User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 84

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Would you believe? (2)

Lord Alan Campbell of Alloway, born 1917, remarried on 1 September. Kittybrewster 14:43, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

How exciting! I spruced up the edits you made to Lord Campbell of Alloway's article. Do we have a source for this news?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:04, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Yesterday's The Times. Kittybrewster 15:05, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Found it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:13, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Odd that the bride isn't listed in the profiles of her parents: mother, father. 75.60.17.6 (talk) 15:56, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Note that the source for this shouldn't be given as "The Times" (or The Telegraph, who ran the same): the only source for this so far as a private announcement someone had published in these two newspapers: it has not been confirmed by any reliable sources, no journalist has written about it. While there is little doubt that the announcement is truthful, it should be made clear in the article that the source is not some journalist, but an announcement by a private individual (I have tried to make this clear in the article). Fram (talk) 12:20, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I would suggest that in general, this announcement can be trusted as factual without any disclaimer. If there is some reason to doubt it, a disclaimer could be given. In this case, the only cause for any doubt at all is that the groom is 94 years old.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:02, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't doubt that it is factual, but it shouldn't be presented as "according to The Times" anymore than that we would present information from an ad appearing in the Times as "according to the Times". It is not an article by the newspaper, it is an "article", an announcement by the family, i.e. a self-published source, not a third-party source. Fram (talk) 07:23, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Ok, fair enough.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:49, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Wedding announcements in papers of record (e.g., The Times) are not the equivalent of paid advertisements with no fact-checking. If they were, we would be seeing endless numbers of "The Queen of Sheba was married to George Clooney at St. James Cathedral...Notable guests included (insert name of ordinary person sending in the announcement)...." Now if Clive Goodman were still in work, we could find out just why the bride's parents never mentioned her. No current copy of Debrett's lying around the house? 99.50.186.140 (talk) 19:02, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

selling links? (2)

Follow-up to User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_83#selling_links.3F.

Well, I see that Sustaining corporate donors was deleted. Am I correct in assuming that we won't be seeing that sort of "sponsored links" in the future? --Enric Naval (talk) 12:55, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

I still don't have all the information. What I do understand is that Zack is going to post here in the next day or two to explain what happened.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:57, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I see that there are also numerous external links present on the Benefactors page. I agree that these links are concerning for an organization that prides itself on its neutrality. ThemFromSpace 17:03, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with you on that. I think it's perfectly fine to thank benefactors and to have a link to their website. There is no violation of neutrality of the Encyclopedia in such things.
For me, it's the spammy nature of the (now deleted) page that was bothersome. To be absolutely clear here, I think it is absolutely fine for the Foundation to publicly thank donors, even with links, even with links that are not set to nofollow, even with prominent links on the WikimediaFoundation.org website. I remain opposed to advertising in Wikipedia, but I am absolutely not opposed to transparent, appropriate corporate support, with transparent and appropriate thank-yous.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:21, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I would add to that that, IMO, it is important for anyone who wants to look at information about who has supported WMF to be able to find it reasonably easily. It's about appropriate disclosure to users of WMF projects, not just about acknowledging the support as a courtesy to the supporters. --FormerIP (talk) 18:54, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Very good point.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:50, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I couldn't help noticing that both Google and Bing are listed on that page and that the other day you made a very long post about the short-sightedness of Yahoo!'s development strategy...--FormerIP (talk) 20:59, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I am yanking your chain. --FormerIP (talk) 20:59, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Hi everyone. Major gifts and Foundation fundraising lives in my department at WMF. I've had a few conversations with the fundraising staff about these links since I joined a year ago. We thought we had ended any mention of SEO benefit in communicaitons with donors, but an old email template was passed down and has been used a few times in the very rare inquries about this kind of thing. I'm grateful to this discussion for bringing that to my attention. Also, several months ago, we also raised the threshold for listing to $5000. And that pretty much took care of the problem. Even though there's nothing unethical about it, it's just not the kind of thing that fits on WMF's site. This discussion made me look into the details, and I realized that many of the links on that page should have been removed a while ago. We're updating it now. Before long, the remaining links will expire. Our policy from now on is that we'll link to a donor's page (e.g. the Sloan Foundation) when we feel it would be informative for readers, and do this at our own discretion. Thanks again for paying attention! Zackexley (talk) 22:13, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
In all seriousness, Zack, I think it is a good thing to publish donors and supporters on the wiki. I'm not clear on whether you're saying that that will be at the Foundation's discretion in future, or just links. Transparency is good. --FormerIP (talk) 00:44, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Still not clear. Will they be listed without a link, or not listed at all? I would prefer than anyone who donates at least $5000 be listed, with a link, so everyone can easily know who's involved without having to do googling or other research. Otherwise Wikipedia is going to be accused of participating in cover-ups. There will be claims that articles are tweaked because some business gave money and that's "the real reason" why the company doesn't appear in the list. Conspiracy theorists have never been an endangered species on this planet. 75.60.17.6 (talk) 00:47, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I was just referring to the links. We're just going to be clear with any new donors inquiring about getting a link on this page that from now on links are added and removed for new donors at our discretion. Zackexley (talk) 03:11, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, I find this a satisfactory explanation that closes the issue. "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence by corporative inertia and lack of strict controls in overlooked corners of the company". --Enric Naval (talk) 09:37, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I also agree that there is nothing wrong with listing who the corporate doners are and although some fairly narrow minded people may interpret this and draw a bizarre abstract conclusion that people are buying advertising on Wikipedia I also think that most would agree that a lot of folks wuold want to know who the donars are for a variety of reasons. Lets also consider the location of that page. Its a very low traffic page that you almost need to know the location of in order to find (hardly advertising). With that said I don't have strong feelings one way or the other but I think the argument that this is advertising is stupid, petty and frankly gives the appearance of an obnoxious media reporter trying to gain attention by fabricating a story to be more dramatic and meaningful that it really is. Can you say Wiki-gate? But thats just me. --Kumioko (talk) 14:38, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment I'm sure there's a reason for it (most likely tax laws), but the PBS Donor Recognition List links to Foundation pages. 99.50.186.140 (talk) 19:08, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Signpost:copyright crisis

Jimbo, I've made some comments on Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-09-05/Opinion essay. I'm sure you'll understand. A little bit of diplomatic communications either directly with Yahoo or via the media could rectify this copyright crisis situation. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 02:13, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Coren and I are working to get the OK from google to use their search for his bot. I expect that to be forthcoming very soon.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:04, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Good stuff. I still think it's a good idea to call Yahoo out at some point even if no action is taken. Will be good to get a google search working either way. Regards, SunCreator (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:02, 6 September 2011 (UTC).
I disagree. They helped us for years, and then - as a business decision - made the choice to stop. Lambasting them for that will likely result in no one being willing to help us in the future. Reputational damage is a real thing, and I think it's not a small consideration here. The course you suggest would lead to that, I'm afraid. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 18:53, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Philippe, and also...Yahoo's interim CEO likely has other priorities right now. 75.59.204.135 (talk) 13:42, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

aka Jimbo

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

It would go down in the annals of Wikipedia history as the lamest block ever, but there seems to be that someone is slow edit warring the adding of that to your user page. So, yes or no? --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 13:10, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

I think we should block Jimbo for encouraging talk-page vandalism on his own page... ;) AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:17, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

"Off-Wiki Collaboration" by coterie in order to get new user banned

without due process. I'd very much appreciate you or someone else looking into this. Whoever the admin is he's talking to, they're clearly up to no good. Surely bannings should be transparent. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk%3AIsrael_and_the_apartheid_analogy&action=historysubmit&diff=448778850&oldid=448778266 REmmet1984 (talk) 17:38, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

See WP:ANI#General hostility of a "new" user in the I-P topic area. Looie496 (talk) 18:00, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • FYI: I have blocked this editor indefinitely. Whether or not they are a new user is irrelevant (their edits suggest they are not; indeed, their edits are very definition of WP:DUCK - they have even taunted editors to take them to SPI, suggesting they are very familiar with the process). It's irrelevant because their edits show they are clearly not here to edit collegially - in an arena already full of edit-warriors on both sides, we don't need an extra (and abusive) one. Hopefully that's "transparent" enough. Black Kite (t) (c) 18:03, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Log it somewhere in WP:ARBPIA :)--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 23:14, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

WP:AN

Hello. This message is being sent to inform you that there is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. Thank you. ~~Ebe123~~ (+) talk
Contribs
19:54, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Presumably this one (perm-link) out of the 19 current threads on that page..... Pedro :  Chat  20:10, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia and Lake Forest College

For points 2 and 4, I think Professor Davis Schneiderman, head of the English Department at Lake Forest College, should get some WikiLove from Jimmy Wales. Along with some information about the program of students writing Wikipedia articles for class? 99.50.186.140 (talk) 00:46, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Attracting German translators

I'd say one of the biggest problems on wikipedia is the massive difference in quality between our articles on German world topics and German wikipedia. Because German wikipedia is such good quality, better on average than ours, I've noticed that the vast majority of fluent/native Germans contribute to German wiki rather than English so the number contributing to english are very low, and it shows in the quality/coverage of topics. I mean compare This to Erkelenz. I looked for the village of Ternholt too and it also has articles on all the villages. The quality/coverage difference could not be more extreme. It would seem our number of active German translators is less than 5. Is there any way we could dramatically improve the number working on them by contacting language schools which are learning German fluently or something and get them to translate German wikipedia articles as part of practice? We just desperately needed German translators more so than any language I feel because the content on de wiki is usually of a high standard and would greatly benefit en wiki. I mean the German, Swiss and Austrian municipalities are all full length articles on there and mostly stubs on here or missing entirely like User:Keresaspa/Nazi redlinks.♦ Dr. Blofeld 22:05, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Google Translate is practically perfect for German to English, and I'd rather read an article being constantly kept up to date than an excellent translation from awhile back. (For an example of what I mean, try reading the Barack Obama articles in various languages.) I had earlier suggested pointing readers to an article's "main language" version. This could be done with a template and link - "The most extensive and current version of this article is in Wikipedia.de" - or by bolding (or otherwise emphasizing) the appropriate language link in the lefthand column. 99.50.186.140 (talk) 01:01, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I like that idea: inform readers of bigger articles. -Wikid77 13:53, 8 September 2011
Practically perfect? Uh, not quite. Try it on the article Blofeld mentioned, for example. Looie496 (talk) 02:35, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
What might be meant by "practically perfect" , is that it is capable of being rewritten by someone with just a little knowledge of German but a good awareness of the sort of errors and ambiguities customarily made by the program. DGG ( talk ) 05:36, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd be intrigued to learn that German->English google translate is of such high quality. I have a little knowledge of German (though rusty now) but in my experience, Google translate has traditionally been pretty hopeless. Perhaps I should take a more comprehensive current look.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:58, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Jimmy's right, this is still the case to my knowledge although it is gradually improving. The google translate qualityfor German is much worse than French, Spanish, Italian even Chinese. The system still hasn't got some of the phrases and ends up putting them backwards and so many words fail to translate, This is why I've often been reluctant to translate them myself as so many words get in a muddle. The romantic languages at least you can decipher it, German is very tough because most of the words bear no resemblance to English. Anyway, google translate is no replacement for a fluent speaker and proof reader.♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:25, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I have translated a few over time and being bi-lingual still find it very hard. Also whatever is of extreme importance on deWiki might not need even mentioned here. Often I find that a fresh article using the statistics and sources of a deWiki article produces a better flowing article than forcing a translation. That way someone with limited knowledge of German can help produce quite a lot of material if so inclined (hint hint) Agathoclea (talk) 10:46, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Anyone who thinks translation engines are adequate for encyclopaedic content isn't living in quite the same universe as I am, but what exactly do you have in mind, Dr Blofeld? I'm unlikely to commit myself to translating articles on varieties of sausage dogs or villages/localities. Is there a list of articles someone compiled as desirable for translation that I could pick from? Regards, Peter S Strempel | Talk 10:39, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Portal:Germany/Things you can do always has a few. Wikipedia:WikiProject Germany/Article requests is a little more extensive. Category:Municipalities of Germany is full of them. Agathoclea (talk) 10:50, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Anything which takes your fancy. We are missing articles/valuable content on most German world topics. Personally I would like to see the municipality articles translated for Germany, Austria and Switzerland but the articles needing translation are endless, from Bavarian mountains to German nobles. But there is Category:Articles needing translation from German Wikipedia which are those articles tagged as needing translation specifically, so that would be a good place to start, But we literally need a German translating army to tackle this stuff, the discrepancy is vast.. At the very least I'd like to see a WP:Germany collaboration of the fortnight or something in which several editors work at translating a select featured article from Category:Featured articles needing translation from German Wikipedia. But I know many are busy with their own material... ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:52, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd rather have Arabic swearwords tattooed on my forehead than translate PlanetSomewhereElse brochure copy, but I'll see what there is that might interest me among the featured articles. Regards, Peter S Strempel | Talk 11:29, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm liking your humor Mr. Strempel. I've just started Nagold River which could use somebody's help.. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 11:30, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment "Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good." I don't expect machine translations to be perfect, or even practically perfect (that was a joke aka hyperbole), just "good enough" that I can understand what's being said. My major point, which everyone is ignoring, is that translated articles tend to be done once. Period. The article provided as an example has been updated many times, and I assume will continue to be updated fairly regularly. The main complaint about "old encyclopedias" was that they were out of date before they were published. That's more relevant for some articles than others, but if every article is translated into every language (warning: hyperbole again), then how do we keep them all in sync? And if they're not in sync, how best to help our readers find what they're looking for? For those pretending I was suggesting no manual translations be done at all, I suggest you re-read what I wrote: add a template or flag the main language article on the translated article page - where else would a template or flag be located? You know, I'm often appalled at how flippant and dismissive these 'discussions' become, particularly by those supposedly setting an example. Are you pretending this problem of synchronization doesn't exist? Agathoclea said, Also whatever is of extreme importance on deWiki might not need even mentioned here. iow, a view that the articles should not be in sync. That's likely true for some readers, but not for others. As I wrote, I'd rather read an article being constantly kept up to date than an excellent translation from awhile back. That's another view. Our readers have different interests, needs and expectations. Some stop reading after the lede. Some after the article. Some follow the hyperlinks. The point is to provide each reader with the learning experience each needs and wants. imo, pointing out the article (in whatever language) is the most comprehensive and up to date is a reasonable and helpful thing to provide our readers. We live in a globalized world, with new (obviously imperfect) options such as machine translations. Which continue to improve, same as search engines. Furthermore, not all our readers are limited to one language. You don't have to agree with any of that, but rather than address this as something worth discussing, you go off on tangents. Feel free to explain how that's helpful. 75.59.204.135 (talk) 14:33, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
You are refering to my comment above. Let me expand a little. I am currently reading some material in English and in its German translation. I am doing some comparative reading as personally I prefer the English but for external reasons I need the German. While in that case there has to be a "in synch" translation it becomes obvious that the translation often differs from the original by using different wordpictures; reordering or even focusing to cultural priorities to the point that some items are not included while others are expanded to match the German readers needs. The same is true in translating between various wikis. I just translated an article into German and I found that in order to match the style of deWiki I had to cull a lot of material while on the other hand I should have included material missing here that would have been expected. deWiki has strong oppinions on what should and what should not be included and those often differ from ours. Obviously articles have to be synched in as such as information has to be kept up to date. But differences in what is relevant to the reader have to be taken into consideration. Agathoclea (talk) 15:07, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Agreed: dewiki articles must differ from enwiki due to strict German WP rules, such as infobox formats. -Wikid77 13:53, 8 September 2011
Let's try this again. In a globalized world, we need to re-examine the definition of "the German readers needs" and "cultural priorities" and "relevant to the reader". The insistence on sticking to increasingly outdated concepts, in a world in which many people read daily newspapers from all over the world as a matter of course, is causing rather than solving these lost in translation problems. If you want to continue to argue against informing readers that the same article in another language might better suit their needs, that's your choice. imo, the reader knows far better than I do what his/her needs are, and our job is to make sure the reader is aware of all the options - and making those options easy to use. 75.59.204.135 (talk) 16:18, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Globalized is not harmonized. We are not the same. There is Blue Peter in Britain - There is Heinz Erhardt in Germany both had a massive influence on people in the respective countries to the point that most people will not even recogize the origins of the language they use - it just makes sense to them but not to the other. Diffenences in underlying legal systems have shaped people. Why are roadsigns in Germany directing when to accomplish exactly the same purpose they are forbidding in English speaking countries? You try to transfer some of our railway articles to deWiki - you might get shot down for bringing something not relevant OTOH they have articles we don't understand here as relevant. The same has to go for individual content. The trick is to discern what the differences are, which is best done when you are familiar with both cultures. Agathoclea (talk) 17:28, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Curiosity and information know no boundaries, language or otherwise. Blue Peter is English, not American or Canadian or Australian or whatever. Are you suggesting that the English language Wikipedia should therefore have separate articles for the people of each country, because only the British would 'understand' Blue Peter and Blue Peter badges and Connie Huq? People read Wikipedia because they want to know what they don't know - that's the point. If there's something they don't follow in an article, they have hyperlinks to help them out instead of long explanations inline which might be distracting to those already familiar with whatever it is. I would think any American planning on driving in Germany would indeed want to learn about their road signs first - as most of their own local signs now follow the International guidelines. Anyway, you're arguing the wrong way round if you're trying to 'prove' why one Wikipedia shouldn't make it clear where the local, in-depth article resides. iow, own goal. 75.59.204.135 (talk) 19:18, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
While it is true that the German Wikipedia articles for these municipalities appear to have more useful information, it is also true that if all the material on there was translated verbatim over to English, the sourcing would not be terribly accessible. Sure, Erkelenz (as of a couple days ago) isn't such a great article, but there isn't that much stuff referenced to sources that most English Wikipedia readers or editors wouldn't have a hope of verifying either. It's one thing to have a bunch of obscure German books referenced in a G.W. article.. are they really that helpful here? Nevard (talk) 05:40, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely. Obviously most sources for them are going to be German. In my view "foreign" sources are always perfectly acceptable. I would also argue that if we are to truly become the most comprehensive source possible then we must cover topics which are considered notable to people within their own countries. I'd say 99% of content on German wiki is appropriate for English wiki.♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:25, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Funny that while we are disussing this this book was advertised in a business magazine I get. Pity Amazon does not have the detailed write-up it got in the magazin. Anyway I agree 100% with Dr Blofeld that sources other than English are no problem at all. We will use the English ones preferably if available. Agathoclea (talk) 10:41, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Though I agree that German sources would be acceptable, I think they need to be accessible to (and actually accessed by) the translator, if they are to be used as references without further qualification. --Boson (talk) 10:37, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Again I agree. But this again presents us with the translation problem when the refs are not webbased. A google books search might find the relevant pages though. Agathoclea (talk) 10:41, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Essay to help German translations: I had started an essay, some years ago, to begin to help with German translations, and give advice for working with machine translation websites and online dictionaries. See essay:
WP:About translating German Wikipedia - some tips and hints for translations
That essay was an attempt to collect "lessons learned" and I hope others will help to update it, to include more of what has been said here. Google Translate (although formerly very good in the early days, c.2004) has, for years, become "Google mutate" for many languages. It has a habit, when translating German text, of leaving out those minor words called "verbs" so that can seem quite hopeless to readers wanting to know what happened in a German account. I have translated dozens of German articles to English (23 de:Wiener Gemeindebezirke, districts of Vienna), and some pages to German WP with another German username (also hundreds of pages on German Wikisource). We need to find other translation websites, which still use old proven technology (I wish we had "Old Google Translate" or AltaVista or similar), but also contact the WP volunteer translators to help. Perhaps Google disliked websites which used the old Google Translate to correctly translate live webpages into "9" other languages, but for whatever reasons, the former excellent software which gave remarkable translations is no longer there, and Google Translate changes appearance "every month" without getting better. Many issues to consider. -Wikid77 13:04, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
An essay on how to translate German into English? A methodology for understanding German when you really don't? Excellent software that understands any of the counterfeit translations that were made by it? What is this? The Buena Vista presumption that all things European can and should be 'Amerikanised'? The 'nuerto' presumption really knows no bounds, does it? Moreover, the difficulties inherent in Wikipedia's nepotistic culture almost guarantee that any real translations might be judged inaccurate because arbitrary decisions can be enforced by anyone without any knowledge at all about the subject matter in question (no, none of my translations have been challenged)? I looked at translating German articles, kids, as a serious avenue for contributing, but it's closed off by the enforcers who say that majority opinion must prevail over any semblance of the real. See ya in the funny papers. Peter S Strempel | Talk 02:58, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Non-free files in your user space

Hey there Jimbo Wales, thank you for your contributions! I am a bot, alerting you that non-free files are not allowed in user or talk space. I removed some files I found on User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive F.

