User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 85

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Esacatled All The Way Up

Sorry to disturb you but as title says This Case involing first A UnHelpul AFD Cloousere Then an edit war than admin abuse The Stwerds wont answer the talk pages so i wondering if you can help with this conflict between User:Jcb and me (p.s Maybe you should make it so blocked users can edit your commons user pager wink wink) --Rancalred (talk) 21:35, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

For your help, this is the AFD, and here is the DRV. So, the article was deleted in AFD, recreated and deleted as G4, DRV endorsed the deletion - this is not a conflict between you and a user, it's a conflict between you and the community :-) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 21:47, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
Though the block rationale of "vandalism-only account" doesn't really fit, judging by the Commons history this seems to be an agenda-driven Libyan rebel advocate, making lots of map changes and posting gems like this to admins who revert his junk. Tarc (talk) 21:48, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Regarding Argentina-Brazil rivalry in football...please read what metioned below

Regarding Argentina and Brazil football rivalry what mentioned in wikipedia is incorrect As per rsssf and all respectiful websites ,these two teams met among history in 97 matches till today's date ( 20th sept.2011)...the results are :

Brasil won 38 matches Argentina won 35 matches Draw 24 matches Total 97 matches Brasil scored 150 goals in toatal Argentina scored 150 goals in total

The above informations are the correct ones.Kiindly find below the link needed to confirm.

Retrieved from "" — Preceding unsigned comment added by Designce (talkcontribs) 10:24, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Laurence Tribe

FYI all who follow this page: Somehow the biography of an eminent legal scholar became a BLP snake pit, but it was quickly resolved when a representative of the professor raised the issue in an RfC. See [1] Really disgraceful. ScottyBerg (talk) 22:01, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

And; alas, the type of editing found in many BLPs where the mere use of a word by a "reliable source" then becomes the centerpiece for outright mis- or mal-categorization of the individual. Cheers. Collect (talk) 22:36, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Among other things, Tribe was placed in the "plagiarist" wiki category for a year, and the article failed to note that he denied the plagiarism allegations. I'm surprised his people didn't notice earlier and didn't raise more of a stink. ScottyBerg (talk) 15:06, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Probably because they've heard tales that if one objects, the article is made even worse. Wikipedia does have a reputation for that, deservedly so or not. Surely all of Tribe's students read the article at some point, and told him about the problem material long before now. Well-known people know how to deal with such things appearing in the news media, but not in wikis and blogs and such. They're becoming more proactive, as they should, but there's a learning curve and the feedback loop has to be a positive experience. (talk) 14:32, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
That may be the reputation, but the response here was fast and the problems were corrected swiftly. What's astounding is how long this bio was an attack page.ScottyBerg (talk) 14:37, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
You're assuming "his people" just recently noticed the problem. I'm not. (talk) 16:37, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

War propaganda?

Dear Mr. Wales, I urge you to have a close look at this article Drone attacks in Pakistan. It is full of misinformation. I know you and many other people here are from the USA but that should not play a role. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:45, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

You should start by explaining on the talk page of the article what is false and why you are sure that it is false. If you don't do that, other editors are not likely to pay attention to your complaints. Looie496 (talk) 03:22, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

I have ask Mr. Wales to have a look at it. I am sure he is smart enough to notice it. Let's see what is he will say. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:34, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

I glanced at the article, but I don't have time at the moment to read it carefully. Please point out specific problems with the article, as Looie496 suggested. The talk page of the article will be a fine place to do that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:53, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Mr. Wales i do not think that it is necessary for a person with your experience and it makes me wonder why you did not spot it at the first glance. This article is full of misinformation, weasel words and vague phrasing accompanied with biased sources, unverifiable information and misinterpretation of references that is almost reads like propaganda. This article is a mess. What can you do to fix this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:33, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

I can start by asking you to be more specific. Please point out specific problems with the article. I'm happy to take a deeper look but your help will be appreciated. Can you give me, for starters, one example of something in the article that misrepresents what the source says, and one example of something in the article that is 'unverifiable information'?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 04:42, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
that ip is a waste of time... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:18, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
What's up, pal?

misrepresentation and unverified claims. Killed people are presented as "militants" even when it is not sufficient verified and killed people are presented as "militants" based on sources that base their words on anonymous or unnamed "security officials" - often without attribution to the source. Just a mess in comparison with the standard of an encyclopedia. Can you do something about it? (talk) 14:49, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Mr. Wales i do believe that such articles harm the reputation of Wikipedia. Is there anything you are willing to do about it? (talk) 02:57, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Of course. But you're doing a perfectly fine job. I recommend logging in, so you have a stable identity over time, and posting to the talk page. Stick to the kinds of points you are making here, i.e., working to make sure that the article follows the sources carefully, etc.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:53, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

I feel better now that i am assured that you are now aware of this problem. I personally do not have the time and skills to make the necessary changes that would turn this article from misleading "war propaganda" into an encyclopedic article, nor seems the talk page to suggest that would be possible without intervention from high level individuals like you. So i am trusting you to do the right thing. (talk) 10:48, 30 September 2011 (UTC)


As of a few minutes ago, the backlog in Category:All unreferenced BLPs was completely cleared. The remaining 140 articles are all in a deletion process. About 20 months after the BLPRFC(s) and the >50,000 article black hole is gone. Regards, The-Pope (talk) 17:26, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Face-smile.svg--intelatiColloquium 19:05, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Yay! That's amazing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:50, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
That is pretty cool. I wonder how long it would take to clear the backlog at WP:CCI. Zagalejo^^^ 07:16, 30 September 2011 (UTC)


Dear Mr. Wales, what is your take on this situation? My very first article was Triangle Studios, a translation of the Dutch wikipedia article. Triangle Studios is the leading game developer of the Netherlands when it comes to Nintendo DS platform games and the article has been on the Dutch wikipedia for three years without anyone ever complaining. Now I create it here, on the Dutch wikipedia, and it is immediately deleted. The same goes for Cross of the Dutchman (game), an article on a major upcoming game. It is the largest Dutch-based game project ever to take place in gaming history, and two years of research have gone before the official announcement(s). Still, it has been nominated for deletion. For speedy deletion, no less! Only after much comments on my part, it was changed into a regular deletion attempt. I would like to raise some awareness over this issue by sending you this message.

Greetings from a long-time reader and a new but quite discouraged newbie. Mythic Writerlord (talk) 15:06, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
The Triangle Studios article has been proposed for deletion, with a notification that notability has not been stated nor established. There is actually nothing in the article that says anything that you have said above regarding notability, and no external third party reliable sources that help anyone find it. You'll note that the notability requirements on the Dutch and English Wikipedia's are quite different - but on either one you need to actually provide proof of any claims. Why not add those references, then remove the PROD have 7 days. The second one, you'll need to beware of WP:CRYSTAL, as it's not necessarily notable before its release, no matter how much time has been spent on it (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 20:45, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
In the article itself I have provided five reliable sources. In the discussion at the AfD entry I have provided 12 different reliable and verifiable sources. I provided links to several websites, newspapers (local, regional, national and internantional) and magazines, I provided all these sources and this is just the tip of the iceberg, all that to prove the article's notability. Because it is notable, and some people seem to be hellbent on deleting it still. The requirements at the Dutch wikipedia are, btw, probably stricter then here. So that, too, is a non-argument. Mythic Writerlord (talk) 11:22, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I would focus your efforts on improving the main article, Triangle Studios, ensuring that you reference the claims there using valid third party sources (not blogs, etc). For example, you have made claims that it is "one of the the Netherlands", but no third party reference to prove it. The individual game is probably less of your worry - if I were you I would ask for it to be userfied, and resurrect it once it is released to the public (the same concept around music albums). (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 11:31, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I suppose we could userfy the game article and redirect the page to the "In popular culture" section of the Pier Gerlofs Donia for the time being, if the RfD fails. But I'd rather wait a couple more days with that, see where it goes. Thanks for the advice, Bwilkins. Mythic Writerlord (talk) 12:04, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry to further inflame anything, but I felt I had to remove a chunk from the "Triangle" article as a copyright-violation [2].  Chzz  ►  12:25, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I've fixed up Triangle Studios with references and all the necessities, so it should be good now. SilverserenC 21:59, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Further reading/External links

There are discussions going on at Talk:Hugo Chávez#External links and Talk:Hamid Karzai#External_links about a request for some typical links being added. The differences seem to be over wildly different interpretation of the EL guidelines, along with some confusion as to the difference between a search engine and a database. These aren't the sorts of things which should be re-fought on every single BLP article. In an ideal world, each article would have thousands of people worldwide constantly watching and updating it. That would not be this world. Either we want to provide readers with extended resources, or we want to limit them to what a contributor or two believe is important. (Which is most articles, once you remove the bots and copyedits and category additions and such from any article.) The latter doesn't sound reasonable or sensible to me, so I think we need a broader discussion than what's likely to be attracted to the Talk pages of these two articles. (talk) 23:48, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

I mentioned this issue at Wikipedia:External links/Noticeboard#Collected news and commentary. Johnuniq (talk) 01:47, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I was asked to comment here - and I was briefly involved in the request to add links. I think that our EL policy is already perfectly clear, and covers this - as I said on the Chavez talk page; we must avoid Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article. Wikipedia isn't a directory.  Chzz  ►  03:08, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I think our existing EL policy is either too strict, or interpreted too strictly. I have seen this in several cases now. (I am NOT commenting on the current examples here; if I comment on them, I will comment on the appropriate talk pages.) I'm making a philosophical point that I think NOTDIR does not imply, in any way, that "Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article" should be avoided. This is particularly true when we recognize that many articles are not featured articles and not likely to become featured articles anytime soon. Avoiding linking to something because it contains information that we would have directly, if we had a featured article, is silly.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:38, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
One of the greatest challenges in maintaining articles is fighting the constant tendency for them to turn into link pages. Lowering the threshold can only make the job more difficult, and that isn't a service. I estimate that the articles I maintain get about 10 edits that add a spurious EL for every edit that adds meaningful content. Also the spammers are getting steadily more sophisticated at disguising their crap as legitimate material. Looie496 (talk) 14:08, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Looie; you're on the other end of the stick, Jimbo. You're saying "don't remove for no reason" and policy, practice, and yes, common sense says "don't link for no reason" - many of these EL sections are huge spammy linkfarms, and there is no specific reason to have them except that they're there, like Everest. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 14:10, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
It is incredibly rude of you to put words in my mouth which I did not say and do not believe. I never said, of external links, anything remotely close to "don't remove for no reason". Will you apologize for that misrepresentation? And re-read what I have actually said?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:21, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry you found that rude; it was not my intent to offend. It was meant as a summary, not as a direct quote. You said "Avoiding linking to something because it contains information that we would have directly, if we had a featured article, is silly." which I interpreted as an argument which in effect is arguing to keep ELs unless there is a reason to remove them beyond basic link-trimming, or pruning. Did I misunderstand your meaning? and if so, would you be so kind as to clarify what you actually meant? also, I would appreciate it if you would make a bit more of an attempt to AGF when I post; I presume a certain level of informality in user talk page discussions of experienced users, which leads me occasionally to employ shorthand such as "you're saying this, yadda yadda" and my expectation (and until today, my experience) had been that if I'm in error, the other party will correct me in a civil fashion - "No, I'm not saying this, I'm saying that" which clears things up nicely without people becoming outraged and /or upset / insert preferred term which you don't find rude here. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 15:06, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
"the spammers are getting steadily more sophisticated at disguising their crap as legitimate material." - this has got nothing to do with the two requests at the top of this thread, has it? I see only clearly WP:RS sources. Off2riorob (talk) 14:13, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Precisely. The request in question may be one that we reject, but it's a perfectly respectable request about clearly WP:RS. It seems clear to me that this question has absolutely nothing to do with spam.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:21, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I suppose I should jump in here and state I'm not a spammer contributing 'spurious' links. Consider it stated, and consider me appalled at feeling required to state that. Whatever happened to Assume Good Faith? As for "Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article", that was, I believe, intended to discourage the endless lists of individual news articles which were once prevalent. People who didn't have the time or inclination to update an article simply added a link to some news article they found, confusing Wikipedia with sites such as Digg, Reddit, Delicious and/or Facebook. Nothing to do with Topic collections from major news sources. (talk) 16:35, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
In this case the request was to provide links to searches for several publications. My concern is that there is always an inherent bias in the choice of sources. In this case the Guardian is the only British newspaper listed. It is one of many quality UK newspapers. If all BLPs had links to this one British newspaper only then that would show bias. This is particularly relevant to UK newspapers, where they each are associated with differing political viewpoints. If we extended the list of news media then the list would become excessively long. Perhaps we could include in every BLP a link similar to the one used for articles for deletion. (Find sources: "Hugo Chávez" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference) TFD (talk) 15:20, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Click on 'news' in your example and I think you'll see why that's not nearly as helpful to our readers. Pat Robertson calling for Hugo's assassination? It's just a jumble of individual news articles. (talk) 19:05, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
that is in line with SandyGeorgia's comment here - her view is that the links that were suggested violate NPOV, rather than EL and NOT. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 15:29, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I think you've slightly misunderstood her claim. She is not saying these links violate NPOV. She is agreeing that they are NPOV and relevant, but saying that the real problem is that highly reliable sources (like the New York Times) have been removed from the article by POV pushers, and if adding these external links back is meant as a corrective to that POV pushing, it isn't enough, and isn't the right thing. That's not saying that these links are POV violations (they obviously are not). I have no opinion on the validity of her claims about what has happened in the past on the article, as I have not been monitoring it lately.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:18, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I think I understood her correctly, but phrased myself poorly. As I seem to be batting -1000 today in that regard, I'll simply leave it at that. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 17:21, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Clarification Those are not 'searches' but Topic pages. If you had checked the links for yourself, you surely would have realized that. Not all news sources provide Topic pages. Not all news sources have extended archives. In fact, the list is very short. The Guardian (and a few others) do both. Of course The Guardian has an editorial view, as do all news sources which have editors, but it's well known for providing a platform for those of other viewpoints to express them. That's the point of all op-ed ("opposite the editorial") sections. Their Topic pages include links to news, analysis, commentary, editorials and op-eds, same as the other Topic pages in the other news sources listed. That's why they're valuable resources for our readers. An international figure is erson covered by international news sources, and often in different ways. It's important to present multiple views. It's also important (imo) to present full, extended and unedited video statements and interviews in which the person is allowed to speak for himself. There are very few collections of these available, but they're very important to gain a fuller understanding of the person. Same goes for books by and about a person. I can't see Wikipedia summarizing each and every one of them, but a reader can be pointed to them if said reader wishes to explore further. That's our job. (talk) 16:03, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I think this may be a question of semantics, TXIP.228 - the Topic pages are dynamically generated with a sitesearch, then formatted and presented to the end user (us.) But the underlying mechanism for the Topic page is a site search. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 16:09, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
No, it's more like a relational database. The point of not allowing general searches in EL is because they often include irrelevant and unwanted material, particularly for people with common names. (talk) 16:35, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge, all online news sites use relational databases for their content. Whether the query searches a database or flat files is irrelevant for the purpose of this discussion; we are not speaking of adding a link to a query string to a search engine, but to a topic page - which is generated by a search string. I think we're talking at cross-purposes here. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 16:40, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Which doesn't explain your post here which you gave as your reason for turning down the request. (talk) 19:05, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Comment Now that I've read your three posts here, it's clear you aren't interested in participating in any rational, respectful discussions on the topic. Your highhanded, arrogant claim that all such links should be "removed when seen", followed by a "edit and unedit" to the Ed Miliband article as an excuse to post a snarky 'opinion' in its Edit history (as opposed to posting on that article's Talk page) demonstrates your only goal is to pour gasoline on the fire. As an Admin, I would have expected you to know and act better. Clearly a mistake, and I have no interest in any further interaction with you. Others can decide for themselves if they want to support your continuing bullying behavior. (talk) 16:53, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
And now I see you deleted EL for David Cameron, a few minutes before deleting all the relevant EL for Ed Miliband. And you didn't stop with collected news articles - you deleted ALL the usual MP links including voting record, Hansard speeches, etc., etc., etc. THEN you only reverted your Ed Miliband comments, and you blamed User:Off2riorob for not noticing you didn't actually change the Miliband article, just added 'edit comments' in you edit-reedit changes. Well, since you didn't revert your David Cameron deletions, you're obviously being quite economical with the truth. What on earth are you trying to accomplish here? I truly hope someone knows the Wikipedian way to stop you, because I admittedly have no idea on the proper procedures. (talk) 19:07, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Off2riorob has stated he has no interest in getting involved in what KillerChihuahua did to the David Cameron article, as he's only interested in the Miliband article. Well. So apparently their little "dustup" was just a show put on for the yokels to see. (Along with Drmies just happening to "pop in" to edit the Cameron article one minute after KillerChihuahua made his own edit with "further suggestions". Drmies, whose interests never extended to that area before.) Off2riorob rather condescendingly suggested I should restrict my efforts to "major American politicians". Is that how Wikipedia does things here? Shunts people off to whatever appropriate ghettos existing editors decide they belong in? Jimmy, I thought this was going to be a straightforward, rational discussion. Instead it's mostly gameplaying for reasons which I suspect have nothing to do with EL. Good luck sorting this out. I'm sure you want Wikipedia to be more inclusive, more collaborative, and more oriented to helping readers, but it doesn't appear all Wikipedians are on that same page. (talk) 22:48, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't see your comments here are totally reflective of what happened or my position. You posted on my userpage and I replied diff with well meant chill out advice and six minutes later, two hours before your misrepresentation, in your post above, of my thoughts and my actions, I made this edit to the David Cameron article, an under the radar quiet replacement that is often a good option. - although trapped in the headlights like a Bugs bunny now. - I can assure you there is no demeaning of your discussion. My comment "you could try going to major American politicians and doing the same to them but its better to try to work it out." - was a bit of wiki satire which I am sorry if it was not clear. Off2riorob (talk) 23:54, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

(outdent) Since the discussion for both identical requests, made at the same time on two different BLPs, was on Talk:Hugo Chávez and not on Talk:Hamid Karzai, then what you link to is not strictly speaking the reason I gave but an abbreviated version of it. The discussion is still on the second article mentioned; there is no point in any of the several editors who have contributed to the discussion replicating their statements in both places. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 19:29, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Can a controversial subject make reference to subject-relevant peer-reviewed journals?

