User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 87

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Relevance of the Foundation's resolution concerning controversial content to this project

A renewed complaint about IPA

As an American in England, one of the things that naturally occupies at least some attention is the differences in American and British English, which are often amusing. Today I'm on my way to Newcastle upon Tyne and so I naturally wanted to read up on the famed local accent, Geordie.

Of keen interest to this lay reader is how people say things there. But the Wikipedia entry is entirely useless to me. Here's a typical line from the entry: "There is some differentiation in pronunciation in the Geordie dialect based upon the speaker's sex. For example, English sound /aʊ/, pronounced generically in Geordie as [əʊ], may also have other, more specific pronunciations depending upon whether one is male or female. Males alone often pronounce the sound /aʊ/ as [uː], for example, the word house (/haʊs/) pronounced as [huːs]. Females, on the other hand, will often pronounce this sound as [eʉ], thus: [heʉs]."

I do know the positive argument in favor of IPA, but I am unconvinced that they outweigh the negatives, which are very substantial. I raise this question for thoughtful philosophical conversation and brainstorming here on my talk page, but at some point when I feel better informed, I'm also interested in thinking about where and how I might best raise this point to the editors who are currently using IPA, in an effort to help convince them that some modification of what we do would be a good thing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:23, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

There is no good alternative to IPA. It's clearly the most established of the standardised phonetic systems. Methods of rendering pronunciation that do not require specialist knowledge of a phonetic alphabet, and instead just use the regular alphabet, rely on the speaker having a particular accent or dialect, and so fail to be useful across dialects and accents. The Geordie diphthongs would be rendered in RP English alphabetic rules very differently to standard American, and to standard Australian. A non-native English speaker might be totally lost - and they're rather likely to know IPA. Hell, English speakers have it sweet, given that the IPA is closely based on English alphabet usage.

My preferred solution: Encyclopedias are here to educate people. We should work on helping our readers navigate the IPA better. VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 15:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I find IPA to be incomprehensible gibberish, but can't comment on whether there's a better alternative. There is a template {{IPAc-en}} that is in sporadic use (see Taoiseach pronunciation for an example) that has a mouse-over decoding for the reader. I think the template's use should be strongly encouraged for the same of readers who don't understand the IPA (i.e. the majority of readers). Calliopejen1 (talk) 15:44, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps what we ultimately want is a voice synthesizer function that can render an IPA string into audible sound. If IPA is really unambiguous, it ought to be possible to transform an IPA string into an OGG or something and play it. Looie496 (talk) 15:54, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Or simply use the power of the masses: add a "please listen/pronounce this" pop-up so those knowledgeable can add pronunciation to the various articles and those who don't know how to read IPA can just listen. It sounds like the kind of usability initiative that the WMF should fund. I think there's something similar implemented for a handful of articles mainly for the vision impaired, where the whole article is read by someone. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 16:14, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
We keep coming back to the same thing, Jimbo. The only thing worse than IPA, is all of the "alternatives" that have been offered, each of which invariably makes sense to a small sub-set of English speakers (mostly native to a specific dialect of English) and seems "natural" to them, but is worse than misleading to the rest of the English-speaking global community. I know that to be an Anglophone is to believe that the rest of the universe must adjust to what we do without us having to learn anything but English itself; but it ain't that easy. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The IPA is brilliant though but. Learn it, and then pick up a dictionary from another English speaking country and read the IPA they have there. Having another accent come out of your mouth basically unbidden is a weird and wonderful experience.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 16:20, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think "learn IPA" is the right answer. That's not something that casual readers should be expected to do. In response to the notion that all the alternatives depend on an assumption that someone has a particular dialect, I do agree that this is (sometimes) a problem, but I think it is not so hard as people make it out to be. I think the most promising alternatives are the suggestions that either a machine-pronunciation tool be created (is it technically feasible? does one exist already, and is it open source, or of it isn't open source, does it have no business model for the creator and therefore likely to be open sourced if I ask the right person?) and also the suggestion that our UI should encourage people to upload native pronunciations.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
One more note, and this is a question for VsevolodKrolikov. You wrote, up above, that non-native English speakers are "rather likely to know IPA". I think that's almost certainly false. I think fewer than 1 in a hundred non-native speakers of English would know enough IPA to be able to productively use it. Am I completely wrong about that? Do people learning English really learn a system of "107 letters, 52 diacritics, and four prosodic marks"? I have never heard of such a thing. (Not that "I never heard of it" is a valid argument - it isn't! I'm just saying: is there evidence?)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
If machine pronunciation is possible, it's probably no better than that of Google translate, which has this feature for many languages (not for IPA script directly though). Mind you, Google uses proprietary software on their servers for this, which they license from a couple of small companies. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 16:37, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
As an amusing aside, even bugs in that software found their use [13]. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 16:39, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, when people learn the IPA, they don't learn the whole of it. They learn what they need to know for the language they're learning, which most commonly is English. I admit I'm speaking only from personal experience, but having taught a fairly large sample of both Russians and Japanese, it's clear that they know IPA for English far better than English speakers do. It's actually an aid in learning given that English frontloads all the irregularly pronounced words, as they dominate highest frequency vocabulary. Bilingual dictionaries all use it (what else could they use?), as do large numbers of textbooks for English as a foreign language. The foreign languages native anglophones tend to learn have more phonetically regular spelling conventions than English (Spanish, German, French), so we have far less need to learn an extra system.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 16:50, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
These websites specialize in providing audio information about how to pronounce words.
Some other websites provide audio information in addition to other information.
Wavelength (talk) 16:52, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
This is definitely not in my domain of expertise, but there are a number of open source speech synthesis systems that seem like possible starting points. I believe that one of them, the Festival Speech Synthesis System, actually uses IPA as an intermediary. Other possibilities are Gnuspeech and eSpeak. Looie496 (talk) 16:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I would love to hear actual human pronunciation. Just as consensus is brought to bear on the rest of article content, so editors should decide on which pronunciation is most representative and audible. I'm not particularly fond of machine-pronunciation. In my opinion there should be several samples from several humans, for the simple reason that there are variations within the norm. A drawback to machine-pronunciation is the absence of variability. There is a richness to actual human voices that in my opinion can't be matched by machine-pronunciation. Forvo, mentioned above, is a great example of what I have in mind. Bus stop (talk) 16:57, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
If Wikipedia provides several variations, there might be a question of giving undue weight to rarer pronunciations.
Wavelength (talk) 17:02, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
And WP:IDONTLIKEIT would also likely rear its ugly head. Bus stop (talk) 17:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
No more so than people preferring one picture over another in the lead, etc. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 17:24, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
You can ask about the matter at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language, and you can check the Archives.
Wavelength (talk) 16:58, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Linguistics and User talk:Kwamikagami‎.
Wavelength (talk) 17:08, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See Category:User ipa for a list of Wikipedians who understand IPA.
Wavelength (talk) 17:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Here are four external links which I copied from the section "External links" in the article "Geordie".
Wavelength (talk) 17:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC) and 18:07, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation.
Wavelength (talk) 17:46, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

IMHO IPA is quite nearly useless for most readers who see it as non-utile symbols telling them how to pronounce something most of them would pronounce reasonably well enough in the first place to be understood. But, as the saying goes, "But it's the only game in town." (full anecdote available on request). Would computer voices do well? Dunno - but is it a proper use of Wikipedia to be an authority on pronunciation in the first place? I would suggest that such IPA stuff be left to Wiktionary, and thus removed from most Wikipedia articles, "if I were king of the jungle." (I hope that quote does not show my age too clearly). Cheers. Collect (talk) 18:54, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I am somewhat sympathetic to moving it all to wiktionary, but I dunno. It's a shame, really. I am a fan of learning for fun about accents, and I wish there were a better answer.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:35, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Best thing would be to improve wikipedia's sound resources to cover accents in details. Try to launch something perhaps which focuses on uploading ogg files to get people to contribute by recording their local accents. Audio is crucial to understanding accents. Admittedly the way such articles are formatted I find gibberish. I'd rather hear an explanation and examples. I remember I did propose that you launch a language learning wiki project a few years back and try to teach people over 200 languages and learning accents and regional dialects could be the part of such a project. I did not even receive a word from any of the foundation at my suggestion sadly even though I thought it would be an extremely useful project. Other than that Jimmy, listen to Ant McPartlin, Cheryl Cole, Alan Shearer and Gazza or watch an episode of Byker Grove on youtube. Try watching this! Basic stuff is that they tend to refer to themselves as "us", call somebody "pet" affectionately, and are prone to phrases like "why aye man". ♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:43, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

See IPA chart for English - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and Famous first lines: an IPA quiz.
Wavelength (talk) 23:11, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm something of a conversation killer on this page aren't I... ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:40, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Again, use simple respellings and rhymes: The simplified respellings for English are compared to IPA symbols in:
WP:Pronunciation respelling key - short table for English, compared to IPA.
Simple respellings work for most cases, as in pronouncing "out and about" where in the U.S. it is typically said, "owt and ah-Bowt" whereas in Canada, "oot and ah-Boot". Simple respelling is not some recent 20th century shortcut; instead, respelling was used in the late 1800s to clarify dictionary entries, where there might be confusion of spoken forms. IPA has a wider range, beyond the sounds of typical English words, but simple respelling works for most English phrases, and it is quick to write. So, we can show "New York" is pronounced by the mainstream U.S. as "nu-York" but some around Manhattan say, "nu-Yawk". In the small town of D'Iberville, Mississippi, locals say, "Dee-Eye-bur-vill" rather than French "Deeh-bur-Veel". In Massachusetts, the coastal region Cape Cod is locally said more like "cayp-Qwod". In many cases, Australians would likely read the simple respellings to have the same sounds, but differences could be noted in the respelling-key page. By using both IPA and simple respellings (as italicized text from Template:Respell), then more readers would better understand the sounds. To keep the upper text of an article short, then use footnotes to contain the pronunciations, in case the local variations require longer explanations, such as for New Orleans, where the common pronunciation in the region is "nu-Or-luhns" but some outside the area say "nu-or-Leens" while some locals say "naw-lins" or even "No-Lah" (using NOLA for "New Orleans, LA"). By inserting footnotes to contain all those pronunciation details, then there would be less clutter in the upper text of the article. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
"most cases" if the reader is an American with a standard accent. We are in danger of trying to reinvent the wheel and coming up with a square. There is a reason why there has been a movement away from "simple respelling" (it has vintage, rather than modern favour) - it has too many problems, which multiply across English variants which do not share certain sounds. (How would "simple respelling" deal with WP:ENGVAR?) "nu-Or-luhns" in my best RP comes out in a Norfolk accent, and really nothing like the intention. Using something other than IPA fails - it's better to work on getting software that will pronounce the word for people. (and seriously people, it's not that difficult to learn what you need for English pronunciation if you're interested in the pronunciation of things.) VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 14:01, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Yeah it is. Readers don't have time to take a course in order to be able to read the encyclopedia. It's a general-purpose popular encyclopedia not a phonology thesis. Respelling provides a general near approximation of pronunciation in most cases. All all I want know about Sade (band) is whether it is, generally, pronounced more or less "Sade" or "Shah-day" or what. (That article handles it OK: "Sade (pronounced /ʃɑːˈdeɪ/ shah-day)..." so that's fine.) Yes the idea of putting some of this stuff in footnotes is a great idea, I think. Lede sentences on some articles are so encrusted with alternate names, names in other languages, pronounciations, and other discussions (whether a birth date is disputed yadda yadda) that the lede, which is supposed to be the simple statement of the article's subject, becomes daunting. I guess that's another subject though. Herostratus (talk) 15:02, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
As a native speaker, all you actually needed to pick up on was that ʃ means "sh" (and possibly that ː means "long") to get what you wanted to know. The other letters look similar enough to latin script so as not to cause sufficient misunderstanding. It doesn't require a course. (Did you do actually do a whole course on IPA for English? Wow.) VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 15:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
See International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects.
Wavelength (talk) 15:29, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Free Thinking

Just listened to you in the North East - nice one! I'm a Radio 3 listener and have heard most of Free Thinking since it started - and yours was one of the best so far. Actually kept me off the keyboard, and that takes some doing... Peridon (talk) 23:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! Although with piles of Wikipedia edits, you might be a little biased in favor of finding the topic interesting! ;-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:06, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The answers made to the questions from the audience and Philip Dodd got quite far away from the routine of editing and structure. Incidentally, had I been there, I would have put a question. How do you know that 87% of editors are male? I'm out as male, but a lot aren't disclosing. Even at RfA I don't always know which variety is under discussion. Peridon (talk) 23:12, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
This study. There was one more recent study which showed an even worse gender bias, as I understand it. I think all such numbers are somewhat suspect, but the general picture is pretty clear. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:02, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I too suspect surveys. All they tell you is that x percent of those who took part use SoopaDoopa XtraKreemy Flakes for cleaning their lawnmower. I'm reminded of my mother being asked to fill in a survey which included the household shopping expenditure over a week and requiring the names and occupations of 'all those living in the house'. She adhered to the instructions, and ignored the two days previous big shopping trip. This meant the shopping done in the week of the survey was a quantity of tinned cat food and three bottles of wine. And every cat was listed, along with their ages and occupational status as rodent exterminator, unemployed, retired, or whatever. They WERE living in the house (all 20 of them).... She couldn't get ages and names for the spiders. Peridon (talk) 11:00, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I just came here to say that. Found it very interesting! --Veyneru (talk) 13:29, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, You were mentioned

[[15]] I hope the treatment you received on your first visit wasn't too distasteful. (Welcome to my wiki-life) In the meantime, I am doing my best to address a host of deletions and npov issues on several related articles. I'll try to live up to the standards you have set for all of us, while not completely wimping out :) Smatprt (talk) 06:43, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Global Editors Network

The first paragraph of the new article "Global Editors Network" is the following.