  • See a log of files removed today here.
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Thank you, -- DASHBot (talk) 05:01, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Oh, Jimmy, you're a bad bad man ... according to a bot!  :-P (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 10:28, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
A bot which decided to remove a miniscule image from a talk page archive, which has been there for six years. Hasn't it got anything better to do? And Jimbo isn't even the person who added the image. It appears to have been part of another editor's signature at the time. Neutron (talk) 16:44, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually they have not been around for that long - see this thread Agathoclea (talk) 17:39, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, apparently the rearrangement of my archive pages awakened the bot army.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:10, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
ROFL! Graham87 02:51, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Esther Rantzen

Thanks for your edit to this page, I've clarified what's meant by "losing one's deposit" in relation to UK electoral process - although as you note it's not specified in the original source, it is integral to UK elections so I've added another citation and some explanation to it. --RedHillian | Talk 19:58, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

That's really wonderful. After I read (and removed) that bit, I was curious as to what the phrase meant and I went and looked it up. It's nice to have it explained within Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:05, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
See Deposit (politics), explained within Wikipedia since 6 January 2009 by User talk:Graham Lippiatt#Members of Parliament, a longtime contributor to MP articles. I appreciate RedHillian's addition, but you could have looked around a bit first rather than deleting it. Two countries separated by a common language and all that. 99.50.184.68 (talk) 13:21, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, in the U.S., there is a common expression, "lose your cookies" meaning "lose your lunch" (or "hurl"), so "losing one's deposit" might sound like slang. In English, "You're pulling my leg," becomes the Spanish for pulling my hair. So, in a hurry to clean-up articles, some text is mistaken for slang. -Wikid77 03:48, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
If you ask our friends in the Liberal Democrats nicely, they will let you join with them in a rousing chorus of the song 'Losing Deposits'. It is sung to the tune of Waltzing Matilda and is a mainstay at their Glee club meetings. This link gives an example. Sam Blacketer (talk) 15:27, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Well they would sing that, wouldn't they? ;-) 99.50.184.68 (talk) 17:44, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
If it was sung the way Tom Waits did, the loss of the deposit would be almost worth it. Peter S Strempel | Talk 02:03, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

I gotta ask

How is your name misspelt on your birth certificate? Mark Hurd (talk) 15:08, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

It says "Jimmie". My actual name is "Jimmy".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:41, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
At least it doesn't say that you were not born in Hawaii ... not that you were. Oh wait, is that a controversy somewhere? :-) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 17:43, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Thats interesting. Something similar happened on my daughters. Next to impossible to fix a messed up birth certificate. --Kumioko (talk) 19:23, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Don't get me started on the date of my birth. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:08, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Or the location. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 06:08, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it's not. I got my wife's state of birth wrong (I plead lack of sleep... and besides, she didn't really spend much time there...) on our first child's birth certificate application and it was a relatively simple process to correct once the error showed up in our issued copy--showed up at the county vital records office, signed an affidavit attesting to the correct info, surrendered the incorrect certificate, paid the fee for a new one, and waited a few weeks for it to show up. Mind you, I expect the process might have been a bit harder had I waited several years to correct it. Jclemens (talk) 06:17, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Of jimmies, jim-jam, Peeps, Just Born and Jimmy Bartholomew 99.50.184.68 (talk) 17:42, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Bet you caught hell for that one, lol. Perhaps part of the difficulty was that mine was born at a military military hospital (Army at that=tons of rules, regulations and red tape). Oh well if she ever has to go into hiding at least she can use the name on her birth certificate. :-) --Kumioko (talk) 18:06, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
I met and befriended a fan of London Wasps rugby club at a match, rugby being one of those sports where the fans actually get on with those from the opposing camp. He was born on a flight between India and Europe, over international waters. It created several issues for the bureaucrats ... - Sitush (talk) 00:55, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Isn't the whole point of rugby to go drink beer with the opposing team after the match? Jehochman Talk 19:32, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

The user name "Y asi fue que los 767 terminaron en 434" has been blacklisted from creation.

Question

I suspect you probably have enough but

Resilient Barnstar.png The Resilient Barnstar
Just reading Talk:Jimbo Wales made my head hurt, I can not imagine how frustrating it must be for you to face that bizarrely high level of lawyering. jorgenev 07:19, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Scholar notability

Any thoughts anybody on Roy Eriksen, currently at AFD?♦ Dr. Blofeld 12:37, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#User:Marshallsumter_disrupting_Wikipedia_for_.22research.22_purposes.

I am posting here, because I mentioned it above as an example, but then it became clear to me that there are deep interwiki issues here, and well, one of the best known interwikians is yourself. A particular specific on this case is that User:Marshallsumter seems to have used Wikiversity to plan, organize, and otherwise prepare what appears to be an elaborate "research" experiment on En-Wiki, and possibly other Wikimedia wikis. While our rules are at times very different than other Wikimedia wikis, I think there is basis to alert and mobilize the custodians and admins in other Wikimedia wikis to scrutinize and evaluate this user's behavior and take appropiate action as they see fit. There is overwhelming consensus this a disruptive user under en-Wiki rules (and frankly, common sense), but the situation might be unknown to the other wikis.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 23:50, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Geez. Wikiversity.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:43, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
You, sir, can justly claim to be a Southerner. No one else says "Geez". That said, what I am missing? --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 20:11, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, it sounds to me like you haven't missed a thing. I'm not sure there is any particular reason to think that he's been conducting experiments on any other wiki. It's probably worth a quick look around. I don't know what other languages he knows. A likely target for this particular "experiment" might be wiktionary, so it's probably worth a look there.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:04, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
In his Wikibabel before the user page was cleared to place the blocked, and then banned, notice, he claimed very basic Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, "Bokmal" Norwegian, Portuguese, and Russian. He also claimed basic German, French, and Latin. And English as primary language. Wikitionary? Hmmm true that, 'cause he was into neologisms etc. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 21:30, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I checked, all his edits at Wiktionary, all 15 of them, are good or were handled 2 years ago.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 21:50, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Donations

Where can I find disclosure of who and how much is donated to Wikipedia? My76Strat (talk) 10:48, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

The most formal disclosures would be in the financial reports I suppose. This policy is probably worthy of review. Someone else may know of the location of other information, and I welcome comments here to help you find what you are looking for. Was there some specific question you had in mind?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:33, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, yes. I was gathering some links for articles I had rescued for the rescue squadren and I was reminded of this edit. I am curious if there was any truth to the post, because if so, I would have to count it as my most significant contribution. So I am curious. My76Strat (talk) 11:44, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Nice! There might be truth to it! There haven't been any $10 million gifts, I can tell you that for sure. Whether this particular request led to a large gift, though, I don't know.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:49, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Wow, that's interesting. I have reviewed each financial statement on record, and the period which includes this event also includes, by large margin, the largest influx of cash for the foundation. It would be great if it was shown to be true, at some level. And if so, it would be a testament to encourage civility. I remember the struggle this editor was experiencing to keep this article from being deleted. And I remember after painstaking research when I found a reference that supported the subjects notability (this edit alludes). Anyway, it is a nice thought to ponder. My76Strat (talk) 12:29, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Ha, that is great! Now, how about a commission for this person? Actually, seriously, suppose the Foundation had someone randomly troll for instances of unusually and materially welcoming-type behavior like this and emailed the person "If you're willing to send us your address (in confidence) we'll mail you a thank-you check for $X". Would this be cost-effective? Maybe. (I imagine that there are various problems with this that I haven't considered, so... maybe not. But who knows?) Herostratus (talk) 14:54, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

"Verifiability and truth"

This little example raises some interesting points about BLP maintainability, verifiability, original research, truth. Let's have a thoughtful discussion about it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:27, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

It might be helpful if you would focus the discussion by clarifying what aspects you feel need to be discussed. Looie496 (talk) 16:31, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
We have in the article at the moment something that I know to be true, based on a personal conversation with the subject the article, but no source, although a source may be forthcoming soon. We had in the article a blatantly obvious falsehood, with no source, for nearly 2 years, which raises BLP maintainability questions (should this bio have been semi-protected years ago to prevent this? should it be placed under flagged revisions or similar?) This is a very mild version of the Siegenthaler incident, at least in terms of what was said, but much worse in terms of how long the vandalism remained in the article.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:37, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Can a bot be developed (or does a similar thing exist) for BLP templated articles whereby semi-protection is automatically added as the template is added?--MONGO 17:02, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
(ec) One thing it demonstrates is that we need sources, because without them vandalism may stay in an article for years without anyone being able to address it.
Another thing it demonstrates is that sometimes it might be appropriate to have a process for elevating editors' "original research" into usable sources. A process that would allow us to use your statement about what Gowing said as a primary source (subject to applicable common sense restrictions on primary sources, so it can be used to flesh out an article but not to advance a thesis) would no doubt have been very useful for dealing with the Sam Blacketer controversy situation. At the time, we got a lot of traffic from people who thought that they would get the correct information from us. I think most of them had no idea that we were suppressing the necessary corrections to the press reports for procedural reasons, while reporting what we knew to be false.
One approach could be a "Wikimedia Journal of Original Research", an edited publication whose main purpose it would be to publish trustworthy information for use in Wikipedia, and so to make it "reliable". It should have editors with a good reputation (from a scholarly or media background), and should be organisationally independent from Wikipedia, although possibly part of the family of Wikimedia projects. A similar, more local, approach is described at WT:WikiProject Computational Biology#PLoS Computational Biology to Contribute Wikipedia pages?, and I meant to tell you about it anyway because I think it is promising. Hans Adler 16:47, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
The only real 'controversy' was over the accuracy of the press reports, of course; and it would not have helped as the article was deleted for reasons of notability, as well as the danger of Wikipedia disappearing up its own fundament. (Most people who raised it with me directly just thought it was a bit of a joke and certainly not worth any national press coverage) But dare I also mention that the press comments at the time by the Volunteers Director for Wikimedia UK were also strikingly and pathetically inaccurate. There was and is no conflict of interest. Sam Blacketer (talk) 17:43, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Why yes, of course. I think the two main issues that we have not yet learned from are these: (1) It took about a week to get the article deleted, and during much of the time it was libelling you. (2) Wikipedia had a moral obligation to correct The Register's misinformation -- especially but not only while the article was live --, but had and still has no process for doing so. Hans Adler 19:04, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Hans, well, I agree that a source would be helpful in this case, no doubt. But it bothers me a lot that what was in the article was transparently ridiculous and no one challenged it for nearly two years. Hardly any editors saw it, I suppose. So what I'm interested in thinking about here is what policy changes (automatically semi-protect all unwatched or minimally-watched BLPs, bring back a new version of flagged revisions - which would absolutely have stopped this, etc.) would be valuable here.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:01, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
And perhaps go ahead and delete all unsourced statements in all BLPs? Would you believe that could work as a radical method Mr. Wales? Wifione Message 17:11, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
The most obvious solution would be to encourage the subjects (and friends, family and colleagues) of BLPs to keep an eye our for vandalism and non-facts on their own article, and to post in the Talk page (preferably with some sort of template flag) to get an Admin's attention. Not all vandalism and non-facts are obvious. Some are footnoted, but you have to read the footnote to realize it says something else entirely. Sometimes good material is deleted, so what's left is true, but not complete. So far, Wikipedia has done a great job of targeting and ridiculing anyone who tries to correct their own article - regardless of whether it's a simple correction or fact or total puffery. As a result, no one would be caught dead trying to correct even the most egregious falsehoods. Sometimes it occurs to them to email Jimmy (based on what I've seen), but mostly they just deal with it as they do the typical tabloid 'stories' about them. Which, in too many cases, is what Wikipedia articles resemble. Honestly - of all the things Nik Gowing has done in his long career, is it really so important to know how many minutes of sleep he got during one (1) news story? On his behalf, I find that quite demeaning. That, imo, is the big picture here. 99.50.185.100 (talk) 17:22, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
(ec)I think for long-term problems in BLP articles, the subjects and their friends are the most important resource. What has happened here is only possible if they don't care, or think that they can't do anything and if they try to correct things it will get worse. I occasionally get emails from an academic whose article I once cleaned up. He saw the problems but preferred not to get involved, but then he thanked my for addressing some of them. I think given the COI-related paranoia of many editors that's extremely sensible. Unfortunately. To change this we would have to (1) make sure that article subjects are consistently treated respectfully, and (2) make it widely known that we are interested in such corrections.
E.g. at the top of every BLP talk page there could be a section "Space for feedback from the subject", asking some questions concerning correctness, completeness and fairness from the subject's POV and linking to a page with detailed advice for subjects. This would demonstrate to everybody, both subjects and COI zealots, that we want this kind of feedback, although we may not always follow the subject's wishes. Hans Adler 17:34, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I assume more than one person have read the absurd claim but did not know what to do about it because they have never edited a Wikipedia article before. We should have "flag this article for attention of others" button in all BLPs for people who don't feel comfortable editing wikipedia. Sole Soul (talk) 20:13, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, you make reference to semi-protecting this BLP, but without specifying why this particular BLP deserves special treatment. I do not wish to read too much into that statement, but if you are coming around to the view that all BLPs should be automatically semi-protected, let me be the first to welcome you to the club! Delicious carbuncle (talk) 20:24, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Delicious, I'm not quite there yet. The club has issued me a one-month trial membership, and I'm happy to be visiting. :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:20, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
The main thing I'm thinking is that 41.5 minutes is a very precise amount of time for someone to know that they were asleep for. Another way of looking at the "verifiability and truth" question, maybe? --FormerIP (talk) 20:34, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes. It was a completely bizarre claim when expressed as seconds, but it's strangely precise even if it is minutes. I can think of several ways that measurement might have come about, but it's strange. The reason it's interesting for his biography is that it is part of what he's noted for - a fairly extreme work ethic and ability to properly handle on-air time for long periods of time under a lot of pressure. It gives some valuable "color" and interest into him being a major on-air broadcaster during the hours following Diana's death. But it'd be a much better anecdote if we knew where it came from and how it came to be known. As it stands it's just an improperly-verified (by original interviewing by sheer chance by me) fact. Or factoid, the case may be.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:20, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
A reputation for "a fairly extreme work ethic and ability to properly handle on-air time for long periods of time under a lot of pressure"? I'm not saying he doesn't, but what was the guy's name again? I'd say this is why we have WP:RS, and also why that is correctly strongly tied in to WP:BLP.
I'm concerned that there's a little ["print the legend"] about all this. Even apart from "41.5 minutes", the story just seems wrong, at least as it is currently told in the article. BBC World was a 24 hour news channel run by an organisation with access to possibly the world's best human resources within the field. Why do they need Nik Gowing in particular to be dragged from his sleep? Did half a billion people ever watched BBC World, even if the audience is combined with that of BBC 1 in the early hours of the morning? We're also told that Gowing "announced her death", which would seem to imply that a BBC producer heard the news and made a decision to wake Gowing and keep it under wraps until he arrived at the studio.
Maybe that's how it really did happen, but I think out current policy has it right. Please show me a reliable source.
The other issue is what to do about vandalism to BLPs that no-one looks at (apart from Cerejota). I'm not sure, but maybe deleting bios that don't meet a certain pageview threshold? Or else just live with the risk? --FormerIP (talk) 23:23, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

First of all, I watch The Hub with Nick Gowing almost everyday, so I have visited this BLP more than once. Yet I didn't see this detail. And this is where flagged revisions are awesome: they immediately highlight edits in articles you have already visited and might not notice due to just being accustomed to them. If we had flagged revisions, we wouldn't probably have this conversation.

I think the point Jimbo (I know all about the name, but I use on-wiki names in the wiki always) raised is interesting. My interpretation of WP:V, and one I recognize is neither unique nor a dominant one, is that "verifiability" is an exercise reserved only for controversial/extraordinary information, and placed on the context of other policies. In other words, we do not need to verify everything directly, but if we put info up we have the WP:BURDEN to defend it from removal, and if this WP:BURDEN is not met, then removal is a possibility. Sometimes, one needs to be aggressive in removal, such as in BLPs (and even aggressive with positive claims - to prevent puffery and peacocking) or with obvious vandalism. Sometimes, one can be less aggressive and use the world-famous{{fact}}[citation needed] tag - for example, when one knows something can be verified but is too lazy to go there, or when there is a consensus for inclusion but no sources.

In other words, I never take WP:V to require that our information be cited, only that it can stand up to a verifiability challenge. I think that if this became the prevalent view, and we made the "Verifiability Challenge" a semi-official way to handle this (much like WP:BRD) we could solve some of the issues.

Jimbo's edit, however, is subject to removal under WP:BURDEN. As you said here, first hand or sencond hand knowledge is not a reliable source. I am not suggesting it be removed, however, I am pointing out, that the edit remains there under WP:IAR - not under WP:V, even if it is The Truth as told by Nick Gowing. Furthermore, even published first person accounts are indeed subject to independent verifiability, and if they are not, then we must quote. Peruse any high profile BLP and you will see a lot of grief over this: fans of a star who want to include anything their star said as The Truth, Sceptical wikipedians saying, wait for it, wait for it, verifiability, not truth. Here is the thing, what if Nick Gowing had told you, not that he slept 41.5 minutes, and obviously not seconds, but say, 10 or 20 minutes, or some other plausible figure for which there is no other evidence other than his word, and that would mean he was a world class power napper? The same criteria apply, but perhaps you wouldn't be quick to edit this, and would have probably paused a bit. I

So your argument boils down to, "if I find the claim credible, then it stays". That is a good editorial principle, but makes awful policy in this world of wikisolicitors...;) Perhaps, we need to spell out the difference of editorial principles (a personal style no one can take from you) and editorial policy (a consensus of editorial practices and how they intersect) and editorial practice (how all of this rubber meets the road). In your case these things sometimes get interlinked, but for the rest of use non-founders, clarity is a good thing.

I disagree with Hans that the solution would be citations for everything. To begin with, it would get very close to copy-vio problems and quotefarms, eliminating the incentive for editorial input which is at the core of any encyclopedia. And even then, the community is currently dealing and grappling with Category:Articles created by User:Marshallsumter, most of which are heavily cited and of notable topics, but which in close examination do not verify - the sources are there, but they don't quite say what the article says (as most are WP:SYNTH)-, and in fact have major copy-vio and WP:CWW issues, and hence are facing SNOW deletions etc. This user created hundreds of articles, and had autopatroller rights so his long-term creation of awful articles went unoticed by the NPP for at least a year. I suspect there are other similar cases to be uncovered, but this was a clear case were the verifiability issues were not provoked by a lack of sourcing, but by a lack of paying attention. I think this is a point Jimbo is raising: the issue is that it took TWO BLOODY YEARS to find this edit out, cite or no cite.


I think, in this particular case, there are issues of trust (ie we kinda trust Jimbo, don't we?) that could allow use to WP:IAR - but Jimbo is not a realiable source is something you have said, before, and that is a good editorial practice. And WP:V stands, "not truth" at all, because WP:IAR is policy.