I would have assumed that question reads like a ridiculous one, but the article on Astrology has suffered a lot of disruption since Monday night, on the basis of this argument. I am talking about indiscriminate removals of whole passages of carefully referenced text, on the basis that if a reference goes to a journal which gives its focus to astrology - even if the journal is peer-reviewed and the author is a notable scientist with an excellent reputation for being a foremost authority, this constitutes an unreliable reference because it goes to a 'fringe' source. Other uninvolved editors have contributed arguments that sources are judged in context and even fringe subjects are allowed to reference their own journals. However this disruption is still ongoing by a few editors who claim that Wikipedia's policy on pseudoscience must prevent all reference to scientific claims unless they appear in mainstream recognized peer-reviewed journals.

I am trying to encourage the new editors to slow down and allow us all to work together to look at each passage critically, so we can identify if the problem really exists - and if it does, is it based on lack of objectivity or reliability of source. But the deletions keep re-occuring with the insistence that concerns about not giving coverage to pseudoscience-issues trumps all else on Wikipedia. The net result is that the astrology page is being prevented from making reference to what the dominant and influential astrological sources report.

I would like to ask an uninvolved administrator to give the content something like a 2-week period of edit-protection, in order to force amendments to go through the process of collaborative review. I see you are marked as having suitable status so can you do this Mr Wales? I am wary that I don't know who is going to be reliably objective on this matter, but it seems a big enough principle to deserve your attention. (And yes, the matter was brought up at the reliable sources noticeboard (see here) - but in such a way that it stirred up controversy, rather than clarifying what the issues really are.)

Hope you can find time to look at this - it would benefit everyone to have a sane voice from an objective observer, able to clarify that the real trump on Wikipedia is the application of common sense. -- Zac Δ talk! 14:14, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't usually get involved to the point of actually protecting articles outside my normal personal editing interests. I do enjoy, however, hosting philosophical conversations about such matters. I'm reluctant to offer an opinion on the specific case, because I don't know anything at all about the journals in question. Are they published by reputable universities? Who are the peers in the peer review process? Or are they more like self-published fan-zines, with "peer review" being done by people without actual scientific qualifications of any kind? Editorial judgment is important, including judging some sources to be not good for much more than documenting the opinions of some people with fringe views. I don't know which is the case here.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:25, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Having reviewed this briefly, I did have one idea that may be helpful in some small way. A compromise might be reached here without having to determine the big philosophical question of whether "Correlation" is a legitimate source. (It is my view that without additional evidence, I'm inclined to think no, but I should re-emphasize that I know nothing about this area, and am not particularly interested in learning!) There seems to be no argument about Eysenck being a valid source, and so why not look that up and write about that? Does the "Correlation" article add anything useful to it? Is the author of that article notable in any way?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:35, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
The editor of Correlation commented in the thread, with this post:

I am the current editor of Correlation, the journal of research in astrology that has been referred to as a fringe journal because, it is alleged, it is a journal of pseudo-science as defined by Wikipedia. Correlation is a journal of research in astrology and publishes material that has been peer reviewed by mainstream academics with a good understanding of astrology as applied to science and the humanities where the material submitted applies astrology to that particular academic’s specialist field of interest. The journal also publishes reports from researchers about ongoing projects. It publishes comments from readers on papers that have appeared within its pages and it has a Letters page for critical comment of any part of its published content and to encourage objective intellectual exchange. It has also published material of a philosophical nature in order to encourage scientific and sociological research, which includes statistical analysis, and new approaches in thinking to the ever-present challenge of designing good studies that are appropriate to the research question. The journal aims to inform its readers on research matters and to encourage its readers to express their opinions within the journal in order to promote balanced and informed thinking in any issue that relates to research in astrology. The peer review process seeks to ensure a high standard is maintained within the journal pages where these matters are concerned. That which is defined as pseudo is that which is false, counterfeit, pretended or spurious as in the case of scientific claims, for example. The journal, Correlation is, therefore, not a pseudoscientific journal.

Pat Harris, PhD, MSc., DFAstrolS., Editor, Correlation.

But I am more interested in looking at the philosophical principle too - which is the question of whether Wikipedia accomodates reference to notable opinions, that have been influential upon the subject matter, regardless of where they have been published? (So long as they are published)? For example, one passage of text has been criticised as being apologetic, for giving Carl Sagan's response to a scientific condemnation. Editors are happy to have the scientific condemnation covered in the article, but not the Sagan response which gives another view on why the basis for the condemnation, by itself, is not convincing. This is relevant because his comment is repeated in astrological texts and publications, although in the article we are pointing out that this does not show support for astrology, only Sagan's lack of support for the basis of the condemnation in principle. I would not have thought that it is treading through dangerous territory to explain the issues involved; and it is not necessary for anyone to know the subject matter well to understand the point in principle here. You can see what I mean here. This is what I am trying to establish; that editors slow down and get involved in the process of ensuring appropriate, objective reporting of relevant issues; not slash away indiscriminately on content that involved editors have been trying very hard to get right, in what concerns a complex and controversial subject.
We have a situation here where one editor caused a panic by placing a provocative suggestion on a noticeboard that the article was using fringe to question mainstream research. A small group of previously uninvolved editors then came the same night to remove 1000 words with 30 accompanying references, and immediately suggested they were acting with consensus because they came at the same time. This was done without any effort to make talk-page arguments or reasonable review. Four days later it is still the case that one or two of the more extreme editors are returning periodically to mass-delete content rather than engage in the process of reviewing it to determine if it is appropriate, and if not, what needs to be done to get it right. A little bit of support for the process of thoughtful and responsible editing would be much appreciated -- Zac Δ talk! 15:36, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I haven't looked at all the edits, Zac, but I'm definitely not seeing the same thing as you. I does look like the article gives undue weight to the whole question of scientific support for astrology and has serious problems of bias because of its improper use of sources. For example, an 1985 paper from Nature (one of the world's most highly respected science journals) is discussed and it is claimed as outright fact that the study had "deep flaws" and various methodological problems, purely on the basis of a critique (a primary source) from Scientific Exploration, a (genuine, peer-reviewed) journal dedicated to researching the paranormal. That's just not acceptable. --FormerIP (talk) 17:19, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I saw the editor's comments but I'm personally unsure what to think of them. This is a journal that no one seems to have heard of. It has no website. It is not published by a University. It is not clear who is on the editorial board. It sounds super-fringe to me, despite the thoughtful comments from the editor, and so I think some evidence needs to be adduced to establish the credibility and importance of the journal. What is the paid circulation, and who buys it? etc. I don't think it's unfair to ask these questions. Anyone can write what is essentialy a fanzine with pretentions.
I should add that there are, to my mind, two separate and equally important questions. Is it a reliable source, and is it a notable source? If it is neither, we shouldn't reference for anything. If it is not a reliable source, it could still be notable, if it has a lot of readership and influence. And even if the journal as a whole is something we need to be skeptical about, there could be some exceptions, for example if a major scientist writes for it, etc.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:49, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Hi FormerIP - to answer your point first while I have a minute to spare; we have given a commitment to looking at every passage that has had a concern raised against it - so that section will be re-evaluated to get the tone and balance right. The problem here is that there was no criticism or demonstrated concern at all, then suddenly - wham - whole sections ripped out without any discussion or willingness to explain. That can't be right, especially once a commitment to review and incoporate all valid criticisms had been given, and that process initiated. At the moment, that problem does seem to have abated though and editors are showing willingness to go through the material systematically, so I'm less concerned about that now.
With regard to the report "that the study had 'deep flaws' and various methodological problems, purely on the basis of a critique (a primary source) from Scientific Exploration, a (genuine, peer-reviewed) journal dedicated to researching the paranormal": firstly, the Journal Scientific Exploration has also been called an unacceptable source because it covers 'fringe subjects'. Are you saying that is not the case? You see, this is not about Correlation per se, but the fact that if a journal covers fringe subjects then it is automatically questioned as a reliable source, regardless of its reputation or relevance to the subject matter. The second point is that the flaws and criticsms were not made by astrologers but by scientists of high repute, who undertook independent assesments. One was Suitbert Ertel whose paper was published in Scientific Exploration; the other was Hans Eysenk, whose assesment was published in the Astrological Association Journal. The AA journal does not have the standards applied to it or academic reputation that Correlation does, but I would argue that the weight of the scientist's reputation makes it notable and reliable. This brings me back to the question I asked earlier - does WP accomodate reference to notable opinions, that have been influential upon the subject matter, regardless of where they have been published? (So long as they are published)?. It seems to me that Jimmy Wales has given his opinion on that where he says "there could be some exceptions, for example if a major scientist writes for it, etc". I would say that's the case here, and that the real problem is not the use of sources, but the fact that the content is not balanced properly and needs to adjust its tone and approach. Would you agree? (Thank you for your response Mr Wales, I'll come back and give a brief response to your questions shortly) -- Zac Δ talk! 19:19, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Zac: here are some statements which could potentially be put into Wikipedia and sourced to the same issue of Sci Ex:

Scientists are divided as to whether evidence of mediumship provides a better fit with the hypothesis that ESP exists or the hypothesis that ghosts exist. (Sudduth)
It is probable that human beings are able to perceive things remotely. (Braude)
Trancendental meditation probably works because of the existence of a collective consciousness among human beings. (Orme-Johnson and Oates)

And I haven't even looked at the book reviews, but can't you understand the concern at making such liberal use of these types of journals (although Sci Ex seems to actually be better than the others) in an article about astrology? I'd also be concerned that some papers have been cited without anyone who has worked on the article having read them. The Eysenck paper, for example, is 25 years old and doesn't seem to be contained in any databases. But it is quoted in the Sci Ex article, so I'm guessing that's how it found its way into the WP article. But it is normal for notable studies to be critiqued. One of the dangers of using primary sources is that the source will not tell you whether its critique is valid or not. Ertel's title describes Carlson's work as "renowned", which suggest to me that we are looking not at mainstream science, but at a fringe attempt to dismantle mainstream science. --FormerIP (talk) 20:44, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Let me a bit more direct, while at the same time thanking FormerIP for being so diplomatic here. Those claims are so patently absurd, they instantly demolish any sort of claim that it is a "genuine, peer-reviewed journal". It's quackery of the worst kind, and should only be used as a source for Wikipedia whenever it might be necessary to illustrate what kind of nonsense some people believe. It isn't science, it isn't academic, it's just rank nonsense.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:06, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

What we've got here is a situation where believers in fringe theories are distorting the meaning of the term "peer-reviewed journal" to cover publications which are written by and for true believers, but masquerading as scientific journals. I've most often seen this trick used by so-called "scientific creationists"; I'm sorry to see it spread to other fringe topics. Adopting the mask of a peer-reviewed journal does not make a fringe-theory publication into a reliable source. "Just because the cat had her kittens in the oven, doesn't make 'em biscuits." --Orange Mike | Talk 21:10, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Or to use another cliche, you can put peer-reviewed lipstick on a journal, but it's still about astrology. Neutron (talk) 21:42, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
I have an answer to this particular issue. Mystic Meg. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 21:43, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh that's so funny. By one of those amazing co-incidences; I have a two word answer for you. I'll send it telepathically -- Zac Δ talk! 05:40, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, I take exception to the suggestion that an editor such as myself is a 'believer' in anything, or that a subject-specific journal is presumed to be written for "true believers". Why have you assumed your belief that a peer-reviewed journal presents itself as a "scientific journal"?; much less that it might only publish favourable papers rather than those that are critical too? It's standards are academic, not scientific - it was set up (in the 1960's I think) to act as the foremost journal in its specialist subject and ensure that there is a publication that would adhere to the standards required for academic papers on this theme. It does not pretend scientific authority and no one would suggest that; but it does have a reputation for critical analysis and fact-checking.
To FormerIP, it's not true that the refrences have not been checked. Other editors have done this and I've made it my responsibility to check the references. In the process I discovered a mass of irrelevant references attached to older content which did not connect to the point they were supposed to be substantiating. I think there is a problem on WP that content gets edited and updated, but often without critical attention to the references. (And, incidentally, one of the reasons I bother to commit to WP is because I applaud its ethic of reporting information based on reliable sources -- Zac Δ talk! 22:19, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Zac, I think you're look at their "about" page without the proper critical eye. "Subject specific journal" isn't an adequate description of what this is. Such a journal would probably be staffed predominantly by psychologists (who may have an interest in things like ESP and astrology), but have you noticed the predominance of engineers, physicists and astronomers in the various committees? If proper scientific peer review were conducted, then it would seem obvious that it would at least be noted (for example) that there are potential scientific explanations for clairvoyance that allow us to escape from the "is it ghosts or is it ESP?" dilemma. This isn't a proper scientific journal, it is a hobby for academics who, quite separately from their professional work, also have a belief in the paranormal. Good for them. Hobbies are healthy. It may have a reputation for "fact-checking", but I'm guessing that this only applies to the extent that facts are only checked within the pseudo-scientific paradigm that the publication appears to follow. --FormerIP (talk) 23:27, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
At least you admit when you are guessing, and that's refreshing. But I think you also 'intuited' that it's a "hobby for academics", didn't you? (Be honest). Note I agreed that it's not a scientific journal - assumptions that it claims to be may explain the instinct to discredit it. The question of what constitutes a relevant and reliable source is more than the publication though. The author and the quality/notability of the work are also significant, and any one of these can justify inclusion. That's the way that I understand it and I'm under the impression that Jimmy Wales has said the same thing. Overall, I do take your point, and just so you know, my last post ended abruptly because I was called away before I'd finished writing what I was thinking - now I have little time and have forgotten what it was; but rest assured, it was probably important. -- Zac Δ talk! 00:58, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
To be clear on my view. Based on this conversation, it seems abundantly clear that SciEx is completely and utterly useless as a source for anything serious at all. People who publish such things, and participate in such things, should be ashamed of themselves. The Journal may have some value as a source, if it is influential amongst crackpots, to document the sort of nonsense that they are willing to publish while pretending to academic standards.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:08, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
So to be clear then, you are saying that Ertel Suitbert is a crackpot and should be ashamed of himself? And you gathered that deep and profound realisation on the basis of this conversation? I didn't even know we were talking about SciEx.
I really don't profess to know much about The Journal of Scientific Exploration myself; except I have heard it described as an unacceptable source, and so was suprised when FormerIP described it here as something to be compared with Correlation as being "a genuine, peer-reviewed journal". Could it be that WP editors, even at the top, tend to speak/act first and think later? This may be problem which causes knee-jerk cuts to content which is really in need of more thoughtful attention and consideration. -- Zac Δ talk! 03:54, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Not "and", "or". There are possibly other explanations, but yeah, basically, I'd say that legitimate people who lend credence to fake crackpot journals ought to be ashamed of themselves.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:58, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

"Legitimate people" ? Going down the philosophical principle of this, am I to assume you mean people who have respectable reputations based on their proven knowledge and demonstrated experience? I'm wondering what would make such a person stoop to such shame, does the journal pay huge sums of money? I would be surprised. Perhaps the opportunity to publish what their proven knowledge and demonstrated experience demands their concience to express? Looking at the journal's website, I see the associated editors are:

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D, Atlantic University, Virginia Beach, VA, Daryl Bem, Ph.D., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Prof. Robert Bobrow, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, Prof. Courtney Brown, Emory University, Alanta, GA, Prof. Etzel Cardeña, University of Lund, Sweden, Bernard Haisch, Ph.D, Digital Universe Foundation, USA, Michael Ibison, Ph.D, Institute for Advanced Studies, Austin, TX, John Ives, Ph.D, Samueli Institute, Alexandria, VA, Roger D. Nelson, Phd.D, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Dean I. Radin, Ph.D, Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, CA, Mark Rodeghier, Ph.D, Center for UFO Studies, Chicago, IL, Dr. Michael Sudduth, San Francisco State University, CA,

- and the members of the editorial board are:

Dr. Mikel Aickin, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, Prof. Rémy Chauvin, Sorbonne, Paris, France, Prof. Olivier Costa de Beauregard, University of Paris, France, Dr. Steven J. Dick, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, DC, Dr. Peter Fenwick, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK, Dr. Alan Gauld, University of Nottingham, UK, Prof. Richard C. Henry (Chairman), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, Prof. Robert G. Jahn, Princeton University, NJ, Prof. W. H. Jefferys, University of Texas, Austin, TX, Dr. Wayne B. Jonas, Samueli Institute, Alexandria, VA, Dr. Michael Levin, Tufts University, Boston, MA, Dr. David C. Pieri, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, Prof. Juan Roederer, University of Alaska–Fairbanks, AK, Prof. Kunitomo Sakurai, Kanagawa University, Japan, Prof. Yervant Terzian, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Prof. N. C. Wickramasinghe, Cardiff University, UK,