Global Editors Network (GEN) is the first non-profit, non-governmental association that brings together editors-in-chief and senior news executives from all platforms – print, digital, mobile and broadcast[1]. Its goal is to break down the barriers between traditional and new media, so that information can be gathered and shared with each other to define an open journalism model for the future and to create new journalistic concepts and tools[2].

  1. ^ "New Global Editors Network To Bring Journalism Into The Digital Era". 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  2. ^ "Global Editors Network launches under former WEF leaders". Le Monde. 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 

The official website is
Wavelength (talk) 19:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

I would like to become an Administrator

Hello! Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, I would be honored if you would nominate me for administratorship. I think that I am able to help with these protected pages and more, delete pages that are unsuitable for Wikipedia, and warn and even block users that vandalize Wikipedia. Please consider this, but I do understand that you might have doubt on nominating me. Jab7842 (talk · contribs · deleted · count · AfD · logs · block log · lu · rfar · rfc · rfcu · ssp · spi) 06:29, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi Jab7842, thank you for your good faith request of trying to help out. Unfortunately you have less than 600 edits, and even if Jimbo does nominate you, it's up to the community to decide. Knowing from experience, the community would most likely to decide to gently oppose your candidacy per WP:NOTNOW. You could try editor review or mentorship to help you become an better editor. Thanks Secret account 06:43, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Since, most of the pages listed here are editnotices, and currently I can't become administrator, I'm wondering if I can receive the account creator right to edit these and other editnotices that need help. Jab7842 (talk) 07:30, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you need to start your editing career like the rest of us: start smaller; learn; grow. For example, in order to gain additional rights, you need to understand policy ... your request at WP:RFP to become an account creator advised you that those were not the correct rights, and you're repeating it above. Now you want to be an admin too! Although I admire "guts", I strongly advise you to think much, much smaller for now (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 10:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

This Halloween's main page FA

I know that there are other pages where this has been discussed, but the consensus decision to allow this Halloween's main page FA might indicate Wikipedia has jumped the shark. Freedom of speech and censorship aren't the issues here: the main page is the shop window for this project and key to its brand. How many current regular users and occasional contributors will now think twice before associating themselves with the brand?

I had to wait a couple of days before I posted this to ensure my initial thoughts were not just a simple knee-jerk reaction.--ML5 (talk) 13:32, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the article in question should not have been on the main page, and certainly not for a holiday that is still primarily a children's holiday. (Though I must have been so busy on Monday that I did not even see (or notice) what the main-page featured article was; I didn't even know about any of this until I read your comment.) However, I don't think comments like "jumping the shark" are necessarily productive. It was, in my opinion, a bad decision, but nothing more than that. Maybe some more scrutiny needs to be given to how these decisions are made, and maybe more people need to be participating in the decisions. One person who I am pretty sure does not make these decisions, or is likely to get involved in making them in the future, is Jimbo, though he does welcome discussion of all matters on his talk page. Neutron (talk) 15:07, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's been discussed. The discussion and consensus for this to appear is in Wikipedia talk:Today's featured article/requests#Human Centipede. There was lots more discussion which occurred after it was featured in Talk:Main Page#I'm sick (you'll need to click 'Show' to view that section; it's been collapsed because it's concluded)  Chzz  ►  16:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, jeez, we can't watchlist everything. How about an RfC with pointers to it from the Pump and so forth before pulling another stunt like this, hmmn? Is that asking too much? Herostratus (talk) 16:54, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
And we shouldn't have to RfC everything either. I mean, holy crap! A horror movie was posted as TFA on Halloween! OMG! It was no worse than Haloween II in 2007. Resolute 17:10, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
It's worse. Neutron (talk) 18:53, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Far, far worse. Who decides what to feature, and what were they smoking? --Guy Macon (talk) 21:48, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
News flash, people; we have articles on gross topics. If editors put in hard work and effort so that the quality is worthy of Featured Article status, then so be it. Tarc (talk) 21:55, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it was a particularly interesting choice for the day (London Necropolis Railway is vastly more interesting and topical IMO), but as Tarc says, we have articles on this stuff :) And besides, Halloween is supposed to be disturbing, so perhaps it served the purpose :) --Errant (chat!) 22:16, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Chzz has given links to the many reasoned arguments from both sides. However, my point is that the choice to have the article as TFA was worse than vandalism as the choice was reviewed with due regard to all the correct WP procedures by registered users and admins. No mainstream media would have deliberately showcased the best efforts of its contributors to new and returning users by using this as an example. I feel there's been too much emphasis on policy and procedure and too little emphasis on the big picture - creating an online editable encyclopaedia open and welcoming to all.--ML5 (talk) 23:02, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Is that not what was done, however? I think the movie itself was beyond stupid, but to be an encyclopedia that is "open and welcoming to all", one must welcome topics such as this. As I said in one of the discussions, this article is actually a good advertisement for the project, because it helps demonstrate the breadth of our coverage. On occasion, that means listing a controversial topic. Resolute 23:31, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I love the fact that we have articles like this. What I hate is the fact that in effect, we told the world that on that day this Article is better than any other article on Wikipedia. I wouldn't have minded if a far more disturbing story from real life had been chosen. What I dislike is that a non-interesting article was chosen. Anybody can write a low-quality gross-out torture porn horror script. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:45, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
IMO a Featured Article represents the quality of the article, not necessarily the quality of the subject matter. Maybe someday the Lingerie Football League will be worked up to FA. Or the Wikipedia Review, or Jimmy Carter rabbit incident. Tarc (talk) 00:03, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
We shouldn't have to RfC everything, but we should RfC items which are apt to be broadly contentious and affect the main page. It's one thing to say "I think this is fine", quite another to say "I think this is so incontrovertibly fine that it needn't be broadly discussed". Any contention that the item is incontrovertibly acceptable for the main page is belied by the facts, such as the existence of this thread, so maintaining that shows a poor understanding of the community and its likely reaction to items like this on the main page.
I've added the relevant pages to my watchlist, which is an annoying thing to have to do since I don't much care about the main page and paying attention to that subtracts from the time I can spend on other things. I'd prefer that the editors in charge of the main page exercise reasonable judgement and that we can trust them to do that. But if they won't or can't then we will need to watch them more closely, is all. Herostratus (talk) 01:40, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The FAs reflect the age and interests of the usual 90% of the editors, NOT the readers. As such, one can hardly expect anything else. (Ooh! Ooh! Mouth to anus! Ooh! Ooh!) 136.5k readers followed the link, more than 10 times its usual views. I don't know the numbers on how many readers spend how much time on the front page, but I expect a lot of parents are seeing red. Right or wrong, they see Wikipedia as basically educational. They expect all sorts of things to be covered, but not necessarily featured on the Main Page on a day when their kids are excited about trick or treating. Something about the history of the day in various countries and cultures would have been interesting. We seem to have some different ideas about what Featured Article means. Some think especially appropriate or especially interesting to our readers, while Tarc claims it's any well-written article about any subject, however trivial, boring, upsetting, or offensive it may be. I really don't think that's what most of our readers are looking for on the front page. I don't want to see parents put Wikipedia off-limits to their kids just because some editors get their jollies trying to shock readers, and I don't want Wikipedia to become even more known for being the home for socially inept young men stuck in adolescence. Unfortunately, that seems to be a losing battle. Deciding by consensus of asylum inmates (while the serious editors are busy doing other things) generally gives poor results. As always, the problem is defining consensus. (talk) 13:59, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It may reflect the interests of many editors, but I expected that editors responsible for the main page would show a little more judgement. There is even apparently a "Featured Article Director" and an assistant director, which I assumed bespoke an actually functioning editorial oversight process, which would be unusual for Wikipedia. Apparently this is not the case, or else an error was made, which is human and forgivable in what must be a very busy process, but which gives one pause. At any rate, I urge other editors to add Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests to their watchlist.
I don't mean to harsh on the many editors who work and work hard (and for free) on making the main page the wonderful thing that it is. Think of it as, everyone could use a little extra help in fraught situations. Herostratus (talk) 14:51, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
"The FAs reflect the age and interests of the usual 90% of the editors, NOT the readers." And you continue by stating that the TFA under discussion had over 10 times the number of readers of most other TFAs. So basically, you are arguing that this was a good choice because for once it did reflect the interests of our readers, as evidenced by the page view stats... Fram (talk) 15:20, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
No Fram, that is NOT true, but then you didn't read my entire post, did you? And you didn't follow the 10 times reference, either. (The clue is in the word its.) You just couldn't wait to make a snarky remark after a brief skim. That also fits the usual 90% profile. But thank you for sharing. (talk) 22:24, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Then what is the importance of the fact that it got "more than 10 times its usual views."? This is somehow indicative of ... what? All I see from page view statistics is that this is always a popular page with our readers, much more so than many other TFA articles. Compare its page views (both as a TFA and on other days) with those of e.g. the recent Deinosuchus, and please explain how Human Centipede is not reflective of the interest of our readers, and much more so than many other TFAs? Fram (talk) 17:13, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
My point was that the TFA is special. There's no way of telling how many potential contributors would have been put off the Wikipedia brand by viewing this article. Also, any potential contributors encouraged by viewing the article are likely to be of the same mind that gamed the article onto the front page in the first place. However, it does appear my opinions on the matter are in the minority.--ML5 (talk) 12:26, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Obviously, there is also no way of telling how many people may have become contributors after seeing that we aren't just a stuffy encyclopedia which puts Deinosuchus on the front page, but also an open, broad-minded, popular encyclopedia which puts lowbrow trash on the front page as well. The thing that repulses one editor my well attract another, and the fact that people are interested in somethiong like this Centipede movie doesn't make them better or worse editors a priori, just probably different ones. 12:49, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

How often you check your email ?