But a rigid application of WP:V would mean removing all of that bit about sleeping for a short amount of time, and saying, well, "he slept less than an hour" or "sleep little" or some easier to verify information. The more general a claim, the easier it is to verify, I have found. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 20:53, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

I never said we need citations for everything. But every factual claim we make should also be found in some reliable source that a somewhat experienced reader or editor can find with some effort. That can be in the source given for nearby claims that are supported by footnotes, in a general reference for the subject that may be given only under "Further reading", or just some reliable source that can easily be found by googling for something obvious (e.g. "Nick Gowing '41.5'"). I think these requirements of mine for non-contentious claims are actually more lenient than what our policies and guidelines say -- probably because they are tailored for contentious claims. Hans Adler 21:47, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
If Wikipedia is going to insist on being a collection of trivia (such as minutes slept), then of course there are going to be these ongoing verifiability issues. I'm still waiting for someone to explain just why this is worth having in the article in the first place. Clue: if it's so difficult to verify, is that perhaps because no one else considered it important? Because it wasn't and isn't? imo it's one of those 'somewhat interesting at the time' factoids. This is always a worthwhile question to ask: Are we doing things right, or doing the right thing? 99.50.185.100 (talk) 00:22, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I have three answers to this: (1) Basically I agree with you. Occasionally I get involved in BLP articles to remove trivia such as the price of the house someone bought, or the precise date of birth of someone's children. (2) There are still many cases in which it would be legitimate to use information that has not yet been published, e.g. to give an article depth, e.g. with typical examples. This is particularly important in articles on technical subjects that are hard to explain. We must take a lot of care to make them comprehensible, and so a certain amount of "original research" in the wider sense is totally normal for such articles. (3) This is a special case in that the incorrect "41.5 seconds" information is out there, at least on the internet. Yes, it's trivia, but we might as well correct this bit of trivia. Apparently the subject doesn't mind. Hans Adler 19:49, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
'Thank you'. There is much wisdom in this exchange. I agree with most of what everyone has said, even when you disagree on some details. IP number 99.50.185.100 raises a perfectly valid question, even if on net I do think we should keep this in for the reason that Hans Adler mentions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:13, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Comment As if on cue...Joan Collins has tweeted about an error in her Wikipedia article, according to this article in the Express. Disclaimer: it appears the problem is in the Nndb article, not Wikipedia. I notified Nndb. I'll check on Jean Marsh next. ;-) At any rate, it's a valid example of someone unhappy withe something on Wikipedia, and clueless (or bone-idle) about fixing it. 99.27.249.23 (talk) 01:44, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

  • There's a lively debate in Talk:Jose Baez (lawyer) that's totally on-point. Several sources say Baez was born in Puerto Rico. But Baez said in a Barbara Walters interview, and in an email to a wiki editor, that he was born in New York. Yet there is still some sentiment to say he was born in Puerto Rico. ScottyBerg (talk) 18:56, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I have stayed away from it, because it seems to me as a storm in a teapot: he was born in NYC, but some sources incorrectly say PR. That's what the article should say. The problem is apparently being SNOWed in, but it would have been resolved by including and commenting on the incorrect sourcing, rather than insisting this sourcing was to be completely out. Contradictions in what verifiable reliable sources say, after all, are in fact deeply encyclopedic. See this for example: Hygroscopic which says the similar-sounding but unrelated word hydroscopic is sometimes used in error for hygroscopic. Identifying errors in RS is part of our mission. The problem is that the discussion became an all or nothing discussion, for both sides. That is not a V issue, that is a behavioral issue.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 20:08, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
  • It's a really nice example though of a situation where we have to use editorial judgment and we do use editorial judgment. My line about us not being transcription monkeys (and yours about not being truth rabbits) both come into play here. There was a conflict among sources, and we had to decide how to handle it. A few versions were possible: (a) complete agnosticism "some say the moon is made of rocks, some say cheese" (b) 'counting' sources - most say he was born in Peurto Rico, a few say New York or (c) what I call "verifiability and truth" - due respect for sources, careful avoidance of improper original research, but sound judgment in the end: he was actually born in New York, we have a trusted editor who talked to the man himself to verify what he already told Barbara Walters in an interview up against a lot of sources that pretty clearly just copied information that is "out there". I like (c) - it is what makes us a good encyclopedia. And yes, it does come with hazards. But writing a great reference source is never easy or formulaic.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:15, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I also tend to like (c) always - and dislike source counting methods like Google searches (although those are useful for things were commonality are an issue, such as titles). For example, the "Death of/Murder of" issue: I am of the opinion that respect for living alleged perpetrators require that we name such events as "Death of X" rather than "Murder of X". While I understand it is hard to defend a murderer, specially when the opinion in the RS is that the person was a murderer, in our media environment, full of yellow sensationalism, it is trivial to find exaggerated, injurious, and unkind information in such cases - and I think we should resist this tide, not because we are ignoring RS, but because its the decent thing to do. One way I think this could be given some management is by forking BLPs, recent Bios of deceased people, and contemporary (not only current) events into a separate encyclopedia, in the way some traditional paper encyclopedias did it. That way a separate editorial policy, editor pool, and even perspective on NPOV can emerge that is less open-ended that what the rest of the encyclopedia requires - for example has flagged revisions. I have always found that having the same basic editorial principles, policies and guidelines for, say, [[Towel] as we do for, say, Alun Gwynne Jones, Baron Chalfont a bit of a stretch. We do not owe personal respect to a towel, we do owe it to The Lord Chalfont... --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 00:51, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I recall once a respected editor saying, flat out, that he didn't care about the truth, only verifiability. Those are almost verbatim the words he used. I don't recall the specific situation so I can't cite a diff, but it is an attitude out there that is embraced by a surprising number of editors. I don't think the Baez situation is an outlier. ScottyBerg (talk) 01:13, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Dayum, context would be good in that case, because *I* have said similar things specially when dealing with Truth Sayers like conspiracy theorists or political/ethno-geographic POV warriors.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 02:50, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
That true, but unfortunately I can't recall the specifics. That exact quote does stand out. In that instance, the person was pushing a fringe position. I do recall that much. ScottyBerg (talk) 14:01, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Interesting, was the argument successful in getting content included? --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 20:54, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't remember. That specific comment raised my hackles, and we had an exchange on it. There is an extreme position held by some editors that we don't have any choice, and that we have to put things in articles if there are multiple and verifiable sources, even if we personally have reason to believe it is false. It harkens back to the "verifiability, not truth" slogan. But as Jimbo points out, we have to exercise editorial judgment. I don't want to be a tease, so I am going to make a concerted effort to find that discussion from yesteryear. ScottyBerg (talk) 21:12, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Maybe you are thinking of Lar's comments at Sphilbrick's RfA? Here is an excerpt:
[...] In that discussion, we see him articulating a sentiment that I've seen him make in other contexts: "Yes, we go by the sources, occasionally even when they are wrong." I know, the rule is "verifiability, not truth." But there is no rule that says, "we put in stuff even though we know it's wrong." I don't like that attitude. I would prefer a potential administrator to say that sources that we know to be wrong are not included. We are not mindless automatons. Editors, and especially administrators, must exercise good judgment for the good of the project. ScottyBerg (talk) 20:01, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
"sources that we know to be wrong are not included"... who is "we" and how do we "know" that? It seems to me that if I've interpreted you right, you want administrators to violate policy. Well that's how messes get caused. (sometimes, as with last year's BLP activity, it's worth it, but that's not something to ask a new admin to do, IMHO)... You may want to try to change our policies rather than opposing an admin candidate who wants to enforce consensus. ++Lar: t/c 20:38, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
[...]
If it helps, I strongly agree we would not mindlessly go by a source if we all know it is wrong. If the NYT accidentally uses millions, when they mean billions, I'm not going to shrug and say it's a RS so we must use it. I'm making a much weaker statement, than it appears on the surface. If the NYT, Fox news and the Guardian report that a dozen protestors showed up at a rally, and Scottyberg says, I know that is wrong, because I was there and I counted 15. I simultaneously believe you, but do not support removal of the statement without better evidence.--SPhilbrickT 21:20, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
@SB: while it looks like Sp addressed your concern, you haven't addressed mine. I think if admins set themselves up to decide what's true and what isn't, we've veered away from WP:V and toward the "truth"... and that's a bad road to go down. Please satisfy me that you are not advocating that. ++Lar: t/c 23:21, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I think this exchange is a good illustration of how some editors maintain eccentric interpretations of policy and take them for mainstream. Hans Adler 22:28, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
PS: Lar had earlier said similar things. See User_talk:Lar/Archive_69#ScienceApologist responds, where he insists that the relative prominence that Wikipedia gives to various reviews of a book on science must reflect the notability of the reviewer, while the reviewer's qualifications to review the book do not matter. (The key comment is at 18:08, 12 August 2010. Then NuclearWarfare and MastCell ask for clarification because they initially think they must have misunderstood what Lar wanted to say. Hans Adler 23:03, 13 September 2011 (UTC))
There was also the incident (an entire series of incidents, actually), when Jack Sebastian tried to force material about George Clarke's time travel urban legend into the article The Circus (film) based on the theory that since this hoax is not conclusively refuted in reliable sources, NPOV requires that we take it seriously, and if a film taken on the occasion of the premiere of this Chaplin film should turn out to be the first proof that someone traveled back in time to 1928, then it would be noteworthy in the article on the film. (Jack Sebastian has also used similarly bizarre arguments for the possible existence of Santa Claus.) Hans Adler 22:39, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
There was a very relevant discussion on my talk page in February, now archived at User talk:Hans Adler/Archive 5#Fundamentalist interpretations of V again. Hans Adler 23:03, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Hans, thanks for refreshing my memory. Yes, that was the exchange that I had in mind. I remembered that it had something to do with climate change, but I forgot it happened at an RfA. I scoured the CC evidence pages to no avail. I had also forgotten about the discussion on your talk page about the Chaplin article, even though I participated in it! ScottyBerg (talk) 04:47, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Lets separate the issue of maintenance, from the issue of BLP and V

I like to cook, however, since English is my second language, I am sometimes in need of looking up terms in English. That bought me to Tea towel, which redirects to Towel. And there I found this: [1]. For several days, the article on a basic item, which has dozens of redirects (ie potential search terms) and hundreds of links into it, said: "HORRIBLE WEBSITE". I will join the discussion above, but this is an example on the very real issue of maintenance -outside of BLP, and speaks of the need to find better tools and better volunteer management and better community communication regarding vandalism than what we have now - huggle, rollbacker and AIV are good but clearly insufficient. Flagged revisions was a step in the right direction, IMHO, but obviously the community didn't want it - but it doesn't mean we should stop thinking about such kinds of revolutionary changes and doing less revolutionary changes in the mean time.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 20:53, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

So, 700 or so people clicked on the page during that time and did nothing. That suggests we should perhaps have a simple way for readers to flag obvious vandalism if they aren't willing and/or able to fix it themselves. Just like forums, a 'report abuse' link would probably take care of us - and perhaps get readers more into the concept of contributing something to Wikipedia. Obviously we're going to get some vandals reporting vandalism, but if we first check the pages with multiple reports it shouldn't be that much of a problem. I'd suggest a tab on the left side of 'Read' would be the best place. Easy to see but not intrusive. Guardian Cif has an excellent list of choices, which discourages those who simply disagree with the content or topic or whatever. 99.50.185.100 (talk) 00:06, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with this point as well. Providing the option for users to notify vandalism. The simple click of a button and, maybe also be able to provide a quick description of the problem. Admins would then evaluate the claim, and take the appropiate measure.--MarshalN20 | Talk 00:48, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Any user can (and should!) revert vandalism, no need to even get special tools, although rollbacker is awesome. My point is that we need a way to automatically flag potential vandalism. Such as flagged revisions.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 01:48, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Cerejota, you misunderstood the problem definition. 99.27.249.23 (talk) 03:04, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I did understand it, but I disagree: I think the problem was that none of those 700 visitors noticed this was vandalism - not that they were unwilling/unable to revert or identify it as such. See the difference? It is so easy to revert vandalism that if it doesn't get reverted it usually means it has not been identified.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 22:34, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think we have enough empirical evidence to really know. I suspect that most readers do not know how to revert vandalism. It's so easy to revert vandalism that if it doesn't get reverted it usually means it has not been identified by active editors who know what to do, but if the number of page views is 1000, and if the number of active editors is 1, then of the 999 we don't know if they saw it and didn't know what to do, or if they didn't see it.
There are two approaches to solving it, focusing on different aspects of the problem, and I see no reason not to pursue both. First, making it easier for that 999 to do something useful (like clicking a link that says I think there is a problem, or by rating the article as poor) so that active editors do see it. Second, by making it easier for active editors to be guided to things that are possibly dodgy (flagged revisions or similar).--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:20, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Is there any way to be notified when an article is rated as poor or something similar? Rating doesn't make an edit to the article, doesn't show up in watchlists, ... I don't see how a reader rating an article as "poor" would be of any benefit, since no one will notice that it happened. Fram (talk) 13:05, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I doubt most readers would associate 'poor' with 'vandalism'. I linked to an example of a Guardian Cif 'Report abuse' button earlier, as that opens up a box with a list of specifics to choose from. If you don't do that, you get such useful comments as 'WTF' or 'this is total garbage' (which generally means "I don't agree with what's said, even if it's both true and verified"). You have to be obvious, easy and specific with an abuse button. Their list: Personal abuse, Off topic, Legal issue, Trolling, Hate speech, Offensive/threatening language, Spam, Other - and a place for additional comments. That gets readers thinking of what we want to know about (and by implication, what we don't) in a tactful, useful way. Our list might include: Doesn't sound likely, Biased, etc. If the reader wants to be more specific in the comments section, that's up to the reader. When you're thinking of someone interrupting their reading of a news story, for example, to check something out on Wikipedia, that's someone who might be willing to spend the time to flag a problem if it takes a second or two. That's all the time we're likely to get from them, but those are the readers we want to hear from. Perhaps an If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem reader campaign. If they can't or won't edit, at least they can quickly flag problems to help out. 75.59.206.169 (talk) 14:49, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Without outing myself, the problem the IP identifies is a prevalent one in user generated reporting: if you ask google how they handle comment reporting at youtube you will get similar responses. I like Jimbo's two pronged approach (and for example, OTRS already handles such issues from subjects of BLPs), but ultimately our readers are readers, by self-definition they are not very interested in becoming editors (perhaps a recruitment campaign using vandal fighting as a point might be in order?). My fear is that a one button reporting system would become yet one more backlog to monitor: we have a volunteer crisis that will not be resolved in the short-term, and we do have tools, like flagged revisions, that are available immediately, and in use in other Wikimedia wikis. Why is En-Wiki so resistant? --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 20:52, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Vandalism missed by bots

  • Text slipped past recent-changes patrollers and bots: The patrollers failed to correct the addition of the bolded, 2-word phrase "HORRIBLE WEBSITE" near the top of article "Towel" as added by an IP in Australia at 09:00, 9 September 2011 (diff-5578). The phrase remained during most of 3 days, with about 900 pageviews. I think that is similar to a case of a ship sinking in calm seas, where changes are needed to keep ships afloat. Perhaps expanding the team coverage, for recent-changes review, would help to correct such problems in the future. I thought that vandalism bots would detect insertions of "ALL-CAPITAL-LETTERS" text. Otherwise, perhaps it is time to semi-protect all articles with pageviews > 200-per-day, after a single IP-numbered hack edit. Remind IP users that a username-login can remain remembered for a 30-day period in the current WP system. It is no longer necessary to use IP edits to avoid a login every day: one login can last for 30 days. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:41, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Update: I have filed this incident at WP:ANI because it seems to indicate some big problems with anti-vandalism. See discussion there:
WP:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#ALL-CAPS text in Towel
Of course, the early responses were that vandalism is common, and just hope it gets corrected within a few days. Formerly, a bot would look for all-caps text (such as "HORRIB.. WEBSITE") and revert the change; however, there are many editors in India putting all-caps "VISHNU" or whatever, so perhaps the automated rejection of all-caps insertions has been shutdown. Personally, I think any bolded all-caps text, added near the top, in a 300-pageview article such as "Towel" is a major problem. Think about it: there are numerous ways to defend against such text, but the text remained all weekend, until reverted late Sunday evening. Specifics:
• The edit-summary was not blank (was "Types of towels").
• The text was bolded by 3-apostrophe '''XX''' (editor knew WP bolding).
I suppose in being just one example of hacked text, there is no "pattern" from a sample size of 1, but I see the need to encourage username-login for editing articles with > 300 pageviews. Imagine, the possible insertions, "For centuries, most towels were made of rayon" or similar untrue text. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:53, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
...and as recommended to you at ANI, that kind of technical restriction should be discussed probably at WP:VPP. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 16:55, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

I reverted it and there is a whole convo on this above. Just sayin' --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 22:02, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

9/11 edit wars

The NYT ran this story. Adding things to templates.... 99.27.249.23 (talk) 03:49, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Incidentally, Newyorkbrad, who is quoted in that piece, has a comment about it on his talk page. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 12:34, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I remember back not more than a year ago...links to the articles relating to 9/11 conspiricy theories appeared on the page for 9/11 Terrorist attacks (or so I remember, maybe I viewed a version where they were there and then another editor removed shortly after I left the page). I'm not sure why it was removed, but I believe it might be able to be put back. Wikipedia is not censored. Yes, it might be emotional, but the alternate "conspiricy theories" pop up in the news all the time, making them notable. A bit weird that the NY Times would be running a story quite like that. JguyTalkDone 13:08, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
It is bad publicity for Wikipedia. I think what may have happened is that a few of the regulars at that article started seeing the issue as a battle between them and the editors who were pushing for inclusion material on the conspiracy theories in the article. Thus, they let their emotions get the better of them and went too far by revert warring to prevent even the inclusion a link to the conspiracy theories' article in the "See also" section. So, in order to win the "battle", they strayed into censorship. Cla68 (talk) 00:25, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it is bad publicity for Wikipedia. While I agree that the link should be included, it is a valid matter for editorial judgment. I very much disagree with you, as usual, that it is appropriate to characterize such things as "censorship". That's just false and inflammatory, and not a valid use of the concept.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:28, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, Wikipedia is now in its "maintenance phase". This means that most topics are now covered with articles that just need to be improved and maintained. Wikipedia's content guidance board should be able to step in when a few, overly-emotionally involved editors take things too far in an article, such as removing even a link to a directly-related article (and yes, when it's taken this far, it is censorship). The problem? Wikipedia doesn't have any kind of content oversight board, and the number of Wikipedia regulars is too small to prevent small groups of editors from taking over certain articles. The results will be continued, embarrasing articles in the mass media when they see things like this going on. It hurts Wikipedia's credibility when the general public sees that Wikipedia has little-to-no control over the NPOV of its own content. Cla68 (talk) 00:38, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

I have been involved in this issue through the ongoing good article reassessment. I do not see censorship here, only a poor custodianship which got locked into a misguided interpretation of policy. Fortunately, community review processes picked this up (with particular thanks to Malleus Fatuorum). Geometry guy 02:06, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

It always makes me chuckle to hear the old chestnut - "You're misinterpreting policy! Can't you see that MY interpretation of policy is the correct one?!?". The irony of this position, GG, is that in this situation, consensus was reached after extensive, and I mean extensive, discussion to exclude mention of CTs, and only a new consensus will reverse it. If it was simply a matter of, as some have claimed, clear violation of WP policy, the original consensus would never have been allowed to stand. It should also be noted that the last editor to be blocked for edit warring on the article was someone improperly trying to add CT material, not someone trying to remove it. As for the NYT article - I also got a chuckle out of that, talk about misinterpretation. Shirtwaist 05:13, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad you retain your humor in the fresh air that outside views are bringing to the article. My comment was not based on what I think, but on what everybody else thinks. I am familiar with the most recent "consensus" discussion, having already commented on it a week ago. The mainstream media will never fully understand Wikipedia, but that does not mean we should become a walled garden. Geometry guy 00:30, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Let's hope that any new consensuses that may come along in the near future are not also "misguided interpretations of policy". Shirtwaist 07:46, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

We've had Barack Obama and conspiracy theories. 9/11 and conspiracy theories, Santorum and Savage's campaign. Birthers, truthers, whatevers. See also links? Template links? Both? Neither? I think a lot of people would prefer the wheel didn't get endlessly re-invented and we had a common discussion. People who feel very strongly about one example may find they can view other examples more dispassionately and therefore contribute to a consensus. imo the decision itself matters less than that the various articles appear as if editors were somewhat in sync. Readers don't like being constantly surprised over the location of such a link, any more than they want to see random naming conventions. Makes life easier. 75.60.18.245 (talk) 03:48, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Arbitration

You are involved in a recently filed request for arbitration. Please review the request at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests#User:La goutte de pluie and, if you wish to do so, enter your statement and any other material you wish to submit to the Arbitration Committee. Additionally, the following resources may be of use—

Thanks,OpenInfoForAll (talk) 22:41, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

This was my statement there:
This is in my view premature and inflammatory, and with all due respect to OpenInfoForAll, not very well thought out, in particular including people in the case whose sole participation was a !vote or a comment in a DR board, such as most of the people in the list, including Jimbo.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 23:22, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
The user Admitted it was messed up. Delete now? --Hinata talk 23:54, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Repeal of Wikipedia:Civility

Hello, Jimbo Wales

I am a Wikipedian which is blocked twice in the past and I would like to propose the repeal of Wikipedia:Civility. If I asked you "what do you think about me", which one would have been your reply?

  1. "Haha! Good one!"
  2. "You're crazy!"
  3. "This is your first and last warning: The next time you mess up with Jimbo Wales talk page, you will be [insert your favorite form of doom]."
  4. "Well here comes the third: You are blocked from Wikipedia for a period of [integer number] years because [insert your reason here]."
  5. "Maybe an average Wikipedian, maybe not. What's your point?"
  6. None of the above; I'd like to surprise you with the following smart answer: [Smart answer].

Fleet Command (talk) 22:50, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Civility is a two way street. :)--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 23:17, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Wrong answer! The correct answer was #7. You do not see a #7 there because it is actually Wikipedia:Don't feed the trolls. But the question was not really for Mr. Jimbo Wales.

Mr. Wales, please forgive both my humor and my intrusion in your talk page. I believe I had no better options. Soichiro Honda once said (roughly translated) "The most important thing in the world in my view is me". Wikipedia takes second priority. Regards, Fleet Command (talk) 23:56, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

The arbition thing...

