Arbcom exists to resolve specific disputes. It isn't a fact-finding body or a legislature. It's up to the community to set BLP policy, not the ArbCom. We probably already have all the rules we need to deal with one-edit editors.   Will Beback  talk  07:11, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
IIRC, you have iterated calls for the case to be closed. Charged another editor with something totally unrelated to BLPs, and then appear here as well claiming that the ArbCom is restricted to single disputes. The case exists. The earth still moves. And, Deo volente, Wikipedia will be protected from these "harmless" "one-edit editors" as well as those who virtually own articles by virtue of making massive numbers of edits on them, who miscite Wikipedia polices aimed at ensuring scrupulous editing of all articles with BLP connects etc. "Scruplelessness" must not be a way of life on Wikipedia BLPs. Cheers. Collect (talk) 07:47, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
If there are specific disputes about BLPs which can't be solved otherwise then of course the ArbCom is the place to get them resolved. But there's no way that the ArbCom can investigate or solve all of the problems with the many thousands of BLPs as a "general case". As for the one-edit editor, you can request an ArbCom case if you think that's the best solution.   Will Beback  talk  07:55, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
As everyone knows, no case against a one-edit editor will be taken. ArbCom did decide to take the current case, and I trust and expect it will be a fruitful endeavour. And I suggest some of the worst problems, found over and over in past cases, can be dealt with as I shall indicate in the Workshop phase. Cheers. Collect (talk) 08:13, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Yet you pointed to that one-edit editor as an example of why the ArbCom should, well, what? What can they do which will address what the one-edit editor did?   Will Beback  talk  08:32, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo's talk page is not where the material will go. Cheers. And read some of RLS's poetry. Collect (talk) 08:35, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
So what was the point of this posting?   Will Beback  talk  08:37, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we can get one of those dictionary societies to declare the term "name slur" as the most-important phrase of 2011. See the quick webpage here: neil.html, with concerns about men named "Neil". -Wikid77 05:16, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Gosh, a new editor mentioned something Dan Savage said in a talk page post. Call ArbCom, call 911, call the National Guard, it's an invasion! Wnt (talk) 05:35, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
IIRC, your position about BLPs is known. IIRC also, you have been told by others that they disagree with your position on BLPs. I disagree with your position. Cheers. Collect (talk) 07:47, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
To clarify: A new name slur (for name "Rick") was added to the neologism article, in the lede section, as the entire 3rd paragraph, with pageviews=3100/day, viewed 130 times per hour. I submitted a page-protection request which was, of course, rejected. -Wikid77 12:20, revised 15:30, 20 August 2011
Is no one tempted to do the opposite and make a Jimbo a neologism for something that changes the world? (To savage a person's reputation is an old expression.) (talk) 14:50, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
  • If we wrote a sourced article about a "Jimbo" changing the world, then others would just add text about "Wales" as meaning something repulsively vulgar. I went through the (useless) motions of requesting page-protection for the senator's name-slur article, but the request was, of course, rejected (which is why no other experienced editors even bothered to ask an admin to help). It is easy to see why many experienced editors have wanted to quit Wikipedia, when a name-slur article about an upcoming U.S. presidential candidate is allowed to enter the top-1000 articles viewed each day, and an admin refuses to even semi-protect the article after another vulgar name slur was added to the lede of the article for 39 minutes (reverted by chance), after text was likely viewed by 80 readers. This reminds me of a girl on trial for murder in Italy, where someone inserted a fake newsflash in the article that the girl had committed suicide in prison, then active editors left the suicide hoax in the article, and the protection level of the article remained unchanged. It is a good reason to study the word "Sociopath". -Wikid77 18:14, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
    • And you, Wikid77, are an eeyore for saying that. If an empty-jar-and-popped-balloon Wikilove image existed, I would be tempted to send it to you. ;-) (talk) 21:02, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
      • Wikid, I don't think the analogy you are making really works. There is a big difference between an article about a word, or a neologism, or a prank, or whatever you wish to call the "santorum" situation, and a blatantly false statement that someone has died. The latter is just vandalism. The "santorum" issue is a little more complicated and two-sided than a lot of people give it credit for, though I think the current state of the article (which is about the "campaign") is better than when it was about the "word" itself. As for Dan Savage's apparent latest crusade (which I learned about only from this thread), it probably merits one sentence near the end of the "campaign" article, or maybe the Dan Savage article. (Come to think of it, if not for discussions on Wikipedia I probably never would have heard of Dan Savage either.) Neutron (talk) 23:11, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Libraries, hotels, hospitals and other 3rd-world browsers

We've covered this topic before, so this is just a reminder. Many places (such as public libraries) still have computers that are 6 years old, just as some people drive cars that are almost 10 years old (way back to 2002). Some hotels still use Windows Vista with the IE7 browser, which is basically a refinement of IE6. Hence, trying to drop support for IE6 is like trying to drop IE7. Perhaps Wikipedia should continue to support them until IE7 is ten years old. Next time when visting a hotel, stop by their Internet computer room, click on the browser and check the Help About-box version, as another example that those computers are often 5 or more years old. When waiting in a hospital, or clinic, ask the employees what version of browser their medical records are using. In a library, the front desk typically has computers similar to the membership computer rooms; ask the front desk about their browsers. It is the nature of many computer developers to want to design for the latest gadget, which only 0.1% of end-users will have. I know you realize this, but it is good to keep reminding people. -Wikid77 13:49, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't disagree, but support for modern browsers doesn't mean everything breaks on older browsers. I strongly support that older browsers should render and edit Wikipedia for as long as it is practical to do so - and we should do more than most sites to care about that, given our mission in the developing world where this is an even bigger deal. But that doesn't mean that we should deprive ourselves of the modern conveniences afforded by the latest browser - just that the experience should degrade gracefully as you move down through browser versions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:08, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Maybe it is time for a browser that can refine the look of the page without the code on the page having to be different. I've got no choice to use earlier versions of Internet Explorer on some things because of ActiveX controls, but IE9 is incompatible with many of those same uses, so many people are just stuck. A resource like Wikipedia doesn't need to have tons of fancy code and tags to work well. I completely agree with what Wikid77 says above, responding to those who want to shove Wikipedia's front facing code into HTML5. Don't we know about separating content from presentation? That was (supposed to be) the whole point of CSS. -- Avanu (talk) 14:40, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
You both make valid points, but this isn’t a zero sum equation: I can’t think of a good reason why Wikipedia should not strive to support standards without requiring them to be used. In other words, allow for HTML 5 but don’t make it mandatory.