Verifiability update

Well....... this epic video isn't "exactly" about the epic debate at WT:V, but on the other hand I have five fingers. The video is in three parts: 1) introduction/summary 2) battles 3) finale. The finale is especially touching. The webpage of the video had the following accompanying text, "After a long delay...almost a year...sorry 'bout that...the Godzilla Hand Puppet Theater Saga draws to a close, with its epic Third Act, bringing every enemy together for the final battle..." --Bob K31416 (talk) 18:09, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Snail Mail Address

Sorry to ask this here, but I've looked elsewhere and can't find it. What is the snail mail address for Jimbo? I want to send him a book. Thanks.--BenJonson (talk) 00:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Best to send things to the Wikimedia Foundation and they'll get it to me in due course.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

James I has reached clear consensus

Talk:James I of England has reached a clear consensus 24-10, or 23-10 if you discount new user who is not sockpuppet. This represents at least four English speaking countries. Editors who have never before voted "for" have done so and every wp critera has been reached. It has gone on almost twice the suggested time. Is it not now time to close and rename the article? Mugginsx (talk) 13:01, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

If this is true then any uninvolved admin can close the move request (I say admin only because the move, if accepted, requires admin rights to move it over the existing redirect), so you should make your request at the Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard, I think. However, the discussion is still active so I think this would likely be rejected as premature, you might want to wait a bit. Herostratus (talk) 13:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
The discussion is not active. It has been days since the last "vote". The rest is peripheral comments to remarks also made many days ago.Mugginsx (talk) 15:37, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Brendandh (a rollbacker FWIW) made the the move. Hot Stop talk-contribs 15:04, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I asked Brendandh to change the title. I also posted it here to let User:Jimbo Wales know. You may direct your remarks to me. It was all done properly. I cannot understand this discussion. This is the very petty kind of thing that wastes everyone's time and causes the loss of editors that has been described in the most recent newsletters. Mugginsx (talk) 15:34, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
IMO "James I and VI" reads rather awkward and clumsy, but it seems to be how it is used out in the real world, i.e. the BBC. Tarc (talk) 15:47, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
FWIW BTW, A consensus was reached and it was to move the article, and it was out to tender for a lot longer than other move requests that I have seen. Let the inevitible biting begin! Brendandh (talk) 15:49, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
At least TWICE as long. Mugginsx (talk) 15:54, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree the title now seems unlike anything you would find in an encyclopedia - I also think that an involved user should not have closed and moved such a debate. Clearly its the kind of lengthy debate that an experienced consensus decision closer would have been better its already been reverted once and the original mover reverted again. Off2riorob (talk) 15:56, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
FYI the British Monarchy's own website decription. Brendandh (talk) 16:08, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks but as per the lengthly discussion there is clearly different terms that are also used - I see the official website - refer to lizziebeth as Her Majesty The Queen - and we are using, after lengthy discussion - Elizabeth II - Off2riorob (talk) 16:14, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
An uninvolved Administrator has just closed the ANI. (misunderstood). Also the many and varied documentation that this title is now being used since the late 1990s is overwhelming and was provided by people of four countries. It was truly a collaborative effort. Mugginsx (talk) 16:12, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Its now been closed by User:Hot Stop that voted in the discussion and his name is all over the talkpage and he is not an administrator. I just have seen many times that there is no rush and it should have been left a little while longer for an experienced closer - it appears to have been closed on a head count and rushing to close by involved editors that voted is causal to de-legitimize the whole thing. Off2riorob (talk) 16:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I closed the discussion after it had been moved. Hot Stop talk-contribs 16:31, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why is this issue posted here on Jimbo's talk page especially when a simultaneous thread was opened on the matter at AN/I? Was he involved in the discussions?
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 16:20, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Only that he expressed a hope for a compromise that was either "...satisfactory to all, or which creates the least dissatisfaction..." See the article talk page for his complete comment. Mugginsx (talk) 16:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 16:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
You are most welcome. Mugginsx (talk) 17:03, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

"And pretend that he just doesn't see?"

WP:TL;DR springs to mind. If you want Jimbo, or anyone else for that matter, to read your messages, you must be concise, and concise this isn't. – ukexpat (talk) 14:30, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Let me second that request from Ukexpat. I ask that this page be a relatively free and open place for people to voice dissent or complaints, but there are limits, and one of those limits is that it's really a good idea to just get to the point concisely. I'm not generally able to help with grievances from several months ago cut and pasted here without context. Better for us to focus on the future. Is there an error in an article that needs to be corrected? Do you have a specific problem that needs to be resolved?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:24, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank-you note for Jimbo

I don't have any Q. Thank you.

This is in regards to "Ode To Joy" English Lyrics/Hymnal I just want to let Mr. Jimmy Wales, thank you for posting Ode To Joy Hymnal version. I am learning how to play Cello to Worship and You Tube doesn't have the English Version but Mr. Wales was kind enough to POST this. Now I can keep on practising the same notes w/ Lyrics... I hope I can play this in one of the USO functions this Christmas Day for our Wounded Warriors.

Mr. Wales, May God Bless you and Keep you and your family. Shalom!

Ms. Memosa NC — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:14, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

(posted on the Miscellaneous Ref Desk, reposted here by me. Textorus (talk) 13:50, 8 November 2011 (UTC))
I'm not really sure if the original poster is referring to these lyrics on Wikisource or these assorted files related to Ode to Joy on Commons, or something else, but I'm presuming it's not Ode to Joy (album). --Demiurge1000 (talk) 14:14, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
May be Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee? Nil Einne (talk) 15:02, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
If so it appears the OP is mistaken about Youtube, e.g. [16] [17] (look under the description/show more) [18] [19] Nil Einne (talk) 15:21, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Widening WP focus on truth

Perhaps the recent awakenings about WP's focus on truth will widen, as with the name of the school in the topic "Verifiability and truth" (above, or archived in /Archive_86). Already, users have revealed they edit articles by considering truth. Although many scientists, such as myself, have edited numerous articles for "logical consistency" there could be new guidelines to focus on truth. Some issues:

  • Guidelines about comments made by users with true-identities versus pseudonym usernames (re WP:AGF).
  • Guidelines about arithmetic proofs to verify calculations.
  • Guidelines about algebraic proofs to verify mathematical conclusions.
  • Guidelines about using sentential logic and predicate logic.
  • Guidelines to base WP:ANI discussions on direct evidence, rather than mere opinions or hearsay repeating other comments.
  • Guidelines to prove when truly separate events are not one-event WP:BLP1E.
  • Guidelines to detect typos or untrue errors in WP:RS "reliable sources" as to when a source becomes too out-dated (and confusing) for readers to use an old source to verify some text phrases but not others.

As more people focus on the idea that "Wikipedia is in the truth business" then perhaps more guidelines and practices will be improved to simplify future editing. -Wikid77 22:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

While it is true that there has been recent focus on the idea that "Wikipedia is in the truth business," that focus consists of rejecting the idea. All of the recent policy debates about this are regarding moving the "...not truth" down a paragraph, expanding on "...not truth" etc. The "recent awakenings" you mention do not exist. See Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:46, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Guy, I think you are wrongly interpreting the discussion. There has been widespread acknowledgement that the "not truth" formulation is misleading. We are in the business of truth. It's a complex and sophisticated approach to the matter, but it is very very very far from a rejection of the importance of truth in Wikipedia.
One of the best examples has been the discussion here of Justine Thornton. No one, not one as far as I have seen so far, has argued that we should re-insert a falsehood into her biography, despite there being multiple sources for the falsehood, including a newspaper (of not great reputation to some of us, to be sure, but which is used as a reference thousands of times) as well as a book published by a reputable publisher.
There is general consensus that when we know something is wrong, we should not publish it. Where this idea got rooted that if a reliable source says it, we can't judge the reliable source to be wrong, I don't know. But it's false, it is not consistent with Wikipedia practice past, present or future.
The question, a valid question, of what to tell nutcases when they show up and claim to know "The Truth" without any evidence whatsoever is a different question. But the right answer to that question can't be "We don't care about the truth", or we are intellectual irresponsible.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that the concept "when we know something is wrong" is problematical. How do we know? And how do others know we aren't making things up? There are people who "know" that Wikipedia is wrong about the Holocaust, who "know" that man-made global warming is true, who "know" that man-made global warming is false, etc. I am sure that you and I both "know" for sure some things that aren't so. We get this in the engineering articles all the time; someone has a misconception about some technical point. By citing "the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth", we move the discussion to one of whether it is sourced and whether those sources are reliable. That's a good thing.
Consider Justine Thornton. Imagine that you had to decide whether to believe some anonymous person who could not find a source or multiple reliable sources. I would "argue that we should re-insert a falsehood into her biography" if nobody had any evidence that it was a falsehood and reliable sources support it.
I do think that if someone who is well known (Mayor of Los Angeles, Jimmy Wales) and has no reason to lie claims that it is false without any evidence other than original research, we should weigh that as being close enough to being a reliable source to question the reliability of the other sources, but if J. Random Wikipedian tried that, he would be told to stop making unsourced claims.
The heart of "verifiability, not truth" is this. We don't know that something is true or false until we verify it. Other than the weight I give to a well-know public figure saying so (see above) which is a bit of a special case, I am not willing to accept as fact that Justine Thornton did not attend Nottingham High School without evidence. "Verifiability" is simply another way of saying "evidence that is hard to fake." --Guy Macon (talk) 02:42, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

  • "No one, not one as far as I have seen so far, has argued that we should re-insert a falsehood into her biography, despite there being multiple sources for the falsehood" Then it sounds to me that the system worked. Why are we trying to fix something that's not broken?
  • "The question, a valid question, of what to tell nutcases when they show up and claim to know "The Truth" without any evidence whatsoever is a different question. But the right answer to that question can't be "We don't care about the truth", or we are intellectual irresponsible." I have no problem telling fringe theory advocates that "We don't care about the truth". Whatever works, works. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 22:01, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I find your response baffling. You seem to concede that what we actually do, what our actual system is, is not "verifiability, not truth". We do care about truth. A longstanding tradition of how policy is written in Wikipedia is for it to document what we actually do. Second, there is plenty of reason to think that telling lies to people that are bound to upset and outrage them does not "work". It is absolutely false to say "We don't care about the truth" and it is not at all likely to dampen the enthusiasm of fringe theory advocates. If you can find me a single example of a fringe theory advocate who responded to a direct statement that "We don't care about the truth" in a good way, I'd be delighted to study it.
In fact, a good way to deal with fringe theory advocates is to tell the truth. "We do care about the truth, deeply. All of our policies are designed to help guide Wikipedia towards ever increasing accuracy in the sense of containing true statements about the world. If we accepted statements based on the mere say-so of everyone who shows up, or if we accepted sources blindly, we wouldn't be aiming at the truth."
I simply cannot accept as a valid position that we should lie to people and pretend not to care about the truth! Surely you can hear how bonkers that sounds. (It sounds like something a fringe theory advocate might say, honestly.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:21, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimmy, did your read the comment just before the Break section? (talk) 22:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I did. I don't see the relevance. You don't seem to be arguing that we don't care about truth. What you are saying is that when there are different sources of different degrees of reliability (i.e. truthfulness) we can and should make editorial judgments. I don't disagree, and nothing about that could lead us to the absurd position that an extreme minority have been putting forward (without thinking it through, I think) that "Wikipedia should not care about the truth". The reason for all these policies is precisely that they help a diverse community of thoughtful people eliminate errors (falsehoods).
What I see going on is a perverse reification, in which the rules are made to be more important than the much more fundamental needs that they were designed to meet.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
The relevance is in the italic portion at the end: sometimes we DO need to repeat prevalent and/or persistent falsehoods rather than ignoring their existence. Otherwise some readers assume we simply aren't aware of "the truth". Adding "The Daily Mail incorrectly reported she went to x school", after stating her correct school, resolves the problem. Our job is not only to state facts, but to explain and clarify to promote understanding. (talk) 03:34, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
That approach doesn't solve anything because, as a reader, I don't care that the Daily Mail incorrectly reported something. I only care what the fact of the matter is. (Plus, if we were to record every inaccuracy contained in the Daily Mail, we would probably need to double server capacity.) --FormerIP (talk) 12:05, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

There seems to be a substantial group who takes the attitude "the only way to know if something is true or false is by evidence that fits the policy. You cannot say 'the policy treats this as true but I know it's really false' because there are no ways outside the policy to know that something is really false." For instance, you cannot claim that a verifiable source made a false statement--you will be told that your knowledge of the statement's falsity didn't come from a verifiable source, so you don't really know it's false at all.