Well, looks like you and me and other people got involved. I only made 1 edit specifically addressing it, and yet I get involved. What a waste of time... Anyway, what do I do? Will I get blocked if I'll ignore it? You are all lucky I had Yahoo! Messenger installed, otherwise I wouldn't have been here. Respectfully, --Hinata talk 22:58, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

meta:Terms of use

is a really bad idea; and it is full of mistakes and even harmful rules.--Müdigkeit (talk) 18:55, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

You'll need to be more specific and even then, this is not really going to be the most helpful venue for you.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:59, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

If you don't mind me asking, since terms of use are generally legally binding and presumably these are too, would the foundation ever consider taking legal action against people who break "4. Activities That You Agree to Refrain From"? Obviously I don't mean your run of the mill one time vandals but the serious, long-terms ones who make it their mission to be disrupt the project and threaten/harass editors--Jac16888 Talk 23:06, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't know. Not my decision. It's a complex matter. I am personally in favor of it, if undertaken thoughtfully and carefully, with due consideration for all the various factors. The Foundation is currently involved in legal matters relating to one extremely problematic person (happy to talk to people I know about it privately, but let's not create a magnet by asking me who I mean here) who has issued explicit and credible threats of violence against various users of Wikipedia including me (and my daughter), but that's a pretty extreme case.
I think the ones people would be interested in are persistent nuisance vandals who don't seem to be escalating into violence, but for whom a quick trip into court to have a judge tell them to knock it off just might do the trick. I would favor testing one or two of those as test cases.
I'm not sure that the new terms of service actually changes the legal position of anything at all, by the way. I just don't know. I'm not a lawyer.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:35, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
If I may pile on, I was very irritated to see the retirement of a prolific admin who specialized in combating long term abusers. Among his last comments were some observations here. I commented there that WMF should have a full time staffer to handle the more extreme abuse cases (not to do the reverts, but to pursue the "not my problem" ISPs, and to undertake any other possible off-wiki responses). Johnuniq (talk) 01:47, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Let's not be naive here. The purpose of the ToS is to protect the Foundation, not to protect Wikipedia users. That doesn't mean WMF is evil or anything silly like that. It's just the reality of ToS documents -- they are written to protect the people who write them. The WMF has its interests, which sometimes coincide with those of the user community and sometimes not. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:09, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but whether the WMF should spend money defending the encyclopedia against extreme abuse is a separate issue. One problem for the Foundation, I imagine, is that any involvement in what could be seen as content issues may have ethical or legal consequences in that (some may argue) the Foundation would have assumed some content responsibility. My hope is that legal advice would show that combating extreme abuse would not be an undue problem. Johnuniq (talk) 03:57, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
You're still missing the point. You need to ask yourself whether WMF would see doing this as being beneficial to WMF. The kind of abuse we usually discuss is "inside baseball" that makes life miserable for those of us in the trenches but does not negatively affect fundraising or publicity in the wider world. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 14:45, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
WMF does not see volunteers as disconnected from WMF. It takes the experience of volunteers very seriously. On request of various users, I've spoken to the legal team multiple times about issues of long term abusers and the impact they have on good faith contributors. I can attest that this was very much in their minds as they were working on this document. There are real world limitations to what they can do (including, yes, expense and legal issues), but what makes life miserable for Wikipedians is a major concern for them. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:02, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
The LTA user I usually chase after is this guy, who's been at it since 2004, and his mother won't do anything about it. He's rather harmless compared to some of the others, but it is extraordinarily frustrating that he's been allowed to continue at this for about 7 years. And yet, when we do something to try and contain him (at WP:VPR, there's a thread about limiting the number of accounts new users can make), some editors view our openness as a suicide pact. So sometimes, we as Wikipedians have to help ourselves too; it's not always the Foundation's fault. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 16:47, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Of course "it's not always the Foundation's fault"; I've never said that, and don't recall others saying that either. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 17:02, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Oops, had the emphasis on the wrong word; I meant to italicize always. Fixed; sometimes type can do strange things to language. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:38, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Short Bridge Harvester Boris, I'm happy to report that your analysis is entirely mistaken. The Foundation's interest in the new terms of service is driven in very large part by concerns about protecting the volunteer community, particularly the good editors to make everything possible. The emphasis that you imagine on "fundraising and publicity in the outside world" has, to my knowledge, played absolutely no role whatsoever - no one has to my knowledge mentioned it or even thought about it - in the development of the terms of service.

We aren't a company trying to maximize revenues. Our board is all volunteers. Our staff is guided by the board, and the number one thing that the board has put on the agenda in all recent communications is concern for the health of the community. We want good editors, and we want those editors to feel safe.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:05, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

One thing that jumps out when I read the Terms of Use is that I don't think I have ever seen such a document with the word "please" in it so many times.  :) Neutron (talk) 15:46, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Ranting against tag-box rants

Template:Multiple_issues displays too many messages on articles: I just cleared the top tag-box from article "Tumbling Dice" when editing that 1972 Rolling Stones song, as part of the current WP:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Backlog elimination drives/September_2011. The tag-box had been a typical rant, from February 2010, as follows: {{multiple issues|citation style=February 2010|copyedit=February 2010|primarysources=February 2010|prose=February 2010|refimprove=February 2010|lead too short=February 2010}} Today, I removed that tag-box from song article "Tumbling Dice". However, from a psychological view to motivate editors, I think noting all those issues, at one time, is a scary announcement and would frighten many editors into thinking the article is so totally flawed, so hopeless, then why bother trying to fix part of such a vast set of problems (should the page even be trusted for reading?). So, the huge tag-box remained on a popular Rolling Stones song, for 19 months. Fortunately, that article only received about 120 pageviews per day, so the huge tag-box was only seen 87,767 times (including 96 yesterday), before I removed the box. Please consider helping to "rant" against those top, grandstanding tag-box rants. Getting those scarry boxes hidden (to be just category-links) would be one of the biggest, fastest improvements for readers of Wikipedia. BTW, by September 2011, that song article had no real problems left: the text was sensible, and just the dates needed reformating as dd-mm-yy.

This is a common problem: those top tag-boxes remain too long in blighting article pages, long after the most serious issues have been edited. It is similar to having a huge tag-box on an article to warn, "Hey, I said Hey, this page might have once contained vandalism or any of various other tedious problems such as... yada... yada... yada, so beware when reading". The transclusion count, from the WP:Database reports (8 August 2011), shows that tag-box Template:Multiple_issues was invoked on 36,298(!) pages, more than any small group of people could fix within a year or three. This is another case of Frankenwiki, where the system has incarnated a life of its own, with monstrous, unreadable, scarry results. Fortunately, this Franken is a template which can be "unplugged" to stop displaying the huge tag-box, and just leave the related category links in each of those 36,000 pages. I would even agree to have the tag-box check the date, so then it would stop displaying after 1 or 2 months at the top of the page. Perhaps, a topic should be added at:

Template_talk:Multiple_issues - propose hiding the top tag-box?

I am not sure where else these ideas are being discussed. However, let's try to get this improved this year. -Wikid77 (talk) 04:24, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

So, we had an article with many problems highlighted, and the problems were corrected, and your solution is to hide the problems box? Wouldn't it be much better to remove the box once the problems are solved? Hiding the fact that many of our articles have many problems doesn't make Wikipedia any better. Fram (talk) 07:02, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a purely empirical question. Wikid77 characterizes this as a scary announcement which likely scares people away from editing. Fram characterizes not having it as "hiding... problems". Both positions would seem to have some merit, but the truth is, without testing, we don't know, and so both are just opinions. The real question is this: do such tags tend, on average, to lead to improvement to Wikipedia? A deeper question is: what specific wording of tags leads to the greatest overall improvement of Wikipedia?
While I appreciate, in a sense, Fram's support for the stern moralistic tone of such messages, I actually suspect that Wikid77 is more in the right. I bet that the real answer is that it'd be better to restrict the scary sounding tags to the talk page, and to have an friendly, easy, breezy, short invitation to edit on the article itself.
But that, too, is just my opinion. The real answer to this question is to test, to take the 36,000 articles and randomly put them into 3 groups. The Wikid77 group wouldn't have a tag at all. The Fram group would have the current tag. The Jimbo group would have a light and cheerful invitation to edit. Three months later, we assess how it went. With the new article-rating stuff, there's an easy way to objectively measure whether the articles are improved - how did readers rate them before and after?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:55, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
I admire your belief in the rating system. Taking e.g. the article that started this, Tumbling Dice: it has received no ratings at all... Apart from that, I don't support any "stern moralistic tone", and I don't see any such tone in these notices either. "Please help" is not my idea of stern moralism. Finally, "every article" can use such a friendly invitation to edit. That doesn't mean that we should present decent or good articles in the same way as severely deficient articles. An article like Sir Christus (ratings: 0) needs a thorough rewrite, but until then visibly tagging it as being problematic is the least we can do. Fram (talk) 09:21, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Possibility of inverse consequences: In my rant which started this topic, I should have used the concise phrase to "beware inverse consequences". In the U.S., there is a vine called "kudzu" (KUHD-zoo) from Japan, which was purposely planted (after 1876) to control erosion by covering the bare spots, because it grew quickly. The kudzu covered barren ground which was otherwise being washed away by heavy rainfall, and could appear as unsightly dirt gullies. However, the kudzu actually grew too fast (like tag-boxes?), because of the abundant rainfall, with vines covering all the landscape, then climbing up trees or telephone poles and covering phone wires and light poles, which had to be cleared by special trucks with cranes. The kudzu did not really help to cover just the problem areas, until other plants were grown; no, instead, the kudzu covered everything, while the barren spots were still underneath, and then strangled the "good" vegetation (which would have slowly grown to fix the barren areas) where the kudzu grew as an obscure block of tangled vines. The end result: inverse consequences. I am thinking those tag-boxes are "wiki-kudzu" (as originally planted) because people thought the barren articles needed help to be improved faster; however, those tag-boxes have gone Frankenwiki and taken on a life of their own, growing like kudzu vines, in many cases becoming larger than the article itself and burying the page under a large top banner. All articles could use some improvements, so no article must be tagged as uniquely in need: even article "Albert Einstein" could discuss his school grades and explain why he received a score of "–" in English-language class, rather than high marks of 5 or 6.
    Anyway, the solution to erosion in the southeast U.S. came in many other forms, such as contour plowing (a style of terracing), crop rotation to avoid barren crop areas, reforestation, and other methods. Similarly, WP should seek several other methods to improve articles, and beware the harm done by articles overgrown with tag-boxes which are often outdated, with misleading messages, to obscure the actual current problems in each article ("This article is an orphan" -how long does that issue last?). It is time to cut the wiki-kudzu, and stop the rampant growth of over 36,000 tag-boxes, while we fix perhaps 6,000 tag-box articles per year, and let the talk-page discussions explore the current problems, in each article, each month. We need to expand other ways to improve articles. Meanwhile, kudzu has been spreading in Canada, Australia, and other areas. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:11, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Thinking outside the box (Sorry, couldn't resist!) There are presumably two (2) issues this box (in its various incarnations) is trying to address. One, we are asking for editing help on specific problems which may or may not still exist. Two, we are cautioning readers (I'm thinking of cases in which the box is used to point out 'peacock words', 'like resume', 'written like a campaign brochure' and such). The first would be better addressed with a simple comment communicating the basic idea "This article needs some attention. For details, see the Discussion page. Thanks for helping!" (Note: Templates and people still refer to the 'Talk' page, but the tab now says 'Discussion' so we confuse and irritate new people.) (Note2: If you thank people before they've done anything, you make them curious and more open to contributing.) The Discussion page is where the detailed list belongs, whether in a box or not, particularly if it's about citation formatting or other issues which won't seriously bother most people reading the article, as the material is apparently accurate. iow, annoyance level rather than factual level. The second issue is more of a disclaimer, in the sense of "Warning to readers: take with several pinches of salt". The two issues need to be separated, imo. 75.59.205.206 (talk) 15:16, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Agree with complaint This is a longstanding issue for me. I hate article tags and consider them almost a form of legalized vandalism. They should only be used, I believe, to mark articles that are possible hoaxes, have possible BLP violations, or have been nominated for deletion. Looie496 (talk) 15:36, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't hate them, I just think that except for the deletion/move/merge etc admin action and "recent event" tags, we should just have "issues are being discussed in the talk page" tag, and then have all the actual tags in the talk page. That way categorization which is the main reason for the tags in article space can happen (because the generic tag can be filled with categories), but the actual description can happen in the talk page. I think drive-by tagging is a major problem, and it would be solved by this, as only one tag would be possible.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 22:30, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps the solution is simply to change the wording, so that it doesn't appear quite so censorious. Change the opening from the negative This article has multiple issues to a more positive This article could be improved in several ways. Skinsmoke (talk) 03:33, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
That won't help. See for example Brain (food), a perfectly innocuous little article that never did anything to deserve having a big ugly box put on top of it full of colored exclamation points and boldface chiding. Looie496 (talk) 03:44, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Aren't you missing the point? Change the wording and it's not chiding anymore. I really don't see any problem other than the terse way in which these boxes are phrased. Quite the opposite. Such a box clearly marks an article indicating it may not be entirely reliable. One of the major criticisms of Wikipedia, and the reason so many teachers ban their students from quoting Wikipedia, is that it is not perceived as a "reliable source". The presence of the tag box gives a clear indication to such students, or others (journalists?), that they should treat the article with a little caution. That's not a bad thing! Incidentally, I see nothing wrong with removing the boldface, which really isn't necessary. Skinsmoke (talk) 06:15, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
These boxes aren't just useful, they're absolutely necessary (in my opinion, and in the opinions found in quite a number of previous discussions). As Skinsmoke points out, our readers need to know when there are clear, identified problems with an article, and they need to know exactly what those problems are. They need to understand that we recognize that our articles aren't perfect (some of them far from it), and they need to know specifically what the concerns are. Of course, I'm not saying anything new; this is one of the most commonly raised WP:Perennial proposals; if you go to WP:Perennial proposals#Move maintenance tags to talk pages, you can see not only a list of the arguments against moving them, but also links to multiple previous discussions on the issue. I could conceive of splitting apart which tags go on the article page (unreferenced, peacock, notability, etc.) from those that really are more of an editorial issue (bare links, wikify, etc.), but I think the majority of maintenance templates are actually the former, because they really should influence the way a reader interprets what is written there. Qwyrxian (talk) 06:41, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I totally get this: the difference between tags that are self-referential to Wikipedia (ie adhession to MoS, etc) and different than those that could color the reader's view on the topic (ie current events, NPOV, {{fact}} etc). Here is the thing, we can do both - the problem the perennial proposal has is that it is purely aesthetic, rather than functional, and the opposition to talkpage is one based on warning readers, and these creates camps that are in intractable positions. The multi-issues tag was meant as a compromise - and has failed miserably as such (I admit I love it, but this is not Cerejotapedia). I think I am will eventually make a series of mockups to show what I mean in terms of compromise.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 15:26, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Let's be concrete. Would you say that the world is a better place because [[Brain {food}]] has those tags at the top? I think these fall into your category of tags that could go on the talk page, but as things work currently, I do not feel empowered to remove them. Looie496 (talk) 14:23, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
No. But I wouldn't say it was a better world without addressing the issues the tags raise :)--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 15:26, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
For example, in Brain (food) I just removed all the multiple issues and placed an Expert Attention tag - I verified all the sources (it was mistagged in this sense), the source expansion can be handled by [citation needed] not by big tag, and the other issue is to be handled by an expert. Problem of templates fixed, article on its way to repair. WP:BOLD is a thing of beauty :)--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 15:36, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I often find these boxes helpful, but they do sometimes stick around for too long. Perhaps the new article-rating feedback boxes could be used to spot out-of-date warnings. The rating box could include something like: "This article contained the following editorial messages. Please indicate for each message whether you think it is untrue." The feedback could then be used to generate maintenance categories and comments (which should be removed by the editor who checks and removes the warnings - or by a bot).--Boson (talk) 20:57, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

You've got mail

Like you don't always anyway... The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 00:32, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Just want to make sure it got through; I've rarely had problems with the e-mail system dropping e-mails being sent to me. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:14, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Yea, Jimbo's always "got mail" as well as a permanent orange bar at the top of the page when he's on Wikipedia. I have mixed feelings about the orange bar. I want editors, especially newbies, to know that they have messages without having to check their watchlists but it can be a pain in the ass for editors with high traffic talk pages that are used for general discussions as well as messages "to" that editor. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 04:05, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Users that have a lot of on wiki discussion usually enter the project through their own talkpage and so almost never see the orange bar. Off2riorob (talk) 04:11, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
For a while, I've been tempted to make WP:ORANGEBAROFDOOM a redirect. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:24, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • support redirect :)--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 15:25, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Explore alternate rules

The prior discussions on this talk-page have shown how much resistance, or worry, there is to changing the existing rules, or processes, to try to make major improvements. It seems as though Wikipedia has become a large bureaucracy, where most decisions must be made by long-term compromises, depending on "whose ox is gored" or "whose toes get stepped on". Hence, I am thinking to have some alternate rules, or alternative processes, to weave between the current methods, to help make faster improvements.

In particular, we recently discussed how to avoid the large, annoying (out-dated) tag-boxes, but those old boxes have momentum, as preferred by many users. Instead, I am thinking to create a set of smaller tag-boxes, as a compromise:

{{fixer}}

Smaller tag-boxes such as the above, from Template:Fixer, would be documented for how those boxes are intentionally kept small, and generalized, to avoid an overwhelming laundry-list of problems which is probably soon out-dated and incorrect, within a week of tagging a page. It tells the reader to log a message on whichever is the related talk-page, where the box is displayed.

We will just need to expand other alternate methods, to streamline the processes, but focus more on getting problems fixed, quickly. For example, once an article has been vandalized, it cannot be semi-protected unless that vandalism is extensive, as reverted multiple times; so instead, just tag the page with the above small tag-box, after the first glaring vandalism has succeeded (as viewed "900" times all weekend). That tag-box could be used on political articles, where the Help desk (or other noticeboard) would be alerted that candidate Smith is now a "neologism". We cannot easily change the WP rules, to get vandalism stopped sooner, but we can warn other readers to beware and help to fix future problems. If we focus on "explore alternate rules" then we might find other gaps which allow faster methods, to slip into the system, and make progress faster. In many cases, asking the reader to contact a noticeboard will be faster than saying, "This article might contain poorly sourced vandalism" ;-) which has essentially been the common practice, for years. -Wikid77 (talk) 18:52, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

On the one hand, you believe that we need new tags or systems of tagging, to get the problems fixed quickly. On the other hand, you don't like the current tags, because they are "probably soon out-dated and incorrect, within a week of tagging a page.". Doesn't your argument against the current situation rest on the problems being fixed quickly already, making your argument why something else is needed rather irrelevant? Fram (talk) 06:35, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
In any event, I think debates like this are going to be much more useful if they are done in the context of actual projects to gather actual evidence. The truth is, we all have opinions, and we all don't know. My view is that we should take a few thousand articles and run some tests. Tests take time, of course, so the sooner we get started, the better. There's a hypothesis: "tagging articles helps them to improve". There are at least two alternative hypotheses: "tagging doesn't help" and "tagging might help, but friendlier and less detailed tags would help more". Without testing, we can debate these propositions in a vacuum forever, to no conclusion.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:15, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh, this debate has been done over and over again on the village pump and similar places, and the conclusion was always that most editors support having the tags, and having them at the top of the article (not the talkpage): this is most clearly so for tags indicating content problems, there was less support for the placement of tags related to layout (wikify, orphan, expand, ...). And don't forget that tags have (at least) two purposes, not only inviting the reader to improve the article, but also indicating that we are aware that the article has more or less serious defects and should be read with that in mind. Fram (talk) 07:44, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know, there's no rule or reason why a person can't make their own tags. You don't need anyone's approval -- just make them and start using them. If they're good maybe they'll catch on. There's no particular reason why there can't be different versions of tags saying similar things, if there are useful differences. (Couple caveats: 1) you don't need anyone's approval, but it'd be good to present them at the Pump or wherever for comment and improvements, 2) you don't need anyone's approval but by the same token no one will need your approval to change them, 3) they're liable to be MfD'd. If they're seen as serving a useful purpose they'll survive, if not, not.) Herostratus (talk) 13:36, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

"Verifiability and truth" continued

A recent discovery reminded me that the issues raised in the "Verifiability and truth" discussion come up beyond BLPs. Since 2006, the articles on Washington and Lee University, Streaking, and George William Crump (1786-1848) have asserted that Crump, an early American streaker, was U.S. Ambassador to Chile (W&L diff, Streaking diff, Crump original version). Though unsourced within the W&L and Streaking articles, this assertion is supported in an early version of the George William Crump article by this source, which as a section of a university website is probably reliable. But it's not true: William Wood Crump (1819-87) was Ambassador to Chile. The Crumps can't be the same person, as their dates don't match up. (They could be related.) The assertion persisted in all three articles for five years until I removed it in the last few hours. I'm still working through the non-English Wikipedias.

This little un-fact seems to have made it out to the rest of the Web, including in a press release by the governing party of New Zealand. I've compiled a partial list here. It's possible some of these read it from the W&L website, but I suspect they all got it from Wikipedia's Streaking article.