And all these, along with all the others who have contributed papers for publication, are either crackpots or shameful? Well I am not a professor and I'm supposing you are not either, so maybe the likes of you and I will never understand what motivates people like this to want to document "nonsense" to "influence crackpots". I agree, it's dreadful; and suggest you don't look any more closely at Correlation than you already have. -- Zac Δ talk! 04:49, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Zac, naturally I agree with Jimbo's position on this. But the thing is we also don't need to actually determine whether Ertel is a crackpot or should be ashamed of himself. we just need to determine whether we it is appropriate to use his paper to demolish mainstream science in an article on astrology. However, according to Wikipedia his main claim to fame is work in relation to the Mars effect which, to put it in neutral terms, does not look very much like mainstream science. I'd take a liberal stance on whether its okay for him to work on that (I hope he isn't taking public money for it).
I think you're missing the point listing all the worthies listed on Sci Ex's website. They are mostly or entirely unqualified to comment on the paranormal from a scientific perspective, because they are engineers, physicists and so on. --FormerIP (talk) 10:41, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I would like to revisit the question of the acceptability of Correlation as a reference source in Wikipedia. Correlation was first published in 1968 and described as "Research Publication of the Astrological Association in collaboration with ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research). The Astrological Association (the publisher of the journal) made efforts to ensure that a journal of research in/into astrology was available so that critical comment on astrology could be published and made available to academics and astrologers and also inspire high standards of research in this discipline. This earliest version of the journal was published for two years. In 1981, Correlation was re-issued with Simon Best as its editor. The list of consultant editors, at that time, was as follows: John Addey, Patrick Curry, Geoffrey Dean, Francoise Gauquelin, Michel Gauquelin, Charles Harvey, Nicholas Kollerstrom, Arthur Mathers, Frank McGillion, Michael Rees, Michael Startup, Beverley Steffert. Two issues of the journal are published each year. The current eidtorial board still includes Patrick Curry, Nicholas Kollerstrom, Arthur Mathers and Frank McGillion. But other academics have been added, over the years, and the board remains a broad collection of specialists in academic fields, among them Professor Suitbert Ertel and Dr. Nicholas Campion. Correlation does not have its own web site because it is a publication of the Astrological Association and you will see pages about Correlation on this site. You will find abstracts of every paper published in every issue of this journal on the database of Research Grants for the Critical Study of Astrology (RGCSA) of which I am the Convenor. Access to the database is free to everyone. The RGCSA was created in 2000 in order to encourage high standards of academic research in astrology. It considers applications from students in UK universities where astrology forms a component part of their research project for a post-graduate degree or fellowship, provided the research is being carried out within a UK university under academic supervision. We were acutely aware that academics within Universities were not aware of the complex research that existed in astrology and it was imperative that it was made available to them. This is why the database was created. There are other abstracts from other journals and the abstracts currently total about 300 in all and the number continues to grow. It is essential that information on research in and into astrology is accessible in order to promote debate on it. I did a Master's degree (1994 to 1997) and a doctorate (2000 to 2006) at the University of Southampton, UK both of which involved research in astrology applied to health psychology. The University of Southampton is one of the leading most respected research universities in the UK and it has extremely high standards in this regard. Both my degrees involved research in astrology applied to health within the NHS and the consultants with whom I worked had no issues with my methods or study design as, indeed, you would expect, given the University in which I was located. The University of Southampton is a “hospital university” so is particularly concerned with research in medicine and health. I used references from Correlation for my research for both projects and these references were accepted by my supervisors, lecturers and examiners, and given the same respect as other reference sources. My research covered a number of areas in health psychology as well astrology applied to it. The title of my doctoral thesis is "Astrology and psychology: astrological and psychological factors and fertility treatment outcome." I hope this background helps you to understand Correlation and its value as a resource to academics and astrologers working in research in this field. ---- Pat Harris, Editor, Correlation.

Pat, thanks for these details. Based on reading this, I can say without hesitation that I do not consider Correlation to be a valid source for Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:29, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
FormerIP, having not seen any indications of extreme, irrational, condemnations in your posts, I don’t naturally assume you take anyone’s position, but that you base your opinion on the best judgement that your knowledge of facts allows at any time. This is the scholarly attitude, and the one I presume WP strives towards. Ertel was called into the investigation of the Mars Effect phenomenon in order to identify a supposed bias in the data. He published on the matter in the Skeptical Enquirer, and I think it is to his credit that he did not limit the publication of his findings to the subscribers of skeptical literature, but allowed publication in subject-relevant literature too. He is either a respected, reliable source, based on his established academic weight and notably respected reputation, or he is not. He surely cannot be a guardian of skeptical truth when he publishes in one source, and then a crackpot, or shameful, when publishing in another. In general, I’ve never noticed a general character trait that defines academics by their interest in the lucre trail, so why go there (even in brackets)? Once an academic loses his or her academic reputation, all of their work becomes questionable. Unless such a thing happens, we must equally assume all is reputable.
[To Jimbo Wales too] I am also keenly interested in bringing this back to the question of Correlation, which as the leading astrological journal, is of consequence to the content of the astrology page article. Perhaps, now that the editor has given more information, it could be established more clearly whether a source deemed acceptable by supervisors, lecturers and examiners of respected universities can also be deemed a reliable source of reference for WP, in reference to the research papers that examine elements of astrological study? I am aware that a general principle does not negate the need to adhere to related policies.
On a personal level, I want to say that as a Wikipedia editor I have striven, to the best of my ability, to bring appropriate objectivity and balance between the extremes that this emotive subject invokes. But right now, I feel beset by the dilemma that only patently incorrect information is being allowed, due to the selective reference to or questionable interpretation of WP policy. This is forcing us to not give the proper explanation of the subject’s relevant and notable points, but to give only wrong explanations, as they have been put together by the subject's hostile sceptics. These are explanations which anyone with more than a beginner’s-level knowledge of the subject would find offensive. Although there is no doubt that science has rejected astrology, and the page reports that plainly; it is not true that astrology has rejected science, or shows no interests in its values. I made a post today where I identified the irreconcilable problem that Wikipedia faces if it adopts a rigid and unthinking policy approach to a subject so unique that you are not even able to find a place for it in your article categories (see here). My post expresses a relevant concern as succinctly as possible, and if you have any thoughts or suggestion you can offer on that, I would very much appreciate it. It is shown here in this diff. -- Zac Δ talk! 18:17, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • As an outsider looking in, it seems fairly obvious what's happening here. The astrology article is currently dominated by a handful of editors dedicated largely or solely to that single topic, and to presenting it in a relatively favorable light. Outside editors quickly and universally perceive that there's something wrong with the article, but attempts to address it are met with polite but interminable obstructionism, as outlined here.

    This is the sort of situation that Wikipedia has, in general, been really poor at dealing with. You have clear problems with advocates controlling an article, producing poor-quality and non-encyclopedic copy, and using Wikipedia's systems to frustrate attempts by outside editors to fix the problems. But if the astrology advocates are careful to avoid overt incivility and rotate their reverts to sidestep 3RR, this will go on forever. MastCell Talk 20:35, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

MastCell, what about this, this, this, this, this, and this? You are an involved editor who is polarizing the situation, unnecessarily IMO. Anyone who reads the talk-page can see that now the silly, indiscriminate ripping out of content has stopped, the only ‘thing’ going on, is the difficult process of gaining consensus. This afternoon we have the first indication that is starting to happen. BeCritical has helped a lot in this regard, as has the involvement of previous skeptical editors, who are sharp with critcisms, but not unreasonable or suspicious. The avoidance of 'overt incivility'? Good lord, that's a new one to me. I prefer frankness to incivility, sorry. -- Zac Δ talk! 22:56, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know, I've made zero edits to astrology, and first started commenting on the current situation about 4 days ago in response to a noticeboard post, as your diffs demonstrate. That is, I am an outsider to the article. But OK, let's be frank.

As currently written, the article is an embarrassment to an aspiring serious, respectable reference work. It presents astrological "journals" as if they're part of mainstream scientific discourse. It categorically describes an article published in Nature as "deeply flawed"... on the basis of an astrologer's criticism in an obscure fringe-science periodical.

Presenting Nature and the Journal of Scientific Exploration as two equally scientifically valid sources would be risible enough, but the article doubles down on the absurdity by actually giving JSE precedence over Nature. That's bad. What's worse is that it's like pulling teeth to try to address this glaringly obvious violation of this site's most fundamental and non-negotiable principles. MastCell Talk 23:49, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Mastcell completely. If I didn't find the subject so uninteresting, I might go and make some edits myself. I support a total rewrite, and some topic bans if people keep up the same sort of nonsense. I think that, in particular, treating the Journal of Scientific Exploration as much more than a fanzine is a huge mistake.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:57, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
I’ve never known the experience of agreeing with someone else completely; though I do try to compromise and respect other people's views. I’ve also never put Journal of Sci-Ex on the same footing as Nature, nor seen anyone else involved referring to them as two equally scientifically valid sources. Sorry, but that has not been the issue here.
Mr Wales, you are unspecific about “same sort of nonsense”. Whatever you mean, I'm likely to disagree. No editor has indicated resistance to revising any element of text that has received criticism. We all share the motivation of improving this historically-difficult article, to a level where it resolves its issues and gains featured article status. The article is still under development and not ready to submit for review, but it has always been understood that will go through a critical review process to look at issues such as neutrality, undue weight, etc. The criticisms of skeptical editors have not only been responded to but, actively sought (see here, and here).
Maybe you think the ‘nonsense’ lies in my asking for clarification on the status of Correlation, and the fact that WP:Sources states the term 'reliable source' has three relevant meanings: the work, the author and the publisher; which appears to avoid specific exclusion of anything except by the logic of context. I don’t think you understood my point about why the problem is better resolved through identification of undue weight, not censorship of sources. There is now an emboldened comment on the talk page, left by FormerIP, which leaves the instruction: Do not make use of pseudo-journals. At all. We are told that this is not because you have spoken, but because of the principles involved.
Can we clarify that this does not apply to the discussion of ideas and theories? If it does, then it would surely be because you have spoken, since the policy on fringe specifically states that alternative, non-mainstream, sources can be used for that purpose; and we are told we are required to give all majority and significant-minority positions, (whilst recognizing they not be given undue weight); to include “ideas supported only by a tiny minority, so long as secondary reliable sources have commented on it, disparaged it, or discussed it.”
I am considering the significance of this to areas where theories are discussed as alternative, not competing ideas. I am happy to accept the situation as soon as I understood it. It’s clarity I’m looking for, not extension of an argument.-- Zac Δ talk! 05:40, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Any impartial editor will notice that the astrology article is critical of astrology.  Also, there are more editors on the page who are critical of astrology than those who are neutral or favourable.  Some of the criticisms include opinions by well-known scientists even though they are not supported by studies and there are no extravagant claims supporting astrology.  What may appear 'wrong' to the more fundamentalist sceptics is that when looking at the evidence astrology is not exactly what they believe it to be or what they have been taught to believe.  This is bound to cause some cognitive dissonance. However it is important that Wikipedia report current verifiable information rather than pander to outdated and uninformed personal beliefs. Robert Currey talk 23:22, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, "reality has a well-known scientific bias". Robert, you, Zachariel, and whomever else you have recruited off-site[3] need to stop pushing fringe sources, stop obstructing consensus, and offer significant compromises. Nearly every editor, involved or uninvolved, who has seen the sources you guys want to use has rejected them as unreliable. Skinwalker (talk) 23:45, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────MastCell's point is confirmed by the above replies. I commented at Talk:Astrology that "there are two sides with irreconcilable differences and this discussion will go nowhere—only a major intervention from ANI or Arbcom will resolve the situation". The enthusiast SPA editors will never avoid an opportunity to use Wikipedia to promote astrology—consider this text from the article:

The investigation of astrology has used the empirical methods of both qualitative research and quantitative research. The most common forms of qualitative research are case study and pattern matching (cycle research), but data coding, and grounded theory have also been used.

Note the eight blue links to valid topics that will mislead readers into believing that astrology is related to science. I could start an edit war to remove those links, but I would be rewarded with 3RR warnings and a block since there is no mechanism to match the pool of SPAs. Further, tweaking that short extract would not address the other undue material, and any corrections to the article would disappear in a month or two. Johnuniq (talk) 23:43, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I am more optimistic than you are. It seems to me that there is a critical mass of people now whose interest in this article has been raised enough by this discussion that real progress might be made. The snippet you quote is, as you say, highly misleading, and it seems easy enough to fix it. I would recommend adding something to indicate that in all investigations that have been done using proper research methods and published in legitimate journals, the results have been completely negative. As I indicated earlier, I am not really interested enough in the topic to help out personally - at least not yet, and I have a pretty intense week of work coming up. But I encourage others to start.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:22, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
A personal tradgedy occured for me this morning - I came to WP to put a note somewhere that all these issues have fallen to a place of no concern for me in the short-term. I need to be somewhere else to support my family. I hope all editors will have the integrity and good sense to continue working together with consideration and respect for each other, and the fact that everyone is trying to achieve the ideal of truth. Be aware that the truth looks very different according to perspective and levels of involvement and knowledge. For example, although I do appreciate that Mr Wales has made his recommendations in good faith - for someone of my level of knowledge I just see someone who is insufficiently informed, recommending untrue comments that will not - because they cannot - be substantiated by any reliable source. Please just stick to what the sources say, and don't go down the route of being influenced by anything other than that. Referring to sources makes sense, because even if they don't report the facts accurately (which is the case here) at least WP will have kept its own integrity by reporting what is reported accurately. -- Zac Δ talk! 15:05, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Zac, I wish you well.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:07, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. I appreciate that. -- Zac Δ talk! 00:26, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I need some advice...

Hi Jimbo... <br\>Despite not being a newcomer, I keep getting bitten on the Simple English wiki, especially by Administrators of all people, which actually came as quite a shock. I am currently catching up on the policy, but is there any way of getting them to stop biting? They are just constantly being what I consider nasty, and not using polite ways of explaining wrongdoings. Can you please help me? Orashmatash (talk) 19:25, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Did you mean "Despite being a newcomer..."? Because otherwise this doesn't make sense. Looie496 (talk) 19:30, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
No, I meant what I wrote. Orashmatash (talk) 19:35, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Happy to look into it and to try to provide some soothing words for everyone. It will help if you can show me some diffs in which you perceived something as being "nasty" and "quite a shock".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:34, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Woah. First, thanks for replying. I never thought I would ever, ever get a reply. :)
Second, it turns out that the annoying user isn't an admin, and the simple English admins have helped me out. Thanks for your offer Jimbo. :) Orashmatash (talk) 00:10, 1 October 2011 (UTC)


Hi, Jimbo. I am surprised very much at such a short term for my nomination. The nomination lasted for five hours, from 21:32 September 29 to 02:29 September 30. I was asleep at this time. My reviewers have not given me time to reply to their remarks. Is it fair? I would be glad to fix some problems they noted but their awful haste and cold attitude to my work destroyed my motivation to improve the nominated article. Good luck to you. Psychiatrick (talk) 17:27, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

This was a Featured Article nomination. The FA process has a lot of work to do and only a few people to do it, so it is necessary for things to be handled efficiently. When an article is clearly not ready for nomination, it needs to be moved out of the queue quickly. This article is far from ready. That isn't the fault of the nominator: the article received a Peer Review and a GA Review, both of which were extensive and thoughtful. However, they missed key issues. The GA review was the first one that the reviewer had conducted, and the reviewer is not a native English speaker, so the problems with prose style -- which are extensive -- did not become apparent. It is too bad you were offended -- but the reality is that the article still needs a lot of work to reach the FA level. Looie496 (talk) 17:48, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I was not informed of such a practice on en-wiki. Now I withdraw my ultimatum. I am sorry for it. Psychiatrick (talk) 19:51, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Bianca Jagger

Since you'd taken an interest in the incorrect maiden name that keeps getting reported, I'm just letting you know that I added her ICorrection error report as a source for her preferred name. Maybe with a reference footnote people will leave it be. Cloveapple (talk) 17:43, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Wonderful!!! This is the first time I have heard of that website. It sounds great!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:14, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

wow, I thought you didn't went online

Don't you get bored? wikibreaks? anyway I am just wondering how many people are watchlisting this page.. -- (talk) 00:54, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

2,419 watchers [4] Bielle (talk) 01:04, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
More than Jesus! Zagalejo^^^ 18:33, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Be careful with that, someone might start burning Jimbo's record albums. Neutron (talk) 20:29, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo for president! -- (talk) 01:13, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Does anyone feel like bad when trying to edit jimmy wales user page? -- (talk) 01:15, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Rules of Evidence

There is still a need for more detailed text, with each nation, about "Rules of evidence". I think the titles should be named by nation: "Rules of evidence in Canada" or "Rules of evidence in Italy". I found a source for text about Italian courts:

That webpage states, "[E]ach party has the burden to prove the facts substantiating his claim or defence" so that a judge can determine if there is enough evidence to proceed. Also, a judge can request expert help to see if evidence is "real" as required: "experts can be appointed by the Judge to assist in evaluating matters". Finally, the Judge can exclude unreliable witnesses, because the Judge has "discretion to decide if non-documentary evidence (e.g. fact witness) is or is not admissible". Hence, after hearing all the claims, then a judge in Italy can decide when there is not enough evidence and drop charges, within 1 day. Those types of details could be written in a redirected section, such as "Rules of evidence in Greece" being a redirect to a section of an article about "Criminal court in Greece". -Wikid77 (talk) 08:57, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes. I have no opinion about the redirect part, but in general, I think more information about such topics is a good thing. One of the problems people have in reading about criminal cases in different countries is that procedural details matter, and are a lot different in different places.
In a similar vein, I saw an article about the Knox appeal the other day in which Mignini made an argument that I think would get him thrown out of court in the US. Essentially, his argument was that if Knox wins her appeal, he will appeal to the next highest court. But she will obviously leave Italy and never come back if she wins her appeal now. So, he argued, find her guilty again, even if you think she's innocent, so this can go to the higher court. Perplexing, to say the least.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:02, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
That is another interesting aspect for legal articles: the prosecution's directions to a jury and whether a prosecutor can state, "Deliver a verdict of guilty, even if not, to prevent the defendant from evading arrest if there is a problem in the future" (hence, invoking a punishment for a "precrime"). Also, there could be articles such as "Statute of limitations in Italy" to list how long a person could be charged for murder, and later be allowed to return to Italy without fear of old charges again. I think reader interest in related topics spikes to huge pageviews during a period of about 5 days, depending on people predicting a date when a verdict is to be delivered. We already have pageview data for the Casey Anthony trial verdict (5 July 2011, stats), with 1.1 million pageviews, then 1.0 million, 0.5 million, 135 thousand, etc. So, comparing data for other trials could show a pattern of how much time editors will have to prepare articles during high-profile court verdicts. -Wikid77 19:56, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Your early career in finance.