This sounds like that attitude. Ken Arromdee (talk) 19:25, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

I think that the notion of importancy is missing in this debate. The first question one has to ask is: If what you think is true is really true, would other people care enough to correct it elsewhere? If that is the case, Wikipedia must take the standpoint that they absolutely don't care about the truth: If someone thinks he has the true knowledge that god exists, that evolution is wrong, that NP=P, or that he just created a perpetuum mobile, Wikipedia's answer must continue to be: "Good for you, but please convince the rest of the world first. We won't even check your claims." Only for facts that are unimportant enough that reputable sources probably wouldn't bother to correct them, it makes sense to start thinking about "truth". --Tinz (talk) 20:34, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

This comment is to no one in particular. 90% of what I do here consists of finding false statements, correcting them, and then adding more information until a decent article starts to form. I usually work slowly and sporadically, because for me, this is just a hobby; something to do when I'm on hold or at break. Like a good many Wikipedians, I am able to do this because I have done substantial research on the subjects I edit, either secondary or original, but more often both. If I find a statement which I know to be false, I can usually come up with several sources --better sources-- to correct the information.
A good example is the dogfight article. The first time I read it, I was surprised to find that the term "dogfight" originated because WWI pilots needed shut off their engines to turn, and the constant starting and stopping during a dogfight sounded like dogs barking. That's what the Wikipedia article actually said, and it had a source. However, I knew form both secondary and original research that WWI fighters didn't even have starters. (What'd they do, jump out during mid-flight to give the prop a spin?) Knowing this, it wasn't too hard to come up with several sources that were more reliable for that particular bit of information.
That's a bit of an extreme example, but it happens all the time. Which electrode in a xenon arc lamp is more critical, the anode or the cathode? Nearly every source I have tells me the cathode, but the Wikipedia article says the anode. (Don't worry, I'll get to correcting that article soon.)
What's always been interesting to me is how similar Wikipedia policy is to what is taught in journaliistic writing classes, yet how subtly, but so drastically different verifiability not truth makes things. As I learned it, (and this can be found in multiple reliable sources, from the Scientific method to A journalistic approach to good writing), truth consists both of what is factual, and of opinions. To use synonyms, truth consists of what is verifiable, and of points of view. The real difficulty often lies in determining which is which. Zaereth (talk) 21:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Creating true-identities to correct text

One aspect of the WP truth-business is to allow famous people, using pseudonyms, to create an alternate true-identity username to suggest corrections to other statements made about them (or their works), but not be outed as also being the other pseudonym username. This has been a volatile problem, where such people risk multi-month blocks for WP:SOCKpuppetry, because a famous (notable) person might want to post messages using their true-identity name, but then return to editing talk-pages or other articles as a typical pseudonym username. On balance, WP should not punish users for trying to pinpoint incorrect text to state true details, so policies should allow users to create an alternate username for true-identity disclosure, but allow the "hidden-identity" to continue editing talk-pages or articles, and not force the outing of a famous person for all future edits. The goal is to encourage a person to reveal true details, without punishing that person because they were in disguise as another username. We want truly famous people to edit WP (by pseudonyms if they prefer) without fear of being WP:Wikihounded because they needed to clarify some true details, as their real identity. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:41, 5 November 2011, revised 12:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Any evidence that "truly famous" editors have ever been blocked for the reason you describe here? Or is this a non-existing problem? Fram (talk) 10:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I do not want to mention BLP names, here, and drag any public person into a potential debate over reasons for a block, especially if they have made secret arrangements to create a WP:SOCK#Legit username which might be outed by defending themselves here. I suppose if any other "famous people" wish to enter this debate, then that would be their choice. The point is to use deductive logic and forsee how the problem with using true-identity usernames does exist. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I'll take that as a "no" then... Fram (talk) 12:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
This sounds like a "solution" without a problem. If I were a famous person, and didn't want to create an account under my real name, I'd make up a name like "Purple Lenny" and create an account under that name. Then I'd make suggestions for improvement of the article about me on the talk page of my article, providing the requisite verifiable, reliable sources. We should not be setting up a system to accept "details" that do not meet our standards from the subjects of article, since celebrities have a long and dishonorable history of lying through their shiny whitened teeth about themselves. Your suggestion seems to be offering the equivalant of a velvet-roped VIP entrance for certain privileged persons. There is no legitimate excuse for privileging fame. --Orange Mike | Talk 21:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
To User:Orangemike (or anyone), please edit the prior post and remove blanket statements about celebrities. Remember the adage, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all". There is no need to use insulting phrases about any people in regards to this topic. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Jimbo, for expressing reservations about the "verifiability, not truth" formulation. It has always grated on my nerves. There's simply no point to Wikipedia if we don't strive to tell the truth, even when it's laborious to ascertain. Best wishes, and congratulations on Wikipedia's success. Postpostmod (talk) 22:47, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Please review out of process RfC closure

Dear Mr. Wales, Please review this out of process RfC closure.

Please consider reversing it. Thank you. Best regards, (talk) 16:53, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Religious neutrality

A hilye – Ottoman calligraphic panel by Hafiz Osman (1641–1698), a master of the art.
Hilyeler contain a description of the prophet Muhammad's physical appearance based on the hadith and were often used as wall decorations, fulfilling a similar role to that played by images of Jesus in the Christian tradition.[1]
While containing a verbal description of what Muhammad looked like, hilyeler leave picturing the prophet's appearance to the reader's imagination, in line with the aniconic nature of Islamic art.[1]

In the context of an ANI discussion I observed how striking it is that the illustrations in our article on Jesus are fully consistent with and celebratory of Christian tradition, while the illustrations in our article on Muhammad are not only unrepresentative of how Muhammad is customarily portrayed within Islamic tradition, but actually offensive to many muslim readers.

What does this say about the neutrality that this project aspires to, and the extent to which we are able to live up to that lofty aim?

The most active contributors to the Talk:Muhammad/images page do not appear to include any muslims. How can we involve some of the world's 1.5 billion muslims in the discussion? --JN466 17:28, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Oh, shall we move the discussion here now too? Fun! I'll simply point out that titling a thread "religious neutrality" while the jist of the content is to propose ways to bias Wikipedia towards a religious viewpoint is... interesting. Resolute 17:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not saying there's nothing to this, Jayen, but what types of image are you supposing might be included in the Jesus article that might be encyclopaedic but not "fully consistent with and celebratory of Christian tradition"? --FormerIP (talk) 17:37, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe something like this? or the crucifixion of Brian under "Reception"? But the real issue isn't that we aren't shocking Christians enough on the Jesus article. It is that we are shocking Muslims on the Muhammad article for no good reason. Even most liberal Muslims who wouldn't mind naturalistic depictions of Muhammad in a more appropriate context (such as the article Depictions of Muhammad) will feel that this is a deliberate insult to and humiliation of Muslims. Hans Adler 20:22, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
My point isn't that we should be working harder to shock Christians, but that the two cases are not usefully comparable. To come up with images that might offend some Christians, more or less by the same token, you have to go looking for images that are simply not encyclopaedic for the Jesus article. Having no images of Mohammed in his article would not conform to our normal standards, however - it would involve making an exception. So the question, I think, is not to do with consistency. On the contrary, editors who wish to exclude images of Mohammed - to say nothing about whether they have a good case or not - are arguing for inconsistency. --FormerIP (talk) 21:43, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Displaying images drawn by Muslims is designed to insult and humiliate Muslims? You keep repeating that same bad faith argument as if doing so will make it true. You might have had an argument if the Norwegian cartoons were in the Muhammad article. The historical imagery currently employed was not created with the intent of being provocative. There is a difference, even if you willfully blind yourself to it. Resolute 20:43, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
See outgroup homogeneity bias for the scientific explanation of Resolute's accusation of bad faith. Hans Adler 20:55, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Being consistent with how groups who affiliate with a given religious tradition have depicted various aspects of their tradition is not only more respectful of those groups but also much more educational than adding fringe depictions. Those oddball depictions can be presented within the specific context that they are meaningful but should not dominate the main entries for major religious figures, etc. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ahh, but there's the rub. Hans' use of outgroup homogeneinty bias is rather ironic, given he is the one presuming that all Muslims are the same. As most people in favour of retaining the images will tell you, that belief is not uniform in the Muslim world. In short, they are not all alike. In fact, I would point out that commons:Category:Muslim depictions of Muhammad has over 100 such depictions, of which only five are used in the article. There are about 40 non-Muslim created images, one of which exists in the article. This is out of 23 total images in the article, including those that head the various "part of a series on..." templates. Resolute 22:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I referred specifically to the effect which the atypical overuse of images must have on liberal Muslims who wouldn't normally mind such depictions: solidarisation with their extreme faithmates who reject them. Your mirroring of my accusation is therefore obviously invalid. I note that I have observed such unfounded "you, too!" reactions many times in tendentious editors. It is a typical sign of editors who try to win a debate without listening to their opponents. Hans Adler 22:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Resolute I assure you that liberal Muslims do not have depictions of Muhammad in their homes, in their libraries, or at their mosques. They may tolerate such images, or not find them offensive, or as offensive as some of their more conservative compatriots, but there is nothing normal about these depictions within Islam now or historically. Keep in mind that I specifically spoke of something other than the offensiveness issue, and that was mainstream practice, which has always been iconoclastic in this regard, among liberals and conservatives. It is only a matter of degree after that. So there's no rub there I'm afraid.Griswaldo (talk) 23:56, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
And yet, 100+ images in our own repository, drawn by Muslims, suggests your assessment is not quite accurate. Resolute 23:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
No they suggest no such thing. 100+ images is nothing. Do you know how long Islam has been around and how many Muslims have set foot on the planet over those years? Please see the Depictions of Muhammad entry for more information. Depictions of Muhammad have always been rare for this very reason. The traditional way to represent him is through his calligraphy and written descriptions. Depictions of Muhammad are not even a minority phenomenon within Islam, it is virtually fringe. For sure, given the controversy now and in the past it is important for us to have entries like the depictions entry, but that entry covers a fringe phenomenon within the tradition. It is not helpful to make inferences based on how many images we have. Instead of doing that read some books on the subject, or, heaven forbid, talk to a Muslim or two. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 00:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Depictions of Muhammed is a Wikipedia article on a topic about which people have opinions, so it is not easy to be sure how far to rely on it to resolve disagreements between Wikipedians. But I think this misses the point. How does the (supposed) fact that that a particular class of images relating to the subject of an article is rare lead to the conclusion that they should be excluded from the article? --FormerIP (talk) 00:21, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

This is a general problem. There's Genesis creation narrative while everything else is a "myth". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 20:41, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Excellent point. Hans Adler 20:55, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Not the same. The point is to be consistent with scholarship on these subjects. "Genesis creation myth" is not consistent with scholarship, nor are depictions of Muhammad. So Seb has that backwards actually. I do agree with Hans and Jayen that we are unnecessarily offending Muslims and will reiterate that it is not consistent with scholarship either, which tends to be respectful. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:27, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I see nothing offensive in the current version of the Muhammad article. There are a few depictions from Islamic manuscripts that are commonly included in every article of historical figures when such images are available, plus one Russian painting in the Western views section. Asking Wikipedia to conform to the religious doctrine of some Muslims on this is absurd. What's next? Burqa for all pictures of women on Wikipedia lest they be offensive to some? ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 22:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Let's hope the discussion at Talk:Muhammad/images will suggest solutions to these long-term problems. -Wikid77 22:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    • That page appears to be dominated by editors who have decided long ago that they want these images in the article—for no good academic reason that I can see, because they are fringe images within the Islamic tradition. (For reference, I was unable to find a single such image in the Micropaedia and Macropaedia Britannica articles on Muhammad.) To illustrate the Islamic mainstream, and actually teach readers something about Islamic aesthetics and the way Muhammad is represented in Islam, I believe we ought to be showing images of calligraphy, symbols and pictograms associated with Muhammad, famous examples of such in the masonry of major mosques, hilye (!) images [20][21], perhaps images of the various relics of Muhammad, etc.—in other words, things that are actually religiously meaningful to a large number of muslims. --JN466 01:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I've been very confused about this line of discussion both at ANI and on here. If you think the images that are being used in the Muhammad article are not properly educational or representative of appropriate depictions of Muhammad, then...propose other images to replace them? Have other alternative images been proposed? Because i'm not seeing that. SilverserenC 23:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I'll hazard a guess that most of the editors wishing to illustrate the article on Muhammad using the same approach as is used in the article on Jesus don't actually know very much about Islam. That ignorance shows and is an embarrassment to Wikipedia. Islamic culture is simply different in that respect, and we are not showing the genuine richness of Islam's own approach, nor do we give the reader much indication that such a difference in approach exists. We could probably do with a bit of outreach to Islamic studies scholars. --JN466 03:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes. It makes no more sense to base what (if any) depictions of Muhammad we have in Wikipedia articles on our treatment of pictures of Jesus than the other way round. It is easy enough to ascertain that many Muslims consider depictions of the prophet in art to be inappropriate, and that is what is at issue here - not how Christians portray Jesus (or other religions portray their gods, saints, prophets and other sacred entities). It seems to me that though 'Wikipedia is not censored' implies we can show illustrations of the prophet, it doesn't follow that we have to, and any debate on the subject needs to be based on the principle that we are here to educate and inform, rather than just show pretty pictures. If a reader of our articles on Islam wonders why there are no illustrations of its founder, reading why might be more educational than any picture. Yes, we should have an article on 'depictions of the prophet Muhammad in art' or similar, to show how, in contrast to the norm, many depictions have been created, but we don't need to gratuitously include images elsewhere (which are in any case only depictions based on the imaginations of those creating them many years later) just to prove a point. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:43, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
      • That's the last thing we need, more outside advocacy and antagonism. This is a very simple situation. We have an article on Muhammad. Images and depictions of artistic value of Muhammad exist, created at various points and times in history. We place this images in the Muhammad article, because, hey, we're a visual media and we like that sorta thing.
      • There is no other aspect to consider. We do not take into account that some Muslims believe imagery to be idolatrous. This is the English Wikipedia, written primarily for a Western audience. We do not defer to religious custom, We do not render all mentions of "God" as "G-d". We do not close down on Sunday to observe the Sabbath.
      • The only leg any of your argument could stand on is if the article contained renderings from something like the Draw Muhammad Day. Those things are contemporary, amateurish depictions created with the specific aim to denigrate, and offer to value to an biographical article on Muhammad the man. Tarc (talk) 03:51, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
        • Well, I do think there is another leg to stand on. The article has 19 images in all. 6 are geographical, 4 are of buildings, 1 is of the Quran, 1 is of Mohammed's seal, 1 (the lead image) is of calligraphy, and 6 are depictions of Muhammad (of these, 4 show him unveiled, 1 shows him veiled, and 1 shows him as a flame). Those 6 images, and in particularly the 4 that show his features, are vastly undue, even completely disregarding the aspect of offensiveness, because they represent an extremely rare type of image that is simply nowhere near representative of how Muhammad is customarily portrayed. But given that they do also represent the type of image that is most offensive to some muslims, why exactly should our article feature 4 examples of an extremely uncommon and unrepresentative kind of image that causes maximum offence? --JN466 04:31, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
"This is the English Wikipedia, written primarily for a Western audience". Of all the pig-ignorant arguments you could come up with, this has to be the winner. Even ignoring the implicit assumption that English speakers are necessarily Western, and that it isn't possible to be both a Muslim and a Westerner, on what basis do you assume that Westerners are so driven by a desire for 'images' that they are incapable of understanding why others have a different opinion? Try to come up with arguments that don't insult everyone... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Actually, Wikipedia itself has some statistics on it's editorship that support what Tarc is trying to say. Additionally, various articles on the subject (also right here on Wikipedia) support what he is trying to say. ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:51, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Analogy: I write a book in American English and publish it here. How many non-US English speaking readers do you think I will have? And how many say... Muslim readers from overseas... do you think will instead read the version on their Wikipedia? People keep using worldwide numbers as if every person of Islamic faith comes here, even though they live halfway across the world and have their own wiki. Hope that clarifies. Still not sure why it's relevant. The different opinion is based on religious prohibitions that do not apply, otherwise the Scientology article would have been lobotomized already. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:55, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Is this a competition to see who can come up with the most ignorant posting on Jimbo's talk page? Muslims don't have 'a Wikipedia', any more than Christians do - and neither do they necessarily live 'half way across the World'. Incidentally, even though I prefer British English, I am actually capable of comprehending the U.S. version - I suggest you find a publisher with a little more worldly knowledge. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry Andy, I didn't realize that.[22][23] ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 05:09, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the link to websites that aren't 'Muslim Wikipedias' - but what exactly is that supposed to prove beyond the fact that evidently you don't understand the difference between 'a Wiki' and Wikipedia. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have to agree with Andy here. The English Wikipedia is written in our current global lingua franca. English is, far and away, the most common second language learnt around the world (and a substantial number of those second language speakers are talking to each other, not to native speakers). While native anglophone non-muslim editors are in the majority, our readership extends into every country and community like no other wikipedia. Our policies and practices reflect this internationalism. While no language community "owns" their Wikipedia, this is particularly important to remember with en.wikipedia.