As with the Nik Gowing un-fact, this long-standing, if mostly harmless, fallacy made it from Wikipedia into the world and raises questions about how widespread such incidents are. Though this doesn't carry the same liability issues as a BLP, the Streaking article is viewed much more often than the Gowing article (23,942 vs. 1,010 views in August). Should the conversation about how (if at all) to protect BLPs be expanded to discuss poorly maintained articles on popular topics, in light of such articles' apparent power to spread falsehoods? Lagrange613 (talk) 03:58, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

How is this a "verifiability not truth" issue? Is anyone arguing that this blatantly incorrect information be included? I am bit tired of "theoretical" opposition hidden as concrete evidence: if this is info is wrong, fix it. This is not the fault of "verifiability, not truth" - it is the fault of human error, and the advantage of being here is that we can fix those errors without bureaucracy. If not fixed already, am fixing them.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 04:30, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Wait, they are fixed! I fail to see the issue as it relates to "V not truth" then - the untruth was removed, as it should be. No amount of rules are going to keep people from inserting incorrect information, so trying to prevent that via rules is quixotic and WP:CREEPy.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 04:34, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I chose the section title because, as noted above, I think this relates to a recent discussion. Can you explain what you mean by "'theoretical' opposition hidden as concrete evidence"? Lagrange613 (talk) 05:55, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
You provided "concrete evidence" and examination revealed it isn't: the info has been removed without controversy. I can understand a theoretical view that opposes the line "verifiability, not truth", but sadly not a single example is given that supports the line being problematic in included, live, content. Instead of raising examples that do not apply, actually bring forth the theoretical opposition to the line. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 06:26, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Cerejota, I understand what you are arguing, but I think it misses the point. It seems that you are agreeing that "verifiability, not truth" is not correct, and that "verifiability and truth" is correct, but arguing that this example doesn't show that there's any harm in having a slogan that's false, since everyone agrees we should not include the "verifiable but false" information. Why not have a slogan that's actually accurate and that actually describes what we do?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:02, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Because verifiability is not the "truth" policy, WP:NPOV is. As we have said before, there is no fundamental disagreement in our positions in terms of the theory of truth, but we do disagree on that point. The "lets get verifiability out of the truth business" crowd does understand that V is not the truth policy, but tend to not understand NPOV either. In the easy stuff, like pedestrian items of daily use, or "sun sets on the west" type of facts, "truth" is clear. But when you move into more complicated issues that involve politics, science, nationalism, ethnicity/race, gender/sex, "truth" becomes a battlefield. Even when I have not been able to edit intensely, I have followed the debates on V, and the editing behavior of those who agree with you tends to be less than stellar, less extreme forms of User:ScienceApologist (with whom, quite frankly, I agreed in terms of "truth" but completely disagreed as an editor). What is truth to a Scientologist is not what is truth to Psychologist, and I do not think it is our role to resolve that controversy. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 15:20, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I chose the title strictly for continuity with the last discussion; my goal isn't to parse its applicability to the situation. The issue as I see it is that for five years Wikipedia was telling readers something demonstrably false in the text of an article on a popular topic. (I'm not claiming the article itself is popular relative to others on Wikipedia; rather, it's a popular topic, in the sense that people broadly are interested in it.) As a consequence, several writers repeated the incorrect information to their readers. The untruth's removal yesterday doesn't change that. Lagrange613 (talk) 15:09, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • V-and-truth means truth beyond sourced text: I think the point of this case, in mismatching the people (such as Crump, Sr. mistaken for Crump, Jr.), is that verifying text "to the letter" of the sources is not enough. The text must be true to a "higher level" as in this case, to a careful distinction between 2 people named "William Crump" who both died in the 1800s. Beyond considering sourced text "to the letter" also, the text must match a logically consistent model of reality, where the events about two people, with the same name, must match within their lifespans. Hence, if person X lived from 1786-1848, then he could not be the U.S. Ambassador to Chile in 1857 (or such), beyond his lifespan. These types of "common sense" issues are not "original research to advance a cause" but merely simple deduction to exclude people who were not alive during the time period. The looming conclusion, which many people have reached already, is that text must be verifiable to a logical deduction from reliable sources, such as the contrapositive: "if p then q" implies, "if not q then not p". If serving as ambassador, then he was alive; so... if not alive, then he was not the Ambassador to Chile. The spirit of the concept is that text should be verifiable to a logical deduction from sources, and, "Text must not be obviously false" even if stated in sources. That is why we reject a sourced hurricane windspeed of "10 mph" as being 160 km/h when, instead, 100 mph is the expected conversion of the speed. Hence, the goal is verifiability and truth, as much as possible. -Wikid77 (talk) 06:19, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
William Wood Crump completed his service in Chile in 1847, and George William Crump died in 1848. So in this case it's plausible based only on dates. Lagrange613 (talk) 15:09, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Albert Szent-Györgyi

Featured in google homepage, first link is to us. Could you please ask google to give us some advanced knowledge in the future? The vandalism has been reverted for the most part, and its now semi-proc, but I am afraid hard-to-spot vandalism might still be there due to the high volume of edits.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 04:23, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Where could I see that? I didn't realize google puts links to us on their homepage.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:04, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Go to google.com, click on logo. Its not on purpose, it's just almost every time there is a dedicated logo over at google, the first link is to wikipedia, because we final boss etc :)--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 15:05, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Perhaps: Wikiproject Rescue BLPs in News: Fortunately, the Google doodles, an image now linked to Google search ("Albert Szent-Györgyi"), are not every week. WP has lists of all the major birthdate-doodle contenders, for each day of the year (today listed in "September 16#Births"), so look for a person with a past of artistic impact. However, we also need to beware of major celebs in today's news, so perhaps a "Wikiproject Rescue BLPs in News" could be used to check articles, of recent-news subjects, for mistakes or vandalism in those articles. I suspect that such a trendy-hot-topics Wikiproject might get wide participation, because it would be tied to current news, TV, films and radio. Plus, for WP's reputation, all the trendy attention could clean-up pages soon after they broke in major news events. The only danger might be: "one person's gossip is another person's verifiability-not-truth" (until truth gets more respect again). Perhaps: the Wikiproject could check the bio-page for each celeb in the days before their next birthday. However, a trendy Wikiproject must be controlled to avoid spreading gossip and neologisms, even though they are in many sources of recent news. -Wikid77 (talk) 07:21, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Your valued (in demand) opinion

Always being curious about your thoughts to an idea, it would be great if you had a comment here Thanks -- My76Strat (talk) 06:06, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Passing Compliment from a Retired Editor

Wikipedia still going strong? Good on you. -- 175.156.212.245 (talk) 05:35, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

London has a special event

Hi Jimmy, as you were at the first one, we wondered if you'd be in town for our 50th? If so you'd be very welcome. ϢereSpielChequers 13:52, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Falkland Islands, Academia v WP Page "hits"

Jimbo,

You may be interested in the discussion going on at Talk:Falkland Islands. The focus of the discussion falls in whether Wikipedia should redirect the search for "Malvinas" (as it currently does) to the article Falkland Islands, or whether it should be redirected to Malvinas (disambiguation). The side proposing the status quo present the fact that, in Academia, "Malvinas" is primarily related to the Falklands. The side opposite to the status quo claim that, per the Wikipedia searches, it should go to the disambiguation page. Essentially, the discussion ends up questioning Wikipedia's purpose: Should Wikipedia focus its reference network to help Academia or not? Best of wishes.--MarshalN20 | Talk 18:32, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

That is not the proposal.
The proposal is-
  1. Malvinas -> Malvinas (disambiguation)
  2. Islas Malvinas -> Falkland Island
As Argentina has named several stadia, airports, buildings etc Malvinas, we have found that most searches for Malvinas are not unrelated to the Falkland Islands. Malvinas Argentinas Partido is in fact the most common article sought. Not surprising seeing as more people visit Buenos Aires than the Falklands. The purpose of tweaking the redirects and disambiguation is so that people end up where they want to be faster.
Instead of considering the merits of the proposal Marshall has reacted in a knee jerk manner and in many cases what he objects to is unrelated to the proposal. This includes accusations that we're trying to remove Argentine toponymy (we're not) and accusations of bias and revenge as a motivation. Wee Curry Monster talk 19:40, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
The pageview stats show that about half, of 20-per-day Malvinas readers, stay at article "Falkland Islands" and the remainder, as 11-per-day, view "Malvinas (disambiguation)" so the reader-vote is "~50%" for the islands, to keep the redirect to them. Meanwhile, "Malvinas Argentinas Partido" has been read only 10x times per day, and already has redirect "Malvinas Argentinas" used 3x per day, so there is NOT an overwhelming mass of people trying to select the Partido article. When the pageviews, per day, are this low, it is impossible to rule out curiosity, of readers who came to read "Malvinas" as the islands, but some were curious and viewed other articles when they really came just for the Falkland Islands. Anyway, the evidence shows that most readers just view the Falkland Islands. -Wikid77 20:31, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Selecting redirect names: Due to lack of time, I typically just look at the first 50 results in a search-engine lookup for "Malvinas" and see that 95% of the webpages still refer to the "Falkland Islands" and leave the redirect to that page. Those searches only work for names, not for common words (used in numerous business titles). At the top of the Falklands page, then put:
Also see: Malvinas Argentinas Partido or Malvinas (disambiguation).
I am a big fan of "extreme recentism", where I would redirect to "Malvinas (disambiguation)" when a popular buzzword rivals the Islands, such as if a blockbuster, international film was named "Malvinas" and everyone starting referring to your Internet "malvinas" (the way "avatar" almost became the popular equivalent of the U.N.'s buzzword "modality"). After the death of singer/actor Michael Jackson, the name "Blanket" (not the bedspread) had massive pageviews. Hence, I put a top hatnote to either "Blanket Jackson" or "Blanket (disambiguation)" because it was obvious there was not a massive, sudden interest in bedquilts. I would do the same for a major hurricane name. However, some users would prefer to ignore massive popularity, and keep the redirects stable for years, but that allowed the word "haystack" to be hijacked as a dab-page of choices, with no place to describe all the history of stacking piles of hay and hayricks. That was changed, but I was tempted to create article "Haystack (haystack)" about haystacks. Of course, the search results for "haystack" have shown mostly any organization named "Haystack" because it is a common word, unlike rare name "Malvinas". We need a good essay about these issues. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:56, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
I concur that a good essay is needed to at least have an idea of how to resolve these issues. I've tried finding some sort of policy about this, but found none. Hence why I posted this here to Jimbo, in the hopes that maybe he (only if he wishes, of course) or someone else could provide some explanation to this topic. Unlike "Wee Curry Monster", I see a bigger picture to this discussion, where the problem falls between "Recentism v Academic Reference" (not sure if I'm using the correct wording). Could it happen that eventually the term Danzig will get challenged as a redirect to the article, and what should be done in this case? Now is a pretty good time to answer the question (that is considering it hasn't been answered yet).--MarshalN20 | Talk 20:55, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Continuing with personal attacks is not helpful Marshall. I listened to User:Wikid77's comments above and I've already withdrawn my proposal. If you accuse someone of bias and "acting out of revenge", then they're more likely to presume your personal attacks result from the lack of a cogent argument. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:00, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Personal attacks?--MarshalN20 | Talk 21:16, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

To answer the original question

As I understand it, Wikipedia is not intended to be an academic encyclopedia, mainly because the stated goal is to provide a free encyclopedia to every human being. Most human beings are not academics, so it follows this is not an academic encyclopedia. While some topics, in particular highly specialized ones, or ones in which the active editor pool is indeed academic, this tends not to be the case, but in general, as reflected in policies like WP:COMMONNAME, we are intended as a reference work for the general public. If I am wrong, I will defer to whatever Jimbo says if he says anything.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 02:01, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

OK, but why are we even here? This is appropriate for a WP:RFC probably rather than a post here, or if someone feels compelled to post here how about just a pointer to the discussion and leave it at that. There's no overarching principle involved here, just a technical disagreement. Herostratus (talk) 02:20, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree, but Jimbo has said his talk page is basically another Village Pump, so that's that. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 02:21, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I posted this here because I do see an important policy question which goes beyond what an RfC could provide. I tried to search for a WP policy that especifically answered this quesiton, but found none. Even Cerejota in his explanation above has to use examples such as WP:COMMONNAME...but no actual policy exists which answers the naming controversy which affected the "Falkland Islands" article and which could affect other similar articles in the future (Danzig being the other one I know about, but surely others exist).
@Cerejota, I understand that Wikipedia is a "free encyclopedia to every human being." However, one does have to account for the fact that academics (scholars, students, researchers, etc.) hold a strong hold in determining the "common name," as well as being those who will come to Wikipedia in search of knowledge. In fact, based on the idea that all human beings have a desire to learn something, everyone is a "student" at various points throughout their life (even if not a formal one). Given this case, I believe it should be best that the reference system of Wikipedia should be closer to that of other Academic reference systems, so that a certain search standard exists. In the case of the Malvinas, anyone searching for it on Google will find that all link to the Falkland Islands. It would be strange for Wikipedia to be the only one which does not.--MarshalN20 | Talk 02:35, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I disagree that WP:COMMONAME fails to address the question. WP:AT (of which WP:COMMONNAME is part) and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) (which is supported by WP:AT's WP:MOSAT section) all address the policy question: there is a need to develop consensus, within the parameters of policy. I understand this is not the answer you seek, but it is an answer. Recently at Mega Drive there has been a discussion with similar policy issues - sometimes policy will not resolve a controversy, editorial consensus does - which in itself policy: WP:CONSENSUS. BTW, I have no opinion either way on the matter, except maybe that Malvinas to me, a Spanish speaker from outside the conflict area, has always meant the name of the Falkland Islands. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 04:43, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
In particular: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic_names)#Falkland_Islands. In terms of disambiguation, we have WP:DAB. In other words, we have a system, that is not the academic system. Your question then, indeed, is better handled by RfC. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 04:48, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I think that the Naming Conventions page which you provided is what directly answers the focus of my question. The whole discussion in the article's talk page would have been avoided if this Naming Conventions page could have been readily available directly in the article's page. Perhaps it would be wise for all of the articles mentioned in this convention should have this link available in a content boxe in the article's talk pages.--MarshalN20 | Talk 05:12, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
That is an excellent suggestion, i'll get to it.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 05:41, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your dedication Cerejota!--MarshalN20 | Talk 06:12, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate your thanks, now, I have made the template {{Notice-nc-geo}} to place in talk pages. It has some syntax for sub-pages and related pages, and for articles named differently than the convention.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 08:28, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

For info, I was involved in framing the naming convention on Falkland Islands (but that hasn't stopped Marshall accusing me of bias), I was also responsible for ensuring articles in the Falklands series followed the convention you refer to. But we weren't even discussing names and this has been repeatedly raised as a red herring.

The discussion was looking at whether we could more efficiently organise redirects and disambiguation and that was all. From the information we had at the time, WP:DAB indicated we should organise per the proposal above ie we were following the guideline. We did in fact point this out to Marshall on the talk page and instead of discussing the guideline, Marhsall instead chose to personalise the issue with accusations of bias and accusing editors of acting out of revenge.

This is academic anyway as I've withdrawn my proposal to change following better information from another editor. This is a stale issue. Wee Curry Monster talk 09:55, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

A bowl of strawberries for you!

Erdbeerteller01.jpg For creating this great community. –Mnid (Let's talk about it!) 04:22, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Political "silly season" is coming early

Again - might we have some semblance of logic during this season? Already we have folks trying to assign a "2.2" to Rick Perry's GPA and other miscellany of dubious value or use, and lots of stuff to every GOP candidate (there being no Democratic candidates for President to play with). This precisely falls under the lack of a real ArbCom decision about BLPs related to religion, politics, etc. Cheers. Collect (talk) 21:06, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

It's a very difficult matter. I have thought about this for many years, and I have come to the conclusion that there is no easy solution. We might imagine some rule or formula or process that would eliminate such editorial struggles, but I have never seen anything which seems to me to work.
Taking your example - it's well within the range of reasonable argument that among the things that public ought to consider when selecting a President is their intellectual accomplishments, which would include among other things, their performance in school. It's no easy matter to draw the line between a thoughtful inclusion of such material, and the repeat of tabloid tittle-tattle of no real interest. Because it's no easy matter, it's really hard to come up with an a priori rule to help determine it... other than our time-tested BLP policies, which of course quite naturally and quite rightly require a lot of discussion to apply correctly in unique cases.
Happy to hear suggestions, though. One of the things that I enjoy hosting on my talk page are general philosophical discussions, not immediately aimed at direct policy changes, but thoughtful discussions about the parameters of a problem, so that in other, more appropriate venues, we can approach policy changes with a richer understanding of the various tradeoffs to be managed.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:56, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Collect, assume nothing. ;-) Obama's 2002 Iraq speech was deleted from Wikisource in June of this year, claiming copyright violation. He made the speech in a public park in Chicago, so I don't understand how it could be copyright violation. That's the sort of speech which gets printed in the newspapers - why not in Wikisource? Lawrence Lessig has a copy posted if you're not sure which speech it was. It was pretty important, and I'm fairly upset there doesn't seem to have been any discussion about it. Wikipedia articles rely on Wikisource to have such things, which is why we don't provide links to other versions if it's in Wikisource. Quite honestly, I'm more concerned about such an error of omission than I am about whether someone's GPA from years and years ago is included. That may be important when applying for a first job, or if one is pursuing an academic career, but I just can't see anyone giving it that much weight now. I would think most people would be more interested in his record as governor. And to segue into Jimmy's point...BLPs tend to jump from stubs to long articles based on whatever Wikipedians happen to read in the news media that day. If they find it interesting, surprising and/or shocking, they add it. Few articles about people currently in the news start with a stack of serious resources which a group of serious and dedicated Wikipedians discuss and use to create a full, well-balanced article of someone's fairly long career. In those situations we need to rely on others who have done so, therefore Further reading and External links need to be thorough. Not a link farm of every article ever written about someone, but collections of news articles along with government and political records are important. Not ideal as a substitute, but at least we give our readers some help until (if?) we get a really good article written. And quite honestly, that sort of article usually can't be written properly until the person retires or dies, when a retrospective look at the entire life is possible. 75.60.18.245 (talk) 03:20, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Semi-protect until election and avoid dated material: A candidate's article should be semi-protected until the election is finished, and soon-expired data should be avoided (such as for Rick Perry, his current tenure as Texas Governor, given by template "{{age in years and days|2000|12|21}}" as "10 years, 266 days" (on 2011-09-13). As for Perry's GPA, it has been kept within context, as a college GPA (more difficult than high-school grades) for Perry at Texas A&M: "Perry graduated in 1972 earning a GPA of 2.5 and a bachelor's degree in animal science." As long as the focus is kept on long-term text (not "266 days"), then there should be less to review to maintain a broader perspective. Any short-term material is just a distraction in an article ("It's been 39 years, 121 days since he was in college"). Meanwhile, the semi-protection on that article is set to expire "1 October 2011" but the election for U.S. President is next year, in November 2012. The protection on each candidate's article should be set to expire after the election. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:30, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Read the Perry history -- several editors sought to calculate the GPA as somewhere between 1.8 and 2.2 <g> giving details on the talk page as to the mode of calculation. It is good that it is now "stable" though I still doubt its value in a BLP. I would add to your proposal:
Material which is contentious, effusive or deprecating of a political candidate should be restricted to two sentences per independent issue, and the reader thus encouraged to read further at the cite given, rather than have political BLPs be "all encompassing" for either praise or criticism.
The added benefit of reducing article bloat should also be noted. Collect (talk) 13:38, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Update on that supposed copyright violation here. I'm gobsmacked that this is how Wikisource makes such decisions, and that Wikipedia is relying on them. It's appalling. 75.59.206.169 (talk) 15:00, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I understand you aren't happy about it, but do you have an actual argument that the deletion is wrong? The speech is copyrighted, for the reasons given there. If you have a counter-argument or if you are aware of it being licensed freely, please point that out. Lessig's use of it doesn't prove anything, other than that either (a) Lessig has a fair-use rationale for it (he does) or (b) he perhaps has permission from Obama (whom he knows personally from law school days, as I understand it).--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:45, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Jimmy, there wasn't a statement that it WAS copyrighted, but a "probably" and "I believe" - iow, 'maybe it is - let's delete it just in case and not bother trying to find out' rationale. That's what I object to, and why I originally asked the deleting Admin who requested the deletion as I would have been surprised if the White House had done so. I was sent (by someone else) to the Archive (the deletion page didn't point to any discussion, yet another issue). The first comment from the archive's discussion stated it's probably Wikisource's most cited speech. I don't know if that's true, but I would have thought that would have set off some lightbulbs before it was summarily deleted with no research or checking being done to ascertain the actual facts. Especially the "Obama's busy, so no point in asking" argument. btw - Lessig went to Yale, not U of C Law School. He did clerk for Posner while Obama was in law school, so it's possible they met through him. What's more relevant to me is that Lessig was CEO of Creative Commons from 2001-2007. Obviously I'm more interested in his views than those of a few Wikisource volunteers who, imo, showed very little interest in this. According to this, they could have linked to Lessig's copy if and until they could check things out properly: "Linking to copyrighted works is usually not a problem, as long as you have made a reasonable effort to determine that the page in question is not violating someone else's copyright. If it is, please do not link to the page." I'm not insisting that they should spend hours of effort on every speech someone happens to add, just that there are options (replacing the red link here with Lessig's link) and relative degrees of importance, and relative degrees of interest, in various speeches. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens next. 75.59.206.169 (talk) 19:47, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, 75., but you misunderstand how copyrights work. Every work (that is minimally creative, which this speech absolutely is) is copyrighted by simple virtue of its existence and the creator retains all rights to it. Unless we have positive confirmation that there is a license which allows us to reproduce it, then we simply cannot. — Coren (talk) 00:54, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually there are exceptions. The most important is that works created by employees of the US government as part of their duties cannot be copyrighted, and are in the public domain. That rule doesn't apply here because the speech in question was made in 2002, but it could easily apply to a different speech by Obama. Looie496 (talk) 01:23, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
That's the kind of "positive confirmation" I mean, Looie.  :-) — Coren (talk) 11:16, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you both for sharing, but it appears you didn't read past the first sentence I wrote, and therefore utterly missed the point. 75.59.205.206 (talk) 14:48, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