As I see it, the code for article templates should remain backward-compatible to cater to ten year old operating systems and browsers, but talk and user pages are perfect vehicles for experimenting with what’s coming, regardless of the fact that Mr Wales has recently had the Jakob Nielsen conversion. Regards, Peter S Strempel | Talk 00:09, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Editing should be as easy as possible for thoughtful and intelligent people who are making their second through 99th edit. There is virtually no reason to use the span tag - and your signature is a good example of a place where I think we should in the software either disable the use or find a way to allow custom signatures that are effectively hidden from people who are trying to edit Wikipedia. The cost is just not worth the extremely tiny benefit. (Don't panic: I'm not the decision maker on things like that!)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:06, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Jakob Nielsen, nice guy, given far too much credit for what he says. Sort of like someone who tells you drinking water is good for you. -- Avanu (talk) 06:16, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
More importantly, the user name and signature name should be required to match. New users to this project aren't used to seeing wildly different names for the same person in their posts and edits. I see no reason for this, other than confusion. (talk) 14:19, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Second Jimbo and 99.50 - signatures have a limited purpose. If we didn't draw a line somewhere, we'd have signatures with big images in them that take up more space than the comment itself, like you see on so many web forums. Wnt (talk) 18:13, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Jimbo Wales: what exactly is this 'cost' you write about? My understanding is that the signature will either render as you see it or in plain text. @ forcing signatures is already available. Just leave your signature off a post and see what a bot will add for you. As for matching usernames and signatures, why not go the whole hog and force everyone to use their real names in both? Or was that a bit of sarcasm from you? @Wnt: if you actually know something about the history and intentions behind the Wikipedia signature, I'd be fascinated to read up on it. Regards Peter S Strempel | Talk 20:42, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

The 'cost' is the unnecessary inconvenience and confusion faced by other editors who wish to participate in discussions. Threads with large amounts of markup are harder to edit and understand, particularly for newer editors. If you look at the original comment you made to which Jimbo replied, you'll notice that – in terms of markup – a large fraction of your post is markup for your signature. Out of 571 characters in the message,
  • 312 are your actual comment (I'm including the closing "Regards," in that count),
  • 3 are the indenting colons,
  • 27 are the date stamp, and
  • 229 characters are your overly-lengthy signature.
If another editor – particularly a newer editor – wants to figure out where to reply to a comment you've made, it's actually difficult. More than 40% of your comment isn't commentary; it's wikimarkup gibberish.
In a busy discussion (on one of the noticeboards, for example, or on an active article talk page) signatures can easily make up a third to a half of the markup in the edit window. Not only is it distracting, it actually hinders participation from editors using lower-resolution input devices (whether they're in third-world schools and discount hostels, or just editing from their smartphones). TenOfAllTrades(talk) 22:45, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
All you say is true. Markup gibberish can be difficult to deal with. In particular, the markup for inline references in a well-referenced article makes editing it in the Wikipedia edit window diabolical (see the cite section below).
I wonder whether what you're saying isn't really a case for simplifying what is displayed in the edit window? I suppose my personal vanity isn't worth two cents to the project, but surely references and some of the transclusions that come with templates are.
With the greatest respect for the intention, even the redoubtable Nielsen was wrong to argue that ALL web pages should accommodate his minimalist practices, and seeking to roll back or fence off the development of the medium on which Wikipedia is built seems an oddly recidivist approach to a perceived set of problems.
From a project management perspective, making something more user friendly requires a disciplined approach to identifying the features deemed unfriendly, including research to back value judgements about what is and is not unfriendly (the perceptions of veteran observers aren't always reflected in reality), and then, perhaps, a discussion with developers to see whether the interface itself could be made to offer a less confusing editing experience without curbing existing and future standards or flexibility.
I had no hand in creating Wikipedia's platform, and no stake in the back-end configuration, but I did accept when coming here that I would have to learn some new rules about markup that I wasn't familiar with. The perfect interface that doesn't require some learning curve is a fantasy. I would be careful about aiming for a lowest common denominator solution to the flexibility that comes with transclusions and markup, and about overly enthusiastic evangelism; in other words, be careful what you wish for because the quest for greater simplicity might lead you into creating monstrous road blocks in future. Regards, Peter S Strempel | Talk 00:47, 23 August 2011 (UTC)