On the same principle, muslims do not own the page on Muhammad, so we are not bound to follow majority muslim practice. We might want to avoid offence where we can. Is it not technically possible to have an opt-in "see the pictures" option so that we can manage any religious sensitivities? We're not paper, we can do this kind of thing.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 05:22, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, there is another point that I am trying to make here. The page on Jesus gives an accurate impression of how Jesus is portrayed in Christianity. But the Muhammad page does not do that. It is badly skewed. This is a question of accuracy, of portraying a world culture knowledgeably, and correctly. --JN466 05:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Just left a message on your talk page a few minutes before your post here. I'm willing to help tackle that. But not till tomorrow. I really need sleep. ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 05:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Is this an argument that the pictures are POV? I suppose one could formulate an argument that inclusion of so many pictures is undue, given their rarity. Would you get rid of all pictures of Muhammad, or simply reduce their number?VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 06:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely; POV and undue, as not reflecting mainstream depictions. Personally, I would considerably increase the number of calligraphy images in the article, include an image of the PBUH/SAWS symbol that is commonly printed in Islamic works after each mention of the prophet, show some hilyes (these are calligraphically executed copies of extant, quite detailed descriptions of what Muhammad physically looked like). I would have a paragraph explaining the general absence of images of Muhammad in Islamic religious art, as a point that sets the Islamic treatment of Muhammad apart from the treatment of other religious founders by their respective cultures, and I would mention that there have been some exceptions throughout history. I would add a link to Depictions of Muhammad, show the images there, and not show them in the article on Muhammad. That's if it were up to me alone. I could compromise to the extent of showing one (veiled) example image, but personally think it is undue. Cheers. --JN466 22:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Ironically, your assertion that this is POV is POV itself. The placement and number of images of Muhammad are already in a decidedly minority position on the article. This, despite the fact that Wikipedia is not an Islamic project. Resolute 22:23, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Just to put this back into perspective (as though that's going to happen…) I want to point out that this whole huge mess started because I made the seemingly common-sense assertion that Wikipedia should not offend groups of people without good reason. Doing so damages the reputation of the encyclopedia. If we have to offend people to write a good article, that's unavoidable, but offending people for silly reasons is just… dumb.

There's no real reason that those images of Muhammad need to be on that article (they are not common representations or factual illustrations), and everyone knows that Islam has a proscription against such images; any editor with a smidgeon of common sense and common courtesy would just not do it. But on Wikipedia, apparently, it is a matter of great consternation that any editor should be asked to show common sense or common courtesy.

I'm sorry to say it, but as long as these kinds of attitudes prevail on project, Wikipedia is never going to be a serious encyclopedia; there's too much Jerry Springer in the mix for that to ever happen. --Ludwigs2 05:54, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Ludwigs has proposed that the May 2011 Foundation resolution concerning controversial content should be heeded here. It urges us to pay particular attention to curating all kinds of potentially controversial content, including determining whether it has a realistic educational use. I don't believe the many depictions of Muhammad at Muhammad add to the readers' understanding of the topic in any meaningful way, and their presence may reasonably be read as gratuitous offensiveness. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:40, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I would argue that they actually harm the reader's understanding, because in showing them we create the impression that such images are commonplace, and fail to show the actual iconic representations of Muhammad that are the direct cultural equivalent of what we have in the Jesus article.They would look like this: [24] [25] [26] The effect of our present article is not unlike the effect the Jesus article would have on the reader if you showed them just one cathedral painting, plus 6 shock images of Christ like Piss Christ and Jesus on the electric chair (also shown in a cathedral, but hardly representative of Christian depictions of Christ). You could argue NOTCENSORED there too, but no one would go for it, because editors would realise that it would be completely undue to focus on such exceptional images, while neglecting the mainstream depictions of Christ. The problem with Islam, unfortunately, is that our editorship is generally less familiar with it and doesn't pick up on such subtleties. Yet we are supposed to educate, and provide a glimpse of that world. --JN466 07:13, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
So would you want to get rid of all the depictions, or just most of them? All would look like censorship, but most could be argued under WP:UNDUE.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 07:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
One or two images illustrating a small section on depictions of Muhammad would be educational. Everybody arguing at Talk:Muhammad/images supports that. The objections are to six artists' impressions of historical events, painted centuries after the events, that are no more informative about the events than a drawing by you or me would be. The only relevant information they convey is something about the development of historical depictions of Muhammad, which is addressed well in Depictions of Muhammad. The objections are not to pictures of Muhammad, they are to gratuitous WP:UNDUE or misleading use of such images. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 07:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem with the discussion of "religious neutrality" is that whatever precedent we set cannot be limited to images of Muhammad. Followers of just about every religion have issues which they would prefer not to have mentioned. Would "religious neutrality" prevent us from discussing L. Ron Hubbard's military records because doing so may be offensive to some Scientologists? Would the same principle prevent an article questioning the sexuality of Jesus? What about the offense caused to Christians who dispute the divinity of Krishna? Where would it stop? While we shouldn't go out of our way to offend anyone, neither should we go out of our way to avoid offending anyone. We're here to build an encyclopedia, not a religious text.   Will Beback  talk  09:25, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You've missed the point. The discussion is about accurately representing an artistic tradition and, to a lesser extent, not gratuitously offending readers. No one's objecting to offensive content where it adds to the readers' understanding. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 09:39, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I may be mistaken, but I thought I'd seen people here and at Talk:Muhammad/images talking about making significant changes to articles to avoid offending adherents to a religion. While we certainly don't want to offend anyone unnecessarily, that should be among the least considerations when compiling this encyclopedia. The appearance is that some think think it should be a primary consideration.   Will Beback  talk  10:38, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Will all the comments here seem to align with two important distinctions from the straw many you are presenting. 1) That offending material should be removed especially if it serves no educational value and 2) that in the case of the Muhammad depictions, mainstream education sources and scholarship do not use these fringe images making their inclusion not only UNDUE in terms of coverage in reliable sources but nonrepresentational of the tradition and therefore noneducational. Holding these opinions does not open the door to what you are discussing at all. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 11:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It's axiomatic that everything in the encyclopedia should be encyclopedic. Images of subjects are encyclopedic. We always add images to articles when we can.   Will Beback  talk  04:55, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
"While we certainly don't want to offend anyone unnecessarily" -- wrong. The current state of the Muhammad article, after archives and archives full of discussions, proves that Wikipedia, as a community, goes to great lengths in order to find rationalisations for deliberately offending Muslims unnecessarily. Hans Adler 12:05, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Individual editors may make such arguments, but I don't think it's policy to either offend or avoid offending Muslims. Unfortunately, it seems that this issue has become polarized between editors who insist we cannot include any images, and those who say we should include all available images. Less dogmatism on all sides would help bring this to a reasonable compromise.   Will Beback  talk  04:55, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── No one here or anywhere else on the project in the current discussions has argued we can't include any images, and no one has argued for inclusion of all available images. The argument, at its best, is quite nuanced. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:15, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Which images of Muhammad does Ludwig2 support including in the article?   Will Beback  talk  05:24, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Any image that actually adds relevant information, such as in a section on depictions of Muhammad, which most (all?) editors at Talk:Muhammad/images agree would be a useful section. The article had such a section a few years ago but it was deleted without discussion. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 08:10, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
So are we proposing restoring that section?   Will Beback  talk  08:26, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Yep. Here. But we're all a bit distracted by various dramas. It will happen when things have settled down again. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:36, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
For the other readers here I would just like to highlight the statement above, i.e. " goes to great lengths to deliberately offending Muslims unnecessarily", which is a lie. We have a very small handful editors who are opposed to images in the Muhammad article, and of those only 2, Ludwigs2 and Hans Adler, who go these lengths to explicitly denigrate and assume bad faith of those who wish to retain images in the article. This behavior needs to be excised from the conversation. Tarc (talk) 12:33, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Tarc, your manner of engaging others in discussion at Wikipedia should preclude you from being taken seriously whenever you ask for another editor to be excised from the conversation based on their behavior. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 12:36, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