It's a mess...

Dispute resolution

Hi Jimmy,

I thought you may be interested in a proposal I have raised at the Village Pump (found here) for the potential creation of a new dispute resolution body. While Wikipedia has evolved a lot over the years, in 2003 you created the Mediation and Arbitration Committees, and they have worked quite well over the years. I am interested in your input on my proposal to create another DR body to bring binding resolution to some content disputes. My rationale can be found at the village pump, and while I realise this flies in the face of our style at Wikipedia (open editing, consensus etc) at present we have no method for resolving content disputes on Wikipedia that are influenced by outside conflicts or political agendas, a few examples of these are Senkaku Islands, Ireland article names, Eastern European disputes and Palestine-Israel articles.

We have no way for bringing some resolution to the actual content issues, conduct issues can be dealt with ArbCom but these sort of methods can be gamed (stonewalling can be done civilly and peacefully for example). The issues remain even after going through the dispute resolution cycle, a few times over. While I have no concrete proposal at present, I have a few ideas on how this could be done. Perhaps this "Content committee" could be a sub-committee of MedCom/ArbCom and issue time-limited remedies (similar to this remedy, for example). It could be a separate body that can be explored by the community after other methods of content dispute resolution has been unsuccessful, or perhaps it could be a body that MedCom or ArbCom could refer a dispute to. I'm really not sure. I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter, however, as I do think we are ill-equipped to deal with disputes on Wikipedia that are influenced by external conflict and think it's a discussion we should at least have as a community.

Awaiting your thoughts,

Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 10:49, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Without commenting on your proposal specifically (indeed, I haven't even read it yet), I just wanted to say that I strongly support consensus building around positive solutions to 'CPOV-pushing'. (Civil POV-pushing) in Wikipedia. I'm not especially persuaded by Israel/Palestine as an example, as it seems to me those issues are sufficiently monitored and debated by people of diverse views that we do a reasonably good job. I'm more concerned about less popular topics which can be extremely one-sided due to the fact that the only people who are interested in the topic for extended periods of time are advocates for one side, and random Wikipedians have to deal with a longterm battle that is just exhausting.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:54, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
My proposal was directed at creating a solution to disputes that go around the DR processes over and over, I do think in most situations we can handle these disputes but with cases such as Senkaku Islands and Abortion (which I submitted to ArbCom myself because all other avenues had failed to resolve the dispute) we have no way for bringing resolution at present, and took it to the village pump partly from the suggestion of an arbitrator at the workshop page. The details are at the village pump, but I agree that people digging in their heels until the other party gets fed up and leaves is a problem we need to address, and I think this is a potential solution. Best, Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 11:12, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Policy commission

Policy pages are different from article pages because the original ideas of editors are prohibited from article pages, but not from policy pages.

Just offering a suggestion that you consider appointing a commission of people you know to be trustworthy competent clear writers, that oversees the editing of the policy pages. The purpose of the commission is to help by noting problems and/or suggesting changes. [note added 04:48, 3 October 2011 (UTC):The main interest of the commission should be the clarity and organization of policy, rather than content which I expect would only be rarely affected, if at all.] If the editors at a policy page are either unwilling or unable to make appropriate changes, the commission would have the authority to make the changes. These changes by the commission could not be reverted, except possibly through an appeal to the commission, which the commission would either accept or reject. --Bob K31416 (talk) 22:01, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

I too favor something like that, except I believe the policy committee should be elected rather than appointed. Looie496 (talk) 22:40, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
One of the reasons for Jimbo appointing a commission is to avoid the politics of an election, which can include voting based on political alliances, stealth canvassing, etc. --Bob K31416 (talk) 01:09, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
The idea of "governance from on high" for policies or for anything much other than mechanical operations might have "unforeseen consequences" froma legal point of view. While I think it would be great if salaried Wikimedia employees had some authority over articles and editors, such would assuredly affect the legal status regarding libel and other laws in various nations. By devolving the decisions to the "community", the foundation has a layer of insulation it should be unwilling to forego. This is not actually "mere opinion" but from many years experience as a contractor for an on-line service. Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:04, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
It's also just wrong, I'm afraid, Collect. There would be no legal ramifications at all to the Foundation doing such a thing, and reasoning about legal risk has played as close to zero a role in our decision making around these issues as I think it is possible. This is an oft-repeated myth, that we do things the way we do them so as to insulate the Foundation from legal risk, but it just isn't true.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:25, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Glad to hear that - I was using my experience with a "major ISP" and its legal department which basically said the ISP did not wish to get involved in anything remotely approaching a legal case <g>. I ended up seeing an attorney about a threat from an aggrieved party, and (thankfully for free) he gave the opinion that the threat had absolutely zero weight. Which the ISP legal department could have figured out without sending me the registered mail. Cheers. Collect (talk) 16:41, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
I modified my suggestion to more accurately reflect what I intended and perhaps address some of your concerns. I added the sentence, "The main interest of the commission should be the clarity and organization of policy, rather than content which I expect would only be rarely affected, if at all." Also note that the commission would not have authority over article editing. --Bob K31416 (talk) 01:09, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I have undone your edit, because it made my reply false. Editing a talk page statement after people have responded to it is hardly ever a good thing to do. Your clarification gets the point across perfectly well. Looie496 (talk) 03:42, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
After reviewing WP:TALK, especially WP:TPO and WP:REDACT, I decided to restore what you deleted from my message, per the last option of WP:REDACT, by clearly noting that it was an addition and including a time/date stamp. Also, please note WP:TPO and recognize that you do not have my permission to modify my message. Thank you for originally bringing your concerns to my attention. Regards, --Bob K31416 (talk) 04:48, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough; but with that modification, it's less like what I had in mind. Looie496 (talk) 05:00, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Making policy by consensus can be a tiresome process, especially where consensus doesn't favour your views. If Jimbo could wave a magic wand and appoint a commission of people sufficiently skilled at squaring circles that they could write policies to suit all points of view and resolve all differences on the pedia, then I think that after a little shock people would get used to the idea. Though if such people exist they would have more legitimacy in the community if they were an elected commission. Of course we should remember that there is an alternative model for developing policy based on crowd sourcing and consensus, and before ruling that out we should just check to see how the ten year Nupedia v Wikipedia experiment has gone. Assuming that by now Nupedia has triumphed and Wikipedia is but a flawed forgotten experiment then yes, we should conclude that a hierarchical top down approach is better than a bottom up consensus based one. Alternatively we could treat the current Image filter initiative as a trial of a new way of making policy. If that goes so smoothly and uncontentiously as to discredit our current policy making processes then I'm sure the community would embrace a similar process for all policy formulation. ϢereSpielChequers 07:03, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
At the end of the day, wikipedia is an encyclopedia. I think we are in danger of thinking of wikipedia politically in terms of policies rather than focusing on what is most important, encyclopedic content. In fact if many on here cut the bureacratic/governor pretense and wrote articles instead the site would be massively better off.. And if much of the time spent discussing policies and wiki politics instead went into actual development planning and how to feasibly greatly improve overall content we would start meeting our real objectives...♦ Dr. Blofeld


Over a period of months had been being improved one word at a time. Today, bam. [5] shows how a single editor can manage to ignore any concept of improvement by consensus etc. Cheers. Collect (talk) 19:31, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

As you can see, I reverted it to the last consensus version and asked for changes to be discussed on the talk page. I hope that will help. I would join the discussion, but it seems unlikely that I will have time in the coming week or so, as I'm going to be slammed with work.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:43, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Risker has also joined in (though he thinks Robbie Burns is hard to understand <g>). Collect (talk) 15:09, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Francis of Assisi imprisoned at Perugia

The U.S. national TV networks have been reporting from Perugia all day (all week). Some U.S. reporters have noted that Francis of Assisi joined the war between Assisi and Perugia at age 20, in 1202, and he was injured and imprisoned with the others during the Battle of Collestrada, on the edge of Perugia.[6] His father paid a ransom to have him freed the next year. Francis of Assisi died just after sunset on this day in 1226,[7] almost 23 years after being freed from prison at Perugia. Dying after sunset, then October 4 is the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:27, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Italian wikipedia entirely blocked

  • Seen this? Click on en at the top to read in english. Seems a bit of an extreme reaction, anger more than anything about content being jeopardized by the new law, but seems as it hasn't been passed yet...♦ Dr. Blofeld 19:40, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
It can be argued that it's a masterful propaganda move; it would certainly get my attention if I were an Italian voter! --Orange Mike | Talk 20:11, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
How exactly was this accomplished? Every single page (not just articles) redirects straight back to the one linked above, and it appears to be a proper redirect as a opposed to a wikipedia style redirect. Who has the ability to do something like that? Surely it has to be a dev or a steward or a foundation member, its not like admins or crats could do that--Jac16888 Talk 20:26, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
In fact the admins can do that because it's a javascript and css trick Xavier Combelle (talk) 20:39, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
It seems like they would have to do that on Meta though and not in the Wiki in order to affect every page like that. --Kumioko (talk) 20:43, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
The same javascript is loaded for every page. It is easy to make this redirect the visitor regardless of where they come in. Dragons flight (talk) 21:01, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
If I turn off javascript in my browser, I don't get redirected to that page anymore, but there's still no content on any of the pages. The article/discussion/history/edit tabs are still there, but going to those pages leads to a blank page too. I thought maybe it was a big white fixed position image hiding the content, but when I turn images off the same thing happens. Assuming this is not a developer's doing (hard to believe it would be), it's an interesting trick. We should probably make sure we know how they did it so that the next admin who goes off the rails can't do something we can't readily undo. --Floquenbeam (talk) 21:12, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
It's a simple CSS display:none. Simple enough to undo. --Yair rand (talk) 21:18, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Using some debugging suite for web developers included in modern browser will made possible to disable javascript and modify style attributes. In particular #bodyContent display property has been set to "none", changing it to "inline", will show back again the main content. -- 21:18, 4 October 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
Please read this -- (talk) 21:19, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

The mobile version stills hold the common.js: Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 21:22, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

There is a discussion going on here. ANything to say on this Jimbo? The proposed bill seems an invasion on human rights and freedom of expression.♦ Dr. Blofeld 21:30, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm supportive. I think the Italians are moving rather more quickly than we would, and making a more dramatic gesture than we would, but that's ok: they're Italians and that's awesome. Their interpretation of the law is correct, based on reports I have from various people, and so it's worthwhile to make the point really BIG in Italy, and around the world: freedom of expression matters, if the world wants to have Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:51, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Awesome. At the moment there is a movement to try and address the silly UK defamation laws. As a British Wikipedian living in the UK this obviously is a risk I face every day; to be sued by someone for a frivolous matter and then fight a lengthy court case to prove my innocence. Any chance we could suspend English Wikipedia for a day in protest at the dangerous laws we are already living with?? --Errant (chat!) 22:05, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
It's contextual. In the UK, we have a much better opportunity to address the government directly, and so I doubt if a "strike" is the right thing. I could be persuaded in some circumstances, but in general, "strikes" are what you do when you are operating from a position of outsider/weakness. We aren't in that position in the UK.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:08, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Is there any way to have the Italian language wikipedia restored at least in Switzerland? I know that the idea of shutting it down wasn't yours, but since the Italians decided to block discussion as well as content pages I don't know where else I can ask this.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 04:04, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
The articles seem to be accessible now. However, in general to access an article, use the "title=xx&action=edit" option on the URL address-line, such as to edit "Roma" (Rome):
Typically, the interface to edit and preview pages is separate from the redirection. Also, try deleting your browser cache history files. I am surprised those people would use Italian WP as an advocacy site to campaign against a proposed law in Italy, and block user-access as a political tactic. How do you say "il Wackopedia" in Italian? -Wikid77 (talk) 13:20, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Do they have a choice though in if the bill passes? Is it voted for? Am I missing something? Or is it to create a distaste among politicians that Italian people do not want this law passed and try to sway them, the latter I'd imagine? ♦ Dr. Blofeld 06:35, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that by its very nature Wikipedia is truly small-d democratic, and therefore a threat to those with a vested interest in suppressing the freedom of wiki-info. Thanks for your support Jimmy, it makes me feel better about the project than I have in some time. Bravo also to the Italian Wikipedians, the WMF, and ex-counsel Mike Godwin for taking a stand! Jusdafax 07:34, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Changes to it:WP statement

Note changes to the statement on Italian Wikipedia made earlier today:

Even this corrected version does not seem to be right. As I understand the proposed law, the subject would have the right for a statement to be shown, unaltered, on the page (which actually would be possible for Wikipedia to do, via a transcluded and protected template). They would *not* have the right to have the content replaced by their version. (The Italian statement now says "chiedere l'introduzzione di una rettifica", i.e. "request the introduction of a correction", while the English version says "request to publish a corrected version".)

Frankly, given some of our past BLP problems, I am in part sympathetic to BLP subjects having some easy comeback against online writings which they feel portray them in an unduly poor light. There are two sides here -- see the Robert Fisk article from a few years ago.

Just as legal cases are lengthy and expensive for bloggers and the like, they are also expensive for BLP subjects who feel they are being defamed by an anonymous source on the Internet, including Wikipedia.

I think the WMF statement is a bit over-optimistic here! If anonymous crowds were so effective at writing neutral BLPs, the board resolution and years of hand-wringing on BLPs and pending changes would not have been necessary.

The Italian law as written does not seem a good idea, but I think our analysis should be a bit more measured. Note also that there seem to be far more press freedom issues at stake here than just the posting of corrections. Last year, the entire Italian news industry went on strike for a day over the same proposed bill, which is, after all, known as the *wiretapping* bill, governing the right to publish wiretapping transcripts. Apparently the initiative was sparked by the publication of some of Berlusconi's private indiscretions. See Guardian report. Giving those written about the right to have a statement or correction posted is just a small part of this bill.

The statement shown on it.wikipedia looks like it was knocked up in a hurry. For such a prominent action, it should have been vetted in a bit more detail, and the errors emended before it went live. We shouldn't be misinforming millions of people. --JN466 11:13, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