In response to Collect, I do not think someone's academic performance is irrelevant to their bio if they are running for president. Of course, the information has to be correct, and properly sourced, not "calculated" by editors. (In other words, true and verifiable, to coin a phrase.) As for your "two-sentence per issue limit" in political bios -- are you really serious about that? I was looking for a "smiley" or something and didn't see it. I don't see how such a proposal could possibly work. On a complex issue, who decides which two sentences go in the article? I also don't think an article should be a directory to other web sites where the issue is really explained -- we're an encyclopedia, let's explain the issue here (based on sources of course), even if it takes several paragraphs (or even, in unusual cases, a separate article.) I recognize that it is difficult to properly maintain an article of an active candidate for president, but that seems like an integral part of what we're supposed to be doing here, and we shouldn't be adopting special limits for these articles just to make it "easier." I think semi-protection is a different subject, but I would not do it just for active candidates, I would do it for all BLP's, in fact I would do it for all articles, but I know that last idea is considered too radical.  :) Neutron (talk) 20:30, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Do you feel that a fifteen line or longer section based on a single critical source is reasonable? That is the sort of thing currently occurring on sislly season BLPs. I suggest that if the gist of the praise or criticism requires essentially repetition of the entire sourcce, that the weights are skewed enormously. And I suggest that articles which show a heavy skew towards either praise or criticism might reasonably be seen as "unbalanced" by a neutral outside observer. If you saw an article where 75% of the article was (to a neutral observer) seen as criticism of a candidate, would you callit is NPOV? Conversely, if yyou saw one where under 1% of the article was critical, would you assert that it is NPOV? Yet, such occurs on a regular basis on the silly season articles. Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:21, 13 September 2011 (UTC) (one admin yelled at me quite severely for daring to use a <g> , so I shall not use it)
Collect, I understand there are problems. I just don't think we necessarily need a lot of new and restrictive rules to deal with them. (Other than semi-protection, that is.) I do think we need a better and more efficient way of deciding content disputes in controversial areas, which would include the bios of active politicians (especially candidates for president), but until we have one, political bios and all other controversial areas are just going to have to be dealt with the same as everything else -- through the process of good-faith editors watching the articles and dealing with bad edits, and if there are disputes, discussing them and trying to reach a consensus. It doesn't always work, but this is the system we have chosen. Neutron (talk) 00:34, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
"There are problems" is like saying to Edward Smith "we may have a leak." The problems grow worse every year, material which is grossly offensive and sourceable, at best, as "extraordinary partisan opinion" gets edit-warred into articles. Strange and utterly false statements get appended to BLPs. SYNTH from "opinion sources" (to call them euphemistically" get conflated with the actual, real purpose of Wikipedia - to provide an encyclopedia written with a neutral point of view. In politics, the idea of "consensus" fails when a plurality of editors hold particular political opinions - and can use that plurality to run rough-shod over sensibility. "Alleged" gets used a whale of a lot - like "John Doe is alleged to have six illegitimate children from affairs with prostitutes and staff workers" which gets allowed as long as "someone" "somewhere" made the claim on "ihatejohndoe.com". It is really past time to settle on "Houston, we have a problem" and set to work making the problem be solved. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:53, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I disagree things are getting worse. If anything they are getting better, at least way better than in the hellish 2004-2008 period when ArbCom completely abstained from any content issues. Some of the worse POV warriors of that period are either no longer with us, or their one time outsized influence severely diminished. What you see as a negative - endless discussions, partisan consensus, etc - I see as WP:BRD, the way this encyclopedia gets built - if that means it will take decades for real NPOV articles to emerge in those topics, so be it, because the same process leads to FAs and GAs of many other topics - the perfect cannot be an enemy of the good. There is stuff that needs fixing, there are actual problems, but what you call problems are really opportunities to improve the encyclopedia.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 13:16, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

"Fixing the leak" is, indeed, an "improvement" and it is true that a good half-dozen of the POV-pushers I ran into have been blocked (amazing how some who ranted about me being a sockpuppeteer actually turned out to be that themselves!). But the seeds of Myrmidons seem endless, indeed. Cheers. Collect (talk) 14:08, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Collect says: ""Alleged" gets used a whale of a lot - like "John Doe is alleged to have six illegitimate children from affairs with prostitutes and staff workers" which gets allowed as long as "someone" "somewhere" made the claim on "ihatejohndoe.com"." To which I would respond, your understanding of what the BLP policy allows seems to be far different from mine. An allegation like that, without a reliable source, would not be permitted under the existing BLP policy, and I don't think "consensus" would be sufficient to keep it in the article. (Of course, if there were consensus to keep it in, then one would have to wonder whether there is really a consensus for the BLP policy itself.) Why can't we just enforce the policy we already we have, without talking about two-sentence limits and other new restrictions that we probably don't need? Neutron (talk) 17:16, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I truly wish your view was held by others. I can, moreover, point to discussions at BLP/N and RS/N where truly marginal sources are backed by some. Often including "reliable sources" where the "fact" is opinion or rumour at best. Heck, look at the discussions at WP:BLP/N concerning Tim Cook. My suggestion was:
Claims about sexual, political or religious orientation of any lving person can not be based on speculation, but must be reliably sourced as actual statements of fact. Indirect claims can not be based on opinions of any person or organization.
Which is a reasonable position. Others, however, stated:
I've added some more sources to show this is a notable and widely reported issue.'
Where the "issue" is entirely rumour and speculation. Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:36, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I think your position boils down to: I am tired of repeating the same arguments, no matter how many times I "win", it would be nice is all of those miscreants could be blocked and all their edits reverted. Essentially a repeal of WP:BRD. I don't think thats right or good or improves the encyclopedia.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 18:00, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Nope - my position is that Wikipedia must find a way to deal with edits like [2]. And I assert that such edits actively harm Wikipedia. I trust that is clear? Cheers. Collect (talk) 19:15, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The point is that we do have a way to deal with them: the "undo" button, talk page, BLPN etc. WP:BRD. Anything else is not being an encyclopedia anyone can edit.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 15:23, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

The only legitimate issue with the GPA is that undergraduate transcripts are primary sources, and editors shouldn't be doing a lot of interpretation on them. If a source (primary or secondary) comes out and says Perry had a 2.5 GPA, that is important information and should be cited.
No effort by deletionists to place arbitrary limits on the amount of information included should ever be given credence. These all amount to, "Please purchase a quality copyrighted source if you would like a serious review of this subject". Period. The way to balance articles is simply that the number of sources available for a given viewpoint will reflect its prevalence. A politician who is favorably viewed will be covered positively in many sources - and likewise for negative coverage. Wnt (talk) 05:38, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Apologies for being blunt, Wnt, but the notion that we should have no limits on information is ludicrous. I bet that I could find good, reliable sources stating what a famous actor like Brad Pitt wore to every single premier, awards show, and other major event he's ever been to. Should we include a list of the hundreds and hundreds of outfits he has worn in his article (or a List of... subpage)? What about a politician, like Michele Obama? Should we include the text of every law that we write about (along with the text of the draft copies of every different proposed version)? Should we include every interpretation of every line of Hamlet ever published? The argument that there should never be a limit on our coverage fails to recognize that our value is specifically in the fact that we do limit information. Qwyrxian (talk) 08:12, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely we should cover Fashion of Brad Pitt if someone feels like doing a good job on an article about it. Wikipedia should not be solely a shallow guide for the "average consumer", providing just enough information to help them go out and buy movies and videos: it should be a source of inspiration and research for the would-be Hollywood actor, fashion designer, etc. We should indeed have the text of every law in Wikisource (though if we had all that information we might want a specialized project) bundled conveniently with all the Congressional Record discussion, court precedents ... anything that today people say, "well you need to talk to a lawyer with Lexis/Nexis access" - we should have it all, so the people who can't afford to talk to a lawyer, or are studying to become a lawyer, have options. People reading Wikipedia should come away with the steak, not just the sizzle. Wnt (talk) 14:08, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Luckily for our credibility as a source of useful information (i.e., that we aren't the same as simply typing something into a Google search), your view isn't held by even a small minority of Wikipedia contributors. One of the pieces of value that Wikipedia provides is that we sort the wheat from the chafe. I honestly believe our project would have no value if, say, the article on Bret Favre contained a description of every play he ever made in every game he was ever in, or our article on Hamlet had several hundred/thousand different interpretations of each line of the To be, or not to be monologue. Qwyrxian (talk) 05:29, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Your example - an article about a single monologue from Hamlet - shows that Wikipedia can and does provide deep levels of detail without disruption. I see no reason why that article couldn't review a much greater variety of literary commentary without harmful effect. And if we ever reach a point where all the detailed articles actually impede searches from the main search bar, the solution to that is to improve the search, not cripple the encyclopedia. Wnt (talk) 01:30, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Anent all this, The Washington Post has a book review by a person who is clearly not a friend of Palin [3] which includes: the regrettable time one wastes reading “The Rogue,” his sketchily sourced compendium of low blows and inconsistent accusations. McGinniss, who came to prominence 40 years ago with his groundbreaking study of political marketing, “The Selling of the President 1968,” serves up any and all rumors and calumnies about Palin, the more salacious the better. His hope, he admits, is to cut short whatever is left of her political life, a spectacle he likens to “the cheap thrill of watching a clown in high heels on a flying trapeze. Anyone left standing who feels the material in such a "well-reviewed" book belongs in any Wikipedia article just because a newspaper mentions that it is in the book? I hope not! Collect (talk) 18:14, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

You're straying from the original case, but to rise to the bait: we have no a priori reason to choose between whether we believe McGinness or Gillespie. Only the weight of additional sources can start to clarify whether the book is an unreliable tabloid-ish source giving a fringe perspective. So as always we would go by what the sources say in the end. Also note that even if the book is unreliable, the fact of its publication and effect on Palin might be worth mentioning. In any case, overall, in so called "silly season" the most prevalent mischief by far is the removal of things. The straight facts are never as biased as their removal. Wnt (talk) 00:22, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Did you really write that? That the NYT and WaPo are now less reliable than McGinniss who specifically relies on "anonymous" sources and whose stated objective, according to Gillespie, is to cut short whatever is left of her political life, a spectacle he likens to “the cheap thrill of watching a clown in high heels on a flying trapeze.? We are a good six months too early for that sort of post, indeed. Collect (talk) 00:54, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
As I said, you're relying - and must rely - on additional sources. There is no call for some new principle here. Wnt (talk) 01:56, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The title of this topic implies that there is a period of time when "silly season" is not in effect in Wikipedia's political articles. This is a 24/7/365 affair of politicking masquerading as article editing/creation, look no further than the Marcus Bachmann, Rick Santorum, etc... campaigns here. Tarc (talk) 00:50, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
And a more pronounced 24/7/365 affair of political censorship masquerading as "editorial discretion" and responsibility. Just follow the sources and represent them accurately, without someone appointing himself editor-in-chief and telling people how many sentences they can have to report on anything unfavorable. Wnt (talk) 01:56, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

A beer for you!

Export hell seidel steiner.png Because you need a break. onyx321 12:01, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Arbcom slates?

Honestly, for these ArbCom elections, I kind of wish we had slates. I have trouble keeping track of who's who here. I just don't have a memory for names. Beyond that, how do I know if they're any good or not? I can't keep track of all these people's work and have limited interest in doing so. I have enough trouble keeping track of my own work.

Same deal in real life, which is why we have slates and parties in real life. I have little knowledge of down-ticket candidates, but I figure whoever my party puts up is OK, absent evidence of corruption, incompetence, or revisionism coming to my attention. There's nothing wrong with this -- I'm busy, let my party's selection committee (whom I trust) do the detailed vetting work.

There's a couple-few editors who I know and trust and if they said "I'm voting for X Y and Z" that would constitute a de facto slate and be good enough for me, maybe. One such editor is you, Jimbo. Beyond being the founder of the project (and the ArbCom), you obviously care about the project and probably know who all these people are. And I happen to generally agree with you about a lot of things, and so do a lot of other people I suppose. So how about it? If you create the Jimbo Slate -- all you'd need to do is say who you're voting for -- I'd likely get on board. Not mindlessly, but as a basis for approaching the election.

Or some candidates could run together. X, Y, and Z could announce that they're running as a slate and implore editors to vote for them all as a bloc (obviously editors could vote for none of them as a bloc or split their ticket, or course). No new policies or procedures would have to be put in place -- it's a wiki, candidates can run as a slate if they want to, right now. (I suppose the next step would be parties -- the Strong ArbCom Party, the Traditionalists, etc.)

Madison didn't want parties, but we have them. They're a natural development in electoral systems, and there's a lot to be said for them. Let's do it. Herostratus (talk) 04:27, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

I think something like this may emerge spontaneously, although it hasn't yet. One model is that candidates get together and form a bloc. Another is that some people with particular interests (BLP hardliners, let's say) decide to research the candidates and to vote as a bloc.
Given my unique position, and where I want to go with it in the long term, which is increasingly ceremonial over the years, I don't vote in elections nor am I likely to get involved in routine elections by endorsing candidates or anything like that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:28, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Every year, there are a number of editors who put up "voting guides" that look a great deal like what you are discussing. They are either "in the loop", or close to it, and either know the candidates fairly well or do a non-trivial amount of research on them before the election. Even if you don't agree with their selection, they tend to summarize the candidates in an informative manner. — Coren (talk) 17:47, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I really like the idea, not just for Jimbo, but for, say, Fastily and Courcelles, to name a few. — Kudu ~I/O~ 21:21, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Coren, if you read the voting guides last year, and especially if you then went on to read the talk pages of some of the guide-writers as well as the talk pages of some of the people who posted on those talk pages, you would reach two conclusions, (1) I definitely had too much time on my hands one weekend afternoon when I most likely should have been doing something else, and (2) there was definitely some "bloc" behavior going on. This was also confirmed by some of the post-election comments. I'm sure it's all there in the archives somewhere, if you (Herostratus) want to try to figure out who the bloc(s) is/are, as I did last year (at least partially.) Or you can just wait for this year's election and see who's saying what about who. On the other hand, Herostratus, I am a little disappointed. When I read (on the RfC talk page) about your intention to ask Jimbo to endorse candidates, I was hoping to get here before he answered, so I could bet you $100 that Jimbo was going to courteously decline any "endorser" role in the elections. I was going to donate my winnings to the WMF. It looks like I was too late to win the bet though. Neutron (talk) 22:03, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, that's true. I suppose it doesn't matter. I think we all know which party Her Majesty, in her heart of hearts, prefers, and it doesn't help much usually. Herostratus (talk) 01:52, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Article creation advises to make Special:Mypage first

When creating a new article, I am finally seeing a message to suggest making the page a user-space version, first. The creation banner now suggests:

  • You can also start your new article at Special:Mypage/xxxxx. There, you can develop the article with less risk of deletion; ask other editors to help work on it; and move it into "article space" when it is ready.

I think that is great for new users who "hear" of articles being deleted, so the above message might sway more articles into becoming user-space drafts. Users are guided into making their own draft pages. Also, the workload must be frustrating for many admins to keep speedy-deleting the non-notable draft articles (hundreds per day?). It will be interesting to see if this affects the current enwiki count of new-articles-per-day, as ~930 per day. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:49, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Oh no. This makes it even more necessary to have pages moved from user space to mainspace in the "new pages" log. New page patrolling is useless without these. Please get some programming time off from the edit content filter and on to this long requested feature. Fram (talk) 06:32, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Schools

Why does your encyclopedia want to have pages on schools that are just wrong like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kesgrave_Hall_School was ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wlmmcf (talkcontribs) 21:09, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

If by "what," you mean "want," it has yet to be determined what "Jimbo's encyclopedia" "wants" in this case. You started an AfD on this article less than 24 hours ago. Right now the "vote" seems to be 2-2. Sometime in about 6 days, when more editors have weighed in and an administrator closes the AfD, then we will all know what Wikipedia "wants." (Which, if the article is kept, may not be what Jimbo "wants" based on his recent school-related comments, but time will tell on that as well.) Neutron (talk) 23:31, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Sorry for the typo it was late and did not check it corrected now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wlmmcf (talkcontribs) 08:10, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

If you can look in the history and point out a version that you think was particularly wrong, that'd be helpful. One topic that people are interested in is how maintainable articles on schools are, and how badly wrong they are, and for how long. Some people (though not many) may have an inherent bias in one way or the other that schools should almost *all* have an article or that almost *no* schools should have one. But for most people, the question of where to draw the line is based on evidence of quality (or lack of quality) on average, and examples are helpful in shaping our understanding of that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for taking the time to reply, the version was http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kesgrave_Hall_School&oldid=450147754 Wlmmcf Wlmmcf (talk) 21:07, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

further thinking on vandalism, revision review etc

I was thinking this morning, when I did this [4], that perhaps a flagged revision system could exist in an optional form, just like semi-protect and protect exist today. This particular article has been under severe BLP attack, with a lot of attention given to it by BLP patrollers because of this, but this is not always the case, and this particular BLP vio existed for 9.5 hours. So for example, what if a flagged revision system existed that could be turned on by sysops using the same or similar criteria as what is used to semi or proc articles, including the ability to request approval in the talk page? Also, this system could be used as part of the current talk page "edit requested" process for semi and proc articles, allowing the request to be inputed for approval (it would still have to be explained in talk) rather than the awkward and less directly attributed process of copy and paste we have now. I have no idea if this has been discussed before. Just a thought.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 18:45, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

BLP-vio? It looks like WP:WELLKNOWN applies.[5] [I am astounded by the call for both] blocking young editors from imaginary theories of harm and preventing them from learning about what the police have presented as a real and relevant danger. In the same day.[6] Wnt (talk) 01:07, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Wnt, I'm going to have to ask you to stop posting to my talk page if you can't be more thoughtful in your analysis. "A deletionist deletes, period, no matter what" sounds to me like you just aren't listening to what people are saying. That's an insulting, divisive, and frankly unnecessary and unwelcome comment. It is the sort of comment that one makes when one has nothing to say.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:40, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I can cut out the sentence that bothers you, but doesn't this combination of "ethical" priorities bother you? Wnt (talk) 02:20, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with your analysis at all. It's as if you didn't even look at the revert he's talking about. Someone linked, in an entry which merely mentions the man, about whom we do not have a biography, to an attack page, and listed it as "Ed Kramer biography". And you reacted to this as if Cerejota has done something wrong, and blathered on about irrelevancies. So, no, I don't think he has his ethical priorities wrong at all. I think you are just being mean and insulting in how you have falsely characterized what he said and did. Go away. Take a break and think about it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:25, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Isn't what your suggesting how flagged protection (Wikipedia:Pending changes) was operating during the trial (except I believe it was kept to a limited number of articles)? Even after the trial, articles which had been protected remained for a while. But the original consensus only being for a 2 month trial and the inability to get a consensus for either continuing or a new trial, or implementing the feature permanently meant it was eventually agreed not to use it any more for the time being. Sure there were proposals to use it for all BLPs etc but these never got off the ground. I personally am a supporter of PC but unless the foundation is willing to do something from the top and all the evidence suggests they're not, I don't think there's much point poking that bear for at least a year from the closure of the previous RFC. Nil Einne (talk) 13:22, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Cerajota, that's a perfectly reasonable option. imo the biggest problem with protection levels is that there is no explanation on the particular article as to how one requests a change. (I've seen the instructions and template on some fully-protected articles, but never semi-protected ones. Why that isn't part of the protection action itself is beyond me.) Example: BLP Hamid Karzai. He's in the news fairly often, readers would benefit from links to extended media coverage, and the article has (supposedly) 187 watchers. I don't want you to run over and address the pending request, as I want to see how long it takes before someone NOT reading this will take care of it. imo, your concept of a flagged revision would be addressed sooner. If something isn't working, we need to fix it. (Note: it's good to at least occasionally edit Wikipedia as an IP to find out what new people run into.) 99.50.188.136 (talk) 16:12, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Voicing a concern that administrator misconduct results in the revdelete of criticism