The difference, Griswaldo, is that I do not imply that those that I disagree with are basing their opinions on racist or ethnic hatred, as Adler and Ludwigs have done on numerous occasions. Tarc (talk) 15:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec)I could easily believe that. Certainly in this issue people are going to great lengths and making some of the most ignorant arguments I've yet seen on Wikipedia in order to keep an entry in a state that offends Muslims. Where are the expert editors on this issue I wonder? I'm no expert in Islam but I do teach religious studies courses, including large survey courses on Western religion, and I can tell you from my experience that these images are basically fringe within educational resources, and within the tradition as far as I know it.Griswaldo (talk) 12:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Hans, it's not so much about offending Muslims, it's about pampering Christians. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:48, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've long had this uncomfortable feeling that the somewhat undue number of images on that page are not really about WP:NOTCENSORED and are really more of an inherent POV bias amongst the editor community; or rather, it is about resisting the idea of removing the images because we find the concept nonsensical or strange rather than rationally considering the neutral line. The argument above r.e. historical depiction of Muhammed largely centering around non-visual imagery is quite persuasive. --Errant (chat!) 13:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Non-visual imagery? --FormerIP (talk) 13:13, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
he means non-representative/abstract, of course. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 13:17, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I was going to link to a definition of imagery :-) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 13:21, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
OK, well I don't think either interpretation makes for a good argument. If it is the case that Mohammed was often described in prose but there are few visual representations of him, then that would make him like Julius Caesar or William Shakespeare. If it is the case that there are two traditions, one which depicts Mohammed's image and one which replaces it with an abstract image, then surely that some something that it would be informative to illustrate in our article by showing examples from each tradition. --FormerIP (talk) 15:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Seb: I'm pushing for treating all such articles equally (and I believe the list I posted as the first comment here[27] attests to that) - but of course doing so will upset a ton of editors and leave an unbalanced situation (remove images from Muhammad on those grounds, ignore such policy (if interpreted that way or rewritten that way) for all the ones I listed.
Griswaldo: read the title of this thread. For some editors (some of the most vocal on that talk page), it *is* religious objections fueling their actions. That is notable by the "Policy Whack-A-Mole" game they are playing and numerous end runs around ongoing resolution processes. As one for instance, Ludwigs2 proposed we start an RfC. We all were working on one. The current RfC was proposed and many of us were against it. We've moved on to other proposals that are gaining a lot more support. Then it's end run time again. Instead of continuing in our discussions, he uses AN/I as an excuse not to and enters the RfC that so many of us were opposed to because of its bias (such as implying as fact that the images have no value, which attempts a bias at the outcome. Such as not listing a decent sampling of the articles that would be affected by such a change). It is actions such as that, disruption (which has caused me to have to restart the RfC discussions FOUR times now) and attacks (NUMEROUS, diffs to a dozen at ANI) that have warranted the ANI topic ban proposal you object to - it is NOT his opinion that caused that - it is his ACTIONS.
Errant: I'm working on some digging to support addressing the balance/bias issue on those images. Hopefully it will work. I am currently exploring (at the same time) Jayen's angle, as well as Mathsci's angle (both of which are diametrically opposed). I am also working on yet another RfC proposal for that page which may actually gain a lot more support (but we'll see). Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 16:28, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Islamic religious art is fundamentally different from other traditions of religious art. This is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Islamic Arts: "For practical purposes, representations are not found in religious art, although matters are quite different in secular art. Instead there occurred very soon a replacement of imagery with calligraphy and the concomitant transformation of calligraphy into a major artistic medium." Macropaedia, Vol. 22, p. 76. We are showing typical religious art in the article on Jesus, but we are not showing typical religious art in the article on Muhammad. --JN466 16:44, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm beginning to realize there is a big difference between the two. For instance, I would posit, accuracy of the portrayals or not, various of the images at Jesus can be considered both secular and religious. There does not seem to be a divide between them. On Muhammad, there is a distinct difference. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 17:08, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Do you think a painting of Jesus could ever be truly secular? Images of Jesus, crucifixes etc. are pervasive in Christian culture (just as Islamic abstract religious motifs are in Islamic culture), but I don't think that makes them secular. They are just expressions of a religious culture. Cheers, --JN466 17:22, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm aware of that. Let me clarify. Many of the images of Jesus seem to be accepted both on a secular aspect and a religious aspect. The same is not true of images of Muhammad. I'm not claiming they are secular. I'm claiming there's an acceptance of them on both sides. While, as you have pointed out, may not be true for depictions of Muhammad. Hope that clarifies things. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 17:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Responses to several comments above: "on what basis do you assume that Westerners are so driven by a desire for 'images' that they are incapable of understanding why others have a different opinion?" (AndyTheGrump) - on what basis do you assume that people who support retaining the images make that assumption? I would wager that every single one of us understands that a majority of Muslims have a different opinion. That is why tools like the explanation on how to disable the display of such images for people who are offended exist. (which responds to VsevolodKrolikov's argument of an opt-in tool: That would be a dramatically bad idea, placing the default position of Wikipedia to be censored. Even the proposed image filter was designed to be opt-out, and this article's treatment should be no different.) It is also why images are pushed to the bottom of the article, rather than spread throughout. Actions have been taken in the light of Muslim opposition. But we can only go so far without censoring the article for religious reasons.
On "minority position" of images. Including the various template headers, there are actually 22 images on this article. Only six are a depiction of or including Muhammad. Richard I of England, as an example, 8 of 12 images include depictions of Richard. In George Washington, 12 of 17. Pope John XXIII, 4 of 4. Lester B. Pearson, 7 of 10. Adi Da, 5 of 9. On our well developed historical bios, images of the subject typically occupy a majority position. On Muhammad, such images occupy a minority position. Numerous compromises have been made on this article in deference to Muslim tradition and viewpoints. It is, however, obvious that compromise is not what the opponents are interested in. They want the only options to be "none or none". It is time that such people accept the compromises that were already reached. Resolute 20:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Resolute, what you're basically saying is that common sense and simple courtesy are a form of censorship. I'm sorry, but that perspective is bizarre - asserting that no one's feelings or interests should be allowed to get in the way of what you want to do is too close to sociopathy for me to be comfortable with. Are you incapable of distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary offense? --Ludwigs2 22:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
That you disagree with my assessment does not lend validity to your personal insults. I respect that this is obviously a very personal debate for you, but you will have to respect that I disagree with you. To repeat myself, the community has already compromised on this issue in numerous ways: The ratio of images depicting the subject to overall images is far lower than one would expect given both the size of the article and the images we have available. The images have been placed in a minority position on the article, "below the fold", so to speak, rather than being spread throughout, as is typical of most such articles. Of note, the use of calligraphy rather than an image in the infobox. Something which is unique on biographical articles. An image of Muhammad in hell was removed, even though there is a very good argument that it was an accurate depiction of traditional western views, on the basis that it was felt to be unnecessarily provocative. And finally, special code has been created that logged in users can add to their profiles so as to hide the images, something that is very much a special case on Wikipedia. All of these compromises have been made in respect for the "feelings and interests" of those who might be offended. We have compromised on many occasions. That you will not acknowledge this, choosing instead to resort to repeated accusations of bigotry or sociopathy on the part of those with whom you disagree says all we need to know about your motives. I do not favour censorship, and from that position I will not budge. Resolute 22:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Resolute: the only thing 'personal' about this debate is that people (like you) keep talking crap about me, which is not something I can do anything about. otherwise this is all about reason and common sense for me. Your argument now seems to be: "Everyone should be happy that we're only offending people half as much as we could," which is not really a sensible position to take. I don't care how much we could be offending people; I simply want to know that we have a good reason for offending people if that's what we're going to do.
This is really where you've gone wrong all along: rather than demonstrating what value the images have, you try to bargain to keep images I consider worthless and provocative. show they have worth, and the discussion is, but if you can't show they have worth then don't haggle over how much shit we're need to have in our sandwich.
And I'm sorry that you consider all this a personal attack. You are not using ethical reasoning - that is a demonstrable fact - and I reserve the right to point it out. if you don't like it, be ethical. --Ludwigs2 23:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, where you keep going wrong is where others have to prove to you that the images are valid and useful in the article. You don't have the right to demand that a particular article have extra hoops to jump through, if the justification for the extra hoop are vague hand-waves at some group's religious sensibilities. No one is going to bend backwards to prove or justify something when you don't really have a call to request such a thing in the first place, Ludwigs. Tarc (talk) 00:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
My argument is the same as it always has been: that removing the images for the reasons you champion is nothing more than religious censorship. I explained the ways in which we have compromised to show that we who prefer the retention of the images have acted in good faith in this debate. That you will not even acknowledge this reveals only the fact that you will not reciprocate. Resolute 02:43, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── actually, Resolute, it's you making the double standard here. on every article except muhammad editors can consider the value of an image and remove it if if it fails the test. but I'm sure you'll avoid this as you avoid every other rational point I make - lol. --Ludwigs2 03:12, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

If I did not find value in the images, I would not be arguing in support of them. I judge these images exactly the same as I do any other article. The problem is that you move the goalposts on images you don't like. I am under no obligation to meet your personal standards. Resolute 03:45, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
And since this is Jimbo's talk page, I will mention a comment he made regarding the image filter that also applies here: Allowing the end user control over what they see will allow greater freedom to the end user, not less.. That is my position: allow the end user to choose. Don't presume to make the choice for me. Resolute 03:49, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Good. So put Piss Christ on the Jesus page. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 03:54, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Straw man argument. You are confusing images for which the offence is incidental with images for which provocation is deliberate. Piss Christ is not on the Jesus article for the same reasons the Danish cartoons are not on the Muhammad article. Resolute 04:09, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Wrong. It's not on there because that is not how Jesus is usually depicted. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 04:11, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Actually, he's quite correct. Piss Christ and the Danish cartoons were both created with the deliberate intention of raising people's hackles, not to depict the subject in a meaningful way, which is why it's not used there. The pictures of Muhammad in the article were not; they were created (with one exception) by Muslims for Muslim audiences. Others have already stated what they add to the article, so I won't repeat that here; however, I'll say that I certainly found it quite useful when reading the article a few years ago, before I began editing here. So you have definitive proof that a reader of the encyclopedia found them useful. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 16:35, 5 November 2011 (UTC) Please take the pictures off. They do not help us understand the topic of the article. Borock (talk) 01:48, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Would you say the same of the images at Richard I of England? Resolute 02:43, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
According to WP:IUP, images should be (a) relevant (connected with and important to what is being discussed) and (b) increase readers' understanding of the subject matter. All the images of Richard, except for the first, were painted long after his lifetime, and so, like all the images of Muhammad, though they are connected with it, they tell us nothing important about the subject. So, per IUP, they don't belong in the article. But this does not reflect practice on the project. Such images abound and they are vehemently defended. I defy anyone to remove those uninformative images from Richard I.
This disjunction between policy and practice is at the root of the problem at Muhammad. Resolute has just used the argument, We do it on Richard I (and everywhere else), why shouldn't we do it on Muhammad? The answer, of course, is Because it creates offense and adds nothing important to the readers' understanding.
We have more options than (a) strip all irrelevant images out of the encyclopedia or (b) host controversial images that add nothing important to the readers' understanding. Editors argue that to treat controversial (sexual, violent, sacred) images differently in this way, excluding irrelevant controversial images while we include irrelevant noncontroversial images, is a breach of the first amendment, or WP:NOTCENSORED or something. I see it as simply being sensible and exercising good manners. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:23, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
"[I]t creates offense and adds nothing important to the readers' understanding". The first part is true. The second point is questionable - in fact, images of Muhammad may actually detract from an understanding of Islam. Given the deeply-held beliefs that such images are inappropriate, an absence of such images should lead the reader to ask why they aren't there - which in turn should lead to deeper understanding. Of course, if the only purpose of an article on Islam is to compare it to 'the default: Christianity', which seems to be the argument of some here, such subtleties are unnecessary. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
The Islamic visual tradition is simply different, and we're betraying ignorance by not reflecting that. I've added some examples of Islamic art describing Muhammad's physical appearance above. --JN466 07:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
What you are all saying is exactly right IMO. I think I've seen Jayen argue elsewhere that images need to be put to the same content policies that governs written information NPOV, DUE, etc. That is exactly the issue here. By providing visual information about a figure who is known 99.999% of the time without such visual information we are actually creating a distorted perception of that figure. It is, as Andy says, detracting from an understanding of [Muhammad]. Put another way I would say that when it comes to understanding Muhammad what we are currently doing is phenomenologically disingenuous. If we compare Jesus or Buddha, we have religious figures the historical perceptions of which have actually been significantly influenced by traditions of physical depiction. That is not the case for Muhammad. So providing that visual information is WP:UNDUE, as well as being offensive.Griswaldo (talk) 13:06, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Anthony - you touch on what was exactly my point above in your final paragraph. Yes, we have more options than to strip all images (that you view them as unimportant is only your opinion) or to host all (again, your opinion on value is only your POV). And that is exactly what has been done with this article. Editorially, we have restricted the number and location of images, placing them in a minority position. We have ensured that the images that are there were not drawn to be provocative. We have offered tools so that those who wish to hide images can do so. When (because we all know the Foundation will force it through) the image filter comes online, another option will be added. This article is atypical in numerous ways, all designed to mitigate the level of offence. But we cannot eliminate all of it. Wikipedia even warns you of this fact. It is out of respect for those who are unable to look at this article with anything but a religious POV that we have taken these steps. I support this, even though my preference would be to treat it exactly as we would any other historical topic. Especially one for which we have so many images. Wikipedia is not an Islamic project, and this is not an Islamic article. This is a biographical article about a historical individual. And IMNSHO, viewing it in any other way is an admission that one has lost NPOV. Resolute 15:35, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree with Ludwigs' sandwich metaphor here. The crux of this is the relevance of the images; that is, their connection with the topic and importance to exposition. An image or images of Muhammad will be mandatory in a section discussing depictions of Muhammad. No one has argued against that. What I'm asking you to do is recognize those images have little or no importance to the remainder of the article and can easily be replaced by images of similar or greater didactic value (such as the kinds of images Jayen is suggesting above), acknowledge they're offensive to many readers, recognize just how rude and ignorant it makes us look to gratuitously load up the article with offensive images, and agree that the better option is to use the alternative images. :)
(Do you think we should move this to another venue?) --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:37, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm an atheist. I could be demanding that all religious images be struck from Wikipedia, as they represent fictional characters. However, I don't make such a demand 'cuz I don't believe in censurship. If a group of people (no matter what religion they are) are upset about images? TOO BAD about them. GoodDay (talk) 17:26, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I have a thought on that, Anthony, but have to run for most of the afternoon - don't let me forget to answer. And yeah, a different forum might be more ideal, either back on the image talk page, or perhaps one of our user talk pages, perhaps to try and reduce the number of players in the discussion. Resolute 17:36, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I look forward to it. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Anthony (and in general, related to his comment), when you said above "All the images of Richard, except for the first, were painted long after his lifetime, and so, like all the images of Muhammad[...]" - which brings me back to my earlier point. I simply ask for a uniform application of policy. Take 'em all down everywhere... leave 'em all up everywhere (solely discussing the specific types of images you mentioned). No special case articles. That, sadly, as a "for instance" in the "leave 'em all up" camp, means depictions of historical events that would allow our readers to understand what is going on from the depictions. Alas, the images proposed above do no such thing. And on the other side of the coin ("Take 'em all down everywhere"), we know that will run into massive objections. Brings up an interesting question: let's assume the rationale for removal is correct and supported by policies... which is the correct route? (a) making a singular special case exception to the way it is being applied, (b) leaving the article to match the way it is applied everywhere else, or (c) proposing a question to the community asking whether current application on (list of NUMEROUS articles - not just one) is a proper interpretation of policies (and of course, from (c) one of two other directions will result: (1) remove all such images Wikipedia-wide, or (2) change policy to be clear and in support of the way it is being applied across most of Wikipedia). Anyway, those are my thoughts. Side note, I've been compiling each POV on this issue with points and counterpoints - I'll send you and Reso a note later (please remind me if I forget - got rather busy at work yesterday, and I'm a bit behind on what I wanted to do on here). Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 18:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Re: "I've been compiling each POV on this issue with points and counterpoints", add this: Wikipedia should treat a request that Muhammad's image not be shown exactly the same way we would treat a request by a Christian that Wikipedia be shut down on Sundays. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
BAD example. I'd support such a request, even in contravention to policy. I'd at least have one full day spent IRL. On a serious note, I'll work such in. Best, Rob ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 20:05, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I hope Griswaldo and the others will be taking steps to make the same complaints about insulting Muslims on the Farsi Wikipedia, whose featured article on Muhammad has 5 images of him, compared to our six (several are the same). Do let me know where the party is going next. Johnbod (talk) 21:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't read, write, or understand Farsi so it's rather doubtful that I know anything about what is on their Wiki, what type of consensus it has, or anything else about the matter. Of course most of the Muslim world are by no means Farsi speakers. I would assume that most of the denizens of the Farsi Wiki are Iranian, and hence most likely not Sunni, which makes a difference when discussing contemporary offense to these images. How many images of Muhammad are there on the Arabic Wiki John? That said, I'm curious why you singled me out, since my arguments have not really been about offense but about DUE weight and accuracy in the historical perception of Muhammad. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:52, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
You were the one who called such images "fringe" above - if you are concerned about insulting Muslims you should be more careful. The Arabic article has no images of Muhammad, though two other images from (you would say) "fringe" manuscripts that do contain them. Johnbod (talk) 22:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── What on earth does "fringe" have to do with offensiveness? Nothing at all. It simply means way outside of the mainstream. So I really have no idea what to make of your statement here.Griswaldo (talk) 22:11, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