It has been interesting to watch this discussion unfold and to see the news reports that have popped up. I knew nothing about what this law would actually do before I heard of it (obviously) but I don't feel like I know much more at this stage either. The risks of jumping to conclusions seem to have been forgotten in this media saturated age. Has anyone from the foundation, or its legal team, analyzed the language of this bill and done so with the help of an Italian legal expert? I'm all for the "power of the people" and all that jazz, but I hope everyone realizes that pretty much all the news stories out there are saying that "Wikipedia shut down its Italian site," which means that whether we like it or not the Foundation, or at least "Wikipedia" as a whole, is now on the hook regarding all this in the court of public opinion. If it turns out that the response was naive we're no better off for it. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 12:08, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I think there is general agreement that the process here is problematic, whether the result was valid or not. I'm told that this was under discussion in the Italian community for months, and I trust that they are just as analytical and thorough as we are, so I don't think they got the law wrong, nor took the action lightly. However, they didn't let me know or the Foundation know or other communities know, so it wasn't possible to get them wider support and more "eyes on the problem" beforehand.
I was saying to someone the other day from a nonprofit organization who wanted me to join an open letter about an upcoming e-G20 meeting that "open letters" and similar (a protest like this one is an example) are what you do when you have no power or ability to do anything else. If we think of ourselves as weak and powerless, we may feel we have to do things like this in cases where we may not. Notice my answer to the question about UK defamation law, up above: in the UK in particular, if the law were to start to head in any novel and horrible direction, we have plenty of access to the highest levels of decision-making in the UK, and so a protest like this would have to come at the very end of a long series of activities, and would (if we ever did something like this in the UK, which I doubt) be part of a larger press strategy including publicly announcing that we are going to do it unless something gives, to create a "showdown" in the press, etc. without actually having to do it.
Had I been asked, that's what I would have suggested to the Italians, although one big difference is that I don't think we have any direct or indirect way into Berlusconi's office.
I don't think this highly unusual action should create a precedent of any kind. I hope that it generates a good conversation about when, where, how, and why such actions would be taken in various places in the future.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:22, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Are you saying David Cameron answers the phone when you call? (You don't have to answer that...) Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:41, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
If we were about to close English Wikipedia in protest of some proposed law, if the situation were that desperate, then yes, he'd take my call without a doubt.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:13, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Probably. But after your refusal to get involved or even acknowledge the recent 'un-contributions' of KillerChihuahua (and friend) to Cameron's Wikipedia article, I expect there would be more than just the two of you in on that phone call. (talk) 14:47, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo what kind of expert analysis of this entire situation is available to the Foundation, and I don't just mean legal analysis but also, and more importantly, political analysis? Let's say the hype is right and the bill would, if passed in its current state, actually mandate all these ridiculous corrections within 48 hours. Is it actually likely to pass, as written, or is this bill just part of the current episode of Italian political theater? Nothing I read in the news reports of this gives me an answer to that question. I appreciate the fact that the Foundation doesn't have particularly good access to the Italian government, but are we at least well informed on the matter?Griswaldo (talk) 12:49, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I think it's safe to say that, in the main, the advice the Foundation is getting is mainly from the Italian Wikipedia community. I think it's safe to say that, no, the Foundation is not well-informed on the matter, and that they received no advance warning. I consider that to be sub-optimal, obviously, but second-guessing the community in the midst of a breaking news story would send a really false signal. I hope to work with everyone after this calms down to talk about when, where, why, and how we might or might not do similar things in the future - what kind community processes, what kind of Foundation input, etc. But for now, it seems to be having the desired impact, and I'm sure I'll get a million questions about it next week when I'm in Italy.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:13, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, I understand that - dealing with italian law and politics - you support the italian style action of dramatic blanking. I don't understand why you agree with the fact that this blanking has been done without consensus: (1) Italian editors have not been proposed any poll, (2) WMF has not been asked any suggestion nor legal support. Please be sure that admins of local projects, in the future, will no more be able to perform such a denail of service without consensus with editors and WMF. ZipoBibrok5x10^8 (talk) 14:54, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I am told that this was not a small group of admins, that it was discussed for a long time, and that there was strong support. However, having said that, I agree with you that in the future process should be much clearer, and actions like this should be taken in coordination with the Foundation and the wider community. One reason for that is so that we can time it to have maximum impact, give solid PR support from the Foundation, etc. This has never happened before, and we had no warning, so, you know, it's a little complicated.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:13, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I had a question about issue actually. I've been having a very hard time understanding how a process of discussion that even remotely resembles consensus building around this issue could have occurred while no one outside of the Italian Wikipedia was aware of it. It's just not possible unless the Italian Wikipedia is no bigger than a dozen editors. So in what manner exactly was this "under discussion in the Italian community for months," as Jimbo says? Like I said, I'm having a hard time understanding that, and maybe Jimbo or someone from the Italian Wiki can shed light on this.Griswaldo (talk) 15:07, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
These are good questions and I'm sure clear light will be shed on them in due course. I would love it if you would go and ask them and then report back here what you learn.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:16, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Non parlo l'italiano ... but, as you say, I'm sure we'll know more soon enough. Oh, and by the way I think your own response to the situation has been very measured and practical. Cheers for that.Griswaldo (talk) 15:58, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, I will do a deal. I won't comment on your "Italian" observations (Italian law v British law) above and you won't comment on this. However, since you are commentng on national laws and governance - are you Americans still strapping the convicted to medical stretchers and injecting them with poisonous chemicals and/or frying them in purpose built electrical chairs - while their compatriots chant with pleasure outside the prison gates - or can that be explained with "They are Americans and that is awsome" too. Don't patronise Italians please - each country's laws have their strengths and weaknesses and a nation cannot be stereotyped. Giacomo Returned 19:47, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Appreciate the sentiment, Giacomo, but I think Jimbo was talking in terms of WMF being in a better position in the UK because of existing communication with the authorities, not necessarily that Italy is a less open society or whatever (although, it has to be said, take a look at the laws they are passing). --FormerIP (talk) 20:19, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad you appreciate it, but i was actually posting here until moved. However, what on earth is Jimbo doing saying "here in the UK, we......." is he now a British national? I've lived in the Uk for longer than I care to remember, but I dont assume to say "we in the UK." Giacomo Returned 20:52, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
IIRC, Jimbo has legal resident status in the UK as a result of a marriage to a UK national? Collect (talk) 21:22, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I am taking Jimbo to mean WMF when he says "we". Maybe that's the source of the confusion. --FormerIP (talk) 21:02, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
What a sort of a royal "we"? Giacomo Returned 21:04, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
When I talk about organisations I'm involved with, I often say "we". In fact, I do that on Wikipedia all the time to mean Wikipedia. Anyway, I'm going to leave this sub-discussion here and Jimbo can defend his own choice of words if he wants to. --FormerIP (talk) 21:20, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Hi Jimbo. Perhaps you will be so kind, to support the solidarity address here: de:Wikipedia:Solidaritätserklärung_mit_dem_italienischen_Wikipedia-Streik. -- Andreas Werle (talk) 21:13, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

I think it was important here that Jimbo gave his stance on this. For a major wikipedia to go on strike if he'd said nothing it would have looked as if he didn't care. He obviously does care, and I'm pretty sure he'll be discussing this issue until he's blue in the face when he visits Italy next week. As a British national myself I think he is right about the UK system and that differences exist and it would take something much more desperate to happen in the UK for English wikipedia to come up with the same response by going on strike, I think that's what he is saying, and I agree. As this has never happened before I am glad actually that he is taking the time to consider what should happen if it ever happens again and how the foundation would react to potentially come up with the most effective strategy.♦ Dr. Blofeld 21:21, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
@Dr. Blofeld. Thx for your comment. In addition to my request for supporting the italian colleagues i would say that it is puzzling to me that the situation in italy is not mentioned on the english main-page. This should be changed in order to bring the information to more users in en:wp. Greetings -- Andreas Werle (talk) 21:37, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Clearly a good reason to keep standards of editing and notability up as high as possible. Off2riorob (talk) 22:57, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Now what?

In a comment to the Wikimedia Foundation blog post about this someone has now written:

Ok apparently after the last discussions the “mandatory rectification” is now required only for sites registered as “testata giornalistica” (i.e. somehow considered as a newspaper/tabloid/”regular” publication), so Wikipedia shouldn’t be affected anymore.

Does anyone know if this is true? If it is does the Foundation's position on this change and/or do the Italian Wikipedians who shut the site down now put it back up? I'm asking because self-preservation makes political action like this much more understandable than it would be if it were merely ideologically driven. As we've seen from some of the comments there some people think that it is against our own principles to take political action, and I think this becomes a convincing argument especially if our own interests are no longer a direct concern. So now what?Griswaldo (talk) 18:58, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Taking political action is against any Wikipedia principle. Are we writing a free encyclopedia or are we founding a political party? ZipoBibrok5x10^8 (talk) 01:27, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

"The bill, due to begin its journey through parliament next week, includes a clause that puts blogs on the same footing as news websites. It stipulates that anyone who believes they have been defamed or misrepresented in a blog has a right of reply. The blogger would get 48 hours in which to accede to the demand. In the event of a refusal, he or she would become liable for the fine. This is not the first time Berlusconi's government has prompted howls of outrage from the blogosphere. A similar proposal was made last year, but failed to make headway in the legislature." Hooper, John (27 September 2011), Italy's bloggers to protest over 'fascist' right to reply bill, The Guardian  . postdlf (talk) 02:38, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

It seems that part of the proposed bill has now been changed: [8] --JN466 08:06, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
And it looks like they are back to business.Griswaldo (talk) 12:16, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

WP:verifiability first sentence topic which you recently commented now has a proposal up for RFC

Hello Jimbo,

You recently commented on a discussion regarding "verifiability, not truth" in the first sentence of wp:verifiability. A compromise proposal has emerged and is up for RFC at: Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#RFC - Compromise proposal re first sentence Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 01:38, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Technology pioneer

Just curious, what are your reactions/thoughts to the passing of Steve Jobs? Personally, I consider you among those in the sphere of our contemporary technology visionaries, along with people like Marc Andreessen, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Jon Postel, Grace Hopper and many many others. It is strange to me, as the years passed, I had as many kind words for Steve Jobs as frustrated ones, but I have to say that, in balance, he will definitely be missed. -- Avanu (talk) 03:52, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Very sad. He was so young, 56, only 11 years older than me. Thank you for your compliment, it's an honor to be listed alongside names like those.
Because several people have asked me already today, I'll add the answer to a question you didn't ask. I never met Steve Jobs. I did get an email from him once, which is an amusing story that I'll tell someday soon.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:03, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Italy redux

There seems to be some misunderstanding in the media about who is reponsible for the events in Italy. This story by the BBC is attributing the actions and statements to "Wikipedia", not merely to the Italian Wikipedia. Looie496 (talk) 05:28, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

so? You will find a lot of quotes "According to wikipedia...", not "According to User:XYZ and User:OPF, authors of wikipedia's article 'XYZ'..." Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:35, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Also, it's not completely incorrect, since the Foundation did endorse that blackout after all. Regards SoWhy 16:13, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales deserves Nobel Peace Prize

Trophy.png Jimbo Wales deserves Nobel Peace Prize
Why is Jimbo Wales not geting Nobel Peace Prize and Turing Award and Marconi Prize and Copley Medal Pachyobs (talk) 07:35, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Because he already has us. →Σ  ☭  08:20, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Because our ArbCom system hasn't yet been outsourced to settle real world disputes, we're still in the process of optimizing it for dealing with problems here on Wikipedia. Count Iblis (talk) 16:09, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Those edit requests

If you have a sec, please take a look at the;

...and, of course, WP:FEED. Cheers,  Chzz  ►  21:53, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Especially WP:FEED. Isn't it a bit crap, how we ignore people trying to add encyclopaedic content, whilst worrying over bureaucratic crap?  Chzz  ►  22:36, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
That's a lot of stuff to look at, and some of it involves looking at the talk pages of articles that annoy me so much that I mainly try to pretend they don't exist. :-)
Can you sum up your point? I think what you are saying is "Many people request edits and then get ignored" although several of the examples that you linked to now have responses, though maybe that's because you posted them here? If I've missed your point, I apologize, and please clarify, thanks! :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:58, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Since he's the one who started the "let's delete lots of External links because that's my personal interpretation" bit, I assumed this is his attempt to distract people from discussing that and similar "bureaucratic crap" (his term) so he can continue on his idiosyncratic way, unimpeded. No? (talk) 18:14, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Italian WP unblocked after 16 million forced pageviews


Teddy3DGlasses.jpg A belated thank you
Thanks again for coming out to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis last month! I wanted to share some WikiLove, courtesy of my son Teddy: LoriLee (talk) 23:35, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Also, here are the images from your visit: Commons:Category:Jimmy Wales at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. LoriLee (talk) 00:38, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Ohio politicians

"Carpe diem. Seize the day."

The obscuring of Italian Wikipedia emphasized to me the somewhat vulnerable nature of access to Wikipedia, and, by extension, to the Internet, because of legislative, technical, economic, or environmental factors. Remembering that continued access is not absolutely guaranteed, I ask myself how I can best spend my time if this is my last day or week or month. I need to prioritize the ways in which I contribute and also the ways in which I benefit. The expression Carpe diem ("Seize the day") is timely. Steve Jobs made some comments about the use of time. (Steve Jobs - Wikiquote)
Wavelength (talk) 21:22, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Infoboxes in biographies of classical musicians

Hi, wondering if Jim or a page watcher would care to look at the discussion at Richard D'Oyly Carte about the appropriateness and usefulness of infoboxes in the biographies of classical musicians and related articles. I was so astonished at the stance there I briefly dipped into some facetiousness before hauling myself back out. Yopienso (talk) 22:22, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Huh, if theres one thing you should avoid on wikipedia is adding infoboxes to classical music biographies. They are strongly detested by the opera group.♦ Dr. Blofeld 06:37, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

So I discovered yesterday. My question is, what does Jimbo think about a bloc of editors commanding such power over a complete set of articles? Yopienso (talk) 13:48, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
  • That is why we need more rules to deter bullying which stops improvements. Perhaps they should read "WP:Thinking outside the infobox" as to how using infoboxes speeds translation of thousands articles into many other languages, because the infobox is standardized for simplified bot translation of many article stubs. Is there some hidden reason why they will not allow infoboxes when traditional theaters have "opera boxes"? -Wikid77 (talk) 14:17, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
    • Any examples of such articles created by bot translation? I was not aware that this really happens and is approved on Wikipedia. I know that some of the artificial language wiki's are populated by bots translating articles on populated places, but I don't think that giving any support for such fake encyclopedias is what we want to do. I haven't noticed any biographies being translated from or to English by bots at all though. Fram (talk) 14:25, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
There are a lot of bulk-load edits of new articles, but I do not know of any interwiki bot translations yet. Most of the copied infobox stubs seem to be from people repeatedly hand-translating stubs. -Wikid77 (talk) 15:57, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
So basically your argument pro infoboxes was baseless? Please refrain from introducing such arguments in discussions, they only serve to muddy the waters. Fram (talk) 06:45, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Would never get consensus to do so on here. Although I'm thinking of proposing a bot which translates German/French/Spanish/Poish wiki articles using google translate into the wikipedia work space and which can be moved into the mainspace once proof read and sourced. But given that articles need to be proof read it would just as easily be done manually whenever an editor wants to translate one. If google translate was perfected a bot translating articles would be useful but the articles would still need to be placed in categories of "needing proof reading" and given the millions of articles needing translating and lack of editors would be years before they could all be checked and in the meantime could contain mistranslated and incorrect info so overll would be a bad idea... In regards to infoboxes I quite like the fact that composer articles just have a photograph, in fact I dislike infoboxes in biography articles. I only see their use really for articles which have a lot of facts like aircraft etc or to display pin maps for places and buildings.♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:31, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
In 2004, Google Translate was formerly translating articles correctly between several languages, including conjugation of verbs and declension of nouns, with proper word-order placement. However, I think it was considered "too slow" or limited to just a dozen languages. If we could find another old-style language translation site, then we could quickly expand the "big articles" to have text from other Wikipedias, by copy/paste/translate, with first masking "Frankenstein" as "XFrankenstein" (or such) to avoid getting "French stone" in the translation. Some of the Google Mutate results are totally incomprehensible, and take hours to re-translate. However, as I remember, translation from Swedish-to-English was better, so perhaps find a German article, get the Swedish and translate that as a start. -Wikid77 (talk) 15:57, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

What of course we are trying to achieve is for there to be the same quantity and eveness of coverage and quality of articles across all 260 wikipedias and some sort of system where as every article (missing) is created on another wikipedia we have the chance to have it started at the same time in english and in any other language so the effort put in by any wikipedian in any language can benefit all of the other wikipedias. Maybe in the future if google translate is perfected we could have a go at sorting a bot to bridge the gap in badly needed areas where the general quality on the other wikipedia is high. Ultimately of course we want everything to be human written and checked but it could certainly be very useful to do to gruelling work needed initially on articles such as our empty one liners on German municipalities and French communes in fleshing them out..♦ Dr. Blofeld 16:05, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

I find it curious that half of the infobox supporters in a recent straw poll there (Talk:Richard_D'Oyly_Carte#Count) are WP:ARS regulars. Rather than asking "what can we do about a bloc of editors commanding such power?", perhaps the question would be "why do a bloc of editors insist on imposing editing styles on a wikiproject?" As noted in the discussions on that page, boxes are not mandatory. Tarc (talk) 17:18, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

This has absolutely nothing to do with the ARS. DGG and Michael are ARS regulars, sure, but they are both also heavily involved in numerous areas on Wikipedia. And i'm not sure if any of the other supporters are members, i'm not going to bother checking though I believe Noleander is, but unless you're saying that all 300+ members of the ARS are "regulars", you have absolutely nothing. Now I would respectfully ask for you to stop badmouthing the ARS everywhere you go when we have absolutely nothing to do with a discussion. SilverserenC 19:21, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually I often save articles from AFD and I voted oppose..♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:49, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Seren's spirited defense of his cohorts aside, the question remains; why are editors trying to impose infoboxes onto a project that feels the articles are better off without them? Wikiprojects do not own their respective articles, sure, but they are more familiar with the subject matter than non-members are at times. This seems to be one of them, and editors trying to enforce some sort of "there must be infoboxes everywhere!" sameness/uniformity is a bit pushy IMO. Tarc (talk) 21:44, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Please be more careful in alleging conspiracies. You are mistaken, at least on my part. Please answer my question instead of posing your own.
My answer to yours: Speaking for myself only, not editors, plural (There is no cabal.), as a user--and I use much more than I edit--I appreciate uniformity for multiple reasons.
  • First and foremost, I know where to find things. If editors on any given page had the leeway to choose different styles for titles and subtitles and general outlines--that is, if each page had its own look--it would be confusing. (And, yes, editors do have the leeway to include or exclude infoboxes; I'm just answering your question.)
  • Second, uniformity gives the encyclopedia a more professional appearance.
  • Third, uniformity makes for easier editing. This is a case in point. Never did I imagine there was a bloc of editors who closed ranks against infoboxes. So here I've waded into something I very reasonably thought was an anomaly--and it is, really, compared to the bulk of WP where I've never encountered a dislike for infoboxes--because of a lack of uniformity. Having different rules for different pages creates confusion.
  • Fourth, and this is in regards to infoboxes specifically, not uniformity in general, the infoboxes are a great aid to the general reader who perhaps never heard of the subject before. The opera group (There is no cabal.) seem to want to have a snooty enclave in Wikipedia aimed at scholars opera experts. Now, I could be mistaken about this, and please point to the policy if I am, but I understand the project is aimed at informing the general public, not scholars. Scholars supposedly don't use general-reference encyclopedias, anyway.
  • Last, this seems like a states' rights v. federalist struggle: is each Wikiproject a sovereign entity, or is Wikipedia one big umbrella project with many sub-projects?
Well, in any case, as a drive-by editor, I'm respecting the consensus on those pages. Thanks to each for your perspective and best wishes to all. Yopienso (talk) 23:35, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Making any sort of connection between infoboxes and subject specific knowledge of a user (Wikiproject or not) is a fallacious argument. Infoboxes are not subject matter, they are a formatting opinion. The opinions of users in regards to them all count equally and members of any Wikiproject, regardless of their subject specific knowledge, does not count any more than any other user. Infoboxes are purely an opinion and the use of them should be done through consensus. That is what was done in this situation and done properly, consensus was re-established and there is nothing wrong with that. Please stop trying to make it seem like there is some sort of infobox conspiracy going on. SilverserenC 22:16, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Oh seren, if only it really were as simple as you proclaim. However, we have the topic initiator who is "astonished" that a "snooty enclave" wasn't interested in his infoboxes, and came calling on Mr. Wales for his input. Then Wnt decries the "bullying" by the opera project members. Yopienso drops "bloc" into his commentary several times, which is indeed asserting that the wiki-project is acting like a cabal, despite his protests that he never meant that. Yes, infobox use can come about by consensus. The consensus rejected the usage, but Yopienso and Wnt come here to Mr. Wales talk page acting like a pair of missionaries who just can't understand why those operatic heathens couldn't accept their enlightened view of the Wiki-world. I also noted how some of the usual players in these sorts of things cropped up in the original discussion, which made you extra-testy. The matter here is quite simple; an editing proposal was made, consensus came down against it, and the originator is complaining about it. Tarc (talk) 01:20, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not even going to bother. Your constant incivility is the worst out of anyone on this site. SilverserenC 03:23, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Yopienso's summary was well put. I expect "snooty" referred to some statements in the infobox discussion, particularly the one stating that readers should have to read the entire article, not encouraged to skim an infobox. iow, implying Wikipedia is not here for the convenience of our readers, but to "educate them" in the precise way a few contributors deem correct and proper. Whether that was the consensus of the group or the opinion of a specific Wikipedian wasn't clear. (Tarc, thank you for pouring petrol on the fire. You never fail to delight in that regard.) (talk) 15:05, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
You're quite welcome, Roi. Pontifications aside, is is still puzzling to see why this matter ever came to Jimbo's page at all. If editors have reached a consensus that a box detracts from the article rather than enhances it, and no policies are being violated by this consensus, then is there a legitimate beef here? All it seems to boil down to here is "I disagree, so I will appeal to another authority", similar to the sentiment that one sees in many flawed DRV filings. Tarc (talk) 16:38, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Tarc, did you miss the memo? Everyone, for whatever reason, is allowed to post here, without being accused of forumshopping, canvassing, or anything else (at least, without being accused of these things by Jimbo, what other people think of it may be different...) Fram (talk) 18:07, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I didn't say "don't post here", I asked "why are you posting here?" Yopienso begain this discussion in a fairly combative tone, and I think it is fair to ask of him and his supporters just what is to be accomplished by this. Tarc (talk) 16:28, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Given the division of opinion over infoboxes I'm not sure why the option in "my preferences" isn't introduced to hide all infoboxes and those who want them can have them and those who detest them can simply hide them and by default just feature whatever photo is in the infobox to be thumb nailed at the top. Flexibility is the key...♦ Dr. Blofeld 21:51, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