Mr Wales, administrator misconduct has now reached such proportions that they revdelete all criticism. Wikipedia is now becoming like Ceausescu's Romania, where even typewriters were banned (or if they weren't you needed a government licence to own one). There is a discussion at meta:User talk:Tobias Conradi where the administrators seem to wield less power. 82.35.193.46 (talk) 09:35, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Uh you're linking to a page/case that is 4-5 years old Nil Einne (talk) 13:24, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
The criticism is false and ludicrous. But anon if you have a specific example of rev deletion of anything simply for being criticism, you may tell me about it here, under my protective umbrella.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
This is just another of Vote (X) for Change's IP socks. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 15:17, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Department of Redundancy Department has been watching this thread all day, waiting for Mr Wales to respond. When he does, he blocks me and makes his disparaging comment. This is what I have had to put up with for five years. You should be able to see the discussion on the link now. An earlier disparaging comment of Department of Redundancy Department was this:
"Wikipedia is no longer the Wikipedia I signed up for in 2005, nor is it the Wikipedia I decided to become an administrator for in 2008. I naively expected that Wikipedia would one day become a valuable, well-respected, very useful online encyclopedia, full of notable information. I thought that the articles would be edited by people with knowledge about the subjects and who could provide quality links and references. I expected that, as the project has a worldwide audience, neutrality would be one of the highest priorities. Well, I was wrong. The vast majority of the “information” on Wikipedia is either non-notable crap, fancruft, or other useless trivia that would never be accepted by a traditional encyclopedia. If I want to read about, for example, Star Trek, I can go to a wiki devoted to everything about the franchise, so why is that crap here?" -- unsigned comment by User:92.27.24.148.
Yes, I held that opinion about 2 1/2 years ago. Other than its use as ammunition in an attempt to discredit me, and therefore my actions, I don't see how it is in any way relevant. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 21:03, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
As a courtesy, I have unblocked User:82.35.193.46 for the sole purpose of participating here briefly, as I did promise safe harbor and a chance to explain what he's talking about.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:35, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
It appears from this [7] that the administrator is happy for me to edit provided I don't post complaints on Community noticeboards. 82.35.193.46 (talk) 21:05, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
No, you have been formally site-banned from Wikipedia. No administrator will be happy to see you edit anywhere. Jimbo has made a special exception here. If you have any real evidence to back up your statements, this is probably the only chance you will get to show it. Looie496 (talk) 21:15, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. Edit anywhere else, and I won't complain if anyone blocks you. And this isn't a general invitation to join conversations here. You made a specific claim that admins "revdelete all criticism". That's obviously blatantly false, there's tons of criticism every day that is not only not revdeleted but also handled with respect. If you have even one example of the admins you mention on meta rev-deleting something just because it's criticism, then show it please. Otherwise, you may want to rethink your views as being inconsistent with the facts of reality. If you wonder why you've been repeatedly blocked for a long period of time, then you might want to consider how people feel about being compared to murderous tyrants.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

I have changed this section header to something more unwieldy but less inflamatory Pedro :  Chat  21:28, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, I didn't understand what the OP was complaining about until you changed the title. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:38, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
OK, the sole issue seems to be this question of whether the reason given in the log matches the description of the material which was revdeleted. I can't deal with it right now as I'm not at home and I would need to examine it - there are some posts of mine and some of other people. However, as indicated earlier I don't want to pursue the issue. If people feel they are being compared to murderous tyrants please be assured that the thought never crossed my mind, and I apologise unreservedly for any distress caused. 82.35.193.46 (talk) 22:24, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Ok, good, this is progress. You did write "Wikipedia is now becoming like Ceausescu's Romania" so it might have crossed your mind that people would find this offensive. I'm happy to review log entries of revdeletes. If you don't want to pursue the issue, that's also fine, but then why did you make outrageous claims on my talk page.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:10, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

I have reblocked this IP, since it continued editing other pages than this one, as could probably be expected. Fram (talk) 12:40, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

20 million all-language articles by Halloween

UPDATE: Including all other-language Wikipedias, the count of 20 million articles will apparently be reached by Halloween 2011, current count: 38,639,875 articles (all-languages). It seems you were right about the accelerating rate of growth in other languages: instead of mid-November, the latest figures project a count of 20 million articles, combining all languages, by the end of October. To speed-read all those articles, non-stop, at 1 article per minute, 24/7 and 365.25 days per year, would require 38 years, assuming 1-minute fluency in all the 282(?) Wikipedia languages. Separately, English WP growth is on track to reach 4 million articles in June 2012 (+930 per day).

How many printed volumes?  Using the size-data which concluded the average article size as 562 words (in January 2010), the count of printed volumes (all languages) would be 8,175:

  • {{#expr: 20000000*562 / (1375000) + .5 round 0}} = 8175

That equates to 355 sets of 23-volume encyclopedias, or 40.9 bookracks (each, 10 shelves of 20 volumes). I would hate to be the mailman delivering that encyclopedia to the house! -Wikid77 (talk) 11:08, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Can you post a link to the .torrent file ? I only have dial-up Penyulap talk 11:40, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I used page-counts from the built-in counter variables. However, see WP:Database_download to download each specific-language WP (size of the 3 August 2011 enwiki WP dump is 7.0 GB compressed, approximately 31.2 GB uncompressed for current revisions, no talk-pages) or see meta:data_dump_torrents for .torrent files. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:51, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Mail

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Hello, Jimbo Wales. Please check your email – you've got mail!
It may take a few minutes from the time the email is sent for it to show up in your inbox. You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{You've got mail}} or {{YGM}} template.

Sorry if you've already seen it; I forgot to post this when I sent it yesterday. =P Ks0stm (TCGE) 23:22, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Do you care to offer an opinion on Wikipedia history and common practice?

I've raised what I think is a valid concern here. I'm not trying to forum shop, and I'm not asking for a specific solution. I will not participate further on this talk page thread other than merely link to the question and answers to date. Big fan, and until last week, I've never posted here. Thanks for everything, even if you decide not to opine. BusterD (talk) 01:04, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Speaking generally, I think there's no reason why we should favor Google over anyone else. At the same time, I think there's no reason to be super-obsessed about absolute vendor neutrality by trying to link to every obscure search engine out there. It seems fine to pick and choose based on the needs of editors.
As many have pointed out, a number of google's auxiliary search engines are of great value to us. But also, people have pointed that at least the major engines like Bing and Yahoo frequently offer different results of potential interest.
So you know, it seems useful to consider how to optimize.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:09, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

News and progress from RfA reform 2011

Delivered by MessageDeliveryBot on behalf of RfA reform 2011 at 16:07, 25 September 2011 (UTC).

Self identified 13 year old joins WP:WikiProject_Pornography

Hi Jimbo. Long time reader - first time commenter. There is a discussion on WP:ANI about an editor who has self identified on his userpage that he is 13 years old and that he participates in WP:WikiProject_Pornography. Other editors have noticed that he hasn't actually made any contributions yet to the Porn wikiproject. However, there is concern that a 13 year old shouldn't be contributing to an area of Wikipedia that is dedicated to porn. Some have presented arguments that because the topic is educational and not sexually explicit that it should be allowed while others have said that although it is educational there is still some sexually explicit content or pictures. Some have said that we wouldn't have known the user is 13 and there are many 13 year olds reading the material so it shouldn't be a problem, while others have said that because we know he is 13 and we know he is interested and focused in the Porn Wikiproject that we are now knowingly contributing sexually explicit content to a minor in violation of US law. What are you takes on the issue? Is this somewhere the foundation should step in and give a legal opinion?--v/r - TP 16:04, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

This isn't just about WikiProject Porn. The true question here is if minors should be disallowed from editing porn-related articles on an educational website? (I think Dr. Blofeld misunderstands the point. Implementing a restriction at the WikiProject won't actually do anything.) Swarm u / t 17:47, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Anything with Porn and 13 year old next to each other should send alarm bells to anybody. Even if his editing is harmless it could ignite into a nasty media report that wikipedia supports a 13 year old editing pornography articles, and do you realise how many parents would ban wikipedia from their kids if they read that in a newspaper? They would be missing out on learning from thousands of articles because of it which is contrary to our goals. Jimbo very likely would be purely against it for media/legal safety sake even if he thinks the editor's contributions are not involving explicit material as it is a risk we can't afford to take but I will be interested to see what he has to say. Obviously we don't know the age of most of our contributors but should somebody disclose they are 13 then in my view they should be prohibited from editing pornography articles or taking part in that wikiproject but are fully welcome to edit anything else. Perhaps this is time to impose an age minimum for that project as its rocky ground.♦ Dr. Blofeld 17:55, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Although Wikipedia is not censored I do agree that it is reasonable at the least to put a banner at the top of that project page with some sort of disclaimer that editors should be over X years old to edit. The tricky thing here is, depending on where they are that age differs. Some states are less than others and some countries don't care at all. --Kumioko (talk) 18:00, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Would an 18+ restriction to WikiProject Porn be enough, or would we have to accept it as a general rule covering all porn articles? Or should we handle it on a case by case basis for individual minors? Swarm u / t 18:03, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I believe we should keep in mind that there are at least two separate issues here. The first is what our policies should be, and we have a right to set those policies. The second is whether we are doing anything "illegal", either by policy or the absence of policy, and that is a broader question as it involves not just editing articles about porn but opens up a legal can of worms on age limits and Wikipedia more generally.--Bbb23 (talk) 18:18, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
There's another related issue unmentioned above. If we merely slap a tag or warning on such pages, there's every reason to suspect that a 13 year-old user won't want to so self-identify. BusterD (talk) 18:27, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Well I don't beleive we are doing anything "illegal" because even in the porn project there is very little explicit content. Lots of movie titles and Biographies but not much media. I do think that the public image could be a factor though and could be presented in a negative light by the media. I think if we start by adding a disclaimer to the project and to the Projects template that is posted on the articles thats a good start. We "could" also create a page disclaimer that could be presented at the top of some articles (like the ones in the porn project) so that it would notify anyone looking at the article that there is content that might be offensive or unsuitable. Maybe something like the Maintenance banner but maybe in a different color. Now I'm not talking censoring anything, just a message notifying the reader of their obligation to look away. --Kumioko (talk) 18:29, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Which brings up the thorny issue of enforcement.--Bbb23 (talk) 18:30, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I believe the essential issue is priority. Is it more important for us to protect 13 year-old eyes from editing and/or viewing content, or is it more important a user feels free to self-identify and/or act on self-interest? IMHO, a youngster might not consider the consequences of any self-identification. Another issue to be ranked would include public perception of how we address such priorities through policy and common practice, as described above. This isn't about this issue at all, but about our responsiveness. BusterD (talk) 18:39, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Buster, I agree with you and Kumioko that public perception is an issue, but even that will be difficult to resolve. At the same time, the legal issues are complex, and because it has been raised publicly here and at ANI, I think Wikimedia lawyers should at least be alerted to it.--Bbb23 (talk) 18:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • On Wikipdia (or elsewhere) 13-year-olds should not be permitted to edit anything connected with porn. For their own good and the good of the project. Children are children and adults are adults, and while most 13/14-year-old boys disagree, especially about porn: adults are bigger, older and know what's best - so tough - little 13-year old will have to get his kicks playing outside in the fresh air. Giacomo Returned 18:47, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I can't disagree with your position, but none of the issues discussed above provide a method of addressing your proper concern... BusterD (talk) 18:50, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Well frankly I am more worried about WP's reputation than protecting the 13 year old eyes of an editor who clearly has access to the internet anyway. A controversial statement perhaps I admit. As I stated above I think leaving a warning banner will help for a start. Then if we know that an underage editor is contributing to areas that they ought not too then we should stop that as best we can. If we don't know then there's not too much we can do which also enforces the problem Buster mentions of driving the editor deeper underground. We could also require underage users to self identify as being under 18 and if they don't they could be blocked. With that said we have a lot of under 18 year old editors and I would hate to drive them away, some are in college and participating in the Unversities and other projects. --Kumioko (talk) 18:53, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────We have the option of community topic bans, so I am raising an RfC at WP:VPP to try to gauge community views on this. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 19:19, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

"We could also require underage users to self identify as being under 18 and if they don't they could be blocked." This is impractical, or at least meaningless, since the only way to learn that an editor is under 18 is if they self identify as such. Therefore it would usually be impossible for administrators to discover that an editor had failed to self identify as under 18. In addition, since we generally advise minors not to disclose their age anyway, it's not clear why this would be a good idea. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:28, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I agree, but having it doesn't hurt either. It establishes that the community addresses this issue seriously. We already have nearly unenforceable policy, like WP:NOPAY, that exists as a principle. Even WP:NPOV is hard to "enforce" but its existence allows editors to at least direct discussion rather than "ramble on" on a topic. The enforceability of a principle is secondary, in my view, to the principle itself. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 19:42, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
The word "minor", as a legal term, is defined differently in different jurisdictions and in different statutes. Thus, it is not safe to say that the magical age is 18.--Bbb23 (talk) 19:38, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Florida law applies to all Wikimedia hosted projects as per ToS - so this issue is moot.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 19:44, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm astonished at the legal opinions expressed at Wikipedia. I wasn't aware that choice of law or forum clauses had any impact on criminal laws. And to the extent we're talking about civil suits, are you familiar with all the laws in Florida?--Bbb23 (talk) 19:56, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I am saying, that the question of what "adult age" is in wikipedia is moot and not subject to consensus because Office already said: adults in wikipedia are those under Florida law. I am stating a fact, not giving an opinion.--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 20:36, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
You said the issue I raised was moot because of the ToS. Whatever the ToS says is fact, although an interpretation of what it means would be opinion. Your conclusion that the issue is moot is an opinion. I never said anything about consensus, which, in my view, has nothing to do with the legal issues.--Bbb23 (talk) 20:43, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
You are correct, actually. My apologies. The only meta-policy that the Foundation has that addresses age is m:CheckUser policy, which says that "place of residence" is the criteria. THat does still makes the question moot, as "place of residence" makes the editor responsible for proving this. --Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 21:02, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I like the apology part (smile), but I honestly don't understand any of the rest. I don't understand what the CheckUser policy has to with what I originally said, and I'm not sure what question you now think is still moot. In any event, you don't have to respond to this if you don't wish to as I think it's become too much of a detour anyway.--Bbb23 (talk) 21:46, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
This is the latest in a series of WikiProject-associated controversies - others being whether you can put a WikiProject LGBT tag on the talk page of an article about a BLP who isn't widely known as such, and the disclaimer I added during the seal controversy (which, though moved, persists to this day, and yes, I know that it violates WP:NODISCLAIMERS) that WikiProject FBI is "open to all editors and is not approved, endorsed, nor authorized by the FBI in any way". I think that the recurrent problem we have here is that people confuse WikiProjects, which are about improving articles in some way related to various topics, as somehow representing or advocating these viewpoints. It may be time to think up a good line to add to the general disclaimer. IANAL, but I propose something like: "Wikipedia users may voluntarily band together to form WikiProjects to improve our coverage of some topics. The association of a user or an article with a WikiProject does not indicate any link with or opinion regarding the topic of the WikiProject, nor any endorsement or authorization by or association with any outside organization. WikiProject tags and user participation are merely internal notes to facilitate the upgrading of our encyclopedic coverage." Wnt (talk) 21:27, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Break

Obvious solution

Ban pornography and pornography related entries from Wikipedia. Case closed. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 03:06, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Obvious problem
Define pornography. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Obvious answer
...

I don't actually know that banning pornography is the ideal solution, but I think one of the main roadblocks that we have as a community when faced with problems like this is our lack of willingness to consider more totalistic solutions to problems. Why not consider leaving really messy topic areas that are subject to all kinds of legal restrictions and social morays to the rest of the internet? Honestly, as an encyclopedia, we really don't have to explain every piece of porn lingo, nor do we have to include a bio on every two bit porn actor. Conversely do we have to get rid of them? Maybe not, but let's consider the possibility of doing so, and thereby not dealing with this can of worms, and the inevitable future cans of worms that covering pornography topics will give to us.Griswaldo (talk) 03:24, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

When you say "ban pornography", the censor alarms go off. But I don't see a problem with defining pornography as a thing that Wikipedia is not! Lots of problems would solve, it's not immoral to define what we are not, and it is an educational ruse to impart any social value for its inclusion. My76Strat (talk) 04:16, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I agree, and this policy would also allow us to get rid of other controversial and messy things; we can delete all the images of Mohammed, oh and finally put an end to the endless fighting over the Israeli–Palestinian conflict related articles by just deleting the entire topic area. Either Wikipedia is uncensored, (to the extent permitted by law) or it isn't. Monty845 04:20, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
It is naive to think that we do not already limit our content in several ways. Wikipedia is not absolutely "not censored," even if you add the caveat about not being censored within the limits of the law. And by "the law" do you mean "the laws applicable at the location of the servers" or some other laws, since, as you know laws vary between different localities, and different nations. But back to the point. We limit content all the time. For instance we have zero tolerance for content that is under copyright that we do not have permission to reproduce. We also do not allow certain types of material in our biographies of living people and as My76Strat points out, there is a whole slew of things we don't allow per WP:NOT. So it is naive to say that "censorship" is a black and white proposition. Whenever we choose to limit what type of content we have at Wikipedia I would hope we do so with practical rather than ideological aims in mind. Pornography is not as clear cut, either socially or legally, as something like copyright, yet it is still a much thornier social and legal issue in the English speaking world (this is en-wiki after all) than the I-P conflict or depictions of Mohammad. For one, the encyclopedia needs to keep its reputation in mind and a 13 year old WikiProject Pornography member is a possible minefield in that sense. I guarantee you that if such an issue were blown up in the media, and the community's response was WP:NOTCENSORED we'd be doing greater damage to our reputation than we ever have in the past. But the issue is bigger than simply reputation, I just use that as one example of a practical concern, as opposed to a naively ideological one. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 11:27, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, if we were to raise the bar of notability for porn-related topics, and perhaps include a "must be notable for other things as well" guideline, we would be significantly reducing the porn content to something that 13-year-olds may already have read about elsewhere, and which would be largely "innocent". As in: it won't be titillating for those 13-year-olds who may be here for the sordid info that adults will otherwise feel entitled to share with the world as "encyclopedic" content.
Not to mention that it would cut down most of the remaining chaff.
Then again, I think 13-year-olds can get similar kicks from the articles not (yet) tagged for WP:PORN, but which describe in detail, and depict, all sort of sexual pastimes. Focusing on WP:PORN's added risk for minors may be hypocritical, as long as some articles tell us how to properly enjoy a good lick on the scrotum. Dahn (talk) 12:08, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Comment. WTF? I honestly threw up when I saw this thread. I am not being uncivil; no, I am genuinely disgusted with this. First, Wikipedia has hardly any porn content, and if it is, it's poor. Second, age-verification is completely useless, (as well all know, just set high-age) and finally, Google is your friend with porn. LOL No offense, but I think Wikipedia actually needs real graphic images. It is encyclopedic. Oh, my never mind, I talking about stuff that will never get accepted due to those top-you-know-what admins. --Hinata talk 04:00, 25 September 2011 (UTC) Comment. I would think it a strong possibility that the '13-year-old' is a setup by someone interested in seeing what Wikipedia's reaction is, possibly for some news media. Quite a few NOW journalists are at loose ends, although the Fake Sheik now works for The Times, I believe.... 99.50.188.136 (talk) 16:18, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

A perfectly valid concern. My original point about priorities was written with this in the back of my mind. BusterD (talk) 02:55, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

RfC

Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#RfC:_Should_underage_editors_be_topic_banned_from_articles_in_the_WikiProject_Pornography_topic_area.3F--Cerejota If you reply, please place a {{talkback}} in my talk page if I do not reply soon. 19:36, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