  • From my Google Translate-based understanding of past discussions on fa.wp, the consensus view there seems to be that excluding images of Mohammed would mean ignoring an important aspect of Musllim cultural history. It should be kept in mind that most editors there will be Shia and have a less conservative attitude on this particular question, as you indicate. --FormerIP (talk) 22:00, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
    And Iranians of Persian descent meaning that many of these depictions are more culturally salient to them as well. Also, keep in mind that a Farsi speaker isn't necessarily a Muslim either, particularly if said Farsi speaker lives in the West. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 22:02, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
    It's not a case of being "conservative" in Iran - conservative traditions there mostly favour images. But one should be careful to avoid a false Sunni/Shia dichotomy here - most surviving miniatures with depictions of Mahammad were commissioned by Sunnis, mostly in Turkey. Johnbod (talk) 22:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I mean now, rather than historically, Johnbod. It's undoubtedly the case that the average Sunni has a more conservative attitude on this question that the average Shia. That's a true dichotomy, really.
One of the things that strikes me about these discussions is that a lot of editors opposing the images do so on the basis that they know what Muslims think about it. en.wp has Muslim editors, but none seem to have made themselves known on this topic.
I wonder how much the deletionist position is based on a stereotype of Muslims as universally hardline and inflexible. Although I wouldn't like to predict percentages, I think Muslims are capable of a lot more creative thought and less homogeneity than they are being given credit for and that, actually, the views of Muslims about this may be quite diverse. --FormerIP (talk) 22:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • There is nothing inherent in Islam that prohibits pictures of Muhammad. This is a particular interpretation by some Islamic scholars. It's like saying that Christianity doesn't accept use of contraceptives. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:15, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
    OK but who are you arguing with? I don't know that anyone has made that argument. The issue is what has been mainstream in practice, both within Islam and within the academy (for different reasons) when it comes to presenting knowledge about Muhammad, which is what we're trying to do in our entry. I think you'll find both traditions, the religious and academic, not basing building perceptions of Muhammad based on fringe traditions of Islamic art. That's the issue. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 23:21, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Why are you talking about this here? This is not an appropriate place to discuss this. How is this an appropriate place to discuss this? Go talk about it elsewhere, like maybe the Muhammad:Talk or some such. Chrisrus (talk) 23:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

It may be a somewhat random place, but I think Jimbo generally takes the view that people can discuss what they like on his talkpage.--FormerIP (talk) 00:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, I originally asked Jimbo a question about how we could get muslims involved in these debates. I am still open to ideas on how to do that. Muslims represent about 20% of humanity; yet I don't see them involved here (apologies if anyone who has posted above is, unbeknownst to me, muslim). We seem to have a very large proportion of all the figurative images of Muhammad that can be found online in Commons, but there is a comparative dearth of Islamic calligraphy. We did not have a single hilya until yesterday. For a project aimed at all of humanity, and hoping to compile the entirety of human knowledge, that is troubling. I wonder if muslims have voted with their feet. --JN466 00:17, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
You may have a point about images in Commons, Jayen, but that would be an issue for Commons. I expect they would suggest you upload something. I don't know why Muslims have stayed away from the discussion. I would hesitate before saying they have "voted with their feet", but that would surely mean that they feel a lot of fuss is being made about nothing. --FormerIP (talk) 00:42, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it really matters whether we have 1 Muslim commenting or 50, to be honest. I'd rather have people who are simply competent partake in such discussions, regardless of their ethnic background. This reminds me of the Daily Show when they have the "Senior Black Correspondent" on to opine about a black-related topic, a satire of the notion that one needs a black person's opinion to legitimize the discussion. Tarc (talk) 01:19, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I basically agree, but I think it is interesting all the same that we have multiple heated discussions going on, conducted by non-Muslims, about what should or shouldn't be done on behalf of Muslims. --FormerIP (talk) 01:38, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
That is an interesting angle, yea. Reminds me of when male politicians decide abortion laws. Tarc (talk) 02:23, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the article on Muhammad in the Farsi (Persian) Wikipedia, which is a featured article, has a number of images of the prophet.[28] Maybe no one has told them that they're supposed to be offended.   Will Beback  talk  00:32, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
It is not surprising that the Farsi article would feature Persian miniatures, because they're, well, Persian, and Iran, as a Shiite country, has a tolerant attitude to depictions of Muhammad. FWIW, the Turkish article contains no such pictures, despite the fact that Turkey is a secular society and Iran is not. Neither does the Arabic one of course, which is beautifully illustrated by the way, and features a lot of relevant imagery we don't show. --JN466 05:08, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
So it's an oversimplification to say that "all Muslims are offended by these images". Perhaps it'd be more accurate to say that some Sunni Muslims are offended by them, though even that seems to be an assumption rather than a reflection of the responses of actual Muslim editors or readers. Fundamentalist adherents to various religions are offended by all kinds of things, I suspect.   Will Beback  talk  03:20, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, pish tosh Will. it's a fundamental aspect of their faith, outlined in the Hadith. You might as well say that it's just an 'assumption' that Christians dislike people pissing on the Cross. This is another effort to avoid the debate by demonizing the opposition. --Ludwigs2 03:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I've don't nothing to "demonize" the opposition. I don't see anyone here as an opponent. I'm simply pointing out that the Farsi-language article, presumably written by Muslims or people well-informed of Muslim beliefs, contains several images of the Prophet, and that therefore the assumption that all Muslims are offended by such images is probably incorrect. More generally, I do not think that Wikipedia articles should be tailored with the primary purpose of avoiding offense to religious fundamentalists of any faith, simply because they may take offense at so many different things that trying to avoid all of them would significantly impact our ability to write an inclusive encyclopedia.   Will Beback  talk  21:03, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Will, you started from an objection to the phrase "all Muslims are offended by these images" (a statement which - true or false - is based in a generally accepted precept of the faith). You changed 'all Muslims' to 'Sunni Muslims', then minimized that by calling it an assumption, then minimized it again by asserting that it's 'fundamentalist adherents' and suggesting they are all easily offended. That is textbook demonization. You may not have meant it to be, but that is what you did. As I have said repeated to people in this dispute, if you cannot make any argument except the people complaining aren't worth listening to then you are making an ad hominem argument, not a rational one. --Ludwigs2 12:12, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
To say that it is a "fundamental aspect of their faith" is such a fundamentally incorrect over-simplification of the situation that I begin to question if you really understand what you purportedly defend. It seems like your understanding derives from listening to the protesters of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, with a dash of "I skimmed the Islam article a bit". Tarc (talk) 03:50, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I can see how it would seem that way to you. --Ludwigs2 04:35, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't agree with your reasoning as to why this is an appropriate place to discuss this. You say it's appropriate because you are inviting Jimbo to discuss with you ways of increasing the amount of Moslem Wikipedians. Why wouldn't Wikipedia:ISLAM be a better place for that? Besides, this is not what you are talking about here. The topic of discussion is ways to improve the article Muhammad, so this should go to that article's discussion page; you are discussing ways to improve that article, so you should discuss that with the editors of that article there where they discuss that topic. The people who will decide whether and which pictures to use for particular articles are the editors of those articles and not Jimbo. He would not be allowed to remove the pictures against concensous anyway. He has nothing to do with that decision because he doesn't edit that article. The people who will decide that are the edtors of that article and the place to talk about it is there. You seem to believe that he's in control of this project and could just remove pictures against the editors wishes, but he couldn't if he tried. If he started doing that, we'd all just move to a mirror site and the project would go on without him. He doesn't have the power to remove the pictures, so your reasoning for why this is an appropriate place to be discussing this is off base. Chrisrus (talk) 05:49, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b F. E. Peters (10 November 2010). Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives. Oxford University Press. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-19-974746-7. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 

what a great case study in the problems of Wikipedia

I'm going to point out (again) the bizarre and dysfunctional nature of this dispute. Note that:

  • The volume of text spilled over this on various pages is easily 40 times the length of the article on Muhammad (and that's not counting the 16 archived pages, which would bump it - I estimate - to something like 200 to 300 times the size of the article)
  • Almost none of the material discussed in this huge volume of text is represented in the text of the article (everything above about the Persians, for instance, is absent - the article only contains a handful of references to Persia, and they are all military in nature)
  • Nowhere in this huge volume of text does anyone give any real reason for including these images, except oblique references to art-historical traditions (that are also not mentioned in the article, save one reference to Ottoman calligraphy styles)

Not only do the images offend Muslims (which I think everyone agrees to, though some argue that doesn't matter), but the discussion offends common sense. What are we really squabbling over here? the retention of images that are unrelated to the text? Why are we fighting over that?

What's happened here is that some editors have recognized a particular and real threat against the project - censorship by religious groups trying to enforce their particular worldview - and reacted to it in an extreme and uncompromising manner. They are insisting that these images remain on the article solely and precisely because they are offensive - not because they want to offend, mind you, but because they are engrossed in battling censorship and have lost the ability to discriminate censorship from normal editing. Nor is this problem restricted to this article (you can see it play out in multiple areas of the project: fringe articles, political articles, cult-related articles). It's depressing.