And where does that end, exactly? The real issue is: What constitutes a consensus? The people who happen to be working on a particular article or project at that particular moment in time? (Remember: no canvassing!) What about overlapping projects, such as Biography and Opera, which come to different consensuses? What about the views of users/readers which are currently only being represented by editors? Editors who are purportedly mostly young educated males from western countries, according to Sue Gardner? What about those who lose a given argument, but simply wait a bit until a new group with a different consensus shows up? Or run to a different but similar article? And then the 'other side' does the same? This is the same problem every single online volunteer community project has faced as volunteers and users and popularity hit the tipping point. Volunteers often start in some particular area of interest. As they contribute (and look) beyond that, and as time passes and others do the same, they expect some consistency: "We've tried several alternatives, now let's settle on some standards for a better user experience." That's when these arguments start and long-time volunteers disappear. It's pointless to spend time and effort if your contributions will likely be deleted at some point in time, on the basis of whim or personal preferences of a few people wearing the cloak of "consensus". Those contributions aren't likely to be restored later, as who would even think to search for them? You don't know what you do't know. All it often takes is once. It's pointless to spend time and effort if one's contributions have to be re-justified in each and every article when the facts and reasons are the same, but the "consensus" (meaning the people participating) varies. It becomes a charade, and we lose contributors. This is our biggest current problem, and won't be solved by Eddie Haskell-style "politeness". Truth to power: Solve the problem. (talk) 19:01, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, this is a small individual kerfuffle, but illustrates the general issue of real content writers leaving the Wiki. When you have someone actually writing actual content, it is a complete buzzkill to have these infobox-adders or taggers come by and try to imose their desire for format on articles. It is significant valuable work to read books, structure a page, write multiple paragraphs, decide what to exclude versus include...all the work of composition...and even worse having to do it in the wiki markup language and a non WYSIWYG window. Oh...and no lectures about everyone is equal or AGF or NPA please. This is a serious thing to let Jimbo know. We are ten years into this thing and vast spaces of vital articles are not written. There is a reason. The real content contributors are turned off by the over aggressive gnomes and bullies. They vote with their feet...07:24, 7 October 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Agree I have no evidence about good content editors leaving due to nonsense like this, but I have seen a small number of similar cases where the people who have actually created excellent content have been confronted by a passer by on a mission from MOS to make some essentially trivial adjustment to an article: "fix" the reference style; change heading levels; add infobox; remove external links; and more I can't think of at the moment (I generally favor pruning external links—in this context I am talking about a case where an article has a reasonable number of links to reasonable sites). Sometimes the passer by will be quite aggressive and pepper the talk page with links like WP:OWN and WP:CONLIMITED and they must cause a great deal of damage by driving off some content creators. Yes, aggressive pruning is sometimes required when a few editors have erected a walled garden—I am talking about cases where the article is encyclopedic and excellent, and it is unfortunate that some passers by cannot distinguish between cases when rules are helpful and when they are not. Johnuniq (talk) 22:47, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
That's a two way street, though. I remember a relatively new user had created an article for some obscure British composer, and as soon as they had added the article to the relevant WikiProject, someone from that project came by, ripped out the infobox, and left. No one from the WikiProject had been involved with creation or improvement of content, but by God they got that infobox out of there! It wasn't just ownership; it was abstract ownership. --JaGatalk 03:59, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I am against that. But I think you will find the aggressive gnomes doing a lot more of that sort of thing (pushing a format on articles they don't write) than the real content editors. Wiki turns off/away people who are content experts and good writers. Who wants to stay and have some wargamer fucking with your hard work? (And it's not some evil ownership. Many eople welcome strong players adding useful things or fixing small wrong things...but the taggers and infoboxers. UGHH! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:09, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
This comment is really offensive to people with asperger's syndrome. Can it be removed please? --Physics is all gnomes (talk) 20:31, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

People, come on. The Wikipedia does turn away people who are "content experts and good writers" and cannot collaborate, and this is intentional, or at least an inevitable effect of our structure. There's really nothing to do be done about this, for better or worse. Part of "collaborate" is "accept the good-faith contributions of others, even if they don't leave the work the way you, personally, would have preferred". If someone is putting in false information or messing with the refs or pushing a POV or deleting whole good paragraphs or whatever, OK, it's good to get upset. But if someone puts in an infobox and this is causing you to become emotionally upset, I would recommend seriously that you toke up or something.

And the alternative to that is defend your work (which is sometimes necessary), by which I mean engage the editor, and if necessary bring in other editors to consider the matter. If the other editor's contributions clearly and incontrovertibly and prima facie make the article worse, your defense of the status quo will likely be crowned with success, right? And if they don't clearly and incontrovertibly and prima facie make the article worse, maybe the other editor is right. Or maybe it doesn't matter.

In a case like this (infobox/no infobox), where about ten editors are saying Yin and ten are saying Yang, then the changes do not clearly and incontrovertibly and prima facie make the article worse (or better), so how about just letting it go?

I know, I know. I have favorite articles that I wrote or worked on a lot that other editors have changed and I look at them and say to myself "gee, I kind of liked it better before". On the other hand, this is balanced and greatly overbalanced by the favorite articles that I wrote or worked on a lot that other editors have changed and I look at them and say to myself "wow, look at that new image/new ref/new external link/new cat/cool new way of organizing the information/whatever, that rocks". That is Wikipedia. Herostratus (talk) 05:25, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

IMO having no infobox on all classical musician articles might do harm. Love 'em or hate 'em, infoboxes are a standard part of Wikipedia's look and feel. When this one corner of Wikipedia defies convention, a casual user who clicks on Mozart, for instance, will be surprised by the inconsistency and will think the article looks incomplete - I know I did. This is a violation of the principle of least surprise and can detract from the user experience. (and greatly so if that user decides to add an infobox, and then gets their comeuppance!)
Someone mentioned this being a question of states' rights, and I think that's a good description. Sure, WikiProject Composers or whatever has some say over the look and feel of the articles within their scope, but doesn't Wikipedia have a say over the look and feel of the site?
I'll bet if you put a poll over the picture of Mozart asking "Should this article have an infobox?" or some such the answer would become clear. --JaGatalk 16:39, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
null set = intersection of people capable of writing vital articles to FA quality of content/prose with people willing to put up with Wiki aggressive antics. Decide what you want. My hope is that Sue fixes some of this crap. New sheriff in town and all that...
Also with opera singers as well. Spidey665 00:12, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


Teddy3DGlasses.jpg A belated thank you
Thanks again for coming out to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis last month! I wanted to share some WikiLove, courtesy of my son Teddy: LoriLee (talk) 23:35, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Also, here are the images from your visit: Commons:Category:Jimmy Wales at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. LoriLee (talk) 00:38, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I brought this back because I have a fun response... coming soon.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:06, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
File:Wikipedia Song by teddy - autotuned.ogg
Autotuned version of Teddy's song!
After much anticipation, having had to wait to return home to listen - I can safely safe the Jimmy version defied all expectations. Teddy thinks it's "so silly!" which is high praise. "Silly" is his version of what others would call "epic" or "awesome." Thanks for the smiles! Made my week! (Month?) Best-- LoriLee (talk) 18:06, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I made this with an app called "Songify" and I assumed when I did so that the default songs in the app would be under a very open license compatible with CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. However, I thought just now that I should look into it, and so far I'm unable to find any information. So, there's a chance that commons will have to delete it. Save a copy. :) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:02, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Done! Thanks for the heads up. In other instances of listening to "his song," Teddy has gone on to say "HOW funny is THAT?" and go off on extended bouts of chuckling. I regret that I didn't get this on video, but you'll have to just imagine a very happy three year old. Thanks again! LoriLee (talk) 15:20, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Lori, if you want to develop the Children's Museum of Indianapolis to GA I'll be happy to review it as I did with the art museum.♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:16, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


Just a general question: what do you generally do on Wikipedia, aside from being the owner and/or responding to discussions on your talk page? (unrelated: I like playing Asteroids on Wikipedia with my asteroids script. (use importScript('User:LikeLakers2/asteroids2.js'); to have it automatically add a link to play it in your toolbox and topbar (where the edit button is), and click it to play)) LikeLakers2 (talk | Sign my guestbook!) 16:00, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Ah, that's why I get so many database errors when I try to save documents! Looie496 (talk) 16:06, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I lol'd. Also, I think ''that's'' looks better than ''that'''s as ''that'''s looks a bit wierd, with the ' being slanted, but not the s. (Feel free to undo my change of it if you want, Looie496) LikeLakers2 (talk | Sign my guestbook!) 17:32, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi, I'm not the owner of Wikipedia. It belongs to the Wikimedia Foundation, which I founded in 2003. Anyway, what I like to do on Wikipedia apart from my work is edit articles relating to the UK House of Lords.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:20, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

A question about truth

Is this quote which was attributed to you correctly attributed?: "Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic is to write about what people believe, rather than what is so. If this strikes you as somehow subjectivist or collectivist or imperialist, then ask me about it, because I think that you are just mistaken. What people believe is a matter of objective fact, and we can present that quite easily from the neutral point of view."[11] if it is then how does that relate to your statement on my talkpage that "Truth is a huge concern, and the new version makes that clear".? To me this looks like a contradiction, although I guess it might be a matter of context. In any case the first quote is a very big part of what I find Wikipedia to be about - presenting different views weighted in accordance with their level of acceptance, not presenting truths. I think that the proposed policy change basically suggests that notions of objective truth or untruth trumps views to the contrary. Perhaps I am wrong again, but maybe you could explain to me why?·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:28, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

One part to focus on is this: "What people believe is a matter of objective fact...". We are deeply concerned with truth. Another part to focus on is this: "Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic is to write about what people believe..." It is not the only way, just perhaps the easiest way.
We want everything in Wikipedia to be verifiable. We also want everything in Wikipedia to be true. Because people may not always agree on what is true, we very often need to 'go meta' in various ways, one of which is to write about what people believe.
Another way you might think about this: because we want everything in Wikipedia to be true, and because we write it using an open process of dialogue, a useful set of techniques for getting at the truth include depending on reliable sources (which are judged to be reliable because they say true things more often than unreliable sources), and going meta when beliefs about what is true differ significantly. Far from verifiability coming about because we don't care about the truth, verifiability is useful because we care so deeply about the truth.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:51, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for responding. In my world there is no "truth" only well supported claims and hypotheses. I consider truth to be for religious people.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:41, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Is what you say true?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:15, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
It is my point of view, you need give it no more than its due weight.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:44, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, a number of people insist on retaining the "verifiability, not truth" formulation in the first sentence of WP:V, which causes a great deal of confusion on this subject. Hopefully, the current RfC will produce a consensus on a compromise that at least moves these words out of the lede. Neutron (talk) 16:41, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
If I'm allowed to comment here, the "go meta" approach that Jimbo speaks of can be summarized as: truth is approximated in Wikipedia by following the neutral point of view, with all its ancillaries, starting with basic verifiability of statements, but paying attention to the reliability of sources, and avoiding the synthesis of conclusions not supported by sources. Alas, some see a conflict between NPOV and NOR. E.g. when a source says "the earliest use of word X is 1909", but when a Wikipedia editors finds on a Google Books search a source from 1901 using it, then it has been argued that NOR—and more specifically SYNT—prohibits mentioning the 1901 occurrence in Wikipedia because it obviously contradicts the secondary source, even though the NOR policy gives considerable leeway for choosing sources: "Deciding whether primary, secondary or tertiary sources are appropriate on any given occasion is a matter of good editorial judgment and common sense, and should be discussed on article talk pages." Interesting enough, at least some of those wanting to keep "verifiablity, not truth" in WP:V argue that secondary sources should always trump primary sources, even though that's not what the NOR policy says. I suspect it's the desire to have a simple rule that drives them to embrace such a position. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 11:17, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
An interesting if WP:TLDR dispute can be found in the RS/N archives [12]. Basically the abstract of a paper had contracted "GDP per capita" to GDP, and there was an extremely long discussion mostly among editors who did not have access to the full paper whether WP:V and WP:NOR should trump common sense. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 11:26, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Truth panel

Your comment that we often need to 'go meta' reminded me of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and its usage panel, providing information about usage for selected words. For example, see the usage note at Perhaps, Wikipedia can have a truth panel for reporting percentages of the truth panel supporting each of the main viewpoints in an article where editors disagree on what is true. In many cases, the differences in viewpoint show no sign of disappearing. When Wikipedia has a neutral presentation of views, then its readers can make informed decisions about what to believe. (See also Teach the Controversy.)
Wavelength (talk) 20:28, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

  • I am leaving space for Jimbo to answer above, but I think you have raised a complex collection of issues. WP allows multiple articles to reflect opposing, or various, alternative viewpoints. However, to reduce "text-spamming" or flooding main articles with fringe theories, the tactic has been to lump fringe theories into an "umbrella article" such as "Titanic alternative theories" about the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic in 1912. Using that umbrella article, then the curse-of-the-mummy theory is not mentioned in every major article related to Titanic nor in all of the ship's crewmember articles. However, just because a theory is rare, and kept from flooding other articles, does not mean that it is "less true" but rather only that the theory is "less publicized" which is a major effect of judging notability by the number and prestige of reliable sources which mention a topic. For example, during the sinking of Titanic in April 1912, some crewmen reported that water was seeping under the bulkhead walls, rather than over the top, even though Titanic had a double bottom to the hull (not double-hull walls as added to sister ship R.M.S. Olympic afterward). Eventually, a new theory arose that the rivets, which held the hull plates together, were made with weaker metal which became very brittle in icy water, and so accordingly, the cold rivets snapped as more water entered, and made the outside damage to the hull worse than the original impact with the iceberg and ice field. Logically, that theory seems plausible, but it should not instantly replace the original idea that the iceberg made a very-long gash in the hull which allowed huge amounts of water to enter. Eventually, a new theory can become the mainstream view. A broader theory changed in viewpoints about dinosaurs, where during the 1960s, many people were taught that dinosaurs were "reptiles" and the animal group which never "ruled the world" were birds (and then, Hitchcock's film The Birds). Nowadays, the prevailing view is that most dinosaurs were, instead, birds (not reptiles), and the dinosaurs-as-reptiles viewpoint could be considered a fringe theory currently. That is why it is good to have multiple articles about such theories. As for a "Truth panel", there could be multiple WP:WikiProjects (along with the 2,000 WikiProjects already formed) which ensure that all published theories, for their subject area, are mentioned, in proportion to the reliable sources. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:03, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
These WikiProjects seem to be relevant here.
(The article "Dinosaurs" classifies dinosaurs in the class Reptilia, but, if you have evidence that they should be classified as birds, then you might wish to convey that information to the members of Wikipedia:WikiProject Dinosaurs.)
Wavelength (talk) 16:46, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
As the infobox in our dinosaur article shows, it is true, according to the modern classification, that all birds are dinosaurs (Aves is a subset of Dinosauria), but it is not true that all, or even most, dinosaurs were birds (Dinosauria is not a subset of Aves). In the modern classification, birds are considered reptiles. Looie496 (talk) 15:28, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps there might be an incentive for POV pushers to "push" the "truth percentages" in their own direction. I suggested several possibilities in an essay WP:Advocacy articles including the simplest one of all -- allow an article to be as one-sided as editors wish, but to be so labelled, and to alow a countering advocacy article for the other POV. Collect (talk) 13:28, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Wiktionary - Wikipedia links

I am not sure if this was ever discussed, but I was thinking of how often a more direct link to Wiktionary would be extremely usefull. For instance, some words have wp articles with direct links to other language wikipedia´s found on the right column, but if you want to check the definition found on Wiktionary, you need to leave wp or open a new tab. We could have a Wiktionary link included in the same list, or perhaps some other way of having the direct link between the two projects. Huge number of users are not native English speakers, and anyway, even for the ones that are, the definition found on Wiktionary can be usefull. Did anyone ever thought about this before? FkpCascais (talk) 00:57, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects.
Wavelength (talk) 01:19, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
We can manually add links to Wiktionary where appropriate: [[:wikt:example]] --> wikt:example, {{wiktionary|example}} -->
Look up example in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

{{wiktionary-inline|example}} --> The dictionary definition of example at Wiktionary.