The RfC is heading for no-consensus. Jimbo, this may be another time when you need to do the royal thing and just declare it by fiat as an amendment to WP:Child protection. Tolerating people who have disclosed their age as 13 as active editors in the realm of pornography is something the press will have a field day with. Gigs (talk) 22:23, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
He may not have to. We could simply add to the policy this [ArbCom ruling].--v/r - TP 23:17, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Or we could simply recognise that we are not aware of any editor who has disclosed their age as 13 and is an "active editor in the realm of pornography". The editor this thread was about isn't, and never has been. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:26, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm. I don't think the RfC is headed for "no consensus". --FormerIP (talk) 23:44, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I thought User:Beeblebrox nailed it: "...propose new policy page Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not your parent or legal guardian. BusterD (talk) 02:55, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
As I have posted at the RfC, Wikipedia's (lack of) responsibility to protect users from themselves is not the only issue here. Disruption to Wikipedia must also be taken into consideration. Personally, I think someone saying "I am 13 and I am here to edit articles about pornography" is inherently disruptive. Whether that is exactly what happened in this case or not, I am not sure, but that seems to be the version of the story that people seem to be basing new proposed rules on. I also believe that the current rules (or policies, practices, whatever they are) which allow admins to block disruptive users are sufficient. Neutron (talk) 14:09, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think the current rules are sufficient. At the moment there seems to be a majority of editors who are defending the 'right' of a 13-year-old to put his age on his user page and collaborate with pseudonymous adults on pornographic topics. If that isn't scary, then I don't know what is. Hans Adler 10:10, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you 100%. I think discussions like this display our internal biases rather clearly, especially along demographic lines. While it doesn't take being a parent to agree with your point Hans, I think the fact that we have such little agreement with it is indicative of who most of our editors are. They are not parents, and they are not capable of thinking like parents, or apparently understanding how disturbing this all is to anyone who does have a child. In situations like this, if we stick with internal consensus, we seriously risk a PR disaster because our internal consensus does not account for the very real fears of parents out there in the outside world.Griswaldo (talk) 12:07, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
The only bias I see is from someone who believes that people who don't agree with you, can't possibly be parents. Perhaps people disagree with you for a number of reasons, e.g. they feel that it is hypocritical to let everyone read whatever they want, but not allow them to edit some things based on their age; or because they think that the user in question is either a troll who is now laughing his ass of because of all the dramah he created, or else really a thirteen year old who has now basically been told (apparently by "parents or people thinking like parents") that if they are honest, they will get punished, but if they lie about their age, nothing will and can happen to them. Perhaps we can just leave policies like they are and judge people on their actual edits instead. 12:35, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
So Griswaldo, if I were to reveal that I am a) a parent and b) in opposition to trying to ban people from wikiprojects by age, how damaging is that to your position? If you don't want your kids to be uploading nudie pics to some porn starlets info box, then perhaps you should take better care of your children and be aware of what they are doing online. The Wikipedia is not a surrogate mother. Tarc (talk) 12:52, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Why Tarc are you a parent? I'm led to believe you are not because you seem more concerned with the ideological implications of what appears to you to be a hypocritical position than you are with the practical concern of child safety.Griswaldo (talk) 13:54, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Fram, I don't really think it's a punishment not to extend a privilege to a child that he/she would not have outside of Wikipedia. Pray tell me, where else in the world do people welcome 13 year old children to engage in the activity of writing about pornography? And by the way children are "punished" for being honest all the time if that's how you want to put it. In fact adults even are. A 20 year old in the United States who doesn't lie about their age is punished by not being allowed into a bar. A 15 year old who doesn't lie about his age is "punished" by not being granted a driver's license (in my state, I know this varies). A short child refuses to stand on his tip toes at the amusement park and thus he is "punished" by being denied entrance to the roller coaster. An adult is "punished" when he is honest about finding a $100 bill on the ground and returns it to the person who dropped it. By your twisted logic there are all kinds of things that children and adults can lie about and get "rewarded." I'm not tempted in the least to actualize your logic in real life. My kids can handle those kinds of sacrifices for the sake of honesty. Cheers mate.Griswaldo (talk) 13:30, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
And in terms of this particular discussion the point is not that we'd like to encourage children to edit pornography at all. I'm simply saying that if they are going to edit porn related content and join porn related WikiProjects, it would be much safer, and in my view much less disastrous PR wise, if they did so anonymously, against our stated desire for them not to.Griswaldo (talk) 13:38, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
(The first reply wasn't by Tarc, I used the wrong number of tildes and my name wasn't added after my comment: I've done so now). Child safety would be better achieved by forbidding anybody to reveal their age, not by keeping minors away from a project but allowing them to post their age here. Aaprt from that, you are still using some false ideal of parents => child safety (or your definition of it) first vs. non-parents => other, more theoretical concerns. Not only is your division in parents vs. non-parents irrelevant, it is also based on some very shaky premises. Bringing such prejudices into a debate doesn't help in having an open discussion. Fram (talk) 13:46, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
No the false premise here is that I'm basing an argument somehow on parental status. I was originally making an observation about Wikipedia, one that neither you nor Tarc have refuted, even anecdotally. It is my opinion, that non-parents are not going to be as concerned with child safety. Do you really think this assumption is wrong? Do I really need to pull out polls or other social data to prove that very basic point? Of course there will be parents who are not as concerned with child safety, non-parents who are, as well as people of all kinds who are concerned with child safety but don't think that this is a child safety problem. I do not, and have not denied this. But, I will maintain that parents are much more likely to be 1) concerned with child safety and 2) considering this a child safety problem. I understand that I present only my opinion here, but you cannot refute it by claiming that the argument is illogical. The foundation of the argument is not based on logic alone, it is based on what I believe the social data would say. The only way to refute the foundation of the argument would be provide data that says otherwise. And I'm fully aware of the fact that I would need to do the same to prove my argument. Also the larger point here is that if I'm correct, then we ought to be concerned with how the rest of the world would react to learning about this. My concerns are pragmatic through and through. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 13:59, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
(repeated ec, this reply is based on the first version of your post here) :::::::::::::For the vast, vast majority of editors, there is no indication whether they are parents or not. Yet you are placing those with similar POV as yours into "parents" and the others in "not parents". I could just as easily claim that this is a problem of Americans vs. Europeans, or females vs. males, or ... You said "most of our editors [...] are not parents, and they are not capable of thinking like parents, or apparently understanding how disturbing this all is to anyone who does have a child". Not "how disturbing this is for some people" or even "for some parents", but "to anyone who does have a child". So yes, you were basing an argument on parental status. I'm glad that you now realise that that was not the correct position to start from. Fram (talk) 14:08, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
OK I see your point. I was basing the argument that less people on Wikipedia see the child safety issue in this on that premise. Fair enough, but I still believe that (although perhaps there are even more important factors like age itself, though since I have only assumptions about demographics I will not go there any further).Griswaldo (talk) 14:27, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
As for the later additions to your post: I can refute facts, I can't refute opinions based on suppositions. But I don't see why there would be a PR nightmare because we not only let children read articles on pornography-related subjects, but also edit them. Why is it so much worse if adolescents edit those articles instead of only reading them? At least in editing mode, you don't get any pictures ;-) Fram (talk) 14:15, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Because its not about exposure to images in the first place. Children who want to see porn will see it somewhere else, and much more explicit porn than anything they find there. It is about exposure to people, and especially in the context of also exposing one's age. I can see that we do not agree about several things, but I do actually agree with you that banning all posting of age information would be a huge improvement. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 14:23, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Banning all posting of age information would not be practical, but banning userboxes that indicate an age below 18 is practical and should be done. And yes, it's not just about exposure to the stuff that you can find on some Wikipedia pages. It's about building what would amount to a dating site for pedophiles, and to a lesser extent it's about the stuff you can't find on some Wikipedia pages because the members of WikiProject Pornography clean it up very quickly. The first concern is obviously much more serious, and could be prevented if self-identified children are prevented from systematically editing in that area. The second concern is less serious, and for that it's enough to tell children who would like to edit in the area that we disapprove of it so they have to do it secretly if they really insist. Then they will know that they are on their own and may have unpleasant experiences. But at least they will be physically save when their age is not obvious. Hans Adler 15:17, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
These last posts seem to reflect a very different concern to what the RfC was about. That was specifically over the question of whether there should be an age restriction for editing certain articles. If that's no longer a live question, then I'm glad. The very different issue of whether WP needs or should have safeguards against online grooming might be addressed in a further RfC. --FormerIP (talk) 16:25, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment Someone claiming to be 13 and interested in pornography will likely be an immediate target of pedophiles. It's likely he would be encouraged to engage in private emails, and then perhaps actual meetings, under the guise of 'working on the project'. We've seen that sort of thing - "grooming" - we read about in the news after an arrest. Of course we have a duty to try to protect children. Everyone does, as human beings. There's a limit to what we can do, but that doesn't mean we don't care and we don't try. As for the project, it's not the article's scope that's at issue, it's how some kid is going to go about doing research for it. His googling is going to turn up a whole lot of sites which are beyond the scope of the article. I wouldn't want Wikipedia to go on record as refusing to connect the dots here, and claiming a total lack on interest along with blaming the parents. When you see a train wreck approaching, you do what you can to mitigate the damage - you don't shrug your shoulders and walk away whistling. I hope this 'kid' turns out to be an FBI man, working in an official capacity as they do on children's chat rooms. I fear it may be just as likely he's a sockpuppet of a pedophile, eager to try to get Wikipedia to 'welcome', 'encourage', or at least not block, children from editing these articles. I hope Jimmy has contacted the FBI for help and suggestions as to what Wikipedia might do to help keep kids safe. It's not as if Wikipedia is the only website which has ever faced this issue. 75.59.229.4 (talk) 14:53, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Much, much more likely is that any self-declaring 13 year old joining WikiProject Pornography is a troll, intent on wasting all our times with discussions like this one. --Conti| 15:49, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for sharing, but playing the odds regardless of the downside risk is a recipe for disaster. This isn't just about one particular contributor. 75.59.229.4 (talk) 16:59, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I fear it may be just as likely he's a sockpuppet of a pedophile, eager to try to get Wikipedia to 'welcome', 'encourage', or at least not block, children from editing these articles.
I fear this just may be the most paranoid sentence in this whole debate.AerobicFox (talk) 03:42, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I am neither paranoid nor naive. I suggest you give the FBI a call and chat about some of their previous internet cases. It's happened before, even if somewhere other than your land of kittens, daisies and rainbows. That's why we need to take anything involving kids seriously, and ask for ideas and help from the professionals. In this case, the FBI. I really don't understand this stubborn determination that all Wikipedia decisions must and should be made in a Wikipedia vacuum. 75.59.229.4 (talk) 21:23, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
The FBI won't act on an incident this trivial. If you don't believe me, you're welcome to contact them yourself and find out. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:48, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Sorry you totally misunderstand what I wrote. 75.59.229.4 (talk) 03:02, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

All Must Share The Burden

Well now look what you've done. You've attracted Herostratus and all the blathering drivel that comes with that.

Thinking about this, and similar discussions down the years, I think one consistent thread is that people don't want strict rules about this stuff. It brings to mind the kerfluffle at Wikipedia:Protecting children's privacy some time back. There was a policy proposed to the effect that children couldn't post identifying info, and this was rejected.

But. If someone posts on their user page "I'm 12, and here's my address and phone number", then someone will likely say "This is not a good idea, would you do the kindness of removing that", the user's response will be somewhere along the continuum from "OK" to "Fuck you, I'll do as I please here", and the situation will play out depending on that. And the material will eventually be removed, either because the user is led to cooperate or because the user is blocked as an uncooperative person. And everyone understands this and very few people really mind. What people object to is a rule specifically forbidding this.

So at Wikipedia:Protecting children's privacy, it says "[T]his essay is not a policy or guideline...". In effect it's saying "There is no rule against XYZ, but if you do XYZ you will be blocked, as a practical matter". It's a distinction without much difference, but people like it that way, so meh. (And in the situation under discussion, this is exactly how it played out, and problem solved.)

Another thread running through these discussions is along the lines of "It's not my place to worry about harm coming to Wikipedia. That's the Foundation's job."

It's quite understandable. Writing articles (in cooperation with other editors) is fun. Governing the site (in cooperation with other editors) is annoying gruntwork. It's hard, and it requires thinking about things that people don't usually have to think about, don't want to think about, and aren't equipped to think about. It's above their pay grade.

And in real life we recognize this. I don't test my drinking water because that's the Water Department's job. If there's a problem, they'll tell me, or just fix it. And so forth.

I think this is essentially correct. Having the encyclopedia written by a community of volunteer editors is fine and has worked very well. Having the site governed by a community of volunteer editors is inefficient and breaks down at the margins. However, that's what we have. So therefore it becomes incumbent upon editors to worry about whether their actions will harm the project. But a lot of people won't do that. They just won't. Some will make a half-hearted attempt at denying the possibility of harm to the project and some won't even do that.

It's a problem. Not sure what the answer is to that.

Regarding the above and also the question of harm to members of the human community outside of Wikipedia: denying moral responsibility for one's actions is, of course, extremely functional in many situations to the individual. Since it's functional we can expect people to do it. And we do see people do it, in real life, all the time. This is why we fall back on laws -- anti-pollution laws, anti-child-endangerment laws, anti-fraud laws, anti-tax-evasion laws, yadda yadda. In real life we don't assume that people will accept moral responsibility for their actions, so the community says "we don't care if you think it's OK, if you do it you'll go to jail".

We don't have that option here, and so this is a problem. We can try this new way of governing an encyclopedia-writing project, but we can't repeal human nature. I'm not sure that this was thought thru when our governance systems were being set up. Herostratus (talk) 16:46, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Here are some thoughts. Wikipedia already explains that some of its content is not meant to be consumed by people who are underage. We can do a better job with posting our disclaimers, but the disclaimer is there. It's not like we foist pornography unsuspectingly on the public, either. That being said, where are the kid's parents? Imagine the more risque parts of Wikipedia to be like an adult magazine. No parent is going to buy his or her kid one, but the kid is probably going to get into it somehow. Why isn't the parent supervising this child's use of Wikipedia? hare j 02:05, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Because not everybody has the time to do so? Because some single parents must work to pay for their and their children's rent and food, and there is simply not enough money left for luxuries such as a car or a babysitter? Because some competent parents with enough time and money who want to help their children to grow up into intelligent, autonomous, responsible adults do not follow today's transient fashion of overprotecting children? Such parents will let their children play alone in the woods where reasonable, and will let them use the internet alone where reasonable.
Besides, it's a relatively unique feature of American society that community sense has been so systematically destroyed and vilified as 'socialism' that a lot of Americans are now comfortable with the thought that very bad things happen to their neighbours' children because their parents made a mistake, and are even comfortable with saying so in public so long as none of the victims has a name. The English Wikipedia is strongly affected by this, but parents from other regions are unlikely to know this. They are perfectly justified to believe that the English Wikipedia is just as safe a place for children as any other large Wikipedia.
Here is a possible scenario: An editor of the German Wikipedia who grew up in the East and therefore speaks little English recommends her son, who is now 11 and has learned English at school for 5 years, to edit the English Wikipedia to get some practice. Her son does what children will do: He tests the limits by intentionally overstepping an unwritten rule, and declares his age and the fact that he wants to focus on pornography articles. Totally surprised that nobody seems to mind, he somewhat uneasily proceeds to do so. At this point the child's safety will largely depend on his (relative) maturity, and it is likely that having been exposed to articles such as many in Category:BDSM terminology, he will at least develop an incorrect impression of what society considers to be normal sexuality and may have problems developing normal relationships in the future.
Short version: The average parent cannot be expected to know or suspect what some of Wikipedia's more shady corners contain, and they have no reason to suspect social irresponsibility is rampant in a knowledge-oriented programme run by a charity. Hans Adler 08:26, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Astute observations. The Wikipedia community is clearly not a perfect cross section of society, but we would do well to be more cognizant of that fact when we discuss internal issues with social consequences. The ramifications of our decisions do not confine themselves to a vacuum, which means the decisions themselves should not be made in one. Hans, thank you for taking the time to share those comments, I for one am grateful. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 13:19, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Kids spend hours online each day. You cannot expect parents to stand next to them all day, looking over their shoulders; that would be entirely odious. But you can expect most parents to assume that as adults we would have the good sense not to welcome their thirteen-year-old or preteen children's participation in the pornography project. --JN466 13:36, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
If we allow children to edit we also must assume certain responsibilities for those children. Parents have a difficult times as it is watching for trouble areas as children grow up even when they know where the trouble is let alone when they don't. We as a community cannot for any reason abdicate the role we must assume as the adults on Wikipedia. Certainly kids can lie and say they're older and adults can lie and say they are younger than they are. None of that gives us permission not to lay the ground rules for our encyclopedia and our environment. Under age kids drink too, ut that doesn't mean we do away with the drinking laws. I'm a parent. I don't budge on this position.(olive (talk) 13:50, 24 September 2011 (UTC))
The nature of the project as a world wide effort requires considering that not everyone has the same view about what is a minor or what is acceptable content. In the west, young parents are not recognized as adults, regardless of how many children they have. They are still forbidden to marry. (Ironically they are recognized as adults for the purpose of divorce or trial for serious crimes). That view is not universal. Pornography is offensive and illegal for any age and any person in MANY societies. Addressing 'No porn for X age' is as hard as 'No porn for Y country'. In the end measures like "click here if you are over Z years" followed by "click here if you live in those places" just ignore the fact you have to type in "P" "O" "R" "N" in the first place, so it's like wtf are you expecting to find when you get there, hello ? add a little animated guy who asks 10 times 'do you really wanna see it, click here' 'do you really wanna see it, click yes' 'do you really wanna see it, click I'm sure' make sure he's funny. Give him a Carnie accent too. Connecting to the internet is fair warning, the nature of the net is well known, connecting to an encyclopedia means your about to find out, and typing P O R N means you're asking for it. No need to be a tease. A mature, honest even clinical approach keeps everyone out of trouble (it works for doctors everywhere). Penyulap talk 23:56, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
By "in the west", do you mean "in the Western states of the US"? In Germany, for example, it is simply impossible for an under-14-year-old to be tried at all, and many up to age 21 are tried in the juvenile justice system, depending on the courts' assessment of the defendant's maturity. (General age of majority in Germany is 18.) I can't prove it because I can't find an overview anywhere, but I would also expect that a number of countries in the Western world do grant majority to underage parents and, even more likely, allow them to marry. E.g., it appears that in Mexico pregnant 14-year-olds can marry. (I could find also unreliable sources on this.)
More importantly, I find the complete rejection of social responsibility based on cheap rhetorical tricks (different societies use different age limits, so we should have none at all) absolutely disgusting, and frankly, I have never seen such an attitude expressed by anyone outside the English Wikipedia and specifically USian contexts. Hans Adler 08:13, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Aren't all humans want sex? Seriously, I know I've done that since I was 8...
But aside from that, no one knows your gender online. The only way to do this would be "outing" there information. Kids information is far more important then some porn they will see some day. I find it hard to believe you're worried about this. My faith in humanity is ruined . . . But I wonder if the media see this. It'd be funny lol... And lying on the internet is easy. I'm a boy, for anyone out there. Do not add restrictions, if you do you'll have to ban anonymous editors as well. Disappointed Hinata is disappointed...--Hinata talk 14:48, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing, Hinata. Anyway, Hans Adler in particular made some good points, and I have pondered this also, but I don't think that the prospect of harm to readers is likely to gain that much traction with a lot of people.

But one would think that the prospect of harm to the project might have some traction. Here is one way to think about this:

The Wikipedia (actually the Foundation, but the difference isn't important for this discussion) is a 501(c)(3) charity. Our American 501(c)(3) status is important because, among other things, most organizations aren't allowed (by their own internal rules) to donate to entities that aren't charities, and these donations are important to sustaining the Wikipedia. Essentially the United States government says "You are performing a public good, and so we will support you, indirectly, by reducing the taxes of people who contribute to you. In turn, we will tax our waitresses, cab drivers, and farm workers a little bit more, to make up the difference. But because you benefit the public, this is both good public policy and politically sustainable."

However, it's not politically sustainable (nor good public policy, probably) if we do certain things, such as allow 13 year olds to work with porn, and some other things that we do. Getting more 13 year olds to work with porn is not a public policy goal of the United States government.

And since it's not politically sustainable, our sole and only strategy regarding this is: hope we don't get caught. Having "hoping to not get caught" as one's strategy is usually a sign that one has gone down a wrong path.

Plus, it usually doesn't work.

And if it doesn't work, all the people who have worked on on all the articles on locomotives, and the history of science, and the inhabited places in Kenya, and mollusk taxonomy, and all the rest of the things that make the Wikipedia so wonderful, they are going to then realize that have been done by very badly, because the Water Company wasn't testing their water after all, but rather allowing a handful of jackanapes to posture over whether testing water is fascism, or something.

It's too bad. Herostratus (talk) 08:15, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

There is a way to do the same thing with less heat, that is, a graphic content warning. It encompasses all those who have no desire to see things that they cannot un-see, as well as those children who type out P o r n without wanting to do the wrong thing. It would get a lot more support as the process is a choice, rather than a futile challenge thrust upon us. It is however, I predict, still doomed to fail in the foreseeable future. It would simply be a more pleasant appealing proposal to think about for many people. It would create less heat in it's discussion, and cool down the closed proposal on it's next time around. Penyulap talk 19:05, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

An aside

When this discussion swung into full force I did a little bit of exploring of pornography topics covered by Wikipedia to learn more about what the entries are like both in written and pictorial content. Because of the specific topics we were dealing with my eyes popped a bit when I noticed the first image in use at the main Pornography entry. Now I think it's clearly a coincidence, and was added simply because it was a free image on Commons and a non-free image had just been removed from the entry, but it couldn't be more apropos. Have a look see. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 13:55, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

That image was chosen and added by an admin, User:Tabercil, who also uploaded it (apparently from an OTRS submission). Just like the user who prompted this discussion, Tabercil likes wrestling and porn (although they are somewhat older so there is no issue there). Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:25, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm. I'm not sure what to do with that.Griswaldo (talk) 21:59, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

How do other institutions deal with this?

I accidentally stumbled onto this page today, while looking for something else entirely. This important institution (nypl.org) has very similar goals and methods to those of Wikipedia, so such a page might serve an informational and instructive purpose here. The situation isn't identical, but surprisingly similar. I think the concern of the original poster was to protect the pedia from bad publicity and poor choice in practice. Creating such a policy or guideline (or even strong essay) would help me to feel better about the threat posed, imaginary or otherwise. I still hold this is about priorities and our responsiveness to threats, not about the issue at hand. BusterD (talk) 15:34, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia already has policies, guidelines and essays covering much of what's on that page. See Wikipedia:Child protection and some of the pages linked from there. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:45, 24 September 2011 (UTC)