I'm tempted to say we should just scrap this discussion and start a new debate on how to encourage/enforce common sense on project. As things stand, discussions on any controversial subject end up falling down this same Carrollesque rabbit-hole, where every point is warped to the service of some idée fixe, and most participants are more concerned with chopping off the heads of their opponents than making any collaborative effort. It's dumb.

But, I suspect such a new debate will make even less progress than this one. C'est la vie... --Ludwigs2 18:19, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

It is a shame that an editor is allowed to lie...and lie and lie and lie again...about others with whom he disagrees. In all the forums and all the discussions that this topic has sprawled across in the last few weeks, I do not recall a single editor who stood up and said "I want to keep these images solely and precisely because they are offensive" (italics are Ludwigs2' words). He couches the above in pretty "I didn't mean to..." verbiage, but this line has been repeated often enough elsewhere that the meaning is clear; we're all a bunch of Muslim-hating bigots who use the Muhammad article as our personal Everybody Draw Mohammed Day platform, to actively humiliate and denigrate a group of people. In this fantasy, Ludwigs2 is the sole defender of decency and morality, battling us with both hands tied behind his back, blindfolded, pants on fire, while dangling from one toenail from a cliff. I hope the end is in sight to these drawn-out debates, as defending oneself from one who so freely and cavalierly misrepresents others' opinions is getting tiring. Tarc (talk) 01:07, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, with respect, he didn't call you or anyone else a Muslim-hating bigot. He said that his opponents are doing what they are doing "not because they want to offend, mind you, but because they are engrossed in battling censorship and have lost the ability to discriminate censorship from normal editing". If you translate that into "Muslim-hating bigots" out "to humiliate and denigrate a group of people", because that's what you hear him as really saying, then that's precisely what you accuse him of doing. It's probably best if both sides take each other at their actual words, rather than leaping to conclusions. Cheers. --JN466 01:24, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Jayen, not in those specific words. Instead, he's used terms such as "(we who object have) deep-seated anti-Islamic prejudice"[29], implies we are being racist.[30], states our rationale is "entrenched in racism",[31] implies other editors are acting unethically by not applying ethical reasoning[32] and so on. Don't want to fill the page with tons of diffs, but I can provide them to you on your or my talk page if you would like. So, I'd say, when you combine the few dozen such statements about other editors, it seems he is indeed calling us that. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 21:43, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Ridiculous...--Ludwigs2 22:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree, such conduct truly is - yet not a single apology has been forthcoming from you. :-/ Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 00:02, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
lol - even more ridiculous… --Ludwigs2 00:16, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I have been reading these words for 3-ish weeks now, and know precisely what is meant. Diffs can be provided if you like, though I'm sure most can be found in the ANI thread regarding Ludwigs' topic ban. Tarc (talk) 02:08, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
(Personal attack removed) --Ludwigs2 02:35, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Despite the fact that you've made reference to one of my very favorite books that final jab doesn't help ratchet down the tension. A bit more self-restraint from all concerned would be really good. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:42, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
yes, you're absolutely correct. I'll strike it. it's my worst flaw - I just can't control my tongue. --Ludwigs2 02:47, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The argument that the images aren't useful except to offend Muslims is absurd on several levels. First, not all Muslims will be offended. Second, the majority of the world isn't Muslim, thus rendering the overall argument questionable and hampering the ability to inform all people interested in the topic who are not offended by these images. Third, not all Muslims read English, have an internet connection or can access English wikipedia through filters and censorship and thus can not be offended by viewing the images. Fourth, there is now an option such that any reader can hide these images if desired. Sixth, this assumes, quite insultingly, that Muslims are so zealous and unreasonable that they would object to nonbelievers viewing historical images as part of an educational work. Seventh, unlike images of suffering, violence, sexuality or nudity, for which there are cultural taboos or an inherent disgust, offense or emotional harm at the sight of an image of a person is a learned, and strongly culturally-bound phenomenon. It is not comparable to images of pornography, torture, dead bodies or illness.

As for the specific idea that the images are not educational or useful beyond insult, this is also absurd. First, the images can be used to demonstrate different depictions of Muhammad in different cultures, time periods and artistic traditions - including the tradition of Western art as practiced by non Muslims. That is the most obvious use for images, in particular those coming from different Islamic traditions. Second, it has been argued that the images demonstrate nothing educational because they are not truly pictures of Muhammad, only artistic impressions or ideas of him, therefore there is no reason to include them. This argument is also invalid. To start, this argument would prohibit the use of any artistic image of any historical figure before photography on any wikipedia page since none are "really" the page's subject. Indeed, this would prohibit the use of any images, period, since the image itself is not the "thing" itself (see The Treachery of Images). No pictures of fruit, the Pyramids, shoes, buildings, etc. because none are equivalent to being in the actual presence of the object. Images are never "things", but still serve to illustrate the subject. They give context within the artistic (and hence cultural) tradition within which they were created, but also break up a monotony of text (incredibly useful) and capture in a small space the literary tradition of the "thing" being depicted - such as who was believed to be present and the location where the event occurred. Images exist throughout the world, in all cultures, at all times, because they are illustrative even if they are not exact. Merely because an image does not exactly represent a specific event is not a reason to remove it from any page.

There is no reason to suspect that the images on Muhammad exist solely to give offense. There is no reason to believe that all readers, or even all Muslim readers, would take offense. There is no reason to believe the images of Muhammad on Muhammad are any less educational or informative than they are on any other page. There is every reason to apply the same standards on Muhammad as we apply on every other page - insist the images are relevant, carefully selected and appropriately placed. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 15:59, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Sorry to be a pain but you went from fourth to sixth. Tivanir2 (talk) 20:31, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Edited my last post to move it to the right spot. Tivanir2 (talk) 20:33, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Has what occurred what you want for Wikipedia?

Please check to see if the treatment over Joe Faust and related articles each are what you want for Wikipedia. Thank you for your moment, Jimmy. Joefaust (talk) 15:36, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Not sure what you mean. Can you be more specific?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:17, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Jimbo. I was bullied in PGForum and then followed by the two into Wikipedia recently; in the efforts on Paragliding and on possible disambiguation of Paraglider, the Triangle control frame article was fully deleted and I was topic banned over hang gliding and paragliding. My politeness, on-topic effort seemed to only bring ire. Is the reduction that has occurred your wish? The broad work for years for Wikipedia seemed to vanish and be counted as naught. Joefaust (talk) 16:51, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

For convenience, the relevant ANI thread. Looie496 (talk) 00:50, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Part of the concern seems to be the unusual style of wording in text written by User:Joefaust and the notability level of parts of paraglider equipment, plus concerns of WP:COI in promoting certain ideas in articles. Meanwhile, there are too few copy-editor people willing to rewrite and adjust text for mainstream English word-flow, and so authors with unusual text-phrasing are met with resistance. In articles about towns in India, I try to rewrite awkward phrases (such as "Is this the problem you be having"), but I understand how many people have little patience for unusual phrasing and that could contribute to a topic-ban for some users. Some authors should perhaps slow down, take time to reword phrases, check facts, and make fewer edits to some articles. People who write very quick, but awkward posts, with numerous errors or incorrect links, can cause frustrations for other editors who feel too busy to handle those issues. Slow down and write more carefully. I hope all that makes sense. -Wikid77 (talk) 02:44, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Just FYI

Apparently I had been banned but did not know it. I appreciate your interest in noticing what has been reverted from the page. Nishidani stated that those who objected to the merger should contribute to the page, so I did so. Then I was told that I had been banned and could not do so, and Tom Reedy reverted what I had written. I have resupplied the reverted content to the talk page under the assumption that I am still allowed to talk although I am not allowed to edit. I hope this assumption was correct, as I am not trying to be completely banned. I am, however, trying to stand for some principle. The miscarriage of comprehension is deep in this instance. Thank you for your consideration. --BenJonson (talk) 05:02, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

The original notice was pretty clear: User talk:BenJonson#Topic ban are hereby banned indefinitely from all articles, discussions, and other content related to the Shakespeare authorship question, William Shakespeare, or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, broadly construed across all namespaces. You may appeal this topic ban as provided in Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions#Appeal.

There was also a discussion at User talk:Nikkimaria#Requesting Status on "Ban". Johnuniq (talk) 07:58, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

It also seems difficult to claim ignorance of his topic ban when he posted at the enforcement proceedings. A deep miscarriage of comprehension? Tom Reedy (talk) 16:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

But, Tom, am I banned from mentioning or discussing this ban on Jimbo Wales' talk page?--BenJonson (talk) 17:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Not unless I ask you to stop. This is a bit of a diplomatic safe haven. I do sometimes ask people to stop talking about some things on this page - some discussions have no point and no end. But in general, I like to make sure that this page is a "safety valve" for discussion of issues that have gotten thorny elsewhere.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:47, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Richard Chartres, Bishop of London

I find it hard to believe there are no images of this hugely well known man available for us to use. --Kittybrewster 16:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

I had the pleasure of meeting him a few months back, and I think I have his card somewhere. If I can find his email address, I'll contact him and ask him.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) Given that the chap is alive and well, perhaps all that is needed is that one of us who is geographically near and who has a modicum of talent at portraits should give him a ring and propose a quick session? I very much doubt that it would pose a significant issue beyond a few moments of his time. — Coren (talk) 17:04, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Or ask some users on Flickr - there's some creative commons licensed ones on there, but unfortunately not for commercial use. Polequant (talk) 17:14, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
[Update] I have emailed him to ask if he has one he'd like to donate. If he doesn't have one, I'll try to dig up a local photographer (maybe Allan Warren will be willing).--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:22, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • How is "Chartres" pronounced, as a French form or as "Char-terrs" like the street in the New Orleans French Quarter (one street behind Decatur Street along the Mississippi)? -Wikid77 04:24, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Staff number

In your personal appeal on main page you are writing that: "We have 400 servers and 93 staff.", but in Alan Sohn's appeal we can read, that "We have 400 servers and 73 staff." Small mistake but not unimportant, I think.. Danim (talk) 21:28, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a typo in his. I'm not really involved in putting these up, so I wonder where the best place is to let people know about this!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:07, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
The "official" number is being kept up to date by the Foundation's human resources department at wmf:Template:STAFF-COUNT.
On m:Talk:Fundraising 2011/Jimmy Letter 002/en, the Fundraising team has replied to a similar question.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 23:19, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Financing of Wikipedia

Hello Mr Wales,

This question is a little private, but I am curious. Should you prefer to answer somewhere else than on Wikipedia, please feel free to email me at pierre (at) pierrepaquette (dot) net.

I am always happy to send my financial contribution to Wikipedia each year around this time of the year, when we see the appeals to send some money to finance Wikipedia. As I am not rich, I do not contribute much, but it comes from the heart. Should I ever be able to afford a larger contribution, I will be happy to add a few zeroes to the amount!

However, I was wondering about the contributions of the owners and staff of Wikipedia. Can you please inform me about that?

Best regards, CielProfond (talk) 02:30, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't have owners. It is owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose highest authority is the Board of Directors, who are not the owners and who are not compensated for their work. The Board has a tradition that everyone contributes, but specific donor amounts are generally kept private at the option of the donor. You'll probably find this an interesting read.
Similarly, for staff contributions, I'm sure many of them do donate, but I don't know how much.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:18, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Hello Jimbo, I like the tone of your appeal of this years. It's less "Give 5$ or the knowledge of humanity will collapse !¡1!" and more "give 5$ so we can keep it free of publicity and such". It's factual, accurate... Really more in the tone of wikipedia than what I saw in the past few years. It might not be as much appealing, but at least it's much more coherent with the beliefs you pretend to protect. Thanks for all. Iluvalar (talk) 20:14, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

"Pretend"? Is there any particular reason you are being rude to me?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:44, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimmy, I doubt he meant to offend. He most likely meant to say 'intend to protect' or 'claim to protect'. English is not his first language - see User:Iluvalar. Now go enjoy the rest of your day. :-) (talk) 18:30, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I am sorry I misunderstood.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:39, 10 November 2011 (UTC)


Hello, someday the world will recognize the extraordinary good that you did to us. Thank you very much.(César Martínez, Venezuela). --RASECZENITRAM (talk) 05:49, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Why you are saying that for? --Mohamed Aden Ighe (talk) 14:49, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
He's saying thank you to Jimbo for Wikipedia. That's all. (talk) 02:34, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Donations contact

Jimbo Wales, someone wanted to contact you regarding the fund-raiser, but was frustrated at the lack of links on the donate page [33].

If you wanted to respond, then given their comments and noting they've set up an email address, it might be best to use Special:EmailUser/Impossibletofindone.  Chzz  ►  06:55, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia's Neutrality in Religion?