There is also wikinews:WN:WiktLookup, which can be activated on Wikipedia by following the instructions on that page. Fences&Windows 00:09, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


Hello, Jimmy. The subject of the Touré article, whom I've met and photographed twice in person, requested that his surname not be used in his article. As it is the practice to comply with such requests for reasons like privacy, I have taken care to keep it out of the article. Another editor asked about this on the article's talk page and now Touré has asked me to remove mention of it from that talk page, which I have. Can the edit that first introduced it be removed from the talk page's edit history? Thank you. Nightscream (talk) 04:06, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

We nevertheless ought to strike a balance between a desire for privacy or secrecy and the inherent value of producing a complete reference work. This individual makes regular media appearances and hosts at least two television programs. This is someone who is a celebrity; someone who is famous, not infamous. We aren't sheltering the victim of a viral video meme; Touré has diligently sought to build his name and reputation as an essayist, critic, and television personality through more than a decade of publishing and television appearances. To be clear, we're not protecting the identity of Star Wars Kid (about whom I still question the merit of having any article, whether he is named or not). At first blush, insisting that we conceal the last name of Touré seems to make no more sense than deleting the last name of Prince (musician). Absent a clear issue related to personal safety or his family's privacy (one which goes above and beyond the considerations which might apply to any celebrity) we're only left with a question of the degree to which our encyclopedia should conform to a celebrity's preferred personal branding. While I can appreciate that any biography's subject will be sensitive to its contents (and I believe we as a project ought to be sensitive to a subject's concerns), I can't help but find his claims that the inclusion of his surname is 'vandalism' to be somewhat overwrought.
The original (and only) BLP noticeboard discussion took place in 2006, shortly after the BLP policy came into effect, and while the community was still sorting out what it all meant to the project. (Indeed, the discussion is on the very first page of the BLP noticeboard archives.) I would hesitate to rely on that discussion's conclusion to guide us forevermore, for two reasons above and beyond our usual awareness that consensus can change. First, the discussion was in the early days of WP:BLP, and we lacked the body of experience with BLP that we have now.
Second, a major point raised in the original discussion was that issue shouldn't be decided by BLP concerns, but rather was a question about verifiability and the existence of reliable sources. At the time, no reliable sources were offered to support the use of the subject's purported surname. Glancing briefly through the recent history of the article, it certainly appears that this concern remains valid today. Before we even think of pulling the BLP trigger, we need to make sure that article content clears the basic five-pillar requirement of verifiable, reliable sourcing. It is there that the question of including the subject's surname falls down. It should go without saying that the existence of a widely-available, reliable secondary source would also obviate much of the concern regarding a real or hypothetical invasion of privacy on Wikipedia's part—the cat, as they say, would already be out of the bag. Absent such reliable secondary sources, the name shouldn't be included purely on the basis of non-verifiability. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:28, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the above. Someone who is purposefully famous for their work and seeks to remain as such isn't a private individual. Thus, to maintain our neutrality and our breadth of coverage, we should include his full name, regardless of his wishes. So, unless sources only refer to him with half his name all the time without mentioning his full name, we should include it all. If they do only mention half...well, that's a different scenario that needs to be discussed, but I find it unlikely. SilverserenC 15:51, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Is this a reliable source for his full name? It does link the name to a profession on BET. Bielle (talk) 16:48, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, I don't think you actually have to use a reference for his name in the article, that would be a bit overkill, I think. It just needs to be shown to us editors, not the readers, that RS's use his full name. So, that's one example there, yes. SilverserenC 17:04, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I would be reluctant to rely on a primary source document relating to an individual's tax filings; it takes us to the edge of the realm of encyclopedia-writing and brushes up against investigative journalism. As a gut-instinct matter, it feels more like a 'gotcha' or 'outing'. Ideally, I'd like to see an article about Touré (preferably in the entertainment press or some other relevant venue) which includes his surname. As a rule of thumb, I'd suggest that Wikipedia shouldn't be the first secondary or tertiary source to include any particular bit of biographical information. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:31, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I think TenOfAllTrades has produced a classic, thoughtful, and elegant discussion of the issue. The rule can't be "Don't include a surname unless it is ok with the BLP subject" nor can the rule be "Always include a surname, BLP subject wishes and human dignity be damned". Thoughtful editorial judgment to balance valid competing concerns is, as almost always, the right way forward.
I don't know much about this particular example. I could be swayed towards omission if: there is a physical danger to family members, there is doubt about the sourcing, there is a sense that notability happened to the person rather than being sought, etc. I could be swayed towards inclusion if: there are plenty of reliable sources, there is no obvious safety or privacy issue, the person has deliberately sought fame. It's always a lovely thing when there is a simple and easy formulaic answer, but reality is complex so there often isn't one. Thoughtful discussion can be productive.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:17, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Does Miles Marshall Lewis writing in the Huffington Post count? Bielle (talk) 18:17, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Following up on my previous remarks, I note that Target Entertainment Group (which distributes Touré's television interview program On The Record) refers to Touré by his full name – Touré Neblett – in their press releases and on their web site: [13] (Rights...Catalog...Entertainment...On The Record). The phrase "renowned music journalist Touré Neblett" seems to come from that press release, and was repeated verbatim by a handful of outlets. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 18:50, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, we deal with similar issues at WP:BLP/N on occasion, usually revolving around (alleged) real or birth names of people known by stage names (particularly pornographic actor/ess), although sometimes middle names or similar. I don't recall any other case involving a surname but I don't see any reason to treat this differently. We or at least I usually prefer to deal with it in a way similar to that suggested here. We definitely don't publish the info based on searches in primary sources like trademark documents, ancestery searches, tax filings, legal cases, etc. Instead we look for reliable secondary sources. One difference I perhaps have with the above, if the person is covered in more generalised sources I would prefer to find at least one instance of the usage there rather then solely going by specialised sources. (This somewhat reflects my experience, sometimes it may be the real name of porngraphic actor/ess was covered in reliable sources that cover the industry but I don't see the need spread the name when other more generalised sources have not.) However I can see this would go both ways, it may be generalised sources are not aware of the subject's preference in a case like this. We do of course get more complicated cases in BLP/N where the subject is no longer involved in whatever it was they were doing before, and potentially no longer really seeking publicity and all the sources are fairly old. Nil Einne (talk) 17:53, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Interface change

I think you should change the interface of Wikipedia (and your other Wiki sites) to allow non-admin users to delete their user, user talk and subpages. Spidey665 17:12, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

After thoroughly and thoughtfully considering the implications of this proposal, I have come to the conclusion that this would run the risk of allowing anyone to move an article they don't like to their to their own userspace and then delete it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:09, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
User above is correct. Tofutwitch11 (TALK) 19:01, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

wikipedia for kids?

Is there such thing?Gregory Heffley (talk) 18:11, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

See these websites.
Wavelength (talk) 20:11, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
All plastered with promotion. →Στc. 00:06, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
2008/9 Wikipedia Selection for schools is the best I have seen out there. NW (Talk) 04:06, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
The original question is ambiguous. Are you asking about a wiki that children can edit, or about an encyclopedia that they can consult?
Wavelength (talk) 13:40, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
For one they can consult, I thought that was the point of simple? For one they can edit, all too often they end up here (here being in general, not just Jimbo's talk page). Jenks24 (talk) 13:57, 12 October 2011 (UTC)


I think you might like to note how a META sysop can keep an essay in his own preferred status [14]. Cheers -- I feel like I am swimming up the Thames. Collect (talk) 18:25, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Haven't we played this game already? Deal with it on META, not here...Get over it Tofutwitch11 (TALK) 19:05, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
At such time as Jimbo says that he is reading his meta user page again, that might make sense. As for "getting over it" right now there is a legitimate issue about an admin/editor wearing two hats at once. Cheers. Collect (talk) 19:25, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
This isn't something you should come crying to Jimbo for. This is something you should bring to the administration of META (I'm not sure how Meta works, so I'm not sure who you'd go to). Looking at your whopping 93 edits [on Meta] shows that outside of worrying about that "Dick" ESSAY; you haven't been doing much else. Tofutwitch11 (TALK) 21:55, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I assume you did not note Jimbo's opinions clearly stated about this "essay" and the nature of the edits which were stable. I would also suggest that my 20K edits across projects does not indicate any pre-occupation with any single essay. Cheers, now can you accept that Jimbo does not read his user talk page on Meta as a rule? Collect (talk) 22:29, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo's not going to come in and save the day. I'm not going to further argue with you on the topic. Tofutwitch11 (TALK) 22:46, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Tofutwitch11, you're mistaken. I do care about bullying in any Wikimedia venue. Coming in and making wholesale changes after a long period of stability, and reverting people without discussion, is just never ok.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:01, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Right; but my point was that instead of taking it here, to your talk page, he should have brought it to the attention of an uninvolved admin or 'crat on Meta for further discussion. Tofutwitch11 (TALK) 00:22, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
And you assert I made no comments on Meta? I suggest you read before writing. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:08, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Edward Davenport (criminal)

[15] Kittybrewster 22:26, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Please take your comments to a proper venue

Thanks! [16] --Ronz (talk) 01:17, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

The talk page of the article is precisely the place to discuss POV pushing and WP:OWN issues in the article.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 05:27, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Without following the relevant policies and guidelines, it is disruptive at least. Please stop disrupting the article so. --Ronz (talk) 21:13, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Ronz, in cases where other users feel someone is showing WP:OWNership of an article, then try a voluntary break from the article, perhaps 1-3 months, and let others debate the issues. I, and others, have taken 3-month breaks from article "Murder of Meredith Kercher" (the Amanda Knox case), where I am currently topic-banned, to show that I can let others debate the issues without me. In the next month, I plan to refute my current topic-ban, but the point is to at least show a multi-month break from debating an article. Try it. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:03, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
No disrespect, Jimbo, but it's usually better to take such concerns to a user talk page, or to an administrative page like wikiquette or ANI. In my experience, once an article talk page falls into cross-discussions of editor behavior (like POV-pushing and ownership issues), it can rapidly deteriorate to a point where meaningful discussion of article content is all but impossible. Not that anyone's going to actually respect the ideal, mind you (people who get angry at each other are sometimes going to make it personal, and editors who enter that mindset tend to see article-talk as a public forum for airing grievances - human nature...). But I really don't want to have people calling me names in article talk and justifying it with 'Jimbo said we should do it'. --Ludwigs2 14:54, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Question POV-pushing politely on article talk-page first: In case some of the article's editors have a group-view POV, it would, in fact, be better to start on the article's talk-page (very politely), to allow responses from the other editors who believe that the text is not overly slanted. Otherwise, it is a heavy burden for each editor to defend charges on their separate user-talk pages, especially if the fellow editors could better explain, or refute, charges of POV-pushing. By the time an issue reaches WP:ANI, then it can become a dog-fight because there are few rules of fairness at ANI, and many "drive-by" opinionators just dog pile into a group attack, as drive-by !voters who do not even know the original article(s) which started the claims of POV-pushing, and the history of how people were goaded into the escalated debate. Of course, I have also seen cases where the article talk-page becomes a WP:BATTLEground, but perhaps at that point, then clearly direct the discussion to WP:ANI with many people (of all sides) ready to debate, not just one lone guy besieged by a pack of regulars and killed off with a WP:SNOW-instant decision before 10 opposing people have stated their opinions. ANI does not have a "due process" restriction to require real evidence and allow 2-weeks for supporters to come and clarify a "defence" of a person being viciously non-attacked at ANI. The use of WP:SNOW, to rush a verdict before other views are stated, is rampant there. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:53, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Tireless Contributor Barnstar Hires.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
 :) IIVeaa (talk) 17:48, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Google Street view imagery

Given that google is keen to work with/help wikipedia with search results and translations on certain other wikipedias I wonder if there is a chance we could arrange something with them to take photograph shots of google street view/map imagery to use in articles. I mean how many articles on US places are without images and in google street view you could simply photograph a select area and upload to article. Obviously quality would't be the best but the opportunity to be able to freely photograph any part of any town would be a massive step.♦ Dr. Blofeld 23:55, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Requested pictures and scroll down to links to pages by category.
Wavelength (talk) 00:14, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
A request is not the same as actually getting us images though is it? I could put in a request today for a photo of a village in the forests of Shan State and we'd be unlikely to get one in the next 10 years.♦ Dr. Blofeld 00:18, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Is that Shan State photo one that you could get from google images? Is that a good example that I could show to people at Google? If not, then could you show me a few examples?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:43, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Nah, I was just using it as an example for what images we really need! Someday, maybe there might be a Google street view for Burma but likely to be in several decades.. Well somebody could take a screenshot from google street view or photo from the 45 degrees view from google maps of say Calabasas, California, strangely devoid of any images and put it in the article as an example. I think the future of imagery lies in the virtual , like being able to access any part of the world and to access imagery of it. I mean imagine there was google street view for rural parts of Africa and Asia and we were free to take images at our own will and freely use them. Of course the quality would be poorer than actual but it would still be good. The reason I brought this up is because I see the vast majority of US smaller towns and unincorporated communities being devoid of any images. And then when I check it out on google street view you can explore the whole area! If you were free to approach any settlement in google street view and take a photograph from whatever angle and area you want and freely upload to the article is would be of massive benefit I think. Is there any chance you Jimbo or somebody could address this to google about working together with images? We could actually photograph most settlements in somewhere like Shan State, Burma from google maps satellite view and zooming in and taking a shot of the village from above... ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:52, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

OK take Gwebin for example. We are unlikely to get a photograph in the next 10 years. Now click on the coordinates and zoom in on google maps. You can zoom in so the settlement is pretty clear. Imagine you could crop out a photo of it and add it to the infobox of the article.♦ Dr. Blofeld 11:07, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

It's certainly better than what we have now, which is nothing. Hopefully we'll eventually get a better picture (and hopefully Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters will be able to take care of business before 10 years, but it's true that it's not likely), but it's a good placeholder until such a time when people can take photos outside of Yangon and Naypyidaw without being shot. Now if only we could do the same kind of thing for getting pictures of the people there too... (a little over a year, and I still haven't found a free image of Zoya Phan; it's very frustrating). The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 19:31, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, a response please as to whether something like this could be proposed to google.♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:52, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Interview for English paper

Aloha Jimbo! I'm doing a paper for my Principles of English Composition class about the Wikipedia discourse community. Part of this project is interviewing people from the discourse community. I would be honored if you as the founder of the discourse community would please take the time to respond to my interview, which can be found at User:Ks0stm/Discourse Community 2. Thanks in advance, Ks0stm (TCGE) 23:45, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Will try but very swamped for the next few days. What's the deadline?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:00, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Fundraising joke

If I donate to Wikipedia, it isn't exactly free for me, is it? LOL. (talk) 14:56, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

wikipedia is not free as in "free beer". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 15:30, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Lord Foster

Rename proposal.Kittybrewster 14:58, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Fate of "important" articles at FAC

Hi Jimbo -- I recently spent some time doing a bit of crude statistical analysis of the FAC process, with results that I think might interest you; see User:Looie496/Analysis of FAC. I should point out that this has given rise to a lively discussion at WT:FAC -- most of the comments there do not agree with my conclusions though. Looie496 (talk) 03:26, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

You might wish to repeat the process with Wikipedia:Vital articles.
Wavelength (talk) 05:19, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
It will not change the insight. All one needs to do is look down the list of VAs and see that the vast majority of them are below GA (ten years into the project). And that that VA project is "dead" (no activity in the talk). I think that pretty clearly shows the massive "miss" for Wikipedia. Something that people at the Sue/Jimbo level should care about. (And if they don't, maybe we need more critical external essays, to prod them.)
For that matter, if you just look at the current list of 30 FACs. Only one, "Brain" is from the VA top 1000 list. "Fluorine" is from the top 10,000. The other 28 include such cruft as the 1860 hurricane season and an 11,000 person "neighborhood".
Interestingly, 3 days ago, we had a TFA on an obscure abondoned station of an obscure abandoned railroad. The article should not even be a GA as it is not "focused" on the topic of the obscure station, but padded with info on the railroad. (Actually, we maybe should not even have an article on the station as the sources mentioning the station do so in passing rather than as the subject.) Yet this criticism was not raised within the 2009 FAC, which had only a single "working" review, which looked only at ref formatting and the like. The other supports were RFA "me too" short. And then this was passed by arguably our best and most critical FA director (Sandy). And it was from one of our community leaders (a now-skipped arbitrator).
That's fine from a "star collector" perspective, if people want to work on minutia (have seen several recent FAs that got less than 20 pageviews per day). But from a LEADERSHIP and PROGRAMMATIC standpoint, it is important to realize that "the encyclopedia" is not getting built. Let's go get a grant and spend some money and figure out and take action on THIS issue.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:01, 13 October 2011‎
To be clear, I don't have any problem with the number of FAs on low-importance topics -- the more the merrier. My concern is whether there is anything we can do to increase the number of FAs on high-importance topics, lest FA become a mark of triviality. I am convinced that there are things we can do. I also think it is important to maintain an attitude of optimism -- angry criticism is rarely productive. Looie496 (talk) 00:35, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
(I'm not stalking you, Looie.) I was impressed by the efforts of some editors sponsored by Google, who addressed some important medical articles a year or so ago. Mr Wales, do you know whether there's been a critical review of that experience? I'd like to see another trial of that sort of thing, informed by lessons learned from the first trial, if Google, or another sponsor, is willing to support it. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:07, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
I think negative lessons are important as well. Like I loved that we did outreach to universities and such. We should learn what worked and try to continue programs without funding and the like. That said, I also got the impression that very little came out of the program in terms of real conversion to editing or in terms of important content getting done. Perhaps public policy was not the right direction to go after. I'm also interested in some learning being reflected back by the participants (for instance I find our community WAY too accepting of the MISERABLE user interface here.) Why they heck would someone who is a real expert or a superior prose writer want to write on Wiki where the edit window is so tiny, the formatting all shows with extra characters and worst of all the inline citation templates make it about impossible to read the actual prose when edit mode is open. (talk) 07:59, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Plagiarism guideline

Following up you comments on Talk:Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. There is a guideline called Wikipedia:Plagiarism. It not only gives guidance on when plagiarism is a problem but how to annotate copyright expired text such as that in the article Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (see the section "Public-domain sources"). It also includes a section on where to place attribution.

The template {{1911}} can take parameters like article title, volume and page number (see Template:1911). This helps the reader locate the original source. Unfortunately Wikpedia still has just over 10,000 articles tagged with {{1911}} with no parameters set (mostly placed there long ago before the template accepted parameters). Without such additional information the reader is informed that "somewhere in the 29 volumes of the 11th edition you will find the original text of some or all of this Wikipedia article (but I'm not saying where)".

-- PBS (talk) 23:14, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, this answers my question comprehensively!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:48, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Open confessions of a closed mind

Sometimes we encounter people who seem to give evidence of being closed-minded about one thing or another. Rarely we meet someone who speaks openly about being closed intellectually to evidence that would contradict a position already chosen. You might be interested to read the words of Richard Lewontin, as found at the following page.

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

Other statements by him can be found at Richard Lewontin - Wikiquote.
Wavelength (talk) 15:59, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Interesting reading, thank you. I'm not fully persuaded by his argument, but it is worthy of consideration. In particular, I don't find his examples of scientific claims that are supposed to be "patently absurd" or "against common sense" very compelling.
For example, that light has a speed: "Astronomers tell us without apparent embarrassment that they can see stellar events that occurred millions of years ago, whereas we all know that we see things as they happen." But I explained this to my daughter a few years back while we were sitting on the bank of a lake playing with echoing sounds from the other side. It made sense to her that sound takes time to travel across the lake and bounce back, and so then when we talked about light, it made sense to her that light takes time to travel. And just as when you hear the echo of your own voice, you know that what you are hearing happened some time ago, it makes sense that when you see light from the sun, it's light that was emitted some time ago. I don't see any reason why I couldn't give the same explanation to someone living 5000 years ago. This is hardly an astonishing counter-intuitive construct of science.
And I have a hard time thinking of really good examples of things that are against common sense but supported by science. Bits and bobs of quantum mechanics, perhaps, although I've always chalked up most of my perplexity in that area to a lack of interest in seeking out good explanations designed for the educated non-physicist. But I suppose it's possible or even likely, given the curiosity of QM, that this makes for a good example.
But we see that the difficulty of finding good examples of this phenomenon undermines Lewontin's central thesis, which appears to be that providing people with clear scientific explanations won't shake them of accepting all manner of nonsense put forward by various "arguments from authority" since, he claims, we simply must accept a lot of fairly ridiculous stuff from scientists themselves as "arguments from authority".
Perhaps that is true in some rare cases like QM. Maybe there are things that scientists ask us to believe that we've no really good way to understand and therefore must simply accept on authority if we are to accept them at all. But in the main, that just isn't true.
Most relevant to our work here is probably the question of climate change. Wavelength gives this as an exanple. And surely there is some truth to the idea that due to the random and wide fluctuation of daily temperature over time and across distances, an intuitive first guess for most people would be that "the weather nowadays is the same as it was when I was a child".
But I think this example is much like the example that light has a speed. If you ask someone (a child) who has never thought of the issue before, they might say that "we see things as they happen" and think that the idea that when I see you wave at me across the room, I am viewing something you did in the past as silly. But as I showed above, explaining this is pretty easy, and after it has been explained, it is no longer perplexing.
Similarly for climate change. Yes, at first you might not guess it, but the explanation that it is a real phenomenon and that we can and have in fact measured it doesn't strike me as something most people will find as against common sense or patently absurd. Actual scientific explanation seems quite efficacious in this regard.
Many people's initial resistance to the notion of climate change is political in nature. That's a problem, yes. But it's a different problem from the one Lewontin wants us to consider.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:36, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Of course anything can be made intuitive by changing your intuitions enough, but quantum mechanics is very difficult to make intuitive even for physicists. It deals in probability waves, and there is no valid way to visualize a probability wave. Any attempt to construct a mental image goes badly wrong in one way or another. Looie496 (talk) 15:58, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Not quite sure what your point is, but of course any sane person is closed to almost all propositions. I am closed to the proposition that the my teacup is the planet Jupiter, for instance, and countless similar propositions. You yourself, in creating this message, implicitly accepted a number of materialistic assumptions, i.e. that pressing the keys would set in motion a sequence of material events. You didn't just shout your message into a hollowed-out pumpkin and pray that it would be delivered to Jimbo's talk page. (If you did, and since the message did appear, then I'd be willing to reconsider some of my assumptions.) Herostratus (talk) 17:41, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
He spoke of a "commitment to materialism" that led to an acceptance of "patent absurdity" and "unsubstantiated just-so stories".
Wavelength (talk) 18:36, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
But a commitment to materialism has some rather impressive benefits as well. After all, we don't die of smallpox or end up paralyzed from polio anymore. Diseases like active tuberculosis, pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or Hodgkin lymphoma were death sentences for all of human history except the past 60 years or so. Even HIV/AIDS was transformed from an invariably fatal disease to a largely chronic illness in the space of about 15 years. That's not even getting into the freedoms afforded by easily accessible ground and air travel, telephone and electronic communication, and so forth.

Obviously, materialism has its flaws and its place, but surely it's a bit one-sided to ignore its benefits. Spirituality, prayer, and metaphysical ideas are great, but sometimes there's no substitute for penicillin. MastCell Talk 18:46, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

After having read the article (admittedly not every word of it yet; it's pretty long; but enough to "get it") I have a suspicion that the point Wavelength is trying to make is not quite the point that Richard Lewontin was making. But first it would help to know, Wavelength, what point are you trying to make? Neutron (talk) 19:02, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Some people are closed intellectually to evidence that would contradict positions already chosen. Avoiding the inconvenient truth can happen in various fields of study, including cosmology and climate change. As a general point, it is helpful in discussions for us to be aware of the thinking that might be behind some claims, and such awareness can be applied to discussions in specific fields of study.
Wavelength (talk) 20:49, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
The article "Materialism" (permanent link here) says: "In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions." Materialism is not a prerequisite for scientific progress.
Wavelength (talk) 20:49, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Scientists who name things after Biblical figures seem very open-minded. For example, the "Methuselah gene" was named after Methuselah (in Genesis 5:27, who lived to be 969), as a gene which slows the use of growth hormones and presumably stretches the use of hormones to allow a longer, healthier life over 100 years? -Wikid77 (talk) 20:32, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
There is the Methuselah Foundation, named after Methuselah, but that does not prove that its co-founders, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel, were open-minded about the possibility of Methuselah as a real person. There is the book The Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life?, named after Goldilocks in The Story of the Three Bears, but that does not prove that its author, Paul Davies, was open-minded about the possibility of Goldilocks as a real person.
Wavelength (talk) 18:18, 15 October 2011 (UTC) and 19:58, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Status of computer hash-coded image names

I know you are very busy, so this is just a status update. We still have photo images which are named by computerized hash-codes, instead of English words (or any word-based language). I have been copy-editing many articles about India, and now I noticed the hash-coded photo names, such as this one (photo at right) from June 2010 (last year) in town article "Berachampa" (near Kolkatta):

I am a big fan of computer-generated article content, when it provides common-sense information, but computerized hash-code names for images is somewhat frightening, as if spammed photos do not even need to meet the simplest of quality criteria. Perhaps other editors will provide more status about ongoing plans to control image names and quality, of images massively uploaded onto Wikimedia Commons, in the past year. -Wikid77 (talk) 09:08, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I agree with you. I'm not sure what can be done about it, it's really up to commons to deal with, and I have no idea of the size of the problem. It doesn't seem to me too much to ask to give photos sensible file names - it will be helpful to many.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:38, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Such image names trigger a big red flashing warning light, that they are most likely copyvios pasted from somewhere. As is almost certainly the case with the example cited above. Fut.Perf. 12:53, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
There was an editor a while back who nominated for mass deleting all the files with meaningless (like numerical) file names on en.wikipedia. We saved a few babies from the bathwater but most of it was crap. I know the deletion process over at commons is far less efficient, but something similar could probably be done. Gigs (talk) 01:49, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Edward Davenport

FYI, I'm afraid the comments you posted at Talk:Edward Davenport (property developer)#Page title are inaccurate. I've replied with a number of reliable sources setting out a more factually accurate account. Prioryman (talk) 13:11, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

The new software

My apologies if this has already been brought up here. I know you are a busy man and can't reasonably be involved in every little detail of the Foundation's business, but has it been brought to your attention that the new software is causing numerous problems, including blocking innocent users, moving block settings from renamed accounts back to the old names, autoblocking users and IPs for no apparent reason, and effectively making it very difficult for anyone who is not a checkuser to clear any of these erroneous autoblocks, or any other autoblock? The folks over at WP:VPT seem to be telling us that if we only appreciated how awesome the new features were we wouldn't be so upset at the several dozen problems it has created and/or that bugzilla reports have been filed and that is all there is to say about it.

If the new software was a bot we would turn it off. If it was an admin it would be desysopped and banned. I realize the Foundation is not made of money, but this new package seems to have been dumped here without any testing at all of how it would affect adminsitrative actions and the various admin interfaces.I'm no software engineer but the problems it is causing with block settings seem like a major flaw in that it is very much opposed to WPs open editing model to block anyone, ever if they didn't actually do anything to earn it. If there is anything you can do to either temporarily remove it pending fixes to these issues or accelerate actualy getting the problems fixed I'm sure it would be much appreciated by the admin corps and the various users who have been unjustly blocked. Beeblebrox (talk) 02:31, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Can you show me where a member of staff said something like "if we only appreciated how awesome the new features were we wouldn't be so upset at the several dozen problems it has created"?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:41, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
No. That's why I said "seem to be telling us." It's more of an attitude. I'm not actually sure I have noticed any improvements, and when I did ask what they were I was referred to this document, [17] which I'm sure says what exactly was improved, but mostly not in a way a person who is not intimately familiar with the inner workings of the software can understand. However I don't believe the user who pointed me there is actually a staff member. I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble, more interested in knowing when we get back the functions this software is more or less disabling and when it will stop messing up block settings. I'm sure a lot of work went into this, but it is causing a lot of headaches in the block/unblock department. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:05, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Right, so I'm very sympathetic to these block/unblock issues, and I'm certainly willing to help turn up the volume on noise, but I don't feel that your comments here have been very helpful to me in that regard. If I go off fuming at the staff for treating the community poorly when they didn't actually do that, then I look like an idiot, I waste their time and mine, and I am therefore not effective in solving any actual problems.
If the problem is such that you and I can come up with a specific concrete proposal that will help the developers in some way, then we can make ourselves useful. Was the problem here a lack of testing? Can the problems be traced back in the code checkins to a particular developer who needs to find a different career? Is there a bigger picture issue with the code rollout process that we could help with?
In the past one complaint I have heard from developers is that they put things up on a test wiki for people in the community to test, but no one actually did. If that's an issue, then maybe we can help with that - we can ask Signpost to market the test wiki, we can form a task force, a wikiproject beta test or whatever.
I don't actually know what the problem is, but I don't see how me going to the staff with the attitude that they are treating the community badly is really going to help anyone. I'm sure they are like software developers at any sensible organization: they want their code to work and they want the users to be happy. They don't want to break things that people need, and they want to make cool new stuff that people love. And... sometimes... things get broken. And then we feel bad about it. The only thing that can help is ideas to actually improve process.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:37, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
What we basically have here, as somebody once said, is a failure to communicate. Let me mention that an understandable account of the new features enabled by 1.18 can be found at this page. Looie496 (talk) 18:13, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I do believe the core problem here was insufficient testing. I can't imagine anyone deliberately releasing software if they had any idea it would do some of the odd things it has been doing. The biggest problem is what it is doing to blocks, e.g. autoblocking IPs for no apparent reason, combined with the fact that the new package doesn't seem to communicate properly with the autoblock checker on the toolserver. The result being that autoblocks are made by the software and the majority of admins are unable to clear them. If there is a need for more testers next time sign me up, I actually don't know anything about the test wiki even after four years of active editing so I think you are really onto something with the idea of raising it's profile in the future. Given the number of bugs this time around I would think it would be an easy sell to get admins and others to help next time around. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:08, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Before I say anything let me make clear that I am completely uninvolved with Wikipedia development -- I just have enough experience with development of other software to understand part of what is going on. With that said, first a minor correction: the software has actually not been released yet. Rolling it out for the Wikimedia sites is the final stage of testing before it is formally released. Second, it actually has been tested pretty extensively, but there is no testing platform that places anything like the demands of the Wikimedia sites, and previous attempts by the developers to get people to try out the testing platforms have met with very little response (according to them, and I believe it). The main error, I believe, was to announce the rollout with a cheerful breezy attitude instead of with a serious warning that it might cause some temporary breakage. Regarding getting admins to help out the next time around, my experience says that you are too optimistic: many people have good intentions, but nobody has a lot of time to devote to mere testing. Looie496 (talk) 23:25, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Please could you explain what "the software" is? Are we talking about the useless disaster that was 1.18, or something else? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:26, 17 October 2011 (UTC) Correcting myself, ok we're talking about 1.18. It hasn't been released yet? Or has it? How is it impacting real users (for example, by incorrectly blocking them) if it has not been released yet? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:28, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Let me again give a pointer to the MediaWiki 1.18 page, which explains what has been happening. "Releasing" means making an official package available to the outside world. 1.18 has been activated for all the WikiMedia sites as of October 4, but hasn't yet been officially released, as far as I know. Looie496 (talk) 23:39, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
So is running pre-release software? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:44, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes. There simply is no other way to do final testing than to run it on one of the major wikis. It was previously rolled out on several smaller wikis for testing, and apparently no major problems popped up at that level. An argument might be made that the schedule was too aggressive, but ultimately any major software release is going to have issues that only show up once it begins to be used in a full-scale production environment. (Such as the current problem with previously blocked users who changed their names -- on a small wiki the chances of spotting that are pretty slim.) Looie496 (talk) 23:50, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
If someone could point me to a concise summary of any extant issues, I'm happy to take them to the devs. But my understanding is that the worst of the bugs had been squashed? Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 08:57, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
The most important problem is that developers have not been communicating with administrators about a number of serious issues related to blocking -- admins cannot be expected to go to Bugzilla to get information. Also, the bug that is probably the most serious, bug 31403, is unresolved with no promise of a rapid resolution. Looie496 (talk) 14:31, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Ok, what I'm trying to get is a list of the issues you mean when you say "a number of serious issues". Thanks for the link to the first. There seems to be a meme that the devs are not responsive and I'm not seeing a ton of evidence of that - Mark has been on VPT every day, and we have received a lot of feedback that it helped. To make it better for next time, we need to lick these processes, and so that means consistent bugs, going to a known place, etc. I believe Risker even sent a complimentary note about responsiveness to wiki tech-l.
I will gladly carry messages, but I need a consolidated list of what the devs are being unresponsive on. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 19:57, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
The most serious problem, as I understand it (I am basically trying to mediate here) is described at WP:VPT#Autoblock screwiness. Please read that section and see if you can make any sense of it. It points to a Bugzilla report -- you can also read that and see if you can make any sense of it. Further down is WP:VPT#Block logs from renamed accounts being moved back to their original accounts, which is "resolved" with a pointer to the section I just mentioned. These block problems are very important to admins, because they are causing innocent people to be blocked from editing for mysterious reasons. There are lots of other issues at VPT that have been handled much better, so it isn't a problem of nonresponsiveness in general, it's a problem of inadequate communication about this specific issue. Looie496 (talk) 22:13, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you for your attention in this matter, it is very much appreciated. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:54, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I've asked the developer who is charged with sorting out the problem to post any follow up he has to the bug. We had time in the NOLA Hackathon this past weekend to really sit down and discuss this (and other) bugs face-to-face. Hopefully, you'll be hearing more soon. — MarkAHershberger(talk) 03:10, 19 October 2011 (UTC)